what we lost in the fire, we’ll find in the ashes ; bruce + maria


A soft moan escapes him, light and indulgent, longing after the absence of this; but there’s something wrong.   Bruce can hear it in the way her breath changes, well-versed, by now, with the typical series of responses to this thread of action – she’s distancing herself too; subtly but pointedly, and he ignores the gentle tug to turn and takes a step back instead, hands sliding down to sit on her hips and keep her from stepping away,

     “What?” he asks in a whisper, searching her face for any indication of the source of the hitch – his eyes narrow as he thinks back to the sequence of events leading up to it.

Nothing had risen a flag until his arm – 

        “What happened,” he asks again, an edge of serious concern and determination to his voice as paranoia expounds the beginnings of suspicion.  And he has a good sense of what it might be, thumbs already pushing under the edge of her shirt.

   Maria’s measured answers don’t give any illusions that the moment might’ve just been the outcome of an awkward pull or odd twinge, and the unknown mingles with rolling unease. 

     The ebb and flow of their movements, first toward and now away, come to a distinct pause when she reaches the extent of his arm’s reach. Had he not been so sincere Maria might be offended by the effort to contain her, but she knows better. Her hands drift down his arms, resting at his wrists with her fingers splayed across his knuckles. He’s scanning her face and she watches his irises shift from eye to eye and then over cheekbones, jaw, clavicle. Worried, of course he is, but hadn’t she already implied that she was okay?

“I’m fine.” Mostly. She’d told him she was good, not fine, but that’d been before.

                       Her voice is lower when she steps back into him, angling her hips in an effort to hopefully provide distraction from the task he currently has in mind, hands sliding back up to his elbows. “I”m okay, Bruce,” she reassures. Or she will be. Dr. Simmons had proved that ( well, had ensured her that she was as good as a person could be for taking a bullet to the vest ). However, there’s clearly a part of her that wants to spare him the worry, despite him already being quite embroiled in it, and so she deflects the question with her assurances.

           The wound is healing and it’s warm, radiating heat from the epicenter much like Bruce does on any normal day. Cells are swarming to the site of the injury, coagulating and generating new versions of themselves in order to make her healthy again. It’s the contrast of warmth and the odd coolness of his fingers in juxtaposition that shocks her, causes her to stiffen beneath the sweep of his hand.



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