|Bruce Banner (i_seegreen) wrote in we_coexist,|
@ 2015-05-30 19:50:00
|Entry tags:||bruce banner, tony stark, zz:status complete|
Bromance (Tony/Bruce Log)
Bruce put the slides of Liv's blood cells into the microscope and it was reflected on the big screen from the projector connected to the mechanism. He wasn't sure he could 'Cure' zombie in the same way he had been able to suppress his own affliction. Apparently the version of himself that had been here before had created some sort of serum, a lead and water based concoction that could effectively combat the radiation. Some semblance of a normal life. It was a step toward a remedy, an actual cure for his ailment.
But he was more familiar with radiation than zombie. He wasn't sure if he could even alleviate some of the effects of Liv's ailment. It seemed that the virus itself was overcome with the 'Z' virus as Bruce had called it. It was overtaking the cellular structure, compromising the nucleus and the mitochondria. There was no way that he knew of to combat the virus.
He sighed. She wasn't going to be happy with that.
Perhaps he needed to test it further but he was afraid to induce living creatures with the affliction. Liv had mentioned rats. He was afraid they would escape into the Tower and infect the residents. He couldn't bring that to Tony's place. That seemed rude.
So Bruce pulled back from the scope and sighed. He needed to eat.
He wanted tacos.
"Jarvis, can you make me an order for tacos, please?" Bruce asked.
"Of course, Doctor Banner," Jarvis replied.
"What, are we having a taco party?" Tony asked, walking in and then grinning as he strolled over to his best friend, glad to see him again. He hadn't had too much of a chance to visit with him again, wrapped up with Annie, but Bruce seemed to have found himself something to do in the meantime. "J, get me in on that."
"Of course, sir," Jarvis responded.
Tony walked in on the project Bruce was in front of, swinging the monitor over and looking over the specs. What he saw made little sense to him, but he recognized biology when he saw it. "What's that brain of yours avoiding now?" He asked curiously.
Bruce straightened and took a breath of relief. He was so glad to see Tony. His best friend. "I like tacos. You like pizza. We can order some too, if you want." Compromise. He was willing to compromise. Anything.
Returning his attention to the cells, Bruce nodded, "It's a specimen you haven't seen before. Cells of a living zombie," Bruce explained. "I'm working on it for a friend."
He minimized the screen he was using. "I took the liberty to upload the VERONICA protocol and some updated information about our Ultron project."
Tony arched a brow, but zombies weren't the weirdest thing that came around the city. He shook his head, but he trusted Bruce, and knew the quieter nerd would let him know if he needed help.
"Hey, a good taco isn't something to pass up," he chuckled, nodding and then thinking about their projects. VERONICA was a good call, in case anything got majorly out of hand.
"Not sure Ultron is needed here, but it cant hurt to work out something," he said thoughtfully. He didn't know how the City defended itself, but given it was some kind of transdimensional entity, he imagined it had a few tricks up its sleeve if it was threatened.
"How're you settling in, big guy? Everything where you left it?"
Ultron was something different than either of them really could fathom on their own. They lacked the power source needed to bring the AI to fruition but it didn't hurt to dream. Again.
"Seems to be, which is a little weird," Bruce replied. He turned to face Tony completely, narrowing his eyes some. He was trying to place where this part of his friend knew him from.
"There's a taco place not too far from here. Pretty good." He would never pass up a good taco.
Wringing his hands some, Bruce sighed, "Why does everyone know me? People I don't know...they...they know who I am." He wouldn't say what he was, because that sounded so crude. It was truthful, but crude. And he didn't understand any of it.
Tony frowned at the look on Bruce's face, then let out a sigh. He knew Bruce didn't remember anything from before, or that this was a different Bruce altogether. It didn't matter to him, Bruce was Bruce, but he didn't feel great about burdening this version with the trials his counterpart went through. He leaned against the table, folding his arms across his chest. "You've heard the multidimension theory, right? It's fairly well confirmed at this point. There was a you here before, for a while. He lived here for months before we all were taken away, or... whatever happened. You're not the only one, though. I've been trying to compile a list of who's been taken and who came back, but this City keeps a worse census than the US." He stood and clapped Bruce on the shoulder, shaking his head.
