Summary: You’re a long time friend of Bruce, loved him unrequitedly for most of it. He asked you to come visit and help him and Tony out with a project. Pairings: Bruce Banner x Reader Warnings: None? Brief mention of a bully, Tried to be fluffy Word Count: 3271 *Posted 25.8.17
“How was your flight?” Bruce grabs one of your bags before you can and frowns at you until you hand over the others until you’re left with just your carry-on slung over your shoulder. You shake your head as you follow him into the elevator.
“Eh, not bad. I tried to adjust for the time change during the flight, so hopefully jetlag won’t be as bad as usual,” you answer, discretely looking at his reflection, standing next to yours, in the mirrored inside of the elevator. Other than better clothing, it was as if he’d never changed – hair still softly curly and unruly, dent in his chin still reminding you of the old time comic book superheroes with their ‘masculine’ chiselled jaws and blunt chins, faint stubble still adding shadows to his face. No glasses, though, he must not have come from the lab.
As you answer and check him over, he swipes the touch screen within the elevator and stands next to you, shoulders almost touching. The elevator doors close with a ding and smoothly starts its ascent.
“Don’t worry if you can’t start until tomorrow of the day after next,” Bruce reassures you, briefly looking you in the eyes to glance away, blushing slightly.
You smile. Yup, same old Bruce Banner.
“I should be fine, and if not just pull me out of bed by my ankles and make sure you’re out of hitting range.”
“I’ll just make Tony do it,” he chuckles. Oh, how you’d missed the sound.
Pushing your private, personal feelings aside, “And how is working with the Tony Stark and the rest of the Avengers?” you ask, lightly bumping his shoulder in affection.
Carefully bumping you back, he smiles softly.
“Is that a blush!?” You bend your knees slightly and twist your upper body to look at his face and ignore the ache forming in your chest. “You only blush like that when you’ve got a crush. Have you met someone!?”
He tilts his head back up so you don’t have to bend. “I sort of had a thing with Nat, but we ended it.”
“But you didn’t want to? End it, I mean.” You’d realized long ago that when asking about feeling, you had to extremely clear, or Bruce would completely misunderstand and not think to clarify. That was probably around the time you’d started to develop your little crush on the brilliant, sweet man. Who in turn, fell in love with Betty. Because, of course, your love life just had to be utter horse manure.
“No, it just didn’t feel right,” he shrugs, looking rather neutral, not at all torn up about an unwanted breakup. But then again, you weren’t sure if you were reading him right. It could just be your wishful thinking that he wasn’t upset blinding you.
“Alright then,” you answer softly, after a slight pause.
‘How long is this elevator ride?’ you think to yourself. Not that you weren’t enjoying your time with Bruce, but the old ache of unrequited love was stronger than you thought it’d be when you said yes over the phone when he’d called to ask for some help.
“Working with the Avengers and Tony has been a lot of fun,” Bruce returns to the original question calmly, as if the slight detour about his love life hadn’t even occurred. From there, he recounts amusing tales of his work with the Avengers and all the interesting projects he’s worked on since you’d last talked, with little interjections about what rooms you’re walking through once the elevator doors open.
“This is your room – Vibranium has this property-,” Bruce opens the door to a medium-sized room with a soft, teal comforter-covered bed, pale birch, artfully distressed dresser and a floor-length view of the New York skyline. A fluffy, cream rug begs to be touched and a frosted glass door is cracked open, just revealing a nice bathroom.
“Now that you know T’Challa, why didn’t you make the walls completely out of Vibranium?” you ask as you set your things by the dresser – or rather motion to Bruce to set your things by the dresser as he still wouldn’t let you carry anything more than your old waterproof silver-grey backpack that doubled as your carry-on when you travelled, which was often.
Before he can answer, though, a dark-haired man bursts into the room. “When are you going to start working!?”
“When she’s not tired!” Bruce yells, eyes starting to turn a bit green.
Surprised, you wrap your hand around Bruce’s tense forearm. “As soon as I am able to, I just got off the place. Mr Stark, I assume? Bruce has told me quite a bit about you,” you answer Tony, coolly polite.
Startled by Bruce’s reaction, Tony stares at his friend a little warily. Bruce never yelled and was actually rather hard to provoke. Something as simple as running into a room never once triggered an ‘episode,’ and there was a lot of that when you worked with Tony Stark.
