Ever since the weekend Sportacus noticed there was something wrong with Robbie.
The way the villain usually moved was in a flow, long strides, head held high, chest puffed out pridefully. A bit like a peacock, Ziggy once pointed out. A maroon and purple colored peacock.
Recently he found him wincing with every movement, his face unusually scrunched in annoyance – or pain. Sportacus had his hands tied as it was spring season, which meant the children were outside nearly the entire day, playing picking apples, climbing trees – which inevitably caused more accidents that Sportacus had to fix.
If they didn't need rescuing, they wanted the superhero to join them with their games or help them carry loads of apples to Miss Busybodys kitchen to make apple pies. But luckily, spring holidays were over soon and school began once more, giving Sportacus a breather from all the activity he was pulled into.
Not that he minded – but Robbie's health was a leaden burden on his mind. And evidently it did not improve.
Now he noticed Robbie stopped moving his entire right arm. He clutched it around himself as he shuffled through town, scowling.
Sportacus scolded his crystal for not even giving him the slightest hint that there was something wrong. For some reason it's always been harder to pick up on Robbie's miseries than others. So instead, he decides to take matters into his own hands.
He skipped over to the villain as he noticed the poor man not even finding the energy to hide behind trees and stones to move from a to b, like he usually did.
The man flinched, giving out a surprised sound, and he tumbled backwards, his heel catching a stone beneath and he staggered, but Sportacus caught him just in time before he could have fallen to the floor.
“Oof! Careful there, Robbie.” Sportacus offered a grin. "You must look out where you're going!"
“Careful? Me?!” Robbie huffed. “You are the one sneaking up on me! You better be careful not to put me into cardiac arrest!”
“Sorry, sorry.” Sportacus chuckled awkwardly, eyes moving down to the villains useless arm. “Ah, Robbie, are you alright?”
“Am I alright, hah!” Robbie spat. “I am always alright! Do I look non-right to you?”
“You look fine, Robbie – I just noticed you've been acting a bit strange recently.” Sportacus reached for the villains arm, but Robbie instantly pulled back. His anger vanishing, replaced by an uncomfortable grimace.
“Are you in pain?” Sportacus asked.
“No.” Robbie lied, rolling his shoulder. He winced. “Just getting old, that's all. Not that you'd know what that's like, you are literally a walking fountain of youth and energy.”
“Well, heh I'm – “Sportacus blushed, but shook himself. “Robbie, if there's anything I can do, don't hesitate asking me, yes? Don't take this as a personal attack, I just want you to be okay.”
“I am okay – “ Robbie argued, but cringed once more with a groan, his other hand clutching his shoulder, teeth bared, eyes pressed close. Sportacus caught him before the man could tumble to the floor again. And then he noticed the large stain of blood seeping through the back of the villain's vest. Instant alarm bells went off in the hero's head.
“You're bleeding!” he gasped, trying to pull the garment off of him.
“Ow, Ouch!! Hey, c-careful! OW! Stop!”
Sportacus let go of Robbie instantly, opening his mouth to apologize but Robbie stopped him. “No, don't say it! I – ugh. Don't make a big deal out of it, Sportanut, but...I need your help. Badly.”
“It looks just like a scratch.” Sportacus muttered, his handkerchief in his hand, rubbing blood off of Robbie's bare shoulder.
“It's not just a scratch. ” Robbie flinched against the touch. “I've had this for a while now and hoped it would just...go away eventually. It doesn't usually hurt this bad.”
“What are you talking about?”
Robbie rolled his shoulder. “You've already embarrassed me by ripping my clothes apart in public, don't press it further.”
“But I don't know how else to help you, Robbie.”
True. Dammit why did the elf always have to be right?
“Okay, fine. Just – put two fingers on the cuts and open it.”
“I – what?”
“Just do it, Sportanoodle!”
Sportacus was confused, just moment ago Robbie scolded him for constantly touching his injury. But he did as he was told.
“Do you see any...any feathers in there?”
