Author's notes: Set during HeX Factor. All feedback is appreciated.! :)

::Knock a Little Harder::

Wanda lay in bed, her arm curled under her head and her knees pulled to her chest as she tried to fall asleep. She already hated Mystique's house. So much noise, and the entire decrepit place seemed like it was going to fall down around her ears; and would if Lance had anything to say about it. Downstairs Toad and Blob were watching late night talk shows at an obnoxious volume and making stupid comments.

The male gender was definitely on her shit list. Not that she was that fond of the female gender these days either. Mystique had sprung her from the asylum and promised revenge on her father, but the woman was still far from tolerable. So demanding and manipulative, just like Magneto. And then there was the witch, Agatha Harkness, who was constantly using her weird mumbo-jumbo to keep her under control. The old woman wouldn't leave her alone. She was always trying to make her focus and control her anger. To let it go.

Wanda growled. Didn't that bitch understand? Her anger was all she had.

There was the scuffle of someone pacing outside her door.

A very fast paced scuffle.


Her /darling/ twin brother.

With a snarl she gritted her teeth as her entire body became tense. She wrapped her stray arm around her legs and pulled them tightly against her chest, fingernails digging into the flesh of her calf as she shut her eyes.

Never in all the years she'd been stuck in that forsaken asylum had she imagined she would see her brother again. Not like this. Not happy and safe in a virtual palace compared to where she'd been. No, she'd never thought they would be reunited like this.

Her thoughts had been consumed with vengeance on their father, the smug bastard who had left her in that horrible place. Left her with those arrogant men. The doctors that thought they could cure her. The guards who thought they could take liberties when she was drugged and unable to defend herself. Worst of all, with Xavier who came and taunted her with freedom, a place in his school, he would always say. But after ever session he just left her there to rot, just like her father.

She would sit in her isolation cell day after day and fantasize about the way she would tear her father limb from limb, until he was begging for mercy. Maybe do the same to Xavier. And then, when they wanted to die, when they could take no more humiliation and pain, she would imprison them in some cold, dark place for people to gawk at, to poke and prod, and see how they liked it.

Occasionally, when she was heavily sedated, she had thought of her brother. She imagined him trapped in some equally horrid place by their father. She dreamed how she would break out and rescue him from wherever he was being held. She assured herself that that was why Pietro never came to save her. He was trapped and miserable, just like her.

She imagined how he hadn't been able to rebel against their father when she had been put in the asylum, but how hard he must have tried later to free her. She visualized how their father had gotten angry at his attempts and put him away in some awful place with cruel guards and conceited doctors. But one day she would be free and save him. Then, when their father was dead, they could live happily ever after, like before.

Those sweet dreams had been the only thing that kept her near sane all those years.

When she had walked in the door of Mystique's manor and heard that familiar voice, deeper now with age, calling her name she had been overjoyed. She wanted to rush forward and hold him, thank the strange woman for rescuing her brother as well. But then she'd seen him. Seen the shocked look on his face, the terror in his eyes, the healthy and kempt appearance, the apparent friends at his side.

He hadn't suffered at all! He'd been living a life of freedom and letting her rot away in her own personal hell. He'd forsaken her. Just like their father had.

An unnamable rage had bubbled to the surface in that moment and she'd lashed out with everything she had. She hadn't cared what happened, just as long as she managed to maim her silver-haired twin.

Things began flying around the room, walls shook, and the Brotherhood's powers backfired on them. Everything that wasn't tied down, and some things that were, tried to impale her brother as he and the other boys hid behind the overturned couch. In those seconds Pietro replaced Magneto in her fantasies of mutilation and pain, and she wanted nothing more than to rend him to pieces.

But then she'd seen the wide blue eyes peeking out from behind the couch and she had to catch her breath. He'd been scared of her. No, terrified. And it broke her heart. The witch woman had come, mumbling bizarre foreign words, and stopped her from doing any more damage. Not that she wouldn't have stopped anyway. In that moment all her anger had fled and she'd wanted to fall to the ground and cry like a little girl.

She /was/ the monster the men at the asylum had accused her of being.

The scuffling from outside her room stopped and Wanda sucked in a deep breath, opening her eyes to see the shadow that crept under the door. Someone was standing outside. She felt the bite of her fingernails as they drew blood from the little crescent indents in her leg, but she couldn't feel the pain. An eerie silence filled the manor as she felt a terror she hadn't known since that rainy day the guards had dragged her away from her everything she knew and loved. She was afraid he would knock and she would have to deal with him. But she was more afraid he wouldn't and just walk away.

Seconds seemed to pass as minutes and for a moment she knew how Pietro felt on a daily basis. The sound of her breath seemed to fill the entire room as her heartbeat thudded against her chest. "Knock, you bastard, just knock," she hissed through clenched teeth.

A scraping sound. Knuckles on wood. A knock.

But so soft it could barely be heard.

She sat up and looked at the door, her fingers stiff as they uncurled. Blood dripped down from the crescent wounds in her leg, but she didn't notice. She could feel her breath become rushed as she stood up and her hand trembled. Her legs felt rigid and didn't want to move, didn't want to carry her across the room and to the door that separated her from her brother. Her twin.

But more than that separated them, didn't it?

He was chosen. She was forsaken.

Forcing herself to move toward the door she put her hand on the brass knob, but she couldn't make herself turn it. She wondered what would happen when she saw him again. Would she lose her temper and try to bring down the house around their ears again? Would she simply brush him off? Or would she embrace him in the reunion she had always wanted?

Slowly the doorknob twisted in her hand and the door opened onto… an empty hall.

Wanda gritted her teeth and snarled, slamming the door and hexing it into place as she stormed back to her bed, lying down and pulling the cover up over her head. Maybe he she had been hearing things, she decided. Pietro was smarter than to come knocking on her door after the way she had nearly tried to kill him. Her brother wasn't a fool. He would never be stupid enough to come near her again.

Downstairs Toad and Blob cackled at the television and she could hear the sound of crying. For a moment she wondered what the two idiots were watching at such a loud volume that she could hear it as if it were in her room. She cursed and buried her head under the pillow as she tried to forget about her brother and get some sleep. She hated the sound of crying. She hadn't cried since the day Pietro let her be dragged away. Monsters didn't cry after all.

After a moment Wanda realized the horrid, deafening sobbing was coming from her.

What kind of monster was she?