the night descending ; bruce + maria


It’s all the same to him ( except not really, she’s cold out here ), and he nods, shifting slightly to plant his weight more firmly into the ground. But he doesn’t much mind the fact that they’re still linked up, fingers against fingers, palm to palm, adjusting as need be to stay comfortable and together. 

    The extensive answer takes him by surprise – he’d been expecting a short response in absence of a sly one, but what he gets is oddly detailed. Perhaps related to the subtext of his question? He’s beginning to wonder if their whole interaction up until this point has just a dalliance and not a statement, but she tugs his arm closer;   so maybe he hasn’t gotten the wrong idea, and it was just something about his question? He can’t imagine what that something is though, but he writes it off as another of the many mysteries about her he’s so drawn to. 

“You look cold,” he tells her, switching threads of thought, forgoing the asking portion like she suggests, slipping his hand out of hers. The question he wants to ask isn’t one that gets to be asked; the thought of putting words to it makes him uneasy, and he feels both of them would prefer to give that particular topic a wide berth. 

     So instead he takes a step to the left to cushion the shoulder of her injured arm against his chest, shifting his arms so they close around her – one snug against her back, snaking around her torso and seeking her good-hand fingers again, the other settling carefully across her front, curving to reach her back. The angle causes his hand to catch the hem of her jacket and slip under, the flat of his palm against her shirt. Immediately the area begins to warm. 

A bold move, but he’d claim she started it if anyone took issue. He smiles at her, grinning, his movement bringing them notably closer; “You are cold,” he states, satisfied with the discovery, bringing them a little closer so she can benefit from any heat that seeps through his jacket to hers, to her. They haven’t been this close since the dance at the wedding – not free of rubble and dissociative substances, at least.

He’s smiling, warm and slightly dopey from the way his hand presses flush against her shirt – there’s no uniform to dull his touch, just the thin fabric that feels like nothing in comparison – the solid muscle and the warming skin unspeakably close, the experience of it all finally untainted, and all the better for it. 

Still, just in case they’re not on the same page… 
          “Aren’t you?” 

          He’s not wrong. It’s cold outside, the atmosphere not unlike New York right now, DC. It probably doesn’t help that he’s radiating heat like a nuclear disaster- everything else likely feels frigid by comparison. An inhale, he shifts closer and she allows it. Allows it because there’s a thread of trust there, because maybe there’s a deep-seated yearning for contact that can’t be shared with just anyone. It helps, too, that they’re alone and unrecognizable beneath the neon cast of Tokyo nightlife.

     Maria rotates slightly to accommodate the gesture, her free hand bypassing the brush of his fingers to instead snake around his torso, fingertips laying against the fabric of his jacket, still warm despite the chill of the air. It’s reminiscent of the dance they shared- so long ago now that it almost seems unreal ( fogged by the events that fall between then and now, it’s one of the only sweet things she’d had to look back on until she’d found out that he’d been taken by the Skrulls not shortly afterward ).

          The glint of his smile is visible in her peripherals, she dips her head, feeling the hook of her own grin begin to cant upward. She can’t help it. He’s so pleased, so pleasantly adorable with the discovery of this information that it takes hardly any effort at all to turn her head and close the distance between them ( negligible, really- it had been a bold move, after all ). Lips catch and she shifts forward onto the balls of her feet, using gentle pressure from her arm to keep him close but not confined. A risk well-measured, every possible outcome already weighed and cataloged.

     He started it, anyway ( though she might argue, privately, that it was a long time coming; the way he’d looked at her at the wedding– ). The ensuing slightly-embarrassed smile splits her mouth, breaks them apart. Lashes dust her cheekbones for a fraction of a second, the closest to demure that she may EVER get. 


     Maria hums, her arm still hook around his back, sling pressed against his chest. She can feel the radiation pouring off of him, through the hand at her side, her back. When their eyes meet, she can’t help but lift a brow, ever the challenging glint to her irises. “No, not so much.”


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