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Glass Heart


“So, what is it that you’ve interrupted my valuable time for now?” With a long mess of chocolate brown curls pulled out of her face, the woman, dressed in casual jeans and an old black tank top, looked overly confident and impatient as she spoke. Dusting her hands covered in grease, sore and scarred from mechanical accidents and slips of tools, off on her jeans, she continued. “Another financial discussion, perhaps? My terms are the same as they were the last time we went over this and I refuse to lower my fee. You get what you pay for, you know. Are you having some difficulties coming up with what you owe me? You will pay me, one way or another, considering I’ve already done half the work and improved the, shoddy I might add, tools you’d provided me with.”

Wiping her grease stained hands on her jeans once again fruitlessly, she placed both hands on her hips and waited expectantly for a response from the three board members of the Medical Engineering Development Corporation, MedCo for short, who sat behind a polished oak table, looking grim and severe.

She’d been told their names several times on several occasions and while she was sure she had them hidden somewhere in the confines of her memory, she didn’t find it important enough to recall at the moment. Ever since she’d signed a contract to work for MedCo a month prior the trio had interrupted her nearly every day with news of some pointless delivery or update for her project that had more recently started to sound like ultimatums and threats. Luckily, she was not one to be intimidated by threat and innuendo; in fact she was usually the one doling them out.

“Scarlett,” The severe looking older woman who sat between two younger men, her hair pulled back tightly into a graying bun, clasped her hands together and leaned on the table. She had a plastic smile plastered across her features that were tight from one too many surgical procedures of a cosmetic nature.

Ms. Damien, if you don’t mind,” Scarlett corrected the woman behind the oaken table. Scarlett’s confident smile faded, replaced with a stone cold grimace. While she pretended she was upset with the trio for having interrupted her work, once again, she’d had a bone to pick with them since the late hours of the night before when she’d received updated specifications for the machines she’d been hired to design and build.

“Fine.” The pleasant smile on the older woman’s face faltered for only a moment, and her eye twitched in frustration with the woman at least twenty years younger than her. “Ms. Damien, would you please sit down. We have some rather important matters to discuss with you.”

“And I, with you.” Any pleasantries Scarlett had awarded them on prior occasions as her employers had been tossed out the window.

“Oh?” The man on the left adjusted his glasses and looked at her curiously over the top of them. “Is that so?”

“When you hired me and my partner…,” Scarlett sneered when the man interrupted her.

“We hired you. You refused to work without Scott Aaronson being signed to your contract, if I recall.”

“It’s rude to interrupt but since you choose to argue over trivialities...” Scarlett narrowed her eyes and started over. “When you approached me about working for you, I was less than thrilled. Your company’s reputation precedes you, I’m afraid. Colleagues of mine have mentioned your name and you would blush at the things I’ve heard them say. When you pursued me I agreed reluctantly but only because of the subject matter and the need for a more steady career.” As the woman in the middle made a motion to continue speaking, Scarlett held up her hand to stop them in their tracks and made an irritated sound to accompany it. “You will wait until I’m done and then I’ll be taking questions.”

The trio behind the table leaned back in their seats, exchanged glances, then with the smiles completely eradicated from their faces they sat and waited for Scarlett Damien to say what was on her mind.

“Thank you.” There was no gratitude in her voice, it was merely a pleasantry. Reaching into the pocket of her jeans she pulled out the folded piece of paper she had received via fax machine in her lab the night before. “When you told me you were looking to revolutionize prosthetics, I was curious. When I found out you were looking for a way to recreate limbs so pristinely that they would be unrecognizable as artificial to the untrained eye I was intrigued enough to agree to work for you, on my terms of course. I was to have access to all the requirements and goals for the project beforehand, I would have my money, I would have my assistant engineer, and I would have unrestricted access to all the supplies I deemed necessary for such a project whether previously requested or not.”

