Chapter 1: Deadly Meetings
“Come play with me Yuri!”
Yuuri watched in rapt fascination as the beautiful fuchsia and silver Mer cheerfully pulled on the tail of a gold-spotted subadult causing the youth to shriek in outrage and give chase. He chuckled silently as the two Mers raced along the surf, the young one cursing fervently as he tried and failed to catch the larger, more powerful Mer while the rest of the pod either ignored the pair or watched with fond exasperation. They were all used to the beautiful pink’s antics by now, though Yuuri would never tire of watching him play.
His little Cove had certainly become lively since the northern pod decided to move in for the winter. The crescent moon shaped island just west of Kyushu was too small to hold much more than some grasses and a few hardy bushes on the land itself, save for the seals that use it to sunbathe, and while the spine of the island attached to the larger land mass creating a turbulent and dangerous current that threatened even the strongest Mers with its riptides and vortexes, the inner bay was deep and clear, filled with plenty of caverns for him to hide and hunt in.
And this winter particularly, hiding was what Yuuri was doing the most because Yuuri wasn’t a Mer, he was a Cecaelia. Unlike Mers with their long eel-like tails full of frilly fins and venomous red spines (at least on the males), his species had sixteen tentacles; two layers of eight with the inner ones smaller, sensitive tendrils to hold what he deems delicate or precious, and the larger outer layer lined with suction cups, each cup with a retractable barbed hook hidden inside it. Tentacles that would latch on and mercilessly rip apart anything he caught with them. Eight deadly weapons that stretched twice the length of his head and torso. Like all cephalopods, he lacked a skeleton, flexible cartilage and muscle kept him in form while allowing him to squeeze into practically any crack or hole he found.
Although Mer and Cecaelia weren't mortal enemies, they also weren't known for getting along. Mer are for the most part social fish while Cecaelia tended to be loners. Given how cannibalistic Mer tend to be you would think it was the other way around, and yet they still gathered together seeking each other’s company. Yuuri had a hard time wrapping his head around it. He knew he had a clutch-mate named Mari a few islands over that survived to adulthood but they’ve never met each other and likely never would. They knew each other existed by the sea-songs they shared and that was more than enough for them.
“Victor, you dumb clam! Stop doing that!” The pretty pale-yellow Mer with dark golden spots, who shared his name, shouted out pausing just over his hiding place, his fins and spines flared out in rage while Victor laughed as he sped off out of the cove.
Yuuri held perfectly still, confident in his camouflage. Winter was almost over and they were still unaware of his presence, they’ve gone past his various hiding spots dozens of times and not once had an inkling he was there. What his current hiding spot couldn’t contain of his body, his skin blended perfectly with the surrounding algae and rocks in color and texture. He would spend all day there not moving a muscle until the Mers fell asleep, only then would he leave to hunt.
“I'm jealous Yuri. I wish Victor would play like that with me.” A large dark blue Mer with black stripes said as he slipped next to Yuri.
“That's cause you’d think he was being serious Christophe…again.”
“He can’t stay a bachelor forever. One day someone is going to catch his eye and I hope they give him a taste of his own treatment.”
“Tch, the day another Mer catches his eyes they’ll fall over themselves begging to carry his brood. Knowing our luck, it’ll be some flamboyant tropical Mer who’ll want to keep him in southern waters.”
“You’re probably right.”
The large blue sighed hard enough to form a cloud of bubbles as he tried to wrap around the subadult, only giving up when Yuri kept whacking him with his tail.
“Get off me you idiot!!”
“Love me Yuri!” Christophe wailed dramatically after Yuri’s retreating figure before swimming off to do something else.
Yuri was easily the youngest and smallest of the group and clearly new to the established pod. Yuuri was at first concerned for his little namesake, however the Mer’s own feisty nature coupled with Victor’s territorial and shielding behavior regarding him served as adequate protection. He couldn’t determine what the exact nature of their relationship was but it was strong enough that Victor kept close watch on the subadult. It was a good thing too as being the smallest or weakest member of a pod is often not an enviable position to be in.
He was a little leery at first when they moved into his cove for the winter as a pod that large could potentially take him out with little trouble, but as he came to learn about them Yuuri decided to adopt them after a fashion. He came to care about who they were individually as they became familiar and so he began doing what he could to take care for them. Either by killing other dangerous predators that could threaten his pod, or by leaving large half-dead prey just outside the cove entrance so the hunters didn’t have far to travel and risk starvation or predation. He already wasn’t looking forward to the winter’s end when his pod would take off traveling again. When they left, he doubted he’d ever see any of them again and he would miss them.
Beautiful, carefree, strong Victor. Kind to his pod mates, if a bit careless with them. Easily the best provider of the pod and fearless to any threat. His rich magenta tail with his precise platinum fins served to showcase the deadly red spines that ran along his spine let everyone know he was a creature to be reckoned with. Any Mer would be lucky to have him court them and none were brave enough to try to court him.
Yes, Yuuri would miss Victor the most.
Hours later night had fallen over the cove. All of the Mers were curled up asleep in one of the larger caves in the very center of the bay’s wall, not even a guard to keep watch. The seclusion more than enough protection to make the pod feel safe. Though, the entire nest could be stirred into a frenzy at the slightest shift in the water.
Regardless, Yuuri was finally free to venture out himself and hunt. If the pod had been restless then he would have stayed put, it didn’t matter to him as he could go moons without eating, but all was calm tonight. He carefully pulled out of the crevice, as he did so his skin shifted from the mossy and rough textures of his hiding spot to his normal smooth black and cream skin. He wouldn’t bother with his bioluminescence until he was at a depth where it would be useful. It was so nice to finally stretch out his tentacles after being immobile for so long. The hooks flexing in each of the suction cups, checking to ensure that anything he caught would remain caught…until he ripped it apart.
With one final lazy stretch Yuuri took off for the deep waters where his prey lived. He quickly reached his favorite drop off and waited. A lot of creatures came up from the deep to feed and he learned long ago that at the edge of the drop off was the perfect place to catch unsuspecting hunters for himself.
His patience paid off as a lone shark came to hunt the rising squid. Yuuri grinned as his tentacles spread and started mimicking the patterns of multiple squid enticing the fish to come closer for the easy meal. He led his prey as close as he safely could to his cove, his pod would make an easy meal out of what he couldn’t finish and he wanted it as close as he could get away with.
The second the shark struck at one of his tentacles it was too late for the creature. Yuuri quickly flipped around on it and in less than a second he had it wrapped firmly in his grip, the hooks deeply embedded and tearing as it struggled in vain to escape. His claws easily ripped out the shark’s gills sending it to a quick death.
It was over all too soon.
Yuuri enjoyed what he wanted from his prize satisfied that there would be plenty left over in the morning. Now that he was satiated he swam lazily in the currents surrounding his home, enjoying the freedom of movement under the cover of darkness. His skin flashing brilliant patterns to match the ones that touched the sky. The song of the sea dictating his dance in the night.
It was a beautiful night to dance. The moon and waves seducing Yuuri to move with the music only his kind could hear. He longed to add his own voice to the song and only his fear of disturbing his pod kept him silent. He couldn’t sing, but he could dance and that’s what he did. His tentacles, hands, head, his whole body flowing and moving with the waves, reflecting the moon and dancing lights. Nothing gave him more pleasure, and he took every chance he could to enjoy it.
Suddenly he heard a shriek reverberating through the waves. Before the noise truly registered Yuuri was jetting through the water towards the sound. He knew that cry, recognized the voice that produced it. He hoped he wasn’t too late.
He rounded a boulder and almost froze in shock. Fierce little Yuri was trapped in the grip of a giant squid. He was fighting vainly to break free but the beast’s arms already had a solid grip on his tail and it was only a matter of minutes, seconds until the little yellow Mer was in reach of the squid’s beak. All of this rushed through Yuuri’s head as he rushed straight into the way between the two, grabbing both arms and biting them off as his own tentacles scratched at the squid’s head and eye. He couldn’t hold back his own screech as one of his tentacles got caught by the monster’s beak and it returned its own favor.
The arms may have been removed from the body but they were still attached to the Yuri preventing him from fleeing and now they were both in the mess of the squid’s tentacles. He did what he could to shield the Mer as the squid tore at him as he tore at it. He fought viciously blinding it with his barbs as the little Mer clung to his back whimpering but the squid had too much mass and leverage on him and soon they were pinned against an outcropping. All he could do was keep himself between the Mer and squid and hope to rip off more tentacles than he lost. Something he doubted he could pull off as he felt another one tear off.
