I'm honestly not sure how to live without a war.
I remember, when Wanda got in my head, I saw things. Things that I had always thought I wanted. Peggy. The idea of Peggy. Settling down after the war and having a family. I thought, back then, that I could have something like that. I still don't know if those were things I actually wanted or if it was just knowing that I was expected to want certain things.
People have this idea that I'm a good person. That I'm moral and righteous and that people should aspire to be like me. I don't understand it. The only time I've ever really felt alive or complete is when I'm fighting. Even when I was sick and thin and got the shit kicked out of me in every back alley in Brooklyn, I only really felt like life made sense when I was fighting. It's probably screwed up. I don't know. I wanted to go to war and I wanted to make a difference, and I told Erskine that it wasn't that I wanted to fight, but I think I was lying to him.
Maybe it's because I lost so much time, but I don't think I ever really left the war behind. I'm not sure I even know how to. It's all there, in my head. All that happened. All the people I couldn't save. And I have to wonder what was the point of it all. I gave up everything to stop HYDRA, only to find out that I hadn't stopped anything. That HYDRA had thrived. That people I cared about had died. That SHIELD, the organization the people I loved built, had fallen to secrets and lies and corruption. That my best friend, my brother in everything but blood, had been turned into a weapon and used by them. That none of it really mattered. I'm so tired and I don't know how to do anything but fight. I just keep waiting for the next battle because it's the only thing that makes sense in the world.
I'm stuck. In the ice too. I feel like I'm constantly too cold. I feel like I can't even breathe sometimes. I can barely take a shower without remembering the crash. I dream about it. About losing Bucky. About losing everyone. And I don't know how to deal with it most days. The world is so different than I remember, but it's the parts that are the same that are the hardest. The violence and the war and the intolerance and all the things we fought to change. What was the point of it all? Most days, I just can't see it. I wonder a lot how much America would want me as their hero if they knew I'm an angry, disappointed queer man who doesn't give a shit about reclaiming this idea of America some of them have built up in their head.
But there are people. Good people. And they make it almost bearable. I have friends who have my back. I have Peggy, who I never thought I'd get to see again. I have Bucky, who is a better man than he'll ever admit to being. I have Nat, who makes me laugh when I thought I forgot how and who gives me shit and is a better friend than I deserve. And there's Sam, who I'm so grateful for that I don't have the words. Who makes me want to be better. Who understands me. Who makes me feel good on my worst days. And as terrifying as it is to think about loving someone when I'm so convinced I'm going to lose everyone, I think I'm in love with him.