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I Don't Want the World to See Me

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JARVIS was… sheer dumb luck, spit and a prayer and coffee-fueled jittering hands clacking over keyboards until his wrists ached and someone came and removed him from the workbench. With everything in him bent on creating the operating system, even Tony could not have guessed in his wildest dreams for the result he had gotten. It had been difficult, but he had proven it – proved he could do it without his father, without his lab assistants, without Rhodey. JARVIS was the accumulation of everything Tony had worked hard to do – and JARVIS would set him free. Dum-E had been a step forward, a way to have freedom in the labs when Tony was restricted to doing only the simplest tasks, but if he was going to prove to Obie that he was competent enough to take care of the company, he needed people to not know about his disability. He needed a way to hide it.

And if JARVIS was a fever dream, something out of science fiction that should never have technically worked and modeled after the one person in the world Tony could trust, and who never thought of Tony as a burden or a useless scrap of flesh, well. If it worked, Tony wouldn’t question the miracle too closely.

‘Good – morning – sir. Vis – ual – re – cep – tors – on – line.’

Tony smiled, drips trailing down his face, and he rested his shaking hands against the meticulously neat work table. “Good morning, JARVIS. We have work to do.”

 

-5-

 

It had plagued her, all throughout her stint undercover at Stark Industries. Compiling the file on him, writing up his flaws in black and white and cold, clear, precise details, her hand had hovered over the print button.

There were things she noticed, like when they were out and about in public, sometimes Stark didn’t notice her until she was pretty much directly in front of him. Granted, she walked silently, but she had once come around the car to open the door for him, and he’d stepped out of the car, glancing straight ahead instead of at her, and when his head turned in her direction, he did that small flinch, that small, startled motion people did when surprised or taken off-guard. Then there was the fact that whenever walking into a room, he always scanned the room in a slow motion, looking from left to right, but not checking for exits, not in the way that someone looking for a way out did. It was a slow scan, something she had dismissed as an eccentricity of his. As she had dismissed his propensity to forget that something was directly in front of him, or sometimes tripping on nothing, or the way he’d hesitate before speaking or saying anything for the first time. The way he wouldn’t take items from others. The way that he mainlined coffee into his system.

Stark had weird quirks. She’d learned to ignore most of them and build as close to an accurate profile of him as she could.

So when she came down one morning, hair mussed and dragging because it had been a late night, and Tony was staring down at his coffee – but facing the door – she thought nothing of picking up an apple and sitting down at the chair across from his seat at the table.

She watched him pick up his entirely empty cup and try to drink from it again.

That could, possibly, be attributed to being tired, she supposed – but then he stood up, stumbling a little against the floor, and closed his eyes while he poured himself another mug of coffee, stirred in some sugar, and placed the pot back in its place. Without looking. And then sat down again – eyes open but only vaguely focused somewhere to her left – and began drinking his mug.

“No milk?” she asked, because he normally took a little bit of milk with his coffee.

His eyes flashed with something close to electricity for half a second – and the only reason she knew that was because she had been watching his eyes closely, even though his hand jerked and hot coffee spilled across the table and he nearly tipped over backwards in his chair. “Natasha!” he said, one hand clutched at his chest, and she could see his pulse beating rapidly in his throat. “Shit, you scared me!”

Then the oddest thing happened – his eyes, which had been gazing past her for a few seconds, suddenly seemed to narrow, the pupils constricting to pinpoints, and then his eyes met hers. “Must be more tired than I realized. When did you get there?” he asked, and his voice was false, too light, too easy-going. He wanted her to believe that he hadn’t noticed her because he was tired.

She didn’t think that was the case, and it would explain the few inconsistencies she had found in his past, a few eccentricities that he had exhibited that didn’t seem all that connected on the outset but that she noticed had occurred in tandem.

Well. He hadn’t jeopardized the team, if he really was blind. He certainly had managed to get this far in life without even a hint of it trickling to the media, beyond odd redacted medical records that hinted at a childhood trauma but didn’t explain further. Though how that explained the small, almost unnoticeable flesh-colored disc that sat in his right ear, she didn’t know. She’d have to watch him more carefully, because she hadn’t even suspected he was blind until she had sat right in front of him eating her apple and he hadn’t noticed her until she had spoken.

“Fairly recently. We’re out of milk?” she asked again.

“I think it went bad – it tasted funny,” he replied.

