You're Late

Margaret "Peggy" Carter was once a great military mind. Born and raised in Great Britain, she learned from the great military leaders and campaigns. Her skills and mind were ultimately what convinced the United States government to bring her into the S.S.R., a secret division of the U.S. army to create a line of super soldiers.

But now, Peggy was in her mid-nineties, living in a retirement home. She stared out her window, looking at the street below. The cars rushing by, joggers running down the sidewalk, a jock heading to school with what looked like a harem of cheerleaders. To think that less than seventy years ago, all of this was threatened to not exist. Less than seventy years ago, a madman might have struck the city with the World War II equivalent of a nuclear missile. But he didn't. And it was because of him.

When the war ended, Howard Stark searched for Steve. If nothing else, they could at least have a body to allow for a proper burial. But they found nothing. That was what Stark said, anyway, but in a way that made it sound like he was hiding something. But it wasn't Steve. Stark was many things, but disrespectful to a woman's anguish wasn't one of them.

All Peggy ever had of Steve was that picture of him from boot camp: small, scrawny, but with a certain look of determination in his eyes.

She still recalled their last exchange. Even though they both knew the likely outcome of crashing that plane into the Atlantic, they kept talking like he would survive and both would be ready for a date the week after. He was going to say something about not wanting to step her toes, but the line cut off before he could finish his sentence.

The song playing on the radio right now, a station that specialized in what the announcer called "the oldies," that would have been the song that they would have danced to.

But she couldn't worry about the past. Not now. Now, she was expecting a visitor. She got a call from her niece, Sharon. Sharon worked for S.H.I.E.L.D., a secret government facility that started up sometime during Vietnam. She only knew about it because she worked with the armed forces before. And because of Sharon. She called Peggy to say that she was getting a "special visitor." She wouldn't say who, though; something about her not believing it.

There was a knock on the door. "Miss Carter?" it was her caretaker. "There's a man here for you."

"Let him in," Peggy said. She kept her gaze on the streets of New York. She heard the door click as it opened and closed. Peggy didn't turn around to see who her special visitor was.

"Agent Carter," a male voice said behind her.

Peggy almost froze. She recognized that voice. But that voice shouldn't exist, not anymore. She slowly turned from the window. She realized why Sharon said that she might not have believed her.

He was just as she remembered. Tall, muscular, not at all like the boy in the picture. The only thing he still had in common with that boy was a face of uncertainty. Perhaps because she wasn't that "beautiful dame" he left in Switzerland. Or maybe he was always like that. She would have to ask how he managed to stay so young, though.

Was this a trick? No. He was too much like the Steve she remembered for this one to be an imposter. And outside the other commanding officers at the S.S.R., no one knew of their relationship. No, this was the real Steve Rogers, known to the rest of the world as Captain America.

Peggy stood up and walked over to him. She looked at his face and had to fight back the tears. Having been scorned by so many men, she knew how to hide her emotions.

Instead, she gave him a stern look and, in as haughty a voice as a woman of her age and… situation would allow, said to him, "You're late." It seemed like their special greeting during the war.

Steve just bowed his head. "I'm sorry," he said solemnly. "I, uh, fell into some deep trouble."

Peggy could not stand it any longer. She climbed up Steve's toned chest and pressed her lips against his. Steve reciprocated by wrapping his arms around her. As they kissed, she allowed one tear to fall from her eye. That tear traveled down her face until it touched Steve's skin.

She moved away from him and stared into his eyes. Without saying a word, she took Steve's hand and led him to the center of the room. Never taking her eyes off him, she moved their locked hands to the side and put her other hand on his shoulder. Taking the hint, Steve moved his free hand to her waist. Peggy then stepped back, and moved her other leg to the side, moving Steve as she took each step in time with the music on the radio. The rest of the dance, a small, slow waltz, came naturally for them both.