Reflections pt.2

June 21, 2018:

The continuation of Reflections pt.1. In which Wanda freaks out and Billy ruins everything, Pietro and Tommy still don't like each other, and Kate isn't paid enough for this.

A Cafe in Hell's Kitchen

A seemingly abandoned cafe in Hell's Kitchen. It is very cafe-like.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It is Kate Bishop's urging for patience and care that earns a flick of the Scarlet Witch's eyes. They shine like mirrors, cold, empty, and reflecting the world back on itself — revealing little within.

Coincidence, says Hawkeye, and the Witch's eyes narrow — not angry, but shrewd. Funny choice of word. She believes in no such thing.

Then the rest is simply a lesson in inevitable causality.

Billy reacts to Tommy's predictament with both a desperation and ferocity that earns Wanda's attention, taken aback — coincidences, indeed — before the younger speedster lives up to his name and, bullet-quick, snaps a hand toward Shterev.

The Genoshan monster, liberated, bleeding, but mostly unharmed — goes on his collision course toward Kate. Not that the Scarlet Witch is looking. Not that the Witch, at this moment, particularly cares.

The lights go out, and she does not flutter a lash. They shine scarlet in the darkness, looking nowhere but forward — staring right into the mouth of madness of the power that spins from Wiccan's hands.

Pietro, she speaks through the link into her twin's mind. //Their soulds — I sense — //

Then there is no time for thought, when Wanda's face is lit up by lightning, her eyes burned by the image she sees. Not of light, not of here — but a single, straight, deeply-drunk look right down into —

— herself.

Reflexively, she reacts. Scarlet streams from her hands, light but not, energy but not, and it meets that forked instant of lightning. To Billy, it is the same mirror back on himself, his power reflected in every way — same for a decade more of the Witch's finesse. The arcing, ionized path turns, branching out to circle around them — Maximoff twins, and Speed in Pietro's grasp all — again and again, then terminate into Wanda's outstretched, glowing hand.

She catches the lightning like a housefly, then opens her palm. Light returns — living light, from the backs of hundreds of lightning bugs, twinkling a ceiling over the restaurant.

Dragul meu, the Witch psychically whispers. Handle your mimic and the woman. I must open up the other.

Red drowns out her eyes, as they slip unfocused. For a moment, Billy will feel a pressure against the seams of his mind, an uninvited pushing. The Scarlet Witch wants in to see.

"No, Wiccan, don't— !"

But it's too late, and with the two Avengers-trainees springing to action, it leaves her efforts to maintain some reason in the situation unravels and snaps.

She is telling the truth; she did not intend to pick a fight, and now that she knows who is presently responsible for what manner of strangeness is happening here, she has a different objective now - to somehow manage to regain control of the situation and get the trainees the hell out of here. Speed's and Wiccan's powers are some of the most potent that she has seen in her young life, but they lack the experience to deal with Magneto's infamous children.

As the Genoshan refugee stumbles for her, she sidesteps, slamming the end of her unfurled bow on the ground to catch his ankle and send him on a collision course to the floor. Lips peel back to bare her teeth, and while there is no small measure of fright in her eyes, her subsequent movements do not reflect it - cold, tactical precision is in every moment as she takes stock of the burgeoning battlefield and strikes.

"Speed, handle Quicksilver!" she calls out, before rounding her attention towards the Scarlet Witch - her twin is fast, but they have a speedster, and hopefully one who knows enough about the other's capabilities to be able to be enough of a match. Just a few minutes…all she needs is just a few minutes.

And much like her namesake, she doesn't miss; the projectile she fires towards Wanda while she's preoccupied with Billy is tipped with Starktech - a small thing, innocuous and can easily be missed, but once clipped to skin or clothing will generate more than enough volts of electricity to render someone unconscious.

There's a light in the distance, a cold light that shines from some source other than light itself. Sapphire shades that provide the vaguest illumination in the darkness, creating a silhouette out of the young man they wrap around like a corona. Blue, bright, twisting the very nature of things around it…

… and finding its counterpoint in the sheen of scarlet that radiates in that opposite room.

A sheen of scarlet that completely subverts everything Billy Kaplan was intending to do just as effortlessly as it upends almost everything he has ever known to be true.

"What— ?!"

Kate's warnings are a distant, dull sound scraping at the drums of Wiccan's ears as he stares, wide-eyed in utter disbelief at what he sees before him. But it's not what he sees, not really — not with his eyes, in any case. The fact that the Scarlet Witch so utterly dismantles his attack is shocking enough. But it's not that.

It's the fact that he's watching the fabric of everything twist in the same way he would.

