|peggy (theagentcarter) wrote in avengers_logs,|
@ 2018-08-17 21:51:00
|Entry tags:||-complete, peggy carter, steve rogers|
What: Peggy learns a lot and they finally say the thing.
When: Directly after this.
It was all too much. At this point, Peggy was barely holding it together. She'd managed to make her way through the entire museum. But now, as Steve guided her outside, her hand gripping his bicep, she was on the verge of breaking down. She’d gone past the outfits and plaques, past the the pictures of friends they'd both lost to time and circumstance. But the two things they saw last... made her chest ache in a way she could never be able to describe. She saw herself, an older version, doing an interview about Steve. All she could do was hold her breath, the hand linked to Steve’s squeezing as hard as she could, as if trying to reassure her older self that it was okay. That she had him again. That she wouldn’t waste this chance. Watching your own heart shatter on a large screen is something Peggy had never imagined, nor would she ever want anyone else to experience it like she had.
She thought that was the worst there could be. But then they came to the very end. Among all the posters and displays highlighting all the battles the Avengers had fought both together and against each other, there was a small black board. It wasn't a large display, you wouldn’t notice if you were in a hurry. It was the first time Peggy had let go of Steve since he’d arrived at her door. It felt like a dream, to read someone elses words describing your life. She had to touch it, to make sure it was real. She had a husband? Children? Peggy had never dreamed such a thing would be possible with the life she was currently leading. It was Steve though, that caused her to gasp. There he was, as beautiful as the day she first met him, carrying her casket up the steps of the cathedral. He’d been with her, known her when she died. He’d come back after all. The thought of Steve sharing the type of pain that she had endured since she first lost him made her almost go limp.
They had to keep a low profile, she knew that. But there was so much pressure on her chest… she wasn’t sure they would ever be the same. “Darling,” she finally managed to whisper. “I’m so sorry.” They were barely down the front steps before she spoke. What else could she say? What words could even express what she felt for him, what she felt about everything he’d been through.
Steve had only come here willingly twice. Once out of curiosity. The second time to retrieve his uniform. He avoided the place otherwise. It embarrassed him. And hurt. Reminders of everything he’d lost was here in this museum. Bucky...all though that changed, but sometimes Steve still felt like Bucky wasn’t returned to him. His team. Peggy. Now she was here with him. It still embarrassed him, and he was worried about how she would feel about seeing herself, but this was necessary. It explained things he could never be able to. He hadn’t even seen the people looking at them as they traveled through the museum.
Finally they reached the end. Steve’s shoulders were hunched and his hands were in his pockets. There was a moment when he thought he’d have to catch her, but she managed herself. And of course the first thing out of her mouth was an apology.
Steve got a smile that was the same one he wore when he watched her fading away from dementia, only this time he wasn’t going to lose her to a disease. This time he wasn’t going to lose her period. He pulled a hand out to reach for her as he shook his head. “There’s nothing for you to be sorry for, Peg. Besides. You’re here now.”
It was a lot of information to take in. His resurrection, the battles the Avengers had fought together (and against each other), her own death… enough to make her dizzy. But she managed to keep on her feet, clinging to his arm for support. Once they were a good distance away from the entrance, she paused. “I just… need a moment.” She leaned her back against the brick of the building near them, running a hand through her hair before looking up at him. She had a family, children, a husband… what was she supposed to do with that information now? She didn’t know them, not really. Would it be a betrayal to not seek them out? To spare them having to lose her again? Or her losing them. It was beginning to make her head ache.
“I knew you’d come back.” Her voice was just above a whisper, speaking from behind the hand against her forehead, putting pressure on the space between her eyes, before it dropped to her side and she was face to face with him again. “I knew you would.” Reaching out, she cupped a hand around the back of his neck, pulling their bodies flush against each other and his face down to hers so she could press their foreheads together once more. “I love you.” She’d never said it, to anyone, even when he was in the ice. She’d never found a time or place to express her feelings for Captain America. But most of all, she didn’t see it fit to tell someone else when he’d never heard it himself.
Steve wanted to reach out to her, pull her against him instead of that wall, but he held his ground. Peggy needed air and space to process what she’d just seen so he waited, but was within reach. For him, learning she’d gotten married and had kids had been a comfort to him. Peggy had found a way to be happy. That had been enough for him.
