The Real You

June 03, 2018:

Simon and Rami meet again — inside the Triskelion, preparing for an op.

Armory, SHIELD HQ, New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Peggy Carter, Michael Carter, Sharon Carter

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The armory of the Triskelion marvels Parambir Ghai. She had joked several times until now about the low-quality of SHIELD equipment, but now she realizes that it had merely been the substandard issue she had been given as part of the cooperative. Peggy left her here just about fifteen minutes ago, telling her to grab what she needed. The rest of the team would be through to do the same. She's already taken a pair of suitable gatka off the wall — a pair of batons that can easily be stowed beneath her long trench coat. She's stripped down to her leggings and undershirt so she can properly gear-up. There's already a small collection of communication equipment on the table — wireless transmitters, some upgraded earbuds, and a small case that contains an ocular camera lens. She is adjusting the straps on a suitable holster for her batons when the door opens, and she starts to turn towards it.

Simon's original call back to The Triskelion was completely unrelated, but as a field agent who was on site when the mission came up, he is one of those tapped for the new assignment: safeguard a double agent through a meet. That's gnarly enough to require some gearing up. He has his weapons orders in mind when he pushes open the door to the armory — an ICER of course, but also a SOCCOM .45 and an M-4, even if he'll have to leave the carbine in the transport because it's New York and you can't carry an 'assault weapon' around with you on the streets. His planning is distracting enough that he's two steps into the room and his shirt already unbuttoned before he spots Rami and another two before he recognizes her and stumbles over a completely flat section of floor. His brows fly up his freckled forehead, but his mouth is already working, "Rami? Are you doing a comms checkup?" There's something disarming about the sheer innocence behind the question, an innocence belied by that momentary surprise, "It's crazy, I come in to look at a document in Farsi and I could have sworn this was the way to the restroom." When his steps resume after their momentary stillness, they lead him slowly, casually over toward the arms locker and the ICERs there.

"Simon." His name is almost whispered just before he just barrels on forward, and her own brows climb high up her forehead. Her hair has been brushed back into a simple braid, forelocks pinned up and away. It gives her nowhere to hide, every change to her expression easily tracked. Surprise turns to confusion, and she starts to shake her head. "What?" The question is merely a filler — an attempt to make sense of the fact that Simon Green is here, in the gear room of the Triskelion, and so is she. Her dark eyes follow him across the room, grip still tight on the hilt of one of her batons, giving her something to anchor to. "You're with SHIELD?" The question isn't as rhetorical as it may seem, as she actually waits to hear his answer.

Simon's blue eyes flicker down to Rami's grip on her baton, and he stops his advance coincidentally within arm's reach of the array of ICERs in the arms locker, "With SHIELD?" He shakes his head, his mouth still on automatic as he puts together bits of data, working them into a pattern, "Well, I do some work with them as an analyst — " and the bits click together, the patter stopping and his shoulders relaxing slightly, "You're an agent. You're with MI-6, aren't you? Or is it Aasoochana Byooro?" That would be the Indian Intelligence Bureau.
"Yes, I'm with SHIELD," he adds almost belatedly.

The continued upkeep of his cover is a respectable one, but even Rami can see the pieces start to slide and click into place. Of course he's an analyst. They are all analysts. Just how she's just the IT Technician. Her own grip on the baton relaxes at the belated confession. It helps pave the way to her own confession. "Operations Handler, MI.6." She hesitates a heartbeat, her jaw working a bit. Peggy had said that other team members would be cycling in to get gear. They would all hear her story soon enough. "Point-5." Which identifies her as part of British Intelligence black ops. She starts to laugh after a heartbeat, turning away from him as she finally holsters her batons in a cross at her back.

Despite their previous intimacy, despite Rami's own confession, the last vestiges of tension do not leave Simon's frame, "Six point five." Once more, his brows lift slightly, this time perhaps impressed. "And you've got nothing at all to do with the op?" Now he's fishing, following up on that hesitation, "You're here for…?" His hands turn palms-up at his sides, a helpless sort of micro-shrug, "I mean, this isn't the usual place for someone on inter-agency loan…"

Parambir glances toward the door of the armory, and then back to Simon. She sets her jaw, advancing several steps to tuck in closer to the cabinet of ICERs. She keeps her eyes on the door, mouth tightening before she manages to speak. "I am the op, if you are who I think you are." Her lips press together briefly. "A few days ago, I was ordered to intercept what I was told to be stolen data that was a risk to British national security. After I secured the data, I realized that the agent that I was told was a rogue asset was actually a SHIELD agent." Her eyes do not stray from his, though she's keeping an ear on the door. "I am supposed to be handing off the data to my supervisor tonight."

