Feli was enjoying the time to himself. He was usually with his new mate, so being alone was a rare thing. The pool was big enough that he could simply swim around in it for a while and listen to his thoughts. He was missing his family terribly and felt bad about what happened with his grandfather. He really didn't mean to upset him about his mom. They don't usually talk about what happened with the boys' mom, or dad, for that matter. It was too painful for any of them to remember.
Feli sighed and rubbed his gills tenderly. With his neck being above water so much they didn't really get used as much. It wasn't technically a bad thing, at least as far as Feli knew. He didn't really ask all that many questions when it came to going above surface. Nobody liked going except him. Come to think of it, all the things he did were usually just by himself. Sure, he was a hit with the chicks and everything, but people thought he was weird or annoying. With Gilbert and Luddy he wasn't, but they were humans...
All these thoughts about his old life were depressing him quite a lot, actually. Maybe when Luddy gets back from the market, he could ask about going down to the beach with him? They could try to find his family and if they weren't there, he could just live with the two Germans. How things would be simpler if everybody would be nice to each other. Especially humans. Every monster took a human appearance. Even God's image was of humans. They were so full of themselves sometimes.
He wish things were simpler.
Just as he was swimming in his thoughts, a noise caught his attention. The brothers had only left a few minutes ago so they shouldn't be back for a while. The merman stopped moving and tried to listen for whatever made the noise. When he didn't hear anything after a few moment's pause, he poked his head out of the water to listen more clearly. It was nothing more than his eyes and ears, so not even his face was out of the water. Yet it didn't seem to matter when he spotted a human trying to hide. He couldn't get under the water fast enough.
A scream broke out and the human charged with a knife in his hand. Feli felt pure, unfiltered fear break into his chest and he quickly swam to the deepest part of the pool. It was only down to a few feet, so it didn't matter. The human dove into the water and began to expertly swim down to where Feli was.
Feli could only watch with horror as the human swam expertly near. How he wish that Luddy or his brother were here. They could easily take this human down with no effort at all. When the human got too close, Feli quickly swam away. He was faster than the human, so maybe he would be able to avoid him until help came back home?
He turned and watched as the human bobbed up to the surface for air and actually get out of the pool. It was actually pointless for the human to try and swim around after him. Especially in such a closed area, it wouldn't work. Feli tilted his head at this. Maybe this human wasn't so stupid after all? Just to be on the safe side, he went back to the deep end and waited for movement to know if he was truly gone.
He wasn't good with telling time, but he knew it had to be at least three minutes. Every second felt like an hour was going by, a minute felt like a day. His heart was hammering in his ears and his gills flapped wildly, trying to keep up with his heart. His eyes were wide to try and see more, even if he was blinking rapidly to try to keep tears from escaping.
In a few minutes, he calmed himself down to the point to think rationally. The human had attack him in his element, if he went on the tile of the pool or anywhere out of water, he would be finished. He had to be careful. Finally, when he deemed it to be safe to at least check, he slowly went up to the surface. Like the time before, only half of his face poked out of the water. He couldn't see anything where he was looking. Everything looked calm and in order.
But before he had the chance to look the other way, a net descended onto him and entangled him. The immediate fear and adrenaline took place as he began to scream and thrash around in the net. Like before, he couldn't figure out how to escape this trap. His fingers fit through the holes and held onto the rope. He began to scan for a way out. His heart was beating too fast, his entire body began to shake with fear, he couldn't breathe, oh god, he could barely think. Everything seemed to shut down in his mind to try and escape without reason. All he could think was how he was going to die.
Suddenly, sharp hands grabbed him tightly and hoisted him up out of the water onto the floor. His tail splashed the water in efforts to escape. He couldn't get back into the water with how far he was out. The human was grunting with effort to try and keep him grounded and Feli screamed out louder.
The human cursed and grabbed the knife again. Feli only needed to see the shine on the blade to know where this was heading.
"No, no, please, no!" He began to shriek. Tears were running down his face and he couldn't seem to breathe anymore. He continued to plead for his pathetic life when the human brought the knife to his throat and tapped his skin. He whimpered and more so focused on crying instead of begging. The knife moved away from his neck and instead went to the scales on his tail fin. He felt the knife tip dig into this flesh and he cried out in pain.
