1963-11-14 - Who is Hazing Whom?
Summary: Barney gets introduced to another SHIELD babysitter. Peggy gives Liv, Llew and Barney the report about the attempted assassination.
Related: All the logs chatting about Bucky.
Theme Song: None
liv barney llew peggy 

SHIELD. It's a bustle of activity, like normal. Secretaries type-typity-ing on their typewriters, each working in shifts. The new shift is on, and there is more than enough work for them to do, thanks to the Junior Agents, the Agents, Senior Agents, Field Agents, researchers and… hangers on.

Barney Barton is one of those in that last category. He's sitting in a wooden rolly-chair looking at a piece of paper just handed to him. He's looking a touch on the disheveled side, his hair looking as if it hasn't seen a brush in days.. and his whole manner is of a man strung out on cigarettes, coffee and the occasional odd bowl of fried rice begged and/or stolen from the shop directly above.


There are new faces around SHIELD lately, and at least one of them is pretty difficult to miss. Even if Liv Sigrunsdottir was not a six foot tall Asgardian woman, which stands out enough on its own, she's also a woman wearing a tailored men's suit. Slacks? And a tie? Scandalous. Outrageous. Her jacket is currently missing while, near the armory, she is being guided into a rather standard shoulder holster.

"I don't suppose you could add a scabbard to the back of this, could you?" Liv asks the other agent, raising her eyebrows at him as she reaches back over her shoulder, as if reaching for a sword. "So it lays like so? I'm going to be useless with a gun for a while, but in the meantime…"


Bedrest? What the hell is bedrest. Peggy got plenty of it in the hospital last week so, finally released, she's demanded to make her way back to the office to at least get SOME work done. She's still sporting a nice ring of bruises around her throat, but they've mostly faded to yellow edged purple, not nearly so bad as last week. Her wrist is in a cast and she might actually even be more obviously pregnant than before, or maybe that's just because she was gone a week. Either way, she clips through the office on high heels like she's got a mission to be on.

That mission stops, however, when she sees Barney Barton. Brows arching, dark eyes stretch up and down the man's frame with a skeptical sort of gaze. "Come with me." She clips out the command, no question about how he is looking or anything. She then continues the way through the office, leading him in the direction of Liv who is nearly impossible to miss.


Barney leans a little too far back for a moment, losing any sense of 'cool' he might have had when Peggy barks her 'with me' order. Feet flip from the floor and he has to put an arm out to keep himself from going over. It's managed, however, and he rocks forward again, getting feet on the floor, and he's up. His expression is set to neutral and he follows the boss-woman through the maze that is the office space of SHIELD, leaving both the paper turned upside on the desk and his crossbow settled at the base of the chair in its case behind.


It's rather comical, really — when Liv and the agent assisting her with the holster see Peggy coming, their expressions are very, very different. Where the gentleman immediately schools his expression and stands ramrod straight, Liv just blinks once before cracking a bright smile, as if oblivious to the director's injuries or mood.

"Welcome back!" Liv says brightly, eyes briefly flicking towards Barney as she respectfully bobs her head to Peggy. "I guess you didn't need that jailbreak after all."


"Practically. And I'm ignoring the phone ringing in my damned office telling me to go home. Are they taking care of you here?" Peggy is ignoring Barney for the moment, far more camradarie with the impossibly tall woman she's greeting. She then looks over to the schooled quarter master and gives a somewhat pointed look. "You are building her a proper scabbard for that thing, right? We need her grip unhindered. Yes, just pull it out of the repairs budget." And then she's looking back to Liv with a touch of a smile. "But… we also need to get you completely trained up with a gun and comfortable with a wide array of weapons. So, since it seems we have a full time freeloader who thinks SHIELD is a co-op housing unit, I figured he could take on more duties."

With that, Peggy's dark eyes finally turn back to Barney and she just gives him a slightly too-sweet smile. "While I realize you are accustomed to sleeping behind bars, we are not a hotel nor a commune, Barton. You will earn your accommodations and learn to work with others."


There is just something too… chirpy about the tall woman, and brows rise at her happy greeting to Peggy. Barney does listen, hands dropping into his pockets and he simply waits. He doesn't have to wait long before that shoe drops, and it's a brief motion of his head; down and to the side as if the conversation that changed really didn't mean they were referring to him.

Of course they are, however, and Barney brings his gaze back around and smiles tightly, "Yeah, well.. I'm sorta between places at the moment. Some things, y'know, can't be helped." His tones are low, a touch hoarse, gruffer than perhaps he expects, but…


The quarter master immediately nods to Peggy, his eyes darting to the shoulder holster. "Of course I am! Apparently. Ah, no trouble at all," he quickly adds, before nudging Liv in the arm. "Just bring your… sword… so that I can take some measurements, and I'll get to work."

