5791/1951, Mission Gone Wrong: Aftermath

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1951, Mission Gone Wrong: Aftermath
Date of Scene: 30 March 2021
Location: Carter-Sousa Home - Long Island
Synopsis: 1951, After the failed mission which cost Daniel and Peggy more than they could tell anyone, Lily and Peggy have a quiet night together on the back porch, They share some quiet feelings, tea, discuss Lily's strange medical issue, and try to leave mistakes in the past.
Cast of Characters: Melinda May, Peggy Carter

Melinda May has posed:
It's been several days since the mission Daniel and Peggy decided to run without the proper support of their team. Several days since that cost them far more than they ever expected. Hospital stays are done, fortunately, but not long past at all.

As the late spring moon rises over the trees in the backyard, Lily Chen sits on the back porch in a lawn chair with a light wrap over her shoulders against the evening chill. A small, battery-powered lamp sits on a table beside her. She has a leather-bound book in her lap and a nice Parker fountain pen in her hand. Her head is bent, hair falling gently along one side of her face as she writes. Her pen strokes are quick and efficient, the characters generally Chinese. After several moments, she lifts her head to look up at the moon, a rare, unguarded expression on her face. She's thoughtful... and perhaps a trifle... regretful? It's an odd expression, distant and close all at the same time.

Still, it doesn't last long. Her brows rise and fall and her ears pull back briefly as she stretches her facial muscles and relaxes them. Reaching for her pen cap, she clicks it firmly into place before placing the ribbon marker in her book to mark its place -- only a couple of handful of pages into the book, really. Then, she closes it and sets it alongside the lamp and gathers her light wrap just a little tighter about her shoulder.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The worst part was losing the baby. The second worst part? They wouldn't let her back into the office yet. Peggy was strictly home bound for another few days, at least. It was a miracle they let her out of the hospital but that was only done with some firm arguments, and the ridiculous pressure that they weren't going to keep her for a single stab wound nearly as long as they kept her when she was shot. So, she's home at least. Daniel's sneaking her files home to try and distract her, but she's still on medical leave. She hates it. And it means Daniel's working longer hours.

She did manage some dinner tonight, her appetite not really having returned yet, though she is trying. Tea helps. After dinner tea, as normal, and not wishing to be left alone with her own brain means she's now drifting quietly out onto the back porch with their often roommate, Lily Chen. "...Do I disturb?" She asks softly. There's something a bit more muted about her right now, exhausted, but simply not quite as vibrant as her normal self.

Melinda May has posed:
Lily looks over as she hears the door open and sees her friend step out onto the porch. "Not at all," the woman replies, offering a small smile. Her own responses are muted, though she can't say just why. Only that she finds herself missing something. Longing for something. Something that can never be.

It would be nice if she could just put her finger on it.

As it is, she gestures lightly to the chair beside her. "Join me. It's a beautiful night." Cool, yes, but not too cold. And no bugs to speak of -- that's always a bonus. She cants her head slightly. "How are you feeling?" She doesn't approach the question timidly or delicately. Nor does she sound like she's fussing. It's a gentle inquiry, all the same.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The strangest part of this all is that she's cold. Colder than she ever normally is, and she acknowledges it's probably more in her head than anything, but it doesn't mean she can just fix it either. Therefore, she's wrapped up in a heavy robe over her spring night gown, having taken a long, warm shower after dinner to get some feeling back into her feet and fingers. "Do you need more tea before I sit?" She asks, peeking into the woman's cup for just a moment.

She'll make certain they are both settled down with tea before she finally comes around to the chair nearest to May and sinks down there, still slightly favoring her right side, but she's moving fine otherwise. She'd probably be fine to go back to the office, just not back in the field yet. "I'm... fine. A little achy. Cold, mainly. It's strange. But... fine. Stir crazy. I want to go back into work. I'd rather not dwell on things."

Melinda May has posed:
Lily considers the offer, knowing full well Peggy does better when her hands are busy. "That might be nice," she decides. Truthfully, it's not really an effort to keep her friend busy. The tea would be pleasant. "I was actually thinking about fetching another throw, honestly." Because her light wrap is sufficient, but... perhaps she's just reflecting Peggy's existential chill.

