fandomcorner: (Writing by me)
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Title: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Scibro
Pairing: Gen
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 2050
Summary: The second time Bruce saves Tony’s life there are considerably fewer aliens.
Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ratherastory for the beta work and to [livejournal.com profile] morganoconner for getting me to write. This is my first Avengers fic. Meep!



The second time Bruce saves Tony’s life there are considerably fewer aliens. In fact there’s not a great deal of anything. Actually, now that Tony thinks about, it he’s not even sure his life was really in danger at all.

Bruce, or rather ‘the other guy’, disagrees.

Strongly.

“Hulk, buddy, take it easy. I’m fine.”

Tony’s still not entirely sure what happened. One minute he was crossing the street with Bruce, talking animatedly about an awesome idea he’d had (he can’t remember what it was now but it’ll come back or it won’t. He’s not exactly short of awesome ideas) and the next he was slung over the Hulk’s shoulder like some sort of damsel in distress while the Hulk pounded seven shades of crap out of a cab.

“BAD DRIVING!”

The cab driver, probably sensibly, didn’t object as the Hulk picked up what was left of the car and squashed it into a small cube.

“HULK SAVE METAL MAN.”

Tony couldn’t really argue with that.

* * *


Tony puts the incident behind him because, really, there are more important things to think about.

Until the next time it happens.

“Agent alert,” Tony mutters when he hears the unmistakable sound of Coulson’s footsteps coming down the corridor. “Clint, quick, we need an escape route. Is there a loose ceiling tile around here we can escape through? Banner, you’ll give me a boost, right?”

Bruce smiles indulgently at Tony and just carries on working on his latest algorithm.

Clint simply flashes him a grin and leans against the wall with his arms folded.

Traitors.

A moment later Coulson enters the room, laden down with a stack of files that almost comes up to his chin.

“I’m sorry,” Tony quips, “this is an agent free zone. Please make your way in an orderly fashion to the nearest exist.”

Coulson ignores him and sets the files down on Tony’s desk.

“Mr. Stark, you’ll find that ignoring my requests to have reports submitted won’t end well for you.”

“What? You going to taze me? You know that threat’s getting kind of old.”

Coulson's lips quirk in the barest hint of a smile. “Believe me, Mr. Stark, if those reports aren’t done by the end of the week you’ll wish I had a tazer to hand.”

Tony eyes the reports, and then looks back at Coulson, who is staring back impassively. “What is all this crap anyway?”

He grabs the top report and hisses when he ends up with a nasty paper cut on his finger.

“See, this is why I use a computer for everything,” Tony snarls as he tosses the report back onto the pile. “Bruce do we have any band aids around here before I bleed all over everything?”

Silence.

“Hey, Earth to Banner.”

He sees the green out of the corner of his eye before he fully realizes what’s happened. “Oh, awesome.”

Hulk makes a beeline for the pile of reports and literally tears them apart, showering everyone in the room with tiny pieces of paper.

“See, this,” Tony gestures at the Hulk who is now attempting to eat the larger pieces of report, “is why you should use a computer.”

“Duly noted,” Coulson replies not looking phased in the slightest. “However, since computers can be hacked and paper can’t, I think we’ll stick with my way. I have copies of those reports. I’ll send them to you via Ms. Potts.”

“Whatever. Clint, you going to help me calm him down?”

Clint grins. “Sorry, bro. You said this was an agent free zone. I’m an agent too in case you’d forgotten. Wait up, Coulson, I’ll give you a hand with those files...”

Tony watches as Clint slips out of the room behind Coulson, a hand on the small of his back as they walk back down the corridor.

“Yeah, I know just what sort of hand he’s going to give,” Tony mutters to himself when Coulson and Clint have gone. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be just fine with the overprotective rage monster.”

The thing is, he is fine. Once the Hulk has finished chowing down on the bad reports and Tony has proved to him that his finger has stopped bleeding, they’re all good.

* * *

“Tony, do you have a minute?”

Steve’s got that look on his face, the look that immediately tells Tony he is in no way going to enjoy the conversation they’re about to have.
A million excuses run through his mind but Steve is looking so earnest and concerned that all Tony can do is let out a resigned sigh.

“What’s on your mind, Cap?”

“I heard about what happened with Bruce on the helicarrier.”

“Of course you did.” Frankly Tony’s surprised Steve didn’t hear about it sooner. For a secret agency it’s pretty impressive how quickly news travels. Apparently the official secrets act doesn’t extend to office gossip.

“This isn’t a joke, Tony. We need to do something about this before it gets out of hand.”

Tony shrugs. “He didn’t hurt anyone. Here’s a bright side: maybe now Coulson will join the 21st century and start emailing me the reports. If the Hulk himself can’t convince SHIELD to go the paperless route, I don’t know what will.”

“You know that’s not the point,” Steve replies with a frown. “Ever since the incident with the nuke and the wormhole he’s been. . . just talk to him okay? He’s your friend and he’ll listen to you.”

“Listen to me about what? I don’t see what the big deal is here. So far he’s taken a maniac driver off the road and ripped up some reports that Coulson wasted no time in replicating.”

“And what about next time?” Steve snaps. “Are you really going to sit around and wait for someone to get hurt?”

