Memento

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: Don't own these characters. It's been awhile, hope you remember me and remember to R/R.

I miss her. The thought crosses my mind as I open the door to the apartment. I refuse to claim ownership of this place anymore. Because this place wasn't just mine. It was . . . ours. But there's no "us" anymore and because of that I'm not sure there's still a "me". And even if there still is, I'm not worthy enough to really own anything.

I take off the coat I'm wearing and throw it on the coat rack. It's raining tonight. It's a real mess outside. Normally I would never mind the rain but since Wanda left I'm not sure anymore, not sure about a lot of things. But if there's one thing I am sure of it's that I miss her. I try to cover up that pain a lot of times because it never does anyone any good to dwell on pain. But they never tell you about the bandages that are used to wrap up that pain. They never tell you how suffocating they can be. So which is more painful, bleeding dry or not bleeding at all? As I said, I'm not sure of things anymore.

I miss her on nights like this. Days like this actually. From the moment I feel the rain hit my skin till the last drop of water falls from the sky, I relive my entire time with Wanda Maximoff. It's like it all just washes over me with the rain, all the love and pain and joy and hurt. Days like this are tidal waves for me and I find myself getting pulled under, all my usual defenses failing until I have no choice but to remember. My body sags into the couch as I reach over to the coffee table in front of me and graze with fondness the cover of the book that's on said table. It's always here on this table; always here from the last time I flipped through it. At first, I kept putting it away after I looked at it but the moments of flipping through its pages became so frequent I stopped returning it to its proper shelf. I pick it up now and stare fondly at the cover. We started keeping this scrapbook after we moved into this apartment. Once we got out of SHIELD, Wanda had the free time and it was always something she wanted to do. It helped her keep her memories straight, helped her sort out fact from fiction. So she and I worked on it, worked on getting photos from the others and from what we had saved of the old house. I remember after we finally finished it both of us cried while looking through it all.

It's weird how much value we place on little mementoes like this. I flip open the cover and stare at the first page. We didn't really take many pictures when we lived at the house. The first picture in the album is a newspaper clipping from when we saved some people from that subway accident. I study Wanda's face. It's her angry face, a perpetual scowl meant to keep everyone away. But not me, never could it keep me away from her. I flip to the next page. We took a trip to the beach one day. It was a random whim, a sudden impulse that came out of sheer boredom. I remember how incredible she looked in that bathing suit. I remember how amazingly pure her skin looked when the sun hit it. So white and smooth, like polished alabaster. That was before Apocalypse, before her memories came back. She looks almost happy in this picture but I know the real happiness comes next.

The next page is simply a picture of us in the park. She's really happy in this one; I can see it in her eyes. This one was after everything had been cleared away and we had started dating. I remember how beautiful her eyes were. They were the purest blue I had ever seen. I remember staring into them and it was like time slowed down and everything else fell away. All I needed was her eyes. I turn the page and see a Christmas photo. I remember that night, remember her pulling me into a small, little alcove away from the others. I remember her lips on mine and now feel the sensation of them again like a ghostly ache from a phantom limb that's long since been amputated. We happened to be under the mistletoe that night and Pyro happened to have the camera. Neither of us really minded.

The next picture is before we left the house for SHIELD. Her hair was growing out by then. It made me remember when she first came into my life. I remember that I could see the hurt in her eyes the minute she walked through the door. She was full of hurt, so full that she needed some way of expelling it. She chose anger because it was the easiest way. But I could tell she needed something more permanent. I remember seeing it in her eyes the first time I saw her, remember seeing the need for something to help her finally be at peace.

There are some newspaper photos next. The grain and gray of the print does little to hide how beautiful she looked. Our time with SHIELD was short. We were too sensationalistic and we could never keep a low enough profile what with all the collateral damage our fights usually inflicted. And honestly, we grew bored with that life pretty quickly. I remember talking with her so many times about settling down at last. I remember how excited she was when we finally did. That always amazed me about her. More than any of us, she wanted a normal life, a life none of us thought we could have. She wanted a house with a white picket fence and the 2.5 kids. She wanted to cook meals and go to PTA meetings and little league games. She wanted to do for her kids all the things neither of her parents were able to do for her. And I would've given her all that if I could. I didn't have much to give and I still don't but I'd give her anything.

The last page is when we moved into this apartment. I always choke when I get to that one because it's the end, in more ways than one. She moved out when we broke up. It's funny because it was all because of this thing, this scrapbook. Looking through it, she kept getting the idea that the good times were all behind her now. She had worked so damn hard on this thing and now it was like a graveyard to her. I remember the night she left. I remember the fight we had and the words we said to each other only out of sheer anger. And as I stare at this last picture I feel the hopelessness inside me well up as I realize that now the best is truly behind me. And I feel the tears flow as I play this masochistic game of reliving everything I loved and lost because supposedly it's better than having never loved at all. I feel the anger too, anger at myself and her and the whole world because it's not better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. As I close the book, for the millionth time I think about just burning it and forgetting about Wanda Maximoff. But just like always, I simply set the scrapbook down and watch as the rain falls from the sky while tears run down my cheeks. I can never let her go. I will always miss her and on nights like tonight I will always play this game. I will consider throwing away my memories of her but I will never have the courage or perhaps the cowardice to do so. I will hang onto those memories, cataloged in this memento here on the table, and I will ache to have her here with me again.