Better Left Forgotten
Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. Ascension did an excellent job at wrapping up a lot of things and giving us a sneak peek into the future. There was one little loose end they didn't tie up though. I decided to pick up the slack.
Wanda opened her eyes and looked around. She hadn't meant to fall asleep when she had lain down on her bed to think. She figured it was because she was tired. She hadn't slept well the night before when the Brotherhood had returned home after helping defeat Apocalypse. The whole thing had made her restless, jumpy. She felt like she was trying to remember things, things that had happened what seemed like a long time ago. Dreams disrupted her sleep, dreams that seemed so vivid and real she could have sworn they had happened.
"That's silly," she mumbled sleepily as she got out of bed. They were just dreams. Father and Pietro had never abandoned her. She couldn't help hearing a small voice nagging in her ear.
'You know it's true,' the voice told her, 'They locked you up and left you to rot. You know what really happened.' Wanda shook her head and walked downstairs. Pietro, Freddy, and Toad were all watching TV. Lance seemed to have disappeared, probably to go see Kitty. Wanda sighed as she went into the kitchen.
'Don't ignore me,' said the voice, 'I'm trying to tell you something important here.' Wanda could swear it was her own voice. Was she really trying to tell herself something? She sat down at the table and closed her eyes, suddenly feeling as if she was having another dream. She could feel the cold rain on her skin, the strong hands that led her away from the only family she had ever known. She knew there was a crack in the dam somewhere and something was about to give.
He had watched her come down the stairs. He couldn't help noticing how beautiful she was and he had stopped trying to resist it a long time ago. Toad had watched Wanda go into the kitchen. She had been strange since they had come back the night before. She was more distant than usual and when he noticed her, which was all the time, he saw a look on her face that said she felt disassociated, out of place, unreal. He was concerned about her, of course, but he figured it was just post-fight stress or something like that. Now though he wasn't sure. He got up and went into the kitchen. She sat at the table with her head in her hands. She looked like a wreck, not at all her usually radiant self.
"Wanda?" he asked, "You okay?" Wanda couldn't reply. She wasn't even sure she heard him in the first place. She was too busy fighting to stay afloat against the tidal wave of memories that for some reason her mind had blocked out. Images and emotions once buried now cascaded out of the rupture in her mind and washed away all the happy childhood memories she had.
"Wanda?" asked Toad again. Everything suddenly snapped into focus for her. Her family had abandoned her, thrown her away. She had wanted revenge but her father had changed her memories and made her stay here. The rest of the boys neglected to tell her. That was the last mistake they would ever make.
Toad saw Wanda look at him and could immediately tell something was different, something wrong. It took a second to realize what had happened. All of them were so used to Wanda's memory problems by now he had almost forgotten the whole thing. He knew right then that letting it slide was the worst mistake of his life.
"Oh God," he blurted. Wanda sneered at him cruelly. Her memory was coming back even quicker as she felt the all too familiar rage bubbling up inside her.
"That's right," she said, "You better 'Oh God' because if I have anything to say about it you might just meet Him real soon."
"Wanda," began Toad, "I think we need to talk about this. Please, just calm down."
"Calm down?" snarled Wanda, "I will not calm down, you little wart." She was furious at all of them. They had lied to her, betrayed her without her even knowing it. They said they cared about her but they didn't care at all. She had every right to use them to redecorate the wall in her favorite color.
"Wanda, I know you're angry," said Toad as she got up and marched towards him. He backed up into the living room, "You have every right to feel that way but I think we need to talk about this."
"You don't know a damn thing," Wanda replied coldly. She turned to stare at Freddy and Pietro. Pietro refused to look her in the eye. She let out an irritated growl and stomped upstairs. She wouldn't kill them. She was tired of this game. She just wanted to start over without the boys or Pietro or her father.
"Well this is a fine mess," said Pietro, "We save her and this is the thanks we get?"
"This is all your fault," said Toad as he turned to look at the older boy, "I wouldn't be tryin' to make it worse."
"My fault?" asked Pietro, "How is this my fault? I didn't see you as the first one in line to tell her."
"Well I woulda if somebody hadn't conned me outta it," snapped back Toad. He blamed himself for this whole mess. He should have told her sooner. Now the one person he loved more than anything hated him.
"I didn't have to try very hard," replied Pietro, "You seemed more concerned with getting in her pants than being honest with her."
"That one was low even for you," shot back Toad. He couldn't help but think Pietro was right. If he cared about her half as much as he said, he would have told her.
"Guys," interrupted Freddy before Pietro said something else. The two boys stared at their friend while he tried to formulate his next sentence.
"Spit it out already," ordered Pietro impatiently.
"I was just gonna say somebody oughta talk to her," explained Freddy. Both boys stared at him with looks that said he had just stated the obvious. Toad shook his head.
"I'll do it," he said as he went upstairs.
Toad could hear a commotion coming from Wanda's room. He figured she was breaking something to let off steam.
"Wanda," he said as he cracked open her door, "c'mon, let's talk."
