Title: Private Party
Summary: Set in S5, between episodes "Lady Lazarus" and "Dark Shadows." Stan finds Peggy in the office on Halloween.
Word Count: 882
When he sees the light slivering from Peggy’s office, Stan’s not surprised. He’s more surprised he doesn’t hear the typewriter, too, but when he pokes his head in and finds her lounging on the couch blowing smoke into the air, the silence makes more sense.
“I thought you had a Halloween party to go to,” he says with a bemused smile. “Where’s your costume?”
All she moves is a single arched brow when she rakes her gaze over him. “Where’s yours?”
He shrugs and slides inside. “The party doesn’t start until ten.” Flopping down onto the cushion next to her, he takes the half-gone joint from her fingers and does his best not to feel the heat bleeding from her skin. “I’ve got plenty of time.”
He doesn’t, actually, because this was supposed to be just a quick run, pick up his extra stash and get back out, but he can’t leave her here when she isn’t telling him to go. He takes a drag and passes it back, stealing another look at her through his lashes before sprawling to stare at the ceiling like she is.
“Did you buy candy?” she asks out of the blue.
“Yeah. I ate it.”
“Why should you? You were going to be out.”
“Except I wasn’t.”
“You’re here, aren’t you?”
“Only because I was there and every time another kid knocked on my door and yelled out, ‘Trick or treat!,’ I held my breath and froze so they wouldn’t know I was inside.” She sighs. “I snuck out through the fire escape because I couldn’t take it any more.”
He wonders where Abe was in all this, but he’s smart enough not to ask. She won’t tell him anyway.
“Come on.” He hauls her clumsily to her feet, his fingers overlapping where they circle around her wrist. For a second, he falters. He always forgets how small she really is, but the spell is shattered when she tenses and tries to pull away.
“I’m not going to your party,” she says.
Stan winks at her over his shoulder. “That’s why we’re having our own.”
After snagging two mugs from the break room, he takes her to Sandy’s desk first. The bowl of toffees in the corner is half-full, but it’s the secret stash of chocolates in her top drawer that he’s really after. “Trick or treat,” he says as he drops one into Peggy’s mug.
Peggy looks into the cup, up at him, back to the cup again before beaming. She barely escapes getting her hand caught in the drawer when she steals another chocolate as he’s closing it.
Their mugs are full by the time they’ve done the full circuit of the office. The only desk he doesn’t raid is Joan’s. He likes his balls where they are, thank you very much.
When they collapse back onto the couch, Peggy is finally giggling. Some of it’s the pot, but Stan knows that the rest is her getting into the moment. She spends so much time stuck inside her head, thinking and overthinking and trying to hold onto what little control she has left, she forgets to look around her. He doesn’t care when they’re both working—which granted, is a lot of the time—because nothing gets him juiced like bouncing ideas off someone as smart as she is, but in these hours when the work is done, when they need to step back and recharge their batteries so they can tackle the next project with just as much vigor, he wants her there with him, laughing and living and reveling in the ridiculous.
Fucking would be nice, too, but she’s not ready for that.
Her cheeks are flushed as she holds out a Tootsie Roll for him to bite into. She laughs and rolls her eyes at him when he growls and snaps at the candy with his teeth.
That’s okay. He can wait.
As Joan strides up to the front desk, she spies the first wrapper lying discarded beneath the nearest corner. Her frown tightens at the second against the wall and the third in the middle of the aisle. The cleaning crew will need to be disciplined again. These lapses—and they better be lapses, not more theft—can’t be tolerated.
Then she hears the snoring. She slows, then stops outside the open office door, peering around the edge to see who has spent the night this time.
On the couch, Stan sleeps with his legs propped up on the coffee table, his jaw slack as his head rests on the rear cushion. A barefoot Peggy is curled into his side, one hand out of sight where she’s slid it beneath Stan’s shirt to hold onto his waist, while around the pair are strewn what looks to be several hundred empty candy wrappers.
The light snores come from Peggy, not Stan. Joan bites back her smile and reaches for the door to shut it as silently as possible. Considering how long these two have been dancing around each other, they deserve their privacy for as long as they can keep it.
Through the door, she hears a break in the snoring followed by Peggy’s contented sigh and Stan’s low rumble.
That privacy won’t last for long.