AU. Sort of crossover with Marvelverse. Mostly X-men and mutants. Mentions of some Marvel characters. I own nothing. No slash.
The wings began to appear when he was ten years old. It started on the nape of his neck, just a few black feathers intersparsed with his hair. He didn't really think anything of it. He didn't have many friends, and feathers never came up. He assumed everyone had them. By the time he was eleven, he knew he was a freak. The feathers had spread to his shoulders. He had seen lots of backs before. None had feathers. Then, the pain started. His bones felt like they were twisting, poking out of his skin. Then came the day when they burst through. All he ad done was bend over. But his skin stretched and split and he screamed. He stripped off his shirt and stared in horror at his back in the mirror. He was bleeding. But worst of all, two small black wings lay crumpled, wet and blood-soaked, against his back. With shaking fingers he brushed one. He tugged at it and screamed again.
His father was sickened by the wings. His mother, frightened. His brother was indifferent. They went to a doctor and paid him a lot of money to examine the boy and not say anything. His father asked, demanded that the doctor remove the wings. The doctor said it was impossible. They were a part of the boy, as much as an arm or a leg was a part of him. To remove the wings would kill him. The wings had to stay. They had to be exercised as well.
They were a lot bigger than he had originally thought, once they were clean and dry and fluffed out, and by the time he was twelve, they were large enough to envelop him entirely. The exercises allowed him to use them as well. His father never let him fly outside, so he had to use his own suite of the family manor. It was hard, and he wasn't very good. Flying indoors was almost impossible. He hated it. It was confining, and a little bit scary.
When he went outside, or to see his father, he had to bind the wings and hide them under his shirt. He could fold them very small and the tighter they were bound, the tighter the shirt, the more they pressed against his back, the harder they were to see. It hurt. It made him irritable, impatient. He pulled further into himself, distancing himself from other people. He pushed them away, didn't let anyone near. He had always seen more than most, and he worked at developing that skill further, using it to push people even further. He saw everything, made no connections, pushed down emotions and sentiment for a shell of logic and reason.
He began doing research. Mutants. He found a paper by a man called Professor Charles Xavier. He determined that he was probably one of the mutants that Xavier talked about. He began watching his brother. The article had suggested that mutation was the result of genetics, which meant that his brother probably had the same gene, even if it was only recessive. Six months into his twelfth year, he determined for a an absolute fact that his brother was indeed a mutant as well. It hadn't manifested itself physically, which seemed a bit unfair. His brother could control machines, technology. He discovered the term was "technopath."
He began doing more research, experiments. By the time he was fourteen, he isolated the mutant gene in his brother and himself. He'd been very proud of himself for finding it, he even wrote a paper about it, sent it to a scientific journal under an assumed name. Much of the scientific community already knew about the Mutant gene, but the paper was published anyway. The boy told no one. His brother knew anyway.
That year, the family, excluding his father, went to their house in the country, and his mother let him fly. It was very different than flying inside. Flying outside was easy. It was instinctual. It was wonderful. His wings ached at the end of the day, but it was a good ache, not the cramped, tingling that he felt when he bound them.
When he was fifteen, through various experiments and patient research, he discovered that his father had passed on the gene to his children. He wrote another article. He told his father about the gene, but he hadn't been pleased.
The doctor was called. The boy had a black eye, a cut on his forehead, bruised and, in two cases, cracked ribs, and a broken wing. His mother told the doctor he had flown into a tree. His brother confirmed it when the doctor looked skeptical. The boy said nothing, just stared blankly with eyes glassy with pain and a betrayal that he would never forgive.
He now pulled himself away from his family, often refusing to leave his room for days at a time. He ate little, slept less. At night, he sometimes snuck out to fly. He searched out the neighborhood families, searching for those who might have the gene. He compared blood samples of his own blood and that of a young man willing to donate his own to learn more. He experimented, trying to figure out if there was a way to negate the effects of mutation. He didn't find one.
At eighteen, he went to university, with a major in cellular biology. It bored him. He still saw everything. He lacked the ability to understand when it was appropriate to say what it was he saw. His roommate introduced him to cigarettes and cocaine. It made his mind race, kept it stimulated, staved off the boredom. With his abrasive personality, his lack of a filter, and his lack of empathy, he made everyone quite hate him. At twenty, he didn't care if he hurt people's feelings with his observations. He had pulled so far into himself at the age of fifteen, that he had almost forgotten how to feel.
