Family by Blood

January 19, 2018:

Lorna decides to track down Pietro for a chat. The two somewhat bond over their possible relation and Pietro agrees to come to Genosha

Staten Island Bridge

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Magneto Wanda Acolytes

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's been a few weeks since Pietro received that sudden invitation from his half-sister and his supposed father. It came in the form of a physical missive, passed hand to hand through the Brotherhood until it reached its intended target… the young man who goes only by Quicksilver, even among his people. A wanted man does not have the luxury to go by true names.

He should throw it away, but he doesn't. He shouldn't even bother touching it, but he does. Periodically he can be found turning it over and over in his hands, not opening it or reading it, but just worrying it physically in an external reflection of the way he worries it over in his mind. Wanda was fairly unequivocal about her anger against their supposed father and her disinterest in meeting him, and Pietro can't say he isn't angry too, but for a son, the idea of 'Father' just carries that certain extra weight. It is a powerfully elemental sort of relationship — one of the most basic ones that underpins the human experience.

Ultimately, he just put the decision off. There were other things to be done, with anti-mutant sentiment rising and talk of registration legislation in the works. Today, however, has been a quiet day, and Pietro found himself with that missive in his hands again. Annoyed at himself, he dropped it and went out.

Lorna, on his trail, would soon enough find herself reaching the much more radical and extreme segments of the Brotherhood, on the fringes of that sprawling organization that persists in the backdrop of Magneto's focus in Genosha. There is anger around her wherever she goes among them, a lingering seething hate. Soon enough she finds the cell of mutants that circle most closely around the twins, people able to point her in the direction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge between Staten Island and Brooklyn. He goes up there to think, they say.

True to their word, he can be found atop one of the towers of the bridge, out of easy sight of the traffic that still passes across the bridge despite the late hour. It's pretty high up, but under the cover of night and with her magnetic powers, it shouldn't really be that difficult for Lorna to get up there and find him.

*

Lorna had been a hot mess as some would say for the past few weeks. Her friends and extended family of the X-men kept coddling her, preventing her from so much as lifting a hand to get anything done. And the Acolytes were hardly better. Though they at least let her train with them. Only her father, it seemed, took her interests and intent with any true measure of seriousness.. it seemed. And Magneto was definitely playing a long game when it came to his daughter.

Worse still, her fiance had left to go to the Cartel. And she had long since fried her phone in a fit of rage.

Her emotions had been unstable since she'd found out she had been responsible for her mother's death.. combined with the fact that she was pregnant.. Lorna was increasingly growing more irritable by the day.

So when she threw caution to the wind and left to New York.. not stopping at the X-mansion for a chat. It was rather abrupt. But what else was left to her?

The green haired mutant didn't bother to disguise herself, though perhaps bundled up as she was against the cold counted for something. Leather jackets weren't so much a thing when it was the snow and ice or a century. The Brotherhood native to the area made Lorna cautious, she'd never much interacted with any of them before. And knowing how fanatical her father's people could be toward their ideals.. It made the hairs on the back of her neck standup. Still, she flew up to the top of the bridge rather than making any poor attempts at climbing, and settled in with a magnetic click of steel on her boots to the surface. Her green eyes scanning the darkness backlit by the traffic below.

"Pietro?"

*

When Lorna arrives to the top of the bridge, it will be to find her older brother already watching her, having heard the shift of wind long before she called his name. The wariness in his eyes and his stance — poised and alert as a spooked stag — make plain he is ready to fly to the wind and disappear in an instant. A lifetime of living as a wanted man — first for the mere fact of his genetics, and then finally for the actual acts he commits — have bred this healthy paranoia.

He only waited long enough to see who it might be. The fact it is Lorna stays him — just barely.

He's dressed warmly enough, but not nearly as much as one might expect, given the storms and extreme cold that have been transpiring lately. Something about his powers, his enhanced physicality and metabolism, must make most physical extremes an afterthought to him… especially given the fact he's still out here, up so high, even in this weather. Granted, the heavy steel of the bridge admittedly forms a shield against most of the wind.

