What Hulk and Stitch had in common was that they had both been wild, destructive, angry creatures who had since mellowed out.
Stitch had latched onto the top of Hulk’s head and was egging him on as he stomped through an elaborate reproduction of New York City via sand and seaweed and driftwood. Clint watched from where he’d been lying on a beach towel, his tan darkening in layers. Carol was sitting on the towel next to his. She wore sunglasses and appeared to be inspecting her nails for sand: the picture of disinterest.
Lilo had gone over to where Stitch and Hulk were being little beasts, dragging her surfboard behind her. She was sixteen years-old, had expressed an interest in joining SWORD when she “grew up,” and was presently wearing a two-piece swimming suit that was half fifties retro and half super-hero comic panels mash-up.
Stitch jumped down from Hulk’s head, grabbed the surfboard, and waddled after Lilo towards the jewel and egg-shell colored ocean. Hulk looked over at Clint then, and Clint jumped up and jogged down the beach towards Hulk. Clint supposed his boyfriend was ready for the company now, although earlier Hulk had gone out alone. Hulk had been snorkeling without snorkel equipment in the late morning, exploring coral reefs without needing to come up for air at ten-minute stretches. Bruce had told him over a lunch of lightly sandy peanut-butter and banana sandwiches: it was a little like having a personal, body-shaped submarine, the way Hulk could stay under, and Bruce would watch. Bruce had come out to meditate on the beach when the sun rose up. He was going to come out as himself later too, when the sun had gone down a bit. He sunburned easily, apparently, needing hats and layers of sun block. Hulk never sunburned.
Tony was back at the house, helping Jumba with some upgrades to electrical equipment and also Lilo hovercraft. Steve, T’Challa, and Jan were in town, perusing darling tourist shops and storefronts and sampling Hawaiian shaved ice. They’d all be meeting up again for dinner, at that restaurant where David and Nani worked. The strangely-named Cobra Bubbles would be rejoining them as well. Over their own, private breakfast, he and Carol had been discussing the on-going status of the three aliens in permanent residence on the Hawaiian islands: SWORD matters, essentially. Technically, only Carol had been assigned to come out. Everyone else had just hopped onto the Quinjet with her, despite loud protesting.
Near the water, Clint climbed onto Hulk’s back, arms wrapped around Hulk’s neck and bare legs dangling down. He rested his chin against Hulk’s hair. Hulk wadded out into the water.
“So what did you and the little guy have to talk about?” Clint asked. He chuckled into Hulk’s hair. “You know, you two were adorable together. We still need a picture: the Blue Fuzzball and Jade Jaws. Adorable.”
Hulk huffed a little. The waves were gentle where they were, presently, Lilo and Stitch a little further down and working the sweep of the waves. The water was cool against Clint’s calves. Hulk moved his muscled arms a little through the translucent ocean, wearing a relaxed look.
“Stitch says he’s being a ‘model citizen,’ these days,” Hulk said. “But he still likes to knock things over, sometimes.”
Clint considered that. Model citizen was certainly one way of putting it. Stitch, apparently, did much of the domestic work in the house for Lilo and Nani, and even David, Nani’s longtime boyfriend who’d moved in. Stitch made lunch in the mornings for his family, and he did the laundry, and he cleaned house while listening to Elvis Presley records, of all things. Yeah, model citizen could have described it. As for the rest of what Hulk had said.
“It’s a bit like how you still enjoy smashing a bad guy’s face in, every once in awhile, isn’t it?” Clint asked. “I mean, whatever. Fair enough."
He was pretty sure Hulk was smirking, and he leaned over to look. Yep, definitely smirking.
Clint rebalanced himself across Hulk’s shoulders. He petted Hulk’s hair a little more, comfortable and close with his chin on Hulk’s head.
“If you floated on your back, do you think I could lie on your belly as a surf board?” Clint mused out loud.
Hulk made a noise that was probably a laugh, and then dumped Clint into the water.