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Understanding

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The room is dark except for when the flashes of light from the television illuminate the small wooden coffee table with discarded Chinese food cartons and forgotten homework assignments and the old but sturdy olive-green sofa made of scratchy polyester. And, of course, Peter and Wanda themselves where they're curled up together, watching Jaws. There’s a plaid brown-and-red blanket covering them to protect them from the cold, but Wanda has pressed in close to her brother’s body despite that. She can feel his heat, feel the reverberating heartbeat in his chest.

She can smell the cologne he wears and the hint of sweat underneath it.

Her feet are pulled up on the sofa, her knees bent so that she can rest her head against Peter's shoulder, his arm around her, his fingers mindlessly twitching against her side ever so often as the movie plays. He hums out a laugh at something that happens on the screen; she’s hardly paying attention to the movie.

She runs her fingers delicately over his chest, sliding low until she can slip her them beneath the hem of his t-shirt, scraping her nails against the soft skin of his belly. Peter lets a breathy sigh fall from his mouth; he shifts the way he’s sitting. Wanda wishes she could see beneath the blanket, see if he’s hard for her now, sitting and watching this old movie while she presses her fingers against his skin.

She thinks about pressing her hand harder into the delicate softness of his belly. Of pushing him down and crawling on top of him, of letting dark red waves of light grip his wrists and keep him still until she’s fucked him breathless and claimed him the way she wants.

He wants her.

She knows he wants her.

The proof is in the way he grins at her over their cereal bowls in the morning. The softness in his eyes when he teases her for her Sokovian accent. The way the words my sister sound sliding off his tongue. The way his eyes linger on her breasts when she puts on her pajamas at night, the way they stutter off and to the side when she looks back.

The way he never refuses her touch, even as his friends, the mutants of his world, slide judgmental eyes over them when her hips press against his, watching suspiciously as he wraps his hand around her waist, palm spread hot and warm against her stomach in the hallways of their ridiculous school.

She’d slid dark raging red into one girl’s mind when she’d had begun to say Peter, are you okay —

Peter, are you okay?

As though Peter, her brother, hers, would ever be anything less than okay with her. They are twins. They weren’t born together, not this brother of hers, born in another universe apart from her and Pietro. But he is hers nonetheless; the hot, burning flame of their connection is too strong to pretend they’re anything less than soulmates, born for one another, if not together from the womb.

He is her twin, her brother, the solid manifestation of her love and her lust and her very core.

The girl, whatever her name had been, has yet to speak to Peter again, eyes always cast down and fingers scratching inconsolably at the rough leafy patches that litter her skin and grow outward vines without a single bloom.

She thinks Peter might be upset if she knew. He’s attached to his friends, to this universe and this school, to these mutants that he thinks he belongs to.

He doesn’t belong to them; he belongs to her, and she to him. He doesn’t know it yet; doesn't understand the whole truth of it, not really.

He didn’t grow up with her.

He didn’t climb into her bed as children, terrified of the sound of loud, beating rain on the windows. He didn’t hold her close under dust and stone and rubble as they waited to die. He didn’t cling to her in the corner of their broken-down shelter, hiding and praying that the man who smelled of smoke and liquor would choose some other little girl to play with that night. He didn’t steal bread and fruit and eat with her under a dirty bridge, or drag her into an alley to see a box filled with a litter of squirming kittens as they waited for their mother to come back with the spoils of her hunt.

Peter didn’t volunteer to be experimented on, poked and prodded and bled dry until his limbs shook and vibrated with painful, glorious speed.

He doesn’t know, really, that he is hers the way that she is his and that no one else belongs between them. That she’ll kill anyone who dares to get too close to what belongs to her.

She knows he wants her.

She knows because she wants him, wants him the way a child yearns for their favorite toy.

Inconsolable when it’s taken from them.

Pietro is gone but Peter is here and he is hers.

The television is loud in the otherwise quiet room. None of the other students are here; they all had better things to do than watch an old movie. Wanda had made sure of it, carefully slipping inside their heads until their priorities were on homework and sleeping and long phone calls home. Elsewhere.

“Nobody else is coming,” Peter had said not an hour earlier while cracking his disposable chopsticks apart. He’d looked at her, an eyebrow raised. There had been a sharp awareness in his eyes but amusement spilled forth at the corner of his mouth where his lips were quirked in a smile.

