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a single step is all it takes

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Techno always knew that one day his wings would fully develop and that he'd be expected to fly. Techno always knew that Phil was going to make him learn to fly, and Techno always knew that he was going to hate that day for the rest of his life. Everyone around him, especially Phil, always talked so highly about flying, about how freeing it was, about how nice it was and how amazing it made people feel. Techno never believed them for even a second, he never had a reason to. His wings were too small and if he ever tried to fly, he would plummet to his doom and die. He knew this from the first time he tried to fly and he froze up in the sky and nearly fell to the ground. So, now he stands at the front of his home up in the sky, shifting on his feet as his wings stretch out from his back, flapping nervously. Techno swallows back his fears and his nervousness, staring out at the sky and watching as clouds pass him by. 

"I really don't want to do this," Techno tells Phil, who he knows is listening to him. Phil always listens, he's just..pushy. Phil is really pushy, and Techno is afraid that his dad is going to make him do this anyways. "I really don't want to fly, Phil. I'm scared, and I think I..I don't.." he trails off, shaking his head. He stares out at the sky again, feeling his heart catch in his throat. His chest aches in the worst way possible, and Techno doesn't know how he's supposed to even try to fly if the very thought of it makes him feel like he's going to be sick. "Phil, I don't want to fly." 

"Then we don't have to," Phil tells him, setting a hand on his shoulder. "Techno, you know I'm not gonna make you do this, right, mate?" Phil looks at him, raising an eyebrow, concern very apparent on his face. "I'm not gonna make you do anything that you don't want to do, okay? I don't want you to be scared," Techno feels Phil's wings wrap around him, he shifts a little closer to his father, resting his head on the man's shoulder. He doesn't know why he feels like crying - it's been years since Techno cried. He thinks he might have cried when Phil first found him, but that was a really long time ago, and Techno hasn't cried since. He doesn't like crying, it makes him feel bad and gross. "We'll do this whenever you're ready, okay, mate?" 

Techno nods, smiling a little at the words. He isn't nearly as scared now. He feels Phil's wings wrap around him, he feels warm and safe and protected. He knows that his dad would never make him do something that he didn't want to do. Phil has been nothing but kind to him ever since they met, and Techno doesn't know how he'll ever be able to thank him for that. Phil always tells him that he doesn't have to say thank you, but Techno wants to, and he wants to be able to thank the man who saved his life properly. The nervousness in his chest dies nearly immediately, replaced with tired happiness. "One day," Techno murmurs. "One day I'll fly like you. One day I won't be so scared, I promise. I'll fly one day, I promise, Phil."

"Techno," Phil looks at him, a soft smile on his face, one that reaches his eyes. All of his smiles reach his eyes, Techno's noticed. "You don't have to fly just 'cause you've got wings, mate. That's not how it works. You can stay on the ground for your entire life, and I'll never be upset about that," he tells him. "Not even once. I promise you that, mate. You don't have to fly for me to be proud of you. You don't have to do anything that you're not comfortable with for me to be proud. Mate," Phil beams at him, reaching out to ruffle his hair. "I'm already so fucking proud of you. You've done so well, Techno, seriously. You're more than enough, yeah? Get that through your head, okay?" Phil taps the side of his head for emphasis, and Techno laughs, feeling warm and safe and happy. "Really, mate, I'm being serious. You never have to fly if you don't want to. I'm never going to make you do anything you don't want to. Promise." 

Techno looks away, thinking that if he looks at Phil for any longer he might cry. Happy tears, though. They'd be happy tears. "Okay," he murmurs, voice soft. "Thank you, Phil. I know that you say I don't have to say that, but I want to. You're..really, thank you. It''s really nice to have someone who understands. Someone who isn't goin' to make me do somethin' that scares me. You know?" He smiles, feeling his wings raise, flapping a few times, all on their own. Techno's noticed that they do that whenever he's happy, and he doesn't really know why they do. He doesn't mind - if anything, it's something he likes the most. It means he doesn't really have to use his words to express whenever he's happy, and he likes that. "So, um..yeah. Thank you, Phil. For everythin'." 

Phil beams at him, ruffling his hair again. "Of course, mate. Now, you wanna go and get something to eat? I'm fucking starving, dude."

And just like that, the conversation about flying is over, everything is back to normal. Their usual banter is back, though the soft words shared between them only seconds ago remain hanging in the air. Though it isn't awkward, it's not weird or suffocating. It's..nice. To know that they can switch between serious conversations to light-hearted quips. It makes Techno happier than he thinks he'll ever be able to properly express.

Techno stares out of his home, he feels his wings stretch out on their own. They flap once or twice, and he shifts from side to side, bouncing on his heels every few seconds. He's itching to fly, he wants to jump out of his house and feel the wind blow through his feathers and through his hair. Techno wants to soar, he wants to fly, and he wants to do it right now, and he knows that if he doesn't do it right now, then he'll never do it. "Phil," Techno calls out, feeling fear and nervousness stir in his stomach and chest, threatening to suffocate him. He feels like he's drowning, and he hates that. "Phil, I want to fly. Right now."

