andveryginger: (10k Volt Man)
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Flash Fic: Inflection
Fandom: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Rating: K+ - Innuendo the kiddies won't get.
Summary: It's all in the inflection. (Implied May/Coulson.)
Note: A follow-on of sorts to "FZZT," I utterly and completely blame Ming Na for this one. Well, and Clark Gregg, because their scene at the end of the ep was just...charged. No real spoilers, though.

Definitely not betaed. You've been warned!
***

Grant Ward ascended the stairs to Coulson's office, one hand on the rail, one hand holding the latest mission report, his brow furrowed as he read. His gaze flickered toward the door as he reached the landing and he noted it was open slightly. He reached to push it open, hesitating as he heard conversation.

"Here's your coffee."

Coulson, Ward thought. Well-modulated with just that slight hint of annoyingly perky. Succinct. Matter-of-fact. But who was he talking to?

"Thanks."

Ah, Agent May. The ending note of hostility gave it away. Regardless of the conversation, she had this uncanny ability to make him feel as though he were still a rook. Interesting that she doesn't change her approach in dealing with Coulson.

"I know it's not your favorite mug, but it'll have to do." Grant could almost hear the taut smile in the senior agent's voice. "How much longer 'til we land?"

"About twenty minutes. Just enough time to finish here and get back down to change."

There was a short pause, followed briefly by approaching footsteps.

"Melinda?"

The footsteps halted at the sound of Coulson's voice. It was different this time, a bit husky, a bit higher-pitched.

May responded. "Yes?"

As far as Ward could tell, there was no response from the senior agent. Silence stretched for a long moment and the tension was almost palpable. When May finally continued, her own voice was huskier, emotion seeping into her usual inflection. "I'll see you on the ground, Phil."

It was at that moment the door swung wide. Melinda May suddenly hovered on the landing above him, her hair wound around a set of large, red rollers; a black tee shirt proclaimed her to be "off-duty", while steam escaped the paper cup in her left hand. It was the most casual he had ever seen The Cavalry.

Ward stood on the second rung, eyes wide, trapped. "I--I, ah..."

May said nothing, eyes hidden behind the dark lenses of her aviators, expression blank.

"I...just came up to, uh, discuss the report with Coulson."

The stare continued.

"Right," he said, climbing to the landing and stepping aside. "I'm sure you want to, ah, get ready for landing."

Her gaze followed him and remained there. She took a sip of her coffee, then turned to the staircase. She didn't bother looking back at him when she said, "Not one word."

Ward cleared his throat. "Understood."

To his left, the door opened and Coulson stepped out. The senior agent adjusted the silk tie around his neck, smoothing his collar down over the windsor knot. "You wanted to discuss the mission report?"

"Yes, sir. If you have a few minutes?" Grant struggled to keep his own expression neutral, his imagination careening down rabbit trails he'd prefer it left alone.

The taut but genuine smile Ward had come to associate with the agent slipped across the man's features; he knew exactly where the junior agent's mind was running. His voice was warm when he spoke, eyes twinkling. "Twenty minutes, Ward. And counting."

***

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March 2015

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