Okay for the birbs AU: Jack and Gabe meeting each other really early on. Like REALLY early on in their childhood. They spend a few weeks as friends before Gabe has to move away again for some reason but meeting that pure cinnamon roll always gave Jack enough hope that blackbirds had a place in the world too. Of course, when they meet again as adults, they don't quite remember each other... uwu
This…I…I really needed this…Thank you anon and I’m so sorry for taking so long to answer ; w; Me hopes yu enjoy ; v;
Being four years of age is a terrible thing for a child to endure bullying. But somehow, Jack has gotten used to it. Going home with split lips, scrapes, black eyes, plucked feathers and even broken nose is something normal to him. It’s better than to spend time at the house, at least. If he is quick enough, then only a few scratches top. But if he isn’t, well…
That is to say, Jack hasn’t expected the pummeling from the surrounding kids to stop when one of them manage to grab one of his tiny wings. Another boy, burly and not older than seven, but bigger than any other kid, bodily hauls the one that’s having a choke hold on Jack, and shoves the rest away.
“Don’t ya have somethin’ better to do?!” He snaps, raspy even at such a young age, skin brown like aged cider and at least two heads above the tallest child in the bunch. But it isn’t his statue or his voice that scares them. His wings, as white as snow, puff up in a threatening gesture, making him larger than he already is. The bullies squeal and scramble, leaving a beaten up, disorientated Jack on the dusty road. Clucking, the sound comical even to Jack’s ears, the big kid squats down by Jack’s side and helps him sit up.
“Oi, ya ok?”
Sniffling, because even though he is used to it, Jack is still just a child, and all of this hurts.
“Oh no, don’t cry!” Despite his earlier confidence, the other boy flusters, petting Jack’s chubby cheeks clumsily, “Here, I’ll carry ya home, yea?”
“Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Home bad!!! Noooooo!!!”
For a moment, the older boy seems petrified, gawking at the huge rolling tears down dirtied cheeks. But he puffs up after sometime, wiping off the grimes on Jack’s face, “Kay then, where ya wanna go?”
The childish wail quiets down to pouting hiccups, because crying too much would get him hit again, Jack stares up at the boy with huge blue eyes, contemplates as much as he can with his little kiddie mind.
“I know a pwace.” He says eventually, swiping under his nose with his fist, “But you not tell people, yeah?”
That has been one of the very first smile Jack has ever received, “Deal.”
Gabi is only here to visit a relative. Someone from his Papi’s side, he says, who happens to marry someone sooooooooooo far away. Jack has been sullen, but he is happy, too, to finally have a friend.
Gabi talks a lot, about everything and anything he see or thinks of. He talks about the endless cornfields that are strange to him, the beating sun, the rural dirt roads, the town that is too tiny and the people that all know each other. After that first day, Jack is surprised when Gabi constantly coming back to that little abandoned groove of trees he often hides in. And he brings snacks. Cookies, candies even packets of chips hidden in his backpack.
Jack is certainly awed. But that still isn’t the best thing about Gabi.
Despite Jack being a black bird, Gabi offers to groom his wings. He already has groomed Jack’s wings that day he rescued Jack from the bullies. And gosh if that isn’t the best feeling in the world…
“It’s nice to help people out when they need it. And ya clearly do need help.” Gabi announces, as if it is the most important thing ever, combing out the tangled mess of feathers with his small hands, while Jack munches on a cookie. The little blonde pouts then, crumbs sticking to his blushing apple cheeks.
“But I can’t help you.”
Gabi snorts, “Not with those sticky fingers ya won’t. ‘Side, my Ma already fuses ‘bout ‘em enough. They’re so clean they itch now.”
Jack goes silent. That must have been nice. But maybe not as nice as Gabi is helping him now, under cool shades of pine and crunching on the tastiest cookie Jack has ever had.
“Ma makes ‘em!” Gabi puffs up his white wings proudly, “If she has time, she might make churros, I betcha have never had anythin’ as awesome!”
“It sounds awesome.”
And they are. They aren’t piping hot like Gabi has described, but the feeling of cinnamon-coated sugar melting at the tip of his tongue is something that little Jack would never forget. Neither is the triumphant, tooth-gaped grin Gabi shows him when Jack stuffs his face.
“Aren’t you ‘fraid of my…” Jack has asked, gesturing at his tiny obsidian wings.Everybody else does. It’s why Jack is always hit so many times. His momma told him so. But Gabi just shrugs.
“They’re okay. Not as cool as mine, but they kinda match, ay? Like day and night.”
Jack hasn’t understood at first, but his own grin his as bright as the sun when he does, when Gabi stretches his own wing to touch his.
Jack can’t remember a time when he is so happy.
But everything must pass.
He can’t remember a time when he has been this sad. Not even when people call him names or hurt him. Not even when he is hungry and isn’t allowed to eat. And he can’t seem to stop crying, even when Gabi hugs him for the first time, white wings enveloping his scrawny little form whole.
“Be brave. Stay strong.” The older boy says, even though his voice sounds rougher than usual, almost swallowed in the sharp keening sobs Jack is making, “The world’s big, y’know? Too big, so there’s plenty of space. Even for a Black Bird. If these suckers don’t want ya, then well, too bad in’it? When ya grow up, ya can always come find me. I’ll always have a place for ya.”
Jack is too choked up in his crying to answer, too choked up to even say goodbye.
He never comes back to the groove again, but every word Gabi told him, he remembers. Even when the boy’s face, tooth-gaped smile and tan as aged cider, and wings of a Guardian Angel fades from his frail memory.
Jack lives and he endures. And when he runs away from home at fourteen, some of the words still gleam in his mind, like morning dew on bruised grass.
There is a place in the world. Even for a Black Bird.
I will always have a place for you.