1963-12-01 - Falling in Flight Lessons
Summary: More flying lessons for everyone involved!
Related: Fledglings
Theme Song: None
rosemarie illyana 


A knock at Rosemarie's door! It proves to be Illyana, standing opposite her— wearing a simple peasant blouse under a heavy wool sweater, and a plain, limp grey skirt that hangs to her knee. The smile she flashes Rosemarie, however, brief, is dazzling and her eyes seem brightened by beholding her friend.

"Hello Rose," Illyana says, venturing a diminutive affectation on for size. She steps forward and kisses Rosemarie's cheek, a bit quickly, as if worried she might recoil, lifting on the balls of her feet to do so.

"Am glad you have time off today. Was wondering, perhaps you have time to go to Limbo? Could do another flying lesson?" she offers, adjusting her clutch on her shoulder.


Clad in loose pants and a simple t-shirt (after all, it is her day off and this one intended to be spent around the house), Rosemarie answers the door to her apartment. The one knocking is promptly given a beam that shows off the many freckles and slight snag at her upper lip.

"Illyana, hello — oh!" The kiss comes as a surprise and the taller brunette tucks her chin but a little. Those eyes twinkle behind shy lashes, but she does emerge from the moment in light of the reasoning put forth for the visit.

"I…suppose I have time, yes," and she looks over her shoulder. Lola the cat is peering around the corner of the couch with red-zone suspiciousness, ears perked and eyes narrow. With a 'murr', she darts down the hallway and out of the sight. "I don't get that cat," the brunette mumbles before glancing back at Illyana with an apologetic quirk to her mouth. "Sorry. She's not normally shy. But - flying, right. Yes, I guess so. I can try it again." The more she talks, the more confident she seems to get. "I'll need to change real quick. I don't think my shirt will survive my wings." Stepping back from the door, she waves Illyana inside before shutting it. "Give me a second to change." Then, down the hallway like her cat and into her bedroom to swap out tops.


"Of course." Illyana waits patiently for Rosemarie to change. A bit fidgetingly, actually, taking a few cautious steps into the room to look around. She examines the piles upon piles upon shelves of books, looks at photographs, plays with at least one bobbin on a credenza before thinking better of the fragile bric-a-brac and setting it quickly back down.

Once Rosemarie's back, she smiles and offers the woman a hand. "Let's go, then," she says— and with two steps into the yellow void, Rosemarie's apartment fades away, and Illyana and Rosemarie stand in Limbo inside one of the rooms of Illyana's castle. It's filled with strange artifacts with no apparent rhyme or reason to them, some martial, some banal, some utterly alien— clearly displayed as trophies.


What to wear though?! What leaves her back open at least down to the bottom of her scapulae? Hangers shift, clothing results, and she finally pulls out the shirt. It's a more formal number with a…rather daring back in comparison to Rosemarie's general personality. Scoop-necked in solid burgundy; however, her collarbones show through a pattern of lace rather than to the open air. The back arcs down in a cowl of fabric, all the better to let those…stupid wings show up without destroying more clothing.

"What? Don't look at me like that," the brunette mutters at her cat, currently curled up on the bed and bestowing a look of absolute feline disdain. "I'll be back."

Easy enough to take Illyana's hand and follow the blonde into Limbo once more. It only makes a /little/ weeble escape from her mouth this time, definitely more towards nervous titter than shock. Cinnamon-brown eyes travel around the room and that mouth sloooowly drops open. There's some aspects of familiarity to the objects in this…trophy room? Like, that thing could be a weapon…and that a helmet…maybe? She reaches out to touch the feather-and-fur-covered stuffed animal-thing with a blatant disregard for the fact that it /might/ have consequences. After all, Limbo is Limbo and the rules aren't quite the same here, especially in light of magic.


