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Summer Skin

Title: Summer Skin
Series: Superior Cold
Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Characters: Drey, the merfolk
Rating: AA
Summary: Drey works on communication with his new friends.
Notes: For raging_tofu, for dog_daies 2012, July 12th 'and we frolic about in our summer skin'.

Drey was infinitely thankful that he worked early mornings and didn't have to deal with the grocery store's failing air conditioning, tourists, or the heat of the day in general. Most days he napped clear through til evening, as long as there was nothing else to be done with the cottage.

Warmest summer in a good four decades, one of the old timers had told him. Drey thought he'd gotten away from hot summers. But he'd been surprised.

He'd also been surprised when his friend had brought along a friend not long after Drey had finally handed over a shirt.

She - and after seeing them side by side, Drey knew she was a she - didn't stay for long, though. A good look at Drey and she was gone. Drey's friend had lingered just a few seconds before following.

Drey hadn't seen them since, though he supposed it was more likely due to there being a family with children in the cottage not too far along the road. They seemed to like walking the length of their own beach and then scrambling onto his, whooping and hollering. But they'd leave soon enough, Drey thought.

He slept clear through to evening, woken only by his boss phoning to tell him that their dry-goods truck had broken down in Wisconsin and that he could have the next day off.

Drey made dinner in relative silence. Most evenings his only company was the old radio that had come with the place. It got three FM stations and four AM ones and it let him keep up with the world when he felt like it. Otherwise, he glanced at the headlines on the Gazette and the mumblings of his coworkers.

He ate and then debated what to do. He could read for a bit, or... It hadn't cooled off much. At least wading in the icy water would probably feel good. He didn't expect to see his friend, but it was... It was a nice thought.

No sooner were his toes in the gravelly sand than his friend was there, peering at him and offering a strange little smile. He seemed to be alone. Drey looked at the sky - it was later than he'd thought. No chance of the kids being out.

"Hey," Drey said, stepping out of the water and sitting on the sand. He was wearing denim shorts cut off at the knees, ragged and trailing long threads that tickled against his legs.

"Hey," his friend echoed. So far, that was about all they'd managed. The merman understood it as a greeting, at least. A moment later, cool wet hands were playing with the ragged bits of his shorts, tugging.

"It's fashionable, I promise," Drey said, chuckling. He'd forgone a shirt, just in case he wanted to plunge into the water. It really was that warm.

His friend looked thoughtful for a moment, then turned back to the water and gave a low call that sounded more like a bird than anything.

There was an echo, and then Drey saw her. Definitely female, with a curvier form and distinct breasts, naked.

"Is she your girlfriend?" Drey asked. There was an awkward stab of jealousy that went along with the question, and he had to wonder exactly why.

She slid ashore and stared wide-eyed at Drey, who kept his hands down on the sand. Slowly she looked him over, blond hair, dusting of fuzz on his chest... She squeezed the muscle of his arm, and then peered down at his legs, entranced by his toes as the sand and water moved around his feet.

"Hey," Drey said after a moment. He pointed to himself. "My name is 'Drey'. Drey."

"Duree," she replied after a moment. She pointed at him. The spark of understanding was there, Drey realized, and she then pointed to herself. "Aiyaanee."

Drey rolled it over his tongue once before trying. "Ayanie." He pointed at her. She broke into a wide smile, then said something rapid and wholly unintelligible to the other merman.

"Hey, Duree," he tried. Drey laughed and smiled.

"Hey," he replied after a moment. Finally, he was going to get a name to put to the face he'd never tire of seeing.

"Aaeeido." He gestured to himself.

"Ayido," Drey replied, gesturing. He had his hands grabbed, and the most enthusiastic smile he'd ever received just inches from his own. Ayido smelled like the lake, which was not entirely pleasant.

Drey was distracted by Ayanie pulling carefully on his toes.

Ayido said something that Drey couldn't even pretend to understand and settled beside him, long bluish-grey hair cold against Drey's warm skin. Drey was a little surprised that Ayido was sitting so close, but he didn't have time to question it with Ayanie so focused on his toes. She poked at a big toe, and he wiggled them more as a reaction than anything. Ayanie pulled back so quickly, eyes wide, that Drey couldn't help laughing. Beside him, Ayido was laughing as well.

"So is she your girlfriend?" Drey questioned as Ayanie slipped up further onto the sand to poke at his shorts.

Ayido gave him a confused little glance and Drey tried to think of how to properly mime.

"Girlfriend?" he asked again, reaching to squeeze Ayido's hand and then put an arm around Ayido like a lover might. Then, he gestured to Ayanie.

While Ayido seemed confused, Ayanie seemed much better at the gesture-game. Her expression was a clear 'no', and she quickly slipped over to put Drey's arm back around Ayido.

Drey blinked once, surprised. Well, he wasn't going to complain. Not sure how he'd ever explain it to anyone, but he could think about that later.

"So I see you have a meddling sister."


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