"Wow," Hawkeye said, pausing in mid-stretch of his bowstring. "Is that…"
"It is," the Black Widow said dryly over the comm. link in his ear. Far below Hawkeye's perch on top of one of the giant cranes in the dock, she was using the remains of a fishing boat that had been in drydock for repairs as cover. Giant laser blasts were flying thickly through the air from the huge mechanical creatures that were currently trashing what had been, up until twenty minutes ago, New York's busiest working shipyard. Thor's lightning strikes and Iron Man's gleeful over-use of live rounds weren't making their jobs any easier.
"Wow," Hawkeye repeated, absently firing off three rounds at the giant robot on the left. "I mean, I know he turns into a giant green rage monster, but I just didn't think…Tash, on your left."
Below him a slender figure catapulted herself over the side of the fishing boat, nimbly jumped on the back of the small drone that had deployed from the other giant robot-creature and busied itself with pulling wiring from its innards. The drone plunged to the ground, and the Black Widow reappeared, now armed with the gun that had been mounted on the drone.
"Someone needs to do something about that," she replied, while she used the gun to lay down cover fire as Captain America tried a frontal assault on the robot on the right, using his shield to take out one of the knee joints.
"It's not the sort of thing that you really want to bring up in polite conversation," Hawkeye said dubiously. "Banner's a cool guy, this will just be weird."
"I'll do it," she said bluntly. "I don't mind."
"No," Hawkeye said hastily. "No, this is probably more of a guy thing."
"I should say it is," he heard her snort. "You can hardly miss it, it's got to be six feet long."
"Not what I meant, Tasha," Hawkeye sighed. "Stark?"
"Bit busy now," Tony said, dodging one of Thor's errant lightning blasts. "Can this wait?"
Hawkeye watched as the Hulk swung out from the port's administration building and leapt, like the world's largest, greenest flying squirrel, towards the robot on the left.
"Not really," he said, wincing. "Have you been doing any research into material recently over at Stark Industries?"
"Material?" Tony said, distracted, as he dive-bombed the eye socket of the robot on the right. "As in nuclear material?"
"No, like material material," Hakeye replied, letting loose a volley of arrows at the drones throwing themselves at Captain America. "Like, spandex?"
"You're asking if the research and development department at the world's most innovative technology company has been looking into the properties of stretchy exercise clothing? Now?"
"Just answer the question," the Widow instructed, cutting Tony off before he could get in full flow.
"No, we're not looking into stretchy material," he replied, dodging one of the flailing limbs of the robot. "Why the sudden interest, Barton? You looking to upgrade your suit?"
The Widow snorted indelicately, and Clint sent an arrow down to land centimetres away from her foot as punishment. She knew how he felt about the purple.
"No," he said heavily. "But I think we need to do something about the Hulk."
"Hulk? What does he have to do with…"
In the air, Iron Man swung around and glanced at his giant green team mate.
"Holy shit," he said in awe.
"Yeah," Clint agreed.
"I take it that this time his pants didn't make it through the transformation."
"Not so much, no."
"And he's just…hanging out."
"Yeah," Clint repeated.
"I'll get Jarvis right on it," Tony said, eventually.
Three days later, several boxes of clothing were delivered to Bruce Banner's lab.
"Please wear these," he read aloud from the note. The 'please' had been underlined in red. Three times.
Inside the boxes were a collection of jeans, dress trousers, shirts and t-shirts. One whole box was dedicated solely to underwear. He pulled a pair out, shook them and stared at them in bewilderment. They seemed to be modelled on Victorian swimwear, covering him from his waist down to his ankles. He tugged at the material experimentally. It had a surprising amount of stretch to it.
A further note dropped out of the underwear box, along with a photograph.
"You might want to wear two pairs of these," it advised. He took a look at the photograph and blanched.
Two pairs? Better make it three, he decided.
A gentle knock at the door drew his attention.
"Natasha?" he said, crumpling the offending photograph up and throwing it nonchalantly to one side. "What can I do for you?"
"I wanted to talk to you," she said with a smile that alternately terrified and intrigued him. "About…proportion."
She advanced, and he felt a desperate urge to both hide and meet her half way.
"Excuse me," he blurted out. "I have to go and change my underwear"
Natasha was left alone in an empty lab.
"Huh," she said, confused. "I've never had that reaction before…"