The hand at his chin comes down to his opposite elbow, completing a hunched, near self-hug. But the firm line of his pressed lips contrasts the vulnerability, jaw clenching with a brush of frustration as she suggests doing the very thing he’d just voiced a concern about. But instead of pointing it out he responds to the next set of remarks; it’s fair to bring the casino up, but that doesn’t lessen the sting of it.
"The party… that was a lapse of judgement on my part. It doesn’t matter why,“ – the extenuating circumstances, the prolonged state of stress, the deliberate provocation from Tony, the slice of humanity he’d lost confined on that ship, and what it had taken to reclaim it-
” – because what would signing that have changed? Two dozen agents aggravating and escalating the situation? I am lucky the Other Guy didn’t hurt anyone, and that there wasn’t more damage – but if I believed for a second that the Accords could have somehow contained that or prevented it, I might sign them. And if I believed that an agency could be trusted with the trigger, I might sign them too.“
( the word is tainted with memories of his military stint; General Ross; the WSC and their decision to throw a nuke at New York in the face of other-world threats )
“The common thread in 90% of incidents, is people like that ,” a glance is thrown towards the papers, “Instigating a situation they’re not prepared for. The other 10%, I know I can manage. Maybe not when it started, but now – yes.”
They’re standing across from each other with an expanse of linoleum between them, a dozen lines to cross and she’s stuck with her toes jutting over the edge of the threshold. His arm drops, completing the fold that works as a defensive expression at the very least. Maria follows the line of tension in his neck to his jaw, pressing her lips together. What does it say about her that she’s well aware that she’s struck a nerve and yet.. still finds that she’s not finished yet?
“The lapse in judgement put you in a situation where you lost control.” Maria hates herself for having to point it out- she’s sure that he knows, but his powers hold a different sort of levity than the ability to sling webs and string up criminals with cutesy notes attached. His curse was that he didn’t have a for sure way to control it. He could manage it, of course, but there’s always that lingering what if?
“Signing protects you just as much as it protects everyone else.”
He’s already made up his mind- he doesn’t believe that and repeating it won’t make him any more likely to. Maria pauses, head shifting slightly on the column of her neck. “You don’t trust S.H.I.E.L.D. to uphold the Accords?” Why should he? Moreover, why does she feel so offended by that? Eyes narrow and she moves, squaring her shoulders. “Contain and control. Trust me when I say that my agents aren’t looking to instigate an incident with the Hulk. We came in after things had already gone sideways.”