House Calls

OOC Date: December 19, 2013
IC Date: December 19, 2013
Characters: Bruce Banner, Black Widow & Nick Fury


Bruce Banner's House, Nuclear "Bannerville" Springs
Double-doors of wood open into a modest living room — wide enough to fit somewhere between roomy and cozy. To the right of the doors as one walks in is a dining area, complete with table and four chairs. Books of various descriptions fill the shelves on the far wall. Opposite the dining area some steps lead down from the hallway into a sunken lounge, bordered on all sides with couches and cushions. A flatscreen television is fixed into the wall. Broad, curtained windows on the same side as the doors look south over what might be a decent garden when it grows up.

The hallway extends further back toward the kitchen, and then branches to the east and west, providing access to the laundry and bathroom in the former direction, and the kitchen in the latter. The kitchen has a bar counter than directly overlooks the dining area. Two bedrooms are located further back to the east, one of which is full of boxes. The other is empty, tidy, and has not been used. For those in the know, there is high-tech security everywhere, and one of the bookshelves is for show, opening to a staircase leading downward.

~~~

It is the following morning, well into it, but still before lunch. Natasha had taken off towards Crossroads to a safe house to get cleaned up and changed. Now rested, though very bruised and battered from her impact, she is out again.

The red head is currently dressed in a pair of jeans, boots, and a fitting t-shirt. Her weapons belt is of course on her hips, gun at her thigh and assorted weaponry hidden on her person. She carries a backpack with her tattered uniform and other weapons, hanging off one shoulder.

She takes the obvious way into Bannerville, making it apparent of her approach. After yesterday's incident, she doesn't want to surprise him. Though once at the door, she lifts a hand to knock.

Banner scratches his head.

The man is standing in casual clothes — in fact, it looks as if he has slept in the jeans and shirt he is wearing — outside his house, outside 'Bannerville' in fact, and stares at the newly-formed 'salt-lake' that makes up for the missing fence.

But it's not the lake that has him scratching his head.

It is four letters: H - U - L - K, constructed out of several car-shells and either laid out or stuck hood-first into the 'lake'. The Bannerville sign is on the ground.

Banner glances across the fake 'town' at one of the mannequins: a one-armed woman who is putting on lipstick. He sighs, not having spotted Natasha yet. "Doris, told you yesterday — it's not your color."

There is a small sense of tension in Widow's shoulders as she waits patiently at the door. Though the longer she waits, the longer she feels like she is going to have to dodge out of the way any second.

Hearing that familiar voice, she tilts her head. Curious. Slow, casual steps lead her to the side of the house and a better view of the hulk-made lake. Shifting the bag on her shoulder, she manages an almost nostalgic smile. Some things don't change.

"Bruce." It is as much of a greeting as it is a call, but she doesn't yell. Just loud enough to be heard.

Banner turns around.

He has dark circles under his eyes.

"Natasha…" he murmurs in a dead-pan voice, before turning away from the lake to walk in her direction. His feet drag as if he were wearing lead-lined shoes. "You're… looking well," he adds, lamely. A hand reaches up to rub at the back of his neck, and he glances down and to the side, in guilt. "Sorry, I… didn't follow you to the hospital — or whatever passes for a hospital, here — after… you know. The Other Guy doesn't have the best bed-side manner."

He halts several feet from her.

"You okay?"

"I've been through worse."

Really, she holds no grudge, as she knows how his 'bad side' can be. Though perhaps part of what drew her here was to see just where Bruce came from… if he was her Bruce from her darkest times, or not.

Regardless, there is a small sigh that escapes her. "Come on, lets get you cleaned up. The Director will likely be here soon to collect me."

"Sorry about that, too," Bruce remarks with a rueful half-smile. He snorts and gives his head a derisive shake, then motions with a hand to the house. He punches in some numbers into a keypad at the door, and holds it open for Natasha. "Actually, you know," he murmurs wryly as he walks inside a few moments later. "In this sort of place — A'ree'nah, that is — there's just as much chance the Hulk isn't responsible for all the 'worse' in the world."

He pauses.

"No. That's not comforting at all. Coffee?"

"This place isn't somewhere I would choose to be." Natasha comments, moving into the house with a slow step. Her bag is dropped by the door, for now.

"Not even here a day and already know the name of the planet, I'm impressed. Took me two."

She hooks her thumbs in her beltloops before turning to face him fully. "We've been pulled here by some alien beings, for the purposes of a war. One's champions versus the other. This war has been going on for thousands of years."

Pause.

Yes, she's all business. Though in some of her movements there is a sign of pain, though she tries to hide it to spare him.

Banner's eyebrows shoot upward at the words 'for thousands of years'. He lifts a hand to his face and massages his jaw.

"So… we've got time…" he mutters wryly.

