therealdeepsix

Anonymous asked:

How do you write steve? Your characterization is great, so what are the main things you focus on when trying to get him right?

bluandorange answered:

thank you anon ;; okay so first off

Steve is fucking unhappy and the last thing he wants is for you to know that. 

He is deeply unhappy tho. For so many reasons. Before the serum, he was mostly unhappy with himself and his disabilities and how they were perceived by others. While it’s clear on his face he doesn’t like being underestimated, what he is on the inside is furious and frustrated and so very done. He keeps a cool exterior but inside he’s burning with anger and desperation. He doesn’t want anyone to know the depths of his longing and selfishness and fury.

He’s like—he’s built a fucking box for himself out of the actions he’s allowed to take and the way he’s allowed to speak and the emotions he’s allowed to show and he locks himself tightly in that fucking box because its the only protection he’s been able to construct in 24 years of dealing with bullshit and being reminded how goddamn vulnerable he is. And he’s terrified of stepping out of the box because he is fucking sick to death of being vulnerable. These are the few things he can hide away and keep safe, especially when it comes to his feelings about other people oh my god he locks those away. Those stay in the box. All the negative, hateful things he’s capable of thinking, they stay in the box. His feelings of helplessness, his complaints about his situation, his selfish desires fucking stay in the box. The outside of the box is all there is. He doesn’t want to be taken at face-value but at the same time no he really does tho please don’t dig further and realize what a fucked up mess he is

The box is not inviting. The box is stand-offish and plain. Steve is stand-offish and plain. He’s not good with people. He sucks at people. He is not a people person. He has four modes of communication; attempted politeness, snark to be friendly, snark to antagonize, and snark to be a bossy little shithead. That’s it. And his ‘snark to be friendly’ ain’t all that friendly. Its how he communicates with Bucky; goodnatured jabs are still jabs. And him being polite isn’t all that nice either. Polite is not how Steve thinks, its how he acts to strangers because oh look, more rules he can hold himself to. And if they don’t take his polite then that’s their problem, not his. He fucking tried. And pre-serum? He is very fucking used to people throwing his polite back in his face. He won’t stop doing it because he thinks that makes him the better person, he wants to Be the better person, but he still expects the worst out of certain people. 

Oh yeah okay that’s another thing; Steve is not a good person. He has to try at being a good person and hates that he has to try because that means he’s deficient in yet one more way, but with this he tries his ass off. So much of Steve is trying to make up for what he lacks, and he’s so ‘good’ because he lacks a lot

Post-serum, his box becomes a lot more attractive and he learns how to hide all the new ways he’s broken inside with smiles and posturing. It comes a little easier because he’s more confident that people will accept the smiles and posturing. He learns how to play to people a little better—give them what they expect to see, play the part. He’s not good at it, but he’s better than he was and most people don’t look hard enough to see the stress-lines.

His depression is out of fucking control at this point and he only finds energy in anger and adrenaline so guess what he gives himself over to. He throws himself into his work and is miserable because he can’t turn his head off, so he makes himself frustrated asking questions and at the same time not asking enough questions because all he has is this job and without it he has no direction and no outlet so he wants to rock the boat so fucking badly and wont for selfish reasons and he hates how selfish he is. He’s so very lost and so very determined that no one know, no one see him when he’s at his most vulnerable which is right now he is so fucking fragile he is holding on by a thread that he refuses to let snap because he is so fucking stubborn and now more than ever no one can know. 

Okay because Steve’s box? Is no longer his box. His box got 68 years worth of renovating that he had no goddamn control over and now his box means things to people and his box is more important than ever, more important than he ever deserved to be, has any right to be, and if that box goes down, he can’t even imagine the consequences. They were terrifying enough before, right? Being seen for the weak, needy, selfish person that he is was scary enough before, but at least when he was Skinny!Steve, all those thoughts and fears and reactions were somewhat expected of him. No one would be surprised learning he liked cock or was desperate for attention or could become frustrated to the point of tears. They expected him to be that fragile. He built the box to try and prove them wrong

No one expects Captain America to be any of those things. No one is waiting for him to show his true colors and no one wants him to break down. He’s closer to that than ever and he cannot. He. Cannot. He cannot because he doesn’t know how he could ever recover. 

therealdeepsix

linzeestyle:

 (via marvelobsessions)

