2 - floor eighty-five

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saturday, march 14th, 2020

"i still think it's unfair how fury kicked me out," matti pouts, lifting a moving box.

"i think he sees something you don't," maria  points out. "this may be a good thing for you."

maria hill is one of matti's closest friends in the agency. some would even say she's her mother figure. they've been through so many missions together. especially after shield collapsed back in 2014, they've been closer than ever.

fury and maria have been working on rebuilding and completely renewing shield. more protocols, more safety plans, more security guidelines. it's strict, but it's what keeps them running.

"you sound like steve," matti laughs slightly. always trying to see the good in things. "but seriously, you didn't have to come all this way just to help me move a few boxes into some makeshift room tony made for me."

"of course i did," maria smiles at her. "plus, fury kind of forced me to."

"sounds like nick," matti says, grunting as she helps maria pick up a bigger box.

"wimps," tony's voice calls from across the room. the two women look up and see him approaching them.

"must i remind you that you literally said YOURSELF yesterday that you don't want to get on my bad side?" matti reminds him.

"i just like annoying people," he shrugs.

"and you're damn good at it," maria rolls her eyes, exchanging a glance with matti.

"can you at least help? where's my room anyways?" matti asks the man.

"85th floor. but don't get too comfortable, you have neighbors," tony says, then begins to strut off.

maria turns to her friend. 'neighbors?' she mouths. matti just rolls her eyes and shrugs. she's sure tony just shoved a few of the other avengers onto that floor since they don't have a place to stay either.

the two women carry matti's boxes into the open elevator, one by one. luckily there isn't much, so after several minutes, they're ready to take the long ride up stark tower.

maria presses the button to the 85th floor, then turns to matti once she knows they're alone.

"so..." she starts, not exactly knowing how to begin this conversation. "have they been better or worse?"

"huh?" matti asks.

"don't play dumb," maria says, knowing that she is just trying to avoid the conversation.

matti sighs. she may be the only one who can detect lying, but she won't lie to maria. she can't. "they've been better," she answers truthfully.

matti's backstory is an interesting one. not a ground-breaking one that could become a best-selling mystery novel, but an unexplainable one. but that's a story for another time.

but because of her story, matti has been having these... nightmares. but not really while she's sleeping. it's more like brain noise. when she isn't already occupied, these terrible thoughts about her past fill her brain. and so far, the best coping mechanism she's found has been going to the gun range.

"are they still the same though?" maria continues to wonder.

"pretty much," matti answers.

maria sighs. "you can talk to someone, you know," she says, like a true mother.

"i am. i'm talking to you," matti says, almost in question form.

"i meant someone with similar life experiences." when maria receives a glare for that comment, she continues, "let me rephrase. someone else who is experiencing the same situation that you are."

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