Oh, Freedom

by Hiwaru Kibi (火悪 木美)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/290525.html)

There was always a perfect moment of weightlessness upon hitting the water, a single instant where buoyancy met gravity and he was held aloft by watery arms, caught between sea and sky. Then those arms gave, and he exhaled by reflex as the rest of him sank into the high, salty tide.Seconds later, he was shoved back up toward the air by two strong hands, and though he could have surfaced all by himself, he wasn’t about to complain. He treaded water with one hand and pushed his long black hair from his face with the other, smiling as its dark curtain parted to reveal Beckett’s bright grin. “So cold!” gasped Kai, kicking with his black-rubber flippers to keep in place. The waters of the marina were still, especially on a calm, bright morning like this, but the living ebb and flow of the ocean never stopped, and Kai’s legs already bore years of tiny nicks and scars that came from drifting too close to the barnacle-encrusted jetties.

Beckett just laughed and submerged, and seconds later a bright purple fin rose from the water; Kai didn’t even have time to shield his eyes before it smacked the surface, drenching him with the spray. “Oh, very nice,” said Kai, spitting seawater as he spoke. When Beckett surfaced again, Kai rolled his eyes. “Aren’t you cold?”

“Fish blood,” said Beckett with a wink, and when Kai rolled his eyes again, Beckett laughed.

“Fish brains, more like it.” Kai paused to look around, as though he were interested in the weather, the currents, the scenery in general — then darted forward, his arms outstretched, grabbing across the few feet between them. He was fast — he’d been on swim teams in high school and college, and though he’d never quite made it that far, talk of Olympic tryouts hadn’t been all pipe dreaming — but Beckett was faster, and no sooner had Kai begun his rush than Beckett was gone, swallowed in one bright flip beneath the waves.

He emerged a few feet away, pulling himself up onto a rock pile that held the bright green channel marker. In the early morning sun, his brown skin shone, water glistening off his well-muscled arms and chest. He shook his head, and drops flew from short, wiry hair the same radiant purple color as the fin that had splashed Kai before — the same color, in fact, that Beckett was from his waist down. Grabbing the iron pole, Beckett hauled his lower half up onto the rocks, letting his whole magnificent tail glisten in the sunlight. It was long, almost twice as long as his top part, with scales that iridesced when the light hit them. A more magnificent creature Kai could not have imagined.

Surface-level as he was, Kai couldn’t see over the rocks, but he could hear when a ship’s horn bellowed from the other side, and he saw Beckett give a bright wave in the direction of the sound. “Hey, Frank’s out,” Beckett said, gesturing with both arms as the horn sounded again. “Must’ve gotten that prop fixed up.”

“We need to get you some seashells,” said Kai, grabbing at his own bare chest. The weather report had looked so promising the night before, but a cloudy dawn had delayed the sun’s warmth to a point where Kai found himself wishing he’d chosen his wetsuit over his swimsuit that morning. But a date was a date, and nothing short of the whole harbor’s freezing over solid would keep him from a chance to swim with Beckett. “Make you do a hoochie-koochie dance for all the shrimpers.”

Beckett snorted. “Slanderous terrestrial lies about mer-fashion,” he said with a theatrical sigh, slumping over the rocks in a graceful backbend. Even with the distance between them, Kai could see little goosebumps begin to prick at Beckett’s skin, and thus wasn’t surprised when not long after, Beckett slipped off the rocks and into the water again. He emerged dripping and laughing as he swam his way over to Kai. “No true merperson would ever be seen except in full glorious nude.”

“Nude and accessories,” Kai said, poking at the barbell of oxblood coral that Beckett had threaded through his navel.

Beckett grinned as he leaned forward to kiss Kai lightly on the lips; he tasted of salt and the deep, organic murk of the harbor water. “Nude and accessories,” he agreed. His tail brushed against Kai’s legs as they treaded water together, chests touching but arms mostly in use for staying upright. Their skin was warm when it met, making the water seem even cooler when they parted.

