Children of the Magnet

March 08, 2018:

Lorna and Pietro have a chat about Genosha, life, and SHIELD.

Mutant Town

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zealot, Magneto, Wanda, Frenzy, SHIELD, Darcy

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The Twins have been quite busy as of late. Meeting people, forming alliances, making enemies, and most importantly… rallying and coalescing the fragments of the Brotherhood in New York into something resembling a coherent unit again, under their ruling hand and eye.

There are cells which refuse the Twins' call, of course. Those who bear a grudge against Magneto and want nothing more to do with any of his blood, those who found their own leaders to follow, and those who simply don't have the ambition to rise beyond petty gang violence. But these are rare, and those who do not leave the city entirely as a result tend to stay to themselves and not interfere with the Twins' business anyway.

As of late, however, that business seems to have taken itself out of Mutant Town. There's still Brotherhood activity there, of course, but most of the really militant stuff seems to have evaporated, leaving the mutants there to live in relative peace. No one really talks about where it went instead of Mutant Town… there's a lot of tight lips in the neighborhood lately.

The Twins still do move about in Mutant Town on the regular, however, even if they try to keep the messy stuff out of the area now, and Pietro is there today, sitting on the stoop of a particularly rundown building and watching a few mutant children play in an equally dilapidated park across the street. He's not trying to stand out, for once, dressed casually in faded jeans and a hoodie with the hood up to cover his distinctive white hair.

*

Lorna had come from Genosha, anger pushing her steps forward through the portal and down from Westchester. She had packages to pick up in Mutant Town anyways from Pepper. The green haired mutant had also taken the time to try to track down where her siblings might be. She wanted to know how many more of the warehouses were on the list that they hadn't hit were.. Among other things.

Tight lipped as people were, she also knew who to talk to. Now after a few times of tracking down her siblings, she had an idea how to go about it.

The leather of her boots creaked as she moved up the steps and slumped down beside Pietro where he sat on the stoop of the run down building. She wore a leather jacket, pierced through with bits of metal and cheap rings and necklaces of nickle and steel. It was still chilly out, and she tucked her hands into her pockets.

"Hey."

*

Pietro notices his half-sister's approach, but doesn't immediately react even when she walks up and slumps down next to him. In fact, the reason he doesn't react is because he recognizes her. If he hadn't, he would have responded long before she got close.

As it is, it's a few moments after Lorna makes her greeting that his answering, "Hey, yourself," comes from the depths of his hood. He pulls it back afterwards, letting his shock of white hair free — no point in hiding it now.

There's no indication of where Wanda is, but she must be close by if he's here and actually sitting still. There's plenty about his demeanor that suggests a man on guard. Perhaps she's resting, or at work upon something, and he's keeping an eye out. He doesn't say.

What he does say is, "You get your man in Genosha yet?"

*

Lorna smiled faintly at her half brother, propping her chin up with her hand as she heaved a sigh. Her gaze swinging toward the street before them and settling on some distant point across the street as if it were more important than watching Pietro out of the corner of her eye. Where ever Wanda was, she didn't comment on it. Though there seemed to be only further relaxing of her shoulders when it became apparent her half sister wouldn't be making an appearance.

"We did." She reached up to drag her hands through her hair. "I should've killed him when I had the chance." She muttered, anger flaring in the twist of her lip and in her green eyed gaze.

"The X-men want to hand him to SHIELD, as does Stark. They said that if Genosha wants to be treated on the world's stage like a nation, then I have to play by their rules. Even if those assholes don't." She growled and crossed her arms, sitting back against the step behind her.

*

Though Pietro exposes his face, he doesn't immediately turn it towards Lorna. The fading light off the setting sun cuts his profile into harsh relief. The lines of his features are so much like their father's. It's been of assistance in dealing with the Brotherhood, though Pietro would say that in every other respect of his life it's mostly just been a curse, so far.

I should have killed him when I had the chance, Lorna says of Zealot. Pietro finally looks at her, his blue eyes measuring. "Why didn't you?" he asks bluntly.

