4709/No Punching Bags Were Harmed In The Making Of This Scene

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
No Punching Bags Were Harmed In The Making Of This Scene
Date of Scene: 12 January 2021
Location: Carnegie's Gym
Synopsis: Peggy Carter stops by the gym where Steve Rogers is working out. Over pie, she discusses possible Hydra infiltration into SHIELD.
Cast of Characters: Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter

Steve Rogers has posed:
It's a cold winter night in Brooklyn, New York. Most of the people that can be are in their homes, turning up the heat whether it's a modern, upgraded central heating, or the old steam system that goes back decades.

Windows shed some light on the wintry scene outside, where just the lightest frosting of flakes has left a thin white layer on everything. One of the windows that sheds only the smallest modicums of light are those of Carnegie's Boxing Gym. The place hasn't been in business for years, but sometimes at night one can tell the lights are on, giving the papered over windows a faint glow.

Within, Steve Rogers is in the midst of a workout. The weights he's using are quite a bit heavier than the ones that stocked the racks of Carnegies during its hey day. The reinforced bar bends slightly as Steve finishes bench pressing, resting the weighted bar in it's slot on the heavy duty stand and then sitting up, grapping a towel to wipe some perspiration away with before he stands, grabbing a sip from a bottle of water, and then returning the weights to their places.

Peggy Carter has posed:
It's been rather long since Peggy and Steve got to catch up. She's been flying between New York and the Mojave desert almost every other day, working on Melinda May missing, and since her promotion there have been several other cases on her lap. Still, she heard there was a new place for Steve. Somewhere to work out without the *constant* watching eye of SHIELD, or the new recruits and admirers in the Triskelion. Rookies were charming and lovely, but some nights they were a trial.

So, with some hope of getting frustration out, energy used, and maybe even daring to have a private conversation, Peggy's dressed for a long sparring session beneath her elegant wool coat and winter boots. Her cheeks are high and rosy with the cold from outside when she pushes the door open and slips in. She arches a brow at the echo of weights, content that she picked the right time to find him here.

"...Room for another, or is this a one man show?" Peggy's clipped British accent chimes into the room warmly.

Steve Rogers has posed:
Steve Rogers looks up towards the door as he hears it swing open, and the cold wind enters alongside Peggy for the brief moments before it's swung shut behind her. The aged lights above give the place a slightly yellow cast, and except for those extra-heavy weights, the place itself probably looks little different than it did in the 70s, 60s, or even 50s.

"Peggy," Steve says, smiling and hanging the towel about his neck as he walks over to greet her. "This is a nice surprise," he says. "Absolutely room for another," he says, turning to gaze across the big open spaces that could fit several dozen people training easily enough, looking back to her, eyes light with the joke of fitting one more into the large gym.

"What brings you by?" he asks, moving over to take her coat if she allows him, and hanging it up on a peg on the wall near the door.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The offer of taking her coat gets a touch of a surprised look from her, but Peggy doesn't complain. Steve is about one of the only people in the world who gets to do something like that, because she knows he's not doing it out of condescenion or because he thinks she's a 'little lady'. "Mm. Thank you. After the desert, the New York winter is... a touch more bitter than I remember." Peggy admits with a touch of a laugh, even though they have both been through far colder circumstances with less human comforts.

Beneath, she's wearing a SHIELD hoodie zipped across her sports bra and close fitting black yoga pants. She's in boxing shoes, made for fast lateral movements and springing back from various motions. She shifts her little work out bag from one hand to the other as he takes her coat, but then sets it down on a bench so she can start wrapping her hands.

Her dark eyes scan the room. It's the look of someone searching for bugs, a look he's seen from her before. How likely is it that SHIELD has the place lined? Fairly likely, but now she's looking for the little, tell-tale signs that will confirm it. "Oh, just thought a round or three against an unstoppable force might be nice to get some frustration out." That's not exactly a lie, but not the whole truth either.

Steve Rogers has posed:
Steve turns back from hanging up the coat. There are a few places that an enterprising spy might choose for planting a bug. Behind any of the power outlets would give them a constant source of power. The equipment cage over to one side has some tables that the old stick it underneath technique would probably work well.

Steve moves back to rejoin Peggy, saying, "Alright, but only if you agree to go easy on me," he says, holding up his hands a bit. "I still remember how you dropped Hodge for calling you Queen Victoria," Steve says of the first time he saw Peggy Carter, while standing in a line at attention at Camp Lehigh. "I've been scared of you ever since," he tells her as he gestures towards where a workout mat has been laid out for practice that doesn't need a boxing ring.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The easily accessible outlets make Peggy's nose just slightly screw up and whatever more private conversation she was planning with him gets carefully wiped out of her thoughts and off her face. She replaces it with a smile that might be considered a little saccharine, but not for him. For any tiny cameras that might be watching. The sparring session will help, at least.

