1963-07-20 - The Spider and the Director
Summary: Peggy finally gets Jess out of confinement. They talk about hard realities and job offers.
Related: Jessica Drew and SHIELD logs
Theme Song: None
jess peggy 

After getting a look at the video of what really happened with Jared, Jess was remarkably agreeable. Agreeable, at least, in that she didn't put up any sort of fight, compliantly settled into a holding cell, and has made exactly no demands of the SHIELD agents in the office.

She hasn't exactly been a social butterfly either, of course.

She at least changed out of her costume into whatever generic attire was available at the office, and has for the most part been quietly sitting in the holding cell. Of course, she doesn't generally sit like a normal person. For example, at the moment, she's about four feet up the wall, legs bent to press her feet and back against the wall, arms wrapped around her knees. Just how she stays up there is a mystery, but it's not normal.

he moment Peggy finally heard that they were *keeping the woman in a holding cell* instead of letting her have her run of things, talking to her about recruitment, or doing ANY of the things Peggy would have wanted, well.. Peggy's come running. It's still several days after the fact. The director has still been ridiculously busy seeing their first Nazi transplant in and comfortable. She's still dealing with some mysterious, rumored health issues because the office rumor mill can't just such the heck up! But, she's finally come.

The first thing the director does is walk up to the cell door and simply open it. No barring the way, no standing in the exit. If Jess wishes to run and leave, it seems Peggy is more than happy to let her. She then leans her brunette head inside a touch and calls gently, "This is most indecorous of us to be holding you here. Would you care to come to my office for some tea? Or, well, something stronger, if that is your ilk…"

Jess looks…well, up from her knees, but down from her perch when Peggy opens the door. "It's…pretty nice for an enemy spy," she points out with a wry smile, setting her hand to the wall and straightening out to slide back down to the ground. "I'm not convinced anyone locked the door, but I'm also not convinced they weren't hoping I'd try to run, so. Kudos on that?"

She's trying to be funny? Maybe? It's like she understands how funny's supposed to work, but doesn't have a lot of practice with it.

Whether it's meant to be funny or not, Peggy takes it as serious, "I'm actually rather… angry that they kept you here. I need to read the two dozen reports that come across my desk every day a bit deeper. I'm not in the habit of treating unknowning victims — no matter how bloody effective they are — as enemy spies. So…you can come out for tea, or you can come out to run, but you can come out. This is no trick." Peggy's clipped voice is honest and plain. The same voice which told the woman, from the very start, that her man was not who she thought he was. Nothing but truth slips through Peggy's firm British tones as she waits patiently in the outside hallway.

"Tea would be fine, thank you." Jess pushes a hand through her hair, absently knotting it at her nape to get it out of the way as she steps toward the door. "I'm sorry about the…You know," she gestures vaguely to Peggy, referring perhaps to the scuffle in the alley. "You're the brave ones, letting Howard Stark play with combustible materials." Stepping outside, she offers over a hand, standing up a little straighter - which leaves her very close to a full six feet when it's all said and done. "I'm Jessica Drew."

There aren't *that* many women in the world taller than her, especially when she's wearing heels, but Jessica manages it and Peggy does not actually project the air of someone who is threatened. She just looks up to Jessica and gives a single, respectful nod before offering her hand. "Director Carter. But you can call me Peggy…at least off duty." Which might quietly imply that, at some point, Jessica will be on-duty for them. But that is getting ahead of things. Ones a firm hand shake is exchanged, Peggy turns on the ball of her foot and leads the way up the set of stairs to the main floor, and then into her office. This floor, this time of night, smells like noodles and asian stirfry.

Jess has gotten used to the smell of Chinese food over the last few days. It might not be noticeable to most, but her senses are a little bit sharper than the average person's. Still, she's had no complaints. She looks around as she walks, too used to marking her surroundings to stop herself, whether or not it looks suspicious. The look she gives Peggy, though, is more speculative. "The Peggy Carter?"

