Warnings: AU, shounen ai, implied voyeurism, cliche
Notes: Written for one of terra harpel's pics.
An intense, vivid blue-green, the water was. Heero Yuy sat on the shore with his knees bent to his chest, digging his toes into the damp sand. It looked so deceptively tranquil.
It was hard to believe, at times like these, that the sea was a fickle mistress. Moments of breathtaking beauty, the surface like an unbroken sheet of glass, sometimes followed almost immediately by a tumultuous gray, appearing harsh and icy, yet still aesthetically pleasing in its own way, with white tipped waves crashing along the beach.
As an observer on land, it was something to admire, and Heero could easily believe there really was a lost continent below the surface, its king calling upon the force of nature to protect Atlantis from discovery.
Heero wasn't usually prone to whims of fancy, but the water had beckoned to him early on, when the boat he'd been on had capsized and he'd struggled to keep his head above water.
He'd managed to keep afloat long enough to grasp onto a large crate that had at one time contained some of their nonperishable food items. Its empty state served Heero well, and he'd gripped onto it with bleeding fingernails, not daring to give up the effort to pull himself atop the makeshift raft. It teetered precariously as he hauled his chest up and plopped onto his stomach, but he was, for the most part, out of the water.
Heero knew it was a temporary measure at best, but his strength was nearly drained, and he could do naught else but turn his head to the side and take deep shuddering breaths in between the waves of water that rushed over him, spinning the crate and Heero merrily. The sun beat down on him, warming skin covered with goose bumps.
He'd tried to keep his eyes open, he really had, but between the stinging of water and the fact that he was simply too close to passing out, he could not.
What had confused him, when he'd opened his eyes some time later to find the crate still beneath his body, bobbing along and scraping the sand near the shore, was that he'd swear he'd seen a school of fish swim by. Brilliant oranges and yellows, followed by what he'd at first thought had been a dolphin, due to its size and the chattering noise it made as it swam underneath the crate.
He'd let himself fall off the raft and crawled onto the shore, turning to look out at the now calm sea. He'd rubbed at his stinging eyes and tried to lick his chapped lips, unable to summon enough saliva for the task, and tried for the life of him to remember what the not-dolphin had looked like.
Heero was familiar with a number of sea creatures, and he would have been certain that he'd track down what it was, based on what little he could surmise of its habits, and the multiple fins he'd glimpsed, except for one thing.
The reddish brown cloud that had obscured his view.
He'd seen how the purple-black ink provided a means for octupi to escape their predators, but this had been different. Instead of dispersing, it followed the sea creature. Heero blamed the sun exposure for the delirium that had him liken the motion to a mating dance.
He looked over the horizon, and held his breath as he viewed the sunset. It was his favorite time of day - the transition between day and night in a burst of color.
Heero waited until the sun slipped beneath the horizon and stood, brushing off the back of his legs and stretching before turning toward the lean-to under which he'd taken to sleeping at night.
He heard the splash in the water behind him, but did not turn around.
A swarm of coppery gold appeared underneath water, and then it began to take shape as a head broke the surface. A mouth opened several times, gasping silently, before the lungs began breathing oxygen from the air. The flaps at the side of its head stopped attempting to brush water into the gills lying beneath.
The creature had no name, not any that could be reproduced in the language of man, but it held a certain fascination for humans.
It took a few slow tentative steps toward the shore where the young man had been sitting, its chest glistening as it continued until the water was only waist deep.
It reached out its arms and flexed its web fingers several times until the small membranes shrank and each hand had five slender fingers. It admired the way the skin molded to each digit, even though it felt a bit odd.
The human had hands like this, and therefore it could not be a bad thing.
It hesitated only slightly before taking a few more steps, the water sucking at its genitals before those, too, would have been on display, had anyone been there to see. If they had been, the creature's gender would have been clearly identified as male.
He halted in his progress when he'd reached the place where the water lapped gently at the shoreline. The water swirled around his ankles and the fins on his legs trembled with cold as a stray breeze blew by. His hair streamed over his naked back and the water trickled down between his buttocks as his bangs ruffled in the breeze.
This was as close as he'd ever dared to get. There was something reassuring about remaining in the water. To venture further out, onto land, just to lay eyes on the one that had intrigued him for months, was to put himself in danger.
He blinked several times, his slitted pupils adjusting to the low lighting slowly. How long he stood there, he didn't know, but it was long enough that the sounds of some of the creatures of the air had become louder.
He shook his head, chastising himself for his insatiable curiosity, and turned back to the sea, his hair slapping against his backside as he took a few hurried steps before his gills opened back up and he sliced through the water again.
Heero woke up slowly, and it took a moment to realize that the sun was filtering through the cracks in the lean-to. He sat up abruptly. It wasn't like him to allow himself to fall into such a deep sleep - especially not nights when he'd slept out in the open.
He rubbed his eyes with one hand and then let it drift down to scratch his belly. It drifted a bit lower to brush over the tent in his loincloth, and then he snatched it away as if burned.
