When Bruce walked past the gym, the Captain and the Widow were not sparring.
This was significant only because they had been — for many months now. Their combat styles were so radically different, so ingrained into themselves that they could only learn from one another.
Right now, they were clearly trying - that being the operative word as neither was landing a hit.
The sight was so strange that Bruce stopped to watch them both. There didn't seem much point in sparring when it was so easy to lean out of the way of a hit that should have grazed Steve's jaw at the very least, when Tasha had the exact stance and weight distribution to deflect what he sent her way.
The entire business seemed awkward and unhelpful.
Steve looked mainly perturbed, and Natasha had absolute irritation in her posture and movements.
It was almost as if they had learned all there was from one another, though that was ridiculous. You didn't learn everything in the course of a few months.
As he watched, they lowered their clenched fists and relaxed out of their fighting stances, to regard each other with confusion and intrigue — as though the other was a puzzle for them to solve.
Having observed this, Bruce was somewhat concerned for their next big job, seeing as they were the ground troops of the Avengers.
Yet even through the angry haze of the Hulk's vision, he noted the amazing way in which they matched and complimented each other; near seamlessly.
They had, through some way, lost the ability to spar against each other — something that had perhaps transferred itself to their new talent for working efficiently in tandem, not missing a single cue from the other.
It was a week or two later, as Bruce wearily walked down the hall in Stark Tower where all of the Avengers had their suites from a late night of tinkering with arc reactor technology with Tony when he stopped at Steve's door.
An idea had been growing in the back of his mind, flaring again earlier that evening when Steve had reached around Natasha while the team ate their dinners.
Namely, the way Steve had laid the other hand on the small of her back as he leaned to grab the pitcher of water sitting on the counter in front of where she was perched on a bar stool.
It was a simple gesture, seeming easy and natural — almost as if he wasn't even aware he had done it.
And, equally interesting, how Natasha hadn't dislocated his shoulder when he touched her.
Bruce was almost completely certain he had been the only one to notice the brief moment, as Tony and Clint continued bickering about some trivial matter, and Pepper, Jane and Thor laughed over one of his many stories from Asgard — one no doubt including copious amounts of alcohol.
Standing outside Steve's door, the image of Steve leaning over Natasha, hand gently brushing her back, as she rolled her eyes at Clint and Tony's verbal fencing flashed through his memory.
Suddenly curious, Bruce rapped at the door, hesitant. Unsure of what he would do if he was wrong, he was relieved to be answered by silence.
He slowly turned the knob and leaned around to look in the door.
The room was dark, organized and functional looking.
It was also empty.
It was clear that the bed, crisply made, hadn't been slept in for some time.
Bruce smiled softly as he closed the door again, shaking his head.
He would be willing to bet that, had he opened Natasha's door, he would have found the soldier and the spy curled together in sleep.
No wonder they had trouble sparring.
A/N: Remember me? :S
I've still been writing, just getting everyone from tumblr and my computer uploaded ahaaa~
As the story goes; kind of hard to spar with someone when you know everything about them.
if you know what I mean.
Love to hear your thoughts!