Garden of Forking Paths
Roleplaying Log: Garden of Forking Paths
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Warren seeks out old enemies in a desperate last-ditch effort to regain his wings.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: October 07, 2019
IC Location: ????
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 07 Oct 2019 04:55
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

There are some truths that are immutable, and one of them is this: the X-Men oppose the Brotherhood, and the Brotherhood oppose the X-Men.

Mutant Town has always been a sort of neutral ground in this ideological clash, a place and people which both factions tacitly acknowledge a desire to caretake and protect. Though they differ significantly on the how, the fact that it should be done is never in question. Thus it is that there's no territorial claim on the area, not per se.

The Brotherhood still maintains a more active presence, however, and thus it is that when the founding X-Man Angel — despondent and wingless — turns up in Mutant Town, searching discreetly for the Scarlet Witch, it is quickly noted.

Word is passed.

Warren waits where he has been told to wait, in a narrow strip of darkness between two crumbling tenements. Head bowed, shoulders slumped, hands in his pockets, and — most importantly — absent his great wings, he looks out of place in the dilapidated surroundings: beautiful, broken, and disappointingly human in appearance.

For him, this is an act of last-ditch desperation. In recent days, some days have been better, and some worse… but there is still not a single day he doesn't wake from dreams where everything was a mistake and his wings are back again. There is one last route open to him, and though it may be the most risky and unnatural route of all… he has to try.

It took some doing, to sneak away from Alison. But his increased coherency and independence as of late made it easier for him to make an excuse of taking a long drive.


Word reaches the right ears fairly quickly.

That of Joanna Cargilll; the final bastian between the Twins and those who seek them.

Upon hearing who seeks out Wanda, Frenzy can't help but feel actual surprise, though that emotion doesn't appear on her features at all. Instead, she simply says to the underling, "I'll handle it. Go back to your post."

With that directive given Frenzy moves out.

For Warren his wait isn't hours long, but neither is it minutes.

It's probably closer to half an hour before there's any inkling that his request has been answered. A nearly silent shadow fills the entranceway into that specific alleyway and with very little preamble Frenzy's gaze tracks to the man found within.

While the two are the same size it no longer seems that way; at least to Frenzy's sensibilities. Those missing wings of his brings an automatic shift of her eyes to the empty space behind him and while surprise is felt again, very little shifts in Frenzy's expression.

She just shifts her gaze back to the man's face and where others might now ask questions, Frenzy doesn't.

She just says, "Follow me."

Now comes a rambling seeming walk-about as Frenzy leads the wingless man through streets and a few more alleyways, up until a door is reached. She gives Warren one last oblique look before she pulls the non-descript and very-bland-door open and steps through.

The expectation that he follow through as well.


The door is no different than the rest in dilapidated Mutant Town, battered and rain-yellowed and chipping paint.

Save for one difference — a sigh of scarlet runs its frame the moment Frenzy lays hand on the handle, the dimension split like a hair beneath its hex. Red runs the threshold —

— and though they exit from street level, the room they enter is most assuredly underground. No windows. Sweet, cellar smell of earth. Nondescript ceiling planking, opening up to a minimally-furnished room, lit only by yellowy lamp light.

It is impossible, in one glance, to tell how or where this might be. After the fall of the Triskelion, one truth seems to stand true: it is far, far away from New York.

Seated in a lonely armchair works the Scarlet Witch, dressed in black, the sombre cast on her face to match.

Upon the table before her is her current errand, whether meaningful or a terrorist's whimsical fascination: she is shearing brances from a small, thin-limbed olive tree, and replanting the cuttings into many waiting pots. All is done with exceeding care; Wanda pays the plant with far more tenderness than she did hundreds of unwitting SHIELD agents.

She only pauses at the arrival, closing the shears, her opposite finger pressing its pad to its sharp tips. Wanda looks up, blue eyes crossing from Frenzy to the wingless Warren.

