1964-08-24 - Lost and Found
Summary: Hope meets Bruce while searching for leftover future tech.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
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hope bruce 

It is early in the evening of what has been a very hot day in New York. Even the ground seems hot as Bruce Banner sits in the grass in Central Park. He has to rest. He closes his eyes for a moment, breathing deeply and evenly, feeling his pulse come down. The cabby who almost hit him crossing the street, the water that a window washer spilled on him, all the constant noise, they all tap tap on Bruce's nerves, making his pulse and blood pressure rise.

New York is not a place for anyone with a condition like him, but he has a purpose. He's even pretty satisfied with his progress. So, New York is where he is, and he has to make sure he doesn't break it. He takes in a breath of the hot city air. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Not everyone is thrilled with Bruce's plans. Deep inside, Hulk is brooding. He feels an unnameable threat from this puny Banner person who keeps him trapped away. He is waiting for his chance in this prison of a place. He wants out, and he doesn't want to be in this city. Bruce has his work cut out for him.

The last time Hope was in Central Park, it was definitely more the Hulk's speed than Banner's, with half a dozen armed men following her through an unexpected portal from the future. That's what's brought her back, as a matter of fact. There was a fight last time, which meant she left in a hurry. And while she tried to make sure that anything that could damage the past had been collected, she still has a nervous thought that she could have missed something. And so she's back, checking around the trees and under bushes like someone who is very much looking for…Well, something.

She might not find what she is looking for, but she will find a Bruce. He is sitting in a remote area near to where Hope had come before. He might even qualify as something that could damage the past. Bruce hears her when she gets close, and he pops open his eyes to see who is there. He watches her for a moment before asking. "Did you lose something, miss?" His voice is soft and friendly enough, trying not to change his mellow mood.

Bruce may be calm, but Hope starts when he talks to her, blinking once before she clears her throat. "I, uh." Pause. Think. "Not…really?" A crooked smile flickers across her features as she rubs a hand at the back of her neck. "I was here about a week ago, and I'm not sure if I lost something, but I've just sort of got that feeling, you know?" she clarifies. "So, I thought I'd double-check. Just in case."

Bruce's smile grows, "Sorry. I didn't mean to surprise you. I was just here…meditating. And…" He unfolds his legs from their cross-legged position. "I guess I know what you mean. A niggling feeling like you might have forgotten to turn off you iron?" He looks around as she does. "A week ago…huh. What sort of things do you think you might have left? Picnic things? If it was valuable, it might be gone. I'll help if you like."

"No, not picnic things. And you're probably right," Hope adds, leaning over to look under a bush. "If it was important, someone probably got to it by now. But I'll feel better after I look." Of course, there's only so much looking to do in a park. In short order, she's reduced to kicking idly through the grass. "Maybe I'll feel better after I look," she muses. "I mean. Nothing's going to stop me wondering if someone already got it, though."

Bruce laughs and stands, brushing himself off. He starts peeking around trees and under bushes. "You know it would really help if I had an idea of what you were looking for." He disappears behind a tree. "Ah ha! Is this it?" He emerges with a blue hair ribbon he found stuck in a bush.

Hope pauses when he calls out, though her sudden look of concern turns to amusement instead when she sees what's in his hand. "Yeeeaaah, no," she laughs, shaking her head. "I'm not really a ribbon kind of girl. But thanks." She kicks at the grass awkwardly for another moment before she explains further. "I'm mostly worried about things that look, uh…technological. Shiny. Sharp. Out of place." Come up with a better lie, Hope. "Some friends of mine were trying to come up with some science fiction story and I feel like they could've forgotten some props."

Did someone say 'SCIENCE'? Bruce puts the dirty ribbon aside as her description gets his attention. "Oh? That's a bit more specific." He starts looking again, running a hand through his hair. He's had the same feeling before, but this girl seems quite hung up on this. Perhaps an obsessive disorder, he muses to himself. "If you are not even sure that you and your friends left anything, how long will you want to look? What was the science fiction story like? I enjoy a good story. Some of the authors are quite clever. They predict what future science looks like." He spies a shiny thing, but it's only a pull tab.

"Oh, I don't know what the story was," Hope shakes her head with a wave of her hand. "I mean, I wasn't really paying attention. Not my thing, really." Just what she means by that is less than clear. "I'm Hope, by the way," she introduces herself, stepping forward to offer a hand. "Sorry. I know I'm not super helpful, but thanks for offering to help me look," she smiles crookedly.

