Biology class, as always, was boring. Terribly boring, actually, to the point where Tony had been weighing the pros and cons of just getting up to leave while the teacher was talking. He had already read through the chapter they were on, having finished it fifteen minutes into the class and now their teacher was just answering questions and getting the class to do the busy work before they got to dissect their specimens.
Tony tore out a piece of paper from his notebook and gave Bruce next to him a sidelong glance, ignoring the teacher’s rambling about proper knife usage as he bent over the paper and scribbled a note to Bruce in his messy handwriting. He looked up when he was done and turned to Bruce.
“Psssst, Bruce,” he hissed, waving the paper at him when he finally got his attention, trying to get him to take it.
Bruce was both excited and nervous about the dissection that they were about to get started on. He had always been interested in anatomy but he hadn't had a chance to get a hands-on experience until this Biology class. He was paying close attention to the teacher's instructions so that he wouldn't mess up when they started, and he was so focused that he almost didn't hear Tony hissing at him.
Bruce glanced over at Tony in surprise once he noticed, raising his eyebrows at the sight of the paper being waved at him. He stared at it, dumbfounded, for a long moment, before he realized that Tony was trying to pass a note to him. He immediately bit his lip and looked back at the teacher, wondering if she'd notice. She was busy up in the front of the class explaining to a misbehaving student that scalpel wasn't to be used to stab the frog, only slice. Seeing it as an opportunity to retrieve the message from Tony, Bruce shot a furtive look at the students around him before reaching over and doing just that. With the note safely on his own desk, he unfolded it carefully, hoping that whatever Tony had to tell him was actually important and not something that could have waited until after class. Knowing his best friend, it probably wasn't.
‘What do you think about JARVIS being able to look stuff up? Like, a search engine type of thing that we can use to look up facts instead of reading the book for homework?’ Tony’s note asked him.
Bruce's eyebrows raised again and he nodded over at Tony, impressed by his innovative new idea. He knew that a nod wouldn't be enough for Tony, so he quickly scrawled at the bottom, 'That's a great idea. You'll have to connect him directly to the internet so he can find the facts. That'll be a challenge. We can plan after class, if you want my help.'
He slowly folded up the paper and glanced around the room again, checking to see if anyone was looking. The teacher was drawing some instructions on the board about where to cut the frog so as to not harm its organs. The other students around him were either asleep or doodling in their notebooks. He very carefully moved the note to the edge of Tony's desk and gave a sigh of relief when the deed was done. He'd never passed notes before, obviously. It made him very anxious to think that he might get in trouble. Satisfied now that the dangerous game was over, he settled in his seat and focused on memorizing the dissection instructions.
Tony, seeing Bruce was playing along with his note-passing idea, grinned and grabbed up the note as soon as Bruce passed it over to him. He read his reply over and nodded in agreement to himself before he hunched over the table again to scribble out his own reply.
‘Of course I want your help! We’ll have to do some work on it every day after class and definitely through the weekend and then it might be done by the end of the week. I figure if I can reroute the connection I already have and wire it into the phone caller that we installed, it would make it extra strong and we wouldn’t have to worry about him going offline,’ Tony wrote, pushing it back over to him and tapping his pen against the table excitedly.
Bruce was about to sketch the proper method of slicing into the frog in his notebook when he heard Tony tapping his pen and glanced over at him to see another note being thrust in his direction. He carefully took it, keeping his eyes straight ahead as if that will disguise the illegal movement of his hand. His slight irritation at Tony's insistence on passing notes dissipated when he saw how eager Tony was to work with him. A smile tugged on the corners of his lips and he quickly added his reply of 'Sounds great! Can't wait to get started later.' Hopefully Tony would take the hint that they should wait until later to continue planning. After sneaking the note back to its original owner, Bruce looked up at the board to see, with a twinge of annoyance, that the teacher had already erased the diagram he had planned to copy.