"Oh, excellent. Thank you." Liv smiles broadly before refocusing on Peggy, her brow slightly furrowed as she listens, until… ah, there it is. Her gaze slides over to Barney and, although she's still smiling, there is a newfound focus to her gaze. And a new wryness to her voice. "Ain't that always the way. Well." A shrug, and she extends a hand his way. "Liv Sigrunsdottir. Good to meet you, Agent Barton."


"Baron isn't exactly an agent. More so a specialist and contractor, which makes it all the more interesting that he's decided to make his bed here." Really, utterly *nothing* seems to miss Peggy Carter's notice, even when she's been in hospital five days. That still oddly pleasant smile remains in place on her perfectly red lips and she studies the two, just drinking in those initial reactions between each of them. "Agent Sigrunsdottir is a remarkably capable woman, Mr. Barton, but she doesn't quite have training in the weapons we use. If you are going to be around here more full time, you will be useful. I'd like you to bring her firearms training. Though…" Peggy takes a slight sniff of the air, "Perhaps after you've showered."


"Well, I figured…" Barney begins but lets it go soon after. Not much in terms of defending, particularly when everything Peggy says is true. Not an agent. "Miss Wright over there was nice enough to help with the report." A thumb is set back in the basic direction of the pool of desks, and the second shift of secretaries.

Barney extends his hand a little tentatively; one doesn't shake hands with ladies, but maybe men's suit-wearing ones? "Yeah, not an Agent," is muttered, "Pleasure, Agent Sig—" what?

"I wasn't planning on hanging 'round the place once—" Yeah.. "Firearms? Sure.. I guess." A hand comes up to scratch at the back of his neck, and it lingers before he shrugs once, "Sure.. does this place have showers?" He obviously hadn't found them yet…


That reluctance to shake her hand just has Liv looking a touch amused, but patiently so. She goes ahead and does the hard work of clasping Barney's hand for a brief, firm, entirely unfeminine shake. "Duly noted. Barton, then?" she asks, glancing between the pair as she takes her hand back. Otherwise, she remains quiet, instead shrugging back out of the holster to offer it back to the quartermaster.


"No. As I said, we are not a hotel. And you also did not mention anything in your report about being homeless, so… I am guessing that report is incomplete." Peggy really has no sympathy for the man, does she? Or perhaps this is her way of showing affection — the snap to it, ball busting, getting people in line sort? Who knew. Either way, she considers the seemingly impossible assignment she's given the man, then looks back to Liv with a thoughtful gaze. "Unless you can manage to work with him in the current state. He is your teacher, but he is also your charge, Junior Agent. I cannot say it is the most fun duty, but you get to be babysitter this week. Well. Barney-sitter is the proper term."


"'Barton' works, until my brother comes 'round. Then it's 'Barton' and 'Agent Barton'." Still, it's an answer, right? Barney shakes the woman's hand, and once complete, it drops back into a pocket.

"Yeah, the homeless bit came after. After my place was found," was given up by Hilde, "I figured it was time to move. I seem to have the worst luck, though.. so I'm lookin' without the aid of a real estate agent." Barney shrugs and exhales in a soft sigh at the lack of permission, and blue eyes shift back to Liv. "I'm kinda on assignment, too.. so there might be a few times when you might not be able to find me." He glances back at Peggy, brows rising. "Unless I'm off that."


"I've lived with worse," Liv confesses to Peggy, offering her a wry smile. "The seventeen hundreds were not as tidy a period as you might like. He's fine." She, too, tucks her hands into her pockets, giving Barney a curious looking over now that he's been identified not only as a teacher, but a charge. "If I'm to be keeping an eye on you, I imagine I'm going to be helping you with said assignment," she notes dryly. "Unless, yeah. Unless you're off of it until I know what I'm doing with a gun."


"No, sadly, training around here — unless you are straight out of academia — tends to be rather hands on. I told you that you were going to need to learn to work with others, Barton. That hasn't changed. Maybe Liv will be a more suitable… Partner for the moment. Have her assist in your assignment while you are training her. You are both adults, I trust you to work out your schedules between each other. Any questions?" Peggy does ask that of both of them, her dark brows lofted, but the flicker of her eyes between them has just a touch of a look that says she really doesn't expect questions and, if she gets them, they had better not be stupid.