He began to yelp and bawl, thrashed around, anything to help him escape. The human was merciless and brought up a cut scale from his body. "Was that so bad?" The devil smirked and brought his knife down again. "Let's get a few more, shall we?"
"No, no please!" He cried out and tried to grab the hands. The human just laughed. Feli shrieked loudly and tried to breathe.
"Ludwig, help!" Feliciano thrashed as much as he was able to. "Luddy!"
Feli began to scream more and wiggle about. He closed his eyes and braced for the incoming pain and thought of his mom and dad. Did they have to go through something similar to this? He was just about to pass out when the demon was knocked off of Feli and thrown into the pool. The loss of weight and pain brought Feli to open his eyes to see a furious Ludwig above him with his fists clenched.
"Luddy," Feli cried out and reached for his hand. Hope swelled in his chest at the sight of his mate.
Gilbert was suddenly by his side. "Feli, let's go, ja?" He tore off the net of him and put an arm around the petrified merman. "It's okay."
Feli sobbed and tried to watch Ludwig. The man was shouting at Ludwig, which Ludwig was shouting back at just as easily. Did he know him? Who was the man? Thoughts whipped around his mind as Gilbert hoisted him into his arms and carried him away from the scene.
"...Feli? Feli, can you hear me?"
The merman blinked heavy tears away and tried to focus on the worried tone of Ludwig's brother. "What?"
"Are you hurt?" Gilbert repeated. He had to push open the door with his shoulder due to the fact both arms were occupied by a heavy merman.
"M...my tail," Feli choked out. "Wh-what about L-Luddy?"
Gilbert shook his head and for once had a serious face on instead of the happy-go-lucky one he always bore. "He can handle himself, I assure you." He reached the truck and set him down on the open tailgate. "Let me see where you're hurt."
Feli managed to show him where his missing scale was, along with a small stream of blood dripping down. Because he wouldn't be able to produce another scale, there would be a small scar on his tail forever. It didn't really matter, it was just a scale, he had thousands more of where it came from. But it sure hurt like a bitch and wouldn't stop demanding his attention. The scale that was missing was about the size of a small coin.
"Alright, well, it looks like it'll be okay. You won't bleed out, will you?" Gilbert locked his eyes with Feli and exhaled a heavily sigh.
"No, I don't think so." He whispered. "I was so scared."
"I know, I'm so sorry, Feliciano. If we knew…" He shook his head. "You might be going into shock now, though."
Feli didn't know what that was and didn't really care. He also didn't know where Ludwig was. Shouldn't he be here now? "Gilbert, where's Ludwig?"
"I don't know, Feli. I'm sure he'll be here any second though, my awesome little brother is a very strong thing." He laughed his signature laugh and turned serious when a sound reached his ears.
Feli tilted his head and was about to ask what he was doing when the front door slammed open. Ludwig ran down the yard and almost slammed into the truck. "Gilbert, you drive."
Gilbert didn't respond and went up to the driver's seat. Ludwig turned to Feli and checked him over for injuries. "Are you..okay?"
Feli nodded. "I'm fine."
Ludwig picked him up and gently scooted them back into the bed of the truck. They didn't say anything as Gilbert drove them. Feli closed his eyes and held onto Ludwig tightly. He was so terrified that he wasn't going to be able to hold him ever again.
Out of everything, he felt guilt. It was his fault he had to live there in the first place, that wasn't fair to anybody, especially the brothers. To make it worse his family probably already left or hated him. Everything was just so hard lately. "Ludwig, I'm sorry."
"Don't," he immediately responded and held him closer to his chest. "You have nothing to be sorry for. Nothing at all," Ludwig leaned forward and kissed his head. "I should be the one who's sorry. I shouldn't have left you alone."
Feli shrugged and leaned into Ludwig. "Who was he?"
"My grandfather," Ludwig stiffened. "I didn't remember that he would be home today." He shook his head and pursed his lips together. "I'm sorry, Feliciano." His voice cracked as if he were going to cry.
Feliciano kissed him on the lips to reassure him. "Please don't worry about this. I'm okay, really."
Ludwig nodded and kissed him on the forehead. "I love you, Felciano."
The car stopped and Feli turned to look where they were.
The warm air, the thick scent of water and salt, seagulls squawking loudly. They were on the beach. Feliciano almost forgot what it looked like. The sun's rays glimmered on the water and danced with the waves. He almost cried at the sight of the wide spread of water. "I'm home." He choked out and smiled at Ludwig. "I'm really home."
