I started to grab my clothes and pull them on.
"Where are you going?" he asked moving towards me. I winced as I pulled my top over my head "You're hurt" he said pointing to the purplish bruising that had blossomed over my ribs. How could my dreams be causing this much damage? They were just in my head!
"Don't" I said holding my hand up and he stopped looking hurt. I didn't want him to think I blamed him in any way so I added "It'll just make this harder."
"We'll figure it out, I promise. Just don't leave." It was taking all I had not to break down. My chest still ached from the impact but the pain was nothing compared to looking at him, knowing he wanted to help me and couldn't. I wanted to scream. We'd only just started, after so long dancing around each other, this wasn't fair. I'd wasted so much time. I felt like it was my fault for having these idiotic nightmares. And they weren't just hurting me physically, they were hurting him as well, because he cared about me. I wouldn't let that happen so I grabbed my boots and headed to the door.
"Blake" he said in a quiet voice. I turned and looked into his eyes, I hoped this was the first and last time I would ever see him look at me like that. "Come back, please." I had to leave before I started crying.
"I can't...I'm sorry." I choked out before closing the door behind me. I made it to the end of the hall and slid down the wall holding my chest. I covered my mouth with my hand and started to sob. When I left he had been looking at me like I'd deserted him, which I guess I had. I buried my face in my hands trying to stop the tears from falling, it did nothing but get my hands wet. Drying them on my jeans I pushed myself up and shoved them into my pockets.
"Get it together." I told myself taking in deep breaths. It took a while but I managed to wander back to my room. I felt utterly defeated so I locked my door and closed the curtains making sure no one could come knocking at either one.
Was this karma for waiting too long to act on my feelings? If so I'd have to hunt it down and kit it's ass for messing up my life. When morning broke hours later I still hadn't slept. I moved to get up and yelped. The pain in my ribs had, if possible, gotten worse. I fumbled for my phone and called Nat's office. She picked up after the second ring.
"Hey Nat its Blake, you got a second?"
"Have you got a back up for today's pick up? I don't think I'm gonna make it."
"Yeah we always have but why? Something wrong, late night with Pietro?" she asked and I could almost see the smile on her face.
I didn't want to tell her about my injuries so I just lied "I've..got the flu" I said lamely
"Oh right, try not to miss any more kid it'll show up on your record."
"Will do, sorry Nat."
"Is Maximoff still going or is he looking after you-"
"I dunno Nat, I'll catch you later."
"Ok feel better." she said hanging up.
I gingerly got off the bed and made it to the shower. The hot water soothed my bruising but didn't lessen it. I thought I might have heard a knock at the door but didn't get out to check. Memories from last night flashed before my eyes, things I wanted so much more of that I doubted now I could ever have again. Anger welled up inside of me and I threw out my fist making a dent in the bathroom tiling. This is not my day I thought throwing the broken shards in the trash.
I dressed making sure to cover my torso so people couldn't see the bruises and looked over at the clock. By now the guys must have left for the mission, it was safe to leave so I went straight to see Jenna.
"You have to give me something new." I said walking right into her office
"Look at me!" I said pulling up my top to show the marks left on my lower back by the dream bullets. "How is this possible? You said it was unsafe, not life threatening."
"My god" she said rising to her feet looking alarmed "Who did this to you?"
"I did" I said feeling agitated "Or Ultron, I have no clue. I was dreaming about Sokovia and I woke up to this."
She took in a breath "Your recollection, its seeping into your conscious body."
"I figured that out on my own. How can you get rid of it?"
"I..I don't know how." she said apologetically "I'm sorry."
"Screw you you're sorry! If you really knew what was causing this you could help." I knew I was being extremely rude but I had a right to be, maybe not to her but certainly at the situation.
"Blake...aside from the trigger, I can't think of anything else." she said in a small voice "We could maybe run some tests."
"I thought you were the expert? I know about the trigger, what if it doesn't go away after that?"
"Then we may have to pull you from the field, for your own good." That stopped me dead.
"What? No, I've been training for months you can't do that."
"We might not have a choice Blake, we have to keep you safe." I backed up. This had been a bad idea. I shouldn't have come to her, I should have gone straight to Nat or Clint, this Doctor would want to lock me up, study me away from my friends and family. Pietro and Wanda weren't the only ones afraid of being experimented on again.
