Part 1: Train Whistles
The sound of the train always reminded her of home. Unfortunately, Peggy was not greeted with the landscape of her familiar and beloved London, but the loud, muggy chaos that was New York City. A part of her knew it was unfair to be so critical of New York (if she took a hard look at the cities, they would be more similar than different), but she was tired and upset and so bloody hungry that she would be willing to murder everyone between her and the train exit.
Experience told her it would be a long time before she got herself off the train and into a cab, much less to her apartment (literally so new she had yet to see it) and somewhere to eat. She regretted declining Michael’s offer of breakfast before she left Poughkeepsie, even though there had been plenty of time to join Sharon and Derek for pancakes, and called her brother.
“Are you home already, Peg? That was fast.”
“Not yet, Michael.” She sighed. “Why did I leave England again?”
“Because your niece prefers an aunt that lives only a train ride and not an aeroplane ride away.”
“Because you wanted to spread your wings and fly away from the family business. Care to explain how you’re distancing yourself if you’re just going to do the same thing here?”
“We talked about this yesterday. It cannot be lawful for all of us to be attorneys.”
“You’re the one that decided to practice private international law, Peg.”
“You already had dibs on the terribly thrilling world of patent law.”
“Beats Mum and Dad’s intellectual property law.”
Peggy stopped beating around the bush and sighed at her big brother. “Why did I choose New York?”
“Because they chose you.”
“Why did they choose me?”
“Because you’re the best. You’re just hungry and upset that you’re leaving London for real now.” He knew her so well. “Will you just give New York a chance, Peg? Look at what happened to me.”
“Oh, am I supposed to have an embarrassing coffee accident that leads to me marrying the charming paralegal transfer?”
“Your bitterness is showing, Margaret.”
“Shut up, Mickey.”
“Just breathe, Carter,” Michael said, making Peggy melt into her seat as she recognized the tone in his voice. “You have a new job, a new flat, and a fresh start here. Your life is what you make it, and S.S.R. is an amazing firm. They want you here because you’re the best, and if anyone says different, let me know and I’ll punch them out.”
“Michael, I was the Flight Lieutenant. I can punch my bullies out myself.”
“Yes, but I was the army Captain. And I’m older.”
“By three years, and we are basically the same rank, Mickey.”
“Shut up, Margaret.”
They talked until Peggy was finally on her way to her new flat, a bagel in one hand and a coffee cup in the other. Michael was right, she decided as the cab took her into Brooklyn. This can be the start of something great.
It was not the start of something great. Margaret ‘Peggy’ Carter, 29 years old, former Flight Lieutenant of the Royal Air Force, and attorney-at-law, was fed up. She packed up her bag, instructing her team to keep her apprised of any updates in their cases, tried not to sneer in Thompson’s direction, and walked out the door.
“Life was not supposed to be like this,” she groaned to herself, deciding on a too-expensive cab ride home to round out her shitty day.
To be fair, there was not much about this particular day that made it different from any other. She’d been in New York for four months and it was still a miserable situation. Her flat was decent, if remarkably overpriced and too far from her office; the job was definitely not anything like what she had been promised; her team resented her for being an outside-hire; her supervisor was a micromanaging ass who made her defend everything she did and overruled her on a whim; and the man who would have taken her position—an odious prat named Jack Thompson—was the biggest arse of them all. She talked to her family, but the cliché was true: they just didn’t understand.
Her mother suggested that she’d adapt better if she focused on her social life. It was Michael and Derek agreeing that pushed her into dating. She didn’t know why she thought it was a good idea to date—she’d never been as successful there as she’d been in the RAF, or in a courtroom. The pattern continued, and Peggy had gone on miserable after miserable date. She blamed her accent for it, because two minutes of talking with a stranger meant an instant invitation to dinner or coffee or the cinema. She went, and all were terrible, and the one time she caved and went home with someone, his surprised girlfriend woke her up with screams at five in the morning. The sex has not been worth it.
“There’s a point to this,” she muttered. “There is a point to all of this, there has to be.”
“Not always,” came the cabbie’s voice, startling her into sitting up. She noticed belatedly that they were a block away from her flat, and the cabbie was still talking. “Sometimes the only point is that karma needs a bitch.”
“Lovely.” She paid and got herself out of the taxi, waving a sad hand at the car as it drove away. Peggy sighed and looked around, and decided to keep her bad day going and spend the last of her paycheck on a decent meal. She made her way to the sandwich shop on the end of her block, and noticed a man walking toward her, waving enthusiastically. He looked vaguely familiar, and Peggy raised a hand to wave back. Another man was walking behind him, and Peggy saw him shake his head minutely at her, barely gesturing with his chin. Peggy turned her head just enough to look behind her, and saw a woman waving. She cringed, making the helpful stranger smirk, as she recognized the woman, and now the man just feet in front of her, as the man she'd slept with and the woman that gave her a black eye for the effort.
Praying they hadn't recognized her as well—why the hell were they still together?—she put on her best fake smile and decided to improvise.
