"You’re dumb and your face is dumb."
“…And you are the paramount of maturity.”
Tony takes the offered water, realizing how parched he is, but fear pools in his gut. Bruce is going to leave. The pain in his body becomes insignificant and he tries to sit upright, the blanked falling around his hips. It hurts so much to sit up, put pressure where it really shouldn’t be right now, but he can’t let this happen.
”Bruce, no,” he says sharply, “you’re better off here. Everyone is better off with you here. The situation was— contained. You can’t go, Bruce. You deserve more, Bruce, you’re not a dog—”
He’s not giving up his friend, he can’t, just because a little physical damage was sustained.
”You’re not destroying anybody, and I’m not letting you go that easily.”
Bruce looks up sharply when Tony levers himself up, alarm widening his eyes, “…Tony, for God;’s Sake, stop! You’re gonna—..”
But Stark cuts him off, his misguided faith in Bruce somehow unshaken, even after all that the physicist has done. Bruce flinches at the other man’s tone, mouth sagging with dismay. How could Tony care this much, how could he deny the very real pain Bruce knows he must be feeling, and not recognize who was rightfully to blame?
Making a broken, wordless noise, Bruce surges upright on his knees, still folded into the space alongside the couch. He reaches for Tony with care, haltingly cupping his palms around the other man’s stubbled face and staring in his eyes helplessly.
”..can’t… don’t you see, Tony?.. I hurt you..” The physicist’s eyes flicker, expression crumbling. “I-I hurt you, okay? It was this body and this brain, and it hurt you,
…a-and that is unconscionable to me…”
Leaning in, Banner sweeps his thumb over Tony’s agular cheekbone. He gently guides the younger man’s forehead down, placing his trembling lips against Tony’s brow. The taste of sweat makes him want to cry.
Bowing his head, Bruce releases Tony and sags against the side of his couch. He furrows his fingers into his limp curls, elbows propped on the cushion seat, utterly defeated.
”….don’t make me stay. If I do… I’m afraid that every time I look at you, all I’ll see is what I did.”
Steve smiled and leaned forward, wrapping the mug in his hand and pulling it to him. As he began to drink the milk and sugar sat unused on the table. It wasn’t that he disliked either of them in his tea, just that having grown up during the Great Depression had taught him to like his drinks plain. It was a habit that had stuck with him, despite the availability of things to add now.
"Thank you." Steve held up the cup, tilting it towards Bruce for a moment before resuming his careful sipping, trying hard to avoid burning his tongue.
"How true that is. Though to be fair, the people in class that wouldn’t try it got quite the earful from everyone else." Steve gave a soft chuckle. "By the time they agreed to try it, it was already gone."
Steve looked up at Bruce over the rim of his mug and gave a lopsided grin. “I’ll be honest. It’ll be nice to have you back at the tower. Everyone else is nice but a bit intense. It’s nice to just have a pleasant conversation with someone but I wasn’t just referring to now. When you go away again-” Steve said it with a wry certainty. There was no way that Bruce wouldn’t disappear again at some point. “- if you need or even just want certain supplies let me know and I’ll find a way to get them to you.” He punctuated it with a short nod, a silent promise. The man was his friend afterall and there was very little he would not do to make his friends feel secure and safe.
"Let’s be fair Bruce, if it took Nat this long do you honestly think anyone else at the tower picked up on it either?" Steve was almost laughing, almost. "The fact is that before the serum I wasn’t exactly catching anybody’s eye, female or male. And I was alright with that- there were bigger things to worry about. Mostly saving the world and in my mind it always took precedence. After the serum…" That laugh faded into something regretful. "There wasn’t much time after." He pushed the thought away and the beaming smile returned to his face. "But now I’m here, and quite frankly you all have quite a refreshing attitude towards relationships."
Steve paused to take a long pull of the tea, relishing the taste of the mint as it crossed his tongue. “Any way I can be of service Doc.” Steve joked and finished off the last of his tea.
"Now, if you’re ready. I have a boat waiting but it’s a bit of a walk. It’ll take us to a ship that’s captained by a friend of mine. He was kind enough to wait in port until I returned. He’ll take us to the capitol and we can catch a flight from there." It was a loose weave plan he knew. He hadn’t been sure that Bruce would want to come back or how long it would take him to find the other man and requisitioning a SHIELD helicopter would have been far from inconspicuous.
Bruce rose slowly, distracted by the thought of a Steve, pre-serum and so young. It occurred to him that Rogers was still young, his years consciously living were considerably shorter than the time his body had been on this Earth. In many ways, the Captain hadn’t had a chance to properly experience life.
And Bruce knew exactly how that felt …
No Wonder they got along so well.
