Black Feathers

K+ / PG

Notes: I am thoroughly unrepentant. This isn't mean to make sense – it's just for kicks. Don't own 5D's or Pokémon; and, in what is becoming the norm, you can blame Janime for this one (and Starry in particular). Technically I guess this should go in crossovers, but as Crow is the predominant character, I'm putting it in here.

"Why the hell does this have to happen to me?"

The frustration in that cry sent a lone Pidgey fluttering in panic, wings thrashing the air until it found a gap in the hedgerow it could squeeze through. Anxious twitters filled the evening air, the choral accompaniment to a liturgy of curses: loud, explosive.

And giving way to a howl of pain.

"Argh, get off, stop that you dumb bird! Leave me alone!"

It cackled and fluttered away, perching on a nearby rock. It clutched a nut – the sort one might use in construction, a hexagonal shape about an inch in diameter, with a wire fixture attached to one edge – in its yellow beak. Crow Hogan, eighteen years old, glowered at the creature as he rubbed the side of his head. Luckily he had managed to unhook it before the menace took his entire ear off, but his hand still came away dotted with blood.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

"Give it back," he said flatly. The bird flapped its wings at him, tilting its head in a quizzical manner. "Yeah, that's right. My earring. The thing you're holding in your beak. That's mine, so give it back."

It blinked, and placed the object on the rock beside it. It hopped back. "Kro—Give it back," it cawed, in a raspy but otherwise perfect imitation of his voice. Its tail-feathers bristled. Crow frowned. There was one missing, as though something had attacked the bird recently and torn it out.

…Whatever. He just wanted his earring back. Strange black birds with weird hat-like feathers weren't any concern of his. The bird tilted its head again, blinking large red eyes. That beak looked like it could do some serious damage, if it chose to lash out at him.

Cautious, Crow extended a gloved hand. He and the bird stared at each other, weighing up the odds. The prize lay between them, gleaming and innocuous. He really didn't want to lose a finger, not even for his earring, but he sure as hell wasn't letting a bird outwit him, Crow-sama! If the others found out? He would never live it down.

His fingers had just grazed the metal fixture before the beak darted forwards, snatching up the earring again. It snapped shut a whisper away from his skin – any closer and the wicked yellow edge would surely have drawn blood.

"Hey!" he shouted. "The hell do you think you're doing?"

"Kro—Mine!" gargled the bird around a beak-full of metal, before it vanished into the surrounding trees, cackling with reckless abandon.

Never one for planning ahead, Crow set off in pursuit.

He wouldn't catch up that night.

Apparently the bird was called a Murkrow, or so a friendly young woman had informed him with a smile and a carefree laugh – she hadn't cared about the yellow marks on his face, which was odd. Most people weren't so friendly to former criminals, after all, but maybe this town was different. Hmm, what else had she said… they lived in forests, but only came out at night – so he could look forwards to bruised shins and a scratched-up face from chasing it around, how lovely – and… something to do with bad luck if they flew over you. He dimly remembered that damn bird fluttering over his head just before it decided to steal his earring.

Well. He had to have bad luck, being stuck in a place like this. They wouldn't even let him leave the town without having some sort of protection, which of course he didn't have. If the others could see him now, they would be laughing at him. Even Jack. Especially Jack. And then Crow would shout at Jack, and Jack would return his insults, and everything would degenerate into a scuffle on the floor with Rua cheering them on from the sidelines…

Aha. On a nearby branch huddled a bundle of black feathers, with one conspicuously absent. Crow smiled; his grin was feral. Payback time. He fingered the red-and-white ball he had… borrowed from the nearby market, keeping his hands stuffed in his pockets, out of sight. His fingers brushed against the second earring, which he had removed before any other birds started getting funny ideas.

The Murkrow was watching him warily, tail-feathers rustling.

"Mine," it told him, "Leave me alone!"

"Can you only repeat what I've said to you?" Crow enquired, starting to withdraw his right hand from its pocket. The ball was a strange, unfamiliar shape in his hand. He was better at dodging things than throwing them – when he was little, some of the bigger kids thought "Stone the Crow" was a brilliant game and indulged in it at every opportunity; he'd had to learn how to evade them (and their rocks) for the good of his health.

Murkrow thought about that for a moment. Intelligence glimmered in those eerie red eyes. Eventually it came to some sort of conclusion. Dark wings flared out, like an actor about to take his curtain call. "Get lost!" it proclaimed gleefully, and launched into the air before the ball even neared it.