As soon as she walked past Dennis she latched onto the stranger’s arm and turned to keep pace with him. “Hello, darling,” she said brightly. “I guess you didn't see me.”
The man stiffened under her hold, but kept up a smile. “Guess not.”
Peggy held on as they walked past Dennis and Phoebe, awkwardly holding on to the stranger until they were out of sight. She dropped his arm and sighed with relief. “Thank you so much,” she gasped, running her hands over her face. “I'm so sorry for accosting you, but you have no idea the kind of trouble you just saved me from.”
“I just thought I was preventing an awkward wave,” the man said, looking more at ease once she released him.
“It's a long story, but suffice to say, I cannot go another week with a black eye, my office will not withstand it.”
“That actually sounds like a really good story.”
Peggy was still tired, and still hungry as hell, but there was something about the tall stranger in front of her that made her feel a bit better. “You know, the kind of situation you saved me from, it really needs a reward. Can I buy you a cup of coffee? As thanks?”
The man smiled. “Only if you tell me why you thought you were going to get jumped by two people who look like they couldn't fight a mouse.”
Peggy snorted. “She’s surprisingly able with her fists.” She turned them in the direction of her favorite coffee shop. “I'm Peggy Carter, by the way.”
“Steve Rogers,” he answered. “Nice to meet you.”
Steve Rogers was a nice guy. He refused to let her pay for his coffee, even though she insisted, and didn't comment as she devoured one of the shop’s famous sandwiches in a heartbeat. He was an architect, apparently, and formerly in the army, and had warned her about the wave because ‘I've done that enough times to want someone to do that for me.’
All in all, Peggy was quite pleased to have found Steve, and even though she quickly ramped down any thoughts on making their chance meeting romantic in her mind— come on, Carter, you're not that lucky—Peggy thought she could see them becoming friends.
She told Steve about being new to the city, and he bequeathed her with the advice of a local, for she was immensely grateful. They exchanged numbers—really just business cards, since Steve said the company he worked for collected law firms like stamps and she was all too eager to take his—and they walked out the door together.
“I guess I'd better head home,” he said, looking up at a sky that threatened rain.
“Likewise,” Peggy yawned; she still had some work to finish before she could call it a night. She hadn't realized they'd talked so long in the coffee shop. “Well, good night.”
She started walking towards her flat, only to notice Steve still walking with her. “My apartment’s this way,” he said.
“Ok.” It was ok, until they walked into the same building. Then it was a lot less ok. “Are you stalking me?”
Steve held up a key ring. “I live here,” he said.
“Just coincidence, huh?”
He shrugged. “It’s funny.”
They got into the same elevator and their fingers met on the same button. “Fourth floor?” she asked.
They got off and walked in the same direction until Peggy stopped in front of her door. She raised an eyebrow at Steve, who only walked to the door across from hers.
“You cannot be serious.”
“Have a good night, neighbor,” Steve laughed as he let himself into his place.
Peggy knocked her head against her doorframe and opened her door. “Bloody Norah.” This was either the start of something beautiful, or she was going to have to find a new flat as soon as possible. Opening her door the next day to find a shirtless Steve picking up his newspaper cemented her decision on that front.
And what a front it was.
Part 2: Dangerous When Decaffeinated
Peggy kept her face as still as possible, until Thompson finally scowled and left her office. The moment her door shut she stuck her tongue and both middle fingers in his direction. “Bloody wanker,” she added for good measure before collapsing back into her chair.
She'd been working on six hours’ sleep for the last three days, and even her makeup couldn't keep up with the demand. Peggy gave in to the urge to rub her eyes and scowled at her messy fingers before getting up for some more coffee. Sadly, she couldn't even feel the effects anymore and as much as she hated energy drinks, she popped one open.
Peggy was tired, in more ways than one, and she found herself reaching for her cellphone. ‘I need something more that caffeine but less than cocaine.’
The text was sent before she could overthink it, and Peggy slammed her head down with a groan. “Great going, Carter.” Cute guy, great sense of humor, and the first thing she texted him made her sound like a drug addict.
Her phone chimed and she looked up. ‘We had something in the Army, but unless you want to become a raging ball of destruction, stay away from Midnight Oil. It's not nearly as fun coming out as going in.’
Peggy burst out laughing and picked up her phone. ‘I could use a little destruction.’
A minute passed, then ‘rough day at work?’
’Darling, you don't know the half of it.’
Her lunch hour went by in a flurry of bad puns and raunchy jokes, and by the time Angie knocked on her door to tell her it was her time for her conference call with W.S.C. Associates, Peggy felt ten tons lighter.
“This is it. This is how I become a supervillain.”
“Stop being so dramatic, Steven.”
“Just because you’re a fucking saint doesn't mean the rest of us aren't.”
“I'm pretty sure I have a higher kill count than you, Captain.”
“I wasn't talking about the war, Lieutenant.” He scrunched up the latest memo from Tony and threw it in the trash. Why couldn't he understand that his part of the construction process was not the only one? And demanding a red and gold color scheme? “I'm going to kill the engineer on this project. Would you defend me?”