Her eyes hold on him a beat too long, before they lower. "An unusual visitor today, Joanna."


Warren is made to wait. Warren is almost never made to wait. It's a new and unusual experience, but he endures it uncomplainingly, leaning against the wall with his golden head bowed.

When Frenzy finally appears, his sole response is to lift his head. There's no tension to him, no aggression or defensiveness: just that same listless sense of defeat one would expect from a man shorn of all that mattered. The absence of his wings has greatly reduced his apparent size and robbed him of much of his presence — memory offers the image of something much grander, backed by the spread of white wings which reached sixteen feet in span — and so for the first few moments she looks at him, all Joanna Cargill sees, where she once remembered a beautiful mutant…

…is a man. Still beautiful, but now disappointingly human in appearance.

Follow, she says, before turning away. A leader of the X-Men should hesitate. Warren does not.

He says nothing and has no complaint about the wandering path, and when she finally steps through that doorway, Warren follows without pause despite the familiar run of scarlet that lights its edges, stepping through into the domain of some of his oldest and most enduring enemies without even a flinch. Men who have already lost everything do not have much more to fear… and the depth of his loss is clear enough in his dull blue eyes.

Not that the Scarlet Witch sees things the way others do. To her sight, Warren is a ripped, tattered wreck, his soul a small shredded thing with a vast piece of it ripped away.

Warren shows little interest in where they are, or what Wanda is doing, or in any of the details that surround these leaders of the Brotherhood. The only thing he does seem to notice is the thin, almost anemic olive tree; his gaze lingers a moment, before it turns away again. He should care more — after the fall of the Triskelion, after all they have done, he should — but the glassy look to his eyes suggests he cannot as long as there is the slightest hope…

An unusual visitor today.

"Hello, Wanda," Warren says, with a dull familiarity. He does not try to approach; Frenzy's body language is clear enough. "I don't think it will be hard to guess why I have come here."


Upon their arrival Frenzy's gaze automatically goes to Wanda first. To make certain the Scarlet Witch is well and once that's ascertained, Frenzy steps over to her.

She settles nearby Wanda though not necessarily close enough to be called hovering.

Even if that's what she's doing. There is no trust for Frenzy when it comes to the X-Men. Especially now.

With her position taken up the Bruiser of the Brotherhood turns her eyes back to Warren Worthington. The light within the room helps to reveal more details of his diminished nature and here Joanna allows the slightest of frowns to grace her lips.

That expression stays there for several seconds before she tucks it behind her typical stoic mask.

Wanda's question prompts the obvious answer, "Yes.", and then when Warren speaks up Frenzy's expression twists slightly.

It's pretty obvious to Frenzy why exactly Warren is here and perhaps there might be a sense of disapproval from the woman.


"Not difficult at all," answers Wanda Maximoff, holding another olive branch steady for the opening of her shears. "There is only one reason why your kind would come to me."

She looks back up at Warren. The shears close firmly, and the branch severs off the tree's back.

Her eyes study him a moment longer, not unkindly, but lost to search in her dreamy way — the Witch who cares not for beautiful faces, as they have long ceased to matter to her. She has not recognized a soul by his or her face in years.

"I wonder if your family would rebuke you doing this," she wonders aloud, not unkindly, and with little spite. Only a meandering curiousity that comes and goes, soon lost like a stray animal. "I suppose I shall not tell, if you don't."

Wanda's eyes cross to Frenzy, following the woman's trajectory to her side, absorbing her blunt, short reply. "Joanna," she says, "you have my brother's manners." It's barely a chide, spoken with a well of tenderness.

The witch decidedly sets her shears down, her work suspended. She turns one hand, scarlet shining from her fingertips like a hazy moondog. A chair joins their reality on the other side of the table, empty, to which she extends one hand. For Warren to take.

"You were kind to me once. I have not forgotten," says Wanda. "They see you healthy, but I know you are bleeding out. I can feel it from here." Her blue eyes, always slightly unfocused, run him. "You know there is always a price, dealing with me. Chaos serves no master."


