Life was strange after the battle of Midtown. Sure, people resumed their daily activities Returned to their jobs and habits There were plenty of those who helped with the clean up, Bridgette and Steve included. She wore her nonprescription glasses while Steve pulled the hood of a sweatshirt over his head. They blended easily enough. Captain America and Ricochet had disappeared with the Avengers, now they were only civilians helping out to restore the city to its former status. Though there was a brief instant where a young boy pulled on her pant leg, requesting her ear. So, she bent down and he whispered to her,
"Are you a superhero?" Stunned that he could identify her while in her usual disguise it took her an extra moment to gather her wits and smile at the boy, a sneaky grin.
"Don't tell anyone, okay?" His eyes rounded as he gaped up at her. So, she gave a wave and returned to helping out Steve with a ruined building.
Tony Stark had donated a substantial amount of money and powered a workforce to help rebuild the city as well, which was of course generous of him since he was a main contributor to the destruction in the name of justice. He answered questions, had press conferences, becoming almost the face of the Avengers, the one willing to speak to the public. No one else wanted to compromise their home life.
Though she never did see Bruce. Not out in the streets. Not with the clean up crews. Not on television during Stark's many press conferences. She wondered if he was still staying with Tony at Stark Tower, maybe helping them create some fancy new technological device. The two geniuses saving the world with science. The idea made her smile. Smiling didn't come as easily as before, like it did when she was with the team. She found the reason easily enough.
She missed them.
The master assassins, the self-centered billionaire, the living legend, the demi god, and the man with breath taking anger management issues. Luck favored her, she did see Steve on a fairly regular basis as he stopped by her little cafe' shop that she worked at. He was doing his best to get out into the world and she supposed seeing a familiar face made the shift easier on him. She didn't mind at all, it was nice to see him. Not to mention that it got the girls she worked with in a tizzy every time he came inside, ready to swoon. He still made her heart flutter with her life long crush for the first hero which may never fade, but her mind was constantly distracted with thoughts of a mild manner doctor and his violent green alter ego.
Yes. She missed the Hulk too.
Living at Stark Tower was something else entirely. Dr. Banner had access to equipment he never even dreamed of touching, let alone working with whenever he felt like it. The building was under reconstruction as well, since it had been a primary battleground and launch site for the Tesseract. Bruce took refuge in one of the lower laboratories so to be out of the way for the workmen. He didn't want any stranger interaction that wasn't necessary just in case.
Just in case the other guy showed up. Since being with the Avengers, he had Hulk'd out multiple times. Once during his first encounter with Bridgette. Twice for the attack on the SHIELD helicarrier. Third and final time, he willingly shifted into the rage monster for the Chitaurian attack. Far too many times. He could feel the Hulk inside of him become restless every now and again, itching to be released. The other guy shouldn't be entitled to that luxury, his will should be controlled. Maybe he could just will the other guy away. Then he would just stay suppressed and away, locked up in some part of his mind. Could that be possible?
"Now you're just daydreaming, Banner," he chided himself. "It's not just anger. It's heart rate and emotional levels..." There was a swoosh as the lab door slid open, revealing the Tony Stark. He was flipping through some type of clipboard as he walked inside.
"Speaking of heart rate and emotional levels," he began, giving away that he heard the doctor's muttered ramblings. The genius hopped on the table, lowering the clipboard. "When are you going to go see the kid?"
Bridgette. Bruce lowered his gaze, returning to his task of fiddling with the gadget Stark Industries was having functional issues with. Tony rolled his eyes and took the small tool away, tossing it (gently) onto the nearest table.
"The kid. Ricochet, more commonly known as Bridgette. Short hair, blue eyes, stubborn as hell and has the strength to back it up. And if I remember correctly, she kissed you after we kicked Loki off our planet," summarized Stark. "Kissed you, as in, she came back for you and instigated the novel sensation. Tell me when I'm ringing a bell."
"I know who you mean, Tony," answered Bruce. He removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, drawing a breath.
The successful man gave him an exasperated look. "Then why in the hell haven't you contacted her?"
"How do you know I haven't contacted her?" he asked, brow furrowed. "Maybe I've been texting her all this time?"
"But you haven't. Jarvis and I have already cross checked all of your communications. The only people you've been in contact are those you see in person. Which by the way, is only me and Pepper. But mostly me. Though I'm well aware that my personality surpasses those of regular people." Tony hopped off the table and set the clipboard down, tired of hauling it around. If he carried it for much longer he'd look like he was actually working. And he couldn't have that.
"While your concern is nice-"
"Not really concern. More like interest."
"Either way, I appreciate it," sighed Banner, "but it's unnecessary."
"Unnecessary how?" asked Stark. "Because we've been having fun poking at your romantic life, haven't we Jarvis?"
"Sir, this is only your opinion. You've designed me to agree with your side of the argument," responded the computer butler.
"I didn't design you to argue with me."
"Actually sir, I believe you did." Tony rolled his eyes, pulling a computer screen over so to show the doctor her picture. Her profile picture looked back at Banner and his pulse picked up at the sight.
Short russet hair cut below her chin, bangs covered her forehead while glinting blue eyes looked out at him from the screen. The picture didn't smile like she usually did. Her expression wasn't blank, more like she was studying the person who took her picture. A look of focus. In the photo she was wearing her dark rimmed glasses with a square frame. It was apart of her disguise, as to why she needed one was still unknown to him.
