labcoatgirl: (thinking deeply)
It had been nice working with Bruce again. The lab setting, the smell of chemicals, the white coats....it was like old times. Betty looks over at Bruce with a smile, dropping a few drops of liquid into vials in front of her before testing the radiation quotient of each.

Everything seemed to be going well.

As Betty slid the last batch into the radiation sensor machine for Jarvis to analyze, there was a warning from the computer AI. "Warning, systems experiencing sudden electrical overl--"

The rest of the warning is cut off by an explosion as the electrical overload reaches the machine in front of Betty. She's thrown back into Bruce by the explosion and electrical output, the two of them thrown against the wall before landing on the debris pile. The entire lab is trashed...and the two scientists are not moving.

Date: 2012-06-27 01:19 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
Bruce comes around slowly, pleasantly and after some time, his memory of the explosion hazy through the pounding in his head and the ringing in his ears. He shifts, making a small noise at the back of his throat, and when he freezes a moment later, it has nothing to do with how oddly wrong the sound is on his ears, hollow and tinny, and more to do with the reality of what happened filtering back in slowly as his fingers brush a chunk of concrete somewhere above his head.

He sucks in a sharp breath through his teeth and forces his eyes open, something in his stomach turning to molten lead as he surveys the damage. A hand goes up to his forehead as he takes it all in, fingers coming away bloody -- he doesn't need to look to tell, the stickiness enough to tell the story for him -- and panic sweeps in, replacing simple dread. It only gets worse when he realizes he doesn't quite feel right in his own skin, and his first thought is that he's in the process of a transformation. That he can still think that far ahead, that his ability for rational thought isn't being consumed by hot, red fear-anger, doesn't occur to him. His only thought is getting up, away, something before he's too far gone and he either hurts Betty or can't get her the help she likely needs if he's bleeding.

"Betty, are -- "

He stops short, dust from the debris coating the inside of his throat, and breaks into a string of coughing. It doesn't help having some sort of dead weight on his chest and when he stops, when he realizes what it is -- who it is -- his fear redoubles itself. Oh, God, no.

He puts a hand to her shoulder, shaking her lightly, all thoughts of his own unfortunate condition giving way to hers. "Betty."
Edited Date: 2012-06-27 01:34 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-27 01:39 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (completely shocked)
Betty lays there, covered in dust and very still. Surprisingly there's no blood on her other than transfers from Bruce.

Her head aches as she starts coming around, groaning and moving a hand groggily to put to her forehead. What happened? She couldn't remember at first. Someone was shaking her...

"...Bruce?" She coughs out his name, the dust starting to hit the back of her throat as she blinks up at him.

Date: 2012-06-27 01:48 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
He relaxes instantly, his eyes sliding closed briefly in thanks to a higher power he's not sure he believes in anymore. His upset is not gone entirely, though, and as such, once he's sure she's at least alive, he starts trying to shift out from under her, thoughts of getting away edging back in. It still hasn't dawned on him that, if the Hulk was going to rear his head, he would have done so already, or that he'd at least be in some kind of pain less related to being batted across the room and more related to trying futilely to fight back his other half.

"There was an explosion," he explains hurriedly. "I -- can you move?"

That question is more for her benefit than his own as some tiny, medically-inclined part of his brain realizes that squirming under her might not be the best of ideas. She might not have any obvious wounds, none that he can see, but that doesn't mean she hasn't broken something vital.

Date: 2012-06-27 01:52 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (stop)
She may not have any wounds, but every inch of her aches and hurts when she tries to move. Betty rolls away with a groan and hiss, on her hands and knees. She first gets a look at Bruce and...horror of horrors, he's hurt. She can see blood running down from his forehead.

There's an inner panic building inside of her. "Bruce, you're hurt!" Stupid machine, why did it have to blow up?? She did everything right, this wasn't her fault! Was it her fault?!

Date: 2012-06-27 02:03 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
He touches his fingers to his forehead again briefly. "It's fine. It's superficial."

He can't know that, not for sure, not without a mirror and a light source to test his responses and tell if he has a concussion, but he doesn't want her to worry. Not when she's in obvious pain. Not when, minor or otherwise, the cut will likely be gone in a few minutes when the Hulk slips into the driver's seat.

