I do not own any of the characters present. They belong to Marvel. This was written purely for fun.
"If you could all take your seats, we'll get started."
Up in the helicarrier, far above the ocean with a view of Manhattan being reconstructed off in the distance, the small group of people known as the Avengers were gathered into a small conference room. Director Nick Fury was standing at the head of the table, his eye watching as each of the team members approached the surface.
As Director Fury began to punch a few codes onto the screen built into the surface of the table, the group began to seat themselves. Thor, the God of Thunder, took the seat directly to Fury's left. Next to him sat Dr. Bruce Banner, drawing his reading glasses from a pocket inside his jacket. To Banner's left was Tony Stark, leaning back in his chair with an air of abandon that clearly meant he didn't want to be here. Next to him sat Clint Barton, who was probably about as enthused as Stark, but his role as an agent kept such emotions from his face. To his left was Natasha Romanoff, who even sitting in a semi-relaxed position still looked poised to kill. And finally, next to her, was Captain Steve Rogers, looking every bit the attentive soldier that he was. It had only been maybe two months since the incident with Loki, and while they were starting to work more as a team than a group of six individuals, there was still some tension between them.
Once they were all seated, the director of SHIELD activated each of the screens in front of the people present, and launched into the details for their next mission.
Agent Romanoff was the first to notice something was off. Her focus on Fury was broken a few minutes later when she heard the man two seats over draw a tense breath. Her eyes immediately darted over to Dr. Banner as adrenaline pumped through her body. His name was on her lips, but she remained silent. Her superiors had talked to her about this; she needed to learn to trust Bruce and not be so paranoid about having another incident with his raging other half. Still…even as she observed him, she couldn't help but wonder.
He looked distracted. His big brown eyes were still trained on Fury, but whether or not he actually saw the man was questionable. She noticed a slight quiver run through his hands before he folded them upon the table. Aside from these minute details and that he had sat up a little straighter, he looked to be in control of himself.
When nothing further happened, Natasha slowly returned her eyes to Fury. Even as she caught on to what he was saying, she continued to cast wary glances over at the doctor.
Bruce only had the chance to draw a startled breath in before the darkness clouded his vision. It was a peculiar feeling that overcame him, and before he could even comprehend what had happened, it engulfed him completely.
A light snickering sound seemed to echo from the depths of nothingness.
He stiffened, and only then realized he had control over himself again. He blinked rapidly to clear the darkness from his vision, but it was in vain. He glanced around hesitantly and grew only more confused when he looked down and saw his slacks and shoes in perfect clarity. The environment he was standing in was completely black, but he appeared to be perfectly lit.
His reflections were put on hold when a presence made itself known somewhere around him. Brown eyes darted around to find the unknown person, but failed utterly. He could feel his heart pounding in his chest and he drew a few deep breaths to calm himself, lest he make this unusual and potentially bad situation worse.
'Yes, do calm yourself,' came a voice from the gloom. A feeling of dread quickly came over Bruce when he recognized the voice. 'I have no interest in having a conversation with the mindless beast.'
"Show yourself," Bruce said in an even voice, eyes still on the move. "What is it you want, Loki?"
"A chat with you, of course."
Bruce whirled around to find the Norse God of Mischief himself standing in the darkness. Loki was dressed as he had been during his stay on board the helicarrier and was standing surprisingly at ease. His eyes were sharply trained on the doctor in an expression that did not bode well.
As Loki took a step forward, Bruce withdrew a pace back. "Why?" he asked carefully. He had to keep his head, but he was becoming increasingly frightened. There was no sign of any of the other Avengers that he had been surrounded by moments ago. He was on his own in an unknown place against Thor's brother, one who didn't want the other guy this time.
The grin that appeared on the demigod's face sent a chill through Bruce. "I wish to understand the sort of companionship my dear brother seeks amongst you mortals. I have had the opportunity to speak with the rest of your comrades at differing times," he explained as he strode forward. "And while I did not truly speak with the beast, I have shared more words with it than with you, the creature pretending to be a man."
He suddenly stopped, leaving only a few feet between them. "You seem far more interesting to talk to than your comrades, Doctor Banner," he explained with a strange quirk of his head and a small smile that spoke nothing but malice, "especially if your comrades will not interrupt—"
The next words sent a wave of terror over him.
"—nor your beast."
A shriek ripped from his throat as he felt like he was torn in two. The rage that always lingered beneath his consciousness, the green haze that could threaten to appear at a moment's notice, were suddenly gone. When he became aware of his surroundings again, he realized he had collapsed to the phantom ground, feeling weak and shaky, but even more than that, completely hollow.
