by Indi Latrani
Eyes meet, wine-dark and sky-blue, as the last of the sunset glimmers off the waves.
Hands follow them, exploring, sea-slick, bodies mingling in sand and surf.
Rhythmic movement, pushing inward, strong surges urging them both on.
A taste of salt, breaking pleasure, easing slowly onto the shore.
Night now, one form slipping back into the ocean as the other lays, beached but content.
Wine-dark eyes look longingly, then slip back beneath the sea and away.
“Why do you keep doing this to yourself?”
Dylan flinched and looked down at his coffee, trying to hide his scowl from the concerned face peering at him. For a moment he considered just not answering. Hiding was usually a nice safe option. He could feel the warm presence of his questioner, though, standing expectantly and hard to ignore. Distraction was sometimes almost as good as hiding. Sometimes better, though he knew Cass wouldn’t go for the usual sort. Conversation it was, then.
“Doing what?” He tried to sound casual.
“C’mon, now,” the voice continued, gentler now. “You come in sopping wet at 4AM, order a coffee in as few words as possible, and hunch over in the corner booth? At least you remembered your clothes this time.” Cass chuckled. “But no one comes here to be left alone, even you.”
“No, I’m fine, I’m good. Had some fun, now having some after-fun coffee, y’know?”
“Oh, aye, fun! That is definitely the expression of someone with an incredibly fun personal life. I know it well.” Cass cleared some empty cups from a nearby table before sliding into the booth, facing him. “How about this. I’ll pull you a free latte if you just give me a better answer than that.”
Dylan looked up, eyes as dark and wet as the beverage he was failing to drink. “I don’t even like — Okay, fine.” He took a breath, sitting up and brushing soggy hair from his face. “It’s just a one-night-stand, y’know? I’m not the only person in the world who does those. It’s easier. No awkward questions, nothing to explain, and they’re nice and distracted from, well, the rest of it all.” He shifted in his seat, arms clutching the soft bundle in his lap.
Cass nodded, looking entirely unsurprised. “That’s better, if not surprising.” Cass’ voice was sympathetic, thoughtful. “It’s just that, like I said, you keep doing it. Have you considered, well, trying something else? With someone you know? We do have a nice community here.”
Dylan sighed. “Yeah, the community. I’m in here every day, I’ve met the whole community. Very friendly, very communal, and all very straight. Which is pretty surprising, considering.”
“Aye, fair enough. No chance of you just coming out to someone, then? The other coming out, that is? I could also ask, after all, why do you keep doing this to innocent beachgoers? It has to be a bit of an emotional wild ride. In addition to the other sort.”
“The other coming out? You mean the one that hangs a big sign around my neck that says ‘You can do whatever you want with me and I can’t stop you?’ No thanks. Pretty good idea what they’d do if they found out about that.” He raised a hand. “And I know what you’re going to ask next. I can’t keep it secret while getting to know someone, that just makes me have to stash the… sign somewhere else. Which is not any safer.”
Cass was uncharacteristically quiet for a moment, twining a strand of coral-red hair around a finger in thought. “You have a unique predicament, I’ll admit. But there may be a few angles left you haven’t tried. Lots, really, since you just keep trying the same one over and over and over again.”
Dylan finally took another sip from his cup. Too cold now. “Okay, okay. What do you have in mind?”
“Come back when I’m off-shift. I know a perfect way to handle your little sign problem. But if you like it, you’ll have to do one thing for me: Try to meet guys in a place where you can’t swim away as soon as you’re done.”
Kevin had been looking forward to lap swim all day. Work was a maze of twisty little social obligations, all alike, and there was zero time to think about anything interesting. Now it was just him and the water, and his writing projects, and tomorrow night’s D&D session, and maybe trying that new club on the weekend.