“Not that kind of law, but I can do my best, darling.” There was a muffled conversation on her end, and she spoke with a saccharine tone that made Steve’s hair stand on end. “The next time you decide to advise a client without running it by me first, Jack, I'm going to make you take care of the office’s filing. I know you find the alphabet hard, but I can teach you. Let’s start with words beginning with ‘A.’”
There was more muffled talk, and Steve was ready to let her go when she returned to the phone.
“It might be hypocritical of me to advise you against homocide. I need more coffee.”
“Remind me not to get on your bad side. Sounds like you got your own ‘engineer.’”
“If only he had such a useful skillset.”
“He's an asshole?”
“He's an arrogant twat who would be better off sitting in some Wall Street cubicle instead of making my job infinitely harder than it needs to be.”
“Maybe he likes you?” The words failed to come out with the completely teasing tone he intended, but Peggy laughed anyway.
“The day I develop any feelings about Jack Thompson that don't involve murder, I give you complete permission to institutionalize me.”
“Let’s hope it doesn't come to that.” He bit down on his lip and looked down at the paper he'd been doodling on. A pair of intense eyes and a sly smile looked back at him. “Hey, Peg?”
“Would you want to—?”
He winced at the yell coming through the phone. “Peg?”
“Dooley,” she sighed. “I'm sorry, Steve, can I call you back?”
“Thanks.” There was a pause, and she returned, her voice a bit softer. “Sorry, Steve, before I go… you were saying something?”
He swallowed and plastered a smile on his face. “In case of emergency, good luck.”
“Thanks, darling.” She hung up, and Steve slammed his head on the drawing table in front of him.
“Идиот.” He looked up to see Natasha shaking her head at him from the doorway. He knew enough Russian to know she was calling him an idiot. “Stupid.”
“You know what, Romanoff? Bite me.”
Almost there. Almost there. Almost there almost there almost there almost— ok, she was at the door, all she needed was to get the key into the lock, the key, the key, where was the key…?
She pulled her head up and blinked at the face in front of her. “Steve?”
He smiled down at her, but it looked a bit blurry. That could not be healthy. “How long have you been awake?”
She yawned. “It's still Tuesday, right?”
“It was two days ago.”
She slumped harder against the door. “Fuck.”
“Come on, Carter.” A strong arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her towards his door. “A yawn is a silent scream for coffee.”
“My kind of guy,” she muttered, following him to his apartment and collapsing against the kitchen table. “Can I just stay here for the next twelve hours?”
“Mi casa. You've been pulling long shifts?” he asked.
Peggy sighed into the table. “My… predecessor, a Mr. Jones, was a charismatic lawyer who charmed his way through his clients instead of actually doing any work.”
“Uh oh.” Steve started pulling out things from his fridge. “This doesn't have a happy ending, does it?”
“Mr. Jones was as adept at romancing his clients as he was at not doing his job. When he took to a Mrs. Roxxon, her husband did not take too kindly and my boss Dooley gave him the boot.”
“And now I need to work back and fix all the cases he handled, by myself. It's hell.”
“I don't think that was part of the job description,” Steve said, pressing something against her forearm. Peggy looked up at saw a steaming panini. “That explains why every time I see you, you look like you're two seconds from hitting the floor.”
“Has anyone ever pointed out your unerringly polite manner?”
“I'm thinking you're hangry, Carter,” he smiled. “Eat up.”
After two bites, Peggy fell into the plate with an enthusiasm that made little bits of food fly through the air, and she didn't even look up as Steve passed her another sandwich. “O’mg’rwh, I lffu!”
“My sentiments exactly,” he smiled, passing the coffee pot over.
Peggy rummaged around in the drawer, wondering when she'd accumulated two cheese grater and three potato peelers. Why the hell did she have three? “So, you think I should quit?”
“I'm saying you need to stop letting Dooley walk all over you and get your team to start doing their part. Delegate, Flight Lieutenant Carter.”
“Now you're starting to sound like my brother, Captain.”
“He’s not wrong. Besides, I can't picture you ever quitting anything in your life,” Steve said.
“Clearly, you've never taken piano lessons or ballet.” Peggy cackled in triumph when she finally found the corkscrew.
“Bucky and I took karate lessons when we were in middle school.”
“Did they not turn out as well as you expected?”
“We were 14; Bucky was already six feet tall and I was still 80 pounds soaking wet. We got through three classes before someone made a comment and I punched him out.”
She almost spat out her wine. “You punched him?”
“Yup, and I got my ass handed to me before Bucky saved me and we got banned from setting foot back in the class again.”
“Is that why you joined the army?”
It wasn't something they talked about often, since PTSD was a shared elephant in the room, but Steve didn't seem to mind the question. “It was my dad, actually.”
“He was an army man?”
“Yeah. He was a soldier—died fighting when I was five. My mom told me stories growing up and I idolized him, so when Bucky joined up, so did I.”
“I need to meet this Bucky one day.”
