Sleight of Hand @babykitsune_9
Chapter 22

Someone dies in this chap.

It's...kind of dark. And oh my god I wanna do a Bruce/Ichigo fic so bad!


To say that Ichigo was displeased that she'd been subjected to a little bit of lightening- which had left painful and raw burns on her chest- while she'd been outside of her body, would be an understatement.

However after she'd punched the holy hell out of Thor on reflex- hitting him more than hard enough to knock him across the room and make a nice Thor shaped indent in one of her walls- and startling not only him but everyone else too.

Still, hitting him had made her feel considerably better about getting the damned lightening burns in the first place. She did apologize to him though.

It would have been weird if she didn't since the man was only trying to help.

So now here she was, lovingly wrapped in a blanket with some hot chocolate in her slightly shaky hands, and everyone anxiously staring at her and waiting for some kind of explanation of some kind as to what the hell had happened to her. While Bruce was checking her over to see if Pepper should cancel the ambulance or not.

He was gentler than she'd expected him to be considering how upset he'd been while trying to revive her. His hand pressed a stethoscope against her skin, careful of the new wounds that she was sporting so that he could check her heart and lungs while Rhodey, Pepper, and Happy all hovered just a foot or so away.

She'd have to be more careful with her Soul Reaper work after this- ditching her body this time had proven to be more frightening to everyone than she had realized it would be. But then she was used to being surrounded by people who knew about her Soul Reaper activities too... So this entire incident was sort of her bad for forgetting that before she'd gone to do her job.

I'll have to find a way to make it up to them for scaring them. She thought to herself as Bruce removed the stethoscope from her skin and sat back with a slight huff. His dark eyes looking her over in a slightly calculated manner before he finally said, "You're heart is beating a little bit irregularly-"

"Probably from being shocked." She said evenly, trying to ignore the way that Thor visibly cringed at her words. "It'll take another minute or so for it to pick up a regular rhythm again."

"So that's normal for you then?" Brue asked, that calculating look on face wasn't easing up any. If anything it appeared as if the man was going to be stubborn about things.

"Sometimes, yeah." She said as she nonchalantly sipped her hot chocolate while she stared him down.

The man gave her a quick, feral looking smile- an indication that she was tweaking his nose just a tad too much and he was a breath away from fucking her shit up in retaliation. Deciding that she should ease off of him a little bit and stop poking the Hulk with a stick that he could obviously use to beat her with, she looked away for a moment and set her drink aside as he asked,

"Are you in any pain?"

"Not as much as I probably should be." She caught him narrowing his dark eyes just a tad as he tilted his head inquisitively at her.

The way that she had just responded to his question was obviously not what he'd wanted or expected to hear. And she could have literally kicked herself for it if not for the fact that Loki and Thor seemed to be the only other two people to pick up on her words. And everything that they hinted at.

"Bruce?" Pepper finally said the man's name, interrupting his little stare off with her. "Is she okay? Do we still need the ambulance?"

Anyone who ever said that Bruce wasn't quick on his feet was a liar. And a terribly one at that. In the seconds that it had taken for Pepper to ask her question, the man had already planned out how to get everyone aside from himself, Thor and Loki alone with the girl.

"No. The ambulance isn't needed." The man said. Pepper, Rhodey, and Happy seemed to visibly exhale in relief before the doc then tacked on. "If it's alright with you three, I'm going to hang out here and keep an eye on her. Loki and Thor will help, just to be on the safe side."

Ichigo not only stiffened upon hearing this. But paled as well and started babbling, "You don't have to do that! I'm perfectly fine!"

Bruce merely turned his head to look at her and smiled a weirdly jovial smile before saying in a mockingly soothing tone, "Nonsense. You stopped breathing and had no pulse for-"

Friday quickly chimed in helpfully. "Nearly ten minutes, Dr. Banner."

"Nearly ten minutes," Bruce said with an slightly evil looking smile that had her nearly sweating bullets while getting flashbacks of her first time training with Kisuke. Back when she'd lost her Soul Reaper powers back before she'd gone to save Rukia.

