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Amelia was looking.

There were many things to look at in Atlantis. It was a whole new world, blue, and shiny and bustling with movement everywhere. The big dome prevented her human lungs from exploding under pressure and provided a view of the ocean outside that left every aquarium in the world in the dust. Countless sea creatures swam above them, creating a spectacle of shadows wherever they went. The sunlight somehow reached the depths, so it looked like a normal sunny day from where they were standing. There were means of transportation Amelia couldn’t even describe in Atlantis; she saw animals and people, and people who were obviously sea creatures in disguise walking all around them, busy with work or just taking a leisure stroll downtown. It was a big city hidden from the world. It was hard to put into words the beauty of the place. No wonder her guide seemed so proud of her home.

“You can get the best salmon from that store,” Gura’s voice was lined with excitement. “And over there is where the starfish live.” She laughed. “It sounds silly when I put it like that. A whole starfish area in the middle of Atlantis.”

Amelia nodded.

She was still looking.

They crossed a street after Gura held out an arm to stop them from being crushed by an out of control water carriage driven by a very angry octopus. He yelled something about tourists and Gura waved her hand, like it was just another day. The next block seemed even more luxurious than the previous one. Gura mentioned something about the Commercial District and how pearls kept the economy going, and that the Atlantean Stock Market was unpredictable, and Amelia thought that it was all very interesting.

Still, she kept looking.

After turning in a few blocks, they reached their destination. It wasn’t a hotel, and it wasn’t Gura’s home, either. It was a simple inn. Small, adorned with shiny topaz on the outside, and very warm on the inside. Amelia wasn’t sure what kind of weather to expect in Atlantis, so she was pleasantly surprised to learn that everywhere felt like a normal Spring day. Maybe the dome kept the temperature close to the surface’s.

“All good! We’ll be staying here for the next week or so,” Gura smiled and finally turned to face Amelia after checking in. “Any questions? I didn’t let you talk for the past hour, I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright,” Amelia finally stopped looking and decided to ask. “Just one question, though. What is that thing?”

She pointed at the object of her curiosity – not the dome, not the starfish, not the pearls that kept Atlantis economically safe – but the thing in Gura’s mouth.

“Oh,” Gura stopped biting the soft-looking thing for a second. “It’s uh… don’t worry about it.” Amelia thought that she saw a slight blush on her friend’s face before Gura’s beaming smile returned. “Anyway, let me show you your room!”

And because Gura refused to elaborate further, this was going to keep bugging Amelia for the rest of her stay in Atlantis.

 

--

 

Atlantean food was delicious. Amelia didn’t really expect anything else from a place that looked like a futuristic underwater utopia at all times. Everything she tasted was better than the last, and eating soon became her favorite activity.

They visited many places during her stay. Gura has never been so talkative and seeing her so excited was really cute. She knew so much about Atlantean culture that Amelia had to wonder if she memorized what she was going to explain the night before, or if everything came naturally to her due to her love for the place.

“Some ancients say that these were the gods that brought Atlantis to the surface before they had to sink it again, but academics have been contesting this part of history, lately.” Gura explained as they stood in front of three huge stone statues of beautiful women who looked like mermaids.

“What, are gods not cool enough to be in academic articles?” Amelia teased.

“Man, I’ll take cool gods over ‘earthquakes and natural phenomena’ any day.” Gura replied making air quotes with her fingers. “It’s Atlantis for shark’s sake, who cares how it sank.”

“You guys have angry octopi driving carriages, I don’t think that humans would care much about what sank this dome.”

“I know!” Gura brought that thing back to her mouth and chewed on it a little before snorting. “Angry octopi. That’s hilarious.”

Amelia stared at it again. Gura still refused to explain why she didn’t stop biting that thing ever since they got to Atlantis.

It was going to drive the detective crazy before their week was over.

 

--

 

Taking a bath underwater was ironic, and Amelia couldn’t help a laugh when she stepped out of her bathtub, wrapping herself in a towel. The day was over, and she felt refreshed again. Night in Atlantis was even more beautiful. There were lamps made out of bioluminescent creatures throughout the entire city, and it created a cozy atmosphere inside the inn as well.

Amelia left the bathroom, still wearing only her towel, and froze when she saw that Gura was waiting for her on her bed. “Oh.”

“Hey, Ame— aaah! Sorry, I thought you would change in there!” Gura averted her gaze, taking the thing off her mouth as she spoke. “I can leave, sorry.”

“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind.” Amelia said, nonchalantly. “How did you come in, though?”

“I, uh… asked for a spare key in case you got locked in or out.”