"We need to get you help. Before ... "

Only then does he realize that his own aches and pains have nothing to do with fighting a shift, and he trails off, glancing down at his hands, bewildered. His control is good, but not that good. The last time something exploded, he'd transformed and all he'd done then was taken a hard enough hit to his solar plexus to knock the wind out of him. That had been nothing compared to the cut on his forehead, a potential concussion, and the bruises he can all but feel forming on his back as he stretches into a sit. He doesn't understand and, glancing back to Betty, he reminds himself that he really doesn't have the time to. He can think about it later. He needs to get Betty to the lab Tony's cordoned off for him and his dabbling in medicine.

"We need to get you help," he repeats, putting a gentle hand on her shoulder.

Date: 2012-06-27 02:09 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (completely shocked)
Her emotions were overwhelming, all that anger and fear over hurting her Bruce. HER Bruce, how could she have hurt the man she loves? When he puts a hand on her shoulder she's practically shaking with sobs and pulls away.

"Not my fault, I'm sorry I should've done something I...my head...aaaahhhh" That pounding headache is growing too much for her to think straight. Betty grabs handfuls of her hair in agony as she screams...her voice starting to go deeper and louder as her arms take on a scary transformation, the veins coloring green across them.

She's in full panic mode, her eyes glowing green as she scrabbles the debris on the floor in front of her as if to crawl away, fleetingly realizing what was happening but unable to stop it.

Date: 2012-06-27 07:24 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
He snaps his hand back when she pulls away, as if he's been burned and frowns at her, his expression equal parts worried and calculating, the latter if only because he's running her symptoms through some mental medical dictionary, trying to decide what's wrong and if he can treat her without moving her. He stops only when she cries out, anxious former (current?) lover and friend marking another victory against collected medical professional, and he reaches for her again only to stop short.

The swell of muscle mass, the slow spread of green, the pain she's in -- it all makes sudden sense and no sense at all. He recognizes what she's going through, if only because he's gone through it himself time and time again, but it shouldn't be possible. He's the man leashed to his monster, not her. She couldn't -- she shouldn't --

He shakes his head, trying to clear it, and it works, if only partially, trying to figure out how the hell this is possible replaced by a hundred different things he could say to try and guide her through this. All of them sound too much like the things he's heard from the other people who know what he is, however, pointless and uneasy -- just breathes and calm downs -- and so he gives up on them, settling instead on something he knows will help, even if it's against his better judgement. Even if he still doesn't understand.

"Don't try and fight back."

If there's anything he's learned over the last few years, it's that fighting a change only makes things worse. If he lets it come, if he doesn't try to control it, it hurts less and he's generally less likely to put a friend through a wall in his fury. He can only hope the same will be true for Betty and not for his own sake. He trusts her, just as she trusts him. He doesn't want her to have to live in terror of trusting herself until they can fix this.

Date: 2012-06-27 09:54 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (completely shocked)
That's exactly what she had been doing. Fighting it, thinking this couldn't be happening, drowning in her emotional onslaught and the pain of fighting the transformation.

Somehow, Bruce's voice cuts through all the noise in her head and she manages one terrified look with glowing green eyes back at him...and does what he says, letting it happen. She's terrified of hurting him but she had to trust him.

An instant later, Betty is gone as the green monster stumbles to it's feet, holding it's head...staring at it's hands disoriented....and immediately attacking the first thing to spark, the remains of the exploded machine from before. Screaming defiance at it as it tears chunks of metal off, smashing it to pieces. The machine hurt Bruce, SHE MUST SMASH IT!!

Date: 2012-06-28 12:02 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
He gets to his feet as Betty does and not a moment sooner, not wanting to startle her by getting up before she has, and takes a few steps back, allowing her a wide berth. He says nothing as she tears the remains on the machine apart, thinks nothing, potentially in some sort of shock thanks to how little sense this all makes. He snaps out of it only when the machine is in ruins -- more ruins, whatever -- and wets his lips with his tongue as he wrings his hands in front of him and tries to decide what to do now.

He obviously can't help Betty while she's still transformed, obviously, so they'll have to wait it out. But what to do in the meantime? What to say? How did Betty deal with him when they spent that night in the cave after her father came after him? How does Tony do it now? He can't remember, not entirely, and not for the first time, he wishes he had better recollection of what he did as the Hulk.

"Yeah," he starts finally, nodding to the machine as he tries to emulate some of Tony's usual flippancy. "I'm pretty sure that's done."

Date: 2012-06-28 12:19 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (angry)
Not unlike Bruce's first transformation, Betty's mind isn't used to all of this. Her version of the Hulk is clumsy, disoriented, not sure what's going on. It barely looks like Betty, her tattered shirt hanging onto her with the sleeves torn off. Her usually serene face distorted in rage.

