The first thing he feels is cold; even though he can feel a heavy blanket covering his body, the cold is what gets him first. Eyes closed, he takes in the smell of disinfectant, and the lavender scent from the pillow that his head is resting on. He can’t smell food – he doesn’t even feel hungry, for that matter – and not so far away he can hear a frequent ‘beep’. Electronic, much like a hospital monitor; those you see when people need something constantly checking their pulse. He doesn’t want to wake up, and feels comfortable even though his feet are similar to blocks of ice right now, but he has to know.
When he opens his eyes - hearing voices, and people walking past - he notices he is in a hospital bed. He slowly sits up and finds he is facing two beautiful women, a blond one and a black haired one. Both have their hair pulled back and tied in buns, and a small but charming white tiara bearing a red cross on top of them. Their clothes were white too. A dress buttoned down to their knees, and the tags on their uniforms read Carol Danvers and Wanda Maximoff respectively. The Carol nurse takes a clipboard from his bed foot, serious and apparently meaning business, while the Wanda nurse makes her way to his side to help him sit up.
“How are you feeling, dear?” She asks her question with a maternal smile, brushing a strand of his hair over his right ear.
With a start, he realises he has a copper wire clipped to his index finger, leading from the monitor to a small device with gears on it, and other than that there’s nothing else on him but some sort of fabric around his body . “I’m fine, I guess. Just a little bit cold.” He’s feeling no pain, has no bandages, and seems to be the only person in the hospital wing. The other beds are all empty, and through the window he can watch the cloudy sky outside.
The Carol nurse looks up at him with a brief smile, and then looks back at the papers on the clipboard. “It’s normal. Everyone is at first. You’ll feel just fine in a few days.” She took a breath and kept talking. “Peter Benjamin Parker, right?” She doesn’t wait for an answer. “You’re fifteen years old.” She marks an ‘x’ on the paper, and mumbles something along the lines of they get younger everyday. “So,” She continues, after Wanda nurse gives her a pointed look and starts to pull his blanket away. He’s wearing one of those long nightgowns people get in hospitals, and just that. The fabric is thin and he has no socks; no wonder he’s so cold. “We have everything arranged for you. A place to stay, a job... You don’t have to worry if you can’t remember what happened, but you should be glad you’re here. If you suddenly feel nauseated and have some, you know, visions, or think you’re having weird behavior, don’t worry. It’s normal with your condition.”
“My condition?” He asks, not really sure what his condition is. The nurse named Wanda takes the device off his finger and lays a change of clothes on top of his bed.
“Yes, your condition. You’re in a hospital, Peter. You don’t have to worry anymore.”
First at Wanda and her kind smile, and the way she seems almost... Happy he’s in a hospital. Then he stares at Carol, because she’s staring back at him, and she’s really pretty. And then he looks down at the change of clothes, at the empty beds and finally, at the door. He has no idea what happened, no recollection of the previous day and really? All the nurses had told him just made him worry a little more about his “condition”.
He tugs at the clothes, and the first thing he gets is a creamy colored shirt, with black buttons and small detailed texture on the fabric. Carol and Wanda start to move away from him, probably trying to give him some privacy to get changed. He knows he should follow their orders and stay calm, and just avoid worrying about such trivial things, but he doesn’t like to stay in the dark, and before they even reach the door he finds himself calling them.
Both women turn around. Carol’s face is a little torn between annoyed and alarmed, but then she just sighed. “Yes?”
He takes a deep breath, and gathers up his courage. “What happened to me? Why am I here?”
Wanda frowns, looks at Carol (who rolls her eyes) and with a serious face answers him, “You woke up, Mr. Parker. That’s all you have to know.”
And with that, both of them leave the room.
Once out of the hospital, he’s told to wait for a car. Peter still feels cold, even though the people around him seem to be pretty comfortable with the weather. There are women in long sepia dresses walking with arms around men wearing fancy tuxedos and top hats bearing numbers and pointers and gears that turn around and tell the time. He feels a little inappropriate, in short caqui pants, with the creamy shirt with a brown vest on top, the same color of the beret on his head that covers part of his messy hair. Around his neck is a simple, rusty red scarf, the only thing keeping his upper body a little bit warm , something that his worn out combat boots aren’t doing. When the car arrives he gets inside without any questions, assuming he won’t be getting any answers from anyone there.
