The latest of her monitored readings were glanced at, then perhaps a little too prematurely, blinked aside. He didn't need to know that either, in any charted specificity, what her internal currents looked like when plucked from a place of reveries and flung back into...a cave. His one hand stroking on the upper side of hers, palm nagging against her knuckles and so tightly that it pinched at her skin in inward drags from one boned ridge to the next. An automatic impulse, sympathetic but only in relation to his nervous system; quite plainly, he still couldn't shake the deep-set notion that it'd been entirely selfish, coaxing her return to him. Where the recurrency of nightmares could be charted alongside changing moons. But it'd been done, the dream was over. Something at the back of his mind insisting that it was merely one—just one dream, just like each occurring nightmare. Something about cosmic balances; he nodded. "You're here.. I'm here..." His speech was fraught with his undertones of reservations, spoken to the receiver of the earpiece before he caught himself, brushing it off with the flick of a wrist, and in the same sequence of motion reaching his hand forward to swipe the pads of the electrodes off her temples. Basic reactions delayed and sadly far from sharing the same intuitiveness that the alien parasite had retracted its tendrils. His thumb a further step behind in lightly smearing at a side of her eyes, possibly 'cos it wasn't a very smart thing to do; impractical, despite whatever emotional comfort the gesture may have provided. "I'll.. I'll get you a cloth..."
In all the adjustments and adapting she didn’t realize the warm tears had fallen until they were wiped. An act she still deemed as pointless and stupid but had come to recognize that she wasn’t above it. Particularly in his company where things always felt a little more raw and exposed than when engaging with the select few she circled during her brief time in this world. He wouldn’t hold her human vulnerabilities against her and they could both go on pretending afterwards that she was precisely as sketched in the pages at the comic store — minus the latex. Tough. No nonsense. Incapable of being left reeling on a bed from not just a dream but the invasion that had occurred. Wanting to simultaneously burn her clothes and scrub her skin as well to enact some sort of revenge to the .... thing that had attacked her. She was big on payback — justice if you will, and it was easier to focus on — to channel all that confusing wave of feels into something singular. Her bionic fingers curled into a fist and she swallowed. Almost interrupting his mention of a cloth she spoke again. " Is it dead? Like the other one? " The anger in her voice was as palpable as the sadness had been mere moments before.
There was something about others' anger that tended to give rise to an internal chuckle within the scientist. Not particular derisive, nor intended to make light of a situation, per se, but it tickled something in him. Hers, especially. Perhaps due to the transparency of it—how thinly it veiled the human emotional psyche; the exaggeration of rage almost an emphasis for attention to be drawn so that one might uncover the more fragile feelings that trembled beneath it. Bruce had a history with those vainglorious impulses for justice. Righting wrongs with more wrongs, exacting vengeance into an endlessly vicious cycle of grudges and bad blood. But these days, his Hulk was quiet. At times a little too quiet, and worrisomely so...
He cast those notions aside. His focus resituated to the alien life-form as it clung quite pathetically to the bedpost at the foot of the bed, attempting to make it to the floor—and then onwards in search for a new 'host' to feed on—Bruce could only suppose as he shook his head a little listlessly in response to Misty's question. "The other one went into some form of shock— Starvation, would be my guess— Though it seemed capable of surviving for almost an entire 24-hour period from the time it crawled off me..." He paused, turning back to her, a small smile appearing. "Not exactly the most romantic way to be greeted back into reality, is it?"
" Fuck starvation. Fuck twenty four hours. I want it dead. " Twice it’d gotten the best of her and she wasn’t trying to go for a third. Especially if the goal was to get its creepy tendrils on all three of them at some point — a mission that she planned on stopping before its conclusion that would involve the young girl. The one she promised to pick up. She didn’t even know what time it was anymore. Under normal circumstances falling asleep in the middle of the day even for a few moments left her perspective of time a bit askew. Being sedated by a strange plant left a considerable blind spot when it came to the hours lost. Misty turned her head to look at him. His face. Not glitchy or fading. Real. " I don’t know about that, doc. Killing that thing might do it for me. Pretty romantic shit. I forgot to ask the nerds if a glock would be enough to do the trick. " Or ripping it apart but then.. she didn’t want to risk touching it again.
Even with tear-marks at her eyes, the woman was talking about...glocks. The scientist couldn't help but find it unbelievably sexy—residual after-effect from the plant's sedation of his host, surely—though, manageably without a smirk, he nodded at her rationale. "We have very different ideas of romance, it seems.. Y'know, I never asked how you thought Valentine's Day went." Removing the third electrode from her wrist, he stood, clearing his throat softly as he moved towards the connecting tunnel towards the cave's storage room—the same direction of its recently appearing armory. "I'll get that cloth.. Does it have to be a glock, or would any form of artillery suffice?" Ironically though, it was his turning glance from her that reminded him just who he was talking to. Who needed an armory with Misty Knight fully equipped with her bionic arm...
