No Matter How Much You Like Work, You Should Enjoy Time off When You Have it
“How do you think they got that skeleton in there?” Joey asked, bouncing from foot to foot as they walked back to Gavin’s house. “It’s so fucking big!”
“They probably took it apart,” Mick told him. “And rebuilt it inside the museum. Without any flesh on them, there’s nothing to hold bones together anyway, so they would have had to use wires for it.”
“How did they know which bones went where?” Joey asked. “If I had to put together a whole giant monster skeleton I think I’d accidentally put the dick bone in the nose since bones all look the same.”
“You just practice a lot.” Mick was just as excited as Joey, and he’d bought more souvenirs than any of them as they’d left the museum. “And they have all those fossils to use as a model.”
“Also, dicks don’t have bones in them,” Cal reminded Joey.
“I think mine might,” muttered Travis, tugging at his waistband.
“How does a whole skeleton turn into a fossil?” Ray asked Cal. They’d brought him with them to the sea monster museum. As soon as they’d started getting ready to leave Cal had realized that Ray would be devastated if he found out there was a sea monster museum and he hadn’t gotten to go. “How do all those bones get stuck in a rock like that?”
“Search me,” Cal said with a shrug. “I think it gets stuck into dirt and the dirt turns into a rock after a while. Or something.”
“Not quite,” Mick corrected, getting Ray’s attention. “After something dies, small bits of rock that are in the dirt or water settle on it. If nothing disturbs them for a long time, more and more of them can form until it’s a whole rock.”
“That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“Is it as crazy as a giant ocean snake with three giant heads?” Joey asked, holding his arms out wide either to indicate the giantness of the three heads or their multitude.
“It’s called a hydra,” Sully said. “It’s a distant relative to dragons. Not as smart, though. They’re a bitch to fight, especially the ones whose heads multiply when you cut them off.”
“Why do they do that?” Wes asked. He was the only one not wearing his coat.
“Don’t know. Some of them just have that ability. Of course there’s no way to tell which ones until they’ve swallowed you,” Sully huffed. “Assholes.”
“More of your guys’s experiments?” Wes sounded thoughtful. “It has the flavour.”
Sully shrugged. “I don’t know. We did a lot of shit. I wasn’t there for all of them.”
“Are you sure they’re dragons? I don’t know any dragons with three heads,” Joey said, defensively.
“They exist,” Sully promised. “Dragons have a lot of different shapes.”
“Are there any with three dicks?” Travis asked immediately.
“You guys talk about dicks a lot,” Ray pointed out. “Like a lot.”
“That’s because they’re all cocksuckers at heart,” Arky said from Cal’s shoulder. Cal had been happily pretending he’d died, but he’d come back.
Fortunately, he was still only talking to Cal. “That’s because it’s all men ever think about,” Beatrice told Ray. “Resist the urge as you get older. It’ll make you a better person.”
“It won’t really,” Cal promised. “Dicks are awesome.”
Tail twitching, Ray looked down his front as if to see his underneath his coat and pants. “Yeah.”
Beatrice rolled her eyes. “Already corrupting the youth. First Darby and now this one.”
“First, neither of them is that young,” Cal pointed out. Then he pointed with another finger. “And second, Sully corrupted Darby, not me. I was working.”
“Third, you’re a dumbass, and fourth, I did not,” Sully said, starting with two fingers and working his way down to just the one. “He was already there.”
Ray muttered something quietly in a language Cal didn’t know.
“What was that?”
“He said Darby’s not corrupt, he’s cool,” Sully said helpfully.
“Hey!” Ray hissed.
“Shouldn’t have said it if you didn’t want us to hear it, kid,” Sully teased. “And you shouldn’t have said it in a language some of us know if you didn’t want to get outed.”
“Whatever,” Ray muttered, hands in his pockets, so red in the face he probably didn’t need his hat. “He’s not that cool, he’s just a dumb dog.”
“A dumb dog whose bone you want to bury?” Cal teased.
“You know what I thought was really cool!” Ray said, looking up at the sky. “I thought the big kraken tentacle was really cool!”
“It was pretty cool,” Cal said, giving him a break. Just because he himself never got one with these people didn’t mean they couldn’t ease up on Ray. At least while he was new. “Though I do really wonder how they got it inside, since they couldn’t exactly chop it up. Did they have to parade it through the street?”
“Maybe they just built the museum around it?” Mick asked.
