Side Story: Soaring High
Mark was a bit of a homebody, not particularly keen on the outdoors, but sometimes he got an itch to go mountain climbing. On a mountain near his city, he breathed in the air, noticing people paragliding overhead. On the trail up to the summit, he spotted another woman gazing at the people overhead as well shielding her eyes from the glare of the bright sun.
‘Excuse me’ he called out. She turned and looked back at him. ‘Sorry to bother you, but do you know where they’re gliding from?’
‘Oh, hi’ she smiled. ‘It’s something isn’t it. I’m a bit afraid to try myself, but I heard they’ve got a paragliding event going on at the top of the mountain this week.’
‘That’s really great!’ Mark was excited to hear that. ‘I’ve been thinking about doing something like that for a while. Actually, come to think of it, I have a pegasus fluffy now. I wonder if he’d like it, too.’
‘Oh dear, he might be pretty scared trying that.’ She shook her head.
‘Maybe, but he knows he can’t fly. It often saddens pegasi a bit, maybe this would help.’ Mark looked up again, now with an idea.
As he headed down the mountain, he knew exactly what he’d do tomorrow. Alex had still been recovering from his hormonal imbalance and withdrawal, and though he’d made a new special friend in Fenrir, he still looked a little weary from time to time. Perhaps something like this would be another salve to perk him up.
Mark turned in, ready to surprise Alex with the trip. After his check up with Dr. Neustadt, he’d spring it on him.
When they returned to the car, Mark rolled down the window, driving off from FluffCare. Alex stuck his head out the window and let the wind rush past his face. Despite most fluffies hating cars, Alex loved it.
‘Daddeh, wuv window open!’ Alex blurted out as he popped back in, moving to sit down on the seat beside Mark.
‘It sure is nice sometimes isn’t it’ Mark said, patting him on the head. ‘I have a surprise for you, by the way. Do you want to go somewhere really fun and special with daddy?’
Alex’s eyes lit up in anticipation. ‘Awex an Fenwiwr gu an hab wots ob fun?!’
‘Not quite, buddy. It’s just you and me this time.’
Alex began to look a little sullen. ‘Nu wan speshul fwen, too?’
‘That’s not it at all buddy. It’s just I think this is something only a pegasus like you might like. I don’t want to scare Fenrir.’
This intrigued Alex. ‘Pegasus onwy wike?’
‘You know how you have wingies, but can’t fly?’ Mark asked him.
‘Yus… Awex wish cud fwy, but wingies nu wowk gud.’
‘Well, what if I said you could fly with daddy?’ Mark gave Alex a wink as he rubbed his belly.
‘Weewy? Daddeh an Awex can fwy? SU HAPPIES!’ He began to get super excited, hopping around and rubbing up against Mark’s arm.
‘Calm down, buddy. You’ve got to sit in the car, I don’t want you getting hurt.’
‘Sowwy daddeh, jus su happy!’ Alex said, sitting down.
As they approached the parking lot for the trail, Mark parked the car, turning to grab a baby harness to place Alex into. Strapping it to himself, he adjusted it and headed to the passenger door. Sure, it looked a little silly for Mark, but hey, it’s not like this was going to be a regular thing. He let Alex out of the car and picked him up.
‘Daddeh gib upsies?’ Alex looked up as Mark placed him in the harness. ‘Wat am dis daddeh?’
‘It’ll allow me to hold on to you when we fly, I’ll have to wear one of my own when we do it, too.’
‘Otay daddeh. Wiww wingies wowk wen fwy?’ Alex was still curious about the whole thing.
‘No, buddy. Just like you, daddy can’t fly on his own. That’s why humans made big wingies that can lift even humans like daddy!’
Alex was amazed. ‘Woah, su smawt! Nu can wait, daddeh!’
Mark hiked the way up the mountain, stopping every now and again to take a drink of water and admire the scenery. He pointed at all the things in the distance, telling Alex what they were. He even showed him where their housie was.
‘Am su faw daddeh! Aww am su widdew, su high upsies!’
Reaching the summit, he got some curious glances from the people waiting to try their own hand at paragliding. The staff who set up the temporary event were curious too.
As Mark prepared to take his turn, one of the staff spoke to him. ‘Aww, who’s this cute little guy here?’ she asked, giving Alex a pet on the head.
‘Am Awex, daddeh taik Awex fwyin’!’ he cheerfully boasted.
‘After I found out about this place, and noticed he needed a little cheering up, I thought I could try it. Also seemed fun for me, as well.’ Mark adjusted his straps as she led him towards the glider.
‘That’s awfully sweet of you. It might be a bit scary for him though, or you. I’ll show you how to make it work, then it’s off you go. Remember, when you land, just run a bit and come to a stop.’
‘Alright, I’ll try and get it quickly.’ Mark listened as she explained the way to adjust to change direction, and how to glide gently to go further.
Before they got a running push from the staff, Mark looked down at Alex. ‘Are you ready, buddy? It might be scary at first, but I’m right here, you’ll be safe. We both better be, or daddy’s in trouble, too!’
Alex tried to steel himself, clinching his poopie place. With a gulp, he looked out at the city below. It was so high up. ‘O-otay daddeh! Awex am weddie!’ he yelped, closing his eyes.
The staff began to push as Mark got a running start. Soon they were gliding off the edge of the mountain, soaring high above the park and the city. It was absolutely exhilarating.
‘Alex, look, woah! We’re flying!’ Mark felt the rush of the wind as they gently soared.
Slowly, Alex opened his eyes. Daddy was right! They were flying! At first he felt a little scared, but then he felt the wind as they glided, and they weren’t falling! His mouth opened wide into a gigantic smile as he laughed. ‘Daddeh! Awex am fwyin’!’
‘That’s right, buddy! We’re flying!’ Mark turned the glider this way and that, gently taking them down towards the field where they told him to land.
Alex began to flap his wings, closing his eyes, letting the wind flutter through his wings as he pictured himself flying high, on his own, between clouds. High above the fields, the flowers, the other fluffies looked on in wonder. He glided down and picked up Fenrir, holding him in his arms as he and Fenrir soared through the sky.
These thoughts filled his head, picturing a life where he really could fly. As Mark took in the vista, he gently glided them down into the field. A sudden jolt, and he came running to a stop. Taking off the harness, he handed the glider and equipment back to the staff.
It was a short walk back to the car, and Alex was left in a daze as he was carried by Mark, before finally coming back to reality as Mark took him out of the harness.
‘How was it, buddy?’ Mark asked, sitting him on the passenger seat, door still open.
Alex began to tear up. ‘Awex, Awex wuv! Tank ‘ou daddeh! Wuv su muchies!’ he exclaimed, as he reached out and grabbed Mark’s waist in a big hug.
Mark hugged him back, patting him on the back of his head gently. ‘I love you too, Alex.’
On the drive home, Alex couldn’t stand it. He had to sit on Mark’s lap the whole way home. He held on to his waist as he drove the whole way.
Normally, Mark would have said something. But this time, all he felt was warm and happy.
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