That’s why I love it so much though.  Because it’s so, so easy to forget this — SHIELD constantly forgets this — but Steve *is* a child.  He was twenty-six years old and terrified when he died.  And to him, that was maybe ten days ago.  Just — ten days ago, he died.  Eleven days ago, he watched his best friend and protector fall to his death in a clusterfuck he will always believe was his fault.  Ten days ago, he died while the listening to Peggy cry on the other end of a static-filled radio.  Ten days ago, he was still in 1945.  He was supposed to leave it; it wasn’t supposed to leave him.  And he woke up, and everyone he loved was gone, and now he’s confronted with an agency that’s lying to him about everything and he’s just found in their storage facility the exact weapon that killed the person he loved most and he’s arguing with a man who looks far too much like someone he called a friend, who he knows now is dead, who died violently in a car crash, and he doesn’t know Tony well enough to know this is how he deals with fear, so to him, this is just…someone with money, with all the privilege and padding he and Bucky never had, who would never have to go to war if he didn’t want to, making light of a situation way too close to Steve’s chest.

Steve was being prickly as hell through most of this movie, but he was bleeding out and in pain and had no one to bleed on.  The comment he makes to Tony, about knowing guys with none of that worth ten of him?  Imagine all of the people he was thinking about then.  All of the people he knew he’d never see again; who he wished he wasn’t standing there to never see again.  Trying to organize a time bomb and remembering the Commandos.  Trying to co-lead with a man he doesn’t yet understand, and remembering Bucky.  Trying so hard not to keep seeing him fall.  Being expected to be above all of those messy human emotions, because he’s Captain America, and while he was asleep that name became a legend so much bigger than any real, living person could be.

He’s only twenty-six.

I just made myself sad.

historicallyaccuratesteve

The life and times of Sergeant James ‘Bucky’ Barnes

laporcupina:

Okay, so a little self-referential blahblahblah on Bucky’s NCO career, mostly as a follow-up to the Sam Wilson Is Not an Officer stuff.

(1) At the start of Captain America: the First Avenger, Bucky has been a soldier for a while and a very good one. Whether Bucky enlisted or was drafted, he went to basic training and he emerged some flavor of private or, in truly exceptional circumstances, a corporal. Nobody comes out of basic a sergeant, which is an NCO (non-commissioned officer) rank and one of responsibility. When we meet Bucky in the movie, he’s been a soldier for a while, long enough for at least one promotion up to E-5, two or three promotions being much more likely. Which is a lot in a short amount of time – about a year-and-a-half past Pearl Harbor, less time in service assuming Bucky didn’t ship off to basic in 1941. As such, I’ve usually written Bucky as getting a field promotion for valor in combat because things just don’t happen that quickly. It’s still a speedy trip to sergeant, but it’s not completely ridiculous.

Any way you want to play it, when Steve is asking Bucky if he’s gotten his orders, he’s not asking brand-new-soldier Bucky about his first chance to be a ‘real’ soldier. He’s asking probably-home-on-leave Sergeant Barnes where he’s going next.

(2) Bucky has experience leading small units – a team, a squad. He might have already been a platoon sergeant, but no sure thing. Regardless, by the time he’s rescued by Steve, he’s an experienced NCO. He knows how to get things done, both with respect to regular Army crap and the corralling and maintenance of the men in his unit. He understands how the division of labor between CO and NCOIC works out, that he is the sheepdog to the CO’s shepherd when it comes to executing orders and handling the men. He also understands that the relationship between platoon sergeant and platoon commander is a separate thing between them and has a public face, which is united and in which the NCO is proper and respectful of rank, and a private face, which is more informal and generally reflects the fact that the NCO has more life and military experience than the officer and has an obligation to use those experiences to improve the officer and keep everyone from getting killed.

(3) Both points above matter when it comes to Sergeant Barnes and Captain Rogers, especially because the latter was commissioned as a captain and has never had a command position before at any level and truly and completely knows nothing about nothing about leading anyone anywhere to do anything in some form of proper military fashion. Bucky’s instruction necessarily doesn’t begin once he’s team sergeant on the Howling Commandos – it begins during the rescue, the minute he realizes that he’s not having a drug-induced hallucination and Steve really is Captain America and needs all the help that he can get because Steve doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. Even if Steve doesn’t confess that right away, which he probably will, Bucky knows him well enough to tell.

