I Feel Pretty

December 01, 2015:

Peggy invites Howard Stark over to have pizza and wine with her and Dum-Dum Dugan at her apartment.

Peggy Carter's Apartment - New York

TBA

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Peggy's apartment is a lovely penthouse. It originally was decorated in dark browns and neutral colors - harkening back to a sort of sixties look. It still has hints of that, but it's clear that decorating was done by someone not Peggy and she has started to put her own touches on things. Peggy's not really a homemaker. Her apartment is a place to stay between missions. That said, it has quite a few homey touches. Old newspaper clippings, pictures and other such knick knacks are both hanging on the wall and propped amongst shelves.

It's also a little more crowded now, as Peggy has opened her apartment to Dugan so he stay there while he's still acclimating. Apparently, there is such a thing as a time displaced pay it forward. Peggy's never been a cook, but she can certainly order in. And she has done so - having found a good pizza place nearby. A bottle of red wine is also opened nearby.

"Feels wrong!"

Dugan calls out from within the bathroom. The door is slightly ajar, and the man is dressed… but staring at the toilet with his hands on his hips and a frown on his brow. Leaning forward, he grabs the toilet seat and stands it up.

Then puts it back down again.

Then he stands it back up.

And puts it back down again.

"I don' even USE the dang thing, an' I still gotta leave it DOWN all the time? What's the fuss? Wait - don' answer that. Lemme wash my hands 'n…"

One can hear the sound of running water from the bathroom and Dugan emerges a few moments later, dressed in a turtleneck sweater and cargo pants. He is barefoot, and has an unused towel slung over his shoulder. "I ain't gonna need this - but thanks all th'same, Peg. Us LMDs don't stink after all…"

He frowns.

"Do we?"

There's a buzz on Peggy's intercom. The video feed shows Howard Stark in long wool coat, suit and tie, flanked by a rather big dude. "Peg, it's me," comes his voice through the speaker. "Let me up so Carlo will leave me alone for a few hours." His tone is wry and only lightly annoyed. After the attack by Obadiah, it makes sense to take precautions.

From the kitchen, Peggy rolls her eyes. "Yes, but I do," she replies to Dugan with a tone reserved for close friends who she both cares deeply for and are also slightly annoyed with. It's a thin line, but one that Peggy has walked often enough to know just how to balance it properly. "Well, certainly you'll be able to use the towel for something." If not exactly for its intended purpose. "Keep it just in ca—I'm sounding like I'm your mother." Her lips press into a thin line and she frowns. This is displeasing. "Do what you will with the towel."

Luckily, she's interrupted by the buzzer and she moves to let Howard up after checking to ensure that it's him. "Well, you know Carlos is always welcome up for a slice." It's not just teasing - she's serious. The buzzer sounds to let Howard in.

"He doesn't like pizza," says Howard as he tugs the door open. He steps forward, then leans back into the view of the camera. "Seriously. I've asked him. Lived above a pizzeria as a kid. Can't stand the stuff." The big guy nods once, and he can be heard saying 'I'll be right out front, Mr. Stark' before he moves off.
It takes just a few minutes before there's a shave-and-a-haircut rap on Peggy's door.

Peggy's stood by the door while waiting for Howard to make it up the elevator. At the rap, she peeks through the peep hole before unlocking and opening the door. There's never being too careful. "Of course, you could have always told him to say that," she smirks as she hands over a glass of wine to Howard and gestures for him to come in.

Looking between Dugan and Howard, she shuts the door and locks it again. "It's starting to feel exactly like old times. Next thing I know you'll be telling me there's trouble in Russia."

Meanwhile, Dugan is in the living room - and having taken Peggy on her advice to him quite literally, he struts about the room with the towel wrapped around his head like a nun's habit. He clasps it at his throat with one hand, pantomiming feeding small children as Mother Theresa might have done.

If she had worn a bowler hat underneath her habit.

Then he spots Stark.

"Uh, hi Chuckles. You got up here fast."

"Peg, I'm not in a habit of getting people to do my lying for me." No, Howard takes responsibility for that all on his own. Unless she balks, she'll get a friendly peck on the cheek and he'll hand over a bottle of wine. "I never come anywhere empty-handed." He shrugs off his coat, then accepts the bottle of wine.
He cracks a wry smile when he spots Dugan. "Dum-Dum. I see you're paying your way with vaudeville dinner theatre. How've you been?"