That question makes Peggy blink. A single brow arches, matching the tossed back look across her shoulder and the slightly bemused upturn of her red lipsticked lips. Even twenty years older, she's still wearing that same damn red lipstick. It's almost her trademark at this point. She chuckles quietly as she leads the way back into her smallish, but practical and comfortable office. "Depends on what you mean by *The* Peggy Carter…"

"Captain America, the Howling Commandos." Jess follows her into the office, glancing around for evidence to support the theory. "My parents were HYDRA scientists," she explains. "Around the same time your Strategic Scientific Reserve was coming up with the super soldier serum, they were working on their project. It didn't exactly work out the way they planned, but…it worked in its own way. They were British," she adds, though she doesn't seem to have any accent.

Ironicaly, it's probably the walls of the office that DO answer the question before Peggy ever can. The Howling Commandos indeed, and Steve Rogers, and Peggy, in the middle of it all. Younger Peggy, of course. Not a touch of gray in her hair or the slight hint of lines starting on her features, but very much the same woman. An almost wistful smile crosses the stern woman's features as she walks back to a little, oversized kettle like looking appliance. She only needs to push a button and, slowly, the sound of water boiling will start in a few moments. Some of the weird technical blessings of SHIELD. "Yes, well…I suppose I am that Peggy. And HYDRA worked a long time to try and perfect the thing we did…Once. And that's all we needed. I'm rather glad none of us ever managed to do it again, in truth."

"Well, that's not entirely true." Jess walks around the room looking at the pictures, comparing them. "See, right around the time you guys succeeded with Captain America, my mum was in the way when one of the lasers they were using in their experiments went off. She was pregnant, but so far as anyone could tell, everything turned out fine. That's…not quite how it turned out, though. Turns out it did have an effect. So…" She trails off, shrugging. "Except you had a grown - relatively speaking - man who ended up with the powers. They had a nine-year-old girl."

"…you." Peggy states quietly, a few puzzle pieces now falling together. The woman's dark eyes take Jess in a bit closer, drinking in the woman's features, but also all the emotions behind her gaze. The frustration there, or lack of emotion, or any hint of something the well seasoned spy that is Peggy Carter can decipher. She keeps her eyes quietly trained, more worry than suspicion in her gaze, until the kettle whistles quietly and then clicks itself off. It seems the automatic heating element has some sort of self-trip circuit in it. She turns her body and grabs two mugs, dropping tea bags in each before pouring steaming water over the bags to steep.

"See, they always said you were smart." Jess smiles crookedly back at the director, dropping down to sit on the edge of the couch. "Cream and honey, please," she adds as Peggy starts to pour the tea. "They thought it hadn't been anything until I started having episodes. I'd…stick to things," she explains, making a grasping motion with her hands. "My nose would bleed, I'd pass out. The first couple times it didn't last long. My parents started running some tests. Then the next time it happened, I woke up months later. They told me my parents had died, though I'm not really buying into that right now. And from there…" She trails off, shrugging. "Training. Lots and lots of training."

"The problem with HYDRA - well, one of many problems, though I might always consider it their greatest — is that they do not see people as people. They see people as tools, first and foremost. The strongest, the best soldier, the most probable to take to whatever serum. The best weapon. Tools." Peggy explains quietly as she neatly begins to prepare their tea. No servants, no secreataries. She may be the director here, but she is not too proud as to be above preparing someone a good cup of tea. So, she pours the honey in, and enough cream to make it light and gently sweet, before elegantly stirring the woman's tea several times as the bag still steeps. "But you aren't a tool. Steve Rogers wasn't a tool. He was a person first. A person with a good heart…and that made him the man in the headlines. Not the serum. You…you were a young woman who had everything taken away from her to be turned into a tool." With that, Peggy takes up the cup of tea and hands it gently in Jessica's direction. "For that…I am sorry. Whatever you decide… you are not a tool here. And I mean it when I say you are welcome to walk out the door."