He looked into her face when she spoke, but didn’t say anything. He just let her talk it out. When she reached for him he moved willingly enough, wrapping his arms around her when she pressed against him. It was the offer of shelter, comfort and protection. His eyes drifted shut when she touched her forehead to his. Her next words hit him as hard as anything else, but there was nothing painful about them.
“I love you, too,” was all he could say in return.
It felt like a weight had been lifted, like she’d been carrying around these words and every day they went unsaid pushed a little harder on her shoulders and heart. She’d never let that happen again. Despite the strange ache in her chest, she couldn’t help but grin. She’d known, but hearing it was completely different.
The brunette pulled back slightly, keeping her arm around his waist as they moved to walk, leaning her weight against his protective frame. She didn’t know where they were going but she didn’t really mind. This was Steve’s home, she’d follow him wherever he wanted to take her.
For as many answers as it provided, the museum also gave her more questions. She didn’t know where to begin or what to ask. What he might want to talk about and what he would want to avoid. But there was one thing that she couldn’t avoid. “So you went to war with Howard’s son.” How could she begin anywhere else but their friend, someone who had saved her life on more than one occasion.
There were some really nice places in Brooklyn that were still around since his time. They’d changed hands a few times if they were an establishment or were cleaned up and repaired if they were one of the parks. Steve wanted to show her everything, but knew there were only so many hours in a day. He at least wanted to take her to his favorite pizza shop where they could eat and talk in relative peace. The owner knew who he was and always gave him a table in the back.
“Yeah,” Steve answered. His arm was draped over her shoulders. Peggy felt like she fit perfectly against him. “Tony...resented his dad so you might not want to mention Howard.” Just thinking about Tony being Tony around Peggy made Steve tense up. Both were strong personalities, and Peggy wouldn’t take Tony’s shit. She and Pepper might get along, though. Steve made a mental note to introduce them.
“Other than that, they’re a lot alike.” Steve smirked a bit. “Might not want to tell him that either.”
Just feeling him next to her was a comfort. Being able to touch him and walk with him, hear his voice, it chased any aches or worries she had about what was happening away. Surprisingly, she was unfazed by the looks they got. She suspected it was probably a normal thing for him with how he’d saved the world and all. Again. Seeing the admiring looks directed towards him made her beam with pride. And deep down she felt a satisfaction that she was the one who could hold onto him. The one who could call him hers.
“When I… appeared?” She didn’t know if there was really a word for what had happened to her. “The first person I thought of was Howard, figured he would know what to do.” Her voice was sad, her affection for her now dead friend very clear. “I called a cab and his bloody name was plastered all over the inside.” She frowned momentarily before continuing. “But it was Tony’s face instead.” She chuckled a little, thinking of the many times she’d had given Howard a knock to the face when Steve had ended up doing the same with Tony. “I believe it.” Both about the resentment and the similarities between them. “I’ll mention it if it needs said.” She punctuated her thought with a nod, looking up at him with a smirk.
“So, now that we’re in Brooklyn.” Her arm extended, gesturing out at the area around them. “Do I get a special tour or what?”
Steve smiled in understanding. While Howard had been starting out when Steve knew him, Tony had been pretty established. “A lot of things the Avengers have been able to use, jets, vehicles, weapons. We wouldn’t have had any of it without Tony. He’s made some mistakes and carries his guilt like a weight, but he’s a good man.”
Her question about a tour of where he grew up made him grin. “It’s a big place so it’ll take days.” What a horrible fate. “Right now I’m going to take you to one of my favorite places. I used to go there when I was a kid.”
“I believe it.” She pressed her face into the side of his shoulder affectionately. “Even with his flaws, it would be hard for Howard’s son to turn out that terribly.”
It was a beautiful contrast and it wasn’t lost on Peggy as they walked. They’d begun their relationship under terrible conditions. Experiments and wartime were not particularly romantic notions but they’d still managed to find each other. But Peggy would take walking in the sunshine through the streets of Brooklyn over being huddled in a wet tent, talking over enemy camps and attack strategies anyday.
