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Feeling Feathery

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Dom wakes up one morning with a backache. He's not sure why; he's lying on his front, probably has been for a while. But his shoulders feel heavy, and there's a strange sensation beyond them. He struggles to a sit up, which is when he tips over and knows something is very wrong.

He reaches a hand back, and touches feathers. "What?" he says aloud, though no one is there. He stumbles to the wardrobe and opens the door, blinks at the full-length mirror.

He has wings. Large, bird-like wings, brown feathers speckled with white, a few feathers solid black. He blinks a few more times, rubs the sleep out of his eyes, and blinks some more. They're very definitely there, weighing him down and making it hard to balance.

"Well," he says. "Fuck." He's supposed to be picking Billy up from the airport in two hours.

He showers, and discovers that wings get even heavier when they're wet. The feathers stick together, stick to the new skin and bone extending from what had been a perfectly normal set of shoulder blades the night before. Dom steadies himself against the tiles, concentrating on finding a new centre of gravity. It takes quite a bit of shifting, and he knows he'll have to adjust it again when the feathers are dry.

He tries to towel them off, when he gets out of the shower, but it only pulls a few sodden feathers out and leaves the rest sopping, clinging to each other. Dom sighs, digs out the hair dryer he doesn't use much, and blasts hot air at them until they dry out. It takes longer than he thought, and after it, he grabs his phone and texts Billy, Sorry, going to be a bit late picking you up. Emergency happened, tell you later.

He starts getting dressed, only to stare at his shirts and wonder how on earth he's going to wear anything and go unnoticed. While it's true that you see all sorts of things in LA and nobody's fazed, there would be far too much attention if anyone sees the wings. He tries folding them around himself, and after a few goes finds a good way of wrapping them tightly around his body, so with a shirt and jacket on he just looks bulkier. He hopes, if anyone sees it, they'll think it's for a role.

Billy notices immediately, of course, and of course he knows it's not for work. "You all right? Been working out in anticipation of our mad sexcapades?"

"In your dreams, Boyd," Dom scoffs. "You have to deal with the muscles I've got, and you know it."

"Honestly, you won't even get a muscley body for me," Billy shakes his head. "Maybe I'll go down to Venice Beach and get myself a boyfriend there."

Dom gasps. They're hauling Billy's luggage, a suitcase and a duffel bag and guitar case, so the gasp is half strain. He digs his car keys out of his pocket, almost at the right bay in the car park, and says, "You wound me. You'd leave me for some bodybuilder, my heart broken on the floor."

"In a second," Billy says, twinkle in his eye.

In the car, when everything's settled and they've got out of the eternally frustrating parking system and are on their way, Billy says, "Seriously Dom, what's up? What emergency happened?"

"Okay, but what I'm about to tell you is genuinely not a joke. Please don't laugh, I'd feel really stupid. I am not shitting with you."

Billy looks at him seriously, and nods. "I won't laugh."

"Even if it's weird and impossible?"

"Yes, even then. What is it?"

Dom is silent for a second. Then he says, "I woke up this morning with wings."

Billy doesn't laugh. "Really?"

"Really." Dom blows the air out of his cheeks. "I have no idea what happened or why or how. Everything was normal last night. People don't just grow wings overnight."

"They don't," Billy agrees. "So how come you did?"

Of course Billy believes him straight away. Dom sends up a silent thanks to the universe, because Billy is the perfect boyfriend. "I don't know," he says. "I have no idea where to even start looking."

"Viggo," Billy says, like it's obvious.

"Viggo," Dom repeats, because well, now it is obvious.

Billy calls him, Dom still driving them home. "Hi Vig," Billy says. "Listen, I wanted to ask you about an unusual problem. Have you ever heard of a person waking up with wings?" There's a pause. "Big bird wings," Billy says, looking to Dom for confirmation. Dom nods. "Oh. Right, I will. Thanks. How are you?" They talk for a few minutes more, Dom navigating traffic. When Billy hangs up, he says, "He didn't know anything about it, but he said to ask Lij."

"Since when is Lij more knowledgeable about weirdness than Viggo?" Dom asks. Billy shrugs.

Dom half-listens to Billy's side of the conversation with Elijah. "Yeah," Billy says, a lot. Then, "Thank you, that would be great. Okay, talk to you then. 'Bye." He hangs up.

