Steve/Sakura - Shinobi Themes Challenge #38: Sing Me a Song: Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi

I somehow got inspired and wrote this fic in three days. The idea just wouldn't leave my mind as I've been obsessing over this song. I was also planning on splitting this up into two parts but I just couldn't seem to stop so here it is, my longest chapter so far.

Set during Captain America: The First Avenger


Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Sakura somehow forced her feet to ascend the stairs and walked out to the podium. She passed the large black and white picture surrounded by fresh flowers and averted her eyes in favor of looking out into the large crowd that had gathered.

It was a sea of terse male faces, all in full uniform. The President and Vice President sat beside their wives. Military officers sat with their heads high though no one seemed particularly attentive at her taking the stage.

She gripped the sides of the podium to keep her hands from shaking and inhaled another calming breath.

As she met the eyes of the Howling Commandos seated at the front, she gave them a small smile, the familiar sting gathering behind her eyes as she read the sorrow in their features.

"My name is Sakura. As many of you know, I worked with Doctor Erskine on Project Rebirth." Sakura began, her voice strained but strong. "Colonel Philips asked me to say a few words as I was the last person..." Her voice trailed off quietly as she prayed people in the audience assumed it was her nerves.

She cleared her throat and continued her speech from a different place.

"Colonel Phillips liked the quote, 'wars are fought with weapons but they are won by men and we have the best men.' We still have the best men but now, we find ourselves a man down." Her knuckles turned white on the wood.

"We can only guess how many people were saved and how many years of war were avoided from his sacrifice. C-Captain Rogers was the only one Dr. Erskine believed in and we all found out what the doctor saw in him. A man with a strong will, with the highest moral convictions of anyone I'd ever known. Captain Rogers has sacrificed his body, life and soul to this country and has inspired millions not only in America but around the globe to stand up and fight against Adolf Hitler and Hydra. Captain Rogers was a good man before he ever became a great soldier."

She looked out into the crowd. "I hope his memory continues in the lives he's saved, the soldier he's befriended, and the millions he has inspired. His-" Sakura exhaled a shaking breath.

"His last words to me were that his actions were his choice. He hadn't been ordered to go after Schmidt. He hadn't been ordered to drive the plane down to save the city. He knew as soon as he took the controls and realized the location had been set that he had a choice."

She thought back to the beginning of this blood soaked war and the events that led her to where she was.

"There's a beautiful word I learned while I worked as a nurse on Pearl Harbor. Hawaiians call it 'Kokua', it has no direct meaning in English but it's the idea of selfishness, responsibility, doing something for others not because of personal gain, or gratitude, or recognition. But out of kindness. A desire to help another person because it is the right thing to do."

"Captain Rogers personified that word. He stood for everything that meant. That plane could have gone down without anyone knowing he was on it and he would have made the same decision."

"Even before the serum, before being known as Captain America. Captain Rogers was a man willing to sacrifice himself for others."

She lost herself to the memory.

"In front of 30 training soldiers, in front of Colonel Phillips, Dr. Erskine and myself, St-Captain Rogers threw himself on what he believed to be a live grenade. And after the success of the serum, he hadn't changed. I...I am forever grateful for his service...and his sacrifice for this great country and we remember him now, as a hero. One not defined by the strength or success of Project Rebirth but by the willingness to sacrifice himself for the safety and wellbeing of others. A true American icon and the face of this war effort."

"Thank you." Sakura pried her hands off of the podium, her fingers numb from the strain she had put on them. With her head ducked down, hot tears tracked her cheeks as she rushed off to the sound of applause.

Safe from the eyes of the crowd, Sakura shook away the funeral coordinators, Howard Stark, and Colonel Philips. Excusing herself to the ladies room, Sakura hurried past the concerned and sympathetic faces. She nearly fell to the floor as the tears blinded her but Sakura refused to curl up and turn into a mess in public.

God. Her lungs felt so heavy. Her chest felt too tight. She took in a shuddering breath and let out the sobs she had held back. The pitiful sound of her grief stricken heart echoed in the bathroom but she couldn't bring herself to care.

He was gone.

It had been three weeks since the plane went down. Any effort to locate him ended in failure. The vigil they had and the hope of finding him had dwindled to the point a funeral had been necessary to move on from his absence and provide some semblance of closure.

