He’s pretty sure no one would have given him the letters to read if they knew it’d effect him like this. To anyone else, they read like any other letter sent home to family and friends. Homesick, reminiscing about home, about girls. It’s supposed to help him let go of the past, to read these letters, but… But to Steve, they hit him how a punch to the face used to.
Buckys reaction when Steve admitted he never received the letters makes more sense now. And it hurts, drives an aching path through his numb chest in a way that nothing has since waking up.
The first few letters were fine; just the occasional reference to the ‘feisty little blonde I’m going steady with, you remember,' and Steve would try not to remember being small enough that he could fit under neath Buckys arm like he belonged. Like maybe they were supposed to fit together. And then,
‘Remember when we went to the boardwalk a few years ago and I had that feisty little blonde on my arm?' He'd written, and Steve has to force himself not to tighten his grip on the old paper, because of course he remembers. It'd been just the two of them, running around like they were still children because the weather was good enough that Steve could.
‘I kissed her for the first time, under the pier. Fell in love. Never told you, but I did.' And it wasn't fair, nothing was right, because Bucky loved him and it’s only now that he knows. Reads the letter decades too late, because his best friend and the love of his life is decades dead, buried at the bottom of a ravine with his last sight being Steve’s failure and still, and forever, the rest of the letter reads,
‘I dream about us together, owning a house, a dog. I think about us holding hands and getting older, and I hope we’ll still be together because I can’t see myself anywhere without her.
yher, so much. Next time I see her, I’ll tell her how I feel. When I close my eyes, that’s all I see. What’ll happen when we’re together again.’