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Learning to Fly, Part Four: Above and Beyond

By LyraHStrings
Created: 14th February 2022 03:43:58 PM
4th October 2022 10:08:34 PM

  1. Learning to Fly, Part Four:
  2.  
  3. >Be Katie.
  4. >When you came back in with a little bowl of water and a bag of carrots, the little horsie- er, Anon, was sound asleep, snoozing gently on your bed.
  5. >He must have tuckered himself out with all the running- and flying! Eee!- he did.
  6. >You wrap him in the blanket and gently tuck him in, placing a pillow underneath his head.
  7. >You leave the water and carrots on your nightstand. You grab your bag and take out some homework, sitting down at your desk and working to a soundtrack of soft horse snores.
  8. >...
  9. >"Katie, honey, I'm home! Want some dinner? I brought burgers!"
  10. >Oh. Mom's home. You shout towards your door.
  11. "Hey mom! I'll be out in a minute!"
  12. >You contemplate Anon.
  13. >He's still snoozing peacefully despite all the yelling. You decide to let him rest, and you stand up from your desk and meet mom in the kitchen.
  14. >"Sorry I got home so late, I figured you'd want food as soon as I got back and I really didn't feel like cooking tonight. So, I swung by and picked up burgers on my way home!"
  15. "Oh, that's fine, don't worry about it. Thanks, mom."
  16. >"How was school?"
  17. >Ooh boy. Loaded question.
  18. "It was, uh..."
  19. >Don't think about the adorable horse that's sleeping on your bed. Don't think about the car stashed several houses over.
  20. "Fine! How was work?"
  21. >"Oh, same old. Had a particularly lovey-dovey patient today."
  22. >She took some food out of the bag and passed it over to you.
  23. >"This horse was more interested in nuzzling me than raising his hoof so I could take a look at what was bothering him."
  24. "Aww."
  25. >"I got him to cooperate eventually, though. Mr. Ed is now fit as a fiddle!"
  26. >You start tearing into the burger and fries.
  27. >Mom rolls her eyes.
  28. >"Come on, I know you're hungry, but at least eat at the table."
  29. >You both laugh, but you comply, sitting with your back to the hallway that leads to your room.
  30. >She sits opposite you, starting on food of her own.
  31. >You both sit for a while, just eating, not really talking.
  32. >Mom pipes up.
  33. >"Oh! I should start a load of laundry while we're eating, I'll get your dirty clothes, don't worry."
  34. >She moves to get out of the chair.
  35. "Don't!- I mean, don't worry, I'll get it, you've been on your feet all day."
  36. >"Oh, thank you! You're such a dear."
  37. >You get up, leaving the table, and enter your room.
  38. >Anon is still sleeping- how long has it been now? Transforming into a horse must've been tiring.
  39. >You collect some of the clothes that were lying around your room and put them in the hamper, logging it to the laundry room.
  40. >You sit back down at the table.
  41. >Dinner continues.
  42. >Your mom looks up.
  43.  
  44. >"So, was school really- ohmygod Katie Olivia Phillips why is there a horse in our house?"
  45. >You spin around only to be met by the wide, adorable eyes of Anon.
  46. >You shoot him a look that says, "I thought you were asleep!"
  47. >He just gazes back at you and yawns.
  48. >"Oh, hey Miss Katie's Mom, I'm, uh, staying over..."
  49. >Mom balks.
  50. >"Katie. Did the horse just talk?"
  51. "Yeah."
  52. >"Oh, okay. I thought I was crazy."
  53. >She takes a moment to consider that.
  54. >"I'm not sure which is worse. Do you *know* this horse?"
  55. "Yes ma'am."
  56. >"Yeah."
  57. >You and Anon speak simultaneously.
  58. >"Right... well, it would be rude not to invite our guest to dinner. Please, sit down, horse."
  59. >"I, uh, already ate..."
  60. >"Is that right?"
  61. >Mom shoots a pointed look towards you.
  62. "Mom, I think that the horse-"
  63. >She shushes you.
  64. >"Uhp!"
  65. >Mom gestures towards the seat to her right.
  66. >Anon trots over and hops up onto the seat, placing her hooves on the table and awkwardly smiles at mom.
  67. >"Now, Katie, why is there a talking horse in my house?"
  68. >Here we go. You were hoping to keep this a secret longer than just a few hours.
  69. "Well, that actually goes back to your earlier question. This is what happened at school today."
  70. >"Elaborate."
  71. "It's Anon. Anon turned into a horse. I had to drive him home."