Barney just stares at Liv for a long moment. Seventeen hundreds? Finally he looks away again and pulls a hand out to cough into it. Right.

The hand dips into a pocket again, but this time comes out with his smokes and a book of matches. "I'll have to tell Ava. I mean, the whole point of that was because we didn't look like agents, right?" Barney casts a glance back at Liv, and back at Peggy again as he pulls a cigarette from the pack and lights it. "This is gonna mean that I have to change tactics somewhere, and it'll be harder to watch the kid's back."


"You do know suits come off, right?" Liv asks Barney, unable to keep the laughter out of her voice. "At least I'm beginning to blend in, I suppose. No questions from me," she adds to Peggy, inclining her head politely. "I'll just have him bring me up to speed and dress a little more appropriately for the assignment at hand 'til it's all sorted."

Liv gives Barney a genuinely curious look, lightly scratching her chin with a pair of fingertips. "Should I get my armor out of storage for this, or would my jeans and leather jacket be less ostentatious?"


A slight nod to Liv's words, "I have full confidence you can manage. And Barton, you aren't abandoning Ava. Just… take more help. I'll introduce the ladies if I am about but otherwise they are grown women and I'm sure as hell they can learn to work together as well. Truly, if you plan on staying here for a while, you might as well do the work." Peggy seems to have little to no sympathy for his current state. She then looks over to Liv and blinks at the last question, "Ah….jeans and leather jacket. This is… very much undercover, so the least noticable, the better. Barney can fill you in more so." She waits to see if there are other questions.


Llew has arrived.


"The suit isn't the thing that screams 'agent', Agent Si.. Agent." Barney draws on the cigarette once the match is put out and is tossed on a nearby ashtray. "It's .. bearing. It's the way you walk, talk.. you come in and you could be in rags and no one would buy the 'I'm weak and homeless' thing." Right now, the man has 'vagrant' down to a 'T'. Unshaven, unkempt.. unshowered, and he's got the posture for it.

Though… "Uh…" The question does send him for a loop, and blue eyes glance back towards Peggy, brows rising. Armor? What the hell?

"I am doing the work, Director. Just.. sometimes things take a little longer when other people get involved." Like, Domino.

Barney exhales in a soft sigh; not the first and certainly won't be the last. "Yeah.. I'll fill you in."


"The company I keep tends to effect my speech," Liv admits with a slight nod towards Peggy, and she actually looks a bit sheepish. "Once we're out of the office, it'll loosen up. Believe me."

She nods once and runs a hand back over her hair, lips pursing in thought. "Weak and homeless, huh? I've done that. Shouldn't be a problem," Liv murmurs, half to herself.


Tap, tap, tap, tap…


The sound belongs to a man and his dog. Agent Croon (Llew Griffin) approaches, heralded by the sound of his shoes… and his seeing-eye dog's paws on the floor. A black Labrador sticks his head inside the room, and then leads Griffin within. The agent wears a suit and dark glasses, a cane tucked under his arm, and pauses inside the door. "Not intruding, am I?" he inquires in a light-timbred, British accent. He waits to hear people's voices to get a sense of who is where, and what they're doing.


"…Well, I strongly suspect this company will help you remember how to be rough around the edges, Liv." Peggy murmurs with a hint of a smirk, still watching Barney with that slightly wary gaze. Especially as he says things take a little bit longer. "Most men wouldn't complain about working with two lovely ladies, Barton. Try and relax. Enjoy it, maybe." Perhaps Peggy was just teasing him, or perhaps she was actually starting to feel just a hint of empathy for how rough the man looks. Either way, she's not quite so stinging for those last few moments.

The sound of the other Agent stepping into the ever-busy office does draw Peggy's gaze. She smiles a bit, her own clipped, British accent calling in his direction, "No, Agent Griffin. I was simply handling a few assignments. I understand you've already met Agent Sigrunsdottir. We also have… Barton here, the new contractor."


Barney takes another pull from his cigarette and looks away, his gaze cast down. It chafes, that's for sure. And women as partners? "Hope so, Agent.. 'cause it's the little things that'll be a tell. Stuff you may not even realize. People out there are damned good and when they know they're hunted, they'll use anything and everything to keep themselves safe." And the people with Weapon X have to be feeling the heat… and it'll only get hotter.

The cigarette's end lights once again, and once Barney releases the smoke from his lungs, he brings his blue-eyed gaze back up to Peggy. "It sounds stupid, but I work alone. I work best when I don't have to watch someone else's back, and when I know that someone watching mine isn't screaming 'Look what I'm doing, I'm watching HIM.'" He shakes his head and takes a half-step over to stub out his cigarette when Agent Griffin appears.

