There are scars on Justin’s back, one on each of his shoulder blades. Wade finds himself idly tracing over the marks when they fuck and he can reach them, when Justin falls asleep before he does and they’re there for him to touch. Justin’s never spoken about them, but Wade doesn’t blame him. He knows what it’s like to have scars.
When Wade does ask – a summer’s night in his apartment with all the windows open to let in the cool breeze – Justin only raises an eyebrow.
“You wouldn’t believe me,” he says.
“Try me.” God knows that Wade’s a sceptic, that he’ll doubt everything that isn’t himself, but he knows that sometimes, the most unbelievable of stories can turn out to be true. The foot long scar under his right arm is proof of that.
“I mean it.” Justin’s words are sharp, as if he’s trying to warn Wade, trying to ward him away from finding out the answer. “You’d never believe me.”
Wade considers. Maybe opening up about it would hurt, would reopen the wounds for Justin and make him relive the experience and his feelings and whatever bad thing happened to him to give him the scars. He doesn’t want to do that, doesn’t want Justin to feel that. Wade knows all about what that’s like.
“If it hurt too much, then you don’t have to say,” he tells Justin. “Just know that I’d believe you.”
“It didn’t hurt,” Justin says simply. “I just know you’ll think I’m kidding with you.”
That wouldn’t be a stretch, considering just how often he does, but Wade knows enough to realise that this is serious.
“I won’t think that,” he assures Justin. “Just – trust me.” His hand wanders to Justin’s back, to his shoulders, to exactly where Wade’s memorised the scars are. Justin shivers a little at his touch.
“OK, then.” Justin’s eyes lock right onto Wade’s, and he might usually be so far away from intimidating, but that look right there – that almost is. In this particular light, Justin’s eyes gleam almost golden, unnatural. It’s gorgeous, but the slightest bit unsettling. At any other time, Wade would want to swallow him whole, but right now, it looks like Justin could very well do that to him, and thinking about it makes Wade’s heart skip a beat, and – “That’s where my wings are.”
Wade’s eyes widen. Immediately, he removes his hand from Justin’s back.
“Your – what?”
“My wings,” Justin repeats.
He’s kidding around. He has to be kidding around, even though he said he wouldn’t. There’s no other explanation for it.
“You don’t… you can’t have wings.”
“Well.” Justin shrugs. “I can and I do.”
“So, you’re telling me you’re some sort of… I don’t know, some sort of faerie or something?”
Justin snorts. He doesn’t sound very pleased with that.
“Angel, thanks very much,” he says.
“Either way, it’s just as unreal.” Wade’s mostly over the initial shock of Justin’s wings statement – it can’t be real, it isn’t – but his heart’s still thumping away in his chest all the same, faster than usual, telling him he’s scared.
“You want me to prove it?” There’s an edge to Justin’s voice, a dangerous one. Wade’s heard it several times over the past couple of months – it’s always there when Justin’s competitive streak kicks in – but never like this.
“Go on,” says Wade. He’s not quite sure how he’s keeping the slight tremor out of his words. “Show me.”
Justin moves from his place beside Wade to in front of him, kneeling up on the mattress. Wade doesn’t know what’s happening, but Justin’s gaze is focused, is determined, and slowly but surely, what can only be a pair of wings starts to extend from his back. It’s just all light at first, too white, colourless, almost blinding, and Wade shields his eyes, but when he looks back, there are feathers, immaculate looking feathers just – sprouting from Justin’s back.
“What the fuck,” Wade says, and it isn’t even a question, just a display of his own incredulousness despite what he can see with his own two eyes. It doesn’t even go away when he blinks.
“I told you that you wouldn’t believe me,” Justin says. The wings – his wings – flap a little behind him. They’re big, bigger than Wade would have expected had he been expecting anything, and honestly, they’re beautiful.
“Yeah, well.” Wade’s words are slow; he’s still taken aback. “It’s pretty hard to believe.” His eyes wander across Justin’s wings, trying to take in absolutely everything he can. The bed is opposite the window, and the moon is full in the sky, its shine spilling into the room and making Justin light up, making his wings look almost iridescent. “Can I…?”
“You can touch,” says Justin, and Wade sits up and leans in closer to do so. He reaches out a hand, ready to make contact, but hesitates. What even is this? Angels aren’t – angels aren’t real. “Come on.”
The words make Wade look from Justin’s wings to his face. Justin certainly is real, and he’s here, with wings, claiming to be an angel. Wade swallows, and lets himself touch.
He’s only gentle, because wings have to be fragile, don’t they? Justin’s definitely feel like they are, all delicate bones and soft feathers. The moon only emphasises it all the more, only makes everything look like it’s shimmering.
“Is this OK?” Wade asks when he adds some pressure to his touch, and Justin nods. Wade lets his hand rest flat against one wing, and he doesn’t know why he feels so overwhelmed by it all, because it’s just feathers, really, and yet it’s so unlike anything else he’s ever felt. He’s awed. There’s no other way to describe it. Still in shock, yes, but apart from that – awed.
“You believe me now, yeah?” Justin says, the words almost as soft as his wings.
“I suppose I have to,” Wade tells him. “This is still weird, but. I believe you.”
“Good. And now, I guess you’ll always have a guardian angel,” says Justin, and Wade raises an eyebrow.
“I’m pretty sure I don’t need protection,” he says, because he doesn’t, and because it’s far too early on for them to be thinking about always, but he appreciates the gesture all the same.
(And when Justin eventually falls asleep beside him, his wings gone now, Wade brushes a finger over both the scars on his back, this time, knowing exactly what’s there.)