"What did you think, that we'd abandon you, boy? Whatever weaknesses you came back with."
Jack grimaces something that might be a smile, and takes the sheet of paper from his father. SSR. It's ... something. Better than spending all day every day with nothing but his own thoughts.
"It's a stepping stone, isn't it?" his father says, and claps him on the shoulder. "My war hero son. Listen, boy. I'll talk to Vernon. If you can tough it out for a couple of years in the trenches, we'll get you out of all that. Just put in enough time to look good, you know what I mean? Family has your back, boy. We'll get you all the way to the top."
"-- abandon us in the middle of an operation, Jack --"
Peggy is really, truly furious, and Jack steps back, not really wanting to be in the path of it, except unfortunately he is in the path of it, right square in the eye of Hurricane Peggy.
"Marge, c'mon --" He backs off when her eye glints in a way that says she really might hit him. "Agent Carter,” he corrects himself. “We had your backup ready to deploy. We were working out some bureaucratic hurdles --"
She makes a noise like "haaahhh!" and flings up her hands and strides off. Well, at least it's not a fist in the jaw. And ... Jack stares after her, feeling himself collapse a little bit in the middle because she's fine, she got out of it on her own ... she really is okay, however inadequately he'd managed to dispatch backup to her.
Because she's Peggy.
And because running an office is harder than he thought.
And because, because ...
... because mistakes happen, they both know that. It's not about the operation, not really. He's got just enough self-awareness to realize that, but not enough to do anything about it. This all goes back six months, to him snaking a promotion out from under her. (All the way to the top.) Or maybe it goes back two months, to Daniel leaving for the West Coast, another job she wasn't offered.
Nobody's got Peggy's back, and he knows he's just as guilty as the rest of them.
"-- didn't mean to leave you, Jack, I'm so sorry ..."
Her voice is a lifeline that he follows out of the drugged haze, and mostly just because she keeps apologizing. It's wrong, if anyone needs to apologize it's him, and ... and he doesn't want to make her sound like that, it's not right.
"You didn't," he whispers, and when his blurry vision finally coheres, it's on her face, staring at him in surprise and warm delight.
It's not her, not her. It's Vernon and his ilk; it's his father; it's him, who had given her every reason to believe she could trust him and then turned his back on her.
The one person here who has nothing to apologize for is Peggy.
But that's too many words to get out, especially in his current state. "Sorry," he whispers, all he can manage, and her face changes somehow; her hand presses on his.
"Jack, stop it," she says, and he would laugh if he had enough breath.
"You know it's true."
"Very well, I concede you've plenty of things to apologize for, but we can deal with that when you're well," she says, and presses her hand on his. And he closes his eyes, because ... because she's Peggy, and she won't leave. Anyone else he's ever known might leave him, but not Peggy. Peggy doesn't abandon people, and lying in that hospital bed, he wants with all he has to be worthy of that faith, and to repay her trust. He doesn’t know much about being there for people, but he might finally have a teacher he can learn from.
Whumptober Master List
Oct. 1 - Shaky Hands (Stranger Things) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 2 - Explosion (Iron Fist) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 3 - Delirium #1 (Agent Carter) - On DW | On Tumblr
----- Delirium #2 (Punisher) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 4 - Human Shield (Alliance-Union) - Coming Around on AO3
Oct. 5 - Gunpoint (Iron Fist) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 6 - Dragged Away (Iron Fist) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 7 - Isolation (Alliance-Union) - Reference Points on AO3
Oct. 8 - Stab Wound (Iron Fist) - Deeper Cuts on AO3
Oct. 9 - Shackled (Iron Fist) - Shackles and Bows on AO3
Oct. 10 - Unconscious (Doctor Strange) - Pride Before a Fall on AO3
Oct. 11 - Stitches (Agent Carter) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 12 - "Don't Move" (Punisher) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 13 - Adrenaline (Stranger Things) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 14 - Tear-Stained (MCU - Endgame spoilers) - On DW
Oct. 15 - Scars (Agent Carter/MCU) - Flesh and Blood on AO3
Oct. 16 - Pinned Down (Alliance-Union) - On DW
Oct. 17 - "Stay with me" #1 (Stranger Things) - On DW | On Tumblr
----- "Stay with me" #2 (Iron Fist/Jessica Jones, Ward/Malcolm) - On Tumblr
Oct. 18 - [skip day]
Oct. 19 - Asphyxiation (Agent Carter) - Down in the Dark on AO3
Oct. 20 - Trembling (Iron Fist) - Run Down on AO3
Oct. 21 - Laced Drink (Iron Fist) - Monochrome Delirious on AO3
Oct. 22 - Hallucination (Agent Carter) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 23 - Bleeding Out (Punisher) - Hideout on AO3
Oct. 24 - Secret Injury #1 (Iron Fist) - On DW | On Tumblr
------------ Secret Injury #2 (Defenders) - On DW | On Tumblr
Oct. 25 - [skip day]
Oct. 26 - Abandoned (Agent Carter) - On DW | On Tumblr
Complete list of prompts.
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