.. | the little merboy | chapter 5
"I'll kill him."
"Stop it, Dyce."
Dyce was swimming back and forth around Calida's chambers, irritably mumbling to himself. Calida reclined on his sleeping pallet, tired from his weeping.
His spawn stopped his circles. "Why should I?" he demanded angrily. "I knew this would happen. Humans are fun to play with, but I never intended you to-"
Calida shook his head and his hair rippled around his shoulders. "I don't understand either," he said wearily, playing with the long translucent fins of his tail. "But you were right. It's was my fault."
His hatcher looked up with open self-blame in his eyes. "You told me I would get attached and I didn't believe you. I didn't think it would be so beautiful."
Dyce narrowed his eyes and floated a bit closer. "Did you really find it so wonderful, 'Lida? Or was it just him?"
Calida looked away from him and was silent. A few hours of crying had taken their toll on him and yet he still refused to sleep. He absently played with his waving hair, musing. "He was warm," he answered softly, turning back to look at Dyce. "Warm and dry." He hugged himself, remembering the one night he'd been able to sleep against his human's side. "Once out of the water he was so strong. But then there were parts that were so soft too. Like here." He touched the underside of Dyce's chin with his finger. He moved his finger to his spawn's cheek and then into his dark hair. "And here..."
Dyce's expression had softened. "He's just a human, 'Lida," he reasoned forlornly. The blame had shifted into his own eyes. That his hatcher suffered so was his fault. He had always considered humans a little less than the fish themselves; animals, almost savages, whose way of life could be nothing compared to the peaceful paradise down here. The land above was a place for exploration and adventure, but one always returned to the tranquility of home. How was it that this human had ensnared his hatcher? He was just a toy, a plaything.
Calida withdrew his fingers and hugged himself again. "I know he's human," he whispered. "I want to be human too."
Isodore still sat on the beach where he'd fallen to his knees, dazedly watching the water and listening to its lulling music. Night would fall soon; the sky was already growing orange and red but he didn't care. He vaguely wondered what Elise would think of all this, and if she would come out to try to find him. Disturbed by the idea, he glanced over his shoulder at the sandy path that would lead up to the keep. He hoped she wouldn't come, not right now. He couldn't deal with having to tell her that last night, pleasurable as it was, could be the only one of its kind.
The breeze picked up a bit as he ran both hands back through his hair and bowed his head in self-reproaching agony. It wasn't until the moment that Calida had bolted that he'd realized what had gone wrong, though the merboy's words hadn't struck home until he was far out of reach beneath the water's surface.
So what did that mean? Isodore looked up at the sea again. Had he been denying that Calida's words had echoed his own inner thoughts for some time now? With the merboy being male, was that so very uncommon? In confused reason he realized that he'd slept with Elise because he thought she would allay those questions in his mind, and that it hadn't worked. The truth was that he was just as confused as the merboy, perhaps even more so. At least Calida knew what he wanted, or at least that he wanted something, and didn't have to worry about what others would think.
But it wasn't just that he was a male. He wasn't human. He wasn't human!
Isodore stood up and brushed himself off. "I'm sorry," he said softly to the lapping waves. "But I suppose I don't know how this would have worked anyway. Now at least you are where you belong, and so am I. We'll have to be happy with that."
His unheard words disappearing into the air, Isodore waited for the sun to set completely before giving the shimmering water one last look and heading towards home.
Calida floated aimlessly about for days, feeling restless and bored. Dyce gave him his space and privacy and for that his hatcher was grateful, but soon Calida found himself wishing for company. But his peers and family were nothing compared to the company he'd become used to. He couldn't think of anything else but the wonders and the colors he'd seen and the warmth he'd had in his heart for such a short, precious time.
To compound his sadness, his husband had been furious at his absence, and rightly had taken a few others to his nest for spawns. He'd insisted that Calida carry again and regain his place as the favorite, but Calida didn't care about position or power anymore. The thought of carrying another child was impossible.
Exactly a week after his return, Calida made up his mind for good. He was tired of missing his human, tired of pining for the warmth of flesh and sunshine.
"Absolutely not," said Dyce, furious.
