Pt. 53. Ghosts of the Past….
[EMBASSY SECURITY FILES: 04152017 1530hrs]
Loc: Guest Quarters,Wakandan Embassy, 956 1st Ave, New York, NY
<Steve wakes from a dream, looks around disoriented for a second, then remembers he’s home, or at least back in NYC, looks around, remembering his arrival at the embassy extremely late the previous night>
Steve: <thinks about the dream with a touch of sadness, picks up his compass from the nightstand and opens it, looks at Peggy’s picture, repeating to himself something she told him on one of their last visits> All we can do is our best, and sometimes the best we can do, is to start over. <closes the compass, gets out of bed, dresses, checks his phone notifications>
*2 NEW TEXT MESSAGES, 1 DM*
King T’Challa: It is good to hear you are once again joining the fight for freedom in your home, my friend. Wakanda stands with you, Captain. Be well, and fight with honor.
Steve: <sends a reply> Eternally grateful for your hospitality, your Highness. If Wakanda is ever in need, I will be there.
Nat: Good news -Nick should be calling you home in a few days. Bad news -I can’t seem to find anything on your girl. Nick’s got her identity so buried, even I can’t find a thread to pull. Which means she’s either very important, or very dangerous. Be careful.
Steve: Already home, figured airports and other points of entry might be under surveillance, so I found a way around that. Doubt they’ll expect to find me just walking down the street. Jet lag had me sleeping in. Will contact Nick later today. As for Maggie, well, I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
Maggie: I’m still rather cross with you for sneaking home early.😠 Please be careful, Grant, and let me know when you’re safely in NYC. I’m out of the office running errands all day, but I do want to know you’re all right.
Steve: Please don’t be cross, Maggie. Got in early this morning, safe and sound. Slept half the day away from jet lag, just woke up. Thought I’d take a walk around the city to get my bearings. Will get in contact with Nick later today, and will be online to talk to you later tonight so we can make plans to finally meet. I missed your birthday and I’m looking forward to making it up to you.
<closes his phone, and heads out to explore the city>
[NYC TRANSIT SYSTEM SECURITY FILES 04152017 1630hrs]
<on a random train, Steve notices a small crowd of people, working together, scrubbing at a wall of the train, he rises to see past them where the faded remains of a swastika above the phrase ‘Make America White Again‘ deface the wall, his blood boils, he turns to one of the people cleaning>
Steve: <fists clenched at his sides, gritting his teeth as he speaks> Who. Did. This?
Older Passenger: <shakes her head> No idea, but it’s unacceptable. My father fought people like them in WW2. We’re better than this. I’m just glad I was on the way home from the market and had picked up some cleaning supplies.
<he watches for a moment, his heart lightening at the small but diverse group working to remove the graffiti, the old woman handing out supplies, the well dressed gentleman paying no attention to the stains ruining his tailored suit, the tall, tough looking man in gangster colors reaching up for spots the others can’t, the barista using her work apron to scrub, Steve joins in, grabbing a spray bottle and cloth from the old woman, putting all his muscle behind it, he listens to the small talk of the group as they work, the marks fading from the wall until they’re nothing but an ugly memory, the barista hugs the old woman, helping her pack up what’s left of the supplies, the businessman opens his wallet, offering to pay to replace them, Steve is the only one who notices the gangster, pulling out a knife, starting to carve into the wall>
Steve: What do you think you’re doing?
Young Man: Leavin those fuckers a message of our own. That was weak shit, trying to spread fear and hate. Just like the paint they used, we’re gonna wash ’em away. I’m carvin this in, a more permanent mark than theirs, to show those fuckheads that this is still OUR city, and we got no home for nazis here!
<Steve watches the young man carving the iconic I❤️NY into the wall, then in the middle of the heart ‘Love Runs Deeper Than Hate’, the rest of the cleaning crew watch with him, nodding and murmuring in approval, the businessman claps the young man on the shoulder, admiring his handiwork, the train reaches it’s next stop, and both Steve and the young man exit>
Young Man: <turns to Steve> You look familiar, I know you from somewhere man?
Steve: <shakes his head> Nah, just another concerned citizen like yourself, trying to make the world a little better. <they part ways, and Steve continues to wander>
[NYC TRAFFIC SURVEILLANCE FILES 04152017 1830hrs]
<Steve wanders the streets, letting his feet choose his path, same old street hawkers and display windows, he’s gotten used to the noise and the crowds of the city in the past few years since he’s come out of the ice, he likes to watch the people as they bustle around, as he wanders, a woman catches his eye as she crosses the street ahead of him>
Steve: <whispers to himself> I’m seeing ghosts. <he tries to follow the woman, pushing his way through the throngs of people, he turns the corner, still whispering> Peg?
<the woman turns to look in a display window, she looks distracted, as if listening to a bluetooth or headphones, not noticing him, she picks up her pace and blends into a crowd of people before Steve can catch up to her, he tries to follow, but she disappears without a trace>
Steve: <confused, lost, mumbling to himself> This has gotta be my mind playing tricks on me, <remembers the vision of Peggy that Wanda had given him a few years before> or someone playing tricks on my mind. Fury can wait. I need to go someplace familiar and think this out. <his feet take him to his favorite park, where he normally goes to enjoy sketching, people watching, and to think about things>