Brows rise, and there… a freaking seeing eye dog. "You have to got be shittin' me," is murmured. A little louder, "Agent Griffin."


"Who said anything about needing to watch my back? I'm the one being tasked with babysitting you," Liv notes to Barney, and although her tone has abruptly picked up a bit of an edge, there is obvious amusement dancing in her eyes. "Besides. I'm bulletproof. You worry about watching your own ass. Mine will be just fine."

No qualms about a) profanity, b) in the office, c) where the boss can hear it. Apparently.

Liv does offer Peggy a quick shrug before her expression brightens and she waves not towards Llew, but his dog. "Llew. Good to see you again. You're both well, I hope?"


"Quite well, I assure you, Liv," Llew replies, with an accompanying 'urf' from Hunter (the dog). Smelling the cigarette smoke, he arches an eyebrow and turns his visage toward Barney. "Agent Barton," says he with a smile. "I don't suppose you have another of those you could spare?" And he motions toward Barton's cigarette (or where he assumes the cigarette to be in relation to Barney) with his enormous chin.

"Dashed that I've run out." Lifting his chin and directing his voice toward Peggy he adds. "Oh, Madame Director — I have some additional reports to file; you'll have them directly."


"Just Barton… he's not a full agent." Peggy will never stop reminding people of that. Can't let the attack dog get too big for his britches here. "And yes, of course, Griffin. I was just headed back to my office after I finished introductions here, but there is no rush. Still playing catch up after the… incident." Peggy makes the briefest of motions to her throat, the indicative ring of bruising still there. She talks about an assassination attempt like someone rear ended her car! So casual, so laid back. Not a big deal at all, really, mainly annoying.

Liv's cursing actually gets a slightly wider smile and the strength the woman shows clearly gets approval from Peggy. All these women were in on it together! The director was probably playing favourites, right? For competent women, at least. But it's Barney's comment of doubt about Griffin that gets the strongest look, "Agent Griffin has actually been with us since the beginning, practically. He is one of our most experienced and you'd do very well to learn a thing or two from him, Barton."


"Bulletproof?" Barney looks at the tall blonde woman again, this time consideringly. "Damn." He's obviously not. "Is that like a trick that can be taught?" Well, other than just not getting shot, that is. "'Cause.. that's pretty fucking handy."

The request for a cigarette gets first a nod from the man before remember that blind people can't actually hear nods, and follows it up with a "Yeah, sure." The pack is pulled out again, and he's not entirely sure how all this is supposed to work. So.. he reaches out to hand the pack to the guy, followed up by his book of matches. Hire the blind, they're fun to watch!

"Yeah, not an agent," comes, though before Peggy gets it out or after, who knows. Message is the same.

Barney looks at Peggy for a long moment, brows rising in that 'learn what, exactly?' expression. If the blind guy is one of the 'most experienced' of the SHIELD agents…?

"Yeah.. well, this is still not my first rodeo. S'why you are keeping me on, right?"


"It is extremely fucking handy," Liv replies to Barney, her tone of voice warm and casual. Yeah, profanity doesn't seem to bother this woman in the slightest. "If I could teach it, believe me, I would. Sorry." She sounds genuine about the apology.

Even though Llew can't see, Liv aims a smile his way, entirely aware of the way it effects her voice. "Glad to hear it. When we both have some free time, maybe I should get you to tell me some stories," she muses, her eyes sliding over to Peggy. "If you've been here that long, I can't imagine how many you must have, and there's nothing my people like more than a good tale."

She pauses briefly. "Well. If you have any you're allowed to tell."


Llew casually starts humming to himself — in point of fact, it is the tune of Getting to know you… getting to know alll about you… from the 1956 musical, "The King and I" — takes the cigarettes and matches, and lights one up.

Then he holds out the pack and matches in one hand toward Barton. "Much obliged, dear fellow," says he and he blows out a cloud of smoke from his lips. Turning toward Liv — now, momentarily able to see — the man's smile broadens.

"Capital idea! Of course, some tales aren't mine for the telling… but Hunter here is under no such compulsion. He can tell you whatever he likes — when he's off duty." Patting the dog, Llew turns his chin toward Peggy. "You're much too kind, Director — as always. I'm especially gratified to see — pun intended — that you're recovering. Is there anything I can do…?"


