Peggy blinked the sleep from her eyes and realized exactly what it was that woke her. The damned pressure in her chest that hadn't reared its ugly head for many years, but seemed to think now was a convenient time: the common cold.
She slowly pulled herself up from her position on the bed, quickly stifling her cough as to not wake the sleeping form of her husband, Daniel.
Her husband. She still wasn't used to calling him that. They had been married for almost a year, and yet they still felt like newlyweds. Everyday felt like a brand new adventure with each other, and even now, she still found herself staring at him from time to time. In their office in LA, when things slowed into a lull, she always found her eyes wandering towards his office, watching the way his mouth curled when he was writing a report, or the way he would cradle the phone to his ear with his shoulder whilst taking notes. She always chided herself on staring at him too much, but she often found his eyes already looking at her.
She smiled and shook herself out of her thoughts, swallowed, and immediately regretted it. Her throat was on fire like you wouldn't believe, and that was saying something for her. As the pain subsided, she slipped out of bed, hoping maybe a cup of tea would help.
She padded down the hallway toward the kitchen and shivered, wishing she had on something more than just her nightdress. She'd meant to grab her robe, but her head had been so foggy she'd forgotten it. Instead of spending the energy to go back and get it, she continued on instead.
Dawn was just starting to break when she reached the kitchen, and it gave her just enough light to find her way. Just as she'd finished making her tea, and was enjoying the warmth that seeped out of the cup, she felt a strong arm wrap around her waist, the other supporting himself with his crutch.
"You're up early." Daniel murmured, pressing a soft kiss against her neck.
"Sorry if I woke you." Peggy rasped, her voice sounding as miserable as she felt.
"Peg, are you alright? You don't sound too good." He asked, turning her around. She looked up at him and found concerned etched into his features.
She cleared her throat and attempted again. "I'm fine." She said, voice still dry. "Really. It's just a small cold."
He smiled faintly, concern still shining in his eyes. "I thought Peggy Sousa didn't get colds."
She smiled at his use her partial name. She'd hyphenated her last name, but introducing herself as 'Peggy Carter-Sousa' proved a hassle, so she'd taken to just calling herself 'Peggy Sousa'. And although Mr. Jarvis insisted on calling her 'Mrs. Sousa', the agents still called her Carter, so to avoid confusion.
"I usually don't, but apparently this one decided to make an appearance." She attempted to sigh dramatically at the end of her sentence, but it was instead replaced by a coughing fit that lasted several minutes, Daniel rubbing her back the entire time she tried to catch her breath, her face buried in his shoulder.
"Maybe you should stay home today, darling, you're burning up." He tentatively asked, knowing just how stubborn his beloved wife could be.
"Really, Daniel, I'm fine. I'll finish my tea and eat a little breakfast and I'll be good as new." She said, pulling her head from his shoulder, giving him a stern look for even suggesting it.
"Really." He said, unconvinced. "And the thought of food doesn't make you sick?" He placed a hand on her forehead trying to determine how high her fever was. She opened her mouth to retort, but before she could answer, realized that the thought of food really did make her stomach churn.
"Fine, yes the thought of food does make me sick to my stomach, but I've done much more feeling much worse. I will be going to work today, and I will be fine."
"Alright." Daniel admitted, letting her win this battle, but still refusing to lose the war. "How about this: we still have a few hours before we have to get ready for work. You can finish your tea, then we'll go back to bed so you can rest for a few more hours, how about that?" It looked like she was going to protest, but decided that sounded too good to pass up.
"Alright." She quickly finished her tea and they walked back to their room, one of Daniel's hands on her lower back the entire way.
He settled her down into bed before sinking into the mattress himself.
"Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Keep me warm, please." She pleaded, her soft brown eyes staring into his, making him fall in love with her all over again.
"Of course, darling." He climbed under the covers and stifled a laugh as she tucked herself against his chest. He was always amazed at how small she could make herself.
"Comfortable?" He asked, wrapping his arms around her body, trying to completely envelop her. The only response he got from Peggy was a satisfied hum before she drifted off to sleep. Daniel soon drifted off after her, just happy to hold his wife in his arms.
Daniel woke up a couple hours later with Peggy still tucked against him, sound asleep. It was strange to see her like this. Not just sick, but asleep. Peggy always had this energy about her; she was full of life and grace, but won't hesitate to punch you if you deserve it. But when she was asleep, all that energy disappeared. She was still and tranquil, and the buzzing that usually accompanied her stopped, yet she was still the most beautiful thing Daniel has ever seen in his life.
After a few moments of admiring Peggy, Daniel carefully untangled himself and slipped out of bed, not waking Peggy. As much as he didn't want to leave her side, he knew what he had to do. He dialed the number, and waited a few rings before someone picked up.
"Hello, this is Auerbach Theatrical Agency." The friendly voice said.
