1963-09-19 - Homework
Summary: Clint gets his assignment from Peggy that he will need to complete before going back on full duty.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
clint peggy 


Outside the office of the Director of SHIELD, Clint Barton waits. He hates waiting. Shoulders hunched, fingers interlaced with his forearms resting on his knees while he leans forward, 'Hawkeye' exudes that pensive built up energy that causes him to pace when on an op, or causes him to click a pen top every few seconds. But those aren't options for him right now, considering he's there and there are other people outside the office, and well… it'd be rude. So at the most right now his toe taps now and again to a light rhythm aiming to distract him.

He looks over towards the person at the desk outside of Director Carter's office, one eye scrunching up as he asks, "So… should I go get lunch or… something?"

But those words only earn him a sort of 'look' that just tells him to wait. So he waits. A breath is taken as he looks towards the door again. Images flash through his mind, scenarios. An angry Peggy looming over him, railing about his rendering himself mission inactive just because he engaged in a foot race to capture an enemy operative… how was he to know that the scaffolding wasn't OSHA approved? So he fell three stories. Is that really his fault?

He looks at the door again and grumbles.

*

Of course, with the door shut it's impossible to tell what is going on in the office or even WHO is in there. It's another ten minutes he's waiting when the sound of high heels comes up BEHIND him and Peggy sweeps past him in a whirl of too-quick moving air, a woman running from one task to another, as quickly as her feet and focus can take her. "Come on, Barton. You look like a lost puppy waiting out here." She grumbles in his direction, unlocking her office and stepping the rest of the way inside.

It's not until they are inside he might notice she's changed just a little over the last few weeks. There might be some added gray in her hair, or maybe she's stopped bothered dying it, but it definitely is noticeable around the temples. She's also rather soft around the waist, in a way that isn't just hourglass curves, her suit jacket suspiciously unbuttoned though it's the middle of the day. It might not quite fit, or maybe she's just overly warm even with the autumn coming in. She moves around to her desk to sit. "So…you want to tell me exactly what happened?"

*

Getting to his feet, Clint follows after Peggy in that nonchalant way of his as if hey no big deal, just the boss. Sha. But he answers her in a tone that's rather respectufl, "Sure thing, Boss." He checks his pockets as he moves, glancing back at the seat of the chair for a moment but then seems satisfied with the results of his brief pocket search and moves into the office.

"Open or closed?" He asks, perhaps to gauge the temperature of the room as it were, and whatever she says he does. See, he can follow orders, sometimes. He moves into the place and takes up his spot standing opposite her desk. Then she asks him what passed and he snaps to attention.

"Ma'am. Manning was in pursuit of the primary opposition operative. We were not aware of the secondary operative. It came to my attention that the secondary operative endangered Manning's tactical situation and so I felt it best to abandon my observational post and intercept. This led to a secondary pursuit which inadvertently ended when the support structure gave way. Unfortunately I was injured in the time, though Manning was able to close the deal. Ma'am!"

He lets that hang there, clearly rehearsed… and then he adds quieter as if in an aside to her 'off the record.' "To be fair, boss. Those scaffolds were not up to code."

*

"… Do you really want to make scaffolds your fall guy in this report, Barton? Or would you rather say there was a fight, there was an accident, you were injured, and you're ready to get back to work now?" Peggy stares at him skeptically, after having told him to close the door, because when she's going to point out idiotic things to agents, she doesn't need the rest of the room hearing those idiotic things. She remains sitting behind her desk now, fingertips calmly folded, dark eyes staring at him with the same expression of a slightly disappointed school teacher.

*

"Ready and raring to go, chief." Clint gives a short sharp nod as he chastising words snap him back to the more professional side of his manner. He's back at attention and looks across the way to her. "I've learned from the situation and will make sure not to allow something like that to happen again."

He takes a deep breath and links his hands behind him at the small of his back. Then, again, he lifts his voice quieter though in that different tone as he says, "In all honesty, Director… I just want to get back out there and make it right." Another nod is given, and yes it's pretty clear he just wants another chance.

*

"Do you feel like you're going to follow orders in the future, or suspect that you are going to find other situations where you find it necessary to go off book?" Peggy asks that question low, dead quiet really, not giving a single hint as to how she feels about the answer. Her eyes could kill a man with looks alone, depending on the night. Tonight, they are calm, sharp, every so wise, and waiting with almost too much patience. SHe sits back in her chair, crossing her legs and waiting for his reaction.

