“You’re late,” His voice is rough with an accent she can’t place, his consonants clipped and the tiniest lilt that Darcy would die before admitting she finds adorable as hell.
She knows what this moment is supposed to be and still she can’t bring herself to turn and face him. Him. Can’t be anyone but him, the voice is too deep even with the cracking common to puberty. She’s wondered what the Recognition would be like. Her mother spoke of her Recognition fondly, a hopeful and wonderful sequence where she and Darcy’s father spent hours talking and planning when and where to meet. The downside to Recognitions is that sometimes the pair entirely forgets them and end up relying on more mundane means to find each other or half forgets, and that fateful day of the meeting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Chewing her lip Darcy turns around slowly, using the time to first glance over her shoulder at the boy and then finishing in a quick whirl because who is she kidding she can’t wait. Darcy throws herself at him and watches a wide cocky grin spread across his young angular face. His hands are gentle as they catch her just under the arms like he’s used to doing that with someone else.
“My sister would love you,” He murmurs pulling her close to bury his nose in her hair. Sense memories help with recall. Help the pairs remember everything that happens during the dream.
“You have a sister?” She questions inhaling the light scent of soap and note of spice that tickles her nose. He’s perfect she decides, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and quietly determined to never let go. He’s so tall she realizes then, taller than her, with her head just reaching his shoulders and god he’s only going to get taller, they’re only fifteen.
“Wanda, she’s my twin and my best friend.” He says the last part a little cautiously. Like she could ever think his sister was anything but one of the most important things in his life. Like he’s scared she might be jealous, Darcy realizes, that a girl occupies the space of best friend. It makes her heartache as she separates herself from him gently. Her hands sliding from his neck and down his arms to twine their fingers together.
“I can’t wait to meet her. What’s your name?”
“Pietro Maximoff. What’s yours?” He asks with a tilt of his head waiting blue eyes brilliant in his quiet anticipation.
He pulls a hand free and rubs the back of his neck laughing slightly, “American?” He phrases it as a question, but she can tell he doesn’t really mean it to be, though Darcy nods anyway.
“Wanda’s going to be so pleased.”
“Why?” Darcy can’t help but question even as their surrounds shift from a muted gray everything to a room.
It’s bare bones with well-worn wood floors and muted green walls. The windows aren’t huge but they’re big enough to let the late afternoon light in and it turns the green into emerald and the wood looks gold in its light. There’s a sagging floral sofa with a low table set before it and Pietro leads her to it, tugging her down next to him before angling his body toward her. His knee brushing hers and Darcy wonders how much of that was intentional.
“She said you’d be American. Has continued to say as much since we were six years old.” He explains carefully, he doesn’t look around Darcy realizes. His focus firmly on her as if he doesn’t want to see what the world around them has become.
“Is this your home?” She asks drawing his attention to the golden light and emerald walls. The room is homey and warm, and she leans into his side to see if the warmth is him or the place. She can’t tell the difference and decides it’s probably him.
“Once.” He says so quietly she wonders if she misheard.
“The building was destroyed when I was ten, my sister and I…” he trails off and shakes his head. When he looks at Darcy again his smile isn’t genuine, and he can’t hide that there is a pain associated with the memory of this place. It takes a little effort to push his visuals away and the apartment becomes her parents living room. The green rippling to light purple walls surrounding a large bay window that looks out onto a quiet street. The moon is high and glowing white turning the room a soft blue in its silver light.
“I’m sorry for asking Pietro.” She murmurs wrapping her arms around his waist in a tight hug.
“It’s okay. You did not know. Do you have any siblings Darcy?”
“No. Mom wanted another child, but she couldn’t. It’s just me and my dog.”
“Then it is good that you’ll get to meet Wanda at some point.”
“I’ve always wanted a sister,” she admits with a laugh.
“You may regret saying so once she knows that.” He teases leaning back into the couch cushions of her mother’s normally too hard couch, but here in the dream it could be anything she wanted and tonight it was the perfect combination of soft and squishy to accommodate them.
Tucking her legs up under her Darcy lets her head rest on Pietro’s chest. She doesn’t know what else to say to him. She’s spent so much time looking forward to this moment that now that’s it here all her bright ideas about meeting up are forgotten. His arm drapes easily over her shoulder and she burrows closer content.
“When I finally meet you, Darcy, it will be with a bouquet for every day we spent apart.” He says after a while, the silence was broken with a promise she doesn’t know what to say to except that it makes her feel incredibly happy.
“That’s going to a very big bouquet, you sure you’ll have enough space for it?”
“I’ll find a way, for you.” He sounds so sure that he can that Darcy believes him without question. Why should she question it, it’s a promise between soulmates? People don’t break those because of the potential damage it can do to your bond down the line.
“You believe me?” He asks when she doesn’t immediately question him.
“Of course, I do,” she whispers sitting up to look at his face and smiles at the surprise she finds there. Pietro returns the smile and raises their joined hands to his lips and presses a kiss to her knuckles.
“When do you want to try and meet me?” She asks softly.
“My twenty-fifth birthday in a place you’ve always wanted to go.”
“The Smithsonian American History Museum at noon on your twenty-fifth birthday. Which is when?”
“May second, ten years from now.”
“May second in ten years. I think I can make that work.” Darcy teases.
“Good,” Pietro agrees pulling her back into his chest and she settles there easily. One day this would be real, and she was counting down the days already. When she woke up, she’d be hunting up the date in her cell phone to add the appointment, so she never forgot. Not that she believed she would, but it didn’t hurt to have it there for posterity when she was getting sad or lonely.
