[Natasha watches Maria tuck into the sandwich with a sort of pride; she doesn’t need the reassurance or the thanks but seeing the other woman take a moment for herself at Natasha’s behest is validating on its own.  There’s a sort of unspoken camaraderie about it – Natasha knows, perhaps all too well, how easy it is to forget to take care of yourself in a job like theirs, after all.]

Taking a working vacation.  [oxymoronic, humorous]  Realized somewhere between the dam and the Mall that I really hadn’t been home in a while.

[It’s a slight description for months spent off anyone’s radar – especially S.H.I.E.L.D.’s.  But Natasha knows Maria well enough to know that dragging up the circumstances that’d surrounded the last time they were in the same place is pretty low on her list of desired topics of conversation.

Abandoning her coffee cup on the desktop, Natasha reaches for another packet of sugar from the small pile left between them, dangling the paper packet between two fingers for a moment.]

— Heard you’ve been busy.

[ Maria relinquishes the sandwich after the necessary bite ( and then another, for good measure- it was good, okay? ), delicately massaging her fingers with a napkin, trying to work the grease out of the creases before ducking her head and tracing the line of her brow. Busy is an understatement- that was Natasha’s point. The sigh that follows is heavy, rustling the edges of the sandwich paper and causing a napkin to flutter. She chases it with a pull of espresso, eyes following the track of Romanov’s next sugar packet with a veiled ( sarcastic ) judgment. ]

Sounds like you’ve been having more fun than I have. Wish I could say it’s not fair

[ But it’s what she signed up for. Maria takes another swig of coffee. By now she knows it’s all placebo- her body’s capped on caffeine probably for the day, any cups including and after this one are moot. Not that it’ll stop her from drinking them. ]

Glad to hear I’m still on your radar.

[ The Director knows better. Keeping an eye off of Maria and S.H.I.E.L.D. is so far from Natasha’s MO that it’s almost humorous. In fact, it does tug the early workings of a smile to the corner of her mouth. Fingers find the edge of the breakfast sandwich’s bun and she lifts it distractedly. ]

          What are you doing now

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