the howlies got in a lot of bar fights. you might think that the last thing a bunch of soldiers would want to do with their free time is fight people, but actually bar fights were a great stress relief. nobody really got seriously injured, and we tried to keep property damage to a minimum. (and we also almost never started bar fights, for the record. most of the time it was guys from another unit who wanted to prove how badass they were by taking on the infamous howling commandos.) so bar fights themselves weren’t that unusual.
but peggy’s bar fights…oh, they were glorious.
see, peggy never got in a fight for no reason; she was smarter than that. but when she did fight, it was truly beautiful. ive never seen a better right cross, before or since.
so one time we were on leave, sipping drinks in this english pub. the howlies were at the back table, enjoying a couple pitchers, while peggy was up at the bar, chatting with the barmaid. many of the bars and pubs back then had female bartenders–filling the gaps with the men off at war. and generally barmaids (which was what a female bartender was called back then) were the sort of girl pegs got along with–sensible, dependable, and not willing to take shit from any man. so she often enjoyed commiserating with the barmaids while we drank. she used to say she had to be free of us ‘charming gentlemen’ before she wound up blowing things up as erratically as we did. which was hurtful. our explosions were very intentional. mostly.
so peggy got to chat about the best ways to hurl drunken idiots out doors and we got to ply steve with alcohol to see how much booze it would take to make him drunk. (tragically, we never found out.)
on this particular occasion, peggy was sitting at the bar when this mountain of a man came in. and i mean huge. thor-sized. like the hulk’s pinker younger brother. and with him came a dozen or so of his closest friends, all locals. (they may also have been poorly disguised orcs. im not sure, but i wouldn’t discount it as a possibility after seeing all the nonsense ive seen) the group of them made their way up to the bar, wedged their way in, and started harassing the barmaid.
now, i don’t know what they said. peggy refused to repeat it. all i know is that one of the larger idiots said something stupid, laughed, and reached out to grope the barmaid. his hand made it about six inches from her chest when peggy’s fist broke his nose. he hit the floor like a tree falling, and the bar went quiet for a split second before one exceptionally suicidal idiot lunged at peggy.
everything went crazy. there were a good few dozen of us 107th guys in the bar, and all of us knew and adored pegs, so when the mountain-men went after her, every fine man of the 107th went after them. but it turned out that the locals defended their own, and we were pretty evenly matched for numbers. within seconds, everyone was throwing punches. bottles were thrown. dernier used a tablecloth to blind a man and threw him out a window. dumdum used one guy’s fists to hit another guy. i hurled bottlecaps at people’s eyeballs, because it’s fun.(im a sniper. we like distance) steve tried to wade through the chaos to get to peggy, but people kept punching him and then clutching their hands in agony, so he got kind of bogged down.
at the bar, peggy was demonstrating exactly why she was the 107th’s darling–because she could put a grown man twice her size on the ground in two seconds flat. she knocked out six men; seven more promptly fell in love with her.
as the chaos began to wind down, most of the locals had either been beaten down or fled, and only the mini-hulk and a couple others were left, brawling like berserkers. we were just about ready to turn steve loose on them when the barmaid handed peggy a stool. peggy took it, walked up behind where most of us howlies were still duking it out, and broke the stool over the big guy’s head.
he went down hard. the rest of them surrendered out of terror.
(and, possibly, they had also fallen prey to abruptly-in-love-with-peggy-carter syndrome. but really, who wasn’t?)