“But if you tame me, my life will be filled with sunshine. I’ll know the sound of footsteps that will be different from all the rest. Other footsteps send me back underground. Yours will call me out of my burrow like music.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
It starts with a burn.
Breath in his lungs, and opening his eyes to see flaming wreckage crash into the water, pillars of smoke scorching the air.
Of turning his head with the very last of even his strength, and seeing a dark figure, slowly stumbling away, a gleam of wet silver where an arm should be, before his eyes close and unconsciousness overtakes him.
It starts with a howl.
Two weeks, a funeral and a folder spread open on his kitchen table later, pictures of experiments and torn flesh, bloodied tools, severed limbs, and a chair and a cryo-tank – a goddamned chair and a fucking cryo-tank – and a face once beloved and dear, frozen in a coffin of ice.
It starts with a cut.
Deeper than any blade he’s ever felt, more bitter than any poison, bloodier than anything his lungs used to cough up as he fought for life, for air, for just one more gasp, fever hot and putrid in his veins, as he hears the words “whoever he used to be, the guy he is now, I don’t think he’s the kind you save. He’s the kind you stop.”
It starts with a burn, a howl and a cut.
But it ends with an oath, a promise, as Steve swears, to God, to the world and to himself, that he will find Bucky and bring him home.
And that is how it really all begins.