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A Soot-Stained Addition

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Phil was…extremely nervous, to say the least.

 

His application to be a foster parent had only been accepted a few days ago, and he had just received an urgent call from one of the social workers, begging for him to come help.

 

He’d been called in to collect a young boy from a rough foster home, as he was a “troubled kid” who desperately needed an escape from an apparently pyromaniac foster father. Apparently, Phil was the right person for the job, and so he’d been rung at nearly midnight to come and pick up this “troubled kid”, whoever they were.

Phil had been shocked into silence as the woman had continued on, explaining how the man had tried to set the house on fire while the poor kid was still inside.

 

And most of society thought that hybrids like himself were violent and horrible.

 

At least the panicky worker had managed to blurt out some of the basics about the kid – he’d been kicked out of many foster homes, he had violent tendencies, but what caught Phil’s attention the most was the fact that he was twelve - it meant that he was same age as his own son Wilbur, so at least the kid would have someone to talk to his own age.

 

Now, he was sat drumming his fingers along the steering wheel, driving himself and Wilbur along the dim road into the city at quarter past twelve in the night – or morning, depending on how you looked at it.

 

‘Dad?’ His son asked apprehensively, breaking the silence that had been weighing them during the drive and pushing his wire-rimmed glasses back up his nose.

 

Phil tilted his head towards the curly haired brunette, keeping an eye on the dark road that was slowly widening into the more regular streets of the city they lived nearby.

 

‘What’s up, mate?’ He inquired, feeling his hidden feathers puff up as they neared the location that he was meant to pick the boy up from.

‘What’s his name? I just… don’t really want to have to ask for his name, of all things, it seems to trivi–‘ Wilbur cut himself off, and Phil could almost see the cogs working in his son’s brain as Wilbur’s dark eyes narrowed.

‘Wait, is it weird to know someone’s name before you’ve actually met? Dad, am I going to come across as a creep? Cause I really don’t want to be seen as a weirdo, I already get called that at school enough’.

 

Phil chuckled at the boy’s mutterings and shook his head, briefly taking a hand off of the wheel to ruffle his son’s brunette mop before refocusing upon the streets, which were seemingly alive with activity despite the late hour.

 

‘Wil, it’s okay mate, no need to stress. In any case, his name is Technoblade’

----------

Phil’s eyes widened with horror as he took in the scene, pulling the car slowly up to the curb and hopping out in quick succession, leaving Wilbur to watch on from inside the car with round, anxious eyes.

 

The area was a complete mess, hazy smoke lingered heavily in the street, while a group of police officers and firemen surrounded the ashy remains of what appeared to be a house.

 

What the fuck had happened here?

 

There were a couple of government cars parked around, and a stern-faced policeman shoving a middle-aged man into one of the vehicles. A few other uniformed folks were standing near the run-down house, while a young woman was talking to a young and muscular boy with shoulder-length pink hair and covered in inky soot. The pair were a complete reverse of each other’s emotions; the woman looked extremely panicked and frantic, while the kid seemed to have no care towards whatever had just happened.

 

A weird feeling worked across Phil’s skin as he took in the kid’s dishevelled appearance , leaving goose-bumps in its path as it urged him to run up to the lad and protect him from all harm’s way.

 

Why was he getting that particular instinct now?

 

The last time he’d felt that feeling was a few years ago, when he’d watched Wilbur’s dragonfly wings begin to appear, but there was no way this kid was anything other than human…right?

 

Phil slowly approached the group, taking care to mind the shattered beer bottles on the pavement and avoiding the sharp-looking leaves that grew from the house’s “front garden” – if you would call a collection of weeds and ferns a garden.

 

The woman that was speaking to the child turned to face his as he approached, eyes softening in relief, while the boy simply raised a dark eyebrow at him.

‘Are you Phil Watson?’ The lady asked, bracelets jangling as she held out her hand towards him.

 

He nodded, scrambling his brain as he tried to remember her name. She’d introduced herself over the phone, but his recollection of most of the conversation had flown out the window, and all he could really remember from the quick discussion was that he’d needed to come and pick up a kid as soon as he could.

 

‘Yep, that’s me’ He replied casually, shaking the woman’s hand gently before turning his attention onto the pink-haired lad, who regarded him with disdainful, russet eyes that seemed to widen slightly in surprise as Phil reached out to shake the boy’s hand.

 

‘Hi mate, good to meet you’ Phil tried, giving the kid a friendly smile, who continued to give him that cold stare that sent shivers down his spine.

 

Phil was just about to retract his hand before the boy reached out and gave Phil one of the firmest hand-shakes he’d ever had before quickly withdrawing, reminding Phil of the squirrels that Wilbur would try and feed at the local park; twitchy, hesitant to say hello, and scared of the consequences that came with trusting someone.

The woman turned down to face the lad, who simply continued to stare at Phil with crossed arms and raised brows understandably skeptical of him.