"Here to take a look at the chaos?" he eventually snorts, resting a hand against a cable of the bridge and looking down at the few vehicles. Power is still in the process of being restored across the city… most of the traffic is emergency vehicles of some kind or another, and the city is much darker than usual, lit only in patches. "You needn't have bothered; it's nothing particularly extraordinary. And the weather is certainly nicer in Genosha."

He watches her carefully as he says it. His cold blue eyes, the same color as their father's, track her expressions, taking in her appearance carefully. The drifting snow catches invisibly in his white hair.

*

Dark shadows ringed around her eyes, leaving a permanent smudge of a sign of her sleepless nights. She shifted forward, her steps magnetically charged to keep from accidentally (or purposefully) sent flying over an edge. She went to peer out at the city, and shivered as the wind whipped up to her face and touseled the remains of green hair that poked out from under her heavy knitted cap.

"Just here to talk.." She offered, her voice carried up by the wind as she looked out at the sky line. Her lips pursed together.

"Mutant Town isn't going to get the attention it needs.." The words just as lightly carried as she glanced back to him and exhaled a breath.

"And yeah.. Genosha is certainly better weather. Tropical even. With a chance of sniper fire, Sentinel attack. Just the typical weather.. you know?" Her lips twitched faintly. Her voice dry as she glanced back at him. Her father had said his hair had turned white when his powers manifested. The same as how her own had turned green. She wondered, vaugely, if Pietro's was the same. Though she didn't think magnetism was to blame in his case.

*

Lorna's precautions are perhaps not without merit… though there is little hostile about Pietro's stance or demeanor. Not this time. He watches her with the narrow-eyed look of someone trying to decipher a puzzle, as she comes just a little closer to survey the city herself.

Mutant Town isn't going to get the attention it needs, she says.

"That is what needs to change," he says. Simple, light words to encompass an entire terrorist movement. Light, especially, given the context of what she has seen him and his sister do in the name of pushing change. "For now, we have been giving it our attention. Where, and how, we can."

Her rejoinder about the conditions in Genosha draw a sharp look to discern if she's joking. Whatever he sees in her eyes brings him to roll his own. Turning, he leans back against the steel of the bridge, folding his arms. His harsh profile is tall and knifelike in the dark, its angles cut out sharply by the backlight of the city… a figure built and engineered to run. "I thought it was supposed to be some kind of haven. Clearly you're still working on that."

*

Lorna nodded, seeming some what relieved to hear that the Brotherhood was giving Mutant Town help. She loved the X-men, and Jamie.. but she'd seen the rougher parts of Mutant Town… and with their eyes turned to Genosha. She knew Mutant Town needed the help. If the Brotherhood did it? She didn't particularly care.. A morose thought perhaps, but she shrugged and leaned against the frozen steel of the bridge, folding her arms.

"Genosha is a war-zone. We're fighting against the Magistrates that refuse to leave.. there were over a few hundred Sentinels there when the war started. Now there are…" She looked up, thoughtful. "Less than a dozen. And there are enough attacks during the day that people don't go far. There's this guy.. a mutate that was tortured by the old regime. His name is Zealot.. And he thinks that mutants and foreginers need to go." She shook her head and her expression soured.

"He's blown up ships trying to get into harbor… And I spent Christmas in his reworked prison called the Bastile. You might've heard of it.." She snorted, and grimaced.

"Genosha is far from a paradise or haven yet. We can't even get supplies regularly. And internationally, no one wants to help a island full of mutants.."

*

That vagary stated, Pietro falls silent about what the Brotherhood might or might not be doing. Magneto could likely get any kind of sitrep about the activities of the organization if he wanted, so it is not any attempt at confidentiality that keeps 'Quicksilver' quiet. Just the typical reticence to share too much, of a young man who would only have been hurt for doing so.

