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Creation Myth [also at: tumblr | ao3]
870 words | PG-ish | Steve Rogers (Howling Commandos)




According to the newsreels in 1943, Captain America began his work almost immediately, the Allies' newest hero barely getting time to rest on his laurels before bringing his new team back out into the field to fight the Nazis.

It was all bullshit, of course. It had taken the better part of two months before all of the paperwork and transfer orders were through, before anyone had supplies, before the SSR had an actual written mandate and Phillips could push through the infighting and bureaucracy to let them try to fill it. Steve had spent all of that time filling out forms in triplicate and learning how to be a commanding officer from Bucky, who'd tried to do it away from both the other Commandos and higher command so that their faith in his capacity to lead wasn't destroyed before he'd even begun.

While Steve was learning how to take notes in briefings and plan a mission, what America saw before the cartoons rolled was footage of Captain America after the return to friendly lines in Italy spliced together with completely made-up stuff shot at Brize Norton with Steve in costume leading some dressed-up Army Air Corp guys in valiant-looking maneuvers around the back airstrip. The actual future Commandos had watched from the sidelines, laughing their fool heads off and offering up suggestions and critiques too filthy and absurd to take seriously, although the director had for the first hour because Bucky and Farnsworth both had really good poker faces.

(Steve found outtake clips on Youtube in 2013, uploaded on some World War II channel. Dugan was playing director, positioning everyone dramatically in a scene that looked more like the end of Macbeth than anything that had happened in Italy, and he didn't think he'd laughed or cried harder since he'd woken up in the future.)

Early on, the SSR and Allied Forces Command had taken great pains to minimize the importance and the impact of the Commandos, playing up the idea that Captain America was a solo performer who joined up with regular Allied units to lead them to victory on the same kinds of battlefields that their fathers had fought in the Great War. It was as much about demographics as the true nature of what the Commandos were, which was not "proper soldiers" for more reasons than skin color. They were saboteurs and spies, throat-slitters and bomb-throwers, kidnappers and thieves, and none of that was the work of honorable men by the standards of the day. That was the work of criminals and partisans, not Brave American Soldiers, and the less the public knew, the better. The less the rest of the Army knew, all the more so.

As such, the Howling Commandos would never appear in any newsreel footage because America didn't need to know that the Commandos weren't all nice, white, Protestant American boys. Which didn't mean that there wasn't any footage or that there weren't reporters and photographers who tagged along and knew very well that the Commandos were, in Dugan's words, "A nigger, a nip, a French commie, an English fop of dubious character, and three Irish-Catholic boys who used to sneak the sacramental wine." Just that none of that made the print copy or the picture spreads in Time or Stars and Stripes until the peace in 1945.

The 'real' story of the Howling Commandos, according to the books Steve read in 2011, started appearing in the 1950s, although it took more than twenty years for enough documents to be declassified to paint anything close to an accurate picture. Peggy released thousands of old SSR documents as SHIELD Director, but she had made sure that certain details, such as Bucky's medical torture by Zola and Schmidt, had remained lost to the mists of time and the fable about him being found in a cell remained settled truth. The still somewhat sanitized Commandos took their place in history, growing in mythical stature as noble warriors for a country grown fatigued by far-away hot wars without victory and a Cold War that seemed would never end.

It was a helluva legacy to live up to in 2012, to be some larger than life hero of legend, and one he had maybe resented a little until two years later, when he'd had to rely on it to defeat Pierce and HYDRA. He didn't want to stand on a pedestal, he certainly didn't want to live on one, but if there was one personal advantage to any of it, it was that there was so much material for Bucky to look at to remember himself.

(Bucky laughed and cried at the Youtube footage, too.)

But whom the gods destroy, first they build up. The fall from public grace was hard and long and he regretted none of it because he had never chosen anything over doing the right thing. The Accords were terrible and he could agree to disagree with his friends over it, but he could not agree to let it pass into law without a fight. He didn't know what history would make of what he'd done, what his friends and allies had done, but he could live with his own story.

Date: 2015-09-05 19:15 (UTC)
sixbeforelunch: nick fury on a black background, text reads "i still believe in heroes" (mcu - fury heroes)
From: [personal profile] sixbeforelunch
I would be a lot more excited about Cap 3 if you were one of the screenwriters. Just sayin'.

This is lovely as always. :)

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Domenika Marzione

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