The approach of Rami Ghai, telecommunications specialist, would be quite appreciated. The approach of Rami Ghai, British black ops agent, makes Simon a little more wary… until she starts to spill details. "Stolen data? Club Violet? That was a bit of a beast to clean up. Although Lancer is fine. Mild concussion." And then something else slips into place, and he actually manages to laugh, the last of his tension slipping from his shoulders, "That poor bastard. Of course you couldn't go back to your date after breaking a bathroom with a SHIELD agent." His voice remains naturally low, aimed not to carry without any of the ear-catching hiss of a whisper.

Relief flickers through her eyes when Simon reassures her that the SHIELD agent is alright. She had never gotten that confirmation. Her own tension remains locked in place, barely melted away despite the laughter from the other agent. The other spy. How did Yashminder spin these two together without even knowing a deeper connection they shared? The mention of Dev though has a heat building in her cheeks, and she looks aside a bit. "Costs of the job," she says cooly, though there is a hint of disappointment in the fringes of her tone. Her brown eyes lift back up to his. "And I take it then you've been assigned as my protection for this operation?"

The heat building in Rami's cheeks starts to spark a smile from Simon, but her cool response causes him to nod rather than anything more exuberant, "Just think of me as your knight in shining armor." He shifts slightly, then makes a quick decision and turns his back on the British agent, allowing her that trust for all doing so tries to turn the tendons of his neck into steel cables. "Yashminder then, is he the handler's handler?" He stops then as he unlocks the weapons locker, drawing out a holstered ICER and several magazines, and looking over his shoulder, "But no…" his eyes narrow in consideration, "I don't think so. Was it really blind?" The question seems more rhetorical than direct, the American musing rather than actively questioning.

"Yashminder?" The fact that Simon speaks almost in time with her own thoughts causes her to stumble mentally. She laughs. "No. God, no. He's not that at all. Yash believes what the whole of my family believes… telecommunications specialist on loan to a New York office." She hooks a hand against her neck and shoulder, half-turning away from him. "He was just being a good cousin… and friend." She closes her eyes then, leaning into her own hip and tightening her hand against the side of her throat. She was holding back, and it was impossible to hide now that he could see more of her cracks. She couldn't tell him everything — not about Michael Carter, or the collapse of the spy networks around the world. She couldn't tell him about why she needed to do this. Perhaps he would believe all the typical spy motivations for betraying your country. So, she told him the truths she could. "I don't have a roommate."

Simon nods slowly at the confirmation of Yashminder's non-involvement, even as a tiny voice in the back of his head reminds him that she was able to fool him before. Ruthlessly shutting up that voice to keep murmuring paranoia until it's useful, the agent studies her discomfited stance. There's a moment's pause, and then he answers her confession, "I figured you didn't. I took a picture of the lock while you were in the bathroom, but I didn't have time to run it through our databases." Beat pause, "Obviously, I didn't have time to run you through them either." That actually sparks a grin, and Simon transfers the pistol and ammo into his left hand, stepping forward to reach out and touch her shoulder with two fingers, "In the grand scheme of first- and second-date lies… I think we're about par for the course, yeah?"

His own confessions draw her eyes open again, and she's looking at him as he steps forward to touch her shoulder. "I should have thought of that," Rami admits after a heartbeat. "I've been on so many dates lately… the idea of running them all through a database is daunting." Then she feels a weak smile weave its way onto her full lips. His humor in the face of a pretty gnarly truth warms her a bit, but there's still a wariness bubbling beneath the surface. Michael's well-tended paranoia sparks in her belly. She has carefully whittled down the list of names of those she can trust, and Simon is too new an encounter. "Really? You've often dated women who have accosted fellow agents, stolen top secret data, and then turned double-agent?"

"It's hard to Facebook-stalk someone when you don't have an account," Simon agrees. Moving over to his own locker, he lays out the ICER and its accouterments, then shucks off his shirt and hangs it inside the locker, pulling out a set of slim-line body armor instead and starting to tug it on, "Nope. First time for everything. But I meant more lying about what we did for a living and about having a super-secret spy room in our apartment." There's a pause, and then he adds a light confession of his own, "My apartment isn't a mess like I said it was either. Sorry to disappoint."

Courtier lingers back where he left her, watching him with thoughtful brown eyes. When he shucks out of his shirt, the strange impulse to turn away surprises her. He had spent the night with her, but perhaps there is a difference between Rami Ghai and Simon Green, and Courtier and Agent Green. She tucks a bit of hair behind her ear, returning to her own collection of gear to resume suiting up. She goes without armor, adjusting the holsters of her batons before she fits her ankle holster with a slim pistol. Warhorse will know if she comes in armed to the teeth, but that's what Simon and the others are for. So, while he gears up like a soldier, she gears up like a tech. Pulling her braid over one shoulder, she reaches behind her to place the first tacky square to adhere the covert listening device, choosing the soft tissue just behind the curve of her shoulder — perhaps a odd choice considering most go for the collarbone or just within the shirt collar. "If that is all you lied about ontop of being a spy, I think we're alright."