As Peggy glances over her shoulder at Dugan, she snorts at Dugan's antics and then shakes her head. As Howard leans forward to peck her cheek, she turns her head to the side to make it easier for him while he has his hands full with wine. Despite her very British sensibilities, she spent enough time in the French Resistance that cheek kisses are not out of the ordinary. In return, she gives him a kiss on the cheek - as is polite.

Then, she turns - gifted bottle of wine in hand - back toward the kitchen to set it down and to grab her own glass. "It's quite a stunning look on you, Dugan," she allows with another smirk. "I think it's perfect dinner attire. We don't stand on ceremony here." It is, after all, just pizza night. "Thank you for the wine, Howard. I believe we may need much more of it before the evening is through."

With a motion that also costs him his hat, Dugan whips the towel off his head and leaves it hanging over the edge of the kitchen bench.

Coz - bloke.

"I heard pizza. Didja get the extra pepperoni? Thank God I can still eat…" the big man flexes his arms, swings them back and forth and immediately heads for the drinks. "Wine? Where's the beer?"

"You're safe, Ms. Carter. Neither he nor I can get drunk." Howard waggles a finger between himself and Dum-Dum. "Sorry, pal. I've tried to work out the kinks on that front, but turns out that programming nanites to emulate inebriation is a pretty inadvisable thing and too easy to get out of control."
He sips his wine and peers around the apartment. "I like it, Peg. Feels more like you than it did before. Can't believe you let this guy in. He'll clog the drains, you know." He points at the other man with the hand that holds the wine.

"Yes, of course, extra pepperoni," Peggy assures Dugan as she moves to the pizza boxes. Opening them up, she sets out plates and glasses for everyone to serve themselves as they wish. She plucks and extra pepperoni for herself and moves back toward the table, narrowly missing the whipped towel.

"I've been assured that he cannot clog any drains, however I'm not so sure he won't be able to cause other difficulties!" Peggy replies with a shake of her head. "Though, truly, I was just following in the example of the charitable Starks, who gave both Mr. Jarvis and I a place to stay when we literally had nothing to our names."

Dugan points a meaty finger at Stark.

"That… is unfair. Whaddya call that these days? Discrimination? Us LMDs should be 'llowed to get drunk like th' rest o' yer. Stupid world." He grumbles for a bit, until finally registering Peggy's reply and his face brightens - causing his moustache to perk upward visibly.

"Swell, swell… Pepperoni." The man pours himself some wine anyway, sniffs at it dubiously and takes a sip.

His face contorts in a mixture of horror and distaste.

Then he sips more.

"Well, forgive me, but it seemed like a bad idea to give super-strong robots the ability to get blind drunk. Also…" Howard bobs his head back and forth. "It was lower on the priorty list, under 'stabilizing the matrix' and 'transmitting neural impulses to the feet.'"
He glances sideling at Peggy and chuckles. "Mmhmm. Shouldn't you know by now that it's a bad idea to follow my example?" There's a twinkle in his eyes. "So, Dugan. How are you finding twenty-fifteen? No flying cars. I was working on it before my untimely demise."

Settling herself into her seat, Peggy swirls her red wine in her glass as she studies her two old friends. "I'm not sure if it's discrimination if it wasn't made specifically for your detriment," she tells the pair with a laugh. "I'll be sure to stock some beer shortly, Dugan. For all the time we spent in France, you would think you'd have gotten to like red wine!"

She lets her pizza cool slightly as she shrugs her shoulders at Howard. "Yes, I should have learned by now the disasters listening to you make." With a raised eyebrow, she laughs. "I believe you were working on flying cars well back in the 1940s, Howard."

"No flyin' cars…" Dum-Dum snorts and tries more of the wine.

Which is about as much as he can handle, so he puts it down on the table near him and crosses his arms over his chest. "Nothin' about the future's what I 'spected," he admits after a moment. "Ain't all bad, though. Internet's fun."

He chortles under his breath.

