"He's fast and she's weird," but that's not quite it, is it? She can alter reality. Change it to suit her needs. But it's not fully under control, is it?
Rated PG-13 for canon-typical violence.
It's dark and the world is full of sirens and ashes the first time she does it.
She has no idea what she is. Neither of them do. All they know is that they're hiding underneath their shared bed, clinging to the metal feet and staring at the Stark Industries missile that's landed in their living room. On top of their parents. Pietro tries to cover her, even though they both know it's useless because it's right there and a bomb that size can take out half a block. They've seen it happen before. Wanda clings to him anyway, waiting. It sits there, surrounded by the crumbling walls and the gutted remains of their building.
And beyond all reason, the bomb doesn't detonate.
Above their heads, the missiles are still dropping, whistling, the shrieking song of terror and oblivion while the people below are scrambling for safety. The sky is open and Sokovia is bleeding.
In the terrible dark, she swore she'd find the man who did this to them. And tear him to pieces.
The second time, she knows what she's doing.
They've been captured by an offshoot of Hydra. That's what they get for traveling on their own. For a while, it hadn't been so bad. They'd had each other. And it seemed like nothing could be worse than the bitter Rom baro complaining about the burden they were. Hydra was worse.
Tiny cells. Cold. The food is garbage. No sleep. How could they? The walls are thin (not thin enough to break), and they can hear the experiments going late into the night. And in the morning, they see the bodies being carried outside.
Pietro promises they won't take her, but they do. And against the odds, she lives. They both do. At first, it feels like nothing. No, not like nothing, like gratitude. Because they're both alive, and together, and if that's all they have, then it is enough. But the feeling doesn't go away. It gets bigger. And as Pietro moves faster, she learns how to use the gift she was born with.
She breaks them out.
She feels Stark, knows he's there, and she remembers the bomb, and the promise she made. She tears the walls down, walls that were once sturdy enough to hold them. They shatter because it suits her.
It's the third time she uses her powers, and the first time she's ever felt alive.
The one time she doesn't, it's because she's scared.
Scared and alone for the first time. They were born together, there is no world she has lived in where they have not been together. Constant. Caring. Protected. She reaches, struggling, but she can't do it. No matter how much she wants to, she can't. Can't make the words form in her mouth, can't redirect the flow of blood, re-energize the beat of his heart. She tries. But too much of her feels dead. She can't bring him back.
It's Stark who suggests it. Doctor Helen Cho, she's still reeling, but she's alive, and her machine is intact, and isn't that what it was intended to be used for? When Pietro opens his eyes Wanda screams, because the second part of herself is alive and it feels like she's learning to breathe again.
Steve is kind.
She only joined them because she thought she had to. Making amends for giving power to Ultron, for helping him. It seemed like the only thing to do.
But Steve was kind.
She didn't expect that. She didn't expect a helicarrier to appear in the sky to protect her countrymen. She didn't expect to be grateful to Tony Stark of all people. He's not... well, not what she expected. He's brash and rude and selfish, but he's not a monster. Not the monster she concocted. She sees it, when she looks inside his head. The fear. The shrapnel embedded in his chest. The cave, and the desert.
And Steve smiles at her, like he's truly happy she didn't lose a brother along with a home. Like he wishes he could have done more. Like she didn't show him a nightmare. Like she couldn't do it again if she wanted to.
So when he asks her if she wants to join them in New York, she says yes.
"You're not totally in control, are you?"
She didn't realize he was watching her train. She has nothing to be ashamed of.
He puts his hands up.
"Of course not." Steve is always like this. Polite. Distant. A good leader, but not a friend. "I can leave you be. I trust you. But if you want help. Well. I know a thing or two about not knowing your own strength."
She shrugs. She lets him help her.
Not a friend. Not yet.
The fourth time, the fourth impossible thing, seems rather miniscule in comparison.
They are hiding, like they always have to hide. Because it's a war and they are soldiers, whether they like it or not. At least it's familiar territory for Steve. For Wanda, everything is new. Because she was finished hating Tony Stark, and now she has to learn to hate him all over again. Now that she knows him. Has had drinks with him. Started to like him.
Steve knows what it's like to be friends with the enemy.
Bucky is with her, and they're both quiet, trying not to tip off the SWAT team outside. She knows it won't be long before they're found. Because Sharon Carter is injured, and she's being so quiet, but her body temperature is rising and it's enough- it's more than enough for the team to find them.
But they don't.
And Bucky looks at her. And he understands what it is she's done, what she's been doing. Protecting them. All.
Later he asks her "Why?" because it would be so much easier for her to run and hide, to never be found again. Why is she with them, when she's safer on her own?
"Because Steve was kind," she says after some consideration.
Bucky nods, tossing away his cigarette butt.
"Ain't that the truth."
Steve is shot.
She's not there when it happens. She sees the footage on television, and she runs. Because he can't be- because they need him. Just because the war is over (and it's a good thing, no more bloodshed, no more buildings collapsing) doesn't mean they don't need him. He's a leader. He believes in freedom and equality and she needs him because she believes in him. He can't be. He can't be gone.
Clint collects her as soon as she arrives on the scene. No words- there are no words for this. He grabs her arm and she follows him because she can feel the urgency and she knows somehow what she has to do next.
Steve is so cold.
She presses her palm to his chest, and she can feel the bullet inside his body, lodged between his rib cage. So still. Another one behind his forehead, buried in his skull. Nothing.
But she can change reality to suit her. And she's had lots of practice.
When Steve opens his eyes, she wants to hug him and yell at him and tear him to pieces because she can see him deciding to take the bullet, to die and possibly stay dead, and she can feel his reckless faith in her trickling into her consciousness. She is seething, because only Steve would trust her like this. He sees her glaring, and he has the nerve to smile at her.
"Why!" She wants to shout, but she thinks it comes out as a whisper.
"Because I knew you'd come through."
Of course he did.