Disclaimer: I do not own the Avengers series, nor the song "Skinny Love" remade by Birdy which inspired this story. I was told that it is now against the rules to post song lyrics within your story, so please listen to the song and see how it works in since I had to remove the lyrics. :( Very sorry...

Rated: PG - 13

For those of you who genuinely like the Tony/Bruce pairing, this may not be the story for you. There, I warned you, so no flames please.

I am in the middle of figuring out an Avengers and X-Men crossover and as I've been reading up on the characters and gathering inspiration, I've noticed that a lot of people seem to just stick Bruce and Tony together for their mutual love of science (and the fact that they've already paired off everyone else).

I, however, do not see the relationship holding together due to issues on a psychological level. Tony is a mental mess from both his father's neglect and the issues with the world's constant want to use his science for harm. He has a self-destructive personality and a cruel tongue that could far too easily shatter Bruce. Bruce, meanwhile, is not a strong willed person. He has a very shy disposition and tends to hide from his problems rather than facing them head on for fear that the monster inside him will come out. Due to this, I do not think he would be able to cope with Tony's bouts of rage and disgust for himself, which usually end with him lashing out at everyone around him.

In essence… I believe that these men would be toxic for one another. Not the fluffy, romantic lovers that I see written about all too often.

That being said, I decided to write out how I think these two would coexist together in a relationship. What happens when their relationship gets stuck between a "Hulk" and a hard place?

Skinny Love
A Fanfiction by Foxwolfmoon

The musty smelling hotel room began to light slowly through the light linen curtains. The folds in the material were causing different shadows to move around the room as they shifted with the breeze coming through the window. It had been left open in the hope to air out the staleness in the decrepit place, but it seemed as though the stench of mold and mothballs would linger despite Dr. Banner's attempts at making it otherwise.

Said doctor laid in bed, his early greying, light brown hair tousled around his face. He was slowly coming back to consciousness due to the light invading the room. Finally, his eyes opened groggily only to narrow as the physicist tried to remember his current location.

Ah yes… He had stopped off in Greece on his way to London from his last research point in India. Ah, world travels.

He frowned softly, thinking perhaps he should have chosen a nicer set of rooms for his stay, but the place was quiet and out of the way. Traits that Bruce generally preferred above all else.

Sighing, the male roused himself from the scratchy sheets, a terrible white and blue set in the pattern of the nation's flag. He did find the Greek flag to be lovely, but using its image in the form of bedding just seemed tacky.

He slowly made his way to the tiny bathroom and started running the tap to get the water warm. As he waited, he looked into the mirror sadly as he thought of why he was once again traveling instead of back in New York with the rest of the Avengers Team.

He and Stark… Tony, he supposed was more appropriate, had begun a strange relationship. At first it had been a strained friendship built on a mutual appreciation for the scientific arts. Bruce would be lying if he said that he hadn't admired the younger Stark for years with his constant scientific breakthroughs.

Over time, the teasing and banter (plus a very large amount of scotch) had led to them becoming intimate. It could have been nothing. I could have just been a momentary lapse of judgment that meant nothing more to either party. But Tony was already in a downward spiral. And Bruce could not refuse such positive attention.

The positive attention did not last for long though. Whenever Tony became bitter about his role in the Avengers, about his place in the world, Bruce was there to catch the full brunt of the man's cynicism.

Bruce frowned at the chipped tile on the counter. Several pieces were cracked or even missing. He slowly began to go about shaving. He hadn't bothered to do so in a couple days and he was beginning to look scraggly.

He was just about done when his phone went off. His hand slipped and he nicked himself good right beneath his chin. He cursed softly, looking down as blood dripped into the sink and was swept down the drain by the water.

It was Tony's ring tone. Bruce ignored it and continued to finish his task at hand. He hadn't been able to handle Tony's mood swings or jibes. The nights of Tony's alcohol abuse and nightmares… Whenever Bruce would try and help, Tony would rebuff him, saying he'd be fine, but generally returned to the bottle and started the cycle all over again.

Bruce could not handle the ups and downs of Tony's mind and yet he also could not bring forth the ire to break the man out of his self-destruction. He knew someone could help Iron Man, but he just could not see it being him.

