Well hello. I'll try to keep this bit short and sweet. This is my first fic in the Avengers fandom, so I hope it's okay. Currently T, may (and will probably) go up to M. Depends on how well I think I can write.
This will be dark, with mentions of failed suicide and possible future attempts. If that's a trigger for you, you may not wish to read this story. Also, in future chapters it will contain m/m pairing. Don't like, don't read.
I don't own the characters. Nor do I own the actors. If I did I would have Fluffalo, RDJ and Hiddles in my closet.
Bullets were not an option. Or at least not a solution on their own.
Bruce had put a bullet in his mouth once before and learned, to his devastation, it not only failed to kill him but managed to bring out the 'other guy', and with him, chaos to the outskirts of the town he had made his home. He had nearly killed someone. Again.
This plan had, obviously, failed, and it became clear to Bruce that he had to reevaluate the monster within him, because he had truly underestimated its presence and the speed at which it could be unleashed. It had taken less than a second, between when Bruce had pulled the trigger, to when it would have hit the roof of his mouth before tearing itself through his skull, to when the Hulk appeared, preventing any such event and instead spitting the tiny bullet out of its monstrous mouth before smashing everything in its path, as if to punish Bruce from even thinking of such a thing, let alone attempt it.
He realized not only that he had to reevaluate the Hulk, but find a far more effective way of getting the job done. There was, he believed, always a way to find closure; anything done could be undone, to some extent, at least. But there were side effects to everything, and just as old age is a side effect to living, there would be side effects to the end of the Hulk. Bruce had determined what it would mean to destroy the Hulk, and was very happy to accept his own death if it ensured the termination of the creature inside of him he so desperately longed to be rid of. It watched over his very move, hidden at the back of his mind. It tortured his every thought. He wanted to be nothing like the beast inside of him; wanted to have nothing to do with the monster he could become.
Months had passed since his first attempt and he knew that it would be pointless (and dangerous) to try again in the same way. He found seclusion and hid himself as far as he could get from the rest of the world. It was soon after he was able to mark the calendar on a one-year anniversary of his last destructive incident that Natasha Romanoff (and about two dozen 'hidden' SHIELD operatives) visited him.
For Bruce it was bad timing. He had been nearing the final stages; the last several days in fact, of preparing a serum he believed could simultaneously block his monstrous half while stopping his human heart. (Though he had planned to find a gun in case his heart put up as much a fight as he knew the monster would.)
For SHIELD it was perfect timing: Dr. Bruce Banner was alive and well, very capable of doing their bidding.
Bruce went along with it, mostly seeing it as one good deed he could do before he a.) broke another neighborhood or b.) had a chance to finish what he started. The Avengers were something, he hoped, that he could be remembered for. Something other than a deadly failed experiment, that is.
When the world was safe again from Loki and the Chitauri, Bruce decided he needed to set a date. Every moment his vital organs were functioning was a moment that he remembered of the people he'd killed, and he felt the guilt weigh heavily on his shoulders.
He needed time, though. There were loose ends he needed to tie up, and despite his self-loathing, he did acknowledge both that he was a genius and that the world would be better off if the Avengers, or at least Tony Stark, had his data. With a mind like Stark's, he felt no guilt at leaving them. There would barely be a dent in the knowledge they might lose. After a night of studying his notes, Tony would be as knowledgeable in gamma rays as he was, and could quickly surpass him. So he needed time to compile his notes, as it would take even the assembled Avengers at least a month to rummage between the helpful and the pointless data. The least he could do was to clean it up a little.
His serum was almost complete and it was only a matter of time before he broke again. He was proud of the Avengers but he knew that if he stayed he could, and probably would, destroy them. Just falling through the floor had nearly doomed Natasha, and the team was broken enough when Agent Coulson, who wasn't even technically an Avenger, was killed.
No, Bruce was a time bomb. He would not condemn those who he loved.
Five weeks, he decided. It was a good length of time. He knew the serum could be completed by then, and he could compile and condense his research. He even had time to try to enjoy the last of his time with the Avengers that were still around New York. Besides, he had been invited to stay with Tony in Stark Tower for the next month, giving him a week to spend back in Calcutta during which he could finalize the scientific notes that he would pass on to the Avengers Initiative. Finally, he would end the Hulk, and by extension, himself.
"Five weeks," he told himself, "And I won't have to worry killing the ones I care about. Five weeks and I'll be at some sort of peace."
Tony Stark, however, had entirely different plans for Dr. Bruce Banner.
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