He lets out a sigh. "Not sure I like being someone's pawn — again. It's not like the Other Guy can be contained… maybe that's the point. Great." He heads for the kitchen to put a pot of coffee on, disappearing from view for a minute and a half as he walks down the hall.

"I figured R.O.B. would've alerted an SHIELD personnel we were here, as soon as we… touched-down," he says from within the kitchen, raising his voice enough to be heard. "I keep sweeping the place for whatever bugs Director Hill puts around, but ROB… there'll be another recording bot around here soon enough, so enjoy the 'free time' while you can, unless…"

Banner pokes his head over the bar-counter to hopefully spot Natasha. "…That's why you're here," he adds in a half-statement/half-question tone of voice. "Are you my new R.O.B., Natasha?" he asks carefully.

"None of us appreciate being used as pawns. Most of us aren't even from the same timeline. A lot of us have different histories. It is hard to get used to seeing the same faces that don't have the same memories you do."

Though that last part is said with something that crosses the Assassin's green eyes, there, and hidden just as quickly.

"I'm not here to survey you, Bruce. At least, I haven't been assigned, yet."

"Director Fury." She corrects, gently.

Hmph.

The grunt is audible.

Banner emerges from the kitchen with two cups of coffee, and holds out one to Natasha. "Hope I got it right," he says in reference to the beverage. "Coffee should be a universal absolute — just try imagining a day without it." He smirks, puts his own on the counter, and then crosses his arms over his chest.

"Fury, huh?" he bobs his eyebrows and narrows his eyes at Natasha, as if deciding what to say or ask next. "New York?" he asks after a pause. He glances toward the door and back to the assassin again, as if half expecting the house to be surrounded. Again.

Outside in Bannerville, there is a bit of a salt lake that has been built up, and apparently cars arranged to spell H - U - L - K. Not far off is the wreckage, no longer smoldering, of the SHIELD transport Natasha took to come here.

Having gone to her personal safe house within Crossroads, Nat has at least changed. The red head is currently dressed in a pair of jeans, boots, and a fitting t-shirt. Her weapons belt is of course on her hips, gun at her thigh and assorted weaponry hidden on her person. Her uniform and other weaponry is within a backpack currently resting on the inside of Banner's front door, since they are both within the living room area.

Nat has some visible bruising, creeping up her neck, half hidden by her hair. Spots of it from the impact show on the backs of her arms, but rest hidden by clothing.

She takes the cup of coffee graciously, curling her fingers around the warm cup. "Just after, actually." Is her answer to 'New York'.

Though the way he looks to the door, her lips curve in a smile.

"Just us."

If the house is surrounded, then they're not particularly visible. Although Fury's approach is certainly not solo. It's Banner. He's brought reinforcements, just in case. If Banner's in a talking moode, well, they won't be needed. Oh, and he's parking HIS transport a good distance away. Why yes, he is tempted to make Bruce replace the one he trashed, or at least give them some help. He can't just order a new one right now, after all.

"'Course," Banner remarks glibly to Nat — his eyes lighting with a hint of wry mirth. He nods and reaches for his coffee, still looking at his one-time fellow Avenger. At least we have some times in common, his eyes say with some measure of relief.

"After," he replies as he lowers his coffee mug. "More after… anyway." He snorts derisively, shaking his head again and blinking his eyes at a memory. "Agent Hill took over after Fury, well… you know Fury: Council deposed him — too unpredictable, go figure — then there was a fake death… I kinda lost track after that, and — "

Banner hears footsteps at the door.

He sighs.

" — and that's him right now, isn't it?" He puts down his mug and heads for the door, pausing in the hall to glance over his shoulder and flash Natasha a rare grin.

"'Just us', huh?" He looks at Fury. "Director," he says laconically. "Long time. Coffee? Biscuit?"

Nick Fury turns to the men with him. "Wait outside. He seems to be as safe as he ever gets." Only then as they move away, does he turn back to Bruce. "May I come in?" Yeah. He's being polite. Which has to mean he wants something from…most likely Banner, not the Hulk. Finding people to smash stuff, easy.
She's tempted to ask him -exactly- what he remembers, but she refrains. Even hers and Hawk's history different in a measure, even with similarities.

"I see." Natasha is studying Banner carefully, looking for those little ticks that just may seem familiar. She still hasn't really touched the coffee in her hands, either.

Hearing the footsteps, her lips pull in a small smirk. "I told you he was coming." She did warn him! She did!

Within, she turns as she sees Fury darken his doorway as the door is opened. "Director." She greets, all business-like. She's staying as still as possible, for the most part, movements stiff. Such happens when one is ragdolled by the Hulk.

