1963-11-03 - Dollar for the Work Jar
Summary: Peggy comes home late, again. She talks enough work with Daniel she owes a whole dollar to the jar, but they end up having a few moments of domestic happiness at the end of the night.
Related: The Carter-Sousa baby and marriage logs.
Theme Song: None
sousa peggy 


Well after 11:30 when the sound of the garage can be heard and Peggy's Aston Martin is pulling into the spot always left open for her. She has been kind enough to at least call and say when she won't be home, if she doesn't catch him before he leaves, but someone needs to be back to relieve the nanny and, sadly, that has often fallen on him this week.

She's sore, moving a touch slow as she slips out of the car and moves for the kitchen door. Not due to any fight or anything, just the exceptionally long work days this week and untold amounts of tension she cannot manage to shake. It hurts after a while. She's just in the doorway to the kitchen when she's already taking her high heels off of swollen feet. At least with the addition of Heather, she's got a few more pieces of clothing that actually fit. There's pretty much no hiding her 'delicate condition' these days, too many months along.

*

Sousa doesn't seem to mind that he gets to spend the evenings with Mickey. Maybe he's still feeling guilty from being away for so long a couple of months ago, or maybe he's just happy to spend time with his daughter. They'll be busier in another few months so might as well let the girl get in enough parent-time as possible before she's going to need to be a little more independent. It's a lot to ask for a girl her age.

Mickey has been in bed for quite some time now and there is, as there has been all week, food left warm in the oven for Peggy when she gets home. Sousa himself was upstairs until he heard the car pull into the driveway. With his robe over his pajamas and his prosthetic leg put away for the night, he slowly crutches downstairs just to make sure everything's all right.

"You might want to add a little more water to the stew," is offered from the base of the stairs. "It might have dried out a little."

*

"Not even hungry… though I know I should eat. What a mess of a week." Peggy calls quietly over to him, shrugging out of her trench coat to reveal the new purple dress with the high waist line, something Heather picked up for her. She then does move over to the stove and pokes at the stew for a few moments, hoping the scent of it will bring back some appetite. Hungry or not, Peggy is, at least, generally good about trying to do the things she should do. So, she ladles out a small bowl full of it then heads to the sink to add just a splash of water. "Don't fight the stairs. I'll be up in a minute…"

*

"Naah, it's good for me. You don't want a flabby husband, do you?" He's already mostly down the stairs at this point; it's almost easier to navigate them with two crutches than the one since it's an older skill. Daniel then moves to join her at the table even though he's already eaten, "I like the dress and thank you for eating." Since he'd get on her case if she didn't. "Rough day, huh?"

*

The comment about a 'flabby husband' brings a slightly wry smile to her mouth. Peggy tosses a dark eyed look across her shoulder and watches him limp his way across the kitchen like she was seeing the most handsome man in the world strutting on some stage. She does still look at him like that, even after all these years. She sets the stew down and leans closer, tugging him gently into a kiss. No more words. Just a soft, insistant kiss which hopefully conveys even half of how much she missed him.

Once it breaks, she does sink down into a chair at the table and begins to poke at the stew. She's not exactly eating ravenously, but she's eating. "…Thank Heather. She… has been a blessing and insisted I stop walking around in pants that are popping any second. She's got a good eye for clothes. And…" She takes another breath, another bite, before answering. "…Not… awful. Just too many things to handle and not enough agents to do it. Starting to wonder if… if I'm making the right decisions. On everything. But you can't let them see that."

*

Sousa is always more than happy to return said kiss and he makes sure to hold Peggy close for a few moments before finally letting her go so she can sit and eat. He'll take his own seat opposite her so they can talk, his crutches set down on the floor next to him. "Well, I'm glad you're listening to someone at least." Even if she wouldn't listen to him about it. "Didn't you bring on a batch of new agents? I know they need to be trained up, but couldn't you pair them with a seasoned one…sort of like the cops take on rookies? Then give them things to take care of?"

