I do not own any of the Avengers. I simply own the two characters that I introduce…

Author's Note: I know this kind of goes against his story, but I thought it would be funny if Bruce and the others had to take care of a…child. :)

I'm not the best writer, but I'm working at it. When reviewing, I will take constructive criticism, so please do review with it. Lastly, I hope you like this! It's not much, and it's really just a bit of practice.


Chapter I

Life at Stark Tower was… How should it be described? Perhaps, hectic is the correct term. Of course, Thor spent his days still adjusting to life on Earth and unfortunately breaking many things of Tony's. Speaking of the devil, Tony was being his egotistic, arrogant, usual self while Steve always objected to his attitude. Bruce, Clint, and Tony were always trying to teach Steve to understand the technology of today, but he couldn't get out of his past life. Natasha spent most of her time talking to Pepper. And why wouldn't she? She and Pepper were the only females in the building. Bruce liked to be alone most of the time, in the lab Tony had given him. The others would come and check on him, but, as usual, he was quiet as ever.

On the current day, it was early in the morning (about seven thirty) and Bruce leaned against the kitchen counter with a cup of coffee in his hands. He liked the quiet of the morning, no one bothering him and it was simply…quiet (if you tone out Thor's snoring from his bedroom). Okay, well it was quiet, until Tony decided to make and appearance in Bruce's formerly peaceful moment.

Tony walked into the kitchen and patted Bruce's shoulder, then walking past him to get himself a cup of coffee. "Hey, big guy," he said.

He just nodded. "Morning, Tony."

Tony looked at him, a confused and interested gleam in his eye. He just raised his eyebrows and set the coffee pot down, taking a sip of his coffee. "Get enough sleep?"

And, as always, Bruce gave a simple, predictable answer of, "Yes."

"What do you plan to do today?" Tony decided to continue this little interrogation.

Bruce shrugged and Tony got a bit fed up. "Okay, you're freaking me out. What's with the…quietness?"

He scoffed a bit and turned to Tony. "I'm tired. Is that a crime?"

"It is here," Tony said, a joking tone lacing his voice. He set his coffee cup down and raised an eyebrow. "Woman problems?"

Now, Bruce was genuinely annoyed. "That's the first thing you come up with?" He had an almost offended expression on his face.

Tony shrugged and smirked innocently. "I'm me. What do you expect?"

"Not much…" Bruce mumbled as he lifted the cup to his mouth.

More footsteps made them both turn. "Morning boys," the red-haired woman yawned. Instead of heading for coffee, she just got a glass from the cupboard and poured herself a glass of water. She sat down at the kitchen table, looking comfortable in her sweat pants and tank top.

"Good morning…Natalie," Tony stressed each sound in 'Natalie' and Natasha just looked over with a bored look on her face. "Just…don't, Tony."

He put his hands up in a defensive position. "Not my fault," he argued.

Clint was the next one to enter the scene. He didn't say anything, because he seemed to be half asleep at the moment. His eyelids drooped and he stretched his jaw in a large yawn.

"Good morning, sleepy-head!" Natasha teased in a sing-songy voice.

He raised his eyebrows for a moment and yawned. Tony quickly got him a cup of coffee. "Here- caffeine."

Clint took the cup eagerly and took a sip, instantly gaining more energy. "Thor's coming," was the first thing he said.

Tony looked around at the small group. "Why didn't we baby-proof the kitchen, or anywhere for that matter?"

Natasha rolled her eyes and put her hands on her hips. "He's a grown man, Tony."

"From a different planet, sure," he shot back.

Thor's thunderous voice was heard from the hallway and they all jumped a bit at the sound. "Fine morning! Isn't it, my friends?"

"Oh, yeah," Clint agreed flatly. His voice was referring to the fact that he'd been up most of the night listening to music and… Well, they weren't sure what else he was doing. They just knew that he kept them up most the night; how Thor or Steve slept was a complete mystery.

"Maybe you shouldn't have been listening to Metallica until three in the morning," Natasha snapped at him, brushing back her "bed-head" hair.

"Maybe those beers weren't a good idea," Tony muttered to himself.

"What was that?" she asked him.

Tony replied quickly, "Nothing!"

She narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously.

Thor walked over and put a hand on Clint's shoulder. "You seem tired, my friend."

"Tired isn't even the beginning," he murmured. He leaned over the counter, his head resting on his hand.

"Coffee, Thor?" Tony asked, knowing how much the demi-god loved the drink.

"Of course! What else?" Thor rushed over to the coffee pot and Tony got him a cup.

"Drink up, buddy." He patted Thor's back and Thor sat down across from Natasha.

Bruce looked around the group and set his coffee down. "Well, I'm gonna…go."

Clint leaned over and muttered something to Tony that Bruce didn't catch and Tony smirked his signature smirk.

Just as Bruce was walking out, Steve walked in with messy hair and dark bags under his eyes. He ran a hand through his hair and collapsed in a chair at the kitchen table. He looked over at Clint with daggers.

Clint's eyes widened and he set his coffee down, tempted to leave the kitchen in fear of getting hurt.

"Morning, Steve," Natasha said, casting a glance his way.

"Good morning, Captain Rogers!" Thor boomed.

Steve winced at the volume in Thor's voice. "It would be if Clint hadn't kept me up. Luckily I fell asleep around midnight."

Natasha laughed. "Ha! At least you got sleep."

Tony snorted at Natasha's comment. "I don't know about you, but I slept like a baby."

"That's because you are a child," she snapped at him.

He slapped his hand over his heart dramatically. "Natasha… That hurt," he said. He tapped his fingers over his heart. "Right here."

"Good," she mumbled flatly.

