There's been a time where things were easier.
A time where breathing didn't feel like thorns living inside her lungs, rasping and scratching against walls of flesh until her lips turned blue; a time where her only concern would be what sitcom they'd watch in those snowy, cold nights; a time where – a tear slid down her cheek – she wouldn't have to wonder if she's capable of living through another day.
One might think that, after all that she's been through, Wanda should be hardened by all the losses she had up her sleeve – she wasn't .
The first thing that was taken from her was innocence. A little, childish thing cherished by loving parents, entertained by a caring brother and killed by a Stark Industries – bip, bip, bip… – bomb. The moment her hand stretched out towards the gigantic, almost cartoonish device and something at the back of her mind whispered in a language she did not recognize, Wanda felt it slipping away. Innocence had a three-day funeral; Wanda grieved over her death ever since.
The old, small apartment cluttered with second-hand furniture, living room merging with the kitchen and ending with the cubicle they used as a bathroom, was her first real home. But it wasn't for the fact that it sheltered her family from the snow and protected them from errant gunshots – no. It was home because of her mother's cooking and the smell of cherry pie permeating sweet and warm through the air; of her brother's happy smile and loud-spoken sokovian that always managed to make laugh; of her father's arms gently embracing her after a tiresome day but before a good night's sleep. Home had been Sokovia and its hidden warmth amidst the cold.
Until it wasn't .
Then HYDRA happened. Wanda believed, back then – all youthful eyes, angry words and wrong ideologies – that volunteering herself, along with Pietro, to join an anti-freedom terrorist organization – ' as Agatha would say' , she thought bitterly – was the right choice. She wanted to change the world, wanted to vanquish the overwhelming feeling of sadness and despair that threatened to swallow her up in a pit she wouldn't be able to escape. But the harsh promises of a better future were but shallow lies, uttered by evil men and believed by hopeless, lost children.
An image she'd rather forget suddenly came to her mind. The dangy, humid cell they'd be put in after the experiments smelled like sweat, a rancid scent that didn't bother her no more. Hers was right beside Pietro's and she would listen to his groans and screams as bare feet raced around his cage, too fast for eyes to see but too slow for Wanda not to feel; she felt everything.
Pietro – her sweet, dear brother – was also home. Before the walls of their little apartment, she had shared their mother's womb with him, and her heart too – for it was built carefully throughout nine months in a warm belly and beat in synchrony with the one lying in his chest. He was home before they lost themselves and he was home still. Even as his body fell with a thud on the hard ground and gaping holes littered his torso. Their hearts used to beat as one. When he died, a part of her died with him.
To this day, Wanda's heart always felt out-of-sync.
People say love comes in many forms. Be it by feather-like touches, sweet smiles, knowing eyes or kind words, love always makes itself known. To Wanda, it first appeared through her mother.
During dark, loud nights, where the streets would be wrecked with debris and dead men, and guns would fire incessantly as screaming accompanied their menacing symphony, Irina Maximoff would sing her children to sleep. The lullaby told a story about young princesses and brave warriors, of sunlit fields and crystal clear lakes, of calm mornings and warm nights; her mother's voice was a sweet sound, louder than the violence outside and as low as a summer breeze rustling the leaves of trees.
Years passed, and no mother's soft-spoken lullabies were there to soothe her to sleep. Until Vision.
The synthozoid – made of vibranium and wires and steel but more human than any other people she'd ever come to know – had taken her heart and made it his home since their eyes first met in the Avengers Tower. Love then flourished and grew like rosebuds in spring, spreading its roots across her mind, body and soul ; love, as it seemed, came in the form of a gentle voice, strong arms that sheltered her from the dangers and suffering of the world, and slow, adoring kisses. Vision brought happiness to dreary days, and love back into her life. And, with him, brought her children.
Oh, how she missed them so. How she ached to feel them in her arms again. She regrets creating the Hex, trapping so many people into their own minds – don't think about her , Wanda – and bringing tragedy to Westview; but she would never, ever , regret having her boys. She knew they were out there in the multitude of universes, lonely and desperate and hopeless and-
She sobbed. They needed their mom, they needed her to find them and she couldn't even put herself together, for a part of her died when her twin did; another one perished as the mind stone resting in Vision's forehead was destroyed and the few pieces left of her were swept away as her sweet, sweet boys vanished in their sleep.
Yet, here she was: orphan of parents, of twin brothers, of lovers gone too soon and too many times , of sons-
Here she was:
Hot, ardent tears fell from her eyes as she wept. Her throat felt raw and wounded, her cries echoing lonely throughout the dark cabin. The moon shone brightly, a contrast to the darkness that engulfed her entire being into its greedy embrace.
She couldn't bear it anymore. She couldn't bear to turn her head and not see her brother's teasing smirk; couldn't bear not seeing her parents' gaze full of love again; she could not bear the absence of her children and husband.
So Wanda screamed. And screamed.
And screamed. Until her voice gave out and her magic had turned the room crimson.
But then- a knock. Tears hadn't stopped streaming down her face, nor had the shaking of her shoulders as she cried. Her eyes, however, flashed scarlet, dangerous and calculating; sad and desperate.
And seams of purple magic slithered under her door.