Bruce drew a few shuddering gasps of air, trying desperately to get an understanding of the situation, but it was all for naught. Even through the haze of horror, when he distantly heard Loki speak, he could hear the sinister smirk in his words.
"Now, for that chat..."
Had she not been keeping her eye on him, Natasha wouldn't have noticed that his irises had suddenly brightened from their normal brown to the brilliant green that was a clear indicator of what was to come. She was halfway into a standing position when he let out a yelp and curled into himself in pain.
The rest of the table, who had been absorbed in the information on the new mission from Fury, jumped at the sudden noise. All eyes shot to Banner, who was clawing desperately at the table and trying to regain control over himself.
Thor caught the shaking man before he could fall from his chair to the floor. "Doctor Bruce Banner—?"
The noise that escaped from Banner's mouth sounded like he was choking on his words. He managed to draw a quaking breath in. "C…C-Ca…" he gasped through the agony before his throat closed off again around a snarl of pain.
"Bruce, buddy," came Tony's voice, "I know it's a stupid mission and all, but this is a little bit of an overreaction, don't you think? I mean—"
The shuddering man's bright green eyes shot to Fury, who was observing the entire situation with a hard expression. "CAGE!" Bruce roared as a particularly fierce bolt of torture shot through the muscles in his back.
Leave it to Nick Fury to understand the single word command of a man mid-transformation. His eye shot to Thor. "Get him up to his cell in the holding deck now," he commanded with the kind of brisk efficiency that left no room for argument.
No argument came from the God of Thunder. He quickly lifted the quaking man, whose skin was rapidly turning green, into his arms and rushed from the room, pausing only to kick the doors off its hinges. He disappeared around the doorway, and all that was left in their wake was the sound of his thundering footsteps and Banner's increasingly animalistic snarls of feral agony.
As Fury whipped out his cellphone to begin making the orders for the Hulk's cage to be prepared, the rest of the team glanced anxiously at each other.
A few minutes passed. Above Fury's voice giving commands, the sounds of the Hulk's increasingly enraged roars shook the air. They grew more distant, but were ever present as agents sprinted past the broken door, armed and ready for anything.
"What set him off?" Clint asked quietly during a lull in the rage monster's guttural yells of fury.
Natasha's eyes lingered on the busted doorframe. "He seemed distracted during the meeting," she disclosed softly.
When she returned her eyes to her teammates, she found Tony Stark giving her a suspicious look. Before she could say anything, he crossed his arms over his chest. "So what happened to that whole 'learn to look at Dr. Banner as a team member instead of a monster' thing SHIELD has ordered you to do?" he asked in his rapid-fire way of speaking.
She decided not to ask how he knew what her orders were as a particularly loud roar seemed to shake the helicarrier itself. She gave Tony an icy look. "At least I am justified this time."
"Justified, my ass," Tony muttered as he turned to leave.
"Where are you going?" Steve asked, finally coming out of his silence.
"To calm him down," Tony replied without pausing.
What did make him pause in his departure was Fury's voice directed at him. "He will calm down on his own accord, Stark," Fury said as he withdrew his cellphone from his ear. His eye was locked fiercely on Tony. "He's in the holding cell right now, and he's not coming out until he's himself again. I've made sure that the tank won't be released when he hits the glass, so he'll still be there once we're finished. Now sit down; we have a meeting to conclude."
Tony wasn't the kind of guy to easily take orders. Before he was able to shoot off a snarky remark, Thor reappeared in the doorway looking a little worse for wear.
"The Green One is filled with such rage," he explained as he stepped into the room. He began straightening his attire, but he seemed far from focused. "I have not seen him act so violently before."
Tony turned and looked back at Director Fury. "Right, which is why I should go down there and calm him down. The meeting can wait—"
"He's not going anywhere, Stark," Fury interrupted him. "We'll let him smash around in the holding tank until he calms down. Now sit down."
Before the list of insults could snake past his lips, Tony felt a hand fall upon his shoulder. He turned to see Thor looking down at him. "The Green One is blinded with rage at present, Metal Man. Let the storm pass."
The God of Thunder moved past him to return to his seat. Tony made a face and reluctantly followed. As he took his seat, he noticed Banner's reading glasses on the floor next to the empty chair. He bent over and plucked them from the ground, carefully folding them before putting them down on the table where Bruce's folded hands should have been.
A/N: So, this is my first time writing any of these characters, let alone in this fandom. After seeing the movie, however, I simply couldn't resist trying my hand at writing these wonderful characters. I'm thinking this is going to be five, maybe six chapters, but it could be longer.
Thank you for reading! Feedback is always welcome.