Warren does not seem surprised or offended by Frenzy's obvious wariness, and he does not encroach on their space. He seems equally wary of both of them, despite his presence here, despite seeking them out actively. Thirteen years isn't forgotten so quickly as that.

Yet not everything about those thirteen years was black and white. Once, a decade or more ago, the X-Men and Brotherhood faced one another, and Angel found himself pitted to neutralize the Scarlet Witch when she was deployed to the field. A daunting task. Face to face, of course, he had no chance, but powerful as she could be — she still had to look up.

He had carried her completely off the field, to a distant cliff, only to find her absolutely terrified when he put her down. He never knew whether it was of him, or of something else more nebulous and far more threatening than merely him… but something about her fear had stayed him, when originally he had meant to abandon her and return immediately to the fight.

He wound up sheltering her under a wing, for a brief time. Long enough for her to calm.

She remembers, clearly, though it is not expectation of a favor for a favor that brings him here today. Pure desperation carried him here, and keeps him here even as another snap of the shears prunes away another branch from the tree. Even as Wanda speaks, dreamily, of his kind — and wonders whether he would be rebuked for this… lapse.

"They might," he says. He does not need to ask which family. He looks at the chair for a very long moment, before he slowly takes it. "They will. But it would be worth flying again."

You know there is always a price…

"It," he repeats, his voice gutted, "would be worth flying again."


Her brother's manners … that brings Frenzy's gaze over to the much smaller Witch, and here Joanna's expression softens just a touch.

"Thank you." States the woman with just a hint of good humor and then that humor vanishes and is replaced with attentiveness to the situation at hand.

After all, when Pietro isn't here she stands in his place. Protection against all those that would harm Wanda.

Even de-winged birds of prey.

The mention of Warren being kind to Wanda pulls a bit of side-eye from the Bruiser, for both Wanda and Warren, but there's little for her to add just yet.

Not until he repeats twice that the price would be worth it.

While there is an understanding of why the price would be worth it - and why he'd gladly pay - that doesn't stop a vague twist to Frenzy's lips. A definite look of censure and perhaps deep beneath that pity.

For what is a mutant without their powers?

Nothing.

Such an abhorrent thought.

However, that understanding doesn't stop her from speaking aloud the irony of this situation, "Isn't it convenient how your morals are now flexible when you require our help."


"Joanna," Wanda chides again. This time, there is less softness in her voice, and it carries in a steely echo of Magneto. "We are better than that."

Her eyes turn briefly onto her protector, running the familiar straits of Frenzy's soul. Even in this warning, the Scarlet Witch steeps with patience. "My father would do so much more for Charles Xavier. Some things transcend this war. There will be a time when all we have left is each other."

Her smile is brief, wan, a flicker between instants. Then, the witch settles back into her chair, facing Warren, her glassy eyes absorbing the decision he made. She is quiet a moment, considering him, before her attention detours without warning, hitched back onto her olive cuttings.

Wanda picks one up, tuning it through her nimble fingers. She trenches a deep void in the soil of one pot, and fits the branch to rest. "It has the look of a child, don't you think?" she asks. "Next to its parent. So small, and so far to grow. But it is no such thing. It is the same tree, left to thrive in many pieces. Clones of itself, identical in every way."

Her fingers run all her cuttings. "Yet no two will grow the same. They will all sprout differently. Some will wilt and die. The rest will reach in different ways. Their roots will ground them in their own terms. We are no different. A million growths among a million futures."

With a scrape against the old floor, Wanda rises from her chair. She is still a fragile thing, but she holds herself like a resurrection against that terrified girl who trembled a decade ago. With a reassuring glance to Frenzy, she crosses around the table closer to Warren. Her hands turn, palms open, daring close, though she never tries to touch.

