You Gotta Catch Me First!

Date: 5/11/23

Pairings: Bruce Banner X Natasha Romanov; Brutasha

Word Count/Average Reading Time: 3,684 wrds/15 mins 26 secs

Description: After an incident during a field mission, Doctor Bruce Banner secluded himself in the workshop lab at the avenger's compound, tinkering away at Tony Stark's inventions (with Tony's permission, of course) as a way to avoid conflict and avoid making any dangerous mistakes. This plan goes well for a bit, he's able to have a full day of tinkering to himself (aside from a few interruptions), until Nastaha comes by to shake things up a bit, teaching the doctor to be always on his toes...

CW/TW Slight Angst but that's about it...

A/N: Took me FOREVER to write this but it came out really cute, so enjoy!

Bruce Banner sat at one of the workbenches in the lab of the avengers compound.  His hands worked meticulously separating pieces, putting the parts back together of Tony Strak’s various inventions, Bruce made sure to ask Tony first before reassembling and disassembling his work, Tony treated his inventions like his  children so as long as Bruce brings them back in one piece, Tony was fine with it. 

Bruce’s hands were busy, which meant that his mind was busy, so he wouldn’t have to think about anything else. Not about The Hulk, not about his guilt or even time for that matter, all that mattered was the machines. 

 Bruce was sunk deep in this trance, nothing could  break his concentration until he felt slender arms wrap around his stomach. The careful movements made him jump a bit , his back arched  slightly from his hunched position, and his glasses slid to the tip of his nose.

“AH! Nat, you scared me!” Bruce said startled, Natasha Romanov rested her head on Bruce’s broad shoulder, her eyes still closed hanging on the last bits of sleep.

“Well, Good Morning to you, too” Nat said cheekily, she ran her slender fingers through Bruce’s messy mount of semi-wavy dark hair that had just a dash of salt and pepper around the edges.

“M-morning?” Bruce asked, he looked at her dumbfounded, a look that was further punctuated by his unbalanced glasses, she had his full attention now.

“Yes, morning, its what comes after night time, Doctor” Nat teased “I forgot you work on mad scientist time” she smirked, she  pushed up Bruce’s glasses back into place with her slim finger, her smirk grew when she noticed Bruce’s face subtle turned a brighter shade of red , then she grabbed another seat right  next to Bruce.

Bruce’s eyes wandered in thought, he tried to recount  the events of the day, and how it went by so quickly.. He remembered asking Tony if he could tinker with his inventions, remembered Thor trying to explain to Thor while tinkering that a hotdog was a hotdog and not a sandwich around lunchtime, Nat coming to see what he was working on, her helping a little and eventually falling asleep on his shoulder when Bruce was trying to explain technical science stuff, carrying her to bed. 

 Tony teased him about  it on the way to her room. Last thing he remembered was looking at Nat fondly while she slept and resisting the urge to kiss her peaceful sleeping face.

The thought about Nat sleeping made Bruce’s face turn a slight shade of rouge, and his heart band quickened.

“Are you okay, doc” Nat asked, she leaned closer to Bruce to get a better look at his face

“Y-yeah, I just didn’t know it was that late--or early, I guess” Bruce stuttered, he patted his face as he tried  to flush the blush for his face, and to bring himself back to earth

“Well, you sure don't look tired, that's one thing” Natasha noted, she leaned across the bench to pick up a cup of coffee from a local hipster coffeehouse.  Bruce respectfully  looked in other direction when Natasha reached for the cup,  her eyes perked up when she reached for it, but that interest disappeared when she realized it was empty.``Makes sense, it looks like you’ve been running on caffeine for the last few hours, I thought you were trying to cut back”

“I am, b-but Peter was offering, a-and it's hard for me to say no to the kid” Bruce said sheepishly, the timeline started to make sense, he should have known it was morning once Cap was up, and Spiderman was headed for school.

“You’re still working on this?”  Nat said she lightly jabbed Bruce in the side, and he jumped again.

“Ya-yeah, but I’m almost done, just need to put these parts together and--” Bruce’s sentence trailed off as he started to look around frantically. “Wait, where’s the washer?”

“The w-wa?” Nat muttered, she got on the floor and started to search for the missing piece 

“The tiny washer---it's like a little circular screw--- I had it, when you said good morning”  Bruce stepped back, and started to slowly scan the workbench table, his hands on his head, ready to pull his hair out, his heart band started up again.

“Oh, oh, I think I got it” Nat sprang up from the floor with the missing washer proudly in her hand.

“Oh, thank you, Nat” Bruce said, relieved, he carefully took the wash from Nat and continued to tinker with the invention.

“No problem, didn’t want you going green over one of tony’s toys” she climbed back in her seat, and rested her hand on Bruce's shoulder reassuringly.