Cursing his rotten luck, Crow hurried to snatch up his pokéball before the Murkrow could vanish from sight.

Hello bruises, here I come

Bruises: check. Scratches: check. (He was never going near brambles again.) Murkrow: still in sight. Pokéball: check, though it had a dent from a particularly savage tree. Earring: …

Okay, he was still working on that one. But the bird had a nest somewhere, and if he found the nest he'd find it, and…

"Get lost!"

"Shut up, you stupid…"

"Leave me alone!"

"I would, if you just gave me back my ear—"

"Shut up!"

There was a long, heavy silence. The Murkrow fluttered its feathers at him, beak parted in what could only be described as an avian smirk. Finally, Crow managed to regain his composure, or as much as he could when losing an argument to a … well, a bird. "Did you just tell me to shut up?"

The bird cackled. Its laughter folded into the night, over the ghostly hoots of a distant Noctowl and the scritch-scratch of Spinaraks in the trees. Crow scowled, the sharp lines of his criminal marks twisting. Red-orange eyebrows dipped low, as though they were attempting to make contact with the bridge of his nose, or fall off his face altogether.

Moments later, he was sent crashing to his hands and knees in an attempt to avoid the black bullet-like object hurling itself at his face.

Dratted bird. It seemed to think this was a game. Well Crow wasn't in a mood for playing around, no matter what it wanted. Throwing himself to the side, he hurled the pokéball with all the accuracy he could muster at the Murkrow's unprotected back. By the time it registered the projectile, the ball had already burst open.

A flash of red light splintered the darkness, before Murkrow's body was sucked inside the pokéball. The device snapped shut. Then, of course, gravity took effect.

Crow watched in satisfaction as the ball juddered, wobbled, and fell still. As long as he kept the bird inside, he wouldn't have to deal with dive-bombings or chases through bramble patches or the theft of his other earring…

Damnit. He hadn't found its nest yet! Crow aimed a kick at a nearby rock, dislodging it from the tree roots it was wedged between. In the thin sliver of moonlight he was reliant on – 'cause there just hadn't been time to steal a torch too – something glittered.

Recognising one of the dim shapes, Crow knelt down to take a closer look…

"You and me, we'll make a right pair," he said, both earrings back in their rightful places. The Murkrow – a female, one of the guards had told him, her hat was smaller than a male's (and to think he'd been calling "her" an it for the last two days!) – glared at him balefully, attention dragged from the twin dangling objects that reflected the sunlight.

Cheeky. Even now she hadn't learned to leave them alone. Then again, Crow could understand that. "Hey, I'm a bit of a kleptomaniac myself. I could use a right-hand bird on some my heists, if you're up for it?"

"Shut up," she snapped, still sulking. She deigned to perch on his wrist, which was protected by his thick, baggy gloves; but the bird made it perfectly clear she was in this for her own benefit by plucking at the leather bands around his biceps.

"I can't go round calling you Murkrow, though." Crow was content to leave her be, for the time being. "Or It. That's just undignified." The Murkrow tipped her beak back in a gesture of haughty disdain. The action was so human, that Crow couldn't help but be amused. He laughed until his sides ached and the Murkrow resorted to buffeting him around the head with a wing until he stopped.

"…You know what," he said between deep breaths, trying to regain his composure and failing miserably, "I think I'm gonna call you Gale."

The newly named Gale thought about that for a moment, before snatching at the metal hoops through Crow's headband. His shock of orange hair fluffed out in every direction as she yanked the cloth band from his skull, and took to the air. "Mine," she cackled, and evaded his snatching hands with ease. Raucous laughter mingled with his shouted oaths. She would never tire of this game.

It took a thief to outwit a thief, after all.

A/N: Phew! That was fun.

This, as I said above, isn't meant to be serious. It's simply an entry for a Pokémon-related contest I'm entering – I don't mind if I win, lose, or whatever. I'm just here to write! There is no explanation for why Crow suddenly ends up in this other world, and because he isn't exactly surprised by it… maybe he's been dimension hopping with the Tenors recently!

So, my first proper humour piece. Makes a nice change from the introspective fics I usually go for (and the angst/drama.. heh). Only Crow can be so ridiculous while being utterly serious.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to leave comments – did you like it, hate it? See anything that's glaringly OOC?