From One World to the Next

April 22, 2018:

Owen Mercer, on the hunt for more information about Trask and his collars, finds his path leading to the Brotherhood… which is led by a pair of very familiar faces. Some deals are very uncomfortably made.

Mutant Town, NYC

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Danielle Moonstar, Tony Stark, Jessica Jones

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's not that Owen thought it would be easy to break his minor heroin habit, but he did manage to forget exactly how hard it would be. He has two main weapons in his arsenal, first the daily trip to the methadone clinic that Waller setup and second as many distractions as he can possibly fill his day with FAR AWAY from Gotham. So he's been busying himself with working at Stark's towers and his latest game of trying to lose his apparently newly gained tail of Danielle Moonstar while pretending he hasn't noticed her. But it's his time at Stark's that brought this Trask business to his attention.

And so he quietly began looking into it. Owen is almost certain that Waller has her finger in this pot somewhere, it seems to close to her cold dead heart to not be involved. The control of super powered beings is number 2 on Amanda's life goals, #1 obviously being the baddest boss bitch anyone has ever seen. So Owen starts using his contacts, such as they are, to try to find out about Trask and ways to get more information. It doesn't take long for the real story of what happened to one of the facilities to start leaking. So apparently something called the Brotherhood has already started the resistance against these corporate genetic fascists. Now who does Owen need to talk to about that…

"ARE YOU SHITTING ME?!?!"

A few days later, once Owen can even consider facing his alternate reality royal masters, he begins to put out feelers in Mutant Town. It doesn't take long for him to find the right people to talk to, especially as Owen is happy to pass as a mutant. Funny how claiming 'perfect aim' as a mutant ability isn't questioned even when your aim is just good, not perfect. Regardless it doesn't take too long for Owen to be given a time and a place.

And so he finds himself trying to door to the closed coffee shop, which should be locked at this time of night but as was indicated has been left open. So, Owen let's himself in, dressed casually but with more than a few weapons on his person. He has carefully cased the place as best as possible, but knows that it was chosen not for his benefit, but the Brotherhood's.


And as Owen reaches for the doorknob of the unlocked establishment he soon finds the space filled with the tall form of a woman. Imposing to most people thanks in part to her height, her physique and most importantly the expression upon her face. It's closed-off, locked down and stern. It's the Bruiser of the Brotherhood, Lieutenant to the Twins, and here she is, acting as gatekeeper.

Her sharp gaze sweeps the similarly tall man and with a dip of her chin she says, "Weapons." And while some might consider that word of hers as a question - like do you have weapons on you? - it really isn't. It's a command and that command is punctuated as she holds a hand out.

"Or I can frisk you. Your choice." Comes her deadpan delivery as she waits to see how the man responds to this first challenge.


"Oh." That's not a Maximoff. And it's also not anyone Owen knew in his other life. His eyes travel up and down Frenzy's large frame, clearly assessing the the threat and how to respond. His answer to her command of 'Weapons' is to reply honest. "Many. And I would love a good frisking from a strong sexy lady such as yourself.. but I'm afraid I don't have the time to properly allow it. I'm assuming Petey don't like waiting much."

Instead of making her frisk him, he lays out his side piece, a large dagger from his boot, and no fewer than a dozen folded boomerangs on a table next to him. Where does he even keep those? It's like a secret no one is trying to find out.

"So is this where he breezes in and makes some withering comment about wasting his time, before making googly eyes at his sister?"

If Owen is smart enough to show respect for Frenzy's leaders' it certainly isn't showing yet.


His initial remarks bring forth a vague tilt of her head. It's not often people sass at her, especially new acquaintances, and it's enough to bring forth a small mote of humor to her brown eyes. There also might be a slight betraying twitch to a corner of her mouth to show the amusement she initially feels.

