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Glass Heart

Sometimes Doing the Right Thing Means Getting Burned

A cold splash of water to the face was more than enough to arouse Scarlett from unconsciousness. Widening her eyes after she managed to blink away the cold water she took in her surroundings once her vision cleared. Immediately she attempted to stand up and put her hands up defensively so she would be able to fight, but instead she found herself unable to get up at all. There were cold metallic bindings surrounding her wrists and ankles, tugging her back onto her now wet chair. Muttering curse words under her breath, she closed her left eye out of discomfort, feeling it swollen and sore and now stinging from the unnecessary dumping of water over her head that had awoken her. One of the guards must have landed a punch in just the right place for her to be stinging in such a way. Luckily, it didn’t feel like her nose had been broken.

Looking around the room and forcing her left eye open to take it in properly she could see the shadows of two men standing behind her and one man crouching in front of her, whom she recognized as the Russian man from MedCo. It took her a moment to recall his name, since her memory seemed to still think it not important enough to recollect offhand but not unimportant enough to discard entirely.

“You put five of my guards into the medical wing.” His voice seemed colder than it had when they’d last spoken in the board room. Perhaps it was the scowl on his face as he looked at her like a disapproving father or perhaps it was the interrogation room she was being held in that made him seem more menacing. Or it could’ve just been the metallic shackles around her limbs and the shiner she’d developed. She was sure that this man could display a puppy in his arms and still appear cold and calculating with her eye pained in such a way. Visibly shivering from the cold water that had been dumped on her, Scarlett stared down the man in front of her, refusing to blink.

“No offense, Mr. Ivanov, but I’ve done better.” Leaning her head to the side, Scarlett wiped her dripping wet nose off on the top of her shirt since the bond around her wrists allowed her to do little else and the dripping feeling had begun to annoy her. There was blood that wiped off with the water onto her shirt and she made a mental note to get that looked at when she had gotten free. Still, it didn’t feel like she’d broken her nose.

Getting to his feet, the Russian didn’t seem angry with her, nor did he seem happy. There was something apathetic about him that worried Scarlett. Apathy in situations like that precarious one usually meant sociopathic tendencies and that was always trouble. If nothing else, it meant she was in store for more pain than she was prepared to handle at the current moment, considering her head was already pounding from the after effects of the chloroform and the shiner she’d received during her fight.

“Call me Mikhail, Ms. Damien… I do think we’re past formalities at this point don’t you?”

“I’ll stick with Mr. Ivanov, thanks.” Scarlett leaned her head back and sighed heavily. “If this is going to be some kind of torture bit where you attempt to teach me a lesson or make me regret what I’ve done then you’re wasting your time. There have been many before you who have tried to put me in my place and no one’s succeeded yet so… Really, I’m saving you some time here. I’m rather stubborn and set in my ways. It’s an uphill battle, trust me.”

“Oh, you misunderstand me! What was it? The cold water dumped over your head that led you to think I had something sinister planned for when you woke up?” Despite his jovial tone, there was no expression on Mikhail’s face. This was clearly not his first attempt at intimidating a prisoner and as much as Scarlett hated to admit it, it was working.

“That and the shackles, yeah. I guess both could be kink, but sorry, you’re not really my type.” Scarlett leaned her head back upright and exhaled dramatically. She could dance around the situation all she wanted and talk a big game, but in reality she was stuck in that chair and at the mercy of whatever Mr. Ivanov wanted of her.

“You are not mine, either. No offense. Beautiful and all but, I prefer more… submissive women.” Mikhail sat down on the table and looked curiously at the woman who had caused his company such trouble. “I am rather fond of you though, Ms. Damien. You have proven to be far more… exciting than we had initially anticipated you would be. When we had discovered what you had done my colleagues suggested we torture you as punishment. In fact, they wanted us to kill your lover… Scott was his name, no? They wanted us to kill him immediately so you would know the consequences that came with disobedience.”

Scarlett didn’t respond. They wouldn’t kill Scott. Not if they wanted her to do anything for them. If they killed him they’d have no leverage over her and she would find her way out because she’d have nothing to lose. There was nothing more dangerous than a woman who knew her way around a gun and had little else to worry about. This man knew that. Scarlett could tell just by looking at him.