"Mm, yes, well...You've gained a bit of muscle since then, Soldier. I suspect you'll be able to hold your own. And we all knew Hodge had a glass jaw, I just had to give a little demonstration for everyone's benefit." With that, Peggy moves to wrapping her left hand with the practiced, thoughless technique of someone who has done it so many times it's muscle memory by now.

Steve Rogers has posed:
Steve's wearing a pair of sweat pants and a grey t-shirt with U.S. Army across the front. He moves over onto the mat, commenting as Peggy mentions him having gained a bit of muscle since then, "Well," he says matter-of-factly. "They did make us do a lot of push ups." Steve adds a little knowing nod as he moves onto the mat to wait for Peggy.

"Those were... well, the old days. I was going to say good old days, but I'm still wondering on the 'good' part or not," he tells her. "Things are so different now. I suppose there are a dozen ways it could have ended up worse. Have you heard of the Cuban Missiles? So maybe we didn't handle things so bad back then that the world's still going around," he tells Peggy.

Peggy Carter has posed:
A slight chuckle escapes her lips as he asks about the Cuban Missiles. "Darling, I was *there* for that crisis. Practially at ground zero. Remember, they didn't put me in ice until 1985. But... yes. There is something about those days which were more simple times, if nothing else." Peggy admits softly, not entirely able to keep the nostalgia out of her voice as she pads into the sparring area, testing out the floors.

"Don't go too easy on me. I'm used to punching above my weight class, you know that." And with that, she settles into a stands that May taught her in several of their recent sparring sessions, more mixed martial arts coming into Peggy's fighting style than the brute force and quick dodges she started her career doing.

Steve Rogers has posed:
"Right," Steve says of Peggy having a lot more time after World War II than he did. "I still manage to forget that sometimes," he tells her. "It's been three years for me and, well, making do with the adjusting," he says.

As Peggy gets ready, Steve nods back to her about not going too easy. He does a lot of training with opponents of varying ability, including a lot of training of others. He moves forward to match Peggy's stance with a confidence he won't have an issue adapting to the right level for her abilities. "No going too easy," he agrees. "Or else you'll Hodge me," he says. And yes they turned his name into a verb back then.

Steve's body is relaxed, in a well-balanced stance as he holds up a hand and make a gesture for her to come at him. "There's this movie about a Matrix," he says after the gesture, but doesn't explain further.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"...I have yet to learn how to dodge bullets, but I shan't put the possibility out of my thoughts." Peggy teases him lightly, and then she's starting. The fight is a fairly decent one, considering she has no super soldier in her. Steve has her in reach and strenght, by far, but Peggy's learned more tricks to use someone's weight against them and has the speed. She even gets him on his back once or twice, though he certainly puts her into the floor as well.

It's the fifth time he has her down and pinned, a touch of blood trickling at the edge of her nose from a particularly hard go of it, and Peggy's carefully testing his hold. Looking for anywhere she can slip out or use a joint against him. But he's got her. She gives him a breathless little laugh, covered in sweat, her hair plastered to her head after the long sparring match. "...I think...that means you... Take the night. So I buy drinks?" She offers with arched brows.

Steve Rogers has posed:
Steve lets Peggy go. He's breathing quickly, a testament to how well Peggy pushed him. "I sort of feel like I should probably buy after that hit to the nose," he says, wincing slightly. "Thought you were going to juke back," he says of the hit that landed a little harder than he'd intended.

Steve rises, reaching a hand down to help pull Peggy up to her feet. "But either way, drinks sound good," he agrees. He walks off the mat over to one of the lockers along the wall, not the ones in the tiny locker room itself. He opens it and pulls out a pair of fresh towels, tossing one to her, and using the other to dry himself off. Then Steve pulls on sweatshirt and grabs a leather jacket as he walks back to Peggy. "Where'd you have in mind? Or want me to suggest somewhere?" he asks.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The fact that Peggy isn't stopping for a shower is probably another good hint there is something else on her mind, something she wants to talk to him heavily about, more than putting her prim and proper self back together perfectly. Then again, she's been messier and worse off before. Russian didn't give them a lot of chances for long showers. She grabs the towel from him, mopping off her face, at least, and getting the worst of sweat from her arms and throat. She reties her hair to look a little more put together before tugging her sweatshirt back on.

"Mm.. Not a proper fight if you don't bleed a bit. HYDRA certainly doesn't pull their punches, why should you?" Peggy asks with a smirk.

Then she's tossing her hand wraps back into her bag and tests at her nose again, the worst of the blood already done. She is good at taking a hint.

"Mm... Milkshake or beer, you tell me which, and I'll drive." She winks to him, pulling gingerly into her jacket. But she doesn't say the place either, not while they're still in range of possible bugs.

