1963-12-01 - Of Gifts and Bagels
Summary: Marie meets Barney again, this time on neutral territory. Advice is offered, gifts are given.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
marie-ange barney 

The chill is in the air after all. While it's not yet winter, the wind and the dip in temperature says otherwise. The tourists are not deterred, however; particularly in this section of town. How could one NOT feel the Christmas Spirit when there is a huge freaking tree all done up in lights and ornaments? (And the fact that no one steals any of it is a Christmas Miracle in its own right.) The pond in front is frozen thick and has had skaters on it for the last couple of days. Defintely a picture out of Currier and Ives.

Barney's on the move. Mostly. One hand is deep in a pocket of his wool coat, the collar pushed up against his neck, and in his other hand, that almost ever present cigarette. He's stopped just outside a bagel place, finishing up his smoke, blue eyes set to the world, watching the pace of people. Nothing pulls his attention to any one person, but that could change in the span of a heartbeat.


Christmas, for Marie, was the one time of year that was actually /good/ in years gone by. Back at the convent, it seemed like everyone was just nicer around the winter holidays; whether it was the chill in the air helping put some chill in otherwise harsh personalities, or the thought that Le Pere Noel was going to skip out on presents that made her classmates leave the weird girl alone, it was something that she enjoyed.

Now she gets to celebrate it a different way; with actual /friends/ (even if she doesn't know many well!) and even involving other customs that she hadn't known existed in the past, so it just makes the most wonderful time of the year that much MORE wonderful. So she's out in an effort to shop; having earned a bit of money under the table doing odd jobs around the apartment building for her neighbours, and trying to find the /perfect/ gifts. However, this is not the kind of work that can be done on an entirely empty stomach, so that bagel place catches her eyes — and as she almost, /almost/ bumps into him, Barney does too!

"Oh, hello Monsieur Killer!" offers a chipper Marie; sins of the past forgiven, at least for today. There are no angels to blaspheme, afterall!


Never let it be said that anyone on approach to him doesn't catch Barney's eye. It's all in the approach, however. A quick assessment that has meant the difference between life and death before, and it's not about to stop now. (Mind, not 'friend' or 'foe'. Important distinction there.) So, to keep any potential collision from occuring, not that it would, Barney takes a step back and drops his cigarette on the ground. Once done, he lifts his hand to dig at his eyes with fingers.

"Don't call me that," is muttered. "Just call me Phil." Philip Meadows, his current alias. Barney looks at the much too chipper Marie and takes a deep breath, exhaling it in a shake of his head. "You're looking mighty Christmassy…" The way he says it, it doesn't sound immediately like a compliment.

Pulling on the door to the establishment, Barney turns to enter the bagel shop. Somewhere, blocks down, a SHIELD agent is watching his every move.


"Pardon, Monsieur Phil. Madame had addressed you as such, so I thought… — no matter. I know now, oui?" Nope, not gonna get Marie down, and the smile on her lips doesn't fade in the slightest. As for looking Christmassy? It might not have sounded as a compliment to some, but the girl certainly takes it that way.

"Merci, Monsieur! You look… ah…" Well. Not exactly festive. The pause /could/ be because she doesn't know the right word in English to use, but in truth? She's trying to be complimentary. "…rather healthy yourself." Beam. As Barney goes into the shop? Marie follows, a given since that /was/ her original destination.

"Are you out seeking a present for Madame Hilde today?" she inquires curiously.


"Yeah.. she does that. Wasn't Hilde that called me that, though." Is that a touch of annoyance in his tones? Undoubtedly. "S'far as shopping?" Barney looks back as the French girl comes in his wake. (At least he doesn't close the door on her!) "We don't do that stuff. Same's the next day. An' the day after."

Barney lifts his attention to the rows and rows of huge New York bagels while reaching back for his wallet. The 'compliment', or rather, the 'courtesy' is met with a grunt of acknowledgment at the very least, and as he's looking, "She's back to herself now at least."