He wasn’t trying to prove himself for his gender like the woman had been and he wasn’t in it for the financial gain like the man with the glasses had been. Scarlett couldn’t get a read on Mikhail and this worried her greatly. Being able to predict what common people would do in reaction to her was what made her good at her job. People were often predictable and habitual, which made them easy targets. This man did not fall into that category. Despite her nerves, she kept her face stern and her demeanor calm. It was like dealing with an animal, as long as you didn’t show your fear, you wouldn’t become prey.

“But you know we wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t allow it. I wondered instead… What did you hope to accomplish when you crawled out of your lab? Clearly you weren’t trying to escape our grasp or you would be long gone before we had even noticed you had tried to get out.” Mikhail folded his arms on his lap and looked down at the pretty woman with a deep sound that seemed more curious than frustrated.

“If I had wanted to escape, then you would’ve never found me.” Scarlett cocked an eyebrow, knowing that fact was true enough. There was no point in hiding what they both knew.

“So what were you doing then? Hmm? I can’t wrap my mind around it. What on Earth would a talented woman such as yourself in such a dangerous situation, be doing sneaking into a secret part of an already secret facility when she very well could have snuck out under our noses without detection?”

“Maybe I just wanted to screw with you. I don’t take kindly to people telling me what to do,” Scarlett answered after a moment when she realized Mikhail wasn’t going to continue until she’d given an answer. Much to her surprise, he chuckled in response.

“Oh you are clever, little girl.” Getting up he walked away from her and faced the outer wall.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sharp.” Scarlett closed her eyes. There was no point in being on the offensive now, she was too exhausted and too incapacitated to hope to find any leverage. Even if she could break free of her shackles due to some miracle, take out the two guards she’d noted behind her and Mikhail she would have to deal with the numerous guards outside of the room and then, of course, the other two heads of MedCo who she assumed weren’t very far at the moment and were likely watching them on the security cameras. Besides, she had no idea where she was being held nor did she have the peace of mind to start searching the room for visual clues.

“You think that simply because you are pretty I do not see the intelligence behind those big blue eyes, hmm? You are smart. You are very smart and it is getting you in trouble. There is no chance that you are dumb enough to go running around our facility in such a calculated manner without purpose. You had a reason for sneaking around and you will tell me before your contract is up.”

“Oh, so we’re still working together?” Scarlett ignored the rest of the threats. Honestly, they’d gotten old and tired now. If they were going to kill her they would’ve just gotten it over with. “I figured you weren’t going to trust me on my own after this.”

“You’re right, we aren’t. But a deal is a deal Ms. Damien and you have work to finish and we require it to be done quickly. The only other option is to bring Mr. Stark in himself to finish your job and well… what would’ve been the point of going through all this trouble to get you if we did that, hmm?”

“Right, I’m sure that he’d love to be associated with all of this. It’d fit in real well with his peace keeping press.” Scarlett kept her eyes closed but snapped them open when she felt a hand on her wrist. Mikhail was removing her shackles with a small silver key. One by one he pulled her free from her bindings and walked away from her chair. He nodded toward the guards behind her and a moment later they were at her side, coaxing her to her feet by her arms and slipping handcuffs around her wrists to secure them behind her back.

“I’m not going to waste any more of my time asking you what you were doing in my facility, Ms. Damien but believe me, I am just as stubborn as you seem to be and I will find out one way or another. You are messing with forces you are clearly underestimating. This is not a childish game. There are lives on the chess board and you are merely a pawn.” Turning his back on her once again, he continued. “You have a week to finish your work on those robot limbs, Ms. Damien.”

“Oh no, we had agreed that I had a four month contract. We’re only eight weeks in, as long as I didn’t sleep for two months when your guard knocked me out and I’m sure he didn’t hit me that hard. If it wasn’t for the chloroform I’d still be going.” Scarlett shoved at the guards in irritation and was met with just as irritated shoving.

“You changed the terms of our agreement when you attacked my men.”

“Oh, so it didn’t change the terms of our agreement when you completely switched up the plans on me, right? It didn’t change the terms of our agreement when you kidnapped Scott and held a gun to his head, right? It only changes the terms when I do something that you don’t like, is that what I’m to understand? Well no offense, Mikhail but you can rot in hell.”

“You have a week to complete your work or I will bring Scott into your lab and put a bullet through his head right in front of you. Then we will see how quickly you complete your work while sitting next to his rotting corpse. If that doesn’t work, Scarlett then I can find far more creative ways to get you to finish. You have a week. End of discussion.” Scarlett knew he was trouble but it had been a relief to see him finally express his anger.

