‘I should invest in a set of headphones like so many of these other people’ Pietro Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver thinks to himself as he walks through Central Park, assisted by a cane. He tells himself that it would be pleasant to have Mussorgsky for company on a brisk afternoon such as this. But he knows that even the strains of Boris Godunov running through his head would not push the rest of his woes out of it - his “convalescence” after his run-in with Exodus, he decides, is taking too long.
Suddenly, ‘Think you’re better than the rest of us? Do ya?’ a voice calls out. ‘Maybe you’ll think bleeding to death is pretty, too! We’ll cut you right to the bone!’ a thug calls out as he and his companions attack another man. Quicksilver looks over to them, and thinks to himself that the Avengers worry about protecting the world, they’d do well to take a less global perspective, if only to get their minds off their own mundane problems.
Quicksilver drops his cane and removes his green trench coat. ‘And spend our energies - on the things that really count’ Pietro decides as he speeds over and picks up the young man in danger, racing him to a nearby bridge. ‘You’re safe now’ Quicksilver assures the man, who asks ‘Who’s safe?’ Quicksilver points out that he just rescued him from his assailants. ‘I know better than to expect gratitude in New York City, but -’ Quicksilver begins. The man rubs his head and exclaims ‘You only made ‘em mad. They’re just gonna come back the second you’re not around’ he explains. ‘I doubt it,. At least, not tonight’ Quicksilver replies, motioning to the thugs who are all unconscious on the ground nearby. Quicksilver tells the young man that sometimes they are forced to make their way cautiously in this world, and points out that it is growing dark. ‘If I were you, I’d go home now’ he suggests. Pietro turns and walks away, while thinking to himself ‘“If I were you” indeed. What home would I go to? My loving wife? To the Avengers? What a laugh’.
Exiting Central Park after collecting his trench coat and cane, Pietro hails a cab. He tells himself that the concept of “home” is appealing, as home is where you find it. ‘Where can I drop ya?’ the taxi driver asks. Pietro asks to be taken to the Lower East Side, specifically, the Transian district. ‘Yeah, I hear ya. Dinner time. Place’s got the best good in Manhattan. Cheap, too. Wouldn’t mind joining you, but it’s too early for a break’ the taxi driver remarks, before telling his passenger that he is quiet back there, and asks if anything is wrong. ‘No, no’ Pietro replies, realizing that he just became lost in his own memory. The smells of the local diners, the sounds of a string quartet practicing in an apartment of his native language, spoken breezily and naturally. Pietro decides that this will clear the cobwebs out of his head and speed his recovery, let him put aside his family troubles.
Exiting the taxi, Pietro tells the driver to keep the change. ‘Thanks! Hey - get yourself one of them pastries they got in the window over there. It’ll cheer you right up’ the cab driver suggests. Examining his surroundings, Pietro decides that he feels better already, realizing that he has hardly spent any time here since arriving from his homeland, Transia. Pietro knows that if he had been raised here, his life would have been very different, and wonders what it would have been like to go to school here - stopping along the way for some of the pastry the driver mentioned, playing ball against the library steps on a fall afternoon. ‘And then, of course, there would have been the schoolyard fights. Some things, it seems, never change’ Quicksilver decides as he rounds a corner and finds the man he rescued earlier, once again engaged in a fight with some thugs.
‘You’re only after me cause I’m different! Well, then…I’ll show you how different!’ the man exclaims as he releases bursts of intense energy, knocking his attackers back, the energy also causes Quicksilver to fall to his knees thanks to its brightness. ‘I was going to help him. But he didn’t seem to need any help! The flash of the light was tremendous! I can barely focus my eyes!’ Pietro tells himself. Pietro decides that it was smart on the man’s part, as he is now far away from his attackers. ‘If I could only figure out how he accomplished that’ Pietro decides, supposing that someone must know him. Pietro looks at a pub and knows that it used to be part of an old brewery. He steps inside, ‘It’s changed - but what hasn’t?’ Pietro asks himself, deciding that he doesn’t need a drink so much as an indulgence in nostalgia and conversation.
Pietro approaches the barman and remarks that it was quite a scene out there. ‘You did not happen to notice where that child they were chasing ran off to, did you?’ Pietro enquires. ‘As a matter of fact - we’re looking for him ourselves’ the barman replies, holding up a tool. One of the patrons turns to Pietro and exclaims ‘By the way, you’re not from around here either, are you?’, to which Quicksilver narrows his eyes and replies ‘Since you mention it - I spent time here only after arriving from my homeland - but I had colleagues who worked in this very brewery’. He speeds about the room, knocking the patrons over, adding that his Transian comrades built this place before everyone here was old enough to drink in it. ‘Many more mixed the cement and carried the bricks that built your families’ homes!’ Pietro adds, while asking if it can be said that he is “not from around here”. Smacking over a man with a pool cue, Pietro adds ‘They left their mark…their legacy on this neighborhood you’re trying to “protect”…to see what has taken their place here would fill them with sadness and despair’ he snarls, before leaving the pub, bidding everyone a good day.
