Author: Alara Rogers alara_r
Summary: Post-X3 (with spoilers). Pietro learns that his father was involuntarily Cured, and reacts to that.
Fandom: X-Men Movieverse
Character: Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto)
Original story: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same by ficwize
The phone rang while Pietro was chopping vegetables. "I'll get it," he called, tossed the knife in the air above the counter, zipped over to grab the phone, came back to get his knife before it had finished falling, pressed the "talk" button on the phone, and resumed chopping with the phone pressed to his ear. "Maximoff household, who is it?"
"It's Ororo, Pietro. I have sad news to share with you."
His heart went cold. Wanda had been talking about that stupid Cure thing the other day. She hadn't been involved in that battle on the news, had she? "What happened?"
"Scott and the Professor are dead."
His first thought was relief that it wasn't Wanda. His second, sadness for Scott and genuine grief for Professor Xavier. He and Scott had never really gotten along, but Xavier had been like a second father to him after the one he'd had had disappeared into the exciting world of radical pro-mutant politics and terrorism and left his teen children of a far-too-human mother behind, only to come back repeatedly after the children's powers had manifested to try to talk them into joining his cause. "My God. Please tell me my father had nothing to do with their deaths."
"In fact, he didn't," Ororo said. "Jean killed them. She came back from the dead as some sort of horrific... I don't know, revenant? Zombie? She was practically a vampire, feeding on life. And she killed them both. Our newest member, Logan, had to kill her; no one else could get close."
"I'm so sorry." He wasn't particularly fazed by the notion that Jean had come back from the dead. Wanda had resurrected Mother for about a week, after all. "If you're having a service for them, Crystal and I will come, though I'll have to arrange babysitting for Luna."
"Thank you. That would be appreciated." There was a moment of silence, and then, "Your father was involved in the battle in San Francisco."
Pietro snorted. "Saw it on the news. I'm hardly shocked. The thought that there might be a way to turn mutants into humans must have appalled the old man." To be honest, it rather appalled Pietro, too. How could anyone want to be less than they were? Wanda had made noises about it, and he found her interest in the concept appalling as well. But he would never have considered going and destroying the Cure as an answer to that. If mutants wanted to destroy their own lives, what was that to him, so long as he could keep his sister from doing it?
"You know of this 'Cure', right?"
"I do watch the news, Ororo."
"He was injected with it. He slipped away after the battle, in all the chaos, but it is most likely that right now, he's merely human."
It was not often that Pietro was shocked to silence, even for a moment; his mind usually raced ahead of whatever anyone else was saying to the point where he constantly stepped on other people’s words and interrupted them. But this time, he was too shocked to come up with anything to say for several seconds, long enough for Ororo to say, “Pietro, are you still there?”
“I’m right here,” he said. “I’m... just very surprised. My father is human now?”
“As far as any of us know, yes. With no telepath, we can’t use Cerebro to find out exactly where he is.”
“Does anyone know where Mystique is?”
“She was Cured as well. The government has her. She turned evidence, apparently.”
Stranger and stranger. He would have never thought Mystique would have betrayed his father. But if his father had rejected her for being human... he didn’t see her taking that well.
Father had never rejected Mother for being human. Things had been more complicated than that. Magda Maximoff Lehnsherr had never understood why her husband couldn’t just be a normal man, why he had to use these strange powers all the time, why he was always running off to spend time with Charles Xavier instead of staying with her and the children. What had begun as simple incomprehension had eventually turned into resentment, even fear, and while the things Father spouted about being superior to humans had never changed his kindness to his wife, she couldn’t have been happy with being married to a man who claimed that people like her were inferior, even if he never behaved as if she herself belonged to that category. The marriage had fallen apart years before Wanda or Pietro’s powers had manifested, and Father hadn’t had any time for them after the divorce until their powers did manifest. He’d made an exception for his human wife until she rejected him, but every other human was worthless to him, including his own children until they proved themselves to be mutants.
