labcoatgirl: (thinking deeply)
[random scenario meme]

They'd been working for awhile on the problem, going at it from different angles. Nothing was working, it was such slow progress.

Betty didn't want to worry Bruce, he was so devoted to her and couldn't bear to see her sick. So she didn't tell him about the small bout of nausea...or the increasing frustration at the computer...or the blackout and lost time after stepping outside for a moment.

But while he was out getting supplies, something had happened...the lab was completely trashed, computers broken and sparking, chemicals spilt, glass broken, dents in the walls...

Betty looked to be asleep on the floor in the middle of scattered papers. Her clothes were torn in places as if she'd been beaten severely but there wasn't a mark on her.

---------------------------

"Betty, can you help me with the door?" He could barely see over the stack of boxes he'd brought from the car and needed her help, hitting the intercom with his elbow to call for her. "Betty?"

No answer.

Maybe he'd caught her indisposed. He set the boxes by the door and unlocked the lab and stopped in his tracks, supplies forgotten as he took in the scene. His first thought - one that sent adrenaline surging dangerously - was that her father had finally found her and taken her, trashing the lab to cover his tracks in their research. Then he saw Betty and his heart felt as though it would break and stop beating right then and there.

"No, oh no." He left the boxes by the door and hurried across the room to drop to his knees at her side, two fingers to her throat to find her steady pulse before he slid an arm under her to lift her up. "Betty, wake up."

---------------------------

There's a soft sleepy hum that comes from her as she's moved before Betty tries to open her eyes. Blinking up at Bruce, her first reaction is to smile...and then realize she's on her back. Confusion tents her eyebrows.

"Bruce?" What had happened? "Did I fall asleep? I'm sorry, I guess you were gone longer than I thought." She has no idea the mess she's laying in.

---------------------------

That she doesn't remember what happened comes as only a small surprise to Bruce, but the scene around them has a small piece of his mind screaming behind his eyes. It's nothing he shows as he brushes hair away from her face and offers more support with the arm under her.

"What's the last thing you remember?"

---------------------------

Betty doesn't want to move for the moment, Bruce has been keeping his distance ever since they found out her blood was tainted. She didn't realize how much she missed being held. Her hand holding to his arm as she tries to remember.

"...I was working on the computer." The one that's now a pile of smoking parts. There was something to remember there...but Betty couldn't (or didn't want to) remember. Her own concern was starting in the middle of her stomach, looking up at Bruce. "What's wrong?" He looked so worried, more than usual.

---------------------------

He had no idea how to break it to her gently. Looking around the lab, the only ameliorating factor was that the walls were still standing. If it had been him... If it had been him, there would be rubble.

"Look around. Do you remember being frustrated or angry before you blacked out?"

---------------------------

"...what??" What was he talking about? Betty struggles to sit up and finally sees the mess around her. Her mouth open in dismay and surprise as she pulls her shredded lab coat closer around her. "I...how did...?" She didn't remember a thing.

---------------------------

"We need to..." He looked around. They needed to get fresh samples of her blood, but he wasn't sure he was going to be able to pull this lab together enough to keep working here.

"Betty..." It hurt to try to force the words out, but they couldn't afford to hide their heads in the sand. "I didn't do this. You did."

---------------------------

Her eyes widen as she looks from the room to him and back. Something inside her rebelling at the truth. "...no...no, I would have known. It wasn't me." First stage is denial. When Bruce tries to comfort her, she actually pulls away. Shrinking back as she tries to process what he was telling her. "Stop it, stop treating me like I'm sick. I'm not!" Why couldn't things go back to the way they were. Betty felt like her whole world was crumbling. All over again. She wasn't sure if she wanted to cry or scream or both.

---------------------------

"You have to calm down." He let her pull away without forcing himself on her, even though it broke his heart to see her in such pain, knowing exactly how it felt. "I know you aren't sick, but you have to be calm."

He held up his hands placatingly and spoke quietly, "I know this is hard, but you aren't alone."

