Bruce shot upwards in the hotel bed and listened. The Other Guy had woken him from a sound sleep because he had heard something.
Neither Bruce nor the Other Guy was big on discussing the inner workings of their mind with other people, but at some point when they had both made the decision that Darcy was going to be a fixture in their life, everything they could relate back to her seemed to suddenly click for them. Bruce still hadn't told anyone, not even Darcy, that as long as the problem could be made about her, he and the Hulk could cooperate on anything. He wasn't embarrassed that her hold on them was so complete, but he was worried that it could be easily used against him, or the team. At least, that's what he told himself.
In truth, Bruce was more terrified of Darcy finding out exactly how wrapped up in her he was. Sure, she had agreed to marry him three months ago, and they were planning the wedding slowly as to not overwhelm themselves, but he still thought having her in his life was too good to be true. It was so silly the way his heart clenched in fear and beat a little faster every time they had an argument. He no longer tried to avoid her or actively push her away like he had in the beginning, try as he might, though, he couldn't stop thinking of how unreal his happiness was.
To his surprise, The Other Guy was just as invested in not fucking up what they had with Darcy. The rest of the team and the involved SHIELD agents had been wary the first time The Other Guy met Darcy, but she hadn't been at all. She still thought The Other Guy was just a larger, greener, more frustrated version of him. The longer Bruce was with her, the more he wondered if she might have the right conclusion.
After their more vicious enemies had decided Avengers Tower was an excellent place to launch their hardest attacks, Bruce and The Other Guy had come to some sort of sync up agreement out of their mutual desire to protect Darcy. As a precautionary measure, they had worked for months and taught themselves a new trick. It had taken a lot of finagling and compromising back and forth, an insane amount of time meditating, and dealing with a worried Darcy for them to be able to accomplish it, but eventually Bruce and The Other Guy had figured out how to, for lack of a better word, use the other.
Bruce helped The Other Guy to better understand Steve's directions in battle, and what the general targets for bringing down the baddie were. In turn, The Other Guy kept watch while Bruce was sleeping or otherwise unaware. Bruce half suspected The Other Guy was just making him aware of something he had already done, but seeing as he was asking because of Darcy's protection at night, he didn't argue with himself.
He was never more grateful for The Other Guy's recent cooperation than he was at that moment. Bruce and Darcy were in Gotham for a science conference. Bruce was there to present some of the less perfected versions of things he and Tony had been working on to prospective future buyers, and Darcy was there to see if there was anything SHIELD didn't already have, or couldn't produce better themselves in a short amount of time. Rather than stay in a hotel for the whole week, like Tony had offered to put them up for, Darcy had come up with the slightly less costly brilliant idea of having them rent a small one bedroom apartment for the week and Bruce had thought it a much better option than stashing him in a very crowded, very unfamiliar place for a whole week. Especially since he would be riding normal size elevators, instead of the enlarged Avengers Tower lifts, to attend various presentations during the week.
Bruce had wished the conference was anywhere but Gotham city, infamous for it's madhouse of villains and dark heroes. He had spent almost a whole day in meditation going over things with The Other Guy about the city. Not that the Avengers could talk, but Gotham boasted a very colorful reputation over the past few years, and now The Other Guy was waking him up because of a muffled -thump- on the roof of their apartment building. Darcy had insisted on taking the top "in case of an emergency the whole building won't go" and he had agreed at the time. He wished he would have realized the top floor was also the most accessible.
Carefully, Bruce disentangled his limbs from his fiancée's and slid out of the bed. He urged The Other Guy forward just a little trying to take advantage of the linger of his other self's enhanced hearing and sight. He glanced back for just a moment, gazing at Darcy's pale skin under the strange glow of Gotham's lights through the window. She was frowning ever so slightly in her sleep and her hand clenched into the warm spot he had left behind. The Other Guy could hear something on the fire escape, though, so Bruce huffed a little in disappointment at leaving behind the warm bed and his even warmer companion.
