Behind His Quiet Lies: Part One

By: Villain's Vindication

AN: I know neither of these two is a villain, so this veers off from my normal fairs of writing but I just couldn't help myself

Bruce paused in his packing when a friendly hand griped his shoulder from behind. "Running off to parts unknown Big Green?" The doctor forced a smile to his face and looked back at Tony, "trying to stop me Stark?"

Tony stepped back and put his hands up in mock defense, "no, I wouldn't do that. Besides, those people could really use a guy like you. You do good work Doctor."

Banner's smile became genuine as he returned to packing.

"...buuuut…," Tony chuckled at the quick glare sent his way, "I do hate to see you leave like this. You'll need supplies… real ones, not those rusted scraps you force yourself to work with. The third world isn't known for its abundance of gamma radiation research equipment. And hey, now you have a billionaire best-y who owns all the sterilized needles you could ever need."

Bruce's white knuckled grip on his bag relaxed. He still hadn't quite… bounced back from his last Hulking. The Other Guy was close to the surface, riling. And Tony had always been completely oblivious to the nature of his other half. The man's sarcastic, joking nature made his emotions swing around in ways they hadn't for awhile now.

The scientist always treated him like an ordinary friend. It was one thing he would never understand about Stark, that was for sure. Everyone else always had one hand on their gun and placating words ready on their lips when he was around.

Not that it would save them.

He shook his head at his dark turn of thought. That was why he had to get out of here and get knee deep in diphtheria patients. There he would have no time to remember how much he hated himself. Plus he had to atone for his innumerable murders by saving as many lives as he could. So Tony's suggestion was nothing if not reasonable. It would help him heal more people certainly. He sighed, reigning in his controls, "that would be great Stark."

Tony nodded and led Bruce down to his lab which now had an adjoining medical wing. "Take whatever you need Banner plus everything you don't. I'll go grab you another duffle so you can carry more."

"Sure, thanks Tony," the man turned back and winked at him before heading out the door, leaving Bruce alone to his devices. After grabbing all the basics, he began to carefully set vials of penicillin amongst his clothes when his eyes caught sight of a keypad reflected in the mirror. His curiosity got the best of him and he abandoned the medicines for the lock. There didn't look to be any door for the keypad to open, but it was simple enough to figure there was a door hidden somewhere nearby.

He looked back to the door Tony left through. It seemed terribly inhospitable to break into some hidden room of Ironman's, but really if he wanted it disguised he could have done much better than such an obvious lock. And he had told Bruce to help himself, hadn't he?

He knelt down so he was face level with the pad and began tinkering. He was no technology wiz like Stark, but he was a genius in his own right.

And he always loved a good puzzle.

"Hey Brucey I also picked you up a pair of shorts. They're some extra I had from the designs for the under armor for the suit. They're spandex too so they should… uhh…" Tony finally glanced over to see Bruce tap in the last two pass keys on the lock.

The wall next to it fell back and slid open, "uhh… that's supposed to be locked…" Tony trailed off.

Bruce felt a bit sheepish at getting caught. He hadn't actually expected to be able figure out the password. He laughed nervously and scratched the back of his head, "well it was locked. What's in here anyways?" he couldn't help but lean back to look into the small room that he had opened.

It was packed to the nines with weapons.

Lethal weapons.

Well that was a surprise.

"I didn't expect any other super genius to ever be in here. Guess I have to Bruce-proof this house as well as Hulk-proof it," Stark pouted. He wasn't really upset, honestly he was impressed at how fast Banner cracked the lock.

They both stepped into the room. Guns, missiles, bombs and bullets of all sorts lined the walls. "I thought you gave up the warmongering business Stark," Bruce said with some disappointment.

"I have," Tony said completely serious. This is all I have left, one of every weapon Stark Industries was producing when I…" he trailed off heavily, reaching up and touching the missile in front of him, "…when I was captured."

"When you were betrayed? It was in all of the papers, even in India."

Tony just nodded, unable to look at anyone when his months of torture were motioned, much less his respected college. He was still ashamed of it all. He had been such a fool to trust Obadiah, even if he was closer to a real father to Tony than his actual father had been. He was supposed to be a genius for fucks sake. How could he have not know?

"Are they still live?" Bruce asked to change the subject. He hated to see such a despondent look on this friend's face. It was so out of place on Stark.

Tony was then able to look over at him, "yeah, not that I will ever use them. They're just here to remind me of all I'm fighting for, all I have to atone for."

Bruce blinked at that. The search for salvation from sins was one he knew intimately. The difference was Ironman's crimes were all in the past where as he knew, so long as he lived, his future would be filled with further deaths and regrets.

He admonished himself again for thinking of such things again. It seemed he couldn't help it these days. He had actually been doing fairly well, but with everything that happened with SHEILD and the Avengers… he could feel the slick blackness of depression spilling slowly over him once more. Telling everyone of his suicide attempt, only one of many… nearly as many as his failed attempts at cures, brought it all back to the front of his mind.

The weapons before him suddenly began whispering to him, tempting him. "What's this?" he asked, carefully picking up a small metal canister no bigger than his palm.

"Oh that's just a grenade. The army was always pushing me to make everything more compact. Smaller weapons mean cheaper manufacturing cost, cheaper shipping, and the soldiers are able to carry more or at least able to move better when less encumbered. And, of course, it made me more money. It was a win, win, win, win… I also made it much more efficient. That little thing is near equivalent to a hundred old fashioned grenades." He smiled ironically, "I really thought I was helping people with this stuff. I was such a child," he shook his head at the memory.

Bruce chuckled at that, "and now you're what? All grown up?" Tony joined him, laughing freely once more, "Well… I didn't say that."

The doctor used the small distraction to slip the keychain sized weapon into his own pocket. He knew he shouldn't. He knew, but he couldn't help himself. He rationalized that he would never use it, just keep it around as a perverse sort of comfort. Maybe just knowing that the option was there, that he could if he wanted to…

It probably wouldn't even kill him anyways.

So there was no reason to feel guilty as he looked into Stark's laughing eyes.

None at all.