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Make Waves With Me

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Forty-two minutes in and Tin was already suffocating. Medthanan special occasions were enough to make even him squirm. He was dressed in a black tuxedo, shirt buttoned all the way to the top and he wanted nothing more than to unloop the tie from around his neck and hang himself off the balcony if it meant he would get to escape this hell. It was his mother’s birthday and that meant sitting through this annual torture. She hadn’t gone tame this year either. They had hired out the whole hotel which included ballroom, restaurant, spa and pool whilst all one hundred and twenty four of the five-star bedrooms had been reserved out to them and their guests.

Despite having space in abundance, Tin felt sick. His palms were sweating and he was struggling to maintain his icy facade as he felt the critical, questioning stares of the guests lingering over him, wondering if he really was the disappointment his family knew him to be. He never let them trap him like this. He usually always said no. This time though, when his mother had burst into his room to confirm his attendance, the look in her eyes when he had tried to back out had made him feel guilty. He could feel her wondering where she had gone wrong, why one of her son’s was everything she had ever wanted whilst the other was so… ungrateful. He had given in because her condemning eyes had been too much to bear and somewhere deep down inside, he hated disappointing her. She was his mother. He looked like her.

As he silently weaved through the guests seated around the ballroom dance floor and headed to the bar he realised he didn’t look much like her tonight. He took a long glug of one of the complimentary champagne flutes that were meticulously lined up on the bartop, brow furrowing at the taste but enjoying the burning sensation that travelled down to his chest as he watched her. She was wearing a floor-length yellow dress, decorated with gold jewellery and a radiant smile as she danced centre stage with her husband. Tin couldn’t remember ever looking that happy. He’d never felt so carefree. He saw her looking over his father’s shoulder to observe his brother, Tul, who was also dancing, his arms wrapped around his wife’s waist whilst their young son imitated their moves at his ankles. It was then that her eyes flicked to him, and even across the distance between them Tin could see her expression change once her stare focused on her other son, brooding in the corner. Tin tried to offer her a small smile as he pulled at his shirt collar, desperate to get some oxygen into his suddenly starved lungs. She extended a hand out towards him, beckoning for him to join them.

Tin thought about it, he really did, but before he’d had a chance to make up his mind, he saw his father realise who his wife had outstretched her arm for. His eyes which had been full of adoration and warmth for his wife turned cold and he took her suspended arm and used it to twirl her around on the spot. Tin glared at the back of his mother which was now facing him, before meeting his father’s piercing stare. Don’t ruin this for us. His father’s eyes told him everything he needed to know. This was how it had been for as long as he could remember. The us and then Tin. There were hundreds of people in the hotel, yet Tin was alone, achingly so. His father would always make sure he never forgot that. That was his punishment.

Tin drew his eyes away from the ‘us’ that were supposed to be his family, finished his glass and reached over the bar to grab a bottle for good measure before making his way out of the ballroom. He wandered through the corridors, too familiar with such surroundings that he didn’t pay attention to how grandiose they were anymore. He kept his eyes on the plush purple carpet as he pushed past people until he eventually stumbled across the exit.

“Is everything okay Mr Medthanan sir?” one of the guards at the front entrance queried.

“I’m fine, if anyone asks can you just tell them I’m getting some air and will be back shortly?” Tin replied, knowing he had no intention whatsoever of coming back anytime soon.

“Of course, sir.” The guard nodded. Tin recognised his face but had no recollection of his name. In that one fleeting moment, Tin felt bad for not knowing. He didn’t bother asking anymore. His life had become just this, fleeting faces at different occasions, faces that were nameless, meaningless. He knew he couldn’t trust anyone, so he’d just stopped trying to. He walked away from the guard, in no specific direction looking for the comfort he only seemed to find when he was alone.

*

That comfort, Tin realised, was infinite times easier to find in the company of the bottle of clear liquor he’d taken from the bar. He wasn’t even sure what it was. Vodka maybe? Tequila? He had no clue, he wasn’t an experienced drinker and he was reminded of that a few swigs in when his mind began to become blurry like a windscreen in heavy rain.

He had found his way to the beach, which admittedly was little more than a stone’s throw away from the hotel. He was delighted with his choice of direction because the night air was warm and humid but the sea breeze tickled at his neck which had since been freed of a tie and three buttons. He walked along the coastline, the bottle in one hand and his dress shoes in the other with his suit jacket thrown over a shoulder, inhaling air that was flecked with sea salt. He could taste it on his tongue. He watched the calm sea through clouded eyes, wondering what it might be like to just, walk in. Walk in and allow the waves to overcome him, to drown in the salty soup. Might he be free then? He gritted his toes in the warm sand, trying to firm his own resolve before taking a step towards the water.

Before he could go any further, his attention was stolen by a twinkle in his peripheral vision. He turned, trying to find the culprit, before his eyes fell upon a body about a hundred yards or so down the coastline. Or at least, what he thought was a body. Concern and fear flushed through him, unsure of whether to approach. He thought about turning away, pretending he hadn’t seen anything and heading back to the party, but water was lapping at the limbs of the lifeform and if they weren’t dead already, they were soon to be if he ran. He took another reassuring swig of the clear acid and a deep breath, before slowly beginning to walk forward.

The closer he got, the more Tin had to analyse exactly how much he’d had to drink. The body was pale, almost white, but breathing in huge deep gasps. It was a boy, Tin decided. He had dark hair, that was highlighted with flashes of silver that glinted under the low moonlight. It was hard to properly see his face, but he had full cheeks and a strong jawline. His top half was bare, revealing a slim but toned frame. His arms were long and almost delicate, his chest heaving as he tried to breathe. Tin couldn’t get a good look at his eyes, they were almost shut, rolling back in his head as he squirmed against the sand, fighting unconsciousness.

None of that though, compared to what Tin saw when he dragged his eyes down the boy’s body. He glanced at the bottle of liquor he was holding, wondering what psychedelics had been slipped into it before he had snatched it from the bar. The boy had a fucking tail. A mermaid’s tale to be precise. It was longer than Tin’s own legs by far, almost seven foot and covered in jungle green scales that flickered iridescent. It was glittery, like some of his mother’s sequinned dresses and framed at the bottom by two sharp fins. Tin pulled out his phone with a shaky hand, dropping his shoes in the process, to turn on the torch light and get a better look.

“What the fuck…” he muttered to himself under his breath. He regretted his words almost the second he’d finished verbalising them, as his voice startled the creature below him, whose eyes suddenly shot open. Tin saw his irises flash red and that was almost the last thing he saw, because the struggling boy below him used the last of his depleting energy to lift his tail from the sand and slap it hard against Tin’s ogling frame.

Tin was not ashamed to say, he went flying. Luckily the sand below him was soft enough to cushion the blow as he hit the ground hard, both phone and liquor bottle knocked out of his hands on impact. Blinking his eyes open with a groan, he tested each of his limbs over the hissing of the pissed off sea creature now on his right, finding that all of them were still working. His face felt sticky though, so he dragged a palm down it and took a look. A black red substance covered his hand, warm with the heavy scent of iron. Blood. He ran his arms down his body, along his skin, looking for the wound but was unable to find the source. He looked back at the creature, whose marble skin was getting whiter by the second, covered in a glistening sheen from both water and sweat. He was angry, thrashing as hard as he could as if to scare Tin off. Tin’s eyes landed on what he was looking for, the underside of his tail. The injury looked severe, deep lashes of red had been carved into the scaled limb and blood was seeping steadily from them. The red welts ran along the whole underside of his tail, exposing layers of fishy flesh that Tin was usually accustomed to eating with a white sauce. It began to dawn on Tin that this thing, this boy, was going to die. Shakily, he got to his feet and held up both his hands, showing him he was unarmed before slowly trying to approach.

He was greeted with another hiss, weaker this time. The red eyes flared, but the creature’s head was laid down now, tail only twitching as he continue to creep forward.

“Help. I’m trying to help.” The boy tilted his head inquisitively, unsure.

“Can you understand me?” Tin tried. Weak scarlet eyes bore into him until eventually he gave a small nod.

“Let me help.” Tin spoke, right in front of him now, coming down to his knees and allowing a light wave of water to soak through his clothes. The boy didn’t take his eyes off him, but stayed frozen still and Tin could sense his fear from a mile off.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he tried to reassure. “Let me see.”

The boy allowed him to touch his tail, which was warmer than Tin expected. The scales were hard and smooth, like diamonds. The boy shivered under his touch. Tin tried to lift it, but it was too heavy, so the boy flipped it over for him, lolling against the sand as his breaths became shallower.

“Thanks.” Tin said gratefully, he shifted his weight underneath the tail, reaching over for the liquor bottle he’d abandoned after being slapped to the ground. There was still some in it.

“This will hurt,” he warned. He could visibly see the boy clench his teeth upon the realisation of what he was about to do, but he could make out the faint nod of his sickly white face under the ever darkening night sky. Tin poured the remainder of the alcohol out onto the deep red cuts and the visceral scream that penetrated the humid air encasing them was unlike anything he’d ever heard.

Tin was almost knocked out a second time as the boy tried to escape, but Tin held his tail firm between his two thighs, trapping him still despite the venomous hisses escaping the creature that had so little breath left. Tin grabbed his hand and squeezed it tight.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Shh. It’s already helping,” he tried to soothe. To his fairness, it was. He could see the disinfected red welts already beginning to ooze a little less blood. He couldn’t lie though he wished he had saved a shot of that booze for himself because his nerves were shot to hell. The boy began to calm, feebly whimpering against the sand. Tin felt the grip on his hand begin to loosen and Tin’s concern peaked as his head rolled back and red eyes fell shut, barely breathing.

Tin reached for his discarded dinner jacket and wrapped the boy’s tail in it, tying it tightly with both sleeves in an effort to absorb any more blood the boy might lose. He needed to move him, but despite his small frame his tail was so heavy. Where could they even go? He couldn’t take a human fucking fish to a hospital. Tin reached out for the boy’s shoulders and shook him.

“Hey,” Nothing. “Hey!” Tin raised his voice a little louder, his eyes cracked open. “Hey, stay with me okay. I’m gonna need you to help me move you.”

The boy couldn’t manage any words, Tin wondered if he even could speak, but he outstretched an arm and placed it into the shallow water, before flicking it towards Tin. Tin scrunched his face up as water droplets ran down his fringe, but watched as the boy then lightly shook his head. What? No water?

“Oh! I got it!” Tin said, realising he had to move him at least a little by himself. Standing on his own shaky and soaked legs, Tin moved around the boy’s body and hooked two arms under him, dragging him as gently as he could away from the sea’s edge. It took all of his might just to move him a few inches, but once they were far enough away he collapsed back down to the sand to catch his breath and wait for the creature to dry off.

*

Sure enough, as the boy began to dry, his appearance began to change. The silver licks through his hair morphed into jet black ones to match the rest, sharp teeth became more soft pearly curves and his skin lost its ethereal glow and grew pinker. Tin kept an eye on him, his pulse was weak but he was breathing in short, shallow pants. The last change Tin watched with his jaw almost touching the sand as his mouth hung open. Slowly, as his form dried out, his stunning scaly tail morphed into two normal human legs. Slim, like the rest of him from what Tin could see under the dinner jacket that was still tied round him. He was grateful for that, as he assumed that he wasn’t going to transform into a convenient pair of pants at the same time. Despite his more human-like appearance he was still beautiful and Tin almost gave himself another slap for allowing his dick to twinge at the thought of him naked underneath his jacket. He blamed it on the alcohol.

Where the boy’s new legs were, the injuries that had been embedded on his mermaid’s tale were still clear to be seen. The deep red cuts were now emblazoned up his calves instead, almost appearing even more severe against the pale contrast of his white skin. Now he knew he’d be able to pick him up, Tin took a deep breath and prepared to follow through on the plan he’d been forming whilst the boy slept.

It had got late. Considerably late in fact. The city had mellowed out and it was only a five minute walk back to the hotel. He’d been gone ages and the party would hopefully have calmed down by now. If he could sneak in via the back entrance, he could get the boy up to his suite. He knew that no one would be looking for him, they wouldn’t give a fuck if he never came back at all, but he needed somewhere safe. Somewhere quiet. They couldn’t sit out here all night and he had a fuck load of questions he wanted to ask if he could manage to keep this seaboy alive until the morning.

Chapter Text

By the time he had got them both back to his hotel room, Tin was pretty damn pleased with himself. He’d managed to sneak the mermaid fish boy in on his back, deadweight he had been heavier than expected and he’d really had to use that core strength he’d thankfully been building up at his home gym. He had crept past the guards and few remaining guests, who had been drunkenly hobbling to their rooms and stumbling up the stairs. Not so classy now. He’d taken the elevator, praying to a God above him he wasn’t sure he believed in that it would be empty when it arrived. He’d worked out the odds and knew he had a better chance of that than avoiding the rabble on the huge grand staircases. Some higher power must have been smiling upon him, because it had been and he’d hastened into it, with the boy on his back breathing lightly against his neck, making him shiver. Shivering from the nerves of potentially getting caught, or because the boy’s mouth was so close to his skin, he couldn’t tell. His suite was on the third floor, so mercifully, they didn’t have to go far and the dash from the elevator to his room had been untroubled other than for the fact that his fucking keycard flashed red three times before finally deciding to have pity on him and allow him entrance to his own damn room.

Now he found himself drawing the curtains to a close, to block out any intruding eyes. The clock on the bedside table brightly informed him it was half-two in the morning and somehow, he was still half drunk, wearing a suit covered in blood and had a half human half fish boy potentially dying in his bed. No, maybe not on the point of death anymore. The wounds on the boys legs had finally stopped bleeding since Tin had gently wrapped some bright white towels around them after laying him down, he had no idea how the fuck he was going to explain that tomorrow, well today, he supposed. The blood had begun to congeal and scab over quicker than he had expected but he was grateful all the same, and the boy’s breathing had evened out and was a little less raspy.

Tin tentatively walked across the room and sat gently on the edge of the bed next to him, looking him over. He pressed two fingers lightly to his neck, feeling for his heartbeat under the soft skin, wondering momentarily if that was even how you took a mermaid’s pulse before the delicate throbbing beat under his fingers proved otherwise. Yes, it was definitely stronger than it had been at the beach. Tin blew out a sigh of relief he wasn’t aware he’d been holding before moving his hand to carefully push the boy’s hair away from his face. He really was quite gorgeous, Tin thought, taking in the slight curve of his eyelids and heavy dark lashes. He had a full mouth. Pink.

It struck Tin as he gently entwined the boys dark hair around his fingers, that he’d never been particularly attracted to anyone, ever. He could appreciate beauty of course, and often did. Women had a tendency to throw themselves at him and sometimes, when he was feeling exceptionally bored or alone he would allow one of them to think they could change him. Sex had always been, well, sex. It was good, sure, but he’d never felt anything for any of them beyond the basic physiology that he, whether he liked it or not, was genetically programmed to feel when he had a pretty mouth wrapped around him. As for men, well he’d never even considered it. Yet, he could definitely appreciate this seaboy’s beauty. Especially now with only a duvet and a few towels protecting him. Tin had thought about dressing him, but had decided that it was a bit too personal.

“Are you enjoying yourself?” came a hoarse croak from the fish boy that startled Tin so much he whipped his hand away like it was on fire. It was the first time he’d spoken, but he didn’t open his eyes.

“Sorry?” Tin muttered, feeling his ears burn a hot pink.

“As if I couldn’t feel you playing with my hair, I can feel you fucking staring,” slowly he blinked his eyes open a crack, adjusting to the dimly lit room. Tin had only left a small lamp on. The flush at Tin’s ears threatened to spread to his cheeks. So he cleared his throat with a ‘hmph’ before answering.

“You should be grateful you can feel anything at all. Besides, what do you expect fish boy?”

