Well I don’t know how and I don’t know why
When something’s living well you can’t say die
"Bucky Barnes, you give that back!" you shouted, holding up your skirts as you chased the dark-haired boy down the sidewalk. At eleven years old, you were one grade behind your two best friends, the boys from Brooklyn, Steve Rogers and James Buchanan 'Bucky' Barnes. "Bucky!"
"Aw, c'mon, [Name]! I just want to read what you spend all day writing about!" Bucky called back, sending you a large grin over his shoulder before he started to shout out the first lines from your diary. "Yesterday, Steve and I sat under the tree for lunch! It was really nice and he gave me his butterscotch cookies because he knows they're my favorite! Steve is so sweet and I think I want to marry him someday!"
"Bucky, s-stop that! Don't read that!" you cried, running full out in your frantic need to reclaim your precious diary. Your cheeks were fiery red, burning with embarrassment, but Bucky refused to stop and instead rounded the corner to Steve's house. The little apartment was above the garment store Steve's mother, Sarah, worked at and it was where you and Bucky spent most of your spare time, since Steve was often too ill to leave the house.
"But it's so cute! Steve and [Nickname] sitting in a tree! You know, I'm insulted that you don't want to marry me!" Bucky laughed, mocking you in a high-pitched, girly voice. He ran up Steve's stairs and knocked on the door, but he ended up trying to fight you off a moment later when you joined him on the small landing porch and latched onto him in attempt to reclaim your diary. "Ow, [Nickname], no scratching! You devil cat! O-Ow!"
"I thought I heard you two out here," her voice instantly stopped your squabbling and you both turned, looking up at Steve's mother as she stood there in the doorway. You smiled at her. You loved Steve's mother. She was always so kind and you thought she was beautiful, with blonde hair and blue eyes that matched Steve's. "Not fighting, are you?"
"No, M'am," you and Bucky answered in unison, sweet little smiles on your lips and hands tucked behind your backs. Sarah laughed.
"Of course not," she bent and put a hand on each of your shoulders. "Now, you two will take care of him while I'm gone?"
"Wonderful. I knew I could count on you two," Sarah smiled and straightened, patting your head before she descended the stairs and disappeared around the corner. You waved and then followed Bucky inside, making sure to latch the door before turning to face him. You scowled.
"Give me my diary, James Buchanan Barnes!" you hissed, keeping your voice low so as to not disturb Steve. Bucky grinned and held up his empty hands.
"I don't have it anymore, [Nickname]. Sorry," he shrugged helplessly and helped himself to some of the butterscotch cookies on the table. Sarah always left out cookies and that was just another reason why you loved Steve's mother so much. You scowled at Bucky.
"You do!" you whispered harshly, still trying to keep your voice low and not shout at the boy. He just grinned, wide and exposing all his teeth, before tucking his hands behind his back and walking a slow circle around you.
"Do too! It's in your pants!" you accused and Bucky faltered, staring at you. You crossed your arms, grinning triumphantly at him. "That's where you hide everything, James."
"Oh, do not! Tell me one thing I've hid in my pants?
"My gloves. Steve's yo-yo, my pencils, my dolly, the one with the red hair, and my little container of sugar sweets we bought from Mr. Paxton. And that was just last week!"
"Just give me my diary, Bucky! " you stomped your foot and crossed your arms, glaring at him as he just happily munched on his cookies. You huffed and he rolled his gaze slowly toward you before finally pulling the book from his pocket and tossing it your way. You scrambled to catch it, holding it protectively against your chest. You were about to shout at him again when a soft, pained moan caught your attention. You frowned and your eyes widened. "Steve..."
"C'mon," Bucky led the way and the two of you peeked into Steve's room, you under Bucky's arm as you watched your friend's sleep form. He shook, whether from cold or fever you didn't know, and you rushed forward suddenly and kneel beside his bed. You immediately took his hand in both of yours.
"He's burning up," you whispered, looking up at Bucky who squatted on the other side of the small bed. "Bucky, is Steve gonna die?"
"No way," Bucky shook his head. "You get him a cool rag. I'll go make some soup," he instructed and you nodded, used to your routine by now. Bucky always made the soup, or stew, or whatever it was that Sarah had on hand, and you always sat by Steve's bed, getting him whatever he needed. You filled a large bowl with water and grabbed the rag that hung on a peg near the door, then dragged over your worn, wooden stool and sat down.
"Oh, poor Steve," you murmured, wringing out the rag before dabbing it on his forehead. His pale skin was beaded with sweat and you hated how he trembled, how you could feel his bones beneath your fingers, and you would never get used to how he would squeeze your hand when the pain in his chest was too much to hold in.
