Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Quicksilver & The Scarlet Witch

A look at this sibling super team during their early days in the Avengers

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By Tim Stevens

The following is an excerpted transcript of a family therapy session between The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff), Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and therapist Tim Stevens.

QUICKSILVER (annoyed): …the sort of arrogance you must have to think you can help us!

TIM STEVENS: Again, I understand and appreciate your frustration, Pietro. However, all Avengers have at least one session with me. And given how the public has received you, I thought it might be helpful to you both. It is hard to be the newest Avengers, given the popularity of the team you are replacing. Also, with all the discrimination against mutants in today’s society, I imagine the transition to public hero has been difficult.

QS: Oh, you imagine do you? You think you have some understanding of what it is like to be us? Some appreciation? Yes, I imagine life in your office occasionally dealing with insurance companies must be a very similar experience.

TS: Well, they can be a bit bearish, I admit. But no, that is not what I saying. Only you know what it is like to be you. I am just here to listen and offer some observations, if you’ll permit me.

QS: No, no I don’t think I shall perm—

SCARLET WITCH (cutting him off): Please, Pietro! Captain America sent us here, so we should at least attempt to do this. Also, it is not as though he’s wrong, is it? I, for one, have not been enjoying our recent…raised profile.

Quicksilver says nothing, but does not object either. He sighs heavily and continues to pace.

TS: Okay then. Fine. Thank you Wanda. Now, please, tell me what it is like for you these days. You’ve said you have not enjoyed it—what have you found difficult?

SW: As you mentioned, the earlier members—Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Giant Man—are nearly sainted figures in the media. I don’t remember them being so popular before they stepped down, but they are now. The mansion is getting negative letters about us all the time, calling us all manner of names. I have not seen any death threats, but…

Long pause

TS: Please, continue.

SW (visibly composing herself): Well, I overheard Captain America talking to someone about a note they had intercepted and…it didn’t sound good.

QS (losing it again): What?! Someone threatened you?! This is unacceptable!

SW: They threatened you as well, brother, at least it sounded that way from what I heard.

QS (arrogant and stunned): The gall...

TS: You seem surprised, Pietro. Tell me what’s going on for you.

QS: Not surprised, no. People have always been threatened by us, by my sister and my abilities. Perhaps Magneto has some merits to him after all.

TS: The mutant terrorist?

SW: Yes, we…worked with him for a time. But he’s gone now.

QS: And we did so out of obligation. We are Maximoffs and we honor our commitments.

TS: I am not questioning that. We have all done things that felt right at the time that we realize in retrospect we would have preferred not to. If you tell me that you are done with that part of your life, I trust that that is true.

Quicksilver is aching for a fight still but seeing nothing to object to can only sarcastically huff and returning to pacing.

TS: Now, Wanda, how has this scrutiny, the letters, these sorts of things been affecting you?

SW: I’m certainly upset by it.

TS: Any increased anxiety, loss of sleep, appetite, anything like this?

SW: Some, I suppose. Mostly I’m just…disappointed. When Iron Man reached out to us, I was sure this was a fresh start. People are so unforgiving though, it seems.

TS: How have you noticed it affecting your brother?

QS: I’m right here!

TS: Yes, I know, but I am curious what your sister has observed that you might even be aware of. Or that you might not want to admit too.

SW: Well…I think he feels it too. He may not be as open about his hope as I was, but I really think he thought he was going to be a hero right away. Now that he isn’t, he’s gotten even more protective of me. He always has looked out for me, but now…Hawkeye talks to me for five minutes and Pietro is glaring at him and then warning him to stay away from me.

TS: Oh… I see.

QS: Do you? Is it interesting to you, then? Would you like to intimate that my sister and I are somehow “involved?” Your American tabloids certainly love that topic!

TS: Actually, no, I was not going to imply that, Pietro. I can certainly tell the difference between an enmeshed relationship, which you two appear to have, and an incestuous one, which never occurred to me.

SW: Enmeshed.

QS: This man is an idiot.

TS: Yes, enmeshed. Given your lives, it is not entirely surprising. You have predominantly only each other to count on. I know you were raised by a caregiver…a cow according to my staff…my apologies for their poor note-taking. In any case, you had this initial caregiver, and then were adopted, but these parents were killed. So you relied really only on one another. And it was helpful then. Now, you should be individuating but you are too bound to one another. You, in particular, Wanda, seem to wish to be independent but, if I may, worry that to do so would hurt your brother.

SW: I…it is certainly a concern. He just seems so…dependent on me.

QS (stops pacing, sounds hurt): Wanda?

SW: Not weak, just…lost. Like if I’m not there to look out for, what is going to do with his life?

TS: Pietro, does that sound right to you?

QS: Does it matter? You are the specialist, why don’t you tell me?

TS: Would you sit down for me, so we could talk?

QS: Oh, I’m sorry, is this distracting? Is it making it hard for you to work your magic on me? Too bad, I may have to be here, but I won’t sit.

TS: That is your choice, of course…

QS: Yes, it is. Now tell me about me, sir!

TS (long sigh): Fine. My impression is this: Wanda is right. You have protected her so long you don’t know what else you are beyond that. Truthfully, you worry that, besides her, no one can like you or connect to you. Everyone seems like they are moving in molasses around you and it is frustrating. To slow down to “be with them” is frightening because you have no idea how to relate to most people. Also, you associate slow with vulnerable so to move with people is to endanger yourself.

Quicksilver says nothing.

TS (continuing): This whole situation with the Avengers has only confirmed that for you. You stopped moving, found a place to live, and now everyone hates you, talks badly about you, threatens you. Does any of this seem accurate?

QS (stands stock still for a moment, glances at the clock): Looks like our time is up. You should be faster next time.

He leaves the room without further comment, Scarlet Witch apologizing and following after him.

Further information regarding the siblings early times with the Avengers can be found in Doctors Sean McKeever and Mirco Pierfederici’s seminal volume on the time, AVENGERS ORIGINS: QUICKSILVER AND SCARLET WITCH #1, available on November 23.  

Tim Stevens, MA is a Psy D candidate and practicum trainee at a community mental health center.

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