Bare Your Fangs [RinHaru - Free!] (CLOSED)

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    A Free! Iwatobi Swim Club // Eternal Summer roleplay
    кετรยεкí and Sycamore

    RinHaru! <3
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    RIN MATSUOKA >>///
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    A small boy with a mop of red hair stood in the school courtyard, bristling and snarling up at the bullies who stood almost a head taller than he did. His younger sister cowered and clung to his arm, and Rin's arms were outstretched in an attempt to shield her. "Don't make fun of my father!" he yelled at the biggest bully, stomping forward and grabbing the boy by the shirt even as Gou cried and begged him to stop. "My father was better than you, and he's better than your father, and-- and... just shut the hell up!" He swung with his right fist, nailing him in the mouth. The other boy howled with a combination of rage and pain and swung back, and the two boys fell into the dirt, screaming and biting and clawing at each other with rage. A teacher pushed through the circle of children, grabbing Rin by the arms and dragging him away as the other boy was held back by his friends. "Matsuoka Rin! Shimazaki Mamoru!" came the shrill cry of their homeroom teacher. Both boys flinched in fear and stopped their struggles immediately.

    An hour later, both boys and their parents sat in the teacher's office. The teacher stared at the parents, the parents stared at their children, and the children looked down at their bruises and cuts. "So, who wants to tell me who started the fight?"
    "Rin did!" the boy answered quickly, and Rin shot him a murderous look.
    "But Sensei, he said my father was a good-for-nothing who ran out on his family!"
    "Nonsense! Mamoru would never say anything like that! We brought Mamoru up to be a respectful boy."
    "Are you saying my Rin isn't a respectful boy?"
    "Well, we're saying that there's no way Mamoru would ever pick a fight!"
    The Shimazakis stuck their noses up, but their son hung his head slightly. The small motion did not go unnoticed by the teacher.
    "Mamoru? You have something to say?" The boy nodded. "Did you say that about Rin's father?" The boy nodded again, and the noses lowered, horrorstruck.

    "I don't understand. Rin is such a quiet, kind boy."
    "I know. He would never act like this normally. It's because of..."
    "I know. My condolences. It's been less than a month since your husband... Rin's father... You understand that..."
    Whispers and snatches of conversation between his mother and his teacher floated out beneath the closed door. Rin sat slumped against the wall, arms wrapped around his knees as he licked at his torn lip. "At least I gave that bastard Shimazaki a black eye," he thought. "He deserved it. I'd take expulsion any day over letting someone talk about Dad like that."

    Rin couldn't stand it any longer. Just after they left the school grounds, he pushed his backpack into his mother's arms and ran off down the sidewalk, eyes burning with tears that were already beginning to carve trails down his cheeks. His mother watched as he rounded the corner and disappeared, then turned with a sigh. She knew where he would be. She was too busy to spend a lot of time with Rin, what with Gou to take care of and a family to support by herself, but she knew where he went he was upset. It was always the same place.

    His feet led him down the steps to the shore, and when his sneakers filled up with sand, he tossed them off, not caring where they landed or if he'd ever find them again. He ran along the beach until he tripped and fell, sand covering his wet, tear-streaked cheeks. There, alone on the beach, Rin wailed and cried more than he had since the night Father did not come home. He cried for the unfairness and the loneliness of it all, and he cried out of anger and hatred, and he cried for his father. When he was done, he sniffled and wiped his nose and eyes on his sleeve, staring out at the sea. "I hate it," he thought, then stood up and screamed it. "I hate it! I hate it! I hate the water! I hate the sea!" His knees failed him, and he crumpled just beyond the reach of the waves crashing on the shore. "You took my father," he whispered. "What do I get in return?"
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    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞

    Deep in the ocean, surrounding the coast of Iwatobi, was a underwater Kingdom hidden from humanity. Unbeknownst to mankind, Merfolk existed, along with other supernatural creatures recorded in myths. A group of merman were currently searching the Kingdom, desperate to locate a certain someone.
    "Prince Haruka! Where are you?"

    "I think he went this way!"

    "The King isn't going to be happy..."

    "Where does he run off to every time he disappears?"

    A small boy flattened himself against the rock wall, hidden between a large crevice. He listened to the voices, eavesdropping on the conversation. A few minutes later, the search party disappeared, swimming in the opposite direction. He pressed his hands against the wall and slipped out of his hiding spot. Haruka lifted his head, scanning his surroundings. The coast was clear. He turned and swam east, away from the annoying adults. An intricately woven circlet was perched on top of his head, made from the finest coral, pearls, and gems. He wore an armband with a similar design. Despite his royal jewelry, his status is confirmed based on his tail. Members of the royal family possessed the most beautiful scales, producing a multitude of vibrant colors. He inherited his mother's pattern, a majestic blend of ocean blue, aquamarine, pearly silver, and indigo. Haruka maneuvered out of the city, escaping the wrath of the merman responsible for his safety. Why did his father insist on assigning bodyguards? A month ago, a severe storm raged above the surface. Scouts reported several deaths of land dwellers cruising in contraptions called boats. Unfortunately, when the storm occurred, Haruka disappeared. He was swimming with the dolphins when mother nature hit. His aquatic friends saved his life, escorting him to a underwater cavern. By the time Haruka returned, his father was furious. He was forbidden from swimming near the surface and assigned bodyguards as punishment. On the other hand, Haruka learned how to evade his guards quickly. He understood his father's hatred towards humanity, but he wasn't foolish enough to interact with a human. A familiar whistle captured his attention.

    "Minami," he greeted. His best friend, a bottle-nosed dolphin, crooned in response. He swam closer to his companion, stroking his head. Minami was the dolphin that saved his life. His intelligent friend was a loyal acquaintance, whom Haruka befriended when he was younger. "Time to swim," Haruka declared. He grasped his friend's dorsal fin, signaling Minami to start moving. Haruka was one of the best swimmers in his Kingdom, but his friend was faster. His tail was too small to reach Minami's speeds. His eyes fluttered shut. He relinquished in the feeling of water gliding against his skin. He loved swimming. No distractions. No expectations. He didn't have to listen to his father's lectures. He didn't have to worry about seizing the throne. When he swam with Minami, he was free. Haruka didn't want to become King. Ruling a Kingdom meant one thing; he would have to give up swimming freely. As selfish as it sounded, Haruka didn't want to sacrifice the only thing that made him happy. Before he knew it, Minami stopped in front of a hidden entrance leading to his secret underwater cavern. After that storm, it became his safe haven. Haruka removed his hand from Minami's dorsal fin.