The news the X-Men and Stark want to hand the man to SHIELD draws a snort. Pietro looks away again, but not before a distinct flicker of rage is visible in his eyes. "Of course they want to," he says. "In so doing, they get the glory, they get the hostage, they get to undercut you and our dear father. Why not? It's a winning situation for them all around. Make no mistake, SHIELD doesn't have our best interests at heart. They lie for a living."

He picks up a shard of broken concrete, the object knifelike in his hand, turning it over and over in his hands in a restless movement. "You want to know what they're saying, doing this?" He's clearly going to explain to her, regardless of if she wants it or not. "They're saying your little nation only gets sovereignty if it's on their terms. They control you. They're the ones on top. Sound familiar?"

*

Lorna pursed her lips, "Because I hesitated at killing a man that was unconcious. Bad habit, I know." She muttered, and grimaced, huffing a breath as she stretched her legs out before her and shifted on the cool stone step that was her seat. Everything cramped so these days, it was unfair.

"And I let people talk me out of it. Worse habit.." She muttered and glanced his way, watching the profile of her half brother. It was odd, almost uncanny valley, the way that their father and him looked so alike.

"I know they're an organization of spies. They don't care to help Genosha, and don't give a shit about us. There's even a good chance that should it suit them, they'll use Zealot as a weapon. Experiment on him further and use what the Genoshan did to him on others. Use him against us beyond the political power." She wrinkled her nose and exhaled a breath, dragging her hands through her hair and shaking it out.

"They want to have a press conference. There was mention of putting me front and center, because I'm so much more approachable than Magneto." She sneered the last part. "Low bar there.."

*

Pietro is silent in the wake of Lorna's clarification on why she didn't kill Zealot. His lack of pressing the issue reveals one critical difference between him and his father, no matter how alike they look physically; there are some levels of ruthlessness Magneto plunged into long ago, which his son has yet to dare. Extremism, sure. Terrorism and violence, sure. Abstract things are easy.

Executing a helpless man on the floor in front of you, that's a little harder.

"I'd have hesitated," he admits. "But it's plain why they wanted to talk you out of it. I have no doubt they only want him to experiment on him to augment their own arsenal. It would be quite in line with their modus operandi. Well — SHIELD will get what it coming to it. Spies always do."

He glances at her, at that last part. "If you're going to listen to anyone, the X-Men would be low on my list. SHIELD even lower. The former, sanctimonious appeasers… the latter, liars and frauds. Are they the ones who want to put you in front of the press?" His mouth draws into a hard line. "Do you enjoy being used like that?"

*

A long, drawn sigh pulled from Lorna's lips as she watched her brother, seeming at least to feel better that he would've hesitated too. That he didn't think her weaker for it. It helped, somewhat, after dealing with situtation on Genosha with those there. Small favors. It was funny, caught between the X-men and her father's people, she couldn't seem to fit well enough on either side to please anyone.

"The X-men suggested it, to give me more political power. To offer people an option other than our illustrious father. Which, funny enough, he likes to use me for similar reasons. I make him seem more human. Less terrifyingly God like. It makes it easier for him to rule. I went to Genosha knowing he'd use me. I offered him that, to use the political advantages I'd offer.. Because I wanted to truth out of him. I wanted … so much that sounded like a good idea at the time.." She snort and rolled her eyes.

"And now I do it because I hope that it'll help me make a future for my kid. Pretty damn lame when I say it out loud.." She crossed her arms, her voice dry and unamused with her own confession.

"Have you hit any other warehouses?"

*

At the end of the day, neither sibling can confess an ease to the idea of murder of a helpless man in cold blood. Perhaps it's why, Magneto ultimately has so much trouble and disappointment with his brood. He would do anything, absolutely anything, for his crusade… but his children, to a one, all have their various lines they cannot or will not cross. Not even for the cause Magneto so loves.

Pietro listens as Lorna explains the X-Men suggested she front the press conference. "And do you think you have any political power?" he asks bluntly. "Do you think you're actually gaining any ground in making anything better? Seems to me you're just being used from all angles. And especially by our father."

