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In Plain Sight

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Tony could never get used to the fact that the blackness never went away. He fumbled with the bedside table trying to feel for his alarm, finally reaching the off button. He carefully felt his way toward the edge of the bed. He could hear the door open.

“Anthony?” a soft British accented voice reached his ears.

“Here Jarvis…” he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes wishing he could rub away the blackness.

“I made breakfast, I wanted to make sure you were okay”

“I’m blind…” Tony shuddered, “not paralyzed. I’ll be fine. I’ll meet you downstairs” he tried to keep confidence in his voice.

Jarvis left with soft sigh.

Tony shakily stood up and accidently bumped his knee on the bedside table. He swore and for a moment entertained the idea of making a suit of armor for the sole purpose of protecting himself from bumping into things. He felt his way along the wall to his closet and quickly put on his location sensor bracelets so he could at least figure out his surroundings. He managed to get dressed based on the tags he had Jarvis attach to his clothing. He pulled on his AC/DC shirt and some jeans--may as well go to school in style. Grabbing his sunglasses to hide his eyes, he felt out the way downstairs by following the vibration in his bracelets.

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“Steven~ Breakfast!” Mrs. Rogers called out hoping that her son could hear her in the shower.

“Coming ma!” Steve said as he came down the stairs dressed and toweling off his hair.

“My little boy’s first day of senior year. Military camp did wonders for you” she winked “maybe you will finally catch someone’s eye.”

Steve blushed. Over the summer he had attended Junior ROTC intensive military camp, which had also been the summer that he had grown out of all his sicknesses and his body had finally gone through puberty, giving him lots of muscle. He started eating from the spread his mother had set out.

Maybe this was the year he could get that special someone…

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“Ill be fine Jarvis” Tony said as he adjusted his sunglasses, apparently his brown eyes had turned all milky and freaked people out.

Jarvis pulled up to the curb.

“This is your first day of school since your accident. You can barely make it around the house. You really do not wish for me to come with you or to have an assistant?”

“Best time to test my location sensors. Trial and error for my latest model,” Tony quirked a smile and put a hand on Jarvis’ shoulder.

“If you should need anything please contact me immediately”

“I will…”

Tony stepped out onto the curb carefully. The bracelets vibrating in the direction of an obstruction, he carefully made his way around the pillars and into Shield College Preparatory. He had practically made a map of the school in his head so he would know where all of his classes were. He took a few more steps into the courtyard when the vibrations in his bracelets went crazy--the courtyard was flooded with students. Voices overwhelmed his senses, he didn’t know where to go. His mind quickly fell into chaos as he attempted to find himself. His back hit a pillar and he slid down and started breathing fast. Too many voices, too many obstructions, what if he was lost forever in the blackness--

“Hey, stay with us. It’s okay. Tony? Just breathe slowly…”

Tony felt strong hands on his shoulders. He just listened to the voice--it was deep and comforting. His breathing evened out rather quickly, even though it felt like forever.

“I’m sorry…” Tony said quietly.

He felt a hand on his forehead.

“Hmm you don’t seem to have a fever. But it’s a bit scary to hear Tony Stark apologizing” this voice, much different from the comforting one, was full of humor.

“Hey guys give him some space. I’ll see you in homeroom Clint,” that was the comforting voice again.

Tony stood up with the help of the unknown person.

“Do you need help, Tony? Where is your homeroom?”

Obviously this person knew who he was, but he couldn’t place the voice. He would have remembered such a compassionate voice. Then again, he was a bit of an asshole and a snobby rich kid last year, so he didn’t really know anyone that well, nor did he have any friends.

“Tony?” the voice sounded concerned.

“I’m fine. I just got a little turned around. I’m headed to room 160.”

“Oh hey, that’s where I’m going! You have the same homeroom as Clint and me.”

Oh good. I don’t have to be a charity case he thought bitterly to himself. He was determined to hide his blindness for as long as he could.

“Lead the way…umm… buddy” Tony said hesitantly, still unsure who was talking to him.

The voice chuckled.

“No problem.”

Tony followed close so that the only thing the bracelets were picking up was the man who he was talking to. They made their way to their homeroom where his guide paused, Tony bumped into him.

“Tony, are you sure you don’t want to go to the nurse?” the voice was touched with concern again.

“Yeah, yeah I’m fine. Just a bit of a late night last night. A little sleep deprived is all.” He tried his best smile. He followed the vibrations once more to the back of the room where he found a chair. Trying his best to not feel around, he sat down and let out a sigh.

The man who was guiding Tony sat down a couple rows ahead of him.

“Hey Steve, is Tony alright?” Clint asked, “I mean, the guy’s kind of a douche, but he looked pretty bad when we found him.”

“He said he was fine, but I don’t really believe him,” Steve said calmly.

The teacher came in and welcomed them to the new school year. Steve kept glancing back at Tony, who was like a stone statue: sitting still, sunglasses fixed in the general direction of the front of the room. Steve wondered why Tony was wearing glasses in class, maybe he drank too much like he did last year.

Tony had asked to leave five minutes early from every class so he could avoid the crowds. All of his classes were lecture classes this semester so he didn’t have to do anything hands on. He slowly got up from the desk of his college level mathematics class and made his way out to the quiet corridors. Finally the day was over. Only 9 more months until graduation he told himself. He could do this. He could keep it hidden.

“Well, look who it is, fellas: Tony Stark”

Tony paused. He’d know that voice anywhere: Justin Hammer. The biggest dick in school; he surrounded himself with buff jocks with the sole purpose to beat Tony up. Tony did not need this right now nor did he think he could fight. Damn his eyes.

The vibration came too late before a fist was crashing into his stomach.

“F-fuck” Tony breathed out.

Several more hits and kicks came and Tony couldn’t do anything, he was just thrashing out into the darkness. Justin was laughing as he walked up to a crumpled up Tony who had succumbed to the pain.   

Justin took one of his bracelets off.

“Never took you for a girly boy, Stark. So guess what I heard over the summer, boys? Someone’s parents aren’t around anymore. So I can do whatever I want to you without you calling for daddy” Justin laughed derisively.

He heard the crunch of his bracelet being smashed, momentarily sending him into a state of panic, wondering how he was going to find his way around. In his panic he missed the sounds of a skirmish. He breathed in hoping whoever was doing the beating was winning and getting a nice one on Hammer. The sounds quieted and a hand came down in his back and he flinched away widening his eyes.

“Tony, it’s me, Steve. Steve Rogers. Remember we were partners in Physics last year?” Steve said carefully looking at Tony. He noticed the way Tony’s eyes weren’t focusing and were all cloudy. He waved a hand in front of his face, and gasped when he figured it out.

“Y-you’re…blind” Steve stared dumbfounded.

Tony whimpered as he felt the pain set in. Just before he blacked out, he remembered Steve. Steve was nice. Steve was good…

“Tony?” Steve shaked him gently.

“Ma!” He yelled out to the blue Honda parked on the curb.

Mrs. Rogers came running out when she saw Steve carrying the unconscious Tony.

“We need to get him to the clinic,” she said, calmly assessing the situation.

Steve carefully put himself and Tony in the back seat as Mrs. Rogers hurried to their family-run clinic.

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