At that, the injured fish’s eyes widened, as if suddenly remembering. He sat bolt upright, attempting to scrabble backwards as though he hoped he could hide in the headboard of the bed. It didn’t escape Tin’s notice that he very nearly didn’t take the duvet with him. He didn’t get very far before he shouted out, obviously still in pain.

“Ah fuck!” he exclaimed, reaching for his legs which were still shrouded in the towels Tin had wrapped around them.

“Be careful! You’re injured remember!” Tin chastised, reaching out in an attempt to keep him still. Meeting his fearful gaze, Tin realised that the eyes he’d assumed were naturally red, weren’t any longer. He was looked upon by rich chocolate brown eyes, barely able to see his pupils under the dull lamplight.

“Your legs are hurt. I’ve stopped the bleeding, but you need to keep still or you’ll reopen the wounds,” he tried to explain, offering a small smile in an attempt to reassure him.

“The jellyfish,” the boy whispered, a faint expression of recognition falling across his soft face.

“Huh?”

“The jellyfish, I forgot. I swam into the jellyfish reef by accident,” the boy muttered. This time it was Tin’s face that expressed a sudden understanding. That’s what the wounds were, jellyfish stings. He had wondered how anyone would come across injuries like that. He found himself wondering whether they would scar his tail as well as his legs.

“What’s your name?” Tin asked. The boy quickly shook his head, not happy to offer that information, but slumped back down against the headboard, less eager to escape him at least.

“Fine, fine. Well I’m Tin anyway. Are you a -” He began, unsure of what he was asking.

“A what?” The boy snapped, a judgemental expression in his eyes.

“A mermaid?” Tin finished.

“No! Of course I’m not, fool,” the boy answered quickly. “Mermaids are girls! Do I look like a maid to you?”

At that, for the first time in what was probably weeks, a smile gripped Tin’s usually icy stare and tugged the corners of his mouth upwards as he chastised himself for his own ignorance.

“I do apologise. Forgive me for my lack of knowledge regarding the gender identity politics of merfolk,” he spoke with a smirk.

“Yes merfolk, that’s better! It’s 2019, I’d have expected more inclusivity around here,” the boy replied with his own grin, which Tin didn’t fail to note was fucking perfection. His smile lit up his whole face, his eyes shone so brightly that it was almost as if you could see the sea behind them.

“Generally, your people would call me a merman,” he continued.

“My people?”

“Yes, you know. Human-folk,” Tin nodded his understanding, deciding against arguing that this fish-human looked more like a boy than a man to him. “Did you tell anyone else that I’m here?” the boy asked suddenly, concern drowning out that beautiful twinkle in his eyes.

“No of course, not. Even if I had wanted to, I’d have no idea how to explain,” Tin answered, watching as the boy visibly relaxed. “Can I ask you something?”

“Only if you promise to keep your mouth shut about me being here.”

“I promise,” Tin vowed, imagining himself running up to his parents in an effort to explain that he’d managed to bring a merman back in the middle of the night.

The boy eyed him suspiciously before nodding his consent.

“Are you full grown?” Tin queried and watched as the merboy cracked up with laughter. He wasn’t allowed to enjoy his smile for long though because he visibly winced against the pain that the movement caused his lacerated legs.

“You’re so rude!” the boy giggled, “Jesus, fuck that hurts, don’t make me laugh! And yes - for your information. I am pretty much full grown.”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend!” Tin apologised, and it was genuinely true. He had no idea why the question was even offensive. “Besides, that’s a good thing because your tail already weighs a tonne, I could barely lift it!”

“Asking merfolk if they are full grown is like asking a lady how old she is,” the boy explained. “It’s not a crime, it’s just not very… polite.”

Tin nodded, taking a mental note of this information just in case he ever happened across another sea swept merfolk member on the shore in his time. Against every brain cell he still had functioning, the evening’s events began to catch up with him and a huge insuppressible yawn took hold of his body. He observed the boy carefully as he stretched, watching as he recalled the memory of Tin trying to lift his tail in his little fishy head, remembering the beach, remembering the fact that Tin had saved his life. If only Tin knew that he was also remembering the weird but not unpleasant sensation of having his tail sandwiched between Tin’s strong legs.

“Do you have any clothes I can borrow?” The boy asked, suddenly acutely aware that he was wearing nothing apart from a bedsheet.

“Yeah, course.” Tin nodded and began to root through the suitcase he hadn’t even bothered to unpack. Everything he had was going to be too big, but eventually he chucked a grey sweatshirt and a pair of joggers towards the fish boy, turning his back as he slowly got changed under the duvet, attempting to avoid rubbing the fabric against his injured legs.

“You can look now,” the boy muttered. As Tin turned, he saw him rolling the joggers up to his knees, allowing the wounds to breathe. The stings were no longer bleeding, but they were deep, raised and bright scarlet sore. Grabbing a change of clothes for himself, Tin walked into the en-suite bathroom and dug out the complimentary first-aid box that he knew was always in the cabinet. He rooted through until he found a small blue bottle that contained a balm for soothing burns.

“Here, this might help a bit with the pain,” Tin muttered, returning to the room after having got changed into an oversized blue jumper and his gym shorts, discarding his bloody suit in the bathtub. The boy had an arm draped over his face, seemingly chewing on the sleeve of Tin’s sweatshirt in an attempt to distract himself from his burning legs.

“Please,” came his muffled reply. Tin had expected him to take the bottle and apply it himself, but it seemed the fish boy had other ideas. He approached carefully and sat close enough to reach him but not close enough that he would accidentally brush against the wounds. He uncapped the bottle and applied some of the creamy white balm on his fingers, it was cool and silky to the touch. Gently, he pressed the solvent against the worse of the wounds on the fish boy’s left leg.

“Fuck,” hissed the wounded, retracting his leg slightly under Tin’s touch. He bit the inside of his mouth and forced himself to relax again, allowing Tin to continue rubbing the cream into his skin. Once the immediate sting began to wear off, Tin felt the merboy begin to slacken up under the delicate pressure of his fingers. He moved to the other leg, watching as the boy bit hard on his lower lip, leaving teeth marks against the pink flesh. The skin on his legs that hadn’t been emblazoned by the jellyfish assault was smooth and while slim, his calf muscles were toned and firm against Tin’s hands. The fishboy made no noise, and that almost infuriated Tin as he became overwhelmed by a desire to hear the boy moan. Moan because of him.

“Can. My name’s Can.”

Chapter Text

Soothed and with his pain minimised as much as was possible, the fish boy, who Tin now knew was named Can drifted back into unconsciousness. Tin allowed it, was almost relieved by it in fact, well aware that he needed some time to gather his thoughts. Or more specifically, wonder what the hell was going on in his head. Yet upon his own self-reflection, he was only left with more questions. How old was a full grown merman? How many times had Can mixed with ‘human-folk’ before? Why was his dick hard over a sea creature he’d only just met? A boy at that.

Tin sighed, rolling on to his back. He was lying on the king-sized bed, leaving ample room between himself and Can and ensuring not to get caught with his hands where they ought not to be this time. A quick glance at the ever-ticking clock read quarter past four now and Tin’s mind became clouded by concern about how he was going to cover this in the morning. Well, the proper morning anyway. He knew he should sleep, wanted to even, but every time he closed his eyes he found himself intently listening to the light snoring of the boy beside him. Can was still injured, still fragile. He wanted to keep an eye on him, for his own safety, or at least that was what he told himself.

In order to make the morning’s predicament easier, Tin sat upright, lazily rubbing his eyes as he did so. He gathered the two towels he’d used to bandage Can’s legs and headed into the bathroom to collect his spoiled suit. Opening the bedroom door he checked that the coast was clear before propping it open with a shoe and heading to the end of the corridor to dispose of the blood stained items down the laundry chute. He hadn’t wanted any further arguments with his keycard at this time of night. There were still some blood specks on the luxurious white carpet and the bedsheets but, if he moved some of the furniture around and tossed the sheets in the morning, he hoped he would get away without his parents receiving a fine for damages. Leaning back against the door until it clicked shut, Tin let his eyes fall back upon Can who was stretched out on his side, maimed legs tentatively positioned so as not to touch and an arm tucked under one of the goose feather pillows. He appeared almost feline. Tin pulled his gaze away, concerned that Can would sense him looking again and headed back to the bathroom.

Removing his clothes, he turned on the shower and stepped under the warm water. A delight to his senses, he closed his eyes as his body was stripped of the remnants of salt, dry blood and sand that still clung to his skin. He leaned his head back under the shower head, well aware that he had one problem left to attend to if he was going to get any sleep tonight. He let his right hand slide down to his hip bone, considering. He knew it was a bad idea and yet, the only one he had. Better to get it over with quickly. He took a firm hold of his still hard dick, and kept his eyes closed as he began to stroke. His mouth fell open when he imagined the touch was someone else’s, the weight of being pinned by a fish boy’s tail, the pressure of sharp sea creature teeth against his neck. It didn’t take him long to come. He bit back a moan and placed a palm against the pristine white bathroom tiles in an effort to steady legs that threatened to stop holding him up.

With the evidence of his pleasure quickly washed away by the hot water pounding against his shoulder blades, he shut off the stream and began to dry himself with the only remaining towel left in the bathroom. He felt relieved but not satisfied and because of that, found himself enveloped by shame and embarrassment as he began to dress. He’d never felt this. This intense want. He didn’t know what to do with it. He took a long, hard look at himself in the bathroom mirror which was still blurred by steamy condensation.

“Get yourself together, Tin.” He spoke at his own reflection as if consulting a long lost twin. Affirming himself with a nod, he inhaled a few deep intakes of breath before creaking open the bathroom door and heading back over to the bed that was still inhabited by his fish visitor. Turning off the soft lamplight, he climbed back into the side that was not already weighed down by Can and as before, left as much distance between them as he could. Guilt made him feel uncomfortable when he glanced at him, as if his sordid bathroom session had somehow tainted the boy’s unquestionable beauty. He turned his back to him and attempted to relax, which was helped by the soothing sound of Can’s ever strengthening breaths. Eventually, Tin’s heavy lids fell closed and his body, exhausted, gave in to the darkness behind his eyes.

*

The next time Tin woke, the evil clock beside him read ten past six in the morning. The room was still pitch black. It took a few seconds for everything to fall into place, that there was someone else in the bed with him. He blinked his eyes open fully, adjusting to the darkness that the expensive curtains had mercifully kept them shrouded in. Tin assumed dawn was on the verge of breaking and he was not ready to face a new day. He turned over, eager to check on Can but found the other side of the bed empty. He sat up quickly, pulling back the duvet as if he expected to find him absorbed in the plush mattress. Nothing.

As quick as his still half-asleep brain would allow, Tin rolled out of bed and flicked the lamp on, eyes squinting against the unwelcome light. The room was deserted. He stumbled towards the closed bathroom door. Did he close it after his shower? He couldn’t remember. He pressed an ear against it, seeking a sound to prove its occupancy, but there was nothing to enlighten him. Quietly, he pulled the handle and swung it open, quickly realising he was not braced for the sight which beheld him.

Can was lying submerged in the full bathtub, eyes closed. Silver strands glinted through his jet black hair, skin glimmering against the white light of the modern bathroom and his huge jade green tail hung, suspended over the edge of the bath which hadn’t been built to accommodate his fins. He didn’t seem to notice Tin, standing there gawping at him, doing a fairly good impression of a fish himself as his mouth opened and closed on words he didn’t quite manage to frame. It was only when the doorway Tin was using for support creaked against its own hinges did Can’s eyes blink open. Cherry red eyes, sharp incisors, Tin acknowledged as Can gasped involuntarily at this unexpected intrusion. His tail flicked against the bathtub rim, sloshing water onto the floor.

“I’m sorry,” Tin started, “I uh, I didn’t know where you’d gone. I was worried.” He couldn’t take his eyes off the merboy, raking in every detail of what he hadn’t managed to capture under the moonlight of the beach. Prominent collarbones, tapered emerald nails and fish gills scored deep into both sides of his neck.

“It’s okay, you can come in if you want. It’s your bathroom.” Can spoke, his tail tapping porcelain, almost as if he was happy to see him.

“You sure you don’t mind?” Tin queried, unsure whether he was overstepping a line he didn’t even want to draw in the first place. He hovered at the door, awaiting approval.

“Yes, it’s no problem. I suppose I owe you a good look,” Can seemed to almost smirk at the intrigue blatantly plastered across Tin’s face. He flicked his tail up, beckoning for him to come closer in the same way you would with a finger.

“You don’t owe me anything,” Tin answered, but his feet moved before his brain had approved the action anyway. He slowly knelt down, placing the towel which was still damp from his shower earlier underneath him to absorb the water now glistening against the marble floor. The angle he was at allowed him to get another look at the jellyfish stings that decorated Can’s tail. They were still prominent, but seemed less raw and swollen. Either that burn ointment he’d used worked miracles, or Can’s body healed faster than that of a human.

“Your stings look better,” Tin managed, his voice huskier than he had planned it to sound. He thought about attempting to explain that he had just woken up, but decided that would just make him sound weird. He hoped Can wouldn’t read too much into it as he cleared his throat.

“Yes, the water is helping! A few more hours and I should be okay to swim,” Can explained.

“Why exactly, are you in my bathtub?” Tin asked, mesmerised by the way the end of Can’s tail flicked gently back and forth into the water, keeping itself wet as if resentful that it couldn’t soak in the liquid like the rest of him.

“I don’t know. You humans are so dry. This feels a little bit more like home I guess, it’s just a shame it’s not salty. It’s not right when it’s not salty,” Can babbled, observing Tin who was still staring at his animated tail. “Do you mind that I’m in your bathtub?”

Tin shook his head slowly, meeting the red eyes that were looking upon him with interest.

“I didn’t think you would.”

“Can I…” Tin started without thinking, slowly outstretching an arm towards his scaled fins. Instinctively, Can drew his tail away. He’d never let a human touch his tail before. He’d never trusted one enough.

“I’m sorry,” Tin said, withdrawing his arm quickly back to his side where he knew it damn well belonged. Can looked over him, uncertainty clear upon his face before he decidedly let his tail fall back within Tin’s reach. He had saved his life, he supposed he wouldn’t hurt him.

“It’s erm, it’s okay. Just mind the stings please,” Can spoke, nodding at him with a small, encouraging smile when Tin met his eyes, seeking further permission. Upon its receipt, Tin turned his attention back to Can’s bejeweled flesh. Following his request, he slowly outstretched a hand until he reached the topside of his tail, giving him all the time he could to stop him if he felt uncomfortable. They were both silent, the only sound in the room the splash of water against the sides of the bath as Can moved to both protect his wounds and give Tin better access.

When he brushed his fingertips against Can’s scales, memories of the beach flooded back to Tin that he had forgotten in the panic of the moment. His tail radiated warmth and the scales were hard like crystals. The texture was like glass but not delicate, each scale felt strong, unbreakable. He let his hand trail across as many as he could, drifting down towards the two fins that framed his tail. He held one of them gently between two fingers. It was silky and fleshy but thin, almost transparent. He could see his hand through it. The fins were colder than the body. Tin looked up at Can, not removing his hand.

“Can you feel it?” he asked, quietly. Can chuckled, releasing a breath he hadn’t noticed he was holding.

“Of course I can.”

“What does it feel like?” Tin pushed, continuing to drag his hand across the almost reptilian tissue, applying a little more pressure when Can’s eyes slipped shut.

“It’s… sensitive.” Can tried, his mind struggling to find the exact word he was looking for.

“Does it feel good?” Tin continued, although he thought he knew the answer. Especially once he heard Can’s breath hitch when he stroked across a few scales using a fingernail.