She, or rather it, turns with a snarl at the voice before processing who it is. Her green eyes looking wildly down at him as she leans on a wall to keep her balance. Everything was too big to move around, too loud in her head to think.

Betty Hulk struggles to talk and pounds both fists into the floor with a BOOM! in frustration when she can't. Another chunk of machine sailing into the wall and right through it.

Date: 2012-06-28 12:27 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
Okay. That clearly didn't work.

Bruce starts, half-ducking in an effort to avoid flying debris; he brings up his hands in front of him, defensively, when he straightens. He stands there for a moment, letting her get used to him, treating him as one might treat a frightened animal, and then takes a cautious step forward, his hands still held out in front of him. "Whoa, hey. It's just me."

Date: 2012-06-28 01:12 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (completely shocked)
It's Bruce, she's scaring him. That body language was enough to communicate it to the monster controlling her.

His voice calms her down a little, just looking at him as she shifts awkwardly on her large green feet. Uncertain what to do but for now, he's holding her attention.

"...b...Bruce..." It's almost a quiet whine, a plea to be understood. She knows it's him, everything is just a little to much right now.

Date: 2012-06-28 01:19 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
Slowly, he lowers his hands, and nods. If he said he wasn't jealous that she could actually form words -- from what he's been told by Tony and the others, he really doesn't -- rather than just grunting or bellowing, he'd be lying, but he takes it as a good sign, at least.

"Yeah. Yeah, it's me." Pausing, he wets his lips with his tongue a little. "It's okay. You're safe."

Date: 2012-06-28 02:30 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (I don't want to hear it)
Her face contorts, shaking her head with a growl. Everything was NOT ok. Everything was loud and confusing and angry...

...and tired...

Betty Hulk wavers on her feet, suddenly looking exhausted as she puts her hands on her face. Falling with a thump to sit down as her green tint starts to slowly fade, her form shrinking down as it does.
Edited Date: 2012-06-28 02:32 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-28 11:35 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
Bruce takes a step closer to her when she flops down, then another, then another until he's standing in front of her. He idles there for a moment, just watching her, then shifts to sit down next to her. He'd have gone to get a blanket or one of his shirts or something so she had something to cover herself with her when the transformation ends, but he doesn't want to leave her. God only knows what she'll remember, if she remembers the shift at all, but he knows that waking up from that alone the first few times was a nightmare. Not that the whole thing isn't on principle alone, anyway.

Date: 2012-06-29 12:34 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (unconscious)
Thankfully, her clothes had remained mostly intact, the female physiology less inclined to be muscle bound as compared to male. When she's finally her own size again, Betty slumps towards him, unconscious. The green veins fading along her arms and legs. She looked so pale and worn, her muscles twitching now and again as they try to resolve from being overexerted.

Date: 2012-06-29 07:24 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
He knows how exhausting being the Hulk is all too well -- his periods of unconsciousness following a transformation may or may not be shorter, if only because he's been doing this for so long, but his first thoughts after wondering how much damage he did, who he hurt and where he is always involve being starving and wanting to sleep for a few days -- and he puts an arm around her, holding her loosely against him. A part of him figures this is the part where he should go back to wondering how this happened and how to fix it, but he can't quite wrap his head around the thoughts, and he imagines himself to be in some sort of emotional shock still before he dismisses all of it and puts his free hand to her arm. He lets his fingers linger there for a moment, letting the touch be an anchor for her, and then slowly, clinically starts trying to work the tremors out of her traumatized muscles. He figures it's the least he can do for now.

Date: 2012-06-30 04:45 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (unconscious)
Her overstretched muscles finally stop misfiring as he works on them, Betty sleeping in his arms. She looks so peaceful...especially compared to the rage monster that had been pulling apart the broken machine earlier.

There's a space of time before she's able to start waking up. Her eyes flicker open sleepily. She felt like she could sleep for days...the blur above her resolves into Bruce's face and she blinks, not comprehending what just happened.

"...did...I...." She could remember something but it seemed like a bad dream. A horrible bad dream. "Was I asleep?"

Date: 2012-06-30 05:22 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
For the briefest of instants, he's tempted to lie to her. It doesn't take him long to remember how much he, personally, hates being lied to or how thin the words would be, once she got a good look at herself and her surroundings.

"Unconscious," he corrects, making a small, sour face. "You kind of ... yeah."