He turns the shard of concrete over in his hands, before flicking it away. "One thing I knew, from the moment I saw him," he starts, staring at the steps below them, "…however much we want, whatever we want, he's not going to be able to give."

Her question about the warehouses turns his head. "No," he answers. "We've hit enough that we have to cool it off, to avoid drawing too much heat. Do you need it? I assumed Stark would have bungled something through somehow, by now."

*

A shrug and Lorna pressed a hand against her lower stomach in thought, a pose that was increasingly becoming more and more natural to her as time progressed. A loom date approaching ever nearer. A baby. Another political tool that Magneto would doubtlessly use as much as he tried to use his children. She knew it, and she frankly couldn't care.. not if it mean her child had a chance. A better chance than she did. And unlike their father.. Lorna wasn't willing to abandon her kid.

Perhaps that was what tied his children together in more ways than one. That sad string of abandonment, of loss.. Magneto hadn't been around even in the faintest of senses. And now it was barely presence in their adult lives.

"I have political swing within the bounds of Genosha. I'm on the council and there are more factions in Genosha than just Magistrates and mutates. Some like the X-men. Some like Magneto. Some dislike everyone.. but as far as making things better? Only what I have done with my hands. Though I managed an alliance with Atlantis.. possibly. We'll see. And thanks to you, Stark." Her lips twisted as she watched her brother as he chucked the shard of concrete.

The topic of their father had her turning her gaze away, staring down as she leaned forward, folding her hands and settling her arms on her thighs. She didn't continue to comment on it. What ele was there to say? She knew well that her father wasn't ever going to be the man she so desperately wished him to be. That their relationship would never be what she wanted it to be. What they both wanted.

"Good, it's not worth it. My intel.. it's compromised, I think. My source.. she vanished from The Spire a few days ago. I have yet to find her. Security said she got into a black SUV. It wasn't a hovercraft. So it's not from Genosha." She muttered, her lips twisting.

*

Barely a presence in their adult lives, indeed… except perhaps to use them for his own ends. Pietro had smelled that quite early. He himself is still caught between the usual two patterns that the eldest sons of powerful men always fall into: on the one hand, a sneaking desire to live up to the father's expectations, to make him proud… and on the other hand, a desire to reject the father, strike off, and create his own legacy far from the sire's shadow.

That Pietro has gone off to put his claws into the abandoned Brotherhood, in specific, probably says a lot about his psyche on the matter. Magneto abandoned them both. Yet still, sometimes, even the son has to wonder if it might be possible to have any relationship with his father…

Her talk of the factions on Genosha, and her efforts there, hood his eyes. "It's only ever what we do with our own hands," he says. "When you rely on others is when they fail you." At least, the mention of his and his sister's hand in sending Stark puts a brief moment of humor on his face. "It was something we could do," he says. "And it amused me." The second part is clearly the important part to him.

But news they shouldn't proceed further on any SHIELD raids brings him to frown. Her source was taken from the Spire by a black SUV. Pietro's frown deepens. "SHIELD must have caught up with her," he says. "It's not an easy business, passing information on the world's top spy org. I would have thought she'd keep a farther distance from the center of her handiwork."

*

+MEET: Pietro Maximoff has arrived via +meet.

*

Lorna wasn't entirely sure how to process being her father's daughter, she never had been, and she'd had years. Pietro and Wanda were like a balm to the spirit by comparison. She had never been interested in picking up her father's legacy, in picking up the pieces of what he'd left behind in the Brotherhood. Not like Pietro and Wanda had done.

A faint smile traced at her lips at her half sibling's response about building with their own hads. "You haven't failed me yet, how about that? Those supplies were just what we needed after dealing with the Magistrates. And you sent Tony my way, amusement on your behalf or not. It helped. And you helped our kind immensely." She murmured, but the smile faded as the conversation continued and her expression pinched.