---------------------------

Betty had her mouth covered with both hands, trying to contain her swirling jumble of emotions. She only barely hears him tell her to calm down, trying to rack her brain to remember what had happened.

"...I was typing...there was an email..." Betty points over at the still smoking pile of computer. But what had she read? Something from her dad, that's right. Saying how he was going to find her and bring her back home.

And then nothing after that. "He could have traced the email." They really should not stay here.

---------------------------

"Come on." He understands the implications even if he doesn't know who "he" is that Betty's referencing. He spent too long on the run to spend time second guessing when a threat is imminent.

"Get anything you can't stand to leave behind. We have to go and we have to do it now."

He stands and offers her his hand, searching the room, cataloging what's left and what he can grab.

---------------------------

Betty follows as if in a daze, still trying to cope with what was happening. She really didn't have a choice, they had to leave right now. She throws a few things into a bag, latching it up and hurrying out to where Bruce is at.

But they might be too late. There are a few army vehicles coming down the road towards them. Betty doesn't see them yet.

---------------------------

Bruce's survival instincts are well-honed after years of evading her father. He spots the vehicles almost as soon as he sets foot out the door and grabs for Betty's hand. His mind races - can they make it to the car before it's too late? No, by the time they get in and get moving, their pursuers will be near enough to identify them and hem them in.

"Come on, we're going to walk, not run, over there. When we get out onto the campus, just keep walking. They'll be looking for someone running."

---------------------------

"They will?" Bruce was so much better at this than her. Betty tries to keep a steady pace next to him, her brain screaming that she should run, run away right now...

Her grip in his hand is tight, not wanting to let go. "W-what about the car??" Betty turns to look over their shoulder and her panic rises, seeing the army vehicles coming their way.

---------------------------

"We're going to have to leave it." He has a death grip on her hand and the skin between his shoulder blades is crawling with the expectation of a bullet or a tranquilizer dart at any moment, but he keeps their pace under a run.

"This is like before. No cell phones, no credit cards. We're going to have to fall of the map for a while."

Even as he's saying it, he has his doubts. SHIELD said they'd never lost him, and he's seen the technology they can harness to track people. Right now all he's got is the hope that this is more of her father's unsanctioned operating and not a full manhunt.

---------------------------

Despite being associated with Bruce, she is unpracticed at running from the law. As it is, she really wants to stop walking and start running.

In fact, she's walking really fast right now, her grip loosening from his hand as her mind panics. They're coming for YOU it says in the back of her mind...

Finally she loses it and just takes off as the vehicles are cresting the nearest hill towards them.

----------------------------

"Betty!" Dammit, he had thought she could hold herself together and now she was waving a huge red flag saying, Here! We're right here!

"Betty!" He tried to catch her before they were spotted, reaching out for her trailing arm, praying that they could avoid the disaster that was looming.

----------------------------

Running doesn't help, it just speeds up her heart rate. Betty is running full tilt, certain that they were going to be caught at any moment.

She suddenly trips and falls onto her hands and knees hard. She doesn't even hear her name behind her as a sickening green color is tracing through her arm veins...Betty turns her palms over in horror as she sees the transformation starting, absolutely terrified over what was going on.

----------------------------

Bruce catches up to her and it's already too late. It's always too late - he can't protect her, and seeing the green spreading on her arms, he's not sure he can protect anyone else.

"Betty." His back itches with the expectation of a tranquilizer dart, but he has to kneel and try to help her stand. "I'm here. You have to remember that, no matter what happens."

----------------------------

He's knocked back as her arm swings out, with more force than she should have for her size. Betty's nearly gone, something more grotesque forming instead. It's not quite the Hulk, the features are still vaguely Betty, but there's an overlying pale color mixing with the green. She's also not nearly as tall or bulky, the female genome leaning more towards a slimmer figure when stronger.

The creature that was once Betty turns in time to get a hail of darts in her direction. All of them bouncing off her skin as she runs towards the nearest tree and starts pulling it right from the ground. The tree being used as a melee weapon bat as the vehicles start coming towards her.

