Sometimes You Know a Day’s Going to Be Good within a Few Minutes of Waking up
According to Pax’s extremely accurate internal clock, he woke up about half an hour before dawn. They really needed to get some external clocks on the ship here, but the constant movement of the ship might disrupt all the gears and inner workings, plus they were kind of expensive.
On the other hand, Pax was super rich since he hadn’t had to buy a boat for anyone, so he could probably afford a clock.
You know that when you wake up, it’s like all these lights in your head start going off at once.
Pax snorted, sitting up. “I resent the implication that I’m not bright even in my sleep, Nate. Good morning.”
Good morning. You need to pee.
“I’m aware,” Pax said, yawning as he stretched. “That’s often what happens when one wakes up.” Enough exposure to the fact that Nate lived in his head and made it so Pax only got slightly embarrassed when Nate knew things like that about him. It was only Nate.
So he got up, did a few more stretches just because he had a morning routine and Nate wasn’t the boss of him, and then went outside since he did really need to pee. Pax could hear a gentle rain hitting the door, so he braced himself to get wet, figuring he’d change into clean clothes anyway once he got back into the cabin and…
Pax felt water and cold all over his skin and he rubbed at his eyes so they wouldn’t swim, not quite putting together why at first as he approached the rail. In his defence, he was distracted by the fact that he wasn’t alone. Cal was there, also doing what people did in the morning at ship’s rails. Pax always found it impossible to pee when someone else was there; he was barely able to do it with Nate, but it was going to be weird if he just turned around and went back inside, so when Cal said “Morning,” Pax nodded, staying a respectful distance away without seeming like he was trying to.
And then Pax noticed a few things, or rather the lack of a few things. Nate! he mentally hissed, because there was no way Pax was naked and it wasn’t Nate’s fault. Cal wasn’t wearing anything except for a lot of bite marks and what Pax was uncomfortably sure was dried cum in his hair. He had to say something, shit. “Um. Good morning. I’m normally a lot more dressed than this in the mornings, but I’ve had a brief lapse in something.” What the hell?
Oh, right, Nate said, as if he’d just noticed. You were hot in your sleep, so I took off your clothes.
Don’t do that! Controlling his body when he was sleeping was just rude.
Too late? I didn’t realize Cal would be out here, so sorry about that. He thinks you’re cute, though.
Cal gave no impression that he thought that. “Me too, but my clothes got torn apart by a dragon.”
“Hate it when that happens,” Pax said, because he had to say something. It was fine, he could live through this. He told himself that he’d seen plenty of naked people and that one more wasn’t that big a deal. Cal was skinny and stood in such a way that he might be preparing to jump away, the second half of which Pax could relate to.
Cal just nodded, probably believing Pax had experience—which was a good state of mind for him to be in, Pax liked that—and finished emptying his bladder, turning to go back in his room. “See you later,” he said.
Pax had his back to Cal, watching the water. Good opportunity, Nate muttered.
It’s really not.
People tell the truth when they’re naked.
Pax sighed. “Are you really God?” he asked Cal, because Nate was right. It was a good opportunity—the only one he’d had to speak with Cal one-on-one without several of Cal’s boyfriends around.
“So they tell me,” Cal said, apparently unbothered that this conversation was happening with fewer layers of clothes between them than it ought to have.
No, Pax wasn’t going to stand here in the rain and have a naked conversation about the nature of theology and only get vague answers. “Who tells you that exactly?”
“Everyone who’s an angel, a demon or an ancient god from the dawn of time, or the devil.” It was very matter of fact, the way he said it. It was the tone of voice Pax used when he was lying and other people used when they were telling the truth. “I’m the reincarnation of the guy who the Catechism decided was God when they started up, to be precise. Seems like at the time he was only one of a lot of gods.”
That made sense. Records indicated that there’d been polytheistic worship before the Catechism War. “But you’re a human.” Nobody had ever written anything saying that gods could become humans, according to Pax’s knowledge.
“Yes,” Cal told him. He still sounded like he was telling the truth. Maybe nudity really did bring that out in people. Maybe that was why Pax liked wearing clothes so much. “I make sure to be. Nathen was crazy, and I don’t want him to hurt anyone.”