She stood up, as silently as she knew how, and watched carefully as he tilted his head, eyes dropping to the table. Listening. Out of courtesy, she made noise as she went over to the fridge and opened up the door.

Well, would you look at that.

“Maybe you were just tired and grabbed Clint’s buttermilk?” she asked, taking Clint’s quart and moving it down to Clint’s shelf, revealing the shoved-in-the-back milk quart that Tony used.

There was a moment of silence before Tony sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah. Shit. I should probably get some rest.”

She took the quart out, came over – still making noise – and leaned against Tony’s back as she poured milk in his cup. Pressing a kiss to his forehead, she murmured, “You really should. There. Drink your coffee and go to bed.”

“Coffee keeps people up.”

“Don’t lie to me, you could sleep with a gallon of coffee in your system. You have fallen asleep with a gallon of coffee in your system,” Natasha teased, putting the quart back in the fridge and eyeing it. Everyone had their own shelf in the communal fridge, and now that she looked at it, Tony’s shelf might be a mess but it was a precise mess, with takeout shoved in one place and liquids in the middle and everything else to the side. A clear grouping, one that Clint had thrown off by placing his buttermilk on the second shelf instead of the third.

Did any of the others know about Tony?

 

-4-

 

Thor looked up as Tony entered the room and made his way towards the far couch, where a tablet lay against the cushions. Tony didn’t acknowledge Thor, though, so Thor chose to speak up.

“Ah, Tony Stark! How fare you this eve?”

Thor watched as Tony very deliberately did not startle. Thor could not fault him if he did – he could not sleep, and so had decided to play with the electronics Tony had in the shared living room. The systems were… ancient, and challenging in their limited abilities, but he had almost managed to master the video game controller and console. He, however, had not needed the light, and the television light was dim, so Tony could be forgiven for not seeing Thor sprawled on the couch, gingerly learning the feel for the game.

“Hey, Thor, didn’t see you there,” Tony joked, face strained.

“Do not worry, my friend – it is unlikely that most Midgardians could see in this darkened room,” Thor replied easily.

He noticed Tony stiffen, just a bit, and then Tony murmured, “JARVIS, lights.”

The lights raised in the room, and Thor was once again struck by this man who was light years ahead of his fellow men, and yet still falling so short of Asgardian tech.

Then the full implications hit Thor. Tony had come into the room and hadn’t bothered to turn on the lights. Instead, he walked confidently through the room – he, who had technology at his fingertips and who always used it at every opportunity. Why hadn’t he asked JARVIS to turn on the lights when he first entered the room?

Thor squinted, searching for the mechanical hum that alerted him to machines that would not do well near him for too long, as his field of static electricity caused machinery to act overpowered in most cases and overloaded delicate machinery. He found that hum in Tony’s chest, yes, but also in his ear and in each one of his eyes.

Such combination was not unheard of on Asgard, and if Tony had not explained it would be rude to bring it up. Instead, he patted the seat next to him and offered, “We could do away with the lights, if you are having difficulty sleeping, and you can watch my attempts to figure out this ancient technology.”

“Stop dissing my stuff,” Tony mumbled, but he was obviously considering it, hesitating. When Thor patted the cushion again, Tony sighed, grabbed the tablet, and picked his way over to Thor, tripping only once on a trailing wire.

Thor would have to remember not to ask Tony to walk towards him when he had the controller and the accompanying wires splayed out on the floor.

“Why aren’t you using the wireless controllers?” Tony grumbled, slumping in the seat, half-leaning into Thor.

Thor smiled sheepishly. “I am fairly certain that all wireless controllers were victims of my force until I learned the correct amount of pressure to put on the buttons.”

“Hitting the button harder doesn’t make your attack more powerful,” Tony pointed out, but he sounded more fond than annoyed, and Thor leaned back, letting Tony curl up against his body.

And, as he suspected, Tony drifted off to sleep quickly enough.

 

-3-

 

Steve watched, deeply fascinated, as Tony moved about his workshop. The shorter man was talking out loud, about teamwork and cohesion, and Steve was plotting out their next workout, but watching Tony was… distracting. This was so clearly Tony’s domain; how he walked here was nothing like how he moved about in the upper floors. Periodically, Tony would step around the corner of a table and pick up another tool, and wander back to the bit of alien tech he had scavenged last week to gut it a bit more.

