Title: Forging the Future
Spoilers: Tiny one for ITSOTG
Disclaimer: Not mine, never mine.
Feedback: Always welcome
Notes: Thanks to Bex and Yana for the beta. And to Em for confirming Bex's opinion that no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn't make Margaret the next Miss Moneypenny.
Margaret was putting the finishing touches on the final N when her brother banged through the kitchen door and plopped down in the chair next to her. "What ya doin' there, Meggy?"
"Not Meggy. Margaret," she corrected under her breath, circling her arm around the piece of lined paper in front of her to shield it from his sight.
He wasn't put off. Grabbing the corner of the paper with grubby fingers, he tugged it from beneath her arm. "George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Lennon?"
"Yes." She frowned defiantly at him and reached for the paper, but he held it away from her. "Give that back!"
"Give it back!"
"Not 'til you tell me why you're writing all these names," he taunted, waving the paper just out of her reach.
"I'm practicing," she mumbled.
"Practicing? Like Mrs. Margaret Lennon? That's dumb! And those other guys are dead."
Her head shot up and she glared at him. "No kidding. I'm not that dumb. I'm practicing how to do their signatures."
"Because I'll need to know how to do stuff like that when I become a spy," she explained.
Her brother let out a loud whoop of laughter. "A spy? You?"
"Why not me?"
"Because you're a girl!" he laughed.
"So? Girls can be spies."
"No, they can't!"
"Can too!" she argued. "Mata Hari was a girl."
"Mata Hari worked for the enemy," he retorted.
"So? What's that got to do with anything?" Margaret lashed back.
"Stop!" Their mother left her post by the stove and grabbed the sheet of paper, tucking it into her apron pocket. "Thomas, leave your sister alone. Margaret, stop being silly and go get the table ready for dinner."
"Go," she repeated, her back already to them as she returned to cooking dinner.
With a slump in her shoulders and much reluctance, Margaret got up and headed to the cabinet to grab the plates while her brother bolted out the door. Pulling three forks and knives from the drawer, she said, "It's not silliness, Mom."
"Practicing forgery to become a spy," her mother tsked. "It is silliness. No, you keep getting good grades in school, Meg, and once you've graduated, we'll get you enrolled in a good secretarial school."
"But Mom! I don't wanna be a secretary," she whined.
"Want to," her mother corrected. "And you may not want to, but it's a good job. Maybe you can even be a legal secretary."
Her mother stopped stirring the sauce and came over to where Margaret stood by the table, carefully setting silverware out around the plates. Crouching down, she set her hands on Margaret's shoulders, her face earnest as she spoke to her daughter. "Listen to me, Meg. It's a tough world out there, and a girl needs to be prepared. You don't want to end up like me, with two kids, no husband, and hardly any job prospects. You're getting your secretarial certificate."
"But I don't want to be a secretary," Margaret repeated.
"It's not a matter of want. It's a matter of need," her mom explained. "You need to be prepared to support yourself. Get your certificate, find a good job and then stick with it. And you won't go wrong."
Margaret's face scrunched up as she considered it. "Maybe I could be a secretary for a spy," she mused.
Chuckling, her mother kissed her forehead. "Maybe." She stood and headed back towards the stove, tossing instructions to Margaret over her shoulder. "Go wash up. And tell your brother to get back in here. Dinner'll be ready in five minutes."
"'kay," Margaret answered, dashing for the door, her mind already moving on to new possibilities. A spy's secretary. Yeah. She could do that.
And maybe she'd need to forge documents for whichever spy she wound up working for. In that case, she ought to keep practicing. Who knew when it might come in handy?