Title: In Any Other Story
Disclaimer: I, in no way, shape, manner, or form, own the Marvel universe, or any and all characters said universe contains. The Incredible Hulk is copyrighted to Marvel Studios, and the respective owners. No infringement intended.
Continuity: The Incredible Hulk, 2008 Movie-verse
Characters: Emil Blonsky, Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross
Summary: It is perhaps this precarious stillness, most of all, which nags Emil.
Author's Note: I really, really need to organize my fic folder so I stop losing/forgetting stories for months and months on end. Harsh criticism encouraged.
[Also, apologies for any inconvenience. For some reason, the movie section did not have the Hulk movie(s) listed as an available category.]
There is nothing to do but wait.
It is perhaps this precarious stillness, most of all, which vexes Emil; the lack of ability to freely move when he is flanked on either side by soldiers just a little too rigid to be absolutely professional. The 'containment bracers' envelop his all-too-human hands entirely, all the way to the midpoint of his forearm, the seams pinching his skin sharply. His chest is bare – the lack of Kevlar like losing his skin – save for a sticky EKG patches, scattered haphazardly over his torso, monitoring everything from his breathing to his adrenaline levels.
He twists his hands, knowing it will do nothing to aid him. Not as if there is anything else to do, half-hanging from a friendlier version of manacles and waiting for transport. The edgy soldiers sneak sideways glances, fingering their weapons like they itch to use them, like they would be able to stop him.
Blonsky almost scoffs – almost – but it's no good to do that, even if his throat was still bruised from the chain; they'll think him plotting, struggling again, like he did when they induced his reversion, and pump him full of that ridiculous cocktail that could have killed a horse. Across the room and behind bulletproof glass, medical professionals in their crisp white uniforms watch him steadily, surrounded by a menagerie of blinking lights and strange machines that remind Emil sharply of old science fiction movies, aliens and beasts and green-skinned women who were disappointingly ordinary.
He suddenly grits his teeth, back contracting painfully as something more or less that human presses against his skin, urging to push through, to metamorphosize, to grow. Be more than himself.
It always came back to that, didn't it?
There is a shuffling of alarm, palpably coppery, and several rifles swing about to point at him accusingly, even when the heart monitor is settling back to its easy rhythm. There is a hum of electricity from his restraints, a crackling charge just static-laced enough to be threatening tracing its way along the cables that hold him to the ceiling. His mouth curves up in an apologetic grin, and he tilts one shoulder up in a nonchalant shrug.
The clean-cut figures are less than amused, eyes narrow and reminding Emil so clearly of the rats he used to take pot-shots at in his youth. He should probably be disturbed by the mental equivalent, but he's not, and maybe it's this more than anything else – spikes and all – that makes him feel less like a man.
Behind the doctors and scientists and technicians, the door flings open, only stopped from crashing into the wall and the edge of a likely expensive piece of machinery by a hastily thrown arm. A man in a suit is already pointing straight at Blonsky, turning to regard whoever else is coming through—ah. Thaddeus Ross wags his head from side to side, raising his hands and looking haggard. He doesn't look through the glass. Behind him, the men and women in white shuffle away, keeping their eyes to their stations and their duties even if their ears wander. It might have been a good time to initiate an escape, but for now, the guns and drugs and humming electricity is enough to keep Blonsky complacent. There will be opportunities later.
Ross gestures to the lab equipment all around them, likely saying something about being outfitted to handle it, having experience in Blonsky's 'condition', protocol.
The indignantly bureaucratic official shakes out a paper, free hand still jabbing in Blonsky's direction. A handler, no doubt, sent to retrieve misused property, now full of American chemicals and American secrets. Naturally, neither party would want to let him slip away, slink off like Banner into the terrifying unknown.
Banner. Banner, Banner, Banner.
Beneath his skin, deeper than anyone can see, something uncoils, something more than himself, better, worse, more than words could describe, in the shape of every bad lot the world had ever given him. Banner. It wasn't possible, it wasn't right, that he had been so easily taken down. He was professional, a career soldier, almost without equal. He should have been unstoppable, a force of nature itself, immune to age and fear and pain. Banner had cheated. He had had some secret technique, some hidden skill that Blonsky had not known of, had not had time to learn. How could the original so easily surpass him, when he had taken so many enhancements? He had worked so hard, had been the best, the very best –
And he is still second rate.
Blonsky shifts, arms going uncomfortably numb, and collectively the room freezes, watching him intently. He does not bother to appear contrite, meeting the collective stare frankly. They all know what he is, now, even if they can't see it. He smiles, crooked and sharp, drifting his gaze across all of them, each and every one, until he comes to the last man.
Ross looks— just looks at him like Blonsky's his prodigal son or some kind of monster, and Emil wishes his vocal chords weren't so much pulp in his throat so he could laugh, or maybe howl, or maybe he just wanted throttle one of them until cartilage popped and he could almost feel human.
And he thinks, in any other story, he might have been the hero.