Straightening Things Out

April 19, 2015:

Cap and Peg iron out some of the missing parts of their story

Italian Restaurant

It's a restaurant that serves Italian food.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The Stork Club no longer exists, Peggy is sad to find. Where it once stood is now a concrete paved garden with planters of trees just starting to bud green leaves and flowers just sprouting.

Manhattan, however, has never been lacking in restaurants, and with the help of more modern conveniences, a reservation is placed at a fancy Italian place on the Upper East Side not far from where the old club used to be. There is a bit of a break between bringing back the unconscious Shift to SHIELD to be monitored and the next mission, so it seemed right to seize the moment to finally get a chance for a quiet dinner together.

Carter, party of 2, is easily seated right when they arrive. While most of her proper clothing - including the red dress - was left back in 1948, she has since found enough clothes in both vintage stores and otherwise that have filled out her wardrobe sufficiently. This is her only fancy dress, however: still a brilliant red to match her lipstick, sleeveless and form fitting.

Steve looks decidedly more modern with a charcoal grey dress shirt and black blazer. He's never been into ties, truth be told, and the deep artist's disposition that often does not come across, does so in his open collar.

"It's really nice to get a chance to go out, Peg. It couldn't come at a better time. Catching Kwabena really feels as though we've passed a lot of our hurdles. It really feels like this could be the beginning of some brighter times for us."

When they are shown to their seat, he grabs her seat for her before he seats himself, of course. "Italian is a great choice." In truth, he's had a lot of italian food in the last year.

While the management may give Steve a bit of an eye for his lack of tie, Peggy doesn't seem to mind in the least. She allows him to pull out her chair, of course, taking the menu from the host deftly.

"It's always good to get a bit of a breather. I've found it doesn't happen often and to take advantage of it when it comes along." She smiles at him across the table - complete with candlelight. "I'm glad we've gotten the chance, as well." As for the brighter times after catching Kwabena, the smile continues, "We can hope." While she may not be quite the optimist that Steve is, she's not about to rain on his parade.

Now that they are here, though, it's strange for her to try and figure out a good transition that doesn't involve work. She's not exactly good with small talk. So, she leans on that. "It's interesting to see what SHIELD has become since its inception, I must say. It's not exactly how I imagined it, but it is certainly gratifying to see something you envisioned still thriving some fifty years later."

Steve nods, looking over his menu. "Yeah, I mean it's a nice place to work. You get to try and help people everyday. And it keeps you involved, you know? The last thing I need after being asleep in an ice cube for 70 years is more sitting around." He stops before asking her, "How did you imagine it?"

Steve looks over the menu, deciding to go with about the most steak and potato thing one could think up at an Italian restaurant, chicken parm.

"The helping people, yes. That certainly was what we thought of at first. And, of course, some degree of secrecy. I just wished to create an organization that would help ensure that the world was a safer place and the only way I knew how to do that was through ensuring that we could be prepared and protect the world from whatever was out there that other people might otherwise dismiss." There is not much she can glean from SHIELD history - Peggy only knows rom what little she can research and find out on her own. So, she has no idea when things became so large and overreaching. Perhaps they thought them good ideas at the time.

The conversation pauses to put in her order - gnocchi with sausage and a glass of red wine - and then she returns to the subject at hand. "Though, I must say your Commander Fury is seems of a familiar type from what little I saw of him," she smirks. A military man who manages to order people about with a no nonsense attitude and snark. He could practically be made from the same mold as Colonel Phillips.

"Fury is a good guy," Steve says as he puts his water glass back down. "He's one of the few I can trust."

He clears his throat, "Any sort of bureaucracy has its own red-tape to account for. In the end, despite its misgivings there are a lot of great people there. Sharon…Carter, Fitz and Simmons. Sam. Sara and Paul. A lot of people out fighting to make the world a better place."

"He seems as if he truly wishes to do the right thing," Peggy tells Steve truthfully. Though, that does not always mean that the man is a good man. "I'm glad you have someone you can trust there, though. I imagine that makes things easier to trust the rest of the organization, since he has the biggest hand in seeing to its operation."