"Some of the trophies of the rulers of Limbo," Illyana explains, hands clasped over her clutch in front of her. "Some so old, even S'ym doesn't know what they are," she admits. "Or why we have them. More… monument to the ruler of Limbo, than to whomever is current ruler," Illyana concedes, shrugging one narrow shoulder. "Old enemies, gifts from allies, strange artifacts that wash up. I think there's a telephone in one of the antechambers," she frowns, looking around. "Came by way of peculiar ripple in time."

She lets Rosemarie get her fill of sightseeing, then gestures at a stairway leading upwards. "Want to go up to tower and fly, then?" she invites, letting the avian woman set the pace of her second trip to this strange realm.


The feather-fur combination is utterly freaky. It's like…the fringe of a ponytail, but velvety soft with the thousands of hooklets and barbs that make up the vane of a feather. She draws back her hand and looks sheepish once Illyana starts talking. Moving back closer to her friend seems like the better idea in light of the fact that these are truly trophies from past rulers of Limbo.

There's about a minute or two of silence where Rosemarie's eyes just travel around the room. She turns in place, hands clasped primly before her, and finally realizes that Illyana is offering to start lessons.

"Oh, um, sure, lead the way," she says with mild apprehension. She has no idea where they are in the castle now. But she does recognize the weird semi-spongy stones from the time on the parapets.


They don't get time to see the strange Police call box in the corner— Illyana leads Rosemarie up the stairs, across a bridge, through a hallway, and over a freakishly unsupported bridge towards another taller tower. Looking at the castle, there's an unshakeable sense that a child assembled it, with no regard for architectural symmetry or even physics. Towers lean and bulge and scrape the sky with a casual disregard for aesthetics.

"I know tall tower is scary," Illyana tells Rosemarie as they scale the taller structure. "But better for flying, da? Farther to fall means, more time to get lift."

She sets aside her clutch while Rosemarie turns to look out over the view, and without a trace of modesty, removes her blouse and her skirt, leaving her in a plain shift that leaves her shoulders exposed, much like Rosemarie. She focuses herself, expelling air through her teeth, and once more wings start to grow from her skin in a fusion of flesh, sinew, and feathers, until a wingspan most of twenty feet stretches from a dense cluster of muscle that expands under her scapula.


Rosemarie follows mutely behind Illyana through the maze of the castle's innards. No doubt at all in her mind that the laws of physics do not rule here, not at all, especially with the bridge that defies all gravity. The brunette has to make a point of not actively thinking about it a certain distance across it, lest she be caught up in a tizzy of snarled logic.

"It's not the height that's scary. I climb ladders all day, remember?" she reminds her friend in mild exasperation. "It's hitting the ground…" This is added quite sotte-voce, barely a whisper, and she feels the itching beginning. Still, the view is wondrous as always. She makes her way to the edge of the parapet once more to take it in, letting out a breathy machine-gun of a laugh as she rubs at her elbows. The soft tips of the feathers have emerged from her skin and the nascent breezes of Limbo flutter at the arcs of midnight-blue plumage behind her ears.

"What are those mountains called, Illy? They seem too..big…for the…" Words fade off as Rosemarie glances over her shoulder and takes in the sight of those swan-like wings. The shift is plain, yes, but more than enough to accentuate the lean beauty of the woman's build and those wings. "That's…amazing, Illy. I mean, they're so perfect and big and feathery." She bites at her bottom lip as she takes it all in. Cue blush.


Illyana turns to look at Rosemarie, and if she wasn't feeling immodest before, Rosemarie's fawning admiration makes her neck and collarbone flush a pale shade of pink. She almost folds her arms across her belly, then forces her fingers to interlace and forces them firmly flat in front of her, lines of hard, sinewy muscle on her shoulders and arms twining into relief.

"Saw a swan once," she tells Rosemarie. "Always thought, very pretty, da?" she says. She looks up at the wings curling behind her, then unfurls them and one arches towards Rosemarie, pinions brushing against her face before pulling her towards Illyana in a peculiar sort of feathery embrace. "I like yours, too. Seem so much… more natural," Illyana says, struggling to find the right English word.


