Ouroborus

March 18, 2018:

Old Peggy dies.

Virginia

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [https://youtu.be/7AE1uLRUh8I "I Know Why" - Glenn Miller]


Fade In…

Michael and Peggy spend hours talking. When she starts to tire, he sits quietly instead, or brings her tea. Sometimes he just holds her hand. When she's ready to start talking again, he's more than happy to. Sometimes they reminisce, sometimes they talk about the realities of the profession they both chose. They even fill each other in on a few gaps in long-classified missions where they nearly crossed paths. There's jokes and gentle ribbing, wry jabs and even a few bouts of defensiveness or anger.

They are, after all, siblings.

Eventually, even someone with Michael's stamina does need a break. With his sister peacefully sleeping, he goes to the SHIELD guards to inform him he'll only be gone a moment. He calls the nurse in as well to sit with her to comfort Peggy if she wakes up confused and wonders where her brother has gone.

Then he walks down the hallway to the men's room. He splashes cool water over his neck and face and spends a long moment looking at his own reflection. He rubs his beard and murmurs, "…I do not look like a hippie."

It's been days that Michael has been watching over his sister. A cot was moved into her room at the grumbling of staff so that he didn't have to leave. The guards at the door rotate in shifts, but by now he knows them all.

The nurse comes in and sits by Peggy's bedside at a chair. Idly, she watches the sleeping form for a few moments before pulling out her phone and starts flipping through her pages and social media feeds, eyes glancing up every few seconds to check on the woman she's charged with watching.

A finger flicks upward and the light from her phone plays across her face. When she looks up to check on Peggy next, a man stands beside the bed, almost right by her chair. He's tall, dressed in suit of all black: black shirt, black tie, black gloves. Before she can make a sound, his hands streak forward and with a practiced, violent jerk of motion he snaps her neck. The phone starts to slip out of her hand, but he catches it. Arranging her back into the chair as if she might have just dozed off while on watch, he sets the phone in her lap, her hands cupped around it.

Peggy stirs in her bed and upon seeing the man standing there, quickly reaches beneath her pillow for the gun she expects to be there. It is not. Instead, her hand grasps onto a small pill case. Though confused, she holds it tightly.

"Michael?" Then, her eyes drift to the nurse, knowing already that she is dead. As the figure turns to her, she takes in his black suit, the gloves. "I see. You are making good on your threat."

"Oh good, you recognize me tonight." The man straightens and moves toward her. He holds no weapon, he makes no threatening gesture. Instead, there is only a smile on his face. "I have been imagining this for quite awhile, Director Carter. It would be a remarkable shame if you didn't recognize me in your last moments. I told you what would happen, all those years ago. I told you what I would do and you didn't believe me. Do you remember?"

As he talks, Peggy opens the small container she holds, acting as if she is wringing her hands. "Yes, I remember."

"Good."

His gloved hands fly forward to grab her by the face. In that same moment, her own hand flies upward and covers her mouth. Instead of blocking him, though, she takes the pill that was given to her. Without hesitation, it is swallowed.

"What was that?" Stopping in his pursuit, he actually looks flummoxed for a moment. Then, a flash of fury crosses his face. "What did you do?" The hand continues forward, grabbing her by the throat.

With a cough, she whispers through his grip: "I always believed you, Benjamin. And like I told you then, not everything goes according to plan."

Suddenly, Peggy's body convulses. It is not the violent death of cyanide pills of the 40s. There is no foam that spills from her mouth. Instead, her lungs take in great gasps of air and she shivers. Her eyes drift toward the door and then they unfocus. The body in his grasp relaxes, limp.

Furious, Benjamin lifts the body of Peggy Carter off the bed for a moment, intent on throwing her across the room. Then, he takes a breath, sets her back down, tucks the blankets back around her.

Straightening his tie, he smooths the suit jacket down and runs a gloved hand over his hair. "This changes nothing, Carter." And then he is gone.

Michael takes a moment for himself for the first time in days. He feels confident in the guards and the staff by now that it feels safe to take a break and force a machine to spurt out something resembling tea - to gamble that a twisted bit of metal will dispense a bag of chips rather than wedge it against the glass in a snack-tease.

He has no extra sensory perception, but he has instincts honed from decades in the field. Something just…feels wrong as he approaches his sister's room. Tea and chips are abandoned. He draws his sidearm from the shoulder holster and snaps off the safety.

The room is too quiet - the two figures in it are too still. He moves forward with coiled movements, fingers touching the pulse of the nurse. He scans the room, weapon up, searching for any signs of movement. He finds none.

He doesn't need to check his sister's pulse to know what has happened.

Michael lowers his weapon and moves around to Peggy's bedside. He reaches out and touches her hand, feels for the pill case which disappears into the pocket of his jacket. Then he kneels by her bedside and cups her hand between his. He bows his head and kisses the frail things.

He stays like that for what feels like an age, but has only been a few minutes. He lifts his head, eyes damp but not to the point of tears. Then he reaches over to hit the emergency call button. He doesn't have the voice to cry out.

They'll find him like that when they do come - the nurses, the doctor, security, SHIELD agents - in a tableau of genuflexion at the side of an idol.

The pill was Peggy Carter's one last middle finger in the face of an enemy. One last proverbial stapler to the face. One more time where she defied expectations and showed strength in the face of adversity. That one last act of defiance in the face of death may change nothing, but it means everything.

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