"I think you will find Liv to be a most capable watcher, Barney. Since you keep slipping your other tails." Peggy mutters. She's certainly noticed that, even from a hospital bed she's gotten reports. And that might be why she seems to have no cares about saddling Barney with more headaches. "You know…maybe we *should* encourage you to just move in here. It'd be easier to keep tabs on you that way. You just couldn't bring that lady friend along, I'm sorry to say. We are not a public facility." There is still no sympathy in her tone for his housing predicament.

The director does seem more than a bit comfortable around Llew, like the man is an old friend and a well respected agent. "Yes, it wasn't so bad. Just a minor hiccup in things and, as ever, people overreact. But… finding the attempted assassin is somewhat at the top of my list right now. If just to ensure everyone stops worrying." And not because, well, someone tried to KILL the director of the entire organization!


Barney nods his acknoweldgement, and finds a desk to lean on. One hand goes into a pocket as he watches Agent Griffin now as the man goes through the motions of lighting his cigarette. Leaning forward again to collect the pack and the book, "Welcome," is given as the items are put away. He's not all for the chummy 'Getting to know you' thing, and the song actually goes over his head. Not familiar with it, obviously.

Recovering? Barney had noticed; but there just isn't that whole 'must protect' thing going on with him. The business isn't an easy one, and Peggy is playing a hard game, just like the other big boys. "Yeah.. who'ya got on that?" He's curious, but the moment the question is asked, he sits up straighter in his lean and puts a hand out, "Don't have to tell me." Easier to remain ignorant.

And it's back to that? "I just need a couple of days." Barney's expression darkens, shadows at the mention of 'that lady', and he shakes his head quickly, looking away again. "Yeah, she's got her own place." He finishes it up with a quieter, "Won't be no problem there."


Liv actually shoots a playful wink down at Hunter before her attention returns to the actual bipedal folk present, arms loosely folding across her chest. "I'd offer you crash space while you looked around, but I'm already splitting a one bedroom with two other people," she tells Barney, making a bit of a face. "Might be some free units in my building, though, and the rent actually isn't awful. Want me to find out?"

She watches him for a moment longer, thoughtful, before her gaze moves to Peggy. She'll pry another time, if at all. For now… "I know we're on a different assignment, but if you've got a photo of your suspect, Barton and I can at least keep our eyes open."


Llew goes quiet for a while, idly stroking Hunter's head behind the ear, listening to the conversation — and smoking his cigarette. "I'm afraid I can't provide much assistance on the accommodation front, old boy," he tells Barton after a while. "I practically live here."

Turning his chin toward Carter, he goes on to say: "I have to add my own offer of assistance to Liv here as well, Director. The leads regarding my current assignment are… strong. They'll hold for a little while if you need another set of — ," and he pauses, smirking. " — well, I shan't say 'eyes' because the pun is a little limp. You take my meaning, though." Llew would gladly mess with the heads of anyone who'd threaten Peggy Carter… his enthusiasm would be apparent in the tightening around his lips. Suppressed anger.


The darkening around Barney's eyes when he comments about the woman not being an issue makes Peggy's brows loft. She smirks, though there isn't that much amusement behind her eyes, "She kicked you out, hm?" She's pretty good at reading people and, even if she's read the situation wrong, it's easy to tell something there is wrong.

But then the topic shifts to actual business. The director looks a touch non-plussed at everyone else's eagerness to make rather a deal of the attempted assassination. Though, in truth, she probably should make a bigger issue over it than she has. It's not comfortable for anyone to be confronted with their own mortality, much less a woman who is forever strong and unflappable. She dislikes showing any of them weakness. "Fine. Fine. Stay put…I'll grab the file…" And she is but a few moments, ducking into her office and quickly back out, with a fairly now-thick looking file as they've added to it over the research of the week. She doesn't seem to care if Barton sees. She lays it open.

"This masked man attacked myself and Ava coming out of the office just a week ago. When I managed to unmask him… he looked very much like a certain Seargent James Buchanan Barnes, who served with some of us during the war. This is Ava's artist rendering of him, and Barnes' enlistment photo." She lays out the files, one for the masked man, with a strange arm and covered hands. One of the unmasked man's sketch. And then the photo of James Barnes. "He fought faster and took hits no normal man could. It is likely he trained in the Red Room, a Russian facility we took down about a decade back. Or thought we did."


Barney looks to Liv and shakes his head, "Nah.. I have a few specific needs, an' that just won't do it." He hasn't even seen the place and he's saying that it won't do?

Barney grows quiet again as he watches the loyal go to rally around their Director. While they're doing that, he's pulling out another cigarette from the pack in his pocket and lighting it soon after.

