1963-12-01 - Need to Know Basis
Summary: A junior agent proves suspicious of Peggy's moods.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
wanda peggy 

Perhaps the frosty mood and the busy turn of events require most agents out in the field. Certainly the resident population throughout most of the day at SHIELD headquarters found a reason to vacate the premises. They no doubt really need to inspect the folder wedged in the back of the cabinet or make sure tales of a suspicious grey cat poking around an arson site in Brighton Beach weren't really proof of supernatural activity, as opposed to a cat eating toasted rats.

The few unfortunate souls haunting the place mostly moan into their excessive files and paperwork, earning their keep. Wanda Maximoff has been here twice in the same day, a new record. This time she comes bearing a small paper bag, folded over once, and a look of firm determination probably familiar from a barge in New York harbour. She heads for Peggy's office, prepared to even knock to announce herself instead of just breezing right in.


An, unusually, Director Carter isn't in her office. The sound of heels authoritatively clipping against the tile announces her presence before she's entered anyone's line of vision. Overall, she seems strangely put together. She's dressed in her best tailored suit, her hair has been perfectly coiffed, and her appearance is, essentially, immaculate. A single indication that something is remotely amiss reflects in her eyes as she treads to her office.

With a hint of irritation, she slides beside the other woman and manages the smallest edgings of a smile, "Wanda… I presume you're looking for me." The crow's feet that edge Peggy's eyes find further accent with the shadows that reflect beneath them. She opens the door, and, with a single nod of her head, silently beckons Wanda inside.

She motions to the seat across from the Director's desk, an indication that clearly Wanda should have a seat, before trailing behind her desk and plopping down in her own chair with little ceremony.


"Yes." Why bother even lying, if even the young woman could consider it. Dressed in her habitual leather jacket and pants, Wanda rarely deviates from what is essentially a uniform. One might wonder if she simply hits the reset button every morning and adopts the exact same appearance, or has a closet full of nothing but black jersey tops, leather pants, and four rotating burgundy trenchcoats cut with exaggerated, jagged lines. It could be true.

Stepping into the office as indicated, she heads for a chair. Her coat flared around her, she settles quite promptly. Her upright posture is wary; nothing new there. When the Maximoff isn't ill at ease, she is either dead or forced to float in a pool clinging to a rope. However, the paper bag she sets at the edge of the director's desk and nods to Peggy.

"It is proper to give mother a gift for babies where I come from," she says, blunt and to the point.


Peggy's eyes alight at the bag on the edge of the desk, and a stitch of honest surprise earn Wanda a tired, but much easier, smile. "Wanda," her shoulder sink slightly. Undeniably, even the smallest grace causes a chink in her armour, a much needed front, that prompts her to blink hard.

Her lips twitch, a subtle tell of emotion, and she leans forward to draw the bag towards her. "This is… lovely… but unnecessary." She sniffs once, a bottling of sorts, and her head shakes once. "…truly. And…" she cringes slightly "… early still. I have time," her eyes lift, as if awaiting some unspoken question.


Slim shoulders straighten and she puts her hands in her lap, resting them fairly flat on her thighs just above her knees. Wanda might have a difficult time looking casual in most situations, but that gives no opportunity to try. Inside the paper bag, if opened, are a pair of knitted booties and a hat with two tiny peaks that probably count as rabbit ears, or possibly owl ears. The warm grey is carefully neutral, the little tiny pink cross suitable as a bunny nose, and threaded laces in blue and green equally neutral. "You are a mother. You work, yes, you watch all of us. The baby takes a part of you too," she acknowledges in a calm, not unkind tone. Her accent tends slightly towards a sublime fusion of the harshness of Russian to the lyrical cant of Italian in the strangest of ways that only Romanian and its cousin Transian attain. Those rare moments she stops being harsh help.