Calida bristled. "I'll go if I want to, Dyce, and don't you go swimming and telling your father either."
"But how can you go back? How can you want to?"
"He had a reason for it all. I want to know what it was."
Dyce looked doubtful. "He hurt you, 'Lida-"
His hatcher shook his head. "I hurt myself by not understanding him."
"But you can't just-"
Calida whirled around to face him, angry at his protests after what he'd had to go through to make this decision. "It was you who gave him to me, remember? Don't you dare try to take him away again!"
His handsome spawn held his gaze for a long moment. He was certainly his father's son, and would not likely give up so easily. "What makes you even think you're even capable of going back? You know you can't hold that form forever. Already you were tiring; you couldn't have stayed much longer-"
He stopped as his hatcher dropped his gaze and gave a very soft, sad smile. "I figured it out, Dyce."
Calida floated about, musing. "With every day there, I got to be more and more like them. I hadn't realized it until I got back here." He paused. "Even now, I'm not the same as I was before. I feel different, everything's changed. It was a little harder to breathe at first, and coming back to form was almost painful-"
Dyce cocked his head. "What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that if I stay long enough, I don't think I'll be able to come home again."
His spawn's eyes widened and he was speechless for once. But Dyce saw the satisfied smile on his hatcher's face and knew that Calida had already accepted the consequences of such a decision. He knew what he was giving up already; he didn't have to be reminded.
"You can't mean it, 'Lida," he whispered. "Not come home? To live up there forever?"
Calida raised his chin. "As long as he's there, I don't care." He was totally resolute; the hardness in his eyes was something Dyce had not seen before. Was that new too?
"What about me then?" Dyce growled, a choking feeling rising in his throat. "What about me? Am I supposed to just let you go?" Emotion made his voice gruff, and his anger was rising with the fear of abandonment.
Calida rushed to him and enfolded his spawn in his arms. "Hush... hush," he said into Dyce's hair. He held his child for long moments, wondering at how Dyce had grown so much, and yet here he crumbled like a spawnling still. He knew that someday, when the innocence and foolhardiness of youth wore off, Dyce would make a strong, handsome consort and find a carrier of his own to hatch his babies. But he would probably never see them. "I've made a horrible mistake," Calida said, looking into Dyce's dark eyes. "I've fallen in love with a human. You warned me that I would and now I must pay for it."
Dyce gripped his hatcher's wrists and swallowed the desperation that made his voice shake. "No, you don't have to, 'Lida! You can just stay here. It will pass!" He was silent for a while, trembling there in his hatcher's arms. He knew he had lost this battle already. Softly, he said, "What will I do without you?"
Calida dropped his hands from Dyce's face and gave him a sad smile. "Find a mate, have some babies, be happy," he said, his smile not quite carrying the happiness those words should have conveyed.
Dyce shook his head and pulled away. "When will you go?" he asked, his back to his hatcher.
"As soon as I can," Calida answered softly. "Before he forgets about me."
His spawn turned finally and looked him in the eye. "Remember when I was young and I asked you to be my mate? And I told you I would never want anyone else?"
Calida blinked. "Yes, I remember," he said. "Why?"
But Dyce didn't answer. He just shrugged, gave a private, sad smile, and swam away.
For weeks Isodore ran an obstacle course through his home to avoid prying servants and his family, not to mention Elise. Everyone wanted to know where the pretty red-haired boy had gone and why he'd left in such agitation. They wanted to know if Isodore planned on marrying Elise, if she would get pregnant, or if perhaps the young lord was more inclined towards the aforementioned red-haired boy, which could be why the lady Elise refused to see anyone and young lord Isodore was avoiding everyone.
"Harpies, all of them," Isodore mumbled to himself as he leaned flattened against a wall as a pair of servants passed in front of the winding staircase. If he could make it to his room, he could claim sanctuary there at least. He needn't fear of running into Elise. From what he could overhear from the servants' conversations, it seemed she'd locked herself in her room again. He felt guilty for it, but bigger problems weighed on his mind presently.
