As Time Goes By

April 26, 2017:

Steve and Peggy have a heart to heart.

Steve's Apartment

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Thor, Bucky Barnes

Plot:

Mood Music: As Time Goes By - Dooley Wilson


Fade In…

Steve's apartment is rather clean. No one knows if it's because he's a really clean guy or if SHIELD has a cleaning crew in there to make sure that everything is perfect and any listening devices are still in place. But either way, it seems to be extra clean today. Lively 1940's instrumental swing and jazz play in the background (on vinyl of course) as Steve is merely seated calmly on the couch of his room, looking at a certain wrapped item on his coffee table.

Rogers has asked Carter to come up to his apartment at some point and the time has finally come. With the talk of Carter having a roommate, it would make sense to have her come to his place in order to ensure privacy. Idly, he toys with his tan button up shirt which seems heavily inspired by military attire, but just enough away from it that Steve feels able to wear it without disserving the Service. His brown boat shoes tap the ground to the music and from time to time, he straightens out pleated dark brown slacks.

The meeting was for 3pm.

Steve has been sitting here like this since roughly… 2:30pm.

*

Right on time, Peggy Carter knocks on Steve Rogers' door. She knows that this conversation would happen. There has been quite a lot on her plate, but she knows she has been putting some parts of this meeting off. As she shows up on Steve's door, the agent is dressed casually - that is, not in a pantsuit. She has a fitted black skirt, her top is a collared shirt and red.

As she approaches the building, she settles her jacket and her purse over her shoulder. Then, she takes a breath and steels herself before knocking on the door. She is a woman of the military service, the knock is - if not at 3:00 exactly - either a minute before or after it. She is precise in certain things.

There's nothing strange or different about this meeting. After all, she came here without any sort of prompting a month before to speak with him. This is just something of the same manner, but scheduled.

*

The door is opened shortly after the knock and Rogers gives a warm smile. "Hey, Peggy. Hope things have be going well," he offers cheerfully, reaching his arm out to give her a hug before showing her in. The gift is wrapped with a dark blue wrapping paper and a bright red bow, mostly because a woman at work stated that packing paper is unacceptable for gifts for anyone.

Bucky is still getting brown wrapping paper for his gifts, because well, he doesn't care.

"Need anything to drink? Coffee, tea, bottled water?" Steve inquires as the door is carefully closed and locked behind them. While Steve is not as super spy as the Black Widow or Agent Carter, some habits, like keeping his residence locked, is one that has adopted and kept.

*

Once the door is opened, Peggy hears the music. With a smile, she reciprocates Steve's hug just as cheerfully. "Hello Steve. Thank you for the invitation. Things have been going…well, there has been quite a bit on my investigational radar. Is this Glenn Miller?" she asks of record as she steps inside. She is overly fond of Glenn Miller - also interested in his mysterious disappearance during the war. It's one of those cases she wished she would have been assigned to solve. Studying both him and his clothing - reminiscent of the time they served together - she smiles. "I like your outfit," she tells him sincerely.

Her eyes are drawn to the box in blue with the red bow. While she does not wish to assume anything, she looks at it and then looks back at Steve with a questioning eyebrow. The question about whether she could use a beverage is met with a shake of her head. "No, thank you, I'm fine."

Once the door is closed and locked behind them, she looks first about her and then at Steve again. "This is a lovely place." She might have said that before, but she is a little nervous.

*

As his attire is complimented, Steve moves toward the kitchen tactically. "Thanks, you're looking beautiful as usual," he replies. HAHA, IT WORKED. While it was a compliment on her appearance, he was able to say it! It just took him being in the other room. He's got this. He comes back with two bottled waters, setting both down on the table. If she wants one later, she can have it. If not, well, Cap always makes sure to keep drinking water. And have a balanced meal. And reports any suspicious packages he sees on the bus and metro.

You know, like a good citizen.

Finally, Steve combines responses to talk of the apartment. "Yeah, I'm liking it. It's leagues better than my previous place." But when the previous place is where pre-Super Serum Steve resided with a leaky roof and slept across the room where his mother died? Yeah, pretty easy to beat that. "As for the music, yeah, Glenn Miller. Figured you'd like that."

