An Unused Piano in Stark Tower

On the fifty-seventh floor of Stark Tower, a nine foot Steinway Grand Piano simply sits in the middle of a little-used parlor. Despite Pepper Potts' constant admonishment of Tony, it remains uncovered in its splendor, still waiting for a man (or woman), to recreate the sounds and genius of men long since past. It had been purchased on a whim, unsurprisingly, to help out a struggling piano dealer across the block from Stark Industries' California Headquarters. 2,500 miles later, it serves as a small reminder of the Malibu home destroyed in the ruckus with Rhodey. Not that Tony, or Pepper for that matter, ever played it.

With the arrival of Capsicle, Point Break, Legolas, the angry green rage monster, and the former personal assistant, Tony had to give a tour of his own tower to the uninformed guests. This involved a lot of stumbling around desperately trying to keep his bearings, JARVIS correcting him, and occasionally speaking about why this room or that alcove had missed his infallible attention to detail and needed to be demolished and replaced with another laboratory. "Oh no," Clint had snarked. "Two research labs weren't enough, and now you need three." Tony had later replied that he had personally made sure the ventilation shafts were too small for anyone, let alone two master assassins, to climb through.

When he finally got to the fifty-seventh floor, Tony had nothing to say about the parlor, except, "This is where the piano is," and proceeded to show the other Avengers their rooms, which were all around that darned piano room. While the rooms themselves were luxurious, with Thor proclaiming it equal to his "chambers" on Asgard, Tony quickly saw Bruce being drawn to the piano. Not the stunning view of Midtown Manhattan, or the gigantic 4k television on the opposing wall, but the piano.

"Doc, what are you doing there? Shouldn't you be, uh, playing with your new technological friend, JARVIS? He'll be happy to . . ." Dr. Banner, however, did not pay heed to the billionaire. Instead, he sat down at the bench and blew off the dust that had accumulated on the ivories. Ten fingers began flying across the keyboard, playing Rachmaninoff.

This had the immediate effect of drawing the other Avengers in, Stark completely in disbelief at the acrobatics being performed by Bruce's fingers. Thor seemed most flummoxed at how the sound was being produced at all. After a few minutes of the G minor Prelude, Banner quickly turned around, and was greeted, to his complete surprise, with raucous cheering from the team.

"How does one produce such heavenly sounds from this mysterious contraption?" came the Son of Odin's voice.

"Thor, you press this key down, and it pushes a lever, at the end of which is a hammer, that hits these strings wound up and down the piano. This creates the sounds that you hear. You can play a single note at a time or up to ten at a time," Bruce explained.

"Why Bruce?" asked Captain Rogers.

"It helped keep the 'Other Guy' at bay for a while. When I am supposed to be calm, this can serve as a way to keep emotions at bay."

"Despite provoking those emotions?" inquired Natasha.

"An outlet is an outlet, Natasha. You of all people should know when you are constantly putting on a mask to hide your emotions. Once you have a way to express them, naturally, completely free of reservations, can you ever leave them again?" The question lingered a while longer, while the Avengers went about their business once more.

Author's Note: The Marvel Cinematic Universe is owned in its entirety by Marvel Studios, a division of Marvel Entertainment whose parent company is in turn the Walt Disney Company. The author understands that all characters and trademarks are properties of their respective owners and are not being used for profit in any way, shape, or form.