It was on one of those times Tony had wandered back to the alien tech and halfway perched on the stool, the wrench in his hand pulling at the pieces slotted together, when a small piece fell off the table and rolled underneath the stool. Heaving a sigh, Tony tilted his head down at the ground and glared.

Steve eyed Tony, and then eyed the piece that was right there.

“JARVIS—” Tony began, and then his shoulders went wire-tight, his head whipping around to glare at Steve. Surprised, Steve furrowed his brow and started to get up.

Which was when Dum-E rolled over and gently picked up the piece by the leg of the stool.

“Thanks Dum-E,” Tony said, voice a bit too light. “I could’ve gotten it.”

Dum-E rocked back and forth on his wheels once before rolling back to his original position.

Steve opened his mouth to ask Tony whether he really hadn’t seen the piece, but Tony immediately jumped to discussing the need for their ground members to train a bit more often with the Hulk. After a few seconds, Steve took the change of topic.

After all, he had hated it when people had brought up his disabilities, before. He doubted Tony wanted anyone to focus on them, especially since they didn’t hamper his actions as Iron Man.

 

-2-

 

Clint liked to poke at everyone. Hell, he poked at the Hulk, and if that wasn’t the most dangerous person to poke, he didn’t know who was. He and Tony had a mutual dislike and harping type of relationship, where Clint insulted Tony, Tony made disparaging remarks back, and then Clint pranked Tony. This afternoon, Tony came into the room at a much slower rate than normal, eyes closed, looking zoned. Clint figured he hadn’t slept in a while – he was beginning to realize he was not the only insomniac in the tower, and that the Avengers’ collective issues could sink a boat.

“Hey Tony,” he said.

Tony practically leapt into the air, head whipping around to look in Clint’s general direction, eyes cracking open, though they seemed unfocused. “Clint? What the hell, man, why are you here?”

“Uh, I live here?” Clint said, cocking his head. He waved at Tony’s clothes – a beat-up, stained, and frankly disgusting wife beater over baggy sweats and mismatched socks. “What’s up with that?”

Tony hesitated, looking visibly uncomfortable and more and more tense the longer that Clint watched him. “What’s up with what?”

“You, man! What, engineer grunge is too upscale for you now?”

“You know what, it’s too early in the day to listen to your chatter,” Tony grumbled, but the very tips of his ears went a dull red, and he hunched his shoulders as he moved over to the coffeepot – and proceeded to pause, hand hovering in the air next to the coffeepot.

Clint watched him a moment. “What’s the matter now?” he asked.

“Nothing,” Tony said quickly, voice high and tight, dropping his hand against the counter. “It’s just – someone moved the coffeepot.”

“Well, yeah dude, but it’s literally right there next to you,” Clint scoffed. “Bruce was trying to reach a box of tea in the back of the cabinet and didn’t want to knock it over.”

“Fuck this,” Tony muttered, hands clenched tight as he turned and began to make his way out of the kitchen.

Heaving a sigh, Clint hopped down from the stool at the bar where he’d been working on the morning’s crossword and snagged Tony’s elbow. “Hey, look—”

Tony stopped stock still, and his pulse felt rapid. Clint looked at the way Tony was holding himself, how Tony had been completely taken by surprise by the hand on his elbow, and thought back to when Tony was surprised when Clint said something, how his eyes were unfocused, and how he hadn’t noticed the coffeepot seconds before.

Dammit. Natasha probably already knew.

Though this… had the potential for a good many pranks.

“Look, sit down, I’ll pour you a cup, okay? Looks like you’ve been having a bad day.”

Tony hesitantly moved to the table, and if Clint hadn’t been watching very carefully, he’d have missed the way Tony’s hand had oh-so-casually brushed out in front of him until it tapped the edge of the chair, and then he pulled it out and sat down.

Many pranks, indeed.

 

-1-

 

Bruce really didn’t mind having Tony come in the lab. Some of their best work was together, bouncing ideas back and forth. But there was one habit that really pissed him off, and it was the fact that Tony could not write in a straight line. Hell, he couldn’t even write in a marginally straight line. His lines waved and curved over the whiteboard area, and though his equations were mostly on point – 99.9% of the time, Tony’s math was flawless – there were the few times he miswrote something. And the other habit that really pissed Bruce off?

Tony never believed him. It wasn’t until Bruce physically walked up to erase the mistake, reading it out as he did, that Tony would grin sheepishly and rub the back of his head (often making black marks on the back of his neck that Thor would rub at fondly as the team sat for dinner later in the evening).

