"If you're really just in my head, you can't not hear me, right? Or are you ignoring me? A hallucination that's ignoring me? I know I'm crazy but that's just... crazy." Daya laughed aloud, and caught the eyes or people staring at her. She scowled at them until they looked away. It was a struggle not to be so scary that she frightened herself.
She unlocked her bicycle, wrapped the chain around her waist, and clipped her keys back onto her belt. Her helmet was already snapped to her head; there was no reason to take it off between drops. Daya entered the address of her next delivery into the smartphone mounted on her handlebars and mounted up as it calculated a route. A soon as it settled, she started pedaling.
A dark shadow flew over her and landed on the messenger bag strapped to her back.
"Welcome back, Umayyad. Where have you been?"
I found a chemist and a specialist. Some people you should see.
"For a hallucination, you really do get out. Are these places really real?"
They are. Real places and real people.
"If everything about you is so real, why can't other people see you?"
The ungifted can only see me when I want them to, and the gifted don't find anything strange about a corvae hanging out with a sapien.
"What does that make me? One of these gifted?"
Yes, and also my friend.
"Friend, shmend. So this person you want me to see can cure me of you?"
Two people. One chemist and one specialist, And I am not a symptom to be cured away.
"If you say so. One drop after this, and then I'll let you take me there. Fine?"
Thank you. I do care about you, even when you don't believe in me.
"You're too kind," Daya scoffed sarcastically, and returned her attention to traffic.
"Look, I really don't have the money or insurance to cover an additional treatment course." Daya sat on a loveseat of plush purple poplin, if her host's word was to be taken.
Johan waved his hand lightly. "Don't worry about that. Here, take a sip."
She took the china cup. "What is it?"
"An herbal tincture of my own devising, It won't do you any harm, I promise."
It's okay, Daya.
She gave Umayyad a sharp glance, then looked back at the strange man giving them a curious stare. "Can you see Umayyad?"
He extended a finger, and the crow hopped onto it, nestling it's head into Johan's other hand. "I can."
"Then he's not... Unless you're..."
"Unless I'm a hallucination too? Drink your tea and find out."
Daya took a tiny sip, barely ingesting any at all, but inhaled a fair portion of the vapour rising from it. "That smells very good. Just like... What did you do?" She dropped the cup, and it fell into Johan's ready hand, sloshing but not spilling. He put it on the side table beside his own chair.
"Just relax." He offered Umayyad back to her, and she felt the comforting weight of him as her eyes drooped closed.
Johan stood and pulled a tray borrowed from his kitchen laid with dark sand out from under his chair and left it in the middle of the floor between himself and Daya. "Sorry, Umayyad, but I don't have the high-quality stuff you found at Q's place, nor anything like your friend's gifts."
This will do.
"Good. Daya is not actually asleep, but in a light hypnotic state. From there, we can lower her deeper, or raise her out of it. The tincture didn't do this itself, just merely weakened her defenses enough for her own exhaustion to bring her down. Before I continue, I need you to tell me some things that she cannot."
"How long have you been affiliated with Daya?"
Since before her conscious memory starts.
"And you care for her well-being?"
"What mental issues does she present?"
Hallucinations, periods of excessive mania and debilitating depression, difficulty falling and staying asleep, and occasional night-terrors. She is also mildly autistic.
Johan whistled deeply. "How do you think discovering her developing magical talents will affect her mental state?"
I suspect the polarity of her emotional states will be unchanged, but she will likely partially blame her state upon the magic. I suspect the autism will aid her in honing her gift.
He nodded. "That sounds more than reasonable. Do you still want me to help?"
"Do you know what I ask in payment?"
I will pay, whatever it is.
"Only she can pay."
No. I accept full responsibility.
"You don't even know what I'm asking for."
Then explain yourself, and quickly.
Umayyad puffed his feathers in surprise. You want to tutor her?
Johan smiled. "I've always wanted a student."
The crow paced around the edge of the pan several times before responding. If she cooperates, I will be with her to oversee.
"I would have it no other way." He knelt in front of Daya and gently placed his fingers around the crown of her head. "Daya Kerrin, Dark Crow, come back to us."
"How do you know that name," she whispered. "Only my grandmother calls me that."
Character: Daya Kerrin | Johan Curo | Umayyad Corvus