“No,” she’d agreed, her tone soft as she looked into his eyes, “they’re not.”

He didn’t mind that she’d sent them all away, didn’t mind that his planned night with his friends was going to be dark and quiet, intimately close with just his twin sister for company as she curled in close to him, soaking in the heat and touch of his body against hers.

Of course he didn't. He wants her as much as she wants him.

She shifts against him, an inch, and another.

His stomach muscles are tight beneath her touch; he’s holding his breath.

Her breasts press softly, forcefully, against his chest as she leans in closer. The material of her pajamas is thin; perhaps he can even feel the hard peak of her nipples touching him. His hand falls to the dip between her side and her hips, the rough pad of his thumb brushing against ticklish skin.

“Peter,” she murmurs, and it sounds echoingly loud in the dark of the room.

The people in the movie are screaming, desperately trying to escape the monster hidden beneath the water.

He doesn’t move, held still by his own fear, his own uncertainty, his own desire. It’s a stark contrast to the speed he’s capable of, the intense power of his calves and the vibrations of his body. He’s all tense, struggling to control the power that sits just beneath his skin.

She presses a soft, lingering kiss against the corner of his mouth. Her knee slips between his legs, and her mouth covers his. His lips are dry, his breath a soft inhale like a manifestation of the conflict in his limbs. His fingers tighten against the skin of her waist, blunted nails digging in like he wants to leave a bruise, a dark imprint of his touch on her skin.

He could mark her and make her his for everyone to see. For everyone to know.

She moans into his mouth, pressing harder against him. The heat of his mouth goes to her head, to her belly where the feel of him sends a heady thrill. She wants him. She wants him. She wants him enough to scream, to wrap her arms around him and take him.

He doesn’t move the hand on her waist, but with his other he touches her shoulder and pushes.

She breaks away, staring at him with eyes dark. The light of the television flashes behind her, illuminating. He swallows, looking at her, helpless and desperately pained. His mouth twists and he lets go of her waist, rubbing at the side of his face.

“We can’t do this,” he says, finally. It’s a plea, a grasping, beseeching palm held out for the charity she could so provide if she felt like sparing a moment to look at the begging child desperate for the unfairly cruel world to show the slightest sliver of kindness. "We can't."

He’s asking her to stop.

He’s asking her to understand, despite the fire in her blood and the need pulsing between her thighs.

Telling her that they can’t.

He didn’t grow up with her, hands fumbling against hers on dark and cold nights, young and inexperienced but so desperately in love, needing her mouth on his, her skin against his, as desperately as he needed bread in his stomach.

Her eyes search his face.

“Wanda,” he breaks. “This is a no. I’m sorry. We can’t.”

That word: can't. Wanda hates it.

They won’t understand.

You’re sick! Fucking your own brother, you whore.

Slut.

Bitch.

Whore.

Wanda, my dear little sister. Beautiful. The way you move against me.

Monster.

Witch.

Go ahead, sister. Kill them.

Look at them screaming. What did you put inside their heads?

Touch me.

I want to feel you.

The red tendrils slip from her fingers, bright and sharp in the otherwise dark room, and Peter’s body shakes under hers, intending to run, to run away from her, his sister, his twin. She touches her fingers to his cheek, red spreading out and sinking into his skin like an invasion.

“Peter,” she murmurs. Her voice is soft and sure. “Brother. This word you’re using. What is it, exactly, that we cannot do?” She shifts her weight, sitting back atop his thighs. The blanket that had been covering them slips off, pooling onto the hardwood floor.

“You and I, we are powerful. Our gifts, our… mutations.” She hums at the word they use in this universe, dragging her nails down Peter’s chest, scraping over his shirt. Mutations. Mutants. Odd words to use for what they can do, for the strength they have, their power. For what they are. “We are the strongest ones here. In your entire universe and in mine. We are strong because we are together.

“Can’t. What a ridiculous word; a ridiculous idea that we could be so limited.” She leans forward, lips grazing the corner of his mouth again. “There is nothing we cannot do, together.”

She presses down, eyes sliding shut for a breathless moment when her cunt rubs against the thickness of his cock, a hard and hot bulge in his pants despite his can’t. Her heart beats heavy in her chest. She sits back and looks at Peter’s face — his wide, dark eyes, tinged with disbelief, fear, concern.

Arousal and pure, unadulterated love for her.

