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Let's Quit While We're Ahead (Avengers)


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Hello all smile.png When I'd asked for suggestions, several people requested allergic Bruce Banner from the Avengers. I couldn't agree more! Hope everyone enjoys...

Tony glanced up from the piece of armor that he was repairing when he heard Bruce sniffle for the eighth time in five minutes. The doctor didn't seem to notice but Tony had been keeping track. Call it concern, call it germophobia, he didn't care. What he did care about was the fact that his mild mannered friend seemed to be coming down with a cold and he wasn't sure how well the Other Guy would tolerate it. He had plenty of money to rebuild Stark Towers should the Hulk bring the whole thing crumbling down, but what a hassle really. When the doctor sniffled yet again, Tony put down the tools he was working with and walked over.

"You feeling okay?" he asked casually, picking up a random computer part off Bruce's workstation. The doctor looked up and adjusted his glasses.

"I'm fine. Perfectly calm."

"Yeah, no I can see you're calm but you've been sniffling an awful lot today."

"Am I? I hadn't noticed."

Tony unapologetically crowded into the doctor's space, scrutinizing his face. For what, Bruce wasn't sure. Feverish eyes? Greenish tint to his skin? Now that he'd mentioned it though, Bruce could feel a light irritation in his nose--feathery but persistent. Funny that he hadn't noticed it until Tony brought it up, but now that it had been brought to his attention it the tickle seemed to be growing stronger. He sniffed.

"See you did it again," Tony said taking a couple steps back. "If you're getting sick I keep hospital masks and hand sanitizer stashed all over the lab."

"I'm not sick," Bruce said. "At least I don't think I am. I don't feel bad, but something is really bothering my...my nose." His voice trailed off as he felt the irritation in his nose increase. He cupped his hands in front of his face and sneezed a restrained HehhIHHNSHHH!

“Bless—” Tony said. The doctor held up a finger as his breath caught again. Hehh…EHhhIHHNKSCHHH! “Bless you.”

“Thank you.” Bruce sniffed once and cleared his throat. Tony frowned.

“Seriously, what’s this about?” he asked.

“I have no ideahhEHHSCHHHEW!” Bruce caught another sneeze in his hands. “Ugh. No idea.” The doctor took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes.

“JARVIS, what’s Doctor Banner’s temperature?”

“98.6, Sir.”

“White cell count?”

“Within normal range,” the computer responded.

“How can JARVIS tell what my—”

“Small biorhythmic program I installed in—you know what, not important,” Tony said. Bruce couldn’t help but smile and shake his head just before sneezing again.


“Bless you.”


“JARVIS, what’s Doctor Banner’s histamine level?”

“Twenty percent above normal.”

“Huh. At least we know it’s allergies,” Tony said.

“I don’t understand,” Bruce said. “I’ve only ever been allergic to cats and ragweed. Can’t imagine either one of those has made a sudden appearance here.” He reached his thumb and forefinger up underneath his glasses and rubbed the corners of his irritated eyes.

“Well it’s got to be something recently introduced to the lab. Whatever it is, it’s made you kinda leaky,” Tony said. As if on cue, a robotic arm reached around Bruce with a box of tissues. “Look at that, you are good for something,” Tony said to the piece of machinery. “May not have to turn you into scrap metal after all.” Bruce gratefully pulled several tissues from the box and dried his eyes before blowing his nose. Tony did his best not to grimace but must have failed.

“Sorry,” Bruce said, sniffling.

“Can’t help it,” Tony said, clapping him on the shoulder. “At least you’re not contagious. JARVIS what new chemicals have been introduced into Stark Towers in the last 24 hours? Look for cleaning products, soaps, detergents, anything that might provoke an allergic reaction.”

“Checking now, sir.”

“You don’t need to go through the trouble Tony,” Bruce said.

“JARVIS is doing all the work.”

“Still, I don’t want to cause…Hehh Ahhh—” He grabbed a tissue and caught a rapid triple. AHhhTSCHH! KTSSHHH! HiihhTSSCHHHH!

“Bless you,” Tony said.

“Thank you.” Dr. Banner took his glasses off and laid them on the table, rubbing at his watery, red eyes. He sighed and reached for the tissues as he felt more sneezes quickly approaching. With a single gasping breath, he launched into a fit of irritated allergic sneezes, steadying himself by holding on to the table for support. AHhhhNTSCHHH! KTSCHHH! AhhTSCHHH! KTSSSHH! Nk’tSSHHHOOO!