He stared at it in disbelief, wondering why his body had betrayed him twice already. He crawled out from under the shelter of the splintered boards overhead and into the blazing sun, noting the boats out in the distance and cursing himself for oversleeping.
Heero sprinted across the sand and into the water, swimming a few strokes before he resurfaced. He flicked the dark bangs out of his eyes and let the chill of the water do its best to reset his body to its normal functioning state.
There had been those dreams, too. He'd not had them for a while, but last night they'd come back.
He could never fully remember them upon waking. He was only left with the impression of eyes watching him. He looked around the surface of the water. Eyes that were this very color. Heero had never liked that unsettled feeling he got the morning after those dreams.
He waded toward the shore and shook his head, sending droplets of water everywhere, then trudged toward his shack to begin preparations for another day.
He didn't bother to dry off - he would dry soon enough in the sun. He ate a modest breakfast before heading to the docks and toward his boat.
It wasn't much compared to the others, but he'd worked hard to earn the right to call it his own. The mesh nets along the side were new; that had somehow pleased Heero more than the acquiring the boat itself.
Normally he wouldn't take the boat out without at least one other on board. The sea was unpredictable and it was foolish to go out alone, but he was compelled to ignore practicality in favor of escaping the curious stares he was sure he'd receive, moving about in a trance-like state as he was. His common sense told him that his preoccupation with his dreams was going to get him killed, but he'd always been inclined to follow his instincts, even when they seemed contrary to sound judgement.
He needn't have worried, not on that day. The water remained calm and he allowed himself to be entranced with its unbroken surface. He'd not realized how much time had passed until he'd looked around and noticed the other boats had long gone. His lips were dry and his skin red from sun and wind exposure.
A dip in the sea at this point was not likely going to be the best decision, but he was sorely tempted. He sighed and dug around the medicine chest, looking for one jar in particular.
He sat down and began to slowly apply the cream to his skin, rubbing it slowly up and down his arms and over his chest, massaging it in. He imagined those blue eyes watching him as he did so, and he slipped his hands below his loincloth, smoothing the cream over his length.
He closed his eyes, feeling wickedly exhibitionist, even though no one could see him out here. Heero leaned his head back and heard the rustle of the wind and the soft slapping of the water against the hull.
It suggested other images to Heero's mind, of a warm mouth surrounding his cock, sucking and slurping at it. He groaned quietly as his strokes increased. He allowed the fantasy to continue. His strokes became more demanding and he arched his back a bit, sucking in his bottom lip as he imagined cool fingers running along his inner thigh as his length was laved with a talented tongue.
The boat creaked a bit, almost as if it, too, were biting back a moan as Heero neared his climax. With a strangled cry, he felt the muscles in his lower body clench, and then a spreading of warmth over his fingers as he came.
He took a few steadying breaths, feeling almost embarrassed by his actions, although there had been no one around to see. He gave himself a final squeeze before loosening the loincloth and pulling it free. He left it sitting on the bench while he stood up to rinse himself off.
He'd only gotten a few feet when he stopped and stared at the planks under his toes.
A series of wet footprints, ending right where he was standing, were slowly fading as the sun beat down on them.
He shouldn't have done that.
He'd told himself that at least a dozen times since he'd slipped over the side of the boat and into the water, but he hadn't been able to resist.
The human was so pretty, and the creature had only meant to take a quick peek when the boy's back was turned. He'd never expected to see that.
A webbed hand caressed at a similarly rigid column of flesh. He'd heard that humans weren't constructed all that differently, but seeing it for himself was something else entirely.
He'd felt himself harden, watching the human stroke himself, but had been too afraid of drawing attention to himself.
He would eventually, when the time was right, and he planned on watching carefully to find out just when that time had arrived.
Heero was unable to sleep.
It had been almost a week since the incident on the boat, and he tried to convince himself he'd hallucinated the entire thing. He'd gone out several times since then, insuring that he had sufficient amounts of water and food, and plenty of sun cream.
He'd not been tempted again to repeat those actions - not during his waking hours.
In his dreams, however, that was another thing entirely. His subconscious filled in more details each night. Once it was a head in his lap, long strands of deep mahogany spread over his thighs and his lover's back.
Another night he could see a shimmering hand, adorned with small flecks of gemstones in between each finger, as it reached toward Heero and ran through the hair at his temple.
And last night he'd found himself gazing into eyes as blue as the sea. What he'd seen there had been like a reflection of his own soul, and he'd awoken with a start.
Heero found himself annoyed with the moonlight for keeping him awake, knowing full well it wasn't the cause of his insomnia but too irritable to think rationally.
His attitude during the daylight hours, around others in the village, had not given away the fact that he was plagued nightly by a lover that only existed in his imagination. He'd never much thought about pursuing any of the eligible young women still living with their fathers, not yet, anyway, but he'd not ruled it out, either. He had little to offer in terms of material goods, but he wasn't opposed to making a match, should he find one with whom he felt could see past what he could provide in terms of physical comforts.
He didn't know why the pursuit of a life partner was prominent in his mind, but it served to destroy any chance he had of falling asleep. He wrapped his loincloth loosely about his hips and strode toward the shoreline, walking along the sand and feeling the cold water under his feet with each step.