Calmly, Steve settles back into his couch, trying to be causal. He seems to be doing it with a bit more ease than Peggy, but well, it is his home turf. And perhaps there is something else helping with that as well. "Anything new case wise? Since Bucky was back, I've been focusing on things requiring a more direct solution," he offers with a grin.

*

Peggy settles herself on the couch. As Steve compliments her own outfit, she grins. Even if he is in another room, the compliment carries. It's still heard and processed. As Steve brings a bottle of water just in case she should be thirsty later is met with a grin at the thoughtfulness. She has little doubt that Steve is a 'See Something Say Something' sort of guy.

There's limited information she knows about Steve's previous living spaces. She knows there are quite a few biographies on him, but she has read none. It seems like quite a horrible imposition. While she has read multiple books about Howard in an attempt to figure out how her former friend continued his life past 1948, Captain America has always been a taboo research subject for her. Perhaps it's because of her unwillingness to pry into Steve's past life without his consent. Perhaps it's because she knows she will be cast as either some love sick SSR agent or a nurse with no agency. In her mind it is the former, but it could certainly be the latter.

Instead, she sits and gives him a warm smile. "I'm glad it seems you're settling in. And also keeping some of the old standards. I always did love Glenn Miller. Good instincts or good intel." To Peggy, they are both equally good things. Her pride in that deduction is easy to see and hear.

As for her cases, she easily shifts into that. "I don't have a lot in SHIELD, but I worked a job with the Avengers recently. I'm also on the case to try and help Tony involving different worlds, perhaps. You haven't encountered anything like that, have you?"

*

A smirk is given at the talk of instincts or intel, Steve deciding to just keep it to himself. Sometimes, he's learned, it's best to keep his mouth shut. It's a hard thing, considering he was trained to be a voice box for morality and decency, but the fine line is something he seeks to master.

As Peggy goes into talk of work, Roger nods, twisting off the top of his water cap and taking a long pull. He drinks water rather quickly and by the time she inquires of him, he's already halfway done. "I hadn't. I heard something about the Serpent Society being involved with a mission and your name coming up, but seemed like you all handed it well. Or well enough, at least." There is a half beat as Rogers thinks on Peggy's words. "As for the work with Tony, this is the first I've heard of it, but Stark always has a lot of projects going at once."

*

At the smirk, Peggy can't help but return it. Steve Rogers has his own secrets and she respects that. She respects his beliefs and speeches about morality and decency - indeed, it seems that his earnest ways was what drew her to Steve in the first place. However, she can't help but be impressed by imagining him engaging in any kind successful espionage. Thoughts drift back to the story Jane told her of the horrifically failed attempting to get Steve to a covert room to discuss Barnes. When it's clear he will not respond to as to whether he garnered or asked about her love of Glenn Miller, she gives a soft laugh. "I see how it is."

Talk of work is something that they always permeates their talks in steading ways and the discussion is met with a serious response. The Serpent Society mission is given a shrug and nod. "I did little more than attend the mission. It was almost a fluke inclusion." As for Stark, she frowns. That's a little harder to talk about. "He does. There is something…something strange going on there. Not with Stark himself, but that case. It reminds me a bit of the first case Howard asked me to look into after the war." She glances up at Steve a moment and then back down at the bottle of water in her hands that she has not yet actually partaken in.

She waits a moment and then looks up, almost apprehensively. "Was there a reason you wished to see me tonight?" Her mind is already drifting to the fact that she has not actually told Steve that Thor is her roommate. Quickly, she adds, "Of course, I am always glad to see you, Steve."

*

"Well, either way, I'm glad that you were there. It seems sometimes like people seem to put you on a pedestal for who you were and not who you are. It's sad really," Steve muses softly on the matter. "As for Stark, well, I trust you to do what you need to. If you need my help, just let me know." Steve is always quick to offer help, but rarely force it on people, more so on Peggy, a damsel that he saved less than Bucky during WWII.

