Flowers for the Sea

Flowers for the Sea

In collaboration with Madrigal O Leonard

Author note: This is a scene from an erotic high fantasy story that includes explicit sex and teratophilia. Vo, a human mage and teacher, is written by Madrigal. Terava, a sea spirit unwillingly summoned into physical existence, is written by Radha. Bound together in marriage by far more powerful people, Vo and Terava struggle with their new existence as husbands and, for Terava, life as a human.

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Dust. Parched empty air skittering cool down his throat. Rolling eyes beneath lids, a sourness like old venom in between his teeth. Terava shudders and wakes with an inhale and in the waking, in the shucking of nothingness where he is meant to be, finds he wants to weep. His mind fills out the body–yes, the body, it is not his, not his–to its organic limits; skin tingles with what Vo has told him is not pain but sensation. Terava wants to ask again if these ‘sensations’ will pass but he knows the answer will be no. This is how physical being lives: as containers of uninhibited stimulation, most of it bordering on torturous. Plump legs swing from the wooden bed, untangling from the light cotton sheets. Pulls a transparent sarong around his waist, slips a jeweled cuff onto his wrist that signifies his ‘guest’ status in the palace. To the baths then.


He’s a ghost to the mages he passes, overlooked as he prefers, but a spectacle to the youth not polite enough to ignore him. He sits his body in a lonely pool under a fall of magically-heated water, wishing he could evaporate into it, distribute his body into each droplet until he was vaporous and nothing and everything. There are some benefits though; the baths have an expansive range of oils and soaps, all of which Terava takes his time exploring, breathing in the coconut, turmeric, ginger, and camellia. After a few hours soaking and floating, losing himself in the distilled essence of scent, when his skin has given to wrinkling, his stomach tightens and roils. Eating, another pleasure that would result inevitably in his disgust. But if he didn’t eat, Vo had warned him he would only feel worse. So, he would need to dress more appropriately for the banquet hall or wait for Vo to bring him something once he was done teaching.


Opting for the latter, Terava wanders back to their rooms, the moisture dripping off him, steaming from his neck. Sun risen, the halls grow hot, the endless revolutions of palm fans overhead, fronds big as bodies, silent green, brush him with a gentle breeze. He has never gotten over the way humans bend nature to the will; even the air has bowed to their whims. 

The class where Vo introduces his students to spirits is always his favorite. His friend came from the back wall of the garden, hiding from the first blush of the dry season, and settled as a rosy milkweed vine along his shoulders. She spread her flowered tendrils out along his bare chest at first before he chided her. They weren’t going to his chambers, after all. And thus, she settled in his hair, coiling it into an updo. When she reaches out to the children, greeting them, they still stood in awe. Spirits have occasional reason to interact with humans, but those on palace grounds are rather sedate.


In the eleven or twelve years of their lives, no student in Vo’s class will have ever interacted with an earth spirit. Most know to be polite, but the one boy who grabs her vines receives a poke from a thorn that had not been there before. Their eyes shine as she blooms an orchid between the milkweed flowers. Malleable as they are, they have a hundred questions. Yet one query, every year, comes first. What’s its name? To which Vo asks, What does a name mean to it? And why do you call a spirit ‘it’? And, as naturally follows, he begins introductory lessons on treating with spirits. He will, in time, teach them to truly listen and hear the intent of the spirits, to ally with them rather than control. Children grasp the concepts quickly at this age, but Vo worries his lessons might not take. They will become Masters and pursue power for its own sake. A student of his had caught Terava in his spell and, in a desperate attempt to cover his arse, had spun it into a victory. An Abyssal Prince to hold hostage from the King of the Sea. (Abyssal Prince was a name some Philosopher had made, probably attempting to convey reverence.) It’s right, then, that Vo should clean up the mess of his student’s failure. After all, if his lessons were worth anything, the mage would have never done something so stupid.


Better he as Terava’s jailer than someone who’d seek to control him. But only better by a small margin, since his approach is merely passive. Vo avoids his new husband, for in his mind he can only make this man miserable. He goes as far as answering the sea spirit’s questions, engaging in polite if distant conversation. Worse than the source of Terava’s miseries, Vo is someone who cannot solve them. His husband has tried to bring about his own death several times over in the past few months, even trying to trick Vo into doing it himself. But Vo can’t even be useful that way. He’s not a killer; he wants to free this man. He wants to put his arms around his rounded shoulders and let Terava cry in his hair like he’s seen the spirit do alone. All these foolish, cowardly thoughts plague Vo, and he wants to rid himself of them. How does he manage pain and emptiness? With pleasure, of course. So he has, instead of their typical midday meal with the courtiers, asked Terava to meet him in his chambers. On the pretense of furthering the king’s aims, he has instructed the cooking staff to prepare a little of everything lovely.