Billy doesn't understand his power. Not what it is, not where it comes from, not what it's supposed to really be. And so, when he sees it in someone else, someone so much more experienced with it… everything else bleeds away, even the safety of Tommy and Kate, for a few, desperately selfish moments. Everything except for that laser focus.

Pit right on Wanda Maximoff.

"Why— " he begins, without really knowing how to put those confused words into proper thoughts as he watches the Scarlet Witch redisperse his electric assault into illumination for the restaurant, motes of light returning just as easily as they were taken away. It makes his blood run cold, for a brief, tiny moment. But more than that —

It makes him curious. Deeply, intensely, unavoidably curious. Just as much as it makes him afraid.

Kate is on the attack, but Billy scarcely notices. He can't, not anymore, because his entire world collapses down to a single point of pressure pressing on the stitchings of his thoughts in a strange, alien sensation he has never once felt before today. And yet, he knows instinctively, as his brown eyes widen and mouth gapes, as his star-studded hands snap up to grip his head. "N — nuh — ghhs-" He is being invaded. She's trying to see into him. She wants to know.

Flight fails him. Billy falls to the floor in a tumbling pile of limbs and gritting teeth as he digs clad nails into his brow. Sapphire, primordial energies twitch and fluctuate all around him as strangled sounds escape his lips. He doesn't like it. He wants it to stop. But there is something else, overriding all of that. A simple, harrowing reality that helps him finally find words to his thoughts, his wants, his will. She wants to know.

"Wh — whuhh — whO ARE YOU"

And he wants to know, too.

And in that moment, reality puts into motion the subconscious urge of Billy's words, as he mirrors Wanda's actions — attempting, with all potential and no finesse, to brute-force open a two-way street between their minds.

So there's always that risk when you talk a lot of shit that it ends up amounting to nothing and you wind up looking like a chump.

For example, Wiccan's dope-ass Force Lightning could get caught by the Scarlet Witch and then scattered into motes of harmless light. Speed is, momentarily, left gawping at this, and the thought momentarily, briefly flits across his overconfidence consciousness that they might in fact be in over their heads.

However, the rest of his thought processes quickly take that thought out back and curb stomp it into hypothetical paste.

Speed, handle Quicksilver! comes the commanding voice of Kate Bishop, one of the few people in the world he actually mostly kind of listens to even if it's mainly because she has a great butt, and anyway it was what he already had planned (for certain extremely generous definitions of 'plan') so…

"Old and busted versus new hotness it is," the younger speedster declares, the speed he names himself after suffusing every cell of his being, every cell of his green and silver costume, until they vibrate at a wild, fever pitch. Vibrate together, at least, vibrate in matching speeds and directions so he doesn't tear himself apart, but enough to put him slightly out of phase with the rest of reality, to slip the grasp the older man has on him. That's step one, drilled into him by hours of torturous, ruthless 'training' designed to turn him into a living weapon: Don't let anybody hold you down. If they can lock you into place, no matter how fast you might be otherwise, you're in danger.

Step two, of course, is a barrage of punches too fast for anyone that isn't the two speedsters to actually see, much less react to.

"So what's the deal with Sister Spooky anyway?" Speed asks, surprisingly conversationally while trying to have a high-speed battle with Quicksilver. "She's got this kinda hot-but-crazy vibe going, is she like that all the time or just when you guys are putting some asshole on the grill??"

Pietro's eyes flare redder when Wanda touches his mind and gives that warning. But what Wanda senses will have to remain a mystery for the time being, because lightning is shearing towards both their faces.

Preoccupied with holding onto the strange clone of himself, Quicksilver leaves it to the Witch to handle this more eldritch threat. He even pauses half a moment to watch the way she does it, because he never tires of seeing her work her power. The twinkling light of a thousand fireflies reflects in his eyes as she cancels that lightning, and her whisper yields a nod of his silver head.

Am înțeles, Ćerxai, he answers.

Handle Quicksilver! he hears the young woman call a moment later, a command that brings said Quicksilver to laugh aloud. "You make it sound so simple," he mocks, though of course then Speed does something he doesn't actually expect and vibrates right out of phase with reality — and out of Quicksilver's grasp. But while Pietro didn't expect the means, he expected the move — it's a mirror of his own instinct never to be pinned down. He doesn't make any attempt to keep his grip, and in fact is already circling back to gain space enough to counter the younger speedster's fierce series of strikes.

And of course, the two of them run their mouths the entire time. "What did you call yourself? Speed?" Brows loft with incredulity. "Leaving aside how uninventive it is… you're young. Untrained. It's obvious. You might call yourself speed, but I am speed."