‘Technoblade, this is Phil Watson. He’ll help you out, alright? I’ll see you soon to help you with…this’ - she waved her hand around at the messy scene surrounding them – ‘but for now, run along with Phil here. He’s a good man, alright?’ She reassured the pink-haired lad, and Phil didn’t really blame him as he gave her a scornful expression; the poor kid had probably heard that too many times, Phil knew that their city was one of the worst in the country when it came to abusive foster homes.

‘Come along mate, we’ll get you cleaned up back at my home, alright?’ Phil stated, reaching out to put a hand on Technoblade’s shoulder, but stopping as the kid adjusted his position so he was just out of reach.

The red-haired woman gave Phil an anxious smile before whispering a small “thank you” and speed-walking off towards a police officer, who was inspecting the house’s burnt exterior with a frown.

 

Phil glanced down at Techno, who still had his burly arms crossed and that slight scowl on his face, but his brownish-red eyes had softened ever so slightly, giving Phil a slight glimpse of apprehensive hope that maybe, Phil might be able to help this boy.

His hidden wings twitched in sympathy, and as his heart ached for this poor kid he swore to himself he wouldn’t let that softness in the lad’s eyes fade into disappointment and despair, no matter what happened in the future.

‘Shall we head back to the car?’ He inquired, clearing his throat, and Techno gave a simple nod as they made their way back to the SUV, where he could just make out Wilbur’s anxious eyes peering out at them returning to the car in dead silence. He felt a little awkward – the kid wasn’t saying anything, nor did he seem to want to say anything either, and Phil wasn’t one to push if someone wasn’t ready to talk.

Still, as he glanced at the pink-haired kid trailing behind him, he felt that familial flock feeling brush over him again, but he shook the thought out of his head.

 

There was no way that this kid…Techno…was anything but a human.

 

Right?

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‘So, Technoblade, where do you go to school?’ Wilbur asked, and Phil could’ve smacked his head against the wheel in exasperation.

 

This was probably the millionth question that Wilbur had asked Techno, and the kid hadn’t given him much apart from a few nods or shakes of his head, choosing to remain in a stony silence as he glared out the window and occasionally flicked a piece of ash off of him. Wilbur, being the stubborn kid that he was, seemed to take this as a challenge to try and get the pink-haired lad to talk.

 

Techno only shrugged in response to the curly-haired brunette, who’s grin only withdrew slightly before he opened his mouth again to ask another question.

 

‘Wil, for the love of god, leave him alone’ Phil intervened, raising an eyebrow at his son before pulling into their long driveway, expertly avoiding the scrubby bushes that lined the sides of the path as he trailed along.

 

‘But Daaaaaaaad’ Wilbur protested with a distinct eye-roll, garnering an ever-so-slight smirk from the deadpan lad in the backseat.

 

Phil grinned as well; while he would never say it out loud to his son (his ego was big enough as it was) he was grateful for Wilbur’s incessant questions – Phil hadn’t really practised “small talk” in a while, apart from the occasional grocery shop and whatnot.

 

He parked the car and turned to face Techno in the backseat, who was looking at the newly-renovated home in awe, twisting Phil’s stomach with sympathy.

 

Had the kid never seen a decent house before?

 

Phil shook the thought from his head as he gave the lad a small grin, determination rushing through him.

 

He was going to give Techno the life the poor boy deserved to live, no matter what.

 

Techno’s russet gaze snapped from the house back to Wilbur and Phil, seemingly giving up on trying to keep up his expressionless persona as the corners of his eyes crinkled with hope.

 

Phil gave the kid a soft smile, ignoring the tingle in the back of his brain that this kid seemed more than human. They would deal with that later, maybe. For now, Phil was determined to give this kid the second chance he deserved, no matter what his file said about his violent and "despicable" behaviour.

 

Techno opened his mouth, closed it, and then opened it again, raising an eyebrow as he glanced at something over Phil’s shoulder.

 

Wilbur gasped.

‘Dad, what the fuck? Put them away!’

 

Uh, what was Wilbur going on about?

Phil glanced around at his back to see his inky feathers had subconsciously revealed themselves in reaction to his overwhelming emotions.

 

Fuck.

 

‘Huh. Guess I’m not the only one with bird wings.’ Techno stated, rolling his shoulders and unfurling huge, pale white wings.

 

Phil felt his eyes go wide with shock, but his Avian instincts were doing quite the opposite, screeching a taunting “I told you so”. At least this made life at home easier; he and Wilbur wouldn’t have to hide their wings as much as they thought they would.

But still…what are the odds of him adopting a hybrid, let alone an Avian, just like him?

 

Techno’s relentless stare turned apprehensive and anxious as he and Wilbur both waited for Phil’s reaction.

 

Well, he was just going to roll with it. 

What was that saying? "Go with the flow" or some bullshit?

 

Phil shook his head and grinned.

‘Well…welcome to the flock, mate’.