Disclaimer: I don't own anything Captain America. Dang it.
A/N: I fell in love with Captain America thanks to the 2011 movie. Actually, I fell in love with Steve Rogers and everything that makes him who he is, becoming a super soldier was just an awesome bonus. Of course I'm a sucker for the relationship between him and Agent Peggy Carter and the very last line of the movie always kills me: he never got his date. So, here is me attempting to give myself some closure, bittersweet though it may be.
. . .
Peggy sat on a comfortable chair in the garden room of the care center, listening to the faint strains of violin music which filled the air. Her eyes half closed, a small smile adorning her softly wrinkled face. Her short hair, now a bright silver rather than the deep chestnut of her youth, was curled to perfection and framed her lovely features and deep brown eyes. Even at 92 her body was trim and in fair shape for she insisted on taking long walks each day around the grounds and gardens. It was one of the few things she remembered these days.
She frowned slightly as she tried to remember her visitors yesterday. The days here often melded one into another, despite the activities the staff set up to keep her and the other occupants happy and busy and give them something to look forward to. She searched her mind and only hazy remembrances came to her: a couple in their forties with two teenagers. The woman had Peggy's eyes but fair hair and the shape of a mother who could not get her figure back. The boy played an instrument. Was it the guitar or drums? They had been friendly and kind, visiting with her for some time, telling her about their lives, but the details were slipping away quickly, vanishing faster the harder she tried to catch it.
Trying to remember frustrated and upset her. Instead Peggy looked about herself, enjoying this, her favorite room. It was a large sun room with high ceilings, filled with greenery and flowers of every kind. Ivy climbed the walls and columns dispersed throughout the space. Here, best of all, she could imagine she was elsewhere. Time like this she felt an old tug, deep inside: she was waiting for someone. Who, she couldn't remember, but someone she longed to see nonetheless. So she kept on waiting, because it was her daily custom, whether she realized it or not.
Late that afternoon, after Peggy's walk through the gardens and around the full perimeter of the center's grounds with an older woman she just met (as far as she knew, though they often made this trek together) she returned to the garden room. She felt peace there. She was sure she hadn't been there for a few days because someone had come to visit, meeting her in the 'more comfortable' sitting room with the soft-cushioned couches and drab beige décor.
She hadn't been sitting long, admiring an orchid, when one of the nurses approached with a tall young man in tow.
"Hi Peggy! You have a visitor." She said cheerfully before turning to the man. "Visiting hours end in one hour, sir."
He nodded respectfully and she went off to do something else. He turned and faced Peggy uncertainly, adopting a recognizably military stance. His clothes screamed military as well: khaki trousers with a firm crease down the front, white shirt and tie, all clean and pressed. He was broad shouldered and muscular with blue eyes and neatly combed blond hair. He studied her a moment as she studied him, long lost memories of her military past niggling at the corners of her mind.
"Hello soldier." She said in greeting.
"Hello Peggy. . . Agent Carter. . . um Ms. Carter?" He tried them all, fumbling his greeting. His frustration was adorable.
"Peggy is fine. Why don't you sit down?" she offered, gesturing to the nearest chair. Did she know him? He seemed vaguely familiar and clearly knew who she was.
He sat as directed, but remained on the edge of his seat, straight backed and fumbling with the jacket he held in his large, capable hands.
"Peggy, I. . ." he began, but shook his head and looked directly into her eyes. "I'm sorry I'm so late. It wasn't possible for me to be here sooner. I just wanted to see you and tell you that."
"It's not that late. We still have an hour or so." She replied kindly and saw that he was relieved by this.
The soldier smiled shyly at her. "You're still beautiful. I hope you don't mind, I did a little digging before I came; you had three kids and lost your husband just a few years ago, is that right?"
Peggy thought for a moment. That sounded about right. She knew there was a funeral. Hadn't she seen her daughter the other day? Or was it last week? She just smiled pleasantly at him.
"I wish that I . . . no. I'm happy for you." he amended. "I'm glad you had a family and a life. You deserved that." he said with sincerity.
"Thank you." she hoped that relieved him of his need to apologize, though she could not remember any wrong done to her by this man and she felt she ought to enquire after him.
"Are you still in the military?" she asked.
"We are still figuring it out." He said with a half smile. "My role may be a little different now, but I think I can still be helpful. I worked with Howard's son recently: that was interesting."
"Hmm. Howard who?" She couldn't place the name.
"Stark. Howard Stark. He was a friend of ours, a long time ago."
"A long time ago means something different to you than to me, I think." She said, appraising him. "You can't be more than 25."
His face fell slightly, but he recovered quickly. "I'm older than I look."
"If you say so. Is there anything you need from me, soldier? I'm afraid my memory isn't what it used to be and I can't. . . I'm sorry, but I don't remember. . ."
"I have one small favor to ask." He stood and held out a hand toward her. "May I have one dance?" he asked.
Peggy smiled and took his hand. "I love dancing."
"Well, you should know, I don't know how to dance."
"I'll show you how." she said, resting her hand in his and raising the other to his broad shoulder. He was handsome. Back in her younger days she would have like this young man, she felt certain.
He followed her lead and they danced slowly to the soft strains of orchestral music floating through the air. Her partner may not have experience, but he learned quickly and she found him very easy to dance with. One song melded into another, she did not care to keep time. He seemed just as pleased to be dancing with her and after a while he lightly leaned his head against hers. She didn't mind the intimacy of his gesture until she realized she still didn't know his name.
She pulled back slightly to look at him. He lifted his head and his contented smile and sweet vulnerability triggered something inside her.
"Steve?" she said.
His smile widened. "Yes. I promised I would dance with you. I meant to do it a lot sooner. Forgive me?"
"Of course I do." She ran her hand up and down his arm and then leaned close to him again to hide the tears that sprang to her eyes. "You came."
"I wanted to dance with the right partner." He said.
Peggy didn't dare speak, so they simply danced, spinning slowly in the quiet garden room.
Eventually the nurse returned. "Sorry, sir, but it's time to go: visiting hours are over for today." She smiled sympathetically as Steve gave Peggy one last squeeze before he released her and she stepped back, wiping at her eyes.
"Bye Steve." She watched him walk away, marveling at how unchanged he was, wondering if she was dreaming or had died and joined him.
. . .
A week later Steve returned to see Peggy again, making sure to come long before visiting hours ended. The nurse informed him that she was out walking and he could find her on the path that ran around the grounds. It did not take him long to find her and he strode forward quickly, smiling broadly at her. She returned his smile politely but made no other sign of recognition and continued walking. He turned and fell in beside her.
"Peggy?" he said.
"Yes?" she looked at him curiously.
"May I join you on your walk?" he asked, resigned to the fact that her Alzheimer's had erased him from her mind again.
"I suppose so, if you like. What's your name?"
They spoke little and he took the opportunity to study her and enjoy her presence one last time.
. . .
He did not return again, choosing rather to keep his memory of their dance. He was finally able to keep his promise to see her again. Now he would have to move on and look for another partner in this new life.
. . .
Peggy no longer went to the garden room to sit waiting for an unknown visitor.