Courtier's words cut like a knife, for all that Simon Green has had a decade of lying about who and what he is. His hands stall, just gathering up his shirt again, "Everything important." It's nice, sometimes, to have your back to someone when you're lying to them, thinks Bradley Butler. And then he gathers up his shirt again, pulling it on over the armor and beginning to button it up. Glancing over his shoulder, he admires the woman's form in her leggings and undershirt, and then notes, "Behind the shoulder? Interesting location. Better if you're taken captive or if someone pats the inside of your collar, yeah?" It feels odd, gearing up alongside someone you rode a Ferris wheel and visited a museum with. Not to mention the other stuff. "You at least went to the Swiss FIT, right?" That's right, tease, deflect, Simon.

Rami looks up, staring at the nothing in front of her rather than turning to face Simon again. Her mouth works together in a tight line as she presses the listening device against the sticky contact, and then pulling the thick strap of her tank top back into place. She nods slightly at his assessment, still not looking around. "Warhorse will check." The words are said with a fatal dryness. "It's a risk no matter how I play it. A physical check is standard operating procedure, but he has operated both as a handler and field agent. He knows the tricks." By her tone though, perhaps Rami knows a few new tricks. She stays business, until he brings up her own background again. She turns slightly toward him. "Yes. FIT, then to the Royal Air Force, and funneled into MI-6 from there. I'm mostly just a gearhead." Who can put a SHIELD agent through the ringer in a dance club bathroom.

"I'll be sure to tell Lancer he got worked over by a gearhead." The crooked smile on Simon's lips can be heard in his voice, although the continued cold shoulder given to him by the Brit is starting to blunt his good humor. "I'm trying to save all the operational questions for the briefing, so you don't have to go over them twice." With his shirt back in place, he buckles the holstered pistol at the small of his back and tucks the shirt in, then crosses back to the armory. As he keys another one open, drawing out a pistol that certainly isn't an ICER, he pauses a moment, his voice lowering to a hushed sort of rumble, "And I'm also trying not to ask 'why.'" The heavier pistol is holstered at his waist, and he adds, "But if you want to talk about it…" it's an open-ended offer more than a request.

Always attentive to the details, Courtier closes her eyes again as she hears the blunting to his humor; he's running up against the cold shield she's placed between her and the unknown. She shifts in her stance, hands resting on her hips. The rumble causes her to turn toward him now, giving him more than just a closed-off profile. "Ask. Now is the time." Her words are serious. "If this goes sideways, best case scenario says I will be arrested and tried for treason against the Crown." She doesn't offer a worst case scenario, but she has seen Brit carry those out before. She knows that her actual fate would reside at the end of a gun barrel if Warhorse is ready for her betrayal.

The H&K pistol is holstered at Simon's hip, and two more magazines are gathered and ducked into various semi-concealed pockets in his cargo pants. The SHIELD Agent studies Rami as she turns toward him, and he draws an M-4 carbine from the arms locker as well, checking its action and safety and then moving over to straddle the bench before the Sikh woman, the carbine across his thighs and his blue eyes steady and serious, "Then why, Rami? What did your agency do to you to turn you against them?" So he's not assuming the typical reasons of 'money' or 'a better offer' on her change of allegiances.

Parambir hooks both hands at her shoulders, tugging at them a bit as she looks up the wall of melee weapons in front of her. Then she sidesteps and sits on the bench in front of Simon, seated ninety-degrees to the agent. She rubs her hands down her thighs before hooking them onto the edge of the bench. Her first words are spoken quietly, almost absently. "I have bigger debts to pay." She looks at Simon now. "I know Agent Carter, but more importantly, I know her brother Michael Carter." Perhaps more than even Rami is willing to admit to anyone outside the sacred line of the bearers. "I am trying to do what is right, regardless of loyalties."

Simon's ginger brows knit as he watches the nerves play out in Rami's body language. He leans forward as she sits down and begins to talk, his forearms crossing over the body of the M-4 in his lap. "So they did something to the Carter family? I didn't know that Agent Carter had a brother," he admits. His blue eyes drop away, studying hands that have shed far too much blood for him to be comfortable admitting, "I get doing what's right. I wish it was easier." He's silent for a long moment, studying her profile. "You're nervous. About seeing Warhorse," he memory digs up the name easily, "again. About lying to him." Some hint of his crooked smile returns, "Think of it like a second date." Beat pause, and his smile spreads just a touch, "Or maybe better make it a first."

