Depths, Parts i-iv

Story by Aux Chiens on SoFurry

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For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it's always ourselves that we find in the sea_________ E.E. Cummings, "maggie and milly and molly and may" i.             Every beach in Florida has been mercilessly colonized - every beach in Florida is cramped and crowded and disgusting with the human stain. If you are not from Florida you will not see it, you will not see the same decay a native does, the great crime of Yankee businessmen, how much of Florida in its bewildering Southern tropic purity was lost in the last century.             It was, of course, not always this way - but what was lost, what has vanished is not merely staggering but actually nightmarish, the evil that Humanity does to his own home and his own planet.             Not long ago, if you could find them, there were some beaches still untouched and pristine - with a precious more few still, that seemed as though they were popular, loved, once...but then abandoned. They were infrequent all those years ago, but with the onslaught of recent hurricanes - the rage of nature, titanic storms thrown off the shoulders of Atlas - they are all gone now, those peculiarly romantic images of isolated, grimy, broken docks, billowing palms rustling in the seabreeze around them...replaced with gargantuan beachfront restaurants, teeming with bored tourists in glacial air conditioning.             Save, perhaps, for one.             If you go out past a certain cove around a certain island in the more sparsely inhabited parts of Tampa Bay, down south near the furthest boundary of that region near Sarasota, there is just such a beach with just such a wooden dock that is in bad need of repair: it juts out from shoreline doused with pillowy-soft sand so much like the rest of the coastline of the Floridian's Gulf of Mexico. It does not seem to have been used in a long, long time - perhaps it was a private area for a rich family in the pre-Disney years before Florida as a state became America's favorite toy, perhaps it was a secret joint-venture between some friends who were lucky enough to find someplace this secluded, this private.             It is hard to say - sometimes it seems like old things like that have just seemed to have always been there, and nobody really knows why.             According to a certain bit of Tampa folklore that gets repeated in the dubious, generational way of playground rumor, after-dinner tall tale - like the great Gasparilla, although a few will say that the old pirate was just as real as you or I and his family is very much still around all these centuries later - down that way, you can find mermaids.             Most anyone is sure to be skeptical enough to dismiss this as just a cutesy story - again, like Gasparilla - made up for Yankee tourists too gullible, too stupid, or both to know the difference: some sad miscommunication about the manatees who used to swim in abundance, their sweet, morose faces a living symbol of the unrestricted devastation wrought on Florida as a natural, organic whole.             And it is correct to be dismissed...but for the wrong reasons.ii.            Everyone called Charles Hamilton Guppy, for those rare occasions he was absent the water he was at least near it - his birth name hilariously overdressed for a short, chubby beachbum like him: typical Florida for the time, a white man turned a permanent brown with the Sun's tanning, brownish hair turned straw-like and sandy in the endless Summer of Florida's peridot waters.             Guppy lived irresponsibly - nearly thirty, he had done very little with his life and didn't particularly give a shit that he hadn't, he blew his paychecks working at Blockbuster on hard liquor and bodacious babes and the decadent heavy metal of the era that would, very shortly, soon pass. There was a passing hint of bisexuality inside him that he would refuse to acknowledge without the proper number of shots but it was nothing to him, a shadow, an unnecessary secret: it, like his future, was usually unthought of...he did everything on impulse.             One Spring near to the dawn of the 1990's, Guppy had found what he believed to be the perfect spot to swim, to bodyboard, to get high and get a buzz, relax and be by himself - a lonely island beach shaped like a crescent moon lined with hugely tall palm trees, in the center of which was a long dock that was falling apart, like it had been abandoned a long time ago. He had found it swimming one day by himself, and he had told nobody about it - his own private chill spot, it belonged to him. When he looked on a map he found that, using landmarks he knew to get his bearings, it was absent - it actually did belong to him, because it was he who discovered.             Like everyone else in that part of Tampa Bay, Guppy had heard that pirates like Gasparilla used to say there were mermaids around here - but, like, everyone else in that part of Tampa Bay, Guppy thought it was childish bullshit. Mermaids - werewolves, ghosts, what-the-Hell-ever - none of these things were real, good for a laugh on Halloween and that was it.             Shit, those pirates like Gasparilla probably weren't even real either...and that was a damn shame. In another life, other than the life he had now, he would have been one - a real Tampa Bay Buccaneer - swept away in the fantasies of his boyhood, a cutthroat, a swashbuckler, eye patch and pegleg.             He had been born too late - all of it had eluded him, all the adventure, plunder, the freedom of open seas...            Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--            Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!             ...for what must have been the third time that day he shook his head, slowly, sadly, no one around to know what he was thinking: it was a stupid, shitty fantasy - for his stupid, shitty life.             It was in the concluding days of May that year, when the Florida weather is at its most Edenic and truly resembles an Earthly paradise, on his day off from Blockbuster in the middle of the week, and Guppy was doing his usual thing: away from his fair-weather buds in Sarasota, away from the bar scene and the hot bitches with the wet t-shirt contests that really never really gave him the night of night, he was alone, finding Zen - not that he knew what Zen was - in the absolute quiet of his private beach, the shivering roar of the waves and the ocean the only sound he could hear.             Sittin by the dock of the bay - snatched lyrics from a song he had heard somewhere and forgotten. As usual, he was shirtless, barefoot, and in trunks, tapping an empty can of Bud next to him.             The horizon before him was infinite, limitless, it stretched and stretched into a blotted dark blue line, the waves getting smaller and smaller until they faded into nothing.             He was looking out into it, Tampa Bay, the peculiar green like a polished jewel, as it yields to the immensity of the Gulf of Mexico - into the foam of the folding, crashing waves - when he saw something...something inky, rubbery, shimmering in the water, sparkling with the Sun.                                         "Neat," he murmured to himself, "a dolphin."             But the glinting object - it neared, it swam forward, to the dock where he was sitting...from the dorsal fin, that threatening triangle gliding through the water, Guppy began to suspect it was no dolphin, but a shark.             But then Guppy's eyes widened as he saw the thing get closer and closer, until it was no thing at all - but a man...             ...a man swimming oddly, a pushing, a kicking, as thought using both legs at the same time.             Nearer, nearer the man came with his peculiar way of swimming -and then Guppy saw it was because he had not legs at all, entire lower body the shapely, streamlined design of a shark.             Guppy stood up with a start, nearly losing his balance as he stared down at what had just come out from the waves:             A real, actual, merman - no - a sharkman.             Now that the sharkman was so close Guppy could see: he was a beautiful specimen of mythology, a statuesque hallucination of aquatic hybrid - he smiled up at Guppy in the shallow water by the dock with what Guppy saw to be a wicked, almost devilish grin.       He had a thick, leonine mane of blackish hair, in a wild shape from a complete lifetime of living in saltwater, flecked with the greys of wisdom, connecting to a longish beard that was roughly cut, as though by the sharp edges of found marine life.             The sharkman's grin, curved with that knowing lechery, revealed his teeth: white, like the purest Florida sugar, keenly sharp, razor-points.             "Wha - ah - wha--?"             "Ahoy, friend," the sharkman said, jarringly nonchalant, in a confident baritone.             Guppy made a motion to turn around and beat it back into the small forest of palms behind him, but he heard the sharkman's voice again:             "No need to be afeared, lad - I ain't no different from you."             "You're a - a shark!" Guppy blurted, realizing it sounded far stupider spoken than thought.             "I am only what I am, boy - and I ain't naught to be afeared of."             Guppy and the sharkman regarded each other for some passing seconds - swallowing back the remnants of his shock, Guppy sighed, moving back to the edge of the dock where he had been, the wooden planks groaning under his feet.             "Who - who are you?"             "I seen ya round here, this - my cove." His English had a strange inflection - Guppy couldn't be sure, but it sounded weirdly archaic, old-fashioned.             He looked English, maybe Irish - he had a noble face, his skin the color of teakwood, slightly darker than Guppy's own, probably from never being absent from the surf and the Sun.             Guppy's initial shock was slowly dissipating, and he came closer, even as his bare feet ground into the old wood defensively. "You - you have?"             "Sure as certain! Not a one but you been out here in many a year."             Guppy saw him give an quick elevator glance, feet to head - he shifted, feeling less afraid, now more curious, about this handsome human hybrid that was speaking to him.             "Well, I - guess. It's really out of the way, you have to really try hard and look for it--" He folded his arms, smiling softly but proudly. "That's how I found it."             "Few - perhaps nobody at all - have found this place in too long."             "Wha - whattya mean? You all alone out here?"             The sharkman's eyebrow flicked up and down before nodding, even as he was kicking his fin to stay afloat and looked so serene and connected to the water he seemed abruptly uncomfortable, put off by the question:             "Too - long," he repeated. "My brothers, husbands, comrades, they - dispersed with the great storms, all over this great inland sea..."             Guppy tilted his head - the sharkman's words confused him.             "Great - inland - you mean the Gulf?"             "Aye, aye--" The sharkman's face flashed with a passing sadness. " The heathen shores of Mexico, far away..."             Guppy opened his mouth to reply but he stopped as he saw the sadness melt back the look of almost regal confidence:             "Tell me - friend - being out here don't ya?"             The question was strange but, given the situation, Guppy should have maybe expected stranger: "I - uh, yeah man, I do."             The sharkman smiled again - those sharp teeth - sometimes smiles are more frightening than scowls, some smiles can actually eat you.             "Good - that be very good."             Guppy blinked, sitting down, letting his feet dangle over the edge. "It is? I mean, I just - I like being out here because it was hard to find, I found it, and nobody comes out here..." He shrugged - might as well as be honest to the half-human hybrid. "It's nice."             The sharkman swam backward so that he was leaning into the water - Guppy's eyes trailed down and, very much in spite of himself, took in the sharkman for the vision of masculine beauty that he was.             His human half was smooth, marked here and there with long scars as though from the lash of a cutlass, and devoid of body hair - so was Guppy's, but unlike his own round, plump frame the sharkman was solidly built, toned, actually powerful­-looking, as though he had all the strength of Tampa Bay in his muscles...his shark half was a dark slate-grey with a perfectly white belly, like his apex predator kin, the Great White, and it too seemed powerful, shaped by innumerable hours swimming in these gemtone waters.             "Tis," the sharkman teased in the next round of their back-and-forth. "Tis indeed."             The suppressed attraction to men that Guppy had felt near to all his life began to bloom again inside him, a rising volume of heat and embarrassment - ruddy as his face already was with poorly-applied sunscreen, he felt it become red as he locked eyes with the he could see their color, which was a pale yellow, the color of sunbeams that glittered off cresting waves. There was so little about that was human - but what was made him irresistible...Guppy struggling in vain against it.             At a small length Guppy found his voice, but his nervousness still betrayed him: "Y-you th-think so too, huh?"             "Indeed!" the sharkman rejoined, flopping forward to swim yet closer to Guppy, putting a strong, sinewy hand on Guppy's foot - Guppy stifled a yelp. "For, lad - for, if ya find it so nice out here - I know a way, not hard, you'll never have to go back - this be my cove, after all."             Guppy tried to steady his breathing, even as his heart was pounding with the feel of the sharkman's smooth hand against his skin.             "Uh - uh h-how - how's that?"             The sharkman grinned again - he seemed to do this a lot, the action of his mouth in a smile that hid something, something dark, like he knew something that Guppy didn't.             "First - first - a favor, sirrah, a - mutual favor, how bout."             Guppy frowned: things were moving too fast for him.             Not a few minutes ago he wasn't even sure if God existed, and now he was talking to a mythological creature who was promising things - the phrase something fishy appeared and was ignored immediately as being too ridiculous.             "Well - hold on, hold on - I don't even know your name!" "What do I call you?"             The sharkman withdrew his hand, raising an eyebrow. "Call me?"             "Yeah, you know, a name."             "Name..." the sharkman repeated back. He seemed to think a moment - it occurred to Guppy in passing that maybe the sharkman didn't even really have one...and he was right: "I don't...reckon I ever thought much about a name."             "Well what do I call you?" Guppy pressed. "Everybody has a name."             The sharkman seemed to smirk, and out of his mouth came a short, thick, pale-bluish pink tongue - wholly inhuman - which laved over his teeth, so sharp, so casually threatening, lingering on the blurred border between alluring and terrifying.             Guppy found that he feared him - but was not afraid.             "A long time gone since anybody asked me that - perhaps - I've forgotten?"             For a second - only a passing second he seemed somewhere between perplexed and sad, and his eyes flicked away to the sapphire horizon. He pressed his lips together and made the first part of a noise, maybe the first part of his name - "Mmm..." but it was unsure, it wavered, he shook his head.             Guppy studied him, watched him try and work this out.             "Matthew?" Guppy guessed for him. "Mark? What about - Max?"             At the word Max, Tooth jerked his head back to Guppy, his lips parted - maybe Guppy had stumbled unto something here, helping a half-man half-shark in the water too long finally remember the name he had forgotten.             But the sharkman shook his head, in doing so shaking away the suggestion. His tongue flapped, playfully, before withdrawing quickly into his mouth.              "You - may call me - ah, what shall it be?" The tongue reappeared to move faintly over the spikes of his teeth - Guppy took a breath, a jolt of arousal. "Why not - Tooth."             "Tooth..." Now Guppy swallowed hard, his sexual nervousness gripping him too tightly for rational thought. "That's - I like that." He forced a shaky smile. "Tooth."             The sharkman - Tooth - had his smirk slowly turn into another grin, and his newly-minted namesake reappeared with it.             "Quite right," he murmured. "As do I. Now - what call I, you?"             "My name? It's--" He give it just a moment's thought before smiling sheepishly. "They call me Guppy - like the fish."             Tooth laughed, a throaty sound from that unyielding grin.            "A fish to water already!"             Guppy tried to chuckle back, pretending to be in control of himself: "Y-yeah, that's - that's why they call me that."             Tooth kicked his fin, sending a spray of seafoam behind him. "Now what say you? Come to the water and never having to leave it?"             Even with his ability to engage logically with what was happening around him seriously impaired by his bewilderment and by his arousal, Guppy still liked the sound of that - being on land, not being out in the ocean, it was a tedious, irritable way to live.             "Never - ever?"             "Never--" Tooth reached up again, caressing Guppy's ankle, that predatory grin softening into something earnest, something meaningful. "--ever."             Guppy shivered, once again, at Tooth's flesh touching his own - he realized, a little too late, that this creature was trying to seduce him...even as the realization came to him he spoke the question that had been unaddressed all this time:             "Th-that favor you wanted--" He cleared his throat, trying to maintain his last semblance of sense in front of what he hoped was his new friend. "S-something for - in exchange--?"             "Ah, that--" Tooth swam back just enough to put a small space between him and the dock that Guppy was still sitting on. "As I say, take to the water with me, that we can--" Again, that grin - Guppy found himself utterly disarmed. "--make each other - feel ­-wonderful..."             