There was still a war going on.

They couldn't waste their time on a single soldier who was most likely dead.

Not when they'd found the source of Hydra's weapons in the ocean floor.

But that didn't keep her from missing him. She missed his sass, his smile, his ability to instill confidence.

They were all pleading with her to continue the project, to create another super soldier. But she hadn't been able to find another person who could take Steve's place.

Dr. Erskine wouldn't have approved of anyone. So Sakura had lied and had said the formula had been lost with Erskine's death. Any hopes of recreating the program was in the blood samples she took. Even if she were somehow able to reproduce the serum, she couldn't let it simply fall into the military's hands.

Wiping the tears away with her fingers, Sakura pushed herself away from the door and made her way to the sink to wash her face and dab her eyes with cold water to prevent them from swelling.


I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to save me
This all or nothing really got a way of driving me crazy
I need somebody to heal
Somebody to know
Somebody to have
Somebody to hold
It's easy to say
But it's never the same
I guess I kinda liked the way you numbed all the pain


Sakura looked at the file Dr. Erskine handed her, eyes scanning the long list of health issues the patient had.

Asthma

Scarlet fever

Rheumatic fever

High blood pressure?

Easy fatiguability?

Heart trouble?

She looked back at Dr. Erskine with concern as she checked the soldier's name again.

"You really want to put your life's work and the entire project on the line for Steve Rogers?"

Erskine smiled at her, full of confidence and a bit of pride that Sakura couldn't fathom. Apparently Rogers had made an extremely good first impression in New York.

"You'll understand when you meet him."

Dubiously, she returned the file to him and gathered her things to meet the new recruits and prepare them for their debriefing while Erskine exited the tent to meet with Colonel Philips first.

With a deep breath, Sakura asked one of the men standing guard to grab the crate of clipboards and led the way. The men around here didn't particularly like taking orders from a woman but being Dr. Erskine's assistant had gotten her the rank of lieutenant and an official position in the Strategic Scientific Research division.

The row of newly brought in soldiers stuck out like a sore thumb, disorganized, slouching, and there were more than a few talking about their girlfriends. Sakura liked to think half of them had their helmets on backwards. They all barely just arrived to begin training and all they could think about was the skirts they chased back home.

So innocent of them.

Statistically more than a quarter of them wouldn't even make it back. She shook those thoughts from her mind. The project would work. They'd all make it. She was going to make sure of it.

If she were to bet her job on it, she guessed Rogers was the short one, dwarfed by the two soldiers on either side by at least half a foot. The difference in stature was heightened by the uniform which seemed to barely fit his tiny frame.

"Recruits, attention!"

The reaction was immediate even when she approached them from behind.

So they weren't completely useless.

"I am First Lieutenant Haruno, Dr. Erskine's assistant, and your nurse for this Project."

As she walked in front of the soldiers in her nurse's uniform, she expected them not to take her seriously.

"Any questions you have regarding Project Rebirth, your training, or concerns regarding your placement in this program come to me. Thompson is handing out your consent and waiver forms. Read them thoroughly, sign them and return them to the medical tent by 0600 tomorrow," Sakura instructed.

"Haruno. Is that a Jap name?" Ignoring the butchering of her name and the derogatory term he used, Sakura walked the few steps towards the soldier who spoke up and stopped in front of him. "I didn't know pink hair was standard issue in the U.S. Army." He added once he saw her distinctive hair color.

"What's your name, soldier?"

"Gilmore Hodge," he answered with a smirk.

"Step forward Hodge."

He did as instructed.

"Put your right arm out in front of you," with an confused look, he followed her orders.

"Are you going to give me a physical, nurse Haruno? I have an ache you can help me with," he winked suggestively.

Sakura barely refrained from rolling her eyes. Grabbing his arm and spinning around, Sakura threw him over her shoulder and into the dirt in front of the other soldiers.

He had at least a hundred pounds on her. The sound of his surprised gasp and the air abruptly leaving his lungs as his back met the ground with a thud proved her point well.

She wasn't someone they could push around or mess with.

Straightening up, Sakura pulled her jacket down, tidying up her appearance before addressing the line once again while Hodge fought to get air in his lungs.

"I will be addressed as Lieutenant, or Lieutenant Haruno. If my Japanese ancestry, or my hair offends anyone, they can be discharged from this program."