"We'll figure it out. And don't worry about it. If anybody brings it up, remind them it wasn't you. Probably."
Especially if anybody brought up a certain femme fatale. Tony really didn't want to drag that out. "C'mon. Let's get away from the zombie stuff. To easy to mistake for tabasco sauce."
Of course he had heard of the multidimensional theory. They were living it at present, so it wasn't really much of a theory anymore. It never really had been considering it had been proven time and again. But that didn't mean he had to like it. It frightened him. His secret was out in the open for everyone to see, his name had made the papers. People had come looking for him for help without fear of the monster. It made him almost sick.
So the City brought people and also took them away. He knew people here could die, that was evident in the result of the fight with the Rex. But where did people go that were just taken? "You look at the phone book lately to see if there are any names you recognize?"
But it had been him. Even some version of himself. The lab was proof of that; all of the things were exactly where he would have put them had they been his to place, the data was written exactly the way he would have composed it and even his passwords were the same.
"Sure," Bruce nodded. The suggestion to leave work wasn't often an accepted one but they had catching up to do. Lowering his hands to his sides, Bruce pushed from the table and moved slowly across the room to get out of the zone. "So, what's been going on with you? Steve and Thor are here," Bruce began, "And Peggy Carter." He didn't know if the last name would mean anything to the inventor, but she was one of the minds behind SHIELD so Bruce figured the name would be familiar.
Tony waited for Bruce, then walked beside him, hands stuck in his pockets. He could see the look on Bruce’s face, he knew that the other craved only anonymity, but there really wasn’t anything they could do now. Still, he was there to run interference for Bruce if he needed it, and at least the man had a well secured safe haven he could work out of and hide in simultaneously.
He shook his head. “Books are too slow. I’ve been upgrading Jarvis’ tracking and City integration. Hopefully we’ll be able to hack the City’s monitors at some point, to stay up to date,” he said. It was a frustrating problem, especially when you never knew one instant to the next if you or the people you cared about were going to be taken again.
He listened to the list of names, shaking his head. “Haven’t caught up with them yet,” he said, though he made a mental note to do so. He frowned slightly, wondering what it might mean if all of the Avengers were placed in the City. For them, and for the Earths back home they were taken from. “I’ve been here, doing my thing. When Annie’s arm army isn’t stealing half of my equipment.”
Bruce walked alongside his friend, moving at the same pace, shoulder to shoulder. He listened to the inventor speak, taking in what his best friend was saying to him. "Books are too slow?" Bruce replied, amused. "I will help where I can, apparently I've been tracking the buildings." This was all so confusing.
At mention of Annie, Bruce narrowed his eyes in confusion, "Annie?" He had no idea who Annie was.
"The tacos shall be here soon, Sir," Jarvis piped up.
"Thanks, Jarvis," Bruce sighed.
Tony blinked, then chuckled. "Annie. She works here, and can talk to computers. It's pretty damn cool when she's not building conspiring mini clones of Dummy." He paused, wondering how to word it next. "We've been together for a while. You'll have to meet her."
He wouldn’t mention Annie and Bruce’s friendship from before, it didn’t seem like something that would particularly cheer him up at the moment.
They got into the elevator and Tony leaned against the wall, folding his arms over his chest.
“Hey. Cheer up, Banner. We’re in the shit, but we’ve got the Tower and the best part of the team. We’ll figure it out.”
Bruce listened to what Tony was saying about Annie, and for some reason, even though she wasn't Pepper, it made sense that he would find someone to be with that was just as capable and smart as he was. Bruce was glad for them both. "Talk to computers? I'd like to see that." He wanted to meet her, not just for her ability but because she meant something to his friend. Which meant she was either incredibly brave or she was extremely talented and smart.
At the mention of cheering up, Bruce smiled a little and nodded. He leaned against the wall of the elevator, not seeming to mind the confinement as much. "I know. I want to look into the source of the place and then see if we can find a way out. I promised Steve and Thor that I would at least attempt to find a solution."
But tacos first. Tacos and catching up. For once, work could wait a little bit.
