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Title: The Heart of the Ocean [2/2]
Chapter: Standalone. Cut into two parts because of LJ's post limits; part 1 is here.
Author: Boots
Rating: NC-17
Genre: Supernatural/urban fantasy AU, romance, smut
Warnings: Male/male sex, rimming, mirrors
Pairing: Yo-ka (DIAURA) X Subaru (Royz)
Disclaimer: Diaura belongs to Ains, Royz belongs to B.P. Records, I own the story only.
Summary: Down in the dumps after losing his job at a men’s fashion magazine, Yo-ka comes to Nago Beach in Okinawa to housesit for a rich friend and try to get his mind off his troubles. Then, an act of kindness to an animal brings a mysterious young man into his life – but why does he appear on the beach at the same time and place every night and disappear before dawn every morning?
Comments: Originally written for the Summer Romance Challenge at jrockyaoi, but it was too long to enter the contest.

Subaru mentioned nothing else about the incident for the rest of the night, except to tell the fishermen they should be okay for several nights now. The fishermen were so happy with their catch – the boat was so bursting with fish that there was almost no room for the people – that they were even offering to pay him.

“No need,” Subaru said. “I just wanted to help.”

They went straight back to Yo-ka’s place and up to bed, and Yo-ka soon forgot about the mystery in the haze of passion. And sure enough, there was the usual note the next morning.

He sighed, staring at it, rubbing his head. His summer fling was taking an odd turn, all right. That singing thing, which seemed to command the fish to jump in the net . . . that wasn’t just something anyone off the street could do.

Was Subaru some kind of sorcerer? Was he a folk magician, one of those people who passed arcane knowledge down through generations?

He shook his head. He needed to go out walking, to clear his mind. Usually, Yo-ka spent most of his daytime hours on practical things and being a diligent housesitter – cleaning, cooking, shopping (his rich friend had thoughtfully left some grocery money) –and the job search. Today, though, that wasn’t happening.

Yo-ka took a shower and dressed in fresh clothes. It occurred to him he hadn’t visited that hip clothing store he and Subaru had spotted on the second night yet. He headed out into that direction.

The shop had a homey feel, as if it had been carved out of a big family house. One side of the room featured racks of beach clothing – T-shirts, shorts, swimming trunks. The other had the racks of the good stuff – the kind of clothes Yo-ka used to write about in his old job. He headed right for those, starting to shuffle through a rack of shirts. (Not that he could afford them anymore).

Across the room, near the racks of the surf clothes, a couple of young guys were having a conversation. “It’s the damnedest thing,” one of them said. “It’s happened to several people I know now – all of them right on the beach.”

“The stuff just gets stolen off the washlines?” said his friend.

“Not stolen – more like borrowed. It vanishes from the line – the person will go in to collect their laundry and find a T-shirt and shorts missing. And then the stuff will turn up the next day, folded and at the edge of their property – but it’s all sandy, like it’s been worn. It has to be washed again.”

“Weird,” the first guy said. “You think there’s a homeless person around?”

“I don’t know what it is,” the first person said. “I just know it’s been happening all this past week.”

At that moment, Yo-ka became aware of an older man coming into the showroom from one of the back stockrooms. He glanced around the room – and his eyes fell on Yo-ka.

“You,” he said. “You’re new, aren’t you?”

“I’m staying at a friend’s house,” Yo-ka said, confused.

“You’ve been around town with a pretty blond boy lately, haven’t you?”

Now Yo-ka narrowed his eyes at him. “Why do you ask that?”

“Come with me, I need to talk to you.” The old man called out to the college-age boy manning the register, “You keep watching the store, Hiro!” He led the way back to the stockroom, opened a door and went up a flight of stairs.

Yo-ka looked at him. “Why should I come up there?”

.“Because there’s something you need to know.”

“About what?”

“Something important. Extremely important.”

“About the blond boy?” Silence. Oh, hell, he wouldn’t find out anything unless he went up there, would he? So he followed the old guy up the steps, saying, “Who are you?”

“Nakamura Musashi. I’ve owned this store for 53 years. Getting set to retire. My grandson wants me to come live with him.” He opened the door at the top of the stairs. “Come in, come in.”

Yo-ka walked in. There was a basic, simply furnished apartment. “You live here?”

“Lived over my store since my kids left home. No need for my own house anymore. Not since . . .” He paused, looking pained. “Well, that’s what I need to talk to you about!”

Now Yo-ka was completely baffled. “You want to talk to me about your old house?”

“That boy you’ve been with! Have a seat.” He gestured toward a futon on a sofa frame. “Okay, I’m not one to judge who loves who, y’know. I’m not gonna say anything about that.”

“What do you know about him?” Yo-ka said, his heart suddenly starting to thump. Was there something . . . sinister about Subaru? Did he have some kind of shady past?

“Just tell me how you met him.”

