You're always angry

June 27, 2018:

The hulk doesn't like nullification collars, and shows his opinion.

X-Mansion labs

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

After a few weeks of busy time flung out to work on some SHIELD questions and work, Dr. Banner is back at the mansion again. A small text message to Betsy brings her news of this change. And his newest strange idea.
The message reads: "Hi Betsy. Sorry I haven't messaged earlier today, I crashed when I got back to the institute. Tired and stressed. Going to see what happens with one of those collars, but doubt it'll be anything. If you're free, come by if you want to?"

A text arrives swiftly from Betsy, just as she leaves her favourite restaurant with a boxed dinner for Bruce: "I was already on my way. I thought you could use some dinner. I am not sure I like this idea of yours. It sounds dangerous. Please don't start without me."

True to her word, Betsy arrives within minutes, and hastens into the mansion to find him. "Bruce? You dead?"

Bruce isn't dead, and he also did as she asked. He has the collars out and is tinkering with them, though, seated in the lab looking very studious and focused in a lab coat and safety glasses, and a large pile of other mechanical parts and apparatus. "Not hardly. Hi," Bruce greets, cheerful, then suddenly more shy, as he gets a good look at her. The pretty model always causes him to feel butterflies lately.

Betsy smiles. She is in her motorcycle gear. Leather body armour, which is oddly far more covering and protective than her armour as Psylocke. Her deep plum hair is in a high ponytail, but still hangs sleek and straight to the small of her back. "Good, I got here in time for the show…" No one ever accused her of knowing the appropriate thing to say. Especially when she's nervous. THAT…is something entirely new to her.

"Show? I'm not much for showmanship. You'd need someone like Tony Stark for that; comes with bonus fireworks," Dr. Banner sighs, as if there were a very real-world memory of fireworks being shot that he is recalling up. "It'll just be a simple test, really. I've removed the explosive charge at any rate. I expect it probably won't affect me. And you have food in mind?" Bruce asks, hopeful, accepting the diversion from what he expects will be a let down.

"Kung Pao chicken, lo mein, some potstickers and an egg roll." Betsy smiles and kisses Bruce's cheek as she places the boxes off to one side. "Are you certain this thing isn't goin' to explode when you try to put it on?" It's all she can think about. She knew it was only a matter of time till he wanted to try one out. She's been dreading it. "Hungry?" She asks in the same breath, as if both thoughts simultaneously exist in her mind.
"I'd estimate…. two percent chance there's something on here that could still explode despite my investigation and subsequent dismantling of it," Bruce answers her, picking up the collar and turning it over. "I am /very/, now that you've gone over the menu," Bruce says, clearly interested in the boxes, enough to be distracted from the kiss. At least for a moment. He blushes a little and smiles at her. "So really, it shouldn't do anything," Bruce says, toggleling the collar on, giving her a relatively relaxed smile, and draws it towards his neck.

Betsy looks EXTREMELY relieved. Of /course/ he dismantled the explosive. Why would she think for a moment that he wouldn't? Because she doesnt think like a scientist, that's why. She tilts her head, though, watching with anticipation that hints at a child watching the beginnings of a magic trick.

It's blisteringly fast, the result. Bruce was calmly drawing it forward, then suddenly he is shaking heavily, and the transformation comes on aggressively. Bruce clearly wasn't geared or expecting to need to stay calm, and can't hang onto the collar or his emotional reaction. It looks like someone shoved a gun in his face, with this reaction level. He wheels with a sharp roar, spinning and crushing the collar under a growing broad green palm onto the lab table, creating a large dent in the metal in a palm shape. The collar responds with a sad little 'fzzt' of circuits as the lab coat and pastel blue button-up Bruce was wearing start to shred apart.

It all happens before Betsy can even react. "Bruce?!" But before she can even get the word out, it hangs thin and lonely in the air as Bruce is transformed, and growing.

With an instant change of tack, Betsy rushes closer to the emerging Hulk, and shakes her head. "What's wrong? Was it dangerous?"
There's some recognition there, a wholesome place that is still Bruce, that then starts to rip and shred with the blinding anger before her eyes. "No COLLAR, don't LIKE IT," Bruce roars in her face, hunched forwards, musculature flexing and bulging out over his neck and shoulders.

