Written for the following AvengersKink prompt:
"Tony betrayed, Team Angst, Attempted suicide - A while back I read a fic for another fandom in which the main character is imprisoned for his own safety.
So what I want is: A telepathic villain makes threats against the Avengers, specifically Tony. SHIELD and the Avengers decide that Tony is safer not knowing about the threat, because he'd go off on his own and try to fight the villain. SHIELD comes up with the idea to place Tony into a room with protected walls against telepathic attacks, essentially isolation. SHIELD agents do a in-the-middle-of-the-night kidnap thing and Tony doesn't know why this is happening to him. The rest of the Avengers are reluctant but ultimately agree. It won't be anything like Afghanistan, Tony will be getting three meals a day and no one will be hurting him. He'll be fine right?
Tony needs interaction, he needs to ramble and to tinker and to create. He's not only isolated, he doesn't know why he's there and he thinks his team is going to come and get him. But they never show and he starts losing it. So, the only logical thing to do is to hurt himself, so he can get some medical attention, and if he happens to die in the attempt, well, that works too.
He's elated to see the Avengers in the hospital. Until he discovers that they knew. What happens next? Does Tony ever forgive them?
Lots of angst and guilt, happy ending is OPTIONAL!"
Time is very fluid in this story, with multiple flashbacks, time skips, half-truths and skewed perspectives.
Steve disagrees from the moment that Director Fury begins the long and elaborate explanation. He can see through Fury's words, the extraneous details and the subtle subterfuges.
"He deserves to know," Bruce states simply, cleaning his glasses furiously, clearly upset.
"You know Stark. If we tell him, he'll chase after the threat on his own. That's what he wants, we'd be playing right into his hands."
Bruce glares at Natasha, "You're telling me you wouldn't want to know?"
"Tony and I are very different people. He'll act recklessly, and he won't rest until he catches the villain. You know how he is, how he gets. This threat is telepathic, not physical. We wouldn't be able to protect him."
That's the heart of it isn't it? Not losing Tony. That's the goal, the endgame. Bruce sighs, running a hand through his hair. He glances at Clint. The archer has been uncharacteristically quiet because this issue resonates on something painful. It's been a year and half since Loki, but, Bruce mulls, does that kind of thing ever really go away?
He offers no more opposition.
"Shield-brother Stark will be well looked after in this containment?" Thor asks, turning his sharp gaze on Fury.
"The room will be well furnished, with a master bath. Three meals a day, including dessert."
Clint's grin is weak, "Sounds like a vacation. Wish I could get some of that."
Natasha hits him on the arm and Steve allows himself a small smile.
Everything would work out. Tony would understand.
Steve will not let his team fall apart.
The first thing that Tony does when he awakens in the strange room is to get up and test his mobility.
His muscles feel a little sore, his nose irritated from inhaling the sleeping gas but other than that, he is fine. Well, as fine as a person can feel after being taken out of his own home in the wee hours of the morning for no reason.
He tries not to think of why JARVIS didn't respond, tries not to remember how he couldn't even make it to his desk, where the bracelets that could call his armor to him were.
The second thing he does is inspect his surroundings.
The bed is comfortable, as are the sheets and the pillows. The floor is some sort of steel metal alloy, as are the walls and the ceiling. There are no windows and the tiny vents are far too high up to reach.
A desk in the corner, a chair, no lamp and definitely no computer, no TV. The drawers reveal paper, pens and permanent markers but nothing else.
The bathroom is similarly barren. Just the basics that he'll need for proper hygiene.
There is no door anywhere but Tony doesn't panic.
He's not in a cave.
He's not dying.
He's part of a team now, he's an Avenger and they'll come for him. Just like they went after the Red Skull for Steve, Bullseye for Natasha and Clint, Doom for Thor and A.I.M. for Bruce.
It's his turn now, his own little test and he'll be damned if he doesn't pass it with flying colors.
All he has to do is wait. They'll come for him.
Honestly, this was one of the most challenging fills I have taken crack at in a while as the prompt required that the team, as in-character as possible, commit an out-of-character act and betray one of their own. In essence, this is the journey of the team trying to repair the damage they inflicted on one of their own and the subsequent damage they inflicted upon themselves.