Theme: Merman AU
Akashi: A young merman who loves to wander up to the surface to peek at the human world. He first met Kuroko when he was accidentally swept to shore and the latter rescued him.
Kuroko: A normal boy in Japan who visits his grandparents in the countryside every summer. When he was eight, he saved a baby merman he nicknamed "Sei". For some strange reason, he is able to communicate with him.
Written in 3rd person POV.
Notes: CHIBI MERMAN!AKASHI DOES NOT SPEAK NORMAL WORDS. Instead, he only makes sounds, which for some reason Kuroko is able to interpret what he says. It felt like a language that I see on posters and billboards and such on a day-to-day basis but has no idea what the words actually mean. He does say one proper line, but I put it in romaji instead of English since I thought it would fit better.
It's another hot summer at the beach, but at least it's better than rain or storms.
That was what Kuroko Tetsuya thought to himself as he pulled his straw hat down lower, so to block out the harsh rays of the sun. This was his eight summer at this part of the country, and there would definitely be many more summers to come.
He was born in the Metropolitan city of Tokyo, the country's capital, where he lives with his parents and attends school. When it's time for summer vacation, he would be sent to his grandparents' place in the countryside, where he would spend his holidays either helping out in his grandfather's shop at the beach or hiding out somewhere on the beach with his uncle's pet, a dog that was named after him. But with the beach so crowded, It was hard to find a place where he could be by himself. Fortunately, he managed to find a secret part of the beach a few years ago that was undiscovered by the masses.
It was actually quite surprising that no one had discovered such a beautiful place. On that little stretch of white sand, most of it shaded by the leaves of the trees planted roughly three to five meters from the shoreline. The sea was a clear blue, without a hint of impurity in its cool waters. This was the little haven that was Tetsuya's secret spot.
On most days, he would just bring a book to read in the shade, enjoying the ocean breeze as it blew gently across his skin. On other days, when he felt like it, he would go swimming, even though he wasn't a very good swimmer and could only swim breast-stroke.
Today was one of those normal days where he would take Tetsuya Nigou, the said pet, for a little day out. He had brought along a novel he had borrowed from his grandfather's personal collection, and he sat under his favourite tree to begin reading.
All was silent, aside from the calm sound of the flowing waves, until the small dog started barking.
"Nigou?" He closed the book and set it down on the grass, turning his attention to where the mutt was. "What are you doing?"
He tried to see what it was up to from where he sat, but he couldn't. He got up from where he sat and moved slowly towards what the dog had found, and what a surprise it was.
That was what that strange creature that was washed up on the shored seemed like to him. Even though it was tiny—its curled-up form was no bigger than the size of a tin of sardines (that was the closest thing he could think of to compare with at the moment), he could see that it had the head and body of a human but the abdomen of a fish. Which was what merfolk was supposedly said to looked like... if they really existed.
"So those stories grandfather told me were really true..."
There were so many questions boiling in his head, but he realized that he had to satisfy his curiosity at a later time.
The little creature he now held in his hands seemed to be suffering... could it be suffocating?
He rushed over to the ocean and ran straight into the shallow waters, kicking off his slippers as he ran. He bent down and slowly dipped his hands into the seawater, allowing the liquid to fill both hands and cover the tiny merman's body.
A few minutes later, its suffering seemed to be gone, and it looked relieved now.
A minute or two later, it opened its beautiful, ruby red eyes, and swam out of his hands. It gave him a curious look, a shy smile and something akin to a bow of gratitude before swimming away.
That was the last time Tetsuya would have the chance to see the creature... or so he thought.
The next day, when he returned, he was surprised to see something red bobbing up and down in the surface of the water. What was more surprising was that not the fact that it made a strange sound, but him being able to understand what he said that did.
"Kyuu!" Its face brightened up, and swam closer to the shore where Tetsuya was. "Kyuu! Kyu kyuu!"
"Ah, good day to you to. Are you feeling better?"
"Ukkyu!" It nodded twice, raising both arms in the air to emphasise its point.
