A Vision of a Rose

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The next morning, a bell jerked us awake.

We sat up quickly, getting ready to fight, but then realized it was the matron waking up the room.

"Get ready for school!" she ordered before marching out of the room.

The others got up and got dressed, grabbing their school bags and filing out of the room.

Pietro and I found backpacks filled with school supplies next to the ones we had brought, following the others out of the room quickly as they went to breakfast.

"Never a moment's break," Pietro commented.

"Definitely," I replied. "So we're going to be enrolled today?"

"SHIELD took care of that," Pietro answered. "Enrolled us early this morning. Just gotta go and get our schedules."

We got our breakfast and sat down at a table away from the others again, eating silently. Everyone got up when the matron entered, like the night before. And when everyone was done, we got in line to get to school.

The school Pietro and I were enrolled in was different from most of the kids, centered in the orphanages we would be staying at. Since they didn't have a way to transport us yet, we had to walk there.

Or in our case, walking so that we were out of view of the others and then Pietro picking me up and running almost all the way there.

"Ten seconds," I said, looking at my watch. "You said you could make it in five."

"I didn't know the way this time!" Pietro protested as he set me down.

"Alright, I'll let you get away with it this time," I said with a chuckle.

We walked into the registration department of the school and got our schedules.

As we walked out to the school courtyard, we compared schedules.

"We have all but one class that's the same," Pietro said. "Our first class is different, and it's the same subject, different teachers."

I nodded, biting my lip gently, a bit tense about starting off in a class without Pietro.

"I'll walk you there and then wait for me after class," Pietro said. "Keep together as much as possible."

"Alright," I said.

"Don't be nervous about the class," Pietro put in. "Foreign language, and I think we've got English down pretty well."

"That's true," I chuckled.

When the bell rang, Pietro walked me to class and made sure I was inside before he went to his classroom, a few doors down.

And being the new kid, I was introduced in front of the class, finding that I really didn't need to fake being shy too much at this point.

"Where did you go to school beforehand?" the teacher asked me in English, wanting the class to learn.

"H-homeschooled," I replied softly, constantly aware that all the faces were looking at me and I was wearing the dull gray from the orphanage. I made a mental note to bring some different clothes so that I could change into it at school.

"Any family?" the teacher questioned.

"Br-brother," I whispered, wishing that I could sit down. "P-Pavel. Also in school."

After that, the teacher had me sit down, which I was glad for.

I sat down in the back of the room, wiping sweat from my forehead. "At least for the rest of the day I have Pietro with me," I mumbled so only I could hear it.

At the end of class, Pietro was waiting for me when I came out and we walked to our next class.

"How was it?" he asked me.

"Never standing in front of people again," I said immediately. "At least, not alone."

"Don't worry, you'll have me from now on," Pietro reassured.

I nodded and we went into the next class, glad that for introductions, I was able to have Pietro with me, which calmed me down slightly.

When it came to lunch, I was able to get by with just a granola bar from Pietro's lunch, him eating whatever the school gave, this time a chicken sandwich.

"Can we put regular clothes in our bags for tomorrow?" I asked after throwing my wrapper away. We were able to eat outside in the nice weather. "Not sure about you, but I feel like a sore thumb in gray here."

"No, I feel the same," Pietro said, looking at his shirt and then biting into the sandwich. "But we'll have to buy the clothes, because I don't think they'll give it to us."

"Do we have money in our bags?" I said.

Pietro nodded. "Yea. Don't remember how much, but we'll get more if need be when we get to the base," he said. He frowned suddenly, looking at the sandwich.

"What?" I said, confused. "Tastes funny?"

"No," Pietro said. "Needs mayo."

I chuckled as he put some on the sandwich, going back to eating. When he was finished, I went to go throw his tray away when a girl suddenly pushed me to the ground.

Immediately, Pietro was on his feet, watching me as I got to a knee slowly.

When the girl spoke, it was too fast for me to understand, but I could tell it was a hostile tone.

Seeing the look on my face, Pietro quickly came to my side, helping me up and telling the girl something in also a quick manner. Before she could reply, he guided me away.

"Are you hurt?" he asked, brushing off my back.

I shook my head. "Just shaken up," I replied. "What was that about?"

"She must think everyone is inferior to her," Pietro said. "At least the girls. But I didn't like the look she gave me when I showed up. It reminded me of a predator stalking her prey. I think she may like me."

"I don't like her," I said.

"I know you don't," Pietro said. "And I don't like anyone who pushes my sisters around."

When the bell rang for class, we went to our next one, and just our luck the girl was in it.

It was difficult to focus when she kept on bothering me and giving little notes to Pietro. It was almost a relief when the bell rang for class to get out.

But we were glad for our last class: gym.

"Finally I get to move around more," Pietro said as we walked to the locker rooms.

"I feel too stiff," I agreed.

We went into the separate locker rooms and changed into our gym clothes, going to the gym with the other students.

We did well in gym class, Pietro's speed helping him and my android strength and agility helping me.

And when it came for a game of dodgeball, luckily we were on the same team.

"You got my back I got your's," Pietro told me as we started off at the back line.

I nodded and when the whistle blew, we hung back and waited for the onslaught to pass over before we went in, ourselves.

A few times, I heard Pietro say his signature line: "You didn't see that coming?"

A couple times, I was able to use Pietro's line, making him laugh whenever he heard it coming from me.

We didn't realize until the very end that there was only one boy left on their side and only me and Pietro on our side.

"We have to rely on the new kids?!" one boy whined.

"We're doomed," a girl complained.