  72. >"I'm- I'm just going to ignore the fact that you drove by yourself. Thank god you at least got home safe."
  73. "Well, I wasn't alon-"
  74. >"Yes, I know. The horse. Anon. That boy you're always telling me about."
  75. "I-I'm not always telling you about him!"
  76. >You glance at Anon who's still half-asleep. He seems to be examining the tablecloth.
  77. >"Mmhmm. So I'm supposed to believe that the human boy Anon has now taken the form of an oddly-coloured pegasus mare?"
  78. "Yes, mom! That's exactly what you're supposed to believe! I swear, that's what happened. Besides, what else could possibly explain this?"
  79. >She thinks for a minute, before shrugging.
  80. >"You know what, you raise a good point. Screw it, I'm in."
  81. >Whew.
  82. >"So, when did this start?"
  83. >You tell her what you know, starting with when you first noticed the symptoms.
  84. >When you finish recounting your adventures, she sits back, considering the information thus far.
  85. >"He can fly?"
  86. >Anon lets out a dopey laugh.
  87. >"Yeah. I can fly so fast. Zooom!"
  88. >He makes swooshing movements with his hooves, making you snort.
  89. >"That's... amazing, dear."
  90. >Mom nods at him, sighing wistfully.
  91. >"I've always wanted to fly..."
  92. >"Yeah, me too!"
  93. >"At least one of us got our wish."
  94. >Mom puts her face in her hands.
  95. >"What am I going to do... what are we going to even tell your father, Anon?"
  96.  
  97. "I don't know, miss Katie's Mom."
  98. >"Please, call me Andrea. Oh, god, how are you even going to go to school?"
  99. "Mom, I don't think that's as important-"
  100. >Mom looks at you seriously.
  101. >"Are you saying school isn't important?"
  102. "Well, no-"
  103. >"Then it's a factor to consider!"
  104. >You sigh.
  105. "I think we should handle how to let Anon's dad know first."
  106. >Anon pipes up.
  107. >"I'm, uh. Still here. But yeah, I didn't want to contact him because I wasn't sure how to explain it, I had Katie text for me telling him I was staying at a friend's house. I came here because I hoped it would be, uh, safe."
  108. >"You're welcome here any time, sweetie, but, Katie, you could've let me know!"
  109. "I'm sorry, I didn't know how you would react!"
  110. >"Don't worry, it's okay. We can't dwell on the past. The important thing is that we make sure Anon is safe and comfortable. I'm sure he's going through a lot right now."
  111. "That's an understatement..."
  112. >She turns to Anon.
  113. >"Anon, I'm going to give your father a call and tell him about the situation."
  114. >"No!"
  115. >"Why not?"
  116. >Anon looks down.
  117. >"I'm... I'm not ready, yet. I need more time."
  118. >Mom nods, frowning.
  119. >"Okay. But only one more day. And you have to go to school, tomorrow."
  120. >"What?"
  121. "What?"
  122. >"I'm serious. What's the worst that could happen? Just trot in there like you own the place. I'll vouch for you. Katie will, too, I'm sure. It wouldn't do anybody any good to just hide away and not get out there, it's no way to live. You should start early and get all that stuff out of the way so you can keep on living."
  123. >...
  124. "Uh, wow, mom. That might just be the worst advice I've ever heard."
  125. >Anon hmms.
  126. >"You know, she's got a point. I can't just stay at your house all the time, or even my own. I have to make that first step. Surely there'd be questions about where I disappeared to, my dad might be under suspicion. I have to get videos of me, pictures, the world will know I exist. That could either be a good or a bad thing, but either way, I'll have gotten it out of the way."
  127. >You nod.
  128. >"Actually, several people have already seen me. The drum major, some kid in the hallway, and who knows who else."
  129. >Mom aah's.
  130. >"That means there should be rumors spreading around already, if I know high schoolers."
  131. >"Mhmm."
  132. >"I know! I'll call the principal in the morning and let him know about your situation. He should be able to make some provisions for you."
  133. >"Thank you, Miss K- uh, Andrea."
  134. >You glance at the clock.
  135. >It's pretty late.
  136. "We should probably go to sleep. I guess we've got a long day ahead of us tomorrow."
  137. >Mom stands up, and you and Anon follow suit.
  138. >"Remember to brush your teeth!"
  139.  
  140. >You and Anon head back to your room.
  141. >You close the door, and flop on the bed. Anon follows suit, flopping down on the other pillow on his back.
  142. >"You know, I'm not really tired."
  143. "Speak for yourself, sleepyhead, I'm exhausted. That homework destroyed me. And, you know, the whole watching-my-best-friend-turn-into-a-horse thing."