"It's my fault. I asked her to come with me to Genosha. She was the official spy for SHIELD on the X-men. And some how she proved her loyalty to me. More than any human ever has tried to do. She put her life on the line for the mutants and mutates of Genosha.. and now she's been taken to some hole where I'll never find her.." Her lips twisted and she exhaled a rough breath.

"I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to fling apart anything I can.. the other part me… knows it would damage the reputation I'm trying to build in Genosha."

*

The thing for the Twins is that taking control of the Brotherhood was never entirely about assuming their father's legacy. For Wanda, it was no such thing at all; for Pietro, it was perhaps only a piece of the reason why, and probably had more of a flavor of 'doing better than his father.' Ultimately, their reasons to take up the Brotherhood, to fight and give succor to their own kind, were about their own experiences as children, and what they had decided never to suffer again after the third time humans tried to murder Wanda for existing.

That bone-deep motivation rests behind his eyes and informs his answer to her next words. Humor flickers in his gaze as he glances at her. "Well," he says, "yes, of course I haven't failed. I do not make it a habit to. Someone not me would have botched it, and then where would our people be? Still starving and sleeping in the streets." His gaze loses some of that amusement. "It's always about our kind, Lorna. Everything that we do. They need all the help they can get."

He drifts into narrow-eyed silence as she moves topic, however. His quick mind picks over what she has to say about her source of intel, a line between his brows deepening as he pulls apart the information. "Your source? A SHIELD employee? I didn't know that. Turned traitor, did she?" He glances away again, at the children across the street. "I'm surprised she lasted even this long. She should have taken herself far away from Genosha and from you before she leaked anything that would have left a trail back to the island. SHIELD had a base in Carrion Cove. Assuredly, their eyes were everywhere beyond that. Those pieces aren't difficult to put together."

He lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "Lessons for the next time. Should there be one." As far as what to do?

"What is best for our kind, Lorna," he says, his voice quiet. "You do something that makes you someone who can't be taken seriously, you'll set things back too far."

*

Lorna heaved a soft sigh, shifting to settle her figure back against the stone of the stairs behind her. She grimaced, turning her gaze upwards to the sky briefly. It was so strange, how similar and how different the twins and the motivations she had. How similar their lives had been in some ways, and yet completely different in others. She tucked a stray piece of green behind an ear, glancing side long at her half brother.

"The medical supplies have been sorely needed most. The Magistrate's attacks injured a lot of people. There are mutates that can heal things, but there's only so much to go around." She murmured and bit back a sigh as she sat up again.

"She was a SHIELD employee.. told me where warehouses were after she'd seen the crisis in Genosha. She's… one of my best friends. She saved our father too, when the old regime was in power. It's why he let her do as she pleased there. I thought she'd be safer there than else where. Who in their right mind takes someone right from under his nose?" She rolled her eyes, grimacing as she settled her arms over her middle.

She seemed to think over his words for a long while, about doing something to be taken seriously.. Lorna had tried to hard, for so long, to be seen as something other than her father. Someone better, not as 'crazy', not as 'evil', or otherwise.. Her hands folded and unfolded as she thought, her lips pursed together. "I'm trying to make sure our kind has a home.." Her eyes slipped shut briefly, "And to keep those I care for safe. That's all.."

*

Other men, men who aren't Pietro, might be tempted to rest on their laurels on hearing of the positive effect they've had for the beleaguered mutates of Genosha. An effect he fully intended to provide aid and help to the hurting mutants, for all his flippant words about only doing it for personal amusement. "If there's now somewhere safe for them to go, and basic supplies to feed them and treat their wounds," Pietro says, "then it was worth it."

He looks down at his own hands, lacing long fingers together, clearly restless. "It might be for the best she was just taken away in a car, without blood. You know SHIELD's reputation. I don't think they would have been above sniping her outright if they caught her leaking their secrets."

