What did I do last night? Did I work on the Tego/Pi? Did I do over any of my websites like I'd been planning? Did I go to bed at a sensible hour? No, I stayed up 'til later than I should have watching the first episode of Akihabara@Deep. It was kind of neat! Though, this is not helping the to-watch list get smaller.
Third... Okay, you know how I said something about NEWS fantasy AUs and wingfic? Well, guess I what I spent all of my workday writing nearly 2,000 words of. Uh.
Dreams, Feathers and Songs, -
They stared at him and called him strange, the boy with one black wing. Shige was his name and he looked down on the world below, lost and alone, silently for years.
Until one day he strayed too close to the wispy edges, leaned too far and fell. The silly boy, he'd forgotten he couldn't fly.
He woke on the lower world, confused and hurt, holes in his memory and tears in his skin. He walked the land in a blurry haze barely aware of his surroundings. He walked over miles, over warm sand, over hard-packed dirt turned muddy beneath the winter's rain, over elephant grass that crunched beneath his feet.
He walked over time and away from his self, moving onwards in a half-dream state with no destination.
A strange, tall man found him, one afternoon, took him home and nursed him to health, in and out of lumbering months and weeks. He spoke in a voice like a friendly lizard, warm words Shige wasn't truly awake enough to hear.
For months he fluttered about the little cottage, dressing Shige's wounds and issuing forth a stready stream of words that wrapped around them both like a blanket.
Spring came and so did Shige's health. He remembered again how to transform himself and put away his tattered wing. He remembered how to walk like a man. Last of all, he remembered his own name.
"I am Shige," he said against the warm night.
The other looked up, startled, and rounded his face with a smile.
"Your name is Shige? Shige~!" the man said, and wrapped him in a hug so tight he could barely breathe.
"Shige," whispered over and over against his ear and the man carried them both to bed in his glee.
Shige was a strange creature, not sure of the lower world's strange customs, and so the next day, when he was as well as could be, he left before the tall boy woke, leaving him wrapped in his nest of sheets.
Shige stumbled into the marketplace. It was dusty, dim under the cover of cloth but vibrant with life. For so long he had looked down on the lower world, wondering, and never been able to see such things as this.
The smells and sounds surrounded him, bewitched his senses and almost knocked him from his feet. He'd never heard such noise before and never seen such barely organised chaos; never smelt these spices or the pungent smells of meat and wine.
The air was thick as he breathed it in, dizzying. He tripped, unsteady on his feet, and hit a table. The yells that followed hurt his ears, made him want to hide his head in his arms and run.
"Calm down, he didn't mean any harm," came a soft, clear voice through the mess.
Shige looked up. A boy in front of him smiled and his skin had a strange grey-blue sheen that reminded Shige of home.
"Are you lost?" the boy asked in his crystal voice.
The boy was called Tegoshi and it was clear that he was not formed in the lower world. His skin had the indifferent glow of those made in the air above and his voice was as a shimmery gem.
With a cheeky smile he told Shige that he had decided they should be friends and took him home to keep in his room.
Tegoshi was bright and chirpy but he'd made himself a boy so long it seemed he'd forgotten he had wings. He spoke of many things - animal patterns in the clouds, the stars over nights on the mountains - often when Shige would rather sleep than talk or when he was trying to concentrate on very important things. He was rarely quiet and when he was the skies would turn as grey and sullen as Tegoshi's face.
Otherwise, Tegoshi would emit a gentle hum even in sleep, curious melodies escaping his mouth.
Sometimes he would sit at the window and sing, clear as the morning, happy songs and silly childish rhymes, but his voice was as lost and lonely as any bird longing for its home.
One night after third dinner (for Shige ate a lot, enough to put a strain on Tegoshi's pantry) they sat and talked.
"What will you do when summer ends?" Shige asked.
"Kei-chan and I are going to drive up the Rainbow Road to try to reach the land above. I want to see Yamashita-san and his beautiful blue wings," Tegoshi said dreamily.
"And then what will you do?" Shige asked.
"I don't know. Isn't that enough?"
"You can't just go up there and expect them to give you a job and a place to stay just because you're cute."
"So mean, Shige. You must have been a grumpy old man from the time you were hatched," Tegoshi grumbled. He pouted like a child and nestled into his arms. "What will you do when summer ends, then, if you're so smart?"
"I'll go home."
Shige had underestimated both Tegoshi's stubbornness and his enthusiasm and by the end of the summer had found himself swept up in Tegoshi's plan.
"When we get to the higher world we can drop you off and then you can go find your home, okay?"
"I can't wait until you meet Kei-chan, Shige. He's really cool and knows all sorts of cool things and can do lots of cool stuff."
"I'm sure you'll love him. Everyone does!"
"When will he be here?"
"He's coming in the morning so he can pack my bag for me before we leave and still get on the road before it gets hot," Tegoshi explained.
"Why can't you pack your own bag, idiot?"
A tall figure appeared on the horizon just as the sun was waking from it's peaceful rest.