“I really thought he’d leave when I did. He'll be back from deployment in May, if you still wanna meet him.”
“I'd be honored.”
She hummed around a mouthful of moscato. “All four of my grandparents served in World War II. Michael and I grew up on their stories and he enlisted as soon as he was able. I did too, and I got up to Flight Lieutenant before I got shot in the shoulder and was honorably discharged.”
“And then you became a lawyer.”
“And then I became a lawyer.” The oven beeped and she opened the door to a cloud of black smoke billowed into the room, making her gag. “Bloody hell.”
“Did you burn your dinner again?”
“Yes—stop laughing Steve, it's not funny!”
“I'm sorry.” He took a deep breath to compose himself and kept laughing.
“Let me make it up to you, Peg. I'm out of the office in about ten minutes. Wanna get dinner together?”
She wafted more smoke away from her with a cough. “I thought you'd never ask.”
Part 3: The Right Partner
It was hardly the most refined course of action, but she and Steve had been talking to each other long enough for her knocking on his door to not be so weird.
“Steve! I'm so glad you're home!” She tilted her head to the side and presented her shoulder to him. “Could I ask you a favor?”
He smirked as he got her brastrap back up her shoulder and she gave a dramatic sigh of relief. “You're a lifesaver, Rogers.”
“Did you really knock on my door to fix your strap, Carter?”
“It’s the most annoying feeling in the world, Rogers.” She held up her hands with a wink, bright red nails gleaming in the hallway light. “And what if I messed up these glamorous beauties?” Her hands went too far up and in a moment they were pressed to her hair. “Oh, bloody hell!”
Steve he helped her peel her hair out of the nail polish. “It's ok, Peg.”
She gave into her desire to pout, and stomped her foot for good measure. “This is going to be the third bloody time I paint them tonight.”
Steve laughed. “Tell you what, Carter. Get your bottle and some nail polish remover and come back here.”
He nodded, and Peggy was soon situated on his couch, acetone-soaked pads clearing away her failed attempt at a manicure.
“Did you work undercover as a nail technician when you were with the army?”
He snorted. “I'm sure that's exactly what the Uncle Sam needed to sink his funds into. Nah, Bucky’s sisters always wanted us to do stuff with them.”
“And these skills stuck?”
Steve gave her the most serious look he could muster. “After years of French braids and neon pink tutus, I was never the same man again.” His deadpan broke when Peggy fell over from laughing too hard, and eventually they got back to Peggy’s hands. Steve was efficient and precise, painting her nails so quickly Peggy declared him perfect and planted a kiss on his cheek.
“Don’t think you’re getting rid of me anytime soon, Rogers,” she grinned. “Between the nails and your cooking, I’m this close to dragging you into my bed.”
“Just between the nails and my cooking, doll?” His lips curled into a smirk that had her panties soaked by the end of his question.
“I’m not that easy, Captain,” she grinned, trying to keep her cool.
“Really, Lieutenant? So what would it take to close that gap?”
Peggy tilted her head back and pretended to think. “I’ve always been quite fond of dancing.”
That threw him for a loop. “Dancing?”
“How else do you make sure you have the right partner?”
“Well,” he bemoaned, padding over to the bookshelf he had in the corner, “I can't promise any miracles, but I promise I'll try to avoid your toes.” There was the scratch of a needle on vinyl, then the sounds of soft jazz filled the room and he stretched out a hand for her. “May I have this dance?”
“If you insist,” she said, rising to stand with him. “I’d just hate to smudge up your hard work.”
Steve took her hand in his and they started moving to the music. “Fuck the nails.”
“I think I’d rather fuck you,” she smiled, leading Steve around since he was being truthful—he wasn't the best dancer.
“That can be arranged,” he said, letting her twirl him under her arm with a laugh. “Just need a score from the judges.”
“They're deliberating,” Peggy said, pressing herself closer to Steve. They danced that way for a while, front to front and easing gently from waltz to away to swing, until the record finished its songs.They stayed together for a moment, both breathing a bit harder than their gentle dance demanded. “Hey, Steve?”
“Yeah Peg?” His face was so close to hers, she could make out the individual lashes on his eyes and it was entirely unfair for him to be so pretty.
She kissed him, entwining her hands in his hair as his arms wrapped tight around her waist. Peggy had been dreaming of kissing him for so long, she thought nothing could top her fantasies, but the proof was right in front of her. Steve was eager, devouring her with kisses, a phrase that had never made sense to her until her knees literally went weak under her and she leaned forward into his kiss, determined to give as good as she got, and when her teeth bit down on Steve’s lower lip and tugged, the sound that rumbled from deep in his chest made her pull back, breathless and smiling like a loon. “Take me to bed.”
“As you wish.” He pulled back just enough to scoop her up in his arms and carried her to his bedroom. She'd seen his place before, but she didn't pay too much attention to anything but the bed he set her down on. “Tell me if we're going too fast.”
“We probably are,” she answered, pulling off her shirt and smirking when his mouth went slack, “but something tells me that won't be a problem.”