God’s name was Nathen, apparently. That was something Pax could look for in records and archives. “I see. This is theologically very challenging for me to understand,” he admitted. Cal had better realize what an admission this was. He wondered if God was really that crazy. “I’d appreciate it if you could lend Sully to me for a few hours one day.”
With clothes on, he didn’t add, though maybe not if he wanted Sully to tell the truth.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
Well, that had been easy. Turned out God wasn’t as inscrutable as the Catechism said. “What’s the devil like?” Pax asked, since he was getting answers. “Is he also just some guy? Because that makes sense in the context of a dualistic theistic system, which is what we exist in.”
“I don’t think he’s human too.” Before Pax could contest the ambiguity of his grammar there, he continued. “But he’s just some guy. He’s a sad monk with a bad haircut and an affinity for birds.”
A lightning bolt flew through Pax and he turned around so fast that he nearly hurt his ankle. “What? Birds? The devil likes birds?”
Oh, no, Nate muttered.
Cal had turned when Pax did, and now he looked confused. “Yeah, go fucking figure.” He clearly didn’t understand the vast theological, moral, ethical and practical implications of what he was saying. He wasn’t very good at being God. Pax wondered if he needed an assistant or something. “I mean, I don’t know if he likes them, but apparently he uses them to spy on me sometimes.”
Pax should have been terrified, cowering under his cot and killing every bird he could reach. And he might later. But for now, he was filled with the warmest, happiest most satisfying emotion he’d ever felt because he’d been right. This whole time, his entire life, he’d been right, and everyone had made fun of him but they’d been wrong. “I knew it! I fucking knew it! Holy crap.” Pax couldn’t help it, he leapt forward and hugged Cal. He almost kissed him. “I have never felt so vindicated in my entire life. I’m having a religious experience, which might just be because you’re God and all. Oh, and you’re God! Nobody can tell me it’s wrong because it came from the ultimate authority on truth!” Pax was going to track down every single person who’d ever teased him about birds and shove this in their faces. Birds really were evil and he had the actual word of God to prove it, and Pax was so happy.
“I’m not really…”
“Quiet.” Cal wasn’t going to ruin this for him. “I’ve been trying to get everyone to understand this for my entire life, Cal. Thank you so much.” Pax was starting to feel like he might cry.
“You’re…welcome?” Cal asked, and it was definitely a question.
He has a thing about birds, Nate said, the medallion pressed against Cal’s chest. You’ll get used to it.
“Who’s that?” Cal sounded a bit freaked out.
“Oh.” The medallion was touching Cal because Pax was hugging him and they were both still completely naked and every part of them was touching. Oops. “That was Nate.” Pax touched Nate as he stepped away from Cal, trying not to be too embarrassed or giddy, which would be embarrassing. “He can talk to you if you touch him.”
“Cool. Nice to meet you, Nate.” He was very calm, but then he would be given what his life must be like.
Nice to meet him too. Especially like that.
It’s cool. You should ask if he wants to press up against you naked some other time.
He has several boyfriends. Pax wasn’t really sure how many at this point. Possibly five.
“He says…” Pax began.
You don’t have to be his boyfriend to add to his collection of bite marks.
“He’s happy to meet you too,” Pax finished, mentally glaring at Nate.
“I’m glad,” Cal said. “He might easily have been annoyed by that full-on physical contact just now.”
“Sorry.” Pax regretted that and would regret it more later when he replayed this whole conversation in his head. “I was very excited about having something I’ve always known confirmed,” Pax explained. The magnitude of this was unfathomable. “Never tell anyone that happened and I’ll lend you some clothes in exchange.” That seemed like a fair exchange to him, though his clothes would all be too big for Cal. Lending people clothes that were too big for them was tradition on this ship; it would make Cal part of the family or something.
“Sounds good.” Cal smiled at him “I should go back in there, though. See you later? Maybe with clothes on?”
