Status: after a unintentional lengthy hiatus, I'm back into this !

Lay Me Down

break even

She had been sitting at the desk for days. Possibly weeks. Peggy and Howard checked in on her periodically. Making sure she had water and something to eat. But Katherine’s mind was swimming. She attempted to fill her mind with the research and notes Stark had given her, and for the first few days, it had worked. However, the longer Bucky and Steve were gone, the more her mind raced and the more she worried; as she sat at her desk, she was unable to stop herself thinking of what could be happening to her friend and the man who had taken her heart with him. Captured. Tortured. Killed. Each option more devastating than the next.

Peggy would only tell her that she shouldn’t think that way. Stark would tell her that caring was for poor people, or something equally as pretentious; he would tell her she only had one more night to finish briefing herself on the stack of folders he had given her weeks ago.

Clutching a mug of tea in both hands, Katherine closed her eyes. Count to ten, she told herself, let yourself think of him to the count of ten. She let out a breath. Then focus.


She thought of the first time she saw him. Dressed in his military best, whiskey in hand. How he smiled when he shook her hand.


She remembered the way his hand fit the small of her back the first time they danced. The butterflies she felt in her stomach when he called her beautiful.


She remembered waking up next to him in the hotel room. One arm tucked under his head, the other wrapped firmly around her waist. Instead of disturbing him, she nestled in closer reveling in the feeling of being so close to another person.


She thought of the night she said goodbye to him. How he had kissed her intensely, and held her close to him. As though he was so afraid of letting her go.


Her fingertips toyed with the ring hanging around her neck. She thought of Bucky and Steve and the other men who followed the Captain with no question. She hoped that they were safe and taking care of each other.


More than anything she hoped Bucky was careful.


A voice that she had been waiting weeks to hear broke through her thoughts.


She looked up from the paper in front of her, an immediate look of relief on her face.


She pushed back her chair, rushing around her desk and wrapping her arms around her friend. “I’m so glad you’re okay.” Steve embraced her, pulling her close to him. “Stark and I are leaving tomorrow evening. I was so afraid you wouldn’t arrive before we left. That I would have to spend my entire time with Stark wondering about you and sneaking information.”

Katherine moved back to look at her friend, but Steve pulled her back, resting his face in her hair. “Steve,” she whispered. “Steve, talk to me. What’s wrong?” Katherine gripped the sides of the Captain’s t-shirt, the smile on her face falling.

“Kat, I’m so sorry.” His voice was quiet and hoarse. “I’m sorry.”

“What happened?”

“Kat, I lost him.”

Steve felt the body in his arms freeze as she processed his words. His hands moved to grip her upper arms.

“What happened?”

“He fell. From the train. It was -” Steve let out a sigh. “It was a long way down.”

The Captain’s instinct kicked in as Katherine’s knees buckled. He gripped her tightly to him, her hands knotted in the front of his shirt.

“Kat,” Steve whispered, pressing his lips to the top of her head. “Kat, I’m so sorry. I failed him. And you.”

Katherine raised her head from her friend’s chest. Her green eyes watered with unshed tears. “You can’t think that. This life we’ve chosen… accidents happen, things don’t work out the way we’d hope.” She wrapped her arms around her friend’s waist. “We lose people.”

Steve watched his friend quietly for a moment. Her tight shoulders and watery eyes. The way she refused to look him in the eye for longer than a few seconds.

“You should go,” she finally said. “I’m not ready for tomorrow morning. I need to be ready.”


“Not now, Captain.” Katherine returned to her desk, hoping the man would take the hint and leave. “Please not now.”