"Hey, Rose, it's Daniel." He murmured, knowing just how light of a sleeper Peg was.
"Oh, hey Chief Sousa! Is something wrong?"
"No, everything's fine. Can you patch me through to Johnson? Peg is sick, so I'm going to stay home with her today, make sure she actually rests."
"Oh course, I'll put you right through. Tell Peggy I hope she feels better!"
"Thanks Rose. I'll tell her if I survive making her take a day off."
Rose chuckled before responding. "She loves you too much to kill you. Maybe hurt, but never kill. But good luck anyways!"
"Thanks Rose." He said, smiling. He heard the familiar beep before the phone started ringing again. A few seconds later it was answered.
"Agent Johnson." The man said crisply.
"Johnson, it's the Chief. Agent Carter and I won't be coming in today, so you're in charge for the day. Continue with the normal routine, don't worry about calling in anyone in for Carter unless the workload gets too heavy, and don't call me unless something truly devastating happens. Got it?"
"You got it, Chief. Anything else?"
"That should do it. Talk to you later."
"See ya, Chief."
Daniel hung up the phone and went back to their bedroom. Peggy had rolled over to her side, so she was now facing the wall. He crawled in and wrapped his arms around her, lightly rubbing his hand up and down her arm. She stirred and groaned quietly before opening her eyes.
"Shh, Peg, just go back to sleep. I'm right here."
She groaned again before closing her eyes, not fighting his request, which worried him. Peggy Carter-Sousa didn't give up so easily, which meant she was really hurting. He placed a hand on her forehead, finding that her fever hadn't gone away, and it was possibly higher. He got out of bed gently, and went to dampen a washcloth. As he crawled back in beside her, he brushed the hair away from the back of her neck and laid the cloth there. She sighed in response, the cool feeling spreading through her body.
"Better, love?" Daniel asked, just wanting to make her comfortable. She made a small noise in response, which he assumed meant yes, but it still made his heart clench. In the years he'd known her, she was almost never at a loss for words, even when she didn't know what to say. But now, here she was, sick, and doing everything possible to avoid saying anything. He shook himself from his fretting, placing a soft kiss into her hair and slowly rubbing his hand up and down her arm, soothing her to sleep.
About an hour later, Peggy stirred and opened her eyes again. She looked over at her husband, who was awake himself, head propped up on his arm.
"How do you feel?" He asked.
"Best cold I've ever had, Chief." She rasped, attempting to place some of her dry humor into their conversation, but her remark just made Daniel more concerned.
"Shouldn't we be getting ready for work?" She asked, knowing something wasn't quite right.
"I already called us in. You're not going in today, and I'm staying home to make sure you rest." His voice was gentle, but there was a tone of finality in his words. But Peggy wasn't one for finality.
"Daniel, really." She said, sitting up in bed, looking down at him. "I'm perfectly fine. So, I'm a little under the weather, but I can still get my work done. I'm not a child to be taken care of, I'll be fine." She finished, and attempted to give him a stern look, but it kind of failed given the fact that it hurt to move.
Most people would be afraid to talk to Peggy after a speech like that, but Daniel knew better. He sat up as well, looking her in the eye.
"I know you're not a child, Peggy, I know you can take care of yourself, but sometimes it's better to let someone help you. You can't carry the world by yourself; sometimes you have to let people in." He placed his hand on her cheek, his thumb lightly brushing her cheekbone. She stared at him a moment more before her resolve cracked and she sighed, leaning into his hand.
"I know. I'm sorry, Daniel, I shouldn't have tried to push you away." She knows that she has to stop trying to carry the world on her shoulders, but it's a hard habit to break. Her only fear was that she was going to push Daniel so far away that he was going to leave and never come back.
"It's alright, Peg." He said, as if he could read her mind. "You don't have to worry about pushing me away because I'm always going to push back. I'm not leaving unless you want me to."
Peggy was never happier to hear such words. She threw her arms around his neck, choking back a sob of relief and happiness. Daniel chuckled and pulled her into his lap, cradling her and pressing soft kisses into her hair. A few minutes later, Peggy pulled away, carding her fingers through his hair.
"I would kiss you, but... I am sick. I don't want you getting it too." She admitted grudgingly. Daniel chuckled and pulled her in for a deep kiss. He broke away and pressed a little kiss on the tip of her nose.
"I don't give a damn about the consequences as long as I get to kiss you." She smiled and buried her head into the crook of his neck, resting there for a few minutes before he helped her up and to the couch in their living room. From there, they spent the rest of the day together, often with Peggy's head or feet in his lap. Daniel pampered her, giving in to her every request, whether it be a foot massage or his famous caldo verde soup. And although Peggy felt miserable and wanted to do something, but was usually stopped by Daniel with a hand or crutch, neither would rather be anywhere else but by each others side, forever and always.