"It's okay now, I'm here."
You feel like laughing but you start to cry
I don’t know how and I don’t know why
"Bucky! Steve!" you called, balancing your serving tray in one hand so you could raise the other and wave at the boys. "Have a seat and I'll be with you in a second, okay?"
"Yeah, sure thing!" Bucky called back, maneuvering through the crowd to find himself and Steve a table. The pair sat down and Bucky twisted in his sheet, craning his neck to see you. Steve laughed quietly. "What?"
"Oh, nothing, it's just she's going to get the impression you actually like her if you keep this up," Steve joked, grinning at his friend. Bucky scowled at him before breaking into a grin and sitting properly in his seat. He shoved his sleeves up and put his elbows on the table so he could lean in and closer to his best friend. Steve just raised an eyebrow and sat forward when Bucky motioned him over. "Are we sharing secrets now?"
"If we were, you'd be bad at it," Bucky muttered, but he was still grinning. "You know I like her."
"Chasing all those other girls doesn't show it."
"It's only because I can't catch her."
"You don't try hard enough."
"I'm insulted, first of all, and second, what do you propose I do? I've tried all the sweet words and charms on her. She doesn't fall for them."
"That's because she knows you better than those other girls. She has thirteen years of experience dealing with you and you think a few 'sweet' lines are going to lure her in?"
"Oh, Bucky, and here I thought I was the dense on when it came to women. I've never had one date and I know what you're doing wrong."
"And what's that, then, hm? If you know her so well?"
"You're treating her like all those other girls," Steve laughed. "Treat her like [Name]. You know she already likes you."
"Of course. She told me three weeks ago," Steve smiled and sat back, watching [Name] collect her tips before walking over and sliding into the booth beside him. She hugged him, a quick, one-armed squeeze, before looking across the table at Bucky and flashing him a wide, bright smile. Steve watched her, captivated, but she never quite smiled at him like that. No, he'd watched through the years as she fell harder and harder for Bucky, forming a more brotherly bond with him than the romantic one he would have liked, but it was better than her leaving him behind.
"You two won't believe how busy we are!" you laughed, letting out a long breath that blew your bangs from your face. "I mean, do you see all these people?"
"Yeah, most of them look hungry," Bucky said, grinning at you. "Poor lads are probably starving given their waitress is sitting here having a chat."
"They can wait, it's fine," you waved if off. "Besides, you two were gone for so long and I missed you so much, how do you expect me to keep working?"
"So you can get paid and go to college," Steve laughed. "You're still going to school after you graduate, right?"
"Yep!" you smiled at him. "I'm going to be a nurse, like my Mom. They already accepted me at the local school."
"Congratulations. You'll be great."
"Hey, we should celebrate," Bucky said suddenly and you looked over at him. "Why don't you let me take you out? We'll get milkshakes and go to Coney Island. My treat."
"Okay," you smiled and nodded. "Steve, do you want to come?" you asked, turning to him and missing the way Bucky's face fell. Steve, however, noticed.
"Ah, no," he shook his head. "I'm pretty worn out from our trip, so I'll probably go home and get some shut eye. You go with Bucky and have a good time. You and I will celebrate this weekend," he answered and you nodded, missing how Bucky sighed in relief and sent his best friend a thankful smile. "Just don't let him keep you out too late."
"Promise!" you nodded. "If he does, I'll be sure to ring you and you can beat him up for me."
"That's my plan for anytime you're alone with Bucky, [Name]," Steve smiled at you and Bucky snorted, sitting back in his booth seat and crossing his arms. You just got up and pulled your notepad from your apron pocket.
"Aw, don't pout, sweets," you laughed. "C'mon, have a milkshake on me. Chocolate strawberry with extra whipped cream and double cherries?"
"Oh, doll, you know me so well."
I don’t have many and I don’t have much
In fact I don’t have any but I got enough
"Are you sure I can do this?" she asked him, spinning for the hundredth time to look at herself in the full-length mirror. She fussed with her hair, then her dress and then her veil, finally just dropping her hands to the side and sighing heavily. Steve laughed quietly and shook his head.
"Of course you can," he told her, walking up beside her and making her turn around to face him. She looked so beautiful, dressed all in ivory lace and pearls, her pretty hair done up off her neck and away from her face. The dress had been a throwaway, a torn and dusty one used in the display case, but she had fixed it up herself and added bits and pieces of lace gathered from sewing shops and clothing stores. There were still pinpricks on her fingers. The pearls were a gift from her well-to-do aunt who lived upstate, a lavish gift for the niece she never saw, but claimed to cherish. She was only a little taller than him in her kitten heels, but at least this way she couldn't hide her face from him. "Look at me, [Nickname]."
