Carousel

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: You know I don't own these characters. R/R because you love me.

The sky is blue, almost too blue. I stare up at it and marvel at its color. No clouds of gray, just pure blue. The grass is green too. Not brown or dull green but beautiful and vibrant. Where am I? This place is too good to be true. The sound of laughter fills the air. It has a melodious, unearthly quality to it. Everything feels different here. I look down at myself to see that I am still normal. Same Wanda Maximoff, same Scarlet Witch. I feel too out of place here though. This place is too beautiful for me.

The laughter becomes louder now, the sound enticing me. My feet move forward and as they do, everything comes into focus. I see the source of the laughter. I see Pietro and myself as children playing on a merry-go-round. I used to love that thing when I was a kid. Pietro and I would just spin ourselves silly on it. But where the hell am I now? Is this a dream? I watch my younger self squeal with delight as Pietro spins the merry-go-round faster and faster. He would always spin it fast. He does everything fast. But he'd slow it down for me. He'd always slow down for me. I feel myself smile a little now as I watch the two of us playing together happily.

"This isn't real, you know that right?" The voice is familiar. I look down and find a younger version of myself looking back up at me.

"It's a memory," I reply.

"Nope," says the girl, "You know it's not too. You never liked to play on the merry-go-round. Pietro kept making it go too fast and you'd get sick."

"And how do you know that?" I ask the girl, trying not to hint that she's right. My memories have a bad way of warping themselves. Leftover side effect from Mastermind's tampering.

"Because I'm you," she replies, "and that's not." She points to the girl on the merry-go-round. I stare at both girls. They're both me, aren't they?

"Yes," says the girl beside me as if she can hear my thoughts, "but only one of us is the real you when you were a kid."

"I don't understand," I reply. Somewhere in the distance, I hear thunder rumble. The sky turns black as the noise grows nearer.

"I gotta go," says the girl, "It's gonna start raining and I don't like being out in the rain." As if on cue, the sky opens up and drenches everything. I feel the water soak me to the bone, numbing me with its coldness. The laughter of children is replaced now by cries of help. I know them too well. The water's rising now, pulling me under with its current.

"Father, don't leave me!" The words ring in my ears, the water rising further still. The cries for help are suddenly silenced, replaced instead by screams of terror and agony. As the water fills my throat and nose, I drown while listening to the sounds of a little girl being tormented. My vision fades into nothing but blue as I loose myself and drown in the depths of sorrow and agony. But then, the blue turns darker, murkier. The blue water turns into crimson blood. I thrash around in the thick, viscous liquid, trying to come up for air. My thrashing makes the blood swirl around. Soon it starts to swirl faster and faster like a whirlpool.

"Let me off," I hear myself cry, "Let me off. Let me off." The blood swirls faster and faster, bright scarlet choking my lungs. The cries change now.

"Let me out," I hear myself scream, "Let me out! Let me out!" My life flashes before my eyes, a nightmare of jumbled images that are a mixture of ugly truths and beautiful lies. It all bleeds together sometimes. My memories, my fantasies, my truths, my lies. Round and round it goes until I can't tell what's real anymore. Were Pietro and I really happy as children or were we jealous of each other and always competing for Father's attention? Did I even love my father or did I hate his guts even before he put me in the asylum? Which one of my lives was the fake one, the nightmare of the asylum or the fantasy created by Mastermind? Round and round it all swirls like some nauseating carousel I can't get off of. I want to get off. Please God someone let me off. I'm tired of the pain and the lies and the anger. Let me off now!

XXXXX

My eyes pop open and my body jerks upwards. My breathing comes in heavy gasps as I stare around the room. My room, not my cell. I'm not back there anymore. I try to calm my breathing and my nerves. I sigh gently as a cool hand touches my cheek.

"Sssh," whispers Todd softly, "It was just a bad dream, Wanda." I turn towards him as he sits up in the bed. We sleep together sometimes. Not in a sexual way though. Sometimes I just need him close to me. It still baffles me how he can love me so much. Sometimes I feel like I might lose him if I don't hold him close to me.

"It was. . .." I try to explain.

"It was just a nightmare," replies Todd as he kisses my forehead gently, "Nothing can hurt you as long as I'm here." I feel his arms curl gently around me, closing me in his warm embrace as I nuzzle against his chest.

"I love you," I whisper, "I'm so glad I have you."

"Love you too," replies Todd, "You kept crying 'let me off'. What happened?" I sigh, expelling a demon from inside me.

"It doesn't matter anymore," I tell him, "It'll never matter as long as I have you." He smiles as we both lay back on the bed and I curl up next to him. Before Todd and I were together, my life was a merry-go-round. I just got stuck in a loop of rage and vengeance and anger and I couldn't get off or stop it. I didn't even want to stop it. But I know now I was just perpetuating the cycle. He showed me there's a better ride, a better life than one consumed by bitterness. Todd's the one who stopped the merry-go-round for me, the one who finally let me off.