Dream Within a Dream

October 15, 2016:

Death visits Wanda but she is only interested in the life within him.

X-Red HQ

X-Red HQ

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Darcy Lewis

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Nightmares. Wanda has been tormented by them since her encounter with Apocalypse but the past few days have been even worse…and specific. Nightmares about her brother…and his death. With X-Red empty these days and her friends seemingly all disappeared, Wanda has a lot of time to herself to let the darkness grow in her mind. To let the fears take over. She's tried texting Pietro but can't bring herself to press 'send'. He wouldn't remember her anyway. Wouldn't answer the stranger.

Wanda stands on the balcony overlooking the airport. The night air charged with the electricity that makes the sky rumble with thunder and briefly flash white with angry lightning. She can't stand around doing nothing. She certainly can't sleep anymore. Scarlet energy weaves around her fingers as she searches for her brother. Just a trace of him. Enough to get her to him and find out the truth. Her eyes closed as she reaches out into the universe.

-

"So… You're here."

A thunderous voice calls from the dark. Wanda will surely find it familiar, though somehow touched by malevolent echoes and palpable darkness. Where does it come from? It would be hard to tell. The sound resonates so strong, that it could very well come from everywhere at the same time. Or maybe, from nowhere.

The blur that hunts in the night has been busy as of late. But not everything is killing, mayhem and destruction. The reborn mutant has taken some time to revisit his old memories, to glance at his old self.

It would be only a matter of time, then, for him to pay a needed visit to his own apartment. Pietro Maximoff's home. Or, at least, the home of the man who used to call himself like that. And there, hanging at the walls, gigantic pictures of certain someone are always visible. A girl of red hair and Transian blood. A girl whose sighting brings the brightest and most cherished, even when they are clouded, memories.

There is something written in there, as well.

X-Red.

"Wanda."

The voice that could very well come from the underworld, resounds again. And, if Scarlet Witch wants to look back, a familiar face will be waiting, returning her glance from new, dead, eyes.

Black hair instead of silver. Silver, bright eyes, instead of azure. A dark cloak, falling to the ground.

Quicksilver, or Death, as he has been called as of late, is here.

-

Wanda was expecting the worse but what she sees is even beyond that. If Pietro is dead that would be better than what she now sees, and feels, before her as she turns to study him. She tries to smile. She tries to put some warmth into it but he is unsettling…and unsettled.

"You have colored your hair" Wanda teases. "It makes you look…umm…what they always called me. Emo! I do not think they meant it as a compliment." She frowns softly. "You do not want to hug your twin sister?"

The witch's fingers still sparkle with her magical energy as she briefly opens her arms for him but then drops them down again with a sad shake of her head. "We ran to this country to escape being slaves. I think we did not run far enough." She nods towards the empty interior of the HQ. "Would you like some warm milk? Cookies?" The redhead starts walking towards the kitchen, hoping her brother follows. "How is Darcy?"

-

Death stares cautiously at the scarlet sparkle of Wanda's fingers. He has fought one of her friends already. And magic may be more than he can handle. He is not sure, yet. There is so much he doesn't know about his new power. And so much he doesn't want to know.

He smiles openly at her words, carefully listening. His smile shows entertainment. That, at least, has not changed.

The glowing eyes narrow.

"I think I didn't run fast enough." He concedes. That, as a matter of fact, may be true.

Pietro walks in a small circle, and an instant after, he is already waiting for his sister in the kitchen. But his image, from where he was before, lasts more than expected until it fades. Actually, the mutant's image appears briefly in many places of the same room. Residual images, speed mirages… Perhaps they are not intentional. His speed is more powerful, to a level he can't fully control.

"I am good, thank you."

The thunderous voice answers to the food offering. And /that/ is new. Very, very new.

"Darcy is good." The speed demon may be lying, but lying is not the worst of his sins. "How are you?" An honest question, soon to be followed by another honest comment. "Alyse. I saw her. I fought her. But I would bet you already know."

-

"I did not know for sure" Wanda shrugs as she gets some milk out of the fridge. "I dreamt it but I have lots of dreams. I hope you did not hurt her too much. I like Alyse." She pours two glasses and her scarlet energy then permeates the liquid to heat it up. "You have a horrible voice now" she notes casually before returning the milk to the fridge. "It is like the soldiers who would yell at us and tell us to move on because we were filthy gypsies. Do you remember them?" Her lips purse in a frown. "Though I think you are remembering the too well now. You are like them."

