John steps into the waiting-room of the Registry Office For The Chosen And Their Winged-Children. A bit long winded...but hey...it works. Anyone who becomes chosen must register the fact. What better place to get this mix-up sorted?
The walls are a cool blue, the flooring carpeted a deep blue, large posters of winged-children of all ages are decorating the walls, a long glass table is in the centre covered in magazines all of, which are about winged-children, human couples are seated in the plush black chairs dotted around the spacious room.
He's the only singleton here. No surprise there. John has never heard a single person rearing a winged-child...ever! It only strengthens his notion, that it was some kind of mistake. Why else, would an egg be laid in his bed? John Watson could never be a Chosen. Nothing ever happens to him.
Taking a deep breath John lowers himself into the nearest seat. His fingers twiddling a card. A classification card. The only other thing left by the egg's mother. It has all the information needed to know, where the egg came from. Clan name, parents, the list goes on. One side is the clan's coat-of-arms, a blue-green shield with a raven sitting in the middle, on the other side are a bunch of symbols, which John recognizes as winged-folk language, but never found the skill to read.
A woman's voice penetrates John's mind, and his head snaps up.
A winged-woman is standing at the doorway clutching a tablet, dressed in a slate-grey suit, a warm smile gracing her pleasant face. Her red hair swept up into a bun and rusty coloured wings pressed close to her back. Power rolls off of the winged-woman, much like others of her kind. All winged-folk hold themselves, with the same powerful aura. Standing, all John can think is better get this misunderstanding righted sooner, rather than later.
John followed the winged-woman into a compact office, a small desk and two chairs the only things within. The winged-woman is one of the registrars, who introduced herself as Miss Ruby Weathers.
John is wiggling in his wooden chair, wanting anything, but to be here. Can a black hole swallow him up any time soon? That sounds better, than this. John's feeling like he's been sent to the head teacher's office.
"Dr Watson. First I must congratulate you for being chosen. As you're well aware it's a great honour, which'll improve your life," the winged-woman says as her fingers fly over the keyboard.
"I'm sure, but..."
"There are many benefits for those raising winged-childen. The child's parents will give you a lump sum for help in their offspring's needs, plus the government includes a monthly payment, all this is for the wellbeing of the child. Enabling you to ensure the winged-child has the right environment to live, and grow-up in. Not to mention the basics the child will need throughout it's childhood. If for any reason the egg doesn't hatch, which unfortunately does happen time and again, then all benefits will be evoked."
"That's all very good..."
"Once the child reaches the age of 23 years a clan member will get into touch and your envolvement with the child will end. Any questions?"
Sighing John says, with a hint of a bite "Yes, actually. I think, there has been some kind of a mistake."
"Mistake?" Miss Weathers asks looking completely shocked by John's words.
"Yeah. I don't see how I could of been chosen. There are others far better than me to raise this winged-child. I'm on my own. I'm not married or even close. Why, would I be picked?"
"I can assure you Dr Watson, there are never any mistakes. This child's parents studied you, researched you, I'm sure you know how this works?"
"I am," John answers with a nod.
"Then you know, that it's not possible for a mistake to be made."
"But I have a limp! I wouldn't be able to keep up with a human kid, just think of the way I'll be with a winged-child."
Miss Weathers furrows her brow, her eyes scanning John's form, making his skin itch.
"What limp Dr Watson?"
This knocks John for a loop. Is she playing tricks with him? He's heard the way some winged-folk are. Showing off how much smarter they are compared to humans.
"I have a cane," John snaps looking down at the hand resting in his lap. The hand, that has held his cane since leaving the damned hospital, even sitting he holds the bloody thing. John gasps. His cane, which had become an extra limb, is nowhere to be seen.
"If you have quite finished Dr Watson...we can carry on...Have you got your egg's classification card with you?"
In a daze John hands over the card. How had he left the bedsit, without his cane? It has been a part of him for so long, he's forgotten it was even there. Now as he thinks about it, the pain in his leg has gone like vapour. Psychosomatic. A voice whispers from the shadows of his mind.
Studying the card Miss Weathers explains her findings "The child belongs to the Holmes Clan. I'm sure you don't need me telling you how influential they are. They're amongst the most intellect of all winged-folk. The mother is Violet Holmes, the father Siger Holmes, this is their third egg laid, the other two hatched to be both male. I strongly suggest, that you do your research on the child's parents, and clan, so you can name the child accordingly. You may name the child, whatever you wish, as long as you give the child the surname Holmes."
John nodded along with the information thrown at him, although he still couldn't understand, that this wasn't some mistake. John Watson is a common name right? Maybe they got mixed up. So he voices his concerns. Hoping to put on end to this once, and for all. That way the egg can go to someone far better.
"Are you sure it's not a mistake? I'm not being ungrateful or anything, but...why would I be picked?"
Grumbling Miss Weather looks, about ready to burst. Probably never encountered anyone acting like John is now. Humans, would climb over each other to raise a winged-child. The status given to The Chosen is, what most can only dream of.
"Dr Watson. I've personally read your file as soon as your appointment was booked. A file. Your egg's parents sent us, I might add and, there is no shadow of a doubt, that you are a Chosen. Someone worthy to nurture a winged-child. Not only are you a doctor, but you were formerly one of the Royal Army Medical Corps, formerly part of Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers, a Captain, and honoured greatly for bravery, a national hero."
John swallows the lump in his throat that had formed. John doesn't see himself neither brave or a hero. He only ever did his job...his duty. Nothing any other soldier hasn't done. Why should he be honoured whilst others weren't?
With that Miss Weathers twists the computer screen to face John. Before him, along, with all his personal information, is a picture of himself. It is true! He is a Chosen!