Bruce scoffed quietly at them and left the room completely, not even regretting his decision to leave.


Bruce sighed a bit as he heard his phone ring and he reluctantly took it out of his pocket. He looked at the caller ID, but it read, 'Unknown Contact'. He raised his eyebrows and answered it, "Hello?"

"Bruce?" was the quick response on the other side of the line. The voice was hauntingly familiar to Bruce and his heart skipped a beat.

"Jennifer?" he said back, his voice a bit shaky.

"Thank god…" the woman (apparently Jennifer) said. "Bruce, I need to see you."

"I- what?" Did he hear right? She wanted to see him?

"I need to see you," she repeated. "I'm-" she stopped and seemed to suck in air as if she felt pain. "I'm at the hospital."

His expression was blank. "The hospital?"

She sighed now. "Yes," she said. "Please, Bruce."

Bruce hesitated, but finally worked up the nerve to say, "I'll be there soon."

She sighed in relief and said, "Oh, god, thank you Bruce. Thank you."

"Yeah…" he said, and then he hung up. He set the phone down on the table top lightly, staring off into nothing. He thought today would just be another crazy, hectic day, but he was completely wrong.

Bruce made his way back upstairs regrettably. When he got to the living room, Tony, Clint and Steve were watching sports. Thor was sitting down, studying the television closely trying to figure out why men in padding were running into each other and fighting for a ball. Then he began to go on and on about how it reminded him of something in Asgard.

Tony turned around and saw Bruce, and exaggerated a gasp. "Is hibernation over already?" he asked, as if to be in shock.

Bruce shook his head. "Unfortunately, no," he said. "But I'm going out."

"Why?" Tony questioned.

"Is that any of your business?" Bruce decided to answer a question, with a question.

"You're staying in my house, so, yes, I think it is," Tony had a victorious tone in his voice.

"I will tell you when I get back." Bruce said in annoyance. He grabbed his jacket.

"Fine, fine, fine…" Tony muttered.

"See you later, Bruce," Clint said, not even taking his eyes off the TV.

He didn't even respond, but Bruce just walked out the door, wanting to get to the hospital and come back.


"I'm looking for Jennifer Bates?" Bruce told the woman at the front desk. She directed him towards her room and he nodded. "Um, thank you."

He wasn't in any rush to see this woman (he never was), but, then again, he was curious why she was in the hospital and why she "needed" to see him.

He followed the room numbers until he came to Jennifer's and he took a breath, opening the door. He stepped in and closed it behind him, looking at the woman in the hospital bed. She had curly, caramel-colored hair and her face was paler than Bruce remembered.

She gave a weak smile at the sight of him. "Hi, Bruce…" she said.

He raised a hand as a sign of greeting, and then put it in his pocket. "Jen."

"It's…good to see you." It was like she had to force herself to say those words. She ran a shaky hand through her hair.

He moved closer towards her. "What'd you need to see me for?"

"Do you remember that day…six years ago?" Jennifer asked him.

The memory played through his brain, every word, picture, and movement of that specific day sharp as a tack. "Yeah…"

With a movement of her head, she motioned towards the other side of the room. Bruce turned around and saw a girl, maybe five or six years old, sitting in a chair with her legs pulled up and her knees in the air. She had a book resting against her legs and her eyes scanned the page.

Bruce's gaze whipped back to Jennifer. "That's-"

"Meredith," she said, cutting him off. "We call her Maria."

He remembered the first time he'd seen that little girl: she hadn't even been a week old and then he cut off communication from Jennifer completely. Until today. "Do you… Do you have a point?"

Jennifer sighed, looking Bruce in the eyes firmly. "I need you to take care of her."

"I-I can't," he spluttered. "I'm…busy."

"Busy doing what?" she snapped. "All of New York knows you and the other "avengers" are hiding out in that building. What could you possibly be doing?"

Yeah, she was still the same Jennifer… "That's…not your business," he muttered. "But don't you have friends or family that could take care of her?"

"Bruce, you know I'm an only child and that my parents are dead," she said, her voice losing its sharp edge. "And I don't have "friends", exactly. Coworkers, but they won't house my- our daughter."



"I won't."

"Yes you will."

"No, I won't!"


"Fine!" Bruce finally gave in and accepted. He looked back at Meredith and it seemed as if she hadn't moved at all. "Fine… I'll do it… For her- not for you." His brown eyes looked to Jennifer now.

"It won't be hard," Jennifer insisted. "She's very refined- a lot like you actually. She loves to read and draw. But she's very curious, so you might have to keep an eye on her sometimes."

"Alright, alright," he mumbled.

She nodded. "You'd better go see her then…" She leaned back in her bed with a sharp breath in pain, but soon settled.

He swallowed and rubbed the back of his neck, walking over to the little girl. He squatted down to get to her level. "Hi…Meredith," was his timid greeting.

The little girl lowered her book and her legs so she could look the man in the face. "Hello…" she said quietly.

"Do you know who I am?" he asked slowly.

She gave a meek nod. "You're my Papa."

Bruce couldn't help but smile a bit. She had big, brown eyes that just… He couldn't even describe it. "That's right," he said. "You're going to stay with me while Mommy's here with the doctor. Is that okay?"

Meredith nodded again, a small smile coming upon her face. And, without warning, she'd stepped off the chair and wrapped her arms around her father's neck. Bruce put his arms around her, awkwardly, not exactly used to this. This would be one hell of a story to tell Tony and the others…


Author's Note: So? What do you think? Is it okay? Not okay? Please review and tell me what I need to work on, or tell me what you like. :) It's greatly appreciated.

If I get enough reviews or favorites on this chapter, I will continue. If not, then I probably won't.