“Have a good day at work dear,” Malachi spoke, giving his husband, Crowmaster, a quick kiss on the cheek. Crow smiled apologetically.
“Sorry I have to go in early today, but I’ll try to come home early as well. I love you,” he replied, holding the Skywing elf close, not wanting to leave.
“I love you too, now go, the sooner you leave the sooner you can come back,” Mal teased, gently pushing his husband towards the door. They exchanged one more goodbye and one more kiss, before Crow headed to the rookery.
The walk from his home to the rookery was always a pleasant experience for Crow. Ever since he had been promoted to a crowlord, when the previous crowlord officially retired, wanting to spend more time with his Earthblood elf husband Dentra, he’d managed to get more time to himself, more time to relax, something he greatly appreciated. He had also since hired a new crowmaster, a young woman named Chidiya. She’d been a great help around the rookery, and was good friends with his child, Atlas. While he didn’t give her the same workload the previous crowlord had given him, he still knew she was diligent and trustworthy, and that he could rely on her if needed.
...Which is why he was surprised at the sight that greeted him when he entered the rookery. The birds were fine, everything was in order, but in the corner laid Chidiya, on top of a small pile of blankets, fast asleep. Crow was confused to say the least. He walked over to the girl, making sure to keep his footsteps quiet and bent down to gently shake her awake. Her brown eyes opened slowly as she awoke. She sat up and looked around sleepily, her eyes widening as they landed on her boss. She scrambled up from the blankets, frantically smoothing her clothing and hair.
“I-I’m so sorry sir I-I didn’t mean to oversleep I’ll clean this up immediately-“ she spoke, but he held a hand up, signaling her to stop.
“Don’t worry about it.... how about you get yourself together, I’ll make some coffee, and we can talk?” he said, smiling reassuringly at the young girl. She hesitated for a second, before nodding.
“So,” Crow said, setting a steaming mug in front of Chidiya, “do you want to explain why you were sleeping here? I’m not mad, I just want to know what’s going on.” Chidiya was quiet, taking sips of the warm coffee offered to her, trying to think of the best way to explain her situation.
“I.... I’ve been staying here until I can find my own place, it’s just.... taking longer than I thought it would,” she said finally, her voice quiet, almost timid.
“Longer than you thought? How long has this been going on?”
“....A few months.” Crow was shocked when she said this. He had figured it was a one- or two-time thing, but months? That wasn’t normal.
“Don’t you have any family you can stay with?” he asked. That struck a chord in her, he could tell by the way her eyes widened, and her movements froze.
“No... no I don’t. I’m an only child, a-and we were never close with my distant family.”
“Well what about your parents?”
“....I can’t go to them either,” Chidiya mumbled, looking away. Crow’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion and concern.
“Can I ask why?” he asked gently.
“...They kicked me out, a while ago. They, th-they weren’t... they weren’t supportive when I came out,” she said, her voice wavering at the end as tears pricked at her eyes. Silence hung in the air, Chidiya had never told anyone about this, not even Atlas. Before she could say anything more, Chidiya felt two arms wrap around her gently, holding her close.
“That should never have happened to you. I’m so sorry Chidiya, parents aren’t supposed to be like that. You deserve better,” Crow said, rubbing her back gently as he did. Silence reigned again, but not long after saying this, Crow felt Chidiya return the hug, and hot tears hitting his shoulder. He gently rubbed her back, trying to calm her down.
“It’s okay, Chidi, you’re okay. We’ll figure this out...”
“So Chidi’s parents really kicked her out?” Malachi asked that evening, helping Crowmaster clean up the dishes from supper.
“They did... what kind of parent could do that?” The human replied, shaking his head as he shut the cabinets.
“I don’t know... but it’s good that you offered to let her stay here. She shouldn't have to deal with this alone. No one should,” the elf replied, moving over to his husband to hug him from behind, “you have a good heart Crow.” Crowmaster turned around to face Malachi, a soft smile on his face. He moved closer, pressing a soft, quick kiss to the other man’s lips.
“I’m going to go check on her, make sure she’s getting settled in alright,” Crow said when they pulled apart. Mal nodded, releasing his soft grip on the human and making his way to their living room to wind down for the night. Crow made his way upstairs, where the bedrooms were in the house. He walked towards the guest room, which for the time being would be Chidiya’s room.
“Everything okay? Do you need anything?” he asked. Chidiya turned around to face him, looking much happier than she had that morning.
“Everything’s great. Atlas just went to get some of their blankets, they want to hang out in here for a while...” she replied, her words trailing off. Crow nodded to himself, it made sense; Atlas and Chidi had been such good friends from the moment he had hired her. They were probably concerned for her as well.
“Thank you again for letting me stay here, it’s such a weight off my shoulders,” she said after a few moments.
“It’s no problem, you’re practically family. You’re more than welcome here,” he said, smiling at her, “have a good night, and get some rest. You deserve it.” With that, he left the room to take his own advice, now able to rest easy knowing everything was now okay.