{ part one: demiurge }

It was amazing what people dreamt about. Even the most pure and clean-spirited people could have the most explicit fantasies. Wanda had found particular amusement in some of the odd kinks she noticed in Steve's dreams—she would have never pinned him as such a panty guy. Others had far more characteristic dreams. Clint dreamt about a home and a family, a beautiful wife, beautiful children. Clint dreamt about peace and quiet and carving figures out of soft wood blocks moreso than heated fantasies. Natasha's dreams were few and far between, often ill memories it seemed, of a dark place and ballet Wanda took some interest in when she could catch the Widow in a dream state.

Sam dreamt about beautiful women throwing themselves at him—fairly typical of a hot blooded man. He dreamt about confidence and passion and surprisingly enough, he dreamt about Miss Hill. That had surprised Wanda—but then again, seeing Miss Hill in anyone's dreams was a bit of a surprise (outside of the occasional interruption of Steve's panty-filled swimming pool by Hill's barked orders.)

James—or, Rhodey, as he insisted—rarely stayed overnight at their facility. He only had to hear about Wanda's mind invading skill once before deciding, "Alright, I'm out, have a good night guys!" She caught him catching a catnap one afternoon, but not deep enough in slumber to get a glimpse of what he dreamt of. That curiosity intrigued her.

Her latest expedition, however, had been the dream world a certain synthetic man, who so very rarely slept. She wondered if Vision even needed sleep. He probably didn't — she had never even seen him eat. She had spied him drinking tea once or twice, but it seemed to be a taste of curiosity that day.

He had an irritating way of disappearing when the team broke off toward their quarters for a night's rest. It took her weeks to pin his location down and even longer to catch him in sleep and see if he dreamt of electric sheep.

Vision had his own room just as everyone else did, but he very rarely was to be found there. So rarely, in fact, Wanda had temporarily stopped listening for his presence in that direction. But one night, she happened upon that slightly off, slightly inhuman sensation, that electric presence that was as heavy on her mind as the deep humming of a machine.

He was there—he was actually there, in his room. She tried to form a picture of his surroundings from where she was, one floor above. His room was as sterile as the day he had first stepped in, hardly used. He spent much of the time in that room just staring out the window at the city lights over the night sky.

"The things humans build, they shine and blink like glitter spilled on black velvet. They crave light so lovingly."

She had overheard his mind's voice musing once. Poignant words that seemed to echo back to her each time she looked out her own window.

A few solemn moments of thought and reflection followed before he laid on the soft bed, wondering to himself what sleep was like for humans—wondering if it were anything like the sleep he experienced.("A-ha! So he does sleep!") Vision took small pleasures in the simplest things, Wanda noted. He enjoyed the cool feeling of clean, fresh sheets on his skin. He enjoyed the way the mattress gave slightly under his weight and even the way the pillow left small lines across his already-intricately-marked face in the mornings.

Vision, she realized, was a slight hedonist for tactile sensations, and of course, it made sense to her the more she dwelled on that revelation. Each nerve in his body was as virginal as he was. He was such an old soul, and yet, almost infantile in the expanse of his wonder for the simple feeling of a doorknob turning in his fingers, or the way hot coffee stung his tongue.

Sleep claimed him, even though he knew he didn't need it. That sensation of drifting, falling, dissolving into slumber was exciting, an adventure.

Wanda waited quietly until she could sense the walls of his mind slip away until only that consciousness, that essense that was so purely him remained.

As such, his dreams were disjointed recollections in flawless detail, aptly like a machine playing back videos, only she could feel the chilled surface of a glass window, she could smell the salty sweat on the bodies of their teammates fresh out of training sessions. She could taste blood on his tongue when he took a too-hard blow to the face without phasing out soon enough.

Vision dreamt of sensations, primarily, moreso than events, or memories, or people or even thoughts of the future or past.

Wanda must have watched his dreams with fascination for their uniqueness for a month before she noticed the dreams… evolving. She wasn't quite sure what it was that changed at first. Certainly she felt more of the bruising and rush of adrenaline from training sessions, sparring matches, heard more of Steve barking orders at them during field drills. She smelled something familiar, though, something fruity under a salty musk of sweat.

"What the hell is it?" Wanda thought to herself. It smelled distinctly feminine, familiar, but she couldn't quite tell what it was. The curiosity kept her awake some nights, wondering just what the scent was that Vision kept dreaming about.

At one point, she wondered if it was Natasha's perfume lingering on his mind. The thought came with a spike of… something. Something harsh at the thought of Vision dreaming about Natasha's perfumes.