He clearly has a low opinion of SHIELD… though in one respect, at the least, he gives them credit. Who dares take someone right from under Magneto's nose? "SHIELD does," Pietro says. "Especially when it's one of their own rogue employees. They have their own reputation to uphold, too, don't they? They'd be rather toothless if they let their agents run about making fools of them." His eyes narrow. "Besides, Father isn't king of the world, much as he might wish to be, and he can't tackle SHIELD alone, no matter how those Acolytes mill about calling him God."

He exhales a breath, then stands. He seems to have reached his limit for sitting still. "There are a few paths to ensure 'our kind has a home,'" he says bluntly. "Consider that some courses of action make you look much more our father's daughter than others. I know what Wanda and I are willing to do to ensure our kind has a home, and what the nature of that home should be."

He sounds confident. But he's tellingly nonspecific.

*

Lorna watched her half sibling as Pietro stood, not entirely ready to get up, her feet hurt. Standing was annoying in Mutant Town, mostly because she didn't dare levitate here in New York—this wasn't Genosha after all. But she rose slowly, after a moment with a grimace on her lips, and her hands settling to rub at the nape of her neck that ached.

"There's a stable medical facility now. And with Zealot out of the picture, no more massive attacks. We can rebuild and expect it to stay built. Less horrible injuries as well." She smiled weakly, and glanced around the crumbling street they were on. It made her smile fade again, her expression pinched. It wasn't right, that people were forced to live in the slums here as they were.

Her gaze swung back though to Pietro as he spoke and she shoved her hands into her pockets. "We tried legal routes and we were ignored. SHIELD didn't care, they seem to talk a ton about being big on mutant rights, and then don't lift a finger when it counts." She sneered, shaking her head, green locks flying.

"She cared, and she was there for me. The only human I've ever met that has been there like that. And I've let her down. She's likely hidden away in some hole where I'll never find her." Maybe being tortured to get every secret out of her that she'd learned while in Genosha. While hanging out with the X-men. Everything Darcy had never put into a report… Her teeth clicked against the other, her hands curling into fists inside the pockets of her jacket. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Do not lose your temper and take out Mutant Town.

"I'll do whatever it takes to make sure our kind has a home. That we have a future." Her gaze turned down at the cement at her feet, her eyes narrowing faintly. "I'm bad at doing nothing. Drives our father up the wall, we have lovely arguments. I'm pretty sure its why all the furniture in my room is wooden." She drawled, trying and struggling to force a lightness to her words. To not lose herself to that consuming, raw, anger and self loathing.

It was hard.

*

Maybe Pietro notices his half-sister's struggle, because halfway into her attempt to get up, a strong hand grasps her wrist and pulls her up with minimal effort. He regards her a moment, blue eyes as cool as their father's could ever be — forming an odd contrast to his gesture — and then he lets her go. He turns away, leaning on the railing of the steps, looking off down the streets.

He's regarding the same slums she is, with much the same sentiment as her, save for one major difference: the quiet fury that smokes in his eyes as he watches children running through the dilapidated streets, dodging broken glass and filth. He probably sees his own childhood. "Rebuild there, if you want. I suppose it doesn't hurt anything, creating a place where our kind can flourish. But my focus is here, on these people. On keeping things from getting worse for them in this country."

As for SHIELD? "They talk," he says. "Wanda and I waited, and there was no action. We've run out of patience to wait. We're back to relying only on ourselves. I'm certain now they just lied for the press. What else would one expect of spies?"

He falls silent, after that. There is a flicker of discomfort to hear Lorna talk this way about a human, though he doesn't say anything. "If you're determined to do whatever it takes to preserve Genosha," he says instead, "you're stuck playing the politics. Either that, or you assault SHIELD, and they will respond in kind if you do. They're an anti-terrorism organization… and our lovely father is the definition of terrorist, no matter what new stripes he's put on. They'll rip down your new stability… everything you built."

He shakes his head. "Of course, it's still your choice to make."

*

Lorna's expression flickered with shock when her brother helped her up, though it warmed into a smile and a softly worded thanks as she righted herself the rest of the way and he let go. Her gaze landed on him then, green eyebrows furrowing faintly as she watched him watching the dirty and broken street as she had moment's before.