They stripped with military efficiency and in a flash they were together again, joined at the mouth with hands wandering over every bit of skin they could reach. Steve tried to slow them down, moving to press kisses down her neck and chest, but Peggy only moaned and pulled him back up. “We can go slow later, Steve. Condoms?”
“Bedside drawer.” She reached for them, straddling Steve as she did so and enjoying the way he bucked up under her. “Just so you know, it's been a while so I’m probably— it won't—”
She bit down on his bottom lip to silence him, laughing as he shuddered. “Practice makes perfect, darling, and we have all the time in the world. Her fingers rolled the condom down his cock and she slowly worked herself onto it, with groans and moans and a drawn out curse when he finally bottomed out, and she was grinding down on him, because his hands were at her hips, helping her work herself up and up and up until he flipped them over, driving into her harder and harder until she was almost there, almost, and then his fingers were between her legs, circling around her clit once, twice and she was coming around him, her muscles squeezing his own orgasm from him. Steve collapsed on top of her, breathing hard and pressing kisses to whatever parts of her he could reach.
“Peggy…” He whispered her name as he recovered, promises and praises slipping from his mouth until Peggy finally came to her senses again.
“That… that was amazing.” She settled herself a little more under him, enjoying the weight and heat of his body pinning hers down. “If that's where we’re starting, I think we’re going to have a great time together, darling.”
Steve felt himself start to respond as her hands wandered over him, and he took care of the condom before he made a bigger mess. “As much as I love this, doll, it's gonna take a bit for me to get back into attention.
“Oh dear,” she teased. “Whatever can we do until then?”
His hands went around her thighs and spread her open, and the moment his mouth touched her core she was gone.
“I think I found another reason to keep you around.” He laughed and pressed his fingers into her, and that was the last they thought about for a while.
Dooley poked his head in the door of Peggy’s office, catching her putting away the last of the files that had been cluttering her desk for months. “Carter!”
Peggy didn't bother to hide her sigh of satisfaction at finally being finished. “Yes, Mr. Dooley?”
His jaw dropped. “You’re done?”
“The Gibbs case is on its way to the judge and Whitney Frost has decided to settle out of court, so yes, sir, we are finally done with all our active cases.”
“Good. You have a new client.”
“Excellent,” she beamed, making Dooley take a step back. She cheered inside. “Who?”
“Phil Coulson with Shield, the construction firm.”
Peggy nodded. She’d met Phil at a few networking events; he was a bit dry, but an all-around good man. “Have we scheduled an appointment?”
“He’ll be here in ten minutes.”
“Time to get the coffee started, then.” She stood up and brushed the imaginary lint from her skirt. “Are you joining us today, sir?”
“No, my wife is making me take two weeks off or else she's filing for divorce.” Peggy would have made a more sympathetic face if Mrs. Dooley didn't make that threat every three days. “You're on your own. If your team fucks around while I'm gone—”
“We're all fired, yes, sir.” It was another omnipresent threat, but between morning sex with Steve before work and an honest-to-god crepe Suzette breakfast, Peggy was still smiling.
Dooley walked her to the conference room, giving the usual ride-or-for speech to her team, before heading out the door. “And stop showing teeth, Carter, you're creeping me out.”
“I aim to please,” she called after him, before getting her team together and focused to meet the new client.
“Looks like someone woke up on the right side of the bed,” Angie teased, helping Daniel set the conference room.
“What can I say?” Peggy smirked, “I’m a simple woman. I like handsome bearded men and breakfast food.”
“And you had both of those this morning?” Thompson asked, tripping over a power cord.
“A lady never tells.” She winked at Angie, who cackled just as the receptionist announced that their 10 o'clock had arrived. “Wonderful, Rose, please show him in.”
Coulson walked in, as bureaucratic as Peggy remembered him, and she shook his hand. “Hello, Mr. Coulson, lovely to see you again. Welcome to the S.S.R.”
“Ms. Carter,” he smiled. “A pleasure.”
“How may we help you today?”
He jumped straight in. “Shield is handling the construction for Asgard Incorporated; we won the contract over Hydra Development LLC, but now they are suing over…
They talked over the project and their troubles, mainly just Coulson and Peggy with some of the others chiming in at times.
“What do you think?” he finally asked, looking around the room.
Peggy smiled. “I think this is the start of a great relationship.”
“Good morning,” Sousa said as Angie walked into the office. She grunted in reply. “Peggy not with you?”
She grunted again, shuffling to him and stealing his mug.
“Think she’ll get here in time to see Thompson sitting in her chair again?”
Angie drowned his mug and glared.
“Is that a no?”
“You and your endless questions will drive me to the brink.”
“Did you say drink?” he smiled.
“Brink, Daniel, brink. Although drink doesn't sound so bad.”
Sousa chuckled and put another pot on. “To be fair, we don’t have to drive you very far to drink.”
Angie watched the steady drip with something akin to horror in her eyes. “It's gonna take forever.” She groaned and dropped herself dramatically in a chair. “I need something that’s more than coffee but less than cocaine.”