“Yeah, threatening me is going to change things.” Scarlett rolled her eyes. “Fine, a week. But don’t expect me to make it look pretty.” There was no way Scarlett could finish those robotic limbs in a week. Not if she planned on sleeping or taking time out of her day to eat. Something told her that her captors weren’t going to afford her those luxuries any longer. “I’m not a pawn by the way, I know exactly what piece I am on the chessboard and you can’t afford to lose me.”

Mikhail didn’t respond and after a few minutes of awkward waiting and silence a black bag was slipped over Scarlett’s head. Clearly, they weren’t going to give her anymore visual clues to the rest of the facility. Instead, she listened to the sounds that followed. After moments spent walking she realized that she must have been in the area she’d broken into, because she could hear the trucks in the loading dock, their telltale diesel engines giving them away. From there it was pretty easy to guess where she was being led to. When they reached the basement of the building where her lab was located, she was handed off to another guard who exchanged orders with the ones who had treated her so roughly.

She recognized the voice, it was the man who had given her the vodka and relief met her for the first time since she’d regained consciousness. When she had been ushered inside of her lab, the guard removed the black bag from over her head. Having decided to keep her eyes closed since it had been pointless to try to see while she’d walked with a bag over her eyes, she only opened them when she felt the guard touching the shiner she’d received. Quickly she tilted her head away from his touch and glared at him.

“Don’t touch, it really stings.”

“It is very bloody. Needs stitches maybe.” Nodding toward the workbench she’d been using on a regular basis, the guard clearly wanted her to sit down. Suspicious of his intentions, Scarlett kept her eyes on this man who worked for her enemies and sat down where she’d been asked to, finally releasing a heavy sigh. Moving behind her, he freed her wrists from the handcuffs she’d been bound with then moved in front of her again.

“No stitches, just really swollen I think.” Scarlett leaned away as the guard tried to touch the wound again.

“Stop flinching.”

“Stop touching it.”

“Two seconds.” The guard held up two fingers and Scarlett sat impatiently, pondering her current situation. There was little she could do with her guard breathing down her neck, but he seemed to have a soft spot for her so perhaps she could use this to her advantage. The guard disappeared out the door and later returned with a first aid kit. Scarlett was rather surprised and flattered that he’d done so for her. “Now sit still while I fix it.”

“I can’t promise anything, I’m a terrible patient. I’ve been told I squirm.” Scarlett half smiled and closed her eyes while the guard cleaned out the cut next to her eye and placed small strips of medical tape over the wound to keep it from splitting open again. True to her nature, she’d only joked to break the tension. The fact was that she had a rather high tolerance for pain.

“Thank you.” He spoke again after a moment into his cleaning.

“Hmm? What for?” Not bothering to open her eyes, Scarlett weighed her options. There was no way that she could build these robotic limbs for MedCo, not after all they’d done to her. It was very likely they planned on killing her and Scott regardless of the outcome. Scarlett had decided to go out with a bang. Even if the guards hovered over her shoulder to make sure she got her work done, she guessed they knew little to nothing about what she was actually working on. So long as she was working on something that looked robotic, she could go through with her new plan.

She had a pretty decent knowledge of the layout of the building and if she could create enough of a distraction she would perhaps be able to break into that room and save Scott. This time, she wouldn’t worry about how many bodies she left at her feet or how quietly she performed. MedCo had made it clear exactly what sort of game they were playing and Scarlett was going to prove to them exactly what made her the Queen on the chessboard.

“For not taking advantage of my kindness.”

“Hmm? I don’t recall extending you such a… uh, favor.” There was a huge risk to Scott’s life but when she weighed it against the damage that would be done to humanity if she’d actually sat and built what she’d mapped out to create on the blueprints, it seemed to be an easy choice. The guilt of owing Scott so much for having kept her out of shitty jails and taking care of her after drunken nights sank in the pit of her stomach. It was the same guilt that had gotten him into her bed and the same guilt that had made her promise to be with him. Oddly, there was no guilt in regards to their relationship, which Scarlett wasn’t entirely surprised by considering the circumstances.

“I brought you vodka. You didn’t use it for anything except drink. I left door unlocked, you climbed out air vent.”

“Maybe I just didn’t notice you left it unlocked.”

“I am not stupid. Thank you.”

“Thanks for the vodka.” Scarlett smiled softly and shifted in her seat once he was done with the wound next to her eye.

“What is your name?” Scarlett was surprised that he hadn’t been informed of her or her purpose, considering it seemed he was assigned to guard her.