“He just walked up to me on the beach. He’d seen me rescue a seal earlier . . .”

“A seal, you said?”

“Um, yes. It was caught in a net, I freed it”

“And the boy congratulated you on that?”

“Yes. We talked for a long time, and, well . . .” He looked away. “We entered a relationship. A summer fling, you might say.”

“Did he disappear every morning, before you woke up?”

Yo-ka blinked. “How do you know that?”

“And has he carried anything with him? Some sort of bag?”

“He’s had a bag with him, yes – he leaves it by my steps – but lots of people carry bags.”

“Did you ever look in it?” The man was pacing the room as he spoke, as if the interrogation was using up his nervous energy.

“No. I have no need to.”

“Have you noticed anything strange about him? Unusual? Like . . . something that couldn’t be explained by science and logic?”

Yo-ka was starting to feel his stomach churn. “How do you know so much about him?”

“Just answer.”

So Yo-ka told the man about the fish incident – during which he paced the room even faster, seeming flat-out agitated. When he was done, the man suddenly turned toward him and said, “I knew it! He’s another one of them!”

“Another one of . . . what?” Yo-ka was baffled. And scared. And feeling like he was falling down the rabbit hole.

“Like my wife,” the man said. “Just like my wife.” He paced again. “A selkie. Your boy’s a selkie.”

“A WHAT?” Yo-ka had heard the word before, but he couldn’t place what it meant.

“A seal-human. They live in the sea by day as seals and come on earth at night as humans. They shed their seal pelts and their bodies get bigger when they shift into human form.”

Now Yo-ka was beginning to think this guy was insane. “What makes you think a thing like that?”

“Because I’ve been walking on the beach at night by your place, boy! I’ve seen that bag that guy leaves by your door!”

“But what leads you to believe he’s a selkie?”

“Because my wife had one just like it.”

All right, now this was getting nuts. “You were married to a seal-human?”

“For 30 years. Thirty years, two children, and then . . .” The old man stopped pacing and stared out the window. “I met her pretty much the same way you met him. Was just staying here for the summer, helping with a fishing crew. Not happy with my life – was fighting with my father. And then, she just started coming up to me after the boats came in at night. We had an affair – seven days.”

“That’s as long as I’ve known him,” Yo-ka said. “It’ll be a week tonight.”

The man turned and looked at him. “Then I found you just in time.”

“What do you mean?”

But the old man just continued his story. “One of the other fishermen saw me with her. He came up to me and told me she was a selkie, and asked me if I was falling in love with her. I said I was. And then he told me that after seven nights, she had to go back to the sea and never see me again. That’s one of their laws, you know. Contact with one human only for seven nights, then they have to avoid them for seven years.”

Yo-ka looked thunderstruck “Seven . . . years?” Oh, my God. If this madness were true, if there was even a grain of truth to what this guy was saying, after tonight he’d never see Subaru again?

“That’s right. Unless . . .” The man stalked over to a shelf on the wall and seized a metal box with a key sticking out of its lock. He held it up. “You capture the selkie’s pelt.”

Well, okay. The madness had just taken a new turn. Let’s slide down a new avenue of the rabbit hole, shall we? And Yo-ka just found himself saying “What happens then?” and staring at the box.

“If a human captures a selkie’s pelt, the selkie is forced to stay with that human. They can’t return to the sea, you see, and they’re in the human’s power. Except the human has to make sure the pelt is locked up tight at all times, though. Keep the key with you always, and I mean always. If you make even one little slip . . .”

Yo-ka frowned. “Does the selkie die then?” he said.

“No. They get the key, take the pelt out of the box and return to the sea. That’s their natural instinct – to turn back into seal form and go back to the ocean. That’s what happened to me.” He looked at the box, sadly. “We were happy together. Thirty years, two kids. I always kept the key in a combination safe. Except one day . . .”

He looked away. “Thieves broke into our home and managed to break the lock on the safe. She found the key, took the pelt and was gone. I haven’t seen her since – when they leave someone who stole their pelt, they don’t come back.”

“How . . . how do you find her pelt? When you put it in the box, I mean.” Oh, God – he was really believing this. He was really thinking about this. He was falling down, down, down that rabbit hole. He’d bypassed Wonderland and was headed straight for Crazytown.

“It’s that bag,” he said. “The bag contains the pelt. Find it, put it in this box, lock it up, and then take the key down to the bank and get a safe deposit box for it. Do this, and he’ll be yours forever. Don’t, and tonight is the last time you see him.”

“But . . . I’m going back to Tokyo in a week. I’m not from here. Even if I capture his pelt, it’s not going to do me any good – is it? Can they travel that far away from the ocean after they’ve been captured?”

The old man walked over and sat on the futon next to Yo-ka, putting the box on the table in front of him. “Do you know anything about men’s fashion, boy?”

“My name isn’t boy. Most people call me Yo-ka.”

“Well, then, do you know anything about fashion, Yo-ka?”

