The first night back, they put him in the infirmary tent with the other wounded, even though he protested that he was perfectly fine. As soon as it was clear they weren’t taking no for an answer, he slept for a solid week.
The nurses said he kept talking in his sleep. Kept screaming and begging unseen assailants not to hurt him. They only told Colonel Phillips and Captain Rogers, but everyone knew. He wasn’t hard to hear, once he started screaming. Not through the thin canvas walls of the tent.
For a while, they weren’t sure if he would be sent home. Barnes was the last surviving man in his family aside from a couple of cousins and he was clearly distressed. He could be on a plane for The States by tomorrow. But he outright refused when they offered.
Dugan called him a ‘tough little shit’ when he showed up in the bar a couple of nights later. Barnes still hadn’t bothered to shave, and his usually neat, smart style had gone to hell. His uniform jacket was rumpled and his hair was wherever it felt like falling. It was pretty obvious whatever had happened to him was lingering, but no one wanted to be the first to say it. Everyone, even Rogers, pretended he was fine.
A few months later, Barnes fell to his death. And nobody -not Rogers, not Carter, not Phillips, nor a single one of the Commandos- could say they felt clean of the blame for it.
Practicing faces is fun, but I decided to test myself and see if I’d picked up anything yet. So far, so good 😀
The fic-let was just because.