Fandom: Mad Men (Don/Peggy)
Spoilers: through "The Summer Man" (4x08)
Word Count: 1743
Summary: Peggy wants to be that woman.
It happens again. Of course it happens again; she's not surprised. And she doesn't care, because she can't care. She's not supposed to care. It doesn't matter.
And she's sitting there, not caring, chewing on the end of her pen and watching Dr. Faye carefully. Doctor Faye. It's amazing, actually. Peggy likes to believe that she's made a decent name for herself, but then someone like Faye comes waltzing in and puts it all in perspective. Next to Faye, she amounts to nothing.
"Maybe I should continue my education," she muses aloud. "Get a degree." Peggy immediately regrets voicing this thought, as Stan is the only one in the room to hear it.
"Now there's an idea. Get your MRS," he says, laughing at his own joke. Like he's so clever and original.
Peggy ignores him, still watching Faye. How is it possible for a woman to be that confident and intelligent and strong? Don's type, she supposes. Like Bobbie Barrett and that philosophy she seemed so sure of. "Be a woman. It's a powerful business when done correctly."
Peggy still doesn't know what "it" is. But she knows what it isn't, which is why she hates that her stomach flips whenever she hears the only four words Don will always say to her (and not the ones she wants):
"Peggy, get in here."
He'll tell her that the campaign isn't working, the commercial isn't right, the tagline isn't memorable, the ad doesn't have the right feel. Nothing's ever good enough. But she can fix it. She can do it again. She can make things right.
She can sit back and watch when his hand brushes against Faye's thigh, quickly, like it's a mistake. It's not a mistake. Don knows it, Faye knows it, and Peggy sure as hell knows it, but they think no one else even sees. Or cares, maybe. But she cares. She shouldn't, but she does.
Peggy wonders whatever happened to his "rules" about work. Maybe it was foolish of her to believe that for a second.
She says nothing, though, because it's not her place. And because she can't, really. They still don't have too many personal conversations. There's nothing to say.
Until he calls her again in the middle of the night because he's stranded somewhere, because he always calls her when he's drunk and in trouble. Why her? Why not call Faye or his number of other mistresses? She shakes her head, imagining them all: the endless parade of women marching in and out of Don Draper's bedroom.
"You're a mess," she says when she finds him. She's judging and she knows it. She doesn't care.
Don looks at her and nods, and he's so pathetic that she's quick to sputter an apology. He doesn't hear it anyway in his drunken haze.
"Can you take me home?" he manages to ask, and it's an obvious struggle for him on multiple levels.
They hobble into his apartment with him leaning against her for support, practically crushing her under his weight.
Then it occurs to her: she's in his bedroom. Presumably she's the only woman who has ever set foot in this room without immediately disrobing and joining him in bed. She stands motionless as Don practically collapses into the mattress. Peggy takes a moment to survey her surroundings, noting the striking simplicity of it all. She never expected Don to sleep in a room so... bare. So unimpressive. She supposes it's a room that would belong only to a man with plenty to hide, since it reveals so little.
He's passed out, clearly, so she steps back out to the living area, wondering how she would make it home at such an hour. He's always doing this, isn't he? Leaving her stranded. And what's worse is she's pretty sure she brings it on herself. Asks for it. Maybe even enjoys it in some awful masochistic way.
"Peggy," he calls out suddenly, causing her to start. It seems he's not so unconscious after all. Automatically, she turns around and walks back to his room. She stands in his doorway waiting for further instruction. Like always.
"It's late," he says, his voice low. She wonders if he's whispering because the room's dark, or because he's tired, or because he's about to tell her a secret. "Stay here."
She looks at her watch and he's right. It's almost two. Catching a cab at this hour wouldn't be impossible, but it's cold outside and it's not something she's itching to do.
"Okay," she concedes with a sigh, as if she's been deliberating the suggestion for hours instead of mere seconds. She looks to the bare, unimpressive couch. "Where do you keep your spare blankets?" she asks.
Don shakes his head.
"Don't—don't get up," she adds quickly. "Just tell me where I can find them. Or, it's all right, I'll look for one."
"I don't have any," he mumbles.
"How do you not have any?"
"I live alone. I don't have much of anything."
She bites her lip, eying the apartment again. It's not surprising. Don pats the space in the bed next to him, wordlessly inviting her in.
"It's okay," she says. "I'll take the couch, maybe one of your coats..."
"Peggy, get in here," he demands at a normal volume.
