This was inspired by Pietro's section in the awesomely amazing fic "Pastes and Powders."  Or maybe it's "Powders and Pastes..." Anyroad, I highly recommend it.

                I'd like you to note that I don't know how Pietro got his powers, but I made up my own version.  If you're a huge Marvel fan and do know, by all means, let me know where I can find it!  Even though I won't be changing this story, I'd be interested in knowing.  And please remember--the Evo writers changed everyone's histories a lot anyroad, so I can too.

                This is dedicated to the leader of an RPG I play.  Here's a Pietro fic for you, Flower Powerer!!!

Disclaimer: Tainz owns nothing, except a very pretty guitar.

Clouds and Curses

                I stand on a hillside looking at a cloud to "celebrate" my 6052nd year on Earth.  Or at least, that's how it feels to me.  In reality, I'm only sixteen.  It's really my 6052nd day on Earth.  Nothing special.  Nothing different.  Nothing of any interest.  When you're this fast, nothing stays in your view for long.

                                The clouds...  When Wanda and I were really little, before Dad got hung up on his mutant-dominance thing, or at least before Wanda and I knew about it, we used to go out to a field and play a game.  We'd lie on our backs and pick a cloud on the horizon that was moving towards us.  We'd think of things it looked like and watch it evolve and change.  We got points for how many things we could see in the cloud before it disappeared on the other horizon.  I don't think it ever even occurred to me to cheat.  I looked carefully, watching patiently for something to change and a new image to pop into my head.

                I miss things like that.  I'm so much faster than everything else that I can't see the clouds move anymore.  If I watch them for what seems like forever, I can't see them change.  They just... stand still.

                I remember, once, being small and moving at the same pace as everyone else.  I remember having people understand me when I spoke and losing races against Wanda.  Yeah...  I lost to my sister.  I remember when the cars sped by too quickly for me to even watch them properly. 

                It seems so foggy now.  I was impatient, like every little kid, but an hour wasn't long enough when it was almost bedtime.  A week wasn't too long during Hanukkah.  I remember the world.  I wish I had it now.

                Wanda's powers came first.  I remember how proud Dad was when he first saw what she could do...  I wanted him to be that proud of me.  Maybe I made her angry on purpose to try and keep her from controlling them.  I really don't know, but I've always kind of blamed myself.  I stood there, watching, when the asylum guards finally took her away.  It hurt to see them drag her into that big, scary building.  My heart was breaking.  I loved my sister.  I thanked God for the rain that masked my tears and made me look strong for Dad.  Then Dad put his hand on my shoulder and I felt like I was the special one for once.  I was the one he loved.  I stopped crying. 

                My powers manifested the week after they took her.  I was so confused and I felt so alone and abandoned without her that I wandered onto the road by our house.  I was kicking a stone and I ended up in this section near a railroad yard that had high walls on both sides.  That's when the transport truck appeared, hurtling towards me.  It was so fast.  It was the last time I ever saw anything other than myself being fast.  I couldn't go to either side on the narrow road and I was sure I was going to die.  I started running away, hoping that the trucker would see me in time to stop and suddenly... I wasn't there.  I was so far down the road...  I didn't know how I'd gotten there.

                I stood there, on the side of the road for what felt like hours.  I could still remember the sheer mass of the truck speeding at me, could still taste my own fear, a biting and acid taste, in my mouth.  I thought I'd been standing there for ages, and then the truck drove past.  The same truck that had nearly hit me.  I was so disoriented.

                I was so scared.  It took me awhile to realise that I had powers now.  It probably only took a few minutes, but I hadn't learned how to judge time yet, with my new perspective.  I ran home and told Dad.

                I was talking at what felt like a normal speed to me.  I know now that I wasn't.  The first words out of Dad's mouth were "Pietro, slow down."  It was the first time I remember hearing them.  I'd probably been told to slow down before, but that was the first time I remember it.  It became the soundtrack to my life.  "Slow down."  It was the phrase I heard in a thousand voices.

