1963-07-24 - A Husband's Resignation
Summary: Daniel comes home after the messy meeting with the mutants. Peggy expects a report, but not his resignation.
Related: Any mutant/SHIELD logs
Theme Song: None
peggy sousa 

It's late. Well after midnight, probably even after 1. Peggy has no clue because, while she intended on staying up for him, her body had other plans and she's now dead asleep on the couch down stairs. The mistake was, probably, changing into her pajamas. But they were simply more comfortable. So, now there is a cold cup of half drank tea on the coffee table and his wife stretched out sloppily across the slightly stiff cushions. The Sunday paper is on the floor next to her hand, it also having been keeping her company.

Maybe it best she just blame the reading material for her inability to remain awake to the end of his meeting. She breathes slow and deep, well into this rest despite the awkward position and not being in a proper bed.

Sousa was home earlier in the day until he got the call that his requested meet with the mutants is happening. He was able to help get Mickey to bed before going back out to meet Fury. The Stark-made leg has been left at home and his 'regular' prosthetic worn…perhaps as a way to elicit some sense of 'I'm different too' from the mutants. Sometimes negotiations rely on simple theatrics.

There is a quiet rattling of the key in the door as Sousa gets home and steps inside. His suit jacket is peeled off and tossed aside as he starts to make his way towards their mini-bar. It's only after he's poured himself a double does he notice Peggy there on the sofa. He doesn't wake her up…but he does start to drink the liquor, his eyes just watching her, so peaceful in her repose.

At least one other person will be sleeping tonight. It probably won't be him.

It's a testament to how much her body wanted sleep and how familiar his walk is to her that the seasoned spy isn't awake and reaching for her gun (which is hidden in the bedside table upstairs, so it'd be no where near here.) In their early relationship, him getting up to piss or even a car backfiring outside would be enough to keep her springing out of bed, fully alert and ready for a fight. But tonight, she remains dead to the world for a good few minutes longer, hair a mess of curls draped across her face, one strap of her night down fallen down to the side of her arm instead of her shoulder. Things might almost look normal for a moment, at a peaceful picture like this.

Then, however, the feeling of simply *another presence* is enough to alert something in the back of her head. Eyes on her makes it worse. Somehow, her insticts are just that honed, even through the depths of sleep. It's another few heartbeats and her eyes snap open, head jerking immediately in his direction. She doesn't sit straight, realizing who it is a heartbeat after the sharp wakefulness, but he's been caught. "…How'd it go?" She asks, forcibly awake, trying not to sound like she's still muddled in rest.

Sousa doesn't answer immediately. Instead, he finishes is drink before he turns to pour another. "We've been compromised. They know about you, me, Mickey…the baby. They know about SHIELD." He then downs half of the newly-poured drink, "I'll tender my resignation in the morning." The rest is finished off and he hooks the glass in a finger even as he tries to grab the rest of the bottle to carry with him.

But he's not going upstairs. Instead, he'll start limping towards the study. It's obvious that he blames himself for this breach of personal security and he's going to be unable to just shut off his mind and sleep unless he gets some sort of sedative.

That was *not* the answer Peggy expected, her still drowsed mind (no matter how alert she looks) is going to take a few moments to process. She stares at her husband, pushing herself into sitting straight and then just taking a moment to drag her hand down her face as she breathes in this information. With that report, chances were neither of them were sleeping tonight. Especially with the way he ends it. She then stands, grabbing her robe from the back of the couch and pulling it on over her frame before stalking after him into the study.

"First: No. I do not accept your resignation. So, just quit that thinking right now." Peggy seems dead serious about that, no real anger in her features. Just shock. This is all simply shock. She stares at him hard across the room, "Secondly…how the hell did that happen? Considering not even most of SHIELD knows about the baby… it's not like they broke into files." It seems that psychic powers haven't even CROSSED her mind as a possibility.

Sousa pauses in his path towards the study, bottle and glass in one hand and his crutch in the other. "They're mutants, Peg." He gives a heavy sigh. "One of them read my mind. I didn't even know he was in there until he said my name and mentioned all of that. They threatened us and we left. But they still know and I couldn't stop them." Because he's just a regular person.

"You may not have a choice in accepting my resignation. I risked the entire organization."

