A Past Remembered

August 23, 2018:

Days after encountering Pietro Maximoff, Dani reaches out to Owen for a sanity check. LANGUAGE WARNING :)

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Pietro Maximoff, Wanda Maximoff

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

For Dani there's a sense of confusion, a sense of deja vu, and the most disturbing one of all a sense of loyalty. These feelings are fleeting at best, but they're at such odds with her logical understanding of the world that the Cheyenne woman can't help but find herself feeling deeply unsettled.

That feeling is what's finally brought her out to a bar. The establishment she finds herself in is similar to Luke's Bar - not a hole-in-the-wall, but not something that's all about the bling and the show either. It's comfortable, with good drinks that are reasonably priced.

As for drinking partners, well, Dani knows immediately who she should talk with. Owen Mercer. In fact, she actually wants to tal with him, but for some reason sending the text proves infinitely harder to do. The numerous texts she started goes something along the lines of -

'Hey, in the area if you want to drink.'
'I'm buying.'
'Good to hang if you are.'

And with each re-reading of those texts Dani found herself savagely erasing each message. It's only after agonizing over what to say that Moonstar finally sends, // Got time for a drink? //

The exact phrase Owen used to invite her out for a drink not too long ago.

When Owen arrives, he'll find Dani settled at the bar, a beer already in front of her.


It's not that Owen is a regular reader of gossip mags, but he does follow topics around Tony Stark. Some articles are interesting tech articles about Stark Industries, others are fun rich people escapades but the one that finds him staring at his phone wondering if he's being pranked reads:
STARK'S LOVE CHILD?!

Because Owen obviously reads from the classiest news articles he's staring at a gossip rags blast with Tony Stark and … his half brother?! WTF? Owen blinks and re-reads the 'article' which is little more than a single quote about Stark's new ward and lots of insinuations about who this Bart Allen is. Owen has his messages app open trying to think of what the heck he would even ask Bart or Tony about this when he's saved by Dani's text.

"Oh hells yes."

Owen always has time for a drink, even when he doesn't. But right now, with things mostly quiet on the job front and very quiet on the personal front, he's got nothing but time.

He shows up at the bar in his usual frayed jeans, motorcycle boots and a once black tee-shirt that has faded to more of a charcoal and is worn through in spots. Seeing Dani and her beer, he stops by the bar to grab a bottle of domestic for himself before heading over.


At this point Dani would easily accept the fact that Owen reads the various rag-mags out there.

Honestly, most people have, right? Dani surely has. You just can't help it when you see those catchy headlines while standing in line at the store.

Thankfully, though, for this moment they're not at the store, but at the bar and for Moonstar her gaze is more of a fifty-yard stare than focused. So, when Owen finally arrives (with bottle in hand) there's the vaguest of starts from the Cheyenne woman. Enough to rattle the bottom of her bottle against the bar top, but not enough to actually spill any of the liquid inside.

"Owen." She says, her gaze sharpening into focus now as she looks to the man, "Hey. How's it going? Thanks for coming out for a drink."

And while she should say MORE, her words sort of just trail off, because hey now it's going to get real awkward.


Watching her startle Owen smiles a little at the symmetry of things. It wasn't that long ago that he asked her to meet him for a drink, only to be surprised when she showed. And here she is, with a distant stare being on the other side.

"Hey. Sorry, didn't mean to startle ya."

He slides easily into the adjoining seat.

"'m good. How are you doin? I was kinda surprised to get yer text. Everything okay?"


His apology for startling her is waved off. Not his fault, after all.

The bottle in his hand is given a glance, "I got your next one." She says simply enough and money is tossed onto the bar top, ready for when a second round is needed. Because they're going to need it, or she will at the very least.

His question about whether everything is okay or not earns a vague snort from the woman. "I suppose I should say yes, but I'm just going to say no, not really." And while politeness dictates she return that question to Owen, tonight Dani doesn't quite get there. Instead she fortifies herself with a long drink from her bottle, as she considers just how to get into why things 'aren't okay'.