She hooks her fingers over the bottom hem of her Aerosmith pajama shirt — Peter’s shirt, soft and threadbare and smelling of his cologne — and pulls it over her head, dropping it to the floor. Her breasts are bared to the room, soft swells of smooth round skin, her nipples pebbling up from the cold and the way Peter’s throat moves as he swallows, taking her with his eyes.

“Touch me,” she says, and when his hands stay stubbornly still, she repeats it, “Touch me,” but with eyes that are spun through with red. His hands jerk upward to gracelessly cup her breasts, fingers squeezing, trembling. She bites her lip and rolls her hips over his lap, feeling the clench in her gut at the feeling of her brother’s hands on her skin, pinching her nipples with the tips of his thumbs and forefingers just the way that she likes, and the solid heat of his cock rubbing against her cunt with every smooth arch of her hips.

She pants, pressing forward to kiss him, wrapping a hand around the back of his neck to thread her fingers through the hair at his nape. Her toes curl as she rocks against him harder, harder, chasing that feeling of perfect intense oblivion that they can only ever reach together.

He’ll know. Soon. He’ll understand.

She desperately slides her mouth against his, licking against his lips and sobbing as she reaches that ever-tantalizing peak and comes. She gasps wetly against his throat, clenching and unclenching her thighs as her heart slows back down to an easier pace. She kisses him just under his chin, and whispers, “I love you. Peter, I love you.”

She tugs his shirt up and over his arms and head, throwing it to the side. His body trembles when she undoes the button on his pants, when she forces them down his hips with a soft flare of stronger red tendrils wrapping around her fingers and wrists.

She looks at his pretty cock, uncut, short and thick, entirely different from the way Pietro’s had been. She takes it in her hand, fingernails softly pressing against the skin, just enough for Peter’s breath to shift into a startled hiss as he squeezes his eyes shut.

A shift of red, and she says, “Tell me what you want, brother.” She removes her pajama bottoms as she speaks, lifting one knee, then the other, easing them down and off her legs to join her shirt on the floor. She has nothing left on her, nothing but Peter’s heat and the slippery fluid dribbling from the slit of his cock onto her thumb. “Tell me if you want my hand or my mouth or my cunt.” Her thighs are warm and sticky over his lap, her vaginal fluids mixing in with the hair between her legs and sliding down her thighs.

“Fuck,” Peter blurts, his voice high and distressed. Wanda tilts her head, watching him, watching his face contort with panicked desperation. With shame? Her eyebrows furrow, and she pumps his cock faster with her hand, making him jerk beneath her though he’s still held down by the red tendrils swirling around them both.

“Please, Wanda,” he says, and then —  “Stop. God, you have to stop. This isn’t right. Fuck. We shouldn’t be doing this. I don’t want to do this. You need to stop.”

“No.”

She’s firm, unyielding, and he sobs in his throat, hands scrambling against her waist as she moves into position above him to take what she wants — what she knows he wants too, whatever his mouth is telling her. He doesn’t understand yet, what they are to each other.

It isn’t his fault.

She has to show him.

She has to make him understand.

“Hold my waist.”

His hands slide to her waist. His fingers dig in hard enough to leave bruises and little imprinted scrapes in the shape of small half-moons. She wants more; she wants to feel his hands on her every time she takes a step tomorrow, wants to feel the strength of need every time she touches a sore and dark mark on her hips and waist, to moan at the memory of his need for her.

“You’re my sister,” he says, voice still tinged with desperation. She quirks a small smile at him, soft and wanting.

“Of course I am,” she agrees, and sighs out a heavy breath as she slowly starts to sink onto him, holding his cock so that the blunt head forces itself inside of her centimetre by indelible centimetre. For all that Peter asked her to stop, his thighs are straining against her magic, desperate to fuck his cock up and into her.

She might have been willing to risk it; she was desperate for his touch, for his strong arms to wrap around her as he fucks her, holding her close and whispering his love against her neck like a caress.

But if he runs, there will be no way to stop him. His speed will carry him away from her until he chooses to come back, and she needs him. He is the only water for her parched throat, the last crumb when she is filled with starving need. She keeps the red swathes of her magic in the air, a tight rein on Peter’s despair as he finds himself still frozen, still locked down, held and unable to resist what he wants but has foolishly been convinced he shouldn’t — can’t — have.

