— That’s because it isn’t fair.

[Her agreement comes swiftly, informed by Maria’s tone and slipping seamlessly into sync with it.  It’s been a long few weeks, of course it has, but the only thing keeping Sharon from falling apart at the prospect of attending another funeral is the fact that if she’s out of commission, who knows what other kind of hell would break loose in her absence.  

And she couldn’t make Maria do it alone.]

Funny, right?  [the scrape of her laugh is anything but humor]  All that noise, all those protests, but who got to retire or disappear and who’s stuck – who’s stuck doing this —

[Her voice filters to a halt, the bitterness that’d fueled it wearing off, cooling into something heavier, harder, the next words breathed out almost like a secret.]

I hate this, Maria.

[ Eyes shift sideways, sliding into the jacket that will cover the dress, make the practicality of it, the functional simplistic beauty for which it was chosen obscure- not that it matters. Maria likes to think that every choice she makes this morning will be, on one hand, made for those they’ve lost, for those that they’re honoring with this next service. 

It’s with that same attitude she’ll shake the hands of the widows, offer her condolences and those of the entire agency, the WSC and the United Nations. She’ll do her best to become a pillar against the grief they’ll both be witnessing, a silent representative of respect and shared sorrow. ]

So do I. But I’d rather it be me making the rounds than someone else. Us

            I know we’ll do it right

[ She wears that dress like a sheath, a suit of armor that acts as such but also as a sort of softening filter over her sharp edges– ]

I do hate feeling like there’s nothing we can do to keep it from happening.



[Sharon nods in agreement, silent a long moment even though Maria can’t see the gesture.  But it’s true – this is their third memorial service in as many weeks, another scheduled for next week, the larger commemorative service for every Agent lost aboard the Iliad coming up close behind.  She’s never been one for funerals – is anyone? – but Sharon can’t help but feel as if lately, she’s spent more time in cemeteries than anywhere else.]

Yeah.  Me, too.

[Helping herself to one of the lint rollers still in its packaging on Maria’s desk, Sharon occupies her hands peeling away the plastic, eyeing the thin layer of mingled German Shepherd and Husky hair edging the hem of her dress.  A heavy sigh tumbles out before she can stop it.]

Sure getting tired of saying goodbye to good guys, that’s for sure.

[ It’s getting tiring, Sharon’s right, and Maria can’t help but feel the twinge of guilt that comes along with the thought. It’s been slathered on thick these past couple of weeks, evidence of a situation that’s slipping further and further from their grasp. So much for having a hand on the wheel– But she’s not quite ready to give it up and admit it just yet. A sigh slips out and she sits, exchanging her heels for the other pair. ]


[ The agreement drags out, cut off by the sharp clip of her teeth knocking together. She’s been worrying at the end of a thought for the past several days- and now that she’s in good company– ]

Doesn’t really seem fair–

               Not that I’d wish this on the other side, but it sure seems like for the people that claim they have a lot more to lose…

                          They’re not doing much losing


[unzipping the suggested pocket]  Ah, you’re a lifesaver.  It’s fucking freezing out there.

Here — [tucking the package under her arm and crossing over to stand behind Maria, easing the zipper up]  This is nice.  [a beat, an inward breath]  Bonus, considering you’re practically living in it, now.

[ Maria had sent Paige out for her dry cleaning that afternoon- despite hating using her for mundane chores ( it seemed insulting ). But she was grateful when the woman returned with her dress and a six pack of black hose, gel toe inserts for her heels- two pair, and a lint roller. She’s not stupid. ]


[ Neither of them are thrilled to be in this position, clearly. A hand drags through her hair before moving toward the hem of the dress, shifting the fabric so that it settles correctly. The next exhale passes through her nostrils. ]

I’d gladly give it up in exchange for not having to do this anymore.

[ At least not for awhile. She knows what she’d signed up for, but this–
                          was a little excessive as of late. ]


{{ @centcomm }}

— Don’t suppose you’ve got a spare pair of pantyhose, do you?

Check the front pocket of my bag, there. 

[ Shoulders are tucked back, hand reaching the extent of its range, leaving two inches of zipper on her black sheath dress undone. Maria sighs. ]

                       When you get a free hand–