"I'm nervous about being right." The confession comes too easily, and Parambir sets her jaw for a heartbeat before she then relaxes away from that tension. Then she looks to him, turning just enough so her chin rests on her shoulder. She smiles gently in response to his own crooked grin. "I liked our first date… and our second." Almost in newly acquired muscle memory, Courtier reaches up to give the man a deep, affectionate rasping along the chin and righthand line of his jaw. Her smile turns a little sorrowful, almost like acknowledging a perceived loss.

Simon nods at the confession, not pushing it right away, letting her move past it on her own. One of his hands twitches ever-so-slightly as she reaches out to him, but he stifles the last vestiges of institutional paranoia, instead letting his grin spread less crookedly at the scritching of her fingers in his beard. "I did too. And you're a pro at the first date thing." There's a pause, a moment's thought on how to not make the next statement an insult, "But you're nervous about being at the heart of the op. So pretend you're on a first date. Only tell him what you want him to know." The easy comfort of their second date is certainly stretched and strained here in the armory, each of them festooned with weapons, but his hand touches the back of hers again, a light brush, just enough to reestablish some hint of connection from his end as well as hers.

Simon's advice draws a faint nod from Rami, and she feels a small smile bud at her lips. "So. A first date that isn't going very well." The MI-6 agent turns slightly away from him as the moment passes, and they occupy these new roles. She curls her hands around the curve of her shoulders once more, hooking into the muscle and looking ahead at the armory wall. Her gaze slips over each weapon in turn, and some spark memories that distract her mind. She has the same expression she had on her face in the museum — one of deep reflection, and aged recollection. Only after a moment's breath does she look back toward Simon. "If all had gone well, I would have told you… you would have known about the life I live, and the secrets I bear."

Simon stays quiet as she works through her thoughts, studying her features in profile. "Have you seen the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith? I was aiming for that, personally. Without all the trying to kill each other." Shaking his head slightly, he glances down at his hands, knitting his fingers together and twisting them a little idly, "Actually, I hadn't thought that far ahead."

The handler furrows her brow at the mention of the movie, and then she starts to laugh. "I don't know… trying to kill each other might be a good trust exercise." She turns slightly toward him again, watching how the truth unveils itself. It is her turn to study his profile as he works his hands together, tracing the line of his sun-worn wrinkles and ginger beard with its salting. She then rubs her hands down her thighs before she stands once more, unhooking the holsters so she can see to her button-up now that she has it properly fitted. She sets the batons down on the bench in front of him. "I did not expect you to… have thought that far ahead. I'm not convinced you had even decided on a third date."

"We can always try that later," Simon jokes — perhaps inappropriately considering that they're in an armory — "but I'd prefer if it were when we're off-duty." As the batons are set down before him, he looks up at her, his gaze dropping to her feet then running up the leggings, undershirt, and features, "No, I'm pretty sure I would have been looking for a third date. I was thinking about one of those spy games, actually. Mostly because I'm an idiot and like to make things hard on myself."

Parambir arches a brow at his teasing, but then amusement claims her expression and she shakes her head slowly as she turns away from his admiring look. She sweeps on her blouse, and sees to the buttons in a quick fashion. She adjusts her collar and starts to loosen her braid to set her curls loose. The mention of the spy games draws her brows up together this time and she turns to him with an accusing expression. "A spy game? You were going to try to show off." She shakes her head with a half-smirk, returning to fetch the batons from the bench so she can secure the batons once more, this time finalizing their placement at her back.

"Of course." Simon agrees cheerfully enough, "Why do you think I invited you to watch the football game?" Chuckling faintly, he sets aside the carbine and rises to his feet, stepping forward so that he can help adjust the batons quick motions just as quick and sure as if she had been any other agent. "But now that I'm thinking about it, it would have been a pain in the ass not to show off too much."

"And you would have wondered why I was so impressive when it came to giving directions." Because that's what a good handler does. The Sikh woman looks over her shoulder when he steps up behind her to settle the batons into place. The movements are natural between two agents are natural — at the surface. Beneath the surface, there's a tight line of tension stretched between them. Simon had been a possible distraction from the hard realities that surrounds the tech. Now, he was part of it. Those thoughts are almost transmitted through the way she holds her body as she nods to him in thanks. She checks the listening device adhered to her shoulder one more time, and then steps away to see to the receiver that is still on the table of communications gear she has gathered. "Good thing neither of us had plans tonight," she offers in a vain attempt at humoring their situation.

Simon helps smooth out the blouse over Rami's shoulder-blades, then seems to realize what he's doing and drops his hands away. "I think you've got a natural talent. You were already giving me directions on a second date." He colors just a hint, thinking about those directions, and bends down to gather up his M-4 once more. The carbine is brought over his to locker, the field agent checking over his weapons while the handler checks over the comms, "I know, right? Three dates in four nights? Your family might have thrown a party — if I were Indian."