Steve Rogers has posed:
Steve walks her to the door, stopping to turn off the lights, leaving just a couple of lights above the exits illuminating the room. He opens the door for her, the New York winter having been waiting, and greeting them with a rush of cold air in the face.

Once they are both outside, Steve locks up the gym, pocketing his keys after. "Actually a milk shake sounds better than a beer right now," he tells her. "There's a spot a few blocks down with shakes and malts. And Betty makes a good warm apple pie. Lots of cinnamon," Steve tells Peggy. He glances over and gives a shrug and smile. "What can I say, I'm a fan," he says.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Someone named Betty who makes apple pie sounds like a perfect spot to me. Lead the way." Peggy slips her arm through his, partially for warmth, partially to just enjoy a few moments of their walking together, as friends, out of uniform, not with any particular mission or stress to stop them. The little bits of luxury the modern day has afforded them is having a bit of downtime, unlike war. But it's still a rare treat.

When they finally make it to the place, Peggy nods towards the farthest back booth. The one that is in a corner where their backs can be totally protected and she can keep an eye on who is coming or going. As they walked, she certainly looked behind them a few times, triple checking that they weren't being followed. A really good follow probably would be hard to spot, but she's doing her due dillegence.

Steve Rogers has posed:
The place is called Ziggy's Diner. There's no sign of who Ziggy is or how the place got his name. Behind the Formica counter is a woman of around forty with blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. A clear case has slices of pie on multiple levels, each turning slowly. The open window to the kitchen reveals the sound of sizzling from the grill.

Betty glances up and gives a smile and waves as Steve comes in. "Ah, it's Apple Pie," she says, as if that's Steve's name. It brings a smile from him and he replies, "Definitely, just telling my friend here about it. Two warm slices? And..." he looks to Peggy to see what kind of shake she wants, to put their order in before going back to the corner booth take a seat.

Steve wasn't particularly mindful of looking for tails or the like. He's observant enough he might spot one, but he's at home, as much as he has one, and probably not feeling a need to have his guard particularly up.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Just a hot tea with that slice, actually, thank you." It'd be probably awful tea, salada or Lipton or something, but after decades in the US, Peggy has gotten used to not her usual preferred gunpowder black. Her smile just warms as the woman recognizes Steve so easily and the nickname he's been given. "You old lady killer. Why didn't you tell me we were coming to see your girlfriend? I bet she sneaks you free slices on the sly." Peggy winks at him, rather teasing.

And then they are settled down again and the smile rather falls from her features. The door is given a long look, but no one has come in behind them and Peggy seems content enough that they are safe. No one's followed. A somewhat somber expression crosses her face as she looks up to his blue eyes. "...Do you remember this summer, when I told you I'd discovered all the Paperclip files were missing from SHIELD's digital records...?"

Steve Rogers has posed:
Betty gives a friendly smile and nod at the order. "Coming right up," she says, going to work preparing things for them. Steve takes a seat across from Peggy in the booth, unzipping his leather jacket and then pulling it off to sit beside him on the seat. The diner is pleasingly warm, especially with the window showing the scene outside, where the wind is blowing enough to cause the light snowfall to come down at an angle. It looks cold out there, without even being out in it.

Steve's attention is on Peggy rather than the view though. He gives a slow nod of his head, expression turning more serious. "I remember," he tells her. "Have there been new developments?" he asks.

Peggy Carter has posed:
While she's still just wearing her work out gear and her hair is tied messily back instead of in her soft vintage waves, Peggy is still prim and proper as ever. She crosses her strong legs beneath the table like she was in stockings and heels and clicks red nails restlessly against the waterglass Betty has dropped off for her. The question gets no smile from her, but a fallen, slightly more worried glance.

At least two raids on sites from the paper files... Both with working HYDRA installations. But that was in the summer and fall. Now..." Peggy sighs, knuckles going a bit white around her glass. "I was conducting survellience on another possible base... when I got inside, there were SHIELD weapons brand new in their cases and an 0-8-4 in the HYDRA storage... with no record of those things going missing from SHIELD."

Steve Rogers has posed:
A frown grows across Steve's face as he listens. "It wouldn't be the first time they worked to get spies in their enemy's midst," Steve says. "But actually getting their hands on equipment is a bit beyond that."

Betty rounds the end of the counter and walks over to the booth, bringing a tray. She reaches their table and sets down two slices of warm apple pie, a malted milkshake in front of Steve, and a cup of tea in front of Peggy. "I thought from your accent you might like Earl Grey," she offers. She also sets down a plate with a few slices of lemon, a little cup of honey, and one of milk.

