A Dream Come True

September 26, 2018:

Peggy officially-unofficially brings Michael into the SHIELD fold. Finally, little sis gets to boss big brother around.

Triskelion Gym

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Phil Coulson

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

There is quite a lot to do in New York City lately. The Triskelion, always busy and populated, is going between empty and also a flurry of activity as teams trade off their patrols and duties in the midst of the demon invasion. Everyone has their work cut out for them.

Despite the insanity, Peggy took a quick flight to Wisconsin and returned later the next afternoon. Recently returned, she asked Michael to meet her in the athletics compound of the Triskelion. Specifically to go to the back and then through the third door on the left and to dress for a work out.

Once inside he'll find a small room covered with mats. Peggy is already there, dressed in leggings and a short sleeved shirt. Her long brown hair is pulled back into a no nonsense ponytail. She's stretching out, bouncing on her feet and pulling her arms this way and that.

*

Michael honestly considered not…actually changing. But he figures now is not the time to get in a sibling tiff. So he arrives at the appointed time, wearing plain gray workout clothes supplied to SHIELD recruits. He still hasn't rebuilt his own wardrobe since being disavowed and anyway, workout gear gives very little space for creativity in the fashion department.

"Do you really want to do this, Firecracker? You could have certainly taken me at one point, but…"

*

"I'm not attempting to 'take' you, Michael." Peggy smirks. "I've sparred with super soldiers before. And I've also fought quite a large array of other things that should have been able to crush me into paste. However, I am not physically enhanced in any way. The best way to get out of scrapes alive is to prepare. I will assume that you will be far more respectful than a demon once I've run out of options."

Seeing him in the SHIELD greys, she can't help but smile. "I must say, I like this look on you."

*

"Really? You don't think it makes me look ashy?" Michael has always had a vain streak, even in his younger years, but not to an obnoxious degree. Well…some might disagree. When she mentions demons, he wrinkles his nose. "I do hate the supernatural. It complicates things terribly. Give me good, clean espionage, not…invasions from otherworldly hellbeasts."

*

Peggy gives Michael a raised eyebrow at his comment. He was always a bit of a clothes horse growing up and she's glad to see that some things don't change no matter the decades. "I do not. For work out clothes you look rather dashing."

As for the demons, she nods. "I am not sure I would prefer an army of super soldiers rampaging about Manhattan rather than demons, but the supernatural always does make me feel as if I'm on my back foot. However, you know what they say about the prepared."

Stepping onto the mat, she gestures for him to follow.

*

Michael has been a clothes horse as much as his profession has allowed. Contrary to popular culture, he was mostly impersonating street thugs and petty criminals - not high-rollers in nice suits. "One of my larger regrets is that relations are so poor with the home office that I may never find out what they did with my wardrobe."

He dusts his hands together and steps onto the mat. "It has been rather a long time since I simply…sparred. What are the rules of engagement?"

*

"If you'd like, I can open a line to MI:6.5 requesting your wardrobe as evidence," Peggy teases. Though, a part of her is not just sure that Michael will take her up on that.

The rules of engagement are laid out: "First of all, no killing me." That should go without saying, but when dealing with someone much physically stronger than her, she feels it better to be explicit. "Otherwise, you may use what tricks and whatever else you wish. I may do the same. This is both testing skills, getting the rust off and if you have any tips I'm glad to hear them."

*

"If I'm being perfectly honest, I'd likely be a shit teacher. I've spent so long with these enhanced abilities, it's possible I've gotten a bit sloppy." Michael starts to pace around the mat, feeling out the space. It's hard to imagine him sloppy. Even the pacing has a precision to it. He doesn't comment about his suits. The wound is still too fresh.

*

Peggy laughs. "Then just try and hit me and I'll do what I can to avoid it. If I'm to survive encounters like this in the wild, they will most likely not be giving me pointers, after all. Think of this as a way to shake your own dust off. There are quite a few demons out on the streets, after all. SHIELD could use a man of your talents to help fight them off."

*

"Then by all means, deploy me to help. I'll do what I can." Michael doesn't seem to be thinking that this would be in any official capacity - just point and shoot. "I will get over my dislike for the supernatural for you, dear sister."

Then, with absolutely no telegraphing, he moves forward, but then feints and jabs with his other arm, all while keeping his feet moving. If she blocks it or if he hits, it won't do more than jostle her. He's pulling his punches because, well, he has to.

*

For the moment, Peggy does not expand on that. "Very kind."

Michael is very good at what he does. However, Peggy has been waiting for him to attack ever since she gestured for him to step onto the mat. Though she has been doing more desk work than field work lately, that does not mean she has stopped her work out and fighting practices. The feint is met and the jab is blocked with a quick toss up of both her arms in an attempt to both stop and redirect the blow. She steps even as she does so, sweeping her leg forward in an attempt to either put him off balance or push him backward.

*

She said he was allowed to use tricks. In addition to Michael's enhanced strength and reflexes (and regenerating skin mesh) he also has a HUD in his cybernetic eye that kicks in during combat to give him statistics and percentages that helps him predict her movements. He's fast enough that he's already out of the window of that leg sweep by the time she's sent the signal from her brain to her muscles to make the move.

He might be a failure when it comes to what the supersoldier serum was intended to do, but advances in technology have made up for many of those side effects and imperfections.

Peggy can do dozens of things that Michael is absolutely shit at, but in a straight-up contest of fisticuffs, it really isn't a fair fight. He moves around behind her and makes a jab for her instep to throw her off-balance after her attempted kick. "Is this a form of therapy? Because if you'd like to take a few shots at me, I can't really deny that you're owed that."

