He first goes to Natasha, not because she’s the lone girl on a team of super-powered dudes or anything but because he feels like she knows people better than most of them, and could give him some pointers on how to approach the situation of coming out to the team.
If he’s really honest with himself, he’s more afraid of them being able to readily accept the green guy more than they’d accept him being gay.
He doesn’t say all of that to Nat, of course, but then he doesn’t have to.
“If we’re comfortable being around you when you turn into the Hulk, I don’t think we’d have much trouble accepting you being into guys,” she says, when he approaches her on the sofa. She closes her book, and turns to him.
“But what about…”
At Bruce’s nod, Nat tilts her head in consideration. “I can’t speak for him, obviously, but I’d have a hard time believing Captain America is a homophobe.”
They sit in silence for a while long, Nat running her finger down the leather-bound cover of her book. “Just be truthful. But keep it simple. No need to disclose more than you’re comfortable with disclosing,” she says finally.
The talk with Clint basically goes:
“So I feel it’s important to tell you that I’m…”
“Gay?” Clint interrupts, before he basically throws down Bruce harshly on the mat in a complicated hand-to-hand move that Bruce totally doesn’t see coming until he lands on his butt and looks up to see Clint smirking at him.
He’s regretting trying to talk to Clint while practicing. To be fair though, he didn’t envision being equal parts bruised and embarrassed.
“Yeah, is that gonna be a problem?”
So that’s that then.
He approaches Thor next, not really knowing Asgardian rules about coming out to your teammate, but deciding to wing it.
“So…I’m kinda into guys,” he says awkwardly, handing out a cup of coffee to Thor at breakfast before the others come.
Thor smiles at him, takes a long sip, and then looks at him with a considering look on his face. “Kinda?”
“Okay, not kinda. A lot into guys.”
“What’s that phrase humans use? Whatever rocks your boat?”
Bruce nods, and clinks his own cup of coffee against Thor’s. That went surprisingly well.
Nat’s, Clint’s, and Thor’s support bolsters Bruce up that when he goes to talk to Tony, he’s supremely confident that Tony will be accepting too. And he’s right…sort of.
“So, I’m gay,” he says when he enters the science labs of SHIELD. Tony has his back to him, but when he turns around, he has this strange look on his face.
It’s unnerving. Bruce tries not to squirm under the intense gaze.
“Are you hitting on me?”
Bruce gapes like a fish, and then promptly flushes. “Um, no?” It comes out unsure, and in an embarrassingly high, squeaky voice.
“Because if you are, all you had to do was ask,” Tony is suddenly way too close, and if Bruce is shocked that Tony would even suggest Bruce is flirting with him, the feel of Tony’s beard is that much more surprising.
He thinks about pushing Tony away, but just moans into the kiss instead.
What can he say? Tony Stark is a phenomenal kisser.
He leaves talking to Steve for last. It’s not that he thinks Steve is going to be a jerk about it, but Steve is their de-facto leader and if Steve has trouble accepting Bruce’s homosexuality…well, Bruce doesn’t want to think he’d be kicked off the team, but he’s not sure that won’t happen either. SHIELD is part of the government and the government still believes wholeheartedly in DADT.
Steve is the one who comes to him, however, and invites him out to the diner where they get their shawarma when they can.
Steve doesn't seem like he's gearing up to talk about the big elephant in the room, though.
"I have to tell you something, Steve, but I'm not sure how you're going to react," he starts, fiddling with his napkin.
"Does this have anything to do with your private talks with the others?"
Bruce looks up alarmed for a moment before Steve continues. "They haven't told me what the talks were about; I was just wondering."
"Well, yes. It's related. I'm gay, and I wanted you all to know."
There's silence for a excruciating moment.
"Huh. That's why Natasha told me to Google the history of the LGBT movement," Steve finally says before he smiles at Bruce.
"So...you're alright with that bit of news?"
Steve nods. "You're not the only one on this team that's...a homosexual," Steve says, sounding like the word took a lot out of him.
Bruce wonders if he should take that admission for what it is, but he doesn't press. If Steve wants to admit to something, Bruce will be there to listen.