Danny groaned and rolled over instead of waking up.
"No," Danny's voice was muffled by the sheets.
"C'mon, Danny. You don't want to be late for school again, do you?"
Jazz sighed at her annoying younger brother.
"You are impossible, Danny." she groaned. She'd been through this routine before. Deciding she had to resort to last minute tactics, she unfurled her large ginger wings, and beating them hard, she shoved her younger brother roughly on the shoulder.
This startled Danny so much that he lost his grip on his blankets. The strong wind from his older sister's wings pushed him sideways. He flailed—and of course, this wasn't a good idea—and loosing his balance, he fell sideways onto the carpet of his bedroom floor.
"Ow," he muttered, his own lone wing fluttering in irritation, and then gave Jazz a pointed glare. "Ow."
Jazz simply shrugged and tucked her wings back into her shoulder blades. "Sorry little brother," she said. "But it's the only way to get you out of bed on Mondays."
Danny's glare hardened as he stood up. "You wouldn't want to go to school if you were me either," he growled. "Being the only one-winged angel in a school of regular angels is exactly what makes me the target for the bullies! Seeing as I can't fly away, I'm venerable," he whined the last part.
Danny absolutely hated his life, his existence. To him, there wasn't anything to live for. He didn't have a reason to wake up in the morning. Jazz did. She wanted to be a psychiatrist. His parents did. They were inventors, trying to make each angel's life a little easier. This, of course, always involved an explosion of some sort.
The Fentons were a family of four. They were all angels and lived in the city of Amity Park, Cloud Town, USOC. USOC stood for The United States Of the Clouds. Jazz and her younger brother attended Casper Cloud High (in which 'High' meant high school and high as in up.) Now, USOC wasn't really in the clouds. It was called that just because its soul inhabitants were angels.
Danny's case was special. Where as his family (sister, mother and father as well as grandparents and other relatives) all had two wings, Danny only had one ash-colored wing on the left side. This, as mentioned before, made him a target for bullies and gangs. Hence, even at age 14, Danny had to have a chaperone go with him everywhere. And it annoyed him to no end.
It was something along those lines that Danny was thinking when he was hit in the face with a white t-shirt. Danny jumped when it hit him. Removing the clothing from his face, he looked in the direction of where it'd come from. He found his sister digging through his drawers.
"Look Jazz." He started, very serious. "Last week was a nightmare. I don't want to have to face Dash again. He's just gonna pick on me." Here Danny sighed. Dash was a jock. He played on the shnanja team. Shnanja, if you didn't know, was a popular sport not unlike football. It usually consisted of the most heavy-set, muscle-y and boneheaded angels that there were. Dash just happened to be all of the above, not to mention several more—that included bully, stupid, as well as some more unpleasant ones.
Jazz's eyes narrowed on her brother as she tossed some red jeans at him, like he always wore. White t-shirt, red jeans. That was his 'style'. "You can't judge the entire school year off of the first week of school," She sighed as she threw a pair of socks at him, soon followed by a pair of black sneakers. "Now please be quick. We have to get to school."
Danny's face burned in anger and embarrassment as his sister exited his bedroom so he could get dressed.
The only reason Jazz bothered to wake him up in the morning was because, not only would he be late otherwise, but Danny wouldn't really have a way to get to school. Their house was just like all the other houses in Amity Park. It floated twenty feet above the ground. But unlike the other houses, their once two-story house was now a three-story house. It had an Ops Center perched precariously on the top. Anyways, the point was that Danny couldn't leave the house without assistance. This meant he also couldn't get back in without help. This was seriously inconvenient at times.
That meant that the bigger point being that Jazz 'helped' him to and from school each day.
When Danny arrived downstairs, he found eggs and bacon steaming on a plate at the kitchen table. He, of course, eyed it warily. It was no big secret that his parents couldn't cook to save the world; yet here, on the table, was a delicious (looking) breakfast, seemingly waiting for him.
A soft laughing voice from behind him made him jump. "You can eat it. Mom and Dad left early for a day conference in Zambay. They won't be home till tonight." Danny continued to stare at her, which caused her to cross her arms. "I cooked it. It's not poisonous, you know." Danny glanced at the seemingly delicious food then back to his sister, who said: "I really should feel offended by this, ya know."
