A/N: Apparently Steve is enthusiastically punching down my Great Wall of Writer's Block, a feat which neither Sherlock's Fall nor the entire first season of Downton Abbey could accomplish (although I'm fairly sure the 2nd season of DA will be more helpful in that regard, because World War I angst). So...yay patriotism, I guess? Seriously, three stories in twho days? What sorcery is this? But this one feels like it's going to be my last story for awhile, so it's okay.
Of course the Doctor had to get it on it too. The italicized paragraphs are the Doctor's (except for the song lyrics); the non-italicized are Steve's. Hopefully it's not confusing.
The song is "We'll Meet Again" by Vera Lynn.
Some Sunny Day
He arrives at the Stork Bar seven minutes before 8 o'clock. She's already there, wearing that red dress and she's seemingly completely unaware of the way the men at the bar are eying her. She sees him as soon as he walks in; she's obviously been staring at the doorway, waiting for him to appear, and now he feels a mixture of guilt and pride. Guilt because she thought he wouldn't show, she thought he'd crashed in that plane- and pride, because she's his dame and he's her man and they are going dancing tonight.
Her dark eyes widen when she sees him, and he swears his heart nearly stops for joy. He wants to run across the smoky room, sweep her up in his arms, and just feel her presence, because it's been seventy years since he last saw her. He feels himself shaking and he tucks his hands into his pockets to-
-hide the tremors. She can't know that anything's wrong. He leans against the TARDIS's doorframe, almost knocking his top hat off, and by the time he's gathered his wits about him she has appeared, resplendent in a metallic grey gown that hugs her body, her magnificent curls flowing freely down her back. She grins at his speechlessness. As she approaches he holds out the crook of his arm and she loops her arm through his. "You look lovely," he says, softly. She smiles back, brushes his freshly-cut hair out of his eyes. "So do you."
Darillium's Singing Towers pierce the multicolored evening sky, the slow ringing of their song echoing throughout the valley. It's a beautiful sound, a bit haunting and a bit mysterious and just the tiniest bit sad. Or maybe he's reading too much into it. Suddenly he whirls toward her, pulling her close- he needs her close right now- and he says "Let's dance." Nobody else on the path is dancing but she simply says "Okay" then their hands are laced together and he's trying not to step-
-on her feet, not that he's having much success with that. She hides a wince as he trods on her toe. "Sorry," he says, for the fourth time this evening. "It's alright." She leans her head against his chest and without thinking he presses a kiss to the top of her head. He's glad their first song is a slow one, partly because he doesn't know the Lindy Hop or the Charleston or anything like that, and partly because he gets to hold her like this. He thinks she picked a slow song on purpose, smart girl that she is.
"Steve?" Her voice vibrates gently across his chest. "When I lost contact with you earlier today...I thought you'd died. Why didn't you call me when you safe?"
The guilt is back. How can he tell her the truth without actually telling her? "There wasn't any time. I'm sorry."
She looks up at him, her eyes flashing momentarily. She swats his arm before she settles back against him. "Well, don't do it again. If you do, I might have to shoot you."
He smiles. "Okay." The song is ending; when they pull apart, she gazes up at him and frowns.
"Are you alright, Steve? You're-"
"-crying." She reaches up to brush her hand on his face. He blinks and touches his cheeks, trying to keep the surprise off of his face when he feels the wet tears. "Oh. Yes. Well..." He shifts his feet unsurely. "Nothing to worry about." He remembers that humans sometimes cry when they're happy. He manufactures a smile, takes her hand, and pulls her on the path toward the Towers, running just slow enough that there isn't any danger of her tripping over her heels. At the base of the first Tower he pivots to face her; before she can fully process this he is kissing her desperately. He pulls back for a breath, leans his forehead against hers, his hands framing her face, and he says "I'm happy. I'm crying because I'm happy."
It's not a total lie- he is happy that they get to spend this time together. What makes him unhappy is the knowledge of what comes after. It's their last night together, he's known it since their very first meeting, but he can't tell her. He'll never see her again because she's going to-
-die without him, she's going to live her life without him while he's frozen in an arctic desert, and when he wakes seventy years later she won't be there. Tonight is his reprieve, his one chance to temporarily rewrite time and live his dream. After tonight, he'll have to go back in time to earlier today and crash in Hydra's plane. He wishes he had something to give her to remember him by, something besides memories that will grow musty with age, so he unpins one of his medals from his dress uniform. "Peggy?" He's nervous again. "I know it's not much, but I'd like for you to have this." He holds out the medal but he's so nervous that he can't stop talking. "If you want it, I mean, you don't have to take it if you don't want to...I just thought..."