If he could pull away and hit it from the side he could take it out in a matter of seconds. But the only way he could to that would be to leave Yuri vulnerable to the squid. It would rip him apart before Yuuri could come back around. It was unthinkable. So, he did what he could to keep the beast at bay with his remaining tentacles even as the squid’s own wrapped around him taking a third tentacle as Yuuri ripped out two more from it. A head on fight wasn’t something he was adapt at but he wouldn’t fail to protect his little one.
Abruptly, the squid gave a sudden spasm and broke away falling lifelessly to the sea floor. Yuuri looked up dazedly and before him, in all his beautiful ferocious glory, was Victor. Ichor floating away from the venomous claws that he used to bring the giant squid down. Yuuri could see his mouth moving but he couldn’t hear anything. His last sight before everything turned to black was of his achingly beautiful face, and if it was the last thing he ever saw then he was content. With that, Yuuri followed the squid to the deep.
“What in the crushing deep is going on here!?” Victor all but shouted, stressed at almost seeing his young friend become food.
Yuri ignored him, instead clasping onto the arm of the unconscious Cecaelia, trying to hold his weight. Instead, the creature was pulling the youngster down despite Yuri’s struggles. Victor sighed with impatience and roughly gripped the Cecaelia by his other arm to keep him, and by extension Yuri, in place. The poor thing was in shreds.
“Careful!” Yuri snapped as he kept his grip.
“Careful?” Victor asked “Why?”
Victor stared at the subadult in slight surprise. Yuri was not known for having a caring nature, he was too young…too prickly to have such a weakness. Yet there he was fussing over the Cecaelia with the squid’s arms still attached to his tail and stomach.
“He saved my life.” Yuri mumbled.
“He saved my life.” Yuri said louder “I was already caught by that squid. I was literally moments away from being torn apart when this idiot torpedoed between us and bit the arms off. But we were too close…we got tangled, but he kept me safe. Then we got pinned and…and…”
“It’s okay Yuri. You’re going to be just fine. Everything’s okay.” Victor soothed his distraught friend.
He carefully pulled the youth into his side while maintaining a firm, if slightly gentler hold on the unconscious Cecaelia. Now that he was calming down himself he could see that the Cecaelia got the worst of the damage. Outside of the missing limbs he was covered in deep gouges that still bled. He would need some care for those wounds if he had any hope of surviving. Victor pulled his two charges back to the safety of the cove, refusing to let either one go.
“What were you even doing out here in the first place?” Victor asked as they approached the entrance.
“I was practicing my dancing.” Yuri mumbled.
“What!” Yuri shouted “I’m one season away from adulthood, maybe two if I’m lucky. I’m probably not going to get much larger and if I have any hope of surviving as more than the pod’s bitch I need a strong mate.”
“No one is going to do anything you don’t want them to Yuri.” Victor growled.
“That’s easy for you to say, you’re the strongest member of the pod. No one would dare touch you without your permission. I will do whatever I have to in order to survive.”
“By throwing your lot to a Cecaelia?” Victor asked as they entered the cove and headed to their cave.
“I will do what I must to survive.” Yuri repeated.
Victor shook his head at the stubbornness of his young friend but didn’t criticize him further. He remembered being that young once and the vulnerabilities that came with it. If having the Cecaelia as a protector worked then Victor wouldn’t interfere. But that was as far as he was willing to allow. He also heard what Cecaelia did to Mers they wanted to breed with. If the stories were even remotely true than it was a fate worse than death. He refused to allow Yuri to resign himself to that.
“Yakov! Lilia! Wake up! I need your help!” Victor called out as he settled the Cecaelia near the cave entrance.
Yuri hissed as he tried to pull the arms off as soon as he hit the cave floor. It didn’t go well, the teeth in the suction cups were too deeply imbedded into his scales to simply pull off.
“What’s going on?” Yakov grumbled as he crawled out of the depths.
“Yurachek! What happened to you?” Lilia exclaimed when she caught sight of them.
“I’m fine!” Yuri snapped.
“He decided to take on a giant squid by himself and managed to drag this guy into the fight.” Victor answered.
“Hush Yura.” Lilia scolded.
She immediately went to work carefully detaching the toothed cups, filling the cave with his blood as they came loose. Victor immediately became more alert as the scent hit him. He didn’t think any of his pod would attack his incapacitated friend, but predators would be predators. The Cecaelia under him moaned as the scent hit him as well. His own wounds already gumming up with a sickly yellow ichor.
A Cecaelia? Kill it already Vitya!” Yakov demanded.
“NO! He’s mine!” Yuri shouted, breaking free from Lilia to grab the end of one of the intact tentacles. It immediately wrapped around his wrist and up his arm, the suctions lightly anchoring it as Yuri glared at Yakov.
“The Cecaelia was protecting Yuri from a giant squid’s beak when I found them. Yuri told me that he came out of nowhere after the squid had him.” Victor told him “If he hadn’t gotten involved Yuri would be dead right now. I think we owe him a bit more than death.”
“Humpf.” Yakov grumbled as he studied the closed off wounds.
Victor performed his own check on the Cecaelia. Outside of the vicious wounds covering his body, Victor couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the Cecaelia was. For such a dangerous predator, he looked almost fragile. It was hard to believe someone so delicate could easily be twice as strong as he was. The Cecaelia’s eyes blinked slowly opened as Yuri yelped loudly at Lilia removing the last arm. Victor stared entranced in the red-brown eyes.
“What’s with all the shouting?” Christophe called out. The rest of the pod stirring in agitation behind him.
Suddenly the water filled with thick black ink filling the cave completely. Victor barely had time to blink before he sensed the water shift sharply around him as the Cecaelia quickly scurried away. He tried to catch him but he proved to be too fast for him in the confusion.
“Wait!” Victor called out breaking free of the ink cloud, but he was too late. As he scanned the cove he could see no trace of the Cecaelia.
“What in the deep is going on here Victor?” snarled JJ.
Victor didn’t bother to answer him. JJ and his mate Isabella were only with his pod through the winter. They weren’t officially apart of it so he owed them nothing. The rest of the pod slowly pulled out of the cave woken from all the chaos. As a whole his pod was relatively small, consisting of himself, Yuri, Yakov and his mate Lilia, Georgi and Mila. The rest of the Mer were friends and allies that came and went depending on the season, Christophe being one of his oldest friends.
“Christophe scared away my Cecaelia.” Yuri grumbled.
“What were you doing with a Cecaelia?” Sara exclaimed horrified as Michele and Emil came up to bracket her.
“Where’s a Cecaelia?” shouted Phichit excitedly. The young tropical Mer shooting ahead looking around as if he could spot it.
“He’s long gone Phichit.” Victor told him “If the cave’s cleared out yet why don’t we all go back in and get some more rest. There’s still some time before the sun’s up.”
His pod grumbled but did as he said and one by one crawled back into the depths of their home until only Victor and Yakov remained.
“He’s nearby, I can smell it.” Victor whispered, “I’m going to try and wait him out.”
“Be careful Vitya. Even injured he’s stronger than you are.”
“Aren’t I always?”
Yakov struck him gently with the side of his tail as he entered the cave, it was as close to a sign of affection the grouchy old Mer could give. Victor hid his smile. He owed a lot to the older Mer for taking him in when he was younger. He doubted he would have survived if Yakov hadn’t. the oceans weren’t kind to lone Mers.
Speaking of loners… Victor zeroed in on where the Cecaelia was currently hiding. He couldn’t get to where he was thanks to an outcropping of rocks, but the cephalopod couldn’t hide there forever. It was only a matter of time before he tried to leave and while he may not look like it, Victor was a very patient hunter.
Yuuri silently panted in pain as he waited for the last traces of Mer to leave the open cove. He couldn’t believe how stupid he’d been rushing the squid like an idiot. If he had taken it out like Victor had he wouldn’t be in this mess. Instead he had lost almost half of his outer tentacles! Something that would take moons to regrow. That not even taking into account the multitude of lacerations that now covered his body. All he wanted was to curl up somewhere and lick his wounds in peace.
Finally, everything seemed settled again. There was a deep crack that opened up to a small cave that could hold all of him near the cove’s entrance; if he had any hope of reaching it, now would be the time.
As slowly and smoothly as he could, Yuuri pulled out of his makeshift hiding spot below the cave. He swam through the sea grass that covered the bay’s floor careful to keep his camouflage up as best he could, hoping it would be enough. He almost thought it would be, the crack was right in front of him.
There was no warning as a body suddenly came down on his, claws and teeth at his throat and a powerful tail wrapped up in his tentacles, stopping him so close to his refuge. Yuuri scratched helplessly at the floor keening in fear, his tentacles instinctively wrapping further around the Mer.
“Now, now” the predatorily amused voice murmured in his ear “my venom may not work on you, but my claws are sharp enough to do you some damage. So let’s not struggle so much, hmm?”
