I believe in you, Steve. I believe in Captain America. All that hooey about symbol of liberty, Fighting American, -- even someone like me could fall for it... I guess 'cause we need a Captain America. I need a Captain America.
I don't want to be here. I want to be with Sam and Natalia on the hunt... I want to be bashing the Red Skull's teeth in... and saving Steve's girl. But damn it, Natalia was right... this is where I have to be.
The world needs the Avengers. Now, maybe, more than ever. I know Cap put this team together. He would have been over the moon proud of what happened yesterday. You won a war. You won. You're Captain America's Avengers. So this is your home as much as it is mine. This is Avengers Headquarters. There're plenty of rooms, there's a gym... You can live here, or come and go. But this is your home now. If you want it.
I never asked -- never wanted -- to be Captain America. But that mask, those stars and stripes, that shield...they change you. I can see now the burden that Steve's always carried. And it feels strange to admit I want that burden back... But underneath it all, what I really know is...I want to deserve it...somehow.
My dreams are the worst I've ever had. Images of the Winter Soldier fold in on each other... I see things I forgot happened... Like a door unlocking in my mind... Torture... Slaughter... And training others in their use... So much horror... I wake up vomiting. And don't feel much better afterwards. My bad dreams linger...but I wouldn't expect anything else...
So, yeah...World War II. There, Steve and I were...sentinels of liberty, defenders of freedom... We were the first 'costumes' leading the war effort. But ti wasn't just us anymore... Water-breathing sea kings. Men made of fire. I was just a kid in a domino mask...guess which of these things was not like the others?
There are things from the Winter Soldier days that I'm just remembering. Weapons left in the field...dangers I can still prevent. I think maybe that's the path...a way to the redemption I've been looking for.
The next day is one of the longest days of my life. While Sitwell tries to track the helicopter Leo used to abduct Natasha... I work the underworld. Because Leo's henchmen had to come from somewhere. But like I said, it's a long day. A day of broken bones... And dead ends... and shame. I know these aren't innocent men. Mercenaries. Outlaws. Killers for hire. But I keep hurting them after I know they're not going to tell me anything. Because they deserve it. And because I'm angry. And helpless. And for that, I feel shame... Which is exactly what Leo Novokov wants. To drive me to this.
I keep trying to escape it, but I can't. Bucky the lone wolf... Bucky the killer... the Winter Soldier. No. Stop it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, you stupid selfish fool... this isn't about you. You're doing this for Steve.
... People tell me... I've redeemed myself. And some days... I think that's true. Other days... I don't. Helping people... helps me. To feel... worthwhile again. And maybe, hopefully... it'll help make those days where I really do feel like I've turned a corner... not be so rare.
Rodchenko was one of the Red Room's main programmers in the mid-1970s... He implanted cover identities into operatives pre-mission. I think he was the one who made me believe I was a ballerina for several years.