A few bits of housekeeping before we get started:
a) I do not own the Avengers or Harry Potter, all credit goes to the relevant authors/companies that own the rights to the various characters.
b) The timeline of Harry Potter has been shifted back to align with Avengers, so Harry is born in 2001 instead of 1980. Other than that most other events are locked in, I believe the Hulk storyline has been butchered a little to make things work but you should pick up the gist of the changed line.
c) Clarification of speech types: "talking", 'thoughts', "talking in a different language that I shall not attempt to translate".
d) Warnings for: Child abuse, bad language on occasion, violence… Possibly more but those are the main things. It's not going to be worse than what is seen in the seventh Harry Potter movie so I reckon I am safe with a T. However if you feel it deserves being upgraded then please tell me and I shall change this to an M.
I am aiming to post three chapters to start and see what people think of it, after that I will be aiming for weekly updates… probably on Fridays. Thanks for reading!Chapter One - November
Harry Potter, orphan and unwilling burden of his aunt and uncle, curled up in his cupboard and tried to ignore the stabbing pain emanating from his very empty stomach. He had tried so hard to complete all his chores that day, but the list had been impossibly long again and he ended up being locked in his cupboard with nothing beyond a glass of water. It didn't help that some of the chores he had to do were really difficult for him to finish, like hoovering the entire house when the hoover weighed more than he did and was taller than he was.
This was the third day in a row without anything more than a few crusts left over from breakfast each day to eat. Dudley had picked up on this and had gloated over the wide variety of foods he had for breakfast before promptly eating as much of it all as he could. It was a testament to his determination that he ate more than his mother, and probably getting close to the same as Uncle Vernon, and he seemed to very much enjoy the mounds of sausages and bacon that he sometimes waved at Harry. He acted as if Harry didn't already know what was on the table, which was impossible seeing as he had cooked it all. He had learnt to cook last year so Aunt Petunia now had him up and cooking breakfast for her two boys while she spent the time sipping tea and watching like a hawk to ensure that he did not eat anything nor burn the food. No one ever thanked him nor thought about how much it hurt to be dismissed to wash up whilst the trio happily chattered about mundane things.
Of course, freaks didn't deserve praise or sentiments reserved for normal people. He should be grateful enough that he had a roof over his head and clothes on his back, according to Uncle Vernon. It had not taken Harry long to remember his relative's lessons that he was a burden that was only tolerated out of the goodness of their hearts. And seeing as they already spent money on his clothes and food, and would be paying for his education, he shouldn't complain that he received nothing on his birthday or Christmas.
Dudley once again had spotted the discrepancy in their treatment and was increasingly filling the breakfast and dinner chatter with demands for toys, and loud tantrums when Uncle Vernon gently mentioned if something was too pricey. Harry meanwhile kept silent and cleaned the dishes, thinking of the small raggedy black wolf that was sat next to his pillow. That was the only gift he had ever received that he knew about, and apparently it had been something he had been given as a baby by his parents before they were killed.
That night, as the hunger pangs kept him from sleeping, Harry buried his face into the soft and well-worn fur of the toy wolf and sighed unhappily at the thought of another Christmas approaching without any chance of toys. He didn't cry over a fact he was well used to, but he couldn't stop himself from wishing for a different home where he was loved.
Bruce Banner sighed and tried to get comfy on his poor excuse for a bed. He was being generous when he called it a bed, seeing as it was merely a mattress on the floor, but it was better than some places he had slept so he counted it as a bed. His fugitive lifestyle meant that he had had to make do in some very squalid conditions so he was grateful for what he had. This time round he had managed to rent an actual flat, with multiple rooms designated for different uses, to call home for the meantime.
He had been in Kochi for a month so far and he was starting to get used to the city, he was well enough acquainted with the area to travel happily at night now. Although the 'Other Guy' meant that he never had to worry about the threat of death from a mugging gone wrong, Bruce was determined to keep his presence as low key as possible. And a huge angry green monster was definitely not conducive to staying low key.
