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She couldn't feel her wings but knew they were there, so she built a ladder that led to the sky and when she touched the clouds she remembered how to fly.
~ Atticus

Track 10; Birds by Imagine Dragons & Elisa

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"This was not what I had in mind when you asked me for help." Hawks gave an exasperated sigh. "Are you sure you want to do it this way?"

"Yes." You gave him a slight nod of confirmation, crossing your arms over your chest. "There's no other option."

"Actually, you could let me teach you instead of dropping you from twenty stories up!" he retorted, the sweat on his brow visible with the distance between the two of you.

"Why do you have to argue with me about this?" You questioned with a roll of your eyes.

"Because there are many different ways to learn how to fly that aren't a death sentence if it doesn't work out." He replied, not backing down from what he knew was the right option.

You had found yourself in a predicament. Last week Hawks had brought up the topic of becoming a hero to work alongside him and figure out what truly happened to your dad. You still weren't sure of what you wanted to do, so in order to distract him from your lack of an answer that he was getting impatient about receiving you told him he could help you relearn how to fly. Needless to say he was immediately interested and wanted to start the process as soon as possible so you agreed to begin that day; only if he helped you on your terms.

So here you were, maybe fifteen minutes after the two of you had departed the penthouse. Not soon enough in your opinion Hawks set you down on the roof of an apartment building much taller than the one you and the pro hero resided in. You understandably had the jitters since the last time you had used your wings was when the bar burnt down, and before that it had been before your mom was killed. The professional flyer next to you had the same nervous energy about him. He was in no way comfortable with how you wanted to learn again but he didn't really have a choice, seeing as he was literally the only thing that would keep you from having to be scraped off of the sidewalk.

"Can I get another chance to talk you out of this?" He asked, pacing restlessly around you. "This is legitimately the worst way I can think of to learn how to fly again." You didn't think he noticed when you plucked a feather from his wing as he passed by but you were proven wrong when it began to writhe violently between your fingertips. You let it go to see it return to its designated place at the rise of his wings when he pivoted around to face you. "Would you please take me seriously? I don't like this at all."

"Can you please calm down and trust me?" You sighed, ready to reiterate what you had told him just before leaving the penthouse. "When I was ten my dad taught me how to fly in the same way I'm asking you to help me. He took me to the top of our apartment building, twenty stories up, and held me over the edge by my arms. I vividly remember him saying: "flying should be natural within you. It should be your second instinct, like walking. If you can figure out your wings before you go splat then we can go out for ice cream after dinner." And then he let me go." You demonstrated him dropping you by opening your closed fists, imagining the child version of yourself plummeting to the streets below.

He paled, running his hands through his ashy blond hair. "You're 100% sure of this?"

"Is your favorite thing to eat chicken?" You replied as if the answer was obvious.

He held his hands up in mock defeat, knowing that there was no getting out of this now that he was this far into the whole ordeal. "Alright, fine."

You intertwined your fingers with his, locking your elbows and pushing him to the edge of the rooftop. He hesitated when the only thing keeping him on stable ground was the toe of his boots but when you added more weight into your hands his wings opened instinctively to keep himself from plummeting. You could feel how sweaty his hands were and it made you even more nervous than you already were. He somehow sensed the anxiety beginning to form a pit in your stomach and pushed back against you slightly to check on you. You shook the fog clouding your mind and gave his hands a gentle squeeze, a reminder that this wasn't over until you could fly again.

With a pump of his wings he pushed himself higher into the air to lift your feet off the rooftop, his knuckles turning white to make sure he didn't drop you before you were ready. You wouldn't tell him that the grip on your hands slightly hurt you since it was the only thing keeping you grounded in that moment.

"Okay, I'm going to count down from ten. Are you ready?" He asked after moving away from the building, leaving nothing but twenty stories of empty space between you and the ground. You gave him a gentle squeeze in return as well as a nod.

It had to have been the slowest countdown of your life. Every instinct in Hawks body told him to not let go of you. To put you back down on the roof even if you tried beating the shit out of him for stopping you when you were this close to getting a piece of yourself back. He knew for a fact that if he did that you would either never forgive him or hold a grudge for the rest of eternity.

Both reactions were immediate exits out of his life so against his own will he let your hands slip from his.

Just as he loosened his hold on you and said 'one', you opened your mouth. "Wait, I-"

Hawks watched you plummet like a paperweight and he felt his heart drop right along with you. Before he could truly contemplate his actions he had already collapsed his wings to angle a nosedive after you. If he could just make himself a little bit more aerodynamic he'd be able to catch you before you became nothing but a bloodstain on the concrete.

As you watched the windows blur by, you felt your life start to flash in front of your eyes which blacked out the image of the pro hero diving after you. The first memory that appeared in your head was your time spent at U.A., being scolded by Aizawa for harassing your friends with your wings in the middle of class, zipping above Ground Beta during mock battles and interning under the top heros of that day and age.

Somehow you managed to face the ground beneath you when you realized a bulletin board was rapidly approaching. You angled your body just enough to miss it when another adrenaline rush spurred a repressed memory to the forefront of your mind.

You had been walking down the street you grew up on with your mother after grabbing dinner from a local restaurant, just a few blocks away from the place you and her called home when a man stepped out of the alleyway. The trauma from that eventful night made most of the memory hazy, important details such as the man's face escaping the deepest corners of your brain. Instead his features were blocked by a swirling cloud of grey when he mouthed a few words though you heard him clearly.

"You should've stopped after the first warning."

You remember her mutilated cries, the image of your mother burning alive forever seared into the deepest part of you. All you could recall after she finally stopped screaming was being pinned against the ground. You felt the sensation of the asphalt scraping into your face as you thrashed wildly in the man's grip, begging him to let you go and ripping your throats to shreds as you screamed for help as loud as you possibly could. The searing pain in your back as flames burned your wings caused one sentence to echo in your ears.

"Don't come looking."

You were only a few feet away from death when a spark ignited within you, jolting you to a slightly slower speed when your wings expanded. You flipped yourself over to land on your feet instead of headfirst, the impact of your boots on the ground causing a crater to form where you landed. Your (e/c) eyes met the skies when you took off once again, car alarms going off with their lights flashing in the aftermath.

The citizens standing on the sidewalk who stopped when they noticed you falling from the sky were stunned, not even casting Hawks a glance as he flew over them, a shocked look on his face.

"What the fuck just happened?"

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