Her fingers wander the space just beyond him, tracing the great shapes of missing wings. Wanda can still see something there, his soul gouting out in two spreading sails.

Somewhere between blinks, her eyes shift from blue to red. Scarlet knots and braids through her fingers. "Let me find them."


Isn't it convenient how your morals are now flexible when you require our help?

Warren sways slightly in his chair as if struck by the words, but does not say anything immediately. His bowed head and slumped shoulders do not straighten. He evinces no surprise, either, when it is Wanda who speaks up first in rebuke of Frenzy's harsh words. He simply exists, for a long few ashamed — but resolute — moments.

"There are some things," he finally says, after Wanda speaks of Xavier, and Magneto, and the bonds that should exist between all mutants, "which can't be endured. Ideological disagreements… wars… old quarrels…"

He stares into the middle distance. "What does it mean without my wings? I'd recuse myself from all of it, if I just had them back."

And he is silent after that. He only listens, watching with those too-keen eyes, as Wanda speaks of millions of possibilities branched into a million futures, and all from one single point. He never really understood Wanda before — she was too esoteric, too vague, too strange for a straightforward and grounded mind like his. He thinks he understands her now.

It is part of why he doesn't recoil when she rises, and comes to stand before him. His head tips back, looking up, as she traces the empty ruination to either side of him, where wings should spread.

Warren knows the shapes of his own wings better, even, than he knows the shapes of his own hands. He knows what she is framing with her stitching gestures. There is no hint of hostility in him as he looks up at her; only a desperate, anguished look that verges on real hope.


Wanda's words prompt a dip of Frenzy's head, an acquiescence to what the Scarlet Witch says.

Joanna accepts that rebuke and then the added words about Magneto from Wanda silently.

And while Frenzy's eyes aren't as sharp as Warren's, she easily sees him sway within his seat. Perhaps she should feel bad - and maybe she does - but she doesn't show any type of emotion to the man's obvious pain. Instead her expression only flattens more when he speaks of ideological disagreements and then speaks of recusing himself.

Whatever words she might have said to that are (this time) kept to herself.

Wanda's reassuring look is what allows Frenzy to not intersect herself between Witch and Bird, but Frenzy does edge herself closer so that she may reach the two should something go bad.

Now the Bruiser waits, as Wanda looks for Warren's lost wings.


The Scarlet Witch turns up her glowing eyes, staring into something which only she can see. She turns both hands, palm up like a silent offering, a yield to all the possibilities of the universe, as she reaches into the void to whisper chaos to her own ends.

Moving red flows from her, bringing a sinister light to this darkened basement room, its dancing leylines crossing a hundred different ways through the air. She builds her web, bidden by the curling of her fingers.

The scarlet braids itself into the shapes of two great wings, fanning out like sighing smoke from Warren's back. The witch's sightless eyes flicker, and she holds her weaver's fingers still, catching something — before it slips, and her image unravels.

She does not relent. Her hands turn, and her scarlet obediently tightens its threads, looking again like the pattern of a great raptor's living wings, though the sea of red only yields a moment before it gives away, wisping away from the edges out, the shapes leaking away into dissipating nothingness.

Her hands shake to brace something still. Then, Wanda's eyes blink, her fingers flinch, and she lets it all go. The scarlet pours away like scattered sand, lost into the aether.

She blinks her eyes out of that unseeing nothing, and opens them back on this world. Coming to, Wanda looks back down on Warren Worthington, the look on her face now the closest she comes to something human. She almost looks apologetic.

"I could not find them," she says, voice wan. "You live a million lives, Warren. You lose your wings in all of them."


He should be afraid to submit himself to the scarlet — to sit in the center of whatever weave the Witch creates about him. He has seen what she can do with her powers for years — cleaned up the results of what she can do, for years.

But he is not. He is already living something which is far worse of a nightmare than anything the Scarlet Witch could do with her red webs.