The Physicist collected their empty tea mugs and the untouched milk, carrying everything back to the sink as he replied, “…well perhaps you should give one of Natasha’s suggestions a try. She’s pretty intuitive when it comes to someone’s character.”
Even when they lose control and nearly kill her…
“It’d be a calculated risk, at least. And better than meeting someone in a coffee shop.”
Glancing over his shoulder, Bruce quirked a self-deprecating smile at Steve. He rinsed out the mugs, soaping them quickly under the hot running water. Once clean, the scientist placed the dishware back in the cupboard and turned around, gesturing towards the hallway in the back of the house.
“I’ve some journals I need to get out of the bedroom, but otherwise I’m ready to leave. I’ll send a transmission to a… an associate…. to come around and take over the land maintenance. He’ll appreciate the quiet.”
Picking up the milk, Bruce considered the half-empty carton for a moment before putting it back in the fridge. No point in wasting it, Rick liked cereal anyway. The scientist disappeared for a moment, only to return with his ever-present knapsack bulging slightly from the fruits of his research.
“A bit of a walk, hm?” Bruce shrugged his shoulder, privately pleased. He silently recalled months of walking from Istanbul to Iran, but said only, “…I like to walk.”
And he’ll need to time,
to prepare for being surround by so many people again…
Avengers 2 Age of ultron sneak peek comic con 2 (x)
Bruce and Jane - Physicist Bros
So I recently was thinking about how scienceandstardust was just about the sweetest person I could ever meet and how her Jane Foster is wonderful, especially for Bruce. So I commissioned the uber-talented toherrys to sketch me a little Jane&Bruce Physicist Bros love.
So this is for Meg, because she’s wonderful and deserves to know it.
Mini Marvels - Hulk Helps
“Bruce-” Tony says, “Bruce it’s not on you, you didn’t do this- it’s- it’s okay, Bruce- you didn’t cross any lines- arrangements?”
Bruce is going to run, Tony realizes with a startling clarity. He’s going to run and do his damnedest to make sure that Tony never sees his friend again. No. No, no, no, this has broken his body, but it’s not going to ruin this. Bruce can’t leave. Not for this.
And Bruce is wrong. He had wanted this, in a way. Tower security protocol dictates that no aggressive action be taken against the Hulk as long as he is contained within the tower. They don’t have much that can fight the Hulk and nothing that can beat him. If the Hulk remains in the tower and isn’t a danger to anyone outside… then any attack they make would only make things worse, maybe push him outside.
Someone else might have gotten hurt, killed, worse, and that is unacceptable. Tony acknowledged all of this when he realized what was going to happen and he chose not to override the security commands. This is an acceptable outcome of the situation. An ideal one in the face of alternatives.
[Maybe if it’s all just calculations, all just math and logic he can convince himself that this is all okay, that he isn’t on the edge of hysteria.]
“What arrangements, Bruce?” Tony asks weakly, clinging to Bruce, “what are you talking about?”
”—h-hey, Easy, Tony. it’s okay…” Sensing Tony’s rising concern, Bruce attempts to soothe the other man, imitating Stark’s earlier words. The physicist’s arms tighten protectively around his companion’s damaged body, careful to do no more harm…
(too little, too late).
Pausing in the doorway to the hall, Banner drops his eyes to Tony’s face, taking in his distress with a sort of numb resignation. Of course the engineer would protest, rather than just accept Bruce’s efforts to save him from…him. God, the engineer could be so sentimental sometimes.
”….you… you deserve better than this, Tony.” The physicist’s mouth twists with guilt, and he has to look away, proceeding towards the couch in the living area. As gently as possible, he lowers Tony onto the cushions and straightens back up, moving away to collect a bottle of water from the bar-fridge.
When he returns, Bruce’s expression is set, determined. He kneels in the cramped space between the couch and the coffee table, opening the water bottle and offering it to Stark.
”…Look, I’m …psychologically speaking, I’m no better than a dog with rabies. I know you care about me, that you want to protect me—” Banner cuts his eyes away, free hand rubbing over his mouth to will away the emotion, “…b-but it doesn’t change the fact that I will destroy your life in the process.”
There is no known way to put Bruce out of his misery,
so the best course of action is to let him go.
Why couldn’t Tony just see that?
Drawing a slow breath, Bruce rests his hands in his lap. He’s suddenly aware of his nudity, of Tony’s. Reaching out, the scientist pulls a throw blanket down from the back of the couch, draping it lightly over Stark’s lean frame.
And when he next meets the engineer’s gace, there’s an apology in Bruce’s eyes. He speaks with a note of finality,
“… I think it’s time I go back to looking for that place where I can’t hurt anybody anymore.”