Actions

Work Header

I Walk a Little Faster

Chapter Text

He is a dear man and Peggy loves--loves--her children, and their home is very nice and the neighborhood is very beautiful.

But she is positively, irritatingly, bored.

Daniel sits across from her reading the paper and he must sense her eyes on him because he looks up. Smiles. Sips his juice. 

Peggy is completely bored.

"Exciting day," he asks. Work discussions can be…trying sometimes. She's the director of the largest intelligence organization in the western world. He's an analyst for the newly formed CIA. Their jobs aren't comparable. At his dinner parties everyone assumes she's retired and raising their children (with the aid of a lovely nanny). At her dinner parties people talk to Daniel slowly. As if he were simple.

So in addition to being bored Peggy is also, perhaps, wrapped up in a marriage full of contentiousness. 

They do sleep in seperate bedrooms afterall.

She smiles at her husband and sips her tea. "Lovely I hope."

He nods. Tilts his head. Continues drinking his juice as he stares at his paper. "Hey, didn't you used to live next to her?"

He turns the newspaper around so she can see a picture of a stunning woman who was always rather addictively ordinary but never ever boring. Angie.

Now Angela. 

Because she's changed. She's not the girl working late at the automat and beating on Peggy's door for late night sessions of "gab."

Now she's Angela--

Angela Carter.

Her new film is premiering in New York and according to the headline people are anticipating the announcement of a proposal. "COULD IT BE LOVE" is splayed over the top of the photo. Apparently much of the United States wants Angie marrying some idiot actor named Tab.

Oh. She squints. There is actually a bland looking skinny boy in a tux standing by Angie.

It makes something unexpected clinch up inside of Peggy.

Which isn't fair. Angie is free to live her life however she chooses. Peggy's given up any right to comment when she left her sleeping on a couch in front of a grand fire place at Howard Stark's Long Island estate.

"You remember her," Peggy is surprised by Daniel's question. She didn't think he'd had even met Angie-- "I remember telling her you died back before SHIELD. She was broken up about it."

Of course.

That would be natural. They'd just spent a night together that still makes Peggy blush.

She dips her ridged spoon into the flesh of the grapefruit in front of her. Eats sans sugar. The tartness claws at her tongue and tries to draw her cheeks together.

She says simply, "We used to drink schnapps together and chat about our day." 

She takes the paper from him and studies Angie. She's done away with the girlish curls she wore when Peggy knew her. Her hair is now sleek and styled. In the photo it's in a twist. No doubt to show off the expensive earrings and necklace she's wearing.

But.

But Angie doesn't look happy. Peggy can see that. She's a spy. Her training--her very life--has been devoted to reading other people. So she can look at this innoncent picture of Angie Martinelli and know beyond any shadow of a doubt that Angie's not happy.

"I was very fond of her."

Daniel looks sympathetic, "She still think you're…"

She nods. "A necessity. Leviathan and all that."

They can't talk more about it. Daniel doesn't have the clearance to discuss Leviathan further and their nanny is walking in with the twins on each hip, and she still thinks Peggy and Daniel work for the State Department.

She snaps the newspaper into a fold and hands it back. She kisses her children goodbye, gives her husband a peck on the cheek and meets her driver outside.

For half the day she stares out the window tapping the tip of her pen against her chin and trying not to think of Angie Martinelli.

Normally it isn't hard. She has children she cares a great deal for and a job that often consumes her and a husband who…well, they're fond of one another.

"How 'bout friends," he once said when she confessed that she'd had enough great loves in her life and wasn't about to add him to the list.

Sometimes she pities her husband. It must be hard living in the shadow of Captain America and sharing a home with a woman very much in love with another woman.

One whom she hasn't spoken to since 1946.

They've a new president now. And Peggy's director of SHIELD. And Angie has an Oscar.

And a Tony.

And fans. Whole legions of them.

She certainly doesn't need one more.

Peggy has a whole cadre of televisions on one wall. They play broadcasts from all over the country. Piping them in and displaying them in fuzzy black and white.

A swath of grayscale passes along one screen and Peggy has to stand. Come closer. Sometimes, from her desk, it's too hard to make out who's on screen.

She looms over the TV sets and her hands are wrapped around her middle and her fingers are digging into her side.

Because there's Angie again. This time it's a movie. That dreadful domestic drama that won her her Academy Award.

"Janet," Peggy calls. 

Her protege, still in school but too clever to be there long, hurries into the room. "Yes ma'am?"

"I need to arrange transportation to New York." 

"When--"

"Immediately."

 

####

Colonel Phillips (he refused promotion three times before the Army gave up) has, on more than one occasion, labeled Peggy as "impulsive."

"Just because it's right doesn't mean you ought to run off and do it," he's said.

Originally his lectures ensued following her activities with the Howling Commandoes. Now it's usually related to moments when she chooses to act rather than lead. "You're Director now Carter, not Agent."

When he points this out she now notes that she is in fact Director and if she wants to air drop into the Soviet Bloc to continue her one woman assault on the Red Room assassin factories that is her own perogative.

Standing in a bathroom at Radio City Music Hall with a confused but ameniable Janet Van Dyne on the door she can hear the Colonel in her head.

He's not wrong in this instance.

Staring at a flesh and blood Angie as she's poised over a sink trying to collect herself Peggy knows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that she's being impulsive.

But she speaks up anyways.