"Pretty sure you couldn't handle me." She says, still in that flat delivery of hers, her attention split between the man and the weaponry he produces. Her eyebrows rise at the sight of the boomerangs and while the question is there, she doesn't necessarily ask about his choice of arms. Not when he speaks again and not when he offers that slight to the Twins.

Once more Frenzy's expression twitches, though this time its a battle between automatic anger, but also surprise. Thankfully, for Frenzy, she focuses on the anger (because no one wants to focus on the mention of googly eyes, no one), "I will only give this warning once - speak respectfully and politely to them, if not I'll rip you in half."

And with that casual promise of violence given, the woman turns and escorts the man within. "Lucky for you the Twins are finished early with their other business. They can see you now."


"Let him in, Frenzy," calls a voice from around the corner, deeper in the actual coffee shop proper. A familiar voice — in timbre, if not necessarily in tone. "I'd like to get this done." Check one off the list for Owen.

Proceeding into the actual establishment, the senses are immediately hit with the strong scent of coffee. While it's not exactly out of the ordinary for a coffee shop to smell of coffee, for it to smell so strongly at these grey hours of the night is unusual, and the reason why becomes clear as Frenzy and Owen turn the corner.

The establishment is clearly shuttered for the evening, all the chairs upturned onto all the tables, save for one table near the center of the space. Three chairs have been set around it, and absolutely none of them are currently occupied.

This is because Pietro is at the counter, his back to the entering duo, absorbed in making coffee in the Romanian fashion. It seems to involve a pot and a great deal of stirring. There is little about him that calls to mind the regnal air he wore in that other reality where he and Owen first 'met.' The face is the same, the features, many of the physical tics, but the body language of this 'Pietro Maximoff' has a rough, shrewd caginess to it that speaks more of 'uplifted street rat' than it does of prince. The well-worn street clothes and casual way he perches in a seat on the countertop only adds to that impression.

He glances over his shoulder, as the coffee cools. Sharp blue eyes absorb Owen in a glance. "…Have we met before?" he wonders, with a momentary frown… before he shakes his head, slipping down from his perch to a stand. "Well, you wish to talk Trask. Here we are." As usual, it will probably be up to Wanda to make the niceties.


None of the three chairs are occupied — but the tabletop certainly is.

All along its surface sprawls the Scarlet Witch, dressed all in red from her gauzy dress to her strappy heels, every inch of her left to sprawl haphazardly, her legs crossed, her dark hair dangling off the table edge in long, inky waterfall.

As one twin sees to coffee preparation, the other loses herself to somewhere far away — distance in her eyes and vacancy in her expression. Somewhere between realities, retreats the witch, her bland, blood-red eyes gazing up at the empty air before her, watching in its nothingness the things only she can see.

One of her long-fingered hands moves, gliding back-and-forth not unlike some maestro conducting an imaginary symphony, wrist tilting and fingers curling in strange, complex geodesics. With the arch of her pinky, she Bernoulli's spirals some gesture that seems to make no sense to anything but her madness.

It seems some things, between this world and that dreaming, never change.

For the longest time, it seems not even Owen's arrival — guided in by Frenzy — breaks Wanda from her reverie. The witch absorbs herself on and on —

Until Mercer speaks, and her red eyes slide over, their lenses sharpening with sobriety. Wanda Maximoff, no longer a princess, stares at him with a cat's curiousity. The sensation of deja vu is here and there, but even more compelling than that is his spiritual shape: imprinted with something beyond the limits of this reality.

"Who are you?" asks Wanda, with some hesitation.


At Frenzy's disbelief in his ability to handle her Owen raises his eyebrows and replies, "But I bet it'd be awfully fun to fail at." His flirting nothing more than a nervous tick at this point. At the warning about speaking respectfully he non-replies. "I feel like I've given some version of that speech more times than I can count." Specifically he gave some version of that to the other Nate Grey once.

