Who: Bruce Banner and May Parker What: New Arrival When: January 19 Where: Stark Tower SF Warning: Low/None Status: Completed via Gdoc
For some reason, the alarm wasn’t going off. Every morning the alarm blared, shocking May out of her dreams and dashing her into consciousness--much like a bucket of cold water over the head. She needed that alarm, or she’d sleep pretty much all day; she was a bit of a night owl, and spent long hours at night meditating, reading, doing yoga, cooking, cleaning… but the rest of the world worked on a diurnal schedule, so she had to adjust.
But this morning that alarm didn’t chime. No claxxon sounded, no annoying radio announcer’s voice, nothing that would drag her, practically kicking and screaming, out of her warm, cozy dreams. When she finally woke, she was calm, rested, comfortable. She stretched her arms up and over her head and gave a mighty yawn… and then realized that she wasn’t in her bedroom. This was a strange room--a hotel? Where had she fallen asleep? As she started to realize that she wasn’t where she thought she was supposed to be, panic started to well within her.
She climbed up out of the bed, clad in pajamas, and took inventory of the room. No personalized anything. Her purse wasn’t here, her phone, her glasses? All gone. Thankfully, her prescription wasn’t that severe--she could still see--but things were a little blurry. The only thing she could find to protect herself was a coat hanger from the closet. No baseball bat, no yardstick, no knife or rolling pin… She grabbed the coat hanger and opened the door into the hallway, cautiously stepping forward to try and figure out where she was.
Bruce was heading up to the common area kitchen to make some breakfast when he heard a door open and turned to see who it was. Not recognizing the woman, he tensed, though he knew that Friday would alert security if there was any kind of threat. And, to be honest, in pajamas and wielding a hanger, she didn’t look like much of one.
“You look lost,” he said. “I was just going to make some breakfast, if you’d care to join me.”
The only thing he could assume was that she was someone who had been displaced here from their universe. Otherwise, how could she have even gotten on this floor?
A voice startled her, and May spun around, brandishing the coathanger. She was shocked when the person she saw (the slightly blurry person she saw) coming down the hallway was--or, well, looked an awful lot like?--Doctor Bruce Banner. The Avengers all had quite a bit of notoriety after what happened with Thanos, not to mention that she was Peter Parker’s aunt. After hearing all of his adventures, she got to know the different Avengers by sight.
“You…” She said, quickly lowering the coathanger and adopting an expression torn between shocked and sheepish. “You’re Bruce Banner. I… I’m very lost. How did I…?” Oh, no. Was she hallucinating?
Though Hulk was far more recognizable than Bruce, it no longer surprised him when someone knew who he was, so he simply smiled and nodded when she identified him. “It’s a little complicated to explain,” he admitted. “Why don’t we get you some coffee. The caffeine should help.”
It would also help if he knew who she was and what kind of connection she might have to the Avengers since it would give him a starting point to explain things. “This may be an odd question, but are you acquainted with any of my teammates?” he asked. “Or with SHIELD or SWORD or another agency?” Either could explain her being sucked into this universe.
“Oh. Coffee.” May tossed the coat hanger back through the doorway she’d come through. She didn’t need it if she was with Doctor Bruce Banner. …at least, she thought. He was one of the good guys. “Coffee sounds amazing. I don’t… I don’t even have my glasses. I don’t know how I got here.”
She stepped beside him to let him lead the way down the hall. “...Spider-Man’s my friend,” she explained. It was weird to not know what to say. Surely, Dr. Banner knew Peter’s true identity? Like Happy? “Does that … make a difference?”
“It explains why you’re here,” Bruce said. “Well, as much as anything.” He paused, studying her for a moment. “You’re Aunt May. I’ve heard about you.” From both Peter and Tony, in very different ways. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Bruce. Which you already know.”
No one would ever accuse him of being smooth when it came to talking to attractive women. “You don’t have your glasses? Hmm. We should be able to fix that. Hey, Friday? Can you get May Parker’s prescription information and have a pair of glasses delivered ASAP?” A voice from seemingly nowhere replied with “Of course, Dr. Banner.” After a few moments, the voice spoke again. “They will be delivered within the next two hours.” Bruce smiled at May, pleased that he’d been able to solve at least one small problem for her.