"Yeah, something like that," Barney murmurs, his gaze shifting away again, and he dumps some ash into the closest ashtray to give him something to do in the discomfort. The spent match is tossed, and he finally can enjoy at least a little of the smoke as Peggy departs for the file. It does give him a chance to really study the pair, and the dog, but mostly the two as they wait on the information. When it returns and is set before him, before them, he whistles softly under his breath.


"Because I'd know where you live," Liv says to Barney in the tone of voice one uses when finishing someone else's sentence. She just nods once, eyebrows raising momentarily as a shrug. "Fair enough. But I'll be following you home anyway, so. Might as well get a carpool out of the deal."

At least she's taking her job as Barneysitter seriously?

Arms still folded, Liv waits for Peggy to return, and then she's stepping closer to get a look at the photos being laid out. "I take it the Sergeant Barnes you remember shouldn't have been moving so quickly or taking hits that hard," she murmurs, fingers drumming thoughtfully against her biceps.


The blind agent quietly waits at the wall, humming. The melody shifts from the more jocular tunes of music-theatre into something more haunting… and up in a range most men would not be able to reach.

When Peggy returns, he leans his head back against the wall and lets his astral self (which has been hovering happily over Barney's shoulder — invisibly, of course) peruse the the documents as she displays them for Liv.

When 'James Buchanan Barnes' is mentioned, Llew's voice skips an octave suddenly — shattering a nearby drinking glass. The agent immediate cringes, stops singing altogether and remarks: "Oh, dash it all — my apologies. But… Barnes? the assassin is… Barnes? Oh, bloody hell."

He reaches up to massage his temple.

"I liked him so much more than Rogers in the war…And the big fellow. Moustache — hat. Whatsisname. Oh, Peggy, I'm so sorry…"


A long look is given to Liv as the woman asks about how quickly he should have been moving. The next things Peggy says are just a pure show of how much she actually trusts this group — whether she should trust Barton or not — because she offers some quiet details that haven't been spoken in public record almost ever. "Sergeant Barnes, whether he could move that fast or not, shouldn't be moving at all. He died in 1944 on a mission with the Howling Commandos. Fell off a train over a thousand feet. No one should be able to survive that fall. But…" Her eyes raise, looking towards Liv and Llew for a heartbeat or two, "…He had been prisoner of HYDRA for quite some time several months before that. And he wasn't in the general cells, but their labs. They may have… succeeded in an experiment or two. Buck… Sergeant Barnes never really spoke of it. I barely remembered, if it wasn't for his file. And yes. He… was a good man. And no, we don't actually have confirmation it is him. This is all speculation. But… " Peggy's eyes drop to the sketch. It looks damn similar.

Then her dark eyes are snapping over to Barney, brows arching, that whistle having been heard even if she didn't respond immediately. "…What's that whistle about, Barton? You have thoughts on this?"


Barney stares at Liv and he gives her a smile that is completely devoid of humor. It's a completely blank expression, blue eyes losing any hint of life behind them. "It's how I stay alive. You can try and follow me, but when things like that ride, I think it won't be as easy as you seem to believe it is."

The shattering glass actually gets Barney's attention and he starts, staring at the broken glass, and then the apology that comes forth from Griffin. "What the- fucking Christ.." That got him off the desk, and the cigarette is cast away into the ashtray.

Barney looks at the picture again, letting the information wash over him as he puts a few strands here and there together. The whistle was just that; he didn't so much recognize Barnes per se, but the handiwork. There are things that are just classic to each project, to every Agency. Red Room has a predictable outcome, as does, well.. this.


"What?" Barney chuffs a soft breath, "Yeah, I do. Depends if you want it now, or if you want it confirmed within 24 hours." He still has his contacts in the Russian military spy service. "If you think it's your buddy, it probably is. That's all part of it."


The look that Liv gives Barney is actually one that looks genuinely sympathetic, somethat that has been in rather short supply until this point. "I see. Well, once we're finished up here, maybe you can explain it to me while I make a fool of myself with a handgun..?"

No snark, no teasing, not even any pushback. Not really. There is a very real sense of understanding behind her eyes of at least the mindset.

She doesn't jump when the glass breaks, but her eyes do immediately move to Llew, mouth twitching into a brief, wry smile. "I was going to say… it does sound like he's been tampered with," she murmurs, drawing her attention to Peggy again. "Moreso if he's supposed to be dead."

Liv makes a bit of a face. "Sending someone who looks like an old friend to try and kill you..? That tells me it's personal," she says in a flat voice, one eyebrow raising. "Someone wants you haunted at the very least, dead at the worst."


