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Over the Ocean, Over the Sea

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Imai lounged in the bathtub, letting the warm water soothe his tired body after a long day at the stall. Stretching his neck, he felt the itch of a stray lock of hair stuck to his shoulder. He pursed his lips, slightly irritated by it as he stuffed it into the messy coil of hair on the back of his head. He should really get around to cutting it all off again.

The door clicked open and Atsushi peeped in, the shy smile on his face framed by his long,jet black hair. He looked the same, as always, as if he had barely aged a day. There he stood, waiting quietly.

“Oh, c’mon, don’t pretend,” Imai scoffed, turning away as he raised a hand towards him, beckoning. He wouldn’t show it, but he did find it adorable. Not that he would ever say it aloud. Atsushi probably knew anyway.

Imai closed his eyes and went back to relaxing. He heard a chuckle, followed by water sloshing around as Atsushi slipped in with Imai. Feeling scales instead of skin against his own skin, Imai’s eyes snapped open and he was greeted with the sight of Atsushi’s tailfin sticking out over the other end of the tub.

“What the…” Imai almost swore but caught himself. He sighed. “I thought we agreed to wait until we got a bigger bath-”

“It’s fine,” Atsushi chuckled, cutting Imai off as he snaked a hand up the side of Imai’s face.

Imai made a disgruntled noise, frowning disapprovingly as Atsushi nuzzled his neck and peeked up at him, a spark of anticipation in his eyes. “You…”

“Hisashi…” Atsushi tilted his head up towards Imai as he sat between Imai’s legs.

“Mhmm, I know what you want,” Imai muttered, caressing Atsushi’s jaw with his fingers as he met Atsushi’s smiling eyes.

Taking Imai’s hand in his, Atsushi held Imai’s gaze as he kissed the brand on Imai’s wrist, tongue and all, before dragging his tongue from the brand and into Imai’s palm.

“You horny bastard,” Imai muttered He had to confess that this did shake him, but only slightly.

“Only because you like it,” Atsushi purred, pulling Imai down closer to him.

“So now it’s on me?” Imai asked, meeting Atsushi’s lips in a slow kiss.

Atsushi hummed his affirmation, smiling again as he felt Imai’s indignant huff against his skin and with a blissful sigh, Atsushi relaxed his body into his embrace as Imai’s hands wandered his body, fingernails gently scratching his skin and scales. Imai deliberately paid less attention to Atsushi’s genital slit, creeping his fingers close by only to veer away or carelessly brush past, much to Atsushi’s chagrin.

After the fourth or fifth pass, Atsushi’s slow shallow breathing turned into a weak whine, making his vocal chords tremble under Imai’s hand which pressed on his throat. Gently scratching the back of Atsushi’s jaw, Imai tutted. “Wait,” he whispered, to which Atsushi whined again, louder.

Removing his hand from Atsushi’s neck, Imai brought both hands to his torso, caressing the gentle curves and dips on his body as he bent over and bit Atsushi on his neck, sucking hard. Atsushi moaned softly, stretching his neck out to give Imai more space. The moment Imai held Atsushi’s nipples between his fingers though, Atsushi shrank back with a sharp breath, burying his face in Imai’s hair and moaning louder as Imai teased him with his index fingers and thumbs. Atsushi was settling into the constant stimulation from Imai’s gentle rolling when a sudden flick and squeeze made him cry out and thrash. It was times like these that made Imai feel glad that they lived away from the city, far from any neighbours. They wouldn’t have to worry about bothering anyone with the ruckus they caused.

As Imai’s fingers trailed around and away from the sensitive skin on his chest, Atsushi settled down, sighing softly. Atsushi gently clasped his hand over Imai’s which caressed the skin on Atsushi’s abdomen before moving lower. Eyeing the barely noticeable bulge on Atsushi’s tail, Imai chuckled. “Getting hard, are you?” he teased, stroking Atsushi’s cheek with the back of his fingers as Atsushi nuzzled in the crook of his neck, hiding his face. Imai’s lopsided smile widened. Even after all these years, Atsushi was still self-conscious about himself.

