"The Avengers are eliminated," I reported as Pietro, Wanda, Vision, and I entered the room, dragging the Avengers that we had fought behind us.
Wolfgang turned to us and smiled deviously. "Perfect," he said. "Thank you, my children. You are free to go."
We nodded and walked out of the room, making it look like we left completely but secretly we pushed ourselves against the wall, waiting for the signal.
Wolfgang sighed as he walked forward. "I know this is a trick," he said. "You removed the devices from the four." He raised his voice so that we could hear him better. "And you're not even gone, are you?"
The four of us glanced at each other.
"What do we do?" mouthed Wanda.
The other two looked at me and for once, I had no plan, and it showed in my face.
"I don't know," I replied.
"Alright Strucker, you got us here," Steve said as he and the others got to their feet.
"But we're going to stop you, here and now," Sam said.
"No more using orphans, or anyone else!" Tony added.
Wolfgang chuckled. "No need to now that I have four soldiers of my own," he said.
"What are you talking about?" Natasha said. "They're on our side now."
"That's what you think," Wolfgang said as he backed up to the control panel. "That was only one way you eliminated my control over them, but I have something that's much more powerful than an external source. Something that keeps you alive."
"Internal!" I breathed, eyes widening. "The blood!"
"Don't you-!" Clint began but Wolfgang had already pressed a button.
The four of us collapsed as we felt something rip into our mind, prying into it, causing us to let out a cry of pain.
"N-no!" I screamed.
"C-can't think!" Vision exclaimed.
"Make it s-stop!" Pietro cried.
"Enough!" Wanda growled, being able to break the control around her.
After a moment, Pietro, Vision, and I became silent and got to our feet.
"Rosalina, Vision, Pietro, Wanda, get in here!" Wolfgang called.
Wanda tried to stop us, but the three of us walked into the room.
"Not again!" Rhodey protested.
"Wanda, where are you?" Wolfgang said.
"Don't try to play mind games with me!" Wanda yelled as she came into the room, stepping in front of us. "Avenger, you get Strucker. I'll get these three and we'll help you then."
The other Avengers nodded and advanced on Wolfgang as Wanda turned to me, Pietro, and Vision.
"Wanda, you're on the wrong side," Pietro said. "We're siblings. Come with us."
"No Pietro, this time you're wrong," Wanda said, diving into his mind first and fighting Wolfgang's control. "You will come back to me, Brother!"
After a few moments, Pietro collapsed with a gasp.
Wanda went to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Pietro?" she asked gently.
"I have a headache," Pietro grumbled, sitting up.
"Pietro, stall Rose. I'll explain later," Wanda said as she quickly pulled him to his feet. Before he could protest, she pushed him into me and turned to face Vision. "Vision," she said.
"You will be fixed, Wanda," Vision said. "Let us fix you. They have corrupted your innocent soul."
"Oh Vision, if only you could hear what you were saying," Wanda said before she went into Vision's mind, freeing him from the mind control.
Vision fell to his knees. "Enough with the controlling!" he growled.
"Vision, quickly, I need you to help Pietro distract Rose while I free her," Wanda said.
Without any questioning, Vision got up and quickly went to us as Pietro was thrown back with a spell, steadying the male Maximoff twin before approaching me. "Rosalina, this isn't you," he said.
"It's you who isn't being himself, Vision," I said. I was about to cast a spell but I stopped myself. "They turned you over, but I'll turn you back to my side."
"You are not thinking," Vision said. "Thinking for yourself. It's like when Ultron got a hold of you."
"This isn't like Ultron!" I exclaimed. "This is-!" Before I could continue, Wanda dove into my mind, struggling with the connection but finally being able to break it. With a gasp, I collapsed, Vision quickly catching me and lowering me to the ground.
"Rosalina," Vision whispered. "Are you alright?"
"Strucker's gonna die!" I growled as I got to a knee.
"Come on, we all got a bone to pick with him," Pietro said, offering me his hand.
I grabbed it and he pulled me to my feet.
"So, what's our plan?" Wanda asked as Vision stood up next to me.
I looked from the twins, to Vision, to where Strucker was fighting the Avengers. "Take him out, using his own game," I said. "Wanda, remember our simulation where you got into his mind?" When she nodded, I continued. "Do it again, as a gift from all of us."