“Scarlett,” she said simply, leaning against the table and pulling the half built robotic arm toward her. As she shifted in her seat something cold touched her leg inside of her shoe. The pocket knife she’d stolen from the guard hadn’t been discovered. A smile crept over her lips that her guard friend clearly thought was in regards to their conversation.

“I am Sergei.” He nodded his head and returned her smile. “You are brave woman, Scarlett. I would not try that again. We have orders to shoot with real bullets now.”

“Don’t worry, Sergei. I’m not going to try anything quite like that anymore.” Scarlett’s tone darkened as she started to dismantle pieces of the arm. It wouldn’t take nearly as long to assemble an explosive in the shell of the limbs she’d created.

“But you are going to try something, no?”

“If I told you, you’d have to shoot me, wouldn’t you Sergei?” Scarlett didn’t look back at him but she could hear him clicking his tongue in disapproval.

“You are big trouble, Scarlett.” The guard got up from the stool he’d sat down on and headed toward his post outside the door of the lab.

“Sergei?” Scarlett turned in her chair to face him. The man didn’t respond but looked over in her direction. “Make sure you’re not here at the end of my week, alright?” Sergei didn’t respond for a moment, perhaps weighing his conscience in his mind. Was he worried about loyalty to his company and helping his new friend, or maybe wondering what she had planned?

“My throat has tickle, I think perhaps I am coming down with flu,” he spoke after contemplating her words. Scarlett sighed with relief then turned back to her work on the robotic arm in front of her. It would take all the time she had left, but she had a feeling that she could make do with the items she’d been provided with to build the robotic limbs.

Time went faster than Scarlett hoped it would as time always did in dire situations. While Sergei let her sleep, he shared shifts watching over her with other guards who poked and prodded at her when she took too long to accomplish a task or napped for more than an hour. The food she’d been provided with had been coming in increasingly smaller portions of more disgusting looking meals over the week and while she was exhausted and now malnourished, she continued on with her work through the time allotted.

Glancing up at the clock on the wall, she noted she had three hours left until one of the heads at MedCo demanded to see what she had accomplished. Exhausted but mentally preparing herself for what she had to do, Scarlett tried to hum and keep her mind clear and free of all frustrations as she put the finishing touches on the explosive devices that she’d filled with as many nails and other small metallic objects as she could so when they were triggered, the shrapnel would be impressive. Hopefully, with any luck, she wouldn’t be in the room when they went off. When the hands were switched on to start functioning, they would begin to move but a timer set to go off ten minutes after activation would cause the limbs to explode after the presentation of their minimal robotic skills began.

While screwing the final touches on the fruit of her exhaustion, Scarlett heard the radio turn on behind her. The guard was speaking into it in hushed tones and without even acknowledging her he headed out the door and left it partially open. Curious, Scarlett watched the door and through the small gap she could see other guards hurrying along, shouting orders to each other. Obviously something far more important than her last day was going on in the building. Something so important, that the guard would leave her potentially armed with robotic weaponry with the door unlocked.

Unarmed, since the robot limbs were merely bombs, and unsure of what was going on, Scarlett continued finishing up her work and listened but ended up bracing herself against her desk very suddenly when the whole building shook. Something else had exploded; something not of her design. Had someone else’s experiment gone wrong on another floor? Is that why the guards had abandoned ship so quickly? She couldn’t fathom what else would cause such a noise, not unless they were under attack. But what were the odds that the MedCo facility would be discovered and attacked on the very day she planned to escape?

Astronomical, at the very least.

Things weren’t going to go according to her neatly laid out plan. That became obvious when the building shook a second time from some kind of explosion, this time much closer than the last. The ceiling groaned above her and she grimaced. Hurrying to finish up the weapon she’d built, she pushed it aside on the table, making sure it wouldn’t fall to the ground if the building continued to shake the way it was from whatever was happening overhead.

Then the lights dimmed, as though the generators supporting the building and electronic needs of the facility hadn’t existed at all. Not even the dim emergency lights provided near every door had switched on, meaning that the building had been completely cut off from all power sources.

“Time to go.” Scarlett closed her eyes and groped around until she found the flimsy flashlight she’d been provided with to assist her in looking closely within the mess of wires that had been her robotic project and flipped it on. While she had insisted upon having a Maglite when she first started working, those overseeing her work saw the potential harm she could commit with such a heavy duty flashlight and had provided her with several smaller bargain brand ones. Reaching underneath the table, Scarlett grabbed the pocket knife she’d taped under there the day she’d been brought back to her room to start work back up. It would be her only protection.

