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not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment


by Lucy


The disadvantage of being on tour is that you can't, while performing in, say, Kansas, make a spontaneous beach trip. He has to make do with hotel swimming pools, which aren't ideal: they're heated, chlorinated and salt-free. He always missed Orlando while he's away, his house and his friends and the glorious ocean.

The ocean. Yes. That's where he belongs: the tang of salt water rushing over his skin, cool air filling his lungs as he leaps above the waves to breathe. His body, that familiar-alien form, can't dance, and when it sings it doesn't sound anything like the sounds he makes in his other shape. His normal shape, he wants to say when he's in this form - but of course only half of his friends think of humanity as normal. They don't know how it is, can't feel the poetry of it, the way you become a part of the water, at one with Mother Earth.

Then again, his dolphin friends don't know much about the delights of a good cheeseburger.


It's not every day you find a dolphin in the hotel pool, and Justin's really curious to find out who arranged for it to be there. In the end, though, that takes second place to dive-bombing into the pool, splashing water everywhere and making the dolphin leap up in a beautiful sharp arc. Justin laughs, then gasps in surprise when the dolphin head-butts him in the chest.

Justin's always heard that doplhins are smart, but he's kind of amazed. He splashes water over the dolphin's nose and it chases him around the pool for a few minutes. The dolphin, of course, is a much better swimmer than Justin, and he gets the feeling it's playing with him, letting him stay just ahead. Sometimes it bumps the backs of his legs with its nose, and eventually, after toying with him mercilessly, it pins him against the wall of the pool, pressing Justin's chest firmly with its nose.

Justin laughs, out of breath, and then wriggles free and dives underwater again. The dolphin pursues him relentlessly.


When Lance wanders out to the pool, he hears Justin's laughter and assumes that he and Chris are playing around. And then he steps outside and sees that Justin is being chased around the pool by... a dolphin. He stands there gaping for maybe half a minute before Justin notices him and says, “Hey! Someone gave us a fish!”

Lance opens his mouth to say something witty and clever, but what comes out is, “It's a mammal.”

Jusitn looks at the dolphin as if it's an alien. “It's a fish, dude.” The dolphin bumps his hip with its nose and he says, “Cut it out.”

“Dolphins are mammals,” Lance says, and the dolphin bumps Justin again. He frowns. “Or maybe it's sharks.”

“Sharks are fish too.” Justin frowns and the dolphin dives under him, swims around in a tight circle, and finishes by ducking between Justin's feet.

“Whatever.” Lance settles on a lounger by the pool and opens his book. He hopes Justin and the dolphin don't splash too much.

Well. That's a vain hope, but never mind.


Joey stumbles out to the pool after several beers and a couple joints, and he's pretty sure he doesn't believe what he's seeing. There's a dolphin in the pool with Justin, and Lance is sitting reading. Joey blinks hard.

“I'm not seeing that, right?” he asks.

Lance looks up from his book, looks from Joey to the pool, and says, “Dolphin in the pool.”

“No, but really,” Joey says.

“Really,” Lance says, seemingly undisturbed. “Dolphin in the pool.”

“Huh,” says Joey. He could jump in, he guesses, but he's kind of drunk and kind of stoned, and the whole concept is upsetting him in ways he hadn't thought of before.

He heads back inside and orders another beer.


JC comes out to the pool just as Justin is drying himself off. Lance is stretched out on a sun lounger, his latest space book face-down on his knees. Lance says, “Shouldn't we call animal control, or something?”

“It probably belongs to the hotel, or something,” Justin says.

JC looks at the pool, and there's a dolphin in there. He's right at the edge, out of the water up to its flippers, which are resting on the side. JC smiles at the dolphin. He's just as beautiful as JC expected, up close.

Justin, predictably, snatches the book from Lance's legs and runs away, laughing. Lance follows Justin at speed, but JC barely notices the ruckus as he steps out of his jeans, pulls off his shirt and steps into the pool in his boxers. The dolphin comes instantly to nuzzle his stomach, and JC puts an arm over his back. The skin is silky-smooth and cool. Beautiful.

“Hey,” he says, stroking the dolphin's skin carefully. The dolphin rubs his nose against JC, and JC guesses that's a greeting.

It's dusk. JC stays there for a while, watching the sky darken with the dolphin nestled amicably beside him, his nose occasionally sliding back and forth over his stomach and chest gently. Eventually, he sighs, patting the dolphin's back.

“You're coming back to us,” he says softly, and the dolphin wiggles indignantly in the water. “Right?”

The dolphin goes still against JC, and JC looks down. He really is beautiful.

“Right, Chris?”


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