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Monoma flashes a fragile sort of smile when he enters.

“Hello, Hawks-san,” he greets.

Hawks shakes his head in response. “Let’s just start,” he mutters, grabbing hold of the boy’s arm and tugging him closer.

These... what could he call them... sessions... never feel real when they start. But then again, not much does after he’s been reduced to his current and pitiful state. Time floats around him, clouding the air with the opaque dregs of nightmares, making these meetings feel little more than a morbid fantasy he couldn’t keep himself from playing out.

He guides the boy to his room. It’s quiet there, windows shut and curtains carefully drawn in... And then he coaxes him to a seat on his bed, meeting his eyes as he follows every silent instruction. He stands in front of him, then, offering himself to be touched, forcing himself to retain just enough dignity to keep from biting his lip as those dainty fingers reach up to press against him, touching his cheek.

When they do, when he finally receives that touch that could and should have been innocent, that realistically was nothing but a wicked blessing instead... that’s when he gets to see them again.

His wings.

Hawks’ back prickles just at the sight of them. A blazing and glorious red, practically glowing even in the dim room. Every lustrous feather shivers as they appear, as his wings stretch out with a sigh from the vessel they’re attached to, an angelic display that takes his breath away, even now.

They settle quietly after their entrance, alert and expectant and only fluttering once as he immediately sinks his fingers into those scarlet plumes, mourning and relishing how soft they are against his skin. Just like he remembers them being.

Monoma is silent at his side. He lets himself be stared at and fawned over, dutifully allowing Hawks to bask. When he’s gone, Hawks wonders what he’s thinking during these strange and quiet times together. When he’s here, he hardly exists, as much of a ghost to him as Hawks’ former pride and glory.

His insides ache.

He’d been replaced so easily.

They hadn’t forgotten him, after it was done. They offered him everything. Compensation. Asylum. Experimental treatments, which he'd declined. Opportunities to counsel, share his knowledge, his experience, help raise and nurture another in his image. Further his legacy. Rear an heir.

That, he’d accepted.

He was an easy thing to replace. It was hard not to resent what took his place so easily.

Monoma shivers. All this time has passed between them now and he still isn’t used to his new onslaught of senses. Hawks remembers how long it had taken himself to get used to it all. Even by the end, he’d still shudder if someone mussed up a feather in one certain, wretched direction over another.

No. He wouldn’t do that to him.

Hawks is always gentle as he reminisces. He’s kind. Every caress is tender and loving, and he doesn’t leave a single feather neglected. His own training had been the same, so much care and spoiling despite the cruel stereotypes and horror stories people liked to house, gifts and praises given after so much hard work was done.

Careful massages. Hands working into sore muscles. Lips pressing to the shell of an ear as something vague is whispered. Fingers creeping lower, lower, lower.

Hawks watches his reactions, over time. As they continued, Monoma’s pale lashes would droop, the azure of his eyes growing hazy, his gaze losing its focus. His jaw grows slack, mouth drifting open, his lips parting and trembling weakly every now and then. His breaths come out so softly, in little staccatos and the occasional shaky gasp, like he keeps forgetting how. It’s so sweet.

He misses it. His own nerves grow desperate to echo along with that rising crest of pleasure he knows the boy must be feeling. Hawks pushes his fingers through the down gathered against his skin, between his wings, watching the muscles of his back twitch and slacken as Monoma sighs and stifles a moan.

If he does it enough, if he keeps up those slow and steady caresses along his spine and up along the edges of his wings, the boy tenses and holds his breath, flush pouring into his cheeks as he spills into his pants without even needing a more sensual touch. Hawks only continues to watch him as he does, unrelenting in his affections.

The first time it happened... Monoma had looked up at him with an apology in his eyes, ashamed and confused, caught between longing and a desperate sort of hopelessness. Hawks hadn’t stopped then, and he doesn’t stop now.

It’s when when he realizes, he really never should have expected any of them to stop.

---

Monoma looks tired.

“Takami-san,” he greets at the door. It’s overtly familiar, and an uncomfortable shock to hear, but he can’t blame him for it. Whatever it takes to equal out the playing field, he supposes.

At the moment, the boy wears Hawks’ clothes, something simpler in design to match his own tastes. It saves him time, he’s always hated having to wait for him to undress... and it makes it that much clearer who he’s expected to become. The slits in the fabric hover along his empty shoulder-blades, making the tissue that cover his own tingle as he’s forced to wait that one moment, but not a moment more.

He offers his arm.

Monoma takes it, and wings bloom easily onto his back, pushing through soft fabric and fluttering triumphantly.

Hawks aches, looking at them.

His. Those are his. Those are supposed to be his.

His back itches.

His, those are his, those are his.

“Down to the last feather, they’re identical,”  the trainer had said. “Impressive ability. With enough work, he’d make a great stand-in for any hero, not just--”

His.

“Shouldn’t he be learning more techniques by now?” his handler had scolded. “He needs to get a handle of all quirks, he can’t only have--”

His.