Once more they lapse into silence, the main goal of the Recognition dream handled. She could try and fill the silence with chatter, but for the first time in her life, Darcy doesn’t feel like her endless babble is necessary. She’s content as his hand rubs up and down her arm in a soothing gesture that feels too natural for him to have never done it before. He most likely did so for his sister Wanda, when something happened, and she needed comfort. She lets the contact soothe her back to sleep.
When Darcy wakes again, she’s in her bedroom and the sun is shining. She can’t stop smiling and eagerly spills to her mother about her own Recognition dream over breakfast. Her mother is understandably both happy for her daughter and concerned. Her daughter’s soulmate is a foreigner and yet he was the picture-perfect gentleman in the Recognition. That counted for something.
Darcy adds their first date to her calendar, every calendar as the years pass. She dates of course because saving yourself for your soul mate tends to go over very poorly unless they live in the area. It never lasts long. A couple dates just long enough for the boy to realizes that they won’t be sharing a Recognition ever and sometimes ending as soon as the boy does have their Recognition dream as well.
The six years are slow and when Pietro’s birthday finally arrives, she’s waiting at the entrance to the American History Museum at the Smithsonian at ten minutes to noon hoping to catch a glimpse of him before he finds her. She’s wearing her best dress and it’s warm in Washington D.C. The weather choosing to be beautiful after weeks of rain that made her nervous that the rising flood waters would cancel their meeting.
Only Pietro never shows. She waits for him and at twelve-thirty Darcy resolves that he forgot. Their Recognition dream lost to his subconscious when he woke up six years ago. It hurts but she’ll find a way to find him. They were both so excited that night she can’t imagine he would stand her up for any other reason.
“Excuse me are you Darcy Lewis?” a soft accented voice asks as fingers tap her lightly on the shoulder.
The accent she remembers, but the voice is too feminine to be Pietro. She turns anyway curious. The young woman is slight holding a bouquet of flowers her brown eyes sad and her long red hair hangs around her shoulders. Tilting her head Darcy nods to the girl. “I am.”
“These are for you. Pietro told me he promised you a bouquet of flowers for every day you are a part, but then the bouquet would never be finished.” The girl offers the small bouquet. It’s made of lilies, pink orchids, white carnations, and single crimson rose at the center. “He loved you very much even though he only had the dream to hold on to.” She explained choosing her words carefully.
One look at the strained look and watery eyes and Darcy knows what the girl is trying to tell her with the bouquet of flowers and her appearance.
“Are you Wanda?”
The woman nods and Darcy tug the slight young woman in for a tight hug. His sister was in enough pain, she wouldn’t burden Wanda with her broken heart. Not when they just met. That was a discussion to have with Jane when she was alone again.
Sniffling with unshed tears Wanda pulls away, “He spoke of his desire to meet you a lot. Of his plan to shower you in flowers. That when he met you for the first time he felt still and whole instead of his need to be moving.”
“First words out of his mouth when I told him my name was that you were going to be so pleased that I was American.”
“I was, I never let him forget that I was right about that.”
“As all good sisters never should.” Darcy squeezes Wanda’s arm in an offer of comfort, “Do you want to get lunch with me? I never had a sister and I was looking forward to finally having one.”
“Of course, there’s a café not far that I like if that is okay with you.”
“Sounds perfect. I haven’t been to D.C. before.”
Together the girls walk down the street talking quietly of the weather. Of their plans as they moved forward. Darcy told Wanda about her work with Jane Foster and how she helped the astrophysicist with her research into building an Einstein Rosen Bridge. That she was on a much-deserved vacation after spending the better part of the last six months on a lecture tour with the good doctor for her work on the Convergence and help in preventing an alien invasion in Greenwich, England.
Wanda for her part tells Darcy the story of how Pietro died saving two people from a mad artificial intelligence in Sokovia. That he was brave and that it was his dying wish that Wanda came to meet Darcy on their birthday so Darcy would know he hadn’t forgotten about their promise. Despite Darcy’s promise to herself not to burden Wanda with her own pain, the two end up trying not to cry as they share a meal.
“Would it be alright if we kept in contact?” Darcy asks as their server whisks away the last of their half-eaten plates.
“Yes of course,” Wanda nods and slides a business card across the table, “You can always reach me through that email address. Sometimes I won’t answer right away but I will write back when I can.”
“I understand. Jane keeps me busy helping her around the lab. But it doesn’t feel right to meet you and then never talk to you again.” Darcy pockets the card and when the server returns with the check pays without a thought. Not because she doubted Wanda could afford to, but she had invited the woman to join her and they were almost family in a strange way.
“Next time I am getting the bill.”
“Next time.” Darcy agrees with a small laugh.
“He would have loved meeting you. So much I do not think he would have been able to leave you at just lunch and a walk through the museum.” Wanda murmurs after a moment, her brown eyes wet again and then she shakes her head.
“I will talk to you soon Darcy.” It’s a stilted goodbye. One that leaves Darcy puzzled as Wanda gathers her purse and gets up to leave. Getting up Darcy pulls the redhead to her in another hug.
“I’m always here if you need to talk. It doesn’t have to be about what happened to Pietro. Anything you want to talk about I’m here. We’re sisters, okay?”
There’s a moment where nothing happens and then she feels Wanda nod her head and pull away.
“Thank you, Darcy,” she murmurs and leaves the café.
Darcy watches and takes her seat again to wait for the server to return with her credit card and receipt.