This Is Why You Have No Friends

July 27, 2015:

Melody meets up with Bruce in Mutant Town, they realize they have a same boss and the reason why Bruce has no friends is revealed! (Spoiler: He sucks.)

Mutant Town

Characters

NPCs: Paco

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's been a very long time since she's seen Bruce. And since training was put on hold.. not indefinitely, just on hold, Melody had a bit of time to herself to actually get things done and re-aquaint herself with the outside world. First, she took the money that she's earned and managed to gleam from various sources to fix up Shift's apartment with the help of Jericho. Second, she made an appointment to speak to a lawyer to allocate his finds and put the man on retainer for himself. But at long last, she decided to contact Bruce-Goose, at least just to catch up. It's been a very long time since she's seen a friendly face, or the face of someone who probably wouldn't punch her right out.

'Meet in Mutant Town.' - Rant

Hopefully, the big guy would show up. She does have to apologize after all. She finds herself doing that a lot lately.

Bruce Banner arrives in due time, taking the subway (and leaving long and early enough to make sure he wasn't pressed for time - the subway was irritating enough without time pressure). He shows up at his leisure, though, with soe soft pretzels he got from a nearby cart. he knew where she'd be here, a particular wi-fi hub they'd favored for their occasional joint hacking endeavors - near enough to a police precinct that they could enjoy the brazen nature of it.

He offers a pretzel and takes a seat, taking a moment as he settles in, "So…Rant," he says, still a little amused by the whole codename business. Yes, Hulk was a codename, but Hulk was a monster, not a person - colorful sobriquets seemed appropriate. "How have you been? I tried to…give you your space. I know I'm not much good for…emotional issues. I have so many of my own, after all. No one comes to me for life advice," he says.

Melody really wasn't pressed for time. She was actually relaxing, settling down in front of the vendor cart armed and owned by Paco. Mutant town was quiet this day, which was a thankful thing, really. At least for her. She hadn't put her new skills to the test but she wasn't exactly eager to use the trigger finger that she's earned. Her pants were baggy enough so that a pair of boxer briefs sat underneath, a thin tank top worn to combat the heat. Yet, in those cargo pants (the many pockets that is) housed an array of clips that belonged to the glock that was hidden upon her person.

Within her lap was a nice, wide plate of nachos, which were picked through with fingerless gloved fingers, munched and eaten as she gives a thumbs up towards Paco. That dude can throw down.

"Don't laugh. I don't want people knowing where I am." She wrinkles her nose a bit, reaching out for the pretzel which was soon added to the pile of food that she was going to eat. Hearing him, she offers a little bit of a shrug. "Me and space aren't really friends. With my track record I'm going to start assuming that we're not friends and you just want to see me because you need something, or you're dead." She munches a little, then shrugs faintly.

"You really don't open yourself up to that stuff anyhow, so what have you been up to?"

Bruce Banner snorts softly, ":Nice to see you, too," he says, casually eating his pretzel. "I don't know how to be friends. I haven't had a lot of them and most of the ones I thought I had turned out not to be when the chips were down," he says.

"Me? Getting recruited by some crazy paramilitary freak. We'll see how that works out. One eyed guy, seemed kinda nuts. Certainly had a high opinion of himself. I'm glad I got to see you before I end up going to…whatever weird volcano or underwater dome or moon crater he's using as the base for this team he's putting together…"

"You're doing just fine with me." Melody quips, and finally.. there was a smile! It was brief though, for she managed to pry a tortilla chip from the bundle with a nice, nice helping of cheese, meat, and sour cream. Oh look, an olive! Munchmunchmunch.

Though, she stops chewing for the moment, her head tilted rather awkwardly, her mouth working slow as she swallows down the food just enough to actually speak without spray. "Deathstroke?" The napkin next to her soon was picked up, her mouth wiped at, napkin bundled and tossed easily into the trash.

Soon, the pretzel was grabbed and torn apart, dipping it into the mess of nachos that she has. "It's not a moon crater or underwater dome, I don't think.." She finally mutters, glancing left and right, oddly uncomfortable with the conversation. "But the rooms are nice, like mini apartments. Bigger on the inside, sort of deal."

Bruce Banner laughs, "Huh. I kind of wondered what got him on my trail. No, no, I don't think you gave me up or anything, but I wouldn't be surprised if, while checking you out, he crossed my path. I'm pretty careful, but I didn't think about somebody going after someone else I knew…" he says, giving a shrug. It didn't matter anyway. "Deathstroke. Which seriously, please tell me he has a real name, because I'm not going to fucking call him that to his face, unless I absolutely have to on missions. I'll feel like I'm on a Call of Duty server," he mutters.