"Gladly," Wanda said, grinning.
"But make sure he can still give us information," I added. "I hate him, but we still need answers."
Wanda nodded and when the others were distracting Wolfgang, she went behind him and went into his mind.
The others backed off as Wolfgang froze and collapsed, eyes wide open.
"Never play mind games with me," Wanda said as he fell.
"You guys are back to normal?" Steve asked as Pietro, Vision, and I stepped forward.
"Hopefully, though it'll be best to have us checked upon arrival at the base," I said.
"I'll do that, but first, this guy needs to go," Tony said as he picked up Wolfgang.
"Pietro, Rose, I expect a report ready by tomorrow afternoon," Steve said.
"The worst part of a mission, paperwork," Pietro groaned.
I chuckled as we started to walk out. "Good thing we worked on it while we were at the Russian base," I said, nudging his side.
"I guess," Pietro said.
"Four Avengers cleared for entire access to the base," Tony reported after he checked us out. "You are free to go. Now go get a bite to eat and then rest. You guys especially deserve it."
We nodded and went to the cafeteria.
"Yes, finally free," I said as the twins got food and they, Vision, and I went to a table.
"How did you deal with the food?" Vision asked as we all sat down.
"Ate tiny bits and made Pietro eat the rest," I replied. "No sense wasting perfectly good food."
"And even though it wasn't the best, who am I to complain? Especially since the serving they gave wasn't enough." Pietro added before scarfing down some food.
"You act as if you haven't eaten well in days," Wanda commented as she ate her food, slightly concerned.
"Eaten well in weeks," Pietro corrected between bites. "I wondered why so many of the kids were skinny when we got to the different orphanages. Now I know."
"It was only our second one that the kids looked more decent," I said.
"That's for sure," Pietro agreed. "And with how Mother Dawn was, I can see why."
"That was definitely the best out of everyone," I said. "Everyone was much more accepting of us, making us a part of them right away, from the moment we stepped onto the grounds."
Pietro finished his plate and got to his feet. "I'm getting more," he said. "This is definitely something I missed."
"Maybe you should wait a few minutes," Wanda warned but he was already gone.
"Relax, Wanda," I reassured. "He'll slow down during this second plate."
"Hopefully," Wanda said. "But this is Pietro we're talking about."
I chuckled. "Yes, he made sure not to let me forget when we were in the base. Though I did beat him once at breakfast," I said.
"You beat Pietro?" Vision said, surprised. "Even I can't!"
"Yes, I did," I said as Pietro came back. "Right Pietro?"
"Right what?" Pietro asked as he sat down.
"I beat you at breakfast one time by a few seconds," I said.
"I let you," Pietro said.
"Right, right," Wanda said teasingly. "I think someone's slacking."
"I decided to go easy on her," Pietro said. "Gave her a fighting chance."
"If you say so," Wanda said, setting her fork down and pushing her empty plate away.
We continued to talk for a little longer until Pietro gave up before he could go back for fourths and went to our rooms to rest.
"It's great to be back," Vision said.
"Definitely," I agreed.
As we were about to enter our room, we were suddenly tackled to the ground.
"You're back!" Lucas exclaimed as he and Lucy hugged us.
"Yep, we are," I replied as we sat up and hugged them.
"For how long?" asked Lucy.
"For awhile," Vision answered. "We're not leaving anytime soon."
"Yay!" both kids cheered, hugging us tighter.
Vision and I looked at each other and smiled.
Back with our kids.
We had a lot of catching up to do while we had been gone, missing out on the rest of summer, the start of school for the four kids, Vision's first birthday, and Halloween, I was out in the field when it was the one year anniversary of me meeting Vision for the first time, and the one year mark of when I became an android also passed my mind. Plus, I missed a lot of stuff with Nathaniel, like him becoming more active, the time that he's grown, more words that he's learned, and the small hints of the powers he got because of me.
The cold was already coming in when we had gotten back, hints of snow in the air.
Pretty soon, it was time to plan for Thanksgiving.
