Template:Featured Articles/22-2017

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Moment of Awesome - Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch : Two old friends catch up over a meal.

Ev pointed his chopsticks accusatorily at her. "I don't have a problem, I can quit any time I want. We don't all get to befriend B-list movie stars," he teased, nodding at the small framed photo of Wanda and Simon Williams sitting on the nearby end table. "What ever happened to that guy, anyway?"

For just a moment, Wanda froze. How could she have forgotten that Ev had not been back yet when Simon had died? Almost everyone else had been and she had just ... forgotten. And then she thought if she should tell him or shrug it off with a little smile and a knowing smirk, say the picture was a memento and they'd lost track of each other? But that wouldn't be fair to Simon, she thought fiercely, not with how he had died.

And, really, it wasn't fair to herself, either. Besides, ever since Everett had arrived at the mansion, they talked and had reconnected but mostly on the surface. He had been a good friend to her many years ago.

So, when the moment passed, Wanda sighed and peered at the picture, taken of the two of them on a beach not long before his death. "That depends on who you ask," she said, failing to make her voice sound less tight. "According to the tabloids and newspapers, Simon Williams died young thanks to a horrible accident. It's amazing what you can get the public to believe with just the right sources." She looked back at Ev. "It wasn't that simple or painless but he did die."

When Wanda did not immediately reply with one of he trademark sharp quips, Ev knew he had asked the wrong question. He had sensed a temporal manipulator here once; maybe he could find them and reverse time so he had not put a pall on their evening. But he appreciated — admired, even — her moxie to go on and answer his question sincerely.

He listened to every word and also to the words she was not saying. The truth hid in what she did not say, that Simon Williams had been more than a friend, that his death (murder?) was more than agony, that the scars Wanda carried still hurt as though they were freshly made. Ev had, through years of intense practice, learned to school his emotions and expression despite what any tormentor could put him through. But he did not practice this skill here, not with Wanda.

He set down his chopsticks on the little stand he had made from the paper wrapper, and held out a hand to her, offering some meager physical support but only if she wanted. "I'm sorry," he said, catching her gaze. "I didn't mean to be so flippant."

She tilted her head slightly, surprised at the gesture, but she reached out without hesitation with her own hand. Strong fingers wrapped around his palm and squeezed. "I would have been equally flippant in your place," Wanda smiled, "though the apology is appreciated, even if it is unneeded."

Wanda cleared her throat. "I failed him, you know," she continued evenly. "The stupid man saved me when I was supposed to save him. His death lingers but that, I think, will stay with me forever."

"I'm sure you didn't fail anyone," he countered. "If he died despite you trying to help him, then circumstances must have been beyond your control, and nothing you could have done, not preparation you could have made, would have altered the results." Though his tone carried sincerity with his words, he found his gaze slipping away from Wanda's, as if he could not look into her eyes while he spoke niceties he did not believe applied to himself.

Her hand was still curled around his and Wanda tugged gently on it as she shifted, the angle of her body now more towards him than before. "I know that tone," Wanda mused. "It sounds remarkably like the same sort of tone I have taken since Simon's passing and, sadly, at other times prior. If you wish to talk about what is causing it..."

Wanda wouldn't push or pry but there had always been something hidden about Everett. They were no longer children and their lives had changed them dramatically but there had been a wall there - and she had a feeling it wasn't just between the two of them. More like between everyone.