  144. >"Come on, at least you weren't the one who was turned into a horse. I deserved a good nap."
  145. "You left me all alone! But your snores are really cute."
  146. >"Hey! They're not cute!"
  147. "Mmmnope. They are."
  148. >"Are not!"
  149. "Are too."
  150. >"Are NOT."
  151. "You are literally the cutest horse I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot. It must be the eyes. Everything you do is cute."
  152. >"You're gonna pay for that!"
  153. >Anon rolls over on top of you, aggressively tickling you.
  154. "Pfft- stop!"
  155. >You simply wrap your arms around him in a hug.
  156. >He tries to struggle out of your (gentle) grip, but he gives up once he realizes he's stuck.
  157. >"No fair."
  158. "Mhmm."
  159. >You both lay there for a while, your face in Anon's.
  160. >His eyes looked back at you, a sea of orange-red like a sunset over the ocean.
  161. >You blink. That was oddly poetic of you.
  162. >You relax your grip on Anon.
  163. >He shuffles off of you and moves to your side.
  164. >You wrap an arm around him once more, pulling him close.
  165. >"This is, uhm... nice."
  166. "Mhmm."
  167. >He lets out a cute yawn and snuggles into your arm. It looks like he was getting used to the touch of another person, or maybe he just didn't care anymore.
  168. >"I changed my mind. I am tired."
  169. "All that tickling must've worn you out, huh?"
  170. >You both giggle.
  171. >You pull the blanket over the two of you and snuggle up.
  172. >You fall asleep cuddling your best friend.
  173.  
  174. >Be Anon.
  175. >Next morning.
  176. >You wiggle out of Katie's grip-
  177. >Oh, god.
  178. >You two slept together.
  179. >This didn't mean anything, right? You were both just a little distracted from the events of the day and didn't think about what this meant.
  180. >You're best friends!
  181. >You're both very confident in your completely platonic relationship.
  182. >You're making it weird. It's not weird.
  183. >You let out a breath. It's not weird.
  184. >Katie starts stirring, and looks over at you, blinking the sleep out of her eyes.
  185. >"Ugh, what time is it...?"
  186. >She looks over at the clock, you do the same.
  187. >6 am. A lot of time left before you had to leave for school.
  188. "Good morning to you, too."
  189. >She rolls her eyes, brushing some of her messy hair out of her face.
  190. >"Good morning, Anon."
  191. >She swings her legs out of bed, yawning and stretching with her arms above her head.
  192. >You hop out of bed, doing an odd wiggle to free yourself from the sheets.
  193. >She turns to you.
  194. >"Breakfast."
  195. >You nod, and follow her into the kitchen.
  196. >Her mom is leaning on the counter.
  197. >"It's about time you two woke up. You've got a long day ahead of you."
  198. >"Mom, it's six in the morning. I hardly ever get up before seven."
  199. >She raises an eyebrow.
  200. >"Do you now? When do you eat breakfast?"
  201. >"At, uh, school. They have breakfast there."
  202. >"Oh. You know, when I was a kid-"
  203. >"Yeah, mom, I know. Uphill in the snow, both ways, no shoes."
  204. >"That's right."
  205. >Katie moves past her to grab the bread.
  206. >"Anon, what do you want? We've got toast, I could make you some eggs-"
  207. >Andrea interjects.
  208. >"Oh, sweetie, don't worry about it. I'll get you two something. Go sit down at the table and talk about your game plan for today."
  209. >"Thanks, mom."
  210. >Katie sits down, you hop and wiggle up onto a chair across from her, with some difficulty. The chairs are kinda high. This seemed easier last night.
  211. >You sit there in silence for a moment, awkwardly.
  212. "So..."
  213. >"Yeah. This is gonna be interesting."
  214. "You can say that again."
  215. >"I think we should do what mom said, just walk in like we own the place."
  216. >You noticed she kept saying *we*, as if you were in this together. She didn't have to be here, she didn't have to help you. She could just walk away, and she'd be fine... she's decided she's not going to.
  217. >It made you smile.
  218. "I'm glad you're staying with me."
  219. >"Of course! That's what friends do. I know you would do the same for me."
  220. >You wonder if you would've.
  221.  
  222. >You hear Andrea talking on the phone while making breakfast.
