1964-03-19 - Reporting Back
Summary: Sara awakens after the Witchblade incident, ready to move on with her life, but first she needs to report to the Director.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
Sara Peggy 


Two nights ago, Sara and her partner were supposed to be running surveillance on a suspected HYDRA meet. It certainly started out as surveillance, but something about it caught Sara's eye, and in typical loose cannon fashion, she stepped out of the surveillance vehicle and managed to talk her way into the meeting as an escort. Her partner, Michael Yee, waited about fifteen minutes before he went in after her.

That was the last report from the pair.

Thirty minutes later, the place was in flames. Sara was pulled out of the rubble, apparently unharmed but unresponsive. Everyone else was charred bodies. The NYPD has started to identify them, but Sara was delivered to the hospital, where she's been comatose for the last day and a half.

Of course, then she woke up.

Which is why she's already dressed - in scrubs that she helped herself to from the hospital storeroom when the nurses wouldn't deliver her clothes (because there wasn't anything of them to save).

*

This weekend has been a special sort of hell for Peggy. She's already on the edge of complete misery, too-pregnant for her own good, not QUITE long enough to give birth or even let herself take off work, but everything is uncomfortable. Then Daniel didn't show home after work. And he wasn't at work. Then the fire was reported. Short of the hand off of Mickey to the relatives up north, lots of tearful words and kisses as she abandons her 5 year old daughter to family again, Peggy hasn't been near home since it all happened.

She's deployed a group to look for Daniel, but there wasn't much more she could do. Then another team to investigate that fire and a phone call from the hospital because she told them to let her know the moment Sara woke up. She rushed over as soon as she heard, which means she's getting there just in time to see the woman at the reception area, trying to check out.

Peggy moves as fast as a 40-something woman in her third trimester on a pair of high heels can. So, not very fast, but there is command with her steps and she still can own a room. So EVERYONE there is probably quite aware that Peggy Carter is Not a Happy Woman. She stares at Sara, "What sre you doing out of bed?"

*

"Well, the last time there was an incident and the agent involved didn't show up to deliver a report, there was talk they might be in deeper shit than even I usually am," Sara deadpans as she reaches over the reception desk to grab the paperwork from a bewildered looking nurse.

Despite the fact that she's wearing scrubs and she's never been the feminine sort, there's one thing that's different about Sara - a silver bracelet around her right wrist, set with a large deep red cabochon and a smaller blue one. "Also, I'm fine," she adds as she looks back to Peggy, holding out her arms in demonstration. "Not a scratch."

*

"You know what that means, Agent Pezzini? That means you write your bloody report while you are in a bed. The only thing that pisses me off more than a late report is a stubborn agent that can't listen to a doctor." It's often the traits which are most recognizable in one's self that people hate the worst in others, so it might not be a big surprise that Peggy is lecturing her about this. Either way, the dark haired Director really doesn't seem to be messing about. She reaches over, trying to take the files from Sara's hands. The bracelet gets a double look.

"You are going back to bed. I'll have a doctor verify you are fine, not your own damn head. And… where did you get that? You don't wear jewelry." Peggy then looks back to the nurse, though she's keeping a side ear out for Sara's explanation, "Which room is she in? I'll escort her back there." THe poor nurse is looking beyond flabbergasted, especially as this far too pregnant woman now seems to be ordering everyone about.

*

"I'm getting married, and it was conveniently old, new, borrowed, and blue," Sara retorts regarding the bracelet, keeping her grip on the files and tugging back. "Look, whoever was in charge of-" She cuts herself off, giving the innocent nurse a glare for having the temerity to be present when she'd prefer to talk about things she shouldn't talk about in front of the uninitiated.

"Fine. Someone needs to find my shoes," she informs the nurse with a threatening look before she snatches at the files and stalks back toward the hospital room.

*

The older woman just DARES either of them to argue with her glare alone. As Sara finally comments on shoes, Peggy huffs a breath of approval and turns on the ball of her foot, stalking back after Sara to the indicated room, "Finally, showing some bloody common sense." Peggy mutters to her agent. She's a bit slower, definitely in the 'waddle' stage of things, but it's the most intimidating damn waddle on the block.