(4) As important as Sergeant Barnes’s experience is to Captain Rogers, it’s possibly even more important to Brooklyn’s Own Bucky Barnes. Who has been through hell on the battlefield, an even worse hell in Zola’s and Schmidt’s lab, and is now presented with a very hard truth: Steve Rogers doesn’t need him anymore. Steve is no longer frail by many metric; he doesn’t need defending or nurturing, he doesn’t need anyone to advertise his virtues or prop up his self-esteem because everyone else now knows exactly how awesome Captain America is. Steve is no longer short of friends or invisible to women or at the mercy of either his ailments or the neighborhood bullies. Every single protective function Bucky has ever filled for Steve out of friendship and brotherhood has now been rendered moot. Thankfully, while Steve may not need him for anything but companionship anymore, Captain Rogers needs him for a hell of a lot. Steve may be quicker in mind and body, but Bucky is the one who knows how to make everything happen. And that won’t change even as Steve learns the ropes; Captain Rogers will always need Sergeant Barnes. And that’s probably a comfort to Bucky at a time when little else is.

 And now the self-referential part, because I’m like that:

 Antediluvian and La Caduta: the former is Bucky’s pre-movie war career and the latter is his imprisonment, where he struggles to be an NCOIC while also being a lab rat, through the rescue and the formation of the Howling Commandos.

 Recursive, which is a Steve(-and-Bucky) story, but mostly about the Howling Commandos and Steve’s CO-NCOIC relationships with both Bucky and Dum Dum Dugan (after Bucky’s fall) matter a lot.

therealdeepsix

boopboopbi:

I’ve seen a lot of posts on my dash about the scene in the bar where Bucky says he’s turning into Steve and it’s a terrible nightmare, and they’re all commenting on how that shows the dark side of Bucky’s personality and his ability to be cruel - as well as the effect several weeks of torture at the hands of HYDRA have had on him. 

And while I love all of that, what I REALLY want to talk about is the parallels it gives to Bucky’s last night in NYC and the night Steve meets Erskine, because I think these two scenes, more than any other, tell you absolutely everything you need to know about Steve and Bucky’s relationship.

In both scenes, one of them manages to be a complete dick to the other (Bucky is borderline cruel with his comments in the bar, and Steve is unable to let go of his own frustration and resentment of the system to even even spend Bucky’s last night with him, let alone enjoy it). 

In both scenes, the other recognizes that their friend is being an ass and address it (Steve brushes Bucky’s comment off with something he probably heard himself a dozen times or more, while Bucky points out that he has something to prove and this is very much personal for Steve).

And this is what I love about their friendship. Neither of them are perfect: Steve is as bullheaded and stubborn with Bucky as he is the rest of the world, Bucky tends to lash out when he’s scared or worried, and neither are blind to the other’s faults, they just accept them and assimilate them into their relationship. Steve rubs the sharp corners off Bucky and Bucky tempers some of Steve’s more reckless habits.

So for all the dependance, angst and drama that follows, this cornerstone of their relationship is actually pretty damn healthy. Which is good, because everything else is pain and hurts, so…

ravenouscorax

sabacc:

but can you imagine alexander pierce having a heart to heart with the winter soldier after the latter weakly asks to let him stay out of cryo-freeze for a little while longer (◡‿◡✿)

asking the winter soldier why he would like to stay out, whether he has any plans outside of this facility, if maybe he thinks there’s someone out there waiting for him, whether he thinks he can take care of himself (◡‿◡✿)

telling him that he had been there with HYDRA for forty-fifty-sixty-seventy years and not a single person seem to have been looking for him in all those years (◡‿◡✿)

telling him to think of what he is capable of, what monstrosity that makes him, and how without HYDRA he wouldn’t be able to keep himself in check (◡‿◡✿)

telling him that HYDRA takes care of him and makes sure he doesn’t cause all the horrors he would cause if he were on his own (◡‿◡✿)

watching with genuine interest how the flicker of hope goes out in the winter soldier’s eyes (ʘ‿ʘ✿)

alexander pierce (ʘ‿ʘ)ノ✿

therealdeepsix

caughtinanocean:

comraderogers:

i’ve seen Bucky Barnes compared to Icarus a lot and i think that’s hella rad

but the thought occurred to me last night that he’s actually more like Prometheus 

He helped make Steve what he was: he advocated for him, he protected him, and looked after him - he never stopped fighting for him, and helping him to fight the good fight - just like Prometheus, stealing fire to help man survive. Throughout their time together, he never gave up on Steve. 

