2019-10-20 - Next Time, We Build a Pillow Fort


Bruce visits Steve in the WAND holding cells. He brings with him a touch of humanity and some simple necessities, all of which are gratefully appreciated.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Oct 20 06:35:57 2019
Location: WAND Holding Cells

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Theme Song



With the moon rising for the second night in a row, Steve has elected to remain in the solitude of his glass-walled holding cell. He's had a nearly steady stream of visitors broken up only by brief spates for privacy or when agents have elected to go home. Barnes is somewhere on campus, maybe catching a few winks himself.

The Captain is in the corner he was for most of the day when not up at the glass itself conversing with people. Communications are easily enough relayed through a two-way speaker tucked discreetly in the ceiling — magic aids in the rest. WAND did their work well; the layerings of Class D wards are nothing to joke with. Steve wears a borrowed pair of SHIELD sweatpants and a blue t-shirt scrounged up from his locker by Barnes.

He's picking at the seam of one of the many pillows gathered into the corner with him. Apparently, these are of no safety or flight risk to him. While he works at the loose thread with a blunt fingernail, he appears to be thinking very hard given the deep furrowing of his brow. A light sheen of sweat is beginning to appear at his temples regardless.

The moon's sway is strong, even out of its immediate sight two stories underground, but his will is stronger. There won't be any wolfing out — not again tonight — not if he has his druthers.

Access to the area is easily enough obtained through a keycard with the proper encoding. Avengers are all granted the same access as Steve himself. The tiling in the hallway alongside the sequestering of cells is clean and smooth, the air cool and just a little sterile.

Banner approaches the WAND sector in comfortable clothing, though he's shrugged on a labcoat just as a matter of course. A 'visiting consultant' badge dangles from the lanyard on his neck, evidence of his current status isn't exactly fully enacted yet, but the stripes of color on the badge shows his access is considerable. Bruce fiddles with it, betraying his anxiety, through flipping it one way, then around the other way, on the pivot that holds the badge. Twist… twist.

Bruce is tanned: starkly tanned, and his dark brown hair is wavy and sunbleached, needing of a haircut. He releases a soft breath before entering, taking that pause for himself in a place where nobody is able to see him, and then presses his palm to the door, pushing it open and walking inside. He has a parcel with him, under one arm. He talks to security, first.

"Hi, um," Bruce says, picking a finger against one of the plastic walls of security. He holds up his badge, and waits, smile forced. In?

After a pause, he's allowed in, and heads over to the cell. His expression is painfully empathetic. If anybody knows what it is to sit in the corner of a cell feeling like shit while everyone watches your every move, Bruce does. "Hey, Steve," Bruce says quietly, approaching, near the access door to Steve's plastic cube-cell.

Movement in his peripheral makes Steve glance up, his expression still torqued in frustration turned at himself. He remembers so little from last night, but the debriefing he'd received once he'd reached full sense of self-presence was no walk in the park. Not in the least.

"Banner," he sighs, a smile slow to appear on his face. Now there's a grateful curiosity on full display. Rising to his bare feet means casting aside the half de-threaded pillow and padding over to greet the scientist beyond the transparent cell walls.

"Hey, Bruce. You…went someplace sunny," the Captain notes, pocketing his hands as he tends to do in conversations. The circles are darker under his eyes, but by his dimples, he's pleased to see Bruce alive and well.

"Yeah, yanno, I figured, change up my skin tone on purpose a bit," smiles Bruce. His joke is a little flat, mostly due to that he's not sure if he's comfortable, or not. The situation could be better: and he's nervous about something. That's a usual state for him, though: this low key uncertainty most of the time. He lifts the parcel in his hand, showing that it's a small duffel; the strap drops off his shoulder when he lifts it. "I've got some things," Bruce begins, coming fully to the door. "Change of clothes. Some sanitizer stuff." For those situations when showers aren't possible.

There's a pause, as he looks at the door, the cell, then at Steve. "I'm going to sit with you a bit. I, uh. I'd like to come in. Okay?" Bruce asks, gesturing loosely at the cell. It's phrased uncertainly, but there's no fear on Bruce's face: none at all. The verbal stumble comes more from a place of being unsure how to phrase it, not the situation itself.

Steve laughs quietly at the quip from the quietly-spoken man. His chin drops for a second and he nods before looking up at that oblique angle speaking to true amusement in matters. A joke is still a joke and he feels it lighten his heart by an increment yet. His eyes fall to the duffel as its contents are explained.