“Yes,” Can almost seemed to purr. He let his eyes flutter open and Tin was surprised to find that the red eyes he’d begun to adjust to, now burned a bright amber. They looked so warm. Tin studied his face, engrossed. He wasn’t sure whether it was his blown pupils, the faint pink blush that had crept its way across his cheeks or the way Can’s fins began to gently sweep against the hand delicately caressing its scales but whatever it was, Tin realised that he wanted him. Badly. Boy or not, he didn’t care. He wanted to taste that plush mouth, to pull at those silver strands, to watch amber eyes roll back in his head when he came.

“Ow, fuck! Tin!” Can’s hiss startled him out of his train of thought and he quickly found himself drenched when his fish boy quickly retracted his tail and slammed it hard against the bath water. In his growing confidence, he’d stopped watching the movements of his hand in favour of watching Can enjoying being touched. His carelessness had meant that he had accidentally raked his fingers directly through one of the jellyfish stings.

“Shit, I’m so sorry!” Tin exclaimed, wiping bath water from his eyes. He looked up through stinging vision to find Can had stilled. Red eyed and purse-lipped, Tin became acutely aware that Can was not someone he wanted to piss off. The sharp teeth balanced on his bottom lip perfectly capable of tearing his throat out if he felt so inclined.

“It’s fine, help me get out of here,” Can spoke, calm but as serious as Tin had ever heard him.

“Yeah, course.” Tin stood, and looped one arm around the boy’s waist and the other around his heavy tail, using all the energy he had to hoist him out of the water. Reluctantly, Can brought his arms around his neck in an effort to help.

Tin managed to lay him down on the bedroom floor without any further incident, the silence between them palpable and heavy. To dry him off faster, Tin plugged in the complimentary hair dryer that every hotel came equipped with and handed it to Can so he could blow dry himself. It took all of ten minutes before his tail began to fade. Tin turned away once it did so, in a feeble attempt to prove he could actually be a gentleman as Can began to dress once again in his clothes. When he heard Can moving, he turned to find the now raven-haired boy crawling back into what apparently had become his side of the bed.

“I’m going to get a bit more rest.” Can spoke, more to the wall than to him. The chemistry that had once made the air tense and thick seemed to have dissipated. Tin could hear in the tone of his voice that the atmosphere was frosty, it was almost… professional.

“Good idea,” he muttered, following suit even though his presence felt unwelcome. He stared at the ceiling whilst Can kept his back to him. He wanted to apologise properly, to make up for his mistake but realised that he wasn’t going to get that opportunity until later once he sensed the soft rise and fall of Can’s chest that he by now associated with his sleeping pattern.

Tin wasn’t sure at what time he himself had eventually drifted off but when he woke, the bed was empty and the bathroom door was still open. He didn’t have to look around the room to know that Can wasn’t coming back this time.

Chapter Text

“What the hell is going on with you?” Tul fired as Tin barged past him en route to the fridge.

It had been twelve days. Twelve days since Can had done a runner and Tin was not in the fucking mood. He had clung on to hope for the first few days, almost half expecting Can to just appear when he turned corners or entered rooms but eventually, it began to hit home that he really wasn’t going to see the fish boy again. Consequently he’d been slamming doors, refusing to eat and storming around the Medthanan mansion with a permanent scowl etched on his face. Although not out of the ordinary, he usually tried to remain invisible when it came to his family but for now, he was doing everything in his power to make them all as miserable as he was.

“Don’t pretend like you give a shit,” Tin spat back, fists balled together in an effort to refrain from laying his brother out on the kitchen floor.

“You’re right I don’t, but you’re upsetting Ma with this bitch fit you’re throwing. So if you ain’t gonna chill the fuck out, piss off and get out of here.” Tul spoke with an eyebrow cocked, pushing for a reaction out of his younger brother. Tin thought about retaliating, digging his own nails into his palm to prevent handing over another inch of power to his already arrogant enough sibling. Instead, he kept his eyes locked against Tul’s and pushed the glass of water he’d just filled off the countertop, letting it crash to floor where it shattered into hundreds of tiny shards.

“Oops.” Tin spoke, “My bad.”

He walked across the glass fragments, feeling them crunch under his bare feet. He didn’t even blink when some of them split his skin. His so called brother watched him, wide eyed. Tin could see the glint of fear that filled them as he approached.

“You’re insane,” Tul said, backing up ever so slightly.

“I know.” Tin whispered, before walking away. He headed through the corridor and out the front door, ignoring his mother’s call from upstairs asking if everything was alright. He didn’t bother glancing back, but if he had, he’d have seen his brother staring open-mouthed at the trail of bloody footprints he left behind.

*

After grabbing a pair of black leather shoes from the porch on his way out, Tin had shoved his bleeding feet inside of them and headed to the only place he wanted to be. He’d found a stretch of beach which was almost deserted and walked along the sea’s edge, allowing his sore feet to get coated with water on a few occasionally heavy waves. He had unfinished business here and it was time to rectify that.

Dusk hung heavy and low over the sky and Tin stared out to the last remnants of the burning, blood orange sunset. He missed Can, he couldn’t deny it. The short time he had known him had made him feel more alive than he had done in years, but it was more than that. He was so fucking done. He was done with being a disappointment, he was done letting people down and he was definitely done with everyone leaving him. Why did everyone always leave? Even when he tried to be good, tried to be warm and open like other people were, it still wasn’t enough to get anyone to stay. Can’s rejection, purposefully or not, had reminded him why he kept himself closed off, kept himself safe. Except this time he didn’t want to pretend like it didn’t matter. He was so fucking tired of pretending.

Kicking his shoes off and ignoring the sting of gritty sand in his glass cuts, he walked deeper into the sea, the water warm lashing against his skin. He watched the blue waves crash in the distance and wondered what it would be like to be enveloped by them. Tin glanced around, hoping to spot him but there was no sign. The ocean was huge, he could be anywhere by now. The irony didn’t escape Tin that although Can was somewhere out there swimming in the depths, he was the one who was lost.

Now waist deep, Tin let his knees buckle underneath him and began to swim out. The current was stronger than he anticipated and he soon found himself being swept out deeper and deeper, until he could no longer touch the sand beneath his feet. He didn’t feel scared like he had expected to but his body betrayed him, automatically flailing against the power of the waves crashing around him. He squeezed his eyes closed against the salt that was stinging them, took one last breath of oxygen and let himself be submerged, kicking against his own human instincts to get deeper. He could feel fish swimming against him as he slowly exhaled, bubbles trickling up to the surface. None of them were his fish.

He wasn’t sure how long it took for his lungs to start to burn or for his chest to heave as his brain cried out for oxygen. When his mouth opened automatically, desperate to suck in air that he’d left behind, he took in a gulp of salt water instead and began to choke. Energy seeped away from him and his world turned black as he eventually, finally, stopped fighting.

*

When Tin’s eyes cracked open, he was almost certain he was dead. It was dark and he couldn’t see much. Gently, he twitched each muscle in his body. Everything seemed to be working except his feet which were sore when he clenched his toes. He was laid on his back against something hard and cold. Running his fingers along the surface he identified it as something close to stone. It was moist to the touch, almost wet. Where the fuck was he? Was this hell? He’d always expect it to be a bit more… fiery. As his pupils began to adjust to the dark he noticed that the space he was in resembled a cave. It wasn’t huge, but he had enough space to move around. He could vaguely make out the splashing of water behind him and following the sound he turned his head to find a small gap in the ground which opened to a small pool of water.

Tentatively, he crawled over to the opening and looked inside, the water filled what seemed to be a never-ending tunnel. On closer analysis, he decided he could fit through. Glancing around the four walls that enclosed him, he realised he had no other option. He swung his legs into the water, wincing as the salt stung at his feet. If he wasn’t dead, he resigned himself to the fact that he might be soon but he couldn’t stay here. He didn’t want to die of starvation, that was way too slow and not the way he’d planned it. Water droplets fell from the ceiling of the cave as he pulled his hands together in a quick prayer, trickling down his neck and making him shiver. With a deep breath, he plunged into the tunnel and kicked his legs hard, using the tunnel walls as a guide to move himself down as far as he could. After what could have been thirty seconds or an eternity, the tunnel opened out and if Tin could have gasped without drowning he would have.

His eyes beheld four mer-people and one of them was his. Can was stood with his back to him, tail paddling against the water to keep him upright. There were two other boys, one with a red tail and one with a blue one. There was also a girl, whose tail was silver and the fins at the end of it curled into spirals. All four of them looked magnificent. Tin released some of the oxygen he was holding in his lungs, calculating that he had about a minute before he’d have to head back up for air. They were gabbling at each other, bubbles emitting from all four of their gills but Tin couldn’t understand them. Their expressions didn’t seem happy, brows furrowed and angry red eyes glaring from left, right and centre. Tin got the impression they were arguing.

Suddenly, the gaze of the boy with the sapphire blue tail landed on him and Tin saw a sly smirk appear on his face. The boy flicked a quick glance at Can before swimming at Tin so fast he nearly knocked the last remnants of breath out of him. Before he could process what was happening, the boy had his tail wrapped around him and was squeezing tight. Tin tried to push against the heavy appendage but his attempts proved fruitless as the boy only tightened his grip. Just as Tin was about to suck in two lungs worth of water on a scream, Can broke in between the both of them and whipped his tail against the blue-finned boy so hard he flew straight into one of the cave walls. Tin’s eyes were nearly bursting out of his head as he tried to fight unconsciousness this time instead of embracing it. He watched as Can gabbled at the three other merfolk, his attacker scowling and rubbing his temples to his left whilst the other two nodded reluctantly. As his chest began to gasp for air and his eyes fell closed, Tin felt himself be wrapped back up in a tail, in a more gentle grip this time, and was tugged upwards. The last thing he saw as he held on were green jewels beneath his fingertips.

*

When he awoke, Tin was grateful to find that he was breathing in air and was nearly dry. It didn’t take long for it to dawn on him that he was back in the cave but, when he tried to move, bruised ribs took the wind out of him. He brought an arm up to protect them as he glanced around the cave. This time he didn’t have to swim anywhere to find him.

“That’s the second fright you’ve given me today. I’d appreciate it if you could make it the last,” Can spoke, propped up on his arms at the edge of the water tunnel. Tin thought he could make out the glint of a smile as his teeth reflected against the surface.

“You got a light in here by any chance?” Tin wheezed, still hugging his arm to his chest.

“One sec,” Can spoke, holding up a taloned finger before excitedly flipping down into the water before Tin could utter a request for him not to go. He regretted saying anything, he hadn’t meant to lose sight of Can before he’d even had a chance to appreciate seeing him again. Happily though, a mercifully short time later, Can burst back through the surface holding a circular, spiky sea creature in his hands. He placed it on the stony ground between them both and flicked it lightly with a nail. Tin flinched backwards when the creature automatically inflated like a balloon under Can’s touch and began to emit a bright lilac light.

“It’s a glow-fish,” Can stated in reply to Tin’s cocked eyebrow. He offered Tin a bright smile, which made his heart jump.

“What am I doing here, Can?” Tin queried, mentally noting that the fish boy looked exceptionally cute leaning his head against both of his arms as he gazed at him. His tail was flicking in and out of the water behind him. He reminded Tin of a puppy greeting its owner at the door.

“Do you not remember?” Can began, red eyes suddenly filled with concern. “I found you in the water. You were drowning. So I wrapped you in my tail and brought you here. I tried to get the water out of you and I think I did an okay job because you’re still alive.”

Tin took a few moments to process this information. He wondered exactly what Can meant by that. How exactly had he managed to get the water out of his lungs? Compressions maybe? That was an option, but Tin couldn’t help how his stomach flipped at the thought of Can blowing oxygen into his mouth. If he’d had the fish boy’s mouth on him and had been too unconscious to register it, he’d make sure he killed himself properly next time. He thought it best to change to subject, not wanting to scare Can off again. Especially as if he did, he’d be stranded in an unknown cave in the middle of the ocean.

“And uh, earlier, down there?” Tin asked, gesturing to the tunnel Can was still half submerged in.

“My sister and a couple of friends,” Can muttered. “We aren’t supposed to bring humans here. It’s dangerous. For everyone involved. If those on land find our territory, we’d be screwed and well, as for you... ”

“As for me?” Tin pushed.

“There’s a lot of folk here who would have you as a starter.”

Tin gulped, becoming aware from the grave expression in Can’s eyes that he was under threat. He took another look around the now purple-tinged cave that was now clearly going to be his new home until he recovered. It was empty, the ceilings high but the walls narrow enough that when he outstretched his long legs he could cover the span of them.

“I hope that doesn’t include you,” Tin joked. Can upturned both palms with a shrug of his shoulders and a wide smile. Chuckling, Tin took a breath before asking the question he’d been biting back. “Why did you leave Can?”

Tin watched a variety of emotions flicker across Can’s flawless features. From anger to sadness to frustration to nerves he saw them all. Can had a face that gave him away. There was something pure about it, something innocent and soft. Yet the expression he settled on was one of curiosity, a twinkle in his eyes that Tin struggled to read.

“Can you come here?” Can asked, reaching an arm towards him.

Despite his confusion, Tin took his extended hand without questioning. He held his free arm against the ache in his ribs but fought the pain, shuffling towards Can until he was sat almost directly in front of him. He let his legs dangle in the warm liquid and tilted his head to meet Can’s gaze which was watching him intently as he bobbed in the water. Without warning, Can used his tail to push off the tunnel’s edge and swim forward. He pressed his body close against him, trapping Tin where he was with an arm either side of him.

Tin stopped breathing. He had a merboy between his legs and he was so close he could feel his breaths ghost across his skin. Up close, he was even prettier. Tin was able to appreciate how long his dark lashes were, how his luminescent skin glimmered under the light of the glow-fish, how he could almost taste the sea-salt off him. Can cocked his head coyly as he raked his eyes down him. There were inches between them.

“I left because of this.” Can whispered. Tin’s eyes flickered down to his mouth.

“Please, Can.”

“Please, what?”

Tin looked him dead in the eyes before he answered. His pulse hammered against his neck as he brushed his thumb along Can’s mouth.

“Kiss me,” he breathed.

As soon as the prayer had left his tongue, Tin felt Can push up on his strong arms and press his lips to his. It took every ounce of Tin’s self control not to moan into the fish boy’s mouth. His mind whirled as he tried to savour it. He tasted like salted popcorn and his lips were full and plush, still wet from the water. Can delicately added a little more pressure behind the kiss and Tin could feel his uncertainty.

He brought both of his hands up to Can’s neck, firmly holding him in place and tilting his head to get better access. He reciprocated with eagerness, sucking gently on Can’s bottom lip in an attempt to encourage him to open his mouth. Can’s pretty pink lips parted for him willingly and when his tail unconsciously snaked itself around his back, Tin was pretty sure all the blood in his brain ran straight to his dick. The warm scales seeped water through his clothes and pulled him closer. Tin decided he could happily stay there, tasting Can’s mouth forever but his attention was cruelly ripped away from the taste of the salty flesh when Can tapped at the fingers Tin still had pressed around his neck. Can broke away before he could stop him, gasping.

“Your hands,” Can choked. “My gills, I can’t breathe.”

Tin released his hold immediately, realising he’d been suffocating him. His concerned eyes met Can’s gold ones. God, he was beautiful. He opened his mouth to vocalise his apologies but, before he could form any words Can was back at his mouth, kissing him hard. He ran his hands through his silver hair instead, tugging gently at the silky wet strands. When Tin pushed his tongue into Can’s kiss swollen mouth, it was the little fish-human that moaned. Tin’s rock hard dick throbbed at the thought of Can moaning like that with it deep down his throat. He wasn’t even sure if it was possible to fuck merfolk, but he’d be damned that he would die trying when Can licked the inside of his mouth, the fins of his tail gently flicking at his neck as he did. Can’s mouth fell open on a whimper when Tin ran a hand along the tail wrapped around him and he took the opportunity to trace his tongue along Can’s teeth.