*

It's a quick bout. With the HUD, Peggy brings up a defense to try and counter Michael, but the jab at her instep causes her to tumble. This certainly is no fair fight, but she knew this coming in. She's not here for a fair fight.

Rolling with it, she picks herself up at the other end of the mat and puts herself back into defensive mode. "No." Peggy tilts her head, curious and firm in that. Agent Carter has none of the fluid motions of martial arts. She is a brawler, but she is also adept in using other people's strength against them. A few punches are tossed forward in an attempt to test his own defenses - they're not there to actually land just yet.

Frowning, she asks, "What do you want, Michael? Not having an assignment is driving you do lally. SHIELD may not be MI:6.5, but we do good work here."

*

Michael's defenses mostly consist of speed. He's very fast. Between the HUD giving him a likely idea of which way she's going to swing and a hyped up central nervous system that lets him move faster than a vanilla human, he can dodge her punches without having to block. "My assignment is trying to figure out who the bloody hell wants me dead and why, and how deep this corruption goes."

Which…he can't really do because he has no clearance, only the resources Rami, Peggy, or his tenuous few remaining contacts gives him, and no official standing with other institutions.

He watches her movements, then reaches up in an attempt to catch her arm on one of those swings. "This is sounding a bit like a recruitment speech. What are you getting at, Peg?"

*

The jabs start to show Peggy some of his movements and tells. It's not quite enough to stop him from snatching her arm. While she pulls back, his enhanced reflexes are quick enough to snatch her wrist as she pulls back. As soon as he has her wrist, though, instead of pulling backward, she moves forward. While he's stronger than her, he's the one attempting to hold her. Stepping with one foot between his own and the other behind him, she quickly attempts to pull them both around and hopefully get him to release her arm in the process.

"Warhorse has it out for you, but he also has used SHIELD. This isn't a recruitment speech exactly, but you're hamstrung by not being a part of an agency. Why not help us and also find out how this happened to you. Committing yourself to helping SHIELD for a little while is mutually beneficial."

*

Michael could technically keep hold of her arm, but that would risk hurting her. And this is about as low stakes as a fight can possibly get. He releases and moves back, stance casual despite the fact that there's been no agreement to stop the sparring.

"And what about the SHIELD agents who have tried to kill me? How could I trust them in the field?" He may not look like he's ready to deflect another blow, but would he really be that sloppy.

*

As Michael steps back, Peggy does not yet pursue. Instead, she studies him. "The same way you would trust anyone else who was doing their job. It was not personal for most of them. They were misled. That is also part of why you should help us. There is something going on here. I need people I can trust, Michael. People I know will have my back when things start to go wrong. It's not just Warhorse and Chelsea Pugh. Something is wrong. We need to fix it."

*

"The world intelligence agencies are all more tenuous than we'd like to believe," says Michael as he stays out of her reach. He keeps moving but in a casual, thoughtful way. "I'm actually surprised we haven't had some other kind of large-scale reckoning before now." He shrugs. "Well, perhaps we have done and it's just been expertly covered up." He cracks a small smile.

"I will be here for you if you need me to fight, Peggy. And I will protect you without hesitation. But wouldn't having me officially on the payroll cause friction with Six-five? And…friction within SHIELD?"

*

"I wouldn't be surprised if there was one that was quelled. I spoke with Coulson last night and it seems things have been brewing for quite awhile. At least twenty years." Palmer was working with SHIELD in the nineties. That means something, at least. Peggy keeps moving opposite of Michael even as they talk. They have not called a cease fire just yet and he doesn't think this fight is over just yet.

"You can be a field agent without high clearance. Regular contract. We can get to the bottom of this. There will be friction, of course, but this is deeper than internal politics. I believe there is far more on the line. If you're willing…God, I need your help, Michael."

*

"Coulson? Christ, I thought he was dead. I should have known better than to count him out." Michael looks pleased by this news, but he doesn't probe on the details. He knows better than anyone how 'presumed dead' or even 'proven dead' isn't always so in the spy world.

"And what about talk of nepotism? My record? I have no doubt there are people on SHIELD's staff who know far more about my record than you do." After a moment, he drops his shoulders and inhales, holds it, exhales. "That's all you bloody had to say. None of this dancing around the justification. You want my help? You think it's the right call? I'm there."

*

"News of his death, et cetera, et cetera." Peggy gives Michael a smile. "However, that's not general knowledge just yet." Peggy sharing possibly confidential knowledge? The sparring seems to have knocked something loose. Or, perhaps, it's the cover that makes all this talk easier for Peggy.

There are many many reasons to not put Michael into SHIELD as a more active member. However, the main and best one to do so is that she trusts him. And when she cannot trust many other people within her own organization? That counts for quite a lot. "Thank you," she sighs. "I'll put the paperwork through tomorrow."

*

Trust is a hard-won commodity in their business, even among family. It's even more remarkable given their history, and the fact that the betrayal of his false death is much more of a fresh wound for her than it is for him. Michael looks at her, a bit mischeviously. "Does this mean you'd be my boss? You're going to love this, aren't you?"

*

With a smirk, Peggy moves forward. She's sure that he'll counter it, but she doesn't care. She goes for the direct punch she's sure his HUD will tell him is coming. However, at the last moment, she ducks and then moves for an elbow to the side.

"Ordering you around? It's a dream come true, Michael."

*

Michael sees it all coming, but he lets the elbow jam into his side. He feigns having the wind knocked out of him, face contorting comically. "Ooof. Well, shit. Is it too late to backpedal like a gentleman, then?"

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