Wanda pushes over a glass before she takes the other and sits down at the counter. "You have also learned to lie like them. You are not good. Darcy is not good. Me…I am not good either. My twin brother is now a murdering monster and he is…good with that." A sip of her drink before using the glass to indicate the building around them. "And I am alone. Truly alone now. The last of my family has become the slave he always refused to be so I guess he is worse than dead. He has become the monster we always feared."

Wanda offers Pietro a warm smile. "Though you would not know this. You have forgotten all about that. My brother is truly gone, da? I am sad I did not have a chance to say 'goodbye'."

-

The memories about the soldiers are painful, even in Pietro's current state. Maybe even worse. And the sole mention of him being like them, turns his smile bitter and cold. Wanda, after all, knows her brother too well, and she knows how to hurt him from the inside.

"You don't know what happened, Sister." He hisses softly. "You were not there. You were not there when I fought Apocalypse until my last breath. You were not there to see a god bleed by my fist… and you were not there to watch me die." He inhales slowly, as if trying to keep his calm. "I would have gladly die, though. You know me. I even asked him to end my suffering, accepting my defeat. But, if I am here, it was to save another life." Which is true. If Apocalypse had not threatened to extend that punishment to someone else, very close to him, he would have accepted his ultimate fate. That was something he just couldn't do. "You were not there."

The silver fire of his gaze flows to rest on the glass with milk, still untouched.

"I am your brother, Wanda, even if you would have preferred me to remain dead, as it seems." A pale finger slowly caresses the glass. Very slowly. "I am not a monster. I am a loyal follower of Lord Apocalypse, yes. For I was given a new opportunity. A new life. A new fate. And I would extend it to you. I would ask you to join me… Though I know you would refuse."

The speedster takes seat, leaving himself vulnerable for the time being. He does so willingly.

"But I am not a monster. And no. I did not harm her. And I don't hope you to believe in my words."

-

"No…you are not my brother" Wanda replies sadly with a shake of her head. "He would have died doing what was right and not taken any deal offered him by his killer. A deal that means he must continue killing. To become death itself. No, that is not my brother." A wry smile appears for a moment. "Though I have always wished my brother would not do the dangerous things that he did. He would never listen to me though. I was just the silly one. The baby who did not know how the world worked. That may have been the case but if this is the world…then I do not want it. And I will change it."

Another slow sip of her warm milk. "I was not there" she sighs and nods, "And I will have to live with that guilt forever. Just like I have to live with the guilt of killing our parents so that we could get away. Pietro said he understood but that did not make it easier. So now I am responsible for killing all my family. The only one left and I will suffer for that forever." She looks over at him and smiles sweetly. "If I could bring my brother back I would. You may have his body but you are not my brother. If he could come back then I would welcome him and be thankful and I would join him in anything he wished. But he is not here. Only a puppet. My brother would call no one 'Lord'. What you have is not a new life…it is slavery and death." A shake of her head. "My brother…my real brother…would never wish that upon me."

-

"Slavery and death." Pietro echoes, in a way so lovingly that it could be taken as cruel.

"We will change the world." Another Quicksilver says, standing behind Wanda. More simultaneous copies of himself appear in different positions in the kitchen. He is so fast… and there is no way out. "The world will be cleansed and a new one will emerge from its ashes. What we do, even if you see it as killing, is just a way prevent further violence. We are disarming a world that would gladly kill itself. No more weapons. No more men killing men. That, Wanda, is what we're doing. That, Wanda, is the world we are creating."

Another of Death's images gets closer to the Scarlet Witch.

"But you are right."

The Quicksilver sitting, now holding the glass, then whispers, "I'm Death itself."

A few more mirages walk patiently across the kitchen.

"And I am here because I want to know you won't try to stop me."

The sitting mutant locks his silver gaze in that of his sister.

"If you wanted to, you would have stopped me already. But you won't harm your brother, as I won't harm my other half. I just want to hear it from you."

-

A rush of light, that's the only real way to explain it. There's no flutter of those butterfly lights that usually signifies Alyse' teleporting in, instead she simply 'appears' in the room, only several feet away from Wanda. She's dressed not as she usually would, the witch had swapped her gowns or skirts for what looked like cargo pants and a black shirt probably borrowed from someone else. Pulling two seperate reality warps in opposite directions at the same time? It had knocked Witchdoctor on her ass quite literally. But she was up, she was concious, and she knew that at some point Quicksilver was going to visit Wanda. After what she saw at the base? That's not necessarily a good thing!