"Wait, I'll fix it. Don't pull me from action please. At least not yet, I need time." she considered this. I hoped she saw the need and pleading on my face.
"I'll give you a few days to sort this out." I nodded and began to walk out of the room "But, if it gets any worse, I'll have to advise you be removed from training."
"Understood" I said flatly and walked away
I got back to my room and found a parcel waiting for me. The box read 'P. Maximoff c/o B. Deveraux'.
I opened the box and found a pair of blue and grey sneaker. The soles were made of a thick rubber with a lightning bolt pattern pressed into the bottom of the heel. So Tony had come through, they looked amazing and I knew at once Pietro would love them but, I just wouldn't be the one to give them to him.
I knocked on Wanda's door after listening at Pietro's to make sure he wasn't there. It was still early so I hoped it wasn't going to wake her. She opened the door fully dress however and took in my appearance. To anyone who didn't know me very well I probably looked fine but she knew different.
"What happened?" she asked moving aside to let me in.
"Can you give these to Pietro." I said handing her the box. She lifted the lid and looked up at me
"You got these for him?"
"Kind of, I got Tony to design them. They shouldn't wear down very fast."
"Thank you" she said setting them down "Why can't you give them to him?"
"We...I mean I think we.." I couldn't say the words. Wanda gave me a sad look.
"I know" she said coming over to me "He came by this morning to see if you were here."
"Is he ok? They had a mission this morning, I couldn't go"
"They set off half an hour ago. He seemed-" she paused looking for the word "Distracted"
"Wanda, how did I let things get so messed up?" she pulled me into a hug and I hugged her back taking comfort in her embrace.
"What happened Blake? I though you two were good but he said you left really upset." I moved a box and sat down on an old wooden chair next to the bed.
"This." I said pulling up my sleeve to show her "They're all over" I said pointing to my chest and shoulder. Her eyes went very wide as she took in my appearance.
"No he wouldn't. He couldn't, I know him" she said shaking her head disbelieving
"Oh god no Wanda, it wasn't Pietro. " I said trying to make her understand. "It's my dreams, my nightmares. It's kind of a new ability I have. I thought it was nothing, that I could get by it, until this started. They exactly match his, see? That was my dream, I saved him and Clint back in Sokovia. Instead of watching him die I stopped it, took his place. This is what happened, I woke up like this."
She relaxed a little and smiled fondly at me "You tried to save my brother even though you knew you would get hurt." she looked at me
"I couldn't let it happen again." I said staring down at my hands
"You love him?" she asked and I glanced up to see her giving me a very intent look
"It doesn't matter anymore Wanda, it's over."
She sighed and sat down on the floor in front of me "Pietro said you had nightmares, I noticed when you stayed here the other week. But it wasn't like this before." I filled her in on the new development and she cringed.
"What can I do?"
"You can give him the sneakers but nothing else much. Doctor Keller thinks it's a trigger that starts the nightmares, she said to stay away from it and it should go away." I said bringing my knees up to my chest. "It's all in my head, all the time now, like background noise pushing on the inside of my brain. Wanda..I'm scared next time I won't come back from it."
"Blake" she said an expectant smile on her face "If it's in your head, I can try to help" she extended her fingers and I saw the red energy hover around her hand. "It's what I do." A small flicker of hope sparked inside me
"You think you can get in my head and change it?"
"I can try" she said pulling a chair up to mine and sitting opposite me. "This might hurt." she placed her hands either side of my temples and closed her eyes. "No matter what you feel you have to let me in." I felt a tug in the front of my skull and opened my eyes. I wasn't in Wanda's room anymore.
"Wanda?" I said looking around. I was back in my dream.
"Just relax." I heard her voice say as if from under water. I was trying but it felt like my brain was getting warmer and warmer. In front of me I saw the bullets rain down again scattering huge shards of tarmac into the air. Clint and Pietro were somewhere beyond it, I had t get to them in time. I made to move but someone pulled me back.
"Wow kid I wouldn't do that the boats about to go." said Clint. I stared back at the spot he should be standing and saw there was no one there. He was holding a rag to his stomach which was stained red but he waved the medic away and gave me a small smile. I saw that the little boy was sat whimpering in his mother's arms at our feet.