“Yes. And you must be Y/N. Bruce has told me nothing about you.” Tony sticks his hand out for you to shake, but you can’t help but feel like one of your specimens under a microscope.
“Hmm,” you shake his hand.
“Well, if we’re not going to be productive today, then we might as well eat soon. Dinner’s on at 6:30.” And with that, Tony strides out of your room, leaving only the faint scent of expensive cologne as a proof of his visit.
“I’m sorry,” Bruce mumbles, hastily unzipping your suitcase and shoving your clothes into the dresser.
“Bruce.” You grab his hands before he tears any of your clothes in his rushed and nervous effort to help you unpack. “Bruce…” You wait for him to meet your eyes. “Why are you apologizing? Because Tony was rude and impatient and is probably running several fairly invasive background checks on me because that’s just who he is and he cares about you? Because I think you broke the zipper of my suitcase?”
“I broke your suitcase?” Bruce grabs your suitcase to inspect it, frowning when he realizes he’d left his glasses back in his room.
Placing your hands over his tightly clenched ones, you smile. “It was pretty old, and you’re a strong guy. But back to the question at hand, why are you sorry?”
Head dropping in shame, he turns up his hands to grasp yours. “I almost lost my temper. He could have seriously hurt you, and it would have been my fault.”
“Bruce Banner,” you declare. “I have known you since I was 5 and you, 8. You would never hurt me, and, if we’re talking in terms of you and him, neither would he since he knows you wouldn’t want it that way. Remember when Wanda tried that mind stuff on you?”
His face turns from hopeful to miserable at your words.
“Stop that.” You wiggle your right hand away so you can properly scold Bruce, wagging a finger. “You, or rather he, only attacked your friends after she’d tricked him. So, stop thinking of yourself as some ticking time bomb. We’ve talked about this over and over.” You shake your head at the countless phone calls and video messages you’d had about this topic.
“I know.” Bruce looks away, but you can tell he’s already feeling better. You smile. So maybe he didn’t love you, but at least you could still get him out of his moods. “Y/N…” he glances back towards you, blushes and returns to looking out the big windows.
“Oh shoot,” you notice your watch. “It’s almost 6:30! We gotta go. How can Tony make food so fast?” You pull Bruce along, back to the communal kitchen and dining area. You made a few wrong turns, but Bruce was there to correct you.
“We ordered Thai,” Tony unknowingly answers your question as you step into the kitchen.
“Hope you don’t mind,” a female voice calls from the connected dining area.
“Not at all,” you reply. “Need any help?” you ask Tony. Before he can answer, you take one of the three full glasses he was trying to carry to the table.
“Cups are in the upper right cabinet,” he nods towards said cabinet. “Beverages are in the fridge.”
“Thanks.” You nudge Bruce towards the dining room. “I’ll be fine, Bruce; it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with kitchens. You go sit down.” Fidgeting slightly, he nods at you and moves into the other room.
Pulling some guava juice, picking the other cup back up and joining the rest of the group in the dining room, you’re surprised to only see one other person, besides Bruce and Tony.
“Hi, I’m Natasha. Oh, that would be my water,” a somewhat short redhead waves at you as she scoops some food onto her plate.
“Hi,” you nod in response as both hands were occupied. Setting the other cup in front of her, you sit next to Bruce, across from Tony and Natasha. Natasha… You glance over at Bruce. Could this be his ‘Nat?’ He smiles at you and hands you some silverware.
“You found the guava juice,” Nat tips her head towards your glass. “You have no idea how surprisingly hard that was to find, but Bruce was adamant that we get that for you.”
“Oh, you didn’t have to,” you shake your head at Bruce. “Still worrying over inconsequential things?” you tease, despite how happy it makes you to know that he hadn’t forgotten your love of it.
“It’s quite good actually,” Tony admits, toasting his cup of guava juice at you. “Worth the trouble, I’d say.”
You smile. From there, the tension of dining with strangers fades away and by the end of the meal, you feel like you’d made some new friends.
“Sorry, there was only us tonight; it’s been a busy few weeks and we get tired of seeing the same faces every day,” Natasha adds as you stick your plate into the dishwasher with hers.
You laugh. “I understand. After a certain period, people need a break from each other. A colleague of mine and I almost got in a wrestling match over some data because we’d been working together nonstop on a project for a week. Thankfully we realized and mutually decided to avoid each other for a few days.”
“And it worked?” Tony asked humorously.
“We published our findings two months after that,” you answer proudly.
