July 05, 2017:

Peggy and Steve discuss and argue about James Barnes' arrest (backdated to June 5th)

A Diner Near the Raft


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Bucky Barnes

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It has been two days since James Barnes was arrested and imprisoned on the Raft. Peggy Carter has yet to actually show. There's the issue of clearance, of witnesses…there are many reasons why she might not yet have arrived nearby. However, this is Peggy Carter. She does not tend to take no for an answer. It would not surprise some if she barged her way into the highly secured area due to either force of personality or skill. But, that has yet to happen. Instead of her physical presence, there is Steve's ringing phone.


"Right this way, Captain. So, we are having the kids come in now. You'll read a story, talk about the importance of literacy and we should be out in two hours."

Steve frowns as he walks with the SHIELD agents to the bathroom of the small regional library. "I really don't like these 'in and out' appearances. The point of me being out in the community is so people can approach me. I don't want to be on some pedestal."

"I think it will work out."

Roger sighs as he moves toward the bathroom, not really understanding why the SHIELD handlers are trying to push him into not interacting with the people. Normally, he can wrangle his own time, which is easy when most people hate to say no to Captain America. This time, however, they are so insistent. Maybe there is a mission they want him on hold for in case things go sour?

A few minutes later, Cap washes his hands after using the restroom, doing it for the appropriate amount of time as if being recorded for an CDC advert. As he is putting his gloves back on, the call comes in. Steve feels the vibration on his belt, pulling out the smart phone. "This is Rogers," Steve begins, being somewhat formal even though he knows who it is from the phone itself. Maybe his verbal autopilot is running or merely the 'keep things professional except when we aren't' thing. "What can I do for you?"


There's a slight pause on Peggy's part when Steve answers the phone and asks his question. Without a way to see her facial expression, it's hard to tell why or what the meaning might be behind it. However, after that initial moment, the British accented voice starts speaking. "Steve, it's Peggy." She's sure he knows, but old habits of when there was no such thing as caller ID still remain. "I just wanted to…" she pauses, sighs. She's unsure of the proper words, what she can say. "I wanted to call. And to see how you were doing. I haven't been able to make it out yet. I'm sorry I haven't spoken with you sooner."


There is a prolonged pause on Steve's end at the talk of 'make it out yet'. The hamster wheel is turning, but it's unclear what comes at the end of the thought process. Still, as usual, Steve's voice softens at talk of apologizes. "There is nothing really to be sorry about. I know you're busy. I mean, you know I'm busy too. It's just how life is right now. Right now, things are doing rather well, I'm just doing an appearance at a library. Somedays, I feel more like the Cap telling people to buy War Bonds than the Cap punching Hydra." A brief chuckle is given before he speaks again, moving to lean himself against the bathroom wall. "So, how about you? Everything going well?"


"This is more than that, though," Peggy says. In her apartment, Peggy paces the floor. An arm crosses her middle while the other holds the phone up to her ear while she speaks. "I should be there. I should have been there by now." The mention of the library, the war bonds, it reminds her of a conversation they had way back when. About how he was meant for more than that. About how both she and Erskine believed in him. Her voice softens, too, as she tells him, "I suppose sometimes you must be both." It's not the same sentiment as during the war, but this is supposedly not Wartime.

The question as to how she is meets an almost verbal shrug of her shoulders, "I'm fine. I've been attempting to find an infiltrator who is insinuating themselves into Stark Industries. This is why I have been unable to travel yet." She pauses, then asks, "How are you? Is there anything I can do?"


"I suppose so," is all Rogers has to say with a chuckle on being two different sorts of hero, the one on the cereal box and the one on the front line. Soon, however, he backtracks as he starts putting things together as he puts the questions about himself on hold. "Hold on, I think have a call from Jessica calling now." In actuality, she likely already had called him before and Steve accidently turned the phone off or silenced it in trying to answer it. This time, he plans to not repeat the same mistake. "I'll take her call and then I'll call you back in an hour or so, don't want to be late for the appearance. Til then."

It's unsure what Peggy does for that long hour while she knows that Steve is just getting the information and being poster child directly after. Likely a troubling phone call in the middle. But as promised, he does call her again.

As soon as the phone is picked up, Steve sounds a bit more distant, as if faintly shell-shocked. At least now he can chill in the back of a car, not having to worry about being accidently witnessed by a child or someone. "So, um, have you heard the news? About Bucky?" For now, the talk of the Stark issue is ignored, seemingly paling in importance to his friend. "I guess you're holding up well, all things considered."