And he was punished for it. He was struck down, and tortured, like Prometheus was: forced to endure repetitive, hideous torture. Every time they erased him, it was like he died all over again. If memories grew back, helping Bucky to resurface, they were stolen away again - he died again, and again, for decades. He went through not only physical torture, but mental torture; being forced to do things he wouldn’t want to do, and lose his agency. 

All because he wanted to help Steve, and fight for him. 

Prometheus is tortured, every day, until Hercules frees him from his chains. (Or as it were, knocks off the mask that muzzles him, gives him back his name, and with it — the power to break free himself). 

historicallyaccuratesteve

Anonymous asked:

i tend to forget how old steve and bucky are. in the grand scheme of things they are /babies/. i know we joke about them being old men but really what are they, 25? 26? with everything they've both gone through they are /so young/ it hurts to think about it. they were boys fresh and innocent and thrust into the war and then both of them forced into this strange new world. and they are men but still so terribly young to have been put through so much. babies, both of them, ugh my heart

ink-phoenix answered:

IT HURTS ME. It hurts me so much. And I think we tend to forget because in the comic story line of course they’re older, age differently etc etc and in the MCU, they’re played by slightly older actors which — you don’t actually sit down and think about it because of all the 95-year-old jokes until you do the math and you’re like, wait, wait, wait. 

They are so young. During TWS, I imagine Steve’s a little over 27 - he was born in 1918 and he went down with the plane in 1945, so at best, he’s now about 28— Bucky’s one year older than him, so considering the movie canon implies they keep him in cryo for longer periods, he’s probably not older than 29 himself.

They both went to war when they were kids, for all intents and purposes, in CA: TFA Steve’s 23 and he’s leading the commandos in secret black ops across Europe to fight Nazi superpowered robots and tesseract-based weapons— which is just the reality of war, it has been for centuries and it is still nowadays; it’s always the youngest and brightest, and very few have the stomach to address what it does to those people who come back, if they come back, and just how they come back. 

That’s what I loved so much about The Winter Soldier (and for different reasons, IM3). The scene with Sam at the VA meeting was so beautifully executed, it made my heart weep. And Steve, not knowing what to do with himself so just continuing to fight, Sam asking the hard questions because he knows, because he’s been there. I think they did an incredible job of addressing that yes, this is a movie about super heroes, but it’s also a movie about a soldier who came back from war with nothing. And Steve’s are extreme circumstances, true, but it doesn’t affect him any less.

It also reminds me just how much everyone demands from both Steve and Bucky, throughout the movie. Bucky, of course, doesn’t have a choice, but it does make it so much more harrowing when you think that all Bucky’s known in his adult life is death and devastation and nobody gives a shit what it does to him. It’s dehumanizing. It is, pure and simple, the personification of the cost of war. Steve, who still has his own agency, still is put in a position where there’s not a lot of choice — we get the feeling he’s not all that thrilled to work for Shield but he, quite literally, has no clue what else to do because that’s been his whole life and people expect Captain America to toe the company line and ‘fight the good fight’. As soon as he questions it, he becomes a threat to be eliminated.

And god, they’re kids. They’re not powerful white men in suits who press a button and decide, with the detachment that can only come with privilege, to wipe out a million people at once because they might become a threat. They’re just kids. Steve’s trying to do what’s right; Bucky doesn’t have a choice— which is the thread that ties the movie together, the importance of choice, and of free will, and thinking for yourself and standing up for what’s right. Every character in the movie makes really hard choices— from the tech standing up to Rumlow, to Natasha who sacrifices all of her own secrets for the greater good, to Sam who puts the wings back on, hoping that this time maybe it will have a happy ending, maybe he will be able to make a difference, when he couldn’t with Riley.

In the end, when Steve surrenders to the Winter Soldier, when he stops fighting and puts the choice completely in Bucky’s hands, it breaks something in Bucky’s programming — it tells him that he can choose. And Bucky chooses to save Steve, even if he doesn’t yet know why. It gives me SO MUCH HOPE, and it’s really what Steve and Bucky’s story is to me — hope, hope that you can go through so much, sacrifice so much, suffer so much and lose so much of yourself, and then still manage to come out okay on the other side,

boopboopbi:

ink-phoenix, once again proving why I love and hate her in equal measures.

potofsoup

potofsoup:

archeralli:

a weak and tortured bucky making sure steve gets to safety first

It’s because Bucky has a habit of letting Steve go first.