"No collar, it's gone. You smashed it!" The realization begins to seep into Betsy's mind. Bruce was trying to imprison Hulk. At least that's the way the Hulk would see it. "No collar," Betsy repeated soothingly. "I promise. It's over. Talk to me…" That's probably about as likely as Wiggles holding a conversation. But she has to start somewhere.

Hulk shakes himself, ripping off a shred of coat from his left arm and wrist loosely, the other fabric falling away. He lost his shoes and safety glasses at some point, though he's still growing fully into the Hulk. "Smash all this," Hulk snarls, turning on the poor bins of various parts and the other collar. He has some clear awareness of where it is, he reaches into the metal box for it and squeezes …. and the thing explodes. The blast wave slams out through his curled fingers, sending force in all directions.

"NO!" Betsy dashes toward Hulk and the bin. What if he didn't—

He didn't. The force knocks Betsy backward, sending her slamming into the wall, and she crumples to the floor. Her wits are scattered and there's a roaring in her ears that's rendering her nearly deaf at the moment. She needs to scream and warn him. Other things might explode. But for some reason all she can do is loll her head uselessly and try to find her mind again.

"Boom," Hulk observes flatly, looking down into his blackened large green hands, and uncerimoniously dumps whatever bits of shrapnel were left in them. He grunts and turns away, and then finally takes in Betsy's crumpled self across the table. He rips the table up and throws it sideways into a medical machine, careless, and walks towards her.

Betsy lifts her head just in time to see a table fly into the machine that goes 'Bing!' She shakes her head, not knowing whether to tell him she's fine, or dive for cover. "Hulk," she says decidedly. "Help me up?" She reaches up toward him with one hand as if he was anyone else approaching her. "Are you all right?"

Hulk narrows his eyes suspiciously at her, glowering, but doesn't directly engage her in a forceful way. He looks at her hand and reaches out, quick, to grab her arm and haul her to her feet with a direct roughness. He won't squeeze or deliberately harm her, though. "Hulk good," Hulk grunts, sneezing out some of the blast and scrubbing his nose.

"Thank you," Betsy says nonchalantly as she is pulled to her feet. "You knew where the other collar was…I didn't even know where the other collar was." She pats herself down as she speaks. She's not injured, and the roaring in her ears has lessened to a loud ringing. "How did you know where it was? Did you see where he put it?" She knows that it might be bad to even reference Bruce, but this is something that might be helpful. "Are you always there? Watching?"

Hulk insolently looks at her, when she asks him questions. "Hulk not stupid," is the answer to her question, which possibly covers a great deal of it, in his flat way. He narrowly watches her, and then rakes his eyes around the lab, as if checking for more evil science obvious to break. His fists clench and unclench.

"Hulk…I don't think you're stupid. I don't understand how it works…but I want to." She gently places a hand on his forearm. "It's okay, I understand you're angry. And now I understand why…let's figure this out together, okay?"

Hulk seems to relax a little bit when she touches down his arm. The green corded muscle tenses, though, and he glowers at her, suspicious. "Hulk always angry," he says, with a clear pride in the statement mixed with flat, straight fact. "Angry and strongest." He stomps a foot with the 'strongest' thing, making a deep impression, cracking tile. He flexes his arm to toss her hand off of him. It's sort of halfhearted.

"Oh course you're always angry," Betsy replies with a smile that doesn't even fade when he flexes her right off of him. "And definitely the strongest." She crosses her arms, and leans against him, giving him a little hip bump. Somewhere around his thigh. Probably more than a little, too, else he might never notice it. "I wanna help. I don't know how yet. I'm open to suggestions…"

"Strongest. Yes. Not need help," Hulk scoffs angrily, glowering anew at that suggestion. He stands taller, glaring down at her. And with possibly surprising tolerance at her leaning on him, snorts, and starts towards the doors, irritable.

"Well…I mean, I'm here. And I like you. Wouldn't it help to at least have someone on your side? You're the strongest, yeah. But sometimes it's nice not to be alone."

The Hulk considers her statement while he walks. He bulls through the door, but doesn't break things too badly, just ruins some hinge. "Good for throwing," Hulk decides after thinking about it. "Like rock." Her positive quality is being a missile.