Yuuri felt a warning nip against his neck from those sharp teeth and froze, even his tentacles ceased their movement in trying to find a way to break free of the powerful Mer without hurting him.
“There, that wasn’t so hard now was it?” Victor taunted.
Yuuri shivered in fear. His own claws digging deeper into the silt as Victor adjusted his grip, one hand still wrapped around his throat and his second coming to wrap around his vulnerable stomach, holding him tightly.
“I’m sure if I let you go you’d promise not to flee, but I’m not the trusting sort so you’ll forgive me if I don’t.” Victor whispered mockingly “Won’t you pretty Cecaelia?”
“I-I understand.” Yuuri croaked timidly.
“Exactly.” Yuuri once more felt the light press of teeth against his neck “Now that we have that out of the way, let’s start with your name.”
“Introductions are generally the best way to start a conversation, don’t you agree?”
“I…Yuuri, m-my name is Yuuri.” Yuuri stuttered out.
“Pleasure to meet you Yuuri. Now” Victor flexed his claws “how long have you been stalking us Yuuri?”
“I haven’t- “
Yuuri felt the claws prick his skin.
“You’ll hurt my feeling if you start lying to me Yuuri.”
“I’m not!” Yuuri cried out panicky “T-This is my home! I’ve lived here for years!”
“Okay, okay, I believe you, calm down.” Victor mockingly whispered soothingly.
Yuuri’s tentacles started moving restlessly against Victor’s tail and body again.
“Stop moving Yuuri.” Victor warned.
“I can’t, they have a mind of their own.” Yuuri shrieked as Victor’s claws dug in enough to draw blood “Literally I can’t! They have their own brains independent from me. I can’t control them!”
“Really? How interesting.” And Victor sounded genuinely interested too “But one barb in my skin and I’ll rip your pretty throat out regardless of your control, understand?”
“I understand.” Yuuri did understand, entirely.
He understood that Victor had no intention of letting him go…alive. It was perfectly understandable. Victor wanted to protect his pod from any dangers perceived and real. However, Yuuri hadn’t lived as long as he had by meekly rolling over and dying when caught, and the Mer had one weakness he could exploit.
Fighting aroused Mers, which left them open. Open and vulnerable.
“Good.” Victor crooned “So if you’d been here all this time, why haven’t we seen you?”
“I’m good at hiding.”
Yuuri’s tentacles continued their seemingly random movements, feeling for the state of Victor’s urogenital slit. He had one shot at this and if he failed he would not be given a second chance.
“You must be to have evaded us. So why come out of hiding now?”
“The little one was in danger.”
It was already swollen from his earlier kill and from dominating Yuuri. He allowed his tentacles to spread out more as he relaxed his claws from the floor beneath him. A thrill shot through him, Victor was more than primed for the taking.
“He’s too young for you.” Victor hissed.
“Of course he’s too young for me! That doesn’t mean I want to see him as food.”
Almost. His smallest tentacle rubbing gently against the slit secreting a fast-acting muscle relaxant to further open him, and hopefully slow him down.
“Really? That surprises me.”
“And why is that?”
“Because he’s not the one I want.”
As quick as striking prey, two of Yuuri’s tentacles wrapped around Victor’s hands pulling them away from his vulnerable spots as his mating tentacle breached the Mer’s urogenital slit, sealing Victor’s fate.
Victor gasped as his whole world flipped on him inside the Cecaelia’s grasp. His back now pressed against the sea floor as another tentacle pressed over and into his mouth preventing him from crying out for help.
“Shh, we don’t want anyone interrupting us do we pretty fish.” Yuuri’s voice, previously high-pitched with fear, was dark and predatorial now that he had the advantage. “You should have let me go while you had the chance.”
He couldn’t call for help so Victor struggled in the Cecaelia’s grip, thrashing his tail as hard as he could trying to break free. But even injured and missing limbs Yuuri was too strong. He couldn’t stop the sharp keening as that tentacle found the precious entrance to his womb and pierced into it, wiggling its way up his vaginal canal as he panted and fought.
“I’ve never mated before Victor. I hope I’m doing this right, I wouldn’t want you to be disappointed in me.” Yuuri whispered into his ear then started lapping at his gills along his neck.
He could feel it; the tentacle had reached the closed muscle protecting his womb. Victor stared deep into the red eyes of the Cecaelia who had so thoroughly out maneuvered him.
“Are you ready my own?” Yuuri asked smiling down at his face.
Victor snarled and bit down hard on the tentacle in his mouth causing Yuuri to shudder all over.
“Yessss.” Yuuri hissed as blood and ichor flowed down his throat.
The tips of Mers’ penises have hooked barbs on them that force the muscle to open and push the receiving Mer into immediate ovulation. It appears that Cecaelia have the same trait.
In an instant, Victor’s whole world whites out. In twenty-seven winters he had not once been bred. It was nothing like he imagined it to be. All thoughts of fighting left him as pleasure overrode every part of him. He was dimly aware of hands and tentacles rubbing soothingly all over him, a voice crooning endearments and encouragements in his ear, but none of that mattered. All that mattered now, all that ever will matter was the wave after wave of incandescent pleasure that hit him with every sperm sack pushed into his body, filling his womb with life.
He shrieked in pure euphoria as Victor felt sharp teeth bite down hard on his neck forcing his own cock to release untouched. The double orgasm proved too much for him to handle, and the last wave of pleasure took him with it into darkness.
Yuuri keened with pleasure and fear as he felt Victor relax completely in his grasp. He did it! He claimed Victor and survived!
Survived so far. There would be nothing to stop Victor from killing him when he regained consciousness. Speaking of consciousness, Yuuri noted, with some distress, that the waters were beginning to lighten up with the sun. The others would be up and awake soon, and if Victor didn’t kill him they would.
With great care Yuuri pulled away from Victor, leaving his mating tentacle in place of course. He’d released a secretion near the end that would allow it to act as a Mer’s mating plug. It didn’t matter to him if he lost it; he would always grow a new one, and it comforted him to know his and Victor’s young were safe and protected in the Mer.
He cautiously gathered the comatose Mer in his arms and swam him over to his secured mate-burrow. In all his years, he never thought he would make use of it but instinct demanded that he have one never-the-less, and he’d never been so glad to yield to instinct than he was right now. He would keep Victor safe there until he was positive the rest of the pod wasn’t a danger to their offspring.
And prove to Victor he was a worthy mate and sire to his young.
Fun Facts: Octopus
The Giant Pacific Octopus lay around 100,000 eggs
Some species can lay up to 500,00 eggs
It takes about 6 weeks for an Octopus to regrow a limb
Octopuses can taste with their suction cups
That’s also how they smell
Separated arms will react to outside stimulus
Octopuses can control each suction cup individually
Deadly Dance Chapter 2
Victor moaned slowly awake in sweet lethargic agony. His whole body ached sensuously in such a way that had him writhing against a sand floor. The fine grain sandy bottom working wonders on his overly sensitive flesh and scales while small electric bursts of pleasure radiated outward from his center. Everything was amazing.
“Are you awake yet?” A soft voice asked, breaking slightly through the fog.
“Mmhnm.” Victor moaned as he flipped over onto his other side to rub
into the lovely sand.
“Well, when you’re a little more awake, I have something for you.”
Victor considered ignoring the voice, but the offer of a gift combined with a very enticing smell nearby changed his mind, after all it would be rude to refuse a gift. He forced his eyes open to a large young sea lion bleeding out in front of him. He barely had time to recognize what it was before he fell onto it, tearing into it ravenously. Now that he was thinking on it, he was starving and hot fatty meat was exactly what he wanted.
The meal didn’t last long but it was enough to fill him up. Victor rubbed his full stomach absently as his memories played catch up with the recent events, and stopped altogether when they did. Mers didn’t glut without a reason and the only reason he would have…
“Now you’re awake.”
The fog over his mind lifted completely as he recognized that voice. Victor shifted immediately to face its source. He found the Cecaelia easily half buried in the rock wall near the ceiling. His remaining tentacles glowing bright blue in the dimness. The light was enough to see where he was and it filled him with chills. He was in a fairly large cavern that seemed completely closed off on all sides with only once alcove disappearing off one side, but it was simple to tell that was a dead end too. He’d heard stories about what Cecaelia do to Mers they caught and if they were anywhere close to true than this place could only be one thing.
A breeding chamber.
A cave that only a Cecaelia could come and go easily, leaving the Mer trapped to be bred over and over again until death. Well…caught or not Victor had no intention of yielding to the Cecaelia. If the creature wanted to keep him he would have to work for it. He would accept nothing less from his would-be Alpha. Now, he just needed to get his body to cooperate with him. Something that was surprisingly difficult with the growing sense of wrongness he was feeling.