"I would have to agree," Llew remarks after listening some more. Holding onto his cigarette with one hand, he tugs on the harness around his dog and begins moving away. "We should assume it is — or was — Sergeant Barnes, and that he is somehow empowered. Hardly a comforting notion…. If you'll all excuse me, I'll find someone to clean up that… mess. Again, my apologies." And he starts heading out of the room.


Llew has left.


The brunette looks a touch more tired, her age and the wear of this all showing around the edges for a heartbeat or two. It seems that Peggy Carter is actually human, after all. Even if she doesn't let it slip long. "I…don't know. When he attacked me…" She breathes out, quietly recalling that moment with just a touch of ice at her spine. "He should have succeeded. He had Ava down and all my weapons disabled. It wasn't until I said Bucky that he paused. Only seemed to recognize me then. He said 'Peggy'… Not Margaret Carter. Or Director. Then he dropped me and ran. It… it was quite strange." She admits softly. A small wave is given to Llew, but she doesn't stop him.

Then she's looking over to Barney, her brows furrowing at the offer he makes. She looks skeptical and tempted at the same time. "I want it now and then the confirmation in a report. What do you know?" She states flatly, the words a question but the tone is a command.


It's life. His life.. and it's all Barney's got. Staying one step ahead of those that want to see him dead, and even now he walks a tightrope. One slip one way or the other, and everything could come crashing down.

It's life. No sympathy required.

"Yeah. It's a way to get close. Could also be a way to prove loyalty; first thing some agencies do is make their new assassins kill their own family. Proves loyalty and cuts all ties. Removes any potential emotional hold-overs." Barney looks at Peggy and sticks his hands in his pockets. "You're two birds and he's the one stone if I'm reading your reaction right." He falls silent and his jaw clenches, his cheek twitches. "They're doin' the same thing the US is. Only they're making sure they have control over their boy." His voice lowers after another moment's silence, and he concludes with something that almost sounds like a negotiation. "I don't need a handler. I'm not stupid enough to leave the reservation."


Liv offers a quietly murmured "Don't worry about it," towards the departing Llew, but her eyes remain on Peggy and, once he starts talking, on Barney. She frowns to herself and leans back against the wall, arms still loosely folded across her chest as she elects to just take it all in.

His note about not needing a handler doesn't go unheard, but Liv doesn't actually say anything. She just tilts her head fractionally to one side and gives Peggy a slightly questioning look.


"If this is Barnes…they've had almost twenty years to test him. Ten with my being director of this agency. If it was just a test, they are… sorely out of date. And while I knew him, we were not dear friends. He and Steve were far closer." Peggy just shakes her head slowly, looking back down to the file in front of her, jaw set. She doesn't like any of this at all and the strange situation is throwing her off her general comfort. It's what happens when ghosts come back from the dead.

Then the man broaches that thing which sounds like a negotiation. Peggy just arches both brows, staring up at him skeptically. "…you… You trying to bargin with me, Barton? It really doesn't work that way. And considering you already practically went off the reservation once, with whatever happened up north and landed you laid up half a week, I'm not easily convinced. You got your life. That's the negotiation. And you're here because you seemingly are useful. So. Be useful. Prove it."


"Yeah. Maybe it wasn't you he was goin' for," Barney states flatly. The assassin for hire pulls out his pack of cigarettes again and lights the next one quickly, tossing the match away. "And, let's face it. You're in a really good position for those heart strings from friends." He remembers the shout for 'Steve!' when he was in custody.

"Look Mrs. Carter. I've given you enough that if J. Edgar steps out of line, you could stomp on him and grind him into the dirt. Me, I'm like a gift that keeps on givin'. I'm fucking useful, so don't begin to pretend I'm not." Barney's getting a little mad, and his voice is rising. "You want the goddamned information, I can give you what I think, but if you want somethin' more solid, I'll have to put my ass on the line, make contact with the fucking Russkies.. you know, those happy goddamned people that I got in the way of half my goddamned life, and then figure out how I can pay for that information." He pulls on the cigarette again, but rather than letting it relax him, he's off the edge of his lean and he's pacing now.

"I don't need a goddamned handler." Particularly one that reminds him so much of Hilde.


Throughout the back-and-forth, Liv remains silent, blue eyes moving between them as they take turns speaking… right up until Barney begins to work up a head of steam. Then her eyes are locked on him.

And then she rolls her eyes up towards the ceiling with a softly muttered "Oh, for fuck's sake…" as she pushes away from the wall.