A holiday, even one as commercialized and superficial as Valentine’s Day, was hard to come by. Not aligning with their designated week so often that she forgot they even still happened in the first place. Always arriving days before or even after. The few times she had been 'on time' for an occasion it felt wrong to rob the other woman of the experience when she had far more reasons to celebrate — and people to celebrate with. But as distracted as her thoughts were, the mere mention of the shared day months ago immediately pushed it to the forefront. Sleeping bags, tea lights, cold pizza and orgasms — not in that order. " I’ve got no complaints about Valentine’s Day. I kinda figured my high opinion was implied. " As he stepped away she found her courage to prop herself up on her elbows to view a concave middle void of monsters protruding wombs or bloody leftovers — as if none of it had happened. As if she dreamt it all. But it had. Curving her spine further she sat up and swiped her knuckles at the corners of her eyes again. " Doesn’t have to be. Just something that goes bang. " Bringing up her legs she climbed on her knees and peered over the edge of the bed to keep an eye on the withering plant, her jaw locking in the process observing as something got caught in her throat. Confirmation of a nightmare.
The detached nonchalance with which they attended to their otherworldly matters never failed to quirk the scientist's brow, though noticed more often in hindsight than while such matters were unfurling. They made quite the ...unshaken pair... frankly. An unlikely balance found in their understated commonality, which had become more and more evident with each passing 'adventure,' so much so that it was almost difficult now to remark on the differences he'd initially assumed would make for a balanced partnership. Of course, initially, the partnership he'd vaguely imagined was confined to a professional slant. Sidekicks, essentially—however much he preferred to work alone. Or at least, how he tended to. As far as comic book lore went, Bruce Banner was most commonly associated with the Hulk than any one team, or even villain. His allies and arch nemeses most often himself in one taken form or another... The train of thought lingered now at the back of his mind, his chuckle still on his breath from something that goes bang, returning soon after with a bath towel—the most convenient 'cloth' in reach when he'd entered the storage chamber only to be mildly unsure why he was in there. Did she need a cup of hot cocoa? More likely a shower, or an industrial incinerator— "Are you really going to shoot it?" Any notion of calamity was void in his tone, his behaviors, as he dampened a corner of the cumbersomely sized towel at the kitchenette's sink.
When spoken out loud, the idea of shooting a plant sounded ridiculous. But no more ridiculous than the plant attaching itself to her chest and nervous system. Manipulating her unconscious dream state and getting nourishment from it. Less of a plant even and more like a parasite in her opinion. Regardless of how harmless it appeared to look now as she stared. Unknowingly with her hovering position on the bed accidentally mimicking a pose her host had taken often when cowering from some sort of insect. A pose that would quickly change as she boldly climbed off the bed. Unlike the other woman all of her fears involved letting it slip from her view and into some crack only to reappear when they least expected it. To hurt the smallest among them —nah, not on her watch. A shower would be necessary but later as a sense of priorities were categorized mentally — in spite of the way her skin crawled and her upper lip curled as she imagined it against her body. The nerve. The audacity. A bionic fist was raised protectively — as it should have been at the house to thwart any advancement in the first place. However, with an increasingly clear mind she knew that she’d never seen it coming. A cheap tactic for a lackey or a plant and the only way anyone could get the jump on her. " Hell yeah I’m gonna shoot it. And then burn it. And then get the ashes the fuck out of here. We had plans didn’t we? "
"We did.." As with most of their adventures thus far, Bruce was struggling with his smirk—boyishly tickled by the scenario in a way he'd never known to have ever been a side of him, buried deep within his unconscious or otherwise. Then again, the limits to his unconscious and its split personalities had on a few occasions been called into some question by experts in such fields, and despite the convenience of casting all blame on the boy, the scientist could merely shrug. Half as his response, half in response to his response. Clearing his throat as he wrung at the now more than damp corner of the towel, he then made the brisk stroll towards her—careful not to startle while her guards were as raised as her arm. "You're still in the mood?"
