Disclaimer: Don't Own.

Word Count: 2091

Pairing: AoKuro

Unbeta'd as per usual.

Winter arrives cold and unforgiving. Tetsuya's trips to the ocean grow fewer and farther between. At first he ventures out because the temperature is slightly warmer around the water than it is inland, but as the temperatures continually drop lower and lower, he finds that it's growing colder around the water. Daiki also does not appear as often now, because the wind is chilly and coming out of the water dripping wet proves to be uncomfortable.

It's relatively lonely not being able to meet, because while Taiga's around, the redhead does not bother him as often. After he'd kissed Tetsuya long, deep, and passionate, he'd been told that Taiga cared for him. He'd proven that he could be incredibly mature, however, when he'd said that he knew Tetsuya did not care for him like so, that he cared for Daiki, and that he would settle with being his friend. Tetsuya assumed that Taiga would be precarious around him for some time; instead the redhead was anything but and enjoyed the time he could be around Tetsuya before he grows annoyed.

Taiga seems to go through great pains to only hover around Tetsuya for a specific limit of time before he leaves. He seems to particularly enjoy showing up just to make Tetsuya food because he's noticed the boys' cooking skills are limited and Tetsuya doesn't deny Taiga is a phenomenal cook. It's just too bad that he also makes far too much for Tetsuya to eat himself too, so unless Taiga's also hungry, quite a bit seems to go to waste.

It's on a night where Taiga comes and cooks, staying long enough to see Tetsuya to bed before leaving that he receives a surprise. He's lying in bed dozing off but not quite asleep when he hears the slight squeak that comes with his door opening. He's not sure what he's expecting—maybe Taiga returning though he's almost sure that isn't so and his grandfather would most surely knock—but he finds that the silhouette of whoever it is is incredibly tall. The door closes just as quietly with that squeak before they step into a windows path and Tetsuya feels all tension leave him and a smile replace his features.

Daiki stands in the moonlight that filters through the window, just as naked as usual and goose bumps across his skin, but dry. Tetsuya welcomes him over, lifting blankets and gesturing for Daiki to join him. At first he seems unsure, but eventually he walks over, at first sitting on the side of the bed before shifting to lie beneath the covers. He's practically freezing Tetsuya discovers as a shiver rocks through his body, but he moves to lie against Daiki, nuzzling up to his chilled skin.

It takes a while before he's just as warm as Tetsuya, arms wrapped around the boy and pulling him tighter. Tetsuya relishes the contact, tilting his head to look at Daiki who's already staring down at him. He's a little surprised, maybe a little self-conscious too, but it passes just as quick when his face is close enough to feel his breath and rough yet soft lips press against his own. It's nowhere near as passionate as Kagami's had been but its better and a surge of affection courses through-out him from the contact.

They break away a moment later and Tetsuya snuggles into the hollow of Daiki's throat, heaving a content sigh and easily dozing off. Daiki's not there when he wakes so he questions the validity of the situation, questions if he was dreaming. He learns, however, that he hadn't been when Daiki returns once night's fallen and the village is silent. Tetsuya realizes he sleeps better now than he ever has before with Daiki's scent and heat and body enveloping him.

This continues through-out winter and into spring. Daiki would arrive in the middle of the night, crawl into the bed with Tetsuya, and be gone by morning. Kisses grew more frequent, ranging from innocent pecks to passionate kisses mixed with tongue and teeth and exploration. The night Daiki pinned Tetsuya to the bed, kissed him breathless, writhing as rapture he'd never felt before coursed through his body, proved incredible and the following morning Daiki was still asleep beside him when he woke.

Tetsuya felt more alive than he ever had and he knew it was obvious by the way Taiga and his grandfather would look at him. His grandfather once mentioned that he was practically glowing, a smile pressed to his lips and a knowing look in his eyes. Tetsuya had felt heat press against his cheeks but smiled softly in return.

Spring leads to the start of summer and the temperature rises to breathtaking. Tetsuya returns to visiting the ocean and waiting for Daiki. It's never a long wait; within ten minutes he spots mocha and deep blue rising from the water, wading to him and walking across the sand to sit beside Tetsuya. They sit in silence before Daiki suggests they go swimming.

Tetsuya looks at him as if he's lost his mind, but Daiki assures him he'll be fine, that he'll hold onto him and make sure Tetsuya doesn't go under. It takes persuading but he eventually agrees, allows Daiki to pull his flimsy clothing off before bringing him to the water. It's cool still, but not cold enough for Tetsuya to change his mind and he flushes in surprise when Daiki wades out where it starts to get deeper and falls backwards to float with Tetsuya atop him. It's a strange position but not uncomfortable and he finds the water lapping around their skin is relaxing.

Tetsuya finds his eyes closing, lulled by the movement of waves and the sound of Daiki's heartbeat. By the time several hours pass Tetsuya finds himself waking while leaning against Daiki in the sand while their feet are still in the water. Tetsuya, for some reason, feels as if he has an incredible amount of energy. As if he could get up and just run for miles and not be tired. It's a strange feeling because he's always felt—even if only a little—tired.

Daiki smiles at him, and Tetsuya realizes he looks healthier. His skin isn't as pale as it usually is and not pink like he usually would be from being in the sun all day otherwise. He enjoys feeling energy strumming through his body, smiles back at Daiki as he wraps his arms around him and leans against his chest. He hears Daiki mumble 'I wonder' but doesn't ask, which is just as well because that's all he hears from Daiki at all until they part ways for the night rather than Daiki following him back home today.

