Grounded Birdie Klance
Keith was an Avian, wings and all, like the many other Avians out there. Wings that stretched farther then any human arms and were far stronger then any normal birds. Avians were known for their gorgeous wings, like a mermaid is known for it’s tail and shining scales, but there was far more to an Avian then just a bundle of feathers and a human body. They had keener vision, their hearing just as sharp as the knife they carried with them slung around their shoulders, and were extremely agile. Keith was no acceptation. His wings were truly a sight to see, his feathers taking a more golden appearance with smudged black edges and light browns swirled into the mixture and made an amber color. When the light would hit them just right they would shine almost red, it was more unique then most. Often he was looked at strange because of his colors, and the fact that his flock had disappeared, leaving him alone. Luckily for him though, one of the Avians finest fighters, known as Shiro, took him under his wig and helped to raise the boy. Often it was difficult seeing as he couldn’t leave Keith alone anywhere for too long growing up because he had sever abandonment issues but no-one could blame the child, going on long lasting missions were just one of those difficulties, especially mission Kerboros. It ended with Shiro and the crew presumed dead due to a mistake Shiro had made but Keith wasn’t buying that, not even for a second.
Keith worked hard to find where the Galra had taken Shiro, resulting in him dropping out of the garrison.The war between the mermaids and Galra was lasting longer then anyone had anticipated, Avians getting caught in the middle of it. More fledglings were invited into the Garrison to learn to fight to protect their own or to complete jobs that they were hired to do by the mermaids or Galra, ties had been long cut between the three. Mermaids weren’t to ask anything of the Avians as where the Galra, the mermaids of course didn’t like this new ban, having to work out the issue of imports they had been able to maintain because of the Avians. The Galra paid no mind to the ban, though the tensions where still high, it seemed as if everyone had forgotten about Shiro, everyone but Keith.
Lance chuckled as his friends swam past him, eager to check out the newly found crystal that was recently formed, it’s location was strange seeing as the crystals normally formed towards the heated vents of the bottom of the ocean. This one was produced towards shallower waters, sure the sun warmed the surface but it wasn’t nearly as warm as the vents. Pidge was chirping happily, their excitement clearly showing at the high pitched clicks and whistles, Hunk merely grinned as they swam closer and closer towards the surface. Perched by some coral there was the crystal, it’s mass was tragically smaller compared to the normal ones and it’s shine was dull.
“We better tell the Queen about this before the Galra try and take it,” Hunk voiced the thoughts that echoed around both Pidge’s and Lance’s heads, though they expressed no signs of worry.
“Uh… Guys, I think they already detected the energy,” Pidge gave a small squeak seeing the shadow of a ship block the sun as an anchor sliced through the water and rooted itself shamelessly into the precious coral. It made Lance burn up with rage, The Galra always mistreated the ocean, never cared for it’s beauty or the creatures that co-existed inside of it. All they cared about was to dominate, it seemed, and they started with the merfolk. The bunch scattered for cover, trying not to be spotted, their cover being blown meant they would be captured and killed, maybe even tortured to reveal information. The idea made Lance shiver, his gills adoring the side of his face expanding, fins that normally sat down were raised along his tail.
For once Hunk’s beautiful golden tail that shined with the sun, capturing it’s rays within it’s scales were made dull by the presence of the brutes above, Pidge’s seaweed green scales helped them blend in though the collection of the net that hung at their hips looked misplaced. Lance was glad to have his blue scales, the shades matching the oceans perfectly, unlike the common belief that a mermaid’s tail only held one color, it really held different shades of the same color, sometimes even blending with completely different hues to create a tropical type of look. Lance always envied the merfolk who came from the warmer and clearer waters because they were always the most beautiful, some even having their tails shaped differently but in the current situation, he found himself quite content with how he was.
Sticking low to the sand, the trio swished their tails at steady slow beats and began to make their way away from the sighting of the crystal, once they made it to a bundle of rocks big enough to hide a blue whale they stayed still, afraid of traveling any further would get them spotted. Unable to hide his curiosity, Lance peaked up from the water, breaking the surface as he rose his human half out of the water, bright blue eyes staring fixated on the seen ahead, it wasn’t everyday merfolk saw anyone besides their own these days and that bored Lance. As a guppy he could remember hearing the beating of an Avians wing and could remember seeing the blur as they flew by, the centaurs being long gone before he was born but if he listened close enough, it felt like he could hear the thrumming of their hooves pattering along with his heart beat. But this was far different from the friendly faces of the Avians or the gentle beating of hooves, this was the Galra, the slayers and monsters. Not many got to see one and return to tell of the tale so naturally, Lance took the opportunity to steal a quick peak before returning to the safety of the rock.
