Girl's Night

March 11, 2017:

Jane and Peggy have a girl's night in. Bucky and Steve crash it.

Peggy and Thor's Apartment

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Things have been a little hectic in Peggy's life lately. Now, moreso, than ever before. While Peggy thought that taking in royalty of Asgard would certainly involve a change in her lifestyle, she wasn't sure she was quite expecting what she got. Her penthouse apartment on the Upper East Side is spacious, has roof access and when she lived alone was generally spotless.

In the week or so since Thor has moved in, there has been a slow shift of atmosphere if not decor. The kitchen is well stocked, the fridge filled with meats and a full keg of ale. In tandem with her tea cups and plates, there are also a few large mugs in the cabinets. The umbrella holder near the door now holds both umbrellas as well as a sheathed sword. The place isn't a mess, but Peggy also has a few things in her hands and draped over her arms as she picks up - clearly expecting guests. After a text from Jane, she's looking forward to seeing the scientist. And, well, the upside to having Thor as a roommate is that the fridge is well stocked.

Setting the crossbow in the closet and hanging a large purple coat, she shuts the door, smooths down her dress and takes a breath. Then, she checks her phone to make sure she hasn't missed anything from either SHIELD or Jane and waits.

*

If Jane Foster was not intimidated before by Agent Peggy Carter —

— she definitely is now, completely and officially, staring up and up the ornate architecture of that expensive building, and reminding herself that Peggy does not just live on any of its multi-million dollar apartments. She occupies the penthouse.

Standing there, in her winter coat and knowing, knowing, knowing she's underdressed in her pair of jeans, Jane's anxiety nearly approaches defcon five. She considers just hightailing it with an apologetic text that she's not feeling well, because this is all so posh and she is just — just so ordinary.
The only thing that stops her is the reminder that this was her own idea, and that it's been too long she's even tried to speak again to Agent Carter. And after seeing her briefly at Jessica's party, it's emboldening: to catch a glimpse of that austere, professional woman look so… so human.
So she takes in a deep breath, summons up all her courage, and goes in.

Eventually, Peggy will receive a call up from her doorman — something about a very flustery young woman here to see her — and one elevator ride later, there's a quiet, almost shy knock at her front door.

It will reveal Jane, a little nervous around the edges but smiling, and carrying in her hands a gift-bagged bottle of wine. "Hi," is all she greets, eloquent as ever.

*

The apartment is not one that Peggy picked for herself. Upon her arrival to the present day, there were things that had already been arranged for her by Howard Stark: this apartment was one of them. Howard, being Howard, overdid it a little. She can only imagine how mad the building owners were that a penthouse apartment in this lovely building was both rent-controlled and trusted in enough legalese to ensure it could never be sold or leased and must be maintained until 2049. Then again, Howard was generous with his money when he could help it, and she's sure everyone was well compensated.

At the knock on the door, Peggy is quick to be there to answer it, clear that she was waiting for Jane to appear. Either that is due to the call from the doorman, or because Peggy is a prompt person. Seeing the scientist there, she smiles and gestures her inside warmly. "Hello Jane! Welcome. Come in, come in." She holds out her hand for the gift bag of wine and smiles. "Oh, thank you! That's so thoughtful."

Closing the door behind Jane, she escorts her to the living room, with a sunken couch - reminiscent of Jon Hamm's Manhattan apartment in Mad Men. The whole place harkens back to a retro feel. "Sit, please." On the table in front of her is a small spread - some biscuits, a tea tray. Leave it to a British woman to have tea and biscuits for her guests. "Help yourself. I'm glad you texted. It was lovely to see you at the movie night the other evening." She's careful not to ask 'how are you' as she knows that is quite a loaded topic with people recovering from trauma. Instead, it is all pleasantries and tea and shared experiences.

*

It is a quick, almost apologetic smile that crooks Jane's mouth upon greeting: a strange thing that people of this era seem to do, and often. Always self-deprecating, always ready to apologize for such common day things as 'visiting someone at their own home.'

"It's not much," she says humbly about the wine, self-conscious in a way — by the label and year it's obvious the woman has spent a bit in some desperate bid to impress, but still professes no sort of income to go really extravagant about it. "But thanks for having me, Agent Carter. I've really been wanting to do this for a while."

Her shyness seems to gentle somewhat when Peggy admits to being glad Jane texted /her/, and she strips off her winter coat and takes some nervous arrangement in hanging it up, taking considerable pains to be polite. She's dressed casually, just jeans and a blouse and one her mainstays, a light blue scarf that looks more decoration that any kind of winter warmth, and makes her way down at the hostess' direction. Eyes taking in the apartment, glancing all around, Jane steeps with quiet curiousity, the retro feel of it not lost on her. She likes it.

Sitting down lightly, even still and in one spot, Jane still exudes a sort of restless energy. Someone who probably lives perpetually courting about a thousand different thoughts at the same time, and whose tiny body suffers to hold a thousand more corresponding feelings. She looks down at the tea and biscuits, some colour rising to her cheeks, touched, even a little delighted at the gesture. She's not given the formal British treatment that often. "I first wanted to say thank you. Before I say anything else. Thank you for everything you've done for me. And how you helped." She pauses, and looks down. "I also wanted to apologize. For not being honest with you at the start."

*

Setting the bottle down on the table, it makes a solid thunk of heavy glass meeting wood. "I'm sure it's wonderful," Peggy assures Jane and she's not just saying that. While she may have a ridiculous apartment, that doesn't mean she's a snob when it comes to wine or much else. "It was very thoughtful."

Settling herself down on the couch nearby, she smiles and starts to pull out the cups for the tea. "You're, of course, welcome. I've hoped to catch up for a bit, too." Of course, it's hard to do so when Peggy has dealt with quite a lot of SHIELD and Stark Industry cases and she has wished to not pester Jane in order to help with the healing process.

While Peggy is dressed more casually - not in a suit of some kind or the like, she's wearing a vintage styled dress. It's what casual is to her, which does not tend to include jeans. But, it's clear that she has no ill opinion of her guests's outfit. She's been here long enough to know that jeans are an ever present wardrobe piece to most.

Pouring from the steeped tea pot, she gives them both a generous amount and then gestures for her to partake in milk or sugar - both are available. "Also, don't feel pigeon-holed by the tea. If you'd prefer anything else - or perhaps even something stronger, I certainly have that on hand as well. My mother used to put a strong shot of whiskey in her tea on days my father particularly upset her."

Then, though, Jane is thanking her for what she's done for her and apologizing for her earlier behavior. There's a pause as Peggy both thinks over her words and makes her tea just how she likes it. Once that is completed, she looks up to Jane, expression warm. "You're welcome, Jane. I would say that it was all part of the job of a SHIELD agent, but this case was, well, it was a little more personal than that." It's impossible to divorce that form the situation. "But, also, I understand. I've learned that the SHIELD that I know now is not exactly the one that I started all those years ago. I'm not sure I would have acted differently if I did not know who I could trust. You didn't know me from a history book."

Her eyes flick down toward the tea cup. "I hope you have been recovering somewhat. I know it is not an easy thing. I spoke with Barnes a few weeks ago."

*

The story about whiskey-spiked tea earns Jane's eyes and a slight uptic of her mouth. She considers it all for a moment, the shut-in she's been lately, the chokehold of the quiet around her throat, and how constant she's been, careful, cautious — safe.

"You know what?" she intones. "Whiskey actually doesn't sound too bad right now." Her smile deepens hopefully. "But only if you'll join me."

Jane thinks she's been dead sober for far too long. And a touch of alcoholic anything would probably do wonder for her nerves.

In the meantime, she listens, Peggy's words bringing softness to her eyes especially at mention of Bucky Barnes. "James mentioned that to me. I'm really glad he did. From what he's told me, him, you, Steve, you were a really solid team. He really needs that. He acts tough, but he needs you and Steve a lot."

Some tension just ghosts visibly out of her when Peggy accepts both Jane's thank-you, and, more importantly, her apology. Her back slightly sags as if some burden were taken off her shoulders, some imaginary knot in all her muscles let go. As honest and candid a soul she is, keeping secrets and subterfuge aren't her way, aren't her preference — and especially are unforgivable things when used on people she's come to trust. "It was just a lot at the time. I don't exactly have… the greatest track record with SHIELD. I was also afraid of someone doing something… I don't know, rash. And then he'd disappear without a trace. Or it'd get him or someone killed. I knew I was in way over my head."
She is quiet a moment. "I don't regret it though. Any of it."

Her hands twine together, fidgeting a little, as Jane considers Peggy's wish that she's recovering. "I think I'm getting better. It's… a lot. I don't like to say this out loud a lot, because I don't want to worry people, but… I think you'd understand. I also want to tell you I trust you, Agent Carter. If there's still anything you need to ask me, or anything you need to know, I'll tell you."

*

At the assent to whiskey, Peggy pushes herself up and moves to the liquor cabinet. Much like the rest of the apartment, it looks vintage and elegant. The whiskey is rather nice, a bottle of Lagavulin that has a few inches off the top. That gets placed on the table and she pops the cork with a grin. The sweet and smoky smell of whiskey quickly fills the immediate area as she pours a generous finger into first Jane and then her tea. Luckily, she didn't put milk her in her tea just yet. That would have been disastrous.

Holding her cup up, she holds it out to clink glasses with her. "Chin chin," she cheers and then takes a small sip. There's no wince, no show on Peggy's face, but there is certainly a bite to that whiskey.

"Yes, we went through quite a bit of the War together. I was not always amongst the Howling Commandos when they did their missions, but we all became something of a family." There's a wistfulness there, as she thinks of now long-lost friends. "Of course, our our connection was nothing like his and Steve's, however I considered him a friend and compatriot." And she's glad that he's here in this time with them. Not to mention that he is no longer a brain-washed agent of Hydra.

