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When Sharon first met Sam, it was on a mission to the tropics. Sharon was pretty sure that the island had a name, but she'd been a rookie then and when Daisy had told told her not to ask questions until her superiors wanted to give answers, Sharon hadn't questioned it.

 

(These days, when Sharon passed Daisy in a S.H.I.E.L.D.-owned corridor, it was usually on the way to another mission, while Daisy was off to another training session, and Sharon always took the time to remind her of that particular bit of advice. Daisy always smiled at her and told her that it was good to see that Sharon had listened once.)

 

So Sharon had been a rookie, and Sam had been a bleeding heart social worker who'd been burnt out on his job and looking for a way to make a difference without all of the red tape that stood in his way in his actual job. Sharon had been desperately looking for a way to live up to Aunt Peggy's legacy and the guy making a friendship pack with a falcon didn't seem like the best ride to hitch.

 

("You were stubborn," Sam always told her, with his breath as hot as the tropic sun on her skin, regardless of where they ended up. "It was the thing that made me fall the hardest." )

 

There'd been other people on that island. People that Sharon had been ordered to ignore to get the job done, and people that Sam and his damn pet bird had been determined to help. Sharon always told people that she lost her mind over Sam Wilson the first time she saw him sweating in the sun without a shirt on, but in truth, she knew she was a goner the minute her completely untrained accomplice threw himself into harm's way in order to save a civilian.

 

("Why do my best agents always end up making a different call than the one I send them on the mission to execute?" Fury yelled, the minute she brought Wilson back with her. In fairness, he couldn't use a line like that and not expect Coulson to remind everyone just how well Romanov had worked out for everyone.)

 

The tropics couldn't have been further away from the Carter Family Summer Home in the middle of a ridiculously cold spring, but Sharon was happily indulging her nostalgia as she watched the snow fall with her head resting on Sam's chest. Sam's fingers played idly with her hair, and Sharon vaguely wondered if she should contact S.H.I.E.L.D. and ask them to check into any supervillains that could fuck with the weather, because she never remembered Virginia having this much snow, especially in March.

 

Naturally, Fury chose to call and interrupt her perfectly domestic moment.

 

("Never get involved at work, Sharon," Aunt Peggy had told her after meeting Sam once. "It only leads to heartache, no matter how upstanding the young man is.")

 

"I know you and Wilson are on vacation right now, Carter, but after the attack on New York, Romanov and Barton have earned their downtime more than you two."

"I'd like to point out that we were in Madripoor with Drew, saving at least three world leaders from being assassinated, Director."

"Do you think I'm unaware of that, Agent Carter?"

Sharon didn't, but she did think that he could do with a reminder from time to time. "No, Sir. Where are you sending us, Director?"

There was a pause that Sharon would curse within a week for not taking better notice of, before Fury answered. "Russia."

"Can't be any colder there than it is here," Sharon commented, but privately she thought that her missions really tended to go much better when Fury sent her somewhere warm.