.

.

New York is quieter than she expects.

Its concrete paths blanketed with moist, orange leaves, and its "Central Park" filled with soft, buzzing laughter. Fully-clothed, smiling children with healthy-looking dogs on leashes — the animals not tied around the neck with frayed, thick ropes.

Two of the Avengers, "Natasha" and "Steve" as they refer to each other, lead on.

"We're getting some fresh air," Steve reveals, tossing Wanda and her brother a composed but friendly look. "Letting you two see the sights."

It's been only training since they arrived. But neither her or her twin are clueless — the Avengers are very curious about them. Want to gauge and document their abilities and see if the Maximoffs are a threat. For the time being, Wanda doesn't believe she is considered as any trouble, despite the past.

Beside her, Pietro bites ravenously into his foil-covered meal. His silvery-white hair blowing across his forehead.

"You should try this, it's good," he insists, smacking his lips through the chewing.

Disgusting.

Wanda rolls her eyes good-naturedly, deciding to not shove his hand away from her face. Instead, she takes a small, cautious bite from his hand.

They visited a building called "Shawarma Palace" for lunch, and though she had no appetite, Pietro agreed to trying America's food. To keep his energy from crashing, as they discovered, he needed more than a normal man during most hours.

"It's good, eh?"

"Suppose it tastes better than what we found in the trash heaps," Wanda says, smearing her mouth with the back of her cotton-fabric, dark armwarmer. It's hot, almost melty chicken, with dill pickles and tomatoes, so it's certainly fresh.

She hears Natasha laugh — faintly, but amused — up ahead.

"Everything tastes better than what we found in the trash heaps."

He pinches her cheek mischievously, with his big, clumsy fingers smelling of the hummus. It earns him an outright cry of irritation. Pietro ignores her scowl and swoops in close, his arm locked around his twin's shoulders.

His lips press wetly to Wanda's throat, right beneath her jaw, trailing slowly to her earlobe as he breathes in deeply. Taking how she smells, like coconut shampoo and their bedsheets.

A shudder races through Wanda — muscle memory, of her pleasure and anticipation. On instinct, she runs a hand over Pietro's nape, gripping slightly. They halt somewhere on the walkway, not turning a single head, invisible just like they were back in the rubble of Sokovia. His teeth locate her earring, tugging down lightly.

"Mm, don't," Wanda murmurs, nudging his head away. "Not now."

Pietro replies with a long, reluctant stare and a grumble, chucking his empty foil into a nearby trash can.

She reaches for his dropped arm, hooking it snugly around her waist, underneath her thin, woven shawl. The bright red color shields her — but it also leaves her open, as an embodiment of herself, her capabilities and what powers manifested inside her.

Their companions don't seem to be paying attention, talking lowly amongst themselves and walking on. Wanda urges her brother forward, in order to keep up. "America is... very strange," she comments, gazing with a pointed frown at a nearby mime.

Pietro snorts, also eyeing him dubiously. "At least they aren't shooting at you on the corner of—"

"Don't FUCKING talk to me like that, bitch!"

Several feet from where they are, a couple stand in the grass, face-to-face. The young teenage girl, with dyed violent and magenta curls, trembles as her boyfriend jerks her wrist painfully in a circle. Her round and lovely, brown face grimacing.

"Please, please stop—" and further breathy sobbing hovers into Wanda's hearing.

"I'm gonna make you sorry for it, you worthless, little—"

And then, in the blink of an eye, the teenage girl vanishes on the spot. Blue, twirling vapors of kinetic energy left behind. He swears aloud, looking around in confusion, squinting his eyes behind his thick-rimmed, chic glasses.

The boyfriend takes back a step, jumping visibly when a stoic-faced Wanda materializes in front of him.

"You enjoy hurting those you love, don't you?" she asks, softly. "I can feel it inside you. That darkness."

His milky-pale face reddens in fury, a vein bulging in his temple.

"Who the fuck are—?"

Her glowing, reddish-pink fingers motion heedlessly. She cants her head, eyes the same eerie, luminous color. "Eat shit," Wanda tells him, even more softly, observing in mounting satisfaction as the projected, living mist disappears into him.

.

.

His chest feels so heavy lately, his lungs protesting.

Pietro returns to where his sister waits, her arms crossed. He tries to shake off the feeling, bouncing on his heels and stretching his arms over his head.

"Where did you leave her?" Wanda says, after he's finished groaning and popping his joints.

"Took her home. I made sure she was with her family."

He examines her serious, pinched expression with dread; Pietro cups the side of Wanda's face gently, voice rumbling like blazing, angry thunder. "Where is he—?" Before he can barge forward, she flattens both hands to Pietro's ribs, smirking.

In the distance, the abusive boyfriend snatches a waste bag from a shocked dog owner, taking ravenous mouthfuls.

"Exactly what he's meant to do," Wanda says, deadpan. A grin spreads across her face, pink-cheeked from the cold weather, and he smiles back, gathering their hands together and intertwining fingers. "This was fun—let's go home and not come back."

And in a burst of twirling, blue-shimmering wind, the concrete walkway is abandoned.

.

.

Steve calls loudly over his shoulder, getting off his cellphone, "Hey, would you two like to see the—?" He peers up and down the area, wide-eyed, and then rubs the bridge of his nose. "Damn it," he mutters. "You gotta be kidding me."

On his left, Natasha pats his broad shoulder, sympathetically.

"Watch that language, Rogers."

.

.


Marvel and its characters do not belong to me. I've had this fic sitting and waiting to be done since a couple months after AOU premiered. Gosh. I hope there are some Maxicest fans still wandering around, and this definitely goes out to you! :) Extra love to QueenPersephoneofHades who could always use more fanfic dedications and who shares my love of this ship! They're so lovely. Any comments/thoughts would be so appreciated!