The blush is shared as Parambir shakes her head ruefully, keeping her focus on the receiver as she starts to set up the appropriate channel for the listening device. She glances slightly toward him, watching him check over his weapon out of the corner of her eye. "And by party, you mean an engagement party. I like that you aren't Indian. Slows down the inevitable pressure that comes after your crowing success rate." Playful words that would have been far better suited to the cozy corner bar down from her apartment rather than preparing for what could result in her arrest or death on the evening of her betrayal. Nothing clicks right, each passing moment feeling dissociative to her reality.

Minute adjustments are made, personalizing the fit and feel of the weapon. Simon braces the butt against his shoulder, checks the grip, tweaks something, checks it again, tweaks again, checks a third time, and finally leans it against his locker, gathering out a leather jacket to slip over his button-up shirt and hide the pistols at his waist and hip, "Come on… three dates is worth an engagement party? Even three good dates?" He cracks a grin then, looking over to Rami, "You know, some people'd count us as being at three. Three meals, after all." He shakes that off though, the grin melting away like snowflakes under a heat wave, "Am I throwing off your prep, Rami? Do you need me to take a hike so you can get your game face on?"

"You've never dated an Indian girl, have you?" The accusation is delivered dryly as she sets the receiver aside in a neat row with the rest of her gear. She pockets the small case that has the ocular camera and its linked earbud. Everything else is left on the table to be given a final check before she packs it for the SHIELD transportation — transportation she will not be riding with. The mention of the dates distracts her thoughts, and she glances back toward him with a half-pivot on the balls of her feet. "Then I suppose we should choose between two or three," she manages before the demeanors melt away and they are left with the raw actualities. She looks back at the gear, and her brows knit together. "I need to ask you a question," she says softly with her back still to him. She slips her hand around the ankle holster that bears the small pistol.

"Define 'dated,'" comes out of Simon's lips before he can close them tightly enough, and he winces. Looking down again, ostensibly to check on his pistols, he grimaces, chastising himself silently. He doesn't get a chance to respond to the question of number of dates before the soft question comes in, and he straightens up, gathering a Mets cap in his left hand and the carbine in his right, "Shoot, Rami."

At first, all Courtier does is chuckle slightly at his slip — but it's a soft, hollow response rather than her usual full-hearted laugh. She looks down at the pistol in her hand, and silently she works it out of the holster. The gun fits nicely in her palm, and her fingers close around it expertly. "I really hope I don't have to, Simon." By the last word, she's turned to him with the pistol raised up and braced smartly in both hands. She's looking straight down it with Simon in its sights. "Who do you work for?"

Simon isn't expecting a gun in his face in the armory of SHIELD’s New York HQ, but when it appears, he doesn't make any sudden moves. Instead, he spreads his arms slightly, still holding the M-4 by the top grip and the baseball cap in his other hand. Despite the smooth, slow motion, that tension is back in his shoulders. "Well, that makes this officially the worst third date I've ever been on. I told you, I work for SHIELD. I'm a Field Agent. I don't know what your plan is here, but drawing on a SHIELD agent in the Trisket's armory — right before an op — probably isn't going to help it." His eyes flicker over to the door, then back to the barrel of the small-caliber pistol pointed at him.

The MI-6 agent does not lower the pistol. Her grip does not tighten or relax; she does not work through any tension that may be building at her spine. She holds him steadily down the short length of the barrel, head half tilted with a slight sweep of her brown forelocks. "And the Carters? What do you know about them?" If she's risking anything in this moment, she doesn't seem to care. He's right about one thing: he doesn't know what her plans are.

"I think I've met Agent Carter once in passing. Agent Thirteen I may have seen in the hallway once or twice." Simon raises the hat up carefully, pulling it down over his head and settling it into place. During the entire motion, his right hand stays carefully out from his side, still holding the carbine. "I've never met Michael Carter. Hell, I didn't even know there was a Michael Carter until you mentioned him." There's a pause and his eyes narrow, "If he's a Carter, he's a field agent. You're his handler, aren't you? And you think SHIELD is going to hurt him?" There might even be a little disappointment in his voice there — or even hurt.

Parambir takes one step forward, but there isn't actual aggression in that advance. She doesn't confirm nor deny the assumptions Simon is making… but she will have to give him props later for his quick assessment of the situation. Her lips press together at the hints of disappointment, the hints of hurt. She tightens her fingers around the butt of the pistol. "I think that I don't know who I can trust anymore." Her mouth thins. "Can I trust you, Simon?"

"Now, the smart answer for me is just 'Yes.'" Simon crouches down slowly, setting the carbine down on the bench and resting his elbows against his sides, his hands out away from his body. Conveniently, it places his hand closer to the pistol grip of the M-4, but it is still a good foot away. "But you know that'd just be me talking. So here's the real answer: as long as you're not here to hurt SHIELD or any of our agents, yes. If you're coming after us, then no. You're probably going to have to shoot me and hope no one hears the gunshot and that you can get out before they find me."