Of course, then Speed goes there. Quicksilver's eyes narrow dangerously the minute 'hot-but-crazy' emits from Tommy's face. His eyes track to the right a moment, long enough to perceive something happening out of the corner of his eye.

Then he turns and bolts away, as if in retreat. His back invites chase. Hopes for it, in fact. Because when the older speedster's dash terminates, it terminates with him reaching to snatch Kate's arrow straight out of the air, swiveling sharply, and attempting to sling the charged point of it dead into Speed's face.

What IS the deal with his sister? "Maybe I'll tell you after she finishes pulling your friend in half," Quicksilver ruminates.

The Witch's eyes glow like lit embers, no longer seeing, no longer human, no longer here — out from their sockets breathes that streaming, scarlet vapor, catching the ambient light as it spreads like smoke. It comes off her, sheening from her body, moving her skirts and dark hair with a wind no where else felt — as her twitching, curling fingers begin to knot and shape a crystallizing sphere of red between her palms.

All the while, the rest goes on around her. The Scarlet Witch cannot focus, trusts her twin brother that she does not try to — and holds in silence even as Speed slips away, or Hawkeye nocks her arrow and lines up a shot.

Her faith is absolute; Quicksilver will protect her within this world as she transverses to the next.

"Shhh…" comes off the Scarlet Witch's lips, eery and discordant and out-of-place, as her sightless, glowing eyes do not blink. Billy drops from the air, and she persists, as her spidery voice soothes: "Let go, and yield…"

Raw familiarity bleeds off Wiccan's soul, and for so many reasons, the Witch persists. She must know what this is. She must know why. Why does she feel these two souls made of something that feels like home?

The Witch burrows her way into his mind — as, in reply, Wiccan's words retaliate. Her empty eyes widen. The sphere in her hands swirls blue with scarlet. She inhales, abruptly, sharply, stolen from the rest of the world entirely — blind to all else happening, as Wiccan enters her mind.

They are twin children, and their mother's screams are drowned out by the panic of the mob, hatred and fear held back only by a raging fire inches from taking her too. A corpse dies in that fire, melted down to silence. They only escape because of Pietro.

She is a girl, and she begs them to stop in Romani as they roll the tire in and fill it with sour-smelling gasoline. She struggles when they try to necklace her, and is hit in the face with a stone. In another language, in those moments before her brother arrives, they curse her, and call her a witch.

She is on the cusp of womanhood, and her twin brother is suffering, withdrawing and going mad by the disconnect of time. He is alone where he is, as his perception slows and slows, and he has no anchor in the silence. So she carves, just for him, a piece of her soul —

In the Witch's mind, there are two. The sister, and also in psychic occupation, the twin brother.


I am… whispers back Wanda Maximoff, compelled under the hex. I am…

Something slithers in the dark. Darkness straits along the boundaries of her soul, cracks an eye as if awakened after an oblivion of sleep — awakened to be asked a question — and is gone.

She hisses under her breath into her comm as she leaps forward.

Misdirection. Anticipation. Possibly the only two things an unenhanced human being like herself can do in order to neutralize a speedster and even then, they aren't guarantees but she has to try. And Kate does try, because it would be ridiculous not to anticipate the obvious, from what she knows of the Maximoff twins - they always had each other's backs.

Which is why she is still moving when Pietro catches the arrow, pivots and throws it back to Speed; another projectile is fired away towards everyone else, to punch through the wall near Wanda and Billy.

She doesn't know what is happening between the two of them, as they appear locked in a battle of wills - a duel of the subconscious and the ephemeral, of which she has no hope of understanding. She deals with facts, figures, the tangible - whatever is happening with the Scarlet Witch and Wiccan, it is beyond her.

She has to assume the worst, she can't help it, but her instincts scream at her to do one thing and that is to separate the two of them.

A gloved hand reaches once it goes flying for bricks and mortar. She attempts to snatch tne length of Billy's fabulously scarlet cape, and yanks, attempting to reel him in like a fish towards her.

Click. Click.


A shockwave ripples outward, the aftereffects of an explosion without the explosion itself. It'll lift those caught in it off their feet, throw them on the ground - nonlethal, because Kate doesn't kill unless she is given absolutely no choice, when she slaps that attempt of a reality check upon the two magicians.

"WICCAN!" she shrieks, in voice and right into the comm that is still in his ear. "SNAP OUT OF IT AND GET US OUT OF HERE!"

"No, dude, I'm Speed, we just went over this," the younger speedster says without any apparent guile, when the Son of Magneto insists that whatever moniker the young Avenger adopts, he was the genuine article. Either he thinks this is a legitimate misunderstanding, or he's just trying to piss Pietro off. "You're Quicksilver. Remember? Is this the dementia setting in…?"

