eye dazzler

These Calloused Hands Know You

When Peggy Carter is temporarily blinded by an SSR device, she learn news ways to appreciate her caring roommate.

This story was inspired by a Twitter comment from marynesq and a prompt…

The first from toodrunktofindaurl a url who said “Thompson talking about that day at the Griffith and dissing Angie, and Peggy snapping at him instantly. Bonus point for a punch in the jaw.”

Your wish is my command, Satan.

The prompt was “Peggy is temporarily blinded on a mission and Angie has to help get around. Things get awkwardly intimate when Angue laughs and Peggy starts to run her fingers along Angie’s face. She says she wants to know what her face feel like when she’s smiling.”

This prompt is dear to me because my great-uncle was blinded during a hunting accident during his 30s, and I grew up experiencing the world through his lack of sight. It was amazing.


xxx

Peggy Carter wanted nothing more than to curl up on the couch with the latest Agatha Christie novel while her roommate sat nearby poring over her latest script. She and Angie had only been living in Howard’s mansion for three weeks, but it already felt like home, and she found herself missing the quiet domesticity of it all.

But instead of a cozy couch, Peggy was currently seated on a dusty, wooden bench situated in the now-defunct City Hall stop of the New York City subway system. Daniel Sousa sat a few feet away from her, absently running his hands along the length of his crutch, while Jack Thompson stood nearby, toying with a long cylindrical object, watching as it rolled back and forth between his fingers.

The three SSR agents had been there for the better of the afternoon, while the rest of their team waited at various locations near the shuttered entrance and down along the service tracks. They’d received a tip earlier that morning that a Hydra operative might try to smuggle weapons into the city via the closed subway station. Their six-hour stakeout had proven fruitless thus far, but the night was young, and they were all aware that criminals tended to favor evening when darkness provided them ample cover for their wrongdoings. So, they waited.

Peggy watched as Thompson once again twirled the lab’s latest device – a Z-R0 spectral dampener or Dazzler as they’d taken to calling it – between his fingers, the silver reflecting off the dim light of a single lantern that flickered intermittently from the floor where it sat. When the device precariously teetered across his pinky and was saved only by him quickly reaching out to right it, she finally spoke.

“Oh, do stop fiddling with that, Jack. It’s not a toy,” she admonished, and indeed it wasn’t. When activated, the Dazzler had the unique ability to temporarily blind a target for twenty-four hours. It was quite brilliant, actually, but Peggy had no desire to see it in action firsthand.

“That’s Chief Thompson to you, Marge,” Jack reminded her with a smug. “And don’t get your knickers in a twist. The boys in the lab assured me this baby is sturdy. I’m not going to break it.”

Peggy rolled her eyes. “Regardless, stop. You wouldn’t want that to accidentally discharge and blind one of us.”

“Relax, Carter. I didn’t serve with Captain America, but I think I know how to handle a lab-issued device.”

Peggy just glared at him.

Daniel looked over and gave her a lopsided smile. “So how do you like the new place?” he asked in an obvious attempt to defuse the situation.

Peggy’s countenance softened, and she smiled. “It’s marvelous, actually, but it’s taking a while for me to adjust to living somewhere so spacious,” she admitted.

“Anything’s got to be an improvement over the matchbox you lived in,” Jack snorted.

“I’ll have you know the Griffith was a lovely place to live,” Peggy informed him in an affronted tone.

“Those rooms were tiny,” Jack countered. “I would’ve gone stir-crazy if I’d had to live there.”

Peggy sniffed. “Yes, well, perhaps if I was paid equally, I could’ve afforded larger accommodations.”

Sousa coughed to hide an uncomfortable laugh, but Jack plowed right on, ignoring her pointed comment. “Tiny rooms. No thank you. And don’t even get me started on the residents.”

“And what exactly does that mean?” Peggy bristled.

Jack shrugged. “You know. Desperate women unable to land a husband.” He glanced at Peggy and smirked. “Why else would they be there?”

Peggy stared at him incredulously. “Yes, what reasonable woman would want to pursue a career when they could easily settle down with a man to take care of them?” Peggy scoffed.

“Exactly!”

“Clearly, you didn’t spend very much time actually observing the women you met there,” she muttered.

