Title: Sunrise Serenade
Fandom: Inception-Captain America
Characters: Arthur, Dom Cobb, Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers; Nick Fury, Yusuf, Bucky Barnes, Sharon Carter; Steve/Peggy, Arthur/Peggy, Arthur/Cobb
Contains: mentions of needles and veins, reference to character death, nothing one wouldn't see in either movie
Word Count: 5,290
Summary: When Captain America won't wake up, Fury calls in the best extractor in the business to help. At a 1945 VE-Day party, Dom talks to Steve while Arthur dances with Peggy.
Notes: I'm operating under the assumption the Stork Club was the pub we saw in Captain America. If it's not, then I'd appreciate being informed of what the pub was called, since I couldn't catch a name.
Steve Rogers, lying comatose in a reconstructed forties-styled hospital room, hardly looks like Captain America. His breathing is short and clinical, his body rigid and muscles tense.
Although Arthur had seen the room and Rogers while in the security booth overlooking the room -- there's a camera at each of the corners of the room, another at the top of the lamp on the bedside table, another hidden in the bunch of white roses on the dresser -- this is the first time either him or Dom have been in here. But they've both spent enough time in rooms they're not familiar with that they move easily through the room. Arthur grabs the chair between the dresser and the radiator and pulls it up to the left side of the bed, while Cobb goes to the chair on the right side of the room and pulls the chair closer to Steve as well.
Arthur drapes his jacket across the back of the chair, then makes his way back over, sets the PASIV down on the floor at the foot of the bed, takes a needle, pulls out the line, and hands it over to Dom, before pulling out his own.
"Any chance I'll be able to ride shot-gun?" Fury asks, standing at the foot of Rogers' bed, looking between them.
Cobb gives Fury a tight smile. "I don't allow tourists."
"That's not what Saito told me."
"There were mitigating circumstances on that job," Cobb explains.
"We don't know what Rogers' dreamscape is like. Mr. Cobb and I were able to speculate on a likely guess, but both of us are familiar enough with the time period to adapt to anything. Bringing in two people is already a gamble, bringing in three would just be reckless. Besides, we need you here, so you can give us the kick."
"We're starting out with just five minutes, which will give us an hour in the dream. We'll report back, once we're done with our first session."
Arthur pulls out his iPod, scrolls through to the right playlist. "I already have it cued up. When the timer hits sixteen seconds, all you need to do is hit play."
"Which song?" Dom asks.
Arthur gives him a questioning look. "The usual."
"Do you have a copy of La Vie en Rose on there?"
"Yes," Arthur replies, slowly.
"We should use that. Je Ne Regrette didn't become widely popular until 1960. La Vie en Rose became a hit only a few months after the war ended. It's a safer choice."
It's also the song him and Mal used as their musical cue, all those years ago. But Arthur doesn't question Dom's calls in front of employers, and he doesn't ask about Mal if he can help it.
Dom has the needle in his arm and taped secure.
Arthur's been having some trouble inserting his own line ever since Fury confirmed his suspicions that Somnacin was toxic, though it's easier knowing there's a cure on the other side of the job. Finding a vein is no problem, they've been starting to turn gray in the past few months. He rubs a disinfectant wipe over his wrist and inserts the line and tapes it secure. He looks up, and gives Fury a wry look. "You might want to get a chair."
Fury rolls his eye. "I'll take that under advisement. You two ready?"
Arthur relaxes back into the chair -- as much as he can -- and nods.
They arrive in a London pub, The Stork Club, which is what they were expecting.
But the atmosphere is wrong -- instead of the brittle, too bright enjoyment of people trying to escape being in the middle of a war, the mood is downright celebratory.
"This is a VE-Day celebration," Arthur says. He spends a moment taking in the interior. Rogers and the Howling Commandos had only visited The Stork Club a handful of times, but the place is a perfect replica of how the Commandos described it, a perfect match of the few faded photographs.
"This works in our favor," Dom says, quietly, reading Arthur's concern. His body language changes, becoming looser, carefree. He slings an arm around Arthur's shoulder. "War's over, let's get a drink."
Arthur continues scanning the room as Dom steers him towards the bar. The Howling Commandos are gathered at a table, drinking and roaring from laughter, while James Buchanan Barnes is on the dance floor with a dancer from the USO, swaying and smiling.
Rogers is sitting at a table off to the side, with Peggy Carter next to him. He's in dress uniform, she's in an alluring red dress. There are two others sitting with them, but their facial features blur when looked at too long, they're no one distinct in Roger's mind.
