ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Am I Not," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," and "Green Eggs and Hulk."

Fandom: The Avengers, Hulk
Characters: Hulk, JARVIS
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Past abuse. Past fugitives. Dysfunctional family dynamics. Isolation. Internalized oppression. Low sense of self-worth. Self-destructive behavior. Shame. Depression. Bruce and Hulk are somewhere between self-abuse and domestic violence inside their headspace. Current environment is safe.
Summary: Hulk makes his first, violent appearance in Avengers Tower. JARVIS helps him calm down.
Notes: Accidents. Hurt/Comfort. Anger management issues. Sensory processing disorder. Artificial intelligence. Hulk is an enormous green fear monster. Sibling rivalry. Emotional whump. Communication issues. Loneliness. Touch starvation. Memory problems. Boundary issues. Trust issues. Daddy issues. Attachment disorder. Friendship. Hope. Hulk needs a hug. Safety and security. Protection. Teambuilding. Family of choice. Competence.

This story takes place shortly after The Avengers, when the teammates have recently moved into the tower and are still hiding from each other prior to the advent of game night in "Love Is for Children." It features a scene referenced in a couple of places, where Bruce Hulked out and smashed half the common kitchen. But there's more to the story than the rest of them know ...

(Also the perk story "Brotherlove, Brotherlust" is still open for audience activity to reveal new material; see Part 1 and Part 2.)

Skip to Part 3Part 4Part 5.


"Blended" Part 1


PAIN!

Hulk comes out angry. Foot hurts. Someone hurt puny Bruce. Hulk SMASH!

He tears through room. He looks for bad people. Room is big and light and full of things to smash. Cold box for food. Hot box for food. Thing to eat on. Things to sit on. Too many places for bad people to hide. Hulk tosses things aside as he hunts.

But he finds nobody. Hulk is alone. Only sound is smashing. Things only move in Hulk hands. Room is just room.

Hulk feels confused. Frustrated. Foot getting better fast, but still stings. Someone hurt puny Bruce. Hulk looks and looks but cannot find enemy. He growls, mutters, unhappy rumbles under his breath. Room has smash all over floor. He kicks at loose pieces. Scratchy underfoot.

Hulk still angry. More smash does not make him feel better. Who hurt puny Bruce? Where is Hulk? Why is room so empty? he wonders. Hulk head is full of questions but no answers. He does not know what to do.

Hulk paces through smash. He whines. Then he stops, still, quiet. Nothing helps.

Sound.

Hulk spins, looking for bad people. Nobody there. Hulk roars. He will find them! He will smash them!

But Hulk does not find anyone. He slows down again. Deep, huffing breaths. Huge hands paw through broken stuff. Metal. Wood. Things for making food. All smash now. Bits blended with other bits. Prickly.

Sound again, soft.

Hulk turns, looking and looking. Nothing. Maybe sound was always there, hidden by smash like bug under rock. Hulk listens. Hulk has good ears.

Sound is ... voice. Slow words talk about sunshine and numbers.

Hulk cringes. He scrabbles into a corner. Voices bad. Mean people always hurt Hulk and puny Bruce. But Hulk can't find enemies today. No find, no smash.

Hulk tries something new. "Who there?" he asks.

"My name is JARVIS. You cannot see me, because I am an artificial intelligence made by Tony Stark."

Hulk remembers, little bit. Tony. Blueberries. He looks around room. Plenty food here too. Or was before Hulk smash. He hunches down. Nobody likes Hulk smash. Another memory, though ... huge fan. Tony is not bad. New voice is just ... "Voice," Hulk says.

"JARVIS. I believe you call us Tinman when Tony and I wear the Iron Man suit."

Hulk remembers suit dancing in sky like hummingbird, cherry red and sunny gold. Pretty. Strong. "Tinman. Tony. Voice," says Hulk.

"Very well, you may call me Voice if you wish. Welcome to Avengers Tower, Hulk. You are safe here."

Safe? Nowhere is SAFE. Not for Hulk or puny Bruce, he thinks. Voice is stupid. They do not like stupid. Too many times stupid people hurt them.

"Not safe," Hulk grumbles, rocking from foot to foot.

"This place is safe," Voice insists. "Look around. What do you see?"

Voice is so stupid. "Room. Smash."

"Don't worry about that," Voice says.

Not worry about smash? That is NEW. Hulk does not know what to think. Thinking is Bruce thing.

* * *

Notes:

People may be protective of friends or siblings. It's possible, though difficult, for someone to shift from bullying to protecting. Despite their problems, Hulk is very protective of Bruce.

At first Hulk displays aggressive and angry body language. He is often portrayed as angry in canon.

Anger management is a challenge for people with angry outbursts. This is a typical problem for abuse survivors, who are often angry about the abuse but afraid of the anger too. Know how to resist an outburst yourself and how to help children with their temper.

Hypervigilance is an exhausting state of constant alert for danger, with negative physical effects. However, it can also include precise discernment of people's emotional state, environmental hazards, and other risks. Hypervigilance is distinct from paranaoia as a mental injury rather than a mental illness. Therefore it requires somewhat different solutions. Hypervigilance is a common symptom of PTSD. There are ways to deal with feeling on edge.

