1963-06-14 - For Better or for Worse
Summary: With the return of Captain America, Sousa and Peggy discuss the ramifications on their relationship
Related: http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/log:1963-06-14-i-used-to-be-captain-america
Theme Song: None
sousa peggy 

They hardly ever see each other during the day. They work in different parts of the building, technically for different divisions. If it's not a field mission, they operate totally independently, it was part of how they stayed sane and without bias to each other. But, Peggy wasn't going to just let him hear this through the rumor mill. He probably already did. That didn't mean they didn't need to talk about it. So, while she was supposed to be in Washington DC two hours ago, she's still in the offices, and now she's walking down the hall to his office.

"Daniel? It's me. I'm coming in." She knocks on his office door and calls through the glass, but doesn't really wait to be summoned, she just turns the knob and steps through. She looks like a woman who has been running for hours straight (which she has) and still carries some good brush burn on the side of her hand/upper arm from tackling a super soldier. Her eyes are still a touch bright with a mix of shock and stress. But she's here.

Sousa did indeed hear it from the rumor mill. Captain America is alive and in the building. How could he -not- hear it? It's the only thing people have talked about for the last couple of hours. He's actually taken his phone off the hook and closed the door to his office to think.

There was sitting. There was pacing. Now, however, he's at one of the windows of his office, his crutch resting beside him and one arm lifted to lean against the windowframe as he looks out at the city. When Peggy announces her arrival and comes into the office, he doesn't stop her. In fact, he doesn't turn from the window. Not yet.

He's afraid to see her expression.

Peg knows him well enough to read every inch of his body, the tension there, the exhaustion that isn't really physical but is doubly emotional for a whole myriad of reasons. She also knows the things people say — the REASON they didn't tell her they had Captain America in the first place. She used to be his girl. Even after twenty years, ten of them married, the rumor mill is a monster like that. She exhales quietly and shuts the door behind her, turning the lock so everyone else is secured outside and it's just them, alone, undisturbed.

She then immediately crosses the room to his side. He can fight her if he wants but, if he doesn't, she reaches her un-road burned hand up and tugs him around. Without words, she pulls him into a kiss. Deep, immediate, insistant, loving. So much like that first kiss the shared, but now with a decade of experience behind it. She lets it linger far longer than is professional. When she finally pulls back, she looks up to his eyes. "I came the moment I could."

He knows she didn't know…that was part of the rumor. What made it so juicy. So he doesn't fault her for not telling him. He knows that, feelings aside, there was an issue and she had to deal with it. His head tells him one thing, his heart another, and his gut also screams at him to listen. So, in order to figure out who to listen to, he stays quiet. Very quiet.

When Peggy comes in and pulls him into the embrace he's obviously tense for a moment before he returns it. One voice gets quieter.

"I should have come to you, but I knew you'd be putting out fires."

While they aren't kissing any longer, Peggy also doesn't let go of him. She keeps one hand on his arm, their bodies close enough to be invading each other's personal space, her dark eyes searching his face as she sees all those demons she already feared were there. Her hand tightens against his forearm a bit more. "Yes. Several. Including your daughter throwing a completely epic tantrum that had her trying to run out into traffic after me. I got her home and settled again. Victoria's with her still. But that was first. Then back to the office to… deal with all this."

Peggy doesn't look like a woman who is lost in love, or starry eyed by the one that got away coming back. She looks like a woman who is exhausted, angry, impatient, and probably just had to fire half a dozen people. "We had to give a press release. He ran into the middle of f*cking Times Square

Sousa gives a start at the mention of their daughter in traffic, but she's safe at home. That's good. "The na…Victoria couldn't handle her?" But that's another issue entirely and not one he's going to get into now. This is just potentially bigger.

"So, what -is- 'this'. I only have the rumors to go on. Or is that too classified?" There's an edge to that last question, even though he didn't mean there to be. He's very still, balancing carefully even as Peggy and he are so very close. He's not pulling away, but he's waiting. Poised to move if that's what needs to happen.