Pietro and I glanced at each other, sharing the same thought: "let's show them who's wrong."

We spread out from each other, going on either side of the boy. He watched both of us, backing up until he was as far away as he could.

Pietro looked at me and did a small nod, flashing three fingers in my direction. Then two. Then one.

And we both threw our balls at him.

Not expecting both sides, he was able to dodge Pietro's, but not mine.

"You didn't see that coming?" we asked as we walked to each other, giving each other a high-five.

Our team cheered for us and ran to us, surrounding us.

Pietro grabbed my hand and raised it in the air, smiling at me.

I smiled back at him.

Then the coach had us go back to the locker rooms to change for when the bell rang.

"Hey, you two should really join our dodgeball team," one boy said as we walked to the locker rooms. "You're really good, the talent we need on our team."

"So what do you say?" a girl asked. "Will you join?"

"We can't," Pietro said. "We're trying to get use to the new lifestyle and everything, and we don't want to overwork ourselves."

"What about in a month?" the boy insisted.

"We'll see," Pietro replied which I knew meant he would decline.

We changed back into the orphanage clothes in the locker rooms and when the bell rang at the end of class, we walked out together.

"We have a little bit of time to kill before we should be back at the orphanage," Pietro said. "You wanna do something?"

"Let's get homework out of the way and then we can go back, get a little bit of money, and get some clothes," I said.

Pietro nodded and we went to the library, sitting down and starting to work.

Afterwards, we went back to the orphanage, checked our bags, got the money and went out again.

"So how does school here compare to America?" Pietro said as we walked down a street to find a clothing store.

"There's definitely different standards here," I said. "And classes are run differently. But not by much."

We found a store and went in, trying to decide what clothes to try on.

In the end, Pietro opted for a few different colored tops and jeans while I chose a couple patterned shirts, jeans, and a dress.

"This'll definitely be better," Pietro commented as we walked back to the orphanage.

"Won't feel so out at school," I agreed.

Pietro looked at his watch. "We've gotta be back in a few minutes when they start the adoptions," he said. He picked me up without another word and ran back to the orphanage. We got inside, hiding our newly bought clothes since Sophia warned us that they might get taken away, and made ourselves presentable for the adoption, like all the other kids, though we didn't do as much as them, since we had to not be picked in order to do our mission.

"After today, if what Sophia told us happens again, then we're contacting the base," Pietro whispered in my ear as everyone say in the cafeteria, waiting.

Like usual, we sat away from the others, not wanting to be noticed.

I nodded, playing with the hem on my dress.

I realized a reason why Steve had wanted two people instead of one on this mission: two people that had to stay together during adoption was harder to find homes for, meaning less jeopardy for our mission.

A couple came in with the matron, looking at everyone in the room.

"This is normal," Pietro said, grabbing my hand and moving his chair over so that we were side-by-side. "The normal way."

We took note that the couple didn't even look at us, which we didn't mind.

The couple left with the matron and after a little bit, the couple returned, going to a younger child and taking him by the hands, leading the beaming boy out to where the matron waited at the door.

This continued for a few hours with no suspicious activity and once the hours were over, everyone was given free time.

"I don't know what to do!" I complained as we walked outside on the grounds. "I'm not use to this!"

"I know," Pietro said. "Usually we're trying to survive."

To other kids, they assumed it was living on the streets, but I knew he meant it was fighting alongside the Avengers.

"I feel like we're in prison," I muttered, looking through the bars of the fence and out to the street.

Pietro hugged me. "We'll be out soon, hopefully," he said.

I nodded, returning the hug.

The week went by with no suspicious activity and the agents that brought us to the orphanage came in to "adopt" us.

We had been getting us to everything: the schedule, school, trying to get use to the other kids, how strict the matron was, and having to sleep together, though most of the time I was awake all night.

Pietro and I smiled as we walked to get our stuff, him hugging me and kissing the top of my head.

After we got our stuff, we went to the car.

"Anything?" one agent asked as he started to drive.

"Nothing," Pietro said.

"We're going to the base anyways to get a report of that orphanage and to replenish anything you might've used throughout the week," the second agent said. "You'll spend a night there and then you'll head out again tomorrow."

"Can you give us a bit more information on the orphanage before you send us out?" Pietro asked. "We really weren't prepared for what was in there when we got there."

"Whatever you want to know," the first agent said.

When we reached the base, we were given a fresh, warm meal and given some down time to contact the others.

I definitely felt better being able to see Clint, Natasha, Vision, Lucas, and Lucy.

And at Wanda's request, Pietro had me talk to her for a little bit.

Once it was time to rest, it felt strange to sleep by myself.

I was awoken in the middle of the night to Pietro's mumbling in the next room. I sat up, listening, hearing that he was asking for his sister, but whether he meant me or Wanda, I wasn't too sure.

I silently walked to his room, seeing him tossing and turning. I glided to his side and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, saying, "Everything's alright, Pietro. Your sister is alright. She's fine. She's not hurt."

Still asleep, Pietro grabbed my hand, instantly calming down.

"He's used to sleeping with someone, as well. Must be he and Wanda shared a room."

When I tried to remove my hand, he tightened his grip, not wanting to let me go.

I silently sighed, accepting that I wasn't going back to my room anytime soon, and laid down next to Pietro, closing my eyes and falling asleep.

Pietro blinked away for a moment when I was asleep, seeing that I was there. He smiled a tiny bit and placed a protective arm around me, remembering what he told me all those years ago.

"But if you survive, then I will protect you as I protect my sister. You will become our sister."

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