If she wasn’t going to hand over the bombs to the heads of MedCo she’d have to think of another way to trigger the limbs to explode. Suddenly recalling the vodka she’d been given by her friend, Sergei, she pointed the flashlight at the bottom of the crate she’d hidden it in a week prior. Digging through the supplies for a few moments, she pulled out the bottle of vodka and the rag she’d hidden it under for so long. Resting it down on the desk, Scarlett stared at it and contemplated what she had to do.

She’d never been fond of Molotov cocktails. They were unpredictable and dangerous. On top of that, Scarlett had never been a fan of fire. It was just something that was far too dangerous and volatile to use as a weapon. You couldn’t control where the fire went and what it destroyed. It was very easy to cause her and her allies harm with fire along with her enemies, but it didn’t look like she had much of a choice. Picking up the bottle, she took a swig of the alcohol and felt it burn her throat. She’d also never been fond of vodka, at least without cranberry juice, but with the little amount she’d eaten since her practical enslavement one swig of it would be more than enough to take the edge off.

Resting the bottle back down, Scarlett picked up the blueprints she’d designed for the weapon she’d been forced to make and stared at the thick paper in disdain. Her skills had caused her trouble in the past but never quite like this. Perhaps it wasn’t her skills to blame, but instead her attachment, or rather, obligation to Scott. If she had stayed on her own then it wouldn’t have been such a big deal when they’d taken someone they had thought had been her lover. Instead, she was stuck underneath the thumb of a bloodthirsty Stark Industries subsidiary because some man she had confusing feelings for was being held hostage.

Immediately feeling guilt for her betraying thoughts, she tore the blueprints in half and pulled the matches from her table closer to her. They’d been provided to her along with cigarettes from Sergei after the vodka had been provided. While she’d never been a smoker, she knew that the cigarettes would carry a flame longer than a match would and kept them around, pretending to occasionally smoke them so her friend, the guard, wouldn’t think she was taking advantage of him.

“So deceitful Scarlett, don’t you ever grow tired of yourself?” Striking the match against the side of the box twice until the end sparked and caught fire, she stared at the flame for a second. “I guess not.” Setting the match to the end of the blueprints, she set the now alight pile of paper onto the floor, away from anything else flammable. All evidence of what she had been building would be erased. No one would be able to recreate the robots she’d been commissioned to build.

Turning back to the bottle of vodka she shoved the rag into the opening until it was dipped in the alcohol, which she’d barely touched since it’d been provided for her despite how much easier it would’ve been to deal with captivity while drunk.

“Ms. Damien!” The door flung open the remainder of the way and one of the three owners of MedCo stepped into the room, holding an electric lantern. The open door provided her with the sound of whatever chaos had been going on outside of her prison cell. “What the hell are you doing?” Scarlett searched her memory for the man’s name, back when he’d introduced himself so long ago before she’d signed her contract. Erick Reno; that was it. She snapped her finger in recognition and pointed at the man.

“What the hell is going on out there?” Scarlett stepped in front of the burning blueprints, knowing that with nothing flammable beneath them, the fire would put itself out once all of the paper had been consumed. Erick pushed past her and started to stomp on the papers in an attempt to put them out. Scarlett shoved him away from the blueprints, insisting they’d burn. Setting down the bottle on her desk, she flipped open the blade of the pocket knife but before she could aim it at Erick she heard the sound of a gun cocking.

“You little bitch! You double crossed us didn’t you? What did you do? Hands up! Where I can see them.” Erick pointed the gun at her angrily. Concealing the blade the best she could in her hand, Scarlett held up her arms and sighed heavily. Now was not the time to get shot, not when she was so close to escaping. The building shook around them again from some kind of collapse.

“Double crossed?” Scarlett looked surprised then mumbled more to herself than anything. “Double crossing someone who double crossed you… Not to mention kidnapped my boyfriend and holding me prisoner for weeks forcing me to build something I would have never built for a Stark company in the first place… isn’t this just sort of redeeming myself? I wouldn’t call it a double…”

“Shut up! You cannot afford to be a smart ass, not unless you want a bullet in your skull!” Erick’s eyes flashed with anger as he straightened his glasses on his face. The pile of smoldering paper on the floor was curling up, destroyed and unrecognizable.

“Testy, aren’t we?” Scarlett rolled her eyes, and grumbled in irritation when Erick grabbed a handful of her messy hair and shoved her against the desk, holding the cold steel of the gun against her side, just beneath her tank top.