Imai let his fingers brush over Atsushi’s bulge, one digit after another, watching him jerk his hips ever so slightly as he instinctively pushed into Imai’s touch. Atsushi tightened his grip over Imai’s hand, his breathing laboured as the mild teasing began to affect him. Out of nowhere, Imai suddenly withdrew his hand and Atsushi lifted his head, curious. Imai closed his hand over Atsushi’s, placing it over his bulge as the rings on their respective hands clinked together. Controlling Atsushi’s fingers, Imai pressed them into his slit. Atsushi gasped and tossed his head back onto Imai’s shoulder, his eyes closed out of embarrassment. Atsushi felt Imai’s warm breath next to his ear as his voice rasped low, “Touch yourself for me.”

Without a word of protest, Atsushi started dragging his middle finger over his slit, slowly pressing harder and going deeper into his warm flesh with each stroke. Imai’s hand remained on Atsushi’s, his fingers occasionally joining Atsushi’s as he pressed, adding to the pressure. Atsushi finally plunged his index and middle fingers into himself and Imai pushed in with him, curling his fingers as Atsushi moaned his name and arched his back.

Imai looked down at Atsushi gazing back at him with a hazy euphoria and parted lips. Leaning in, Imai kissed him slow, savouring the pleasant saltiness of Atsushi as his fingers continued dancing with Atsushi’s. Imai marvelled at how Atsushi still tasted like the sea despite his less frequent visits in recent times. He couldn’t help but feel but feel guilty for keeping Atsushi away from where he belonged.

Sensing Imai’s disquiet, Atsushi intensified his kiss, pushing his tongue into Imai’s mouth as he moaned from Imai’s fingers curling around his hard, aching penis. Grinning, Imai slowly shifted away, planting kisses along Atsushi’s jawline as he spread Atsushi’s slit with his fingers, letting Atsushi’s erection slide out and into the palm of his hand.

Atsushi jerked his hips and moaned, splashing water around as he thrust into Imai’s palm. Feeling Atsushi’s fingers dig into his thigh, Imai reciprocated by biting into his neck again and sucking as Atsushi moaned louder, now dragging his nails over Imai’s skin. Folding his legs in, Imai brought his knees together, clamping Atsushi between his legs as he tried to reduce Atsushi’s thrashing before he started jerking Atsushi off. Imai adjusted his embrace, putting his hand around Atsushi’s waist in a firm hold, thumb caressing the skin on Atsushi’s abdomen as he started stroking Atsushi’s engorged phallus.

“Hisashi,” Atsushi muttered weakly. “Do that-”

“I know, I know,” Imai cut in, grumbling slightly. “This, right?” he asked, sticking his fingers into Atsushi’s slit as his hand slid back down his erection. Atsushi didn’t need to answer for Imai to know that he guessed right. His moans and spasms were telling enough.

Feeling waves of pleasure wash over him, Atsushi writhed in Imai’s arms, moaning as each new wave built on the previous. It was a sensation that Atsushi has experienced numerous times now, but he never tired of it. After all, there was no place that felt safer for him to surrender his body so completely than in Imai’s arms.

Meeting Atsushi's lips with his own, Imai kissed him as he kept his hands moving. Atsushi's jaw went slack as the pleasure overwhelmed him, his mind going blank. Moaning without restraint, Atsushi tossed his head back and bucked his hips as he came, his fingers digging into Imai's thigh.

When Atsushi released Imai's leg, there were deep indents where his nails were but it didn’t look like he broke skin. Though that doesn't mean that it didn't sting. Imai pressed his lips thin, staring at Atsushi's discharge floating on the water while he stroked Atsushi's fading erection with languid movements. Loosening his hold, Imai let Atsushi's member retract as his body finally relaxed, losing the tension that the stimulation brought.

As Atsushi stretched his arms and reached back to curl them around Imai's neck, Imai muttered, “We should get out of the bath.”

“Can't we stay just a little longer?” Atsushi whined, pouting at Imai.

“Well, there's… that.” Imai jerked his head towards the cum floating on the water. Atsushi began to slide into the water and open his mouth. “Don't you swallow that,” Imai warned.

Atsushi looked up at him and smirked. Turning facedown in the water, Atsushi brought his lips to Imai's flaccid dick and smiled.

Imai sighed. “It's not going to work,” he mumbled.