At the bar, Dom takes the stool that keeps Rogers in his line of sight, and Arthur orders their drinks. There's only a short wait before two mugs are slid in front of them.
"He knows the war's over, he has closure with that," Dom says, taking a drink of the beer. "So..."
"So what's keeping him down here?" Arthur finishes for him.
"What happened to Peggy Carter after the war?" he asks, eyes looking over Arthur's shoulder.
Arthur knows that Dom probably poured over her file on his flight to New York, but if Dom's asking, Arthur will answer. "She eventually got married to a veteran, had a kid, worked with the SSR until SHIELD was founded, she was one of the first agents to transfer over, she stayed with SHIELD, retired a week before she passed away from old age. Same as most of the Howling Commandos."
"But the transcripts from his last broadcast had them agreeing to a date here. Eight on the dot. She was going to teach him how to dance."
"Explains why most of the clocks are stuck at a few minutes to eight."
Arthur refrains from pointing out that he had noticed that, instead waits for Dom to finish giving his assessment.
"He feels like he stood her up, he's afraid he kept her waiting, for the date and possibly more." Dom gives Arthur an appraising look over the top of his cup. "Remind me how Peggy's granddaughter described Peggy's husband... something about him being tall, dark-haired, charming...?"
"There was a picture of the two of them in her file. Get to the point."
"You bear some resemblance to him."
"So I'm going to swoop in, charm her, show Rogers that she eventually moved on, and that he can too?" Arthur knows he's not a saint, and that working as an extractor has made his morality quite flexible, but something about charming Captain America's crush feels wrong.
Dom shoots him an apologetic look. "Basically."
"And what're you going to be doing?"
"Making sure he gets the message." He pauses, take a sip of his beer. "Turn around, right now."
Arthur turns around, and takes a look at Peggy Carter. He takes the time to give her more than an evaluative look; she's lovely. Her dress is modest but fits like a second skin, and her nails are painted the same shade of red. Her hair falls to her shoulders, curled at the ends. And she's looking at him. He gives her a smile. The two projections from their table have left. "Bar's getting crowded," he tells Dom, voice carrying, as they get up from their stools.
Dom takes his drink and heads over to the table. "Mind if we sit here?"
Arthur just gives Peggy a winning smile. "May I have a dance?"
"Sure," Steve replies.
"No, thanks," Peggy replies.
Dom sits down, nursing his beer, but Arthur remains standing. "Mind if I ask why not?"
"I'm waiting for the right dance partner," she tells him.
"Until he gets here, mind indulging me?"
"You should," Steve tells her. When Peggy looks at him, he elaborates, "Go. Dance with him."
She stares at him for a few moments longer, but relents, standing up and taking Arthur's outstretched hand. He runs his thumb over her knuckles, and squeezes.
He leads her onto the dance floor, as a Glenn Miller song plays. It's one of his slower swing songs, and he rests his hand firmly at the middle of her back, and keeps her hand in his. "I seem to have forgotten my manners on the frontline. I'm Arthur. Sergeant Arthur Gordon, of the 71st Infantry."
"Peggy," she says, reluctantly, but she falls into step with him.
"Is there a title?"
"Isn't that a bit forward?"
"Sergeant? Sergeant major? Lieutenant?"
"Agent. Now, is there anything else you want to ask me, or are we going to dance?"
"I don't see why we can't do both."
"Does that mean I'm allowed to ask you questions?"
"If it'll make you happy," Arthur replies, with a shrug. "War's over, Agent, smile."
She doesn't smile. Instead, she asks, "When did you get shot?"
Arthur raises an eyebrow.
"You favor your left leg. If I were to guess, I would say you were shot in your right knee."
Arthur looks over her shoulder, watching the other couples on the dance floor. Mal shooting him in the knee was far from the worst she did to him, those two years, but as she had said, pain is in the mind. Finally, he honestly answers, "A year ago. I don't like talking about it."
She's staring at him, gaze oddly intent.
He doesn't ask, and she provides no explanation. He gave away something he shouldn't have, and he needs to tread carefully.
And then the background noise -- the chatter, the laughter -- all goes abruptly quiet, and everyone stills.
And then they all turn towards the table with Steve and Dom.
And then Bucky is storming towards Dom and Steve, grabbing the front of Dom's uniform, and punching him.
Arthur tenses, unable to help it. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Peggy watching him.
"Bucky -- Bucky," Steve is saying, pulling him away from Dom. Steve's voice goes quiet, but whatever he's saying to Bucky must be calming him down, because the background chatter starts back up again.
