Who: Bruce Banner and Sharon Carter What: A movie When: Sunday (8/8) Where: Walking through New York Warning: is awkward Bruce a warning? Status: Completed via Gdoc
Sharon actually felt a little guilty. She’d been having so much fun making Bruce Banner blush that she hadn’t stopped to think that it might… hurt his feelings? Or make him actually feel awkward, or worse? Still, she was enjoying herself, and it seemed like he was, too. After all, he wouldn’t have actually agreed to meet her for a movie if he wasn’t enjoying her company. Right?
So after he gave her a time to meet him, Sharon put on some of her new clothes and headed down to the lobby. (Clothes had been a bit of an adventure, but she’d managed to find a few things she loved--with Friday’s help, of course. Summery skirts, jeans, tops, and a sweater she loved. It wasn’t *really* cold enough for it yet, but she was going to live in it this fall.) She was in a loose-fitting skirt (better for the stitches) and a blouse with her hair up in a loose bun. Not the sexiest of outfits, but definitely pretty. She’d put time and thought into it, anyway.
When she reached the lobby, she didn’t see him there. Maybe she was a little early.
Luckily for Sharon, Friday reminded Bruce several times that he was due to meet her in the lobby so they could go to the movies, otherwise, he would have very likely gotten caught up in the lab and completely forgot. As it was, he waited until the third reminder to actually leave, which meant he didn’t have time to stop in his apartment and change, so he was wearing rumpled khakis and a short-sleeved button down shirt that surprisingly wasn’t stained with any food or chemicals.
He wasn’t entirely sure what prompted him to agree to go to the movies with her. Thanks to his time with Bobbi, he wasn’t quite as oblivious as he used to be, so he knew that she was flirting, though he wasn’t sure if it was just being friendly or actual flirting. Either way, he figured going to a movie wouldn’t hurt.
“Sorry, I’m late,” he said. “The theater’s only a couple blocks away though, and we have reversed seats.”
Sharon hung around the lobby for a minute or two, a little worried that she’d come down at the wrong time, or was in the wrong place? Thankfully before she was really panicked, Bruce appeared. She turned to face him, breaking into a relieved smile.
“Hey,” she said, taking a couple of steps closer to him. “I was a little nervous that I had the wrong time,” she admitted somewhat sheepishly. “We’ve got time to get there. Should we… head out, then?”
“We should,” Bruce agreed, feeling bad that he’d made her worry. Sometimes it was difficult to pull him and Tony away from science. He’d claim it was more Tony than him who had that issue, but that would be a lie. They were both equally bad about getting lost in their work.
He pushed open the door to the building and, once they were outside, he offered Sharon his arm. “How are you feeling?” he asked. “Still in pain? If need be, we can get a taxi.”
The thing that Sharon had told Mobius about it having been a long, long time since she'd been on a date was true. And she wasn't even sure if this was a date. He'd been acting as her doctor, and then she'd sort of coerced him into taking her to a movie. Not exactly the most romantic of invitations, and possibly an ethics violation on his part? But Sharon wasn't expecting anything from tonight except for a fun outing to a movie with a man she enjoyed to make blush.
She stepped through the door, and then looped her hand through the crook of his elbow. He was very warm. Comforting warm. She stepped a little closer to him.
"I'm fine." She gave him a smile. "No pain. We'll see how the walk goes, though. I've got three of the pain pills you gave me leftover. If it gets bad, I'll just take one. Then you'll have to deal with loopy Sharon on the way home."
Funny how she called it home.
"What am I pulling you away from? Important work in the lab?"
Bruce smirked at her. “Worst case, I can have the Other Guy carry you back,” he said. It was a joke, mostly because she’d been anxious about his alter ego when coming to the clinic. Maybe it was a bad joke, but Bruce thought he was funny.
“And, no, nothing time sensitive,” he said. “I just have a tendency to get wrapped up in things.” Quite possibly the understatement of the century.