His cock is splitting her open, her eyes fluttering shut at the sharp sensation of being filled to the point of stretching, widening to let him inside her where he belongs. She gasps, “You’re my brother, and I’m your sister. We are twins. We were both born for each other, Peter. Not even a separation of realities could keep us from finding one another.” She smiles, overcome with pure joy from the thought of it, of the truth of who they are — of what they are to each other. What they have always been, what they will always be. “You are my soulmate, and I am yours.” She shifts forward, raising off of him enough that only the tip of his cock rests inside her. She fucks back down on him, rolling her hips again, and again, and again, her nails digging into his shoulders.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Peter is muttering, a hitched, “Don’t do this, Wanda,” in the middle of his stream of cursing. She kisses him roughly, his mouth wet and hot from before, his tongue soft and begging, forcing the kiss to become an uncoordinated wild mess of mouths and lips and tongues, a riddle of saliva and warm gasping breaths. She bites his bottom lip, tugging until he cries out.

His cock is hers to fuck, his body is hers to hold, his mouth is hers to taste.

She loves him, wants him, needs him.

She has him, every part of him, underneath her, hard cock and quivering thighs, desperate but held still speed thrumming under his skin and in his too-quick twitching fingers, leaving marks and bruises on her skin everywhere they grasp at her. It must be torture for him, sweet and unhinged, to be held still by her, to be fucked and taken down by the pleasure she gives him.

She moves faster, moaning, “I’m almost there, Peter, Peter.” Her cunt squeezes around his cock, and he sobs out when he comes inside her, fingers sliding so uncontrollably fast against her thighs that she can feel the heat of the burns she’ll have there, sharp and aching, bright red like the color of her eyes. She slips a finger down between her legs, rubbing at her clit as she keeps fucking him, desperate to reach the precipice and follow after him over the edge.

He has a wet trail of tears on his face when she comes back to him, her thighs trembling where she’s still sitting on his lap, his cock still nestled inside her. She lets the red tendrils slip away, resting her head against his shoulders, clinging to him.

The movie is still playing, the light flashing with every change of scene on the television.

Peter lays a trembling hand against her waist, against her shoulder.

He looks at her, struggling, and then looks away. She presses her fingers to his cheek, brow furrowed.

“You understand, don’t you?” she asks, so quiet.

He laughs, a choked, broken thing. “Yeah, I understand. I don’t think you do. Jesus.”

“I love you.”

“Fuck, Wanda,” he yells, and hefts her off of him. His cock slides out of her, soft and wet. She’d have kept him inside her longer if she could — forever, if they could. She wants to wake up in the mornings with him already inside her, fucking her, filling her and gasping her name.

“I said no,” he says, desperately, pulling his pants up, buttoning them with stumbling fingers. Frustration leaks from him in waves, frustration and hurt and confusion and shame.

Shame. Wanda hates that feeling. What do they have to be ashamed of, to be cursed and despised for? For their love? So much anger and hate in the universe, and those fools choose to punish and scorn her and her brother for love?

“We’re meant to be together,” Wanda repeats. She stands up. His come leaks down her inner thighs, and for all his anger, he looks. He looks at her body, his bruises on her skin. His come on her thighs.

“I am yours,” she repeats, and steps forward. She reaches up, grabbing him. “And you are mine.”

He closes his eyes.

“You don’t always get to have it your way,” he says.

“You will never let them take from me what I want,” she tells him, and presses her mouth softly against his.

His hands curl into fists at his sides, and he stays still, letting her kiss him until he is gone, Wanda falling forward at the sudden empty space in front of her.

She waits for a moment.

She puts on her pajamas again, but leaving her thighs a wet, sticky mess. She wants to keep his seed inside her, willing for it to take root if it can.

He’ll come back to bed soon, when he’s run so long and hard that he finally tires.

He’ll climb into his bed, her body having kept it warm beneath the sheets. They always sleep together, even in this universe where Peter had been sleepy and hesitant when she’d first crept in and clung to him in the middle of the night, both of them new to each other.

Now, he will come back and he will touch her, explore her skin and curves and angles, and know that she is as much his as he is hers.

He will know that they belong together.

What she said was true. She has never lied to him, to Peter, her brother here, so soft and unburdened and unlike Pietro except in all the ways they are the same.

Peter will never let them take from her what is hers, will never let her go without what she needs.

He always gives her everything.

She will kill anyone who tells them that they can’t.

Together, they will burn reality itself if that is what it takes to be together.