The news that he's getting a call from Jessica is met with a wince. Peggy assumed he already knew. That is why she's calling. However, she replies, "Yes, of course, I'll be right here."

The long silence in the hour between Steve hangs up and the phone rings again is one that she meets with pacing, a glass of wine, a book that she continually picks up and opens, then puts down, then picks up again, then puts down without reading a word. It's amazing how many motions one can put into waiting. How long an hour can stretch when expecting a call. It's quite a bit.

When the phone rings again, it takes mere moments for her to pick up again. Maybe another woman might wait a few rings, let a guy dangle, let things sit. However, Peggy is not that woman. She said she would be right there when he called, and she is. "I have." She knows the news, can tell his tone of voice. "I'm so sorry. I couldn't say immediately…I thought you knew. I'm alright. I just wish I was there." Either at the Raft or with him is possibly hard to tell. "I'll be there as soon as I can. Can I do anything? For you?"


"I don't think so."

The voice has uncertain, as if for a moment, Rogers really didn't know the answer if Peggy could help him or not. Slowly, Steve seems to be getting his feet under him once more. "You don't need to feel bad about not being here, as you said, work is work. I can't fault you for wanting to help protect people. It's who you are." A half beat goes by before Rogers decides he wants to continue. "Either way, we can talk later on. I… I have some stuff I likely need to be ready for with all of this, but we'll talk when we have the chance. Take care." And after the response from Peggy, Steve will just let the hand carrying the phone drop to the side as he ends the call, leaning his head into the back of the chair. He is already heading toward the Raft, now it's just processing the thoughts going a mile a minute in his head while the driver gets him there


"Alright," Peggy says into the phone. There is not much she can do so far away from him, but she does wish to be there for both him and James. However, she cannot right now. The job is the job and she would not trade hers, but it does tend to leave other things wanting at times. When Steve says there are things he needs to be ready for, Peggy nods - even if he can't see it. "Of course. I'll…I'll see you soon, Steve."


It's a day or so later that Peggy finally meets with Steve in person in dealing with James' arrest. Her attire is professional and modern. As she approaches Steve Rogers, her eyes are on him more than anything else around them. "Steve," she greets, a hand reaching out just a bit to take his for a moment to squeeze in sympathy and in comfort. "Hi."


The place is slightly dirty, small, and food quality is sub-par at best. But it's a random Italian take-out restaurant with three tables, so it works for a meeting place. But you usually don't get the better places close to the Raft since the places closer to an island off New York are, well, the docks, which are usually not known for their fine dining.

A large pile of greasy and slightly uncooked fries are half consumed in front of Rogers as he sits where he faces the door, the table he is seated at only ten feet from both the take out counter and the exit. The off brand spring water he paid way too much for rests in one hand, the other soon touched by Carter's… Thankfully it was wiped clean from the fries a short time prior.

A weak smile is given as Steve rises, having been lost in thought enough that Peggy coulda snuck up on him if she had really wanted. But even now, he engages in protocol, waiting for her to sit before he does himself. He would get the chair, but well, there are very limited situations the Agent would allow that happen. "How you doing?" he inquires as he takes his seat.


Peggy doesn't seem to mind the atmosphere, the dirt or the food quality of the place. The hand that takes his squeezes, holding on for a few moments before she releases it. She didn't mean to sneak up on him, but habits of a spy can die hard. He is also a man slightly distracted.

As he stands up, she slips into her seat and glances up at him as he takes his again. "I'm alright," she tells him. "The problem at Stark Industries is a little more complicated than I originally thought, but it should be alright for now."

The weak smile is noted and one is returned as she can't help but study Steve and his demeanor. She can't imagine this is easy or anything less than draining for him. Her question is a mirror of his own, "How are you?"


A simple nod accompanies the meager "that's good" to the talk of the Stark Industries. Normally, Rogers would be inquisitive on the matter if nothing else due to the interest that Peggy had toward it. Now, it seems as if Rogers was drained, his shoulders slumping a little more than usual, the American War Hero seemingly much more human in his moment of stress and struggle over his friend.