She takes the tea when it's provided with a small murmur of thanks before she holds it up to her nose to inhale the steam a moment before drinking. "It's quiet," she observes. And it's true. Aside from some late evening crickets and the occasional waking call of a night bird, the night has a muted quality to it. Even the ubiquitous sound of traffic is distant, tonight. "It's nice."

As Peggy answers her question, she gives a small, knowing smile. "Yes. I know that feeling well. I hate sitting around doing nothing. And work is an excellent distraction. Did Daniel bring you those files you wanted?"

Peggy Carter has posed:
"He's not quite home yet, but he will. Without both of us there, he's been pulling double duty." And, in truth, once he knew she was going to survive? They've both been bad about talking to each other. The awkwardness of the loss, the shame Peggy feels. It's been easier for both of them to drown in work and Peggy doesn't blame him for that. There's no anger or impatience in her voice, there is only quiet acceptance. Understanding of her husband being late and lost at the office.

Once she settles down both their teas, she does duck back to get another throw off the couch, and offers it around Lily's shoulders, something gentle and protective about her touch. She the fully settles down into her own chair, gingerly curling her legs up onto the chair and knees into her chest, though she's still keeping them a bit gingerly away from her right side. She scoops her tea up, hugging it quietly against her chest. She sighs softly. "This entire house is... very quiet. It's lovely but... god, I don't know why I left the city. It's too damn quiet."

Melinda May has posed:
"I think quiet was the goal," Lily says with a mild shrug. She leaves off the part about it being 'a good place to raise a family'. "I suppose you could sell, and get something closer to work." But that wouldn't actually stop the sense of loss. And HYDRA would find them again, anyway. Guaranteed.

Lily did note, however, that there are a couple more casings in that new mason jar.

"I'd consider buying it off you," she says with the faintest hint of a smirk, "but, really, it's too big for a single woman like me. Not to mention, Suelin would be deeply offended, if I left now, I think."

Peggy Carter has posed:
A slight chuckle escapes her lips, "Room was the goal... children, maybe, but thats looking more... Poor an idea by the week." Peggy admits with a smirk that is on the edge of bitter. She takes a deep inhalation of her tea, trying to push away all those feelings because Lily didn't need to see them. No one knew. No one but her and Daniel. She had to put it away and get back to functional.

"It is good having you here, at least. Not... so lonely on these latae nights. How have YOU been feeling, by the way? I should be the one worried about YOu right now. I'm stitched up and *fine*, but we still don't have good answers..." She looks Lily over somewhat protectively.

Melinda May has posed:
Lily has been... maybe two, almost three weeks without another seizure. Since that first one on the lawn, she's had two more, each of them a little harder to endure, a little longer in duration, and a little closer to the one that preceded it. The time between them is shortening. Not alarmingly so -- not yet. But, it's only a matter of time.

In more ways than one.

The Asian woman's lips press firmly together. She tries to push away the bitterness that threatens the equalibrium she had found a little earlier. It also doesn't help that she feels like she's intruding on their private grief. She saw the look on Daniel's face, after all, some hours after he was given the worst of the news. It took no real leap of logic to know what that had been, even if he said nothing about it. She knows what morning sickness looks like. And she knows that it's gone.

"I'm fine," she says after a deep swallow of her tea. "Just vaguely frustrated. I don't want to be caught flatfooted when the next one hits. But I'm starting to feel that build up in tension again. So, I don't know..."

Yes, she's starting to feel a pattern in her body when it comes to these things. It's just hard to define.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"If you're starting to feel that again, we should get you to Howard. Or...maybe get him here. Or if Dr. Wilkes can take a longer bit of leave. I'd just prefer to have one of them around when it happens, even if we're able to record it." Peggy is now settling into problem solving mode, and that's probably helpful for both of them, because Peggy's heart calms when she's focused on work and ways she can help, instead of dwelling on the mistakes she has made. She studies Lily a bit deeper, as if she could see it on the woman's face.

"How... quickly did it happen, after the last time that tension built up? And if you don't *want* to talk about it, you don't have to. Not tonight... But we should be ready. I feel bad that all this mess from the weekend distracted from it." The failed mission had been on a Saturday, the reason Daniel and Peggy didn't pull anyone in.

Melinda May has posed:
'Saturday' is a foolish reason not to pull a team in. Lily refrains from saying it, only because she's become adept, over the last couple of years, at reading Peggy's sense of guilt... among other things. If she's honest, she's become adept at reading the emotions of most people around her. She just isn't really all that conscious of it.