It's only after that swig of beer is swallowed that Moonstar sighs, then turns to face Owen. Her question is right there, but it still takes the black-haired woman a minute to get any words out, "Tell me, what does the name Pietro Maximoff mean to you?"


Owen nods at the part about Dani getting his next round, he's not shy about people buying him drinks. And maybe he bought last time? Sure, let's go with that. He settles in to the seat and only slightly tilts his head when she responds that not everything's okay. It's not a super surprise though considering she has never texted him to get a beer before.

He waits and listens, taking a slow sip of his beer and not rushing her. When she asks the question though, he pauses, beer bottle halfway to his mouth. He slowly sets it down and turns to her with narrowed, suspicious eyes.

"What did that speedy sister fucker do?"

It's not an answer to her question, and there is no malice in the words despite the less than honorific title used for the man he knows as both Prince Pietro Maximoff, heir of the House of M and Quicksilver, leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants. Owen has plenty of history with the man in one world and only a brief meeting in this one, just enough to confirm that he is not so changed by the lack of a royal title as one might guess.


There are many reactions Dani would have expected from that open-ended question of hers, but the honorific Owen assigns to Pietro is definitely not one of them.

Her immediate reaction comes from someplace deep within her, a knee-jerk sort of reaction, something that would be much more natural in another place, another time. "/Owen/." Moonstar states tightly in a familiar chastising tone, "You can't say th -" Her words don't quite finish, as the more logical side of herself once again asserts itself into this 'memory of a feeling of loyalty'.

"That." She picks up the thread again, "As for what he did - he saved me before a building could explode with me in it."

"Seeing him, however, brought out a bunch of deja vu. Memories I could almost grasp. Something I think you might understand."


Her reaction brings a slow, creeping smile to the corners of Owen's mouth. He knows that tone, that rebuke, all too well. He nods a little confused about the exploding building part, but doesn't dwell on that for now.

"You remember?"

He turns on the stool now, so that his whole body is facing her. He looks at her as if trying to gauge visually how much she knows or remembers as if that were possible. It's not.

"You were his favorite. I think maybe the only one of us he would consider more of a friend than a subordinate. Crown Prince Pietro Maximoff was our commander in that world, who fought alongside us… at least before they came to power." He slowly eases into the history they share, waiting to see if this is confusing to Dani or if she already knows and he's only confirming it.

"Is that the /memory/ yer talkin' about?"


"I wouldn't quite say I precisely remember." Dani is quick to correct, though in a nice way, versus a harsh voice. "Just glimpses of things. It's frustrating. You'd think with my powers based in psionics there'd be more for me to pull from."

But there's not. At least, not right now.

Still, that doesn't stop her from casting an admonishing look look at Owen. "I am not his favorite." And then, "I wasn't." Which doesn't seem to help, as Moonstar's expression turns mutinous at her reactions to all of what Owen said.

"Yes." She finally says, a sigh elongating the end of that word, "I'm pretty sure those are the memories." Here her drink is raised again for a sip and only after the bottle is placed back upon the bar top does she add, "There's a sense of familiarity now too." Her gaze shifts slightly off of Owen, "With you. Like 'I know you'." But she doesn't, but she does.


Owen nods and gets it as she tries to explain the haziness of feeling and glimpsing things. It wasn't like that for him, for whatever reason that world was as clear to him as day when he 'came back'. But now it's harder to recall, far more vague and patchy in spots.

He just smiles and takes a big sip of his beer when she protests being his favorite, which feels very familiar to him. Maybe both of them.

He looks back at her, his face slipping from a smile to a more somber, tight-lipped neutral one. He nods and for once doesn't have a wisecrack about it. Not that.

"Yea… it's how I felt when it …ended? Or I came back?" It's still not clear if he was gone or how it worked shifting between the two worlds so Owen doesn't have the words for it. "But. I get it. You knew that me. I knew that you." He swallows a gulp of beer and tries not to think about how much knowing what that relationship felt like played a role in his failed relationship with Harley. The comparison of what a healthy, loving commitment to the fragile, desperate, furtive connection is something Owen tries not to think about.