"You seem different. Not as…something as before. I don't know, I'm no good at analyzing people. I knkow you're different, but the details escape me. You look…good, though." he says simply.

Melody frowns just a touch. "I highly doubt it was me. I mean, I don't even know how he found me, usually people just overlook the small fry and just keep going til they get to the big wigs who could do something important." She leans over to nudge his elbow with hers. Case in point. "I actually like the name.." Except for when she's being manhandled. He almost dislocated her shoulder when he yanked her into a bullet proof vest. She does grow a little bit still once he cusses, her eyes canting in his direction, ready to drop the nachos and slide to the side in case he hulks out. But, he's usually under control! At least around her.

Melody does set her nachos in between them so she could turn into his direction, one leg propped upon the bench as she finishes off the pretzel in her nacho dip. "Different how?" She did spend several days in hell, and several days in a different kind of hell afterwards. And then a few days reliving a bit of heaven as she cleaned and now.. nothing. "Hope I don't have that whole.. heartbreak and mourning and lost love vibe going on. Or that.. all hope is gone so I'm just taking it one day at a time type deal.."

Bruce Banner shakes his head, "Like I said, nothing I'd be any good at analyzing. Less…nervous, maybe? Not that you were ever that nervous, but…eh, like I said, I'm not good at it. More self-assured," he says simply, shrugging.

"I can't say I cared for him, but the mission he described seemed worthwhile. Making a real difference, not just cosmetic changes, not just publicity. Helping people who actually need help and maybe don't get the right amount of attention," he shrugs. "Seems like a strange thing to say when we're sitting in the middle of a warzone right at the moment. Anyway, I at least want to have my say. Whether or not things with Deathstroke work out in the long term…we'll see."

Considering the area, Melody should be scared. She should be looking over her shoulder and possibly hiding out in the alley way and out of prying eyes. Taskmaster and Deathstroke would do that to a girl. Cut them down then build them up by dipping the core into something different. "Bruce-Goose, you're a weird duck." She claps her hands together loudly then begins to laugh, she's been waiting -months- to actually use that line, and now she finally does it.

That made everything about her a little lighter, if not odd. There was still some of the old girl in there, just.. not enough to breach the surface. Though her face scrunches up a touch as she gives a shake of her head. "I.. just what in the sam hell did he sign you up for?" The nachos were edged in his direction. "Honestly. It seems like good work. Accountability and the like, I suppose. Everyone's a target for us. Even.. us." She 'heh's' a little at that, then finishes eating. She was a bit done. Rising from her spot, she shuffles her fingers into one of her cargo pants, pulling out a five dollar bill, gesturing towards Paco. "He's only got Pepsi. You want diet, zero, caffeine free, or all that damn sugar?"

Bruce Banner smirks softly, "Well, first of all, he made it pretty clear that if I didn't sign up, I'd likely end up a target. That I was just the kind of problem that the team was put together to solve. And now that I know you're on that team, I'm even more glad to have chosen to play along - I'd have hated to have you on the other sisde of a scope looking at me. Especially because, regardless of his bravado…I don't think Deathstroke fully understands what the Hulk -is-. He thinks he does, he told me he had plans and back-up plans, but the Hulk…has a habit of making plans break. Mine moreso than anyone's," he sighs.

"So yes, I rather got that part of the recruitment speech. And I'll take the sugar, thanks, I'm not exactly watching my waistline," he says. "I'm a skeptic by nature, but I'm willing to give it a go. Although I've never been much of a team player before…"

.

Melody winces at the news, then turns to place the order. The cups were large enough to put a kid down, while Melody got the Zero, Bruce is getting the regular. The ice floats at the bottom, but not enough to impede the volume of the drink. She walks it back over towards him then settles down upon the bench yet again, handing him his cup as she takes a sip of hers, then continues to work on what little bit of nachos were left. "You really don't know how easy it is to subdue you." Melody's gaze goes vacant. "Just give you some marijuana and a couple of old movies and a room full of snacks and fluffy pillows and you're done." She then grins, obviously kidding. "Done I say. Done!"

She wriggles her nose briefly, then shrugs. "I guess you'll learn to be a team player here. I've.. never done much team wise but a few things here and there because of Shift. But.." She looks away then, her hands soon folding around the cup as she glances off into the distance, her jaw obviously tensing. "He used to love this place."