The moment they are FINALLY in the room and Peggy is staring Sara into her hospital bed, the older woman folds arms across her generous chest and states flatly, "Report. A through Z. I'll expect it in writing too, but I want to hear what happened now." SHe doesn't move to sit, though she probably should.

*

"I'm not getting back in the bed, I'm fine," Sara snorts to Peggy, pulling the blinds on the room. "I told you, not a scratch. Good as new. Just didn't think the NYPD would appreciate hearing that SHIELD was in on this op when it ended with a damned bonfire." She pushes a hand through her hair then crosses her arms over her chest, pacing across the room.

"We went in for the surveillance. It was just supposed to be a low-level meet. But then all these seconds, enforcers, even a few bosses start showing up. Obviously it was bigger than just some low-level meet. So I got myself attached to one of the representatives, posed as an escort." She rolls her eyes, shaking her head.

"It get in there, and it's some sort of…initiation, or bidding war, or tournament, hell if I know. But the guy in charge is saying they're looking for someone who can pick up…something. I didn't find out what it was, because before they could get started, a couple goons march Michael in. He tried to come in after me and got caught. So there he is, former NYPD, agent, in the middle of all of this…"

Sara stops, jaw clenching and eyes closing tight as she shakes her head. "I was fine, and his dumb ass had to come looking. They were gonna execute him. Firing squad. They picked up their guns, I tried to get in front of him, and the next thing I remember is a whole lot of fire, and then nothing. Then waking up here."

*

There is something that twitches on Peggy's face when Sara mentions the NYPD. Most people would miss it, but trained agents might see the deeper stress, anger, worry, something surrounding the NYPD that goes beyond Sara's issue. But the older woman doesn't push it now, she just listens, a deep sigh escaping her nose. "…Was being an escort a part of your mission directive? Did it really seem THAT important?" Peggy asks, full well knowing it wasn't a part of things.

She shuts up then, for a little longer, letting Sara finish talking. SHe's studying everything as the woman talks, taking in her bdoy language as much as she is the words. "You were in over your head. You know you were. DOn't lie to me. And he got in over his head trying to clean you up too." Peggy doesn't yell that, but her voice has the edge of disappointment to it. Still, she knows that much is delicate. "…A whole lot of fire. From the…guns?"

*

"Well, they weren't going to let me in as the janitor or the secretary, given the state of the building." One thing can be said for Sara - she gives as good as she gets. Always has.

"I was not in over my head," she snaps. "No one was looking twice at me, they were all fixated on whatever the hell they were there for. Michael was just-" She grimaces, looking away with a shake of her head. "I went in hot. We had a disagreement about the op that got us the tip on this place. He probably thought I'd be in over my head."

Her pacing pauses, brows furrowing as she frowns. "I remember guns. Gunfire. I thought I remembered getting shot, but there's not a scratch on me. The whole thing was about some sort of weapon, I know I heard that. Maybe whatever it was went off."

*

Dark eyes search Sara's face for several long, silent heartbeats. Peggy is seeking something, who knows what, but it is that sort of look that seems to rip straight down to someone's *soul*. Finally, the older woman nods. She gives up on standing first, lumbering over to the chair near the bed and sinking down into it. Her motions betray how aching she is, even if her energy doesn't.

"…Fine. You… truly seem to have had it, alright? I want you to remember that in the future. When… the guilt starts kicking in and the demons pop up. You had it. Whatever fight was between you and Michael before… whatever decisions he made, they are not your fault. Alright?" Peggy's quiet again, leveling eyes with Sara across the room. "Do you absolutely think you made the best calls considering the circumstances, no matter what?"

*

"No, because the bastards got away." When it comes down to it, no one's as merciless as Sara is to herself. The Catholic upbringing probably doesn't help that. "I know we ended up bringing down some of the low-levels with us, but whoever set it up got away. Him and his second slipped out before they tried to take out Michael. Which means they're probably public," she muses, already working on the investigative angle. "You don't need plausible deniability unless you've got a public front, right?"

