Title: How to Fly in 5 Easy Steps
Claimer/Author: This story is written by and belongs to Emmy Kay.
Summary: Little!Hiyoko takes it upon herself to try and teach Ryouta to fly.
Notes: A fill for a prompt on the hatofulkink meme.
Disclaimer: Hiyoko and Ryouta and all affiliated characters belong to Moa Hato/PigeoNation Inc. This story is written without permission and for personal/fan/nonprofit entertainment purposes only.
Prompt: Ryouta's mom is always sick, and Ryuuji is always away at work, so little!Hiyoko takes it upon herself to try and teach Ryouta to fly.
"Ryouta? Whacha doing?"
The pigeon immediately flung himself over the open book in front of him. "Nothing." He pretended to be happy to see her in the large yard their families shared. "Hey, Hiyoko."
Hiyoko knew her best friend better than that. Also, the book was completely visible under Ryouta's body.
"C'mon. Let me see." Hiyoko reached down and gently tugged the book away from Ryouta. How to Fly in 5 Easy Steps. "Why do you need-?"
Ryouta looked away, and Hiyoko bit her lip. If she thought about it, she knew why Ryouta was reading this book. With Ryouta's mom being so sick, and his dad always at work, Ryouta had learned how to do almost everything by himself. The results weren't always the most efficient, or the most elegant, but he almost always managed.
Hiyoko realized that, lot of times, there wasn't much else he could do but manage.
With the steely resolve of her hunter-gatherer forebearers, Hiyoko made up her mind. "I'll help you."
Ryouta lit up like a bonfire. "You will?" Then he looked at Hiyoko, sceptically. "You don't have wings. You don't know how to fly. How're you going to help?"
She gestured with the book. "I can read. Five easy steps, right? No problem."
Step 1a. Preparation, Physical. "You got your adult feathers?"
They moved on to the next step.
Step 1b. Preparation, Mental. "Meditate on the sky," the book said. "Think of freedom." They meditated. They thought. Hiyoko personally thought that breaking out preparation into sub-steps was cheating, but hey, she was just a kid.
Step 2. Stance. Hiyoko and Ryouta looked at the diagrams in the book. "You're supposed to stand with your feet like this," Hiyoko said, demonstrating. "And then you lift your arms, um, your wings." Ryouta nodded and copied.
Step 3. Running. That made sense. Hiyoko had seen other birds do this. Sometimes, a bird really did need a running start. She could run. She knew Ryouta could run. There was no problem here. They didn't have to practice this step.
Step 4. Action. "You're supposed to flap." Ryouta and Hiyoko flapped, vigorously. They finished, high-fiving/high-winging. They had flapping down.
Step 5. Go! This puzzled the both of them. How could you just "go?" The diagrams were a complete mystery. It looked like you just... "went." How could that be? There was some notes for bird parents about the mechanics of lift and some guy named Bernoulli and wing design for soaring as opposed to hovering, but Hiyoko skipped that part. Too technical. Although that did explain a little bit of how Five (supposedly) Easy Steps could expand to fill a whole book.
Hiyoko tossed the book aside. Hiyoko and Ryouta looked at each other with firm chin/lower beak and great determination. "Let's do it," Ryouta said. It was time to put all that reading to work.
They had the physical and mental preparation. They started with the right stance. They ran around the yard, flapping until they were breathless, waiting for the magical moment when the "Go!" just happened. That moment did not arrive.
They dropped to the grass, panting.
Hiyoko said, "I think we're - I mean you - you're supposed to get some motion there. Like going up into the air."
Ryouta lay, his eyes closed. "I'm a dumb bird - I should know how to fly without something like that."
"Let me look at that book again."
"Ah, that book is junk." He covered his eyes with his wing. He seemed embarrassed by the whole situation. "I can take the bus anywhere I have to go."
"What if there aren't any buses?"
"Then I won't go."
"That's silly." Hiyoko flipped the book open again. She reviewed the steps. Done. She turned to the back. A Warning for Parents. First flights should not take place from the ground, if at all possible.
She looked at Ryouta. She couldn't imagine him on the bus for the rest of his life. He was born to fly. If he didn't start flying soon, he'd be behind the rest of their classmates and he'd regret it. She knew him well enough to predict it - she'd known him his whole life, and what seemed like most of hers.
"Hey, Ryouta," she said, "I think there's a step we haven't done yet."
They had climbed up the one large tree in the corner of the yard. Hiyoko had climbed it lots of times before, but Ryouta found it a bit harder. Now, they sat on the widest tree limb, nervously looking at the ground. It was a bit of a jump for Hiyoko, and a much larger one for Ryouta.
"Yeah," he said. "Although this is kind of crazy."
Hiyoko laughed. "You bet."
"Let's go!" Ryouta said, excited.
Neither of them jumped. After several beats, they looked at each other.
"Sorry," Ryouta apologized.
"I should have jumped too," Hiyoko said.
"Okay. One, two, three -!"
Neither of them jumped.
"I will next time!" Ryouta promised.
"Okay! Me, too!"
She landed heavily, scraping her knee. She dusted herself off and looked up at the pigeon in the tree, hands on hips. "Ryouta!"
"Sorry," he said, shoulders drooping.
She opened the book again, wondering if there was a section on how to encourage jumping. There was. Reading it made her feel bad. Doing it would probably make her feel worse. But there didn't seem to be a lot of choice, as the section was titled The Option of Desperation.
She climbed the tree and sat down next to Ryouta.
"Yes," Ryouta nodded. "You bet. All I have to do is have the right stance, run, flap and go-OOO- !"
Heart in her throat, Hiyoko shoved Ryouta off the limb.
He dropped like a stone, staring at her in shock and reproach. Then he started flapping crazily in self-defense and slowly gained altitude. It didn't start out very elegantly, or efficiently, but he managed. It was the best he could do.
In short, he took to flying like a bird to air.
After realizing he was airborne, Ryouta had whooped and flapped all over the yard, learning how to control his flight. Hiyoko had jumped down, screaming in encouragement as she watched him, thrilled beyond belief. He had grown tired and landed roughly next to Hiyoko.
"I'm sorry I had to push you out of the tree," Hiyoko said, sitting back on the ground next to Ryouta.
"It's okay," Ryouta said. "If I had jumped one of the first three times, you wouldn't have to have." He reflected, "It's so awesome. The wind through my feathers, the sunlight, the clouds and sky. Just awesome. I'm glad you pushed me off the tree." He reached over and squeezed her arm. "Thanks."
"You're my best friend," Hiyoko said. "I would have done anything to help."
"My wings are so tired now," Ryouta grumbled softly. "And my butt hurts. I wonder if there are any books on making a better landing?"
Hiyoko lay on the grass next to her best friend and together, they laughed into the blue, blue sky.
He smiled at her. "I always have the best time with you."
"Let's always be together, okay?"
He looked at her, a little worried. "You promise?"