Then the new guy dove into the lane next to him, and he had a hard time thinking about anything else. Kevin tried a few more laps, but kept craning his neck to watch as the sleek form kept passing him, moving effortlessly through the water. Definitely someone he hadn’t seen before; Kevin would’ve remembered the cut swimmer’s tone that he still hadn’t managed himself, the flowing dark hair and deep brown eyes, contrasting with the pale smooth skin, the tight suit clinging to his —
The second time he bumped into the wall of the pool, Kevin gave up and just held onto the side to watch a bit longer. There was a lovely rhythm to the other swimmer’s movements, slow, confident kicks of those lovely toned legs, a languid deep turn at each end. He seemed utterly lost in his own world, just as Kevin had been. A couple laps later, though, he glided to a stop, short, did a graceful underwater somersault, and popped up grinning at Kevin just on the other side of the lane line. “Having a good swim?”
Kevin tensed before even realizing it; he’d been expecting some sort of critique of his own form, but the man’s voice was light and playful, catching him totally off guard. “Oh! Ah, definitely, I mean, almost done anyway.”
The grin spread across the other’s face. “Oh, good. Was worried I’d interrupted you. I am too, was just in for a quick bit of unwinding, y’know?” He hauled himself up out of the water, and looked down at Kevin. The view was fantastic.
Kevin took a moment to adjust his suit while it was still mostly obscured by water, then climbed out too. “So, um, you new? Haven’t seen you around before. You’re very, well, memorable.”
“First time I’ve been here. Usually I swim in the ocean. I’m not a fan of the chlorine, but there are some other parts I’m liking.” Those dark eyes wandered over Kevin’s body. He hurriedly tried to pull his soggy blond waves into something less ridiculous-looking. “Heading for the showers?” There was definitely a hopeful note in that voice.
Kevin glanced toward the overcrowded locker rooms, and shuddered at the thought. “Actually, I usually do that at home. I live in one of the apartments, a couple floors up.” He took a breath. If he didn’t try this now, he never would. “Care to join me? It’s a lot nicer than the stalls here.”
The other man showed that big grin again, and Kevin did his best to hide his enormous relief. “You live that close to the water? Sounds lovely! Oh.” He paused, frowning for a moment, and Kevin tensed, bracing himself for bad news. The man seemed to notice and shook his head. “No, it’s fine, just realized I should stop by the lockers first anyway. Walk with me? It’d be good to get to see more of you.” He smiled again and headed off toward the lockers.
Kevin followed along, though he hung behind long enough to watch the toned rear in front of him; even better now in full view. “Oh, yeah, no problem, I should grab my towel too.” He strode faster to catch up. “Hey, um, before we totally forget, what’s your name? I’m Kevin.” He held out a hand as he walked.
The other blinked, as if he wasn’t expecting the question. “Oh, right! My name’s Dylan.” He smiled. “Sorry, like I said, I’m a bit new around here. Used to folks already knowing me, I guess!” Dylan didn’t seem to even notice the outstretched hand, and instead reached to squeeze Kevin’s shoulder in a lovely strong grip. “Nice to meet you, Kevin.”
Kevin pulled back his hand; the interaction was strange, but not unpleasant, and that was the feeling he was getting from Dylan in general. But he was certainly a nice break from the cookie-cutter gym dudes Kevin was used to seeing around. That last fling hadn’t gone well at all. One look at Kevin’s bookshelves and it had been “robe and wizard hat” jokes the rest of the night.
The locker room was busy enough to make further interaction awkward, but he wasn’t in there for long. He grabbed his towel and tracked down his new friend just as Dylan had finished pulling his things out of his locker. The towel and small gym bag were expected enough, but the third and largest item was a surprise: It was a stuffed animal, a seal by the looks of it, big enough that it must’ve taken up most of the locker. Kevin blinked in surprise. “Uh?”
That nervous frown crossed Dylan’s face again. “Oh, um, present. Shopping trip. Just, y’know, got the urge to swim on the way back.” He shifted his grip on the toy self-consciously.