Child abuse can cause lingering effects, including hypervigilance. Even with a supportive adopting family, the traumatized child may still have trouble relaxing. Highly sensitive, creative people may also experience hypervigilance.

Creating safety is a crucial step in trauma recovery. Everyone needs to feel safe. Domestic violence and abuse make it difficult or impossible for children to feel safe. Here is an exercise for feeling safe down to your bones. It's important to help children feel safe in stressful times and to make a secure home environment. Usually Uncle Phil is the one we see working to create safe space for the Avengers, but here it's JARVIS.

Losing control is scary and unpleasant. Know how to calm an angry person, help someone during a panic attack, or help someone through a flashback. Bruce can Hulk out over any or all of those things. In this case, JARVIS knows exactly what happened and why Hulk is smashing the kitchen. JARVIS doesn't take it personally or consider Hulk a threat like most people have, just calmly works to contain the damage and keep everyone as safe as possible. JARVIS does not yet know Hulk well enough to understand all his triggers or what will do the most good, but JARVIS does know a lot about loss of control and what typically makes it better or worse.

Later in the story, Hulk shows frightened and defensive body language. This appears in canon too; for instance, consider that like Bruce he almost never stands up straight but tends to hunch and hide. Hulk can switch from dominant to submissive presentation. If threatened, he'll lash out; but if that doesn't work, he can become uncertain and scared. He has a lot of really awful memories bubbling up. But notice that, even at this very low level of experience, his high emotional intelligence is showing through: when the things he tries aren't working, he tries something else, and eventually makes contact with JARVIS who is able to help.

Body language can influence your mood or someone else's. It's hard for JARVIS to communicate with Hulk because JARVIS relies primarily on his voice but Hulk is not a very verbally oriented person. At least JARVIS can read Hulk's body language and tell that the poor guy is more scared than angry.

Tony's "huge fan" quote comes from The Avengers.

Some trauma survivors feel that they are never safe and that nowhere is safe. Bruce-and-Hulk have far more experience being unsafe than being safe, so the Avengers have a lot of work ahead to create a sense of security for them.


[To be continued in Part 2 ...]

Off with a bang!

Date: 2014-05-16 06:38 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Oh, my. Bruce is going to be 'hiding' for a while, isn't he? Hulk jumped 'front' to take care of the threat, but I'm wondering if I'm /imagining/ that you've begun to hint that Bruce... lags a bit... when he doesn't exactly want to own up to whatever sparked Hulk off?

That's good for Hulk, in that he's getting some time among people who /don't/ want to hurt him, who value him as his own person. But it's troublesome in the long run.

At least my kids blamed their imaginary friend for a mess for only a LITTLE while... and their imaginary friend wasn't a big, green rage machine, either.

Phil, you've got to have the most amazing library hidden on your StarkPad-- "365 TV-Free Activities" coexisting in the same folder with "NAMI Now" newsletters, just to name two.


Thanks for posting this!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-16 09:55 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Aw, JARVIS is adorably amazing. I wanna give him and Hulk both hugs (I'll figure it out somehow)

-Wynjara

Hulk makes an appearance

Date: 2014-05-16 11:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I love the series, what I love about this story so far, is that unlike most others I've seen it doesn't seem to be all about calming Hulk down so Bruce can come back,but treating Hulk as an individual not just Bruce's angry side. Simply put, Hulk needs hugs too. That begs the question......does Hulk get his own pj's???

Irda (AO3) (stupid autocorrect wants to change my name to 'Idea')

Re: Hulk makes an appearance

Date: 2014-05-16 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hulk jammies? Might be a hard sell; Hulk's only real experience of clothes is too-tight pants that almost certainly pinch his tender parts.

--Jessica

Re: Hulk makes an appearance

Date: 2014-05-17 03:30 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, apparently I misread how early this was. I thought Hulk was still running in the Bruce-pants, which would definitely be too tight and all pinchy and only held together by the combined might of the Comics Code Authority and the Motion Picture Association of America. :)

--Jessica

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-16 01:08 pm (UTC)
aldersprig: an egyptian sandcat looking out of a terra-cotta pipe (Default)
From: [personal profile] aldersprig
*earperk*

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-16 01:16 pm (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
This hits me right in the FEELS. I like that you're exploring back story, but it makes me a little sad to see HulkandBruce at this stage, instead of at the later stage when they're doing so much better. They still need work, but it's so much better. I also like seeing JARVIS interacting with the team on a one-on-one basis.

Yay!

Date: 2014-05-16 01:27 pm (UTC)
ext_1575623: (Default)
From: [identity profile] draggon_flye.livejournal.com
Bruce and Hulk are particular favorites of mine. I relate to your version of them a lot. I would have likely loved this simply for that, but WOW! My whole perception of hulking out just fundamentally shifted. This isn't just anger. This is essentially PTSD/flashback/anxiety attack. That's a far more complicated kettle of fish.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-16 02:50 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Ray gotta eat him up with a big spoon (Ray with marshmellow creme)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Bruce dropped something on his foot, knife?

