Hey ya'll, this is the first chapter to my new story, obviously. I wasn't planning on posting this so soon, but my computer crashed and I lost all of the chapters I had pre-written for "My Aim is True" as soon as I get over the initial shock of the situation- IE. the fact that I lost three chapters I had written, three four thousand word chapters, I'll rewrite them and post them. I had this idea a little while ago, and I love writing Bruce Banner stories, but I thought it was about time to give Minnie and everyone else a rest. So, this is a new OC. I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Marvel.
The class of squealing happy eight year olds was extremely out of place in Stark Tower. It was nine months after the Loki incident, and most on Manhattan was almost back to normal- aside from the perpetual construction going on all over town. At Stark Tower Tony had decided to allow a field trip of eight year olds into the building to talk about science and look over the building and do other things eight year olds did. What neither Bruce, nor Tony expected was Sylvia Dennison to take the kids to some of the more private areas of Stark Tower, including the very lab they were working in.
Luckily it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, Tony wanted to see if they could make an Arc Reactor small enough to fit inside a cell phone, or an MP3 player, but still when you're working one moment, and surrounded by children the next, it can be a little unsettling. "Why are there children?" Tony asked Bruce who shrugged as the kids gathered around what they were doing.
"My sister has an iPod like this!" one of the kids said as they picked up the prototype MP3 player Tony was working on.
"No, she doesn't." Tony said as he plucked it from the kid's hand.
"What's that do?"
"Are you really Iron Man?"
"Will you blow something up?"
"Blow up the iPod!"
"No, that's lame!"
"Your face is lame!"
"Woah." Bruce said in shock and slight amusement. "That's enough boys."
"That escalated quickly." Tony muttered to Bruce who nodded.
"Mr. Stark, would you like to tell the kids something about what you're working on?" Sylvia asked.
"Ms. Dennison, what I'm working on is so complex the only person in this room that would understand half of what I'm saying about it is sitting right across from me, however, I do have a few things to say to you." he said to her making her face loose color as she walked over to him. "Bruce, man the fort."
"Tony, don't leave me here." he said quickly, but his friend walked out of the room leaving him with twenty small children all staring at him expectantly. "So... Who likes science?" he asked with a weak smile.
Pandemonium broke loose from there, kids were shouting for attention, trying to see what he was doing, pushing each other, opening doors in the room and Bruce was in the middle of the chaos trying desperately to control his heart rate.
A few moments later the woman Bruce took to be the class' teacher came in and loudly announced herself to the class. "Is this how we behave in public?!" she asked loudly and they all quieted down. "Wendy, Marie, close that closet door, Jason, get away from that, do not touch that Ryan!" she spoke to kids while Bruce sat there on his stool probably looking as dazed and confused as he felt.
"Okay kids, Mr. Stark is going to talk to you about science for a few minutes, and then we're going to go back downstairs." Ms. Dennison walked back into the room.
"Bruce, why don't you go upstairs for a bit Buddy?" Tony walked over to his friend and lowered his voice. "Or downstairs if it makes you feel better." he said referring to the Hulk panic room he had made for Bruce when Bruce agreed to move into Stark Tower, after Tony promised to take precautions so if the Other guy ever came out, there was less of a chance of him hurting people.
"Yeah, I'm going to go upstairs." he nodded to Tony who nodded back and clapped his friend on the shoulder before turning to the class.
"Yes, I am Iron Man, now today I'm going to explain to you guys a little bit about the science behind the Iron Man suit..." he looked back at Bruce as he walked out of the lab and then down the hall, to the elevator that would lead him to the floor Tony had given him. Seriously, an entire floor.
Each of the Avengers had one, but he was the only one (So far, as Tony liked to remind him) that had taken him up on the offer. He went to his floor and went to the large kitchen, even though he and Tony usually ate meals in the main kitchen on Tony's floor, Bruce kept his stocked with some of his favorite things.
After making himself a cup of tea and doing some breathing exercises. While Bruce was okay with kids one on one, groups of them had never been his thing. When children got in groups, he noticed they were loud, and fought for attention, it made him remember being a child, how hard it was growing up, how cruel kids could be to each other. He shook his head at the thought and let out a small sigh.