As Peggy asks the point of the visit, Rogers merely motioning to the box. "I know it's been awhile, but I figured I needed to give you this. Christmas, birthdays, I tend to be… really bad at keeping track of those. Days sometimes just seem to run together when I'm working, so I figured I'd just get you this as a 'here' things rather than say what's it's for." Honest to a fault, that Steve. As if realizing how unimpressive or insincere his words come across, Rogers just takes another drink, finishing off his water and moving off to put the plastic in the recycling. Because apparently that's what people call war rationing now.

*

The observation as to how people see her is met with a blink of surprise and then a look downward. Peggy is not used to people understanding the pressure and the strange feeling of being a legend without knowing why. However, if anyone could understand that feeling, she knows it is Steve. After a moment, she looks up and smiles at him. "It is certainly not something I am used to experiencing." She is used to being overlooked or studied as a new head of what turns into an overreaching agency. To be put on a pedestal? That is out of her usual depth. However, she continues, resolute in her words. "I don't need everyone to know who I am." The words soften though, and a hand reaches out to place on his shoulder for a fleeting moment before pulling it back. "But, it often feels as such." The fact that someone can recognize that is something that she is incredibly grateful to hear.

The Tony Stark issue is met with a sigh. "We might just. There are alternate realities and murder involved. There is apparently a man who can control minds and is using it for ill. I am involving SHIELD, but it might get…trickier."

As the answer to why he asked her here is answered, she blinks. "Oh! I thought…" she trails off for a moment and looks at the blue wrapped box and then back at Steve. She is certainly floored by the fact that the gift is actually for her. She realizes that now she does have to get into the awkward conversation that may not actually be awkward more than the fact that it admits things.

The fact that he has asked her here to give her a gift that represent many gifts only fuels her sense of guilt. "Steve, that is incredibly thoughtful. Before I open this, though, I did wish to speak with you about something. I have a new roommate, who I believe you might know: Thor Odinson. He needed a place to stay and I offered. It's strictly platonic, though he does not tend to understand dress codes at times. I just…I haven't had a chance to tell you and I thought I should. Just…so that you knew."

*

The hand on the shoulder elicits a smile from Steve, but before he can say anything on the matter, the topic shifts to that of what is going on with Stark. "Sounds… Complicated." That's all he says about it, figuring that he will keep to his word and stay out of it unless asked. After all, Peggy is a grown woman and Stark is capable. If they have it handled, they have it handed.

Then Peggy discusses how she has a naked Asgardian in her household. That's IT. Captain America reaches for his face, pulling off chunks of synth skin to reveal his metallic skull underneth. "THIS DESIGNATION HAS HAD IT WITH YOUR WILD VAMPIRIC WAYS, WOMAN." The red eyes burn with ire and hatred. "YOU WILL BE TERMINATED."

Or well, that is how Steve would react on Earth-T100.

What Steve really does is just blink in confusion for a few times. His head quirks to the side after what seems to be literally a minute of silence. While there might be a flood of emotion going on in the back of his mind, the main one that Rogers seems to give off is one of utter confusion. "I see," he begins, as if it is difficult to find words, more due to the oddness of the situation than any sense of impropriety. "Well, thanks for letting me know?" Cue goofy smile that he gives when he's waiting for the camera to move off focus off of him when he has no idea what to do. And…. She still looking at him. It's okay, he can wait. This face will hold to the ENDS OF TIME IF NEEDED (thanks super serum and the fact his muscles take forever to tire).

*

"Complicated, it seems, could describe everything about the Starks," Peggy tells Steve with a laugh and a shrug. However, he is not wrong. "This situation feels more conspiracy, which can also be complicated." The fact that he leaves the subject is met with another smile. She can garner the reason he leaves that be and she is glad of it. It's an interesting topic, but this is a social call.

As Steve keeps looking at her and seems confused and then expecting her to say something back, the silence stretches on for quite a few moments. Peggy returns the look, expecting him to say something about it in one way or another. However, he seems completely floored as to why she would bring it up. The whole thing is confusing. It seems as if she didn't need to make a whole conversation about this: she could kill Bucky.

Unless the reason why he is so confused about why she would bring it up is due to the fact that he wouldn't care about her living with another man. It's possible he doesn't think of her that way and her living with Thor would not effect him at all. There are so many possibilities.
The silence stretches for just a bit more and then she replies. "Er, yes. Of course. I merely thought I should alert you." Even if he might not care about her living situations.