On the way there, the vine spirit has other plans. Vo doesn’t object when she settles back down on his shoulders, sending runners down his abdomen to tease at his sarong. He ducks into a courtyard and, figuring that he has time to spare, settles on a satin cushion. With his head shaded banana fronds, he licks the tangy sap from her vines and where she spreads it on his moustache. It’s only through a split in one great leaf that his eye catches Terava. To show respect for his new husband, the mage bursts from under the shrub, fisting the goldenrod silk of his wrap to hold it at his waist. He gives Terava a hurried bow as the vine spirit crawls toward his back. He manages to get himself sorted quickly, then rolls his shoulders back as if he doesn’t have whitish goo smeared on his lower abdomen. “My lord husband,” Vo greets, a crooked smile covering his embarrassment, “I am glad that you decided to join me.”

Terava frowns then returns the bow though he sees no reason in enacting humanity’s pointless gentility. He is a prisoner and Vo is nothing but a somewhat civilized warden; what did they need manners for? But the longer he stays in this body and feels the pressure of outside perception observing him–not elements, not diffuse currents of spiritual energies but him–the longer he feels the pressure to conform. Being beheld, it seems, is how man’s evils manifest. “This body is hungry,” he says grudgingly, touching the soft swell of his stomach over the sarong. “Would prefer somewhere quiet. Less…people.”


The body. This is something that Vo’s young students may come to understand, but most mages cannot. Some spirits eat, a few notoriously, but others like Terava have no need. This was a nightmare to explain to the head cook, who barely accepted that anyone couldn’t have a favorite food. Her irritation only grew at the idea that she could not include seafood, and eventually Vo relented at her use of fish sauce because she told him that he may as well ask her staff to cook without using their hands. Vo reaches out to Terava unconsciously, as he might to any friend, but pulls his hand back. This body gives the spirit enough discomfort. Instead, he says, “Come with me, then.”


Vo’s room is a short way down the hall, and when he pulls the door open, a botanic, humid burst escapes with him. The room is predominantly full of plants, with Vo’s wardrobe and bed situated on an island of a carpet. Vo holds out his arm and the vine spirit slips down his golden armband and curls into a recess in the wall. A table is set up next to a fountain that is surrounded by moss. Set upon banana leaves is their first course; to Vo, it looks like it ought to be for a festival. Heavy glass decanters containing cordials and juices shine in red, pink, yellow, and blue. The quantities of food are small but arranged well – pounded green papaya with chilis, halved and salted unripe red santol, pickled mango, radish, and yellow cucumber, piles of hairy rambutans and golden langsat, and other pleasingly cubed and star-cut fruits – set around a pinwheel of sticky rice in different colors, topped with beads of exotic finger lime caviar.


Who knows if Terava will like any of it. They have taught the spirit table manners and which parts of fruit to eat, but Vo has never seen him happy in the banquet hall. The mage guides him to a woven rug. The sound of flowing water dominates over what he wishes to say. “I cannot free you from this flesh, not yet. My only wish is to find pleasures for you while you are in it. Please, try anything you fancy,” Vo says, then pours himself and Terava a cup of the blue, almost purple, cordial. “This is an auspicious drink. It’s a little sour and a little sweet, but the blue is from flowers that come from the great labyrinth around the King’s quarters.”

Cup in hand, Terava sips at the beverage and makes note of Vo’s description as the flavors flood his mouth. The sweet first, making his eyes flutter, and then the sour, pursing his lips without his meaning to. He catches a flicker of amusement on Vo’s face at his reaction and shame–another new emotion in the infinite catchall of human emotion–hits him viscerally, a long-lasting and biting flavor. He doesn’t dignify it with a comment, just pouts and begins picking his way through the plates provided. Vo, ever the teacher, expounds on each of the ingredients and names what he knows Terava is tasting, the texture, the blend and shift of flavors. After finishing a few plates, Terava pauses and feels his eyes heat uncomfortably. Each bite is bright and singular and painfully temporary, outside him. He hates the sensation of separation, the undispersed state of thought and consciousness. “It’s not enough,” he chokes out, tears welling; tears he knows well now. He drags his hand down his mouth, then draws a blunt fingernail down his sternum, just above the hem of his sarong, drawing the blood just to the surface of his teak skin. “This is not worth it.” 


Vo has overcompensated and knows it. He ought to have done this slowly. As he watches Terava’s face twist in disgust with every bite, his heart sinks. Eventually his encouraging smile falls and his husband is crying, because Vo cannot fix the fundamental issue. It will never be enough. All the same, he snatches Terava’s hand from his chest. His dark eyes grow wide. The binding spell has given the sea spirit soft hands, but couldn’t fully remove his claws. It’s not the first time Vo has seen his own husband bleeding and crying. It’s not the first time he wants to hold him and lie that all will one day be well. Instead, Vo closes his other hand over the sea spirit’s. He wants to tell Terava that he finds this body beautiful, but there’s no use praising the attractiveness of a jail cell.


“Would you like to lie down?” he asks. At his words, the moss shifts beneath them unhurriedly. Vo eyes Terava’s sarong. “However you’re comfortable.” He then looks up at his husband – his prisoner’s – face. “I wish I could see your true form. Or even just know of it.”


