Maria McClain had come a long way from the young country side girl that had been left alone with only her father when her mother had died.
She had watched her father unable to find another Flight Partner, someone to fly with him and enjoy the skies together. He had sunk deep in the depression of life without a flight partner. His wings molted to where he had no feathers and the skin deteriorated so much so that he had to have them amputated completely. Maria did what she could to help her father but when she was eighteen, he died from heartbreak.
She did remember how her parents flew though and how graceful and beautiful it was to watch. They weren’t the fastest, agile, or powerful flyers in the world but they were perfectly synched.
She wanted something like that and she looked for it for a few years after she had turned sixteen. She had tried a handful of Flight Partners, each great in their own way, but they weren’t the one for her. Each one knew that as well and the partings had always ended well.
When she found Carlos one day and had flown with him, she had known instantly what he was to her and her to him.
Her long brown wings of a hawk had been spotted with dark brown flecks and the down was a golden color. They hadn’t been very broad but that was okay because Carlos’s own white gray wings spotted with black and black down worked well with her own. She was more for speed and his was more for endurance but they worked well together.
That flight had been exhilarating in so many ways, especially when they had done the dive together. The dive of complete trust where they held onto each other’s forearms and put their foreheads together. They would wait until the very moment they had to pull up and do it together.
She had only ever seen a handful of them and only by those who could fully trust the other and allow their instincts to flow. It was a beautiful experience for them all and Maria coveted that fall for the rest of her life.
Maria was extremely happy when Carlos had proposed to her and then they built a house on the edge of the beach they had met at. They had cultivated a farm around the area and made a living off of that.
Then her children began coming into the world.
The first four all inherited their father’s wings. Broad and strong and sturdy. They all flew with assurance and they all knew how to fly in storms and how to fly with others outside of their flock. They all knew how to do so and Maria was so happy to watch them fly and to fly with them and it was even better when her fifth child arrived into the world.
He was the surprise of their family, coming in at six years younger than their fourth child who had just barely turned six. A little accident that shouldn’t have happened as his father had had a vasectomy after their fourth child.
A miracle that Maria welcomed handily into their world with a smile.
Another little boy with little fluffy wings that only had nothing but down. They wouldn’t know what type of wings he had until he had molted all the down for his adult wings but Maria prayed that she had finally bore a child with her wings. She wanted just one that could soar in the colors that she held herself.
The day that Lance’s wings finally molted and showed his warm brown wings was the day that Maria cried in joy.
It was also the day they had dragged him in to see a pediatrician because most children didn’t get their full adult wings until they were fourteen or fifteen.
Lance got his at six.
As far as the doctor could tell, the boy’s wings were ready for flight and completely capable of holding his weight. He had explained that there were some people who naturally grew their wings in earlier than others. Lance just happened to be one of those and there wasn’t really anything stopping him from flying.
Which was why they were out on top of the cliff that looked over the ocean. It was time to help the youngest get up into the sky with his family.
“Alright Lance, just do as we’ve talked about and you’re going to do just fine.” Maria said as she rubbed the boy’s shoulders. “You’ve got this.”
The young boy nodded his head in excitement and a wide grin on his face. “Can I go mama? Can I go?!” He questioned excitedly, wings flaring out in excitement and impatience. “I want to fly with everyone!” His eyes were on the figures of the rest of his family, all but he and his mother were flying. He wanted to join them, had wanted to for as long as he could remember.
Maria smiled at that. Her boy was so excited to fly and she was excited to fly with him. “Alright, now just take a slow…”
She watched with horror as her youngest took a running leap and disappeared over the cliff. “LANCE!” She screamed in horror and ran over to see her son’s body splattered against the rocks down below.
Only to scream with her son as he shot up into the air, twirling like a dance ribbon. She watched with a wide open mouth and eyes as the boy shot around in the sky, waving around his siblings like he had been doing it all of his life.
She could only watch in amazement as the boy flew in the sky as if he had born there.
She ended up with a wide smile on her face as she followed her family into the sky. Though it turned into an impossibility to keep up with her youngest when it turned out what an exceptional flyer he turned out to be.
She could only smile as she flew alongside her entire family, no matter where they were in the sky, they were always together in flight.
