Avengers: captain b/w

Avengers Ficlet: Social Networking (Steve/Peggy, Darcy)

Title: Social Networking
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairings: Steve/Peggy, Darcy Lewis
Summary: In a world of nine billion people, Steve wonders if it's even possible to track down the one who matters. Written for the Avengers 2012 comment fic meme I hosted awhile back.




The television is a steady drone in his S.H.I.E.L.D.-provided apartment. At night, it spreads flickering shadows around the blackness.

"Is this a movie theater in a box?" he asks the nurse who checks in on him every day. She smiles and writes disoriented on his chart. His condition -- if that's even the right word -- is classified, and even S.H.I.E.L.D's hospital staff think he's been in a coma for five years, not frozen in time for decades.

He turns up the sound sometimes, for little snippets of how the world has changed. The news reporter says there are nine billion people in the world now. He lays awake at night and wonders if it's possible to find just one.

***


When S.H.I.E.L.D. invites him to their headquarters, he accepts. They would know what happened to Peggy, he's sure of it. Loosing his handler doesn't take very long.

The archives aren't hard to find. He doesn't even need security clearance to get inside. If he can just find the right file cabinet, he thinks, then stops in his track. There are no files, only rows and rows of screens with tiny typewriters in front of them.

"Are those televisions?" he asks the attendant at the desk, who phones the hospital wing and asks if any patients are missing.

***


He takes a computer class at the local library. The other students look at him strangely. Apparently, young-looking people are already supposed to know how to use these things.

"I grew up in the country," he says because it seems easier than trying to explain he's actually the oldest person in the room.

"Which country?" a woman asks.

"You speak very good Englsh," another man adds.

He realizes that Peggy would be older than the oldest person in this room.

***


After class, he walks to the information desk.

"Where is the microfilm reader?" he asks. He might find an obituary, a wedding announcement, something. It will take hours, but he's got time on his hands.

The girl behind the desk has a name badge that identifies her as a high school volunteer.

"What's microfilm?" she asks.

***


He goes back to S.H.I.E.L.D. There's a different woman at the archive today. Her name tag says Darcy.

"I'm going to ask some questions that will probably sound weird," he says. "Promise me you'll hear me out before you call the hopsital or security."

Darcy looks at him warily. He sees her hand slide under the desk, probably reaching for a panic button or a gun. This is going all wrong.

"I just want to find someone," he says.

"You'll have to be more threatening if you expect me to turn my friends over to a crazy man," she snaps.

"I was thinking of asking nicely," he says. "Her name is Peggy Carter. She worked here a long time ago. I just want to know if she's okay."

Darcy titls her head.

"Did you try facebooking her?" she asks.

"What's that?" The word is familiar from his computer class; some of the students there had vowed to learn how to use it.

"You're really lost, aren't you?" she says. "I'll look her up." She takes a small, flat device from her purse, the kind of thing that people are always calling phones even though they seem to be computers.

"There are two hundred seventy-four Peggy Carters on Facebook," she says and shows him pictures of ten impossibly young women. He takes the phone from her, careful to keep his fingers off the screen. Strange and confusing things happen when he touches these things.

"Can this thing tell me if she's alive or dead?" he asks, and Darcy shakes her head.

"I can look that up for you," she says, "but if you want to know much more than that, you'll have to come back with a security code."

"I just want to know if she's okay," he says, even though he's already said it once today. His voice sounds more desperate and sad than he thought it would. He listens to Darcy click away on her keyboard and wonders how long he has to prepare for her news. Less than a minute, it seems.

"I'm sorry. She died in 1981," Darcy says. She gives him a small smile. "Of natural causes, though, if that's any consolation."

"It is. Thank you." He starts to leave, thinking he ought to do something nice for this girl who helped him.

"Wait!" she shouts after him. "She had a daughter! And she's on Facebook!"

Darcy hands him the phone again. The woman on the screen has intelligent eyes and a soft smile.

"Do you want me to send her a friend request?" she asks.

"I don't know what that means," he says. "In my day, we talked to people we wanted to know."

"Give me the phone," Darcy says. "I'll teach you how this century works."

Edited at 2012-05-06 05:23 pm (UTC)
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Awww! I think the first thing Steve would do is try to find out what had happened to Peggy. (And it makes me a little angry on his behalf thinking that Fury doesn't hand him a file right away.)
Fury certainly should have given him the folder...but then, Fury does not strike me as terribly perceptive about people's feelings...