JHeartbreak- this chapter is your fault ^_~ you'll see why... (you did keep going on about it you know- it's not my fault I'm obviously more suggestible than I thought)
The wintry air around them both seemed to heave and roll in ominous waves as Micah's wings beat graceful steady strokes. Every feather became alight with the sun streaming in through the leafless trees- glass bright, painful as starlight. And the boy himself was suspended between the trees, suspended in time and yet time was passing. The soil dark smell of earth and leaves rose up in the disturbed air and Alexander could do nothing but breathe it in and watch, his heart beating louder than anything. And for a moment it seemed that Micah would make it, the wind seemed to lift him, hold him above the world, claim him. But in a split second of hesitation- Alexander could see the exact instant it happened- Micah tensed, his wings dipped, he flung his arms out in panic and started to fall toward the steep curve of leaf covered hill.
He didn't cry out or shout, but the heavy thump he crashed against the earth with panicked Alexander into action and he slid swiftly down the dip after him.
The worst thing was the awkward angle Micah was lying in. His body was so still and pale. One huge wing was curved up above his head like a shield from the sky, the other spread across the earth beside him, covered in dirt and leaves. His eyes were closed.
"Micah!" Alexander cried, afraid to shake him, but hovering a trembling hand over the other boys mouth and under his nose to check he was still breathing. He was, faintly though, it seemed.
Oh god, they hadn't thought this through at all. They had never discussed what might go wrong! What to do if something did go wrong!
Leaning over, he stroked the pale boy's cheek, willing himself to keep it together.
Alexander knew he shouldn't move him- that could do more harm than good. But he couldn't exactly leave him here, exposed, wings spread wide, to go get help either!
Suddenly, Micah groaned and squeezed his eyes even more tightly shut.
"Micah?...are you okay?"
"Get off me." Micah growled hoarsely, his eyes still closed.
But Alexander let his hand stay cupping the other boy's dirt stained cheek, and he didn't get off or move away.
"Are you hurt?"
Taking a deep breath, Micah winced. "What do you think?" Slowly he opened his eyes. "Ow, ow, ow."
He strained as he tried to push himself upright and fell heavily back against the earth, breathing noisily.
"Just...take it easy...do you think you're going to be able to get up?"
"You're not fucking carrying me back." The other boy snapped, scowling darkly, but no longer seeming to mind Alexander's hand on his skin, or at least he wasn't complaining about it.
The way Micah's chest rose and fell, how it was streaked with red welts and yet still beautiful, all fascinated Alexander and he couldn't draw his eyes away.
"Stop looking at me like that." Micah groaned closing his eyes again.
Alexander glanced down but he just couldn't stop looking. Micah's nipples were hard and the milky skin around them goose bumped in the cold wintry air. It turned him on how much he wanted to touch them. God, was he under some sort of spell? To be honest, he just didn't care. He let his hand slide down from Micah's cheek to stroke the smooth tendons of his neck, felt Micah swallow beneath his fingertips.
When Alexander looked up, Micah was watching him, his grey eyes depthless. It was the same look Micah had given him in the dorm the first time that they'd met. And for the barest moment, Alexander had a sense of breeze drifting through him, of something other pulling them together...and just as suddenly it was gone.
"Help me up would you." Micah said quietly, his tone subdued.
Gently as he could, he pulled Micah to sitting. The other boy gasped and clutched at his side in agony but managed to stay upright. He looked as if he were about to throw up. Alexander could see his wings were bent out at awkward angles, the feathers full of dirt and, keeping a close eye on Micah's reaction, he reached round and began to gently stroke his fingers along them, brushing out the mud and soil.
"Where does it hurt?"
Micah winced and nodded his head down toward his right side where his hands were clutching.
"We should probably take you to the sanatorium."
It was only because the boy looked so terribly fragile, his expression pained, his body shivering, that Alexander couldn't help himself from slipping both arms lightly round Micah's skinny shoulders for a second. It was only to warm him, he was in shock after all. Micah didn't tense but his breathing quickened, and Alexander didn't dare move from his fixed position now that he had Micah in his dappled light cast warm patches across the ground around them, dark shapes drifted, the wind moved in steady even breaths.
"We should go back. We need to think of what to say." Micah's voice was slightly muffled against Alexander's shirt.
He smelt so good, so deeply satisfying, so completely intoxicating that Alexander was reluctant to pull away.
"Okay." Alexander replied eventually.
Getting Micah up the dip was the worst part. The bruised boy leaned against him, his wings dragging tiredly on the ground, raking two deep lines through the leaves.
"How are we going to sort out your feathers?" Alexander asked as he picked up Micah's shirt and blazer off the floor.
Micah leaned against a the thin trunk of a spindly elm, panting. "My fucking ribs, really, really hurt." He huffed, between breaths.
Alexander glanced up, shocked to see Micah's lips were turning faintly blue.
"I can't take a deep...breath."
Later, Alexander couldn't remember how he actually got the semi-conscious Micah down the rough mile of cross country course to the school sanatorium, he could only remember the sharp snap as Micah's wings retracted as he held him in his arms. But he did get him there, and he was pretty fucking thankful about that, because it turned out that Micah had a collapsed lung.
Inside the sanatorium, Alexander watched from the doorway as the panicked nurse poked the thin sterile needle in between Micah's ribs to increase the passage of air into his lungs. It felt unreal watching the thin stick of metal disappear inside him. But within a minute Micah was fully awake and looking at Alexander with a shocked expression on his face. The nurse left the room to call the hospital.
Alexander sank down into the chair next to the unmade bed Micah had been hurriedly placed on, and ran his hands through his mess of black hair.
"Oh my god." He breathed, allowing the shock of what had happened to finally wash over him.
Without thinking he laid his hand on Micah's and looked at the difference of their skin tones in the slither sunlight still slanting in through the large sanatorium window. He'd never known anyone quite so pale.
"I just panicked." Micah whispered, staring up at the ceiling "For a second though, I was flying and it was the most amazing feeling I've ever felt. It was like everything I was ever meant to be, everything I could ever want, and then I thought about what I was doing and how impossible it was and I just...lost it...but now I've done it, now I know that's what I'm meant to do, I've got to go back out there and do it again. You've got to help me Alexander. Please don't say you won't."
And with those desperately spoken words, Micah pushed himself upright and leaned over to where Alexander was sitting and kissed him.
Alexander had still been looking at their hands, at the way Micah's nails and fingers were so much thinner than his own, and he barely suppressed the urge to pull away in shock. But he didn't pull away, he allowed those cushy soft lips to rest against his and felt all the blood in his body pulsed madly through his veins.
"That was to say thank you." Micah whispered, barely pulling back. "This is to say please." And the other boy tilted his head and cupped the back of Alexander's skull in his hand, before pressing their lips together again and running his tongue against Alexander's lower lip until Alexander felt his erection pressing painfully against the front of his trousers and he opened his mouth to Micah's making a sound somewhere between pain and want.
It was the strangest sensation, it was like kissing in a void- everything narrowed down to a single point of sensation, a single point of contact, tongue against tongue.
"What the fuck?"
Both boys jumped and spun round at the words.
A windswept and flushed looking Si stood in the doorway with the nurse from earlier and an amused paramedic.
"What the fuck has been going on?"