Stealing Candy

April 07, 2015:

Bruce Banner calls Melody Kenway out to hang in New York

Museum of Modern Art

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Bruce is sitting quietly in the Art of Science exhibit, a special display showing the works of men like Da Vinci who were both artists and scientists, along with the artistic efforts of famous scientists through the ages. A flickering digital display from a prominent computer scientist shows rippling waves of binary, scrolling through an LCD screen in streams of color and light. Bruce finds it soothing.

He sits quietly, a pair of earbuds in, listening to some music. A paper bag sits nearby with a large Reueben sandwich and a bag of salt & vinegar chips. He enjoys the quiet, the less flashy displays not really attracting a huge audience, although the occasional tourist goes by behind him. He'd sent Melody an invitation to join him via encrypted e-mail, having decided it was time to emerge from hiding again after some time spent…alone. Depression was only one of his mental issues, but, of late, it had been the deepest. THe only benefit to his depression was the numbness that accompanied it reduced his ability to become enraged. The Hulk had not been unleashed in months - he could feel the beast behind his eyes, growing restless at confinement. He took a half-dozen Advil and ignored it.

Melody was getting a wee bit popular lately. She was already heading into New York to speak to one friend, but.. the idea of going to the museum to acquire something nice for back home took precedence. So she made the necessary steps; setting up a plan in motion, thankfully that day was when the famously encrusted egg would be delivered to the museum for it's weekly showing. It was almost something like a pure Ocean's 11 fix, one object swapped for another, unwrapped from it's safe confines and put into a basic tourist bag which was soon carried by the little hacker. The women of East End were smooth in this, even Catwoman didn't know that this was about to go down, yet.

But, for now, there was no need to run and hide with her latest acquisition, the keepers unknowing that it was currently gone, so Melody, hat lowered and covering her face and all approached Bruce from behind, her hand slowly reaching out with the threat of tapping his shoulder, slow.. omnious..

And veers towards his sandwich which was snagged from the bench, and bit into as if it were her own.

"So, where you been?" Spoken with a full mouth.
Bruce Banner blinks for a moment and turns his head slowly, "Y'know, given the potential side effects, I dunno if you ought to be going out of your way to take me off guard," he says. He scoots over on the bench a little bit, making room for her to sit if she'd like. He takes a long sip of his soda, a jumbo sized thing with a long straw, before setting it down, letting the placid waves of 1s and 0s continue to soothe him.

He doesn't know about Melody's illicit activities, but he also wouldn't care. When you might accidentally destroy an entire city on a bad day, low level felonies stop seeming quite so important as they might have been. People could trade shiny things back and forth as much as they liked - he was a bit beyond such things at this point.

"Away," he says simply. "Went to the country for a while, just to…lay low. Went to Europe for a little bit. Rome is nice. Lots of statues and history. Very good pizza," he says. "Just…keeping myself as sane as I can," he says. "And how have you been, o keeper of the lights?"

Melody shrugs her shoulders, taking a straddle stance over the bench before she settles down, keeping the bag hung upon her elbow as she reaches forward to snag a few chips from the bag to eat. "I dunf care." She states, but deep down? She does care. Being hit hurts. Being thrown hurts. Being snapped in two? Forget about it! "You're calm enough for me to get away with it." She states. "Plus you knew I was coming so you ain't got no excuse."

She leans back a little, then places the sandwich back upon the wrapper, nodding her head as she listens to the exploits of the man, her nose wrinkling just a touch as she gives a faint shrug of her shoulders. "In a space." She finally comments, her hand lifting to lightly rub at the back of her neck. "Sometimes not knowing which way is up or down. That sort of thing." Perhaps, depression has hit this one too, and most would say that she had nothing to be depressed about. "Sometimes I just feel like my days are numbered, and nothing I do is enough for that."

Bruce Banner nods quietly, "I'm familiar with the feeling. Of course, I've tried to die often enough that I know it's a futile effort for me, at this point. What I have to learn to do is accept suffering - something I thought I could do easily, but find a lot harder than I thought. It's very…messy," he says.

He looks over at her properly, his green eyes clear and thoughtful, "You, however, should not have such worries. But I understand, from what you told me of your condition, that is a possibility. I had meant to help you before I got…derailed. Perhaps I can try again. If you'll let me," he says. "It would be good to have…something useful to do."

"Suffering is easy when there is physical pain. For me anyways. Like, I can deal with the physical pain because that's all I've known all my life until I was older. You know?" She leans forward, taking care to wrap the sandwich and the chips, folding the wrappers nice and neat, settling them against the other as she keeps her gaze away from him.

"The other stuff. It's hard. Too hard to get and to understand. But I probably spent most of my life alone and I .. whatever." She sighs and rocks back now, gaze drawing all around the room, finally taking the time to observe her exits, as well as everything else on display.

His offer to help doesn't surprise her, everyone needs a pet project to keep busy, and from what she knows.. Bruce was as smart as her own dad. "Maybe. I guess I could use some upgrades to my nanites."

