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she doesn’t deserve to be around people.

she never has, really, but now she knows that her very being is poisonous. death and pain and misery radiates from her every pore, and putting other people in that proximity is dangerous.

it’s just—

it’s so quiet.

wanda already knows that she’s hollow inside, that there’s something important and fundamental that’s all gnarled and rotten, but it still hurts when there’s nothing to distract her from how loudly her thoughts echo.

it’s refreshing, in a way. she thought that she’d run out of ways to hurt.

the darkhold eats up some of the time. she devours the knowledge like she’s starving, careful not to touch the pages with her bare hands.

it feels...dirty. she gets the impression that it corrupts people, in some way.

luckily, wanda hasn’t been a person since she was ten years old, waiting to fall into the grave that tony stark had dug for her.

(the darkhold says that the scarlet witch is a being of magic and chaos. nowhere in the description does it say human)

the book still murmurs decay into the back of her mind, but she tries her best to ignore it.

wanda is trying to be better. it’s impossible, of course, because there is nothing but darkness down to her very core, but she is trying. trying means keeping herself contained to the wilderness, far away from anyone she could hurt.

she is trying, but she is also so desperately and painfully selfish.

one night, she thinks home, and her magic responds. for a single blissful moment she is nowhere, she is nothing, she is floating among the background radiation of the universe. 

she stitches herself back together piece by piece, and materialises back where it all began.

there’s nothing there of course; the plot is as bare as when she first arrived in westview.

‘i miss you so much,’ she murmurs.

her love, her boys, her home. she built all of them out of her own love and grief and hope, took all of the power she had and breathed life into it. 

but, of course, wanda’s empty and hollow. it stands to reason that anything she creates would be too.

she needs to leave, before she infects anything else.

‘wanda, dear!’ and wanda spins, hands already plucking energy out of the air— 

but of course it’s just agnes. agnes with her blinding smile and her open stance and the howling thing trapped behind her eyes that wanda pretends not to see.

‘it’s been so long,’ agnes says, as if wanda isn’t standing over the gutted corpse of her home, as if her palms and eyes aren’t glowing red, ‘where have you been?’

‘out of town,’ wanda says, letting the magic drip back out of her palms. her accent’s relaxed too, and agnes hasn’t seemed to notice that either.

‘oh?’ agnes says. ‘anywhere nice?’

how far does the facade stretch? if wanda tells her where she’s really been, will agnes continue to simply watch her with a delighted smile?

‘oh, silly me,’ agnes laughs, before wanda can figure out how to respond, ‘expecting you to stand outside and chat in this weather! would you like to come in for a spot of tea, love?’

 

 

agnes’ house looks the same as when wanda last visited it. except it isn’t hers, is it? didn’t somebody else live here before, somebody who would want agnes gone and their own house back?

and the other townspeople, do they know what agnes truly is? do they blame her for what happened too?

it hadn’t seemed important at the time. it still doesn’t, really. agnes won’t remember how to defend herself, but agatha’s life is still humming beneath the paper shell; it’d take a lot of power to harm her.

‘here you go, kiddo,’ agnes says.

she places two steaming mugs on the coffee table, and then sinks down into the couch next to wanda.

‘now tell me everything.’

wanda wants to. speaking has been something she’s done only when spells required it, or on the bad days when she’s had to repeat the names of her sons over and over again just to prove that they existed.

it’s nice. agnes is nice.

wanda had forgotten how it feels, the warmth of another person pressed up against her. it feels—

she stands up.

it’s a bad idea, but agnes is gazing at her with such trust and adoration and it’s wrong on wanda’s skin.

‘agnes,’ she says, ‘i think i left something in your basement last time i was here. will you come and look for it with me?’

 

 

as soon as wanda’s feet are on the basement floor, she finds the edge of agnes and pulls, and then agatha is on her with bared teeth and a snarl.

wanda restrains her with a thought, suspending her in the same position wanda was the last time they were in this basement. it seems as though the runes had disappeared when agatha had, and wanda throws up ones of her own with a flick of her wrist.

agatha looks down and herself and then laughs. ‘rerun, huh?’

her laugh is too loud and too sharp, and wanda feels herself finally relaxing. she hasn’t changed her clothes or her hair, but agnes’ soft amusement has already disappeared, replaced by agatha’s biting magic and ragged edges.

people shouldn’t smile at wanda, not like how agnes had. they should grin at her, teeth bared and eyes furious, like agatha is.

‘are you here to finally kill me, sweetheart?’ agatha says, head tilting to the side.

‘no,’ wanda says, and oh, the anger and despair and resentment that drips from agatha’s eyes...

finally. it’s what wanda deserves.

‘so, what then? are you gonna braid my hair? bake cookies together? shall we bingewatch dawson’s creek and gossip over girls?’

‘i want,’ wanda says, and then stops.

she doesn’t know. wanting is such a dangerous thing for the scarlet witch. she wants her family back, and her home back, and her team back. she wants the burning magic woven into her skin to stop hurting those she cares about. she wants pietro.

but she has none of that. all she has is agatha, who doesn’t see the mother or the wife or the sister or the hero or the monster. all she has is agatha, who sees wanda, and still isn’t afraid.

‘i’m not even the villain of this story,’ agatha says, after wanda’s been quiet for too long, ‘and you know that, don’t you, babe. i just felt you, from so far away.’ she licks her lips, eyes fever bright, ‘i could taste that power from miles away. but i didn’t use it. i didn’t trap all these tiny little people in your fairytale.’ she laughs, suddenly, jerking forward so sharply that wanda feels her magic strain to compensate. ‘i didn’t even hurt anyone.’

they both know that wanda doesn’t count as anyone.

‘you hurt my children,’ wanda spits.

‘you know the munchkins wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway,’ agatha sings, gleefully, ‘they weren’t real,’ and then she shrieks, as her arms both snap clean in half.

the scream was loud, and wanda flinches. not that it matters much: the room’s dampened with a silencing spell. wanda can do that now.

wanda can do a lot of things now.

‘sorry,’ wanda murmurs, already moving to fix them, and agatha cackles.

‘liar,’ she grins. there’s blood dribbling down from where she’s bit through her lip.

wanda hadn't meant to hurt her. she doesn’t feel bad about it.

‘i just want to talk,’ she decides, as she knits agatha’s bones back together.

‘you could take me with you,’ agatha says, desperately. ‘you could put me in a hole underneath whatever shack you’ve holed yourself up in. you could talk to me there.’

‘you would escape,’ wanda says. ‘you’re very smart. i’m sure you’d find a way.’

‘it would have been kinder to just kill me,’ agatha says.

‘maybe next time,’ wanda says, reaching up to wipe the blood off agatha’s face, instead of i know.

please,’ agatha says, voice breaking, and maybe that’s it. 

maybe that’s what wanda wants. because wanda is oh so tired of being the only broken person, of pretending that she isn’t only capable of causing pain. maybe she wants someone else to break for a change. maybe she wants to do the breaking.

‘see you later, agatha,’ and she pushes agatha right back down, until agnes is blinking down at her.

‘did you find what you needed, dear,’ she asks with a smile, and wanda smiles back at her.

‘i did, agnes, thank you.’

 

 

‘thank you for the tea, agnes,’ wanda says, and agnes beams, leaning against her doorway. ‘i think i might visit weekly from now on, if that’s okay.’

‘that’s more than okay, hun,’ she says, ‘come back any time!’ there’s blood on her teeth and her eyes are screaming. ‘what are neighbours for?’