1964-10-11 - Experimentation
Summary: Bruce and Tony talk shop over scotch.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bruce tony 

It's been a long day of working in the lab, and Bruce decides to go give Tony a visit after he has been working in the lab. He comes up to Tony's swanky office, curiously looking around. To the receptionist, who looks like she's almost ready to leave for the night, he asks," Is Mr. Stark available? I mean, can I see him? It's Bruce Ban…Baker."

The receptionist checks with Mr. Stark, then says, "Go on in." She has a weary look about her. Mr. Stark gets bored sometimes, and when he gets bored, he thinks of fun things to say and do. Not always a boon when one is his employee and stuck at a desk not twenty feet away. Thank goodness there's a wall between them. Tony is, when Bruce arrives, standing by the long bank of windows that look out over the city. He's got a drink in his hand and an open scotch bottle on his massive desk. Somehow, the size and lavishness of the office doesn't dwarf him. He stands tall, shoulders squared as he watches the skyline.

It dwarfs Bruce, however. Bruce steps in and cautiously asks, "I hope I didn't interrupt anything. How are you this evening?" His eyes slip to the bottle and then back to the shoulders of philanthropist playboy. He knows about Tony's drinking. Everyone knows about Tony's lifestyle. Bruce at least assumes that he is the one in the room with the biggest secret. There is a glimpse of hope, though. He grips the pad of paper tightly in his hand. "Do you have time to talk?"

Tony glances over, and he says, "Sure, Bruce. How's it going? You look tired." He nods to the bottle. "You want a drink?" Still thinking scotch fixes everything. Definitely an open secret. He nods for Bruce to come over. It's a nice view, showing New York off to a great advantage. This late in the afternoon, the sun is close to setting and lights are beginning to come on everywhere. "What's on your mind?"

Bruce moves over to the window, pushes up the glasses on his nose and peers out into New York."This is a fantastic view…and a little tired, but making good progress. I want to show you what I have." Tony offers him a drink, and Bruce looks again at the bottle. He doesn't really want any, but rapport building is important. Shared experiences are important. Especially if he needs Tony later. "Sure. Just a little, though. Thanks." He won't get drunk. Hulk will burn it off. "Oh, and I met someone who said she knows you."

Tony goes over to the desk to pour just a splash of scotch, maybe a little more than 'a little,' and he comes back to press the glass to Bruce's hand. "That could describe a lot of women in this town," he says. "Should I be worried? Tell me she didn't have a kid with her." He has the rep, why not laugh it off?

Bruce laughs, "No. No kid. She was very pretty." He takes the glass and holds it. Yeah, that's a little more than a little. "But I guess that doesn't narrow it down much. I didn't get her name, but she said that she works for Wayne Enterprises now and that she knew you very well." He lifts the amber liquid to his lips and takes a careful sip. Good scotch.

Tony grins, broadly despite himself. "Pepper," he says. "Yeah, we know each other." There's a rare warmth in Tony's features, dark eyes alight with a rare glint of actual happiness. "I bet she had a lot to say about what a bastard I am." Even that is said with fondness. "Yeah, she works for my competitor. That's not awkward."

His lips leave the glass and spread into a warm grin. "Well, no. She only had good things to say about you. Pepper, huh? She was very nice, I don't know what happened, but I think you should try to get her back." He takes another drink and turns his eyes to the window again, remembering why he came up. His fingers nervously press against the pad.

Tony's brows lift. "Good things? That must have been a short conversation." He takes a small sip of his scotch. This isn't guzzling scotch. This is the good stuff. "Yeah, she's a nice girl." He gazes out over New York. He'd give it all to her on a platter. In a heartbeat. He glances at the pad. "So what have you got for me?"

Bruce places his glass carefully on the nice desk, making sure it's not resting directly on the wood. "I had a breakthrough on the radiation experiments. There are two different approaches, like we spoke before. The search for an effective cure for exposure, which is important, but there is also an idea for a treatment for soldiers to take before heading into radiation. It would be an emergency precaution. So, I made some progress on the latter." He holds up the pad to Tony. "Take a look at this. We have been testing it on rats."

Tony takes the pad, and quick eyes taken in the information on it. Now this! This is what he's needed today. Something to challenge him and capture his attention. "Interesting," he murmurs as he goes through the pages. "I don't suppose any of the rats have turned into baby-sized rage monsters?" Hey, a man can hope. "Seriously, though, this is good work. You might just have something here."

Bruce winces. He forgets that Tony knows his secret. "No…they seemed fine. I think this will work, but we need to do trials on other animals and get ready for human trials." He tries to catch Tony's eye. "I want to try it on me. Tony, I think some of the qualities of the formula could help dampen the radiation in my body."

"We have no way of knowing what it will do," Tony points out. "That isn't a no. Just saying we should clear a space in case something goes wrong." He finishes skimming the pad, and he offers it back. "To cut down on collateral damage." He's not entirely wreckless. Just mostly. "Get whatever animals you need. Do you need monkeys? I can get you monkeys."

Bruce says, "Yes, we need monkeys. But I'm talking about two different things, Tony. One is the responsible reseach to come up with a workable product. The other is not so responsible. " He finishes the scotch a little too quickly and gives a cough. "But I have to try it." He takes the pad back. "I want your help for me to figure out where to do it so I don't attact attention or hurt somebody."

Tony politely doesn't draw attention to the cough, though it is noted. "I have an underground ballistics testing facility," he says. "Locked up like Fort Knox because of the government contracts we work on there. It's about as safe as safe's going to get." He claps Bruce on the arm. "If it's containment you want, you got it, in a nice big room with walls made of solid concrete."