Peggy is still watching him, cautiously.
The song ends, and she steps back, making towards their table.
Arthur quickly follows, placing his arm on her elbow, not enough to actually stop her, or seem like he's trying to, but enough to stall her. "One more dance?"
She doesn't reply, but she slowly turns back to him. Frankie Carle is on the jukebox now, and after a few bars, she asks, "Can you give me one good reason why I shouldn't shoot you right now?"
"If you thought it was a good idea, then you would have shot me already."
Peggy's gaze is sharp. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm just here to dance with you," he tells her, honestly.
She's still gazing up at him suspiciously -- as are a few of the dancing couples -- but as Frankie Carle makes way for Peggy Lee, she stays silent, following his lead as they dance.
The clocks still read a few minutes until eight when Edith Piaf's La Vie en Rose starts playing.
Dom is at his side in an instant, face lit up in a grin, but there's a tightness around his eyes. As well as the beginning discoloration of a bruise around his eye. "Sorry to butt in," he says, "but Arthur and I are boarding with a friend of my family, and we need to head back for a few minutes, tell her she doesn't need to wait up."
Peggy gives Arthur a polite smile, which grows slightly warmer when he squeezes his hand. "Excuse me," he says, before following Dom across the dance floor and out of the pub.
Edith follows them as they walk down the sidewalk, her singing echoing after them until the dream ends.
Arthur opens his eyes, and quickly untapes then unhooks the IV. He has a grace period after dreams ending when he still can function quickly and efficiently, though lately it's been getting shorter and shorter.
"We should talk outside," Dom tells Fury, quietly.
Arthur looks up and over, and sees Dom slowly unhooking his own IV line. His hand is shaking, and across the bed Arthur can see his veins are black.
He disinfects and winds his line back up, then does the same for the line Dom passes him. Habit has him closing the PASIV, and sliding it under the bed, out of immediate sight of Rogers, should he wake up. He debates whether to shrug his jacket back on, but he can feel his hands starting to tremble slightly, and he decides against it. Instead, he makes his way out of the room, across the sound stage, catching up to Dom and Fury as they enter the security booth.
"So?" Fury asks, sitting down in the swirly chair in front of the consoles. "How's it going?"
"Well," Dom replies. His face is an ashen gray, and his voice is tight as he explains, "We think Captain Rogers isn't waking up due to an unresolved issue with Agent Peggy Carter. Arthur is working on providing a romantic alternative for Carter, to show Captain Rogers it's okay to wake up. We'll only need another two five-minute sessions, maybe three."
"We're not going back under until we get the cure," Arthur says. His chest feels tight, breathing is becoming difficult, and it comes out shorter than intended.
They both turn to look at him.
"We can go another few sessions," Dom says, voice dropping down into a more placating tone.
Arthur turns him straight in the eye. "Roll up your sleeve."
Dom turns his inner wrist away from Arthur, and tugs his cuff down lower. "It's not as bad as it looks."
"You saw how quickly Miles' health deteriorated," Arthur tells him.
"We only have a few more sessions under, and I have other veins."
"And you also have your children to worry about," Arthur points out. "You can't go under again--"
"I can manage another session," Dom interrupts, voice and expression cold. "I told Steve I would be returning soon, and I don't know how he perceives time down there. We've already spent enough time arguing, we don't have the time needed for the cure, we don't' even know if it's ready to be administered--"
"I can have my chemist here and ready to administer it in five minutes," Fury says, looking between the two.
Dom nods. "It's a better use of our time to go under for another session, then get the cure."
Arthur opens his mouth to argue his point, but Dom is sending him a warning look. He glares, but stays silent.
"Also," Dom tells Fury, "Captain Roger is able to quickly information that comes to him subconsciously, so it would be best to refrain from talking around him."
"Noted," Fury says.
They return to the hospital room in silence. Arthur pulls out two lines and passes one over to Dom without looking at him, and prepares his own line quietly.
He smiles, briefly, when he sees that Fury has set up a chair at the foot of Rogers' bed, but there's still a tension in the air as Fury sends them under.
They appear in the dream just inside the pub again.
"Arthur--" Dom starts.
"Try and be more careful this time," Arthur says, as he starts towards the table. He's usually good enough at compartmentalizing that he's able to keep any annoyances over topside arguments out of the dreamscape, but his voice is a touch sharper than it normally would be. "Bucky's been glaring at us ever since we entered."