Tin felt Can try and push away but it was too late. The soft flesh of his tongue split along one of Can’s razor-sharp incisors. A gasp left his throat as his mouth filled with the warm, bitter taste of metal. He wiped a hand across his face to catch the blood that began to trickle down his chin.

“I’m sorry!” Can panted. “I’m sorry.”

Tin looked up, he saw the horror written across his face. The red irises upon him were wide and in shock. He wanted to tell him it was alright, to stop him. He knew what he was going to do before he did it.

“Wait, don't!” was all Tin managed to form around his injured tongue before Can dived back into the tunnel, disappearing. He spat the blood out of his mouth, fighting the urge to punch the cave wall and shout after Can to tell him he was a fucking coward.

Chapter Text

For what Tin had guesstimated had been about six days, he hadn’t had the luxury of speaking to anyone and was beginning to go a bit crazy. He slept a lot, losing track of any concept of time he might have had. The only plus side was that his new sanctuary was no longer bare because, every time he woke up, there was a gift waiting for him by the water tunnel entrance.

Can had left him a wide variety of trinkets that Tin assumed were to make him more comfortable. He now had four glow-fish situated in each corner of the cave, all emitting a different colour light and sparing him from loneliness in the dark. In addition, he was now the owner of a pillow made almost entirely out of seaweed, a small but ornate handheld mirror, and a thick, black and purple blanket that appeared to have been weaved out of mermaid hair judging by how silky it felt. He’d also been left a variety of pretty plants which resembled colourful vines and had small bright white bulbs hanging from them. They seemed to clean the air somehow, giving him some respite from the salty oxygen that made him feel intoxicated half of the time.

Somewhere around day two, he’d been left two sticks of chalk. They were the reason he hadn’t yet totally lost his mind. He’d sketched across everywhere he could reach, covering the stony cave walls with doodles, occasional diary entries and regular swear words. Those of which he generally rubbed out mind. By day four, he amused himself for a time by counting the amount of times in his scrawlings that he’d managed to write Can’s name. It had helped him fall asleep. Seventy-six.

He knew that Can was watching him and that helped him cling on to a bit of sanity. He had to be. He always came when Tin was asleep. He’d stayed awake for hours on end, staring at the tunnel entrance and waiting patiently like a cat preparing for a catch. The catch never came. Tin’s eyes would eventually fall closed, lids too heavy to be held open any more and even when he managed to jolt himself out of a dream what seemed to be minutes later, he would have missed his chance. There would be a new gift waiting for him but never those eyes. The more it happened, the angrier he became. They couldn’t play this cat and mouse game forever. At some point, he would need to go home. His tongue had healed over quite nicely and his bruised ribs were becoming easier to breathe around. More than once he’d had to shake off the thought that Can might be planning to keep him there forever.

Tin was mid-sketch and trying to distract himself when he heard an unexpected slosh of water behind him. He whipped around so fast he was pretty sure he nearly knocked another rib out of place as his eyes fell upon the creature in front of him. Now she, was definitely a mermaid. Her hair was long and black, hanging past her shoulders and shimmering with the same silver flecks that Can had. She sat on the edge of the pool tunnel, her brilliant silver tail balanced gently against the water, spiral fins floating along the surface. She was scaled all the way up to her chest, her female anatomy covered by jewels that shone a multitude of colours under the glow-fish lights. A pair of glasses hung on a chain of shells around her neck. She was younger than the others, Tin could tell somehow, but she held herself with confidence and gestured towards the small silver platter she had laid down next to her.

“You’re his sister,” Tin uttered, wide-eyed and wary of her. He didn’t know whose side she was on. She smiled at him and he noticed her teeth weren’t as sharp, maybe not quite full grown yet, but he still wouldn’t be a match against her diamond tail. She grinned at him and nodded.

“Yes, yes! Can you tell?” she spoke, excitedly. “I know, I’m the pretty one!”

Her smile seemed genuine as she laughed at herself, the tips of her animated fins swishing in the water. There was something about the way she held herself that was exceptionally feminine. Youthful and girly, Tin began to feel less intimidated by her.

“Where is he?” Tin asked, eager to get as much information from her as he could.

“He can’t make it today, so I’ve brought your food,” she answered, nudging the platter towards him. “He usually brings the food but I bring the gifts!”

Her wide smile told Tin that she was pleased with herself and she looked around the cave to admire how Tin had implemented her items. She placed her glasses across the bridge of her nose and flicked her tail happily as she studied his drawings upon the walls. Tin had assumed it was Can bringing him everything, but realised he should have known that the little trinkets he had been given were too feminine for Can. Too sweet. The fleshy cubes of fish that were left for him twice a day were tasty, salty like Can’s mouth. It made much more sense to envisage Can out there catching fish for him than it did to think of him weaving blankets.

“Thank you, for the gifts,” Tin gestured, silently wishing he’d rubbed at least a few of the scribbles of her brother’s name off the walls. “They’ve been helping.”

“I see that.” she nodded, a knowing look in her eyes that seemed wiser than her years. Bringing her gaze back to him, she continued. “I’m Lemon, by the way. But call me Ley, everyone else does.”

“Tin.”

“Yes. My brother’s told us about you,” she tilted her head slightly, as if trying to work him out. “Well, he’s told us what he wants us to know anyway.”

“Which is?” Tin queried, shifting his weight between both feet. He was uncomfortable with this line of enquiry, he didn’t want to get Can in any trouble.

“He told us it was you who saved his life after we lost him at the jellyfish reef,” she began. Tin could see the distress etched across her face at the memory. “We thought he was...”

Tin sat down against one of the cave walls and gave her a moment before nodding once, encouraging her to continue.

“He says that you looked after him and that he’s returning the favour. That he found you drowning.”

“All true,” Tin confirmed.

“You saved my brother’s life?” she queried, red eyes overwhelmed with a gratitude Tin had not been expecting for some reason. Perhaps because he knew that none of his family would ever have been so moved by his own rescue. He nodded.

“He saved mine too.”

The next thing he knew, Ley had flung her tail from the water and used it to shuffle herself across the stone surface over to him in a way Can had seemed unable to. She wrapped long arms around him, squeezed him into a tight hug and Tin found himself with a mouthful of mermaid hair as his jaw hung open. His ribs panged under her affection.

“Thank you.” she spoke gently. “From the bottom of my heart.”

A shocked Tin recovered enough to pat her gently on her scaled back. She obviously loved her brother and Tin found himself wondering for a second what that might feel like. Her scent was sweeter than he remembered Can’s being, like a rich caramel you’d pour on ice cream. He found himself smiling into her shoulder, grateful to have won her approval and, he supposed, relieved to have some contact with someone for the first time in what felt like a long time. The last time he’d been touched it had been by Can’s mouth.

When she pulled away, Tin met her gaze and watched as she carefully framed the words that she wanted to voice.

“There’s something else though. Something he’s not telling me,” she studied Tin’s face, and he felt like squirming under the scrutiny of her eyes. “I know there is, I know my brother.”

Tin opened and closed his mouth. He ran his still healing tongue across his bottom lip, preparing to speak. Preparing to confess. Before he could, a stern and unmistakable voice echoed around the cave.

“Lemon!”

Tin’s head whipped up and despite the furious expression that beheld his usually so soft face, he was so happy to see him. He dropped his arm from around Ley’s shoulders, his eyes flicking between the two as he watched the mermaid grin at the sight of her brother.

“Yes, yes brother mine. As if I didn’t know you were there,” she chided as though she were his mother rather than his sibling. “You could have given me another minute or so, he was about to tell me,” she thought for a second, “whatever it is you won’t tell me.”

“You are not supposed to be up here,” Can spoke, authoritative and obviously irritated.

“Yeah well, you’re not supposed to bring strays home, Cantaloupe.” Ley smirked, glancing at Tin who couldn’t control his own grin when he learnt Can’s full name. They were both named after fruits, he noted. Who were their parents? Blueberry and Tangerine? He watched as Can visibly flushed, eyes narrowing at his sister in a promise that she would suffer for that one.

“I asked Ae to bring him his food,” Can muttered.

“Well you should know better,” Ley retaliated with a huff. “If I’d have let that happen then he would have been food.”

Tin threw a look of sheer panic between both merfolk and noticed that Can wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“Don’t worry,” Ley offered, running her fingers through her hair. “Ae has anger management issues.”

Tin first wondered if Ae was the blue-tail who’d tried to kill him and then why Can would have trusted him to bring him something to eat.

“I’ll have anger management issues if you don’t get out of here in the next thirty seconds.” Can spoke, puffing his cheeks out adorably as he shook his head at his sister’s witty tongue.

“Fine, fine I’m going,” Ley shuffled on her tail towards the water before sliding into it. “Maybe keep him company for a while brother, it’s not fair to keep your knight in shining armour trapped away like this. All alone.”

Can’s mouth gaped open as he fought the urge to strangle his sister with his bare hands. His luminescent skin was almost entirely tinged pink now.

“He’s not my -”

“Yeah, alright. Whatever you say,” Ley beamed from ear to ear as she teased. “Keep him company, or I’ll tell Ma he’s here. That’s if you can be trusted of course.”

When she winked at him Can went for her so quick, Tin barely even registered it. She splashed playfully around the small opening of water, avoiding her brother’s enraged clutches. Giggling, she flicked her silver tail at him before ducking under the water and disappearing, all the time whilst Can was shouting curses at her.

“You’ll have no food for a week you evil little witch! You won’t live past the next current change! I’ll have you served up on a platter for the sharks to eat! I’ll cut all your hair off in your sleep and make curtains out of it!”

Tin held his ribs as he laughed at him. He’d never seen him so wound up and he was so cute. Even when his flapping tail covered him in water flecks he still couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. When Can eventually sheepishly caught his eyes, Tin shrugged at him with a chuckle.

“What are you laughing at?” He fired, brow furrowed but with no real venom behind the words.

“You.” Tin wheezed, smiling against the twinge of bruised bones in his chest. “It’s good to see you.”

Can lifted himself up on to the tunnel’s edge with both arms, perching delicately as he lifted his tail out of the water and on to the ground. He seemed unable to move across the stone in the way his sister had, using his arms instead to drag himself over to the wall opposite from Tin and leaning against it. His red eyes avoided Tin’s gaze.

“I see you every day.”

“Your sister said. Thanks for the fish.” Tin murmured.

At the mention of food Can looked around, seeking the platter that Ley had brought for him. Using his tail, he pushed it in Tin’s direction.

“You need to eat. Keep your strength up.”

Tin had a look at it. It looked like a salmon, de-boned and and cubed ready for him to eat raw. Suddenly, he found his mouth watering. He was hungry. Although he wasn’t sure exactly what for as he looked between the dead fish and the live one. He took a cube of the pink flesh between his fingers and held it out.

“I’ll eat if you eat.”

Can’s eyes widened in surprise at his offer before he shook his head.

“No way.”

Tin debated whether it was worth telling him that sharing a fish definitely wasn’t more intimate than when he’d been tasting the moans off his tongue but, determined that it was best left unsaid. Using his other arm, he scooted forward to get closer and appreciated how Can twisted his tail away to avoid it being sat on. He held the juicy chunk of fish right in front of Can’s mouth.

“Come on. Please,” he spoke softly. Can’s eyes bore into him, considering. “Please, Cantaloupe.”

Tin watched as the fish-boy’s eyes flashed amber without warning but, before he had a chance to question it, Can interrupted.

“I’ll eat it if you swear never to call me that again.”

“Deal.” Tin agreed and as quickly as he’d spoke Can parted his mouth and stole the fish he had poised between two fingers. Tin’s grin spread from ear to ear as Can chewed on the succulent flakes and kept his eyes to the ground, sulking.

“Oh! and brother...”

Tin and Can’s eyes flew simultaneously towards the voice at the tunnel’s entrance.

“He’s cute.” Ley smirked.

She only just managed to avoid the glow-fish that Can hurtled at her with such force Tin grimaced. Even after she had dived back down, Tin could make out the sound of her giggles echoing under the water.

Chapter Text

“How old is Ley?”

“Fifteen.” Can answered with a raise of his eyebrows. “Why?”

“Just wondered. I could tell she was younger but couldn’t work out by how much,” Tin replied. “You’re turn.”

“You’re supposed to be getting to know me, not my sister,” Can frowned.

Tin had suggested playing twenty-questions which had worked wonders to rid some of the awkward tension Ley’s teasing has caused between them. Tin had learnt a lot. He now knew that Can had just turned eighteen, that merfolk didn’t have a favourite drink because they didn’t need to and that his food of choice was crab meat. Tin saved Can’s excitement over food to memory, noticing how his eyes lit up every time the subject arose.

“Are you jealous?” Tin quipped, biting his gum to prevent the smirk tugging at his mouth.

“Fuck off am I. Besides, you said it was my turn!” Can whined. Tin chuckled, and gestured for him to ask what he wanted to know.

“My sister thinks she’s prettier than me.” Can stated. Tin raised an eyebrow, looking for the question. “Is it true?”

Tin hadn’t expected that one and didn’t know how best to answer. He’d been working exceptionally hard to lighten the mood, to make Can feel comfortable. He didn’t have the energy to wait around another week for him if he crossed the ever-moving line between them again. You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. That was what he wanted to say, the words on the tip of his tongue. He couldn’t understand why that was even the case. He’d now met a proper, female mermaid and yet although Ley was attractive in every way you’d expect a mermaid to be, Can was just something else. He was mythical, strong, fiery, playful, cheeky, adorable and cute all at the same time. They hadn’t invented an adjective for what Can was, none of them came anywhere close.

“She is pretty,” Tin began, enjoying the way Can’s eyes narrowed, “but you’re not bad yourself.”

“Hey!” Can complained and lightly whipped his tail at Tin’s side. “Says the one who asked for a kiss!”

Tin’s laughter died down at the mention of it. There it was again, tension. Chemistry. He kept his eyes locked on Can’s, remembering what it felt like to have his mouth pressed against his. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. Can’s eyes changed colour and Tin realised he was remembering too. It was his turn.

“What’s the lowdown on your eyes?” he asked, voice hoarse from a dry throat.

“What do you mean?” Can queried, irises subtly dimming back to ruby.

“Well, most of the time they’re red. Then sometimes… they change.” Tin tried to explain, not wanting to push his questioning too far. “Is it like a mood ring?”

He observed as the fish boy across from him thought over his answer, choosing his words carefully.

“Not really,” he started. “Merfolk eyes are weird. Red is our default, as you know. It works more on instincts rather than moods. When we are scared they’ll go silver, black means starving, blue means freezing. It’s hard to explain, it’s out of our control.”

“Can you feel it when they change?” Tin asked.

“Sort of but not really. I just sort of become aware that an instinct has taken over. I don’t suddenly see the world in a different colour or anything. I can only really feel one thing at a time but I don’t think that’s a merfolk thing, I think that’s just a me thing.”

Tin realised upon reflection that Can made a lot of sense in his self-analysis. That was exactly what he was like. Each expression that graced his features did so one by one, and he acted on each of his feelings individually, compartmentalising each of them separately. Tin appreciated this better understanding of him and offered a small smile in thanks.

“What about the amber-gold they go sometimes?” Tin asked, struggling to identify what instinct Can hadn’t mentioned. “What does that colour mean?”

“You owe me two questions already.” Can spoke, shaking his head in refusal.

“So what’s one more?” Tin grabbed a gentle hold of Can’s wrist, trying to get the fish boy to look at him. Can kept his eyes down. His skin was so warm and he noticed how blood flushed to his cheeks as he wriggled his tail uncomfortably. He released his hold, using the same hand to tap underneath Can’s chin.

“Hey, look at me.”

“Can’t.” Can muttered.

If there had been a penny in the air, then it would have bounced right off the top of Tin’s cranium as the pieces fell into place. He wondered how he of all people had managed to forget it, it was one of the only instincts that had ever helped him to feel anything.

“Oh.” Tin breathed. “Your eyes go gold when you want to fu-”

The next thing he knew, he had a fish hand clasped hard across his mouth.