    "Thank you," he acknowledged. Haruka slipped through the small entrance masked by a hoard of seaweed. He traveled through a dark pathway leading to his destination; a beautiful underground cave. After his head emerged through the surface, Haruka moved towards the rocky bank. He lifted his circlet and placed it on top of a slab of smooth rock. Haruka developed the habit of visiting his cavern and storing his jewelry before swimming near the coast. He didn't want his family heirlooms to be damaged, despite his reluctance of accepting his title. Once his arm band joined his circlet, Haruka dove back in the water. He exited his underwater cavern, following Minami to his usual spot for swimming.

    "What is it Minami?"

    Haruka spent a solid two hours swimming when his companion suddenly stopped. His friend whistled, motioning towards the coast. Haruka followed his movements. A young boy, around his age, was laying on the beach, wailing. His eyes widened slightly. "A human," he breathed. Haruka may of swam near the surface daringly, but he never witnessed a human. Why was the boy crying? Suddenly, Minami started jumping through the water, traveling closer towards the small boy. Haruka stiffened in response. "Minami, what are you doing?" He followed his companion, stopping near a large boulder. He hid behind it, peeking around the corner carefully.

    "...I hate the water! I hate the sea!"

    His expression hardened. Haruka grasped the top of the boulder, hauling himself up. He crawled over the large rock, keeping his tail hidden in the water. However, his upper half was exposed. "Don't blame water for your misfortune. You're stupid," he deadpanned.
    #3 Rowlet, Sep 11, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
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    RIN MATSUOKA >>///
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    Rin looked up when he heard the shrill, angry voice of another boy yelling at him over the sound of the waves. A boy was glaring at him from behind a boulder a few dozen yards out in the sea, a boy who was paler than anyone Rin'd ever seen before, and his black hair had a bluish sheen to it. His eyes were a startlingly bright shade of blue as well-- is he half American? He doesn't look fully Japanese, Rin wondered, marveling at the vividness of the color that stood out sharply against the boy's face. He seemed about his age, and when Rin realized what he had said, he picked himself up off the sand, cheeks coloring with anger.

    His sharp teeth flashed at Haru as he yelled back. "What do you know? You're the stupid one! Stupid, stupid, stupid! If I don't blame the sea, then who am I supposed to blame? The sea took my dad away! My dad's gone forever!" He picked up a wad of wet sand and threw it at the ocean, the clump disintegrating into a mist of yellowish-brownish-grey as it fell into the waves. "I hate the sea!" Rin kicked violently at the sand, sending spray after spray of the grains of eroded rock into the all-consuming sea.

    The skies grew ominously dark in the distance, whereas in the morning, there were only a few wisps drifting calmly over the vast blue expanse, and Rin's head jerked up, his head filled with images of a lightning-filled storm at sea, and the figure of a man jumping from the fishing boat into the sea, his hair- A maroon color just a shade darker than Rin's and Gou's- flying out from beneath his hat as he disappeared beneath the churning foam. Eyes wide with terror, Rin scrambled back on the sand, grabbing hold of his shoes, and ran back up the steps, never stopping until he got home.

    "Rin? Rin!" his mother's voice followed him as the twelve year old darted upstairs and into his room, slamming the door shut and climbing under the covers, trembling and flinching each time the sound of distant thunder rolled over the ocean.

    "Rin?" A knock sounded on the door and Gou let herself in, eyes widening when she saw the quivering heap of blankets on the bed. "Nii-chan, I'm scared..." Rin stopped shaking for a moment, then sat up, rubbing at his eyes. Be brave for Gou, his father would have said. You're a big brother. Boys have to be brave and take care of their little sisters. Rin sniffled, then opened his arms for a hug, which Gou accepted immediately. "It's okay, Gou," he said. "I won't let the storm get you."

    "Where's Dad...?"
    Rin froze for a moment, tears threatening to burst, but then he swallowed, forcing them down. "Ah, uh, Dad isn't here. But it's okay, Gou. I'll protect ya till he... till he comes back." Gou snuggled into her brother's arms, the ten year old already feeling sleepy. "Alright, yeah, that sounds good. Love you, Rin."

    "Yeah. Love you too, Gou."

    That night, Rin tossed and turned in his bed, muttering and mumbling in his sleep as his nightmares bombarded his mind. His father's fishing boat, all the smiling men on it, and his father at the helm, all borne out to sea. Boiling waves hundreds of feet tall towered over the boat and crashed onto the small vessel, tipping it over, then swallowing it whole. Planks of wood and broken bits of ship drifted to the top, though none of the humans resurfaced. And in the midst of it all, Rin saw the boy he had seen in the ocean, a boy who swam unaffected by the storm, gazing at the ships with sad eyes, though the expression he had when Rin saw him was one of anger. Suddenly, his father's face flashed before his eyes, mouth open as he was sucked down by the water, and Rin awoke screaming. Lights flickered on in the house as his mother rushed to his side and hugged the maroon head to her chest, rocking him back and forth till his tears stopped. "Shh, shh, I know, I know," his mother murmured, and soon, Rin fell back to a deep, dreamless sleep. Just before he fell back into unconsciousness, he thought to himself, "I'll go to the beach every day till I see that kid again. And I'll beat him up for calling me stupid. For saying that it wasn't the sea's fault it took Dad. I'll prove to him that his precious water isn't as great as he thinks."
  5. [​IMG]
    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞


    "...The sea took my dad away! My dad's gone forever!"

    Haruka bristled at the boy's insults. His gaze hardened. "If your father wasn't foolish enough to be out during a storm, it wouldn't of happened. The water is alive. Blaming the ocean for your misfortune is pointless," he replied firmly. His grip on the boulder tightened. His tail twitched with agitation. Were all humans this obnoxious? Haruka understood his father's hatred. He blamed humanity for polluting his home, filling it with toxic wastes. "You're being childish," Haruka pointed out. A familiar whistle captured his attention. Haruka averted his eyes towards his friend, Minami. His companion was signaling him to return. A sigh escaped his lips. "Why did you bring me here Minami? Humans are stupid. They blame nature for everything," Haruka mumbled. He slipped off the boulder and submerged in the water, swimming closer to his friend. After he grasped Minami's dorsal fin, the pair disappeared.