He holds that silence as Lorna speaks of the conditions in Genosha. It is not news that Pietro has been following, and the more he hears the less impressed he appears to be. Sentinels, xenophobic rebels, attacks… Lorna being tossed in prison… it all sounds tiresomely familiar to him, and that shows in the impatient frown that cuts across his face.

"And our 'father,'" the quote marks are practically audible, "wants us all to go there? This idea of a nation of mutants, for mutants… it's a nice dream. Maybe it'll even be a nice reality, someday. But it won't solve the basic problem. Those of us with the resources, the proper powers, the money… we can go there. Sure. But there are thousands of mutants who have no choice but to live wherever they happen to live, and they need their rights there. They need to be defended, there. Not on some faraway island."

He exhales, visibly tamping down on the anger that has flared up in his eyes over the course of his words. If nothing else, rage seems to be their common birthright, in this particular family. His gaze turns towards her, suddenly sharp and searching, as he jerks the conversation in a different direction: "Tell me what he is like."

It's obvious who he means. Their supposed father.

*

Lorna listened to Pietro impassively, she'd had the thoughts, the same thoughts he'd had. But she was on a timer now. She had a baby on the way that was most definitely going to be a mutant, if her senses were correct. And Genosha had to secure its borders and have some measure of peace by then. It was raw determination that had her scraping through battles that people didn't want her in. Anger at the system that had tormented so many mutates. She'd seen the scars that haunted those that lived there..

And it angered her to think that the people who had done such actions were just as likely to be going out into the world to do it all again.

Still, she didn't interupt Pietro, and his anger, his words? Rung out just as much as Magneto's. They sounded and looked so damn similar.

She shifted, peering at him as he asked the question about their father. "He looks a lot like you. Blue eyes. White hair. It's part of his mutation. When he manifested." She murmured, "Same anger. He said the same things you did, actually. His goals are not to stop at Genosha and anyone that thinks he will is stupid." She snorted and rolled her eyes.

"He thinks he'll have the island under control in less than two months. And he just might. He's proud of who he is. What he can do.." She sighed and looked out to the horizon beyond.

"He's a manipulator. He's cold. Not much of one for hugs or being attached to anyone. If he's paranoid. He cooks all of his meals himself. He's a good cook by the way.." She folded her arms and leaned over the side to look down.

"He lies.. and he tells the truth.. He.. abandoned me. Knowing I was his and that I was a mutant. He thought he was doing right. He always thinks that what's doing is the right thing."

*

Unaware he is — in looks and words — mirroring a father he does not know, a father he simultaneously despises and idealizes, Pietro lets out some of the frustrations that have dogged his mind about this entire situation. Magneto leaving his Brotherhood. Magneto going to Genosha. The anti-mutant sentiment that sometimes ebbs, but seems continually to rise back up again and again, like some sick tide.

He just cannot get behind the idea of what, to him, seems a pipe dream island paradise. So far as he's concerned, the world will just view Genosha as an easy way to put all mutants in one place, and destroy them all at once. That is the depth of his distrust towards humans… a race which has persecuted and mistreated him since his youngest days. That is the breadth of his skepticism towards Magneto, by whom Pietro felt personally failed when the man left the Brotherhood behind.

So he asks someone who has been in close proximity to the man himself, in recent days: what is he like? And the more Lorna says about their father, the more Pietro struggles to keep control of his expression. Disgust… disbelief. And in very brief and spare flickers, maybe even longing. His folded arms tighten, his head lowering, but it's obvious that overall… it disturbs him to hear Lorna describe all their similarities.

He could continue to speak of their relation as an 'if.' He could stay in denial. But not even Pietro can be in that much denial. Wanda looked into Lorna's mind, and she saw the truth there.

He abandoned me, Lorna says. "Well," he says, "it seems he already had some practice in doing that, by the time he got around to you. And now he wants you back? Wants to see me? My sister?" His eyes narrow, transparently suspicious. "There is some motive."