It wasn’t until he was ten that Maria found out what her son was.
Carlos’s mother had explained it to them after the woman had watched Lance fly one day during a rain storm. The boy had flown between lightning and among the typhoon forced winds. It had been insane for the child to fly during the time but he hadn’t stopped. NO, he had flown directly into it without a trace of fear.
Lance was one of the special few that was so driven by instinct that they flew like real birds. He could do feats that humans were never meant to do and he could do them without a single thought or without any strain.
He was simply born to fly in the skies where he wasn’t held to the ground.
Maria had cried in joy and sadness. Joy because she knew her baby would always know where he belonged. Sadness because he couldn’t stay where he needed to be the most. It would be a struggle for him to be happy when he wasn’t where he needed to be.
Instinct could be cruel, Maria knew this intimately.
She had watched her father suffer from the instinct of lacking a Flight Partner. She had watched as he had torn himself apart and threw his entire being into despair. That instinct had cost her father.
Instinct would cost Lance a lot in the future, she could already tell just from the stories the older woman had given.
The instinct to fly would be strong.
His flying would be strong because of it.
He would need a strong Flight Partner.
He would need another Primal Flyer.
She cried when she found out that there were far too little of those special flyers that could possibly match her son.
There was a chance he would never have a true flight partner that could match him in all his abilities and he would suffer from it.
Those instincts that were so coveted by others and desired by many, it would lead to the ruin of her son.
There was nothing that she could do about it.
Lance had known that he was a great flyer.
They sky was his home in a way that his actual home never was.
The wind beneath his wings always made his heart soar.
That was why he had ended up choosing the Galaxy Garrison and learn to fly even farther.
His parents were very supportive and they worked hard to get him into the school. Veronica had made it in on a scholarship in the past and so he was going to do the same. It took effort, more than he had ever had to use before.
His body thrummed with energy that wanted to be burnt by flying. Flying in the sky where he belonged.
It was pure torture but it was all worth it in the end.
He had gotten a full ride scholarship into the Garrison.
As a cargo pilot.
Not a fighter pilot like he had wanted.
Which was something he could handle.
He’d work up to a fighter pilot and show them what he had. It was hard work just to sit down and study seriously due to his instincts, but it was something he would force himself to do. No matter what.
He would become a fighter pilot.
The best time for flying was when it was raining and the winds were powerful. That was when he did his bed flying and he enjoyed it.
His teachers did not.
He could understand if the other students were to try what he did, but really, he wasn’t like the other students. He was Primal Flyer, born to be in the skies, especially when it was storming outside.
He flew best when the winds were kicking up typhoons and when the rain hit him so hard it bruised. It brought all of his instincts to the front and it forced him to release all of his attachments to Earth just so he could fly as he needed.
On pure instinct.
He crowed out into the pelting sky as he flew up higher into the clouds, avoiding the crackle of lightning by the edge of his teeth. He could feel the electricity fluff his feathers and flash his hair into the air. He had been so close to getting electrocuted.
He screamed in pure excitement.
He folded his wings into his body and fell back towards the ground, eyes closed and relishing the wash of water over his body.
He had come out in a plain black t-shirt and the cadet slacks. His feet were bare as he had left his shoes in his room, not wanting to get them waterlogged for the next day.
He could feel the ground rushing up towards him, the screaming of others down below as well.
One would think they would have learned by now that he wasn’t going to hit the ground. There was no chance of it happening.
He flared his wings out just before he would have hit the ground and then opened his eyes. He was sure his pupils were blown as he stared at a familiar mullet headed boy that was watching him with awe and disbelief. His hair was tacked to his forehead and cheeks from the rain and his uniform was completely soaked.
He sent a smirk at the amazed boy before he gave an all mighty flap of his wings and shot back into the air.
He wasn’t ready t return to the ground just yet.
The lecture and screaming from Iverson would be worth it just to follow the instincts that he had had his entire life.
They were to do flight simulations inside of the actual ship simulator and then on their own wings three times a week. For cargo pilots it wasn’t very hard. Lance aced all the flight simulations for the heavy and clunky ships that itched at him in the worse way possible. It was so slow and unable to make quick turns like he wanted. He was forced to work with Hunk to pilot the snail of a ship though and so he did so. Luckily cargo ships only needed a mechanic and a pilot as they were rather simple in design.