    A few days passed since his first encounter with a human boy. After Haruka returned to his Kingdom, his father was furious. However, Haruka evaded his punishment; more guards. He learned how to manuever through security, slipping away once more. Haruka decided against revealing his meeting with the human. His father loathed mankind. If he found out his son met a boy, it wouldn't end well. Surprisingly, Haruka wasn't bothered keeping a secret. He didn't expose his secret underwater cavern, now did he? Minami was the only creature aware of his safe haven's existence.

    "Let's swim over here," Haruka declared, pointing at a secluded area near the coast. Based from his observations, humans rarely visited that patch of land. He assumed the rocky bank played a big part in the equation. No sand was present on the rough surface. His companion whistled and jumped through the water, traveling towards the deeper waters near the coast. Haruka followed, keeping his form hidden underneath the watery depths. A few minutes later, Haruka burst through the water, resting against a large boulder. Minami moved closer, nudging him with his slippery snout. Haruka stroked his companion's head gently.

    "Why do you think that boy had sharp teeth like me?" Haruka mused, recalling a peculiar sight. His enhanced vision allowed him to perceive hidden details.

    Minami crooned in response, slapping his tail against the water.

    "He doesn't like the water. He can't be part Merman. My kind is connected to the sea. Mother always exaggerated on her stories, perhaps he's a monster," Haruka mumbled.

    Minami whistled, shaking his large head.

    A sigh escaped his lips. "I know. However, they are stupid creatures. How could anyone hate the ocean?" Haruka murmured.

    Minami was the only companion, other than his grandmother, that heard Haruka's voice frequently. He was a silent boy at heart, never speaking unless it was absolutely necessary. He wasn't comfortable conversing near his guards, let alone aquatic citizens. He barely conversed with his own parents. Even if he wanted to, he didn't have the chance. His parents were too busy to pay attention to him.
  6. [​IMG]
    RIN MATSUOKA >>///
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    "If your father wasn't foolish enough to be out during a storm, it wouldn't of happened. The water is alive. Blaming the ocean for your misfortune is pointless." The boy's words echoed in his mind throughout school, and Rin sat in his seat, quietly smoldering as the teacher droned on and on at the front of the room. "What an idiot," Rin thought, clenching his fists as he doodled on his notebook. "Tch. He could've at least said he was sorry for my loss. Though I guess I don't really wanna hear that anymore... I don't even know how many times I've heard it since Dad disappeared... but still. What's his problem, anyway?! Why the hell's he actin' like that? I'll teach him a lesson! I'll--" "I'll show that rude idiot what I really think!" Rin roared, his chair toppling over as he stood up suddenly. The class grew silent as all eyes went to him, and Rin turned bright red in embarrassment.

    "Matsuoka Rin!" Rin stood in front of his teacher after school, staring down at his feet. "Sorry, Sensei. I didn't mean it." His teacher's gaze softened as she looked at him, and she sighed, tearing her gaze from his torn lip. "Rin, I... I'm sorry for your father, really, I truly am, but you cannot continue to behave like this in class. Your grades are dropping, and your behavior is understandable but not acceptable. If you need a couple days away from school, that's fine. I'll tell your mother that you're excused for three days."
    "Yes, Sensei. Thank you." Rin bowed, and his teacher smiled, patting him on the head.
    "You're a good kid, Rin. Now hurry home. I'm sure your mother must be worried about you."

    Rin grabbed his backpack, tucking his teacher's note into his pocket, and ran out the gates, heading homewards. The sun had begun to set over the ocean, and the little wisps of clouds in the orangy-red-pink sky were tinted a gentle purple. "How beautiful..." Rin thought, gazing upwards, a lone figure on the sidewalk, hands clutching his backpack straps, a baseball cap covering his maroon hair. "...but I'd better head home."

    He pushed open the door, smiling at the smell of warm food. "I'm home!" he announced, and Gou's voice chimed from somewhere within the house. "Welcome home, Nii-chan!" she called, before she ran into sight and jumped into his arms.
    "Hey, Gou. How was school?"
    "It was great! Hanamura-san shared her cupcake with me! It was yummy!"
    "That's great, Gou." Rin smiled and ruffled her hair before the little girl darted off back upstairs with a cheerful grin.

    "Mom?" Rin called, walking into the kitchen. His mother was chopping daikon and carrots and other vegetables, and she looked up when he walked in.
    "Rin, why'd you come home so late? I was worried, sweetie!"
    "Sensei had to talk to me. She said that I should stay home for three days because of... you know..." He looked down, and Rin's mother stopped chopping for a moment, laid down her knife, and went over to kiss her son on the forehead.
    "It's okay, Rin, sweetie. If you need to stay home, go ahead."

    "Yeah, that's the thing, mom. I kinda want to take the tent and camp out at the beach for a couple days. Is that okay?"
    His mom looked at him, and for a moment, the only audible thing was Gou's singing upstairs, and the sound of the stew bubbling on the stove. "The beach, Rin?" she repeated, a worried expression on her face. "I know Iwatobi's a wonderful neighborhood, but Rin, the beach? The ocean?"
    "Yeah, mom. Is that okay? I was thinking about going there right after dinner."
    Rin's mom stared back at him, about to open her mouth to say no, then closed it again. Perhaps it was his way of coming to terms with his father's death. And if that was so, then...
    She sighed. "Alright, Rin. But make sure you come back if you ever get hungry. And call me every night!"

    Rin carted the tent and the other things he needed down to the beach in a small wagon. His duffel bag, usually carrying only with his swimsuit and his goggles and a towel, was now stuffed with food and books, the swimming gear pushed to the bottom of the bag. He set up camp on the beach, right under the cliff, and sat outside staring at the ocean. He hated to admit it, but the ocean was beautiful, even if it was a murderer. He wondered if the boy was there. If the boy would come back.

    ((Okay, just a note! I looked this up, and Iwatobi could be based on a town called Iwami in Tottori Prefecture. The reason why I mention this is because it's on the west coast of South Honshu, and the sun sets over the ocean :3 That's all!))
  7. [​IMG]
    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞


    Haruka continued swimming along the coast with his companion, losing track of time. Minami performed several flips and leaps, showing off moves Haruka couldn't reach yet. Due to his shorter tail, he would have to practice more. He relinquished the feeling of water caressing his skin. The sunset was beautiful, a treat Haruka rarely witnessed. Haruka didn't understand mankind. How could anyone hate water? The sea was a powerful, gentle force. It couldn't be controlled, nor contained. Did the boy really expect things would end peacefully if a person was foolish enough to fight against mother nature? He didn't pity the human. He would never blame the sea for the inevitable. Haruka was disgusted with humanity. Some individuals had the audacity of trying to dominate the ocean! Water was alive. If you fought against her, she would destroy you. On the other hand, if you accepted her, she would protect you. His kind adapted to that logic. Haruka respected the ocean and her waters. His father prayed to the sea deities, requesting protection over his Kingdom against the nasty land dwellers.

