1964-10-16 - What the Eye Beheld
Summary: Cypher and Quicksilver foil an attempt to incite a riot in Mutant Town.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
douglas pietro-maximoff 

Mutant Town. There's a protest underway… because a Mutant got roughed up by the NYPD.


So far, it's been peaceful, but the police are getting nervous. And it only takes one discharge of a power for these things to turn ugly.

Doug Ramsey is watching the protest from the sidelines. Nobody's going to single *him* out during a protest, given that he's what the Mutant Towners call a Smoothskin — he can pass for Homo Sapiens, but he's wearing his Xavier's School sweatshirt, which identifies him to those In The Know. At the moment, he's got a journal out, and he's taking notes on the protest, and making rough sketches.

Pietro Maximoff observes from nearby himself, his arms crossed over his chest. He can largely pass for human, although his snow-white hair certain stands out from average, slicked back but for a few errant locks that spill across his forehead. His prominent brow furrows as he looks over the local cops, more keeping an eye on them.

The rhetoric doesn't particularly inspire him, but he's always preferred action to words. He has fought against oppression, of one kind or another, his whole life. These police seem almost civil by comparison. Which doesn't mean he won't break their teeth if he's given no choice.

Pietro takes note of the young man taking notes - and the insignia he wears - but says nothing. He's aware of the Institute, although he doesn't have any ties there himself. He leaves diplomacy to his sister.

Then Doug looks up, and he frowns. Something seems to have gotten his attention, in an almost birdlike way. Nothing untoward is occuring yet, but after a time, the young man picks his way to Pietro. "Hello. Hey." He actually has the temerity to reach out to tug the man's sleeve—

"Somebody is going to fire into the crowd. I'm not sure exactly where they are, but if they do, they'll start a riot."

He scans the onlookers again. "I can see the subtle disturbance in the crowds."

Pietro Maximoff finds himself intrigued by this particular capability, immediately seeing its utility if accurately deployed. He's a strategist after all, and the analystical strength to dissect and discern sudden or hidden movements within an enemy formation would be quite impressive indeed. He wished he'd had such an observer with him on some of the missions they ran against some of the Soviet pogroms.

"Can you give me a region at all?" he says, shelving such questions for later. He literally thinks faster than others, allowing him to absorb, consider and overcome his hesitation, preparing instead to act.

Doug strokes his chin. "The language of the crowd… there." He points. "You have less than forty-five seconds until they fire."

Indeed, in the crowd, a young woman is pulling a small revolver out of her purse. Actually he has less than twenty seconds, since she's not looking for a target — she just intends to empty her pistol into the Mutant protesters.

Pietro Maximoff manages a half-smirk, "Practically infinity," he says. And then he moves faster than the eye can see, flicking in between people. He's not precisely polite about it, creating a ripple as he moves, going to and fro until he finally finds the girl reaching into her purse.

He seizes her wrist before it even clears, suddenly appearing in front of her, his hyperfast hand twisting her wrist perhaps a little more savagely than he needs.

"I would hurt you more if you'd fired this," he says, staring directly into her face.

She gasps, and cries out, the pistol clattering to the pavement, which causes people on either side of her to recoil. "She's got a gun!" Somebody says.

"Mutant scum!" She breathes, "You're a demon clothed in flesh! A minion of satan incarnate on the Earth—"

The police arrive in short order, to make the arrest. One of them goes through her purse, and he takes out a black pamphlet with a white cross on it, titled 'Enemies of God'. "Another one of these wackos. As if the Muties weren't bad enough—"

Pietro Maximoff shakes his head in disgust, stepping away from the crowd quickly. He may believe in the solidarity of the people, but he's not particularly keen on touching most of them. Or smelling them.

He nods to the young man, "Useful skill you have there," he says. "Now we need someone who can rewrite her brain. Or at least make mine feel clean after dealing with her," he says.

Doug looks down, and says, "It was a change in the way the crowd was moving. I see, I interpret, and I understand. It's all information… you just have to know how to speak the language." He offers a hand, a sturdy grip. "Doug Ramsey, Xavier Institute class of 1960. You're Quicksilver, right?"