He suffered through that torture just so he could spread his wings during flight training. Where he could fly without a worry as all the teachers had figured out that he needed no help with the maneuvers that came to him so easily.
They never allowed him to race the other students in the competitions that were held during each class. They said it would be unfair for him to knock their egos down even further. Lance had taken it as the complement it probably wasn’t meant as and used the time to just fly high into the sky and dive.
He hoped that once day he would be able to dive with a partner. To find someone who could match him in his skills and give him such a thrill that it would sing in his blood and cause his wings to lighten in pure joy.
The feelings that his mother had explained to him.
Two of his siblings had found mates that they could perform the dive with. Marcus with his wife and Luis with his girlfriend. Rachel and Veronica had yet to find someone to truly fly with but their currently flight partners understood that they weren’t the right fit for each other. Once they found someone else to fly with, they would change it up and move on to try again.
The three of them so desperately wanted to find flight partners, but Lance knew he would have the hardest time. It had been explained to him just before he had left for the Garrison a year ago, back when he was fourteen.
Because he was a Primal Flyer, one who could fly on pure instinct and out fly anyone in the sky, it would be difficult to find a match. He, of course, could find temporary ones that could follow his lead and copy his movements. It was finding someone who could completely match him for wingbeat and move and maneuver that would be difficult.
There weren’t many Primal Flyers.
Lance sighed as he watched his classmates fly against each other, pushing themselves as far as they possibly could go.
The Cargo and Fighter pilots flew together when it wasn’t a ship simulator, so Lance could watch which person could somewhat fly.
So far, the two that held the leads of the class was James Griffin and Keith Kogane, with Kogane in the lead more often than not.
That boy knew how to control those dark wings of his. Gorgeous like a raven but with hints of purple, red, and gray throughout them. He could twirl and loop de loop with the best of them and had no fear in trying new tactics or ideas. He was fast and could make quick sharp turns that could almost keep up with Lance.
Griffin was more clinical in his way of flying. His wings were a dark brown with reddish tips, much like a hawks wings, but held a power to them that had startled Lance the first time he had seen him fly. He had not expected such a stout pair of wings to hold that much power but they had pushed the teen off of the ground in a single flap without a single leap to help. Then the way he flew was so controlled that Cuban felt like the other teen knew exactly what he was doing at all times.
The two were incredibly entertaining to watch to see who would be in the lead. Griffin with his powerful wings or Keith with his quick movements.
Then there was Hunk, his roommate, with the wonderful white and golden wings, like an owl’s. The teen wasn’t fast but Lance could tell he had control and he had felt the gusts of wind from those wings before. They rivaled a full grown raptor’s wing flaps and had sent Lance into a spiral of absolute joy.
Not that Hunk knew he had used that gust on purpose and had immediately freaked out.
He had to promise not to do that again.
He did it again.
The other flyers weren’t anything too special, at least not to him. None of them had a chance in hell in flying with him in any capacity and he scoffed whenever one of them even thought about asking him to fly with them on their breaks. He would out fly them and leave them behind in an instant.
He wasn’t going to waste his time with them.
He shook he head as he turned his head up into the clear blue sky and flapped his wings. He had one more year before he was forced to choose a flight partner. Someone to fly with and release certain endorphins in his body that spoke of wholeness. Hormones that would let his instincts know that he was not flying alone.
That he had a flock.
A flock that was important as it allowed them to hunt and protect young effectively. It was a survival tactic that hadn’t really ever left them and instead was turned into a way to find that one mate a person could completely trust.
He spun himself in a tight circle as he continued flying upwards, the chilliness of the elevation hardly effecting him as he got higher. He really wasn’t looking forward to the matches as he already knew, knew from watching all thirty-nine other pilots in his year, that there was no one that could match him.
HE closed his eyes and fell backwards, wings folding tightly to his back as he allowed himself to fall freely.
The feeling of loneliness would not leave him the rest of his flight.
He snarled as he flew around in the sky. His brown wings flaring out sharply and flapping harshly as he moved around.
It was Match Day for his year.
Already he had many possible suitors trying to lead him or keep up with him. None of them were even trying to follow his lead and his tactics. None of them were trusting him to lead them into the air and then back to the ground safely.