The touch of feather-tips to her cheeks is enough to make that blush go up to level 11. Rosemarie reaches up partly to try to hide her blush, but it turns into a momentary caress of the white plumage that retreats all too soon.

"Natural?" The brunette wrinkles her nose and eventually manages a small attempt at a smile. "Mine aren't natural. They're…something else." Cue the ratchet in her heartbeat. The next she looks from her toes back up at Illyana, those irises are paling towards peach. Not too far from the emergence of her own wings at this point. One blood pressure point more. "It's weird. It's like…there's something in my blood that wants me to keep trying to fly. To have the feathers visible. It…tingles," and she grimaces, knowing that's not quite the word she wants.


"How not natural?" Illyana asks, frowning. Is she misunderstanding the word? "You have wings. Want to fly. Go fly," she says, with blunt logic. "If not natural, then, wouldn't instinct be— /don't/ fly? Stay on ground?" she asks. "If only had wings, then maybe I might say, 'don't fly'," she concedes, stepping close to Rosemarie. She hesitantly strokes Rose's tricep, still daring that casual intimacy and unsure of how it'll be received. "But, instincts tell me you should try to fly, wings or no."

"Well— not without wings," she amends, a beat later. "But— bah. You know what I mean," she mutters, pinking darkly across her nose.


"But I'm human," Rosemarie mutters, leaning slightly into the touch.

But you're not, not anymore, not after…something happened, her mind finishes with cool logic. Maybe Illyana can catch the flash of conflicting emotions that ends in her squashing down frustrated tears. "And I know what you mean, no worries." A shuddering inhalation and the brunette looks her friend squarely in the face. "What first? Stretching? Jumping off?"

A small broken laugh followed by a little rise of shoulders up towards ears. "Please don't push me off again," she adds with a hint of apology in her tone in case of hurt feelings.


"I think you need to make wings stronger," Illyana advises Rosemarie. She tugs the girl to the edge of the tower, then steps cautiously up behind her and slides her arms around Rosemarie's waist. Shorter as she is, she is clear of her friend's wingspan.

A steady, warm air rises from below, and gravity's hold seems somewhat less tenuous. "I will glide for us," she tells Rosemarie, standing on tiptoe to speak into her ear. "You just focus on making wings move, da? If you start to falter, I will pull us both up. I won't let you crash," she promises Rose, hugging her with quick reassurances.


What is this odd quiver in her stomach? Where is it coming from? Not heights, she just denied it on the way up and just yesterday she was placing encyclopedias onto the uppermost shelves of the back rooms at the library. Not vertigo. She's not cold, though her fingertips are oddly tingling where they grip at her shirt at her sides.

It's the brush of Illyana's words along the conch of her ear…and the brunette gulps loudly, even as the lean arms around her hold her secure.

"But — but — but my wings aren't there yet," she whispers loudly, glancing over her shoulder. Well, they aren't! Last step, the wings. "M-my shoulders itch but they — " she swallows again and realizes that they are basically nose-to-nose with her backwards turn of head. "Not…there yet," Rosemarie finishes lamely.


"…did not want to pry, but figured you had reason for that," Illyana admits, squirming a little against Rosemarie's back. She looks abruptly surprised when Rosemarie turns around and they're inches apart, her eyes a shockingly cerulean shade of blue and wide as dinner plates. Her jaw slacks just a little, staring at Rosemarie, then averts her eyes— but a moment later, they flicker back, looking up at her through her lashes. She lifts her chin just a second later, regaining her poise, and her fingers tighten a bit on Rose's hipbones. A lean, bare quadricep presses against the back of Rosemarie's thigh. "Uhm… what would, uh… what would help?" she asks, one wing drifting around to add another feathery hug to the touch of her fingers.


