“If he had his way, yeah,” Sharon abandons her half-eaten slice back in the box, the presence of mind to close it so the pizza doesn’t get cold a small victory considering how the tense set of Maria’s shoulders has gathered her attention from the corner of her eye. She turns, fully, taking up her now-standard position at Maria’s right shoulder, eyes running rapidly over the data filling the screen.
The anticipation they’d been making light of minutes ago seems ready, suddenly, to boil over, tension winding tighter and tighter, until the air in the room feels charged –
Sharon’s worked with Tony on and off for years. She remembers their first meeting, now, the memory unbidden after going unexamined for so long – when she’d been brought to the Tower and introduced to the Team as their S.H.I.E.L.D. Liaison, she remembers being almost intimidated by man’s presence. Who wouldn’t be, after all?
But now, facing down whatever this is, Sharon can’t dredge up the small measure of awe meeting Tony Stark had inspired in her years ago. Now, all she can feel is the smallest swoop of worry – what happens now? And hearing Maria question the same thing –
“I hate this,” it’s not helpful, Sharon knows the moment she says it, but the thought needed to be voiced anyway. If for no other reason that Sharon knows Maria will appreciate it; she’s never been the one who will admit to the irritation, the dis-ease, and Sharon doesn’t mind doing it, not now, not when it’s simply the two of them.
“You think it’s worth calling trying to get him on comm? You think he’ll answer?”
The Director pushes out a breath that she hadn’t realized she’d been holding, shoulders inching further and further toward her ears before she forces them to drop. Still tight, but now in a much more forgiving hold-pattern. God damn it. She gives a shake of her head, mind reeling from the concurrent thoughts running through, interwoven and yet not quite jumbled. There isn’t any one good answer, just a series of mediocre ones that she’s not all that committed to.
“Doubt it.” The words fall flat. The idea isn’t a bad one, though, and Maria’s always been a firm believer in the act of CYA, so if it comes to it they’ll be able to at least say that they tried. Another sigh, something of a heavy exhale. “Let’s try to get him on.”
Maria straightens, rolling her shoulders back toward her spine in an effort to relax the tendons there but it’s no good. Several steps have her moving back around the table to her forfeited water bottle, eyes still trained on the screen while she uncaps it. As predicted, the call to Stark’s comm device is met with a brief purring uncertainty before they’re ultimately disconnected.
“I’m going to scramble a pair of Quinjets for air support.”
A flashing gaze and she meets Sharon’s eyes- not because she needs the affirmation, but maybe she’s reading the woman’s expression for any twinge that might suggest she disagrees.
“I’d rather have some people in the air than sit up here on my hands. I don’t care what Pierce says, we need a presence at the very least.”
Maria finishes with a swig of water and pulls up the command panel on the table. Fingertips meet the touch-sensitive surface while she taps out a series of commands and upon receiving confirmation she straightens once more, arms falling into a half-relaxed fold across her body while they continue watching the chaos unfold.