He was good at hiding his true persona, damn good. What Wanda considered charm was often casual annoyance, which pissed people off as much as it enthralled them. The only time Pietro was really himself was with Wanda, but she’d always been a special case. Despite the fact that she didn’t move like he did, Wanda was the only person in Pietro’s life who could truly keep up. As of late, though, the silver haired boy was worried that he was getting too far ahead. Part of Pietro wanted to be afraid of Wanda, but she was his little sister and there was no way he’d ever ditch her. Fuck that. Pietro would sooner die than leave his sister behind, no matter how badly she screwed up. Wanda was the other half of his soul, losing her would be losing himself, as well. He sighed softly as she moved to sit in his lap, arms wrapping around her waist. “There’s nothing to be sorry about, minnipen,” he assured her, shaking his head as he rested his it against her shoulder, “I was the one being a prick, anyway.”
It had always just been the two of them and now there was so much more and so many others to factor in that she was starting to become overwhelmed with things she had never felt before. Jealousy and fear being among them to the point she had attacked a girl who didn’t deserve to any more than a butterfly deserved to have it’s wings torn off by a cruel child and that was exactly how she had been behaving - like a child. She felt that they shouldn’t be afraid, that others should fear them the way Erik preached but if there was one person she never wanted to be afraid of her it was her other half, he meant everything to her. Streaming her fingers through his silvery tresses as he braced his head against her shoulder and she planted a kiss into it. “I don’t want everyone to always be so scared of me.” Wanda mournfully murmured into his hair as her eyes stared off at nothing at all beyond him. “Sometimes I even get scared… You’re the only one who’s never turned away from me… I just… I was being stupid. I know you would never leave but I…” The words perished on her lips, she didn’t know what to say to make what she had done better.
Pietro never thought he’d spend a moment away from Wanda, much less over a week. He wasn’t even upset with her anymore — he hadn’t been since he promised her she wasn’t and still walked out on him — but he felt too awful and guilty to go back and ask her to forgive him for being such a dick. They’d gone to infiltrate PCM together, sure, but he’d barely seen her the whole day. He hadn’t even told her about the drive, though he had checked to make sure they didn’t know her location before he turned it in to Erik. His file aside, he wanted Wanda to be safe. They could go years without talking and, in the end, she’d still be his top priority (even if she didn’t believe that at the moment). At her words, Pietro let out a long sigh. “Probably,” he noted, rubbing his temples with his fingers, “I don’t even know how much tequila I drank last night.” The truth was, what she’d done hardly weighed on him like the whole Erik thing had been as of recent… the whole thing at Charles’ (and the Government, to be fair) made him start to think: was he even really on the right side? The elder twin sighed as he looked up from his hands, “I feel like I’ve barely seen you.”
Pietro would always be the one that people liked more and she could completely see the reasoning behind it. While he darted around the world drinking liquor she spent her time in cemeteries pretending to hold conversations with things that weren’t even there, pieces of marble that were memorials to those that had perished long before either of them were so much as a flicker in the eyes of their parents. Wanda was beautiful, sure she had that but it wasn’t something that carried her through her life. She was made whole because of him and she loved him more than anything else in the world. Family was what drove her. Family was what inspired her to follow him, as she would anywhere and nowhere at all. Family was what drew her to Erik and it was that which held her here. She had begun to wonder the very same thing - were they on the right side? Were they standing against the right ones? Shifting up from her chair she walked over to him and sat on his knee and draped her arms around his neck, holding him close as if he might disappear if she didn’t. “I’m sorry…” Whispering into his ear. “… for everything.” She truly was.
Pietro spent his fourth of July in a slew of fireworks. He’d started in DC, mostly so he could visit his mom first (but he didn’t tell Wanda he’d gone home) before making his way down the Eastern seaboard, following the trail of fireworks from one coast to the other. The speedster took his time, had a few drinks on the way, and by the time he’d quite literally stumbled back to the Brotherhood’s HQ, he was likely at the slowest anyone would have ever seen him… if anyone had been awake when he got back. It was in the wee hours of the morning by the time he’d gotten there, and he awoke with a pounding headache a few hours later. So much for a super-fast metabolism… apparently, he couldn’t even burn off the ridiculous amount of alcohol he’d consumed in such a short amount of time. The sound of thousands of roman candles ringing in his ears coupled with a stomach full of who knows what type of alcohol had definitely done a number on him. As he stumbled toward the dining area, he scratched his head and further mussed up his already disheveled silver hair. “Ugh. This must be what snails feel like,” he muttered under his breath before flopping down at the table.
