Flashback: The Great Jam Caper

May 05, 2018:

On the eve of war, two young soldiers pull off a pantry raid.

An inn on the outskirts of London

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Peggy Carter

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

London - June, 1939

It was a dark and stormy night, but the storms weren't rain and thunder. Just ever rising tensions and the whisper of a war that nobody wants. That is why there are smartly uniformed 'European' soldiers in their olive green uniforms, with their intel and data meeting with other people in olive green suits with their own intel and data. Official introductions are being made, and something boring like brandy is being shared as people are signing agreements and other such important things.

War is inevitable, and when it is officially announced, we will be the only thing standing between the true war and the war they know of.

That was the quote that caused on of the Olive Green Clad young officers to slip out of the room. He stands at about 6', dark brown hair slicked back and styled with pomade, muscles softened by the straight lines of his uniform and there's a ready smirk at his lips as he starts heading down a hallway. Lieutenant Emmett Pearson…he's got his uniform hat tucked under his arm as he whistles a jaunty tune and saunters along, checking doors from time to time on his search for a good hiding place.

*

"No, seriously. No, mother. I promise I did not 'threaten' Fred. I merely had a stern talking-to about not quashing Peg's ambitions." Michael is seated on a small bed, phone cradled against his neck, hat on the bed. His British Army uniform is crisp and neat, and his rank pin signifies he's a Lieutenant. "Yes…no," a heavy sigh. He looks over his shoulder and spots Emery. His cheeks flush. "Listen, mother. I must be going, I promise I'll catch up later. My best to father." He hangs up the phone. "Sorry, were you looking to use the telephone?"

*

There's a small lift of an eyebrow as door number 4 proves to be more interesting than the first 3. He just keps the door open a bit, leaning against the doorframe as he folds an arm over his chest, lips twitching slightly. When the door closes though, 'Emmett' slips into the room, closing the door behind him and leaning against it for a moment as he regards Michael quietly for a moment. "The phone?" He asks after a moment, his accent on the lower end of London tonalities, two dials below posh but two dials above sounding cockney. "Oh heavens no. I'm on a very very important mission at the moment, lookin' for one or two good men to join my noble cause." He takes a few steps forward, pushing off of the door.

*

Michael's accent, by contrast, invokes hunts and high tea without venturing into 'audiences with the Queen' territory. He comes from a good family, as they say. He stands and straightens his uniform. He's fit through the shoulders and body, though his face shows some traces of baby fat that still linger. "A noble cause? Aren't we all on one of those?"

*

Emmett just studies Michael thoughtfully, eyes sweeping up and down his trim figure with a slow nod before he adjusts his hold on his hat and shrugs a shoulder, a small smile tugging at his lips. "Eh, in one way or another. The noblest cause is that a man serves his country and all that rot, but right now? As the big wigs are downstairs yammering on about ghosts and spooks, the kitchen has been left unattended." He pulls a key from a pocket and it dangles between his fingers. "Caught this off a maid, you game for a supply run?"

*

Michael eyes the key, eyes 'Emmett,' then looks down the hallway. A little whisp of a smile appears. He just accepted an assignment that is both dangerous and difficult. It's the kind of position few are suited to, and he couldn't easily be replaced. That, and he's about to lose a fair bit of his autonomy. So those things together add up to him saying, "Yes, all right. There's some cakes left over from this afternoon's tea."

*

The brass key is spun around a finger with use of well trained manual dexterity as Emmett flashes a dimpled smile. "See, I knew the moment I laid eyes on you, you were indeed a man of courage." He spins around smoothly and peeks outside the room, looking one direction and then the other before gesturing for Michael to follow. He moves however, quietly…footfalls deliberate and he's light on his feet based on his training. He pauses at the top of the stairs, craning his neck to try to see if the coast is clear, using hand signals to ask Michael to scout ahead.

*

It's like boys playing war, except neither of them are tin soldiers. "No, I'm just a man who got cornered by a general at the pre-dinner reception and had to eat the heels of the roast beef," says Michael wryly. He moves quietly ahead, then dodges to the side as one of the staff walks by with a tray of tumblers. He waits a moment, then motions for the other to follow.

*

"Oh you poor thing." Emmett murmurs softly, biting his bottom lip as he watches Michael pass him by, eyes lingering daringly as he chuckles softly and then falls silent, pressing his back against the wall before creeping down the stairs after Michael with a small nod, he edges further past Michael though, kneeling down to lean forward and peer around the next corner before gesturing for Michael to follow him, hissing for him to get down. As he creeps forward, staying below the sight line provided by the couch in the next room.

