2016-01-05 The Apple That Falls From The Tree
This scene is rated Everybody
Warning: N/A
2016-01-05 format
Players: Agent Carter, Agent Tracer
GMed by N/A
Title: The Apple That Falls From The Tree

DESC:


The northern wall of this room is one large (bullet proof) glass window that looks out onto the grounds of Shield HQ and upstate New York beyond that. The floor of the office is a polished dark marble and it shines in the daytime sunlight. A large gray area rug rests against the far wall, though, and a massive old oak desk atop of it. The oak furnishing seems out of place in this starkly modern room. Two wide screen, flat panel monitors rest on the desk top with a built in keyboard and mouse. A pile of folders also rest in an old fashion inbox. The desktop is a strange mix of modern and archaic.

The other three walls of this office are a solid black in shade and hold mostly black and white photos. The 107th all in their dress uniforms; the first fully operational unit of SHIELD in 1950; Captain America news articles; Peggy, Howard and Dum-Dum Dugan outside of SHIELD's first office building; and lastly, a series of sketches that go from the SSR logo to the SHIELD logo, showing the progression of the design that is used to this day. An old fashioned, knob radio rests against the far wall. There is an overstuffed leather couch and two chairs that flank a low coffee table in the corner. If one looks close, a blanket and pillow can be seen tucked under the couch.

SCENE:


Most people took time off, went home to family or friends in the evenings, but Peggy has been so strict about not really partaking in any of those things there was no real reason to leave her office. She'd picked up just a bit of food from the cafeteria downstairs and the empty tray rests off to the side, salad bowl and abandoned fork atop it. The only thing that remains on her desk of dinner is her tea cup, but that is an ever present object to the still sternly British director.

She's got something open on the street in front of her, eyes tracing over the text of a file on her screen, lips resting in a not entirely thrilled line. Otherwise, she looks relaxed. She's not exactly expecting company tonight so her suit jacket is off and her silk blouse is unbuttoned below the hollow of her throat, a more casual look. She scrolls her mouse down another paragraph of text.


<knock, knock, knock>

Without waiting for an answer, the door opens and there stands a young man — clearly in his twenties — wearing a dapper suit, with a well-trimmed haircut, and sporting a coat of stubble on his face that looks like it's on purpose.

He smiles over at the director, taking a single step inside, and puts his hands behind his back, clasping them together. "Begging your pardon, Marm," he tells her in a pleasant, British accent. "Daniel Tracer. You wanted to see me."

He voices it like a statement, not a question.


There is a slight winkle to her nose, having expected the person during business hours, but then it's fairly well known that Peggy keeps business hours at pretty much all hours. She sighs and calls to the door even as it's opening, "Come in?" A slightly skeptical look in her eyes as the young man steps inside, especially since he started coming in without her permission. The director studies him up and down, expression distant and professional. "I was expecting you earlier, Agent Tracer. Trouble with your flight?" She inquires, her own accent still clearly clipped and British as well.


"It was cancelled on account of poor weather, Marm," he replies evenly, and smiles again as he takes a few steps further into the room. "That, and a foiled terrorist plot to take over my replacement flight. Shoddy work, if you ask me."

He leans forward, not really able to see what's on the computer screen.

"I take it that's my file, Marm."


"No, I read your file at 8 am, considering I expected you hours ago." Whatever is on the computer is smoothly minimized, leaving her screen blank with a regulation SHIELD logo on it — no fancy wall paper for Peggy. She nods to one of the comfortably plush chairs across her desk, motioning for him to sit there as she watches the tall young man who achingly reminds her of Daniel in some strange way. It means she stares at him just a moment longer before looking down and back to her tea cup.


"Of course, Marm."

Silence.

<Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick tock…>

For a time, the only noise in the room is the clock on the wall — ticking away as each second passes. It is a nice clock: a vintage analogue device from the Second World War — engraved also, but the young Agent Tracer is not paying attention to it. Instead, the British fellow stands there, watching the director sip her tea, his gloved hands still clasped behind his back, his expression…

Curious.

He is almost smiling.

Almost.

<Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick…>


As he doesn't actually take that chair which she motioned for him to settle into, the director arches both dark brows. Her red lips, the one thing about her that is still starkly feminine, rest into a cool line. "Do you like standing, or are you just one of those new graduates who can't do a single thing without being given an order, Agent Tracer?" Her British tone is unforgiving and distant. There is a reason why so many called her the ice queen. The untouchable. Many were more frightened of her than Nick Fury even.


Tracer clears his throat, stirred — rather, commanded — from his reverie, and walks toward the chair. "Of course, Marm," he hastily replies. "At once, Marm."

Taking the seat, he settles down into it, careful not to relax too much, just in case it pisses off his boss even more. Nevertheless, he somehow manages to make 'sitting up straight' look something like 'lounging'. "If there is a problem with my record, Marm Director, perhaps we could begin with that?" he asks helpfully, although the gleam in his eyes might suggest he is being less helpful and more roguish.


Dark eyes trace over his frame, very much the same color as the eyes that stare him back in the mirror every morning, but brown was a fairly common color, in truth. Peggy is almost the opposite of him, he manages to look being straight like being casual, where as she is out of her suit jacket, her shirt loosened several buttons and her high heels are off beneath her desk, yet she somehow manages to make it look as if she's standing at attention. Her back is straight, shoulders squared, something fierce and tense in just the way she perches in her chair. She looks like a woman who never truly actually just relaxes.

"Nothing wrong with your record, though I am curious as to why you were assigned to this office? You could have served closer to home for many years, you didn't need to come serve on American soil." Not that Peggy was one to speak, considering she cannot remember the last time she saw England and clearly has a British accent, despite being the director of an organization that started with the US.


