Interlude 4
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Interlude 4

(Wanda Maximoff’s new best friend)

January 15th, 1997

At first, Wanda thought that she had gone more crazy when that stubborn redheaded girl that only she could see appeared one day and continued to speak to her even though she had been ignoring her. But the visible changes in her room and the fact that she could interact with the orderlies by pranking them was proof enough that she wasn’t losing more of her sanity.

Jean was her name. She appeared generally in the afternoon and spoke to her about everything, fashion, she even showed her TV shows and brought her books that she could read, mainly about new age Wicca and spiritual stuff. And right now Jean was teaching her about meditation and how to ground herself; it was difficult for Wanda, she had so much hatred and anger in her heart. Jean often had to calm her down forcefully when her power was running amok.

"You don't seem to be able to calm down at all. Still we saw a net improvement in your control." Jean said as she floated in the air with her legs crossed, she wore a black tight tank top and painted on dark blue jeans ripped at the left knee. Wanda's new friend was attractive and when she looked at her pajamas, she felt that she couldn't hold a candle to her.

Jean looked like a young adult, she had more curves than Wanda who felt like a gangly beanpole, and Wanda was envious of her figure. Even more so because Jean hadn't been interned by her family because she couldn't control her powers and got to live happily with them while she withered in this stuffy place.

Wanda remembered the moment when she was betrayed by the man she trusted the most. She remembered how her brother had pleaded with their father not to do it and leave her in this asylum. Wanda had since promised herself that she would kill the man and make him regret his decision. But first she needed to control herself, then her power as Jean had explained it to her. The redhead was teaching her something called Taoist meditation, an ancient art of practices born from the Chinese philosophy and religion of Taoism.

Its methods ranged from concentration and mindfulness, to contemplation, and visualization. They were designed to bring the practitioner into harmony with the Source of all life. But as usual right now she couldn't reach balance, sure she was less of a raging maniac than when Jean had appeared last year, but she was feeling so angry!

"What can I do about it?" Wanda asked with a whine as she massaged her temples.

Jean landed on the linoleum floor and stood up and sighed. "Well, I already began to work on it… but I think you can't reach balance because of your current location."

The redhead looked at the cell room we were in, the white walls, the lone shelf filled with books and a closet, the one person bed, the sofa and the table with a chair. Jean looked disgusted by the place, and Wanda agreed with her. But something bothered her by what she said, *How will she change our location?*

Wanda cocked my head. "What?" She floated up, at least she could do basic controlled telekinesis now, she wasn't able to do as much before.

The green eyes of her best friend focused on her. "Wanda, do you want to leave this place? Come with me?"

Wanda stood transfixed by the question for five long minutes, Jean was now used to her freezing like that while she thought. She gave her space until Wanda trained her verdant gaze back on her friend. Looking manic and disturbed by the question whose answer should be obvious, the auburn haired girl said, "That’s not possible. I tried to escape before, they got someone who is immune to my powers somehow, and they always, always, always catch me."

Jean approached and hugged her. That felt real, but there was no warmth that she could feel from her friend's body, no scent that Wanda could smell; that was why she still had a seed of doubt that Jean was still a product of her imagination and of how lonely she was.

Jean stepped back from her, smoothed Wanda's auburn locks with a hand and flicked her forehead. "I am not hearing a no, so~."

Wanda felt something behind her, she turned and at the same time, a golden portal slowly opened where the cell's door was supposed to be, on the other side was a garden. She stood there watching the green grass and the flowers, golden sunlight made the scene look out of a painting.

"You should pack your bag, don't you think?" Jean said from behind her.

Wanda who was still looking at the landscape in the portal didn't move or turn to the redhead who was being patient with her.

"Jean?" Wanda said in a frail voice.

The redhead walked up to her and hugged her from behind, placing her arms around her. "Yes hun?"

Wanda leaned into her friend. "You are real right? You are not my imaginary friend or…"

Jean chuckled and kissed Wanda on the top of her head. "Wanda, pack your things. I will meet you outside and I promise you, I am as real as it gets."

Wanda wanted to believe, believe that her new friend was real. Originally, she had gone with the flow and accepted her presence as she had appeared after Christmas and started to talk to her. At first she had ignored her, then when Jean had started to interact with her things and the orderlies to start a prank war, Wanda began to interact with her. Jean taught her rudimentary knowledge about her powers, taught her to not be afraid of them, that it was what was causing her to be unable to manipulate them at will.

Then Jean had started talking about her life, her family, friends and her two girlfriends Anna-Marie and Cindy, how she heard about her because she had met her dad; that had pissed her off and Wanda had gone right back to ignoring her. But Jean was stubborn and told her how she met her father and that he had tried to recruit her but she had skillfully made him not want to do so as she had subtly insinuated that she would take his organization from under him. That had made Wanda laugh and… grudgingly speak to Jean again.

Jean gradually inserted herself in her life and made it interesting, there was no way Wanda would give that up; so she took a leap of faith and moved, she went to her closet and took her old suitcase, the one she arrived in this facility with and began to load it with her clothes and spare shoes. She made her book filled shelf float, guiding it with her telekinesis and then stopped right before the portal.

"Nervous?" Jean asked as she passed an arm around Wanda's waist.

Wanda nodded. "This is a big step."

Wanda stayed in the same position for another ten minutes looking at the beautiful garden, she even noticed the giant tree roots and that this place seemed to be inside a cavern illuminated by giant crystals. It was as if she was dreaming, it had happened to her before, she had dreamed of such a place that offered her freedom. Wanda would be wary if she couldn't feel Jean’s arm around her waist.

The auburn haired girl turned her head to her friend and asked with a vulnerable voice, "You are really real?"

Jean's smile was simply dazzling as she answered, "Take a step in, I will be there physically. I promise this is real."

Wanda nodded. "Okay."

Jean let go of her and the girl simply entered the portal with all her things floating around her. The portal closed once she was through, her feet landing on a stone road leading to a white colored gazebo. From afar, Wanda could see that someone was waiting for her there. She walked silently toward the small structure, as she did so she felt the breeze coming from the mouth of the cave and the sunlight coming from the giant yellow crystals embedded in the walls of the cavern the giant tree found itself in, roots were spreading all over the cave, hiding some of the grey colored rocky walls.

Wanda arrived at the gazebo and saw Jean waiting for her there, on the table there was a beautiful tea set and a matched pot on a silver tray, with cakes and other pastries in a box. Jean stood up and initiated one of the hugs she had gotten used to now. “Wanda, you finally arrived.”

This time Wanda could smell lilac and feel the warmth of her friend. This was definitely real, her best friend had taken her from that damned asylum! “Jean, you are…”

Wanda’s hand roamed all over her friend, feeling her full body for once. Jean stepped back from her embrace and was blushing. “I told you, I am real.” She huffed.

The auburn haired girl’s eyes widened as she remembered everything Jean had told her. How she had to kill her enemies when she had been kidnapped and how she had died and had come back to life. “Then everything...”

The redhead nodded and held onto Wanda's arms, reassuringly squeezing them. “Yes everything I told you is true.”

Wanda then realized what that meant for her, she made a powerful friend. Someone who wouldn’t abandon her and would show care for her; it was at that moment that Wanda latched onto her friend and asked, “C-can I stay here with you? Forever?”

Jean put a hand on her cheek and looked at her straight in the eyes. “I’ve got a better deal for you, Wanda. Wanna be part of the family?”

“Huh?” The girl asked with a raised eyebrow.