Steve Rogers, poor, asthmatic and sickly, with two cents to his name and nothing but his best friend to keep him safe and sane, was only allowed to pack one suitcase for the war he knew all to well he wouldn’t be coming back from.
Knowing this, Steve Rogers decided to pack Bucky’s old leather jacket, two sketchbooks with his pencils in a tin case, a pack of playing cards for when all the other soldiers were too busy roughhousing something fierce and a total of four books, three of which detailed war strategy and techniques.
The Machinery of War, Heroes on the Western Front and Front Field Tactics.
Steve Rogers spent the last of his rent money buying those books brand new and studied them every free moment he got. And hidden under those titles, was the one book he’d had for most of his life. One he’d spent countless nights poring over when the hacking of his lungs wouldn’t let him sleep.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Because Steve Rogers needed the comfort of an old story after Hodge had thrown yet another insult, or punch his way. Because the bittersweet memory of his mother’s voice flowed through every word, pure comfort sown into the worn canvas of its cover and the ink on every page.
Because when Steve Rogers finds himself stuck in an impossible future, where everything is better, but simultaneously worse. The only thing he understands is Nick Fury’s passing comment on “flying monkeys” and suddenly he thinks, “Maybe it won’t be so bad after all.”