V

Finale


"I was a quick, wet, boy, diving too deep for coins, all of your street light eyes, wide on my plastic, toys, and when the cops, closed the fair-"

"What do you think?"

Sharon nearly jumped out of her skin when Tony approached her from behind. "Blackmail material?" he asked, easily catching her dropped iPhone.

"Nah, I'm recording just for memory's sake. This is the third song, any more will take up the rest of the camera's memory," she said, stopping the recording and tucking the iPhone away into her pocket. She turned and leaned on the counter and stared out the observation window as her aunt and Captain Rogers (finally) got their long, overdue dance together in what was technically a holographic training room, but was programmed to mimic one of the clubs in World War Two – era London. Peggy had insisted on the red dress for some odd reason, but whatever the case was, the two looked comfortable, even happy together. Any of the pretension during the (several tedious hours long) meeting had long since melted away into comfortable familiarity. "I'd thought that Aunt Peggy would want to watch it again whenever she got lonely again. Anyway, they do look happy, though," she said, leaning back on a foot.

"Honestly? This story's ending has got so much sugar in it, I can feel my teeth slowly rotting away right now," Tony said, moving to stand next to her. "But yeah, they don't look so lost anymore."

Sharon rolled her eyes. "You're just saying that because you don't want to say 'Yes, they do look happy', because that would qualify as agreeing with me, and God forbid you ever agree with me on anything."

"Don't flatter yourself. I do agree with you on occasion. I just choose not to agree with you out loud because it bothers the hell out of you when it appears that I constantly disagree with you. Besides, you agree with me more often anyway, you just don't notice it because my presence is irritating you too much to notice much else. Follow?" Tony said, glancing down at her.

"It's nice to know that even though you don't make weapons anymore, you're still the same, irritating person I knew while growing up," Sharon said, pocketing her phone. "Here, make yourself useful if you're going to just stand there and gawk. When this song ends, put on 'We'll Meet Again', by Vera Lynn." Turning, she said, "Do as I say, and I won't tell Aunt Peggy about the racecar thing in Italy."

"Hey! My life was on the line in Italy! If Vanko…"

"I wasn't talking about Vanko," Sharon countered before leaving the observation deck and Tony.

"Wait, where are you going?" Tony shouted after her.

"Bathroom! Geez Tony, I'm a grown woman! I can take care of myself, you know!" Sharon snapped back, throwing her hands up in the air in frustration. Before she could chew him out further though, Tony disappeared back into the observation room. Muttering to herself, Sharon turned and kept walking down the hall.

The corridor was dimly – lit and quiet, but Sharon ignored this as she kept walking toward the medical bay, still slightly miffed at Tony's bad timing; she really hadn't wanted to talk to him, but she'd wanted to continue filming, just so Peggy would have something to look back on during those long rainy days when the memories threatened to overwhelm her again. She couldn't do that with Tony breathing down her neck.

Well, there had been another, more selfish reason, for the filming.

Doctor Sanderson, reigning chief physician in the helicarrier's medical bay, looked up when she entered the pristine environment. "Carter," he said brusquely before going back to his clipboard and thick sheaf of papers.

"Sanderson," she replied; they'd been doing this sort of greeting exchange for too long, starting back when she'd been a patient here herself. Now she was only a visitor, but the irritation between the two remained.

"You come here more frequently than the others," Sanderson finally remarked, not looking up from his clipboard.

"Do the others have as much free time as I do?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Touché."

It was nothing personal. Fury did have an entire taskforce to run, Hill was too busy making sure everything ran smoothly and both were still handling the New York crisis. All five people involved in this situation right now were well aware of that.

"Well, he's in the back, in his usual place. It's late, so if he's asleep, or wants to sleep, let him sleep," Sanderson said, keeping his voice down as he went back to his documents.

Sharon understood the unspoken order; she was never here in this facility because she wasn't visiting a patient, who, according to S.H.I.E.L.D. records, didn't exist.

Down the narrow corridor, past the current hospital patients, there was a barely – used staircase. Making sure that her iPhone was still secure in her pocket, she continued walking calmly down the staircase and down another corridor to a single door at the very end. After swiping her S.H.I.E.L.D. ID card and bending down to let the machine scan her retinas, Sharon slipped noiselessly into the much smaller, quiet medical ward for certain patients.

Only Sanderson and a very select few of his staff knew about this place. Sharon only found out about it less than a couple weeks ago, when Fury brought her down here several days after the alien invasion to better explain her new role in the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy.

She hadn't lied to Tony when she said that no time had passed between her promotion and Coulson's death.

She finally got to the last door at the end of the ward and lightly knocked on the door, the same three taps she'd done for all her previous visits. She heard a faint 'Come in!' and then entered the small white room.

"Wow, you're looking much better," she said, smiling as she shut the door quietly behind her. The patient really did, the last surgery had done a world of good.

"Thank you, I do feel much better." A soft yet tired smile. "I'm afraid I won't be good conversation company, I'm still a little worn out from earlier."

"Oh, I can leave if you want, Sanderson will kill me if he thinks I was keeping you up," Sharon said, stopping abruptly so she could leave.

"No, please stay. I like the company, and I want to know what happened today and how the meeting went. I just meant that I wasn't going to be very talkative."

She could sympathize with that. She only had one constant visitor while she was one of Sanderson's patients, and a very small reason for her constant visits was to repay the favor. "All right, but I'm leaving at the first yawn, regardless of where I am in the story," she said, sitting down in her usual plastic chair that was right next to the bedside. "It's been kind of a long day for me too, what with Aunt Peggy officially meeting the Avengers for the first time and all."

"Yes, how did that go?"

"Pretty well, it was a little tedious to listen to though at some points. Tony behaved for once, so I didn't make too much of an idiot of myself this time around. But let me start at the beginning, it'll make more sense. Please stop me at any point and I'll come back and finish in the morning," Sharon said, leaning forward in her chair. "Sound like a deal?"

Agent Phil Coulson smiled. "Sounds like a deal. Now, please tell me what happened."


A/N: And that's the end. HUGE thank you goes out to everyone who read/reviewed/faved/alerted. Thank you very much for all your support. :)

For any hardcore USUK (Hetalia Axis Powers) fans who happen to be reading this: You're welcome for the nod to DeValier.

Captain America, the Avengers, and all related media belong to Marvel

The song in the beginning of the chapter, 'Flightless Bird, American Mouth' belongs to Iron & Wine.