“Definitely with clothes on,” Pax agreed, because though this particular bout of nudity had been productive, there was no need to repeat it. “See you later, Cal. If you ever need a High Presbyter or anything, I already have a job, but I could recommend some people.”
Cal went back inside, leaving Pax alone, and he was still so thrilled that he didn’t even care that he was outside and naked, he did a little dance. This is among the best days of my life, I’m so happy Nate, I’ll even forgive you for stealing my clothes and making sexually inappropriate remarks.
Aw, thanks, Nate chuckled. You could further thank me by just staying naked all day.
No. Pax turned around, because he still had to pee.
I could have given you a boner during that whole conversation and I didn’t, Nate pointed out.
You don’t get bonus points for doing the right thing, Pax told him, letting the conversation distract him as he started to pee.
Another door opened behind him and Pax just sighed. Busy railing today, Nate teased.
Shut up, birds are confirmed to be evil and I don’t care how many people see me naked now that that’s happened. Pax did care a little, but it was a useful shield.
So I can give you a boner then?
Would you stop being horny for two seconds?
“I’d try, but that sounds boring.”
Pax felt himself curl up and die a little when Gavin came up to the rail beside him, also naked. Was Pax the only person on this ship with any modesty? Not that he could make that argument at the moment. “I…didn’t mean to say that aloud. I was talking to someone else, your Highness.”
Gavin nodded, yawning as he stood directly beside Pax—did he have to do that? There was a lot of room—and started to empty his bladder. He was quiet as he did that, and when he was done, Gavin sighed, looking up. “Shitty day.”
“It’s been a pretty good one so far,” Pax disagreed.
“Hm.” Gavin grunted. “Okay.” He yawned again, dropped his dick and patted Pax’s shoulder. “Going back to bed. See you later.”
And he left before Pax could say anything. Pax sighed in relief and finally finished what he’d come out here to do.
You’re popular this morning.
And whose fault is that?
You’re welcome. Nate sounded smug.
“You suck,” Pax muttered.
“I know, I’m good at it.”
Pax hadn’t noticed Gavin’s door open again, but there was Sir Ox, standing there all muscular and naked and also erect, which was a very regular thing to happen in mornings, but still. Pax blushed. “I wasn’t talking to you.”
“Okay,” Sir Ox yawned, heading for the railing. “If you ever want to see, just hit me up, Gavin would be down.” Obviously still half-asleep, he tried to pee.
Pax watched him for just a second before turning, purely out of confusion, barely noticing that he had a nice butt. “Okay, well…thanks. I’m going to go now, nice meeting you like this.” Pax fled for his door.
“Yeah, you too,” Sir Ox said, waving over a well-muscled shoulder.
Finally Pax got back into his cabin to get dressed. “You suck,” he repeated at Nate. “I love you and you suck, but I still forgive you because of the bird thing. I’m going to have to tell Denver he has to stop being friends with Persephone.”
Don’t be mean to him. She’s his friend.
“She’s an agent of the devil and I can’t in good conscience allow him to be friends with an agent of the devil, even though I’m letting Sully have sex with Cal and all the rest of them, so maybe there’s some wiggle room in there,” Pax admitted, inside the cabin at last. “Also, I have to write several treatises on theology to account for the divine revelation I had this morning, it’s going to be a busy day.”
You know the main theological thing that I learned today? Nate asked.
“I’m afraid to ask, but do tell,” Pax said, curious. Maybe Nate had noticed something he hadn’t.
My boyfriend has a bigger dick than God.
Pax coloured deeply. “For Cal’s sake, Nate. I’m bigger than him in every regard. It stands to reason.” Pax hadn’t even noticed.
I’m choosing to ignore that and focus on the one thing. Smaller than Sir Ox, though. Noticed you looking at him.
He was an attractive person, it was natural. “You know, I know you well enough to know that you don’t really have a one-track mind like this. You’re choosing to be obnoxious.”
Yep. Pax could practically see Nate’s grin. Not choosing to be horny, though. Speaking of which, don’t get dressed yet.
It was well past dawn by the time Pax was able to stumble out of his cabin and begin his workday. But he didn’t care. He was having a very, very good day.