“I’m Aunt May. I take it you know Peter, then." Peter, aka Spider-Man. It was a lot to wrap her head around, though thankfully she'd had a bit of time to get used to it. Still, she broke into a smile at his introducing himself. "It's nice to meet you, too."
Crazy that her life was now hanging around with Avengers. ...and that she was in some weird place? She was about to respond when Bruce started talking aloud. Friday? Was this like some kind of computer device they could talk to? Alexa, or something? She lifted her eyes to look around the hall, as if expecting to see a computer of some kind. Then broke into a smile at the idea that her glasses were on the way.
"...wow, thank you. That was... easy."
Bruce nodded when she mentioned Peter, but was distracted by asking Friday to get her glasses. “You’re welcome. Friday spoils us,” he said. “Anything you need, she can probably get delivered for you. All you have to do is ask.” It was a far cry from his life a decade or so ago when he was traveling in undeveloped nations.
When they arrived in the kitchen, he started the coffee pot and then opened the fridge to start pulling out ingredients. “Omelet?” he asked, setting a carton of eggs, bag of shredded cheese, package of bacon, and some assorted veggies on the counter.
“Are you familiar at all with the concept of the multiverse?”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” May said, breaking into a smile. Though she was still really confused about what was happening, at least she was in pleasant company.
And then Bruce started cooking, and May settled against the counter. She watched him getting out ingredients, letting her mind wander around in circles. “Uh… all right.” If he was cooking for himself, it wouldn’t be that difficult for him to cook for her, too? She moved over to the sink and started washing her hands. “Only if you let me help.” Things were blurry, but she could still help crack eggs or chop veggies or grate cheese. “
“Multiverse? That sounds like something out of one of Peter’s science fiction movies.”
This was where things got confusing and Bruce still hadn’t figured out an easy way to explain their situation. Probably because there wasn’t an easy way to explain it. He was going to try though.
“The multiverse theory posits that there are an infinite number of parallel universes,” he began. “Some may have slight differences from ours and some are significantly different. The theory goes that every time you make a choice, it creates another universe where you made the opposite choice.”
He paused and grabbed a cutting board for her so she could chop veggies while he fried bacon. “This place is one of those many universes. There are a lot of things the same as what we experienced, but our presence here seems to have an influence on how events play out in this one.” For the moment, he was going to stick to the basics and not get into the dreams that some of them had.
Chopping veggies she could do. May turned her attention to the vegetables, cutting board, and knife. It was something to do with her hands, something else to do with her mind as he was telling her really weird things.
“So… are you saying that I made some decision that caused me to end up in this place?” She asked, pausing the knife on the board. Last thing in the world she wanted to do was cut herself instead of the vegetables. And definitely not in front of Bruce Banner. (Who was actually quite a bit more handsome and charming in person than he was on the television.)
“No, it wasn’t anything you did,” Bruce assured her. “We’re not entirely sure what is responsible for us being here. There are a couple dozen of us who remember a different version of events though. Some have been here longer than others.” He also wasn’t going to explain that people came and went occasionally, sometimes with memories and sometimes without.
He glanced over at her to see how she was taking all of this. “Originally, the tower was in New York. For some reason, a few months ago, it transported to San Francisco.” Everything about this defied all scientific rules that Bruce knew.
May picked up the knife and started chopping again. She cut whatever he put in front of her, without thinking too much on what it was. One vegetable was just as good as another when her mind was preoccupied. a different version of events certainly seemed ominous.
“I’m in San Francisco?” May asked, the knife actually clattering out of her hand. She turned to the window--large, wall to ceiling glass that looked out over the bay. There in the distance on the left was the Golden Gate.
“Oh my God. Peter’s going to be so worried! Can I call him? Do you have a phone I can use?” She asked, wiping her hands on a kitchen towel.
Bruce realized that he hadn’t actually told her that her nephew was here. “Peter’s here,” he said quickly. “We can have Friday notify him. His friends MJ and Ned are here as well.” He had no idea what Peter’s aunt who was native to this timeline had been doing, but he knew the boy would be happy to see her.