“Don’t talk back to me, you little bitch,” he hissed in her ear and with the hand that had been gripping her hair, reached for the limbs on the end of the table. Scarlett widened her eyes.

“Well, this is a problem,” mumbling under her breath, she grimaced when Erick shoved the gun harder into her side as if to tell her to shut up. Still gripping the knife in her hand, Scarlett weighed her options while Erick pulled the pile of robotic limbs closer. They looked nothing like the original plans. It wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that she’d sabotaged the weapon she’d been building for them. Though, it was likely he wouldn’t be able to tell that she’d turned it into a weapon of her own.

“What did you do?” Erick threw the robot arm back into the pile and both he and Scarlett looked at the limbs in surprise when something clicked.

“So much for a silent trigger,” Scarlett whispered under her breath. Grabbing her by her hair again, Erick shoved Scarlett onto the ground. Rolling instantly onto her back so she could see what the owner of MedCo was up to, she was face to face with him as he hunched over her, aiming his pistol between her eyes.

Holding her breath, she leaned up on her elbows, flipping the knife around in her grasp, hand stinging from holding onto the blade. Erick leaned closer to her, aiming the gun at her chest, fist shaking with rage.

“What did you do? What the hell did you do? You betrayed us! What is that? What did you do?” Scooting closer to her, Scarlett didn’t back down as the metal of the gun touched her chest, despite how her heart was racing and pulsing with fear. It wouldn’t exactly be easy to escape with a bullet wound to the chest, or any other part of her for that matter. Even if she got away, if she’d been shot in the process then how on earth was she going to walk all the way to rescue, or deal with whatever chaos was happening in the building above them?

“Did you really think I was going to create what you wanted me to build? Did you really think that once I found out who you worked for and what your motives were that I would build you a weapon with the potential to start the next world war? Are you really that naïve? All three of you couldn’t figure out that I wouldn’t cooperate no matter whose head you held a gun to?”

“You selfish little brat, you little twerp! You’d let your lover die? Die so you could have the last laugh?” Erick looked at her in disbelief, rage flashing behind his glasses, the calm demeanor he’d had upon their last meeting completely fading.

Glancing at the desk where the seemingly innocent pile of limbs lay, she knew the clock was ticking on at least one of them. There wasn’t long for her to get out of the building before the whole thing went up in flames. Knowing it was now or never, Scarlett tried to find her way around the gun, when Erick gave her a chance.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you!” Moving the gun away from her chest, in order to point it toward her face while he grabbed her hair to pull her closer, he let the gun aim away from her for just a split second. Scarlett swung her head forward and bashed it into Eric’s, stunning him enough to make him let go of her hair. In a flash she’d grabbed his wrist and just in time as he’d fired a shot off with the gun that whizzed by her ear and into the wall behind her.

“Before you hold someone hostage to force them to do your bidding you should probably learn a little bit more about who you’re dealing with,” Scarlett hissed, finally annoyed enough to go after her aggressor.

With one swift stab, she plunged the pocket knife into his chest, pulled her legs free and kicked him away from her. Erick howled in misery and pain, trying to pull the knife from his chest, but each tug made the wound more painful. Scarlett got to her feet and stepped on his hand, putting pressure on his wrist so he’d be forced to let go of the pistol. Reaching to grab the gun she froze when she heard the static of a handheld radio.

“Kill him,” Erick coughed into his walkie-talkie, to whoever was on the other end. Turning to face the man on the floor, her chest tightened as she heard the response on the other end told him to consider it done. “You’re too late, Scarlett,” Erick laughed, finally managing to gather the courage and strength to pull the blade from his chest.

Scarlett held the gun aimed at the floor, realizing her chance to save Scott had passed and her only chance to save herself was fading as she wasted time dealing with Erick’s taunting.

“It’s Ms. Damien.” Aiming the gun, she pulled the trigger and shot Erick between the eyes. Turning her gaze from the spray of blood she reached down to pull the bloodied knife from his grasp, folding it up and ultimately putting it in her pocket. Grabbing the bottle of vodka from the desk where she’d left it, Scarlett didn’t look at the bloodied mess of a corpse she’d left on the floor as she stepped over it and headed out the door that Erick had left open.

Rushing down the hall, Scarlett didn’t run into much resistance. Crouching low as the building above her shook once again when she reached the stairwell Scarlett became concerned. She knew that whatever must have been happening triggered some kind of an evacuation of the building. While she had expected alarms to go off to signify that, she guessed that when the electricity had been killed, so had the potential for alarms.

