With a Little Help

April 11, 2015:

Peggy and Jarvis have a heart to heart about the new world and their place in it.

Howard's Penthouse

Super swank

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: White Cliffs of Dover - Vera Lynn


Fade In…

Bless Howard Stark for having a library. It's appropriately appointed. There's shelves of books. There's large comfortable chairs. There's a sideboard with a lovely decanter of brandy. In short, there's everything one could possibly want in a sensible, quiet, comfortable, utterly English room. The fact that it's in New York City makes no odds.

Though he's quite aware there's no sense in living in the past, Edwin Jarvis has nevertheless put on a record and is listening to it, scratches and pops and all. It's a lovely album of old dance and romance tunes back from… well, back from what the recent past and present was a week ago. He stands staring out the window with a small glass of something amber in his hand. Though there is a decanter of brandy, the bottle of scotch sitting next to it is a fair clue as to what he has in his hand. He's pensive, clearly. Perhaps even brooding.

While Peggy would certainly enjoy the library, she knows it is something more comforting to Jarvis. As such, she only checks in on it here and there, trying to make sure the butler has both his space as well as knowing that she is always there to keep him company should he need her. Though it's technically a public space in Howard's apartment, she knocks on the solid wood door to announce her presence before opening it. That's only polite, after all.

The sound of the record, the smell of the books and the sight of Edwin at the window is enough to make her think they might be back in 1948. "Forgive me, Mr. Jarvis," she greets softly. "I hope I'm not interrupting." She knows a good brood when she sees one.

The knock on the door brought him out of his reverie enough for him to look toward it. When Peggy steps in, he actually cracks a pleasant smile and gives a small shake of his head.

"You could not possibly interrupt," he says, adding: "Well. Technically I suppose you couuld, but that is not to say the interruption is…"

He turns back to the window. "Unwarranted. Or unpleasant. Please, come in. I could pour you a — or you could pour yourself a drink." It's hard to get out of that butler mentality.

Peggy smiles at Jarvis, shutting the door behind her as she does. It closes with a muffled click. Moving toward the decanter brandy, she pours herself a glass, though she does not yet take a drink. She has no problems with serving herself, that is for sure.

"I realized we did not truly have a chance to discuss much since…" she frowns, trying to think of a delicate way to put this. "Since our arrival." Glancing down into the fragrant liquid, she swirls it a bit and moves to stand closer to her friend.

"I just wished to…check in, I guess."

The song changes. White Cliffs of Dover this time. Jarvis smiles faintly, tilting his head a little as she steps closer. He's getting ready to speak as she does, trying to put his thoughts into words as much as she is. Neither of them has the easiest time with that.

"I was wondering about — "

But then he's overrunning what she was saying. Backing up verbally, he clears his throat.

"I'm… all right. As well as I can be. I had better leave the flat at some point and… people watch. But you? How is the future treating you? I did have the chance to see Captain Rogers; you must have. Your reunion."

Peggy's face tilts toward the record player as the song changes. Her smile turns a bit more wistful at the recognized tune. It's only a momentary distraction, though, before her attention returns to Jarvis fully.

As he starts to speak, but she continues, she stops for a moment, giving a soft laugh. She came here to hear how he is doing and already she is speaking over him. "My apologies. No, please, as you were saying."

Determined to listen to him without interrupting she waits for a moment after he's finished speaking before actually adding to the conversation. It, also, gives her some time to gather her thoughts on the matter. Her eyes drift back to the brandy, her answer soft and a bit stilted. "Yes. I have. We've actually been working together a bit in attempting to track down a rogue assassin." While only being here a week, it's impossible for her to take anything slowly or lying down. He knows this about her, of course. "I am…honestly, I can't believe it all to be real." Steve, the future, Howard, SHIELD: it still seems a strange dream from which she has to wake up.

"I fear I've been rather selfish lately, only caring about what I saw in front of me." Finally, she looks up at him again. "If there is anything I could do to help, you must know I will do it."

"Ah. Well. Well, you're doing a very good job of answering every question I might have. And I can't say I'm surprised, either," Jarvis continues, pausing to take a brief sip of his scotch and giving Peggy a wry smile. "You were worried about how you would fit into this new world. But I suspect you are already finding that you fit into it very much like you fitted into the old one."

He takes a deep breath, one that seems to release a bit of tension. Maybe he was worried? "How are you finding it so far? You are enjoying it, I hope, as much as you can? There is much this time has to offer you that our time did not."

If anyone is good at tossing herself into work and deciding to figure it all out later, it's Peggy. The things she's describing are all actions, things that she's done. The closest she's come to how it all feels to her is the dream-like quality she expressed. It's easy to talk about steps and assassins and work. Everything else? Well, she'll take a sip of brandy and move on.

It's her turn to look out the window at the suggestion that she's fitting into this world easily. Perhaps. Especially as there are jobs to be done and things to keep her mind off of everything else. "Strange," she admits, unsure of how else she can describe this place. "Though, yes. As much as I can. There's much learn."

As for things to be offered in this time period, she nods. "And you? Will you be joining Howard in developing THINK? I believe it would be quite a good match for you. You would make an excellent business partner."

The music changes — the song ends, but it shifts to just some more Vera Lynn. This time she's singing Lili Marlene.

"There is much to learn, but you are a resourceful woman. And the most adaptable person I believe I've ever met. You will learn things from this time, this world — for it is effectively a new world — and as much as you learn from it, I believe it will learn from you. Indeed, I believe it has much it can learn. And you have friends. Loved ones. A family of sorts waiting for you."