Crystal wasn’t a mutant. She accepted Pietro for what he was, without fear or resentment, and he loved her for it. Their daughter, Luna, was three. She looked entirely human; there was no way to tell whether she would be human or mutant until she was a teenager. Pietro had had no interest in exposing either of them to his father, even if his father should have an interest in them, which given that they had no powers, he likely didn’t. Erik Lehnsherr had disappeared long ago; by the time Pietro was 12 years old and running faster than the average car could drive, there was no one left behind his father’s eyes but Magneto. And while Erik Lehnsherr might have been proud of his son, Magneto apparently only saw a potential asset to his cause.
Charles Xavier had never made Pietro feel that way. He’d trained Pietro and Wanda after they’d both informed Magneto in no uncertain terms that the lives of mutant terrorists were not for them, and when they had both declined to join his X-Men, he had understood and helped them get jobs. Pietro was a bonded courier, authorized to hand-carry sensitive documents for corporations or even sometimes the government that could not be entrusted to computers or the mail. His clients generally knew he was a mutant; they trusted him even more for it, because they knew that his power would enable him to avoid being intercepted by virtually anyone. His father’s world of inevitable human-mutant conflict was not Pietro’s.
But now Charles Xavier, who had attended Pietro’s wedding in place of his father, who had bought Luna her first stuffed animal, was dead. And Magneto was likely dead, as well... but Erik Lehnsherr, apparently, was not.
“I want to find him, Ororo.”
“Many people would like to do that,” she said, laughing. “If you find him, let us know where he is.”
After the phone call, after he told Crystal of the deaths, after he called Wanda and let her know... Pietro considered. His father had always been a stubborn bastard, and a brilliant man. He might now be working on a way to undo the Cure. Or he might be broken, shattered by the loss of his powers. But one thing Pietro knew -- his father would never give up and die. If he had survived to the end of that battle in San Francisco, then he was alive now.
“I need to find him, Crys,” he said to his wife, later that night, after dinner. “I need to see who he is now.”
“You haven’t the foggiest idea where he is,” she pointed out.
“No, but I know the places he finds comfortable. If I go to those places, and search... sooner or later I’ll find him.”
“Well, then that’s what you’ve got to do,” she said. “If you really feel like you’ve got to talk to him.”
“It might be my only chance,” Pietro said. He stared into nothing. “When I was a small child, he was a loving father to Wanda and me both. But as he became more and more consumed with his cause, it was as if he forgot we even existed... Mother divorced him, and then she died and he never came for us. We had to live with her relatives until our powers manifested. Then he was interested... but even then, all he seemed to want was to indoctrinate us in his belief system and get us to use our powers for his cause.”
“Why do you want to talk to him, then? It sounds to me like he’s not really worth it.”
Pietro shrugged. “Because he’s my father. Because he did, apparently, love Wanda and me once. And if he’s no longer a mutant... perhaps he could be my father again.”
“Then go find him. I mean, you’ve got to get your job done, but you’re freelance and we’ve got a pretty sizeable nest egg saved up, and my salary isn’t chopped liver either.” Crystal was a meteorologist, who did the weather reports on one of the local TV channels. “You can take time off if you need to.” She smiled at him. “Just make sure you’re home in time to put Luna to bed.”
Pietro smiled back. “I would never miss out on that.” He was never going to be his father, never going to vanish from his daughter’s life as his father had from his. But if he could... didn’t he owe Luna the opportunity to know her grandfather, if Erik Lehnsherr had come back to life, risen from Magneto’s grave?
He went to Scott and the Professor’s funerals, and then he began his search. It took three weeks.
Three weeks of searching in New York City, and Baltimore, and DC. Three weeks of running constantly, of taking Acela trains just to give his feet a rest and then running, running, running through the streets and the parks, looking at all the old men, trying to find a particular face.
It was almost a shock when he found him.
Pietro’s father was sitting at a park bench in front of a chess set, listlessly staring at it without moving. He looked... old. Small. Certainly not the bogeyman humanity had come to fear.
Did Pietro really want to talk to him?
What if the loss of his powers had broken him, made him into something Pietro could no longer recognize as the powerful personality that had been his father?
What if his father rejected him again?
But there was no point in sitting still, simmering over a decision he’d made three weeks ago. Resolutely he stepped forward.