1963-08-08 - Sunday in the City
Summary: Sunday dinner at the Walters household. The men in Jen's life meet.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
jennifer bruce peter 

Sunday evening means a standing reservations at Jen's apartment for anyone of the extended Banners-Walters circle. She doesn't make the big bucks that male lawyers in city firms do, given even the lowliest junior lawyer gets probably double what she does. Nonetheless her income affords her a nice place, some elegant stylings, and proof of someone aspiring to change the world. Jazz music plays in the background on a turntable. She's actually /read/ someone's scientific papers to have something to talk about.

The table has its own matching four chairs, and the dishes match too. Cutlery may not, but the art deco stylings of the blue frosted handles beg for enjoyment. Food enough to feed a small army — or half a Banner — lines the counter and a few choice pieces stand on trivets arranged around a centerpiece of the Statue of Liberty and a few white lilies. Caesar salad? Check. More buns than a bakery? Ding. A proper roast beef? Done.

Veggies and veggies and more veggies, carrots and potatoes au gratin and roasted potatoes. In the event roast beef isn't enough, she has a chicken pot pie stowed away in the oven. And a real pie, cooling on the windowsill, actually three of them.

Cookbooks and dishes may be buried somewhere in a closet. The washing up can be done latter. Right now, Jen's biting her cuticles and looking anxiously like she forgot something essential.


Having arrived perhaps thirty minutes ago to help set the table and put matters in order at the behest of Jen, the young man known as Peter Parker is fussing with the placement of the spoons, frowning to himself as he lightly pushes one to the side, then a little closer in, then rubs the back of his neck thoughtfully. "I can never remember the order the cutlery goes in, I thiiink I got it right."

He steps back to present what was done to her with the sweep of one hand. Such a tiny bit compared to the acres of food that's been prepared. But still. At least to his credit a bottle sits on the kitchen counter that he had brought over. So it's not really wine nor champagne or the like… it's sparkling cider, but well Peter has this no drinking thing going on.

Facing her, though, Peter grins a touch and walks over to Jen and rests a hand on her arm. "Hey, it'll be fine. Don't worry." He looks around the room, "Though wow, you can really bust it out in the kitchen when you want to."


There's a soft rap of knuckles on the door announcing Bruce Banner's presence. To his credit, Bruce has put some effort into his appearance. The collared blue shirt he's wearing, tucked beneath a brown sports coat (complete with brown elbow patches), and a pair of chinos — evidently he doesn't anticipate the green fellow making an appearance today; hopefully a choice he won't live to regret.

When the door is opened, he offers a vague three fingered wave. Tucked under his arm is a small container of chocolate chip cookies that he passes easily to the hostess. "I made those in the lab," he shoots Jen a sheepish grin. "It was basically chemistry." His eyes scan the room, "Thank you for the invite."


Jen isn't wearing an apron — anymore. Oven mitts, yes. Apron, no. She turns back to the counter, doing her mental count to assure all the entrees and side dishes are accounted for. That no intrepid ratly chef crawls off with a pie or squeaks into a soup pot. "Knife, dish, fork, spoon, isn't it?" Teeth worry her lower lip far too thoughtfully. "If all else fails, I have skewers. Can we use the buns?"

She nudges the drawer with her knee, giving it a good thump. Things jumble around within, tantalizing and mysterious. "Food was my province. Dad can't cook anything worth a bean. He might starve even now." Mouth crumpled to avoid a grin makes her look a bit sheepish in Peter's direction. The knock has her turning, and Mr. Banner's appearance sending her in a hitched bound to give a hug. "Bruce! Since when can you cook anything but yellow cake? Come sit, and meet Peter, or meet Peter, and come and sit."


Advancing to the door along with Jen, Peter hovers a little behind her and then once the door opens he steps back to grant some room. The man waves and the college student catches himself waving back and smiling. But then he furrows his brow and steps forwards once he's introduced by Jen after she releases him from her hopping hug.

"Dr. Banner? It's an honor to meet you, sir. I've studied some of your earlier work, what little is available. Very good to meet you." He extends a hand in greeting, and positively resonates earnestness and excitement. And should his hand be taken he'll just give a pretty straight forward hand shake without aggression but a decent shake all the same. He'll then step back to let Jen take the lead for the evening.


A good humoured chuckle draws Banner's chin towards his chest and his hand to his curly hair. A quick fluff of the overgrown curls wins an easier smile, "I have skills," his tone takes on an edge of mock insult. "They all happen to involve erlenmeyer flasks and bunsen burners, but I do have skills." The room and the pair earn an easy smile.