Because Angie seems as though she's crying. And apologizing for it like she's done something wrong. "Sorry. I just had a…"

"Successful film premiere by the looks of it." Peggy's impulsive but she's also very suave. She once broke Captain America's mind with nothing more than a smile and a nice dress.

Angie looks confused.

That's a natural response. Particularly if the person once drugged you, abandoned you, and then faked their own death.

So Peggy decides to fill in the blanks. She approaches Angie carefully and tells her how wonderful her career appears to be. How she's so proud. How she's so madly in l--

The crack of Angie's palm against Peggy's face is so loud she's surprised Janet hasn't burst in with guns blazing.

"You're proud of me?"

Now that Angie's spitting her words back at her incredulously Peggy has to admit they sound condescending.

"Ya think?"

"Oh! Your accent. I'd thought you lost it." She's so formal and breathy in her pictures.

Angie slaps her again. This time with the other hand.

Peggy rounds on her and she suspects she looks upset. "Are you quite finished?"

"I don't know Pegs, I still haven't socked you in the mouth." She balls her small fist up for emphasis.

"I'll take the slap thanks."

"I just--I can't believe you! The gall. And the chutzpah. And the gall." She lightly punches Peggy now. But in the shoulder. Peggy barely moves. "Showing up looking like that. Smiling! At my premiere?"

"I had hoped," she sighs, "I had hoped it would be romantic?"

Angie's now giving her the stinkeye--something she hasn't experienced in years. Spies tend to not give one another the stinkeye. It's gauche. She's immediately grateful this meeting is private because otherwise she might be a smidge embarrassed.

"Tell me something English, if Captain America had gone and wooed you in a spectacular fashion, genuinely connected with you on an emotional level and then drugged you, locked you up in a mansion 'for your own good' and faked his death how would you feel?"

She'd have punched Steve into the next decade.

"Right. So how do you think I feel. Particularly when I can't help but notice that set of rings gleaming on your finger."

She glances down. Shit. "I'd…meant to remove those."

Angie crosses her arms, "Not helping."

"Angie," Angie sighs. She's quickly getting fed up with Peggy. So Peggy has to forge ahead. "Have you ever felt just--just an all consuming need to see someone. To be with someone?"

Angie swallows as she stares.

Perhaps it's working? Peggy comes closer. "You…you're who I need."

She's close enough now that she could kiss Angie if she didn't think she'd get punched for the attempt.

Angie glares up at her, lower lip stuck out. She looks more like herself than all the glamour and sophistication that she's become as Angela Carter.

"Then maybe you shouldn't have left me and gone and gotten married."

Well. That will knock the wind out of anyone's sails.

She pushes past Peggy. Her shoulder presses into Peggy's. It's supposed to be a brush off. A goodbye. Sayonara. Do svidaniya.

But they both gasp at the contact. Like there's something electric there.

And Angie stops. They're shoulder to shoulder. Facing opposite directions. Her hand, wrapped in a satin glove, is centimeters from Peggy's own.

Peggy just has to curl her fingers and they're around Angie's hand.

She doesn't look at her. It's like one of them is Veronica Lake casting a spell in that ridiculous witch movie. Looking at one another will break the spell. Usher in the wretched feelings that rightfully consume Angie and have deftly dodged Peggy.

Angie's sharp intake of breath at the contact though. That sorely tempts Peggy. Her whole body thrums with potent need.

"I'm sorry." And she is. She's so so sorry.

Angie's fingers, ever so delicately, brush against Peggy's. She can hear the scrape of satin sliding over her skin. Then Angie sighs and her hand falls away, leaving Peggy impossibly cold. "You're married and I'm--"

"Engaged?"

She laughs. This gorgeous sultry laugh. Much throatier than anything she'd do in one of her pictures.

"Whatever you're looking for here in New York isn't here Peggy. So how about you go back to your happy life and just think of me as that twit up on the screen."

"We both know that's an impossibility."

"Maybe. But it's a necessity too isn't it?"

There's a whisper of cloth and Angie is standing in front of her again. So close she might feel the heat of her. Her satin-clad hand presses against Peggy's cheek. "We're a disaster remember?" The corner of her mouth crooks up. "So how about we avoid the apocalypse?"

She reaches up to wrap her hand around Angie's and she takes another step towards her. Angie doesn't back down. She's not the sort. So they're impossibly, irritatingly, close to one another. "I'd much rather end the world with you."

That earns her a genuine smile. The kind Angie used to dole out like the government and their milk for children. "Anyone ever tell you you talk too much?"

Angie speaks softly. Intimately. And Peggy feels obliged to do the same. She doesn't bother to hide the small smile growing. "Not in quite some time." 

She very much wants to cross that small distance and press her lips to Angie's. It would be simple and it feels right and Peggy is even doing it--her eyes drifting close. 

But she's stopped by Angie, who suddenly darts forward and kisses the corner of her mouth. "See ya English."

Then she's out of the room in a quick flurry of satin and silk and exorbitantly priced perfume.

 

####

Back out in the lobby Janet doesn't ask Peggy if she's all right. The girl can be quite good at her job when she's focused, and standing at Peggy's elbow she's quite focused.

"Janet," she says--her eyes never leaving the departing back of one Angie Martinelli.

"Yes ma'am.'

"My husband and I are having a dinner party soon?"

"Yes ma'am. In three weeks."

Colonel Phillips has always criticized Peggy for being too impulsive. So, for once, she'll heed his advice. She'll take her time and carefully plan and execute her mission properly.

And three weeks is the perfect amount of time to accomplish it in.