1964-10-18 - Carter Fire and Ice
Summary: Sharon comes over to visit Peggy after being invited. Peggy confronts her about how the CIA is wasting her talents. Sharon bites back. Carter fire meets Carter ice.
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sharon peggy 

Peggy Carter may, by some standards, be the most powerful woman on the planet. Not personally, but by being the Director of SHIELD. She's fought Nazis, she's worked with Captain America and the Howling Commandos, she's had a life of adventure. It takes a lot to ruffle her.

She is currently ruffled.

Work is easy. Personal lives are more difficult. And family is more difficult. And trying to handle tense situations with family is…even more so.

The meeting had to be at home. Being at SHIELD brings connotations with it, and is like asking someone into the lion's den. It's a good way to put people on the defensive, not to get them to relax.

Of course, Peggy being Peggy, she's made certain that everything is perfect. There's not a spot of dust in the place, there's a silver platter of little tea cakes, and of course, teapot and cups. She's dressed down…well, at least for Peggy. Which means a white blouse and navy skirt, of course joined by her ever-present heels. She paces back and forth a bit, TRYING not to look at her watch every few seconds. The call to Sharon had been a simple one; it's been too long, stop by, have some tea, catch up. No mention of more professional matters.

Tea. Sharon cannot remember the last time she drank tea, but she had no reason to put Peggy off. No good excuse other than even almost a decade after leaving SHIELD, there are days she feels she lives in Peggy Carter's shadow. But, she didn't want to be rude, so she said yes. Two minutes after the set time of her arrival, the lanky blonde has shown up at the door, ringing the bell casually. She is almost Peggy's complete opposite, in a pair of rough jeans, a black tank top and her black leather jacket zipped up against the autumn weather. It is also bulky enough to hide the two pistols she carries on habit alone. Peggy would be able to pin the fact that Sharon is armed, though. Peggy's probably able to read everything about the skinny, muscle and sinew blonde. She smells like the cigarette she had driving over here and still has a fading bruise at her temple.

Peggy moves over to the door and opens it, giving a smile to her niece. "Sharon!" Eyes sweep over the woman there. The pistols are noted, though nothing in her expression shows it. If anything, there's just a touch, the faintest hint, of disappointment at the casual, almost masculine attire she's in. But she takes a step back. "Come in, please! I hope the traffic wasn't too bad?"

A small wave of her hand, "Traffic is fine. Last few days of bike weather, so…" Sharon nods towards the motorcycle that is parked on the far curb, a fairly heavy bike meant to hug the road at even super fast speeds. That'd explain some of the wind messiness of her blonde hair which she's only slightly bothered to smooth down with a hand. "…Boots off?" She inquires, stepping past the door carefully. She always felt like she was going into some sort of museum, walking into this house hold. Her voice is low and casual, husky with years of smoking and lacking sleep.

Peggy shakes her head. "No, no, no need. But you're welcome to hand up your jacket." She nods to the coatrack near her door. "So, it's been ages! How have you been?" She'll move over towards the coffee table where things are laid out. "Please, sit down, make yourself comfortable."

"Uh…sure. Thanks." Sharon casually slips out of her jacket, not caring that the one shoulder holster she wears is now obviously exposed. They are both working women with dangerous lives, this doesn't really phase her. She hangs the jacket up, her pack of Lucky Strikes slightly visible in the pocket, then makes her way the rest of the way in. She's got a healing bandage over her left bicep and a few more obvious bruises on her left side, but they seem to be mostly faded. "Just…working. The usual. You know. And… you?" Sharon was never good at small talk.

Peggy would be the last to comment on having weapons. Though, the bruises and bandage do get a frown, a soft pursing of those bright red lips. "Oh, much the same. Busy at work." Okay…how to broach the topic. "I'd heard things have been a bit more quiet for you of late."

On habit alone, Sharon about reaches for her pocket, but then she remembers this is not a smoking house and she left her Luckies in her jacket, so she just walks over to the couch, folding down into sitting and trying to look comfortable. She's not on the job, not putting on airs, so comfortable really isn't something she does well. But she settles, perches, and watches Peggy through wary blue eyes. "…They keep giving me assignments. I guess I shouldn't complain about time off, really? You could call me more of a… specialist… these days."

