Facing Your Own Demons

You Could Hide

That afternoon Natasha wasted no time getting going. She hadn't even started yet and all she could think about was getting done with this damned trip. She seemed already fed up with Banner's slower pace. Although to anyone else it might seem normal, but Natasha was on a mission and if they were ever going to start said mission, Banner had better get his green butt in gear.

After what seemed like forever to Natasha, they were finally able to board the S.H.I.E.L.D operated jet to their mission site. A small, discreet, hideout that Fury had set up for them. Yes, S.H.I.E.L.D was supposedly done for, but Fury...damn did that man have connections and besides that not everyone was H.Y.D.R.A, a majority was not, H.Y.D.R.A just caught them by surprise.

Upon boarding the plane, Natasha threw her duffle bag into the over-head compartment and sat down without a word. Banner on the other hand, was a bit more tentative. Granted Natasha was in her element, Banner was a fish out of water. He placed his bag a top the shelf as directed, and sat down in a seat across from Natasha.

Natasha noted how he nervously and rapidly tapped his thin wire glasses against his palm. She also noted that he probably was nervous about flying again. God knows it didn't go so well last time. Granted that little trip didn't exactly turn in Natasha favor either. She did not like the idea of being stuck in a small, metal, airborne plane, thousands of feet above the ground with him.

Natasha glanced his way again. He was being harassed by one of the engineer's. The man was ranting about how if Banner hulked-out or even looked like he might, that they were going to put him out. No questions asked, with any means necessary. Natasha was surprised to find herself frowning at this.

She got up and briskly walked over to the engineer. "Hey," she said, unaggressively "I've got this, why don't you see what's delaying the take-off. I'd personally like to be out of the states by sundown."

"Of course, Agent Romanoff," he stammered, quickly nodding and making his way out within the second. It was no secret that people here knew that getting on the spy's bad side would be very dangerous. What she'd done to take down H.Y.D.R.A Director Pierce had not gone unnoticed. People also knew she tended to come down harder on men, though few actually knew why.

Natasha watched the engineer walk out of sight. "Thanks," said Banner almost immediately after the man had gone.

"Don't mention it," answered the spy. She then walked back over and re-assumed her seat. A lengthy silence ensued. The sound of the engines and rotor's starting up filled the space, making Banner suddenly very anxious.

"Don't like flying?" Natasha inquired, though she knew the answer.

"Don't like height's," he answered with a slight, crooked grin. For some reason Natasha found that odd. As Hulk he leaped and bounded, practically soared through the air. Jumping from skyscraper to skyscraper without a hitch. There was much she didn't understand about the science of the Hulk. Nor did she ever think she would find out.

When Banner saw that Natasha had trailed off, or negated to respond, he figured he should re-assure her that he wouldn't be hulking-out at all. In the end he figured it wouldn't do any good. Bringing up that subject might only serve to makes things worse. And that was what he wanted to avoid most.


They had been in the air for the better half of nine hours. It wouldn't be much longer until they arrived at their designated destination. Natasha kept herself busy with menial thing's a majority of the time. Toying with apps on her phone for a while, going over the mission data. Again. But otherwise staying silent.

Banner spent a majority of his time reading or texting Tony. After a while he lost connection to New York. That was okay. He didn't figure Natasha would like it if he was IMing to much and being unprofessional. Banner mostly just kept his head down and stayed completely and utterly silent. He did, however, find it strange that they had not reached their destination yet. Given the route that they were supposedly taking, they should have reached Abaza by now. It was something suspicious. Something he decided to share with Natasha.

"Miss Romanoff," called Banner, quietly. She glanced up at him. "Do you know how long we've been flying for?" Natasha hmed' for a brief moment as a sort of response.

"A little over nine and a half hours. Why? Are you feeling uncomfortable?" Banner knew she really was worried about him starting to panic and hulk-out. He really did hate heights, but he could manage.

"No. It's just.." he momentarily fumbled over the words that were trying to form. "Based on the flight map I was shown and the speed we're traveling at, there's no way that we should still not be there yet. I also know that jet's with the S.H.I.E.L.D insignia on it don't need to wait for landing clearance at certain bases still. Something doesn't add up," Banner decided. Natasha had to agree it did sound fishy. She called for one of the pilot's to come back from the cockpit for a moment. One did. Natasha couldn't help but grin a little.

"Agent Pyke," she greeted. Pyke gave a warming side smile.

"Agent Romanoff, nice to see you again." Pyke had brown-blonde slicked back hair and hazel eyes. He was dressed in the usual uniform for S.H.I.E.L.D pilot's. His smile was charming along with most of his regal features. He really did look like he jumped out of a stereotypical spy movie from the 90's.

"So you're a pilot now?" Asked Natasha casually. Pyke nodded happily. "Sure am. Got my licence a few months back, I'm surprised that it actually went through what with all the chaos going on." Natasha nodded. She then gestured to Bruce.

"This is my colleague, Dr. Bruce Banner. Banner, this is Agent Simon W. Pyke." Pyke held out his hand. Bruce accepted it curtly before, seemingly, trying to resume becoming invisible.

"So Simon, I have to admit that I didn't ask you out here just for small talk."

"I figured as much," he said in a friendly tone while crossing his arms. The corners of Natasha lips quirked upwards marginally.

"I was wondering what exactly was the hold up. You see this particular mission is very sensitive and I can't afford any set-backs." Pyke nodded.

"Don't worry, we'll get you where you need to go. We'd be dead if we made you late. There's been some technical difficulty's. Nothing major, but time consuming," he answered wryly.

"Shouldn't you have check everything before you took off?" Teased Natasha. Pyke laughed once.

"Maybe. You can rant to me about it over a drink sometime." Natasha expression tensed a little.

"Simon-"

"I'll go see what the hold up is. Be back in a second." Banner usually didn't involve himself in these types of things, but he couldn't help but wonder what was between those two. They seemed to have a history. Not like hers and Clint's, but there definitely something there.

Banner was shaken from his contemplation when he heard metal creaking. Then, all of the sudden, the shuttle hatch flew wide open. Banner heard Natasha shout loudly to the front before they were both sucked out.

Banner heard Natasha shriek in absolute horror. A sound so terrified and panicked. She knew that death was calling her name. That was the last thing Bruce remembered before his whole world was blurred in a bright green haze.


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