The idea hit me when I was watching Captain America: The First Avenger. I'm sure it's been done better by much better writers, but I couldn't help think.
Peggy was nine years old, in the lap of her grandfather as he spun tales of the horrors he had seen on the battlefield, of the blood that was on his hands, of all of the deaths he had seen. She thought of boys playing with sticks in the neighbourhood, trying to become soldiers. She thought of girls playing with dolls in their house, trying to become beautiful.
She played with the boys and thrashes them all. She played with the girls and outshines them all.
Peggy had always been brilliant.
"Ambition doesn't become a woman."
"Arrogant, close minded men aren't attractive either."
She stared at the man who tried to deny her the right to fight. She thought a good square punch would make him change his mind, that she could battle against men and win. She knew it wasn't the smartest idea, so she didn't, but oh did she imagine it.
"I know how to shoot a gun, I know how to take down a man in one blow, and I can become a soldier. Watch me," she snapped but her expression was the very picture of poise and grace.
Eyes filled with passion spun around to see an older man standing behind her. From his clothing, he was a high ranking official in the American army, and as she was not a soldier (yet), she glared at him rather than snap to attention as the close minded soldier did behind her.
The older man chuckled and stated, "My name is Chester Phillips. You want to be a soldier?"
"More than anything in the world," she said.
"Then come with me."
It was a beginning, and Peggy could feel a smile on her lips.
War was hell.
She didn't mind no soap, no way for her to wash her hair or the grime off her face.
She didn't mind the violence, the killing.
She minded the catcalls. The harassment.
She minded the way that everyone thought she wasn't going to last.
War was hell.
The infirmary set five broken noses a night. It used to be ten.
They suffered losses. So many men dead.
Now, they were looking for a way to make a super soldier.
Peggy thought, 'Perhaps they should focus on their soldiers now.'
"We're looking for a man with a good heart."
Peggy thought, 'Not only men have good hearts,' and her red lips tightened.
Peggy said, "Not only men have good hearts," and they turned to stare at her.
She was always one to speak her mind.
"Peggy Carter. You have fire in your veins."
Dr. Abraham Erskine took out two glasses, and she watched the clear liquid fill in the bottom of the cups. She stared at the liquid and thought, 'Tomorrow, the world will change. Tomorrow, I will change.'
"You are a determined, bright woman with iron in your soul. The serum magnifies everything inside: what is good becomes great, and what is bad becomes worse. You are already great, a shining star. I cannot wait to see what you will become."
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"More than anything in the world," she repeated, and she thought of how far she had come.
Of how far she would go.
The pain was unimaginable.
She could dimly feel her own screams leaving her body as the pain radiated throughout every inch, but with a sudden clarity, she could hear men screaming to turn the machine off, and she pushed through the pain to scream, "No! Don't you dare turn this machine off! I can do this!"
She bit the inside of her lips to silence her screams and could taste iron.
She wondered if her blood was even made of iron anymore.
She seemed taller. That, more than anything, felt different, but she readjusted quickly. Quicker than she had expected.
It didn't stop the man from shooting Dr. Erskine. She didn't stop the man from bombing the laboratory and shooting Dr. Erskine.
With the final tap on the head from the man who gave her a new life, she ran.
It was strange how fast she could go now, how high she could jump, and she couldn't help the yell of excitement that left her lips as she ran after the shooter.
She felt as if she was flying.
But everything had to return to Earth. Whether she crashed or landed would be up to her.
"Hail Hydra," the man whispered and choked on the cyanide pill.
Disgusted, she dropped the corpse.
Hydra. The killer of Dr. Erskine. Someone she would have liked to call a friend.
If she cut one head and another two took its place, she would slice the body to pieces.
A head that could not move can do nothing.
"Without Dr. Erskine, we cannot create more super soldiers."
She thought that they wished they hadn't wasted the opportunity on her.
She goes to Stark EXPO to see if Dr. Erskine could have found a better candidate.
She found one in a Steve Rogers, who hated the bullies of the world and stood for what's right. Who wanted to be the soldier more than anything in the world, but was too weak to do so.
She saw parallels.
She gave him a chance and thought she was the only who had taken his only real chance away.
If the colonel was confused about the addition of Steve Rogers to their camp, he didn't say anything.
The fact that he trusted her judgement gave her more gratitude that she could even put into words.
He covered his body with the grenade.