It rankled his sense of pride and his instincts cried for justice and revenge.
So he followed them with glee.
He flew around in a tight circle at first, watching as the suitors just flapped their wings so they would ‘float’ in place, none of them copying him anymore.
They were planning to wait him out.
Wait until he was tired and would be forced to choose someone.
It would be a prize for whoever managed. An instant boost in social standing for someone to fly with the best of their year, even if he was only a cargo pilot.
He screeched at them angrily, scaring a few off, but many of them screeched back at him challengingly.
That was it.
He sent off another screech before he shot up into the air. He slammed his wings down so hard he could feel a soreness appearing in his joints he hadn’t felt in a long time.
He flew up as high and as quickly as he could before tipping himself back and tucking his wings in. He kept his eyes open as he aimed for right in the middle of the group of idiots trying to catch up to him.
He snapped his wings open once he was in the middle of the startled students, screeching at them angrily. His anger and annoyance were causing his feathers to fluff and the hair on his neck and arms to stand. He just wanted these wannabes to go the hell away and leave him alone! None of them were worthy of him and he was going to make sure they knew it.
They either screamed or yelped in horror as they were sent off balance and fell several meters.
He watched them angrily as they took off to find someone else to fly with.
That meant he was alone.
He could feel his shoulders slump heavily, already knowing that he would suffer from this and prepared to do so until he found someone that could keep up.
That was when he saw a flurry of flaps from familiar black wings.
He shot his eyes onto the only other flyer at this point that was circling him. Amethyst eyes glared at him as he flew lazily around him.
Kogane had made it apparent that none of the others had appealed to him either and now he was scouting Lance. The Cuban glared at the other teen as he turned his body in time with the other for what seemed like hours.
Neither really made a move but Lance knew that he needed to test the other. To see if he could settle his instincts somewhat, if only temporarily. With that he pumped his wings once more and took straight up again.
This was something he was known for, that everyone knew he did, so if the other couldn’t adjust to work with the Cuban, than there was no point in flying with him.
With that thought in mind he tilted backwards and allowed his eyes to close as he fell to the earth. He made sure his wings were tucked comfortably.
He could tell that Kogane was following him in the dive. He wondered how far the other would go before pulling up but he knew it would be long before any height Lance normally did. That was fine, it was how he did it that would matter in the end.
He waited just until he normally did and slammed his wings out before shooting straight at the raven.
Their eyes met as Lance moved close to the other boy’s body, waiting to see the other flinch in fear, instinct base or otherwise.
Only he didn’t and instead allowed the other to twirl around his body before looping around to follow him.
Lance looked under him with a curious frown on his face before looking back forward. He did barrel rolls, dives, climbs, twirls, rolls, flips, and loops to try and see how well Keith could keep up.
He was pleasantly surprised when the boy followed every move and adjusted to copy the movements in a way that was comfortable for him but still accomplished the technique required.
The Cuban was impressed and in the end slowed himself until he was flying right next to the other and brushed their wings together.
There was a click inside of him, not like an actual click, but something that had slid into place. It wasn’t perfect, he could tell, but that was okay. This was going to work out for the both of them in a way they needed.
They weren’t going to be mates but they could be flock. They could fly together and Lance could lead and teach Keith new ways to fly and the other could learn and become better. It would allow both of them a breath of fresh air that they both needed.
Lance smiled to himself as they landed and went their separate ways without say a word to each other. That was okay because they would be flying together every day and he could work on their bond. They would become closer and soon Lance would be able to call Keith a friend and flock.
All would be fine.
It was, in fact, not going fine.
Lance growled as Keith made maneuvers not meant for this wind. Not for him at least. Lance could make those maneuvers over and over again in these types of winds but Keith couldn’t. He wasn’t built for it and he didn’t have the instincts for it. The Cuban had tried to explain it to him and that they could skip one day of flying so that the other boy would be safe.
“But what about you then!?” Keith had growled at him. “You have to fly everyday with someone or you’ll be useless.”
To be fair, he did need to fly everyday now. Since he had found someone to fly with him, he found his instincts stronger than ever and it led to quicker falls to depression if he didn’t fly with his partner. It had actually ended up with him in the infirmary from dehydration and malnutrition when Keith had left the Garrison for a week just after the Kerberos mission had ended with the death of the crew.
