Title: Haibane
Rating: PG
Summary: When they come to the world where the people have wings, they, too, wear their souls on the outside.
Word count: 500

Author's Notes: Playing with the idea of "wing-fic," stories in which the characters, for whatever inexplicable reason, have wings. Don't really plan to go any further than this one.

When they move to a new world, they take on the characteristics of that world. It's not just an attempt to blend in; the laws of physics demand it. When they come to a world where every person has a guardian spirit, they too take on guardian spirits. When they come to the world where the people can move objects with their minds, they too briefly gain that power.

When they come to the world where the people have wings, they, too, wear their souls on the outside.

"Princess..." Syaoran's voice is anguished. His ashy-grey wing feathers flutter behind him, echoing his distress; he barely even notices them, focused as he is on Sakura. As they all are.

Sakura's feathers are a soft glowing white, etched with intricate patterns; but her wings are pitiful things, almost skeletal-looking, missing huge swaths of feathers. As she slowly, tentatively opens them behind her, the few handfuls of feathers that do cling to her wings only make the ragged empty patches look more terrible.

"It's okay," she tells Syaoran, and though there are tears in her eyes and her chin trembles, she manages a smile. "It's just the first time... I had a chance to see... how badly I really was hurt, wasn't I?"

"We'll get them back for you, Princess," Syaoran vows earnestly, clutching Sakura's hands. "Every one, I promise!"

Kurogane grimaces as he slowly stretches and flexes his own wings. They feel heavy and odd - not only for the way they skew his balance, but for the even odder sensation that he should have had them all along.

He essays a tentative flap, and nearly staggers off his feet. Craning to look over his shoulder, he mutters imprecations; the wings are brilliant white edged with copper-red. Flashy and obtrusive, and between the size and weight and bright color he might as well wear a fucking flag on his head; stealth is going to be impossible with these things.

He sighs; they'll just have to deal with it, like they've adapted to every other world up until now. Syaoran and Sakura are wrapped up in each other right now; he turns to the mage, watching them too, and begins to address the practical needs of their situation. "Oi," he said. "We're going to need local clothes. Hopefully ones that can cover these things. The princess can't exactly go out in public looking like that, and I refuse -"

He stops. Fai turned quickly when Kurogane looked at him, his wings folded tightly against his back. Fai is smiling, but there's a desperate edge to it, and he stands like a man trying to hide behind himself. "You refuse to what, Kuro-chan? Look silly? But you are silly, like a big pelican flapping its wings!" he teased.

No matter how he dances, how tightly he draws into himself, it is impossible to completely hide it; in this world, Fai's wings are ebony black, a jet color so pure that they seem to glow.