The Scarlet Witch shot one last hex blast from her hand that connected right on the chest of the last conscious thug. His body hit the ground, surrounded by the other bodies of the other men she had already defeated. She walked over to the crouched person she had just saved. He was in a fetal position up against a building wall.
"It's okay," she said calmly as she crouched down next to him. "Those men are gone. You're safe now."
"Safe?!" He yelled angrily, turning to face her finally. His eyes, nose, ears and mouth were all double the size of a regular human's while his head was the regular size. He was a mutant. His outburst was so sudden that it jolted Wanda and she fell back and onto the pavement. "How many times do you think I've been jumped?! There's not a super hero handy to step in and save me every time."
"I—I'm sorry. I know being a mutant can be difficult," Wanda said softly. "But we're trying to fix things. It will get better."
"It didn't have to get worse!" He continued to yell as he got to his feet. "I was normal before! Before you and that Messiah girl did whatever it is that you did! You made me like this! You made me a freak that everyone hates!" He turned and ran away. Wanda watched speechless as he disappeared into the busy New York streets.
You would think I'd have a comeback for that by now. He's only the thirteenth new mutant to tell me the similar tale; that I ruined their life by reviving the mutant race. It was later in the day now; the sky was beginning to turn dark. Wanda was flying over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was crowded with a bunch of cars heading both ways. It was normal. Time was, they hated me for doing the exact opposite. And those people still hate me for muttering those three damned words, even if I have undone the problem that they created. So what have I done other than double the amount of people that hate me? I feel like I can't win... but you know all about that feeling.
Wanda peeked out from behind the tree she was standing behind. It was fairly dark out now and the shadow cast by the leaves above her hid her from sight. She stared in through a window of the large building a couple yards in front of her. There were two kids in the large room she was looking at. One boy had stretchable arms that were wrapped around the other boy with four arms that he was using to pry off the other's arms. They were fighting; playfully: rough housing. Wanda watched for minutes before turning to walk away. As she walked through the entry way of the gated yard she glanced at the stone sign in the ground. "Jean Grey School for Higher Learning," it read. I guess things aren't all bad though.
It was fully dark out now. The streetlights and lights peaking through the windows of the surrounding buildings were all that lit the way as Wanda walked on the sidewalk of a New York street. It wasn't busy now. Wanda had already hexed her outfit into regular street clothes, as if that would make her unrecognizable. You know that kid that found me the other day? The one that lost her powers on that awful day and was further enraged with me that she didn't get them back when new mutants started erupting? She stopped at a crosswalk. She looked to the right and saw a couple of people grouped at the bottom of a stoup talking; and to the left she saw no one. She turned to the left and continued walking. I pulled some strings with people I know at SHEILD and found out she used to have the ability to feel the exact feelings of any person she came into contact with. After screaming at me for one hundred and eighty six seconds straight and storming off, she bumped into my arm. She stomped down the street just as angry as she was before. The door of a house she was walking next to burst open and two people immediately came into sight. There was a woman, standing in the doorframe. In front of her, on the porch effectively, was a man about 7 feet tall, wider than normal and his skin was a dark green all over. She had pushed him out of the door.
"You're not the man I married! You're a—a—a freak!" She screamed.
"Honey—" The door slammed shut before he could say another word.
I never was a fan of irony.
She was awoken by a knock on her bedroom door the next morning.
"I apologize Ms. Maximoff," Jarvis' voice came from the other side. "You have visitors. They insisted."
When she was dressed in her suit and sitting in the Mansion's meeting room Jarvis returned to her.
"Your guests mam," he said. In walked behind him Psylocke and Rachel Grey. And the irony continues. "Do let me know if you all need anything," Jarvis said as he left the room.
"Hello," Wanda said, putting on the best smile she possibly could. "How can I help you all?" She was trying to remember every trick her father ever taught her about shielding your mind from telepaths. If she knew… Well, it would be embarrassing.
"Isn't that a loaded question," Psylocke rolled her eyes.
"What brings you here today?" Wanda rephrased.
They both looked around the room. They eyed the pictures on the wall, the table settings, and the fine décor. Wanda knew what they were thinking. It was the same barb so many X-Men before had thrown at her before. "She gets to be Avenger?" They stood across from where Wanda sat at the table.