He continued his experiments and research on people with the mutant gene. He continued writing his articles, eventually leaving the printed journals, and publishing himself, online. He made quite a name for himself. Or rather, D. Arthur made a name for himself. And he was still bored. The cocaine was the only thing that made life interesting, made things tolerable. University was boring. The classes were too easy, the people were idiots, nothing was challenging enough. He graduated early, and for five years, he barely survived.
A young DI found him in an alleyway one night, higher than he could remember ever allowing himself to be before. The DI put him in a holding cell to come down while he filled out the necessary paperwork. He was still there when two officers brought in a screaming man, hands streaked with dried blood. "I didn't kill her," he was sobbing, "I loved her, I loved her, I don't care what she done, I found her like that I swear it, I didn't kill her!" The young man in the holding cell looked on with interest. He was coming down quicker than expected, and the drama in front of him took his mind off things slightly. One of the officers explained the situation to the DI.
"Woman, thirty-seven, found dead. Throat slit. She was cheating on him," he jerked his head toward the sobbing man. "Caught him with his hand on her throat, knife next to him, fingerprints all over it. Obviously feeling guilty, crying his eyes out."
"Why?" the young man in the cell asked. Three heads turned to face him.
"Why would he feel guilty when he is obviously innocent?" he asked, impatiently.
"What the bloody hell are you on about?" asked the DI, curious.
The young man sighed. "Her throat was slit. Where's the blood?"
"All over his hands," snapped one of the officers. "Why are we listening to this junkie anyway?"
"Because you're idiots, obviously," said the young man. "If he slit her throat, there would be blood spatter. Everywhere. On his sleeves, on the front of his shirt, maybe even his face. He's an office worker, he wouldn't know how to handle a knife effectively so he wouldn't get sprayed. He obviously hasn't changed out of his work clothes, that shirt has only been worn for a day, but it isn't wrinkled enough for him to have pulled it out of the laundry. And there isn't enough blood on his hands. If he had been there when she died, he would have more blood on his hands. There isn't enough—it had already started drying when he got there, I'd say not long before you lot did. I'd wager that the man she was having the affair with killed her, or possibly he had another lover."
The officers scoffed, but the DI insisted they look into it. It made sense what the young man had said, and he could see it for himself now as he looked at the man, at the crime scene photos that the young addict hadn't even seen. There was a lot of blood. There was no way someone could have killed the woman there and come away from it with no blood on them at all.
It took less than an hour for them to find someone who had seen a man throw away a shirt in a dumpster. They recovered the shirt. It was covered in blood. They found him fairly easily after that, surprised him at home. He had showered, but there was still blood under his nails that he hadn't noticed, and a spot on his earlobe, another near the hairline.
"How did you know?" the DI asked the young man, who was now staring at the ceiling of his cell.
"The same way I know that your wife is angry with you, and you've spent at least two nights on the couch and that you had an onion bagel with cream cheese for breakfast and you haven't been to the bathroom since this morning."
"Yeah…but how do you know that? Are you one of those mind readers or something?" The young man snorted.
"Hardly. It is always obvious when someone sleeps on a couch, it's clear in the way they hold their neck and back. You've been on the sofa at least two nights running. Onion bagel…strong scent, cream cheese, there is some on the corner of your mouth, so you haven't been to the bathroom or eaten anything since, or it wouldn't be there any longer. You have to go, you've had three cups of coffee since you brought me in, and you keep looking at the clock, so…I'd guess your shift is over, but the person who is supposed to take it is late? In any case, you can go to the bathroom, I'm not going anywhere." He lay back down. He was tired. His high was gone. He hated coming down.
The DI was thoughtful. "That was very good," he said slowly. "I have an offer for you." The young man made a noise that the DI took to mean, 'okay, continue, I'm listening.' He licked his lips and continued. "Would you like to work for the Yard? On occasion, if…if we're stuck?" The young man sat up, looking interested again.
"Like a consultant?"
"Only if you get clean," said the DI firmly. "No drugs, or no cases." The young man brushed this away as if it was an irritating fly. Get clean, no problem.
"And you'll give me hard ones? Interesting ones? If you lot are too thick to solve it?" The DI frowned.
"If we need help," he said. "I might call you in. We get first crack at it obviously." He didn't like some twenty five year old telling him he was an idiot. He wasn't the junkie after all.
"I won't go to jail?" asked the young man. His brother had always gotten him off before, but had said recently that he wouldn't do so again. And he couldn't go to jail. There was no way he'd be able to hide the wings. He didn't like to think about what would happen if people found out about them.
"Not this time," replied the DI. "I think I can pull some strings." The young man nodded.
"Thank you for your assistance, Mr. Holmes." The young man in the cell winced. 'Mr. Holmes' was his father, or possibly, his brother.