----------------------------

Bruce is thrown, landing on his back hard enough to drive the breath from his lungs. This is wrong, it's all wrong!

He can take a hit, he can take having to run, he can take Betty's transformation. He can take them all one at a time, even two at a time, but they have hit the trifecta and the adrenaline from the blow, the fear, and the heartbreak of seeing Betty endure what he has gone through combine into a static roar that threaten to overwhelm his control.

It's coming whether he wants it or not. The choice is simply whether it comes easy or hard.

For the sake of the people who are already starting to scream and run - those who aren't pulling out their cell phones to take pictures and video - Bruce chooses easy. The last clear thing he will remember is the sound of his clothes tearing, but he leaves the Hulk with one clear imperative - get Betty out of there. Get her far away. Keep her safe.

When he rises, Hulk shrugs off the hail of tranquilizer darts and roars a challenge at the trucks. It's possible he approves of her smashing tendencies.

----------------------------

Ross possibly deserves this. Having to not only fight his own daughter turned monster, but now to have two monsters closing in on his crack team of Hulk chasers.

Betty's monster is still terrified and acting in it's own perceived self defense. It just doesn't know it's own strength. The soldiers abandon a jeep very quickly as she smashes it beyond recognition with the tree in her hands.

Their attentions divided call for a regroup and the army pulls back to see if they have any weapons left to deploy. Giving Betty a moment of not having anything to break. She skittishly backs a step away from the Hulk but doesn't look away. There's a sort of recognition there, her overcharged brain is working on it.

----------------------------

Hulk spares a glance at the regrouping troops and takes a tentative step toward Betty. He remembers her and Bruce's anxious request to take care of her still underlays the static that crackles through his mind.

She's less fragile this way, but he still reaches for her as though he might break her if he isn't so very careful.

"Betty."

----------------------------

Words are too difficult for her like this. With recognition comes a grunt, almost a whimper of frustration. She doesn't like being like this, nothing is right. Everything is so loud and frustrating.

But she knows him. He's safe. The Betty-monster takes a few steps towards the Hulk, letting the tree fall to the ground behind her.

----------------------------

Unfortunately Hulk isn't big on subtleties. Now that she's relaxed enough not to be in an overtly aggressive stance, he's moving to snatch her up. He's done it before, and he'll do it again. They'll hurt her if they stay, and he can't allow that.

----------------------------

There's a yell of protest, the girl monster struggling to get free. The message clear PUT ME DOWN I'M NOT A CHILD! Despite her throwing a tantrum like one.

But here comes the army, they've put together some sort of ray gun and are firing it at the green couple having a strange caveman argument.

----------------------------

The ray strikes him in the shoulder, making him hunch protectively over Betty, turning his back to the gun. He hates these things, they make him think of New York, when the sky was full of creatures using such weapons on him.

He gathers himself to spring, but they modulate the beam just as his feet leave the ground, knocking him forward to roll on the ground with Betty still clutched protectively against his chest.

----------------------------

It's instinct that causes her to stop struggling and huddle close as they go tumbling along the ground. She does try to get up, simultaneously trying to get him to get up as well. Don't stay down, Hulk! The fight's just begun!

The army is flanking them, trying to split them up. Thinking erroneously that dividing will mean conquering.

----------------------------

He's given Banner's instructions their due; it's not Hulk's fault that General Ross' man weren't in on the mayhem-minimizing game plan. He lets Betty chivvy him up and snatches up the tree he'd recently taken from her.

His enraged roar says one thing and one thing only: You can't have her!

----------------------------

Betty's monster roars too, clenched fists beside him. They are definitely not going to be split up.

One unfortunate truck that gets to close is yanked off it's wheels, the soldiers diving for cover as she rips the door off. There must be a whole lot of buried anger in Betty for all of this to come out now.

----------------------------

Bruce has tried to get her to channel her anger in less destructive ways, but maybe it's for the best that she never listened.