The question is soon reflected back at him and Steve considers it as if he were trying to parse out a Middle East peace treaty. "Been worse," he begins, his attention shifting toward his drink. The soda barely has any ice in it, though it's unknown if its because of time that has elapsed or merely the people here being light on the chilling product. "Been better. I mean, it's gunna be a rough time for a bit. But it's just something that happens. If life always worked out the way we wanted, we would never have the chance to grow and improve." His eyes flicker up, attempting to find some well-spring of mirth as he gives her and himself some 'words of wisdom', which only lasts briefly under Peggy's scrutiny. "So some say anyway."


To say something of the wait staff, Peggy remains there for quite awhile without anyone coming to take her order. However, that doesn't matter to her, nor does she attempt to wave someone over. She's not here for the food. The slumped shoulders, the watery soda, the downward turned eyes. There are paragraphs she can read in this. Some might say that Steve is terrible at spy craft due to his inability to lie, but she knows better. She knows that his honesty is a virtue, but that he also is rather good at burying his feelings, his own needs to serve others. That many do not question it and - in fact - sometimes expect that of Captain America.

But, this is Steve Rogers, not Captain America. The two share quite a bit, but she knows there are divides. "Steve," she says softly. Now that she's seated, a hand reaches out to gently touch his again. Her voice barely carries, but it is enough to reach him across the table from her. "If you wish me to put on a brave face and tell you everything will be fine no matter what, I shall do so. And if you wish to not discuss how you truly feel about this, I will respect that."

There's a breath as she looks down at her hands outstretched to take Steve's and then looks up at him. "I truly believe that we can find a way to exonerate James, but it is also possible that there are things outside of our control that may make that more difficult. The entire thing puts a sour taste in my mouth and a desire to punch David Archer a few times in the nose." She sighs. "What I mean to say is, you need not put on a mask for me. If that is what you wish, however, I will order us what will assuredly be ill-advised milkshakes and undercooked chips."


The hand is allowed to remain, Steve processing the words meant to be supportive and assuring. However, when there is the talk of 'putting on a brave face' and 'not discussing' the hand slowly tenses into a loose fist. But he doesn't speak. Not yet.

Carter goes on to tell Steve to believe in hope yet at the same time brace for the painful possibilities. She talks of not needing masks.

Rogers' hand slowly, but assuredly pulls away from hers. The plate of soggy fries is lifted and tosses toward a nearby trash can, the same spatial skills he has accqured for his shield allowing him to toss the somewhat greasy paper plates in without an issue, even with the food still on it. "I'm not hiding how I feel and I'm not running from how I feel," he notes darkly, his tone filled with frustration. His body seems tight, wound like a mouse trap ready to be triggered.

Steve pushes himself up suddenly, slapping down a far more generous tip than a place like this deserves. Without any warning, he merely moves toward the door opening it and pushing the screen door with too much force, resulting in the door slamming against the outer wall. The worn word around the hinges gives way, resulting in the top part of the door falling out and the bottom hinge hanging by few pine fibers, the screen down just hanging awkwardly toward in place. Steve freezes, gritting his teeth in frustration.

The man behind the counter, perhaps having more bravado than common sense, yells out. "Hey, you that's my fucking door you broke there!" Maybe he doesn't know its Rogers, maybe he doesn't care.

There is silence as Rogers looks straight ahead, not even looking back toward the man.

"Hey, I said my door got broke, you rat ba-"

"I'll pay for the flipping door." The voice is firm, the icy hint noticeable. Working to act before Carter attempts to fix or mitigate the affair herself, Rogers pulls out a wallet, slaps some money down (about two hundred and fifty dollars), and makes his way out toward the parking lot. He seems out of sorts for sure, a seeming roller coaster of feelings in dealing with the world at large, both to those he knows as well as strangers. At least to the strangers and the greater city, he is still trying his best to be a polite and responsible person, even if such things seem a little more difficult than usual.


Peggy is generally good at reading people. Technically speaking, it was a major part of her job as a field agent for so long. She could know when someone was going to attack, if someone was hiding important information, how people thought and what they might do. Steve Rogers, however? He's a large enigma box she has yet to actually solve.

Everything happens as if in slow motion. She recognizes the coiled muscle and tenseness of body language moments too late. And then Steve pushes himself up suddenly and slaps money down on the table. She blinks a few times, both surprised and confused. The anger is, at least, very easy to read across his face. The door slams open and she is quickly pushing herself up from the her seat to follow him. Luckily, she ordered nothing and has no need to put any money down.