“Are you coming to a point with your ramblings, Ms. Damien or are you simply reminding us of our duties?” The man on the left chuckled through a heavy accent, attempting to clear the air in the room that had become thick with tension ever since Scarlett had corrected her name for them to a formality. Scarlett, though innocent upon first glance, had a reputation of her own and it was nothing short of ruthless.

“My, my.” Scarlett unfolded the piece of paper she’d removed from her pocket and looked over it once again. “Impatient aren’t we? You know, I’ve been around the block a few times. You’re not the first shady, underhanded company that I’ve dealt with in years past and I’m sure you won’t be the last. I can tell you a few things I’ve learned from dealing with others like you, if you’d like.” Approaching the desk, Scarlett placed the paper down in front of her turning it around to face away from her, watching the trio as they squirmed in their seats to see how long it would take them to reach for the paper. When the woman in the middle did so, Scarlett placed her hand flat on the paper to keep her from being able to move it close enough to read.

“Impatience usually means you’re nervous about something. But why would you be nervous if we’re on the same team?” A rebellious curl fell in Scarlett’s face as she leaned over the desk, but she ignored it and glared at the three who had hired her. “Do I intimidate you?” There was little response outside of nervous shuffling in plush chairs. “I doubt that. As dark as my reputation may be, what chance would I stand against your entire corporation?” Scarlett finally let go of the paper so it could be taken from her. “Rather, you have something to hide from me and you’re terrified I’ll become wise of it before I finish my work.”

“While we don’t doubt your skills of perception, Ms. Damien, what on earth would we be hiding? We have met every one of your demands, no matter how absurd they were!” The man with the glasses adjusted them again; it was a nervous tic, apparently.

“I don’t like liars, sir.” Scarlett stood upright. “There’s only one thing, as a matter of fact, that I hate more than liars and that’s liars who work for Stark Industries.” Tapping the logo on the memo with her forefinger she turned to face away from the trio, pulling her hair from the ponytail she’d put it up in earlier, only to tie it back a second time in hopes of capturing the stray hairs that kept managing to escape.

“A memo with the Stark Industries letterhead? This is what you’re upset about?” The woman scoffed and started on what would surely be an ideal explanation. “Come now, how do you know it’s not a misplaced piece of paper? I heard you were paranoid, but I never thought you would be one to jump to conclusions. Besides, Stark Industries is a reputable Fortune 500 company, I would think this would be a comfort!”

“Don’t talk to me to like I’m one of your pathetic lackeys. I’m not desperate for money, quite the opposite, so you can’t twist my arm. I took this job because of the challenge it provided me with and the potential advancements that could be made.”

“Even if we are affiliated with Stark Industries, what would it matter?” Glasses were adjusted once again.

“Yes, I’m sure you’re thinking of excuses now. Tony Stark, ever since his experience in the Middle East, is a changed man! He’s no longer an arms dealer, no longer selling his weapons on the black market for a hefty price to less than favorable characters around the world. He saw the light and has moved on to energy research! Sure. Those who believe the press from that company are fools and I am not a fool. Tony Stark is a joke and his company is a threat to mankind. And if you think that I didn’t become suspicious after receiving that memo with the list of changes to your specifications then you are grossly underestimating me.” That time the trio behind the table stayed silent and let Scarlett continue on what promised to be quite the angry rant.

“Which brings me to my point: I’m not building prototypes for medical means anymore, am I? I’m building complex robotic technology to later be dissected by a team of professionals so it can be rebuilt and weaponized without my knowledge. You knew that I would never agree to build such a thing for you, particularly for a company already known for doing such dastardly things with plain old guns and bombs. This… this is something entirely different than your usual run of the mill weapon. Is Tony Stark outsourcing now? Of course he couldn’t continue his robotic wet dream brought to fruition with the Iron Man weapon, thanks to the US Government and that senator breathing down his neck about owning unregistered weapons technology, so he did one better. He hired me.” Scarlett walked back toward the chair a few feet from the table, where she’d been earlier instructed to sit.