"If you throw me, you might break me. You don't want to break me…Now you're just being stubborn," she chides, figuring he will take that as a compliment, anyway.

The Hulk doesn't seem concerned by his behavior, though he does look at her. "Puny. Would break," he agrees flatly. Whether that means he won't throw her or not is still up in the air, however. He stops in the hallway, aimless. The anger is present, but targetless, much as the last time she'd witnessed the Hulk trying to stick around without anything to really be angry at.

Betsy sees her chance. "I'm always here if you want me…" Her hand touches the back of his shoulder as she follows him, but she presses a soft kiss against his bicep and lets her touch trail down and away as she backs off of him and away to the door of the lab to watch, and to inspect the door hinges.

The Hulk appraises her and growls low in his chest, shaking her touch off, again, but starts to almost immediately reduce in size. He stumbles across the hallway, resting both palms out on the wall, as the reversion starts to squeeze and pull his body back down into a more human scale.

Betsy watches until she feels the episode is over. She approaches cautiously as his form takes its normal size. "Hey, Sweetie…You okay?" She reaches out to touch the back of Bruce's shoulder, which is no longer a stretch for her.

The shoulder is sweaty and slick, as the stress of the transformation caused that, this time. He's dirty, of course, he always seems to be, though most of it is on his front, from the explosion. "Yeah, I…" Bruce takes in the blackended state of his hands and forearms. "It exploded?!" Bruce asks, anxiously, turning towards her, eyes full of alarm and worry.

"The other one did, he smashed it," Betsy explains in a calm and soothing manner. "He was all right. Are you?" Betsy looks Bruce over carefully, before looking back into his eyes. "Let's get you cleaned up, okay? And get some food in you…"

Bruce's worry is heavy in his eyes as she soothes him he steps towards her, hands between them and slightly raised, with the awareness that he's covered in explosion debris. "I… he smashed?" A look goes past her head to the door. "Oh /no/. The /lab/," Bruce says, agitated and worried, and rushes past her to push into the precious laboratory, and take in the damage near the doorway. The 'Bing!' machine. The table relocated. Some damage to the floor. The explosion zone. His devastated look adjusts a little. "Wow. He was pretty calm," Bruce has to admit.

"He was," Betsy concurs. "He was pissed off because you were trying to imprison him. And he knew just where to find the other collar once he smashed the first," she adds with an arched brow.

"Well, he…" Bruce sighs a little, embarrassed. "—-almost always goes after whatever the reason was that he emerged for. Whatever attacked me or set him off is always the first target, if it's still there to pummel." He doesn't seem surprised at her last comment, and actually flinches, looking away from her, and walks across the lab to one of the cabinets. He has a dark blue robe in there and some cheap flip-flops. For obvious reasons. He shrugs into it. "He's pretty much always with me in some capacity," Bruce says while he does that. "I'm sorry I put you in danger today."

"You didnt, Bruce. He…seems to like me, for whatever reason. He wouldn't /admit/ it, but…he is actually civil with me. He converses with me." Even if it's using her to attack the darkness…

"…it's dangerous, because he does things like rip walls out. Even if it's not meant to harm you," Bruce clarifies. "That's usually how people are harmed. Just… caught in the destruction that throwing cars into buildings causes." He looks at her, and approaches her, and the box. "…Do you want to eat? I'll clean up quick." Softened.

Betsy smiles softly and uses a finger to curl a tendril of his hair back off his forehead. "I'll be fine. I promise. I'm tougher than that. I'll get dinner ready if you want to clean up." She retrieves the table and sets it upright again next to the machine which formerly went Bing!
"Let's not eat at explosion ground zero. I'll clean this up tomorrow. So— …my uh. My apartment?" Bruce asks, stumbling just a little bit, but not too horribly. He's trying, and there's a hopeful honesty in the shyness. He didn't dodge or flex her off of touching his hair, not at all.

"Aww…sure. Better place for you to relax, for sure…" Betsy smiles and gathers the boxes of food, which were thankfully spared by the Hulk's shenanigans.
"I'm glad those weren't hit," Bruce says, coincidentally picking up on a similar feeling to what she perhaps is, not needing any accidental telepathy for it. "Thanks for bringing them." He moves to attempt to help her carry the boxes back to the staff quarters area, and his own small apartment.

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