Almost certainly just trying to piss Pietro off.

It's quite possible that he is in fact managing to get under the older speedster's skin, given the look he gets after making that comment about the man's sister (but was it the hot part or the crazy part, he'll wonder later)… Naturally, being an impulsive and pugnacious kind of guy, the white-haired kid from New Jersey gives chase when Quicksilver seems to bolt, and it's only Best Hawkeye's nearly-prescient strategic thinking that keeps his face intact, which is surely the entire reason why she warned him. A sudden burst of even greater speed, a mutant power forced to develop more quickly than it naturally would by cruel experimentation, as he ducks under the trick arrow, feeling it whistle through his hair, feeling it nearly catch, nearly brush against the skin of his scalp.

"Is this because I said your sister was hot?" he wonders, papering over his concern that he might actually not be faster than Quicksilver with a deliberate air of nonchalance. "Because, like, hypothetically, assuming she doesn't pull Wiccan in half you think she might—"

Then the thing Kate was actually warning him about happens, the shockwave tossing the young speedster off of his feet with an undignified squawk as he lands right on his backside, fortunately closer to the other two Avengers.

"Agh! My coccyx!!"

He can see everything.

Wiccan has never done anything like this before, and the experience is… indescribable. At once intoxicating and horrifying, elating and daunting, there comes a point where Billy Kaplan is no longer aware of what thoughts and experiences are his and what are Wanda Maximoff's.

A snake of cerulean and scarlet, one attempting to devour the other until they are simply one in a sea of different memories.

Eyes glowing a brilliant shade of cerulean now mixed with a tinge of red, Wiccan is frozen in place like time had become an immovable resin all around him. Within that shining stare he sees a reflection of everything he is and was and everything she is and was and everything they might be

He is a child, a normal child born to a loving mother and father who raise him in a household of love and acceptance, away from the harsher realities of the world. He will never not know their support, but something feels empty somehow. Off.

He is a boy, the eldest of three children, and despite everything afforded to him, he never quite feels good enough. Never quite feels like he belongs, that he deserves this life. He spend much of his time escaping into the stories of superheroes, where things feel so much simpler, where people seem so much better than him. He wishes he could be even slightly like them.

He is on the cusp of manhood when he realizes he is different from most of the other boys in his school, and they realize it too. Sometimes he feels lucky that he gets away with nothing more than a split lip or a black eye. He wants to stand up to them, he wants to stand up for himself, but he knows his only choice is to try to endure

He is on the cusp of manhood when he realizes he is different from most of the other boys in his school, and they realize it too. Sometimes he feels lucky that he gets away with nothing more than a split lip or a black eye. He wants to stand up to them, he wants to stand up for himself. And he does. The first time he does, there is a flash of light and the smell of ionizing air as a lightning bolt hammers down from the heavens like the hand of God, nearly killing his tormentor. And that's when he realizes he is different, that there is something strong in his soul —

The memory distorts, strangely, like static in a video — like something tampered. There, and gone in a moment. Images pass by, of Billy venturing out, becoming the hero he always dreamed of — discovering Speed and helping to free him, in that moment feeling an echo of something impossibly familiar in the other young man he cannot even place, let alone fathom.

And in her, he sees everything. He sees Pietro, unpleasant and unhappy and… something… else? What else is there? Something like ink crawling across his mind. Like a slither of something serpentine in the tall grass, unseen and all the more dangerous for it. Blue/red eyes shutter in an uncomprehending blink. Billy Kaplan reaches out with a trembling hand, and that hand reaches out across the conjoined gulf of their minds towards that slithering dark stirred from a timeless torpor.

Show yours—

And with a yank, Wiccan's wish goes unmanifested as he is sent toppling backwards by the cape, collapsing into the ground in a stumbling sprawl.

WICCAN! screams a voice in his ear so loudly everything rings disorientingly for a few precious minutes as he is /torn/ back to the cold light of present day with no idea who or what he is, sucking dry air in a gasp as he watches everything hefted and slammed towards the earth before him.

"K… Hawkeye… where am…?" he mumbles blearily. The red-tinged blue of his eyes start to fade as he looks up, uncomprehending, at his teammate. Get us out of here. They need to get out. They need to.

But… his gaze goes back. To Pietro. To Wanda.

"Nuh… no — no, I need to — she knows, I can't just-" he begins his dry-throated protest… and then digests the madness around him. Starts to see sense beyond his desperation. His jaw sets. His frown settles deeply.

