Sleight of Hand @babykitsune_9
Chapter 17

To say that Thor and Bruce were...upset by everything that they had learned had happened between their friends/comrades since they had left, was both an understatement and understandable given the circumstances. However, learning about how everyone had basically turned on Tony after they had left- how they had lorded the Ultron incident over the man as if it were totally his fault...

It didn't sit well with the two of them.

Bruce had been so distressed at the damage that had probably been done to the man- the emotional manipulation and abuse that he'd suffered- that his skin had been tinted green a bit for more than an hour. But he didn't change into the other guy. Though the Hulk had certainly wanted to make an appearance to stomp some asses into the ground over Tony's less-than-friendly treatment at the hands of their so called friends for the past few years.

And Thor, he had bowed his head and cried for Tony.

When he had left, he'd been upset and disturbed by how quickly he had turned on the man when his mind had been tampered with. He had always hoped to come back and be able to mend what he was sure that he'd unwittingly broken.

He'd thought that Tony would be okay with the others around. He hadn't expected them to continuously treat him with such hostility. After all, it wasn't as if Ultron's creation was entirely his fault.

His mind had been tampered with too.

All of their minds had been. That was part of the reason why Bruce had left so abruptly. It was part of why he himself had left so abruptly as well.

He kept seeing his hand gripping Tony's throat, in his minds eye. And it physically sickened him to think of just how close he'd been to irreparably harming or even him. All he truly recalled aside from the guilt, was the rage that he'd felt at the time.

He'd never felt such deep overwhelmingly blatant anger and hatred before for anyone before. Not even his worst enemies. Even once the mind control had been gone, he'd still felt remnants of those deeply disturbing emotions and had feared that he may lash out at Tony and the others if he stayed.

He had gone home hoping that the distance would help him sort himself out before he returned. Still...he was deeply upset that his mortal family had fallen apart while he'd been absent.

Bruce was as well, though it was probably because his time spent amongst the Avengers had given him a sense of purpose that he'd never had before. To them, he wasn't just the Hulk, a destructive monster. He was an Avenger. A hero.

He was also friend Tony's science bro.

He was protected here.

Sheltered from those that would abuse him and turn him into a weapon of mass destruction. He also had a home here and the family that he'd always wanted, yet always been denied.

So this was quite distressing for him for a multitude of reasons. All of which were completely understandable.

Apart from their friends and teammates turning on their Tony, they had also used him to find the person responsible for the death of his parents, and then attempted to kill him while saying that he was being 'unreasonable' for wanting to bring them all in before things snowballed out of control even more than they already had.

And now he was missing and no one knew if he was dead or alive.

Searches were ongoing, or at least that was what Lady Friday had told them. But they couldn't help but wonder who was actually and actively searching for him.

There was one thing that brought them some happiness. Friend Tony's secret family.

Lady Friday had been quite forthcoming with information on the child. A young girl, of all things. Learning that their friend actually had some blood kin left in the world was wonderful.

However learning a little bit about her past (a child had no place in the military, ever) and the reason why she had finally been acknowledged by Tony and his friends- not so much.

Sure Friday had touched a little bit on the subject of the Accords. But she hadn't been able to explain everything.

She had however explained that without a heir- Tony's fortune, company, properties, inventions and all of his other assets could be seized by the government and used however they wish.

She had also told them that General Ross had been visiting quite often and threatening Rhodey, Pepper, and everyone else.

Bruce reacted poorly to this news.

Probably because he knew more about the man than Thor did.

If not for Friday showing the video of Ichigo fearlessly knocking the old man on his ass, which resulted in Bruce letting out a slightly hysterical laugh- he might have actually changed into the other guy and rampaged a bit. This of course, was doubly true when all of them had found out that the girl had been injured earlier in the day by a deranged man with a gun.

Even Loki had been pretty pissed at the man's cowardice. So much so that he'd actually threatened to hunt him down and skin him alive. Bruce had equaled his sentiment. Though his eyes had been toxic green and his expression mirrored one of the Hulk's more familiar- I'll-turn-you-inside-out-for-fun feral looks. Thor merely muttered that he'd strike the man down with some lightening.

It'd be difficult for him to run and hide if he was technically charcoal. Right?

Though all of them had been impressed with the girl's shocking amount of bravery as she went about checking and tending to the wounded, as well as how cool headed and calm she had been when giving information to Christine Everhart about the shooter.

Because of her aid...only two men had died. And several others had been spared particularly gruesome, and painful deaths.

Which was why the three of them were both surprised and somewhat panicking when Friday announced that the girl was heading their way and would be there within moment.

Loki stood up straight and quickly checked his hair, while Bruce looked around for something to help ease his nervousness- and literally came up blank. After all, what was he supposed to do? Fuss with his clothing? The couch cushions?

He didn't even have a gut to suck in.

Unlike Thor, whom had a little bit of a beer gut. Though it was fairly small and barely even noticeable unless one really, really looked closely at the man. But then he supposed that a thousand years of near constant drinking would do that to a person.

They didn't know what to expect when the girl finally walked through the door, but having a small pack of felines, and a bunny in tow- wasn't what they expected at all.

But then neither was her quickly walking over to Bruce, handing him the bunny and then pushing him down to sit on the couch again. Bruce took a second the look at the bunny- which also looked at him- the both of them having mirroring expressions of confusion on their faces as she quickly said, "Do me a favor, and pet the bunny doc. I've been gone all day and the poor little guy is anxious enough about being here."

"Uh...o-okay." Bruce said as he started to pet it but froze when the bunny made an uncomfortable squeaking sound that promptly led to his hand being slapped. Hard.

He looked up at the girl, startled by the fact that she'd actually just slapped his hand, to find her glaring at him. "Mind his leg. It was badly broken thanks to his previous owner and didn't heal right." He blinked, dumbfounded at her as her glare lessened a little bit and she explained. "His leg still hurts him and he's not been doing too well recently."

"O-Oh. Okay." Was all that he could think to say before he started to pet the bunny again. This time more carefully since the back of his hand was still burning and throbbing like hell from being smacked by her.

What the hell did she smack my hand with anyways? Hulk-busting armor? He wondered as his eyes drifted to her hands with a small scowl.

Ichigo turned to the others once she had him taken care of. And now focused her attention on both Thor and Loki- and then called out for Friday to seal the room off.

Which...wasn't the least bit ominous to any of them at all. They liked sealed up rooms and feeling like prisoners. Not. After he and Thor had spent all that time being gladiators on that godforsaken planet that they'd escaped from, being locked in a room- any room at that- made them all just a little bit...twitchy.

They all stood/sat perfectly still while Friday did as she asked. After which she also asked Friday to stop monitoring the room and recording any conversation that might occur between them.

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