He made it to his room and locked the door behind him. As he leaned against it, breathing hard from his run, he knew that things couldn't go on this way. He couldn't keep avoiding his entire household, couldn't keep snatching meals from the servants' tables and he couldn't keep walking the beaches at night in hopes that Calida would come back. He wasn't. It'd been two weeks now. How many times had he heard that worn out line about not knowing what you had until it was gone? He cursed the person who had to put it into words, because that was the only thing he could think about now, like slap in the face.
Isodore flopped down on his bed and buried his face in the pillows, biting an anguished groan out through his teeth. Tomorrow he would have to deal with it all again, but this time he would face them all and tell them the truth. He had been in love, but Calida was gone because Isodore had refused to realize that until it was too late. Life had to go on, didn't it?
Vaguely, he heard something click in the darkness of his room. Isodore opened his eyes and encountered nothing but blackness, which seemed somewhat odd to his half-asleep brain. Somewhere in his consciousness he knew that there should be a familiar glow of the night lanterns from outside his laced window curtains, but it didn't register that someone had pulled down the thick draperies, and that that someone hadn't been him.
Isodore rolled over with a slight groan, too exhausted to bother with the inconsistencies in his awareness. As he snuggled his face into the pillow, a new scent hit his nostrils. It was a fresh, cool smell, and one that he knew he should know. He unconsciously reached out and his hand encountered something smooth and warm. It felt almost like... skin? He drew back as if burned and fumbled to light the bedside candle.
The light revealed his merboy in human form stretched languidly alongside him, gloriously nude with his head resting upon a propped up hand. On his face lingered a smile, half obscured by tendrils of curling red hair that escaped the mass of it that was pushed behind his ear. From his finger dangled the keys with which he'd let himself in.
"Calida?!" he hissed. Isodore's heart had leapt into his throat in fright at first, but now it beat rapidly in disbelief and, dare he say, anticipation.
The merboy's smile faded a bit as he leaned closer. His fingers touched Isodore's lips to silence him. "Don't speak. I have to tell you something."
He removed his fingers and cast his eyes downward and away from Isodore's. "When I went home I could think of nothing but you," he said softly, as if admitting a great secret. "How much I missed you and everything that I'd wanted you to show me. There was so much, but I didn't know what to ask for." He smiled to himself, but still avoided Isodore's eyes. "In fact, I still don't really."
"'Lida?" Isodore spoke up, seeing conflict cross the merboy's face.
"You have to tell me what it is I want. I know you know. I came back here so you could tell me." The look in his eyes was so resolved, so hopeful that Isodore found his decision very close to being made for him.
But there was still a part of him nagging. The merboy didn't know what he was asking for. How could he possibly understand what it was to make love, or bear the burden of the morning after? Did he understand the intimacy? The parts of himself he would be exposing, both physically and emotionally? Did he know how much of himself he would give up? Or perhaps he didn't. Perhaps he wouldn't! What if all sex did was prove how different they were?
Isodore stared up into Calida's eyes and wondered that if his last thought proved to be true... could he take it?
A long lock of Calida's hair fell down from over his shoulder and brushed Isodore's chest. The merboy didn't even blink; he continued to stare into his human's eyes as Isodore found his hand moving to touch the rich, dark red locks.
As Isodore's fingers reached out, the merboy whispered, "But... if I stay here," his eyes met his human's again. "I don't think I can go home again."
"What do you mean?"
Calida sighed sadly. "That's how the magic works. I can become human, Isodore, but I can't remain what I was before at the same time. I'm changing, and I can't stop it."
Isodore shook his head. "No, you shouldn't be here then. I don't want you to change-"
Calida grabbed his face with both hands to make his human meet his eyes. "But I do!" Tears were welling up in his eyes as his voice began to tremble. "It's my decision to make, can't you see that? How much I want to be like you?" His thumb traced the line of Isodore's jaw. "How much I want to be with you?"
Isodore's hands had come up to hold Calida's wrists but now he moved them down the merboy's arms up to his shoulders.
"It's hard to believe you're the same creature that I first met," he said softly. "You have changed. It's even in the way you speak." He cupped Calida's face with one hand. Calida moved over him, propping himself on his arms, his body curling around his human's like a snake. Isodore found quickly that the sensation of the merboy being so close, like that night by the fireplace when Calida had been stroking his hair, had swallowed up all of his sense, good and bad.