Date: 2012-06-30 05:26 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (completely shocked)
He still had blood on his face...that was enough to bring back a few memories, a gasp catching in her throat. He had told her once that being the Hulk was like those LSD trips they were a part of in an experiment in college. She would later say that was an understatement.

She had a flash of green hands reaching for....him. Betty starts trembling, not knowing what to do with the memories flickering in on her. Her eyes starting to fill with tears. "What did I do??"

Date: 2012-06-30 05:45 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
"Nothing big," he promises, fingers brushing over the cut on his forehead again as he notices her eyes drawn to it. It's stopped bleeding, thankfully, as far as he can tell. "I kind of did this to myself. Sort of."

He pauses, realizing he's neither making much sense or being entirely reassuring, and starts again. "There was an explosion. That's how I got the knock on my head. When we came to, I was afraid of letting the -- the Other Guy out, but I ... kind of couldn't."

Another pause. "You sort of ... you know. And trashed the rest of the machine we were working on. Then you collapsed. That's about it."

Date: 2012-06-30 05:50 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (scared over the shoulder)
She struggles to sit up, still physically exhausted but her mind is reeling. She couldn't have...

But it seemed she did. The destroyed lab around them was evidence of the explosion and her clothes were torn, the sleeves missing. It was ridiculous. Impossible. "But...but how??"

Oh no, if she had the Hulk...realization washes over her face, she had to keep from getting angry. Or scared. Not that she felt up to being angry at the moment but this was all pretty terrifying.

Date: 2012-06-30 05:59 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
"I don't know," he answers, tracing his tongue over his lips. He still can't quite get his head around that one, and he's not sure if it's because he has a concussion or because, hysterically ironic but true, he's only living as half a person at the moment, his temper and his fear muted, if not stripped from him entirely. "It shouldn't be possible. But I can't ... "

He closes his eyes briefly, sucking in a deep but staccato breath through his teeth, and tries to focus on all the great upsets in his life. His father's treatment of him and his mother when he was young. Betty's father and the way he lied to him, then hounded him for years. Natasha lying to him, not once but twice, and so on and so forth. His pulse jumps lazily, real fury not wanting to come, and he can feel his blood pressure rising slowly with it, but beyond that he feels no different. If anything, he feels vaguely hollow.

He opens his eyes, shaking his head. "Guess the Other Guy's on vacation."

Date: 2012-06-30 06:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (lovely hair)
She watches him closely, not sure at first what he was trying to do. "You can't..." her voice trailing off. That clinched it. Since when was Bruce not able to get angry and transform?

She manages a wan smile, a half hearted attempt to see the good in this situation. "I suppose you could go do something stressful now if you wanted to. Till we figure this out." While she tried to stay calm. Something she hadn't had too much experience in.

Date: 2012-06-30 06:11 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
"Yeah, bungee jumping still isn't really my idea of a good time," he shoots back.

He takes a moment to scrub a hand over his face, banishing what thin anger he managed to call up, and looks at her levelly as he drops his hand back into his lap. A moment of silence follows, and then, "We'll figure it out. Until then, though ... little secret? Find something that kind of irritates you and focus on it. Nothing big, just -- accidentally burning your toast or something. I know how it sounds, but being at least a little angry all the time helps."

He'll find her a heart monitor, too. It won't be infallible, considering that's not quite how things work, but it'll serve as an early warning system. He just hopes she won't need it for too long.

Date: 2012-07-01 05:24 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (angry)
She almost snaps back at that, not used to the sharp tones from him. That and she's not exactly the most stable person right now. But Betty bites her tongue, knowing that would do more harm than good.

She nods, trying to think of something that might do the trick. While he's looking for a heart monitor, she takes a moment to go get cleaned up in the shower. She feels so exhausted...it's five minutes before she realizes she's stepped into the shower, torn clothes and all, just standing there under the water with her eyes closed. And another moment to realize she didn't care, sliding down to sit in the tub and feel the hot water running down her. As if she wished it might wash away the memories of the past half hour.

Bruce might have to check on her in a bit if she stays in too long.

Date: 2012-07-02 10:40 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
Bruce returns some time later, with a heart monitor slapped together hurriedly from parts from one of Tony's watches, some other random parts and a little help from JARVIS -- it's not pretty, not polished, but it'll do the trick in a pinch -- and a packet of unfrosted strawberry poptarts. He would have made her a sandwich, since he figures she'll be hungry and there's more than enough food in the kitchen, what with all the other Avengers minus Thor in the building, but he thinks better of it when he realizes how much his dietary habits have changed over the years. While in Kolkata, he became a vegetarian out of necessity, and hasn't thought to break that habit now that he's back Stateside; who knows if she's stopped eating meat for one reason or another, too? Poptarts will have to do until he knows for sure, just something to tide her over until she can get a real meal in her.