--

Definitely familiar to Dani as well.

The knowledge that there was far more than just loyalty that bound Guard and Prince together. There was simply too much blood shed between the two.

For Owen, the lack of any wisecracks brings Moonstar's gaze back up to him. She studies him for a silent second and while she may not be the best at reading him (or is she now?!) there's something within his expression that alerts her to the nerve she just touched.

It's enough that she offers an apology, "Sorry. I didn't mean to bring up difficult memories." Her gaze turns to the bartender and she'll nod at the man, indicating another round is definitely needed. "I just needed confirmation that the feelings in my head aren't just crazy thoughts."

"We can skip anymore questions if you like and just get straight down to drinking more to make up for this awkward as hell conversation if that suits you."


Owen's quiet for a while, but he doesn't look away when Dani searches his face. It's not as uncomfortable now, much less awkward than their last few meetings. That she knows is a relief, not just having been told why he was being all squirrelly but to actually understand it for herself.

"Don't apologize. It's weird as hell, I get it. Believe me, I thought I was fuckin' nuts like…" The legitimate fear of losing his mind had occurred to him more than once during his time with Harley. Afterall isn't that what happened to her? She lost her mind to be with the Joker. And inventing and alternate reality wherein you have family, a steady purpose in life and are in love with a beautiful woman sure sounds an awful lot like a psychotic break. But thankfully there was Bart, to confirm what Owen learned in that other place. To cement that he wasn't crazy, just … sad.

"Ask whatever you want. I needed to ask a shit ton of people some off the wall shit afterwards. I don't know if you remember …" Owen trails off, unsure of how to handle Bart's identity between the multiple worlds and the SHIELD agent he's talking to.

Pivot.

"But seeing Wanda. Less crazy, still creepy as fuck, here. She saw it. Somehow. She knew that I had a connection to them in another world. And it helped…" Kind of. A little.


"Thanks." Dani states with both relief and gratitude, "To be honest, I'm used to seeing weird things, hearing weird things, but this -" It's something else altogether.

"It even surpassed having a flying horse." She jokes and when he begins to ask her if she remembers something she can't quite stop herself from asking, "Remember what?"

The question hangs there for a minute up until Owen pivots into the explanation of the Scarlet Witch, and the connections she felt. Unconsciously Dani leans forward ever-so-slightly, as she says, "You know, for a minute there I actually thought she was the one putting the memories in my head. I figured it was some kind of psychic attack on her part. Only, jokes on me, it wasn't."

Another sip of beer is taken then and with that drink Moonstar can't quite stop the side-eye, as she considers what to say next. "But, if you feel up to it and want to share, I wouldn't mind hearing some of what you remember. Like you said, it helps."


Owen laughs at the part about being weirder than a flying horse. It's true parallel dimension life is weirder. But only by a little bit.

He happily dodges the question about what he was going to ask, instead leaning in on the topic of Wanda. He nods "Yes! That is totally a reasonable thought though! Like I don't know if she could? But, I wouldn't rule it out?" He laughs at the idea that this is some elaborate Wanda based shared hallucination, not entirely sure it isn't.

When she asks him to share he goes quiet for a moment, a smile on his lips as he considers what to say.

"You fuckin' /hated/ me. When we met in basic. I swear to God you thought I was the worst. Just all mouth and charming good looks." He shoots her the side-eye of waiting for he to interject on that part. "And I'm pretty sure you said no the first twelve times I asked you out." He finishes off his beer and adds a little more quietly, "But you changed yer mind once we got out in the field. We all changed."


She tilts her bottle at Owen when he agrees with her idea of this being some elaborate ruse by Wanda.

Though deep down Moonstar, from that reality, scoffs at the thought. Wanda would never have had a chance to do that. Too many years locked up.

That vague whisper within her own mind causes Dani to cock her head slightly to the side. Listening, only the voice is soon pushed away when Owen speaks again. Gaze sharpening, Moonstar returns her attention to the man next to her.