By the way the man swallows, this means more than he initially expected. He meets Bruce's gaze again even as side-stepping brings him to the cell door itself. "'m not gonna stop you from coming in. I know you can handle anything if I sneeze wrong." The dark-haired man beyond the cell wall gets a reassuring little quirk of a smile.

Rolling step by rolling step, the super-soldier then backs away from the entry point. "Passcode's 07041920 along with a pass of the keycard. Someone upstairs has a sense of humor," he drolly informs Bruce. That's Steve's birthday, after all.

"Please don't sneeze wrong," Bruce says mildly, smile vague, brows lifted. "Seriously," he adds, more firmly, but chuckles a little, and nods. "To make everybody comfortable, hang out in your pillow fort while I open up, okay?"

He turns his attention to the door, keying in the code with a thumb quickly and easily: Banner's got a great memory on him for things like numbers and sequences. With the keys pushed and card swiped, the door opens, and Banner enters, seeming relatively relaxed: for Banner, anyway. He's never really 'relaxed'. The whole manner is entirely similar to a doctor coming into a 'dangerous' ward to check on a patient: calm and fearless.

Bruce shuts the door after him, ignoring the metallic CLANK that it makes, and gives Steve a sad little smile. He isn't going to crowd the other man, which leads to some awkwardness, since there is really nowhere to sit. "Spartan in here," Bruce says, tone gentle.

"Haven't tried making a pillow fort yet. That's a thought." Steve continues backing up until his bare heels touch the collection of pillows in the corner. He keeps his hands in his empty pockets, expression both patient and watchful.

Once Banner is within the cell itself, however, he shifts in place. There's a manner of wariness now that isn't necessarily normal behavior from the super-soldier. His nose twitches more than once as he tests the influx of new air into the cell and the scents clinging to Bruce.

At Bruce's comment, there's a glance around the cell before a shrug as Steve looks back at the man. "'s'not that I'm a risk for anything. More for comfort. The sedative mix they have to use to bring me back caused a seizure or two this time." But by all appearances, the Captain's fine if looking more than a little worn out. "You can have a pillow if you want though."

Stooping down, a pillow is taken and then slung with gentle force. It slides across the way towards Bruce, aimed to bump off his feet.

"Your hospitality is legendary," Bruce says mildly, and bends, to pick up the pillow. His smile is comfortable, but still edged in sadness. It isn't pity, that's not the right emotion. More as if he were seeing a dark place of his own past here, and it's depressing.

"Seizures… I read about those," answers Bruce, nodding, by way of informing that nothing Steve says is going to adjust how he sees Steve at the moment. He smells a little bit of his lunch: tuna salad. The detergent he used to clean up. Some mouthwash: minty.

Bruce moves the pillow, bent over, to the wall near Steve's pile, and then eases down the wall to sit on it, duffel-bag now between his knees on the floor. "I brought something else, too; I know what it's like to stare at the same walls," he says, in a tone that's Bruce's brand of being pleased with himself: a subtle little smile, and brightness to his brown eyes. He unzips the bag, and sets out a half-dozen sheets of rolled, thick paper, and then a plastic ziplock baggie of short, flimsy charcoal pieces, each about 4" long. They're brittle, but something non-dangerous. "You've got time and skill, maybe make your own view."

A soft snort from Steve follows his gesture of a pillow being accepted. He watches Bruce more, nods back when his fellow Avenger confirms having read the medical reports on the cell's current occupant. Once Bruce settles, soft footsteps ending in the pillow pile nearer to him are followed by a soft grunt as Steve sits down. The kidney pain is residual from the ICER shots, even if briefly dulled by a prior visitor's gift.

A slow inhale and exhale bring more information to the Captain yet. Mouthwash is brisk. He'd admittedly be hungry at the idea of tuna salad were it not for earlier's dinner, calorie-rich as it was. Folding his legs in a pretzel where he's settled, his eyes fall to the duffel. Bruce's tone has him curious yet again — he so rarely hears it, and always in conjunction with novel things.

When the first rolled scroll of paper appears from inside the bag, his brows meet. What? It's about the third roll that he realizes what the offering is. It's confirmed by the collection of charcoal stubs in the clear plastic baggie. Steve swallows VERY hard this time.