Danny regarded her with curious eyes, then against his better judgment, wolfed down the edible food in only two seconds. "This is actually pretty good," He murmured between mouthfuls.
After having some food herself, Jazz dumped the dishes into the sink. Then brother and sister stepped onto the small concrete porch outside their house.
Jazz took Danny under his arms, then with practiced ease, slowly but surely took off towards the direction of their school.
Casper Cloud High was just like the rest of the buildings in Amity—floating, just like all the houses, too. It had a large, grassy 'porch' that protruded all around the school. It was rather like a huge front yard, back yard and strips of grass on either side. So, really, it wasn't much of a porch. But that's what it was called, for whatever reason.
Jazz dropped Danny of at the edge of the 'porch' but flew closer to the school herself, and landed next to her small group of friends.
Danny glanced at his watch. For his late wake-up, they were still pretty early for school. He had at least twenty-one minutes before he had to get to class.
Not that he planned on getting to class on time.
A thought crossed his mind while he trudged the rest of the way to the building. Today is just another boring Monday.
Oh, but how wrong he was.
Danny swung his locker open quickly with practiced ease. The first thing he did was grab his jacket. Even on the hottest days, he wore it to hide his lone wing. Of course, all the tops were made of a special material that an angel could extend their wings through without ripping the fabric. What is meant to be said is that no matter what is being worn, and angel can extend their wings without harming their favorite t-shirt. So really Danny didn't have any need for the jacket, because he could still pull out his wing. But the jacket hid his wing a bit better than his normal shirt.
After grabbing the books needed for his first two classes, Danny trudged out to the back of the school to meet his best friend and partner in crime, Tucker Foley. He and Danny had stuck together like gum on the bottom of a desk since they met when they were four, when Tucker stuck up to Dash for Danny. Of course they'd been best friends ever since.
"Hey." Danny's voice shook Tucker from his abyss. He had been entranced in his AOS (Angel Organization System….it's a PDA but with special features such as a speed gun, altitude measurer and so on.)
"Hi Danny," he responded, shoving his AOS into his book bag. He pulled out two chewy bars and handed one to Danny, who smiled and laughed.
"You won't believe it Tuck, but I had an actual breakfast this morning. Courtesy of Jazz." Still grinning, he shook the granola bar in Tucker's face. "So, thanks but no thanks!"
Tuck smiled happily at his friend. He was a bit worried about Danny. He seemed to have become more distant within the time span of the summer. Almost like he was receding into himself. But seeing him laugh and smile reassured him that his best friend was okay.
Tucker shook his head to dispel the thoughts. Bad thoughts, he chided himself. No. Danny is okay.
But behind the smile, Danny still had inklings of doubt in himself, in his existence. But Tucker had no way of knowing that.
The duo sat on the back steps of the school, Tucker with his large russet wings spread out, and Danny simply leaning back.
Eventually the bell rang. The moment he heard it, Tucker gathered his things and stood up. Then he gave Danny a reproachful look, who just shrugged and stated that he'd be there.
Tucker left eventually, leaving Danny to tilt his head backwards and watch the fluffy, white clouds float by. Suddenly he was filled with envy.
Everyone can fly but me. He told himself sourly. I'm the only one in the entire universe who can't fly on their own. I'm the odd one out. Here he let out an angry, frustrated sigh. Dash is right. I'll never fit it. One side of his brain told the other.
But I'm special; in my own way at least. I may be uneven but I'm still me. Danny found his own mother's words come back to him. Next he heard his sister's caring voice. I'll stick with you Danny. I'll help you fly with everyone else. Jazz's words brought him comfort.
His Dad's voice entered his head last. DANNY, M'BOY!!! I'll build you another wing one day! Then we'll go flying and buy groceries together!!
The one-winged angel chuckled to himself. His father was a great oaf of a man…angel, but he had a kind heart and loving intentions.
You'll still never fly by yourself, The pessimistic part of his brain said, coming back once again.
Hehe. I'm arguing with myself, Danny thought. And with that in mind, he gathered up his books and headed to class—fifteen minutes late.
It was between third and second period that it happened. In between second and third there was a passing period (a very poorly placed one, too, if you asked me,) that lasted a sound ten minutes. This time was usually taken advantage of for homework, a late breakfast (though by now it would be a brunch) and many other things that needed doing before the middle of the day rolled around.