Peggy nods, and pours tea for the both, handing a cup over to Sharon. "How about your personal life? Any special young man out there?" She looks a little amused at this question; it's almost one of the "automatic" ones that you have to ask your younger relations. It's expected. She sits, crossing her legs.

There is a moment, one of those moments a trained spy like Peggy can probably read like a book, where Sharon is about to respond then catches herself. "Ah…no. No one special." She lies fairly smoothly, but it's definitely a lie. She takes the tea, grabbing at a ridiculous amount of sugar from the tray to dump into it and stirring about. Same way she's taken her tea since she was a kid — like a dessert. "…And you? Or still married to the work?"

Peggy doesn't press; in their mutual line of work, there's plenty of…smoothing over the surface. "Oh, the work keeps me more than busy enough." She sips her own tea, and is silent a long moment. Then, finally, almost a little frustratedly, she says "This is ridiculous. We're family. We shouldn't be doing this…this /dance/. Sharon, we both know you're meant for more than that nonsense McCone and his boys have you doing."

The abrupt breaking into actual conversation has Sharon pausing over her tea, her eyes going momentarily wide. She exhales quietly and then sets the cup down on the table, staring at Peggy. "…It has to be done. We both know that… sometimes, there are people that just need to die. I don't mind doing it. I'm… good at it." But Sharon hasn't actually denied anything Peggy has said either.

"We both know that. And we both know that's a waste of your talents." Peggy sets her own cup down as well. "Sharon, I'm not naive. We both live in black ops. Yes, there are people who need to be removed from this world. But the CIA's definition of "need" tends to be like trying to swat a fly with a sledgehammer. I don't want to sound like your mother; you don't need that from me. But you have more talent than simply being some hired killer."

"…can I smoke in here? Do you mind if I smoke?" Sharon asks, cigarettes the traditional nerves blanket of any professional these days. Whether Peggy says yes or no, the leggy blonde stands up and begins some casual pacing. It's more comfortable than being trapped on the couch. Her expression sets quietly, jaw a bit tense, not quite able to look at her aunt but also not sure where else to look. "…They'll put me back out there eventually. I'm too good for this. You're right. They'll see it soon. Better than you dragging me back and people just thinking you put me somewhere because we're blood. Just like it used to be. I remember what they said."

Peggy nods. "Go ahead." She may not smoke herself, but she's still a child of the thirties and forties. It happens, and she has no real objection on the matter. She watches Sharon stand, and looks about. "They're not going to see it, Sharon." She stands, her voice a touch sad. "You're in the same situation that I was in when I was in the SSR. All this potential that we want to use, and they want us to go make coffee. And I'm not "dragging you back". Your aunt is making a suggestion for your benefit."

Silence again, as Sharon goes over to her leather jacket and pulls out the crumpled pack of Lucky Strikes. She sets one of the filterless cigarettes between her lips and grabs her zippo a moment later. Once the heady, bitter scent of smoke begins in the room she does seem to relax a bit, going back to the casual pacing which she'd started previous. She has too much energy to just sit. "They saw it already. I was doing good work… damn good work, a long time. Three years in Russia. Two in Vietnam. They know how good I am. They'll… put me back out there eventually. Besides, I'd go crazy behind a desk."

Peggy blinks, and then just /stares/ at Sharon. "Do you /seriously/ think I…/I/ of all people would plop someone behind a desk for being a woman? Sharon, I have a plethora of field agents who aren't /half/ as good as you are." She takes a moment, and composes herself, that moment of anger fading. "As I said. I'm not your mother. Yes, there is a place for you in SHIELD, if you choose to accept it. But I am not going to beg you, Sharon. If you're happy with your life's path, if you believe there's a brighter future in the CIA for you, then I will wish you all the best, and hope and pray that my assessment of the situation is wrong."

"…And what is your exact assessment of the situation?" Sharon asks flatly, pausing in her walking, staring at her aunt across the lazy drifting smoke of her cigarette, one hand on her hip, the other still nursing that filterless tobacco.

Peggy puts one hand on her hip. "Do you /really/ want my exact assessment of the situation, Sharon Carter?" The full name is busted out. Her gaze and her tone suggest that she'll give it if asked…but that'll also be the moment when she stops being "Aunt Peggy" and becomes "Director Carter". "Or would you rather stop lying to yourself and admit to the reality you're already aware of?"

