A Little Different, Still The Same || Maria & Harry


      He’s amused by her comment; in fact anything even remotely resembling a dig at Stark will earn as much from him, but the fact it came from Maria makes it one thousand times better. So his smile grows, just a touch. He’s also a little proud and smug with himself for having induced something even approaching a laugh within her. He counts it as one.

                  The look on her face when he pulls the phone out is equally as good, and he almost finds himself looking forward to a continued professional relationship between them. At least, that’s what he’s here to build. The phone is a gesture. An inside joke and a show of goodwill wrapped in one. But he didn’t come all the way to her office just to play out a fun little routine. He had something more expansive in mind; productive, co-operative. A way in which both of their organizations could benefit from one another… But for the moment he simply allows his smile to inevitably peek into the slightest grin, drinking in the humor of the moment. 

                          “Yeah, kinda.”

         He admits freely in a lilt that betrays his amusement; the prompt of seeing the state of her phone helps him. It’s even better, and by that he meant worse, than he’d expected. He’ll have to keep in mind just how routine a thing this was gonna become. On that note, he finally decides to push a little further.

                “I was actually thinking–. Whether you uh, wanted to set up something a little more… comprehensive?”

                                           A pause.

            “I was serious, about that stuff I said at the conference…”

                                                       The stuff about S.H.I.E.L.D. needing to diversify their tech sources…

        She’s appreciative, if not a little sheepish that he’s all but figured her out ( this one tiny, SLIVER of her personality, of her existence– she’ll give him that much; phones in her possession are not long for this world, it’s a proven fact now ). Brows dusting her hairline, Hill finds herself a little in AWE of his audacity to confront her about her so-called predictability ( even if we’ve JUST established that it’s not unfounded ). It’s not every day she has someone strolling in here, calling her out. 

        Fingertips slide the broken device across the table, as if for his inspection, even though she knows he doesn’t need proof. Bits of glass were missing from the screen, the metal casing scratched so raw that the underlying aluminum shone through– it’s miraculous that she hadn’t ALREADY sliced her fingers on the damn thing. Maria shrugs instead, using an outstretched finger to rotate the new phone atop the table, ignite the screen with a single depressed button. “This new?” The model itself isn’t familiar, not that she pays much attention to fads in mobiles these days, aside from the annual buzz when the larger corps announce their long-awaited new models.

        The hand retreats, leaving the pair side by side- new and old, the pristine and the shattered. To take the new one would be a definite agreement to the exchange he’s about to propose ( not that she’s entirely opposed, of course, but Maria Hill prefers to be bound by legislation rather than aided coercion ).

               “S.H.I.E.L.D. is absolutely open to considering a partnership with OsCorp.” A dipped chin, the a smile smothered by the nod. “And NOT because of your donation, here, though it’s appreciated.”

                                               “What exactly did you have in mind? We can hash it out here before drawing it up all officially–”


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