“I just lost a job at a men’s fashion magazine.”

“And do you still have contacts in the industry?”

“Well . . . yes.”

“I’ve been looking for someone to turn this store over to,” the old man said. “Like I said on the way up, my grandson – he’s the buyer for the hip clothes, by the way, the side you were looking at – wants me to retire and come live with him on the other side of the island. I didn’t have anyone I could turn the store over to, though. The young kids I’ve got working for me? They’re not committed enough. My grandson? Doesn’t want to leave the place he’s living. But you? You’ve been in the industry. You’re a pro. You know what you’re doing. And you have reason to live here – for him.” He pointed to the box.

“So . . . I’ll make you an offer. You agree to take over the store, you can live in this apartment and run the place.”

Okay, he was dreaming, right? He was going to wake up, and for once Subaru would still be beside him, and he wouldn’t be a damn seal, and he’d be able to make him breakfast and they’d laugh about Yo-ka’s crazy dream . . .

“I don’t have the money to buy a business,” Yo-ka said.

“You won’t have to. I’ll still officially be the owner. I’m just hiring you as the manager. Use of this apartment will be part of your salary. And I’ll be leaving it all to you in my will after I shuffle off this mortal coil – my children have no interest in running a store.”

“You just met me,” Yo-ka said. “How do you know I’m trustworthy?”

“Because a selkie chose you. They only choose those who are unsatisfied with their lives . . . and are pure in heart.”

Yo-ka took a deep breath. “It’s a lot to think about,” he said.

“Just give it some thought.” The old man picked up the box and held it to him. “But you’re going to have to make the decision about HIM tonight, or else . . .”

Yo-ka took the box. It felt heavy, cold, solid . . . just the kind of thing to contain someone’s fate. “He won’t be harmed in any way, will he?”

“You really are falling in love with him, aren’t you?”

Yo-ka looked down at the imposing metal. “I’ve only known him a week.”

“But you feel more for him than some people you knew for years?”

Well, that hit the nail on the head. “Yes.”

The old man clapped him on the back. “The opportunity for happiness is there, Yo-ka. You just have to seize it.”

He looked down at the box – and words that Subaru said to him on their very first night came back to him. “When you want opportunity to find you bad enough, it does.”

Was this was he was talking about? Did he somehow know about this?

* * *

Yo-ka stood in the little back porch area of his borrowed house, next to the washer, looking out the back door.

The edge of the horizon was starting to turn gray. The sun would be coming up soon. He had to make his decision, and make it fast.

He’d slept fitfully tonight, unlike the other nights he’d been with Subaru, when he’d slept like a stone after their lovemaking. He tried to convince himself throughout the night that nothing was wrong, that it was just another evening with him, that he’d find the note tomorrow morning like always and everything would be fine.

That old guy was just crazy, right? There were no such things as selkies. Subaru was just a bit eccentric, that was all – and he happened to know ancient fishing magic.

Certainly Subaru had given no indication that tonight might be their last one together. He’d met up with Yo-ka as always, same spot, same time. They’d gone for ice cream again, then walked down to the pier to see if they could find their fishing friends (they were already out to sea), then came back home and went straight to bed.

And afterward, the old guy’s words came crashing back into Yo-ka’s head, and suddenly, they seemed less crazy.

Which was why he was now down here, staring at that damn metal box, which was now sitting on top of the washer. Was he going to do this? Was he going to go out there, and get that bag, and put its contents in that box, and . . .

He sighed, running his hand through his hair. He didn’t even know if the old guy was crazy, if he himself was crazy, or if the whole thing was just crazy. One thing was for sure, though – if Subaru was, indeed, a selkie, he’d probably come down, get the pelt and go back to the sea at daybreak.

So . . . he should go out there and look in the bag, right? And if there was nothing in there but guy stuff, or just some sentimental junk Subaru was carrying around for some reason or another, he could breathe a sigh of relief, laugh this whole thing off, go upstairs and get some sleep.

He walked to the door, flipping on the back porch light, and pushed it open. The predawn wind was a bit chilly as he made his way down the steps, eyes quickly fixing on the brown bag at the bottom.

When he reached it, he hesitated for just a moment before snatching it up. It was nothing, right? Just some books, or gym clothes, or . . .

Or a piece of golden brown fur, the exact same color as the seal he’d rescued from the net the day he met Subaru. Which is exactly what he found.

He just stood there, staring at the pelt. Shit. Oh, shit, it was true. And Subaru was going to come down here, looking for this thing . . .

And then, Yo-ka would never see him again. Oh, wait – he could see him again in seven years. By that time, Subaru would probably have gone through about twelve dozen other flings and forgotten him.

Unless he entrapped him by locking the pelt in the metal box.

He made his way up the stairs, slowly, opening the door just as the first ray of dawn hit the box and made it gleam like a thing from another world.