"You can," he insisted. "You're just nervous."
"It's not that," she whispered, shaking her head as tears gathered in her beautiful, [color] eyes. Steve quickly grabbed a tissue and dabbed them away, not wanting her to ruin her lovely make-up she'd worked so hard on a few hours ago. "I just feel like I'm marrying him only for him to leave."
"Leave? You think he'll leave you?"
"No, not like that!" she shook her head again and brought her fingers up to her lips. Steve saw how they shook and he carefully reached out to take them, shamelessly enjoying the feel of her warm skin on his, and pull them away from her face. She still refused to look at him. "I mean he'll go away to war. You know how much he wants to be a soldier. If he does go in, they won't turn him down. He'll go and fight."
"Yeah," he nodded. He did know. Bucky wanted to be a soldier more than anything and it was all he talked about since the day the United States had gotten involved in the war. He wanted to serve his country, do his duty as a service man, but more importantly, he wanted to protect [Name]. He knew how much it meant to him and he knew why he'd asked her to marry him so suddenly, why he'd pushed to have the wedding so soon, and Steve knew that she didn't know. He'd already gotten his papers, already had his uniform pressed and ready, hanging up at Steve's apartment so [Name] wouldn't see, and he knew Bucky shipped out in less than a month. He'd made him swear to keep it a secret from her until after the wedding. "But you know he just wants to keep you safe."
"I don't need protecting," she whispered, squeezing his hands now and he knew she fought back tears.
"Other people do. We can't be selfish now, [Nickname]."
"I want to be selfish! I want Bucky here, with me and you, and I want to be a plain, boring married woman!"
"I know," he soothed her, stroking his thumb across her wrists. Her pulse hammered beneath her skin. "And you will, someday when this madness is over, but today you're a bride and if we don't hurry, you're going to miss your own wedding."
"Bucky would be furious."
"He'd go on a never ending tirade through the city. We don't want that, do we?"
"So? You ready?" he asked her, offering her his arm. With her father already gone to war and her mother dead, she had asked him to walk her down the aisle and give her away to the man Steve knew loved her more than anything. As he felt her arm slip into his, Steve wished for a moment that it was him waiting for her, that he would he putting that ring on her finger and taking her home tonight, but it wasn't and he had to accept that.
"I have to be," she murmured and leaned against him for a moment before straightening back up. "I don't want some other pretty dame swooping in and snagging him up."
"I don't think you have to worry about that," Steve told her and then led her down the hall and through the large doors of the chapel. He smiled to himself when she breathed in sharply and faltered just a step, her arm tightening on his, so he leaned down to whisper in her ear. "He's staring," he told her, just barely containing a smile, and she laughed quietly.
"I know," she whispered back and finally she smiled, that gorgeous curve of her lips that lit up her entire face, and he knew that was the moment her eyes met Bucky's. He looked ahead and saw his friend's face, amused that he was clean shaven for the first time in his life, and Steve was never so happy for him. If anyone deserved the woman next to him, it was Bucky Barnes.
"Thank you," he said when they reached him and he took her hand, gently kissing her fingers before pulling her up to stand next to him. Steve stepped back, watching the two people he loved most in the world marry each other, and it suddenly felt surprisingly okay to be on the sidelines.
"And now, by the power invested in me by the Lord our heavenly Father, I pronounce you man and wife. Congratulations, son, you may kiss your bride."
Cause I know those eyes and I know that touch
I don’t have many and I don’t have much
"You leave today," she whispered, staring at him with sleepy eyes. She lay beside him, tangled in the sheets and her head resting on his shoulder. He shifted, pulling her closer to him so he could kiss her lips. "You're leaving me today."
"Not for a few more hours," he told her, reaching out to brush a bit of hair from her face. Her skin was warm, soft, and he brushed a thumb across her cheek before letting his hand fall to her neck. She closed her eyes and tilted up her chin, so he took advantage of the offer and kissed her lips again, reveling in their taste. God, how he was going to miss her.
"That's not enough."
"I'll miss you."
"Not like I'll miss you."
"I'll be lonely."
"You'll have Steve."
"He'll find a way to follow you. You know it and I know it. He's very determined. Did you know he tried to enlist again?"
"Yeah, I did, but can't remember if I learned before or after I saved him from getting his ass kicked again."
"You know how he is. Picking fights with all the big guys. Sometimes I think he forgets he weighs a hundred pounds."
