Letters Across the Ocean (1)
Emily Dickinson: A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.
A/N: The letters in this chapter are dated 5/6 years after the events of last chapter.
February 29th, 1936
I've finally managed to be able to send you a letter. I promise I haven't forgotten you, but my uncle hasn't been very supportive of me keeping up a correspondence with New York. He's a complicated man to live with – he always says I can do something, but when it comes down to actually doing it… anyway, that's beside the point. The return address I've included is not actually where I'm currently living but is the address of a new friend of mine, Jilí. We met at the bakery, and now I think about it she must be the only person I've met who wasn't introduced to me by my uncle. Send all your letters to this address and Jilí will pass them on to me.
I'm sure you'll ask, so I'll tell you now: I'm alright. I've barely had a moment to stop and think, and I'm glad. Everything happened so suddenly. Before I knew it I was on the ship to Europe, and then my uncle was whisking me around Vienna to parties and visits. He's a very well-connected man.
I don't want to be ungrateful to him, but every day he takes me around to some new part of the city and expects me to fall in love with it, when all I can seem to do is miss what I left behind. I miss my home and my family so much, more every day I think. I keep expecting to turn around and see them there. Will you let me know if you've seen my brother? I've managed to send a letter and I'm hoping Tom will be able to write something in reply, but it'd be nice to hear from you about him.
And of course, I miss you and Bucky. Let me know how you're doing. I hope your mom's well.
I want you to know, I meant what I said before I left.
Please write soon.
March 2nd, 1936
It was a big relief to get your letter. I had been kinda worried that you might've forgotten me, and I was starting to think about how to send a letter to someone whose address I didn't know. I was considering asking that lady in Flatbush who puts those witchcraft ads in the paper.
Bucky and I miss you too. This place isn't the same without you. I'm sitting next to empty desks at school, there's no one slipping me notes while the teacher isn't looking, there's no music where there used to be. You must've been really noisy for me to notice the silence now. I've still got Bucky, of course, but he's treating me like I'm made of glass (even more than usual). But enough about me, I'm fine – really.
I have seen your brother. Bucky and I took the train out to Harlem to drop off some food our moms made, and your stepfamily was real happy to see us. Tom's doing well, though he seems confused about where you are, but he's being well looked after. Apparently there's already a letter on its way to you.
Also, my god, I didn't know how many people you knew until every single one of them came and found me to ask after you. I've never had so many people talk to me in my life. I've attached some messages from the ones who wanted to write to you, hence the very fat envelope. There's a note from Bucky, too, you'll be able to tell from the horrible handwriting.
By the way, how did you ever befriend Mrs Symanski from the post office? I'm pretty sure she only speaks Polish, and I feel like I would've noticed if you learned Polish.
Mom's fine, she's been assigned to the TB ward so her hours have changed again. She says she hopes you're doing alright and that she misses seeing you at church.
Sorry to hear things aren't going well with your uncle – are you okay? He's not doing anything to make you unhappy, is he? Why isn't he letting you write back to home?
Sorry for the interrogation. I just worry about you I guess. Not that you can't take care of yourself! But Bucky and I have always been there to back you up (or talk you out of your revenge, though I'll admit I'm not as good at that as Bucky) and I hate the idea of you fending for yourself. I'm glad you're making friends, though. Say hi to Jilí for me. That's not an Austrian name, is it?
And what's Vienna like? Are you going to finish school now you're settled? Let me know as much as you can.
I miss you already, Alice. We'll just have to become the best set of pen-pals that ever existed.
I meant what I said, too.
PS: I've included a sketch of our 8AM math class, to make sure you don't miss us too much. I never understood the word 'mindnumbing' until this semester.
March 6th, 1936
Dear Oh Great and Powerful Pen-Pal,
Thank you thank you thank you! I thought I was doing alright over here, but then Jilí brought me your letter and just the sight of your name in your handwriting made me burst into tears. But stop! I can feel you feeling bad from all the way over here – I didn't tell you that to make you feel bad, I mean that your letter reminded me of home, and it reminded me to feel something. And then seeing all the messages from my friends back in Brooklyn was such an amazing gift. (Side note, please punch Bucky on the arm for me). Thank you.
(You're right about Jilí's name by the way – she's not Austrian originally. Her family are Romani, they settled here thirty years ago. Jilí's a typist, and while she doesn't share my taste in movies or books, we get along like a house on fire when it comes to music. I think you'd like her. She says what she means and she's not afraid to put up her fists).
