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Go Ugly Early

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Tony sighed, eyes sweeping the room idly, trying not to think of the ropes rubbing along his wrists. The water dripping from ceiling pipe echoed loudly through the silent room. Tony narrowed his eyes at it, as if daring the water to leak out again.  

God, what I would do for a wrench.

Of course, there were more pressing matters at the moment.

Like the fact that he was sitting bound in an old iron chair, staring up at what Tony assumed to be some mob man’s muscle.

The man was huge; if Tony listened closely enough, he could probably hear the clothes straining, trying to contain his bulk. The room was dark; the only light coming from a flickering bulb, but Tony could still make out the steely blue eyes that pierced him from across the room. Tony repressed a shudder. He was an intimidating man, sure, able to bring any business man to his knees in seconds. But Muscles over there did not sit well with Tony. Not that Tony would ever give him the satisfaction of knowing that. This wasn’t the first time Tony had ended up in some dank and smelly room, waiting for some second-rate criminal to try and strike a deal with him.

All that ended with was a migraine for Tony and a body bag for his so-called ‘captor’.

Tony’s not an idiot. Mafias are waiting at every turn in New York, and Tony’s skill set always makes him a target.

Please, like any one of those assholes could afford me.

Tony would just have to run his mouth for a good twenty minutes while his implanted tracker led Happy right to him. And then Happy would meet his captor of the week. Or, more importantly, Happy’s gun would meet their temple.

It was the same old song and dance; one that Tony had lost too many good suits too. If anything, it was just a hassle, and a waste of a perfectly good afternoon. Sometimes Happy, bless his heart, tried to mix it up once in a while so at least Tony could get some enjoyment out of it.

But it wasn’t that case now. Tony didn’t have a perfect internal clock, but even he knew it had been over an hour.

And no Happy.

Which was not good, because at this point Tony would be running out of things to ramble on about. That is, of course, if the guy had made any demands.

It was usually ‘build this’ or ‘hack that’, the same old spiel that Tony almost had memorized himself. Whatever asshole he was dealing with at the time would make his demands, threaten him with torture. If Tony was lucky, sometimes they would throw the word ‘murder’ around. And then Tony would laugh, crack his jokes, maybe get punched once or twice - life isn’t perfect - and then, cue Happy.

But there hadn’t been any demands. The man had said nothing, just stared coldly at Tony as he went on and on about how good his blood will accent the tie he’s wearing. Which, frankly, was just plain insulting. Tony really doesn’t do the whole silence thing, but he wasn’t about to let some nobody show him up. Which, of course, is how Tony found himself stewing silently, counting the blood splatters left on the wall.

At some point in time later, after at least an uncomfortable and silent fifteen minutes, the man had asked him something, but Tony, being the adult he is, had blatantly ignored him. See how you like it, asshole. 

But now even that was boring him.

“I’m sorry, did you say something?”

Tony heard the man scoff. “I asked if you were ready to have a serious conversation with me yet.”

Tony rolled his eyes. “Are you kidding me? I’ve wasted all my small talk on you.”

“Yes, all those empty threats really had me quivering in my boots,” he replied with a smirk.

“Empty threats my ass. Do you even know who I am? Listen, there’s still time to save you from the oncoming and definitely fatal embarrassment. How about we just part ways now and I’ll let you walk out of this alive; I’ll even give you the added bonus of minimal maiming. See? I’m nice like that.”

“I know exactly who you are, Mr. Stark.” The man walked towards Tony, stopping under the overhead light.

Well hot damn.

The man almost looked like an avenging angel, the light landing behind his head like a dim halo, accenting his sandy blonde locks. His cold, blue eyes flashed over Tony like he was fresh meat. Hell, this guy good give the statue David a run for his money.

I could probably bake cookies on his abs.

Tony flashed him a smile. “Well, sweet cheeks, it seems I’m at a disadvantage because I don’t know who you are.”

The blonde pulled up the second chair and sidled down in front of Tony. “And why does that matter?”

Tony shrugged. “I guess you make a good point. You’ll be dead soon anyway, learning your name would probably just waste my brain cells.”

“I don’t plan on dying today.”

Tony sighed. They never do. This idiot has no idea what he's gotten himself into. “You said you know who I am, yes? Then you should know that I’m a very powerful man with very powerful friends. This isn’t my first rodeo, kid. I know how this plays out. Spoiler alert, you end up at the bottom of the Hudson.”

The man let out a hollow laugh, the corners of his lips curling into a small smile. Of course it made him look even better. “Well it’s a good thing it’s not my first rodeo either.” With that, he reached into his pocket, pulling out a small tube.

Tony’s tracker.

Uh oh.

The man sucked in a breath through his teeth. “Oh, you we’re counting on this, weren’t you?”

Tony opened his mouth before the blonde put up a large hand to stop him. “And before you ask, yes, we disabled it before we moved you, so there is no way your security can track you here. Your man Hogan’s probably wetting himself right now.”

Tony narrowed his eyes. Apparently that was enough for the blonde to break out into a larger grain, thinking he'd finally cornered Tony. “Who do you work for?”

“Oh, now you wanna talk.”

“Listen, I don’t have time for this bullshit- ”

“Well that’s good, because I don’t have time for yours. So this is how it’s going to go. We’re gonna have a little chat, and you’re going to cooperate. Do as I say and you’ll save yourself from an oncoming and definitely fatal embarrassment. I might let us part ways and let you walk out of this alive, even give you the added bonus of minimal maiming. See? I’m nice like that too.”

“You were listening! And here I thought you didn’t care,” Tony answered sardonically. 

“Mr. Stark- ”

“Listen, pal. No name, no deal. Well, I won’t deal with you anyway, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.”