Bruce Banner raises an eyebrow, "If you want, of course," he says. "I suppose I'm just trying to justify you bothering with me. Otherwise, it's just spending time around a man with a nuclear weapon strapped around his waist for no good reason," he says.

"And I've gotten over the physical pain. I barely remember transforming anymore - as much as it hurts, it's losing control that hurts more. Knowing that, at anytime, he could come out and…I have no ability to stop him. Or what he might do. Even worse, he would, deliberately, hurt me, if he could. I have tried, for the most part, to just give up knowing other people. But that's hard, too. So, I try to cultivate my friendships…carefully," he says.

"You just don't seem like you'd piss me off that much."

"If I didn't want to, I wouldn't have asked." Melody immediately piped up. Though, the talk of it all, it just made her a little sad. "You don't know me that well. Usually, when I get outside, I get hit by a car or something or someones going to try to blow my brains out. Or something is going on and…" She shrugs. "Upgrades. If you can do that, it is." Melody wasn't the complicated one, she was just.. sad most of the time. That part of herself she keeps hidden as she tries to look for a purpose in her own life. At least she was giving Hulk something to do.

Bruce Banner nods, "Upgrades. What kind of upgrades would you want?" he says simply. He isn't sure why anyone would want to kill Melody, but he also isn't the sort to ask too many questions. It's not a lack of curiosity so much as a respect for privacy - he's had his share of secrets, even before he became a monster. If she wants him to know something, she'll tell him.

The screen in front of them flickers just for a moment and, if you look closely, there's a hint of something there, almost as though it was…looking back at them. But it's only for a second…and Bruce, at least, has learned not to always trust his senses. Sometimes his mind plays tricks on him.

Melody leans back a little to think, her fingers tapping away on the bench. "Oh, I don't know, whatever you can give me really. I guess if it suits your fancy and it makes sense for someone like me to have, go for it. Just don't, do anything that would make the nanites freak out. They're still mostly.. like babies. Forever learning." She doesn't notice the screen flickering, just because his sandwich remains uneaten. Her finger points, ready to make mention but.. she just takes it anyways, and continues to eat.

"I want to ask you something personal, is that okay?"

Bruce Banner nods, "Sure. I think I'm past being shy about personal details, at this point," he says, finishing off his sandwich and wiping his mouth with a napkin. "You'll have to demonstrate their full capabilities sometime - knowing what they can already do will give me a baseline to assess where they can go from there."

The cameras in the room slowly turn, focusing in on the pair on the bench, zooming in and recording.

"When you tried to kill yourself, how did it feel?"

Melody put it out there quick, no cause for concern of his reaction, she only took a bite of the sandwich, focusing on that and his words until it was finished. The chips were gripped as well, munching quietly, her eyes resting upon his own as she finally swings a leg from the bench, drawing her hand up to tilt her hat downward more so that her face could seem hidden as she faces the camera. Still, unknowing of it recording, but aware of it's position.

"I'm only asking because I'm curious." Sure, she was curious. Right. "What did you feel afterwards?"
Bruce Banner considers, "After what?" he asks, unsure of what she means. There have been a lot of afterwards - a lot of things he's not proud of, a lot of things he can't really remember…a lot of things that he wouldn't want to remember.

He's tried very hard to lay low, of course, but he's been noticed and followed. They're just tracking him at the moment, but they could try to take him at any time. of course, the problem with taking him is that it never seems to work out. So they wait, trying to find the right strategy, the right moment…if such a thing exists.

"After you tried to kill yourself. I mean, some people say that they feel connected to life more, or like they realized that they didn't want to die and now have a purpose. What do you feel?"

Curious thing that, asking about death. It was something that Melody may or may not try to court, to see if it all was worth it. And it filled her heart with a gloom of a storm, one that almost snuffs the breath out of her at that very moment.

"You.. you really don't have to answer. I just.." She couldn't figure out what to say really. "Maybe I shouldn't talk to you about this stuff. I.." Her hand scratches idly at her hair, tilting the cap down further.

Bruce Banner consider sfor a moment, "Hungry, mostly," he says. He doesn't seem melodramatic or sad about it. He's neutral, as he's trying to be generally. Extremes of emotion only cause him trouble and the more detached he is, the better of he - and everyone around him - is. "Disappointed. I never felt…what you're talking about. More connected or more alive. I'm inhaling oxygen, exhaling carbon dioxidie. My heart is beating, my body is warm. That's all being alive means to me. I've never been one to romanticize biological functions - I was simply unhappy that mine continued. And wondering just how much damage the attempt had caused."

Bruce Banner says, "You shouldn't want to die, though. I have good reason."

Melody breaks out into a fit of laughter at his answer, her hand reaching out to offer him the chips; if he doesn't take it, she was going to continue to eat it. "I think I know what your problem is now." She states, nodding her head, sure with her words. "You've pretty much turned yourself into a robot. You use these words like a shield and you just don't let anything in because you're afraid of the big guy inside."

She shrugs her shoulders. "I don't know. I kind of wish I was a telepath so I could see and know what the other guy is thinking. But then, I guess I should just count my blessings that I haven't met him yet."