While secrets are not a part of Jane's life, they are integral to Peggy's. There is so much of her own unlived past that remains shrouded in mystery because even as a timeskipped version of herself, she has insufficient clearance to learn what it was another version of herself might or might not have done. It can be a frustrating set of affairs, but not one she can truly hold against Jane. She knows there are reasons people keep secrets, perhaps better than anyone.

"I've heard there was an altercation with Agent Coulson," she nods. That, at least, is in her SHIELD file. "It's not an unreasonable fear. The people I know are generally good hearted, but also tend to act first and think later."

There's something of a smile when she hears that Jane doesn't regret what she did, which she hides behind another drink. "No," she says softly. "No, I would not think that you would." She knows that tone, that resolve, all too well.

At being told that she's trusted, she smiles. "Thank you," she says. "I appreciate that. For now, let's just drink. There will be time for a more formal discussion as to what happened, but I believe for posterity, that will have to be recorded and logged for SHIELD files in case…" in case there are charges. But, she smoothly moves away from that thought, adding instead, "…there are those who need to consult it later."

Then, she pauses and adds, warmly, "Please, call me Peggy."

*

The smell of whiskey is not something Jane dislikes, and certainly not lately: it's beginning to remind her of James, who seems lately to alway have a glass in hand the evenings he spends with her, ever partial to the drink even if it does little for him now. But the smell that, for her, begins to rhyme with comfort and safety.

Now the taste of it, however. She taps her tea glass with a flared grin, and immediately takes a liberal sip — and suffers immediately for her bravado. Jane's eyes prickle as it burns her throat, and she murmurs a noise of surprise as the whiskey kicks her in the gut all the way down. It warms her immediately from the inside-out.

That is some strong stuff.

But she listens intently as Peggy reveals a little more of the history she shares with the two brother-in-arms — a history that stuns Jane to even consider, in a way, that precedes her own life by decades. That was happening while her grandmother was just a little girl. "I'm curious if — if you have stories. I'd hear them," she remarks, a little shy. "Unless that's prying — I don't mean to do that. I'm curious to hear about the things James did. What he was like then."

Taking another, more feeble sip of her tea, as if wondering if maybe her tolerance is better this time around — nope, nope, still burns, oh god, hurts so good — Jane tries to swallow back a cough as Peggy mentions so awareness of her past, namely New Mexico. Namely Agent Coulson. Her gaze goes dry. "Altercation, to say the least," she utters, with a bit of a wince. Probably if not for Erik, she is sure she would have been black-bagged for kicking some g-man in the face. "He took my work. Gave it back after, sure, but only when I had leverage." In the form of a very unimpressed Asgardian god. "It nearly left me high and dry, and lost, just to be without… everything. Years of work, gone just like that. Leaves you a little paranoid."

But apparently not paranoid enough for someone like Jane to sign a contract to /work/ for SHIELD, in her strange way. "But, I mean. I will give SHIELD more of a chance. Maybe I've been unfair. I know I can at least trust you."

When Peggy concedes Jane's lack of regret, she heats a little in the face, looks down, but does so with a grateful smile. And when the woman insists that formalities can be skipped tonight, she… relaxes considerably. The woman seems to have come here prepared, even girding herself silently to give a full confessional if Peggy wished her to — even if the prospect terrifies her, and she feels less than ready to do so. Jane believes Peggy is deserving of at least that much, and would do it for her.

But let off the hook for now, all her full debriefing with regard to HYDRA left for a time that's not tonight, Jane's eyes shine with an unspoken thank-you. "Deal. I just ask… when I do, uh, do this. I just want it to be with you. No one else from SHIELD. You can videotape or, or whatever, I guess, but I only want you there in the room."

And Agent Carter insists on her first name. "Peggy," Jane repeats, with a widening smile, some of that nervousness exorcised off her face. She pauses a moment, considering the mood between them, and slowly feels so emboldened as to say —

"I, oh god, don't hate me for asking. But I have a feeling no one else has. A girl notices these things, and —" Jane bites her bottom lip. "So you and Steve?"

*

Having been through the War and also having to prove herself to multiple meat-headed GIs, Peggy has steeled her expression when dealing with strong liquors. Plus, when moving through rationed and war torn Europe, beggars couldn't be choosers when it came to booze. She's swigged back her fair share of rotgut.

However, it's impossible to not see how it effects Jane. She's attempting to not look amused by it - she's not doing it to make Jane embarrassed, she's genuinely amused by her reaction to the booze taste. "If you'd prefer, we can move to the wine," she offers to the scientist.

As for stories about their missions and past, she is a bit surprised. Maybe she shouldn't be, but it never occurred to her that she would be interested in that. She assumed that most of those stories were already told to death in the radio shows and comics that she's seen laying about that feature Captain America and the Howling Commandos. Generally, though, she is portrayed as a hapless nurse that is perpetually captured by the bad guys, so it might be a good thing that isn't the point of reference.

"If that's something you're interested in. Most of the stories are not as exciting as those old comics, I will say. There was quite a lot of sitting around in camp waiting for the opportune moment to strike while Dugan cheated Gabe at cards." There are also quite a few stories involving misadventures of Barnes carousing in town. It's hard to imagine the man as he his now doing that, but it is a part of their shared history. "He was—-he was different," she warns Jane. "I can still see that man in him, but…" Different is really the only other way she can describe it. "…he was far more carefree. Still bold, still protective, but he did not have that weight he has now." Maybe that will be good for her to hear, but it also may not be. She'll that up to her.

As she hears about her work being taken, she nods. There's a part of her that can sympathize with Coulson. If it had world security and Jane's notes could have helped, she's not sure she wouldn't have taken Jane's notes. Though, she would hope that she would have deputized Jane rather than cutting her out. But, of course, that was not her call to make at the time. "I'm glad you trust me and I'm glad your work was given back." She can, at least, understand how devastating it is to lose years of your work.

Once the tension leaves Jane and it is clear tonight is more social rather than work related, she nods. It's better to get Jane's testimony on tape rather than after a few drinks on her couch in her mind. As for the deal, she thinks for a moment and nods. "I'll see what I can do about that. I will do everything in my power to ensure that is the case."

Taking another sip of her tea, this time it is Peggy's turn to cough where she didn't before on the liquid rather than the actual taste of booze. It seems she's inhaled far too fast and with liquid still in her mouth. It takes her a few coughs to clear it. "N-no. Of course. I don't hate you for asking. That'sit's justthat is a complicated question."

*

"Oh god, is it that obvious?" Jane complains, stricken, against Peggy's very-polite suggestion they move to wine. "I'm such a wuss. I think the worst I've ever gone is cheap vodka back in grad school."

But the whiskey is warming her slowly, melting away some of her nerves and lingering self-consciousness, helped definitely by Peggy Carter's general… disarming demeanour. It's making the scientist feel silly, in retrospect, to have been so intimidated of the woman for so long. She hasn't felt this welcomed by anyone in a long time.

She listens, and with a keen interest to oblique mentions of old war stories, and though Jane has the sort of presence to her not to push — an awareness that might be a family history of her own, something that keeps her curiously tempered and measured to remember that war may be something left forgotten for many people, and that stories and anecdotes may come knotted with feelings not always wanted. Even if Peggy says the stories aren't exciting, Jane still looks rapt. She is quiet, listening to James Barnes described as someone much different. Carefree. Her eyes pinch a little at the corners with emotion, trying to reconcile in her head the James she knows as someone else. Someone before everything was taken away from him.

She doesn't speak to that, instead quiet, in a pensive sort of way. After a moment, Jane looks back up, and smiles — it's not a happy smile, but it is a grateful one. It is good for her to hear, in a fundamental way that is important to her: in a choice between knowledge and ignorance, she will always, always choose knowledge.

In the end, she doesn't ask questions, not wanting to push at first what might be sensitive to Peggy, and Jane instead casts relief to hear Peggy promise to try to be there for her inevitable SHIELD debriefing. "Thank you. It's just… I don't want to talk to a stranger. I would like it to be someone who was there. Someone who won't… I don't know." She sighs, even having trouble even saying these words, expressing out loud any of her feelings having to do with her captivity in HYDRA. "If it's you, I'll feel safe. I kind of want James there too, but at the same time, I don't know if he should. If it will just end up hurting him, or make him blame himself more."

The woman just exhales again, a long, windy breath, and swigs back her doctored tea to make it better. "Whatever. I won't get into it now. We can talk about that later."
Desperate for some sort of levity, delighted to keep this evening going the way it is — getting to know Peggy Carter — Jane draws on a bit of alcoholic courage and asks the big question, direct, straight out. She's not one for tiptoeing.

Peggy's cough brings back her smile, half-apologetic, half-amused, remembering vaguely back — feels like years ago — when she flustered the woman back in the halls of SHIELD. "All the best questions are complicated ones," she proclaims in an affectionate encouragement. Gotta spill now.

Talk of opening wine sharpens her mouth into a grin. "We shall. If we're gonna do this, we're going all the way." And because Peggy did, and sisterhood means you don't leave someone hanging, Jane follows suit with her own wine, scouring herself /raw/ the inside-out as she takes it all back, whiskey and all. She's barely eaten today, she's going to regret this, but /why the hell not/. She's about five years overdue for getting a bit shit-faced. Swallowing it back with a small cough and a weaker moan, eyes watering, she unravels her scarf off her neck. Already too warm.

"So, tell me! It's the good kind of complicated, right?"

*

"Only because I am an astute reader of people," Peggy tells Jane dryly. As an adept spy, it is hard to tell if she is joking or not. Mostly likely, due to the tone of their conversation she is kidding. "I had to put on a generally neutral face while drinking amongst the rabble of the army, otherwise they would think me soft. Also, after drinking whatever it was that Howard had concocted in the back of an airplane out of a rusty can, everything else tasted better than that."

