Pop. Pop. Pop. Those were the sounds of gunshots at the private event taking place in Sternberg Palace. Attendants went running for their lives screaming while the harbingers of chaos walked through the museum nonchalantly.
The ones who had fired the gunshots were two criminals; a blond-haired woman clad in a tight black suit equipped with a whip and a gun and a burly man with arms riddled with muscle, a cigar in his mouth, and a shotgun in his hands. They were the Hoolie Twins.
“Hee-hee-hee. Diamonds, sapphire, gold, jewels. My favorite. And yet, this museum holds none of these things!” the woman snapped as she turned to her brother.
He seemed bored with the situation.
“Mmm-hmm,” he comments.
She punches him. “Stop looking so disinterested. What is going on? You told me we were coming to a jewelry gallery.”
“This is a jewelry gallery.” He spread his arms around him, spinning in a circle. “Look at these jewels.”
His sister looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “Have you gone completely mad?”
“Sister,” he leaned toward her, “do you know how much one of these pieces of art would cost on the black market?”
Now she seemed disinterested. “What?”
“Over five million Euros. And that’s just one piece of art. Think if we find a way to steal at least ten.”
Now his sister was happy. A grin spread on her face. “Maybe these are jewels, brothers.” She looked at the art with a newfound appreciation. “Let’s enjoy ourselves.”
“But let’s not get caught,” he reminds her. “Those Accords cronies are always a step ahead of ya. Do you really think they don’t know what we’re up to?”
She stopped in front of him, patting his cheek. “Sweetheart, they’re after those HYDRA goons and whoever else gets on their nerves. They’re not thinking about us.”
“Oh, but I am,” a woman says nearby.
The two criminals immediately stood back to back, their eyes darting around the room.
“Who’s there?” the woman asked.
Wanda Maximoff stepped from the shadows, her eyes and hands glowing red. The two criminals immediately began to back away.
“Oh sh**,” the burly man said. “You’re one of The Avengers.”
“Not anymore,” Wanda said before tossing a red bolt of energy at the two criminals.
The man and woman tried to scamper away but they couldn’t outrun her power. With a raise of her hand, she levitated them in a steel grip before throwing them across the room. They landed on the ground hard. The man quickly rose to one knee and began firing rapidly at her. Wanda threw up her hand to shield herself with a barrier of power.
“Ilita, run!” the man yelled.
Ilita didn’t need to be told twice. She turned tail and ran as fast as she could, her black heels echoing across the marble floor.
Wanda thrust her hand forward, immobilizing the man, before pulling him toward her and knocking the breath from him with a hard knee to the stomach. He fell to the ground unconscious.
Her eyes darted upward and she didn’t see the woman. She sprinted forward, heading back to the window from which she had entered the museum. Just as she turned the corner and located the window the woman was closing it and locking it. Wanda cursed. Her power was great but she couldn’t unlock doors. She would have to take the long way.
She ran down the quiet halls of the museum, using her power to destroy every camera that she could find. She figured the Deputy Task Force was already onto her position but it was better to make sure.
Instead of taking the stairs she jumped over the railing, softening the fall with her power, before dashing forward and bursting out of the museum where she confronted policemen standing before the entrance, their guns aimed at her.
“Hold your arms up and turn around!” one of the policemen yelled in Czech.
She held her arms up but not to surrender but instead to use her superpower. Her eyes turned red and her teeth clenched as she lifted the policemen off of the ground. The policemen’s jaws dropped in horror as they were levitated for a second before she brought her arms down and sent them crashing to the cobblestone courtyard with lethal force. They were taken care of but Wanda knew she was now in serious trouble.
Even though she knew she should get out of sight she couldn’t let the criminal get away. She thrust her arms downward, flying upward to get a better view of the city. She scanned the alleys and streets and quickly spotted the woman running for her life in an alley a couple of blocks away. Wanda flew through the air speedily toward the criminal’s position before dropping down in the alley barring the woman’s path.
Ilita gasped, coming to a screeching halt. She then instinctively lassoed her whip around Wanda’s arm, yanking her to the ground. Wanda didn’t like that.
With a grunt, she simply threw her hand forward and the woman was knocked into the alley wall, sliding to the ground unconscious. Wanda gasped a breath of relief before standing. She looked up at the cloudy sky and took a deep breath. It wasn’t raining any longer but she began to don her hood to hide her identity. And then, she suddenly felt the feeling she was being watched. She turned and found Vision standing at the other end of the alley. Her jaw clenched.
“You should not be here,” he said, approaching her, his golden cape flowing behind him with every step.
