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So Tense

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India, April 2nd 2012


Bruce is getting used to the pungy smell and stinky trash in the slum since moving to India a year ago. As the only doctor in his location, he is sought by every poor people. They pay him with food and essentials. Not many could pay him with money and he doesn't really care about it. After all, he still has his fingers in stocks and he is proud to say that he has a good sizable nest egg now. He uses his money to invest on good-quality medical equipments and medicine.

He tries not to give away money to the community, not because he's stingy but he's already famous around this part of the area for his medical skill and if more people know about him, it would not be good. After all, he is on the run.


It's not the kind of life he used to but with his current existence being hunted by the government, he needs to stay low. Even his money is saved securely off-shore without any connection to his name. It might not be the best time of his life, but at least he's doing good and helping people is what he is good at.


Life is fine at least until tonight...


Like every other night, Bruce Banner is working as a doctor taking care of his patients when suddenly a little Indian girl ran to him out of nowhere.
She looks frantic and keeps asking him to follow her. He is able to catch what she's saying. She keeps saying her father is sick and he needs help.


Bruce always has a soft spot for kids, so he follows the girl.


For a little skinny girl, she is running very fast. Fortunately, it is not hard to follow her with his stamina and strength; running 5 miles every morning in his age sure help keep him fit.


As he follows the little girl, he could pick up people in black uniforms and gears. Counting up, there are about two dozens of them before finally the girl barges in into a slum house.


The house is almost barren except for a couple of chairs, a table and a bed in the corner. There are two windows with curtains and it basically look like nobody has sleeps there for a while.


The doctor is only a step behind her when she suddenly jumps and swiftly exits the house through the opened window.


Sighing, Bruce uttered quietly, " Should have got paid upfront, Banner. "


He looks around the house, walking around the table to leave the house when suddenly, a woman appears from behind the curtains. The runaway man turns around at the sound. He is sure the woman deliberately make a sound, probably trying not to startle him.


The woman is a pretty red-head and definitely a pro, spy or assassin if the lack of sound in her footsteps is a telling.


"You know, for a man who's supposed to be avoiding stress, you picked a hell of a place to settle," she said nonchalantly, breaking his running thought.


He blinks and a small smile begins to arise on his face. "Are you here for Hulk?"


For a second, her face turns blank before she tucks her hair behind her ear and relaxes her feature.


Ah, I surprise her, the doctor thinks to himself with a hum as he slowly walks towards the window so he can stand closer to her.


“My name is Natasha Romanoff. I’m with Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division.”


Interesting


Bruce pushes both his hands into the pockets of his slacks before leaning against the side of the window, slightly looking outside into the darkness.
“What does the infamous Black Widow want with me?”


This time, the woman subtly walks around the table to put a distance between them. Even with a slight smile on her face, the doctor notices the way she tenses a bit and the subtle way she moves her right hand from her shawl to under the table.


Amused, the genius takes out the gun he finds there when he traces his fingers around beneath the table. He points it to the ceiling as not to startle the lady into thinking he’s going to shoot the gun. Well the safety is on so the gun will not accidentally blows up.

 

"Are you looking for this? "


The smile is wiped off of the woman’s face and in sudden movement, she takes her gun out of her dress and points it at him.


“Tut tut tut. So tense, “ he tutted before he throws the gun out of the window. “I know for a fact you’re not going to shoot me. So why don’t you lower the gun. “


“Why should I?”


He could hear Hulk roaring in the back of his mind. The doctor shushed the other guy and tells him that he’ll handle the situation. The big guy takes a seat back and trusts Bruce to deal with the problem.


“Well, “ Bruce turns around towards the window, putting his elbows on the window sill and showing his back to the assassin. “You’ll be responsible for the death of those agents outside.”


Then he continues,” But of course you will die first.”


He turns around to look at Romanoff in the eyes with a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes and both elbows and hands calmly displays on the window sill. The shadow covers him but the assassin could see his eyes light up with green tinge. “So how about you tell me why you come here.”


Warily, Natasha’s sharp eyes calculates her chances.


Sighing, Bruce put his arms in front of his chest. “I don’t want any problem. So just say what you come here to say, Ms. Romanoff. “


Slowly and cautiously, she lowers her gun and speaks to her earpiece. “Stand down. We’re good here.”


“Smart decision,” he smiles genuinely as he points a finger at the side of his head. “He was restless for a fight you know. If you wait for another minute, he would have taken control and I would be a very unhappy doctor,” he smiled coldly at her before wiping it of his face and winks at her casually. “After all, this is my favorite shirt. “


Romanoff’s blood runs cold inside his body when the man gives off dangerous vibes for a second there. As much as she is annoyed at how the doctor nonchalantly talks about their close call with the Hulk, she is still wary of him. She is quite annoyed, cautious and curious of how this physicist finds their agents who hide so well in the darkness just like that.


The psychological analysis on this man is all wrong. He does not show signs of a timid and paranoid person. It was the complete opposite. This man exudes confidence and unperturbed in stressful situation. He walks quietly and notices the gun under the table along with their people outside the house. The way he keep tabs on all exits is a telling of a trained person. And most important, how does he know that she is the Balck Widow? 

So,  even though she is scared of the monster behind this timid-looking man, she is more alert about the man himself. It’s like looking in the mirror.


Who is Robert Bruce Banner?