It's natural, she knows, at her age, to spend so much time asleep or near-asleep. She knows that, and she has no reason to believe she's superior to the rest of humanity, but she doesn't like it. So Peggy half-closes her eyes when the napping mood takes her and concentrates. Sees how long she can go without nodding off. It's hard to tell - later she wakes, and wonders - but surely the effort's worth it?
It's worth it in other ways when she catches the nurses' murmurs they didn't mean her to hear. It's worth it now when a woman opens her door carefully, without knocking, and stands there unsure of herself. Peggy watches through the sliver of vision she's allowed herself.
It's only fair, giving herself a head start. It takes so long to think about what she sees. The casual clothes. The long red hair, unbound. She can't make out an expression - she'd have to open her eyes wider for that, look upwards - but the old Peggy learned a lot of things she needed to know from peering through keyholes, around corners, where the field of vision was just as limited.
She watches the woman breathe. She watches the posture change. She listens - oh, forget listening her ears don't give her anything useful any more, just speech in bursts. But she sees the woman change persona just by posture, right in front of her.
She's too tired. She doesn't want to risk nodding off. She blinks awake.
"Peggy Carter," the woman says.
"That was my maiden name," Peggy says, wondering if the woman had expected someone whose grasp of past and present was more tentative than hers is today.
"Good," the woman says. "Peggy, I'm Natasha. Steve's friend. I wanted to talk to you." She knows Steve.
When she was younger Peggy would have made a nuanced sort of noise, a sarcastic Oh with one eyebrow raised. The funny thing is, a sound that takes half the effort does the trick too. Her interlocutor just wants permission to continue.
"You have secrets," the woman tells you. "SHIELD had them. I'm about to spill them. Dottie," she says casually. "For one."
"Why," Peggy begins carefully, her voice creaking even on just that word.
"No," she manages just quickly enough to interrupt. "Why are you telling me."
"They're your secrets," the woman says, blinking rapidly. "Someone might come and ask you about them."
"And you think I care?" Peggy asks.
The woman shrugs. Peggy guesses at disappointment. She guesses further. "Not just secrets about me," Peggy says. "What don't I know?"
She would give so much for a piercing stare. She reminds herself what she just asked, and she'll ask it again until she gets an answer or Natasha leaves. She hurts all over and she hopes Natasha doesn't leave.
So Natasha begins to tell her about SHIELD and HYDRA.