1963-08-24 - Flamingocrazy
Summary: Howard comforts Peggy the only way he knows how: By bringing a flamingo into her office and being an @
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song:** None
howard peggy 


The nanny has been paid a triple rate for the whole week. Peggy has spoken to her daughter on the phone a few times, but she can't even go home and face lying to Mickey about why daddy hasn't come home yet. And, besides, Peggy had work to do. She needed to *find* daddy, and all the other missing agents. So, since the news came in, she's pretty much not left her office. She sleeps on the couch, some agents bring her food, some tea… everyone otherwise is walking on egg shells and Peggy continues the thousands of pages of data analysis on the personnel files from the various bases, looking for any clue as to who was doing this. Who could have taken them.

Several days into this mess, it's evening and almost everyone else at the office has gone home. Not Peggy. She's got a sallow look to her features, her normally lovely curls slightly matted and messily tied back. Her office smells like cigarettes — yes, she's picked up smoking in all this. It helps her stay awake. SHe's hunched over a fresh set of reports on her desk, bloodshot eyes staring through everything.

*

"Woah woah, hey now, calm down." A voice comes from outside in the hall. "He doesn't bite, don't worry." There's some sort of a stir going on outside the office as it seems that the familiar sound of Howard Stark rings out through the air. He's as self confident as ever even as he pushes his way back first through the door. "Don't worry it's fine, this used to be my office."

He assures the receptionist once again with a smile before finally turning around on the spot. There's a massive cage in his hands, filled with something pink, covered in feathers and angry at the world. "Wow Peggy, you look like shi-" He cuts himself off, before setting down the cage in the room so that the flamingo can preen itself and stair at her. Barely missing a step Howard redirects the statement

"Shomeone took a few rounds out on you." The door is kicked shut behind himself, as he moves further in the room leaving his flamingo across from her desk. He hops up his backside to set down on the edge of the desk and give a long look her way. "I got you something to get your mind off of things"

*

The sound of the commotion in the hallway outside draws Peggy's tired eyes. Instinctively, her fingertips reach down to the gun in her desk drawer, but then she hears Howard's familiar voice and she sighs. Not exactly what she needed, but at least she doesn't have to shoot someone. She drags one hand across her eyes and shuts the gun draw again, bracing herself for the man who is going to come in the door any moment.

…well… Man and bird. Peggy blinks up to him, staring hard, trying not to freak out at the cage. She just sighs instead, quietly half glaring. "…Howard… as… polite as you ever are…why the hell did you bring a flamingo into my office? It's going to shit everywhere…" She grumbles quietly at the pink bird, then looks back over to him, "My mind needs to focus on getting my husband and his team back."

*

"Peggy" There's a long pause from Howard as he reaches into the cage and pets the pink monstrosity of a bird. "Bernard is right here, he can hear you." He shh's at the flamingo managing to get it to fall quiet for the time being. The bird simply tucks its head down a bit to clean its feathers.

Howard turns back to Peggy still setting on the edge of his desk. "Actually I'm fairly sure he won't." He taps the side of his nose. "I call it an LMD, it's in the early prototyping stages but I thought it'd make you feel better. His name's Bernard Stark." He pauses. "And trust me as someone who goes weeks without eating because he's too busy inventing I can hypocritically say this isn't healthy."

*

"…I ate something today. I'm not hungry. And… what the hell is an LMD?" Peggy asks, the acronym not really much meaning anything to her as she looks up from her tired work. She rubs one more hand across her eyes, really trying to look more focused, but the offer of a bird really isn't helping her feel any better about what is happening. SO, it's only a few moments until she looks back down to her work again, turning to the next page of reports and going back to the hand crossreferencing she's doing.

*

Howard waves his hand. "Complicated science, thing that can create exact duplicates of living creatures, you wouldn't be interested." He glosses over it, like it's the most basic and mundane of things before looking down at her paperwork. With the press of a small button on a remote in his hand the bird steps out from within the cage, and proceeds to stand on the documents Peggy is trying to read. "Peggy, trust me there's nothing to be lost by going home, and spending some time relaxing while the rest of us pick up the slack."