“Don’t you dare fucking say it,” Can hissed.

Tin wriggled against Can’s smothering hand, catching the fire ablaze in his eyes and the way his sharp incisors were primed to take more than just a chunk out of his tongue this time. He had no plans to finish his sentence as he quite fancied living through the rest of the day. When Can’s hold didn’t let up, he licked a long line across his palm. The salt burned.

“Ew! Gross!” Can bawled, immediately yanking his hand away and wiping it on stony cave wall. Tin snickered and shuffled back to his side of the cave, believing it to be a good idea that he put some distance between them before Can decided to rip his throat out.

“My tongue’s been in worse places,” Tin remarked, receiving such a blazing glare he held both hands up in surrender. “Okay, okay go on. I owe you three questions.”

He could see the cogs in Can’s brain actually whirring as he sulked, muttering in a language Tin didn’t understand. He mulled over the questions in his mind for so long that Tin became fearful he was about to tell him he didn’t want to play anymore. He didn’t want Can to leave. Eventually, with a huff he spoke.

“Were you looking for me?”

“Huh?”

“The day I found you. Were you looking for me?” Can clarified and now it was Tin’s turn to squirm. He expected it, he knew Can wasn’t going to let him get away that easily. Even so, he found it hard to meet Can’s prying eyes, ashamed of his own weakness.

“Yes,” he muttered. “And no.”

Can didn’t say anything, seemingly not wanting to waste any of his questions. The silence made Tin feel even more uncomfortable so he carried on talking just to fill the space between them.

“I wanted to find you but I also… I don’t know. I’d had enough of my life.”

“Were you trying to kill yourself?” Can asked, bluntly, as if there weren’t more delicate ways to phrase such a question. Tin wasn’t even sure of the answer which made him feel even more stupid. He didn’t like this, this was too much. He felt too vulnerable. He kept his eyes fixated on a spot of wall as far away from Can’s scrutiny as he could manage.

“I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Alright then fuck you, yes, yes I suppose I was. Happy now?” Tin shot. “That’s your second question.”

Tin felt his blood beginning to boil under the surface. Who did this jumped up little fish boy think he was asking such personal questions? This wasn’t playful or flirty. This was science from the perspective of a lab rat. Orchestrated torture to make him feel uncomfortable. He dug blunt nails into the stone ground, unhappy being experimented on. When Can’s tail came up to the side of his face and tapped his cheek gently, Tin turned his head and glared at him.

“Have you ever had sex?” Can asked.

Tin mentally offered a fond farewell to any anger he had been holding to as his brain categorically turned to mush within his head. Whether he liked it or not, he immediately flushed hot and he could practically feel his heart pulsing blood hard around loose arteries as nearly all of its supply ran to one place. He didn’t know if he should answer. Or if there was a right answer. He decided on the truth once Can’s tail flapped in front of his face, silently asking if he was still alive.

“Yes.”

“With women?”

“It’s my turn,” Tin tried.

“So I’ll owe you one, answer me.”

There was something in the tone of Can’s voice. Something that made him want to do as he was told. Authoritative and confident, the same tone he’d used to tell off Ley earlier. It dawned on Tin that would do anything he asked if he kept that up. He crossed his legs over one another to hide his arousal.

“Yes with women. I’ve never screwed a guy. Definitely never screwed a fish.” Tin smirked triumphantly when Can’s eyes flashed gold.

“And yet you want to.”

“Excuse me?” Tin asked, pretty sure he’d have choked on his own spit if there was any moisture left in his mouth. “Is that a question?”

“No.” Can grinned, teeth glinting. “It’s a fact.”

Tin didn’t like the fact that he could sense Can thought he had one-upped him. Without asking for permission he ran a hand along his tail with a fair bit of pressure behind it, revelling in the way Can’s eyes fluttered closed and his head fell back.

“Maybe.” he muttered through a wicked grin. “Shame that you’re a pussy though.”

He got a slap for that, hard scales flicked viciously against his face. He laughed half-heartedly as he rubbed at his sore cheek but began to feel guilty when he looked past the fury in Can’s face to find that he actually seemed humiliated. He hadn’t intended that.

“You never have, huh?” Tin asked, kinder this time. Can looked away from him as he shook his head. He still had a spare question and taking a deep breath, he asked it.

“Do you want to?”

Can’s eyes flickered between red and amber as he thought it over. Tin almost wished he could add green in there as well just so he could mock him later about looking like a set of traffic lights.

“I don’t know. It’s a human thing, even if I did, how could I with this?” Can spoke, holding his tail upright as if showing evidence in a courtroom. Tin wondered what he meant by a ‘human thing’. Can was at least half human and the merfolk had to be able to reproduce somehow even if they didn’t have sex just for pleasure.

“Plus, you’re a boy.”

Tin looked down at his half hard dick, well that was definitely true.

“Is that not normal for you?” Tin asked.

“Not really. It’s not like, completely unheard of, but it’s not common either. Whenever I’m around you I can feel it. I can sense all these human hormones coming off you. When we kissed I felt almost drunk on them. It’s scary. It gives me a headache,” Can did look as if he was in physical pain when he spoke, eyes screwed together as if something was pounding at his forehead.

“I’m sorry.” Can continued. “About your mouth.”

“It’s alright.” Tin tried to soothe. He felt saddened that Can was tied up in knots in front of him. He wanted to relax him, to calm him down.

“Give me your tail.” Tin said, an idea sparking in his brain. He smiled encouragingly when Can eyed him suspiciously, eventually lifting his tail and laying it across Tin’s long legs.

“Close your eyes.”

When Can opened his mouth on a question he added, “oh, and shut up for a bit.”

Can stuck his tongue out at him before bringing his lips back together, doing as he was told. Shifting until he was comfortable under the weight of Can’s heavy tail, Tin began to gently massage his fingers against the scaly flesh. He knew Can would like it and he did, softly humming his approval when Tin’s fingers kneaded certain spots. Can slowly slid down the cave wall he was propped up against, laid out so languidly he looked almost comatose if it weren’t for the smile softening his pretty, blushing face.

“Feel better?” Tin asked, grinning.

Can nodded immediately, playfully running a green fin down Tin’s neck.

“That tickles!” Tin laughed, squirming away from the delicate ribbon.

“I’m just touching!” Can remarked. Tin wondered exactly how much Can could feel using his tail but whatever the answer, he wasn’t satisfied with this arrangement. He pressed his fingers a little harder against the body of Can’s sequins, watching as he sharply inhaled and opened amber eyes.

“If you want to touch me. Come here and use your hands.”

Can propped himself up on his arms, uncertain and nervous. He bit on his lower lip and Tin’s heart caught in his chest once he got a good look at his face. Lust-blown pupils and pink cheeks spoke volumes. Tin wanted Can to be the one to come closer, so let him use his arms to pull himself over, shifting both of his legs to the right to give him space.

“Why can’t you move on your tail like your sister?” Tin asked quietly, as Can settled close to his left hip.

“The jellyfish stings,” he breathed against his neck. Nerves down the whole of Tin’s spine went haywire. “I’m having to retrain some of the muscles.”

Tin nodded gently against him, his proximity stopping him from forming any coherent thoughts let alone words. He’d certainly like to train some of Can’s muscles.

“Where do you want to be touched?” Can asked and despite the nerves in throat, Tin could feel sexuality dripping off of him. How had this boy not been fucked yet. He tried to steady his hammering heartbeat. This wasn’t for him, it was for Can. He wanted him to explore, to gain confidence and go as far as only he wanted.

“Anywhere,” Tin breathed.

“I don’t know what I’m doing.”

There it was, that insecurity Tin so wanted to banish. Tin looked directly into hesitant amber eyes before speaking confidently.

“There isn’t anything you can do. Anything at all. That’s not going to make me want you.”

It was the God’s honest truth. Even if Can crunched sharp fangs into him and bled him dry he was pretty damn sure he’d still enjoy it. Amber eyes flared to gold and Can’s face broke out into a smile that was so pure Tin could barely stand to see it. His stomach flipped. Can spent a few moments just dragging his gaze over him, working out where he wanted to start. Slowly, he brought a hand up to his temples, tracing a finger across his hairline, down his cheekbone and then under his jaw, tilting his head to the side.

“Your skin is so soft.” Can observed, staring at the bare neck Tin willingly exposed to him. “I want to taste it.”

Tin was so turned on he thought he might die. This feeling was new and foreign, but so good. So intense. He’d never ached for something so much in his life.

“I dare you,” he whispered.

He didn’t have to. Can pressed a light kiss to the underside of his jawbone and Tin’s heart nearly gave out. He bit hard on his own bottom lip, forcing himself to keep his hands at his sides, to let Can discover on his own. Can pressed his mouth a little lower, a little harder, his wet lips moulding against the sensitive skin. Tin shivered against him. Tentatively, he felt Can open his mouth and lick quickly just underneath one of the glands in his neck. Tin’s hands clenched into fists.

“Tastes good.” Can whispered, licking a line down his neck. “So warm, I like it.”

Tin was glad he did because if he hadn’t there was a good chance he might have burst into tears. Can began to leave open-mouthed kisses down the delicate flesh and Tin could feel his sharp teeth threatening to scratch the tender skin. His mouth fell open because he wanted to moan. He really wanted to moan. Suddenly, Can paused with his tongue against a particularly sensitive part of Tin’s neck.

“What’s wrong?” Tin managed, impressed that his brain had managed to connect the syllables together well enough for him to be understood.

“I can feel your heartbeat against my tongue.”

Tin thought about what they’d have to write on his autopsy report. Cause of death: The audacity of a brazen fish boy. Unable to stop himself, Tin brought up a traitor of a hand and pushed the back of Can’s head until he was latched back against his neck. He pushed the flesh harder into his mouth. He needed more. More friction, more roughness, more everything. This was a slow torture. With all his will, he released his grip on Can’s soft hair and forced his hand back down to the ground, hoping with everything he had that Can would get the message.

He seemed to. Can kissed harder up Tin’s neck, letting his teeth graze against his delicate skin because Tin seemed to like it, his hips rolling upwards every time he did. He kissed all the way up his jawline until he was at the corner of his mouth. He liked the fact that Tin opened his mouth before he’d even pressed his lips against it. He licked inside, playing with his tongue as his tail unconsciously wrapped itself around him until he was pressed flush against him. Tin kept his hands off him as Can undid a few of the buttons on his white shirt, his nails getting in the way as he sucked on his bottom lip.

“Help me.” Can murmured against Tin’s ear, flicking his tongue against the skin at his earlobe. Tin didn’t need asking twice and just pulled it over the top of his head by the collar, discarding it to the side.

When Can leaned back to look at him shirtless, Tin felt a little insecure and turned his head to the side until Can placed a kiss at his collarbone that made his breath catch. He bit back a hum of approval as Can ran his hands down his neck and across his shoulders. He pressed both palms against Tin’s chest, running his thumb across Tin’s left nipple. He liked that. Can could tell by the way his back arched, but he was annoyed. He didn’t know how to stop Tin from doing what he was doing. So he took it in his mouth in the hope it would help. Tin’s back arched hard against him but, still nothing. He pulled away, looking back at him, both hands on his shoulders.

“Stop that.” Can spoke through heavy breaths. “Why are you doing that. Fucking stop it.”

Tin was confused to hell. He’d been in heaven a second ago and was suddenly being interrogated.

“What are you talking about?” Tin strung together, the irritation blatant in Can’s eyes but he didn’t understand why.

“You won’t make any noise,” Can stated. “You want to moan. I can feel you do, but you don’t. Every time you bite it back like you don’t want me to hear. You’ve bruised your own lip biting on it. Stop it.”

Tin looked at him like a deer in headlights. It was something he knew he did, but something he did unconsciously. It had never bothered anyone before. Then it hit him smack hard in the face that he’d probably never been with anyone who’d ever cared if he was having a good time. Can was trying to pleasure him and he hadn’t shown him what an amazing job he was doing.

“I’m sorry.” Tin breathed, pulling him back in to kiss his apologies into his mouth.

“I want to hear you,” Can hushed against his lips. “Please let go for me.”

Those five words struck somewhere deep at Tin’s core. He’d never let go for anyone. Ever.

“I don’t know how,” he confessed, breathing light kisses against Can’s gilled neck, he felt him tremble against him. Can ran his sharp nails down his chest lightly, his fins trailing seductively down his back. He dug his talons into Tin’s hip bone. Tin didn’t think he was going to and as usual, he surprised him. His hips came off the floor when Can palmed him through his black jeans. He bit down against Can’s shoulder.

“Let me touch you?” Can said the words as if they were a question, as if he really needed to ask.

Tin didn’t bother answering him, he just undid the button and the zip that were obviously invented in hell and pushed his jeans down to give Can some room. Can slid his hand under the second layer of fabric trapping his erection, giving him no time to adjust. No time to control himself. He was so hard.

“Fuck.” Tin gritted through his teeth as Can stroked him, running his thumb across the tip to collect the pre-come to use as a lubricant. When Can made his grip firmer, he did moan. Doing as he was damn well told because he didn’t want to Can to stop, not now and not ever. He moaned against his ear, loud and shameless as he tried to thrust his dick harder into Can’s hand. He needed to come. He was aching for it.

Can jerked him a little faster, lifting his gaze to watch Tin come undone. He left wet kisses against Tin’s mouth which was open and slack and clasped him closer with his tail which was involuntarily rolling in time with Tin’s hips. He liked this. He was good at this. Tin was so close, he could feel come leaking out of him on to his fingers. Every moan he wrenched from Tin’s throat made him want to be human.

“Maybe next time I’ll make you come in my mouth.”

Tin came so hard he was sure his heart stopped. He moaned Can’s name again and again against his neck. Can made him ride it out, stroking him hard and slow until he was a weak and vulnerable mess shaking against him. Hot and sticky come poured over his fingers, spurting more with each wave of his orgasm that he rode. Convulsions hit him repeatedly as every bone in his body seemed to disintegrate.

When Tin finally managed to force his eyes open, his nails still digging in to Can’s shoulders for support he watched as Can pulled his hand from his pants and looked at it, shiny with come. Tentatively, he stuck his tongue out to taste before looking down at him and grinning.

The irony was definitely not lost on Tin when he spoke.

“Salty.”

Chapter Text

Once Tin had finally managed to stop his muscles twitching from the after-effects of his orgasm, he felt the heat that had been building between them slowly seep away, bubbling down to a more controllable burn. Their deep breaths slowly quietened and a heavy silence filled the space around them when Can released his hold on him and shuffled back, separating them in a way that Tin didn’t approve of. He sat up properly, pulling up his jeans and zipping the fly shut. Can wouldn’t meet his eyes.

“Are you okay?” Tin asked.

He was answered by a small nod as Can kept his gaze on the clawed fingernail he was picking at and Tin couldn’t help the sigh of frustration that he exhaled on. He was frustrated about a lot of things. About the fact that he no longer had Can’s hands on him, that he couldn’t return the favour and make him come too, but most importantly, because Can always did this. He always fucking did this. Next time, my ass. Tin thought. There were only next times until there weren’t. Can always wanted to run.

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” Can muttered, dully.

“That. That ‘let’s pretend you didn’t just jerk me off’ bullshit.”

Tin hadn’t really meant for the words to come out as cold as they had done. The relief his brain had been so grateful for earlier had left him less clouded by Can’s presence. He felt more capable of making sounder judgements and he wanted answers. He watched as Can screwed his face up, still not looking at him. His ears started to burn bright red. Tin couldn’t for the life of him work out why he was embarrassed. Then the realisation hit him like a ton of bricks. Not embarrassed. Ashamed. He was ashamed. He was ashamed of him.

“Don’t.” Can spoke. “Can’t we talk about something else?”