  223. >"Yes, is this Mr. Travers? This is Andrea Phillips, I was calling about a student, Anon Mous? Yes, that one. He was having a sleep over with a friend at my house, that's why I'm calling and not his father- yes, his father knows. Well. Anon, ah, had an accident- no, no, he's alright, he's coming to school, it just might be a little surprising. I don't want to say anything over the phone. No, I'm afraid you'll have to see it for yourself, you wouldn't believe me if I told you. My daughter, Katie, will be looking after him, they tell me they have all their classes together except for first period. Could you allow her to accompany him for that period and instead of her usual first period? I know how busy your staff gets, we didn't want to inconvenince you. I just wanted to let you know to expect them. Well, alright. Yes, I'll let them know. Goodbye."
  224. >She hung up.
  225. >"Doug wants you to get there a little early, so eat quick."
  226. >She sets down a plate of eggs and toast in front of you and Katie.
  227. >Katie starts tearing into the food, picking up the toast in her hand and biting it.
  228. >You realize that's not something you can exactly do.
  229. >You look at your wings.
  230. >Nope. You shut down the idea from your head before you start thinking about using feathers as fingers. It would never work.
  231. >You put your head down to grasp the toast in your mouth, chewing it right off the plate.
  232. >Hopefully you didn't look too silly.
  233. >You pick your head up and look at Katie, who was looking at you and trying not to laugh.
  234. >"You've, uh. Got a little egg on your face."
  235. >She couldn't help herself and let out a giggle.
  236. >Sighing, you just keep eating, letting her have that one.
  237. >"Here, let me get that for you."
  238. >Katie stands up and walks to your side of the table, grabbing a napkin and wiping your chin where the yolk had soaked. She had already finished.
  239. >She sits on the chair next to you and picks up the toast, holding it up for you to eat.
  240. >"No reason you have to eat like a savage. That's why you have me!"
  241. >You know she meant well, but it was a little degrading to be fed like a baby.
  242. >Begrudgingly, you take a bite out of the toast.
  243. >She picks up the fork that had sat uselessly on the table and scoops up some egg, gently guiding it into your mouth.
  244. >With her help you finish breakfast.
  245. >"I'm going to go get ready. Be right back."
  246.  
  247. >She runs off to her bedroom, leaving you alone with Andrea.
  248. >She calls you from the couch.
  249. >"Anon? Come over here."
  250. >You come in front of her.
  251. >"Sit down."
  252. >She pats the cushion next to her.
  253. >You hop up, turning to face her.
  254. >"So, what are your plans with my daughter?"
  255. >Oh, no. No, not now.
  256. "What? I-"
  257. >"Oh, don't be like that. I know how boys are, and I know how pretty she is. Her weirdness usually drives the boys away. Not you, though. It takes someone special to stick with her this long."
  258. "Miss Phillips, me and Katie-
  259. >"Katie and I."
  260. "-we're just friends. We've been friends for years. I don't think she looks at me in that way. Certainly not now. I'm a horse."
  261. >"But do you see her that way?"
  262. >You remain silent, averting your gaze.
  263. >"I see. You know, she's crazy about you. Not in a romantic way, though I'm sure it could blossom into something like that if you let it. You've got something good with her. She's willing to go this far and stay with you."
  264. >She looks at you seriously.
  265. >"Don't screw it up, okay? Have fun. Be young and in love. Even if you've changed physically, you're still the same Anon she's always known."
  266. >You nod.
  267. "Yes ma'am."
  268. >"Now go out and get em, tiger."
  269. "Ma'am, I'm a horse."
  270. >You both break into laughter after that tense moment, and Katie walks in.
  271. >"What are you two laughing about?"
  272. >"Nothing, dear. Let's go."
  273.  
  274. >In the car
  275. >You're buckled in in the back seat, next to Katie, who's sitting next to you.
  276. >She was brushing your hair- mane?- which had gotten a little messy.
  277. >She was also doing some light detailing on your coat, which was looking downright ratty.
  278. >It felt nice when she ran the brush through your hair and coat, though you left about 10 pounds of horse hair on the seat.
  279. >But you looked great.
  280. >Katie caught you looking at your reflection in the window, and brushed a bang out of your eye.
  281. >You share a smile, and Andrea calls back.
  282. >"We're here!"
  283. >She pulls around to the front of the school to drop you off at the office. A cursory glance reveals that, because it's so early, there's not really anyone within view.
  284. >"Luck be with you, brave heroes."
  285. >"Thanks, mom."
  286. "Thank you, Andrea."
  287. >Katie opens her door and steps out, grabbing your bag and holding the door for you as you clamber across the seat and hop down onto the ground.
  288. >"Oh, and Anon!"
  289. >She called at you.
  290. "Yes ma'am?"
  291. >"Remember what I said."
  292. >She rolls up the window and drives off.