“Lance, are you crazy! You”ll be spotted and get us all killed! Get back down here!” Hunk chirped desperately.
“ I will, just give me a tick, okay?” He called down as nonchalantly as he could. Hunk opened his mouth to say something else but Pidge had interrupted them.
“Guys, call me crazy but is that-…”
“An Avain?!” Lance and Hunk both finished the sentence before Pidge has a chance to even muster the words.
All eyes were locked onto the singular Avian in the sky, they shot down as quick as a shark jumping into air, a weapon in their hand. All rushed to the rocks to watch the showdown, the Avian’s wings shot out behind them, giving power beats as the winds buffeted the Galra troops, making them unbalanced. Acting quickly, the Avian swung with its weapon and managed to take the first troop down but was tackled to the floor by another, the Galra were now solely aware of the attacker and all went to help terminate the problem. It’s left wing hooked around the troop seated above them and flipped them over while snatching the gun from its hands before kicking it away with all the might it could muster. The merfolk were flabbergasted as they watched the winged one mow down the enemies before it, shooting the gun with deadly accuracy but with each troop knocked down there seemed to be a replacement there. Soon the avian was backing up, slowly getting cornered but as quickly as it seemed to be the end the fight continued with it taking for the skies. At the sudden motion the troops took fire, The avian tucked its wings in and maneuvered through the storm of fire but it couldn’t attack, its mind too focused on not getting hit.
Lance’s mouth hung open clearly shocked and impressed, this one was successfully beating the Galra. The male avian grew tired of seemingly endless dodging and dived down once again, the fire didn’t stop and he didn’t either, Lance could make out some shots landing on the shoulder of its wing and he cringed. A shot to the tail was bad enough but a wing? Lance couldn’t even fathom the pain the other must be feeling, one glance at his comrades told him they were thinking the same thing as he was, all they could do was hope. Instead of opening their wings like last time, it rolled onto its back before jumping to its feet, lashing out with its knife while also firing the gun. The move seemed to buy them more time as the troops on the lower deck were rushing to meet the challenger, disappearing into the hull of the ship, all went silent for a moment, the only thing Lance could hear was the erratic beating of his heart. Finally, after what felt like ages, the avian returned, though they seemed more rushed, running straight for the bow of the ship they folded their hands in front go them and jumped. Powerful wings flapping less graceful then when he first arrived but he managed to get airborne, they didn’t get far when the ship’s deck erupted into smoke and fire, the hull collapsing as an explosion shook the waters.
Unfortunately for the fighter, a single troop remained and fired straight at it’s back. Wherever the shot landed it made the Avian arch it’s back in pain, wings frozen in shock, straining to continue to beat and like a snatched fish, they fell into the water and sunk. The ship took longer to sink then the Avian and Lance found himself shooting forward into the wreckage. His tail kicked out behind him and left his friend frozen in their shock, Avians couldn’t swim. Avians could not swim. Lance felt like he owed the brave fighter his life, they could’ve been spotted or the crystal could’ve been taken to be used to fuel more attacks on his people. He felt obligated to at least save the mystery bird from drowning, using more muscle in his tail Lance willed himself to move faster, with wings that big he could bet it didn’t take long to sink. Upon arriving to where the avian submerged into the water, Lance saw the extend of its injuries but the troop from before just didn’t seem to give up. It was lashing out with the knife the avian had come with, the other was holding its hands at bay while a steady stream of bubbles left the troop and the avain’s nose and mouth, the Galra managed to rip its hand free of the other’s hold and slashed at the wing. The avain’s lips turned into a grimace, it was now or never.
Swimming the last distance to the fighting pair, Lance ripped the Galra troop off the Avian, thankfully his friends had shook off their earlier trance and were by his side in an instant. The avian’s eyes widened, though hurt and drowning they tried to get in a defensive position, Pidge and Hunk wrapped their long tails around its purple body and descended into the oceans depths. Lance looked at the avian once more drawing closer, he nearly got punched if he hadn’t dodged the clearly aimed fist. The other’s eyes drooped, sparking a panic in Lance, they didn’t have much time and they both knew it. The avains motions slowed, wings dragging them down even further into the ocean’s depths and Lance wasted no more time in wrapping an arm around the winged-one’s waist, putting their arm around his shoulders, the other seemed to get the idea and held onto him as best as they could. With a few flicks of his tail Lance had gotten them to the surface, his ‘passenger’ made no move or sign that they had breached the water. Swearing under his breath, Lance took off for the rocks they had previously hid behind, thankful for the small cave hidden between the great rocks’s cracks and edges.