With Peggy, it seems, Jane will not have to wait too long for more war stories, at least the ones that come to mind immediately. She doesn't have quite the same memories that Barnes does - waking up and then freezing at different points in time. She and Steve are rather similar in the fact that to them, it feels as if the 1940s were not that long ago. Months, a year perhaps. So, her general stories will harken back to those times. Either that or the few years after the war when she was attempting to build SHIELD.

As the conversation shifts back slightly toward the future and the interview that Jane will have to do at some point, she gives the other woman a sympathetic look. "I understand. On both accounts. However, I will say that it will not be possible for James to be in the room with you during the interview. I'm sorry. It's for the best as, I think you may be right. He may start to blame himself and if he interrupts the interview, we'll have to stop it and it will not look very good." Then, she pauses for a moment. "I'm sorry, you're right. We said we would not discuss this now. Another time."

Then, she stands and moves to the kitchen. Grabbing two glasses and a corkscrew, she returns to the living room. Pulling the bottle out of the bag, she takes a look at the label and smiles. "I've heard good things about this wine." Then, she works the corkscrew and pops the cork, pouring a glass for herself and a glass for Jane.

Peggy takes a long drink of her wine then, since it seems like they are going to talk about Steve. "I-I'm not sure. Steve and I knew each other during the War. Worked together quite closely. Then, he died. I thought I would never see him again." And now there he is. Right there. It's very strange and she doesn't want to mess anything up.

*

"I read a bit about you," Jane admits, with a return of some of her shyness. As someone, herself, who is unused to the receiving end of attention, she tries to be careful, almost guiltily so, when turning the spotlight on others. Her smile crooks up apologetically. "A lot, actually, when I was learned who James was, and I was trying to dig up whatever I could. I mean, you're in the history books — this other iteration of you, I guess. But, in a way, still you. You're… anything but soft, Peggy. You intimidated the hell out of me."

Jane only pauses, just once, at mention of a name. Howard. Why is that familiar? She thinks back on those days with James, reading everything they could, helping him decipher the holes in his memory with a wealth of information, and she remembers reading — "Oh! Howard Stark? That's right, he was helping your war effort. I remember reading — I'm… I think I'm working with Tony now. Unofficially? Officially? Even after embarrassing myself. He's a pain in the ass," she remarks, but with an easy smile. Jane is definitely already fond of Tony Stark.

She listenes as Peggy, somewhat to her own surprise, makes one last remark on the debriefing-to-be, and it'll be SHIELD's rule that James Barnes won't be in there with her. Jane absorbs that information nervously, a flash of pain on her face, like some part of her was relying greatly on the security blanket of him being there, even if she, herself, were still undecided whether it was right for him to hear her story. In a way, Jane is grateful to know now, to prepare herself — it would have been a terrifying surprise to learn that day, to realize she would be doing it all alone. The prospect terrifies her cold. She'll just have to be strong.

But, Jane is in agreement. Best not to think of this tonight. She'll have more than enough nights to dedicate to her nerves. She Christians this decision with the last of her tea.
The whiskey makes a good start of relaxing her, loosening her deocorative scarf, crossing her legs and leaning back against the couch to get comfortable. Jane watches Peggy's quick retreat to the kitchen, left momentarily to her lonesome, her dark eyes glancing inquisitively about. Wait, is that a sword in the —?

Jane's attention breaks when Peggy returns, bearing alcohol. Meeting her with a lopsided grin, she laughs aloud at the British woman's polite compliment of the wine. "Really? All I heard is it just gets you drunk real fast," she blurts back, her own attempt of a joke. Probably a bad joke. She is full of those.

Accepting her own glass with a thank-you, she drinks it with far more skill than the whiskey, a seasoned red wine drinker to James' choice of harder liquors. The liquid happily joins the warmth in her belly, and she sits back again, eyes on Peggy; obviously the spy is not allowed to dodge the last question Jane posed her. On the way to tipsy, and getting bolder by the moment, she cannot help her curiousity. It's not every day you get to have a girl's night with the /heroine of world war two/.

"Steve is amazing," she says. "I… still need to give him a proper thank-you too. I… saw a few times how he was looking at you. Back at Jessica's. But why not sure? You two haven't talked about it?"

*

Peggy does know that there are a few books or articles about her. They most likely have quite a few lies about her - or at least half truths. There's a lot about her own life that she did not live and so therefore has no idea about. Generally, it is a thing that she can push out of her mind, but at times like that becomes difficult. Jane's read things about her that link to her somehow, but do not actually have to do with her. Who knows if that woman actually is her. The experiences in life defined her and she is missing quite a lot of the ones that made the Peggy of this time the woman she is.

However, instead of saying any of that, she takes a sip of her glass and smiles at Jane. "Well, most likely because they didn't publish how funny I actually am. It's my humor that really softens my image." She shrugs and smiles. "I worked very hard to make it so that I would be respected and the best way to ensure that was to no one questioned me." And that takes a hard exterior, though that is generally a public face, a cultivated one.

The mention of Howard and Tony bring a warmer smile to her face. "I read a biography of Howard, actually. When I first arrived. I wanted to know more about what happened and he had quite a few written about him. Yes, Howard and I worked quite closely during the War and then also with SHIELD." There's a smile. "Ah, yes, Tony. You're working for him now?" That's a surprise, but she actually doesn't think of it as too big of one. She can certainly see Tony and Jane having quite a scientific conversation. The thought amuses her, actually. "Tony is certainly an ass. Just like his father." She smirks. It's clear she was quite fond of his father as well. "Though, you shouldn't say that to him. There's bad blood there, from both what I've read and what I've heard."

The bad joke is given a soft, sincere laugh, if not a raucous one. A few more drinks, though, and that is exactly the sort of thing that she would laugh at uproariously. She takes another big swig and then leans back. While most people picture Peggy as a very prim and proper sort of lady, she leans back against the couch and props her feet up on the table in front of them. An elbow rests on the back of the couch as she twists herself toward Jane to keep talking. The base of her glass rests on the cushion and she rests the side of her head against her palm. This is Peggy at her most relaxed - a drink in hand, a person she trusts to talk to.

"Steve is…" She looks down at saying his name brings a bit of a flush to her face. "Yes. The thanks may embarrass him, but you should do it. He is one of the best men I've ever known." When Jane asks why she is unsure, there is another shrug. "I thought him the—" she pauses, no she can't say that out loud. "This is a second chance. I'm honestly waiting for it all to fall apart."

*

"You did something that women are still having trouble accomplishing, seventy years later," Jane replies, her voice inflected with real awe. "I can tell you that personally, just attempting to hold my one in a field that's basically men. Never mind fighting a /war/ beside them. So, you're… kind of my hero in a lot of regards." Her smile tics wider, looseneed little by little by both the atmosphere of the room and the alcohol in her blood. "Between us, I think for you to survive, what, five years of a world war with a thousand of sweaty guys trying to mansplain everything to you? And have SOME sort of sanity intact? I bet you're a riot."

She pauses. "You've heard 'mansplaining', right? If you haven't: best word ever of this age. It's when you get some guy looking down his nose and trying to — in really really short easy words — explain it right out loud for you. Just in case we missed it. Because of, I don't know. Make-up or boys."

Taking a drink of her wine, she listens to talk of Howard Stark and his cut-from-the-same-cloth progeny, though Jane gives significant pause at the wording of 'working FOR Tony Stark.' It's not that she takes significant offence; it's just it sounds so… so strange. "More like — with Tony Stark," she corrects, somewhat dubiously, an unvoiced 'I think' appended onto that claim. "I think I'm way too much a control freak to work for anyone. I'm probably a nightmare for SHIELD, I know. I don't think I've worked for anyone a day in my life, Type A as I am. But it might be something on the side. I know engineering is something I've always wanted to pursue, at least as a project."

But she gives a slight wince about bringing up the sore matter of Howard Stark with Tony. "Noted," confirms Jane, with a smile.

She… puffs up a little, some pride there, when Peggy laughs at her bad joke, the rest of that timidity and uncertainty loosening off Jane's body. She can't help but sneak constant, curious glances as /the/ Agent Carter puts her feet up and relaxes, looking in this moment at odds with the image she casts to the rest of the world. It's amazing to see her this way, looking just as human as Jane feels most of the time — fallible and flawed and… normal — and happy to reciprocate the feeling, she tucks more comfortably into the couch, nursing her wine until it's barely a mouthful left in the glass.

Jane is already flushed along the cheeks, not quite sober, as she listens to Peggy talk about Steve Rogers. She does not say much, but to her — something of a natural listener — she can hear unspoken tomes between every word. Her head tilts as Peggy arrests one spoken thought, and instead speaks something other. Something sad — waiting for things to fall apart.

"You can't," she insists suddenly, sitting up, whether it's the alcohol or something welling up inside her to infect Jane with a new intensity. "That's the thing, you can't wait. You can't wait /at all/. If there's anything — anything —" She pauses, her words jumbling together. "I'm sure you have be beaten a hundred times in wisdom, and I'm giving /you/ advice, but my entire life? It taught me we can't wait. Because things happen. We can't /ever/ wait. Ever! We have to grab it! Grab it fast! Whatever it is you want! You can't /ever/ wait. It won't fall apart if you keep trying. What have you been trying? Do you need tips? A push-up bra? Different positions? Oh man, I can tell you some of THAT." How drunk are you, Jane Foster. "Where are you two? Is it finding time? You know we have sex therapists now?"

*

From her relaxed position, Peggy sips again from her wine glass and looks away from Jane when she compliments her about how she survived the War and then dealt with the men of the SSR. That was, obviously, no picnic, but she doesn’t feel as if that was a huge accomplishment: it was just what she did. Instead, she tilts her head curiously at the term ‘mansplaining’. It’s clear she hasn’t heard that yet.

Once Jane explains, an amused and delighted light crosses her eyes. “Mansplaining. That is absolutely perfect. I love that, I’ll be sure to use it.” She isn’t quite excited about the fact that this is still a thing that needed a recent slang term. “Though, the good thing about my current reputation is that I rarely have men attempting to explain things to me in condescending terms.” At least not when she’s in SHIELD.

