*Zohariel lifted his beak to allow the cool, pallid fingers to stroke his chin. Rani would scratch him under there, sometimes, when she came to the Corvidery to see her half-sister. He only half-listened to the continuing conversation, rather entranced by the rubbing he was receiving, rather like a dog being rubbed behind the ears.
“Um, excuse me, Black Widow, sir,” Oh, always such an eloquent one you are, Cath. “Would you like to rent-”
”I’ll buy him.”
Zohariel abandoned the stroking hand to slide a few inches down Everette’s arm to look blankly at Tyler, and then stare at Black Widow with the same expression. “Really?”
His dark eyes glittered with hope. “Whoa…” This was not what he had expected. He should have been heading back to the Corvidery on Chammy’s shoulder even as they spoke. But Everette wanted to buy him. He was going to have a human, his own human, again. The fact that this particular owner was a notorious hitman didn’t seem to cross his mind. Assassins were a danger to other people, not to crows. And not, certainly, to their own crows. The Crow of Black Widow. Oh, that sounded good. "You think I should?" Zohariel made a little indecipherable clucking noise in his throat before he managed to find words. “DO I?” He didn’t know what he ought to do; he had the urge to fly around in circles over the dark city, cawing his heart out, letting every bird in Hemaclot know that he, Zohariel Klaxtil Stormcrow Caneti, had a vampire. He didn’t think his wings, or his new owner, would approve of this, however. Instead, he inched up Everette’s shoulder again and ran his beak through the black hair affectionately. Rather as he used to do with Chammy.
Oh damn. Chammy.
No, couldn’t think about that. He couldn’t throw this away, even for sweet, patient, kind Chammy.
But what it really came down to was Tyler. He was the real owner of the Corvidery, and hence Zohariel’s real owner…what if he said no? Well, that wouldn’t really make a difference, given Everette’s attitude. Zohariel had a chilling image of Tyler saying no, and Everette calmly shooting Tyler between the eyes and then coolly stepping over his body and strolling away.
“38 thousand rivels? Is that the best you can do? Is that all I’m worth?” He asked, dripping of a proud sort of sarcasm that seemed a unique brand belonging to the loud crow. He knew that, had he been sold to anyone else, he would have been lucky to fetch Cath more than 50 rivels or so. He was, needless to say, rather arrogant about the price being offered for him.
His feathers were fluffed out to their maximum, so that he looked less like a crow than like a fluffy black football. “Hey, if you want to call me L.O., that’s fine with me. Heck, call me Shithouse if you want!” he piped happily, still pressed against Everette’s neck warmly. “No…I mean, if you’d prefer…I’d rather if you call me Zohariel, B.W.” (he liked Everette’s sarcastic suggestion of nickname) Only Tyler and Chammy would understand the importance of this gesture, of this allowance. But maybe the Black Widow would come to understand it in time. Tyler always called him Klax, despite how hard Zohariel fought against it. And Chammy…Chammy always called him Cantei. He grew silent. “I’m coming with you,” he told Everette softly, “But…can I talk to them first?”
Zohariel painstakingly managed to glide from Everette’s shoulder on to Chammy’s, although even this slight motion made him feel weak. He sat still and silent for a moment, gently preening Chammy’s dark hair. “I always listen to you, Chammy. I just don’t always hear you.” He said cheekily, “And ignoring Cath is quite easy for me,” he added, crest rising and falling in Tyler’s direction, but his sarcasm rapidly faded away and he became somber in a way he very rarely did. “Why don’t I want to come back?...because…because Black Widow is giving me a chance I never thought I’d have again, and its something I NEED to have. You and Cath are awesome, but…I can’t be your crow in the way most people have crows. You two have businesses to…attend to. You have a whole shop full of birds if you ever need to send a message. You don’t need me. You really don’t. There are lots of crows in the Corvidery. You don’t even need a crow. But…I need a human. More than anything in the world. I need Rena back, but since I can’t get her, I’ll settle for the one kind, concerned person who wants to buy me. I love you too, Chammy, but you’ve gotta let me go. There are things you just can’t give me. Please. I want to go.” Chammy’s pleading eyes were matched with Zohariel’s equally beseeching ones. He turned to Tyler. “And that goes for you too, old man. C’mon, Cath. Let me go.”*