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Can't Handle This

Chapter 22

Bruce was sitting in Natasha’s room, watching her intently to get his mind off the nightmare.

“I wish you would wake up, Natasha,” he said softly. “That would make things a lot easier.”

“I am awake, Bruce,” she muttered from the chair next to him. “Why can’t you see me? Why can’t you at least hearme? That would make things a lot easier.”

A soft knock drew both of their attentions. “Hey, Dr. Banner,” Steve said from the doorway. “Can I join you?”

Bruce gestured to the third chair in the semi-circle. “Please do, Cap.”

Steve sat across from Natasha’s chair and tried to make himself comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. “So how are you doing?”

The scientist shrugged. “Fine, I suppose. The whole thing with Nat is hitting us all pretty hard.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Steve replied without missing a beat. “I meant after your nightmare in the waiting room. You moved awfully fast out of there.”

“Oh,” he said with a grim, hallow smirk on his face. “That.

“What nightmare?” Natasha asked. “Why didn’t you mention anything about that? Oh wait, you can’t freaking see me!

“Do you want to talk about it?” Steve asked, oblivious to the spy’s shouts. “I’m always here to help if you need it.”

Bruce sighed and leaned his head back. “It was…it was horrible,” he said slowly with a shaking voice. “I woke up in my own bed, and Pamplemousse was dead. I killed her. I beat her to death while I was the Other Guy. I…I didn’t even realize I did it.”

Steve nodded slowly and put a hand on his shoulder. “It was just a nightmare, Bruce. Pamplemousse is fine. She’s a little worried about you, yeah, but other than that…”

“But it felt so real, and it’s the one thing I fear. I really care about her, and I would do anything to protect her. But the Hulk? I’m not so sure if he feels the same.”

“Tell him that he would never hurt her, Steve,” Nat said as she leaned forward and tried, but failed, to put a hand on his knee. “Let him know that she can never be hurt around him.”

“I don’t think you’d let him hurt her, Bruce. I don’t think you’d have it in you.”

“Thank you!” Natasha said with exasperation. “At least you and I are on the same wavelength.”

“You mean that?”

“Of course he does! Steve, please tell him-“

“Of course I do,” Steve unintentionally interrupted. “You’d never hurt that little girl.”

Bruce smiled lightly, like he was just starting to believe that he could be happy.

Natasha sighed and shook her head. “We’re a pretty messed up group, aren’t we.”


Schaefer rushed into the hospital waiting room where nearly all the Avengers were sitting.

“Who are you?” Brooke asked as she looked up from her Rolling Stones magazine. “Are you homeless or do you just look that way?”

Schaefer felt his heart skip a beat and his breath leave his lungs. He quickly shook his head as if to erase the feelings.

“This is Agent Schaefer,” Tony said when the agent didn’t respond.

“So you’re Coulson’s replacement?” Clint asked skeptically.

Schaefer cleared his throat and nodded. “Yes, I am, Agent Barton,” he said with his thick German accent. “Und I have some very important news to share.”

“He’s German!” Clint exclaimed in a near rage. “They gave us a German replacement!”

“Zer iz nothing vrong vith my nationality.”

“No, no. Of course not,” Clint said sarcastically. “We just have an American patriot from the 40’s. No big deal there, Fritz.”

“Vhy vould it be a big deal?”

“That’s the time of the Nazis, idjit!” Clint shouted. “Cap was trained to kill Nazis!”

“What about killing Nazis?” Steve said as he and Bruce entered the waiting room.

Schaefer felt his heart swell with joy. “You’re Captain America!” he said with glee. “I’ve heard so much about you, Herr Rogers!”

“Who are you?”

“I am Agent Schaefer,” he replied, accent and all, as he extended his hand towards the super soldier.

“You’re from Germany?”

“Born und raised,” he said calmly.

“I’m assuming you’re not from Hitler’s time?”

Schaefer shook his head.

Steve took the agent’s hand and shook it. “Glad to hear it, Agent. I take it your Agent Coulson’s replacement?”

