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Keep on your mean side

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The first time he kisses her, it's just to see if he can get away with it.

He can’t.

Obviously.

The slap is hard enough to make his ears ring, but not as hard as she could hit him if she really put all her strength into it. He considers it almost a compliment.

“If you try that again, Thompson, I’ll hurt you. Really, really hurt you”, she says, and her voice is low and full of promises she intends to keep. It only makes him want to kiss her again. Rougher this time. Harder. He wants to make a mess of her lipstick, smear it until they’re both covered in red, until he can taste it on his own lips.

“Is this a promise, Carter?”, he asks, and he doesn’t move, he’s still invading her personal space, and he likes that she doesn’t take a step back, just tilts her head back to meet his eyes.

She’s not angry, he notices. She’s not even offended, like he thought she would be. No, there is something different in her eyes. Other threats, other promises. And something that makes him think that she’s actually trying not to smile.

Peggy raises her hand again but she doesn’t slap him a second time. She just straightens the collar of his shirt, and then his tie. He can feel her nails scratching against the fabric of the shirt and hovering above the bare skin of his neck, but it’s only for a moment, she waits for him to shiver just once and then she withdraws her hand.

“Yes, Thompson”, she says, and still she doesn’t recoil, in fact she actually takes a step forward, making him back away out of sheer instinct. “It is a promise.”

He likes the way she accentuates the words, how her accent affects them and claims them to the point where he could hear the same words hundreds of times from hundreds of different women and they would never have the same effect on him.

“Good”, he answers, but it’s weak and his voice is half-choked, and she’s already walking away from him because she knows she's already won this fight.

“Good”, he repeats.

Usually he’s a sore loser (not that he would ever admit it out loud to anyone but himself) but there are always exceptions. Good exceptions.

*

There’s a second time, then a third (and so far the only one Jack can claim as a victory). She only really hurts him the fourth time.

They’re in the locker room, changing back into their civilian clothes after a mission gone wrong. Jack waits for Sousa and the others to finish their bitching and go home, knowing that Peggy won’t change until she’s alone.

He doesn’t know where they are standing, what they are or what they are going to be. He just wants to kiss her again, see if the night can be a little less of a failure than it already is.

So he steps around the lockers, barefoot and only wearing his trousers and an open shirt, and founds Peggy sitting on the bench, tying her blouse. She raises her head when she hears him step closer, but doesn’t react right away.

She lets him take her hand and pull her up, doesn’t protest when his fingers brush against her hips and towards the zipper of her skirt. Even tilts her head to kiss him when he leans over her to crush his mouth against hers.

Then Peggy plunges her heel into his foot hard, jarring his whole body. For a moment the pain is so overwhelming Jack can’t even move enough to let himself fall on the ground.

“Carter! What the fu-”, he cries out (not yelping, because Jack Thompson doesn’t yelp.)

“I’ll decide if and when you can see me naked, Jack”, Peggy informs him, cold anger dripping from her every word. “Not you.

She walks away still half naked and with only one shoe on, leaving the other on the floor with him as some sort of memento.

(And he keeps it, too. He hates himself for it, but yeah, he keeps the damn shoe anyway.)

After that night he limps for a week, tells everyone he got hurt on the field. Sousa discreetly makes fun of him. Peggy smiles every time he walks in front of her desk.

*

As promised, when it happens it’s her decision.

Obviously.

And Jack’s trying not to complain about any of this, but.

“Please”, he whispers.

It’s costing him more than a little pride to actually beg her like that, but it’s been hours and Peggy’s still not letting him touch her, or see her, or do anything else than try to guess where her next kiss will drop or what else is she going to do to him with her hands. It’s torture, plain and simple.

And he doesn’t exactly hate being totally in her control, but he’s not comfortable either. The blindfold makes him more nervous than the ties around his wrist: he was never fond of the darkness, and the idea of not being able to see what’s coming next only serves to make him tense under every touch, doesn’t matter how gentle it is. Peggy seems to understand it.

“Okay”, she answers softly, and an instant later her fingers are around his head, untying the knot of the scarf she used to blindfold him.

When he opens his eyes she’s smiling down at him, if not with fondness at least not unkindly, and if Jack was expecting disapproving looks or mockeries, they never came. Not from her. Never from her.

It takes him a moment to smile back. Just the time to realize she’s actually naked, and on top of him, and willingly to see where the night will take them.

“I suppose”, he says, absently licking his lips. “That you’ll decide if and when I can touch you, too.”

Peggy’s smile shifts in a full laugh and Jack finds himself looking at the dimples at the side of her mouth with thoughtful fascination. He wonders if she’ll let him kiss them tonight, or if he’s going to have to steal those kisses another time.

“You are a slow learner”, she says eventually, her voice still amused. “But it looks like you do learn after all.”

Jack flexes his arms, testing the resistance of the knots around his wrists, then smiles unrepentantly back at her.

“I try.”

“Good”, she answers, and then, for the first time, she kisses him.