John leaves the Registry Office For The Chosen And Their Winged-Children. His head buzzing. The fact that he is a Chosen and no, it's not a mistake, is making him dizzy. Pushing all, that to the back of his mind for the time being, wishing he had someone to talk to, about all this, and heads straight to the nearest clothes store. He's in need of new jumpers. The nest can't be disturbed, whatever was used to build the nest must remain. Why oh why did the mother have to use his jumpers? He loves his jumpers.
As John is wondering round the racks of clothes, a number of jumpers draped over one arm he hears someone call out his name, although, with such a common name as his John rarely answers.
"John? John Watson?"
Once John's ears pick up his surname he stops, pivots on the spot and his eyes land on a portly human man. He's wearing a long light grey coat over a dark brown suit, matched with a checkered shirt, a stripy red and yellow tie. The man's face is warm and his face graces a pair of metal framed glasses. He's looking at John as if he knows him. John searches his mind trying to match the face, with a name. He hates to be seen as rude.
"Mike. Mike Stamford," the man says patting his own chest, and turns slightly to reveal tiny earthy brown wings. Wings so small, you could hardly call them as such.
A memory flashes behind John's eyes. Mike Stamford. A friendly soul who, was a great friend back at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, where they both trained as doctors. Always had his back no matter what. He is a rarity. Some may say oddity. A human-winged-folk-hybrid, known as winged-human. Being hybrids no two winged-humans are the same, although all are flightless and commonly have stubby wings.
"Ah. Yes. Of course," John says offering his hand for a handshake.
"I know...I got fat," Mike jokes as he shakes John's hand a tad too vigorously.
Same old Mike, John thinks. Mike was always the kind that you couldn't help but befriend. A ray of sunshine.
"I heard you were abroad somewhere getting shot at. What happened?"
"Got shot," John answers soberly.
Mike drops John's hand as if it just burned him and looks crestfallen. Such a kind soul. Never one to purposely hurt someone and taking it to heart, whenever he does accidentally.
"Wonna go some place for a coffee?" Mike offers, looking helpful. Clearly wanting to make amend in some small way.
Taking pity on the hybrid John answers "Sure. Just let me pay for these. Yeah?"
Mike nods in reply.
They are sitting beside each other on a bench in the park nearby John's bedsit. One he's walked tons since returning from Afghanistan. Both nursing a takeaway cup of coffee. An awkward feeling is flowing between them. John speaks up first.
"Are you still at Bart's then?"
"Yeah. Head of winged-antenatal care now. What about you, just staying in town, while you get yourself sorted?"
"If you had asked me that a few days ago I would of said, I can't afford London on an army pension, but now things have changed. I've been chosen. Came home to find an egg waiting for me in my bed," a head shake "Of all the things that could of happened to me, I never saw that coming."
Mike blinks at John for a few moments, then a bright grin spreads across his warm face "I always knew you were special. Congrats!"
John smiles weakly still unable to wrap his mind around the fact, that he's one of The Chosen. Someone worthy.
"Hey. You'll need antenatal care. I could carry that out for ya. Unless you've already sorted that out, mind."
"That'll be great Mike. Having a friendly face round at this time would be a help," John answers unable to stop, but think that maybe his wish has came true.
"Of course," Mike breathes clapping John on his thankfully good shoulder, then follows up with an after thought "Couldn't Harry help?"
"Yeah, like that's gonna happen? Anyway Mike, what do I need to do to set up first visit of my egg. Phone up?"
My egg? John needs to get used to saying, that!
"No worries John. I'm still on break. Can have a look see now."
"I can't ask you to do that. Really Mike. I don't want to trouble you."
"No troubles John. Let me grab my bag, and it'll only take me two ticks to check out your egg," Mike says with a sunny smile.
John can't say no to such a warm, and friendly soul, not with a nature like Mike's. So nods.
Embarrassment fills John as he lends Mike into his bedsit. He pushes down the colour that's threatening to stain his cheeks to a ruby red.
The bedsit is a shabby, outdated dwelling at best. The main room has his sorry ass single bed pushed against the far wall, just next to the only window, to the left of the main door is a tiny kitchenette, a second door is a stone's throw from his bed, which leads to a tiny sorry excuse of a shower-room/toilet. The whole place is grey, in colour, and feeling.
Mike's tiny wings flutter in excitement as his eyes land on the egg nestled in it's nest of blankets and jumpers.
"It's a beaut isn't it?"
"Mike. It's an egg. Don't they all look alike?"
Mike shakes his head good-naturedly as he makes his way towards John's bed.
"I assure you John. This egg is speacial. Your hatchling is going to be one remarkable child."
John hums. Humoring his friend. To his eyes it looks like any winged-folk egg he's ever seen. Mind. He's only seen a handful in his career of doctoring, but still. An egg. Is an egg.
"The temperature is perfect John," Mike informs John after testing the room's heat.
Mike probes the nest, and runs his hands over the egg shell, humming happily, pleased with his findings, Mike pulls a portable white light out of his bag.
"Close the blinds wont you John?"
John silently moves over to the window, plunging the bedsit into semi-darkness within moments.
"Come over here John. You wouldn't want to miss this," Mike says passionately, as he places the light behind the egg and carefully removes the egg's coverings.
John comes to stand beside Mike. Mike turns to John smiling that sunny smile of his, then he flicks the switch on the lamp.
As the light shines through the egg John's heart melts. He can clearly see a noticeable dark blob within. The embryo.
"It's a winner John," Mike says happily as he turns the lamp off.
John blinks and blinks some more, yet the image remains. The sight of his unhatched winged-child. A baby. His baby. Will forever be sketched on his retinas. For the first time since coming home John feels complete.
"How does it feel to be a daddy John?"
John's heart sings.
Wonderful indeed. John H Watson will forever be changed.