No one had wanted to see that again.
“I know that, but I’ll survive a day.” Lance stated calmly, even as he felt the trembles in his wings at the thought of being unable to fly. That didn’t matter though, the safety of his partner came first and it was his job to keep his little flock mate safe. He was the better flyer and he knew exactly what the other was capable of and knew his limits. “So let’s just relax inside for the day and wait until it’s safer.”
Keith had growled and turned on his heel, marching outside before Lance could even think of stopping him.
He chased after the rebellious raven and screeched angrily when he saw the other already up in the sky, battling against the powerful winds furiously. He had sent his own body flying instantly, listening to the winds and allowing them to bring him up to the other. “Land!” He snarled angrily.
Only Keith had screeched at him and flown up further. Lance scowled as a low worried trill left him, looking up at the black clouds in the sky.
The storms in Cuba were always swift and strong and powerful. Typhoons were a normal occurrence and the crack of lightning and thunder was a boon to Lance. He had grown up knowing how to fly in those storms in an instant and did so as often as he could. His family never flew with him in the storms, it was too dangerous for them to even try.
The storms in Arizona were dry and the winds were hot, giving a more lifting effect than in Cuba’s own wet heat. The lightning and thunder were more wild and more often, almost burning Lance more times than he wanted to admit.
It was a tough fly for Lance and that would make it nearly impossible for Keith to even match. That was why Lance made sure he was directly over the other teen at all times. He would be the first to get hit by any lightning and if the raven fell, then Lance would be able to dive and catch him.
He moved his wings and allowed the wind to swing him back and forth, not fighting the wind and instead allowing it to lead him in a path. He didn’t have the time to try and fight it anyways as his eyes were completely focused on his partner.
Keith was struggling against the winds, screeches of anger and frustration ripping from his throat whenever he was smashed between drafts. It was driving the other boy that he couldn’t fly as he normally pleased and the Cuban could see it. If he didn’t change soon, he would be taking a nosedive towards the ground.
Which was exactly what happened when Keith screamed in pain, a gust ripping one of his wings too far back before he was twirling out of control.
The Primal Flyer cursed as he dove fast and hard, his arms wrapping around a struggling Keith in mere seconds after he began to fall. “Stop…struggling.” He grunted as he tried to twist them so that he could open his wings and stop the dangerous descent.
“Let me go!” Keith ignored him as his wings tried to gain air and continue the flight, but the wind wasn’t allowing him to as they battered them around, twisting them dangerously in ways they shouldn’t. “LET ME GO DAMNIT!”
Lance screeched a moment later, his instincts flaring as they got closer and closer to the ground. Normally he wouldn’t be scared, but at the moment he was holding not only his own weight but Keith’s as well. He would need to pull up sooner to stop any damage from happening to either of them or face the consequences.
With that in mind, he slammed his head forward into the back of Keith’s own, stunning the other boy just long enough for him to finally flare his wings out wide and slam them downwards viciously.
He screamed in pain as muscles flared in agony at the sudden weight put upon them. Weight they weren’t used to and so fought to carry it like he would any other day. It only got worse when he felt his feet slam into the ground and the pain flaring up both legs snapped him into the realization that they were much closer to the ground than he had anticipated.
He growled though as he snapped his wings back in and then rolled them both forward so that he could distribute the impact easier. It hurt rolling onto his wings, even tucked in as they were, and it hurt to have Keith’s full weight fall against him before releasing him.
He clenched his eyes closed as he felt the pain radiate along his legs, either cracked or broken from the feel of it. He ignored the screeching of Keith as the boy seemed to flop around on the ground like an injured magpie. He’d be unsurprised if there was some damage done to those black wings.
It would serve him right in the end.
Especially as Lance had casts on both his legs after that for six weeks.
Keith wasn’t coming back.
Lance knew that as soon as he was told that Keith had been sent off for a suspension after the reckless stunt that landed Lance in the hospital.
The boy had been acting off for a while, ever since he had learned about the Kerberos Mission crew having died. He knew about the other’s connection to Shiro and he figured it was the loss of a flock mate that had made Keith act so weird. He thought he had understood but in the end, he hadn’t. He hadn’t lost any of his flock from his family. He hadn’t known that lost just yet.