Terava paws ineffectually at his eyes, rubbing away the tears so he can see Vo without the wavering haze of water obscuring him. His tears make a mockery of him with their mutability, ridicule his former transformative nature as they track down his cheeks, drop hotly onto his chest then vanish in the summer heat. He will not vanish; he is here, perhaps forever. But so is Vo, Vo’s hand, and for a moment Terava finds the means to hone his senses down to the singular point of contact–when had Vo touched him last? During their binding ceremony?–and finds the benefit of continuous overwhelm. His panicked mind quiets and settles, studying the pressure of his husband’s fingers, the texture of skin on skin. The spirit withdraws his clawed hand, tugs violently at the knots holding his wrap together until he is bare, one skin off, and oh how he wishes it was as simple to undo flesh.


Clothing discarded, he huddles into Vo’s lap because perhaps, he thinks, bodily contact will be distraction enough. The spirit has no sense of what is too rough and their movements into Vo’s space is ungainly, forceful as they situate themselves in the cross of his legs like a dog. The expansion of lungs, the quiet rustle of Vo’s breath, his pulse a soothing tide; it is better than food, perhaps not quite as good as a bath.


“No form,” he murmurs, fetal in Vo’s lap, his face tucked against his husband’s clothed hip. “Formless. Even now what they’ve given me–given, ha–isn’t right. Isn’t me.” Terava raises his hand between them, turns it; his claws, sand-hued, fingers fawn-rich, suddenly shift in color and texture, warming into a shining, liquid-pink spotted in tangerine. “I can reach the shape of my brethren with this body. Their skins, their colors.” A soft sob hidden in Vo’s sarong. “But it is still not me.”


Vo can hear his own heartbeat in his ears as he watches Terava undress. It’s very easy for the sea spirit to manipulate him into the correct, cushion-like position, but the first thing that comes to his mind is the realization that Terava’s hair is very close to the sap on his belly. He pushes the straw-gold curls back and reaches into the fountain. A little spills on Terava’s forehead as Vo rubs cold water onto his skin, then wipes the excess on his fine-boned face.


“I know many spirits of your like,” Vo replies, “But I have never seen one trapped. It’s a baleful magic that made this.”


As he draws his fingers down the smooth, bronzed-hazel skin of his husband’s neck and shoulders, he can’t quite convince himself of this. It’s something he must look past. The most evil magic is the most beguiling. But even more beguiling – predictably, for him – is the sudden patch of flesh before him that shines like some unknown fruit beneath a handsome rind. Vo takes the hand and traces around the area. While Terava weeps on him, Vo keeps it in his, but is careful not to touch the vibrant patch. Even seeing it, however, is enough to make his mouth dry. He licks his lips and hopes that his husband doesn’t notice this or doesn’t understand the implication. He strokes through Terava’s curls as he considers what he is to say next, or whether he should touch this man at all. In the months since his husband arrived, Vo has done nothing to deserve such intimacy. Yet here he lies, fully naked and crying in Vo’s arms.


“I thought you’d not be able to change at all,” Vo says, “That you can is…interesting. Can you shift further?”


Sobs quieting, Terava closes his eyes to the room, the creeping green, concentrating on the new sensation of spring-cool water trickling down his bath-softened skin. The fragrant sap coils into his nose gently, the vine’s spirit still present in the fluid. Terava frowns on reflex but doesn’t know why, nor does he bother examining the reaction. For now, he wants to be thoughtless; he wants his tears to dry. At the question, the finger making a soft circuit around his wrist, Terava responds with continued change. The colorful orchid-gloss spreads liquid-smooth up his arms, dyeing the rest of his golden body peach and orange, lustrous as fruit pulp. Small sheened buds bloom into tentacles along his back and the cut-wheat curls unfurl to match, thickening into a wild crown of tentacles. His somber face, flushed deep dragonfruit pink, is glistening newly now but not with tears.


“It’s silly. Giving me the guises of my children, as if that would feel at home to me. You mages don’t understand what I am. What spirits are. Our nature.” Terava glances up at Vo in his periphery, still huddled against his stomach indifferently. “Why did they give me to you? Why did they not bind me to the one who caught me?”


The words sink into Vo’s head, but they are half-drowned by awe and delight. At first the mage hesitates, flinching before he realizes that his skin is not burning and he is not dying. Terava isn’t wet but he’s the sunset bleeding into a lazy stream, rosy in some places and red as hibiscus in deep shadows. Vo touches a place where kumquat bleeds into bael-yellow before freezing and settling his palm on the sea spirit’s forearm. No sting or sickness comes of touching his husband.


“Master Kar Ong is a blunt instrument,” Vo admits. He wishes, in an instant, that Terava’s skin were venomous. “I am surprised he was delicate enough to let you change shape.” He sighs. “Perhaps they want your heart. Killing you is not in their plans, and they, as I, know little of your power. For you are right – the races of men cannot truly know what it is to be a spirit. Even my knowledge is woefully incomplete.” Vo gave a dry chuckle. “My King bound you to me because he believes I can control any spirit,” he continued, “But he does not know that I am incapable of such a thing. Or…perhaps I merely neglect to study it. I make allies. Spirits of plants and fungi are my friends, my lovers.” 


