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Don't Panic

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Ever since he'd been young, Bruce had been prone to the occasional panic attack.

Sometimes there was a justifiable reason for them, such as his parents having a fight or not passing a test and worrying over what reaction he'd get for that failure at home. Other times, it was imagined dangers that set him off, or worrying about things far beyond his control.

With age and experience, Bruce had managed to get the attacks to a manageable level of occurrence. He hadn't had any incidents for nearly two years when he was tapped for Rebirth.

Since then, he'd had cause to be concerned; the Other Guy was a part of him, he could accept that. He had worked very hard to maintain the balance that the Other Guy had cultivated in protecting them both even from Bruce's own actions. The Other Guy was fairly content to wait for his call before taking control, but there was no telling how many incidents of going green were the result of both anger and an attack striking at the same time.

Because as angry as he'd been during the Culver incident where Betty was tackled, he'd already been on the verge of his first major panic attack in years.

That was neither here nor there, however. The problem right now was that he was currently trapped in a bank that was being robbed, with the criminals having no idea what they were locked in with, trying to keep from panicking and possibly killing an innocent bystander when the Other Guy decided that they needed to get out right now.

"Dr. Bruce?"

And that would be the second part of the problem: Thor's de-aged younger brother, who had been foisted on Bruce that morning by Tony in an attempt to keep the workshop in (relatively) one piece.

(To be frank, he still didn't understand how Loki's punishment for his crimes actually worked. All Thor really said was that their father felt himself to blame for how Loki turned out, due to not telling him the truth about his origins, and had decided to give the dark-haired godling a second chance. In doing this, Odin had had a spell cast that de-aged Loki, actually removed the memories of his life past the age he was now, and told him many truths before sending him with his brother back to Earth.

So far, all it seemed to be doing was confusing the hell out of the kid because he didn't understand why Clint wouldn't spend five minutes in the same room with him, especially because Loki thought Hawkeye was the greatest thing since Thor.)

Bruce had most of his attention focused on his breathing, attempting to stave off the impending panic attack and keep the Other Guy from bursting free. He turned slightly to glance at the apparent eight year old next to him, making a faint questioning sound.

Loki was looking from Bruce to the robbers, obviously confused and worried by what was going on. "Why are those men waving around weapons and making demands?" he asked in a quiet voice. "Can't they just ask for money like everyone else here was doing?"

The scientist let out a breath before replying: "They aren't asking because they're stealing it, kiddo."

"They're bad guys?" The tone was almost incredulous, even at a whisper. At Bruce's nod, the godling looked insulted. "Don't they know better than to steal when there's a hero in the building? That's poor planning."

"Hey!"

One of the crooks had finally noticed Loki's curiosity and was stalking over; Bruce ducked his head and attempted to calm both his nerves and the Other Guy, who was starting to growl in the back of his mind. The robber stopped right next to them and grabbed the child by the arm, yanking him roughly to his feet and pointing the gun at his face.

"You shut the fuck up, kid, or I'll shut you up for good!"

Evil man threaten Baby God?!

Bruce stopped trying to hold the Other Guy back; he was still in the throes of a panic attack, the robbery and worry over what could happen compounded by his own concerns over what Thor would do if something happened to his brother, and he trusted the Other Guy to make sure that the boy was protected.

Hopefully the bank owner would be sympathetic.

 

By the time the rest of the Avengers arrived, along with the police, the would-be bank robbers who hadn't been smashed through the wall were very happy to turn themselves in. The Hulk was strangely calm, sitting by the fallen wall glowering at the wounded criminals before turning his attention to the young alien god settled safely in the crook of him arm - right where he'd been since the monster took control so he could be sure the child was protected.