1963-07-05 - Cap versus the Hulk
Summary: Captain America vs. the Hulk! You always wanted to see it, but you never imagined it'd quite work out like this!
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
steve bruce 

Outside of Las Vegas, Nevada

The plane lands on a runway outside of town amidst tumbleweeds and a few stray roadrunners. Inwardly, Steve Rogers breathes a sigh of relief. The last time he flew a plane it crashed into an iceberg, and that was a long, long time ago.

He's met with by the authorities along the tarmac who appear shocked to see him. Captain America has not officially been brought back from the dead, yet, but there he stands and there their mouths drop. They give him the pertinent information, a map with a big red X, and a motorcycle with a full tank of gas.

It takes him an hour to get there.

11:43 PM

Captain America treads carefully. It'd sure be something to live through death once, only to die on your first time out. But, frankly, Steve needed this. News of Operation Paperclip had made him question a lot of what his nation had become, and he needed something to take his mind off things. Hunting something big; something big and green seemed like the best medicine despite the danger.

He comes upon room 7A and wraps lightly upon the door.

"Doctor Banner?"



Crickets and silence respond to the gentle wrap of knuckles on the door.

A very soft creak squeals on the other side of the building.

The wind picks up and a nearby sign squeals a quiet reply to Steve's greetings.


Immediately, Captain America is thinking he's got a runner. But he's careful not to burst in, for fear of bringing out the big bad guy. Better to do this calmly. A look over his shoulder and the entire congregation of the motel, including workers, is standing on the other side of the road. Always good to clear out the bystanders first.

Steve exhales, bracing his body with his shield, and slowly trying the door to see if it's locked.


The door squeaks with even a bit of pressure. The latch securing it clicks, slowly responding to even a little bit of motion as the door slowly slides open. A sliver of light from the now open door displays a long, dancing array of dust — shimmering in the luminescence.

Otherwise the room that Steve finds himself is dungy. Sun-faded (once-upon-a-time blue) wallpaper peels from the top of the roof revealing a layer of cracked paint beneath. The bed, tired (and made), has most definitely been slept in.

Along the rather worn desk rests a chemistry set complete with erlenmeyer flasks, and a hot plate.

On the opposite side of the room, a sheer white curtain flaps against the open window, making noise with the wind.

The fire escape just outside that window resounds with a single tinny crash — like the sound of glass meeting metal. With a angry CLINK glass shatters.

Equally angry clangs echo with feet traipsing down the escape — taking the stairs two at a time. Seven floors up means there's seven floors down.


Captain America breaks into a sprint across the room now that the evidence confirms his fears. Rather than slow down as he approaches the window, he dives through it out and into the night sky. He clears the balcony easily and begins to plummet to the ground!


If Steve was expecting a for boding monster, he would likely be disappointed. The man dropping down the steps is unimpressive. Dressed in a pair of faded blue jeans, a t-shirt, a red open long-sleeve button up shirt, and a black ball cap, little about Dr. Bruce Banner appears foreboding.

Fortunately for Bruce he had a leg up on Captain America, meaning he'd managed to reach ground level prior to the Cap's rather graceful leap, but the doctor's lead isn't particularly good. As he pumps his arms by his side, Steve may notice even more details, like the watch-like-device of Bruce's own making that beeps ominously, or the former vials of glass and red that now line the pavement where Bruce had lost his footing, or the way in which Banner assesses the situation, specifically his choice in route.

While the staff and occupants of the seedy motel may have been evacuated, Banner is heading towards the busy open market three blocks east. This is a man used to getting lost in a crowd.


Cap falls to the Earth and lands upon his shield, taking the momentum out of his fall. He is on his feet after a quick roll and heading towards the open market at high speeds. "Don't do this, Banner!" Cap yells. "The people! We can help you!"

As Steve carries on a couple of people watch him run by and say the same thing to each other: Is that Captain America?


There's no diverting Banner's movement, even with the words, Bruce has a sense of determination and purpose in his route. The frequency of the beeping on his wrist increases. Prompting Bruce to gently close his eyes and take a few deep breaths as he moves, causing the beeping to stave slightly. Just shy of the market, Banner's speed decreases, and he rather cleverly steps into the crowd.

