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I grabbed Blake’s shoulder and hauled myself up on his back, gripping his long neck as he pushed it back against me.

His body was so soft, and so big—and still growing by the moment—I could feel him spreading out, slowly, between my legs.

He took off running, and I held on as tightly as I could as he ran downhill, spreading out his wings, which nearly filled the whole street.

“You’ve done this before?” I said.

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

I felt his muscles readying under me and I gripped him tighter as he leaped into the air.  The movement was impressive, but failed to catch air; he landed, carefully, and immediately took off again, with a grunt and a greater effort than before.  This time, we soared.