'Have we met before?' The question sends an odd shiver down Owen's spine. Nothing about the tone is threatening, but remembering the feeling of being so at the mercy of the whims of another version of this man still manages to chill Owen's blood. A slight smirk falters only briefly on his face though, not wanting to give any unease away. But then Wanda chimes in and he can feel his heart drop. His pulse speeds up and he has to swallow to find his voice.

"Me? I'm Captain Boomerang." Owen takes a step in, trying to find some of his normal swagger. But goodness if the two of them don't throw him off, much like Danielle now does. It especially doesn't help that Wanda appears to be the same space case and he's guessing Pietro still has plenty of speed to eviscerate him in the blink of an eye. But whatever, these are hardly the first dangerous people he's dealt with, and he's still living. It'll be fine.

"Yer the Maximoffs. Some of my /favorite/ people right now on account of this Trask nonsense. I have no interest in seeing this succeed for a wide variety of reasons. But I was hoping to find out some of what you know and maybe coordinate some efforts to derail them."


While Frenzy is neither an empath or a telepath, or psionic in nature, but something about the man is setting off warning bells within her head.

It's what causes her to stick close to him, versus simply falling back into her proscribed rule of protective shadow. One that typically has her next to the Twins, or at least within arms-length of them.

Automatically, when the man speaks, Frenzy's gaze momentarily leaves his form to check on Pietro and Wanda. She looks at brother and sister and when she finds them whole and healthy, Frenzy's gaze returns to Owen.

The mention of being Captain Boomerang earns another twitch of her expression, but other than that Joanna's thoughts are mostly guarded.

The mention of Trask brings a slight shift from Frenzy, as she crosses her arms with that name being said.


The way Pietro studies Owen probably doesn't help that sense of unease. His rapidfire perceptions obviously absorb every tic and expression, thoughts racing behind those sharp eyes. Not everything about Pietro is the same between realities, but Owen's phantom years lived in constrained obedience — even if only in another world — are not easily forgotten from the soul, and in this version of 'Quicksilver' lingers that same, remembered potential for demanding cruelty. It must be in the blood; it is not a secret that in this world, the twins were sired from the same father as they were in the other.

Eventually his study of Owen relents, Pietro's attention drawn like clockwork towards his sister as she speaks up. Pietro takes the coffee and pours, just one cup for now, and obviously for Wanda; he touches his sister lightly on the shoulder afterwards, guiding her to sit up with a chiding, herding air.

Even as he does this, he's obviously listening to Owen's reply. His introduction of himself as Captain Boomerang draws half a laugh from Quicksilver before the mutant can repress it. It dwindles to a smirk, blue eyes flicking back towards Owen. "So we haven't met," Pietro says, sardonic. "I would have remembered a name like that."

He sobers slightly as this 'Captain Boomerang' gets down to business, his features chilling as Owen speaks of them now being some of his 'favorite' people. His coldness is when he most strongly resembles the version of him Owen first came to know… that familiar arrogant way he has of staring down in measuring judgment, weighing others and perpetually finding them… lacking.

Still, there is a flicker of interest in his eyes, here and now, to moderate that.

"We are free with the information," Pietro says frankly, "to anyone who opposes registration and has a desire to see Trask put to the torch. To coordinate, we must know more about you." He leans forward, bracing his arms on the countertop, head tilting. "What can you do? What are you willing to do? We have a few of these collars. They are being reverse-engineered, even now. We have a standing commitment to the destruction of his other facilities, wherever we find them."


If anything breaks Wanda's gaze, it's Pietro Maximoff's mantling, dominanting presence. Eclipsed by her brother, she sprawls placidly in his shadow, her red eyes gazing patiently up at his gift of coffee.

After a beat, a smile unwinds across her mouth.

She yields to the touch on her shoulder, and obedient as ever, folds herself back up to sit, upright once again with a shake of her head to settle the heavy mass of her hair behind her shoulders. It is a surprising transformation the Scarlet Witch takes, looking from spoiled, lazy housecat, to someone much more assembled and composed, completing the picture with her crossed ankles and a quick, indulging sip of her coffee.

