"So what you're telling me is that you spontaneously grew wings overnight?"
Shin, cross-legged on the edge of her futon with feathers trailing on the floor, nodded impatiently.
"And that's how you got into the compound?"
"You don't secure against aerial invasion, apparently."
"And then you broke into my bedroom?"
"I needed to talk to you!" He was trying not to raise his voice to avoid rousing the rest of the household, but it was becoming increasingly difficult.
"But it's the middle of the night!"
"Yankumi. I have wings."
"You're probably just dreaming," muttered Yankumi sleepily. "They'll be gone in the morning."
"I don't think that's how dreams work," Shin started, but Yankumi was already falling back to sleep.
He sighed. After poking her a few times in the side without response, he curled up at the base of the futon and tried to get some rest.
The wings were heavy on his back and the feel of them would wake him every time he shifted in his sleep. To make matters worse, Yankumi snored.
Shin was rudely awoken from an uneasy doze by a shriek, quickly followed by footsteps outside and a lot of male voices asking if 'ojou' was all right. Shin sat up quickly, making quick abortive gestures at Yankumi.
"Ojou? Stand back, I'm breaking in!"
Shin got to his feet unsteadily and backed into the corner of the room that would be least visible from the entrance.
That seemed to get through to her. "No, don't! I'm fine," Yankumi yelped.
'Spider', Shin mouthed at her.
"Just... a bad dream." Yankumi glared at him.
Shin could hear feet shuffling uncertainly outside the door. "You sure?"
"Go back to bed, Tetsu."
The footsteps slowly move away.
"I'm not afraid of spiders," Yankumi told Shin, folding her arms.
"It was just a suggestion," he muttered, crossing his legs again and settling himself in the corner of her futon.
Yankumi looked him up and down slowly. "It wasn't a dream?"
Shin shook his head.
"I'm calling the doctor."
The doctor's arrival an hour later caused another round of "Are you sure you're all right, ojou?" and some frantic deflection on Yankumi;s part that Shin wasn't quite able to make out.
The doctor huffed in surprise and had Shin stand, taking his temperature and his blood pressure and making him stretch the wings out to their full length.
"You're his teacher?" the doctor asked Yankumi, who nodded. "He does well in school?"
"Eh..." said Yankumi hesitantly. "When he turns up. He could do better if he tried."
Shin rolled his eyes.
The doctor nodded. "As I suspected. Looks like a case of Matilda Syndrome to me."
"Matilda?" Shin repeated, stumbling over the unfamiliar English word.
"It's rare, but well-documented. Usually it hits younger kids, but there've been a couple of cases of teenagers."
"I've never heard of anybody growing wings."
The doctor continued, ignoring him. "When a kid isn't using their full brain power, sometimes it gets diverted in weird ways. It manifests differently in every case."
Shin blinked. "So how do I get rid of them?"
The doctor shrugged. "The studies say once the kid starts using their brain, the syndrome disappears."
Yankumi clapped excitedly. "You mean he has to start actually paying attention in school?"
The doctor shook his head. "I'm not sure that would be sufficient, you said he already does well in school. You'll have to assign him extra work." He winks at her.
Shin struggled to maintain the proper facade of bland despair while confronted with Yankumi's expression of utter delight.
The doctor snapped his clipboard shut. "I'll write you a note for a week off school. Call me if you're still having trouble then."
Kumiko returned from seeing the doctor out with a large pile of textbooks in her hands. "Now, where shall we begin..."
"You're looking forward to this," Shin accused, pointing a finger at her.
"Of course I am, you're my best student. It's every teacher's dream to see her students reach their potential!"
Shin fought back a blush. She even seemed like she meant it.
Anyway, it wasn't like it would really be a hardship to spend extra time with Yankumi, even if he did have to do more work.