Octomer were generally pretty solitary creatures. They got in fights sometimes, but in general, they did their own things and everyone else minded their own damn business. Sometimes they caused mischief, but they were fast and flexible in ways not many other underwater creatures were.
All Jason had wanted to do was poke around at the interesting human gadgets left in an old shipwreck. Most Mer didn’t care one way or another what humans did so long as they stayed far away and didn’t dump their poison in the sea. But octomer were quiet curious, and Jason especially so.
Jason hadn’t realized the ship was in Black Mask’s territory. That was his excuse for how fast he went down then the anglermer attacked from the shadows.
“Not looking so hot there, boy ,” Roman sneered down at him, fingers hooking into his gills so Jason couldn’t safely wriggle away. Jason’s many arms writhed and prodded for purchase on the skeletal like body of the anglermer without much luck. The suckers were sensitive! He wasn’t going to just start jabbing them into poky things.
“If I remember correctly, you thought differently last time,” Jason snarked back. And ok, Roman was probably right to be mad- Jason had blown up a bunch of his shit and left- but he hadn’t been interested in sticking around and being Roman’s kept trophy, no matter how interesting the toys Roman found him were.
“Brat,” Roman sneered, “You’re going to regret- gah!”
The anglermer let go as Jason gave him a face full of ink. Wriggling away, Jason slipped through a crack in the ceiling too small for Roman to follow through. He managed to get himself back outside the ship, but the visibility still sucked this deep.
Not that Roman would have any trouble sniffing him out; his kind excelled in the dark.
Something passed overhead and Jason let himself flatten against the wood, camouflaging as he tracked the shadow. A Mer, but he wasn’t sure what kind. Something big .
Then the rotten wood behind him was bursting apart as Roman charged him, still blind with ink and furious.
“I’m going to rip off your pretty little arms and feed them to my pets,” Roman snarled, bouncing Jason’s head off the rocks. He managed to catch sight of the Mer above pausing to watch and then everything was going black.
Jason really hadn’t expected to wake up again. And he also really hadn’t expected to be woken up to the feeling of being thoroughly inspected.
“Oi! Watch where you’re shoving your fingers,” Jason squawked, jerking away. His head ached, but when things came into focus, he saw the Mer from before appraising him. He truly was huge, some kind of orca or shark perhaps, white haired with one eye and scared beside that and 100% a predator.
But he had saved Jason.
“My apologies,” said the Mer, not looking sorry at all, “My name is Slade. I was just checking to see if you were hurt.”
Yeah, no, this guy was an asshole.
“Whatever.” Jason tried to make a hasty retreat, but he found that whoever this Slade person was, he had dragged Jason away from the shipwreck and to some kind of cave.
“If you’re looking for a way out, you won’t find it,” Slade said grinned as Jason darted to the surface only to find that the cave there was as unhelpful as the one below.
“Screw you,” Jason snapped, latching onto the wall and pulling himself out of the water anyway, “Why’d you save me anyway if you were just going to eat me?”
“Not going to eat you, kid,” Slade looked amused by the idea.
“Then why?” demanded Jason.
“Your kind are very valuable,” Slade shrugged, not seeming concerned that Jason had practically crawled up the walls to get away from him, “wasn’t going to let some idiot angler damage you.”
“You going to sell me?” Jason bared his teeth.
“You have a more valuable alternative?”
Jason glowered at him from the cranny he’d wedged himself into. Slade couldn’t reach him right then, but Jason could tell that this cave filled and emptied with the tide. He was probably just biding his time. If this cave had any secondary exits, Slade had likely closed them all off so even if Jason’s kind were typically great escape artists, he was probably good and trapped.
It might be worth it to let Slade sell him to whoever and escape from wherever he ended up (people rarely created cages that were secure enough to hold an octomer). But if Slade sold him to humans and he ended up too far inland… it wasn’t worth leaving up to chance.
“...eggs,” Jason said at last.
“My eggs would be worth a lot more than I would be, even if they’re unfertilized,” Jason shrugged. They were useless little sacks that he’d probably end up burying in the sand somewhere anyway. He didn’t like the idea of giving them to some crazed scientist to dissect, but it wasn’t as if they would harm anything and Jason would rather stay out of a lab himself. The eggs began breaking down soon after they were laid if they weren’t fertilized- which is part of why they were so valuable- so whoever Slade sold them to wouldn’t have a very large window to work with anyway.
“They’d be more valuable fertilized,” Slade noted, apparently thinking the same thing he was.
“Too bad, your kind and mine are not compatible,” Jason said, showing his teeth just in case Slade was getting any ideas.
“Pity,” Slade gave him an appreciative look that made Jason wiggle further into his hidden cranny, “Would have been fun to try.”
“Yeah well get it out of your freaky pervert brain because it ain’t gonna happen,” Jason warned.
“Not today, no,” Slade agreed with a slow smile, “Maybe when you get bored waiting for your eggs to come.”
“Fuck off,” Jason said flushing darkly. Maybe he did get crazy horny the closer he was to laying, but he wasn’t going to just let his jailer fuck him because there was no one else around.
“Or maybe I’ll find you another octomer and up the value of those eggs,” Slade mused.
Jason just laughed, “You said yourself; my kind is rare. If you could just get one of us, then there wouldn’t be such a high price on our heads.”
“True,” Slade said lazily, “but I happen to know of another octomer. Pretty thing like you, but never sits still long enough to capture. I’m sure he’d be interested in coming to your… rescue.”
“Sure he would,” Jason said, not really believing him. Though if he left for a moment to try and lure this other Mer, Jason was pretty sure he could escape.
“If not, we still have a deal,” Slade shrugged.
For now , Jason thought.