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Worst Laid Plans

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Sharon Carter had seen plenty of action before she became an agent of SHIELD. Colonel Fury didn't have a lot of patience for rookies. She liked to think that she could handle most crisis situations fairly well, although not as well as Agent Coulson. (Then again, Coulson had taken the ability to remain deadpan in the face of Extremely Weird Things to an art form.)

She stepped up to the door, perfectly coiffed, in-character and seemingly ready to play her part. But inside, she was nine years old again and about to step out on stage for a school play where she had completely forgotten her lines. Sharon took a deep breath to compose herself. She could do this. This wasn't the first time she had to play a part, and certainly not the first time she'd been given a mission by Fury she didn't like. Why the hell was she so nervous?

She knew the answer to that question. This was no ordinary job. It wasn't like she was trying to grift a terrorist out of his weapons stockpile or trick a smuggler into revealing his client. SHIELD was about to welcome Captain America back to the world with an elaborate deception, and she was part of it. Worse, for Sharon this wasn't just about lying to one of history's biggest heroes. This was the only man her Aunt Peggy had ever loved, the subject of all the stories her aunt had told Sharon over the years, and the reason she'd become an agent of SHIELD. Sure, she'd voiced her objections several times when Fury had laid out the plan, but they'd fallen on deaf ears. Fury had given her an out; her partner was following a lead on Dr. Banner right now. But whether or not she participated, Fury was still convinced that this was the best plan of action - and she wanted to be here when Steve Rogers woke up. She couldn't sit this one out.

He was sitting up when she entered, wide awake and alert. Just the way he'd looked in all those old photos, just the way her aunt had described him. But real, alive, not just a memory or a photo. And the look on his face wasn't a happy one. She maintained her poker face, but she couldn't suppress the dread bubbling up in the pit of her stomach. Blue eyes studied her as Sharon stepped in the room, smiling to hide her anxiety.

"Good morning." She made a show of checking her watch when he didn't immediately respond, shutting the door behind her as she did. "Or should I say afternoon."

"Where am I?" His voice was quiet, but the hostility was unmistakable.

"You're in a recovery room in New York City," she told him, deviating slightly from the script. At least it technically wasn't a lie. Not that it made this ridiculous charade any better.

He glanced from her to the radio then back to her again. "Where am I really?"

She smiled, looking as confused as she could. "I'm afraid I don't understand." Again, not a total lie. Somebody had screwed up, but she wasn't sure how.

"The game. It's from May, 1941. I know, because I was there."

Of course he'd seen right through it. She almost wanted to laugh. So much for Fury's ease-him-into-it plan. Dammit, sometimes it sucked to be right. Sharon held her tongue, waiting to see what he would do. There was still a chance to salvage this mess. She didn't have to call in reinforcements.

He got to his feet and stepped towards her, fists clenched. "Now I'm gonna ask you again. Where am I?"

God, he really was tall. Sharon fingered the remote in her hand, praying she didn't have to use it. "Captain Rogers--"

"Who are you?"

Sharon assessed her options. Fighting back was out of the question. She doubted she could subdue him, and honestly she didn't have the heart to even try. Retreat was the best option, although these damned heels weren't going to make it easy.

She opened her mouth again to try to say something that would defuse the situation, then closed it again. Nothing came to mind, and she wasn't sure if her sex would prevent him from barrelling past her. Dammit. She didn't want to do this, but there was no choice. She hit the panic button on the remote. Sorry, Captain Rogers.

A second later, the tactical team burst in.

Five seconds later, she was left standing at the gaping hole he'd ripped in the wall of the set, as the remaining agents milled around and tried to secure the area. Sharon closed her eyes and sighed heavily. She needed to get a change of clothes before the inevitable debriefing from hell.

"That went well."

Coulson strolled across the floor, looking mildly impressed at the size of the hole. "You owe me twenty bucks," she told him.

He stopped. "I didn't think you were serious."

"About the bet, or about how ridiculous this charade was?"

"Mostly the bet." Coulson offered a hand and helped her step out onto the main floor. "I think Colonel Fury just wanted to ease him into it."

Sharon made a face. "What, get his hopes up and then dash them all to hell?" A bit of drywall was stuck to her heel. She kicked the offending heels off and picked them up, following him towards the elevators in stocking feet. "One of the biggest heroes this country's ever seen, and the first thing we do is try to deceive him. I don't know about you, but that doesn't sit right with me."

"I'm surprised you even agreed to be part of it."

"If I refused every op I didn't like, I wouldn't be here," Sharon retorted as the elevator doors slid open and the two agents stepped inside. "Besides," she admitted as the doors closed behind them, "I wasn't going to pass up the chance to meet him."

Coulson smirked just a bit at that.