Despite wanting to help out on the planning for the feast we were going to have, I found it difficult for me to focus. I found myself zoning out more than I should and it became harder for me to pay attention, which was really bad, especially if I was in a meeting with Fury, Steve, or my team.
It got to the point where I asked Wanda if she could see what was wrong.
She agreed right away, having us go someplace that wasn't so loud and chaotic. She opened the door to her room and led me inside, having me sit on the bed and her pulling up a chair across from me. "What's going on?" she asked.
"I can't focus," I answered. "I've noticed it since we got back, like how I can't pay attention during meetings."
"I've noticed you become unfocused and refocus again," Wanda commented. "But I thought it was because of the transition back into the team and this situation."
I shake my head. "I've always been a good transitioner, had to be to survive," I replied. "Could you just see if there's something in my head? Like maybe something leftover from Strucker that we didn't detect?"
Wanda nodded and got to her feet. "It may take some time, so I want you to be comfortable," she said. "I want you to lay down and just relax. Go into self repairs if you want. I'll wake you when I'm done."
I nodded this time and laid down on her bed, taking a deep breath before closing my eyes. "Powering down for self repairs," I said, falling asleep.
Once she made sure I was resting peacefully, Wanda began to go into my mind, careful to not mess with anything and to see only what was bothering me. "A few weeks now," she whispered after a bit. "There's nothing here that meant tampering from Strucker." She paused, pondering what it could be then thought of something but hesitated before investigating. "It could be a memory, an anniversary for something. I could see what happened a few weeks ago, but that is personal. Possibly very personal." She shook her head, frowning. "I'll wake her up and if she wants to know the memory, then I'll look if she can't remember it."
I was brought out of my self repairs by a gentle shaking from Wanda. "Did you find out what it was?" I asked as I sat up, looking at her.
Wanda shook her head. "But I have an idea," she said. "But I didn't investigate because that's something you need to choose."
"What is it?" I said.
"A memory," Wanda said. "Today's the twenty-second. I'm guessing the first week in November, when we got back, is when you started having trouble focusing."
"A memory," I repeated under my breath, closing my eyes to think.
"Do you have any ideas?" Wanda asked.
Then I thought of it: not just one memory, but two. "I know what it is," I breathed, looking down. "The week we got back is when HYDRA kidnapped me, started the experiments. But last week was also the anniversary of my parents' death."
Wanda sat next to me, putting a comforting arm around my shoulders. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "Do you want me to find Vision for you?"
"Clint," I replied. "Archery range?"
After a pause, Wanda nodded. "Yes," she said. When I got to my feet, she also got up and hugged me. "It'll be alright, Rosalina."
"I know," I replied as I returned the hug. "In the end, it turns out alright. Always. I'm gonna talk to Clint. Hopefully that helps me out."
After a final goodbye, I left Wanda's room and walked to the archery range.
Clint was shooting arrows, looking somewhat distracted, himself. He turned to me as he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. "Hey Rose," he said.
"Hey Clint," I said as I came next to him.
"What's up?" Clint asked.
I sighed. "I need a hug," I said.
Without question, Clint pulled me into a hug. "Remember what last week was?" he said in my ear softly.
"Yea," I said.
"Have you gone to see them?" Clint said.
"I've had no time for awhile," I said. "Can't remember the last time I went."
There was silence that developed around us, each other's comfort being more than enough.
"Hey Clint, you asked about-" Tony began as he walked into the room but stopped when he saw us. "Sorry, I'm interrupting something, aren't I?"
"It's fine, Tony," Clint said as he let me go finally. "Just a sibling moment we both needed. What do you need?"
"I was just giving you an update about finding a place where you and Laura can settle down again," Tony said. "We found a few places and wanted to know when you were planning on seeing them."
"After Thanksgiving," Clint said. "Maybe Monday or Tuesday depending on what's going on."
Tony nodded. "Alright," he said. "I'm going to let you two have your sibling moment again." He turned and walked out of the room but paused for a moment. "Oh, and Rose, I've been working on an upgrade for you. Just drop by my lab when you want to see what it is." Then he walked away.
Once Tony was gone, Clint and I looked at each other.
"Wanna do some training in the forest?" Clint suggested. "Like when we both were young?"
"You know it," I answered with a smile.