She stood still, watching him carefully. “Neither should you.”
He darted forward in a golden blur, catching her by surprise as he pressed her against the brick wall.
“I have my orders,” he said grimly.
“Your phasing has gotten better,” she remarked.
Her fingers curled and his grip on her loosened as she held him with her power.
“But you still can’t win.”
She threw him off of her, where he landed yards away. He rose to his knees, gazing at her.
“I don’t want to fight you,” he said.
Her hands, still glowing, clenched. “Then why are you here?”
He stood. “We got a tip that you were in Prague. Colonel Rhodes was supposed to come and get you. I convinced everyone that I was the only one who could possibly arrest you.”
A small smile came to her face. “Even though you know you can’t.”
He smiled back.
“So,” she crossed her arms, “why are you really here?”
He stepped closer to her. “I wanted to see you.”
She looked over at the criminal who was still lying unconscious on the ground.
“If we’re going to talk we should do it somewhere else,” she said.
He nodded. “Agreed.”
Vision reached for her hand but she didn’t take it. Instead, she used her power to fly over the Prague skyline for a short while before setting down in a small park devoid of activity where Vision soon joined her. They stood alongside a small hornbeam tree, the light of a nearby lamppost lighting the park in an amber glow.
She relaxed, gazing at him with a neutral expression. “You could get in trouble if anyone knew what you were doing.”
“Then why are you doing this? Why are you risking your freedom to see me?”
Vision looked off to the horizon. “I know this may seem a bit…as you humans would say…sappy but…I miss you, Wanda.”
Wanda’s cheeks warmed as she looked down.
“I miss playing chess with you when you’re bored. I miss hearing you strum your guitar and sing about your brother when you think nobody’s listening.” Wanda looked at him. “I miss having someone that truly, truly understands me and doesn’t regard me as a…”
“A strange creation that was made in a lab?” Wanda finished.
Vision nodded, gazing at her with a tender expression. He shook his head, taking a step toward her. “I picked the wrong side.”
She shook her head. “We both made a choice that we thought was right. It just turns out that…we ended up on opposite sides of the fence.”
“Catastrophe,” he replied grimly. “No good will come of what has happened to The Avengers.”
She nodded. “Maybe not.”
Their attention directed to a helicopter as it flew by.
“You’re going to have to get out of Prague,” Vision told her. “Secretary Ross is trying his hardest to bring you and the others to justice and he will see his mission fulfilled, no matter how long it takes.”
Wanda’s jaw clenched.
“Captain Rogers is assembling the fugitives,” Vision said. “You’ll be needed.”
“He is? Why? What’s happening?”
“A terrorist named Dr. Frost is trying to take over Europe. It seems she has assistance from five assassins. I have a feeling that’s why he needs your aid.”
“If you know all of this, where is he?”
“He was last sighted in New York City.”
“New York City?” She sighed. “That’s a long way from here.”
“I’m sure you have a fake I.D and have found a way to have disposable funds. I’d get on a flight to New York City as soon as possible.”
There was a bit of silence before Wanda looked at him, a gust of wind blowing her dyed auburn hair about her face. “What are you going to tell Secretary Ross?”
“The truth. That I found you but you were too powerful for me.” He smiled. “I can stand the humiliation.”
Wanda chuckled. And then there was a moment of silence before she grabbed his hand.
“I just want you to know…I missed you too,” she told him.
He smiled sadly. “How fate has torn us apart.” He stroked her cheek. “I never got the chance to say it before but…you are beautiful.”
Vision smiled. The two gazed into each other’s eyes for a short while before Vision’s expression suddenly turned serious as his head turned.
“You really need to go,” he said. “You’ve been spotted.”
Wanda gripped his hand tighter. “Promise me we’ll see each other again.”
He turned to look at her and in the brief silence that followed they could hear the unmistakable noise of approaching helicopters.
“You have to go,” he told her as he tried to leave.
She held onto him. “Promise me.”
He gently held her face in his hands, looking into her eyes. “I’ll find you. I promise.”
She gazed into his eyes for another second before finally kissing him. It was a powerful moment for Vision as they were locked in the embrace, for he had never experienced anything of the kind.
When Wanda ended the embrace Vision gazed at her with shock.
“Take care of yourself, Vis,” she said before donning her hood and running off into the night.
Vision stared after her longingly, wishing he could escape with her to the edge of the world where they could live together in peace forever. Alas, that was not to be and with a saddened expression he turned and flew through the sky, heading back to the Deputy Task Force base in Berlin.
Header Photo Courtesy: Marvel Studios