It was definitely an interesting joke—at least, she assumed it was a joke. Sharon’s step actually hitched at his words, but she did her best to cover it up. The Other Guy, huh? That’s what he called the Hulk. “Are you sure he wouldn’t mind?” She asked, trying to meet his joke with one of her own. “He’s not your servant, is he?”
She nodded. “And you’re the one who makes sure that Tony’s eaten, are you?” She added. More questions. So many questions. “How does that work, if you’re wrapped up in things?” Another tease.
That was a fair question and Bruce had the decency to look sheepish. “I’m weirdly better about taking care of him than I am myself,” he admitted with a shrug.
No, it didn’t make sense but it was what it was. “As for the Other Guy, we have an understanding now. I spent a few years with us being kind of… merged. During the snap, when things were all messed up and the world needed to see us doing things.” Most people didn’t recognize Bruce Banner on his own, which was a blessing and a curse.
“Well, maybe you just need someone to watch after you. Then you can focus on taking care of Tony.” Sharon grinned softly. Her fingertip moved gently against the inside of his elbow through his shirt. It was gentle, but still obvious that she’d done it on purpose. She may or may not have been going after that amazing pink tinge on his cheeks when he blushed.
She nodded. That was the last she’d heard of. She’d lost track of him after the battle where Thanos was defeated. (Which she hadn’t attended.) After Stark and Romanoff died and Rogers and Thor disappeared, Sharon figured that the remaining original Avengers (Barton and Banner) retired. Wandered off into the sunset to spend the rest of their days in relative peace and quiet. She wouldn’t have blamed them if they had.
“So you have it under control,” she added. “I asked Tony how you keep it under control and he told me I should ask you.”
Feeling her finger brush against his arm definitely made his cheeks flush a little, mostly because the way she said that he needed someone to take care of him made him think of Bobbi again and he realized how long it had been since she left.
Bruce cleared his throat. “It’s… hard to explain,” he said. “A lot of meditation though and I had to accept that he is part of me.” He’d spent so many years fighting his alter ego when they could have been working together. “Once I accepted that, we were able to co-exist more companionably.”
It was probably mean of Sharon to tease him that way, but she couldn't help it. Okay, well maybe she could, but it was just so much easier to tease him and enjoy it. She stilled her fingertip, though, still walking alongside him with her hand tucked in his arm. ...did that make this more date-like? Would she normally have walked with her hand tucked in someone's arm if they weren't on a date?
"It sounds like something that everyone wants: to be understood and accepted. Do you have a schedule? Shared custody of your body?" She asked, almost teasing. Almost. She was really more curious than anything else.
*** “Nothing that formal,” Bruce said with a chuckle. “I try to give him a few hours a week to stretch his legs, but it all depends on what’s going on. And, of course, if he’s needed for some reason, he’s willing to help out.” Unlike when Thanos first attacked in that other universe and he refused. That had been frustrating as hell.
He was a lot more comfortable talking about his other half these days at least, so Sharon’s questions didn’t bother him.
“If he’s needed, huh?” Sharon wondered if there were a lot of reasons that he might be needed in this world. This different world from the world she knew--the world they came from. “I hope you don’t have many reasons for him to come out and play.”
She stepped a little closer to him to walk around a bicycle laying randomly on the sidewalk. Her hand tightened on his arm for a moment as she stepped around the bike’s wheel.
“What film are we going to see?”
Since Bruce wasn’t entirely sure what her taste in films was, he hadn’t actually purchased tickets yet, though he’d done his research on what was playing at his favorite independent theater, The Angelika. “We have two options,” he said. “Both have shows starting in the next half hour. One is called Summer of Soul which is about The Harlem Cultural Festival that took place in 1969 and was vastly overshadowed by Woodstock. The other is called Coda and it’s about a young woman who is a child of deaf parents.”
Hopefully one of them would be to her liking. It occurred to him belatedly that they probably should have discussed this when they first made their plans.
