Alder Heights Thunderbolt and lightning
#1
Beauregard had decided to hunt on the wing this evening. This was a perfectly reasonable decision until it wasn't, because now the skies had opened up with not only rain but the threatening crackle of lightning.

His feathers were sopping wet before he could even begin to find adequate shelter. He did not have an umbrella, and he was quite far from home for a bird in a storm. Swapping back to his other form would likely leave him drenched.

Woe, woe, woe was Beauregard until he spotted a hero in the distance, trudging along beneath an umbrella.

"Sam-UELLL!" he called, wings beating sloppily at wetly as he made a beeline from behind, wanting to land on the boy's shoulder but knowing him to be too jumpy to attempt it outright.

So instead he would perform a near crash landing onto the pavement, the very picture of pitiable.
#2
Samuel's wake-up routine had largely remained unchanged since his transition. Like usual, he checked his weather app and made decisions on clothing, tucking a long gray umbrella over his arm.

Having completed his errands and once again outside, the sky wasted no time in opening up to fat droplets that then turned to thin spindles of piercing rain. Samuel remained dry under his umbrella, listening to the staccato of drops hitting the fabric. A good sound. A good night. Samuel was almost enjoying himself – which meant his peaceful evening would soon change.

He heard his name and didn't quite believe it much like one does when walking through a crowd. However, the likelihood of another Sam-uel on this barren sidewalk was criminally low, so he stopped and waited to see if the voice would call again.

It didn't. Rather the air held a new sound, the fluttering of wings too close for comfort. It wavered as if the sound itself didn't know where to go next, and then, from the corner of his eye, Samuel watched as a bird took a nosedive right in front of him.

Strange. He stared, shocked by this usual behavior in nature. Clearly, the rain had played its part and Samuel felt something close to sympathy for the poor creature. The survival of the fittest was quite cruel and this bird was simply its next victim. Disgusted, but morbidly curious to what gore and guts may have been ejected by the fall, Samuel took the few steps forward to stand before the bird and nudged the body with his toe.
#3
Spindly legs staggered him quickly forward, water dripping from his pointed beak. Unpleasant all around!

But this goddamn boy offered a shoe instead of a hand, and were he not already puffing to dry, he would splay his feathers in offense. How had Edvin raised anyone so stunted?

He hopped back, unwilling to be kicked even lightly, and glared as much as a sopping bird could. (Not at all.)

"I'll offer you a foot next time you need help," he said, frown in his voice for all that it was absent on his face. "Hand, Samuel."

Beauregard was still not properly sheltered from the rain, and every drop added further insult.
#4
Why it wasn't a bird at all! Samuel could not hide the surprise to find his Dominus looking so miserable in bird form. Samuel rushed to tilt his body down, umbrella following suit so that he could get closer. The mocking bird would finally be under cover, but the angle of the umbrella created a mini waterfall just outside the perimeter.

"Dominus?" Samuel asked hesitantly. He could not shake the notion that this might still be an illusion of the mind. However, he also dutifully lowered a hand. "Why are you out in the rain?"
#5
Samuel seemed to remember his place in the world, and the bird hopped forward to avoid the torrential rush of water from the umbrella's lip. If Beauregard would ever get tired of being called "dominus," it was not today.

"It was not raining, and then it began to rain," he said, making a damp leap into Samuel's open palm. He steadied himself, feathered body huddling a bit lower in expectation of the world beneath him moving upwards.

"What are you doing out in the rain? Besides playing hero to sopping birds?"

A teasing question, because obviously Samuel was prepared, but it only felt fair to turn it back on the boy.
#6
The sensation of wet feather settling on his open palm was nothing less than disturbing. A tactile experience Samuel had never wished for, but was now subjected too. Samuel bit the inside of his cheek to keep from grimacing as he lifted his hand. He doubted the Dominus would ever forgive such an expression directed at him.

The Dominus had gotten stuck in the downpour, no doubt catch by surprise. It was no wonder the drenched bird would be touchy on the subject.

Sensing the eggshells laid out for him, Samuel chose to allow the Dominus' his satisfaction. "I was walking home from a piano lesson."

He adjusted the umbrella and started a slow pace toward the planitarium. "With Dr. Beck."
#7
Beauregard sensed that disgust! What a prissy man was Samuel. Of all people to turn, Edvin, truly. Speaking of that unhappy sire, piano lessons was certain something.

"Shoulder if you find a hand so upsetting, Samuel," he sighed first, flicking his beak upwards to indicate.

He would hop to it if offered, but a rain soaked bird was no picky thing either way.

