A Friendly Trespass
Roleplaying Log: A Friendly Trespass
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Michael and Peggy have a heart to heart.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: March 12, 2019
IC Location: Michael's Apartment
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 18 Mar 2019 23:27
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

That place Michael has been staying is dark. However, a man that has worked in the espionage business this long would certainly ascertain a presence in his living room shortly. A man who has been burned by his agency may know it immediately. A figure is slumped on the couch. Perhaps word is not so much slumped as it is collapsed onto it bonelessly.

A quick investigation reveals it to be his sister. She rouses at the noise at the door. "Michael?"

* * *

And despite the fact that he's been doing low-level SHIELD agent things that aren't particularly challenging for him, Michael is as sharp as ever. So she's greeted by her brother, holding a gun that he levels at her, one hand on the light switch. "Peggy?" He keeps the gun up but sweeps it around the room instead. "What's going on?" He sounds…quite puzzled. But it's not every day your sister breaks into your flat.

* * *

Pushing herself up is almost slow going. The gun in Michael's hand is immediately dismissed, she assumed he'd level a gun on her when she broke into his flat. "Oh, you know, the end of the world, dire straits, the usual, dear brother." Her words are actually almost slurred, but she still somehow seems comprehensive. "You need more art on your walls, I think. And also better security. Or perhaps I really am just that good to be able to break into your place."

* * *

Michael looks…confused. But when she slurs, things become a little clearer. He sighs and slides his gun back away under his coat. "You're drunk." he declares. "And you still bypassed my security completely sozzled. Well done." Those last two words are wry and slightly fond. "I'll get you some water."

His latest flat is deeply nondescript, with little of his personality or style. Then again, the one time he did nest ended poorly, so he's back to living like everywhere he stays is just temporary. Then again, that has turned out to be true so far.

He goes into the small alcove kitchen and fills a pint glass full of water and carries it over to her. "Do you know how many ends of the world I've beared personal witness to?"

* * *

"I shall neither confirm nor deny your assumptions, Agent Carter." Peggy leans against the back of the couch. While she's certainly not always put together, this is drunker than Michael has seen Peggy…possibly ever. "Then that should tell you that you need better security. Or perhaps that I am just that much better." A finger is raised and then lowered in succession. "I don't need water, I need a bourbon. Or perhaps a whiskey. Or perhaps water including one or the other." She smirks at Michael, but takes the water. "I am sure you have seen many, wise elder brother. You have seen it all. So tell me, what is it all for?"

* * *

Michael shrugs off his coat and settles on the couch next to Peggy. "Drink up that whole pint and I'll give you a nice dram of single malt. But only if you promise to sip it. How's that?" It's not often that he's warm, and even less so, it seems, when it's the two of them. Things have been strained pretty much since they reconnected - for good reasons. But right now, his body language is relaxed and smiles come more easily. He's clearly trying to put her at-ease.

"What's it for? How do you mean? You'll have to be a titch more specific."

* * *

With a slow shake of her head, Peggy laughs. "I don't need concessions. I see what you're doing." However, for once she does not argue. Instead, she starts to sip at the glass. "All of it. Why are you still interesting in being a spy? Your agency burned you, I understand it is all business, but you can't tell me that you did not feel personally affronted by the sudden cut off. So, why? Why continue with it?"

* * *

"Because I don't know how to do anything else," says Michael quietly, truthfully. Perhaps it's because Peggy has her guard down, but his is slipping down too. And that's incredibly rare for him, especially these days. "What would I do? Retire? Go play golf? Start a consulting firm? Get a job at Starbucks?" He shakes his head sadly and smiles a bit tightly. "No. I'm a soldier and a spy. And as imperfect as SHIELD is, and even as rot is forming, I can do more inside its walls than out."

* * *

"It's more than rot." This is the most forward the two of them have been together and Peggy does not waste it. Her guard is down, so is her brother's. They've been at odds, fought, betrayed. However, right now she needs her older brother like she did at the very start of the war. She needs the person who saw who she could truly be and refused to let her settle.

"A man who the other Peggy Carter gave our SSR pins to…he thought…" she trails off. "He thought I would be complicit in genocide. He thought I was capable of it, Michael. This is a man who trusted the other Peggy Carter, who would have followed her anywhere. What am I doing here? I fought my entire life against this very thing and now what am I doing? I'm a shadow. I don't know anything else, either, and I have nothing to gain, only things to lose."

