After the battle for New York, they go their separate ways, temporarily, with the understanding that they'll come back together once they've dealt with their respective unfinished business. And Steve is no different as he revs up the motorcycle and rides away, not sparing a look backwards. He might not be heading halfway around the globe like Tasha and Clint, or going to a distant realm like Thor, or exploring new scientific worlds like Bruce and Tony, but he intends to venture into territory no less uncharted: the future.
But first, he has a date to keep.
And so, instead of heading back to his apartment in Brooklyn (his apartment? More like the bubble SHIELD created for him, choosing furnishings they thought would be familiar, but none of them lived in his time, so it's all wrong to his eyes: everything that should gleam like new, fresh from the factory, is instead worn and dented, antiques like himself, and the rest is modern and made to look old, retro-kitsch and fake. He'll have to give most of it away and start over), he turns north from Central Park and rides through The Bronx and then upstate, following the directions Agent Hill printed out for him from Google Maps (and what a fantastic tool that is; what he would have given during the war to have perfect photographs of Hydra bases, taken from space!). According to the print-out, the trip should take about two hours, and he enjoys the ride -- the warm spring day, the wind on his face, being truly alone and unobserved for the first time since he woke up in a strange new place.
The drive is uneventful, and when he reaches his destination, he finds the two things he needs: lunch (a hamburger or three at a local diner, paired with fries and a Coke -- he is relieved to discover that Coke hasn't changed, or at least not very much) and a florist. By a stroke of luck, there is a newsstand with a good selection of flowers in front of the diner. He hesitates for a moment over his choice -- should he pick something fresh like daisies, or colorful like tulips? -- but in the end he has to go for the bunch of red roses, cliché as it is; Steve Rogers might not know much about flowers, but he knows that red roses stand for love, and after all this time, he doesn't dare show up carrying anything less.
He pays for the roses, then glances down at his outfit with a wry smile. A checkered shirt, khaki pants, a worn leather jacket. Probably not the proper dress code for the Stork Club. But he's pretty sure she'll understand.
("You sure about this, Cap?" Fury asked, a skeptical look in his eye, when Steve first requested the information that brings him here today, to this small town in the suburbs of New York City.
"Yes, Director," he replied. "I'm sure.")
Steve leaves the motorcycle parked on the street and walks the final mile or so, listening to the distant growl of car engines, birds chirping, children playing in their yards. It seems like a nice town, he decides, taking in the tall leafy trees and the clapboard houses. A peaceful place, somewhere she could have been happy. The thought serves as a bit of a balm for his aching heart, and it carries him the last few steps, past the last house and into the cemetery.
The plot is not difficult to find, thanks to Director Fury's detailed map. The marker is just like all the others, carved of an unassuming dark granite and bearing only her name and two dates. The second one catches his eye: fifteen years, two months, and five days ago. ("Cancer," Fury said, "discovered too late for anyone to help her. I'm sorry.") He swallows down the sudden rush of grief (fifteen years for everyone else, but still fresh to him every time he thinks of her, a knife stabbing him in the gut; will he ever get used to the feeling?) and steps up to the stone, laying the flowers in front of it, next to a half-withered bouquet of something that was once pink and white. Someone else is still leaving flowers (her children, perhaps, or grandchildren) and that lightens his sadness too, just a little, to know that someone else out there thinks of her, still loves her after all this time.
He straightens up and lets his hand rest on the top of the smooth gravestone; he needs to clears his throat a few times before he can speak. "Agent Carter? It's me." He runs his fingertips down the cool granite, laying his palm flat against her name. "Sorry I'm late."