“I hacked your database after receiving the memo. I found out what you were doing so there’s no reason to deny it. You have a storeroom filled with crates from Stark Industries that just happen to be missing from your inventory list. There were files I didn’t have time to get to, but I assume they’re off the books anyway. Is Anthony Stark paying you with weapons to fund your acts of terror disguised as minimal charity? Well, I’ll have no part in it. I’m done. I’ve destroyed the schematics for what I’ve worked on and I’ll be taking what I’ve made with me. Unfortunately the idea you had pitched to me was a good one but I’m sure I’ll find another company willing to fund the idea and actually make a difference in the medical world.” Scarlett sat down in the chair that had been placed out for her, leaning back lazily in it and crossing her legs. “I’m keeping what I’ve been paid and we’ll part ways.”

Scarlett wiped at the grease from her hands onto her jeans again lazily while she waited for a response from the owners of the corporation she’d basically given the middle finger to. The three exchanged glances before deciding upon how to address the situation. The woman in the middle leaned back in her chair and fiddled with her cell phone for a moment before looking back at Scarlett.

“Well you’re right about a few things, Ms. Damien.” Clearing her throat, she put her cell phone to her ear. “You can send them upstairs now.” Hanging up the phone, she leaned forward against the table and narrowed her eyes at the confident young woman. “You’re right about many things actually. Everything except for one... You are cunning, Ms. Damien, far more cunning than we were prepared to give you credit for.”

Scarlett leaned forward in her chair, ready to argue with the woman. Somehow, she knew that MedCo had anticipated this move and had prepared something to try and keep her on board with the project. They would be hard pressed to find something that would sway her short of physical violence.

“I’m sorry that you no longer have interest in our little arrangement, Scarlett.” The woman got up from where she’d been seated and stood in front of the table, the two men behind her remaining in their seats, but looking straight at Scarlett. “Your credentials are incredible. Graduate of Cambridge in the top of your class, medical work in Senegal that has made you a common name in the physics world, then you disappear off the grid never to be heard from publically again. Unless you count the numerous arrests on your record and start looking in less than savory places.”

“I’ve done my time and paid my dues, so if you’re looking for something to blackmail me with, then good luck. I don’t hide who I am.” Scarlett wasn’t easily threatened and had prepared for confrontation. While she had gone off the grid on purpose, due to the underground nature of the turn her work had taken after building affordable surgical tools in Senegal, the only times she had been arrested and had been put on public record had been unrelated to her work and were mostly for petty crimes.

“Oh, I’ve never been fond of blackmail of that type, per se. People like you hang their dirty laundry for everyone to see or burn it with their bridges,” the woman chuckled and walked over to the far end of the room, where a flat screen television hung, screen black, against the wall. When the door opened, Scarlett expected to see an armed guard coming to threaten her life, but was surprised when no such thing happened. Instead a man came in and leaned against the door, no weapon in sight. Still, habit had urged her to lean forward, and closer, to the small caliber gun she had strapped to her ankle beneath her jeans. Since her years in Cambridge she had never gone out unarmed. “I find that reputations like yours are very hard to argue with. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to let you walk away from us, Scarlett, I can’t replace you without getting Tony Stark himself to come down here and I’m afraid that’s out of the question.”

“If you know anything about me, you know you can’t keep me here. I can’t be muscled into working for you. Yours wouldn’t be the only blood on my hands if I found it necessary.” Scarlett’s expression darkened. The woman across the room finally smiled once more and Scarlett knew this was a sign of trouble. There was something she must have missed, something that was cost her the battle against MedCo; something that was going to force her to work for this sinister company against her will. Mind racing across the details of her work, Scarlett was unsure where the conversation would lead to so instead stayed silent.

“Oh, I know that we can’t fight you on it. Of course, I’m sure I could outman you without any effort as you pointed out before but… I need you in one piece. If we had intended to kill you then we wouldn’t be here talking right now, would we?” Scarlett didn’t respond. There was the sound of buzzing filling the room very suddenly. Eyes flitting in search of the source, Scarlett spied one of the men at the table picking up his cell phone. Without a word, he listened and ended the call. He looked to the woman standing near the flat screen television and nodded his head with a silent message that the aging woman understood clearly.