"It's nice to meet you." He seems genuine when he says that. "The protest is dying down, at least for now. Would you like to get something to eat? My treat." Brave man, offering to feed Quicksilver…

Pietro Maximoff takes the hand, squeezing firmly as he shakes. He seems surprised, but perhaps shouldn't be. He's never particularly cared about his public profile. "Likewise," he says. "I've heard good things about the school," he says. There's a spark of amusement in his eyes as he nods to the invitation.

"Be careful, I have something of an appetite after I exert myself," he says. "I'm sure we can find somewhere around here that's…tolerable," he says. "I like to frequent mutant owned business, but they aren't often trained at the Sorbonne."

"I know a place." Doug says. Follow me.

The restaurant he finds is a hole in the wall run by a Mutant immigrant from Vietnam. None of the offerings on the menu are in English. When Doug talks to the waitress, he speaks to her in flawless Vietnamese. He flicks his gaze up to Pietro, and says, "Today's special is a fish curry. But it's very spicy. The soup of the day is Bun bo Hue noodle soup… also spicy. And I recommend the salad rolls. Freshest in New York."

Pietro Maximoff takes a seat carefully. He's wearing a high-necked sweater and dark trousers. Only his shoes seem a bit out of the ordinary, well-treaded running shoes he goes through a bit more quickly than anyone else.

"I have no aversion to spicy," he smiles. "I'll have whatever's good. I'm fairly well-travelled, but Vietnam isn't an area I've visited. I spent some time in Tibet, however, which was interesting."

Doug orders the soup for himself, and two orders of the salad rolls. For Pietro he orders the curry, and the soup, and the salad rolls.

"You've got a really subtle accent," He says. "English isn't your first language."

He switches to Romani, which is flawless, as if he's been speaking it all his life, while he eats. "After I graduated from the Institute, I traveled across Europe for awhile. I didn't spend long behind the Iron Curtain, though. Unhappy times. Czechoslovakia was beautiful, though." He looks up. "Your dialect of Romani… Transnian Roma? Wundagore region?"

Pietro Maximoff looks both surprised and wary, sitting back in his seat. He answers in the same tongue, "It has been a long time since I've heard my mother language, other than from my twin sister," he says. "Yes, although we were taken at a young age, still, and put into the camps. Things for us were…complex to say the least," he says.

"I wouldn't be surprised if my accent's muddled. Transia, Germany, Poland, Russia, Tibet, China. For the last few years, I've travelled back and forth between America and Europe," he says. It's quite a travelogue for the handsome young man, still in his early twenties, "Very little of the travel, unfortunately, was for pleasure. We were often too busy running for our lives to take in the sights."

Doug adjusts his glasses, and says "It's not easy for Roma, in Europe. Doubly so if you're a Mutant. The American government has a terrible track record with Mutants… the European dictatorships, worse." He agrees, and then he says, "And we're comparatively lucky; we can pass for Homo Sapiens." He clears his throat. "Ah. Sorry, I jumped ahead a bit."

"And your accent's still very clear, actually. Though most people wouldn't notice it; your English is perfect."

Pietro Maximoff smiles, "I worked very hard to make it be so," he says, once again in English. "And yes, most of the world's governments have gone out of their way to try to punish, control and limit our kind. They are afraid. Perhaps they should be," he says. "If they aren't yet, some of us will probably, in time, make sure that they are. Especially if they continue along such a path," he says.

He takes his food and forces himself to eat carefully, an act which requires genuine concentration for him. Wolfing his food is impolite, after all. "I do not mean to disturb you with my militancy on the subject. I know your Professor preaches a more tolerant gospel," he says. "Perhaps because I have seen too many boots on too many necks, I do not have his optimism."

Doug is quiet. "I don't share your view," He says, "But I understand it." He pours tea for them both, and says, "I can see you're restraining yourself. Please, don't hold back on my account. If you're still hungry, I'll order you something else."

Then his brows draw down, and he says "I believe… that there are people in this worldon both sidesdetermined to make sure communication fails, that violence is the only outcome. Those are the people I stand against. As long as they can be stopped from silencing others, I believe there is always a chance for peace, even if we have to start all over again tomorrow."

Pietro Maximoff orders another round of food, "I insist on contributing, however," he says. He holds up a finger for a moment and dashes off, returning with a bottle of wine and a pair of glasses, pouring some red for himself and willing to do the same for Douglas.