“You think I can’t figure out Atlantean locks?”

“Hey, they’re pretty weird the first time you see them.”

That statement made the detective realize, “You got locked in once, didn’t you?”

“Did you know that bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates?”

“That was a terrible save.”

Gura shrugged and brought the thing back to her mouth again. She chewed on it for a bit before turning her back to Amelia. “Anyway, go change. I’m hungry, dinner today is awesome.”

And then, she kept on chewing on the soft-looking thing. Amelia couldn’t move for a second, her brainpower draining all her will to do anything else as she thought about the possibilities. Was Gura chewing on that thing because she was nervous? She never saw her do that on the surface. Was it exclusively for underwater anxiety? Why was it so soft? What was it made of?

Her detective side couldn’t take it anymore.

Amelia walked towards the bed and sat, still very naked, next to her friend. “Alright, Gura, I’m going nuts. Can you please tell me what’s that thing you keep chewing on?”

Gura flinched. “No— no, it’s fine. Sorry, is it stressing you out? I’ll try to—” She made the mistake of turning her head to look. “Are you still naked?”

“I’m not dressing until you tell me.” Amelia sounded more amused than distressed. “It’s not stressing me out, I just need to know. Please? I promise I won’t laugh.”

“Uh…”

“Come on, trust me. I never dunked on you in your life.”

“To think that someone can just tell lies without repercussions.”

Amelia snorted and shoved Gura to the side. “Come on, you dork.”

Gura slumped her shoulders, cheeks heating. She sighed. “Fine. It’s just… embarrassing. Kinda.” Amelia nodded for her to go on. Gura refused to stare at her, so she looked at the wall. “It’s a… uh. It’s a teether. When I get back to Atlantis, my shark instincts kinda kick in hard. You saw those people on the streets, right?”

“Yeah.”

“They’re sea creatures, like me. Just look human. But they all have their tools to deal with whatever animal impulses are still in them. Being here reminds my body that I’m an animal like that.” Gura looked down at her teether. “Since I’m not hunting, I keep biting it to push the instincts down. So whenever I see something delicious, I don’t just jump on it.”

“Oh.”

That was unexpected. Amelia was so used to seeing her friend like a human that she forgot about the fact that Gawr Gura was, in fact, an apex predator.

And that she was sitting next to her. Very, very naked.

And that Gura just mentioned that she was hungry.

Amelia felt a shiver down her spine. It wasn’t exactly fear.

She swallowed hard, and got up. “I see.”

Gura closed her eyes. “You can laugh now, whatever.”

“No, I won’t laugh! You’re my friend, shark or not.” She paused. “Besides, laughing at a predator while I’m naked wouldn’t be very smart.”

It was supposed to be a joke to lighten up the mood, but Gura seemed to freeze. Maybe that was the wrong thing to remind her at the moment.

With a swift move, Gura got up. “I need to— You can just. I’ll wait outside. Yeah.” And without sparing Amelia another glance, she opened the door and left.

Amelia let out the breath she was holding, the shiver on her spine moving to a warm feeling on her stomach. She touched her back to the wall, looking up at the bioluminescent chandelier. “Oh, boy.”

 

--

 

They didn’t bring up the awkward exchange again.

Or at least, they tried not to. Amelia could still remember the buzz she felt back then. She couldn’t put a name to it, but it was there.

“What’s that weird building?” The detective decided to do the sensible thing and push her feelings down as deep as she could, and keep going with their sightseeing.

“Oh, that’s the powerplant! Schools usually take the little kids on a tour over there to explain how the energy of Atlantis works. I thought it was interesting when I went, but the other kids were just looking forward to the lunch break at the end of the visit.”

Amelia smiled at that, picturing cute kid Gura with her eyes shining at the powerplant worker’s explanation. “I can’t actually picture you being smaller than you are now.”

“Excuse me.”

“How did you even reach the table at lunch break?”

“Oh, we’re full of jokes today.”

“Did you raise your hand and went, ‘Miss Octopus! Can you stop being stressed out for a second and help me up?’”

Gura sounded positively offended. “I did not!” Her voice was a tone higher. “They had little chairs for little kids!”

“Is this where you buy your furniture? At Little Atlantean IKEA?”

“That’s it, I’m leaving you here. Good luck finding your way back to the surface without the magical elevator.”

Amelia laughed and Gura playfully bumped into her. And maybe it was the Atlantis effect, but Gura was stronger than she looked, and Amelia tripped, not expecting the roughness of it.

“Woah—”

Before she could fall, Gura reached out, pulling Amelia’s arm towards. “Sorry!” But she did it strongly once again, and suddenly they were chest to chest, bumping into each other.