He didn't return to the lab for a few hours, when he did he noticed some of his papers had been moved, so he retrieved them from a drawer and started to work on them. He had been working for about ten minutes when he heard a slight knocking sound. He paused, and then started to work again. A moment later the sound started up again. He paused again, this time he frowned and listened. He hadn't been working himself to death so there was no reason he'd be hallucinating at this point- It wasn't uncommon for Bruce to literally work for days on end with as little sleep as possible, just so he could say he'd done something. Hallucinations after three days of no sleep were not uncommon.
"Hello?" he asked, breaking the first rule in the "Things not to do in a horror film" guide. He stood up when he heard the knocking again, this time accompanied by sniffling. The sounds were coming from the supply closet on the far side of the room. He walked over to it and opened it, and was surprised and horrified to see a little girl wearing a school uniform looking up at him. "Uh, hi there." he said when he saw her. She sniffled again and he noticed the tears rolling down her plump little face. He knelt down and sighed gently. "What's your name?"
"E- Eleanor Ra- Reed." she said shakily.
"Eleanor were you with the class here today?" he asked and she nodded. "Okay, come on." he said and she took that as invitation to throw her arms around his neck and start sobbing into his shoulder. He stayed kneeling like that uncertainly for a moment before he picked her up easily; she wrapped her legs around him like a koala. "I'm sure your parents are frantic." Bruce said as he stepped into the elevator. He took her up to Tony's penthouse and brought her to the closest bathroom before asking Jarvis to get Tony. Tony came from his office where he had been working on some ideas for the next Stark building, hopefully it was going to be in Tokyo, but they were still working on the zoning issues.
"What's up Buddy?" he asked Bruce who was wringing his hands like he did when he got nervous. "Did you crack another screen? You know its okay when that happens, but you've got to stop taking it out on the tech man." Tony grinned and Bruce shook his head.
"No, uh, when that class was here earlier-"
"Did those little grub monsters wreck something?"
"No, when you left me alone with them, they all went nuts, I tried to break up a fight with a few of them, and one of the kids- Well-" at that moment little blonde Eleanor Reed decided to come out of the bathroom. "She was locked in a closet." Bruce said as Tony stared at the eight year old.
"Bruce, I don't care if you promise to walk her and feed her, you can't keep her."
"Her name is Eleanor."
"Oh god you've named her? You're going to get too attached and want to keep her now!" Tony groaned.
"Tony, be serious!" Bruce said and he nodded before looking at the little girl.
"So, Eleanor, right?" she nodded. "Do you like pizza?"
"My mommy says not to take food from strangers."
"Does your mommy also say not to wander off during field trips and get locked in closets?" she shook her head. "Maybe she should start." Tony said under his breath before straightening up. "Do you know your phone number?"
"My address is in my backpack."
"Where's your backpack?"
"In the closet."
"I'll get it." Bruce said quickly. When he returned to the penthouse Tony had convinced Eleanor to take a slice of pizza and a glass of lemonade.
"In the front pocket." she said with her mouth full of pineapple pizza, the ham slices had been picked off and left on the plate in front of her.
"You live in Brooklyn?" he asked and she nodded.
"Do you have any ranch dressing?" she asked Tony who grinned.
"Oh no, I'm starting to like her too." he said as he retrieved the ranch.
"So what happened today?"
"After Mr. Stark took our guide to talk, two of the kids shoved me in the closet and then everyone left." she explained. "And it was really quiet for a really long time."
"Your phone number isn't in here." Bruce said and she frowned. "You sure you don't remember it?"
"I dunno." she mumbled.
"I could hack into the school files." Tony offered and Bruce shrugged. "Or you can just take a car and take her home."
"Me?" Bruce asked and Tony nodded. "Why not Happy?"
"You found her. Besides, Happy is with Pepper in Tokyo until Monday, you know that."
"Okay I'll take you home." Bruce said to the young girl who nodded. "I'm sure your mom and dad are worried sick."