It's rare when she is not tapped into the wavelengths of the mystical sight, but reaching into the full register of perception takes no longer than a second. Auras bleed out into spectacular detail, her own filtered out with long practice. And it's then she begins to filter through Peggy's, searching for the oddities.

She looks at the bag while Peggy speaks. Then up to the woman, carefully choosing her words. "I do not gift things much. For this baby, I give our thanks and hope you both will stay healthy." A little waggle of her finger is as old as mankind, ridiculous in someone who looks barely old enough to be a proper adult. On the other hand, proper food makes a huge difference even if her diet is, by any standards, bizarre. (Don't check her records for Europe on what she ate. It defies how she is still alive.)

"Time for?"


There are no oddities to speak of as Wanda seeks out any influence. Peggy's fingers mill through the bag, and extracts both the booties and the hat. A faint smile pulls at her lips before she returns them to the bag and presses a hand firmly against her forehead. The smile fails and her gaze remains on the floor. She sniffs hard again, pressing that genie back into its proverbial bottle, and she forces a tight smile that doesn't reflect in her eyes, "Preparation." The remnants of her smile turns sad, "Little ones need preparation."

She lifts the bag and issues the other woman a nod, "Thank you. Truly. This was… lovely." Her eyes hone in on the other woman, "Was… was there anything else?"


The booties are intended for someone mildly larger than an infant, but not by much. Little anchoring ties form a neat bow. Their soft wool is heavily woven to give protection to fat little feet that bleed heat far too easily. The hat is decidedly crocheted to match, spun from a wispy, soft yarn that probably left one very fluffy and cuddly bunny naked for months.

"They must," Wanda says, still holding Peggy's gaze. "I am not wise in these things." No kids, after all. Joke's on them all… "I hope the size will be right. You are welcome." Anything else, whatever else could there possibly be? "Yesterday the lack of information caused much worry. Anger. Sadness, I think. Is it so bad?"


"Children grow," Peggy offers tiredly about the size. "And… if you're not careful… you miss the phases when they would fit in whatever you have at the moment." The last causes that tired smile to turn far more determined, and a fire to light behind Peggy's eyes. "We are an organization that privileges information. When agents need that information, we ensure they have it." The bag is set down on the desk and she levels a look at Wanda. "What, exactly, prompted this presumed sadness, anger, and worry?" Her eyes narrow slightly.


Children grow. Sometimes they thrive. Other times they cling together in the dark and imagine the monsters that go boo, bump, and bluster. Wanda nods slightly, the dip of her chin measured. "I do not know how one can have a child and work, lead and be an adult too." Mystifying how anyone manages to do anything when a working parent, especially for children under the age of 28. A wonder she cannot even fathom.

A pointed glare is not the sort of thing to halt her in her tracks. On the contrary, she meets that with a measured regard, the sort of bearing one finds in people double her age. Experience is a cruel, harsh mistress. "You were unhappy you did not have the right information. Enough information? I saw at the table how people looked after speaking. This month has been difficult. The president, the television, the aliens. I do not know exactly what. Are they upset they did not have the information? Something they missed? Fear of what came from Hagia Sophia that proves now, not human beings have been on earth a long time? There is regret, maybe, for what could be done. You know these people best. A new agent in the office said it felt cold. 'Tense?' What can be done to fix this?"


A faint curl of Peggy's lips acts as as armour. She's used to strengthening her resolve; it's a practiced skill acquired through years of experience. "To fix what, exactly, Agent Maximoff?" Her smile ticks upwards, but contains no merriment as she begins a laundry list of her own, "The fact the Department of Defence doesn't want us anywhere near its alien problem? The fact that we aren't openly allowed to coordinate and engage with those involved in its resolution because of suspicion around NATO's goals versus those of the Executive Branch of the United States government? The fact that NATO itself has mandated us to use what we found to construct something we should've had in process some time ago? Or the fact that our agents didn't have their ears to the ground and were wholly caught off guard during this entire alien debacle?"