Bruce offers his own hand. "Bruce. Nice to meet you. I wasn't really doing anything. You shouldn't be out here looking too long, though. I'm sure they haven't left anything. I don't see anything, and I have an eye for technical things. Plus, it's starting to get dark. This place isn't very safe in the dark. Muggers. Strange men and all…" He's about as strange as can be, but from the looks of him, she could probably take him. "Do you live close?"

"Oh, I'm not too worried about muggers." Hope wrinkles her nose briefly, though she doesn't elaborate. Oddly enough, the question of where she lives seems to throw her. "I, uh. Sort of?" she answers after a moment. "I'm staying with some…friends. Other friends than the science fiction friends. Although I guess it wouldn't be entirely wrong to call them kind of science fiction. Is it really that bad after dark?"

Bruce is enjoying the company of the young woman. Something in his basic core personality is always calmed by the presense of a woman. "Well, yes. It is pretty dangerous after dark. It's a big dark place, and a lot of bad people can hide here and prey on the weak. You're safe with me, though."

Something about Bruce's promise seems to amuse Hope, to judge by the glimmer of a smile that she tries to hide by tucking her chin. Then again, there's something reassuring about an offer of protection, even if she doesn't believe it or think she needs it. "Thanks," she says after a moment, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. "What were you doing earlier?" she asks, pointing a thumb toward the grass. "If you don't mind me asking."

Bruce looks back at the spot of grass where he was sitting. He adjusts his glasses. "I was meditating," he admits. "I know it sounds a little hippy-ish, but it's a very good way to relax and get rid of stress. " He looks around. It IS starting to get dark, especially in the wooded area of the park. "Why don't you let me walk you out to your home?"

"Um." Hope hesitates for a moment, thinking it through. This guy seems safe enough. And if anyone can handle him if he is weird, it would be the Avengers. Who are public, so it's not like no one should know where they live. "Are you sure?" she finally asks, peering back at him just a bit. "I can make it. I mean, if you were busy. Or wanted to meditate some more."

Bruce shakes his head, "No. I should probably get home too. It's too dark, and I don't want to get lost out here in Central Park."

Bruce is just about to be a gentleman and lead her out when there is some rustling in the bushes behind them. Bruce stiffens. He turns around in the direction of the noise, and a figure is standing there in the dim light.

"I think you can make it," Hope laughs, looking up toward the skyline. "If you get lost, follow the lights. Or, you know, just go in one direction and you'll hit city eventually. Then it's just follow the numbers on the streets and you'll know which way you're going." Her head jerks up at the sound from the bushes, a quick shift in her posture moving toward readiness. In fact, half a step starts to put her between Bruce and the figure.

In that case, the two likely bump shoulders as they both try to manuevre to a protective posture. Something is different about Bruce, though. His voice has a subtle edge of panic to it. Panic, not fear. "Get out of here, whoever you are!" He barks at the figure. "You don't know how dangerous what you're doing is!" He glances to Hope and wets his lips.

The figure staggers forward a little more. It's an old man in a shabby coat and holes in his shoes. He has a nasty beard and is in great need of a dentist. "Sure mister, you got a dollar? I just need a dollar to get something for this thirst."

"I'm sorry, I don't have any money," Hope shakes her head to the man, reaching for Bruce's sleeve to pull him away half a step. "But if you're thirsty, there's a water fountain by the bathrooms. You just go down the path that way, about a quarter mile, then it's on the right just before you hit the big path."

Bruce's relief is almost palpable, and he allows himself to be pulled that half step away before he reaches into his pocket. He smiles to Hope and says quietly, "He's not that kind of thirsty." He takes out two quarters and reaches to give them to the old man. "Here. I don't have a dollar. Go get a cup of coffee and dry out. Stop scaring peple in the park." The old man stumbles off after a nod of thanks to Bruce. The rush of adrenaline comes down, and Bruce takes a really deep breath. He glances back to Hope. "You're a pretty gutsy woman. I guess we were lucky it wasn't a mugger."

"I just don't like bullies," Hope smiles crookedly back at Bruce, shrugging. "I mean. I feel like you have to step up for yourself and for other people. And I probably would've been okay if he'd been looking for a fight," she adds, turning to start back down the path toward home. "I can handle myself pretty well."

Bruce nods, walking along beside her. "I feel the same way. I can't stand bullies. I've known too many. " He smiles, happy that his secret didn't slip out because of a wino. He will continue walking with her to her block before peeling off any heading back to thr room he's renting. "Good night, Hope. Nice meeting you."

"Nice to meet you too," Hope waves from the corner of the block where the Avengers mansion sits. "Take care, Bruce. And thanks for helping."

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