“Was this Dr Holtz?” Bruce rumbles.
Scrunching your nose at his unexpectedly grumpy tone, you shake your head, “No, Dr Emily Morris. She and I are set to guest lecture about it sometime in September, actually. Why? Is something wrong with Ulrich?” You had worked briefly with Ulrich Holtz, and he seemed a nice man.
“No,” Bruce looks away.
“Bruce-“ your words are interrupted as a large yawn escapes you.
“You should get some rest,” Nat pushes you to the door. “We can finish cleaning up. Bruce, make sure she gets there.”
“We?” You hear Tony protest as you leave the kitchen.
“You don’t have to help me, Bruce,” you yawn once again.
He glances at you quickly, hands unconsciously trying to push up his glasses. You laugh at his grumblings about forgetting them somewhere.
‘So, Nat?” You reference his earlier comment about having a thing with a woman he worked with. “As in Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow? You couldn’t have told me this before?”
“Tell you what?” Bruce shrugs. “You should try to get some sleep,” he tries to change the subject.
“Ugh,” you throw your hands up dramatically. Pushing aside the increasingly more painful ache that pulsates at the thought of Bruce and Natasha together, you turn to face him, “Now, why were you grumpy about Ulrich? Don’t tell me he’s with HYDRA.”
Running his hand through his hair, Bruce looks down, brows furrowed. “No, he’s not working with HYRDA.”
You breathe a sigh of relief.
“But he’s not good enough for you.” This comes out a rush of words.
“Huh?” This time, it’s your brows that furrow.
“As a…” A pained look crosses Bruce’s face, reminding you of the time you forced the Hulk to let a dentist check out his toothache. “As a boyfriend.”
You blink. “You do realize Ulrich’s married, right? To a brilliant, if a bit cold, physicist.”
“Oh,” Bruce flushes. “Well, good night.”
But Bruce already disappears from the corridor.
After silencing your alarm, pulling yourself out of bed, dressing and making yourself some breakfast, you wander down one floor, to the lab.
“Bruce had to go pick a reactor up for me. He won’t be back until this afternoon,” Tony greets you as he analyses something at his desk.
“Okay,” you scan the lab to see if there was anything you could start work on.
Pushing himself away from the desk, Tony chucks a silver packet at you, “Dried cherries?”
Hastily catching it, you frown, “Um, sure?”
Tony chuckles, nodding towards the bag. “Dried cherries.”
“Oh! Sorry,” you flush slightly as your slowness.
“No worries, it’s an early morning for you, didn’t think you’d be up until midday. But now that you’re here, I cleared this space out for you to work at. FRIDAY, pull up the VICEROY project.” Tony pulls a thin screen down in from of your desk.
Joining him, you both munch on dried cherries as he explains the project and what you need to do. After throwing out the suggestion of trying dried mango, you both settle into your work, not resurfacing until FRIDAY shuts everything down as a way to force the two of you to eat lunch.
“So,” Tony waves a just bitten carrot at you. “How long have you liked Bruce?”
“Well, we’ve been friends since he tried to defend me from the large bully down the street.” You avoid his gaze by carefully choosing a strawberry from the bowl in front of you. It was obvious what he meant, but, while you did like Tony, you weren’t about to spill your every thought to the man.
You can feel his eyes on you. Taking a bite of his turkey, tomato, and cheddar cheese sandwich, he acknowledges the obtuse answer with a slight nod. “I can’t see you being bullied.”
“It was a once in a lifetime thing since I kicked the bully in the stomach while they were distracted.”
Tony laughs for a moment. Cutting his guffaws short, he returns to his original question, slightly rephrased for explicit clarity this time. “How long have you loved Bruce? As more than a friend or older brother etc.”
You stare at the man steadily. You wait until he blushes, finally showing proof and maybe a little guilt at inquiring about such a personal matter, to reply vaguely, “For a while now. Is that a problem?”
“No,” Tony shakes his head. “I mean, with others, there is the question of whether a relationship will cause tension and hinder work efficiency, but I doubt you’d let it.” He munches on another carrot, taking a moment to think. “Actually, I think you’d be good for him. I haven’t heard him talk so much until he was walking you through the place. Natasha agrees.”
“Oh…,” you can feel your ears starting to flush slightly. “Thank you, but he doesn’t think about me that way.”
“We’ll see,” he smiles. “I’m craving ice cream, want some?”