The phrase Doctor Banner earns Peter a nearly sheepish grin, it's only in recent memory that he really gets to exercise those credentials again, "Bruce, please." He accepts the hand and gives it a solid shake. "Nice to meet you Peter."

He returns his gaze to Jen and offers in a teasing tone, "Nice apartment." His eyes lift to really consider the space, flitting about with careful consideration. "I'd feel wrong not pointing it out because your father would want me to — the building doesn't have the best security." But even after the statement is given, humour reflects in Bruce's eyes. "Not that you can't handle yourself."


"Did you make your cookies with a bunsen burner instead of a plutonium oven?" Jen puts her hand on her hip, the other happy to take the offering. "But how else are we going to keep our food warm for ten thousand years?"

Seeing the two masculine polarities of her life outside work are meeting one another, she forfeits the field to the living room. Comfortable minimalist Scandinavian furniture abounds, the couch big enough to take her in the alter-ego without much squeaking. She hasn't bought into orange as the accent colour du jour, either. "I can't afford the Upper West Side. Dad would probably prefer I set up a tent atop the precinct in Midtown. All the riots are giving him hives," she admits, looking over her shoulder. "But he doesn't know I have some backup."

Her smile softens a fraction, and only that, because she might blush if someone stares her way too long. "Shall we sit down and eat, or talk before a bite?"


"I'm fine with either, Bruce?" He looks towards the man and lifts his eyebrows as he asks the question. But once they're decided he'll follow along after them, taking his seat once they both have decided on their own seating arrangements. As he steps near the table, however, he reclaims the glass of sparkling cider that had been poured before Jen's cousin arrived.

Taking a sip, Peter smiles to them both even as his inner monologue is screaming something along the lines of, 'Oh god, don't be a dork, Peter. Don't be a dork. Don't screw this up. Sure her cousin has to be brilliant and super strong and gigantic when he wants to be. If her cousin had to be another hero couldn't he have been that Daredevil guy? Though hm, he'd probably be really intense. Not much fun to have over for dinner… still. But then that would make her She-Devil, which would be all sorts of weird.'

But back to the land of the living he smiles, "If I may be terribly rude, Dr… Bruce. May I ask what you're working on now? If you can talk about it of course."


The comment about the plutonium oven prompts a single finger to lift and press to Banner's lips, "A chef never reveals his secrets." With a vague smirk he shrugs, "Beggars can't be choosers. The plutonium oven was busy." With a small wink, he glances between the sitting area and the table. "I'm not in a rush to eat — I'd be happy to chat first." He grants Jen an encouraging smile.

His shoulders actually ease at the mention of work, and he shifts into the living area slowly, but doesn't sit right away. "It's… " his head rocks to the side indecisively. "…fluid right now. Currently I'm working on a prototype for a device I call the Absorbatron. It's designed to absorb nuclear energy should it need to." He winces slightly, "It wasn't exactly successful in the first phase." He emits a mirthless chuckle, "In fact, it was a disaster. The calculations are on, but it's struggling to contain that sheer amount of energy without — " his cheeks flush pale pink as he glances up towards Jen, remembering that he's supposed to be nice. This might not count as nice. "Sorry. I have been obsessing over this all day."


The plutonium microwave, exactly what every mother wants for her daughter. The best wedding presents, the ideal birthday gift! The idea is now trademarked; she ought to know about it given Jen was stuck on IP law for a bit there. Yuck.

She settles in a chair beside Peter and probably adjacent to Bruce, leaving one spot open for whomever wants to blow through the window. Very exciting. Serving becomes easy: the roast beef is already on the table, wrapped still in foil, and she looks down at the carving knife, then the men, then the knife again. The calculation is there. Who among them is going to fight for that right? "Help yourselves." She waves at the various veggies, the potatoes, the buns, and everything else. "We have plenty, and one of those pies is for your Aunt May, Peter. I figure she has probably made a thousand in her time, we might as well send one back." Strategies on passing dishes and attacking the options on the counter are perfectly reasonable.

Catching Bruce's sheepish look, she rolls her eyes upwards to the ceiling for patience. "Because I never studied chemistry, physics, cosmology, astronomy, and half a dozen other scientific subjects while at UCLA. Me speak English. Oh, big words." The low, guttural attempts at a cavewoman voice totally fail. It might help if she were substantially taller and given to snarling like a fell beast of pre-glacial epochs. "Talk about your work. Peter can probably keep up with much of your work." A wink to yon Parker is playful enough. "And I'm happy when you are proud of what you do. It makes everything right. If you can't talk about it here, where can you? With the pigeons? They're bastards and can be lured away with crumbs."


