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let me see you stripped down to the bone

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Some stories end with a fall. This one begins with two.

The first, in 1945, Europe: the man known as Captain America saved his friend and plummeted from a train himself, his shield left behind and useless, and his strength and his courage were not enough to save him from the men who found him when he was still dazed from the impact, who wanted his strength for their own purposes.

The second, nearly 70 years later: a lost prince looked up at the father-king for whose favor he had caused great destruction and hoped for understanding, forgiveness, love—but he saw none of these things and knew himself for the monster he had tried desperately to deny, and so he let go, and the universe swallowed him up.

The soldier’s fall was a short one; the prince’s fall was so long he began to believe it would never end. But they both landed, eventually, and their new stories began.