“Just make sure Dooley doesn't hear you,” Sousa said. “The last time I joked about killing someone for a cup he sent me to HR for ‘inappropriate workplace conduct.’”
“You know what’s going to get us to HR?” Angie smiled. “You and me talking about the boss’ love life.”
Daniel gasped dramatically and dropped into the chair next to her. “Dooley?”
“No, you butt head. Peggy!”
His mouth dropped into a perfect ‘o.’ “Peggy?”
“Yup.” She popped her lips and leaned in closer. “You notice how she's been smiling more? Sneaking into her office less? Actually going home at night?”
He had. “I though she's just started drinking, or that you two were getting along,” he joked.
She slapped his shoulder with a giggle. “Daniel, she's getting laid, I'm sure of it.”
Sousa crinkled his nose. “Eww.”
“Don't be a prude. I'm telling you because she's been in a better mood, and that means that things are going to start changing for us.”
“For better or worse, do you think?”
“Nothing’s worse than being stuck on secretary duty with Dooley,” Angie sneered. “The man is straight out of the fifties, I swear. And you can't be happy just fetching files for Thompson.”
He couldn't argue with that. “It would be nice to actually use my law degree for once, but do you think she could take on Dooley? She's not as bad as I thought she was, but that man won't let her do her job.”
“I noticed that,” she said, “but I think she has the balls to take him on.”
“Glad you think so.” The voice behind them made them jump and they whirled around to see Peggy smiling down at them. “It's time to get to work.”
Part 4: Paramours
Peggy was surprised. Work was… good. The office was running a lot more smoothly after Dooley stopped hovering over her shoulder when he returned from vacation. She was sleeping again, something that she didn't realize she desperately missed until she woke up to Steve’s breakfasts in the morning. And Steve… she didn't know what the hell she'd done in another life to deserve Steve, but there were no words to express how quickly she'd fallen for him, and how right it felt.
She was pulled from her thoughts by Rose calling her name. “I'm sorry, what was that?”
“Mr. Coulson and his team is here.”
“Thank you, Rose.” Peggy left her desk and walked out to the conference room, arriving just in time for the doors to open. The party came in, and Peggy’s mouth fell open. Steve was standing at the door, his own eyes a bit wide, and it took Angie jabbing her in the side to bring her to her feet. “Mr. Coulson.”
“Good morning, Ms. Carter.” The man greeted her with a firm handshake and a professional smile. “I would like to present Mr. Stark, Ms. Romanoff, and Mr. Rogers, also from Shield. They're the experts we were discussing last week.”
“A pleasure,” Peggy said, shaking everyone’s hand in turn. When she came to Steve, she gave him the smallest surreptitious wink she could manage, and beamed when he returned it.
“Now, let’s begin. Mr. Coulson, you mentioned at the briefing last Thursday that the property in question had changed hands no fewer than seventeen times…”
They broke for an extended lunch and Peggy made a show of shuffling through her papers, smiling when she came upon the plans.
“Yes, Ms. Carter?”
“I have a few questions about the blueprints.”
“Come on, Peg, it's a working lunch,” Thompson complained.
“Exactly, Jack— working.”
“I'd be happy to answer any questions,” Steve said politely, looking over the papers.
“Perhaps in my office,” she said, looking at the mess on the table. “We can keep eating there.”
“Do you need anyone else, Ms.Carter?” Coulson asked.
“Just Mr. Rogers will suffice; please continue with your lunch.”
They walked down the hall and closed the door to her office behind them. They barely had the frame of mind to put down their food before launching themselves at each other. It was a panting, sweating mess of limbs and lips and Peggy had never been happier to have a private office.
“Steve—” she gasped as he worked her blouse open and started trailing kisses down her skin. “Why didn't you tell me?”
“I didn't know,” he said, sucking at a tender part of her collarbone that her blouse would just barely be able to cover up. She’d be more upset at him if she weren't messing his hair beyond repair. “Just got in when they told us we were coming over and I forgot my phone at home—” he moaned as Peggy got his pants down around his ankles and hiked up her skirt. “Peggy!”
She pulled her panties to the side and sank down on him with a gasp. “How come you never told me how good you look in a suit?”
“My girl’s got a thing for power dynamics, who knew?” he laughed. It cut off into a whimper as she clenched as hard as she could around him, and he shoved her things off her desk to clear a space.
Peggy flipped them at the last moment so Steve was on his back, and she nibbled along his jawline. “As long as I'm on top, Steve.”
“You got it, sweetheart.” The thrill of being in her office, the risk of being caught, the knowledge that their teams were just feet away all fed their lust, and before long Steve was muffling his cries in Peggy’s shoulder. His fingers kept going when he couldn't and she came with a long, drawn out keen that she couldn't disguise as anything other than pure pleasure, and the thought that someone heard her just made her come harder. They calmed down just long enough to make sure no one heard before attacking each other again.
“I always wanted an illicit office romance,” Steve confessed as their lunchtime drew to a close. They hadn't eaten, but were sated in their own way.