“What are you doing up there?” Victor demanded. The pain in his body making the thought of trying to swim up to him to daunting to consider at the moment.
“Waiting for you to come back.” The Cecaelia said with a shrug.
“Come back where?” Victor asked warily.
The Cecaelia smirked down at him. Victor kept close watch on him as he started making his way down the cave wall, his luminescent tentacles weaving almost hypnotically through the rocks, creating exotic patterns in the sand around him. The light distracting him from the odd fluttering where the mating plug sat, where his mating plug should sit.
“Why ‘back to the land of the living!’ As the humans would say.” The Cecaelia told him “You’ve been unconscious for most of the day.”
“What!” It couldn’t have been that long!
Victor shot up with his fins spreading wide in alarm only to fold in on himself as the odd flutterings of wrongness grew immediately into a horrible aching emptiness. There was nothing, just a terrible hollow where he should be full. Victor couldn’t stop keening in distress, wasn’t even aware he was doing it. He wasn’t aware of anything except the awful fluttering and what it meant.
There was no mating plug. Without a plug, the eggs can’t survive. It’s impossible to carry a clutch to term without a plug. Victor cried out again. He didn’t want it, didn’t want to become an Omega, but they were his! He didn’t understand, he knew the Cecaelia had plugged him, he knew! But, where was it? Where!?
Suddenly Victor was surrounded by the Cecaelia, his hot thick tentacles wriggling in through his knot to wrap around his chest and tail while strong hands gently pressing his fins down flat, making room for his body to press against his own. A few of those tentacles rubbing against his urogenital slit as if trying to soothe the pain coming from within.
It seemed to be working too.
“You can’t move around like that yet you silly fish, you’re still too raw.”
“It’s not there! It’s not there!” Victor cried out.
“Um…okay. I’ll take care of it.”
The Cecaelia’s body stiffened and seemed to withdraw a little further behind him. His hold on Victor shifting until he felt one of those tentacles gently breach his slit and slide into his canal. Any thought he had of protesting such treatment died as the empty fluttering feeling left him. Victor panted harshly as he let the full sensation take over him. It was a trick, only an artificial decoy to fool his body to make it believe it still had a mating plug but damn him to the deep if he didn’t need it right then.
“There, not empty anymore.” The Cecaelia crooned in his ear.
“What have you done to me Cecaelia.” Victor demanded as soon as he could speak again.
“My name is Yuuri.” The Cecaelia said affronted.
“Okay…Yuuri, what’s happening to me!”
The Cecaelia…Yuuri sighed and adjusted his grip on him, bringing him into a more natural…comfortable position. Those suction cups running along his tail in a massage that had Victor reluctantly admit was doing wonders for his sore muscles. If only to himself. He wasn’t about to let it distract him though.
“Yuuri.” Victor said as calmly as he could.
“Well, um.” Yuuri started slowly “We, um, we bred yesterday only…only it didn’t take.”
“It didn’t…I felt it! I was hooked!”
He knew what he had felt then. The hook, the sperm sacks, even the plug sitting in place at the end as he passed out from pleasure. If Christophe ever found out about THAT he’d never hear the end of it. But he was caught and bred! He should be pregnant! He could feel the Omega changes going through him! What happened to his clutch?
“You were hooked and I did leave my mating tentacle behind as a plug, but it didn’t take.” Yuuri told him “We’re near the end of winter Victor, Mers are only really viable during summer at a full moon. Even if you wanted to, the chances of catching are next to impossible.”
If Victor’s sharp laugh was a touch hysterical, Yuuri was kind enough not to comment on it. His body thought he was pregnant. He actually went into an Omega distress over the absence of a plug to the point where he needed one of those damned tentacles to act as one. As if aware he was thinking about it, the tentacle twitched and bulged slightly.
“I can feel it moving inside me.” Victor whispered dazed.
How long would he have to be attached to the Cecaelia, to Yuuri before he could go back to normal. Before his body could accept he wasn’t in clutch and he didn’t need a plug.
“I did tell you that they all had minds of their own.” Yuuri chuckled weakly.
One of the first fail-safes Mers had in rejecting an unworthy suitor’s clutch was by withholding their half of the plug. It took the release of secretions from both the Omega and Alpha to create a mating plug. It worked both ways but was primarily used by a caught Beta who didn’t want to become an Omega, or by pair bonds who were taking the season off for whatever reason. But from what he knew, plugs were a hard yet flexible resin that filled the Omega’s entire canal, preventing precious eggs from popping out under the pressure and keep ‘foreign’ material out. They weren’t supposed to be living things that constantly moved and shifted, forcing the Mer to always be aware of its existence.
Yuuri continued to croon against his gills trying to calm him. His tentacles were constantly rubbing and caressing his fins and scales attempting to soothe him any way they could. As he laid there pinned, caged and trapped by a true monster of the deep, Victor allowed it to happen.
He really was a funny creature, Victor thought. Here was one of the ocean’s greatest apex predators, born and bred to prey on Mers. This one alone took on a giant squid head on and held his own while shielding another. In fact, if Victor hadn’t come when he did he had no doubt Yuuri would have come out the victor of that fight. Maybe a little more worse for wear but there wasn’t a whole lot left of the squid either. Yuuri’s barbs had its head in shreds by the time he came around and finished it off. And yet here he was cowering over him as if he weren’t the one effortlessly pinning him down.
A funny creature indeed.
“You can let me go now Yuuri.” Victor told him, making his body yield back in the Cecaelia’s grasp.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah” Victor said a little more reluctantly than he wanted to admit to “the sooner I accept that I’m not plugged, the easier it’ll be to go back to normal.”
“Alright pretty fish, but if it gets too much for you let me know. I quite enjoy having you within my tentacles.” Although Yuuri was definitely smirking at him Victor detected the note of seriousness in there.
The tentacles holding him in place went slack around, though the rest of him was still trapped under the Cecaelia’s bulk. His hand slowly cupping his face as tentacles shifted along his oversensitive skin as they released him. The one piercing his center slowly pulling out leaving him hollow once again. He couldn’t suppress the gasp as the Cecaelia let him go completely to float back towards the rocks.
Victor hated that a part of him missed their weight when Yuuri pulled away completely giving him room to put half the chamber between them. He knew it was only the hormones changing in him, making him take on an Omega’s mindset. The desire to be constantly surrounded and protected by his nest, the neediness and having his Alpha nearby. The fierce desire to protect and nurture his clutch at all costs. He also knew these changes in him were false, that he wasn’t an Omega but still a Beta and he had no Alpha, no nest or clutch to protect.
“How long is this going to last?” Victor wondered as he settled back into the warm sand.
“I don’t know. I’ve never bred anyone before, let alone in self-defense out of season. But I don’t imagine it lasting too much longer. From what I understand Omegas will often reject a mating plug and there-by pregnancy from unworthy suitors just fine.”
“Self-defense.” Victor snorted staring up at Yuuri, who was once more curled up in the rocks lining the ceiling.
“You would have killed and fed me to your pod the moment you were done interrogating me, don’t deny it.”
“Mmm…true, and you would have been delicious.” Victor rolled onto his back wiggling slightly and trying to resist the urge to demand the Cecaelia get back down and fill him again “I might still feed you to them.”
As if reading his mind Yuuri floated down until he was hovering over him, his tentacles bracketing him without touching. It was torture being so close to exactly what he wanted without having it. It didn’t matter to him that it was insane to want it, his body thought he was an Omega and right now this Omega wanted his Alpha.
“Do you really want to share me Victor?”
Burning rage suddenly filled him at the thought of another Mer anywhere near HIS Alpha! Victor’s claws dug brutally deep into the Cecaelia’s flesh as he pulled them together until he could bite hard into Yuuri’s neck right where the bonding bite should be. Yuuri’s tentacles instinctively wrapped tightly around him, their blue glow contrasting beautifully against his tail making its pink hue appear far darker than what it was, almost like blood. Victor remembered the taste of Yuuri’s blood from that first time, sweet and rich and oh so addictive. He would never allow someone else to taste it, would kill anyone who tried.
Yuuri groaned in pained pleasure as Victor continued to lick and gnaw at the bite while his claws dug into his back. He had never been more grateful to be immune to a Mer’s venom. He only had himself to blame this time. He knew Omega Mers were extremely territorial and while Victor might not technically be an Omega those hormones were currently running through his blood. To imply, even in jest, that he would leave or bring another Mer into their nest…
Victor pulled away from Yuuri’s neck to glare at his face. Yuuri stared back completely enthralled with this wonderful creature. He’d seen many Mers use his little cove over the years and not one could compete with the sheer perfection of the one he was holding right now. His blood still clinging to his lips drawing him to lick them clean. Victor allowed it, even returned the affection, relaxing in his tentacles as the rage for his insensitive comment left him.