"I don't have a dad." she said simply.
"What happened to him?" Tony asked.
"He had better things to do then take care of me."
"Did your mom say that?"
"No, he told me." she said simply and Bruce frowned.
"Sounds like a real piece of work." Tony mumbled.
"That's what my auntie Lettie says!" she swallowed her pizza. "Except she called him a piece of shit when I wasn't in the room."
"I wonder why she waited till you were gone." Tony said and Bruce shook his head.
"Your uh, mom probably wouldn't want you to talk like that." Bruce said and she nodded.
"Yeah I know, but she talks like that."
"Well she's an adult; she can talk however she wants." Bruce said.
"Travis in my class said that word when the teacher wasn't there."
"There's a reason he waited until the teacher was gone." Tony said as he leaned on the counter. "Well kid, when you're done with your pizza, Bruce here is going to take you home." Tony told her. "So before he does, you want to tell us who shoved you in the closet?"
"I'm not a tattle tale." she said shaking her head.
"Well I could always look over the security footage." Tony said. "And then find out who they are by asking your teacher."
"Wendy and Marie," Bruce said suddenly and she looked at him quickly. "I remember your teacher telling then to close a door." he said and she nodded.
"Wendy and Marie Hansen." she told the two Avengers. When she was finished with her food she gave Tony a hug, and then Bruce took her downstairs to the cars. They got into one of the many cars Tony had in his private garage and Bruce told her address to the GPS before starting the car and driving them there. "My mommy's going to be so mad." she said.
"I think she'll just be happy you're okay." Bruce said.
"I never didn't go home before."
"I'm sure she'll be relieved you're home." Bruce told her and she nodded.
When they finally got to the address Bruce sighed seeing she had fallen asleep. He went over to the other side of the car and woke her up. She frowned, but got out of the car and he shut it behind her before Bruce started to walk to the building, Eleanor ran up next to him and slipped her hand into his as they crossed the street. When they got to the building he looked at the names and was about to ask her if they were at the right place- He didn't see a name plate for Reed. The problem was solved when a neighbor opened the door to step out.
"Oh, Eleanor, good evening." the older woman said and Eleanor smiled.
"Good evening Mrs. Halloway." the little girl said as she caught the door. Bruce followed her to the staircase and they walked upstairs before Eleanor led him to a door. He knocked on the door and a tall skinny woman with longish brown hair opened the door.
"Bug!" she gasped and dropped to her knees. Eleanor rushed into her arms and hugged her tightly. "Harper!" the woman called into the apartment. "Harper, she's home!"
"Elle!" a blonde haired woman rushed into the hall and Bruce watched as Eleanor let go of the first woman and rushed to the other.
"Mommy!" she shouted and rushed into her mom's arms.
"So who are you?" the first woman asked Bruce who looked at her quickly.
"Oh, my name is Bruce, I found your... Daughter?" he asked and she shook her head.
"I'm her aunt, but don't worry, tons of people think we're Lesbos."
"You found my daughter?" Eleanor's mom asked as she stood up. She was shorter than her sister, and had a little rounder of a face Bruce noticed. He also noticed she had been crying, her eyes were red, her cheeks tearstained, and her nose was red.
"Yeah, I work at Stark tower-"
"Stark Tower, what was she doing there?" the Aunt asked.
"Her class went on a field trip there." Eleanor's mom explained before looking at Bruce. "Do you want to come in?"
"Uh, sure, thank you." he said as he stepped into the apartment. "She mentioned having some problems with some kids in her class. They were the ones who locked her in the closet."
"Two girls, sisters I think, Wendy and Marie."
"Wendy and Marie?" the woman looked down at her daughter. "Why would they do that?"
"Because they're mean and they hate me!" Eleanor said and her aunt picked her up.
"Why don't I get her ready for bed." she said rather than asked.
"I'm- I'm sorry, what was your name again?" Eleanor's mom asked looking at Bruce.
"It's Bruce, Bruce Banner."
"I'm Harper Burke." she told him and he nodded as he shook her hand. A whistle went off in the kitchen and she looked back, and then looked at Bruce. "Do you want a cup of tea?"