Going to a rocky ledge that was smooth enough for his new companion, Lance pushed them onto the stone, rolling over their limp being before hoisting himself out of the water. He moved to cup the creature’s face, it was cold, skin dulling and losing it’s color as their lips turned to a shade of unnatural blue, moving his hand down towards their chest he checked for a pulse. Surely, If he had one then this Again had one as well? They weren’t that different, right? The sudden disturbance of the water told him that Pidge and Hunk were returning from their task, the atmosphere eerie as their eyes looked at the paling avian, Pidge was first to break the silence.
“Avians can’t breath under water, right? So maybe we need for him to breathe air?”
“I-It’s worth a shot,” Lance whispered, turning his gaze to Pidge. “How do we do that?”
“ Well, if we take in oxygen through our gills then they must take in their oxygen somewhere.” Pidge pushed a piece of hair out of their face, preferring to be back in the water where their hair wasn’t an issue.
“I saw that bubbles were coming from their nose and mouth, does that help any?“ Lance sheepishly put in, wanting to hurry up this whole process incase they really couldn’t save the Avian.
“I remember a story one of the elders used to tell me about how they saved a human from drowning.” Hunk chipped in, looking a little embarrassed at what he had just said, Lance barked orders for Hunk to tell him what to do and once given the instructions he went to work.
Placing his hands on the raven-haired male’s chest, Lance scooted closer to them and began to push down harshly on their chest asking Hunk if this was a the right thing to do, getting a small shrug he continued until the once limp body surged forward. Hand flying to their mouth as their whole body rocked with coughs, hacks, and water poured out of their mouth like a river. Lance, startled by the quick suddenness of the stranger, leaped back into the water. One remaining look at the bunch and the Avian gave a groan before collapsing to the ground, wings opened and soaked along with the rest of their body.
“Pidge, Hunk, could you cover for me back at home? We can’t let anyone know about this or what happened or we’ll get in serious trouble!”
“What!? Lance you can’t be serious about taking care of this- this- Avian! I say we all just go home, eat and forget this ever happened. Who’s with me?” Hunk spoke with their eyes wide, looking between Pidge and Lance.
“We can cover for you but you’ll have to show your face every once in a while.” Pidge quickly countered, more interested in finding out more about their new winged friend then their actual well-being.
“Thanks Pidge, I owe you and Hunk a favor.” Lance sighed, suddenly exhausted by the day’s events. The two murmured their goodbyes, giving a final look at Lance and the avian, silently thanking the stranger for their appearance before submerging into the water to make the journey home.
Shoulders slumping forward, Lance turned to look at his ‘catch of the day’. They had raven black hair that was much longer in the back then the front, though with the water making the hair stick to their face he was pretty sure the style wasn’t common amongst the merfolk, must be an avian thing. Gently moving the hair aside Lance stared at the stranger’s face, they had beautiful skin and their jawbone was very prominent, their lips looked just as soft as their wings and he was very tempted to test out that theory. He didn’t want to just start randomly touching the person from the start, he didn’t know how the avians work, what was okay and what wasn’t, he knew for certain he wouldn’t want anyone touching is tail without permission so he wasn’t about to run his fingers through their feathers, certainly wouldn’t peck their lips to see if it matched the feel of the feather, he wouldn’t even play with the jet black hair that looked ever-so tempting. Nope, he wouldn’t do it. Yet he found himself inching forward, hand slowing going forward with him as he stared down at the closed eyes, did all the avians have such pretty eyelashes like this one?
Keith remembered the fight, he remembered the explosion, he even remembered the merfolk that had killed his attacker before the rest turned into a blur. He felt hands brushing out his hair, the hand was warm and the flesh was so tender and soft, he leaned into the touch. It made him feel like he was back home with his mother, her scent was the only thing he could remember about her except for how soft her hands were and how gentle she’d hold him or touch him, he groaned, the pain in his wings severing the sweet memory like a glass shard. His eyes slowly cracked open, his vision blurry. The shape of someone was in front of him, turning his head he tried to blink away the cloud of haziness that dragged at his bones. His eyesight clearing Keith could make out tan skin, much tanner then he’s ever seen and brown hair with sky-blue eyes that caught the sunshine off the water, along their neck was three thin lines and where their ears should be was like weird webbing resembling a duck’s webbed feet, along the lines looked like scales and with a tilt of his head he found that their wrist was littered with scales. Looking back at the stranger’s face he glanced down and saw millions of glittering scales that gleamed with the dim lightning of the cavern, fins at the his hips and a long blue tail that laid in the water even though the person-creature-merman was sitting beside him.