*

Lorna exhaled a breath, letting silence fall between them as Pietro leaned his head forward. She knew the heavy burdens it all meant, the abandonment. The longing. It was there in her as well. It had been for years and she'd struggled with the shame of feeling that way. The X-men hated Magneto. Full stop. He was a wanted terrorist and a murderer. He was a villain. A bad guy.

And he was her father. Like or not.

And she had been fighting with the loathing and mistrust that came with that from everyone around her. That some day, she might wake up to become just like him. Which scared her. But not as much as the fact that many times, she found herself agreeing with him.

Pietro's words, jarred her out of her thoughts as she looked him over and pursed her lips together. "He says he didn't know about you. I yelled at him. Repeatedly. He claims he has no knowledge of either of you. He offered the invitation to you after that. He wants to meet you and confirm whatever our relations are." Her voice was soft.

"And he didn't want me back. I went. It was an accident that revealed he was my father in the first place years ago. When he resurfaced, I wanted to confront him. Now.." She looked uncomfortable. "Now I have to make Genosha work. I have to get it safe.. and a place for mutants. I'm on a bit of a timer.." She muttered and looked away from Pietro.

"And it's not likely that I can change the whole of America or any other country in another eight months.." Her voice dry.

*

Lacking the connections among the X-Men that Lorna has, Pietro does not share her conflict: that of being the daughter of one of their most longstanding enemies. For him, the troubles are simpler. A young man who grew up with no father, wishing for one, but instead forced too early to shoulder the burdens of caring for both his mother and for his unstable, powerful sister.

Up until the latter's hex fires killed the former. That too, he couldn't prevent.

Lorna tells him Magneto claims no knowledge of either him or his sister. That he purports not to know about either of them. That this invitation is offered out of a desire to meet them and confirm the relations. Pietro is silent a moment, before he barks a laugh and pushes away from the wall, clearly unable to stand still a second longer. He falls into pacing, back and forth, all restless energy. "Maybe he's telling the truth," he shrugs. "Maybe not. You said yourself he lies. About anything and everything. He told you nothing until you forced his hand by going to him."

His head turns sharply. "If I go with you to meet him," Pietro finally says, "it will be alone." He spent his whole life dedicated to protecting Wanda. He will not bring her to such a place as Lorna has just described, with Sentinels and unrest still so prominent.

Her final comment narrows his eyes. There are any number of conclusions he can draw, thoughts flickering visibly through his eyes with unnatural rapidity — his prodigious speed is mental as well as physical — but ultimately he says nothing direct about what he might conclude. He only stops abruptly, his stance setting immovably, his head lifting. All of Magneto's children share certain traits of his, but at the same time there are aspects of him that only appear in one or another of them. For the son, that unique birthright was his distinct arrogance — that singleminded conviction of rightness.

She can't change the whole of America, or any other country. "We mean to," he says. The flicker of scarlet that reflects in his eyes might be a trick of the light, or it might not. "And if we can't, then I can at least repay every single hurt done to us."

*

Lorna nodded, and exhaled a breath. "I thought as much.. That it might be a lie, a ploy.. family isn't his first concern. It's always been his war. His work. He told me as much. Family comes second. But he looked.. he looked honestly shocked when I spoke of you. Of a son. I don't think he can fake that. That well.." She murmured and tucked her hair back into her cap as it flew loose around her.

"I think I've learned something about him in the past few months. He's been.. he's tried to be honest with me, usually after I yell at him and force him to be. For better or worse. He won't lie about something unpleasant to me. I know that now.." She'd killed her mother when her powers manifested and Magneto.. he had told her. He hadn't treated her like a child unable to handle it. Though perhaps, he should've tried to soften the blow.

Pietro's words about coming to Genosha had her pausing, blinking as if she were off balance. She hadn't actually thought he would come. She knew also, that she couldn't use the portal Illyana had used to get Pietro there. Trying to follow Pietro's words was like a mental whiplash as he continued onwards to how he wanted to change the world, or at least repay each hurt. She stared at him, for a heart beat, two. And she felt that same creeping feeling that her father gave her when he spoke of the UN and others as being 'fools'. The arrogance. The confidence in his cause.. She shook herself.