Even as the door slams outward and splinters, she is ready to pay for the damages. Luckily, with Steve's Super Soldier Responsibility he stops to pay for the door or it is possible he could be out the door and into the parking lot before Peggy could ever catch up. As it is, though, that moment allows her to follow him closely.

"For a man not running from how you feel," Peggy calls after him, words not angry or hurt. Instead, she's attempting a more observational tone. "You are walking awfully fast, Steve Rogers." There is no chastisement, however, to his breaking the door, to his abruptly leaving her at the table, or even to his anger. She told him that he didn't need to hide behind a mask in front of her.


And soon the two are outside, the lot rather empty save Steve's motorcycle, Carter's transportation if she took any herself and seemingly a very overcast evening sky.

As Peggy offers carefully monitored words, Steve turns on his heel so that is suddenly facing her, his eyes firm. He's clearly angry though Carter might be astute enough to know it's a rage that seems just boiling over rather directed at the First Woman of SHIELD. The powerful physic of Rogers can almost be seen in detail as it stretches against the clothing that covers him. "I didn't want to talk about the possibility of my friend being falsely executed in front of a second rate short order cook," comes the simple, tired, yet frustrated response.

For many people, Carter is astute and observational reader of people. With Steve Rogers? It's hard to tell what his anger is directed at. While she hopes it is not at her, she has rarely read Steve's emotional state properly. That, however, does not mean that she slows or stops. If there is one thing that Peggy Carter will do, it is follow her convictions no matter their cost.

Steve's sudden turn around catches Peggy - also - by surprise. It's a theme, it seems. She comes up short, right in front of him. Tilting her chin up, the woman of SHIELD's brown eyes look up at him, matching his gaze. "Is that what it is?" she asks him pointedly. It's not the fact that his friend might be falsely executed, it's the fact that the short order cook might have over heard them? She doesn't buy it and her tone underlines it. "The server didn't come by our table the entire time we were there, so I doubt the short order cook was listening in."

There's a quick intake of breath and a slow one outward. While Peggy does wish to look down, she doesn't; instead she keeps eye contact. "We'll save him," she tells him earnestly and with conviction. "We will."


As the question comes, there is a long pause at the two exchange a long look. The fiery ire at nothing and everything cools with a dull pain that seems to numb the longer he looks at Peggy's eyes. Finally, her words conclude with her earnest expectation. A couple of deeps breaths are given as Rogers closes his eyes. The process is almost like that of mediation and when he opens his eyes, his tone is driven and calm, that assuring bass that so often commands respect entering his voice now.

"I know we will. It's just a hard situation. I don't like feeling helpless. Not when there's a friend's life on the line. Not when so many people have worked so hard to bring that life from the brink."

This time, Peggy doesn't reach out for Steve again. Instead, she stays where she is, close to him, not taking her eyes away, but separated. The pain is read, but now there is a bit more context. The deep inhales and exhales are not interrupted. She waits and watches him, arms crossed behind her back, as if to keep herself from reaching forward to Steve and either hugging or shaking him.

"It is," she agrees to how hard a situation it is. There's an exhale. The tone of his voice is met with a measured look. Still, she does not look away. Even after he closes his eyes, even after he steadies himself, she watches him. "It's more than hard, I hate this situation." While she does not claim a friendship to Barnes as close as Steve does, she does consider him like a little brother (even if he might be technically older).

"Thank you, though," she tells him softly.


The 'correct answer' is given and Peggy seems to be calmed. As she seems satisfied with the response from Rogers, there is a simple nod, the man still showing a tired sense of defeat for some reason, perhaps in this moment of tribulation showing he might be more complicated than many give credit for. That just because he can always give the right answer doesn't mean it always comes natural or even that he wishes to at all times.

There is a calm swallows as Rogers takes a step forward. It doesn't seem smooth, as if second guessing himself a couple of times as he moves to close the gap. Unless Peggy moves, she will find that he slowly slides his arms around her, trying to draw her in closer to have a embrace, cradling her into him, as if seeking to be a living refuge for her. "You have what it takes to overcome, I have confidence in you. It's going to be hard. It's going to be painful, but if anyone has the ability to pull through and what needs to be done, it's you," he states softly, his tone calming.


It's not about right or wrong answers, nor is it about satisfaction. Peggy can read certain basic tells, but she also seems to have little knowledge of how he will react to her own attempts to act on those tells. The read defeat and the tribulation is met with a creased brow. She is not quite placated, nor does it seem as if she was looking for such.