He shifts slightly at the question, nodding: "I'm sure I will. I have no idea how I can be of use. I find myself a bit afloat. I have read a great deal of history, of cultural context. I have studied until I can cram no more into my head, but I have not left this flat. I am, I admit, a little terrified of the world outside. And I cannot stop thinking about — I know there is no going back. There is no 'back' to go to. I am already there, and quite happy. But it stays in my mind."

As the music changes again, it has faded into a background noise for this conversation. A pleasant one, but something she does not actively acknowledge.

"As will you. If I am resourceful, you are just as much so. And perhaps even more stubborn than I." That is certainly saying something. Her tone now is confident. "What I have here is you and Howard and Steve. Who am I to anyone else here? You have the same."

It's much easier to attempt to buck up Jarvis than it is to tell herself these things. It's, hopefully, a dual healing process of sorts. "You will be useful. You know people and how to help them. That is the sort of thing that does not change with time." Her determined face softens, though, as she is told about missing the past. She suspects it has less to do with the 'when' and more to do with the 'who'.

"Yes. I know what you mean." She's not about to tell him that he must get over it or to forget the past. She knows that does not help. Instead, she says., "Then we will go outside. You can lecture me on what it is you have learned and I will ensure your safety and wellbeing." Setting the brandy glass down, it's almost as if she's intent on doing so immediately.

"Perhaps tomorrow," Jarvis replies, actually laughing a little. He reaches down to take the brandy glass and press it back into Peggy's hand. "Tomorrow, I have decided I will go to the public library. And then I will go to Central Park. I was considering just taking a walk through the city, but Central Park will do. Just finding a bench and watching the people pass by. I could learn a great deal that way."

The man takes a deep breath, setting his own glass down. "I am grateful, though. Of all the people I could be thrown into another time with, I hope you won't think it terrible of me — outside of Howard, you are my closest friend and perhaps the person I trust the most. If I am to be marooned in time, I am infinitely grateful to have you by my side. You give me great hope that I can find some kind of future of my own."

Peggy easily allows the glass to be put back into her hand. "If you should wish company, you know where to find me." Taking a big step is hard and sometimes it's easier to do so with another trusted person. Of course sometimes it's better to do so alone without the feeling of being watched.

"Not at all, Mr. Jarvis," she tells him sincerely, quietly. This time it is she who picks up his glass again and holds it out to him with a smile. "You and Howard are my dearest friends. Were I to have found myself here under the exact same circumstances but without you, I know I would have only been the worse for it. You will find a future here." And she will help, much as she knows he has and will help her.

~We'll meet again~
~Don't know where, don't know when~
~But I know we'll meet again some sunny day~

Jarvis's head lifts when he hears that old familiar song. He smiles, even if there is a great deal of honest sadness in his eyes. But he looks back down, and though his eyes may be sad, his smile is warm and genuine.

"With a little help from my friends," he replies, inclining his head. "I have a hard time asking for help — I wonder," he adds, extending a hand. "Quite unreasonable and forward of me to ask, but I wonder, Miss Carter, if I might have this dance?"

The background music filters back to the foreground for Peggy in the silence as she watches Jarvis. A similar smile matches his as she puts down the glasses on a nearby side table. "Luckily, I have been learning from a dear friend how to help without being asked." She turns back to the taller man, hands now free. Gently, she places one in Jarvis' upturned palm at the request.

"Of course you may. I'd be honored."

Jarvis steps forward, settling his other hand on her shoulder and looking down at her with his mock-serious face. "You shall let me know if I step on your feet, yes?"

But there's no real danger of that. He's not a stiff dancer, nor does he stare at their feet. Not flashy, perhaps, but quite able. Even graceful. Even if he's half-mouthing the words to the song as they go through it.

"I rely on you, Miss Peggy Carter," he says softly. "I hope not unfairly. For all that the original intentions were not the best, I… am honoured to have met you and to be your friend."

"I am not the sort to suffer a poor dancer quietly," Peggy tells Jarvis, her own expression schooled, though it must be clear that she is teasing.

It has been awhile since she danced, so it may be more likely that she will be the one to step on his feet. However, the steps are not incredibly taxing and she is a graceful enough woman to avoid the obvious pratfalls. A smile crosses her face when she notices that he is mouthing the words to the song.

Hearing her full name from Jarvis is a bit jarring: much like hearing Steve call her Agent Carter. She looks up at him, face serious and sincere. "No, I do not believe it unfair, as I have often relied upon you. Despite our inauspicious beginnings, yours has been one of the most important friendships of my life, Mr. Edwin Jarvis."

The song comes to an end — it seems all too quickly. And there's a visible bloom of surprised pleasure at hearing his own full name from her. It's one of those old-fashioned things. One of those British things. It's one boundary… thinned, at least, if not broken. More than friends. Close friends.

Regretfully he lets her go, straightening a bit before presenting her with a slight bow. "Thank you very much. For everything. You know, this has perhaps given me an idea. One that we all might find very enjoyable."

Ah, manners. Peggy curtseys, though it is really more of just a dip. The two have already been through so much together that this seems a natural progression of their relationship. Maybe one day they will actually just call each other by their first names, but that is another step.

"And thank you. It was a lovely dance. It's been far too long." As for the enjoyable idea, she raises an eyebrow. "Oh? Well, then I await what that might be." Hearing him speak of future plans and ideas is a refreshing change from the start of the conversation, a hopeful shift in thinking about this place and what may be accomplished here.

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