"Come on already, English, you're not afraid of a little cold are you?"
Peggy couldn't help but smile in response as Angie laughed, and then launched herself out of the car before Peggy could even turn the key to off. Her energy was, as always, contagious. Suddenly the grim frozen backdrop of their surroundings seemed to Peggy to be a little more magical than before.
"I'll have you know I have bedded down in snow behind enemy lines before without so much as a tent," Peggy called through her open car window as she fished around in the backseat for her bag.
When she looked back up, Angie had stopped still in the snow mid-twirl. Her hands were raised above her head as if entreating the heavens to open up and shower more snowflakes upon her, but she dropped them again as she turned back to Peggy with wide eyes.
"Gosh," she said, awe colouring her voice, before peering closer at Peggy's expression as she stepped out of the car. Then her eyes narrowed and a smirk spread across her face. "You yanking my chain?"
"I don't know what you could possibly mean," Peggy replied with a sniff and a raised eyebrow.
Angie just kept staring intensely at her, and Peggy found herself fighting back a smirk of her own. As she walked she also pulled another set of keys from her bag and held them out.
"These are yours," Peggy said. "You should open the cabin door to test them. The lock is a bit stiff and you wouldn't want to be struggling with it in an emergency."
Angie just hummed under her breath and held out a hand with a twitch of her eyebrow, smirk still firmly in place. Peggy dropped the keys into her hand, and together they mounted the steps to the cabin porch.
"Not stiff at all," Angie said with a laugh as she opened the lock with a loud click. Then she flung the door open dramatically, "our woodland palace awaits!"
Peggy snorted. "It's hardly a palace. Certainly it's nothing like we have back home, either... but it'll do."
"Oh hush," Angie said, and then bustled inside, running her fingers over walls and furniture as she went. "Brr, it's a little cold in here, but it's lovely!"
Peggy couldn't help but disagree as she followed Angie inside, but she kept her thoughts to herself. She was mesmerized by Angie's smile as she carefully examined what seemed like almost every square inch of the room.
The furniture was worn, the drapes ragged, and there was a fair helping of dust across all the surfaces. The large bed in the corner sagged in the middle, from memory, and the pillows would probably make them sneeze. They would certainly have to clean a little before they left. But there was also a large fireplace and a decent basket of wood beside it, warm rugs on all the chairs, a large well stocked pantry full of canned goods, and a decent store of spare clothing and medical supplies.
Peggy had tried to make it comfortable as well as practical, but at the end of the day it was simply what it was - a bolthole.
"Now are you sure you remember the route? I don't want to draw extra attention if we can help it... But we can double back and do the last part of the drive up again in the morning if you need to, just to be sure," Peggy said.
"Relax, I studied the map and paid attention during the trip like you said to," Angie said, throwing herself down into an overly large armchair with a happy sigh. "You forget that I'm used to navigating around tiny unmarked streets to get to equally tiny auditions. I know how to handle directions."
"If you're sure. Well, then. I'll bring in the bags if you want to get a fire started, warm this place up a little?"
"... sure thing, English..." Angie cast a wary look at the fireplace.
Peggy looked from Angie's cold flushed face and set jaw, to the fireplace, and back again. Angie didn't look up.
"Need me to teach you how to light a fire, too?"
"Pfff," Angie waved a hand distractedly, still not looking up. "Me? The city girl? I've been lighting giant, open stone fireplaces all my life, I'll be fine."
Peggy smothered a chuckle and backed out the door to get the bags, leaving Angie to her staring contest. She'd just have to change into pants that could survive a little coal on the knees, then.
They were tired, cold and hungry - not to mention dirty with coal dust, and Peggy's ribs hurt from laughing so much - by the time Angie finally managing to keep a log lit. Angie's cheek sported a streak of black. Even with the fire still a small, struggling thing, Peggy felt like there was a warm contented glow already radiating out.
"I guess that early dinner's a bust," Angie said, forehead creased. "Sorry."
"Don't be silly. The whole point of this trip was to make sure you knew where to go and what to do here, I'd say lighting this old smoker is certainly part of that."
Angie just shrugged, looking forlorn, and the movement quickly turned into a shiver.
"Are you cold?" Peggy said, sitting up fast and reaching for a nearby rug.
"Don't, we'll get it-"
"Nonsense," Peggy said, shuffling forward on her knees until they were pressed together side by side in front of the tiny fire. She flung the rug over Angie's shoulders, and then pulled a corner around her own and leaned in close. "You're cold. Besides, we can take it outside and shake the dust out before we leave."
Angie pressed back against Peggy's shoulder and smiled, "thanks."
"You're very welcome."
They sat there quietly while the fire crackled away. Peggy fed more wood into the flames as it grew, until it was big enough (and hot enough) to force them to shuffle further away. Still side by side, now with their backs pressed to the bottom of the lounge and their knees bent up in front of them with the rug over them, Angie eventually turned away from the fire and smiled a very small, happy smile.
"I told you it was lovely in here."
"I'm glad you like it," Peggy said, smiling back. "Though hopefully you never have to come back."
"You worry too much-"
"You're my best friend, and with the life I lead...," Peggy frowned and twisted her hands together in her lap. "You shouldn't need to know how to get here at all. Being around me, it puts you in danger and-"
"Stop that," Angie commanded softly, reaching over to slip a hand between Peggy's, halting the fidgeting. "If it does, I'm glad of it. I know you properly now, English. You've got secrets and boltholes all over the city and some outside besides. I'm just honoured you wanted to show me a few."
Peggy smiled back, reluctant to but helpless in the face of Angie's smiles just as she was starting to realise she always was. Gently, she freed a hand.
"How could I not," she said. Then she raised her hand to Angie's face, rubbing gently at the soot on Angie's cheek to disguise the way she was really just tracing the line of a cheekbone. She shouldn't, it was too obvious, but- "You're very important to me, Angie."
Angie just gazed back at her silently, eyes searching. Then she covered Peggy's hand on her cheek with one of her own, and leaned into it.
Peggy's breath caught audibly, and she froze.
Angie didn't say anything as they sat there, gazing at each other, but her eyes were sparkling. Then she dropped their hands back to Peggy's lap and slowly leaned forward. She paused, lips almost touching Peggy's, breath warm against her mouth, and waited a moment.
"Angie-," Peggy sighed, and felt more than saw Angie's lips stretch into a smile, before they were kissing.
It was just a soft simple press of lips on lips, but Peggy... Her heart was beating fast, she could feel in her chest, and this. This was everything. More than she'd dared hope for.
Angie pulled back with a smile, and shifted around until her head was nestled on Peggy's shoulder and Peggy's arm was around her. "You're very important to me, too, Peggy," she said.
Peggy just hugged her tight, and pressed a helpless smile into Angie's hair as they watched the fire burn.