Power. What was power to the sea? To a current? To a tide pool? Terava is only beginning to learn of the unnatural thoughts and desires of men and with each lesson he finds himself more at a loss. His body undulates within the geometries of Vo’s limbs, the polished tentacles writhing with slow nervousness along the crown of his head and down his back. A stray tendril winds its way around Vo’s fingers, capturing it and squeezing as if for anchor.


“Is that why you’re always sticky?” Terava asks drily, pushing a pudgy finger into Vo’s belly where the scent of the vine spirits nectar still stains his skin. Then, confused, “How… do humans mate with plant spirits?” As a spirit of the ocean, he knew the myriad manners in which life propagated, how corals and seaweeds budded and split, how milt and egg met, how their offspring formed even hidden beneath shells. The flare and dance of courtship. But in his time, aeons though it was, he had never observed or inhabited a human contributing to life in the sea. Was it really so different from the plants on land? 


Vo shifts against Terava’s touch, not disquieted but differently uncomfortable. The more he allows his husband’s tentacles to explore him, the more heat builds at the tops of his ears and he feels the need to cover his crotch with his arms. Terava is a child of the ocean itself, and Vo assumes that he doesn’t know what it is to have sex for pleasure. But how, Vo asks himself, does he know that?


“Does anything, spirit or beast, make love for the fun of it?” Vo asks. It’s not a question he’s considered frequently, but his own discoveries pose the question. “Some plant spirits can find enjoyment in sex and others cannot. I have found many that do – well, I make friends with them and then we find out if we can give one another pleasure.” Again the moss shifts beneath him, and Vo runs his unoccupied hand over it. “I find many things beautiful,” he says, “Try everything once. And I am not always sticky, you take that back, my dove.”


When Vo takes his hand off of Terava’s head, it only takes a second before the sea spirit makes a grumpy noise and grabs Vo’s hand, replacing it in the sheened tentacles that were once hair. Only in his peripheral senses does he realize how acquisitive his new limbs are. “Spirits, no. Not that I know of, at least,” Terava answers slowly, curious at realizing his own ignorance on the subject. “Beasts, of course. There is always some form of pleasure for them, even if their mating habits are dictated by season or heat. Even if death is apart of the dance of it.”


There were beasts whose mating involved burying themselves beneath sand with their eggs and reveled in the concealment, creatures who jabbed each other with milt-laden barbs and found ecstasy in the pain. Perhaps Vo was like this and found pleasure in scent or texture. Terava turns on their back in Vo’s lap, calmer now, the tension in their soft frame diminished. Their head rests on Vo’s knee, their legs bent over his other. Terava’s body catches a drifting coil of sunlight and it flushes the lotuspink skin brighter, making it almost vitreous.


“How do you…pleasure those spirits?” Terava asks, a demand in his curious tone and suspicion on his face. “How do you please a plant…” he pets a tentacle again across the sapspot Vo had tried to wash away. Frowning, Terava tugs at the hem of his sarong as if wanting to check further, to examine what proof there was of such exchanges. “I can sense they like you. I don’t understand why.”


“They aren’t just plants,” Vo counters, but shivers when he feels the smooth, glossy texture of Terava’s tentacles against his belly. “They are like you – they appear in forms suitable to receive pleasure.” After a brief consideration, he runs his fingers along the length of one guava-pink tentacle, then slips them between a few as if carding through hair. There’s an understated sadness to the question. “We learn to act for the good of one another, rather than merely for our own kind. There’s great magic that we can do together.”


Vo inches his sarong up above where his husband has pulled it. There’s a feeble hope in him still that he won’t get aroused, because he can’t understand a world where Terava is not a prisoner and he is not an unwitting jailer. “Carnally, though. They love to explore my insides and spread their pollen in me. I burst their berries in my mouth and suckle on them as I lick up their sap. They bind me in their vines and branches for hours…” Suddenly, Vo exits his reverie and places Terava’s head on his thigh rather than directly in his lap.


A slight crease forms between the orange spots that adorn his brows. “They take on physical forms?” Terava searches Vo’s face for hints of deception then side-eyed the food still nearby. “Is it like eating? If it is, well. The food is…fine. I do not find it wholly worth the shape needed to consume it.” He finds it difficult to see what the draw is; could Vo be lying? What was Terava missing?


After a moment’s hesitation, “Let me see, too.” Terava rises to sit on his knees between Vo’s legs, barely looming over him given his slight stature. Before Vo can get a word out, Terava leans forward and sniffs at his husband’s mouth then licks a diagonal stripe from chin to cheek across his lips with his long tongue. When Vo doesn’t immediately open wide, Terava glowers and says, “I want to see inside.” 


Things that should not be manifest; Terava’s soft, warm body, the swell of his stomach, his tongue with its enticing nodules, all of it is directly against his skin and Vo wants nothing more than to give into his cultural assumptions of this act. I want to see inside you. A surge of warmth flows from his head to his cock and it takes great effort to think straight. The sea spirit’s small, soft cock rests against his navel and he ought not to wish to tend to it. First, he manages to regain enough composure to form words.