The billionaire chuckled. “We’ll have dinner or something. She’ll love to meet you.” He’d warn Annie that it wasn’t the same Bruce first, of course, and probably tip her off about his discomfort with her knowing the previous him. But he had no illusion that Bruce would never find out. He just hoped his best friend and girlfriend could build a relationship he could trust enough when he did learn about their previous indirect association.
Tony nodded, and silently wished the City luck. It had foiled all of his attempts up until now, but in his head even Tony had to admit that the Avengers were a far more effective tool for undoing things than any one member was alone. Hell, even Thor may be useful, knowing lore from other worlds and being able to smash things quite well and cause a fuss when needed. Fusses could be very enlightening. “Too bad it hasn’t sent us Romanov yet. But it probably knows better.”
He was glad to see Bruce smile. He preferred his friends happy, and with Bruce it was always a victory to make him relax some.
When the elevator opened he glanced upwards out of habit. “Jarvis. Focus on finding Cap and the Nordic guy. See if you can’t message them to get their super-powered butts over here for a pow-wow.”
“Yes, sir,” Jarvis reported dutifully. “Although with the consistent change in layout, it may take some time to search for individuals.”
“When doesn’t it?” Tony asked, only irritated skin-deep. It was a common answer that he was getting tired of, though he certainly didn’t blame his AI for being out of its depth.
The idea that Annie was as capable as keeping up with the inventor as she seemed to be had a certain appeal. She seemed to be a better match for him than Pepper, and Bruce was glad for Tony. It was good to find someone that you're equally matched with, it made things easier when you had stuff in common.
Natasha would have been a benefit to them, but only in as far as the assistance with the group. He did miss her, but she was better where she was helping Earth back home without him.
"Steve is staying at the Agreeable Apartments, we only live a few doors down from each other," Bruce explained, "As for Thor, I have no idea where he is. But Steve might know."
There had to be an easier way. And then Bruce pulled out his cell phone, "If you've got a copy of that phone book, we can just call them. This'll be faster than tracking them in a moving city."
“You and Steve. In the Agreeable Apartments,” Tony said, staring for a moment. Then he chuckled. “Sounds like the City has a sense of humor.” There weren’t more agreeable members on the team. Tony shook his head, still amused. “Well. If you want, your room and everything here is still in tact.”
Bruce knew he was always welcome in the tower, but Tony wouldn’t pressure him to stay there. If he had a good setup elsewhere, it was probably preferable for the man who hated to be in the thick of chaos. And the Tower really only invited chaos most of the time.
He blinked at the mention of the phone book. “J?”
“I’ve maintained as an up-to-date database as possible, based upon the most recent published edition of the book,” Jarvis responded. “I’ve uploaded all known contacts to your phone, sir, including Captain Rodgers and Thor.”
“Cool,” Tony said, glancing over at the front doors of the lobby. “But food’s here. So let’s take this one task at a time.”
He walked over to the door as the delivery man walked up, opening the large glass entry way and then handing the driver a few large bills. He didn’t pay attention to how much, he knew the bills in his pocket would cover the order easily, and based on the look on the other’s face he’d guessed right. Taking the bag of food he nodded to the service man and then turned and walked back to Bruce.
“C’mon. We should eat on the patio upstairs. You need sun.”
His room. Bruce expelled a breath of relief knowing he had a secure place to hide that wasn't within unsafe public line of sight. Stark Tower came with a containment facility, that was more than Agreeable Apartments could offer. He could keep the apartment as a front, go there every so often if he had to. But the Tower, ultimately, was the safer of the two.
It looked, to him, as though he would be moving in immediately for the foreseeable future.
"Thanks. I'll take you up on that." This was the better option. Hands down.
As much chaos as the Tower invited, Bruce knew it was equipped to handle him if things got...well, green. Between VERONICA and the containment unit, things were starting to look up. For once.
Bruce followed Tony toward the lobby doors, though he hung back in the foyer proper while the transaction took place. Hands in his pockets, he waited as dutifully as a laboratory would his owner. And when the inventor returned, Bruce nodded, "I could use a little bit of Vitamin D."
“‘Course,” Tony replied to the move-in offer. He was happy to have the genius move in with him as well. Bruce being around meant more research and more hang-out time.