Peggy doesn't move as he slides his arms around her. Despite herself and despite the tenseness he can feel in her body as he pulls her close, it relaxes just slightly against him. Her words, though, are not relaxed. "This is backwards. I came here to comfort you," she tells him. There's not pity there, just a statement, also a bit of a sigh as it seems she has completely failed in her mission.

Her crossed arms fall down to her side and then tentatively reach up to rest on his arms. There has been a fear and panic about Barnes' predicament that she has never actually allowed surface until Steve's words. However, while those feelings come up at his assurance, she again attempts to press it downward. That is her way. She Keeps Calm and Carries On. The focus at the moment is Steve. At a loss, trying to still take a little weight off of his shoulders, she looks up at him from within the cradle of his arms. "I don't have the right words for you, nor do I know how to exonerate James. You're angry, and I think that is the proper emotion for a time such as this. I was…" she shakes her head after a very quick pause. "I just want to talk to you about this. How can I help?"


"You did" is all Rogers says in the wake of Peggy's stated intentions.

There is a long pause as the blond considers the words offered as Peggy looks up to him. "Sometimes you don't have to do anything. Just offering the help, being there, that's enough. The thing about caring for people is that you don't have to have the answers, even though we wish we did. It's about being there. And always being there, no matter what."

The sound of a car driving past in the distance is enough to remind Rogers that he is, in fact, holding Peggy close to him in public. While it's in a dingy part of town where there isn't much in the way of people, that can almost make it worse if the wrong people saw them together. Slowly, he steps away. "Yeah, I'm angry, frustrated, and tired. But I'll deal. When there is the time that I feel I can't, I'll let you know. Promise." Steve gives the winning smile, but it's clear that he's putting the shiny veneer on the fact that his guard is up once more and he's the perfect boy scout again.

Deciding there is a need to move, Captain America starts to move, walking with a firm stride to no where in particular. Expecting Peggy to follow, he tilts his head to her. "So, you must be having this situation harder than me. You've never liked feeling powerless." A simple shrug is given as he adds after a split second's reflection. "But then again, I suppose few people do."


"I did almost exactly the opposite," Peggy tells him wryly. "Unless comfort is a new American slang word of which I have not yet gleaned the proper meaning." Still close, she frowns, looking down now. After the pause, she gives a frown and a bit of a nod. "I may not always have the correct words, but I do hope you know I will support you however I can." She's trying. Outward sentiment such as this is not exactly her strong suit.

The car passes by and Steve pulls away. There's no motion to grab and keep him held to her. Instead, she stays where she is, arms slowly falling back to her side. As he talks, she can tell that the guard is up, that he is putting on a mask. A bit of emotion crosses her face as it happens, despite the fact that she is a spy, a woman of guarded intent. "I will hold you to that." Though the shiny Captain America guard is up, her words speak deeper than that.

As he moves off, his instinct that she will follow him holds up. Her steps fall into place with his. "I don't feel powerless," she tells him, honestly. "I am angry and I am upset, however I do not feel powerless." There's a momentary pause. Then, she asks what she feels is the obvious question: "Is that how you feel?"


Like a true woman of espionage, Steve finds his own question used against him, though the intent is far from malicious. His eyes seem to focus forward, showing the usual 'I could take on a God and not blink' resolve without revealing any sign of weakness that Peggy could gain from looking deep within the windows of his soul. Yet his words show his frailty, the understanding that is still so very mortal. "I suppose I do," he admits with a tired exhale. His eyes, however, still look ahead. "I know I'm not. But this is just so alien. I mean, to be a war hero in a museum and then branded a traitor, it's not what he deserves. If there is anything I hate, it's when a person pays for doing the right thing. Seems to happen a lot in America these days." There is another pause as Rogers is forced to face reality, his eyes flickering down for a moment. "Maybe it always did and I just didn't see it."

But doubt rarely is allowed time to take root in Rogers, having faith in far too many things to give it a stronghold within his being.

"But it doesn't have to be that way, not this time." The normally blue eyes of Steve take on a slightly icy hint to them, though there isn't a hate or ire, the rage within him being refined to more of a righteous anger. "I won't leave him to die scared and alone. Not a second time."