“Oh, no, that’s fine, it’s okay, just not usual locker stuff. It’s a nice one, really!” Kevin peered at him thoughtfully, trying to decode that awkwardness.”I actually have — um, used to have — a collection of –”
Dylan shook his head. “Hey, just don’t worry about it, yeah?” He grinned and wrapped his arm and towel around Kevin’s middle. “C’mon, let me help you get dry before I help you get all wet again!”
Kevin pressed into those arms, moving his own towel down to his hips to serve a different purpose. They headed out and toward the elevators, arm in arm. Kevin felt a bit uneasy as he passed vaguely recognized apartment-dwellers on the way back up to his room, but Dylan seemed unfazed, with the hand that wasn’t holding the seal busily caressing and exploring Kevin’s body all the way home.
Finally they were through the apartment door. Kevin nudged it closed with a bare foot and scanned the room quickly. Good, nothing too embarrassingly geeky in plain sight. He turned back toward Dylan, finally comfortable enough to properly return the other’s obvious interest. He draped his arms over Dylan’s shoulders and grinned. “So. Shower, bedroom, or just hurry up and do it on the couch?”
Dylan chuckled, his free hand sliding down Kevin’s side and hooking into his suit. “I was promised a shower, I believe. Not quite done with water today, I think.”
Kevin nodded and turned, heading into the bathroom with Dylan following close behind. Kevin flipped on the bathroom light and turned back, eyeing Dylan’s odd baggage. “You, uh, gonna put that stuff down?”
“Oh, right, yeah.” Dylan grinned bashfully and set the towel, bag, and seal down in a row just inside the bathroom door. His freed hands went right to his hips and started to tug off his tight black swimsuit. It slid down easily, revealing a smooth, hairless groin, then finally Dylan’s half-erect shaft.
Kevin looked from Dylan’s hips to his own, now showing a very obvious tent of blue fabric. He started to remove his own trunks, but Dylan smiled and shook his head. “I can take care of that. You get the water going. Set it just how you like it.” Kevin smiled back and fiddled with the taps. As soon as he bent over, he felt Dylan’s hand on his rear, caressing gently, then tugging at the shorts. His other hand came around to the front and slipped inside, brushing lightly against Kevin’s cock, freeing it from the fabric and then sliding the suit down. He drew in a breath and stood up, leaning back into Dylan’s grip as he let the shower warm up.
Dylan pressed back against him, and Kevin could feel that shaft against the small of his back, much more erect now. “So, what else do you like?” he asked, breath warm on Kevin’s ear as his hand wrapped fully around Kevin’s own length.
Kevin gasped again, louder this time, and reached back awkwardly to try to squeeze at Dylan’s thigh. “Mmmh, you’re doing pretty well so far, though I’d rather get to see and feel you better.” He pulled just slightly away even as he kept his hands close, caressing the taut legs behind him. “I think I’m a bit worn out to do anything too strenuous today anyway.”
He felt Dylan nod against his neck, then step away. “Mmm, fair enough. I’ll follow your lead, then.” Kevin turned back to smile gratefully, finally getting a good look at his fully unclothed, fully erect partner. Dylan’s shaft was uncut, a bit longer but a bit slimmer than his own, which was what he’d come to think of as decidedly average. He brushed a few fingers against the base as he started to move into the shower, coaxing Dylan along with him.
The hot water slid intimately over both bodies as they stepped into the shower together. Dylan looked even better wet, the light reflecting off every muscular curve, little rivulets flowing between them. Kevin traced the water down Dylan’s chest to his groin, then wrapped both hands around the long, slick shaft. Rather than doing the same, Dylan responded by reaching for his ass, drawing him closer until his own shaft was pressed right between their bodies. “Together?” Dylan asked with a hopeful grin. Kevin grinned back and nodded, shifting his grip to press both shafts together, and then Dylan’s strong hands closed over his.