They stood there for a second, close and warm. Amelia looked into Gura’s eyes, and realized that the entire ocean swam in her irises. Have her eyes always been shiny and vast like that? Did Amelia just never notice?

Or was this just the Atlantis effect on Gura’s shark body?

Clearing her throat, Gura let her go, stepping back. It was like breaking a spell, and Amelia had to fight the urge to pull her close again, just to get lost in those eyes. It felt like she could discover something if she kept staring, something that humanity wasn’t meant to know.

“S-sorry, I didn’t— I can’t control my strength very well. You know, the…” Gura took her teether and put it back in her mouth, maybe to calm herself down. She hasn’t been doing that as much since explaining what it was for. “You okay?”

Amelia saw Gura’s teeth marking the soft shell of her teether and her mouth felt dry. “Yeah.” She smiled despite every nerve in her body being on fire. “That was kinda badass.”

It seemed to be the right thing to say, judging by Gura’s shy, but genuine smile.

She liked seeing it.

“You’re still a jerk, by the way.” Gura said and Amelia laughed.

 

--

 

It happened on the last day of their stay.

The day went by nicely. Gura dragged Amelia to the last places she wanted her to see, the last statues and buildings, the last restaurants and karaoke houses, and at night, they were tired, and happy, and buzzing with the thrill of being underwater, thousands of feet deep, arms locked and laughing on the streets of Atlantis, under bioluminescent creatures.

There was no alcohol in their system, and they didn’t need it to grin.

“You are such a good singer, it’s insane.” Amelia said, her head swimming with thoughts of Gura’s special karaoke session. “Did you always like to sing?”

There was a red tinge in Gura’s cheeks, but it could have been from how loudly she sang that last song. “Pretty much, yeah. It’s always been a stress relief.”

“It certainly calms me down.”

“Aw, sappy.”

“It does. Your voice is so… I don’t know, smooth and clear. I could listen to it to go to sleep.”

“I’m not singing you to sleep.”

“Boo, lame.”

Gura giggled. Her voice was bubbly. “Maybe just once.”

They finally reached the inn for one last time. Amelia had to admit, she would miss her room. It was so cozy and warm, and it a felt like home during the week. The fact that Gura pretty much lived in it was also a nice memory. Amelia would miss her friend popping up unannounced every now and then.

“Thanks for being my guide,” Amelia said as she opened the door to her room. Both of them walked in, not ready to say goodnight quite yet. “This place is so amazing. I can’t wrap my head around it. Why would you ever want to leave?”

Gura shrugged, closing the door behind them. “I don’t, really. But it’s nice to change your surroundings from time to time.” Gura reached for her teether, sitting on Amelia’s bed and chewing on it – she didn’t feel as shy about it anymore. “Besides, I don’t feel so wired on the surface as I do here.”

Amelia considered that for a moment. The burden of her shark instincts must be a pain to deal with on a daily basis. Amelia wondered what it was like to fight against it every day. Gura probably left Atlantis quite a lot to just swim out in the open and hunt as much as she wanted. But with Amelia here, she couldn’t do that. She had been holding herself back for quite a while just to stick to a human.

Amelia’s eyes traveled all the way to Gura’s pointy teeth, her vision clouding for a second. Just admiring it.

Gura’s teeth pulled her in, somehow.

“You good?” Gura asked when Amelia got quiet.

“Is this material supposed to replicate flesh?” The question was out of her mouth before she could stop herself, and Gura paused. Amelia was sure she had crossed a line.

That’s why she was so surprised when Gura answered. “Yeah. Kinda.”

“Oh. Yeah, I thought so.”

Gura put the teether down, slowly. “It’s not like the real thing, obviously. But it helps.”

Another pause.

“But the real thing would help more?” The words kept spilling from Amelia’s mouth. She was just too curious to stop herself, and Gura seemed to be comfortable enough to talk about it now.

Gura just nodded. “Well. Yeah. But it’s not like I can just find someone and ask to chew on them.” She let out a breathless laugh. “Can you imagine? Just walking up to someone—”

“Which part?”

“Huh?”

“If someone was okay with it, which part would you chew on? The arm?”

They both knew where this was leading, and they both refused to acknowledge it until the very last second. Gura felt her ears reddening and turned away from Amelia’s intense gaze. “Uh… I suppose. Like… the forearm. So it doesn’t hurt. I would never want to hurt anyone.”

“Yeah, that makes sense.”

No one said anything for about two seconds, and it was like the dome was collapsing on itself, drowning everyone with it. The city could be destroyed right now and the tension in the room would probably withstand it.