Appearing with lightning already crackling between her fingers, the witch gives a start to find the man already here, Wanda already sitting nearby. A curse, she lowers her hand with a frustrated sigh. There's no point attempting to hit the speedster without that spell she'd used last time, and given that she'd been concious for less then 20 mins? She didn't have the 'juice' for that.

-

The multiple Quicksilvers don't impress Wanda. If anything they just make her disappointed. And his words…that disappointment becomes sadness. "It is very easy to change the world by killing everyone but what is the point in that? You haven't really changed anything. All you have done is wipe it clean because it is too hard to do it any other way. At least it is too hard for children and bullies…like your 'Lord'. No more weapons?" That makes her laugh. "Only the ones that you have. No more men killing men? That is because there will be no more men. Anyone that survives will be a snivelling madman - broken and abused and pliant. Just like the puppet in my brother's body."

Another sip of her milk. "This needs some chocolate sauce" Wanda notes. "Do you think Darcy will be happy being a broken slave…if she lives. Do you think I would be happy? If I live." A shake of her head. "Anyone can be death. It is the easiest thing in the world to kill when you have lost who you are. You are right, I would never harm my brother. But my brother is dead because he does not have the strength to be alive…or maybe he is just frightened to be alive?" Another shake of her head. "If that is the case then he is truly gone."

And then a flash of light and suddenly Alyse is there. Wanda's eyes open in surprise for a moment before she offers her fellow witch a warm smile. "I am glad that one person is still alive" she notes before looking towards her brother. "Alyse did not surrender to death. My brother would not have either. I should go and see Darcy. She is probably not happy that the man she loved no longer exists."

-

Many Quicksilvers, or at least many residual copies of himself, turn at the same time to see as Witchdoctor appears. Their eyes narrow, burning and clearly displeased. And then, they fade. Now there is only one of them, the real Pietro, the real Death, standing facing the newcomer.

"I am not here to fight, but if you bring the fight to me, be sure I am always ready."

He hisses direly.

Where is the kind, nice mutant from before? He is not here, for sure. And, whatever is standing there, calling himself Quicksilver, is hurt by every word his sister has spoken.

For a brief moment, a very brief moment, the silver fire flashes out, revealing blue eyes watching from within.

"I have done what I had to, and I would do it again. You speak of love, and I do as well. If you want to think your brother is dead, then so be it. But I've never, not even in my darkest of days, have lost my faith in you."

-

"I'm here for Wanda, to keep her safe," Witchdoctor says evenly, moving slowly to place herself next to the other witch. Her expression is calm, her tone perhaps even considered warning, but she's hardly the same threat she is when at full strength. She needs a damn nap!

Stepping close enough to place a hand on Wanda's arm there's a moment of her offering a sympathetic, mournful look before she exhales a breath and focuses her eyes back on Pietro. "I saw what you did to those men, without pause or regret. I won't let you do that again, not to someone I care about. Not to someone -you- care about."

-

"You do not speak of love, you speak of death" Wanda replies simply to her brother. "If you still have faith in me then you know I would do all I can to get my brother back. The brother I love. The brother who Darcy loves. But he has to want to come back and not hide behind the lies of a false God. You made him bleed yourself. Gods do not bleed." She drains her glass. "I have faith in my brother too. And when he wants to come back then I will help him do so. I will even die to make it happen. But I will stay dead. I will not surrender to the very enemy that killed me to help them kill others."

Wanda seems pleasantly surprised by Witchdoctor's desire to protect her and she places a thanking hand on the other woman's. "We will not fight here, Death" she assures him. "The fight is not between us. The fight is between my brother and his fear to be alive once more. Between my brother and the lies he has been told that he would never have believed before." She shrugs casually as she looks into Pietro's eyes. "It is up to my brother" she says slowly, deliberately. "If he remembers my faith in him, how he used to protect me and others to live not die. If he remembers our love for each other…then he will come back. All I need is a spark and I will be there for him."

-

Death remains cautious, though lowering his animosity against Alyse. She is not a threat, or at least not right now. The Horseman is not apologetic in his expression, but surely not aggressive, or not as aggressive as before. A bolt of electricity runs through his right arm, as he breathes deeply, regaining his composure.

"You've seen enough to know what I can do. And you've seen enough to know what I didn't do to you."

The speedster slowly walks around, never fully stopping, letting his words die equally slow.

"Perhaps you are right, Wanda. Perhaps your brother is long dead, and perhaps it was me, Death itself, who extinguished his light. But, there is always another possibility. Because maybe, just maybe, he is still there… And you don't want to be the one who makes him run his final face." The silver eyes close. "No one can escape death, but Death can embrace anyone at a different pace. And I won't harm you, as long as you don't push me to. You have my word, even if you don't see its worth. That is my promise, and I hope you see this as a sign of my good will."