Tin was clever. He was an intelligent guy and yet he had no idea why this was happening. He had been there. Less than fifteen minutes ago, this fucking fishboy had been moaning his name, stroking his dick and looking at him as though he was the Earth’s creator. He wasn’t imagining it. He’d felt it. It wasn’t just about curiosity, it wasn’t just about sex. It was more than that. There was something real.

“What is your fucking problem,” Tin whispered. “You want me. I know you do. Just admit it.”

“When did I ever deny it?” Can countered, throwing him a venomous scowl.

“So deal with it then,” he spat. Anger was beginning to bubble somewhere deep down inside him. The look on Can’s face. He couldn’t bear it. All he wanted was to make him happy and yet somehow it always ended up like this, with Can retreating just out of his reach.

“It’s not that fucking simple!” Can spoke, voice rising. “Don’t you get that yet?”
“No I don’t. You like me. I like you. That’s how fucking simple it is Can.” Tin patronised, purposefully punctuating each word to ensure they hit home.

“I’m not human, Tin!” Can’s tail flicked against the moist cave wall as if to confirm his statement.

“I don’t give a fuck.”

“Well I do. This isn’t some fucking fairy-tale. I can’t just run off into the sunset and be with you, it’s not even an option.”

That hurt. Whether Tin liked it or not. He wasn’t quite sure what exactly he’d been imagining. He wasn’t a fucking pussy, he hadn’t been picturing white weddings and candlelit dinners but, he did want Can around. He wanted to be near him. He wanted him in his life. Indefinitely. Can must have seen him grimace because he carried on talking.

“I’m a merman. I have responsibilities here. People I have to take care of. It’s dangerous out there,” Can pointed to the pool of water by the caves entrance. “What have you been picturing in that stupid, arrogant head of yours? At some point, you have to go back to your people, you wouldn’t survive here. What kind of life would it be? Do you want to stay in this cave forever? Hiding out here whilst I protect you from all the people that want you dead? How long do you think it’ll be before the rest of the merfolk find out I’m keeping you here? How long do you think it’ll be before they don’t just kill you but until they execute me too? My family? This isn’t about you. It isn’t about us.”

“Stop.” Tin raised a hand. “Please, just stop.”

Can did as he was told, breathing heavily from his tirade and puffing air out of enraged cheeks. He wanted to carry on, he wanted to explain properly but the way Tin was looking at him told him it was too late. Can felt his tail shiver. He never usually felt cold when he was at home.

“I get it.” Tin spoke, clear and articulate as though he’d been explaining a maths equation rather than laying his heart on the line.

Can exhaled, relief humming through him. He hoped he did. He wanted to make this work, somehow. He wanted to keep everyone safe. When he was around Tin, he felt like he was suffocating most of the time. His priorities had been falling out of place. He wanted Tin on his side, to understand and help him make this work. He reached out and rested a hand on Tin’s outstretched leg.

“I’m just trying to do the right thing,” Can muttered, looking at up at him with round, red eyes.

“Then let me help,” Tin spoke, voice still firm and tense. Can nodded, a small smile tugging at his eyes. Maybe they could do this together?

“Take me home.”

No. No. Can met his eyes, jaw hung open and shock etched across his face. That was not what he’d meant. That was not what he wanted.

“No. I don’t… I don’t want to lose you. Tin, please I - ”

“Take me home, Can. I want to go home.”

 

*

 

Tin knew he’d given Can no choice. Yet, somewhere in the deep recesses of his brain he had still hoped Can would fight him on the matter. To fight for him. He had hoped for an argument, for Can to tell him there was no way he was going to let him go. To tell him that he was staying there with him, where he could kiss and touch and feel to his heart's content. He had wanted Can to convince him, but more importantly, convince himself.

The fight hadn’t come. Tin had watched as his usually so vibrant, so lively merboy had slumped back in defeat. It was as though a little bit of his spirit had left him as he kept his gaze on Tin, eyes empty and almost broken. Tin wanted to reach out to him, tell him he didn’t mean it. That he would stay with him no matter what, even if it killed them. He kept quiet.

He fought the urge because there was something, something niggling deep within him that told him it was time to stop being selfish. Can, although he’d never admit it, was right. He couldn’t stay in a cave forever. He was endangering both of their lives, and the lives of people Can loved. It wasn’t the same for him, Tin had never had a family who’d protected him, nor people who he wanted to protect. Can did. He didn’t want to put a single one of them in harm’s way. Tin thought of Lemon. She was still growing, a young but magnificent woman in the making. A sister. They’d also mentioned their mother. Tin knew it was time they did the right thing. They had to keep Can’s family safe. Even if it meant he had to let go.

He kept his eyes locked on Can’s, wondering if his own held the same lost expression as he uttered his next sentence.

“I’m gonna miss you fish boy.”

Can tilted his head to the side, watching him before he shook his head slightly. Tin’s mouth moved to offer a small reassuring smile before suddenly Can was on him. If Tin hadn’t been distracted he’d have wondered how much it had hurt Can to move on his tail like that. He let Can kiss him, wet and desperate as he raked his fingers through his hair. He could feel the anger and the pain in him. Can bit roughly at his bottom lip using his front teeth, asking. Begging. Tin opened his mouth. If this was the last time he’d get to let him in, then refusing wasn’t an option. It never had been an option.

Tin kissed him back as hard as he could. His fuller mouth pushing for more, to be closer. Can flicked his tongue against his, messier than he’d ever been before. Tin moaned when sharp nails were raked down his neck. He touched Can everywhere, anywhere he could reach as Can’s hands settled on both sides of face, framing his jaw, keeping him there. The merboy didn’t let up, eyes screwed shut, kissing him like he never wanted to stop. Communicating all the things he didn’t know how to say. Things he’d never even dreamed of wanting to say. Tin could feel it. He knew what he was trying to do and he was grateful. It’s real, Can’s kiss screamed. This is real.

Tin slid his hands up Can’s arms to place his palms on top of his, which were still laced tightly around his neck. He pulled away, breathless. Upset. He entwined his fingers through Can’s and pressed their foreheads together.

“I can’t.” He whispered.

Can sniffed against him, pointed teeth biting on a trembling bottom lip. Tin could feel his ragged breaths ghost across his mouth as he nodded in acceptance.

Tin hated this. He didn’t want to leave him. Not ever. It tore straight through him to finally understand that doing the right thing didn’t necessarily equate to doing what he wanted. How would he ever get used to not being with Can again? Not seeing him, not touching him, not kissing him. He’d been lonely his whole life and yet, somehow that didn’t seem any consolation when it dawned on him just how lonely he was about to be. He got the feeling, from the way the merboy trembled against him, that Can was going to be lonely too. He wondered what was wrong with merfolk, how had none of them seen how beautiful this boy was? How had he been so lucky to have been the first person to make Can’s eyes flash gold? That was a privilege he’d hold close.

Can moved first, wrapping his arms and then his tail, around Tin. Tin hugged him back, tracing light fingertips delicately across his back in an attempt to calm him, soothe him. Can kept his head buried against Tin’s neck, breathing him in, trying to ingrain his scent to memory. This was so hard. He’d never felt like this in his whole life. He had no idea how to say goodbye. He didn’t think he was able to.

“Can we just, stay like this? Just for a bit?”

Can’s words against his neck sent goosebumps flaring across Tin’s skin. The merboy’s tail tightened around him, just one notch away from being painful. He squeezed his arms tighter around him in an answer. He could stay like this forever.

 

*

 

Can had held on out of fear more than anything. He feared never feeling like this again, he couldn’t imagine anyone new making him feel so complete. He feared how empty life was going to seem without Tin in it. He feared what Tin would do once he’d taken him home. When Can had found him, he’d been drowning. On the edge of death. Once Can had got him to the cave, he’d pressed his mouth against his, trying to blow air into him in the same way he’d once seen his mother do to a human whose boat had sunk. His lips had been blue, cold. Cold in a way they’d never been every time Can had tasted his mouth since. Cold in a way he never wanted them to be ever again. Every time Tin tried to relax his hold, Can clutched on tighter. He wanted him safe.

Can pulled back slightly, giving himself enough room to look up from the spot on Tin’s neck that felt so much like home to meet his eyes.

“I don’t want you to go,” he whispered.

With all of his shaky resolve, Tin forced a smile.

“Shh,” he hushed, placing a fingertip gently against Can’s mouth. “You know I have to.”

“I know, but I don’t want you to,” Can’s brow furrowed together, so childish. So adorable. Tin’s forced smile turned genuine as he chuckled lightly.

“So stubborn, Can,” he grinned, thumbing across Can’s bottom lip. “My Cantaloupe.”

“Well well well. Lookie what we’ve got here.”

The voice that interrupted them was unknown to Tin. His eyes shot towards the intruder as Can’s tail unravelled immediately from around him. The voice was unknown but the face was not. Neither was the tail. A sparkling royal blue. Tin glared at him, unafraid despite knowing he could well be made into fish food at any moment.

“I knew there had to be something going with you two. I tried to get it out of Lemon, but she wouldn’t tell me shit, so I thought I’d come and see for myself. I thought you’d have better taste, Can.”

That seemed to jerk Can out of his shock. Tin could feel the anger off of both of them, like two dogs sizing each other up. If he’d have had the option, he would have backed up.

“You. You are not welcome here.” Can’s whole demeanour had changed. Tin watched him, braced, authoritative and so powerful. He was intimidating. He wondered if that was how everyone else saw him. Resolute and strong, confident. It made his heart hitch to consider that he was the only who got to see him vulnerable.

“I’m starting to wonder where your loyalties lie, Can.” The boy practically sneered. “As far as I can see, there’s only one person here who’s not welcome and I’m definitely not the fish out of water.”

“My loyalties are where they always are,” Can gritted out, fingers balled into fists. His tail flicked behind him, primed to attack.

“Oh really?” the blue-finned boy smirked. “Mind explaining then what you’re doing wrapped around this piece of human trash like a girl?”

Tin watched as Can’s mouth gaped open and closed on excuses that he couldn’t find. He looked at him before switching his attention back to the intruder, who had a cocky eyebrow raised, waiting.

“Has he been getting you all hot and heavy, huh Can?”

Tin watched as Can began to shake with rage.

“Has he been making you scream?”

“Watch your fucking step Ae. Or I’ll -”

“You’ll what?” Ae grinned. “Will you give it up for me too? Never had you down as a whore.”

Tin wondered whether he’d ever get used to how quick Can could move when he wanted to. The next thing he knew, Can was in the water and had Ae pinned against the cave wall. Can slammed his head back against it so hard, Tin was shocked the blue-fin hadn’t lost consciousness. One of Can’s hands snaked around Ae’s neck and began to squeeze, tighter and tighter. Ae squirmed against his grip, but the arrogant smirk on his face was still there.

“Go on, keep talking. I dare you,” Can spat. His grip purposefully covering the gills at Ae’s neck.

“Just wait until everyone hears about this,” Ae choked out. “Can, the little human boy’s slut. You disgust me.”

“Have you got a fucking death wish?”

“I bet you begged for it. Did he make your first time good?”

The growl that ripped from Can’s throat was unlike any noise Tin had ever heard him make. One of the only noises from Can he’d be quite happy to never hear again. Can’s grasp around his throat tightened further, the blue-fin’s eyes were bulging out of their sockets as he tried and failed to pull at Can’s hands. It was then that it dawned on Tin that Can was far stronger than the other. Even though Ae’s frame was well built, his arms more muscular and his abs strongly defined even under the dim lights from the glowfish. How exactly did that work? Tin didn’t have time to ponder. The light was beginning to leave Ae’s eyes, his writhing tail beginning to tame as Can’s strangled the life from him. Tin finally found his voice.

“Can,” he spoke, clearing his throat when he was ignored. “Can, stop!”

Tin almost wished he hadn’t tried to sound authoritative when his merboy whipped around. His eyes were practically aflame and Tin was under no misapprehension that he was not the one in control here. Yet, for some reason which Tin didn’t understand, Can’s eyes flickered amber once they landed on him and immediately, he released his grip as if coming to his senses.

“He’s a fucking bastard.” Can spoke through furious breaths. With all his might, he threw a barely breathing Ae against the edge of the cave and Tin winced when his head struck the cold stone. Can let him sink beneath the water, still tempted to ensure his death himself.

As he began to calm, Tin could visibly see the concern taint Can’s features. He was hot when he was angry, Tin had decided.

“We need to go, don’t we?” Tin asked.

“Yeah,” Can huffed. “Yeah, no choice now.”

There wasn’t one anyway, Tin thought. He hoisted himself to his feet, being careful to avoid banging his own head as he stood. He moved across the cave to find what he was looking for before pocketing it and turning back to Can.

“Ready?” he asked.

Tin nodded, tentatively walking over to the entrance Can was still afloat in. It had been a while since he’d been in the water. He sat down on the edge, letting his legs dangle in first. It struck him as he sat there, with Can directly in front of him that this was just like their first kiss. He’d never thought it would end like this.

“Ready.” Tin confirmed.

Quickly, as if avoiding having too much time to think about it, Can’s tail wrapped itself around him, encasing him in a strong but not painful hold. He looked directly in Can’s eyes, those gorgeous red eyes, before nodding resolutely. They had to do this. He could feel it between them, determination. Although heartbroken at what was to come, in that moment Tin was happy. Whatever they were, whatever they could have been, they were together. The warning that came was one Tin wished he’d been given from the very beginning.

“Hold your fucking breath.”

Chapter Text

When Can broke the surface for the final time on their journey, he was worried that Tin might actually be dead. He’d brought them up for an air break six times so that Tin could catch his breath, but no matter how fast he swam, he’d still had to put his lungs to the test. He couldn’t take the quick route and swim through the merlands, if he got caught he’d have been served up as the main course at a royal banquet before he’d even had a chance to explain. Every time he even conversed with Tin, he was breaking merlaw. High treason. Punishable by death. He’d been lucky up until this point, but now Ae knew. He knew that if Ae was to rat him out, he wouldn’t stop at mentioning that he’d been simply conversing with a human. Despite his tired limbs, a blush still managed to creep down his neck as he hauled Tin out of the water and on to the beach. He couldn’t bear the thought of everyone thinking of him, like that. A boy was one thing but a human? He’d die bringing shame upon the family.

It was pitch black above the ocean. Night time having overtaken its share of the sky, the only light coming from the faint hum of the quiet city and the low hung moon. Can used exhausted arms to pull Tin away from the light waves still licking at them, crawling up beside him and placing an ear at his chest. He couldn’t tell if he was breathing. He put two hands on his chest and pushed hard. Nothing.

“Tin?” Can tapped his hand gently against Tin’s cheek, trying to rouse him. He was met by silence. Beginning to panic, he placed his hands back against Tin’s ribcage and pushed a little harder, hoping he wouldn’t reawaken any old injuries. On the seventh compression, Tin coughed up water. Choked on it, to be more precise. Can turned his head gently to the side to help him, visibly relaxing at the knowledge that he was alive. He refused to properly wake when Can shook him lightly, pushing his hands away and groaning in protest.

“Tired, Can. Sleep,” he muttered, refusing to even open his eyes.

Can sighed, he was tired too. He looked up at the night sky, not too knowledgeable about how time worked on land. The sky was black enough for him to assess that they had a good amount of darkness left before the sun rose. The sand below him was dry and the night air warmer here. He would change soon. He looked at Tin, then back to the water. He would have to face them eventually but, maybe not tonight. Maybe not now.

Can let his tail fall flat and laid down, his ear pressed back against Tin’s faint heartbeat and an arm wrapped around his waist as he too, gave in to unconsciousness.