    A sharp whistle snapped Haruka out of his thoughts. He burst through the surface, inspecting his companion. A frown marred his lips. "What is it Minami?" he murmured.

    His dolphin friend crooned, motioning towards the coast. He slapped his tail against the water, creating a large splash.

    Haruka followed his movements. His expression hardened immediately. It was the same boy! What was he doing here? Before he could react, Minami swam towards the coast, skipping along the waves. Haruka didn't understand his friend's curiosity. Why was he interested in the stupid boy? Haruka submerged in the water and followed his companion, heading towards a boulder closest to the beach. A few minutes later, his head broke through the surface. Haruka hid behind the boulder, poking his head around cautiously. Despite his previous animosity, Haruka was wary. He never met a human before. Were all of them dangerous?
  8. [​IMG]
    RIN MATSUOKA >>///
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    The maroon-haired boy stared at the waves, grudgingly admiring how the moonlight reflected and refracted off of the water's surface. He crept ever closer to the place where the waves broke on the sand, but he never drew close enough for the water to touch him. Every time the tide rose, Rin would slink back a little and watch the water crash and creep up the sand, making sure to keep even his toes dry. The sound of the ocean's voice was soothing, and though Rin tried to hate it, he couldn't forget all the memories he had with his father. The time Rin caught his first fish. The time he fell overboard and his father had to dive in to save him, laughing in relief as the boy choked and sputtered on the sea water. The time he went scuba diving and they saw a real shark, a ten foot long mako that slunk by them like a cat. Rin smiled, and it was then he noticed that his tears were dripping down his face again, dotting his shirt and pants with little dark spots.

    Something splashed out in the ocean, and Rin looked up when he heard a faint dolphin whistle. He probably couldn't see it, but Rin loved the marine mammals almost as much as he loved sharks (of course he loved sharks more; they had sharp teeth just like him and they were so powerful and Rin could go on and on for hours about the majesty of great whites and makos and threshers), and he stood up, straining his eyes in the dark, hoping to catch a glimpse of one leaping above the dark water. He waited a couple minutes, but nothing else seemed to be out there.

    "Hello?" Rin didn't know what made him call out. What's the risk, anyway? He was probably alone, and if so, then it didn't really matter whether or not it seemed like he was talking to himself. He pretended to be talking to the dolphin, pretended that it could hear him and understand him just like Mako-chan and Sousuke-kun and Nagisa-chan at school. "Er, Dolphin-sama? Dolphin-san?" he shouted, cupping his hands around his mouth, not quite sure how he should address a marine creature. His shark teeth gleamed in the moonlight. "If you can hear me, whistle!"
  9. [​IMG]
    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞


    Haruka moved around the boulder, resting his arms against the cold rock. A wave of curiosity washed over him. Why did the human continue to cry? His enhanced vision allowed him to perceive everything in the dark, including the boy's tears. A full mon rested high in the sky, casting a ethereal glow on the ocean. His cheekbones were highlighted with scales, gleaming faintly underneath the moonlight. His brilliant azure irises gazed upon Rin with a mask of indifference. After hearing a familiar splash, his body stiffened. What was Minami doing?

    A few minutes later, a sharp whistle echoed throughout the land, piercing through the crashing waves. A large splash was heard, followed by a string of softer whistles. A large bottle-nosed dolphin poked his head out of the water, stopping a few meters away from the beach. It was close enough for Rin to see him, but far enough for him to swim away. He crooned gently, whipping his tail against water.

    "Minami, you're not suppose to travel close to the coast," a voice interjected.

    Haruka emerged from the water, floating next to his companion. He didn't understand his friend's interest in the human boy. Once he spotted his companion moving closer to the shore, Haruka couldn't help himself. He was worried for his friend's safety. The majority of humans, based from stories, treated marine mammals horribly. He didn't trust the boy, despite his age.

    Minami whistled, splashing his flippers against the water.

    A frown marred his lips. "He's nothing special," Haruka mumbled. He lifted his hand and stroked his companion's head. He directed his attention towards Rin. His gaze hardened. "Just a stupid human," he muttered.
    Minami sprayed Haruka with water in response.

    He wiped his face. "I'm not apologizing," Haruka murmured. He sunk lower, submerging his torso in water, leaving his head and arm exposed. His tail remained hidden safely in the sea. Haruka doubted the boy would connect the dots, but he wouldn't take the risk. If his father discovered his encounter with the human, he would be banned from swimming freely. "He called the sea stupid. He's disrespectful," Haruka pointed out.

    Minami shook his large head, whistling at his master's stubbornness.
  10. [​IMG]
    RIN MATSUOKA >>///
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    Rin smiled in wonder when he heard the whistle, delighted that even though it was probably a coincidence, it seemed like the dolphin was talking to him. His smile widened when he saw the telltale smooth head of the dolphin breach the roiling waves, swimming closer and closer, and the twelve year old waved energetically, his tears forgotten as he watched the dolphin splash at the water with its tail. Rin drew closer and closer, but right when he felt the first drop of water touch his foot, he shuddered and stepped back, shaking his head. It was painful, and the water seemed to burn him, warn Rin to stay back or he could face the same fate as his father and sink below the waves as well. "Sorry, dolphin-san," he said apologetically, "I can't play with you. I..." Rin hesitated. "I won't, no, I can't go in the water."

    The dolphin let out a few more whistles, and to his surprise, Rin saw another head surface right next to the marine mammal, the pale face with the stark black hair and the vivid blue eyes. Perhaps it was a trick of the moonlight or a fact that he was so far away, but parts of his skin appeared slightly bluish as well. Rin shook his head. "Oh. It's you," he said, looking at the boy, nose wrinkling in distaste, though Rin's eyes unwillingly widened when he saw the hand slip out of the water and pat the dolphin's head almost affectionately. "Minami? Is that your name, dolphin-san?" Rin asked. He stuck his nose up and crossed his arms. "It's okay, Minami-san. I don't want his apology, either. The sea still murdered my father, and that ain't ever gonna change. You're the disrespectful one, whoever you are," Rin said, directing the last to the dolphin's companion.