Schaefer nodded slightly. “Yes, but I don’t expect to replace ze friendship all of you had vith him.”

Steve nodded and let go of his hand. “Thank you,” he said quietly with a hint of a smile on his face.

Clint stared at the two of them with shock. "Well, shit," he finally said. "I guess I owe you an apology, Schaefer."

"No apology needed, Agent Barton," he said simply. "You did not know how your colleague vould react, so you acted how you saw fit. No harm done."

Clint nodded. "Thank you, sir."

"Now, back to ze business at hand. I vould advise zat ze child be removed from zis situation."

"What's he mean by 'removed?' Is he talking funny like Loki?"

Brooke placed a calming hand on the 10 year old's shoulder and smiled. "No, Pamplemousse. He just wants to have a private word with us."

"Is he telling you a secret?" she whispered.

"Maybe," Brooke whispered back. "I just need you to go find a vending machine and get me a bag of Gardetto's," she handed her two dollars. "You can also get whatever you'd like."
Her mouth spread into an excited grin as she took the bills and ran out of the room. "Thank you, Brooke-Brooke!"

Bruce smiled as she left the room, feeling more like his old self again.

"Now, I do believe zat zis concerns you ze most, Dr. Banner," Schaefer said sympathetically.

"Why do you say that?"

The agent held up a thick manila folder. "Zis is her record from before she lost her memory."

Bruce gently took the folder and started to leaf through it.

"Jasmine Irving," Schaefer started from memory. "Youngest in a family of four. Father vorked here at SHIELD in ze science department und her mother vas a middle school math teacher. She had an older brother named Eli. Zey vere very happy together until zey vere tortured und killed. Whoever did zis to zem also burned zeir house to ze ground," Schaefer paused. "She vas never found."

"So Pamplemousse…?”

“Is not who you think she is. Ze poor thing. Everyone at ze agency thought she died with everyone else.”

“Did you ever find who did it?” Toni asked as she choked back tears.

Agent Schaefer shook his head. “No. Ze case vas never closed.”

Bruce shook his head. “Why doesn’t she have any memory of this? I…I don’t understand.”

“Some people repress memories zey never vant to remember. It’s actually very common.”

“But the idea that Pamplemousse witnessed her family be murdered is just absurd!” Brooke exclaimed. “She’s so young.”

Clint shook his head. “How sure are you, Schaefer?”

Tony sighed and plunked himself in the chair. “Clint, they have some of the best equipment that money can buy. He’s almost certain.”

Schaefer nodded at Tony and stayed silent for a while.

Natasha sat down next to Tony and looked up at the German agent. “You can see how much this hurts them, can’t you? Do us a favor and give us some kind of good news, please!

“But I do have some good news,” Schaefer said as he handed Bruce another manila folder.

Bruce opened it and his face sort of lit up. “It went through?”

Schaefer smiled lightly. “I gave a recommendation for you, Dr. Banner.”

Bruce’s smile widened. “This is fantastic! You’re fantastic! I…I can’t believe it!”

The agent shrugged and smiled a little more. “I try as best as I can.”

“What are you talking about?” Steve asked, looking utterly confused.

Bruce cleared his throat and tried to hide the smile. “I adopted Pamplemousse.”


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Chapter 28 is sad because Cj says "Let's just say I've got red in my ledger and I physically cannot wipe it out.". That's sad because Natasha says that in Avengers.

Natasha Barton Natasha Barton

I am going to cry. Natasha is my favorite Avenger and SHIELD agent. I've always looked up to her character. I almost cried during chapter 25 and got some weird looks from my family. Well they don't understand so if they have a problem then they can suck it.

Natasha Barton Natasha Barton

MAJOR SPOILERS! Unless you finished chapter 24

OH MY GOD!!!!!!! NATASHA"S DEAD!!!!!!!! AND SHE HAS A SISTER?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Natasha Barton Natasha Barton

CLINT SAID HAWKWARD!!!!!!!!! THAT"S AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! BEST PUN EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Natasha Barton Natasha Barton

Are you planning on continuing in a sequel?

Anonyme_Amour Anonyme_Amour