He’s the only person inside the car besides the driver, and with him there’s a big bag, old and looking like it’s full of something. For a moment he wonders if it’s his, if he can open it, look inside and maybe remember something, but he doesn’t. When he looks to the window behind him, he can see steam clouding up almost half of it, coming out of the pipe sticking up right below the glass. The sky is still full of clouds, and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be sun at any moment today. Up there, flying slowly, he watches the airships crossing the sky, a beautiful contrast.
The car keeps going for almost a hour, going up a hill, down another and so on, until they reach a road with trees on both sides. It leads up the way to a mansion with tall copper gates, the detail of a big golden F on each side. The gates open and the car stops at the door, where a blond young lady is waiting for them.
She’s wearing a long dark blue dress with puffed sleeves around the shoulders. It slims at her wrists, and has black lace details. From her chest up to her neck and around her chin is a transparent black fabric with buttons, and she has a big ribbon on the small of her back, keeping the dress tight against the right parts of her body. She’s also smiling, nothing like Wanda’s, but happy, almost excited to see him, and she’s probably just a couple years older. Again, he feels inappropriate when he steps out of the car. The blond woman walks down the stairs to greet him, and rests both her hands on his shoulders.
“Welcome, Peter! My name is Susan, but you can call me Sue.” She fixes a strand of hair behind her ear. “You’ll love it here, I’m pretty sure. Everyone was restless when they heard we’d be having another one today. It can be a little boring to wait here with the same people every day.”
He stands there, not sure what to do. If he should feel as excited as her. He kind of does, though; her mood is contagious, with that smile and attitude. So he nods and smiles back, not completely certain if that’s the proper reaction. “Sure! I’m anxious too.”
She laughs politely and points inside the car. “Why don’t you get your things and come with me to meet the others?”
Peter looks inside the car, to the big bag and thinks someone from the hospital gathered his belongings for him. That had to be it. The bag is not as heavy as it looks, but he guesses he shouldn’t be carrying that much straight out of the hospital. He still carries it upstairs to a bedroom Sue tells him it’s his.
“I’ll leave you to it. Tea will be served in thirty minutes or so, you should join us in the backyard. You look terribly cold.”
And with that she leaves him ‘to himself’. Out of the window he can see said backyard, where a man’s putting a long table that looks to accommodate around fifteen people. Back inside his room, he turns on the lamps and pulls the bag to his bed. There’s a wooden table on the corner, and some books on a small shelf nearby. It’s a good bedroom, and he’s already thinking how he’s going to make it look more like him and less like... whatever it does look like.
When he opens the bag, he feels a big smile forming on his face, his eyes fixed on a camera. It has a smaller lamp by a bigger one with a hollow, round piece of metal behind them, used to make the flash of the lights expand on whatever he was photographing. The lens is green, and the rest of the body is a mix of golden with silver etching, and for some reason he feels happier than he has been all day. He wants to go downstairs and take pictures of everything, and everyone, and suddenly he knows exactly what he’s going to do to make that bedroom feel more like home.
Peter keeps an eye on the window, and exactly thirty minutes later things look ready, and he hears a bell ring. He slowly stands up and heads outside. The backyard is huge, with white benches and pretty flowers blooming in the corners. The table is long, and has light blue cups neatly put, with toast and jams in all flavours laid out. Sue’s standing near a tall man with a monocle; he’s wearing a white tuxedo with a long coat with golden details, and seems to be deeply entertained by whatever she’s saying, He too is deeply entertained by their exchange. He reaches out a hand and brushes a strand of her hair back, talking gently and smiling kindly.
“They’re married. His name is Reed.” Peter doesn’t jump, but is taken aback when he turns to meet the owner of the voice. It’s a boy taller than him, wearing clothes much similar to his, except his pants are long enough and his vest is closed over his chest. He’s not wearing a beret, either.
But what makes Peter catch his breath is not the fact there’s another boy there. It’s that said boy has scars all over his face, and neck, a few on his hands. His messy blond hair doesn’t help him hide them, and his blue eyes seem a little confused. Peter realises he’s gaping.