Atsushi rolled his eyes and mouthed something underwater, probably mocking Imai's griping.

“Try all you want,” Imai said with resignation. “I'm telling you it's-!”

The moment Atsushi began sucking, Imai’s breath hitched and his words got stuck in his throat. Atsushi's tongue rubbed and pressed Imai in all the right places, making his groin tingle and his insides flutter in a way he hasn't in awhile. Surprised and unprepared, Imai found himself moaning as he gripped the sides of the tub hard and pressed his back to the enamel. Atsushi's finger massaging his perineum, however, proved too much for his aging body to bear and Imai groaned as he felt his insides squeeze and release as he ejaculated. Unfazed, Atsushi dutifully sucked and swallowed, caressing Imai's thighs as he did.

Tilting his head back, Imai found himself getting overwhelmed by a strange, inexplicable emotion that welled up in his throat. While Atsushi slowly came back up, kissing Imai's body as he went, Imai closed his eyes and focused on steadying his breathing.

Imai felt Atsushi’s arms around him, hugging him as he nuzzled against Imai. He still couldn't trust himself to speak but he sucked in a shaky breath, and tried anyway. “How did you… Where…?”

“I asked around,” Atsushi replied casually, guessing Imai's question. “You're not the only one with this problem, after all.”

Imai cracked his eyes open to see Atsushi smiling tenderly at him. Snaking his arms around Atsushi, Imai pulled him close and planted kisses all over Atsushi's face.

Atsushi giggled, elated by Imai's burst of affection, but it quickly subsided when he felt hot tears hitting his skin. Worried, Atsushi sat up, peering hard at Imai's face as he tried to decipher his anguish. Did he do something wrong? Before Atsushi could utter a word, Imai pulled Atsushi close again, locking him in a tight embrace as he buried his face in Atsushi's hair.

“Hisashi?”

Imai sighed, closing his eyes as he pressed his lips to the side of Atsushi's head. Imai was quiet for awhile, breathing slow, until he collected himself and muttered, “You didn't have to.”

“Didn't have to what?”

“You didn't have to go through all that trouble for me.”

Atsushi curled a hand along Imai's jaw, reaching up for a kiss. “Hisashi, it's no good if I'm the only one having fun,” he whispered, gazing Imai with a soft smile.

With his feelings raging out of control in his stomach, Imai couldn't offer a reply to Atsushi, only managing to release a long shaky breath as he held Atsushi tight in his arms.

--

Seated in one of the five spaces of Imai's humble stall situated next to his musical box store, Maki squinted his eyes as he stared hard at Imai who was busying himself with cleaning today's fresh catch for his stew. Maki's elbow thumped on the counter, supporting his chin as he hummed loudly and continued his staring.

Imai's eyes darted to Maki for a glance. “What?” Imai asked in monotone.

“Something's different about you today,” Maki replied, tilting his head. “I don't know…” he muttered. “Are you like… glowing? Or something?”

“Hah?” Imai's face scrunched up in incredulity.

“Ah, he sure is, isn't he?” A voice suddenly spoke from the spot next to Maki.

Startled, Maki jolted as he snapped his head towards the voice to find Atsushi seated next to him, holding his cheek in a hand as he gazed at Imai with obvious affection. He was dressed in a navy blue, short-sleeved top that was held close by a belt around his waist, and a pair of loose, knee-length, black slacks. He also wore some kind of socks that reached up, past his knees to hide the iridescent skin from view. All in all, the usual outfit for the unusual man, but an unusual outfit for anyone else. The locals who didn't know much about Atsushi accepted the odd dressing as a necessity for a ‘skin condition’ though.

Maki swore violently. “How do you keep doing this?!”

“Hm?” Atsushi turned to Maki. “Doing what?”

“A-appearing!”

“But I've always been here,” Atsushi muttered, mildly confused.

“No-”

“Yes,” Imai interrupted, attention back on his shellfish. “He’s always been here, Maki. Staring at me too hard to notice?” he teased, a smirk appearing on his face.

Atsushi narrowed his eyes at Maki, pouting slightly as he drummed his fingers and made the gold ring on his fourth finger flash against the light. “See the ring, Maki,” Atsushi warned, his voice low. “Or I'll gouge your eyes out and eat them.”

