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Agatha Harkness

Marvel Universe
Posts
16
Species
Witch
Height
5'5"
Occupation
Nuisance
Alignment
Neutral Evil

@Wanda Maximoff
March 18th, 110


Black kitten heels clicked rhythmically along the pavement; a dog barked in the distance, children laughed as a ball bounced with a rubber twang. Connected, certainly. Yet, it all felt miles apart from one another. The sounds were muffled, as if everything were underwater. Or was she? Either way, it was easy to be lulled into it. The dull fog of dreaming was warm and secure rather than ominous and disorienting. If only she were one to take comfort at face value. Railing against it, Agatha tried stretching her consciousness toward the sounds. Only to accidentally brush up against something else in her haste.

It was familiar. Powerful. And it reminded her, even while deep in sleep, of an itch that she hadn't quite been able to scratch. But, oh, she had been mouthwateringly close.

The ache of that unsatisfied hunger was enough to rip her out. Memories, the vicious sting of jealousy and anger, drowned out any sense of peace. And then she came up for air. Her breath hitched as the fog lifted and she was thrust into hyperrealism. The first thing she noticed was how pristine it was. And not just because it was the suburbs. It was a set.

That little charade would be an odd thing to revisit but dreams often oscillated between the absurd and the important, messages from the subconscious. In her efforts to find out more about the strange world she had been pulled into perhaps there was logic in taking a little detour. Of course, if it weren't for what she felt -- or rather
who -- she might have went on believing that.

With a huff, she balanced the potted plant on her hip, eying up the house that her dream-self's feet had guided her toward like clockwork. She raised her free hand and knocked. Once, twice, and then probably a few more times than was necessary. When the door opened the young woman's face was hardly a surprise but Agatha felt herself bristle underneath the wide smile she wore.

"Hello, dear. I’m Agnes." No longer the neighbor to her own right. Her house was on Wanda's right now. It was one little detail but there was something almost pointedly deliberate about it. Sure, it would make sense in an actual dream; the mind sometimes discarded detail in favor of randomness and mental projection. But chickadee here had the reins in her hands again, Agatha was certain of it. Well. Almost. "I promised myself I would stop by and welcome you sooner but -- golly, time really has been getting away from me lately.” Her mouth split into another wide smile as she practically dropped the plant into the other woman's arms. "Or maybe it's the other way around,” she added with a suggestive dip in her tone.

Ah, yes. There was that laugh track.

 
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Wanda Maximoff

Marvel Universe
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schola stuffff
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all i do is dream of you ♡
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Two days into the process, and Wanda still hadn't gotten anywhere closer to understanding why. Certainly, there was a mindless bliss to it. Banishing the fears and anxieties of the corporeal world was too easy, if not repeatedly cheapened by the fact that her reality was fine. She was happy.

And then a barrage of unwanted despair blew her off her feet. A future where she'd gone and birthed a whole Hex of delusion and control awaited her, and she didn't like that. The steps were repeating here as if a musical cue, but altered and more deliberate — relinquishing some aspects of control to her sub psyche while holding onto the barest of threads by her fingertips. At the end of the day, she was still struggling to understand how this could have given her so much joy and reprieve that she could've been blinded to the misery of those under thrall.

There was no misery here, no imprisonment. She made sure of that. There weren't even supposed to be... visitors, beyond constructs, and yet they wandered here all the same.

So she opened the door in that half-lucid state, donning that fifties skirt and apron and those curls in her hair. Her politely inquiring smile lingered for a moment longer before something seemed to freeze up within her. A cocktail of visceral emotion bubbled up from the pit of her stomach, almost succeeding in its conquest to claw its way out into the surface. Confusion. Bitterness. Outrage. Grief for the specter of a cantankerous old crone carrying Ebony instead of Scratchy in her arms... And the strangest sense of relief beneath it all.

The houseplant was shoved into her arms, leaving her to blink owlishly as she ambled a few steps back on babydoll heels. "Agnes!" she echoed, still smiling. Her muscles felt as though they ached around her lips.

She twisted around with a skip to her movement, the door closing softly behind Agnes by some unseen force. "Well, how do you do? I—" Wanda knew in her bones that, technically, she had never met this woman before in her life, certainly not two versions of her. But the familiarity was impossible to shake, as was the conjoined yet contentious additions of the wistful and the feral. "I..." She stooped to leave the pot in some corner somewhere — besides the coffee table, perhaps.