Steve tells her, "Thank you Betty." She smiles and will return back to the counter if there isn't anything else said. The tea probably isn't steeped how an Englishwoman might prefer, but the brew is better than Lipton at least.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Oh. They carry Earl Gray. This place is a godsend and we're never going back to the Tick Tock, I swear. If we have to come across the river every time, I don't care." Granted, she'll be cursing up a storm sitting in one of SHIELD's sedans unless they are on Steve's zippy bike, but right now she's incredibly thankful for halfway decent tea on a too-cold night in the middle of the New York winter. She hovers her fingertips over it, leaving the bag in to steep a bit longer as the steam heats her fingertips from the chilly walk.

She gives Betty one last, thankful smile, but waits for the woman to disappear again before she returns to the more serious conversation. "It is. I do not think I can... play off the missing files as accidental, or an innocent rookie trying to cover up some of our past mistakes. Steve... HYDRA's inside SHIELD. I...somehow missed it. ANd I don't know where, or how... but I think we have to accept it."

Steve Rogers has posed:
Steve sits quietly after Betty is gone, and he's heard Peggy's conclusions about what she's uncovered. "Any idea how long it's been since they first went missing? It might help establish, at least if it's one person, how long they've been operating," he suggests.

A quiet sigh is given. "You'd think in seventy-plus years that people would have gotten better, that there'd be no place for a group like Hydra. I guess that we always view the future through rose-colored glasses though, assuming it'll be better than we are today. And people... people maybe don't change, not entirely, as much as we'd hope," he says.

Steve gives a small shake of his head as if pushing those thoughts away. "Alright, what do you suggest we do next?" he asks.

Peggy Carter has posed:
For a moment, Peggy worries at her lower lip thoughtfully. She isn't quite meeting his eyes, some aching line of shame behind her's that she does not wish for him to see. While she did not invite HYDRA into SHIELD, she certainly squarely takes much of the blame on her shoulders, having been the Director for so many years and somehow having missed this. She toys her spoon quietly through the mug of tea.

"The pile of paperclip files I have... we need to finish recon on all of them. And only with people we trust. May... when we get her back," Not if. "Bucky... Howlett said he'd help, even. Johnson checks out in my head. If you've got other agents you know... to your VERY core know... you trust, we can bring them in., But we've got to operate off site. Keep independent records. Keep it quiet."

Steve Rogers has posed:
Steve considers this for a few moments. "You know SHIELD far better than I," he says. Indeed he hasn't kept his distance, but he usually goes on missions with specific goals, or chases down a specific threat that needed him. As opposed to the sort of ongoing work that most SHIELD agents conduct.

"If you want to include people from outside, there are a few I trust," he says. Then pauses. "Not all of which are particularly discrete, so that reduces the number," he says with a little side-nod of his head. "I think that's a good group that you mentioned. I think highly of Bobbi Morse. But then I tend to think highly of many of the SHIELD people. I just don't know them well enough," he says. "Clint though. You can count him."

Peggy Carter has posed:
Dark eyes dare to flicker up in his direction, giving a slightly nod about Bobbi. "I trust her...I think. She's told me some things that should be good but...if HYDRA wanted to infiltrate a vulnerable member at the correct level, I feel like her name would be at the top of the list. Maybe I'm just paranoid in my old age." A bittersweet smile crosses Peggy's pale lips, not even wearing her signature lipstick at the moment.

Clint. Good to know. And... discrete outside help would be good. The trouble is going to be if we can capture some prisoners for information, that'd be ideal, but we've got no where to stick them. The few HYDRA agents I keep dragging back end up dying in custody before I get to them -- cyanide caps hidden places other than teeth, it seems. But I don't...trust it. Still... we talk to our people. Organize out of the safehouse, the one up the street from here, in Mutant town, that I showed you and James this summer? We start planning ops. No time wasted. I've...let this lapse too long already."

Steve Rogers has posed:
A nod is given by Steve. "Well, you'll have my help, Peggy, whatever I can give. You know that," he says. Betty starts coming down to check on them, and Steve realizes he hasn't even tasted the pie yet. He's far from a glutton, but he eats two big bites before she gets there as if to not offend her!

"How is everything?" Betty asks. Steve gives her a smile and says, "Fantastic as always. And you made a new friend with the tea. Thank you," he tells her. Betty smiles to Peggy and nods and then heads off.

Steve leans forward. "If Hydra's infiltrated SHIELD, then we'll find them."

Peggy Carter has posed:
"We will. It's our jobs...just as ever." Peg echoes quietly, though Betty has gotten a warm, grateful smile from her and an approving sound in her throat at the tea. The rest of the evening is spent outlining a few possible plans, going over addresses for the safehouse and the last HYDRA raid Peggy did, makign a mental list of people to trust to bring into the matter and, in general, enjoying each other's company the best way they know how -- drowning in work.