She takes a chip, pops it into her mouth, and chews. "I'm supposed to be dead. Sixteen was my limit. The cancer spread too far, too fast, and my Dad just saw fit to give me these nanites so that I could stay alive. It's worked out so far, but sometimes I wish he would have just let me go." She draws in a slight huff, then shrugs. "I don't want to die, I shouldn't want to die.. but the prospect is alluring."
Bruce Banner snorts, "Of course I'm afraid of him. Everyone should be afraid of him," he says. "That he hates me just as much a I hate him doesn't make things any better. And you wouldn't get much from reading his mind. He isn't much more than hate and rage incarnate - he's a dumb, rabid animal who needs to be put down," he says with a harsh intonation.

"I have no idea why the prospect would be alluring. I suppose that would be your business, but it doesn't make much sense to me. And I'm not a robot - I'm a scientist. I understand that reason and careful thought are far more productive than being a victim to my own hormones and prejudices. I'm simply trying to be objective and, objectively, I am better off dead and, if not dead, at least calm."

"He probably doesn't like you because you talk to him the way that you do." Melody points out, again, with no regard to herself. Was she trying to goad him into changing? At least then, she'd surely get out of the sparkiling egg scott free. "You should just do like the rest of the folk do around these parts and let your freak flag fly. Easy solution, right?"

In truth, Melody didn't know what was so bad about the Hulk, she was able to see the only bright and shiny side of the coin, living in a world where dreams come true and if they don't? They weren't meant for you and that was alright.

"You're a robot, Banner. True blue. We're going to have to fix that starting with Disney nights and pizza parties. I can paint your nails too. Nice shade of black to go with all that emo." She even leans towards him to try to poke his side, at least hoping to get a laugh out of the man.

Bruce Banner doesn't seem to find it particularly funny, "I don't think that would suit me," he says simply. He understands that she's trying to make the best of it for him, but the truth is there was no best. He was what he was. "I'm not being 'emo', however. Merely realistic. I have made my peace, such as it is, with continuing to exist for the time being. But I talk about him that way because I know precisely what he is, far better than anyone else. I understand the urge to humanize him - it's common enough, the instinct to imagine there's something more, something deeper inside him."

"There isn't. He is a monster, pure and simple. And, because he is, so, too, am I," he says and then he does smile slightly.

"I appreciate the effort, nonetheless."

"You're being realistic is really not fun." Melody scoots closer to Bruce, and if he allowed it, she'd try to draw a friendly arm around his shoulder, attempting to pal him into a slight hug. "Yeah yeah, sure. Monster, that's all well and good. But I think we need to go out and find us a nice arcade. Trick some little kids into a nice one versus one battle, steal all their monies and take their cookies too. And then, we'll go back to your secret, evil lair, and indulge in the fruits of our labor.. which would probably be cookies and a few bags of hot cheetoes and a bunch of quarters and gaming tokens."

If she had him, she'd smack him hard upon the shoulder, she does have strength as a Meta. "Cause if you didn't appreciate my efforts I'd cry. And I'd make things very awkward for you.. like.. permanently."
Bruce Banner allows it, of course. He may be a rationalist, but he's not dead. He does give in to a small chuckle, "I am quite adept at destroying small children at video games," he says. "And, if they're better than me, I can always just reprogram it. Or, more likely, let you do it, since you don't need a screwdriver to get at the wiring like I would," he says.

"But yes, that sounds like a good idea. Perhaps we could even play pinball. You can't really cheat that one, you just have to be good at physics and have solid reaction time. I'll wipe the floor with you," he smiles mildly.

Melody gives him a firm, one-armed hug, then releases him, drawing herself to a stand as she gives a stretch and a nice rub of her bottom. "You got yourself a deal, I may not know much about physics or whatever hubaloo you're talking about.." She's lying. "But I'm pretty sure I got luck on my side." No she doesn't. It's a wonder she's not shot yet.

"So it's a play date. I'll bring a bag of quarters and we can get down and dirty with some shooters to start, then start taking some candy from the babes." She holds out her hand to Bruce for a shake, she'll leave him to figure out how and what to do with the upgrade she asked for.

Bruce Banner takes the hand and shakes it, rising up from his seat and finding himself feeling strangely formal about it. "I'll look forward to it. I'll have to download some emulators to put in some practice," he says. He doesn't know that she's lying and it wouldn't occur to him to ask.

"I will stay in touch and update you on my situation. And hopefully, you won't see me in the news at all."

With her hand shaken, she hoists the shopping bag upon the crook of her elbow, holding it just like a purse. The egg was tucked neatly inside, wrapped in foam that would protect it from being damage, and nanites from her own blood drawn upon it to keep the sensors at bay. She was crafty, that one. Even if stealing wasn't her fortay. She lives with the best. "Oh right. Whenever we meet, we'll have to stay in New York. Gotham is a practical war zone and there's no sense in you going there."

She rounds her way from the bench, fixing her hat upon her head as she draws out a sigh. "Don't be so doom and gloom Dr. Banner, everything is alright as long as you will it to be." She smiles a little, tipping the brim of her hat, then heads out of the museum proper to head to her real home. It needs a good cleaning.

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