If she had any doubts that he would have been a great super soldier, Dr. Erskine's golden boy, they were lost.
She regretted taking the opportunity away from him, but she does not regret taking the opportunity for herself.
She smiled at Steve Rogers as he looked up from the dull grenade and felt pride.
She did regret these nauseating song lyrics. She hated that she has to mouth words while another woman talked because it wasn't good for Captain America to speak in a British accent.
She hated being a song bird when she could have been more. Was more.
All she had to do was escape her cage.
Hydra had taken the 107th regiment.
She thought it was a chance for the song bird to fly.
She took Howard Stark with her and soar.
She got everyone out. She met with Schmidt. Fought against him. Jumped through an exploding compound.
She felt more alive than she had ever felt before.
Fire was singing in her veins.
They trusted her on missions now, of taking down Hydra.
Yet some of the men looked at her as if they believed she should return to the house, looked at her as if they believed her to be a prize to be won.
The men she chose to fight belong-side her were the men that looked at her eyes rather than her breasts or her arse.
She knew she chose right when they won battles.
Every bloody battle they fought in.
The train was still considered a success, yet they lost so much more.
Steve was gone, a casualty.
She regretted bringing him into the army, hated the look in James Barnes's eyes as he viciously blamed her for Steve's death. It was her fault, after all. She had brought him onto the battlefield.
She wished she could get drunk.
Perhaps she was not meant to forget.
This battle was going to be the final strike against Hydra. Either she won, or they did.
She was not going to lose.
She wasn't going to let Steve's death be in vain.
"Americans may not be the only ones that are arrogant, but none are so arrogant as you. There are limits to what even you can do, Lady Captain."
She puts her chin forward, ruby red lips curling into a smile.
"I'm British," she said, and her soldiers piled in.
She killed the Red Skull.
Now it seemed that she would die. There was no time left to disarm the bombs. The only safe place for this bomb was in the water, in the cold.
She thought it fitting that she would die in the cold just as Steve did.
"Agent Carter," the colonel said, persisting in referring to her as Agent Carter even when everyone else made the switch to Captain America or Lady Captain, and she thought she loved him for that. He remembered her beginnings, knew how she got to where she was, knew the story of the fire in her eyes. "Are you in control of the plane?"
"Yes, sir, but there's no time to detonate the bombs in a safe place. I'm going to have to put this bird into the water."
She finally escaped her songbird cage only to return to a cage of ice.
("You have fire in your veins.")
Perhaps it would protect her from the ice.
"Thank you, sir, for believing in me."
Whatever response the colonel had was lost as she crashed into the water, and as the cold seeped in, she thought of boys playing with sticks trying to become soldiers, girls playing with dolls trying to become beautiful, Steve, and her grandfather.
She wondered if her grandfather would be proud.
She fell asleep.
She woke up.
Her eyebrows furrowed at the game that played over the radio, and she heard the presence of someone else in the room. She sat up to see the nurse's smile, and the woman in her thought 'fake' while the agent in her thought 'Hyrda.'
"Who are you?" she asked.
"Captain Carter, you're safe in the infirmary." The smile brightened despite the lie.
"Liar," she stated out loud as she got up from the bed. "Liar."
She was lost.
The scenery surrounded her was not familiar to her. Bright lights and screens that filled every inch of the street.
She turned, her eyes narrowing as the black cars surrounded her, and she was prepared to fight her way out.
"Agent Carter," someone stated, and she turned to see a black man with an eye-patch where she thought she would have seen the colonel. Dangerous, her instincts told her. "We wanted to break this to you gently, but it seems you've upped the time table."
"Where am I?" she asked, short and clipped.
"This is Times Square in New York City. Agent, you've been asleep for almost seventy years."
It was said almost calmly, but her mind whirled. She was-in the future? Why had she been asleep? What happened to the war? To the colonel?
"Are you alright?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said, sounding a bit distant. "Did we win? The war?"
And a small smile broke out on his face. She could tell that those were rare.
"Yeah, we won."
"Good," she stated firmly and readjusted.
She was Peggy Carter, Captain America. She had fire in her veins that kept her alive despite being asleep for years. All of her old friends were dead, the world had changed significantly around her.
She was a song of storm and fire.
She would burn just as brightly in this new world, mark a place for her just as she did in the past, and thrive.
This was what she did best.
She knew that her grandfather would be proud.