Honestly if she never saw another smile like that man's again, she'd die happy. Kisuke may be her godfather, but he was also just a little bit crazy. And not the 'ha, ha' kind of crazy either.

Sadly, the gods seemed to hate her right then and favored Bruce and his plan to 'keep an eye on her'.

Pepper cancelled the ambulance. Like a good little puppet, Ichigo thought to herself as the Doc managed to wrangle everyone out of her room/living quarters with the assurances that they'd take care of her. Of course when he assured them that, she started to look around her room idly for an escape route.

Wondering if maybe she would get away with breaking one of the tall windows? She doubted that they'd be able to catch her very quickly if she did. After all, she could flash step fast enough to break the sound barrier if she really wanted too.

The second that the door was shut, turned around and called out. "Friday! Initiate privacy protocols now!"

"Right away, Dr. Banner."

"Traitor!" Ichigo hissed as she glared up at the ceiling for a moment before then blinking and shouting, "Wait! You have privacy protocols?!" While the Doc finally returned to the room and stood there with his shoulder leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest and considered her for a moment before slowly pushing away from the and moving in closer to the bed.

Ichigo watched him quietly as he slowly asked, "So...do you plan to fess up to being a super or enhanced person? Or do I have to torture it out of you?"

"Torture. Definitely torture. I like the kinky shit." She deadpanned without thinking. However her words seemed to give the Doc pause for a second before he combed his fingers through his dark curls and muttered with a slightly wry smile.

"Damn, that's such a Tony-ish response." While both Loki and Thor chuckled in amusement behind him. "You would be a little smartass huh?"

"I'm not trying to be a smart-anything." Ichigo said with a slight frown as the Doc sat down on the edge of the bed closest to her.

"No? Tony never meant to be one either, but his mouth tends to run away with him at times. I guess that's something that you both have in common."

"Yay me." Ichigo sighed, suddenly feeling more than a tad bit drained. She shoulders slumped a bit and she drew her legs up to rest one of her arms on her knee.

"Look, you don't have to explain everything to us." Bruce finally said after a moment of careful inner debate. "But something obviously happened to cause this incident to occur in the first place. Tell us what you can and we'll fill in the blanks later, when you trust us a little bit more." He said in a coaxing tone.

"I honestly can't tell you anything." She said tiredly.

"Why not? We could help you? Cover up...whatever it is-"

"No. You can't." She spoke a little bit sharper than she meant to. Her tone bleeding with frustration. "I can't tell you anything! It's against the rules!"

"Who's rules?"

"Dr. Banner, forgive the interruption, but little boss has an incoming call."

Sighing, Bruce told Friday to put the call through over the speaker and a second later they all heard a voice roar, "Ichigo Kurosaki you keep your mouth shut!" A second later her cell phone chimed indicating a message had been sent to her and she quickly grabbed the phone off of her bedside table and flipped her phone open and paled when she saw what had been sent to her as the voice went on to say, "You are not so far away from us that we can't still reach you girl. Those pictures are to remind you of what will happen to your family and friends, if you talk."

"Friday! Hang up now!" Bruce shouted as he reached out to take the cell from the girl's fingers. He had a sneaky suspicion that whatever had been sent to her- especially given her reaction to it- wasn't pleasant.

Man I hate being right, He thought as she quickly threw the covers back and ran to the bathroom where he could hear her vomiting as he looked down at the cell phone to see what had been sent to her as Thor walked up and peered over his shoulder.

There was a picture of a girl the same age of Ichigo, with shoulder length light brown hair, and red framed glasses lying in a pool of blood with half of her insides torn out. She hadn't died easy. Nor quicky if her expression was nay indication at all.

And there was a little piece of paper with the name, Chizuru Honsho, lying next to her head with some school pictures of the dead girl and Ichigo standing with a few others laughing.

Thor let out a menacing growl before then disappearing into the bathroom to see to Ichigo while Bruce's eyes flashed green with barely suppressed rage.

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