Peggy glances to the side as she follows Steve, however she does not slow. Her focus is on their forward movement. The mask of the man who would throw himself into a fray with impossible odds remains in place and secure without question from Peggy. It's his voice that does something. There's a slight hesitation in her gesture as he speaks, but as they walk, she reaches out to put a hand gently on his shoulder. It's a gentle touch and not meant to linger for more than a few moments.

"It is certainly not," she agrees the statement that this is not what James Barnes deserves. "I think the problem comes from the fact that the person we know as the Winter Soldier did quite a lot of reprehensible deeds. Those deeds - for many - require justice." Her eyes remain forward. "However, we both know that the person who perpetrated those acts was not James Barnes."


There's a bit of a wince at the statement that a person pays for doing the right thing. What she says, though, focuses on a different part of his words. A sentiment starts, but she quashes it. Instead, she looks again to the side even as she watches Steve. She remembers the words Barnes said to him while he was still under the influence of HYDRA and attempting to get Steve to join his side. The tableau remains etched in her mind. Much as she did when they thought James was dead on the front, she relies on facts. "The man you met on Coney Island…" she pauses, wondering if she is overstepping, then realizing she still has to say it, "That was still the Winter Soldier. He was saying things to hurt you. James Barnes…the man we both know, he would not hold his sacrifice against you."

The words are heartfelt, but then she adds with the same conviction, "But do not think for a moment that we will not find a way to get James out of there. We will. If necessary, we will break him out."


The hand rests on Steve's shoulder, which halts him briefly. There is still that tension however, as if his body will continue onward the millisecond he's released. His blue eyes, cold with a dogged determination and moralistic resolute, continues to look on.

"Just because it hurts doesn't make it a lie," Rogers begins, still looking forward even as the touch to his shoulder causes him to stop. "Just because he doesn't hold it against me it doesn't mean that that it wasn't a sin." Talk of the Winter Soldier deserving punishment is all but ignored by Rogers, perhaps not even something he wants to entertain.

But there is talk, the First Avenger can't ignore. "We aren't going there," Steve is swift to add about breaking out Bucky. It's only now that he looks toward Peggy, Steve frowning at the situation, his tone frustrated but not judgmental. "Not yet and hopefully not ever. I am having faith in the system our Founding Fathers put into place. I might have doubts in it, but it's there for a reason."

"They are not my Founding Fathers," Peggy reminds Steve, her British accent making the point just as much as her words. "I love this country and I have considered it my own for many years, but I do also know its faults. Do not think I am saying my first move is to plan a prison break."

The tension in his body, the frustration, the guilt, she can feel it all rising off of him in waves - as clear as the neon signs glinting off of the walls nearby them. Her voice is steady and while her hand on his shoulder was not meant to stay there, it does so. It's a feather-light touch, one that is easily breakable should he wish it. "Steve." The invocation of his name is both an attempt at calm and imploring. The questions she's about to ask are important. "Do you believe James' actions to be sinful? The murders, the assassinations, the destabilizing of governments? While he might not have done them knowingly, they were done and by his hand. Do you believe he should be punished for them?"


While the argument of what Steve meant by 'our' might be something he broached in much more subdued conversation, in the wake of the current conversation, Rogers ignores it for what most would consider the true issues at stake.

"You already know the answer for the first," Steve states with firm resolve as he turns swift to face her. "As for the second, I think what he's going through is punishment enough. While what he did was wrong while he was the Winter Soldier, I truly believe he is seeking to make things right. Considering the situation, that should be enough."

There is a pause as Peggy can likely feel that there is going to be a bit more to this.

"That said, regardless of your own nationality, we are dealing with the legal system. This the nation that I've been sworn to protect and do everything I can to ensure it lives up to what it is supposed to be." A glance is given toward the direction of the other woman in Steve's life, Lady Liberty, who looks out from far beyond the piers. "I can't condone the innocent being punished, the guilt being punished more than they deserve, but I can't condone people deciding when the law doesn't apply to them. There's a lot involved in this."


"No, Steve, I don't believe I do know the answer to my first question," Peggy tells him, eyes looking up at him, voice steady and measured. There can be more to say about the nationality, the legality, everything else, but she focuses in on something else, putting a pin in the legality and the righteousness of his statements later.

"You said you believe your own actions to leave James to die after the incident with Zola's train to be a sin. However, you could not have know James would have survived that fall unless you believed him to have a supernatural ability to heal himself. Should Dum-Dum or Morita or Jones or I had fallen from that train, we would have been dead and our bodies impossible to recover. Did you know James to be any different?"

