Getting Fit for Life

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Getting back into shape was harder than Kai Hiwatari anticipated. Much harder.

First, there was the obvious emaciation from his transformation, and gaining weight, especially muscle, was harder than most people knew. Getting over the initial weakness he expected.

But then there was the weight of his new wings that threw his balance all over the place—and they were still growing. He didn't think they could grow any bigger until he noticed ash-gray tips to his elongated feathers. His tail feathers also grew longer, though they didn't add enough weight to make learning how to balance himself as a freaking bird person any easier.

So, once he stopped falling on his face whenever he stepped funny or tried to jog, there was the pain of his bones, now most likely hollow like Ayah's. Kenny and Dizzy hadn't been kidding when they said hollow bones were not made for high impact activities, running being one of them. Since running was the best way to build up one's endurance as well as strength, and the easiest, Kai made a good effort to do it anyways and ended up crippling himself for day.

But he had always been a creative sort. It would just take finding a spot where he could be unseen and alone—another thing he was quite good at. He could take his pick: the old junk yard warehouse, that spot of beach you could only reach by doing some rock climbing at low-tide, etc.

So, in the early morning hours Tyson called 'ungodly,' Kai would shuffle to one of his secret training spots, take off his trench coat, and practice flapping his wings.

At first it was excruciating. His new wings had never been worked before, nor had his body ever had to deal with the pressure. He'd collapse, breathe through the pain, and start again. This sort of work he was use to. He knew what to expect. It didn't make the throwing up any less unpleasant, especially since it didn't seem like his new appetite was easing anytime soon.

Which presented his next problem.

Kai fingered the last bills on the floor of his apartment, which had somehow become more cluttered since he'd grown wings. His grandfather's checks were always on time, given they had been set up in advance, but he only had three months left until his birthday in December. The months were getting colder, which meant he'd probably end up eating more. The college semester would start in the spring as well, and since his grandfather's name followed him like a bad smell, no one would offer him financial aid. Why should they? Voltaire was rich, wasn't he?

Not to mention that Tala had sent him the word that he would be taking up Kai's invitation to move in that weekend, having taken the month to see to some last minute business of his. That meant the money would have to stretch two mouths until Tala and him could find someone who wouldn't be scared off enough by their intimidating air to hire them.

He dropped the bills with a sigh. Three days of food—if he tried to be conservative. It was Wednesday, so two days since Tala would be there Saturday. But he had just built up his strength enough to actually start moving bits of wood with the wind force of his wings in the old warehouse. He could even begin to see growth in his biceps, thank god.

"Great time to turn into a winged freak," he muttered to himself, running a hand through his thick hair. He needed a haircut. Not to mention a bath—he sniffed—in a bad way. This would be a really great time for his grandfather to keel over. Maybe he could write the Blue Dolphin, ask how the old man's health was coming along.

He stuffed the bills into his pocket and shuffled about for some clean clothes, but found there were none and groaned. Laundry. Why did being alive have to cost so much?

That was it, then. He couldn't do any job interviews smelling like the sewer, nor could he go applying for scholarship interviews with all his clothes smelling the same.

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