"Be nice," she scolded lightly. "He stands up for himself, and even other people, though they never realize it. His body might be small, but his heart is big. That's why he keeps trying to go to war despite how it's already taken you."
"I'm not dead, doll, don't make it sound that way already. Give me a week at least," Bucky told her, laughing before he claimed her lips in a hard kiss. He kissed her until his lungs screamed for air and he couldn't fight it off any longer. She gasped when he released her mouth, her lips tinged red from his and her breathing slightly unsteady. "What will I do without you?"
"Be hopelessly lost," she whispered and he paused, pulling back so he could look down at her. She lay perfectly still, staring back at him, but then she smiled a bit. "Make me proud, okay?"
"Baby, do you expect any less?" he asked, giving her a grin before rolling over and pinning her beneath him. She gasped lightly, but a smile turned up the corner of her lips and she put her arms around his neck.
A month wasn't long enough. He needed more time with her.
"You'll stay safe?" she asked, tipping her head for him so he could kiss her neck. He did, committing the sweet taste of her skin to memory, and slowly brought his hands up over the curve of her hips to her sides. "Not do anything reckless?"
"Well, it's war, so I can't make any promises," he teased lightly, voice slightly muffled as he kissed his way down her neck and to her bare, exposed shoulder. "People are going to be shooting at me."
"Don't remind me," she breathed, casting him a glance but he couldn't see it. He lifted his head and took her left hand, bringing it up to his face to admire the ring that rested on her fourth finger. It wasn't much, barely a speck of a diamond, but she cherished it like it was the most precious gem she'd ever seen, and Bucky couldn't have loved her more for that. He kissed her fingers, then her wrist before he was back to her naked shoulders. "You'll write me?"
"Every week," he whispered against her skin, breathing in the scent of her [hair color] curls.
"You'll dream of me?"
"Every night," he promised, kissing his way down her chest and to her stomach.
"And you'll think of me?" he didn't have to look up to see her tears. He could hear them in the way her voice broke, the way the words trembled as they left her lips, and he felt their sting in the corner of his own eyes.
But oh darling my heart’s on fire
Oh darling my heart’s on fire
Oh darling my heart’s on fire
"Look! Look! There he goes!"
"Can you see him?"
"Of course! He's so tall! Oh, he waved at us!"
"[Name]! [Name], go get his autograph for us!"
"What?" you blinked at the three women that surrounded you, having zoned out from their frivolous chatter and effectively tuned them out. You frowned at them. "You want me to what?"
"Get Captain America's autograph! Hurry, before he leaves!" Millie, one of the nurses in your unit and the one you worked closest with, shoved a flyer into your hands and urged you forward, toward the curtains of the stage where the nation's icon had disappeared.
"But why me? I don't want his autograph! You go get it!" you tried to shove the paper back to her, but she insisted, the three of them latching onto you and pulling you through the crowd. People were still buzzing, children running about yelling about fighting Nazis and killing Hitler, parents shouting at them to slow down and behave themselves, but none of it meant anything to you. Men were drying every day and this is what people cared about? Some clown in a flashy costume? "M-Millie! Don't shove me!"
"Just get in there and use that pushy personality of yours to get that hunk's signature!" she laughed, giving you a final push past the curtains. You stumbled, your heel catching on the polished floor, and a few men gave you a strange you. Glaring at them, you straightened your uniform and squared your shoulders, marching with confidence until you found the door to what you assumed was some sort of dressing room. You turned the handle, surprised that it gave so easily, and stepped inside.
His back was to you, his broad shoulders working beneath the tight uniform as he scrubbed his face with a washing cloth. You could every defined muscle beneath the taut, blue fabric and for a moment it brought a faint heat to your cheeks, but you shoved it away. You were a married woman, after all.
"Excuse me," you said, chin up and head high as you addressed the man that had become America's start nearly overnight. "Mr. Captain America?"
"Come for an autograph?" he asked without turning, dropping the cloth into the water bowl only to bring it out again and press it against his face. He didn't sound particularly happy about it, but he didn't sound angry either. In fact, he just sounded...tired. Without a glance at you, he disappeared behind a curtain that had been set up for him to change and you looked away when you heard the rustling of clothes. "I'm flattered, but I'm not signing today."
"F-Flattered?" you repeated, eyes widened and anger turning your cheeks bright red and flushing your face with heat. He was flattered?! You regained yourself, swallowing hard and clearing your throat. "Well, I have no idea what you think you should be flattered about, sir, but let me assure you it is nothing. I'm only here because the floozies I work with insisted they needed your name scribbled on some trash."
"Pardon?" he asked, and though your mind registered the shock in his voice, you ignored it, too furious to stop. Lately, your emotions had been torn a bit raw and you were in no mood, especially after being dragged here by your fellow nurses.