Hulk grins and peels the truck's roof off to use it as a shield against another barrage of darts before whipping it like a frisbee to tear through another truck.

----------------------------

That cab driver in New York doesn't know to this day how lucky he was to have gotten away.

A part of Betty still eager to help Bruce starts demolishing the jeep piece by piece, handing him more ammunition to throw. This was fun! Smashing things. No wonder the Hulk did it so much.

----------------------------

It is fun, but Bruce's imperative is still niggling in the corner of Hulk's mind. He's supposed to keep Betty safe and take her away from here.

When the truck is down to axles and undercarriage, he grabs Betty by the wrist and pulls, trying to get her away from the remains of their attackers' vehicles. "We go."

----------------------------

She gives him a slightly annoyed look this time for grabbing her wrist but doesn't resist. Nodding agreement that they should leave. She would probably follow him anywhere at this point.

----------------------------

She's lucky he didn't just pick her up - at least not yet. He sets off at a run, not releasing her wrist. If she can't keep up, then he'll pick her up.

----------------------------

Oh, she'll keep up. Running her shorter legs but she'll keep up.

At least till they're out of the city. And she's suddenly feeling awfully tired...giving a sort of whine/grunt that she would like to stop for a moment, pulling on her wrist.

----------------------------

He slows and swings around to see what she wants, leaning down to search her face with concern plastered across his features. No matter what, she's still the Betty he loves, and her safety means everything to him.

----------------------------

"S...stop." Hey, a word. It's a more gravely voice than the Betty he's used to, but she's still in there somewhere. She's starting to breathe hard from the exertion, with her exhaustion catching up with her. She's probably about to change back at any time now.

She would like to stop running now, please?

----------------------------

No, they aren't far enough away. Hulk has been on the run longer than she has and he knows what happens when people see a big green man. He sighs heavily and leans down to lift her into his arms. They have a long way to go before he'll feel safe enough to rest, but there's no need to run her into the ground.

----------------------------

She clasps her hands around his neck, hanging on this time while she's carried off. Hulk was safe...just like Bruce meant being safe.

Slowly her green tint fades as she falls asleep in his arms, shrinking back to her normal Betty form.

----------------------------

Hulk runs for hours, undeterred by terrain, staying off the beaten path until they were well out of inhabited areas, deep in a national park.

He can't fit through the door of the empty cabin that he finds, but he pushes it open and gently sets Betty inside for shelter before he settles down to block the door with his sheer bulk while he rests.

----------------------------

It was the longest episode Betty had had to date, so she was apt to sleep for a very long time. When she comes around, it feels like every muscle is protesting. Betty slowly sits up, holding her head in her hands and wondering what could have possibly happened...

...never mind that, where on earth was she?? When she's feeling strong enough, she tries to get up, holding her tattered lab coat around her as she tries to open the door.

----------------------------

Bruce wakes when the door he's leaning against starts to move, shivering violently as it hits him that he's been asleep in little more than his tattered pants.

He remembers little, but he knows even before the door opens that he left Betty safe inside.

----------------------------

Surprised to find him on the other side, she gets down on her knees. "Bruce!" Was he alright? He looked cold. She still wraps him in a hug, finding herself shivering more out of fear than cold. What an experience and she couldn't even remember most of it. "Oh Bruce, I'm sorry..."

----------------------------

"Not your fault." His muscles clench with wracking shivers, but he pushes himself up to get inside and pull her into his arms. "It's not. None of this is your fault."

----------------------------

They are a sorry pair, both of them trembling and exhausted. Such a contrast from the pair that was tearing the army a new one earlier. Despite her protesting arms, she doesn't let go. Hugging Bruce helps keep her from losing it and just bursting into tears on her own after her ordeal.

"It is my fault, I didn't think it would ever happen." How feeble that excuse seems now.

----------------------------

"It isn't your fault. You didn't choose this." Looking over her shoulder to scan the one-room cabin, he starts moving her toward the bed with the blankets still on it. There's no chance of having anything in mind other than lying down and getting warm, but right now that prospect is even more appealing than other uses for a bed anyway.

