Bruce –> Maria

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Home – she’s right, she hasn’t been, but the thing that strikes him is that she says ‘home’ and he’s cooking in the kitchen, has spent every night here since his return, has felt her body slip into bed next to his at every odd hour of the night imaginable. Bruce doesn’t have a home in the City anymore, and this is the closest he has to one right now.  “I promise you it’s not a bad thing.” Not when they have some time together that won’t end in two hours for sleep. 

      As she’s been shedding that last layer he’s been checking the temperature of the sauce with a spoon, sticking a finger in it and testing it. A little warm, but that’ll cool once it’s plated, and he pulls two out, portioning out the meal on a bed of rice. He turns with the plates just as she slips into the seat, catches her explorative touch and gauges her reaction to be… this side of favorable. 

           “You have to have somewhere to put them,” he shrugs, as if it was beyond his control, as if it wasn’t a monumental sentiment hidden in a offhand gesture, as if he could qualify it any more beyond his desire to showcase his resolve and newly-found understanding of his priorities. Their arms touch as he sets the table and he smiles at her with a hint of a tease, turning back to get the wine. “You can’t leave banana’s on the counter.” Or boil your water in a microwave, or make pasta without garlic, seasoning or some substantial additive – meaning you could, but you really shouldn’t if you didn’t have to. ( he’s had enough of ‘have to’s’ to last him a lifetime ) There is a corkscrew, and he opens the bottle and pulls out two glasses, taking a seat across from her and finding her foot with his under the table. 

     This side of favorable- more like she’s never given any sort of thought to furnishing this place. It’s not even really hers, just an apartment she adopted. Claimed, even, thought the rent is footed by the agency. A fair few of the items currently in it are hers, usually cast offs from stopover missions or things she just can’t be bothered to take back to DC. Gifts, freebies, whatever the place came with. Maria’s mouth tips into something of a smile, bemused with his answer more than anything else. It’s in good humor, and she doesn’t mind the gesture really anyway. It’s sweet. 

          “I guess I wasn’t aware of the protocol,” she hums, entirely teasing. Maria pushes back from the table as he sets the plates down, tilting her head in his direction with an appreciative half smile. Fingers find the stem of the wine glass, the tip of her toe tracing a line along the arc of his foot. This is nice, she finds herself thinking, which inevitably leads toward a darker path ( because nice things always have to end, and she doesn’t want to think about that right now ). She’s grown used to having him here; a warm presence just off of the center of the bed at night, moving to accommodate her and clumsily linking their ankles in that half-sleepy way of his. It’s not something she’s ready to relinquish.

A close-lipped smile stifles another ‘thank you’ and she hopes the expression adequately conveys her gratitude. “It’s all new to me. I’m never really around long enough to keep fruit before it goes bad, so it’s either the counter or the trash. Not really an in-between,” Maria picks up the thread again, the incline of her posture inching inward. She can’t help but be curious. “Impulse buy or inspired purchase?”

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