"I talked to him." Jess takes the tea, looking down into it with a pensive frown. "He stopped by to talk. With a burger. Just like everything else, he's not what they said." She takes a sip of the tea, either trusting enough not to worry about drugs or just unconcerned about them. "He talked about…doing other things. So I thought about it. And I pretty much decided that wasn't going to happen. I mean…really, what are my likely options? Schoolteacher, secretary, store clerk? None of those are things I want to do."

"…What do you *want* to do, Jessica?" Peggy asks that question without pretense, no heaviness in her voice, no expectation. She's not a military leader waiting for the stern, clipped back chant of a solider. She's just a woman gently requesting that of another woman. Of a possible friend, maybe, learning the boundries of friendship. She takes up her own tea and moves to the sitting area, so they can both get comfortable. This isn't a desk conversation.

"What I thought I was doing in the first place," Jess answers, a little bit indignant, though it seems aimed more at herself than at anyone else. "I want to help people. I want to make a difference, make the world better. Stop bad people from doing bad things. I get that sounds…naive," she looks away, frustrated. "Stupid, maybe. But it's still true."

Peg gives a ghost of a smile as she sinks into the solid davenport against the far corner wall and crosses her legs. She takes a sip of her tea, but it seems she isn't much in the mood for it so she sets it down a heartbeat later, her stomach not in the mood for anything these days. "Then you're sitting in an office full of a bunch of god damn niave fools. Which…for what it's worth, might be true. But we're still fighting to be that…"

"Why would you trust me?" Jess leans forward to set the teacup down, watching the other woman with a concerned frown. "Not that I don't appreciate it. I do. It's just…we're spies. Infiltration is what we do. I could be lying. I could be playing you to get at your intel. I could be planning on sitting in here and passing information back to HYDRA for as long as I can get away with it. So…why trust me?"

"One…because yes, we are spies, but, in general, I'm that good. I can almost always read when someone is going to f*ck me, and I don't think that's why you're here. You were a young woman who has been in nothing but a bad situation for a long time…I want to give you the chance at more. And, for two…Even if you say yes, we're not giving you any power. The lowest of the low ranks. You'll be watched constantly. You will have to work and prove yourself as an agent — just as EVERYONE else in the office has had to do so. So…if that sounds interesting, the information you'd end up with from us would be negligable. You can earn the rest. It's worth the risk." Peggy states without fear or hesitation. She completely believes every word and the offer she's clearly made. A quiet smile grows across her red lips. "So…What do you say?"

"I say if you think I couldn't get good intel from a low-level position, you'll have some surprises headed your way," Jess answers, smirking back over. "Which is to say, if you're offering me a job, then I'll take it. I can't go back there knowing what I do now, and there's nothing else I- Well. Let's just say that anything else I tried to do wouldn't be anything more than a cover, and I'm not living some boring cover for the rest of my life. So yeah. I'm in."

A geniune laugh escapes Peggy's lips, "If you get that good of intel, and use it, we deserve to be right f*cked for not doing our jobs right. I'm willing to take the risk. I think you want to do good, you've been given a shit lot in life, and you're effective, to say the least. You are worth the risk. So…" Peggy leans forward, offering her hand in Jessica's direction. "Welcome aboard, Agent Drew. Basic training starts tomorrow at 0800. Report to Denier. And get ready to be annoyed and follow orders." Peggy's smile lingers.

Jess takes the offered hand, her grip firm. "Good, that shouldn't interfere with my pressing schedule of sitting around thinking about all the very stupid things I've done," she smiles ruefully. "Thank you, Director. I promise I'll do my best."

"Don't promise. Promises aren't worth shit. Just do it. I expect that you will." Peggy states, after the firm handshake. The deal is done in her mind. "And drink your tea while you're at it." She echoes, a bit softer, with a smile that says she's a little bit of everyone's mother around the office, as well as director. The rest of the conversation is spent in quiet small talk, Peggy pointing out a few articles on the wall and at least telling one Howling Commando tall tale before she lets the woman go with an order to get some rest before her, undoubtedly, exhausting first day.

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