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Tommy thought that the worst part about have no wings was the process of growing them in. How could it not be? That had hurt worse than hell.

So, of course, when Tommy woke up the next morning with an unfamiliar weight on his back, he thought the worst was over. The pain was done; now Tommy could wait for his feathers to grow in and learn to fly and have the time of his life.

But of course, things couldn’t go to plan.

Because after Tommy sat up from his lying position in the bed, the first sound that came out of him was series of embarrassing peeps. Peeps. He was peeping.

Phil, who was sleeping in a chair next Tommy’s bed, woke up instantly, instantly hovering over Tommy.

“Tommy, are you alright, mate?”

Tommy nodded, horrified that his peeping intensified. “Dad,” he moaned, peeping loudly, “It won’t stop.”

Phil wrapped his arms around Tommy, causing Tommy’s head to be rested against his chest. His wings wrapped around Tommy like a protective curtain.

And the peeping stopped.

Relief washed over Tommy, and he pulled away from Phil, who seemed reluctant to let him go.

“Thanks,” Tommy muttered, his face hot with embarrassment as he finally wrestled himself free of Phil’s embrace.

“No pro—”

Phil was interrupted by another loud peep. Tommy smacked his hands over his mouth in horror.

“Oh no,” Phil said, looking like he had finally realized something, “Um, Tommy, mate, you might want to lean against me again.”

Tommy was too mortified by the peeping that was now streaming out of his mouth to even argue as he rested his head back against Phil’s shoulder.

And, just like that, the peeping stopped again.

The dots were beginning to connect inside his mind, and Tommy was not okay with the implications.

“You’re imprinting,” Phil said, rubbing Tommy’s shoulder comfortingly, “Sometimes this happens when bird hybrids first get their wings in.”

“What does that even mean?” Tommy moaned, leaning further into Phil’s warmth.

Phil chuckled. “It basically means that you are going to be following me or another bird hybrid around all day, and you won’t stop peeping like that unless you have physical contact with that person.”

No,” Tommy said in horror, instantly pushing himself away from Phil, “I refuse. I will not—”

More damn peeping.

“Nope,” Phil said, instantly wrapping his arm around Tommy’s shoulders, “You don’t exactly get a say in this.”

“I’m going to have to hold someone’s hand all day?” Tommy moaned.

Phil hummed and nodded. “Pretty much. It might be for more than one day, who knows really.”

Tommy swore. His reputation was going to be burnt to the dust by the time this was over. Wilbur was never going to let him live this down. Technoblade was probably never going to let him live this down. He was just going to be sad and lonely and known as clingy for the rest of his life.

A little part of him was secretly glad that he had an excuse to be closer to people.

Tommy quickly squashed that part of him down. He was going to be in disgrace before the day was through.

“My life is over.” Tommy put his head in his hands. “Just kill me now.”

“Oh, it won’t be that bad,” Phil said, “Besides, you rarely let me hug you anymore. This is the perfect excuse.”

Tommy glared at Phil.

“You are being incredibly clingy right now,” he informed his father, clutching onto Phil’s shirt.

Phil nodded. “M-hm, okay. Are you hungry? I can get you breakfast.”

Tommy sighed and nodded reluctantly. Maybe, if he could just subtly hold onto Phil the entire time, Wilbur and Techno wouldn’t even notice anything was awry, and his reputation would be spared.

“Let’s go,” Tommy sighed.

Tommy pulled himself out of bed, Phil’s arm still firmly wrapped around his shoulders. They made it to the kitchen before Tommy’s masterful plan went awry.

“Awww!” Wilbur exclaimed almost the instant Tommy set foot into the kitchen, “Techno, look how fluffy his wings are! They’re like baby wings!”

Techno looked up from the book he was reading and sighed. “Yes, they are very fluffy.” He returned to his book.

At least Tommy wouldn’t have to worry about Techno teasing him. This was good, because it seemed that he would have to uphold every defense when it came to Wilbur.

“Okay,” Phil said, squeezing Tommy’s shoulder, “Why don’t you sit at the table? I’ll be right back.”

Phil took his hand off of Tommy’s shoulder, and Tommy panicked as he felt a peep rise up from his chest. Instantly, he grabbed Phil’s shirt and stuffed his face into the back of Phil’s shoulder. The peep died down.

“Awwww,” Wilbur said again, “Are you feeling clingy today, Tommy?”

Tommy flipped him off. “Phil’s the clingy one,” he snapped.

“Tommy, I can’t make breakfast with you hanging off of me,” Phil said patiently, “I’m sure Wilbur would be willing—”

“No way,” Tommy said immediately, turning his head so that he could get a proper view of Wil.