The familiar clicking sound, reminiscent of dolphins, reached his ears again, and he rubbed his eyes as he walked, sure that none of the nocturnal carnivores would be close enough to shore for their speech pattern to be audible.
He stopped for a moment and cocked his head to the side, listening carefully to see if he heard it again. He dug a toe into the sand and kicked at a small bit of broken shell. The only sound was the soft rush of water against the sand.
He resumed his stroll, continuing along and occasionally looking out at the water. Each time he saw nothing but the moon's reflection.
If nothing else, the sound of the sea foam settling and the light breeze that tousled his hair was calming. When he thought his mind was at ease enough to attempt to catch a couple of hours of sleep before sunrise, he turned with the intent of retracing his steps.
His gaze was on the surface of the water when the wind picked up, and he paused, turning his body toward the sea until it had died down.
A faint splash was barely discerned with the wind echoing in his ears. Heero turned slowly, seeing the shadowy figure on the shore.
He called out and the person raised a hand in greeting. Heero sprinted toward it, afraid it was a figment of his imagination, coming to a stop when he was close enough to make out some of the features.
Long tendrils of wet hair clung to its shoulders and upper arms, trailing down its back.
Large luminous eyes reflecting the moonlight.
Something was keeping the majority of the hair pulled back, something filmy and tucked behind the ears. Without thinking, Heero reached out to touch it, and could feel the faint pulse and twitch in the fin as he touched it.
The clicking was back, and Heero withdrew his hand.
"I'm dreaming," he stated out loud.
The man standing before him raised an eyebrow in question, then clamped his lips shut. After a few more clicks didn't have the desired result, Heero suddenly heard a voice.
That wasn't quite right either. He didn't hear it so much as he thought it, and it wasn't so much the words in his head as it was an understanding.
And whoever, or whatever, this was, it seemed a bit annoyed at him.
'It's about time.'
Heero scowled, and he'd swear laughter rang throughout his head. He opened his mouth to speak but was urged not to yell, because 'it hurts.'
"Who are you?"
It reached out a hand, cold and wet, and touched two fingers to the center of Heero's forehead, then trailed them down the side of his face, swiping briefly at his lips before they lifted.
The creature poked Heero firmly in the chest.
'The one who waits.'
"Waits for what?" he ground out testily, then a quickly muttered "I'm sorry" when he noticed it flinch.
It frowned at him.
Its face scrunched up a bit as if puzzled. It touched Heero's forehead again, then nodded eagerly.
"You're not human."
A shake of the head.
"What are you?"
It crossed an arm across its chest and stroked its chin with the opposite hand.
'I am...the one who waits. I am of water, but also of earth. I just am.'
Heero smoothed some of the hair away from one of the fins, brushing the edges of the appendage lightly with his palm. He shivered at the sensation and drew his hand back as if burned.
The creature was of water, and of earth - a dichotomy of sorts. Heero leaned forward, peering into the creature's eyes. He could not tell what color they were, but he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that in the sunlight, they'd be a vivid shade of blue.
The eyes blinked at him, and Heero took a step back.
The one who waits.
Heero took in the sleek body, glistening with droplets of water, from the hollow at the base of its neck to the smooth chest, down its flat abdomen and slim hips, ending in a stare at its groin.
Correction, his groin.
"He who waits," Heero said quietly.
The creature nodded.
"Of water," Heero continued slowly, "and of earth. A dyad, of sorts, in one body."
A dyad. A pair, a couple - two individuals maintaining a significant relationship.
Heero had maintained a solitary lifestyle for as long as he could remember - codependent on the village as a child, then stubbornly working towards independence as he'd reached adolescence. He took another step back.
"He who waits..." Heero's eyes widened. "You've been lonely."
The statement was met with an eager nod and a brief quirk of lips.
"Me too," Heero whispered, the words curling about them both. He looked away, and out at the moon. Earth, water...and sky. The moonlight tinged the tips of his hair a blue-black color, making them look like the center of a flame.
He turned to face the dual natured one, and smiled. "But not anymore."
The words had barely left his mouth when he found his arms full of the lover in his dreams. Heero held on tightly, lifting him off the sand quickly in a show of his own joyousness, before setting the dyad back on the ground.
"I've been waiting for you, too," Heero stated. "I didn't know it was you, just that I'd not found you yet." He raised his hand slowly and cupped the creature's cheek in his hand. He smiled again. "I can't very well think of you in terms of 'it' and 'the creature' now that I've found you, can I?" He leaned forward. "Thank you for waiting for me...Duo."
Duo's hand reached out and curled behind Heero's head, his damp fingers curling in the hair at Heero's nape. He licked his lips nervously as Heero closed his eyes, and his own slid shut as Heero closed the distance between them.
A brief touch of lips, followed by Duo's tongue teasing Heero's bottom lip before slipping inside. Remarkably alike, their mouths. Heero's tongue was a bit warmer and more blunt, but no less eager.
Duo sighed into the kiss, content.
He was no longer the one who waited.
20 October 2004