1963-11-30 - Trouble in Paradise
Summary: There seems to be a crack in the Carter-Sousa relationship…
Related: None
Theme Song: None
peggy sousa 


Since the announcement, Peggy's been working rather longer hours in the office. Though, truly, when *wasn't* she working long hours? She came in at 8 am and has been behind her closed but not locked door ever since. She's got a cup of tea above the reports in front of her and new blue prints spread across her desk, as Fitz has revised some of the original plans for the prison and now she needs to figure out what has changed since the new team came into the office.

She doesn't even look up as he hears the knock, "Come in." SHe's been trying to sound a bit more friendly and less ready to bite people's heads off, even if she is ready to bite some heads. She's been awful cranky as of late. Maybe it's the kid, maybe it's the assassination attempts. Maybe it's something else. She's even short with Mickey and Daniel at home, though she tries to fight it.

Sousa has been fairly quiet about work at home, perhaps recognizing Peggy's crankiness and giving her room. He's also been fairly reserved and lost in thought. At work, he's been meeting with other departments to continue to put together the SHIELD Protocol Handbook and has likewise been fairly closed off. However, he's sought out Peggy today as it was time to rip off the band-aid.

There was indeed a knock at the door; any attempts to deter him or make him schedule an appointment were met with glares. If he has to pull the 'husband' card, he will, but he would hope that it wouldn't come to that. At the greeting, he steps into the office and closes the door behind him, locking it as well. Some things need to be done in private.

His wife is given a slight smile as he limps up to to the desk to plant a quick kiss on her cheek before moving back to the front of it. "So, don't hate me. This is strictly between employee and supervisor, ok?" Which is why he didn't want to talk about it at home. A paper is placed on the desk before he steps back, "I'm tendering my resignation. I'll be finishing off my work on the Protocol Handbook, but I've accepted another position elsewhere." A hand then lifts as if to stop immediate argument, "Try to look at it from my side and look at it from the outside. Not as my wife. It's going to be the best thing for all of us, I think."

Seeing him, Peggy actually tries at a smile. It's strained, doesn't quite meet her eyes, as she's expecting some other protests here about the prison or the like. But she tries. "Sit, at least…relax." She murmurs gently, turning her head up and returning the kiss in comfortable, old habit, but then she motions him into the chair across from her and listens.

The words are heard before she looks at the paper. Then she just… blinks. She stares down at the letter, then back up to him, shock apparently pulling all emotion from her features. This wasn't expected at all. "…Alright. … What… position?" She finally asks, her voice deadpan flat. She must really be surprised.

Sousa does take a seat but he doesn't relax. He knew this was going to be difficult. "With the FBI. Admit it, Peggy, it's for the best." He already said that. "SHIELD is changing and I'm not. I'm happy to consult if you find you need me, but I'm not a spy like you and Fury…and I'm not super-powered. I don't want to be relegated to a desk job yet and that's the direction I'm heading. I've seen the Writing on the Wall and I wanted to do something about it before I began to resent being here." There's another reason or two, but they're unspoken for the time being. "Also, it'll be better for us as a family. I'll be home more with Mickey and the baby…and you won't need to worry about that."

"…you really… Really think the FBI is going to give you time to be home with children? Daniel, they are more controlling than us. Less understanding. They'll expect your wife to be doing that work, not you." Not to mention SHIELD and the FBI were less than friendly these days. Peggy's eyes have gone a bit colder for hearing that news. She sits up straighter, shoulders stiff, jaw just a bit tense, but she's trying not to look angry. She's still angry. She's been angry a lot lately.

"I'm not quite ready to retire, Peggy," Daniel sighs, "I realized that when we last had this conversation. I can be useful at the FBI and my schedule is my issue." He can tell she's angry and he hated springing this on her, but it was better than waiting. "Would you rather me get to the point where I'm resentful and frustrated? I'm becoming obsolete here, Peggy. I see it. Don't you?" The meeting the other day really just confirmed it. "I'm sorry to spring it upon you, but it was a work issue…not a home issue."

"…And are you going to be willing to tell me what the FBI is doing behind our backs? Are you really just going to become a proper government man?" Peggy asks straight out, her mind always working the game, trying to figure a better angle. It might be dirty to ask, it might even be a bit un-Peggy like to request he betray something he's doing, but things have been tense lately and, since they acquired Barney, the rivalry with the FBI has only gotten more heated. She waits, almost impatiently, staring at her husband with narrowed, cold eyes.

Sousa straightens in his chair, "And are you going to tell me what SHIELD is going to be doing behind the Government's back? Do we really want to be playing that game or do we trust each other enough to know that we won't do anything that would put each other at risk? I still believe in this country, Peggy and I still want to protect it. I'm not Captain America so I need to go where I can do some good. Here, I'd just be a paper-pusher and you know that." A hand lifts to scrub at his face, "I trust you, Peggy. Implicitly. Eternally. Do you not trust me?"