As the colour drained from Maki's face, Imai started laughing. “Boy, I haven't heard that threat in a long while,” he chuckled, wiping a tear with the back of his hand.

“Y-you're not serious, are you?” Maki stuttered.

Atsushi shrugged and smiled thinly while Imai said, “No, he's not.” Pausing, Imai grunted as he pried a shell open. “Otherwise who else is going to fix his music boxes?” he continued. Picking something up in his fingers, Imai called, “Atsushi.”

Turning, Atsushi's gaze softened as he met Imai's eyes.

Imai reached over the counter with a raw scallop in his fingers as he offered it to Atsushi. Leaning forward, Atsushi closed his mouth over the scallop and Imai's fingers, sucking lightly as he took the scallop off of Imai’s hands. He made seductive eyes at Imai as he did, pulling away. Once his fingers were free, Imai smirked and tapped his finger on the tip of Atsushi's nose before retreating over the counter. Wrinkling his nose as he scrunched his face up in a playful smile, Atsushi sat back down, chewing on the fresh scallop while he hummed in satisfaction.

“Do you have any idea,” Maki started, “how odd this looks when you two look like you could be uncle and nephew, or even father and son?”

“Maki, that's disgusting,” Imai muttered.

“Hey, you can't blame me when we're both pushing fifty yet this guy here looks like he's still in his twenties, maybe early thirties, at best,” Maki retorted. He found out that him and Imai were of the same age a few months after they got acquainted. When he first met Atsushi, he had thought that he was close to their age too, but after this many years… Maki wasn’t so sure.

“It can’t be helped” was Imai’s only response before he grew silent.

Gathering up the shellfish, Imai brought them towards his pot, quietly dropping them in one by one. Atsushi’s mood was significantly darker after Maki’s comment as he stared wordlessly at Imai’s back, seemingly preoccupied with his thoughts while a stray lock of hair slowly slid out of his bun.

“Hey, what’s up with you two on this fine morning?” A gruff voice approached the stall. The owner of the voice pushed aside the curtains that separated the outside from the counter seats. “Or rather, you three. What are you doing here, Maki?”

“I’m always here, Toll,” Maki retorted. “Where’s your brother?”

“Here!” Yuta called, ducking under the curtains. “With fish!” He raised a large box in the air. “All sliced!”

Atsushi turned around in his seat, quickly taking the produce from Yuta to relieve him of his burden as they exchanged pleasantries. Leaving his seat, Atsushi took the fish out around the back to go into the kitchen. As the brothers sat down, Imai reached over the counter with paper bills in his hand. Tapping Toll on his shoulder, because he was taller and easier to reach, he tried to hand the money to him but Toll refused to take it.

“Keep it,” Toll grumbled.

“We have enough,” Imai insisted.

“So do we,” Yuta retorted. “And you give us free meals often enough anyway.”

“Just keep it,” Toll repeated, pushing Imai’s hand back.

A snicker came from the back and Imai turned. Atsushi had the freezer open and was packing the sliced fish in, a broad smile on his face as he worked. Making eye contact with Imai, he raised his voice as he said, “Well, thank you for the gift then.”

Imai clicked his tongue in annoyance, shoulders dropping as he pulled his hand back in defeat.

Closing the freezer, Atsushi took a stride over to Imai and leaned in close. “Just give them more later,” he whispered, easing the money out of Imai’s fist and putting them back into the drawer under the counter.

Making a disgruntled noise, Imai reluctantly agreed and turned back to tending his pot, stirring the ladle as his early morning visitors chatted among themselves. Imai could hear Atsushi moving around behind him, navigating the narrow space as he turned on the rice cooker and started preparing the condiments.

Stirring the pot, Imai remembered the day he brought Atsushi home. His niece was instantly enchanted by Atsushi’s ethereal qualities. Bonnie didn’t need any time to warm back up to Atsushi and wouldn’t leave him alone. His family, thankfully, took a immediate liking to him, offering to let him stay. Imai didn’t know what it was about Atsushi made things so easy, but he was glad to just let things be.

