Bruce –> Maria


(646): You can decide for yourself when you try it. 

(646): I’ll be here.


With the time in mind he heads to a cafe, browsing through some websites and gathering whatever threads of information he can regarding the keywords in Bobbi’s email. ( What he’s really tempted to do is rifle through the webpages in search of information for what he’s missed these past two months beyond the trickle of Western media he’d had access to – what he’s really tempted to do is look up how Tony is, but research is a good distraction ). 

        On the way back he buys a plain, muted, wooden fruit bowl and three bananas, an orange, two apples, a head of garlic, and some vegetables to go with the rice he sets to cook on the stovetop. Fresh was always best and he gives Maria a twenty minute buffer, setting the sauce to stew and hoping the arrangement of fruit looks as innocuous as he thinks it does sitting on the kitchen counter.

The front door opens and he comes out to lean against the wall of the kitchen, ( it’s well after six but he doesn’t mind, it’s nice to have Maria back for the evening ). His arms are folded when she turns around, waiting until she’s settled a little, the edge of a smile betraying his dry response:  “You caught me – I’ve been moonlighting as a cooking connoisseur.” 

          Really nice to have her back for the evening, and he reaches out to take her hand when she gets close enough, steps in as his smile curls out,    “Hey.    You made it.” 

    “Anyone who can boil pasta is as good as a cooking connoisseur to me,” she retorts, brows uplifted and betraying the good humor of her expression. A subtle shift of the bottle from one hand to the other and then to the bend of that elbow, keeping it firm against her side, her other hand sliding into his. Her path isn’t altered and she slows to a stop only when she’s tucked against him, neck arced enough to press a kiss to the corner of his mouth. 

         “I made it.” Quieter, now that they’re close. She sighs, the air of it just shy of teasing, pushing her fingers through his. “Barely. This was a monumental effort, you know.” 

And it’s clear that she hasn’t quite shed the workplace just yet- that several block cab ride, the walk from the shop, the trudge upstairs- none of these had shaken loose the stiffness from a day spent fully ‘on’. Her gun’s still strapped to her side, discreet and laying flat against her ribs- she’s not even thinking about it. As far as being armed, that’s the only weapon she’s carrying today ( office duty doesn’t really call for a full workup )

         “You’re going to give my regular place a run for their money- this smells amazing.” Maria drifts backwards, half a step, their hands still linked. Her gaze flickers over the stove, mind still slightly preoccupied until she looks back at him and her guarded expression falls. There’s something relieving about him being here, something that she can’t quite figure out how to express. “Bruce, thank you-”


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