For a little while longer, she waits and then she glances over at the gift which is the reason she was invited over. After a moment, she reaches out and takes the package. Changing the subject, she carefully starts to unwrap it. "You needn't have gotten me a gift, Steve, though I appreciate it."

*

Well, in Bucky's defense, Steve does confide the following while rubbing the back of his neck: "Well, I do appreciate you telling me. I mean, I know that I can come to the wrong conclusions on stuff like this because well, you know." He doesn't want to bring up the fondue thing, but well, he knows he doesn't even need to. And, as Peggy knows, Steve is rather traditional. Painfully traditional, even if it isn't pushed upon others.

Finally, it's time to unwrap the gift. It's the familiar red dress from that desolute bar in France where the Howling Commandos were formed and Peggy announced to Steve and Bucky her intentions to wait for the right dance partner. It's not a stitch for stitch recreation, but it's clear that there was painstaking effort taken.

As the dress is uncovered, Rogers explains as he looks to his hands, which are now folded in front of him in a semi-nervous fashion, "I had wanted it made before we tried to go dancing, but…" A helpless shrug. "It just didn't work out that way. And I wanted to give it to you right after it happened, but work's been really busy for the both of us and-" His blue eyes flicker to take in hers. "I just want to let you know, I'm willing to wait as long as I need."

*

As Steve replies, Peggy gives a bit of a smile. "Ah, yes. Well, I just wished you to know for certain. James certainly got the wrong first impression when he visited the first time." Of course, well, she can't exactly blame him for that impression. There were quite a lot of reasons for him to conclude that Thor might have moved in on Peggy, despite the truth of the matter. "So, I'm glad you know now and there wasn't any misunderstanding." Not another fondue situation.

Her attention turns to the gift. Fingers deftly untie the bow and pull off the ribbon. Then the wrapping paper is gently peeled away. She's careful to not just rip and tear it apart to get to the box underneath. As she pulls the top of the box off and reaches into the tissue paper that delicately wraps around The Red Dress. Even as she pulls it out, she blinks a few times as she knows what this will be. She holds it up and is speechless for a good few moments, this time out of stunned emotion. True recreation or not, the feel of the fabric and the effort it must have taken to have made this dress is nothing short of remarkable.

Peggy also cannot help but think that he would have had to remember this dress quite well in order for this to even be possible. She knows Steve has a good memory, he recalled the location of Hydra bases from a glimpse of a map. But, this is not military positions. Her fingers run over the stitching at the neck and she settles the dress carefully back down into the box. For this time, she is also unable to look at Steve, too overwhelmed.

Then, though, her eyes move to find him and she sees he is already looking at her. Shifting her knees to angle toward him, she reaches out to try and take his folded hands into hers. "Steve." Her voice is soft, filled with emotion. "Thank you. I cannot even begin to tell you what this means to me." But, she does attempt to show him, leaning toward him just slightly, angling for a kiss. This time, though, as she moves forward, she pauses, watching to see if he will allow it. "Is this okay?"

*

As the gift gets the garnered reaction, there is no fear or hesitation in Steve's demeanor. Before hand, there were always things that interfered: The war in which every moment was a struggle for survival. Cap's sacrifice and resurface when Peggy had aged and moved. The fight for Bucky and the struggle against Hydra. Trying to find their places in this new and sometimes frightening new world. Now, Steve is here and it seems that both are matched in desire and intent.

As Peggy angles for a kiss, Steve leans in as well, his lips only a short distance so that by the time that Carter speaks, she can feel her own warm breath mingling with his own as she inquires consent.

Steve has grown a lot since becoming Captain America and he's learned that sometimes, it's best not to let words muddle the waters at all.

As if worried that the world would somehow end, the first kiss (at least on Steve's behalf) is one that is some what hesitant and shy. He pulls away just mere millimeters from her, as if evaluating his own reaction as well as her own. Before the fateful flight, the kiss from Peggy was one she had stolen and filled with a do-or-die passion but this is a much different time and with a much different feel. But seeing as the world did not end with this kiss as it did not for the previous one over fifty years ago, he allows himself to move in for another kiss, one that promises to have a bit more enthusiasm behind it, Rogers more than willing to match any rise in eagerness from his partner.