“Like this?” he asks, then opens his mouth wide, sticks his tongue out, and tugs his cheek back with his finger. When Terava’s seeking tongue comes toward it, he snaps his mouth shut and smiles impishly. “Sex is a pleasure like food,” Vo says, “Though the experiences are very different.” He props himself up and puts his other arm around the generous swell of his hips. “And if I were to interpret what you’re about right now, I would guess that you wish to learn of this pleasure. Am I correct, dear Terava?” 

When Vo closes his mouth with a click, surprising him, Terava’s nose wrinkles and his lips purse. He draws his head back with a little growl that shows off the tips of glassy sharp teeth. Why was this human taunting him so? Hadn’t he just espoused how he wished he could help Terava? And now he was playing coy for reasons the spirit could only hope to grasp. His tentacles flare out with sustained agitation then constrict closer to his body as Vo draws him in by his hips.


“Yes, obviously,” Terava grumbles, instinctively putting his palms on Vo’s chest to keep him at distance, then thinking better of it and resting them on his shoulders. Vo is giving off a new scent now, emanating with a chorus of mysterious energies Terava has only caught the fading tails of once before in their brief time together. “You’re being strange. I thought you wanted to give me pleasure. So? Where is it?”


It shouldn’t be possible for someone with huge, glass-clear fangs to pout, but Terava manages to convey it and Vo wants to laugh. After seeing nothing of Terava but tears and misery, he’s grateful for these sudden demands. “You’re like a little cat, aren’t you?” he chuckles, then gives Terava’s hips a squeeze. “The pleasure of sex is inside you,” he says, “And I can pull it out of you, so you can taste it.” Even now, Vo’s lightheaded. He ought to sit Terava down and explain the meaning of what they’re about to do, but his husband has no patience for it. Speaking in flowery riddles only annoys him, and his latest earns him a cute furrow of the sea spirit’s orange brows.


“You’re a bit easier than my usual fare,” he tells Terava, cupping his pec with one fine-boned hand, “Or you might be, if your shape indicates anything about where you’re sensitive.” He rolls his husband’s puffy nipple with his thumb, then leans forward to nip at the purple edge of his earlobe. “Does any of this feel good?”


The way Vo describes the extraction of pleasure sounds as painful as it does potent. The language of man, it seems, cannot help but traffic in violence, even in the domains of delight. “Not a cat at all,” Terava mumbles, face contorting into an amusingly mobile expression of chagrin but also concentration.


Vo kneads at his breast with the warmth of his palm and introduces a pressure to his pierced nipple that at first startles him then urges a little noise out of his throat unbidden. The gold piercings that adorned him—he learned after their addition—were a symbol of his marriage but also doubled as a signifier of his status as captive, honored though it may be. The piercing process had left his newly-materialized spirit screaming in agony but now Vo’s fingertips send tingling zaps of something from nipples to groin, a sensation that Terava cannot name but begins to lean into. The sensation borders on something in between pain and pleasure, like the sweet sting of a spicy vegetable on the tongue or the scald of hot water when first submerging his cool skin. But this, of course, carries a different dimension to it, new and perplexing.


“Not sure,” he says, even as his voice loses its force and each syllable arrives on a fragile airy thread. The teeth at Terava’s ear make him shiver emphatically and lean into Vo’s mouth, the warm wetness of his tongue soothing the tiny, sharp points of contact. He covers Vo’s hands with his own, forcing his husband to grip his breasts harder before he realizes hands are not enough. “Stop…” Pulling away, Terava cups Vo cheeks and pulls his face down to his breast with a surprising amount of strength. “Something’s happening… maybe,” Terava says uncertainly, his expression more needy than it is commanding despite the grip he has on Vo. “I want your mouth here.”


Vo pushes back on the hands teasingly but follows them down to latch on his husband’s nipples. His own hunger surprises him, and he reaches down and squeezes Tarava’s ass as he pushes himself into the softness and weight of him. A part of him can’t believe Terava is even allowing him to touch him, but that thought ebbs before the brilliant, jewel-like body against his. There’s only one issue in all of this; Terava isn’t giving Vo anything in return. His body reacts wonderfully, tensing and heartbeat rising, and the nub of his cock presses insistently against Vo’s sarong. The spirit’s cock is hard to reach while Vo is lying beneath him, so Vo regretfully kisses his husband’s nipple, licks around the filigreed studs of his piercing, and slips out from under him. When Terava begins to protest, Vo looses his sarong and gets astride him. As he takes Terava’s other nipple in his mouth, he grinds his now-hard member against his and groans in relief. Rolling small circles into his lover’s hips, Vo unlatches from Terava’s breast with a soft pop. “So this body is a child of yours?” he asks, “The sailors have never brought back a thing so exquisite.”


A peculiar feeling surfaces as Vo suckles at him, his tongue playing with the cool but warming golden stirrup that hugs his nipple. When Vo’s teeth click against the metal, tugs at it with concentrated suction, Terava mewls and lets his head fall back, the long corona of tentacles shivering at the sensation. When Vo pulls away, Terava is quick to whine their objection, their limbs and tentacles reaching out to Vo as if he is in the path of a current, the flow of Terava all leading towards him. Thankfully, Vo is not done with him yet.


