“So, what was Cap like before this whole serum thing?” Bucky sat down next to the rest of the commandos to watch Steve make a go of it with Agent Carter, and of course Monty was the one to ask. "He always so good with the ladies and the speeches?“
Bucky snorted. "Hell no. Busy making ends meet, same as everyone else. No one would give him the time of day – half the neighborhood thought he was a fairy, and the other half thought he was feeble-minded. Didn’t help that he spent all his time getting into fights, and had two shirts to his name.” Even Bucky was amazed by the change in Steve – and he knew it wasn’t just the serum. It was the confidence that came from not having to fight to be heard – turned out there was a natural leader underneath all that bitterness and anger.
Gabe said slowly from behind Bucky, “So when you told us we should follow him… you meant the guy there who could stand up to senators, put together a plan for attacking HYDRA bases, and hold his own with Ms. Carter there, or…”
“I meant the guy who kept fighting to be heard even when no one listened, who picked fights with bullies twice his size just because it was the right thing to do.” Bucky shot a look around the table as the men nodded. They all had that hardness in their eyes that came from years of fighting against the odds. Gabe who should have been an officer if he wasn’t black. Morita who found his way out of an internment camp. Dernier with the Resistance and Monty with the RAF. Dum-Dum who wasn’t dumb at all. They knew what it was like to face a losing battle and choose to fight.
Bucky briefly wondered what he was doing there as he idly played with his shirt button. After all, he’d just learned, in Azzano, that no matter how hard you fight, sometimes it didn’t matter. He didn’t give them anything, but they still managed to take so much.
(I dunno, man. That image of Steve in his dress uniform, being super hot and put-together, came across my dash. And then I was thinking about how adorably angry and frumpy pre-serum Steve was…. and this happened. Somehow it became about buttons and ties??)