He knows that Tony had been joking when he'd asked if he'd tried weed to keep his temper in check. Probably joking. Bruce is at least 70% sure that he was joking although after he spends a few more days with him he revises that number to an uncertain 50 and gives up trying to guess.
It's true anyway. He'd tried whatever he could find and he's long since past any kind of shame when it comes to finding a solution for his... problem.
He'd been in Amsterdam, a calculated risk of a stopover before he caught a flight to Nepal. The press of the city had made him nervous, but the little guest house on the outskirts had been relaxed and welcoming and the owner seemed content to leave him to himself.
"As long as you pay at the end, what you do's none of my business," the man had said with a shrug, tapping out his long-stemmed pipe and then clenching it between his teeth. The pipe seemed a bit incongruous; the owner, William he'd called himself, was young, late twenties at most, with a shock of spiked blond hair and a pipe was an old man's preserve, but it suited him in some indefinable way.
Bruce didn't pry.
There was a tulip field beyond the canal at the back of the house, red blooms and green stems like a carpet. Nature tamed and he couldn't decide whether it was soothing or terrifying and tried not to pay the thought any attention.
William found him on the back decking later that night, and perched next to him, stretching long legs out. The smoke from his pipe was cloying and sweet, definitely not tobacco. They sat in silence until William turned, offering him a blunt. "More fun smoking with company," he said, a flicker of a smile on the corner of his lips.
Bruce blinked, taking the joint and rolling it between his fingers. "You don't seem to care," he pointed out with a wry smile of his own. He hadn't seen William without the pipe since arriving.
"For you, not me," William said with a shrug, offering him a light.
"Thanks," Bruce said dryly wondering just how bad he looked that the reticent guesthouse owner had decided he needed company.
The first drag made him choke, his eyes water because it wasn't much like cigarettes and clung to his tongue. He dug his palms into his hand though, and forced another, like maybe this would be the magic bullet; find salvation in a joint in Amsterdam like a million and more tourists a year.
William chuckled softly, but it was a far-away sound. His gaze was fixed on the tulips.
"They're beautiful," Bruce said when he can breathe without gasping. It was true.
"Heh. They're special," William said. "A gift."
"Oh?" Bruce asked, focusing on anything apart from the discomfort in his belly.
"For old allies," William said. "Liberation."
He thought he'd heard this story, but Bruce frowned as he tried to remember it. "For Canada, right?"
"You know your history."
"It's not exactly hidden knowledge," Bruce replied.
"It's easily forgotten knowledge," William said with a bitter twist to his lips that could rival one of Bruce's in his more self-disparaging moments. "The evil that men do oft lives on, while the good is interred with their bones." He laughs. "Something like that anyway. Shakespeare's more England's province than mine. Understandably. The bard was one of his."
It made perfect sense there, out on the deck with the drug working it's way through him (quickly, too quickly).
The words didn't really come back to him until the next day on a train leaving Berlin, leaving an odd itch at the back of his mind until he fell asleep to dreams of stars and tulips and eyes too old to be human.