The man sighed, looking up towards the ceiling. Tony smiled to himself, enjoying both the man’s frustration and the pale skin that adorned his neck. If he thought Tony was just going to roll over without his security team, he was even more stupid than Tony thought. It's always the pretty ones. 

“The Captain.”

Tony sputtered, unable to stop the laugh that escaped his lips. “The Captain. Are you kidding me?”

“Is that so hard to believe?”

“Uh, yeah. The Captain and his mutts have never shown an interest in me or my business. In fact, I’m not even sure he lets his men off their leash; they’ve probably never seen what’s on the other side of Brooklyn’s borders. We don’t exactly roll with the same crowd, so don’t even bother trying to slander his name.”

Tony knew The Captain and his Howling Commandos were no laughing matter. Tony had never personally run into them, and he hoped to keep it that way. When The Captain first showed up on the radar, no one took him seriously. B-list mobsters are always popping up, trying to make a name for themselves, only to land behind bars. But somehow, he and his ragtag groupies had risen through the ranks, claiming Brooklyn for their own.

There wasn’t even a rival gang in Brooklyn because The Captain’s forces swoop in as soon as someone even thinks about mentioning the word ‘rebellion’. Tony still remembered what had happened to Schmidt’s gang. HYDRA came from an old family, its name ran deep in New York. They had been established long before the other mob even blinked into existence, but one run in with the Captain, and boom, they were gone. Destroyed. Eradicated.

Tony had seen the pictures. It was almost an art form, and Tony was, needless to say, impressed.

The cops couldn’t touch this guy, hell, half of them didn’t even want too. The Captain had sort of this Robin Hood thing going on, protecting Brooklyn from other gangs, corrupt officials; cleaning the streets without the law getting in the way.

What makes The Captain so terrifying is that with everything people have heard about the guy, no one knows anything about him. No one has any clue what he looks like, no idea how many Commandos are out there.

He’s the Big Brother of Brooklyn; he’s everywhere and he’s nowhere. He moves so quick that by the time someone catches wind of a potential heist, The Captain and his crew have come and gone, and probably half way through two other jobs. It was because of all this uncertainty that Tony tried to distance himself as much as possible. Tony thrived on information - it was his main currency. He didn't give The Commandos more than a second glance when they first showed up, and then, not even a month later, he was waking up to a morning without the looming threat of HYDRA. Since then, he tried valiantly, collecting any scrap of information that he could on the illusive team, trying to slap together their story. But he's never gotten a full picture. So until then, they remain a threat. One that Tony plans onto continue to avoid. 

“Slander his name?”

“If I don’t end up killing you, he probably will for using his name in vain.”

The man let out another quiet chuckle, rubbing his eyes with his fingers.

“Laugh it up now, buddy. Just tell me who you work for. Is it Hammer? Killian? It’s Hammer, isn’t it? Look, I know your boss is an embarrassment to the human race, but you’re among friends here, you can tell me. I promise not to laugh,” Tony drawled. Now Hammer? Hammer he could deal with. Hammer can't manufacture a reliable weapon, let alone find reliable henchmen. The only threat Hammer posed was the potential of someone getting a picture of the two of them out in public together. He wasn't about to have another debacle with the local rag magazines, insinuating that he and Hammer were secret lovers. He already had to deal with it every time he went into Pepper's office, his assistant taking continued pleasure in his pain by having it framed on her desk. 

“No, I can promise you I don’t work for Hammer.”

“Oh, thank God. Seriously, a hot piece of ass like you, wasted on Hammer? It would have been a tragedy.”

Tony didn’t miss the faint flush that appeared on the blonde’s cheeks. A worthy sight, indeed.

“You are right, though, I don’t work for The Captain,” the man continued.  

“I knew it," Tony breathed. Thank God. "Come on, spill the beans.”

“I don’t work for anyone; they work for me.”

Tony groaned. “Oh, great, just what I needed. I get stuck with the new kid on the block. What luck. Tell me, good sir, how long do you think you’ll make it out there?”

“Well, I’ve actually been around for a while- ”


“Yes. I’m sorry it took us so long to meet, but you’ll have to forgive me, I’m not from around these parts.”

“What the- listen. You’re young. You’re fresh meat. The mobs in this town will eat you alive, spit you out, and leave you for the dogs. You’re not going to be able to hang with them. I get the whole angsty rebellion phase, trust me, I've been there, but there are other ways to deal with your feelings that won't end with you six feet under. Have you ever tried pottery? I hear it does wonders for the temperament.”

The man put his hands on his knees and stared straight at Tony. “Well, it’s a good thing I have a few dogs of my own," he replied, ignoring Tony's quips. "Of course, it could be a problem that I won’t let them off the leash. You’re right; they’ve probably never even been outside of Brooklyn.”

Tony froze.

I don’t work for anyone; they work for me.

I’ve been around for a while.

I’m not from around these parts.

I have a few dogs of my own.

Tony’s mind raced, gears churning at top speed. His captor grinned at him when he saw Tony click all the pieces together.

“And we have a winner.”

Well shit.

So much for keeping his cool. Tony felt his heart rate skyrocket, blood chilling in his veins.

He’s The Captain?

This was not good. This was so not good.

There were theories of course, of what The Captain would look like. Most followed the typical Hollywoodesque belief that he was some version of the Godfather, sitting in a dark room with a cigar, commanding his forces with a flick of his wrist.  There were even some that even thought that The Captain was not one person, but a whole network of people with eyes and ears everywhere.

The blonde Adonis in front of him was definitely not what Tony was expecting.

Of course, in the end it didn’t matter.

There was a reason no one knew what The Captain looked like.

Because anyone who saw his face never lived to tell the tale.