Reluctantly, she climbs into bed next to him. He must've sensed her nerves because he adds, in a softer tone, "Relax. I'm not going to touch you."
"I—" she starts, but stops herself, knowing there's no possible way that sentence could end well. Now's not the time to defend herself. And when it comes to Don, she's not sure why she always feels like she should.
His back is to her and he's fast asleep before she can think of a more appropriate response.
Peggy wakes up a few hours later to the realization that he's snoring, and his arm is draped across her stomach. Delicately, she pushes him aside, and he stirs slightly before rolling over. She closes her eyes and falls back asleep.
She wakes again to an empty bed, the sun shining on her face, the smell of eggs, and the sound of what she's pretty sure is Don humming. She steps into the living area and spies him by the stove. He looked so... refreshed, not that she should have expected any different. Still, it's kind of amazing.
"You hungry?" He turns to look at her.
She hesitates. Then: "I think I should get going."
"Oh, stop acting like this was a big deal. We were lying next to each other. We slept. It's not even the first time."
"No, but that was in the office," Peggy says. "This was... here. In your bed."
Don rolls his eyes. "Give me a break. I didn't touch you. And now I'm cooking you breakfast to show my gratitude. Can you at least allow me that?"
She sighs, again. It doesn't seem right that she has to feel so constantly deflated. Somehow she finds the strength to lift her eyes to his, and she nods. He grins like he won something and goes back to cooking.
Over breakfast they make small-talk about Lucky Strike and Honda and Glo-Coat and other completely transparent bullshit until she interrupts him mid-sentence to ask, "Don, what happened last night?"
He looks at her, raising an eyebrow slightly. Then he looks down at his food. "I had too much to drink. I needed help getting home."
"But you cut back on your drinking, I thought," she says, and his eyes grow wide.
"Who told you that?"
Peggy shakes her head. "No one. It was just something I noticed."
Don's face softens into the smallest of smiles. "Of course."
She looks at him expectantly.
"Last night... I had a moment of weakness. It happens."
"Right." Peggy nods, wondering if she pushed too hard, if she crossed that invisible boundary. She can never remember where it falls. "You don't have to explain."
"Faye and I..."
She waves her hand dismissively. "I know. You two are..."
"No, we're not. We haven't been for weeks. Last night it just... hit me."
"Okay." She pauses. "I worry about you sometimes."
Don smiles. "I would tell you that I can take care of myself, but... I think you'd know that's a lie."
She returns the smile. "Well, I won't tell anyone the truth."
At this point their meals are cold, but they finish eating anyway.
"I should go," Peggy says again, gathering her things.
"It's Sunday. Stay a while," Don insists. "There might be a good movie on TV."
She stops buttoning her coat and sighs. "Don... I can't be this."
He blinks. "What?"
"I can't just... stay here with you all day. I can't always be here to fill in the missing gaps in your life whenever you feel like it."
He stares at her. And then, "Okay, fine, I get it. You have to go."
He's missing the point, of course, but it's hopeless to try. He's still her boss. She still has to see him tomorrow, and the day after that. And nothing will ever change.
So she leaves. Goes back to her apartment, showers, and turns on the TV. She fumbles with the antenna until she finds a decent reception, but Don was wrong. No good movies were on anyway. She slumps into the couch and closes her eyes, trying not to think about him, or work, or what she's feeling, or anything.
She must have fallen asleep because she's suddenly startled by the sound of someone knocking. Damn Veronika, always forgetting her keys. Peggy trudges to the door, rubbing her eyes as she yanks it open. And her stomach does that all-too-familiar flip, because it's him. Even though she probably shouldn't be surprised.
"I'm sorry," he starts. "I didn't mean—"
She brings her fingers to his lips to shush him. He responds by taking her hand in his and squeezing tight.
It's not like it hasn't happened before.
She looks up at him. She sees him—or she hopes that she does. Or maybe she just needs to believe that she does. Or maybe it doesn't matter.
"Don," she says, taking a deep breath. "Get in here." It's supposed to be a request but it comes out a command. He obeys, his fingers still wrapped around hers. She kicks the door shut behind them and moves her free hand behind his neck. Draws him in. Then she brings her mouth to his, kisses the lips that have been kissed by so many others, that have spouted so hurtful words and lies, that are always telling her to leave. The lips that never say thank you.
But none of it's important. It's background noise to this, the undressed, simple truth: she's kissing the lips of the man she loves. And he's kissing back.