They… don't do gift giving? Sacriledge! It's a thought that seems to surprise Marie; green eyes going wide at the thought. "I… do not mean to judge, Monsieur Phil," Not like last time — the Judgement card wasn't in today's reading. Actually, nothing about socializing was… but there are certain things demanded by etiquette when you almost literally run into someone you know. So Barney's getting the more timid Marie, although bolstered a bit by the holiday. "…but even if it is not something which…" A pause; this time it's English tripping her. "…'you do', I imagine she would appreciate something from the heart to remind her that you think of her, doubly so if unexpected."

It might be noticed that Marie's not making eye-contact with anything but the floor while saying this; she's geniuinely not trying to impose upon him and any traditions /they/ might have… just trying to help. "I am glad to hear that… I could not imagine how it would feel to have someone I cared for… taken from me, yet appearing to remain in front of me at the same time." That thought /does/ bring her down a little. She'll likely not stay there, resolving not to let it happen (so long as the cards permit, of course), but she's a bit less animated at the moment either way.


Barney could rescue the girl and converse in French, but there's no reason for it. Instead, he opens his wallet and shifts his weight from foot to foot. Not much money in there. "She knows." That is right up there with 'of course I do!' in terms of statements, but it's as far as he's willing to go on that. "S'got a roof over her head. Fire in the fireplace." And she's safe. Safe from SHIELD, safe from the FBI. Safe from prying eyes.

And soon? Bagels!

When Marie-Ange makes that declaration, Barney just stares at her for a long moment. His expression, inscrutible for a long moment, his cheek muscles twitch from his jaw tightening. "How 'bout, the only reason she's alive is because of that… person." Barney is still mad about how all that went down, and his voice is low, "We came so she could get answers too. That was shot to hell because of your friend. You think she likes being a prisoner in her own head?"

Barney looks up at the bagels again, tearing his attention away for the action at hand. "Yeah.. half a dozen plain. Two with cream cheese." It's a game he plays. Leaves the bagel somewhere and the Jr. Agent that is assigned to shadow him for the day picks it up.


That draws Marie in a bit further; the only reason she has a roof over her head; clothes that keep her warm and walls to keep the wind out is because of Scarlett. The Lyonnaise purses her lips, deciding to work twice as hard. The present she gets her roommate will have to be /perfect,/ to properly express everything.

…which means maybe stopping for food isn't the best idea. Instead of the original plan of getting some food, sitting to eat it, and back out into the streets to hunt presents? She decides to save her money. Think of options while she converses… and see if she has enough for what she'll decide upon, when she does. If only the cards worked as a gift guide beyond the 'yes' or 'no'.

"Non, I do not think she likes this very much at all." Marie admits, bowing her head. "However… better to live, with love, even as a prisoner, than to live without it and be free." That's a little painful for the girl to admit, her smile edging on the forced side this time. "Never underestimate the role you play in her life, Monsieur. She may well be in a prison, at times… but perhaps you are the reason she fights to escape it when surrender would be simpler."


"Hilde's not the sort to surrender." Though now, the question is 'Is it Hilde that pushes on or is it the Valkyrie that guides the woman's steps?'. No, the question is probably more like, 'Am I completely crazy, talking about two personalities in one body?'. That's probably more to the question at hand and Barney shakes his head. "I'm going off the fucking deep-end," is murmured more to himself than anyone else who may be listening.

Behind the counter, the baker sets the half-dozen into a bag and soon enough, the two wrapped bagels are set on top. Cash is exchanged, and Barney is ready to go. Digging into his back, he takes out one of the boiled NYC delights and hands it to Marie-Ange. In what would be a 'provencal' accent, that is 'not Parisian', the man's voice is low when he offers, "Joyeux Noel," and heads towards the door.


"That is a good thing, for you both. It means a /solution/ is far more likely to occur… or at worse, a treaty between the warring forces." Marie replies, lifting her head up right now — which is just in time to see the offering provided by Barney. She doesn't hesitate in accepting it, food being one of her weaknesses.

"You did not have t— merci, Monsieur Phil." she decides on, her smile returning now. See? The magic of Christmas. Right there before her eyes. "A Merry Christmas to you as well!" — he spoke French for her, /and/ gave her a gift, it's the least she can do. Maybe more will come in the future. She'll have to consult the cards on how to proceed on /that/ front.

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