As he expected, Wil’s wings were perking up sinisterly. “Willing to what?” he asked, “I’m more than willing to let you cuddle with me, Toms, if that’s what you need.”

Tommy’s face grew uncomfortably hot. “I don’t need to be cuddled,” he snarled, forcing himself let go of Phil. Phil’s wings twitched reluctantly.

Tommy forced himself to walk toward the table, but he was hardly two steps in before he started peeping loudly.

“Oh my god,” Wilbur breathed, grinning wildly, “You’re like a baby chick or something.”

Tommy backed away from Wilbur and clutched back onto Phil’s arm, silencing the peeps. “Dad, Wilbur’s bullying me.”

Phil laughed. “Wil, take Tommy please.”

“Gladly,” Wilbur said, walking toward Tommy like he used too when he threatened tickling.

Tommy glared at Phil. “Traitor.”

Phil looked entirely unapologetic as Wilbur wrapped his arms around Tommy and dragged him off of Phil. Tommy swore loudly, but he was horrified to find himself melting in Wilbur’s embrace.

“This is the best day of my life,” Wilbur said, dragging Tommy over to the kitchen table, “Techno, please take a picture of this.”

Techno hummed as he pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Well, I can’t deny myself some good blackmail,” he said, snapping a picture of Tommy snuggling into Wilbur.

“I hate you,” Tommy muttered, “I hate all of you so much.”

“We know,” Wilbur said, resting his chin on top of Tommy’s head. He sat down at the table, having it so that Tommy was basically cuddling in his lap.

“You’re so damn clingy.”

“You keep telling yourself that,” Techno said, returning to his book.

Phil finally made them their breakfast, and Tommy forced himself out of Wilbur’s lap so that he could eat with some semblance of dignity.

Except that Tommy was still peeping, and he was leaning both Phil and Wilbur’s direction.

Damn these stupid instincts.

Just to oppose them, Tommy scooted his chair toward Techno, resting his head against his shoulder. Techno let out a startled grunt, and Wilbur blinked offendedly. Tommy flipped him off.

“Betrayal,” Wilbur moaned dramatically, “I have been betrayed! No snuggles with me, no more close proximity with adorable fluffy chick wings.”

“Ha, I am now the favorite sibling,” Techno said, “Take that, nerd.”

“Says the person reading a book at the dinner table,” Tommy muttered.

“Hush, child cuddling deeper into me because of hybrid instincts,” Techno said, “you know not of what you speak.”

Tommy hated that Techno was correct. Tommy was cuddling deeper into him. He was warm, okay? It was better than peeping like a desperate baby bird at any rate.

“I’ll have you know that I’m the smartest person here,” Tommy remarked, “You are just jealous of my pure genius.”

Techno snorted, his wings fluffing slightly. “Well, I guess you don’t need me, then,” he said, getting out of his chair and away from Tommy, leaving Tommy cold again.

“Hey!” Tommy exclaimed indignantly as he started peeping downright aggressively, “Come—” Peep. “—back, jerk!”

“It’s okay, Toms,” Wilbur said, “You can lean against me.”

Tommy rolled his eyes, and instantly returned to Phil’s side. Wilbur let out another betrayed noise. Phil wrapped one of his wings around Tommy protectively.

“Um… I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” Techno said, “but today’s a school day, and I have an important history test, and you have work, Phil, so…”

Tommy moaned. “I am not going to school like this,” he said instantly.

Phil looked over to Wilbur. “Would you be willing to stay with him?”

Wilbur shook his head. “I’m helping with theater after school.”

“What am I supposed to do, then?” Tommy snapped, “Will I just be alone in the house, peeping like a pitiful lost bird.”

“You do sound a little pitiful when you peep like that,” Wilbur said. Tommy glared.

“Wil,” Phil sighed, “Stop teasing your brother.”

Wilbur sniffed. “Maybe,” he said, “If he’d cuddle with me.”

Tommy snuggled deeper into Phil. “You,” he announced, “are terrible.”

“I am an opportunist,” Wilbur corrected, “And this is what I call a golden opportunity.”

“No,” Tommy said, “I hate you. I am following Techno to school. And you are going to be all alone and very sad, Wilbur, and I will be like, ‘you shouldn’t have teased me then, should you?’ And you’ll be sad forever.”

“Wow,” Techno snorted, “He’s got you there.” He began packing his backpack. “Also, Tommy can’t follow me. I literally just said I have a test. I’m pretty sure my teacher isn’t going to be happy with a freshman tagging along.”

“Well your teacher can screw off,” Tommy said, making grabby hands toward Techno.

Techno sighed, walking over to Tommy. Tommy removed himself from Phil and latched onto him.

“I have acquired a child,” Techno said in deadpan, “If you’re going to school, you need to put on some actual clothes.”