“Not a child, but… but of my children.” A broken moan interrupts Terava’s answer but they grit their teeth and continue. “There… is nothing like this body in the sea. It’s a thing you’re people made.” What had the mages called it? “It is a ‘mosaic of life’.” 


A stray thought nudges into awareness within the brief span of time he is not chasing after more contact; his husband’s member, now lined up against his, is much larger. Before he can think to ask why, Vo is working his hips down against his, trapping their erections between soft and lean bellies. “Oh, that, that just there–!”


With the dual sensations, tongue and cock, all friction and suction, wet and unceasing undulating motion, Terava can only find enough focus to coil their tentacles around Vo’s arms, their legs around his hips. Bright orange eyes catch Vo’s, the wave-like pupil contracting in consideration. “I suppose I have to make you feel good as well,” he half-asks, a hint of annoyance in his tone. Why did his captor deserve pleasure? Wasn’t it Terava who was wronged? Who should be owed? But then, maybe pleasure was something only two could find, not one. Opening his mouth, showing off a set of beautifully sharp crystalline teeth, Terava lets his long tongue snake out to lap at Vo’s nipple, curling around it as he had done for Terava.

Vo gives a breathless laugh at the tickle of the sea spirit’s tongue, but draws them back to kiss his lips and teeth. Words are escaping him; the violet grip of the tentacles drags all sense from him. They span out everywhere from Terava, right down his back, wild like hair but moved by the spirit’s will.


“I can guide us this time,” he says, his voice husky and amused. Vo reaches between them and, while he grinds into the juncture between his husband’s crotch and ample thighs, palms his firm prick. He lifts the tentacles on his arms to his face, encouraging them to explore his cheekbones, ears, and soft facial hair. His pupils are blown and his lips tinged wine-red. The words he’s forgotten trickle back down and out through his mouth. “Not a – a mosaic -” he pants, “Dreadful excuse. It’s a – ah – a broken mirror.” Vo shifts his hands down to knead his balls in his fingers. “Wish I could see you as you are. Want you to flow over me, drown me – ” A tentacle gets close to Vo’s lips and he sucks it in, allowing it to writhe on his tongue. After a short period of ecstasy on his part, he lets it flop out and asks, “Does that feel good?”


Terava surprises himself by answering with barely enough breath, “Yes.”


All over, his body is taking on a quivering insistent warmth as if Vo is waking up a new layer of skin beneath the first lustrous veneer. He arches up elaborately, spreading his legs so that his husband can continue touching more and harder because there is some unknowable need Terava suddenly knows he wants but can’t quite reach. Tentacles brush through Vo’s dark hair, loosening the tie that was holding it back. Each stroke is softly moist like a saturated paintbrush, sketching out the contour of Vo’s muscles and bones, the slope and roll of lean muscle. Between frissons of heady sensation, Terava realizes there is some joy to find in pleasing one’s husband. He mentally pages back through their brief time together, the stiff distance and mannered exchanges, and finds the shift in demeanor curiously pleasing.


Vo’s voice is fragmented and weightless, his movements clamant and rhythmic, and all because he wants Terava. There is a pinching in his chest, a heat in his throat. Moving on instinct, he suckles at Vo’s throat, drawing him inexorably closer, the violet glass of his mouth pricking into his husband’s skin. What had he said the other spirits enjoyed doing? Exploring within him? Terava decides to follow suit, the long expanse of his tentacles extending until they stretch past his body. Each seeking tendril writhes serpentine down Vo’s body until they find a point of entry, a small knot of muscle that Terava pets and then dares to wriggle into. Vo makes a sound of surprise and, in the half-beat where his mouth is open, Terava slips his tongue in to fill the wet empty space, closing his mouth over Vo’s in a clumsy kiss.


Among the court, most know that their childrens’ teacher has shown no interest in the races of man for years. Vo tried to deny to himself that he misses bodies that look like his own, but Terava shows him his error. He is unlike any of the palace courtesans, those creatures of willowy refinement, and he is better-suited to give Vo the pleasure of being squeezed between someone’s thighs. In all other aspects, however, his husband is truly a spirit. Vo gives an embarrassingly high moan as he arches into the firm drag of the tentacles in his ass. Or rather, he does before Terava knows exactly what to do with him and muffles him with his tongue. Vo could have spat him out, but he instead cups his cheeks to steady his head as the sea spirit probed the cavity of his mouth. Though he gags a little, he is eventually able to suck around him.


Skewered through, Vo’s movements become less urgent and his head lighter. He half-gags when Terava found the most sensitive place in him, but moans obscenely around his tongue and sucks on it. He is drowning, and only his desire not to frighten his husband keeps him from fainting. Vo jerks off of Terava’s tongue with a choked cough before collapsing onto the moss. His bronzed skin is flushed rosy, and in spite of his weakness his cock was angry red and leaking precome. “By the gods,” he breathed, “By the gods, my darling jellyfish -“


As the spots fade from his vision, he rolls over to the fountain. Overlarge, purple-black pitcher plants droop over the water. The lips of the plants drip with a slippery nectar that Vo gathers on his fingers. In spite of a slight sway in his shoulders, he drapes himself over Terava and asks, “Please, please, can I be inside of you?”

