|The Dangers of Loneliness
Author: PhantomGrimalkin PM
Movieverse. Bruce dealing with feeling outcast on the team and noticing a foe more than he really should be. Loki/Bruce-ish.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst - Hulk/Bruce B. & Loki - Chapters: 16 - Words: 32,368 - Reviews: 68 - Favs: 81 - Follows: 104 - Updated: 06-19-12 - Published: 03-19-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7940776
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Having the God of Mischeif break into your room and make you tea was something that Bruce was not terribly willing to trust. Fortunately he knew how to test for a good range of poisons with things that he had in his room. Several hours of wishing the room had better ventilation, he'd worked in worse conditions but had gotten used to a proper lab, and everything had come up negative. The tea was also still piping hot, it had apparently been... magic'ed... to stay hot, a thought that bothered Bruce as a scientist but also because he couldn't test if there were any magical poisons or curses or whatnot.
He finally picked it up and sniffed it nervously, wafting the steam to his nose the same way that he did with chemicals you shouldn't inhale too much of. Chamomile, he could tell that since he'd started the tests, and possibly a bit of lemon balm. That mix, he'd heard, was good for calming tantrum-prone children. He pressed his lips into a tight line, trying very hard to feel insulted, when he really felt like laughing. There wasn't anything off about the scent, nothing extra, there didn't seem to be any reason to worry.
Not having any other tests to run, he finally licked his lips and decided to just try it. It wasn't too hot, a concern he'd had, the cup certainly felt like it should have been burning his tongue. It was fairly good, it tasted like it had been made from freshly picked herbs, Loki apparently knew what he was doing. He wasn't entirely sure what to do with that thought.
For some reason, Bruce felt the desire to get ahold of Loki and ask about this, what this meant, if it meant anything, and if it didn't, why he was only messing with Bruce's head. Well, he thought that was the case anyways. He rather hoped that someone would tell him if Loki had been causing trouble for the other Avengers.
After finishing the tea, Bruce turned the card that had come with it over in his hand, a thought coming to him. It was a rather foolish idea, one that he actually hoped didn't work, but it was still one. He washed the cup before putting it back where he had found it, scrawling 'Thank you for the tea. Would it be possible to meet with you again?' on the back in the nicest handwriting he could manage, feeling self-conscious next to Loki's near perfect script, and placed it on top of the cup before heading down to the lab.
Tony glanced up when Bruce came in, and smiled slightly, "I was thinking of sending out a search party- I thought you'd be here sooner."
"Today was a bit rougher than it should be," he answered with a shrug, "Steve told me off for going out like that, actually."
"Not surprised, you were pretty bad off. We almost had an incident while you were Hulked out," Tony said conversationally, still working while he did.
Bruce paused, not sure how to respond to that. It was bound to happen, it wasn't surprising that it had happened then, but he still felt that familiar sinking feeling in his gut that he'd done something very very wrong.
"What?" was all he managed to get out.
Tony looked up again for a few moments, looking surprised by the response. He shrugged, "It's no big deal, we all figured it would happen sooner or later and nothing bad happened. Hulk just almost crashed into a building rather than the bad guys- he didn't, though, the day was saved and all that, I don't think that many people noticed."
"That's good," Bruce said quietly, although it didn't feel like it was. It had gottten too close to being very, very, very bad.
He got to work, trying not to think about it too much. If Tony noticed that he was still out of sorts, he didn't say anything for the rest of the day, although he did pause around 6 to tell Bruce to go get some food and take the rest of the night off.
"I'm really fine to keep working," Bruce had argued, "I don't want the work to fall behind because of me."
Tony just shook his head at this, "Look- you've been a huge help, but you're no good in a lab if you're sick, so go get some food and relax for the rest of the night. I'll be fine."
Bruce had offered up a few more rather weak protests before ultimately agreeing. He shut down what he was working on and handed Tony and left a few pages that he'd been taking notes on on the workbench.
Deciding to take Tony's advice for once, he found his way to the communal kitchen the Avengers were allowed to use, that he did not use anywhere near as often as he needed. Steve was already in there, and he almost walked out but, unfortunately, not quickly enough.
"Feeling any better?" Steve asked pleasantly, looking up from washing the dishes. Bruce wondered if anyone had pointed out that they had a dishwasher, but he looked happy enough doing them.
"Yeah, thanks," he said awkwardly, "I'm sorry about what happened earlier..."
"It happens to everyone, don't worry about it," he replied in the same tone as before.
Bruce took a few steps into the kitchen, "Do you need any help with that?"
"No, I'm almost done," he glanced over, "There's some spaghetti left over from dinner still on the stove if you want it."
"Oh, thanks." That at least saved him from having to figure out what to eat. He made himself a bowl of it, noting that the sauce actually looked home made.
Steve finished up about the time that the spaghetti came out of the microwave. He placed the dish towel to dry and looked over at Bruce, "Make sure you take care of yourself from now on, okay?"
"Yeah, I know that we don't want any incidents."
"Well, no," Steve agreed quietly before glancing at Bruce with a bit more concern than the scientist was comfortable with, "But you should still just for your own sake. None of us want to see you hurt."
Bruce nodded, although he actually wanted to laugh a bit. Turning into the Hulk was the most painful thing he had ever experienced, even on the best of days, it seemed a bit strange for anyone who has to see that most days to not want to see him hurt.
There was an uncomfortable silence for a few moments before Steve started to walk out. He glanced back at Bruce for a moment, opened his mouth and then closed it again before nervously adding, "Clean up after you're done, alright?"