His next words are soft and sad.

"If you wanted to stop me, I would already be stopped, as I told you. But if I wanted to hurt you…"

-

Witchdoctor seems to have lapsed to silence, after all this is an exchange really more for the twins themselves, she was simply willingly caught in the middle. He hadn't killed her after she'd lapsed to unconciousness, perhaps that too was a reason as to why she hadn't launched herself right into violence along with her decreased magical reserves. The blonde with remains silent, eyes slowly watching that 'mirage' of Death walking his way around the room.

-

"You are not death" Wanda sighs to Pietro. "You are a person called Death who kills people. The two are very different things. People would die whether you existed as you do now or not. They died before you existed. They will die after you no longer exist. Do not pretend you are doing anything proud, noble or natural."

A frown as she studies the thing that was once her brother. "Maybe I could stop you. Maybe I will have to one day. But I want my brother to stop you. I want to see his strength. I want to see his love for life not his submission to death. I will help him but he must want to be saved. If he does not want that…then he is gone."

Scarlet energy builds up around her fingers as she slowly raises her hand. "Does he want to be free again? To live again?" She looks deep into those black eyes. "Well, Pietro?"

-

Death smirks amusedly.

"There are a few who would disagree. Well, that is, if they were still alive to do so." He laughs that maniac laugh. "Death existed before me, and will continue to exist when I'm gone, that's for sure. But my power is such that I can decide who to let live any longer, and who to remove from existence." The milk in his glass disappears. He is not even close to it. "Many have that power, yes. You have that power too, Wanda. But I use it for a greater good. One you don't share, but still one I would give my life for."

He stops for a moment, turning his seriousness into a dark grin.

"If I even had a life to give, of course."

The speed demon looks for a long moment in Alyse's direction.

-

"A bully with a gun can make that decision and they will say it is for the greater good too. I have heard all that before. So has my brother. The soldiers shooting us down. The government proclaiming how it was for the 'greater good'. It was only for /their/ good…/their/ greed…/their/ fear. My brother always said that he would never be like them. Never. He would rather die first" Wanda replies to the puppet. "My brother loved life too much to want death. There is /no/ good built on the destruction of the innocent. My brother and I were victims of that 'greater good'…he knows it is a lie."

Tendrils of her energy seep over the floor and wrap themselves around Death's legs. "He knows that life /itself/ is the greater good. That even simple moments bring joy that no death can ever do. No one enjoys a funeral but they can enjoy the wake that follows. That celebration of /life/." Her magics try to pluck a memory from him. Even if just a recent one. A pizza party. Where the twins finally met again after a year. Tears of joy…not despair. Vibrant tastes rather than the ash of death. Laughter…love…things that death can never compete against. "Don't you remember? Pietro…remember."

-

The amusement soon becomes anger. And, as Wanda speaks, Death looks more and more upset. Electricity now visibly flows through his body, his silver eyes burning in unseen intensity.

"Then you are right, Scarlet Witch. Your brother is dead. Pietro is no more."

Each word is thunderous, strong wildly beyond human. Everything in the kitchen vibrates madly as he speaks. Darkness and insanity dance in his voice. Tendrils get to him, and the Horseman frowns and growls.

"Betrayal. You defy me, when I offered you peace. I offered you life! BETRAYAL! YOU RAISE YOUR FIST AGAINST YOUR GODS! YOU RAISE YOUR FILTHY MAGI—"

Silence.

Pitch black.

A Bowie song rocks, accompanied by the voice of a silver-haired mutant who sweetly sings along. He is not a great singer, but he is better than many, that's for sure! His feeling, though, is a whole other level. He feels every note, he lives every single note. There's a pizza slice still in his hand, and most of the rest are eaten already. His apartment is a mess, but they are having fun!

"That 38 minutes before you were born? Those were the longest 38 minutes in my life! Yes, maybe I don't remember them. /Maybe/. But I'm sure they were. You know what? Because you are the best sister ever, and I don't know what my life was without you." Pietro smiles, looking to Wanda's eyes. "I love you, little sis."

-

Wanda ignores the Conjuring moment going on around her as she concentrates on her brother. Concentrates on surfacing that memory and living in it with her brother.