“Feathers?!” Sportacus echoed in alarm. Eyes squinted as he looked into the deep red cut. Confusion was replaced with shock. Robbie wasn't lying. A dark feathertip protruded from the wound, shining in maroon from blood clinging to it.
“What is – oh. Oh...!” Sportacus paused. “I just remembered. You're a fae, no?”
Robbie bit his lip. “I—I guess I am. So what?”
“So is there something wrong with your wings?”
The villain sucked in a deep breath. “It's a broken feather. Or, boodfeather I guess. Usually they fall off on their own, but this one feels like it's infected.”
“How did you break one of your feathers off, Robbie?”
“No idea. Probably one time I moved too much. You understand why I avoid activity now – ?”
“How are we gonna remove it then?” Sportacus inquired.
“I have no idea.” Robbie tapped his chin. “Just - try pulling on it I guess.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, but – just do it already!”
The hero did not look convinced but did as he was asked, taking hold of he broken feather and pulled. Robbie's hand went flying for anything to grab and found purchase on Sportacus' thigh, squeezing it hard. “Ow, Ow, ouch!” he whined.
“Robbie, it's not budging.” Sportacus let go of the slippery feather. “And your grip on my leg's...not helping.”
“H-Huh? Oh. I err – “Robbie drew back instantly. “Put that out of the way, would you?”
Sportacus did, still feeling the sting of Robbie's trimmed nails on his skin.
“What now? I can't get it out there like that.”
“Hrm. I don't know – you are the one solving problems usually.” Robbie muttered back.
“Why don't you just...well yknow - Open your wings.”
“No chance!” Robbie pulled his shoulder away from Sportacus' touch. “The second I show my wings to you, you'll go around telling the brats and the mayor and that bluehaired tattletail and by tomorrow the whole country knows!”
“You think I'd go around telling the children?”
“Of course you'd do that. You tell them everything after all. At that point I'd wouldn't be surprised they if they even knew what brand of toothpaste you use.”
Sportacus blushed because, yes, he did probably blurt that out at some point too.
“Robbie. You know I'm an elf, and you're one of the only people who knows. And you've never told the children about that either, did you?”
That did catch Robbie off guard. He was right. He knew since he arrived that Sportacus was an elf, but never once mentioned it in front of the humans. Probably the discretion codex of the huldufólk breathing down his neck each time he wanted to use said information to humiliate the hero.
Sportacus gave the man a reassuring caress over his spine. “Look Robbie, the kids are in school, the Mayor's out of town for the week and Miss Busybody's taking a sunbath. Nobody will see.”
“You're right I suppose.” Robbie muttered, then, with a deep breath, he let muttered something under his breath. Then he snapped his finger; his glamour falling like a curtain. There was a rustling like wind through leaves, and suddenly they appeared, right out of thin air, softly flapping against Sportacus' cheek.
They were large. Glimmering in pretty purple and maroon colors in the sunlight. At each of their ends, they formed into round, eye-like shapes. Peacock feathers. Sportacus' eyes widened – then he burst out into laughter.
“He-Hey!! Hey, what's so funny?!” Robbie barked. “What are you laughing at?! My wings?!”
“No, nono – I mean, yes, I mean – “ Sportacus took in a deep breath. “It's just – Ziggy once pointed out when you walk you look a bit like a peacock, just without the wheel. You know, all prideful, chest out, a bit showoff-ish – like a maroon and purple colored peacock, as he said it.”
Robbie felt his face heating up. He gave his cheeks a soft clap as if he scolded it for showing a blush. “Puh! The brat's got some ideas...”
His wings fluttered again, sofly brushing along Sportacus' body. They looked really soft, yet also immensely fragile.
“Robbie – may I?” he asked.
“May you what?” He looked over his shoulder, seeing Sportacus' outstretched hand. “O-Oh! Err, wh-why?”
“I need to get that splintered feather out there. I can only do that if I touch them.”
When Sportacus reached out to run a hand through them, he noticed just how soft they wereto the touch, just as he predicted, not a single one of them coarse or dented or unkempt. Robbie took very good care of them. They did seem a bit skittish and fidgety, closing up instinctively and trapping Sportacus' arm beneath their heavy yet soft coat.