*

"Sara… you know full well that, making the best calls and taking all preparations you can… Some situations are not winnable. You can't let this eat you. We've got too much work to do. So… going in, did you truly have it handled?" While it's a weird, backwards pep talk, sort of, it seems important to Peggy that she get that final answer and that Sara REMEMBER it. Because Peggy knows how hard it is to lose a partner, and she can't lose Sara to that guilt.

Once she gets the answer, hopefully an affirmation, she just nods quietly. She stops pushing it. "Yes, I suppose not. Or you're working on a double blind. There's a lot more research to be done, and we're a bit… short staffed right now. But I'll get you a team. I promise. Now… where'd you get the jewelry?" Peggy nods to the bracelet again. She's not forgotten about it, even if Sara seems to be trying to ignore it.

*

Sara could tell the truth now. Admit she just woke up with it, that she threw it into the hospital incinerator once already and it showed up back on her wrist. But that would mean handing this over to the people down in WEIRD. And she's got a grudge to pay out.

"It's an heirloom," she answers Peggy, offhand. "They must've called Mom when I came in." Both true statements, and delivered without hesitation. There's a reason Sara hasn't gotten fired yet, and why she's done well on undercover ops. She doesn't blink.

"Look, Director, you were an agent. I know you lost people. So I know you know, it doesn't matter what you know. It matters what you feel. And it matters setting things as right as you can."

*

The heirloom comment gets a slightly long look. Something in the back of Peggy's head doesn't trust it, but Sara is a damn good liar and Peggy's exhausted. She holds the stare for several heartbeats, waiting for the woman to break about it. Finally, she sighs, pressing her lips. "…weird place to wear an heirloom." Peggy mutters quietly. No, she's not totally dropping it, she's just dropping it for now.

"And yes, I was an agent a very long time. I still count myself as one, when I can be in the field… And that's why I'm going to give you a team to help handle this. We're just… light right now. But if you have some preferred agents, let me know who, and I'll see if I can pull them off everything else that's going on."

*

Sara drops the topic of the bracelet, though she grimaces at the talk of agents. "I can do it on my own. Especially if we're light. Besides, I don't have time to break in someone new." And it is breaking in when it comes to Sara. There's a good number of agents who aren't thrilled at the idea of working with her, no matter how good her numbers are.

"This was big, Director. I can't remember the last time there was an op with this many HYDRA reps in one place. Whatever it was, they were willing to take a hell of a risk meeting and trying to get it."

*

Peggy sits forward in her chair, leveling a more strict gaze in Sara's direction, a deeper smirk dancing across her mouth, "No. You are NOT handling this alone. PEriod. Dot. You can't tell me in one breath that you are doing this alone and the next breath that this is the biggest HYDRA bust we've had since '55. No. I absolutely won't allow it. So, you pick a few people you want OR I will pick them for you and that is the END of story." Peggy isn't quite yelling by the end there, but her voice is sharp enough that it's clear she is NOT accepting any other answers.

*

"It's your agency, you can assign whoever you want. But I'm going after this." Sara's fingers tap on her arms, restless. "I just need to get back to work. I'm fine," she reiterates. "I'll go down to medical and take whatever tests you want, but I can't just sit here and do nothing."

*

"You can and you WILL until a doctor HERE clears you. Then you will wait for a new partner and you will USE that partner. Do you understand? You somehow got lucky with this. I want Fitz and SImmons to look you over too… to figure out just how the bloody hell you GOT that lucky." Peggy insists, her voice a bit more sharp than before as she feels the push back from the woman, but she's not budging. "But that doesn't mean you are getting lucky again. I'm not losing two agents to this."

*

Sara gives Peggy a long, hard look. "Oh. They'll sign me out." Whether or not that will have anything to do with the doctor's medical opinion is another matter. Peggy's seen that look from interrogation recordings. Though at the moment there's something…else behind it as well. Something a little deeper and wilder. Something new. Sara's always had a temper, but it's rarely looked quite this dangerous.

"As soon as they get my SHOES!" That last bit might be directed toward the door.