Thank you also for checking up on Tom, that means more than I can say. My step-aunt did send a letter, with a few lines from Tom, and it was so good to hear from them.
You don't need to worry about me, I promise. My uncle has been very good to me – he's set me up in his house in Vienna, and my new bedroom is three times the size of my little one above the tailor shop in Brooklyn. I have all these new clothes and books and decorations, so many I hardly know what to do with them. My uncle has plenty of friends in Vienna so we're constantly going around to parties and gallery openings and performances. Steve – I think I might be rich now. I don't know how it snuck up on me by surprise, but there we are.
As for school, my uncle doesn't much see the point in me going back for only a few months and I agree. He's asked me to sing at nearly every party we attend, however, (you know the kind of rich-people parties where someone has to be singing or playing) and the other day when I asked about maybe going to a music school he said he liked the idea.
My uncle's life is all centered here in Austria, so I think that's why he doesn't put much thought into my correspondence back home. Plus he has a weird hangup against using English. Sometimes I speak to myself in English in my room just to hear the language.
It's strange using German all the time again. Reminds me of my mom, which is nice.
You asked about Vienna. It's… different. Things in Austria aren't like I remember them, but it has been a long time since I was last here. It feels more German than it was before, and the people are much more hard-hearted than I remember. It could have been because I didn't live in the city before, though.
Did you know that there's members of the German Nazi Party in the government here? I thought they were only in Germany, but Jilí says that even though the party is technically banned here, they still get in. We went to a function with some government types last week and some of the younger men were talking very openly about their support for that party. Seems strange to me, but I guess I haven't been paying as much attention to my country as I should have been.
Anyway. Vienna is beautiful – it's all sweeping boulevards and grand buildings, I can hardly believe I live here. It's so clean as well. My favorite building so far is the Vienna State Opera – it's an impressive enough place on the outside, but the inside is the most wonderful place I've ever been; it's got grand gold frescoes and an enormous chandelier and a giant mural painted on the ceiling. I know you'll say it's typical that I love the building full of music, but when my uncle took me there to see a performance I think I might have been looking more at the room than the singers.
It's no Empire State Building, though.
You know, I think you must be noisier than I remember as well, Steve, because I'm constantly expecting to hear your voice only to be disappointed. Whenever I see someone being rude or mean my first thought is 'oh no, where is Steve so I can stop him trying to fight this man'.
Don't get annoyed with me. I've pulled you away from enough fights to be justified in the thought.
Sorry this letter's gotten so long! There's so many things I've been wanting to talk to you about. Please write soon.
Excerpt from listicle '10 Austrians Who Changed the World', 2017:
1. We're going to get this one out of the way first because it's too obvious: Adolf Hitler. This may surprise some people, but Hitler was not actually of German blood. He was born in 1889 in a town in Austria-Hungary, and in 1907 went to Vienna to study fine art...
I want to mention that though this story will extend into the twenty first century, it won't go into the detail throughout the movies that the Wyvern did (as in it won't closely follow a certain character's path through those movies). I haven't actually written that part yet so who knows, but just wanted to let y'all know.
Would anyone be interested in seeing the moodboard I created for inspiration in writing this story?
Lastly, I always appreciate reviews to let me know what you guys liked, what you're curious about, what you want more detail on. Cheers x
Anissa: Glad you liked the first chapter, hello again! Don't worry, there won't be many parallels between this story and The Wyvern – Alice has her own path. See my above note about the twenty first century, don't want to give any spoilers though! Hope you enjoyed this short chapter?
The1975Love: Hi! So good to see you again :) I'm very glad to be back, and very excited to share this story with you guys :)
sweaterscooper: you technically reviewed on another story of mine but you don't have PMs enabled and I wanted to say hi and thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed the Wyvern and All The Little Lights (sorry I'm slow to update that one). As for an alternate Wyvern timeline I do have one cooking! It's not quite how you imagined it (Maggie avoids HYDRA but Bucky doesn't), but I think you might enjoy it. That's on the backburner for now of course, but I keep coming back to the idea and I'll definitely post it sometime. As for Falcon and the Winter Soldier, hell YES I'm excited! We have to wait until next year but I can be patient - for this, I can. Honestly Disney+ just looks really exciting. Thanks again!