Each movement the spy makes is tracked by the barrel of her gun. Her brown eyes lift to meet his blues after he's settled back into place once more, and she holds his gaze steadily with hers. She's quite aware of the carbine, and its power compared to the pistol she has. She could aim for his shoulder, weakening his ability to brace the weapon and giving her a chance to get to the door. But he's right… "I'm not here to hurt SHIELD." Then she releases her hold on the pistol, hooking her finger into the trigger loop to let the pistol hang limply from her forefinger. She holds her hands open to him, arms bent at her elbows. She slowly sets the pistol down on the table.

Simon watches her make those estimation, and then as soon as lets the pistol roll over her finger, he nods, standing up himself and leaving the carbine on the bench, "Then you can holster the pistol." A little smile touches his lips, for all that it's wry, "Wouldn't want you forgetting it on the op." He watches her with a slow, steady gaze, although the tension still hasn't left him again, "So you're here because they burned your spy. And you're going to burn them in return? Using us?"

"Your permission is appreciated, Agent Green." The words are delivered with a bit of coolness, but she does slide the pistol back into its ankle holster. She then sets it back down on the table with the rest of her gear, not looking to put it on yet. She slowly lowers herself back down onto the bench, shifting her feet slightly. The tension still rides her own frame, seen mostly in how her shoulders roll. She glances up to him through the fall of her forelocks. "I'm not looking to burn Warhorse… I want to know who he's working for. He sent me into that bathroom to steal information from SHIELD. This is more than Michael." There's a hesitation behind saying his name aloud too often, and she looks away from him slightly at its utterance.

Simon shrugs a little helplessly at Rami's retort, watching her move. He certainly hasn't known the woman long, but reading people is a big part of what he does… and tension isn't that difficult to spot if you're looking for it. "Sure, the smart play is to ignore revenge and go for info…" There's even a hint of a crooked grin behind the words, for all that it fades quickly. "So then the question is whether it's Six-point-five that's gunning for SHIELD, or just a few people, or the whole British government, or, worst of all, multiple governments. And why." His brows lift slightly, "What do you think?"

The MI-6 Agent does not make immediate eye contact with the SHIELD counterpart. Her gaze is dropped to her lap, hands clasped firmly on the edge of the bench on either side of her. Thoughts fly at supersonic speeds through her mind, filtered through her advanced synapses; parts of her brain that house memories of long past ancestors layer their own reasoning with hers. She breathes out a slow, almost meditative breath as she scoops her hands back through her hair, pinning the loosened braid back against her shoulders and neck. "I think this is beyond agencies and governments… I don't know what to think. That's why I need to talk to Warhorse." Then she turns slightly toward him, and that agelessness has reclaimed her expression.

Going back for the carbine, Simon carefully picks it up by the top rail, well away from the pistol grip. He watches the meditative blankness settle onto Rami's mobile features, curiosity flickering through his blue eyes. "Beyond? Beneath? Alongside?" He's musing, following along her line of thoughts. That so-different expression on her face draws him up, and he frowns thoughtfully for a heartbeat before clearing his face, "Then we'll have to be sure to use ICERs on him so you can talk to him afterwards."

The look that Simon gives her catches her off-guard, and her own look of bemusement flickers across her features. "What?" The question sounds almost uncertain, as if he's seen something off-putting or out of place about her expression. Then she tucks a bit of hair behind her ear again, twirling it a bit in the nervous gesture. "I won't be the only one who wants to hear what he has to say." Then she traces her fingertips along her jawline in a distracted gesture. "I think you're right… beneath is a better word. Something is happening beneath this all."

"You were somewhere else for a moment." Or sometime else, or someone else, but Simon has no reason to suspect either of those. His eyes flicker over to her playing with her hair, and a slow smile starts to spread across his lips, "We should play poker some time." He only tries to stifle his grin for a moment, and then it flares into life and he gestures up toward her hand at her hair, "You have a tell when you're nervous. Or you're actually a field agent trying to make me think you're nervous, but if I start thinking like that, I'll end up chasing my own tail."

The mention of somewhere else prompts her own unspoken reply to match his own… or sometime else, or someone else. She grapples for her own identity then, finding the threads of her own identity through the braids of past lives. "Sorry… I get like that sometimes. Just my thoughts spinning out." Then she unconsciously twists a bit of hair as she tucks it once more behind her ear, freezing a heartbeat later when he points out her nervous tic. She starts to laugh, and she shakes her head. "I'm actually quite a shit field agent."