“Get in me now Cecaelia.” Victor demanded possessively.
“Are you…” Yuuri broke off with a gasp as Victor’s claws flexed deeper into him.
Yuuri didn’t question him any further, instantly pushing one of his tentacles past the urogenital slit and deep as he could into Victor. He held it still for only a moment as Victor yelped at the sudden intrusion but the Mer’s claws spurred him on and in no time, he found a pattern that had his Mer writhing and howling in his grip. His suctions easily finding every sensitive nerve his Mer had and worked them until he felt Victor clench around him screaming his orgasm.
Without giving him time to recover he sent another tentacle to wrap around Victor’s cock carefully pulsing and twisting around it, sending his howls into high pitched shrieks. He took his sweet time playing Victor, learning what made the Mer squirm and what made him scream. And Victor, perfect Victor responded beautifully to him.
With his mating tentacle missing Yuuri himself couldn’t orgasm, but that hardly mattered when he could feel the contractions of every orgasm he pushed Victor through, every release he coaxed out of him. Every sweet cry of ‘more…no more…more’ that escaped the Mer’s lips. Every new scar Victor carved into his back and every bite on his shoulders as pleasure overtook him again…and again.
Victor wouldn’t stay. It was only a hormonal imbalance that made the Mer so needy for him. Soon enough these desires would work their way through and out of his blood and Victor would return back to his normal self, and so long as Victor and his pod didn’t try to kill him, he would let him go with a smile and very fond memories of this time. But until that time, he would enjoy Victor to his upmost ability…and if at all possible, he would ruin the Mer for any other possible suitor.
After wringing a final weak mewl Yuuri gently eased out of Victor. His tentacle covered in the sticky fluid Victor’s body released trying to form a mating plug. It filled him with pride to know at least in some ways Victor found him worthy. The water around them full of the sperm sacks he coaxed out of him. Victor himself was completely lax in his grip, trusting him to keep the Mer from drifting into the unforgiving rocks.
“You are truly a remarkable creature.” Victor murmured sleepily blinking his large blue eyes up at him. “I think I’ll keep you to myself.”
“As you wish, my pretty fish.” Yuuri agreed with a soft smile, running his hand through Victor’s silver hair “How are you feeling?”
“Hum, you look sleepy.” Yuuri commented.
“That too.” Victor agreed placidly.
If a good solid mating put the fierce Mer in such an agreeable mindset Yuuri would have to remember it for as long as he had him. Sleepy sexed out Victor was the cutest thing he’d seen in a very long time.
“Let’s get you somewhere you can sleep. I’ll take you back to your pod in the morning.”
Victor simply yawned and curled up into his chest. Yuuri supported Victor’s head as he carefully swam deeper into his breeding chamber to where he had kept a proper nest for his intended. He slowly lowered Victor into the bed of the softest kelp and sea grass he could gather, nothing but the best for his mate. It was a good thing that he made a habit of keeping the bed fresh as anything less for Victor would be unacceptable.
As soon as he had Victor comfortably settled he started drifting up intending on sleeping in the rocks above only to be stopped by a tug on one of his tentacles. Yuuri looked down at the slight scowl on Victor’s face. His ethereal silver fins spread out loosely among the darker kelp almost seemed to glow on their own. His scales reminding Yuuri of the sakura blossoms in spring. He could look at this sight for the rest of his life and never be tired of it.
“Sleep here.” Victor mumbled already drifting off to sleep.
The mere second he hesitated resulted a sharp tug on his captive tentacle letting Yuuri know Victor meant it. Since it was what he wanted it was easy for him to yield to Victor’s demand. Yuuri settled gingerly nest to him then over and around him as Victor pulled Yuuri right where he wanted him. He figured that would be the end of it until he felt Victor pull one of his tentacles to his urogenital slit and push it in.
“Victor?” Yuuri asked.
“Full.” Victor whispered sleepily, but Yuuri could detect the faint hint of distress coming through.
Yuuri gently pushed into Victor until his tentacle was as thick and firm as a mating plug should be causing Victor to sigh in contentment and fully fall asleep.
It was a long time before Yuuri joined him.
Victor woke slowly, his fins still tingling from yesterday’s passion. He wiggled back into his nest satisfied, warm and full with that horrible empty feeling completely gone. He purred contently as he snuggled deeper into the warmth that surrounded him. Rarely had he ever felt so good upon waking and never had he been so thoroughly…completely taken. Mers used sex as a way of building social ties and establishing dominance. Rarely outside of a bonded pair is it used for anything more than that. It was certainly nothing like what he’d ever experienced before, and if he was completely honest with himself, it was something he wouldn’t mind getting used to.
“Are you awake pretty fish?”
Victor turn his head to blink up at Yuuri. Though the second he took the Cecaelia in, his whole body jerked in shock. Yuuri’s neck, shoulders, arms, chest, probably his back too though he couldn’t see, were covered in a multitude of deep bloody scratches. Each one was covered in the same thick ichor that had coated his missing tentacles, but that didn’t change the fact that they were everywhere! Even without placing his hand just over one set he knew that they were all caused by him. He knew he was a bit aggressive last night but he had no idea he way that bad!
Why hadn’t Yuuri stopped him? He had plenty of tentacles he wasn’t using to torment him that he could have spared one to restrain him, not to mention using his own hands to hold Victor at bay. So, why didn’t he? He could have killed the Cecaelia!
“Why didn’t you stop me?” Victor asked shaken.
“I will carry these marks proudly till the day I die.” Yuuri said, his chest puffing up slightly.
“I could have killed you.” Victor whimpered.
Yuuri took Victor’s hand and placed it against one of the more vicious marks, holding it there with gentle pressure.
“I promise I’m harder to kill that, though I can think of no better way to die than in your embrace.”
“Sappy.” Victor sniffed, sharply turning his head away secretly pleased with him.
It was only when he shifted back a little that he became aware of WHY he didn’t feel hollow anymore. Victor stared at the thick black tentacle that pierced right to the core of him. While he was aware that it happened before…happened a lot, it was the first time he really looked at it. He should be repulsed by it, disgusted by the thing that was holding him open and vulnerable and yet…
“You insisted.” Yuuri said clearly aware of what held his attention.
“And you’ll always do what I ‘insist’?” Victor snarked without any bite in it.
“I caught you.” Yuuri whispered lowly in his ear. A second tentacle running lightly along the lip of the open slit causing him to shiver at the tease “By right that makes you mine, and I always take care of what’s mine.”
Victor keened softly at that dark promise, instantly aroused. He’d heard rumors on what happened to Mers who were captured by Cecaelia and so far they were true in only the best possible ways. Memories of what this Cecaelia was capable with his tentacles flashed across his mind…very best possible ways. The tentacle inside him twitched slightly, rubbing against sensitive nerves causing him to gasp. Yuuri groaned deeply into his gills as it twitched again.
“Careful, don’t start something you can’t finish.”
“I have no hectocotylus right now. I can finish you off any time you want me to for as long as you want me to.” Yuuri smirked as the second one stroked the lip again, this time slipping in to run along the sensitive inner flesh.
“Yuuri.” Victor panted. He didn’t know if he wanted him to stop or go further.
“Only a little, just to take the edge off.” Yuuri promised.
One of the outer tentacles curled over his chest, the sucker attaching themselves to his nipples instantly teasing them erect with a sinful massage. Another slid inside his slit and attached to the tight bundle of nerves that lay at the spot between his vaginal opening and his penis. The strong pulsing suction instantly forcing his back to arch, whether towards the stimulation or away was anyone’s guess.
More tentacles joined in, either caressing his body or playing in and around his slit, quickly building the pressure up in him until it exploded in a great wave of pleasure. This time though instead of continuing to ramp him back up, they soothed and calmed him. Each withdrawing until only the one deep inside him remained. And then even that one slowly withdrew. Victor whimpered slightly as the empty feeling returned, but he was also relieved that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the last time.
“Delicious, Thank you.” Yuuri smirked contently.
“Delicious?” Victor asked confused.
“When you’re ready I’ll take you to see your pod. They must be worried about you by now.” Yuuri said instead of answering.
Victor crawled out of the admittedly very nice nest. His body aching pleasantly from all its been through. Yuuri followed behind him, a dark shadow prepared to protect him from any threat. When they reached the main chamber, Victor paused. He had no idea how to leave. There were no openings and no currents to tell him which way to go.
“This way.” Yuuri told him heading to the far corner where the ceiling met the wall. It was only when he reached Yuuri that he could see the hole in the wall that led outside. A pointed rock jutting out in such a way as to make finding the entrance nearly impossible if you didn’t know where it was.