Smirking at Scarlett, the woman looked truly deranged after receiving this news. Scarlett had never liked the people who owned MedCo. It had been partially why she’d turned down the job offer several times in the first place. Scott had been the one to talk her into taking the work. When Scarlett’s mind went idle, she tended to get into unnecessary danger, so Scott preferred when she’d been contracted by a company to do long term work to keep her out of trouble. Scott wasn’t the type of boyfriend who would come running to her aid in moments of disaster. Scott was the kind of boyfriend who would bail her out of jail after a bar fight and remind her that she had responsibilities to the people who loved her. Wincing at the thought, Scarlett knew what would be on the television screen before it was turned on. How had she missed that? Of course, Scott was the only thing that had repeatedly left her vulnerable over the years.

Pulling her gun from the holster on her ankle she stood from the chair, cocked the gun and aimed it at the woman in front of the television as she flipped the button on the side to turn it on. The screen came to life, and instead of any television station or static, there was faded looking security footage, the words “Live Feed” in the corner. Scarlett glanced at the screen only for a second before turning her gaze back to the woman. She didn’t need to see anything else to know what would come next.

Scott sat tied to a chair in the middle of the room, two armed men on either side of him, both aiming their weapons at him. Scarlett could only assume he’d been gagged, though by the look of him he hadn’t seemed to sustain many injuries, at least none that she could see on the blurred camera footage for the split second she’d observed it.

“You see, Scarlett, if you don’t finish the work you signed up to do then your dear… Scott was his name, correct? Well, he’ll have two bullets between the eyes. I’d put away your gun dear, we both know you’re not going to shoot me. It looks to me like I’ve found some leverage.”

“Let him go, you know this has nothing to do with him,” Scarlett said plainly, even though she knew the woman was right. Scott had always gotten her out of trouble in the past. She owed it to him to make sure he was safe.

“It doesn’t have anything to do with him. You’re right. He’s useless to us and useless to you. A failure of an engineer, not half of what you are or even a third. Why do you even bother with him? He’s clearly holding you back from your true potential. Is he your moral compass, perhaps?”

“Let him go and I won’t shoot you between the eyes.” Scarlett ignored the snide remark, half wondering why on earth she did bother with Scott. This was not the time for such thoughts. There’d be plenty of time to address it later. Right now, she knew what the right thing to do was and she didn’t need Scott there to guide her moral compass.

“If you shoot me, he dies. You’re a good shot Scarlett, I’m sure in your line of work but… there are three of us here, and security watching from the cameras overhead. Be logical, Scarlett, dear. Give me the gun and stand down. By the time you fired the shot your precious Scott would be dead and his blood on your hands.” The woman held out her hand expectantly for Scarlett’s weapon.

Weighing her options, Scarlett knew if she shot the woman, Scott would die as she’d threatened. Even if she shot the two men at the table first, then the woman, someone would hear the gunshots and Scott would die. Every scenario she played out in her mind ended with Scott dead and unnecessary blood on her hands. But was Scott’s life really worth the price she had to pay to keep him alive? Turning her gaze finally back to the screen she could see the fear in Scott as he sat blindfolded, gagged and chained to his chair. He was trembling, not even trying to escape. How many times had he bailed her out of foreign jails, drunk and roughed up from some bar fight? How many times had he taken care of her when she’d given herself a colossal hang over after she’d drank herself into a stupor?

Pulling the clip of ammunition from the gun, she handed over the weapon reluctantly. Scarlett averted her eyes and slipped the clip into her pocket for safe keeping, but was forced to turn it over when the woman eyed her the wrong way.