"Sure, can I help you?" he asked and she shook her head.
"No, no, you've helped enough already. I really can't thank you enough for bringing her home." she was saying as she led him down the hallway. It seemed narrower than it was because of the shelves of books lining it. He paused to look at some of the spines, everything from "Jane Eyre" to "On the Road".
He followed after her to the purple painted kitchen with white molding around the trim and on the ceiling. She lifted the whistling tea pot that had obviously seen a lot of love off of the burner on the vintage yellow stove. She turned off the stove and pulled two mugs out of the cupboard and filled them with hot water. "Is blueberry okay?" she asked.
"Yeah, that's fine, thank you."
"I really can't thank you enough for everything." she said as she dropped two tea bags into the mugs and picked them up to walk over to where Bruce was standing, her hands were shaking slightly making her spill a little of the tea. "Oh-"
"Let me." Bruce took them from her and set them on the counter.
"I'm sorry, I just- I tried to call the police and they told me I had to wait twenty four hours before I could report her missing and- I just I panicked. She's my little girl you know?" she asked and he nodded as he saw the tears welling up in her eyes. "I don't know what I would have done if something had happened to her."
"Hey," Harper's sister walked into the small kitchen and took a drink out of Harper's mug of tea. "Ugh, this is weak."
"Just because it doesn't have alcohol-"
"That's what I said." she replied and Harper rolled her eyes with a smile as she wiped her eyes. "Hey look kiddo, Bug is fine." she said and Harper nodded.
"I know, I know she is, it's just- I was so scared."
"I know, I know, but hey, at least she's back now."
"Where is she?"
"In the tub."
"I should go help her get ready for bed."
"Right, I'll show your friend out."
"Okay, thanks- Thank you again Mr. Banner." she said to Bruce who nodded as she walked out of the room.
"So, you work at Stark Tower huh?" Harper's sister asked and Bruce nodded.
"What was your name again?"
"Right, Bruce Banner, I'm Loretta Burke, and I just want to say, since my sister is so relieved about having Bug back, and so am I, but she's not thinking straight right now, and I am. I'd like to be the first to say, if I find out any fucked up shit happened to my niece, it'll take more than Tony Stark's twelve lawyers to stop me." She said as she shook his hand. He nodded and she nodded, before smiling again. "So look, Bug's got to get some sleep, and so does Cherry, so you really should get out of here, you know?"
"Yeah, yeah of course." he nodded. "Nice to meet you, good night." he shook her hand before walking to the door. When he stepped outside he sighed at least he didn't have to worry about the kid anymore. When he got downstairs he got into the car and started to drive back to Midtown Manhattan. Thirty minutes into the forty five minute drive he happened to look at the floor on the passenger's side of the car. "Christ." he muttered. Her backpack was on the floor of the car.
"Hey buddy." Tony said when Bruce came back in. "So that mom's a looker huh?"
"How would you know?" Bruce asked.
"Hacked the school's files and I looked her up." Tony said casually.
"It's disturbing how easily you can do that. They take pictures for the school?"
"What's disturbing is how easy they make it. And no, I had Jarvis run her name and I found an article written about her store."
"What kind of store does she have?"
"A book store." Tony replied.
"Where?" Bruce asked and Tony looked up at his friend with a sly smile. "The kid forgot her backpack in your car."
"Maybe she left it so you would have to see her mom again." Tony asked and Bruce stared at him blankly.
"Good night Tony."
"Don't you want the address?" Bruce paused and then sighed and walked back to his meddling friend. Tony handed a paper with the address to him and Bruce took it before going to the elevator. "Where you going Brucie?"
"To try to get some work done!"
"Make sure there aren't any more kids hiding in the vents or anything." Tony reminded him and Bruce waved his hand as he stepped into the elevator.
I hope you liked this intro, there will be more of them in the next chapter. I imagine Julia Stiles when I think of Harper, and Parker Posey when I think of her sister. As for the daughter Eleanor I think of Elle Fanning in Benjamin Button.
Please Review and let me know what you think!