On the way back though, Imai had thought of an excuse for him to move out and live with Atsushi at the beach and during their first dinner, Imai brought it up. He proposed to let Atsushi live in his grandparents’ old cottage by the sea to give him time to grow accustomed to living in a densely populated place, and for Imai to stay with him for that duration, since he was the one that Atsushi was most familiar with.

Imai had sensed some reservations from his father, but after how much Atsushi complimented his mother’s cooking before this, she was more than receptive to the idea. Her enthusiasm for it and the fact that Imai would be fixing up and restoring the place were likely the main factors that convinced his father that it was a good idea.

Chuckling to himself, Imai recalled how hard it was to keep Atsushi quiet on their first night back, bedding in a house full of people. The hassle of it convinced them to head down to the cottage first thing in the morning to check that the bedroom was weatherproof, which it was, and then move clothes over in the afternoon to start living there.

He also remembered how it took a couple of months of constant work to clean up, add water and heating systems, and really reinforce the old foundations before Imai could consider things to be more comfortable than their conditions back on the island. Once they were settled though, there wasn't much to it. They easily reverted back into their old routine, fishing, doing the chores, relaxing by the sea, with the occasional trip back into the city, either to let his family know he was still alive and dine with them, or to visit the marketplace. The cottage was supposed to be a ‘temporary’ arrangement, as originally proposed to his family, but as time passed, they forgot and everyone just took for granted that they lived together.

Over time, friends and family started visiting them instead, giving them the opportunity to taste Imai's stew, which he still grumbles that it’s nowhere near his mother's standard. And since it didn’t look like Imai was going to travel out and ply his family’s trade anymore, they had often suggested to him to start up a stall like the one he has now. The family business had more than enough manpower with Hide, Araki, Imai's younger brother, and his brother-in-law running around anyway.

It took a few years for the stall to come into realisation though, when the space next to Maki's shop and after Imai felt confident enough about the prospect of it. In that time, Imai and Atsushi had already acquired a small fishing boat, enough for them to head out to sea and frolic together in privacy while Atsushi fished with greater efficiency than Imai.

Imai smiled to himself as he recalled their short trips away, visiting nearby islands, sometimes attempting to visit other neighbouring countries along the routes that he used to sail to let Atsushi see a little more than the port city they resided in. His smile turned wry as he recalled the one time they tried visiting somewhere slightly further away by air and Imai discovered a fear he never knew he had. They never did air travel again.

“Something wrong with the soup?” A familiar voice spoke by Imai’s ear.

Snapping back to reality, Imai felt Atsushi’s arms hugging his hips from behind, leaning against him as he peered over Imai’s shoulder. “Ah, no, I… I haven’t actually tried it.” Imai stirred the soup once, twice, then gathered a small amount in the ladle. As Atsushi shifted to the side, Imai lifted the ladle and offered the bowl to Atsushi, letting him sip. “Careful,” Imai muttered, watching Atsushi.

A pause, and then a smile. “Delicious, as always,” Atsushi commented with a peck on Imai’s cheek.

“I suppose we’re good to go then,” Imai declared.

Atsushi automatically set the bowls out on the counter next to Imai and he started filling them, one each for their visitors. But there were five instead of three.

Imai glanced at Atsushi. “Five?”

“Hide and Araki are here,” Atsushi explained.

Imai raised a brow. “When did they arrive?”

“While you were lost in thought,” Atsushi teased, smirking at Imai as he took away the filled up bowls.

Imai hummed and went back to distributing the portions, letting Atsushi distribute the bowls he was done. Imai then put the lid back on the pot and lowered the heat, leaving the stew to simmer as he finally turned his attention to their friends.

Having everyone together in one spot was rare. Although Hide has decided to assume a more clerical role and stay put in the city with his family, much of his time was divided between work and his wife and children. On the other hand, the Higuchi brothers were often out at sea, and Araki was still travelling around, though with his wife and child in tow now. The preferences in lifestyles between Hide’s and Araki’s families were vastly different, but it seemed to work out just right for each of them.

This was probably the first time in months that they have all met together, and there was much to catch up on. The day was, however, just starting and eventually, they all had to disperse to tend to their own work. As the men parted reluctantly, promises were made to have drinks someday, on some evening.

Imai barely noticed it when Atsushi slipped off halfway during the catch up, but he did notice when Atsushi returned to clear the cutlery.