There were a few gulps.

Standing straighter, the men lifted their heads and yelled, "yes ma'am."

"Lieutenant Haruno."

Spinning around immediately, Sakura went into a salute.

"Colonel Philips."

"I can see that you are breaking in the candidates. That's good!"

Dr. Erskine exited the vehicle behind the Colonel and shot her a disapproving look that Sakura chose to ignore.

"Get your ass up out of that dirt and stand in that line at attention till somebody comes tells you what to do." Philips ordered Hodge.

There was a telltale wheeze in the man's breathing which told Sakura he was still struggling to get his lungs to work correctly but Hodge jumped to his feet and stood back in line.

"Yes, sir!"


Sakura had met with the recruits one at a time to record a baseline of their physique and physical abilities. As expected, Steve came in dead last in every metric. Still, he had been the one Dr. Erskine chose and Sakura couldn't say she disapproved. These past few weeks, Steve showed a tremendous amount of discipline and dedication.

There wasn't much room in the small medical tent she called her office but it gave them a level of privacy difficult to find on an army base during war time.

"No food or liquids from now until the operation tomorrow. Do you have any questions?"

"Hundreds." His nervous smile caused the corners of her lips to quirk upwards as well.

"Any you feel I should know?" Sakura asked as she handed him his shirt back and made the last notes on his file for tomorrow.

"No ma'am."

She placed her clipboard down on the table and watched as he slipped his shirt over his head. In the silence, Sakura couldn't help but question his reason for being there.

"Could I ask you a personal question?"

He seemed to sense that the question wasn't just for the program and was a bit taken aback but nodded nonetheless.

"You're a good looking young man. With all these men going to war, you could have a normal life, a normal job. Why are you trying so hard to be a soldier?"

"I got no right to be doing anything less than these men willing to lay down their lives."

The answer surprised her enough that Sakura was a bit charmed. She'd seen first hand just how much he took that to heart.

With a small chuckle Sakura finally allowed herself to smile.

"That's how I felt too." He answered her honestly and she felt she knew him well enough to tell him. "I was there, on Pearl Harbor two years ago. I...I always wanted to be a doctor. So I understand what that's like. Having every door shut in your face." She didn't have to explain how the only position for a woman was to be a nurse and that being on an army base was the closest a nurse could get to real surgery.

His frown worried her for a moment and the sudden hurt was unexpected. The hurt gave way to irritation in a second. She didn't allow herself to be vulnerable often in this male dominated place. She thought he was different from all the chauvin-

"I guess I don't know why you'd want to join the army if you were a beautiful dame. A-a beautiful woman. A doctor, not a dame. You are beautiful. But -" His flustered rambling took away her anger and fear instantly.

He wasn't judging her. He wasn't looking down at her.

"You have no idea how to talk to a woman, do you?" Sakura asked, cutting him off before he strained himself.

"I think this is the longest conversation I've had with one." He laughed at himself, looking down at his hands.

"Women aren't exactly lining up to dance with a guy they might step on."

"You must have danced."

"Well, asking a woman to dance always seemed so terrifying. And the past few years, it just didn't seem to matter that much. I figured I'd wait."

"For what?"

"The right partner."

Her smile widened.

Yes, Dr. Erskine found the perfect candidate.

"Well, you should get some rest. Big day tomorrow." She said as she dismissed him. She started busying herself with cleaning up all her tools. Steve got up from the small folding chair and Sakura heard his boots crunch down on the hard gravel as he made his way to the tent flaps.

"Lieutenant?"

She looked up in question.

"Why me?"

"Dr. Erskine can answer that question best. Just know that I agree with his decision to choose you. Have a good evening, Steve."

It had been the first time she'd called a soldier by their first name. But after their conversation, she figured he deserved a bit of reassurance.


Now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved


When Steve stumbled out of the vita ray infusion machine Sakura rushed over to help him get his bearings. Held up by Dr. Erskine and Howard Stark on either side, Steve was breathing heavily as he slowly supported his own weight.

"How do you feel?" Sakura asked as she handed him a shirt. The act gave her deja vu.

"Taller."

"You look taller." Sakura remarked.