"You kicked the crap out of Lancer," Simon points out, his grin growing even further, "And you kept me from getting suspicious for like… one and a half dates. And even then I didn't think you were an agent." His hands spread out at his sides, "Can't blame a guy for trying to make a little money with a poker game on the side, right?" Even if he was pretty clearly joking about that. Letting the smile die down again, he's evidently feeling comfortable enough to check the action of the carbine and then tuck it into his locker, leaning back against the locker alongside his, "So is that the op? Bag and tag Warhorse? Or are we just making sure you don't get hurt while you do a drop?"

"I said I was a shit field agent, not that I was shit at poker." The Brit narrows her eyes threateningly at Simon then, almost forgetting herself in this quiet intermission.Then Rami sweeps her hands down her legs, hooking her knees as she draws herself up to her feet. She glances toward him as she steps away a bit, resisting the urge to begin pacing. She instead just looks over the weapons on the walls and the well-labeled drawers and cabinets. When he asks after the details of the op, she starts to chuckle. "I thought you wanted to wait to learn more with the rest of the team." She crosses her arms loosely at her chest. "The latter. I want Warhorse to talk before we get into an interrogation room."

Simon's grin returns for a heartbeat, "So you're planting the tell?" His eyebrows raise in question, and then settle down again as the grin fades, returning to something much more businesslike, "Well, I was going to wait, but then I needed something to distract you from my suggestion that you were shit at poker." Still, he nods slowly, opening his mouth… then closing it. His eyes tighten, and then he glances around the room himself. He looks down, letting the bill of his hat cover the movement of his mouth from the cameras in the room, "You think they might be here too, don't you?" If there's someone 'beneath' all of this, they're clearly a 'they.' "That's why you pulled the gun on me. You trusted I was SHIELD, just…"

Parambir catches his movement — an attempt to disguise his words from anyone who might be watching. She curls her own knuckles against her lips slightly, continuing the overt touching to her face she started earlier. Her smile is thin at best. "I know they are here, too." She turns slightly back to the line of weapons, delivering the next words without speaking them directly to him. "I suspect that's why Agent Coulson is dead." Her throat tightens a bit, and her smile remains brittle. "And Margaret Carter, as well. But that doesn't seem to be a point of concern for your agency." She searches his blue eyes now. "I need to know that I can trust you, Simon. That's why I pulled the gun on you."

The mention of their two recent losses draws Simon's lips tight, and he glances up, studying her from behind as she studies the weapons. He meets her dark, searching gaze directly when she looks back to him, "And apparently I passed, at least for now. Although shooting me here would have screwed you over pretty well and I already know you're a lot smarter than that." Which doesn't really tell her any more about whether or not she can trust him. "I am who I am, Rami. What I told you the last couple of days? The important stuff's all real. But me telling you that you can trust me isn't going to change whether you decide you can or not."

"Would it have?" Her words are spoken lightly, but there's a hint of criticism there. "If you were not working in SHIELD's best interest, do you really think you would have let me shoot you? All you had to do was pull a gun in response for me to know for certain. And then, you would have had a clear story… rogue MI-6 Agent shoots ne'er-do-well SHIELD Agent after he confronts her on being a dirty agent. Your actions spoke loud enough without your paired words." She arches a brow slightly at him. "… do you mean that? About the last couple days?"

"Do you really think I would have let you shoot me without fighting back anyhow?" The slight grin that touches Simon's lips is very crooked and very dry indeed. "I just generally figure my mind's my best weapon when someone's already drawn on me." The hat comes off, and he runs the palm of one hand forward along his short hair at the questions that follow. His eyes drop down a moment, because there were definitely lies there, on both of their sides. And then he looks up again, meeting her gaze, and nods, "Yeah. The important stuff. I was off duty, no reason to be anyone else."

"I would have been disappointed if you had." Parambir shares in that moment's smile, meeting his words — dry for dry. Then she looks away when he settles into that more personal, more private exchange. She brushes her hands up her lower back, almost wishing she had pockets to slide her hands into. Instead, she just braces her back while she looks up toward the ceiling. She meets his eyes at his confirmation, and a slightly uncomfortable smile settles on her full lips. "And now?"

'And now.' That's the question, isn't it. Simon studies her in silence for a moment, then shrugs his shoulders, "I'm a SHIELD Agent. Now I have to get ready to go play knight in shining armor for an asset. After that, maybe I'll forget that asset pulled a gun on me, and ask the beautiful woman I met at Coney Island out for a real third date."

Parambir's smile turns from uncomfortable to a bit warmer at his words, and she nods soberly. "Alright then, Agent Green. I can leave you to get ready." She turns slightly away from him, moving to gather up the rest of the gear she's left on the counter. She starts to load up the parts into a small bag she's set aside. "I won't be traveling in the van with you," she says, not looking toward him. "We've agreed I should arrive in my own transportation."

The easing of Rami's expression draws the smile back onto Simon's features, "Two dates and we haven't ever been in a car together. That's New York for you. Don't worry though, I'll be there, watching your back." There's a momentary pause, and his brows lift slightly, "I'm assuming that you're not just 'Agent Ghai'… do you have one of those fancy double-oh numbers?"