Seize opportunity, Subaru had said. Here was a huge one. Lock that pelt away, get back in touch with the old man, and he’d have a solid job and a boyfriend to boot. He’d be with Subaru all day, not just in the evening. He’d . . .

At that moment, Subaru burst through the back porch door, frantically running for the stairs – and then, he became aware of Yo-ka out of the corner of his eye. He whirled around, looked at him . . .

And saw Yo-ka with an open metal box, and the pelt in his hand.

“Yo-ka,” he said in a shocked voice, his eyes wide . . . and full of hurt. “You . . . you know about . . .”

Yo-ka just stood there, frozen. Do it, stupid, he told himself. Drop the pelt in the box, turn that key, pull it out, and he’s yours. You’ll never be lonely or hurt or unemployed again.

Except his eyes were locked on Subaru’s face, on his expression, on the pain he saw there . . . hell, the flat-out betrayal.

He remembered the old man talking about his wife, how after 30 years she was able to recapture her own pelt and go back to the sea. The sea was where selkies wanted to go . . . needed to go, wasn’t it? Was the woman really happy during her 30 years with her husband? Or was she just pretending to be because the captured pelt compelled her?

His own heart thundered in his ears. His muscles locked, refusing to move, as his mind warred with itself.

He turned away from Subaru, one hand holding the pelt out toward him. “I can’t,” he said. “I can’t do it. You belong to the sea, not to me. I . . . I can’t take you away from . . . I care about you too much to . . .”

Fuck, was he crying? Were those tears running down his face? He hadn’t cried since he was a kid. Not the day he was fired. Not even the day some jerk ran into him with a car when he was crossing the street.

Subaru just stared, open-mouthed, shocked. Then, he ran toward Yo-ka and embraced him. “Yo-ka, you’re really doing this? You know everything, and you’re letting me go?”

“Yes.” Yo-ka turned in his arms so he was facing Subaru and held him closer, thinking the moment he let go of him, it was all over. “I have to. I don’t want to, but . . .”

His tears kept tumbling down, and hitting the pelt, which was now crushed between them. And when seven of them had dampened its surface, the pelt began to glow, a soft light that illuminated the whole room, overpowering the glow of early dawn.

Yo-ka jumped back. “What is that?” he cried.

Subaru grabbed the pelt in both hands. When the light faded, the fur was no longer golden brown – it was platinum blond, the same as his hair.

“Oh, my God,” Subaru said, staring at it with wonder. “Oh, my God, I can’t believe it!”

“What is it?” Yo-ka said.

“A pure heart! I’ve found a pure heart! It only does that if . . .” He threw his arms around Yo-ka. “That means I can make a trust bond with you!”

“Pure heart? Trust bond?” Yo-ka was thoroughly confused now. “But . . . but the old man said that selkies only choose people with pure hearts to start with.”

Now Subaru looked confused. “Who’s the old man?”

“He runs the store in town. The clothes store. He saw me with you, and saw your bag in front of my house, and figured it out . . . because he was married to a selkie. Um, he captured her pelt, I mean.”

“And he gave you the box?”

Yo-ka just nodded.

“Do you know what this means, Yo-ka? You passed the ultimate test. Very, very few people pass it! Oh, my God, I still can’t believe it . . .” He hugged Yo-ka again.

“But . . . what does this all mean? Ultimate test? Trust bond?”

Subaru looked outside at the light. “Come out and sit on the beach with me,” he said. “I can be out here another hour, but then I have to go back to the sea.”

“And then I’ll never see you again?”

Subaru smiled brightly, reaching out to take Yo-ka’s hand. “No. We can see each other every night now. You’ve earned the right to a trust bond. That means I trust you to let me go every morning, and you trust me to come back to you every night.”

“Why didn’t the old man and his wife do that, then?”

“He didn’t earn it. He didn’t pass the test. Come, and we’ll talk.”

Subaru walked out to the beach, carrying the now-platinum pelt over his arm, and Yo-ka followed. This was a dream, wasn’t it? Yes, he was still asleep, it was still the first night with Subaru, everything since then was mere fancy . . .

But he knew this was real. It was too strange not to be.

Subaru led him out to the sand, to the exact same spot they had sat when they had talked the first night. They sat side-by-side, the pelt across Subaru’s lap, and the selkie reached for Yo-ka’s hand.

“I don’t know where to start,” Subaru said. “I . . . I’ve never had this conversation before. All my relationships with humans ended after seven nights – I was never found out before.”

“Why don’t you start with the day we met?” Yo-ka said. “Were you the seal I rescued from the net?”

“Yes.”

“Is that why you were on the beach that night? To thank me?”

“Actually . . .” Subaru looked out at the glow of the dawn over the ocean. “Selkies sense humans who are unhappy with life. That’s why we gravitate to humans – we come into their lives for a little while and make them feel better. When you got me out of the net, I read your thoughts.”

