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The Anatomy of a Blueberry

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It wasn’t about the blueberries, per se.

Bruce had eaten a wagonload of food after his departure from Calcutta, because believe it or not, whole year of eating rubbery weal and dry rice make a guy crave real food so bad he grows capable of going through one agent Romanov’s pockets on the flight to NYC to find a forgotten chewing gum or a piece of candy. (Even if it was too naïve to think a spy of such calibre would carry candy around in a skin-tight suit. Bruce was always one for proving a hypothesis, though.)

Long story short, there was no candy on agent Romanov, but she did feed him real food. (After she almost choked him with her thighs for putting his hands down her pants – as that suit had no actual pockets.)

Meeting Tony Stark was like watching a landslide. Bruce had heard plenty about the man of course, even in his exile, to create a certain image in his head, and it fitted, it did, but it was just scratching the surface. Tony was an incredible human being with matching brain wrapped up in an arrogant yet charming exterior. He was both a victim and debtor of science, just like Bruce. He was also put together, blunt, proud and incredibly cool – everything Bruce could only dream of being with his awkward nature, unruly hair and fidgety hands.

Bruce could handle pointy things, though, and Tony was a very pointy person, poking Bruce with pointy needles and picking on him with pointy words, flattering him and treating him like an equal… and wait, what? That got to Bruce. It’s been a long time since somebody treated him like a human being. Suddenly it was easy to forget about the fact that his Very Green Alter Ego could rip out of him any second and kill everybody on the board. Well, almost. He never entirely forgot about that.

So he smiled. It felt weird, like his face had long forgotten how to do it.

And he took a blueberry. And not because he was hungry, we already established that, nor did he take it because he was awfully fond of blueberries. (He liked them well enough he supposed; sweet with comfortably variable acidity and very good for blood pressure and kidney diseases. But then so were cranberries.)

*

The Hulk was very fond of food. It wasn’t something people primarily connected with him, considering he was a huge raging monster whose vocabulary mostly consisted of his name and the word “smash”. But aside from smashing, the Hulk liked to eat as well. There was never enough time to stop by a restaurant as one was too busy breaking Harlem or Bronx or whatever was on the menu that particular day. The Hulk was dependent on Bruce when it came to food. And he was picky.

Bruce knew that his green friend needed to eat. Well, it was more like Bruce needed to eat to survive turning into the Hulk, since it took so much energy. (Seriously, they did the experiments. You can burn over 900 calories per hour just by getting angry in a supermarket veg and fruit department.)

When Bruce was eating, it was one of those times he felt the Hulk skirting just below the surface, touching his mind, bubbling under his skin like underground water. And apparently, the Hulk liked blueberries. Or maybe he just liked the idea of somebody actually caring about him enough to offer him food. All Bruce knew was the Hulk was raging with pleasure when Bruce stuck his hand into the pack of fruits Tony passed him. Ultimately, it was the Hulk who snatched Tony out of the sky and saved his life.

Tony, as everybody knew, liked the Hulk very, very much. He was literally the only person who did, including Bruce, who was the one who hated him the most. But it was fine, since the Hulk hated him back just as much, or maybe more, considering the levels of Hulk’s hate were always a bit above the average.

Tony took it upon himself to get the two of them to like each other. Counselling Bruce turned out more difficult than talking sense into Hulk, which was something Tony obviously didn’t expect. Tony likes the Hulk equals the Hulk likes Tony. Tony likes Bruce equals the Hulk likes Bruce. For the Hulk, this was an easy equation.

For Bruce, who was supposedly a genius, it was an unsolvable issue. Except for when blueberries became the variable quantity.

*

It was not about the blueberries. It was all fruits, apparently.

Tony had a thing for fruits. Fresh, dry, frozen, in a glass of martini where the olives should be… there was no obvious reason behind it. But in the lab, when Tony and Bruce worked side by side, Tony was always munching on something. Every single time he reached out his hand, offering, Bruce took it without thinking, plucking it into his mouth, relishing the taste and closing his eyes for a moment, feeling the Hulk roll in delight under his skin.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday… every day of the week, mango, apple, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries… Blueberries… it always came down to blueberries anyway.

*

The first time they kissed, it was over holographic blueprints of Mark V and Tony’s mouth tasted of blueberries. No surprise there.

Bruce shuddered as shivers ran down his spine, Tony’s sneaky fingers slipping under his shirt to caress the skin on his back. Their mouths were hot and wet and their breaths mingled and Bruce wondered if Tony realised he was not kissing just Bruce at that moment.

Their relationship was a fusion of fruits, JARVIS’s bad poetry, ridiculously silly declarations of love, Chinese takeout and test-tubes. It wasn’t hard to slip into a routine where blueberry kisses were on daily order along with angry sex and astrophysics.

Tony is happy equals Bruce is happy equals the Hulk is happy equals Tony is happy equals…

And you know what?

It kinda was about the blueberries, wasn’t it.

 

~

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