"Our powers are on the fritz," Psylocke said. She was staring directly at Wanda but the Scarlet Witch felt more like she was staring through her.
"They're weaker. Harder to control," Rachel spoke. Her eyes were softer; kinder.
"My katana is looking more like a steak knife."
"And I'm having to concentrate to even read minds," Rachel elaborated. That's a slight blessing, all things considered.
"I'm sorry. I'm not certain how this one's my fault," Wanda said, looking back and forth between the two of them sympathetically.
"What exactly did you and Hope do to the Phoenix Force?" Rachel asked. There was a slight tone of offensiveness starting to rise in her voice.
"I'm… I'm not exactly certain." Did she read my mind already? Without me noticing?
"Of course you aren't," Psylocke snapped.
"I'm trying to find out. I'm researching, doing everything I can."
"What we do know is that you said 'No More Phoenix' and the last time you 'No More' of something ninety percent of that something was no more," Psylocke said.
"And we also know that it is believed by many that the Phoenix Force is, or was, the nexus of all psionic energy," Rachel finished.
Wanda paused for a moment. Her thoughts raced. "So you believe Hope and I might have damaged your power by damaging the Phoenix?"
"You might have damaged the power of every psionic in the universe," Rachel corrected her.
"So fix it. Find out what you did and fix it," Psylocke spoke shortly. Add it to the list, shall we?
Deep in space the creature once known as Brio of Life awoke. She felt a rumbling from outside her prison. She at once remembered her last living memory. She saw her fellow Gods each being blasted with massive amounts of energy from the giant Galactus. She watched him squeeze the life out of the innocent Antiphon. That's when she attacked. She flew towards the World Devourer. As soon as she was in arm's reach she was grabbed by the throat. Galactus' massive hand clenched her throat tightly before a blast from his eyes hit her square in the face. Everything went black. The memory angered her. She looked around her current setting. She was completely surrounded by a metallic material. It was dark except for one small circular window letting a blue light in. She remembered her power. It was so long since she used it. She could feel how long she had been dormant. It angered her further. She blew energy outward in every direction creating a sphere around her that echoes her spherical prison. The energy tore through and decimated the metal around her before dispersing. She found herself floating in space, surrounded by several prisons identical to the one she had just escaped. She flew over to the one closest to her and looked through the window. She saw Diableri of Chaos still and lifeless. She shook her head in defiance before looking over at another prison. She flew to it and through window saw another lifeless God. She looked off in to the distance and she saw the lifeless bodies of Aegis and Tenebrous floating. Her anger grew and grew with each discovery. She screamed, loud and shrill and her voice echoed through space.
Wanda returned to her bedroom at the mansion to find a letter Jarvis must have put on her desk. It said only "Wanda" on the envelope in handwriting she immediately recognized. She reluctantly sat at the desk and opened it.
I'm half convinced that Tony should fire Jarvis. I mean what kind of butler can't deliver letters? Because this is like the sixth or seventh I've wrote you and I haven't heard anything from you. So let me just give you the jist of those letters. They go something like: Hi mom, I miss you, how are you, I haven't seen you in a while, I heard about the X-Men/Phoenix catastrophe thing, heard you did well, I'm proud of you, etc. The other half of me thinks that Jarvis has assisted the Avengers for like ever so he can't really be that bad at his job. But that thought process leads to the possibility that you have read all my letters and have chose not to respond, which is a lot more depressing so I tend to avoid that one. I don't know why you would do that… But anyways, I miss you. And although Tommy is way too stubborn to ever admit it, he does too. So it would be awesome to see or hear from you soon. Here's to hoping.
With her elbows resting on the desk she dropped the letter and crashed her face in her palms. It's the seventh. She pulled a drawer on her desk open and looked down at the other letters in the same handwriting. She sighed deeply as she added the new one and shut the drawer. It's not that I don't feel bad; I do. It's just… I think it's better this way. An alarm in her room went off at that moment. She turned to look at the red flashing light on her wall. Avengers Assemble.