Seeing as summer was still in session—season wise, anyhow—it was sweltering hot in Amity Park by the time the passing period between third and second appeared.
Deciding against his better judgment, Danny had shrugged out of his jacket. It was just too hot for it. It was with his jacket slung over his arm that he heard the familiar voice: "Hey, FEN-turd!" Which, of course, could only mean one thing: Dash.
Groaning, Danny turned to face the bully who'd come up behind him. "What do you want, Dash?" Danny asked. He'd been through this routine one time too many.
Dash ground is fist into his palm, and evil smirk forming on his face. "I got a D on my Biology test," He growled. "You're gonna pay for it!"
"What'd I do? I didn't make you fail it," Danny spat at him. Usually he'd have not provoked him, and tried to stay calm, but something made him snap that day.
Dash's eyes widened a considerable amount when the 'wimp' he constantly picked on spoke back to him. It wasn't an agenda he was used to. His eyes narrowed and his vision went red. NO one stood up the Dash Baxter and got away with it.
Dash advanced on Danny with a growl, but Danny was ready for him. The dodge came naturally; of course, he'd never been in a real fight before, but he somehow knew the moves…like he'd done it seven too many times before in a past life.
Had he? The 'different' angel didn't know. He lashed out with a roundhouse that could have taken Dash's head off, had Danny not been too far away. Instead, the black toe of his sneaker grazed the jock's nose.
Dash swung wildly at Danny, provoked by the kick. But Danny dropped to avoid the blows, and used his leg to lash out at the Dash's ballerina toes. He'd meant to knock him off his feet; but instead he merely unbalanced him.
Danny knew in the back of his mind that he wouldn't last forever; this was just beginners luck. But he'd chosen Dash to be the unlucky angel on the receiving end of his some-what misplaced aggression.
Dash had regained his balance barely the second Danny had had the thought; his flaxen wings fluttered in anger as he once again advanced on the small boy who'd picked a fight with him.
Dash swung a hit at Danny. His fist connected with the smaller angel's side. Danny gasped sharply at the pain. Stumbling blindly to the side he was vaguely aware that he and Dash were now ringed by spectators on either side. He was trapped with the ceiling above him, angels in front of and behind him, and lockers lining the walls on either side of him. He had nowhere and no way to escape the fight he'd dumbly picked.
Dash kicked him with a might blow to the knee, finally upsetting the balance Danny had managed to maintain until that very moment. He slammed forcefully into the lockers. The locks bore painfully into his skin, he hurt all over, and he was pretty sure he was bruising on his side. It was up until this point that Danny had had the upper hand; now that had gone to Dash. Danny righted himself, despite the pain.
Dash was standing in front of Danny, towering over him by at least a head and a half it was then that Danny gave up.
Gave up on winning the fight.
Gave up on trying.
Finally gave up on life.
Instead of defending himself as he'd done minutes earlier, he closed his eyes and waited for the sharp pain.
It came, of course. In his right eye first. He was going to have a black eye that night. Then a blow came to his nose, from the right; a crack echoed throughout the other-wise silent hallway. Danny knew his nose was broken and spilling blood. But his face had gone numb moments before, and he no longer cared.
The next punch he received was a sharp right-jab to his jaw, which popped out of place for a moment, before righting itself. The pain was hot and sharp, and it re-awoke his throbbing. His nose had been numb along with his eye and side; but the sharpness of the pain in his jaw brought them back at full force, and it was too much for Danny. He howled in pain.
Then….it all stopped. Dash backed away, a smirk playing across his features. Danny didn't know what force had kept him standing before, but whatever it was, it was gone now. He sunk to the floor in a heap.
The crowd soon disbanded. No one wanted to be late for classes.
Through the blood that dripped into his mouth, Danny struggled to breath. Maybe…if he just let himself drift away….he wouldn't have to deal with it any more. Nothing. That's what he'd feel. Nothing. No pain, no hurt, no loneliness….
But then he heard the sounds from behind him. He rolled his blue eyes upwards, the harsh lighting of the hallway biting hard into his left eye. His right was closed and bruising.
Tucker was sitting next to Danny, tears silently streaking down his cheeks and chin. But his eyes and face was determined. Gathering his long time best friend into his arms, he helped him up, then outside the building.
