He leans back further into the wall, crossing his arms over his chest and nodding as he takes in Hill’s words. They make sense, and to be honest, they make him feel better. He’ll definitely take them into consideration as he tries to figure out what to do from here on out…

“I’m cool with being a work in progress as long as it doesn’t mean I get somebody shot.”

His tone is more bitter than he means it to be, but he’s still pissed. The reason he’s not an active agent at S.H.I.E.L.D. now is because someone had been off their game and he’d taken three bullets as a result. 

Still, he smiles at the woman across from him, gratitude in his eyes despite the glint of mischief shining through them as well.

“Careful, Boss – I might just start telling people I’m your favorite if you keep saying stuff like that.”

A surprised laugh echoes in the apartment at the distaste in Hill’s voice and expression.

“Nah, definitely not. I’ve still got some self respect.” He shakes his head. “I don’t really know what I’m gonna do for now, but I’ll figure it out. Is there a specific date you want my answer by?”

She’s not here to win him over. Hell, she’s not even here to try all that hard to get him back, if he’s that far gone. In that case, what’s done is done. The Director isn’t about to go chasing personnel with questionable loyalty choices ( regardless of his reasons for leaving, she wants people who won’t falter when their number is up ). Lips tighten, Maria nods slowly.

     “We can work with that.”

The humor, however, is ignored, save for the slightest flick of her brow. Their conversation has wound down to its end, a wick that’s run out of fuel ( and NOT, thankfully, dipped into the end of a powderkeg- this had gone better than expected ). She takes a sip of her coffee and looks down at the bottom, swirling the dregs with a soft gesture of her wrist. 

    “Take your time, but know that we’re interested in keeping you, Antoine.” There’s a break, she flashes her teeth. “But I’m not going to beg.”

A pivot, reminiscent of her militaristic upbringing, and Hill’s heading toward the door. With her hand on the frame she juts her chin over one shoulder, the barest glimmer of humor latent in the rise of her brow.

    "No one would believe you, anyway. I don’t have favorites.”

Fingertips tap out a cadence before she rocks forward, steps away from leaving.

    “I expect a firm answer by Monday, Agent Triplett.” 


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