Note: this occurs AFTER "Privileges and Problems", so Matoro and Hahli are already together. I plan to put a good dollop or two of romance between them in here, and maybe sprinkle in some Zephyr/Aurora. Well, on with the fic!
Matoro looked up from his book at Zephyr, who was dangling upside-down from his perch using one of his jesses. Quite an odd and silly pose. The Kewa gave him an upside-down look and a chirped,"Hi!" as he hung there, blinking in innocent obliviousness to his silly appearance.
Typical captive Kewa behavior. Silly as can be, yet always taking themselves seriously. And it was such that captured the hearts of those they were raised by.
Suddenly Matoro saw the Kewa's talons. They'd grown to a length of three inches and were beginning to come close to stabbing his own foot. They were rough, too, and flaky - not a pleasant sight. They'd have to be trimmed.
Zephyr snagged a piece of meat from the table and gulped it down quickly, grabbing another the same instant he finished the first and letting it quickly join the first inside his gullet. He snagged a berry, too. Then he began slowly climbing back up to his perch, where he promptly settled down for a nap.
Matoro was just wondering how long the peace could last.
Ten o'clock p.m. found Matoro sneaking up behind Zephyr, who was lazily sleeping upright on his perch. This might be difficult... He was pretty sure the Kewa wasn't going to like the feeling of something clamping down around the tip of his talon, much less the feeling of it taking part of the unliving tip with it. But at least it would be painless, whereas Zephyr stabbing himself in the foot certainly wouldn't be.
Well, here goes…
And with that, Matoro positioned the clippers over the tip of the snoozing Kewa's claw and clasped the handle.
Zephyr leapt awake at once and, with a full-blown scream that practically shattered Matoro's eardrums, literally leapt off his perch, landing on the table and skidding across it, crashing into the bowls of meat and berries as he did so and leaving long gouges in the waxwork of the wood. This fiasco ended with the aforementioned Kewa landing with a whump against the carpeted floor, then leaping to his feet, sending a look of both anger and fear towards Matoro, and running out of the room to hide.
Matoro maskpalmed from where he had tumbled backwards into the couch and sighed, shaking his head. Now he not only had to find a way to trim the Kewa's talons, but to also get Zephyr to forgive him.
Ten thirty found Matoro crouched on the bed, peering over the edge at his clueless Kewa. His fingers flexed around the quilt he held in his hands, hardly daring to breathe for fear it would blow his cover. Slowly he moved his arms back and tensed…
Then he threw the quilt!
Zephyr ran rampant the moment the quilt landed, crashing into something every second and screaming like Karzahni himself was after him. Eventually he tripped and rolled into the wall - giving Matoro the opportunity to seize the little bird without risk of being bitten or scratched.
He used his elbow to keep Zephyr pinned at his side, laying on his back. Out came the clippers as he positioned them over the first claw.
However, he failed to notice that Zephyr had gotten his head free. Therefore, he was completely unable to stop said Kewa from biting him harshly on the back of the elbow.
Matoro clutched his elbow and toppled backwards, grimacing as Zephyr flew to the rafters with a very angry look in his eye. This was truly getting out of hand…
Eleven thirty revealed Matoro hiding behind a corner, peering around it with a pillowcase in his right hand and one end of a string in his left, the other end tied around a small piece of meat. He had waited for an hour and a half already to put his trap into action, and his limbs were getting stiff.
Aha. Zephyr was in sight.
Slowly, Matoro gently pulled a bit on the string, getting Zephyr's attention and immediately putting the Kewa into prepare-to-pounce mode. His wings were spread outwards, body and head low to the ground, eyes not blinking for fear his target would escape, one talon raised and forward, ready to creep towards his prey.
The meat moved again.
Zephyr took a step.
The meat moved once more.
Zephyr took another step.
The meat moved yet again.
Once more, Zephyr took a step…
… and pounced!
Matoro threw the pillowcase over Zephyr's head, yanking it down over the Kewa's entire body and scooping him up, tying the pillowcase closed around his ankles and holding him still. Out came the clippers once more as he began trimming the claws on the right talon.
And just as he was halfway done clipping, Zephyr tore through the pillowcase with his beak and escaped. Again.
One o'clock in the morning found both a grumpy, tired, cross, and overall peeved Great Spirit and a paranoid, scared, and upset Kewa Falcon watching each other from opposite sides of the attic. Zephyr had retreated there after quite a long time of failed trimming attempts, and was perched on a falconry perch that apparently had been used quite a while back. Matoro, meanwhile, was leaning against the wall by the entrance to the attic, having resigned from this task but still waiting in case he did get a chance.
Hahli, meanwhile, was flying home (using the wings her lifebond with Matoro had earned her) from a day and night of chasing Skrall raiders who had kidnapped some Agori. Aurora, her own female Kewa, was flying close by, both of them rather tired from the long pursuit. Both were also quite startled to see the attic light on and no others, considering their family hadn't really any reason to go up there.
It was when Hahli entered the living room that she noticed things were amiss. Her eyes fell upon the table first - long gouges covered its surface, deeply etched into the finish. Meat and berries were scattered on, under, and around said piece of furniture, several pieces of the food having stained the table and carpet, and two overturned wooden bowls lying on the floor.
Several of Matoro's wing feathers lead her to see a lot of other carnage, too - a torn pillowcase, an old quilt laying on the floor with slight claw-punctures in it, Zephyr and Aurora's perches both knocked over, a dropped laser pen, a random string with meat tied to one end… the list went on and on.
Then she noticed one wing feather just barely sticking out from the attic-door gap, indicating where she and her falcon should look next. Slowly, she lifted the trapdoor and poked her head through the opening, Aurora following suit.
"What exactly happened here?"
Matoro did a double take and, looking around, saw her. He sighed and muttered, "I've been trying to trim Zephyr's talons, but he won't let me anywhere near him with the clippers unless I trap him, and even then he always manages to escape. I honestly don't know what to do, I mean, I don't want him to end up stabbing his own foot!"
Hahli looked around and, indeed, Zephyr was perched tensely in the corner, looking quite scared. One of his feet had much longer talons than the other, obviously meaning Matoro had only managed to halfway finish.
Hahli decided to give it a try herself. Slowly she began to approach Zephyr, trying to calm him down. However, her attempt quickly failed. As soon as she was far enough away from the hatch, he bolted and flew through the trapdoor.
Suddenly they heard the albino Kewa screech in pain, a loud WHUMP signaling that he had fallen to the ground. Both Toa dashed down to see what had happened, Aurora hot on their heels.
Zephyr was rolling on the floor in an all-too-unnatural pose, and as he rolled to face the ceiling, they saw that his claws had not only stabbed his foot, but his wing as well, causing his crash-landing. He became even more distressed at the sight of Matoro approaching, trying whatever he could to get away.
"Shh….sh…. Zephyr it's okay, it's alright… I'm not going to harm you… I just want to help…. I was trying to keep this from happening…" the ice Toa whispered as he knelt to help his feathery friend. The soft tone of voice he was using helped to calm his bird, who, reluctantly, let himself be picked up. One by one, Matoro helped get Zephyr's claws free, then looked his Kewa in the eyes. "You have to trust me on this, buddy. I promise I won't hurt you."
After a few seconds, Zephyr stuck out his foot and patiently waited…
Zephyr happily hopped back onto his perch, all his talons now trimmed and filed. Matoro smiled, then yawned and blinked sleepily, slowly walking back towards his and Hahli's bed. Before he even was laying down, he flopped onto it, beginning to quietly snore.
Hahli giggled and planted a gentle kiss on the back of his head, then did her best to snuggle in beside him.