Officials were shaking hands and morale was high when an explosion went off in the second floor observation room. Glass rained down on them as everyone instinctively crouched down. Steve had immediately grabbed her arm and shielded her from the shards with his own body. But it was unnecessary.

Pushing past him, Sakura attempted to get to the serum but it was already gone.

"Stop him!" Her eyes went to Dr. Erskine and saw the thief raise his arm to shoot.

Sakura leapt to push him down just as the shots were fired. Pain erupted on her arm as one of the shots grazed her but she managed to get Erskine to the ground. She got up to a kneeling position to check on him but she'd been too late.

Steve was right there with her as Sakura placed her hands over the wounds on Erskine's chest, hoping to stem the blood loss until they could get him to a hospital.

The doctor raised his hand, unable to speak and pointed to Steve's heart in silent communication.

"Dr. Erskine, don't close your eyes. Abraham! Come on, stay with me." Sakura pleaded as she brought a bloody hand to his throat to check for a pulse.

He was gone.

Steve turned to her, bringing a concerned hand to the blood seeping through her beige uniform from her own wound.

"I'm fine. Get the serum." Sakura ordered instead as she hid her trembling fingers by clenching them tightly. The wound on her arm throbbed but Sakura ignored it.

Sakura watched him go before ordering someone to get her a roll of bandages for her arm.

That night Sakura found herself in Erskine's barrack, looking for anything the doctor may have left behind for another serum at Colonel Phillips' behest. She had argued that the doctor wouldn't have anything written down. But after the success of today and Hydra closing in with spies in the government, they had to move quickly.

She had been looking in Erskine's desk drawer when she noticed a picture of them the first day the project had been green lit. They were having a toast, smiles wide and eyes full of excitement. It wasn't framed but Sakura knew he had treasured it based on its location at his work station.

It felt so long ago. Sakura carefully flipped it over, nostalgia filling her heart with bitter sweet sorrow.

On the back was the date along with a notation.

'Dr. Erskine and Nurse Haruno'

Nurse had been scratched out cleanly with one line of ink. Above it was the word 'Doctor' in Erskine's handwriting.

The knock on the door drew her from her thoughts and Sakura wiped the tears that had slipped through before answering the door.

"Steve."

"I saw the light was on," her shock at seeing him prompted him to explain. Sakura cleared her throat and sniffled before opening the door for him to enter.

"Yes. Um, I've been looking for any of Dr. Erskine's notes."

She gestured for him to take a seat on the bed as she took the only chair in the room.

"I'm sorry."

Sakura smiled, the sadness in her eyes apparent even though she knew they had to be glassy and a bit red.

"Thank you. He-he was like a father to me. He was the only one who believed in me."

She knew Steve felt the same way.

"Any hope of reproducing the program would be locked in your genetic code, they're going to want your blood samples," she informed.

Sakura cleared her throat. "But even with my help, it would take years to replicate. Maybe even decades. Assuming I'd even want to help them."

"Why wouldn't you?"

Sakura brushed her hair behind her ear.

"I trust his judgement," she admitted, "I wouldn't want to tarnish his life's work by making the wrong choices."

Steve sighed, looking around the sparsely furnished space. "He deserved more than this."

Getting up from her seat, she looked in one of the cabinets for Dr. Erskine's secret stash and returned with two cups and a bottle.

"He told me the two of you planned to drink this today." She said as she handed him both glasses so she could uncork the schnapps.

Filling the cups equally with what was left, she placed the empty bottle on the desk and took one of the cups.

"If the serum could work only once, he'd be proud it was you. He bet everything he had on you." Their glasses clinked as they made the toast in his name.

"To Erskine," Steve said before taking a healthy gulp.

Sakura took her seat again before taking a sip, opting to nurse her drink.

"What happens to the division now?" Steve asked, looking at his glass. He was resting his arms on his knees. His sudden height and change in build was taking her a while to get used to. She was as surprised as everyone else at just how successful the serum had been.

Sakura bit her lip, considering the possible outcomes.

"That's up to the Colonel. But without Dr. Erskine, the project will most likely be scrapped."

Sakura felt her heart ache when she saw how his frown deepened.

"I can't just sit around in a lab so I'll most likely ask to be re-assigned to a different unit."

His eyes caught hers in surprise and there seemed to be something on his mind but Steve composed himself and nodded.