"I have three words for you and those other three morons that occupy this house," said Wanda through gritted teeth, "Rot. And. Die." Toad winced. He would have preferred physical pain over this. Anything was better than this.
"You don't mean that," he assured. He stopped and watched what was happening. Wanda's drawers were busy pulling themselves out and dumping their contents into an open duffel bag on her bed.
"What're you doing?" he asked. His train of thought had momentarily derailed as Wanda's underwear drawer began emptying itself.
"What does it look like, slimeball?" she asked, "I'm about to put as much distance between me and this God forsaken house as inhumanly possible."
"What?" asked Toad, not comprehending what was happening. Of all the scenarios he and the others had thought up concerning this moment, none of them had imagined Wanda leaving them.
"I'm leaving," she said bluntly as she caught him eyeing her underwear, "and for God's sake would you stop that?"
"Sorry," replied Toad shamefully, "Wanda, please. I care about you. We all do. You don't have to leave. I love you."
"Stop, Todd," she ordered, "Stop saying that. You don't love me; you don't even know me. As for caring about me well we both know that's an obvious lie now isn't it?"
"No it isn't," replied Toad, "You know I love you, Wanda. I've always loved you."
"Have you?" she asked as she zipped up her bag, "Which Wanda is it you love, Todd? Is it this one now or the one before?" Toad didn't have an answer. He was trying to come up with one, an honest one, but Wanda took his silence to be his answer.
"I'll save you the trouble," she stated as she slung her bag over her shoulder and pushed past him towards her door, "because both of us are leaving." Toad opened his mouth to say something but he choked on it as he watched her walk down the stairs for the last time.
Wanda forced herself to concentrate on getting her feet to move instead of on how hard that had been. She really thought Toad did care about her and she thought the same about the other boys too. How could they have hurt her so badly? How could they have played such a sick joke on her?
"Hey, Wanda," said Freddy. Wanda stopped for a second.
"What?" she growled.
"I was just thinkin' we'd have somethin' different for dinner instead of pizza," Freddy told her, "Chinese sound okay?" Any other time she would've jumped at the chance to have something besides abhorrent pizza.
"I don't care," she replied as she pointed to her bag, "I'm leaving anyway."
"Well yeah, I know that," said Freddy, "but you'll be back for dinner so I'm askin' ya now." Wanda wondered about the thickness of the older boy's skull. Couldn't he tell she wasn't coming back?
"Whatever you want," she replied as she turned away and continued towards the door. She figured Lance or Toad would explain it to him. Apparently his preoccupation with food had once again caused him to miss the obvious.
"And this the unkindest cut of all," she muttered as a familiar silvery blur zipped past her and blocked the doorway, "I thought you learned your lesson the first time you abandoned me."
"Yeah, I did," replied Pietro as he stared at his twin, "You can do whatever you want to me, Wanda, because I probably deserve every bit of it. I don't care about that but you're not leaving this house until we've had a fair trial."
"Fair trial?" snorted Wanda in disgust, "Did you and Father give me a 'fair trial', Pietro? No, as I recall I was tried, convicted, and sentenced to seven years of unimaginable torment without so much as a chance to say something in my defense."
"When are you going to let that go?" asked Pietro, "I admit defeat, Wanda. I screwed up horribly and I'm paying for it big time. Do you have to make it worse by leaving like this?"
"I am trying to let it go," she explained, "You don't get it. I have to get away from here, away from everything that reminds me of him." They stared at each other, both waiting for the other to back down first.
"I'm not letting you leave me again," stated Pietro firmly, "I don't care what you do to me, Wanda. I'm not moving."
"Good," replied Wanda, "because there's something I've wanted to do for a long time." She raised her hand. Pietro figured he had this coming. He was ready for whatever hex she wanted to throw at him.
Wanda knew that no matter how hard she hexed him he wouldn't budge. They were both equally stubborn. She'd get him to back down first though. She watched an arrogant smirk creep onto his face as she lowered her hand. He had been ready for a hex but she had a different idea entirely. Pietro had always been quick with his feet and his mouth but his brain was terribly slow.
"I win," she said simply as her foot shot out and connected with Pietro's groin. Had he expected it, he would've easily dodged it but the thought that his own sister would do that hadn't even occurred to him. At the very best he could only let out a strangled cry as he collapsed onto the floor.
"God that felt good," said Wanda as she stepped over her brother and walked out the door. She wondered just when exactly the bus came. She decided it didn't matter as she walked to the bus stop.
"Fat lotta good you did," said Toad as he watched Wanda go.
"I'm going to kill you," gasped Pietro, "as soon as I can get up." Toad looked over to the kitchen as someone came through the back door.
"Oh great," mumbled Lance, "I can't leave you guys alone for five seconds."
"Lance," said Toad urgently, "Lance, you gotta go find Wanda, please." Lance looked skeptically at Toad but the younger boy's face and tone suggested something was wrong.
"What happened?" he asked.