“JARVIS?” Tony barked.

“Nearly finished scanning, sir.”


“Jees—you okay?” Tony asked as the doctor swapped out the soaked tissues for fresh ones. He was winded from the sneezing fit but nodded.

“I’m okay.”

“And how’s the enormous green rage monster handling all this?” Doctor Banner laughed—only Tony could ask about the Hulk in such an offhanded way.

“He’s fine,” Bruce said finally putting his glasses back on. “All this sneezing makes me tired and tired is good. Tired is manageable.”

“Well, I was thinking about remodeling the lower ten floors of the tower so if the Other Guy feels the need to smash something, just give me a head’s up so we can go down there. Probably save me a ton of money on a demolition team,” Tony said. Bruce shook his head with a small smile.

“I’m fine,” he said quietly.

“Because it’s really not a big deal,” Tony said. “You know that right?”

“It is a big deal,” the doctor sighed. “You have no idea just how big a deal it is.”

“Sure I do. Big. Green. Totally awesome if you ask my opinion.” Bruce looked up—Tony’s tone was light but his eyes were serious.

“Thanks,” he said quietly. “No one has ever…not since…just thanks.”

“Well, you know me—known for my ability to always put others first. Never thinking of myself, attuned to the suffering of those around me.” He flashed his million dollar smile before adding. “You’re always welcome here—both of you. Now, JARVIS, what have you found?”

“There have been three potential allergens introduced into Stark Towers in the last twenty four hours. The first, are the new floral arrangements in the penthouse. They contain lilies and hydrangeas. Second, the cleaning service used a different brand of floor polish. Third, you, sir, are wearing a new cologne.”

“Really?” Tony asked.

“Yes sir. Miss Potts purchased it and replaced the nearly empty one in your bathroom last night.”

“Well, the good news is that there’s a 67% likelihood that Pepper is responsible for your allergy attack since she picked out the flowers and the cologne,” Tony said.

“Why is thahh…that…” AHhhTSSHHHH! KTSCHHOOO! “Why is that good news?”

“Just gives me something to annoy her with. She’ll feel terrible about triggering your allergies—it’ll be great.”


“Bless you. So, what do you say? Up for a little scientific experiment? Grab a little of all three things and see what makes your nose go berserk?” Tony asked.

“I don’t think that’s such a…hahh…hold on…” The doctor scrambled to pull a few tissues from the box, clutching them to his irritated nose before sneezing. AHhhTSSCHHH! STSHHHOO! KTSCHHOOO! Ahhh HAHH AHHH’NSSSHHHH! SNTSCHHHOOO! KTSSSHHHH! “I don’t think that’s such a good idea,” he said thickly from behind the tissues.

“It’s all in the interest of science. Come on—where’s your curiosity?”

“I’m curious how much you really want to risk finding out what the Other Guy is like in the middle of an allergy attack.” Tony immediately started to respond but was cut off by another ferocious sneeze from his friend. AhhEHHHKTSSSSHHHHOOO!

“Bless you. Yeah, you’re right. We’ll get all three things out of the tower right away. My curiosity can wait…though I can’t help but wonder…No. You’re right. Let’s quit while we’re ahead.”

“Thank you,” Bruce said. Tony patted him on the shoulder.

“Plus, spring’s right around the corner and I must know somebody who has a cat.”

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As one of the requesters, OMG!! Thank you so much! This was adorable and wonderful and hot drool.gif I LOVE the science bro feels and Tony's interest in experimenting.... can hardly blame him, can I biggrin.png

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  • 1 month later...

“Well, the good news is that there’s a 67% likelihood that Pepper is responsible for your allergy attack since she picked out the flowers and the cologne,” Tony said.

“Why is thahh…that…” AHhhTSSHHHH! KTSCHHOOO! “Why is that good news?”

“Just gives me something to annoy her with. She’ll feel terrible about triggering your allergies—it’ll be great.”

That is and always will be the best lines ever. *standing ovation* It's so like Tony to pin the blame on Pepper. Everything is so real and believable. And plus Tony and Bruce? My Brotp for life! SCIENCE BROS FTW!

Thank you so very much for the amazingly well written fic! I've been deprived of Bruce Banner allergy goodness... ;D

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