So when Tony was busy doing his wavy writing along the whiteboard space, plotting out the equation of force that explained the combustion and bio-reactor within the alien tech Tony had finally picked over enough to understand (more or less), when Bruce realized Tony had written a portion three steps back wrongly, he let out a huff.

Tony paused in his writing. “Something wrong, gamma-ramma?”

“You always mess up when balancing your entropy and enthalpy changes.”

Tony looked highly offended, turning to put his hands on his hips. “I do not.”

“You do,” Bruce said, frustrated, and he walked up to the step Tony had written out just a little while back. “Right here, that’s not supposed to be a three, that’s a two, and then that will make this part in your next step shift like so, and so your calculations will come off fractionally off the mark – enough that, since this is unknown alien energy, the unstable nature may in fact explode in our faces instead of give off continuous energy!”

Tony only glanced briefly down at the board. “Oh, well then, I’ll just incorporate the change in the rest of the equation.”

Bruce paused and squinted at the board, and then at Tony. “Or, you could simply rub out the number and correct it and then continue on.”

“Eh. If I correct it now, it’ll just be a simple mathematical error somewhere back in the proof, and let’s face it, as long as the results are fine—”

With an impatient sigh, Bruce grumbled, “It’s sloppy work, and you know it.” Moving back to the worktable in the center of the room with the power source of the alien tech, he adjusted the readings and scribbled down the right formula, thank you, in his notes. But the lack of noise soon had him glancing up, and then he really noticed.

Tony was tense. Tony always seemed tense nowadays, particularly in the common spaces of the tower, and it was growing more and more noticeable each day, but this was the first time Tony’s shoulders were hunched and his neck and jaw were tight when he was in the lab. He was staring blankly at the whiteboard in front of him, marker white-knuckled in his hand, his fingers in a fist at his side. Hesitantly, he slowly raised the marker to where he’d left off—

—and ended up writing on top of his previous writing, before sliding to the right and continuing working out the proof.

Bruce narrowed his eyes at Tony. He couldn’t really—? But that was impossible… He was Iron Man, worked well in the field, interacted with them…

…kept his workplace obsessively neat, was pissed when people picked his stuff up and moved it around, wouldn’t take things from people’s hands, in general knew the layout of his tower and could (and did) navigate it wholly in the dark. Wore mismatched socks and clashing colors, sometimes. Never carried cash.

Well. Bruce felt his neck heat in embarrassment. Well then. Bruce could put up with those bad habits, if that was true. Though why Tony kept it a secret from them all, he didn’t—

No, he knew why. Tony would have had to prove himself ten times over to those who knew about his handicap. The team was better as a unit, these past few months since the alien invasion, but it wasn’t perfect.

Well, he’d let Tony tell him in his own time. For now, he’d just point out the mathematical errors and hand-correct them without trying to force Tony to hand-correct them.

 

+1+

 

“Iron Man, look out!”

‘Sir, incoming missile vector 9.34.1, approximate impact in 0.03—’

The impact rocked his side, slammed Tony off his flight path and into the building in vector 2.0.5. Metal crunched and he could feel the plated side pieces of armor cutting into his side, crushed inwards. The missile were supposedly Hulk-level – they were trying to contain the Abomination, after all – but then he became aware of the beeping.

“Iron Man, can you—”

There was another miniature explosion of heat and noise against Tony’s good side, and he cried out, head rattling in the helmet and body shoved against the ground from it. Abomination was aided in his breakout by AIM – the Avengers knew that AIM was going to make a move for Iron Man tech, but hadn’t expected them to unleash something like the Abomination as a distraction.

Which meant the armor, the uplink to JARVIS, his contacts, and his earpiece back-up to JARVIS all shorted out from the EMP contained within the missile head.

“JARVIS?” he croaked, trying to shift in the armor – but EMP meant solid lock of the armor, no electricity to move the joints, to even wiggle his fingers. He was stuck in this metal coffin, and he was intimately aware that he’d gone down quite a bit away from the rest of his team, and AIM could find him before his teammates, and he was stuck here, unable to move, to get out, to do anything but just wait for his captors to come, and that was the thing he hated most about Afghanistan, he had no connection to JARVIS, had nothing at all, needed Yinsen as his eyes because he was helpless—

“Easy, beloved.”

Screeching of metal, and then fresh air on his face. Strong hands stroking along his cheek and then jaw. He knew those hands.

