A Successful Movie Night (Bruce Banner x Reader)
Marvel – Bruce Banner x Reader
Summary: Prompt: “I just need a hug”
Word Count: 1.5k
Warnings: mild swearing, some angst but fluffy ending
A/N: Part of @beefybuffybucky 2.4k Writing Challenge. 🙂 gif not mine, credit to creator(s)
Movie night at the Avengers tower was a regular and much loved occurrence. The lot of you would snuggle into your various favorite seats, snacks and drinks spread out among you, and allow your worries to be pushed aside for a double-feature.
And while you loved this tradition because you got to share a sofa with Wanda and collectively destroy a pint of ice cream, Bruce loved it because it was the one time when no one was paying any attention so he could stare at you without judgment. He watched how your mouth moved as you chewed, how your eyes lit up when you smiled, and how cozy you looked in your pajamas as you snuggled the pillow beside you. Everything you did was beautiful to him, even the snorts that occasionally escaped you as you laughed.
Over the past year, the other guy had taken a special liking to you, too. Bruce never remembered how he treated you as the Hulk but everyone else did. Hulk was damn near charming around you, never once hurting you and threatening anyone and anything that even considered harming you, allowing you to touch him and sing to him to bring him back, looking at you apologetically when he smashed things he shouldn’t, and expressing his feelings with his limited words. One time, he even brought you a daisy he’d pulled from a field, carefully cradled in his large muscular hands, saying, “Hulk bring gift. Flower pretty. You pretty,” before dropping it down along with the dirt he found it in at your feet. As a result, you’d become Hulk’s handler during your missions. Wanda and Nat often joked that Bruce was in competition with himself for your affection.
Tonight, like all movie days, you curled up on the couch with Wanda, the two of you choosing to cuddle together, sharing a blanket and throwing your legs over each other’s laps as you each sipped your hot chocolate.
Bruce sighed audibly at your cuteness, so desirous to be the one to whom you were clinging. He instead he took up his residence in a chair on the other side of the room near Thor, whose turn it was to pick a movie.
Thor selected the latest King Kong reboot, which left Bruce uncomfortable. Any movies about giant destructive monsters made him uneasy. Bruce still had a ton of guilt about the kinds of things he’d done as the other guy: the people he’d hurt, the property he’d destroyed, the lives he’d ruined. And now that you were beside him every mission, he had one more precious thing to wreck, to beat and break until you went running away for good or worse. Even though everyone said the other guy is a perfect gentleman to you, he knew how quickly that could change.
As the movie played on, so did his mind, the sights and sounds of you not enough to pull him from his dark place. He would hurt you someday, he was sure, just like he’d done with everything he loved in the world. That was the problem. He loved you. He loved you enough to keep himself away but he also loved you enough to respect your choices. And so if you told him you wanted him, yours he would become. You were a grown adult capable of assessing your own risks. He could deny you nothing, even himself, even if he knew that it would be for the best to do so.
The two hours dragged on and by the end his anxiety was reaching peak levels. He vaguely noticed the lights turn on and didn’t registry you asking if anyone needed anything as you went into the kitchen to make more popcorn for the crew.
“Are you okay, friend?” Thor leaned over and asked.
Bruce took a moment to come to, assessing the room around him.
“Yeah. Yeah. I’m okay,” Bruce reassured before taking another look around, “Where’s Y/N?”
“In the kitchen,” Thor confirmed.
Bruce immediately stood. His heart was pounding in his chest, his anxiety still unnecessarily high as he went to find you. If you were such an expert at calming the other guy, calming him shouldn’t be much different.
As he entered the kitchen, you turned to him with a smile, asking, “Forgot to speak up when I asked if anyone wanted anything?”
Bruce met your eyes, “I just need a hug, I think.”
Within a moment you were with him, pulling yourself tightly into his chest, inhaling his scent and taking in his warmth. You felt his erratic heart beat against your ear.
“Oh, Bruce,” you whispered against him as you felt his arms come around to settle lightly on your back, “Last film a little too on the nose?”
“Just a little,” he whispered down to you, running his hands gentle across your back and taking in your form as he encompassed you. He focused on his breathing and allowed your grip to help stabilize him. Within moments, he felt himself returning to normal. And with that he realized holding you felt normal, too. He squeezed a little tighter around your waist and rested his cheek against the top of your head.
“I’m glad I can help. I’m always here for you,” you said against his chest before nuzzling deeper into his embrace. Your kitten-like movements made him smile.
After a moment, he couldn’t resist asking, “The other guy. He’s never hurt you, right?”
You pulled back slightly to meet his eyes.
“He would never.” And as you settled back into his embrace, you added, “And neither would Banner.”
Bruce surprised himself with his laugh. He brought his hand up to stroke your hair, holding your head against his chest, against his heart.
“No, he wouldn’t.”
With the ding of the microwave, you pulled reluctantly from him.
“Help me carry?” you asked, handing Bruce the bowl into which you poured the popcorn as you carried the drinks.
Back in the living room, Bruce set the bowl on the coffee table and began moving towards his chair. Before he got too far, you caught him by the wrist.
“Sit with me?” you asked.
Bruce could only nod as you pushed him down onto the sofa. He expected you to sit beside him, but you didn’t. You grabbed the blanket, wrapped it around you, and planted yourself on Bruce’s lap. You wrapped your arms around his neck and you allowed your legs to splay down the length of the cushions. Once comfortable, you buried your face in Bruce’s neck.
Bruce blushed at the boldness of your actions. He looked around the room, expecting to see some raised eyebrows and some judgmental stares but no one was paying the two of you any mind. Eventually Thor did meet his gaze and smiled in a knowing way. Bruce was just now realizing he was the only one nervous about his relationship with you. That knowledge warmed him somehow.
“You won’t be able to see the television if you stay like that,” Bruce said as his hands came under the blankets to hold your hips, an action meant to decisively stop you from fleeing his grasp despite his words.
“Don’t care,” you whispered, your lips just gently brushing his neck, sending his pulse soaring once again for entirely different reasons.
Bruce closed his eyes as the lights dimmed once more, another movie with much happier music beginning. For the first time since the night started, he felt whole and peaceful once more. He could do this. He could have you and love you. The other guy be damned.
As Wanda reentered the room, she grabbed another blanket from the pile and took up residence in Bruce’s seat, which she rightly assumed would be her seat for these movie nights for now on.