*

"Ma'am." Barton stands there for a time with his brow furrowed and she can tell he's wrangling with his thoughts, or perhaps the choice of the words. It takes a few moments for him to get set and then he answers and rather perhaps more honestly than she might have expected. "I understand the chain of command, ma'am. I understand the need for discipline. And I think I give it the importance that it needs. But it'd be a disservice to SHIELD, ma'am, if I said that I would not act on my own initiative at times."

He watches her features as he speaks, then perhaps rushes to add. "I know I made a bad call, boss. I know that. I know also it could have been a lot worse. And I regret it. But…" His lips purse and he adds, "If I had the same information I had then, and if the situations was the same… well I'd take a moment to think about it… but I can't lie and say I might not react in a similar manner."

And if Peggy were a telepath she'd probably see an image of instead of chasing the guy… Clint probably will just shoot him next time.

*

A slow breath in and one out. If he's given the right answer, it's not entirely clear yet, but Peggy lets her shoulders relax a bit more back into her chair, her legs still crossed and her body not quite so poised to jump out of the chair and start screaming. Not yet, at least. "..And what sort of circumstances would call for you going off book again, Barton?" He might actually be on the edge of the right answer, but Peggy isn't ever going to make it that easy. Her dark eyes still drill into him, unforgiving.

*

A look of confusion touches his features. In all the ways he'd imagined this situation he thought it'd go differently, or that his words would suffice or they wouldn't. And there's no marching band proclaiming he's awesome, that was one particular bit he liked to imagine. Still, he furrows his brow and replies, "Extremely extenuating circumstances, boss."

There's a pause and he shifts his hands to his sides, and his weight to the other foot. "I just… didn't want to leave my partner out in the wind, Director." Oh he knows sometimes a plan calls for it, but this was different.

*

"I agree with you, Barton, that sometimes you need to leave the book behind. We hire agents for their abilities to recognize changing situations, think for themselves, adapt to a strange world, but also for their abilities to *work within a team and system*. So, with those contradicting lines, it's clear that one of the most important abilities of any agent is to tell the difference between those two situations. So…" Peggy takes in another breath and then uncrosses her legs, sitting forward and refolding her hands at the very top of her desk, so she is within a few feet of his face. A smile follows that motion, neutral and cool, but doing her best to set him on some sort of comfort level. "…How do you discern the difference? Where do you make that call? When? Why?"

*

Yeah that comforting look… is anything but for the guy right now. He's waiting for the other high-heeled shoe to drop as he looks at her askance a touch, but then rest his hands on his sides. "Director," He says, letting that word hang there. His eyebrows knit together as he draws his lower lip between his teeth, worrying at it for a bare moment before answering.

"I usually go with my gut, boss. I've… seen a lot of…" He stops for a moment as if he were about to say 'shit' but instead he adds, "Things, and I think I've got enough experience. I can make the call the most of the time. Just this time. I know it only takes once to muck it all up."

*

"Gut…while useful, isn't enough. You need to be able to tactically assess a situation, the reasons we sent the orders the way we did, and what should break those orders. I want you to file a report with me by end of day on Friday about the possible reasons why orders shouldn't be followed. I want you to seriously think it through. Because then you will have that list in your head next time and maybe you'll hesitate before going off book when unnecessary. Understood? On my desk by 5 pm Friday." Peggy's smile remains, but his homework has been assigned and she does not look like she's going to waver about it at all.

*

Oh crap, homework. Clint frowns marginally, but hides it behind another sharp nod. "Right, chief." He takes a step back and then gives a somewhat informal salute, fingertips touching his brow lightly as he steps back again to rest his hands upon the door knob and turns it. "I'll get right on it. Will be in your hands soon as I can."

With that said he seems entirely ready to make a break for it and rush out the door, that is unless she cuts him off and draws him up short for whatever reason. Yet when he does get out of there, he's going to be pretty damned relieved that's for sure.

*

"Dismissed, then, Agent." Peggy states, though the use of his full title means that he's been reinstated. It also means she will be expecting that homework when he's done it. After she watches him go, she sighs and sinks back in her chair a bit deeper, dragging one hand across her forehead against the building headache of the day. "…it's for your own good, Barton, I promise…" She mutters beneath her breath, leaving it all there.

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