“You can do that?” Yo-ka looked surprised.

“I can’t read minds all the time,” Subaru said. “Just when we get near a human who we can help – you might say it opens up a channel of communication in us. We get a flash of the human’s thoughts so we can see who they are and where to find them, and a bit about why they’re unhappy.”

“So, that thing the old man told me about selkies choosing people for their pure hearts was bullshit?” Yo-ka said.

Subaru ran his fingers over the pelt. “We’ll just say he didn’t get that right. Like I said . . . we seek people who are unhappy. We have a seven-day fling with the person, and at the end of the week, if we haven’t been found out by the human . . . well, we just slip away back into the ocean and don’t see them again. And the human’s memory is modified so they think they had a great little summer fling and it ended on good terms – with the person they were sleeping with having to go back to wherever they came from.”

“But if the selkie is found out?”

Subaru nodded. “That usually happens the way it did with you. The person having the affair with the selkie meets someone who had been married to one, they tell their story . . . and they give them the metal box. And this is what we consider the ultimate test of a human – whether the human has a pure heart.” He looked down. “Almost none of them pass the test.”

“What happens when someone fails it?”

“What the old man said. The human locks away the pelt, and the selkie is compelled to stay on shore as that person’s spouse. But it’s not real love, or a real marriage. The selkie may seem happy, but . . . he or she never really is. We belong to the sea. We need to be there at least half the day, and if we’re not . . . a part of us is missing. And we’re always going to be looking for that key, to take the pelt back and go back home.”

“Does the selkie always find it?” Yo-ka said.

“Always,” Subaru replied. “I’ve never heard of a captured selkie who didn’t find the key. And when they do, they go back to the sea for good, and the person who captured them never sees the selkie again.”

“Even if they had children together?”

Subaru nodded. “The selkie might sneak back to visit his or her children once in awhile, but for the most part? They stay in the ocean. It’s traumatizing to be held by a human for a long period of time. It’s, well . . . a form of slavery.”

Yo-ka shuddered. He was now very, very glad he’d handed the pelt back to Subaru.

“But if the human has a pure heart? If they genuinely place our needs above their own and refuse to lock the pelt away?” He squeezed Yo-ka’s hand. “That’s the kind of relationship every selkie wants to find. Only then are we allowed to extend the relationship past seven days. We can come to that person every night as long as both of us decide we want to be together.”

“So that’s why your pelt changed color? Because I gave it back to you?”

“Your tears did that,” Subaru replied. “If the human cries seven tears because they know they have to give one of us up, and they fall on the pelt . . . the pelt changes color, so all the other selkies can see we’ve found a pure heart. It kind of raises our status in the selkie community.” He held the pelt up. “When I go back to the ocean, everyone will know.”

Yo-ka took a deep breath. “Another question . . . the old man. He wants to turn his business over to me. Did you know about that? Did you make it happen, somehow?”

Subaru shook his head. “Not at all. But we believe that pure-hearted humans draw good luck to themselves. That’s why you got offered the job.” He put the pelt down and looked at Yo-ka. “You’re going to take it . . . aren’t you?”

“Yes,” Yo-ka said without hesitation. If Subaru could see him every night? He now had every reason in the world to move to Okinawa for good. Why not? There was really nothing left for him in Tokyo – he had friends there, to be sure, but he had no love affairs, and, of course, no job. All he’d have to do was go home a couple of days to settle things, then move into the apartment over the store.

“I’m so glad.” Subaru threw his arms around him. “I knew there was something special about you the day I met you . . .that you were different from any other human I’d been with. I know why now.” He raised his head and gently kissed Yo-ka’s lips. “I’m so looking forward to getting to know you better.”

“Same here,” Yo-ka said. “I can’t believe this. Any of this. It’s like . . .”

“Something out of a fairy tale?” Subaru said.

“Something like that.”

“It’s real.” Subaru kissed him again. “I’m real.” He stood up, holding out the pelt. “And now, I have to go to the ocean. I’ll come back tonight, I promise.”

“Same place, same time?”

“Of course.”

“Oh, and Subaru? Have you been taking clothes off people’s lines to wear when you’re with me?”

Subaru rubbed the back of his head. “I couldn’t come to you naked,” he said. “I gave the clothes back, though!”

“I’ll put clothes out for you,” Yo-ka said. “Right over there – on that rock.” He pointed. “They’ll be in a box – not that metal one. I’ll put them in a cooler.”

“Thank you!” Subaru said, hugging him – then pulled back. “Turn around,” he said. “Humans aren’t allowed to see the transformation – even pure-hearted ones.”

“That’s why you always left before dawn?” Yo-ka said.

“Yes.” Subaru leaned over and gave him a last kiss – then waited until Yo-ka had his back turned. There was only the sound of the wind, then a splash . . .

Yo-ka turned around to see the seal he’d seen the first day – only platinum blond now, not golden brown – bobbing happily in the water. It waved a flipper at him, then dove beneath the waves.

