Bruce picked up the small feline and sat down on the chair behind him. He silently watched it with admiration as the ginger kitten meowed and licked Bruce’s fingers. He listened through the list of names and felt more comfortable around the name Oz. “I like Oz best. Although Shrek is a great movie.” He smiled and looked up at Betty. Just seeing her relaxed and comfortable made his body tingle with pleasure and delight. It was as if none of the recent dramatic events had ever happened, they were just as they were before. It was all so surreal.
“Is this real?” Bruce spoke quietly with disbelief in his tone of voice. “I mean…can we start again from how it used to be?” Bruce prayed for what Betty might reply with. He had imagined and dreamed of reuniting with her one day and even starting a family together, though he knew his dream could never fully happen. But this could be that one day and the animals around him could be their little family, and if that would be the closest he could get to having a happy ending, he could take it in an instant.
Betty’s smile could only grow wider as the kitten played with Bruce. In her own little mind, it was a little like a child playing with his father. After all, Betty’s kittens were her children. And she liked to think of Bruce as their father. And they would be a lovely family, hopefully. ”Oz,” she said absently, as if she were taking the name for a test drive. ”Oz, yeah,” she said, now confirming the cat’s name. ”I mean yeah, Shrek is a great movie, but Oz. Yeah, I like Oz,” she said, nodding.
Betty sat down on a chair next to Bruce and picked up Fiona, who curled up in her lap. She looked up at Bruce, his question catching her off guard. She had thought of the same thing, many, many times. When she first arrived at Sky High, she didn’t think it possible, nor did she want it. She didn’t want the same life she had before. And the truth was, it wasn’t possible. She would never have exactly the same life she had before. But she could try to pick up the pieces, and make it as similar as possible. She could try to have the same happiness she had before she died. And she would start with Bruce. ”I…I think we can try,” she answered with a hopeful smile. ”We can be the same, even if the circumstances aren’t.” She gave him once more smile, and leant in for another kiss. This time, a confident one. She wasn’t walking around eggshells anymore. She wanted the relationship they had before.
Tim whistled to himself as he stepped down the road toward the gym that Betty had told him to meet her at. Honestly, he was pretty damn excited. He’d never really been able to fight someone in bear form before, so it was going to be pretty awesome. He was used to his gloves and his rink, his mouth guard and his trunks and his protection that he used in boxing, and this was a whole other story. This he was going to be real and raw and gritty and, well, giant and hairy. It was awesome.
He opened the door to the gym, clad in a pair of simple gym shorts and a black tank top. It was easier to keep lighter clothes when he shifted. That was one of the things that he was hoping to learn while at Sky High: how to shift with more than just light clothing and then keep them on when he shifted back. But for now, he was okay with the shorts and tank top. He stepped into the gym and spotted Betty, giving her a quick wave and jumping over to her. “Hey!” he said as he took his bag off of his shoulder and placed it on the ground. “So where are we going to do this? The wrestling room? Seems a little safer so we don’t break anything.”
Betty turned towards the door at the sound of another person’s voice. “Hey there!” se replied enthusiastically. She was psyched, to be honest. She couldn’t fight anyone as She-hulk. Other than Bruce, that is. But fighting Bruce had other implications; emotion could fall in the mix, and the raw anger that fueled both hulks could mean millions in repairs to the school. Fighting Tim was exciting because she had no emotional ties to him whatsoever. They were just two students who met over the internet, who could spar without any sort of feeling coming between them. It was a non-sexual ‘no strings attached’ relationship, in a way. They just wanted to have fun, by beating the shit out of each other. Because they actually could beat the shit out of each other.
Bringing a hand to her head and scratching it lightly, Betty thought. The wrestling room was the best alternative, after all. ”Yeah, I guess so,” she said with a shrug. ”I’ve never actually done this before, the only times I’ve fought as She-hulk haven’t been exactly planned, and I ended up breaking a lot of things, so…yeah. Wrestling room makes sense.” She nodded, making her way to where she assumed the wrestling room was. Betty never frequented the gym, having visited for the first time about a month after her return to Sky High. She only had an idea of where it was, having seen the little signs in her few visits there. ”So, here we are,” she said once they were there as she dropped her gym bag. ”Let’s do this.”
