fourteen.

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"Welcome back, kid."

An instinctive grin appeared on Pietro's face as he took in his surroundings, recognizing every single piece of furniture in the rooms he was walking through. Wanda was by his side the whole time and Tony only showed him the things he had changed since he was gone. There was still a lot of tension in the group, partly for Hazel, partly for him. But they were too tired and relieved to care just yet.

"It's good to be back," he grinned, the unfamiliar feeling of life running in his veins still startling him.

He was dead for good, he knew it. He knew there was no chance whatsoever to be back to his sister's side, but when his slumber was suddenly interrupted by thoughts different from the ones about his own life, he knew something was changing. Hazel's thoughts had combined with him and he had woken up in that dark lab without even having the time to acknowledge it. Wanda had been staying by his side the whole time after, but he had realized the relationship between her and Hazel had been distorted by some action between the two. He feared it had been because of Wanda and the possibility of having her brother back, but he decided not to get too involved in it.

As they got back to the living room, Steve and Hazel were walking towards the elevator, hand in hand as she was completely resting on his side. He felt an odd pang in his heart, but he knew there was nothing to do about it.

"How long had it been going on?" he asked to Wanda, who had turned to look at his same direction.

"Since she arrived here, basically. They haven't confessed their feelings, but it's quite clear they eventually will," she said, grinning proudly. Her face fell, though, when she observed Pietro's almost pained expression.

"Be careful, brother," she warned him, his face turning towards her in confusion. "Don't confuse love with gratefulness. It will tear you apart."

Pietro looked at her for a moment before looking down at his hands, the need of running for miles and miles tingling in his legs and arms, even if he was too tired to even think properly.

He didn't know what the feelings towards Hazel were really about, but the one thing he knew for sure was that he was going to protect her life at all costs, just like she had done for him.

-

Hazel almost felt tears in her eyes as she looked at her room, still ordered in the same way it was when they had left. It had seemed like a lifetime since she had last been there, and she almost felt like a different person. Hell, she was a different person.

Steve slowly walked her to her bed and made her sit down, crouching in front of her.

"I would really like to help you, but I think it would be better if you take a shower on your own," he chuckled, making Hazel snort.

"I would really like to just lay in bed and sleep for the rest of my life," she whined, rubbing her tired eyes.

"But I wouldn't like that. Come on, the faster you do it, the sooner you'll sleep. I'll wait here," he said. Hazel nodded and stood up painfully, grabbing a pair of comfortable leggings and a baggy shirt before locking herself in the bathroom, stripping of the clothes she had wore for so long that they should have been burned off.

She slowly took a shower, her muscles relaxing under the warm water as she tried to entangle the mess her hair had become. She stared down at her hands for a moment before moving one of them towards her chest, pressing the darker spot of the suit and looking as the now familiar wings appeared behind her. Her eyes sparkled as she observed the green power flowing around her, covering her like a blanket.

She had known about these powers since she had been enhanced, but never dared to use them. Strucker had talked about them multiple times, but she was sure they were too dangerous to be used. On the opposite, they were the most beautiful thing she had ever seen and she would have loved to be like this the whole time.

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