Made to her preference, every time.

Wanda leans in to kiss a thank-you to Pietro's cheek.

Then, simple as that, she slips down to stand, taking her cup of coffee along with, letting it trail steam that dissipates into the air as the witch decides to take a slow, lazy, meandering walk. Straight towards Owen Mercer.

"It's not often we are someone's favourite people," she says, her voice as warm as her coffee in hand, and her red eyes slant briefly towards Frenzy as she steps past. Wanda slips the Brotherhood's enforcer a smile.

Then her attention favours Owen again, looking him up and down, the tips of her teeth playing at her bottom lip. "The shape of your soul…" she begins, her voice creeping free like a slow infection, "there is a —"

Wanda pinches two fingers together as if to gesture it out. Then, light-footed and nimble, slips around to cross into the blind spot at his back, with that unnerving pull of someone standing too close. "A kink. You must not unravel knots that way. Always frays the threads…"


Something about Frenzy's stance causes Owen to take another look at her and then something akin to recognition dawns on him. Jessica's attack. Fuck! His eyes snap back to the twins and he shakes his head for not having put that together sooner. He knew there was possible involvement he wasn't going to like but he didn't expect one he personally cared about. That whole having people he cares about thing really sneaks up on a guy. Whatever, business first, sending millions of volts through Frenzy's body and whispering sweet nothings will have to come second.

Pietro's glares is met with a small smile. The smile of a man who isn't beholden to the silver haired speedster of this world. Someone who is here of his own free will for once. "Well. For starters, I oppose registration. But even if my catchy and oh-so on the nose moniker didn't ring a bell, I'm a guy who knows people. Morally flexible people. Specifically I have access to the unternet." Yes, there is a criminal internet built for the sole purpose of allowing villains to trade information, hire discretely and basically operate online off the grid.

And then Wanda is approaching him and Owen slows and even draws back a bit. Her eyes see in to him and his narrow, as if attempting the same trick without any of the ability to back it up. But he watches her intently, looking to see how warped her mind may be here. He swallows as she starts to speak, again feeling an almost panic rising in his chest as he can only remember the other world, and it's end, which started with her. "Glad to see you are as unnerving and cryptic as. … they say, Princess." Stupid honorific slips out from years of practice. Owen's eyes flick to Pietro, and he hurries to change the subject back to business before Wanda pulls this reality down by sheer force of crazy.

"Back to what I was saying. The unternet is a wonderful place where one might find some help in this regard. Because as much as I am large fan of blowing shit up, it would seem to me that a specialist in corporate espionage might be able to acquire their data, their schematics, their research and bottle that up to hold it hostage. Then you can take their money, flip 'em off and go back to each other's loving embrace laughing all the way." His pitch isn't rushed. It's metered out, and he resists the urge to try to see where Wanda has gone. He already feels naked around her, even with the gear he's still wearing and the black seemingly innocuous gloves on his hands.


Oh yes, Frenzy is definitely that woman who attacked Jessica Jones.

And as Pietro and Wanda speak, the Bruiser of the Brotherhood primarily keeps her attention on Owen, as she lingers close by. It's only with Wanda's movements toward Owen, that Joanna dips hear head in acknowledgement of the other woman's words and smile.

Owen's slight movements in regards to Wanda's approach causes the tall woman to frown slightly, but it's not until he calls the Scarlet Witch 'Princess' that the Twins' Enforcer stirs again.

She steps closer to the man and snarls a quiet hiss of a warning, "Careful."

Then, with that one wrod of warning given, her attention turns back to Wanda, Owen and Pietro again.


At the least, Pietro does not seem aware at all of the alternate reality of which they were all part. No memory of it, beyond that small flicker at the beginning. Small mercies. Because he is not aware, there is nothing particularly expectant about the way he regards Owen. If he did know, there's no telling how peremptory he might have gotten. Smug, at the very least.