Amelia moved, sitting on the bed next to Gura.

Without a word, she stretched her arm. “You can, by the way. If it will help you more.”

Gura was sure her heart had stopped. She laughed, nervously. “What?”

“I’ve noticed you’ve been jittery. More than usual. You’re nearly destroying that thing.” Amelia pointed at the teether with her chin. It was battered and in a pretty bad shape from a whole week of shark bites. “You’re my friend, and I know you’re wound up because I’m here. You can’t go out to hunt in the open with me here. So I want to help.”

“Ame…”

“I want to.” There was a hidden meaning in those words. I want this.

Gura didn’t know what to say. Amelia was too stubborn to drop this. There was really just one solution to this problem.

Slowly, Gura’s hands reached up, touching the flesh of Amelia’s arm. It sent a shiver down her spine. Amelia felt it too.

Gooseflesh in her skin, Amelia swallowed hard, just staring. “It’s okay.”

“This is so weird.” Gura muttered.

“Just pretend it’s your teether, dork.” She tried to lighten up the mood.

“As if I could…” Gura whispered so lowly that Amelia didn’t hear it.

The first bite was nothing. Like a toothless puppy playing around. Gura was terrified of putting any sort of pressure on her skin. She kept nipping weakly, clearly not helping her case at all.

Amelia could feel her heart thumping strongly in her chest. It took her a moment to regain her voice. “You can bite harder. I’m not as fragile as you think.”

Gura laughed weakly at that, remembering the bizarre stories of all the times the detective got hurt throughout her life. Maybe she was more used to pain than your average human. Still, Gura was a full-blown shark. She had no idea of the strength she possessed.

With a little more pressure, she nibbled the skin. Her pointy teeth were finally burying into the softness of Amelia’s arm, and it felt good. Gura chewed on a patch of skin for a bit, then moved up, her fingers curling on Amelia’s arm. The longer she stood there, the harder the bites became.

Like she was losing herself to the sensation.

The view drove Amelia kind of crazy.

Gura was nearly reaching her elbow when Amelia twisted her arm outwards, showing the softest part of her arm, above the elbow. “This part is softer.”

Gura’s eyes were dark, but she managed to crack a smirk. “Yeah, your biceps are pretty flat.”

“Hey.”

The joke was a relief to both of them for a second, but Gura dove back in without a word. She bit Amelia’s smooth arm, her head closer. Amelia smelled a faint perfume on her friend. The one they bought together the day before.

Gura was very close to her and she felt warm. Amelia looked at her forearm, tiny bite marks reddening the skin. She liked seeing them there.

“Harder.” She muttered lowly, in a world where only the two of them existed.

This time, Gura just obliged.

It hurt. It was good.

Amelia let out a tiny whine and maybe that’s what broke the dam. Gura stopped, looking up, so close. Her eyes, once again shiny and vast like the undiscovered ocean. Amelia wanted to dive in, find out all her secrets and everything she had to offer. She was a detective, after all.

“Ame…”

With one move, Amelia unbuttoned her white shirt. She pushed her collar down, baring her shoulder, collarbones and neck. She didn’t need to say anything, but she was afraid that if she didn’t, Gura would just keep staring at her like a doofus.

“Climb on my lap.”

Gura had to be dreaming. “I don’t…”

“Here,” Amelia reached around her waist, pulling her close. “It’s okay, I promise. It will hurt less.” That was a lie. She hoped it would hurt a little more.

Gura straddled her, because she just couldn’t refuse.

Slowly, she leaned, teeth scratching Amelia’s shoulder. The skin there was smooth, but she met bone in the way. Amelia was quite skinny. Gura turned her face, her nose buried on Amelia’s neck, and sighed. It made her shiver, and Amelia pressed a hand on the back of Gura’s head, pulling her close. She chuckled a bit. “What? Tired?”

“No. I just…” Gura sounded fragile. “I really like you. I don’t want to hurt you.”

This broke Amelia’s heart a little. She caressed Gura’s hair, looking at the ceiling. “I trust you with my life, Gura.” She has never been this raw and honest. It felt good. She smirked. “And maybe… I kinda want you to hurt me.”

“Oh.” She could feel Gura’s face heating. “Goddammit, Watson.”

Amelia laughed, but her laugh was interrupted by a sharp pain on her neck. She choked, a whine escaping. Gura decided to stop holding back.

Finally.

It hurt so good. Gura sunk her teeth on her neck, over and over, moving down to the junction of her shoulder. Amelia pulled her closer, grunting at each bite. Then, she felt tongue. Gura had been holding back tasting her as much as she could. Amelia wondered what had changed her mind.