The scientist's eyes light up. "Really? And you'll let me use it? Frankly, Tony, I expected you to try to talk me out of it. " He rubs his forehead and smiles, "I have to try it, though. I am too much of a danger like I am. When can I use it?"

"I'm curious to see what'll happen," Tony says, "and it happens to be empty. That's, what do they call it? Serendipity. Besides, you're a grown man, and a smart one, and a lot more cautious about this sort of thing than I am." He claps Bruce on the shoulder. "Why not this weekend? No one will be there."

Bruce nods eagerly, "I will make up a large dose for me. This weekend will work well." He grins, "And if it doesn't work, oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?" He hasn't told Tony about possible side effects…on purpose. "I really appreciate this."

"That's the spirit," Tony says, and he offers his hand to shake. Side effects? That's a bridge to cross when they get to it. "So tell me, what's it like? When things get hinky and you change? Call it scientific curiosity." Knowledge Tony doesn't have. Of course he wants to know.

Bruce shakes his hand. "Uh…what's it like? I…" No one has ever asked that before. "Well, you know that it's triggered by adrenaline. So when I'm angry or hurt, it will happen. I get disoriented, then everything sort of goes green, and it hurts. Then it's over, I'm exhausted and there is rubble everywhere. I don't remember anything violence and rage. If I'm lucky, I'm still in my pants when I come to." His brow furrows. "I don't know much about the other guy. I guess he can talk and he maybe recognizes people."

Tony shakes his head. "That's so interesting," he says. "A self-defense mechanism gone amok. Do you know what the military would do to get their hands on a stable way to recreate what you did?" He studies Bruce's face carefully. "How it would change warfare as we know it? Lot of tension heating up in the world; it would be quite the feather in the military's hat."

Bruce makes a face, "Yeah…I kinda do know what they would do to get their hands on me. I…" His eyes widen, "Look, Tony, no! It would be a disaster. I didn't come here because I wanted to be used as a weapon. " He gives a desperate look at the door. "If you give me away, that's it."

Tony holds up his hands and says, "I'm on your side here, Bruce. I'll sell them guns, but not people. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page about the risks before we go playing around." With a small laugh, he walks over to his desk and pours another splash of scotch in his glass. "Believe it or not, I'm on your side. "

Bruce says, "I want to believe it, Tony." Bruce nods and is about to object to the scotch, but he's too late. So he takes another sip. "I don't have anybody else to trust. And, please let me be clear, you will need to be in a totally different room when I do this. My god, can you imagine if I kill Tony Stark?! I think this will do it, though. I have a lot of hope that this is going to stop the transformation.""

"I'd rather not imagine it," Tony says. "Or experience it. I'll be in the observation room. Observing, hence the name." He takes another drink and returns to the window to watch night creep over New York City. "I know if I tell you to trust me, you're not going to look for reasons not to. All I've got is my word here, but I'm giving it to you."

Bruce downs the rest of his scotch and puts the glass on the desk faaaaar awar from Tony. "I trust you, Tony." He doesn't really have a choice, but it's not a lie. There's something about the overly enthusiastic playboy that Bruce does trust. Maybe it's just that Tony can look at Bruce's notes and immediately understand them. It's been a long time since Bruce could talk to someone at his level. He repeats, "I trust you. You have really helped me by letting me work on this project. "

"Eh, you needed the break," Tony says. "There are so many witch hunts these days over this and that, it's getting to where a man can't just be a man anymore. Anything I can do to stem the tide, you know? Besides." He slants a sidelong look at Bruce. "You're in a good place to stay out of the wrong hands. I'm not saying mine are the right ones, but I know I don't intend to mass produce you."

Bruce smiles, "As long as I can stay out of the lime light." He tucks his pad of paper under his arm. "But I am curious. How much do you know about me? How much did they tell you? Was it Ross? Did you see the footage?"

"Footage," Tony say. "I didn't ask Ross to borrow it, it just sort of happened." He waves a hand as he says, "That's all I know. The rest has been deduction and wild guesses. I have to admit, I want to see you in action, but not badly enough to lose you on my science team. So it'll just be wishful thinking." Unless the unthinkable happens, and a man can hope.

Bruce purses his lips and nods, "Deductions and wild guesses, huh?" He paces back and forth and then decides to ask. "I really need your help with all this. If this doesn't work, I need to learn about him. I need someone to talk to him…I just don't know how to accomplish that safely."

"Then we'll work on that," Tony says. "The ballistics facility is a good first start. Maybe nothing bad will happen during your experiment and we won't get to meet the other guy, maybe after that we'll get a chance. Let's just take it one disaster at a time, yeah?" He takes another sip of his scotch. He's been nursing the bottle all day. "The more I learn, the more I'll be able to help you."

Bruce says, "And the more we'll learn how to protect everyone." That is what Bruce wants most. "And I'll continue to work here. I really don't want to work on any of your weapons projects, but armor and protective gear, anything you need."

Tony shakes his head. "There's plenty to do outside of weapons R&D," he says. "Your job is to treat the lab like a playground. Have fun, go nuts. I don't often get to have colleagues who can keep up with me." He sets his glass down, then clasps his hands together. "Now, is there anything you need from me that you're not getting? Armor, protective gear, whatever you want to work on?"

Bruce pushes his glasses up on his nose. "At the moment, I don't think so. Other than the monkeys." He gives a sudden grin. "Thanks, Tony. Get ready for this weekend." He starts to head to the door. "Have a great evening. And, you should call Pepper. She was really nice."

"If I'm lucky, I'm going to see Pepper," Tony says. "And you'll get your monkeys." Sure enough, in the morning, there will be monkeys. God knows how he knows how to find a monkey guy on such short notice. Being rich has its benefits. "Take it easy, Bruce. Always a pleasure to see you." He raises his glass to the man, then drains the last of it.

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