Ford laid on his stomach on a couch in the library, a copy of Darwin's 'Origin of Species' open in front of him. He'd always wanted to read this book, but the head librarian was a religious woman, and had refused to carry it.
He looked up when the door opened, to see Maple walk in. She held a feather duster and a bottle of furniture polish.
"Oh! I didn't think anyone would be in here!"
He smiled. "That's alright. I was just taking your father up on his offer, of using the library while I was here. Besides, I was getting a bit lonely anyway. It's good to formally meet you, Maple."
A huge grin broke across her face. He noticed for the first time, she had dimples. "You know my name? You must've talked to Dipper!"
"That's what I call my brother."
"He told me how you got your nickname. How did he get his?"
"Next time you see him, ask him to show you his forehead." Her wings fanned slowly behind her. Ford was reminded of a feeding butterfly.
"Do you wear those all the time?"
She cocked her head to the side, confused. "Wear what?"
"The wings," he said gesturing slightly to the wings on her back.
"Well," she looked down, her smile suddenly gone. If Ford didn't know better, he'd have said her wings tensed. "I don't really have a choice. They're kind of attached to me. I was born with them."
Ford's eyes widened in surprise. "Really? Amazing!"
She looked up again, the smile from before, ghosting at her lips. "You don't think I'm a freak?"
"Maple, I'm the last person who would judge someone a 'freak'." He held up his hands and wiggled all twelve fingers.
She rushed over for a closer look. "Cool! You're like one of those cats with extra toes."
"Yeah! Those! I've always wanted a cat, but Father won't let me have one. He's not really an animal person."
"What about your mom?"
The smile faded again. "She died having Dip and me." She sounded like she was reciting something. Curious. Her wings were stiff again.
She must just not like talking about it, he decided. He couldn't blame her. He decided to change the subject back to their previous discussion."So, are you able to use your wings at all?"
"Uh huh!" She smiled brightly. "I can move them a bunch! They usually move with my emotions." Her wings were fluttering softly, behind her, as she spoke, to emphasize her point. Suddenly her wings dropped a little as her smile fell. "I can't fly though."
"You can't? Why not?" Ford inquired, mildly concerned.
"They're too small. Father said they won't ever be strong enough to get any lift."
"Well," Ford paused, trying to think of what to say to cheer her up. "Have you ever tried?"
Maple her shook her head, staring at him.
"Maple, if science has taught me anything," Ford began with a light smile. "Is that you never know what you're capable of, until you try!"
"Well, I do love trying new things!" She a devilish smile spread across her face, as she moved to one of the shelves, where she started squirting the furniture polish. "This isn't bothering you is it?"
"No, Maple. It's fine," Ford said easily, as he turned back to his book.
"You shouldn't call me that when Father's around," she said, almost absently, as she continued to clean.
"What?" He asked startled, sitting up and turning to face her. "Why?"
She shrugged. "Father wouldn't approve of it. So it's best not to use our names in front of him."
Ford frowned. That seemed a bit harsh. "What does he call you then?"
"He doesn't call you by your names?"
"Oh, uh," Maple faltered. "He says we haven't earned names yet." She was clearly uncomfortable with the topic, her wings were at aquakward angles as she stumbled over her sentences. "But it's okay, cause there's only two of us, so what's the point, right? Hehe," she laughed awkwardly.
"Of course it matters!" Ford shouted as he stood up, outraged. "You're both unique individuals and you deserve your own identities, that belong to you and you alone! You shouldn't be treated like one person or two halves of a whole! You should be respected for the person you are!"
Ford was out of breath and panting hard, by the time he finished his rant. He looked back at Maple. She was stunned and speechless and she stared at him, wide eyed in surprise. She blinked at him, taken aback by his sudden change in demeanor. "Are you …" she seemed to be struggling to gather thought, once more. "Going to be okay?"
Ford took a moment longer to breath and compose himself. "Yes. Yes, I'll be fine. I'm sorry for my sudden outburst, but I'll be fine."
As he slumped back down onto the couch, Maple climbed up next to him and put her arms around his neck. "You know what you need?" she asked with a grin. "Cookie therapy!"