Banner waves Fury in and warily eyes the entourage. "Technically," he mentions as he shuts the door behind the Director. "It's your house — well, SHIELD's." He walks back toward the kitchen, and snags his coffee along the way. "And… I suppose that means I'm still technically one of your agents."

Banner turns about, holding his mug, but doesn't drink anything just yet. He rubs the back of his neck with his free hand, displaying some discomfort at his present situation, and mock-toasts Fury. "Look, I won't make it difficult on you, Director. Nat filled me in — a bit: war, powers-that-be, thousands of years… it's all very… horrible."

He sips from his mug.

"What do you need?"

"First of all, I would appreciate it if you tried not to destroy any more of our transports. Mr. Stark is here, but we still don't have even the basic infrastructure to construct replacements." Fury's lips quirk. He knows how hard it is for Bruce, but only at an academic level. Not in his gut, the way say, She-Hulk would or, better yet, Doc Samson. "The issues I'm facing are logistics and supplies."

"Bruce."

Natasha's voice is soft, seeing Bruce's general discomfort. Fury is within, but she still eyes any other agents outside the door. Less people, the better. Her coffee is set, forgotten, on a nearby table, shifting to linger and stand at Dr. Banner's side, attempting to be something of a soothing presence.

As conversation shifts to business, however, she remains silent, but vigilant.

Banner glances at Natasha.

He smiles. A nearby friend is most welcome.

Then he gives Fury a nod. "In my defense, Fury — or the Hulk's defense — I was trying to plug a leak, not blow up transports." His lips quirk at one side into a rueful half-smile. "Just don't ask me to do any plumbing then," he adds.

"OK. Well… this is a start:" and he walks to a book shelf and brushes his hand over a hidden sensor in it. The shelf slides open to reveal a staircase leading down. "Director Hill outfitted this place with it's own power-supply — courtesy of Stark Industries — and a fully equipped lab. It shouldn't be hard to match the quantum signatures of my reality with yours — " He glances at Natasha briefly. " — and yours, if they're different. This place was meant to be an extension of the SHIELD Hub anyway…" he sighs and shrugs his shoulders. "Might as well be again."

He turns back to Fury.

"Shown you mine…" he says with a snort.

"Argus class," Fury says, quietly. "But that is *all* we have. No ground support, only what auxiliary craft we had with us." Which explains why he's grumbling about the transport. "And there is basically no high tech infrastructure on this planet. NOthing to even start with." No wonder he wants Bruce.

"The unit, R.O.B., that was helping monitor Dr. Banner was also destroyed." Natasha points out, helpfully.

Though as far as giving up information, she leaves that to the Director.

With obvious dismay, Bruce turns his upper body to look at Natasha with an expression that says, loud and clear: Really? You had to tell him? A breath is loosed through his lips, and he starts pacing across the living room — head bowed, one arm hugging his chest while resting his elbow upon it, and tapping his chin with his forefinger.

"First things first," he murmurs — as much to himself as to the room in genera — "We link these two 'bases'; our realities have to be fairly similar: New York, Loki, Chitauri… how about London?" he glances briefly at Natasha and Fury as if for confirmation, but doesn't wait for a reply. "I've already started jury-rigging the terra-sensor software downstairs to compensate for interdimensional overlap… a universal — no, multiversal — patch. My R.O.B. contacted your base successfully, so that's a start."

He stops and glances between the other two SHIELD 'comrades' of his.

"We have the beginnings of a 'global' — this place is a globe, isn't it? — network, with monitoring capability in multiple realities simultaneously. Something or someone is preventing entropic cascade failure from tearing this place apart… might be nice to get us eyes on on Who or What is calling the shots."

He shrugs.

"If I know Stark — in any reality — he's already doing something like this, or has already done it. I'm… assuming it hasn't been implemented yet: an omniversal satellite, communications and monitoring network."

He shrugs again.

"Sound good?"

Nick Fury nods. "It appears to be an earth like planet, normal except for being the *only* planet in the solar system." Bruce is off and running. Good. "Mr. Stark just got here. We're looking for resources, metals. Once I get the two of you talking…" That's lighting the blue touchpaper and standing back. Fury's smart, but he's not a scientist. He'll leave them to that kind of thing.

There is a softer expression from Natasha as she regards Bruce. "I had to." She states simply. Its part of her job.

At the mention of London, she shakes her head slowly. No recollection at all.

Banner drains the rest of his coffee.

"Resources. Alright. We — Stark and I — can find them; Hulk can do the heavy-lifting… he'll like that, I'm sure." He glances at Natasha and nods as if to say, I know; it's okay, and then puts his mug down. "Don't let me keep you, then," he remarks as he starts to walk across the living room toward the hallway. "I need a shower and a shave — then I'll get to work."

Before his back is completely turned on Fury, he gives the SHIELD Director a sidelong, wary glance. Then he heads down the hall to the bathroom.

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