*

Michael Carter may wear the colours of the rank and file, but he moves like a man who is well-trained. He would be no baby spy at all if he couldn't dodge the attentions of a few old men comfortable in their power and staff with more important things to worry about. He drops low and moves quickly towards the kitchen door. Smoke wafts from the room as cigars are lit. Music from the radio helps drown out the sounds of their movement.

*

Grown men do not giggle. Grown /Englishmen/ certainly do not giggle. But Emmett is on the verge of it, pausing to press an ear to the kitchen door when they are near it, head tilting to the side as he takes a deep breath, then he slowly straightens up, holding up a hand to count down. 3, 2…1…He quickly opens the door and slips inside, waiting for Michael to follow so he can shut the door as quickly and quietly as possible.

*

The blond Englishman is not giggling, but he does look amused as he slips quickly and quietly into the other room. If Michael was good at just simply carrying out orders, he wouldn't have been recruited during training as he was. A certain ability to bend and flout the rules in the interests of the greater good is a skill worth cultivating. It just so happens that the 'greater good' right now is some late night cakes. He flashes Emmett a grin.

*

The Kitchen is mostly empty, save for a very very fat cat sleeping on a mat in front of the stove and Emmett matches that grin with a waggle of his eyebrows as he holds up the key and moves towards the larder, unlocking it. The Undercover Irishman's presense if noticed by his group, is not even mentioned because his superiors prefer him to not be about to flap his gums but somewhere a Captain is looking around nervously.

Emmett however is nodding towards the backdoor, noting the escape plan. Hey, there's alot of grass out there and open sky. But he's staring in the larder and searching the shelves for key items, keeping his voice low. "Do ye-you think we could use some jam?"

*

"Depends," Michael stage-whispers, leans in, eyebrows up, "What kind of jam?" He's keeping watch on the door. If he's nervous, he's not showing it. "Some of what they give us is fine, but some of it is rubbish."

*

"I…there's different shades of red. Bloody Hell, its not like they labeled i-ah blast it." Emmett just reaches forward and grabs two jars of jam, still considerate of people's supplies. "We'll take crimson jam and maroon jam." He drawls softly before pausing when he hears a noise. "Quickly, you grab the cakes and we'll execute our daring escape. The success of this raid depends on /you/ soldier…" He's balancing the various items he's confiscated from the larder against his chest after putting his hat on his head and carefully closing the larder with a foot as he backs up towards the back door.

*

"The great larder caper. We'll take these skills into the field and raid Hitler's cupboard," Michael's the very definition of dry British wit. He searches around until he finds a pastry box. He searches for one that's mostly full, then tugs it out. He pauses a moment, then grabs for a jar of good grainy mustard that gets stuck into one of his pockets.

*

"He won't even know what hit him…we'll take all the puddings right from under his nose." Comes the cheerful reply. No idea what it is he is grabbing but he's gripping a bottle of something amber colored and probably alcoholic as he pushes the back door open, peeks outside and then slips into the beauty of the night, moving quickly to put some distance between himself and the kitchen door. Emmett almost trips and falls over a bucket but light on his feet, he quickly just teeters forward, sways a bit and then continues going before dropping gracefully to his knees and looking over his shoulder for his comrade in arms.

*

A hand juts out to grab Emmett's arm to steady him. He nearly drops the pasty box he's carrying, but manages to keep it upright. That's the problem with his prize - it can't be held too firmly and it's not exactly balanced. "Shh, careful!" He's trying not to laugh, but this is all such juvenile foolishness that he's having a hard time keeping a straight face.

*

"Don't Shhh me, you Shh…" Emmett waits until they are a good fidstance away before he is slumping to the ground, letting the jam and such roll out of his arms onto the grass as he reaches up to tug Michael down as well. "We did it! We have liberated the cakes…he holds up the bottle of god knows what and pries the cork out before raising it again. "To The Queen!" He takes a swig of the drink and then his eyes go wide as he takes a deep breath and coughs softly. "Sweet christ…" Here. He offers the bottle to MIchael.

*

"Christ, that's not a ringing endorsement," says Michael. He settles the box on the grass and then lowers himself with some concern for the uniform. He flips open the box of cakes, then takes a swig from the bottle. "…eugh. What is it? Is it sherry? It's either rather posh sherry that is therefore awful, or it's the maid's personal bottle and is therefore awful."

