Cutscene: A Wish is Just a Dream

June 30, 2018:

Billy Kaplan has a very difficult time letting things lie.

Kaplan Household

A very nice brownstone in which to let self-doubts fester.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Kate Bishop, Tommy Shepherd, Pietro Maximoff, Wanda Maximoff

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Billy Kaplan has never been good at letting things go.

It was a matter of necessity, when he was growing up. Letting go — forgetting — meant letting the other kids who tormented him day after day win. Meant deciding everything in his life was okay when it couldn't be any further from that.

It meant giving up. And whatever his other problems, Billy would never let himself do that.

The first time he saw a superhero on the news, he wanted to be like them. Someone great, someone meaningful, like them. And part of that meant never surrendering. It gave him the resolve to see his days through even at his lowest points, even when nursing his darkest thoughts. Stubbornness, plain and simple. But stubborn doesn't always work in a person's favor.

Now, today, Billy Kaplan finds himself watching something very different on the news. Seated, cross-legged, at the edge of his bed in what should be the private comforts of his room, there's nothing comforting about what he sees: Hell's Kitchen in flames. A death toll that makes his blood run cold.

But what truly drains the color from his cheeks is the simple series of words he sees scroll across the news ticker:

'BROTHERHOOD OF MUTANTS IMPLICATED IN BOMBINGS'

The Brotherhood's disavowal is just a numb series of sounds that never quite register for him as he stares at the projected images of two faces that look so hauntingly familiar in ways he still can't explain. Pietro Maximoff. Wanda Maximoff. He hasn't been able to stop thinking of them since the day they ran into the twins. Ran into them in Hell's Kitchen. Memories not his own still float through his head, he still has dreams he's not entirely sure are his.

And now this?

He should let it go. The last time he almost put Tommy and Kate in harm's way with his impulsiveness. Selfishness. How much worse would it be next time if he kept pushing after it? They got lucky, last time. But something feels wrong with all this and he can't shake it even if he knows he should and—

Brown eyes squeeze shut. Cerulean twinges around tense fingertips. A sigh pushes past thinned lips.

"I wish I was…"

The rest of those words fade into an indistinct mumble beneath his breath that is as uncommitted as it is inaudible. Nothing comes of it. Because he doesn't believe in the words. Because he knows they won't work.

Because they're the only words he's never known how to make real.

By the time brown eyes crack open again, the flicker of cerulean lingers like embers somewhere deep within. For the longest time, Billy Kaplan just stares at his hands as worry and consternation fester at his expression. He should be better than this. He should let it go. He should let it go. He should let it go. He should let it go—

He pries open his laptop not seconds later, pouring over Google search results for Wanda and Pietro Maximoff he must have seen dozens of times before already, as a little, niggling voice eats away at him. Telling him that something is wrong here. That he needs to find out what. He sees the flicker of possibilities in his cerulean-tinged stare like the truth just at the tip of his tongue, waiting to be voiced. If he just reaches out for it.

He should let it go. But he can't.

Because he's not someone better.

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