The 363rd letter to Bucky Barnes
———I know that you won't tell me how you walked through the darkness in the howling wind. Even if I do ask, you'd only whisper about the starry sky you gazed at while you were hiding deep in the woods.
This is the 363rd letter to you.
You are taking a break on the bunk right beside me, eyes closed, while I'm writing this. It has been only 12 hours since I found you again. And another fight will come to us in any second.
I'm hoping for more time, to let you rest, and to let me finish this letter.
The first thing I got to tell you, is how glad I am to find you again. I'm fighting with the impulse of staring at you face every single second while fearing if I actually do so. Your sweater has been wearing for a long time and the hem was rough. Your hair grew longer and your face was covered with stubble.
I know that you won't tell me how you walked through the darkness in the howling wind. Even if I do ask, you'd only whisper about the starry sky you gazed at while you were hiding deep in the woods.
Because you remember me.
And you remember so much more than you thought you could remember.
That is probably how I felt, when I could easily figure out your intonation at the last word the moment you finished the first word. We knew each other too well. So I'm familiar with the way you smile and familiar with the unspoken words between lines. Those were rooted deep in our sub-consciousness and we don't need to prove to anyone.
That's why you held my hand—when I was taking care of the wounds on your back and warping the bandage around your chest—and told me you were fine.
You are fine.
Bucky, you are so fine.
In the days when I was wondering around looking for the trace of you, I always dreamt about you. About the time we spent together. You used to run with me, sit on the stairs teasing about my stubbornness, put your hand on my shoulder and tell me I can make it, grab mypaint and blab about exchanging presents with me. You used to say to me, in theheavy darkness inside the camp, “hey, Steve, you are the bravest man I've ever met.”
A teensy bit of light shone on your face, through the juncture of our tent. And your eyes were so bright.
But I don't think I deserve your words.
Because there are so many things deep inside that I fear.
The closer I get to you, the more frequent I dreamt about you falling from that train, missing my hand by one second.
I'm afraid someone might put you in prison before I find you. I'm afraid of the trials where nobody defends you. I'm afraid I'll be too late to tell the world, it's you who were always the bravest among us all.
Because, piecing together everything from the past, whether it's yours or not, was actually the most painful part.
I remember asking you about the content in that stolen backpack. You told me it was your everything.
See? You were such a great man, placidly accepting everything life threw towards you, no matter good or bad. Whatever it brings, you pack it all up and stand still as always.
You are a true warrior.
"They were stolen." You spoke with anger. You said you would take it all back.
All right. Let's do it.
I'll add every detail I remembered to the crevice of time, to fill it up with every old story of ours back in the 30s.
I'll walk through the past with you. I'll take your sadness and rage; take all the pain you've struggled in, all these years.
Together, we take it all back.
Bucky, it seems every time I try to write to you, I tend to get wordy.
I kept all the letters well. Because you won't be reading them in a while, even they were all addressed to you.
Maybe in some peaceful sunny afternoon, after a long time from now, I would talk about the letters I wrote after I lost you. At that time, days will be quiet and endless.
And you'll be by my side. Safe and sound.
I guess you'll still play jokes on me.
Just like what you did a moment ago, when I was holding your left hand. You squeezed your metal hand and said,“I remember we used to have hand wrestling match. Now I'm definitely gonna beat you.”
Bucky, you are always positive and optimistic, no matter when. You always give me consolation.
In fact, you are my consolation.
When we were crouching in the trench side by side during the war, waiting for the gunshot out of nowhere, you said,“Steve, we'll make it through.”
Right in this moment, you are staying by my side. It's noisy and crowded out there and a fight is to come. But as I always know, we'll make it through.
Bucky, I remembered the time when we had to cross a rapid river through blizzard.“It's cold,”you said. And I looked at you. Then you smiled,“let's get over it.”
Maybe there'll be a tough battle tomorrow. It'll be hard. But let's get over it.
I can do this all day.
I know so are you.
We'll fight, together, till the end of the line.
Bucky, I'm so glad I've found you.