"An Absorbatron, wow. That…" But he catches Jen's comment and smiles, shrugging a bit. He did promise not to talk too much shop, but he turns back to Bruce even as the two of them take their seats. "I'd love a chance to pick your brain. I'm still figuring out what I am wanting to aim my thesis at. Right now it's mimetic polymers, but I've hit a bit of a jam at the…" He blinks and then nods, "But yeah! Non-sciencey stuff."

Though as Jen says her piece he smiles, "Nah, we can talk about other stuff. Like… the Mets!" He smiles as he stands up and gestures towards the roast beef. "If I may?" He asks Bruce for the honor of taking the role of the meat cutter in the household for the moment at least. If he gets the ok then he'll go on and start carving.

"Thanks, Jen. She'll love it." He then looks between the two of them. "Oh, by the way. If you're still going to be in the area and available, Bruce… my aunt likes to make dinner every other Sunday and you'd be welcome to come along. Though she's in Queens, so it's a lil bit of a trip. Kinda."


With a lift of a hand and a shake of his head, Bruce objects teasingly towards Jen, "That isn't what I was implying! Of course you can keep up, it's not rocket science." Pause. "It's nuclear science." The barely there joke is punctuated by a twinkle in his eyes.

A glance is given towards Jen as he leans backwards. "All I was saying is I'm running into a hiccup. I need a stronger material that can handle that level of energy output." He shrugs. No big deal. See? Best behaviour.

A glance is given to the carving knife and then back to Peter. He lifts his hand, a silent invitation that Peter should go ahead and carve. "I'm not always — " another glance is given towards Jen and he changes tracks. "Thank you. I'll keep that in mind." Best behaviour.

The watch on Banner's wrist beeps ominously, but he manages a tight lipped smile.


"Wait until they build a nuclear engine to put the Soviets in their place, and then who will have the last laugh?" Jen already made a joke about yellow cake. This will expend her ability for puns and witty insights for the next week. Accept the reality.

She hasn't started talking about constitutional law in relationship to personal rights at the federal level or the obligations of the federal government to intercede where Jim Crow choices apply, so safely that is off the table. Unfortunately her languages tend to be much more politically charged. The attorney starts putting green beans on her plate, and every big spoon in the apartment is currently in use. "Go ahead and cut it. Bruce, I have a pot pie tucked away in the oven for you. I used Mom's recipe, which I /think/ is the one your mom gave her."

No telling why there are three burnt pies hidden in a trash bag down in the dumpster, either. Oof.

Her eyes are knowing, artificially wide and round. "I know how easy it is to get eaten up in work and then have a growling stomach. Scandalous."


Peter, for his part, cuts three servings of the roast beef in quick succession, though to the connoisseur of such delights his cuts are a touch thick, but then again he does have an appetite and he's perhaps presuming that they might as well. Once that's done he retakes his seat and sits in place as he looks between the two of them and the occasional verbal volleys offered back and forth. "I could talk about my work but it's usually not that exciting."

Peter looks towards Bruce and smiles lightly enough, "Right now I'm a photographer for the Bugle. But usually I'm on the sort of fun stories. Want a picture of the president or a landmark you call someone else. Need a shot of a water-skiing squirrel or a cat with a funny haircut, I'm your man." His lip quirks slightly as he offers a small shrug. So alright, his prospects aren't great. But at least he's still in school.


Gently Bruce's eyes lid and he takes a few long deep breaths before opening them again and managing a polite smile. The beeping ceases for the time being. A fond, reminiscent, almost sad smile draws Banner's features upwards. "Thank you, Jen. Mom's was always the best." His lips hitch up on one side, "I think, that's probably true of others too. That the one grown up with is always the best." He spoons some of the green beans, "Another problem for the social sciences. Chemistry can be the same but food is always better when someone else makes it."

The mention of the Bugle earns a nod of appreciation. "Grad school can be rough. I was lucky that the department of defence thought my programme of research was worth funding." Lucky might not be the phrase others would use considering the personal outcome. "And if it pays the bills — " his head cants to the side. "So what's your Aunt May like?"


Kindness is as kindness does. Jen pops up out of her seat to fetch the basket of buns. She lays these down on the table, and tears one in two, setting it aside on her plate. Meat will join the rest, potatoes in a small quantity. Vast amounts of nutrition feed her other side, but she does not make a point of showing that off all the time.

"You can count on someone making a proper meal on Sunday. And I can't wait to try those cookies of yours." A grin follows, and the attorney nudges Peter under the table with her foot. "Don't act like there isn't something important about a cat with a funny haircut. The cat could belong to a celebrity and then you hit the third or fourth page of the paper, right? That's how we move up in the world."

Her fingers tap the lovely fork, all cut glass. "We all make it somehow. At least you get hired places. All the more reason I have to start treading water and changing the world a bit faster."