"Just who do you think you are? A patriot? A savior? Some hero who's doing our country a favor? You are none of those things! You're just...just a performing monkey!"
"Don't! Don't you even speak to me!" you stomped your foot, turning to push a hand through your hair and compose yourself. What was wrong with you? Shouting at this man in his own dressing room? Perhaps you did need a break from the hospital...Maybe if you just walked away now he wouldn't even remember you?
"You think you're so great, up there singing and dancing with your pretty girls, but you're nothing! I know men half your size worth ten of you! In fact, I know two boys with more honor, and loyalty, and kindness, and bravery in their toes than you could hope to have in your entire body! You know, the people out there, they cheer for you, for your antics that do nothing but mock the sacrifice that the men of our country make every day, but none of them want to hear about that! They don't want to hear about how they're being shot, and stabbed, and blown apart by bombs! They lose their sight, they're hearing, sometimes entire limbs, but people don't come out in droves to honor them, do they? No! Because they're too busy gawking at you, you oversized clown!"
Too late...your mouth had run off without you again.
"You're right and I'm sorry," you stopped, instantly looking back in his direction and watching him slowly emerge from behind the changing curtain. He wore khakis and a white shirt, nothing extravagant and, if not for his size and that fact that you knew better, you would think him just a boy from back home. You shook your head and held out the flyer, shrugging your shoulders.
"It doesn't matter. Just sign this so I can go," you waved the flyer about, impatiently waiting for him to take it. "Come on, then, quick like a bunny."
"What did you say?" he asked you, suddenly staring at you with such intensity that it made you step back. You opened your mouth but ended up just shutting it again, unsure of what to say to him. "[Name]?" he breathed, suddenly very still as he watched you and you frowned at him, more than a little uncomfortable now.
"How do you know my name? Who are you?" you asked, stepping back a few more feet and holding up your arms, as if you thought you might have to fight him off.
"[Nickname], it's me. Steve. Steve Rogers."
"No...." you murmured, shaking your head. No, this couldn't be your Steve. Your Steve was...small! No, Steve was off fighting in the war, protecting the country, he wouldn't be dancing on a stage to show tunes. "You can't be."
"I am. It's me, [Nickname]. I'll prove it," he said then, barely containing himself as he stood there. "You're [Name] Barnes. You're married to my best friend, Bucky, and he proposed to you in Prospect Park, out on the lake, and I was there when he married you. I gave you away, remember? You've lived on Courthouse Ave since you were six years old. You hate turnips and peas, and licorice...most of the time."
"Oh my God," you whispered, hands pressed against your mouth as you tried to keep from crying, but tears already burned your eyes. "Steve?"
"Yes. Yes, God, [Name], it's me."
"Steve!" you rushed forward and threw you arms around him, burying your face into his chest. "Oh my God, I can barely hug you now! When did you get so big?"
"After I joined the Army," he laughed, his big arms wrapped around you. You stepped back and cupped his face in your hands, tracing your thumbs over his now familiar features. "It's so good to see you."
"You too," you laughed breathlessly, smiling up at him. "I'm so glad you're alive, but what are you doing here? Why aren't you fighting? And can you please explain to me how this happened?" you asked, giving his arms a good squeeze.
"Probably not," Steve answered, shaking his head. "But if you have a minute, I'll tell you everything I can."
You spent about an hour sitting there in that tiny room with Steve, listening to him explain what all had happened after he left, but without him being able to tell you everything, it was a little fuzzy. From what you understood, he'd underwent some sort of experiment and was now a 'super soldier', but they hadn't put him on the front lines because he'd been just that-an experiment. That's how he'd ended up here, traveling the country, and doing what he figured was his only option at helping his country.
"Oh God, Steve!" you grabbed his hands suddenly. "I'm so sorry about what I said earlier, you know, before I knew it was you," you hung your head, ashamed and embarrassed that you had shouted such terrible things at your friend. At kind, wonderful Steve at that! "I had no idea it was you and I was so angry, but that's no excuse. I had no right to go off on you like that."
"No, it's okay," he quickly assured you, giving your hands a squeeze. "You were right and, trust me, it's nothing I haven't thought about myself. I just keep hoping that one day I make it out there. How long have you been a nurse, anyway?" he asked, changing the subject easily. You were silent for a moment.
"I volunteered a few days after you left," you answered quietly. "I know you told me to stay safe, to stay in school like we planned, but I couldn't live with myself knowing that you and Bucky were out here fighting. I had to do something, so I enlisted as a nurse. I had enough schooling already that they were fine taking me in, despite my inexperience, and needless to say, I've had a lot of on the job training already."
