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Tony sat stoickly at his computer as Steve paced in front of him. Thor was next to Bruce on the couch of the uppermost level of Stark Tower while Clint was looking out the window and Natasha was absentmindedly watching TV in a recliner nearby. Tony had been searching for something for Steve for almost 2 hours with no results. "Can't it go any faster?" Steve asked seeming exasperated.
"Jarvis," Tony said putting emphasis on the word, "is doing everything he can, it just takes a little while. Just chill." Steve was getting angry beside himself. He tried not to let it show, because he had came to Tony with this problem and he didn't want to annoy him more than he already had.
"Sir," Jarvis's automated voice chimed throughout the room, "We have a location and an address." Everyone in the room perked up, even Clint had rejoined the group. They all rose and began to gather around Steve, who was begining to panic. "Newstead Nursing Home, Denewood Road, Highgate, London England N6 4AL." Steve was begining to get dizzy as he reached his hand into his pants pocket and felt the familiar metal of his old pocketwatch. Tears began to well up in his eyes as Natasha led him to the couch.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" she asked gently placing her hand on his shoulder. Steve simply nodded as the room full of heros looked at him with the softest of expressions.
"I have to do it now, I have to see her. Before she..." his voice caught in his throat, but he soon cleared it, "Before it's too late." He turned his gaze to the faces of his new friends. The demi-god, who was usually making jokes or being angry or eating had a look of pity that stung Steve to his core. Bruce and Tony, who were usually conversing about molecular physics or something else that he didn't understand were now making arrangements for Tony's private jet to charter him to England as soon as available. The master assassins, who have killed people with no remorse or regret were now on the verge of tears.
"I wish you the best of luck my friend," Thor said placing a sturdy hand on his shoulder. Steve swallowed hard as Tony and Bruce crossed the room. Tony opened his mouth to speak, but closed it and hastened towards his private bar.
"The plane should be ready in about a half hour," Bruce said shooting nervous glances at Tony, who had already downed his first drink and wiped his eyes quick enough that no one saw. Steve simply nodded and mouthed "Thank you". Bruce nodded as he stood and everyone else sat.
"You all don't know," he said swallowing the knot that had reapeared in his throat. "You don't know what its like to be out of time. To wake up and have your friends...your family, everything you once knew be gone from your life completely. You all don't know how hard it really is..." he trailed off as Natasha got up and left the room. Her spot was taken over by Clint, who had swallowed back his tears and regained his composure. Tony let a whimper that could be heard around the room as he dropped his glass with a loud shattering noise.
"You can make yourself another, Tony," Thor said glaring at him. "We are dealing with another problem at the moment." He bent over and began to clean the glass and Steve rose yet again.
"I'll drive you," Tony said from the ground as he stood up and threw the broken glass away. "Come on," he said hurrying out the door, keys in hand. Steve didn't have time to think. He sprinted after Tony, who was already in the elevator. They were silent all the way to the ground floor and silent as they proceeded to Tony's car, as Steve jogged to keep up with his pace. They loaded in the car as they buckled up and sped away. Steve looked straight ahead, as they breezed through New York. Buildings passed by faster and faster as he stole a glance at the speedometer. Tony was doing 106 in the middle of New York City. Steve saw the airport in the distance.
"Why are you going so fast?" he asked looking at Tony intensely. He shifted uncomfortably underneath Steve's intense glare.
"Because I want you to get to her as soon as possible," he said coming to a stop in the airport parking lot. Steve scrunched up his face and turned in his seat so that he was facing Tony. He was about to say something when Tony stopped him, "Every second you spend talking to me could be a second wasted with her. Go." Steve looked at him puzzled. In an instant Steve threw his arms around Tony and gave him the briefest of hugs before tunring and getting out of the car. He turned just as Tony sped off into the distance.
Steve crossed the tarmac, his mind racing with thoughts of love and loss. He looked from the asphalt and started at the behemoth jet. He walked around the over sized wheels as he approached the stairs. "Good afternoon Mr. Rodgers," a short, stout steward said as he climbed the metal stairs into the jet. He slowly walked through the door and sat in a nearby leather seat. The door closed behind him as the jet began to pull out of the airport. Steven reclined his seat back and slowly drifted to sleep with his mind racing.
"Welcome to England, Mr. Rodgers," a quiet voice called out as Steve jolted from another dreamless sleep. He slowly arose and departed the plane. There was an ebony taxi cab waiting. He ignored everything that was around him as he shuffled into the car. The driver attempted to make conversation, but Steve brushed it off with mindless responses as he looked out on the sprawling city.
