"Well," Bruce says, "this isn't at all awkward."
Natasha tilts her head and looks at him steadily. It's like being observed by a sated lioness—maybe she's not of a mind to hunt you just now, but the light in her eyes says don't blink, prey. "I don't feel awkward."
"Uh huh," Bruce says, and he thinks that Natasha's probably never had an awkward moment in her life. She's balanced easily on a pile of rubble, and even though her curls are in wild disarray and there's a pretty nasty looking cut on her left forearm, she still looks like she could just have walked out of a magazine editorial. Bruce is sitting in the remains of what was once a Best Buy, and he's somehow managing to feel rumpled and dishevelled even though he's completely naked. "That's... great."
"It's nothing I haven't seen before," Natasha says.
Bruce has the odd feeling that she's trying, in her own way, to be reassuring. He stares at her.
After a long moment, she shrugs, her expression quizzical. "Okay," she says. "You have a point. But I have seen lots of penises before. Yours is nothing special." On anyone else, the quirk of her mouth would barely have lasted long enough to be noticed; on Natasha, it's an expression of pure mischief.
It says a lot about his life that Bruce feels strangely complimented by her words—it's been a long time since anyone else has even implied the words normal or average around him. He's a socially awkward academic who pays his bills by turning into a rage-fuelled, bright green monster and beating up bad guys from outer space. Most people end the nine-to-five work day by picking up their dry cleaning or having drinks with colleagues; Bruce spends it hunkering down naked behind dumpsters or in the corner of alleyways, hoping that Thor or Tony will show up soon to give him a ride back to the Tower. Normal does not apply.
"I'll take that as a compliment," he says dryly, looking around him for something that could possibly pass for clothing. Maybe if he tears up that laptop case, he can get enough material out of it to avoid another citation for indecent exposure. He's just about to attempt it when he notices Natasha open one of the pockets of her utility belt. She pulls out two tiny packages and tosses them to him. He catches one in either hand—the Other Guy's reflexes are the last remnant of him to fade—and looks up at her, raising an eyebrow.
Natasha folds her arms. "I thought it might be useful for me to carry them," is the only explanation she offers.
Bruce cracks open the plastic wrapping and the contents of each package bloom outwards. He unfolds them to find a pair of black pants and a white t-shirt, made of some fabric Bruce has never encountered before—it feels like cotton, but its delicacy and compressive qualities point to it being a synthetic fabric. And, if he had to guess, one manufactured by Stark Industries.
It's not that Bruce has learned to read her that well in the three full weeks that the Avengers have been working together again—in three years, he doubts he'd make much progress—but if he had to put money on it, he would bet that Natasha looks so bored right now precisely because she's feeling something that, in any other person, he'd term shyness.
"Once," she says, shifting her weight to her other leg, "I was shot, knocked unconscious and left for dead in Gdańsk. They took my clothes and it was December. I may have suggested to Stark that his researchers could come up with a solution for team members who might find themselves in situations like that."
Bruce looks back down at the wad of fabric in his hands. "Situations like that," he says softly.
"In general." Natasha says. "You'll look like a hipster, but you at least you'll be clothed."
"That," Bruce says gravely, "is a sacrifice I'll have to be prepared to make"—and Natasha's smile is small and quiet and enough to make Bruce feel warm.