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Archie learns some lessons about kissing. February monthly prompt for Dracostryx.
There was something rather different about that day. Archie wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. In the city, roses were everywhere, crimson red as fresh blood. Everyone was obsessed, either buying them or receiving them. So very often the transaction of giving the flower was returned with great affection and a mashing of faces together. Archie did not fully understand that part. Were they attempting to share food? If so, they were doing it very wrong. They weren’t even making the appropriate WARBLEFLARGGHBLE noises while receiving watered down sustenance lovingly warmed in their partners crop!
“It’s called a kiss.” Enceladus explained, too busy with a complex puzzle ball in her talon to even look up at the enquiring Tyto. “I don’t really think it is something easily emulated without lips…. Well. I suppose your face is pretty flat, maybe you can. Oh, never mind. I think your eyes would get in the way before your beak does.”
Archie figured Enceladus was doing that ‘sarcasm’ thing again, so he let the comment glide like water off his back. Not that he had much of a choice, he’d rather already begun to forget the unnecessary parts of the conversation as he mulled about in his own thoughts.
“Why they do?”
The Corva sighed, frustrated both with the puzzle and line of questioning. She sat the half-solved orb puzzle and turned to the Tyto. “It’s a sign of affection… a way to say that you love someone. Humans put a very large emphasis on bonds they make together.”
“How you do?” Archie tilted his head to the side to regard the older bird with eager curiosity.
“Oh… well. I suppose it’s a little similar to humans, but many Corva like to rub the sides of our beaks together if we are quite serious about things.”
“Archie have Corva Kiss?”
Enceladus recoiled. “OH. By Galyx, you sweet dear… no. I very much don’t want to do that with you.”
The tyto visibly deflated, and she felt rather quickly bad about it. “Archie.. I like you very much a friend. That… is more something I’d want to do with someone I’d want to build a nest with. You… get a hatchling kiss.” Leaning in, she preened the feathers on the top of his head.
The dejected Archie purred with delight, reaching down to nip at Enceladus’ toes. “I gib Archie-kiss.”
Enceladus sighed. “You are too pure for this world, Archie.”
Archie chirped in delight and turned tail, set to leave Enceladus’ roost. The Corva called after him. “Where are you off to?”
“Gib Colette Archie-kisses.” And with that, he dropped like a stone from the high perch, his wings opening just enough to make his crash landing toward the ground to make his precarious landing not disastrous.
“Oh, that’s nice.” She responded distractedly, picking up the puzzle orb again. For several moments she went back to her business until a mental image dawned on her. Tiny little human Colette, at the mercy of bumbling, not-so-little in comparison, trying to ‘kiss’ her with a sharp beak.
“Oh, he’s going to bite her toes off…” she said to herself, a little wave of panic setting in. The puzzle fell to the bottom of her roost as she took off to save her human companion. It didn’t take long to find them, because she heard the increasingly frantic voice of Colette calling for her.
They were behind the barn, where Colette had been cleaning their riding tack, with Archie looming ominously over the human with his back to Enceladus and his entire body obscuring the scene. She slowly walked around them, startled to find Colette’s entire head encompassed ever-so-gently between Archie’s beak as his tongue licked her curly blonde hair into a disgusting mat.
At the sight of her trusted Corva, Colette laughed nervously. “Oh, Enceladus! Please tell me what on earth he’s doing?”
“Kith” Archie stated bluntly, seeming pleased with himself.
“Archie, buddy, you need to stop kissing Colette. She’s tiny, and squishy. And that’s her skull which is a very IMPORTANT part of human anatomy, for the love of Galyx please just let her go!”
He let out a sad whine and let the human go, a little tendril of drool following his beak as he retreated. Colette reached up in disgusted horror to pat at her drool-caked hair. “I uh. Yeah. I’m going to… wash my hair now. Love you too, Archie. But please… next time. Hugs only.”
The two stryx stood in silence while the mildly traumatized human wandered back into the house. Once the door shut, Enceladus sighed. “Archie, NO using beaks on human skulls. They are basically bags of pudding, they are DELICATE.”
He dipped his head, thoroughly chastised. “Archie no hurt. Archie careful.”
“Yeah.. yeah I know you are, buddy. That still doesn’t keep Colette from thinking she was about to become Archie-lunch though.”
“Archie not much for pudding.”
“I.. was that a joke?”
Archie blinked, one eyelid lagging a full second behind the other.
The Corva shook her head in dismissal. “Either way, let’s take a suggestion from Colette and just keep affection strictly to non-kissing… No toe-kissing either. You’re liable to take the whole foot off. Human toes are much tinier and squishier than stryx toes.
“Archie think humans hard to understand.”
She chuckled, putting her wing around Archie’s shoulder. “Oh, my little portly friend, you are absolutely not the first Stryx to think that.” Giving him a familial little pat, she let her wing fall back into place along her side and began to walk away. “Come on then, let’s go find Muerta and give her a little toe-nibble while she sleeps to scare her awake.”
“Merry-ta may not like?”
“Eeehh she’s the new kid on the block, a little pestering will do her good. Remember how you got that sack of weasels put in your roost when you first got here?”
“Well, it certainly wasn’t Saint Klaus, buddy.”
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