As it is, she gives Peggy a sidelong look that clearly dismisses the idea the weekend was at all any sort of mere 'distraction'. It also clearly telegraphs her thoughts on the foolishness of the whole thing, of course, but she certainly doesn't feel the need to be the center of Peggy's attention over and above the realities of their job.

Ultimately, she lets out a chuff of air that reflects her irritation with the whole situation. "That's the problem. It's a gradual build up. I don't really notice it unless I'm actively paying attention to my body." Like in the mornings when she's up at dawn and running through her Tai Chi katas. "But... I suppose the easiest way is to liken it to the slow tightening of a spring."

She takes another sip of tea as she considers it. "Have you ever had one of those shivers go down your spine for no reason? You know, the ones they say mean someone's walking over your grave?" A bit morbid, perhaps, but she's hoping the other woman will know what she means. "Have you ever observed the weird, tingly build up in your spine that happens just before that? I suppose this is kind of like that. Except it feels like it's in every cell of my body. Just this... tightening, like I'm being stretched too thin. But it's only when that tightness snaps in the back of my head that the seizures come." She reaches to rub the back of her head where it joins her neck. "Here," she says, drawing her finger from the divot at the nape of her neck to the cleft just behind the base of her ear. "Somewhere deep in there." Which, anatomically, probably makes sense, since that area likely indicates both her temporal lobe and her cerebellum... both of which are greatly affected when the seizures hit.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The tired, cold woman listens curiously, the description far more intriguing than staying stuck in her own head. Peggy frowns, a deeper trace of worry through her slightly pinched eyes. The description makes a slight shiver flicker up through her body. It's detailed enough that she can get the near exact sentiment from it. "That... sounds incredibly uncomfortable. Especially if it's consistent. I'm... so sorry. I wonder if we could put you under some sort of brain scan? See where those feelings are coming from..." Peg's still trying to problem solve. Probably even more fiercely than before. It's better than dwelling.

But she caught that look. The thoughts of how foolish she and Daniel had been, she doesn't need to be a telepath or empath to read those eyes. After a few more moments, her gaze drops to stare into her tea. "And I know we were... fools, this weekend. Trying to give people time off and it... well, I know. You don't have to look like that. I swear, I know."

Melinda May has posed:
"Learn from it," Lily says simply. "And we'll let it go." SHIELD is a 24/7 operation. It has to be. That means there's always a team around. But she doesn't want to chase that rabbit. Certainly, she doesn't want to add to the other woman's sense of grief and guilt. It only adds to her own.

So, she takes her own advice and lets it go.

Instead, she tries to distract Peggy again by saying, "If you think a brain scan will show something, we can try it." She twists slightly and picks her book, a stylized lily embossed on its leather cover, up from the table. "I've been recording my symptoms, among other things, in here. Unless Howard or Jason read Chinese, I doubt it will much help them, but I can translate."

Peggy Carter has posed:
A small sound comes from her throat at the comment that they will learn from it and let it go. Peggy just tips her head in quiet agreement, eyes pressing shut for a heartbeat or two against a single well of emotions that she's otherwise trying to swallow back. It comes and it goes, that center of grief brushing close to the surface and then drowning once more. She was getting good at pushing it down. "We'll let it go. Yes." Peggy finally affirms.

Then it's back onto more work and more proper distractions. She nods gently, "If you are still experiencing a feeling and experiencing it consistently, it must be originating *somewhere*. Maybe your brain. Maybe body. If you are up for being poked and prodded, we'll take you in for all of them tomorrow. More fodder for the file. It'll take us closer to an answer. And I don't think they can, but I can help translate. We'll get through it. We will." Peggy reassures her.

She then takes a deeper drink of her tea and sinks back a bit more in the chair. "But, for tonight...maybe we just enjoy the quiet. Until Daniel gets home, at least. It's not as...bad with company." With that, Peggy does fall in to companionable silence. Her mind is a thousand miles away and her emotions are probably not all that comfortable for Lily, but she's not drowning in her own grief and the nearness of the woman does seem a comfort. So, she slowly learns to start enjoying silence when it is not alone. Something worthwhile that Lily will teach her over the years.