"How is your wound?" She asked, taking another sip before resting it on the arm of the chair. Sakura walked over and motioned for him to lift his shirt.

"I should be asking you that," Steve joked as he sat up straighter and revealed unmarked skin. A bullet had grazed him between ribs seven and eight when he ran after the spy.

Sakura brushed her fingers over where she had treated him. He'd taken off the gauze. If anyone else had done so, Sakura would have reprimanded them but there wasn't even any indication he'd been hurt.

The gooseflesh that broke out over his skin didn't go unnoticed and Sakura realized their intimate proximity. Before she could retreat to her seat, his hand came up to her covered arm and the slight bulge the bandages left under her uniform. He didn't quite touch her, his hand simply hovering over her, as if afraid to hurt her.

"Unfortunately, I don't have super soldier healing so it'll leave a scar. But I'll live." Her voice trailed off, becoming softer and Sakura would have liked to blame it on the schnapps.

When his clear blue eyes shifted from her arm to meet her eyes, her breath caught in her throat.

He either heard or noticed her stop breathing because his eyes fell to her slightly parted lips.

Dangerous

Heat rising to her cheeks, her green eyes fell to his lips, wondering what it would be like.

Sakura turned away from Steve before she acted on impulse. She couldn't just jump him as soon as he gained a bit of muscle. Even if she had found him attractive before the serum, what sort of message would it send. Plus, he was practically her patient.

"I-I have to get back to work." Her back to him, Sakura lifted the cup from the chair and set it down more securely on the desk, just to have something to do with her hands.

"Of course, I'm sorry to have bothered you." He finished his drink and set it down next to the empty bottle. Sakura nodded, refusing to meet his eyes or raise her face lest he see how much she was blushing.

"Have a good evening, soldier," returning to Erskine's drawers, Sakura made it a point to give him her back as he exited the barracks.

It was the grief, she rationalized. She wasn't being herself.


I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to turn to
This all or nothing way of loving got me sleeping without you
Now, I need somebody to know
Somebody to heal
Somebody to have
Just to know how it feels
It's easy to say but it's never the same
I guess I kinda liked the way you helped me escape


They had a brief farewell when Sakura was re-assigned closer to the war effort.

She'd kept tabs on "Captain America" and his ridiculous tour across the country with disdain. Eventually, it had gotten to be too much for her. Not because she believed he was capable of doing more. She had known that from the beginning.

It had been because she was jealous. He probably had dance partners lining up for him now. All across America, women threw themselves at him and Sakura couldn't bear to see it. She had enough on her plate as it was.

The number of wounded and dead were piling up and Sakura barely had the strength to keep her medics and nurses on track. When it was announced the chorus girls and Captain America were going to put on a show for the remaining men, Sakura knew what that meant.

It was a ploy to boost morale. With her hands full in the medical tent, Sakura hadn't been able to see the show but she heard the rumors of how badly it had gone.

When the girls came over to visit the wounded soldiers unable to leave the tents, Sakura took the brief respite to find him.

Washing her hands in a basin by the front and wiping her hands on a towel to get most of the blood off, Sakura found him under the red, white and blue canopy. His back was toward her and he was in a normal army uniform but she recognized him immediately.

Slugging through the mud and heavy rain, Sakura came up behind him and saw he was sketching something.

"Hello Steve."

She must have looked like a mess but he still smiled when he saw her.

"Hi. I didn't know this was where you were stationed."

"How are you doing?" Sakura asked as she took a seat next to him on a nearby crate. "I understand you're 'America's new hope.'"

He laughed derisively.

"Well, bond sales take a 10% bump in every state I visit."

"And that's what you want to be doing with your time?"

"At least I'm doing something. Philips would have had me stuck in a lab."

"My mother used to tell me that when the doors are locked, you find a window to get in. Wasn't that what we did?" Sakura asked, referring to their earlier conversation.

She smirked, "with your strength, you could just break the door down."

Steve genuinely chuckled for the first time, closing the notebook.

"Could I see that?" She asked, in curiosity.

Sakura had never been good at drawing and from the small peek she had gotten, she knew he was quire good.

"I just-I doodle when I'm bored or on the move," he explained as he handed it to her.

She flipped through the pages slowly. Some were of monuments and architecture, others of small flights of fantasy or cartoons like Dumbo.

