labcoatgirl: (hello Bruce)
She smiles back happily before her eyes indicate for him to look where they are. "Um, this is actually my house." They've stopped near the small white house in the middle of the neighborhood. She moves a piece of hair behind her ear, not really wanting to go in yet. "I don't even know if Dad's home yet..." For once, she hopes he's not.

He turns to look at her house, it seems so normal, and pleasant.

"It's nice." He smiles, looking around for a car, or any indication that someone is home. "I don't want you to get in trouble. I can always come back on Saturday, now that I know where it is."

"Oh I don't think...I won't get in trouble." At least, she doesn't think so. It's not like she's ever brought a boy home before, her dad might even think she's starting to act normal instead of burying herself in scientific journals and playing with her pet mice.

" to come inside for a sandwich or something?" She kind of didn't want to see him go yet. And besides, he had to see what she was working on and her lab set up and...and...stuff.

He would have politely protested out of principle, but right then his stomach makes itself heard loud and clear. He laughs nervously and runs a hand through his hair.

"If you're sure." He shifts on his feet. "I mean, I'd like to. Thanks." He'd just have to mind himself that he didn't inhale whatever she had.

Betty grins and reaches to give his arm a tug as she goes towards the house. "Com'n then."

Inside, it's a pretty normal household. There's a few pictures, mostly of Betty with school awards and ones of her dad getting medals. And a few medals framed too on the mantelpiece. Betty sets her bag down on the couch and goes for the kitchen to work on some sandwiches.

He follows dutifully, trying to wipe off his feet some before he walks inside. Bruce sets his bag down by the door, force of habit from quit exits, before he wanders in and looks at the pictures of Betty, and her father's medals. He is impressed by what he sees, before shoving his hands into his pockets and standing in her doorway. He doesn't lean against anything, as if he's afraid he might leave a layer of grime, or damage something.

"Anything I can help with?" Right, in the meantime, he at least heads for the sink. The least he can do is wash his hands.

"Um..." she turns from the fridge, lunch meat in hand. "The bread's over there." There was a small island in the middle of the kitchen for extra counter space. Betty piles lunch meat, cheese, and condiments there before grabbing a few plates.

Bruce has to pull a couple drawers open before discovering the breadbox and pulling out a loaf. When he turns to look at the island he tries to keep his eyes from opening wide. Honestly, he was expecting peanut butter and jelly because that's usually about the most he had available at home, but wow. Heavy on the protein was the fastest way to feel better after an incident, and he felt his mouth water a bit as he walked over with the bread and set some slices out on the plates she'd put down.

"You really didn't have to..."

She smiles, starting in on making two sandwiches at once with salami and ham. "Oh, I don't mind. I never get to cook for anyone anyway." Her mom was notably absent from this family picture. She pops a piece of salami in her mouth and hands an extra piece to Bruce. He even looked hungry.

"You want milk or pop?"

Bruce doesn't question, he's only known her for a day and figures it's not a good point to ask. He does, however, gladly take that salami and nibble at it, so he doesn't scarf it down in a single go.

"Thanks. Uh, milk please. Where do you keep your glasses?" He can help with that, at least.

She points with a mustard covered knife. "Cupboard up there." He can probably find the milk in the fridge on his own.

Betty's putting the finishing touches on the sandwiches and pops one in the microwave to heat it up, melting the cheese. She likes hers warm.

That he can, and does, pulling it out once he's found the glasses and pours himself a glass.

"What would you like?" He turns and sees her putting her sandwich in the microwave and tilts his head just a little at that. "You head it up?" He mentally flails, realizing she might find his tone insulting. "Oh, not that it's a bad thing, I just, never saw anyone do that before."

She doesn't mind, in fact she sounds eager to share. "Yeah, it makes the cheese all nice and melty. You want to try it?" Betty pulling out her sandwich and handing it to him. She can heat up the other one in a matter of seconds.

"Oh, go ahead and eat. I can have the other one when it's done, really." He waves off her sandwich, it feels too much like taking her meal from her. Besides, there's that whole 'ladies first' thing, and Betty definitely applies.

Oh no, she's not having that. Betty practically puts the plate right in his hands with a determined look. "You. Eat. After what you've been through, you deserve it." Betty's not about to take no for an answer as she goes to heat up the second sandwich and pours two glasses of milk.

