Bruce had been quiet the entire car ride, looking out the window. He didn’t recognise anything…there were too many cars, too many tall buildings, he felt himself get more and more worried the longer they drove. This wasn’t home, this wasn’t anywhere close to it.
Where he lived, it was a quiet neighborhood, small one story houses and a few cars here and there. Here though? Everything was big and bright and shiny and strange. When the car finally stopped in front of an apartment building, he hadn’t gotten out immediately, waiting for Maya’s instructions because she had to know, right? When she asked him to get out, he shuffled out obediently and followed her inside towards an apartment. She knocked on the door, calling out for someone named Jess?
"What about Jen…?" he mumbled, mostly to himself as the door opened and another stranger stood in front of them. He looked up at her and took a few steps behind Maya. Why were there so many strangers today?
Bruce had been sitting in the hotel room, staring at the cover for what felt like hours.
His friend and colleague was… Hank…Hank was gone.
He did the same thing Bruce had tried himself time and time and time again, and he didn’t even see the signs. He didn’t see that the man was struggling, that he was breaking down. He didn’t help when he should have, he didn’t talk to him and offer him whatever comfort it was that the man needed. Granted, he didn’t know how to comfort others, but…shouldn’t he know what to do when someone else is suffering…was…suffering, like he did?
He understood the desire, the pain that leads to such a permanent (or in his case, not permanent) decision).
But why couldn’t he help his friend.
Why didn’t he see?
Why was he so blind?
And now Jess…Jess was suffering, but what could he do? He had..he had no idea, despite thinking over and over how she had helped him in the past, he couldn’t find what he could do without making it all feel meaningless and trite and making her feel worse.
Taking in a careful breath, Bruce folded over the newspaper carefully, tucking it beneath his notes at his makeshift workstation and stood up slowly, exhaling when his body was straightened out.
He made his way to the small closet, pulling out a light jacket and his messenger bag (teleporter and survival kit tucked inside).
At a loss for anything else to do, he left the hotel and started to walk.
[calls and gets no answer]
[calls and gets voicemail] Jess? Pick up and call me, ok? Please? I..I love you too. *voice breaks slightly*
I’m pregnant and getting married.
/poked her head in the kitchen
*waves with half-bandaged hand before putting it behind his back and waving with the other with a sheepish smile on his face* Uh..hi.
WHAT DID YOU DO
…Why do you assume I did something. I would ne— *stops and reconsiders…* I accidentally drank my tea too soon and uh, burned my tongue andmaybemythroatalittlebit, and then uh, I just..kind of..wanted a grilled cheese…and…somehow…burned my..hand…………….
Bruce had been walking around the city for several hours since he left the mansion, arms curled protectively around his body as he ducked beneath awnings when possible as the rain became too much. He would have found somewhere to stay, but the only thing he had on him was his pay-as-you-go phone. It was weird how beautiful it was when he started out and how horrible and cold it felt now.
121..2, hours without sleep, 110 without proper nutrition, still walking and still fine.
Due to the rain however, his shivering was more pronounced, despite being able to keep from getting completely soaked through, though it was a near thing. He sniffled to himself, feeling his nose rather stuffy as he walked and ignored the gentle jostling of being on the streets of New York when someone shouldered him particularly hard, causing an explosion of stars to explode in front of his eyes. Stumbling slightly, he blinked them away and continued walking before he realised that he felt…kind of cold. “Wh-wha..t…” He blinked owlishly as he felt his head swim and looked to the man selling hot dogs on the street and fumbled for his phone, “Call dZhess..pleash…” he managed to slur before passing out.
Jesus it’s mostly women in this guy’s phone, wonder if he’s playing them or somethin…great she’s not answering, well, time to leave a voicemail.
"Uh, yeah hi. No this isn’t Bruce, woah hey lady, calm down. Listen your uh, your buddy Bruce? He passed out in the middle of the stre— no, no not the actual street, the sidewalk. Yeah. We’re uh, on XX st and XX ave. Yeah. No, I got him propped up on a bench. No problem. Hey listen, shouldn’t I, you know, call a hospital?…he can’t go to hospitals…okaaay…? Well, just be sure to get here soon, he’s shaking up a storm right about now and it’s bad for business. Bye."
It wasn’t the best time for Bruce to be in the lab. The past few weeks had been him gradually drawing back into himself, his depression holding him under its waves longer and longer each day which he still did nothing about and then this happens.
Every time he felt he was just a step from finding a cure, he was pushed ten steps back. Having worked in the lab for three days straight with minimal breaks, Bruce had done everything, literally everything he could to figure something out. His math was being done over and over and over and over (you would think that after so long, he would remember to carry the two), small chemical burns covered his hands and bruises mottled the crook of his arms from accidents and taking blood samples. He just. He needed more time. He needed more resources. He had contacted all the best scientists he remembered out there and branched out from them to those that were getting acclaim just to get an idea on what he was doing wrong. On why he was failing.
Bruce rubbed at the bags under his eyes and beneath his glasses.
He did the math.
He created something that should work.
He did. He swore he did.
But her cells exploded.
Just like his have always done. A brief glimmer of hope until it just…burst.
“NO. No, no, no, NO.” He growled out in frustration, feeling his greener half lurking beneath the surface, causing a series of goosebumps to explode over the surface of his skin as he grabbed the microscope and threw it clear across the room.
He failed her.
(All my fault she’s like this, like me, a freak.)
Then the dams exploded and he was subsumed by guilt and pain and failure. Of how little he has done to help and how useless he was in this world, in this house of heroes and geniuses and literal gods.
He failed the people in the village in India.
(So many people were sick and hurt and I left them. I left them because I was selfish and wanted to try for something again. I left them to suffer.)
He failed everyone he ever met or loved or cared for.
(If I hadn’t gotten involved with Maya she would never have fallen for someone as useless as me, she never would have gotten kidnapped. If I never met Betty, if I never went with her that day, she wouldn’t have had t osuffer because of me either. Or Jess. Or my mom.)
In a final bid of desperation, Bruce swiped his arm over the work table, blood, chemicals and beakers falling and breaking and spilling everywhere as he continued to scream out his frustrations, drowned out by the music he had playing in an effort to ignore everyone. He tore his notes, destroyed the tablets he had used and stood there for a moment, breathing heavily and eyes tinted green before he slid down to the ground, head in his hands, the dull thud beginning in the back of his skull.
“Go away. Just…go away.” Voice weak and torn, he sat on the floor and closed himself off from the world.
*Snorts* I love the guy, but honestly, who would steal him? *Grins and tries not to laugh*
*snots* Oh my god that’s so mean. *laughs* But it’s so true!
Bruce ran a hand through his curly hair, “This is getting way too long…” and sighed when he realised there was nothing to be done about it after having changed into slacks and a simple dress shirt. He carefully slipped on the socks he got in Ohio and put on his shoes. It hurt less to walk nowadays, now that he didn’t have crutches. Grabbing his phone and wallet, he made his way to the living room to see Jess already there, “Ah, hey. Sorry about forgetting yesterday.” He apologised and rubbed th eback of his neck, flashing his friend an apologetic smile.