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Little Friend

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A hot dog cart went flying through the air, crashing into the street. Civilians fled, screaming chaotically, and a loud roar vibrated through the air, shaking the ground beneath their feet. Spidey ducked as a lamp post flew over his head.

His spider-sense tingled lightly up the back of his neck, and his masked eyes flittered about in confusion, wondering what all the mayhem was.

Just moments ago, the street had been peaceful and quiet, everything going on as per usual, before things had unexpectedly gone haywire. The road was beginning to look like a bomb had gone off, judging by all the trash currently being thrown into it. Spidey was left crouching in the middle of the street, figure coiled and tense, head snapping around at all the chaos, looking about ready to skitter off, just like a startled spider might.

Another roar echoed around the space, and Spidey shot a web and headed towards it, ignoring the civilians fleeing in the other direction, and poked his head around the corner from where he was now stuck to the wall.

A little way down the street, a raging green monster had its head stuck in a bakery store, pulling everything out of the way so it could get in further. Behind it was a rather impressive trail of destruction, left in its wake.

After a couple of seconds, the hulking monster pulled back out of the wall. "Hulk, hungry," it said, before beginning to eat two fist fulls of baked goods.

Spidey rose an eyebrow behind the mask. He looked around at the terrified faces of the local civilians and, shooting a web, he flipped through the air, landing on the Hulk's back.

"Ah, Hulk? You may be hungry, but you're kind of making a scene here," he said, gazing worried glances at their surroundings. He guessed The Hulk had escaped from his leash again, which was otherwise known as his alter ego, Bruce Banner's, control.

"Pastries...good," was the unhelpful reply. Spidey sighed.

"Hulk, come on. Public destruction, screaming civilians, don't you think you're taking it a bit far? You could've just asked politely."

Hulk ignored the spider's ramblings, continuing to gobble down the food eagerly.

Spidey climbed further up Hulk's back to his shoulder, so he could get a better look at his face.

"Please, Hulk. Listen—"

Spidey had to grab on to his arm as Hulk shifted to get more pastries, knocking Spidey from his position. He was then swung around violently as the arm moved, causing him to get hit painfully in the gut by the limb. Spidey cried out, realising he may have just gone in over his head. The Hulk was big, and temperamental, he could literally squash him like a bug.

Everything went still.

Spidey panted, scrambling up from where he was half curled around the arm, till he was sitting more in a crouch, holding his sore, paining side. He took a few deep breaths, before shifting his gaze. Hulk was staring right at him.

The gigantic beast had stopped all movement, and turned his head, gazing at the small spider currently curled on his arm.

Spidey's large, wide bug eyes stared at him. The Hulk stared back. His gaze then moved downwards, towards where Spidey's hand was held protectively against his side. A rare occurrence happened in that moment, when Hulk's fierce eyes seemed to soften, his hulking mass sighing, as his shoulders slumped.

He pulled his right hand back out from the store, and picked up a small, slightly squashed piece of some kind of pastry. He then lifted his large, strong fingers, pushing it delicately towards where Spidey was sitting.

"Oh...ahh, umm—" Spidey was speechless, as he didn't know what to do about Hulk's actions.

Hulk grunted, blowing out air.

Spidey reached out a hand, and gingerly lifted up the offered "gift".

"So, you...ahh...?"

Hulk's gaze penetrated through his mask, his look sincere and determined. Spidey knew immediately what the Hulk wanted.

Keeping one eye on the Hulk, he carefully lifted up his mask, and placed the pastry in his mouth. It was warm, freshly baked, and was dusted with sugar, a rich filling of strawberry jam and cream inside.

As the Hulk's gaze continued to stay fixed on his form, he began to chew, not wanting to make the beast angry. When the Hulk still failed to look away, Spidey swallowed awkwardly.

To his surprise, the Hulk smiled, face lighting up.

" spider," he announced, and brought up a hand to "pat" his head, chasing out Spidey's ducking form. He then sat on the ground, a loud rumble occurring from his weight, and went back to eating pastries.

Spidey stared in shocked bewilderment as another pastry was slid up on Hulk's shoulder towards him. He looked up at the street. The people were calm, no longer panicking and screaming, as they stood watching them, most with startled curiosity. He looked over at the police on the scene. They too, were standing back, now calm.

