"Oh, what do we have here? Captain America's little girlfriend?"
"Please, excuse him, ma'am, he's a jackass."
Peggy doesn't think often about her soulmarks. She had been very young when she had asked her grandfather to read them for her. For some reason both her parents and her other grandparents had refused. Joseph Carter had been the first person not to deny her out right. She remembers the scene as if it had happened yesterday. It had been summer and she had been with her grandparents in the countryside. She had crawled on her grandfather's legs and had asked. Joseph, despite having been career military, had been unable to refuse her.
Her curiosity had been satisfied, but not her confusion.
"What's a jackass?" she had asked, brows furrowed.
Her grandfather had smiled.
"It means rude."
"Oh. So my soulmate is..."
"They're standing up for you, my little girl. But remember, you have to stand up for yourself. This is a men's world and you'll have to fight every step of the way to earn respect."
Peggy had nodded with all the seriousness a four year old could muster.
"And what is a Captain America?"
Joseph had caressed her hair, then.
"I don't know, Peggy. You'll have to find out on your own."
She had taken her grandfather's words to heart: it was indeed a men's world after all and she had endeavored to become as independent as possible. She had two soulmates, probably two men at that, and people had a clear idea of what kind of woman needed not one, but two men in her life. She wasn't weak, and no one would think that of her. Especially her soulmates.
"More worth than the asshole you are."
"That's Steve Rogers' girlfriend to you, agent Thompson."
Jack isn't born an asshole, despite what people think after seeing his soulmarks, or what his soulmate will believe in the future.
His mother says he's a sweet child and to not mind what other people say. He doesn't, but it gets harder, as the years pass by, not to mind what his soulmates will think of him. One of them, surely a woman, is someone's else partner as well.
(Who is this Steve Rogers?)
Is he such an undeserving person? He will show them he's not.
When the war breaks out, he's one of the first ones to join up.
"Another agent no worth a damn."
"I don't think he needs you to apologize for him, agent."
Daniel is of the idea that it's useless to worry about soulmarks. There are people who never meet their soulmates. People who lose them before time. Those probabilities just double if you have two soulmates instead of one.
One thing, though, appears to be a constant. In the future where he meets them, he will be an agent of some sort. A policeman, maybe. He likes the idea of helping people. Even the idea that for some reason one of his soulmates will think he's not good doesn't make him dismiss the idea.
Then the war breaks out and his big brother enlists. There's no way he's not going to follow. Maybe he won't have the chance to be a crappy agent.
Maybe, this way, he won't meet his soulmates, but his brother is the person he cares about now, and he likes to think his soulmates would be the kind of people that would understand his choice, so he joins up, and he prays he will get that chance.
It's not easy to convince the brass to let her join, but Peggy's ability to crack code is almost as good as Alan and since he's too busy with his project, the military can only take his refusal and accept her as substitute.
In America she meets Steve Rogers. He's the first person in this goddamn war who doesn't belittle her just because she's a woman. Steve likes her because of her and she's almost sorry he's not one of her soulmates. Steve has a heart of gold and she's happy to have the chance to meet again after the clusterfuck that is Erskine's murder.
Bad news, though, follow soon after and she's on a plane on the way to help Steve saving his soulmate. She can't help feeling just a tiny bit of jealousy towards Sergeant Barnes, because who wouldn't, being witness of such love and devotion?
Despite all odds, though, Steve comes back alive. The soldiers he had freed are cheerfully shouting and calling him Captain America. Peggy, at first relieved that her friend has come back alive, freezes, and, feeling like she's not in her body anymore, she looks at Steve and Barnes and aches.
Somehow the gossip that Steve likes her goes around, but the fact that Barnes is Steve's soulmate does not. Peggy is baffled, Steve is oblivious and Barnes doesn't say anything. Peggy worries that Barnes isn't as unaffected as he appears to be, but he never says anything to her. He even spurs Steve to ask her to dance and that irritates her, even if she doesn't know why.
The whispers about her and Steve tenfold and she's ready to do something drastic when Barnes falls from a train in Austria.
Steve is heartbroken and Peggy is there for him.
Less than a week later, she's the last person to hear Steve Rogers' voice.
Five months later the war is over, but she doesn't go back to England. War – Steve – has changed her, and London isn't home anymore.
The brass doesn't want to let go of her, not now that they can't have Alan anymore. The whole situation sickens her.
The first chance she has, she takes the first plane to New York.
At the end of the war, Daniel knows why some people wouldn't believe he could be a good agent. He doesn't like to think about the fact that one of his soulmates is one of those people, but he won't let that dictate his life. His brother is dead, killed like a pig in an experiment, and Daniel knows that that kind of people don't stop just because their side lost a war.
The SSR seems the best choice. He's good at tactic and research, even if he's crippled.
At the end of the war, Jack knows two things. He knows who Steve Rogers is (who doesn't know who the hell is Captain America?) and he knows he's an asshole.
Maybe he wasn't born one, but the war... the war changed him. It showed him how deep his unworthiness went and he tries every moment of every day to not let it show outside. And what is the best way to not let other people see? Misdirection. Becoming what people expect of him is easier than he thought.
Maybe it's not just an act.
But the need to prove himself wrong doesn't leave him, and after the Army, he needs another way to do that.
The SSR doesn't seem a bad choice. He passes their tests with flying colors.