As it is, his eyes narrow slightly at the smile Owen affects.

He remains where he is, facing Owen dead-on. Wanda flits about him, taking her coffee and thanking him with a peck on the cheek, and his eyes soften briefly as he turns into the gesture, affording her a passing glance of pure affection. He lets her go afterwards, watching her indulgently as she circles around Mercer and takes the measure of his soul. Together, the Twins pincer 'Captain Boomerang' between them, with Frenzy a constant third presence to the side.

What do you see, sister? he asks in Wanda's head.

Pietro listens, at the least, as Owen presents his angle. He doesn't even interrupt, save to bristle when Mercer calls her 'Princess.' "Less of that," he says, his voice sharp. He doesn't restrain Frenzy. "You came to us."

Yet what the man offers brings Pietro to fall into a thoughtful silence. It passes quickly, as things often are with Quicksilver. He doesn't need much time to think something through. "It would be of use," he admits. "High profile attacks have their uses… yet too much flash, and our people here pay the price. I can think of uses beyond simply Trask. Do you purport to be this specialist? What is the price to add SHIELD to the list?"


There is something similar to having Wanda Maximoff at one's back as it is to take one's eyes off a spider crawling down their arm —

With its thin, sharp legs so light that the nerves are rarely disturbed to feel it walk, it could be anywhere. Anywhere, and to never know unless one looks.

Disappearing beyond Owen's line-of-sight, Wanda seems content to remain, so small and quiet and careful that she exists in the shadow of his body without a single mote of air disturbed around her. She makes no sound, and neither any attempt to touch — though right now, she's close enough that she could, if she truly wished it.

I see a schism, answers Wanda into Pietro's thoughts. Two possibilities in one body. Something familiar in one. They are at war. We are not made to exist in two states. Interesting.

Her eyes flicker to be called 'princess', a moniker that Wanda takes with equal parts confusion and askance. She's never been called such a thing before. Pietro doesn't like it, and that's the only opinion that matters to her.

"I like this proposal," finally speaks Wanda, her voice soft, but far too close for comfort. "What do you seek in return? Simply to rescind registration?"

There's a flicker of movement at Owen's periphery: Wanda's long fingers, curled, following the line of his shoulders with centimeters of space between them — as if not to touch the body, but the spirit beyond it. "I sense your desires in diverging paths. Where shall the other lead you?"

And, just as that, Wanda slips back from around them, her red eyes half-lidded with sleepy amusement. She slips back to Pietro's side.


Okay, at least they think princess is just some term of endearment. Owen usually prefers sweetcheeks, but whatever, at least they're moving on. He is thankful that for at least once he doesn't need to worry about the telepath poking about in his head. He's not lying! Holy crap! That might be a first. He's not intending to double cross them or shit… he is planning to.. What were those anti-telepath measures Waller tried to talk about? Quick think of something else… Oh man I picked the wrong week to stop shooting up.

"Apologies." He looks between Frenzy and then Pietro and then half over his shoulder where he expects Wanda to be circling about. And then she speaks and he half exhales at her approval.

"I want ten percent of the ransom, a finders fee for hooking up with the right people. I want copy of whatever you find, and a collar." The demands come out straight to Pietro, watching for the reaction.

But what about SHIELD? Does he care? Why shouldn't they take a crack at them? They're just as corrupt as any other government agency anywhere else. And yet he hesitates. Is it because of Dani? Maybe. Fine, yes. "SHIELD might be a tougher nut to crack. I can help get you in contact but I can't say my guy is looking to kick that hornets nest as well." And Owen definitely needs to throw some flags if it goes that route.

"Do we still have a deal if it's just Trask?"


The apology from Owen allows Frenzy's expression to even out a touch, though it still holds that watchful note to it.

Especially as the Twins move closer and inward.