A slower, deeper breath. Peggy is still trying to center herself, to calm her running, racing mind. It's been such a crazed afternoon she hasn't even sat down. "Apparently, they found the Valkyrie's wreckage earlier this week. Because I've been dealing with Washington and NATO, and bringing back a dead man's body wasn't top priority, no one bloody well TOLD ME." Peggy is on the edge of being enraged again. She's so angry. She's been operating on so much anger lately. "…Except, when they found Steve's body… it was still in tact. Frozen, but in tact. And when he thawed enough… God, Daniel… He woke up. He's still alive. And he completely *lost* it." Peggy runs her brush burned hand through her hair, pulling some of the curls out of her eyes and off her slightly sweat sticky forehead. "Knocked out four agents in house… and half a dozen more running out in to New York. I caught the end of it when I was out taking Mickey to breakfast. He'd have kept running if it wasn't for some assistance and my literally tackling him like a rugby player."

Sousa reaches into a pocket and pulls out a clean handkerchief to wrap Peggy's hand in. He just listens, not saying anything as he offers the small bit of medical aid. He'll make her go see someone for a better look at it later. When she takes a breath, he asks, "And now? Is he still lost or have his senses returned?" It must be a shock waking up almost twenty years after being frozen. The world has changed quite a bit.

"Was that what stopped him? Really?" The tackle? "Or was it seeing you?"

A slight huff escapes her lips as he grabs her hand like that, "It's fine." She insists. And it really is, certainly not bleeding any more, though there are the edges of old blood on her sleeve. It looked far nastier than it was. She gave a whole press conference with it and no one seemed to notice or care so, clearly, it was fine. She idly runs her other fingertips against his shoulder, still wanting to maintain contact with him, gentle and comforting. For as much her comfort as it is for his.

"I… I don't know what stopped him. But he stopped. He's… more stable now. Overwhelmed. Quiet. It's been a large shock, yes. Brian's with him… and Howard will be visiting later. I'm trying to get those of us who are left who he knows to… to check in, at least." When Peggy talks about him, it's not with a desperate, aching need or love. It's with the sadness of an old friend she's not certain she knows any more. The protectiveness Daniel has heard her feel about so many other agents.

He's going to have to bring it up, isn't he? And at work? So be it. "What happens now, Peggy? I just…" He lifts a hand to scrub at his face, "It's been a hard week. This…I don't know what to do with -this-. I can do my work. I can come home and be a father, but I just don't know what to do with This." It's not often that he admits to being overwhelmed. He's usually able to handle quite a bit.

"You're having them check in so that he can get caught up on the last 18 years?"

"Yes. Partially… and so he doesn't feel like he's… adrift, that he's missed absolutely everything… So he knows he's not alone." Peggy looks at him hard for a few moments, able to far too well get a sense of how much he is adrift himself. She finally just grabs his hand with her good palm and gently tugs him towards the small leather couch in the corner of his office. No words, she's just guiding him over to sit. She won't take no for an answer. Unless he totally pulls away from her, she settles down with him and pulls him into her arms so they can half curl up together on that couch.

"…What are you supposed to do with it? We… we don't do anything. We help someone who used to be an agent for the SSR get back on his feet. We carry on with our lives. We give him the option of returning to service or making his own life. That is the best we can do. And we… we carry on with our lives."

Sousa lets himself be led to the couch and he sits a little ungracefullly but he doesn't fight her. "Don't make me ask, Peggy. You know what I'm talking about." He holds her and he hears her words, but he still has that tension. "He's Captain America." The name may not mean something to everyone, but it will mean something to those who were around during the war.

"If you need time, I understand. Just let me know what I need to do, whether it's give you space or pack or what."

There have been few times since the war ended that Peggy really felt her heart drop into her shoes. This is one of those times. Her head jerks up, genuine surprise on her features as she stares at him. Hard. Looking to see if maybe this is some poor joke. But she immediately sees that it's not. Her hand reaches out, resting on his knee. "God… Daniel… What? No! Hell no. Not in a million years. It wasn't even a consideration of mine." She takes a breath before she says something she regrets in her own shock and odd hurt that he'd even think of her that way.