“Are you sure this is right?” Monoma had questioned, skeptical, the first time they were alone, frowning as he glanced over his shoulder. “Hawks, what are you--....”

His.

By the time they get back to his bed, his earlier sentiment is wasted. Monoma is naked and his wings are brilliant, spread out wide and shaking in his grasp. He holds them at their sensitive base, fingers wrapped around delicate bone and pulling with every thrust.

Monoma doesn’t try and hide the noise he makes anymore. He cries out loud, only half-muffling his face into the pillow as he’s slammed into, the jerk of his hips forcing his whole body to rock. His wings only thrash on occasion, otherwise shocked still, obedient and yielding to his will as he pulls on him, makes him arch grandly against the mattress, puppeteers him with a few yanks and tugs.

It’s so easy to pin him down and take him apart. There’s a building satisfaction inside of him, the glee that comes not just from hunting down prey, but by luring them in, domesticating them, making them surrender themselves, display their pale bellies on their own for the knife to slice through.

It’s what they’d done to him, isn’t it?

Made himself so willing to give the most beautiful parts of himself away?

It’s exactly the same as what they’d done. So they can't fault him for partaking.

Hawks’ breath grows harsh as he pants. His grip tightens and twists, and he leans forward, teeth against the shell of Monoma’s ear.

“Mine.”

He says it quietly, volume so low it can hardly be considered a purr, a growl. He gives his wings another crushing jerk like he could pull them right off and says it again, murmuring it into the air, an erratic mantra timed with the hammering of his hips. “Mine, mine, mine.”

Monoma responds, clearly misunderstanding who he’s talking to - or maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he understands more than he’ll ever say. “Yours,” he whispers back, his voice choked with pleasure, and Hawks only thrusts again.

---

Monoma hasn’t been sleeping, despite how long he’s spent in bed with him. He doesn’t say anything when Hawks rolls him over, only growing tense as his lips find that spot between his wings, right where the muscles of his back loved to knot together tight.

They have their own language, his wings. It’s a secret Hawks has long since been fluent in, but Monoma still has yet to figure it all out. Every emotion translates into a flutter, a flap, a sudden shaking and puffing up or drooping down. And while the boy has his own masks and his own acts to uphold, he’s not quite the expert he is. Every emotion is broadcast out, heart gored and bleeding red on his shoulder.

Right now, they quiver. Those beautiful wings are still and they’re shaking ever so lightly, caught between an icy terror and a violent urge to soar away from this place. There’s fear inside this boy, deep down somewhere, buried under his casual sultriness. Something inside him is telling him to fly away from him.

Ludicrous idea.

Maybe he needs a cage.

...

No. That’s silly. He himself has never needed one. Not any sort of crude shaping of one, anyway. His only cage had been the responsibilities of the country, the praises and rewards of the commission, the rules of the system, the love and hopes of his fans. Those cruel and gnarled fingers, smoke perpetually dancing at the tips as the fiery threat of death was dangled above his back - those had been a cage. He, in all his kindness, his care - no, he could never be that cruel.

His back burns.

He hasn’t been letting himself think about it, because his grief has already darkened his thoughts enough, but seeing them now as they dared to tremble in front of him - he can understand it. His wings had always been a target, they were a magnificent beacon of victimhood, practically beckoning for it... practically begging.

How easily those hollow bones would snap under just a little bit of careless force. How easily those feathers scorch into bits of ash with just the smallest flame.

Every day, with Dabi, with the League, he could taste it, that lust for blood, that need to watch him break and crack underneath him, under their weight. It coats his tongue, that temptation.

It wouldn’t even be permanent for the boy.

He wouldn’t even come away with half of the hurt he himself carries. Those wings would just bloom anew five, ten minutes from now, untouched, unsoiled, unruined. He’d never bear those same scars that ache at night, that had him waking up screaming from flames that have long since been put out. His livelihood didn’t depend on his wings. His hopes, his dreams, didn’t rest on these feathers. Everything he’s worked towards, everything he’s been torn apart and bled for, they didn’t all rest upon these fragile bones.

It isn’t fair.

Hawks feels his heart gnarling in his chest. His fingers tighten like choking vines around a flower stem. Those wings, his fucking wings, twitch under him, creaking with an audible chirr that pools warmly in his guts, that makes him keen with how delectable it sounds, that makes him shudder and gasp, pleasure finally exploding through him as he--

“K... Keigo,” Monoma whimpers out from under him, his voice a soft, ghostly whisper against the silk under him. “That--... you’re hurting me...”

“...”

He eases up, and cleans his mess off of his skin when he's done.

---

Monoma smiles at him in the morning.

“Satisfied?” he asks him, soft and mysterious, like he's known what he's been doing all along.

Hawks looks at him. A feather drifts down, loose in the air and catching the light. In that flash of a second, it looks aflame, a spark of crimson igniting gleefully before floating safely to the ground, unharmed.

His fingers ache.

“Not really,” Hawks replies, and reaches for his wings.