Guppy's bit his lip, the flush in his face rising to a color that he could sense was a deep, deep red. "What - wh-what are you--"             Using his tailfin to push himself up, Tooth laid back in the water, face up, so Tooth could see - from a fleshy slit flush and near-hidden amidst his white scales was emerging something: his penis.             As it came to full size Guppy could see it was large, very large, swollen fat in the middle, tapering to a nubby point, split lengthwise nearly into two halves, so that, as it became erect, it was clearly not one but two: slender slabs of slimy, translucent muscle that stood firmly out from the the warning dorsal fin on his back, it seemed uniquely shark-like, idiosyncratic to his species, a signet of pride that defined who he was.             That should have been enough - a wordless, telegraphed signal for Guppy to know what the expectation was - but to this display, Tooth added, in a voice that was so gentle and seductive it barely registered about the sound of the sea:             "Like - this."             Somewhere Guppy thought that the display was too desperate, too overly sexual, too pressing - there was a broken reasoning in his whole-body numbness that had made his blood run cold in the balmy heat of a beach in May, pieces of sense like ice melting in a daiquiri left out too long.             He was transfixed - hypnotized.             Time dilated around him - before, things had gone too fast, now they were going too slow.             His breathing was deep and his heart was pounding so hard it rattled his ribcage - he shut his eyes and shook his head to try and clear it, then nodded, slowly, then rapidly, his eyes opening again to catch Tooth's own, yellow, vulnerable, plaintive...             "Y-yeah - yeah, I'd - I'd like th-that--" Guppy heard himself say it, his deepest desires piercing up through His stammer embarrassed him and he clapped a hand to his mouth, which widened in a bashful smile.             Tooth gave another one of his throaty laughs, but it was halted by a flicker on his face, a sneer, fangs flashing - a slimy gel-like substance had appeared at the tips of his penises as he was paddling his arms to stay afloat, thickly trickling, catching the Sun's light...Guppy watched it, his head, like Tooth himself, swimming.             He shouldn't do it - he really shouldn't do it - but he wanted to, badly, so badly. He had repressed his desires for men for so long it was a recursive subroutine to try and look away, try and distract himself, try to make an excuse...             ...but he had no excuse.             He was drawn, irresistibly, to this fable of a man, of a shark, that lived in the ocean, that wanted Guppy to live with him - there was an ambient notion of warning, danger, inherited from the fairytales that every child knows, pressing into their subconscious, about charming strangers, dangerous men.             But he wanted Tooth as he never wanted anyone, man or woman - or shark - in his entire life.             A girl who he had helped drunk and puking to his Cavalier one night had babbled something to him about wanting to get out of Sarasota and move up north - throw it all away for a boy I've met once, she said.             That was a stupid thing to do, and Guppy was about to do it.             Throw it all away - for someone he met once.             He slipped off his board shorts - they came off easy, his pudgy stomach hovering over a dick that was embarrassingly small and too thick for its own good, the flesh of his nethers and his buttcheeks ghostly pale contrasting with the rest of his bronzed tan.             He was not a beach beauty - he was shortish and fat and socially awkward and that's why he drank too much, he never thought anyone would want to...would want to fuck him like this.             "Come," he heard Tooth beckon - and Guppy, naked, his toes curling over the dock, could no longer hesitate: he cannonballed off the edge, meeting the water with a healthy splash.             Tooth was upon him immediately, his agile tailfin maneuvering the two of them into a close hug, a sweet embrace - it may have been his imagination, a passing, hallucinatory fantasy at the feel of Tooth's muscular arms, but Guppy swore he could smell it then, on his mouth, that reek - of liquor, rum, tequila, privateer's swill, pirate's rotgut...            Drink and the devil had done for the rest--            Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!  iii.             What had Guppy been expecting?             That Tooth - creature of the sea - although charmingly masculine, undeniably handsome, would give him a quick romp in the ocean, like a regular person...and then they'd be done?             Because that is not at all what happened.             Their lovemaking was harsh, brutal, and delicious - Tooth's pair of slippery, oozy organs had slid effortless, at first, into his hole, but demanded more of his body than Guppy could be give, so large and so wide were Tooth's two penises...gradually, painfully, thankfully, his anus stretched, the muscles giving up their fight, the ring becoming wider and wider to accommodate Tooth himself, to let him in, more and more.             All the while Tooth would kiss his cheek gently, encourage him, tell him he was here and though it hurt that they would both feel good, so very good...             It had occurred to Guppy to make Tooth stop, this hurt too much, this wasn't going to work...and yet he couldn't, he wouldn't - his submission to Tooth was total and it was complete, not a half-hour after meeting him, his hold over Guppy was something he had never felt before: a need to use his own body to please a stronger, fitter, larger male like Tooth, something perversely exquisite in the perfection of being nothing in the face of this aquatic deity.             Tooth took advantage because Guppy let him take advantage, and jackhammered into him as he held on to the dock, and the rough sharkskin scraped his back like sandpaper in a timed staccato, pain, raw and honest, tangible proof this was no dream, no waking fantasy.             Guppy had never, not once, taken it in the ass before - even after all the pain, all the fight his body had put up to being possessed and fucked by this creature of the sea, now somehow this felt natural, somehow this felt as though this was what he was meant to do.             Even above water he could hear it: the sound of his ass being claimed by a sharkman - the rhythm of the watery shlorp that his hole, his asscheeks, his lower body made: they were the sound of his willing humiliation, his deliverance, sexually, to a nirvana he did not think possible.             Hot tears of pained ecstasy came to his eyes - it was a wretched, nauseating noise, the things done to his body that he was doing gladly and happily, freakish in its results: the more Tooth ground into him, the deeper he went, the more his asshole bloomed with damaged, rosebud-like flesh, gaping around the sharkman, remade strictly for Tooth's pleasure alone.             Although Guppy could not see it, he was already being reshaped by Tooth's cum, the action of mating itself a demolition, a rebirth: the deformed flesh was turning whitish, slippery, like the back end of his namesake...slowly, gradually, he was changing, Tooth alone making him anew.             What had Guppy been expecting?             ...he was just a Florida beachbum that got lucky - very, very, very lucky.             Cum shot out of his puny human dick in a milky cloud again, and then again, attended to and swallowed by passing schools of silvery fish he could not see but that made Tooth chuckle - he had a word for them, older than Guppy, as old as the docks, but he was at his task, he was not distracted.             Guppy's blindingly intense orgasms were aided by Tooth's pair of cocks that struck his prostate over and over with an accuracy that had to have come from instinct, some evolutionary predilection for optimized pleasure. They were superior in both size and design to the human penis - it was older, the hideous design that made the Megalodon the patriarch of prehistoric seas, the double-headed scepter it ruled with uncounted ages ago.             He did not know how long they fucked like this - Tooth's powerful arms around him in a dominating embrace, his virility and vigor giving him the apparent ability to cum pump after gushing pump, an hour, two hours, however long it was, the Sun still high in the sky, no spoken words between them, only Tooth's laughs and pants and hot breaths interspersed with Guppy's own name, only Guppy's own immodest moans ringing out into the watching palms and the ancient barnacles aneath the dock.             At last - at long last - they ceased, and Tooth loosened his grip...he planted a gentle kiss on Guppy's neck, using that strange tongue to lick the seawater from it.             He released his new lover from the commanding hold of his penises that had clasped Guppy's own grotesquely remolded anus and felt a small, but inadequate trickle of seed drift out into the water as he was freed.