Terava purses his generous mouth, frustrated by the brief interruption in connection. And right when he was getting somewhere, though where exactly he wasn’t quite sure. All he knew was that it had been getting better and better. At his husband’s questions, Terava follows Vo’s line of sight down between his legs where his sizable cock is jutting firm and tall, butting against the soft skin of his balls. Wisteria fingers nervously slide down between his thick legs, claw tips tracking a path south until he finds the violet ring of muscle. He circles it slowly in thought as if confirming they share the same anatomy. If Vo enjoyed having something inside, why wouldn’t he?


With a measure of curiosity, Terava tilts his head and says, “Here?” Gently, he takes hold of Vo’s cock in his soft hands, brave in the overflow of everything new. He thumbs over the head, careful with the glassy talon, and traces the spongy sculpted shape of it. When Vo stabs up into his grip, Terava draws him forward by the shaft until the crown kisses his hole. On an intake of breath, “Like this? It will be good?”


Desperate though he is, Vo frowns when he sees Terava’s nervousness, then smiles gentle, petting back his tentacles. “I’ll not start with my cock,” he says, “It takes some practice before someone may simply shove one of these up you.”


He twirls a passionflower tendril around his finger, letting clear, thick nectar drip onto his husband. “I’ll do just a finger first. Tell me if it hurts.” Then, Vo reaches down, his slender arm trapped in the gorgeous warmth between Terava’s thighs. As he lifts the spirit’s leg to get a better angle, he returns to the gentle hills and valleys of Terava’s neck. He’s used to green and occasional pops of color in his sex, but the ochre and pink occupying every inch of his vision make him fevered. Thankfully, Vo’s fingers are dripping enough that Terava’s body doesn’t reject him. Before long, his finger presses into the exact place to make his husband moan and arch his back. “There,” he soothes, “See? That’s what you give me.”


Understanding once again arrives with a harsh clarity only those new to the world are gifted, and Terava is as new as they come. As Vo stretches him incrementally, Terava learns that this is why the language of man is so ferocious. To make life, to make love, one had to be pulled apart or pull apart another. In the formless spiritual presence Terava had been, there had been no self to reshape and no other to shape or be shaped by. But with men, it seems, all paths of life require transformation, from food to growth, from sex to simple adornment. The body does not change without compulsion. 


Terava, still teary-eyed from the initial discomfort, begins to work his hips down onto Vo’s finger, trying haphazardly to get the pad of his digit to hit the same spot. His little cock, a deep violet color that only appears on his tongue, drips crystalline and pools in the soft divot of his belly. Vo warms his neck with kisses and Terava latches onto his husband with soft lips, finding comfort in sucking at the length of his sweat-and-sap flavored neck. His tentacles, which had been shocked into inactivity, return to wiggle back inside Vo and curl in tight loops around his cock. While his husband stretches Terava with a second finger, stroking the spot inside that makes his stomach fill with steam and sparks, the spirit mimics the movement and begins curling a thick tendril around inside Vo, filling him and tensing the hyper-malleable muscle to firmness before softening again.


“Your body wants more,” Terava observes between moans, studying Vo’s twitches and sounds with labored focus. Then, sheepish, “I want to learn, too. What brings men pleasure.”


After all the guilt he’s felt in his binding to Terava, Vo wants nothing more than to see him happy. Even this is not enough; no, all he can provide to the sea spirit are distractions he uses to convince himself that he’s not running in place. This really is what the world is; he will be a tool for the powerful. His body is not his, though it is certainly more his than his husband’s. The articulated squeeze of the tentacles around his cock nearly bring Vo to climax. He thinks of his own misery to give Terava all that he asks. Of course, the minute he opens his eyes he’s greeted with the blown, wavy pupils of his husband’s eyes and the pure paradise of his body beneath him.


“If you’re ready,” Vo says. He’s barely ready; his thighs are shaking from the way Terava’s tendrils writhe within him. He can’t quite get his husband’s short legs over his shoulder, so he settles them around his waist, with one heel on the small of his back. His husband’s heavy breathing makes his rosy belly undulate invitingly, and Vo smiles like a madman as he positions himself at the sea spirit’s entrance. This is what he has denied the spirit. Vo watches, but when he tries to pull out of Terava on account of the tears in his eyes, he jabs his heel into Vo’s back and forces them closer. As his shallow thrusts slap against the sea spirit’s ass, he tries to pull himself from delirium. The dual experiences of penetrating and being penetrated flood his nerves; no part of him can escape Terava. “Whatever you wish,” he moans, “Any pleasure but – ha – ah!”


