They Don't Make Coffee Places Like They Used To

April 07, 2015:

Peggy and Steve meet up to talk.

Some restaurant

It looks like a coffee shop.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVgtI2ghEnc Wots, uh the deal? -- Pink Floyd]


Fade In…

The L&L Automat that Peggy used to frequent is no longer there. It Nearby, however, is

The L&L Automat that Peggy used to frequent is no longer there. Seeing something called an Old Navy occupy the space where she used to sit with Angie for moral support and Jarvis for information is quite depressing. While not exactly luckily, there is another diner nearby that the former Head of SHIELD settles in with something akin to a chip on her shoulder.

Occupying one side of a booth, she looks at the plastic covered menu with somewhat unseeing eyes, a cup of coffee already placed in front of her. She's not exactly sure what this place offers. It was already an adventure for Peggy to arrange to meet with Steve - mostly done through Howard's phone - but with everything that is going on and the change already around her, she's not sure what to make of anything at the moment.

Peggy doesn't have to wait too terribly long before Steve arrives. It took him a bit to get debriefed at the Triskelion, get a shower and a change in and get back over to this part of the city. Sunset has now given way to night by the time he pops his kick stand and dips into the entrance.

"Hey," he says with a quiet voice and a smile as he slides into the booth. He shrugs out of his jacket, wearing a light blue v-neck underneath. "That was one heck of a day. How was yours?" There's a pause and then he can't help but laugh, only imagining how crazy her day has been.

"I saw a report on a woman claiming to be the Ultra Humanite," Peggy tells Steve. "Were you there?" These are the sort of things that she wishes she knew more about in order to help. She knows that Howard and Jarvis would try and keep her from running headlong into a case, but she feels like that is the only way that she'll ever figure out this strange place. She is not someone to take things lying down.

"Oh, you know, it's hard to complain when I've been told a few times that the person I am now should have died without intervention." It is said flippantly, but it's still very fresh for her and hard for her to come to terms with. However, she smiles at Steve. "Sorry, there are just quite a few things that are different. I used to frequent an automat a few buildings down. One of my closest friends worked there and I have yet to find out what happened to her."

"There? I was there this time," Steve says as he reaches for the pot of coffee and grabs a cup, re-arranging things just a bit before he pours with his left hand. "I'm shipping out in the morning to go see about these nuclear test sites. We think she's at the one in North Dakota, but Fury's not sure. Not a lot of time to be wrong, I'm afraid."

"Should have died without interve—?" Steve tilts his head to the side, not quite following her. "What do you mean?" He pauses. "When I first came back, all of my places around Brooklyn were gone. It's no consolation, but you find new places. As far as your friend, I'm sure maybe you could look her up? And if you don't find her, we could use SHIELD. They owe you."

"Just…the news report. They mentioned a woman taking credit for terrorist actions. I assumed you were involved." Perhaps that was a stretch, but Steve is really the only superhero she knows. "Shipping out?" The fact that he's leaving is certainly news to her. While she attempts to take the news in stride, she looks down at her mug. "Of course." It's not so much sadness that Steve is leaving so much that she is no longer involved in the action. Before, she would have been involved in all of this. It's a strange thing to be on the outside.

"That's what Howard said. That, whatever…" she continues to focus on the coffee cup as opposed to Steve. "…because I'm not the woman who grew old here, that I am from some doomed future. I'm not sure of the exact details." And while she says she's not sure she wants to know, that's also a lie. Peggy wants to know everything about everything. "As for Angie…" she sighs. "Everything I've found about Howard and about Mr. Jarvis has turned out to be rather upsetting. I would like to believe that Angie lived a long, full life as an actress without confirming or denying it."

"Some stories are better left unwritten, I guess," Steve says as he looks up toward her. "I'm sorry about your friend. If you want me to look into it, let me know. I won't bring it up again." He chuckles a bit, "You know, Howard says a lot of things. I love the guy, but he doesn't know everything. And while he has an idea of what you're going through, it's a bit different."

Steve looks out the window a bit before he gets back to the bit about Ultra Humanite. "Listen, Peg," he begins quietly before his blue eyes trail back to her brown ones. "This sort of thing; it's pretty much what I do now here. I hadn't really found a reason to put much thought into making it past any mission besides the one I was in." After a breath he adds, "It's sort reactive sort of existence."

In the year he's been back he's nearly died scores of times, been involved in a war, and putting his life on the line on a daily basis. And that was before joining the JL:A.

"To many people, mine's already been written," Peggy tells Steve. There's little self pity involved in the statement. Things just as are they are. If anyone can fight against a perceived future, it's Peggy. "Even those lovely scientists treated me as if I was already a part of their history books or a phenomena. Which I guess I am." As for Angie, she sighs. "I'd only wish to know about her to know she live grandly," she tells Steve. The woman was an asset in her recovery after losing Steve. She was even up for a part to play 'Betty Carver' nurse extraordinaire to Captain America before she knew who Betty Carver may actually be based upon.

