“Does he lay eggs?”
Victor’s boot snagged on the wooden deck. Stumbling, he whipped around to look at the powder monkey that addressed him. Young, short, blond and fiesty. Picked off a ship of the royal navy. Had the makings of a good master gunner, despite the semi-permanent scowl on his face.
“Lay eggs. He’s a bird. Birds lay eggs.”
“Does he look like a bird?” Victor laughed good-naturedly.
“That’s because he isn’t a bird. He does not lay eggs. Understood?”
“If you say so.” The boy looked unconvinced. “He isn’t human either, captain.”
Suddenly, Victor was not so sure himself.
The ship’s cook arched an eyebrow. “Are we expecting baby birds? Because that will make for extra mouths to feed, I’ll need to recalculate the rations.”
Victor’s eyes went wide.
“I’m joking. You have nothing to worry about, the males don’t…” Chris paused in consideration. “…As far as I know.”
“Yuuri, I have a question for you. It’s a little strange, is that fine?”
The answer was another kiss pressed between his shoulder blades as Yuuri continued to fondly braid.
“Do you lay eggs?”
Yuuri’s fingers stilled and after a moment, Victor felt him tremble. He glanced back, seeing Yuuri’s shoulders shake as he laughed silently, his dark eyes sparkling in amused delight.
“Excuse me, you’re the first siren I’ve met. There’s still a lot I don’t know! I’ve heard that sirens sink every ship they meet, yet we’re still sailing.”
Yuuri tugged playfully on Victor’s half-finished braid and gestured for him to turn back, so that he could finish the task at hand. Victor swore that Yuuri was a little rougher and needier than usual that night in their bed.
Yuuri tilted his head to the side in inquisition.
“I want a cat for the ship. It’ll keep mice out of the ship’s food stores. Victor keeps promising and forgetting. Make him get me one the next time we dock.”
With a smile and a nod, Yuuri held out his hands. Chris gave him three eggs.
Victor rolled and heard the crack before he felt it. Shells, shattered. In horror, he looked down. From beneath his hip, thick yellow liquid leaked out onto the bedsheets. Victor lifted up and saw the eggs, smashed under his careless weight.
Leaping up, the choked noise he made wasn’t human. He tried to scoop shards of shell and yolk into his hands, dismayed to see it had already begun to seep into the mattress.
Yuuri stirred, lashes fluttering. His dark eyes took in Victor’s panicked expression and he glanced down.
“Yuuri, it’s okay, I can fix it! I didn’t see them, I didn’t realize. Oh, of course, this is like your nest, isn’t it. I didn’t know, I’m so sorry!” Victor cried, desperate. “They-… they weren’t fertilized, Yuuri! We can make more! Just tell me what to do, if you need me to keep them warm or sit on them, gently I mean, I can do it. Whatever you need!”
Yuuri laughed so hard he fell off the bed. A couple feathers poofed up into the air.
Victor did not get the joke, yolk dripping from between his fingers.