"Kyuuu? Kyukkyuu kyuu?"
"My name? It's Kuroko. Kuroko Tetsuya. How about you?"
"You can't tell me? Why?"
"I see. If that's the case, why don't I come up with a name for you? It's a little hard to converse normally if I don't have anything to address you by."
"Let's see... Hmm... How about Sei?"
"It's the name of a poet that lived a long time ago. Grandfather always talks about her works."
"Kyukkyuu! Myukyu nyu. Ukkyu!"
"I see. I'm glad you like it. What do you want to do today?"
"Kyuu nyuu! Myukkyu!"
"Singing? But I don't know any songs other than what grandfather had taught me before."
"Well, if it's fine with you…"
And that was how Tetsuya's summers with the baby merman named Sei started.
The end of that first summer was a little hard for them, but the boy had promised to return the next summer. He fulfilled his promise to his new friend and returned, slightly older and just a little bit taller. Sei had been waiting for him in the shallow waters when he arrived, and despite the lack of improvement in forming words had grown quite a bit, too. He was no longer fit small enough into Tetsuya's palms, but that meant that they could do more things together.
And just like the first, that summer also passed in a blink of an eye. Before they knew it, several summers passed, with the two friends spending all the time they could together.
However, everything came to an end in Tetsuya's third year of middle school, when his beloved grandfather passed on from illness and his grandmother decided to move to Tokyo to stay with his family.
"I'm sorry, Sei. I won't be coming back here anymore." He told his friends in tears, at their usual place.
"Kyuu?" The merman, now the size of a five year-old human child, cocked his head to one side with a confused expression on his face. "Kyumyuu kyuu, Tetsuya kyuu nyuu?"
"I mean it, Sei. I won't be coming here again each and every year like I used to."
"Grandfather is no longer… and Grandmother will be staying at our place in Tokyo from now on. Even though my uncle will still live here, I will be in high school next year. My parents decided that I should focus on my academics, so I can't leave Tokyo during summer vacation. And after I graduate from high school, I'll be going to university and will start work after that… I probably won't be able to come here for a very, very long time."
"Munyuu! Kyuyuu nyukyuunyuu! Tetsuya umyukyuu nyukyuunyuu yuu!"
"Don't say that you don't want to be separated from me… it's not like I want to either. But what choice to I have? It's not like I can take you with me…" The fourteen year-old boy sobbed, and in his crouched-down position he buried his face in his arms, forehead resting on his knees.
He couldn't let Sei see him cry… it would be harder for the both of them to part.
That little whimper was followed by a splash, and when Tetsuya looked up again the little merman was nowhere to be seen.
His eyes darted across the surface of the calm water, searching for a glimpse of ruby red, but it wasn't there.
Sei had left him as well.
Or so that was what he thought until he heard another loud splash, the sound of something (or someone) emerging from the water.
"Sei? You came back?"
"But I thought you left...?"
"Myuu. Kyunyuu Tetsuya myuhyu-kyuu." Sei pouted, showing his displeasure at how little trust his friend had in him. "Mukkyu."
"No, I'm the one who should be apologising instead. I'm sorry for hurting your feelings, Sei."
"Thank you for always being so understanding, Sei."
"What is it? What happened?"
"Myukyunyu kyuu nyu!" Just as he spoke, he lifted his hands out of the water, revealing a large, beautiful seashell.
Under the light of the sun it gleamed a smooth reddish-pink, and it fit just nicely into his palm.
"Is this... for me?"
"Ukkyu! Kyukyuu muhyuukkyu!"
"Something for me to remember you by, you say..." Tetsuya chuckled. "I would never forget about you, Sei. You'll always be on my mind, even without this as a memento."
"Myu, kyuyuumyu munyu unyuukyu."
"Ukkyu. Kyu unyuukyu muryuu kyuu kyu."
"A promise to meet each other again... That's so like you, Sei." The teen smiled, and took the shell from the merman's outstretched hand. "But I do promise you... We will meet again."
