“Tell me something you remember,” she rolled from her back to his chest.
Ali sighed and took a tendril of her dark hair gently between his fingers. “About what today, dear?”
“Something you remember from the Beforetime, anything,” she watched the endless stars above them, “except something you’ve told me before, of course,” she shot a sideways scowl at him only the stars could see.
Ali let out one of his belly laughs, “Fine, fine my clever little piglet” he put his hands behind his head and looked down at Pri, “have I ever told you the story of the crow?”
“No,” she snuggled closely into him, “not that I can remember.”
“That doesn’t mean I haven’t told you,” he laughed again.
“Oh, just shut up and tell me about the dang crow,” she said impatiently, nudging him with her head.
“Alright, alright, calm down,” his laughter settling. “When I was a young man, my family and I lived in the Southlands and–“
“You never told me that,” she interrupted, looking up at him, brow furrowed.
“I didn’t?” he feigned innocence.
She continued her glare it him, clearly unsatisfied.
“Well, you have to admit, we didn’t get off to the very best start,” he reminded her.
“I’ll accept that for now,” she said snobbishly, “but only for now, please remind me to berate you about it later, thank you,” she settled back into his chest with her eyes on the stars.
“Yes, yes, of course I will,” he chuckled softly, “I was walking home from the market and I heard a chirping in the alleyway. I couldn’t see anything, but it piqued my curiosity. I walked down the cobblestone alleyway and couldn’t find the source pf the chirping,” he shifted, moving a hand from the back of his head to her hair again.
“I walked up and down that alleyway, four times,” he let go of her hair and held his fingers up as if she could see them, “but still, I couldn’t find the source of that damn chirping,” his brow furrowed as he lost himself in the stars and his reverie.
“I thought I might be mad,” he chuckled again.
“You are a bit mad now,” she interrupted without moving, “so I can imagine you at least had the beginnings of a madman then–“
He gently yanked on a handful of her hair, bringing her head up so he could see her smirking face. “Do you want me to tell the story, or should we just sleep, hm?”
She bit her bottom lip and let a mischievous grin curl on her lips, “fine, fine, go ahead,” she feigned exasperation as he released the tension of her hair.
“Finally,” he cleared his throat, “after I had checked every place possible in the alleyway, I stood, quietly, and didn’t move. It was so close to me, but I couldn’t find it. I let the thing chirp, once, twice, and by the third time I realized it wasn’t above me or on anything around me, the sound was coming from below me. I got on my hands and knees, then to my stomach, and looked left, then right. To the right of me there was a piece of cobblestone missing next to the building. I scooted over to it and there it was,”
“A crow?!” Pri interrupted excitedly.
“A crow, yes, but a chick. His wing feathers were just coming in, but not enough to fly and he still had his hatching feathers around the crown of his head.”
“Oh. My. Gosh. How adorable!” she interrupted, again. It only took a hint of a yank on her hair for her to meep and bite her lip into silence.
“I scooped him up into my hands and carried him home. We had an atrium then, with bird cages so big you could fit at least three men inside of them. I would know, my father had three men inside of them once, but before you open your mouth, that is a story for another time,” Ali rolled over to his side, and pulled Pri close, whispering into her ear.
“I nursed him back to health, and raised him with my own two hands. We always had magnificent birds of all varieties, parrots, toucans, even a peacock, but for some reason, I felt especially attached to this little crow. He was dark and alone, and, well…” he paused, but left the sentence at that.
“What was his name?” she asked gently into the sky.
“Kaa,” he whispered.
“Does that mean something?” she asked, confused.
“No, well, it just,” he fumbled with his words” sitting up and folding his legs. Finally, he said, “you know, like kaa kaa,” he cawed like a crow would have.
Pri sat up as well, facing Ali as she giggled, “So you named the crow chick after the sound a crow makes?” she couldn’t help her smile.
“Well, yes, what else should I have called him? Seraph?”
“I guess that may have made more sense, but perhaps he wasn’t a magical crow so it may have been a hasty choice for a name,” she continued her smile.
“Bah,” he waved her off, only slightly annoyed, “it felt right, it still does, thank you.” He said matter-of-factly, not willing to feel even the least bit silly for such a name.
“Sorry, I was only teasing,” she gently put her hand on his shoulder. “What happened to him? To Kaa?”