Keith had though. From what he could tell, the other boy had only had Shiro to begin with.
So he had either not had a family flock to start with or he had lost it.
Lance wasn’t sure which scenario was worse.
But in the end, it didn’t matter, because Lance knew from that deep place inside of him, of where his instincts lived, that Keith wasn’t going to come back.
He was without a partner once more.
And he was right.
The week of suspension was over and Keith didn’t return.
At first, they thought of pairing him up with the new kid, Pidge Gunderson, but he flew better with Hunk. Hunk’s own original partner had transferred to a different school and so the Samoan teen needed a partner as well.
The two clicked.
Lance didn’t have a partner.
He was able to somewhat trick his instincts though by flying with Hunk and Pidge. Hunk had been a close friend to him since his arrival to the school and his roommate. He had taken the boy under his wings and made him a part of his flock, even though he couldn’t even dream of keeping up with Lance.
Pidge was taken in as well, especially after he turned into Hunk’s partner, which Lance had crowed at happily. His friend deserved the best and Pidge proved to be the best flyer for Hunk.
The boy was small for being seventeen and his wings were still covered with down, which was weird but not unheard of. His copper hair was cut strangely, almost reminding Lance of a tree’s branches reaching outwards. His amber eyes shined with intelligence and some of the conversations he had heard between the two had been insane. The boy was so out of his mental league but right there with Hunk it had been perfect.
So he had no problem flying with the two and it calmed his instincts somewhat. He could fly and go to school and pass his classes by flying with the two. He taught them different techniques and how to read and follow the wind. He taught them how to expect heat draft and cool drafts and use them to their advantage.
It calmed him in a way he didn’t know he needed.
But it didn’t fill that need for a partner that could keep up with his abilities.
Keith had done wonderfully to do that but he wasn’t there to do so and Lance could tell that the strain of missing a partner was starting to take over.
His wings felt heavy.
He felt tired.
He didn’t want to fly.
Even when he went out with Pidge and Hunk, he could only really glide at this point. It was just too much effort to try and fly fully now. There just wasn’t a point.
His instincts screamed at him to find someone who could fly with him, anyone who could keep up even a little bit, but there wasn’t a single person. Not a single person could fly like he could and he already knew what his fate was going to be in the end.
He’d be lucky if he could reach the stars in the end.
They were just relaxing in their room when it had happened.
They were settled on the floor, Hunk sat in front of the Cuban and humming deliriously in pleasure. His gold spotted wings spread out as nimble fingers danced in between feathers, carefully preening and cleaning the wings. “Man, if I knew you collected as much dust in your wings like Marco’s, I would have brought my swifter to get it all out.” Lance groused as he wiped more dust out of the wings.
“I can’t help it.” Hunk drunkenly got out. His eyes were closed as his head began to droop to his chest. “My moms’ always complained too, said it was because my wings were so broad.”
Lance chuckled at that as he thought about his dad and brother, the two flyers in his family with the broadest wings. “But be a thing then cause my dad and brother have the same problem. Though we figured out that using one of those swifter dusters or just the actual like fluffy part of it, cleans the dust really well and fast. Then we just fixed the feathers afterwards.”
“Not a bad idea.” The other boy had to be almost completely asleep at this point. It was making Lance almost jealous but he was also going to be mean and not the other fall asleep completely. The other boy still had to do Lance’s too.
His head whipped towards the door as it opened, his eyes widening as he took in the six other boys.
He recognized them all, of course he did. They were all in his fighter pilot classes. They were all below him already in scoring and none of them were happy to learn about it, but Lance hadn’t really cared. He was given the chance to be in the class he wanted and he wasn’t going to waste it just because these dudes couldn’t keep up.
Though that didn’t explain why they were in here. It was supposed to be lights out and the only reason why he and Hunk hadn’t been caught was because of the small lantern that Lance had brought along with him. It gave them enough light to see each other’s wings but no more than that.
“Um…” Lance said as he shared a look with Hunk before looking at the boys once more. “Can we help you?”