Tony took the note back with just as much excitement as before, completely ignoring the annoyance that radiated from Bruce as he found the diagram erased and the teacher actually giving them information they needed for once. He didn’t notice any of it, too focused on the note before him and his racing thoughts and ideas for what they had to do for this.
‘Once we get him wired in, there will be a ton of updates to run too, to make sure that he’s up to date with all the info he can access if this all goes smoothly. Hopefully there will be time to work out the kinks too before he becomes all-knowing,’ he wrote and slid the note back over to Bruce, moving to doodle on his notebook as he waited for Bruce to reply again.
Bruce scribbled down the first few letters of the directions on the board before he was interrupted yet again by Tony's note sliding onto his desk. He wanted to just ignore it and finish his notes so he'd know what to do, but his curiosity as to what Tony's message contained got the best of him and he hastily opened it up to see.
Upon reading it he couldn't withhold a small grin, and he wrote 'Yeah, we don't want him to turn on us. We can limit his access for a while until we're sure he's working smoothly. When we're done dissecting we can talk specifics.' This time he pointedly underlined the word 'done' and handed the paper back to Tony without even bothering to fold it as he rushed to copy down a list of the organs they were supposed to identify in the frog to get full credit.
‘JARVIS would definitely become sentient if I let him. He’s already been starting to complain at me when I’m not expecting it. He’s got sass wired into his circuits that I don’t remember putting in. I blame you. :)’ Tony wrote back, completely ignoring the underlined word and the suggestion to talk later instead of passing notes.
Tony needed to talk about this, and he needed to do it now. There was the only alternative that involved him actually talking aloud, and he figured Bruce wouldn’t want to get thrown out of this class again.
Bruce sighed audibly at the sight of the note appearing on the corner of his desk yet again. He reluctantly picked it up, knowing that Tony would probably poke him with something sharp to get his attention if he pretended to ignore it.
Again, Tony had written something amusing and Bruce smiled but shook his head, fighting an internal struggle between wanting to succeed in class and wanting to talk to Tony, who was far more entertaining than any list of frog organs. He scribbled back as fast as he could: 'You shouldn't have let me do so much of the coding. I guess a little bit of me rubbed off on his programming. Careful, next he'll be advising you to actually pay attention in class. :P'
He glanced around to make sure the coast was clear before deftly tossing the note back to Tony with a flick of his wrist and copying down the last of the list from the board just as it was erased.
Tony caught the note quickly when Bruce tossed it at him, grinning and not even bothering to look around to see if he was seen or not before he unfolded it again and read it over with a smirk.
‘Ha! Never gonna happen,’ Tony scribbled back and was about to pass it back before he paused and added something else. ‘Why do I have a feeling that you and he are gonna get along perfectly when he finally starts growing his own consciousness and you’ll help him take over the world?’
He read over his own reply for a moment before he grinned at it and folded it up, tossing it back at him, wondering if he’d be able to catch it or not. The teacher’s back was turned to the board again, but it didn’t even matter to Tony, knowing he would have done it even if she had been looking.
Bruce didn't catch the note at all - he was too busy craning his neck to see what the teacher was writing - but it hit him in the head, bouncing off his curls and landing on his desk as if Tony had planned it that way. The teacher was still writing so there was nothing for Bruce to copy down yet, and he took the moment to unfold the note and chuckle at what he read inside.
'You'd love it if JARVIS and I took over the world,' he wrote, and then added jokingly, 'We'd let you be the president of everything and put Mitchell in jail.'
He was about to pass the note over but just as he held it out for Tony to take the teacher whipped around and he instantly crumpled the note in his fingers in panic, his heart jumping into his throat. He saw her glance in his direction with narrowed eyes, and he sunk down slightly in his chair, slowly retreating his fist as if he might have just been stretching out his arm instead of trying to pass a note. The teacher stopped glaring at him once his arm was back on his own desk, and then she began to pair up the students for their dissection lab. When she got to Banner, Bruce she announced that he would be working with Stark, Tony.