*

"Yes…and I'm working on that. But field training someone seems… Just dangerous. Still, there's only one way to learn. Maybe I'm just getting over protective in my old age." Peggy admits with a little huff, shaking her head at herself. Under the table, her stockinged legs pull up and stretch into his lap, her toes curling into his hip happily… "And… I'm listening… mostly… to more than just Heather…"

*

"Beggars can't be choosers? And if you trust these people enough to be agents, maybe it's time to trust them in the field?" Sousa shrugs…he rarely goes into the field himself, but he knows he has to trust the agents that he -does- send. "Maybe keep the rookies out of the really dangerous situations? But you know all of this, Peggy. What got you second-guessing yourself?"

Since he's not eating, he reaches down to begin to give her feet a massage.

*

"…So… we decided to pull Barton — Barney, that is — in as an asset instead of giving him over to be killed. He gave us more dirt on the FBI than I ever dreamt existed. He does seem to have *some* morals, even if he's a killer. And… hell, he's Clint's brother. They haven't seen each other since they were kids, but… it's pretty much definite." She sighs, taking another bite as she considers her words and the guilt that's surrounding them. The man did also kill one of their own, Williams, even if it was in self defense. Peggy still looks torn. "…am I getting soft? Maybe we should have just given him over. Second chances… are just second times to get bit."

*

"Or they're just that…Second Chances. You can always institute a 'Three Strikes and you're Out' rule," because Baseball. "'Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice' and all that?" Sousa shrugs. "Although, someone like him…I don't know that I'd trust with another agent unless it was someone like Fury or maybe Clint himself. Someone who won't take any guff." He heard a little bit about this Barney guy. "I also would't trust him further than I could throw him, but you know all this. You're a good Director, Peggy…don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

*

One last bite and she sets the spoon down — at least she finished most of that bowl — just sinking a bit deeper back into the chair as she savours his gentle attentions to her feet. She's definitely feeling the days, and that helps more than he can know. "We needed someone else who doesn't read as Agent in *any* way for an undercover bit. With Ava. Now I know the girl is *more* than capable of defending herself. So… I put him on it, but I can't help but wonder if I'm asking for trouble." She exhales through her nose, running one hand down her face. She's so damn tired. "There's no book on any of this. There's never been a book on most of what we do… I'd… really love an instruction manual one of these days. Just one easy case."

*

Sousa can't help a grin, "Senior Agents don't get the easy cases. That's why we're Senior. And if you want a manual, write one. I can't think of anyone better to do it. Or have the head of each department write one and you can compile it. Maybe it'll be something for Heather to do…" or for Peggy to do when she's on maternity leave. -If- she goes on maternity leave.

"You're trusting this Barney Barton to go undercover? If he sold out the FBI so easily, what's stopping him from selling us out too?"

*

"…Mainly that it seems to be kids — teenagers at least — these Weapon-X people are experimenting on, and that's one of his rules, don't hurt kids. At least you can trust a sociopath to follow his own rules. A small comfort." Peggy deadpans, but this is actually what their lives have come to. "I…will talk to Heather, but she's already got… two dozen things on her plate. She really is good. Maybe you can convince me to stay back more now that she is there. Maybe…" Peggy gives him a half smile, trying to be reassuring. She does genuinely seem to feel guilty about this week.

*

"Naah," Daniel offers in response to the last comment. "Because then you'd get bored and get upset with me for trying to hold you back. But, if -you- decide that you'd like to stay back a little more, I will support you wholeheartedly. And if you don't, I'll still support you wholeheartedly." it's actually one of the reasons he considered early retirement — if Peggy didn't need him so badly, he might have done just that a few months back.

"The manual would be a long-term project…but it couldn't hurt. And it might force some of us to better define our procedures. We should have done an audit of this years ago." There's a pause in the rubbing of her feet as he gives a sigh and looks over to Peggy, "I just volunteered mysef for this, didn't I?"