Phil seems to get the hint, but Phil always seems to get the hint, so it's really not all that surprising. "Alright, mate," Phil nods, setting his hand on the small of Techno's back. Techno shifts uncomfortably, staring out of the house. His heart catches in his throat, he feels like he's going to be sick. It's such a long fall down, if his wings don't work, he'll die. "I'll be right there with you, okay?" Phil murmurs, and then Techno feels himself start to fall. He screams, he thinks that he screams a little louder than he probably should, but he doesn't care. He feels himself fall, he feels his wings desperately start to flap, desperately trying to keep him in the air and away from the ground. Techno feels arms wrap around him, and his heart plunges to his stomach. He breathes out, his head absolutely spinning. 

Holy fucking shit

"I've got you, mate! I've got you!" Phil tells him, his voice breathy and tight. "You're okay, yeah? You're all good, see? We're fine!" Phil shifts, and Techno feels like he's going to slip and fall, but he doesn't. Phil keeps a tight grip on him, he keeps him right in place, right there in the sky. Techno breathes in and out, he forces himself to do the stupid breathing exercises that Phil taught him all those years ago, a little bit surprised when they actually work. He feels himself calm down, he feels his heart stop to race. He feels the world stop spinning, he feels less and less sick the more that he breathes. He's okay. "Alright, see? We're all good, we're great! You ready for me to let go?"

"Not really," Techno tells him, positive that Phil can see the fear shining in his eyes. His words break, but Techno can't really find it in himself to care that much at the current moment. "I don't..this was a bad idea," he admits, keeping his eyes up, refusing to look down. He knows that they're no where close to the ground, but it's still terrifying. Techno knows that if he looks down, he'll start to panic again, and he doesn't need to do that. He doesn't want to do that. Not at all. "Phil, I'm scared."

Phil nods, a small smile on his face. "I know. I know you are. I was scared, too. But it's okay," Phil slowly starts to let go of him, slow enough to not make Techno panic, but fast enough to let him know that he's doing it. "Your wings are a part of you, but they've sort of got a mind of their own. They'll know that they're supposed to be flying, okay? They'll know what they're supposed to do. Flying is in your blood, and even if you hate it and never want to do it again, your body is going to know what to do. Your wings will keep you alive, I promise. Okay, mate? You believe me?" 

Techno nods, biting down on his lip. He outstretches his wings, feeling the breeze blow through them, ruffling his feathers, quite literally. He shifts a little in Phil's grip, squeezing his eyes shut. "You'll be there to catch me if I fall, right? You'll catch me?" He opens his eyes, feeling a little less scared than he did only a few seconds ago. Somehow, Phil always manages to make him feel safe. Phil always manages to make him feel okay, it's something that he's way too good at.

"I'll always catch you, mate. I promise." 

And Techno knows that he's not lying. 

And so he pushes back, and he falls. 

He flies

Techno feels the wind whip past him, he feels the wind blow past his hair and through his feathers, and holy hell, he's flying. He's flying! "Phil!" Techno laughs, feeling his wings spread out, feeling them flap, feeling everything just work. He's flying, he's actually doing it, he's flying! "Phil, look!" Techno grins so hard that it hurts, it makes his face ache and it makes his chest hurt, but it's so work it, all of it, it's so worth it. "Phil, I- I'm flyin'!" Techno calls out, feeling himself hover in the air. He moves forwards, his wings flapping and beating and moving, and he's flying, he's actually flying, he's actually fucking flying. Techno feels like crying, in the best kind of way, and maybe he sheds a tear. Maybe he even sheds two, but he's not really counting, because that's not the important part.

The important part is that he's flying

He can hear Phil calling out to him, they're all words of praise and pride, and Techno doesn't think that he's ever felt happier in his entire life. He soars throughout the sky, he feels his wings flap around him, he feels the, stretch out and work and everything is perfect, everything is so fucking perfect. A second later and Phil is right by his side, laughing along with him and shouting out praises and words of encouragement, and Techno can pretend like the words don't go directly to his head, but they do. They make his chest hurt in the best way possible, and he grins so hard that he thinks that his face will actually get stuck like that. 

"You're doing it, you're doing it!" Phil laughs, his voice soft and filled with gentle pride, which shines through every single one of his words. "Look at you go, mate!" Phil sounds so proud, and it makes Techno's heart soar. He doesn't need his dad's approval to be proud of himself, but it definitely helps, as much as he doesn't want to admit it. "I knew you could do it, Techno! You're absolutely killing it, look at you fucking go, dude!" 

Techno laughs, turning his head to look at his dad, smiling so wide that it genuinely hurts, but he can't stop, not at all. "I am, I am!" He agrees, his breath hitching in his throat as he realises that he's actually doing it. He's actually flying, he's literally flying, he's doing it, and he's doing it all on his own. Phil might have shoved him, but this is entirely Techno's doing. He spent months, years, of his life watching Phil fly around in the sky, and he picked up on all of it, and now he's doing it, he's flying. Flying feels so good, flying feels like the best thing ever, and Techno can't believe that he was ever scared. "Phil, I'm flyin'! I'm doin' it, I'm flyin'!" 

"You are!" Phil agrees, beaming at him with the biggest smile that Techno has ever seen on his dad's face. "Look at you go, I'm so proud of you, mate! You're doing so well!" 

Normally, Techno wouldn't believe the words. He'd pretend like they were lies, his head would weave them into untruths. 

But now, now Techno realises that the words aren't lies. 

They're true. 

And along with flying, those words are going to leave him happier for the rest of his life.