Brio soared the space at an incredible speed. Her head veered from left to right. She glanced at every planet, every star, every corner of dark space she passed. She couldn't find it. She never slowed her pace, never slowed her search. Her mind again danced through her ancient memories. In the beginning they found each other. They were both alone with the stars. It was the first life Brio had found in this new universe and without knowing for sure she believed she was the same for it. Her memory froze as she looked at it; she put it on pause. She stared at its fiery depths, its even deeper eyes, its vastness. She was in awe of the Phoenix. As her memory continued she saw the two of them flying through space together. They destroyed stars and made stars. They explored countless planets. Even after Brio had found the others that would come to be called the Proemial Gods, she always returned to the Phoenix. They always explored together. They did so for many years before they discovered Earth. Brio thought nothing of the planet. She saw it as another planet, humans as another creature. The Phoenix saw humans as an anomaly. She saw them as creatures possible of evolving and improving. When Brio was ready to depart from the planet the Phoenix would not leave with her. So she left alone. Angry as she was, she couldn't leave so easily. She watched the Phoenix from afar as it travelled the Earth. She saw it bond with a human and she was disgusted. The Phoenix leant a portion of its power to this tiny, insignificant, human and Brio could not understand why. She watched as the Phoenix' human became a God to it's people. That's when the Phoenix felt accomplished and left the planet. Brio was torn on whether or not to follow its one time companion or watch its human. Her mind was made when she felt the humans' psionic ability. She flew to it on Earth and observed it. It had telekinetic and telepathic abilities. The Phoenix gave it power. Brio was further disgusted but she also felt astonishment. She knew how to punish the Phoenix and also knew how to further the Proemial Gods' plans. But it was too late. She felt the call of her Gods'. The fight had started. She knew must go to them.
The Scarlet Witch returned home after her long day; a routine day for an Avenger. She began changing into street clothes. I wonder if I have the power to stop time. She finished and exited the mansion. The sun was just beginning to set. It would be useful. Everyday it's something else: AIM, Hydra, Red Skull, my father. I don't have enough time for everything else. She began her walk alongside the street. I don't have time to research the Phoenix, or the psionics' problem, or you. She had just made it down four blocks.
"Wanda?" a voice came from behind her.
She turned to see Steve Rogers looking at her. His kind face had a slight tinge of pity.
"Steve. Yes?" She wore her happy voice. Her voice she was all too familiar with putting on like a glove.
"You do this every night?" He asked, walking up to her.
"What? Have you been following me?"
"Only these last couple nights."
"I'm only worried about you. You walk these streets every night, rubbing your face in all of these problems people like to blame you for."
"You say that as if they're wrong to blame me."
"I just don't know what good this does anyone."
She waited. She looked around. The streets were pretty busy. People passed them on the sidewalk. "I have to see these problems to remind myself to solve them."
"We both know that's not true. You could never forget even if you tried."
"You're torturing yourself, I think, because the world has convinced you that you deserve it. You don't. You do that enough all by yourself." Since when did he become telepathic?
"I think out here. There are so many problems I need to solve. I think about them out here at night."
Steve smiled widely. "You can think at home Wanda."
"Come on," Steve said. He stepped to the side and opened his arms widely. Damn Captain America's charm. She stepped forward and he turned and followed her back to the mansion.
When she returned to her room she at once walked to her walk in closet. Maybe he was right though. She walked to the back of her closet and pushed all the clothes on their hangers to one side, revealing the brick wall behind it. Maybe tormenting myself wasn't the road to discovery. She wrapped her hand with a hex blast. The pink energy lit up the dark closet. She pressed the hand gently against the wall. With a loud shifting noise the entire wall slid to the left, opening a dark walkway. I haven't been back here to see you in some time any way. She kept the energy around her hand to light the way as she walked down the narrow path. When the end was near she could see the candles lit in the distance. She dissipated the energy as she continued walking. She came to a halt in front of the dead end. There was a table up against the wall, where the candles rested. She looked over the mess she had made. There were dozens of papers, newspaper stories, ancient books, and scrolls all overlapping and mixed on the tabletop. She looked to the wall. There were at least fifty pictures hung and taped there. Each one of the same woman. There were some of her as a child, a teenager, an adult, and some of her tombstone. Wanda looked at each one, focusing on that red haired, green-eyed woman. Hello again Jean Grey.