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save the last dance

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At first, Peggy thinks she's dreaming.

But the longer she stares at the screen, the more sure she is that this is real, that she couldn't have possibly have made anything as extraordinary as this. She couldn't have made up Steve fighting alongside Howard's son and whoever that man with the blond hair was, even though she had dreamed for ages of the day when Howard or SHIELD would find Steve.

The mask is a nice touch, she thinks wryly, even if it looks ridiculous, and anyone else might have been fooled into thinking that this Captain America wasn't the same as the original, but she knows Steve. She could recognize him across a room, across the world, as it happens, and it's him.

And for a full minute, she is so joyously, deliriously happy that she clutches her hands to her chest and just wishes that Howard was alive to see this.

Then, she's angry.


It takes her three tries before she finally gets through to Nick Fury, and when he finally picks up, she snaps, "Why the hell didn't you tell me that you had found Steve?"

"Agent Carter," Fury says, sounding nervous. Good. She remembers him when he was a young, raw spy, afraid of her and eager for her approval. "We've been very busy –"

"That is no excuse, Mr. Fury," she barks, putting all her years of military and SHIELD into her voice. "Steve was my asset in WWII, I should have been notified the instant he was awoken."

"We were not sure how well he had been preserved at first," Fury says, and he goes off on a long, spiraling list of excuses that includes not wanting Steve to be too discomfited, not wanting to bother Peggy, and Peggy not being an active agent any longer.

"Hmph," Peggy says when he finishes. "Did you really think I wouldn't know?"

"I suppose we were a bit stupid not to realize that," Fury says, resigned. "Steve was given your file, Agent Carter. We honestly thought he would call you."

"Well," Peggy says, "you'd better give me his number then, since he clearly isn't going to work up the nerve."

"Yes ma'am," Fury says instantly, and he rattles off a number for her. She takes it down, then hangs up and stares at it for a while.

She has had nearly seventy years to forget about Steve, but the truth is that she had never been able to excise him from her mind. She didn't think that anyone who had met him could do that. She had dinner with the surviving members of the Howling Commandos once a year – they're down to just two now – and they always spent most of the meal talking about Steve, Steve, Steve.

It had been the same with Howard, even when Tony had whined and asked to be told something else, Aunt Peggy, Captain America was so boring. Steve was – is – just that kind of person.

She kind of hopes Tony understands that now.

Steve picks up on the fourth ring, sounding puzzled. "Uh, hello?"

For a moment, Peggy can't breathe, because he sounds exactly the same, and it's been seventy years since she last heard his voice as his plane went down, so far away from her.

She recovers quickly, though, because she has more pressing issues to address. "Steven Rogers," Peggy says loudly. "Did you really think you could get away with not calling me?"

There is a long pause on the other end of the phone. Then Steve says, "Peggy?"

"Yes, Steven," she says. "You remember me, I gather?"

"Yes, I – of course I –" Steve pauses. "I'm – I remember you."

"Then why didn't you call me as soon as you were able?" Peggy demands. "Nick says that he gave you my file, and that means you have my current address."

"I didn't want to – I thought it would be better if I didn't," Steve says, kind of lamely. "I didn't know if you – if you wanted to see me."

"Of course I want to see you," Peggy says, voice softening. "And I seem to recall you owing me a dance."

She can hear Steve's smile as he says, "Yeah, I suppose I do."