“Just do it quick. Like a band-aid.” He heard Robbie with a wavering voice, and remembered the reason he was so privileged to see them. The elf fumbled along the long and short feather coats, until he found the single crooked one far in the back. Instantly his fingers were wet with hot blood. Yeah. That's the right one.
“I'll pull it out now, Robbie.”
Robbie nodded. His hand was still on Sportacus' knee and he held tightly. Sportacus grabbed the shaft of the feather, and gave it a swift but firm tug
Wham! One powerful wing smacked him straight in the face, sending him flying off of the park bench.
Robbie wheeled around, hands flying to his mouth. “Oh god, oh no!! Sportacus, are you okay?!”
Sportacus groaned as he pushed himself from the ground. He looked a little ruffled, his hat hanging a bit lopsided from his head – but he looked happy nevertheless. Holding the crooked feather in his blood-spotted fingers.
“I think it stopped bleeding.” Robbie dabbed at Sportacus' bruised nose.
“Robbie I told you it's okay. It doesn't even hurt.”
“It will if you don't quit fidgeting.”
“Sorry Robbie.” Sportacus stopped nervously bobbling his leg up and down to let Robbie clean him up. “Also...sorry for not warning you beforehand.”
“Sorry for smacking you in the face.” Robbie muttered.
“Did it hurt?” Sportacus asked, looking down at the crooked, splintering shaft of the feather in his hand.
“Gah, you act like I'm made of glass.” Robbie said as he examined Sportacus nose even more thoroughly. “I'm fine now. See? I can move my arm perfectly now.” He rolled his right arm with ease. “So uhm – thank you. I guess.”
“You're welcome, Robbie.” Sportacus smiled warmly at him.
He was glad Robbie had not yet decided to glamour them back into invisibility, so the superhero could watch them as they moved. They perfectly correlated with Robbie's mannerism. Folding, spreading, twitching sometimes and then shaking like a wet dog, sometimes they puffed up to double their size whenever Sportacus made any indication that he was gonna become fidgety again.
“May I?” he asked, once more.
Robbie leaned back to examine his face. “You-err – I...sure. Just be gentle.”
The superhero nodded, then he reached out and stroked through the long pinions, and they reacted to his touch. Ripple, then smooth down again, twitch when Sportacus ruffled them like a dogs head, then lean into his touch.
It must have set something off as Sportacus' hand slipped past the long feathers into the soft downy layers beneath, because suddenly his wings began ruffling again, harder this time, as if a gust of wind shook them. Sportacus watched as they began forming into a huge half-wheel above Robbie's head – brighter than they seemed before, larger than before, showing off all it's pretty colors and forms. Alot of eye-shapes suddenly looked at him in marvelous rich gray and maroon shimmering colors. A little like Robbie's own, real eyes.
“W-What the – No! Nono, go back down! Back down I said!” Robbie hissed, trying to push them down against his back. His face suddenly even redder than before. Once they stopped resisting his pushes and settled back down, Robbie quickly avoided the elf's glance.
“Y-You saw nothing.” he narowed his eyes.
“What just happened there? That looked absolutely wonderful, Robbie!”
“Y-You think so? I-I mean – No, that's not– you did--- I mean --” Robbie sputtered. “It's whatever. They do that sometimes.” he brushed it off.
Whenever you're around at least, he left out.
“I think they've had enough time being out in the open, lets but them back into glamours before they get a mind of their own.” The villain snapped his fingers, and just like that, they vanished into thin air. "There we go."
“You shouldn't hide them, Robbie.” Sportacus said. “They are really beautiful.”
“W-Well. You're not showing your ears in public either, do you?”
“True,” Sportacus nodded. “Then, you think I could keep this here?” he raised the broken feather into Robbie's view.
“That old scrawny thing?” he asked. “But that's completely broken and ugly.”
“I don't mind. It's still petty.”
Robbie's cheeks were still dusted in pink. “Then – keep it safe. And don't let it break any further.”
“I won't.” Sportacus promised, slipping the feather into his vest pocket close to his heart.