Gift-Fic: The Origins of Ferdinand
Flaming Trails

Well, here goes – again.

Victor swallowed, stomach twisting up in knots as he prepared to greet his newest creation. Or, rather, the sixth try at his newest creation. For two months, he’d toiled in his lab, trying to find just the right combination of genetic and chemical alterations that would transform your average ordinary Blue Morpho into a magnificent riding butterfly. And so far, it – hadn’t gone well. The first two attempts had died outright, victims of accidental overdoses. The third’s metabolism hadn’t been able to support its larger body – it had starved to death by the end of the first day, despite a steady supply of nectar. The fourth had ended up malformed, writhing in pain from a body too big on one side and too small on the other – Victor had been forced to mercy kill it. And the fifth had woken up, a beautiful, perfect specimen – and immediately tried to escape, battering the back garden with its giant wings before tearing itself to pieces trying to fly through a nearby tree. Each time, Victor had gathered up what remained, quietly buried it in the back, and retreated to his study to mourn…and then, when he finally felt strong enough, updated his notes and marched back to the lab for the next go.

And now, his sixth butterfly lay in front of him, twitching its wings under its sterile sheet. Victor sucked in a deep breath, bracing himself. Was six times the charm with him? Would this finally be the one that worked? Would he be able to stand it if it wasn’t? Only one way to find out, he told himself, and uncovered the creature in one quick motion.

The body seemed to be in good condition – wings symmetrical and the same size on each side; body long and lean; legs, slender but strong; head large and well-formed. With bated breath, Victor laid a hand between its feelers. Warmth radiated against his palm, the spark of life he’d been trying so hard to capture. “H-hello?”

The head turned to regard him, light glinting off the compound eyes. Victor held his breath, prepared to duck out of the way if it launched itself suddenly into the air –

Then, without warning, the proboscis was running all over his face. Victor blinked, baffled for a moment then realized it was trying to lick him. He laughed as the butterfly continued to lavish affection on him, its wings fluttering just like a wagging tail. Hi, he whispered, a massive weight dropping off his shoulders. Welcome to the world, Ferdinand.


The End