"I prefer peace, absolutely. I simply have no faith in it. And I do not think it is peace if we are kept in chains or exterminated. I am no Christian. I will not turn my cheek if I am struck. I will strike back. My sister is a witch and there is a principle, in some forms of magic, called the Threefold Law. Those that do harm will have it returned upon them, three times as strong," he says.

"For those who do harm to mutantkind, I have no aversion to introducing them to this principle."

Doug says, "Please." and then he sniffs the wine, and raises his eyebrows, appreciatively, before he gives it a swirl and takes a taste. "I was raised Latter-Day Saints, actually… but I guess I never really was a believer. Besides, once I tasted the coffee in Vienna, that was it for me." He looks up at Pietro, and says, "My own mutation doesn't exactly lead me to consider violence as a first response."

"I'm acquainted with a sorceress, myself. I'm familiar with the idea of karmic backlash. Karmic backlash is what you get when you hit a sorceress in the back of the head with a snowball." He raises his wine. "Salut." Then he says, "…That's who you remind me of."

He looks up at Pietro, his own blue eyes curious, scrutinizing. "It's frustrating, isn't it? Seeing what people should be doing and having to wait for them to catch up with you. Every word you say is underlaid with frustration… but it's understandable. I feel that way sometimes, and I only experience the world at normal speed."

Pietro Maximoff raises an eyebrow, "You truly do have the gift of perception. That's your power, right? Seeing the world more clearly than others. You mentioned patterns. I can see such things, sometimes, in a way, because the world moves so slowly for me. If you spend enough time watching the gears turn, you get a sense for how the machine works," he says.

"But yes, I am more capable of violence than some other mutants. Perhaps it's why I feel almost a…responsibility to do so, if it's required. Because I've seen too many who can't stand up for themselves, for whom mutation has been a burden, has made them a target, for nothing more than the nature of their birth. All people are different - I am not like other people, in many ways beyond my simple mutation, although my mutation is the source of much of it. But not all," he shrugs.

"I have worked hard to learn patience. My sister has helped. And finding a purpose," he says.

Doug spoons a mouthful of his soup. "I tend to think of myself as an Omnilinguist. That's how my powers first manifested, when I was a teenager; the ability to understand, and communicate in any language with perfect fluency, even if I'd never heard that language before in my life. Written and spoken. But really, my power is pattern recognition, response, and adaptation. At least that's how Moira MacTaggart and Dr. Rao describe it."

"I can tell that your intentions are good." Doug says, "You radiate it, alongside your frustration." He laughs. "I like you, Pietro. I don't really have a good explanation for that — I just do. I think maybe it's the fact that though you try to hide it by acting lofty, you're *mad* curious about everything around you." He hides his grin behind his wineglass. "Me too."

Pietro Maximoff raises an eyebrow, "Well, curiosity is often a side effect of boredom," he says. "I am often bored, sometimes terminally so. But I have no craving to death and, if I am to live, I might as well be interested," he says.

He considers his words for a moment, "I do not know if I like you yet. I do not like many people and none on first acquaintance," he says. "But so far…you have not bored me. And that is certainly a mark in your favor," he says, taking a sip of his own wine.

"As for 'acting lofty', I largely educated myself. The literature at hand was usually Victorian or Edwardian in period. I learned how to be a man from Byron and Austen and Dickens and Goethe," he says. "Perhaps that makes me outdated. I can live with that."

"I love Charles Dickens." Doug says.

"We had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." The corner of his mouth curves up. "That's an entire paragraph where he beautifully says… nothing. Only a truly gifted writer can do that."

Then he tries to stifle a laugh. And fails, giggling into his napkin.

Pietro Maximoff smiles, "Sometimes nothing, beautifully said, is better than everything said crudely," he says. "I enjoy America in many ways, but they don't seem to have much in the way of elegance," he says. "Elegance and grace and precision, to me, are the only reasons worth slowing down. Cultivating those qualities helped me tolerate the world and keep from going mad," he says.

He finishes his rolls and can't help but let a little of that laugh infect him, covering his mouth as he smiles, "You're very mirthful, for a linguist," he says.

Doug says, "Oh. Well, going to school at Xavier's, it was either terror or laughter. Or sometimes both." He clears his throat, and says "I think you should visit the school more often, Pietro. It's nice to have friends, and, well… everyone there *is* a Mutant." Then he tips back his wine glass, and closes his eyes. "This is good."