Ludwig nodded and kissed him. "I thought it would be best," he sighed and tried to blink the emotion out of his eyes. Instead of speaking and risking the tears, he picked up Feli and jumped out of the car. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine, Luddy, really." Feli smiled at him for reassurance. "Will you still visit me?"
"Everyday, meine liebe." He grunted. To be honest, he didn't want to let Feliciano go. He didn't want him to leave at all. He wanted to hold Feli in his arms, he wanted to kiss Feli, he wanted Feli. To have to release him back, to let him go, was killing him on the inside.
The two legs began to walk into the water and Feli almost squealed at the feeling of water rushing over his scales. He reached down and touched the water with one of his hands. He giggled and flashed his mate a bright grin. "Ludwig, do you remember our promise? Can you go swimming with me sometime? Maybe even go under?"
Ludwig nodded and released him into the water. Feli swam around and rolled around in the shallow water. "Ludwig, I missed this."
Ludwig watched him and chuckled. "Feli, you're so cute."
The merman stopped and blinked at Ludwig. "Thank you, Luddy." He blushed and threw himself onto Ludwig. "I'm going to miss those compliments all the time. Can we sleep together sometime?"
The human's face immediately turned red and he coughed, trying to think of something to say. "I..I...You don't..." He stammered and coughed harder into a fist. "Feli, I-"
"I'm teasing, Luddy!" He smiled. "You're so funny sometimes." He blinked and kissed Ludwig on his cheek.
The two held each other in the water and sighed contently. Their heads touched and silence over fell them. Neither said anything and just simply enjoyed the other's presence. It went unsaid that they were delaying Feli's departure.
"Feliciano, I-" Ludwig began, but was interrupted by Gilbert honking the horn.
"Ludwig, Grandpa is calling my phone nonstop! We need to go!" He called out to the blonde.
"Guess both of our grandpas are waiting for us, huh?" Feli smiled sadly at him. "I'll see you tomorrow, I promise."
Ludwig leaned forward and kissed him on his lips for a full moment. "I promise."
Feli lingered for a few seconds before jumping into the water and swimming off. Ludwig closed him eyes tightly and wiped off the tears that came to his eyes. He shouldn't be crying, he would see him tomorrow. It really wouldn't be that long, he would wait forever if he had to. Twenty-four hours were nothing compared to that.
He turned back and started heading back to the car.
Feli swam back to where he knew they would be if they were still here. His family was talking about leaving way before all of this happened weeks ago. What if they left without him?
He swam faster. If they left without him, he wouldn't know what to do. Before it was just go back to live with Ludwig and Gilbert, but what about the man there? Feliciano really didn't want to live with somebody who tried to kill him. His tail began to feel sore just thinking about the missing scale. He was lucky that Ludwig didn't notice it. If he did, well, he was pretty sure that Ludwig would blame himself the rest of his life.
He slowed down when he saw the cave they'd been staying in. It was the moment of truth. He slowly entered the cave and hesitantly looked around. He couldn't tell if it had been used lately or not.
"Grandpa," he called out. "Lovino?" He swam forward and looked around. It seemed nobody was home. He frowned and blinked tears back. "Hello?" When silence responded, he began to cry. "Antonio?" He tried.
Nothing. He swam to the very back of the cave where they would sometimes sleep. When he found nothing there, he tried to look other places. There were only so many places you could check in a cave and Feli was beginning to get desperate. Would they really, truly leave without him? Could it actually be that he was going to left alone?
He was about to lose it when something sounded from the front of the cave. With a gasp, he followed the sound and almost cried when he saw what made the sound. His grandfather was there. His twin brother was swimming behind him into the cave when he saw why they stopped and followed suit. The only merman that wasn't there was Lovino's brother, Antonio. And he was sure as hell wasn't going to leave Lovino behind.
"Felicano?" His grandfather finally dared to speak. "Is that really you?"
Feli shot forward and embraced him in a tight hug. "Grandpa!" He smiled into the familiarity of the scene and hugged him tighter. "Grandpa, I'm home!"
Strong, shaking, arms wrapped around him and his grandfather breathed heavily in relief and happiness. "You're home, Feliciano, you're home."
He was home. And he didn't want to leave.