The overloaded system caused the wires to both capsules to catch fire along with the equipment in the room. Hulk burst out of his restraints and roared in anger and triumph as he smashed the glass to pieces in his capsule. He lunges for the equipment and starts destroying more of it.
"Now would be a good time to get out of here," Kate suggested as she stood near the door to the other. "Any objections? No, good." She sprints out of the room with Gargoyle and the Warrens following. Leader was still trapped in his seat and cried out for Gargoyle.
"Gargoyle, you miserable troll," his screamed echoed briefly, "Get back here and help me!" When Gargoyle pretended he didn't hear him, that's when he realized that Gargoyle was no longer his ally but his full-time enemy. He yelled at the thought of being left behind and it terrified him. He looked through the door and saw Nelson standing there with another mercenary and they were both helping the Gradys get to their feet. "Nelson!" he called out to his loyal lieutenant. Leader says as Nelson turns, "Help me!"
Nelson grunts like a toddler and ran, taking the mercenaries with him. When not a single mercenary went to help him, that's when the horrifying truth began to sink in: Nobody was going to help him out. He had treated his employees with disdain and it finally came back to bite him in the ass. The horrifying truth sunk in like a blade between the rib cages and he sat back in his seat as Hulk, accepting his fate with dignity as Hulk continued to destroy the lab.
The green monster broke his way through the wall and smashed the waiting room apart. He picked up the soda machine from earlier and threw it out of the nearest wall and it went flying out of sight. He smashes a door with his bare hands before sprinting and breaking the wall apart with his shoulders. He hammers his fist into the MRI device that Kate was strapped through earlier before using both hands to pick up the device and yanked it from the ground. He holds it above his head and roars, light getting in his face. He throws it through the wall and sets off a big explosion that set all the walls around him on fire.
The heat caused the overhead sprinklers to go off and a highly pressurized oxygen tank that was sitting in a wheelchair went rolling across the ground and hit the side of Hulk's right foot. The Hulk looked at the tank and smashed it with the sole of his foot, sending a powerful wave of pressurized air caused by the impact to make a small explosion of air and disable the sprinklers.
The mercenaries that Bruce knocked out earlier had regained consciousness and were running for their lives upon feeling the burning sensation of the wires melting away the walls. Kate, Gargoyle, and the Warrens who already made it outside were yelling for the other mercenaries to get out of there. There were injured mercenaries who were saved by their comrades out of there and some even went back inside to save the ones still trapped inside.
"Come on," Kate shouted at the crowd of mercenaries, "Get out of there! Get out!" The female Grady bumped into Kate's shoulder but neither one cared and just ran off and out of sight with her brother. "The building just might be unstable, so get out of there!" A large crowd of police cruisers pulled up to the scene of the disturbance and set up a perimeter.
"Gentlemen," Gargoyle barely croaked out while holding his stitched stomach in pain. The seven men that did hear him looked at him inquisitively. "Help the police set up a perimeter; all evidence of our involvement burns in there along with Leader."
The Warrens were checking on the wounded and made sure no bones were broken on this one merc on the ground. As Miles assessed the damage done to this mercenary's (broken) arm, he couldn't help but think of what he just witnessed happen in the hospital. He saw Bruce Banner transforms into the Hulk for the first time. That even really got him thinking, most of what will become of humans after they've reached their end. "I wish I could help," he said to himself.
(AN: To all those who read Homecoming, this event is what set off his experimenting for amplified humans)
Back upstairs, the fire was spreading and because the sprinklers were disabled, they continued to spread and the upper half of the building was already in flames and working its way down. Hulk was still taking out his rage and victory out in the hospital. He smashes his way down to the sixth by stomping through before stopping when he's on the fifth floor. Hulk was about to stomp through the ground again but he stopped when he saw a device in the middle of the room that he was standing in.
He calmed down so he could see what device it was and he moved forward and tilted his head to the side. Hulk was having vivid memories of when he was first born, May 1, 2012, five years ago. When he inspected the device closer, he realizes that this machine was the same machine that doused Bruce Banner with all that gamma radiation that turned him into the Hulk. When he realized that, the rage was slowly building up in both Hulk and Bruce, about to go off like a ticking time bomb. The green creature growls softly in anger before it turns into a yell and he roars as loud as he could as the ticking time bomb goes off. He wraps his hands around the device and rips it from the ceiling. He holds it above his head before dropping it down to the ground. He wasn't done and he finished off the radiation device by ramming it through the wall behind him and it goes flying falls five stories out.
The police cruiser in front of Kate was flattened but there was luckily nobody inside. Kate jumped back in surprise at the device that fell spontaneously in front of her and looks up to see the hole in the wall. "Hulk," she whispered, "What are you doing?"