The group moved into their room silently, looks on their faces that Lance didn’t like. He felt chills up and down his spine as the door closed behind them and then locked. Only a superior officer would be able to unlock from the outside now.
“Dudes, it’s curfew, you should be in your rooms.” Lance said as he stood up, his wings flaring in warning. Hunk curled in on himself as he watched them with wide eyes. “Get out.”
“No, I don’t think we will.” One said with a smirk now on his face. “We’ve come to have a little chat with you McLain.”
“Yeah, well I’m not interested.” He stated, his eyes flashing as he tried to take in features. He couldn’t though as the lantern wasn’t bright enough. “You can leave.”
“We’ve come all this way though.” Another stated as they closed in, one stopping right in front of Hunk, who squeaked in sudden horror.
Lance’s eyes widened when he saw a knife held at his friend’s face, glinting dully in the lantern light. “Get away from him!” He growled and moved to push the boy away but stopped when the knife nicked lightly at the dark skinned nose threateningly.
“Take another step and he loses a nose.” The Cuban stopped as his wings fluffed up in fear and agitation, Hunk’s own doing the same. “Now, you’re going to do as we say and he won’t be hurt.”
“Lance…” Hunk whined as he glanced at his friend, fear and horror lighting up those warm brown eyes.
Blue eyes darted around the room as he took in all six figures. They were all different sizes and shapes and he could see several of them holding things behind their backs. “What do you want?” He questioned as he held his hands up in the air and tucked his wings tightly against his back.
“Get the fatty tied up and out of the way.” The first voice spoke and soon Lance could do nothing as Hunk was hog tied and thrown on his bed, his mouth gagged with a sock shoved in his mouth roughly.
“Don’t hurt him.” He growled as he fought to keep his wings tightly folded and from attacking the others. He could see flickers of knives in all of their hands now as they turned towards him. He still couldn’t see their faces, made even worse when the lantern was kicked over and right up against the door. The light would seep underneath the door and one of the guards would see it at some point, Lance was sure.
“He’s not the one we’re going to hurt.” Lance didn’t even get a chance to fight as a hand latched over his mouth and then his face was slammed down into the floor. He screeched as his wings were ripped away from his back, laid out flat against the ground. He felt feet settled at the top joints of his wings, holding them down and then a body settled on his lower back as his feet were tied together and his wrists bound.
“Get off!” He screeched, hoping someone would hear him.
“Be quiet or Garret is going to lose a wing.” The boy on his back threatened and Lance instantly fell silent. He couldn’t let his friend be harmed. “Alright, let’s get this over with then.”
Then there was pain.
White hot agony lanced up and down his spine as he felt knives dive against his wings, ripping at the feathers and slicing them apart. He screamed at first but when someone threatened Hunk again, he tried to keep silent, hold his cries, but he couldn’t stop them all. It all hurt too much.
He could feel the back of his shirt soak with blood and he could see his golden feathers lay on the floor around him, soaked in blood or sliced to pieces.
He knew what they were doing but there was nothing he could do to stop them. Nothing to save him from a fate that would end with his death at some point.
All he could do was cry and whimper and whine as his wings were brutally clipped.
It felt like years before the door was slammed open and someone finally came in, gun pointed and ready to shoot.
Lance cried out in pain as one last slash was made to his wings even as the other teens were ordered off and away from him.
It didn’t matter.
It was too late to do anything to save him.
He spent two weeks in the hospital, all bills paid curtesy of the lawsuits against all six boys and their parents and the Garrison.
Not that it mattered really.
His wings had been brutally clipped. So much so that it looked like one of those skeletal wings that monsters had from horror movies, but covered in scarred skin. There were some feathers that were completely mutilated and torn, but they were there on his wings. They were there and so he made them leave them.
After that he didn’t really remember a whole lot. He had screeched at anyone who tried to touch his wings, preferring to keep them against his back and underneath his clothes now. He refused to allow his mother to wash them and he refused to look at anyone for a long time. Other than that, he sat in his hospital bed, staring at nothing as he waited to be released.
His mom tried to make him return home after he was released but he couldn’t. He couldn’t go back home where everyone would go flying and he would be grounded. He would be stuck on the ground and unable to join them.
Unable to fly.
The closest he was going to get was by flying the fighter jets that were at the Garrison. He had to return and get into the force so he could fly again.