"I love you too, big brother" Wanda smiles in return before playfully tapping his stomach. "Though I did not think you would get this big. Too much pizza…even for your metabolism. And those 38 minutes? That was when I could finally get some rest." A giggle before she hugs him tight. "That is not true. I was so lonely and looking to be with you again. We will always be linked, Pietro. No matter who tries to put a wall between us. How they try to keep us apart. It will never work." She leans back to look into his eyes with certainty. "Never" she repeats softly, letting the word worm into his mind.

-

Quicksilver grins childishly, taking a bite from his slice. "I hope you enjoyed those, because you won't have another 38 minutes of Pietro-less-ness. If that is a word." He ponders it, raising a brow, "Of course it's not. A word describing the lack of Pietro is not a word that should be spoken!" He laughs loudly.

Something, from outside, violently hits the window.

Luckily, the music is so high and everyone inside is so busy that the sound of Death trying to regain the conscience of the mutant is lost for the moment.

"Never. Nope. Absolutely never. That's why I will put that big posters with your face on my walls, seriously! That way I will always remember you, with or without phone. Who knows? Maybe some day I will even visit you at work?" The slice is voraciously eaten! "Yep, I will pick the X-Red poster you suggested. I hope your teammates won't mind having a speedster raiding their kitchen. And, by the way, did I mention you're the best sister ever? I think it's been more than it should."

-

"Those posters will make me blush" Wanda grins. "I did not believe they wanted to take pictures of me. Why? Another one of X-Red is even doing a calendar for charity. Sexy pictures, you know? I am glad they did not ask me to do that. I think it would be a bit weird if my brother had a huge picture of me in a bikini on his wall. Even for you." A wink and a playful punch of his shoulder. "You should visit me every time you remember me. We will beat whatever it is that is holding you back. Together we can beat anything. You can at least remember that, right?"

Wanda is aware of the violent slam against the window. She knows she doesn't have long. It is too early to try and overwhelm Death but she needs to plant the seed in her brother's mind. "This is a fun party" she sighs happily. "Much more fun than I have had in a long time. It is so good to be alive…and I want to meet this girlfriend of yours. She has made you so happy that it makes me happy. Love is what makes life so wonderful."

-

"They take pictures of you, because you're the most beautiful of them all. Hey, we are twins, that's just natural." The oldest twin chuckles. "And yes, please, you can save the bikini ones for yourself. I have the sexiness quota covered for both of us, so it's not necessary." The chuckle turns into laugher and he even falls to the floor, playfully, laying there and breathing for a moment.

"You will meet her, and you will love her. She is wonderful and everything will be alright /if/ you follow the usual rules." The mutant clears his throat, letting a solemn tone commence: "No baby pics. No comments about baby pics. No baby pics. And never, under /ANY/ circumstance—" he stops as the music suddenly falls into silence. "Ugh, the playlist is over. But I don't want to get up. So we will live without Bowie for a while." Whatever the last rule was, let's only hope Wanda remembers it before it's too late!

There is so much peace in Pietro's eyes. They are clear blue, shining with their own light, matching a smile that never fades and, somehow, always finds a way to be more radiant and intense.

"This is so sweet." He says as his eyes turn more crystalline. "I love you, Wanda. Never forget it. Never. Please. But," He takes her hands in his own, and then pushes them against his chest. His heart is beating so fast, so strong.

"But I have to wake up."

Silence.

And then storm.

The scene shatters in a million pieces at the rhythm of furious growls.

Where there was Pietro's apartment and pizza party, now only X-Red's kitchen remains. And he, Pietro, is no longer the silver-haired, kind, naive, and even romantic, boy from the dream before. He is Death, again, the monster of raven black hair and burning silver gaze. And Death, of course, is upset.

His scream is so strong that things fall and break all over the place. The very ground trembles and many speed mirages suddenly appear EVERYWHERE. The Horseman violently shakes his head, with dozens of fists hitting walls, doors and tables. He is completely out of control.

And many malevolent voices, from all his copies in the place, hiss in unison.

YOU BETRAYED ME, SCARLET WITCH. YOU BETRAYED THE PEACE I OFFERED AND TURNED YOUR MAGIC AGAINST ME. NEXT TIME, AND REMEMBER MY WORDS… NEXT TIME WE FACE EACH OTHER, I WILL CRUSH YOU.

All the copies dash out of the balcony. All of them, except for one. And a soft whisper is added.

"Pietro is dead."

That said, Death disappears from the place. As always, only devastation and despair are left behind. And sadness. But there's a tear, as well. A tear is left. Not from Death, that's clear. Maybe, just maybe… the silver haired boy was there, with them.

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