The first time that scarlet weaves into the shape of wings, Warren nearly starts up from his chair — clearly thinking she's found them, she's about to put them back, that everything will be all right. He arrests only to the sight of it all wisping away again, the tapestry of them unraveling; he slumps in his chair, and the next time he is more wary when they appear. Justifiably so — for the second image vanishes even more quickly than the first.

He waits… and then looks up, confused, when Wanda stops. That confusion persists, deepening, becoming the total uncomprehension of a fatally-shot animal, when she tells him…

"What?

The syllable is anguished, uncomprehending. He starts to shake.

"…What?"

Warren loses the ability to speak, after that. He only sits, and repeats without sound, without voicing it aloud: what?


Frenzy watches with unflinching eyes.

She has seen Wanda use her abilities for many years now and with what she does now there is little that seems surpising..

What does surprise is that final announcement of hers. That Warren's wings are truly lost. That every life he loses them.

Those words cause Joanna to give something of a surprised blink. It causes her to look at Wanda and then Warren, and perhaps here and now Jo gives Warren a look that hinges on pity.

That looks of Frenzy's is gone after a minute as the Bruiser steps closer to Wanda and as Warren struggles with accepting this answer.

"You should sit. Rest." Murmurs Jo to Wanda, even as she keeps half her awareness on Warren. Mindful of how he handles this news.


The witch remains still, her hands folded together, strangely at peace with her resignation: it is not the first time she has stepped up to the limits of her unfathomable powers. It is not the first time they have, in all their capacity to change reality, been able to truly help.

The truth is what Wanda does not say. One day, long long ago, she searched long for a reality in which Wanda Maximoff was born perfectly, ordinarily human. A reality in which to replicate on herself here, and be free of… the nightmares, the madness, the expectations of her father — everything. She could not find one. Not one world in which a Wanda is born normal, complete, and whole. Always a witch. Always made wrong.

Frenzy's voice murmurs through her thoughts, and Wanda looks up at her protector's suggestions. Her expression softens, and she lifts a hand silently in reassurance: she's fine.

The one not fine here is their guest.

Warren's reaction draws Wanda's blue eyes, and at her remove, she pays witness to his quiet unravelling. Something about it all, something about asking a question of an unkind world that refuses to answer, twists something in her heart. All too familiar.

She deplores others touching her, save her twin brother. And, just as rarely, does Wanda ever deign to touch others. But briefly, her hand touches his shoulder, before it ghosts away. "It is the will of chaos," she says quietly. "For me to impress probability for which there is no set — it could do great harm to you, to me, to this world. There is no certainty." The witch pauses. "Other than that I cannot help you."

With that, she steps away, retreating back to her own armchair — before a thought stops Wanda in her path.

"However," she interjects. "There is a life you live. You manifest young. Your wings are removed in your infancy. You live a rich life never knowing them, never missing them. You are happy. My father would never allow me to do this for our kind, to impart such a future as a gift." Wanda looks back over her shoulder. "But I owe you a debt. It is yours, if you wish."


Even thirteen years of being at odds can breed a certain familiarity. Enemies can become more intimate with the intricacies of one another, sometimes, than they are with their friends. For these reasons, Warren knows how rare it is that Wanda touches him, and it is that brief moment of contact that surprises him enough to lift his golden head out of his mental loop of despair. The alarm on his features is brief — seeing that she means no harm — before it melts back into that bleak emptiness.

This was his last ditch effort to reclaim what he has lost. The last and most extreme thing he could see himself trying: a true deal with the devil. Now that this, too, has failed him, there is nothing but to accept what the constants of the universe seem to have ordained for him.

Except — there is a consolation prize. Another reality she could offer to him, to overlay over his failed existence here: if it were his wish. His wings are still removed, in that permutation of him, but he never knows. He never misses them. He grows up as a human.

It is yours, if you wish, she says. And she shows him. Her familiar scarlet weaves into new imagery between them, playing a shadow-theater in midair.