"Someone needs to be here to make sure that they can get out if it doesn't get better. If that registration law passes.." She pursed her lips and shook her head. She didn't have to say what might come next. What the natural progression of such hatred and laws combined often led to.

Genocide.

Pietro and Wanda would have to be here to fight it, to save people that couldn't protect themselves. Genosha needed to have a place for people if that happened. Of course, her father believed it to be fact of life that it would happen.. He'd told her more or less that before.

Her grimace twisted again, anger flickering in her gaze that was hot and impassioned.. but still stifled in comparison to her half sibling's. It was that leash, that collar born of 'morals' and fear for the consequences that the humans and organizations like SHIELD might reign down on her and those she cared about. How easy it would be to throw it all away and burn all that she'd worked for to try to save Darcy.. to let her anger and rage take her… And how hard it was to stay her hand and play that political game that Darcy had helped her to understand.

"They deserve far more than they'll ever get." Her voice tight, and she stepped down to pat Pietro on the arm. Shame flickered in her gaze, that she would step away from that anger, and play what she saw as a coward's role.. It hurt and stole her breath and voice.

"I've got a few packages to pick up, and I should be heading back. Say hi to Wanda and to Frenzy for me, yeah?"

*

Pietro snorts as Lorna mentions someone needs to be here for the mutants here as well, if the registration laws pass. "Don't have to tell me that, yes? It's been a long fight here, and uphill, with shortsighted fools harrying Wanda and I the entire way. Or refusing us their backing. If they'd just come out of their comfortable castles and lend their help…"

He shakes his head, resting his folded arms on the railing, his lean frame mantled over it as he watches the street. "But that's neither here nor there. You worry about Genosha. We'll worry about this."

His advice given on the matter of Genosha, of Darcy, of SHIELD, he lapses into a moody quiet. Angry as Lorna is, her brother bears the same kind of smoldering lifelong fury that drove their father through his own long and violent life. It shows in the tension of his stance, the fixed quality of his stare; the way he looks not unlke a chained hound on a leash. He'd have gone for countless throats long before this, if not for the moderating hand of his twin leashing his more rash ideas.

They deserve far more than they'll get, Lorna says. Her touch on his arm seems to surprise him as much as his earlier assistance surprised her, but he doesn't push it off, and his demeanor calms. "I mean to see that they get what they deserve," he says. "It will take time. But Wanda helps me wait."

Lorna's farewells bring him to straighten up, finally, his right hand left resting on the railing. "Yeah," he says. "I should be going. Wanda will be finished by now." Her request draws a nod. "I'll tell them. I'd tell you to say hi to our father for me, but…" He laughs, amused at the very idea, before he shoves his hands in his pockets and turns to walk away.

*

Lorna smiled weakly as Pietro went on about continuing the fight here in the States. Lorna had long since given up any hope that she could change the opinion's of those in power. The government, the hate groups, and the masses would linger. It just happened that her half siblings were stirring up the hornet's nest. But that argument too had died. Her siblings might be drawing more public out cry against mutants, but it was there. It had been there. And it would continue to be there. Hatred didn't go away, not that kind of hatred. It changed, evolved. It waited.

History had proven that time and again. Or perhaps, she'd been in Genosha too long. It was possible, though she'd never admit it out loud. That her father's careful hesitance to lecture her, was winning more and more of those internal arguments by the day. She knew it was his ploy, that he was manipulating her to keep her close.. but those thoughts had always been there.

"I know saying 'Be careful' is an oxymoron with you both, but I still mean it. And.. good luck." Her lips pursed again, it was too much to repeat herself. 'Make them pay' though was in her expression, and she knew that Pietro and Wanda meant to do just that. A few months ago, even a few weeks ago, and she'd have never said as much. Now, however, her hands were tied, and she was angry. Darcy was missing, and she wanted someone to pay for it. Pietro's promise would have to be good enough.

"I'll tell him regardless. Who knows, it might make him laugh again." She called after her half brother as he turned and walked in the opposite direction she herself departed in.

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