“Look, if you want to bench Banner then bench him but don’t get me to do your dirty work for you. You’re our leader so you get to deal with all the personnel crap.”

“I’m not saying I want to bench him, Tony. Just talk to him about this over-protective thing he’s got going on with you. Please?”

“Aye aye, Captain,” Tony salutes exaggeratedly, coffee cup still in hand, which earns him a scowl and a sigh from Steve, but it’s apparently enough. He nods once before disappearing back upstairs.

Tony resumes work on his upgrade. It goes without saying that he has absolutely no intention of talking to Bruce.

* * *

For a while things are fine.

There are no perceived threats to Tony’s life, and he manages to avoid getting hurt, which in turn means that Bruce manages to avoid turning green. See, no need for Tony to talk to him. All he needs to do is stay out of harm’s way. No big deal.

Naturally things all go to Hell when Tony least expects it. He’s padding around the living room getting things ready to watch a movie with Bruce and not really paying attention to where he’s going, when his bare foot catches the end of the table and he stubs his toe. It hurts like a son of a bitch and Tony lets out a string of curses. Bruce is in front of him in an instant, eyes filled with concern.

“What happened? Are you okay?”

Tony nods. “Stubbed my toe on the stupid table.”

Bruce glares at the table like it’s murdered all of his family and instantly Tony knows he should have chosen better words.

“Hey-“

Before he can get any further Bruce lets out a low growl, his skin already starting to take on a green hue.

Well, that’s just great.

“Hey,” Tony says with his most winning smile, doing everything he can to keep any hint of pain off his face. “Come on buddy, no need for that. I’m fine, see.” He holds out his foot, which thankfully isn’t showing any signs of bruising yet, but Bruce is too far gone to care.

Tony’s seen Bruce change before, of course, but never this close. It’s, yeah, kind of weird but he can’t stop watching as Bruce starts to tower over him while his clothes tear and rip as he grows. It’s funny that while some pretty obvious changes are happening parts of him remain the same. Facially he still looks like Bruce. Just bigger, and you know, greener. Tony lets out a surprised squawk when the Hulk, surprisingly gently, picks him up by the ankle and inspects his foot. Tony lets him, knowing that struggling is just going to piss Banner off. He keeps his body relaxed as the Hulk turns him over and checks him from all angles, apparently looking for damage elsewhere. He makes a mental note to get JARVIS to erase all copies of this footage later.

For a moment he thinks everything is going to be okay until, with a blow from one huge fist, the table is reduced to splinters.

The couch collapses under the Hulk’s weight a moment later with a loud cracking sound that makes Tony cringe. The Hulk is staring at the TV, apparently waiting for the movie to start and apparently unwilling to let Tony go until this happens, cradling him in his arms like a gangly teddy bear.

“So, uh, JARVIS how about you put Galaxy Quest on?”

Five minutes into the movie Tony tries to carefully extract himself from the Hulk’s arms, but his efforts are met with a low growl and he freezes when he feels the Hulk’s hold on him tighten slightly. Okay, moving bad. Got it.

“Teddy bear to a giant, green, rage monster. Awesome,” Tony mutters under his breath. Still, he’s comfortable and he’s got a good view of the TV. Could be much worse. Might at well just relax and enjoy the movie, make the best of it.

He twists slightly so that he’s more comfortable and the last thing he’s aware of before he dozes off is a giant hand petting his hair surprisingly tenderly.

* * *

When he wakes up the end credits are playing and he’s got a cramp in his arm. He blinks and stretches and is met with an embarrassed moan from somewhere just beneath him. That’s when he realises that Bruce is back to being Bruce again. Which, in turn, means that Tony is currently lying sprawled across a naked Bruce Banner.

“JARVIS, stock up on comedy movies for the future. Seems we’ve got a bit of a fan.”

“Very good, sir.” There’s no note of judgement in JARVIS’s voice, but then he’s seen way worse with Tony.

Tony hops out of Bruce’s lap and pulls a set of clothes out from a cabinet next to the TV, tossing them to Bruce with a grin. He knew keeping spare sets in random places around the house had been one of his better ideas.

Bruce pulls them on without a word, won’t even look at Tony until he’s dressed.

“Tony, I’m so sorry.”

Tony waves his hand dismissively “I never liked that couch anyway. It’s a great excuse to redecorate. I was thinking maybe in red, but Pepper would never forgive me for that colour palette but whatever. I like red. You like red, right, Banner?”

Bruce sighs. “Tony. . .”

“Look, this is not a big deal. In fact it just proves what I keep telling you. You think you’ve got no control over this but it’s clear that you do. You’ve got my back, and that’s all I need to know.”

He doesn’t ask Bruce to dial it back, because he doesn’t need to.

“I think I’ll build a new couch. One with a better personality. Want to give me a hand?”

Bruce smiles, relieved that despite everything, Tony still isn’t making a big deal about his ‘condition,’ and that’s all Tony needs. Who is he to judge anyway? They’re a couple of genius freaks together and at the end of the day all that matters is that neither of them are alone now.

“I’m thinking we’ll call it Phil because god knows that man is a pain in my ass. He may as well make it comfortable sometimes too.”

Bruce laughs and follows Tony out of the room “Whatever you like, Tony.”
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