"I-I-I-I'm not sure," the brunette stutters out, turning a most spectacular shade of red beneath those freckles. She feels the curvature of the single wing about her body and turns to look at it instead of those true-blues that make her stomach do funny flips. Another swallow, a sudden wince and moderate curl into herself, and swish!!! Narrowly missing Illyana's nose, the midnight-blue wings emerge as if from some pocket beneath her skin and rapidly expand out. They seem to stretch and quiver, as if enjoying the glorious freedom beyond their captivity, before folding politely up behind her shoulders.

Panting just loudly enough to be heard, Rosemarie grimaces around one wing. "Sorry, you okay?" The pinions should rest along either side of Illyana's leanly-muscled arms. Her irises are fully orange now, raptor-like behind thick dark lashes.


"Ack!" Illyana's arms tighten on Rosemarie, and she hugs her until she calms down. "Oh! Well, da, worked well," Illyana mutters, examining the pinions. She forces her wings back behind her so they're well clear of Rosemarie's wingspan, straight and fully extended behind both women.

"Am fine. What were you thinking about? Might be useful next time you are falling and must fly, right now," Illyana asks Rosemarie. She stands on the balls of her feet, resting her chin on Rosemarie's shoulder and looking at her with that penetrating blue gaze, fingers still making absent, almost unconscious little circular patterns on Rose's belly.


Forget that stutter, Rosemarie's mouth opens and closes a few times with about as much clear communication as a fish out of water. Actually, not a bad visual. Flop, flop, red alert, out of comfort zone! Pair it up with the borderline-tickling on her abs, she's nearly fizzling with anxiety.

"I don't remember," she finally blurts out quickly before closing her eyes and tucking her chin tightly to her chest. A full-body quiver, down to the tips of her wings, and then she briefly whitens her knuckles in the shirt. "Okay, now what?"

Now she recognizes that summoning the wings is as easy as thinking of sapphire eyes.


Illyana gives Rosemarie's rear a bump with her hips. "Fall forward," she tells her tandem-flying-partner. "Open wings up, and jump little bit so you're going /forward/, not down. Wings should flex and pick up wind. I will help," she promises Rosemarie. As slender and wiry as she is, Illyana effortlessly lifts Rosemarie an inch off the ground just to show she can, without so much as a grunt of exertion to go with the movement.

"I will help glide, but you must make first jump," Illyana says. "Everyone says, first jump, most important. Must trust your wings to do the work," she explains, seriously. Who precisely she talked to— that's anyone's guess. But she shuffles Rosemarie towards the edge of the tower implacably.

"If you jump, I can give you cookie or treat at your home," Illyana advises Rosemarie. "What would be good reward? Think of reward, then— jump!"


"I-I-Illy, wait, this is — you're carrying me, my toes can't — " Nope, she can't scuff at the weird stones with the toes of her slip-on shoes, even pointing as hard as she can. "Put me down, EEEP!"

Yep, that sound really just came out of her mouth. Still, at the edge of the precipice, she steadies herself with one final shiver. Then, with less force of thought than expected, those midnight wings unfurl. Not as broad as Illyana's clearly — shorter by a good foot or two, meant for gliding more than flying — but they flap twice experimentally.

"I'll decide after I'm done jumping," she squeaks. Then, bending her knees and trusting Illyana to follow, she flings herself out into empty space with a cry that's half human terror, half avian delight.


Illyana helps with one kick off the tower at the last minute, giving Rosemarie that last little push of forward momentum. She hugs Rosemarie tight, her own wings opening up but staying well back— it creates a bit of extra drag but the additional lift is supremely helpful. Clutching Rosemarie against her belly, her slender physique pressing firmly against Rosemarie's back, Illyana holds herself arrow straight behind Rosemarie, chin resting between her wings and her belly bumped up against Rose's rear, her arms slung around Rosemarie's center of gravity. Rarely does she flap her own wings, except when Rosemarie's falter due to fatigue or loss of rhythm, content to bury her nose against Rosemarie's back and indulge in some perfectly harmless spooning with the lovely librarian.