That gets a slow, processing nod from her — the part about mutants and mind reading, not the part about the resignation. That part earns him a solid glare and Peggy just breezes past him into the study, turning on the desk lamp and moving for the big leather couch. They weren't having a conversation across his desk this hour of the night. She wasn't, at least. She sighs, settling down and crossing her legs like she was neat and tidy in a business suit, not her satin night gown and robe.

"First off, if he read your mind, that would have happened to any agent that walked in there. We don't have training or even the ability to defend against that sort of attack. No one does. I'm not firing you for something you could not have helped in any way. I wouldn't accept any other Agent's resignation over it either. So, don't push me on that… Secondly, well… we just play clean up now. What did they say they would DO with the information?"

Sousa is frustrated and disgusted enough with himself that he's not able to even sit next to Peggy on the couch in the study. Instead, he goes to the chair at the desk, the bottle and glass set on the desk itself. "Maybe another agent would have handled it better. Fury did. He should be in this position, not me." He then pours himself yet a third drink. He's going to begin to feel that very soon.

"I don't know what they'll do. They didn't say. I don't even know exactly what they got, but they got -something-. It's not like he read off everything he stole from my head." He lifts the glass, pauses, and then takes a swig. "We can't fight this, Peggy."

The moment he goes for another drink of that bottle, Peggy stands, almost as quickly as she sat. She stalks across the room to him, scooping up the bottle and the glass, unless he actually pushes her hand away. "Stop. Stop it, Daniel, right this second." She doesn't yell those words, but there is a certain tone of her voice that comes when she ABSOLUTELY means something as a command, and that was a command. She's now on the edge of angry, staring down across the desk at him, her jaw tightening.

"I'll read Fury's report in the morning, but I am guessing you are overreacting because you feel violated. And unless they offered any sort of ultimatium, I'm also guessing they don't actually plan on outting us any more than we do them. We have valuable information on them too. So, we're both at a stalemate and we never PLANNED on fighting this in the first place, so I'd rather not start now."

Sousa doesn't fight her when she pulls the liquor away. He just covers his eyes with his hands for a moment, his elbows leaning on the desk surface. "We aren't to investigate their school. They'll provide us people to recruit, but only if they want to and on their terms. We aren't to mention the man's name who could read minds. They sure as Hell gave ultimatums. Nevermind what we were trying to offer, it all had to be done on -their- terms. No exceptions." He then removes his hands from his eyes and looks to Peggy, "Damn right I've been violated, but over-reacting? I don't think so." Maybe just a little.

"We have nothing on them. We have the name of one and rumors which haven't been validated…and won't be validated, from the way the mind-reader spoke. They have everything on us."

Another quiet breath is released and Peggy sets the bottle with the glass aside, on a bookshelf, out of his reach from behind the desk. She then steps around the desk, the nearness of her bringing the scent of her soap and skin still warm from sleep. She reaches her hands down to his shoulders, rubbing fingertips in deep, slow circles. Despite her anger, she doesn't like seeing her husband like this. So she stands there, working her thumbs into his back, trying to bring him some focus and ease.

"We are still well trained agents. If we *needed* to validate the information on them, I am certain we could. That being said… any recruitment we do is on the terms of the person being recruited. I am not in the habit of forcing people to take jobs. So… I do not mind that. We also have no clue what they have on us, but they did not say they were going to air it to the public and, apparently, they were still willing to do SOME work with us. So, that is at least a half success."

"The mindreader said he could make people do what he wanted. He could make us recruit his people. He could send in spies, Peggy…and we wouldn't know." Daniel doesn't move away from Peggy's touch, but he's not reaching for her, either. "It stinks of Fennhoff." Maybe that's why it's under his skin so much. That man killed three of their agents back in the SSR days. "What if he put something in my head and I just don't know?"

The moment Daniel says that it stinks of Fennhoff, a shiver goes through Peggy's spine. It's been over 15 years, but some things never fade. That was one of the worst cases, even if it was one of the first. Peggy says nothing for a few heartbeats but sinks against the back of his chair, wrapping her arms around the front of him from behind and resting her cheek against his hair. "Yes… threats… like that, abilities like that.. are much like Fennhoff. But if he planned to use us that way, he wouldn't advertise it. Fennhoff was so damn dangerous because none of us knew what the hell was going on until it was far too late. This man has been open with us. All we can do is try and exercise a bit of trust. They have us on the ropes, Daniel… maybe we can make something out of this after all. We can hope."