“Sounds lovely.” She beamed up at him, her free hand reaching up to link her fingers with his hand around her shoulders. She couldn’t get enough of him.
Steve realized he was avoiding telling her what was happening here and why they’d been brought here. She had her welcome package. She had to. Right? As his fingers tightened on hers he glanced down at her. “You met Stephen Strange, right? Probably showed up when you did and seemed kind of bored with the whole thing?”
Peggy scoffed and nodded. “Yeah, I’ve met him.” She shook her head, pressing her face into his shoulder again as she frowned. Split universes and alternate timelines and… her head was really going to hurt when she woke up tomorrow. “Thought I was losing my bloody mind when he just,” she dropped his hand to gesture wildly in front of her, lost for words. “Does he always just appear like that or does he ever use doors like a normal human?” She kept her worries to herself. Those could be discussed another time, when she wasn’t trying to absorb every bit of Steve she could.
“He...likes to make an entrance, but I’m not sure he does it on purpose.” Steve shrugged. “His way of appearing is more expedient. Less time consuming. And if he seemed put out, he kind of was. I don’t know when he sleeps but he’s constantly trying to find a solution for all of this.” He made a vague gesture as if to include everything. “So when someone shows up he has to stop what he’s doing to go explain for the thousandth time what’s going on.” He paused for a moment with a thoughtful look on his face. “He could probably use someone to do all that for him.” And Peggy would be perfect for the job.
A solution. Peggy nodded, a fraction of worry crossing her face. People being yanked and un-yanked from their own worlds was worrisome enough. But a solution… what would happen to them? If she was really still back in California with Daniel, but also here… would this her just cease to exist? The thought made her chest ache again.
Peggy knew that look. Steve had an idea. “You think I would be the best person to explain to people that they’re in a diverged timeline from their alternate selves?” That sounded about right. She looked off at the road, nodding a bit. “I mean if I can manage to explain Dark Matter to people, this shouldn’t be too bad.” Dark Matter, god if that wasn’t a mess. “But only if he agrees.” She squeezed his hand again, smirking up at him. “I missed you.”
Steve would bring it up to Strange himself. “I think you’d be pretty good at it if I remember boot camp right.” He smirked down at her as her voice from long ago echoed in his head. Come on ladies. My grandmother could do better than that, God rest her soul. “I’ll ask him. See how he feels about it.”
His smile grew tender as he looked down at her. “I missed you every day since I woke up.” Every day. He visited her in the home, but her Alzheimer's gave her good days and bad days. As time went one the bad days outnumbered the good until it culminated in him being a pall bearer at her funeral.
His comment caused her cheeks to blush, a vivid memory of his his small frame looking up at her from under his helmet came into her mind. “I’d appreciate that. Give me something to do at least until I find…” A mission. That was the words that wanted to come out but instead she just tapered off. Was this still a world that needed her that way? She wasn’t sure. After looking over everything Steve and his friends had done, it was enough to make any old regular human feel a little inadequate. She had known how important she was in her time, but this century seemed like an entirely new ball game.
Her own gaze matched his, the worry of jobs and finding her place slipping away to be replaced with fondness and affection. “You won’t ever have to miss me again.” She hoped. She couldn’t quite reveal just how much the prospect of people popping in and out at random seemed to worry her. The thought that at any moment she could be pulled back from this world, or worse, Steve could be… It was enough to make her stomach hurt.
Her grip on his waist tightened as she squeezed a little closer to him, dragging her gaze from him to look around. “So what is this place we’re going to, it’s pizza isn’t it?”
It occurred to Steve then that Peggy really needed to know SHIELD history. Ugh. The question was, should he tell her himself, introduce her to Fury (and watch him be shocked, a rare sight) or get Morse to talk to her. Bobbi and Peggy were a lot alike. They might get along, and this new SHIELD could probably use her input. He made a mental note to look into it.
She called him out on the dinner plans and that sheepish little boy grin formed on his face. “It might be.”
It was impossible for Peggy to not love Steve. She’d always known that, even before she’d been able to put a word or feeling to the way her heart leapt when she saw him. But seeing his face light up made her giggle. She’d never imagined she could be this happy. “I’ll enjoy every bit of it.” She grinned back up at him, wondering if it was possible to hold him even tighter. They could never be close enough.