*

"Oh don't be such a snob Blue Eyes. I thought you'd be used to the poshest of awful liqours." Care for the Uniform? Emery is moving to loosen his tie and flick his cap to a jaunty angle as he just laughs softly. "It does taste a bit off, doesn't it?" His nose wrinkles as he scoots forward and reaches into the box for his own cake. Jam jars are rolled forward. As he is taking a bite of his cake, he is raising an eyebrow and introducing himself with one cheek full of freshly Rhubarb jam dipped cake. "Right then, Emmett Pearson at your service mate!"

*

A snob called Blue Eyes takes another swig of the maybe-posh sherry, then hands it over to Emmett, "Michael Carter," he says with a bit of a chuckle. He looks around through the cakes. "Blast. This box doesn't have my favourites. The little hazelnut tortes or eclairs."

*

The name almost makes Emmett choke on his cake but he washes it down with a swig of the Maybe-Posh Sherry and a coughing laughing, shaking his head. "Pleased to make your acquaintance/

*

The name almost makes Emmett choke on his cake but he washes it down with a swig of the Maybe-Posh Sherry and a coughing laughing, shaking his head. "Pleased to make your acquaintance." He offers jam jar over to Michael with a small smile. "Well picky picky aren't we. Oh this Sherry's too posh, oh teh cakes aren't French enough…oh my new friend's accent isn't quite as cockney as I'd like…" He gives Michael a playful nudge as he takes another swig of Posh Sherry with a shake of his head.

*

"I'm not an accent snob, though the cockney are a delight when they get in their cups and start to tell tales," Which is…rather classist, but then again, Michael does come from a good family, and it is 1939. He searches around until he finds a suitable cake and shoves it into his mouth. He clears cream off his lips and licks off his fingers. "So…how did you get the key to the pantry? It feels like there's a story there."

*

"Hm? See. I knew it." Another playful nudge as Emmett offers the bottle of WTF back to Michael and dips another piece of cake into the jar of jam he has claimed. The question about the key makes him just smile slowly as he licks/sucks a smear of jam off of his finger with a low chuckle. "Ahh, now that is quite the story. But, I'm not quite sure I should be telling you. Tell me officerr…" He drawls lazily. "Are you even old enough to hear such tales? You see, I leaned in real close to MIss Molly. You know the pretty one with the red hair? And I whispered real soft and low." He leans in. "You have the prettiest eyes I've ever seen on man or woman…" Then he leans back and licks cream off his finger with a definitive 'pop!' then I liberated it from her apron pocket as she slid a hand up my arm as she asked me about my rank." A long pause. "Then I heard my 'Captain' calling me and had to leave her behind."

*

Michael listens to the story with a cheeky grin. "Oh ho, a classic move. But it is classic for a reason." He checks the cakes, but then reaches for the terrible booze instead. "I know many who wouldn't ever hear their captain calling. They'd mix business with pleasure."

*

"For the good of queen and country, I'm willin' to make such classic sacrifices." Emmett surrenders the booze easily enough before snickering softly. "Oh my Captain wasn't really calling but I needed to make a get away…" He holds up his hands. "Don't worry, I'll be meetin' with Miss Molly soon enough. If you hear her praying extra hard tonight…" He trails off and whistles innocently as he takes a bite of his cake and holds up his jam jar to make sure he scrapes the good bit out around the top of the jar.

*

"Oh, I got that. I mean…" then Michael shakes his head. "Never mind." He swigs a mouthful. Now that he's had a few sips, it's getting more bearable. "So you're one of the chosen few too, ay? For a special mission in service to Her Majesty?"

*

There's a searching look as Emmett studies Michael. "Never mind?" There's a curious tilt of his head and he reaches up to carefully readjust his cap at its proper angle as he exhales softly at the question. "Mm." He looks away for a moment before looking back to Michael. "Fuck if I know…" The explicative slips out before he quickly shakes his head. "Its gonna be our jobs, to make sure that your jobs go more smoothly."

*

Michael shifts, apparently less concerned now about the state of his uniform. He leans back on one elbow, then cranes his neck and looks out over the landscape. "I don't think anything smooth is coming for any of us. I've got a feeling. Something's hovering in the air." He swigs from the bottle again. "I feel like we're cursed to live in a time when there's things worth fighting against."

*

Somewhere, in another time…Emmett would probably be bolder, but for now he's just watching MIchael closely, leaning back when he does and just looking up at the sky as he sighs softly. "You can't think that way luv. There's always goin' to be something hovering in the air, you just become more aware of it when you know you'll have to breathe in that air.". HIs lips twist wryly before he rolls over onto his side, propping himself up on his elbow so he can study Michael's profile. "Or blessed to live in a time when ther'es thing's worth fighting for, eh?"