Sousa has been bereft of his scotch but he's already had two rather large tumblers of the stuff and he's beginning to feel it. As Peggy reaches around to embrace him from behind, he lifts his hands to rest on her forearms. He's listening, he is…but he's also getting lost in his own thoughts.

"You need to give this to Fury. Give him my position. Find something else for me or I can…start job-hunting. But he's better at dealing with them than I am." He turns then, to look at his wife as best as he can. "They've changed since we first created the department. I could do it then. I don't know that I'm the best man for the job now. Fury -is-."

The woman's arms loosen just enough to let him turn, but as he goes on about the job issues, Peggy's jaw sets hard. She leans back against the edge of the window sill behind his desk, outlined by summer night's darkness outside, looking elegant and all curves in her satin night gown. She was still an attractive woman, even at her age. The stern look on her face, somehow, doesn't manage to detract from that. She sighs quietly, mulling words over and biting back her initial, hell-no reaction.

"…I…meant it when I said that no one is forced to serve us. SHIELD Is no draft. If you actually want to… step away from that team, you can. But…" Peggy sighs again, pushing one tired hand back through her hair. "I'll ask you the same question I'd ask any memeber of the team having doubts about their position — What do you WANT to be doing? Where do you think your talents are most effective?"

Sousa shakes his head, "I don't know, Peg. I'm half drunk and am barely thinking straight from that and worry that I've exposed our family to some sort of terribly, unknown, unseen danger." He reaches out to take her hands, "Promise me…promise me that if I start acting strange…dangerous, you won't hesitate to take me down. For Mickey and the baby."

Having his mind read seriously spooked him. The depressant of the drink isn't helping either.

"I was best in the field…investigations. But we have younger agents for that. Soon, we're going to have super-powered agents for that sort of thing. Put me where you want to put me, Peggy. It doesn't need to happen tonight, but I want you to offer the job to Fury as soon as you can. Or -I- can if you'd rather not." There's a pause, "Hell, I can stay home and take care of Mickey for a while if you want."

While she was his boss, she was also his wife. Sometimes that was a very difficult line to tread, but they had managed it so far. Peggy stretches her fingertips out to him, trying to take his hand without actually forcing him to give it. If he reaches for her palm, she'll give his fingertips a firm, loving squeeze and not let go.

"…This is not the time of night to be making big work decisions for either of us. I don't think you are going to start acting strange or dangerous, but if you did, I would handle it the way I'd handle any other agent for the protection of everyone. I understand the risks, Daniel… I do. You're too invested and spooked right now to see this logically, and I don't blame you. But I do love you. I won't let you torture yourself over this." Peggy reaches his hand up to her lips and gives it a gentle kiss.

"…Come to bed? I'm exhausted, your exhausted and half sauced. Mickey will be up early. Someone will talk to Fury in the morning. He'll take over the team directly and entirely, but you're not going anywhere. I need you… in the office and at home. Alright?"

The touch helps. It always has. Knowing that she's there for him just as he'll always be there for her isn't lost on him. "Are you just trying to take advantage of me, Director Carter?" is asked in a half-attempt at humor. The situation is so ridiculous, it's that or break. Sousa does use the desk to try and get to his feet and gain some balance before he reaches for his crutch.

"I'll be fine…" is murmured, "Just will need some coffee in the morning." Do they even have it in the house? "I tried, Peg. I really did. Maybe they play 'spy' better than we do…"

That comment, the saucy one, makes Peggy grin a little bit, "Mm… It is tempting, though it's late. Sometimes I simply can't resist taking advantage of my position." Peggy teases him gently, helping tug him up and out of the desk chair but, this time, against her. She pulls him into a tight, close and immediate kiss, knowing he might be a bit off balance and not quite caring. She's got him. She'll support him. She holds him close in that kiss for several heartbeats before letting him finally come up for air.

"You will also need sleep tonight. So let us try that, yes? And of course they play spy better, they cheat." Peggy teases him gently, but she lets him retake the support of his crutch and then leads the way up towards the stair case and their bedroom.

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