*

It's that wild look that gets Peggy. She knows her agents, knows them core deep, especially ones that have been with SHIELD as long as Sara. That is a new look. Did something crack with losing her partner? Peggy stands up again, moving straight over to Sara and standing directly in front of her. "…Sara. Take a breath. Your temper is up and…I know that look. That's a… A look that says you are going to lose control. You are not yourself right now."

*

"I've got it," Sara snaps, taking a step back as she forces back the rage in the back of her mind. The voice that whispers of fire and destruction. The one she remembers from the night at the theater. Suddenly, she winces, shaking her hand and looking down to find a scratch at the back of her thumb, just below the bracelet. "Damned thing must have a burr or something," she mutters as she shakes her hand off. "There you go, Director. Got a scratch."

*

All of this passes before Peggy's eyes and now she's almost *certain* something is going on. She looks back down to the bracelet, then back to Sara, the tension in her shoulders, the blood on the back of her thumb. All of it is silently filed away, but Peggy exhales slowly. "…You can leave here. I'd rather Simmons looking you over, not whatever quack doctor put himself through medical school here. You're clearly not dying. I'll sign the release. But… you report back to med bay at SHIELD, alright?"

*

"Yes ma'am," Sara nods, moving toward the windows to open up the blinds once more. "Let me know when you've got your…task force. I'll fill them in one what I've seen. We'll find these bastards."

*

The fact that Sara agrees without arguing more? THat is enough to make Peggy content. She nods simply, "I'll…go get you signed out. And find your shoes. I… I'll also get you a task force by tomorrow. I'll see who I can pull off the search for Daniel. This is probably…more important…" Peggy admits, though it kills something in her to say that her missing husband is less important than a new HYDRA cell. The cold practicality of running a spy agency.

*

Sara pauses, turning back toward Peggy with a frown. "Search?" she echoes. "Sousa's come up missing? What, there are more skrulls hanging around, or did something else come up?"

*

Just as the older woman was about to leave, with that too-throwaway of a comment, the question comes back. Peggy just nods slightly, "He…never came home from work Friday. It's been a long weekend…on many levels. I'll get you the agents you need, Sara. I promise." Peggy tries to give her a half reassuring smile. It doesn't reach her dead tired eyes.

*

"Look, don't pull people off of looking for your husband, who is also important to the NYPD, to look for these people," Sara shakes her head. "This thing took a long time for them to set up, it's going to take them a while to figure out where to do it again, and to recover from the fire. They lost people too. I can handle the immediate stuff, you know I can. I don't need a babysitter when Sousa's missing."

*

"This isn't about babysitting you, Sara. This is about making certain HYDRA doesn't gain a foothold anywhere in the world, ever again. This is about what I, and Daniel, and Steve…and so many other people, *GOOD* people, gave their lives to ensure would never happen again. I won't selfishly lock up half the entire staff of SHIELD looking into a missing person's case just because he's my husband. I…can't do that." No matter how much she wants. "I'll have you your team by the morning. I promise. Just… report to SImmons, understood?"

*

Normally this is probably where it would turn into a shouting match. Sara's never been one not to speak her mind, even if it means calling a superior stupid. But between the pregnancy and the missing husband, even Sara can't quite bring herself to shout at Peggy at the moment. "Yeah, sure," she sighs, pushing a hand through her hair. "I'll have Father Vincent say a mass for you and Sousa."

*

Those last words get the slightest nod from Peggy, "Thank you, Sara. I… I appreciate it." Then Peggy gives her a bittersweet smile before turning out of the room. The woman heads back to the counter and in less than five minutes, Peggy has worked her magic. There is a nurse coming in with the discharge paperwork, Sara's shoes, and anything that's left of her outfit. And a coffee just the way Sara likes it. "Uh..your boss said you could use this. And report to Simmons. Bring her this paperwork, she said." And a copy of Sara's file is handed over.

*

"Thanks." Sara takes it all - the coffee and the shoes being the most important part, along with a glance at the medical file for herself. She's no doctor, but she's curious about whether or not all of this has done anything serious to her. Not that she can tell from the results, at least. Which is good. If it's not affecting her, then maybe the squints won't fix on the damned bracelet before she figures out what the hell it is.

*

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