*

"What is it that they say? The ultimate curse is to say, 'may you live in interesting times?'" Michael sighs and shakes his head. "Sometimes I think my little sister was born in the wrong time. If she lived when less was expected of her in the traditional sense, she could fulfill her potential. But instead, I see her caving to our mother and moving to settle down with a man whose unremarkableness will only crush her light." He looks over at Emmett and shakes his head. "I'm sorry. We just met. You don't need to hear my family drama."

*

"I met a beautiful person from Asia once, that is what I'm sure they told me when I left the next morning." Emmett drawls with a wink before looking sympathetic when the sister is mentioned and he reaches forward to pat Michael's knee. "I tell you want. Introduce me, to your sister. We'll lure her away from Master Boring Jackass…I'll be twice as charming." He grins and then tsks softly. "We just stole cakes together, I'm sure in some cultures that makes us close friends…" He shrugs a shoulder. "I grew up in an orphanage so."

*

"I'm not sure whether a soldier who steals cakes and seduces maids would be a step up from a dull man or not," says Michael with a bit of a grin and a playful smile. "She's a brilliant codebreaker. She's been working on helping to decode secrets since she finished school. I worry that she'll give up a promising career to be with this dull man. And with this…whatever it is that's coming…" he stares out again over the landscape, "…well, we need every smart person working to protect us, don't we? Not home making…" he lifts the jar, "…jam."

*

Emmett fakes a pout and rolls his eyes. "Oi! I'd be such a step up. Have you seen this face?" He gestures to his face. "It was given to me by God, to be a blessing to everyone." Then he hmms softly at the description. "She should be free to do whatever she wishes to do…and if she's anything like you? I'm sure she'll make a good decision." He reaches forward to dip a finger in the jam jar and pulls it free to suck clean with a little shimmy.

*

Michael nudges the jar of jam over, as he's clearly more interested in the cakes. He selects another and bites, powdered sugar getting everywhere. Evidence of the caper. After he chews, he grins, "I'm not certain I'm the bastion of good decisions. Technically this is insubordination. At least."

*

"It's only insubordination if you get caught." Emmett grins and then laughs against before reaching for the awful alcohol bottle to take another swig. "But don't worry Angel Eyes." He rolls over onto his back, slipping a silver lighter and a his cigarette case from his inner pocket, fidgeting a bit as he takes a cigarette placing it between his lips before offering the silver cigarette case to Michael questioningly. "The best decision you made was probably saying yes to me."

*

Michael eyes the case, then takes one of the offered cigarettes. "I've been trying to quit because my sister says they make me smell terrible. But somehow I think depriving myself of something that calms my nerves when we're about to embark on this endeavor would be foolish and counterproductive." He rolls the cigarette between his fingers and waits for Emmett to light his before going for the lighter. "I suppose whether it was a good decision or not depends entirely on whether we get caught, hmm?"

*

Case is withdrawn before Emmett sits up a bit, using his core to hold himself up as he lights his cigarette and then offers over the lighter to Michael. "I just go to confession and say a few hail Marys, damn the smell. I've had many a person say they /like/ the odor." He mumbles around the cigarette before taking a drag and then exhaling slowly watching the smoke curl and waft away on the breeze. "We're useful. They might bitch and moan for a bit about it all. But. I'm used to it. If anyone asks what you were thinking, just tell them you were with Pearson and they will hold nothin' against you."

*

"Unfortunately, I'm Anglican," says Michael as he lights the cigarette and inhales. "Not so simple as a few Hail Marys." He inhales and the muscles in his face relax. He exhales slowly. "Is that because of your rank, or your reputation? I'd like to know what exactly I'm invoking before I do that."

*

"Anglican? God…" Emmett tsks softly and takes another drag of his cigarette, shaking his head slowly and sighing softly. "Because of my reputation and the fact that my captain will make sure all the blame is on me." He smirks and slumps back against the grass, exhaling smoke above his head/face.

*

"That assumes your reputation is worse than mine. What if they decide I was the one who egged you on, ay?" Michael grins and takes another drag of the cigarette. "Blast this business. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to talk to with you. And to your credit, you're better company than the other men in my unit." He works his jaw to the side. "Don't get me wrong - they're fine soldiers. But so deeply serious about every little thing."

*

"Oooh trust me Angel Eyes. You don't have a reputation like my own." Emmett winks and then exhales softly before shaking his head. "All you need to know about me, is that when you least expect it or know it, I'm the type of person who's always be watching your six." Then he straightens up. "Now we have about 10 minutes to finish all this booze and all these cakes and bury the evidence then go back in as though we've been listening to their chattering like good little soldiers, eh?" He exhales another cloud of smoke. Times were simpler then.

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