"Dammit, why couldn't you have had a trans sister instead of a trans brother?" groused Gannet, trying yet again to position his tail in accordance with the diagrams on Bailey's laptop screen. "Someone with experience with this kind of thing."
"You could just let it hang out of your pants," said Bailey, sounding more hopeful than he probably meant to. Or maybe he was just flustered. Even though he was studiously keeping his back to his half-dressed guest.
"What, and look like a furry? No offense."
"There are worse things! Look, I have a hat with wolf ears on it that you can borrow. It'll distract people from how real the tail looks. Make them assume it's all part of the same cheap costume set."
"It would have to poke out of a hole in my pants," pointed out Gannet, tugging his boxer briefs up. Okay, the tail fit, but wow, having a constant furry massage on his junk was going to get real awkward real fast. "You know what people will assume."
"The idea that it's attached to your spine isn't exactly intuitive! Even if it's true."
"Not what I was thinking, you dork." Was he seriously this innocent? "They're gonna assume it's attached to a buttplug."
Even with Bailey facing in the other direction, Gannet could practically feel the room heat up a couple degrees from the blush. "People do that?"
"Oh, yeah." Gannet grinned. "Hey, if you got one, we could match."
"Hang on a second." Gannet dug deeper into Bailey's closet. "Are these scarves all in fish patterns?"
"Not all of them. I have a striped one in there . . . somewhere . . . "
"I'm trying to cover the gills up, not make a theme outfit around them!"
"It's not like I bought them with camouflage in mind!" No, Bailey bought them because he couldn't afford the kind of aquarium that would hold all the fish he liked, so he went trawling in the depths of Etsy for substitutes. "I'm not forcing you to take any of them. I just thought I'd offer."
"Yeah, yeah, you're being nice," said Gannet, gruffly apologetic. "I know."
"At least you don't need water on the gills to breathe," added Bailey, as Gannet examined a lightweight scarf covered in koi. "Unless that's going to develop later . . . we should try to figure out if you're freshwater, or salt water, or . . . "
"Freshwater. That's what comes out of our faucets, right?" Gannet was experimenting with a scarf in muted blue, tossing the end over his shoulder one way, then another. "I tested it out in the bathtub last night. I can switch back and forth on command, air to water, no problem."
"Oh! That's great. That's really great."
"I know, right?" Gannet's mood seemed to be picking up again. "Just think about the kind of blowjobs you could get from someone who doesn't need to breathe with his mouth."
"Well, what are they? Am I gonna come out of this looking like more a cow or a reindeer?"
"I can't tell at this point," protested Bailey, rubbing the little round nubs that poked through Gannet's fading dye job. "It's not like . . . I don't know, tree seeds or something, where the different shapes are all catalogued and documented and put out in books."
"Or on Wikipedia," said Gannet. "If you don't mind limiting this to things I can realistically get in my house."
"That too. Anyway, there's no guarantee these are going to follow the exact growth pattern of any, um, known animal. You could end up looking like a markhor, or a capra ibex, or something totally new."
"A what or a who?"
Bailey opened his laptop and, on Wikipedia, found some pictures.
"Whoa." Gannet seemed impressed . . . then, though he tried not to show it, nervous. "If they get that big, I'm not gonna be able to walk."
You could tell the situation was getting to him because he didn't turn that line into a dick joke.
Gannet tried to keep the claws in check. He really did. But between the desperation, the emotional turmoil, and the final mind-blanking relief of having Bailey inside him, his post-coital comedown was tinged with the shame of noticing the new gashes in Bailey's sheets. And, in a few cases, right through the mattress.
"It's okay. Really," said Bailey soothingly, rubbing Gannet's back with one hand and using the other to poke a bit of stuffing back through the nearest rip. "You promised you weren't going to hurt me, and you didn't. If I was worried about the sheets I would've made us . . . uh, do that . . . on the floor."
"You can say 'fuck'," mumbled Gannet.
"Have sex," offered Bailey as a compromise.
Gannet nuzzled unhappily against his warm bare chest. "Still would've torn up your carpets. Scratched all the floors. I don't have any non-torn socks left, you know that? Even in my own house I wear those stupid cheap sandals everywhere. I'm --"
He stuttered over the word monster.
Bailey took one of Gannet's freckle-dusted hands and moved it so it was resting against his cheek. The iron-grey claws sat lightly against his skin: sharp enough to rip it open, but not leaving a scratch. "Hey. You don't scare me, okay? Because you're not dangerous. Not if you don't want to be."
"Are you serious?! I thought they had to be, you know, mouse ears or something!"
"All the little mammals look basically the same when they're first born," said Bailey. "But I raised Flopsy and Mopsy from kittens --"
Gannet looked sharply at the cage by Bailey's window, as if to make sure the animals inside hadn't changed form whilst he wasn't looking. "Those are not cats."
"-- the babies are still called kittens -- and I assure you, these are following the exact same growth pattern as rabbit ears."
"I think they're cute!" added Bailey, trying to sound optimistic.
"I would think they were cute if they weren't growing out of my head!"
"Well . . . at least . . . it could be worse?"
Groaning, Gannet clutched at his head, pinning the fuzzy white ears down flat against his skull. "I literally cannot imagine how."