Calida had settled firmly on top of him but simply lay there, getting used to and enjoying the feel of his human's body underneath him. Isodore was so warm and inviting, his unique, human scent pulling at the merboy's senses, as strong as his own mating pheromone when it was his time to bear.
He smoothed back Isodore's hair from his face with both hands to see well into his eyes. "You know, you always made me want to touch you," the merboy admitted. "Just to see what you felt like."
"Touch me then," Isodore answered, his deep, familiar voice sending little chills through the merboy's chest. His human stretched his arms up above his head over the pillows, leaving himself open for exploration.
Calida smiled and sat up, straddling his human's waist. Isodore had gone to sleep without a shirt on so the sight of his bare flesh, though nothing new to his eyes, was now simply tantalizing. He ran his hands all the way down Isodore's chest, palms flat and fingers lightly trailing.
"I could get too used to this," Calida said with a small smile, his finger tracing a small circle around Isodore's navel.
His human propped himself up on his elbows. "Shall I not spoil you then? Come here." He pulled Calida up to lay face to face again.
"Spoil me," Calida answered, leaning back down. He placed both hands on either side of his human's head and waited for whatever it was Isodore was going to show him.
"Let me kiss you, 'Lida?"
The merboy nodded his head like an excited puppy.
Isodore's brain clicked into action mode and he moved his hands up to Calida's face and pulled him down to his lips. The merboy's hair fell around his face and pooled on the pillows.
"Open your mouth, that's the whole point of it," he breathed softly against the merboy's lips. Calida's expression had changed from confident to very uncertain. A little of his old, innocent flair rose up into his face.
"Are you sure?" the merboy said, raising an eyebrow. "That's a little strange. Is that really how it goes?"
Isodore rolled his eyes. "Trust me I'm sure. I just can't wait to see your reaction when you find out what comes next."
Calida's eyes widened. "You mean... there's more?"
His human nodded. "There's more. Open your mouth."
They kissed again, more successfully now that Calida had seemed to get the gist of it. He liked kissing, liked sharing something like that with the one he loved most. He liked opening his eyes and seeing Isodore so close, his own eyes closed in the intimacy. Isodore's hands had wandered from his shoulders down his sides and over the small of his back. His touch felt wonderful, warm, pulling him closer. They wandered up his sides again and down, this time over his backside. Calida jerked up, breaking their kiss again.
Below him, Isodore blinked. "What?"
Calida looked confused. "I don't know... I got chills."
Isodore smiled. Finally some human modesty rubbing off? Well, in his own new-found resolve, there was no room for prudence on Calida's part. "Like this?" he asked, repeating the move. He was sure that Calida was not thinking of backing out; there was still a hardness pressed against his own, one that he knew the merboy had not noticed yet. He ran both hands over Calida's backside and pulled his hips down tightly against his own, forcing the merboy to realize the sensations that could be felt there.
Again, Calida's sea-green eyes were wide as dinner platters. "Uhnn," he breathed, his breath warm. "Isodore-"
"Just wait," his human whispered, rolling him over to put Calida beneath him. "I'm going to show you what that is, once and for all."
He slid down Calida's slim form, kissing his way to the merboy's groin. He kissed the spot where very fine hair began to grow, inches below his navel. Its texture was interesting, fine and soft, with a color as deep red as the hair atop Calida's head.
"Look, 'Lida," he whispered, cupping in his hands the source of the merboy's heat. Calida had propped himself up on his elbows and let his head fall back during Isodore's ministrations. He lifted it now with a deep groan and he took a short, surprised intake of breath.
"Oh... What's... what's wrong with it?" He asked, looking very worried.
"Nothing. It's quite normal," Isodore answered, stroking gently and trying his damndest not to laugh. The look on Calida's face was almost as good as the one when he'd first discovered those parts of his body long ago.
Calida soon forgot the strange look of his... appendage as Isodore continued his strokes. The merboy drew his knees up and grabbed handfuls of his human's hair and mewled almost like a cat. And when Isodore's lips touched him, he lost control completely.
