Standing on the edge of a hill, Osomatsu took a deep breath, closing his eyes. When he opened them, he let out everything in a scream addressed at the agitated sea beneath him. Once he finished doing the Japanese cliche, he had a goofy smile during some seconds, before it turned once again in a frowning. Swearing, he climbed down the hill in the direction of the beach, hands in the pockets.
Above his head, the sky was cloudy and getting darker every second. The wind was howling, the cold air coming through his clothes let him frozen to the bone. Rubbing his arms, he took a glimpse of the waves crashing on the rock. The weather was bad. The entire day was freaking bad anyway.
It could have been a good day. In the morning (or more nearly midday), the sun was shy but still present, and he woke up in a perfect mood (contrary to the brother who slept right next to him, who had to deal during the night with one or two or dozen sleeping punches). He felt like it would be a good day, in fact, and he tried his luck.
Conclusion? He took a punch from a girl he tried to hit on. He slipped on a stair and fell badly on his back. He lost his bet at the horse race. In frustration, he took the road to go in the pachinko parlor. The rain fell at this precise moment. Harshly. And he fell again himself, on the exact same spot. At this point, considering his painful back and the previous events, it was probably foolish to think he could win anything, but Osomatsu was a player. So he played. And lost. And played again. And lost again. He was almost broke when he gave up, very frustrated. Ranting at everything, it didn’t take time before he had an argue with his brothers, because he may have “borrow” the money he lost, and it took even less time before he slammed the door.
He let his anger conduct him and climbed in the first bus he found. Why he chose to descend at the stop near the beach, he didn’t know himself. He ignored the man who told him it was a bad idea to go this day to the beach and immediately go away in the direction of the hill, as the bus moved off.
Now, he was sitting on the sand, cursing his brothers. They were brothers for god sake, couldn’t they share?! Wasn’t he trying to win more money? He would have pay back them! They were constantly borrowing money to each other, he didn’t even clearly remember who owe who, honestly. And he was pretty sure Jyushimatsu still owe him money, by the way.
Giving another frustrated punch in the sand, he felt the moist sand stuck on his knuckles. He knew his butt must be covered, too. He was so damn cold. Putting a hand in his pocket, he only found one lost coin. He realized he didn’t have enough to pay the bus to go home. He would have to walk a moment, but he didn’t want to go back now. He was still pretty angry.
Looking at the wild waves, he remembered Jyushimatsu’s story. It was a day with bad weather like today, isn’t it? Curious, he looked around him. No girls around. He stood up, brushed a little his pants and walked around. Well, why was he searching? Who would come here on such a day (except idiots like him)? He already had a shitty day, after all. And maybe he unconsciously chose to go to the beach precisely because he knew nobody would be here, in fact.
He stopped his track. Yeah, he had a real shitty day, shouldn’t it stop now? He faced the sea, coming closer, in defiant steps. He had already suffered enough, no? Whatever god who was doing it to him, it was time to give him his freaking luck, now!
“Come on, stop messing with me and give a girl!” he shouted at the sea and gods.
The huge waves he faced the next second made him understand the god probably just gave him a middle finger.
He couldn’t see anything tangible. Blurry dark colors succeeded to each others. Black, grey, green, black. Blurry visions. Black.
The world was upside-down. There were no up neither bottom, no right nor left. There was no directions, but it was every single one at the same time. Sky had disappeared. It only left water everywhere.
He wanted to scream, but the second he opened his mouth, water engulfed his lungs, with an unbearable salted taste, making him choke.
His throat and lungs were burning, he wanted to cough. Yet there was no air in his body or outside. His body was having spasms and he felt a taste similar to blood rising in his mouth, behind the salt.
It was so cold, cold as ice, it was piercing his skin, his limbs, even his guts and organs. It was cold as death.
He was drowning.
He tried to reach the surface in a disoriented movement, took a small strangled breath before another wave crashed down right on his face.
He struggled in terror, but it was no use against the wild elements.
Underneath the surface, there was no sound, he couldn’t scream.
Underneath the surface, there was no air, he couldn’t breath.
There was no more surface to reach.
He was dying.
The thought was panicking. Even though, he couldn’t do anything.
His body was starting to be paralyzed.
The pain was more unbearable every second passing by. And every second seemed to stretch out until being infinite.
