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This fic was inspired by a request from defying3reason. Hope you enjoy!


For Joseph, working in the hospital is not exciting or tragic. It's boring: he's on the coma ward. Not to be insensitive, but being stuck working in the area where all of the patients are constantly unconscious is dull and kind of depressing.

A few weeks of volunteering, and Joseph already knows the pattern: most coma patients don't have visitors all that often after they spend first two weeks in the hospital totally unresponsive. Their families and friends by then realize the seriousness of the condition and the unlikelihood that the patient is just going to magically awaken one day.

One patient has plenty of people stopping by to see her. Though the patient by the name of Carol Danvers is comatose, a steady stream of visitors continues to flow through her hospital room.

At first when Joseph works in the coma ward, he needs to have the supervision of a doctor or nurse. But after the first three months, the staff trusts him enough that he's allowed to carry out his duties on the ward mainly by himself.

Mount Sinai Hospital doesn't have candy stripers, only "student volunteers," who mostly just deliver flowers, balloons, and refreshments ordered for the patients through the hospital gift shop. Sometimes they check in visitors to the hospital at the reception desk that flanks the entrance to each floor.

On the coma ward, Joseph is mainly in charge of making sure the rooms remain clean and ascertaining the patients' charts and visitor logs are kept organized and on file. Fascinating work, really; he'll have to remember to thank his father for providing him with this scintillating opportunity to learn about the medical field.

To be honest, Joseph finds his responsibilities more than a little dull. Volunteering at the hospital for five hours each week isn't his choice: his father, Dr. Michael Stockton, head of the orthopedics department, is already determined that Joseph will follow in his footsteps and become a doctor.

Thus, depending on the season, Joseph hurries from cross country/swim team/track practice, missing chances to hang out with friends at least two nights a week in order to make his shift at the hospital.

After months of monotonous work, Joseph is ready to tell his dad that med school is out of the question. Frankly, at times he barely believes his golden-haired, clean-cut, no-nonsense father is related to either his platinum blonde, sarcastic self, or his hot-tempered, brunette gearhead of a brother.

Speaking of Kyle, while he gets to work an after-school job at a local auto repair shop when his sports practices let out, Joseph has the exciting privilege of siting at a desk, tapping a pen against a registry sheet, trying to avoid his homework of assigned reading for as long as possible.

Trust his father to stick him on a ward where the patients are always asleep, leaving little chance for human interaction.

As a result of his tedium, Joseph catches himself studying the primary visitors that the ward received, most whom are stopping by to see Carol Danvers.

This woman and her myriad of concerned loved ones piques Joseph's curiosity, especially because their visit times are sporadic at best. He begins observing them in the manner one might watch a television program.

Carol Danvers's visitors are somewhat outside of the ordinary; while there are the normal heartbroken parents, the father who shares her blonde hair and the mother who has her face shape, now crumpled by sadness and grief, others outside of the mainstream drop by as well.

They're an interesting bunch. There's a redheaded woman with close-cropped short hair, who dresses mostly in black and carries herself with a military-esque demeanor. Sometimes a well-built, black-haired man with a red trenchcoat and red-tinted sunglasses obscuring his face accompanies her.

Another ebony-haired man in good shape is a frequent caller; though he has a goatee, he wears sunglasses, dark and somewhat oversized, like those of a celebrity trying to avoid notice. Joseph thinks that he looks vaguely familiar, as if there's been multiple photos of him and more than once tries to place the man, but his name, Tony Howard, is rather mundane.

A tall brunette woman with sinewy muscle and long dark hair stops by almost every week; something nearly inexplicable about her movements unsettles Joseph. The best way he can describe it is that she seems to move like a spider, and the motions are rather uncanny when applied to a human.

The visitor who interests him the most is a teenage girl who sporadically comes up to the ward about every three weeks or so. Her long, straight hair is a rich auburn, the locks closest to her forehead bleached white as snow.

Dressed in casually punk-style clothing with dark colors, she moves with a swiftness hidden by her unobtrusive mannerisms. Her age is difficult to presume- her face is very pretty, but cold and remote, like that of a statue. Her gelid eyes, color irrelevant, hold a detached malice that appears to be directed at her perceived challengers, those who would question her presence in a hospital.

The first time she enters the ward, Joseph is taken aback by the intensity of her eyes, the aloofness of her elegant face, as if she cannot be bothered to form an expression. He never speaks to her while he sits at the desk; he simply indicates the sheet where visitors are obligated to sign in and then registers her on the computer. She doesn't spare him an unnecessary glance.

She simply moves forward, never looking back.


A/N:

I'm sure we all know who "Rose" is at this point. Seriously, who else would it be?

Joseph is a comic character who was a love interest for Rogue. He is now the star of this story.

Speaking of stories, another one of my fics, "Empty Silences", is closely connected to this one. Reading that fic might help you to understand this story.

Any guesses for who Carol's visitors are?

I'll do my best to update this story soon.