Title: History Repeated
Summary: Steve's "death" during WWII was just the beginning. Or, "He never thought he'd end up facing the same fate as his dad."
Warnings: spoilers for Captain America backstory?
A/N: This almost physically hurt. I'm a D.C. girl – this akin to treason but, blame it on the Avengers. What an awesome movie! Not beta-ed yet, but I plan to have someone go over it soon. I'll repost whenever I do.
Disclaimer: None of its mine besides the O.C.
Her name was Stephanie, but she went by Stevie. She was a Canadian Art major in her twenties, floating about Brooklyn, New York for the summer with a bunch of friends. They'd all decided on New York because London was too expensive and California was overrated. She'd picked Brooklyn and for the life of her had no idea why. She just really wanted to go to Brooklyn. Even though she had arrived in New York with a bunch of friends, none had wanted to do more than lay around and smoke-up – not her bag. So, on the second day in New York Stevie began "roaming the streets" by herself with a lot more courage than she knew she rightly should have. Usually, normal days of "roaming the streets" meant she wore jeans, her hair in a ponytail and contended with the headaches brought on by refusing to wear her glasses. But some days she'd make an attempt to not be lazy that day and actually put her hair up into pathetic looking victory rolls and wear her glasses – horn-rimmed and fantastic. Be the hipster she actively tried to avoid. Usually those days would degenerate into nights where she'd drag herself into the nearest dive bar and drink as much Canadian (an import even though the company was now American in everything but name and history) the bartender would let her consume and sulk as she spoke to whoever would listen about her dad.
Her dad's name was Steven, but went by Carter (his second name) to avoid confusion with a man he'd never known – his father. He was born to an ill-fated 20 year-old 'Nam soldier and his teenaged widow on July 1st in a Canadian hospital not long after she fled the USA to escape the memories of her dead husband. He'd entered the Army straight from high school (never wanting to do anything else since he started reading Captain America comics in Kindergarten) to the chagrin of his mother and never once looked back. He met the woman who'd become his wife at the newly opened coffee shop on the base about 2 months after being transferred, and after a 6 month courtship they married in her uncle's backyard just outside of Fredericton. They welcomed a daughter exactly 8 months after the wedding (Stevie) and desperately tried for another; However, after suffering through 4 miscarriages and 1 stillbirth, they decided that one was enough. Not long after their daughters 1st birthday he was deployed to deal with the mess in Kuwait. Not long after her 2nd birthday he was blown up by a suicide bomber during one of his patrols. He never thought he'd end up facing the same fate as his dad.
His dad's name was also Steven Carter. He also was the offspring of an ill-fated soldier (who his mother never spoke about, except to tell him how proud his father made his country) and his English widow. He was born on V-E Day in the living room of the Apartment's landlord (an older couple who had lost 2 sons in the war) in New York City with the sounds of the celebration in Times Square in the distance and named after a mystery. All through school he'd excelled in the arts and even got into the New York Academy of Art. But, after an army recruiter spoke to him and told him about the escalating horrors of the war being fought in Vietnam not long after Christmas break of Freshman year, he signed up without a second thought. He never officially dropped out nor had he really told his mother. She never even allowed the word "War" to be uttered in the house. He knew it'd kill her if she knew what he was doing. Somehow she figured it out just in time to watch him board the bus on his way to Basic Training. He'd never really rid himself of the look of absolute terror on her face. It probably had something to do with his father, but he wasn't sure. He'd just ask her when he got back. Besides, he figured her worries were completely unfounded. He probably won't even see real action. It'd probably be done before he'd get over. Commies never won.
He was immediately deployed to Hanoi after B.T.
He met a triage nurse from Ohio after a shrapnel barrage on his group about 4 weeks after getting to Vietnam. They married on his 20th birthday in a field somewhere outside Hanoi. He was stabbed in the chest by a camo-ed Cong soldier in a surprise attack and died exactly 5 weeks later, on her 18th. He never thought he'd end up facing the same fate as his dad.
His dad's name was also Steven. He was born a year after WW1 to a veteran who'd been lucky enough to come home, and his petite, sickly Irish wife who had never fully recovered from the boat ride to the "New World". Like his mother, he too had been a small, sickly child. The fact that he grew up (for the most part) during the Great Depression, certainly didn't help matter, but it didn't harm him either. Patriotism ran deep in his heart. Sometimes, especially after he lost his mother and then his father to illness, his dedication to his self and to his country was the only thing that kept him going. So, the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour he went down to the nearest recruiting office. He was immediately turned down. However, he ended up finally living his dream of serving his country, through the help of an unusual science experiment and a genius' brain and wonder-metal. He was lost somewhere over the Artic Ocean during the waning months of '44 and never got to see his side win.
His name was Steven 'Steve' Rogers, but his official designation was Captain America.
On an absolutely blistering hot day in July 2012, 68 years after his supposed death, Captain America literally bumped into his great-granddaughter as she staggered by the steps of his old apartment in Brooklyn. Her glasses were askew; her face pale and sweaty from the mix of alcohol and the sweltering heat of a mid-July night, and her hair had long since fallen from their clips. But, he knew who she was. She looked exactly like - he found himself grasping for purchase on a crooked, sick looking birch on the side of the sidewalk as his knees refused to carry him any longer. His stomach twisted into violent knots as he bent over with his hand still firmly against the tree and dry heaved. The ramifications of her existence clear in his mind.
