Watching How I Met Your Mother
Maria walked into the Avengers' common room. She was surprised to see all of them there, as well as Sharon and Pepper. Was there a party she wasn't invited to?
She had the feeling they were trying very hard not to stare at her while Tony and Clint were trying to suppress their laughter. It was obvious because Clint was choking when she walked in. Natasha hit his back none too gently. Tony just pressed his face on a pillow and Pepper rolled her eyes at his side.
Bruce was reading a magazine upside down. Steve and Sharon tried to look engrossed with the view outside. If they could see the view at all Maria would be impressed, considering the heavy rainfall. Perhaps the supersoldier serum let Steve see through the sheets of water but that didn't explain Sharon.
She narrowed her eyes at them. She'd gladly eat Nick Fury's eye patch if there was nothing suspicious going on.
Only Thor came forward and greeted her. "Lady Hill, I didn't know that you were such an accomplished actress. My sincere commendation to you!"
She was puzzled. "Thanks, Thor. That's very kind of you. What's going on?" Then suddenly she felt like ice had poured over her. There were bowls of popcorns on the table. Oh no, they didn't. How could they find out?
She ran to the DVD player in the room. She could feel all the eyes in the room on her. She turned the DVD player on to take the DVD out. That was all the proof she needed.
She saw her picture on the DVD together with four of her ex co-stars. It was titled How I Met Your Mother Season 3.
She sighed and sat heavily on the nearest chair which was actually close to Bruce. "OK, you found out. Big deal! For the record, I know where you live. If one word leaves this room about my acting, I will not be responsible if any of your places are invested by termites or cockroaches or, I don't know, snakes or scorpions perhaps." She actually felt more relaxed after her threat, these Avengers were nothing compared to rookie SHIELD agents. She glanced at pale faces around her. She propped up her feet on the coffee table. "Tony, you can stop pretending that you aren't laughing. By the way, I know where you stashed all that junk food and I'm going to tell Pepper about it. I know this must be your idea."
Tony removed the pillow from his face and looked at her with wide innocent eyes. "I'm deeply hurt that you blame it on me. I truly do. Where has all the trust gone since your last interview?"
She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms in front of her. "For the record, I've never trusted you. Even Pepper doesn't trust you entirely with your childish behavior." She ignored Pepper who mimed cutting her throat behind Tony's back. "JARVIS, were they watching the show when I walked in?"
JARVIS sounded regretful which was impressive for an AI system. "I'm afraid so, Ms Hill."
"Did you announce my arrival?"
"Yes, I did. Mr Stark ordered me to warn him if you were about to enter this room. I told him you were on the lift on the way here. He quickly turned the DVD off and asked everyone to act nonchalant."
"JARVIS, you worthless piece of junk! I wonder why I still keep you after you betray me multiple times." Tony pouted.
"Because you need me, sir, otherwise you wouldn't be able to operate the Iron Man suits and I remind you of your daily schedule and whether you've a date with Ms. Potts."
Tony agreed begrudgingly. "All good points, JARVIS, at least you've some semblance of my intellect. I need to program you to betray me less though."
If Maria's glare could bore holes, Tony could have given Swiss cheese a good run for its money. She cleared her throat loudly before speaking. "Does this mean you admit to introducing them to the show?"
Tony realized how scary Maria looked right now. He waved both palms in a manner like placating a rabid dog. "I didn't say that. I admitted that I asked JARVIS to keep an eye on you so that you wouldn't find out that we were watching. Thank you very much for the ample warning, JARVIS! But I didn't introduce it."
"Sir, there wasn't enough time to give an ample warning. Ms. Hill just walked out from a meeting room three floors below. Did you know that it took only ten seconds to walk out from the meeting room to come here? I've done what I could. I did warn you that there wouldn't be enough time but as usual you ignored me."
Maria could've sworn that she detected some sniff with the AI's response. "Not your fault, JARVIS. It's not your fault that these my so-called friends don't have much restraints in humiliating me."
Thor quickly intercepted, "Lady Hill, I see no shame in what you did. I thoroughly enjoy your performance. I had never known that you were such an accomplished actress. You should perform more."
She was moved by Thor's sincerity. She knew she liked this god for a good reason. "Thank you, Thor."
"It's my utmost pleasure, Lady Hill." He bowed at her.
"I enjoyed your performance. Especially you singing Let's go to the Mall. How come I didn't receive any thanks?" Tony pouted. Pepper punched him in the arm.
Maria started to blush. "Oh no, you've seen that." She then straightened herself and regained her composure. "So what? I sing and act. Big deal. Clint bought a farm. Did you guys make fun about that? No."
Clint raised his hand to get her attention. "Actually, Tony makes fun of it all the time."
She turned her attention to him and narrowed her eyes. "So you blabbed and said something to distract him from teasing you."
"No, no, it wasn't me."
"Who was it then?"
"It was me."
She turned to see the source of the voice and was surprised to see it was from the last person she suspected. "Steve? How? Why?"
Somehow knowing that it was from Steve dissipated her anger. She trusted Steve and knew he meant no harm.
Steve rubbed the back of his head and blushed. "The other time, Tony said that all SHIELD agents have sticks up their asses so they were no fun." Maria noticed the murderous glares from Sharon, Clint and Natasha at Tony. Steve continued, "I said it wasn't true, some of the SHIELD agents were very accomplished actors. For example, Sharon here has the stage name Emily Vancamp. She has been in various shows and the most recent one with her as the main star in Revenge."