"I hope one of you managed to get some notes written down," she said, "And I don't mean the ones you pass back and forth."
Bruce blushed furiously and sank even further down in his chair. Great. Now they were completely screwed.
Tony sent a small glare to their teacher when she turned back around and as the other students started to get up to get their supplies that were listed on the board, Tony turned back to Bruce and reached over to pry the note from Bruce’s hand. He took it and shoved it in his own pocket so that he wouldn’t forget about what they had been discussing and he gave Bruce a comforting smile.
“Guess we actually have to work now. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you don’t get in trouble for that,” Tony reassured him, standing from his seat and stretching for a moment before he went up to the front of the classroom to gather up their supplies that they needed.
Bruce ran in his fingers through his hair in frustration and embarrassment, pulling a little. He knew he probably wouldn't get in trouble for his first note-passing offense, but it made him anxious and a little angry to think that the teacher would be keeping a closer eye on him now.
Without Tony or the note to distract him anymore, Bruce set to work on scribbling down the list of supplies and then quickly stood with his notebook and scrambled after Tony. Meeting him at the table where all the supplies were, he began to read out the list to Tony so he'd get the right things, half of his mind on the task and the other half in a mild state of panic because he'd barely paid attention to the directions due to all the note passing.
Tony nodded at the list that Bruce read off to him, gathering the supplies and piling them up in his hands and on the tray that they had to put their frog on when Mrs. Mae would finally pass them out. He grabbed all the things they needed and led them back over to their table, setting out the supplies and laying them out in front of them so that everything was in order.
“That’s everything, right? Except the frog, of course,” Tony said with a shrug.
"That should be all - unless I missed something..." Bruce said pointedly as he glanced back at the board and double-checked. They moved over to the table where the frogs were laid out on trays. Bruce held his notebook close to his chest and looked down at the frog apprehensively. He was pretty sure he knew enough about dissection in theory already to be able to pull it off for real, but he still wished he'd gotten those notes.
Tony glanced between Bruce and the frog he was staring at and he tilted his head slightly in his own observation of it. “I don’t think it’s gonna move on it’s own, Bruce,” he told him with a small smirk before remembering the note in his pocket. “Right though, you’re coming over after class right? So we can work on JARVIS? Because I was thinking-”
“Tony! We’ve got to focus on the dissection now,” Bruce interrupted seriously. The mock-glare he had thrown Tony when he teased him had instantly changed into the real glare he was giving now as his brow furrowed in frustration. “We can talk about this later.”
Tony’s jaw snapped shut mid-sentence and he had the decency to look slightly ashamed of himself as he threw a quick glance to Bruce before he grabbed the frog on the tray and walked briskly back over to their table. He knew when Bruce was serious, and this was one of those times. He hadn’t meant to get so distracted. He was just excited. But he had pissed Bruce off, and now he just wanted to get things done.
Pleased with the way Tony jumped to attention immediately, Bruce followed him over to their table and pulled up a stool, sitting down and placing his notebook down beside the tray. He looked over at Tony to see his guilty face and began to feel guilty himself for snapping at him. Bruce ran a soothing hand through his own hair, letting out a puff of air and with it, his frustration. If the two of them just focused right now, they’d be able to talk all about JARVIS later. He decided to apologize now, or he knew Tony would be a grouch all during the dissection.
“Hey, sorry,” he sighed, nudging Tony’s shoulder apologetically, “I’ll come over after class, I promise. Let’s just get this done.”
Tony smirked softly as Bruce nudged his shoulder and he didn’t look up from the frog as he nodded, knowing that everything was fine between them again. Of course, nothing had ever truly been wrong, but it was the thought that counted.
The teacher announced that they should begin just then and Bruce picked up the scalpel, watching it glint in the light from the nearby window and nodding to himself. This couldn’t be that hard, right?
Tony watched Bruce pick up the scalpel and he suddenly realized that, yeah, they probably should have been listening because Tony had no idea how they were supposed to do this. “So, uh, go ahead, I guess.”