Not quite willing to give up on Scott so easily, and not ready to forgive herself for leaving the building without being sure if he’d been killed or if Erick Reno had been performing a clever bluff, Scarlett rushed up the stairs and down the familiar corridors of the first floor toward the loading dock.

Reaching the door to the loading dock, Scarlett heard voices on the other end, shouting and giving out orders. Shoving the door open hard, she felt the resistance of someone behind it and watched them fall to the ground. Surprised, a circle of guards who looked as though they had been planning some sort of attack or escape, turned to look at who had disturbed them.

Realizing after second spent in dazed silence who she was, they reached for their guns in an attempt to stop her. Scarlett could tell at a glance that they weren’t using stun guns anymore, at least not for her. Realizing her hand was still tightly wrapped around the bottle of vodka she’d turned into a Molotov cocktail she glanced at it, struck a match quickly, lit the cloth and tossed the bottle in front of the guards. The alcohol sprayed over their legs, and while it wasn’t enough to stop them entirely, the fire from the match and the cloth quickly spread onto the flammable liquid, leaving the group more concerned with their legs being on fire, than with Scarlett.

Not taking a chance to look back, Scarlett hunched low and rushed through the loading dock until she reached the maintenance room. Prepared to break down the door to the secret hallway, Scarlett found she didn’t have to since it had been left wide open.

Hurrying down the hall, she kicked open doors to her left and her right, finding many computer systems and weapons inside. At the end of the hall, about to open a door labeled Biohazard, she was stopped when something inside exploded.

Throwing up her arms once again to protect herself, she leapt onto the floor and hoped to avoid the brunt of the damage. Shrapnel flew overhead, the roof of several of the rooms around her collapsed. Hurrying to her hands and knees she did her best to avoid as much of the debris as she could.

Considering herself lucky when she didn’t end up completely crushed beneath the rubble of the building, she looked around the bright African desert and was met with dust clouds obstructing her view in every direction. Whatever was happening to the MedCo building had kicked up so much of the dry dirt of the desert that it was nearly impossible to see what exactly had caused the chaos.

Getting to her feet, she crawled over the rubble and after a few steps forward, realized her right leg was aching in pain and could not be ignored. Glancing down momentarily, nervous about seeing a piece of shrapnel sticking out of her leg, Scarlett grimaced when she saw something wet on her pants, burning at the denim of her jeans and seeping through to burn at the flesh of her leg.

The biohazard sign on the door came to mind and Scarlett realized that some kind of chemical weapon must have been being built in the secret labs and now, whatever chemical it was, was burning horribly at her flesh. Leg aching and threatening to give out, Scarlett knew she didn’t have the time to sit and try to wash off whatever chemical it was.

Wiping her face and feeling blood on her forehead, Scarlett realized how hard she’d smacked her head to the floor when she’d taken refuge from the blast. Ears ringing and aching from how close she’d been to the explosion, everything started to spin around her.

“You can’t give up now Scarlett, come on. Just a little further.” Knowing it was likely that she was going to be killed by whomever or whatever was attacking the MedCo facility, Scarlett had to at least try to get away now that she’d made it out of the building.

Stumbling away from the rubble, Scarlett’s leg finally gave out in the desert sand. Cursing beneath her breath she winced as the sand pushed into whatever wound had begun to form on her skin. Before she could turn and take a look at it, the desert quieted completely very suddenly.

Realizing what exactly was about to happen, Scarlett threw her hands over her ears and stayed low to the ground. The bombs she’d built inside her lab must have gone off. The explosion was immense, far more immense than she had expected it to be. The sound of the explosion was deafening and the ground shook beneath her. It seemed to last forever, the destruction she’d been responsible for. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew that Scott was in the building, a gunshot to the head and now his body decimated beneath the rubble, possibly never to be recovered. Guilt struck her once again. After all he’d done to protect her from herself, he had ultimately been destroyed by the woman he had tried so desperately to get to love him.

Staying on the ground until the world had stopped shaking and sometime after contemplating what she’d done, Scarlett rolled over onto her back at long last, only to be face to face with one of the guards. He was bleeding from a wound on his arm, his pants and legs looking badly burned. He held a gun in his shaking hand and was aiming it at her unsteadily.