He made his way to the window, not bothering with a shirt, and climbed out onto the fire escape. He was only a touch surprised to find the legendary Batman already there. For some reason Bruce felt like he was back in India, standing across the room from a wary Black Widow again, only he didn't think Batman was there to recruit him.
Bruce sighed and resisted the urge to roll his eyes; and he had thought Tony was theatric. This guy seemed to be purposefully wrecking his vocal chords to keep his identity a secret.
"Sorry, The Other Guy's not here right now. Can I take a message?"
The costumed man narrowed his eyes and shifted. Bruce had spent enough time with Clint and Natasha to know a fighting stance when he saw one.
"Dr. Banner, then."
"Yes, and you're Batman."
His head inclined ever so slightly, and Bruce had to be up at seven the next morning for them to beat traffic and confirm their reservations, so he wasn't about to deal with stalling and information wheedling tactics at two in the morning when Darcy was keeping his bed warm.
"What brings you to my temporary fire escape?"
"What are you doing in Gotham?"
Bruce frowned. He didn't like having people check up on him. It had nearly become an Issue, with a capital letter as Darcy would say, back in the early days of the Avengers because he didn't want to be babysat and questioned all the time. Neither he nor The Other Guy took their privacy lightly.
"Not that it's any of your business; I'm attending a science conference with my fiancée."
He was pretty sure something like surprise flickered through the Bat's eyes and it made the line between inconvenienced and annoyed in his head waver on downright offended and angry.
The unfamiliar superhero paused before continuing.
"I do not want any interference from the Hulk in my--"
Bruce turned at the sound from inside the apartment and from the corner of his eye, he saw Batman sink into a crouch. Prepared for what, he wasn't certain.
He could hear Darcy as she shuffled through the apartment looking for him.
"Hey, you big marshmallow, where are you?"
Bruce had mercy on her and called back from outside the window.
"On the fire escape, dear."
He heard her footsteps draw closer and her grumbling under her breath.
"What the fuck are you doing on the fire escape at two in the--"
Darcy's head appeared out the window and she halted mid sentence and she turned to him.
"You're meeting Batman and you didn't wake me up?"
Bruce raised his eyebrow at her.
"I didn't know he was coming."
She sighed, and he had to stifle the urge to bury his hands in her hair and pull her further out the window for a kiss. Then her eyes narrowed and she clambered onto the fire escape to stand between him and Batman. Neither Bruce nor The Other Guy liked that. He moved forward, intent on putting himself between her and the unknown vigilante when she began speaking.
"Why are you here? I really doubt you're the type to make social calls considering you've scared just about every other hero out of Gotham since day one."
Bruce opened his mouth to explain that Batman was simply asking him not to have any incidents while in Gotham when Darcy seemed to come to a similar, if harsher conclusion all on her own.
"You're here to bully Bruce, aren't you? You're worried about Hulk wrecking your precious gargoyles!"
The Batman beat Bruce to speaking and the doctor began to realize Darcy's presence had completely negated his need to talk.
"My concerns are none-"
"Like hell, emo man. You came in the middle of the night to lure my fiancé from bed and harass him at two in the goddamn morning for something he hasn't done and isn't planning on doing. We have to be up early in the morning, so you need to take your bat ass away from here and leave us alone. If you really want to talk and not just make nasty assumptions, then come back tomorrow night, at a more reasonable hour."
To Bruce's extreme surprise, that seemed to be enough for the Batman, and with just a nod of his head, he leaped into the dark of the city. Only with The Other Guy's vision did Bruce catch the cable line flying through the air.
"Jeez, he needs some manners."
This time, Bruce didn't resist his urge to kiss his fiancée senseless. He took her back to bed, and if they were a little bit late to confirm their positions at the conference the next morning, well, Tony's spending budget was good for something.
Sometime around four in the morning Tony Stark's phone signaled with the guitar from Tombstone Shadow that he had received a text message from an old friend of his. It simply said: You weren't joking about Darcy Lewis.
Tony laughed until JARVIS woke Steve up to come check on him.