"There are many things that I might disagree with Howard about. Science such as this I will leave to him." As for his existence since waking up in the future, her eyes pull up from the coffee mug to his, holding there. Much like she did at the crux of his stage life and his military one, she repeats, "A reactive sort of life. You were meant for more than that, Steve. I know I have told you this before, but it remains true. I don't know all your missions, but you were meant to be more than just a reaction."

It's not so much him putting his life on the line that she takes objection to as to how he puts it. "Dr. Erskine knew you were meant for greater things. He knew that the war wouldn't last forever, but that his potion would last for longer."

She keeps her focus on Steve. "I understand there are things you need to do. But, I think that thought should certainly be put into it."

Steve nods to her, "But Peg, that's the great thing. You're free, in some ways. Sure, you have history that will gnaw at you, but you can literally do whatever you want with your life from here on out. It's liberating in some ways." And what did Cap decide to do, given the same options? Fight.

"She sounds like a good friend," he says about Angie. "Tell me about her. What was she like? What was the rest of your life like back in New York? I mean, when we knew each other, our topic was always the war." He smiles a bit and hides it behind his hand, "We never really talked about normal things like how we like steak or baseball. Or whatever it is that you're into."

He sighs and shakes his head slowly, "I know we've had this conversation, but I've never been good at figuring out what I actually want, Peg. Whatever purpose you and Erskine both felt so strongly about for me, I haven't been able to figure out what it is in the past 70 years."

Free. The idea is quite liberating. But. she knows very little about this time period. And doing what she knows - being involved with SHIELD means many people may just know her from reputation thinking she was retired. She's only had days to try and process the information given to her and what she will do to it.

Trying to figure that all out is easily pushed aside when asked about Angie. "She was a good friend," she tells Steve with a smile. "She worked at the L&L, but she was an actress. She helped me get a room at the Griffith. She called me English." The recollection, causes a grin and she looks down into her half filled coffee mug. As for the rest of her life after the War, that's quite a story.

"Well, I guess it's because we were in the midst of it. And thought that there would be another time for all those other stories." The stories about steak and baseball. Once the war was over. Something else to do: like dancing. "I only ever started to look into baseball after the war. I still can't say properly that I understand it, to be honest."

As for what she and Erskine saw in him, she gives a soft laugh. It's not sarcastic, merely disbelieving. "Truly, Steve? After all these years?" Her expression is quite schooled, serious, hands wrapped around the stained coffee mug in her hands. "We both believed in the little guy from Brooklyn. The man who didn't believe in backing down from a fight in the face of bullies because that meant they'd keep running."

Steve shakes his head as she waxes nostalgic about who he was before Dr. Erskine's intervention. "Peggy, those are attributes, not a life's purpose. The problem with Dr. Erskine's belief that I was meant for something different was in its convenient lack of giving any specific guidance. I keep the world safe for the people I care about. At the end of the day that has to be good enough, and it is. It's good enough for me. I like it so much that when I'm not working, I'm hanging out with the League."

Cap nods at her comments about the stories. "I think that before the Arctic, I never really thought too much about what would happen to us after the war. I think I just assumed we would have figured things out." He shakes his head, "Never thought it would be 2015, of course, but we continue to surprise."

"I would have liked to have met Angie. I'm glad you had someone who was there for you."

Peggy raises an eyebrow at his assessment. "Not at all, Steve," she tells him seriously. "Dedicating your life to helping those weaker than yourself, fighting for the values you seek? That is exactly as Dr. Erskine would have wished you to do." His negation of her explanation is met not with agreement or apology. Instead, she shakes her head and continues, determined and annoyed that he would attempt to brush off her assessments. She looks up from her coffee and almost glares at him.

"Those attributes are exactly what Dr. Erskine believed in you. How was he to know what the world would become in 70 years? That was the entire point in both his and my insistence in picking you. Imagine if Hodges had your same abilities and also had them today. Yes, he would have been remarkable as a soldier, but what would he have done today?" Who knows what might have happened, even if he wasn't cooled on ice. "Dr. Erskine had the forethought to know that a good man should have the power you have now and not just a good soldier. He trusted in you and your moral compass. How could he know what the world would be today?"
Finally she smiles. "Angie was a wonderful woman. I'm sure she would have loved to have met you." At the people who were there for her she looks down at her coffee. "Yes, of course. I was lucky in having people I could confide in."

"But you think I'm a puppet," Steve says with a raised eyebrow. "At least that was the implication from what you said earlier." It's a fear he had and probably why he jumped to it: Was he using his powers to the most of their ability or was he being used by Nick Fury? "There are a lot of good men out there." And he's seen a lot of them die. He's not anything special; just a kid from Brooklyn.

"You alright?" he asks as she looks down at her coffee. "I didn't mean to say something to upset you."

"A puppet?" Peggy looks at Steve curiously. "When did I imply that?" Perhaps it was something she did not intend to mean, but she's curious none the less. "There are a lot of good men everywhere, Steve. But, you were the man we chose."

Not using the cup in her hand as a safety point, she continues to look at Steve, maintaining eye contact. "You asked what Dr. Erskine and I saw in you that made you stand out. Those were the reasons. And neither of us would have taken back our choice. I'm certain of that."