There seemed to be an awful lot of untold things between the once inseparable twins. Wanda had known he was gone, she always knew because it felt as though a part of her own soul was wandering about outside of herself and it was once a part that she felt so close to but ever since she lost her temper at the mansion there was something solid and unwelcoming between them - like a wall, she would have compared it to. The enchantress was sitting with proper posture at the table armed with her coffee but she didn’t look up from it as if it were some great wonder of the world. “I can practically smell the alcohol pouring from your pores…” They used to go everywhere together, do everything together but he had wandered off where it was he had wandered off to and she had done the same lately which allowed her to encounter multiples of new people, some of which she actually found herself missing. There was no one she missed more though than the boy across the table from her, the table just felt like a physical representation of how they felt now.
Peter shook his head, an amused smile on his face. “That makes zero sense, but I’ll take your word for it.” She probably moved around a lot, or didn’t feel like anywhere she’d been was a place she was really from. In any case, Peter found the idea foreign and strange. His home was New York, and it always had been. The thought of not having an area to return to and call home felt odd. Peter ate the last of his remaining french fries, looking up at Wanda curiously. “So, if you’re not from here, where’d you at least come here from?”
"Canada." Nodding in a matter of fact nature, the truth shall set you free - right? Wanda was starting to feel distant within the so-called Brotherhood, she was starting to feel like an outsider again. Suburbia all over again. Pietro hadn’t spoken to her since the incident at the mansion, everyone thought she was some sort of fiendish monster. She didn’t know why she was telling him anything at all or why she had gravitated towards him but now she sat there out of place and out of touch. "It doesn’t matter." Stating quickly as she finished her coffee and stood back up. "It was nice to meet you, Peter. Really." A faint smile passing across her features just as quickly as it faded.
Peter sat back, both of his eyebrows raising, as he looked at Wanda in exaggerated shock. “You haven’t heard of The Daily Bugle? Oh, man, it’s a newspaper. I’m guessing you’re not from around here, eh, Wanda?” He grinned, snacking on a few more fries. “It’s a tabloid newspaper, we cover things like uh, well, lots of stuff.” Peter would have mentioned himself, but the spider slander, as he’d come to call it, wasn’t something he wanted to make public to someone who probably had no idea who Spiderman was. “If you’re not from around here, where are you from?” He hadn’t left New York in a while, but of course, he had his reasons to stay. It was, after all, his city to protect.
"I’m not really from anywhere, if that makes much sense." Wanda offered gently as a light shrug of her small shoulders followed. The only place that ever truly felt like home was anywhere Pietro was and since the two were barely speaking she felt this answered suited her just fine, albeit sadly enough. Tracing a dainty fingertip along the rim of her coffee mug where the contents were slowly starting to cool during her conversation with this quirky stranger.
Huh? Peter snapped the picture, lowering his camera and looking at the girl across from him with a raised eyebrow. “Really? Well, I’d offer to give you that bit of your soul back, but you’d have to wait around in my darkroom for a bit.” He grinned, rummaging around in his bag for the lens cap and screwing it on over it, then placing it in his backpack. “I’m Peter,” he offered, taking one of his french fries and dipping it in ketchup before leaning his head back and dropping it in his mouth. “Peter Parker. I’m taking pictures for the Daily Bugle.” Failing at taking pictures for the Daily Bugle, actually. “Who’re you?”
"Is that some sort of magazine?" Inquiring curiously as a subtle frown pervaded across her features for a mere moment before she chose to focus on something as mundane as the way his hands fluidly and meticulously moved as though his camera was an extension of himself. Subtle things about others tended to mesmerize her. Contemplating whether or not she should plead for him not to publish anything about her but at the same time a part of her was always so weary of hiding and being alone. "Wanda." Offering simply enough with a faint smile. "Wanda Maximoff."
He’d realized he’d been taking too many pictures of himself when his Aunt May remarked about it in the papers, reaching for a cup of coffee while asking Peter if maybe he wanted to photograph the freshly planted red and blue tulips instead of the blue and red hero. Peter had agreed at once, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically, and ran out on breakfast with a piece of toast clutched between two teeth as he swung on his jacket and the case that held his camera. He was halfway down town
taking the bus because he had conveniently forgotten his suit when he realized that he… wasn’t exactly sure what else he wanted to take pictures of. So he spent the next two hours taking pictures of, well, anything. From pigeons that should probably have been dieting to a group of Christmas carollers in July. He wasn’t satisfied with any of it. Stopping briefly to grab a bite to eat before heading back to his montage of photos, he sat down at a table by himself and wiped at his camera lens. When someone else sat down next to him, smiling while complaining that no other tables were open, he looked up from his camera and nodded, “yeah, yeah. It’s fine. I’m almost done. Mind if I snap a picture?”