"She remembered," replied Toad, "and she got so mad she left for good."
"I take it someone tried to stop her," surmised Lance as he looked down at Pietro. Toad nodded.
"Please, Lance," begged Toad, "You gotta get her to come back." Toad looked like his entire world was about to collapse any second. Lance sighed. He owed it to all of them to try. He knew Wanda was making a big mistake and that he'd miss her too.
"Okay," he assured Toad, "but don't expect any miracles."
She hadn't figured out when the bus was supposed to come. That was fine with Wanda considering she could wait all day if she had to. Anything would work as long as it meant leaving the rest of the Brotherhood and her father behind forever.
"Mind if I sit down?" She should've known. She looked over in the direction of the voice.
"Free country," she replied to Lance, "You here to stop me?"
"I'm a little smarter than that," replied Lance as he sat down, "especially after seeing your handiwork back at the house."
"Pietro still kissing the floor?" asked Wanda with a smirk.
"Last I saw him he was limping/crawling to his room," replied Lance, "and cursing at his slowness." Wanda laughed a little.
"So, you're the last hope of desperate men, eh?" she asked, "Came here by yourself to try and talk me down?"
"No, of course not," replied Lance casually, "Besides you don't feel like talking. Oh no, you feel like running."
"What's that supposed to mean?" sneered Wanda, "How could you possibly know what I feel?"
"I know you feel angry and upset," said Lance, "I know that you were actually starting to care about us. Let's drop the bullshit here, Wanda."
"You wanna talk about bullshit?" Wanda replied, "Fine, we'll talk about it. I know all about it, Lance, because a little while ago I realized my entire life had been full of it. I would've realized it a lot sooner if my so-called friends had bothered to care about telling me."
"See, that's what I mean," explained Lance, "Can you calm down for a second and listen before you kill me?" A lamppost shattered nearby. Wanda closed her eyes and sighed.
"Okay," she said as she looked at him, "We'll talk." Lance nodded. He had been about ready to kiss his life goodbye.
"Look, I know you're angry about this," said Lance gently, "I would be too but you have to understand we never wanted things to be this way. We never meant to hurt you, any of us. You have to believe that."
"I can't," said Wanda, "I'd like to believe that, Lance, but I can't trust you guys anymore. I can't even trust my own memories." Lance didn't say anything for a little bit. They both sat in silence and let Wanda's words linger like a dark cloud over both of them.
"Why'd you do it?" asked Wanda. Lance stared at her quizzically.
"I'm not following," he explained.
"I'd expect as much from Pietro," she began to explain, "and Freddy's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer but I kinda expected better from you. You seem like a decent guy. What's your excuse for not telling me?" Lance thought about it for a moment.
"What about Todd?" he asked her casually, "You left him out I noticed. What's his excuse according to you?" Wanda didn't say anything for a few moments.
"I wanted to believe he cared," she finally admitted, "It's been a long time since anyone really cared. I thought he would be different but in the end he was just like everyone else."
"Wanda," said Lance, "look I'm going to be totally honest with you. When you first came to the house none of us really liked you except for Todd and we couldn't figure that one out. You scared the hell out of all of us and quite frankly when you went looking for your dad we were all glad to see you leave."
"Except for Toad," corrected Wanda. Lance smiled a little.
"Yeah, right," he agreed, "but when you came back from the mountains you were so different. We didn't exactly know how to handle it and we were afraid to remind you because you'd go back to having all that anger eat you up inside."
"So you decided to ignore the problem and hope it would go away?" said Wanda skeptically, "Somehow from you four that doesn't surprise me."
"Yeah," admitted Lance, "Can you really blame us? We were scared not only of what you'd do but also of what your dad would do. You know he would've knocked our skulls in for screwing everything up."
"I would've stopped him," said Wanda firmly, "I swear to God I would have. If you had told me the truth and shown me that you were on my side he would've died before ever hurting any of you, even Pietro."
"I'm sorry," said Lance, "We didn't realize that." It had never occurred to any of them that if they had just told her the truth she may not have been angry with them. He had never even considered the possibility of Wanda sticking up for them.
"Look, Wanda," said Lance, "We're all sorry, more than you'll ever know. You're not just Pietro's sister anymore. You're our sister. We never should've hurt you like we did. Can't you give us another chance?"
"I'd like to," she replied as she slung her bag over her shoulder. Finally, the stupid bus was there, "but I can't." Lance nodded as she looked at him. She couldn't be sure but she thought she saw a couple tears. Would they really miss her that much?
"Hey Wanda," said Lance, "think about something, okay?"
"What?" she asked. She didn't want to miss the bus.
"Those people out there in the big, wide world," said Lance, "you think they'll care? You think they'll care you had a heartless monster for a father who put you through hell? No, they won't. We do care, Wanda. Like I said, you're our sister now and no matter how far away you run we're still going to love you and miss the hell out of you."
"Goodbye, Lance," said Wanda as she turned away and stepped onto the bus.
"See ya soon, sis," he replied though she couldn't hear him.