Chapter Ten

Steve walked out of the ship, glad to find himself on land, after the long flight. As he stepped off the dock, Tori came to his side and smiled at him. He stopped walking and wondered, "What are you doing here? I thought I insisted on you resting. The SHIELD has a battle to fight, and I need to get around before I fight it." His silvery blue eyes watched Tori's eyes turn dark with fear. "Are you okay?"

"It's nothing," Tori twiddled with her fingers. "Er- I just wanted to get out. You know how I am about being alone." Again, Steve wondered what had caused this nervous gleam in her hazel eyes. "So, when and where's the battle?"

"Tonight we are going to meet the aliens in Town Square," Steve went on, still worried about his love.

"Really? Can I fight? My muscles are feeling achy because I've been sitting around too much." Now, Tori's eyes sparkled and glistened with joy and anxiety.

"I don't know. I don't want something like last time to occur."

"I'm gonna be MUCH more careful, this time. I promise."

"We could use someone like her," Tony flew down in his Iron Man suit and crossed his arms. "Have you seen her fight? She almost killed Loki, last time!" He flipped up his helmet and stared at Tori. "Someone like her could kill any alien we asked her, too. And if she wants to fight, why not let her?"

Steve didn't answer, but stared angrily into Tony's eyes.

"Okay, sorry, Captain!" Tony shrugged and flew off.

Then, Bruce came along, quickly speed-walking to Steve and Tori. His hair was nice, still shaggy, like usual. His glasses weren't on and he wore a nice, casual button down, collared shirt to give him a fancy look to his outfit. His shoes were shiny, as if he just polished them. Bruce crossed his arms and flexed his shoulders, moving them around in a circular motion. His khaki pants were tight; therefore, just right for his stocky-self. He asked, "May I borrow Tori, for the day? I need to ask her some stuff that might end up very useful."

"Er- sure?" Steve let go of Tori's soft, warm palm. "If you wish to fight, then so be it. I'll meet you near town square at five, forty-eight. Alright?"

"Okay," Tori lightly smiled and looked to Bruce. "Where are we going?"

"Let's go get some lunch and stroll around New York, while we still can."

Bruce's POV

Should I ask her now? Bruce anxiously thought, his eyes watching Tori eat her tacos. No, not now. Now? Ah! Stupid thoughts are getting to my head... Control yourself, Bruce. Control yourself. Get it together, and be a man! Anyone would do it... Be-a-man! Bruce stabbed his fork into his enchiladas and left it there for a moment. He wondered, What would she think of me? A crazed monster? Well,I kinda am that kind of guy... But I have to do it! He grabbed his fork and put it down, calmly. Bruce said, "I got you a present, for being so brave when I healed your wound the other day."

"Really?" Tori swallowed her food and watched Bruce grab a bracelet with a stone arrowhead at the bottom. He gave it to her, and Tori studied it with concentrated eyes. "Wow! What's this from?"

"My first building I destroyed," Bruce looked down, awkwardly effected by his strange comment.

"Sounds awesome!" Tori put it on her neck. "Thanks, Bruce." She admired his and smirked at its rough texture.

"You think so?" Now's your chance! Use this to your advantage! a voice in Bruce's mind croaked viciously. So, Bruce held his knuckles together, squeezing them tightly, until they cracked. He stuttered, "Er- you ar-are a very strong w-woman, Tori." Her eyes shot up, nothing on her face showed. No emotion was expressed. "And I have, er, been thinking about you for the last few days, since the fireball wound."

Her hazel eyes began to get dull with worry. Worry?

"Thinking, as in admiring your strength, beauty, faith, hope, bravery, and- kindness. I know you love Steve, but I wanted to know if you ever loved me, to admit it to me now. I love you, Tori, and I feel myself around you." He grabbed her hand, holding it lightly to prevent from squeezing it too hard. "I need you to tell me every thought and feeling you have about me. Admit that I'm weird. Admit I'm different and have no good sense of humor. Do what you must, please. I need to know this." She's going to try to be kind, Bruce closed his eyes.

"Bruce," Tori's eyes filled with salty tears, "I don't know why you want to love me. I-I just don't think I-I am r-right for anyone. Your a great guy, and amazing hero, and very alike with me, but I-I just can't. Steve loves me, and I love him. We were meant for each other, and just... ugh." She closed her eyes angrily. "I am sorry."

"I wanted the truth," Bruce tried to smile, "and I got it. That's all I wanted to know. Now, let's go walk." I am glad she is honest.