There is a slight pause there before she continues. "None of us knew and it is only now that we can know what happened, much like James did not know what he was doing while he was doing it."

She follows his look out beyond the piers. "What I am trying to say is, if it turns out to be necessary, there are options. I have apparently made two of my lifetimes about trying to uphold stability and some form of law about the world and to protect those who need protecting. I am not advocating throwing that all away."


As Peggy discusses hypothetic questions, Steve just waits it out, taking the other sections for what they are. Instinctually, a response almost comes out, but it catches in Rogers' throat, the Adam's apple budging for a moment as he intentionally re-centers himself.

"Then if we're in agreement, we can move on," the once scrawny New Yorker replies simply, his tone calm but dark and swift as his gaze moves to rest firmly upon Carter's.

As the gaze remains on Peggy, she can feel the dark undercurrent. While she does not know the things unsaid, she can feel that they are left so. The stance of Agent Carter is resolved and solid beside Steve as she looks at him. Her own expression is annoyed, challenging. "I'm not sure, are we?" she asks.


As the less than graceful out from the topic is swiftly refused, Rogers is silent for awhile. It might seem like he's trying to wait out Peggy, but after a time, he speaks.

"But you are putting it on the table," Rogers states in response to 'breaking out Barnes' with a firm tone with hints of pain that are not allowed to be turned into anger or frustration as were the case prior, Steve seemingly dedicated to being level as he explains.

"It's hard to comfort someone when you hurt. It's hard to reassure someone when you don't know what's going to happen yourself. I want to be those things, right now, but it's clear I can't right now. All I can do is state how I feel on all of this. It's not going to change."

It seems the deep rooted convictions is a boon as much of a bane when it comes to Steve and the woman he feels so strongly for.

"I understand there are a lot of options on the table. I understand there is a lot that people can do." Steve grimaces as if hating his own words. It seems even time is not allowing the nature speech, the perfect expression to come forth. It frustrates him, but again, he seeks to be calm. "Right now, however, I don't have the energy to go down all these roads. All I know is that I'll do the best I can for Bucky, for you, and this nation. That's all I can do. And if that's not enough, I'm sorry."

All that said, Steve looks toward his bike for a moment before looking back toward Peggy. "All that said, I need to get going, I have a mission briefing at o-three-hundred, but if you want, I can give you a ride home."


"I know I did," Peggy tells Steve about breaking out Barnes. She put it on the table, made it a part of the possible repertoire, one to which she's fully willing to commit. Her voice is softer when she says, "And I know it is." Hard to comfort someone when he is hurt, himself. She sighs. "It's why I came here trying to assure you, to help you, though I mucked it up rather proper." There's a bit of a soft and humorless laugh as she says that. "It's why I was glad you showed me how angry you felt, that you admitted that you felt powerless." There's a pause. He's admitting things, so she will as well. "I cannot abide being yelled at, but I asked you how you felt and you showed me. I appreciated that."

As for how he feels and how that will or will not change, she nods. "I know." There's a pause. "That is all I can do as well," she tells him, her own views on the world the same boon and bane toward a man she loved, lost and then found again. Some of it will be a bit outside of his comfort zone, as seen.

"That's quite alright. You don't need to apologize to me, Steve. We all do our best and we all make mistakes. I can't speak for James or the nation, but you don't have to be perfect for me. I trust your judgement, but that doesn't mean I won't argue with you about it."

The bike is glanced at and there's a smile at the offer. "That would be a kindness. The trains here were less than savory."


A brief but awkward smile is given in the wake of 'mucking it up', but Rogers doesn't rub salt on the wound. At the talk of exposing his less than ideal emotions, Steve is clearly not comfortable with being thanked for it, as if being told thanks for being a horrible person. A simple nod is given toward the reaction for being yelled at and the thanks for it. Once the accord on personal convictions is reached, Steve concludes simply with a "Noted" with a hint of an unsure smile.

It's clear Cap is used to people just going with his lead, but it seems more and more Rogers is having to deal with people who challenge him, not out of an ire of who he is, but merely because they view the world in a different way. Despite his lack of wording, the communication from the man is still rather verbose.

Soon, Steve is on his bike and offering his spare helmet toward Peggy. "I suppose so, but what you expect when you're hanging around your piers." And before she can protest his pun by leaving, the motorcycle is soon roaring off toward the cityscape.

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