Fandom: The Avengers, Marvel Cinematic Universe
Pairing: Bruce Banner/Tony Stark
Categories: Action/Adventure, Angst, Fluff, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Romance, First Time
Length: Super Epic (133697 words)
Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: determamfidd
Bruce has been searching for a cure again, but Tony doesn't think the green guy is a disease. Abruptly, he's given everything he's ever wanted, and... well, it seems it's all more complicated than that.
Hulk - Amateur Psychology Hour with Tony Stark - Clint as a troll - more Hulk - Bruce as an angry introspective mess - Hulk again - Steve as Team Dad - Nick Fury as Nick Fury - Hulk smash! - Tony as a caped crusader for Hulk Rights - Rules, Rules, Rules - Natasha as the boss of everything - the Experimental Method (by T. Hulk) - Thor as the God of Thunder and Frustration - Tony as the king of the oblivious idiots - Stealth Sass Master Banner ...
...and a lot of figuring out who you really are.
When I was trying to come up with a way to open this review, I ran through about half a dozen pithy one-liners before going for the low-hanging fruit, which is to say, idioms and song lyrics. And I did hit the jackpot there, with “be careful what you wish for” and “you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes... you get what you need” but what those two phrases miss entirely is the fact that Irreconcilable Differences isn't actually a Bruce Banner story. It's barely even a Bruce/Tony story.
First and foremost, it's a Hulk story.
It opens in Stark Tower's lab, post-Avengers, with Bruce trying to use science to rid himself of his alter ego even as Tony tries to talk him out of it. And soon enough, by way of an admittedly plot-devicey villain, he gets exactly what he wished for: Hulk out of his head and body. Of course, it ends up being not nearly as simple as Bruce had thought it would be; he and Hulk are in separate bodies, but they are still two parts of one being, as they and the rest of the Avengers discover.
Hulk is child-like in his naivete and curiosity, though scarred by his experiences. He's frightened by loud noises, has little control over his strength, and doesn't like taking baths. But at the same time, he demonstrates complex thoughts and emotions, making up rules and experiments and forgiving Bruce for his unwillingness to accept Hulk. The two forge a bond, facilitated by a gleeful Tony and a tentative, but generally open-minded team of Avengers, which culminates during the story's climax with Bruce's ultimate expression of his acceptance that the Hulk really is an integral part of his mind and heart.
And right there with them at every step of the way is faithful Tony, who supports both of them unequivocally and without bias. Hulk and Bruce's reconciliation could never have happened without him there to coax and cajole and tease it along.
There are a few flaws, usually moments where determamfidd dips into heavy-handed sentimentality, or the general admiration toward the Hulk edges into cheesy worship. Tony is also a lot more sensitive and kind than his canonical movieverse self. But in general, the author maintains a solid balance of emotion, mixing fluffy scenes, like Hulk trying not to pop balloons, with moments of intensity, mostly on Bruce's part.
If you like Hulk or Bruce, or are looking for something adorable and uplifting, this is a definite must-read.