"Are you hearing me? Not. Your. Fault."

----------------------------

She's easily maneuvered to sit, as if remembering how sore her legs are, sitting on the bed next to him and pulling at the plaid blanket someone had left there to try and put it around them. Betty was still trying to cope with all of this, hands to her temples. "I hear you, I know...it's just..." Of anyone, he understands. She can't even remember what she did. That's probably the scariest realization of all. "I feel awful."

----------------------------

"I know." He wishes he didn't know and even more than that, he wishes she didn't have to know how it felt to come out of one of these episodes, but wishing isn't going to change a thing. Their lives are... complicated.

And some small, cold, lonely, selfish part of his heart isn't sorry, because he will never again have to face being told that she's dead.

That's the part he pushes down while he helps her drape the blanket over their shoulders and draws her in close.

"We'll get through this." He isn't sure how yet, but they have resources now that he didn't have when he was on the run before and he intends to use them.

----------------------------

She actually finds a small smile when he says that. Betty curls up close to him with a sigh, "You say that and I'll believe you." Bruce had always been the smartest person she knew.

"...we'll have to get some better clothes." Theirs were shot. Hopefully the owners of the cabin had left something behind they could put on. At least the blanket was warm.

----------------------------

"Clothes and then we might want to figure out what state we're in and where we can get to a phone." He held out no hope at all that the cabin would have a phone. If they were particularly lucky, it might have some canned food. If they were particularly unlucky, it would have canned food and no can opener.

He was so tired and so heartsick that all he wanted to do was lie down and sleep and hope that when he woke up it was all a nightmare, but that was a luxury they couldn't afford. He forced himself to scan the room, looking for anything that they could use to their advantage.

"I hate to say it, but SHIELD might be our best chance."

----------------------------

"Oh..." Realization setting in that this cabin could literally be anywhere. Betty had the advantage of having a nap so she wasn't as exhausted as Bruce. She feels as if she should do something to help, so she lets him have the blanket and walks slowly around the cabin, opening cupboards to try and find something useful.

"If you think so..." but she sounds dubious. Initially they had been wary of Bruce and his monster. What would they do with two of them?

----------------------------

"We tried to do it on our own." Bruce sighs and gets up to drape the blanket over Betty's shoulders before going to peer into the cabin's tiny bathroom. A test of the sink gives him frigid water that doesn't warm, but at least there is water and indoor plumbing.

"And SHIELD has kept other groups off my back before. We can't just go hide in Stark Tower and hope your father forgets you exist."

----------------------------

Betty opens a small closet and finds some flannel shirts. Taking one off the hanger and exchanging it for her lab coat eagerly to try and warm up.

She has a knot in her stomach when he mentions her father. Mixed emotions there. "How would we find them?"

----------------------------

Bruce laughs without a trace of humor, coming out of the bathroom to eagerly join her at the closet to get a shirt for himself. "That's the easy part. The minute we go anywhere with network-equipped cameras, they'll have a lock on our location. I've seen them in action, it's... let's go with eerie instead of Orwellian."

----------------------------

"Oh." That did seem a little creepy. And way too easy. She's quiet as she tries to pull a few tangles out of her hair. "What if they're not the only ones to spot us?" Betty doesn't like to think about it, but she's suddenly very aware that this could all happen again.

And she really doesn't want to have it happen again.

----------------------------

"Then whoever comes after us is in trouble," Bruce says simply. "When we get to a phone, I'll call Tony. He can get hold of Fury and they'll bring us in. I'll make a deal - my willing help for protection for you while we get things sorted out. I think they'll take it."

----------------------------

Betty buttons up the shirt, stepping back so he can get dressed too. She's not completely settled with the idea of going to Shield but they did seem to be out of options. "Alright."

The End

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labcoatgirl: (Default)
Elizabeth (Betty) Ross

April 2014

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