"He's the manifestation of the part of Steve's subconscious that wants to protect him, he was bound to react like that sooner or later. But," he adds, placatingly, "I'll try to be more careful."
And then they're at the table.
Dom gives Steve and Peggy a brilliant grin. "Sorry we took so long."
"You weren't gone that long," Steve says. "Just ten minutes, or so."
Arthur has had his gaze on Peggy the entire time. "Am I too late for another dance?" he asks her.
She shakes her head, and rises to her feet, taking his outstretched hand, and letting him lead them to the dance floor.
"You were gone for over an hour," Peggy says, conversationally, as she wraps a hand around his neck.
"Sorry," he replies, distractedly. Her thumb is stroking the skin above his dress shirt collar, and it's a caress Mal used to be fond of, both before and after.
Peggy must read his discomfort on his face. "You're frightened of me," she says.
"You remind me of somebody that I used to know."
"Did she frighten you?"
Peggy falls silent, to Arthur's relief; he doesn't mind talking about Mal, but her shade is another matter.
Rogers' subconscious has been supplying slow songs, and Arthur and Peggy aren't dancing as much as they're just swaying. His right hand is settled on the small of her back, his left softly grasping her hand. She's been slowly moving in closer, her hand shifting, now splayed on his shoulder.
"What was she like?" she asks, finally.
He sighs. "She was lovely. Sharpest mind around. Sharp-shooter. Fiercely loyal to the people she loved, and fiercely protective of them as well." Arthur looks down at her. He knows Mal and Dom's shade of her were two very different people, and he dislikes describing them as the same, but he still adds, "She had trouble letting people go, had trouble letting them move on, even when it was obvious they needed to."
Peggy's gaze goes distant. "This is a dream, isn't it?"
None of the projections turn to look at her, or give dirty looks at Arthur. Dom's doing his job well.
It's time for Arthur to do his. "Yes."
"You think I'm holding him back."
"No," Arthur replies. "You've been dead for years. He's the one holding himself back."
"You seem familiar with this."
She sighs. Her gaze flicks over his shoulder for a moment, towards Dom and Steve, before she looks back at Arthur. "So what do we do?"
He softly presses on her back, drawing her in closer. "We dance."
Arthur silently unhooks his needle, winds it up, and does the same for Dom. Dom slowly stands up, wavering slightly. Arthur presses a hand to his back, steadying him. Dom gives him a wane smile.
Behind them, Fury looks concerned.
They leave the room quietly, follow Fury once more to the security booth.
"I'll get our chemist," Fury says, waving them into the room.
There are two chairs there, now, and they both sit down heavily.
"I'm pretty sure we'll only need one more session," Dom says, running a hand over his face. The motion turns into him rubbing at his cheekbone, where Bucky hit him in the first dream.
"Rogers seems to be handling things well," Arthur says.
Dom nods. "The super-soldier serum given him must have enhanced his ability to process things in his subconscious. Being able to create a dreamscape identical to what his subordinates told him." Then he looks at Arthur sideways. "He's aware of information told to his projections."
There's nothing incriminating Arthur told Peggy, but there's something in Dom's tone that makes him wary.
"Somehow Steve knew about your war wound." When Arthur doesn't respond, Dom continues, "Shot in the knee." He pauses again. Quietly, he says, "I'm sorry. About that. All of it, really."
"It wasn't your fault."
"Yes it was," Dom says, blithely.
"I don't blame you for it," Arthur corrects.
Dom stares at him for a long moment. "You should."
Arthur turns so he's staring at the wall of monitors, not able to look Dom in the eyes. "I don't. I know that -- jesus," Arthur yelps, as the back of his neck explodes in pain. He slaps a hand to his neck, and twists around. Something goes wrong with the motion, though, and he ends up staring up at Yusuf from the floor.
"It stings like a bitch, and leaves you disoriented briefly, but you'll be right as rain in minutes." After a moment, he adds, "It's good to see you two again."
Arthur's throat is tightening up, he feels nauseous, his neck is throbbing in pain, it's like every side effect he's had only multiplied, and he manages to wheeze out, "Fuck that hurt."
Yusuf huffs a laugh. "It hurts even worse when you're expecting it."
"Thanks, Yusuf," Dom says, with a self-deprecating smile.
"Not a problem," Yusuf replies, cheerfully, readying the second dose. It looks less like a syringe, and more like a hot glue gun. "Turn around, please."
Dom just eyes it, hesitantly.
"Don't be a child. Turn around."
"I'll do it on the count of three, is that okay with you?"
