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Wanda Maximoff

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date | October 22nd, Y109
tagged | @Pietro Maximoff
[box=none, none, #e61d2f 3px double]

After dying, and living, and dying, and living, and dying and living a few dozen more times in succession, and coming to terms with the reality that there was likely very little chance of moving forward from dying, and living, and dying, and so on and so forth... maybe it was finally time to start talking to the people around her. Or the people who weren't around her.

Yes, Pietro was on the top of that list. Despite being trapped within the 22nd of October, her eternal Tuesday, she technically had all the time in the world now. Why shouldn't she hunt him down... try to figure out what went wrong. If anything had gone wrong at all. An insidious voice in the back of her mind would whisper now and again over how much better he must be without her. All that time she'd been holding him back from whatever role he was meant to rise to independently, without always having to look after little ("little") sister. He was better, free. She just needed to see for herself, and that would be that.

Pinning him down took a few cycles of trying, but after a week or so of boldly asking after his trail, she found herself on snowy Brattur, clinging a thin coat to her frame as she tried her best blending in with the locals. Not that it mattered. Not that anything... mattered—but next time, she told herself, if she found him here and if she needed a few more tries to attempt whatever she wanted, she'd bring something a little more suitable for the weather.

There was a rush of someone tearing at inhuman speeds through the air of this... folksy tavern, and that's when she knew, sitting besides a corner table with her hands curled around something hot. She was about to move to a better vantage point, when suddenly—

Her small table dipped as a man—burly, rugged, a complete stranger—braced his arm against it and grinned lopsidedly at her. "You're way too pretty to be sitting here by yourself."

At first she was flabbergasted by the sudden intrusion, and needed a moment. A few seconds, as she blinked in her seat, before slowly rising. "I'm really sorry, but I can't do this right now." A tight smile flashed across her face as she stepped past, but a firm grip latched onto her wrist.

"Well, you don't have to be rude."

"Excuse me?" She narrowed her eyes back, bristling.

[/box]
 
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Pietro Maximoff

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Today was just a simple drop. In and out. 5 second tops. It was a favor for Manfred. Brattur wasn't too far from Serratorra. The drop was a small package. Not worth the time and effort to start up a plane over. That's what Pietro told him anyways. In reality, Pietro didn't really care about saving his friend a little bit of plane money. He just wanted an excuse to get out of the Hangar or New Genosha. Not that anyone was stopping him, unless you counted Pietro as Pietro's public enemy #1.

Unlike the rest of the inhabitants, who were dressed in thick clothes appropriate for weather, Pietro stuck out as the only one dressed in just a track suit. He didn't need anything more. With the rate of speed that he was capable of, a little shivering was all he needed to keep warm. A present from his late father.

Pietro enjoyed the startled appearance of his contact as he appeared, seemingly out of the blue, in a chair opposite the non-descript man, wind stirring the air around him and ruffling hair. Pietro placed the palm-sized package, wrapped in plain paper, on the table and slid it into the center. He wasn't worried about the other cutting and running. Pietro could easily get the package back before the other could make any fuss. "Your turn." Pietro said, suggesting that other offer up what was for trade. In the Wastes, where money was useless, barter and trade was the name of the game.

The man pulled a small package out of his fur-line coat, it was small, but long, and also wrapped up to hide its identity. Pietro recalled what Manfred had wanted, leaned forwards to pick it up, and feeling it through the wrappings and weighing it in the palm of his hand, Pietro nodded and with a gesture of approval, tucked it inside his jacket, up against his body. "Pleasure doing business." he said, with a thinned out smirk, and was about to get up and leave when a commotion caught his attention.

Or more like, it was the voice that caught his attention. It cut through the regular noise without drawing attention from anyone else, like a random background sound that you suddenly notice. Pietro's heart both stopped and quickened at the same time, an odd sensation that left him at odds with what he should do. His decision didn't take long - they rarely did. The conversation between Wanda and the unwanted attentions of another man didn't last long.

Pietro appeared so quickly, he might as well teleported. In his grip, he had the wrist of the man whose fingers were wrapped around Wanda. "She said she can't do this right now. If your ears aren't working, I can find something to open them up with."

The man laughed, although it wasn't completely confident - there was now a hint of uncertainty there. "And who are you?" he asked, keeping up the bravado.

"Her brother." Pietro responded, with a seriousness that bellied the expression that now thundered across his face. What happened next happened so quickly, the rest of the patrons were still looking around to understand what had just happened. Pietro pulled the other man away and pushed him forwards. Pietro stopped short of the window, but the man did not - and with the crash of glass, completely cleared the windowsill and disappeared from sight. That was definitely an attention grabber.

Pietro turned around to look at the apparition that had appeared in the tavern. It wasn't a coincidence that both she and he was here. She was obviously here to see him. Violence was not uncommon in the Wastes, so to turn heads back around to their drinks, Pietro gave a few choice glances to a few choice patrons and suddenly, normal business resumed.

"Wanda." was the greeting she got as Pietro stepped close enough that he wouldn't have to speak loudly. His expression was guarded and there was clear hesitation. "What are you doing here?" he asked, trying to sound indifferent, but there was a softness that betrayed him.
 