The faux pas at telling Jane that she will be working for Tony rather than with him is quickly retracted. “Forgive me, yes with Tony - not for him. Though, I would clarify that with him. He tends to get ideas and believe everyone is on the same page. Also, I would not be surprised if he attempted to recruit you to Stark Industries.”

The topic of Howard is easily dropped with the warning to not bring him up with Tony. That seems to have done its purpose and they’ll speak of Howard at another time when it’s not tied so readily to his strained relationship with his son. It’s something she’s sad to see, as it’s clear she’s becoming as fond as Tony as she was of Howard.

Instead, she sinks a little bit more of the couch as the talk becomes more seriously (and casually) onto the topic of Steve and the somewhat in between nature of their relationship. This is not exactly how she planned the evening to go, but as she finishes her wine glass, she sets it down on the table in front of them. Leaning forward, she grabs the wine bottle and first fills her glass and then ensure’s that Jane’s is topped off.

The things that Jane has to say are not things she hasn’t thought about before. She waited till Steve was jumping aboard the Valkyrie to kiss him during the War. She knows that time isn’t a guarantee. He could be frozen again, killed or lost. The very fact that she is here is a miracle, but at the same time it is because of those reasons she can’t risk Steve. Her own cheeks are both flushed from liquor and all this frank talking of her relationship status. She opens her mouth to explain herself a little, but Jane goes on. Her reasoned reply is suddenly replaced by garbled words and exclamation points as Jane starts to speak of sex therapists and different positions and push up bras. “It’s—! That’s—! That is not the problem, I assure you!”

After that quick and immediate response to Jane’s questions in her attempt to diagnose and help the problem, she takes a very long drink of her wine glass. Once that is finished, she takes a breath. “I’m not willing to risk Steve,” she tells Jane firmly. “He is a man of principle and values. I will not ruin what we have for a quick roll in the hay.”

*

Jane Foster only seems to run out of words when she runs out of breath.

So in lieu of that, she drinks. She drinks her wine, because it actually really is good wine — she'll have to get another bottle of this bordeaux sometime soon. And because the more she drinks, the warmer she feels, and she's just so tired of feeling /cold/. Cold in New York City winter out of the New Mexico desert, cold on the table of HYDRA experimenters, cold, cold, cold — a chill she can't seem to exorcise from her skin. It just feels so nice to be warm again, and feel so light, feel like the more she drinks, the more all those worries seem to pull away.

The less she even seems to hear or even care about those implanted whispers in her head.

Flushed across the face, with a glued-on smile that long suggests sobriety is out the window, Jane lets go inhibition after inhibition. Tightly-wound, is what others have called her in the past. Neurotic. Control freak. And it's not like she is. Maybe a bit, but not truly. She's just shy, is all it is, and doubtful of herself, nervous, not the social butterfly. But without that anxiety?

Dr. Foster appears to be more than a little adventurous. The words fall out of her with little more than candid frankness, so much to her own surprise
she pauses, sobered for a moment, when Peggy Carter hits the absolute BRAKES on her version of "helping" a relationship along. Jane looks honestly confused. Then her eyes widen.

"Oh! Oh god! I didn't — I didn't mean it like that! Not to offend you, or — of course," she says, with enough returned nervousness that she finishes half of her refilled wine glass. Just drink your mistakes away, Jane. Drink them down. "I thought you two would… I mean, it's not — it's a a modern era sort of thing. Not a commentary on yourself. Ever since the whole sexual revolution of the sixties? We've basically been downhill from there. But, even then!" Her eyes light up. "It's not a roll in the hay! We don't really consider it that way anymore! I mean, sure, for some — but those kinds of people? You sort them out really fast. It's absolutely a thing of principles and values, when — when you care, and you two share something, and there's… communication, and respect. It's — it's a — integral — and — "

Her rambling dies off. Jane frowns to herself, well and drunk, her glassy eyes aimed far away. "You must think I'm the biggest slut ever," she bemoans, briefly hiding her face in a hand. Her voice bleats, muffled, into her palm. "I swear I'm not."

She peeks up. "But — it — shouldn't ever be a risk if you're both on the same page. Are you?"

*

The good thing about both Peggy's apartment and the liquor is that it has quite the warming effect. While Peggy does not tend toward her mouth running, she does not seem to mind Jane talking until she has to have a drink. Honestly, it reminds her of other people she knew back in her own time period. Capable, assured, friendly, adventurous.

As it seems this is going to be their new topic of conversation, Peggy takes another long drink. This is going to be a theme. She's not quite done with her glass yet, but she's getting close. This is their version of a rager. No keg stands, but who needs those?

As it seems she might have offended Jane, she reaches a hand out in a wave in a way to try and indicate that she doesn't think that about her. Or, that even if Jane does have a sexual revolution, it's not something she thinks is a bad idea. "NoI'm sorry, no. I'm sorry, that's not" she's blushing again, this time at the fact that she may have insulted Jane. "I'm not sure about the sexual revolution of the sixties. Or anything like. I knew plenty of women back at the Griffith who were very free! They were very lovely women."

There's a long pause and then she takes another long drink. "I'm not saying that you are, of course. I mean, you and Jamesyou're?" Her eyebrows raise at the implication that she and James might be sleeping together. This is quite a different conversation than she thought she and Jane were going to have when she agreed to meet with the other woman. "I've neveroh, you knowoh, this is ridiculous."

Looking down at her glass, she is slowly starting to regret moving to wine. She wants hard liquor again now. Maybe she'll move back to it. That's not exactly the best idea, but they're getting the point in the evening where no good ideas arise, only bad ones that seem like good ones. Finishing off her glass again, she laughs a bit. "I'm not sure what page were are on. I'm crazy about Steve. But, he's…you know him. I think he cares for me, but I'm not sure that's the same thing, you know?"

*

The thing about Jane Foster: she would be a very lousy poker player.

When Peggy asks that somewhat startled question about her and James Barnes, the look on Jane's face is answer enough. He eyes light up, and a sharp, sheepish grin crosses her mouth. Have they ever. "Well, yeah," she says, biting the inside of her cheek and failing whatsoever to stop the way she grins messily, looking down at her lap and tipped pink in the apples of her cheeks. Her gaze is soft, as if a woman so unsure right now about every so way of her life — is at least sure about that. "A bit. A lot. A bit of a lot."

That's when Agent Carter flusters a little, perhaps neither prepared in all her years of military and spy training to have such a candid discussion — to be /asked/ this sort of thing while at the same time finding out a bit too much of James Barnes' sex life. As prolific as it might have been seventy years ago!!

Either way, it wins back Jane's eyes. "No, it's not ridiculous!" she tries to reassure. "Nothing about this is ridiculous! OK, first of all? I know you don't know me at all, but I solemnly swear —"

With that, Jane holds up her wine glass in swift, drunken vow, and with her other hand, draws a circle over her heart. "Circle of trust. Whatever is said in this room will never leave it. And nothing that is spoken shall ever be ridiculous. Unless it's a story of James or someone doing something idiotic. In other words, I'm shitfaced, I'm talking nonsense, and if you join me, you'll be too drunk to care too. I don't even know if that's logic. Is it logic? Don't care!"

With that, it's Jane's turn to enable the moment further, take up the wine bottle, and refill Peggy's empty glass. She fills her own after ever so happily.

Or at LEAST happily until Peggy Carter starts saying weird things like 'I think he cares for me.'

"What?!" Jane blurts, drunk enough to get indignant. "Same thing as what? I don't think his feelings for you are like his, I don't know, feelings for /America/. I don't think he's trying to take off America's bra. Which he should be doing with you! And then — oh god, filter. My filter. I have one, I swear to God I do. Somewhere." To help find it, she drinks more of her wine. She is really not good at this. "I mean, he's said something to you as much, has he? Clearly communicated it? He's kissed you, right?"

*

A little bit. A lot. A bit of a lot. That's how much Jane and James have been intimate together. That makes her flush all the more. Well. Yes, that is quite a lot of information about their sex life that she was not expecting to hear. Of course, she wasn't expecting to talk about her own - or lack thereof, either.

Peggy has been drunk before, very drunk before, and she is not sure there will be a point where this will not be a bit embarrassing for her. However, she accepts the poured wine from Jane as she takes control of the bottle and then holds her glass up to hers. "Circle of trust," she similarly vows. "I agree, as well." After a laugh, she shakes her head. "No no, you're not a shit-face." Before the drunken vernacular, during World War II it was a general term for someone unwanted. "Honestly, I haven't been this relaxed in quite awhile, I must say."

Taking a sip from the glass, she leans back and relaxes against the couch. "A little bit of nonsense sounds like just the ticket." She generally doesn't have a lot of the good kind of nonsense in her life. Generally it's the type that takes years off of her life. "It sounded just logical enough for me. Perhaps we should change that." She shows just that resolve by taking another long drink.

The indignation that Jane shows when she hears her words about Steve actually catches her by surprise. "Have you met Steve?" There's a sardonic eyebrow raise. "His feelings for America are rather strong." Though, the point about him not wanting to take off America's bra is met with a, "Perhaps a fair point. About America's bra, not my own." The alcohol takes far longer to effect Peggy. She has had drinks with the best of them. The best of them mostly being Howard Stark - well known for his drinking habits.

When it gets to the last part of her questions, there's a long pause. Another long drink. "Uh, not exactly. We went out on the 14th - " a very precise date for Valentine's Day without saying it is Valentine's Day, " - however we were interrupted. There's never been anything explicitly said, however. Not as such." The kissing? She shrugs her shoulders. "We kissed once, yes. Right before he leapt aboard the Valkyrie." That was in 1945. Decades have passed since the two have kissed. "I believe it might have scandalized Colonel Phillips at the time." Wait, their only kiss was in front of Colonol Phillips?! That can't be true, can it?

