Fear of love:

Never had I been more terrified of anything in my entire life. I wasn't supposed to be afraid of anything. I was the Black Widow. Nothing frightened me. I had as much self-control as one could carry and I never showed any vulnerability. That is, until the Hulk came along. I wasn't scared of aliens, spiders, you name it. But there was something about the immortality of this thing that rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, it could easily crush, I'm sorry; 'smash' anything in its trail and it just didn't seem human. The Hulk just represented to me everything that was wrong with the world. One of the last things left on this planet were people and their words. Their words were often forgotten because of things that were big and scary. The Hulk was on top of that never-ending chain of big scary things. Why?

Because the Hulk wasn't 'people'. The Hulk had no words. The Hulk was constantly in survival mode and would kill anything in sight.

Dr. Banner was a kind man. So gentle you wouldn't even believe he had the possibility to become this monstrous creature. I still got chills whenever I was around him and I felt like any dog could have smelled the fear off of me from miles away. There was just that unpredictable factor that came over my mind whenever he was near. You never really knew when his anger would strike and I'm sure it was never appreciated.

I tried spending the least time with him as possible but it was never easy. First of all, Clint constantly pushed us together because, well, he knew about this a little. ''Hey Bruce, I think Nat needed to talk to you. She's in the break room.'' Fuck you Clint. And then there was his job; desperately trying to find the Tesseract meant getting as much help as we could. And Banner was at the top of the list. I helped a lot with the computers because it was one of my specialties (and one of his), which meant a lot of 'Nat-and-Bruce time'. Every time he came close to me my breathing sped up. Sometimes he noticed and purposely tried to grab something across from me just to feel my body shiver when his arm stretched behind me. It was all fun and games to him. I honestly didn't understand how he kept his composure whenever people acted like this around him. Didn't it bother him? Didn't he think it was rude? He always seemed amused with the way I was around him. He once told me, when I seemed especially nervous, that I would probably be the last person in the world he would ever want to hurt. When I asked why, he only responded with a smile. This confused me for a while but it did help my fear die down a little. I started getting more comfortable around him and it was…pleasant. We ate lunch together and often finished each other's time sheets. I enjoyed spending time with him, he was a bright person.

And then, at some point, I started to feel weird around him again. It was kind of confusing because the past few weeks had been going just fine. I figured I would let it pass…but then it never did. Every time he was around me, I started shivering again and was always ready to pull out my gun. At any given moment he talked to me, I would bite my words and screw up everything I said.

I really didn't know why I acted strange around Dr. Banner. But I learned to accept it. I got over it slightly and tried to concentrate on work. When we were finishing part of a project one day he finally asked me what was going on.

''Hey, Natasha?"


"Do you…are you…ugh."


"Why are you scared of me?"

"…I don't know."

"I mean, I understand why you would be afraid of me when I'm big…and green, but not when I'm like this. Two weeks ago we were fine and then all of a sudden you start acting weird again. Did I do something wrong?"

"No, you did nothing wrong."

"Then tell me what's going on with you. I may be dangerous when I'm in that state but…I like you. A lot. And I would like for us to…be friends."

"I want that to Bruce, but it's just…"

That's when he placed his hand on mine. We were sitting on the couch and the idea of jerking my hand away never even crossed my mind. And then, I smiled. I hadn't smiled in months and Bruce knew that.

"It's sad how the people with the prettiest smiles are the ones who show them off the least."

I looked deep into his eyes, the dark brown mixing with a bit of green made me realise that the Hulk was in reality a part of him, but that I shouldn't be afraid. I shouldn't be afraid of speaking my mind around him. I shouldn't be afraid of him holding my hand.

I was never afraid of the Hulk.

I was simply afraid of my feelings towards him.