Chapter ten - Freedom

Darkness was not uncommon to Otto. Here he was left again. But in this case, he couldn't move. He felt strapped to the earth. A bright light shone like a single star through the black canopy. So this is how it ended. He only wished he could've fought harder. The star-like dot slowly grew larger and brighter with every second. Otto had heard stories of people that had been revived from death right when they were dead. Half of them recalled a bright light at the end of a tunnel. Or, in this case, a hole in the bleak atmosphere. He couldn't remember whether any of them told of having heard a voice calling their name. They must have, for he heard it.

It started as a low rumble, just as he pictured the voice of God. The only strange thing was it was calling him 'Doctor Octavious.' Wouldn't God call for 'Otto Octavious'? 'Otto'? It was all strange. Though there was no written rule to death, so he'd take it as it came. The light was almost as large as the sky now and so bright he had to squint to keep his vision from failing. One thing even odder than this whole fiasco was that the low rumbling voice he used to hear now shaped itself higher and recognizable. He knew that voice, it was the voice of Peter Parker.

"Dr. Octavious. Dr. Octavious, can you hear me?" the voice continued gently. All at once, the darkness faded away and the vision of a hospital room flooded his eyes. He could hear the clatter of people walking outside the closed door, he could hear the sound of a heart monitor, he could feel the tubes running into his nose helping him breathe and the duct tape that held the IV into his forearm.

Otto turned his head ever so slightly in hope but was disgusted to see those wretched arms still lying by his side sprawled on the floor. At least they were leaving him alone. He looked the other way and saw Peter crouched by his bedside loyally. Quite the welcoming sight to wake up to.

"Peter?" he croaked - his vocal cords not used to vibrating so suddenly.

Peter smiled at his recovery. "How are you feeling?" he asked softly.

Otto tried to shrug his shoulders. Though they only made the smallest jerk, he had made his point. "Oh, I've been better." he replied casually. "How long have I been immobilized in this room?"

"Only since last night. You've slept for about a day," Peter replied.

"What happened?"

"Well Kim dove in and fished you out. We got the pieces back- though they weren't in very good shape anymore - and the two thieves who stole them are behind bars. I called Mary Jane and told her I was staying here for another couple days to keep an eye on you 'til you recover. I wasn't sure when you would."

"You mean that red head back in New York?" Otto asked. Peter nodded. Otto smiled knowingly. He then looked at him squarely. "Don't tell me you've been here the entire time."

"Well...I haven't really had that much else to do. Being in France and all."

"Peter Parker," Otto began shaking his head.

"Hey, it's fine. I had nothing else to do. Besides, why wouldn't I want to be by my friend's side when he's sick?" Peter cut him off with a grin. Otto had to smile to this. "Kim and I did consider flying you back to New York that way you wouldn't have to bother getting back, but we decided to take you in here because," he was now whispering. "They don't know who you are. I registered you as Mr. Otto James. And besides, you wouldn't hold out. There was a hospital nearby - Kim's friend on the computer said."

"Thank you for that. That wouldn't be very good if they sent the police after me. By the way, how did you explain the actuators?"

"I told them the truth," Peter said lightly. He saw Otto grimace. "I simply stated that you were a scientist and they were stuck to you in a lab accident." Otto sighed relieved. "I also told them about the strain they had on your mind, that you would like them off, and gave them the instruction sheet for the inhibitor chip I swiped off of your coffee table before we left."

Otto looked at him with disappointment , but then smiled impressed. He looked over at the tentacles again with a sigh. "Well, at least you tried. I'm sorry that it didn't work though."

A smile curled Peter's lips as he spoke. "True, they couldn't get the actuators off, but–" he halted to build up eagerness though he himself was as eager as a child opening the first present on Christmas day. He wanted to rush to the good part though he knew he had to wait a little while. "Search your mind."

"For what?" Otto asked.

"For their voices. Arouse them. Tell me what they say."

Otto shrugged again and closed his eyes to concentrate. "OK, turn on. Talk to me." Nothing. Maybe they didn't pick up his thoughts yet. He tried again. "I know you hear me. I command you to enlighten me on the happenings of the room while I was asleep." Nothing again. Otto opened his eyes with confusion. "I can't hear them," he replied. Peter raised his eyebrows. Otto got the message and a grin slowly formed on his face. "I can't here them... You mean–"

"Yup. Turns out, they're a lot better with wires than you would have thought." Otto couldn't say anything to this. He had such emotion that no words could express it. Peter got the message and couldn't help but to chuckle a bit at Otto's facial expression. "I assume you're glad?"

