Fandom: The Avengers (Love Is For Children)
Characters: Phil Coulson, HYDRA Goon, Steve Rogers, Two Children
Summary: Steve Rogers was a good man.
Warnings!: Kidnapping, references to torture, implied threaten violence to children, death threats, defamation, bigotry
“A Good Man”
Steve Rogers was a good man.
You wouldn't think so
if you listened the man ranting at him
but Phil had learned long ago
how to deal with villain monologues.
You had to look
like you were actually interested
in whatever they were rambling on about.
Because, often while they were talking,
they weren't physically hurting you or anyone else.
And because it gave your rescuers
more time to find you.
Phil knew the Avengers were coming
for him and the other captives.
They just had to wait.
You also had to pay a certain amount
of attention to the monologue.
Because sometimes they let slip
something actually important.
And because it could alert you
to when they were done talking
(for the moment) and were going to try
hurting you again.
Sometimes you get them
to continue ranting
by saying something to them
whenever the speech started
to wind down.
It didn't always work.
But it was something.
Villain monologues were all pretty similar.
The villain's grand plan and
how you were powerless to stop them.
How long and painful your death was going to be.
Or the deaths of your friends and allies.
How badly they were misunderstood,
the real hero while the real villains
run around applauded and praised.
This particular HYDRA goon
seemed to like that last one.
He had been ranting about
how HYDRA (and himself) were the real heroes.
The ones who were going to save Earth
from everything that was tearing it apart
(Which seem to range from women with the vote to queer people).
That the heroes like the Avengers
or the Fantastic Four were the real villains,
preventing Earth from being saved
from the real evil.
He had trash-talked all of the heroes
but seemed to possesses a special loathing
for Captain America.
Every complaint about the other heroes
always tied back to Captain America somehow.
That was in-between the rounds of
how brilliant his grand plan
and the usual threats of violence.
There had been some actual violence.
But Phil had been tortured by experts
and this guy was not an expert.
But Phil was willing
to let him think he was.
Just like he was letting him think
that Phil was actually listening
to this nonsense.
That he was afraid.
It was easy.
It wasn't as if
because he could withstand
a lot more pain than this
that his injuries didn't hurt.
And he was afraid.
Not of the HYDRA agent himself.
No, he was petty little loser who,
in a straight fight,
Phil was more than capable
of handling on his own.
But he was afraid of
what the man might do.
Because Phil hadn't been captured alone.
And he would put up with a lot to ensure
that the HYDRA goon keep his attention
on him and not the children.
So he let the evil man have
what he really wanted out of this encounter.
He moaned and groaned at the pain.
He let him see the fear.
He allowed himself to squirm.
And evil man, as evil men often do, fell for it.
He watched him squirm.
He put off the moment of murder and even true pain
until he was slammed to the ground
by a familiar figure in a red, white, and blue suit.
just a blur of motion out of the corner
of Phil's eye and suddenly there was a
HYDRA goon on the ground and
trying to break the Captain's hold on him.
Unsuccessfully it should be noted.
'Terry Pratchett really was an astute observer,' Phil thought.
'A good man really will take you down with hardly a word.'
Thank everything that Steve Rogers was a good man.
The title comes from a quote from the Terry Pratchet Discworld novel, Men at Arms.
“If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat. They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar. So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word.”
Edit: Now linked with companion piece, "It Ain't So."