Quicksilver walks the streets, ‘If I were that child, where would I be?’ he wonders. He looks at a school, and tells himself it is a school he could have attended, had he come to America under different circumstances. Pietro recalls that his gypsy childhood required constant movement, and that he would have liked a real sense of community, stability, such a neighborhood would have offered. ‘There were times that -’ Pietro thinks to himself when suddenly, a voice calls out ‘There he is!’ ‘He didn’t get far!’ another exclaims. Pietro turns to see the men from the bar, armed with assorted weapons, the barman exclaims ‘When we’re done - he won’t be going much of anywhere!’ Quicksilver looks at his opponents and tells them that the don’t know when to quit. ‘I don’t either. I feel it only air to warn you…your face no common street brawler. Men call me Quicksilver. I am an Avenger’ Pietro announces.
Suddenly, the men look shocked and turn and flee, dropping their weapons. ‘Just put the club down slowly. Put it down and get away!’ one of them exclaims. ‘That was easy. I revealed my status as an Avenger and suddenly they -’ Pietro thinks to himself, before realizing that it is not he they are reacting to, but those behind him - the young man he tried to rescue, another male and a female. ‘Buncha blowhards!’ one of them exclaims. ‘Yeah! They talk big about taking us down…but nobody beats us!’ the young man declares as he leaps into action, brilliant light surrounding him as he attacks the barman. ‘Nobody can match the power of the Circle of Pavane!’ the young man boasts as he grabs one of his attackers by their wrist and releases a surge of energy.
The other young man, slightly bulky in stature, barges through the attackers and calls his friend Ampere, while pointing out that his electrical powers took care of most of them. ‘There’s only about a dozen lefty! Won’t take me long to mop up the rest!’ he exclaims. ‘The Circle of Pavane? What kind of group is that?’ Quicksilver enquires. The female replies that it isn’t a group and tells Quicksilver that if he wants his questions answered, to follow her, while Brawler dispatches the rest of their attackers. The girl takes Quicksilver to a building that resembles a Transian opera house, and Pietro remembers the native plays and orchestras he heard emanate from there as a youth. ‘Had I family here, family who would have accepted me, this place might have been a center around which a different life would have grown’ he tells himself, while deciding that now the opera house stands in disrepair, just like his life.
‘You are brooding. Don’t. Pavane would not want you to linger’ the girl tells Quicksilver, when suddenly, a man in a black costume appears before them: ‘Pietro Maximoff?! You! The man I have made a life-long enemy! You have returned!’ he announces. ‘Who are you that you should be my enemy? I never met you!’ Quicksilver exclaims. ‘Don’t be coy!’ Pavane replies, while turning to the girl and calling her Wanda, Pavane announces that she saw Quicksilver as son as he came here, that she sees everything. ‘Of course she must wear those glasses, or it would otherwise be difficult for her not to see everything!’ Pavane points out as Wanda removes her glasses, revealing strange eyes. Pavane tells Quicksilver to think back, informing him that they spent time at the same school in Transia. ‘The memory may seem mercifully distant to you now, but for me, those days still ring very clear!’
Pietro and Wanda, brother and sister, were always so close. Pavane tried to meet Wanda, but wherever he approached her, Pietro would always pull her away. Why did Pavane deserve this? He was smitten with Wanda, would have protected her as jealously as Pietro did. Still, time after time, he was rebuffed, his friendship refused, so it fell to Pavane to take matters in his own hands. On one such occasion, he used his talent to set alight the rowboat that Wanda and Pietro had taken out onto a river. The twins were thrown into the water, and Pavane, on the riverbank, Pavane called out ‘I’ll save you, Wanda’ as he leapt into the water - only to find the twins emerging from the water unharmed. ‘We don’t need you. We don’t need anybody!’ Pietro exclaimed.
Pavane tells Quicksilver that he had hoped he would be grateful, but again, Quicksilver pulled Wanda from him, father than before. ‘You regarded me as an intruder, many years later, I at last knew why…it’s because you were bent on coming to America to become successful, Pietro Maximoff! And you resent any other mutants from your country reminding you of your past!’ Pavane exclaims. Confirming that he is a mutant, he declares ‘You took Wanda from me because you suspected as much. Didn’t want me to ride your coat-tails!’ ‘But you will pay for ignoring me…leaving me to the superstitious and prejudiced motherland!’ ‘You’re crazy!’ Quicksilver exclaims, while asking Pavane if he hasn’t realized, hasn’t understood that they have more in common than he thinks.