Falling for just a second and then…gliding. Illyana's grip around her upper stomach is iron — she's not going anywhere — and the midnight wings flap frantically at first. It's like the first moment of hitting the surface of the water, when one drags to the surface and splashes frantically. Dark feathers fly loose in random tufts from the frantic effort and Rosemarie is panting far harder than before.

There's a moment where that other instinct kicks in and a thrilling sort of mental alignment happens. Puzzle pieces fall into place. The wings compensate automatically for her heavier bone structure, even if lightened when in this odd Atavistic mode, but continue flapping at a much more sedate if brisk pace. It's still not quite flying, the path a rolling rise and fall like a magpie, but it's a hell of a lot more than the first time.

"Illy! Are you okay?" Rosemarie calls out into the wind, unable to crane her neck to look back without messing up her flapping.


"Da! Just keep going!" Illyana's arms grip tighter around Rose, keeping her snugly in place, and one heel hooks around the front of Rosemarie's leg for a bit of extra leverage. Though Illyana's never ridden a horse, it's a sensation entirely akin to it, with the smooth rocking motion and the steady, surging pumps of Rosemarie's wings setting a rhythm that send the two of them bobbing through the air like a lazy rollercoaster.

Finding her face turning bright pink, Illyana clears her throat, then coughs, clearly unsure if she should grip more or grip less. "Er… are you okay, da?" Illyana calls ahead to Rosemarie, erring on the side of hanging on tighter. Y'know, for safety sake.


"Okay, I'll…I'll keep going then!" She's not sure if her words reach the blonde, she wasn't able to make much more than 'keep going'. The wings keep a-flappin', so they keep a-half-flyin' along. The mountains aren't drawing any nearer, but the geography is changing a bit as they go along. Weirdly-stunted bushes are dotted here and there and off in the distance is an odd glassy patch, as if some super-heated impact occurred and melted the ground.

Illyana speaks again and the brunette tilts her head to see if she can catch more of the Russian's words. "Yes, I'm fine!" she calls back. The wind pulls tendrils of her hair into her mouth and she spends the next few seconds spluttering and picking chestnut locks from her lips with one hand. The other arm remains steadfastly aligned with her ribs.


Feeling Rosemarie's wings starting to falter, Illyana points at the ground. "Set down, there!" she tells her friend. She aids with the landing, which is a bit of a production— a tricky maneuver where she doesn't want to accidentally double the drag by throwing her wings out, but doesn't want to get Rosemarie stuck with trying to halt all that mass.

It abruptly occurs to Illyana that she doesn't know how to land any more than Rosemarie does, so— she cheats. Summoning the power of Limbo itself, the young Sorceress adjusts the gravity around them and simply wills them to a halt six inches off the ground, partially disengaging from Rosemarie as they land but not entirely letting her go.

"Is good place to rest a bit," she tells Rosemarie, still hugging her from behind. "You did very well! Would guess… might have come two miles?" she says, squinting into the distance. "Don't think we hit any stretchy spaces on the way."


"But I don't know how to land!" Rosemarie's words are lost in the cacophony of wing beats between the four sets of wings. How it's all coordinated is nothing shy of magic and most definitely a tweak on Limbo's properties. Otherwise, it probably would have been a tangle of limbs and splayed feathers.

Still, halting those six inches short of the actual ground is enough to elicit a bit of a backpedaling in the brunette in arms, legs, and midnight-blue wings alike. "Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhoookay," she breathes, even as Illyana chirps up behind her. One wing is drooped down so she can glance over her shoulder once more at her friend. "Two miles? Really?" She pauses and frowns in confusion. "What do you mean by stretchy spaces?"


"Limbo is not… um…" Illyana tries to find the word. "Straight. Sometimes, 100 paces— you go one hundred yards. Sometimes, can go one hundred miles. Stretchy space," she says, unable to explain subjectively distorted local spacetime. Her own wings unfurl and stretch forward, rubbing against Rosemarie's wingspan affectionately. "But, didn't feel like we went that far. I get tingling feeling in toes when I find stretchy space."

