Title: Weaker Than Ever Author: brodiew Characters: Steve Rogers , Peggy Carter Genre: Angst Summary: Steve Rogers is in a funk after losing the chance to be a hero. The fledgling romance with Peggy that was sure to flourish as a super soldier now seemed in ruins. Peggy was bigger, faster, and stronger. Steve felt smaller, more sickly, weaker, and damn jealous. A/N: Tag to Marvel's new animated series What If...? Episode One: 'Captain Carter' In which, Steve Rogers is prevented from taking the Super Soldier serum in a terrorist attack on the lab and Agent Peggy Carter is the closest person to the chamber and becomes Captain Carter! Weaker Than Ever Steve Rogers sat alone at the large table in the underground command center reviewing photos of Captain Carter and her initial exploits. The photos were excellent causing him to wonder when anyone had time to shoot them while dodging bullets and explosions. Bucky appeared to be enjoying himself, evening hamming for the camera as he rode a motorcycle into a group of Hydra henchmen. Steve could feel his temperature rising. It should be him out there. He wanted to be a hero. She told him he had the heart of a hero. He wanted to save lives. He wanted to kick Nazi butt, Hydra infested or not. Steve Rogers would not stand for the evil he knew Hitler was perpetrating. Steve Rogers would not let his fellow Americans die if he could lift a single finger to stop it. Steve Rogers was in love and the possibility of having the woman of dreams was now just as dead as his dreams socking Hitler across the jaw. He stared at a photo of Peggy in a broad stance with an arm outstretched as she had just thrown her shield. Her face, her beautiful face, was a mask of determination and satisfaction. She enjoyed it. Her brown locks blew in the Austrian wind that could just as easily been the breeze created by her arcing shield. Her broad shoulders, thick waist, bulging biceps, and thunderous thighs, made her appear Amazonian. Even under the British flag, the fullness of her bust was apparent. She was a magnificent giant and he was a bony kid from Brooklyn with delusion of grandeur. She was taller and more tone that he was before the serum. Now, she dwarfed him. How could she love him? How could she think of him like any kind of equal? He looked at the photo and slammed his fist down on it. The heat that was rising before was now full blown. he crumpled the photo in his hand threw it across the room. He raked the photos from table in sweeping motion of his arms across the table. They fluttered to the ground. In quick movement, he stood up and the chair he was sitting in fell over backward. He gripped the edge of the table and lifted with all of his might as if by sheer will and rage he could topple the massive piece of oak. His face was flushed red and his breathing was heavy. The army didn't want him! Bucky pittied him! Peggy couldn't love him! Did God above even know what he was going through? His strength failed and he released his grip on the table staggering back and tripping over the chair falling hard on his elbow. He growled and grimaced in pain, but not more than one solitary tear fell from his eyes. He was still on the ground when he heard heavy footfalls descending the stairs. He had to get up! She could not see him any weaker that he already was. He pulled himself to a standing position, using the edge of the table as leverage. He leaned against it while holding his elbow. "Steve!" Peggy gasped as she entered the command center, taking in the overturned chair and scattered pictures. "Are you alright?" He didn't answer, turning his back on her taking deep breaths to control his emotions. He remembered the picture he had crumpled and thrown away like garbage. Still holding his arm and slowly walked around the table and found the ball of paper. Crouching to pick it up, he heard her speak to him again. "Steve?" she asked again. "What's going on?" He turned and saw her walking toward him. She was not Captain Carter. She was not the hero he had wanted to be. No. She was, but she wasn't dressed that way. She was wearing her regulating brown uniform, but with trousers, rather than the wool skirt. He liked the black tie. She was stunning in any uniform. "A moment of weakness, I'm afraid," he said, raising his eyes and tilting his head back to meet hers. Once upon a time, she was 5'7, tall enough for him. He liked tall women. Now, she was 6' or 6'1, he couldn't remember. Too tall. He handed her the wad of paper. He watched as she opened it, smoothing it out in her hands. She took a moment to examine it, longer than was necessary. She had seen it before. "Nice action shot," Steve said, flatly. "I'd love to meet the photographer." "No, you wouldn't," she replied. "He takes nice pictures, but he's kind of a bore." "He may be a bore but at least he's in the war," Steve replied, wincing at his unintentional rhyme. Peggy seemed to let it pass, worrying the picture, as she tried to smooth it further. "What's this about, Steve? What moment of weakness?" She towered over him and though he was not afraid of her, which in some sense he rightly should be, he resented her. He resented her her height, her breadth, her bulk, her strength, her speed, her agility. "What's with the interrogation?" Steve said, his anger flaring again. "The last thing I need, right now, is Captain Carter pulling rank! Don't you have a tank to toss around or something?" He watched as shock bled into hurt and her eyes glistened with emotion. Amazons weren't supposed to feel anything, were they? He regretted saying it soon as it came out his mouth but he was too angry to apologize. He made to move by her, but she stepped into his path. "Talk to me, Steve," she said, the hint of a plead in her now more resonant voice. He looked into her eyes and could see that she wanted to help him; to sooth him, reassure him, care for him. He couldn't take it because all he saw in her eyes was pity. "If I say anything else, there wouldn't be any coming back from it. Do you understand? Let me go." Peggy turned to let him pass and to his back she said, "What about tomorrow?" Grabbing the handrail at the bottom of the stairs, he slowly and silently went up.