Even if it meant flying without his own wings.
He stared up at the sky, breathing deeply as he took in the dark pink clouds of the planet they were on at the moment. They had just finished negotiations and were planning on leaving but had been lay wayed when the clouds had appeared with blue rain splattering all over the place. Purple lightning flashed in the sky.
He looked down to where the trees waved in the typhoon like winds and how the lights in the buildings glimmered prettily among the rain.
His head turned back to the sky as his bright blue wings flared behind him. He still couldn’t believe the weight on his shoulders was real and sometimes he would just stare at his feathers. The dark blue that faded into white feathers that were now all his.
He could fly with them.
He could fly.
His eyes flashed as his pupils narrowed and turned into slits, instincts flaring as his wings stretched out behind him quickly.
He hadn’t flown in a storm in so long.
It was just begging him to join in the fun.
He took in a deep breath before releasing a furious screech.
His wings slammed down and he was in the air before he could even recognize the now familiar return screech behind him.
The rain splattering against his face was like a song that brought his soul to the highest peak it could get and he gave another screech, rejoicing in the feeling of freedom.
He recognized the feeling of his mate appearing at his side and soon the two were twirling around each other as they flew around flashes of lightning and dove among the dark pink clouds, coming out soaked from the water they held.
Neither cared though as they rejoiced in their freedom and in their ability to full out fly with another.
Shiro had been so kind. Lance knew the man had gone through hell with the Galra. The man had spoken how his feathers had been pulled out to be sold as souvenirs of the Champion. They never fully destroyed his wings though and that meant the chances of escape as they grew back in.
The older man had proven to be brilliant in strategy and in flight. Something that the Cuban knew was from being a Primal Flyer. A trait he was sure they all shared amongst the few of them.
It also proved helpful to have the two leading the team now, someone that Shiro could lean on despite all the weight he carried around him. The younger teen had no problem taking over the flying simulations they did or even improvising during missions when things didn’t go quite like they planned.
It infuriated Allura more than the princess would like to admit, believing that Keith would be a better second but she couldn’t fight the results. Lance could lead the team if needed, but that was only if needed.
He was made to do so after all.
Though it was hard for a while after he had gotten his wings returned, especially when it came to Keith.
He couldn’t fly with the other teen like had once done, the damage to their relationship had been made and he wasn’t ready to forgive just yet. The raven would have to prove he was willing to fly with anyone in the flock before he was forgiven.
Though that didn’t mean that Lance kept Shiro from flying with the other. The two of them were like brothers and that helped keep Keith in line. Kept the boy thinking that this was his flock, that he belonged here with them.
The two Primal Flyers made sure he flew with Hunk and Pidge as well and then with Lance and Shiro and then the entire flock. They all had to work to keep Keith stable, which was turning to be rather easy. Too easy.
He shook his head as he brought himself back to the present, trilling happily as he performed a barrel roll that Shiro copied right below him, matching him wing beat for wing beat. He followed the older man’s quick turn downwards, tucking their wings in, and then performing several back flips and rolls before flaring their wings out once more.
He could hear the excited shouting from the ground, their flock waiting for their return. The winds were too strong for them to join the two in this flight and they all knew that. It was fine though because they knew they would return.
The blue winged fly flipped and turned back to Shiro, the black onyx eyes meeting his with such heat that he felt his body heat up with excitement. He felt goosebumps rise on his skin and a shiver that wracked his frame.
It had nothing to do with the rain and wind.
He cooed at the older man, gaining a rumble that spoke leagues of what Shiro was thinking.
He gulped before smiling and then diving down, wings tucked against his back. He didn’t fight the wind as he dove towards the ground with excitement and boiling blood.
He had always loved the rain and the storms of his home in Cuba. The wet heat and the fierce typhoon winds that he had grown up with.
He had missed them when his wings had been butchered away. Had missed the dry storms of Arizona and the quick flashes of lightning the dessert had given him even when it lacked the wetness of rain.
The alien planet’s rain was blue with pink clouds and purple lightning. The wind was powerful and much like the typhoons at home, rustling his feathers in a pleasant and exciting way he had never thought he’d feel again.
It was nice to feel the winds of a typhoon in his wings once more.