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Nevermore

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The bird is back again, but this time Chanyeol is prepared. As quietly as possible as to not startle the animal, he slides the kitchen window open. He freezes when the bird flaps its wings, though it doesn't fly away, just taps along the branch it's sitting on, large talons scraping against bark. Chanyeol carefully opens the window the rest of the way.

It's a raven, Chanyeol thinks, or maybe a crow. He's not a bird expert by any means, but this one is almost impossibly huge with midnight black feathers, and even though Chanyeol knows a lot about a variety of animals, he has never seen anything quite like this. He clicks his tongue and coos to get the bird's attention as he raises his phone to snap a picture, perhaps a couple. It's been a few weeks since the bird first appeared outside his house, and he's been trying to get photographic evidence of its existence for just as long, but he has failed every time.

Suddenly, the bird turns its head towards Chanyeol, all three of its eyes staring at him without blinking. Chanyeol holds his breath. He presses the button to take a picture. The flash goes off, and the raven squawks and charges towards Chanyeol, who drops his phone in surprise. Horrified, he watches as it falls to the ground several stories below, only to be snatched up right before it shatters against the pavement. No less horrified, he watches the raven fly off into the distance, Chanyeol's phone clutched between its claws.




When it comes to Baekhyun, there are not a lot of things Chanyeol is thankful for, but he's definitely thankful that Baekhyun taught him how to use Find My Phone. It takes a few hours of sulking and unsuccessful Google perusal before it occurs to Chanyeol that while he might not be able to track down a raven (despite what the various amateur hunter forums have taught him by now), he is able to track down his phone. Another quick search, and he has the last known location of his phone. He wastes no time in setting out to retrieve it.




1261 Mugwort Lane houses a small cottage. Vines cling to stone walls, the roof is entirely covered by multicolored succulents, and weeping willows with pale purple flowers surround the structure on all sides. A weathered steel gate creaks when Chanyeol pushes it open to enter. He walks along the nearly overgrown path winding through the moss that grows all over the yard instead of a normal grassy lawn. The cottage is a single story, but one corner of the building stretches up into something like a tower. Chanyeol swears he can hear the sound of more than one set of flapping wings coming from the top.

At first there's no reaction when Chanyeol knocks on the front door. There had been some shuffling from the other side of it that stopped as soon as he had knocked, though, so he tries again. This time, someone answers. Someone tiny with short-cropped black hair and big eyes peering out through wire-framed glasses. Oh. Someone cute. He looks Chanyeol up and down, and his thick eyebrows do a thing that Chanyeol can't quite interpret. “Hello?”

“Hi,” Chanyeol says. It hits him, now, how unbelievable his story is going to sound, so he plasters on his best smile and hopes his charm will do most of the convincing for him. “Sorry for disturbing, I... I know this may sound crazy, but, uh... a raven? A crow? Took my phone, and...”

The guy cuts him off with an annoyed groan, squeezing his eyes shut and rubbing his temples. “Stupid fucking bird,” he grumbles. He sighs and opens the door further and gestures for Chanyeol to come inside. “Stay here. Don't touch anything. I'll be right back.”

“Uh, okay,” Chanyeol responds, but the guy has already left, the second half of Chanyeol's reply trailing sadly after him. Arms behind his back, Chanyeol takes in the interior of the place – what little he can see of it from the hallway, at least. It's dark and it smells like all the dried flowers and herbs that hang suspended from the rafters in the room Chanyeol can just barely catch a glimpse of through the doorway to his left. He can also see a shelving unit with meticulously labeled jars, though he can't quite read the writing on them from here. Chanyeol is so curious about everything, and he wishes he had a camera with him, but the way the guy had glared at him when he told him not to touch anything was too intimidating to defy, so Chanyeol stays put and waits.

It doesn't take long before the guy returns, anyway, holding a wicker basket under one arm. “What does your phone look like?” he asks as he rummages through it, and when Chanyeol peers inside he sees at least a dozen phones that aren't his.

“It's a rose gold Samsung S10,” he offers. “Oh, and it has a Rilakkuma charm, if that helps.”

The guy shakes his head with an air of exasperation. “Poe always goes for rose gold,” he mumbles to himself. He lets out a little, triumphant noise that Chanyeol really shouldn't find as cute as he does, and he pulls out Chanyeol's phone from the pile. “Is this it?”

“Yes!” Chanyeol exclaims. He's about to take it from the guy's hands but thinks better of it. He feels a little bold, a little sneaky, and the guy is very cute. “I'll only accept the return if you put your number in it, though.” The guy stares at him, completely deadpan, and Chanyeol half wishes he hadn't said anything, half refuses to back down. It's the least the guy can do after his pet raven kidnapped one of Chanyeol's most prized possessions.

Chanyeol's thousand watt grin has won him many battles, and apparently this one's another victory as the guy sighs and scowls at Chanyeol. “Unlock your stupid phone so I can type my number.”




The guy's name is Kyungsoo, Chanyeol finds out. At least that's what the new contact in his phone is saved as, complete with a little owl emoji next to the name. It's the closest thing to a raven there was, Kyungsoo explains later when Chanyeol texts to ask him why he added it. Chanyeol texts back that Kyungsoo kind of looks like an owl, anyway, and only grins when Kyungsoo replies with a single skull.

Chanyeol goes to sleep that night and dreams of lilacs in a field of wildflowers.