It didn't take long. And it was like nothing Calida had ever felt before, this sensation of being swallowed whole. And knowing it was his human who was doing it to him made it all the more exciting and erotic. Orgasm nearly killed him. Or at least it felt that way. He never knew death could be so sweet, so utterly... satisfying.
Isodore sat up, licking his lips to gaze upon a vision of a boy laying before him, knees drawn up, hands above his head gripping the pillows, head turned to the side and breathing through an open mouth as strands of long red hair clung to his forehead and cheek with a slight sweat.
The sight alone made him want to crush Calida to him, hold his delicate frame and hide him away from everything else, protect him from everything else. He moved back up Calida's body, kissing and tasting salt, being reminded of the ocean. His merboy came alive again under his kisses, letting go of his death grip on the sheets to hold Isodore's head steady.
"Is it always like that?" he breathed.
"Mmm," his human murmured against his neck. "It can be better."
Isodore propped himself up on his arms above him, aware that his arousal was becoming a sweet pain that he could hardly talk without his breath catching. But he wasn't sure; perhaps something like this should come later.
Perhaps we should wait," he said uncertainly.
"No." Calida smiled and leaned up to kiss him. "Anything," he said. "I am ready for anything."
His hands slid down Isodore's hips and thighs and back up the inside to touch, timidly, the source of his own passion. His human took such a sharp intake of breath that Calida drew his hands back as if burnt.
"Did I hurt you?" he whispered worriedly.
Isodore let himself back down on top of him, spreading Calida's legs to lay between them as he did so. "No," he assured in a husky voice. "It felt good. Very good."
The merboy spread his legs wider as he got more comfortable, unconsciously rubbing against him. When he saw the effect on his human, he did it again, arching his hips upward with a small, sneaky smile on his face.
Isodore brushed Calida's thick hair away from his moist forehead. "You learn quickly," he breathed.
Calida stretched his neck up to kiss him. "I think you told me that once before."
"Have I?" His human slid a bit further down and sat up. He then hesitated, looking unsure of himself once again.
Calida lay looking up at him with wide, innocent eyes. "Something wrong?" he asked.
Isodore shook his head. "No, it's nothing."
The merboy reached down his body to touch Isodore's belly with his fingertips.
"Then what are you waiting for?"
Calida woke up sometime near dawn. Isodore lay sleeping against him, his head cradled in his arms. The merboy untangled himself as best he could without waking his human and slipped from the bed silently. He stretched exhausted muscles and sauntered to the window where he pulled back the thick drapes. The ocean was dark, but he could see well enough by the light of the moon the waves crashing endlessly against the shore in a soothing rhythm. He just barely hear the sound, that repetitive thrum of the waves he could hear even from him home underneath the surface that had lulled him to sleep.
He turned and looked at his human, still sleeping, with his arm stretched out where Calida had been laying. He'd never looked more handsome than now with his hair all mussed and body heavy in sleep. He was oblivious to the world, completely relaxed in his repose, a stunning contrast to what he'd been several hours ago.
Calida smiled, but then it slowly disappeared from his face. He would miss the constant companionship of his favorite spawn, and hoped someday that Dyce would come to see him, when the pain of their separation wasn't so great. Dyce had been angry with abandonment right up until Calida had bid him farewell, but he would understand, with time.
Calida felt heartbroken when he thought about it too hard, so he took a deep breath, held back tears that threatened and looked again to the bed where the reason he was staying slept. Tiptoeing back, the merboy crept onto the bed. He touched his human's hair and brushed it back from his face with a lover's tenderness and leaned down to kiss his temple. Isodore stirred only a little when Calida went to cuddle up again, this time with his head against his human's chest, listening to the slow beating of his heart. A new rhythm to lull him to sleep.
(or is it?)Isodore stood in front of the mirror in the crisp morning, tying his shirt laces, perparinmg himself for what lay ahead when they went downstairs. In the reflection he could see Calida sitting on the bed behind him, giggling to himself as he absently chewed a fingernail, lost in his own little world. He'd been like that all morning, in fact.
Ok, I'll bite, he thought. "What is so funny?" Isodore finally said, turning around to see his lover. Calida looked up at him with sly eyes, his hands idly rubbing his flat belly.
"Dyce never thought he'd have another brother."
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