Bruce gritted his teeth as he heard the phone go off once again. He had requested for Tony to leave him alone while he took this excursion. It had been his singular act of bravery. He'd let Tony know that he needed time to think and that it wouldn't help if the man hounded him the whole time. So far the man had behaved himself, but he wasn't sure that he would continue to do so.

He made his way into the bedroom again, rubbing his face dry with a fluffy towel as he scooped up the phone. "Hello, Tony." He answered finally. He hoped it was an emergency.

There was a soft intake of breath on the other end of the line. It was clear that Tony was surprised that the doctor had even picked up and his mind had gone blank. "Hey, Brucey." He managed to utter finally. "I... I know you said not to call, but the big bat Fury wanted me to get ahold of you..."

Across the world, Tony "Iron Man" Stark shifted uncomfortably as he stood in his living room in Malibu. He was still dressed in long cotton pajama bottoms, having only just got word from Fury that they were all needed in New York at the Avengers Tower. "Something new is going down. Something big. He wants us all back to head quarters, Pronto."

Bruce sighed but nodded, lightly rubbing the sinus points between his eyes. "Alright... I suspect there will be plane tickets waiting for me." "First class all the way back..." Tony confirmed with a half hearted twitch of his lips.

"Hey Bruce..."

"Yes, Tony?"

"I'm sorry..."

"I know..." The hulk responded quietly. There was a finality in both their voices. Both knew that this relationship would not work out any longer. They had found companionship in one another for a brief time, but in the end... Tony couldn't settle and Bruce couldn't cope.

There was a pregnant pause from both before Tony cleared his throat and moved to continue. "Your first flight leaves in about three hours. You should be back to the U.S. by around 10 A.M.*" He told him matter-of-factly. Bruce smiled softly at Tony's attempt at normalcy.

"Thank you, Tony. I'll see you in the morning."

"Yeah, yeah. Just take care of yourself, Greenie."

"And Tony?"


"Thanks for giving me time."

The call ended after that, neither one saying an official goodbye. Tony lowered the device slowly and grimaced at it, his thumb lightly running over the saved picture of his friend's, once lover's, face. He shook himself lightly and decided that he needed a drink before he actually went about getting ready for his own private flight to New York.

He tossed his phone carelessly onto the sofa and made himself a scotch on the rocks at the bar before flopping down onto one of the stools and staring down into his tumbler of amber liquid.

He had never meant to hurt Bruce... He had thought that a man who had such a big green anger problem would understand his own issues, but in the end, Bruce didn't like his own anger so how was he to possibly deal with someone else's?

Tony sipped at his drink bitterly as he ran fingers through his own sleep mussed hair. He did not like discussing his emotions because it made him feel weak. Bruce didn't like discussing his emotions because he was afraid of them. There was no way for them to come to terms with one another and finally Bruce had just run away, just like he always did. Tony had a feeling that the physicist placed all the blame for their rocky relationship on Tony, but in Iron Man's eyes, both of them were at fault. And as everyone knew, it took a lot for the inventor to claim even partial blame for anything, so he felt fairly comfortable in that.

The only thing that Tony worried over was... Where did they go from here?Finishing his scotch, Tony left the glass on the counter, knowing Pepper would take care of it later. He swiped his cell phone off the couch as he passed on his way to his bedroom. He supposed they would just have to wait and find out. As he got ready and packed his bags, he resolved to himself that it would all work out in the end.


He soon made his way out the front door, Happy already standing outside with the limo waiting.

This was life. Sometimes things worked out. Sometimes they didn't. And sometimes... You just have to keep going and Avenge your past mistakes.

* I have no idea how long a flight from Greece to New York would take, XP So I just went with the song and said they'd see each other the next morning.

AN: And there you go, my take on what a realistic relationship between Bruce Banner and Tony Stark would be like. Sorry if some don't like it. I hadn't even intended on writing anything until I was listening to this song after having a discussion about it with another writer.

I hope some of you enjoyed it and please go and listen to Birdy's version of "Skinny Love" if you hadn't already. The dear girl was only like 15 or something when she recorded it and it's just beautiful. It's very popular over in England.

Anywho, like my other story "30 Minutes - Loki's Tale" this story is sort of a build up to the Avengers/X-Men Crossover I will soon be working on. Keep an eye on me for future postings as I hope to put out a lot of stuff before my classes start on August 20th!