He stretched and yawned. He felt damn good right now – better than he’d felt in years. Pure-hearted? He’d never been called that before. Hell, it was one of the last things he’d suspect about himself. But . . . he’d done the right thing. And look what it had gotten him.

When he’d come to this beach, he was a broken-down guy without a future. Now he was looking at having a relationship and a new career in his life. (Okay, so the guy was a seal – but he was still someone that Yo-ka knew he might fall in love with.)

He was going upstairs now for a much-needed nap. Then, he was going into town to have a talk with the old man, to get the ball rolling on his new career. At the end of the week, he’d go back to Tokyo just long enough to square things, so he could come back here for good.

But for the rest of the week, he was going to enjoy the rest of his very unique vacation in this house. And when his friend came home, he owed him the biggest thank-you in history.

* * *

EPILOGUE – TWO YEARS LATER

Yo-ka stood in front of the store, scrutinizing the new window display. Perfect. It was showcasing the shop’s own line of clothes, which they’d started producing six months ago.

It was one of those strokes of luck that seemed to follow him everywhere that his old friend from the magazine, Shoya, had decided to put his design skills to good use and take the plunge into the industry – but he couldn’t get shops in Tokyo to take his line.

“Bring them to me and I’ll sell them,” Yo-ka had told him – and the line was an instant hit, nearly doubling the store’s sales in a year, especially their off-season business. Hell, they even had a web site and a mail-order division now – he’d hired another old magazine colleague, Tatsuya, to run that end. A third friend, Kei, took the pictures and wrote the copy for the site.

Yes, this was beyond his wildest dreams for the place – even the very magazine that had laid him off (well, at least the one fashion magazine the company was still producing) had taken notice of it, saying the line was “putting Okinawa on the map, fashion-wise.”

He walked into the shop, where a young college student was manning the register. “You’re all set for closing?” he said.

The boy nodded. “We stay open until 8 tonight, right?”

“Yes. And if there’s any questions, I’m right upstairs.” He went into the stockroom, and opened the door that led to his living quarters.

He could see the glow of the sunset spreading across the sky. He’d hear the familiar footfall in a few minutes. They no longer met up on the beach – Subaru came straight home, after stopping at the usual rock to get the clothes Yo-ka had put out for him that night.

Sure enough, Subaru walked in while Yo-ka was coming out of their bedroom after putting away a load of laundry. “Hi,” he said, cheerfully, walking over to Yo-ka for his usual kiss. “How was your day?”

“Terrific,” Yo-ka said. “Shoya’s new designs came in and they’re even better than the last ones.”

“Oooh, are we going to do another fashion show?” Subaru said. “The last one went over really well.”

“That’s because there’s not too many fashion shows held right on the beach in the evening,” Yo-ka said. “And there’s also not too many fashion shows that have an all-selkie cast of models.” (Not that the people viewing the show knew what they were – they just knew the show had a very beautiful male cast.)

“They had a great time doing it,” Subaru said, sitting on the couch. “Kuina asked me if we were going to do it again. Oh, he wants to double-date with us again tomorrow, by the way. He swears this human is a special one.”

“He says that about all his humans,” Yo-ka said, sitting beside his love.

“He means it this time,” Subaru said, wrapping an arm around Yo-ka. “He said this guy has a special vibe about him.” He kissed Yo-ka. “So what’s on the agenda for tonight?”

“I figure a quiet evening at home. Order takeout, get romantic . . .”

“That’s right,” Subaru said with a bright smile. “This is the special night, isn’t it? Our second anniversary?”

Yo-ka nodded. “Two years ago today I got you out of that net.”

“Getting stuck in that thing was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“Just like getting fired from the magazine was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Yo-ka said. “I love you.”

“I love you too. I love you so much . . .” Subaru brought his lips to Yo-ka’s. “Hey . . . how about we fire up the hot tub?”

“You like making love in that thing a bit too much,” Yo-ka said, teasingly.

“Well, I AM a water creature.” They both laughed.

Yo-ka kissed him again. “What would I do without you?” he said.

“We don’t have to think about that, do we?” Subaru said. “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be here with you every night.”

Yo-ka held him closer. “No,” he said. “We don’t.”

He watched his lover stand up and head for the bathroom. What would his life be like him, indeed. Hell, he’d probably be back in Tokyo, piecing together a string of part-time jobs trying to make the rent, not having time for a social life let alone having a lover . . .

But the thought of that was wiped out of his head the moment he saw Subaru dropping those clothes he’d left on the rock for him to the floor. And was definitely gone by the time he was perched on the edge of the hot tub, Subaru kneeling between his spread legs, the blond’s perfect tongue flicking over a nipple, then moving to the other one, circling it, then sucking.

Subaru pulled away for a moment, giving Yo-ka a deceptively sweet smile, then moved down further, licking at the droplets of water clinging to Yo-ka’s torso, kissing the flat stomach . . .

