Billy Kaplan let out a heartbreaking and trembling sob as he collapsed onto his bed, the mattress squeaking under his weight as tears ran down his face and stained his pale skin. It wasn’t fair, he couldn’t do this anymore, he just couldn’t pretend that all this talk and rumours and mentions about the Scarlet Witch wasn’t tearing him to pieces from the inside. Because it was. Every-time he and the Young Avengers would visit the Tower or the Mansion, every-time he walked passed a group of his idols, he can hear them whisper, he can hear them talking about him and Wanda behind his back. And it’s killing him. Those throw-away comments and slight hate ridden stares get to him, in a way The Avengers couldn’t possibly imagine.
“He’s going to end up like his mother.” some of them say, “Just wait until he turns his back on his team, kills and betrays them all.”
He burrows somewhat frantically under his thick and warm blankets, trying to feel safer, trying to get those daunting stares off his back. It even gets to him in his dreams, but then he wakes up, panting like he’s run a marathon, all sweaty and his heart pounding rapidly against his chest and so he knows that the flashes of his breakdown of insanity aren’t real, but it could be. Could. A small, tiny slice of maybe that could change everything he ever knew. The beautiful and impossible amazing world that he’s found to love and the friends that have become so close to him that they’re practically family.
Teddy doesn’t know. And Billy doesn’t want his ever-so-perfect boyfriend to find out that he simply wasn’t capable for all of this anymore. He wants it to be his own little secret, something that he’s going to have to deal with on his own, even if it means he has to lie. He doesn’t want to, but he knows that once everyone knows he going off the rails, it’ll be the end of the Young Avengers and his life as Wiccan as he knows it. The Avengers will take him down and he’ll know what it feels like to truly and solely be a Maximoff.
Billy started to pull at his hair in as he jumped down off his bed and leant down under it, pulling a long thin cardboard box out. He bowed his head down and took out a stunning scarlet cape, none other than the Scarlet Witch’s. “I’m so, so sorry…mom.” He whispered, taking the fabric out, smiling slightly as it shimmered in the low light coming from the gap in his curtains. The cape was all he really had of Wanda Maximoff, that and the matching headpiece which he found when he, Nate, Teddy and Eli first went into the Mansion, looking for costumes and weapons. Billy found Wanda’s old room, taking the cape and headpiece as a reminder of his favourite Avenger. But she became much, much more than that. She was everything. But nothing. Because she wasn’t here anymore, but she wasn’t anywhere. And what use was an idol where they were more crazy than you are yourself.
With the cape in hand, Billy jumped back onto the bed, more tears falling – this time landing on the scarlet fabric. He twisted the fabric in his fingers, making loops and knots, trying to wish that Wanda was here to make it all better. To stop the stares and the speculation, to stop the nightmares and the loss of control, the loosening grasp on reality, the way he feels when he knows the power he wields could do so much damage, and the way he’s holding back. He’s holding back, but if he lets go….
He doesn’t want to think about it. Ever. He just wants it to all go back to when it was the 4 of them. No Kate, Cassie , Tommy or Vision, just a young group of struggling wannabe Avengers. But without Kate he wouldn’t be here, without Tommy he would feel even more lost in the world, without Vision he wouldn’t have a living tie to the mother he should have, and without Cassie the team wouldn’t have someone to always make fun of.
Maybe this all was a dream. Maybe he wasn’t a superhero with a sexy boyfriend and an irritating twin speedster for a brother. Maybe it was all another House of M, a dream, not real. All of this a figment of his imagination. Maybe he was still just a geeky gay guy in high-school who dreamt of being a superhero, the son of one of the most powerful mutants on earth, with a boyfriend who loved him.
It’s a pretty good dream. It’s amazing. But he hopes it’s real, god, he loves everything about being a Young Avenger. But if it wasn’t real, what did he have?