“Friday, as soon as Peter wakes up, let him know that his aunt is here and he should come to the common area.” He flipped the bacon over and then stepped away from the pan, resting a hand on May’s shoulder. “I know it’s a lot,” he said. “It’ll be okay though.”
It took May a moment to realize what he’d just said. They were here? She’d just seen him last night. Peter and MJ were on the phone, and Ned was digging through the fridge, and she’d gone to bed. How did they get to San Francisco? It was a lot for her to wrap her mind around.
The warm, heavy weight of his hand on her shoulder was comforting. She gave him a tentative smile. “I’m sorry I’m not more… with it. I feel like I live in a different world from all of this.” Thankfully the knife wasn’t in her hand anymore as she gave a gentle wave around the room.
“It’s okay,” Bruce assured her. “This is a lot for anyone to process and I gather you haven’t been involved much in the superheroing thing.” From what he knew, Peter tried his best to keep his aunt out of it. “We’ll get you set up with a room, some clothes, and whatever else you need.”
Well, Tony would. Or at least his money would. “At the moment, things are fairly quiet, but that can always change in an instant,” Bruce said.
“No,” May was only slightly embarrassed by how long it took her to clue in to the whole superheroing thing. “Thank you, Doctor Banner. I…” She really wanted to go home. Not that she wasn’t enjoying his company, it was just exhausting. And she’d just woken up from a solid night’s sleep, too.
May looked over at him and smiled sheepishly. “I could really use that cup of coffee. Here.” She dug around in the cupboards until she found some mugs, then poured the coffee. It was the least she could do. She even found some sugar, and the fridge had some milk. Hey, fancy.
“Sit down and drink your coffee. Food will be ready in a few minutes,” he said. “And, please, call me Bruce.” He wasn’t the type to stand on formalities, especially not in this type of situation.
As the bacon sizzled, he cracked a few eggs into a bowl and whisked them together. He added the vegetables she chopped and dumped the whole thing into a skillet. “Are you okay with bacon and cheese?” he asked.
“Bruce,” she corrected herself. “All right.” May poured him a cup, too--waiting for permission to doctor it (no pun intended) the way he liked. Then she took the cup and settled at the island in the middle of the kitchen, on one of the bar chairs. The coffee tasted absolutely amazing and was a breath of fresh air. She closed her eyes as she sipped.
“Yes.” She wasn’t going to say no to anything at the moment. Eating healthy went out the window when one was whisked into an alternate dimension. “Thank you,” she added. “I really needed a kind explanation today. And a cup of coffee. I appreciate it.”
Bruce expertly flipped the omelet and added the bacon and cheese before glancing over and giving her a smile. “Glad I was able to help,” he said. “And thanks for the coffee.” While he waited for the food to finish cooking, he picked up the mug and took a sip, not needing to add anything to it.
“I have no idea what kind of schedules the teenagers around here keep,” he added. “So you might have to wait a bit for Peter to make an appearance.”
“Please, you’re the one who got it brewing. I just added a little sugar.” She gave him a playful smirk and wink on the word sugar. Honestly, she had no idea how flirtatious it came off, but she should have.
May chuckled softly into her mug. “That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.” She glanced around the room looking for a clock, and her eyes fell on the microwave. Of course, the little green digits were incredibly blurry, and she couldn’t read them from her spot at the island counter. “...what time is it?” She finally asked, giving up on trying to squint to read the microwave’s time.
“Just after eight,” Bruce said. “I’m usually an early riser.” Unless he got caught up in the lab and forgot to go to bed. That didn’t happen too often these days since Darcy kept an eye on Tony and he got lumped into that.
The omelet finished, so he cut it in half and transferred each to a plate, which he carried over to the table. “We can eat and then I’ll give you a tour of the facility. Friday can always tell Peter where to find us.”
He hoped he wasn’t overstepping. She was nice though and he felt the urge to help her as much as he could. And, okay, he noticed that she was attractive. He wasn’t blind. Or stupid.
May gave a happy sigh when he brought the food over to her, and smiled warmly. “Breakfast and a tour sounds amazing. I’m really glad that I ran into you. …and that I didn’t attack you with the coat hanger.” She went a little pink as she set down her coffee mug and picked up her fork. “Somehow I don’t think that would have gone over well. For either of us.”