places my mind IMMEDIATELY dashed off to:
- after a battle with a high school genius, Bruce de-Hulked in a stairwell with a bunch of cooler-than-you hipster seniors who were trying to not show how super enthusiastically into the Avengers they were by being nonchalantly helpful in finding Bruce some clothes. One of the kids has the Iron Man t-shirt—ironically—in their backpack and Bruce has worn more embarrassing things after the Other Guy came out to play. So.
- Bruce just shows up like this at Tony’s front door about two months after everything—longer than Tony had thought, long enough to think that he’d pushed too hard or wanted too much, the same old story. But Bruce knows—won’t address it head on, that’s not how they do things, but still knows—and the t-shirt is some sort of gesture. It’s equal parts “sorry I went off the grid and made you sad” and “look, it’s funny, we’re friends, right?”
- Tony just emptied Bruce’s shirt drawer when he was in the shower one day and replaced them with all the Avengers themed merch. He and Clint have planned this, they have cameras, they’re giggling in anticipation—and Bruce is just so thoroughly not bothered by it all. He wears the Iron Man shirt and pulls it at the bottom as he steps out of his bedroom, saying, “Look, Tony, I have your face on my belly!” And within an hour they’re all wearing each others’ novelty t-shirts and then the Hulk one gets left in the gym and Steve and Thor both wear it when they work out—it gets crazy stretched and faded. And the first incarnation of the Black Widow one gets burned because of pink, Natasha sues, and then there are “gender neutral” ones put into production and everybody gets one and she nods in curt approval every time someone wears one.
- Tony is doing his I-am-a-whirlwind-of-modern-technology-and-decadence routine—whisking Bruce away for lunch at Tavern on the Green in Central Park, champagne with flakes of gold in the glasses just to show he can, the whole deal—and then he suddenly realizes Bruce has sauntered over to one of those stands with all the NYC memorabilia and is laughing at something the guy is saying—and then he’s just putting the t-shirt right over his Henley, right there, and he has never looked like more of a dork before—but that’s Tony on his shirt. And Bruce grins and gives him two thumbs up from across the way.