"I can only imagine," Steve muttered, looking down at your intertwined hands. He stared at your ring, turning it a bit with his thumb. Neither of you wanted to talk about the things you'd likely seen, the injuries and the bloodshed, so you were quiet for a long moment after that. "Hey, have you heard from Bucky?"
"Not for a while," you admitted. "He likely addressed them all to Brooklyn, but thankfully, everything like that was routed to me at whatever hospital I was working at, so I didn't miss out on them. Lately though, I haven't gotten any."
"I'm sure they're just lost," Steve said and you gave him a small, grateful smile. "Or he's just preoccupied. I doubt the Germans give him much time to sit and write."
"Thanks," you said. "Have you heard from him? He was gonna write you too."
"No, I haven't," Steve shook his head. "Unfortunately, I'm never in the same state long enough to get mail, so if he did write, it's all back home."
"Sometimes I'm afraid he's dead," you whispered. "Steve, what if he's dead?"
"No," he shook his head and held your hands tighter. "No, he wouldn't leave you. Trust me, there's nothing, especially not this, that's going to take that man away from you. You have to believe that."
"Okay, but Steve what-"
"Captain Rogers," a voice cut in suddenly and you looked up, blinking at the man in the doorway. Steve stood, bringing you up with him. The man at the door inclined his head to you but didn't spare you a glance after that. "Captain Rogers, we have to get going. The train departs in less than a hour and we don't want to be late."
"Ah, right, of course."
"You have to go already?" you asked, catching his hands up in yours again and staring up at him. You silently pleaded with him, begged him not to leave, but you knew he had too. You had jobs, now, duties, and they were no longer to just each other but an entire country. "It's so soon."
"I'm sorry," he sounded like he didn't know what else say and for a moment, he looked just as lost as you felt in that moment. "But I'll see you again, okay? I'll write or I'll phone you. Do you have a number-"
"Captain Rogers," the man cut in again. "I must insist that we be on our way. Please don't dally any longer or we will be late. We don't want to fall behind schedule."
"I know, I know, just give me a minute," Steve answered, holding up a hand to the man before looking back to you. He put his hands on your shoulders and drew you into another hug, squeezing you against his chest. "I promise to keep in touch. Somehow."
"I know you will," you hugged him back. "Now, go. Go before you get in trouble," you said, forcing a laugh and pulling away from him. You ushered him on, smiling and nodding, and watched him gather up his things before leaving with the unknown man. You ran after him a split second later, stopping in the hallway. "Hey, Captain America!"
"Yeah?" he turned, blue eyes catching yours as he looked over his shoulder.
Well I don’t know where and I don’t know when
But I know we’ll be lovers again
"Steve, I'm fine, I don't need to see the nurse," Bucky said again as he walked beside his best friend and down the hall of United State's main base in Italy. Steve marched beside him, his shield behind his back, pestering him about visiting their nurse after their latest HYDRA base raid. There seemed to be nothing Bucky could say to get out of it.
"Just see her for me?" Steve asked and Bucky frowned up at him, still very unused to how his friend towered over him, and rolled his eyes. Steve was annoyingly persistent now too, he thought.
"Steven Grant Rogers, for the last time, I don't need to visit the nurse. I just need a shot of whiskey and a nap, then I'm good to go."
"But what about the bullet wound?"
"Hardly. You're still bleeding."
"It'll stop on its own."
"Bucky, just go visit the nurse," Steve sighed heavily, running a hand down his face. When had his friend gotten so stubborn? Why couldn't he just listen? Oh, he was making things so difficult. "Please."
"I don't want to see the nurse, damn it, Steve!"
"Well, maybe she wants to see you," you said, standing there at the end of the hall in your white nurse's dress. You smiled, trying not to fling yourself at him in front of everyone. "But if you're so against it, Sgt. Barnes, perhaps there are others I could attend to."
"Steve, I'd like to see the nurse now," Bucky whispered, finally breaking himself from the shock and pushing away from Steve, reaching you before your next breath. His strong arms wrapped you up and he twirled you around, lips crashing against yours in a bruising kiss. He didn't care who saw. He didn't care who was looking. The only thing he cared about was you. His words were breathless, spoken between gasps for air, and they came so rapidly you barely followed. "God, I missed you. I missed you so damn much. What are you doing here?"
"Steve asked for me to be transferred," you answered, arms around his neck as he held you, his mouth moving from yours only to come right back a second later. He gave you several, short kisses, his hands on your lower back to keep you pressed against him. "He asked right after he found you and I came as soon as I could."