"Alright. You and me it is. Be warned.. his Acolytes are likely to start worshipping you if he tells them you're his son."

*

Family isn't his first concern, Lorna says. Pietro rolls his eyes, and for a moment looks precisely the way any elder brother does, when he's being a complete asshole about a younger sibling having said something painfully obvious. "You think? If all this is true, really true, not some kind of sick joke… when are we going to find the third franchise he started?"

He shrugs off the thought. Doesn't bear thinking about. "Well, whatever. You and me, then. However it is you get out to that godforsaken island. I suppose I just want to see him for myself." It might be bluster to a degree… forced indifference to cover some deeper emotion. Maybe Pietro just has one passing desire to look this man in the eyes. This man who, if all this is true, abandoned him and his sister in favor of his personal crusade, and lifelong obsession.

As far as Lorna's warning. Pietro laughs, half in disbelief, half in derision. Does Magneto really take himself so seriously? Are there really a cabal of people that take HIM so seriously? The man has been a force of nature over the course of his life, certainly, but still… "I think I can handle that," he says, a smirk flickering across his features.

He pauses a moment, as if deliberating whether to care enough to even say what he could say. Eventually he adds, "You said yourself he's a manipulator. Whatever you think you learned about him… maybe that was a lie too."

*

Lorna shrugged lightly, and stepped back from the edge of the bridge to look back at him and nodded, "I went there in the first place to confront him.. Over my mother's death. You see, she died in a plane crash. The wreckage.. was all highly magnetized. I thought he killed her." She blinked back emotion from her voice as she glanced over Pietro. Why was he so easy to talk to? The same anger was in him that boiled in her chest, she supposed. It was someone that might possibly share the pain and longing she did.

Someone to share that burden that she so desperately wanted.

Perhaps it was the poor mental state she was already in.

"Turns it out was me. My powers manifested.. and he found me. Had my powers blocked and the whole thing erased from my mind. Though, a telepath now could bring them out.. He told me that. And I have friends that are telepaths. He didn't want to tell me. But he did.. and I think he was honest." She glanced down at her feet, and tucked her hands into the pockets of her coat.

"Does he lie about his intentions for Genosha? Probably. But I think.. when it comes to family, he does try to be honest at least." She snorted and rolled her eyes to the dark night sky above. Pietro's smirk about the Acolytes had her arching a green eyebrow upwards.

"Yeah well, you're not dealing with them leaving flowers at your doorstep and asking to become the next homo superior power couple on the planet."

*

Pietro says nothing as Lorna reveals why she went to confront Magneto. That she thought the man had killed her mother. Instead, as he claims… it was Lorna's own powers, manifesting, that ripped the plane apart and caused the fatal crash. A glance over at him will show Lorna a Pietro that has finally stopped moving. Both his hands are braced on the guard railing circling the top of the tower, in a hunched, brooding stance alive with tension.

He looks like he knows all too well what it is to lose one's mother in the violent manifestation of powers. It's there in the way he looks simultaneously shaken and furious. "Ah," he says, "so your mother didn't survive, either. How… funny." The way he says it makes plain it's pretty much the farthest thing from being funny.

What she says next, however — that straightens him back up, his head turning to her with a distinct frown. He does try to be honest, Lorna says, but Pietro doesn't look quite like he's buying it. The paranoia coming off him might feel pretty familiar. The fury in his eyes is plain, barely controlled but ever-present. "He erased your memories," he says flatly. "Well, I hope you had your telepath friends verify his story. My first impulse wouldn't be trusting someone who admitted erasing my memories."

He struggles a moment to tamp his anger back down. The cold helps, to a degree, and eventually he exhales a breath. The quip about the Acolytes helps a little, if nothing else. It at least distracts Pietro back into a mode of amused contempt. "Well. That's weird," he judges, because it wouldn't be Pietro if he weren't being judgmental about something or another.

