Okay, but imagine it’s 1944 and Steve is in the Netherlands taking care of a HYDRA operation during Operation Market Garden and somehow or another he ends up stranded and separated from the other Commandos behind enemy lines, and he’s in the woods hiding behind a rock or something, waiting to meet with a Resistance operative who has information about where to go so he can get out and back to his people safely.
So he’s waiting, and then this little girl, barely in her teens, approaches him, and she’s skinny and pale and underfed and her eyes are sad and she’s too young to look as tired as she does, and he knows all about that, spent his whole childhood and a good part of his adulthood like that, but it doesn’t have to be like that for her or for anybody else, and that’s why he’s fighting.
She tells him where he needs to go and who he needs to meet to find a safe place, her voice soft with an unplaceable accent, and he thanks her, but also asks, not with judgement but concern,“They use children as operatives?”
And she explains how they sometimes carry messages or packages, that it’s safer for them than it is for the adults, how they have more freedom and the Germans don’t bother them much. They’re just children, after all. After a moment, she adds, “But we’ve all got to do our part, right?”
And Steve’s not really happy about it, but he understands, and he nods. There’s not really time to chat though, so she’s got to leave, and he asks if she’ll be safe getting back home through the German patrols.
She just smiles, eyes sparkling with mischief, and she reaches down to pick up a flower, says, “I’ve got a cover,” and skips off innocently. He smiles after her, and he knows she’ll be okay.
After she’s out of sight, he realizes he never found out her name.
In the future, after New York, he works with SHIELD and starts going on more and more missions with Natasha. When she finds out about his list, she gives him a few movie titles.
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