four.

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DARKNESS.
004. | ❛ goodbye peggy.



THE CHURCH IN LONDON FOR PEGGY'S FUNERAL WAS BEAUTIFUL AND OPEN, much like Peggy herself. Churches never brought good memories for Caroline, since the last time she'd been in one, she went off the grid and ramped. But most times she was in a church was with Peggy, ironically. When she thought that Steve was lost forever, Peggy was there for her and at her side anytime she went to pray for his return. This time, she wasn't praying for his return but instead that she was in a better place than the one she's in.

She was seated next to Kiara with Sam right next to her in the first pew, while tears started to well up in her eye. Her hand rested on Kiara's for a gentle squeeze as Caroline started to see Steve carrying the casket to the front of the church, who held the presence of their dear friend. She never liked seeing him like this, with the crying that consisted throughout the day, it was evident because of his swollen eyes.

She watched as Steve and the other ushers begun placing the casket in its place at the hearing did the church. He turned around to catch Sam, Kiara, and Caroline and walked over towards them. He took his seat next to Caroline who instantly comforted him, as he let out a sigh. Now with him by her side, she could feel more emotions bubbling to the surface almost about to explode. Her sniffles were clear and loud, and her amplified emotions weren't making it any better.

As the service continued, the priest gave kind words on Peggy as anyone would have. Peggy was loyal, kind, and a assertive woman when she needed to be. The image of her now being gone still didn't weigh in with Caroline, and she could bet it couldn't with Steve either. Her head leaned against Steve's shoulder for support as the priest gave his final words, finally ending the torturing melancholy ceremony for them. The last part being the eulogy delivered by Sharon Carter, or how Caroline knew as Agent 13. She met her back in the day with Peggy, and when she found out that a blood relative of hers was training to be a SHIELD agent it surprised her. Never did she think that someone who was the last name Carter would want to join this agency, when Peggy was one of the people who founded SHIELD.

She watched as the blonde tall woman approached the podium at the front of the church, "Margaret Carter was known to most as the founder of SHIELD, but I knew her as Aunt Peggy. She had a photograph in her office, Aunt Peggy standing next to JFK. As a kid, that was pretty cool, but it was a lot to live up to. Which is why I never told anyone we were related." She spoke. "I asked her once how she managed to master diplomacy and espionage in a time where no one wanted to see a woman succeed at either. She said, 'Compromise where you can. But where you can't; don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say,
'No, you move.'"

[•]

Once the service was over, the two blondes stayed in the church while Sam and Kiara left. Still at the front of the church, Steve leaned against on of the pews while opposite to Caroline she was leaning against another one. She held her jacket in her hands, both of them not uttering a single word. In reality, neither of them knew what to say to each other. There was nothing they could say; their friend was gone.

Natasha approached the couple, meeting first with Caroline's eyes as she straightens up to give her a hug, before she returns to the position she was in. Natasha sighs before placing her clasped hands in front of her, and looking at the two.

"She was there for me," Caroline sniffled with a smile. "She looked out for me, comforted me, taught me how to be myself again. She was everything." A single drop escapes her eyes as she raised her hand to stop the tears from falling any further.

"When I came out of the ice, I thought everyone I knew was gone...." Steve sighed as Natasha stops in front of the two of them. He looks up to Caroline first, the love of his life and then to the portrait of Peggy. "When I found out that Caroline and Peggy were alive, I was just lucky to have them."

"They had you back, too." Natasha said to him, offering her reassuring smile to him.

"Who all signed?" Steve asked as he slipped his hands into his pockets. He knew ever before heading off to London that some of the Avengers would sign the Accords, and Caroline knew as well. Her intuition was never wrong; something about the Accords didn't sit well with her.

"Tony. Rhodey. Vision." Natasha listed, taking a breath between each one.

"Clint?" Caroline asked.

"Says he's retired." Natasha answered.

"Wanda?" Caroline shoots again.

"TBD." Natasha answers and Caroline still didn't feel a weight lift off of her shoulders. She didn't want Wanda, or the team, to be spilt apart. She was always taught right from wrong, and what she managed to build with SHIELD was right; to suddenly give up the right to do what she thought was right was unbelievable. She knew that she didn't have to ask about Kiara, because she was on the same side of her sister. "I'm off to Vienna for the signing of the Accords, there's plenty of room on the jet for you two... just because it's the path of least resistance, doesn't mean it's the wrong path. Staying together is more important than how we stay together."

"What are we giving up to do it." Steve asked her, resulting in a sign from Natasha as she shook her head shortly. "I'm sorry, Nat. I can't sign it."

Natasha glanced over to Caroline, already knowing that she would respond with. "I can't, Nat. I was stripped of so much and I can't find a single ounce of myself wanting to sign that document. My morals were to stand up and do good not wait. I want to have a choice."

"I know." Natasha sadly said to the both of them.

"Then what are you still doing here?" Steve asked her.

"I didn't want you guys to be alone." Natasha answered, sharing a look with the both of them before pulling them each into their separate hugs. Caroline's hug with Natasha lasted longer, as she basically took in every account that she sobbed in the redhead's arms, because it would be the last one she would get from her before the Accords release the chaos that Caroline presented.

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