"Tucker…" Danny started, but then coughed, leaning heavily on his friend for support. "Will you help me get away? Please? I can't stay here any longer, I can't…" He coughed again, flecking his sleeve with red blood.
Tucker nodded solemnly. "I'll take you to the mountains," He told Danny, his brain working out a plan. "I'll bring you some lunch at midday. Then…after school…or when ever you're ready to come back…I'll bring you back."
"Yes. I like that."
It took them twenty minutes to reach the mountains. Had Tucker been flying by himself, it would have taken only fifteen. But seeing as he was bringing Danny, and wasn't accustomed to the extra weight, it slowed him down.
Tucker let his best friend down on a low peak of the mountain. Danny's breathing was harder up in the thinner air, but he didn't care.
"Thank you," he whispered to Tucker, then closed his eyes, a sign he wanted to be alone. Tucker respected that and took to the sky with one last unhappy look. It was the most he could do for him right then…
He didn't know how long he stood like that. Silent. Alone.
Peaceful despite his injuries.
The air around him was pure and clean. Unaffected by the smoke and smog of the city.
It could have been seconds, minutes, but in reality it was hours. Danny felt as if he'd stood there for months when he heard the rustling behind him.
He opened one eye tiredly, stretched, then opened the other eye. They both stung when the mid-day light hit them. He had expected to see Tucker with his lunch, but what he saw was the complete opposite of what he'd expected.
The girl was roughly the same age and height as Danny. She had black hair that grazed the tops of her shoulders. It was streaked with violet rays. Her clothing was much the same as Danny's; she wore a deep purple hoodie, black skinny-jeans, and large silver and black combat boots. Danny couldn't see her wings.
you okay?" She asked softly.
For a moment Danny thought he was dead, and seeing before him and angel of purity and death. He drew in a sharp breath when he caught site of her eyes. They were large, lilac spheres, filled with concern for the boy she'd never met. This proved that he was still alive—that, of course, and the fact that the pain in his side and nose had come back.
He realized that she was still waiting for an answer.
"No," He breathed. But then he instantly regretted it. He felt so full, so….right, with this angel here with him. "No, I take that back. I'm okay. I'm better than okay."
She cocked her head to the side, her eyes still concerned.
"But you're bleeding, and your nose is obviously broken." She told him, walking closer. "You aren't okay."
She reached up gently and warned; "This is going to hurt," But didn't give him anytime to protest as she jerked his nose back into place. The blood flow, which had slowed to a trickle from his nose, came back at full force.
"OW!" He cried, stepping back. This girl was strong.
"I saw what happened at school today," she said. Danny noticed that her fists were curling and uncurling, clenching in her rage. "That's guys a jerk if I ever saw one. It's not right for him to pick on you."
Danny shook his head. "No, he is right for picking on me," he started. His cinder-colored wing unfurled itself. "I'm different. It's okay." He truly believed every word that he spoke.
The girl bristled. "No its not," She said forcefully. So forcefully, in fact, that Danny took a step back. "I have no idea who or what got that idiotic idea into your head, but it's not okay." She unfurled her wing.
Danny did a double take. She only had one wing! She was like him! It was then that he noticed what a beautiful shade her wing was. A deep violet, with a hard brown mixed into it.
It was a beautiful color.
She took Danny's right hand. Danny saw that her wing was on the right. His was on the left.
"It isn't okay for him to pick on us because we're different." She said. Her eyes filled with tears. "Because we're not too different…when we're together."
Danny blinked at her. Then, something in his brain clicked together. And it all made sense.
A brilliant grin lit the teen's face. He gripped the girl's hand tightly.
"Yeah," He whispered. "We can fly together."
She looked at him like a blind man seeing the sun for the first time.
"Together," She repeated. "I promise." She regarded him shyly for a minute. "I'm Sam."
"Danny," Danny responded. "How'd you find me, anyways?"
She closed her eyes. "I used to live far away. I was sick of being the odd one out. I knew that there was a solution somewhere. So I ran away to look for it. Something led me to Casper. I witnessed the fight and when I realized you had only one wing too….I knew. I followed you and your friend by foot when you came here. It took a while and I had to search a lot but I found where you'd landed."
She opened her eyes. Danny knew what he saw there and he knew what it was…the feeling that he'd had earlier, still had—the feeling of belonging and rightness—he knew what it was.
It was love.
Angel wing love.