"So why haven't you spoken to her? You two were cute together," asked Tony, turning the screen back to him, fingertips flipping through the digital pages of her file. Pages that were available anyway. He hadn't yet broke the confidentiality of her full file yet.
Banner gave a short laugh, glancing over at his friend. "Cute together? Maybe you forgot, but I tried to kill her-well, the other guy did. That doesn't exactly make for a healthy relationship last I checked." Stark looked over at his fellow scientist who was busy trying to find something else to occupy his focus. Anything to keep the attention spotlight off him. Tony wasn't one to pick up on social cues.
"You've seen the footage?"
The footage that included pieces of the battle for Manhattan Physical of proof of him going Hulk, big and green and smashing anything that got in his way. It also included Bridgette fighting alongside him, working together even.
Bruce paused for a moment before giving a reluctant answer. "Yes. I have."
"So what's the big deal?"
He sighed heavily, placing his hands flat to the table. Irritation levels were rising slightly and he could feel the other guy stirring, begging for a conflict. Wanting him to accept the provoking Tony provided. Wanting him to "Hulk out". Especially since they were talking about Bridgette, it seemed as if the other guy had a special interest. Her name, her image started his original stirring. Bruce took another breath. He was afraid of this. Of becoming fond of someone. It looked like the Hulk was taking away another chance from him. The other guy just wanted her for himself.
"He won't let me just be with someone, Tony," he tried to explain. "It doesn't work like that." Tony walked over to his friend's side, concern showing through his arrogant facade.
"Then tell me how it works. I'm rather intelligent, so I can keep up," he promised. Again, Bruce gave a soft laugh at the attempt at humor.
"Even I don't fully understand it."
Bridgette carried the tray of drinks easily as she wove her way through the dining room. She found the couple's booth and delivered their beverages, smiling and chatting as they were regulars. The uniform was the black pencil skirt, white blouse and black tights. Now that she thought back on it, that was what she was wearing when she was approached by SHIELD and encountered Dr. Banner. Her heels clacked against the tile floor as she walked back to the kitchen, ready to pick up the next order. A younger waitress, relatively new to the shop, stopped her in passing.
"Hey, do you think he's coming today?" she asked quietly. Bridgette quirked a brow, feigning ignorance. The older girl was an intelligent individual, with or without her genetic enhancements. She knew the blonde employee meant the Captain. The young girl nearly fainted when she took his order last time.
"Is who coming today?" she asked. The girl, named Beth, blushed at the question.
"Your friend," she whispered. Bingo.
"You mean Steve?" supplied Bridgette, filling her tray with the ordered dishes. "Blonde hair, tall, doesn't typically smile all that much?" Beth nodded, clutching her empty tray to her body.
"D-do you mind if I wait his table? I-if that's alright with you, I mean, with him being your boyfriend and all. I just thought it would be good practice i-in keeping my composure and all..." she rambled. Bridgette nodded as she adjusted the messy plates, lousy kitchen help.
"Sure, feel free. It's no problem-Wait. What do you mean my boyfriend?" she asked, catching onto her words a moment late. Beth regarded her strangely, tucking her pen behind her ear.
"He's your boyfriend isn't he? I mean, he acts like it, doesn't he?"
The Avenger was stunned at the assumption. Sure, Steve was the only Avenger she really had constant contact with. They met up rather frequently. He came to her cafe' to eat on a regular basis. They talked and laughed, and had a fun time in each other's company. She would help him with any problems the modern day world provided for him (i.e. The microwave is not a bomb, for future reference). He would give her a ride on his motorbike to work every now and then. Her number was one of the few installed in his phone to "speed dial" (which was another day of explanation) as well as her own. Maybe his hand found her shoulder every now and again if they were at the theater or offered his jacket if it was chilly outside. And of course there was her undying childhood crush on the hero but that would never be realized. Things like that just didn't happen for her.
Was he becoming her boyfriend?
What about Bruce? The quiet doctor that she loved to tease and harass The one who turned into a rage monster that would listen to her. Talk with her. Hell, she even kissed him! Kissed him and he hadn't contacted her since. She didn't have his number and sure, she could've gone directly to Stark Tower but she had been so busy with the city clean up and work, she hardly had any free time to breathe. Surely he could contact her if he wanted to, he had Tony Stark on his side after all. Maybe he just...didn't want to contact her? She had come on too strong too fast, simple as that. Way to go, Smith. Way. To. Go.
Both girls yelped as Bridgette's cell phone began to ring out loudly. Which was strange because she always set her phone to vibrate when she was at work. Always. Setting down her tray, she fished out her phone as quickly as possible to avoid attracting a manager's attention. Flipping it open, her screen was bearing a bright green screen with black font spelling out two words.
She gasped and yanked off her apron, tossing it over a swinging door. Grabbing her bag, she swung it across her body as she made sure she had everything.
"Beth can you tell them I had to go? It's a family emergency," she lied. The girl nodded, wide eyed. Bridgette thanked her and left the shop, taking off running down the street. Lucky for her, Stark Tower wasn't all that far away. The message was burned into her mind as she hurried, not nearly as fast in heels as she would be bare foot.
REVIEW! It's a little short but I had to get the ball rolling somehow! Well, I hope you readers have as much fun with this as you did with The Girl Who Can't Be Moved!
*Edit: I did correct Grace's name to Beth. Because I'm dumb that's why.