“Oh, those?” The boy points to his face with a smirk. “No idea. Name’s Wade Wilson, call me just Wade. I heard you’re Peter, right? Sue told me and the others.”
“Oh.” It was all Peter could think to say at first. “So there are others?”
Wade nodded and pointed to the table where other boys and girls had started to sit. “And there are a few more still coming downstairs. We’ve got around nine, with you.”
Peter nods. “Nine.” He repeats. “Is this a foster home?” He asks, because maybe there’s someone his age who’s been there longer than him and knows the answer. But Wade laughs and tugs his sleeve, ushering him to sit by his side.
“No, I don’t think so.” He says. “I’ve been here long enough to tell you no one comes around to search for kids to take home and raise them. We’re not made for that. No one would like to have a kid that can’t grow old, right?” Wade whispers the last part and grins, and suddenly Peter’s aware of how full of young people the table is.
There’s a girl next to Wade; she has brown hair and brown eyes, is smaller than most kids and looks like she’s a little sick. “That’s Kitty, she’s nice.” Wade says when he notices him look. There is also a blond guy sitting two chairs from him, and in front of this guy there’s a black haired and blue eyed boy, talking slowly with a smile, making the blond one laugh. “Those are Steve and Tony. They have something going on, I suspect.”
And just as Peter turns to ask Wade what he means, another boy their age sits in front of them, wearing red shades, with orange hair and freckles over his nose. He’s holding a long cane that he rests by his side, and smiles softly when he notices they stopped talking.
“I take you’re the new boy. Nice to meet you, Matthew Murdock.” He reaches out his hand. Peter carefully take it, and nods.
“Speak. He can’t see you nod, the jerk’s blind.” Wade laughs bitterly.
“Wade thinks I’m lying.” Matt smiles and pulls his hand back just in time to give space for a tall man to serve them tea. “This one is mint.”
“Really?” Wade rolls his eyes, giving Peter a sign to say ‘Matt is crazy’. Peter laughs a little, taking a sip of his own tea. “Because no one noticed the scent, smartass.”
Matt just laughs along and shakes his head. “Maybe you didn’t. You let lots of things pass, Wade. But, Peter. What did you think of the house?”
He’s taken aback for the second time that day, and slowly gets toast, and starts to spread strawberry jam over it. “It’s big. And it’s okay, I guess. Wade was telling me this is not a foster home...”
“No, it’s not.” Matt bites down on his toast, while Wade just sighs heavily. “You know, this can be many things, but don’t get your hopes high that someone’s going to show up to take you away, that’s not going to happen. You might want to find some hobbies and spend your time exploring the house, because we’re not allowed outside.” Matt finishes speaking, and drops his toast on the table. “It’s hard at first, but you’ll come to realize there’s nothing for you out there. Everything we need is right here.”
Peter stares at the blind guy, wanting to shake him by the shoulders and scream, and beat some sense into him because that’s ridiculous! How are they not allowed outside , and how can he be so okay with all this? But then he notices both his and Wade’s tiny smile.
“That’s what Mr. Richards told us when we tried to sneak out.” Matt says, drinking his tea. “So if you’re having ideas, better take them off your mind.” He says slowly, sounding almost ironic.
“Yeah, ‘cause there may or may not be punishment for those who break the rules. It’s not like we’ll ever try again, right, Matt?” Wade says, chuckling.
“Of course not. We’re okay. We can live with lots of questions and no answers, that’s fine.” Matt pauses, then changes the subject once more. “So, tell me Peter, what did you think of Wanda and Carol? Do their voices still sound like they’re judging every fiber of your body?” Matt asks, putting his porcelain cup down.
Peter is about to drink his tea when Matt says that. And then he stops. Suddenly, his heartbeat grows faster, and he feels as cold inside as he feels on the outside.
“Did you wake up in a hospital bed with no recollection of yesterday?”
He asks, hands shaking as his eyes shift from Matt to Wade. They just raise their eyebrows, smile tiny smiles and sigh.
It’s a girl sitting by Matt, with light brown hair, brown eyes, red gloves and yellow goggles on top of her head that answers him.
“Silly. All of us did.”
He can feel a headache coming on.