“Tony would have my head if I  messed up one of his machine”

“And by ‘have your head ' you mean guilty trip you about it until the end of time” Natasha rolled her eyes at Bruce's statement, she found Bruce’s loyalty to Tony to be cute sometimes, and frustrating most of the time.

“Yep, pretty much” Bruce shrugged “I just don't want to let him down, you know”

“Since when have you ever let anyone down?” 

“I don't know, how about  the last mission, where I was trying to protect a small girl from being crushed by some debris, but she was so scared of me that she almost ran into oncoming traffic…” Bruce’s voice trailed off , not wanting the memory to resurface.

“Aww, Bruce that wasn’t your fault, Peter was able save  her before anything bad happen”

“Yeah, because I put her  in harm's way, and when her  parents came to thank Peter, they didn't give me so much as a sideway’s glance,” Bruce stated glumly, he hunched closer to the machine, hoping that his busy hands would help block out the memory. “It's just that I thought I had it under control, but if something like that can happen means I clearly don't…” 

“Is that why  you have the band…?” Natasha said she observed the black bandwrist on his arm.

“Yeah, I  don't want to unintentionally bring out the big guy by accident…” He looked at his heart band sternly , it served as a reminder for him to discipline himself.

“Bruce you don't have to--”

“Its fine, ‘Tash” Bruce interrupted, his shoulders slumped as he sighed “Its unhealthy for me  to focus on things I can't control, so I’m just going to focus on what I can control,  maybe instead of going out on the field missions I could help from here. You know, less conflict, fewer chances for me mess up, I mean do have 5 PHDs for science not superheroing---anyway, I don't want to talk  it about anymore, at least not right now”


“Can you pass me that part right there” Bruce pointed towards the mechanical part that was closest to Natasha without looking at her

“Sure” Natasha said in a sullen tone, she placed the mechanical part in Bruce’s bulky defined hand. She stared at Bruce with a heavy expression, Bruce  looked at the machine with a strict look of concentration, as he pondered about where to place the piece.

Natasha watched as Bruce twiddled the part in between his fingers, while he was thinking, after a few seconds  Natasha got an idea.

Natasha got up from her seat, and stood behind Bruce, who was too in the zone to notice her movement.

The hard focused expression on Bruce's face softened, when he felt a pair of small hands on his shoulders. Natasha’s hands rubbed up  down from the tip of his callor bone to his forearm slowly. Natasha’s touch made Bruce’s whole body freeze, his fingers slowed on fidgeting with the part, the fixed concentration had melted from his mind, and his mind was left blank.

His mouth started to turn cotton, he forgotten how to speak full sentences “N-nat…what…are you--”

“Oh nothing, Bruce” she purred into his ear “You looked stressed is all, We can't have your heart mentor go into overdrive.”

“Ya-ye-yeah….” Bruce agreed, he remained stock still, unsure of what to do next.

When Natasha’s hands traveled back up Bruce’s upper arm, they passed the tip of his collar bone up to his ears. Natasha traced her slender fingers behind his ears, The scientist tucked his head forward, the corners of his mouth turned up in a smile, Bruce bit his lower lip, despite that Nasatha could hear a few titters slip through.

“N-na nat, ta-this i-isnt fu-fu-funny…” Bruce hiccuped, he turned his head to shake off her mischievous fingers, but it was no use.

“Are you sure?” asked coyly “because I think I MIGHT be hearing some laughing, but I could be hearing things” Natasha’s hands snaked from Bruce’s ear, passed his forearms to his sides, and started to squeeze them.

Bruce stooped forward, his whole body shaking with laughter, although Natasha couldn’t really hear it, the few snorts between the quiet hysteria gave her a hint that she found a sweet spot.

“Ah! There it is” Natasha teased “You know, doc, for a large guy you have the tiniest laugh..”

Even though, The doctor was in the midst of hysteria, he still held the mechanical part in his hand firmly. Natasha was going to have to try harder if she wanted to loosen his grip.  Natasha's hands went lower to Bruce’s hips,  Bruce started to crumble as Natasha fingers started to knead his hips. Bruce let out a brassy hiccup that made his entire body jerk, and loosen the grip he had on the component causing it to sail  high in the air across the workshop.

Bruce grasped his hand around his mouth in an effort to cover his loud and dorky  laugh, and in shock of the fragile part as it flew through the air. Natasha ran and grabbed for the part before it landed on the shiny hard aluminum floor. 

“Ah…ah.. thanks , Nat…” Bruce sighed, relieved that the part was okay, and that his torment was over…at least for now. Bruce held out his hand as Natasha walked towards him,  Bruce expected her to give it back. He was surprised that his hand was still empty when Natasha passed by the workbench towards the hallway, she turned around  to look at the dumbstruck doctor. 

“ ‘Tash?” Bruce asked “Wa-Wait , where are you going?”