Despite the fact that he could barely see down to his own pale knees, Kai knew he was in barely six feet of water here in the harbor, just enough to let the pleasure craft move in and out of their slips freely. On weekends, the stretch between the jetty and the seawall was packed with all kinds of seafarers, from the owners of million-dollar yachts to kids renting ten-dollar paddleboats, and Beckett loved to splash around and greet them all, especially the little ones, who gasped with wonder every time he emerged from the depths with a dazzling spray. Days like those, he even wore a circlet of coral and sea-glass and long strands of shells that stretched from fingertips to neck, then circled around his waist before returning to his hands again. Nude and accessories.

Today, though, Beckett had only the essentials on, and that was how Kai liked him: bare, honest. “Okay, fishy,” Kai said, reaching down and groping Beckett’s tail just below his dorsal fin, in the general direction of an ass, “go do your thing.”

Beckett lifted his head to plant a kiss on the flat tip of Kai’s nose, then was off, skimming across the surface of the water with undulating ease. Marina traffic was light on Monday mornings, especially during the school year, when most working people had better things to do than go get in their boats, and the people whose work was on their boats had already set out hours ago. It was Beckett’s favorite time too, when he could make his long, sinuous laps from dock to dock without having to worry about getting caught in someone’s wake, pausing only to catch his breath before setting off in a new direction.

Pulling himself up on the same artificial rock pile Beckett had sunned on earlier, Kai smiled as he thought back to the long, dark period only a few years past in which Beckett had almost drowned — not in any fluid, but beneath his own depression. While nothing about that painful stretch itself brought the smile to his face, the visible contrast in front of him made his heart feel light; everything about Beckett now was pure delight. His laughter echoed off the fiberglass hulls around him as he sunned and dove between the yachts, then took out to sea again.

At last, Kai decided he’d had enough of being a spectator, and though it was with none of the grace Beckett possessed, he flopped back into the water with a splash and set off after his merman. When Beckett saw him, he turned and headed back toward Kai, weaving a long loop around him before meeting him face-to-face. “Howdy, sailor,” Beckett said with a lecherous wink.

“Hiya, fishy.” The wind had picked up slightly, and a wave crested that brought Kai right into Beckett’s arms, then pushed them both toward the shallows nearer to shore. Jumping in like a deep-sea diver was the best way Kai had found not to chicken out over the temperature, but an incline sure made getting out easier. “You wear yourself out yet?”

Beckett gave a flip of his tail that sent them away from the exposed area of the artificial beach, back in the direction of the giant boulders that formed the jetty’s base. “Have you?” he asked, and the hand that wasn’t around Kai’s waist slipped down the front of his swimsuit.

Surprised, Kai forgot to keep kicking and might have gone under again had Beckett’s strong arms not held him upright. Kai glanced around with nervous caution; no one was out on the jetty or in the water, but there were people on the shoreline and by the boats, still at a distance but not so far they couldn’t be seen. Of course, his traitorous body being what it was, this only made him harder in Beckett’s hand. “Someone is going to see us,” he hissed, even though there was no one remotely in earshot.

Beckett grinned and nipped at Kai’s ear. “So?” Kai felt the rough grind of sand under the seat of his trunks as they ran ashore together, with Beckett’s long tail stretched out behind him, bobbing on the surface of the water. “They’ll think you’re taking pity on a poor, stranded creature.”

“Giving you a hand, huh?” asked Kai with a laugh as Beckett gave him a hand, wrapping around his cock. The water was cloudy, but not that cloudy, and anyone who came within striking distance could have seen exactly what was happening. Kai’s cock perked up in Beckett’s chilly, slightly pruney fingers, especially when Beckett ran his thumb over the slit. “God, we are going to get in so much trouble.”

“Maybe.” Beckett gave Kai’s ear another bite, tugging at the heavy-gauge plugs he put in when he went swimming, before moving to the curve of his jaw. “But don’t tell me it ain’t worth it.”