*

When Tin woke, the sun was just beginning to rise in the distance across the wide expanse of ocean in front of him. He was alone. His heart panged. He thought Can would at least have said goodbye. He took a deep breath for motivation before blinking his eyes open properly. He sat up from the soft sand and couldn’t deny it. He had missed being dry. He had missed seeing landscapes that didn’t include four stone walls. He wasn’t sure it was a fair trade but, at least it was something. For some reason which his brain couldn’t quite pinpoint, he was shirtless. He began to brush the damp sand clinging to his skin away, wondering how that had happened. He knew it wasn’t for any of the reasons he wanted to be shirtless, more to the pity. Any faint twinges of heartbreak that had been beginning to infect the ventricles around his heart, were stolen from him immediately when he heard a familiar voice behind him.

“Good to see you’re still with me,” Can spoke. “There was a moment there where I thought you might be sleeping with the fishes.”

Tin grinned the biggest grin Can had ever seen on his face. Can was standing there in human form, holding two oranges in one hand. It became clear as to where his shirt had gone. It was huge on him, hanging just above his knees. The white looked good against his skin, which was slightly more golden toned in this form. It had been so long since Tin had seen it that he had almost forgotten. Black hair, dark eyes, pearly teeth and those slim, athletic legs. He looked so… young. So normal.

“I should be so lucky.” Tin spoke. His throat was sore, salt stung and hoarse from their journey. It almost didn’t seem real.

Tin delighted in the flush of pink that immediately coloured Can’s cheeks. He was beginning to think he thrived on winding Can up. He wanted to have this effect on him forever. He swallowed against his burning vocal chords at the sadness that clenched in his chest. The knowledge that it was soon to be over. It wasn’t over yet though. Can was still there. He tried to focus his mind on that instead. Still there and holding oranges.

“Shut up,” Can quipped before noticing Tin’s questioning eyebrow. He looked down at the small orbs in his hand. “I took a walk up to the seafront to get a grip on my legs. I found a little place, there were lots of people with stalls selling things even though it’s early. I saw a couple of people eating these so I took some. Thought you might be hungry.”

The smile on Tin’s face hadn’t faltered. He was so perfect. His little thief.

“It’s called a market,” Tin murmured.

“Huh?”

“The place you found selling things. It’s called a market.”

“Oh okay! Cool. Here,” Can threw one of the oranges to Tin who caught it on an involuntary reflex. “How do you eat it?”

“Come here and I’ll show you,” Tin patted the sand next to him and Can complied willingly.

“Like this,” Tin gestured, digging his nails into the hard peel of the orange and tearing it back slowly. Can tried to imitate the action. He was awkward and dropped the orange twice just trying to pierce the skin.

“These nails are useless!” Can moaned, used to being able to fillet a fish using only his sharp talons. Tin chuckled as he watched him, all furrowed brow and tongue hanging out of his mouth in concentration. When he tried to help, Can batted his hands away.

“Hey! Get off I got it,” he scolded, and he did, pulling back the peel to reveal the orange segments concealed beneath. He followed Tin’s instructions and pulled the whole layer of skin off in the same way he’d done to Tin’s heart. Not that he was aware of that. Not yet.

“Now tear it in half, gently,” Tin guided. He split his own into two to demonstrate and Can followed without any trouble this time.

“Then just tear off each piece and voila!” Tin chewed on a segment, smiling. The juice soothed his throat and was a welcome change to what he’d become accustomed to in his cave. It was ripe and succulent, Can obviously had an eye for fruit.

When Can hesitantly bit in to a wedge of his own, he hadn’t quite expected the reaction he got.

“Oh my god!” dark eyes went wide on a smile as he spoke. “That’s so sweet, it’s so good!” He excitedly tore off another strip, seemingly ravenous as he sucked the juice out of it. Droplets trailed down his chin and Tin fought the urge to lick them off for him.

“How many times have you been on land, Can?” he asked, interested but also in dire need of a distraction. How wondered if Can would always be able to do this to him. To turn him on by doing nothing. By eating a fucking orange. Tin wondered if he’d found anything else to wear under that shirt and his dick hardened slightly.

Can began to count on his fingers.

“Five, including the twice with you.” That perked Tin’s interest.

“What were the other times for?”

Can swallowed on another piece of the fleshy fruit before he answered.

“The first time I was only six. When merfolk have children, they have to… you know, make them, on land. The Ma carries the children in the same way humans do but, we’re born to the sea. So, at whatever age the parents decide, children are taken to the shore and shown how we can change if we want to, when we want to. All children react differently, I hated it. I hate not having my tail, I don’t feel like myself. Ley though, I was there when my Ma took her, that was my second time, she loved it. She thrashed her little legs around like she was born to be a human. It was so cute!”

Tin attempted to process some of this information. He could imagine Ley making a good human, she’d fit right in. His brain overlooked that detail because he was too busy thinking about the idea that merpeople could turn human, essentially, to breed. Tin assumed that meant sex. Tin assumed that meant an orgasm. Tin assumed that meant he could make Can come.

Can didn’t seem to notice that Tin was barely registering anything else that came out of his mouth. He munched happily on his last orange segment, oblivious.

“There’s a lot of folklore about human-kind amongst my people. Stories and legends and tales and myths. When I was about fifteen, my friend Good, Ley and I decided to find out which of the stories were true. We came up here and stayed for two days. Exploring. It was exciting but half the time we were scared. Your world is so loud. So dangerous. On the second day, Ley was hit by one of those moving things on four wheels. I’ve never forgiven myself for that. When we got her back to the merlands, my Ma was so angry. I’d never even considered coming back up here. Obviously the jellyfish had other ideas.”

Tin grimaced when he thought about the state he’d found Can in that night. He had a lot to thank those jellyfish for but all the same, he was well aware that if he hadn’t have found him when he did, Can would have died.

“Are you glad they did?” Tin asked, unable to help himself.

Can looked to the water before meeting Tin’s gaze. Tin couldn’t lie, he liked Can’s chocolate eyes. Not including the flashes of warm amber that made his heart thump, there was something about his human eyes that made Tin feel less intimidated. More in control. More comfortable in his own skin. Nervously, Can began to nod.

“Yes.”

Tin moved closer to nudge his nose against Can’s shoulder, which was bare as Tin’s shirt hung all lopsided on him. He felt Can smile against his hair. It was then that Tin had an idea.

“How about a tour?”

Can eyed him up and down, attempting to work him out.

“A tour of what?”

“Of the city!” Tin replied.

“But I have to go back.”

“Yeah, you will, but before you do let me show you all the good bits and give you a few stories to take home.” Tin didn’t even want to contemplate that time, he just wanted to make damn sure he made the most of this chance.

“I’m not even dressed.” Can gestured down to the shirt he’d stolen off of Tin’s own back.

“So come back to mine. You can get changed there and then I’ll take you out.”

He let Can think for a second, an unsure expression cast over his features before he gently turned his face towards him. He kissed him slowly, just once, brushing his full lips against him, tentative. He didn’t leave much space between them when he pulled away.

“Please, Cantaloupe.”

Can gulped before his lips parted to speak.

“That’s the second time you’ve called me that after you swore not to,” Can breathed the words against him. “I let it go the first time. I’m warning you this time.”

“What happens on the third time?” Tin posed the question with all the weight behind it that it deserved. He tilted his head, analysing where Can was at. His chocolate eyes weren’t as easy to read, they didn’t betray him and flash gold like they had done every time in that cave. He quite liked not knowing. The game was on.

“You’ll beg for mercy.” Can hushed the words so quietly, Tin questioned whether he had dreamt them. The smirk that tugged at his mouth was accompanied by an arrogant roll of his eyes. Can cocked an eyebrow, an eyebrow which dared him. Tested him. Push me and see what happens. Tin’s eyes flickered down, annoyed by how loose his shirt was on Can. He wanted to know if he was hard. If they were on the same page. Another eyebrow raise. Fuck. Tin decided that he would do everything in his power not to give him the satisfaction. He wouldn’t beg if his life depended on it.

Tin pulled away and stood, enjoying the frustration clear across Can’s flushed face. He outstretched a hand.

“You coming or what?” Tin asked, grinning.

He thanked every single God in heaven when Can slipped his palm into his and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet.

“I’ve got a feeling one of us will be.”

Chapter Text

Not for the first time in his life, Tin found himself fuming over his last name. This was one of the worst downsides to being rich. To being known. Even though it was still early, the city was beginning to hum with citizens out ready to begin a new day. With Can wearing only an oversized shirt and him in just black jeans, both barefoot, they were a sight to behold. Tin had tried to take the backstreets, avoiding the gaze of the curious eyes burning into them but even there, local residents and shopkeepers were preparing for the morning. Damn this overpopulated city. When people began to recognise him, Tin started to wonder how brilliant his big idea had actually been. The last thing he needed on his return home was to be bombarded by questions from his mother. The things he would give to be invisible, just fucking once.

He grabbed hold of Can’s hand and led him down a side street, barging past innocent bystanders towards the only place he could think of. Towards the only friend he had. Can resisted for a millisecond, before realising he had little choice but to go where Tin wanted. He struggled to keep up with him, Tin’s long legs making strides that had him jogging behind. Ten minutes later, Tin was banging on the white wooden door he knew so well. The only safe haven he’d ever had. He thanked the gods above him that he hadn’t decided to go subtle, having brought an apartment directly in the city. For once, Can didn’t question him and he was grateful for that. When the door swung open on a groan, Tin had never been so happy to see him.

“What the hell Tin? The sun’s not even up -” he glanced over his shirtless friend, eyes flicking between him and a boy he didn’t recognise, who was also considerably underdressed.

“Pete! Oh my god it’s good to see you. Let us in and I’ll explain,” Tin didn’t wait for permission, he just dragged Can through the open doorway and into Pete’s flat. Pete didn’t stop them, still not even properly awake. He looked between the outside world and into his now occupied home before sighing in resignation and closing the door. What trouble was he going to be dragged into this time?

“Wait here,” Tin’s instructions to Can were met by a small nod. Can looked around, suddenly feeling rather exposed as the boy Tin had called Pete, appeared from the hallway. His eyes looked Can over from head to toe and Can felt himself colour at the attention.

“Who are you?” Pete asked. Can liked his voice, it was gentle and friendly.

“My name’s Can,” he replied, eyes on the staircase that Tin had bounded up. He could hear him upstairs rummaging around and silently pleaded for him to come and save him. He hadn’t been prepared with any of the answers he might be expected to give. Pete offered him a polite wai which Can imitated in return, placing his palms together and bowing slightly without being sure why.

“What happened to your clothes?”

“I - uhm,” Can desperately searched his brain. “I lost them.”

“Sounds like a rough night,” Pete eyed him suspiciously. Can thought that sounded like a good excuse to roll with.

“Yeah, yes. Things erm, got out of hand.”

Before he was asked to explain in more detail, Tin sprinted back down the stairs and brushed past Pete who was leaning with his arms crossed against the doorframe. He was now sporting a blue sweater with his black jeans. The colour suited him, Can thought, not that he was about to tell him. He wasn’t allowed to appreciate the way the sweater hugged tightly at his biceps for long because a pair of black jogging bottoms stole his attention by colliding with his face. He put them on immediately, grateful to finally be covered up. They were a bit big on him, but he was in no position to be complaining.

“So come on then Ice Prince,” Pete spoke, turning his gaze to Tin with a knowing smile plastered over his face. “Spill.”

“Jesus, where’s your hospitality man? You haven’t even offered your guests a drink yet,” Tin replied, throwing his own smirk into the ring.

“You aren’t a guest. You’re a life-long pain in my ass and I’ve already been covering for you for days now. You owe me one.”

“What d’you mean covering?”

“I had your mother on the phone a few days ago. She said you’d stormed out and that she hadn’t heard from you for over a week. I told her you’d been crashing with me. She’s been demanding to speak to you ever since and I’ve had to pull out my best excuses. Luckily for you, she hasn’t caught on to the fact that I haven’t seen hide nor hair of you for weeks. So, I’ll say it again. Spill.”

Pete uncrossed his arms and placed them on his hips, waiting expectantly. His eyes were so fixed on staring Tin down that the glare Can was throwing his way went unnoticed. Can observed how soft his features were, his hair cut into round edges and oval eyes framed by dark lashes. He was almost feminine. Can didn’t like it. He didn’t like the way he looked at Tin, the way he spoke to him. The way he seemed to know him like the back of his hand. The way Can wanted to know him.

“It’s a long story,” Tin answered.

“I’ve got time.”

“Well what if I haven’t?”

“Then you’ll make it. You always do for me.”

Can saw the way Tin’s mouth turned upwards at him, holding his hands up in surrender. This smile that said they had a history. A long history. A sickness he’d never felt before twisted in his gut. Physically turned his stomach over in a way that automatically clenched his hands into fists. He breathed through his nose, trying to remain calm. Pete’s flat was pristine. The white furniture and cold marble surfaces all spotlessly clean. Can wished he had his nails. He’d like to see what those ivory walls would look like spattered with Pete’s blood.

“Alright, alright. Cards on the table,” Tin began. For the first time since Pete had opened his mouth, he looked at Can. He took a deep breath. “I erm, well I guess -”

“He’s been with me.”

Can didn’t remember giving his brain permission to speak yet it had done so anyway. Two pairs of eyes flicked towards him. One in shock and the other with keen interest. Pete’s were the eyes he chose to meet. He raised his eyebrows at him, wanting the challenge. Asking for it. As infuriating as ever, Tin cut in before he could do any damage.

“Yeah. I met Can at my mother’s birthday party, you know the party you totally ditched me at? We’ve had a few adventures since then,” Tin shrugged, pulling at his own earlobe.

Can made a mental note of how easily the lie fell from Tin’s tongue.

“I didn’t ditch you! There was somewhere else I had to be. Besides, it looks like you found a solid replacement.”

Can decided there and then that if he ever needed to decorate another cave for a human visitor, he’d do so with Pete’s organs.

“He’s nothing like you,” came Tin’s reply. There was a warmth behind Tin’s voice that made Can soften around the edges. A pure fondness that felt intimate and private. Pete must have noticed too because his gaze flicked between them both, the cogs whirring in his brain as he analysed.

“I’m glad someone’s managed to cheer you up Tin. I’m getting sick of being your only friend,” Pete smiled, seemingly genuinely pleased. Can breathed a little easier, relaxing at the unromantic term of address.

“Shut up. Listen, as there’s still been no offer of a drink around here, then there’s one more thing I need to ask of you.”

“Isn’t there always?” There was that unsettling smirk again.

“Give us a lift to mine?”

“What’s in it for me?”

“My undying gratitude and everlasting friendship.”

Pete scoffed, shaking his head on a giggle that Can was annoyed even he found pleasant to his ears.

“I’ve got that anyway.”

“Then help a brother out!”

Pete walked across the room and into the open kitchen, skimming gently past Can as he did. He grabbed a set of keys off the countertop and chucked them in Tin’s direction. He caught them in his left hand with ease.

“You’ll be the death of me,” he spoke. “Go get in the car.”

*

When they pulled up outside the Medthanan mansion, Tin exhaled on a breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding. All the cars were gone from the driveway, his father and brother both having already left for work at the family business Tin had point-blank refused to be a part of. He assumed his mother was already at one of her networking breakfasts, which probably meant she’d be starting early on the wine. A sour twist in his stomach tugged his mouth into a scowl at the thought that he hadn’t been home for a fortnight and yet his families lives had carried on as normal. A few demanding phone calls to Pete wasn’t enough to convince him that they actually gave a shit. Actions spoke louder than words.

“Woah, is this a house for humans or giants?”

Tin turned his attention to Can, who immediately brought some life back into his eyes. Can’s jaw almost touched the floor as he looked upon the show-home that had stopped providing any warmth or comfort for Tin long ago. He shrugged his shoulders in ambivalence, preparing a mental note to remind Can later that he was in no place to talk about mythical creatures.

“It’s been nice meeting you, Can!” Pete turned his head to look at them both in the backseat.

A flicker of an expression Tin didn’t understand crossed Can’s face. He didn’t show his teeth when he smiled back, lips pursed and molars ground together. He shook himself out of it quickly, nodding politely before speaking.