“Believe me,” he snorted. “I saw enough.” He paused a moment and then asked, “Say, whatever happened to that girl there who you were friendly with?”

Peggy’s jaw tightened. She knew exactly to whom Jack was referring, but she’d be damned if she’d let him know that. “Pardon?”

“That neighbor of yours. The one we talked to. Amy, Ashley…”

“Angela Martinelli?” Daniel interjected and then frowned when he saw the look Peggy shot at him.

“That’s the one,” Jack exclaimed, snapping his fingers. “Angie Martinelli. That was her name. Italian bird.”

Peggy’s voice grew even colder. “What about her?”

Daniel looked over at Peggy, instantly picking up on the undercurrent of threat that lay beneath the surface of her words, but Jack continued speaking.

“See, she’s a perfect example. Nice enough girl, but absolutely no future ahead of her,” he explained. “Didn’t that Fry woman say she was trying to become an actress?” he asked, oblivious to the dangerous ground on which he was treading. “From what I saw, that’ll never happen.”

Sousa piped up again. “As I recall, Jack, she was good enough to get you to talk about your Gam Gam.”

“Zip it, Susan,” Jack growled, shooting him a dirty look.

Peggy stood and stepped closer to Thompson, arms folded across her chest. “I’ll have you know Angela Martinelli is a talented young woman. It’s only a matter of time before she gets her big break. “

Jack threw his head back and laughed. “You really need to visit the theatre district more, Carter. From what I saw, I’ve got more talent in my pinky than she has in her whole body.” He stopped and grinned suggestively. “But woo boy, what a body.”

Peggy’s fingers curled into a fist, and she bit the inside of her cheek in an effort to control her temper. “That’s enough, Jack. I won’t allow you to speak about her in that way.”

“C’mon Carter,” he said. “The woman practically threw herself in my arms. Ask Susan. He was there. You don’t have to stand up for her. She’s not here. It doesn’t matter.”

Peggy’s eyes narrowed. “It matters to me.”

But Jack was on a roll and showed no signs of stopping. “I’m telling you, the only way any casting director will ever hire a dame like her is when she gives her best performance on the casting room cou– ”

A loud crack echoed across the subway platform as Peggy’s right fist solidly connected with Thompson’s jaw, and the blond man spun around at the impact before falling backwards, sprawled out on the floor. His hand immediately cupped his jaw as he lay there, moaning.

Peggy turned back to find Daniel gaping at her with wide eyes. She shrugged and shook out her fist, flexing her fingers. “I did warn him to stop speaking ill of Miss Martinelli,” she said pointedly.

Daniel must’ve realized she had a point, because he simply shrugged and nodded. “You did.”

“Very well then.”

“Jesus, Carter,” Thompson groaned from his place on the floor. “What the hell was that for?”

Peggy stepped over to him and leaned down until she could look into her eyes. “I told you. I will not have you speak ill of a young woman whose only crime is she hasn’t found the success you seem to think she should.”

Jack pulled himself up until he was sitting. “For the love of Christ, I was just–”

“You were just being an arse,” Peggy interrupted, “And I won’t tolerate it.”

Jack glared at her. “I’m still your boss, you know.”

Peggy gave him an amused stare. “An unfortunate fact I remind myself of daily,” she replied before extending a hand to help him up.

Jack brushed it away and began to rise but suddenly stopped, panic creeping into his eyes. “Oh shit, the Dazzler.”

“What?” Peggy asked.

“The Dazzler,” he muttered dazedly. “I dropped it when you socked me in the jaw.”

Peggy groaned. “Oh, good lord. Let me get a flashlight.”

Jack felt around on the ground before him. “No, just give me a second. It’s got to be around here somewhere.”

Sousa pipes up. “Hold on, Thompson, we don’t want to accidentally– ”

“Got it!” Thompson crowed triumphantly. A moment later, a blinding light hit Peggy full in the face, and her world instantly went dark.

“Activate it,” Sousa finished weakly.

Peggy stumbled as blackness swam in front of her eyes. Her hand found the cool dampness of the subway wall beside her, and she leaned against it. She brought her fingers in front of her face and waggled them back and forth, but saw nothing.

Bloody hell,” she muttered.