Hulk inhaled and exhaled deeply as a way to burn off the adrenaline. He walks up to the hole in the wall that he just created, prepares to jump out until he is pulled back in. He falls to the floor before jumping back up to see one of the last two robots blocking his path. He reels his fist in to punch the robot before the second one appears out of nowhere and tackles him to the side. They crash through the wall with the robot landing on top of Hulk. He raises his buzzsaw arm and slashes Hulk's throat with it. Hulk grunts in pain but the wound heals like a lizard's amputated hand. Hulk punches the second robot in the face and throws it off before he gets back to his feet just in time before the first robot wraps his arms around Hulk's chest and lifts him above the floor. While the Hulk was briefly airborne, he quickly kicks the second robot that was approaching Hulk from behind and sent the robot back. He breaks free of his current captor's hands and punches the head off of the robot.
The second robot hits the back of Hulk's head with his hammer hand. Hulk grunts in pain before elbowing the second robot in the chest without turning his head and leaves a huge dent right in its heart area.
"You robots suck," Hulk says in regards to the two robots.
They were installed with some kind of emotional intelligence because as soon as these words left Hulk's mouth, they snapped towards Hulk and froze like a statue made of ice. After reconnecting his head, the first robot lunges for Hulk's front while the second one for his back.
With his quick reflexes, Hulk leaps and the two robots collide with each other and break apart. The robot's body parts smashed to pieces from head to toe and green liquid, Promethium, pooled around them. The first robot hand its left hand detached from its body and it was using its thrusters to reconnect with its shoulder blade. Hulk stomped on the hand and crushed it to dust. He then picks up the chest of the first robot and punches a hole through the heart area and rips out the main wires, disabling that robot.
He then turns to the second robot and picks it up with his left hand by the chest area as well. He reels his fist back and before he could throw a punch, the hand detached from the robot's body activated its thrusters and sent the buzzsaw flying right into Hulk's back. The green creature yelled in pain like an animal before he smashes his back into the wall and caused the buzzsaw to fall. He punches the second robot with all his might in the head, neck, and chest area. He rips out the wires and watched the last robot twitch. He throws the robot to the side like a rag doll and hits himself in the chest like a gorilla to further express his victory.
Hulk has decided that he has finally had enough. With all his might, he leaps up towards the ceiling and bursts his way upstairs and lands on the roof with a huge crash and a massive hole the size of a shipping container in the center. Hulk gives out one more roar that echoed seemingly all across the city and for miles to come. He waits a moment before he jumps over to the edge before using all of his strength to make one massive leap across the city, leaving the burning hospital three to four miles behind.
Down below, Gargoyle and his mercenaries ran away while they still could yet Kate stayed behind and watched Hulk soar off into the distance. Firefighters and more police cruisers had arrived at the scene but she paid no attention to them. She watched like a starstruck fan meeting their idol as Hulk leaped out of sight and into the clouds, her mouth slightly hanging open. She was at a loss of words, not because she was shocked that Hulk was leaving her behind, but that she was satisfied with helping Bruce with his mission and her seeing him soar off into the sky was a kind of physical victory for her.
"See you later, Bruce."
Days Without Incident: 7
A week had passed since the hospital burned down to the ground. The firefighters went inside to find people trapped inside but Gargoyle, the Warrens, and every single mercenary made it out alive, so there was only one person left inside: And he burned to death.
Ricky, who found his way back to Kate after escaping a dumpster that he was thrown in, sat down on a bench next to Kate and Bruce. The two were having some burgers, fries, and drinks from a fast food restaurant and Bruce was taking slow bites as to savor every sweet bite of his burger. To him, this half-eaten juicy tasted like heaven.
"So," Kate started before pausing to take a sip from her drink, "I know I already asked this once or twice, but how does it feel to finally be free?"
Bruce paused from eating, a fry only halfway to his mouth before he turned to her and answered, "The answer is always the same: Blissful." He ate the fry. "I always knew that Burger King made the best cheeseburgers, but I never realized that Turkey made the best Burger King cheeseburgers."
"See, there are benefits to be chased down: You get to travel, and you discover new things like Turkey has the best cheeseburgers from Burger King."
He agreed with her on that one and nodded. "True." He sips his drink.
"Quick question. Bruce: What happened to Gargoyle and his mercenaries?"
"Last I heard, Gargoyle wasted no time in getting back to Russia, the mercenaries went back to their jobs as hired guns, and the Warrens relocated to New York, saying that they started up a career at Empire State University as biochemists."
"Well, good for them."
Then neither one talked for a while so there was a kind of awkward silence that transpired between them and they did their best to block it out and just finish their food. When Bruce finished his food, he threw it like a basketball into the trashcan only a few meters away for him and muttered, "Yes" when he made it. Kate, on the other hand, failed and had to pick up her trash and throw it away manually, but she refused to give Bruce the satisfaction of her humiliation.