“If you think hiding away in the lab means you can avoid conflict, then  think again! if you want to finish your precious machine then you gotta catch me first” Natasha teased, she waved the final piece to the machine teasingly.

“ C’mon, Nat don't you think this is a little bit childish” Bruce stated, rolling his eyes, his hand out still waiting for her to give back the part, but Natasha continued to walk farther and farther away from Bruce and the lab.

             “Oh, its going” 

“Nat…” Bruce sighed 

“Its going….”

“ ‘Tash…..”

“Its gone!” Natasha turned and ran away with the machine part, echoes of her laughter followed behind her.

“Oh my gosh….” He removed his glasses and rubbed his forehead “Am I really going to do this?”  Bruce asked himself, then he thought about the look of disapproval on Tony’s face, if he were to find out that  Bruce lost the last piece, not to mention the endless teasing about HOW he lost the last piece .“Yeah, I’m really doing this!”

Bruce got up from the workbench leaving his glasses and the almost completed reassembled  invention behind, he started to chase after the sneaky hitwoman. “Natasha Romanov, you get back here right now!”

Bruce could feel his heart to gradually speed up as he scoured the halls for Natasha. He looked at his wristband and  watched the numbers climb, still keeping a tab on his heart rate. While Bruce knew that he should be wary about his wristband, he would be lying if he didn’t enjoy the rush of the chase. The contagiousness of Natasha’s laughter caught onto Bruce, a few bouts of giggles spill out with every shout of Natasha’s name.

Meanwhile, Natasha was far ahead of the doctor, but she could still hear his booming voice trail behind her. She was very skilled at throwing her voice, but it wouldn’t be long before Bruce would find her, she would have to find  a place to hide. Natasha ran into the avengers common room, with the only averager in the common room being Thor, who was polishing his hammer, he was startled by the hitwoman’s sudden appearance.

“Oh, great heavens!” Thor shouted as he jumped, he almost lost the grip on his hammer.  

“SSSH!” Natasha hushed, her eyes darted from Thor to the storage closet. Natsha bolted towards the open door of the small storage room “If Bruce asks, I was never here!” she whispered to Thor as she closed the door.  Right when the storage door shut, the lounge’s double doors busted open with the befuddle looking scientist.

“Thor! Have you seen Nat?” He asked the thunder god "She ran off with a part of Tony's machine, she seemed to be headed in this direction..”

Thor leaned forward, he resisted the urge of his eyes to lead towards the closet door. “Uhhhhhh…NO!” 

“Are you sure about that?” Bruce inquired, Thor was always kind of a weird guy, but he was acting stranger than usual.

Thor leaned back, with hand over his mouth still resisting his eyes to give Nat’s hiding spot away. “Uhhhhh…….Yes” he nodded

“Are you sure, you’re sure  about that?” Bruce began to step closer to Thor. Thor may have been a god but Bruce knew he had few earthly weaknesses. He slowly raised his hands up, his fingers made a piano-like motion that grew quicker with every step towards Thor.

“Okay! Okay! I can not tell a lie” Thor blurted out, he pointed towards the closet “ she is right over there, in the closet!”

“Oh Thanks alot, THOR!” Natasha groaned through the door.

 "Oh why, you're very welcome, Natasha." Thor said, with no hint of irony.

Nat emerged from her hiding spot and tried to dodge Bruce, but he tackled her onto the couch.

“Give me back the piece, Natasha!” Bruce said, his arms wrapped around Natasha's waist, his face returned to the subtle shade of red once again, but he tried to keep his mind on the mission.

“Oh, you mean this piece?” Nastsha teased, She waved the piece in Bruce’s face, before she placed it in her breast pocket firmly. Bruce’s face went from a light rouge to bright ruby red, his head hung low with shock and embarrassment.

“Ohh, I did not see that coming” Thor commented as he watched from the other side of the lounge, his mouth agape.

Bruce was frozen in thought, all he could hear was his heartbeat in his ears.  He tried to think of  a way to get  the part without breaking it or hurting Natasha. Just then, a thought came to Bruce; since Natasha was being childish , he thought he would be childish as well. 

“W-well, Natasha looks like you’ve left me with no choice…” Bruce sighed, he lifted his head back to look at Natasha, his face still beet red but he was determined to get that part. Bruce’s fingertips began to brush gently against Natasha’s sides, the red head’s body jerked forward,  she grasped the doctor’s wrists in a half hearted effort to make him stop.

“Bu-burce…” Natasha stammered, a bit surprised at the shy scientist's sudden forwardness, she bit her bottom lip to hold in the giggles that started to raise up.

“Na-Nat, Did you know that the human body has a billion nerve cells, there are about 100 billion in the brain, and 13.5 billion in the spinal cord?” Burce blurred, with everything going on his brain kind of defaulted to science facts. Bruce’s fingers climbed from Nat’s sides to her ribs, slowly but surely his fingers poked at each and every rib bone as they got higher and higher. 

