“Because I’m your son.”
Peter jerked awake with a shout and flailed his arms around quickly as he looked around. He was getting really tired of waking up in strange and unfamiliar places. He was in an unfamiliar room that looked oddly similar to the cellar hallway covered in vines, but there were glowing purple and orange lights around the edges of the circumference of the dark cavern area.
“Uncle P!” A shout came from behind him and Peter was immediately tackled by Tommy, whose arms were thrown around Peter in a deathly tight grip. Peter could feel tears hitting the back of his neck and he patted Tommy’s arms with as much comfort as he could.
“Hey little dude,” Peter responded softly, finally catching sight of Darcy and Monica who were looking at him with concern. “Is your brother here?”
Tommy nodded against his neck and Peter turned as far as he could to see Billy off to the side, hugging his arms tightly around his middle. Billy was giving Peter an intense look as if evaluating Peter. To be fair, Peter was fairly certain the kid had developed some kind of telepathy so he must be very confused why Peter’s head was suddenly so very different .
“Mom said you weren’t our uncle,” Billy said stiffly. Tommy slowly let go, almost reluctant, but he stayed near Peter who stood and brushed himself off.
“Well, your mom is right, but also wrong,” Peter shrugged. “I am, and am not, your uncle. I’ll explain it later,” Peter waved a hand to Billy who nodded but still seemed suspicious. Peter glanced around -- the room was empty save for the current occupants and the glowing lights coming from nowhere.
“You alright, Peter?” Monica asked finally, coming over to stand by him. Darcy joined them and nudged Peter with her shoulder.
“Yeah, that was a pretty big yell when you woke up there.”
“Uh, yeah,” Peter scratched the back of his neck. “Had a bit of a bad dream, but I’m fine.”
Monica raised an eyebrow. “You sure?”
Before Peter could answer, a door materialized out of nowhere and through it, he could see light and --
Tommy was the first out the door, tackling his mother around the waist, followed shortly by Billy. Wanda’s eyes were red from crying but she seemed firmer, somehow, more certain. Her hands immediately wrapped the boys into her arms and she hunched over, cradling their heads gently.
Wanda was a good mother. Peter felt the slight twinge in his chest from thinking about what his own sister might have been and he pushed it away. His Wanda would have wanted him to be happy, and his Wanda would have loved this version. She was caring, and kind, tough as nails, and still ready to throw down at a moments notice.
Agnes peered her head into the doorway.
“Well, come on lazy daisies! I haven’t got all day!” A resounding boom echoed all around them and the walls of the basement shook. “And that would be our cue!”
Peter rushed from the room into the basement with it’s very witchy vibe. He felt Monica and Darcy flank him and they watched Wanda’s curious eyes look them over before letting her boys go and turning to Agnes.
“Agatha, who is this?” She gestured to Peter, and Peter tried not to be offended. Really, he was right there. She could have just asked him. Also, who the hell was Agatha ? “You said he was your eyes and ears, but who is he really?”
Agnes -- or Agatha? -- peered closely at Peter and smirked. “Well, it looks like someone found my enchanted beads and set little old Ralph loose from the crystalline possession. Sorry again about that dear,” she said to Peter with a shrug. “You were the neighbor and it was just too convenient.”
Wanda looked critically at Peter. “Ralph? Seriously?” The accent was back to stay and Peter found he really liked it. It reminded him of the early days in D.C. with his mother and sister, when they were learning English and trying to assimilate to avoid mockery, fear, and denigration.
“Oh, what?” Peter did a quick double take. “Nah, my name’s not Ralph. Also your beads were really annoying -- putting a cap on my speed. If you’d just asked I would have totally volunteered to help you help Wanda,” he complained, rubbing a hand at his neck.
“Name’s Peter, by the way. Peter Maximoff.”
Wanda openly gaped. Another echoing boom shook the walls.
“Shouldn’t we go deal with that?” Peter asked, pointing up vaguely.
Agatha’s lips pulled into a thin line. “Yes, unfortunately I thought I would have more time to prepare Wanda for this, but there’s really no time like the present! It seems we have an uninvited guest, dear.”
Monica glowered, and grit her teeth.
“ Hayward .”
As the little band of misfits made their way through the neighborhood (Tommy and Billy having been given strict instructions to stay in their room), Darcy continued to glance at Peter and Wanda who were awkwardly avoiding each other and any topic of conversation related to Peter in general.
“So Agnes, or Agatha, or whatever, actually isn’t a bad guy?” she hissed at Monica who shrugged. Really not helpful, thanks Monica.
“Guess not,” Monica finally said. “After finding out she was involved with the glitches and abnormalities in Wanda’s sitcom broadcast I thought for sure she was going to be out to destroy Wanda, not teach her control.” Monica sighed. “Boy am I glad I was wrong.”
“And she keeps calling Wanda the ‘Scarlet Witch’, which is awesome by the way and should totally be her new codename, but does that mean Wanda’s powers aren’t actually from the Mind Stone?” Darcy lived for theorizing but right now she just needed answers, and she needed them fast. They were about to face off against Hayward and his pet project -- the last file she had accessed before being enveloped into the Hex.