When she got to the page he had been working on, she smiled at the monkey on a unicycle. Sakura had been about to close it when she noticed a page towards the back of the booklet was different than the others, like it had been opened to the page multiple times.

She skipped ahead and froze. Steve had moved to take it from her but she'd already seen her likeness. While the other sketches had been small doodles in comparison, this one had taken up a whole page.

"I-uh. It's just something I worked on when you told me you wanted to be a doctor," he explained quickly.

It was her from the waist up in a white coat, no nurse's hat, with a delicate smile. Even on just pencil and paper, Steve had managed to capture her essence. Sakura looked up to meet his panicked eyes and couldn't help but smile.

Her eyes soft, whatever Steve had been about to say died on his lips as he turned to her.

"Sakura, I-"

The sound of her medics yelling drew her attention and they both watched as a car pulled up with a new patient in tow.

"They look like they've been through Hell."

Sakura nodded, as she closed the notebook.

"Your audience contained what was left of the 107th."

He perked up immediately and asked for confirmation.

"The 107th?"

"Yes, Schmidt sent out a force to Azzano. 200 men went up against him, less than 50 returned. The rest were killed or captured." His look of horror was one Sakura was well aware of in her line.

"Do you know someone in the 107th?"

"Sergeant James Barnes. Do you know him? Do you know if he came back?"

Her saddened eyes were answer enough. She was familiar with the name and knew he hadn't come back.

"I'm sorry, Steve. I haven't treated anyone by that name." Steve jumped to his feet so quickly, it alarmed her.

"I need to see Colonel Philips." She'd been about to go with him when a medic rushed through the rain for her. Indecision weighed on her for a moment.

With a terse smile, Sakura handed the notebook back to him and placed a hand on his forearm. Giving him a soft squeeze, Sakura turned and followed the other medic while Steve headed out in the opposite direction.


Now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved


With her fingers on the other side of his face to keep him steady, Sakura dabbed at the cut on his cheek with care although the sting of the antiseptic didn't seem to bother him in the slightest.

He was seated on a small folding chair in her personal tent, allowing her to get access to his wound without tip toeing. Even so, his much taller height still brought him a few inches taller than her. Her eyes were focused on her task even though all she wanted to do was to run her fingers through his short blond hair.

It wasn't the first time she tended to his wounds and a part of her felt like a weakling for fussing over him when the serum would heal everything in a few hours. But it was one of the few times she had him to herself.

Selfishly, she wanted to feel needed by him. And she wanted to make sure he was alright, that there weren't any unforeseen side effects or injuries. Thanks to his actions and the actions of the team he brought together, they had Hydra on the ropes. For the first time since the war began, hope bloomed in her chest that it would be over soon.

Dirt and dried sweat dotted his cheeks and uniform which also sported a few blood stains but there were no other injuries for her to take care of except for a few bruises. She dropped the cotton ball into a waste basket and smiled at him.

His eyes followed her movements, the heat behind them unmistakable. It brought a flush to her cheeks.

"All done." She said professionally as she handed him his helmet.

When he didn't immediately take the mask, she looked at him in confusion.

Was he still injured somewhere? Had she missed something? Maybe a concussion. Internal bleeding?

"Sakura," His voice was soft. So tender with yearning that she held her breath for a moment. One hand gently pulled her closer by her wrist while the other took his helmet and tossed it aside.

She looked to where it landed and felt his hand trail down to her fingers, lacing his with hers. Sakura wondered if he felt her erratic pulse.

"Don't look at me like that." She said, heat rising to her cheeks as she was captivated by his gaze.

There was a split second of adorable confusion on his features.

"You started it," Steve teased a bit childishly as he slowly brought his other hand up to her nape.

Sakura's blush deepened at the reminder that before he left for this last mission, she had kissed him on the cheek for good luck.

"I'm going to kiss you, now," he said in warning, as if he were calming a skittish animal even though he had already trapped her. The confidence of the statement also threw her but she also figured that was from his status as Captain and from finally being comfortable in his new body.

He didn't need to announce it. She closed the distance herself, spearing her fingers in his short hair to pull him towards her.

Sakura felt the smile against her lips before he returned the kiss, making it more urgent. He released her hand and slid it to the small of her back, bringing her even closer until her chest pressed against the hard padding of his uniform. If it weren't for her skirt, she would have been straddling him. Any thought of propriety or modesty thrown away.