He falters. He's just about ready to apologize and take the medal back when she closes her hand over his, the medal pressing against their palms, and she says "I would like that, Steve. Very much." She takes it from him, turning it over-
-in her hands. She stares up at him. "I can't have this." This is not the way he envisioned this happening. "It's your sonic, sweetie." She looks up at him as if that's all the explanation he needs, and he wants to shake her, to tell her why she needs to keep it. He twirls on the spot, distressed, and finally halts, grabs her hand, and closes her slender fingers over the sonic screwdriver. "Please," he breathes. "Keep it. I have another one, I don't need this one." He hesitates. "I just want you to be safe."
Her blue eyes study him suspiciously, but after a moment she tucks the sonic into her purse. He just about sags with relief. "Come on, then," she murmurs, tugging him forward by this sleeve. He follows where she leads, down the meandering path that winds past the lamenting Towers, to the nearby lake which glossily reflects the Towers and the starry sky, and they sit on a mossy log, their shoes kicked off, her head against his shoulder. It's a perfect night, cool with only the slightest of breezes. He concentrates on cementing this moment in his memory, so that at any time during the long lonely years ahead he can take it out and hold it, turn it over in his head and examine the facets of it: the moonlit mirror of the lake, the leaves under his socked feet, the tickle of River's curls against his cheek.
It's over all too soon. They go back the way they came, brushing moss off their clothes and teasing each other as they always do. He takes her back to her place, and though she pulls suggestively on his jacket he refuses to stay the night. He doesn't think he could handle that right now; he's barely holding himself together as it is. If he's with her any longer the dam inside him will break and he'll tell her everything, he knows he will. "I love you," he whispers into her hair, brushing his lips against her cheek in a not-quite kiss. He's backs away, pulling the door-
-shut behind her, leaving him by himself in the night. He wraps his arms around himself- they feel strangely empty now- and simply stands for a moment. His lips are still tingling where she kissed him goodnight (and goodbye, though she doesn't know that). He walks slowly back to his barracks, taking time to savor the glint of the moonlight and the smell of the compound. He hums the song they danced to, some slow, wordless waltz, but his music is interrupted by another song. This one spills from the privates' barracks, the music staticky and unsteady, but the words stop him dead in his tracks. "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, but I know we'll meet again some sunny day. Keep smiling through, just like you always do, till the blue skies chase the dark clouds, far away..."
His throat feels like it's closing up, his eyes are burning, and he stumbles backward. He can't do this, he has to go back and tell her...
A deep, wheezing sound cuts off his frantic thoughts, and he realizes he's leaning against the mess hall, breathing heavily. The TARDIS materializes in front of him, then the door flings open and the Doctor pops his head out. The alien and the superhero stare at each other for a moment, taking in each other's red-rimmed eyes and tear-dampened cheeks, but the Doctor merely steps wordlessly aside as Steve trudges into the TARDIS.
They go back to earlier in the day, a couple hours before Steve is due to leave for his final mission. The Doctor pauses at the entrance of the TARDIS then smiles wearily at Steve. "Good luck," he says. Steve nods.
"Thank you. For everything."
Then the TARDIS is whooshing out of sight and Steve begins to prepare himself for the mission. As he hangs up his suit his hand brushes the place where the medal that he gave to Peggy was pinned. He wonders what will happen to it now. Maybe she'll still have it but won't remember how she got it, and maybe many years from now she'll look at it and think of shy, clumsy Steve Rogers who couldn't dance. He hopes that she does.
He puts on his Captain America outfit and picks up his shield. He is ready.
Seventy years later, Steve Rogers is alone in the Avengers' Mansion. He is still getting used to life in the 2000s, and while everyone else is out doing... whatever they do... he takes the opportunity to explore the Mansion. JARVIS occasionally scares him half to death by suddenly offering him advice (he doesn't think he will ever get truly used to the house having its own voice). Eventually he ends up in the media room, which is dominated by a gigantic flat-screen television. After picking up the remote and cautiously pressing a few promising-looking buttons, he gets the TV going and manages to start flipping through the channels. He's beginning to get very bored when he happens upon a documentary about D-Day and the end of World War II, and even though the documentary is nearing its end he watches avidly, drinking in all the details he can pick out of the grainy old black-and-white pictures.
It's the very end of the documentary that gets him, when the credits are rolling by far too fast to even consider reading. Music flips on to accompany the scrolling words, filling the room with a voice that he remembers from many years ago, from a night when a time-traveling man gave him the opportunity to share a dance with the love of his life.
"We'll meet again, don't know where don't know when. But we'll meet again, some sunny day."