Sora woke with something sweet on his lips, something that burned his blood in a way that made him want to call out for more. Logic, something he prided himself on, was gone; he had no idea where the sweetness came from, he just wanted more. He imagined the sensation wrap itself around him, held him tight and slipped inside, a warm, gentle feeling that expanded rapidly and filled him up until all he could feel was that. Suddenly, it was pulled away and Sora felt empty.
The panicked scream came from nearby. He tried to open his eyes to see but he had no control over his body; he could not look or speak or turn. And as the emptiness grew, a coldness crept in, froze him to his core. He was lonely and did not understand why.
He wanted to crawl away, burrow deep inside the earth and hide from the light where he could be miserable until the end graciously came. A small part of him tried to question the strange thoughts that consumed him but that small part was forced down unconsciously, buried under doubt and depression.
That voice finally broke through the wall that had erected itself around his essence, his being. He knew that voice. It reached out to him and began pulling him out of the dark. He still craved the sweetness but the awareness that he could live without it reignited hope.
“Vaan.” The words barely escaped his lips. “Vaan, help me.”
He knew Vaan had found him as arms slid under his legs and back, lifted him up. As he was carried away, the memory of the sweetness faded until it was but a small thing buried beneath other, healthier thoughts and emotions though he knew the insatiable urge was not finished with him.
* * *
Antoni and Domiq had hidden themselves behind a collection of rocks that jutted out from the beach almost a mile into the ocean. Domiq had begged his friend to leave with him and return home and forget he had ever laid eyes on the boy but Antoni refused; he insisted they were meant to be together and that nothing could stand din the way. Domiq had looked into his eyes and knew he meant every word though he could not fathom why. Antoni had always live for his future. How could someone whose name he did not even know make him reconsider everything he was?
“He’s safe.” Antoni said as the other boy, who looked to be a year or so older, scooped him up and carried him away. “Now I just need to find out where he lives so I can-”
“Please, stop this!” Domiq grabbed Antoni’s arm and forced him to look at him. “You and he will never be anything. Ever. He’s a human. You’re a mer. It’s impossible for your two to be together.”
“You’re also the future of an empire. You don’t have the luxury of giving into this, this madness. You need to go back home, back to the palace and forget all of this.”
“No, Domiq, I need to be with him.”
“Antoni, please, stop talking like this. This is-”
“I can’t!” Antoni jerked out of Domiq’s grasp. His bottom lip quivered and his hands shook as he pushed back his hair. “He’s in me and I don’t know why. I don’t know how we’ll be together or if it’s even possible. I do know it’s meant to be and I must find a way to make it happen.”
Antoni’s admission filled Domiq with fear. His words brought back memories of stories his grandmother once told him of the times before when mer and human coexisted in peace. Those were dangerous times and Domiq feared he was witnessing the reason why.
* * *
Sora awoke in his soft, warm bed as the moon sailed across the black sky. He tried to fall back to sleep but he was restless, tossed and turned every time he tried to close his eyes. He finally gave up, pulled oh his robe and ran down to the beach where he had washed up from the wreck.
He looked out at the ocean and wondered how he had survived when others had not been so lucky. The last memory he had was of sinking surrounded by darkness miles off the coast; he thought it impossible he had not died out there, cold and alone. Could something be out there? Something that… saved me? If I am here still, there must be.
He stepped into the ocean to search, even though he did not know what to search for. Whatever it was, he needed it in his life and felt determination to have it plant itself deep inside his being.