"… elsewhere elsewhere elsewhere elsewhere —"

And if it takes a little longer for that cerulean light to engulf him, and Kate, and Tommy, and their war criminal of a plus one, to shuttle them away from this place…

Well, maybe it just took him awhile to really believe he wanted to be elsewhere, in this moment.

Speed's mouth keeps running, about as fast as his feet. "Do you really imagine your puerile insults are going to distract me?" Quicksilver inquires as he moves, looking more impatient than incensed. "How dare you look like me while you're going about being so patently idiotic! Did your speed develop before your neurons could fire fast enough to keep up? They really cannot make the newer models properly these days…"

Okay, so maybe Pietro's ego is too much for insults to dent. Hitting on Wanda, however…

Speed obviously gets some purchase there. The older speedster's eyes narrow dangerously, and he whirls in apparent retreat. Speed's young, but Quicksilver has fifteen-odd years of experience living in the fast lane. He knows his own raw, impulse instincts at that age — to chase when something flees — and he does his best to trigger them.

Speed pursues. And that's when Quicksilver snatches the arrow and sends it hurtling straight backwards at thousands of times the speed it began. Quick reflexes save the young man, but Quicksilver is hot on the heels of his own projectile, snarling, "ENOUGH — " through Speed's continued raunchy commentary about his sister —

And then he stops. Partly because Kate's shockwave has similarly thrown him back towards Wanda. And partly because something Very Bad is happening.

Wiccan is countering. He insinuates back into the Witch's mind, as she invades his. And sprawled at Wanda's feet, midway through getting back up, Quicksilver freezes in his turn.

The Witch's mind opens to Billy's sight. He sees everything that she is, written in scarlet and fire and pain… and he sees something else, too. Something foreign and not-foreign all at once, written in silver through her mind. Wanda does not live in the house of her mind alone; her twin brother is there, his presence braided with hers, and he does NOT appreciate the intrusion of some outsider into this space.

He isn't acting against Wiccan, however. He isn't acting because Something Else in there, with all three of them, is taking up all his attention.

Something moves in the dark. Something opens an eye. And Billy reaches out towards that Something, trying to coax it out

Silver knots and tangles in furious agitation in that shared mindscape. NO, you idiot! rings out from Wanda's twin, as he moves to block off that awful presence.

And reality reasserts with the cold bucket of water that is Kate yelling straight into Billy's ear. The young Avengers find themselves with a moment of reprieve to escape, as Quicksilver seems wholly occupied — mentally and physically — in calming his sister down from some horrific metaphysical ledge.

Memories twine on one each other. And Wanda Maximoff's heart breaks, again and again.

Tears run from her sightless eyes, no longer glowing, no longer lit with unnatural light — only human, and grieving.

Even as Hawkeye's second arrow punches into the wall, counting down a timer to its concussive blast, the Scarlet Witch does not react. Does not even turn her head. Too far lost into the joining of minds, not of her own choosing and not of her own command, but compelled by the nature of her power turned on her. It opens her up not unlike the way she has done to countless, broken to a breathless silence.

Sieved down to a simple thought in her own mental landscape, Wanda calls out in her first and truest instinct: she reaches for Pietro's presence, desperate for him to ground her.

Until the hex compels her into tractable, holding obedience, and even she stops doing that, compelled to answer: who is she?

She is Wanda Maximoff. She is twin to Pietro, his soul, his half. She is child of the Maximoffs. She is Roma. She is a mutant. She is a monster. She is a witch. She is an outsider, among humanity and then beyond them all, cast out again and again, never trusted, never accepted. She is a witch. She is the Scarlet Witch, claiming her curse as her second name. She is the blood kin of Magneto. And she is —

Gone silent.

Something else crawls between the alleys of her thoughts. Something else sleeps beneath her soul. Billy begins to voice his next demand —

Wanda doesn't respond, her presence cooling, folding down into the black. But Pietro does.

And Kate does. And as Billy's connection recedes, Wanda returns, broken of the spell long enough to decidedly sever the hex.

Just in time for the concussive blast to tic down and explode. It flings in a shockwave the restaurant's tables and chairs, and sends Pietro bodily careening toward his twin. Knocked breathlessly off her feet, luck bears Wanda down to land on her twin. She is cold and light — and trembling, gasping in a sudden resurrection that is not all here in the flesh. Her unstable mind circles on itself, confused with another's thoughts, memories — intrusion — that she can only clutch down onto the only bit of this world that means anything, and shake away the stupor.

Face buried against Pietro's shoulder, Wanda feels the hex that makes the others leave. She does not even need to turn her head to know they are gone, and she hates she doesn't know why.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License