And while she keeps an eye on Owen, as it were, that doesn't stop her from listening to all of the bargaining that's currently happening. Or is it negotiations. Perhaps a touch of both.

Either way, with that last question of Owen's, Frenzy's gaze flicks away and over to Pietro and Wanda, to see just what their decision is.


Wanda's report on what she sees brings Pietro's head to lift, eyes narrowing with skeptical askance. Two possibilities. Two states. A man at war with himself. If he has personal problems, I suppose it is of no concern to us unless it interferes with his performance, he replies wryly. If it is a deeper concern, we shall discern that out soon enough.

He focuses outwards again, on Owen, afterwards. To others, it may seem disorienting, to watch the Twins seemingly drift in and out of being 'present' with the external world; for them both, it seems natural as breathing. What does he want in return, Wanda asks. The answer?

"Money is no object. You shall be paid what you ask. It means nothing to us," Pietro declares, eyes hooded with amusement that it could even be thought of as a concern. At least that part remained true between worlds. The prince he was in that other place thought nothing of money either, though for rather different reasons. "And you shall have a copy of whatever information is prised out. As for the collar… we have given out what we took. One is in Iron Man's keeping. The other, the X-Men. If you require the introduction, we will arrange it." Of course, there is a third collar remaining in their possession, and a fourth — a prototype collar-gun design — but as of yet, Pietro is wary with this stranger. Let some of the burden of vetting this man fall on those two formidable institutions.

"You have all these things, at the cost of knowing that should you misuse them," Pietro's voice regains that familiar demanding command, "we will find you."

He leans back, apparently unsurprised at the reluctance to add SHIELD to the list. "Let's call Trask the trial run of our relationship, then," he says dryly. "Perhaps you'll be more amenable in the future."


Not personal problems, Wanda muses psychically. Those are all of choice and control. He is different. But the unexpected can, at times, be helpful.

With that, she slips closer against her twin, locking both her arms around one of his, her head finding a familiar pillow of his taller shoulder. Every bit of the sister helps herself to her brother's personal space, from her movements to the set of her body equal parts propriety and need.

It appears other things — between here and That Place — are also unchanged.

Instead of Princess Magnus, Wanda Maximoff occupies time and space, her face half-nuzzled to Pietro's arm, and one low-lidded red eye held steadily on Owen Mercer.

That ephemeral severance in his soul — she will keep this in mind. Something to poke at, perhaps, at some distant time. Something to pull out of him, whether or not he wishes it.

"If you have the will to serve the same freedoms we demand of this world," Wanda tells Owen, "then we shall be your friends, all. We waste neither the talents nor the passions of our people. A pleasure to meet you…" The memory of his moniker quirks the witch's mouth. "Captain of Boomerangs. You may call me Wanda. And my brother is Pietro."


Watching the two of them snuggle up, Owen can't help break the old habit of shooting some amazing side eye to where Dani normally stood, instead making eye contact with Frenzy. His eyes effectively communicating all of the 'Really?' that the liquid filled orbs can possibly scream. But it's only for a moment as he snaps back to this reality and says, "Here's a burner, it's clean, has an encrypted number to reach me programmed." He lays a phone down on the table for them to use if they wish.

Wanda's comments about gaining friends get a tight lipped smile of 'oh… good' from Owen, he can't help but comment. "Something tells me you already know, just how aware I am of the two of you. I'd say your fame proceeds you but .." He trails off and then just nods. "Look forward to working with you." And something about his tone belies just how little he is actively looking forward to it, maybe getting it over with.

Turning back to where he offloaded his weapons he offers to Frenzy, "Want to help slip 'em back in?" with all the flirtatiousness he can muster while still in the presence of the snuggle twins. Their closeness perhaps one of the few powers able to suppress Owen's natural lasciviousness. But he doesn't wait for an answer, instead he slides his weapons back in place with a practiced ease and then is off into the night air. First to light a cigarette and then he feels like he needs a loooong shower.

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