Most ordinary people would struggle to keep track of anyone in the open air market, but thanks to enhancements, Steve may see Banner abandon the hat and red overshirt to a garbage at one booth.

He ducks under a particular table for but a moment, and tugs a shoulder bag over one of his shoulders before 'disappearing' in the crowd.


Captain America loses sight of Banner, and just like that, he's gone. Two turns, complete turns, and nothing. Worse, now Steve is in a crowd of people, who have no idea what kind of danger they are in. They are also beginning to take pictures.

If Captain America was supposed to stay a secret, that's pretty much gone at this point.


The crowd taking pictures and oogling at Captain America only seems to get thicker as people stare at the costumed hero with a shield, and, rather opportunistically, Banner feels a deep sense of relief as he strolls through the open air market.

Curiosity, however, gets the better of the scientist. Who was chasing him? And why did they stop? There's a moment where, in the pit of his stomach, Bruce can feel a sense of dread.

Anyone traipsing after him, if they had managed to gain so fast could have incurred serious injury. Near the end of the market, opposite where he'd entered, Banner pivots on a single foot. He peers about one of the many market tables and grasps a new (green) ballcap, and firmly places it on his head. He securely tugs the brim downwards and tucks his hands in his pockets.

He'll go back to check, make sure his pursuer is fine, and then will move on to the next stop. Wherever that will be.


As Banner arrives back at the scene, he'll notice Captain America looking as though he's talking into his wrist. In actuality it's a two-way radio. On his face, Captain America looks genuinely disappointed. At first, he ignores everyone, taking care of the mission.

"I've lost him. Circle around and keep the perimeter. He can't stay here forever."

"Are you Captain America?"

A little kid, maybe 6 years old stands in front of Steve and the latter can't help but smile. "I used to be."

"My dad has a poster of you in our basement by his weights."


Commence gawking.

Bruce lifts the brim of the hat to get a better look at the source of the words. Banner blinks several times hard, and begins to wonder exactly how much blood he'd taken before running out of the building. He begins to mentally count.

And in doing so, he also begins to feel very very dizzy.

His head feels fuzzy. His vision starts to blur. And Banner knows what's about to happen. Without adrenaline coursing through his veins, his skin has paled. The surge in combination with his recently drawn blood means he's not in a good way.

His wrist begins beeping again. He hadn't even noticed when it'd silenced in his walk. And then in happens. Knowing full-well what's going to happen if he lets himself hit the pavement, on the edge of the crowd, a dark-haired man slowly lowers himself to a kneel on the cement.

"Are you okay, kid?" an older gentleman asks Bruce.

The doctor doesn't respond.


"Hold," Captain America says into his wrist as he catches sight of Banner down on one knee. "Listen, kid, I need you to get everyone and clear out of here. Go, clear everyone out."

Captain America turns to the crowd. "Everyone, this is an emergency situation. I need everyone to calmly walk out of the market as I help this man!"

Cap takes a few steps towards Dr. Banner. "Doctor, my name is Steve Rogers. I understand you're probably very scared and under a lot of duress. I hope you can believe me when I say I understand on some levels."


Curled into a small ball in the fetal position on the floor, the watch beeps faster, the alarm a warning for others who may attempt to help the doctor. Deep breaths attempt to clear Bruce's thoughts, holding on to his sense of control and feelings that he buries deep within his psyche.

"Back up," it's not a threat, just a warning of sorts. The beeping only increases his agitation, but at least he knows. He pushes himself back to his knees at stares at Steve. "Back up," he repeats.


"Yeah, alright," Steve says as he backs up, holding his hands in the air. He backs up six more feet. "Look," he says, his voice more conversational. "Military, cops, those guys want you behind bars. The people I'm working for just want you to come so they can help. I think you don't want to hurt anyone else. I think you want to stop running."