"Ukkyu!" Sei chirped with a big smile on his face and somehow launched himself from the water towards Tetsuya.
He crash landed onto him, which didn't please the latter.
"Sei, you're not as light as you used to be, you know. You could have gotten hurt."
"Don't give me that innocent look, you know it won't help—?!" Just as Tetsuya was about to scold him for being so reckless, but a cold pair of lips pressed against his, rendering him unable to speak.
"Tetsuya, ai...shite...iru... yo?
Those where the first proper words Tetsuya had ever heard him speak... and are probably the last.
Just as he had expected, his life started to get busier as the years went by. After graduating from his middle school, Teikou Middle, he entered Seirin High. Three years went by in a flash, and he graduated. The same thing could be said for university; his time there came and gone as if it had never happened. Afterwards, he secured a job as a travelling journalist for a travel magazine, and he found himself going to many, many different parts of the world.
From the Great Reefs of Australia to the Nile River in Africa, the grand Mariaplatz in Germany to the tropical island of Hawaii, he was always on the go. Even when he was in Japan, he never stayed long; even a mere month would have been too long a stay.
Before he knew it, he was already thirty years-old.
At his age, most people would already have been married, some with children, or a have a partner.
He, on the other hand, was alone.
Yet for some reason, he didn't feel the least bit lonely. Whenever he felt a bit depressed, or worn-out, he would always take out that shell and recall the precious times that he had spent with that little merman. But even though he was able to remember the times they spent together...
"I'm not even able to remember his face or even his name now." He scoffed to himself, slipping his reddish-pink treasure into his pocket. "How laughable."
He lifted up his camera and, focusing on the scene of the beautiful blue ocean in front of him, snapped a few shots. He examined the pictures and was satisfied with them. All that was left now was to head down to the beach and take some shots down there as well. Also, staying on this cliff for too long would make his hair stand on its ends.
But a job's a job; he should finish taking those photographs and get back to the hotel to start writing that article. There was still plenty of time before the submission, but he was always one who preferred to finish his work early. It's not like he had anything better to do, anyway.
It was autumn now, and the weather was starting to get colder in this part of the world. The beach that would have been flooded by visitors in the summer was now completely vacated. It was quiet, perhaps a little too quiet for his liking.
He walked along the beach, enjoying the nostalgic feeling of his sneaker-covered feet sink into the soft white sand and the sea breeze blowing through his hair; it reminded him of the summers at his grandfather's place. As he strolled along he stopped occasionally to take some pictures, and repeated this pattern until he was close to reaching the end of the beach.
"I wonder if they have something like that here." He wondered aloud, looking for signs that hints the existence of a place similar to his little sanctuary existed.
He had found some rumors about it online, but no one really knew if it actually existed. If anyone could find it, it would be him. And much to his delightful surprise, he did.
It was smaller than the one back in Japan at his grandfather's place, but it was just as... no, it was more beautiful than it. The waters weren't just blue: there were varying shades of blue, with hints of green laced in it. It was as if the sea was not filled with water, but with liquefied crystals and gems.
Like the glossy scales of a mermaid, it shimmers under the sunlight
"Which is why they call this place 'Mermaid Bay', huh."
He sat down on the sand and placed his belongings beside him. He raised his camera again and aimed it at the sight before him. He was about to capture the wonder of this magical place... until he saw something emerge from the water from his scope.
Something that glistened the colour of red.
Tetsuya lowered his camera, and looked towards the horizon. It wasn't just his imagination... was it?
Whatever it was that he saw was soon approaching the shore at an incredible speed.
Most people in this situation would have turned on their heels and fled, but Tetsuya didn't. For some reason he couldn't explain, he felt that whatever it was that was approaching wasn't dangerous.
In fact, if he remembered correctly, something like this happened before... did it?
And with a large, glorious splash, the creature made its appearance.