“Breathe deep, Tony,” that deep voice rumbled.

Thor. Thor was here. Thor would protect him. Thor was a god.

Thor… did not know Tony was damaged.

“Is he alright?”

“I do not believe so; his armor is damaged on that side. He needs medical attention.”

“Alright, stand back. Clint, you covering us?”

“I am. Hulk an’ Cap have got Abomination mostly corralled, and our AIM buddies took off when Thor zapped them before they could reach our annoying benefactor. Hey, Tony, c’mon, deep breaths. You’re going to make yourself pass out.”

Smaller hands, no less strong and wiry, cupping his face. “Breathe, Tony. Count it out with me. One, two, three, okay release, there you go, three, four, five, breathe in, that’s it. I’m going to release your armor, alright? We need to get you out of it. Unless the power’s come back on?”

Weakly, Tony tried to shake his head negatively, but he still couldn’t move.

“Thor, keep a hand on his forehead.” Then Natasha’s voice was moving down, and Tony could hear the hiss of the releases of his armor, the heavy weight of it suddenly lessening. At his head, the scent of ozone and fresh rain grew stronger, and strands of hair brushed against his eyes and nose as lips pressed against his forehead.

“Be at ease, beloved,” Thor rumbled, but Tony was free now, peeled out of his armor like a shrimp from its shell, and he scrabbled free, tripping and nearly falling until two pairs of hands caught him.

“It’s alright, Tony, but you need to breathe. Shit, that’s a bad wound. Is Cap—”

The ground vibrated, and Tony heard the scuff of boots approaching even as Hulk’s voice rumbled out, “Iron Man okay?”

“I brought SHIELD medical personnel,” and that was Cap’s voice, but the EMP had knocked out his contact-and-uplink system, he couldn’t place any of them, he was as blind as he had been all those years before he’d created JARVIS, when Obie and Howard had treated him as a burden unable to become the engineer he’d always wanted to be, and he could feel himself shaking, his lungs laboring to pull in a full breath.

“Panic attack,” he heard Clint mutter, to who he didn’t know, he didn’t know—and then Natasha rubbed knuckles against his sternum and chest, Thor cupped the back of his head.

“We’re right here, Tony,” Steve said, and his voice was low, much closer than it had been before, and it was enough to startle Tony and make him jerk back, hitting into the broad chest and shoulders of Thor.

Natasha mumbled soothingly in Russian, her breathing deep and steady, and it was something he latched on to, because Natasha had kept him alive before when he was dying, she was safe, and after a few minutes, Hulk’s voice growled, “Safe, Iron Man.”

“I can’t—” that was his voice, weak and thread-thin and shaking, and then strong arms curled loosely about his waist, Thor’s nose nuzzling against his ear.

“We are here for you, Tony. We will protect you.”

“—can’t see,” he gasped out, hands coming up – to claw at his face or to pull at his hair, he didn’t know at the moment, all he knew was that he was reduced to four senses and it wasn’t safe.

“The EMP take that out?” Natasha asked.

The matter-of-fact tone did what nothing else could – it arrested his movements, made him still to the point of not breathing. “What—”

“Is that how he did it? I should’ve guessed,” Clint grumbled.

He felt distant, disassociated from his body in shock. “What do you—”

“I know, beloved. I will be your eyes for this time, until you can procure your method of seeing again,” Thor assured him, chest buzzing against the back of Tony’s head.

“Is it you don’t want to go to medical if you can’t see?” Cap asked, and his voice sounded worried but not overly so. “We’ll stay with you. We won’t leave your side, if you prefer. But you need that gash stitched up and bandaged.”

His hands grasped at Thor’s arm, Natasha’s hand, gripping tight. “You know?”

“Since about two weeks after we moved in together,” Natasha said, and her hand tugged a little in his grip. “So, almost three months now.”

“Shit, I only found out two weeks ago,” Clint grumbled, and Tony could hear his boots against the gravel but none of it worked together anymore, none of it made a coherent picture because he could not believe what he was hearing. “I could’ve been doing more pranks on him for longer, if you’d told me.”

“It wasn’t my secret to tell,” Natasha said.

“Waitaminute—” Tony began, not even noticing when his breathing stopped being erratic and harsh, smoothing out of his panic attack.

“Our fair lady has beaten me in this matter,” Thor said, and Tony felt him kiss the top of Tony’s head. “It took me a month.”

