She woke up with a quiet yelp, sweating profusely through her white t-shirt. She looked across the room warily, eyeing the dark corner as if something would pop out and attacked her. She sighed, calming her frayed nerves, then walked to the adjoining bathroom and washed her face.
She pondered on her bad dream for a minute, the bad memories of the Red Room were twisted into a much darker fantasy. She looked at her haggard expression on the mirror and then hardened her face to the natural, stoic countenance of Black Widow. She closed the door of the bathroom, staring at the bed for a second before she decided to go out and make something for herself, she won’t be able to sleep anyway.
“JARVIS, lights dimmed, please,” Natasha’s soft voice were clearly heard in the empty communal kitchen. JARVIS silently followed the order as the AI brought the light on, dimmed as the assassin’s instruction.
She put the kettle on, opting to relax with a warm tea before trying to go back to bed. As she waited, she leaned her back on the counter, focusing her eyes on the clock that said 2:24 a.m. on the wall. She watched as the clock’s dots blinking away, clearing her head from the murky thoughts.
The sharp whistle of the kettle brought her back to reality. She turned off the stove and carefully pouring the hot water to the mug,
“Hey,” the sudden voice in the room surprised her and she spilled the hot water on her hand. Muttering soft Russian curse under her breath, the kettle was taken away from her as another hand held her scalded hand. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to surprise you,” Natasha looked up to see the tousled gray hair and the apologetic face of one Dr. Banner.
“I didn’t notice you were there,” Natasha simply said, watching as her hand was stretched onto running cold water. Bruce’s grip on her hand was steady and firm, Natasha mused over how many times the good doctor had done this before.
“Yeah, sorry, I was sleeping on the couch when I heard the kettle,” Bruce shot her a small smile, “is it painful?” he asked, worry etched on his tired face.
“Not really,” Natasha replied, she noticed that the burn was small and the cold water really helped ease the pain. “It’s no big deal, Doctor,” she smirked.
Bruce hummed, ignoring her playful tone at the word ‘doctor’ and just breathed out “Good then.”
They spent another five minutes on the sink before Bruce turned the water off. He dried her hand gently, a touch she had expected from the doctor, yet she still smiled despite herself. “Hang on,” Bruce let her hand go and took the first aid kit from the cupboard, searching for the antibiotic cream and applied it on her hand as gently as a mother would handle her newborn. The sharp sting that she felt didn’t faze her and she opted to look at the serious face of the doctor.
“You sure you’re not an MD?” her tone was soft, underlying with a hint of mirth.
“Nah, it took far too long to be an MD, legally,” he returned with the same mirth, still focused on bandaging the small wound with tender care.
“You got skill in bandaging,” Natasha looked at her hand, “better than some of the SHIELD nurses, anyway,” she smiled, “thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Besides, it was my fault that you got scalded,” Bruce smiled. “Shall I make another tea for you?” he asked, even though he already turned on the stove as it heated the slightly lukewarm water.
“Thank you,” she replied, thanking for the comfort the doctor had subtly slipped in his action. He didn’t ask her wariness or her lack of focus that made the man able to slip in unnoticed. But judging from his face, she knew that he knew it was because of the same reason he slept in the sofa outside his own bed.“No problem,” Bruce gave her a sincere smile, and they spent the ungodly hour in comfortable silent.