It wasn’t like Bruce planned to skip meals. He just got caught up in the experiments and going ten, twelve hours without eating just sort of happened. The scientist looked down at his stomach as it growled again with a frown. He clearly wasn't going to get anything done if his body kept betraying him like that. Everyone else had gone home long before and Bruce then had the startling realization it was nearly 11pm.
If he ate at SHIELD in the break room, there was a good chance Betty might not know he’d waited almost the entire day between meals yet again. Bruce smiled at his plan, wrote down one final calculation to be implemented tomorrow with the interns and turned out the lights.
It was when Bruce reached the kitchen two floors up that he had another thought. He didn’t have a clue what he actually wanted to eat. His stomach was making more of those annoying noises, louder than before and interrupting his focus. Bruce quickly spied a loaf of bread on the counter and thought toast sounded pretty good. Crumbs were easy enough to sweep up, including off his lab coat and toast was something with little prep time. He could even eat it in the car, if he wanted to.
Bruce opened the cabinet door, looking for the small jar of Marmite. Coulson had gotten him to eat it and the salty paste was surprisingly good on toast. Unfortunately, it was gone and in its place, a note from Clint. Something about not being able to stand the sight of “liquid shit” next to his whole-wheat pasta. Coulson’s much tidier response was on a sticky note attached: the next jar he received would be living on the bedside table. Bruce decided he didn’t want to get in the middle of that and looked for something else to eat.
So Bruce opened the refrigerator. He wrinkled his nose at the eggs in the door and his eyes traveled from shelf to shelf. There was Tony’s leftover chicken lo mein from two nights ago (the carton still had a lacquer chopstick poking through) and a Tupperware container of homemade guacamole by Thor (the Norse demi-god greatly enjoyed mashing the avocado, tomato and onion together). Steve had laid claim to the remaining hamburger patties from the SHIELD bar-b-que (Bruce never again wanted to see his teammates in a contest to see who could create the largest cannonball splash off the diving board.) and the man didn’t dare touch Natasha’s homemade plum dessert. (He liked his fingers where they were, thanks.)
Bruce filled a glass with tap water and guzzled it down, hoping it would quiet his stomach. It did, temporarily. By that time, the scientist had settled on making a half-pot of decaf coffee and stealing one of the single-serving oatmeal packets. He watched the bowl of oats and water spin around in the microwave and poured a splash of 1% milk into his coffee mug, side-eyeing the skim milk container next to it in the refrigerator door. It managed to look watery in its opaque plastic jug.
Clearly it was too late to be awake if Bruce was thinking such thoughts about dairy products. He set the 1% milk back as the microwaves beeped at him. Bruce shut the refrigerator door with a kick and removed his somewhat gluey oatmeal. It smelled heavily like cinnamon, steam wafting in front of Bruce's face. He took a seat at the kitchen table, coffee mug clutched in one hand and a spoon in the other, mind drifting back to the lab and what needed to be done tomorrow. Bruce ate mechanically, draining his coffee in a few gulps and shovelling in the last spoonfuls of oatmeal as another idea occurred.
He hurried back down to the lab to write up his hypothesis. Betty would understand when he came home for a real breakfast in a few hours. She made the best french toast, definitely worth leaving the SHIELD lab. (Bruce also needed to change clothes and pick up a spare set. He hadn’t actually been home in a few days and was on his last change of clean clothes from his locker.)