Then he rests his chin in his hand. "But really, what's not to laugh at? In my class, I had a guy who could fly and was invulnerable, someone with solar-powered super strength, a psychic, a therianthrope, a sorceress who *rules a corner of hell*, and me, whose super-power is speaking *Spanish*."

He puts a hand over his eyes. "Really Pietro, sometimes you either laugh, or you cry."

Pietro Maximoff takes a long sip of his own wine, "Sounds like a…lot of people, mutant or not mutants. I believe in helping mutantkind as a matter of principle. I would generally rather do it with a relative minimum of socialization," he says. "Present company excluded," he adds.

"And, given that my sister is currently enamored with the most powerful sorceror on Earth, who holds some sort of pivotal position in the balance of space and time - or, at least, so he claims - I know all too well what it's like to be surrounded by wonders," he says. "I imagine, in fact, that it's quite difficult for someone like you, whose power is all subtlety and nuance, to stand shoulder to shoulder with such powers."

Doug is quiet. "I sometimes think maybe my power isn't being properly applied, where I am. But at the same time…" He rests his chin in his hand, "If you don't stand with your family, where do you stand? I believe in Charles Xavier, and I believe in the X-Men. I believe in the cause."

And then he gives a small smile. "I can't not. And if I feel useless… well, they don't agree. Even if they do sometimes try to bench me for my own safety. But, I say, nuts to that."

Pietro Maximoff smiles, "Nuts, indeed," he says. He pours another glass of wine, knowing his metabolism will likely burn it fast. He's not immune, but he has to indulge in volume.

"Well, I've already seen the utility of your ability. You saved lives today. I may have been the weapon, but it was you who guided me," he says.

"As for where I stand - I stand with my twin sister, Wanda. I stand with the principles I have fought for my entire life: freedom from oppression, dignity, compassion. Even if I don't always feel the latter in particular. I do not, in general, believe in individual people, however. They have a habit of falling short of ideals."

"It's just because we're all human." Doug says. "So to speak." He looks at the empty wineglass. "When I was a student, we went to a party, sort of a school function. There was a party… cards. And a girl. I was having a good time… I had way too much to drink." He turns the wine glass this way and that. "My friends showed up, there was an argument. I don't remember exactly what was said… but I lost my temper, and I hit her. I was drunk—I wasn't in my right mind."

"But every time I think about it I feel this sick sense of *shame*. You know? I don't like to talk about it. But… you carry your mistakes with you, like stones around your neck." He shrugs.

"In Europe, I met an extraterrestrial. He is… one of the kindest *people* I have ever met. Just the thought of hurting another sentient being upsets him. And boy, could he ever, if he felt like it. And he looks at me like I'm the *Buddha.* I'm going to let him down… I just know it. But…"

Pietro Maximoff allows a thin smile, "You cannot carry guilt in that way. As you said, we all make mistakes. But shame, guilt, they are…useless emotions. They are the equivalent of the medieval monks, flagellating themselves in obeisance to a god who'll never hear them," he sighs. "There can be satisfaction in the pain, at times, even a seduction to it. But, in the end, the pain is its own purpose, feeding itself for no gain," he says.

"As for your extraterrestrial friend…well, a Buddhist would no doubt tell you that you cannot take his expectations onto yourself. You can only be who you are. Or some such nonsense. I found meditation a useful practice, to master my abilities, but could only bear so much of the related philosophy. Bodhi trees can only be metaphors for so many things, I've found."

"Actually I do meditate. And I do yoga. Sometimes… my powers… there's too much. I take too much in, and it causes problems. I start suffering attention deficit issues, or if it's persistent enough, I start to dissasociate. It happened while I was in Europe. It's one of the reasons I went to talk to Dr. Kavita Rao. She's a geneticist like Hank McCoy and Moira MacTaggart, but she also works to study and try to arrange treatment for the physical and mental… side-effects of Mutancy."

He sits back, and rolls his shoulders.

"She said that there were medications I could try, since she wasn't sure HOW they would react with what she called a hypercognitive brain, she prescribed meditation, yoga… and suggested marijuana, if I have a day where I get really overwhelmed. Not that she could prescribe it."

