To grow wings would be an adventure.
To grow wings, and have nobody see them, would be a secret.
But to grow wings and have someone to share them with - would be more.
(Just random and short and inspired by a fanfiction.)
His back - hurts.
It's a bit like a bump, or a scratch, except he knows it's not like either and it's not like anything. Through the fog hiding the mirror, he can see raw skin across his shoulder blades - red, like rash, and reactive to touch like bruises.
He watches them quietly, air damp around him from a steamy shower, fingers climbing their way down his towel to tap the hollow between the welts. They're unusual, but not extraterrestrial - they're nothing. So he pulls on a shirt and goes to bed.
He wakes up the next morning with the duvet sprawled to the side like a corpse, and wings curling around his crevices.
He watches them, watches them flap lazily, quietly, as the sun fractions through a tree and splinters itself into pieces on his floor.
They're not slippery, shimmery gossamer - no. They're storm clouds spread out in a phoenix's mold behind his shoulders, extending far past the tips of his fingers. They're silver-tipped, owl-grey, shivering with every breath he takes, breathing with him. They're indigo-grey against his skin, and he thinks they're incredible.
When he goes downstairs, he wraps them around his shoulders, warm and soft and safe. His mother looks up.
"Morning, sunshine," she says, and she swiftly turns back to the tea which she's stirring.
She doesn't see them.
Nobody sees them.
But people feel them, he realizes. Feels the feathery brush against their cheeks, turn towards him with curious expressions on their faces, empathetic. He thinks maybe they can feel what he's feeling, just like his wings do - likes the idea, likes it so much he seals it away and keeps it in the hidden recesses of his mind.
They feel what he's feeling, the wings. They know.
They know when he's angry, spreading and trembling with feverish rage. They're strong, enough to knock anyone of their feet and steal their breath away, but he doesn't. They're innocent and pure and he doesn't want to tarnish them.
They feel when he's sad, too, becoming a miserable cloak around his shoulders, feathers heavy and weighing down like clouds over a windy ocean. They're warm but cool, a part of him which he'd never trade, not for the world.
Sometimes, when he's happy, they'd flap strong and hard and make him feel dizzy and untethered. These are the moments he swears he could fly - but he doesn't. He never does. He can't, for some reason - can't make them grasp the concept of soaring into the sky-shaped oblivion.
He's walking around the mostly school grounds, wings unleashed to enjoy the wind, when someone falls into him and they end up in a bundle of surprise on the ground.
"Sorry," he apologizes, wings flapping restlessly from underneath the girl's pinning weight. But while he does expect her to look confused at why the ground is suddenly like a bird's down, and maybe expect her to huff at him, he most certainly does not expect to put a hand on her back to steady her and feel feathers.
He sits up, and they're gorgeous, an auburn-brown map lined with golden routes which he wants to explore with his every finger. They're slighter than his, but big and beating with her heart and shivering with her astonishment.
She reaches up to his back.
"They're beautiful," she says quietly, fingertips tip-toeing on the feathery edges, and with the sun highlighting her sharp features, he thinks, so are you.
The autumn feathers on her back cringe when he buries his fingers into their warmth, but in a moment they sigh and curl around his knuckles. He feels the wonder embedded deep in the feathery roots of the wings, feels them flap powerfully against the air. She spreads them to their full span, a meter from where her fingernails end.
"They're amazing," he replies, but it comes out feebly. Amazing is the weak, fairy-spun gossamer compared to these. These are magnificent. These are indescribable. These are home.
She doesn't smile, but her eyes crinkle and the feathers hum around his fingers. It says everything.
It's a month after that when he learns how to fly.
He's walking around the park with her, and thankfully, it's lonely so there's no chance of his wings swiping someone to the ground, so they are stretched and brushing against the trees guiding their path. They're talking and smiling, and their wings brush, humming contentedly.
She says something happily and he laughs, the sound beating in his body, and the feathers ripple like the sky. He finds himself on his toes.
Either she sees it or she feels it through his wings, but she's tentatively checking her wings and they're excited as well, like jittery molecules rearranging themselves. They flap once, twice, and the ground is a breath away.
Two breaths. Three.
They're flying, rising against the rippling sea-leaves and laughing through the wind. His wings shout for joy, tumbling recklessly through the clouds and loving fiercely all the while.
He flies, and he sees the sun, moon, stars, and it's not just unusual - it's extraterrestrial. It's something.
He looks to his side, sees a golden flash of auburn wings, and thinks, Oh.
He thinks, this is what wings are for.