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Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

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"There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain, goes on and on.
Empty chairs and empty tables,
now my friends are dead and
g o n e "

Steve Rogers walked into the bar that was now unrecognizable. He was shell shocked. Was it ironic? Perhaps, he was the symbol for America, after all. High and mighty. He certainly felt that way, it was his fault Bucky was dead and he knew it. This wouldn't of happened if he hadn't chose Bucky to come along this wouldn't of happened. Steve stumbled over to a table that laid on it's side. Suddenly, he felt as if he was puny and sick again, like the table weighed four tons. Once he lifted it up, he dragged a chair up to it and plopped in it. He felt... Well, he had no idea what he felt.
He felt numb.
Like the world shattered around him.
He hadn't felt this way since October 15th 1936. The day his mother passed away. He remembered that day as if it happened the day before. He remembered the smell of death that lingered in the air, it was something that he had never smelled before. He remembered how he didn't cry. He was in shock that she was really gone. He remembered how he felt like he was a terrible son because he felt like he took her love for granted, until she got sick. It suddenly occurred to him that he was alone. That is, until Bucky came storming into the drafty apartment he'd grown up in. It had been the two of them since then. And yeah, Steve gradually began to feel something towards his best friend that wasn't appropriate. But not once did he feel alone when he was around Bucky Barnes. He quickly glanced around desperately, praying Bucky would walk in with the other Commandos, making jaunty jokes as they searched for Steve. No one came, at least Bucky didn't.

Letting out a shaky sob, his baby blue eyes began to sting with tears that he didn't bother to hold in like he normally did. Sob after sob, he eventually put his face in his hands, and his elbows on the table, listening to his cries and shaky breaths of air echo through the crumbling structure. "Breathe." he heard in the voice that always brought a bubbling feeling to his chest, that brought a smile to his face. And it actually did. He got too damn excited, like a puppy when the owner got home. "Buck," Steve breathed as he lifted his head. "Bucky." he'd cry, just like he would back in Brooklyn if he'd have a nightmare on a hot June night and Bucky would come in. His cry would be of fear and relief, relief because he wouldn't be alone and freak himself out more. Bucky would sit next to him, his hand on his back and telling him to breathe so he wouldn't give himself an asthma attack and scaring both of them. "Breathe, Stevie." Steve heard Bucky's ghostly voice tell him, his voice sounded tired and horse, which brought a more human sense to it. Maybe that was why he told himself that this was real. Or he was in denial again and no one was there to put their hand on his back.

Steve did as he was told, tears slipped down his fair cheeks but he breathed in through his nose and out through his mouth, each time his breath grew heavier. "Y-You're alive!" he choked out in relief. "Yeah, Yeah I am." Bucky dismissed, but not too quickly, it was just enough to assure Steve. "Buck, I'm so sorry. I shouldn't of brought you, I-" he took a gasp of air. "I should of fell, not you." he murmured, blue locked with brown. "Steve." Bucky warned "It isn't your fault." he replied firmly. "But-" Steve tried. "It isn't." Bucky repeated firmly, that was how everyone of their little arguments.

Steve took a long stare at Bucky, taking his features in, though he looked like a completely different person from the last time he had seen him in Brooklyn. "Buck, I wanted to say that I love-" he said and reached out for his best friend, but before his very eyes he had vanished, disappearing into the air like thin, wavy line of grey-ish white cigarette smoke. Steve's eyes went as wide as saucers, a chill ran up his spine. "B-Bucky?" he managed to squeak out, standing up and searching the room frantically. "Bucky?!" he cried, his chest becoming tighter as the sobs escaped his throat. "No." he whispered hoarsely, leaning into the bar for support. He blinked the tears away and grabbed a glass bottle of what he would assume is gin. He had never really drank before, he hadn't had the desire to. He unscrewed the cap and began to take large gulps.

 

"Phantom faces at the windows.
Phantom shadows on the floor.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will meet no more"

He went through another bottle by the time Agent Peggy Carter appeared in the doorway. He didn't bother to look. He just stared at the bottle and glass that sat on the rickety table. By then, the ugly sobs had resided and it had turned to sniffling and a voice reminding him that his best friend and love of his life was dead, and that was on him. He wiped his red nose and sniffled again, hoping to find his firm stature in his seat, but his body didn't let him move.
"it wasn't your fault." Peggy told him, earning a bitter scoff from the blond. "Did you read the report? Then you would know that isn't true."

"Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more."