“You too, Pete. I hope to get to know you better soon.”

“I’m sure Tin won’t hold back on the gory details,” Pete smiled, all matter of fact. “Look after him for me, won’t you.”

“Oh don’t worry, I will.”

Tin’s gaze switched between them, wondering if he’d missed something. He didn’t get to wonder long. Can opened the car door and hopped out, dragging him by the arm towards his own house.

“Hey! Can! Hold up a sec,” Tin tried to pull his wrist free but Can didn’t oblige, pulling him forward with such vigor he was left with no option other than to turn on his heels and wave a quick goodbye at Pete, who was watching them all wide-eyed and confused from his car.

“Open the door.”

Tin did as he was asked, slightly stunned. He grabbed the spare key which was helpfully hidden underneath his mother’s favourite rose plant.

“What the hell’s got into you?” Tin fumbled, confounded as to why Can was bouncing on the soles of his feet and running flexed fingers through his hair. He was agitated, wound up like a music box.

Tin had expected a multitude of different reactions to Can seeing his house. He’d expected to him to marvel at the fireplace, gawp underneath the high ceilings and demolish the contents of their two enormous fridges. Instead, the second Tin swung the door open, he found himself pinned hard against it from the inside.

Can’s hands held him there so firmly, Tin struggled to catch his breath. Again he had underestimated him. In human form he seemed so petite, so delicate around the edges. Tin had forgotten how strong he was and he was harshly reminded as he tried to scrabble against Can whose eyes were burning into him.

“What - the - fuck?!” Tin choked out.

“You were flirting with him,” Can spoke, matter of factly. Like it took absolutely no energy whatsoever to hold him there.

“What?”

“You heard me.”

He was right, but Tin couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“What are you talking about?”

“Don’t act like you don’t know.”

“Are you fucking jealous?” He asked, somehow finding his mouth framing a smirk despite Can’s hands threatening to squeeze the life from him.

“Yes,” Can hissed, moving closer. So close that Tin could feel his body press up against him. Even if Can had let go, he didn’t want to move anymore. Heat radiated off him. “Don’t you ever flirt with anyone else like that ever again, d’you hear me?”

Tin brain turned to soup as he tried to process what was happening. Had he been flirting? Why did the scent of Can’s breath remind him of blackberries? Why were his legs threatening to buckle underneath him?

“Do I make myself clear, Tin?” Can pushed, obviously unaware of who he was pushing.

Tin met his eyes for what felt like years, blinking his own into narrow slits.

“Crystal,” he whispered. Tin used all of his strength to take back control, switching their positions. He’d surprised himself, but he must have surprised Can even more by the way his eyebrows almost disappeared into his hairline. Tin ground his hips against him, drawing a growl from Can that was almost dangerous and definitely hot.

“Who the fuck, do you think your talking to?” Tin wasn’t really sure where the words came from, yet they came. Clear and concise from his throat. He grabbed both of Can’s wrists and held them tight in one hand above his head. Can’s eyes held his glare, both challenging, both fighting. There was something in them that was on fire, hot and sparking.

“The Ice Prince, apparently.”

Can elongated the words, emphasising each syllable of the nickname Pete had exposed. Tin decided right there and then that he was going to teach him a lesson. The house was silent. They were alone. Can was human and he was going to make the most of it.

“Get on your knees,” Tin’s tone made it clear he wasn’t asking. Right there, right in that moment. Can switched. Tin could feel the shift as Can’s eyes glanced upwards to the hand trapping both his wrists. Tin released him and watched as he sank down. He was shocked that he hadn’t questioned him, argued with him. That he’d made it so easy. Can was never that easy. His fish-human looked up at him, pupils blown and then, Tin realised. He liked it. He watched as Can’s glazed eyes flicked between his still trapped dick, his mouth so dangerously close to where his erection pushed against his jeans. Tin lifted his chin up with a light fingertip.

“What do you want?” Tin asked.

Can’s eyes flicked again. Not good enough. So not fucking good enough. Tin pulled on his black hair, tugging him closer to where he wanted to be, to where he wanted him to be, before pulling his head back up.

“Say it,” Tin ordered.

“I - I, I want to…” Can shook his head, as if he couldn’t bring himself to say the words.

“Say it. Or I won’t let you.” Tin knew that was a lie, he’d let his little fish boy do anything he damn well wanted. If Can even tried, Tin knew he wouldn’t have the self control to stop him. He’d let him think otherwise though, especially when Can found his resolve, the alternative clearly not an option.

“I want to taste you.”

The sentence grounded Tin solid where he stood. It wasn’t what he’d expected to hear. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear. Not quite. He unbuttoned his jeans, nudging his knuckles against Can’s nose as he did. He undid the zipper, slowly. Teasingly. He grew harder as Can watched him, unconsciously licking his lips.

“Try again,” Tin murmured. Running his finger across Can’s jawline, lifting his head back up to meet his eyes.

“I want to suck you.”

Tin let his head fall back against the wall as pre-come dribbled out of him. That was it. That was what he’d wanted to hear. He gestured with his hand that Can was free to do so. He didn’t think he could look at him with that look on his face a second longer without his knees giving out.

“You have to tell me,” Can murmured.

“Huh?” Tin hummed, dragging his gaze down to him.

“You have to tell me that I can.” It dawned on Tin what he meant. He wanted his permission. He wanted to do as he was told. Tin wasn’t even sure if he could form the words.

“Suck my dick, fish boy.”

The instant the words left him, Can lost whatever warped version of control he was holding on to. He had his jeans down in a flash, almost as quick as he was in mermaid form. Tin couldn’t watch him, he leaned his head back and squeezed his eyes shut. He knew it was Can’s first time and yet, if he hadn’t had known, he’d never have known. He had expected Can to lick at him. To taste him all tentative and shy. For him to be nervous. None of that happened. Can wrapped his pretty mouth around him and took his whole dick in his mouth. Easily, so easily Tin was almost offended. His dick wasn’t small. If he’d had a brain cell left functioning when Can sucked on him and sent electricity firing up every nerve ending in his body, he may well have asked where he learned to deep throat like that.

Can drew back on him slowly, tracing his tongue along the underside of his dick as he pulled his mouth right back to the tip and licked across the slit, swallowing before he advanced again. Tin opened his eyes and looked at him. He knees shook when Can got a rhythm going, he could feel the back of Can’s throat physically open around him whenever Can took him real deep. He didn’t understand, could not comprehend for the life of him how Can was still a virgin. Every time he saw him like this, got to have him like this, Can worked him like an expert. Like this was what he was born to do. That energy that hummed in him all the time, always firing on all cylinders, when he put that energy to good use he was so fucking hot. He was sucking him off like he loved it.

Suddenly, Can pulled off him, licking a long, leisurely line up his dick before he flicked his eyes up to meet Tin’s stunned gaze.

“Don’t go quiet on me,” Can whispered, through a grin. “I told you I would, the last time.”

Tin wondered then who was really in charge here. Who was really in control. He remembered the last time. He remembered what Can had said to make him come and here they were. Had he been planning this? Okay, Tin thought. Okay, two can play at this game.

Tin reached out with both hands and grabbed two fistfuls of Can’s hair. He was rough, rougher than he’d ever been before and Can’s mouth automatically fell open on a gasp, maybe a protest. Tin wasn’t sure, but he took advantage anyway and shoved his dick back down Can’s throat. He pushed him as far as could, until Can almost choked around him. Can brought his hands up to Tin’s hips for help, to be steadied as he tried to catch his breath through his nose.

“Is this what you want?” Tin asked, hot and heavy and trying to hold on as Can grinned around his dick, nodding. Tin dragged him back by his hair and then back down deep on him. He felt the vibrations against his dick as Can hummed around him, that smug smile wiped off his face as he had to focus on not choking.

“You like this yeah? A dick down your throat.” Tin bucked his hips, but before he could come, Can pulled off.

“No,” Can started, wrapping his hand around him and jerking him slowly, keeping him just on the edge. “Not just any dick. Your dick.”

That drew a well deserved moan from Tin that he hadn’t even wanted to hold back. He was so shameless. He was so gone.

“Now do what I want. Come down my throat and moan my name.”

When Can enveloped his dripping dick in that glossy, filthy mouth and sucked hard, it was Tin’s turn to do as he was told. Can’s name fell from his throat like a prayer. He filled Can’s throat as he was asked and the fishboy swallowed, eagerly lapping at him like he wanted more. Tin’s legs turned to jelly and he slid down the wall, still moaning. Once he hit the carpet, he opened his eyes to find Can watching him, observing as though he was an endangered animal. He reached out and grabbed at him, pulling him close.

Tin moaned the second Can’s mouth touched his. He kissed him hard, breathing heavy, he was oversensitive. Every brush of Can’s lips made him feel like he was burning up. He could taste his own come from Can’s mouth.

“Do you like the taste?” Can asked between his messy kisses. Tin wasn’t sure. The taste was salty and bitter. The remnants of it he licked off Can’s tongue weren’t bad, but he wasn’t sure about a mouthful. Either way, Can’s mouth always tasted good. His dick had already begun to twitch again. Tin grinned against his mouth. He prepared himself for the graze of sharp teeth before remembering he didn’t have any to fear, which only made him smile wider. Can had no idea what he was in for. This wasn’t going to be one-sided this time.

Tin pushed him back as he kissed him. Can went willingly, especially when Tin straddled him, moaning at how hard Can’s dick was. Tin had been too preoccupied, he ground his hips down against him, delighting in the way Can’s back arched off the floor.

“You’re so hard, Can.” Tin muttered against his ear as he traced hot kisses down Can’s neck, his whole body weight pressed against him.

“What do you expect?” Can managed, his hips rolling when Tin found a particularly sensitive spot in his neck. Tin sucked on the pressure point, moaning himself when Can dug his nails into his back. They were too many clothes between them, Tin wanted to feel him. Skin on skin.

“I just got to watch you come for me. Because of me. A - And now you’re on top of me. Kissing me like, like that. Of course I’m fucking hard.”

Tin wanted to be careful to not push Can too far. He’d never even been touched. From what he could gather, he’d never even touched himself. He didn’t want to push him beyond his boundaries, so his words came as a great reassurance. Enough of one that Tin pulled at the shirt, his shirt, that Can was still wearing.

“Can I take this off?”

Can didn’t answer him, but immediately he lifted his arms above his head. Permission granted, it seemed. Tin removed it quickly, happy to never see it again. He pushed against Can’s chest, he wanted him flat on his back underneath him. Can went without hesitation, his hips jolting up when Tin flicked his right nipple with his tongue. Curses fell from Can as he writhed, pushing upwards. Wanting more. Tin’s dick was half-hard just from watching him, from feeling him. He couldn’t believe how lucky he was to even get to see. Tin traced a hand down his slim but muscular frame, palming him through cotton fabric.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” the curses left Can’s mouth clearly, despite the fact that he tried to bite them into Tin’s shoulder.

“That feels so good, Tin,” He pushed his hips up against Tin’s palm, kissing him through gritted teeth as he sought more friction. Tin didn’t advance any further and Can knew why. He was protecting him. He was scared of pushing. He was busy treasuring the virginity that Can didn’t want anymore. He did not fucking want it. He wanted Tin to take it from him. To take what belonged to him. Can took hold of the hand palming him, working on human instincts he didn’t really understand and slid it under the fabric.

“Can, I don’t - ” Tin started.

“Please don’t. Don’t do that to me. You don’t get to decide what I want,” The words fell from Can without permission from his brain. He kissed Tin hard, desperate to show him that he meant it, that he wanted it. Tin’s hand remained still against his dick.

“I need you to touch me.”

Can used his hand to guide Tin’s up and down the length of him. When his mouth fell open on a moan, any ideas Tin had of denying him dissipated. He didn’t seem nervous, he wasn’t scared. Can looked like he’d found where he belonged.

Tin took a firmer hold on him and jerked him slowly without any assistance. Can writhed against his hold and Tin found himself somewhat overwhelmed by the sight. He was hard now, but he didn’t even notice because watching Can, that was enough. Messy hair, cherry red mouth, rock hard dick in his hand. It was enough. The waistband of the joggers was in his way, blocking easy flicks of his wrist. He tugged at it with his free hand. Still hesitant, still asking. Can lifted his hips for him, tugging them down without even a flicker of debate.

Tin had never seen a dick in real life that wasn’t his own. He’d never had any desire to until Can. Yet, he found himself watching intently as he stroked his fingers around him. He was about an inch shorter than Tin, but thicker. Harder to take. Tin pulled back the soft skin and thumbed along the slit, which earned him a moan of his name that made him shiver. He found himself overwhelmed with curiosity. He wanted Can to feel all the things he’d made him feel. This time, he didn’t ask. He licked him first, not ashamed to say he wasn’t as confident as Can had seemed to be.

“Jesus, fuck. Ai Tin.” Can gasped his curses and he thrust upwards. “Do that again.”

Tin did. He didn’t mind the taste, it wasn’t too much of anything. It was the thought that was hot. The knowledge that he was between Can’s legs with his dick balanced on his tongue, watching him squirm, that was enough to make him moan. He moaned even louder when he took Can properly in his mouth. It was the way Can said his name that did it. He didn’t sink as low as Can had, his throat wasn’t as accommodating, not that Can seemed to mind. Tin mirrored the movements of his mouth with his hand as he brought Can closer. The fishboy was trembling, right on the edge.

“Tin, Tin, I - I’m gonna…” Tin didn’t need the warning, he already knew. He stayed where he was, ready to take the hit, but Can started pulling on his hair.

“Kiss me.”

Tin shifted to Can’s side, laying his weight against Can, pinning him down against the hallway floor as he met his request. Can could barely manage to kiss back as Tin sucked on his bottom lip. He had completely fallen apart, his mouth was slack and his eyes kept rolling back in his head. His eyebrows were almost strung together in concentration as he focused on Tin’s hand which was jerking him firm and fast now. His dick wet and slick from the spit from Tin’s mouth. Still he didn’t.

“What is it? Why won’t you,” Tin asked against his mouth, concerned. Can kept his eyes squeezed shut and shook his head. Tin bit at the skin at his neck. Hard.

“Tell me,” he ordered. Can whimpered, desperate for release. He knew what he needed, he just didn’t know how to say it.

“I need you to tell me,” Can moaned the words against his neck. Finally, Tin understood. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t, it was that he needed to know he was allowed. Tin was in his own personal heaven. He caught Can’s parted lips in a rough kiss.

“Come, Can.” He breathed. “Come for me.”

White ribbons exploded out of Can so hard, Tin was impressed by the distance he covered and silently grateful he hadn’t had to take them down his throat. He kissed Can through it, muffling his loud moans, swallowing them into his mouth. He milked Can until he was completely dry, his dick beginning to soften in his hand. Can shook against him, convulsing again and again as his hips continue to roll off the floor long after he’d finished. Tin was in awe of him.

“You are so beautiful,” Tin hadn’t even realised he’d said it out loud until Can cracked his eyes open. Can’s met his gaze, sprawled out flat on his back, glistening from a sheen of sweat and pink flushed from the heat. Tin didn’t regret saying it. It was the truth. If Can backed off from him this time the way he had, the way he always did, then Tin would accept it. He knew he’d already been luckier than he could have dreamed. When Can retracted his nails from where he’d been digging into them into Tin’s shoulder blades, Tin knew what was coming. Or at least, he thought he had.

Can reached around him, all loose and spent and pulled him close to kiss him. His mouth was pliant and soft. Tin chuckled when he playfully nipped at his jaw before settling into his favourite spot against his neck. Can hooked a leg across one of his and laced their fingers together, linking them wherever he could.

Tin lay there, more content than he’d ever been in his life. In his hallway. On the floor. With his impossible boy. When Can spoke softly, it surprised him.

“Ae was right.”

“What?”

“He was right,” Can repeated. “You did make it good for me.”