——-

1) Always let Steve go first up the stairs, so that you can keep an eye on him.  It’s easier to count Steve’s breaths and notice when Steve’s heart does that thing that makes him stop and shake.  Much easier to stop and pretend to tie your shoes while you wait, worried, than to realize 2 flights too late that Steve’s no longer with you. 

Later: Your limbs are sore and numb from being strapped to a table for 2 days and you’re pretty sure you haven’t eaten and the entire base might be exploding, but when Steve says “let’s go up,” you tell him to go first.

———-

2) Steve’s walk was mostly normal, though he swung his hips in a certain way to compensate for his scoliosis, and that put a special cadence to his stride that you unconsciously match. Even without Steve around you would twist your hip back before swinging your leg forward.  Twist, swing, twist, swing.

Later: Steve is leading the way through the forest, and you’re finally used to his height and broad shoulders and that dumb shield, but something still feels wrong.  Somehow your pace doesn’t quite match, and you can’t figure out why.

———-

3) Colors don’t work the same with Steve, so always describe unfamiliar objects by their shape and relative location, like that square window past the third door on the left, or the man wearing that unseasonably long coat standing in the corner by the garbage can.

Later: The boys are singing in the other room and you’re at the bar with Steve, trying very hard to get drunk because of course you’ll follow Steve into whatever but that doesn’t mean you have to do it sober.  “Steve,” you whisper, “Check out that lady by the door, next to that short thin guy who has his shirt open.”  Steve looks over.  “The one in the red dress?  That’s Miss Carter.”  You can’t decide what surprises you more — that Steve can see red now, or that he knows her name.  So you decide you need another drink.

———-

4) When walking down a narrow dark alleyway always stay on the right, because Steve’s bad ear makes the right side feel blind to him (though damn if Steve’d ever admit that).  On broad open streets, switch to Steve’s left side, so that Steve could hear you better through the noise.

Later: Dum-Dum gives you a weird look as you line up to charge into a Hydra base.  “Why won’t you take the left flank for a change?”  You start explaining Steve’s bad ear before you remember that he’s not that Steve any more, and that Captain America doesn’t have a bad ear.

———-

5) Stuff in your left pockets are for Steve: the asthma cigarettes that Steve could never afford, a dime for that popcorn that Steve likes, tickets for whatever shindig you’re trying to drag Steve along to. Sometimes you put things there for Steve and totally forget about it, like extra paper and a spare pencil in case Steve wants to doodle.  The left side always belongs to Steve.

Later: Steve is awfully quiet by the campfire.  You sit down by his good ear and reach into your left pocket.  “Hey,” you say, pulling out a news clipping about the war front that featured a lovely photo of Miss Carter.  “You read this yet?  They think Morita’s a Japanese defector, but the section on Dernier is priceless.”

———————-

Still later:

Report on the Winter Soldier reset procedures

After the latest test run, only the following anomalies remain:

A) The asset tends to hug the right walls and not the left, and hesitates for 30 microseconds before climbing stairs.  However, he does not hesitate when scaling walls or ladders.

B) When walking unopposed the asset has a characteristic and identifiable stride, which is dropped when he is making a covered approach.  

C) The asset communicates via relative locations, often omitting crucial color information.  However, he can be commanded to describe the colors of any object in impressive detail.

D) When dressing himself, the asset keeps his knives exclusively on his right side, and his left pockets are underutilized.  This may be an effect of continued unfamiliarity with the new left arm.

After extensive field testing, we have determined that these anomalies do not impede the asset from completing his missions, and declare the reset process complete.

—————————

[basically the textual partner to the colorblindness comic]

[The rest of my Captain America stuff]

[and now with colorblindness commentary]

therealdeepsix

verysharpteeth:

pearwaldorf:

reservoir-fantasy:

"I need to remember.”