    "I haven't seen you around," he continued, looking closely at the other boy's features. The blue eyes were emotionless and cold. "Do you live in Iwatobi? Are you transferring in or something? You're kinda weird lookin'. I've never seen anyone as pale as you." But he's kind of... beautiful? In an exotic way? "And what the hell are you anyway? I mean, swimming in the ocean at night? Where are your parents? Don't they care about where you are? My mom cares a lot. I had to promise to call her every night to come here." Rin looked away. Why am I telling him this? He'll just call me and dad stupid, won't he? "My dad cared, too. Until your beloved--" he spat the word out "--ocean took him away. He had me and Gou and mom to go home to, ya know. I don't know what kinda person could say something like 'it was his fault he died', but my dad was a great person. He wanted to become an Olympic swimmer. My dad loved the ocean, and I loved it too. It wasn't his fault he drowned all the way out there. People get tired. People start to sink. And then people can't breathe when they're underwater. My dad was one helluva swimmer, but he wasn't a fish."

    Rin felt tears coming to his eyes, and he rubbed them away furiously. "Someone like you couldn't possibly understand. How something that you love so much could hurt you so bad."
  11. [​IMG]
    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞


    "...You're the disrespectful one, whoever you are."

    Haruka ignored the comment. "I only give what is earned, including respect," he murmured. His hand slipped away from Minami's head, retreating inside the water.

    "I haven't seen you around."

    He remained silent. He wasn't oligated to explain himself to a human, especially a rude silly boy. Haruka floated in the water, never straying from his position. His companion, Minami, slapped his tail against the water, whistling gently. Haruka tuned out his companion's anxious banter. "I don't have to reveal anything to you Hyuuman," Haruka retorted. His last word transitioned in Mermish, which sounded garbled. His native tongue was often depicted as a jumbled and borderline screeching.

    "Until your beloved---ocean took him away..."

    His expression conveyed no emotion. Haruka didn't feel remorse for the human's death. His kind was indifferent when it involved mankind. Why should he pity the poor boy? So far, the boy did nothing to gain Haruka's respect. Insulting his home was a huge factor behind Haruka's behavior. He didn't trust the boy. The human didn't give him a reason. "You talk too much," Haruka remarked.

    "Someone like you couldn't possibly understand. How something that you love so much could hurt you so bad."

    His ocean blue irises glowed, piercing through the darkness. His face possessed a deathly calm expression, masking his rising anger. His lips curled back, revealing a row of small needle-like sharp teeth. A faint hiss emitted from his throat. His tail twitched with agitation. "You're not the only one in this world that faced tragedy, Hyuuman. Blaming the ocean isn't going to bring him back. All of you are selfish creatures. A simple death paled in comparison to what your kind done to my people," Haruka hissed. A beam of moonlight shined down on Haruka, illuminating his scales. He raised his arm, revealing his webbed hand. He grasped Minami's dorsal fin. "I know that feeling, idiot. Instead of wallowing in my self pity, I learned to move on. Death is inevitable. Your kind continues to pollute and destroy my home, all for the sake of their own selfish desires. I can't even swim freely without your kind interfering," he added.

    Minami turned his head towards Haruka, nudging his chest with his large nose. He crooned gently, detecting his master's anger. Haruka rarely conveyed his true emotions when he was upset.

    A sigh escaped his lips. Haruka used his other hand to stroke Minami's head. "I want to go home," he murmured.
  12. [​IMG]
    [​IMG] RIN MATSUOKA >>/// [​IMG]
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"

    What does he mean by 'human?' What? And he said the word with some sort of accent as well... And then Rin saw it. The unmistakable silhouette of the boy's hand raised high up in the air, human and yet not human. No matter how hard he rubbed his eyes or how many times he blinked, there was no mistaking that the boy in the water had webbing between each and every one of his fingers, just like the frogs that had lived in Rin's backyard koi pond, but more like the iridescent fishes that his father pulled up in his net, glistening and flopping around, the splendor of their scales fading as their lifeforce faded as well. What Rin had originally thought to be just a trick of the light was indeed the lovely blue color of the boy's scales that shimmered in the darkness.

    "My kind...? Swim freely...?" Rin's mind raced as he echoed the words spat at him in the darkness, barely noticing the venom behind them. "You... you're a merman?" Something blue shimmered below the surface next to the boy, and his mouth opened wide in wonder when Rin realized what it was. Instead of legs, he had a long, fish-like tail with scales that were mostly blue but also every color imaginable. "I knew you guys were real!" Rin laughed, smiling, the memory of his father's candlelit story on a stormy, powerless night popping vividly into his mind. "Dad always said you guys were real."

    Then the maroon haired boy frowned. "You know, it's not good to judge everyone just because of what their kind does." He sat back down on the sand, hugging his knees. "Not all of us are bad. I know my dad wasn't. He loved the ocean as much as he loved us. I remember he told me he caught a dolphin in his net once, and instead of just pulling it in like everyone else does, he just cut the night and set it free. He said that we should only fish because we need to. So I'm sorry for what we've done to your people." Rin looked up at the moon, deep in thought. He blurted out, "but that doesn't mean that my loss is any less painful than yours. I bet you'd be sad if you lost your dad. And I know that blaming the ocean isn't going to bring him back! I'm not stupid, you know." He pouted, eyebrows furrowing. "I just miss him a lot. Don't you guys miss your friends and family when they die? Why the hell do you have to just move on? Just accept death without even considering that it's unfair? You don't even feel a little angry? I don't understand how anyone could be so strong. Or maybe you're just emotionless." To the twelve year old, the merman seemed a lot older, more serious, more in control, and at the moment, Rin hated the calmness that was in the blue eyes.

    "Whatever." Rin took a step into the water, flinching as the coolness slipped between his toes. "You can insult humans, insult me, but don't you dare group my dad in with whatever you think humans are. My dad was never one of those people who polluted your world and the ocean! He wanted to save it, save everything in it! So you can go back to your underwater kingdom or wherever the hell you live, but my dad didn't deserve to die! You know why he was out on the sea that night? Do you?! They were releasing a dolphin that had been beached back into the ocean. They were saving friends of yours. So if you think people like that deserve to die, then I have nothing more to say to you."

    ((Ughhh, I feel slightly out of character))
  13. [​IMG]
    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞


    "'re a merman?"

    Haruka stood his ground, well floated his ground. His tail swished gently in the water, keeping him in place. He gripped his companion's dorsal fin. If his father found out he exposed himself to a human, the boy would be killed. He wouldn't take any chances. Despite his restriction, Haruka's kind found ways to dispose humans.