Liv doesn't round on Barney, exactly, but she does turn to face him fully, her eyebrows raised nearly to her hairline. "Are you like this all the time? I'm over nine-hundred years old and I don't think I've ever met a man so determined to be a martyr."


"…I rather realize you are useful. I also realize you are a barely leashed dog, Barton, and I still haven't decided if it we would have been better off putting you down. So, don't try my patience or fight the leash." Peggy states with slightly tighter gritted teeth. She really doesn't have the patience for this, it seems. Though her temper is shorter than the other week, perhaps this has shaken her more than she would say. Then Liv says her piece and Peg cannot hide some of the smug glint in her eyes. "… Yes. I think you two will work rather well together. Besides, she seems your type. Looks like the last one you hung about with, doesn't she?" Oh yeah. Peggy went there. She is in a *mood* tonight.


"I ain't no goddamned martyr for anyone. I'm gonna stay alive, and last time I heard, every one of 'em is dead," Barney states flatly, staring back at Liv. "Not for anyone." Just in case the message is lost.

Barney swings around to face Peggy at her words, her insinuations. He can handle being compared to a dog on a leash; he gets that. But.. there. She went there. "Don't…" is whispered. "Don't even." His hands clench, unclench. It's bad to have weaknesses. Can't have 'em. Hilde proved that, not once but twice.

Barney looks between the pair now, the expressions on their faces and he wheels around to head back to where his crossbow case is in order to grab it and leave. He's got work to do. "Twenty four hours."


Liv just gives Peggy a very wry look before, without hesitation, she falls right into step behind Barney. "More than one way to be a martyr," she notes in a light voice, loosely clasping her hands behind her back. "Plenty of them still draw breath. They just dedicate their lives to being as miserable as humanly possible whilst doing so."

She studies him patiently, and while she doesn't mix words, her tone is somehow not unkind. "Sounds like you've just come out a nasty breakup. You're homeless. You're accustomed to working alone. And you're living beneath not just one woman's thumb now, but two."

Liv hums softly. "Bad day," she says lowly. "But we can make it better. Or much, much worse."


"…He's all yours." Peggy states flatly to Liv. She's not having this argument any longer. One last, long look in Barney's direction and she simply shakes her head. There is clear doubt on her face. She doesn't know that he'll ever actually be a fit here, but at least she trusts the blonde enough to handle it, one way or another. With that, Peggy turns on the ball of her foot and heads back for her office.


"Ain't any different than any other day. I'm used to it," Barney's got his case in hand, and he ducks under a desk to pull out what clothes he got from the bolthole that are rolled up in a gymbag. "Was never in one place long enough anyway." He looks over his shoulder at Liv, and when he sees her in step, he stops, straightens, "You gonna keep followin' me? 'Cause if you do, I'm a dead man. Nothin' screams 'Oh here's the dumb bastard' like someone pointin' a big ol' sign."

Barney starts out again, and he shakes his head. "I don't see it as gettin' any better, and as far as worse goes, it's been worse."


"It damned well won't get better if you don't work at making it better." Liv shrugs helplessly, casting a quick look over her shoulder to watch Peggy go. But she's not willing to take her eyes off of him for too long. Not right now.

Liv studies him for a moment, mouth twisting to one side as she mulls it over. Eventually, she just sighs. "Look. I'm a professional sad sack and lone wolf, myself. I've been doing it for literally centuries," she says lowly, spreading her hands. "It's fucking terrible, even when it feels necessary. This right here? Is me trying to take the opportunity the Director's presented to me to get over myself."

She rakes both hands back over her hair, letting out a tired breath. "So, how about we try this. You tell me where you're going and how long you'll be there," she suggests slowly. "I will let you go do your shit, because I am assuming you know how to do your shit. We can meet up afterwards, I'll buy you a beer or something while you catch me up, and tomorrow, you can show me how to hit a target instead of the wall next to it."


Barney stops in his tracks and turns to look at Liv. "Right now, I have no idea where I'm goin' in the city. Somewhere dark. Somewhere I can find that I might get a few hours of shut-eye. When I wake up in the morning, I walk past a pretzel cart on the corner of 5th and 42nd. That's where I pick up Junior. Let him follow me during the day, and when nightfall hits, I drop him, go to sleep, and the whole thing starts over. But yeah. I'll meet you at the pretzel cart. I'll even take a pass on the beer."

He pauses there for a moment to let it sink in on both sides before he turns to leave the HQ. Barney's not coming back to HQ to sleep, nope. Not again. "Then I'll teach you how to shoot your gun and all the rules around it. Like, know who you're shooting and know the moment you take it out, you'd better be damned ready to take a life."


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