Happy birthday celeste9! Somewhat to my surprise, I actually got this finished in time.
Title: An Island Made for Two
Pairing/characters: Natasha Romanov, Bruce Banner (Natasha/Bruce if you squint a bit)
Disclaimer: Not mine. MCU owns them
Word count: approx 1175
Summary: Unresolved aerial dogfight aside, she could think of plenty of worse situations to be in.
AN: Birthday fic for celeste9.
AN2: Also fills the hc_bingo ‘Shipwrecked’ square on my hurt/comfort bingo card.
AN3: Set somewhere between Avengers Assemble and Age of Ultron. My first attempt at writing in this fandom. Meep!
Natasha couldn’t help a small smile at the look of bewilderment on Bruce’s face as he blinked in the bright sunlight.
He pushed himself up onto his elbows and the parachute material that she had covered him with slipped down and pooled around his waist. Natasha allowed herself a moment to appreciate the view before she turned back to gazing out to the far horizon where the clear blue sky met the beautiful, tranquil ocean.
“Tropical beach?” Bruce commented. “Well, I’ve woken up in worse places.”
Natasha smiled again.
“You okay? You’ve been out of it for nearly half an hour.”
Bruce sat up alongside her, trying to surreptitiously wrap the parachute around his lower regions.
“Do I want to ask how we ended up here?”
It didn’t escape Natasha’s attention that he was avoiding her question, but she decided not to push it.
“Oh, you know. The usual. Crazy heroics, saving the world, taking down a fighter plane single handed.”
That got a raised eyebrow. He looked like he was going to say something else, but then apparently decided better of it. She sometimes wondered whether he ever remembered anything that the Other Guy did, or whether it really was a complete memory blackout when his alter-ego made an appearance. That was another of the things that she didn’t push, though.
She reached into the pack at her side and offered him a water bottle. He took a mouthful and passed it back with a grateful smile. Natasha took a swig as well, and slipped it back into the pack out of the direct heat of the sun. They should probably move off the beach and into the shade of the trees before too long, especially Bruce, but it wasn’t urgent yet.
“The others know where we are,” she said. “Once they’ve taken care of business they should be sending someone to pick us up. Unless the entire operation goes to hell, I doubt we’ll have to wait more than a couple of hours.”
“Given our track record, that’s a hell of an ‘unless’.”
Natasha had to admit he might have a point.
She and Clint had been in one Quinjet, and most of the rest of the team in another when it all went to hell. One minute they had all been engaged in an aerial dogfight with a bunch of Hydra fighter planes, the next the Hulk had hurled himself out of the open doors of the other Quinjet and onto one of said fighter jets, and proceeded to take it out of the fight by ripping it to pieces with his bare hands. In mid-air. Natasha still wasn’t entirely sure whether the fact that they were about a hundred miles out over the Pacific at that point was a good thing or not.
Either way, the fighter pilot had ejected before the Hulk could stop him, and both the jet and the Hulk had gone down into the ocean. Natasha had considered the options for all of two seconds, and then told Clint to stay on the tail of the other fighter jets and come back to find them when the fight was over. Then she strapped on a parachute, grabbed a survival pack, and went after the Hulk.
And okay, she had already seen the tiny island less than half a mile from where everything went down, so it wasn’t a complete leap into shark infested open ocean, and she figured the Hulk’s survival instinct would get him there sooner or later. Sure enough, she had barely touched down in the centre of the island when the Hulk had dragged himself out of the water onto the beach, shook himself off like a giant green hairless labrador, and then proceeded to rip up three palm trees and hurl them at the ocean like it had done something to offend him. Natasha had let him get on with it until he finally calmed down a bit, and only then did she cautiously approach, talking him down until the Other Guy relinquished control, and then she was left with a soaking wet, exhausted, semi-conscious, and almost entirely naked Bruce on a tropical beach in the middle of nowhere.
Unresolved aerial dogfight aside, she could think of plenty of worse situations to be in.
“So,” Bruce said, interrupting her thoughts. “All of this is nice, but what I don’t know is why you’re here.”
Natasha glanced at him.
“I thought somebody ought to make sure you were okay.”
He gave a small, self-deprecating laugh.
“See, the thing about the Other Guy? He’s usually okay no matter where you drop him.”
Natasha paused a beat, and then nudged him with her shoulder.
“I’ll let you into a secret. It wasn’t the other guy I was worried about.”
His expression wavered somewhere between surprised and grateful and embarrassed until Natasha nudged him again with a smirk.
“Also, it’s your turn to buy the post-mission take-out. I was just making sure you didn’t think you could get out of it by getting yourself stranded on a desert island.”
He actually chuckled at that, and seemed to properly relax for the first time since he had woken up.
“Yeah, you got me. This was all part of my secret plan to avoid buying the pizza.”
She gave him a mock glare.
“You know how tetchy Cap gets if he can’t have post-mission carbohydrates.”
That just got the raised eyebrows again.
“Speaking of food...” she said, the conversation having reminded her how long it had been since breakfast.
Natasha rummaged in the pack and found a cereal bar, broke it in half and offered the rest to Bruce.
“How much food and water have you got in there? Shouldn’t we be conserving supplies?”
“We’re good for a while.”
“How long did you say the rescue party were going to take?” he pressed.
Sometimes... okay, maybe a lot of the time, Natasha just wanted to tell him to relax and stop worrying so much.
“Why? You got somewhere else you’d rather be right now?”
He paused, and then, unexpectedly, smiled.
“No, actually. I’m good here.” He took a bite of cereal bar and glanced at her. “You?”
“I’m good. It’s a pretty impressive view. The company isn’t so bad. And I like the quiet.”
“You like the quiet?” He didn’t sound convinced.
Natasha shrugged. “Well, I’m not saying I want to set up a holiday home here...”
Bruce chuckled. “I hear the Wi-Fi signal’s terrible.”
“Well that’s it. That’s the deal breaker.” She nudged him with her shoulder again, and smiled at him. “But it’s okay for a few hours.”
He returned her smile for a moment and then his gaze travelled to the far horizon. For the first time in a long time he looked... at peace.
“I can think of worse places to be,” he admitted. “And like you said; the company isn’t so bad.”
Oh yeah. Tropical beach, picture-postcard scenery, good company. Yeah, Natasha could think of a lot worse places to be right then.