*

That flush on Peggy Carter's face is shared somewhat by Jane. However modern women are these days, it appears a lingering shyness still hasn't left them entirely — certainly not this one, who has a look on her face like she wouldn't be sharing this in most other company. A mixture of the whiskey, the wine, and her want to be better friends with Peggy Carter… has her tongue a little looser than it should be.

That, and well — it feels really nice. To confide something like that in another woman. Jane is sure it's more than assumed, especially in the circle she's found herself in these days — and some of them even /walked in/ once on such relations about to happen, still no forgiveness, Peter Quill — but even then this is the first time she's admitted it out loud. Her relationship with James Barnes. The truth really does set you free.

There's a gentle smile across her mouth like she already trusts Peggy with all she's said, and is in perfect ease to share more — though maybe it's not Peggy's preference to think of one of her old war buddies doing the business. Amusement lights up her features at the thought, and only gets worse when she's reassured she's "not a shit-face." That makes Jane laugh aloud, tickled, and helpfully supplies, "Oh, shit-faced is what we call drunk now. It's one of the few terms I'm still slightly young enough to know. The kids might be calling it something else now. I think it's something about getting lit now? God, I have no idea."

Joining Peggy to just relax backward, wine in hand, already warm and heavy and happy with alcohol, Jane listens on — only to fire herself up with indignant, protective rage when it's revealed even Peggy questions the nature of Steve Rogers' feelings. That can't stand! Have you met Steve? she asks.

"Actually —" Jane blurts, then breaks into a short, giddy chortle. "I should actually tell you how I even met Steve. It was in SHIELD, I think right around Christmas. I was losing my mind, because I just figured out who James was — who he /really/ was, and I wasn't sure who to talk to or trust, but I knew I needed to trust Steve and tell him. So I'm not sure who has ears in SHIELD, if it'd get back to someone and get James hurt, or — " she waves her hands against her own rambling. "I'm trying to get Steve to go with me somewhere to tell him /everything/ and he's just not getting it. I thought a motel room sounded safe enough and he thought I was coming on to him! So he — get this — he literally /runs away/, to the cafeteria food line, and he comes back with, I don't know, three trays of food? And he's stacking them like some sort of /wall/ to hide behind! He was hiding from me behind /tacos/."

The memory brings Jane to hitch with laughter, and she wets it with another deep drink of her wine.

Her eyes are bright to hear that Peggy and Steve actually /did/ attempt a date on Valentine's — though Jane's eyebrows lift and she makes a telling sound of disquiet to hear it was interrupted. Nothing said. And as for kisses? Only one. Before the Valkyrie. Where did she hear that name before? Back when she was researching the Smithsonian history on Captain Rogers, and the Valkyrie was the name of that — oh. /Oh/.

"He kissed you right before he…?" Jane asks, her voice gone low. She places a hand over her heart and slumps right back. That is the most romantic thing she's ever heard in her entire life. He kissed her before he /died/. "You have to say something," she urges. "Don't let that go."

*

Drinking more of her wine, Peggy nods a few times as she gets another update to her slang. This conversation with Jane has basically doubled her present day lingo. The frank discussion about sex is not something that does not make Peggy uncomfortable, but it will bring a bit of a blush to her face. She's not exactly a prude, but she also does not generally discuss sex.

The frankness and the comfortability is something she likes. It's been awhile since she's actually had someone she could confide in like this: a girl friend. Reconnecting with Steve and James is something she would never give up, but she misses her friends from the past. Finally, this feels like relaxing and sharing with a woman with which she has commonalities and rapport. And it is a rare thing for her to feel comfortable discussing the topic of Steve with anyone else. Perhaps knowing that Jane has a connection with James loosens her tongue. They share similar feelings for these two singular best friends.

The chortle is met with a surprised and amused glance. Settling into the couch more, she finishes her glass of wine again, moving to refill - holding the bottle out to refill Jane's glass, too, should she need it. They'll need another bottle in just a moment. She listens to Jane's first meeting of Steve with a laugh. She can't help it. That sounds so remarkably Steve. And, beyond that, the description of how Jane attempted to lure him away is met with an amazed shake of her head. "Bloody Nora, Jane, what in the world did you think he would think when you were trying to get him to a motel room?" The image is just too much. Maybe it's the wine or the story, but she finds it hard to stop laughing. Covering her mouth with the back of her hand, it takes her a little while to get herself under control.

Finally, she manages to bring it back down to merely giggles every once in awhile. "Poor Steve, attempting to be polite while you were trying to entice him to a motel room to talk. How was he supposed to take that without any other information? You and I certainly need to work on your espionage tactics." Peggy takes a deep breath and then another deep drink of her wine glass.

A finger is raised to correct Jane. "Strictly speaking, I kissed him. It was for luck. And…I was worried that if I did not kiss him then I would never get another chance." Her voice lowers just a bit at the thought, as for quite awhile, she did think that was the case. "I'm not letting it go, but…this is all from literally decades ago." She shrugs her shoulders, looking down. "I can't hold Steve to something from years ago. What if…what if he just wants to move on and I'm not allowing him to do so?" She knows how good Steve is, how principled. He would put someone else's feelings before his own.

*

They share similar feelings for two singular best friends.

Or otherwise put: they are both cursed forever to have feelings for A COUPLE OF DUMBS.

Finishing her glass of wine amidst her sudden, bubbling-up laughter, and really unable to exorcise the memory of how /unsettled/ the infamous Captain Steve Rogers looked — hero of America — trapped by the potential advances of a woman. And to Jane's surprise, she hears Peggy Carter laugh — the first-ever, true laugh out of the professional woman — and glances over in both surprise and delight. Her own grin widens, and something about Peggy losing it over it all has Jane busting up again, dissolving into riotous laughter until tears sting the corners of her eyes.

"I don't know!" she sputters back at Peggy's question, barely able to breathe through her giggles. "I wasn't thinking! It was on the spot! I get nervous! I even thought, I don't know, maybe I have some game, if to just get him out of the building, then he just starts talking about tacos! Apparently that's how you get rid of aggressive women?! You just start throwing food at her?!"

Leaning back against the couch, trying to will herself back under control, Jane lets go a gusty breath, her shoulder still shaking with lingering laughter. "OK, I concede, definitely wasn't my best idea," she adds, grinning widely. Of course, that's when Peggy, perhaps jokingly, insinuates teaching the scientist some basics of espionate. That turns her dark eyes, interested, not so drunk she doesn't take it semi-seriously. "That would be — that would be kind of amazing. If you did show me some things."

But in the talk of shared kisses back on the cusp of battle, in the theatre of the Second World War, decades and decades ago — Jane listens, a little misty-eyed, and somewhat more sobered. She looks on like it's the most beautiful story she's ever heard. Kissing someone good-bye, acknowledging something so… so… meaningful, only for them never to return. She doesn't think she's drunk enough yet to cry, but she certainly is enough to get maudlin.

"Decades to /me/, maybe," Jane attests, "and to most people, but not to him. And even if it was that, years and year, I don't… I don't think Steve, or anyone really could forget something like that. Or would want to forget something like that. Someone like /you/. Even to be honest with him isn't to hold him to anything. You owe it to yourself, and owe it to him too! And owe it to Colonel Whoever who got to watch the most romantic moment ever and realize there's no follow-up." Not for one who keeps herself at any sort of distance, or any sort of a remove, she sets her wine glass down and reaches out, tentatively, one hand touched down on Peggy's arm. "What if he's thinking the exact same things you are? What if he's got that identical fear? You have to tell him."

*

It is a very bonding thing, the pair of them caring for these dumb super soldiers. Who else could understand?

Drinking a few more sips, Peggy calms herself down as best she can. The image of Steve hiding from Jane behind tacos: too good. Poor Steve. "Steve wasn't always the picturesque mountain of muscle that he is today," she explains. "When I met him he was a skinny, short, big hearted man who clearly was the right man to become Captain America." It's easy to tell that she has fondness for Steve now, but it's still there before his transformation. "I think he still doesn't know how to handle female attention. Especially aggressive types of it." There was, of course, the regrettable time she shot at him because of a woman trying to make out with Steve. But, she's not going to bring that up.

When it seems that Jane is interested in Peggy teaching her some espionage techniques, she smiles and shrugs her shoulders. What terror could Jane unleash if given proper lessons to hide her intentions? Well, that's not really her problem. "If that's something you're interested in, I'd be glad to give you some tips." It doesn't seem as if she minds or was offering out of flippancy. She enjoys teaching others what she knows: it's partly why she helped start SHIELD. "My first tip is that telling an unsuspecting person to meet you in a motel room will almost always be taken as you wishing to get them alone to make time with them. That can certainly work in your favor for certain people, but that also means you have to be ready for that assumption."

The story of her last physical interaction with Steve before he leapt aboard the Valkyrie is told and then her thoughts linger there for a moment. She remembers that moment very clearly, sitting in the back of that car and watching that large Nazi plane disappear into the sky. She can still feel the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

"I'm being honest with him," she tells Jane, a little defensively. "I have not lied to him about how I feel or obscured it. I simply haven't brought up the subject exclusively. I've made moves and they have not exactly turned out well. I might have attempted to kiss him on James' grave. When we still were not sure if he was the Winter Soldier or not. He - rightly - stopped me. I haven't attempted since. Bad timing." There's embarrassment there, but it seems they've reached the truth portion of this drinkfest. "I simply can't lose him again, Jane." That comes out before she has a moment to think about it, sincere. She didn't mean to say that. Alcohol, it sneaks up on people.

Immediately, she drinks the last of her glass of wine. "Colonel Phillips," she corrects in an attempt to redirect the subject. "He was always so kind about Steve. He gave me the file on Project Rebirth after the Valkyrie."

Continuing on the attempt to keep the conversation moving, Peggy reaches for the wine bottle, shaking it to show it empty. "Hm. Shall we open another?"

