Elphaba soared upwards through the clouds on her broom, Maleficent and Diaval were a second behind, slower only because they preferred spiraling.
Elphaba let loose a mad cackle and called, "Race you to the ground." She urged her broom down in a steep dive.
Maleficent beat them of course, she always did. So the real race was between the other two. Any other crow would have to slow first to land, but Diaval threw himself down with complete faith.
Maleficent twitched her fingers to stop him from meeting the packed dirt beak first.
Elphaba lost the race by a broom's length.
Diaval gave a small creaky noise of gratitude and affection and hopped into Maleficent's arms as he was tranforming into a human. Maleficent caught him with a surprised tisk, pretending to be put out. Nonetheless her strong arms held his weight easily.
"I believe it's customary for the winner of a race to receive a boon, mistress." Diaval smiled warmly with a familiar twinkle in his eye.
Maleficent dropped him with an eye roll, "Then as I was the winner, whatever boons to be had belong to me." Diaval brushed himself off and stood on his human legs. His sly grin meant he'd noticed she had once again cushioned his landing.
Elphaba chuckled "Maleficent, it shouldn't count if you always win."
"No, no," Diaval bowed graciously, "it's my pleasure." He dove in and kissed her, a soft peck on the cheek. "Your boon, milady." Maleficent tried unsuccessfully to curb a smile. Despite the parallels of a kiss as a thing to be gifted, his kiss left her pleasantly warm. He seemed determined to overwrite her memories with undying loyalty and affection.
"Aww, look at you," Elphaba cooed.
The smile vanished. "Don't encourage him." She swatted at Diaval, who transformed with an overly outraged squawk.
Elphaba cackled, "That reminds me, I finished that spell you helped me find the latin references for."
Diaval gave them an inquisitive look, flapping to land on Maleficent's wrist. In turn, Maleficent gave her a significant look, eyebrows raised, "Surely it can wait-"
Elphaba was already reciting it, and a golden glow surrounded Diaval and settled into his black feathers.
He ducked, his squawking devolving into indignant mutters, "There you two go again, with your non-consensual spell casting. Now what've you done?" The bird jerked back, wings fluttering to keep his balance, "Is that - my voice? Oh." He looked torn between petulance and excitement. It was a mystery how he managed to be so expressive regardless the form. "Well, why didn't you say so?"
"Oh lovely," Maleficent dead-panned, "now he'll never shut up."
"I can see you're thrilled," Elphaba teased in a dry tone. "Don't thank me. After all, I couldn't have finished it without your input."
Diaval gave Maleficent another stupidly fond look. "What a lovely courting gift, mistress."
"It isn't a courting gift. Elphaba needed help to fix her friends. She's the one who you should thank for the spell."
"Of course." Diaval gave her an ironic look. "But she just said not to thank her. So, who else would I thank?"
Maleficent opened her mouth, but Diaval beat her to it. "'Oh, all right, Diaval. You're welcome, Diaval. I long to hear your dulcet tones at all times.'"
"I don't sound anything like that," Maleficent complained.
"'I long for you always by my side. Be mine forever!'"
"Was that you or me talking?" Maleficent asked with a whisper of a smile.
The raven ducked his head shyly, "Bit of both, mistress."
"Is that the time?" Elphaba asked with a grin, "I really must fly, Fiyero and Glinda are expecting me. Same time next week?"
Maleficent's eyelashes fluttered once as she remembered their friend was still there. "Bring Fiyero next time. As we discussed, I've made progress on the transformation text you used."
Elphaba flushed in excitement, "That's wonderful! Thank you so much, Maleficent. Truly, I'll be in your debt if you can undo my spell and without any harm to him?"
Maleficent waved away the concern and thanks at once. "Of course. No thanks necessary - your research was in the right direction. And after all, we have to stick together."
"Right." Elphaba had a soft look in her suspiciously bright eyes. She took a little hop to start and then flew up on her broom. She waved and shot off into the sky.
As Maleficent and Diaval turned toward home, he started, "Now about the name of your flying club; I know I've mentioned this before, but now you can't get out of conversations by transforming me."
"The name stays, end of discussion."