*

When Steve leans in the last moment after her question, Peggy smiles. The kiss on the car before Steve jumped aboard the Valkyrie is was one meant to relay all the emotions she never said to him. It was a good luck kiss, but it was also meant to show him how she felt just in case. In what turned out to be a true premonition, she felt as if she might have run out of time to properly tell Steve how she felt. Then, of course, there was the time on Barnes' grave when she should have known it was a bad time and location.

The fear that Steve might, at the last moment, pull away is exhibited in this kiss. It takes just a moment for her brain to catch up and when it does, the hands that hold his tighten. After a moment, she opens her eyes just briefly as they separate, looking at him from this incredibly close perspective, smile still on her face. Even as he leans forward, so is she, eyes closing again. The box holding the dress is still on her lap, but she shifts, leaning over it to return the kiss with a significant measure of passion as she exhibited on the car all those years ago.

This time, though, it is not a kiss out of fear it will be the last one. It is, instead, an enthusiastic hope that this is a beginning. Her hands leave his and one drifts up to rest on his cheek. The other grasps onto his arm to pull him closer.

*

As Peggy's hands break from Steve's, the Boy Scout attempts to figure out what he does with the own hands, moving them in for the embrace. Awkwardly, he moves one to a breast and gives a small, soft, and accidental chest squeeze but thankfully he is a swift learner and moves the hand appropriately to slide behind the woman and move to rest behind her back. The other hand wisely moves to her shoulders with more caution, clearly not having the practice of this. But it's clear that Rogers is more than willing to learn. As the embrace happens and hands begins to move and shift as the bodies draw close, it seems that someone is prepared to move some bases.

Not that Steve would get that reference.

But as things begin to build and the fires are stoked for the star-crossed lovers, there is buzzing in Steve's pants. Considering the situation, Peggy will actually be able to figure out that it's actually Steve's phone. But he must know it's not a 'work' call, so he ignores it. THIS IS SERIOUS LOVE TIME.

Then, as if Fate was upping the ante, there's a sudden knock at the door.

Steve is caught completely off guard considering his attention was trying to figure out how to do this thing called romance from what little he gleamed from glances at Bucky and his date during movies and accidently viewing of improper TV when staying at hotels. You know, before he just started to bring his own DVDs of the Dick Van Dyke Show when traveling aboard. Either way, like the famed comedian at the beginning of the show, he soon takes a tumble as he half springs up and half falls, landing in a way that his back slams against the edge of his coffee table painfully. With the super soldier blood pounding, Rogers springs up as

*

Peggy, at least, is more practiced at kissing. As her hands move, she also manages to push the box that is on her lap to the side, almost batting it onto the coffee table nearby them. It lands there safely, the thoughtful gift that spurred this on resting peacefully there as Peggy uses this opportunity to pull Steve ever closer. The accidental boob grab is met with a surprised glance open of her eyes, as that seemed a further step than she thought him willing to go to immediately. As the hands shift to her back and shoulder, she moves the hand on his arm to wrap around him.

As they kiss, the buzzing phone is felt in her own leg by their proximity. Almost expecting him to pull away to answer it, her hands shift. But, then, the call is ignored. Surprised and eager to take advantage of that, she pulls him closer.

Then, however, there is the knock on the door. It startles her just as much as Steve. There's a jolt and while Steve tumbles against the coffee table, she bolts upright. It's not quite a scandalous sight. Her hair is not crazily mussed, nor are her clothes askew. However, her makeup is of the vintage variety. The bright red color is muted on her own lips and now - almost comically like the old Looney Toon cartoons - is evidently present on Steve's.
Peggy takes a few breaths and looks over at Steve, alarmed as he hits against the coffee table. "Are you alright?" Even as she does so, she can't help but smooth down her hair and clothing. "Of course, yes. You weren't expecting someone?"

