written（脚本） by Jeph Loeb
I remember the cold.
How cold the water in the North Atlantic was.
The explosion. Falling.
I should be dead.
I should be dead. So they told me. To this day it just seems...impossible. How the war had ended. How I supposedly died.
Basically, how everything and everyone I knew was gone.
Bucky...James...you hated when I called you that, if there's a chance you made it out too...or somehow...up there...you can hear me...
I just want to talk...about a time when things almost made sense to me...or more sense than now...
They say in war you shouldn't fire until you see the whites of their eyes. What's that white part called? It's not the iris. How close should that really be? Close enough to see him through your gunsight? To put a bullet into your enemy, to know that you're about to put an end to all he has and all he'll ever be?
I saw a lot of battle from 1941 to 1945. Saw a lot of good men die, some of them not much older than you. That's when it got really hard. That's when I started questioning things in my head. And in war you don't get to do that...
Why were you the one who had to die, Bucky?
Remember? It was just before Christmas, 1941, we went into North Africa. The orders came right from the top. We'd be working with Sgt. Fury himself and his Howling Commandos...
Fury was pinned down. Our job was to get him and anyone with him out alive. Not that I expected anybody to be grateful. I wanted to smile. I couldn't deny that our timing had gotten better. That you'd gotten better.
The Brass put us up in a hotel in Casablanca. That's when we got into it. As we often... sometimes...always did...You had to throw the "Dad" card...As if being your age in the middle of combat wasn't enough...I could only imagine how hard it was growing without a Dad...
You were right, of course. But it wasn't the sort of thing people should talk about...but you could talk about anything. I sort of admired that about you. It might've made a difference when I ran into the Howlers.
They were all there, Dino, Izzy, Reb, Gabe, Percy, and of course, Dugan.
There we were, back in the thick of it, and every time we shipped out... I'm sorry James, but secretly I wished you weren't there. The mission was going down in flames and we hadn't even started -- but at that exact moment, you wouldn't have believed what I was thinking about. Or maybe you would've. Maybe you would've even found it funny.
That was one of your many gifts. You could "find the funny" in any situation, no matter how dire. Even in the middle of a war.
Especially in the middle of a war.
In hindsight, it was stupid of me. But, I couldn't get out of my head that the last real conversation we had was the fight over whether or not you could go to the club. It's a terrible thing to have to learn. That sometimes you don't get to say everything you need to before someone you love dies...
* * *
You were just a kid. I mean, I wasn't that much older -- six, seven years -- but it was enough that that's how I saw you. We were in basic, Fort Lehigh, Virginia, every one of us waiting to get overseas, some more than others.
I should've been more careful: doused the lights, made sure the tent was buttoned up.
The Higher Ups weren't going to be happy.
I didn't really know what I was going to do. I never told you that I'm still not sure why I agreed. Maybe because I was in a bind for letting anybody find out my secret and you gave me an out. Or maybe it wasn't that long ago, I was a 98 pound string bean who only wanted to help with the war effort. So I talked to the Brass. And while they ran it up the flagpole to see if anybody saluted, I trained you, hard, for weeks on end, knowing at any moment we could get the call to saddle up.
Gotta say, anything I dished out, you took it. I must've been out of my mind bringing some kid into the war. But I just continued to train you and waited for words to come from on high, and then, all of a sudden, it did. I'll never forget the look on your face. Turned out the President of the United States liked the idea of Captain America having a teenage sidekick. He felt it would help inspire young men to join the draft right out of high school.
And that was that.
It seems like the next night we were on our First mission, parachuting in behind enemy lines. Maybe I did come down too hard on you that First night, or maybe I didn't come down hard enough...and you'd still be alive, Bucky...
* * *
It was December 1941. Four years before I would be presumed dead, lost at sea. Something about the Vita-Rays they told me when I woke up is how I survived. But on this particular night, sinking in the mid-Atlantic, I thought I was never coming back……
If it hadn't been for you, Bucky…
Fury and his Howlers ran the op. We got hit by something and the plane broke apart like a box of toilet paper. Fireballs... and then... saltwater. Somehow I knew Fury would look after the men. It's how he was built.
In the deep it got darker and darker. But I never felt alone knowing you were there, somewhere.
That was the part that no one understands, or could understand. In war, you forge friendships, bonds, with the most unexpected folks. Like a 4F from Brooklyn and an orphan kid hanging around a Virginia Army training camp, Captain America and Bucky.
When we lose someone, we have a tendency to hold onto things in their memory, meaningless things to anyone else: A broken watch that won’t keep time, a rock no bigger than a dime, a book we read but promised to return… I know a little something about holding onto things long after you should…
We get attached to these things, when it’s the people we lost that we should stay attached to. Their hopes and dreams become ours to carry on.
At least, that’s what I now think I should be doing for you…
Fury could joke all he wanted at my expense. When the men were so far from home, and death was so close to them, we all have to find something to cling to. We have to find hope in the most unexpected places.
Like I said, unexpected.
A cliffhanger, that’s what you called it just to get me to smile. In that moment, despite all the odds against us, knowing you had my back, Bucky, I had the strangest feeling.
We had the enemy right where we wanted them.