Adventure of a Lifetime
Part IV: The Raven’s Daughter
“The Raven’s your dad?”
“Adoptive dad, but yeah. He’s been taking care of me since I was six.” Charlie answered like it was no big deal.
“How is it having a superhero for a dad?” I asked.
Charlie answered with a shrug. “It’s a lot of work; having to go into the family business and all. Other than that, I don’t know? I don’t have the biggest comparison base to judge.”
“So you’re doing the whole boomerang and kung-fu thing too?”
“Not a lot of options for baselines and I flunked science class last year.”
“You don’t have any powers, like at all?”
“Nope. Niet. Nada. I got tested and I’m just a single positive for Von Neumann. Also despite being a cape kid, I’ve never stumbled across dangerous mutagens, alien artifacts or mad science experiment.”
I’d always sort of thought the Raven and the rest of the ‘Corvid family’ as they were called had some secret low-key superpower like super reflexes or something. But learning that it wasn’t the case only made me impressed by her.
“Damn… Now I just want to see you in action. You oughta be super badass.” I said without thinking. I felt my face burn bright red. Had I sounded like a fangirl? I really hoped she didn’t think so…
“I’m sure you’ll see that soon enough.” Charlie said with a smile. “Want to see a birdarang?”
“You have one?” I answered, trying to contain my excitement.
“Not in my PJs but in my — our room, yes. I’ll be right back.”
She got up and went into our room. I briefly turned to Allison but noticed that they had left while I’d been too busy being a fangirl to notice… She came back a minute later, wearing grayish-black gloves and holding a birdarang by the tip. She sat down and I reached for it but she pulled it back.
“Careful, these things are ridiculously frickin’ sharp.” She said, removing her gloves and setting them and the birdarang on the counter. “Put those on and you won’t lose a finger.”
I put the gloves on as she’d instructed and picked the birdarang, inspecting it. Although it was made to be practical, it was still amazingly beautiful, a bird head in micro relief on the center of the boomerang, wings with detailed feather pattern composed the rest of the weapon. It was extremely thin and felt barely heavier than air yet I couldn’t bent it with my fingers. My eyes wandered over to the nearby fruit bowl and an idea came to my mind.
“Can I try something?” I asked.
“Don’t throw it.” She said firmly.
“Don’t worry about that.”
I wrapped my fingers around one half of the birdarang, the gloves thankfully doing their job at keeping my extremities intact, took an orange from the bowl and used the birdarang as a kitchen knife. To say it was sharp would have been an understatement, those things were dangerous and yet both Ravens had a pristine record; no deaths or maiming…
“Jesus, that’s sharp.” I said. It was a good thing my mom hadn’t been there, if there was one thing she and my gramps weren’t fond of, it was saying the name of the Lord in vain.
“Told you.” She said almost triumphantly.
“Thanks for letting me try. They should make kitchen knives with whatever those are made, it would be awesome.”
“So long as you don’t cut through the counter too.”
I checked the cutting board and found a slit where I’d cut the orange.
Just like she’d done, I placed the birdarang down and gave her her gloves back. She took them and went back to our room to stash them back. Just as she came back, Amber walked downstairs already dressed up in black shirt and pants which matched her black hair. Although she didn’t really go for a goth kind of look.
“Morning Amber.” I said as she took a seat. “How do you like your eggs?”
“No food…” She said. “Just coffee.”
I didn’t question her and poured her a cup using my ability to transfer liquids quickly and easily. Transferring small amounts like that was real easy and I barely needed to pay attention.
“I’m going to murder whoever invented morning.” She said once she got it.
“Pretty sure you’re going to have some competition for that honor from students worldwide.” Early mornings weren’t a problem with me, but I was kind of an exception. “What time does your school start normally?”
“I was homeschooled.” She answered.
My family and I had briefly considered homeschooling when I was eight, right after I’d transitioned but we’d decided against it. The first few months in public school had been a little rough but people had gotten over it quickly and my school cracked hard on bullying so I’d never had it that hard…
Next up to come out of their room was Ahti, whom I still didn’t know the pronoun off and I really didn’t want to misgender. I knew next to nothing about Itharii, there weren’t a whole lot of them in Massachusetts much less in its armpit where I lived.
We talked diet for a moment, the inventory I’d made of the fridge hadn’t included any Itharii foods and Ahti had asked for some algae and alien egg soup or syrup covered doughnuts, neither of which I had on hand. Still Ahti settled for eggs but warned me that red meat wasn’t good for Itharii.
I watched Ahti devour a plate of potatoes and scrambled eggs before asking for more which I obliged. For a tiny alien, Ahti had a lot of appetite, trying to eat an orange by the peel before Amber came to the rescue and peeled it.
“Say Ahti, do you have a pronoun you go by?” I asked when I gave them a second serving.
“Rowan says ‘they’ works when you don’t have a gender.” Ahti answered.
“Oh alright.” Was all I answered. Did Itharii not have genders? I was pretty sure they had… Still, I made a note to google them up when I’d have the chance.
A few more people started arriving and I took care of their orders. I noticed Allison had came back and sat on one of the couch. I grabbed their coffee cup and refilled it before bringing it to them.
“Figured you’d like another cup, you look like you’re about to fall asleep.”
“Didn’t sleep well… And thank you.” They answered.
I took a closer look and noticed they’d put on a binder as evidenced by their now flattened chest.
“Got a binder on, eh?” I noticed aloud.
“Yeah… It’s just one of those days. I just like having my appearance match how I feel inside or otherwise I just feel really awkward and today that’s masculine. I’m non-binary.”
“Well, It’s nice to meet another trans person in the flesh for once.” Allison was the first transgender person I’d ever met. Okay, technically I’d encountered some before when my mom had brought me to LGBT stuff when I’d just come out, but they were the first I actually had anything but the briefest interaction with.
“Fist bump?” I offered, raising my arm.
Allison returned my fist bump after a second and I felt kind of lame, but the day had been so amazing so far; meeting both a hero’s kid and another trans person was like Christmas come early and the day was just beginning.
I returned to my duties of feeding everyone until they had all been served and then went into the bathroom to prepare my makeup. I normally went for light, natural makeup but that day I felt like going all out.
Once I was done I went out and hung out with the other, watching TV without really watching it, until the time to head to class came. We all made our way to the classroom building as one group and found our homeroom.
I saw Charlie take a seat and I summoned all my courage before approaching her.
“Hey. Can I sit with you?” I asked, my voice not quite as nonchalant as I’d hoped it would be.
I tried to contain my excitement, I didn’t want her to think of me as some kind of dork or a stalker… Still if she’d noticed anything she didn’t show it. Only a moment later, Defender walked into the classroom, taking up all my attention.