*

"If you came to tell me about complicated science, tell me. Exact duplicates? So… robots, that match the look of people. That is… disconcerning, but probably useful. Still not helping the current situation…" And then, suddenly, there is a flamingo on top of her papers and Peggy's eyes go wide. SHe sits back in frustration, her jaw tightening as she glares up at Howard's pet.

"Howard. Get your pet OFF my desk before I remove it and make it more angry, alright? Come now. And… I don't want to go home. A half dozen agents are… Missing. Possibly dead. Including my husband. I really don't want to go home and lie to my daughter about where her father is. I wouldn't sleep anyway. So… I'm working."

*

"Chances are she already knows." Howard pulls a flask out from his pocket speaking bluntly as he takes a deep swig from the contents, looking away from her as he pets the flamingo on the head. "Kids are smart like that, always figure it out before you get the chance to tell them." He swirls around the contents of his flask before swigging down a bit more of its contents. "You know I spent years working for the SSR, working for SHIELD, for my company ignoring my son because I didn't have the heart to tell him his old man had cancer."

He takes a bigger swig from the flask. "And I'll tell you for certain there's no way he didn't know already, but I sat there, I avoided him, lied to him, did what I could to turn the other way and before I realized it he was in his thirties, and it was too late to change a thing." He downs the last of the flasks contents. "I'm not director anymore carter, but I'm a father dammit, and right now your kids need you, they need some stability in their lives."

*

Those words, especially the last ones, jerk up Peggy's gaze to him in surprise. Her dark eyes stare wide, almost as if she was caught red handed guilty about something. "Kids? We…only have a daughter, Howard." She's still not great at lying to her friend, but she does manage to keep her voice fairly deadpan as she says that. Innocent, clearly. Nothing is strange here. Even if her pulse is a bit quicker and she's wondering if anything is that obvious.

She wasn't showing. The nausea wasn't that bad, except around strong smells and she hid it fairly well. They'd been so careful not to tell anyone, but now her eyes narrow on Howard's, trying to figure out if he actually knows, or just thinks he knows.

*

There's a long pause as Howard reaches into the pocket of his suit-jacket. "Now." He starts as he pulls out a cigarette placing it into the corner of his mouth. "What happens after the first week you don't find them?" He pulls out his vibranium lighter from his front pocket. "The first year?" He lights up a white flame from the lighter immediately catching a light and puffing away to enjoy the smoke.

Small plumes of smoke come out from the end of his branded cigarette. "How long do you set back with the excuses before you finally come clean and admit you're human?" The words are just as much meant for himself just as much as Peggy. "Because eventually you'll hit that wall, maybe not today, or tomorrow, but eventually." Bernard idly pecks don towards Peggy's pen collection to pass the time.

*

"…I can't afford to be human right now, Howard. Not until I've… We've brought them home." Yes, there is a part of Peggy which is putting all of this on her own shoulders, determined to be the one to find the answer, the trace of something. She stares back from him to her paperwork again, trying to get her eyes to focus but it's late enough and she's been working long enough that even that is hard.

If her eyes won't focus, maybe he was right. She sighs quietly, thinking that over. "…If I took a few hours nap on the couch here, would you get off my back, hm?" Peggy asks with a half smirk, really not able to work between her own exhaustion and the damm bird on her desk. "…And please get your bird off my desk."

*

"I remember, two years back someone telling me not to be quite so selfish." Howard comments through his cigarette puffing it away fast and calmly. Even as his bird idly pecks away at the various sections of desk, eventually placing its head down towards Peggy's lap trying to block the paperwork completely. He lets out a bit of a sigh. "Make it an eight hour nap, at your home, in your bed, and then I'll take Bernard off your desk."