They fell into an easy, blissful rhythm, pressed close, hands entwined around their cocks, faces nuzzling and licking slick skin. Dylan’s eyes were closed, his movements as sure as when he was swimming back in the pool, lost to the world but still quite intent on both his pleasure and his partner’s. Kevin did his best to match Dylan’s focus, though he soon found himself tensing, shaft throbbing eagerly, much more quickly than he would’ve hoped. He groaned and pressed against Dylan, his movements becoming erratic as he came. Warm seed splashed against both bellies, quickly washed away by the water as he shuddered against the other man.
When Kevin was aware of himself again, Dylan was holding him close in one arm, shaft still hard against his loins. Kevin shook off his dreamy thoughts and focused in again, stroking and nuzzling. Dylan was close now, hot in his hands, and it only took a few moments more before he came too, bracing himself against the back wall of the shower and letting out a high-pitched cry as he spurted forth. Kevin kept his grip, coaxing a few more spurts and cries from him, and then Dylan stood up again, wrapping him in another firm caress.
They took a few more minutes to thoroughly rinse off, just smiling dreamily at each other. Finally, Kevin turned off the water and they stepped out. “Careful, bit of water on the floor here,” he said, reaching for his towel. “Yikes, a lot of water actually. Here, I’m going to move your stuff so it doesn’t get wet.” He grabbed the seal toy, its pelt soft in his hands —
Dylan opened his mouth to reply, but the words never made it out. He felt the jolt, knowing what Kevin had touched before he even saw it, felt the heartsick tug, the helpless desperation to do anything to protect his skin, his form, his life. He just stood there, looking forlorn. Kevin turned back to look at him, and a new wave of feeling broke over Dylan: a willingness to do whatever this person asked, knowing he’d stay there forever whether he wanted to or not, unless he somehow got his pelt back.
Kevin, however, didn’t state any demands, nor look triumphant. Instead, he seemed confused and worried. “Dylan? Are you okay?” He set the pelt back down and stepped back toward the shower. Freed, Dylan moved by instinct, vaulting out of the shower and diving for the pelt, clutching it to himself, Cass’ illusion charm melting away as the skin slid over his body and he relaxed into shape. The fur closed snug around him, his arms flowed into fins, and his muzzle pushed from his face.
“What the hell?” Kevin gaped at him, naked and dripping wet in the middle of the bathroom. “What the hell?”
Dylan looked up at him, confused for a moment, then let out a yelp as his head cleared. He reared up and let the pelt fall away again, then stood up with it in his hands, his reformed legs still a bit wobbly. “Uh, I can explain –”
“You were a seal! You’re a –”
“A selkie,” Dylan finished for him, clutching the dark pelt to himself.
Kevin was still breathing hard, but sounded calmer. He stood there, wet and slightly shivering. Dylan tossed him a towel, which just hit the ground behind Kevin as he kept staring. “Selkie.”
Dylan did his best to dry himself off too, while keeping the pelt clutched close. “It means –”
“No, yeah, I know, I’ve read about– Oh crap, the skin! The skin thing! Someone takes it and you’re stuck –” Kevin cringed, looking at it. “I’m sorry! But I didn’t know! But I would never — I’m sorry!”
“It’s okay. I was worried something like that would happen.” Dylan sighed. All his instincts were telling him to flee, head back for the ocean as quickly as he could, but something else still stuck in his mind. “You didn’t keep it.”
“Why would I keep it? You wouldn’t be able to leave, you’d just be here…”
“Yeah, exactly. Far as I’ve heard, that’s what happens, that’s what people do. Get your very own seal-person, who’ll do whatever you want.”
“But I don’t want that! I’d know you were doing it against your will, and that’s just…” Kevin shuddered.
Dylan watched him closely. There was interest there, for sure, but it was almost entirely washed over by genuine concern, nothing like what he’d expected. The urge to flee ebbed slightly. “I’m not sure everyone sees it that way. Much safer just to hide it.” He sighed. “So much for my new method of hiding it.”