“Follow me and stay close.”
Yuuri crawled in and Victor followed immediately after. It wasn’t an entirely a tight fit, but the tunnel was definitely small enough that had he become pregnant there would be no way he could have fit. It was a chamber perfectly designed to keep a captured Mer from leaving. But that was its purpose, to keep captured Mers from escaping.
So why was Yuuri letting him go?
As soon as Yuuri pulled out of the other end he turned and clung to the rock wall outside. He grabbed onto Victor when he pulled out himself. It was a good thing too and the current nearly took off with him. Victor cursed up a storm internally. The after effects of the false pregnancy coming into play again. Omega’s expanded most of their strength and energy into their clutch, which meant he was as weak as a human right now.
“We’re on the spine of the cove. The water is strong and treacherous along here so not a lot of potential threats come this way.” Yuuri told him as he wrapped a steadying tentacle around him. “Come on, it’s better to follow the stream. Once we’re in calmer waters it’ll be easier.”
Victor swam just under Yuuri using his tentacles to brace against the rapids. The island was thin but it was also long and reaching the end without getting swept away took more out of him than he cared to admit. Victor was irritated at himself for being so weak. Yuuri had lost, four tentacles? Five? And he seemed to have no problem navigating the water.
It bothered him that he was so weak. Weakness in a pod could and often was a death sentence for Mers. While Victor was normally the strongest member of their pod, as he was now Yuri could take him down without any real problem. It was only the lingering traces of Omega hormones in him, but the closer he got to the tip of the island and closer to his pod, the more he wanted to turn back and hide in his nest until they were gone and it was safe again.
Less than a full day as an Omega and he was behaving like this. Victor couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have it be real.
It couldn’t have been that long, though it seemed like it, before they reached the promised calm water. By then Victor was once again tangled up in Yuuri’s tentacles, needing them to carry him through. He couldn’t wait to get his strength back.
“Alright,” Yuuri said “let’s get oophf!”
Out of nowhere a living torpedo slammed into Yuuri forcing him away. At the same time hands grabbed him from behind pulling him away.
I was really torn writing this. I had ended the previous chapter with Yuuri catching Victor and breeding him...and I didn't intend that to happen so soon. *dumb boys ruining my plans* grumble mumble. But I went with the false pregnancy because I didn't want it to match too closely with my other story in this series. This way at least Victor gets those bonding hormones he needs to latch onto Yuuri while allowing him to socialize with the rest of the pod.
So...serious question here.
Should the pod stay together or break apart? If they break, Phichit, Yuri and Christophe will stay but the rest will go. If they stay, I can't guarantee everyone will survive.
Chapter 3: Deadly Knowledge
Victor and Yuuri confront some of his pod, choices are made, and Victor learns more about what it means to be mated to a Cecaelia.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Fun Facts: Three fish that change their sex.
Clown fish: When the dominate female dies the dominate male changes to the dominate female then the second-place male becomes the dominate male. This little tidbit ruined Finding Nemo for me.
Wrasse: Bluehead wrasse live in harems with an asshole male in charge bullying the ladies. When Asshole dies one of the females becomes the new bullying asshole male.
Hawkfish: They all start out as females until one decides to become the male of the harem. If a bigger male wants to be the man of the house, the current dude goes back into being a chick.
Yuuri grunted, irritated at himself as red scales flashed in his vision, pushing him away from Victor and down to the sea floor. He should have known the pod would be searching or their missing member especially given how he disappeared. They cared for the vivacious Mer, trusted his strength and leadership to see them through the winter. Disappearing like that after confronting someone like him would send the pod into a frenzy that he should have anticipated.
Regardless of how they felt, he wouldn’t let them take his Mer from him! Victor was his! He won him fairly and as such, only Victor could make him leave. He snagged a passing boulder with one of his tentacles, using the momentum to slam JJ into the surrounding coral, easily breaking his hold. Yuuri didn’t bother to check to see if the red Mer was injured or not, all he cared about was getting back to Victor. He could hear him shouting just beyond the ridge.
Christophe and Emil were both struggling to pull Victor back towards the Mer cave and away from him. Victor fighting against them with everything he could without hurting them, fear and rage practically pouring off him in waves. Yuuri jetted right at Victor flaring his tentacles wide at the last second, the barbed hooks flexing menacingly at the two Betas holding him captive. Emil backed off with a terrified shriek but Christophe held on, it didn’t matter though as Victor was now free enough for him to rip his Mer free, his inner tentacles wrapping protectively around him. Victor instantly relaxed into him, fins and spines falling pliant. His face pressed into his neck scenting him, Yuuri threaded his fingers through his hair holding him in place.
“Are you hurt?” Yuuri asked softly while watching the three Betas circle them warily.
Victor shook his head “Are you?”
“Not even a scratch. Something JJ can’t say the same.” Yuuri answered a little smugly.
“JJ” Victor hissed “I should rip out his liver and feed it to you.”
Yuuri glanced over to where JJ was floating somewhat awkwardly and grinned at the red Beta’s very audible gulp. It was good the Betas kept their distance. Though it was fading a little, Victor still smelled of Omega, and every predator deep knew there was no sweeter meat than Omega. Until it faded completely Victor’s greatest threat was from his own pod. They wouldn’t be able to help themselves.
Well, Yuuri had no intention leaving Victor’s side and any Mer that dared to attack would make a fine meal for his intended. He knew Victor wanted to check on his pod to make sure they were alright, check on little Yuri to ascertain his injuries and ensure the pod hadn’t turned on him in his absence. It was why they’d left the safety of the breeding enclosure before Victor was ready. He had another enclosure inside the cove he planned on secreting his Mer away once he’d checked on them, it was smaller than the other one, but he didn’t want to put Victor through the straits again if he could help it. Yuuri consoled himself with the fact that Victor would stop smelling of Omega soon and would be safe among his pod again after that.
Sooner than Yuuri wanted, Victor pulled away from him until only one tentacle remained attached to the Mer’s tail, the appendage flushing to match the pink hue of the scales. He was somewhat mollified when Victor reached back to grab his hand, pulling him forward. Together they swam past the trio, Christophe coming to Victor’s side as they reached him. He was pleased to note the safe distance Christophe kept from them. The other two trailing behind.
“I honestly didn’t expect to ever see you again after you disappeared the other night.” Christophe said conversely as they rounded the tip into the cove proper.
“You know how I love to surprise people Chris.” Victor answered glibly though he couldn’t hide the minute trembling from Yuuri “What better surprise could there be than claiming a Cecaelia for my very own?”
“Bringing it back to the nest? Unless you’re planning on feeding it to the pod.”
Victor growled viciously at Chris, backing up into the tangled mass of Yuuri’s tentacles. His fins expanding threateningly even as he burrowed deeper into him. Chris answered with his own display, black fins and blood red spines stretching out impressively at Victor’s sudden challenge. JJ and Emil darted away to the safety of the cave, neither wanting to get involved. Yuuri didn’t blame them, a dominance fight between two aggressive Mers could get very ugly.
“Yuuri s MY mate and I’m his Omega! Just TRY and touch him!”
“WHAT! What do you mean YOUR Cecaelia!?”
Both Chris and Victor jerked around at the piercing shout. Yuuri startled himself, wrapping instinctively around Victor to protect him from a new threat…in the form of a very angry golden youth swimming toward them. Yuuri studied the little one happy he appeared to be healing well from his attack. Victor continued shivering in his tentacles causing Yuuri to tighten around him, trying to comfort the stressed Mer. The sudden intrusion did seem to calm Chris down, his fins dropping to a more relaxed pose.
“Omega? You’re gravid Victor?” Chris asked surprised and a little interested.
Victor froze still as the blue Mer started scenting the water, catching trace amounts of omegean pheromones clinging to him. Yuri also paused in his head-on rush to stare between Victor and Christophe. There was no mistaking the hunger in Christophe’s gaze nor the sudden fear in Yuri’s, a sub-adult in nearly as much danger as an Omega. His two favorite Mers were in danger right at that moment. Victor was safe with him, he knew he could protect him and Victor was more than capable of protecting himself, but Yuri wasn’t safe in his grasp and he wasn’t strong enough nor experienced enough to defend himself from the larger predatory Mers. Fortunately for Yuuri’s nerves it didn’t take long for Victor to pull himself back together and take charge.
“Yuri, come here.” Victor ordered calmly, reaching out his hand to the youth.
Yuri hesitated for barely a second to glance as Chris then darted straight to them. As soon as they clasped hands Victor pulled Yuri into his tentacles pushing the little one behind him. Yuuri breathed easier having the little one close to him. Yuri wasn’t stupid, he knows that right now Christophe was a threat. He could have fled back to the relative safely of the cave, but by now the rest of the pod was aware of his and Victor’s presence and could very well be gearing up to tear them apart…literally.