Scarlett grabbed for the gun she’d stolen from Erick before she’d killed him and realized it was gone. Somewhere in the confusion of the explosion she’d dropped the weapon and hadn’t had the chance to look for it. If she’d lingered even a moment longer inside the building, she’d be dead from the explosion that had obviously been the last straw for the building’s foundation. Glancing at the rubble, she could see only the skeleton of the MedCo building, even if half of it was obstructed by the dust that had been further kicked up by the explosion. Whatever was left would be unsafe.

The sound of gunfire and yelling met her ears, having not noticed it after the chaos of the explosion. There was some kind of battle raging around her and from what she could hear, it seemed awfully one sided.

Clearly no one had expected the building to explode of its own accord, it had thrown a wrench into everyone’s plans. The guard pointed the gun at her, hand shaking still out of rage or nerves, Scarlett couldn’t tell. She sat up and attempted to reach for the knife in her pocket, but the guard seemed to catch wise to her. He was mouthing something and after listening hard for a moment and reading his lips, she realized he was telling her to get up.

The annoying ringing in her ears only permitted her to hear things that were louder than the ringing, and most of that seemed to be gunfire, what sounded like high tech laser fire, and explosions riddled with the occasional scream.

After forcing herself to concentrate and listen, she managed to get onto her feet, her leg barely able to support her after the damage the chemical on her skin had caused.

“Hands up!” The voice was garbled but she could hear it now, the ringing had lessened but not by much. Scarlett’s head was pounding worse than it had in ages. She realized that no matter what skills she possessed in the art of battle, with her leg unable to support her properly and her head pounding so severely she would never have a chance at getting to this guard with the knife in her pocket before he shot her.

Throwing her hands above her head in frustration, and growing angry at how damn far she’d come only to be cornered once again by MedCo, Scarlett gave the guard an ultimatum.

“Kill me!” Hearing her own voice echoing in her ears, darkness flashed in her vision and threatened to disappear entirely. Determined not to pass out before she’d finished giving the guard his options, she stumbled forward, her injured leg nearly giving out on her.

Startled the guard held his gun aimed at the woman.

“Don’t move! Stay where you are!”

“You’re going to have to kill me! Shoot me! Do it! Now!” Scarlett hissed.

“Sorry Ms. Damien but you have a contract with MedCo.” The guard held his gun, trembling in his arms. “Perhaps we’ll grant you death after it’s fulfilled.” Scarlett cursed and contemplated doing it on her own with the knife in her pocket. Or perhaps she could force the guard to shoot her, if nothing else. She would rather be dead than finish the work that she’d been doing for MedCo and while she didn’t want to end her life, it seemed like the only logical way out.

Before she could decide on her next course of action there was a bright blast of white light, tinged with blue that seemed like some sort of laser. The guard in front of her fell back. Scarlett stared in awe at the collapsed form of the guard and looked around in surprise for the source of the laser fire.

Having thought the laser was more of a threat than the guard, when she heard the sound of the gun, she couldn’t move out of the way in time. Grazing her side, Scarlett managed to avoid the worst part of the blow but could still feel the instant burning and throbbing pain from the gunshot wound. Hunching over and grabbing her side in an attempt to deal with the pain, Scarlett knew she didn’t have time to sit there and wait for whatever had shot the guard, who now lay dead in the desert sand, to come and kill her as well.

Hurrying over to where the guard was on the ground, she pried the gun he had fired in his dying moments from his hands and stumbled to her feet. Her leg nearly gave out again as she trudged through the sands. Head swimming she tried to keep it together but there was little use in making attempts.

Blood loss, alcohol, pain, and whatever chemical had splashed on her had finally taken its toll. Adrenaline could only help her cope with so much and the shock of what had happened was finally wearing off. Cursing beneath her breath, Scarlett blinked furiously to try and fight off the darkness encroaching on her vision.

Tripping as her leg gave out beneath her, she fell face first in the sand and dropped the handgun she’d stolen from the guard who had shot her. There was a sound she didn’t recognize, like something rushing through the air, thrusters nearby perhaps. Mechanical whirring filled her ears, but was unrecognizable for the most part.

Leaning her head up to try and get a last look before unconsciousness took over Scarlett could only make out one thing: red and gold metallic boots, walking toward her through the sand. Head spinning and unsure of what to make of it, she could hear a voice coming from whatever was in front of her but couldn’t make out what it was saying.

Wanting to yell out and get to her feet to find out what the hell had happened to the MedCo facility while she’d been planning her escape, she found herself physically unable to.

The darkness of unconsciousness finally took over and Scarlett gave in to the toll her wounds had taken on her body.


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