            But coming down from the drugged euphoria of their marathon sex, now found himself in the midst of agony that floated into his mind in the ebb of afterglow.             There was a pressure in his belly - his stomach, his colon, his rectum - that was excruciating, a sense of being overfull so painfully a kind of panic set in, that he would actually burst, exploding there in the water.             What Tooth has given him was staying there, and it was not coming out - it was impacted, gumming up his insides, a sloppy cesspool of something thick, sticky, near more a solid than liquid.             He moved his hands down to grasp his belly, which had become obscenely bloated, swollen, stiff - the power of Tooth's twin penises had been too much for him, and he was suffering from it, from being too full of sharkman semen, mixed in with what he hadn't passed from eating a few hours ago.             He tried to form words as he turned around to face Tooth, who freed from his grasp so that they only held hands, weakly trying to tread water still - he was trying to get Tooth's attention, let him know that he couldn't go on like this, that he was in pain, terrible pain.             Tooth kicked his fin so that they were together once more, a hand moving to Guppy's bloated belly, gently rubbing it, trying to give him comfort.             "It's alright, Guppy--" he murmured to him over Guppy's groans that rose in loudness in time his full-on panic. "It's alright - just let go, just relax..."             Guppy continued to squirm as Tooth touched him, hot tears welling in his eyes yet again - his belly jostled in the water as he moved, so much glutinous fluid sloshing around Guppy could nearly hear it - now it was cramping, his bowels were in total revolt, a forcible moving-about of his stomach within his body.             He cried aloud, a broken sob of morbid fear - the passing warnings that he shouldn't have trusted Tooth, so new, so charming, cut into his brain, and he grimaced, trying to find the words, trying to ask why, how, this could have happened...             "Shhh...Guppy, you are still a man yet, your body isn't used to ,me - soon, Guppy, soon..."             Guppy tried to register the words, tried to hear them, but he couldn't - just when he thought the unyielding pressure in his whole lower body could take no more, it reached a final peak, an absolute point of no return -and then it happened.             He gripped Tooth as tight as he could, fingernails digging into skin, pressing his head against the muscular shoulder, as he felt his abused hole strain - and then let loose.             Blasting out of him in a cloudy eruption - a long, moaning shout to accompany it - was an explosion of goop, the shark-semen that had been pumped into him, mixed with whatever had been impacted in his his belly's swell abated and went down, up went a filthy, rancid cloud of shit and cum that floated around him, the foul smell wafting and overpowering the tang of the ocean around them.             He fell into Tooth's arms, feeling the embrace reciprocated, gently, firmly - he heard Tooth take in a breath through his nose and make a satisfied, contented noise, and a rumble in his chest as he laughed, low and wicked: "Chum - how delicious..."             Guppy felt Tooth's body bob down - his head went underwater slightly, reaching his ears, and then up again...his eyes shut tight, his stomach easing out of the radiant pain that had wracked it before.             He was only vaguely aware to hear Tooth take the raunchy, polluted water into his mouth and swallow it, and make that same quiet, furtive laugh - he was only vaguely aware because in Tooth's arms Guppy was enveloped by a sense of impossible lassitude, weightlessness past being in the ocean, buoyed by Tooth's mighty single fin that, with a periodic, swiftsure flap, kept them afloat.             "You taste so good, Guppy-love..."             Guppy heard it and let out a meaningless, inchoate moan in answer - he felt Tooth's mouth press against his cheek, and then move to his ear:             "Guppy-love - you'll be fine. Just let it take hold, let the sea take you - like it took me."             Taking a deep breath, Guppy tried to answer at last: "Wha - t-take - what...?"             And again he heard Tooth's voice, the tremolo rumble that vibrated in his chest, the healing reassurance: ", now - rest well, Guppy-love - sleep here, I have you, I have you yet..."             The tiredness that had made Guppy so limp in Tooth's arms crept back - his eyes had been closed all this time, he could only sense the sound of Tooth's inhales, exhales, and the dripping splashes of the water...and the warmth of Tooth's human flesh, the slick roughness of his shark's half, the occasional brush of the gooeyness of his penises against his leg, still erect, out, giving final, wordless authority to Tooth's words.             He struggled to awake from this eldritch hypnosis, tried to make his body stop craving him, Tooth, stop the blossoming sense of dependence, of protection - could it really fucking be? Love.             This was only supposed to be a one-off thing in a struck bargain so that he wouldn't have to live on land - what did that even mean, now? What the Hell had he meant by letting the sea take him?             There was a notion, quashed in the moment it took an incidental splash of water to sprinkle with him saltwater, that he should be scared, but...             ...all he could feel was the drowsiness admixed with happiness, the cosmic sense of perfection and of the moment being sufficient to himself.             His mind failed him at last - his head faltered onto Tooth's shoulder and he felt Tooth's hand at the back of his neck, defending him against the ocean, beach, palms, Sun.             It was finished - it had begun - and he was only just so sure that it was true:             Guppy belonged to Tooth, both enjoined as husbands, children of the Atlantic.iv.            What is a shark?             A fish, a scientist will say - an aquatic creature. To the ancients there were but three classes of animals: beasts of the field, birds of the air, fish of the waters - the shark is the wolf of the sea, he is the king, and his reign is terrible indeed.             He is without a bony skeleton, all cartilage, a primordial primitiveness in himself, of himself: a relic, a prehistoric monster, a masterful predator without the redeeming egalitarian graces of: wolf, fox, bear - the furry creatures that ape its carnivorous rampages on the land, far away from its terror-monarchy in the sea.             Pirates once called themselves wolves of the sea also - maybe, so the story goes, but pirates, like Florida before the dawn of the chemical-soaked apocalypse of modernity, are forever draped in mythology and legendry and a dead man's tale is as good as any historical reality.             The sea itself is a universe wholly divorced from its terrestrial counterpart, and with good reason: it is the primordial, the primal, what emerges, what departs.             Charles Hamilton - Guppy - had a mind strained in his lack of consciousness, an ocean itself, a blackness, a horror: a dream from which he could not awake, inside the sea he was yet still awash in his own sea too.             In this lost world, he could not see it, could not feel it, could not sense it - his body, changing, transmogrifying, into something new, something marvelous.             From the area around his anus, where Tooth had claimed him, his skin hardened, washed over with a coating, hydrodynamic mucous - his toes fused together, fleshy webbing fluttering out over it, dancing in the water like the dress of a bride - new fins. His legs did the same, they became one mass of bone and skin, skin unto hardened scales, coated with the same slime to aid in swimming, the pattern that criss-crossed it in an exotic tropical pattern - preciously iridescent, an eyecatch of fleeting stripes and gemtone gave him more than a passing resemblance to his chosen nickname, a final irony, a cosmic biology joke at his expense.             