"With all due respect, Marm," Tracer replies cordially (with just a hint of sass). "One could say the same of you." He adjusts his position, and peers at Carter as one trying to figure her out. After a moment or two, he adds:

"Americans, if anyone, need the help. A number of assignments require more of a blade than a blunt instrument. I thought this the place in which I could be of most use, Marm." He pauses. "Do you like it here, Marm?" he asks bluntly.


"But we aren't talking about me." Director Carter bandies back just as smoothly, not missing the fact that he's watching her just a little too long and heavily from a regular recruit. He's also more willing to meet her eyes than almost any new graduate she's ever met. She arches a brow quietly, now studying him deeper. His every motion was rather curious. "SHIELD is an international organization. You'd be pulled for missions which you're best suited to run, no matter what side of the ocean you work upon. You're also not with any of your other class mates here." His question makes her frown, sitting just a bit straighter, "Like it? What I like or dislike has nothing to do with it. This is where I work. This is who was willing to hire me after the war."


There is a wince — a tiny, faint, subtle little wince — around Tracer's eyes when the director says the words: 'This is who was willing to hire me after the war.' He tries to hide it, but the young fellow has already made more than one faux-pas in this interview/briefing, and this would count as another.

Naturally, Marm Director," he replies with a nod, slightly more appropriate for his rank and position. "I meant no offense." A pause. "Do you have a first mission for me, Marm?" he asks.


"Not yet. We are keeping on guard with the Sentinel program coming down the pipe from the US government, but we are not to interfere — to help or to harm. SHIELD is keeping a neutral stance on the matter." From the strength of her voice, that is actually an order. A specific order to *not get involved*. Which, considering the organization, is an awfully strange order after all. Peggy takes another sip of her cold tea, trying to look relaxed, less intimidating, as she had the boy wincing already. She wasn't quite trying to be the ice queen they all called her. It just… Happened.

"If there is nothing else, you are dismissed. I simply like to know the face of the newest members of my team. Despite what they say in the lunch room, my door is actually always open, if there is anything *you* need to discuss." The tone of those words is more a practiced speech than something which comes natural to her. Like she knows they are words she should say and yet she's not quite comfortable with them yet.


Agent Tracer rises to his feet, giving Carter a nod of his head in reply, and takes a moment to adjust his jacket. Afterward, he clasps his gloved hands behind his back again and offers the director a polite smile.

He takes one step… two… then three… toward Carter's desk, and lightly places his fingertips upon its surface — except that his hand no longer has a glove on it…

"Thank you for your time, Marm Director," he replies after a moment. "It is an honour to finally be working with you." There is slight inflection upon the word 'finally' and particularly upon the word 'you', then he removes his hand from her desk, takes a step back and starts making his way to the door.


The moment Peggy sees there is no glove on his hand, she knows he's going to try to pull something. But *what*, she has no clue. Her dark eyes widen a bit and her head tilts, staring at him incredulously. Surely he wouldn't. But then he's reaching for her desk and she abruptly stands up, hand jerking across the tabletop at him and grabbing his wrist before he can actually make contact with her desk. While she tried to get all sleeve, it's hard at this angle, and the outside of her fingertip brushes across the back of his upper wrist/lower palm.

"Agent Tracer! What in bloody *hell* do you think you're doing? I've read your damn file, I know what your gifts are. Do you really think starting this relationship with an invasion of privacy was a wise idea?" Well, he's managed to get some emotion out of her. But it's mainly disappointment, lined with a touch of anger. Motherly emotions.


His sleeve grabbed as he turns to go, Daniel Tracer silently curses himself — his eyes closing, his lips forming a thin line across his face. He resists the urge to shake his head in self-reproach. Stepping back to the desk (and the irate Director), he takes a breath, schools his features, and says:

"My apologies, Marm." He takes yet another breath, slowly and calmly. "It's a habit. I wanted to get a feel for the room, Marm, not so much you personally." He waits a moment, and takes a step back.

"You're the right fit for this office, Director Carter," he tells her — speaking very much NOT like a new recruit straight out of the Academy. "It… likes you. Again, I apologise for over-stepping, and I shall take my leave. Good evening, Marm Director Carter."


In the split of a heartbeat that the outside of her hand touches his palm, Danny will get the one thing from her that she can't all behind her brick of ice that keeps most of her emotions in check. 'He looks like Daniel even more in person.' The thought comes complete with heartache. Homesickness. A touch of love. An entire version of Peggy which is completely shielded away from this world. And then their skin is no longer touching, they've broken from each other and she is nothing more than the icy director behind the desk.

"Considering you've had exactly one 8 hour shift being actively on this job — a shift you were *late* for — I don't know that you are the one who should be telling me that I am the right fit for anything. If I receive a single report from anyone else in this office that you're using your gifts to violate their privacy, I *will* remove your commission and send you so fast back to being a recruit you won't know what your middle name is. Is that understood, *Mister* Tracer?"


Danny's back stiffens to military perfection, and aside from the tiniest gleam of satisfaction in his eyes, he becomes a picture of duty and solemnity. Oddly enough, there is very little contrition about him — merely acceptance.

And of course… there's that flash of insight into Peggy Carter's mind.

His mother's mind.

He knows he has jeopardised his mission in this little 'stunt' of his, and not just his standing in SHIELD, oh no. No, there is far more at stake here. "Yes, Marm!" he replies with a soldier's enthusiasm, staring at the space of air above her head… then he looks directly at her and nods again. "Thank you, Marm. It won't happen again, Marm." The young man turns about and walks toward the door, pulling on his glove again so that he doesn't have to touch the doorknob with his bare skin, and opens it.

It is only when stepping *through* the door that his expression changes.

Only when she cannot possibly see his face at all.

That he smiles.

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