She shakes her head, angry, almost spilling water on his couch. "Why am I doing this? I'm trying to live up to a ghost and I never wanted that."

* * *

Michael reaches out to take the glass from her, to set it on the table within easy reach. "Idealism doesn't last, Peggy. Time always kills it. We make compromises as time goes on. One step, then another, then another. Then one day we look back and see how far we've strayed off the path we thought we were on." He speaks quietly, thoughtfully. "You've seen the end of the book without experiencing the chapters in between. I can't imagine what that must be like."

* * *

"It's more than that." Peggy allows Michael to pull the glass out of her reach and then to hold her hand. "This is not about idealism. Something is happening. I generally assumed I would have to engage in spygames the rest of my life, but within my own agency? One that I started? One that I feel responsible for though I had none of the experiences that led it to this? What does one do with that information? I have never felt at such a loss. I know what is right and what is wrong, I know what I must do, but it seems so…" she shrugs her shoulders. "What was it all for? I was so angry at you for leaving, for doing what you did. And yet…I think you may be the only one who may understand now."

* * *

Michael is quiet for a moment as he considers the situation thoughtfully. "You shouldn't feel responsible for SHIELD. Even within your counterpart's heyday, there were no doubt forces working to use the agency for their own aims. There always are. Until recently, Six-Five managed to avoid it only by being quite small, extremely nimble and absolutely, completely paranoid. We knew that British Intelligence as a whole had…" he huffs a breath, "…not moles, but those running agendas counter to our own, and in some cases counter to the interests of the British people. I learned very early on to accept that was going to happen and do my best to move around that rot and weak spots. It seemed a natural symptom of an organization growing to a certain size and power."

* * *

"Shouldn't I?" Peggy looks to Michael. "I started it, Michael. That was mine. I did it. I remember the day we cracked the champagne, our first office. It's very clear to me and why we did it. Should I give that up because of what I became? That's not me. I'm slowly realizing it, but I'm not the woman that Palmer killed. WE were each other, but now we are totally separate. Perhaps that's why I was so angry at you. You rejected two of us. Or maybe it was only because I came back that you reached out. I'm not sure."

Leaning her arm agains the couch, she studies Michael. "Is moving around things what you want to do? Is that why you left us? To move around rot and to ignore it? When I learned you died, I imagined you pulling a comrade out of a foxhole and then being either hit by a sniper or a bomb."

* * *

* OOC Time: Wed Mar 13 20:29:54 2019 *

* * *

Kitty Pryde heads to the FRP Room Hub.

* * *

Michael was about to say something about letting go of the things you built and a complicated geopolitical climate. But then Peggy hits him with a one-two punch of guilt. His expression tightens. He looks down and away.

When he speaks, his voice is quite quiet. "You remember what the war was like. How we were all staring down the barrel of very real annihilation. The Blitz shaking our capital." He pauses again. His clear blue eyes look darker. "When I first accepted the assignment, I thought it would only be temporary. The SS had my number, so my death was faked." He swallows. "After…the treatment…" the serum, "…I didn't trust myself. And I wasn't sure I really was Michael Carter anymore. So what right did I have to come home?"

* * *

The drunk Carter has no holds barred. For this conversation she doesn't sound angry or bitter, instead Peggy sounds questioning, almost a bit morose. "I do," she says immediately. The war was not that long ago for her. Or, at least, it was not as long ago as it was for the brother that lived through all those years.

"You had every right, Michael. Did you think we'd judge you? I would? You're still my brother, you're still the comrade I would want at my side to fight dragons."

* * *

"You didn't know me then," says Michael suddenly. He looks up and there's something naked in his expression. "Peggy, I wasn't myself. The supersoldier serum threw me so out of balance that I didn't find anything even like myself until the Nineties. When I wasn't a blubbering mess I was a psychopath on the Crown's leash. I have done things…" he hesites and shakes his head. "I've often wondered if I've taken more lives than I've saved."

* * *

"M. Carter." Peggy tilts her head. "That wasn't Thompson forging things to make me look bad. It wasn't Margaret Carter, it was Michael Carter." For some reason she had not et put that together. Perhaps she had dismissed Thompson's ploy for the past that it is or perhaps she never thought her brother capable of a massacre.

Peggy leans forward a bit, looking a bit wan. "I see. I see." She reaches for the water glass again. "Michael that was…." what can she say? She knows what Erskine said about the formula. However, she shakes her head. "You were drugged, changed. You've spoken with the other Peggy. She would know more about it than I do."