Quicksilver continues, announcing that he and his sister fought their own battles against prejudice in both Transia and America, that is what made them so insular. ‘Didn’t your precious “little Wanda” see what I just underwent at the local pub? And what I did in retaliation?’ Quicksilver asks. ‘Or was she too busy running to report my presence to you?’ he adds. Pavane tells Quicksilver to have a care when speaking about his children, and points out that they surround him even now, as Ampere and Brawler return. Pavane tells Quicksilver that he followed him to America, but he still could not afford to leave this benighted section, so he settled down and wed, only his wife fell victim to the hatred and bigotry of his “neighbors” only weeks ago. ‘But she left me these beautiful children of whom I am justly proud!’ Pavane declares, as Ampere moves forward and attacks Quicksilver with his light powers. Pavane confirms that Ampere inherited those powers from him, as the floorboards give away around Quicksilver, and he falls into them.
‘As he grows older, it rivals - no, surpasses - my own!’ Pavane boasts, referring to his son’s power. Puetro finds himself stuck in the broken floorboards, while Pavane turns to his other son, Brawler, who is standing up on a ledge nearby. ‘His strength is prodigious, as you’ll witness’ Pavane remarks. Brawler tears some mechanical instruments apart with ease. ‘Impressive, isn’t he?’ Pavane exclaims, while Brawler jumps down to stand over Quicksilver, as Pavane announces that now Pietro is helpless, he and his first-born, Ampere, will combine their lightning powers to turn the operate house into a tinderbox, and the resultant blaze will level this miserable neighborhood. ‘You will be stuck inside, and we will be long gone’ Pavane adds, while declaring that the locals will at last have earned the fate they so richly deserve. ‘And you will share it!’ Brawler threatens as he punches Pietro in the face, until his father tells him to stop, as he wants Quicksilver alive and conscious when the flames reach him - conscious and screaming.
Brawler tells his father not to worry, explaining that he is just using some scrap metal from the tower clock to bind his arms. ‘He’ll be helpless all right’ Brawler declares. ‘Good. He’ll reap the pain he sowed so many years ago’ Pavane states, while announcing that the time has come for this entire woebegone section to share on that harvest. Pavane asks Ampere if he is ready, and they both unleash their power, joining them tighter, they direct their energies at the opera house tower. However, tragedy strikes when they miscalculate, and the energy doesn’t just strike the wood of the tower, causing a fire, it strikes the clock, and the tower shatters.
The gears from the tower clock fall down and break apart the floorboards further, enabling Quicksilver to free himself. ‘It’s all coming down on us!’ Bralwer panics. ‘Not yet. I can still push you out of the path of the debris’ Quicksilver tells him, while little Wanda exclaims that they will be trapped inside and killed. Brawler declares that only one guy can help them now, and he best set him free. He then removes the metal bonds from Quicksilver. ‘The first sound judgment you’ve made’ Pietro tells the young man. ‘That means there’ hope for you yet!’ Quicksilver adds as he starts to race through the building as fast as he can, creating a strong enough wind to extinguish the blaze.
‘He’s done it! Nothing but the smell of smoke and -’ Ampere begins, when suddenly, part of the building begins to collapse. ‘Get away from there!’ Pavane calls out to his son - however, it’s too late, as some debris collapses on Ampere. ‘My son! The inheritor of my power! He’s dead…and it’s all my fault!’ Pavane gasps. Quicksilver goes over to Ampere and announces that he is not dead, and they can save him. ‘But I am weak from the battle…and woozy. I can barely see’ Quicksilver announces, turning t little Wanda, he tells her that he needs her to be his guide. She takes his hand and climbs onto Quicksilver’s back while Quicksilver tells her that she must be responsible for her brother once he takes him to the hospital, and with that, Quicksilver speeds away, little Wanda on his back, and Ampere in his arms.
Later, ‘Where is he, nurse? Where is my son?’ Pavane calls out as he and Brawler arrive. ‘Tell me he is going to be all right!’ Pavane exclaims as they gather beside little Wanda, around Ampere’s bed. The nurse tells Pavane that they aren’t sure, but that if he does, then a great debt is owed to the man who brought him in. Quicksilver appears and tells Pavane that the debt could be easily repaid. ‘Before you do any further damage, understand that your family accepted me before you did. Understand what your hatred of me has wrought. I am a mutant like you, after all. Closer in spirit no matter the divergent paths our lives have taken’.
Quicksilver continues, remarking that he doubts it would have mattered much if he were famous or unknown, as Pavane has experienced hatred firsthand from people who hate mutantkind. ‘Yet you chose to pass on your own petty hatreds to your children. You were breeding a legacy of hatred, passing it on to the innocent. This, I find unforgivable’. Pavane listens intently, while Pietro thinks to himself that even as he says these words, passing judgment on him, he considers his own insularity and bitterness that kept him away from people as a young man. ’We didn’t feel comfortable with others…in society…perhaps the strain of self-hate that rungs through mutantkind is the most crippling of all’.