"I never ask for things I don't want. I asked. Tell me." Sharon doesn't move, standing straight and strong, a woman who is used to facing death and worse things. So, here, she faces it. The stinging truth.

Peggy's stood her ground in the face of death and worse, many times. But as her thoughts earlier reflected…family's harder. "All right. Point one. You went into the field because you ended up being saturated in tales of everything I had done. You joined SHIELD, and you made it through the training program, entirely /on your own merits/…believe me, I took that as hands-off as possible, /because/ we're family."

She pauses. These next words are going to hurt, and she doesn't want to say them. But sometimes tough love is necessary.

"And then you proved how much your upbringing had left you a spoiled child, Sharon. Your whole life you'd been protected, coddled, and told you were special. And suddenly, here you have all these people implying that you were anything /but/ special, that you only got into SHIELD because of the people you knew. Because of the blood in your veins. And then, because your feelings were hurt, you decided to take up the CIA on their /ridiculous/ offer of hiring you on the basis of being a woman. And despite that, and despite what a bloody muck-up they've made of the situation, you /still/ managed to do excellent work, because you have the talent. Only now, there's been a shift in the waters. The higherups have now decided you don't belong in the field, for exactly the same reason they hired you. Because you're a woman."

Peggy shakes her head. "Your life, Sharon, thus far, has been a series of poor choices, made largely because you were an immature girl who, despite being incredibly talented, let others get to you when they implied you were not. You're not twenty any more. Do you /really/ want to let them put you out to pasture, pull you off the field because of their own misguided sensibilities, and then, twenty years from now, look back on your life and think of what could have been? You know the situation. You're too brilliant NOT to. You're just also entirely too good at lying to yourself."

Silence lingers for several heartbeats after Peggy — no, Director Carter's — quite tirade in Sharon's direction. The blonde doesn't even remember her cigarette, letting the smoke drift idly between them without being breathed. She doesn't protest, doesn't deny anything that Peggy is saying, but her jaw does noticably tighten. There is a slight twitch to her eye. "…And what's your offer." She finally rasps out quietly, emotionlessly. It might go far deeper than being good at lying to herself. She might not even really know WHO she is any more, beyond being a killer. It's been far easier just to shut down and set aside those emotions, just as she's doing now.

"My offer? My offer is a second chance." Peggy said. "You get yourself cleaned up. Not out at all hours sauced to the gills. Not dependent on the cigarettes to calm your nerves." Oh yeah. She noticed. "Then you come back. You take the field agent exam so I can see how much you have to /unlearn/ from the CIA nonsense. Then you get to do what you do best. Go be an agent. Not a hired attack dog."

That makes Sharon's eyes roll, especially as the drinking is commented on and the cigarettes. "Everyone smokes. Sometimes it's the only way to stay sane in the field. Or would you even know — when was the last time you sat in the jungle for five days in a row waiting for your target, being patient, doing the job no one else wants to do? Huh? Or have you gotten comfortable behind your nice little desk on your high and mighty power trip?" Sharon snaps back, that Carter fire in her too, even if it lashes out at the worst times on occasion.

That gets a response of not fire, but ice. Peggy's tone goes very calm. Very cold. "I know more about the field…and staying sane in it, and what it has cost you…then you will ever know, Sharon. And I thank God that you will never have to know." Peggy has a lot of skeletons in her closet. "The offer's available. Whether you choose to accept it, that is up to you."

They say the eyes are windows to the soul. If so, Peggy's curtains are drawn. Her poker face is unbreakable, and there is not a hint of emotion shown. "Thank you for coming by."

One heartbeat. Two. Sharon just stares at her aunt, quietly wondering if she's gone too far but also not willing to back down. She finally brings her cigarette up to perch between her lips as she stalks back over to her jacket and pulls it on across bandage, holster and tank top. "I'll…keep it in mind. Thank you for your hospitality, Director Carter." Sharon states flatly. Then she turns to the door and pulls it open, moving out into the night unless Peggy stops her.

Nope. Peggy makes no move to stop her niece. Right now she's stung too much to the quick, even if the ice doesn't show it. She moves over to her door, as Sharon exits, and closes it. The single "clack" in finality of the door locking.
Only then will she turn, put her back against the door, pinch the bridge of her nose, and let the visible fight to keep her emotions in show.

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