He put them back in the elevator, and Jarvis ensured they rose swiftly and smoothly. By the time the doors opened to the outdoor deck and Tony stepped out, calm as he went to the outdoor bar for plates and drinks.
“What do you want?” he asked, grabbing the nozzle from the bar to pour himself a soda. There was a brisk drink also poured, though when a glass was offered to Bruce it was one of a simple drink, one of the ones Bruce had asked for in the past; a non-alcoholic soda concoction that worked well enough.
He smiled and offered the other the drink, standing in the sunlight deliberately to pull the other out of the shade of the tower.
The smell of tacos was wonderful. Especially in the enclosed environment of the elevator, though it seemed only moments between the lobby and the destination intended of the balcony and patio area.
The sunshine greeted him and Bruce squinted some at the brightness. Stepping out, he made his way toward the landing and peered out over the city, hands on the rails.
"Something light," Bruce replied. Giving Tony reign to surprise him could cost him, but he trusted that his best friend would do the right thing and use his better judgement.
Accepting the drink, Bruce nodded though his eyes stayed on the cityscape below. Specifically the park area where, at present, there was a large Apatosaurus currently eating all of the tops of the trees. The scientist wasn't sure how long a beast like that could sustain its probably massive appetite on such little foliage. Perhaps that would drive the herbivores back to the jungle. Or would the City replenish its flora to make up for what the large herbivores consumed?
It was going to be a huge problem for the citizens to be without trees and bushes, especially if the City didn't replace them.
"You know," Bruce began, finally glancing over at his friend, "When I was a kid I loved dinosaurs. My Aunt built me this shelving unit to house all of the ones I had. I even labeled them all and I'm pretty sure I had them up until I left for college. A creature like that one," Bruce sighed, pointing over the railing and down to the apatosaurus currently grazing, "will not stop until it's tummy is full. That might be an issue we need to address, fast. Not right this minute, but soon. If I'm guessing correctly, the City is able to replicate clean oxygen for us to breathe, but I'm sure the trees help. Without them I'm not sure if we can sustain the level of comfort we are at. It might be nothing, but I know from the trials we were facing on Earth that the environment could get a little out of sorts if all of the plants are consumed at this rate."
Bruce turned to face his friend, hip pressing against the railing of the balcony. He sipped his drink, waiting for input.
Tony went to the railing as well. He might be suspicious of the City and unnerved by the constant moving around, but he had to admit it had some beautiful and miraculous sights. He looked at the dinosaur and nodded slowly.
“From what I’ve seen this place never runs out of anything. If something’s broken or damaged it usually just replaces itself in a day or two. I’ll have Jarvis keep track of the thing’s dinner habits, but I’d guess if the Cit bothered bringing it here it’s going to have enough food for it without choking our air supply.” It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to add something to the environment it could never sustain.
Or maybe the dinosaur was part of some strange new mass event, like the plagues and incidents which had happened before. He wouldn’t be happy if they were going to be Jurrasic Park at some point.
He’d have Jarvis make more frequent scans for trouble for a while.
As long as it was being taken care of, Bruce would sit back behind the shadows and wait. As much as he hated his other half, he knew when it was needed in efforts to better society. He hoped it never came to that.
Bruce pushed from the railing and made his way to the table setup. Unbagging the tacos, he placed the appropriate amount on each of their plates (he had ordered them virtually the same thing with a few tweaks for Tony that he recalled his friend liked) and then sat down.
"You should eat. I would hate to have to explain to Annie that you became a skeleton out here because you're too caught up in your work," Bruce teased. Like he was one to talk.
But what was a joke between friends.
"I hope these are okay..." The Tony he knew was from a future this one hadn't gotten to yet. This might not be a taste acquired as of yet.
Tony couldn’t remember ever giving a second thought to another person’s self esteem, but he wished Bruce wouldn’t be so hard on himself. It was giving him crows’ feet pretty early.
He smirked about the comment. It was good to hear, Bruce didn’t seem to upset or thrown by Tony’s choice. He still loved Pepper, of course, but he’d never seen a hint of her in the City, and it had been years. And Annie… well. She’d stood out from the first moment she’d rushed up to his car.