"Of -- Christ," Dom yells, slapping a hand over the puncture wound. He hunches over, propping his arms on his legs for support. "I was expecting you to do it on the count of two."
"It hurts less when you're not expecting it," Yusuf repeats. And then he's sitting down, settling a clipboard on his lap. "I know you're on a job, but if you could briefly describe how you're feeling, I would appreciate it."
By now, the room has stopped spinning, and all the other side effects have ebbed away. Arthur climbs to his feet, though Yusuf has taken his seat. He leans against the console, and rolls the cuff of his sleeve up; his veins are already a lighter gray.
"The discoloration should fade away completely in a few more minutes."
"I feel great," Arthur says, sounding surprised. "Yusuf, you're a genius."
Yusuf looks satisfied with himself. "The first few batches did not beget such a speedy recovery, but I think I've perfected the formula."
"Who else has...?" Dom asks.
"Your father-in-law was actually the first to get this formula, and since I've administered it to about a dozen SHIELD agents." He starts ticking off his fingers. "Eames was unlucky enough to test out the first batch with me. Ariadne hasn't been under nearly as frequently, so I'm working on a less potent batch for her, and Saito."
"While I have no idea who that is," Yusuf says, primly, sitting up a bit straighter, "I would guess that, even if he went under with a heavily modified batch, if he only had one dose, he should be fine."
The door opens, and a young woman walks in. She's dressed as a forties nurse aide, in an ivory blouse and dark brown skirt, with her hair and make-up done in the same style.
"Ah, hello Sharon," Yusuf greets.
"Yusuf," she replies. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, I would have thought Agents Cobb and Gordon would have had the cure administered by now."
"Agents?" Yusuf asks, turning back to the two. "So you decided to join SHIELD after all?"
"We didn't really have all that much choice in the matter," Dom says. "Fury is letting me retire, though, with full benefits."
Arthur is staring at her. "Sharon?"
She nods. "Agent Sharon Monroe."
"Peggy Carter was your grandmother?" She nods. "And you told Steve about her and your grandfather?" She nods."Is there any detail you told him that didn't make it onto the transcripts?"
She frowns, slightly. "If it's all the same, Agents, I would prefer some details stay between Steve and my grandmother's memory."
"Agent Monroe," Dom says, quietly, leaning forward to look at her, "I understand how difficult this must be. The ethics of what we're doing are questionable, but we're only doing it because we believe that it will end up being in Steve's best interest. If there's anything you can think of that would help us, please, tell us."
Sharon is quiet for a long moment before she says, "My grandfather said she always looked sad, and he wanted to make her smile."
Dom gets to his feet, and smiles at her. "Thank you," he says, softly.
She doesn't respond, keeping her gaze locked on Steve on the monitors.
Arthur pauses as he passes her. "I only know Steve's projection of her, but I would like to see her smile." And then he follows Dom out of the room.
Fury is waiting for them on the other side of the hall. "Well?"
"It'll only take one more session," Dom tells him, before heading into Steve's room.
The PASIV is still open at the foot of the bed, and Arthur wastes no time in readying two lines. Dom exchanges a look with Arthur, then nods for Fury to send them under.
Peggy stands up as Arthur approaches.
Arthur gives her a smile. "I hope I didn't keep you waiting."
"You did," she tells him. "But that's alright." Her hand slides into his, and they head for the dance floor.
They fit together instantly, his hand settling comfortably at her back, her hand curled around his neck. A few songs pass by, before Arthur looks down, and sees that her mouth is set in a small frown.
He pulls her in closer. "I'm sorry," he murmurs into the crown of her hair.
As the song ends, Dom appears at their side. "Mind if I cut in?"
Arthur looks to Peggy. "Mind if I sit this dance out?"
She looks pleased that he asked her, but she quickly covers it up. "I suppose," she says, taking Dom's outstretched hand.
A new song starts up, Arthur grabs a tankard of beer on his way back to the table where Steve has been sitting all night. "Mind if I sit here?"
"Not at all." Steve shakes his head. "Sergeant Arthur Gordon, right?"
"Of the 71st," Arthur says, holding out his hand, and shaking. "Steve Rogers, Captain America, right?"
Steve flushes slightly, and nods.
"It's an honor, Captain. We couldn't've won the war without you."
"We all did our part." He clears his throat. "Your knee doing alright?"
"A little sore from a little too much dancing," Arthur replies, laughing. He looks back to where Peggy and Dom are dancing. "But it's in good company, so I don't mind."
They lapse into a silence. Dom and Peggy seem to be having a hushed conversation.