Looking across the table towards Bruce, Peter smiles and then looks back towards Jen. "I think both of us are pretty sure you're going to make waves, Jen. Treading water isn't really your thing." But he does start to add some potatoes to his plate, and a piece of bread. He is probably pretty hungry, but he's only going to avail himself of a few things to start.

But then he answers Bruce's question after a moment of reflection. "She's pretty great." He gives a small nod as if considering on letting that serve. But then he looks up and tells the Hulk's alter-ego. "When I was very young, my parents passed. So my aunt and uncle ended up raising me for most of my life." His smile is gentle, rueful, but at ease with the grief as he adds, "Then my uncle passed, and so it's just me and her. So I try to get back home once a week, though really it's usually once every other week with how hectic things get."

There's a pause as he tears apart his roll, and then smiles across the table towards Jen, "She loves meeting new people, and I think she'll really enjoy hearing Jen's law stories. She worked for a legal firm a long time ago before she retired."


"I think you already have made waves," Bruce offers softly. "If anything, I think you're apt to quickly become a thorn in SHIELD's side. And believe me, any agency trying to do what they do needs that." Pause. "And things are changing. A lot of things are changing." He nabs one of the rolls and uses his butter knife to cut a nearly perfect line into it.

A small nod is offered towards Peter. "It's good that you visit a lot. I'm sure it means the world to her." His head cants to the side, "Jen's parents were there for me after my mom passed on. Family is really important." Ironically, even after considering that phrase, Brian Banner is given no mention. "Your aunt sounds like a pretty incredible woman, and a nurturer."


A forkful of beef soothes the inner monster, the one that put up with making everything and now wants its due. Jennifer thoughtfully chews, and has the one moment of communion over a really tender piece of meat. Nom, nom, nom. Did someone suggest she was supposed to speak? Mrm~?

"I expect them to lock me up or offer me a job to silence me, eventually. But with GLK&H behind me, maybe we can deflect some of that attention." She puts the fork down for a moment, and stares at her plate. Not a shy flower when it comes to that. "Things change, but as they change, we cannot afford to lose sight of what makes us a free and fair society. Change can come from many directions. What I don't want to see is the loss of our values in a rush to adjust. But that's conversation for after those potatoes."

A chuckle softly lands square into the conversation. "Here's to family then. Dad and I talk a lot on the phone, though holidays are tough what with the distance to California." Yep, California girl. Not all of us can be Don Draper, flying out on Pan-Am whenever. "I think your Aunt May sounds lovely and I look forward to meeting her. And not totally embarrassing myself."


"See, if I tried to say something like that, Jen…" Peter looks over towards her after she speaks of societal values, "It wouldn't come across half as good. You've got talent and it'll take you far." But then he gives a single precise nod as if that settled the whole thing before he turns his attention back upon the roast beef as he slices up a piece and chomps on it.

When attention turns back to him he answers them both with a small smile as he chews, then swallows and washes it down before answering. "She's done right by me. And, to be fair, things were kinda… difficult when I was in High School." He lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck as he recalls, particularly that time after the field trip to Oscorp. "But she's always stood by me."

He lifts his hands slightly, "And without my Aunt and Uncle in my life… I have no idea where I'd be right now. So… yeah. Anyways. I'm rambling a bit." His smile turns sheepish as he crinkles his nose a touch.


"I think high school can be rough for the lot of us," Banner suggests quietly. "Anyone willing to take on teenager ought to win a medal." His own pseudo-criminal high school activities merit a slight cringe. "But the support is important. Jen's parents were there for me when I needed it in ways I couldn't articulate. Even now — " he issues a one shouldered shrug. "I think there wasn't a scenario that could've made me easy."

"Anyways." He glances up towards Jen and issues her a nod, repeating her would-be toast, "To family. Not always biological, but always supportive."


"Find me a high schooler who enjoyed the experience and I will show you an amnesiac or a liar," murmurs the lawyer, who probably counts as a fairly good bender of the truth herself. Don't let that be clear. Bruce gets a knowing look from the brunette, and Jennifer raises her hands. "We are always here for you. That goes across the board. Anything happens, Peter, come here. My family may not be big but we stick together well, and you can always ask the resident cop — that's Dad — about what is probably legal and probably not. It never hurts to know when you need a headstart for that cabin in Maine."

Joking. Honestly joking. She elbows Peter gently, not doing much harm to anyone. "I like the rambling. Wait until I start waxing on about Broadway." Pause. "Not really."


"Your sentiment is very kind, guys. Thanks." And as he says that he lifts his glass and adds his own, "To family." And with that, *clink*.

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