“Each of you gets one,” Severia had huffed.
Her face stands distinctly in Samothes’ mind, as does the rest of his family’s; Severia, flopped over on the couch in Samol’s living room, relaxing into Galenica’s touch as they stroke her hair; Samol himself, rocking back and forth in an old armchair, watching the younger gods with a half-amused smile on his face; Samot, sitting cross-legged on the ground, eyes shut and smiling happily as Samothes plays with his boyfriend’s hair.
(He has a boyfriend . Part of him still feels like it’s a mortal indulgence, like he ought to be too divine for courtship, but he can’t deny that’s what they are.)
Galenica chuckles, fingers carding through Severia’s hair on the couch in a mirror of Samothes’ own hands, and they brush a lock of hair behind one of her fins.
“It’s only fair, I take it?” they say in a voice like pebbles in a riverbed.
“Of course.” Severia is pouting, and her voice is like water running over pebbles, and she catches Galenica’s hand to press a kiss to it. “Samot got one, after all.”
Galenica hums quietly. “I like pangolins.”
Laughter rings through the room, all of them at once; Samothes can feel Samot’s chuckles moving up through him. He casts an eye over to Samol, rocking in his chair, and asks, “And you?”
“Deer,” Samol says instantly. “Big ol’ stag. Antlers that go for days.”
“I’d be a panther,” Tristero chimes, sliding into the living room from Samol’s kitchen. The god of death is carrying a tray of cannoli, and as he passes them around he continues, “I’m sure you don’t want to get me started on Nacre again--”
“--we don’t,” Samot and Severia chime in at the same time, and then giggle at each other. Samol rolls his eyes and takes Tristero’s hand.
“You can tell me later,” Samol promises Tristero, and across the room, Severia waggles her eyebrows at Samothes and Samot. Samothes hears and feels his boyfriend chuckle, and he smiles back at Severia indulgently.
“How about you?” The question comes from in front of him, Samot’s voice a comforting buzz against him.
He hums quietly, and presses a kiss to the back of Samot’s neck to give himself a second to think.
“A cat,” he says finally.
Samot twists around to look at him. “Really?”
“I don’t see why not.” A smile creeps across his face. “They’re sweet, and quiet, but present.”
“I suppose I thought you’d pick something with more. You know.” Samot gestures vaguely at him. “With the muscles and the shirtless forgery.”
Samothes laughs at that. “And what would that be?”
Samot frowns, considering. “An eagle? Or...I suppose a tiger is a cat, isn’t it.”
“Worry not, love.” Samothes smiles and kisses Samot on the cheek. “I would always have chosen something with fangs.”
“Before we need to ask you two to get a room,” Severia drawls from across the living room, “are we locked in? It’s a pain to have to change this.”
Various noises of assent come from around the room, and Severia nods, snapping her fingers. There is a shift, like the room is many images fraying apart, and then everything slides back into place.
Samothes can feel a new thing inside him now, a gift he’s been given, and he moves inside himself to unwrap it, and--ah.
He looks at the world from a much lower height now, down on four legs with a tail flicking back and forth. He glances up, and there’s Samot, smiling wide and happy at him, and then suddenly there is a mass of fur as his lover translates from boy to wolf. Samot moves around to encircle him, and Samothes curls into the warmth offered by the shaggy fur, letting the heat of Samol’s fireplace warm them both.
Soon, they will all take their leave, and he’s sure he will have his chance to indulge Samot’s love of fangs and the marks they leave. But for now, there is warmth and peace and this new shape to explore with the Boy-King, and so he curls into the wolf’s side and contents himself with family and love on this warm night in Hieron.