"What did Lij say?"

"That he thinks he's heard something about a guy who woke up with wings. He's going to look it up and ask around, get back to us with anything he finds."

"Great." They're almost home, and Dom slows down to turn into his road.

"This isn't some ploy to get me to stay longer, is it?" Billy asks. They're back around to the joking, so Billy must feel as relieved to be getting some answers as Dom is.

"How dare you," Dom says, feigning shock and hurt. "I would never use cunning or tricks. I'd use only my dick." Billy laughs. "Admit it," Dom grins. "You've missed it."

"Yes, Dom," Billy's still laughing, "I missed your penis. It's the only part of you I really like, you know. I put up with the rest of you for your magnificent cock."

"Nice to know it's appreciated," Dom says, trying to keep a straight face. "I might have thought you'd like something else about me, though. My face, perhaps. My collection of insects. My intimate knowledge of the anatomy and habits of spiders. The way I eat cake icing first."

"Nah," Billy shrugs. "Just your dick."

Dom carries Billy's suitcase into the house, and then peels off his jacket and shirt. His wings feel cramped, aching from being held around his body for so long. "Wow," Billy says when he sees them. "Not angel wings, then," he adds, after he's looked at them for a minute. "Well," he grins, "you're not exactly angel material."

"I'll have you know I'm very angelic," Dom protests. "Only yesterday, I gave a fiver to a bum."

"You are the very soul of generosity," Billy says, deadpan. There's a twitch at the corner of his mouth, and Dom cracks up the second he sees it. Billy laughs a few seconds after, and they lean on each other. The world is right again. His Billy is here.

"I can say hello properly now," Dom says, when they've composed themselves.

Billy's eyes crinkle up when he smiles. "Hello," he says, and Dom kisses him.

It's been a few months since they saw each other, so they kiss for about ten minutes before coming up for air. It's just like it always is, soft lips, brushes of tongues, heart soaring, fingers splaying over shoulders and backs. When the kiss slows and stops, Dom leans his forehead against Billy's. "I missed you," he whispers.

"I missed you too," Billy whispers back.

They make sandwiches for lunch, and watch a documentary on birds. "I'm feeling feathery," Dom says, when he hits play on the DVR. Billy knocks their shoulders together, smiling.

They talk until dinnertime, and order in some Thai food. Elijah doesn't ring them back, so after dinner they spend a while kissing, touching, Dom getting Billy's shirt off because he's already shirtless and it's only fair. They go to bed early and have slow, delicious sex, Billy buried in Dom, the weight of the wings tipping them further forward than usual. Dom can't balance, grips the headboard to help, trying to find the right centre of gravity, but Billy keeps rolling his hips into him and it feels so good he forgets everything else.

Dom wakes up the next morning on his front, Billy snoring in his ear, wings still heavy on his back. They have awkwardly-angled sex in the shower, wanking each other off, Dom's wings soaking up water and almost tipping him over.

Elijah calls while they're eating breakfast. "Okay, so," he says, "this guy I knew knows a guy who knows this guy who woke up with wings. He said it went away after two days and hasn't happened again, and he still doesn't know how or why it happened at all."

"Thanks, Lij," Dom says. "I owe you one."

"Nah." Dom can hear him shrugging from here. "Can I come over today and see the wings before they're gone?"

"Of course." Dom can't help grinning. He should have guessed that would be Lij's reaction.

He shows up after lunch, and the three of them hang out watching a new movie Lij brought with him, talking. Dom lets them both touch his wings, and sort of wishes he could feel it when they stroke the feathers. There must only be nerve endings in the skin, not the feathers themselves, which he thinks about telling an ornithologist, before remembering he would have to explain how he knows what it feels like.

Lij goes home, several beers and hours of talking later, and this time Dom finds a better balance while Billy's fucking him. They come almost at the same time, and fall asleep spooning, Dom cuddling Billy, one wing draped over him.

He wakes up the next morning with only the ghost of a backache. He sits up, stretches, and turns to Billy. "Are they gone?"

"Yeah." Billy blinks at him slowly. "Can I go back to sleep now?"

Dom nods. He goes over to the wardrobe and checks his reflection. "Weird," he mutters, and goes back to bed.