Taking note of his approach by the closeness of his voice, she’d keep her eyes at the corner where Black Mercy now lingered. Misty imagined it searching for an escape that simply wasn’t there although she resisted the urge to get cute enough to smirk. For all she knew it could’ve been calculating its next attack move and she narrowed her eyes considering its thickness. If a bullet would stick or go straight through, ricocheting against cave walls causing further unwanted damage. Exhaling air at the unnecessary risk and grumbling something incoherent about plans changing - she aimed her fist at the plant. The narrow beam of cryogenic energy that was released immediately released had been done so before in a backyard in Boston once. To cover a puddle with ice for amusement of a child as well as the eventually disappointment when she wasn’t able to duplicate ice. That would’ve been more Ororo’s bag. She was no mutant. Just a cop that got lucky. This time however it was to freeze a shriveled up space shrub or whatever it truly was - she’d glossed over the origins bits when speaking to the so called experts on the matter. Too preoccupied with the parts about how to free the man she loved from its hold. It only took a second or two but she made it last a few beats longer under the guise of being thorough cause...revenge. Lowering her hand, effectively ceasing fire … or er ice, she moved forward to slam the sole of her sneaker against the plantsicle causing it to shatter. “ I’m always in the mood.” Finally looking up from the scattered pieces to him and his towel to lift a brow. “ Are you still ..sciencing around with that other one? ”
With little more than a few calm blinks, Bruce froze in an internally gawking standstill a few paces behind the first live demonstration of her bionic arm's range of capabilities beyond its electromagnetic pulse blasts. Based on the informational tidbits he'd dug up on his own from public records—his sources being this world's comic books and the few scraps of news reports available in their old world's cached data on his PDA—it seemed cryogenic energy was just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. A joke decent enough to be remarked aloud though he kept it to himself, his scientific interest in her arm having already been called into question on more than one occasion. "Well, I'm certainly back in the mood now..." he murmured, closing the gap between them with the same amount of voiced caution as before, the towel in his right arm reaching out past her side for her notice though he remained behind her, left hand gently on the shoulder where her flesh and bone could be felt through the material of her hoodie to seam into the faintly buzzing vibranium. "I am. Or, was and will continue to be. I.. I've spoken to Ororo. Asked if there's been any indication whatsoever if our.. Our shift here. This new setting... If there's any indication it may be temporary. She reports none. I'm— Well, I've been working on other things at the office." As he spoke, rambled, he watched the smaller fragments of the shattered ice melt into molecular pools of alien DNA. The notion of the cave's walls and floors being porous suddenly striking him in the same oh shit instant that the towel was being tugged back into his full grasp, his shoulder bumping into hers as his feet rushed across the space towards the plant's remains. "It might leave a stain—" his only attempt to caution as his mind raced for a better way to contain the situation than to throw a cloth over it. "Grab me the first container you can find in the lab—?"
Had she been asked, she might’ve claimed other demonstrations had occurred though she had none to readily call upon. Especially none done intentionally for his enjoyment - a request only fulfilled for those under the age of ten. When she used the limb as a weapon it was typically always an unfortunate scenario - ones in which she had been lucky enough to avoid save for a few occasions and none of them had required freezing. A good ole fashion punch to the face more often than not was all that was required. But it was neither here nor there. Not when the hand on her shoulder had such a calming effect. One that caused them to drop slightly, relaxed - a few more beats longer and it might have been comparable to a dream. But then he was snatching back the towel she had started to reach for and she was realizing the possible errors of her choice without him having to spell it out to her. “Fuck..” She’d started to step backwards but stopped long enough to step out of her shoes without unlacing them. If contamination was a concern she didn’t need to be leaving a trail. “Fuck.. fuck.. Fuck.” Her curses continued in the half jog to the lab as her eyes scanned the counters for suitable containers. Adopting the impossible task briefly of trying to select whichever one Bruce Banner might - a game that was doomed from the start. Her brain might not have been as big but she was sharp enough to know his worked in a way that most people couldn’t fathom. Top three - in absolutely no order regardless of how much he was prone to ranking, of the most brilliant working ones in either world. Grabbing the first thing she saw with a lid without too much delay, she’d make her way back to him. “Fuck - sorry, Bruce. Didn’t think about this part. Better than the bullet scenario I had in mind ...though.” A small consolation but a consolation nevertheless.