*

"It's hard to imagine a tiny Steve," Jane says, rather frankly. "He's just so… so big." She pauses. "That's a weird thing to say. But, drunk. Kind of drunk. I mean, I saw the Smithsonian pictures. Of him before — before the serum. He was, well, not too much bigger than me. And I'm a twig. And all of that into what he is now. And that heart of his? Sometimes I feel like my body can't keep up with my energy. But someone like him?"

She ruminates on this, gaze far-away a moment, no doubt helped by all the wine in her belly. Alcohol always helped Jane get a bit pensive: some of her best breakthroughs were made courting half a bottle of red. "And of course I'm interested in it! As you've probably seen, I'm a terrible liar. Well, I'm about as pathologically honest as they come. Or just straight-out pathological. It'd be helpful to… if I had to." The thought comes in, dark, unwanted: if someone like HYDRA had her back in captivity. She'd like to do something to keep from being broken through so easily. They ripped her apart as if she were made of paper.

Jane goes quiet a moment, but then shakes it off, refusing to let her mood go back there. This is going to be a good night, because she never thought in a thousand years she'd be sharing alcohol and laughs with /the/ Peggy Carter. Head turned, she listens intently at tip number one when it comes to espionage. For a moment, she's sobered, curious — then as the joke parses in with 'motel rooms', she hitches with a surprised laugh, eyebrows knitting with playful apology. "Advice duly noted. Agent Foster is ready to deploy for mission: awkward sexy times."

But it seems Peggy has a sobered, quieter moment of her own, one resigned to not-so-distant, but still decades-old memory. Jane goes quiet, not sure what the woman is thinking about, but having the intuition enough to allow her the time to absorb it. Alcohol will do that.

She listens on, all of her attention on Agent Carter, drunk and yet still present, with the clarity of self to know this moment is important, is special — is the sort of thing to leave a person feeling weak. On Jane's face is a patient sort of empathy, not pity, nothing so overwrought or dramatic, but just a person who is willing to listen, willing to hear it out. The story about the would-be kiss at the grave of James Barnes makes her exhale. "That doesn't sound like bad timing to me," she confesses honestly. "It sounds like an honest moment. And those are beautiful things. And fragile, and sometimes life gets in the way, and just… destroys them. Don't let it stop you from trying again though. Some things, I think, are so important that we have to try until we know for sure."

She says she can't lose Steve Rogers again, and the words quietly break Jane's heart. Oh, she thought she wasn't drunk enough to cry, but there's a dangerous shine to her eyes. "I think he's afraid of the same thing. Because, remember, he lost you too."

Jane is quiet a moment, then adds, trying to bring back some levity, "If James knew. He's always going on about how if he does anything in life, it's to get Steve to get a /clue/ about — he'd be so mad his memory killed the moment."

Another bottle? "/Yes/. We need it. YOU need it. Who the hell stops getting kissed by you? I am pretty sure I'm completely straight, and even I wouldn't stop getting kissed by you. Captain Clueless, my ass."

*

"He's pretty much exactly the same inside," Peggy tells her with a smile. "I had a picture of him from the file Colonel Phillips gave me, it was taken from the boot camp before he was given the serum. That's generally how I imagined him. I believe I still have it framed somewhere." She knows for a fact that she does.

There's a grin as Jane describes herself as pathologically honest. "Most people would consider that a good thing. The business of lying and obscuring is generally frowned upon. Thor even gave me 'I cannot stomach your work' conversation." However, she understands the desire to lie better. Being a bad liar can be a problem. "I'd be glad to help, though."

Though Peggy does attempt to keep a straight face during her 'tip'. This is not the time to have any sort of espionage lesson. She's drunk, it's not the best time. However, as Jane laughs, it's contagious and she laughs with her. "Excellent. Your next mission will involve the proper technique to get someone to go with you to discuss confidential information." That sounds more serious, at least.

The conversation returns to a more serious topic and Peggy gives a sad smile and shrug of her shoulders. Her head rests on her hand. "It was bad timing," she argues. "James' death weighed heavily on him. Attempting to start something in that moment? In that place? It was ill advised. I should have known better. Or, perhaps it's just not what he would like."

Jane's attempt at levity does inject some back into the conversation. "Yes, knowing that James is alive, if he found out, I bet he'd be rolling in his grave." That doesn't make sense, she knows it, but she's reached the drunk where it doesn't matter.

Peggy gives a shrug of her shoulders. "I have been turned down by men before. In fact, quite a lot back in my day. Apparently I'm intimidating." She smirks as she shovies herself up from the couch. There's a bit of a wobble for just a moment and then she stands straight. Then, she makes a beeline for the kitchen, where the rest of the wine is stored. "But, in more important news: yes, another bottle!"

*

"Huh," Bucky says, checking his watch as he and Steve step off the Acela train from Arlington, "Jane should be wrapping up at Peggy's by now. I probably should swing by and pick her up, or else she'll get lost on the subway again getting home. You wanna come with?"

And that is how it all began.

From Penn Station up to Peggy's place in the Upper East Side isn't too far, and the subway lines have changed so little that a couple of New York natives like Steve and Bucky have no issue at all navigating even despite the passage of seven decades. There's still some things that are different, though. Standing on a crowded Q train, watching the new stations flick past, Bucky remarks after a bit, "Nice to see they finally actually finished the Second Avenue line. It only took what, ninety-eight years?" He laughs. "Didn't think I'd actually be riding it someday."

Either the two of them just blend in that well, or their appearances are just that bland all-American— especially out of their uniforms— or New Yorkers really care that little about celebrity: but nobody really pays note to Captain America and Sergeant Barnes just hanging out on the subway. It's a nice change of pace, and for a moment Bucky feels like it's eighty years ago and nothing has changed at all.

The feeling persists as they head out of the subway and up to Peggy's ridiculously posh penthouse. "You oughta move in with Peggy," he's saying, as he gets to the door and rings the bell. "Apparently that's okay to do now, and her place is way nicer than yours."

*

The concept of 'hide in plain sight' has merit. If someone doesn't have a pair of bodyguards with you, people will just assume you're normal. Steve has gotten a 'you know you look like Captain America' or two in his life and that's fine by him. Don't run from who you are, but don't mask it transparency is what Cap truly enjoys. "Well, you know how it is with the subway stuff. You have to have the meeting to have the meeting so you can plan to have the plan for the subway track. While I have a lot of respect for people getting into politics, I think I'm not patient enough to do it right."

The subway ride is rather simple, filled with blinks, stares, and Steve attempting to tell a woman why truly beauty is something you conceal and booty shorts in winter is not wise. The oddness of New York seems a little more comforting with Bucky here. Another soul who at least understood what life used to be like and come at it with the perspective of the Good 'ld American Male.

"It's also okay to get your tongue pierced, but I'm not doing that," Cap states as he folds his arms. "Just because I'm in a new time doesn't mean I have to adopt /everything/ they do. I wouldn't want to cause her to feel tempted to do certain things before their time. And I know I'd be tempted. I mean, after a mission, there's all that adrenaline going, it can lead to stuff." A look is given as if Steve has a feeling Barnes knows exactly what he is talking about and has given in. "If it works out, we'll get there, I'm sure of it. Besides, if Peggy has a

*

The ring on the door goes unanswered. Though the reason why quickly becomes apparent.

It doesn't take super-soldier senses to hear what's going on. It also doesn't take all the posh insulation and soundproofing of the building to entirely mask and muffle the clamour from within.

The noise is awfully familiar, trickling out in the shape of two women's voices. One in her unmistakable Queen's English. The other boisterously American.

They are singing. LOUDLY. Laughingly. Painfully off-tune, an old, old drinking song of Her Majesty's draft —

"Hitler has only got one ball,
Goering has got none at all,
Himmler has something similar,
But poor old Goebbels has no balls at all —"

They can't even finish the last lyric, because it all just falls apart into frenzied laughter.

*

There are three bottles of wine on the coffee table in front of Peggy and Jane. They have been through quite a bit of the cheap kind of truth serum: wine. Through the door, there is raucous laughter. "Okay, now we do the Churchill verse!" That is clearly Peggy's voice. There can, really, be only one person to teach Jane a bawdy World War II drinking song to such precise drunken accuracy.

Very belatedly, there is quiet. "Shh, SHH, sh sh sh," she tells Jane, putting a finger to her mouth. "I think. I think we have sympathizers outside," she tells Jane. Thor doesn't knock - he has a key. Either it is her downstairs neighbors finally deciding enough is enough, or it is someone else. "We should arm ourselves! Against tyranny! God Save the King!" It's the Queen now, but Peggy's lapsing.

Grabbing a candlestick, she moves toward the door. She is not at all quiet about, stumbling up the inset part of her living room with a clang and thud. "SHH," she tells Jane. Because, obviously, that was Jane's fault. It's not clear if she really thinks that her apartment might be in danger of being invaded by very polite fascists that knock, but the candlestick will hopefully make sure.

*

Bucky does understand what life used to be like Back in the Day, and makes for a good friend and sympathizer most of the time about how changed and dissolute and bizarre the world has become since they last saw it together in the 1940s… but he's not always the best, as evidenced by the blandly innocent look he shoots Steve as his friend folds his arms and rejects premarital relations. His returned look is thus: are you really surprised I've given in? I've been giving in since the 1930s. "I've been trying to get it to lead to 'stuff' since '35," he grumbles, but he lets that particular issue go.

He instead rolls his eyes a little as Steve notes 'if it works out.' "Steve," he says patiently, as he walks them up to Peggy's front door and rings the bell, "I don't think that's really an if anymore, so you can stop saying… that is… is?"

He trails, because nobody is answering and he's caught wind of the distant singing through the door. There is a moment of profoundly puzzled silence from Bucky Barnes.
Then he snorts a laugh and immediately starts fishing on his person for his lockpicks, because of course he just carries a set of those around now. "I gotta see this," he explains, expertly cracking open the door within seconds, wholly unaware that the denizens within are gearing up to heartily resist invasion.

