[Sharon just sips her coffee and lets Maria observe her – she’s almost thankful for it, actually, she’d rather let the other woman read her body language than suffer some awkwardly invasive game of twenty questions about her wellbeing.]

We hit it off at the party, I’ll reach out and see if he wants to have lunch.  [a shrug]  Can’t hurt, right?  Who knows, maybe between the two of us we’ll get a whole picture.

[Something else is weighing on her, too; an idea that’s been germinating since that night at the casino, watching Steve wrangle the press corps with an ease she knows neither she or Maria have.  And Maria’s right, they can’t do this alone and they shouldn’t even bother trying, but then – ]

Have you had any thoughts about our PR problem?

No, it can’t. 

[ There’s a part of her that’s relieved- doing half of the legwork she’d normally have to delegate to three or four lesser agents all while keeping a strictly confidential line? It seems she’d made the right choice in offering Carter the Deputy position ( as if she’d ever had reason to think otherwise ). Maria hides the curl of a smile behind the lip of her cup, taking a long draw of espresso. ]


[ Her first instinct is to buck, stubbornness already fighting for purchase at the forefront of her mind. Compared to Stark and Osborn, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Public Relations department looked lightyears ahead, but this had only been the one issue; the tip of an iceberg that’s long been aching to topple and reveal whatever’s been hiding beneath the surface. The fact of the matter was, despite it all, S.H.I.E.L.D. no longer had ties to the Avengers aside from, as was so publicly displayed, cleaning up their messes. Maria exhales. ]

It’s on the list. Why, have you?


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