Bruce blinked over at Tony and swallowed nervously. He remembered seeing the diagram on the board, but he hadn’t gotten a chance to copy it due to Tony’s note-passing. He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, trying to recall exactly where to begin the incision.
“I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to look in its mouth first,” Bruce said finally, and then instructed, “Tony, hold its mouth open so I can cut the sides of its jaw.”
“Gotcha,” Tony replied with a quick nod and he reached down to grab the frog’s mouth and hold it open and steady for Bruce to work.
Bruce took the scalpel to the corners of the frog’s wide mouth, unhinging its jaw so that the two of them could easily identify each of the organs inside. After placing the scalpel down again he glanced over at the depressingly long list of organs he’d managed to copy down and said, “Okay, it says we need to find the tongue, vomerine teeth, maxillary teeth, internal nares, Eustachian tubes, esophagus, pharynx, and glottis... Do you know where any of those are?”
Tony peered down into it and hummed softly as he looked this way and that, trying to find the different things Bruce listed. “Well, there’s the tongue, and looks like the esophagus is there and uh,” he got a little closer, “I’m willing to bet that’s the pharynx.” He had pointed to each part with his own scalpel he had picked up - he didn’t really care that they were only supposed to have one per team - and he sat back with a shrug.
“That’s all I got, though. Teeth are teeth, no clue what the other crap is. We can probably guess though,” he suggested as he twirled the scalpel in his fingers, making sure to keep it away from Bruce to not cut him by accident.
Bruce nodded, biting his lip slightly as he examined the inside of the frog’s mouth. “That all sounds right... I’m pretty sure the maxillary teeth are the ones around the edges. So that means those,” he pointed with a finger to the two small ridges on the roof of the frog’s mouth, “must be the vomerine.”
He looked closer, fingers clasped around his glasses as he squinted through them.
“I think the Eustachian tubes are those two slits there. And isn’t the glottis the opening to the larynx? That would make it that little hole there...”
“Sounds good to me,” Tony said with a shrug, glancing down when Bruce pointed each thing out but his focus was mostly split at that moment. He reached up with his free hand to scrub at his face for a moment before he sighed and forced himself to focus again. “And I think those are the internal nares there,” he said as he pointed to the two holes on the top. “Alright, that everything there? What’s next?”
Nodding, Bruce pulled his pencil out of the side of his notebook and began to write everything they’d identified on the worksheet that the teacher gave them. As he wrote, he told Tony, “I guess we should just open it up now. Can you pin down its legs so it doesn’t slide around when we cut it?”
Tony gave a quick nod and picked up the pins on the tray, doing as Bruce asked. He slid the pins into the frog’s legs, making sure it was good and steady before he pulled back to get out of Bruce’s way again.
Bruce set his pencil down and took up the scalpel again instead, hovering over the frog’s middle with a frown as he tried to remember where to start the incision.
“There was a diagram of this,” he mumbled slowly, “But I didn’t get it down. I think... I think we start from the bottom...”
“Well then, let’s start there,” Tony agreed, figuring it would be easier to go bottom-up anyways. “Then we gotta make it stay open, and we have these extra pins, so we probably go up and out on the sides,” he reasoned, craning his neck to try and catch a glimpse of one of the other student’s diagrams.
Bruce nodded, glad that Tony was backing him up, and held the frog down with two gloved fingers on either side of the incision he was about to make as he gently inserted the scalpel into the frog’s clammy skin. He dragged it upwards along the specimen’s body, pausing when he got to its throat and trying to remember if he should go all the way to its lips or not. He made a quick decision to go ahead and do it, figuring that even if he’d done wrong it wouldn’t actually affect the dissection in any way. As Tony said, they needed to cut out skin flaps to hold the frog open and Bruce carefully added horizontal slices between the frog’s legs, sitting back when he was finished and hoping that he’d done it all correctly.
“There. I’ll open it and you pin it down.”
