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And The Waves Keep Rolling

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Yelling. There’s yelling, coming from down below. Like someone is trying to talk to him. Who could it be?

Patrick lazily flops over from his back to his stomach, not really feeling like he wants to check. Whoever it is should know not to bother him during noon. It’s too hot for the older folk to spend their time on shore, but for the kids it’s the perfect time to sleep while waiting for their parents to come home from the sea. Patrick still passes as young enough, thankfully. He spends the afternoon in the best spot on the shore: an outcropping of rock, twenty feet up where he can see everything perfectly.

“Hey!”

It’s that voice again. Patrick drowsily scoots himself up to the edge of the rock, and then he sees it. The gleam of white teeth, pointed fins sticking out of the water--that. That’s no one he knows.

That’s a shark.

Or, one of the sharkfolk, anyway. He’s leaning against a rock, head pillowed on crossed arms. He’s also giving Patrick a stare that would mean, coming from anyone else, that he’s interested… romantically. But the dude’s sharkfolk, and that look only means he wants to eat Patrick. He’d better stay up on his rock.

“Why don’t you come down here…? I just wanna talk,” The shark yells, propping himself on his elbows. Bullshit.

“No! You just wanna eat me!” Patrick shouts back, gripping the edge of the rock with his fingers. The shark flicks his tail, sending droplets of water into the air.

“No way…” The shark sends him a wicked grin. Patrick doesn’t respond. After a while, the dude yells, “I’m Pete.”

Patrick thumps his tail against the ground. He could go down, and there’s enough land for him to be a safe distance from Pete. And so he clumsily turns and hobbles down to the shoreline before he could convince himself that this is a mistake.

•=•=•=•

“Hiya!” Pete calls as soon as the seal is within earshot. The kid’s obviously old enough to be at sea with the older seals, but Pete also knows he’s young enough to not know that Pete could totally launch himself at him. The shoreline isn’t that big of an obstacle; he could reach the seal where he’s at, a good fifteen feet away. Pete isn’t here for a snack, though.

The seal doesn’t say anything in reply, just gives him this wary look. Pete doesn’t blame him. He wouldn’t trust himself either, to be honest. After a few more moments of silence, he asks, “Can I at least have a name?”

Pete gets a hesitant “Patrick”. This will do.

“You’re not getting any closer, are you?” Patrick indignantly shakes his head no. Pete sighs. He’s not getting anywhere with this like he originally planned.

“Listen, kid, I really just wanna talk.”

Patrick narrows his eyes, flicks his tail against the sand. Pete groans and moves away from the rocks he was leaning against and towards the shore. He can see the seal’s eyes widen as he gets closer, his fins scraping against the sand. He gives Patrick (who looks terrified) a toothy grin and settles on the wet sand, a foot away from the seal.

•=•=•=•

They’re almost nose-to-nose. Patrick feels like hyperventilating. He might already be. He’s looking right into Pete’s deep brown eyes, and he can see the shark’s pointed teeth gleaming at the edge of his vision. Maybe he should back up, but Pete’s already too close for him to take up that option.

“...Talk?” He manages to get out, raising an eyebrow. Pete nods.

“A-About what?”

“Just stuff.” Pete is giving him that look again. Patrick isn’t ready to accept his fate just yet.

“What--what stuff?”

“Things. For example, how cute you are.”

Patrick blinks. Hard. That was--unexpected. And flattering. He’s blushing now--wait, no, no! This is all a trick. Pete’s just trying to distract him!

“I’m not kidding. Did you know your expressions are really… emotive?” Pete gives him a small smile, one that looks genuine. “Like I said, cute.”

Pete lifts a hand, reaching out for Patrick, who screws his eyes tight. Patrick flinches when he feels the other’s hand, but he realizes, hey, Pete’s pushing a lock of his hair behind his ear. It’s soft, gentle, and it’s almost like Pete’s trying not to break him.

He opens his eyes. He sees himself in those brown eyes: his own anticipation and fears.

“You should come to sea with me,” Pete says quietly, moving his thumb in circles over Patrick’s cheek.

Patrick considers. He wouldn’t be lying if he said Pete was attractive--for sharkfolk, anyway. There isn’t a way to escape if Pete really wants to kill him; he’d be dead either way if that’s the case. But if the shark isn’t lying, then… maybe Patrick found himself someone to travel with. It’s worth a shot. Pete's already started moving away, swimming back slowly and waiting to see what Patrick will do with wide eyes.

And so Patrick pushes himself to the water, lashing his tail against the sand to catch up with Pete.