A thin blanket of snow covered the ground. She found him tearing through the debris, throwing broken pieces of machinery in a fit of rage. Strong powerful muscles, green as ever, lifting unhinged car doors and sending them flying across the landscape.

"Hey big guy," Natasha said from behind him.

He spun around with celerity and roared, black eyes shining like rough onyxes.

Frightened, she took a step back, her panicked breath mingling with the cold air. It's Bruce, she reminded herself. You're gotta wake him up and soon he'll be back, and you'll tell him that they won, they got Loki's staff, he did so well, so so much and that the world would be damaged without him and that he's not the monster he thinks he is, and it will be okay. You just have to wake him up, Natasha. Now.

She closed her fist tightly and for a moment fear breaks through the numbness of her skin and shoots through her body like a jolt of electricity.

Oh, how he terrified her.

But, oh she liked Bruce too. He was a gentleman, an outcast like herself, a human…

"The sun's getting real low," she said, crouching down.

The hulk roared, snorted and shook his large head.

Natasha held up one hand in the surrender position as though taming a wild brumby.

A confused expression crossed the hulk's face. He snorted a few more times and staggered towards her, his large feet crunching through the snow.

He looked at her outstretched hand, still and un-trembling. After a short moment, he reached out his own and turned his palm upwards, resting the back of his hand on the palm of her own. Natasha trailed her hand over his skin, surprised for the tenth time at how smooth his skin was. She looked into the Hulk's eyes as she touched him, trying to pour life and humanity back into him. She ignored the debris he had caused around the, the thick pulsing veins under his green skin and the radioactive poisoning that had been coursing through his body for years. None of it mattered. This was Bruce. Her friend.

She reached up and touched his forearm and trailed her fingers down to his palm. All the while, she watched his eyes…watched the rage fade into gentleness…

She smiled softly and pulled her hand away.

The hulk snorted at the loss of contact.

They stared at one another for a long time, his stony eyes clashing with her wide ones.

Then, he stumbled backwards as though injured. Natasha stood up and smiled. She watched him stagger through the woods, clutching twigs and branches in his wake. His body convulsed as he fell to the ground.

Natasha watched the transformation in awe. It only took a minute. And Bruce was laying in the snow, shirtless and shivering, cradling a pulled off twig in his human hands.

Natasha walked over to him.


"Hey." Bruce got to his knees. His face, hair and chest were streaked with dirt. His cheeks were sunken, but his intelligent eyes peered out from his shaggy hair, regarding the mayhem around him. Natasha though he looked rumpled, strong and sexy as hell.

"Forgive me for the mess I've caused," said Bruce, glancing at the broke machinery, most of which had belonged to the avengers with some belonging to their enemies.

Natasha smiled at him. "There's nothing to forgive."