Painfully the teenager made his way along the city streets. It was late and the few people not warm in a bed ignored him. He walked unsteadily, one ankle broken and twisted, shifting position each time he put weight on it. He entered the first hotel he came to, a posh five-star affair. He left a trail of bloody footprints in the thick cream carpet. The receptionist hurried out from behind his desk. "I'll have to ask you to leave," he said to the boy.
"I've got money. I'll pay double if you let me stay." Anxiously he reached into the bag and pulled out a large bundle of hundred dollar bills. He looked questioningly at the older man.
The receptionist's eyes bugged slightly but he ushered the teenager over to the desk and checked him in.
The receptionist showed Peter to a room. "Can I get you anything sir?" he asked before leaving.
"Some bandages?" the boy asked uncertainly.
"Of course. And perhaps clean clothes?"
"That would be fantastic!" he replied excitedly.
With a false smile the hotel worker nodded and left.
Peter sat down on the side of the bed, legs almost collapsing beneath him. It was the softest thing he'd ever felt. Lying back he was asleep almost instantly.
A knock on the door woke the teenager an hour later. He tensed, momentarily forgetting where he was. The voice of the receptionist reminded him; he had run away, he was in a hotel. He stood unsteadily to open the door.
Sitting in the white tilled en-suite bathroom Peter inspected his injuries. He didn't remember them ever being so bad before. Many of the wounds that had begun to clot had started bleeding again when he'd showered. At least he felt clean though. He wrapped bandages around the wounds on his thighs. A gash near his shoulder was gaping widely and he thought he'd better sew it. Opening the small hotel mending kit he smiled happily on seeing the selection of colours. 'Blue' he decided, that would look nice.
Stitched and bandaged, he tried on his new clothes. There was a yellow golf shirt with the logo of the hotel embroidered on the breast pocket, a navy hooded sweater, beige shorts and a pair of flip-flops. They still had the tags from the gift shop. Peter stared at his reflection in the mirror. He'd never had real new clothes before. Once or twice father had bought something new for Alex but his clothes had always been the very cheapest from the second hand shops. He ran his hands over the clean smooth fabric and smiled.
Early the next morning he boarded a train for Gotham. He bought twenty dollars' worth of sweets from the snack cart, ate them all and spent the rest of the trip throwing up in the tiny bathroom.