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Wanda Maximoff

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Because this was the Dread Wastes, and Wanda was not (technically no longer) a nine year old, she wasn't fussed over Pietro's methods. What spiked her anxiety was that he'd noticed her in such a way. Once more a reminder of how easily matters fell out of her control like sand between her fingertips. But it was fine. He was looking at her now, and the rest of the shanty wintry bar back to their own devices.

She squared her shoulders and curled her fingers around the hem of her jacket. "I— wanted to find you. I've been missing you. And I wanted to see how you were doing."
 
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Pietro stared at her for a little bit longer, before biting his lip and nodding his head slowly. His face was still guarded, but he looked torn between deciding what attitude to adopt. "Right... yeah. I'm fine. Just here for a drop. So... you didn't need to come out all this way. It's dangerous here." he said, giving a nod to all the people in the tavern. Although, after what had just transpired, it didn't really need to be stated.
 
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Wanda Maximoff

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Though sufficiently restrained, her expressions were considerably less calculated. Maybe it was for grace of being able to reset, but she didn't believe it was that. She was a basket of gentle guilt, gloom, and hope all mixed in one, her fingers absently tapping against one another. "It's dangerous everywhere," Wanda offered with a slip of a smile, not much more than an upwards purse of her lips, but earnest enough. "And I wanted to," she repeated.

Her head dropped with her tone. "And to apologize ..." Barely a squeak, before she found the clarity of mind to clear her throat. "... For all the unhappiness I've made you feel."
 
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Pietro Maximoff

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Pietro rocked back on his heels, nodding his head softly at her response. One brow quirked, just so, as if to say that he acknowledged it and agreed, but had some judgement about it either way. She smiled at him, a ghost of a smile, but he noticed it. His chest heaved a little more as he took in a big inhale of air and then let it out.

Pietro's thumb swiped across his nose, and he bowed his head briefly as Wanda apologized. His voice lowered and he stepped up closer to her, so their conversation would be more private in a public area. "Yeah. It definitely did." he agreed, closely watching her before his big, blue eyes flicked over the room.

"We should talk somewhere else." he said. Somewhere that wasn't a hive of criminal activity. He waited until Wanda agreed before taking her in his arms like he had gone countless times. The gap in time wasn't long enough for the motion to feel rusty. It just felt like putting on an old pair of shoes. His brow knitted together slightly, before he took her to the Hangar. The only for sure spot that they could talk in private.

He stopped, surrounded by crates and dust in the main area, where a plane shaped spot stood empty. Manfred was gone. That was good.
 
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Wanda Maximoff

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There was relief in the proferring of his hand, in the familiar rush of wind which greeted her. He didn't turn her away, vanish before her eyes. And before long they were deposited in the hangar she recognized to be one of his few other refuges.

Her feet touched the ground in a gentle tap, and she meandered a couple short paces away. Familiar moves from their old way of transport that never seemed to fail them. She took a deep breath, knowing that the last thing he'd want was meaningless pleasantries that served only to delay. She didn't want them either.

"What can I do to make it better?" she asked outright, her eyes level but somber as her hands hung limply at her sides.
 
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Pietro Maximoff

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Pietro gave her another long look - long enough that was character for him. "Food would be nice." was all he said, before leaving her to head into the kitchen, which was an eclectic mix of second-hand & junkyard pieces that had been repurposed and fixed for cooking. He turned around next to the counter, arms crossing against his chest. Waiting for his food.

His shoulders shifted and he rolled them gently, as he sniffed - a sign that he was a tad uncomfortable. "Maybe... I was also not fair on you." he said, also crossing his legs at the ankle. "I was just upset, and under a lot of pressure. It was just building up and up, and... Ultron was just the last straw."
 
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Wanda Maximoff

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The shift from the brisk and ominous cold of Brattur to the more temperate climate of the Hangar had been jarring, but she found that she had no interest in the change. Pietro was receptive to talking (and food), and that was as good of a reason as any not to focus on anything else.

She blinked at the hodge podge kitchen surrounding them now, a look of uncertainty crossing her face when it occurred to her that he was expecting to just take whatever ingredient was around. Breathing out slowly, she pushed away any temptation to gently lecture him, when it was the worst time to lecture him, and... improvised. Turning to the stove, she wove a ball of energy in her hands and seemed to manipulate it like fastidious playdough-work, for a moment, before letting it spread and dissipate throughout the adjacent countertops. Summoning fresh meat and vegetables and all the fixings needed for their old goulash within reach.

Her heart tight in her ribcage, she set off to fill a pot of water for boiling. "Ultron was my mistake," she uttered above the sound of water splashing against aluminum. "What can I do for the... the pressure?"
 
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Pietro tilted his head to the side to watch her work, eying the red matter that materialized food at her will. He knew the recipe for the goulash by heart, so he knew what it was she was making by the ingredients. He blinked and looked away, arms still crossed close to his chest.