His penis had split, painlessly, down the middle, to form the pronged shape that resembled Tooth's - two stalks of fat, grotesque muscle, in a similar shape but dwarfed almost comically by the sheer enormity and masculine power of the sharkman's own was now hidden inside a fleshy slit, also like Tooth's, his testicles slipping inside, fully internalized, never to be seen again.             They were far more sensitive than his single human penis had been - still nigh-comatose in Tooth's wrapped arms, his penises were exposed, drifting out in the saltwater, the stimulation maintaining a nigh-permanent erection...the ocean's current made them sway, the water rushing past it so subtle yet so exquisite for his nerves.             Finally he orgasmed, his eyes flying open as he awoke from his abyssal sleep, consciousness flooding into him like a stormcloud bursting out over the sea...             Tooth's face was the first thing he saw - it filled his vision, the grizzled visage, the smile that was no longer lecherous, indeed no longer cruel or knowing, but happy, even grateful...             Guppy felt himself too tight in Tooth's arms and struggled some - he felt Tooth let him, relinquishing his hold, and Guppy tried to kick, tried to use his legs to tread water as he had known to do since he was a little boy, but he felt no pair of legs, only a massed construction of muscle and bone... his tailfin.             He kicked for the first time, back, away, in the water, by himself - he looked down at himself in wordless shock that gave way to horror...and then to wonder, a latent delight that he could not put together completely, not just yet.             He twisted himself, backwards, forwards, doing somersaults in the water, effortless, his very heart surging with joy, his splashes merging with a growing cloud of happy laughter - he was the same above the waist, the same chubby Guppy...but below the waist he was all fish, the single, muscular tailfin, his scales painted that tropical dazzle-pattern - he kept kicking it, the single action, again and again, trying to understand the feeling, his euphoria growing by the minute.             He loved it. He was in love with his new form.             But at some small length, he stopped - his head crested above the water, and there he saw Tooth - watching him.             Guppy grinned at him, swimming over, throwing his arms out to let the sharkman catch him and grip him tightly once again - they kissed, passionately, tongues searching each others' teeth, locked in pure, newfound love.             "Welcome, Guppy!" Tooth whispered with a joyous guffaw.             "Th-this - this is what you m-meant, right?" Guppy's voice was a tight stammer near-choked with a rapture that was near delirious. "Wh-when - when you said--?"             "That you would never have to leave the sea?" Tooth finished for him, grinning slow - he kissed Guppy's forehead, chuckling. "Yes, Guppy-love - that's exactly what I meant."             Guppy's mind raced, the lingering doubt from earlier that this was just a dream, an immersed fantasy that he was having while buzzed on the dock that day, making an unwelcome reappearance:             "B-but - h-how - how did you do that? H-how can this be poss--?"             Tooth silenced him by pressing their lips together, a hand coming up to guide Guppy's head against his own.             "I do not know was a secret amongst my husbands from a time--"             His voiced trailed off - it had been close to the early morning when they met, and now it was late afternoon, the Sun in its meridian above them the silence, Tooth looked wistfully to the infinite horizon before them, the Sun casting a diamondiferous sheen on the crests of the waves, giving off a blinding glint that disappeared as soon as it was seen.             He did not know why - it was so soon, so sudden - but seeing Tooth so introspective and so...lonely, it tugged at him, he was so attached to the sharkman already, unexpectedly. He put his arm as best he could around Tooth's broad chest, giving him a squeeze.             The looked of faraway sadness softened into a smirk, and Tooth shook his head, slowly, turning back to Guppy with yet another kiss to his forehead.             "That was many, many a year ago - but it is the secret of my--" He stopped, the smirk turning wry as he leaned in close to Guppy's face. "Our tribe - and our seed."             "So--" Guppy's eyes widened. "The - the legends were real, about - the pirates - and the mermaids..."             Tooth's eyebrow flicked, askance. "There were legends, were there?" He chuckled. "Ah, how long has it been?"             "Um..." Guppy took the question literally. "I don't know?"             Tooth leaned back, throwing his head into a thunderous laugh - Guppy forced a weak chuckle along with him, not sure what was so funny.             "Enough, Guppy-love--" Tooth grinned, again. "Enough. Soon, you will forget how long it will be for you, too - what life was like on land."             The thought, so direct, so blunt, gave Guppy immense pause - it was not the first time, and now it would certainly be his last, that the thrill of living in the moment and never wondering about consequences had come back to bite him in the ass.             On land, he had a job, and a friends, and a family he still regularly talked to - his favorite bar, his apartment, his car that he had left at the marina...             ...he would have to give it all up, no going back now - all to live in the ocean like he always wanted, not quite a pirate but, maybe, the next best thing were it all a fantasy like he desired.             At twenty-nine in human years his old life was gone.             Now, he realized, this wasn't a dream at all - at least not the dreams he was used to having, the ones where there was a certainty of a happy ending, the kind you don't want to wake up from.             He had been staring into the water below him, all the way down - not that deep, maybe thirty feet at most, they had drifted away from the dock - he felt Tooth's hand at his chin, and his head was gently lifted so that they locked eyes.             Guppy found himself defenseless, unsure, in the pits of Tooth's brass-colored irises that almost glowed in their settings of marble-like white - his expression was serious, but there was a twinge of sympathy in it.             " on land..." he heard himself say to his new lover.             "Will not you be my husband here?" Tooth asked, his voice low, the splash of the waters around them nearly subsuming his words. "This gift - I've given you? Here - the sea - forever?"             Guppy stared at him. There was a leap in logic that was required of him - him, Guppy, just a normal Florida surferdude, not smart, no particular future, to understand how deep was the seriousness of what the sharkman had said.             Maybe, maybe there was a way to undo his transformation, to regain his legs, and go back to - wait, what, exactly? Why would he want that? It was just the same thing over and over - yeah, there were good things in it, sort of, maybe, but...    was Tooth, now, with him, the first day of peace and freedom, sunning and swimming and sexing, together.             His arm reached from the water and playfully batted Tooth's hand away - in what was becoming a natural action, something he never would have dared in what was rapidly becoming his old life, he swam forward to close the distance and kissed Tooth, another male, on the mouth.             "Y-yeah - yeah, Tooth. I wanna--" He hesitated, laughing softly, mostly at himself. "I wanna stay here, I - I don't wanna leave."             The sharkman maneuvered behind him, clutching him in a gripping bear hug.             "And you never will," Tooth finished with a halting, excited laugh. "You'll stay here with me - and our family."             "F-family?" Guppies eyebrows furrowed, trying to turn around to face Tooth once again. "Wha - what? I thought you said your people--"             Tooth let him go, swimming backward, putting a healthy space between them - his face, which Guppy now understood gave everything away even when he did not mean for it to, was serious again...this time laced with a suspicion, a caution.             