Until he reached the tip of the erection, which he swirled his tongue around, making Yo-ka moan loudly. “Yes, Subaru, please . . .”

He opened his lips and moved down on Yo-ka, taking in as much cock as he could, sucking firmly. Yo-ka grabbed the back of his head, drawing in a deep breath. No matter how many times they were together, how many times they did this, he couldn’t get enough of that velvety mouth.

Subaru moved his head up and down, the cock sliding in and out of his lips as he sucked firmly, seeming to completely envelop Yo-ka in wet heat. His hands slid up his lover’s torso, stroking the nipples, rubbing them in rhythm to his sucking.

Yo-ka leaned his head back, letting out a long, loud groan of sheer pleasure, his hips lifting off the edge of the tub, pushing himself further into that mouth. When Subaru pulled him out entirely and licked from base to tip, he opened his eyes and looked down, seeing that seemingly sweet and innocent boy relishing every moment of being dirty as he stroked him with that tongue, then kissed the tip . . .

When he took Yo-ka in again, he went deep and hard, and Yo-ka moaned louder, grabbing Subaru’s hair again, feeling his body start to tremble, thinking he wasn’t going to last much longer . . . .

Subaru pushed down until he was nearly deep-throating him, and Yo-ka let go, crying out as he came into that hot softness, the climax going on and on until he sagged forward, limp. Subaru moved away and he slid into the water.

He grabbed his lover and kissed him, hard, pushing his tongue into the selkie’s mouth, tasting his own come. Subaru kissed back, hands running along Yo-ka’s body . . . before he hopped up on the side of the tub, legs spread, so Yo-ka could return the favor.

Oh, he did, gladly. He leaned over and began kissing his way up and down that cock, worshipping it, licking it, as his hands stroked his inner thighs, squeezing the flesh a little.

He wrapped his lips around the tip and began to suck. God, it was like Subaru was made especially for him sometimes. This thing always felt like the perfect shape and size, in his mouth, in his hands, in his ass when they’d reversed their usual roles . . .

Yo-ka opened up wider and thrust down hard, sucking firmly, Subaru’s moans the sweetest music to him. He shifted around so he could take him deeper still, letting Subaru just about fuck his throat, moving faster, reaching up to stroke a nipple as Subaru had done to him . . .

“Yes,” Subaru gasped, clutching the back of his head. “Yo-ka, yes, more, please, please . . .”

Yo-ka was moving fast enough to churn the water now, feeling the lovely cock slide through his lips, tasting a few drops of precome, hearing his lover’s sounds get louder, thinking he couldn’t get enough of this, he never would . . .

One hand stayed on Subaru’s chest, playing with the nipples, the other moved down, down, until he was lightly caressing his lover’s balls – and Subaru leaned back, letting out a near-wail, thrusting deep into Yo-ka’s mouth as he let go.

Yo-ka eagerly swallowed the come that came pouring and pouring, making sure he got every drop, and God, even that tasted better than any guy he’d ever been with. He eased away, holding out his arms for Subaru to tumble into, and they sank into the bubbling water, Subaru’s head on his shoulder.

“I’m so glad you had this put in,” Subaru murmured, eyes closed, arms wrapping around Yo-ka.

“I’m glad, too,” Yo-ka said, kissing him. When he’d moved in, he’d noticed the odd shape of this bathroom, the big, empty space next to the washing-up area . . . the hot tub had seemed a no-brainer.

Subaru raised his head. “Happy Anniversary,” he said. “I love you.”

“I love you, too. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

He wrapped his arms around his lover and sighed with contentment. This was all he could hope for – a fashion career by day, the love of his life by night. Hell, he almost wanted to go back to Tokyo and thank his old boss for firing him – because that was the biggest favor that anyone had ever done for him.

Pure hearts might or might not actually draw luck, but Yo-ka definitely felt like the luckiest guy in the world.



END NOTES: Selkies are a legend said to have originated in Celtic regions, but variations on the basic myth – an animal shapeshifter or angelic creature who can be trapped into marriage by stealing a magic garment – have been found in cultures throughout the world. The Vikings believed a man could marry a Valkyrie if he captured her falcon cloak. The Japanese variation is the tennin, or celestial maiden, who could be trapped by stealing her hagoromo, or heavenly robe. The tennin has been the subject of everything from Noh plays to the manga Ayashi no Ceres by Watase Yuu, and one of the areas where they were said to be seen is Okinawa. The part of this story where a pure-hearted individual can keep a selkie as a mate permanently is my own invention, although the seven tears that seal the deal (no pun intended) and then seven nights a selkie can stay with a human are because these creatures are closely linked to the number seven (it was said an unhappy woman could draw a male selkie to her by crying seven tears into the ocean).