Howard lifts his wine to his lips and arches his brows. "Mhmm. Well, that had some bugs. The repulsors are a little better-suited to lifting oh say, a man in a suit than a car." That's said wryly and with a knowing sort of look. He sips the wine, then reaches for a slice of pizza. "Peggy, you might want to clear your browser history." A beat, "…and run an antivirus program. The fun bits of the internet tend to carry the digital version of STDs." Droll, that.

"I know, I feel as if we'd been lied to most of our lives, right Dugan? We should hold Stark Industries personably responsible." Peggy beams at the pair and finally takes a bite of her pizza. She folds it as she does so - much like a proper New Yorker might. There's not forks or knives for her. "You were here far longer than I was, however," she tilts her head slightly at Dugan. "It must not be quite as big of a surprise for you, is it?"

At Howard's quip, she laughs and shakes her head. "The fun bits?" It seems Peggy doesn't know what the internet actually may be there for just yet.

"'Browser history?'"

Dugan blinks, 'hmphs' and reaches for a slice of pizza. In and around chewing, he replies to Peggy:

"The 80s. They brought me back in the 80s. They were…" and he pauses to continue chewing, and finally swallow a mouthful. "I dunno. What would you've said, Peg?"

Dugan puts on his best British accent.

"'Bloody queer.'"

Then he snorts.

"Mebbe not quite like you, but… ya shoulda seen what passed fer clothes back then - an' no bowler hats!"

"The 80s were a bad decade for me." Hey, if you can't have a sense of humour about your own untimely death…
Well, wait, actually that's sort of morbid. Howard clears his throat. "So. Dugan. Are you back on the active SHIELD roster? Or are you holding out for a better pension and a hat budget?" He bites into the pizza and chews slowly.

At Dugan's British accent, Peggy raises both eyebrows and laughs. "That's a horrible impression," she tells him. "No bowler hats? What ever did you do?" It's both a mock statement as well as genuine curiosity. She couldn't imagine Dugan wearing anything but a bowler hat.

Howard's morbid joke is met with a bit of a frown, but she lets the topic slide, curiously looking back at Dugan at the question.

"Pension? Aw, hell-no!"

Dugan finishes his slice of pizza and snags another one - getting sauce all over his finger. Holding the slice away from his body, the old soldier starts sucking noisily on one finger at a time - seemingly oblivious to his company for a while.

"I grew a mullet like the rest o' the boys," he eventually tells Peggy. "Hated it. Mullets're evil. HYDRA should all have mullets. Dagnabbit, anyone gotta napkin?"

He stops licking his fingers and glances over at Stark. "I'm active 'n fully potent, Stark. Ask Jemma."

He pauses.

"That weren't meant ta sound so… Starky."

One of Howard's brows arches at Dum-Dum. The second joins it soon after. "I…do hope you mean that Doctor Simmins examined you, not that you…" He holds up a hand and shakes his head. "Ah, not quite my business. For that I'm quite grateful." He looks to Peggy, then over to Dugan. "You went in the field for weeks at a time with him, yet you give me the stink-eye the moment I even allude to anything inappropriate. How's that fair, Peg? Honestly." Wry, that.

At the suggestion that Dugan might have had a bit of a fling with Dr. Simmons makes Peggy's eyebrows raise quite significantly. Instead of commenting on that, she instead decides to comment on the hairstyle. "Mullet." She's trying out the word, having thankfully had nothing to do with them. "The hairstyle with uneven cutting in front and back?" She's just making sure.

At the look she's given all she can do is shrug and grin without giving him an explanation. Is one really necessary? It's just the dynamics between all of them. "I suppose it's not. However, when has anything ever been fair?"

"Hey, she's young enough ta be my… She's young, awright?"

Dugan huffs and finally starts eating his next slice of pizza now that his fingers are covered in saliva (synthetic saliva, of course) rather than pizza sauce. He chews for a while and motions with his other hand to the back of his head, as if indicating a hair style of sorts, and then nods to Peggy.

"Speakin' o' which - I got yer that security clearance, Stark. All my LMD-backups. Seems the brass want my current body as expendable as possible - so I switch to another expendable body anytime I need… ya know, one's that won't go on the fritz like this one did."

He pauses to continue eating.

"I miss field ops - not these regular ops: the old ones. Our ops. I miss them."