She straightens. Things will be tense for us in the near-future… events cause tension." Her gaze remains heavily trained on Wanda. "And… unfortunately… we are all at someone else's mercy." Her hands clasp lightly on her lap.


There are moments when English being one's far from first language is frustrating. Centering herself means shutting off outside impressions, locking down the impressions. Wanda's moods are rarely on display, and they trend even less demonstrative in days such as these. "Maybe another phrase is better: what can I /do/ for this country's people." Quoting Kennedy, a little modified, and recalls his speech to Berlin. Undoubtedly the twins knew that much, being most recently of the divided city.

"Or these people here, in this building. They are on unsteady footing." She raises her shoulders a fraction, hands going to her sides. "They face a different world. It is not the place they knew. How could they be prepared for a war from the stars, a threat from other dimensions? This is a small glimpse of what lies out there, Missus Director." Oh goodness, the charms of trying to use titles properly when she is attempting to gauge respect and deliver a serious message. "There are deep oceans beyond the one we have looked into. So yes, everyone here, I am worrying for. How do they come home. How do I help them survive. How do I fix the holes." Her shoulders are shrugged. "I do not know whose mercy you mean. I know names of things without mercy. I know they are good people in here. Like your baby. They should have a better place than we did in the charnel houses of Europe."


Wearily, Peggy lifts a hand towards Wanda. "You all," her eyes flit towards the door, "get to be at my mercy. I tell you what you need to know…" She quits a smile "…and sometimes more. But I am at someone else's mercy. And while we do what we can to keep everyone in the loop and on the same page… well." The smile flattens into a tense thin-lipped line. "The powers that be extend far beyond this office, Agent Maximoff. And the goals we've been given are mandated from those who have more authority than this office."

As far as what Wanda can do, Peggy actually falters. "Wanda… the game is coming to a point where I question my ability to fulfill this role effectively… Like everyone else here, I was caught off-guard." The corners of her lips form a slight frown. "But that means we have to be better. We need to begin building safe-guards for our people… to train them to be increasingly equipped to deal with the real threats we experience on the ground… if that means aliens, then so be it. If that means vicious vampires from the gates of hell," her eyes virtually roll, "so be it. We require infrastructure and planning that account for these things. And you, Agent Maximoff, can be part of that. If you wish to be." Her lips purse slightly, "I may have a mission for you and others in the not-distant future. It's one of utmost discretion. But I would need to trust your loyalty to this office."


Peggy has partially disconnected.


"The gates of Hell stand open. Easy to walk through them. The other way?" The shining beacon of hope does not light up Wanda, it has never been quite so kind. Others receive the blessing of that spotlight or sun. Hers is an origin shrouded in far more despair and darkness, the most difficult path to ascend beyond. Two steps forward, and one step back. She rises from her chair, and gives the slightest, pained shake of her hands to her sides, that circulation might be restored. "I look to them, Daisy. Skye?" People with two names are so confounding. "I see the future's hope. I see someone who will one day be critical for the legacy you build. If they can reach it. That, Missus Director, has to make up for the thousands who did not reach this day. All those who should be here. So no one repeats the same mistakes of the past that cost us all too much. They have to be hope."

For there is none for Wanda Maximoff, and there never has been, in her walk through that long, dark night. With a somber smile, she starts for the door to the office.


Those words are both hard to hear, and reassuring. Peggy dips her head in quiet agreement to the young woman, exhaling quietly. "You are… wiser than your years, Wanda. But…sometimes, some of us have to go to hell…to save everyone else from those gates. If I'm the one that has to do it…to save the rest of you? I'd do it… For anyone in this building, I'd do it. I don't want to…but these are the choices we make." Peggy murmurs after her. She doesn't stop her from going otherwise. "…Good evening, Wanda. Thank you… again." She watches the girl go before letting out a very long breath. One hand comes up to drag across her tired features. She had work to get back to doing.

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