Guppy winced. "I - hey, I'm sorry--" He kicked forward - Tooth moved backward in near-tandem. "W-wait, I didn't mean - I'm sorry about your--" He started to panic. "Y-your husbands, getting - blown away by the hurricanes and all--"             "No, Guppy-love." Tooth's hand appeared from the water, out, stopping him. "It's not that--"             "Well then what is it?"             "I may...have spoken in haste."             It did not to improve Guppy's anxiety: "What about, Tooth? I thought--"             "I just spoke in haste, Guppy-love, that is all," Tooth answered, defensive. He shut his eyes, sighing indignantly. "I do not - wish to be wrong in this."             Guppy's eyebrows went up and knitted over his nose. "Why - I - can't you just tell me?"             Tooth seemed to think a second. "There's a way..."             "Show me!" Guppy exclaimed.             " test - to see--" He shut his eyes for a moment, then opened them again, a humming intonation of pleasure rumbling in his chest. "To see..."             "To see--" Guppy kicked forward to come closer to him once more. "Hey - what are you--?"             The hand that Tooth had stopped him had come back to the surface from being hidden somewhere under water - he held it out to Guppy, who saw that, in his fingers, there was that same kind of gel-like substance from before, what had shined on the tips of Tooth's penises, what prefaced their lovemaking...and Guppy's metamorphosis.             Guppy did not ask what Tooth wanted - he knew, and he knew there was an ulterior motive to it but he knew, at least, that he was taste this, the benthic elixir that had made Guppy what he was.             He kicked forward, a short distance - he took Tooth's fingers into his mouth, closing his lips around them obediently.             The substance - cum, he guessed - was heavy, thick, oily, it tasted heavily salted, like congealed seawater, and it was such a shock to his tastebuds that Guppy almost gagged, forcing himself to swallow, hard, to try and get the whole thing down...    was still in his throat, moving slow, further, further to his stomach, all the way burning him, an aphrodisiacal ember that numbed as it seared.             His whole nervous system was beset with a pleasure that reminded him of smoking really good weed - a full-body high, he was floating as he was afloat, all breath drawn from him, his pulse down flatlining, it almost felt too good.             And then he felt something:             Somewhere inside him bunched and spasmed new muscles, new glands, that roused him from this opiate daze: in his crotch he was feeling a mounting fullness, of liquid pooling together, more, more, and now too much - he moaned, his hands coming down helplessly to what passed for his fishy groin, his penises hidden for the moment but the slit where they dwelt starting to stir, to bulge, a failing dam holding something inside it. A pounding pressure, like a heartbeat in his genitals, made the slit widen out but did not yet yield - it was like nothing Guppy had ever felt before, like being constipated in his own dick, unable to cum, something stopping him.             Somehow, in wonder, a whisper, Tooth caught his thoughts - or maybe, studying him, he knew what was going to happen:             "Your first time..."             At last Guppy slit roared open, and out of it poured, scorchingly hot, an explosive flow of lubricating mucous that blasted out of the hole, and he moaned in the ecstasy of the feeling, so profound and perfect a relief - he took his hands and looked down at what his body was producing, a cloudy near-transparent white slime, using his fingers to try and get his slit wider, bigger, for more of it to come out.             The feeling was like an orgasm but more potent, more focused in the pleasure centers of his brain - with it came a rushing confusion of perplexed emotions that he tried to make sense of: the first, was a submission, a desire, an emptiness, he was naked already but with the stream of mucous he felt even more so, unfulfilled, anxious.             The second thought, connected to the first - his head jerked up to see Tooth - was that something in his new body he had no control over yet, like pissing, and his face went red with embarrassment:             "D-dammit, I - I'm - I'm s-sorry, I didn't--"             But he stopped - he watched Tooth stare down at the milky cloud he had expelled from his crotch.             He was almost panting - his breathing was deep, but assured, and his mouth burst into one of his smiles of deviancy, lechery.             "So it is true - you are fertile."             Guppy stared at him, his eyes starting to widen. "Fer-fertile? What the--?"             Tooth swam a little closer. "Guppy-love, listen to me, pray listen well--"             He was so sincere that Guppy had no choice but to listen, Tooth's words falling out rushed, excit "You - we, us, we can - have a family, us two, since you are fertile, such a rare, such rare gift--"             "Tooth!" Guppy exclaimed - in an instinct he was unsure of but acted on anyway, mimicking things he'd seen in moves, he reached for the sharkman's wrist to silence him, to get his attention. "Tooth - what - what the Hell are you talking about?"             Through the resistance of the seawater Tooth slide his arm up through Guppy's hand, so that they were joined, again. His yellow eyes speared earnestly into Guppy's             "You - can take my seed - and become fecund with it."             "Fec--?"             "With child," Tooth said. "With my - my fry. Our essences together, you'd birth them, our - our offspring--"             "You wanna get me pregnant?" Guppy recoiled. "What?"             The pieces fit together - what Tooth had meant by family, and fertile and first time...there was a change in his body, a change that came with the fins and the colorful scales and the ability to swim really fast.             A change - that he could have babies...with Tooth.             He was hit with a pang of denial and revulsion, everything that had made him happy about being part-fish, half-fish, merman, starting to sicken and annoy him - he started shaking his head, screwing up his face, swimming back away.             "That - no, man, no, I can't--"             "Please!" Tooth cried, his salt-and-pepper eyebrows caving into together in near-panic - up went his arms, his hands gripping Guppy's shoulders tightly.             "I can't raise kids!" Guppy cried. "What - no, man, no way--"             "Please, please, you must--"             "I'm a guy!" Guppy shot back.             It was his only defense. Tooth had already done so much for him already, had him feel as no one else ever had in his life, and the idea of not being human came with a territory that allowed for further weirdness - like dudes having babies.             "Guy?" Tooth repeated, his eyebrows going up. "Guy - no guy, Guppy. Neither you--" He leaned forward for effect. "--nor I, a man be, any longer."             Even surrounded, immersed in water, Guppy's mouth felt dry. "What do you mean?"             Tooth said nothing, at first, but then whispered: "Your body is not a man's - but a creature of the water and a man's together..."             Guppy frowned. "I know that--"             "But our children are--" He paused, as if trying to wrestle to find the correct word. "Shark - shark alone."             And now Guppy wanted to recoil again, but stopped himself, no longer repulsed or bewildered...but intrigued. "So - I - have sharks? I get pregnant - with sharks?"             "Yes - yes. And there are so few of them that--" He gritted his teeth, like trying to stave off getting emotional. "We - we must - we must be the best parents we may to them!"             Guppy tried to process everything, tried to form something cogent in answer - but Tooth burst into his thoughts:             "Guppy - love - I promise, I will feed you, care for you, whatever you desire, Guppy, I--" He stopped, and once again he gritted those sharp, dangerous teeth. "I love you."             