"Gosh, Bruce, I…" Another thick swallow and the Captain reaches out to pinch the corner of the ziplock baggie. It gets pulled towards and into his hands. He feels carefully at the charcoal pieces through the plastic with both thumbs as if to confirm what his eyes are telling him. Bruce is then given a look grateful beyond words. His mouth works for a second. "'s'not that… They're not being unkind, but… I mean, you said you know, so…"

A faint laugh and the Captain then tucks his chin, pulling his gaze back down to the art supplies being gently mulled in his fingers.

Bruce is just sitting there watching his friend in his quiet, introverted way. Bruce smiles a small amount and tips his head forward. He understands. The duffel bag is moved quietly over to Steve's side, too, to allow the other Avenger to go through what's left. There's a washcloth, some 'waterless foaming sanitizer' in a blue bottle, a squishy toothbrush with paste, two sets of new underwear, a shirt and some shorts. Much more would have overfilled the bag, and Bruce needed to keep it minimal and light. He pulls his knees up some, setting his forearms across each, hands folded together between raised knees.

"When I was first in one of these, first day, I would just have loved to have brushed my teeth," Bruce smiles briefly, eyes down on the bag, to give Steve the space to not be stared at. "Now my little care packages always have it. It's important to feel … human, to me." He moves on hand sideways as if to pat Steve's forearm, but bails out of actually touching Steve. He's not sure Steve wants that, and just instead turns the hand over, a mild offering, unsure.

The duffel bag does get a good rifling, but the one marking each item within tries hard to not appear as if he were drowning and finding something familiar to cling to in his circumstances. Steve glances up when he hears his fellow Avenger begin to speak. Smiling to himself with an empathetic solemnity, he nods too before pulling the zippered center lining of the bag open again with a fingertip. Yep, it's all still there.

The Captain's broad palm, with fingers strong and nails squared, reaches out beyond the offered hand. Instead, he aims for a gentle squeeze to Bruce's forearm not too unlike something Thor might offer in his enthusiastic greetings.

"About the most important thing in the world when nothing feel certain," he agrees, voice gone very quiet, eyes now resting on Bruce's face with an openness most somber.

Bruce registers no fear at all of being clawed, or grabbed, or anything else. Bruce really, truly, isn't worried about that. He accepts the greeting of forearms: his much slimmer arm to Steve's bulky, powerful one. Still, Bruce has nothing to prove physically. He'd prefer to be the slimmest one in the room!

"If you think of anything I missed, let me know," Bruce says, kindly, voice lowered, quiet. It isn't like SHIELD security can't hear them: of course they can. A werewolf and Hulk in a box? They're getting watched from every angle possible. But for now it's easy to pretend to forget that.

"But I'm not going anywhere for a while, unless you want privacy for an urgent change of underwear," Bruce says, his tease light, kindness still paramount.

Echoed back to them in the odd acoustics of the transparent cell, Steve's laughter briefly arcs up. He shakes his head before giving Bruce an arch glance complete with lifted eyebrows.

"If you had half an idea of what I had to tolerate back in the war… I'll change after you leave though. More important to be present." Carefully sequestering the papers and baggie of charcoal off to one side atop a pillow, he then too slides the duffel back out of the way in order to stretch out his legs briefly before himself.

"I'll let you know," Steve adds, still quietly, as he pulls his feet back in to take up the cross-legged seating again. Forearms cross too above his shins, hands relaxed and free-hanging. "Can't think of anything off the bat that'd fit in the bag. Curious about where you got your tan, but if you can't remember the number of the place, 's'not a problem."

Bruce gets a significant side-look before the Captain benignly glances away towards the security hut down the hallway. Apparently, no need to tell him now if the story can be told later.

"You might be surprised what I can fit in a bag, even without an intra-dimensional pocket," Bruce teases in his mellow, deadpan way. Bruce's humor is always very dry, enjoying irony.

"I've had better vacations," Bruce says, answering the 'question' about where his tan was, with a clear answer. He can't divulge details of this one, but still does want to talk: it's not that he's suggesting they not talk.

"Last year, Hawaii. I didn't get to do the helicopter tour I wanted — obvious reasons — but had something of a debacle with where I was staying already being rented," Bruce explains, stretching his back some, and smiling aside to Steve. "She was nice enough about it," he adds, splaying his hands open, as he still rests his forearms on his knees as he continues his story.

It's not really about the story, although the jokes do come, comfortable and easy. No, it's about some companionship, to remind about the life that exists outside of the box: and the support structure that isn't giving up on Steve.

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