* * *

"In the early days, they had me so heavily drugged to try and counteract the effects of the serum that, for a time, I was as bad as the people we were fighting." War crimes. That's what's on Michael's record from those days. "They only used me in the most extreme circumstances through the fifties, then they realized I was too dangerous and put me on ice."

He stands and crosses to a small cabinet to pull out a bottle of whiskey. It might not do much to him, but he feels the need anyway. He stands with his back to her. "I don't make excuses for any of it. I joined the program of my own free will. I let them declare me dead. I consented to the serum, and the drugs to balance out the side effects." He hefts the bottle, then reaches for a glass to pour some into. "The truth is, I was a monster. And I couldn't face any of you with the things I had done." He swallows a mouthful of drink. "It got easier as time went on. By the time I evened out, you had moved on with your life. You founded SHIELD. Our parents had passed on. And by then, I was eyeball-deep in Cold War spy games and trying to stop the bloody Russians from killing us all by way of nuclear weapons."

* * *

As Michael moves to get a whiskey for himself, Peggy finishes the last of her water - the end of the contract - and hands over that glass for him to splash a little of what he's pouring into hers. She knows his back is turned. She'll wait.

"Maybe you were a monster, Michael. I don't know. I didn't know you then and maybe the other Peggy didn't either. What I know is that you're my brother and that I love you. And that I can break into your flat while seeing triple. You did what you thought was best and now you are here."

* * *

"My point is just that I didn't abandon you, Peggy," Michael looks back. This is perhaps as vulnerable as she's ever seen him, save some times in his childhood. "I stayed away for your protection. And I know you've always hated the idea of anyone protecting you, least of all me. But it's the truth."

He eyes the glass, then tips a small amount into the pint glass that previously held water. "Do you ever think you'll be able to forgive me?"

* * *

Will she ever forgive him? Peggy downs that small amount of liquor down her throat. It's not so much to swallow bad feelings as it is a moment to keep the discussion open. "I was so mad at you, Michael. I know you know and quite a lot of it wasn't so much directed at your decisions. It was that you made me feel as if my life was built on a lie. But, I see now that it wasn't. You did die a little then and so did I."

Standing, a little unsteadily, she moves toward him and reaches out a hand. "I forgive you, Michael. Truly. I think I did awhile ago and it was the memory of the anger that let this linger. It thought, perhaps, that's all we had together: the anger, the displacement, the finding things out. I think I worried that if I let it go we might never speak again."

* * *

Michael sets his glass down. He takes her hand and covers it with his other. His hands are deeply calloused and stronger than they look. "I did die, yes. The war did kill a lot of the man you knew as your brother. I've only just started to find pieces of him again. Sometimes I fear I wear him like a mask that could slip and shatter at any time."

He looks down and rubs his thumbs over her hand. "I felt asif I had a second chance when you arrived here. I thought…" he twitches a sad smile, "…that it would be easier somehow. But I realized I had watched the other you change and grow more…cynical, more pragmatic. She probably would have understood. But I forgot how less complicated things were when you and I started out. When it was easy to tell which was the right side."

* * *

"There would have been a time when I would have punched you for implying me idealistic." Peggy raises an eyebrow. "Is it ever easy to come back from the dead? From my experience, it is quite a headache and perhaps I would have been better off simply living through everything else. I am sure the other Peggy would know what to do about this situation. I, on the other hand, am drunk on your couch."

* * *

"Do you want to crash on my couch, dear?" says Michael with a twitch of a smile. "Or rather, in my bed, and I'll take the couch. Because I'm not a git." He leans over and kisses the back of her hand before releasing it. "I worry you'll just break into someone else's flat and pass out if I let you go."

* * *

"I think that probably best. I apparently am something of a genius of security systems while intoxicated." Shaking her head, Peggy moves back toward the couch. "No no, I am the one that broke into your apartment. I don't need to take your bed. I'll be fine here. I'm fine, Michael, really."

* * *

"Now, I know it's incredibly difficult for you, but try not to be stubborn for once in your life," says Michael as he reaches out for her arm. "Honestly. Please." He looks her in the eye. "Call it a favour if you must."

* * *

"Fine. Fine. A favor." Peggy let's Michael pull her upward and toward the bed where she will almost certainly be passed out within minutes.

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