                Voices were weird to listen to, at first.  The closest thing I'd ever heard before I got my powers was one time during a power outage.  We were listening to some tapes on an old tape player and the batteries started to wear out.  The voices got drawn out and low.  That's how Dad sounded.  I could barely understand what he was saying.  I've learned how to interpret people now, but for the first few months after I manifested, I felt so isolated.  I had lost language.

                It was summer, but when I got back to school, I failed.  I couldn't sit still long enough for the teacher to say a full sentence, let alone teach the lesson.  I read all the assigned reading, but I was done that by the end of the first week after school started.  I'd done all my book reports and all of the stuff you could learn from the books, but I couldn't learn the new things the teacher explained.  Everyone thought I was an idiot.  Dad was furious.

                All I wanted was for him to be proud of me.  I practised speaking every day.  It didn't take me long to learn that a "slow" count to twenty between words put me at about the same rate as everyone else.  I also had to learn to draw out my syllables, because it did me no good to put the spaces between the words if no one could hear them.

                It wasn't good enough for Dad.  I still wasn't doing well in school.  I was repeating my grade and I still got crappy marks.  It took so much out of me to sit in class all day.  School went from 9 am until 3:30 p.m.  That's six and a half hours, if you include lunch.  390 minutes.  23 400 seconds.  A million years, if you're me.  And there was only one lunch.  It was only an hour long.  I had to stay on school property.  I was still in Elementary School, after all.  I couldn't run and let everyone see what I was.  I was stuck in slow motion.  I hated it.

                Then there were the food bills.  I don't know if anyone ever thought about it, but running as much as I do means I have a metabolism like a hummingbird.  I use up energy almost as fast as I put it into my body.  Everything I eat or drink has to be high calorie.  Dad was not impressed when the food bill went up over three hundred dollars a week.  And "not impressed" is putting it mildly.

                Of course, I was always first in any Track and Field event.  Javelins?  No problem.  If you throw them as fast as I do, even when I purposely go slowly, they have enough momentum to carry them twice as far as anyone else can throw them.  Sprints?  I can skip leisurely and win. 

                It wasn't enough.  I needed more competition.  I could hop on one foot faster than the slow-moes could run.  I needed something that took skill.  I tried soccer, but just about took the goalie's head off the first time I kicked the ball into the goal.  I tried baseball.  Again, it was too dangerous for me to throw the ball at anyone.  I was pitcher and I just about killed the hind-catch.

                Then I found basketball.  No tagging.  No kicking.  No contact.  It was perfect.  I made a game of seeing how slowly I could move on the court.  I learned how to toss the ball gently.  It still went faster than some of the other players could catch it, but it looked normal.  I was good at basketball, but the no contact rules and my own rules about speed made it a challenge.  Of course, I was still the best player.  I was actually being scouted by some of the professional teams when I screwed up. 

                I shouldn't have started stealing.  I definitely shouldn't have pinned it on Daniels.  Dad was furious at me for putting another mutant on the line.  He told me that the Brotherhood was my last chance to redeem myself and that, if I screwed up, I'd end up like Wanda.  I didn't want that.  I didn't even want to steal.  It just seemed...  I dunno...  Logical?  It was something to do in my spare time.  Like when everyone else was sleeping.  Even when I was little, I didn't sleep much and my mutation only made that worse.  Try being on a caffeine high for 24 hours.  You'll have some idea of how I feel.

                I can go out on four dates at the same time and the girls never even realise I'm not with them the whole evening.  I can read the entire collected works of Shakespeare in under twenty minutes.  I can do damned near anything, but I'll still be bored.

                Now I'm just standing, watching the clouds, waiting for them to change, even a bit.  But they won't.  They'll stay exactly the same until I can't stand still anymore.  I hate all this.  I hate being the only one who lives in my time.  I'd rather be dead, but I'm sure Dad would just find a way to bring me back and tell me off.  Or hit me.  I wish he could be proud of me, but how can anyone be proud of a screw up?


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