"Clint?" I looked at him confused "You should be over-"
"Stop fighting it." I heard Wanda's voice say in my head again "I need you to let me in." I tried not to concentrate on the fire pulsing through my head.
"Where's Pietro?" I asked Clint frantically and he smiled pointing directly behind me. I turned and saw him lounging on a chair his hand clutching a stitch in his side. I thought I might pass out from relief. Over our heads I heard a jet flying off and the gunfire died down. With a huge lurch the boat detached from the city as it started to fall.
Pietro ran to the edge of the boat holding his hand to the com in his ear. "Wait! Wanda! Wanda?" after a second of panic he turned to Clint.
"Was she on another boat? Did anyone see her?" There was a moment of horrible silence, then a crackle came over the com.
"Pietro?" he almost sagged in relief
"Wanda? Where are you, the city-"
"I'm clear." she said "Are you alright?"
"He's fine" I said quietly and before I could stop myself threw my arms around him. Under Pietro's arm I could see Clint looking at me amused. I glanced up and saw a startled look on Pietro's face.
"Um, hello again." he said grinning down at me in a charming way "Any specific reason you can't get your hands off me?"
I opened my eyes to find I was staring into Wanda's green ones. It felt so quiet. My head had stopped buzzing and no longer ached.
"Did it work?" I asked her
"You tell me" she said with a smile touching my arm. The bruising was slowly fading away. I laughed out loud and pulled her into a hug, she was startled but didn't let go.
"I don't understand" I said pulling away "I remember it, both ways. How is that possible?"
"I redirected your memories, stashing away the other one and tricking your mind into thinking the new one was what really happened. You should know the difference but I don't think your body can use the old memory as a trigger anymore."
"Wanda, I can't even tell you-"
"Don't" she said cutting me off smiling "It's my job as your friend and his sister."
I moved my shoulder blades and took in deep breaths, my chest hurt a lot less than it had an hour ago. I felt like laughing and crying at the same time. It was that easy, all I had to do was ask Wanda. I knew she was powerful but it never crossed my mind she could do something like this. Oh no I thought of how I'd left things with Pietro and deflated. Who knew if either of us could fix the damage I'd done last night.
"Can I at least help you un pack your room?" I asked and she agreed. We spent the afternoon moving things around the room both manually and physically. It did wonders to keep my mind from straying. We stopped for lunch a few hours later and I was impressed by how much we'd done.
We made our way to the kitchen but before we could get there we spotted a group of people crowed round the door.
"What's going on?" she asked me and I shrugged moving towards the group. A few people broke away and ran towards us.
"Are they back yet?" asked a white faced boy of around eighteen
"The retrieval team, they were supposed to check in an hour ago." My stomach dropped.
"They haven't been in touch?"
"No and we can't reach them, the coms got knocked out over an hour ago. There's been nothing since." I looked over at Wanda panic stricken.
"Pietro" she whispered in horror. Just then Steve entered the hall a grim look on his face. Everyone rushed at him at once and he held up his hands for quiet.
"I'll let you know as soon as we hear anything."The group looked disappointed. I could tell most of them were only interested in getting swept up in the drama. They dispersed and Steve walked over to us.
"You two, come with me." We followed him to a quiet corner and he turned "No just listen" he said as we made to ask him what was going on "How long can you be ready and suited up?" I looked at Wanda and she nodded.
"Right away Captain."
"Good, meet me in the arms bay in five minutes. We're going to find them."
"What happened to my brother?" asked Wanda wide eyed. I braced for the worse knowing that if it came I would fall apart and no one could ever piece me together again.
"I don't know Wanda, I'm sorry. We lost communication with them after they secured the enhanced." A million thoughts ran through my mind, each worse than the next.
"What do you know?" she asked in a stern tone "Are they even alive?"
"That's what we're going to find out. We only got one word before the audio cut out. Hydra." My blood went cold. If Hydra had them who knew what situation that could be in. I felt anger rise in my chest, I should have been there to protect them all.
Steve looked at us with pity "Can you do this?" I looked over at Wanda and saw the same blazing determination that was on my face.
"Just be ready in five, we're coming with you."