"So, any plans after today?" Kate asked as she sunk back into her seat. "It feels so good being free again, right?"
Bruce nodded. "I don't have any plans after this, just walk in a public place and enjoy because I don't have to fear getting caught in crowded places."
"I would do the same thing," she agreed. "When freedom is taken away from people, that's when they realize how much they took their freedom for granted. I have not been home in over three weeks and I am missing it. I miss the feeling of walking through the front door, going to the fridge, pull out bread, ham, and cheese, and making a diagonally cut ham and cheese sandwich."
"I can't eat ham with cheese unless the cheese is melted," Bruce said offhandedly and Kate laughed at him. "But I do miss home. I miss just falling into the bed, and then getting out just to go to work."
"I thought Bruce Banner didn't have a job."
"Well, Bruce Bannister had jobs instead of Bruce Banner because Bruce Banner was too busy being chased by green beings with giant heads. But, now that the threat is over, I can go back to my job as a nuclear physicist."
Kate narrowed her eyes at him to make sure she heard correctly. "You're a nuclear physicist?"
"Yeah, that's how I became Hulk in the first place."
"So…" Kate droned for a while before thinking of something to say. "You want to visit sightseeing places? I mean, you and I are free in Turkey and the police forgive us for burning down a hospital that was already evacuated of civilians."
"I'll just sit down and relax for now then we can start moving." He leans forward and his head goes limp after cupping his hands together and resting both elbows on both knees. "You know, the stress of my life on the run has hurt my back and now that we're both free, my back has never felt so good before."
"Hey, old man, I'm still young. I'm thirty-seven."
"I'm not old," Bruce almost spoke in an offended voice but he still managed to add humor behind it and made her laugh. "I'm forty-four, not even middle-aged."
"But I can see gray hairs growing right here," she touched his sideburns and he playfully pushed her hands away. "Don't worry, I'm sure with Hulk, he can de-age you."
"That's comforting and reassuring," he laughed.
Their peals of laughter quickly died down as they became serious. Now it was back to awkward silence for about a minute and a half. Bruce put an abrupt end to this cycle of silence by speaking. "You know," he hesitated slightly, "I never did thank you for all the help."
"What?" Kate shook her head, "I barely helped. You did all the work, if anything, I was the useless character in this story."
"No you weren't, you helped out plenty."
"What did I do, you deserve all the credit."
"Nah, you help me so you deserve the credit?"
"Well, for the longest time, a year, it was just me and Hulk on the run from Leader. I figured the best way to survive was to live under a false identity and stay away from large groups of people. Then you came barreling into my life and now all of a sudden, I got somebody to live for. You were lying in a ditch and I couldn't let you die so I Hulked-out for you. Then, you refused to leave me for safety so you stayed to help me. You helped build that false gas station which leads Leader to find us in Egypt but he sends his goons to attack you and you're drugged once more. Because of my concern for your safety, it inspired me to take down Leader once and for all so you wouldn't get hurt. If anything, you're an important character in this plot."
Kate's eyes widened in shock, each word from his paragraph of sentences seeping in like splatters of blood on a white t-shirt. Did he just say that he did all of this just for her? Sure, she was useless as she was hunted down by mercenaries back in Egypt, put up a fight at least, and when they were in the hospital, she was knocked out (again for the umpteenth time) and placed in a device fitted to turn her brain into a snack. And here Bruce was, telling her that because of his care for her, he wanted to defeat Leader once and for all and save not himself, but her as well. If she didn't have a crush on Bruce before, it just went up eighty percent and she didn't both to hide the smile that expanded across her face. It wasn't a sly or mischevious smile, but one of those smiles that people give when they are evoked happiness. Without even wasting another second, she scoots closer to Bruce and wraps her hands around him in a loving and affectionate hug, putting her head to his chest and listening to the soft sounds of his heartbeat. "You did all of this for me?"
"Of course." Bruce put a hand around her shoulder and kissed the top of her head, his lips pressing against her wavy blonde hair. He rubs her hair and Ricky gets jealous. "Hulk and I always put our friends' safety before my own."
"But then again, how many friends do you have?"
It didn't take long for Bruce to count because he didn't need to count. He raised one finger and said, "One: You."
"Aww," she awed, "Am I Bruce and the Hulk's only friend? That must mean I'm your best friend, right?"
Kate is Bruce and Hulk's best friend.
Bruce nodded to his friend in his head before answering, "Our only best friend."
"Does that mean, we're going to make BFF bracelets? You can wear the green one and I can wear the purple one."
What's a BFF bracelet?