Bruce can feel the edges of his lips twitch. They curve slightly only to fail and curve again. The curve rests somewhere between a smile and a grimace - the nature of the assertion is laughable for the scientist. He catches his breath and watches the man across from him. A few laboured moments of the same expression bring forth some genuine thought mired in blood loss and, presumed, oxygen deprivation. "Captain, he nearly chokes on the word. "No one can help me." Some people are beyond help. There's odd acceptance in his thought. But there's another thought that follows, "And they liked to you if they told you they wanted me behind bars."


Well, Banner makes a good point. These same people are going to bring in Nazis to work. Certainly it was more complicated than that, but Steve didn't see it that way. He didn't need to make it any more complicated.

"Well then tell me how. Tell me how to help, because even if you get out of this right here and right now, they're going to keep hunting you. Capture would be release. People would be safe. /You/ would be safe."


Banner pushes himself to a stand. He blinks hard at the Captain's urging. There's a small curl of Bruce's lips, forming a small self-deprecating smile. "Getting caught was never an option." His hands are tucked back into his pockets. Everything about Banner is unassuming. The way his shoulders slump. The way his head shifts forward. The positioning of his hands in his pockets.

His chin drops and his eyes focus on his feet. "It isn't even about being a human pin cushion." Which truly isn't fun. "People would be safer if everyone would just leave me alone."


"Do you honestly believe that will ever be the case? You know what I have come here to do. I have my orders, and I have to come through on them. But I won't do it with all of these people."

There are still people around, unfortunately, or Cap would make his move. He has no idea whether the reports in the file he read are accurate, or just the exaggerations of cowards and the overwhelmed.


Bruce's head cants to the side and his eyebrows lift upwards. There's a smoothness in the motion, an unassuming gentleness to his average-like demeanour. His lips press together thoughtfully. He's a poet, not a fighter. Slowly, his arms cross over his chest as he considers Steve a few beats. "You couldn't come through on them if I don't want you to."

There's a carefulness in Banner's weighted stare. "You're so worried about the people around. If I go with you do you know what they'll do?" His jaw tightens and a humourless smile tugs his lips upwards. "Do you know how many scientists have tried to replicate what makes you so spectacular?" His face tightens.


"I don't. I honestly have no clue." Now more alone, Steve just goes with honesty here. "I don't have any idea about anything really. Things I used to believe in don't seem to matter anymore. But here's what I know, Bruce. I know that they're not going to stop. And I know if you come willingly, that means the big green guy doesn't come out and no one gets hurt. That's what I'm going for here."


A mirthless chuckle emits from Bruce's lips as his hands trail to his hair, raking through the mess of dark curls. "Wow. Wooooow." He blinks hard again. "The whole Pollyanna routine seems so so genuine." But time and the chase have made Banner cynical. "STOP LYING TO ME," the tone thunders. If they told Steve not to make Bruce angry, this might be cause for concern.


"Pal, I've been stuck in an iceberg for almost 20 years. I have no idea who Pollyanna is. I can tell you're being sarcastic, though. And I can't tell you anything other than I'm being truthful. And that I honestly don't want anything bad to happen to you." Steve doesn't really know what the right words are, but he's not going to lie to someone. Hopefully enough time has past for more people to get free.


If anger was the point of concern, it doesn't seem to create a reaction. Not this time, any was. "Captain," he pauses to try to explain things more clearly, "I'm not worried for me. I'm worried for the human race. I'm worried of what the people you work for aim to do with what lives int he edges of my mind." Bruce emits a soft sigh. "I'm worried for the future." His arms drop to his sides and his hands tuck back into his pockets. "I'm worried what an army of the other guy could do if they could bottle it. I'm worried about someone else trying to control him."

He clears his throat and his gaze turns downwards again, "What did they tell you about him?" His chin lifts and he meets Steve's gaze, "What did they tell you about me?"


All of what has transpired in that little headquarters this week is running through Captain America's head as Banner speaks to his paranoia. "They told me you were a danger. They told me that we needed to bring you in to keep people safe."

The look on Captain's face has changed from resolute to one not completely sure of himself.


