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Are you okay?

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It was silent. Too much so. That was the first thing Tony noticed when he came to. He was fairly sure he had just been in battle, which meant that he must now be in the infirmary. But where was the tell-tale noise of the heart-monitor? Why couldn’t he hear the doctors and nurses rushing by through the thin walls?
Resolved to figure out what was wrong, he slowly began shaking his body awake. He started with pressing his fingers together, working the muscles. Who knew how long he’d been out of it. After a while the pins and needles faded and he managed to pry his eyes open. He’d been right, he was in the infirmary. The bare, white walls were staring back at him eerily. He let out a puff of breath and pushed himself into a sitting position.
As soon as he was up the door to his room swung open silently. It was Bruce. The doctor’s expression was one of shock, Tony apparently shouldn’t have been awake yet.
‘’Hey, Brucey.’’
Wait. What had happened to his voice? There was no sound coming from him. Tony shook his head in confusion, trying to speak again. No sound.
Tony was starting to freak out now. He didn’t even notice Bruce rushing out of his room. Why couldn’t he speak? Why couldn’t he hear anything? He hadn’t even heard the door opening when Bruce had come in. He didn’t hear anything.
It took Tony a short while to realize his breathing was way too quick. He hadn’t heard, but he was finally starting to feel a bit light-headed. His hands covered his ears, as if protecting them from assault. He was screaming. He was sure he was screaming. He just couldn’t hear.
Bruce rushed back into the room with a couple of nurses following closely behind. They pressed him back into the matrass. Tony was screaming, trashing, desperate to get away from everything. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t hear. Then he passed out.
~
When he came to for the second time, he was much calmer. He was deaf. Something must have happened during the battle. He stared at the ceiling, deep in thought. What had happened? He was fighting with Steve and Natasha. They were fighting a…
A kid! Right, that was it. Some kid who’d been wronged and felt the need to hurt others. Typical. So they were fighting this kid, and he’d had this weapon he picked out of the debris of the battle of New York. At least it looked like one of the weapons from that particular battle. He had been pointing the unidentified weapon at Steve. At Tony’s precious Steve. Even thinking back to that moment gave him heart aches. Tony had intervened. The kid had pointed the weapon at Tony and that’s the last he remembers. The weapon must’ve messed with his hearing.
Tony was in full science-mode, trying to escape the reality of his situation. He wanted to look at this scientifically, as if it were just another problem to solve, nothing personal. Nothing life-altering.
There was a movement to his left. He finally looked around and realized he wasn’t alone. Clint was in the chair next to his bed. Thank god. Tony didn’t think he could bear looking at Steve right now. Not without being able to hear his voice.
Clint must’ve been sleeping, because his hair was a mess and he was rubbing his eyes. Tony cleared his throat, or tried to, it might’ve sounded like a weird grunt or something. God, was he going to be insecure about every little sound from now on? That would be inconvenient.
Clint’s head snapped up at the sound Tony must’ve made, and his eyes lit up. He opened his mouth to speak, then thought better of it. Tony was grateful. Instead, Clint lifted his hands and started to communicate to Tony in a way he hadn’t thought of yet. ASL.
Are you okay?
Tony couldn’t stop a small giggle from leaving his mouth. Of course! Tony knows ASL, he isn’t completely hopeless.
I’m okay.
They were just two simple words, but the relief of still being able to communicate with one of his best friends broke him. Sobs wracked through his body. He shot forward, pulling Clint towards him and burying himself in his friend’s chest. He was allowed to be vulnerable for once.