The kiss turned into another and then another, until Sakura breathlessly broke away to get some much needed air. He pressed his forehead to hers and smiled, eyes still half lidded as he watched her attempt to form a sentence. A small part of her was thrilled he was breathing a bit more heavily as well. His warm breaths fanned over her heated skin and Sakura wetted her lips.

"That was..." Sakura tried to find a fitting descriptor and failed.

"long over due."

She kissed him again, wanting to make up for lost time. When they parted, Sakura took a step back, realizing that anyone could open her tent and find them. The hand on her back prevented her from going far.

Sakura brought both hands up to his face to wipe away some of the grime and wasn't surprised to see the cut she had been tending to earlier had healed. Steve leaned into her touch, closing his eyes. When she brushed his cheeks with her thumb, the hold on her waist tightened and an answering heat bloomed in her belly.

"When this is all over, I'd like to take you dancing." His words were soft, holding so much more meaning for them.

"I'd like that."

At her acceptance, Steve kissed her again, this time slipping his tongue tentatively past her lips. Her short gasp of surprise only aided him in his exploration of her mouth. Sakura relaxed in his arms, content to have these stolen moments in between the harsh realities of the war.


And I tend to close my eyes when it hurts sometimes
I fall into your arms
I'll be safe in your sound till I come back around


"Come in. This is Captain Rogers. Do you read me?" Relief flooded her and Sakura rushed to the mic to answer.

"Steve? Are you alright? What is your location?"

"Sakura, Schmidt's dead."

"Are you alright?" She asked again.

There was no answer and dread filled her heart.

Maybe the connection was lost, she told herself. But there had been no static. He was still on the line.

"G-give us your location. I'll find you a safe landing site a-and we'll come get you," she pleaded.

"Sakura. I'm sorry."

"What?"

"There's not gonna be a safe landing. But I can try and force it down."

"No! I'll get Howard on the line. He'll know what to do." She was ready to call for Colonel Philips but Steve interjected.

"There's not enough time. This thing's moving too fast and it's heading for New York." Sakura bit her lip, wanting so much to take his place.

Would the serum be enough to save him from a plane crash?

"I got to put her in the water. Right now I'm in the middle of nowhere. If I wait any longer, a lot of people are going to die."

She knew that. Her heart thundering in her chest, Sakura brought a trembling hand to the mic.

"Sakura...this is my choice."

She closed her eyes in resignation. If there was a god she believed in, Sakura would have prayed.

"I-I know. Steve? Talk to me," she asked, wanting to take his mind off things.

"I'm gonna need a rain check on that dance."

"A week, next Saturday. Stork Club, I-I love...the band there." She finished lamely as pain in her chest seemed to radiate outwards to her extremities.

There was a pause and Sakura feared he was already gone.

"You got it."

"8 o'clock. Don't you dare be late," she warned with no heat to the words.

"You know, I still don't know how to dance," he admitted, voice sounding strained.

"I'll teach you," Sakura reassured. Even to her own ears, it sounded pathetic. She blinked, willing the tears back, trying to be strong in these last moments.

"We'll have the band play something slow. I'd hate to step on y-"

"Steve?" Sakura's voice was tinged with desperation.

"Steve? Please. Steve?"

Met with only static, Sakura covered her mouth to muffle her sobs as her tears fell.


For now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved


As promised, Sakura walked into the Stork Club five minutes before 8. The place was lively, couples were dancing and people were milling around at the bar and the tables surrounding the dance floor.

Sakura silently made her way to an empty table and scanned the crowd for him even though she knew he wouldn't be there.

Taking a seat facing the door, Sakura flagged over a waitress for a drink and checked her watch.

He wouldn't be coming but Sakura needed to be there.

She needed to make sure.

Because this last sliver of hope was the only thing that kept her going.


Standing in front of the mirror, Sakura tried to put on a brave face. White coat, new stethoscope, her hair in a conservative braid to keep it out of the way, Sakura only needed her badge and she would be ready.

Her office was tiny and her practice was even smaller but she was a doctor. Her dream had been fulfilled.