*

A groan escapes her lips as she tries to push, gently, at the flamingo's head and get it off her desk. She knows this might go poorly, but she really needs her papers back. "I'm not being selfish, Howard, I'm worried about our agents!" No, she's being stubborn, there is probably a difference there. She reaches over to her other desk drawer, though, and pulls out the pack of cigarettes she'd been nursing before. One of those is tapped free and the filter set between her lips.

*

For a bird it proves oddly difficult to move. There's almost too much push back for it to quite be a natural creature. Something slightly… off about it. Yet the fur is there the warmth of an actual creature the heartbeat everything. Still it shouldn't be this hard to move as it just lays itself in place looking up towards Peggy with those birdy eyes, unwilling to move.

"I don't think he's going to move till you agree to go home and try to get a good nights sleep." Howard comments still puffing away at his own cigarette. "See if you were worried, you'd have the best people on the job with full nights rest so their on their A game, as it stands you're being more me then I am, and that says" He takes a sip from his flask. "A lot."

*

A small grunt escapes her lips as the bird doesn't move and is harder to move than she realized. That hurts. Maybe she was more exhausted than she thought she was, if she couldn't just move a bird. She's about to protest just a bit more but then her voice catches in her throat and she sighs. She stabs out the cigarette before it turns her stomach and then stands quietly.

"Fine. Fine. You win. If…if you have a car here, I will go home for 8 hours… and sleep, then come back. You win. I don't know if sleep will be possible, but I'll try." Standing now, well, Peggy looks more fragile that Howard has probably ever seen her. Thin in the cheeks, exhausted, just somewhat beaten by life. She looks like a stiff wind would knock her over.

*

"Right after we take a stop by sickbay." Howard states firmly grabbing onto her arm to hoist her partially over his shoulder. He's not making a request, this is a statement made to the director. He's concerned about her sure, but he's not allowed to show most of that, at least not right now. It would make him look bad in front of bernard.

*

That was not expected and the fact that Peggy isn't fast enough on her feet to show it is enough to show that she really shouldn't be working. She's almost easily lofted over Howard's shoulder, though she struggles against his back, giving a swat to his ribs, "Howard! This is…senseless. I can walk! Dammit…" She half growls, really trying to wriggle out of his arms. "And my doctor isn't here. SHe's… she's missing too, with the team, so stopping in here is… not a good idea."

*

Howard keeps her over one arm, starting to walk out from the room, cigarette held in one corner of his mouth. "Peggy, there's already one of me in the world, and having you take my shoes is really not helping." He struggles to keep hold of her as he moves towards the door. "I just want you to get a quick checkup, make sure everything is good so we can have you at your best." He pauses for a second looking over towards the now sleeping Bernard on the desk as if half asking for a bit of backup with Peggy. "What's the point in finding them if you work yourself to death in the process?"

*

"… I… I don't want to see another doctor, Howard. It's complicated. I'll go home. I'll get sleep. I promise. Just set me down." Peggy huffs out against him, though the comment about it being complicated is shakey and a bit too honest. He might have been right about the kids thing, earlier. More right than he realized, but if no one knows, there's probably good reason she isn't wanting to see another doctor. "..Howard, you have five seconds before I knee you somewhere you like to use, to put me down…"

*

"Now that's just uncalled for" Howard pauses for a moment just before the door looking over to her. "It would really hurt if you knee'd me in the hand." He's silent for a moment as in the background Bernard rolls over onto his back making a quiet almost snoring sort of wheezing noise. He looks at her in silence for a moment cigarette burning down slowly.

*

Well, Peggy doesn't knee him, but she does use her knowledge of body and movement to rather suddenly just slither out of his arms and back to her feet. She's also quietly happy that no one else is in the office. "I'm going home, Howard. You can drive me or I can take my car, but I'm not going anywhere else. That's what I agreed to do and I will stick to it. SO… are we taking your car or mine?" She asks flatly, content to ignore Bernard for now. She'll clean up the mess in the morning.

*

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