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"I thought you were dead," Sam says to him, once they've all been introduced.

Pietro shrugs. "I walked it off."


The official explanation is: His enhanced metabolism includes rapid healing, so after a brief coma (and some help from Doctor Cho's tissue regeneration) he awoke more or less as good as new.

Pietro thinks: Doctor Cho doesn't look particularly convinced when telling her part of the story.

And then there's Wanda.


"What can't you do?" Steve asks her, and Pietro, already watching, moves closer.

"Many things," she says. Steve grins at her, but Pietro can hear the sadness in her voice, regret for the things they've lost. She looks at him - straight into his eyes, like she always knows exactly where he is - and he wonders if that's true.

"You cannot run," he says instead, darting around her to the other side.

"I'd rather think quickly than move quickly," she shoots back, her dark mood broken.

"I can do both," he says confidently, dashing out and around Captain America to find Falcon. If he's fast enough, he's sure he can pluck one of those metal feathers. All he needs is -

"Ouch!" he yells, stopping short, cradling his now-bleeding fingers. All he needs is vibranium gloves, it seems.

On the other side of the room, Wanda laughs, and even Steve is hiding a smile. Sam isn't hiding his.

"Yeah, those don't come off," Sam says, and Pietro winces. Not even at super speed, apparently.

"Who is the quick thinker now?" Wanda asks, but she's at his side, then, cradling her hand in his. A moment later, the pain recedes, and he looks at her questioningly, wipes away the blood to find unbroken skin.

"That is all I can do," she says. Her voice is low, as if she's trying to keep the others from hearing, though Pietro can't be certain of it. "You still have a scar. As a reminder."

"A reminder not to pluck metal falcons," he agrees.

Wanda smiles. "And that your sister is always right."

"Both excellent lessons," Steve says, and Pietro wonders how much he heard. Or saw. If he knows what Wanda did, he doesn't look surprised. "But let's get back to training."

Pietro wonders if he can run fast enough to escape his sparring session with Natasha. He doesn't think even Wanda can heal that much pain.


"I'm still injured," he says later, when Wanda shoots him a dirty look for not helping to clear the dishes. Not that he needs an excuse this time, he thinks; he's been doing it all week thanks to Rhodey, who insists that Pietro should do more chores just because he can do them faster. Unsurprisingly, nobody else disagrees with him.

"Is it your leg that is bruised?" Wanda asks. "Or your ego?"

Both, not that he will admit it. She may be an Avenger - a more experienced Avenger, that is - but there is still a particular shame in being so thoroughly beaten by a woman. A woman without any superpowers, no less.

"Maybe I should just go to bed," he says instead.

"Are your quarters all right?" Steve asks. "They're just temporary. Until ..."

He doesn't finish the sentence, but Pietro can do it for him. Until we've arranged new lives for you. Until we know there are no lingering side effects from your recovery. Until we're sure we can trust you.

"They are fine," Wanda assures him.

"I could do with a TV," Pietro says.

Wanda throws half a bread roll at him, and for a moment, he can almost believe they are happy again.


"If your leg is still sore," Wanda says, when they're alone in the hallway, "I can heal it."

"Since when?" he asks, looking at her closely.

She shrugs, glancing away from him. "I just discovered it, is all."

He pauses. "What can you do?"

He is not quite asking, but almost. Wanda looks at him, then, and there is enough in her eyes that he thinks he knows already.

"You can't ask me to be without you," she says, as if it's an explanation. "I can't."

"Wanda," he says, taking her face in his hands.

"I had to!" she says. "You don't know how I felt. When you died."

He doesn't know, but he can imagine. If she had died ...

He's not sure if he's trying to comfort Wanda, or comfort himself, but he kisses her. Gently, on the forehead, on the cheek, on her lips. The last lingers, a moment longer than it should, and then he kisses her again, almost chaste, almost as a brother would. Wanda clings to him, tighter every time he kisses her, and so he does it again, and again, until his lips eventually part and he is kissing her properly, and Wanda is kissing him back. She presses even closer against him, and he backs her up gently until her back hits the wall, his hands still cradling her face, kissing her with an insistence he didn't know he had, like all of this is temporary and he could go back to being dead at any minute.

Wanda makes a noise in the back of her throat, and he reacts instinctively, his hands going to her hips and lifting her so that her legs wrap around his waist. She dips her had back and he kisses her neck, her collarbone, the edge of her jaw.

"Pietro," she says, and he freezes, staying more still than he thinks he's ever managed in his life.

"I can stop," he says. "If you want me to stop."

"No," she says. "I don't want you to stop."

Their rooms are almost on the other side of the building, but he has them there almost immediately, laying Wanda gently on the bed, taking off his shirt. She smiles and pushes him back, straddling him as he lies flat, and the air goes out of him as if she had hit him with Thor's hammer.

"Is this what you brought me back for?" he asks teasingly, unfastening his pants.

"No," she says. "But it is a bonus."

When he enters her, he has to force himself to slow down, to let Wanda set the pace; already he feels as if he could explode. When she clenches on top of him, her mouth going slack, he clutches her hips and thrusts upwards, losing himself in her, his thoughts disappearing for the first time since he came back, since they joined Hydra.

"Wanda -"

"Don't apologise," she says, before he can. "You'll ruin it."

"I didn't act like your brother," he says instead, and it feels close enough. His only job is to protect her, and he doesn't think he is doing that now.

"We are not a normal brother and sister," she counters. And then she turns to face him, her eyes serious. "I only want you. That is all."

He's never been able to refuse her before; he isn't likely to start now.


"You're late," Steve says when he show up to training, a smile on his face. "Pretty ironic."

"Is it ironic if I hit you with your own shield?" he asks. Not that he's keen to try; after Falcon's wing and Thor's hammer, he thinks he'll stay away from other people's things for a little while.

"I'd like to see you try," Natasha offers. He thinks she is targeting him on purpose. He thinks Clint is telling her to.

"Two against four?" Wanda asks, coming up beside Pietro and slipping her hand into his. "I think we can manage that."

Together, Pietro thinks they can manage anything.