“They clearly built the museum around the whale dragon skeleton,” Joey disagreed.
“You know what I mean, the big fucker hanging from the ceiling!”
“I thought it looked more like a shark,” Wes disagreed.
“Shark dragon sounds way cooler,” mumbled Ray, obviously grateful that they weren’t picking on him anymore.
Joey shrugged. “I guess so. The dragon part is what’s cool. Whales and sharks are both just fish.”
“Actually, whales aren’t really fish,” Ray told him. “Charlotte told me that they have lungs, like people, and they breathe air, that’s why they have to come up above the surface all the time.”
“Seems like bad design,” Lillian said. “Why’d you build them that way?”
Cal rolled his eyes. He could hardly claim jokes like that weren’t funny when he himself had made four of them today. “So that the real fish didn’t feel inadequate for being so small.”
“Oh, is that also why you made doorframes low?” Ray asked innocently. “So that you would feel better about being short?”
Everyone laughed at that, even though objectively it had been a very clumsy joke. But Cal let him have it, even chuckling a little himself as he ruffled Ray’s hat. Ray hadn’t asked about the whole Cal being God thing, he’d just heard the jokes and taken them in stride, so that was a point in his favour.
Not, of course, that Cal was going to let him get away with that shit. “That reminds me, how old are you again?” Cal asked. “Cause I’m pretty sure you’re the same age I was when I stopped growing.”
Ray looked worried at that. “No way. My mom says I’ve got years left to grow.”
“Sure you do, tiger,” Cal said, patting his head again, and this time adding a scratch between his ears. “My mom told me that too.”
“I’m going to be taller than you!”
“Not like it’s hard,” Sully said with an eye roll.
“You don’t need to be taller than people,” Joey assured Ray. If they didn’t count his horns—which Cal didn’t—Joey was shorter than Cal. “You just need to be bigger than them.”
“How can you be bigger if you’re not taller?” Ray asked, confused. They’d made Joey wear clothes to go to the museum.
“Come have a bath with us tonight and you’ll find out,” Mick offered.
Ray must have figured it out at that, because he went red again. “You guys…”
“Oh look,” said Cal, before they could talk about dicks, and specifically his dick, anymore. “We’re back.”
They all went inside Gavin’s house, where before they’d even taken their coats off, Gavin’s new steward had appeared. He wasn’t much older than Cal, was tallish and pale, with dark hair, and was wearing purple and red, with House ven Sancte’s sigil on the shirt. “Welcome back,” he said. Ian. His name was Ian. “I have a message for you.”
“Yeah?” Cal asked, shaking snow off his coat. “What is it?”
“Prince Gavin would like you to know that he’ll be leaving for Three Hills in the morning,” Ian reported. “And would like you to accompany him.”
Cal nodded. It was about fucking time. Gavin had been dicking around in Techen’s Stand for days now. “We’ll be there.”
“Are…are you leaving?” Ray asked, shuffling away a bit.
“Not really.” Cal gestured at the door off to the side. “We’re just going to go through the portal. We might not be sleeping in the main bedroom anymore, but you can still come see us whenever you want.”
Ray looked at the portal door warily. “I can? I thought I wasn’t allowed to use the portal.”
“Of course you are,” Cal told him. Maybe Gavin didn’t want everyone using it, but too fucking bad for Gavin. Ray wasn’t everyone. “We’re going to be in Three Hills. You want us to show it to you?”
Ray nodded. “That would be so cool!”
“Problem solved, then,” Cal said with a nod. “Now, you should go tell your family you’re home and we should go get cleaned up.”
“Does…that mean I can’t have a bath with you?”
Oh. Cal had assumed Ray had taken that for the joke it was. “Of course you can. Gavin’s bathtub is big enough to fit an army.”
“Okay” Ray grinned and hopped back. “I’ll be up in a few minutes!” And he darted off.
“Corrupting the youth,” Beatrice muttered. “One animal-eared boy at a time.”
“It’s supposed to be the devil’s job, but he’s been slacking, so I’ve had to start doing it,” Cal told her. “It’s a me-damned burden.”
“All right, I’ve had enough of you for one day,” Beatrice declared, heading for the stairs. “Thanks for paying for the tickets.”
“It was fun,” Cal said, smiling a little to himself. It had been fun. One last day of vacation, just all of them hanging out together. It had been really nice.
Cal was ready to get back to work, though.