*

Lorna hadn't expected to have this long a discussion with her possible sibling. Never truly expected him to wait as she spoke. Not after their last two meetings. But somewhere, some how, along the way.. that had faded at least between them. The fact that Pietro stopped the continuous thrumming, movement and the alike? Had her watching him with a small furrow in her brows.

His words, about his own mother, had emotion flitting over her features. Thick and heavy and hard to place. But it was the same pain. The farthest from funny it was indeed, but the strangeness of having someone going 'ah, you too'.. was well, it was not what Lorna had been expecting.

To his flat mention of her thoughts on it, she shrugged. "He didn't directly.. but it was all temporary. He said a mutant named Mastermind had been with him at the time.. that he wanted to spare me the knowledge. It's twisted. I know. But.. in his own way he was trying. I'm not saying he's a good father. Far from it. He sucks. I hate him for leaving me to be raised by foster parents my whole life." She hugged her arms around her against the cold.

"But I don't think he lied about it. It gained him nothing. Cept having to deal with me having a melt down in the middle of his military complex.." She glanced back to Pietro as the man quipped about the Acolytes and she snorted.

"You have no idea.. They're obessed. They think he's the mutant messiah. Or some savior of mutants. That he's like a god." She rolled her eyes, hard. Her voice just as dry and contemptous as Pietro's. "They've been worshipping me for years. It's creepy. Not gonna lie. At least those are the ones that like him. There are others that are just a bunch of assholes that want something out it. Bullies that treat even their own kind like shit." Her lips curled.

*

Certainly, something changed between the last time Pietro and Lorna spoke one-on-one. That something was what Wanda saw, when she pulled Lorna's mind apart; what she later shared with Pietro, via the strange mental bond they've forged between them. In Lorna's memories, in her body and blood, were seated too many uncomfortable memories and truths for Pietro to simply downplay and ignore.

It put doubt in him, where previously there was only a derision and a furious denial. What if they truly are related…?

It gives him just enough patience to listen to what Lorna has to say, this time. Enough to even stand still as Lorna speaks of her mother, her loss, and what Magneto did about it all. Pietro's mention of his own mother is brief, and he does not elaborate. He does not look like he has any intention of elaborating, either.

Don't get her wrong, Lorna insists. She hates him for leaving her. He sucks, in fact, a bluntness that flickers a hint of amusement in Pietro's blue eyes, despite himself. "If all this is true," he says, "then he is the worst father." His features briefly betray a look of sardonic, self-directed derision. "Yet there you are, with him. Yet… here I am." Even thinking about talking to him at all.

He shakes his head, dispelling the thought. A look of disbelief crosses his features instead, as Lorna describes the fanaticism of the Acolytes. "Ce pusca mea," he mutters. It sounds like Romanian, one of Transia's primary languages… a reminder of how far-flung the twins' origin is from Lorna's own. "How are they permitted to do that. Harming our own kind should be the worst kind of crime."

He exhales a breath, but for the first time seems to notice her holding herself against the cold. He frowns, as if the thought hadn't occurred to him. "This is enough, for now," he decides, peremptory in the way of a young man used to dictating everything for his sister. Just a different sister. "It's too cold for such prolonged talk." He's probably also, honestly, run out of his limited patience.

*

Lorna's lips twitched faintly, chapped with cold as they were. She burrowed further into her scarf as Pietro mentioned Magneto as being the worst father. He event managed to gain a faint snicker at that. "Yeaah.. he sort of is the worst. We can buy him number one worst dad mugs." She muttered dryly, at least it seemed the two of them had similar dry humor, right? That was something.

Whatever language he spoke though, was lost on Lorna and she nodded. "Well, I did try to kill the man tried it in front of me. He ended up in jail… for a time." Another shiver as the wind whipped up around them and Pietro's mention of standing around in the cold made her teeth rattle all the more. He had a point, and Lorna wasn't in the mood to argue that. Cold was cold. And it was frigid.

"Yeah.. you're right.." She mumbled and stamped her feet to try to warm up and head back down from the top of the bridge. "At least Genosha is warm.."

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