She realized that she had drawn blood.

Amelia moaned at the thought. “Fuck…”

Gura’s hand went up to her collar, and Amelia helped, unbuttoning the rest of her shirt. She was extremely warm now. Discarding her shirt on the floor, Gura leaned back to admire Amelia’s body for a second.

“You’re really pretty.”

The confession was out of the blue and it was Amelia’s turn to blush. “Shut up.”

“It’s true.” Gura leaned in again, tongue on the other side of her neck, teeth sharp, tearing flesh. “I always thought so.”

Amelia had no words for that.

Gura’s restraint went out of the window, and Amelia wondered why they had taken so long to do this. A whole week. They could have been doing this for a whole week.

Amelia’s hands roamed over Gura’s back, finding the inside of her shirt. She moved to touch her skin, warm and soft. Gura grunted against her neck. Bit stronger. Amelia’s back arched.

“God…” She muttered, nails scratching Gura’s back slightly. “Can I?”

Gura just nodded, leaning further to bite down Amelia’s shoulder, licking the blood there. Amelia smiled in pure bliss.

She propped up her leg, fitting nicely in between Gura’s, and that got a reaction out of her. She felt the shark moving her hips slowly as she bit and licked and drove Amelia crazy. Amelia felt a warm spot on her thigh and decided to leave her leg there.

Gura moved up, to Amelia’s ear, pointy teeth nibbling the sensitive flesh there. She moaned louder, not expecting it to feel this good. Gura’s hard breathing made her shiver. “Gura…”

“Yeah?”

“It’s g-good.” Amelia groaned, moving her hands down to grip Gura’s hips, helping her move. Gura bit under her ear, moving to her cheek, whining and grinding down faster on Amelia’s thigh. Suddenly they were face to face, mouths close, lips parted.

Gura was so beautiful.

“Ame…” Her voice was nothing more than a high-pitched whine, almost begging. Amelia leaned forward, noses bumping. She captured her lips in a soft kiss, that soon turned feral as Gura’s teeth worked. She wouldn’t stop biting, nipping everywhere she could find, lips included. It wasn’t a surprise when Amelia felt the taste of blood in her own mouth.

She was going crazy.

Gura’s hips moved faster, her arms around Amelia’s shoulders as they kissed, tangled together like their lives depended on it. Gura kissed her deeply, desperately, as if this dream would end and leave her heart empty if she let go of it. Amelia felt like an idiot for not realizing it sooner. She cupped Gura’s cheek, moving her lips to capture hers again. Trying to convey something. She just wanted to make her happy.

Suddenly, a soft whine against Amelia’s mouth as Gura stopped moving. She tensed, arms locking into place. Amelia felt it on her leg. It was warm. Gura sighed, then, body slumping against her, mouths parting for once. Amelia licked the blood from her ruined lips.

“Did you…?”

“Shut up…” Gura groaned, buried on her chest. “Yeah.”

Amelia could tease her, but that was really hot.

She chuckled instead, pressing a kiss to the top of Gura’s head. “Okay. You good?”

“I should be asking you that.” Gura leaned back for once, looking at the state of her friend. Bite marks everywhere, blood smeared around her skin, some marks turning purple. “What have I done?”

Amelia rolled her eyes, the pain still pulsating nicely over her body. “I asked you to do that. I liked it.”

“But…”

She kissed Gura again, chaste, and pulled back. “I liked it. Get it through your head, dummy.”

Gura blushed, realizing for the first time that they had kissed. “Fine, you weirdo. With your weird kinks. Lewd detective.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Amelia smiled fondly. “I should probably take a shower, though.”

“No kidding.” Gura didn’t move, though. “I don’t think the inn staff would like to clean blood from the sheets.”

Amelia stopped for a bit, then asked. “Wanna join me?”

Gura blinked. “In the shower?”

“Yeah. I, uh… still need to take care of something. If you want to help.”

Gura took a second to realize what she was talking about. She blushed from head to toe, but didn’t say no. “You’re relentless.”

“You like me, anyway.”

Gura watched her for a second, a fond smile in her lips. She muttered, “That’s an understatement.”

It made Amelia’s heart leap in her chest.

Oh.

Okay.

 

--

 

The funny thing was that each of their friends had a very distinct reaction upon seeing them back from their travel.

“Are these bit marks?” Ina asked.

“Are you holding hands??” Kiara nearly screamed.

“Did you bring me souvenirs?” Calli questioned.

All three were true. Atlantis was truly a special place.