"Why does that even bother you? Do you simply want to be special, now?"

Wanda laughed the thought off. Hardly—she was chasing a rabbit in Vision's mind when she had intended to follow a yellow-brick road.

She dipped into Vision's mind again, another night, after weeks of all but ignoring the slumbering minds of her teammates.

Vision dreamt of training again. Dreamt of levitation. Red flakes of snow falling from the sky and that perfume—she recognized it now, now that she could smell it clearly—it was a mix of a strawberry conditioner, a mix of the scent of hair—her hair product—a mix of the scent of her body after training, the scent of the perfume she had been dabbing on her neck the last few weeks that Natasha had given to her, something a cocktail of citrus Natasha had said was "good for energy… in an aromatherapy sort of way."

As though looking through his eyes, she saw herself.

Herself, back turned to him. Not even realizing he was there.

He stood there a long time, simply watching her.

"…alright. Unnerving, slightly. But I do know he enjoys observing humans."

In his dream, he reached out, brushing long fingers across her curled tresses. Each bouncy wave felt like silk. A distinctly new sensation washed over that dream, Wanda noted — an emotion. Want. Want to keep winding his fingers through her hair, a want to bring his fingertips up along her back, across her shoulderblades, across her shoulders — "…she is so small, but so grand… so…"—Wanda jerked out of her concentration, as though she had tripped down a flight of stairs.

She bolted upright in her bed, feeling outright kicked from Vision's dreamspace. Wanda wasn't sure what to make of that feeling… had he realized she was there, watching it all? Of course not. No one knew she was there when she slipped into their mind. Not even Vision could know it. He was no teleptath — perhaps an empath to the highest degree in all irony, but no telepath.

Training that day had been the usual fare. Combat drills, field tactics, sparring with varied members of the team. Vision was as aloof and distracted as ever, looking more interested in the sounds of birds chirping overhead than Steve's description of their training plan for the day.

Wanda kept thinking back to the feeling in Vision's dream, in his fingertips as he reached out for her hair, the electric feeling of contact that seemed to take some sort of steeled courage. It was only then that she realized the emotion that had veiled the dream had been nerves. Nervousness.

"—and Wanda, I want you and Vision to pair up today, I want to see you two focusing on defensive maneuvers," Steve's voice broke Wanda's thoughts. She snapped back into reality—the afternoon, days after that trek into Vision's dream. Wanda nodded as Vision gave a compliant, "Yes, Sir."

Wanda glanced upward to Vision, who always found his way to a place standing near her. He didn't look her way.


"Natasha is going to make the rounds with each of you for CQC—there will be no order. Be ready for a third player to unexpectedly enter your battle. I want to see all of you on your toes, people." Steve said.

His words were quickly losing their command as Wanda continued to eye Vision, thinking back to hiswant to reach out to her. His ornate blue irises were fixed on Steve with more intensity than Wanda could muster on the most dedicated afternoons.


A split second—had she blinked, she'd have missed it—Vision glanced her way, but in a fraction of a moment that glance was gone, like a child caught with their hand in a cookie jar.


Steve marked their match, each member of the team paired with their sparring partner. Vision only then fixed his sights on her, as mechanical and aloof as ever. Steve called out to begin and they charged, each pair colliding in defensive combat.

Wanda never really enjoyed physical combat training. Natasha was relentless, coming in out of nowhere, zeroing in first on Wanda and flipping the smaller woman onto her back with ease and disappearing into the flurry of metal fists that was Sam and Rhodey. Wanda had gasped to catch the wind knocked out of her, half-thinking to tear Natasha's feet out from under her with a flick of her wrist, but found herself quick to dodge an attack from Vision — she made it clear every time they sparred, "Don't go easy on me, Viszh."

Strikes always went right through him, he phased so easily in and out. But if she was quick enough, she could get a hit in on his side or back, or even block some of his blows.

"Don't go easy on me, Viszh." She always told him, but she knew just how gentle he always was with her — if he wanted, he could land a fist in her with the density of a diamond. But his landed hits were always so much lighter than even Clint's careful jabs.

"Don't go easy on me…" Wanda said, giving in to the urge to use her powers. She caught his arm in a touchless pull, dragging him down with ease. But the words were lost on Wanda as Vision struck back, she blocked, caught his blow.

"Challenge me." She thought, as though willing the thought into his mind. Vision seemed to pause at that. In a half second, Wanda thought she saw his lips begin to form a word. Natasha butted in at that inopportune moment. Wanda dodged—Vision had taken the hit, and hard.

