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Tim stayed frozen, thinking the human called Conner might be far enough away to think him a figment of his imagination. ‘I’m just a patch of dark seaweed,’ Tim willed. ‘Just a funny patch of sand and seaweed.’

He was so stupid. So so so stupid. He’d come to watch Conner, he should have stopped coming to watch the human weeks ago. He should never have started watching him.

He’d drifted into the shallows, watching as Conner strode along the edge of the rocky shoreline, his white dog prancing ahead.

Tim had let himself get lost in thought, wondering about Conner, about his hair and his skin – were they warm? Were they soft? He wondered what he looked like without his clothes. What happened when you reach down past his hips? What were legs like? What was… everything else like?

He hadn’t been thinking, he hadn’t paid attention and when he’d finally come to his senses Conner was looking right at him.

When the human started coming towards him - no doubt curious about what that oddly merman-shaped thing was - Tim found himself unable to move. Those legs he’d wondered about were now carefully picking their way across the rocks towards him.

He’d finally be able to see Conner’s eyes, he thought deliriously. The distance between them had always been so great; he’d never been able to make out the young man’s eyes.

The stony path that Conner was following fell away into the water, he jumped over it and landed with a giddy smile that made Tim’s heart pound. Then, standing only a few feet away, Conner glanced down at him and froze. Judging by the stunned expression on his face, he’d just realized that Tim was not some tangle of flotsam.

Tim felt his heart slamming in his chest. Slowly he put his hands out of the water and onto the rock’s edge. He pulled himself out of the water up to his shoulders and looked at Conner.

His eyes were blue as the sky. Tim could see him thinking in those eyes and then…

He stepped closer.

Tim thought about swimming away. He should swim away. But Conner was coming nearer.

He knelt down. They were so close! He put his hand out. It was big and tanned.

He touched Tim’s hand.

Tim wanted to swim away, but he also wanted to grab hold. Conner’s hand was warm. Warm and rough and lovely.

And he smiled at Tim and somehow that was warmer. He smiled like Tim was amazing, like just touching him was a thrill.

Tim wouldn’t think, he didn’t think. With a flip of his tail he propelled himself out of the water. Conner’s eyes opened wide in shock as their lips connected. Soft. Chaste. Warm. Then Tim fell back to the water and darted away.

That was stupid! That was stupid! Tim berated himself, trying to get deep enough that Conner couldn’t see him in his utter shame.

But he couldn’t just leave. (That would have been too intelligent, and today it seemed that Tim was anything but intelligent.)

He turned back, over to a rock he often lounged on when he was watching Conner.

He crawled on top, and saw Conner, still perched where he’d been.

The human had a hand on his lips, looking shocked but (thankfully) not disgusted. Tim felt his heart ache. He wanted to go back over, to talk to the handsome human, to tell him his name and hear him say it.

Then Conner looked up and his eyes found Tim’s. The merman felt his face burn in a hot blush and saw it mirrored on Conner’s face. Then the beautiful human raised a hand and waved slightly and smiled and maybe Tim waved and smiled back or maybe he just melted into foam then and there (it certainly felt that way).