Tuesday evening, outside the X-Mansion…
Jean caught up with Evan as he was wandering around the mansion's perimeter. "Hey, Evan! Wait up…"
Evan paused and looked back, a morose expression on his face. "Hey Jean…"
"Sorry 'bout being late today," mumbled Jean as she slowed to a walk. "The soccer meeting went late. So… You say anything to the Professor yet?"
Evan stuffed his hands in his pockets and shook his head. "Nah… Apparently, Cerebro did miss yesterday's fight. Don't know how but... The Professor hasn't said anything, so neither have I..." Dejected, Evan continued walking. "'Sides, what would I tell him, Jean? 'Oh, by the way Professor, remember my old friend Quicksilver? Yeah, he's got his own team of mutants who he's been training in secret. Oh, but if we do anything about it, he'll do something like steal Scott's glasses in the middle of homeroom.' Yeah, I'll look real smart like that…"
Turning around, Evan sighed loudly. "I don't know Jean. This whole thing is just nuts. I mean, I thought I knew Pietro. He seemed so simple. Just a straight-up adrenaline junkie and egotist. But… To know he has his own team behind him? That he feels the need to even have a team behind him… I don't know…" Evan tore his gaze away from Jean and looked up at the sky. "It was hard enough getting over the fact that Mystique is after us. I mean to the point where she wouldn't mind seeing us dead… That we've got Pietro, waiting in the wings with a whole new team out for blood… I'm not sure I'm ready for a life like that…"
"To be honest, I don't think I am either," agreed Jean. "But… I'm not sure its quite like that."
"Yeah?" Asked Evan, not convinced. "So what is it like?"
"Well, call it telepath's intuition, but I don't think Pietro's team is meant to go against us. Its just… I just wasn't picking up that kind of animosity from him?"
"I think you're putting too much faith in your powers Jean," responded Evan with a touch of bitterness. "Believe me, Pietro's got plenty of animosity towards us."
"I'm not saying he doesn't. I'm just saying that yesterday, when he was with his girls, there was just… Something, or maybe, someone else on his mind."
Evan gave Jean a long look, the incredulous expression never leaving his face. "I don't know Jean. I just don't know…" With that, Evan turned his back and continued walking away.
"Neither do I," mumbled Jean. As she watched Evan walk away, she shook her head and turned the other way. "Pietro," she mumbled to herself, "I don't know why you seem so afraid, but I… Really do hope you dig yourself out… Somehow…"
New York City, seven hundred feet below the surface…
"Whoa…" Awestruck, Pietro shined his flashlight across the cavern he found himself standing in. It had been over fifteen minutes since Pietro had left the familiarity to the NYC sewer grid. Since then, he had been traveling down unmarked, seemingly hand-carved caves. The caves had gotten progressively more primitive, and Pietro had expected them to end at any moment. However, instead of simply ending, the caves led him to a gate. The gate had stuck Pietro as unnaturally clean and well maintained. After jimmying open the gate, Pietro found himself in an open cavern, well over twice the size of a school auditorium. "This could take longer than I thought…"
Heaving a sigh, Pietro trudged over to the side of the cavern and leaned against the wall. He needed to rethink his plan.
"Man, I shouldn't even be here right now," he muttered to himself. "I've got enough to do as it is." Pietro sighed again as he mentally listed all the things he needed to get done. In addition to keeping up appearances with Mystique and the Brotherhood, he still had to call Projector, and figure out a way to get him from his home in Colorado to the Bayville area. He had to find some way to verify the reports he's heard about the Klienstock family. As well as the rumors about that farm boy in the Ukraine. And, Pietro reminded himself, he still needed to find the whereabouts of Angelo Unuscione, and to make sure Angelo could never find out about his daughter, or her subsequent adoption. Pietro exhaled loudly. "Man, I really shouldn't be here…."
Still, with the exception of talking to Projector, all of Pietro's other tasks were nothing but paperwork. Looking through endless reports and news clippings, investigating records, translating documents, etc. All of which was mind numbingly boring, none of which would produce any immediate results.