Bruce squints at Steve as his face takes on a nearly pinched quality. He watches the Captain for a few solid beats and allows his lips to purse lightly. He hmms quietly. "It's been six months without incident. The other guy hasn't made an appearance for six months." He blinks hard and begins pacing with his hands on his head, closing some of the distance. "Why is it so important the gave you this mission?" There's a long pause and his voice lowers, "Do I look dangerous? Do I seem dangerous?" His eyebrows draw together sharply, "If anything they put all these people in danger by sending you here. Their choice jeopardizes people."


"You feel like you could be. Like you could be dangerous. Here we are, in a place full of people," Steve says from a kneeling position. His blue eyes look around, "Did you know that Wyoming is the 9th largest state in the Union? Also has the lowest population." He tilts his head, considering, "That you aren't there or someplace like it tends to put some of what they say in the truth column from where I sit. You could argue your choices jeopardize people."


Bruce smirks at the point. His cheeks puff out with an emitted breath. Banner pinches the bridge of his nose and he continues to pace once more. "You're working on faulty assumptions." But whatever they are, they're left alone. "And where you sit, Captain, is twenty years in the ice." The doctor listens, it seems. "Twenty years of suspicion, weapons development, and global uncertainty. Twenty years of escalation and desperation to defeat an ideological enemy in a physical way." He blinks again. "They sent you in blind, Captain. You may have a shield, but you lack the armour you really need: perspective."


Captain America stands and clucks his tongue on the roof of his mouth as he tilts his head to the side. "Might be the case. Unfortunately, though, I'm a soldier. That's what I've been trained to be. So we might end up having to do this the hard way, but that's just how it's gonna be."

Apparently Captain America is satisfied that people are far enough away. So is the sharpshooter who takes a shot at Bruce Banner with his sniper rifle!


It's the shot that changes everything. The sound of gunfire causes pins to slide up Bruce's spine.

In an instant unassuming average-joe Bruce Banner transforms. Dark eyes turn green as he quadruples in size — growing from average height to someone different. Something different.

Green, impenetrable skin, covers his body and fabric rips exposing the bare green chest of the beast that is the Hulk. The bullet ricochets off the Hulk — pinging against a nearby building.

Hulk growls at the Captain, and in one incredible leap, turns and bounds after the sharpshooter. There is no easy escape from the Hulk.


Captain America reverse pivots and begins to chase after the Hulk and the over-excited sharpshooter. He curses to himself; well, okay, he says whatever words count as curses in his world. His large arms pump back and forth as he picks up speed and the rhythmic movement of his shield looks not dissimilar to a piston as he reaches his top gear. Still, as fast as he is, catching up to the Hulk and his leap is going to take a while.


The b-line Hulk makes for the shooter is uninterrupted. Any sense that Banner had spewed has become lost to the green 'other guy'. The Hulk stops just shy of the shooter, standing literally in front of the sharpshooter with the gun, running towards him full-tilt, only to open his mouth and bellow a loud reverberating growl — loud enough to be heard within a two mile radius.

One thing is certain: The Hulk is angry. How angry remains to be seen.

The shooter clutches the weapon tightly and fires time and time again only to have each of the bullets ricochet off the Hulk's green rhinoceros hide skin. As the Hulk closes the distance, the shots ping off his skin in a nearly tinny way.

And finally, with one ridiculously large leap, the Hulk is three feet from the shooter. Hulk snatches the weapon from the shooter and snaps it in two. He stands still for several moments before literally throwing the wagon back at the man and roaring loudly, much like a lion declaring its dominance on the Savanna.


Steve skids to a stop just behind the giant green monster as he begins to scream in the shooter's face. There's something in the Star Spangled Avenger's eyes, though. Distrust. Not of Banner, but of those who compiled the report. They were explicit in their details, this massive Hulk had no restraint.

But what he just saw seemed to fly in the face of that.

"Banner," Steve says, raising his hand. "That was an idiot move by a jumpy kid. He's just a kid."

Steve turns to the young sharpshooter, "Tell the rest of SWAT to get the heck out of here. And run. Don't stop running."


Before Steve speaks, the kid stares, mouth gaping at the Hulk, trembling slightly at the sheer sight of the large brutish being. But Steve's words reanimate him, causing him to turn on his heel and sprint away as fast as he can.