Peggy sighed at the mess of her knickers and tossed them in the bin. “As long as it's with me, Captain.”
“Never thought otherwise, Lieutenant.” He kissed her, and his tongue started to worry the bottom of her lip the way he always did before those lips started working their way further down—
Peggy stepped back before they could keep going, and laughed. “If we're going to be having a workplace dalliance, I think you're going to need to start carrying makeup wipes.” She pulled one from her bag and set him in front of a mirror. “That, or I need to stop wearing lipstick. And we need to establish rules about these love bites.”
“You love them.”
“As long as they're not visible.” She knew her hair was a mess and she put it up in a messy bun. “Do I at least look more work-harried than sexed up?”
“No, it looks like we've been fucking in your office for the last forty minutes.”
“Prat.” She righted her skirt one last time and tossed her uneaten lunch over her ruined underpants, his right after. “Ok, you just spent the last half hour explaining the reasons for your architecture design to me.” He'd been doing plenty of that at home, so she already knew what the plans were about. “However, I'm not very good at understanding them. We may need to continue these private tutoring sessions in the future.”
“Ms. Carter,” he said, holding an arm out to her, “I like they way you think.”
Love was easy; sneaking around to exercise that love was a lot harder. Steve thought he and Peggy were doing a pretty good job so far. Hardly anyone commented on how much private time he had with her whenever Shield and S.S.R. interacted, and they'd never once gotten caught.”
“You're getting cocky,” Peggy warned.
Steve shut the conference room door behind him. “They think I'm talking to my girlfriend, which I kind of am. Don't worry, I was in Special Ops, remember? I know how to sneak around.”
“I'm pretty sure Natasha knows everything from what you had for breakfast to who killed the Black Dahlia,” he mumbled. “But she hasn't said anything yet.”
“It's not a big deal,” Peggy sighed, “although I do enjoy the clandestine.”
“Back at you, doll.”
“See you at home tonight, Steve. Love you.”
“I love you too, sweetheart.” Steve hung up the phone with a smile on his face and headed back into the room. When he arrived, everyone stopped talking. His face fell. “What is it?”
“What's what?” Natasha asked, the corner of her mouth ticking up.
Steve ignored Natasha, knowing that she’d just play him with Sherlockian skill. He focused on Scott, the easiest nut to crack. “Spill, Lang.”
“I'm not saying anything,” he said immediately, going to sit next to Natasha. “You'll protect me, right?”
“Shut up and eat your soup, Lang.”
Steve glared and looked to Sam. “Sam…”
“Sammy—” he pouted.
“Don't do it, Steve.”
“You know you're one of my best friends, right?”
“Don't bend,” Scott called from behind Natasha.
“It’s not my place,” Sam said as Tony walked into the office.
“What are we talking about?” the engineer asked. “About the good Captain boning the hot chick at S.S.R.?”
Natasha held out a hand and everyone started searching their pockets. “Pay up, losers.”
“I knew I should have bet on Stark,” Sam complained.
“You almost caved to those puppy dog eyes,” Barton whined as Natasha took his wallet. “Aww, money, no!”
Natasha said something unsavory in Russian under her breath, making Barton scowl and flip her off. “Fuck off, birdbrain.”
“Alright!” Steve slammed his hands on the wooden table, making everyone stare at him. “Enough! What the hell is going on?”
“We’re taking bets on whether you are having an affair with Peggy Carter,” Wanda said, breezing into the room with her arms full of papers.
“To be fair, that bet hasn’t been called yet,” Natasha added, counting out the cash. “This one is for who told you we were betting.”
“Told you guys it would be Stark.” Wanda pocketed the substantial bundle Natasha handed her. “Yes! Guess who’s taking her boyfriend out to dinner tonight?”
Steve felt his jaw drop. “What?!”
“Yeah, about that,” Tony clapped a hand on his back. “Bad form, Rogers. I just heard you tell your lady friend you love her on the phone, yet you came out of Carter’s office with red on your collar yesterday. You’re a two-timing son of a bitch and I would fire you if I could.”
“Your dad doesn't own Shield anymore, Tony,” Sam sighed. “You didn't want to run it, so you don't get to fire anyone. And we were going to stage an intervention before this all devolved into a betting pool.”
“I’m still not sure Steve’s cheating,” Wanda said. “I’m not getting that feeling, and he’s not that kind of guy.”
“Yeah, cuz you know everything everyone’s thinking, don’t you,” Tony sneered.
“I told you Pepper was going to break up with you if you didn’t spend more time with her—”
“Enough!” Steve yelled again, but his voice was lost in his team’s sea of words.
Thompson came into the office, soaking wet and in a more than sour mood. He walked into the main office and shook himself like a dog, making everyone around him yell. “Shuddup,” he snapped, heading straight to the low table in the back. “Where’s the coffee?”