    "I knew you guys were real!"

    He blinked. Why did he look excited? Based from the stories he was told, humans feared the unknown. Shouldn't this boy freak out? A frown marred his lips. "You're weird," Haruka mumbled. He was aware he shouldn't believe every story his parents told him, but what evidence did he have? He couldn't risk his safety by studying humans up close. Humans harmed his home for too long. There was good in everything, even humans. Unfortunately, the majority of mankind destroyed his ocean with pollution, toxic waste, and illegal hunting. A few beneveloent souls couldn't change history. His father would never listen to Rin's words. Humanity was better off believing his race was a myth.

    "Or maybe you're just emotionless."

    His hand curled into a fist. "I'm not allowed to react. The death of my father would only mean I'm destined to seize the throne," Haruka replied hollowly. His back straightened instinctively. A regal aura surrounded him. His ocean blue eyes gleamed a brilliant sea blue. "Someone like you would never understand," he added.

    "They were releasing a dolphin that had been beached back into the ocean. They were saving friends of yours. So if you think people like that deserve to die, then I have nothing more to say to you."

    A neutral expression plastered on his face. "Hyuumans-" he began. Haruka averted his eyes towards Minami. "-like your father are rare. My grandmother admired Hyuumans like him. However, it doesn't matter to my people. One single man couldn't stop an army if we were discovered. A single Hyuuman couldn't prevent the destruction of my people. Our hatred isn't stemmed from ignorant prejudice. Long ago, Hyuumans knew about our existence. Do you know what the majority of your race did?" He spat the last part. His mask wavered, revealing a glimpse of pain. "We were hunted and treated like animals. Not even Hyuumans like your father could stop them. After years of tragedy, we couldn't afford putting our trust in humanity anymore, so we hid," he continued. Haruka peered into Rin's crimson irises. His eyes were quivering.

    "That's the history of my people. I never met a human before. Not even you could be so kind with your judgement when you're isolated," Haruka pointed out. He turned his head, lowering his gaze towards the water. His free hand retracted from Minami's head. "We can't take the risk. Even if there are good Hyuumans, we have to treat humanity the same. Hyuumans are fickle and deceiving. My grandfather died because of it. My father never forgave your race. There is too much pain to form any type of alliance," he admitted.

    Minami whistled, slapping his tail against the water. He crooned at his master, detecting his wavering emotions.

    "The ocean is alive. She can't be tamed. Death is inevitable," Haruka reminded. He lifted his head, directing his eyes forward. "He may of not deserved to die, but he sacrificed himself to save another. Instead of hating the sea for her choice, shouldn't you focus on that?" he admitted.

    Minami flapped his flippers together. He moved towards the shore, dragging Haruka with him unintentionally. He beckoned for Rin to step in the water.

    His eyebrows furrowed. "You want to swim with him?" Haruka deciphered.

    His companion nodded his large head.
  14. [​IMG]
    [​IMG] RIN MATSUOKA >>/// [​IMG]
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    Rin listened to Haru talk, his frown lines growing deeper with each syllable. "The throne, huh," he said, "so you're a prince? You're the weird one. Weeeeeeeird," Rin laughed. "Well, I'm sure as hell not gonna call 'your Highness' or anything weird like that. But it's kinda sad when you say - how'd you put it? - 'I'm not allowed to react?' So if your dad died, you wouldn't even be able to cry for him? Yeah, I guess you're right." He shrugged, picking at a scab on his arm, watching the water kiss his toes with light sweeping caresses. "I don't understand. I'm guessing it's some kind of royalty pride thing, so actually, I'm glad I don't understand. Glad that I don't get it." He stared back at Haru, eyes shining brightly and intensely in the moonlight.

    "But humans are different now! Those times were a long time ago! We have things like the Magna Carta and human rights and all these things now! And before you say that they don't apply to merpeople, I'm sure that they'll see that you guys are just like us. Just, you know, you guys have wicked tails. And scales. And you can breathe underwater. But so what? Humans feel and think just like merpeople do... True, we're really bad at taking care of the environment and the ocean, but I think that if we knew that you guys lived down there... we'd try to do a lot better. But I won't tell anyone about merpeople if you don't want me to. I mean," the twelve year old's face grew serious, "you can decide your own future. No one should ever take that away from you. I shouldn't have a say in what a whole 'nother race should do. And I guess, if it matters at all, I'm sorry your grandpa died," Rin finished. He didn't know why he said that. Said he was sorry for a person he didn't know. Especially when the person never said he was sorry for his father. Maybe he wasn't as emotionless as Rin thought he was. After all, Rin had caught the flash of pain that had appeared on the merman's face before it had disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Maybe it was just the fact that he was royalty. He had to hide his feelings. It was what was expected of him. Rin hated expectations. He preferred to set his own.

    'Instead of hating the sea for her choice, shouldn't you focus on that?' Rin looked down. "I know. I know I shouldn't blame the sea for the fact that my dad died. And call us weak or call me weak, but humans can't help but want to blame something for the crap that happens in our lives. Even if it is as irrational as hating the sea. But you talk like the ocean chose to take my dad. Like the ocean is a person. Why do you do that? Do all merpeople do that? Do you guys have ocean gods? Anyway, I can't just forgive the sea for choosing to take my dad. I loved my dad, and I still do. I miss him everyday. The ocean took him from a family that needed him more than anything else in the world."

    Watching as Minami inched forward in the water, Rin cocked his head in confusion. "He wants me to swim with him?" he repeated. "I... I... I mean, I'm not wearing the right clothes for it, but," he looked down at his cargo shorts and t-shirt. The last time he'd waded in in his clothes, the smell of salt hadn't come out for weeks. And the t-shirt he had on was wicked cool. It was Rin's favorite piece of clothing, a black shirt with a mako shark on it, but this here was a once in a lifetime opportunity. A chance to swim with a dolphin AND a mermaid? Rin couldn't resist. He waded up to his waist in the water, the shirt billowing in black waves around his waist and looked at his two companions. Now that he was closer to Haru, he could see the delicate scales on his cheeks, the eyes that were bluer than even the sky. He found himself wishing that he could see those eyes everyday, then shook his head, confused with his train of thought.

    As the water lapped quietly over his shoulders, he reached out his hand for the dolphin's snout, then stopped, jerking it back. "C-can I touch you?" he asked, fascinated.
  15. [​IMG]
    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞


    "So you're a prince? You're the weird one. Weeeeeeeird."

