Inner Turmoil (Spectre of the Fade and TheCutest)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by The Coolest Kid, Oct 4, 2015.

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  1. Even with Ultron defeated the Avengers had as much work to do as they did before. There were new heroes to train, more suits to enhance, and more people to miss. The loss of Pietro had hit the gang hard, but what was more difficult was the absence of Bruce. No idea where he was, if he was alright, and if he was over going to come back.

    Well, he came back, but Bruce was far from alright.

    In which Bruce returns to the Avengers in need of help from himself.

    Anyone from the Avengers' Universe that is applicable. Main "stars" are Bruce Banner and Tony Stark.

    There was a lot more silence than Bruce expected. The jet he'd originally left in still had the engine whirling, although it was steadily slowing down. But other than that, he was met at the new Avengers facility (new to him, supposedly a year or so old by now). He could tell they knew he was here, they likely noticed the jet incoming about half an hour ago. And still, no one stepped outside. Figuring that he was going to get more and more anxious just waiting in the jet for someone to come, Bruce climbed out of the jet and took his first good look at the facility. With all of it's shiny chrome and reflective windows, he couldn't tell if anyone inside was looking out at him, or if anyone was really there.

    Regardless, Bruce had to check. He had to do something. If he couldn't get help from the Avengers...

    Bruce took a deep breath and shoved those thoughts out of his mind. He was going to get help, or he was going to leave. Right now, getting some assistance from Tony was the plan. The doctor walked over to what seemed to be the main entrance before realizing he had no keycard or access code to enter the building. However, as he walked up to the door to investigate a little camera-like device popped down from the slight overhang and scanned him before announcing, "Dr. Robert Bruce Banner." Then the little camera disappeared back into the overhang and the double doors opened.

    Not needing much more encouragement to enter, Bruce sucked in a quick breath and walked into the facility.​
    #1 The Coolest Kid, Oct 4, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
  2. Tony was working in his shop when the notification tone sounded. His methods of dealing with extreme emotional pain hadn't really improved, after all, but Pepper had begun more rigorously enforcing the "Tony eats and goes to bed at reasonable times" rule as of late so he looked...acceptable. But being less resistant to Pepper urging that he take better care of himself did not necessarily mean he wanted to speak with whoever had called, so he ignored the notification and continued working on a potential modification for Rhodey's suit. It was an improvement to the-

    The noise again.

    This time, Tony bothered to check who was calling, and was surprised to see that it was Spy Barbie herself. This time, she left a message, and Tony was curious enough to listen to it. It was some vague request that he come look over a few pieces of new tech. Which was fucking weird, actually. Weird enough that he actually showered before putting on his favorite AC/DC shirt and jeans and suiting up. He may not be an official member of the Avengers anymore, but he would be damned before he would allow them to take his suit. It was fun. And fast.

    Natasha was waiting for him when he landed on the pad of the Avengers building. Which, again, fucking weird. She walked up to him after he landed, offering him a pad with some map on it. "You know I don't like it when people hand me things," he informed her immediately, the face visor on the suit lifting up.

    "Then look at it," she snapped back, and what the serious tone of her voice could be implying had him actually listening to the direction. The number displayed along the top of it froze the smartass response he had on his lips in its tracks. It was a number he could type out in his sleep. The map below it was a tracking signal, and the indicator was approaching this very base.

    A mere map and a string of digits struck Tony Stark speechless, because that was the tracking number for the plane Bruce took and that absolutely had to be the same plane heading in his direction.

    The staff had already been cleared out due to the risk of this event going bad in so many different ways, and the ten minutes Tony had to wait were absolutely agonizing. A year. An entire year of nothing from or regarding the man he'd fallen a little bit in love with, no matter how hard he looked or where he went, and now something very real and hope-inspiring was being dropped in his lap and it was so much. Too much, really. He paced and he thought about what to say, what to do, and thought about how it might not even be Bruce at all and he may very well just be getting his hopes for nothing. Then the plane landed, and he shifted awkwardly while he waited for whoever it was out there to come inside and then there was Bruce, and.

    And the first thing out of his mouth was a sarcastic "Good afternoon, Jolly Green, how was your flight?"
  3. Just as he had walked in, Bruce almost felt like walking straight back out. He'd expected a lot of things, like maybe some weary S.H.I.E.L.D agents to check over him before he was allowed to do anything. Perhaps he'd get a welcome talk from Fury that would imply anger but keep it controlled so as not to upset the Other Guy. But no, Bruce was looking directly at Tony, the man he needed (and really wanted) to see.