Guppy's mouth fell open. ""             Tooth tightened his grip on his shoulders. "The finest seagrass, the choicest mangrove root - and my--" He stopped, his yellowish eyes so earnest that Guppy knew he was telling the truth. "My seed - I will give you - you will want for nothing here, I swear it, just - please - accept my offer..."             Guppy's face was hot a cacophony of confused feelings - he could barely think, his slit starting to roil again at the thought of Tooth's semen, again...he nodded, weakly swallowing hard.             He had been so overwhelmed by everything that Tooth had been, had done, for him, and only for him - he had no friends like that, he had nobody who really, truly, was unafraid to show that they...             ...loved him.             It was small, but it was enough - someone loved him, who was alone as he was alone, both in places where they could have artificial happiness and everything given to them but lacking, always lacking, that necessary key, that link, of just one person who would understand and know them as they needed to be understood and known.             Perhaps - given that - having sharks grow inside him, birthed and mothered in the ocean with them wasn't so bad after all.             The epiphany was brief enough that Guppy could speed past it, armed with it, he nodded again, quicker, more confident, with a grin that caught Tooth's face and made him do the same - not wicked as it often was, but grateful...even humbled.             Still, he needed to hear it - he needed the final affirmation, that this was no trick being played on him, that Tooth, a strange half-human creature, was not just using him, like a science fiction monster, to propogate his species.             "But - wait - why?" he asked, his voice quiet, uncharacteristically, for him, devoid of any good humor, all wrapped up in the seriousness that bound them in the water together. "Why - me."             Tooth let go of Guppy's shoulders to entwine their hands underwater again, pulling their bodies together, the kiss - the rum and tequila - firm on Guppy's lips.             "Because you were the most handsome human I had ever laid eyes on...because I have been so long for a time that I cannot even remember - Guppy--" He swallowed hard, his teeth grit together again. "Guppy - be my mate, be my mate as I desired you, the only one who would come into domain of this cove worthy..."             Guppy looked at the water between them, the watery space, the broken images of their bodies, one fish the other shark, inhuman, exiled from land, into the ocean, shared destiny.             "And you love me?" Guppy asked. "You just met me--"             "It matters not," Tooth answered, hushed. "It matters not how it happened - only what comes after, is that not clear to you?"              Guppy absorbed what Tooth had told him before nodding, slowly, with a graveness he had not though capable before.. "I'll be your - mate." The blush had not left his face. "Never - leaving the water again - and bearing - your--" He smiled. "Our kids..."             Now Tooth's grin reappeared, the familiar devilishness, and seeing it, Guppy's slit, his penises, heretofore softening and relaxing, resumed their burning holds over his body - he was so attracted to him it was becoming a painful necessity.             "Now - tell me - you proved to savor my taste, Guppy-love - did you not?"             "I did - it was really..." He gave a coy smile. "...thick."             Their hands came apart so that Tooth could hold Guppy's face in a fast kiss - they separated, and with a snicker, Tooth nuzzled his cheek. "Well and thick to keep my beloved round and fat."             Guppy blinked at him, looking at him askance. "You wanna - keep me fat?"             Tooth stole a quick kiss. "Aye, indeed. The fatter my mate, the healthier the fry he bears."             He rubbed Guppy's chubby belly, tracing a finger underneath the fold that draped just slightly over his new fish half...Guppy shuddered, flattered, humbled, aroused.             His slit, enflamed, had become sloppy, messy, the opening lubricating itself again, the slime, the goo, reappearing, dripping, milky, into the water.             "You're going to be big again, Guppy-love" Tooth said, the tip of his strange tongue lewdly wetting his lover's salty cheek. "Bigger than last time. I'll see to it..."             Guppy groaned as a fresh stream of the lubricating slime left him, replaced with more - he pressed against Tooth, against his sharkman lover whose fish-offspring he would bring forth into Tampa Bay, feeling the slickness he made lubricate Tooth's sharkskin so that they could coil around each other, intertwined, his short, stout penises lightly dripping into the water.             "What do - I have to do?" Tooth pressed their faces together, snickering darkly. "You must drink from me..."             Guppy's eyes lit up. "You mean I have to--"             "Beneath us," Tooth finished for him. "Drink my seed to fatten you - make you healthy - and your body will do the rest, grow the eggs and give you my fry."             Guppy shut his eyes tight as his slit became afire once more, his twin penises bathed in a sudden shot of the lubricating slime.             "Yes - Hell yes--"             Tooth snickered again - Guppy flashed a horny smile at him as he dove under the water.             Tooth's cocks - both of them - awaited him, proud and imperious and commanding just by sight, long, swollen, virile. They were absolute weapons of fertility, their sheer size inescapable symbols of masculine power that was making Guppy's very soul weak with desire.             It was like he was drunk - so helpless to his own arousal that it intoxicated him, his own sense of self slowly fading to nothing, so that Tooth's dicks, and how to pleasure them, counted for a reason to be at all.             He took them both at their bases in both hands, on to the other, and pressed them together - he saw that it gave Tooth a shot of pleasure, his body briefly tensing, the nerves must have been very raw - and opened his mouth as wide as he could.             He took them both past his lips, as best as he might, and suckled.              There was a vague sense - very vague, Guppy still hopelessly lost in the moment - that, being underwater for this long, that he should need to come up for air. Why hadn't he?             And then it occurred to him: his lungs were no longer human, in the darkness that had experienced of the sleep that Tooth had held him in, his body was less and less human - less weak, less frail, more suitably adapted for the aquatic environment that he had always wanted.             His sight was perfectly fine too: there was no expected sting, the bothersome blurriness that would usually accompany having his head underwater...he found he could see, no problems at all, for hundreds of feet in front of him, and however far below him to the sandy sediment, and he could still come up for air and see the sky, not limited by either human lungs or fishy gills.             This new domain - viceroy, co-ruler with his king.             The thought made him smile, even as his mouth was full of his new husband's large twin cocks.             The liquid that came out of Tooth's penises was much more appetizing than what he had been offered, what had made his body react like it did - it was still pungently salty, with a fishy undertaste, but delicate, barely noticeable like what one smells at a fish market that is a street over but in taste form.             It was generous, too - this, what must have been precum, wept out of the pair of cocks with such ease that it was like taking a bottle of honey and squeezing it, that steady, constant, delicious flow.             His own penises were oozing something small and paltry - nothing compared to the bounty that Tooth was giving him, there was no mistake who was bigger, fitter, more fertile...Guppy was very fertile, Tooth said, but that was in a different way.             