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People Not Me

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The day may come when men realize that kidnapping an Avenger is a spectacularly bad idea.

But it is apparently not this day.

It was Tony’s turn to make the coffee run this morning, an errand that usually takes upwards of an hour if they let him do it alone (it’s Tony. He likes to mess with the baristas), so when he’s not back after that hour, nobody panics.

When that one hour stretches into two, Danni has JARVIS check Tony’s tracking implant, because of course she can’t have a psychic episode when she WANTS one. To her horror, not only is he miles from where he should be, he’s activated the emergency beacon.

Tony never activates his emergency beacon.

Danni is barking orders when JARVIS breaks in. “Agent Williams. I have a video call.”

She snaps around to face the television as JARVIS puts the call through. It’s such a stereotypical kidnapping call that she almost laughs. Almost. Because the stereotypical trappings don’t make Tony’s bruised and bleeding face any less real.

Steve, still hovering in the doorway, catches Danni’s eye and she nods sharply. The caller sees her and smirks.

“You have to find us first.” He says it smugly, and she knows before JARVIS confirms it that the call is untraceable. The kidnapper keeps talking, ranting really, demanding not only ransom but the release of –

“Obadiah Stane?” Danni is gaping now. “You want us to release a man who supplied terrorists, arranged the kidnapping of one of our men, and then attempted to murder the same man? And you thought the best way to get this would be to kidnap his victim?”

And now Tony opens his mouth. “Ezekiel –“ and groans as he is punched in the stomach. But that’s all she needs to hear. Ezekiel Stane. The brat wants Daddy back.

Stane scowls and makes an angry gesture. Two hired thugs bring something into view; a large plastic basin.

Filled with water.

Danni wills her hands not to shake, pushes the memories out of her head. She watches them shove Tony to his knees and dunk his head in the water, once, twice, three times, her heart bursting with fury and empathy and the blind fear she can’t quite bury. She clenches her jaw as they do it again, trying not to gasp with Tony. Her fear doesn’t matter. She doesn’t matter. All that matters right now is that Tony, her Tony, is in pain.

And if the man responsible is still breathing in the morning, it won’t be her fault.

Stane is smirking again. She folds her arms and raises her eyebrows, looking calm and collected, as if she’s not screaming inside. “You know we’re going to find you, right?”

“How?” He’s actually laughing now, a greasy little chuckle. “We disposed of all his electronics when we picked him up.”

“Mmhm.” It’s Danni’s turn to smirk now. “What about the implant?”

Stane blinks. “Implant?”

And that’s when Steve’s shield comes crashing through the frame. Standard response team for an abduction is Steve and Clint, with Bruce on standby for medical, and once again it proves to be enough. Danni takes a certain malicious satisfaction in watching Stane try – and fail – to escape.

He could have saved himself some pain if he’d talked to general – former general Ross. Danni smiles as she watches her boys. The memory of that incident still gives her a warm glow. It’s less than fifteen minutes before it’s over, and it only takes that long because Stane had some more goons hidden somewhere. While Clint ties a sniveling Stane’s hands together, Steve helps Tony stand. “Orders, Ma’am?”

“Bring Tony home. Barton, get those idiots to SHIELD.”

“What’s SHIELD?” Stane squeaks.

Danni narrows her eyes at him. “People who probably won’t kill you, no matter how satisfying that would be, Ezekiel.” She emphasizes his first name. “Basically? People. Not. Me.”

Tony blinks blearily at her as Clint leads Stane and his thugs away. “Did you seriously just quote Firefly?”

“Whedon is always appropriate, Tones.”

Tony smiles, a tired but amused smile. “I think we need a marathon.”

Danni grins back. “I might be inclined to agree with you.”

“All right.” Tony sags against Steve. “Let’s go, Captain Tightpants. Glad you and Clint arrived when you did.”

“You know what you are, Steve?” Danni asks.

“Big damn heroes, sir.” He replies with an absolutely straight face. Danni and Tony collapse into giggles.

“A-ain’t you just!” She’s giddy with amusement and sudden relief, the adrenaline draining from her veins.

They do marathon Firefly that day, Danni sitting beside Tony, doing her best to keep his mind on the show and off the Stanes. And if he spends the next few days trying to juggle beanbag geese, that’s just a bonus.