Either way, he sets both down on the table when he hears the sound of running water in the bathroom, and settles in to wait for her to finish. When the amount of time she takes begins to grow worrisome, he fidgets idly in his chair -- he'd be lying if he said he wasn't grateful he could still worry, when he seems incapable of true anger at the moment -- and then gets up, moving to the bathroom door. He spends another few minutes lingering there before he finally decides to knock on the door.

Date: 2012-07-03 12:39 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (unconscious)
No answer.

Betty's actually fallen asleep in the tub in her wet clothes, she's so exhausted. The warm water is a comfort and the entire bathroom is all steamed up.

Date: 2012-07-03 07:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
After a moment or two of hesitation, he lets himself into the bathroom, not quite fearing the worst, but not expecting the best, either. He can't help but sigh in relief when he finds her, still clothed in the shower, and he kneels down at the edge of the tub, one hand reaching to shake her gently, unmindful of the fact that he's soaking the sleeve of his shirt and his shoulder.

"Betty?"

Date: 2012-07-03 07:11 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (scared over the shoulder)
...green hands reaching smashing don't hurt Bruce...Bruce...

Betty starts awake at being shook, terrified that she's the Hulk again before seeing who it is. A shaky sigh of relief. "...sorry."

Now realizing she's all wet and sitting in a few inches of water in the tub. "Oh."

Date: 2012-07-03 07:14 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
"It's fine," he promises, knowing all too well what the dreams (nightmares) after a transformation are like. He doesn't envy her then, nor does he have the heart to tell her that she'll probably be at their mercy for the next few days, assuming they can't get this fixed before then. How do you really deliver that kind of news?

He brushes his hand over her shoulder lightly, then pulls his hand back. "I'll ... get you a towel."

Date: 2012-07-03 07:16 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (thinking deeply)
She sighs, wiping the water out of her face and reaching to try and shut off the water. "I thought..." her voice trailing off for a moment. "...it's irrational. If I showered long enough, it might be a bad dream."

If anything, she now understands what it is that Bruce goes through every day, even if this is a small part of it.

Date: 2012-07-03 07:33 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
"It's not irrational." God knows he's wished the same thing, many a time over the years -- that if he just showered long enough, he could wash away the madness of his life.

He offers her a brief, but entirely sympathetic look and moves to get a towel out of the linen closet. He's still wearing the same look when he returns with it, moments later. "I wish I could tell you that actually worked."

Date: 2012-07-03 07:38 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (hugging Bruce)
She shivers a little, stepping out and dripping on the floor as he brings her the towel. Betty wraps it around herself, not looking at him as he speaks. Without a word, she steps in close, just wanting to be held for a moment.

Date: 2012-07-03 07:49 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
He allows her that, arms wrapping around her waist to pull her tight against him with a little less hesitation than he might have shown before. Slowly, he turns his head to rest against hers. As with the shower, he doesn't seem to either care or notice that he's getting wet, himself.

"I'm sorry," he says after sometime of silence. He may feel odd, like half a person at the moment, but he's still more than willing to take the blame for everything and anything. Really, though, who else could be at fault here?

Date: 2012-07-03 07:52 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] labcoatgirl.livejournal.com
ext_1359443: (come home with me)
Usually, she would tell him to stop apologizing. This time...she feels partly responsible.

"...me too," she says quietly into his shoulder.

Once she's able to compose herself again, Betty finally speaks again. "What do we do?" Focus on fixing it, that's what they needed to do. But she wasn't sure if they should be looking for a cure or a way to switch back. As bad as it was, she couldn't give this back to Bruce.

Date: 2012-07-04 06:55 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] brokeharlem.livejournal.com
"It's not your fault." He really believes that, too. The explosion that caused this -- assuming it's at fault here in the first place -- could have happened to either of them. She didn't know that would happen or that this would be the end result. It's not her fault.

He pushes concepts of blame out of mind when she poses her question, however, and wets his lips with his tongue, looking thoughtful. "We could probably recreate the, uh, accident. If we're lucky, if that's what actually caused it, maybe we'll bounce back."

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Elizabeth (Betty) Ross

April 2014

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