Grabbing the silver chain hanging from the coat rack, Sakura draped it over her neck and turned the badge so her face would show. Taking one last look at herself in the mirror, Sakura turned to the framed picture of Steve on her bookstand next to the one with her and Dr. Erskine.

There was a knock on the door as Agent Murray poked his head in.

"Doctor Haruno, they're ready for you," he said.

Sakura nodded and turned off the lights before following him to the conference room.


But now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved


He woke on a hard cot, the stiffness of the sheets and the mat was something he'd experienced a thousand times. Steve was next aware of the sounds of the radio close to him. The announcer was describing a Dodgers game.

Still not unusual but the rest of the space was quiet so he didn't pay much attention to the announcer. If he had been in a barrack or at a hospital, Steve figured he'd be hearing a lot more bustling and ruckus.

Getting up slowly, he checked for injuries and found himself wearing a white SSR shirt and beige slacks.

Nothing hurt.

Everything worked fine.

The last thing he remembered was being on the plane.

Sakura.

Their dance! He had to find her, let her know he was okay. Finally tell her he loved her. God, he had so much to apologize for. She'd probably kill him for worrying her and for doing something so insanely stupid. Even if he had saved all of New York with his sacrifice, he could see Sakura beating him into the dirt. He only hoped he wasn't late to their date.

But his urgent need to talk to Sakura was overridden by the uneasiness he felt in the back of his mind, telling him that something was amiss. The announcer's voice sounded too familiar, not just the tone or cadence but the words. Like he was experiencing deja vu.

Just as he was about to get up and investigate, the door opened. It hadn't been locked and the window to his room was open. At least he wasn't in a cell.

"Good morning." The woman who walked in was in professional wear. As she checked her watch, he noted things about her that just didn't add up. Her hair was too long not to be tied back in some way and her curls were too tight. Her skirt, though the appropriate length was just too form fitting to be acceptable in the army.

"Or should I say, afternoon." As Steve took in her appearance in greater detail, he also noticed her tie was too wide and she had failed to tuck it into her shirt.

"Where am I?" He asked.

The sense of dread increased a thousand fold at her answer.

"You're in a recovery room in New York City."

Sakura would have had a fit at the state of this woman's dress. The number of contaminates that this woman was carrying around with a loose tie? Sakura would have personally cut the thing off. If she wasn't a nurse, she wouldn't have been the first one to see him.

In fact, she hadn't been surprised to see him awake when she'd entered...Finally the announcer said something that clicked in his mind.

"Where am I really?"

"I'm afraid I don't understand."

"The game. It's from May 1941, I know because I was there."

Her eyes widened in surprise putting an end to the farce.

Steve stood up. "Now, I'm going to ask you again. Where am I."

He approached her in the hopes of intimidating her. His voice held no room for argument or lies.

"Captain Rogers-" She began, in a placating tone. But he'd had enough.

"Who are you?!" He demanded, raising his voice.

Steve's instinct told him to run, to get to a familiar place and figure out what was going on.

"All agents, code 13!" He heard the voice from the PA system as he barreled past people in black suits and ran out of the exit and onto the street. If he really was in New York, he just needed to get to Brooklyn.

Once on the street, he realized everything looked different, foreign. Even the cars looked wrong.

Just where was he? Still fearing he was being pursued, Steve continued to sprint barefoot through these unfamiliar streets.

Eventually he came to a large clearing as signs moved and lights flickered and changed everywhere.

Overwhelmed and surrounded by people in unfamiliar clothing and cars, Steve staggered to a stop.

Men in suits created a parameter as a man stepped out of a black vehicle and approached him.

"At ease soldier."

"Look, I'm sorry about that little show back there, but we thought it best to break it to you slowly." Steve frowned, unsure if they were enemies or allies. They hadn't tried to shoot him which was a good sign.

"Break what?" He asked, confusion and anger making his words more clipped and stern.

"You've been asleep, Cap."

Steve waited for the other shoe to drop.

"For almost 70 years."

Steve looked around at the flashing lights, disbelieving that those words could be true but faced with things that shouldn't be possible. He turned back to where he had come from, the truth of this man's words finally sinking in.

"You gonna be okay?"

The question sounded like it was coming from miles away as Steve's thoughts and a myriad of emotions overwhelmed him.

But they all went back to one person.

"Yeah. Yeah, I just...I had a date."


I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved