He's looking for someone.
That was one of the many whispered rumors that flew around the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Only three days had passed since S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Colonel Nick Fury discovered the identity of the newest member of Iron Man's recently created Avengers team. Fury hadn't been… pleased when he learned that no one thought to tell him that the Avengers retrieved the original Captain America from the ice of the North Atlantic.
No one knew if the Captain was for real or not. Fury had dragged the Captain, Iron Man, and the teen known as Rick Jones into his office almost the moment the three of them stepped onto the helicarrier, leaving agents to speculate the cause of the director's bad mood and the reason two Avengers and a kid were in trouble. Like any workplace where boredom was as rampant as the work-related problems, it had only taken a few hours for word to spread across the entire helicarrier. That Captain America, the real deal, was onboard. That the Super-Soldier program was going to restart since there was ready access to the source material. That the Captain had been in the ice for almost fifty years and by some miracle lived. That he'd been looking for Fury, who happened to be an old war buddy of his.
That he was looking for a particular girl from his World War Two days.
"Who? Who is he looking for?"
Sharon Carter, Agent 13 to her colleagues, looked up one of the field leaders shoved Agent 27 aside, the latter falling to the ground and crashing into Sharon's field leader, Agent 45, in the process. "I just told Sergeant Willis that I don't know, so please shut up," the first leader snapped as Agent 27 picked himself up off the floor.
"Hey, go easy on the kid. He can't help that he's curious," Willis, one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s formidable drill sergeants, said mildly while the field leader rolled his eyes. "Hell, we're all curious. Why else would half of the workforce be hanging outside the director's office?"
Sharon looked down the hall, as did the field leader. All up and down the corridor leading to the director's office, agents were milling around and casually talking with neighbors as they waited for some kind of sound from behind the door. The office had become eerily quiet a little while earlier. Some had been waiting since the verbal volleys started, others, like Sharon, had just recently joined the 'party'.
It didn't help that half of the staff was on lunch break either.
Sharon glanced at her neighbor. "Do you think that they're done in there?" she asked in a low voice.
Valentina Allegra de Fontaine shook her head. "But I wouldn't worry about it. Fury is most likely just miffed that he let something this important slip through the cracks for this long. I wouldn't worry about Mr. Stark losing Iron Man either, Fury knows that what Iron Man does is too important to ignore, even if he won't say it aloud."
Sharon just nodded, wondering if Val would know the answer to Willis's question. "So, do you know who the Captain is looking for?"
Val arched an eyebrow but glanced back at Fury's office. "I can't say if I know for sure, but I believe Fury might."
"Oh." Sharon leaned back in her seat and stared across the hall in silent contemplation. She had a feeling she knew the name of the girl that the Captain was looking for.
Fury's office door opened, startling the agents into silence. Sharon straightened in her seat but relaxed when she recognized Rick Jones. He carefully shut the door before turning around, stopping in his tracks when he saw the size of his expectant audience. "Erm, do you guys all want something?" he finally asked.
"Is that really the first Captain America in there?" an agent somewhere in the back asked.
"Uh, yeah… by the way, Colonel Fury said that there had better be no personnel, off-duty or otherwise, eavesdropping by the time he comes out," Rick said before he started trying to make his way through the suddenly-dissipating group of agents.
"Well, you heard him. No eavesdroppers," Val said, nudging Sharon. "Go."
"What about you?"
Val smiled. "I have some papers from Maria Hill for Fury. I've got to wait until he's done."
"Touché." Sharon stood up. "I guess I'll see you later then."
"Do tell me if you ever find out if he is looking for a girl or not. I am curious about that myself," Val added right before Sharon walked away.
Sharon turned the corner, and came to a stop. As it turned out, Rick hadn't gone far before a few persistent agents had cornered him. "Come on guys, Fury will have my head if I say something," Rick protested as Sharon walked toward the small group. "All I'm allowed to tell you is that he's the real deal. The Avengers and the Fantastic Four confirmed it before coming to Fury. What more proof do you want?"
"Relax Jones, they just want to see the guy," Willis said as he pushed the others aside. "All right folks, it's 1300 hours right now and I'm sure that lunch break is over for at least half of you. You can gawk at the new guy later on your own time."
"Who else is in there other than Fury, Iron Man, and Captain America?" Sharon asked as she stood with Willis, the other agents once again leaving but with purpose this time.
Rick waited until most of the other personnel were gone before he answered, "No one else, just those three. Apparently the Avengers were in the north to calm down the raging Sub-Mariner and stumbled across the Captain's ice block in the process. Cap had been flash-frozen after his disappearance in World War Two, and was in a state of suspended animation since then."
Willis grimaced. "Yikes, poor guy. He must have been extremely confused when he woke up."
Rick glowered at the older man. "No kidding, I was the one who found him not too long after that," he said, leaning back on a foot and crossing his arms. "He thought I was Bucky."
"Huh. Who was Bucky again? The name sounds familiar…" Willis began.
"Bucky was his partner from the war."
Rick and Willis both looked at Sharon, Willis looking slightly confused. "Or at least that's what I heard. He disappeared the same day the Captain did," she added, and Willis nodded sagely.
"Aha, now I remember. So now that Captain America has found Fury, who else is he looking for?" Willis asked, turning back to Rick.
"He's looking for his girl. Apparently, she was in the French Resistance but was an American, and they fought together often. Unfortunately, she disappeared at the end of the war, and Cap hasn't been able to locate her since he came back. He doesn't know what happened to her. Name was Agent Margaret Carter, but her nickname was 'Peggy'." Rick paused, checked to make sure it was still just the three of them, and then whispered, "Not even Fury knows where Carter went off to at the end of the war."
"That's sad," Willis remarked, and Sharon felt a slight twist in her gut.
"Hey guys, I'll catch you later, I have to get back to my post before my supervisor catches me," she said, waving before turning to leave.
"Catch you around, Thirteen," Willis said to her retreating back before turning back to Rick.
Sharon meanwhile forced her pounding heart to calm down as she walked away from the two men. Her father's efforts to protect a shell-shocked Peggy Carter had paid off. Stressed that someone would eventually try to take advantage of his sister's fragile condition, Harrison Carter managed to convince Peggy to live at the family home and recuperate. Once there, Peggy began to tell Sharon stories of her days as an undercover resistance fighter, spinning incredible tales of espionage missions and superheroes. Sharon's personal favorite was of Peggy's first meeting with Captain America in Nazi-occupied Paris. The story of the doomed romance's beginnings still captured Sharon's imagination even though it was almost four years since she had heard those stories.
Just reminiscing about her aunt encouraged the rest of Sharon's secret from Fury to force itself to the front of her mind, kept more out of need for protection than anything else. After the war's conclusion in 1945, Peggy had seemed all right, seamlessly moving back into civilian life despite the fact that her memory was still patchy. It wasn't until 1953, when a communist spy pretending to be the Red Skull attacked the United Nations, that Captain America reappeared. Peggy had had a strong reaction to this, disappearing from home for a while. She returned a few years later, more confused than ever before. The post-traumatic stress disorder set in not too long after that, leaving Peggy in the care of one Doctor Faustus. After he was exposed as a criminal, Harrison had acted quickly to bring his sister back home, where he could care for her himself.
Sharon still remembered learning all of this from the hushed arguments between her parents, when Amanda Carter was terrified about letting Sharon sign on with S.H.I.E.L.D.
She could also still remember exactly where in the house the scrapbook was. The scrapbook was one of the few keys to Peggy's recovery; it removed the thoughts of war from Peggy's mind and eased her mental burden. Peggy told her first story to Sharon when Sharon was only six years old.
Sharon glanced back down the hall, checking to make sure that no one was following her. She was still somewhat wary of Nick Fury; Peggy brought him up frequently in conversation about the WWII days, and sometimes not in a favorable light. If Rick was to be believed, Fury hadn't tried to look for Peggy after the war. When she was recruited into S.H.I.E.L.D., Sharon had hoped that Fury didn't make the connection between her and Peggy.