"Is that now a goal for you? For us to be in a car together?" Then she blinks, turning toward him at his question. "Double-oh… oh. You mean like James Bond." She starts to laugh, shaking her head as she slips the ankle holster into the bag and then zips it shut. "No." She hesitates just a heartbeat before she shrugs a shoulder. "Courtier. That's my designation."

Simon shrugs a little at the initial questions, "I don't know… Just sort of normally how things go, anywhere but New York." And most of Europe and large swathes of the rest of the world. He's about to explain his own query when she gets it, and he sighs with a little initial disappointment. her codename, however, draws the grin back onto his face, "Well now isn't that fancy. I like it. My faith in British style's back." There's a moment there where he sways forward just a touch, hesitates, then steps forward anyhow, reaching out to touch her arm lightly with his fingertips, "Stay safe out there. We'll be watching your back, you keep a good watch on your front, Rami."

Rami rolls her eyes at his grinning words. She shakes her head with a low chuckle as she shoulders up the bag. She doesn't notice his hesitation, or his approach, until he his touching her arm. She lifts her brown eyes to meet his. His words draw up her brows slightly, and she dips her chin in a simple nod. "That's the plan." She starts to step back, and then turns toward the armory's door.

Simon nods in return, offering up a simple, even fond smile as she responds and steps back. As she turns away, he steps back himself, clearing her path to the door and starting back to his locker.

Simon only gets two or three steps toward his locker before his arm is being grasped by strong, confident fingers and Rami is turning him around to meet her kiss. She's on the balls of her feet, her opposite arm curving up around his shoulders to brace her close against him while her other hand squeezes his upper arm gently. The kiss conveys a full gamut of emotions from apology to anticipation.

Some part of Simon's instinctive reaction is defensive, but that only lasts a heartbeat, his arm starting to twist in her grasp — and then he's facing her again, and he's not defending himself in the slightest. The hand of his grabbed arm drops down to slip around her waist, settling just shy of the paired batons at the small of her back. The other hand brushing the outside of the arm around his neck, then his fingers settle at her cheekbone lightly. His eyes close under the wash of emotions, and after a long, involved minute — maybe more — he leans his head forward slightly, touching his brow to hers. Only then does he open eyes and let his fingers reverse course to ghost across the outside of her arm once more, half-loosing her.

Only with spies can a single interaction go from playing it cool, to drawing weapons, to kissing. She breathes out softly when his forehead leans into hers, and she keeps her eyes closed for a heartbeat longer. When she finally lifts her lashes and looks into his blue gaze once more, she barely notices the weapons and dim fluorescent glow of the overhead lights. No words are spoken as she just smiles slightly, and barely nods her head against his.

The unveiling of Rami's eyes drawing Simon's smile up further. He keeps to the silence following their prior farewells, the little movements and details of body language telling a great deal more than words. His hand lingers at her back, his shoulders leaning close and his frame comfortable with them sharing personal space. His right hand slides down her left arm, catching her fingers for a moment and squeezing lightly, then he winks, a glimmer of boyish mischief and confidence in his eyes, and steps back again, finally letting his hand trail away from her waist.

The handler does not break their shared silence as he squeezes her hand, and then winks. Her brows lift almost questioningly before she meets his mischief with a curious, warm smile of her own. When he steps back, she nods silently. She does not release his fingers immediately despite how he uncoils from her waist, though then she begins her own slow withdraw.

Their clasped hands stretch between them, extending out to continue bridging the gap as he takes a second step back. Simon's lips purse in a momentary air-kiss, his fingers squeeze hers again, and then he looses them, letting the curiosity simmer with the handler as he resumes his retreat to his locker.

Rami does not make a move yet to follow or retreat. She watches him, head tilted and expression openly curious. She glances slightly behind her, and then back to Simon with both brows raised.

Simon can't help it, he cracks up, some of the nerves of the previous moments fizzing away with the laughter. He gets it under control in a moment, still chuckling, "That was totally your cue for the awesome turn and walk-off like a boss secret agent, Rami." The teasing is light, easy again, and totally infused with his wide grin. Nodding his head upward a little, he adds, "You've got this, just remember, first date. Easy peasy."

The laughter diffuses the moment, and she shakes her head ruefully. "Well, I missed my cue." Then she dips her chin slightly, and offers him a small smile in return. Then she steps back two steps, nodding at his encouragement. "Yes, first date." She offers him one last nod before she steps to the door. "Cheers." Then she's out into the hall, but the departure surely lacks its could-have-been attitude. Her nerves are showing, and there is still something she needs to do before she heads out to meet up with Warhorse, and her apartment is the only place she can get it done.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License