Tony hummed softly in agreement and watched as Bruce opened up the frog and he jolted back in surprise when he saw the massive amount of- of- whatever the fuck those were. “What the hell?! Our frog is diseased!” Tony yelped with a large amount of displeasure, but he didn’t look away, still ready to pin down the skin as they were supposed to do.
Bruce looked down at the frog in shock and immediately resisted the urge to slap himself in the forehead with a slimy gloved hand at Tony’s outburst. The inside of the frog’s abdomen was crammed full of a large amount of dark, spherical eggs. As he held open the skin flaps for Tony to pin down, he shook his head and explained, “Tony, calm down, they’re just eggs. The frog’s a female.”
“That is entirely gross,” Tony told him, pinning down the skin quickly before he wrinkled his nose at the sight of the eggs and he wondered what they felt like. “Biology sucks,” was all he said before he decided to scoop the eggs out and plop them on the side of the frog, picking up a few between his gloved fingers and staring at them as he squeezed slightly to see if they’d burst.
Bruce got to work on removing the leftover muscles and thin breastbone so that they would be given access to all the frog’s internal organs. After pulling them away he glanced over to see Tony squeezing the eggs and frowned. “If they’re so gross, why are you still touching them?”
“Because,” Tony replied, leaving it at that without any further explanation. He may have thought they were gross, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to experiment with them and look over everything this frog had inside of it.
Bruce just smiled to himself and shook his head as returned his attention to the frog. He peeled away the last remaining bits of muscles and bone to reveal the colorful array of organs that rested beneath. He studied them for a moment, picking out those he knew on sight - heart, liver, stomach, lungs - and prodding them each with a gloved finger, curious to see how hard or soft they would be.
Tony set the eggs down and looked back over to Bruce, seeing him poking and prodding at the organs for a moment before he craned his neck to see exactly what they had to label on the paper. “Hmm, well, probably should start labelling this stuff, yeah? Shouldn’t be too hard,” he said as he looked over the strangely colored frog-insides.
Bruce looked up at Tony’s suggestion, broken out of his observation, and nodded. “Yeah, here’s the worksheet. I’ll point out the things I know and then we can try to identify anything we’re missing by crossing off terms from the list...”
He passed the paper over to Tony and then glanced at his notebook, reading the names of the organs in his head before looking back at the frog to try and identify them, unconsciously adjusting his glasses as he did. He had a tendency to get very concentrated on his work - when he was focused on something, it absorbed him.
“Here’s the heart and lungs,” he told Tony seriously, “and there’s the stomach. And the liver’s the big thing right there.”
“Gotcha,” Tony wrote down each thing as Bruce pointed them out, slightly hunched over the table as he scribbled down the labels. He looked up to the frog again, tilting his head slightly as he observed it. “What is that?”
“That’s -” Bruce began to answer, but then he frowned when he realized that he wasn’t really sure. He noticed that he had a dirty-gloved finger on his glasses and quickly removed it, reminding himself to clean them off when they were done with the experiment. Instead he just peered through the lenses at the frog’s open body and then glanced back and forth at his list as he pointed out different things to Tony with the scalpel.
“Well, this is the small intestine - it’s attached to the stomach, see. And that’s got to be the large below it. So I guess that’s the... pancreas? I know that the pancreas aids in digestion so I’m assuming it’s there with the other digestive organs. That’s probably it.”
Bruce exchanged his scalpel for tweezers with which to pry apart some of the surrounding organs so he could get a better look and in the process he lifted up the frog’s stomach up to reveal a whole mess of other organs, eliciting a gasp from Bruce.
“Oh my god, what are all of these?”
Tony wrote down the different things Bruce pointed out and his eyebrows shot up in surprise as he saw his friend lift the stomach and he saw all of the different organs underneath. It was an array of colors and definitely looked more like a mess than what he would expect to be on the inside of a frog.
