"Do pod people get shot?" Natasha asked suddenly, peering down at Bruce as he worked towards stitching her side. Bruce rolled his eyes.
"Again with the pod people thing? We'd know if we were pod people, Natasha. You kind of know these things." Bruce finished off the line of stitches and nudged her arm up so he could work on the second wound.
"But what if we don't? We could be Skrulls. Or androids replacing our fleshy selves." Natasha said thoughtfully and Bruce shook his head. He forgot how bad of an idea it was to give Natasha a heavy dose of morphine. "Clones, holograms. We could be anything." She continued and Bruce sighed. She was starting to wave her arms around to prove her point, which was making Bruce's job even harder.
"Tash, we have not been replaced with anything or anyone. We're still us, now stop moving." He brought the cloth up to wipe away the blood that was actively pooling under her armpit.
"You don't know that. What if I was already replaced before you met me? What if I'm not me but just a facsimile of what I used to be? What if you're not you. Well, it would be hard to copy Hulk, but still. My point stands. I could very well not be me. You don't know." She rambled on and Bruce stayed silent, there wasn't much he could say. But at least she stopped waving her arms around.
"Considering you're sitting in front of me still bleeding, and bleeding red, human-like blood, I think it's safe to say you are you. Do you need to see my hands? Because they've covered in your blood. And I'm pretty damn familiar with what human blood should feel like, you are definitely you. And human. So calm down." He finished off the last stitch as he finished speaking and wiped away the last of the blood. For good measure he held his bloodied hands in front of her face. She stared blankly at him before folding in on herself.
"And what if I don't want to be me? What if I wish I wasn't me sometimes, Bruce? What if I'm just trying to find an excuse for what I've done in my past? Maybe I want to be a pod person." She said softly, averting her gaze. Bruce stilled for a moment, he wasn't good at this. He wasn't good at comforting, and he knew her words were at least partially truthful, even if was the painkillers dropping her usual shields. He made quick work with wrapping her ribs, even if she wasn't entirely being cooperative. When he was done he just tugged her against his chest.
"We've all done awful things in our past. Even Steve. We can't escape that, and we can't forget it. But it can make us strive to be better people now. You should know that. You need to stop worrying and stop fighting the drugs. There's a reason I did this on our bed, lay down. Go to sleep. You came home the most banged up." And she did. Broken ribs and deep bullet grazes, enough close calls in one fight to last months, in Bruce's opinion. She leaned against him and pulled closer, but didn't budge. Didn't move to follow his advice. He took one arm and swept the stuff he had needed to the floor, he could pick it up later. He moved to lay down and gently pulled Natasha down with him.
"I think you gave me too much, Bruce." She murmured softly once they were both laying down. She tucked up against his front and heaved a sigh, flinching at the movement of her ribs. Bruce shook his head.
"You're just tired, and that adds to it. We've all been awake for a few days with this. Go to sleep." He started rubbing her arm with his free one. Another soft sigh and she finally seemed to take his advice. And he was left awake, pondering her identity crisis. He had thought the pod people thing had been a joke, but he supposed it had grown into more. He'd pin her down for a talk when she was rested, because it seemed like something they needed to address.