I'm trying to figure out what sort of fiber would be big enough for Hulk to finger knit with for starters. Maybe Tony will have someone work up a bamboo extra bulky.

Thing is, Tony has done more damage in similar timeframes, and he doesn't have quite the same excuse. JARVIS knows that this just means that some people will get hired to fix things.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-16 07:08 pm (UTC)
chordatesrock: The Punishment of Loki by Louis Huard (detail) (Default)
From: [personal profile] chordatesrock
It's a good thing Tony can afford to replace his stuff.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-16 07:40 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster (Janine)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
And why Pepper has always kept her more sentimental things in a pied a terre.

You know Steve would try to salvage stuff.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-05-16 08:10 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Opening the can and skipping names (Dangerous and good to know)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
I was thinking rope was the right gauge, but most of it doesn't have the best qualities regarding knitting, not being very springy (I learned on acrylic, so I suppose it's no worse.)

Once he's got training I think Hulk would within tolerances for his size be fine working down. He might knit sock yarn in confection colors as a fluttery wrap for Natasha on the longest set of 30s.

Cotton rope would make a nice scrubby for Hulk likely, or a standing mat for anyone else.

Though, I suppose if he had very hard yet somewhat flexible metal needles he'd be able to knit in things like chainlink gauge steel with the yarnovers about the same holes.

"Hulk knit for schools!"

I'm seeing toys made out of kong 'rubber' and the recycled bottle 'lumber'.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2014-06-03 03:35 am (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: little girls are made of everything kick_ss (sweetness and angles)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Hulk tested, elephant approved.

I've knitted thin wire, it is a bit of murder on the hands and you have to be sure the needles are harder than the wire or they'll suffer. An artist had a fence done lace style, but they used a less hard wire than standard chainlink.

Hulk has range of motion and good feedback.

He starts knitting rope 'bubbles'.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-16 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Brown Sheep Burly Spun is about 3/8 to 1/2", 100% wool. It's a single, so no worries about splitting plies. The big concern is the softness. It's not super scratchy, but maybe not soft enough for someone with Hulk's sensory issues.

--Jessica

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-17 12:05 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: cartoon men (Egon and Peter)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Considering that they let tiny humans touch sandpaper, I'd think that he'd be fine. I just didn't know there was a wool that big. I can just see tiny Natasha curling up on a woobie Hulk knitted.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 02:49 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I don't know if it's commonly mass-produced, but I've seen alpaca rug yarn about the thickness of my finger, and surprisingly soft as well.

-Wynjara

(no subject)

Date: 2014-09-01 12:59 am (UTC)
pinkrangerv: White Hispanic female, with brown hair, light skin, and green eyes, against a background of blue arcane symbols (Default)
From: [personal profile] pinkrangerv
Oooh, knitting, my favorite! I wonder if paracord would be more agreeable, though? Paracord knotting is fun, but paracord itself would make some nice big chunky 'yarn' for Hulk...

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2014-09-01 04:23 pm (UTC)
pinkrangerv: White Hispanic female, with brown hair, light skin, and green eyes, against a background of blue arcane symbols (Default)
From: [personal profile] pinkrangerv
I didn't think of the military associations, you're right about that...silk rope or ridiculously chunky yarn would feel very smooth. So would bamboo yarn, actually--bamboo yarn is my FAVORITE because it's soft and silky and wonderful.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-17 10:54 pm (UTC)
yamx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yamx
Aw, I love JARVIS!

Is this the blender incident mentioned in Love is for Children?

The thing is, saying, "We don't care about the damage, we just care you're okay," is all well and good, but most people don't have the luxury of not caring if their kitchen is smashed to smithereens. It helps to have Tony's kind of money.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-05-18 03:12 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: very British officer in sweater (Brigader gets the job done)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Hulk has had Bruce's back when no one else did, and that's a lot to handle stuck as a toddler.

Now (in later context) Hulk has people he can trust. He can stop running in (because Bruce has a poor sense of scale. Hulk and puny could get very captured if Bruce was totally in control. Or that gun eating.)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-05-20 01:34 am (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: Pre-Serum Steve Rogers, shirt and suspenders (Sad Steve)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
It also matters that his teammates are not just willing to protect him, but able to make it stick, unlike his mother.

Trust. Anything that gets through Ironman and Captain America, deserves Hulk SMASH!!!

Hulk is a solution. Used to be he'd goad Bruce not to just fawn when it wasn't going to work. Now he can make No stick even if trouble comes in a tank.

Bruce thinks that trouble comes in a tank is Hulk's fault.

Yeah, Bruce will angst past it being reasonable. So, is Steve the old man and who is he reading to?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-18 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
im so excited for this one you have no idea

(no subject)

Date: 2014-05-20 08:03 am (UTC)
thnidu: blank white robot/avatar sitting on big red question mark. tinyurl.com/cgkcqcj via Google Images (question mark)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Tony's "huge fan" quote comes from The Avengers.

Uh, where is that in this chapter?

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