Tommy wrapped his arms around Techno more tightly, but he had a point. Tommy was still wearing some trashy pajamas. “Fine,” he muttered into Techno’s soft wings.

“That involves letting go of me.”

“Escort me to my bedroom first, jerk.”

“I am not your horse,” Techno said, even as he started walking toward the stairs, “I can’t believe this is my life now.”

“We can trade, Techno!” Wilbur shouted after him, “I’ll take Tommy, and you can take cuddle deprived life.”

“Hmmm, no,” Techno said, “I think I shall keep this child. He is mine now.”

Tragically, they reached Tommy’s bedroom, and Tommy had to let go of Techno so that he could change. Tommy’s peeping got louder, faster, and all the more aggressive as he quickly searched for new clothes and fought to pull his shirt over his fluffy new wings. The peeping honestly almost felt like a bad case of the hiccups, although slightly less painful and all the more annoying.

As soon as he was dressed, Tommy dashed out of his room, desperate to stop the peeping, desperate to feel the warmth of someone else’s body.

He crashed into Wilbur, and he couldn’t even care that Wilbur had somehow managed to trick him.

“This is terrible,” Tommy informed Wilbur as he snuggled closer to Wilbur, “This is so damn terrible.”

“This is still the best day of my life,” Wilbur said simply, like it was perfectly normal for one’s teenage brother to be cursed with nonstop peeping unless he was hugging someone, “This is wonderful. I cannot wait to tell Schlatt—”

“If you tell any of your friends about this,” Tommy said, his voice dangerous, “Nobody will find your body.”

“I’m so scared,” Wilbur said, sounding completely unconcerned.

Eventually, they all piled into the car, Pihl driving and Tommy sandwiched in between Techno and Wilbur in the back seat. Normally, the three of them would be scrambling for shotgun, but for some reason, Techno and Wilbur both wanted to snuggle with Tommy now that he was vulnerable and crap.

Tommy thought it was very rude.

But he wouldn’t deny that it was very warm and comfortable so he decided not to complain too much.

“I hate you both,” he muttered as Phil pulled the car to the front of the school.

“Have a good day boys!” Phil called out as the three of them stumbled out of the car like some conga-line, “Also, you have my note for the teachers, right Tommy?”

Tommy nodded, reaching into his pocket to feel the note that said something along the lines of: my son’s hybrid instincts cause every other bird hybrid around him to be very clingy.

They got into the school building before the faced a bit of a problem.

“Okay, so this is where we have to part ways,” Techno said, “So, Tommy, do you want to go with Wilbur, who you’ve already technically sworn off, or do you want to go with me, who is superior in every other way?”

Wilbur let out an offended snort. “I thought you said you have a history test?” he demanded, “Wouldn’t I be the better choice?”

“Guys…” Tommy began.

“My test isn’t until the afternoon,” Techno pointed out, “And besides, I’m sure Tommy could be quiet—”

“When has Tommy ever been quiet?”

Tommy was growing increasingly uncomfortable over being argued over like some sort of prize. Then, as if bathed in holy light, Tommy saw his salvation walking into the entrance.

As Techno and Wilbur continued to argue, Tommy broke free from both of them, immediately bursting into loud peeps. Tommy covered his mouth (even though that had been proven to do nothing helpful), and dashed toward his salvation.

Tubbo looked at Tommy in surprise, his wings flaring. “Tommy? What are you—”

Tommy crashed into Tubbo, quickly wrapping an arm around his shoulder like he was greeting an old friend.

“Big T,” he huffed, “You have to save me.”

“Okay…?” Tubbo began, still looking confused out of his mind, “Why…” A grin formed on his face. “Are you snuggling into me?”

“You always were a clingy one, Tubbo,” Tommy grumbled, “And I’ll have you know that my hybrid instincts are forcing me to do this completely against my will.”

“Oh,” Tubbo said, nodding, “You must have the imprinting thing that happens sometimes when the wings grow in. Speaking of which, nice wings! They look very fluffy.”

Tommy rolled his eyes. “Don’t you get started,” he groaned, “Wilbur cannot stop talking about how fluffy they are.”

Tubbo started walking to class, and Tommy followed, ignoring Techno and Wilbur’s betrayed looks.

Tubbo gave Tommy a weird look. “Um… Tommy, our homerooms are different.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Tommy muttered, “Dad gave me a note. I can just hand it to teachers and they will understand that I have been cursed with disruptive peeping noises if I let go of anyone.”

Tubbo’s eyes widened. “Can I hear?”

Tommy scowled. “Absolutely not.”

He did end up hearing, when Tubbo needed to go the bathroom and Tommy had to let go of him, Tommy let out a huge stream of peeps that caused the entire hall to stare at him.