Each poke from the doctor made it harder and harder for the spy to keep her cool, every touch made the giggles more and more audible.

“You know, Nat, '' Bruce started. “ There was an old myth that said females had more ribs than males, the human body has 12 rib bones and that goes for everyone. Although I have a slight feeling that you might be a special case, so I’m going to double check to make sure.”  Bruce smirked at his somewhat successful attempt at a tease, although he wasn't sure if Nat actually got it, as she was too busy giggling to notice. Nat grasped Burce’s wrist in another attempt to stop the doctor’s busy hands, but it was another failure.

Some of Natasha’s laughter started to rub off on Burce, as he tried to come up with more fun facts, bouts  of giggles and snorts fell out of the doctor’s mouth. It got to the point where the scientist found it difficult to keep his “cool composure”, well as cool as one can be with her face hued a bright scarlet red, sat over their not so secret crush.

“Na-na d-did you know that there are two types of nervous systems for volturenary and involuntary actions?”

“I-is th-this your idea of teasing?” Natasha commented through the constant stream of giggles and squeaks. 

Burce couldn’t come up with an answer that wasn't riddled with chuckles, his fingers wandered a bit before they found Nat’s sweet spot, which was just below her under arms. Nat let out a big squeal, her arms scrunched up to her side and left an opening for Burce to finally grab the piece. Bruce carefully grabbed the piece without a second thought.

“I got it!” He said as he held the delicate part triumphantly in the air. Bruce’s busy hands finally left Nat alone, she let out a big sigh of relief that was still peppered with giggles.

“Well done, doctor!” Thor said as he clapped for Burce, he watched the whole tussle play and he was quite invested in the current drama. “Might I add that was a riveting battle” 

“Congratulations, doctor” Nat said,  she sat up with a look of mischief on her face “ but it looks like you forgot something..”

Bruce looked around until he noticed the arm that held his heart band was bare, from behind her back Nat revealed the arm band, she spun it in her hand with her index finger.

“A twist!” Thor gasped 

“See, I told you, you could keep yourself under control” Nat stated proudly. She held the band in her hand and brought it closer to Bruce, but she snatched it away when he tried to grab it. “You didn't need this bulky wrist band, but if you back that bad… you gotta catch me first!”

Natasha bounced off the couch and ran out of the room,  trails of laughter followed behind as she teased the doctor for another round. Burce looked at the part that he worked so hard to get, chasing after Nat second time would definitely be childish, but to say that he didn’t have fun while doing so would lying, and to say that he didn't think Nat’s playful cat and mouse game she started wasn’t at least a little bit cute would be an understatement. 

Burce tucked the piece in his chest pocket, “Forgive me, Tony..” Bruce muttered to himself, before he jumped off the couch to chase after the red-headed thief. 

“Nat, you get back here!”

“Oh the battle continues…”Thor said as he followed behind the bantering couple.

Vision made his way to the lounge of the Average compound, he was in the middle of reading a book in his room when Wanda came in and started another nostalgic tv show marathon. While he loved seeing her happy, the show was a bit too loud for him to focus on his reading and he didn’t have the heart to tell her to turn it down, so he opted for reading somewhere else and the lounge seemed like a good place.

When Vision stepped into the lounge, he saw Burce and Nat on the couch. Bruce was fast asleep, with Nat on top of him. Nat removed the doctor’s glasses from his sleeping face, and rested them on the coffee table .  Nat looked at Vision and made a hush motion, she fished the mechanical part out of Bruce’s pocket and gestured it towards Vision, who tipped toed into the lounge quietly. 

Nat looked at the doctor’s peaceful face, and planted a kiss on his cheek. She looked at Vision again, and made one more hush motion before she rested her head on the scientist's chest, she let the rise and fall rhythm of his torso lull her to sleep.

Vision looked at the peaceful couple and smiled, he carefully made his way out of the lounge. As he carefully opened the door  to leave, Tony rushed in with the unfinished invention in his  hand , angry.


Vision hushed  Tony in mid-rant and gestured to a tired Bruce and Nat sleeping on the couch, with Burce’s face marked with lipstick.

Tony stood there for a second, at first he silently gasped  but his shocked expression morphed in a smirk and a nod of approval.  “ Way to go, Bruce!” he whispered under his breath, but Tony brought his attention back to the incomplete invention. 

“Yeah, yeah that’s fine n’ all, but I still don't know where’s the---”

“Don’t worry, Tony” Vision whispered, he showed off the part that Nat gave him “I got the piece right here, I can fix it up in no time. We should let Burce rest…”

Vision and Tony walked off towards the lab, while Bruce and Nat slept peacefully for the rest of the day.

The End