Why did he think it would be a good idea to come closer? Why did he have to be defiant like this? Why did he ignore the man who warned him? Why did he even take the bus? Why didn’t he go home when he fell the first time, when he lost the race, when it started to rain, when he fell again? Why did he even go out when his mother had told him the good weather wouldn’t last?
A million questions, a million regrets comes to his mind at the same time without being completely formulated.
A ton of memories came along with the regrets. He thought of his brothers. Damn, what a miserable last apparition he did. He proved how stupid and awful he was, wasn’t him. It was like the image of his brothers angry after him before he slammed the door was directly engraved under his eyelids, now.
It was mortifying.
He was dying like the fool he always have been, as everything was fading out. Senses, visions, memories, thoughts, sensations…
He could only feel the Death grabbing his arm, extricating him from the maelstrom he was lost in.
Finally, he thought. It would end the suffering of drowning and the regrets of a failed life.
“But,” he wondered, “why I have the impression of hearing Death telling me to hold on…?”
He slowly regained his senses. His entire body was sore and hurting, and every breath was slightly more difficult than usual. He blinked. The sky was still mainly clouded, blinding him with a white light. He was thankful that high rocks hid a part of the sky. It looked like he was in a kind of cavern.
He coughed and realized his entire body was soaked to the skin. In fact, he was still in the water, except his head. He wasn’t cold, even so. No, the water was strangely warm. It was peaceful. But suddenly the thought of the drowning flooded back. He opened wide his eyes under the realization.
“I’m dead?!” he exclaimed. The surprised face of a pretty person standing over him, making him notice he was on their lap, explaining why only his head was out of the water, confirmed the thought. “I’m dead holy shit!” His voice was weak. “Damn, this is so pitiful!” He wanted to put his arm on his eyes, but it was too painful to even draw the movement. He would have thought the afterlife wasn’t bothered with pain. What a disillusion…
“No… No you’re alive.” The person answered with a somewhat unsure tone. “I saved you right in time.”
He opened anew his eyes to watch with disbelief his so-called savior. “What?” he grumbled. It wasn’t realistic. He clearly had the worst luck of the world. At best, he would have discovered he had been saved by Iyami. Not only the thought of a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation given by Iyami was horrible (the most dramatic first kiss, honestly) (well, it wouldn’t have been technically his first kiss, but that’s another story), but he would also mean he would owe his life to an awful person. And it was ‘at best’. “I’m clearly dead, you’re too pretty for being real.”
He shifted lightly and closed his eyes in a frown. He didn’t want to hear their protestations, he was dead anyway. He didn’t need any more illusion. He had his count.
He grumbled when he felt something that was clearly not what you could expect for anyone’s lap. Welp, maybe he wasn’t dead, after all. He was probably lying on rock, and all that was a deception. Who knows, with his incredible luck, he probably mysteriously lost his legs, in truth. He couldn’t know, he didn’t have enough strength to gaze at his legs (he would have to raise his head, and he didn’t want to bother right now). He wasn’t even sure if he could trust his senses right now.
He opened slightly his eyes, ready to see rock in front of him, maybe an eviscerated sea animal right in front of you, or even a poop, for what he had to care right now! However, what he saw was more… Fishy. Literally. A long fish-tail going beneath his head and continuing in the water.
He blinked, and slowly turned anew his head in the direction of his savior still standing over him with a funny face, visibly waiting his reaction. He suddenly found the strength to get up and even turn to have a better view of this ‘person’.
“Holy shit…” he whispered. They didn’t have legs. Under their hips, their skin disappeared under shiny colored scales.
Osomatsu slapped himself, ignoring the surprise yelp of his savior. He looked again. No doubts…
“You’re a siren.” he said, his mouth agape.
They sighed and took some seconds, thinking carefully about their response.
“Don’t mention it, please. I didn’t hope you to wake that fast. I planned to take care of you and keep you warm until the sun comes again and then… Let you on the beach, like nothing happened…” The siren stared back at him, still frowning. “Humans aren’t supposed to know that we exist, for our sake.” Their tone was as serious as their facial expression. They weren’t kidding. They were pondering what they could do for their kind now that the human they saved saw them. They all would have big problems if he ever talked about them, or even this place. Maybe they could convince him to never talk about it… No they had to!