Otto moved his mouth in many different ways trying to begin a sentence. Peter enjoyed his speechlessness as a sign of his gratitude. "Peter," he finally tumbled out. "I don't know what to say. You - I can't believe you did this all for me. It is now that I truly see the good of the world."

"For no words, you're pretty good Doc," Peter said with a smirk. Silence instilled as both thought of what to say.

Otto looked away from Peter's eyes as he formed the words he would say - his private mind. The place no one else could infiltrate, as it should be. "Thank you for being with me Peter - even when all seemed hopeless," he said.

"Oh it was nothing," Peter replied not enjoying to have the spotlight directly on him.

"No," Otto repremended. "Thank you."

Peter answered again. This time he held his jaw firm in understanding and respect. Obviously, Otto wouldn't allow him to divert the glory this time. "You're welcome."

OOOOO

After a while of talking on lighter subjects, and Otto testing whether he could move the actuators freely again, the nurse came in. She looked surprised to find her patient conscious. Also the metal arms snaking 'round the room disturbed her a little but she didn't let it show on her face.

Peter pushed his coat sleeve up and off of his watch long enough to read the hands. "I should probably go. I rented an apartment for Kim, Ron and I to share 'til morning and I have the key. They're probably back from the dinner they were having and waiting for me to open the door. Maybe tomorrow you could come by." he offered.

The nurse moved to the other side of the bed and bidded Otto to sit up. Otto obeyed and she set a small silver tray on the entable. The nurse handed him the small plastic cup of pills. She answered for him. "Mr. James can't leave here for another day or so. We have to make sure that he's really OK."

Otto popped the pills into his mouth. The nurse handed him the water and he gulped it down. He wondered why he was taking pills, but then realized that he must have had an operation for the doctors to be certain that nothing could be done. That would explain why he was wrapped with gauze from under his arms down to where his pants began.

He and Peter shared the same expression of defeat. Nonetheless, Peter shrugged and zipped up his coat. "Well, I'll come visit you tomorrow. And if anything goes wrong, don't hesitate to tell me, alright?"

Otto laughed at Peter's up taken authority. "Alright. Goodbye Peter. I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow." Peter waved as he walked down the hallway and outside.

The nurse made her way towards the blinds. "Do you prefer the blinds open or closed?" She asked in surprising English.

"Open please," he replied. She opened them up and went to the door.

"You should rest up for the pills to take effect," the nurse explained as she turned off the light. "Good night," she said and she closed the door.

Otto closed his eyes and sighed having a good night sleep for once that entire week. No tentacles in his head, no second, third and fourth personalities, just him. And he could think about whatever pleased him. Right now, that thought was simply to rest. So that is what he did.

It was no surprise. The same dream that had been haunting his mind for a while. Rosie was holding onto a decaying board - her death was coming near. The fusion reaction sucked everything around it into its flaming inferno. She screamed his name, her nails digging into the wood and then being left with nothing to hold to.

He ran for her and made a motion with his hand to grab her. The split second before she was consumed, the top right tentacle lashed out and grabbed her. It brought her away from the orb and set her down many a feet away. He crouched down also to see whether she was alright or not.

Rosie smiled wiping the tears that had come when she thought that he wasn't going to save her. "Otto, I am so proud of you." she said with that same warm smile that she had always possessed. "You fought and fought and fought." Otto hugged her close to him and kissed her like he had that night she perished. He then hugged her tight never wanting to let go.

"And you know what?" She pulled closer to his left cheek and whispered quietly into his ear. "You did it."

Otto smiled even as he slept as it grew later into the night. The horrible nightmare had turned into a wonderful dream and he - like when hugging and kissing his wife - never wanted to let it go. He smiled at his triumph. He smiled as he was reminded of the love of his wife as he could experience it again. And he smiled at that for the first time since he was burdened that night, he could enjoy happiness and not be held back by the arms.

Finis

A/N: So? What'd you think of it?