"Uh..." Bruce looks horribly awkward but he doesn't want to be rude, so he accepts the plate and takes a bite. His eyebrows raise up, in an expression that clearly says that he has a new favorite way of making sandwiches. He gulps down the first bite. "Oh, wow, that's great. Did you come up with the idea yourself?" Because he honestly believes that she would.

"Mhmm," Betty smiles happily at his reaction as she takes her own out of the microwave. "I can't stand cold sandwiches. They get all dry and yucky." She picks up her glass of milk, taking a sip before motioning they should go into the living room. Easier to eat sitting down anyway.

Bruce follows her lead, but rather than taking a chair he settles himself on the floor at the coffee table. He sets his plate and drink down and then his stomach gets the better of him as he picks his sandwich right up without missing a beat and takes another bite.

She was going to sit on the couch but since he seems to prefer the floor, she sits there too, putting her milk in the coffee table. The way he's eating, she's wondering if she should have given him both sandwiches.

"I'll be right back." Betty moving off to her bedroom to get a small cage of mice and bringing them out to the living room. "Here's the fab four..."

"Mmph." He nods over his mouthful before ducking his head a bit at his sudden lack of manners. When she comes back, he's finished half his sandwich, but he's set it on the plate. He turns to see her come in and he smiles brightly.

"Hey guys." He greets the mice and watches them as Betty brings them in.

They all look back at Bruce with small black eyes, one of them stopping running on the wheel because there's a new person out there. Betty scoots up next to Bruce and opens the top to pick out one of them in her hand, rubbing his head. "This one's Paul, that one's John..." and she goes through which is named which.

He repeats the names after she finishes introductions, and just smiles. He has a certain fondness for the small creatures he really hadn't been aware of. He hasn't had many opportunities to be around them, but seeing how small they are, he just smiles.

"You dyed Ringo orange, right? How long ago?"

"Oh that was months ago. It's grown out since then." She pulls out and hands Ringo to Bruce, pointing near his tail. "See, there's a small bit of orange left." She trusted him implicitly with her pets already. Paul moves along the coffee table, nibbling on Betty's sandwich.

Bruce takes the mouse gingerly, looking a bit awkward as he holds the tiny creature, as if he might be afraid the power of the Hulk still lingered and there was a risk he'd hurt the creature no matter how gently he handled it. He cupped Ringo in his hands and brought him up to his face, the tiny creature's whiskers tickling Bruce's nose, making him smile.

"Hey little guy, nice to meet you too." He looks up and laughs, nodding toward Paul who's working away at the crust of her bread. "Uh, Betty?"

Betty smiles happily, glad that he was getting along with her mice. Most of the kids would think her weird for even having mice as pets. "I think he likes you."

"Oh Paul, come here..." she snags the wayward mouse, his mouth full of food as she puts him back in the cage. "He's getting fat as it is."

Bruce gently pets Ringo, who seems perfectly content with the affection, sitting still in Bruce's hands. Or perhaps it's the smell from Bruce's sandwich. Either way, he doesn't squirm as Bruce gently scratches behind a tiny ear, making Ringo close his eyes contentedly.

"Maybe we should put Paul through the maze first for some exercise."

She snickers at that. "He sure could use it." Betty leans in to talk through the bars at the chubby mouse who was chewing what he had left in his cheeks. "Hear that? You're going on an exercise plan."

"That, or we'll dye you green. You know, Kermit has it right when he said it isn't easy." Bruce isn't usually the sort to joke about his personal problem, but something about the whole situation just puts him at ease. It's out before he catches himself, and when he does realize what he's said, he curls in on himself, embarrassed. Making certain it's the opposite side from where he's eaten, he pulls off a tiny piece of bread from his sandwich and holds it out to Ringo.

She chuckles at that before looking at him...and stops. He seemed ill at ease with the color green, for good reason. "Too soon after?" she asks leaning back against the couch next to him.

Ringo snatches the offered bread and starts nomming it greedily.

"Nah. Just..." He doesn't know how best to explain that it's more a fear of making light of a dire situation, that maybe he'll come to accept it if he makes a habit of it. He smiles apologetically at Betty.

"It's okay to laugh. I mean, a chubby green mouse, kind of hard not to."

She can't help smiling at the picture he painted for her. "It is...I have to admit. He'd look kind of cute green too." She may or may not be referring to Bruce as cute indirectly that way. His other self wasn't exactly cute but Bruce definitely was. Betty bumps her shoulder against his in a friendly gesture. "I can't wait to start building that maze." Science was always exciting.
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Elizabeth (Betty) Ross

April 2014

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