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Agent Romanov empties a clip into him, eyes narrowed with steely terror. Bane keeps walking towards her, face twisting with irritation.

She gives up, bails, leaps for the back of a moving truck and ends up with four broken ribs... but alive.

When she's out, she make a note in his file in spidery black writing.

Do not fuck with.


He stops in the doorway, watching in peculiar amusement the man holding the captive's head under water.

"Is that a car battery?" He asks the man he's temporarily allied with, as the struggling man is heaved out of the water. They backhand him, and he spits blood in their faces, and Bane smiles.

"He's ready to break. The great Tony Stark." Gloats the captor.

Bane makes a mental note that the man will be dead in a month, and steps into the room where Stark is a gasping, bleeding mess.

Tony Stark. The man stares up at him, gives him a crooked, cocky, bloody smile, and Bane learns that decadent does not always mean weak.

"Hey dollface," wheezes Tony, "Want to blow this popsicle stand? Just you and me."

Bane pats his cheek- adorable,- and walks out without a word.


"And what happens if I make you angry?"

Bane asks, walking in closer to his captive. The doctor pushes his glasses up his nose.

"It would be extremely painful."

He's self-effacing, quiet, tiny. Bane's eyes narrow. The doctor adds;

"For you."

He'll have to remember that line, he thinks to himself, as he has a near death experience in green.


Bane has to sneak into the country a few months early, up through Mexico, across the border. He's in New Mexico, where he's supposed to meet a contact outside of a bar.

When Bane waits around in public, people don't tend to fuck with him. Tonight, though, in the dark, a broad hand claps on his shoulder, and he turns sharply to face a man his own size, but with a golden beard and a radiant smile.

"And here is a fearsome warrior! Your world is not so different than my own, Lady Darcy."

"Woah, Drunky McDrunkerson, don't touch scary people in leather!" Yelps the diminutive woman behind him who Bane doesn't even really see, he's too busy meeting the blond man's eyes.

"Fear not, Lady Darcy, no harm will come to you. The thunder walks with this one." Yells- or rather, proclaims, the man- who could be a Norse God, really, with those shoulders and that smile.

And then he's gone. Before Bane can collect himself enough to break all his fingers for the presumption of the touch.

More's the pity.


"You have one shot," Bane warns Barsad, as though the man needs to be reminded of the consequences of failure, "take it before he sees us."

The high powered scope is pointed out towards the pridge, honed in on the Hawk on his perch.

Barsad pulls the trigger, and wings the archer's right arm. Clint drops like a stone, and slinks down a few hours later, away from Gotham and the siege.

He underline's Natasha's note on Bane's file, circles it in red.

Gotham is on its' own.


After Gotham, SHIELD takes Bane into custody, and Steve is the one in the hospital room when he wakes, cuffed to the bed.

He doesn't look like more than an action figure, but Bane watches him move and recognizes strength, and recognizes him, Captain America, the face of all that he had wished to destroy. At this exact moment in time, it is a little more than Bane can handle. He closes his eyes tight.

"I feel," says Captain America, offended and amused and puppy dog hurt, and Bane hates him, "like I've offended you and I have no idea why. What were you doing?"

Months of interrogation probably couldn't have gotten him to talk, but he looks the man in his soft, sympathetic eyes, and begins to dissect in his soft, subtle, mechanical voice why the world needs to be burned.

Steve never really recovers, not down on the inside where it counts, though his smile remains photo perfect. Doubt, someone once said, comes in and leaves a taste of vinegar and turpentine.

Bane has always understood the most elegant ways to torture a man.

It comes back to Tony, in the end.

Tony Stark, with his sharp suits and infuriating smile, and his heart to match Bane's mouth.

Who walks up to him in the street in Malaysia, glowing with a circle of light and arched eyebrows and a 'we doing this?' grin.

Bane thinks a moment. Shrugs.

And then they're walking.

Tony's hotel is polished and cool, and both of them are coated in sweat and dust and take pleasure in landing on the crisp white sheets, ripping at one another's clothes already and pulling and claiming and clawing. Bane noses at Tony's chest, metal on metal, and Tony's legs wrap up around him.

"Didn't think you'd go for this." Tony gasps.

"Didn't think you thought." Bane answers.

He laughs, bright and not offended, and for a few short minutes Bane doesn't hate the world quite so much.

"I remembered you," Tony murmurs, afterwards, stroking a hand down Bane's strong back, eyes half lidded.

"Stop trying to kill yourself," Bane answers, and leaves him in a mess of dirt and come and blood.

Good advice for both of them.


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April 2013


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