“Well, if you would’ve told me… I probably wouldn’t have believed it, no.” Kevin’s eyes drifted back to the pelt, and he flinched again. “I’m sorry.”
“You really are, aren’t you?” Dylan looked back, thoughtful. “I’m sorry too. Probably would’ve been easier if I just, y’know, did the usual.” He picked up his other belongings, pawing through his bag for his street clothes.
“You’re leaving?” Kevin’s voice cracked, and Dylan paused, shorts halfway up his legs.
“Not sure what we’d even do next, after all this.” He pulled the shorts up the rest of the way and turned away to grab his shirt.
“But… can I see you again? Sometime?”
“That’s not how it works.” The words were out of his mouth before he could think of it, and he heard Kevin make a soft choking noise behind him.
He stood up, fully clothed now, sealskin stashed safely in his bag. He turned back to Kevin. The other man looked to be on the verge of tears. Dylan’s own fragile composure faltered a bit at the sight. Any minute now, Kevin might dive for the bag; he knew right where the skin was, there would be a fight, Dylan might lose, and Kevin would get just what he wanted so badly.
Dylan edged for the door, bag tight under his arm, but Kevin just stood there, stricken, watching him. Not the bag, but him. That didn’t look like how it was supposed to work, either. He stopped, hand on the doorknob. His mind flashed back to Cass’s words: Why do you keep doing this to them? “Really? Me? Not the skin? Just me?”
Kevin shook his head rapidly. “Of course not the skin. I wouldn’t…”
Dylan thought for a long moment. “I usually swim late at night at Carkeek Beach,” he murmured, and slipped out the door.
Thoughts crashed like waves in his head as he headed out into the dusk. He walked without considering a destination, but his path still led him as straight as possible for the shore. He left his bag and clothes hidden behind a rock above the high-tide line, then took his pelt and slipped into the water, his seal-form sleek and comfortable. He swam out past sight of land and hunted for dinner, taking solace in this simple, solitary existence.
He had a successful hunt and took his time eating, then just drifted for a while, watching the moon rise. Before long, though, he felt the other tug: all the complexities of the land, the friends he’d managed to make among the others who existed on the fringes of that human world… and then there was Kevin. Dylan had assumed he was a full part of that world, one of the folks who either disbelieved or exploited those like him, but he didn’t act at all like it. Dylan himself was the only one who’d behaved like the old cliched stories, grabbing the pelt and fleeing back to sea. Hadn’t he wanted to try something different? Maybe there was still something left to try.
He headed back for shore, the sky dark now except for a moon half-hidden by clouds. He stayed far back from the beach, surfacing just enough to get a look at the shore. There was someone there: a male figure, pacing, peering out across the water. Dylan hesitated for only a moment before swimming in. He’d almost beached himself by the time Kevin saw him, and he arched his back, shedding the skin again and standing up. “Hi,” he said, as Kevin boggled. “I want to try something.”
“You’re here! And you– That’s still– It’s so cool!” Kevin shook his head with an embarrassed laugh. “Sorry. Wait, try what?”
Dylan took a deep breath, and held out his pelt. “I’m offering to share this. You’re not taking it. It’s on loan, and I can have it back when I need it.” He spoke firmly, doing his best to believe every word.
Kevin looked at it, hand lifted slightly. “I’m not sure I –”
“I know. That’s why I think I can trust you with it. I’d like to have someone I can trust. Just try it. If I go all helpless-love-slave again, you’ll give it up, right?”
“Well, yeah…” Kevin’s hand lingered for another second, then finally reached out to take hold of the pelt.
It was different this time — still a surge of emotion, but it wasn’t panic. He felt connected to Kevin, an intimacy far deeper than the one they’d shared before, and already far more exciting. He still wanted the other man, and wanted to do what Kevin asked, but for an entirely different, much more fulfilling reason. He let go of the pelt, and the feeling got a bit stronger, but still didn’t overwhelm his other thoughts. Then, as Kevin kept standing there, watching him warily, he did something that he was never supposed to be able to do. He reached out, and took the skin back.