Just the thought of all that paperwork made Pietro tired. So instead of putting himself through all that hassle, Pietro had opted to spend the night poking the sewers beneath New York City, searching for some trace of the mutant he had spotted during the Brotherhood's altercation with the X-Men a week previous. It wasn't exactly pleasant, but it was a lead. The most tangible lead Pietro had at the moment…
And still, even it wasn't producing many results. Pietro had been searching for hours, and all he had found was the promise of even more searching ahead of him. Sighing, Pietro closed his eyes for a moment of rest.
As he had so many times before, Pietro found himself hiding behind what remained of the town well. All around him, his town burned, most of its citizens having already fled. As the cut on his hand stopped bleeding, Pietro cautiously stepped away from his shelter. With tears in his eyes, he looked to Mount Wundagore. Cold, uncaring, it stood like a citadel beyond the flames. The people of the town always said that Wundagore, and its guardians, would protect them from harm.
Standing alone in the night, Pietro realized just how wrong they were.
Suddenly, the sound of a footfall grabbed Pietro's attention. Whirling, Pietro faced the approacher. Silhouetted by the fire, it stood nearly seven feet tall. It had the body of a man, and the head of a ram. In one hand, it held a sword. In the other, the scared, shivering body of Wanda Maximoff.
Then, in a voice that seemed to echo through the inferno, it spoke. "Fear not, child, for you are simply returning home. In Wundagore were you born, in Wundagore shall you be raised. And when the growing power inside you matures, in Wundagore shall you serve…"
Pietro found himself rooted to the ground, paralyzed by fear. Until the voice of his sister floated through the air.
"Yes, child," reassured the creature, "there is power in your brother as well. He too shall join you in Wundagore."
For the young Pietro, fear gave way to panic. With his adrenaline pumping, and heedless of any danger, Pietro sprinted away from the sight. Suddenly, the adrenaline became something more, and the world turned to a blur…
With a gasp, Pietro awoke back in the cavern.
"Dang it," he muttered, trying to shake off the last vestiges of the all too familiar dream. "Should'a know better… Alone in a dark cavern halfway to the center of the Earth… Its the perfect spot for a nightmare."
Sighing, Pietro picked up his flashlight, making sure the batteries hadn't died down. After clicking the light on and off a few times, Pietro sighed again and leaned back against the wall. Lying to himself had never been one of Pietro's strong points. Others, yes. But himself… Reluctantly closing his eyes, he let the rest of the memory play itself out.
As he always did, he saw himself finally coming to a stop on the shores of the Baltic sea. Half a continent away from Mount Wundagore. He saw himself collapse, physically exhausted, and emotionally unwilling to go on. Once again, the world became a blur, this time whizzing by as Pietro himself sat and waited to die.
Then with uncanny clarity, he saw Magneto. He watched as Magneto approached, and told him how he had been drawn by the awakening of Pietro's 'mutant powers.' He listened as Magneto explained the world to him, and offered him a new life. A life free from pain and the constraints of his past. A life half a world away. A life in the heart of civilization, in New York City.
The memory ended in excruciating slowness, as Pietro watched himself weakly extend his hand, and accept.
The vision over, Pietro opened his eyes and lifted his head. The memory, as it always did, left Pietro's face a hardened mask of anger, grief, and determination. In his shame, he had never told Magneto about his sister. About how he abandoned her in the shadow of Wundagore. He never told anyone…
But he never forgot.
"You're right, Demon," Pietro growled. "I will come back to Wundagore. But I won't come alone. And when I do come… So help me… I'LL TEAR YOUR MOUNTAIN APART!!!"
As his threat echoed across the empty cavern, Pietro picked up his flashlight and resumed his search.
"Don't worry Wanda… I will be back for you. …Someday… I'll be back for you…"
Jean Grey, Evan Daniels, Pietro Maximoff, and all related X-Men: Evolution names and references are copyright Marvel Comics. Wanda Maximoff, the Acolytes, Mount Wandagore, the Morlock tunnels, and all related references are also copyright Marvel Comics, though they have been modified to fit in the confines of Evolution. The story itself is a non-profit work of fanfiction, and is not meant to infringe upon any of said copyrights.