"Oh my goodness-oh my god," he repeated like a mantra between dry heaves. "Oh my god-"
"Excuse me," he heard a shaky voice from somewhere behind him, but refused to look up from his bent position. "Are you alright?"
"Yes!" he exclaimed quickly, in hopes she would disappear. He realized he hoped in vain a few seconds later when he looked and noticed her sneakers still in his view. He turned his head violently to the side, looked up and flashed a quick grin. "I'm fine. Thanks. Fine."
The look of worry on such a strangely familiar face nearly did bring him to his knees, but he quickly looked to the ground again and focused on remembering to breath.
Steve though she'd finally left when he watched her feet hesitate for a minute and then disappear. However, she was back not a minute later holding a beat-up plastic crate in one hand and pressing a gentle hand to his back with the other. "Here," she flicked the crate a bit and pushed it, bottom-up, along the pavement until it was directly under him. "I know it's not much, but that lawn chair over there looks like it's from Ikea." He let her guide him down carefully and avoided her eyes completely. "This is probably stronger."
Steve huffed a quick thanks and put his head in his hands for a second.
"Do you need an ambulance or something? I could maybe run…well not run, but walk across to get you a bottle of water." Before she'd even finished, she was digging change from the back pocket of her jeans. "Shit," she swore under her breath, but loud enough for Steve to hear. "Canadian." And then shrugged. "Oh well, you just stay there and I'll-"
"No, really," he all but begged her, slowly raising his head from his hands. He flashed her another quick smile before looking away again. It truly hurt too much. If his legs had been working he would have been long gone…maybe. "I'm fine, you don't-" He looked up and towards the street when he heard a car horn and managed to just catch the backside of her as she disappeared into the convenience store.
If he had have been smart he would have disappeared long before she came out. But, his own body and a sickening burning in his gut made him stay perched precariously on the crate and watching for her return.
She emerged from the store, clutching a clear bottle in one hand and holding what Steve had learned to be a Cellular phone to her ear with the other. He silently cursed himself when she looked up and locked eyes with him. He quickly looked away and began to hyperventilate again.
Seconds later, a bottle was presented to him silently, and a second after that there she was eyeing him dead on. She'd knelt to see why he hadn't taken the offered bottle. "You sure you're alright? I have a friend who has a car. We can-"
"Uh, no!" he quickly snatched the bottle from her hand and undid the lid. "Thanks, I'm fine." He took a quick swig of it to alleviate some of the worry on her face and some of the guilt in his gut, but only ended up choking on it.
She startled slightly and then laughed and smiled. "Too fast I guess, eh?"
He choked again and then sputtered as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Knowing he wasn't going to get away from this unscathed, Steve decided to bite the bullet and looked her straight in the eye. "Eh?" he offered with a weak smile.
"Yup, I'm from Trenton, Ontario. I'm here with a bunch of friends on a summer trip."
"You're Canadian." Lord, wasn't that ironic?
"Yeah." She offered her hand. "I'm sorry I'm talking your ear off." Her eyes flashed as her smile appeared again. "I'm Steph, but Stevie is better."
Steve bit back on his growing panic and shook her hand. "Steve. Steve Rogers."
"That's cool," Stevie smirked. "My name's Rogers too. What's your middle name?"
Steve shrugged and took another swig of the water. "Don't have one."
"Ah, then it's not as cool then. We're not related. Every Rogers on my dad's side has the middle name Carter-"
He literally felt the colour leave his cheeks as he repeated, "Carter?"
"Yeah." She answered, seemingly unaware of his sudden malaise, "I think from my great-grandma or something-tradition. Even I have the damn name."
So, Captain America's great-granddaughter was a Canadian named Stephanie Carter Rogers. Lord if that didn't beat all.
He swallowed hard and shakily rose to his feet again. "It's nice to meet you, Stevie." He showed her the empty bottle. "Thanks for the water."
She nodded and stood. "No problem. Take care of yourself, ok?"
Steve nodded and she went to turn, but something made him call her attention back to him. "Can I get your number?" her eyebrows shot above her bangs and Steve found himself floundering again. "I'm putting together a family tree. Maybe we are related, you know? I just-"
"Oh," she calmed and pulled her phone from her back pocket. "I don't really use my phone to call people anymore. I usually text, but-"
"Yeah!" he said quickly and drew a pen from the pocket of his khakis and aimed it for his hand. "That'll be fine."
Later on found Steve sitting at his desk, twirling the small piece of paper he had quickly scribbled Stevie's phone number on in his fingers. Ever since getting home he'd mentally apologized to Peggy almost a hundred times and not once had it sounded believable. How was he supposed to apologize to a woman, long since dead, about the lifetime of heartache he had likely caused? How was he supposed to ever look a stranger with a ghosts face in the eye and tell her who he really was?
All at once he stopped twirling the paper, slammed it down on the tabletop and brought his hands up to cover his face.