Keith’s mind seemed to be slow at catching on, here was a merman looking at him expectantly, running their fingers through his hair. Keith’s heard of the rumors of the merfolk, hell even witnessed one a few minutes prior to now, but with the steady strokes of his hair he didn’t seem to be afraid. Sure the merman was quite the sight to see but that was all apart of the illusion so they could trick you into something or kill you, forcing himself to sit up he winced as the stabbing pain made itself know once again on his wings.
“You shouldn’t try to sit up yet!” The merman beside him spoke, placing a hand onto Keith’s shoulder, the action was small and meant no harm but Kieth couldn’t be quite sure of that. Narrowing his eyes he shook the hand off and put distance between the two of them, staggering to his feet while panting with the effort. Lance admired his courage and tolerance, but he was only trying to help and the hostility from the Avian made him scoff. “Rude, its not like I saved your life or anything!!”
Keith blinked, confusion wrapping around his brain like a blanket, at the Garrison they were told to not believe a kind gesture by any other then your own fellow comrades, you never know what the other might want from you and even the smallest act can be taken accountable.
“Why,” Keith’s voice was a little raspy from the salt water that had invaded his lungs, though it was a cold response all the same.
“Why? Is that really all I get, is a ‘why’? Anyway the name’s Lance! And you might be..?” In an effort to seem friendly Lance smiled, showing off pointed teeth that was far from the normal ones Keith was used to. Despite his wariness, Keith couldn’t help but sigh and slump down to sit, drawing his wings to him with much effort.
“I’m Keith.” The response was curt, the raven-haired boy turning to look at the damaged done. The tips and middle of his wings were completely burned and blistered, blood clotting around it but the remaining soldier’s shot had hit him straight in the middle of his back where the two joints meet. Every movement from his feathery limbs made him ache all over, pain traveling through his body. He’d have to get the destroyed and splintered/stunted feathers out of the way for new, better ones to come in but that would take way longer then he could allow. Shiro was out there waiting for him, and Keith wasn’t about to sit in some silly cave with a merman while his brother was in Zarkon’s hands.
His body ached and he had no energy left to move, not even to groom his feathers. His usually kept look was spent, feathers bent and burnt, skin bruised and blistered, and he was freezing in this cave.
“Do you need any help with those..?” Lance offered sheepishly, a small gleam in his eye that Keith couldn’t quite tell what the other was plotting.
“No. I don’t need your help.” Keith defended himself, no way would he allow for someone to touch his wings. Touching an Avians outer feathers was something for a friendly or family gesture, touching the inner, softer, more vulnerable feathers was as close you could get to a person. The middle where the wings joints connected was equally as sensitive, maybe even more so. Keith only wished Shiro was here, he was the only one who Keith had allowed the honor of touching, serving Keith’s way of telling Shiro all the things he wanted to say but couldn’t. He was never good with words. But Shiro seemed to understand, and in return, Keith also got to touch what no other had touched before. But here he was now, presented with some fish that wanted to touch his wings? It, to say the least, angered him more then Lance had expected.
Lance didn’t understand why Keith seemed so angry, if he beat a ship full of Galra soldiers and escaped with his life, he’d be pretty proud and beam with excitement but the thing Keith seemed to beam with was anger and pain.
“Okay, jeez, you don have to bite my head off you know. It was just a suggestion.” Lance folded his arms across his chest, watching as Keith shivered and then grimaced, his heart twisted oddly. “I’m not gonna hurt you, you know. If I really wanted to I would’ve done so already or left you out there with that Galra dude. You’re safe with me.”
Keith took what Lance said into deep consideration, in his tired mind, Lance seemed trustable and he did have a point. If Lance wanted anything from him then now would be the prime time to ask/take it but he didn’t, Lance merely kept his distance and tried to help him. If the weird hair stroking from earlier meant remotely anything then Keith was sure he would make it out okay. He just didn’t have the energy to argue or protest any more, drawing his wings around himself for warmth, Keith settled down as comfortable as he could be, acutely aware of the merman watching him. With the warmth offered and the lack of energy, Keith had no trouble falling asleep. He’s find Shiro sooner rather then later, there couldn’t be that many Galra ships left to check.
Chapter one, successfully uploaded, let’s see how this goes