Tony looked at Sharon. "I still don't understand how you manage your time since you're a super agent."
Sharon shrugged. "Undercover. Time management."
Natasha added, "Don't bother explaining to him, Sharon. He has no concept of undercover, Mr. Let's-Tell-My-Address-On-National-Televisions-To-All-My-Mortal-Enemies-and-I'm-Iron-Man. Don't get me started on his time management." Pepper sniggered.
Tony folded his arms. "Fine, just gang up on me."
Pepper winked. "Oh, we will, we will."
Maria cleared her throat again. "I'm glad you all have fun but I still don't get the part why my name was being brought up."
Steve continued his tale. "I'm sorry, Maria. Tony scoffed and said, 'Fine, it was only one agent. The fun one. I don't think someone as …'" He stopped as he wasn't sure how to replace the word Tony used without causing Maria to kill Tony right there and then. He wasn't sure how successful it was because Maria still glared daggers at Tony. "…as… as... Anyway, he said that Maria Hill would be different from Sharon. In the heat of the moment, I mentioned that you also act undercover and you have a hit TV show. He was interested and asked for proof and it went downhill from there. Although seeing your performance, I must say you must be proud of yourself."
Maria was glad she was right. Steve didn't do it out of malice but just to defend her. "Thank you, Steve, for your honesty and your defense."
"And now you complimented Captain Spangle even though he was the one who told us about the show. It's fine if it's anyone but me." Tony scowled.
Pepper took a pillow and hit him in his face. "Do shut up, Tony. You're still not out of danger. The cleaner is on holiday so there is no one to clean up your body."
Maria nonchalantly lined her guns and grenades on the tables. "Don't worry, Pepper. There won't be any body left to clean up."
Pepper smiled. "That's a relief. OK, then, do what you want"
Tony glared at his girlfriend. "I don't know why we're still a couple."
"Well, because you love me. And you literally can't live without me as I remind you constantly to eat and sleep."
"I guess you're right," he agreed grumpily. He then glared at Natasha, Clint, and even Bruce who were eating popcorn. "Why are you eating popcorn?"
Natasha smiled widely which was really scary because she didn't do that often. "Usually people like to watch when I threaten to maim and/or kill you. I never knew how entertaining it was until I am not the one doing the threatening now. Do go on with the show."
Maria just rolled her eyes at her colleagues' antics. "But Steve, it still doesn't add up. How do you know I'm an actress? I've kept it underwrap. Hiding anything to do with my posters, DVD covers, etc around you guys."
Steve looked at Sharon. She nodded. "I told Steve."
Maria raised her eyebrows.
Sharon lowered her head. "I'm sorry. Clint told Steve about Revenge. We watched it together and Steve teased me." Steve cleared his throat. "Yes, I know, Steve, you didn't mean it. Anyway, I felt cornered and somehow I thought mentioning other agents would lessen my embarrassment. I thought it wouldn't be a big deal for you because you were so good in How I Met Your Mother. It's my favorite show. I'm truly sorry. I shouldn't have mentioned it. How do I make it up to you?"
Maria sighed. "I guess there is no harm done. I go undercover and act so what? Some people draw." She looked at Steve. "Some people farm." She glared at Clint. "Some people run experiments." She looked at Bruce. "Some people just create nuisance and chaos." The last one was directed pointedly at Tony.
Pepper coughed into her hand. Natasha drank her soda.
"Thanks so much for understanding! If you need help with cleaning up a body, I could help," Sharon said.
Steve's jaw dropped. Tony shrieked.
Sharon smiled. "Relax, I was kidding about the last sentence. Maybe." She directed her gaze at Maria. "But I was serious about the first one."
Maria nodded curtly. "Thank you."
Bruce finally said his two cents. "Maria, there really is nothing to be ashamed about. As others said, you act really well. The show is really fun and enjoyable. As you said, people do different things for a living, for hobbies, or in your and Shanon's case for undercover. You and Sharon should be proud of yourselves."
Sharon beamed and bowed at Bruce. "Thank you so much."
Maria relaxed and leaned back on the couch. "If you put it like that, there really is nothing wrong. I was too tense about you finding out, I felt high-strung all the time. Now that you know the secret, I guess I can relax." She poured some wine into an empty glass and drank it. "Why don't we watch it together then?"
Pepper asked, "Are you sure?"
She shrugged. "Why not? If you want to make fun of me, it's better for me to be present."
"I'm sure they'll behave." Pepper looked all across the room. Everyone nodded except for Tony. "Won't you?" She elbowed him in the rib.
"Geez, what's with the abuse all day?"
"Better me than Natasha or Maria or even Sharon," Pepper answered calmly.
"You've got a point there. I'll behave like a boy scout."
Everybody rolled their eyes because they knew Tony was never in one.
"Could we please watch now? I'm dying to know who the mother is. I want to know who Ted finally ends up with." Thor rubbed his hands excitedly.
Maria internally groaned especially remembering the ending. They were in for a long ride. Well, at least it was not a matter of life and death, except for Tony's but even Pepper would help her with the body. Suddenly, she thought of something that would eclipse them making fun of her acting career. Someone else's acting career!
Before she hit the play button, she casually said, "Do you know that Nick Fury also has an acting career?"
-The interview mentioned above can be read at "Maria Hill's Interview at Stark Industries" and Steve and Sharon watching Revenge at "Fun with Sharon and Steve."
-Please tell me what you think.