“Holy shit, that’s really fuckin’ crazy,” Tony leaned in a bit closer, trying to see where each part began and where they ended. He glanced up when he heard their teacher clear her throat at his curses, but he looked away and back down to their frog after a moment when he realized that she wasn’t going to do anything more than glare at him disapprovingly.
“How are we supposed to know what all of this is?” he asked Bruce, keeping his voice a bit softer than before.
Bruce lifted off the liver as well to get a better look at the new assortment of organs, and when he felt Tony crowding in to see as well he moved over slightly to give him more room.
"I have no idea. Ms. Mae was telling the class about them before but I don't think I got to write any of it down because we were too busy passing notes about JARVIS," Bruce told Tony with a not-so-subtle hint of accusation in his tone. It wasn’t all Tony’s fault - Bruce actually felt more angry at himself for taking the notes in the first place. If he had just stopped writing back after the first one, then they wouldn’t be so lost now. But he didn’t want Tony to be mad at Bruce for ignoring him, either. Dismissing this fruitless train of thought he leafed through his notebook and sighed hopelessly as he pointed to a mostly empty page with a couple of headings that he had intended to fill in with instructions.
"Look," Bruce told Tony in a mixture of confusion and frustration, "All I wrote down under Procedure was "bR". I capitalized the “R”, Tony."
Tony didn’t mean to laugh, but he couldn’t really help it. “Why did you capitalize the R? What were you even writing down?” He tried to stifle his chuckling, to little avail.
“I don’t know,” Bruce mumbled, dumbfounded. He didn’t remember writing it at all - the notes from Tony had completely shattered his concentration.
Tony didn’t regret passing notes, but he did feel kinda bad about distracting Bruce so that they couldn’t get down the notes they needed. Because now they were somewhat screwed.
“Okay, okay, we can do this, alright? We totally got this. We’re geniuses, some stupid dead frog isn’t gonna make us fail, right?” Tony asked, trying to get Bruce to agree with him.
“Yeah. Alright.” Tony’s encouragement cheered Bruce up a bit and he turned back to the list of organs, reading them over once more and trying to remember each one’s function, assuming that if he knew what it did he might be able to find out what it looked like.
“The spleen,” Bruce recalled, lifting his eyes from the paper and then squeezing them shut, “...filters blood. And all of these,” he opened his eyes and circled a group of organs on the list, including kidneys, ureters, bladder, and cloaca, “Are part of the urinary system, so likely they’re all connected somehow... We just need to figure out which is which.”
“Alright, sounds good,” Tony looked between the frog itself and the paper. “Well, if the spleen is for filtering blood, it wouldn’t be near the clump of the urinary system organs, so probably up a bit higher. Maybe...here?” he pointed, questioning but pretty confident that it was at least the right area.
“And the urinary system, here, this is most likely the bladder,” he guessed, pulling his hand back to scratch the end of his pencil against the paper, waiting for Bruce’s okay to write them, knowing that he trusted Bruce’s instinct on this more than his own.
“That’s probably right,” Bruce said, nodding. He saw that Tony hadn’t labeled anything yet and prompted him, “Write those down and I’ll try to figure out what the rest of these are.”
He grabbed his tweezers and pulled up the intestines to get a better look at all the urinary organs, and wrinkled his nose slightly as he pointed with his free hand to the point where the frog’s legs met. “I just remembered what the cloaca is, it’s right there.”
Tony scribbled in the things they had listed before checking to see where Bruce pointed for the next bit. “Okay, we’re almost done, I think. What are we missing?”
“Ummm...” Bruce mumbled as he crossed the organs they’d already labeled off the list. All that remained of the urinary system were kidneys and ureters. He glanced over at the diagram they were labeling and pointed to two different spots, saying, “I think the bigger things there are the kidneys, so that makes that other blank the ureters.”
He crossed those two off his notebook list as Tony wrote them down on the worksheet, and his eyes traveled down the page to find the only remaining names. “Oh... all that’s left are the reproductive organs. Ovaries, uteri, and oviducts...”