Warren Worthington III is born a mutant, with all his extant physical powers — including his wings, which severely complicate his mother's pregnancy. He kills her in childbirth; his distraught father has the wings immediately removed, and develops a love-hate relationship with his son… the last memory of his wife, but also the cause of her death. He is astoundingly permissive of Warren, allowing him whatever he pleases while avoiding any true interaction with his son (Warren looks like his mother. The resemblance deepens as he grows older).

Raised by indifferent, hired hands, Warren is never told no. Not once. He grows up a modern-day prince, spoiled and arrogant, and at some point… he realizes that he is not constrained to the same physical limits imposed on most humans around him. He begins to experiment with his increased strength and speed, learning to take pleasure in his physical superiority to other children, especially in the atmosphere of fierce competitiveness in which he is raised. One day he breaks his cousin's legs, just to see how easily he can. The bones shatter with only trivial effort. Warren just laughs at Hunter's screaming, because what's there to scream about? It'll all be fixed in the end.

He goes to Exeter, and effortlessly captains multiple sports teams. A concerned coach tries to investigate if he might be using steroids to achieve his unnatural performance; the coach is dismissed when Warren expresses dryly and pointedly, to the right people, that he's of much more value to the school than one lousy coach. He goes to Harvard, and girls compete to date him despite the warnings of those who dated him before. The prestige of bagging the most beautiful young man on the campus is too hard for them to resist, even though everyone knows the condition in which he leaves his girlfriends if they try — even once — to refuse him.

He never appears on the X-Men radar. Never goes to the Institute. Never learns empathy and selflessness. Never knows companionship.

He goes to work instead, given an automatic position of privilege in his family's company. Bored, he does little work of any consequence, instead spending his days fucking his secretary and his evenings fucking everyone else: literally and metaphorically. He even fucks his friend from college, Cameron Hodge, just to see what it's like, only to laugh and call him a slur afterwards; Hodge is found hanging a month later, and Warren shrugs impatiently at the man's weakness. Unstimulated and feeling empty, he entertains himself by seeing how far he can stress people, testing for their breaking points with an idle sadism. He continues to prey on women looking to date him; most have their own ulterior motives for making the match, which keep them at his side even when the bruises and the quiet shaking moments trying to stanch their bleeding start to stack up. But they always —

"Enough," says Warren, here and now. He is shaking in his chair. "That's — that's enough."

There is no disputing he was happy in that reality. Viciously, blissfully, ignorantly happy. He never had to lose anything, there. He never had to suffer, really; not one minute.

"I can't bring that here," he says, looking sick. "If that is the only option, then…" He staggers back up to a stand. "Then this is over."


Frenzy watches Wanda interact with Warren, but mostly the Bruiser watches Warren.

Ever ready to intervene should she need to.

Not that she likely will. Not as that offered reality rises up and all within the room catch a glimpse of just what that entails.

A baby born already with mutant gifts activated. A dead mother and a neglectful father.

A childhood that shapes him into a terrible person.

A terrible abusive person.

And one who never had to account for any of the hurt and pain they caused others.

It's enough that when the vision retreats Warren isn't the only one shaking.

Though Frenzy isn't shaking in digust, or fear, instead she vibrates with anger.

Fury.

Her expression is something terribly dark as she focuses upon Warren, and if Wanda wasn't here perhaps she'd do something to the de-winged man.

But Warren's saving grace is the fact that Wanda is here.

And so, she does nothing to the man that now reminds Frenzy of the terrible father she had. The one who had no problem hitting a frail girl for problems that weren't her fault.

"With your permission, I will gladly show him out." Frenzy says-asks to Wanda, her voice steely as she keeps her eyes locked upon Warren.


Through the curling of her fingers, writing on the world her witch's cursive, Wanda's flowing scarlet opens a brief window between worlds — offering a glimpse into what is elsewhere, and what could be here.

A different world. A different Warren Worthington within it.