"Here you are, sir," the driver said coming to a stop in front of a large white building. Steve tossed money into the front seat as he walked towards the building. The closer he got, the larger the knot in his stomach got larger and larger. He stepped up and the door swung open automatically as the receptionist looked up from her sleek computer monitor.
"Welcome to-" she began with a smile, but he cut her off.
"I'm not trying to be rude, but I'm in a hurry. I'm here to see someone. Carter," he said as she typed it in, "Peggy Carter."
"Alright, and can I ask your relation to this resident?" she asked as Steve thought it over in his head.
"She's my great great aunt," he replied.
"Room 435," she replied pointing down a hallway, "Follow the signs." Steve nodded a thank you as he rushed off down the hallway, his mind racing. 420, 421, 422 his heart beat faster and faster. His palms grew sweaty and he began to get lightheaded. Would she remember him? Is she married? Does she have children, grandchildren, great grand children? 433, 434….there it was. 435, Peggy was right behind that door.
He knocked gently on the door three times. "Come in," a soft voice answered from somewhere behind the door. Steve was shaking as he gripped the brass knob and slowly turned it. The door gently swung open as he slowly stepped in. Peggy had aged considerably. Her once beautiful wavy brunette hair was now a shocking white, her skin covered in wrinkles and the hands that once punched out one of the worst people in the military were now frail and shaking. Her back was to him as she was watching her television.
"Who is it?" she asked in a soft voice that was creaking with age. She rotated in her chair and stopped dead in her tracks. "Steve?" she asked beginning to cry. He smiled, looked down at her and held out his hand.
"I owe you a dance," he said as he gently helped her to her feet. She smiled and let out a dry laugh. He gently lifted her so that her feet were on his. "Well I said I didn't want to step on your feet," he said as she wrapped her frail arms around his neck. She opened her mouth to try and speak when suddenly soft music began to play. Steve, who still had no experience in dancing tried to move in time with the music.
"I never stopped looking for you, I never stopped searching, and I never stopped loving you," she whispered as she lay her head on his chest. Steve was about to say something, when suddenly her hands fell from around his neck and she went limp in his arms.
"Peggy?" he asked frantically as his heart sank and his eyes began to quickly well with tears. "PEGGY? NURSE! SOMEBODY…anybody," he said as two men in white coats burst through the door. They grabbed her away from him and checked her pulse. They shook their head to each other and turned to Steve.
"I'm so sorry sir," one of them said, "but she's gone." Steve collapsed on the ground and began to sob uncontrollably.
"NO! NOOOOOO, PEGGY, no…you can't leave me," he wailed as the nurses tried to restrain him. He didn't try to fight, he just went limp. He tried to stand, but his knees gave out and he fell to the floor. Steve lay there as the world began to fuzz and blacken. He almost heard voices, but they were too faint to make anything out. The world around him grew darker and darker, until everything when completely blank.
"Steve," a familiar voice said in his ear, "Steve, it's time to wake up. You have to go to your own bed now." His eyes slowly opened as he gazed upon the group of people gathered around him. Standing there, looking down on him with looks of sadness and pity. Tony and Clint were standing in front of him while Clint and Bruce were sitting on separate chairs. Natasha was next to him on the couch. Steve staggered up as everyone else shifted.
He threw his arms around Natasha, "Thank you," he said in her ear. "Thank you all so much." He let go as they all backed away. Natasha handed him a letter as he turned to leave. "What's this?" he asked gently taking the letter that read "Steve Rodgers"
"It's from Peggy," she said as he looked at her. "We figured you'd like to read it in peace." He nodded and proceeded down the hall to his room. He opened the door quickly and shut it with a distinct thunk. He crossed the room and sat down on his bed. Steve gently tore open the envelope and pulled out the letter. He unfolded it and began to read. He smiled as a single tear slid down his cheek. He refolded the letter and placed it gently on his bedside table. Steve rolled over onto his side and fell into one of the best and most fruitful sleeps he had had in a while.
"My Dearest Steve,
I wish I could see you one more time, but I know your in a better place. You saved the world and possibly even the universe. You are the greatest hero that the world has ever known. I love you Steve, and I always will. I first met you when you were the scrawny kid from the Bronx who didn't know when to give up. You may never know how to talk to a woman, but you managed to steal my heart. Always remember who you are, a good man and never for get me.