Howard sets his pizza aside after a couple of bites. He's eating less and less these days. He doesn't need to, strictly, even though he gets hungry. Then again, he's never really been good at listening to the needs of his body, especially when he's working. Ignoring the synthetic reactions gets pretty easy when you know it won't cause any adverse effects. He sips his wine instead. He'll keep drinking even though he can't get drunk. It's a given. It's like people who vape. The action is a comfort for an addict.
"Good, good. Well, not good. Does SHIELD realize A, how expensive your LMD bodies are, B), that there's not an infinite supply? Surely they don't want to use you like you're expendable." That makes him frown. This is where SHIELD is at these days, which is why he's no longer directly connected. As for previous missions. "Rose-coloured glasses, my friend. Though I will say that HYDRA and the Nazis were refreshingly straightforward bad guys. These days, it's all shades of gray."

Dugan finishes off another slice and wipes his fingers on his pants.

Typical bloke.

"Simmons cares. I'm fairly sure May thinks throwin' LMDs away is a waste o' resources. Some others might feel the same - but the brass? If they send me on the kinds o' missions they did back in the 80s, I'll be going through bodies like a broad does knickers…"

He trails off.

He blushes.

"Erm, sorry Peg. Ya'ain't a broad - I mean, well ya'are, but… you pro'lly go through - ya know what? Fergit I said anythin'. Yeah. Where's th' wine?"

"You do realize you're not their property, right?" says Howard. "Well, your uninhabited bodies technically are, but…" Howard huffs and runs a hand over his dark hair. It transforms him from cultured man to poufy haired eccentric scientist with one sweep of his fingers. "You have a say. And you have a right to not be sent off as canon fodder. If they tell you otherwise, they're full of shit. And I'll use the same legal wrangling that got me classified as a person to do the same for you to tie their hands if I have to."

At the thought of Dugan being sent into the field just to be destroyed and put in another body, Peggy crosses her arms, unamused. She's about to say something rather biting about that tactic when he starts talking about her underwear. Instead, she gives an almost unlady like snort. "Yes, let us forget that. I go through whatever it is that I go through just fine and at a regular pace."

Howard's assertion is met with vigorous nod. "Yes. They can't do that to you. You're a person, Dugan."

"I know I ain' property!" Dugan snaps - instantly regretting it.

"I mean, some of 'em don' seem ta get that, right? Still. Th' ones that count do. More'r less. I 'spect things'll be different now. If anythin', it'll be the accountants that save me from suicide missions - jus' ta save a penny on new LMDs."

He drinks more wine.

"I ain' complainin'."

Then he grimaces.

"Okay. I'm complain' about this, though. I need beer, jeepers."

"Dugan, I spent a month under SHIELD observation after they found me. I was poked and prodded and treated like a thing and a security risk. If it wasn't for my son's intervention and some creative lawyering, I know I'd still be there. Despite the fact that my identity was verified. Despite the fact that a magical entity confirmed I have a soul." A beat, "Ugh, it pains me to say that, but it does help my case." All of this might very well be news to Peggy.
He sighs and sets his wine aside. "SHIELD will use you if they think they can get away with it. Don't let them. If you start letting them, I'll step in to something that isn't really my business and make this awkward for everyone."

This is news to Peggy. She knew that SHIELD kept him under surveillance for awhile and that he was very careful to ensure the same thing didn't happen to her and Jarvis. But, this is the first time she's heard the full story. Dugan's snap is met with a single raised eyebrow.

"It's something to legitimately complain about," Peggy replies evenly. "I didn't mean to imply that we didn't think you were or you didn't think you are. It was an indelicate way to discuss that." Ever the polite woman, she nods. "Beer, I believe we can certainly get." Pushing herself up from her chair, she gestures. "I believe this may call for a bar."

Standing up also, Dugan smiles at his two friends.

"Thanks, guys," he tells them both with sincerity. "'Ppreciate it. An' don't worry yer pretty li'l heads about nothin' - well, yer pretty li'l head, Peg. Chuckles' is nice, just not my style. Naw, fergit it - he's pretty, too."

Dum-Dum flashes a grin at Howard.

"I can take care o' myself. All of me can. Hey, did you say 'bar'?"

Howard inhales sharply and looks mock-offended. He looks at Peggy and then back to Dugan. "Are you saying I'm not pretty? Now I really do need a beer."

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