As for the great people there, Peggy smiles. Her red wine is put in front of her. "I hope you don't mind," she says, head tilting toward the glass. "She knows that alcohol does nothing for him, but a bit of wine seemed like it might help with the helping in discussion. Then, continuing, she nods. "Sharon Carter?" An eyebrow is raised. She didn't have any relatives named Sharon that she can remember. "And, yes, I do think doctors Fitz and Simmons are good people."

She pauses for a moment before adding, "And I don't know Agent Pezzini other than a few brief moments. She seems a very capable Agent." Peggy's never really been good at bringing up personal things like this.

"No, it's fine. I don't mind. I drink once in a while, but it doesn't really do anything other than hurt my hydration," Steve says with a smile. "I'm just going to go with water—I hope that's not too bland."

"Fury is interested in little else, to be honest. That's the way he is, and I don't think we'd like him any other way." He isn't sure that Sharon is Peggy's niece, because he's never bothered to dig into the woman's background, but he has strong suspicions. "Pezzini is pretty new, but I've known her pretty well for a long time. She and I used to date. She's a wonderful agent, and a wonderful person. I respect her a lot."

"Of course I don't mind." Peggy's not the type to look down on anyone for not ordering a glass of wine with her. "I just didn't want to be rude. I should have asked beforehand."

Sharon's heritage is left behind. There are lots of Carters in the world. The fact that there may be a Carter working in SHIELD is a bit suspicious, but that's something that she can look into herself. As Steve confirms her suspicions, she smiles, looking down into her wine glass. "Ah, yes. I was, ah, attempting to figure out the best way to broach the subject. I noticed the room took on a distinct change in attitude when she walked into the lab while the pair of us where there. It was an amicable separation, at least? I imagine working together was not an easy thing."

"Amicable is probably pushing, it Peg. It was just understood, I guess. When you showed up, I knew in my heart that I couldn't give her the sort of relationship that she deserves. As far as working together, she's a consummate professional. I trust her with my life."

Shortly after, Steve's chicken parmiagana arrives, much to his delight. "Pasta is supposed to be a bad choice for dates. Spaghetti sauce and all."

"I see. So, it was recent." Peggy thinks this trough as she takes a sip of wine, trying to figure out how she feels about this development. It's not that it truly changes much for her, but she's glad she at least knows that that is a thing that happened. "I…I'm not sure quite how to respond," she replies truthfully. "It seems rather selfish of me to say anything at all."

Her gnocchi arrives in the pause and she picks up a fork, still contemplating. Despite that, she can't help but grin at Steve's reaction to the arrival of his food. "I'm sure we could ask for a bib if you are worried." It's a gentle tease before she turns a bit more serious. The conversation going back to before: "I actually meant during the relationship," she says softly. "Working together can often be both a blessing and a curse." As this seems the best moment to bring up her own past, she adds, "That is what I experienced, that is." She frowns, unsure of how he'll react. "I also met someone, you see, back in 1948."

"It's not selfish to have feelings about it, Peg. Your feelings are your feelings and you're entitled to them. And I don't want you to hold back on my account, so if you want to talk about it, I'm all ears."

He begins to twirl the fork around some of the spaghetti, worrying about splatter. "A bib might not be a bad idea. I'll be careful. We actually didn't work together too much officially. She only joined SHIELD in the past few months. Before that, she was working for the NYPD"

Steve takes a drink of water and nods, "I figured you probably would have. Do you miss him?"

Peggy gives Steve a bit of a smirk at his response. Holding back feelings and feeling guilty are exactly what she knows. Not only in being British, but in having to fight for a place at the SSR. But, Steve isn't her coworkers and he is decidedly not British. It's often hard for her to bring her guard down, even in the few times when she wishes to be more open.