"SHIELD does what we have to in order to protect the entire world. No one seems to bloody well understand that these days, but that's WHAT WE DO." Oh, the temper is going now. And it's hot. Angry, flared, miserable. Peggy is pissed, especially as he doesn't just agree to be her spy in the other organization. "Look. I trust YOU, Daniel, but I don't trust the FBI and I don't trust what they'd be asking you to do. That J. Edgar is an idiot with too big a head and light on his feet to boot. You aren't going to be respected there ANY MORE than you are here! But fine. Run away. Leave us. Let me fight with this shit show all by myself."

Sousa pushes himself to his feet, "And I don't trust what SHIELD is doing with that alien tech. And a prison? A PRISON, Peggy? Is that what SHIELD is becoming? Are we going to sequester people away that we can't control? How is that different from twenty years ago in Germany? And what makes you think that alien technology, that we know nothing about, can even be trusted? That half of these new agents with super-powers can be trusted not to bail on us the first time we do something they don't like?" He shakes his head, "Do you honestly think, after ten years of marriage, that I would blindly follow directions if I didn't agree with them? And I'm -not- respected here, Peggy. Why should I stay?"

The betrayal in her features is clear, anger just growing. Peggy actually stands, hands leaning hard on her desk as she stares down at him, "Because the prison is for CRIMINALS, Daniel Sousa! *Criminals*. The powered people that would HURT THIS PLACE and the regular cops and the damn FBI aren't prepared to deal with! Because WE are the last line. WE have to be prepared! We're not randomly locking up things we don't understand, we're locking up THREATS and criminals, that's IT. People that would kill our president or our world changers! How *dare* you compare me to that. We fought on the same damn side twenty years ago. You KNOW who I am. This is NOTHING like that. And we have the most brilliant scientists int he world confirming what that technology can do. I'm not doing this stupidly, I'm doing it to protect us all and you're just going to walk away! After ten years of marriage, almost twenty working together… You're going to walk away because I'm doing what has to be done to protect everyone." She's breathing a touch hard now, cheeks flushed with anger and betrayal.

"Peggy, sit." Daniel's also trying to stay calm even as he moves around to her side of the desk. "Breathe. I'm not telling you not to be mad and I'm not telling you not to be hurt. But breathe. For the baby." He's not going to continue until she at least takes a few slow breaths. "Put yourself in my shoes. First of all, we don't have confirmation that it was a powered individual who assassinated the President. Criminals who are found guilty, yes. They should be locked up. But people who are threats? Who aren't convicted? Doesn't that go against our judicial system?" He's tired. So tired of all of this.

"This has nothing to do with our marriage and everything to do with job security and morale. Do you see where I'm coming from? I'm not walking away from you and I'm not walking away -because- of you. I'm obsolete here, Peggy. Do you really want me to sit around and wait for you to have to give me my Pink Slip? Because that's going to happen and it's going to happen soon."

Sitting and breathing is about the last thing she wants to do right now, eyes hot with temper and betrayal as she stares at him hard. The fact that he won't keep speaking until she does it actually makes things a bit worse, "You don't give me orders." She hisses at him. But then something clicks, realizing that perhaps she's gone a bit far, so she does stop. She takes a few breaths and sinks back down into her chair. She's sitting on the edge of it still, ready to move or stand at any time, but she's at least calming just a touch.

"Even when criminals aren't yet convicted, if they are arrested, they are held in a prison. We don't have one that can handle the threats that the world is facing now. That is going to change. That MUST change, or our entire *world* is going to be walked all over by all manner of aliens, mutants, and god knows what else. That is the judicial system. Don't pull this holier than thou card. I know this world and I know what it needs."

She takes another breath as he moves on from the prison to his resignation. She still looks angry, but she's not yelling any longer. "Do what you want. Walk away. I promise you that you are not going to be any more useful there than here and probably are going to take a lot more shit in the old boys club because you're not… one of them… Than you do here. But that's your choice. Fine. Do it."

"Give me an alternative, Peggy, if you can see one. Because I've been thinking about this since the last time we talked about it and I can't see one. I'm not a spy, I'm too obvious. I can't command missions with the new agents we have in our ranks because I can't keep up with them. I'm being a realist here. If you honestly think that I have a place here, give me an alternative because I just don't see it. Maybe I've been here since the beginning, but that doesn't mean I have to stay until the end…not when this place has outgrown me." He gives a sigh and moves to lean against Peggy's desk, "I'm not one of the 'old boys' here either." He's purposefully not going to get involved in the discussion about the Prison as he knows that Peggy won't listen to him anyhow. She's made up her mind and even he can't change it. "Tell me what other options I have because I couldn't find any."