The retreating figure earns another massive roar along with a sharp bang on his fists into the top of the building, crushing the rooftop on which they find themselves.

Despite the fact Hulk didn't hurt the kid, he isn't one to be reasoned with. Not easily anyways. He roars again at the retreating figure, and then growls lowly at Steve.

His breathing is rapid from his run and he pants slightly. For a moment, he is almost still, studying Steve.

For a moment it almost seems like the beast can be reasoned with. He appears to be calming from the motion. His breathing seems to slow. The calm relaxed tone — with its command seems to have some effect.


"I'm not going to lie to you, this has sort of turned into a barnacle show," Steve says, tilting his head. "I have no chance of bringing you in, here. So you've got all the cards, Banner. But I'll tell you this, if you come with me I will make sure no one hurts you. If you wanna go on your own, then people will still chase." Steve isn't buying a lot of what the file is saying anymore. It's been a bad week for those who might want the Captain thinking in only black and white.


If the Hulk understands reason, it's unclear, but one thing is certain, he doesn't react poorly to the tone or the words. Instead, he blinks back at the Captain, almost like he's considering the words. Almost.

His head hangs, and he slides to the edge of the building to sit down. His head doesn't easily clear, and the thinker out of the two of them struggles to find some semblance of control over the green fellow.

Slowly, his size begins o decrease. He lets out a gruff sounding groan. "Hulk go?" the words are stated as a question. Probably.


"Maybe it's time you and I both started making decisions and thinking for ourselves, Hulk," Steve says, taking a seat upon the roof ledge and looking out over the night sky towards Las Vegas.

"You probably won't believe this," he says with a shake of his head and an exhale, before looking at the green monster. "And you probably won't remember it, if any of what is written in that dossier is true, but—" He shrugs his shoulders. "We're not all that different." His head lolls to the side a few times back and forth. "Well, in some ways."


Two green arms fold across the Hulk's chest, contemplating between two courses of action. The Hulk slowly shifts, morphing back into the non-threatening bookish Banner rather than the green science experiment gone wrong. As he does so, he lays down on the rooftop, curling into the fetal position, nearly protective as the Hulk relents to Banner's control. Purposeful or not, Hulk continues to shring in this position.

He clutches his arms to his chest tightly as Banner rather than Hulk now lays on his side on the rooftop. The cold from the open air on his now-bare chest and nearly shredded pants merit a frown while Banner's dark eyes open slowly. He blinks hard to adjust to the light, and the palm of his hand is pressed tightly to his forehead.

He groans quietly.


"There's a lot about you," Steve pauses and then nods towards a space in the area next to Bruce, "And the other you, that hasn't been relayed properly. First, I can't stop you even if I wanted to. There's really no use. Second, a lot of what I read in your file is just not true. I don't know if it's just wrong, or if it's a lie." Third? Well, he won't mention the third. That catharsis was more for him than for Banner, he suspects.


Bruce turns onto his back, allows his legs to spread out in front of him so he's basically a starfish on the rooftop. He emits a long laboured sigh. The fog hasn't exactly cleared. He can feel the Hulk clawing the edge of his mind, retreating slowly.

Banner groans again; belaboured and low. With his palms, he presses down on the damaged roof to help him sit. "I," he starts before pinching the bridge of his nose. The headache that Hulk brings extends so far beyond basic property damage. "Tried to tell you," he virtually groans. "The other guy won't — " he winces as his body curls into itself. The transformation always takes its toll. " — he can't be forced to do anything." Not even by Bruce. Unless Banner can keep him bottled up.


"Yeah, well, some things have to be learned the hard way, I guess. Thanks for not eating that guy, by the way." Steve gives Banner a look out of the corner of his eye. "So what do you want to do? I urged SWAT to get out of here, so you've got some time. They don't know what they're dealing with."


Bruce stares at the sky as he sits cross-legged like a child rather. He picks at one of the gravelly stones at the rooftop and gives it a quick toss off the building. No one is around; Bruce has no concerns about it hitting anyone.

