By G. P. Avants
Bruce Banner takes a breather. He is one of the four original Avengers that has survived Thanos’ balancing of the universe. He and the cowering Hulk are alone together inside the Hulkbuster having a little heart-to-heart chat.
Banner: Okay, big guy.
Banner: It’s time we had a little talk.
Hulk: (Sighs) No.
Banner: (Grunts) You can’t hide inside forever.
Hulk: You hide when Hulk fight.
Banner: That is a very bad analogy,
Banner: (through his teeth) Bad choice of words. Bad example. I didn’t have a choice, you big dummy. You get angry and I am along for the ride. (to himself) Funny how the roles have changed. If felt good to help win the fight.
Hulk: Puny Banner is not good in a fight.
Banner: What?! You’re kidding, right?
Hulk: I am Hulk, you are not.
Banner: I am not believing what I am hearing. Who put on this Hulkbuster suit and got right into a war out there?! Who? Me, that’s who.
Hulk: Hate that name.
Hulk: Hulk buster. Why did you make it? To hurt Hulk?
Hulk: No one hurts Hulk…until…
Hulk: Hate that name, too.
Banner: He…smashed Hulk.
Hulk: That is what Hulk do, not him.
Banner: (reaches up awkwardly and pats his own shoulder) It’s hard to lose, isn’t it?
Banner: I have gained a lot from losing. Some of my best ideas came from getting…beat. It makes me think clearer.
Hulk: Not thinking for Hulk. Only doing something.
Banner: You are learning it takes more than muscle to win a fight.
Banner: Yes, yes it does.
Hulk: All over. Head hurts too. Too much thinking. Too much talking.
Banner: Now you know how I feel every time you take charge of things.
Hulk: Don’t want to anymore.
Banner: Now you know what fear is?
Hulk: What is…fear?
Banner: Boy, (To himself) how do I explain that? Fear is when you are scared to do something you know you need to do.
Banner: I hate to tell you this, big guy, but our team needs the Hulk. (He sighs) They need us both to be united.
Hulk: ( Laughs) What can puny Banner do?
Banner: I can show courage, even just a little.
Hulk: What is that?
Banner: That is being afraid, but…doing what you need to do anyway.
Hulk: Banner, you scared, too?
Banner: Damn right I am, most of the time I am with forces more powerful than I am. But you see, Hulk, just being a hero is more than just going full on rage monster and smashing things up.
Hulk: Hulk not hero.
Banner: But…I want us…what we are… to be. The world doesn’t need any more monsters.
Hulk: Hulk don’t know.
Banner: Things are changing for all of us. You need my brain and I need your muscle.
Hulk: We…are a team?
Banner: I would like that.
(There is a metal tapping in the Hulk Buster face mask)
Hulk: More trouble?
(Tony Stark looks in on the tired Banner)
Stark: Can I please speak with the brains in this outfit?
Hulk: Ah, funny little metal man again.
Banner: Yes, trouble of a different kind. Nothing to be afraid of.
Hulk: Not afraid of metal man.
Stark: Are you and the big guy done
with your little Smeagol/Gollum debate?
Banner: Sort of.
Stark: Isn’t that…precious.
Banner: What’s up, Tony?
Stark: Are you and your other half back together?
Banner: What do you think? I’m still attempting to coax our green rage machine out.
Stark: We are doing damage control, out here, buddy. We are getting the band back together. Ready to suit up, both of you.
Banner: I am…how about you, Hulk?