    Haruka ignored his comment. He never intended to reveal his heritage. However, his opinion changed after Minami dragged him towards shore. He should of felt cautious, even fearful. A human figured out his secret! If his father found out, the consequences would be dire. The King didn't trust mankind. His distrust festered into hatred after humanity killed his grandfather. On the other hand, Haruka wasn't worried. The small human was a child. No adult would believe him, writing him off as a kid with an overactive imagination.

    "You can decide your own future. No one should ever take that away from you..."

    A frown marred his lips. "It's not that simple," Haruka mumbled. His gaze lowered to the water. He watched his tail swish underneath the surface, shimmering under the moonlight. He ignored most of Rin's accusations. He didn't care if mankind changed for the better. The boy was ignorant. He didn't know how much flaws were inside his inspirating speech. Wasn't he aware of humanity's greatest imperfection? If humans discovered his race, it would be disastrous. Based from the stories, humans were the dominating species on land. For centuries, humans tried to conquer the ocean. If an obstacle occurred, most humans would react violently. Haruka was afraid humans would feel inferior to his race, thus discriminating his people. Humanity feared the unknown. His father once stated that humans would stop at nothing to remain the dominating species. "You talk too much," Haruka muttered.

    "Why do you do that? Do all merpeople do that? Do you guys have ocean gods?"

    A faint scowl carved into his expression. "Of course, stupid," Haruka deadpanned. He skimmed his webbed hand across the surface, creating ripples in the water. "The ocean has a mind of her own. Respect her and she will guide you. Dominate her and she will destroy you," Haruka declared.

    "C-Can I touch you?"

    Minami slapped his tail against the water, whistling with approval. He moved forward, pressing his snout against Rin's outstretched hand. He crooned gently, encouraging Rin to trust him.

    Haruka didn't understand his companion's interest. What was so special about this human boy? "He likes you," Haruka mused. He motioned to the dorsal fin. "Grab on and hold tight," Haruka commanded.
  16. [​IMG]
    [​IMG] RIN MATSUOKA >>/// [​IMG]
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    "It's not that simple." "Well, I mean, the last time you guys tried was centuries and centuries ago," Rin jabbered back. "I guess it's still not simple. But I bet the chances of peace between merpeople and humans would be a lot higher now. I think people are a lot more... accepting now. Two of my neighbors live together, and they're both guys and they love each other. Mom says they're ho- homo- homo--" Rin frowned, looking at the water as he tried to come up with the word. His mother had told him that he wasn't to treat them any differently than he treated other people. "They just love boys instead of girls, Rin, sweetie," she said, even though some of the kids at school had laughed and made fun of kids who liked the same gender. "They're just as human as the rest of us." Rin didn't even know why his mother had felt like she had to tell him in the first place. He didn't get why it wouldn't be okay to love anyone. Apparently the other kids did. "Homo-something. I don't remember the word exactly," he admitted. "But if that's okay, then I bet we'd accept merpeople too. The difference between me and you isn't that big. I've just got legs. You have a tail. That's all."

    Rin watched Haruka's face darken in a frown. "Did I say something?" he wondered to himself. "It was just a question. I hope I didn't make him mad or anything. Even though he's already mad at me for hating the ocean." "You're so gloomy," he pouted, "You don't have to call me stupid, ya know. 'Cause I'm not stupid. Besides, talking's a good thing." He jerked back in surprise when Minami reached forward and butted his hand with his head. The dolphin's skin was wet and smooth and rubbery beneath Rin's palm, and his face instantly split into a smile when he heard Haruka's quiet murmur.

    "He likes me? Haha! I like you too, dolphin-san!" Rin reached carefully for the fin, making sure to hold on firmly but gently enough so that it wouldn't cause Minami any discomfort. He gasped in surprise when the dolphin surged forward, which resulted in a mouthful of seawater and a coughing fit. Minami stopped, clicking nervously and crooning at Rin as though to ask him if he was okay. Rin smiled. "I'm okay," he said, using one hand to stroke the dolphin's side, marveling at the softness of the skin. "Just surprised, that's all. This is amazing." Rin sighed a little when he realized he'd never be able to tell anyone about this. Not only did he sort of promise the merboy - he is a boy still, right? He kinda looks about my age - that he wouldn't tell a soul, no one would believe him anyway. All it would earn him was another talk with the teacher. He clung to Minami's fin as the dolphin swam over the waves, laughing freely, his giggles and snorts echoing in the quiet night.

    When he and Minami finally stopped, Rin tread water to keep afloat as he grinned brightly at his two companions. "Thank you so much!" he exclaimed, bowing his head in the Japanese way and getting a faceful of salt water. He shook his head like a dog, flinging teardrops from his face into the water. "Dolphin-san is amazing! But I don't want to keep calling you that. What's his name? And what's yours? How old are you anyway? Because I'm twelve," he looked at Haruka, hoping for an answer.
  17. [​IMG]
    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞


    Haruka ignored his speech. "My kind is safer when humanity is ignorant," he muttered. He tuned out most of Rin's claim, including the part involving homosexuality. His grandmother taught him the importance of acceptance. His kind didn't possess strict norms involving relationships. Most creatures didn't care about gender when it came to mates. He was too young to think about what he preferred. Unfortunately, Haruka doubted he would get a choice. After he came of age, his father would desire Haruka to marry a noble. He wasn't looking forward to thinking about marriage at a young age. He wanted to swim freely, not involve himself with a snobby aristocrat.

    "You're so gloomy."

    His eyes narrowed slightly. "You're too hyper," Haruka countered.

    "What's his name? And what's yours? How old are you anyway? Because I'm twelve."

    Haruka turned his head, facing the ocean. He swam next to Minami, maintaining his grip on his companion's dorsal fin. He relinquished in the feeling of water caressing his skin. He didn't like the nippy sensation of air touching his exposed chest. "You already figured out his name before," he pointed out. He removed his grip from Minami's fin and jumped through the waves, mimicking his friend's movements. His tail swished inside the water, propelling him forward. He flanked Minami's left side, keeping up with his fast pace. A few minutes later, Minami stopped. Haruka floated in the water. He gazed at the full moon. His expression remained neutral. His vivid blue eyes gleamed a brilliant sapphire. The scales scattered across his high cheekbones shimmered underneath the moonlight, enhancing his delicate features.