"But why?" he asked, his forehead against yours as he stared down at you, eyes searching yours. "Why would you put yourself in the middle of this?"
"I'm hardly in the middle," you laughed quietly. "Just a nurse."
"You're supposed to be safe at home."
"So are you, but now, let me look at that wound," you insisted, pulling from him and turning to go back toward the infirmary that had been set up. His wounds needed looked at it and you didn't exactly want to have this discussion in front of everyone-including Steve.
You shut and locked the door behind you, guiding Bucky over to the gurney bed and making him sit down. "Jacket and shirt off, please."
"This is strictly professional, Sgt. Barnes," you replied, casting him a look over your shoulder as you arranged your instruments on a tray. You turned and carried it over, laying it on the bed, but the moment you dropped it, Bucky's arms shot out and caught you up about the waist. He tugged you close, your body filling the space between his legs and he kissed your lips without a word.
"I haven't seen you for months, Mrs. Barnes," he whispered against your mouth, his husky voice sending a shudder down your spine. The stubble on his chin tickled your skin and you put your hands on his shoulders to steady yourself when your knees started to go weak. "Don't try and request professionalism from me."
"I'm your nurse."
"You're my wife," he corrected, his hands trailing down your back to grab your backside. You gasped and when you did, he claimed your mouth, leaving little questioning as to just how unprofessional he wanted to be. As his tongue fought with yours, his hands roamed your body, as if he were trying to recall the feel of every curve.
"Bucky, your wounds..." you gasped when he finally released your mouth, but the way your lungs fought for air made your words nearly unintelligible.
"Shh," you felt the tip of his tongue on your ear before his breathed fanned out across your neck, making your entire body shudder in response. He smirked against your skin and shoved his fingers through your hair, tangling them in the thick, [color] tresses. "Let me show you how much I missed you."
"A-At least let me tend to your wounds first," you managed, lowering your gaze to his face when he pulled back released you. You smiled, your cheeks still tinged red with heat, and stepped away from him once more.
"How about you tend to them naked?" he teased, smirking as you and giving your bottom a sharp pinch.
"Bucky!" you gasped, swatting his hand away and putting on your gloves. You glared at him and he laughed, putting his hands at his side and giving you and innocent smile.
"Nah, I'm kidding, doll. Keep it on, it looks good on you," he said and you rolled your eyes, running your fingers through his hair as you walked around the bed.
"Just relax, okay?" you told him and he nodded, rolling his neck before just letting his head drop to the side and rest on his shoulder. You stared at his back, biting your lip and carefully ran your fingers over the bruises and scars. He shivered a bit beneath your touch, but said nothing. He had several small cuts, but the bullet had grazed his shoulder, tearing the pale flesh and leaving it bleeding and raw. You chewed your lip before steeling your nerves and lifting a syringe of lidocaine. "It's going to sting a bit, okay?"
"I'm sure I can handle it, babe," Bucky answered, but you saw his fingers grip the edge of the bed. He hissed a bit when you injected the numbing medication, but otherwise, he kept quiet. Carefully, you went about stitching the wound. "When did you become a war nurse?"
"A bit after Steve left," you answered. "So, probably a month after you left. They were asking for volunteers."
"And let me guess, you were first in line."
"I told you to stay safe," he said quietly, wincing a bit when you hit a particularly sensitive patch of skin that the medication hadn't reached yet. You paused. "No, keep going, it's okay."
"I know you did," you whispered. "But, Bucky, I couldn't just sit at home while you and Steve fought for our country. I wanted to help too and I was already in school, so I had a basic knowledge to do the fieldwork. I promise I'm usually in a hospital, though sometimes we're stationed at base camps."
"It's still dangerous," he kept on. You didn't answer straight away, just dabbed some antiseptic on his stitches. You bandaged the wound and then patted his back, lifting his shirt and helping him slip his arms into the worn cotton. "You weren't supposed to see any of this. I went off to fight so you'd never know the horrors of war."
"I'm not a child, Bucky," you told him, removing your gloves and tossing them away before repositioning yourself in front of him, your hands on his knees. "I'm a grown woman and a soldier's wife. I can handle it."
"That's not the point," he whispered, reaching up to cup your face in his hands. He brushed his thumb over your cheekbones. "Once you've seen it, you won't ever forget it."
"You won't either," you argued, putting your hands over his. "I've seen what war does to men, Bucky, and I was terrified every day that that would be you someday. I'm still terrified, but how is it far that you're the only one haunted? What makes it only your burden to carry? Bucky, I knew when I married you that my life would change, that I was marrying no ordinary man, because that fact is that you are quite extraordinary, and I have never once regretted my decision. Not marrying you and not joining this war. We're a team, we protect the country together. Okay?"
