Peggy and Co. vs IKEA AU
I know you said AU, but I actually thought of an interesting non-AU take on this prompt that’s more or less along the lines of what I expect the prompt was probably going for (putting together flatpack furniture, that kind of thing?) except in a 1940s/1950s version.
“Daniel,” Peggy said from the doorway of the garage, “come to bed.”
“Few more minutes,” Daniel muttered, down on the concrete floor with his bad leg stretched out in front of him and a lathe-turned wooden crib bar across his lap, carefully carving down the end to fit a space drilled with a drill bit that turned out to be ¼" too small.
A moment later, he heard her footsteps, quick and light even carrying the weight of eight months’ pregnancy. Her hand drifted across his hair and she bent to kiss his forehead. “Just remember you have to work in the morning. This is the boss speaking.”
“Duly noted, boss.” He tipped his head up to receive her kiss.
She had never – and he was infinitely grateful – told him that he wasn’t good at this, or that he didn’t have to do this. It mattered to him, building the crib for his firstborn son or daughter from scratch. He’d never done woodworking at all, so he’d had to start from square one. Peggy hadn’t minded Daniel turning the garage of their new suburban home into a wood shop. He bought what he could afford, and made friends with the neighbors and the lab guys at the fledgling SHIELD to gain access to what he couldn’t. It sometimes felt like one step forward and ten steps back, but he was going to build this crib and it was going to be a nice one, not a hacked-together, lopsided piece of junk, but something nice, an heirloom worthy of his firstborn, something his future baby would be proud to pass on to his grandchildren.
The problem was, Peggy’s official due date was less than a month away, and he understood that babies could come early. At the rate he was going, the kid would be walking before he built it a place to sleep.
… which was why he was still up at three a.m., carefully shaving off tiny scraps of wood, trying to make it look good – professional – not something that was going to make his future son or daughter laugh about the crib that fell apart when he or she was three months old.
When he nearly gouged his finger with the chisel, he decided that it was time to go to bed. He had to be up in three and a half hours anyway.
Daniel got through the day at SHIELD mostly by working out woodcraft problems in his head. He was fairly sure he’d finally figured out the aspect of the corner-joining technique from the woodworking book that had been eluding him. As soon as he got home, he could start putting the corners together – for the third time, after having to take it apart twice and sand down the clumped glue to try again.
“I thought pregnant women were supposed to be the ones who couldn’t keep two thoughts in their heads, not their husbands.”
“Okay, first of all, Jack, please go jump out the window. Second, I’m telling Peggy you said that. Hope you can run fast.”
“I can outrun a pregnant woman, Sousa.”
“You know she won’t be pregnant forever, right?”
He drove home with visions of mitered corners occupying his mind. Peggy, who had reluctantly agreed to stay home from SHIELD in month seven, was buried in a pile of case files in the baby’s room (currently serving as a home office) and had forgotten to start dinner. She volunteered to do a takeout run, while Daniel gratefully vanished into the garage.
He’d only been there for a few minutes when there was a polite tap on the door.
Peggy never knocked. “C'mon in,” he called, bent over the book of diagrams. If he just cut that bit, and turned it that way …
“Agent Sousa.” Jarvis came in with his hands clasped behind his back, stepping carefully between the neatly planed bits of crib.
“Jarvis?” The incongruity of having Jarvis, in his impeccably tailored suit, trying not to touch anything covered in sawdust almost sent Daniel into a laughing fit. Years of diplomacy as the head of the L.A. SSR office managed to kick in before it was too late.
“I came to see Ag – Director Carter. She appears to be absent.”
“Yeah, she’s out getting food.”
“Ah.” Jarvis cast a curious glance over the scattered parts of the project. “Dare I ask …”
Daniel struggled to his feet with a hand on the workbench. “It’s a crib. For the baby. Want me to show you?”
He expected Jarvis to be bored within five minutes, since he and Ana had no children, but in fact Jarvis turned out to have useful insights into the precise techniques of getting the pieces to join up (“No, Agent Sousa, one would add the glue before inserting the dowel –”) and the finer details of using the tools he hadn’t quite figured out yet.
“Never figured you for the handyman type, I have to say,” Daniel admitted.
“I am not, but one can’t spend this much time assisting Mr. Stark without picking up a few things.”
It wasn’t the only night Jarvis showed up – he claimed that Daniel’s garage was a pleasant escape from Mr. Stark’s current attempts to expand the menagerie – and, thanks in part to his pointers, the crib was finished three days before Peggy went into labor.
Daniel could never quite prove whether Peggy had or hadn’t called Jarvis to provide assistance … but he could never get either of them to admit it, either.
At least, he reasoned, it could’ve been worse. She could have called Howard Stark.