    But not right now.

    The first thing Bruce noticed (even before he was able to think of what to say) was how Tony looked good. Not as in attractive good, which is not to say he wasn't attractive just...he looked healthy. Or at least, fairly healthy for Tony Stark standards. The last time Bruce saw Tony in person was, well, not under the best circumstances, but it felt almost dream-like to see him this way. Tony wasn't a man with hands covered in grease from his workshop and the strain of days without sleep marring his face. But he was still Tony, and Bruce hoped that he didn't look like a gaping school boy.

    " was good," was what tumbled out of Bruce's mouth after an awkward lapse of time, but thankfully those horrible words jogged the doctor's mind back into place. "What I meant...what I meant to say was.." Okay, so maybe his mind wasn't cooperating with him. Everything felt like a jumbled mess of 'I'm so sorry' and 'I missed you' and so much more, but he finally settled for the words that he should say, rather than what he needed to say. "I need your help, Tony." He'd hope to say the sorry and...probably not the other bit, but maybe that too, later.
  4. Bruce looked tired, in a word. Handsome, like he always did, of course, but bone-deep tired. The problem must be a serious one, to have him looking that degree of weary. But...

    "I need your help, Tony."

    Of course he did. Of course he did, because Bruce returning because he wanted to was far too much to hope for. And the tiny shred of hope that Bruce had returned because he wanted to see Tony that died a harsh death with that simple phrase? Tony wasn't going to talk about it. Not to Pepper. Not to Rhodey. Might think over it, if he were to have a sudden existential crisis, but that was it.

    "I'm not fine, actually," Tony told the other man as if answering an unspoken 'How are you?'. His tone dipped into the same bitter sarcasm he'd used in his greeting, because he was hurt and he was angry and the first full sentence to come out of Bruce's mouth was a declaration that he needed help. Pacing a little while gesturing with his hands, wishing he had something in them to gesture with, Tony continued, "but thank you for not asking. One of my closest friends vanished about a year ago, and I couldn't find him, regardless of how hard or how long I looked, then he sort of dropped out of nowhere and told me he needed my help like nothing had happened." He paused in his stride and in his speech to give an exaggerated shrug, bringing his hands into the motion. His voice lost its sarcastic edge, slipping into a tone that was far too nonchalant. "Who cares, though, right? I mean, that's not important. Your problem is important. What's so important you had to come back to them-" -a full circle swirl of his index finger above his head, indicating the Avengers facility in general- "-for help, then, Brucie?"
  5. There was a large part of Bruce that wanted to be much closer to Tony, to make sure the other man didn't talk and just listened for a moment, because Bruce was sorry, wanted to have been back sooner, wanted so many things. But obviously Tony hadn't noticed that Bruce was prone to denying himself what he really wanted (and usually needed) until the latest point in time possible. Of course, all these things that would explain that were a jumble, not the organized thoughts put into labeled categories Bruce was used to dealing with. He was just...a mess. Not just because of the Hulk...just seeing Tony and now fighting with Tony...

    Bruce crossed his arms in a defensive posture, retreating into himself as his hands gripped his biceps tighter than should be comfortable. "I had to leave, Tony. I was...I was losing control. I would have been back sooner, but, the Hulk..." It felt like he was making up horrible, inadequate excuses. As if all the danger he could have put everyone in, as if keeping himself away from the man he always wanted to be around to keep the man safe was idiotic. But it was the best solution...Bruce would have been back within a month or two otherwise.

    "If it's any consolation, I didn't come for help from S.H.I.E.L.D. I know the only person who can help me is you," Bruce admitted, knowing that it would sound like he'd only be able to get help from one of the Earth's brightest minds, but being around Tony would settle a lot more than the scientifics. Hulk and Bruce had ..."discussed", if what they had spent months doing could be called such. The only reason Bruce wasn't scared he would Hulk out right now was because he'd engineered a 'quick fix', a serum that would sedate the "Hulk" side of his being. It also made his mind much less clear than usual, but it was manageable.
  6. Seeing Bruce retreat in on himself like that had more of an effect on Tony than the excuse did. The Hulk was a problem that had solutions, a problem that could be fixed, but Bruce was on the defensive and that was entirely Tony's fault.