    "In Hyuuman standards, I'm twelve years old," Haruka began. His voice was above a whisper. He peered into Rin's crimson irises. "Haruka is my name. My companion's name is Minami," he revealed.
  18. [​IMG]
    [​IMG] RIN MATSUOKA >>/// [​IMG]
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    "Haruka. Minami. Minami and Haruka. Haruka and Minami," Rin echoed, then brightened into a toothy smile. "We're the same age, Haruka! Isn't that cool?" he chattered, clinging to Minami's dorsal fin as the three of them bobbed in the water. Rin looked back towards the shore. It was almost a quarter of a mile away, and all that was below them was deep, seemingly bottomless ocean. Rin felt a twinge of fear, but he looked up and grinned at his new friends, hands tightening microscopically on the dolphin. "You live so far out," he mused, staring into the gentle light of the moon. "No wonder we've never found you before... But you have a palace on the sea floor, right? It's so dark down there! How do you guys even see? Do you have night vision? Man, that'd be so awesome!" Rin said, babbling excitedly. "I'd like to see that someday... even though I know humans would never be allowed to go down there. Yeah, yeah, I know. Beatcha to saying it, huh?"

    They swam out a little farther until the lights of Iwatobi became pinpricks of light in the distance, just like the light of the stars in the sky, so brightly outshone by the moon. "It's so... peaceful out here," Rin said quietly, resting his head on Minami's back. "And to think a beautiful sea like this could make waves hundreds of feet tall and kill people like they're nothing..." he shuddered. "That's kind of scary if you ask me." Letting go of Minami's fin, he tread water by himself, enjoying the feeling of the salty sea rushing between his toes and fingers. It took a little more effort because he was wearing clothes, but Rin managed to keep his head above water. "I'm the best swimmer at my school," he boasted in the way that only twelve year olds can. "Sousuke-kun and I are really close. He does butterfly, and don't tell him I said this, but he's better than me at it. And Makoto-san and Nagisa-chan are pretty fast, but my freestyle and butterfly are better than theirs. They do backstroke and breaststroke. I forgot to tell you, Makoto and Nagisa are my best friends. Well, that's aside from Sousuke-kun. Sousuke-kun is my rival. But he's also my best friend." Rin grinned.

    Suddenly, the boy twitched and disappeared below the water, his leg in searing pain. "A cramp?" he wondered frantically, trying to paddle to the surface with just his hands. The air in his lungs left his mouth in bubbles, replaced by cold, dark water that choked and made Rin's eyes water with invisible tears of pain as he struggled against the ocean, reaching for the light of the moon that grew fainter and fainter. "Help! Haruka! Minami!" he tried to call out, but no audible sound came out.
  19. [​IMG]
    ❝The water is alive. Once you dive in, it will immediately bare its fangs and attack. But, there's nothing to fear. Don't resist the water. Thrust your fingers into the surface and carve an opening. Then you slide your body through that opening. Moving your arms, your head, your chest...❞


    "We're the same age, Haruka! Isn't that cool?"

    Haruka shook his head. "In Hyuuman standards," he reminded. His eyes averted to the sea below. His tail shimmered underneath the moonlight. He stroked the watery surface, creating ripples. "I'm able to see in the dark. I can't reveal where my kingdom is, but it's lit up with crystals," he admitted.

    "I'd like to see that someday..."

    A frown marred his lips. "You would drown," Haruka deadpanned. He stroked Minami's side absentmindedly. He lifted his head, gazing upon the full moon. A gentle breeze danced along his skin, nipping at his cheeks. His hair ruffled, billowing around his face. He closed his eyes, listening to the waves.

    "He does butterfly...but my freestyle and butterfly are better than backstroke and breaststroke..."

    He opened his eyes. Haruka peered over Minami's back. His eyes gleamed with genuine curiosity. "You have different names for certain styles?" he inquired. Haruka never heard of butterfly, freestyle, backstroke, or breaststroke. His kind didn't name different maneuvers. A tail limited creativity, but Haruka adapted to his companion's style. However, he couldn't deny his interest was piqued. Unfortunately, he didn't receive his answer.

    "Help! Haruka! Minami!"

    Haruka stiffened. Despite his faint call, Haruka heard it. His human companion was drowning. If his father were here, he would of allowed Rin to die. However, Haruka couldn't. He was breaking a sacred law, but he didn't care. Haruka submerged in the water, swimming underneath Minami. He moved closer to Rin, wrapping his arms around Rin's torso. His tail propelled him forward, breaking through the surface. Haruka wrapped Rin's left arm around his shoulders, keeping him steady. "Stupid, you're not suppose to let go of Minami's fin. Your kind can't last this far without a proper leverage," Haruka deadpanned. He averted his gaze to shore. "You need to go back," he muttered. Haruka pivoted to his right and swam forward, heading towards land. He made sure Rin's head stayed above the surface. Minami flanked his left side, swimming next to the duo.
  20. [​IMG]
    [​IMG] RIN MATSUOKA >>/// [​IMG]
    "If you swim with me, I'll show you a sight you've never seen before!"
    Rin gasped for air as Haruka pulled him to the surface, and his chest heaved as he coughed up what felt like gallons and gallons of sea water. His mouth curved into a trembling frown, his shark teeth peeking out from between his lips as he tried and failed miserably to hold back his tears. He clung tightly to the merman as they swam back to land, his fear and relief spilling endlessly from his crimson eyes. "I- I didn't mean to let go," he hiccuped, his warm tears dripping down his face and onto the merman's shoulder. "I just really wanted to show you my butterfly stroke, and then I got a cramp in my leg..." Haruka's skin was warmer than Rin had thought it would be, just a few degrees colder than his own. "I can swim, you know! I really can!" Rin protested, afraid that Haruka and Minami wouldn't believe him. "...But you know, Haruka... your tail. It's really something," Rin mused quietly, thinking about how just before his eyes closed, he caught a glimpse of the shimmering scales of every color imaginable.

    They reached a point where Rin was able to touch the shore with his toes, and the maroon-haired boy waded out of the water, stopping when the waves lapped gently at his waist. He turned around to face Haruka and Minami, then took a step towards them. "Haruka... why did you save me?" he asked. "I thought you said the ocean took whoever she wanted? ...But I'm glad you decided to save me." Before the merman could swim away, the little human boy ran forward into the water and caught both him and the dolphin in a hug. "Thank you. Both of you. For making this night the best night ever!"

    Rin ran back to the beach, the water sloshing out of his shorts and shirt. He stopped near his tent, then cupped his hands around his mouth.

    "Minami? Haruka? Will you come back tomorrow night?" he yelled out into the night, the heads of his two companions barely visible in the sea.
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