"It's something friends wear," Bruce explained to Hulk before realizing that he spoke aloud to Kate and tried to clear the air. "The Big Guy was talking and I decided to make things clear with him."
"I was about to say…you still want BFF bracelets? I'll even make you the stretchy ones so the next time you Hulk-out-"
"That's cute," he chuckled but she was offended.
"I'm cute, I'm not trying to be cute. I never aim for cuteness."
"But you are cute."
Her feelings of offense turned back into feelings of amusement.
Then they sunk right back into silence, but it wasn't awkward this time. It was kinda peaceful. The fact that they were just sitting there, talking about friendship bracelets like a couple of teenagers in love- wait, in love? Was this love? They've only known each other for several weeks but it felt like three lifetimes to them. He risked his life to save her and she did the same to him by staying. She fought like hell to reunite with Bruce and he fought like hell (as Hulk) to carry her off to safety (twice). But it was too fast for love and Bruce still didn't feel like he was ready to love again. It's been three years since Betty died, but this was moving too quickly for him. Maybe if he had a chance to meet Kate during the 'normal' phase of his life, then maybe something could've worked out. But as he sat there on that bench, he was thinking how during the ship ride to Egypt, he said something that made Kate cry and he could've sworn that he saw a heartbroken look in her eyes. If Kate had feelings for him (which he doubted because it was too early and they still needed time to get to know each other), then what was he supposed to feel for her?
Then again, she was the one who suggested BFF bracelets. He liked the relationship he currently had between them - best friends (he doesn't know about forever) - but then again, he was born in 1973 and the term BFF wasn't put in the dictionary until 1996, so he was way too old be saying 'Best Friends Forever'.
He figured, at this point, the best kind of date that he could offer was a date to the movies to see a Syfy (yes, Bruce loved Syfy movies) or a date for some coffee.
"So," Bruce didn't know what to say again after the silence that began to drill into his head kicked up to the annoyance level. "I don't have any more material, I'm drained out."
Kate nodded, understanding that feeling. "Yeah, me too. Not much to talk about when you're free and just sitting down on a bench."
"Tell me about it." Ricky suddenly leaped down from the bench and moved over to Bruce's side. Bruce petted the dog on the head, baby talking to it and kissed it on the head. "Who's a good boy?" Ricky licked Bruce's cheek back.
"Ricky loves you."
"He does." Then Ricky leaves Bruce's side to move over to Kate's. "But he likes you more." He decides to speak now or forever hold his peace. "There is one thing I want to ask though: You want to go see a movie sometime or go out for some coffee?" He said it so fast he had to repeat it just to make sure that he heard himself say it correctly.
"Like-like a date?" Kate's heart race over the anticipation that Bruce was asking her on a date. Her on a date. After all of the insane shit they had been through, he was asking her on a date. She slowed her roll and calmly asked after inhaling, "Just as friends."
"JUST as friends."
She exhales in relief, realizing, after all, they've been through, they do need to slow things down. Just friends.
Meet Robert Bruce Banner, born May 10, 1973, to Brian and Rebecca Banner in Dayton, Ohio. he grew up as a lonely but intelligent loser. May 1, 2012, he becomes the subject of an experiment that goes out the window and douses him with more than enough energy to transform himself into a green creature of unmatched strength whenever he loses his temper. But five years of training, he was able to control the Hulk and they work together to fight enemies of super strength and superintelligence. He has isolated himself and went on the run from the military for two years but he leaves the life behind and almost settled down with the love of his life, Betty Ross, until a missile comes falling from the sky and kills Betty and her father but leaves Bruce in a fitting rage that causes him to transform. He spent years trying to cure himself after, going after cellular biologists but only ended up creating a villain. He saves the passengers from a plane crash, goes on the run for a year before he finally defeats his nemesis and becomes whole once more. Now here he was, sitting down with his new and only best friend, discussing plans for Syfy movies and coffee places. The world treated him unfairly recently, but ever since Kate came into his life and he has gotten the Hulk under control, life felt pretty damn good.
Enough of that monologue.
And that is it for The Incredible Hulk: Brains. Probably wasn't my best work but I did my best. It was a fun ride and I enjoyed Professor Hulk's portrayal in Endgame but I decided that Bruce and Hulk's relationship should be like it was in Age of Ultron: They both have a hand on the wheel. Yes, Leader is confirmed dead and Gargoyle is confirmed alive and currently working on a cure. Thank you all for taking the time to read this story and as always, if you liked it, leave a review or even favorite it. As always, constructive criticism is accepted. Until next time, where one more story will be written set in the same universe. This story takes place one year before Homecoming and two years before LethalProtector. The next prequel will take place one year before this one and will star TWO characters and deal with a more global threat. Until I post it, no details revealed. Bye.