She watches in perfect silence, her reddened eyes half-liided with something close to professional curiousity: Wanda is in an enviable position, at enough of an emotional remove to be affected by the altered life of a mutant living as a man. With the things she has witnessed, witnessing his acts of selfishness and sadism do not worry her, do not even bid her to look away with admonishment or judgment. Wanda watches with an audience's interest, riveted at this creation spun by the dice roll of chaos. It is no more wrong or evil as the Warren whom sits before her in this world.

All creatures have their darknesses. And she has seen them manifest in millions of ways. Seen the most loving souls tear down their worlds in other lives, sometimes from just… one… choice.

Her father, for one.

Enough, says Warren, or demands, or even pleads. Something in his tone lets Wanda remember her mercy, or perhaps just her social etiquette, and she closes her hand. The hazy, scarlet-imbued glimpse disappears.

"You need not fear it," advises Wanda, to his stricken words. "It is you, it is not you. Your cutting thriving in different soil. Life is a complex thing, born of trillions of choices…"

Unlike Frenzy, the Scarlet Witch looks on Warren no differently now than before. In fact, her protector's response — barely-restrained, furious, wrathful — draws Wanda's eye.

Her request is not unlike a heavy guillotine, straining to be released. The Witch looks fond askance on the woman. "Shh, Joanna. Try not to judge him too harshly," she urges, voice gentle. "None of us are beyond that. Not even the softest hearts we've known. Not even the Professor…"

The red fades from her eyes, leaving only the blue — the Witch sighing away, with Wanda Maximoff left behind, encapsulating all that deceitful humanity she wishes she could possess. She turns a look down on Warren, understanding in a way far beyond the physical. "I regret I cannot help you in this way. Perhaps, some other day, I can repay your favour. You are free to leave."

The door has returned to one wall of the basement, its frame sheathed in running scarlet.

Wanda looks on with folded hands, before she pauses, thinking of something — and drifts solemnly to the table. She picks up a pot, small, holding soil and a single, freshly-sheared olive cutting. She offers it to him to take, to be his. Her eyes shine with something her father long burned from his soul decades ago, and could not completely burn from her. "And that was not your only option, Warren."


It is impossible for Warren to miss Frenzy's changed attitude towards him. His gaze averts in something very like shame, though he doesn't hackle up or grow defensive at the clear edge of rage in her voice when she speaks. He may just think he deserves her anger, at this point, after what he has seen himself become in another life, under a completely different set of circumstances. He may just no longer care what is done to him.

But again, Wanda intercedes on his behalf, though what she has to say is not much more of a reassurance. It is him; it is not him. It is a simple permutation of him, if he were planted in different soils and tended in a different way. It has no bearing on the person he is here, in this reality… as she is quick to remind Frenzy. The him of this reality is a product of a million different choices. He might as well be a different person, even if the wellspring of their soul is the same; and how does one crucify a man for the sins of another?

Warren seems to find a way. But then, he was always a big martyr. "The possibility is still in me," he eventually says, clearly shaken, staring at the floor. Though he hesitates, looking up in startlement, as she remarks that not even the Professor was beyond that, in some far-flung worlds…

…he doesn't look quite as startled as one might expect.

The moment passes. Wanda issues her regrets, but advises that she cannot repay his favor — not with this. That he is freed to go, after walking straight into the midst of the Brotherhood, might honestly be returned favor enough; that thought occurs to him, briefly, though he doesn't speak on it. It's a bit of a silly thought, anyway; he's barely an X-Man anymore.

His eyes emptied of hope, he rises… only to pause when Wanda approaches with a parting gift. The small olive cutting rustles lightly as he accepts its pot, bewildered… though after a look into her eyes, the confusion dispels, replaced by a pensive look.

That was not your only option, Warren.

There are multiple ways to interpret that comment. He doesn't look like he knows which way he wants to interpret it yet, but some of the deadened look leaves his eyes.

"Thank you," is all he says, and he lets that be his parting words.

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