Contamination was indeed a concern, albeit a relatively minor one, all things considered. Over the course of his sciencing around with the other one, he'd evaluated no significant threats of humanly harmful toxins or any signs of otherwise invasive biohazards. Even his initial findings of what he'd conjectured to be reproductive spores of some alien but plant-like form—hypothetically suitable for continued survival in less than hospitable environments—were now at odds with the afternoon's most recent observations and the details that'd been gleaned from her pals at the comic store, the organism's apparent flowering nature suggesting less-immediately worrisome means of propagation. Though, of course, there'd now been two of the alien parasites in the cave... Which... Well... They'd worry about that later. Bruce Banner was currently as calm as could be. Even coughing over a slight chuckle as he noticed her removing her sneakers. He wouldn't have thought to do the same, self-saboteur as some third/fourth smartest minds on a planet intrinsically were; and for a wandering thought or two he was thankful that he'd impulsively sent her on the errand rather than heading off into the lab himself, despite the fact that he did mostly nothing of relevance during her brief absence. Her return finding him still doing nothing of relevance, besides the introduction of three spybots now circling low over the melting chunks of ice, scanning and recording from various angles whatever data their functionalities allowed. Bruce was an observer in multiple senses. The way he saw things, mistakes more often than not simply couldn't be helped, but the more information he had later available, the likelier the odds that a mistake could be efficiently corrected, crises managed, reoccurrences safeguarded—so on and so forth. Clearing his throat again as he accepted the large synthetic storage container Misty returned with, he restrained his smirk at her voiced consolation, then somewhat ironically drew an amiable smile across his face. For reassurance, he supposed. Sometimes reassurances were necessary. "I'm not particularly concerned, frankly..." He set about transferring the parasitical ice-cubes from the floor to the bucket, beginning with the smallest fragments, and with a pair of pocket-retrieved disposable gloves snapped on. 'Cos, y'know, no self-respecting scientist ever left their labs without a pair of disposable gloves in the pocket. Ahem. "We may, however, have to think of somewhere else to house the child this evening..."
The lack of reverence in position was noted. Almost halfway remarked on even - or at least half gestured to in finding him in the same spot. Her eyebrows hovering in sync with her shoulders, the physical embodiment of the three lettered wtf abbreviation. Not to be confused with the similar physical embodiment of duh or why the fuck aren’t we moving - the latter typically reserved when behind the wheel in traffic. But again.. that big brain of his warranted certain allowances of which she was grateful to have given observing the spybots. Misty swiftly regained her chill. Especially when this was kind of her mess to begin with. She hated making messes. With the container free her arms instinctively folded across her chest and her head tilted. “Not concerned but ..concerned enough not to stay the night ? Just trying to get straight just how guilty I should feel about this. She digs this cave. All your stuff.” Watching the frozen pieces, her lips pursed briefly in thought. “There’s always Paris. One night. Then back to business as usual in the morning. You kinda owe me.” Her small smirk teasing, masking the sting along the edges that she still felt about their last attempt where she’d mistaken his unease for rejection.
"Just as a precaution.." Without turning a glance over his shoulder, he nodded a secondary confirmation about any guilt being needless. Unable to help himself once some of the larger blocks of ice were being contained, a few now being held up towards better lighting as he furrowed his brows at them distractedly in his Science Thoughts. "One can never be too cautious... Generally speaking..." His murmuring only breaking away from its mostly self/parasite-directed trajectory when a lift of his brow momentarily considered ...well, a handful of things—the little girl's digging of the cave among them; their prior somewhat failed attempt for a bona fide vacation notwithstanding either. The subject on his lips though was diverted, referencing a renewed interest in a long-past conversation when she'd suggested that her bionic arm's full capabilities were for her to know and for him to find out. "Y'know, as unkeen as you may be, regarding your.. Bionic demonstrations... This cryogenic-energy thing is... It may need further.. Observation..." He peered closely at the final ice-cube being held to the light, the largest of the few that showed no perceivable signs of melting, not even at the pads of contact with his glove. "It's remarkably.. Er... Potent..." He paused, blinking, still turning the specimen at angles in his palm. "And, yes, I do owe you. Paris."
Her weight shifted to another foot as her brow raised looking at him for a long beat before shaking her head. “How did I know you were gonna say something like that?” She didn’t mind the curiosity. Oddly enough not even from the beginning in that shared hotel room when she willingly offered a closer look for inspection. Looking back it was completely out of character under normal circumstances but nothing about this world was normal. Before him it had been only Ororo to talk to. To commiserate with. To try to grasp with all the ways things were changing, keep tabs with the ongoings of the big bads while wrongly assuming that she alone in her solitude had escaped its reach. Gone unnoticed. Suspecting at one point that she was an accident. Too unimportant. Too human to have any sort of purpose here. All these months later and she still remembered how it felt to be touched intentionally by someone who didn’t mistake her for her host. “Haven’t you observed it already? Left your mark?” Taking a step further away but only to encircle the scope of the careless shatters. “You gonna wanna observe every time you see something new? Cause I got a lot of tricks. Even more now..thanks to you.”