The siren opened their mouth again when Osomatsu finally said something.
“You’re a siren.” he stated again. He still had the same shocked expression, and they became worried if something bad happened to his head during his almost-drowning. Being shocked by meeting a siren was a thing, looking that dumb was another.
He laughed in a breath. “You’re a siren, damn, you’re a siren!” he started beaming, and it wasn’t really reassuring to them, for they were still really confused about his reactions since the moment he has opened his eyes. “I know it couldn’t continue like this, something had to happen! And it did, the gods had answered me.”
“W-What are you talking about?” What was the problem with that guy? The siren focused their attention on more important subjects. “Anyway, please, you should lay again, your accident was really violent, I don’t think you should stand for now, ok?”
He nodded happily and put his head on their lap (for what could be considered as such for a siren tail), giggling. It was true that his body was insanely painful, and standing like he did some moments ago make him feel like it would simply burst in agony, but hey, he met a super cute siren, boy!
They looked at him, extremely worried about his mental state. Would it even work if they tell him to keep quiet about them? Well, maybe nobody would even believe him, because he looked pretty crazy… But they couldn’t take any risks!
“Listen carefully, I’m begging you to never tell anyone that you ever met a siren or anything like this, it’s capital for- Hey, are you listening to me! Stop laughing!” Damn, it seems they couldn’t get much off him…
“I met a siren!” he singsonged happily, even though his ribs made him suffer at every giggle. He was really sore and tired. “A siren save me, and they probably kiss-”
“HUMAN!” They yelled angrily, gripping his chin to make him look at them. He stopped singing, but kept his stupid smile.
“Yesh?” he asked between his crushed cheeks.
“I need you to never ever talk about sirens or this place to anyone, is it clear?” the siren took their more threatening tone, but he didn’t seem impressed.
“Whaaaat?” he pouted “Not even my brothers? But I could make them so jealous!”
“No, please, understand, not even your family. Nobody. It is vital for my kind. We can’t risk to be hurt, or worse…” They knew that making him promise to wouldn’t be a decisive proof that he will never break it, but it was the least they could do. The least that wasn’t including murder. They weren’t really up for this.
“…” He stared at them. He really wanted to talk about that encounter to everyone, but that look… He sighed. “I get it. It’s not fun… I won’t talk to anybody about this.” Though he probably wouldn’t avoid the question of where he was during the storm, and he bet his soaked attire would be suspicious. He would have to talk about his drowning…
They looked relieved and let go of his chin. He seemed to be the kind of genuine idiot. They felt like he meant it.
“But even if I never tell anyone I met you! I won’t forget that I slept on a siren’s lap!”
They pulled another face.
“I’m so lucky to have met a siren, seriously!” He stated cheerfully.
They brush a hand in their hair. “You do realize how you met me, don’t you?” Their tone was cold. It wasn’t a matter of laughing.
“Yeah, but it worthed it, didn’t… It…” His laugh died slowly as he talked. A cold memory of his drowning and his pessimistic thoughts hit him violently. His regrets andbrothers… “… Scratch that…” He shied his look away. He did not want to remember at all. But… The pain, the tiredness… In a weak attempt to chase it away he closed his eyes. “I… I still need to rest.”
He only needed to focus on the siren. He wouldn’t let anything clouded this happiness! He probably made the best encounter of his life, he didn’t want the, well, rest, to spoil it. He smiled softly.
“Meeting a sweet siren like you… Is freaking amazing, no matter what.” He could already feel the slumber taking him.
“You do realize I won’t be here anymore when you will next wake up?”
He mumbled. He barely understood what his savior said. He couldn’t fight the sleep coming anyway. He felt comfortable. He vaguely suspected the water for not being just regular water…
They smiled softly too. Putting aside the dramatic encounter and his strange behavior, he was in fact funny and rather nice. Seeing him fall asleep fast, the siren started to pet his head, and sang a lullaby to him.
He hummed under the touch.
Looking at him, They thought on what he came through, and their entire conversation. They would let him slept, now. There was nothing more needed to be said. They won’t meet again. They will act like they never even met each other. But they won’t forget each other. What he will say when he will come back to his kind… Was up to him.
They decided to only let the moment being important and stop thinking of this.
For now, they will both genuinely enjoy a little longer of the presence of each other, before leaving forever…