"Subjecting you to piano lessons. Do you enjoy them?"

It was the sort of deliberately focused thing he could perhaps see Samuel enjoying. But just as easily, they could be forced and dreadfully boring!
#8
Ah, so he hadn't hidden it well then. Samuel allowed for the transfer to his shoulder and wiped the palm on his jeans. Discreetly of course.

He suspected they looked like an odd pair, the budget version of a pirate with his molting companion.

"It was a good experience." Samuel chose his words after some deliberation. He could say he enjoyed the lesson. That was truthful enough. But, it felt too much like a trap to give away everything so soon. The Dominus may have directed his gaze forward, but there was also the chance those little beady eyes would be aimed right at Samuel's corneas. It was absurd to be concerned with playing an intimidation game with something the size of a tennis ball, but said tennis ball was also a very powerful, very observant vampire.

Perhaps the mockingbird would like a bit of gossip? It was the best he could offer sans something tangible and shiny. "Surprisingly, Dr. Beck is very partial to modern pop music." Very low hanging fruit indeed. However, no one had ever accused Samuel of being very good at misdirection.
#9
What a deliberately worded thing. He settled on Samuel's shoulder with a leap, setting immediately to preening. Damp feathers required readjustment, rearrangement, fluffing. Plumage perfection in progress.

Rain pattered on the umbrella, and he was quite cozy despite Samuel's discomfort. Sharp toes found good purchase on shirt fabric, and his grip was comfortable enough to keep him stationary for the bounce of each step.

"Is that so!" he asked with audible delight, head flicking up from beneath a wing. "Which songs?"
#10
He had taken the bait. Samuel allowed himself a small moment to internally celebrate. Even the tiny pricks of bird feet into his shoulder could not damper the success of finding something to please the Dominus.

"Depressing ones mostly. I suspect it's part of his profession." Dr. Beck had confirmed as much.
#11
Depressing pop music. Beauregard hadn't considered that to be an option. He avoided as much of it as he could these days, finding it by and large to be nearly headache inducing.

He made a little choked human sound from a bird to the idea of it being part of his profession.

"Is that what he told you?" he tittered. "Did he elaborate?"
#12
Ah. Well, he did and also didn't elaborate. Samuel could infer, however. "He said he enjoyed studying human emotions and their complications." Which made psychology a principal choice. No other occupation gave you better access to the human mind. Except perhaps, a brain surgeron.

Samuel remained silent for a moment before adding his own opinion. "I also think it helps him find meals." An upsetting thought came after that, but he didn't find the strength to voice it.

The boom of thunder was heard overhead, halting Samuel with his umbrella gripped tight. He picked up his stride toward the planitarium.
#13
What Edvin Beck enjoyed doing was listening to depression pop music. Any further attempt to intellectualize it could only be more embarrassing for the regent.

He chuckled to Samuel's assessment, then fell into his very best Edvin accent:

"'Ah, yes, I too enjoy the popular tunes of the Jonas Brothers. Would you perchance like to join me down this dark alley to discuss our mutual interests further?'"

The thunder only made it all the more delightful.
#14
A very unattractive snort left Samuel and he rushed to pulled the umbrella handle up to turn and hide his face away.

"That was very good." He commended the Dominus. "You must spend a lot of time together."

They were just a few blocks away now, but rain continued to beat down. Wind picking up.
#15
Oh, heaven forbid Beauregard see Samuel smile. Some hint of personality might be evident!

He prodded his beak at his own scrabbly toes for a moment, feeling that heftier breeze and tucking his wings in tightly.

"Indeed we do," he said.

Beauregard had questions, here. Could prod Samuel about his relationship with his sire. But undoubtedly, he would receive no meaningful answer.

And so!

"What was the last thing you used your power on?"

Lightning crashed, as if to emphasize, and he gave a nervous bird titter.
#16
Samuel would forever deny such words escaping his lips again, but in the absence of anything substantial to share, he panicked and said the first thing to pop into his head.

"Pigeons." He blurted. The horrified realization coming seconds after that the chosen object was the exact worst thing to mention. To his Dominus. Who was In. Bird. Form.
#17
This was not lost on Beauregard who, in addition to currently being a bird, had found a greater fondness for animals as a whole in the past few years. It was a no brainer to nullify the man beneath his grasp.

But that was only one part of this. Did Edvin know his progeny killed small animals for entertainment?

"Ah, easy targets, I imagine," he said thoughtfully. "Tell me, why living creatures?"

This was, undoubtedly, a trap.
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