"But it really does help. At least, it helps me. I only have days where I really feel like I need it once or twice a month."

Pietro Maximoff smiles, "I've indulged opium, on an occasion, to slow my perceptions. It works, to a degree, although not for the length of time it would for an ordinary human," he says. "I can see the seduction of it. Chasing the dragon, as they say," he says.

"I have a degree of…hypercognition myself, because my mind is conditioned to work with my body, to handle my increased speed," he says. "It definitely…created an edge."

"I admittedly have not done much in the way of consulting scientists. I had…rather bad experiences with that in my childhood. Put simply, my first doctors were German and they weren't particularly interested in my health."

Doug says, "I didn't used to have problems. But as I got older, my powers have grown. It started as just language, text and spoken. Then I started being able to read nuance into what people said, their gestures, microexpressions. I just.. understood. Then patterns of movement. I can pick up on things about a building just by studying the outside of it. What you saw today — sometimes I'll pick up that something's going to happen just because the ambient patterns of sound around me have changed, or the travel patterns of people in a city are altered. Sometimes it's—" He sighs, "Overwhelming. Suffocating."

"But it's nice to meet someone who understands some of what I'm feeling." He gives a gentle shrug of his shoulders. "And I don't blame you. I just wanted to… understand myself a bit better."

Pietro Maximoff nods, "Understanding yourself is good," he says. "I have, if anything, spent too much time at the task. I have more time to think than most, obviously, and, like most of the species, I'm obsessed with myself first and foremost. I am very good looking, though, so really, you can't entirely blame me," he says, pouring another glass of wine.

"It is unfortunate that our gifts come with side effects. Downsides. I am sure there is a mutant whose ability has been nothing but a boon and a blessing. I have not yet met them, however," he says.

Doug sits back, and says, "Well I'm no Remy LeBeau," He says, wryly, "But I've been told on good authority that I am *adorable*." He helps himself to more tea, waving off the wine for now. "And really, I'll take it adorable, if I can't get 'ruggedly handsome.'"

Then he says, "If you ever find that guy, punch him in the face for me."

Pietro Maximoff raises an eyebrow, "Have a bad experience with a Frenchman? I'm sure you wouldn't be the first," he says with amusement.

"Adorable's a term I'd reserve for a small, fluffy dog. You are not a small fluffy dog. Handsome, yes, although rugged…well, rugged can be overrated. Most people's definition of rugged, in my experience, comes down to unshaven and potentially unwashed. I could do without it."

"He's Cajun, actually, and I guess he's not such a bad guy." He wrinkles his nose. "Swear he cheated to beat at cards, though. Nevermind." Then he says, with a faint grin, "Well. I mean." He raises his teacup to his lips. "I wouldn't want to go the full Logan but maybe a little." He rubs his chin. "Beard comes in patchy, though. But I've had my moments, so I'm not complaining."

"Funny how many Mutants turn out to be good-looking, though. On both sides. I mean some aren't… but…" He thinks about this, over his tea.

Pietro Maximoff shrugs, "I suppose it might be a matter of comparison. Many of our brethren have fish faces or look like living slugs, coated with slime and pus," he says with a visible shudder. "Standing next to them, even Sid Caesar probably looks like a beauty," he says.

"Not that it much matters," he mutters. He tries to keep a bit of a bitter edge out of his voice, but doesn't entirely succeed. Living in close proximity to his sister and her domestic bliss can take a toll on him, occasionally.

Doug considers Pietro for a moment. "I imagine the side-effects of your powers complicate your dating life." He says, thoughtfully. Then he says "…Don't give up hope. And if you're not friends with someone, being in a relationship with them's not gonna work. So maybe…" he says, with a grin, "Let them see some of that curiosity. And the fact that you can be, in your own way, be a playful guy."

Pietro Maximoff smiles, "Playful," he says. "In my own way, I suppose. Not a word I've heard applied to me much," he says.

"I suppose you're right. I don't have many friends, so it doesn't have much of a chance to grow into anything more. I have always convinced myself that I want it that way, but, perhaps…I don't," he says. "I suppose I'll have to see."

Doug raises his teacup, and says, "Pietro, I'm starting to see that that statement covers pretty much all of life. I suppose I'll have to see."

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