Akira ambles down the beach as he always ambles. It is a practiced amble, held to a perfect slowness that allows him to both observe his surroundings and keep in stride with Tapioca.

The sun boils the air and Akira feels the telltale sting of a burn forming on the back of his neck. He adjusts the tail of his turban distractedly.

Shpp.

Out of nowhere there is sand tumbling down onto his foot, into his shoe. He flinches backward, and reflexively looks up at the sky.

This sand, though, is not celestial, kicked by coastal angels down to earth.

This sand was, preceding Akira's foot, a primitive castle.

Tapioca calls for attention, and Akira finds the duck standing by another sand structure. Upon scanning the path ahead, he notices more. Many more. The swath of beach before him is pinched into identical mounds every few yards.

Akira takes special note of their similarity. This is not the work of many children with many different buckets and shovels. All of these castles were born of the same bucket.

The same red, frog-bedecked bucket; Akira would bet his turban on it.

Akira no longer ambles. He strides, and Tapioca voices his displeasure with a flap of his wings.

Haru hums a tune that sounds familiar but can't be placed as he taps the top of his newest architectural creation with the flat of his plastic shovel. He sits back, admiring it happily, and is about to start the refilling process when the air changes.

Akira. It's Akira. But not bad Akira, good Akira. He's a friend now.

"Friend friend friend," he chants to himself. "Friend friend-"

"Haru?"

"Friend!" Haru beams.

"Er." Akira rubs the soreness of his neck. "Hello." He squats to Haru's level.

"What are you doing?"

"Making sand castles. Sakura taught me!"

"I see."

Akira reaches for the bucket, making sure to catch Haru's eyes in his own. "May I?"

Haru nods, intrigued.

Akira proceeds to shape a masterpiece of sand castle building. The bucket aids in the construction of four pillars, arranged in a square. Akira connects them with low walls, scoops out a moat. He finishes it off with a flat structure in the middle, complete with little windows.

Haru's eyes twinkle. "Wow! Akira is amazing!"

Akira blushes magenta."Thanks."

"Teach me how!"

"I do not teach well."

Haru lunges for Akira, lassoing him with emphatic arms. His lilac eyes glow with desire.

"Please?"

"I suppose I could sure alright-"

"Yay!" Haru slides off him, but Akira wishes it were not so.

The sun clicks further into the western sky as Akira and Haru build. "Let's make a reeeally big one!" Haru exclaims, and make a big one they do. As they begin, the beach empties methodically until they're the only living souls left. Once they finish the outer wall, Haru stops.

"You don't want to construct the middle?"

"We go in the middle!"

Haru hops over the walls and settles in their midst, drawing his knees up to his chin. He pats the sand next to him encouragingly.

Akira obliges, maneuvering stiffly into place.

"See? It's a castle for our happiness!"

Haru's face breaks into that rare lucid smile. It clamps down on Akira's heart and shakes. Haru just looks so bright, so clear, his eyes like stained glass...

"...Lovely."

"Ha?"

Haru turns toward Akira and finds a face whose lines draw the word please.

"You are lovely," Akira repeats, and kisses Haru with magenta heat.

It's new to Haru, the feeling of someone else caressing him, of someone else's tongue between his lips, of someone else's emotions begging for him, him alone. Akira sits back, and Haru realizes he likes those sensations. Quite a bit.

"Why, Akira?"

"Why?"

Akira's blush deepens. "You allowed me to be your friend."

Haru thinks on this for a moment, and nods resolutely.

"Akira."

"Yes?"

Haru slides back into Akira's lap. "Thank you for building castles with me. But thank you even more..."

He pokes a finger into Akira's near-purple cheek. "...For this."

Their eyes catch, and Akira notices a rosy shade on Haru's own face. It grows closer as Haru leans in haltingly, unsure in his lack of experience, trying to remember how Akira did what he did.

Akira understands his intentions, and awaits the result in ecstasy. When Haru's mouth meets his, he all but devours it, letting each kiss snowball into another, tilting his head again and again. Haru's pale hands curl over his shoulders and electricity rattles the the Indian's spine.

Carefully, smoothly, Akira runs his hands down Haru's torso, and it feels to Haru as if they're right on his skin, as if his shirt has been burned away. He gasps, presses closer to Akira as the heat spreads across him like a stain.

Akira doesn't relent, tracing Haru's body as two treasure-seekers would the routes on a map, steady, sure, thorough, nearing the jackpot but never quite reaching it. Haru's gasps deepen into groans as dry fingertips rub his hipbones, and he begins to succumb...

"Haru?"

The voice jolts Akira out of his blissful trance.

"Haaaa-ruuuu!"

His hands retract swift as a cat's claws. He pushes Haru back to his side of the castle. Haru protests. "No no noooo keep going!"

"Another time." Akira's gentle expression calms Haru's pout.

"Haru! There you-"

Natsuki and Yuki stop dead in front of the sight before them: the Indian and the alien surrounded by walls of sand.

"We made sand castles!"

Natsuki stares at Akira, and Akira shrugs nonchalantly, once again masked in a cool demeanor. "It was something to do."

Yuki bends down next to Haru. "Well, did you have fun?"

"Lots of fun! Akira is the best at castles!"

Yuki turns to Akira. "Thank you for looking after him."

"It was my pleasure."

Only Akira can discern that Tapioca is laughing.

~~~End

A/N: I felt like Tsuritama again today, and this is what transpired in my brain. I don't know whether I should continue this or not...let me know what you think one way or the other! Cheers.