“That’s a good girl.” The older woman clicked her tongue and nodded toward the man who still stood silently at the door, waiting for his orders. “Take her back to her lab. She has some lost time to make up for.” Staying fixed to where she stood, Scarlett stared at the floor, weighing the consequences again in her mind. She could take the guard out as he came close to her, but she no longer had a gun. There was still no way to save Scott and keep from building weapons for the vile company. “Oh, and about that financial agreement we had?” Scarlett looked back up at the woman and narrowed her eyes. “You can forget about it. Your fee? It’s the price of getting to survive to see your boyfriend again.”

Scarlett didn’t dignify the woman’s words with a response. Anything she’d say now would just be adding insult to injury. Any further attempts to irritate the trio running the underhanded company would only result in punishment for Scott and while she was unsure of her obligation to him, Scarlett wished no harm be done to him. If there was anyone undeserving of such treatment, it was him.

The guard grabbed Scarlett’s shoulder and she shoved him off of her and walked to the door on her own.

“Don’t bother, I know my way.” Hand on the doorknob Scarlett only stopped when the voice of one of the men at the table, the one without the glasses, met her ears. Finally placing his accent as Russian, Scarlett closed her eyes and concentrated. Searching her memory for their names, the ones she’d purposely locked away and ignored, she listened.

“Oh by the way, Stark Industries thanks you for your cooperation.” The smallest hint of sarcasm caught her ear through the accent and Scarlett finally recalled his name.

“No offense, Mr. Ivanov but you and Stark Industries can kiss my ass.” Without another word, Scarlett walked out the door, hearing the sound of the guard close behind her, obviously being given the order to follow her in case she did something drastic, like try to escape or save Scott. If they’d known anything about her they would know she wasn’t the type to run in front of a gun without a plan unless absolutely desperate. Everything she did had a purpose. While half her plans were made up on the spot, Scarlett usually found a means of escape or calculated decent odds for her survival before executing any plan.

She was the type to run in front of a gun with a way out though. Stopping in front of her lab in the basement of the large MedCo facility hidden away in the African desert, she turned to face her guard.

“I don’t suppose you have a cigarette I could have, hmm?” Scarlett raised an eyebrow, nodding to the door behind her. “Ignore the highly flammable sign hanging on the door, how’s a girl to get any work done while fighting an addiction, hmm?” The man looked at her skeptically before relenting, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a pack of cigarettes. Scarlett pulled one from the pack, slipped it between her lips and then grabbed a second to slip behind her ear. “Thanks. Don’t suppose you have any scotch in there either, hmm?”

Apparently the guard did not share her sense of humor, as he reached past her and opened the door to the lab and gave her a look that clearly told her he was done humoring her.

“First date and I don’t even get a kiss goodnight. I’m just batting a thousand tonight.” Scarlett turned on her heels and walked into the lab, staring at what was left of her work, hearing the door lock behind her after it had been closed.


I do not own Iron Man or the Marvel Universe, but I do own Scarlett Damien so please don't steal her!


I didn't know! Sorry I'm having trouble posting on this website. I will fix it though. Thank you so much. XD I hope you like where it's going. It's a big series called Iron Clad. I'm in the middle of the sequel right now :3 I'm pretty excited too, it's going to be an Avengers series eventually!
Khadrimx Khadrimx
I still am excited to see where this story goes. Even if its already finished :) Scarlett is pretty cool and I'm anxious to see how Tony will fit in. Especially since she has a sort of boyfriend. Can't wait for another update. P.S. did you know that the content is posted twice? Like it seems like you accidentally pasted it twice or there was some other malfunction. Just thought I'd mention that.
vendicatore vendicatore
Thank you for your feedback and for reading! I'll have more up soon. This story is actually already done, I'm just giving it another edit.
Khadrimx Khadrimx
I like this quite a bit. I think Scarlett is a smart character and there was a lot of great dialogue between her and the MedCo people. I appreciate the sophisticated vocabulary and it wasn't overdone at all. Overall this is very good so far and I'm intrigued. I hope to see more soon.
vendicatore vendicatore