The Widow was gone and back on Sam at that moment, leaving Vision and Wanda to their devices—he was down and she could take that round's victory at that moment. She moved for what would have been a lethal blow of wispy, crimson energy, stopping just inches over Vision.

"You didn't try at all, Viszh." Wanda smirked.

Vision stared up at her, silent for a moment, before replying, "Are you sure you are not simply improving, Miss Maximoff?"

She laughed quietly and offered out a hand. He took it, coming up light as a feather. His hand lingered in hers as he settled in a slight levitation over the ground.

"If I let go, are you going to float away?" Wanda glanced at their clasped hands then back up at him. His smile faltered for a minute and he slipped away, hand phasing through hers as he put sudden distance between them.


Wanda smiled. He was already fending off the Widow and Sam, who had downed Rhodey. Vision fought his opponents, and she knew it was different when they sparred—he wasn't afraid to hurt them. Wanda caught herself gazing. Watching.

She watched him a great deal that afternoon. Constantly thinking back to his dream, his touch. Their interactions were always minimal — Vision rarely divulged in conversation beyond talk of mission objectives or occasional philosphy with Sam. He was a self-contained universe on the edge of Steve's gravitational pull that kept them all a unit.

That night, she stole away into his dreams again.

Wanda watched from afar as a reflection of herself stood listening to an invisible Steve's orders that slowly faded into the aether.

That statuesque, dreamy hologram of herself, occasionally shifting her weight from one side to another or fiddling with her nails all while Vision stood behind her, watching her, touching her hair and shoulders with a look of curiosity and pleasant wonder. For a split second, she saw a memory flicker through Vision's mind—a memory of walking through the rec room while Sam watched some movie's tender love scene. A memory of the handsome human planting kisses on a beautiful human's neck. She felt the emotion, the curiosity and yearning.

Brushing her hair aside, Vision slowly leaned in and grazed his lips against her copy's cheek, her jawline. Slow, experimental pecks, trying his best to emulate what he had seen in Sam's movie, as well as going along with what felt… interesting. In Wanda's mouth, she could taste what Vision tasted on her copy's skin—sweetness not unlike the coconut moisturizer she rubbed into her skin each morning, combined with the faintest trace of salt. Getting braver, Vision's arms came up around Wanda's copy, pulling her back against him as he kissed her.

"If I let go, are you going to float away?" Wanda's copy asked him as he kissed her neck with more intensity. Wanda heard distinctly feminine sighs and quiet moans in the air. Flashes of memories that weren't her own once more, a memory of Sam's romantic film's love scene, of flesh on human flesh, of two bodies grinding in warm shadows.

Yearning, again. Desire.

"Do you want me to?" Vision asked Wanda's copy, his words hot against her ear, "…float away?"

Wanda watched it all, feeling hot blush rising in her cheeks. It was so surreal, to see herself being held so tenderly, kissed with more and wanton delight each moment.

"No… I want… you…" Wanda heard breaths from her doppelganger's voice come in response, "I want you to stay here, with me."

He was thinking again back to that film, the sight of those beautiful humans making love—he was tracing more kisses against her neck, imagining Wanda as one of those beautiful humans.

"Don't let go."

As if watching a balancing act lose it's equilibrium, Vision's hold on the doppelganger dissolved. He dissolved, fading away and out of sight. His dream was ending. Wanda had been so engrossed in their sensuous scene that she hadn't realized the room around them had disappeared into shadows. Wanda pulled out of his mind as quickly and quietly as she had swept in, returning to her own body to find her face hot and scarlet. That image, those words and sensations, they were going to be with her all day.

The whole day she craved going back into his dream, sneaking in, watching.

Except, go figure, that night and the following several nights, Vision decided against sleeping. He didn't need sleep like humans did, Wanda knew. He was self-sustaining, it seemed, with metabolic needs only rolling in once in a long while. After enough watching—yes, he did eat, drink, and sleep out of the barest, most minimal necessity. He was more human than she first thought.

Far more than an android of some sort.

Wanda caught herself musing on her observations and couldn't help but chuckle, "Since when have I become such a stalker?"

It took her mind off of Pietro, at the very least.

The amusement faded.

There was a bleak moment, silence in her mind. A silence where Pietro would have cracked a joke. A calm amidst a storm where Pietro would have pulled Wanda into his arms and kissed her head, stroked her hair, told her that things would be alright.

It would be another week before she managed to catch Vision allowing himself the luxury of sleep. She followed his mind and thoughts down that descent into slumber, eager for what evolution his dreams would take after such time had passed.