Tetsuya wakes the next day to summer rain. It makes the heat unbearable, steals his breath with every little movement with strong humidity. All he wants to do is lay there in bed and not move until he cools down. The rain eventually stops but it doesn't cool down. Tetsuya makes his way out of his home to greet his grandfather, at the very least.

He meets with the elder man less and less lately, and he feels a little terrible for it. But Daiki's taken a permanent residence within his mind and always thinks of him first and foremost. Tetsuya's grandfather greets him almost in surprise, and they sit down to chat. Tetsuya divulges how he'd let Daiki take him out into the water the previous day. Divulges that he'd felt alive and burning with energy unlike anything he's ever felt from the experience.

He gets a quiet 'hmm' in response but his grandfather remains quiet for some time. When he finally speaks it's like he's had a revelation, but he's smiling when he tells Tetsuya. "Go back into the water for a while," he says, "Maybe that's what you're missing."

It's a little cryptic and leaves Tetsuya confused, but when he meets with Daiki that afternoon and lets him pull him out to sea again. It's a bit different this time as he latches arms around Daiki's neck, keeps himself curled against his back as Daiki swims forward and around and just in any general direction. When they get closer to the shore and Tetsuya's sure he can touch and still be above the water, he clambers down from Daiki's back. He receives a confused look at first, but as Tetsuya wades and moves about, Daiki takes his hand and carefully helps him swim.

Daiki receives the most radiant smile he's ever seen from Tetsuya in return and it's dark by the time they clamber from the water. Daiki follows Tetsuya back to his home where they find food waiting no doubt thanks to Taiga as well as a note. Tetsuya's not sure whether he feels relieved or saddened after reading it; Taiga's moved on, continued his journey. He's happy Tetsuya's found someone who makes him happy, even if it's not Taiga himself. But he's okay with being his friend, and maybe when he comes back, he could meet Daiki.

Daiki comforts him, holds him to his chest and soothing rubs Tetsuya's back. He thinks he feels a drop or two of warmth slide against his skin but he's not sure. Tetsuya simply stays there breaths calm, before he pulls away saying it'd be a waste to not eat the food. So they eat and Daiki admits that it's good, and it's nothing quite like what they eat, but its good none the less. When they finish, Tetsuya cleans up and they go to bed, Daiki pressing gentle kisses to his lips, face, and body in general.

Tetsuya meets with his grandfather again and surprisingly Daiki goes with him. He's managed to at least wrap cloth around Daiki's waist so he's not entirely nude as they walk through the village much to Daiki's annoyance. Tetsuya's grandfather looks him up and down, chuckles as he looks between both Daiki and Tetsuya before gesturing for them to sit. Daiki is incredibly reluctant to speak at all when Tetsuya's grandfather speaks to him directly, but he eventually does.

The conversation carries on between the three for a while. Different questions like how they met, about his affection for Tetsuya, about how they were both speculating over Tetsuya's obvious increase in health lately. He tells Daiki that Tetsuya's father was actually an Altum just like Daiki, and that he thinks that because, while the tribe is descended from the Altum and contain the same genes, Tetsuya is closer to being pure than they are. That, he thinks, Tetsuya has been ill because he does not go in the water like his body most probably requires, and that because Daiki has been taking him out, he's been growing healthier.

It's a little crazy; hard for Tetsuya to wrap his mind around, but Daiki's eyes light up and he seems so excited by the prospect. Tetsuya's grandfather stands to walk over to Daiki and places a hand on his shoulder with a smile. "Take care of Tetsuya for me." Daiki understands the wealth of words left unsaid, understands he has the elder mans' blessing, understands that if Tetsuya wishes to, that he can take him to experience a deeper part of his heritage.

When they leave, the elder man hugs Tetsuya tightly, whispers for him to be safe, before he lets him go. Daiki leads Tetsuya to the ocean, shedding the sheet around his waist and enticing Tetsuya to remove his clothes. He nods, inhaling softly. It was so strange, but, he'd try for Daiki and for himself. Daiki wades out into the water and waits when he's waist deep for Tetsuya to come to him; to try.

Tetsuya follows Daiki into the water with a smile. He's afraid, of course, he almost drowned last time. But Daiki's here, so he follows. Once submerged he holds his breath, expression faltering and he knows it's showing his fear when Daiki swims over; presses hands to his cheeks and kisses him.

"Breathe," he's told afterword, "through your nose."

Tetsuya nods his head, attempting to inhale; and he's surprised when nothing but oxygen flows through him, as if the water were part of him. Tetsuya smiles, let's Daiki hold his hand, lets him pull him along; lets him pull him to his new life.

Once upon a time there was a boy who had a dream; a dream to swim in the sea. The boy took his chances and went under. He breathed.

A/N: So this is the end. Uhm, not much to say really; I would have enjoyed spreading this out instead of cramming it into 5 chapters but I didn't have the time like I originally thought when I'd started this.

After I'd written the 4th chapter I almost made this fic end in tragedy. I was thinking of writing both endings but, again, I don't have the time.

Anyway, thank you all for sticking with me and I hope you enjoyed it!