Sharon watched him as he explained. It was more animated than she normally saw him, and it was almost as entertaining as when she made him blush. She smiled warmly, watching his face as they walked side by side down the sidewalk. Thankfully, she didn’t trip over anything, though with her hand in his arm, she would likely right herself quickly if it came to that.
“They both sound interesting,” Sharon said, considering. “...Honestly, I could see either. Which is more interesting to you?”
Bruce intended to see both eventually. “I think Summer of Soul might be a bit more uplifting,” he said. Both dealt with potentially sensitive subject matter, but at least that one would have great music.
Hopefully she wasn’t the type to enjoy the latest Fast and Furious offering or something billing itself as a romantic comedy.
Honestly, Sharon was more of a stay-at-home-and-read type. But when she was on dates out with other people, she tended to go with the flow. And often enjoyed herself no matter what.
“Summer of Soul it is. How much farther to the theater?” Sharon was, admittedly, feeling a little tired. She was still recovering from that gunshot wound, and was hoping they could sit for a bit. Maybe have a coffee before the movie. “I hope you’re willing to share the popcorn.”
“We’re here,” Bruce said, giving her a worried look as he moved to hold open the door for her. “Are you okay?” If she wasn’t feeling well, they could postpone the movie and get a cab back to the Tower.
He was more than happy to share popcorn though and would say as much once she confirmed that she was all right.
Sharon gave a relieved smile and nod, then released his arm so she could step through the doorway. She was probably okay, but hadn't done so much walking since the fateful night she got shot… and did some shooting herself.
"I'm ok," she assured him once they were both inside. "I could really go for an ice skinny vanilla latte, though." A little smile.
There was a small cafe off to one side, so Bruce led her over there. “Have a seat and rest a few. I’ll get the tickets and hit the snack bar. Does popcorn go with a latte?” He really had no idea.
“Is there anything else you’d like?” he asked.
Sharon followed him over to the cafe and was glad to take a seat. Even though it was only a few minutes to the movie (30 at the most?) it would be nice to take a load off for a bit. The walk was draining. Sharon felt really old.
“Sure,” She gave him a smile. “So long as you’re having some. Only if you’re having some, I mean. I’ll just share whatever you like.” Then she laughed softly. “I’m sorry, I’m not much help am I? I’m just easy to please.” ...flirtatious. Smiling.
...was this a date? He was paying, did that make it a date? Or was it like the mani/pedis with Darcy where it was just going on Stark’s credit card? How did she not know? Was he just being nice, or was he actually interested in her? Was she actually interested in him?? There was so much to think about.
As far as Bruce was concerned, this was strictly two acquaintances enjoying a film together. Then again, he was generally oblivious when women showed interest in him and tended to assume that his age and the whole Hulk thing put him in the undesirable column for most people.
He got the tickets and then went to the concession stand, where he purchased a combo that cost almost as much as dinner in a Michelin Star restaurant that included a bottle of water for him, a latte for her, a comically large bucket of popcorn, and a package of Twizzlers.
“You ready?” he asked, juggling all the things as he walked back over to Sharon.
“Yes,” Sharon sprung up from her seat (which may have been a mistake, considering she was feeling sore again) and offered hands to take her drink and one of the snacks from him. She had open hands with which she could carry items, so she might as well.
“Thank you for this. I didn’t realize how stir-crazy I was getting until it came to a head.” She gave him a sheepish smile, and followed him into the theater.
Bruce handed her the bucket of popcorn since the drinks were precariously balanced in a cardboard carrier and the Twizzlers were wedged between them. “Thanks,” he said, readjusting his grip on the drinks so that he didn’t drop anything. There were times when he missed Hulk’s oversized hands. Of course, his alter ego wouldn’t really fit comfortably in a movie theater seat.
“You’re very welcome,” he replied, flashing their tickets at the attendant as they entered the theater and found seats. It was good to get out and do something social.