*

"I didn't think so," Steve begins, already moving toward the door, unaware of the vintage lipstick on his face since well, he's got a lot of other things on his mind. He takes the shield and places it by the door. It's a small sign that Rogers understands that danger can strike at any time. However, when he looks through the door, he gives a sigh to see who it is.

The door opens and there stands a man, a SHIELD agent, and his little girl is dressed in a Brownie uniform along with a wagon of cookies. There is an awkward pause as the man looks to the lipstick on Rogers' face while the nosy Brownie attempts to see who is in the room by peeking around Steve. It's an effort that is swiftly met by Rogers closing the door just a little closer to himself. "I'm not interrupting anything important, I hope, Captain, you just said I could bring my little girl to drop off the cookies anytime. I just figured"

"No, no, it's fine," Rogers offers, moving a hand to get to his wallet to pull out the money. "Here you are. Five hundred dollars." As expected, Steve is a sap for this sort of thing.

"You know, we can help bring them in if you-"

"No, it's okay, it's fine, I'll get it in a moment, just need to clear some space in the apartment. Which I'll do. In a second. It was good seeing you both though!" A nervous laugh can be given as the door is again brought closer to block another probe attempt by the nosy Brownie.

"Ooooookay, well, Sir, thank you and the Girl Scouts of Greater New York thank you." Yeah, there is definitely going to be some water cooler talk at the Triskelion for this.

Once he's sure the coast is clear, Rogers swiftly moves out and brings in the literal mirco pallet of cookies in and closes the door behind him. "Sorry about that," he offers as he rubs the back of his head.

*

From her perspective on the couch, Peggy watches Steve gather his shield and place it nearby should there be trouble. Her own demeanor turns guarded at that, though she doubts that trouble would knock quite so politely. With their luck, an assassin with far more ill intentions would burst through the door, ready for battle.

Instead, Peggy leans backward a bit in an attempt to see who it might be at the door. There is only a quick glimpse before Steve angles the door shut further in order to protect her identity from a curious well wisher. The voice carries and she can't help but smile, head turning from the door as she finds out who it is that interrupted them making out.

While it might be easy to be annoyed by this unforeseen interruption, she can't help but smile. It is so incredibly Steve. There is a raised eyebrow as to how much Steve spent on Girl Scout cookies. Unsure of whether her presence was detected by the father with the Brownie, she can't help but laugh to see the literal pallet of cookies Steve brings into the apartment.
"It's fine," she tells him sincerely, clearly amused by this turn of events. "This just means that I may take a box of Trefoils, however." A hand reaches out toward him, beckoning him to closer. "I should, perhaps, make my way home."

*

In the wake of the cookies and Peggy's request, Steve manages to give the tower of fundraising a scan. "I think that might be possible. Not sure if I could manage more than one though," he admits with a faint smirk. With the moment of brief romance seemingly shared, the shock to his system seems to have reset Rogers and the ardor of lust seems sated for now.

Steve moves to the kitchen, getting himself another water. As he does, he speaks. "So, now that we… well, just had that happen, I suppose we should work on defining how this plays out. I presume you don't want us really talking about this or being public with this," he assumes, speaking from the kitchen. It seems to be easier for him to speak on stuff like this without looking at Carter, perhaps the reason for doing so. "Some of our friends might figure it out, but I don't think it would be beneficial for you to be start being my Plus One. I mean, I know we seem to care about each other a lot, but at the same time, I wouldn't anything we do to ruin your career."

At that point, he makes his way back toward the room, settling down the water bottles on the table. One could be for Peggy, or he could drink two. Either seem fine to the First Avenger.

*

The hand she reached for him lowers down to her lap as she watches him move to the kitchen and get another water. She remains on the couch, a matching smirk rising on her lips as he only allows her one box.

While Peggy might have been willing to forgo the logistic conversation at this moment - strange for the woman who started SHIELD - she can certainly respect Steve for wishing to know where this leaves them. "Yes," she agrees about defining how things play out. Hands fold in her lap and she looks over toward the kitchen, allowing the space to remain for the time being. After a moment, she gives a soft laugh.