Sharon knew what she was getting herself into when she decided to follow her aunt's footsteps. The thing she didn't tell her father was that she wanted to be as great as her aunt, but in her own way.
She wanted to be remembered and known for herself. Not because of who her aunt was.
So far it had been smooth sailing… until now that is.
The first problem was that Fury was a lot older than Sharon initially guessed. When she saw him at the initiation ceremony, she'd guessed for him to be in his late forties, early fifties to be generous. But if he had known the original Captain America and fought alongside him, then it put S.H.I.E.L.D.'s director around seventy years of age, give or take. She knew that since she really didn't know the director, she could be off with even that guess.
The second problem was the Captain himself. She'd taken advantage of the fact that no one in S.H.I.E.L.D. knew her real name (with a few exceptions of course), and subsequently her family 'connections'. If that truly was the original Captain America, then she was at risk of losing her anonymity, especially if Fury decided to run one of his extremely thorough background checks and traced her family as far back as the 1940s. Sharon had always assumed that her 'common' last name would be enough to slip under the radar.
She couldn't lose that.
Sharon released a soft sigh. Keeping an eye on the situation and not sticking out too much was probably the best she could do at the moment. That meant no more retelling stories to her teammates, like she would do when they were killing time. She could also call to warn her father that he was about to have some unexpected guests…
Sharon jumped at the sudden male voice, and turned to the speaker. She almost jumped back and stumbled in surprise when she recognized Colonel Fury standing there, Captain America, Iron Man, and Rick Jones not too far behind him. "Sir!" she said, snapping into a salute and mentally cursing her voice for nearly squeaking.
"At ease." When Sharon forced her nervous muscles into parade rest, Fury leaned back on a foot. "What is your number designation?"
His eye narrowed slightly, and Sharon arranged her face in what she hoped was a puzzled expression. She then mentally ordered her heart to stop pounding. "How long have you been working for S.H.I.E.L.D.?" Fury asked.
"Almost two years, sir."
"Who is your supervisor?"
"Agent Forty-five, sir." Sharon hoped that Agent 45 wasn't about to get into trouble.
Instead of looking angry like she expected, Fury instead looked thoughtful. "Where are you from, Agent Thirteen?" His voice still sounded calm.
Was this a test? "Richmond, Virginia, sir," she said, flicking a quick glance at the trio behind him. Iron Man was impossible to read because of his mask, Captain America had a slight frown, and Rick looked faintly annoyed.
"Interesting," Fury said, catching her attention. "So has anyone in your family ever served in the military before, U.S. or otherwise?"
She couldn't outright lie to her boss. "Not that I know of, sir," she said in what she thought was a steady tone. Then she realized her voice had wobbled a little at the end.
For a few nerve-wracking moments, she was sure that Fury was going to drag her by the ear to his office for further interrogation. But instead, he just nodded in acknowledgement. "Very well. Get back to your post. Dismissed."
"Yes sir!" Sharon said before she turned around and continued walking back to her post, trying very hard not to run.
Only when she felt that Fury wasn't breathing down her neck anymore did she give in and start running. Sharon felt fiercely protective of her aunt, and didn't want Peggy to be crushed if this Captain turned out to be a fake. Neither Harrison nor Sharon had let Peggy ever know about the other two Captains, other than the original and the fifties one. Peggy was not restricted at the Carter home, not at all; she just chose to withdraw from the outside world in an unconscious effort to protect herself. Harrison said that Sharon and Amanda should just help Peggy with this.
He had done his part by pulling favors and erasing all mention or images of Peggy from any kind of database he could find or knew about. It had taken him almost twenty years to do this, and he was still searching for any others he might have missed.
She finally slowed and came to a rest around another corner. Pulling her phone out, she dialed her father and waited for him to pick up.
"Dad? I've got something to tell you…"
This was shaping up to be an interesting week, and it was only Monday.
A/N: Got the idea for this based off of Mark Waid's Captain America: Man Out of Time. This is not connected to the other Peggy/Sharon story Acceptance. Captain America and all related media belong to Marvel.