“Oh, great,” Tony said with a groan. Those, Tony really had no clue which were which. He had freaked out over the eggs they had found earlier, how the fuck was he supposed to know where the ovaries and shit were? “I say we just guess and hope for the best.”
Bruce took another short look at the confusing mess of female reproductive organs which he knew absolutely nothing about and nodded.
"Okay," he agreed. "Just fill in the blanks, then."
Usually it bothered him to just give up like that, but he was really just as stumped as Tony was. He supposed that he wasn't always going to know the answer to every question.
“Alright, can do.” Tony gave the frog a long look before he scribbled down the labels before he could really think about it and change his mind to try and figure it out. He dropped the pencil once it was all labeled, looking over the paper to make sure they had done everything they were supposed to. It looked done enough to him.
He stood quickly and took the fastest route to the teacher’s desk as soon as he made sure it was done, slapping it down on top of the small pile of papers and he gave her a quick grin before turning on his heel to head back over to Bruce.
Bruce looked around the room at the other students and saw that most were done with their worksheets or just finishing up. Some of the students who had finished already had apparently decided that it was a good idea to mutilate their frogs, as there were severed legs and skewered hearts being played with at the tables nearest to Bruce. He rolled his eyes at their immaturity and instead picked up the tweezers again and began to remove each organ carefully from its body and set them neatly on the try for further examination. They still had some time left in class - he might as well make the most of it.
Tony wandered back over to the table to see Bruce pulling out each organ to examine, very systematic and scientific in his ways. He watched him, careful with each piece as he laid them out and Tony picked up his own set of tweezers and decided to organize them from smallest to largest, arranging them on the tray with determination. This was a lot more interesting than just labeling shit.
Bruce smiled slightly when he saw Tony rearranging the organs he'd laid out. He was glad that they'd been able to team up and finish the worksheet despite having no instructions. It was almost more rewarding that way, because they were able to succeed with only their combined brainpower. Bruce thought he would still be mad at Tony for distracting him, but here he was, happy to just be sitting next to Tony and plucking out the last of the frog's organs with him. It was kind of amazing how strong their friendship was after only a couple of months.
Tony finished rearranging them, smiling at his work when he finished and he set his tweezers back down, his palms pressing to his thighs as he leaned back. He turned to give a quick smile to Bruce, looking for silent approval on his friend’s face.
Bruce met Tony's gaze with a smile of his own as he put his tools down, happy with their careful arrangement of the organs. He liked this task a lot better, because he felt in control. He could do whatever he wanted with this frog and its insides and he didn't have to stress about a grade or any kind of judgement from his teacher or peers.
"I guess we should probably clean up soon," he said after a moment, "And we'll meet up after seventh period to work on JARVIS, right?"
"Yeah, probably," Tony agreed, checking his watch to see that this class was almost over. "Yep, right after seventh today. I already told him we'd be working on him today, so he's a little less responsive. I think he's getting pissy lately," he told him with a slight chuckle. He looked around to see where the other students were leaving their frog parts, most of them either being left on their tables or put up on the counter where they had got them in the first place.
Bruce smiled at the mention of the AI's temperamental attitude. "Guess I really did rub off on him."
He decided to return his frog to the counter and stood up with the tray, careful to not disturb the perfectly ordered organs.
"Can you go wash off the tools?" Bruce asked Tony, tilting his head toward the sink in the back where a few of the kids were already lined up to rinse their scalpels and tweezers.
Tony just nodded in reply and gathered them up and he joined the line, only having to wait a moment or two to get up to the sink to wash away the blood and remnants of the frog that were left behind on the tools.
He came back with them all washed off and he returned them to where they had come from, making sure that everything was cleaned and put away before he sat back down with a sigh.
Bruce left their frog tray with the others and headed to the sink to clean off his glasses after peeling off his dirty gloves. He walked back to the table, drying the lenses on the edge of his shirt, just as the bell rang and students began to flood out of the classroom.
"I'll see you after school, then," Bruce said to Tony as he returned his glasses to his face and stuffed his notebook in his backpack.
