Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture. Everything is blooming. Everything is flying. Everything is screaming, choking on its screams. Laughter. Running. Let-down hair. That is all there is to life.
hiii! so i'm wondering if you have any thoughts/discourse about bucky dealing losing the howling commandos? 'cause they were his team too and he was their leader before steve took over as cap. sorry, i'm just sad that the commandos are only ever spoken of as steve's team. or maybe thoughts on bucky grieving his parents and sisters . 'cause quite literally, i have never seen that mentioned anywhere. not even in fic. if this is too negative for your blog, please ignore it. thanks.
Not too negative for my blog… it’s a good topic for conversation, even if it is sad to think about.
One point first, though: the Commandos *were* Steve’s team. He formed them from the 107th and other companies imprisoned at Azzano, probably with much input from Bucky. You could say, though, that the Commandos were Steve AND Bucky’s team. But from an official standpoint, they were Steve’s team. I don’t know how much leadership Bucky had over this particular group–Dernier and Falsworth wouldn’t have been in the 107th, and historically speaking, Gabe Jones probably would have been in an all-black company. It could be that Dum Dum was in the 107th but I tend to lean toward all of the Howlies meeting for the first time in Azzano. My headcanon is, though, that Bucky very likely looked after all the men he could while working in the factory and thus became a defacto, much admired leader. So in that regard, the Howlies *could* be considered Bucky’s team before they were Steve’s, I suppose.
Anyway! On to the heart of the matter, Bucky grieving their loss. There are a lot of fics that touch on the Howlies grieving Cap & Bucky, and there’s that poignant scene in CATFA where they’re raising a toast to them, but there’s not a lot that cover the other way, you’re right. I’ve touched on Bucky’s grief over the lost loved ones in his past in fics–not in huge detail nor in long and drawn out fashion, but it’s something you have to think about when you start writing Bucky fic because it’s part of the emotional maelstrom he has to deal with as his memories return. I think in those two years between CATWS and CACW, the pace of returning memories might have outpaced the emotional response to those memories. I can see where, say, he might have looked at the display at the Smithsonian and learned about the Howling Commandos on a simple “okay this is a fact from my past” level, but he might not feel the actual emotional connection to any of those faces and names, so any grief or feelings of loss are muted. Specific and pointed grief over the loss of friends and companions probably didn’t hit until the memories of time spent with those friends returned, if that makes sense? I see it sort of as the difference between reading a newspaper article about a tragedy that happens to strangers vs hearing news that your best friend was one of the victims of said tragedy. Bucky is still in the “reading facts about strangers” phase of recovery in a lot of ways.
I like what Sebastian said about that moment in the CACW in the apartment when he’s facing Steve for the first time since CATWS… I’m paraphrasing but he basically said that Bucky still at that point hasn’t dealt with a lot of the emotional issues of his circumstances, and that to me makes perfect sense. He’s been too busy hiding and running to do much more than realize that painful memories are bubbling up, but he’s not in a safe enough place to process them. So he stuffs the emotions away for now. My headcanon is that once he’s in Wakanda and safe, some of that grief is going to start to surface in a big way. Maybe that’s another reason he goes into cryo, short term (my firm headcanon is that he uses cryo as a temporary respite, not a permanent sanctuary, and I’m also trying to do a course correction on the writers idea that cryo is “punishment”). If all of his pent-up emotional response to all his losses suddenly starts to pour out through now-open floodgates, that’s… a lot to process and a respite might not be the worst thing for him.
TBH, I’ve only just gotten to the point where I’m thinking about how Bucky responds to grief once it fully starts to hit. The comics do show him doing a lot of deep thinking. Winter Kills especially has great themes of grief and loss and how Bucky handles it–he walks around the city and broods and apologizes at grave sites. Bucky’s also not especially stoic–we see tears both in the comics and in Seb’s portrayal.
I have no idea if you read my fics, but Mr. Fix It touches on grief (though not over the Howlies, but his family) and You Will Call Me Friend is nearing the point where Bucky has to start facing the emotional aspects of loss. I imagine in some ways his journey will be similar to anyone’s journey through grief–he’ll go through all those stages at varying times, plus move back and forth from one stage to another. Grief is not linear, after all.
No idea if that’s the response you want, but thanks for giving me an opportunity to ramble out loud and start to sort my own thoughts on this.