  293. >"Just you and me now, Anon."
  294. >You nod, and you both proceed towards the front door.
  295. >Principal Travers is waiting behind the glass and he's looking at the pair of you incredulously.
  296. >He opens the door for Katie as you approach, but stops you.
  297. >"Katie, you can't bring pets to school. Where's Anon? Your mother said he'd be with you."
  298. >"Oh, he is."
  299. >You speak up.
  300. "Hi, Mr. Travers. I'm here."
  301. >He grows pale.
  302. >"Yes, of course. I'm sorry, young mare- man. What ever happened to you? Andrea said you had an... accident."
  303. "Well, it's a bit of a long story. And I'm not exactly sure what happened."
  304. >"I had heard of some things from the students, but I didn't- well, come in, tell me all about it inside, no sense standing out here in the elements, it's a bit windy today- good lord, where are your clothes?!"
  305. >You'd never really thought about this before, somehow. It was like your brain forgot about the concept of nudity... until now.
  306. >You were completely and utterly nude.
  307. >"Anon!"
  308. >Katie rips off her jacket and throws it over your hindquarters.
  309. >"Sorry, he just forgot. Turning into a horse does these sorts of things to you."
  310. >Mr. Travers was red in the face, muttering to himself.
  311. >"A student at school- in the nude...- never in a million years did I ever-"
  312. >He composes himself.
  313. >"Well, that's alright. I'm sure we can find something in the clothing closet that will fit you. It's only natural, after all, your old clothes wouldn't fit you."
  314. >He holds open the door and lets you in, Katie's jacket starting to slip off.
  315. >She hurriedly fixes it, saying her apologies.
  316. >You flex your tail instinctively and it slips off completely, again.
  317. "Sorry..."
  318. >"Don't worry about it, Anonymous. Just- keep your tail down, alright? Until we can find you some clothes to wear."
  319. >You nod, slinking after Katie and Principal Travers to the clothing closet.
  320.  
  321. >You find yourself in his office, now donning a pair of cargo shorts with a hole cut in them to allow for your tail to be free.
  322. >You explain your story to the principal, sitting in a chair next to Katie. You were a bit too short to just sit on the floor.
  323. >She lays a comforting hand on your shoulder when you get to the part about your transformation. You tried to spare them the details, but it was hard not to let it out.
  324. >You included an inspiring description about your short Wright-Brothers-esque flight at the football field.
  325. >You finish up with how you got to be at Katie's house.
  326. >Travers sits back and contemplates your story thus far.
  327. >"So, let me get this straight. Instead of coming to me, or a teacher, or anyone immediately after this happened to you, you snuck around the school, left clothes in the bathroom- at least this explains that mystery- and tore up our practice field?"
  328. "Well, when you put it that way..."
  329. >"Relax, son, I'm just giving you a hard time. You're okay. Just next time, if you need anything at all, get help first, okay?"
  330. "Yes, sir."
  331. >"Good. Alright, it's about time, I'll send you to class after morning announcements. Can I get you two some water?"
  332. "Please."
  333. >"I'm okay."
  334. >You and Katie remain seated, and he exits the room.
  335. >You both sigh in relief.
  336. "That could've gone a lot worse."
  337. >"Oh, the day's only just started."
  338. >The intercom dings, and Principal Travers' voice rings out across the school.
  339. >"Good morning, students. Happy Friday! Today is September 25th. Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.
  340. >Out of habit, you hop out of the chair and face the American flag in the office. You recite the magic words to the freedom fabric.
  341. >"You may be seated. Now, I know there's been some rumors going around about some events yesterday. I can tell you that at least some of them are true. Yesterday, around lunch time, a student here at Newton High underwent spontaneous human-horse transformation. You may know him; his name is Anon Mous. Despite his current condition, he still came to school to continue his education- which is more than can be said for some of you. Please make him feel safe and welcome. I should remind you that *all* school rules still apply. I know how you children are, please don't take any pictures or videos without Anon's permission. Please do not follow him from class to class. Please do not harass him in the hallways. We mean it, disciplinary action will be taken. Now, please, make it a great day; or not. The choice is yours."
  342. >The intercom shuts off, and you both get up.
  343. >Travers comes back in, and offers you the water.
  344. >"Good luck out there. If you have a problem with anyone, you come to me or any one of the teachers. I'll make sure it gets taken care of."
  345. "Thank you, Mr Travers."
  346. >"Of course. It's my job."
  347. >You both step out into the hallway, and are greeted by a throng of people that all immediately stop and stare at you, whispering to eachother.
  348. >This is going to be a long day.

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