As they aren't fighting about the prison any more, she seems a touch more content. At least, in her mind, she won that fight. But Peggy does listen to his words, impatience still in her dark eyes. She shakes her head quietly, "It won't be any different with the FBI. You'll still always be… different, Daniel. Not… not a spy." Not whole. But she doesn't say that aloud. She's never said anything like that. Still, the implication is there, in the air, even if it's one of the coldest things she's ever thought. She takes in a slow breath, "…it really won't be different. But…this isn't about the work, is it, really? You just…you're tired of taking orders from me, aren't you? Tired of being under your own damn wife…"

There's a flicker of hurt in his dark eyes as the implication is felt. He's known her long enough that what isn't said might well be surmised. Maybe some of it is flavored by that pause but his response to her accusation is certainly in disbelief, "Do you really believe that? Have I once, in all the years we've worked together, in all the years that you've been my official supervisor, given you that impression? How can you…" he moves from the desk and begins to pace, "Do you really, honestly want me here just for your comfort? Sitting at a desk, shuffling papers and waiting for the boot just so that nothing changes? When have you even given me orders lately, Peggy? I'm not even in your purview."

Even as he looks onto her in hurt, Peggy does nothing. She just stares, cold, still slightly angry, trying to process the fact that he's walking out of the job they've shared for ten years. Her lips tighten a bit, but she doesn't say she's sorry. She just shakes her head slowly. "…it's not about comfort. It's because you are a good fucking agent and I'm going to lose you to the shady FBI. But if that's what you want to do… Do it. Go. I have no care. Clean out your desk. Don't worry about notice. We'll manage without. Just… Go."

"Good at what? Peggy, what can I do with everything that SHIELD has their hands in now? Tell me. Tell me exactly how I can be involved because I can't. I know it. You know it. Give me an alternative." Sousa knows this anger and he knows that if he just walks out know, it's going to simmer even longer. "If you did't care, you wouldn't be so angry. Don't you think this is hard for me too?" Although he may not show it in the same way she does.

"Tracking down cases. Taking chances. Seeing holes in things…You know people and you know this group." It's like something hits Peggy there, a weird realization. She stares at him a few quiet heartbeats and then goes colder again, shaking her head and leaning back in her seat. "But if you don't understand what you're good at then I can't help you. Go, Daniel. I told you to go. Now you're just wasting my time." The anger seems to have simmered down into simply coldness. At least she's not screaming any more.

"Yeah, I do know people. And I do know this group. And I'm -damn- good at seeing holes in things. But does that matter if no one is going to listen when I point them out?" Does she remember the meeting? When he stood up and pointed out the holes and was promptly dismissed in favor of the others? "I know full well what I'm good at, Peggy, but it doesn't do a damn bit of good if no one is going to take my job or my observations into account." And he'll meet her…glare for glare on that.

Those dark eyes, eyes he's seen so many times and rarely have they been this cold, stare quietly back into his. She's not backing down. "…Fine. I told you to go. I'm not going to fight you any longer, Daniel. Maybe it'll be easier to get work done around here without you nosing over my shoulder worried about this damn baby every five seconds. I told you. Go… I hope the FBI treats you like the golden boy you want to be." Peggy must really be in a mood to say things like that, but she doesn't take them back. She just watches him.

"You really don't get it, do you?" Daniel goes back to the seat to retrieve his crutch. "You've made up your mind that this is a misogyny thing when I'm trying to keep this professional." He finally steps up to the desk and stands opposite her. His hands brace on the top of the desk and he leans closer, his own eyes still on her's, "Quit acting like a damned Woman and be a Boss."

Of course, the woman is never going to back down to him. As he stands and braces on the desk, just as she did earlier when she was yelling and lording over him, she stands again herself. She will NOT back down to him, staring back hard into those dark eyes, her's only getting colder. But it's the last few words which crosses the line and, abruptly, her hand draws back, smacking him full across the face without any holding back. It's almost as bad as a Peggy punch, but not quite so bruising. It's still bad. Her eyes are hot with fire of anger again now, betrayal. "… Get out of my office and clean out your desk, Daniel Sousa. Then go take care of your daughter. I don't think I'll be home tonight." She hisses between clutched teeth. She's completely enraged now.

Sousa's head snaps to the side as he's slapped…that's going to leave a mark for a little bit. His jaw works for a moment before he leans back to standing upright and regards his wife. "Oh, you can have the house all to yourself. We'll be staying elsewhere." With that, he turns and limps his way back to the door, unlocking it and opening it without even a look back.

"Take the damn house!" Peggy screams out the open door after him. Well, *that's* going to be the rumor mill going. Or maybe she just needed the last word. Either way, she stalks over to her door as the entire bullpen falls quiet, watching Sousa go. She was just going to slam the door and go back to work, but she realizes everyone is now staring. She stares back at them, snapping curtly, "What? Don't you all have JOBS? Get to work!" And with that, she does slam her door and heads back to her desk. There is work to be done.

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