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
hamhamheaven
Jun. 28th, 2015 10:08 pm (UTC)
I really love this! Selkies are one of my favourite mythical creatures. They're like mermaids only better! It's a shame that this was too long for the challenge, but I'm glad you finished and posted it anyhow.
(Incidentally, the old man who tells Yo-ka about them reminds me of the legend from the film "The Secret of Roan Inish". Have you seen it?)
puss_nd_boots
Jun. 30th, 2015 03:37 am (UTC)
Thank you! I haven't seen that particular movie - I did come across a description of it during my research for the fic, though, along with a more recent animated film made in Ireland called "Song of the Sea" (about a child who finds her late mother's selkie pelt and is able to turn into a seal herself). I actually only came across the selkie myth recently, but when I was trying to think of a supernatural creature romance for the summer challenge, they seemed a natural for "summer," since they were associated with the ocean. (And then, Subaru seemed to be a natural for the selkie, since he's adorable like a seal). Thanks again for reading!
write_my_dreams
Jun. 29th, 2015 03:32 am (UTC)
I had to go to work halfway through reading this and thought about it whenever I had a spare moment. This was really good and it was something I hadn't read before. By the summary I thought Subaru would be a merman but once I read the part about the seal I knew he was a selkie. Never read one in fanfic before so that was interesting to see. I like your addition about the pure hearts and how the selkies can read a human's mind to see if they're unhappy and if they're someone the selkie wants to be with. I was so worried that Yo-ka would keep the pelt and trap Subaru... Good thing he didn't and he's very happy about that.

Great fic :)
puss_nd_boots
Jun. 30th, 2015 03:43 am (UTC)
Thank you! Oh, he definitely wasn't going to trap the pelt. Nearly all selkie myths are unhappy stories about the selkie finding her pelt (since captured selkies are almost always female), returning to the sea and abandoning her husband. The stolen pelt thing isn't fair to the selkie at all - like Subaru says in the fic, it's a form of slavery. (Personally, I think one reason the selkie myth evolved in the first place was to provide a cover story when unhappy wives suddenly disappeared in ancient societies, either from running away or suicide). I'm a softie who has to have a happy ending, so I came up with a way for these boys to have one. ~_^ And I don't think I've ever seen a selkie fic, either - they've been the subject of pro fiction and movies quite often, though, especially films made in Scotland/Ireland/Wales where the myth originated. Thanks so much for reading!
leifang666
Jun. 29th, 2015 07:55 pm (UTC)
So, there's a shapeshifting dolphin called the Encantado (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encantado) which is said to come out of the water at night as a human to have sex. I've wanted for a long time to write something based on these creatures, but never had the time or inspiration.

Why am I telling you this? Because this fic is like having someone writing the story for me. Only in a more romantic and awesome way. Thank you so much for this fic. Words can not describe how much I love this. The only way to make this better would be to write about J rockers I'm familiar with. Yet with your writing I find this unnecessary.

Incidentally I need to finish editing my summer fic and get that posted. Also set in Okinawa, but only because that's where Gackt comes from.
puss_nd_boots
Jun. 30th, 2015 03:51 am (UTC)
You are most definitely making me blush with this comment! This makes me very, very glad I persevered and saw this story through to the end (even after I knew it didn't qualify for the contest). I actually hadn't heard of the Encantado before, but I read about it after you linked the article - it definitely sounds like a fusion of the selkie and the kitsune, and would make an interesting fic subject on its own (you definitely should pursue that idea)! Thank you so much again - comments like this really do make this all worthwhile.
leifang666
Jun. 30th, 2015 06:11 pm (UTC)
Maybe I can combine the idea with a kink bingo square? It would actually be good for the one I'm working on, but I already have a fic idea for that.

puss_nd_boots
Jun. 30th, 2015 07:29 pm (UTC)
I'd say go for it! (I need to get back to my own bingo, I put it aside to do this and this fic didn't suit any of the squares on the line I'm working on).
leifang666
Jun. 30th, 2015 08:17 pm (UTC)
True, but if it fits any tile shouldn't you count it anyway?

My card got put to one side to write my summer solstice fic and because I'm being terrible at writing lately.
random_x13
Jun. 30th, 2015 12:20 am (UTC)
omg this was so cool!! I'd never heard of such mythical creatures before! So interesting!
It was so sweet and fluffy I almost vomited rainbows a little. But I loved it!

<//3
puss_nd_boots
Jun. 30th, 2015 03:58 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!A story involving Subaru just can't help but be sweet and fluffy (because that's how he is)! I'm so glad you liked it. Selkies aren't as well-known as some other sea myths such as merfolk - I just came across the myth myself recently. Most stories about them are inevitably tragic, since they involve a trapped selkie eventually recovering her pelt (I don't think I've ever come across a story about a male trapped selkie except in modern fiction) and abandoning her human family to return to the ocean. I wanted a way for these boys to have a happy ending! Thanks so much for reading!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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