Happy Birthday to Me

By The LostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own this stuff. I was going to wait until my birthday, which is in a month by the way, to put this one out but I thought why the heck not. This is a two-shot. The first one is Pietro and the second one will obviously be Wanda. I should have the second part up soon. Enjoy and R/R.

Pietro Maximoff should've been happy. It was his eighteenth birthday after all and for the first time in a long time he could celebrate it with his sister again. He supposed he was happy in a way, as happy as someone like him could be.

"Toad," he said, "I know you're in a festive mood and all but could ya cut it out with those noisemakers?" There was no reply from Toad save a loud, high-pitched whine from his noisemaker.

"I'm celebratin', yo," said Toad, "This year we got two birthdays in one." Pietro sighed. Wanda had missed last year since she had still been in the asylum. Pietro tried not to think about it as he stared at the cake Freddy had made. Half of it was chocolate with red icing and the other half was regular cake with silver icing.

"Cake looks good, Blob," he said, "I'm surprised you left some for us."

"Ha ha," replied Freddy as he blushed, "C'mon, already. I'm hungry, let's have some cake."

"You haven't opened my present yet, dear brother," said Wanda to Pietro. Pietro looked over to the other gifts he'd already received: new sneakers from Toad and some cologne from Lance. Freddy didn't have much money so the cake was his present to both of them.

"Are you sure?" asked Pietro, "Might wanna look again." Wanda blinked and the wrapping paper was suddenly off the box. Pietro took out the picture frame inside the box and almost cried. It was a beautiful silver frame but it was the picture that made him choke. It was a family picture of all of them: him, Wanda, his father, and his birth mother.

"Father supplied the picture," explained Wanda, "That's his present too."

"It's beautiful," replied Pietro as he touched the picture and ran his hand along the frame, "Thank you, sis."

"Dad will be by here tomorrow," said Wanda, "You can thank him too. He said she would be very proud of you." Pietro nodded absently as he stared at the picture. Suddenly he got up and headed for the door.

"There's something I have to do," he said, "It won't take long." The rest of the boys nodded. They all understood except for Wanda.

"What about the cake?" she asked, "You're not going to have the first piece with me?"

"I'll be back soon," assured Pietro, "Save me some of my half. I won't be gone long." With that, he was gone. Wanda turned to see the rest of the boys eyeing the cake. Why weren't they concerned?

"He does this every year," explained Lance as he saw the look on Wanda's face, "He'll be back soon."

"How come I don't remember him doing it last year," asked Wanda, "and how do you know about it? We didn't come here till after our birthday last year."

"No, it was before," said Lance, thinking quickly to try and curb Wanda's temper, "You just had that accident, remember, and your memory's not very good. Isn't that right, guys?" Freddy and Toad both nodded furiously to try to divert Wanda's train of thought.

"Yeah, yeah," replied Toad nervously, "He'll be okay, sweetie. Come on, have some cake. It looks yummy." Wanda shook her head to clear it and then sighed. Pietro could take care of himself. He was, after all, an adult now.

XXXXX

It didn't take him long to cross the ocean and find the spot in Germany. It took him longer last time but that had been five years ago, five years ago to the exact day. He could never forget where it was and that was one of the reasons behind his little birthday ritual. He told the other boys he did it even though he neglected to mention what it was he actually did. They knew enough to understand that he had to be alone sometimes and that he didn't want to talk about it.

"Mom," he said as he knelt beside the marker and replaced the dead flowers from five years ago with the new ones he had bought before he left the States. He traced the lettering on the marble marker. Magda Lehnsherr.

"I'm sorry it's been so long," he said as he looked at the tombstone, "but none of the other birthdays felt special enough. They weren't important enough for you, Mom. This one is though. I'm a man now . . . an adult. I wanted to run this one for you, this very special birthday run." He crouched beside the marker in a runner's stance. It was the same every year. He would pick a spot, a special spot where memories, both good and bad, still burned inside him. He would use that spot as a marker and would run laps around the world equal to how old he was at that point. This year the burial ground of his mother was his spot.

