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Behind the Throne

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Scarlet Phoenix". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The X-Men have a White Queen… and behind that White Queen is a formidable power.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Marvel Universe > X-Men > Tara-Centered(Moderator)JoeHundredaireFR1534,81913211,47918 Nov 1028 Jan 12No

Card Shark (Tara/Wanda Maximoff)

Title: Card Shark
Author: JoeHundredaire (joehundredaire@tthfanfic.org)
Rating: PG-13/FR15
Disclaimer: Right, I actually went and checked to be sure this time… Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel: the Series, and all associated characters belong to Fran and Kaz Kuzui. With a myriad of writers, artists, and editors, actual rights are a nightmare when you go near a comic book universe. Suffice it to say that Marvel Entertainment LLC owns all of the property printed in their comics, along with the television and movie adaptations of said same property. Not mine, don't sue, and so forth and so on.
Summary: Tara Maclay-Frost versus Wanda Maximoff. This poker table's only big enough for one cheating, manipulative little witch…
Joe's Note: People either missed the reference entirely or got it and wanted to see how it came to pass. So I decided to do up a story to show off Wanda and Tara's infamous encounter.



     "Call."

     Looking from the two cards in her hand to the trio of diamonds among the community cards, Tara Maclay-Frost did her best to keep her face expressionless. Statistically speaking - at least according to one of her teammates; she'd never researched the matter personally - there were three hands out of the possible two and a half million combinations in poker that could tie hers, none that could beat it, and two million, five hundred and ninety-eight thousand, nine hundred and fifty-seven hands that hers beat. What were the odds that either of her opponents had one of those three? Then again, given the company… maybe she was jinxing herself by thinking that. "Well?"

     Felicia Hardy looked both ways before laying the ten of spades and the ten of clubs on the table. "With the ten of diamonds there, I've got three of a kind… which would normally be enough to send me home happy but for some reason, I've got a feeling that I'm going to be mailing out a box of magical trinkets tomorrow."

     Attention turned to a rather smug-looking Wanda Maximoff who placed the king of hearts and the king of spades on the table in front of her. "Two kings here, plus the king of diamonds and the king of clubs. Four of a kind. Felicia, if you don't have time to drop them off in person, be sure to pack them well and use FedEx or UPS. Our postman has this irritating habit of making sure that my fragiles arrive broken." She shook her head. "You blow up half a man's truck and he hates you forever…"

     Both women looked over at Tara for a moment and then Felicia blinked, turning her gaze back to Wanda. "…do I even want to know how you managed that one?"

     "Eh, one of our regular villains, an ill-timed mail delivery, I missed with a hex bolt… there was this thing. Mail everywhere. He's been holding it against me for something like three years now."

     "Ah." Curiosity satisfied, Felicia tapped one claw against the bare space in front of Tara. "Don't think we've forgotten about you, Sabrina. Cards down." Nibbling on her lower lip, Tara did her best to look nervous as she nodded slowly and then lowered her cards to rest on the table. "Holy shit."

     Leaning forward and presenting Tara with a very nice view down the front of the red leather costume that the mutant wouldn't be wearing for much longer, Wanda's eyes bugged out as she caught sight of Tara's hand and processed what it meant when combined with the five community cards. "Inconceivable."

     Tara grinned as she ran the tip of her finger over one of the cards. "I guess I just have a talent for finding the queen of diamonds. Queen and ace of diamonds, along with the king, jack, and ten of the same? That's one of those 'royal flushes' you were telling me about, right?"

     There was a moment of silence and then Felicia began laughing loudly. "Well that'll teach me to believe that Emma Frost's wife would be 'fresh meat' for our poker games." She paused before letting out a snort. "Actually, that'll teach me to believe anything Emma says. Ever."

     Wanda continued to sit there, staring at Tara's cards. "Inconceivable."

     "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Tara giggled at the look Wanda gave her for that one. "Seriously, though, it's possible to get my hand. Really. I think Hank said something it being a 0.0000385% chance, but the chance exists. I guess I was just that lucky."