“Victor Cecaelia are dangerous.” Chris entreated even as he licked his lips “Come back to the cave where it’s safe.”
“Whaleshit it’ll be safe.” Yuri muttered.
“Hush Yuri.” Victor murmured.
“Victor be serious! Do you WANT to spend the rest of your life in a cage!?”
Christophe started swimming closer, as if to drag Victor away from him. Yuuri tightened around the two Mers now in his care, wrapping them gently with his inner tentacles while he flexed his outer ones, releasing his barbs to face the interloper, sticky viscous mucus coating them, a venom strong enough that could level a kraken. He liked Chris, he really did, but if Victor wanted him to protect them he would do so and with as much malice as was necessary. The display startled Christophe, freezing him in place. For the first time since this confrontation started he was paying attention to Yuuri directly, and he was terrified. The fear-scent in the water filled him with a pleased growl.
“I’m very serious Chris.” Victor told him silkily, running a claw lightly along the sucker-line of the nearest outer appendage. Yuuri had to bite the inside of his cheek against the ticklish caress. “Alpha, is there a securable cave inside the cove?”
“Um…yeah. I know of one.” Yuuri answered, startled that Victor would ask for one, would want one.
Yuuri untangled from his two Mers, careful to keep between them and Chris. Although it was rather pointless as the blue Mer was too frightened to come anywhere near them. A part of him was sad that there was tension now between the two friends, another part was glad for it. He knew Chris was interested in Victor and apparently had been for a while.
“Victor what are you doing?” Yuri asked quietly as he moved them closer to the safety of the enclosure.
“I’m trying to keep you safe.”
“How much hunting had been done in these last two days?” Victor asked.
“Not a lot.” Yuri answered reluctantly “Everyone’s too afraid to leave the cove, what with the giant squid and a Cecaelia nearby. Not to mention trying to find you.”
“Exactly!” Victor exclaimed as Yuuri led them to a rock outcropping “And who do you think will be the first one sacrificed when hunger sets in?”
“Tch.” Yuri responded instead of answering. It didn’t matter as they both knew what it was. Yuri was too small to be a successful provider and too young to be bred, it was only natural that he would be first to go.
Yuuri could live for all eternity and never understand the mindset of Mers, how they could socialize in the tightest of units one moment and turn on each other the next. It was one of the reasons he was so determined to provide that sustenance to the pods that wintered in his cove. He didn’t like seeing them destroy each other, not when he could stop it. He hadn’t always been successful, but when he was there was no better feeling.
“Here it is.” Yuuri told them.
“Yuri, I want you to go stay near Yakov and Lilia.” Victor ordered the younger Mer.
“I can’t keep you safe like this, they can. As will Chris, right?” Victor turned his gaze to the larger blue.
“With my life if I must. But Victor, why are you locking yourself away? Even gravid you have to know the pod won’t turn on you.”
Yuuri knew that as tempted as Chris was, he meant it. If Victor returned they would rally around him until he normalized.
“I have to my friend. It’s not safe.”
Yuuri hovered over the hidden entrance, a large rock jetting out with another wedged in between it and the island wall. Yuuri squeezed in behind the second rock and pushed it out until it was large enough for a Mer to slip in. Behind the stone was a short tunnel that opened up into a cavern, smaller than the breeding enclosure, smaller even than the cave the pod was using, but it was enough for them to hide in until Victor regulated back.
“Vitya! What are you doing!?” Yakov’s powerful voice echoed through the water stopping Victor just as he was about to enter.
“Yura come away from there!” Lilia’s voice followed.
Yuuri turned to face the new threat. Lilia and Yakov were swimming quickly towards them, intent written plainly across their faces. The rest of the pod hover in a loose circle behind them, Christophe quickly joining them trying to hold them back and talk sense into them. He smugly noted that while JJ didn’t have any permanent damage, the side that hit the corals was covered in torn fins and scratched scales, hopefully he learned not to mess with him.
“Barnacles.” Yuri hissed as the elders approached.
“Language.” Victor told him absently as he swam from behind Yuuri to face Yakov. Yuuri wrapped a tentacle onto Victor’s tail keeping the impulsive Mer from going too far. He wanted to be able to pull him back quickly if he needed to.
Victor smiled softly at Yuuri’s overprotective behavior, it was fitting for an Alpha and while Victor would only feel like an Omega for a little while longer, he was going to enjoy it while it lasts. It had been a very long time since he had needed protecting. Even when he was just a fry he grew stronger and faster than his brothers, quickly becoming the leader of his pod. All his life he’d been the one taking care of others, to be the one being taken care of and protected was in unexpectedly sweet experience. If this was what Omegas felt for their Alphas, then he could get used to it quite easily.
“Yakov my friend!” Victor said jovially “I would like to say this isn’t what it looks like but-“
“But it’s EXACTLY what it looks like!” Yakov shouted.
Yakov came close enough for Victor to feel the agitated vibrations of his fins while keeping a safe distance from Yuuri’s tentacles. A fact that Yuuri did not miss going by the way the one holding him behaved. Lilia was right behind him glaring at the Cecaelia.
“Only mostly what it looks like, I promise.” Victor swore “I’m not gravid.”
“Not-? I can smell him on you.”
“I know, I mean I was bred but I’m not brooding. It didn’t take.” Victor couldn’t acknowledge just how much it still hurt, the empty feeling inside where a plug should fit. Something in his tone must have registered with the older Mer as Yakov dropped most of his posturing. A confused look coming across his face.
“It didn’t take?” Yakov asked, glancing behind him to Yuuri “Vitya, Mers can’t reject a Cecaelia’s brood, in or out of season.”
Strong tentacles gently pulled him into equally strong arms. Victor leaned back trusting Yuuri to hold him as he processed what Yakov told him. He knew…he knew he had been properly caught and taken. He knew he’d been.
“You weren’t ready.” Yuuri murmured softly, stopping the painful whine Victor wasn’t aware he was releasing.
“They were mine.” He whispered.
“Vitya” Yakov said gently “if it’s as you say then come back to the nest, where you belong.”
Victor hesitated. It was so tempting to crawl back to his pod, to let them embrace him in the comforts of the nest and forget these last few days. Yuuri would let him go too, he was sure of it. And yet…
If he returned to the nest the way he was he wouldn’t survive the night. Victor didn’t think Chris would turn on him, but JJ and Mickey would without hesitation. Georgi and Emil probably would too if the others got in on it. He couldn’t guess if Mila and Sara would attack nor Phichit but regardless the results would be the same. The pod would tear itself apart to get to him.
“It’s not safe for me and you know it. Whether or not I’m carrying, I smell like it and tension is already high in the pod. Do you want to risk Mila’s life or Yuri’s? How about Lilia’s? Because a fight will break out if I return now and you know it old friend.”
“Alright Vitya” Yakov sighed heavily, conceding to Victor’s point “just…don’t let him trap you away permanently.”
“I won’t.” Yuuri said, addressing Yakov directly.
“Yura come here.” Lilia demanded.
Yuri pushed hard into Victor’s side. The youth had been hiding half behind Yuuri while he talked to Yakov, eyeing the Mers suspiciously. He was rather surprised his aggressive friend had been silent this entire time. If Victor finds out the pod in any way misused him he would not be forgiving.
“Will he be safe with you?”
“Safer than with you.” Lilia snapped.
Victor wanted to snap back, but Lilia wasn’t necessarily wrong. Like it or not, he was still hormonal and the choice food for a pregnant Mer was Mer. Plus, there were a few things he wanted to hash out with Yuuri that didn’t need an audience.
“Yuri go to Lilia.” Victor commanded.
Yuri huffed sulkily but swam off to Lilia and Yakov. Lilia gathered the subadult into her arms and all but dragged him back into the cave.
“Are you sure?” Yuuri whispered to him as they watched the little golden Mer disappear.
“It’s better this way.” Victor whispered back before continuing louder “If anything happens to him I will rip the entire pod to shreds and leave your corpses for the bottom feeders.” Victor wanted it very clear that he wanted Yuri to be kept safe. Yakov nodded his understanding then swam off to join his mate.
“Come on.” Yuuri said, gently pulling him to the hidden cavern “You’ve already been exposed far longer than I like. Let’s get you inside.”
Victor allowed Yuuri to pull him into the tunnel, sealing off the entrance behind.
“What are we going to do?” Sara asked as soon as all the Mers were back in the cave. Michele curled protectively around her. Emil close by holding her hand.
“Well I’m not sticking around and risking Isabelle!” JJ all but shouted “At sun up we’re gone!”