Bruce Banner considers for a moment and shrugs, "That works well enough for normal circumstances, but cannabis can only impede me from normal stress. Fight or flight situations, the primal stuff…anything that hits my amygdala, triggers my adrenaline, is going to counteract anything I put in my system. I can get stoned and all of that stuff for only as long as I can keep the metabolic changes at bay created by my gamma-generation mutation. Once that process has actually been initiated, my system will simply…flush out any toxins slowing me down or keeping me calm. Believe me, I've tried. That's the thing, I've tried everything to kill me already and, while I may not have Deathstroke's military experience, I feel comfortable stating that I'm smarter than he is."

"But please, feel free to give me a great deal of weed and a boxed set of black and white classics - I won't complain about the experiment," he smiles.

At the mention of Shift, he looks a little uncomfortable, knowing it's a sensitive topic for her but not knowing precisely how to be comforting or particularly helpful about it. "It seems like his kind of place," he says simply. Not that he really knows, but that sounds like a safe thing to say.

Melody's hand reaches up to rub at little at her face, her foot oddly swinging, listening to the information as to what would make him.. him. But, still. She was glancing around the neighborhood, her face a blank canvas even though her eyes burned a touch, her lips twisting as she glances down into her lap to idly wipe away at her cheeks as the tears fall. "He saved this place a lot. And the people in it. I guess it was his kind of place, I spent most of my time in Gotham and Upper Manhattan and barely came around this area. I kind of regret not doing so eariler now, he could have shown me around the place, you know?" She shakes her head a little, then lifts her soda to take a long sip. A very long sip.

"I think I know why you don't have friends." *sips* "Learn to take a joke, Bruce-Goose."

Bruce Banner considers and shrugs softly, 'I was never very good at knowing when people were joking either. Which you are very much correct…is one of the reasons why I never had very many friends," he says. Now he looks off into the distance for a moment, embarassed a little. Once an awkward nerd, perhaps, always an awkward nerd.

"When we lose someone, we always think of what might have been," he says simply. He takes a moment to light a cigarette, the Fibonacci tattoo on his arm a spiral of numerals around his wrist. "I like this neighborhood. It's different. It's a shame it's getting torn all to hell," he says simply.

Melody shrugs. "Me neither, I guess if you learn to laugh at everything, you might find something that's truly funny." Weird.. weird.. weird..

She does scoot over enough to lift herself to draw an arm around Bruce's shoulder, tugging him into a sideways hug, that hand reaching up soon to ruffle his hair. She was careful not to burn herself with the cigarette, but oddly enough? She gave him the big sister treatment with just one move. He was definitely older.

Though, once she settles down again, she hangs her elbows upon her knees, that look almost stricken. "Yeah. Well." She draws herself to a stand, picking up her trash and tossing it. "I guess when all of this bullshit blows over, I can donate what Shift had left to go into fixing this place up." She glances around, the place was turning into a shithole. "Though we could be right assholes and step in to fuck it up even more."

Bruce Banner raises an eyebrow at the big sister treatment, but doesn't complain about it. Bruce was an only child and doesn't know much about siblings - the closest he had, his cousin, has had a complex relationship with him to say the least. They were close when they were literal, but, well, when your father murders your mother, family relationships all become more than a little tense. Even if you aren't as emotionally damaged and fucked up as Bruce Banner probably already was to begin with.

At the last, he looks up, "It would be nice to know who the good guys and the bad guys are. I'm not sure there are any left. Of course, I've wondered sometimes if Earth wouldn't be better off if humanity went extinct and another species got a chance to develop a civilization. Dolphins, maybe. Or turtles. A turtle civilization would be nice."

"I don't know…" She finally offers. "I mean, you've been in this game long enough to know that everything is subjective. Some people think they're doing right and the people who don't think so say it's wrong. I guess.. that's why I like this group. There really is no sides in it all." She sighs just a little, then gives a cant of her head. "You're a buzz kill. You know that, right? But.. help me get some of the last of my stuff out of my house, yeah? It's not like we're on call… yet.. anyways."

Bruce Banner snorts, "I'm a buzz kill, yes. That's why I get buzzed. I even bring myself down," he says. "But sure, I can help you move. That's part of owning a pick-up truck, even if technically that pick-up is owned by a guy named Antonio in Trenton, New Jersey."

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