Learning Curve

By TheLostMaximoff

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Now that the epic is finished I can do some other things. R/R if you like.

I never had any pets when I was a little kid. Daddy was allergic to most animals and by the time I was eight it didn't matter anyway. I always liked animals though, still do in fact. They're so cute and cuddly but Daddy says I can never have any pets because he's afraid I might accidentally electrocute them and, according to him, I'm not very responsible anyway. It's never stopped me from wanting one. That's what I thought about when I first saw you, Peter. You're a cute, little puppy with big, adorable eyes that I want to cuddle and play with. The thing about pets though is that sometimes you have to train them. You have to get them to learn the rules. I want you to learn things, Peter. It's for your own good and you'll be better off when you learn to accept the things I've learned to accept.

You're too naïve for your own good, Peter. It's cute, I guess, in the way little kids are cute because they're so innocent. I was never innocent even when I was a little girl so I don't really understand it. Do you really think there's a cure, Peter? Do you really think we're ever going to let you out of that cell? I feel sorry for you, Peter, honestly I do. I feel sorry for you because you believe anything anyone tells you and you think people are inherently good. I feel sorry for you but at the same time I guess I also envy you. I can't remember a time in my life when I felt like that. I can't remember a time when I wasn't paranoid or distrustful of others. You believe in people, Peter, and it completely confuses me. It's like when you're a little kid and you still believe in Santa Claus even though everybody knows there's no such thing. It's just so . . . it makes me want to scream. Some part of me still wants to be like that and it makes me sick to my stomach.

Your optimism is infectious. That's the perfect word for it because that's exactly what you do. You're like some sort of disease and you're making me sick. Don't you know, Peter? Don't you know how ugly and scummy this world is? Don't you know how much life can absolutely suck? Yet you just sit back and take it all with a smile, choosing to remain blissfully blind. God help me, I wish I could do that. You see what you've done to me, Peter. I actually want to believe in people again. I actually feel bad about what we're doing to you. I've never regretted things until you. I never knew there was more.

It drives me insane. You drive me insane. I thought this would be a fun, little game. You're so pretty and innocent and I'm so unlike you. I told you that you'd learn to like my shocks. You'll learn to like me, Peter, when your head isn't so candy-coated with sugary sweet nonsense. It was just supposed to be a harmless game but now that I'm in I can't get out. This isn't my game anymore. It's your game now and every time I step into that cell I fall right into your little trap. I'm learning to like it, Peter. I'm learning to like the feeling of wanting something more. I'm learning to like trusting people. I'm learning to like hope and optimism and all these other things that I buried long ago.

You don't even realize what you're doing to me, do you? No, of course you don't because that brain of yours is either completely broken or it's working better and faster than all of ours put together. Are you doing this on purpose? Is it your evil scheme to get me to trust you so you can use me to escape? Please, Peter, say it is because I don't think I can stand the alternative. You're too good for me, Peter. You're too kind and generous. You're too hopeful and optimistic. You're everything I hate about life because all of that was taken away from me so long ago. You're everything I wish I could be and now that wish seems closer and closer to being a reality.

I shock you because you have to learn, Peter. You have to learn all the hard lessons I've learned. You have to learn that life is miserable and painful just like I've learned it. That's the weird thing about animals though. You can train an animal to do almost anything and, really, humans aren't that much more complex. So is it possible that you're the one who's teaching me? Is it possible you're training me to believe in people again, to trust them and love them like I used to? Is it possible that you're the grandmaster of human chess and I'm just some idiot student who's trying desperately to keep up with your moves? I think about it all the time and it's driving me so insane. Did you plan this, Peter? Did you plan to make my little game blow up in my face? You're playing it very well and for the first time I'm at a loss as to what my next move will be. I'm learning to like you, Peter. Even with all your faults that aren't really faults, I'm learning to fall in love with you.