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It had happened almost too fast to comprehend and later, when he was sitting on his bed with his head in his hands, replaying the event over and over, he would swear that he had watched it outside of his body, as if in a movie.

Those long, pale fingers would wrap around his throat as if in slow motion and green eyes would blaze before him and his suit would spark from the damages inflicted by emerald magic.

“Stark,” that voice would hiss, a never-ending kind of sound that would follow him and linger in the edges of his mind. “I will see you bleed.”

And Tony would have no response to that because his windpipe would be closed and his suit was broken and he was helpless and those eyes burned a fire through him.

“I will see you writhe.”

Those damn eyes.

Thankfully, before Tony’s vision went completely black, the Hulk cut in, and Tony soon found himself on the ground, sucking in huge gulps of air as the other Avengers continued fighting. With his helmet having been broken some time ago, he was cut off from Jarvis and the others. But with his ears having forgotten how to work, it didn’t matter.

Steve was at his side, a heavy and stable hand holding his shoulder, his eyebrows doing that worried look. Tony tried to wave him off but Steve insisted on getting help.

The rest of the fight saw him pulling himself back together and waving the other’s concern off. It ended when the owner of those green eyes vanished, leaving behind blood and destruction. Thor gave an angry shout that was really his way of falling to his knees and weeping but no one said anything.

In a team made of the broken, no one dared comment on the cracks they all wore or on the masks they still held, despite it all. Each one understood that it was easy to get through a fight but a single word could shatter whatever illusion they had chosen to present.

In a team of broken humans, Tony thought it was almost beautiful how they fit together.

And with the bruises around his neck still healing, Tony couldn’t stop the question that came to the surface of his mind:

What would those green eyes look like without the fractures?