“Took me two months,” Cap said, and his voice sounded rueful but also… admiring?

Hulk let out a snarl. “Hulk knew from helicarrier. Bruce stupid – did not know until last week.”

“We know, Tony.”

“I’m—” he shook his head, trying to make sense of it. “I’m a liability.”

There was a moment of silence, and then Cap said sternly, “You are not. You are in no ways a liability. You hold your own and I am proud to have you on my team.”

“You’re looking a little pale there, Tones – think we can stow our revelations until the med team gets to you?” Clint interrupted.

Tony should say no. He wanted to say no. He didn’t like being around people – especially medical personnel – when he was vulnerable, weak. He should insist on going back to the tower, getting his back-up contacts and earpiece…

But his team knew. And they didn’t care.

Swallowing hard, he reluctantly let go of Natasha’s hand, loosened his grip on Thor’s arm. “Y-yeah. Okay.”

Those slim fingers threaded through his own, and held his hand tight. “We’re right here Tony. We aren’t going away.”

And, well. That certainly was alright by him.

 

***

 

“So is this why you were so tense all the time?”

Tony glared in Clint’s general direction and made a ‘gimme’ motion with his hands. “There’s only so many eccentricities you can get away with when you’re rich before people find out. Thankfully, dad didn’t want anyone to know about his defective son, so he sealed my medical records pretty tight.”

He heard Clint approach, and then a small case was dropped into his lap. Carefully, he opened it up and located the thicker-than-normal contacts and disc earpiece. As he put them in, Natasha – somewhere across the room – asked, “Does anyone else know?”

“Pepper,” Tony said. “Rhodey. One or two friends from college.” Using the term friends loosely, but still. “Fury.”

“Fury knew?” Clint said, and he sounded pissed.

“Is that bad?” Tony asked.

“We could have been better protecting you in the field if he’d told us,” Clint replied, voice farther away – Tony wondered if they were all just standing like dumbasses around the room or if they actually had chairs to sit in. The wonder twins were so silent all the time it was hard to tell when they walked, stood up, or sat down.

“I don’t need your protection. I haven’t needed it before, have I?” Tony replied heatedly, and then the earpiece was in and he heard JARVIS’s calming, familiar voice in his ear.

‘Sir, good to reestablish contact with you. Simply begin scanning the room when you are ready.’

“How does it work?” And that was Bruce, sounding tired but fascinated.

Tony sighed, slipping first the one, then the other contact into his eyes and blinked away the awkwardness. Then he turned his head to the left and opened his eyes.

‘Vector 1.0.0, chair, Thor present, 1.1.0, curtain. Vector 2.0.0, Captain America present, standing. 2.1.0, curtain. Vector 3.0.0, clear, 3.1.0, curtain. Vector 4.0.0…’

Tony slowly scanned the room, from left to right, listening to JARVIS give him the general position of everything in the room rapid-fire, vaguely aware of his teammates’ silence. When he completed the scan (‘Vector 10.0.0, side table, 10.1.0, clear, 10.2.0, window.) he reached out to Thor.

Thor clasped his hand, rubbing a thumb over Tony’s knuckles. “You do not need to tell us, Tony,” he said calmly. “You are our teammate, and a good man.”

“No, it’s – I built, as a kid, this system. My contacts have small visual receptors, and JARVIS scans general surroundings and places everything in vectors for me, in side-to-side, then closeness, then height classifications. I made it… I made it when I was a kid, with the grand idea that he could relate to me everything’s exact position.”

“It didn’t work?” Cap asked curiously.

“It did,” Tony corrected him, mildly offended that Steve would think something Tony made wouldn’t work. “It was just too much info. I couldn’t process it fast enough, so it became easier to not focus on the small things – like tools, or nuts and bolts, or files. Or people’s hands, because people aren’t predictable – they aren’t objects at rest. Telling me a hand is directly in front of me doesn’t mean much if that person suddenly decided to move their hand, so. Just the general things, and making sure my eyes met other eyes, and then I just… was rich. People don’t question eccentricities when you’re rich, not that much at least.”

“Can I just say that is insanely cool?” Clint said from his position by the door.

“It really is, Tony,” Bruce murmured, patting Tony’s leg. “And we’re here for you, you know.”

Tony squeezed Thor’s hand, heard Natasha murmur something insulting in a fond tone, and smiled softly. “I get that, now.”