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Better Than A Dream?

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It was a dream. It had to be. There was no way the real Tony freaking Stark would be here with him. Though, it was nice having Tony here with him, don't get him wrong, just highly improbable.

Wait... was that Steve Rogers, Captain of the football team, star athlete, running past in blue spandex?

Why were Clint and Natasha playing a game where, if he was not too crazy and could hear them correctly, the winner was the one with the most kills?

And, really, why did it not seem strange to see Dr. Blake running around in a cape with a hammer? It should be strange... Right?

“Well, Dr. Sexy-no-pants, you going to suit up?” Tony asked him. Bruce looked over at him and only now registered that he was in some sort of red and gold, flashy armor. Or had he been in that all along? Tony turned to him when he failed to respond, his unconcealed face written with concern. “Bruce, you okay?”

“Uh, yeah,” Bruce heard himself responding with no real thought to the words, “just lost myself there for a moment.”

“Okay then,” Tony said, after kissing his cheek. “Bring out the other guy.”

“Sure, Tony.”

Suddenly he feels... powerful. Like no one, or nothing, could take him down...


Of course, that would be when the alarm went off.

“What the hell was that...?” he asked himself, bringing his hand up to scrub his face.

“Bruce? You up?” he heard from down the hall. “You're going to be late for school if you don't get moving soon.”

“Got it Mom.” He calls while he sits up and inspects his bed. As he gets dressed he can't help but think thankfully, 'At least I don't have wet sheets.'

After getting dressed Bruce walked into the kitchen of his and his mom's little Midtown Manhattan apartment where she had made breakfast.

“How has school been going dear?” she asked him while he ate his eggs and toast.

Looking up, Bruce noticed that the wounds on his mom had mostly healed, and despite what she had been through she somehow still smiled everyday now. Bruce tried to do the same, and it was becoming easier. In fact, the easiest way he had found was forgetting the before time in the shitty house in South Bronx had ever happened.

Shaking his head to clear the thoughts that would bring those memories back, he smiled at his mom. “It's going fine Mom, just like every morning when you ask.”

“Have I told you how proud of you I am for getting the scholarship to Midtown Prep High?”

“You have, Mom,” he said, “for the past couple of years. And every day since we moved here.” Bruce picked up his plate and gave her a kiss on the cheek as he walked past her to put the dishes in the sink.

“Good, I'm proud of you my love,” she said to him as she handed him a lunch bag. “I have been forever, and since the day you showed me that acceptance letter.”

“Thanks, Mom,” he said, blushing slightly at the praise. He took the lunch with a less than pleased look, but hid it from her well, and grabbed his backpack to stick it inside. Of course Bruce knew they could not afford the lunches sold at the school, not when the only reason they lived in this apartment was that the state put them up here for their own safety, but he hated the looks the other kids gave him when he pulled it out to eat.

It really did not matter though, as the only people who mattered, his best friends in the world, Betty, Natasha and Clint, never looked down on him for bringing a packed lunch. With that thought in mind he gave his mom a good-bye hug, gave thanks to whatever deity's were out there for their safety now, and left to catch the subway.


Tony had been dreaming about something, something nice he thought, but it hardly mattered when a big body collapsed on top of his. Letting out an 'Oof' of exhaled air, he opened his eyes to see the muscular body of his best friend Steve Rogers.

“Rise and shine!” the blonde shouted through his laughter at his friend's expense. “First period starts in twenty minutes!”

“Then I have fifteen more minutes of sleep,” Tony groaned, trying to shove the big body off of him. “Let me sleep!”

“Don't you want to look good for your 'Mythologies' Class?” a feminine voice asked from the doorway. Tony turned his head and glared, of course Pepper was behind this. She was sneaky and devious and Tony did not know why he was friend's with her, except that she was also amazing and kind and put up with him.

“I don't even like mythologies.”

“Bruce is in that class though,” Steve said, and at some point Tony realized he had shifted on the bed so he was laying beside him instead of on top.

All thoughts of Steve's position on his bed vanished, though, at the thought of Bruce, and Tony was up and looking for something nice, but casual that he could wear. “Why didn't you tell me it was Thursday?” he asked, slightly flustered while he finally grabbed something he deemed worthy and got dressed.

“You should be able to keep track of days, Tony,” Pepper chided, while they ushered him out of his room. Steve carried his backpack while he led him towards the school grounds by his shoulders. Tony never was good about keeping motivated in the mornings, even this morning when he knew he would be seeing Bruce first period. (Though, that wasn't Bruce's fault.) Seeing as that was only a few times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday), he wasn't even remotely conscious the other two mornings of the week, and those days there was no guarantee he made it to class. Due to this, Steve had some fun while leading his friend around.

Once they made it inside the school grounds Pepper wandered off and Steve steered his friend into a corner, and after a snicker he apologized, before walking him into a wall and busting up laughing.

“Steve!” Tony whined, looking up finally after bashing his face against a wall right next to a door. “Why do you keep doing that?”

“It wouldn't be a problem if you'd get yourself going in the morning, Tony,” a new voice said from nearby.

Tony looked up excitedly at hearing Rhodey's voice, and he stopped rubbing his forehead to run towards him. “Rhodey! Save me!” he shouted.

A raised eyebrow was his only answer before he was pushed back towards Steve. “I am not your protection,” Tony was told while he stumbled until Steve caught him.

“Rhodey,” Tony whined, standing on his own two feet finally after squirming out of Steve's arms.

“Boys, I feel like you have this argument every day,” Pepper said, walking up and handing Tony a coffee from the cafeteria.

“That's because we do, Pep,” Rhodey answered, “and if Tony changed everything else would too.”

“I won't argue with that.”

Tony stared at his friends in disbelief of their cruelty before pouting.


As soon as Bruce stepped onto the school grounds he caught sight of his friends waiting for him, and he had to smile. It was nice to have people in his life that he knew cared about him.

“Ready to see your crush in first period?” he heard as he got within hearing range.

It was usually nice to have people in his life that he knew cared about him.

He simply glared at Clint while he walked up to them, ignoring the comment.

Seeing his friends reminded him of his dream, and he was unsure what to think after having a dream of two of his three best friends killing for fun. It was a relief Betty had not been in that dream, or he would not be able to think coherently.

“Come on, Bruce, the love of your life? You're not excited?”

Bruce was about to retort even while the heat rushed to his face, the dream momentarily forgotten at Clint's incessant need to be annoying, but Natasha smacked Clint upside his head and Betty repeated the action from his other side. Clint whined, but kept his mouth shut for the moment while Betty turned towards him.

“You brought your lunch again,” she said, nodding towards the brown bag in his hands. “Why won't you let me buy you lunch?”

“I don't want charity, Betty, you know that,” he said, as gently as he could, letting go of Clint's words because the nuisance had stopped talking.

She smiled at him, understanding. “I know how you feel Bruce, I just have to offer every day, make sure you know someone cares.”

“We care,” Clint protested.

“Is that why you always tease him?” Natasha asked.

Before Clint could answer the bell rang, and the four of them walked into school together, dropping the discussion for later, which was all well and good for Bruce. He was already starting to get nervous about Mythologies and sitting next to Tony Stark as it was.