Realizing she's still clinging to Rosemarie, she reluctantly steps back, rubbing a palm against the muscles under Rosemarie's scapula. "How do your wings feel? Nothing hurts, no?" she inquires.


"Oh," Rosemarie murmurs at the description given to her. It's like a time-space distortion of sorts, a weird blip of physics in the otherwise null Limbo. The sudden appearance of both sets of white primary feathers that emerge and slightly engulf her own is enough to make her pause and then laugh lightly.

That back rub though? Mmm. "No, the wings don't hurt, it's my shoulders." She reaches back across her body and prods tenderly at her trapezius muscles. "I feel like I just did too many laps in the pool. I don't think I'll be able to fly back."

The shrug that follows hurts and the brunette grimaces, still rubbing at the spot.


It would be a long time before Illyana would realize what an invitation to a backrub looks like— or discover what a backrub /is/. She just nods sympathetically at Rosemarie, walking past her a few paces and looking around the area, unaware of her future regret.

"Perhaps, should be time to return to home," Illy suggests. She grips Rosemarie's wrist and takes two steps, returning the women to Rosemarie's apartment in a shimmering of yellow light. Her wings she leaves behind in Limbo, dissolving in her wake like glorious golden streams until she's just another, average, blonde girl in her shift, barefoot and looking up at Rosemarie. "Did very well, Rose. Will do even better next time," she promises the other woman.


Such a shame too. No doubt there will be a moment of wide eyes and wry laughter behind hands on her part.

"Yes, that would be — " And back into her apartment with all of two short steps. "Good," Rosemarie finishes with that same semi-breathless awe at Illyana's magical abilities. She looks at her friend and has to consider for a moment what is so incredibly different. Then it hits her: the wings. She looks much smaller without them, though no less like the Illy she's coming to adore. There was something about that wingspan that gave her such presence.

"Thanks, Illy. I couldn't do it without you, honestly." Her nails scratch at the retreating feathers behind her ear. Within another triplicate of heartbeats, the wings are gone too, and they're both just young women standing there, one trying not to snarl up her fingers within her locks. A glance at the thin mirror hanging beside the apartment door shows that she has a serious case of flight-hair. Blushing a little, she glances back at Illyana and tries to pat down the places she remembers seeing stick out all awry. "Have to remember my headband next time, I think," she mutters before chuckling. "I probably look like I lost a fight to an industrial fan."

Regardless, she takes Illyana's hand in both of hers now and gives it a gentle squeeze. "Thank you again, Illy. For everything." With a move rooted in impulse and attempt at mirroring, she leans in to press a kiss against her friend's cheek as well and draws slowly back. Her throat bobbles.


"This is true," Illyana agrees. "Cannot get to Limbo, or play with gravity without me," she says. It's a factual statement, not a mark of braggadocio. Then, Rosemarie reaches forward to touch Illy's hand, and her heart goes into triple-time— oh wait, she's holding it, and Illyana's jaw starts working but not words fall out as Rosemarie leans in, oh, she's being kissed on the cheek.

Illy's eyes flitter shut and she leans a little into the kiss, despite herself, and she swoons a little with her fingers gripping Rosemarie's hands. When Rosemarie starts to draw back, Illyana reflexively turns her lips towards Rosemarie's cheek— incrementally— and the kiss ends up lingering much closer to Rosemarie's mouth than on her high cheekbone, and there is nothing polite or chaste about it. Rosemarie's slow retreat pauses and Illy's lips brush so close to Rosemarie's mouth that there's a lingering second of uncertainty. Did that just happen?

Suddenly wide eyed, Illyana backpedals two rapid steps into a glowing circle of light, and her blue eyes, wide, startled, and entirely uncertain, are the last to vanish from Rosemarie's view.

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