"… Daniel. I love you. I've loved you for fifteen years. Maybe longer. I love our life. And while Steve… while he turned my head once, and he will always be a friend, he's not the man I married. He's not — nor was he ever — the man I want to spend my life with." Her hand tightens against his, trying to draw his dark gaze to her eyes, so he can see how dead serious she is.

Sousa does look at Peggy. He searches her own eyes for the truth. He's always been a good investigator and he's always been able to see things that others may have missed. No doubt because he was willing to take a different viewpoint. He takes her hand and holds it tightly in his before he nods, letting out a slow breath.

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I had to ask. It…" He's Captain freaking America and Daniel isn't. No man is. "I know. I -know- but there's always that shred of doubt. He's usually able to push it back down. Maybe this time it'll be destroyed for good. "God, we need a vacation. Just from this week alone. Just to be a family without…robotic legs or Nazi scientists or Super-soldiers coming back from the dead."

There is still just the smallest touch of hurt, but Peggy's swallowing it down. That he'd ever think she'd just up and leave like that. She shakes her head slowly to him, "Don't you ever doubt me. Don't. Daniel… I never.. ever thought I'd marry. I didn't *want* to, honestly. Much less have a child. Do all the things women are *supposed* to do because then I was just like the rest of them. I was… buying into the god damn rhetoric. Sure, a few flings here or there — no one likes being alone — but never this." Her hand reaches for his, tightening around his fingertips now. "Then I met you and… rhetoric be damned. I loved you… like I'd never loved someone else. And I love you more with every year. So… put that doubt away. Because I said vows I never dreamt I'd say because YOU are worth it. And Mickey is worth it. And our lives are… better than I could have ever imagined."

She then does give a tired little laugh, a ghost of a smile crossing her exhausted features, "…even if, yes, we could use a vacation. Desperately."

"And I never thought anyone would want me. That I'd ever be able to get a date much less find someone who wanted to spend the rest of their lives with me. Have a child with me. I figured I'd be the perpetual bachelor. And now I have a life I wouldn't trade for anything in the world and I wake up every day in disbelief that it's mine. That you're mine. That Mickey is mine. That we're each others'." Sousa reaches to hold her close. "We're kind of a perfect mismatched pair, aren't we. I'm sorry that I ever doubted."

He actually offers a weary little smile, "I'm in the Doghouse, aren't I?"

A slight groan escapes her lips as he asks about the doghouse and she allows herself to be pulled in against him. In truth, she could almost take a nap right here. She hasn't slept well in days, despite their middle of the night talks, and today has been a piece of chaotic hell. But she doesn't let her eyes shut, she just half curls into his chest. "You really should be. But… I… I love you too much to be angry. I'm too angry at too many other things to be angry at you. I'm all out of angry." Maybe that's why she was so tired. She was just going at 120 percent anger for days now. And controlling it to be the proper, calm director everyone needed.

"I don't deserve that lenience," Sousa murmurs against Peggy's hair as he holds her. "I love you too. So much." Another kiss to her hair. "I'm serious about that vacation. We should go before the both of us explode." He's quiet for another moment, "Where there are no Captain Americas, No Howard Starks, no SHIELD. Just you and me and Mickey."

Before everything explodes.

"…I missed the meeting in Washington. They probably made all the decisions without me." Peggy whispers, after a few heartbeats, not quite acknowledging the vacation idea yet. No matter how right he is about that. Her fingertips stretch, curling against his opposite ribs so she's half wrapped around him. She didn't have time for this, but she needed it. They had to make time. She breathes in slowly of his scent. "…If we can get a few days before they start sending Nazis our way… yes. We'll go. We both need it. Maybe down south somewhere… Florida. Back to the West Coast. Malibu. I don't care. Away. No phones." She'd almost never do that, but after this week…

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