Nestled against Vo’s lean stomach, Terava’s small erection thuds with his frantic pulse. Thick, inhumanly smooth legs cross tightly around Vo’s back, soft heels bruising into his husband’s spine. Pearlescent tentacles weave endlessly around and inside Vo, constricting and then loosening, stroking and squeezing. Terava wonders just how deeply he can explore Vo, what the limits of such invasion are, but for now he focuses on his husband’s face, recording where certain touches make his face crumple in pleasure.


Time melts between them. Any onlooker might see a man being devoured or absorbed by some amorphous organism, a fearful sight indeed. But there was nothing dangerous here except perhaps Terava’s impatience.


“Nuh. More. Harder,” Terava keens as he fixates on the stiff ridge of Vo’s cock sliding inside him, churning him full. He cants his hips upwards on Vo’s downstroke, meeting his husband with a cry, drugged by the angle and new heat. Eager for more, his tentacles suddenly wrap around Vo’s hips and slam him forward with a strength even Terava didn’t know he had.


Humid night envelopes Vo as a burning fever overtakes his mind. Tentacles slip down his back and tangle in his long hair. What little light his husband lets through is tinted an eerie purple. An auspicious color. He drives himself into Terava and cannot stop, cannot slow, cannot deny the man beneath him anything when he’s being held like this. Terava is warm and tight around Vo, and little in the world feels as good as burying himself into his soft flesh. They form a circuit in this temporary darkness, an ouroboros swallowing itself inch by inch.


Terava is deep in Vo already, but the mage twitches away from the burn of another tentacle making its way into him. Already his eyes are watering, but it crowds into him and his husband is squeezing his cock and writhing beneath him. Vo clutches Terava and he is in the ocean’s warmest, darkest depths, yet lapped by storm-churned waves above – Vo thinks, in the second before his body catches up with him, that he might have gone mad. The quake and shudder of his body, the cry of “Terava, oh, Terava” from his lips, bring him back to this place. His balls twitch hard as the sea spirit’s entire being drags his seed out of him.


Breath choked by the building pressure, his husband’s cock brushing up against what feels like his lungs, Terava spasms against Vo and is forced over the edge. His body clenches in with a series of twitches and his tentacles suddenly firm up rigidly outside and inside Vo, betraying a strength their initial softness had hidden. A tessellation of sensual details rushes through Terava with a tsunami’s force and speed, pulling Terava under with each staggering impact.Between the moist compress of their stomach, Terava comes in long thick spatters up to his chin and breasts, each generous splash iridescent on the skin.


“Vo, Vo, Vo,” Terava cries out in quick succession, a hint of fear in the absolute delight of orgasm. They tremble together in a full body lock for an endless moment; Terava’s orgasm sends shuddering rhythms through his muscles, lighting up the tips of his nipples, tentacles and toes. He clenches around Vo’s cock then whimpers with the sudden onset of sensitivity, feeling astounded at the stretch and fullness. After a moment the high begins to fade and the spirit, panting softly and half-teary from the thrill, carefully extract his tentacles from inside Vo, loosens the ones that have accidentally bruised his thighs. “Vo,” he pants, eyes drifting shut as his head swims. He settles his hands on Vo’s lax frame, claws sickling his shoulder blades lightly. “Why… did you not do that to me sooner?”


They lay in nothing but gold and sweat, cushioned in the moss. Vo is particularly legless, only half-comprehending what Terava says. Once the meaning comes into focus, he laughs. “I thought you would never want me around, much less let me touch you,” he mutters. He raises a heavy hand to trace the trail of come up the gentle curves of his husband’s body. “You wanted nothing more than to die and I represented your cause to do so.” Vo pauses to lick dripping cum from his fingers. It’s not-unpleasantly briny, like the eggs of fish from the northern seas. With shimmering goo dripping from his lips, Vo kisses Terava’s cheek. “But I’ll make up for lost time. Show you every pleasure this place can give you.”


“You assume too much,” Terava says, voice languid but with a note of inherent fire. He grimaces at the kiss on reflex then sighs when Vo lifts his mouth away, the wetness instantly and soothingly breeze-cooled. “And I do want that. To be undone again. To be me.” Or un-me, he thinks. Whatever it is be nothing and everything.


He blinks his molten eyes open and slowly the jeweled tones of his body seep back to earthier hues, the tentacles receding back into flaxen curls. “But maybe… not quite yet.” Every inch of Terava is full of warm diffuse weight and he finds it impossible to move nor does he want to, especially not from under the cloak of Vo’s warm enfolding body. In the drowsiest of tones, “I want it again. Why do you ever stop?”


To be me. In spite of Terava’s prickly-if-adorable demeanor, this stills Vo. He traces the ombre between magenta and brown as his husband returns to his human-like form. Neither of these forms as he sees them are Terava, but through their actions he’s gotten close to giving his husband his real shape.


“If I didn’t have to stop, the Masters and Mistresses would be missing a tutor,” Vo jokes. He moves his hand to Terava’s sternum (only briefly squeezing his breast on his way) and curls it into a fist. “The bodies of men are finite. My limits are defined by my flesh and my heartbeat. If I didn’t need to eat or bathe or sleep or fulfill my duties I…” He kisses Terava’s rounded shoulder, “I think it would be a fruitful existence to only make love to you.”



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