Of course he can. He does.
He loves me, Bruce still loves me. He said so the other day.
He still loves me, I still love him. End of story.
At the idea of training with another person who could match her in strength, probably, Betty felt revitalized. For some time, she had sulked about her newly acquired abilities, but she quickly discovered how liberating they could be. After years of being treated like a porcelain doll, a precious relic not meant to be touched, Betty felt like she had been set free, out of her cage. She was indestructible, she could do whatever she wanted. But then, upon arriving at Sky High, she had to suppress her abilities. They weren’t exactly admired, she was aware of that. She had seen firsthand the abuse Bruce had suffered for having similar abilities, and while she was significantly more in control than he was, she could still be very destructive.
But finding a suitable match freed her once more. She could make use of her abilities without hurting anyone, plus she made a new friend. A friend that didn’t know the old her, that couldn’t compare her to her past self or claim that she “wasn’t Betty”. And while she loved her old friends, like Bruce, Gwen, Pepper, Tony, Kebira, Laura, and Jay (even if he didn’t love her back), it was nice to meet someone who only knew the current her. The real her. Because in essence, she was the same person. She just finally had the confidence to let down her guard and do everything she had only thought possible in dreams before. So it was safe to say that she was excited as she made her way to the gym, dressed in the stretch suit she had so conveniently been wearing when she broke free from the lab where she was resurrected. When she arrived, it was empty. But she expected Tim to be there soon enough.
Bruce quickly wiped his face on the towel to clean himself up before the door opened and…there she stood. Bruce’s self consciousness melted away as he smiled sweetly at the gorgeous woman standing in front of him, her laugh made his heart swell. “Hi.” Bruce started simply, not knowing how to start off the conversation. Just as he was beginning to have thoughts about offering an awkward hug, Betty was leaning in for a kiss. He gratefully accepted it as he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. Sparks flew, just as they always did.
As Bruce leaned back with a surge of glee, he nodded to Betty and entered her room. He missed being back here, the smell, the furniture, everything. When his wife was declared dead he remembered being offered to visit her room to pick up any sentimental objects and such, and that’s the reason why he declined. He just wasn’t ready, and never could be, the memories this place held were too much to revisit. Now as he stood at the doorstep next to his revitalized wife, gazing around at the dorm room, he could only feel humble. The little rascal. Bruce was took out of the trance by the mention of the new cat. “Oh yes, let me have a look.” He slowly walked over to the small kitten playing next to their beloved Fiona, he bent down and stroked it. “Oh it’s so cute.” The kitten purred at Bruce’s touch and leaned into his touch. “I’m stuck for names, is it a boy or girl?”
When they kissed, Betty felt her chest swell up, what she felt for Bruce was almost too much for her little body to contain. If she had a single doubt about her relationship with Bruce that day, it had been wiped away with that single kiss. She was, and always would be, in love with Robert Bruce Banner. They could take her away, brain wash her, wipe her clean, and she would still love him more than she would ever understand. Nothing had changed, and that was good. Her love for Bruce was one of the things she wanted to stay the same. She sighed as the parted, a smile plastered on her lips for the rest of the day. Nothing could put a damper her mood.
Crossing her arms, she smiled at Bruce and the new kitten. It was just like old times. Before she died. When they were married. Legally, they weren’t married anymore (although Betty would like to change that), but Betty had faith things could be like they used to. She had been scared that they would never go back to that, that they would never feel as comfortable with each other as they used to, but she quickly saw that they would. They could go back to living together, the two of them, and now the two cats. If Bruce wanted to, that was. ”It’s a boy,” she answered him, his voice pulling her away from her thoughts. ”I tried to name him, but I’m stuck too. The only names I thought of so far are the male counterpoints of the names I considered for Fiona. Fiyero, Oz, and Shrek. I’m not big on Shrek, though,” she laughed.