"I am not about to try and turn our…" she stops before saying relationship and redefines, "this into a code-worded operation. I have no wish for either of us to lie about…about what this might be. However, discretion is certainly appreciated." As for the Plus Ones and her own career being on the line, she smiles. "I don't think that is how it works now," she tells him honestly.

"I do not mind you being my Plus One if that is something that you are interested in being. However, I also do not wish you to think yourself obligated." There's a smile a shrug of her shoulders. "I do not care about what others think, Steve," she tells him earnestly.

Once he makes his way back into the room, she takes one of the bottles left an twists off the cap. "I have dealt with people speaking about me behind my back for no cause for years. If you wish to be my plus one to an event, I am not going to say no for my reputation."

*

Rogers freezes for a moment, taking in Peggy's words. Something seems to darken in pensive thought as Carter explains herself and her willingness to risk her reputation. His brow lifts as he looks to her with sincerity. "If you're sure about that, then that's settled. If you want me to Plus One, we'll Plus One for things," he decides. He breaks the cap off his bottle, tapping Carter's as if in a mock cheer before drinking. "I wasn't planning on lying, but as I said, just a question of how much discretion. Just wanted to make sure we were on the same page since, you know-" -the fact that this is likely Steve Rogers first true girlfriend, as opposed that one that dated him for three days because SOMEONE convinced her that Sickly Steve had only three weeks to live. Week four made for such the breakup.

*

Peggy can easily read the darkened expression and reaches out a hand to take one of Steve's. While she can understand what might darken his expression, she interprets it as she wishes. "I appreciate the thought. Honestly, I do. I just wish you to know that…whatever this future may be, I don't want you to worry about my reputation." Her voice softens. "I know exactly where I came from and I do not care about idle gossip. That is all I wished to convey." She should have known that Steve would not plan on lying about this. It's just what she immediately leapt toward.

"Yes, of course," she reassures him. Looking up, she says, "Whatever it is you are comfortable with saying, I believe I will be as well. I have no need to write a memo to SHIELD. You just—" she pauses, eyes remaining focused on him. "You mean quite a lot to me Steve. I would like you to know that. What everyone else thinks? That is their own prerogative."

*

As the hand moves toward his, the calloused hand of patriotic service turns to hold Peggy's. It's a novel concept to Steve, holding a woman's hand like this, so he takes it for what it is. "In the end, as you said, it's your reputation," he replies, his blue eyes still etched with concern. Her attempts to soothe him on the matter does not work, but it's clear that he respects her wishes on the matter. A simple nod on the talk of Peggy's clarification is all that Steve gives, not really seeing much reason to discuss that matter further. Instead, his attention goes to Peggy's further words, which seem to skirt the same issue as before.

Considering Steve has already voiced his concerns, but understands the woman before him is a one fully capable of making her own choices, he just smirks. Better to make light of things than make a mountain out of a mole hill. "As always, Peggy, you're a woman who definitely knows what she wants out of life," he admits with a playful hint to his words.

*

"Steve," Peggy looks up at Steve and gives him a smile. "People will talk no matter what." The fact that he answered the door in smeared red lipstick is doing neither of them any favors in that regard. "I am not about to stop pursuing something because of what people may say." Her entire life has been about doing things people told her were impossible: a woman could not be a successful SSR agent, could not lead Project Rebirth, could not start SHIELD.

As Steve says that she knows what she wants out of life, Peggy smiles. It is not a smirk or a dry remark. A hand reaches up to rest against Steve's cheek as she gives a nod. "Yes," she tells him in agreement. The playful hint to his words are easily read and rather than answering them with ones of her own, she leans forward again to kiss him. She knows what she wants.

*

There is a brief pause as Steve returns the kiss, leaning in and drawing the woman closer to him. But as he pulls her in and the lip tenderly welcome one another, his blue eyes take in the situation.

No Hydra agents bursting in.
No phone calls.
No Thor sliding out of the bathroom wearing nothing but socks and his helmet.
Just silence.

Rogers takes that as a blessing to proceed and that he does in what will likely begin with a long night of risque activities.

Like snuggling. And prolonged hand holding.

And maybe, just maybe, if Peggy plays her cards rights… They'll play actual cards. And Barnes says he doesn't know how to treat women right. Peshaw!

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