*

"…You'd be really good at it. You could take the time, talk to each of the teams… Figure out how we're training the new hires… You've been around since the beginning. You've seen every incarnation. You've run an office before…" Peggy gives him a softer, if still slightly wry, smile. "…I won't order you to do it, but… You do have brilliant ideas. I can't think of someone better for it." She buries her toes against his fingertips, still cearly enjoying the touch even if he's paused.

*

Sousa just gives a sigh…he's given himself yet another job. This one, however, might be interesting. Implementing procedures for the entire organization and curating everything into a single manual. "I'll see what I can do." As for being considered brilliant, "You're biased." But he'll take the compliment. "And I know you won't order me to do it because here, in our kitchen, I can say 'No'."

*

"You can always tell me no, darling. And no, I'm not biased. I thought you were a brilliant agent even when I was pissed off with you and thought you were meddling in far too much for my own good… when, you know…I was going behind everyone's backs to help Howard." Peggy winks at him. Strange to think of those things as the good old days, but she does. "…and I'll put a dollar in the work jar tomorrow morning. I swear."

Then, she pauses. Almost abruptly so. Her head tilts, sitting up a bit straighter in her chair, one hand to the side of her stomach, though she keeps her feet in his lap. It's not exactly a panicked look, but a thoughtful one… "Come here." She moves to grab his hand.

*

"Eh, I wouldn't do that at work…" he doesn't want to undermine Peggy's authority…not unless it's something super-important. He knows how much harder she has to work than any male in the organization and that there is still talk that she shouldn't be the one in charge. Daniel tries to shut that down when he hears it. "We may need to get a second jar," he starts before looking up sharply as Peggy's pause. "Huh?" He's across from her on the table, but he quickly moves from one seat to the other so that he can be closer, "Everything all right?" He certainly lets her take his hand although her feet might lose purchase on his lap as he moves.

*

The quick motion leaves her feet without somewhere to go. Hopefully dropping her legs won't scare the baby off, but she keeps his palm and presses it gently against the side of that undeniable curve at her stomach. It's ever so faint, the motion there, not the kicking that will come later. But definitely a few flutters of something shifting against the surface. Easier to recognize now, second time around, since they've been through this with a baby before. She smiles a bit more, "…I'm not dreaming things, am I? Can you feel him?" Or her. But him seems to be the default for whatever reason right now.

*

Right when she moves hsi hand to her abdomen, he seems to know. There's a look of concentration and focus but then he looks up quickly at Peggy, "I can feel him…" or her. But he'll take to the pronoun easily. "Just a little…he's a mover already, huh?" There's a grin then as the two just let go of the facts that they're agents of a secret Spy organization and are just parents again. It's a rare time when that happens. "You sure you didn't just have spicy food today?"

*

That last question gains him a good little swat at his hand, grinning a bit more, but she's actually a little relieved that the kid is shifting around. It's a good sign, especially after the week. "Quite certain, Daniel Sousa. Heather wouldn't let spicy food anywhere near my office right now. And… this was about the time last go around. I think. I've been feeling little bits for a few weeks now. Didn't know if you could yet, but…" She releases a breath she had been slightly holding, the sound purely one of relief, "… It's good. Maybe this is a sign I should sit down more often. Or have you rub my feet more often." She grins more, winking with that one.

*

Sousa lets out a breath as well, not that he was worried as Peggy was, but he knows that any such sign is a good one. "I like Heather more and more." He leans in to give Peggy a brief kiss before offering, "I am more than happy to rub your feet whenever you wish, Your Majesty, but you need to finish your stew before bed." Maybe he's been around Mickey too long or maybe he's just trying to get his over-stressed, underfed wife to eat more. For the baby. "He seemed hungry."

*

"Mm. Give me another of those, and I shall consider it." Peggy leans in for a second kiss, letting it linger just a bit longer, before she pulls back so she can actually finish the stew. They don't get much time together, much less time to relax and take a few moments to celebrate. She'll savor every last second of this evening straight up to climbing into bed and settling into much needed sleep.

*

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