"Charming good looks." She echoes, a snort of amusement following those words, "I bet that's /exactly/ what I was thinking." And she even manages a grin, though her grin dims at the very last of what he says.

"Change always happens with war." She intones, her voice devoid of all lightness now and for a moment she sounds like her other-self. "There was a lot of fighting - I recall that much. I lost an eye. You lost some of your humor. A lot of people were lost."


The thought of Wanda doing this is easily cast aside as it doesn't make any sense having had no contact with her before any of this. But she gives him the heebie-jeebies and that's enough to make him suspicious in any world.

"Yup!" Owen pops the p in yup as he agrees loudly with her that she was so charmed by him. But his smile fades as her voice grows serious. He nods as she lists a few 'events', softly agreeing.

"You did."
"I did."
"We did."

He waits a beat, letting those memories temporarily wash over him. It's odd to feel that loss, when he knows they are mostly people who he's never even met in this world. And that world is gone.

"Do you remember going to the tower? Meeting that Wanda? It was the trippiest thing I've ever done in any lifetime, I'm sure. Including a shitton of drugs."


Almost Dani raises her bottle in a silent salute, but she stops herself right before. Reconciling the memories of what is and what isn't is definitely proving more difficult for the black-haired woman.

Thankfully, Owen brings up the fateful trip into the Tower and Moonstar frowns thoughtfully. "A tower?" And she begins to deny it, but then something pops within her mind's eye. A sliver of a memory of their footfalls climbing high, as Agent Mercer and Agent Moonstar climb hundreds of steps to the top. "We were sent on a mission. To help her, but it really wasn't that."

Dani momentarily closes her eyes as she tries to focus more fully on the memory, "There were other games being played that day." Her eyes pop open and she turns her gaze back to Owen, "Politics. There was a lot of politics that had to be played."


It took Owen a long time to stop feeling a regretful mourning for those friends and soldiers he lost, as odd as that may be. But at least he understands what Dani might be feeling as she tries to process all of this.

"Yea. Her tower." He nods as he watches her start to remember, to process. "No. It wasn't to help her. Not really. But she would have ended us. Flipped us inside out or turned us to dust or… just wiped us away."

He waits for her. Not wanting to force anything along. "There were. And you were always so much better at that than me. We were loyal to the crown…" He pauses slightly, "But if it came down to it. We served the prince. At least I did. You were always harder to read and treason wasn't exactly something we talked about much."

Owen orders another beer from the bartender, starting to feel more comfortable in reminiscing. It doesn't feel as dangerous now, with enough distance he's pretty sure he won't feel like he's getting lost in it again. Not this time.


Her tower. That brings a sharp look from Moonstar, but nothing more than that. Instead she waits to hear the rest of what Owen has to say and she can't quite stop a nod with how he describes Wanda.

"She could have wiped us away." Agrees the Cheyenne woman, "But not her brother. Not the Prince."

Which slides her right into loyalties and treason. She frowns slightly, perhaps with a touch of uncomfortableness, "Him." She states, "I was always loyal to the Prince."

"And you. I knew you always had my back and I had yours." She pinches the bridge of her nose, "That world was complicated." Almost like Games of Thrones, and while that hovers upon the tip of her tongue something stops her from saying it out-loud.

There's just too many parallels with that particular work of fiction and the alternate reality the two are talking about.

When Owen orders his beer, Moonstar likewise orders a second and only after she has a new bottle in hand does she offer to clink drinks with him. "I know I said it before, but thanks. Appreciate you doing this for me."

And with that thanks given a second time, Moonstar takes a drink, and when the bottle is back upon the bar top she speaks again.

"Funny, I just remember you had your boomerangs there, just like here. I guess some things don't change."


Taking his new beer and clinking glasses with her he nods in agreement about where their loyalties lied. He agrees.

"Dani…"

His voice different now, less jokey, less crass Gotham accent, much more the serious voice of Agent Mercer.

"Anytime."

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