“You know, I’m sure you’re surprised, but you’re not the first person to say that,” the words are almost a sneer, not that Maria deserves the weight of the chip of Sharon’s shoulder that’s behind it but – fuck it –
“I think it looks great on me, actually – ”
The thought’s interrupted by gritted teeth when Maria moves, and alright, fine, so Sharon fell prey to her own ego for two seconds, isn’t that sort of the secondary exercise here? Hell, they’re both coming back from something a little more disheartening than a broken bone or two, and for women like them, women who’ve had to fight twice as hard to get half of what someone else has, spite is about all that gets them out of bed some mornings.
Sharon breathes into the press of Maria’s palm against her collarbone – cautious in a calculated way, not gentle but certainly mindful – and fights to retake her position, thigh pushing into Maria’s knee until she’s certain there’ll be a bruise there tomorrow. Something loud and hot sings in her blood, no, that offer sounds like giving up, that sounds like –
Unable to regain her ground – Maria’s got weight on her, and she’s using it – Sharon frees her right arm to wrap fingers around Maria’s left wrist, a sacrificial gambit if she chooses to play it. Painful for both of them, but necessary to break the stalemate, unless –
(Christ, Carter, did you get out-thought by Maria fucking Hill?)
For a moment they’re locked, just staring, a challenge inside the compromise Hill’s offered that Sharon’s trying to parse. What’s her play?
“And disappoint our audience?”
If she didn’t already have the upper hand she would’ve pushed to secure it now in the face of Carter’s blatant gasconading. Her lip curls, frustration evident in the lines of her mouth and brow when she feels the press of fingers against her wrist. It’s healed, the upper part of her arm but there’s still a lingering weakness that has manifested in the rest of the limb. A chain-reaction, so to speak, the lessening of muscular fibers and tendons by way of forced disuse and the fact that Sharon not only knows this but also uses it to her advantage has Maria’s blood pressure spiking.
It’s now or never, she’s got one final card to play- the reason, maybe, for her coming around looking to press Carter’s buttons. The provocation, the fact that Maria Hill won’t give anything up without a fight. And deep down beneath all of her steel-plated armor, in the place where she can keep hold of and examine any sort of consideration for others, Hill thinks that Sharon wouldn’t have it any other way.
A sigh, her frown deepens but it’s not as sharp as it was before. Dulled around the edges, sure, but she won’t work to hide that part of whatever comes next might be paining her just a little. A thorn in the paw of a predator- just a minor irritation in the grand scheme of things.
( She can do this now- she has the upper hand and so folding to offer the suggestion can’t be counted as a loss. It may as well be considered an act of mercy, or the tentative suggestion of a waving white flag. )
“I need a Deputy Director.”
It’s fucking poetic is what it is, offering the role to a Carter. Maria can’t imagine it being anyone else, not that she’d ever admit it. Eyes flash to the fingers on her wrist, before dragging back to the blonde and she applies the slightest amount of pressure as if a subtle reminder.
Maria won’t ask nicely ( hell, she hasn’t really asked at all ), but she knows Sharon will interpret the message. No isn’t really an option, or she hasn’t exactly explored the possibility that Carter might refuse, so she grits her teeth and offers the next words with a challenging flick of her brows.
“Take it or leave it.”