Her authentic self broke through, that slip of an accent lingering around the edges of her words as she slowly straightened her back, the line of her jaw stiff. "What are you doing here?"
 
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Agatha Harkness

Marvel Universe
Posts
16
Species
Witch
Height
5'5"
Occupation
Nuisance
Alignment
Neutral Evil
Maybe it had been a mistake to assume they were starting back at zero. But what other conclusion was she supposed to come to? What with the potted dieffenbachia, the black and white, the very specific pinch of those undergarments…

That dreamlike haze, with the heady notes of an untapped magical reservoir on its heels, had almost made her overlook her current reality. The world outside of this dream was not home; there were no certainties to lean on. For all she knew, it could be a trap. It wouldn’t be the first time she fell prey to her own tunnel vision. When her determination bled into obsession, wild and frenetic, it was blinding. Agatha could be patient, sure. But once her mind was made up, the chains were broken and there was little she could do to reel herself back in.

And a decision had been made, for better or for worse, back in New Jersey.

Was that why the cadence of this little re-introduction seemed to limp off-beat? Something had slipped. It was impossible to ignore. Seemingly unruffled, Agatha sauntered further into the room, languid and presumptuous as a house cat. Her eyes skipped over the decor, looking for some explanation or clue. When her gaze shifted back to Wanda expectantly, it became clear that she wasn't the only one struggling.

The younger woman stammered and the instinct to coax her along with a question, to maintain the game, bubbled forth. If only to hold onto some kind of control in the face of uncertainty. But that moment, caught in the in-between, was over before Agatha could act. The change was palpable. And if there were any doubt -- how could there be, with that accent? -- she could see it spelled out in the other witch's posture, the tension in her jaw.

Letting out an exaggerated gasp, Agatha placed her hand on her chest. If she had been wearing pearls she would have clutched them. Really phone it in. Now, now, hon’. I sure hope this isn’t how you welcome all your guests.” Her tone was sing-song and she grinned again, twirling her index finger playfully in Wanda's direction. After a moment, her expression dropped. When she spoke again her tone was flat, drained of its previous musicality. The corner of her mouth lifted in a sneer.

“I should ask you the same thing. I knew you were stubborn… but this? This is really something else.” Pathetic? Insane? No. There was no reason to provoke her. Not yet. Now that Agatha was rooted firmly in the dream, she realized it wasn’t the same. So, why?

 
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Wanda Maximoff

Marvel Universe
Posts
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schola stuffff
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all i do is dream of you ♡
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What aggravated Wanda more than the undercurrent of judgment biting against her ears was the impulse to explain herself to this unrecognizable, greedy version of Agatha Harkness. As if she held any claim to the version she subconsciously considered 'recognizable'.

There was this ridiculous yearning to salvage a relationship that never existed in the first place. There was also something intrinsically different here compared to the way she would've tried to size her up in that basement that never took place — as that idiot who pushed all the right people away and let the wrong ones in. Her gaze held a similar simmering quality, but she was more self-assured in her defiance; she was also more frustrated in the twitch of her fingers at her sides, in her empty swallow down her throat.

"I know what I'm doing." Unfortunately, the need to explain won over warring instincts to preempt by striking first. The formative years apart from her original timeline had made her less volatile overall. Her shoulders eased as her hand reached up to meet her slightly slanting head, and Wanda glanced away from her. All changes in body language to that lent themselves toward an unspoken, if not precarious olive branch.

She rubbed small circles into the side of her temple, shaking her head. "It was 2015 before I arrived here. Found out about a few things since then, found out about… Westview, and I'm trying to find out… trying to figure out why. Trying to simulate it without the—" The torture? The horror film mind control? She let that point speak for itself, lips pursing down into a scowl.
 
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Agatha Harkness

Marvel Universe
Posts
16
Species
Witch
Height
5'5"
Occupation
Nuisance
Alignment
Neutral Evil
Agatha raised her eyebrows in response to the certainty in the other’s voice, crossing her arms over chest. A retort, goading and cruel, pressed up against her teeth. The desire to lash out was more prominent now that she felt the logic of the situation slipping from her grasp. With no reason to play along, why should she hold herself back?

But she didn’t make a move even as the tension in the room shifted with the change in direction. Almost immediately, Agatha felt deflated. The lack of an outlet simultaneously chafed and snuffed out her aggression. In her head, there had been two possibilities: play the game or fight. Instead, she was being reeled into a bizarre middle ground that she hadn't planned for.

