Part IV: Little Ones
We all started to play in the pool together only for Tyrone to come out a few minutes later. He was wearing nothing but shorts and had a towel around his shoulder.
“Do you want to swim with us?” I asked in English, swimming to the edge.
He nodded his head very quickly. “I put my swimsuit on just for that.”
“But those are shorts.”
“They’re swimming trunks.” He explained.
So that was why Caroline had give me shorts along with my swimsuit, they were really swimming trunks? Swim suits were more complicated than I thought.
He dipped his foot into the water only to retract it immediately.
“It’s so cold!” He said.
“Yeah but Itharii are made to swim, you don’t get cold easily in water like humans do.”
I felt so sad at the news, I’d really wanted to play with my new human friend… But Allison quickly came to help us! With their powers they warmed the pool and it was finally hot enough for Tyrone to join us and play tag as humans called it. He even taught us a game he called ‘Marco Polo’ which was fun!
When dinner was finally ready, we decided to eat outside along with many of the others. Although the main meal was land meat, which we couldn’t eat, Caroline had prepared fish for my zuzuk, Kulaat and I, like she always did when I couldn’t eat her food.
“There’s something we wanted to tell you. We thought it would be better in person rather than say it over the phone…” Tzama-zuzu said as we ate dinner before looking at Zukii-zuzu for a moment. She reached out and they held hands.
“What is it?” I asked.
“We’ve decided to have another clutch.” Zukii-zuzu answered.
It took me a second to realize what they’d just said. “I’m going to have little broodmates?” I screamed, beginning to wun loudly.
“That you will.” Tzama-zuzu said, dragging me closer and rubbing my head gently. “We’ve decided that I’ll lay the eggs when we get back home and Iro-nunu will be the one who fertilize them.”
I hugged my zuzuk, so happy to hear the news. I just had to tell everyone! I got up and made the rounds; telling Annabelle, Tyler, Allison, everyone really! I looked around for Rowan and saw they were laying on the ground, an older human male sitting on a chair next to them, talking.
“Rowan!” I said hurrying their way. “I’m going to have little broodmates! My zuzuk are having another clutch!”
“Hey Ahti. That’s really nice.” They said, showing me their teeth.
I looked at the male next to Rowan. He didn’t look like Rowan at all, I’d always thought their titi or zuzu would be like them but even bigger.
“Hello, I’m Ahti! Are you Rowan’s titi?”
“Titi?” The man echoed.
“It means father in Ibariat.” Rowan explained.
“That I am, are you one of her friend?” He asked.
“Her who?” I asked, looking around for ‘her’ but couldn’t find a her he could be speaking of.
“Her, Rowan…” Mr. Mongeux said.
“But Rowan’s not a her, Rowan’s a they, like me!”
“Honey…” Mr. Mongeux looked at Rowan. “You shouldn’t be confusing the nice little Itharii like that.” He said and I didn’t understand what he meant.
“Daaad…” Rowan sighed their ears flattening on their head. “I told you a thousand times before… I’m not a girl. I didn’t feel like a girl before I transformed and I sure as heck am not one now.”
“Right.” Mr. Mongeux said, shuffling around. “I’ll be right back…” He excused himself before going for the bathroom, my eyes following him.
“Your titi is silly. He thought you were a her!”
“He’s not bad… He just doesn’t get it.” Rowan said, lying flatly on the ground. “Even though I was assigned as a girl, I never felt like it fit. Being a boy didn’t really fit either. I was just myself; weird, awkward and not really fitting in anywhere…” They sounded really sad so I wrapped my arms around their neck and held them very tightly.
“I probably don’t make sense.” They muttered.
“I don’t understand how humans do gender, it sounds very confusing. But if being a they is what you want to be, that’s good then.” I said.
Rowan let out a snicker. “I kind of envy you Itharii, you just get to pick what you want to be and it’s your normal. We humans just get lumped without our consent in one category based on how our body looks and we’re supposed to be happy about it.”
I tightened my hug around their neck a little tighter than I thought I could.
“Becoming like this wasn’t all bad.” Rowan said after a moment. “There’s times it sucks but at the same time I don’t have to deal with being all grossed out about my own body, hating my breast or that stupid time of the month… Ugh… Guess it’s worth scaring away people.”
“But you’re not scary, you’re all nice and cuddly!” I said, making Rowan laugh. “Plus there’s a nice rumbling sound you make when we sleep together that most humans don’t make that I really like!”
“You’re sleeping together?” Rowan’s titi said. I hadn’t seen them come back. Their eyes were wide and staring at Rowan.
“Relax dad, we’re just catching Zees. Ahti doesn’t like sleeping alone.”
“I don’t know how humans do it. It’s really stressful.”
“Oh alright…” He seemed relieved but I didn’t understand why. What did he think we were doing?
“Rowan, do you want to meet my zuzuk?”
“Sure, why not.” They got up and followed me to my zuzuk, Rowan’s titi also following.
“Zuzuk, Kulaat, this is Rowan, they’re my new best friend.” I said, wrapping my arms around Rowan.
“Hey.” Rowan said, their voice all strong and gruffy.
“You told me Rowan was human.” Kulaat said with a frown as she examined Rowan.
“They are. They’re just one of those humans who don’t like like a human. I know they’re really big and have big claws, but they’re really nice.”
“Yourself… well?” Rowan asked, speaking Ibariat and looking at Kulaat. They had began taking lessons at Ravenhold and I’d helped them., but they still did know more than a few words “Scary yourself?” They tapped their chest.
“Your Ibariat is terrible!” I snickered, answering back in English. “Don’t mind Kulaat, she’s just shy and she doesn’t know much about humans.”
“Well, I don’t bite.”
“They really don’t. Because Rowan is the best human I know!” I said throwing my arms around their neck.