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Tales from the Sheltered Waters *HIATUS*

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'The water is getting warmer,' Izuku thought idly as he roused from his nest. Sitting up, he arched his back in an attempt to stretch and was rewarded with a satisfying pop. At the same time, a few dull scales fell from his green tail and Izuku felt a small puff of happiness. He always hated the way the cold waters would dull his scales. Circling in his cramped den to view his tail, he was pleased to see that only a few patches of drab green scales remained. 'A little bit of grooming ought to fix that!', he thought gleefully.

"Izuku-kun!~" an excited voice called from outside, startling Izuku as he jumped a bit. Shaking his sleep frazzled head, he swam out to greet his friend.

"Goodmorning Ochako!", Izuku called to his best friend since hatching, Ochako Uraraka. Her pink tail seemed to already be recovered from the cold and now swished around in all its shimmering and shining glory. With a squishy round face, big brown eyes, and shoulder length brown hair, she was adorable to say the least. Always the optimist, she was a burning ball of happiness. The only times Izuku had ever seen her as anything other than friendly was when she was defending Izuku’s sorry butt.

Ochako swam circles around Izuku as she giggled and chirped. Izuku couldn’t help but swirl around with her. It'd be a waste of newfound energy not to. After a good frolic away from the inhabited dens they swam up and on top of the reef they inhabited.

They were both a little out of breath, their bodies still waking up from the months of cold, but it felt amazing to be up and about once more. Gills struggling to filter enough water, they laid side by side on a patch of soft seagrass.

After having rested for a while, Ochako giggled and flipped over to the other side of Izuku. “Aren’t you excited!?-” She chirped happily. “-I sure am! I know we weren’t able to go last year, but I’m sure there will still be plenty of—“ She was silenced with Izuku’s tailfin closing her mouth.

”Excited for what?” He inquired with a chuckle.

The pink tailed mermaid rolled her eyes and pushed the tail away from her face. “For our trip to the Center Waters, duh.” She then began to swim another loop around the merman as he was left reeling.

‘Trip to the Center Waters?! I thought that was months away! Maybe I can fake sick again? But then Ochako would probably stay behind with me again and she seems super excited and —‘ The greenette mentally rambled. He knew that it would happen soon, but he wasn’t expecting it straight out of winter soon! Did it really happen this time last year?

By the time he had stopped his brain from rolling around in his head, he had noticed his friend had stopped circling around. Her brown eyes were as pouty as her lip as she looked at him. ‘Crap’. “Izukuuu-“ the brunette whined. “-C’mon! I know you were sick our first year, but this year you have no excuse!” She said firmly and folded her arms poutifully.

Izuku sighed and flopped dramatically onto the seagrass. “I don’t want to hold you back or anything, but I really don’t wanna go!” He pleaded.

In response, Ochako floated so she was directly above him, and smushed her face into her folded arms. They had a staring contest for a good few seconds before her playful expression faltered into a more serious one. “Izuku, I know you haven’t had the best experience with other merfolk, but I can guarantee you that not all Alphas are like the ones we have in our shoal,” She perked up again and smiled at the thoughtful man below her. “, Besides, you don’t even have to mate an Alpha! Plenty of nice, calm, placid Betas would looove to get to know you.”

Izuku looked thoughtful but unconvinced.

Ochako remembered a detail about the oncoming gathering that would be a perfect motivator to her dear friend. “Oh well, I guess,” She said as she rolled with the current, leaving a slightly confused Izuku turning around. “, I’m surprised though, I thought you’d be more enthused about meeting Alpha Toshinori...”

Izuku’s earfins perked up and his eyes widened. He was quickly in Ochako’s face. “Like, ‘fought off 27 sharks BY HIMSELF’ Alpha Toshinori!?!” Ochako nodded with a smug smile on her face. Izuku did a backflip and swam about. “No way!” He swam back to his friend. “Is he really?”, he questioned enthusiastically.

She nodded once more. “Rumor has it-“ she leaned into Izuku’s earfin, “-he’s looking for a mate.” Izuku blinked rapidly.

”Really?”, he asked, awestruck. Which he had every right to be, the powerful Alpha had never once displayed interest in a Mate before.

”Yep~”, she replied. “I personally think your mom would look good with him,” she said.

Izuku flushed red and stammered wildly while Ochako laughed.

---

After they had both regained their composure, Ochako touched her tailfin to her friends. She looked up at his face with a sofe smile. "Can you please come Izuku? I think it'd be great for both of us. We don't even have to stay for the breeding period." Her voice was sincere and Izuku smiled back.

"Alright," he said submissively. Ochako did a mental backflip. ", But no guarantees we stay for the whole time, ok?”