ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story belongs to the Schrodinger's Hulk series, a crossover between Hulk and Schrodinger's Heroes. It is a sequel to "Safe Keeping" and "Two Spirits, One Past," and "For the Very First Time." It fills the "original characters" square in my 6-11-14 card for the [community profile] fanbingo fest, and the "sunny" square in the public card for the Birthday Bingo fest.

This casts the Hulk from The Avengers. So it doesn't match up exactly with the various Hulk movies, and Bruce Banner is played by Mark Ruffalo. The first story in the series goes into alternate-universe mode after the lab accident while Bruce is running from General Ross but before Bruce meets any of the Avengers.

The Schrodinger's Heroes, project features an apocryphal television show supported by an imaginary fandom. It's science fiction about quantum physics and saving the world from alternate dimensions. It features a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This project developed with input from multiple people, and it's open for everyone to play in. You can read more about the background, the characters, and a bunch of assorted content on the menu page.

Format: Fiction
Title: "The Path of the Sun"
Fandom: Hulk/Schrodinger's heroes
Summary: Bruce is not a fan of birthdays, nor of parties in general. Pat is pretty sure he can change Bruce's mind.
Required Warnings: No standard warnings apply.
Notes: Gentle coaxing, laid-back planning, low-key celebration, party food, games, team as family, cottoncandy fluff.

Skip to Part 3.


"The Path of the Sun" Part 1


Bruce sat in the sun, basking like a lizard. Texas seemed like it was always sunny. He loved the heat, the way it soaked into his bones and made the Other Guy slow and sleepy. Bruce could happily stay out here all day.

It was Pat who found him, of course, because Pat kept an eye on the whole team. He wouldn't let anyone disappear for too long, especially under touchy circumstances. "Is this rock taken?" Pat asked.

Bruce sighed and cracked his eyes open to peer at the dark form of his visitor. "I suppose not."

"So I heard that you weren't very receptive to Quinn's suggestion of a birthday party," Pat said.

"I'm not really a birthday kind of guy. I only have one party trick, and it isn't something anyone wants to see," Bruce said.

"Now, that's not a very nice thing to say about Hulk," Pat said gently. "If you keep saying nasty things about him, it'll just make him meaner."

"That would be like making the Atlantic Ocean wetter," Bruce said. Inside, the Other Guy gave an unhappy rumble, making Bruce wince.

"If you truly don't want to celebrate your birthday, we'll let it pass," Pat said. "If you're just trying to avoid it because you feel like you're not worth a celebration, that's a different thing altogether and we won't let you get away with it. We'd all enjoy a chance to celebrate with you."

Bruce struggled to articulate the morass of his emotions in a way that might get Pat off his back. "Parties are ... loud, and crowded ... they make me uncomfortable."

"Well, that's no fun," Pat said. "What do you do for fun on your birthday, then?"

It had been so long, Bruce was at a loss to answer. Then a memory flickered, old, because his mother was in it. A birthday, and a lawn game. "It's silly," Bruce said.

"I'd still like to hear it," Pat coaxed.

"My mother used to set out bottles and things for me to throw rings at," Bruce said. He fidgeted, brushing dust off his rock.

"I'm sure Bailey would have a field day with that, and probably Chris," said Pat. "No reason you can't play chess with Alex and Ash, too -- we've got a lawn set for that."

"Yeah, maybe," Bruce said. It didn't sound too awful.

"Now let's talk about food. What kind of cake do you like? I can make just about anything," Pat said.

"Tres Leches," said Bruce. It was an old favorite, but he rarely felt like asking for something that was such a bother to make.

"No problem," Pat said with a beckoning gesture. "Anything else? Give me one more thing you'd enjoy eating."

"Cucumbers in vinegar," Bruce said. That was something else he hadn't eaten in ages.

"Okay, we have ideas for entertainment and food. Anyone you'd like to invite besides the team? It doesn't have to be a big party, but you can invite anyone else you want," Pat said.

Bruce thought about that. He hardly knew anyone here, except Betsy Ross, who was part of the team now. Then he remembered the owner of the local thrift shop, who still blamed himself for Bruce losing his cool in there, which was just nuts. "Dakota," said Bruce. It was a way to make up with the fellow.

"Okay, then," Pat said. He brushed his fingers across Bruce's knee. "I'll leave you to your sunbathing."

Very astute, that. It was hard for Bruce to work up a good case of nerves over the birthday party when he was lying on a nice warm rock.

* * *

Notes:

People may dislike birthdays for various reasons. Some dislike parties in general, especially introverts for whom parties do not meet their needs. Bruce has both of the problems Pat mentions -- he doesn't feel like he's worth a celebration (so outvoted there) and his experiences of parties have mostly sucked.

Fortunately Pat understands that low-key birthday parties are fine, and knows how to plan a good one, listening carefully to Bruce's objections so that this party will not be either loud or crowded. A quiet family meal is just one of plenty alternative birthday celebrations. So if you're coaxing friends to celebrate, remember to be gentle and let them indicate what they do or do not consider fun.

Transforming anger is important, because harsh words just make people angrier. There are better ways to deal with difficult people. Bruce needs to learn how to be kind to himselves.


[To be continued in Part 2 ...]

Go, PAT!

Date: 2014-10-24 08:53 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
HUGS X 1,000,000! So gently handled-- he's probably an AWESOME Dad!

And I want his recipe for cucumbers in vinegar; I've never heard of it!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-24 02:59 pm (UTC)
yamx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yamx
Aww, lovely. :) Yay for Pat!

But what are cucumbers in vinegar? Is that like pickles, or a cucumber salad made with vinaigrette, or what?

I think a lot of people don't really like loud crowded birthday parties. Tony seems miserable at his birthday party in IM 2--of course, he's also dying at the time, but still.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-24 03:26 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: very British officer in sweater (Brigader gets the job done)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
See, Tony really wishes he could find his generation's Feymann and about five more than can run at the full bore geek and hard partying titles. If there were a few women that can spout the math of their breasts in motion, more power to them all.

(Let's face it, seven at that caliber would be a destructive force. "We had to send in the Marines." Whatever for? "I think it was mostly for body shots, but there was also a manapult.")

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2014-10-24 05:57 pm (UTC)
yamx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yamx
That is certainly true, but I also think that, despite his carefully cultivated image, Tony really doesn't enjoy load crowded drunken bashes nearly as much as he pretends. A quiet family gathering was just never an option, or he didn't think it was. But I always get the feeling he feels totally alone int he crowd.

I bet he'd prefer a quiet day with the team. Maybe his birthday will come up in your other series at some point?

Looking forward to the recipes! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-24 04:26 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Pickles in vinegar! Tres Leches cake! Bruce really does know how to party, he just might not be aware he knows*. Low-key parties are the best thing.

*Or be willing to accept it.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-25 04:22 pm (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
Quiet family dinner is *good* birthday. My whole family prefers low-key birthday parties.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-10-25 11:44 pm (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
>> It's good to know what you want, and have friends/family who will go along with that. <<

Yes.

>> I am pretty persnickety about birthdays that way. It's your birthday so you should get to decide what you want to do with it. Birthday person gets to choose food and entertainment. <<

Completely agree, that's how it works in my family.

>> *chuckle* Bruce doesn't know it, because the questions led to a quiet family celebration, but if he'd said something far-out like "Well, the best birthday I had was on a field trip to India in college," then Pat would've said, "Where in India? Alex has a jet." <<

It would be nice to have friends like that.

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