The Hulk was sat right in the middle of the street, a wide, gaping hole before him in the front of the shop's wall, as he snacked on pastries. Everything was peaceful, everything was solved. And Spidey was enlightened to find that he was the solution.

Deciding it was best not to move so as to aggravate the Hulk again, Spidey sat down upon his large shoulders, and allowed Hulk to "share" his food, feeding him a selected amount of his precious findings. He just hoped the store owners wouldn't be too mad when they got back.

40 minutes later

A loud, rocket-like sound filled the air. The people on the street stirred from behind the blockade the police had managed to put up around the Hulk and his plus one, looking up in the air. Seconds later, a shining, red and gold figure dropped from the sky, followed by two others. They stopped.

Spidey was laid splayed out over the back of Hulk's shoulders, dozing peacefully in the warm sun, head thrown back, legs stretched out comfortably over the other side. The Hulk was sitting still, quite, trying not to disturb his little shoulder friend.

The Avengers were silent.

"Umm, sir, they've been like that for a while now. No one can get near as the Hulk seems to be...ah, protecting Spider-Man, sir," one of the officers said, sounding slightly baffled, and making a poor attempt to cover it up.

"Right. Thanks. We'll take it from here, Officer," came the metallic reply. Iron Man then turned around, as the man nodded shakily behind him, and lifted up his visor.

"Hulk! Hey, buddy! It's your pal, Tony. Look, why don't you just do that thing where you shrink back down and we can take you home now? Deal?"

Hulk growled furiously at the metal man, and shot a hand up protectively around Spidey.

Tony was shell-shocked, his face unable to decide on an expression, before he turned to his companions.

"Ahh...little help here?"

"The beast seems to have grown quite an attachment to the wee spider here. I say we leave them be or risk antagonising friend Bruce further, should we risk removing him," Thor boomed. Hulk snarled in anger.

"Yeah, not helping, Thor. He doesn't like mention of his "weak" buddy, Bruce."

Natasha ignored the two's conversation, as she moved away from Thor, stealthily approaching where the beast sat.

"Hulk. Hey, it's alright. You're safe. You remember me, don't you?"

The Hulk gazed at Natasha curiously, blowing out a breath through his nose. Spidey sat up, slowly propping himself in a crouch, watching the exchange. It only took a few moments. One minute the Hulk was up tight and defensive, the next he seemed to relax, growing familiar with the Avenger as she held her hand out, before the next minute, something happened, and Spidey shifted, startled, as the form beneath him began to change and shrink. Before his very eyes, the Hulk shrunk and contracted down into an average sized man, the Black Widow's experience calming the beast. Spidey quickly hopped off, standing on the asphalt as Bruce Banner now lay in the place of The Hulk, still wearing the same dark green shorts, which seemed to have magically shrunk to his size.

"Nice job," Widow addressed, crouching beside the unconscious man and looking up at him through her red hair. "You contained him well and prevented any further damage. Impressive."

Spidey scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. "Well, I hardly did anything, he kinda chose me as his pet. You did the rest."

"He likes you," Widow deadpanned. "You could be a good ally in battle."

"Yes, well, maybe someday, but I've got places to be. Y'know how it is. Take care of big guy. He might be a bit sleepy after all that pastry," he said, and before they knew it, Spidey was swinging away on a web.

A groaning sound came from the ground, as Bruce began to sit up. "Who was that?"

"That was a new little friend of yours. Your other half made an acquaintance while we were away," Thor boomed.

"Spider-Man. He kept everything under control until we could get back," Widow chimed in at Bruce's confused expression.

"Yeah, he must've made quite the impression on you," Tony added, strolling over.

Bruce rubbed his forehead frowning. "Spider-Man, hey? Isn't that that vigilante guy?"

"Yeah. I can do a background check on him when we get back to HQ if you like, though he seems pretty harmless," Tony offered.

"Huh," Bruce thought to himself, before slowly letting his teammates help him up, contemplating just what sort of "friend" his other half had made. It was certainly a first. But maybe if Hulk had a friend it would be a good thing, and he might not cause so much damage with someone like that around to prevent it. Bruce smiled, a tiny amount of relief sagging in his bones, and said a silent thank you that no more harm had been caused that day. He hoped he'd meet the spider again, and find out just who he'd "befriended". Until then, he was going to go home and sleep it off, as he now had one very full stomach.