(Remember who you are, Steve said. Like it's easy)
He's ten. The house is dark, and smells of dust, and medicine, and stale air. The doctor squats down to talk to him, which he appreciates.
Outside, the kids on the base are playing. He can hear them yelling as the doc cleans his specs and tells him his mom's dead.
He's thirteen, and the orphanage isn't the worst place he's been (or will be), not by a long shot, but it is perhaps the loneliest, and he misses his sister and he misses his mom and most of all he misses his dad, he misses the way his eyes crinkle when he smiles and the warm-wool-and-metal-buttons feel of his hugs and even the way his mouth set when he was angry, the way his voice twisted when he'd say 'I'm disappointed in you, Jim'.
He misses anybody caring enough about him to even be disappointed.
And he's just thinking this when he sees this kid, wheezy little Rogers, getting beaten up for the nth time that week, and Bucky figures that he can't do much about all the other stuff but here's something he can fix, right here and now, and that makes a hell of a difference.
He's twenty-eight, and it's the last birthday he'll celebrate for sixty years (though he doesn't know it yet). He spends it in a hole, filled with mud, waiting for air support that never comes. Dernier offers him a cigarette, and that's about all that anybody does to mark the occasion.
The only one who'd know what day it is is Steve, anyway, and he's miles and miles away in America, so Bucky nuts up and shuts up, cause he stopped being a kid a long time ago.
The rain lets up at midnight, though, so that's gift enough.
(he's stopped counting because the numbers don't mean anything anymore, adeen dva tree shteri on and on, wake and fall asleep and wake again. She faces him across the ring and grins, sideways and cocky, and he returns it with one of his own)
The memories fragment and shatter, burning blue as they return. Each piece is sharp and cuts him deep enough to bleed. Remember who you are.
What he is, he finds, is shattered, and there's no guarantee he will ever be whole again.