*

There is a long pause as Steve hears what Bucky does, just using that to ignore the awkward Dating Advice with Best Friends section of his time with Barnes. Which apparently goes into the "What the fudge are you doing, Bucky?" he offers with an urgent whisper. "You can't just pick her lock, that's rude! "

Steve is interested as well, though, it does seem like Peggy has been drinking, but Peggy doesn't do drinking and singing. Or at least she never did with the Howling Commandos.

Of course, by the time Cap has offered his insight on picking friends' doors, the job is already done. A sigh is given. "Well, I guess what's done is done," he offers simply, moving past Bucky.

A causal couple of raps are given, more as a final gesture before the door is opened. Peggy did say 'come in anytime', so Steve guesses he can just apologize for Barnes and call it. As he opens the door and walks in, his attention is toward his best friend.

"Now, be sure to say you're sorry, regardless of what is going on because I'm sure Peggy isn't going to like you just walking in lik-"

*

Neither Jane nor Peggy are Super Soldiers. They cannot tell that the people outside the doorway are friend or foe. While at first she picked up the candlestick and stumbled forward to scare whoever she might attempt to open the door to, her stumbling and slowness to the door has allowed Bucky to take matters into his own hands. As she hears the familiar sound of lock picks in the door, she attempts to focus. Bloody Nora, people may actually be trying to break into her flat!

Jane is drunk on the couch! She has to protect her. But, she has had far too much whiskey and wine to do this properly. But, focus! As the door opens, she doesn't think, she lunges forward swinging with the candlestick.

Unfortunately, she's drunk. Her aim is incredibly off. She goes spinning forward and toppling to the side. "Jane! Run!" she yells, her voice a bit slurred from alcohol. "I can't hit for shit!"

*

Jane Foster may not be a super-soldier, but she has the heart of a warrior.

She's also currently drunk as skunk.

But even she is not so incapacitated to ignore, deny, or argue the truest and most genuine instinct of her soul: she will never leave a comrade behind. Her and Peggy Carter have shared drinks, shared stories, shared their darkest vulnerabilities, and in her foggy haze, she cannot comprehend /running/ while /something about sympathizers, maybe Nazis mad about song about missing balls/ are at her door.

"'m nud leaving you, Pagy!" slurs Jane after, stumbling up from the couch, all her protective instincts riled.

Whereabouts the boys open the door and arrive, and Peggy Carter is swinging her candlestick at the noble brow of America's First Hero, Jane is currently in the background, trying to grab up the only weapon she can find to arm herself.

She grabs the sword out of the umbrella holder — why is there a sword in the umbrella holder — tries to lift it, staggers to one side, squeaks, and immediately falls over.

*

What the fudge are you doing? Steve asks. Bucky is aware enough of the Sliding Scale of Steve Profanities that he turns an appalled eye back on his best friend. "Yeah, I can!" he argues back, after he gets over the shock of the dark swear that just left Steve's mouth. "She's not answering, she's obviously drunk as hell, and I want to see this shit."

Besides, Steve doesn't do anything to actually stop him, which leads Bucky to believe that his best friend is secretly interested too. His practiced hands have the door open in seconds; resigned to fate, Steve at least tries knocking a bit more before he just opens the door and walks in.

Unfortunately for him, he is more focused on lecturing his best friend than on watching what's going on.

Whatever actually winds up happening between Steve and Peggy, the ridiculousness of the tableau— with Jane feebly trapped under a sword her own size in the backdrop— is frankly astonishing enough that Bucky will be useless to lend anyone any aid for the immediate moment, as he is killing himself laughing.

*

There is a brief flash of time where Steve Rogers can be seen as Cap. As the door opens, the candlestick is seen out of the corner of Roger's eye. When a drunken woman tries to attack a sober super soldier, it's expected it doesn't work. But something is up, Peggy is not her usual self. He moves to place her arms around her if he can, pinning her against his body in case Hydra has her controlled. No matter what, he won't let them take her.

From the corner of his eye, he sees a sword hit the ground. PEGGY IS IN DANGER BY SOME PERSON WITH A MELEE WEAPON.

With a super strong vault with his legs, Steve leaps forward as he cradles Peggy close to him. "Bucky, your left!" he cries out, unaware that it's, you know, Jane.

Then Bucky is just laughing. This can only mean one thing, laughing gas. Steve is quick on the update so he knows what this means.

"The Joker? GO BACK TO GOTHAM, YOU FREAK!"

Captain America, Defender of Justice.

*

As Jane attempts to come to her aid, but only falls under the weight of sword, Peggy shakes her head. This is why she told her to run! While she respects Jane for her mental prowess, drunken rage isn't the best time to test out her battle mettle. That thinking may also, possibly, while she and Thor make good roommates.

Her blow swings incredibly wide. And as it does so, multiple things happen. First, she recognizes that the person she's attempting to brain with a metal object is Steve. Then, she also notices that Bucky is there and that he is uncontrollably laughing. What is going on?!

As she spins from the momentum of the missed blow, she is practically twirled into Steve's attempt at a pin. There's a startled look at him as the candlestick is clutched tighter in her grasp. However, as his motions are continued forward, she is pulled forward with him.

Finally, the candlestick is dropped to the ground with a clang and she holds onto Steve for balance as her friends seem to be incapacitated around them in either laughter or weight of sword. "Steve!" It's impossible to try and seem or sound sober, though she is trying. "No danger! I thought—-thought you both were breaking in!"

*

And that grand aggressor of Peggy Carter, undoubtedly broken into her apartment and wielding some sword of Asgardian steel —

— is currently struggling like a flipped-over turtle, pinwheeling helplessly, stuck on its back. Jane murmurs despairingly as she squirms, well and truly stuck, trying feebly to push the too-heavy sword off her body and failing completely.

She makes sad little sounds, trying through her alcoholic fog to even comprehend what's happening, and lost in every way one can be.

She can't even push the sword off. Jane just slumps, spread-eagle along the floor, pouting, given up, accepting. This is her life now.

Oh shit Steve put his arms around Peggy!! This is a step in the right direction!!

Of course, it's only in the context of trying to save her from perceived danger.

Nonetheless, Steve's call of 'Bucky, your left!' hits enough old wartime memories that the former sergeant does snap a glance in that direction. But as he's still in the doorway, with a wider, more objective view of the situation, he recognizes pretty quickly that the sword is no threat because it's currently busy oppressing Jane Foster.

This is about where the vaunted Winter Soldier, lethal assassin and feared Cold War legend, falls apart laughing.

She thought they were both breaking in, Peggy insists. Bucky manages to find enough room around his laughter to says, "No— only I was— breaking in—"

Eventually he gets himself under control enough to enter the apartment proper, shutting the door behind him and going to Jane's side. He stands there and looks down at her for a long few moments. He does nothing to save her from her fate.

"Was it the Asgardian mead?" he asks eventually, folding his arms, every inch the Winter Soldier in an interrogation. "I told you two it's way too strong."

*

"Oh."

The simple word illustrates that Rogers knows and understands the situation. So now, he understands that they are not in danger. But rush of adrenaline courses through his body, letting him take in the various inputs his senses give him.

His cheek is against hers. His is smooth and soft, taken care of like the poster child that he is. She likewise is woman that prides herself on appearance, though she is someone that is so much more than that. The warmth of her alcohol fueled raged comes off in waves. His leg pushes itself up as he tries to right himself, brushing itself again Peggy as if drawn to it like a magnet. Slowly he gets up on his hands and knees so he's ready to get up. But there she is, looking as perfect as she does now over half a century ago.

Base instincts and emotional drives are suddenly shoved aside as Rogers remembers what he had JUST told Bucky, the fact that there is indeed an audience, and that Peggy is intoxicated. The three solid strikes knock Steve aside, pushing him swiftly up to a kneeling position to calmly AND APPROPRIATELY help Agent Carter up to her feet. "My apologies," he offers simply in response, glancing back toward Bucky and Jane to figure out if they are alright on their end.

*

There are a lot of things happening. Poor Jane is trapped under a heavy sword, turtling under it. Bucky is unable to keep himself from laughing and teasing them about Asgardian Mead. And then, well, and then there is Steve.

The sudden attack, then defense and subsequent confusion has also riled up the adrenaline in Peggy Carter. Arms hold close to Steve as they pause for a moment and gather their surroundings. There was never any danger, but in acknowledging that it has passed adds something to the closeness.

There's a long silence as her cheek rests against his and then she draws back only to look back at him. Her cheeks are flushed either by booze or by something else entirely - it's hard to tell with that English complexion.

"It was a girl's night," she explains as they attempt to go about extricating themselves from their self-imposed jumble. Even as Steve works to help both himself and Peggy to standing, she keeps a hand on his arms, then they slowly slides down to his chest.

Suddenly, though, she remembers - much like Steve does - that Jane and Bucky are right there. Right. As she is helped to her feet, she can't help but keep her hand on Steve for a few extra moments then necessary. "None necessary," she tells him softly, flush still on her face. "Sorry for…" trying to brain him with a candlestick. Are Jane and Bucky still here?

*

Oh, if Jane Foster were just a little bit more sober, and just a lot more aware of what's going on across the room — she'd be slipping Peggy Carter a super spy-discreet thumbs-up.
That's a smooth move, Agent Carter. Super smooth! Now seal the deal! Do it for Colonel Phillips! Do it for your country! Do it for the Queen!

Unfortunately, for now, she is left staring miserably up at James Barnes, who is somehow here, or maybe she's hallucinating, and Jane doesn't even know what is even going on. He says something about Asgardian mead and she whines under her breath.

"Had /frive/ drunk," she mumbles defensively. "Freventy. Frour-six." Jane tilts her head, stuck there, woman stuck under sword, limbs and hair strewn everywhere. She squints, recognizing, hope in her voice. "Oh Jams?"