Hayward had Vision and he was bringing him back to life. Hayward had lied about Wanda stealing Vision’s body and everything about their mission to stop the Hex. Hayward wanted to destroy enhanced humans and he was going to use Vision to do it.
It did beg the question how there was a Vision in the Hex that looked and sounded and acted exactly like the real one, and also was still essentially made out of vibranium.
When they reached Town Square, Darcy swallowed hard and took a deep breath.
They were completely surrounded by SWORD, full teams in tac gear with fully automated weapons trained directly on the five of them. Hayward was leading the charge. Darcy wanted nothing more than to wipe that smug smirk off his stuipd face, but she was just a girl with an astrophysics degree, not an all powerful witch or speedster or...whatever Monica could do now with her wicked glowing eyes.
“Take aim!” Hayward called and Wanda’s hands immediately lit with red wisps of power. Peter’s hand came up quickly and held her back, and then he turned back to look at them and winked .
Peter was really glad he’d zipped back to the house to grab his walkman before anyone could notice. He put his headphones on and clicked play before feeling time itself slow down and himself speed up.
The beautiful sound of Freddie Mercury crooning a melody over a heavy bass drum beat began to play as Peter took a run around the perimeter first, checking for backup and tanks.
“Steve walks warily down the street, his brim pulled way down low. Ain’t no sound but the sound of his feet, machine guns ready to go.”
Peter grinned as he quickly disarmed each of the SWORD agents guns, dropping the magazines down into a pile he started behind Wanda. Her hands were still slowly lighting up with her power and Peter felt giddy at seeing a version of Wanda who could do things his sister could only dream of.
Next he started handcuffing agents to each other, to their humvees, to light posts, and even one to a parked car that was sitting off to the side. He swiped that dude’s hat and blinked rapidly. His eyes were getting dry -- he seriously missed his goggles. He swiped an agent's sunglasses -- they would have to do.
“Another one bites the dust, hey, I’m gonna get you too, another one bites the dust!”
Peter rifled through Hayward's pockets and found a funny stick that he’d seen in the weird typewriters when he arrived in this universe. He pocketed it quickly and gave Hayward a wedgie for good measure before running back to Wanda’s side and slowing back down to enjoy the show.
Darcy swore she hadn’t blinked, and yet between one moment and the next the SWORD agents were being thrown around as handcuffs appeared out of nowhere cuffing them to each other, their vehicles, street signs -- and Hayward was unceremoniously knocked forward onto his face by something right as a massive clatter sounded from behind the group and Darcy shrieked and jumped nearly a foot into the air.
Behind them was a stacked cache of magazines -- that the SWORD agents guns were clearly missing.
Peter grinned and readjusted the SWORD hat that had just appeared on his head and the mysterious sunglasses that were suddenly over his eyes.
“Told you the beads were slowing me down,” he grinned.
“You… you have super speed?” Wanda asked tentatively. For the first time since seeing Wanda in person, Darcy finally saw a glimpse of hope in the woman’s face. She was staring at Peter like he held all the answers to the universe. Peter, for his part, looked sheepish.
“Yeah,” he said softly. “I know this is most definitely not the time or place, but I promise you Wanda that I…” Peter’s voice caught as he seemed to struggle on the words he wanted to say. “I’m not Pietro, and I never will be. But I’m… I’m your brother from another universe?” He shrugged helplessly and was surprised as Wanda reached out and took his hand.
“I knew I recognized him in you,” she whispered, and Darcy had to force herself not to cry. She remembered seeing Wanda’s tear filled eyes on the screen as Peter had shown up, looking so much like and yet not like Pietro. Darcy had wondered why Wanda so readily accepted this stranger with a different face.
Maybe twins across the multiverse just instinctively knew each other, no matter what universe they were from.
The moment was abruptly ended as a grey and white blur rushed down from the sky and snatched Wanda right from Peter’s fingers. Darcy whirled around with horror as she finally laid eyes on the one thing Hayward had no right to do -- the genuine body of Vision, now drained of color and lifeless, illuminated by a blue gem in the middle of his forehead, was strangling Wanda fifty feet in the air.
“Wanda!” Peter shouted, before disappearing and reappearing atop the closest building. “Hey Creamsicle! Let her go!”
The white Vision ignored Peter and continued to tighten his grip. Wanda was struggling, kicking her feet and prying uselessly at the alternate Vision’s hands around her throat. Before she completely lost consciousness, a gold and green blur slammed into the white Vision, knocking him from the sky.
Peter caught Wanda as she fell and she managed to use her power to steady both of them as Peter brought them back to the ground in mere seconds.
“Alright, looks like your husband finally made an appearance,” Agatha grinned. “Peter did us a favor and took out Hayward’s men. Now all we have to do is take on Hayward.” She cracked her knuckles stretching out her fingers. “I never cared for men who fear witches.”