“About time.” Yuri mumbled under his breath.
“Hush, Yura.” Lilia murmured, her own tail laying over his. Yuri huffed but obeyed. Lilia appeared outwardly cold and harsh, but she was more of a mother than his own ever was. The Mer who birthed him abandoned them soon afterwards leaving the Alpha to care for them. Needless to say, of his twenty-two brothers…he was the only survivor.
“I don’t see what the problem is.” Chimed in Phichit “My juvenile pod wintered in a system that had a Cecaelia in it. Ciao-Ciao often took care of us while we were there.”
“And how many did he keep?” shouted Michele “I’m not sacrificing Sara or Emil to keep his protection!”
“I-I don’t know.” Phichit stuttered, flinching a little at Michele’s harsh tone “I don’t know if he kept any of us. We broke away in those waters. But he never did anything to harm any of us that I’m aware of.”
Before Michele could lash out again Georgi took the center of the cave. Yuri moaned hoping it wasn’t another lament of his lost Anya he had failed to keep last breeding season. Everyone already knew the story of the beautiful nest for his perfect Mer.
“Last year I nested with my sweet Anya.” Georgi started dramatically. Yuri bit back more groaning, the last thing he wanted to hear about was Georgi’s idiotic obsession with Anya when HIS Cecaelia was being discussed. “We had nested deep in the warm southern waters in a beautiful coral filled nest.”
“WE KNOW!” Yuri shouted.
Georgi stared at Yuri as all of his drama fled from his face and fins. Yuri pressed closer to Lilia’s side wary of the sudden change.
“What you don’t know my young friend is during that time a Cecaelia was raiding and destroying every nest he came across in the area. Anya was so terrified she lost half the clutch and fled as soon as it was safe to do so.”
The entire pod paused in horror at Georgi’s tale. Nest killers were the monsters of nightmares, they existed but were so rare they were more myth than fact. That Georgi had been so close to one that he might have experienced it himself was frightening. Why hadn’t he mentioned that part before? Why hide it?
“I say we wait and see what happens when they emerge.” Chris said slowly “He’s been here all along and we only found out he was here when one of our own was in danger. That alone should give us an idea of what kind of Cecaelia he is.”
Yuri and Phichit nodded in agreement. No matter what happens he wasn’t leaving without his Cecaelia…and he suppose Victor too.
“Again, at what cost?” Michele continued “He’s already claimed Victor, who’s next? Sara? Mila? Phichit? You? How many will we lose to stay in this Tank!”
“That’s enough!” Yakov shouted amidst the gasps.
Even Michele looked startled at his own words. If there was one thing that Mers all know about but never mention, it’s the capture and caging of Mers by humans. Tales told in broken whispers of Mers being kept in foul, unnatural water above ground for humans to gawk at and torture. Humans may be the favored prey of Mers, but the land walkers had their own ways of getting their own back and it rarely involved a quick, clean death.
“You all can do what you want, but I’m not risking it.” JJ stated firmly, glancing down at the trembling Isabelle in his arms “I have too much to lose.”
“Those who want to leave can leave, those who want to stay will stay.” Yakov said finally “For now, get some rest.”
The tips of Yuuri’s tentacles twitched at Victor’s somber tone, the Mer shifted slightly as he felt it. Victor was using Yuuri’s own body as a bed since the smaller cave had no proper nest. He was quite content to be used so but now Victor wanted answers he didn’t entirely know how to give.
“Because…it wasn’t your time.”
“That wasn’t your decision to make!” Victor hissed into Yuuri’s face.
“Isn’t it?” Yuuri flipped them around until Victor was pinned under him, his tentacles wrapping around Victor holding him immobile. Victor snarled at the sudden change even as his body relaxed in his hold.
“That night you would have killed me if you could and I had a choice to make that wasn’t really a choice at all. I could have fought you, or I could have…fucked you and I would let you kill me before I would ever harm you.”
“I know all that! You had me, caught and kept except you didn’t keep me!” Victor cried out, eyes blazing in the darkness “Why?”
Yuuri smiled down into Victor’s ferocious face as one of his tentacles wormed its way deep into him, causing Victor to keen. He loved that noise he could pull from his beautiful, powerful Mer, loved the feeling of his walls spasming and tightening around him. How responsive Victor was to him. But he couldn’t use sex to put off this conversation, no matter how unpleasant it was going to be for him.
“Do you…know what happens to Mers caught by Cecaelia?” Yuuri asked reluctantly.
“They’re kept locked in a cave they can’t escape and bred.” Victor answered harshly even as he twitched around him, enjoying the feeling even as he glared up at him.
“Yeah, but do you know the details of carrying a Cecaelia brood?”
Victor looked confused and thoughtful as he tried to remember if he knew of any details. Yuuri didn’t think he had any, not many Mers leave their Cecaelia…alive. His kind could be cruel in never letting their mates taste freedom again. Cecaelia mated for life…the Mer’s life, and they were fiercely possessive of them.
“No.” Victor finally answered.
“It’s different from carrying a Mer clutch.”
“There are two main differences between a Cecaelia’s brood and a Mer’s. The first is a Cecaelia can push a Mer into ovulation in breeding even out of season with our hectocotylus.” Yuuri started off “But that’s not all it’s for. Our hectocotylus is also used as our version of the mating plug. By…ripping off and staying behind.”
“I would have had dead rotting flesh as a plug?” Victor asked clearly sickened by the thought.
“It’s not dead. When the hectocotylus attaches to the womb wall to release the sperm sacks, it attaches itself to the bloodstream keeping itself alive and since each tentacle has its own brain…”
“Oh Leviathan.” Victor whispered dazed as he realized what Yuuri was telling him. For the entire pregnancy he would have a living, sort of thinking, independent tentacle acting as a plug. One that would instinctively respond to Victor’s emotions…and desires. Victor clearly didn’t know if he should be horrified or, given by the sudden release of slick in his canal around the one currently invading him, aroused. “If-if it’s a part of me, how-how does it release?”
“When it’s time it’ll invert itself into the womb giving the spawn a large boost of nutrients just before birth.” Yuuri told him when he had Victor’s attention back on what he was saying “And that leads to the second major difference.”
“The second they’re born, Cecaelia fry are completely independent. They leave the nest almost immediately. But there is a time difference between when they hatch and when they’re born.”
“What kind of time difference?”
“It varies. It really does!” Yuuri assured Victor of his honesty when it looked like he was about to protest “The spawn hatch after only about six weeks but they stay within the womb for as long as the Mer can safely carry them. It could be a couple of months, it could be several.”
“How do they survive? Do they cannibalize?” Victor asked seriously.
“Mers release nutrient rich milk into the water to feed their fry, right? It’s basically the same thing the entire process stays internal.” Yuuri told him “The longer the Mer is able to support the spawn, the better their chances of survival are. And the stronger and healthier the Mer is, the longer they can carry. Making it imperative for the Cecaelia to provide and care for their Mers.”
“Hmm…” Victor looked pensive as he took in everything Yuuri told him, his teeth snapping gently at a tentacle passing near his lips.
He hoped Victor now understood why he did what he did. It was so completely different and while he wanted to keep Victor his forever, to see the Mer swell with his progeny, it had to be Victor’s choice. There are things he still hasn’t told him yet, like the fact that he would feed almost exclusively on Yuuri’s ichor while brooding, or that it was more the Mer’s instinct to be enclosed than the Cecaelia’s.
Although, Victor was still nibbling and sucking on a tentacle, instinctively encouraging it to release ichor as he processed everything Yuuri told him, swallowing repeatedly around the tip. Yuuri’s brows knitted in confusion, he hadn’t been aware of it until he noticed it. He watched Victor nurse on him without seemingly being aware of what he was doing. There were a lot of things hadn’t been aware of until just now. Victor was a fierce, strong Mer who threatened to rip his throat out just three days ago and now here he was laying contently in his tentacles sucking on one while another rooted itself of inside him.
“Victor.” Yuuri called softly as he tried to pull Victor from whatever deep introspection he was thinking “H-how long after a Mer rejects a mating plug does it take for them to…go back to normal?”
“Couple hours a most.” Victor answered releasing the tentacle, his mouth smeared with ichor “Why?”
“You’re uh…you’re still brooding.”
I honestly must have rewritten the first half of this chapter 20 times! I could not get it how I wanted it and it was mostly Victor's fault too!
But I mostly blame tumblr for the delay. Somehow 'Malec' ended up on my feed and I got curious, then I got obsessed...I can't be trusted on the internet.
But the next chapter is out, hallelujah!
but if anyone wants to keep up on my progress and meltdowns you can find me at https://nightwyver.tumblr.com/ (I don't know how to link)