Seeing as they were already on an island, it was easy to find a boat. It was strange that Hymir hadn’t seen any water when he first showed up, seeing that the palace was practically on the ocean. Pallas led them to a bustling dock with a modernized engine. “They’re cool,” he said to Hymir, who was trying to calmly scratch his head. That itch had returned practically the second they stepped outside, feeling more like a phantom than anything. In the heat of it all, Hymir had been too baffled by everything to take anything off. It would have been nice to have had a sliver of relief. If he was lucky, there would be a dark closet for him to hide in for a little.
Dima and Pallas had to know that he wasn’t human if they knew about everything else. Right?
“Yeah,” Dima agreed, “The crew knows everything. Like everything everything. The leading theory is that they can read minds.” Hymir covered his mouth to keep a laugh in. “I know. They probably know that we know. You can de-layer if you want to. That’s what we’re implying.” The words were rushed, hands fiddling in front of Dima’s chest. This was the guy cameras were so good at capturing. He was comfortable. That had to be it.
In order to not pass out on his first boat ride, Hymir honestly considered it first. Humans were strange. There was no telling how they would react as a whole. But Pallas and Dima hadn’t really cared back in the bedroom. Well, Dima had been kind of rude, but a lot was going on. Hymir didn’t blame him entirely.
Was there anything he could take off? Safely? His tome coat would be the best at expelling heat. Where could he put it? It slipped off his arms, folding awkwardly around the tomes. He held it against his chest and surveyed the area. A chair. The tomes made it heavy enough that he wasn’t afraid of a wind taking the coat away. He stuffed the head-thing underneath. Peter would be upset if he lost it.
Wind rustled through. Being on the water made it cooler. More like home. Something he was used to. His ears twitched. No new sounds, but the cloth hadn’t been thick enough to dampen anything. Removing it had been… freeing. That was the only word on his mind. And his tail. It batted around the air like a cow swishing flies. Nothing there but the relief at no longer being contained. He couldn’t blame the restrictions for his poor performance earlier, but it would be easier to do his job now.
He turned around to look at the others, who were standing as if nothing had happened. Not even the dilated pupils seemed to phase them. Nice.
The boat gave a loud horn-like sound before casting off into the murky black sea. More stars had emerged, freckled against the waves. The rocking sensation was like riding a horse, except for the fact that it wasn’t, this wasn’t it at all. This was faster, and more streamline, and quieter over the roar of everything that had existed in his head. And the smell. The overpowering smell of salt was borderline overbearing, and Hymir didn’t know if he would ever get over how alive he felt. He would have to leave this place. Maybe soon. Wrestle himself out of this feeling.
But for now, he allowed his hands to grip the railing of the bow, and let himself get lost.
“I had to, Yiayia,” Dima said loudly, his voice small. “You know how much this means to me.” Hymir turned around to watch Dima pace the deck with a small box pressed to his ear.
Pallas was on Hymir’s other side. “Yiayia gets worried,” Pallas revealed. “Dima has a lot of stuff going on. His parents left him behind to pursue movie careers, he keeps getting this dream about this guy coming out of the water, and there’s finding enough people to work the farm and getting enough money to pay them, things like that.”
“How old is he?” Hymir couldn’t look away. One of Dima’s hands was in his hair, fingers trying to pierce his scalp, knuckles lighter than the rest of his hand in the dark light. “He can’t be over twenty.”
A laugh. Dry. Warm. “He turned sixteen two weeks ago. He’s an only child. Yiayia’s only grandson and only real family left.”
Dima said, “I know. I love you,” into what had to be the phone before shoving it into his pocket and walking over. “If I’m not dead, I’m grounded. Sorry that trying to help the royal family and my friend gets in the way of chores.”
Waves crashed. Hymir’s face hurt from smiling. The stars had long moved from their original positions in the sky. Could it have been hours? It was only minutes of loose conversation, if it could even be called that. Feelings lingered. For the most part, they had a habit of doing that.
And it continued.