"To tell you I think it an honorable thing to not continue a relationship for someone when your feelings have changed does sound rather selfish when I am directly benefiting from said honorable act. And to say that I truly didn't wish to come between you and someone else sounds disingenuous when I am glad we are here. But, they're both truthful." It's possibly the most polite and possibly British way to say what she's feeling.

The question as to whether she misses him is met without her looking downward. "At times, yes," she replies after a moment, gently. "Much in the same way I miss Angie." They were both familiar and large parts of her life. She smiles. "Had you two met and if there were different circumstances, I believe you two would have been friends."

"Just as I'm sure you and Sara will be someday. I imagine we searched people out who reflected what we liked in people and in each other," Steve says as he takes some of the chicken into his mouth. There's a stutter as he wasn't expecting it to be so hot, but he's smooth enough not to spit it right back onto the plate.

Once more composed, he adds, "If you need time, you can take time. I'm not really interested in pushing you into much of anything. I didn't break up with Sara because I expected something from you. The decision was separate from that."

As for Peggy and Sara being friends, that seems something easier said than done. "Perhaps," she says with a smile. "I was not simply being kind when I said I thought her quite a capable Agent." That's not really in her nature. Despite herself, she finds herself grinning at his stutter. Her own plate is steaming and she has yet to take a bite. Instead, she takes a sip of her wine. "Yes, I do believe there are certain traits that we both find appealing."

The fork in her hand is set down against the lip of her plate for a moment. "I know you aren't." She wouldn't expect him to ever do anything of the sort. "And don't. I imagine that were this situation to have happened in reverse: if it was us that had pulled you from the ice in 1948, I would have made the same choice."

"If you were only trying to be kind, then you'd have been lying. You said it because you know it, and besides," Steve says. "Being kind isn't lying, and you're not a liar."

After a drink of water, he nods. "I'll tell you the same thing I told Sara and have told my friends. I didn't want any of this to happen. I didn't want to leave in 1945. I even asked a friend of mine to take me back if he could. He wouldn't. I didn't want to be here, but when I came, I grew to feel very strongly about Sara. I didn't know you would come back. I visited you once a week at first. Then once a month. It was painful. But Sara was separate from all of that. I didn't want this to happen how it did, but it did, and I'm trying to be as honest as I can with everyone."

"I believe the term might be little white lies or being polite. Which is not what I was being." Peggy's reaction to being called not a liar is met with a raised eyebrow, her smile is more wry now. "I made my living on being a liar. And I was quite good at it." It's how she rescued Erskine, researched Howard's stolen gadgets and kept it all from her coworkers at the SSR.

She listens to what he has to tell her and doesn't respond for a few moments. Then, she just reaches a hand across the table in an attempt to take his. She knows he's eating, but that's not the point. "You don't need to prove yourself or your honesty to me, Steve. I trust you and what's more, I trust your intentions. There's nothing wrong with the fact that you loved someone who was not me. Were I never to have arrived here, all I could have ever wished was for you to be happy. I didn't mean to cause you any difficulties."

"Not with me, you didn't," Steve says regarding her building her life around lies. What she did for a job was what she did at a job, but he'd never got the feeling she ever lied to him.

He takes her hand and gives it a squeeze as she holds it. "I'm not trying to prove my honesty to you—I've just never been really good at lying," he says with a smile. "I don't feel guilty for what has happened, aside from having hurt Sara. I feel badly about that. But I learned somewhere between a year and seventy years ago that what I can control is very little. All I can do is the best that I can do."

"You're not a burden, Peggy."

At that Peggy smiles, tilting her head. "No. Not with you."

Steve's honesty and his integrity has never really been up for debate. They're parts of what define him. "Perhaps prove was the wrong word. Explain, then. I'm glad to know of what happened to you in the past year, is what I mean, but I don't feel as if I'm owed an explanation. Like you said, you can only do what you feel is right." Being or not being a burden is met with a smirk. "I did not mean to imply that I was. Merely that I didn't mean to cause you to make a difficult decision. I'm glad to learn I'm not, however. That would have been rather awkward for the rest of our dinner."

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