Stowaway, 110

Just Because You Don’t Remember A Bonding Experience Doesn’t Mean it Didn’t Bond You

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“Okay,” said Pax, rubbing his head. “So what have we learned?”

We’ve learned that sweet tasting drinks are evil and we shouldn’t have twenty of them in one night, Nate said, making Pax nod so Pax would know he was correct.

Pax made him stop nodding, because that made his headache worse. “Yes,” he agreed. “We did learn that.” He’d never had twenty drinks in one night before and it had turned out to be an experiment not worth repeating. “We also learned not to make group decisions about body modification unless one of us is sober.”

Right, Nate agreed. Might have been good to have put more than ten minutes of thought into it, too.

“Yeah,” Pax agreed, looking at the flared lizard that was tattooed around his upper right arm in Bevian style. “I like him, though.”

Me too. The other ones too.

Pax only didn’t nod to avoid stabs of pain in his head, but he did look down at his chest, at the anchor on his chest, all its points sharpened into knives. Whoever had done the art was very talented. “I’ve never kept a tattoo for more than a few weeks,” he told Nate, lifting up his left arm to look at the coral that was going from his elbow to his shoulder. “But I could see keeping these ones.”

Me too, Nate said, kissing the anchor. I think you should keep them if you want.

“I might,” Pax said. He sighed, because looking down at his chest meant he was also looking at the other modifications he’d had done. “I’ll take the piercings out, though.”

Only if you don’t like them, Nate said immediately.

Both of Pax’s nipples were pierced with light bars, and his bellybutton had a fine chain of four dangling links hanging from it, ending in a small blue stone. “It’s your body too and I know you don’t like them,” Pax said, stretching a kink out of his shoulders that had probably developed because he’d slept on a beach. “I’ll take them out once our hand-eye coordination recovers.”

Okay. I don’t mind them as much when they’re on you, Nate said.

“I don’t mind body hair as much when it’s on you, but that didn’t stop you from shaving yours off after we started having sex.”

It was actually before we started having sex. I did it so you’d want to have sex with me.

“I wanted to have sex with you anyway,” Pax said, rolling his eyes, which then travelled farther down. He touched his dick. “This one I’ll definitely take out.” There was a small piercing there too, just a small stud in the head. There was also another tattoo at the base of his dick, a curved dagger, which he wasn’t sure he’d keep. But also, the four magic people he was closest to who could remove tattoos for him were all people he didn’t particularly relish the idea of taking his penis out to show them the offending artwork, so there was that.

On the other hand, his pants were nowhere to be found, so everyone would know he had it pretty soon either way.

You know, that’s the one I hate the idea of the most, Nate admitted, tapping the dick piercing. It wasn’t painful or sore—drunk Pax and Nate had clearly sought out someone to help heal the piercings up properly once they’d been put in, and Pax remembered absolutely nothing about last night but was also absolutely sure it had been Sylvester.

“I know.” Nate was Imperial even if he’d barely lived in Aergyre. He’d grown up around people with piercings on the ship, but they used genital piercings on slaves in the Empire.

It’s also the one I want to touch the most, Nate added. If I weren’t living in your body I might like it more. Maybe keep the piercings in until you can lend me to Denver and we’ll see how I feel then?

Pax sighed, standing up, which felt like a mistake but wasn’t. “Okay, but don’t force yourself to like them for my sake, really. I’m ambivalent about them.” He liked the navel piercing most of all, possibly because he liked naval things.

Okay. I hope we had fun getting them, at least.

“I presume we did, since we seem to have had a lot of fun generally,” Pax said, wishing there wasn’t so much cotton in his mouth as he went over to the bushes to pee. He made sure nobody was sleeping under them first.

Yeah, we should do it again sometime. But with less drinking.

“After our wedding,” Pax agreed.

Matthias appeared beside him to start peeing as well. “Morning,” he said.

Pax nodded, though the sun was quite high in the sky. “Did you have fun at the party last night?”

“I think so. Don’t remember most of it. I had really good sex with someone but I don’t know who. Was it you?”

“No,” said Pax, who had no idea. It probably hadn’t been him. He usually only committed incest when he was sober. “I’m glad you had a good time.”

“Looks like you did too. Nice piercings. And tattoos. Hey, we match.”

They did not match, at least not until Pax looked a little lower and saw that Matthias had a knife tattooed above his penis as well. “Oh. So we do.”

“You know what this means?”

“We have to make Robin, Cyrus, Jacob and Ignatius get them too,” Pax said, because he did indeed know what that meant.

Matthias nodded, then winced. “Maybe Roberta too, so she’s not left out. I’m going to go wash up a little.”

Pax followed him, blinking when he saw Matthias from behind. “You have one on your back too,” he told Matthias who might well not know. He had some stylistic waves with a small ship on them just above his ass.

“Do I?” Matthias asked, looking over his shoulder. “Hey, it looks like yours.”

Pax blinked, then let Nate blink too, before he looked over his own shoulder. And so it did. “Well, I suppose if we’re going to have identifying marks, we should at least have matching ones,” Pax decided.

“Yeah. Plus, my ass is wanted in like eleven cities, so making it less recognizable is cool.”

All of Pax was wanted in more cities than that, but he didn’t feel the need to make it a competition, especially not once they got to the waterline and saw Denver washing himself off from behind. He had the same tattoo as Matthias on his lower back. “Good morning,” Pax said to him.

“I don’t think it’s actually morning,” Denver muttered, less chipper than usual.

“Time isn’t real, especially when you’re hung over. I see you also have the same tattoo Matthias and I do.”

Denver looked over his shoulder. “This? Louis has one too. I think, uh…maybe we all got it done. Like a crew tattoo. Oh my God, you guys have knives too” He turned around and showed them his. “Nobody else had one. Oh, wow, Pax, all your tattoos are cool. You should get drunk more often.”

Pax smiled and waded into the water. “Nate and I have already agreed that is not true. I wasn’t planning to keep the tattoos under my pants, but I guess I have to now, since one is for the crew and one is for my brothers.”

Denver went redder in the face than his hangover could account for and went back to washing himself.

“You guys are being way too loud for this early in the morning,” Sylvester said, coming over and looking terrible. He had a dagger tattooed over his penis as well.

“We’re happy,” Pax explained. “To be with our family.”

Sylvester, being very observant, saw what Pax was talking about very quickly, and he nodded, just once. “Yeah, me too. But be happy quietly, I’m trying to be hung over.”


We’re definitely never drinking that much again, agreed Nate.

Pax still agreed with him. But at the same time, clearly it had brought them all closer together. So maybe they’d do it again sometime. Just with less sweet drinks.

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