Ultron was her mistake. His jaw tightened and he swallowed, but he was no longer as angry about it as he had been. If anything, the slant of his mouth told her he was bitter still. A soft exhale of air puffed out from his nose when she asked him what she could do, and he thought a moment before he shook his head. "Nothing. I have handled it fine." he muttered, staring at the floor for longer than he should before looking back up to glance at her.

Had he been handling it fine? It had started off as an excessive imbibing of alcohol - the special stuff from Elysium. The dreams continued, not as frequently as they had, but enough that they had worn down his defenses and now he accepted them as a part of him. Even work was just another distraction, which he had thrown himself into, and even operated with needlessly reckless risks. He was willing to fight who ever wanted it, but he had yet to come to odds with any police force, yet. He face held something of a haunted look like the one he had held in Sokovia, under the barrage of civil war - only the civil war was on the inside. None of these things he willingly gave to her, and instead opted to just watch her move pots around.
 
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Wanda Maximoff

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As she heated another pan, she found a slab of wood clean enough to use as a cutting block and straightened the meat and vegetables around it. While hearing what he said, Wanda glanced back across her shoulder with that pervasive air of hesitation about her. "You're not wearing the face of somebody who's been fine," she observed, more commentary than accusation.

Lips twisting into a frown, she could feel her renewed concern washing over her, reigniting the need to poke and prod. Before it overwhelmed, she turned back to the counter and resumed her meal prep. The one thing he had actually asked her to do, that was what she would focus on.
 
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Pietro didn't answer her. It wasn't a question anyways. It had been a statement, but it should have been a statement that led to further details. Instead he frowned, as if he had been caught - without actually knowing what he had been caught doing - and then straightened his face, trying to appear impassive, although his face just looked blank.

"How about you? You... and Kal -" he began to ask, and he had to stop a growl that formed in his throat. Instead, he covered it up with a cough, and tried with great effort to finish his sentence while trying to sound non-confrontational. "... you still.. together?" he asked, prodding.
 
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Wanda Maximoff

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Wanda pushed back against an involuntary spike of defensiveness, which in turn had been an immediate response to her involuntary spike of guilt. Why should she feel guilty for having a happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationship? Was it because of the fear that it might've been her fault all along that Pietro had harbored such disdain for Kal in the first place? What could she have done differently there?

"Yeah," she replied, swallowing the sorry that threatened to slip out of her lips as she chopped away at the row of spring onions. If there was one thing she didn't have to be sorry about— "Is it too much to ask to want both of you in my life? To be in both your lives?" She sighed, shoulders sagging.
 
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Pietro Maximoff

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Pietro pushed air from his nostrils, an under the breath huff barely audible. He was expecting the yes, but it was no less souring. Pietro had detested Kal from day one before they had even met, from pictures hung up in the farmhouse. He shouldn't have a real reason to, but he did, and he had stubbornly hung on to this imagined grudge for just over a year now. Is some ways, Pietro was angry about a lot more than just Kal. Kal was just taking the brunt of his internalized warfare. But Pietro couldn't help but think about all the time that could have been spent, that was now being divided, because Kal existed.

Except now the divide between them was beyond just Kal. Pietro disliked the level of independence Wanda had gotten to. In a way, he blamed himself: for not being there when she entered Pandora, for being 'dead' for years, for 'disappearing' on her over and over even it wasn't himself that did it. He was the cause of how much less she needed him. Pietro liked being needed. If anything, he relied on being needed more than the other ever needed him.

"I don't know, Wanda. You tell me. Because it doesn't seem lately like there is. I am now a 'side character' for you in your new, perfect Pandora life. I'm like a memory, just to sit on your bookshelf to remind you of the 'old days'. We are not connected anymore. It is like... you are another person."

Pietro had willingly distanced himself from Wanda for months, and he couldn't say that had even helped. If it had, it had helped very little. Pietro just felt tired and bitter. He'd rather be home, fighting the patriarchy, than dealing with this.
 
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Wanda Maximoff

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"I'm different," she agreed, with another emphatic chop of garlic. "I'm almost thirty now." She might not have looked much different; or at least physically, Pandora and magic had made things ambiguous, but the passage of time had yanked her out of the shoes of that tiny, waifish girl who would've been utterly lost without her only brother. Adapt or die, so the saying went, and while she had died a couple times, she was standing, living, and breathing now, wasn't she? "And my life is not perfect—" her life had ended and been remade over and over and over again, and she had, of course, made mistakes "—but I can't be what I was when it was just us."

Beyond that, his logic frustrated her. It showed in the way her back shoulders tensed before easing. "Why do you have to think of yourself as a side character? You're your own person with or without me. We're not each other's security blanket anymore. You've made friends." And she wanted him to make more friends that had little-to-nothing to do with her, so that he'd see it could be possible and good and healthy. "You've made a life outside of me whether you wanted to or not." She gestured with one hand the air around him.

Perhaps Wanda had once dwelled under the illusion that she could have her cake and eat it too. Keep Pietro in her life while keeping every other friendship and relationship she had gained in the interim, but it wasn't worth it if it made the former miserable. "I... will always give you a place to fall back on, but I can't rewind time and pretend there's no other world out there."
 
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