As for wether she's alright, she smiles. "I"ll be as fine as I can be under the circumstances."

"Now that I think of it, I'm not sure you did. I guess we read into the things we want to. Or don't want to."

Steve seems over talking about how he's a good man. In truth, not a day goes by that he's not fawned over either by his physique or his character, told how wonderful he is by strangers who don't know him, or made to feel like more of a symbol than a human being.

"Well, if you need anything, I'm here." He doesn't know what else to say but that's probably because there's nothing to say.

Peggy raises an eyebrow at Steve at his sudden change in demeanor. "Steve, either you wish to be told why Dr. Erskine picked you or you don't. I am who I am either way. So are you. I am just telling you what I know."

With a sigh, she shakes her head, taking the plastic covered menu up again. While she's certainly sympathetic to his hero complex, she also has little time for it while she's attempting to deal with her own problems and adjustment. Then, deciding to not hide behind it, she puts it firmly on the table in front of them, the plastic slapping against the table.

"What I need is for someone to tell me what is happening in this time period and to not think I am some historical relic for not knowing scientific terms of they day or to fawn over me because I am so somehow some lost cause or the vaulted former head of SHIELD. Either I am Agent Peggy Carter or I am not and I would prefer if everyone would get on board or tell me that I need to find another identity. That is what I need, Steve. A purpose and for people to stop looking at me as if I am some charity case."

"The join up. Or find something else. You're not a charity case. I think people are just going to struggle to figure out how to separate the person they knew from the history books and the person who arrived. They're two different people, but they'll need time to see it that way." Steve shrugs, "You'll always be Agent Carter to me. At least in some respects." After a pause he adds, "Was it more than just Fitz and Simmons? Be patient with them; they'll come around."

"As far as what's happening, here's an update. The highlights anyways. Skull is back, so it's not just you, me, Jarvis, Howard, Bucky, Namor, Spitfire, and everyone else we knew back then. He's laid low since being let out, but he'll strike soon, I'm sure.

"There's a drug on the street called the Smooth that is turning into an epidemic in the country, it focuses on mutants. Superpowered humans with mutated x-genes.

"The Soviet Union eventually collapsed. As far as can tell our country fought them behind the scenes for 50 years until they disappeared. The new villains are, well, they're called supervillains and terrorists.

"SHIELD has had its ups and downs since you left. Some people on the inside worry that they'll do anything for the end result.

Steve tries to think about something else work related that she'll find to take her mind off of being the new kid in school. "And this Humanite gal, we got nothing to go on. Anything you could do or think to help with, well, I'd appreciate it."

"Agent Carter." Peggy gives a bit of a smile at that. Before recently it had been quite a while since he called her that. "No, Doctor Fitz an Simmons are very professional, but they both knew me before I was ever introduced."

His highlight reel gives enough to raise an eyebrow. "Bucky? As in James Barnes?" The last she knew of him, he was lost in battle. "And the Skull isn't gone?" Is anything every gone completely?

It's quite a bit to think on and find to do. And, at least, Steve isn't thinking of her as a fragile creature who needs to be looked after. "I'll see what I can find." Though, admittedly, her contacts are now basically nonexistant and she doesn't really have a grasp of the internet to look into it as well as anyone else might.

"To be honest, what I really need someone to do is to look at all of these things with a fresh set of eyes. I can give you the documents, the files, the information. But I need your expertise because frankly, I don't always trust the people at SHIELD." To be honest, he doesn't really trust anyone anymore. "Bucky, yeah," he says taking a long drink from his coffee. "Buck was captured by the Soviets. They turned him into an assassin. I've been searching for him, trying to bring him back."

"So, while you're busy figuring out who you are and who you want to be, why don't you make yourself useful and give me a hand with all I have on my plate." If she doesn't want the pity party, it seems Cap is ready to get to work.

"The Soviets?" This is something she didn't expect to happen. As far as she knew Bucky fell to his death. To find out that he is alive and somehow brainwashed by Soviets is certainly strange. "You can't trust the people at SHIELD?" The fact that the agency she started is not trustworthy is a bit sad. However, she nods. "If I can help, I"d be glad to." As for making herself useful, her eyebrows raise. "All that you have on your plate, hm? Well, finding Mr. Barnes seems something important to look into. Perhaps I'll poke about with that as I need to make myself useful." Her tone is just as wry as his may be when telling her what he may need help with.

"You know," she tells him, finishing the cup of her coffee, grinning. "You might be nicer in your requests for help."

"Helping with Bucky would be great," Steve says with a nod, looking at her more seriously now. "I can bring some of the files over to Howard's if you want. It'll take me just a little while to box them up after I get back from North Dakota." If he gets back from North Dakota.

A sly grin grows across his face, "Well, Agent Carter, I can be as nice as you like. I'll think up a nicer way before the next time I get to see you." He grabs his wallet and throws a few dollars down on the table. "I've got to go get ready for tomorrow, Peg," he says more soberly. "I'll call you when I get back, alright?"

A few more minutes and Steve is out on the street moving towards his bike and really wishing that some stupid actress hadn't gotten her hands on a few nuclear weapons.

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