There's a small twitch of lips as Banner considers, "I worked for the military once." He sucks on the inside of his cheek and curls even more into himself. Where Hulk had been big and foreboding, Bruce Banner almost shrinks in his alter egos' shadow. "The tried to channel that. To use him for — " it's not worth finishing the thought. "I tried to fix it. I thought — " his eyebrows draw together. His head shakes, "I was wrong." Plain and simple. Wrong.

"What do they want?" He tosses another rock off the rooftop. "The people you work for — what do they want?"


"Safety? Power." Steve shrugs his shoulders. "I don't understand this thing with the Soviets. I mean, we'd had Red Scares and stuff in my day, but this race to get the bigger and better weaponry. I bet they want an army of Hulks, but Hulks they can control, Hulks that can control themselves. One for every missile silo in the ground, I bet. They did the same on me. Trying like all get out to make more."


Bruce lifts his chin. "I can't let that happen," plain and simple. He emits a soft sigh and shakes his head. His chin lifts and he attempts to meet the Cap's gaze, "I can't control him. Not really." His cheeks puff out and his head shakes. Bottled up doesn't exactly warrant control, and even then, it's not always his decision to let the beast out.

He strokes his chin. "So, you've been ordered to bring me in, but I can't go in. Not when they're after him."


"I…I know," Cap says taking a pebble and tossing it off the roof. "I'll tell them the truth. That I couldn't take you in if I wanted to. That you could squish me like an ant. And so they will bring more. Heavier firepower. I can try and pull what weight I have to get them to listen to reason, but I have some of my own battles I'm losing with this new team of mine. I'm not sure it'd do much good."


"The firepower won't matter," Banner offers lowly. "I've tried to be rid of him for quite some time." His eyes close and he rubs his temples. There's a flicker of a smile, a grimace more than an expression of good humour, that settles over Bruce's lips, "I tried to drown once." His head shakes. "Woke up on a beach in Bermuda." He hmms again. "Another time, decided it was time to say goodbye to this world, and ate a bullet." His head shakes again. "Woke up with a bullet in my mouth."

But ultimately, what Bruce wants is altogether different than what running will offer. "There will be no peace."


Steve is horrified at the tales of suicide. He keeps it strong, however, because pitying him is probably not what Banner needs. "You're right. There won't be. But you know that won't stop whoever it is that wants you in or dead." He shrugs his shoulders. "Maybe there's another way. A way no one has thought of yet."


Banner's eyes lid. His lips purse and he hmms quietly. His head cants to the side, "They can't be trusted." His eyebrows lift, "What you assumed was wrong. To what end did they lie? To what end did they offer half-truths?" Of course, Bruce could be persuaded that General Ross really did believe whatever he wrote.

He hmmms quietly. "What else do they consider an important pet project?" He swallows hard. "Have you stopped to wonder… what else lays in their vaults?" He lifts a hand in apology; time without discussing such things with anyone has made them too easy to speak. "And more than that, who else has been deemed a threat and locked up without trial?" His jaw tightens.

He cants his head to the side.


"I don't know, Banner. I don't know the answer to any of that. But here's what I do know. I know that I was supposed to be dead, and now I'm not. I know the government is holding back so they can do a real big announcement and a press conference. And I know that maybe if I came out in your corner, maybe that'd buy you some shielding." Steve shrugs, "I haven't met Kennedy, but he seems like a pretty open minded guy. Truman was. Even more than FDR."


Paranoia has kept Banner three steps ahead of the people that chase him, and skepticism colours Bruce's expression as he watches Steve a few more beats. "You can tell them then." He plays with one of the tassels of the remnants of his pants. "They can't have the Hulk. They don't get to muck around with my blood or treat me as a pincushion." Only Bruce can do that. "But," he winces, already regretting this thought, "they can keep tabs on me. I'll work in their lab, and will continue my gamma radiation research. They will see me once a day."

His arms cross tightly over his chest. "If," and only if, "this is acceptable to them, you can meet me in DC in three days time. Corner of Trent and Apple. I'll go in."

"If, however, they see fit to meet me with firepower, and quadruple their efforts?" His grimaces. "You've seen the Hulk come out once. He wasn't that mad, but he won't let either of us get hurt." His eyebrows arch, "You don't want to see me angry."

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