avengers: maria hill

Avengers Ficlet: Trading Card Elegy (Maria Hill, Pepper Potts)

Title: Trading Card Elegy
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Maria Hill, Pepper Potts
Summary: [Contains spoilers] Maria takes home Phil's trading cards after the battle.
Content Advisory: [Contains spoilers]Discussion of death and grieving





Maria was the one who picked up the Captain America trading cards from the table. She'd like to think no one saw -- they all keep their feelings pretty close to their chests around here -- but this place being what it is, she was sure someone noticed. Nobody said anything to her though. That was the important part.

She forgot about them till she came home to her apartment -- the real one, hidden in what looks like a crack house, not the one that SHIELD gave her. When she stripped off her suit, the cards fell out of the pocket before she could get in the shower, and she turned off the water and sorted them out on the bathroom floor. The blood was still bright red, unoxidized. A dead giveaway, she thought, and chuckled at her own pun because Phil would have. She hadn't been scared till no one but her had noticed.

Bastard, she thought, you didn't need the blood. Phil was just like the rest of them; he kept his feelings close, but everyone in the compound had heard his victory whoop when he got that last card on eBay. No need to ruin his favorite possession for propaganda, as if his death somehow wasn't enough on its own.

With a corner of damp toilet paper, she rubbed at one of the stains. The red, whatever it was, only made a longer smudge across Captain America's face. Her eyes blurred, and she blinked hard. She'd forgotten how much she hated problems she couldn't fix.

"All right," she muttered. "All right." That card could be hers. She could remember herself trying to remember Phil. Her hands were a little shaky, but she dug through the pile and found the most deeply stained card. Clint would want it. He was weird like that. She set aside an almost clean one for Natasha, who wouldn't admit to wanting it but wouldn't turn it down. Then she picked out one for Tony and Bruce.

That left her with fifteen cards. Three were badly stained, but the rest were almost clean. She wrapped them neatly with a rubber band, put them on her desk, and pretended she didn't mind not knowing what to do with them. They didn't feel like hers, but they didn't seem like anyone else's either. Yet, she couldn't imagine that Phil would want his prize possession thrown into a coffin to rot.

They stayed on her desk for four days. Then she took them to Pepper Potts.

"I, uh, I don't have an appointment," she said. She didn't usually sound this uncertain, but then, she was out of practice interacting with people without the protection of her uniform.

Pepper smiled a little half-smile and shook her head. "Hill, right? Maria? Come inside." She was already walking around her desk, coming to greet Maria as if she were an old friend instead of an occasional -- and much-loathed -- colleague of her boyfriend. "What can I do for you?"

Pepper's smile was bright, and Maria envied her a little. It was a rare gift, knowing how to be soft and tough all at once. If she'd had it herself, maybe she would have known what do with Phil's cards.

"I need help," she said. "With these." She held out the twelve almost-clean cards to Pepper, who didn't try to hide her teary eyes.

"Phil's," Pepper said quietly. "He told me about these."

"Yeah. I think he told everyone." She shrugged her shoulders, feeling helpless. "I didn't think he'd want to be buried with them, but I didn't know what to do with them. I thought you might." Please. She held out the cards to Pepper, who squeezed her hand before she took them away.

"Are you alright, Maria?" she asked.

Maria nodded.

"Yeah," she said. "I always am."

***


There were three cards left in her pocket, all smeared bright red, and she knew exactly where they belonged.

"I think Phil would want you to have these, sir," she said and held them out to Fury, whose expression didn't change as he swiped them from her hand. She watched him stalk down the corridor to his office. Some days she thought he had the most dangerous job in all of SHIELD: doing whatever was necessary, and answering to no one. She wanted him to know that somebody was watching.
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very nice. I liked Maria's character in the movie and you do a great job with her, and with Pepper (who was a bit underutilized).
Well, they did say in the movie that the cards were in Coulson's locker, not his jacket so that's where I got the bit about the fake blood. It would be nice if he were alive though!
This is lovely. I love the idea of Maria and Pepper sharing a moment of connection.