There were so many interesting people in this city which bustled around her in a flurry of color and every single person’s little world that went beyond her illusions as if they all existed in one just the very same way that she did. Wanda was the sort of person who could often feel alone even when surrounded by others, alienated in a sense or perhaps - like many other things - it all only existed within her own mind. Delving into the depths of the government itself had given her a sliver of confidence. If she could manage to slink about within such a facility without being noticed perhaps it was either because she was unnoticeable or she was braver than she gave herself credit for. Armed with that sense of self she ventured into the city after visiting one of the many cemeteries in the locale that was almost as crowded as the streets themselves. Blinking for a moment as she glanced over at him from behind her coffee cup before setting it down and brushing a bit of hair behind her ear. “You know, there are some cultures that believe a photograph traps a piece of the person’s soul with it.” Wincing a bit at her macabre sense of factoids before she nodded, reminding herself to just answer the question instead of spilling out useless information. “Sure.”
"Yeah," he agreed. "Let’s try something first, though
" Nalin walked to the clerk sitting at the front desk, resting an elbow on the glass and waiting for the man manning the desk to look up from his paperwork. Once he did, Nalin flashed him a grin. "Hey, my friend and I are here for our first day on the job, so to speak." He looked back to Wanda, then to the clerk. "I was wondering if there’s anyone you could… summon… to help us get to know the place?" The clerk raised an eyebrow, then held up a finger to pause Nalin while he dialed a number. When he finished on the phone, he reported that all of the people who usually did the job were busy, and that they were free to explore on their own. Nalin walked back to Wanda, shrugging. "That was easy. I think we can just go wherever."
"Seriously…?" A sliver of disbelief stealing into her chosen tones when it was revealed that possible recruits were able to wander about a government facility however they pleased. "Either their extremely trusting, just plain obscenely idiotic or there is something else going on here. Perhaps they don’t want mutants to feel like restricted tools? Or…" Trailing off as he walked back over to her and she just kept looking around. "This doesn’t make any sense…" Oh and she hated things that didn’t piece together properly especially when it came to things like the government - everything suddenly felt as though it was closing in on them like a possible trap.
"Good," Nalin remarked, "I’m still soar from what happened." He gestured to his left arm, which, though healed by one of the mutants on their side, was still bruised and sore. Wanda’s illusions made his arm appear normal, but other than that he looked like he usually did. He didn’t have any physical mutations that gave him specific character traits, so he felt safe in looking like he normally did. "Do you think we could just, go up and ask for a map? Would they do that? I’m not really sure where we’re going."
"I wouldn’t imagine they would hand out maps, probably something about the risk of someone walking out with one. Although, that would make our jobs a whole world simpler. God forbid, right?" A huff of exasperation escaping from her as she glanced around for a moment before lightly shrugging her shoulders before taking a few more steps further. "If we can wander around here and no one takes notice then I guess we have all the intel that we’ll need as far as their security goes."
Nalin looked to the person next to him, watching Wanda’s reaction, then let out a low whistle as he too turned to look at the headquarters for the government department. “Lookin’ good, eh? I like how they’ve set up the place.” There were lots of clear, glass surfaces. Some rooms were completely transparent, surrounded by glass walls, and the front desk was also made mostly of glass. “Dream home.” He claimed, stepping forwards into the building to get a better view. “If worse comes to worst, I’ve totally got us covered. Kinda understand why the boss thought I’d be good here.” Normally he’d say Magneto, but he figured the name would be a dead give away that they weren’t simply interested in working for the department.
"It won’t." Wanda chided almost immediately the moment he mentioned something happening. "It can’t. Papa…" Cursing under her breath almost as if he could hear Pietro’s voice scolding her in the back of her mind at the mention of the name. Swallowing it all back as she glanced around for another quick moment. "The boss doesn’t want any more incidents. We get in, see what we can, gather information and we get back out.” Nodding as if she were attempting to affirm herself and him. “Quick, clean… Simple.”