Sousa pushed a mug into his hands and all but shoved him to the coffeemaker. Everyone else already had a cup, and fell on the firm’s latest intern like a pack of rabid wolves when he walked in with a stack of donut boxes. Thompson rolled his eyes as Peggy all but launched herself at the pastries and bit into a chocolate donut with an orgasmic moan. “Damn, Carter,” he whistled. “Are you sure you're not on your period?”
Peggy raised an eyebrow and took another bite before washing down her mouthful with coffee. “I started my day by waking up in a pool of my own blood. Is that how you’d like me to end yours?”
A low “oooohh” rolled through the room, and Thompson felt his neck heat up.
“Shut up, Carter, or I’ll tell everyone about how you’re cheating on your boyfriend with the meathead architect from Shield.”
That made everyone freeze, but Peggy just wiped her mouth with a napkin and raised an eyebrow at Thompson. “I beg your pardon?”
He stopped when he realized everyone was waiting on his response, and it hit him all of a sudden that for all his comments about her, Peggy was still his boss. “Nothing,” he blushed. “Forget it.”
“Not nothing if you said it, Jack,” she said. Her voice unerringly polite, the distinct opposite of the look in her eyes and Thompson belatedly remembered that Peggy had originally started out as RAF. It sent a shiver of fear up his back, and he tried to deal with the predatory smile on her face. “Explain.”
“Well, everyone knows you’re sleeping with Rogers,” he blurted out, making Peggy roll her eyes.
“And?” his jaw dropped. “You’re admitting to cheating on your boyfriend with him!”
All eyes turned to Peggy, who was still smiling at Thompson.
“But you just—”
“I agreed that I am sleeping with Steve Rogers. I did not agree that I am cheating on my significant other. Now, can you think of an explanation that would make those two statements true?”
Thompson turned bright red as the answer came to him. “He’s your—”
“Wonderful,” she said, her voice turning patronizing as she slowly stood and made her way to him. Her hand patted him on the head, once, twice, and then she turned her heel. “Now, why don’t we get back to work? Business with Shield should conclude nicely in the next couple of days, we can take a breather then.”
Everyone turned to their papers and donuts, breaking off into their teams, but even the sound wasn't enough to cover up Peggy’s voice. “Thompson?”
“Why don’t you start taking up the lunch orders? Thanks.”
Peggy peeled herself off Steve and collapsed in a sweaty heap next to him. She took the time to catch her breath and relax, pulling down the covers to let the air cool their bodies, “You know, my team thought I was cheating on you with you.”
Steve burst out laughing.
Epilogue: Christmas with the Carters
Peggy refused to let Steve handle her luggage, even if he insisted on letting him haul her bag into the train compartment rack. “I'm not an invalid,” she reminded him.
“No, you're just sick with the flu.”
“It's not the flu,” she insisted, but he only rolled his eyes and handed her a bottle of water, muttering about how she needed to be less of a baby and just admit that she was sick. “You threw up thirty minutes ago.”
“Just because I'm throwing up doesn't mean it's the flu,” she said stubbornly, making him gripe about how Bucky had to be laughing at the way tables had turned since they'd been kids, and that she enjoyed being contrary.
“You didn't drink your coffee this morning!”
“It’s not the flu, and story deflecting; you cannot be scared that Michael isn't going to like you.”
“I have your brother, his husband, and your niece to impress,” he said. “And it's Christmas!”
“We've been Skyping for months! You've already met my family.”
“It's not the same.”
“Mum and Dad already love you.”
“They're not flying in until New Year’s. I have time to freak out.”
Peggy tried to calm him. “Sharon will love you, I know she will, and so will Derek, and Michael… he’ll put on a big brother act for five minutes and then you two will be the best of friends, I know it.”
“It's still nerve wracking,” Steve said as the train pulled away from the station.
“I will be the bigger person, and not remind you how badly you teased me about meeting Sarah for the first time.”
“Ma loves you, and it was a great party. At least you already knew Bucky.”
Peggy cringed at the memory. “Yes, because me pulling a gun on him for breaking into the flat made such a great first impression.” She hated her paranoid remnants of military behavior, but the loaded pistol under her pillow gave her a sense of security she couldn't sleep without. It was Bucky’s fault, anyway; he forgot that Peggy had moved in, and attempting to surprise Steve with a body slam at 5 am had not gone over well.
“He loved it,” Steve promised with a kiss. “It's his favorite story to tell and you know it.”
They sat in silence for a minute, “I'm the guy that’s been sleeping with his sister for the last two years.”
“Shut up, Steve.” She silenced his protests with a kiss and settled in to enjoy the trip up north. She knew it was going to be an interesting vacation—her first since coming to New York two years ago, and the less said about how displeased Thompson was about Sousa being left in charge, the better. She let her brain drift to imagining her Christmas. Peggy pretended not to know about the box Steve had been keeping in his pocket the last few months, or that she'd heard him asking her family for their blessing. She wondered what he would think about the little bombshell she would drop on him, her fingers tightening over her stomach. The little framed ultrasound was already wrapped in shiny paper, and she could only picture his excitement at something they'd only talked theoretically about.
Peggy drifted off to sleep as they left the city. The sound of the train always reminded her of home.