"Kei-chan!" Tegoshi exclaimed, more excited than Shige could have imagined.
The figure came closer, the sun hitting warm off his glowing orange-y hair, something familiar about the man's gait.
"Tegoshi!" he called out, happily, and they embraced like brothers reunited after a long separation.
The man turned - his face was instantly recognisable and Shige remembered the many months spent in his cottage like the most vivid of dreams - and cried out in shock.
"Shige?" he asked, detaching from Tegoshi's arms. "Shige!"
And he rushed to hug Shige more tightly than could be borne.
"Idiot, get off me," Shige yelled.
"No, my name is Koyama," the tall man said.
"You're an idiot," Shige said, struggling away.
The road was long, or it felt long with those two voices around him, talking all the while.
"Are we there yet?" Tegoshi asked as the sun set on their first day of travel.
"You'll know when we are," Shige said.
"But how will I know?" Tegoshi asked.
"You just will."
Shige closed his eyes and let Koyama deal with the questions.
They took turns to sleep and drive, though Shige slept the most.
Three days into the trip the car broke down.
"Now how will we get there?" Tegoshi asked.
"We could try walking," Koyama suggested.
"But it's such a long way!" Tegoshi complained.
"You would have had to walk the end of the road, anyway, Tegoshi," Shige said. "They don't let vehicles past the Cloud Fence."
Tegoshi sulked but he retrieved his belongings from the vehicle and started to walk with them. The road was long but made for their feet and there were signposts along the way in all the languages of the world. When the boy grew tired Shige carried his bag and Koyama carried Tegoshi.
It was cool, grey morning when they finally came to the end of their road, their faces glowing faintly in the faded light shot through the covering fog. They were tired and ragged. The knees of Tegoshi's jeans were worn through.
The gates were abandoned, rusted, and they slipped between them with Shige's guidance though he felt sure he didn't know the way.
They were lost, unknowing, but as they ventured on the world began to smell green and the air around them became warm and clear.
"I'm tired," Tegoshi said, as they found themselves in a glade.
"Then sleep," Koyama said, smiling as he said this. "I'm sure Shige won't mind."
Koyama smiled warmly at Shige and Shige couldn't help but smile back.
They slept in a warm pile.
Shige awoke to a curious face above his own.
"I don't know, Pi, they don't look like anyone special. Are you sure we shouldn't throw them over the edge?" a voice came from his side, and Shige scuttled back, instantly awake.
"Hello," said the man in front of him.
Shige was confused but Tegoshi, it seemed, was not.
"Yamashita-san!" Tegoshi shouted with glee.
It turned out that Shige had been wrong and Tegoshi could get a job and a place to stay just on the strength of how cute he was. In fact, he got it for them all.
"This is the nursery," Yamashita said. "Or one of them."
"The best one," Nishikido said.
"You came just when we needed someone to come," Yamashita told them. "Just like Masuda said you would."
"How did he know we were coming here?" Tegoshi asked, wide eyed.
"He knows things," Nishikido explained. "He doesn't always know which way is up but he knows how to find the things we need."
Yamashita gave them all eggs, to keep safe and warm until it was time for them to hatch.
Tegoshi was delighted with his, singing it songs and telling it bad jokes, holding it close to him wherever he went. He cuddled it to himself like a toy at night when he slept.
"Share yours with me," Koyama said to Shige, slipping a hand over his. "It'll be better if we do it together."
"As long as it doesn't hatch as stupid as you," Shige said, but he was smiling.
They grew relaxed there over the months of egg watching, even if Shige jumped every time Nishikido demonstrated his talent of moving things without the use of his hands.
Tegoshi grew comfortable and let his wings be free, shivering them out awkwardly like a newborn. They were small, soft, white wings that glimmered like the morning dew and Shige ached upon seeing them.
Tegoshi bugged Yamashita to show his wings until he relented and then he spread them halfway across the sky, large and blue, powerful like the wind. Tegoshi giggled like a girl in the first blush of love.
Shige went to sit alone.
It so happened that on that very night, Tegoshi's egg began to crack. First a small fissure and then larger spindly lines spreading out all over the egg's surface.
It took until morning for the egg to open completely and they stayed awake until then watching, waiting, jumping at Tegoshi's every excited exhalation.
The baby was small, pale, covered in goo. It looked tired and unformed; its body seemed small and week. It - or should I say, he - rolled over, exposed his back.
"It only has one wing," Tegoshi gasped.
Shige looked at his hands, thought of the scars on his back.
"It's okay if he only has one wing," Yamashita said. "That just means he's special."
It felt, to Shige, as if those words were meant for him but that was silly. There was no way they could know.
"Why don't you name him?" Nishikido asked, leaning over to Tegoshi with a smile almost too gentle for Shige to believe.
"Let's get some sleep, Shige," Koyama mumbled into his ear, drawing him closer, and Shige settled down to ignore all the ado.
("Are you still going to go home, Shige?" Tegoshi asked.
"I am home.")