    Way to fucking go, idiot, he thought to himself, combing his fingers through already messy hair as he continued to pace back and forth for a few seconds. Processing. Thinking through. Trying to, anyways, it wasn't exactly easy. He was still angry, still hurt, but knew logically that pushing that reaction right then wouldn't win him anything but regret and more misery because Bruce would doubtlessly leave again. He wanted to run, too, wanted to take off and hole up somewhere and get so wasted he wouldn't be able to remember the conversation in the morning, but he knew logically that wouldn't fix the issue either. And he wanted this, them, to just be okay already and to go back to how they were before and to just have the friend he would poke with pens and stay up for far too many hours working with back, but he knew logically that wasn't going to happen so easily, or on his time.

    "I'll help," he said after a moment, because that was the only certainty he felt in all the fucking confusion. He would help because Bruce needed him. Needed his brain, anyways. That was still the best Tony was likely to get, likely to deserve, in the way of reciprocation of his feelings, so he'd take it. As for the rest, well, he was damn good at ignoring his emotions. He was back to gesturing and joking by the time he continued, back to what was comfortable and safe. "I'll help with whatever extraordinarily vague problem it is you're having, but not here, because I doubt Captain AARP would take kindly to me being in his shiny base. Pretty sure he hasn't gotten over the Ultron thing yet."
  7. This wasn't the end to their argument, Bruce knew that exceedingly well, but the fact that Tony had calmed down made him feel beyond relieved. Bruce was in no state to have kept bickering with Tony whilst still trying to avoid any details or beg for forgiveness. His grip lightened and although still tense, the doctor relaxed to a more open stance rather than the defensive one he was in before. He even smiled a bit, realizing that he hadn't done much of that in the past couple months. "If everything works out I'll be staying, you know. Although, I'm hoping you haven't cleared out my old room in the Tower yet. I didn't really plan any accommodations ahead," Bruce responded gently, as if a bit nervous his humor wouldn't be appreciated. It would be tough for Bruce to incorporate himself back into what ragtag group of superheroes his friends were. The fact that he considered all of them his friends was a great deal more than what there had been to work with last time he walked out of (near) isolation, so Bruce was hopeful. The nights would be rough, no doubt, and being around Tony would scramble his brains indefinitely.

    But for the moment he forgot a bit about the Hulk. He tried to think past his worries and hoped that this time he could be more than just the idle doctor they lugged around in case there was a "code green". Not that he was going to be spending much time around the gang any time soon (especially since he still needed to figure out if he wanted to apologize or glare at the Maximoff girl). Bruce also didn't notice his mind clearing up slowly but surely, a sign that his serum was not more than a couple hours from wearing off. Instead he realized he wasn't sure how he'd get to the Tower, considering the jet couldn't land there. "Should I uh...look for someone to call a helicopter for me?"
  8. The smile that crossed Tony's face at the news Bruce might be staying doesn't quite reach his eyes. It's good news, sure, but deep down, he didn't completely believe it. Maybe because it sounded too good to be true; maybe because he had issues trusting Bruce's word after the abruptness of his disappearance; maybe because Tony didn't think he deserved to have Bruce in his life again. Fuck if he knew exactly which, or if it was some combination of the three, and he definitely was not going to sit and think through it. Wasn't a fixable issue, wasn't worth his time. No, that was wrong, it was an emotional issue and couldn't be solved like an equation. That didn't mean it wasn't worth his time, but it should wait til later.

    See? He was trying. Didn't mean his process of dealing with emotions would be made any more healthy, but he was trying.

    "Hasn't been touched," he responded in regards to the state of Bruce's room, the simple words coming out more seriously than he'd wanted them to. They were true enough, however. The rooms and lab gifted to Bruce after he'd started living at the Tower were just as he'd left them, mostly untouched and routinely cleaned. Tony immediately attempted to cover up the seriousness by cracking a dirty joke. "You could just ride me back to the Tower," he said with a suggestive wave of his eyebrows, the unspoken offer being Bruce accompany him in the suit. The suit had more than enough charge for it.
  9. Tony's smile brightened Bruce's own, although he was also keeping some of himself sealed away. He would stay if everything worked out, which was a lot to work on. Even if the Hulk situation was taken care off, he was unsure how much he could use he would be to S.H.I.E.L.D or the new Avengers. That, and if he was around Tony all the time, and they were just friends, with Bruce hiding his feelings under the rug...

    The doctor shoved that thought process into the back of his mind for later.

    Bruce was about to also say he was glad to hear his room had been left alone (he was never one who appreciated people snooping in his things) but stilled at the latter comment. Thankfully, Bruce had the reserves from all of Tony's comments in the past to hide his embarrassment. He smiled back, although not as genuinely as before, and added, "so you're going to hug me the whole time back? I hope you at least can offer me a helmet or some kind."
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