Or, more accurately, a middle ground with circumstances she couldn’t have predicted.

Agatha grinned again but it was more akin to the grimace of a shark in bloodied water. “… without projecting emotional turmoil onto thousands of people? How responsible of you.” It was the furthest thing from a compliment; barbs of smug sarcasm prickled beneath the surface. But even that was masking something else. Two disparate feelings bumped up against one another -- misplaced pride and the itch of a growing, grasping paranoia.

Something still felt off. “Why not just ignore it, then? It wasn't you. Not really.” A needling question. Agatha realized she was dealing with what was essentially a different person. The core was there, sure. But the witch she had met in Westview was blinded by trauma and loss. Easy to manipulate. Easy to pity. She wanted to know how much this one knew about herself, about what had happened in Westview.

“As for the ‘why’? Seemed clear to me. You can’t keep your pretty little head above water when the going gets rough.” Three hundred or so years ago, she had often found herself in trouble for the same reason. But she had been punished for it. And even if she had evaded her mother’s final word on that matter, she had learned control.

 
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Wanda Maximoff

Marvel Universe
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5'6
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schola stuffff
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all i do is dream of you ♡
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There was a need to be tactical about what she revealed, though an insidious little voice from the back of her skull teased that it wouldn't make much of a difference.

And the truth of the matter was that the why was just nearly just as nebulous as that alternate timeline. One moment she'd been fine. Finer than fine, if not hopelessly naive in the sense that she'd believed she had a shot at talking Victor down. The next, he shot her. Killed her? The rest was a blur; she remembered the Darkhold presenting itself either before or after she regained her awareness in the spectral plane.

Livadele, it seemed, had been borne from a cocktail of peculiar circumstances. On the one hand, she knew exactly what she was doing. On the other, something had fragmented within her, deeply, and while she'd already done a fair job of keeping her internal cracks under wraps, this was something that Agatha especially must never know, under any circumstance.

Not this Agatha, as much as she lamented the absence of the other. (Unless, maybe...)

"It wasn't me," she maintained with renewed stubbornness, hands moving to curl reflexively at her sides. "But it could've been me, and I... I guess that's a problem."

But the longer they dwelled on the logic, the easier it would be to catch the holes within it. What good would a reenactment do for her anyway? And why maintain it in such a way? She didn't know, and if she were to question why she didn't know— Gaze darting back to the front, she shrugged her shoulders with a loose toss of her arms. "So what do you want, Agatha? If you haven't noticed, there're plenty more interesting things going on ... anywhere else. There's a place that's basically Dungeons and Dragons twenty-four-seven."
 
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Agatha Harkness

Marvel Universe
Posts
16
Species
Witch
Height
5'5"
Occupation
Nuisance
Alignment
Neutral Evil
Agatha’s expression softened as her gaze fell to the wall behind Wanda. From what she could ascertain, this wasn’t merely an effort to dispose of guilt. It was genuine. Which might have earned grudging respect… if it wasn’t also putting a wrench in her plans.

Unfolding her arms, Agatha flexed her fingers, her right thumb pressing into the knuckles of her left hand until one of them popped. The whole thing was oddly suffocating. Pent up hunger and aggression were still snapping at her heels, propelling her straight into new lines being marked in the sand. Her legs tingled with the urge to pace, but she didn’t dare turn her back on the other witch. Not yet.

"I suppose we’ll see just how much of a problem soon enough, won’t we?” A mocking threat lingered beneath the surface; confrontation now serving as a mask for her own uncertainty. And why not? Maybe she would be the reason the dam broke this time. If only to prove a point. Hindsight may have benefited the younger woman here but if it was the only thing holding her together, Agatha still had a responsibility to act.

But the question made her hesitate. Technically, she had been brought there, ready to start the show. That wasn’t all of it. Something deeper, with layers that bordered on incomprehensible, kept her there. Curiosity? Obsession? Maybe even something like worry. They were things that Wanda didn't need to know, complications that would do neither of them any good.

A humorless chuckle rumbled in her throat as she turned to waltz over to the couch, lowering herself down onto it with all the exaggerated grace of the era they were playing in. “Generally, I like to finish what I’ve started, sweetheart,” she answered, slipping back into that musical tempo as she crossed her legs at the ankle. “Sure, there might be more variété here. But it’s all small potatoes compared to you.” It was a half-truth, at best. The world beyond the dream reeked of magic to the point that it had initially been overstimulating.
 
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