The thought made him smile slightly, and as he walked over to sit by Bruce he took his phone from his pocket, quickly sending her a good morning text before sticking it back in and finding his seat.
“Yeah. Probably don’t want to get her mad. She doesn’t turn big and green, but she can turn every machine in a building on you if she wants,” he said. And in Stark Tower, that could be an end-all. “She even talks to the suits.”
Bruce was in no position to start judging people's girlfriends, especially not Tony. The man could take care of himself and if he had been here as long as he claimed then hope of getting back to Pepper was lost and it was only right to move onward. But that dashed any hopes Bruce had about getting them back to their respective points in time and space. If Tony hadn't figured it out by now, he wasn't sure it could be done.
Bruce dolled out the tacos, setting the appropriate portions on to each of their plates. "She like tacos?" Annie was welcome to join them if she was awake.
The next part was both surprising and exciting. A woman who cold do that..who could talk to and command machines...no wonder she was with Tony. It was a match made in the deepest parts of tech Heaven. "Well, I'm glad you like her. That's all that matters."
Mental note: Do not upset Annie.
“Sure does. But we’ll invite her next time,” Tony responded. He was enjoying the moment of buddy time, just hanging out with his best friend and shooting the breeze. And watching the dinosaurs.
Man, the City really put Boy’s Night Out on a new scale.
He saw the look in Bruce’s eye when he explained a little more of what Annie could do to him, and smirked again, grabbing his plate and taking a bite. He gave Bruce a moment to mull over various mental images, hoping they weren’t all just technical questions and experiments, but knowing they probably were. Bruce was so good at not living it up it had become his nature. Though, to be honest, Tony got the impression that the other genius had never had a chance of falling into the wild side. Stark was just a tad disappointed he couldn’t have educated the guy back when they had the chance to really let loose.
Not that he’d change a thing about Bruce, really.
“I do like her. More than, probably. But you know me. Traded out the ticker for a tin can,” he rapped his core with his knuckles and shrugged the statement off. “I’m just glad she puts up with me, most of the time.”
He didn't know quite why but the prospect of eating tacos with Tony's girlfriend sounded promising. He had a million questions for her, ones he would probably never pose considering it wasn't polite to barrage people with inquiries. If the situation was reversed, he knew he wouldn't want someone asking him a ton of questions about himself.
But it didn't stop him from wondering.
"You always do go from one extreme to the other," Bruce agreed, though the happiness for his friend had not left him. He would just live vicariously through the other man, still, and be more than satisfied with that. Tony could take the risks that he couldn't take, could do the things he couldn't do, and Bruce enjoyed the stories that came with those events. It was much easier than giving in to the risk.
He devoured one of the tacos, and unwrapped the next one, "So, what else have you been up to? Any projects?" Bruce had been busy uncovering all of the things the version of him pervious had left behind. All of it was fascinating, and of course typical. The serum was probably the best thing he had discovered and then had the chance to re-discover. It was brilliant!
“Yeah? Well, it’s worked for me so far,” Tony shrugged off the comment, though part of him appreciated the comment. He didn’t always feel like the rockstar he portrayed himself as, but it was good to know it was still the image he gave off.
He shrugged at the question. “A few things. But the only big project really is figuring this place out. It’s taking forever.” He was frustrated, he hadn’t encountered many problems he couldn’t solve. Lately though, between Ultron and the City he’d been hitting wall after wall. It irritated him on most levels, but he couldn’t deny that it also wasn’t refreshing, in a way. It would really suck to be able to do anything your whole life, with no challenges.
"I know, I know," Bruce replied, nodding. They were polar opposites when it came to lifestyles, and sometimes he wished he could be more like Tony. But he couldn't. So he would just live through his friend and be satisfied with that.
"I can see the frustration in that, but between all of us we will figure something out. We just have to find out the right people to talk to, someone here knows something. We just don't know who that someone is. Steve, Thor and I have split up the people here to see if we can cover more ground quicker in deciphering who knows what."
Bruce began on his next taco, consuming the thing with a satisfied noise. "We don't have tacos like this back home."