Title: Where It Wasn't Supposed to Be
Summary: He'd never fully be able to wrestle with the ghosts of that mistrust of the other part of him, but he trusted her. And that's what mattered to him the most.
A/N: This wasn't intended to be my first published Brutasha piece, yet here we are. I hope you enjoy. Let me know what I got right or what I didn't so that I can continue to improve. This piece hints at an established relationship.
It was a miracle that she was still alive. Natasha Romanoff knew this is as well as she knew her own name. The tension inside the Quinjet was so thick you could cut it with a knife. It seemed to have a heartbeat all its own. The rest of the Avengers kept their mouths closed, and their eyes forward. There was no telling when the tension would snap; when either Natasha or Bruce was going to uncoil and let loose an onslaught of terror into those around them.
Bruce's fingers wrung tighter and tighter together, unable to form any other coherent thought aside from the fact that she could have been killed. And he would have been the one to kill her. His head dropped into his hands as a soft moan released from his throat. It was more of a whimper than a moan. And it was painful.
She heard the moan in all its unglory. As much as she wanted to keep her distance from the man, she stepped forward. "It was the only way." The short simple phrase being the only one she could offer him. She wouldn't admit (not even to herself) that she'd been trying to diffuse the situation and cause him to not be so upset with her. If she hated anything, it was making Bruce mad at her.
He let his lip curl into a sneer (not unlike that of his green counterpart) and a snort followed suit. He shook his head. "Not now, Natasha." And his voice dripped with sorrow and regret and something akin to betrayal. They were only three simple, little words, but they had shut her up.
And for that (for now), he was grateful.
Bruce could feel her eyes on him as he beat a hasty retreat from the bowels of the Quinjet. He overheard Clint telling her to give him some time. She owed him that at least. He was grateful to the others for their show of support, and he absolutely hated shutting her out, but right now, it had to be done. The way he felt the anger bubbling just beneath the surface, she was safer out of his sight.
He went straight to his floor of Avengers Tower. He refused to be checked out by medical and hadn't spoken another word to any of the others. His mind was an instant loop of what could have happened, and not what had happened.
He quickly showered, dried, and then began to shave. The hot water hadn't been soothing like it usually was. He had nicked himself while shaving, causing him to suck in a breath and grip the sink basin with his free hand. He stared his own reflection down like it would help it come to grips with the real demon he had been wrestling. He wiped the excess shave cream from his face with a damp towel and pulled on his clothes, leaving his shirt for last.
One last look at his reflection in the mirror, he turned off the light and left the bathroom and stepped into his bedroom. His shirt lay on the bed. Only this time it wasn't alone. Her slight frame took up only a sliver of the bed. Had it been dark outside with no natural light to filter in through the windows, he wouldn't even have seen her. He let out a soft breath, almost cursing at her for not giving him what he needed, what he wanted.
"Natasha," he said by way of simple warning.
She still had enough time to excuse herself if she done it quickly. Instead she turned, pushing herself up onto her hands knees and crawled across the bed to him. She pushed herself up so that all her weight rested in her knees as she reached for him. Her fingers tangled in his belt loops and pulled him forward. She was still several inches shorter than him in this position. She had to look up into his eyes, into his soul.
"Bruce," she breathed. "Don't send me away. Don't do this to us..."
Unable to resist the soft plea in her voice, he took hold of her cheeks, searching her eyes as best as he could in the dying light. "You never learn, Tasha. You just do what you want when you want it. It's not fair." His entire body was calmer than he'd initially given himself credit for, and for that he was truly grateful. Maybe there was a God after all.
"I tried to do it any other way, Bruce. I did. I swear to you..." Her lower lip trembled slightly before she managed to suck it between her teeth and bite down hard to keep her emotions more in check. "I'd never-I'd never hurt you like that. I'd never hurt us like that." She moved her hands from his belt loops to his bare sides as she gripped them gently beneath her fingertips. "You have to believe me."
"It's a miracle the Other guy didn't snap you in two," he warned softly, moving the pad of his thumb gently across her cheekbone. All of the anger that had been pent up inside towards her because of the situation fled. All that remained was Bruce. There was no sign of the Other guy.
"He trusts me," she breathed quietly, confidently. "I could see that in his eyes today. Even if you don't trust him, he trusts me." That counted for something, didn't it?
Bruce had never fully be able to wrestle with the ghosts of that mistrust of the other part of him, but he trusted her. And that's what mattered to him the most.
His mouth fell onto hers, kissing her deeply. His hands left her cheeks to wrap around the small of her back and pull her forward until there was neither space nor air between them. He shifted, taking her to the center of the bed and lowering her to the cool sheets of the unmade bed beneath them.
Hours later, they lay naked and tangled in the sheets. He held her gently against his larger frame and kissed the top of her head as tenderly as if he were kissing that of an angel. She was his angel, after all. He closed his eyes as darkness lulled him into the safety of sleep.
Natasha could feel the steady thumping of his heart beneath her ear. She half smiled at the memory of the first time he'd allowed her this comfort. She'd had a nightmare and hadn't been able to fall back to sleep. He'd invited her into his bed, into his arms, and had pressed her ear gently to his chest. She could still remember the feeling of his fingers as they had gently run through her messy tangle of fiery curls.
And there she had remained ever since.