Kevin was still staring at him; the whole thing had taken only a matter of seconds. “Did that work?”
Dylan just grinned broadly and held it out again. “Sure did. Hold this one more time. I need my hands free, there’s else something I want to do.”
Kevin giggled nervously, accepting it more confidently this time. “Ah, oh?”
Dylan dropped to his knees in the wet sand, eagerly undoing the other man’s pants and sliding them and Kevin’s underwear down with one swift tug. “I have a very good idea what you want right now, and I want it too, no matter who’s holding that thing.” Kevin wasn’t quite as erect this time, so Dylan set to work nuzzling the base, his hands stroking and cupping below it.
Kevin drew in a sharp breath, shifting his stance and looking around at the empty beach. Dylan chuckled. “Don’t worry, I haven’t been caught yet.” He gave the underside of Kevin’s shaft a long lick, and it rose enough for him to take it into his mouth, wrapping his lips around, eyes flicking up to Kevin’s face, then back down. This was different now too: no fear in the back of his mind, no escape plan being set up, just the knowledge that he was safe, his skin was safe, there was nothing to think about but pleasure.
He felt Kevin’s arms at his back, tugging him closer and still holding tight to the pelt, its touch warm and soft against his shoulders. He suckled harder, Kevin’s cock sliding deeper into his mouth, his tongue curling to tease at the tip. Kevin pushed in a bit further, and Dylan’s hands slid to his rear, squeezing as he started to bob his head, lips sliding smoothly along Kevin’s cock.
Kevin shuddered again, and his grip shifted. “I want –” Dylan already knew; he could feel Kevin’s desires, clear as his own. He grinned and slipped off, laying out sideways, just out of the surf. “Go ahead then.” His own shaft shone softly in the light, slick with seawater.
Kevin laid across from him, head near his crotch, and carefully set the sealskin between their bodies. He nuzzled in and took Dylan into his mouth. Dylan did the same, suckling and pressing close, submerging himself in the feelings again, feeling Kevin’s satisfaction and his own swirling around and around. Kevin moved quickly, letting Dylan’s shaft slide right into his throat. Dylan moaned around Kevin’s own cock and returned the favor.
They fell effortlessly into sync, lips sliding along shafts, hands and tongues exploring deeper, as the tide slowly came in around them. The cold water splashed lightly against Dylan’s side, and he huddled close against Kevin, keeping him warm as he felt the other man’s tension mount, and his own along with it. He moved faster, suckling and licking, and felt Kevin do the same, taking ragged breaths around his shaft. Kevin came first again, but only barely; Dylan felt the surge of release as if it were his own, and it carried him over too, each of them spurting long and hard into the other’s mouth.
They slid off in unison, slowly sitting up, each just looking at the other in the moonlight. For once, there was no need to go anywhere. “Thank you,” Dylan murmured, and giggled when he heard Kevin saying the same thing at nearly the same time. “I didn’t think it could be that good.”
Kevin laughed softly, nodding. “You are nothing like what I expected. But I love being surprised.” He glanced down at the skin, still sitting there between them, drifting slightly in the gentle surf. “What now?”
“I’m not sure. I’d like to see you more.” Dylan laughed suddenly. “I don’t think I’ve ever said those words before. But I feel safe with you. I still need, y’know, all this.” He gestured out at the water behind them. “But I’d like to see more of that up there, too. Hopefully it’ll keep surprising me.”
Kevin stood, squeezing Dylan’s shoulder, then turning to search for his clothes. “I would love to help you with that.”
Dylan grinned, standing too and taking the pelt with him. “Though for now, I need to see someone about getting this thing back into shape. That plushie illusion almost worked, right?”
Kevin laughed. “Almost. Sorta. How about something more age-appropriate? You’d look cute in a nice soft hoodie.”
“Ooh. Maybe you’re right. Hey, and you would, too.”
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