He saw Tooth's body - the chiseled torso and stomach - tense and stiffen, and the penises inside his mouth enlarged and thickened, and from their tips oozed forth a viscous, oily slime.         The flow was languid at first, again, like syrup, but it quickened, until the volume became a sharp gush that made Guppy's cheeks bulge out until, with concentration, he was able to time it, to swallow it, carefully, not wanting to waste any of Tooth's new gift.             But he swallowed it, all of it, the impossibilities of his new respiratory system allowing him to take it all, each lazy, inhuman slurp of cum he got down his throat obediently, dutifully...hungrily.             He had not eaten in hours, and it nourished him, it sated him, it filled him, this was his food, this was what he would crave - and seaweed, and mangrove, nutrition given to him, provided for him by Tooth, his husband.             The flow of semen ceased, and Tooth got the last little rivulet of slimy, salted gelatin down into his stomach. Reluctantly - with Tooth's guiding hand - his head and mouth came off of the beautiful, imposing twin penises, and his eyes drifted upward to see the glimmering mirror of the water above him, the light filtering down.             He swam up, hiss head breached the surface, the Sun dazzling him in the glitter of the dripping saltwater, and he sucked in a revelatory, giddy breath - for his whole lower body, his slit opening and hissing out a final clarion of lubrication, was engulfed in a glorious, ecstasy of tingling, a hum in what he now knew to be his womb, his skin prickling deliciously as the cum took hold inside him, fertilizing him, joining the fertile eggs his body had been making at Tooth's first offering of the special semen to join, in turn, mystic marriage, Guppy and Tooth together.             He pressed a hand to his belly, reveling in the feeling, leaning his head back, breathing deeply.             Now words came to his head - formless, broken, but acquiescing around something, something instinctual, a thing to be known only as a feeling rather than a conscious act.             He tried to speak them: "It - it--"             Tooth smirked. "Say it, Guppy-love..."             "It..." And then Guppy knew what it meant - and beamed. "I feel it - it took!" He took in a happy breath. "I'm gonna - I'm gonna be pregnant!'             Tooth roared with a joyful guffaw, throwing his arms out to pull Guppy into a tight hug - they kissed, deeply and passionately, saliva washing over each other's teeth, Guppy finding that his own tongue seemed thicker, so that Tooth's fangs did not hurt him...             ...he smelled it again. The quaffed liquor, the stink of the tropical bottle that hung on Tooth's lips and would do so forever, the reek of the pirate from an ancient time, immortal forever in the shimmering sea.             At a blissful length they stopped - Guppy pulled away to look at his lover, his husband, the dangerous yellow eyes and the terrible predatory teeth...and found only safety, comfort, a love that he did not think he was ever capable of feeling or giving.   "What...happens now?" he whispered, daring to break the silence.             Tooth nuzzled his cheek, tenderly stroking his ear. "We swim, we dine - we love." He chuckled. "You birth our young, they swim with us too - you come into season - the cycle repeats.             "And the whole time, I never have to leave the water..." Guppy leaned in for a kiss - Tooth's strange tongue moistened his lips in return. "And you won't ever leave me?"             "Never."             Guppy's eyes moved out to the horizon - the same horizon he had been watching earlier that day as he sat, still human, still having legs.              The Sun was beginning to slowly set and the clouds with it starting to catch fire - the view before him was infinite, limitless, as he was now, changed so suddenly and brought to a new life so abruptly...yet, so naturally, so happily, so fittingly.             Tooth's face gave over to a flicker of real, humbled joy. "A - a moment, Guppy-love, I - I have something for you."              Guppy tilted his head. "What is it?"             Tooth grinned again. "Wait here."             He vanished in a splash aneath the water, the warning fin at the place where his shark half met the human half gliding across the surface, cutting a streamlined wake.             As Guppy kicked in place, watching him, he saw Tooth come to a spot far from the docks where Guppy had vaguely known to be unusually deep -- he saw the flash of water that was flung up to catch the sunlight, a breath of crystals, as Tooth leapt up and dove down.             It was such a simple, quick motion, but it made Guppy's chest tighten - how perfectly athletic, a crafted aquatic being his new husband was. He caught his breath - the doubts, and there were doubts, dying with the minutes, the more time he spent out          here, landless.             Up came Tooth with a frenzied splash and back came his fin, the same slicing motion in the water, parting the surf to make way for its prince...he slowed as he neared where Guppy had been waiting, the latter moving to close the gap.             Tooth made the same grin when he had left, and his hand, clenched around something, an object, thrust forward to just in front of Guppy's nose. Tooth's fingers peeled back to let his lover see what it was:             Catching the sunlight to throw out an opalescent nacrene glitter, though still dripping with the muck in which it had been hid, there in his palm, was a large, flawless, pearl.             "For my husband..." Tooth murmured, trying to stay proud when his abashedness was giving his throat the slightest tremolo. "I take thee wed, with a gift - of the sea."             Guppy realized his hands were actually shaking as he took the pearl into his hands - he had never seen one so big, of such high quality. Sometimes down at the docks he would see large ones, sure, but never...never something like this.             And no one had ever, ever done something for him like this before.             He stared at the pearl, the gift from the sea that, at least in this distant province of it, he would rule in peace with someone who loved him enough to do something this extravagant for him.                     He turned back to Tooth, clutching the pearl that he wouldn't drop it - overwhelmed in the moment, overwhelmed by existence, he pressed himself against his new husband's shoulder, hoping he wouldn't cry...he felt Tooth's strong arms squeeze him, his hand press against his neck, holding him, comforting him.             "Thank you, Guppy-love..." the sharkman murmured. "I am never to be alone again..."             Guppy lifted his head some, smiling. "Me - me neither." Back came his head, the smile growing. "I love you, Tooth."             Another chuckle: "And I you, Guppy..."             Buoyed by the sea, they floated, together, as the Sun dove fiery into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Dogs: Hath A Familiar Spirit

_Anyone who has ever lived in West Virginia, or even travelled through the state, can easily see what an ideal place it would be for ghosts._ \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_ Ruth Ann Musick, _The Telltale Lilac Bush_ Moonshine is the drink of the mountaineer -...

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The Dogs: Before Thou Camest Forth

_May you live as long as you want to, and then pass smilingly into the darkness - the good, good darkness._ \_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_ Ambrose Bierce How long had he been here? He had been here a long time. Sometimes it was hard to tell because this...

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The Dogs: Hand In Heart - Thy Love More Than Wine

            Their bedroom stank, actually stunk, a clinging odor that raked the air, the combined smells, Bligh and Cody, both of them - Bligh's Earthen musky woodsiness, Cody's mellifluous cream.             Bligh finished sending the text message -...

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