"Now how do I say no to that?" he asked, a grin stretching over his lips before he kissed you again. He pulled away and took your hand, pulling you from the room and down the hall.
"Where are we going?"
"I still have to show you how much I missed you," he winked at you and you blushed, but laughed nonetheless and redirected him toward the hall that held your room.
"Just where do you think you're dragging our finest nurse off to, Sgt. Barnes?" a voice called and he paused, the two of you peeking into the office of Colonel Phillips.
"I'm taking my wife off for the night, Colonel. I believe we have both earned at least that, but not to worry, I'll return her rested and ready for duty in the morning."
"Alright, good, so long as the same can be said for you," he gave you a pointed look, eyebrow raised. "You'll have that Commando back first thing in the morning?" he asked and you smiled, nodding.
"Of course, sir, but I can't promise you he'll be entirely well rested," the Colonel balked at you for a minute before he let out a sharp laugh, waving you two off with a flick of his wrist. Bucky scooped you up once you rounded the corner, spinning you around like he'd done the night you were married.
"I'll be damned if I've ever heard that old man laugh! God, how I've missed you, my wonderful woman, you truly have no idea."
I’ll see you someday before the end
I don’t know where and I don’t know when
You knew it before he walked up to you and put his strong arms around your shaking body.
You knew it before he walked off without a word, just a mumbled 'I'm so sorry'.
You knew it before you found him in the bar, drinking alone but not a drop past sober, and you knew it before the words left his lips.
You knew it the moment Steve came back without him.
Bucky was dead.
'Cause only love songs will break your heart
Inconsolable, Steve just held you while you cried, while you wailed in agony from the floor of the infirmary. Steve just whispered to you, nonsense things that didn't make either of you feel better, until you finally fell asleep in the super soldier's arms. Peggy found the pair of you the next morning. Taking pity on you, Colonel Phillips had you put on temporary leave and sent you home to Brooklyn.
And that's where you had been when Peggy called to tell you about Steve, who had died protecting the country he loved and the people who would never know the man behind the sacrifice.
It was true what they said about war, you'd thought, as you stood there with the phone squeezed between your fingers, it was truly a merciless bitch.
And it had taken the lives of both the men you loved without so much as a bat of her lashes.
Only love songs will break your heart
You sat there one afternoon, in the apartment you'd shared with Bucky, staring out the window and onto the busy streets below. The war was over. People still celebrated, but for the most part, life had returned to normal. You had returned to school, you were working at the diner again, and Peggy called once and a while to check up on her. You told her the same thing every time she called. You were fine, school was hard but okay, and you were moving on, but you weren't really going anywhere.
Without Bucky and Steve, Brooklyn was just...Brooklyn. No longer a home, but just another town filled with people you barely knew anymore and who couldn't begin to know you. At least, not the person you were know.
But, oh darling my heart’s on fire
The shrill ring of the phone startled you and you nearly fell from the chair, but once you calmed your racing heart, you stood and walked over, lifting it from the receiver. "Hello?"
"Do you want to see them again?" a heavily accented voice asked and you blinked, caught off guard. You had been expecting Peggy, not this unknown man. Peggy was the only one who ever called.
"Pardon?" you asked. "See who? Who are you?"
"I am but one part of a greater power. A single head out of many, if you will, but that is not important at this time. First, you tell me this, do you want to see them again?"
"Who? Who are you talking about?" you demanded, wanting to hang up, but too desperate to put the phone down.
"Your husband and the super soldier," the voice answered. Your eyes widened and you stumbled back. No...no, it wasn't possible. They were dead! No!
"W-who are you? How can you...they're dead! That's impossible!"
Oh, darling my hearts on fire
"It's not," he said and you could almost see him smiling, but just the thought made you sick to your stomach. A vile, wicked smile. "All you have to do is what I ask and I'll make it so. You'll see them again, but only if you do what I ask."
"How can I trust you? I don't even know who you are."
"You can't, but that makes this all the more fun, Mrs. Barnes. So, answer me quickly or I will hang up and never call back. You must agree now for time is short."
Your hands trembled. You could feel the sweat on your forehead and when you swallowed, it felt like there was cotton in your throat. What was this? Some kind of madman? Only a fool would even entertain the notion of saying yes! He was mad! A crazy man, surely, but what did you have to lose? At the very least, you'd just be disappointed if you did say yes and it was just a cruel joke, but if you said no...and it was a real...You straightened and lifted your chin, steadying yourself before answering.
"Tell me what to do."