“Yeah,” Tony replied with a small smile, moving to turn away and go to his next class before he stopped and turned back around. “Hey, I almost forgot. With finals coming up and stuff, we should like, you know, study together. If you want. I was thinking of doing the upgrades like I was talking about, and then you know, he’d be pretty useful for studying.”
Tony gave a slight shrug, leaning in the doorway of the classroom, his hands shoved deep in his pockets, as if he were embarrassed of bringing up the subject. Of course, he mostly was just dejected that they would actually have to start seriously studying for finals soon. He hated studying. Like, with a burning passion.
Bruce met Tony in the doorway and nodded in agreement. “We should definitely study together. That’s a great idea.” Then he quirked an eyebrow, smirking slightly. “I’m surprised you brought up studying at all. Maybe I’m rubbing off on you, too.”
“Yeah, probably.” Tony laughed and shook his head, adjusting the strap of his backpack on his shoulder. “It’s all your fault, you’re influencing me and JARVIS.” He smirked and walked out into the hallway with Bruce. “So, yeah, working on JARVIS and maybe studying. I’ll see you later, okay?”
“Yeah, seeya,” Bruce replied with a wider smirk. They parted ways and Bruce sighed when he remembered that he was heading to Gym class next. He managed to survive a game of dodgeball with only a small bruise on his elbow and finished up the rest of his classes unscathed and with a minimal amount of homework. He showed up at the door to Tony’s dorm immediately after leaving his seventh period class and jiggled the handle to find it unlocked and Tony already inside.
“You got here quickly,” Bruce observed as he entered the room, toed off his shoes, and dropped his backpack on the ground.
“I may or may not have told my teacher that I had an emergency to attend to for the last ten minutes of class. But you have no proof!” Tony told him over his shoulder, working on more coding for JARVIS when Bruce came in. He hadn’t meant to skip out on the last few minutes of class. It was just so boring. Besides, he had already finished the homework.
"Right," Bruce replied, rolling his eyes and joining his friend by the computer screen. "How's the coding going?"
“Good. Shouldn’t take too much longer, then we just have to tap him in to the internet hookup and have him start running the tests. And unless we run into firewalls or actual problems, we should have him connected and completely bug free by the end of tomorrow, if not sooner,” Tony told him, not looking up from the screen as he explained, but he felt Bruce next to him and he smiled.
"Oh, awesome," Bruce said with a nod, taking everything in, "It'll be done faster than I expected, then. I guess we'll get to studying soon after all."
He reached back to grab his backpack and pull it over to him, pulling out his math textbook and a sheet of paper and placing them in his lap. "I'm gonna get this page of homework done real quick, just tell me if you need any help."
“Yeah, sure. Oh, and I did that earlier. The book has the answer wrong for number fifteen,” Tony said over his shoulder, typing away to get it working quickly. He didn’t want to study, no, but it was better to get the coding done as soon as possible. And if that meant studying afterwards, well, at least he had Bruce to do it with.
About an hour or so later, Tony sighed and pushed away from his desk, stretching out his arms over his head as the screen behind him ran the tests that it needed to go over. “Well, that’s good for now. I’ll check on him later. How’re you doing? Still on homework or what?”
“Nope,” Bruce said, gesturing toward the closed textbook on the ground. He’d moved up onto Tony’s bed to watch him code like he usually did and was currently lying on his stomach on the bedcovers behind Tony’s back.
Tony turned his chair to see the closed textbook and Bruce lying on his bed, and he smiled for a moment before he remembered that they were supposed to study. “Ugh, why can’t we just be done with the year without having to go through finals? I mean, really?”
“The teachers like to torture us, I guess,” Bruce replied, only half-joking. “At least we don’t have a final for gym class.”
Tony laughed and nodded in agreement, letting out a soft sigh before he turned and rummaged through his bag, pulling out the stack of study guides he had collected over the course of the week. “Well, better get it over with, huh? Better now than later.”