She shudders out a breath of relief. Her eyes shine. Her jaw trembles, because it's just so, so sad. "'m stuck."

*

"Yes, Jane," Bucky says patiently, trying and failing to choke the laughter out of his voice. "You're very stuck. Maybe you wouldn't be stuck if you hadn't had freventy drunk. Did you think about that?"

Eventually he takes pity, and stooping down he retrieves the sword off her and slots it back into the umbrella stand where it belongs(?). He stoops down to collect Jane herself next, gathering her in his arms matter-of-factly and giving her another critical look.

"Jams?"

Well, whatever. He glances over and Steve and Peggy, finds them having a Brief Moment, and a certain degree of 'o shit!!' appears in his expression. "Well we'll leave you two alone," he rushes out with no small degree of hope in his voice, hurriedly turning to tote Jane right back out the door.

He gets it open— somehow— and the both of them out into the hall. "Make sure Peggy's okay!" his voice rings back distantly as the door slowly swings shut.

*

"A girl's night out, huh?" Steve replies, a faint smirk appearing on his features. "Well, as long as you had a safe time and you both planned on staying home." As usual, his responsible adult comes out as if always ready to give a PSA or a More You Know tele-blurb. His eyes look back to Jane as she explains the situation and Bucky who seems to be saying something to him. Make sure Peggy is okay, he says before the door closes. That is an important thing.

Clearly James will be happy as he hears the sounds of things being rustled around and shifted. Oh yeah.

Then the door opens swiftly to show Rogers rushing out to give Bucky some plastic bags Rogers went around looking for. "In case she gets sick." Then he pulls out a half bottle of water he had in his pocket. "Hydration is important." That done, Rogers looks back to Peggy and gives her a thumbs up.

And people say that Steve doesn't know how to handle a situation.

Situation. Handled.

*

From where she's standing, the smirk is just enough to bring the blush up even further. Peggy can't help but give a sheepish laugh. "Plan was to stay. There wasn't really much of a plan, really. It just sort of happened. Hadn't even talked about how sleeping arrangements or anything before, uh-" The blush creeps further - her face is very bright red now. Before she attempted to attack Steve with a heavy object. And they both fell on the floor. And now she's talking sleeping arrangements. And, oh god, this silence has gone on far too long. Say something, Peggy!

Luckily, Steve is already thinking ahead, moving about to gather plastic bags and handing them to her along with a bottle of water. There's a few long blinks as she takes these gifts and attempts to think of something to say. What comes out is, "You have a bottle of water in your pocket all the time?" Maybe she shouldn't be surprised about that, but she is for some reason. Even if Hydration is important.

*

Jane is extremely incapacitated. There's not really anything coherent coming out of her right now. Jams was the last of what she has to offer.

Bucky glances down at her in muted affection, but he doesn't spare too much attention right now; she's fine, or will be fine, so more imperative right now is getting the hell out before Steve gets distracted and nothing ever happens here. He hustles out the door and shuts it with no more than a 'make sure Peggy is okay!'

Though he can't help himself. He lingers outside the door, just a minute. Oh man. Rustling noises. THINGS ARE HAPPENING—

The door swings back open. Steve rushes out, to Bucky's infinite dismay, and starts giving him stuff.

"THANK YOU STEVE IT'S FINE," Bucky insists, giving Steve a stern shove right back into the apartment and in Peggy's direction. Possibly even into Peggy. "SEE YOU LATER." The door kicks shut again, and this time Bucky really leaves before something even worse happens that will depress him for a week.

*

Like a True Leader, Steve is right, despite Peggy trying to convince him that he was wrong. Bucky prevents corrections as he Steve is shoved right toward Peggy, and Steve has to use some Super Soldier to prevent himself from accidently going down on Peggy all over again. That wouldn't be proper at all, after all. The door is closed once more. "I guess he really wants to get Jane home quickly to get her hydrated and in her own room," he theorizes, the only reason why Bucky would be so rude, swift, and insistent that they go and why he spent all the time alone with Peggy while she's clearly drunk.

There is a long pause as Rogers attempts to figure out exactly what to do in this situation.

"You never know when you need water," Steve offers roughly five seconds after his previous statement and ten seconds after Peggy had actually asked him about it. He then frowns. He has no idea how drunk Peggy is. Jane was clearly really drunk, but Carter has more control over herself. He looks over her, studying her form. But considering he has far more experience trying to figure out someone's martial art leaning rather than their ability to hold a drink or two, he decides to do what he often does, lean toward the side of caution.

A hand moves around Peggy's back, as if a precaution to swooning or fainting due to head trauma. "So um, you're okay, right?" The other hand moves to try and feel around Peggy's cranium, checking for lump and the like. "Really sorry again, it just… I dunno how it all ended like this."

*

As Steve is shoved back almost right into her, Peggy puts her hands up and wobbles. It's probably the most clear indication that she is drunk. That plus the fact that as they are close together, her hands immediately move to rest on his arms, or on his person. Peggy Carter is not generally this touchy. Especially with Steve.

"I'm—-I'm fine!" she finally - very belatedly yells at James (Jams?) as he is through the door and away twice over - this time with Jane and bags and water.

Peggy doesn't exactly sway. Her posture is far more casual and relaxed than usual, her demeanor more open. It may not be the most obvious, but she has certainly has a drink or two. Or three. Or twelve. Or maybe even 'freventy' as Jane said. "Yes. That. I am sure it is that. He'll get her home safe." In fact, Peggy does have a bit of an inkling as to what Bucky's intentions are, but they're quickly forgotten as a hand is put around her back and he attempts to check her for trauma.

The blush remains. It's impossible to imagine her getting any redder. "Fine. I'm fine. I promise." She doesn't protest the checking of her cranium. "I tried to brain you with a candlestick. I didn't hit you, right?" Is it possible she doesn't remember how horribly she missed when he tackled her? It's possible. "Are you okay?" There's a laugh, she can't help it. "This is what happens when you listen to Barnes' bad ideas!"

*

"I'm fine," comes the mirrored response as Rogers' impromptu medical inspection seems to give her a clean(ish) bill of health. Once that happens, he runs over the mental list of things he could do to help:
A. Offer to strip her and change her into comfy clothes for bed.
B. Find a reason to flee the room and leave her with lots of water.
C. Take her to SHIELD to have them flush the alcohol from her system, saving her from possible hang-over.

Thankfully, the Star Spangled Man with the Plan settles on the sensible unsaid option. "Let's get you to the couch, we'll get some water and electrolytes in you until you need to rest. That should help reduce the hangover." This plan is offered as he moves with Peggy, one arm still around her as if escorting an injured comrade in arms. But he definitely puts her down on the couch as if she were made of glass. "It seems you both had a good time, though, and that's the important thing." As he was not thinking himself, Steve has absent-mindedly sat himself next to Peggy as well, his arm still around her as she still is likely touching him. "Can I get you anything else? Bacon, a raw egg, hair of a dog?"

Yeah, Steve doesn't know much about drinking considering that it used to be that one beer would make him fall over. Or just looking at a beer.

*

Peggy's assured by Steve's answer. A more sober Peggy might protest even more about being fine and not even close to drunk. He doesn't need to coddle her! She is a grown woman! She can take care of herself! But, he's leading her to the couch and then sitting her down onto it with him next to her.

As he sits down, there is the rare moment where Peggy has no reservations, no second thoughts. Steve's arm is around her, she feels warm and reckless. She leans, head moving to rest on his shoulder. She makes an almost boneless slump against him once they've settled on the couch.

"It was a good time. I like Jane. She's got spitfire. Like her for James." Her sentences are almost like telegraph statements. Like Jane. Stop. Good for James. Stop. Send water. Stop. The arm she kept on him rests on his chest once more, fingers curling just slightly as they relax.

"Don't have a dog," she tells Steve matter of factly, but also dreamily as her eyes close. "Not sure where you'd get the hair." It could be a joke, be her voice is not dry or sarcastic, it seems almost serious. Soon, her breathing starts to get more even. "This is good," she says softly against his shoulder. There's a long pause where it seems like she might be totally asleep before she adds, barely audible, "This is what I want."

*

"Oh my God they're touching," Bucky tells his company with bated breath, from where he's perched on a roof across the street and peering through binoculars. "Why isn't anything else happening. Jesus, Steve, I drew you so many diagrams."

His company is disinterested in his running commentary. She's currently three bars into some Irish drinking song that's older than he is.

"Wait… why is she sleeping? You sleep at a time like this, Carter?"

The binoculars are lowered, along with hopes ninety years in the nurturing.

"Why are you both so bad at this?"

*

A slender arm hooks Bucky's shoulders, and all of his ninety years of hopes and dreams and sung along to their quiet execution. " — the Scotsman woke to nature's call and stumbled toward the trees," hoots a very drunk Jane somewhere in the background, "behind a bush, he lifts his kilt and gawks at what he sees. An' in a startled voice he says to what's before his eyes —

"O lad I don't know where you been but I see you won first prize!"

*

It seems that sitting with Peggy was both what she wanted and a bad idea. Slowly, Peggy gets herself comfortable, curl around Steve who seems to be the solid bastion of warmth and protection. His arm rests around her as she slowly seems to be sleeping. "Well, if you want to rest now, guess we can do that." THE HANGOVER IS ON YOU, PEGGY CARTER, STEVE ROGERS WASHES HIS HANDS CLEAN.

Of course, there is a small problem. He doesn't want to leave her when she asked for him to stay. But…. How long does he stay here?

Three hours later, Steve understands what is known as the Boyfriend Arm Pain. He doesn't know what time the blood completely left the arm around Peggy, but he isn't sure it has feeling anymore. Meanwhile, blue eyes look toward the restroom for a moment before he sighs and looks back to Peggy. With new resolve, he just settles himself back into the couch. You always suffer for the ones you care about, after all.

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