"Can I ask you something, Arthur?"
Arthur makes a show of dragging his gaze away. "Hm?"
"You and Peggy... I was just wondering, what are your intentions, towards her?"
He shrugs. "I've only known her for an hour or two. I don't really have any intentions towards her."
"None at all?"
"Just..." Arthur turns back to Peggy. Although the words are Sharon's, Arthur is being completely honest when he says, "She looks sad. I'd like to see her smile. Make her smile, if I could."
Steve goes quiet at that.
Arthur eyes the clock on the wall. They've all frozen at a few minutes before eight. "Bar's closing soon," he says. "If you want to get in a dance with her, you'll want to do it soon."
"I'm not the right dance partner for her," Steve says, softly.
"I think she'd still like a dance, all the same."
They drink silently until the song ends, Arthur watching the clocks resume ticking.
Dom is leading Peggy back.
Steve gets up as they approach. "Peggy..."
She holds out her hands for him, and he steps forward to take them, following as she slowly leads him to the dance floor.
A slow song starts up, and at eight on the dot, they start swaying.
"He'll wake up," Dom says, quietly, sitting down next to Arthur.
Arthur hums in reply.
They spend a few minutes in companionable silence, before Dom says, "It's a good opportunity." After a few moments, he adds, "The job at SHIELD. I think it's a good opportunity for you. You should think about taking it."
"I've thought about it," Arthur confesses. "I've got a few potential jobs lined up after this."
"SHIELD is a government job. It'll be a good pay, on a regular basis. And Fury's said SHIELD will be able to protect you when extraction becomes a prosecutable offense. Can any of your potential jobs offer better?"
Arthur stares at him for a long minute, then turns back to watch Peggy and Steve. "I was actually considering staying in LA for a while. I've got a few more weeks on my lease before it runs out."
From the corner of his eye, Arthur sees Dom smile slowly. "When the lease on your apartment ends, and you want to stay in LA, you're more than welcome to stop by. Stay, a while. There's room for you, if you want."
"I'll keep that in mind," Arthur murmurs.
The song is ending, and all the clocks are ticking away, so Arthur gets to his feet.
"I'll see you topside," Dom says, leaning back into his chair.
Arthur makes his way over to where Steve and Peggy are dancing. They're wrapped up in each other, Peggy's arms around his neck, her head resting on his shoulder, Steve's arms wrapping her in an embrace.
"Peggy?" he asks, hating himself a little bit for breaking them apart. He gives her a smile. "It's getting a bit warm in here, I was wondering if you wanted to take a stroll with me."
Steve pulls back from her. "Go with him," he says, softly.
Peggy reaches up and presses her hand to his cheek for a brief moment. Then she once again takes Arthur's outstretched hand, and follows him as he leads her out of the pub.
The sun is starting to rise, painting the sky in warm pinks and peaches. Arthur wraps an arm around her waist, and they walk down the empty street.
After a few minutes, Peggy slows down to a stop. "When he wakes up..." Peggy starts. "Do you think he'll miss me?"
Arthur turns, cupping the sides of her face, rubbing his thumb over her cheekbone. She looks near tears, and he gives her a reassuring smile. "Why do you think he was so reluctant to wake up?"
She looks up, eyes darting side to side, blinking rapidly.
"It's okay," he tells her. "You lived a happy life, and he'll do the same."
Edith Piaf has started singing.
She wraps her arms around his neck, and rests her head on his shoulder. Arthur wraps his arms around her waist, leans his temple against hers.
And they dance.
The features on Steve's face seem softer, more relaxed.
Arthur himself feels better than new. He pulls out the needle -- the vein on the inside of his wrist now back to a shy blue -- and rolls it back into the PASIV, then does the same for Dom.
Dom places his chair back against the wall, then heads out of the room, and Arthur follows half a step behind.
"I'm heading back to LA," Dom tells Fury, once they're out of the soundstage. "If he's not awake in the next week, call me."
"He'll be awake, though," Arthur adds.
"I'd appreciate a little bit more detail than that," Fury tells them.
"The only thing keeping Captain Rogers asleep was his guilt over missing his date with Agent Carter--"
"Which they eventually had."
"--and his own attraction to her, and wanting her to find a suitable dancing partner."
"Which I provided."
"He'll be up by this time next week," Dom concludes.
"And if he's not?" Fury asks.
Arthur is already on his phone booking two flights back to LA, as Dom says, "Then you know where to find us."
- [Inception-Captain America] Sunrise Serenade