“Definitely worth it,” said Kai, turning his head and giving Beckett a deep, warm kiss. Though he needed one hand braced to keep them from sliding back into the water, he let his other rest against the sun-warmed curve of Beckett’s muscular back. He’d known Beckett since he’d been in fifth grade, back when Beckett’s shoulders had been much less broad but no less captivating, and Kai’s first real awareness of the appeal of boys had come from staring at the way drops of water rolled off them. Five years of getting to kiss Beckett on a sometimes-daily basis had nothing to dispel Kai’s quiet awe of his beauty. As a tortured adolescent, he’d declared (to his journal, anyway) himself willing to give or do anything just to feel those lips on his; now, he figured the possibility of getting picked up for public indecency was a small price to pay for his continued good fortune.

For his own part, Beckett seemed to have no worry of capture, though he had great reserves of inner fearlessness on which they often both depended. With a nudge, he shoved Kai upward onto the beach, until Kai’s hips were just at the waterline — but held onto Kai’s shorts as he did, so that Kai’s cock popped and bobbed free. Before Kai could say anything in protest, though, Beckett’s head was down and Kai’s whole shaft was in his mouth.

There were still people on the far seawall, and though they appeared to be going about their own business, if they looked over, they’d have no chance of missing what was going on. Maybe it would have looked somewhat more acceptable if they’d both been in wetsuits or otherwise drably clothed, but with Beckett’s long, bright tail bobbing in the surf, there was no question from any angle that Kai was getting blown by a merman.

And blown quite expertly too, which was the maddening thing about it. Despite their exposed position, Beckett wasn’t in any rush; he took his time, letting his mouth rise and fall with the slow, rocking waves, pulling his lips back to just to the lip of Beckett’s foreskin when the water rolled in, then slipping his mouth down to the root and chasing the tide out. Kai bit down hard on his lip to keep from shouting, even though he had no illusions of being able to be heard at any human volume over the surf that broke against the seaward side of the jetty. It was the principle of the thing.

Beckett laughed around Kai’s cock, his brown eyes sparkling as they glanced upward. He had such lovely eyelashes, and sometimes on weekends, when he put on his other jewelry, he used purple mascara so they’d match the rest of him. They were dark now, though, black curtains over his deep gaze. From the way he wriggled his lower half, Kai knew Beckett was getting as much pleasure from this as he was giving. For all the joking about how The Merman Problem wasn’t quite as bad as The Mermaid Problem, it did make logistics easier in situations like these that Beckett could be just as satisfied without reciprocity as with. For his myriad faults, Kai’s younger self had always had fantastic taste.

He wished he could call his awkward eleven-year-old self right then, the bespectacled, awkward twig that he’d been two decades previous, and say, don’t worry, it won’t be easy, but it’ll all work out, and one day you’ll get to kiss the handsome boy, and someday it’ll even be true that what you want most in the world will be what’s best for him.

…He might have to leave out the part about the public blowjob, but that was okay. Some things were better when they arrived as surprises.

Courtesy and experience had taught Kai, though, that coming in someone’s mouth was not necessarily one of those, so he grabbed at Beckett’s back and gasped, “Don’t stop, I’m close, don’t stop.” And despite his stubborn streak, Beckett did not stop at all, choosing instead to close his mouth all the way over Kai’s erection and swallow him down. Kai cried out as he came, but the roar of the building surf took the noise and washed it back out to sea.

At last spent, he flopped down on his back in the sand, panting up at the sky, and felt Beckett beach himself all the way next to him. Beckett grabbed a strand of Kai’s hair and pulled it from his face. “Good swim,” Beckett said with a smile, patting Kai’s bare belly and tucking his softening cock back in.

“Good swim,” Kai agreed, rolling over on his side to give Beckett a long, sweet kiss. With the sun above them and the water lapping at their lower parts, the world felt pretty much perfect.