It was a merman, and a really gorgeous one, too. His long, flowing hair was of a scarlet-rose red, which probably the thing that had caught his eye earlier. His scales were also red, but it was closer to the shade of ruby… rather, one might think that they were made of those gems instead. His skin was creamy and smooth, his upper body sculpted so perfectly it reminded him of one of the statues he had glanced upon in some museum.
He knew this person. It had been years since they last met, and even though he looked like a completely different person, Tetsuya knew it was him.
He looked at the merman, into his eyes. He took a step forward, and another, into the waters. The creature did not break eye contract with him, nor did he look to escape. It was like he was waiting for him, anticipating his arrival.
Tetsuya stopped just as the water reached his mid-thighs, with the merman just an arm's length away from him.
The name and face that he had thought he had completely forgotten resurfaced into his mind.
"S…Sei?" He asked, unsure.
But the merman smiled, and moved forward to embrace him tightly.
"Tetsuya… it's been too long since we last saw each other. You have no idea how much I wanted to meet you."
"Me too…" Kuroko wrapped his own arms around his old friend, feeling his cold, wet skin. "I missed you too."
"You look almost the same as when we last met. The only difference is that you look a little older."
"On the other hand, you aren't so little anymore. You've changed so much I almost couldn't recognise you."
"Well, that was because I was able to mature completely. It's a process that needs two decades to complete, but that's not the only reason why it took me so long to find you."
"You were searching for me?"
"Of course. I've been wanting to search for you for so long; it was the only thing I could think of every day. But I couldn't, which was why it took me so long."
"Mind if I asked why you couldn't?"
"Well, about that… it's probably because of my father."
"My father, Poseidon. You might have heard of his name before."
"P-Posei… the king of the seas and oceans?"
"That's him all right."
"So that makes you the prince of the sea…?"
"Yes. That was why I could not reveal my identity to you back then. That no longer matters now, though."
"I don't understand what you are trying to imply."
"Well, to summarize, you can say that I have been disowned?"
"Wait. That was not the right term to use. It's closer to my father finally allowing me to leave the kingdom so that I could search for you. It wasn't easy you know, especially with you moving about from place to place. If the seagulls didn't inform me of your presence, I wouldn't had been able to reach here in time."
"But I still don't get it. Why did you say that it doesn't matter that you couldn't reveal your identity to me in the past?"
The merman didn't reply.
Instead he pulled his body away from Tetsuya's and, after stroking his cheek for several seconds, placed a kiss onto his lips, just like he did before when they said their farewells.
Having expected this, Tetsuya wasn't as surprised as he should be, but he was still slightly taken aback by this action.
"I did say that I love you, didn't I?" Sei smirked after he withdrew. "I meant it. I love you Tetsuya, just the way two humans would."
"You don't feel the same?"
"It's not that. I'm not sure of how I feel towards you. But I do think of you as someone special."
"You're not answering my question, Tetsuya."
"Well… if I had to put it in your words… I do love you, too."
"Then it's decided."
Sei opened one of his hands, which Tetsuya had not noticed was balled into a fist the entire time up till now. In it was a small vial, which contained a strangely-coloured liquid.
"What is that?"
"A potion I obtained from the sea witch. It has the power to change merfolk into humans… at a cost. I would lose the ability to breath underwater… and I would have to give up my immortality."
"Merfolk are immortal?"
"We just don't die of old age."
"Oh. But for you to make a sacrifice like this…"
"It's fine. The only eternity I need is one which I would be able to have you by your side."
"And now…" Sei was about to open the vial and down the liquid inside, but Tetsuya stopped him.
"Uh, Sei, I think it's better if you do that when we meet again in Japan."
"There are a lot of things to consider: things like citizenship and getting a passport and all that… if you do it here, you might not be able to return to Japan with me."
"Humans are such complicated creatures." Sei sighed. "But I do understand what you are trying to explain, so I will hold back. When you be back in Japan?"
"I will be returning in two days."
"Then I shall meet you at the place we first met, in three days time. We will part again for now, but the next time we meet, we will be reunited forever."
"It's a promise."