     Shaking her head, Wanda pointed to the deck of cards sitting in front of Janet van Dyne. Or was it Pym this week? Tara couldn't remember and the founding Avenger had simply introduced herself as 'Janet'. "You don't get it. I used my powers to make sure I would get the best cards for our 'special hand'. Because as much as I wanted those magical artifacts from Felicia and clothes from you and Emma, I wasn't going to give up my codename and costume for them. I've been the Scarlet Witch since all the way back when I was one of the first members of the Brotherhood. It's literally impossible that you got that hand."

     Tara met Felicia's amused green eyes and nodded in Wanda's direction. "Since she just admitted to cheating her butt off, want to just declare us co-winners? You keep the box of magical things until I get another chance to win them off you, I get Wanda's bet, and Emma and I will take you around town for a day of fun on our plastic?" After a moment's consideration, Felicia gave a shrug and a rather confused-looking nod. Tara couldn't blame her; she was getting out of her end of the bet and receiving something in return? When she'd lost? What was Tara getting out of that? Holding out her left arm, Tara tugged out on the sleeve of her white peasant blouse and let a pile of playing cards tumble out onto the table in front of her. "When you learn poker from a century old vampire and his demon buddies, and hone your skills with Remy LeBeau? The first thing you learn is that it doesn't matter what cards you're actually dealt."

     "Oh, and you might want to pick through the deck before you use it again. Having five queens of diamonds will probably mess up most games."



     "You do realize that as soon as you leave, I'm going to take you off the mansion's list of people that the automated defenses don't shoot on sight, right?"

     Pouting, Tara laid on Wanda's bed as she watched the buxom Romani pack up every last one of her costumes. Not that Tara expected them to fit her, but providing Emma's people with those as the basis of Tara's future costume instead of drawings or pictures would speed things up immensely. And it wasn't like Wanda needed them anymore anyways. After all, she wasn't the Scarlet Witch anymore. "Oh come on, Wanda. It's not that bad. You've been the Scarlet Witch forever. It's time for a little change. Suck it up and stop being so Janet and be more Hank."

     Wanda looked back over her shoulder, quirking an eyebrow at that. "I should be moody and slap women?"

     "Well, the moody thing is up to you. As for slapping women… only if they like it and you've agreed on a safeword first." Back before meeting Emma, even thinking something like that - forget saying it - would have had her blushing as red as Wanda's costumes. Now? Her wife had picked up some… interesting… fetishes while a member of the Hellfire Club and Tara had been surprised to discover she shared some of them. Which reminded her, she needed to hop online when they got back to the mansion and see if Forge was any closer to finishing that telepathic inhibitor for her. The ball gag kept Emma from drawing unwanted attention the traditional way during their sessions, but Emma had this annoying habit of slipping and broadcasting when she was aroused out of her mind. Shaking her mind, Tara focused her attention back on Wanda. "I'm just saying, in the time you've been here? Hank has been… what, Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, and now Yellowjacket? You've been Scarlet Witch, Scarlet Witch, and Scarlet Witch. Oh, and Scarlet Witch."

     Sighing, Wanda lowered the last of her costumes into the bag she was sending with Tara before frowning and marching over to her closet, opening it to reveal rows of matching red boots that she began to toss in the witch's general direction. "If you must know, I've kept the name and the costume because my father gave them to me. I know he's not a good man and having been in the Brotherhood isn't something to be proud of… but it's all I have of him. Well, other than Pietro. And Lorna. And Luna through Pietro. And Cr… okay, you know what I mean, right?"

     Oh, Tara knew alright. It's why she was a witch. Granted her mother was a far better person than Magneto, but the sentiment was there. She continued on the path her mother had started her down because thanks to her father, it was one of the only things she had left of Rebecca Maclay. "Yeah. I definitely understand what you mean. But Wanda?" The mutant looked up from where she was evaluating a red latex boot with a thick sole. "I'm not giving back the name or costume."

     "Damn. I knew I should have gone with something even sappier."
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