It couldn’t last forever, though, and after a minute of this quiet togetherness, Beckett sat up. “Good breakfast too, but I’m still starving,” he announced, shuffling back out into the water. “Meet you down at the other end?”

“See you there.” Kai nodded as he took off his flippers and stood barefooted in the sand. They both had their own faster ways of getting where they wanted to be.

As he walked along the little beach, made of piled-up sand dredged from the ship channel, Kai watched Beckett cut a far lazier trail through the water now than he had before. On his back, face toward the sun, Beckett looked as peaceful and free as he ever did. Maybe that didn’t make land any better for him, but it also made it less of a life sentence. He’d once described depression to Kai as a condition of being unable to see that things could ever be any different from the miserable way they were right then. But now he knew he’d always have this. They’d always have this.

By the time Kai got there, Beckett had already pulled himself up to the concrete stairs that led to the parking lot by the surrey rentals and bait shop. “Need to go get the chair?” Beckett asked, glancing up in the direction of Kai’s truck.

Kai shook his head. “Nah, I still have a little left in me. You ready for me?”

“Just a second,” said Beckett, slipping his fingers between the tail and his skin, finding the gap where damp flesh met neoprene rubber. He balanced himself back on his strong elbows. “Okay.”

It was a delicate operation, requiring strength enough to tug but not to tear, and it had taken them more than a few tries and tumbles to get right. Kai now knew the right places to put his hands, though, and he stationed one beneath the dorsal fin and other where Beckett’s tail narrowed at the bottom. When Beckett gave the nod that he was steady, Kai began to pull and the great purple tail began to slip free of Beckett’s body. First to emerge were his hips, followed by his groin (where beneath the blue Speedo Kai could see something that was Merman, but not a Problem at all), and then his thighs.

No more of Beckett’s body emerged from his tail than that, though, because there was no more of Beckett’s body; even his thighs didn’t make the transformation all the way into knees before they ceased altogether. Kai stretched the tail out along the stairs, hoping it would dry a little before he had to put it in the truck bed, then turned his back on Beckett. Beckett wrapped his strong arms around Kai’s shoulders, and with a mutual three-count, Beckett was secure in the position he called “backpack boyfriend”. In fact, the first time he’d ever used the b-word, it had been in that phrase, and they’d been holding on to one another exactly like this in the PT’s hydrotherapy room. How far they’d come.

As they emerged to street level, some of the regular vendors and beachgoers waved to them, and they waved right back as Kai trudged both of them to the truck. That was something else he could tell his younger self during that hypothetical phone call: You’re going to be in the best shape of your entire life. He chuckled at the thought, and Beckett leaned over his shoulder: “What?”

“Just thinking,” Kai said as he reached into his pocket and fumbled with his waterproof-bag-encased keys long enough to unlock the doors.


Kai turned and let Beckett grab the reinforced frame around the door, then lower himself into the seat. “About how lucky you are to have me.” He stood so their noses touched, smiling as the contact made water drip from Beckett’s hair onto his own forehead.

Beckett laughed and put his hand full against Kai’s face, then pushed him back. “Yeah? And how lucky is that?”

Kai glanced around the parking lot; it wasn’t exactly out of the way, but the bait shop eclipsed their space from view of the busiest thoroughfare, and no boats on that side of the harbor were close enough to see much on the shore. And even if there were, well, there was little left they couldn’t have seen about ten minutes before. “I’m going to go get your tail and my flippers,” Kai said, jerking a thumb back the way they’d come from, “and then I’m going to come back and show you exactly how lucky that is.”

A wicked grin curled Beckett’s beautiful lips. “Double time, sailor.”

“Yes, sir,” said Kai with a wink, and though he was tired and the rough asphalt was hard on his bare feet, he jogged all the way back down to the beach. No clouds blocked the sun now, and its warm rays dried him with every step. It was going to be a beautiful day.




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