 (okayophelia)

But that’s the THING. Those tags leave you feeling like there’s a hole in your gut. But that’s not really the point of Bucky. Bucky is a hopeful character. Because you know what, he may not be Bucky any more and he may have a lot of the Winter Soldier still left in him, but he CHOOSES to reforge himself into something new. He CHOOSES to do good. He CHOOSES redemption. He’s not sure he’ll ever deserve it. He’s not sure he’ll ever get it. But that doesn’t stop Bucky from trying. That doesn’t stop him from picking up the shield that Steve drops. That doesn’t stop him from trying to turn the very things people used in him to hurt others to help them.

Because yes Bucky is alienated from what he was and doesn’t really know who he is, but rather than give up or become a pale imitation of what he was, Bucky pretty much says SCREW THAT and makes himself into something new. Look at it like a sword. When a weapon like that is heavily damaged, the best thing to do isn’t to fix it, but to reforge it entirely. Bucky doesn’t really try to FIX himself, he basically says “this is what I’ve got to work with, NOW what do I do” and goes from there.

That’s why I love him. Because Bucky is ultimately hopeful. He’s the proof you CAN come back from the dark. He’s the proof that you can screw up, be used, be broken, be abused, be wrong, be the ANTITHESES of something good and you can come back from that. He’s not a reformed villain, he’s a broken PERSON. And if Bucky can figure out how to live with himself, anyone can.

It’s tragic in a lot of ways, but it’s HOPE, people.

uro-boros

steve/tony—building

uro-boros:

He rebuilds out of scraps in the beginning. It’s all he has—old suits stripped of their paint, bolts taken from unused appliances. He starts with Jarvis, because he needs a companion and someone that can make coffee, someone that won’t laugh at his jokes. 

Jarvis creaks when he walks. Tony couldn’t remember how many lines were in the man’s face, improvised on it. He’s off enough that Jarvis doesn’t feel right but years wear the rough edge until Jarvis past blends with Jarvis present and he can’t tell the differences anymore.

Jan and Hank are built as a pair. Tiny, perfect Jan, who he sets with dark, quick eyes that glitter. That had been difficult to copy, but Tony’s a genius (he built himself a hero out of the broken parts of a man—no, no, that’s not how it goes, Obadiah had said he built a suit out of a box of scraps but that had never been his biggest accomplishment, not really). He builds them a little different, if only in their AI. It’s hard to program love, so he programs need and devotion, so that their eyes set on each other and never waver. 

He’s fixing them, is how he justifies it—it’s like it was at the beginning, when things were easy, when they were friends and happy and saving the world from things that had no moral grey. He’s fixing his mistakes.

He starts on Pepper and Happy and Rhodey. Their circuits are laid out, the pale synthetic skin of Pepper carefully dotted with freckles, the darker tone of Rhodey a swirl of mixed colors. He never finishes them. 

That’s all.

His workshop has dozens of faces—strangers he remembers from the street, the kid who worked in the mail room of Stark Tower, a dog, a cat (he even thinks about making tiny, little rats to pepper the streets of New York’s husk because he almost misses them). Jan plays with them, laughing as eyes track her across the room, mechanical voices chattering without language. She has no comprehension of her own circuitry—the blue lines under her skin are her veins, her tendons.

"Where’s Steve?" she asks him one day, deft little hand running across the face of a boy with brown hair and light eyes. "I haven’t seen him around."

"Vacation," Tony answers. Jan’s programmed to believe him.

She dips her head, laughs. “He’s always tense, isn’t he? He needs it.”

Steve’s in a back room, actually. Tony’s masterpiece. He was the first one Tony had started—right after the battle, when the world had been silent and cold, and his friends and humanity had lain dead, broken. He’d started him, but hadn’t finished.

Steve needed to perfect. 

He’s been good about keeping them mostly the same—Jan and Hank are like they were at the start, and that’s not a bad thing, they’re happy for it, they’d thank him if they knew.

But Steve—he’s in a backroom, he’s almost done, just needs a few touches more. He turns his head when Tony enters and smiles, says, “I’ve missed you,” and his eyes are so very blue and his voice is so very honest, and they were friends once, it’s not so far-fetched that he’d say such a thing, his voice is perfect (but it tears at Tony’s heart, leaves the meat of it raw and ragged, because this is a lie—this isn’t Steve, it’s a machine)

(a machine that he’s programmed to love him, and the sickness of that twists his stomach, or did it at the beginning at least and somehow that’s worse—that he’s forgetting, purposefully forgetting, because what he’s built is so much better than the truth)

(it always has been, hasn’t it)