“Where’d you go?” Imai asked.

“I went home for awhile,” Atsushi replied as he stacked the bowls up. “Fed the Fourth’s brood and collected the eggs were laid after we left.”

“Fourth brood?” Imai repeated, confused for a moment before it finally clicked in his head. “Ah, Bonnie the Fourth.”

Even as Atsushi smiled, he had a slight frown in his brow. “Are you alright? You seem a little absent today, Hisashi.”

“Am I?” Imai asked. Scratching his chin, Imai stared into the distance, watching passers-by through the gaps in the curtains.

Atsushi hummed affirmatively as he put the bowls into the sink. Wrapping his arms around Imai’s waist, Atsushi linked his fingers together on the small of Imai’s back as he asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing in particular,” Imai answered, eyes wandering on Atsushi’s face as they took in his features. “I guess… It just hit me that I’ve known you for more than half my life now.”

Humming again, Atsushi asked, “Getting bored of me yet?”

Imai clicked his tongue, huffing as he pressed his forehead against Atsushi’s looking into his eyes. “What do you think?”

“Yes?” Atsushi grinned, pushing against Imai.

Imai rolled his eyes as he muttered, “Oh, please.”

Throwing a quick glance outside, Imai made sure that no one was approaching before he pulled Atsushi closer to him, leading him into the back where they wouldn't be seen. Atsushi giggled as he let himself be taken away, eyes squeezing shut in happiness. He felt Imai's arms closing around him, holding them chest to chest as Imai rubbed the tip of his nose against Atsushi's with a tender look in his eyes.

Atsushi closed his eyes, brushing his lips against Imai's as they met, kissing slow. Imai brushed Atsushi's stray lock of hair away, tucking it behind his ear as he caressed Atsushi's cheek, fingers tickling the back of his jaw. Atsushi let out a soft sigh, pressing closer to Imai, pushing him against the counter he was leaning on. Ignoring the edge biting into his hip, Imai firmed his grip on Atsushi’s waist, scratching against the lose fabric that he wore.

Imai could feel Atsushi growing hard against his crotch and he smirked, entertained by how Atsushi's libido never seemed to drop. Using the counter behind him as leverage, Imai lifted a knee and pressed it against Atsushi's groin, massaging his erection. Atsushi whined with restrained desire, pressing harder against Imai in search of more pleasure. His hand slid down to Imai's rear, squeezing hard before rubbing Imai's inner thighs as well.

Breaking the kiss, Imai muttered in amusement, “You know it doesn't work like that.”

Atsushi raised a rebellious brow. “Do you want me to make it work now?”

Imai pressed his knee harder against Atsushi's groin, a smug smile on his face as a particularly loud moan came out of Atsushi.

“Excuse me!” A voice suddenly called from the front of the stall. “Are you open yet?”

Imai hurriedly pressed Atsushi's mouth to his shoulder, muffling his moan. They glanced at each other, a mix of distress, disappointment, and annoyance in their expression as they exchanged unspoken words. Letting out a long sigh, Imai reluctantly let Atsushi go and began readjusting his clothes.

Atsushi stood facing the counter, eyes closed and breathing deep as he tried to calm his body down. Wrapping an arm around Atsushi again, Imai leaned in and gave him a quick peck on the cheek, muttering a quiet promise of “Tonight” before letting him go and heading back out to the front to tend to their first customer of the day.

Alone in the dim backroom, Atsushi smiled to himself, squatting down with his hands still on the counter as he resisted the urge to curl into a ball of joy from Imai's affection. Listening to Imai's friendly banter with the customer, Atsushi sighed blissfully as he rested his head against his arm, eyes cast in Imai's direction. He wouldn't mind living like this forever, even if meant forsaking the sea. He could do without the sea, but he didn't know what he would do without Imai, if he were to disappear from his life. Though Imai would probably be upset if he heard words like these coming from Atsushi.

Humming in resignation, Atsushi finally got to his feet. Undoing his hair, he gathered it up again, and tied it tighter, hoping that his hair wouldn’t escape its hold this time around. Atsushi smoothed his hands over his clothes, clapped his hands against the sides of his neck a couple of times and stepped back out into the front to join Imai. Time for work.