However one thing that guaranteed that he was always tolerated in an area, even if his white skin and raggedy look raised a few eyebrows whenever he arrived in an area, was the fact that he was a passably good doctor. At the start of his career he had joked with his friends and acquaintances that he was 'not that kind of doctor'. But when he had been forced to go on the run three years ago he had learnt that he knew enough of the basics from helping dorm mates study that he could diagnose and treat the basics. After the first time he had helped a sick family in Mexico he had read as many cheap medical textbooks as he could find and improved. There was never a call for a doctor of gamma research, but there were always people looking for cheap healthcare, and once he could prove his usefulness Bruce found that the locals would be happy to help him hide. It was a sad fact of the world that there were always people suffering that could be cured if they had the money for treatment. So Bruce had kitted himself out with the best equipment that he could scrounge together on a minimalistic budget as he travelled and set to doing some good in the world
After he had proved his usefulness when he arrived to Kochi the locals had accepted him to the neighbourhood and he had managed to rent a flat and settled down in the area. Although Kerala was one of the richer states in India there were still many pockets of civilisation that could not afford the healthcare they desperately needed even though there were numerous large hospitals within Kochi city. So Bruce had been welcomed once he had assured his first patients that he only wished them to pay what they could afford. It meant that he had to ration his electricity usage to ensure he could pay the bills, and if he could get away without cooking then he did so to avoid using more power. Showers were also a rare luxury to conserve what could be rather temperamental water reserves, but he was able to help people and stay hidden which suited him fine.
There were only two problems that Bruce had discovered in regards to settling in a relatively modern city, but thankfully only one of the two was a major concern. Kochi was starting to attract a decent amount of tourism from western countries thanks to the cities rich history, colourful culture and impressive food. Apparently rickshaws, or tuk-tuks as the tourists called them, were an attraction in themselves almost like a ride at a theme park. Bruce did not begrudge the city the extra income that these people provided, but he was unhappy with the extra threat that these fellow white skinned people presented. Although the 'Hulk' had been missing from the media for about ten years Bruce was always wary of going near tourist areas just in case one of them may be able to tell others of his presence. Even worse, a tourist could be linked to General Ross and know exactly who he was. Better to steer clear completely to be on the safe side. Thankfully the neighbourhood he had settled in was quite far off the beaten track for tourists and there were few restaurants, bars or points of interest to lure them into the area.
The second problem, that posed no physical problem at all, was that Kerala was a relatively progressive and religiously diverse state. Churches sat on the same streets as Mosques and Temples, and all three religions celebrated their holy events openly. Often even those who did not believe in the religion would join in the festivities at the relevant times when their neighbours were celebrating. Christmas was approaching fast and although there would be no white Christmas the local Christians were starting to save up to ensure they had a greater meal than normal on that day.
Over the ten years that Bruce had been running he had often ended up in countries that did not have large Christian communities so he was able to avoid this familiar festivity. However he had exhausted the remote African communities and had been moving eastwards so this year he would endure Christmas. One of his patients the day before had asked whether he was going home to celebrate with his family, and Bruce had managed to gently inform that he was alone so was not celebrating with anyone.
Although it was the truth, it hurt the man deeply that even his closest acquaintances would run a mile if he turned up on their doorstep at Christmas. It was a widely known, and tightly kept, secret back home that something very bad had happened to Bruce Banner. Something so bad that he had had to flee for his own safety. No one would want to be associated with something that could be as bad as that, especially at Christmas time. It seemed that even animals could sense something evil and wrong lurked inside him, he had tried to make a pet out of a stray dog once but it fled from him very quickly.
So all Bruce had to look forward to was yet another night alone, with chapatis and vegetable curry in lieu of an actual roast dinner as he had often eaten on Christmas Day as a child. Even though his childhood was a timeline of events that were best forgotten, Christmas had been the one day of the year where you could pretty much guarantee peace within the Banner house.
It was a very startled Bruce that found himself almost wishing to be back home with his alcoholic father and abused mother simply to feel some kind of human attachment to something.