This actually happened in some of the cartoons! I gasped out loud when I saw it for the first time. (Go to about 10 minutes in for the full scene.) I thought I’d do something a little different, because while I love Erik in the First Class movies, I always wanted a happier ending for him…
The Howling Commandos, as a forward team focused on Hydra, hadn’t liberated many camps; the ones they had were Hydra slave labor camps, where the men were, if not well-fed, then at least not the gaunt, barely-alive prisoners they’d heard about from Red Army soldiers and Allied units.
This camp was different; at the heart of it was some kind of lab. When Steve battered down the last reinforced door, he found a man holding a gun to the head of a young boy.
“I’ll kill him,” the man said. Steve didn’t bother with an answer; the shield took the man’s head off before he could threaten the kid again.
Still, in that second before death, Steve had seen the man’s finger spasm on the trigger, and felt the thickness in the air when the trigger wouldn’t move. He looked at the boy, looked at the body, and had a sense of destiny resettling itself in the world.
“Was he the camp commander?” he asked the boy, who nodded, huge-eyed. “Commander…Shaw?”
The boy nodded again. He turned and pulled Steve’s now bloody shield out of the concrete wall like it was nothing. Then, with narrowed eyes, he floated it across to him, through the air, without touching it.
Steve took the shield out of the air, shook off what he could, put it on his back, and said, “Thank you.”
“My pleasure,” the boy said, in trembling English.
“What’s your name, son?”
Steve had seen a lot of things in the war; nothing like this, but there had been signs of strange experiments in Hydra labs. This was comparatively harmless.
“Well, I’ll make you a deal, Erik,” he said. “I won’t tell what I saw here just now, and you help me close this place down. Then we’ll take you to HQ and get you a hot meal. Sound good?”
Erik nodded, then offered, “They knew you were coming. They destroyed all the records.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Steve said. “Come on.”
In the convoy, bringing the prisoners out of the camp, Steve brought Erik up to the cab of the lead truck, and put him in next to Bucky at the wheel.
“Who’s this?” Bucky asked.
“Erik,” Steve said. “He’s riding with us.”
“Sprichts du English?” Bucky asked.
“Yes,” Erik replied. “I can speak. English, German, Yiddish, some Russian. Good interpreter. I can work for Allies?”
“How old are ya?” Bucky asked.
“Sixteen,” Erik said.
“You are twelve,” Bucky told him.
“I’m just small,” Erik replied.
“Yeah, because you’re twelve,” Bucky insisted. “Well, we’ll make sure the folks handling the refugees take good care of y – “
“No, he’s coming with us,” Steve said.
“Erik’s coming with us to HQ. We could use an interpreter. And he’s small enough to make a good spy. He’s had enough of camps, ain’t ya, kid?” he asked, and Erik nodded.
“You wanna join the allies, huh?” Bucky asked.
“I go with Captain America,” Erik announced.
“Yeah, that’s what I said, and now I know better,” Bucky replied, but he was grinning. “Fine, on your own head be it. Sixteen my ass,” he said to Steve.
Steve took off his helmet and plopped it onto Erik’s head. “Sorry, got a new sidekick now,” he told Bucky, who laughed.
Years later, when a magazine asked Erik Lensherr why he agreed to become Captain America after the disappearance of Steve Rogers, he said, “Steve took a terrified twelve-year-old Jewish kid out of a slave labor camp, gave him a helmet, and told him he had power. I believed him. Turns out he was right.”
ALSO IMAGINE MAGNETO AS CAPTAIN AMERICA WITH THE SHIELD. HOLY CRAP. :D
LITERALLY MY FAVOURITE PART OF CHOCO-MOG FESTIVAL IS NOCT IMPERSONATING IGGY you want to talk about godawful cackling at 5 in the morning yeah that was me forgot to trim the last couple seconds oh well