After a lovely ice cream break – excluding the slight row over the superiority of ice cream flavours, vanilla or chocolate – you went back to work.
It’s around 4 when Bruce wanders into the lab. “Tony! FRIDAY said to leave the reactor in the garage.”
“Yup,” Tony answers, not looking away from whatever welding he was doing on some piece of work.
“Hey,” you wave at Bruce absentmindedly. While your heart could only concentrate on Bruce, your mind still found the mysteries of biotechnology much more interesting. And it had had a head start in deciding what would get your attention.
“Hey,” Bruce frowned, glancing between the two of you warily. Crouching by your station, he whispers, “You’re okay with?” gesturing towards Tony.
“Hmm, wha?” You distractedly pat his face, ”Oh yeah. Hand me that laser, will you? Thanks.”
Bruce smiles slightly. He was used to your tunnel vision when absorbed with a project and was glad that you seemed to be interested. But, looking at your bent head, he almost wished you were a little less interested.
“So, you like working with Tony?”
You’re both sprawled over your bed, looking over your respective papers of data for the project.
“Yeah. He’s fun. And you know I’ve always liked collaborating with you, you know that, ever since we beat those jerks at the sand castle competition at the beach when we were in elementary school,” you smile slightly, offhanded in your response as you flip through the various graphs and statistics.
You can hear Bruce take a deep breath, but you don’t really pay attention. Sometimes, he just did that to clear his head. So, his next words surprise you. “… I like you, Y/N.”
You pause slightly. Your chest tightens for a moment before you can calm yourself down. While you always loved it when he said that, he had never meant it the way you’d wanted him to in the past. You can remember the first time he hugged you – when you helped him confess and get a date with Betty. Needless to say, his affection was sometimes a bit painful for you.
“Awww, thanks, Bruce, you know I like you, too.” You nudge him playfully and return to your work.
You look up at his unusually sharp tone
“I…,” he looks away then back at you, staring deep into your eyes. “I know I’ve taken you for granted, and I know we’d had this platonic brother-sister relationship thing going on for some time, but that’s not working for me anymore, the platonic thing. And the brother-sister thing, of course, then it’d be incestuous.”
“Umm, Bruce, where are you going with this?” You cock an eyebrow at his rushed babbling.
“I’m not saying this right.” He runs an agitated hand through his hair, rumpling it even more. “You’re always there for me and I can’t imagine you not. I cannot. It makes me shake and turn into him, just thinking about what could possibly have taken you from me. And now, I can’t seem to act normal around you and I’m just…-”
“Bruce,” you coax, while simultaneously trying to tell your thumping heart not to jump to any conclusions, but it already just wants to fling itself right out of your chest and into his gentle and slightly callused hands.
“I love you.” The words are muffled into his arm.
You pull his arm away from his face. “Come again?”
He can’t look at you. “I love you, Y/N.” His face is slowly turning a bright red.
You blink at him, sure you’d misheard. Suddenly you can’t help but giggle. Laughing, you admit, “Good. Because I’ve been in love with since I started high school and I was starting to get impatient.” You scoot closer to him so you can flutter a kiss to the tip of his nose.
“Y/N….” He blinks at you, eyes full of surprise and wonder and joy.
“Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, I have loved and still love you with all my heart.” You cup his face.
You don’t know who moved first, or maybe you both moved at the same time, but your lips meet and your thoughts disappear.
A/N: THANK YOU FOR READING THIS! It’s my first Avengers fanfic, so hopefully, the characters are true to form. Sorry, if they’re not and that the (not really existent) plot was a bit all over the place. I had a different story in mind when I started writing this, and then it evolved, and I might have missed a few details.
Imagine Tony's reaction when he hears that Bruce and Nat are dating
Bruce you can't do this to me
Science bros! Remember?
Tony i'm not going anywhere. I'm just going to hang out with you a little less.
*wraps his hands around Bruce* *starts sobbing* YOU ARE NOT GONNA DO THIS! YOU ARE NOT KILLING THE SCIENCE BROS! I HAVE WORKED SO DAMN HARD FOR THIS RELATIONSHIP THIS CANNOT END! NOT LIKE THIS! *cries a little*
*strokes Tony's back* It's okay, i'm here and i'm never leaving you
That’s what happened last night on my Snapchat account, you guys! A certain someone told me that it made their night, so I’d thought that it would make your day! fiftyshadesofstony, here you go, have some Sims!Avengers from last night! :D