"Eighteen laps for you, Mom," he whispered, "Hope you're still watching. 1, 2, 3, go!" In a fraction of a second, Pietro Maximoff had left the normal world and drifted into a surreal other one that only he could know about. To the world, he was moving fast but to him it was as if the world barely moved at all. He could see everything crystal clear as he whooshed by. That was how he knew when to stop. He could always tell when he passed his spot.

XXXXX

Sometimes I wonder why I started doing this five years ago. I guess it's tradition or something. It really all depends on the spot. I made a list of all the places where my life had changed and put them in chronological order. I add new ones when I feel like they're special enough. Every year on the day before my birthday, I pick one from the list for one reason or another and use it as my spot to run my laps.

One. Two.

Why do I do it, Mom? Well, like I said it depends on the spot and the memories attached to it. If it has to do with Father, like the orphanage where he first gave us away or the house where we used to live when we were in America, it's to show him in my own way that I don't need him anymore. I know it sounds bad, Mom, and I'm sorry but it's true. I needed him once but he never cared back then. Now he thinks he can make up for it but I don't need his help anymore. I don't need his training, his rules, his stupid attempts to make up for being cold to me. I'm an adult now, Mom. I'm running eighteen laps around the freakin' world.

Three. Four.

If the spot has to do with my friends, like the Brotherhood house or the basketball court where Daniels and I used to shoot hoops, I do it to feel alive. You can't imagine what it's like, Mom. When I run, nothing can catch me. I'm free with no worries or pain. The hurt can't catch me when I run and next to the time I spend with my friends it's the most intense state of happiness I can imagine.

Five. Six.

These kinds of times are different though. Times like this year, last year when I did it in front of the asylum where they kept Wanda, and the year before last when I ran outside the village where Django and Marya used to live, I do it to remember the people I miss so very much. I was lucky last year because Wanda came back. I wish you would come back too then maybe everything would go back to the way it was. Maybe we could be a family again.

Seven. Eight.

Do you still watch us, Mom? I wish you didn't. It must hurt to see how much we've all changed. It must hurt to watch us do the things to each other that we've done. Did you see the picture Wanda gave me? You looked so happy in it. We all did. I'm so sorry we couldn't be a good family.

Nine. Ten.

I never forgot what you looked like. I have Wanda to remind me. Dad sees it too. I can tell that every time he looks at Wanda he sees you. She's the lucky one because she looks like you instead of looking like Dad like I do. I'm sorry, Mom, but it's true. Dad changed so much after you died. He gave away his own children. It was okay though, Mom. You would've liked the Maximoffs. It sounds bad but sometimes I think they were our real mom and dad. That's why my last name's not Lehnsherr. I'm sorry about that.

Eleven. Twelve.

Do you hate me, Mom? You must. I hate myself too. Dad says you would be proud of me. Would you? Would you be proud of how I stood there and let those evil people take away your daughter? Would you be proud of how I let my father wipe her memories away? How could you be when even I'm not proud of it? How could you still love me when I don't love myself?

Thirteen. Fourteen.

It sounds cruel but I wish I had never saved Dad from that Sentinel. I don't even know why I did it in the first place. He deserved to die but I couldn't let it happen. Was that you, Mom? Were you the one who made me save Dad? Did you know what would happen? I'm so sorry, Mom. Your little boy's turned into such an awful person. You wouldn't even recognize Wanda either. Even she really doesn't know who she is. It's not her fault though. That one belongs to me and Dad. We made her that way. We killed the last link to you we had. You must hate us. Why wouldn't you?

Fifteen. Sixteen.

It kills me, Mom. No matter how fast I run I can't shake the pain. No matter what, I can't escape what I've done, what I've let happen to my family. No matter how hard I try, I can't bring you or Django or Marya back. The only thing I can do is force myself not to forget you. This year hurts the worst, Mom. I miss you so much and I'm so sorry things turned out this way. It's not fair that we have to hurt you by hurting each other. It's not fair that you have to watch us rip our family apart.

Seventeen. Eighteen. Done.

I stop and fall down beside the marker. I'm done running but my tears have only started their laps. They want to run an extra lap for you, Mom. Just like me, they're running for you. I hope you can see how sorry I am. I hope you're still watching over us. I love you, Mom.

Author's Note: Stay tuned, kiddies. Wanda's chapter should be up soon.