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An ocean of emotion

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Tutor scowled as he swatted away a curious cuttlefish from his twin’s neck. Pete had been in a daze ever since he had returned from sunning on some rocks on the surface. Some of what happened to him was obvious. The scratches on his arms, the scales pulled loose from his shimmering light pink and blue tail, the bruises on his cheeks, all of it reeked of being caught by humans.

But some how, his soft spoken and gentle twin had survived the ordeal, either broken free or let loose. The question was, how on earth had it happened such to cause such a dreamy expression. Tutor snapped his fingers in front of Pete’s face to snap him out of his revere, but instead of an answer, all Tutor got was a swirling hug as Pete spun him around.

“Oh Tor…” Pete said with a sigh. “I think we should both go sunning on the surface today…”

“WHAT?!” Tutor pushed Pete away and his scowl deepened. “You must be mad! Look at you! After all that must have happened, after I told you to be careful, you must have been caught by humans! And you still want to go lay on the surface?!”

“But Tor! There’s…” A scarlet blush tinted Pete’s cheeks. “There’s someone I met…”

“No.” Tutor firmly squeezed Pete’s shoulders. “You are not in love with a miserable human!”

“He’s not miserable at all!” Pete sighed and Tutor wanted to puke. “He’s so kind and strong… He saw them capture me and then told the captain and got me cut loose! He’s a good human!” Pete looked up into the shimmering light of day that filtered through ocean water and kelp. “And he was so handsome…”

“No. No no no.” Tutor even crossed his arms in an X to drive the point home. “You are never going to the surface again!”

“Then come with me!” Pete tugged on one of Tutor’s arms. “If you, one of the greatest warriors of our kingdom comes with me to the surface, surely I’ll be safe from the humans.” Pete gently laid a hand on Tutor’s shoulder, covering a small scar. “For you also escaped once.”

Tutor turned his gaze away from Pete and laid a hand over his. “Pete… please don’t.”

“I won’t say I love him yet,” Pete said softly as he drew closer to Tutor. “But… I want to see him again. Please, Tor? The minute you say it isn’t safe, I’ll dive back down with you. I promise.”

“You won’t just promise, you’ll swear it.”

Pete pressed Tutor’s hand to his heart. “I swear it with all the love I have for you, my dearest brother.”


The air above was cool and sharp in a way that the ocean waters were not as Tutor and Pete lay out on the rocks of a small island to sun themselves. Tutor made sure his best spear was never out of reach and on his waist was his best dagger. Instead of enjoying the sun, Pete spent most of the time gazing across the horizon until at last he saw a large ship coming closer. Tutor glared at the offending ship as he watched it lower a smaller boat into the water.

“You planned this,” Tutor growled. “You told your human to meet you here!”

“Tor… You agreed…” Pete laid his hand on top of Tutor’s shaking one. “It’s only the human I met… His name is Ae… He’s actually first mate on the ship!”

“I can’t believe you would-”

“They’re almost here!” Pete’s expression immediately perked up as the rowboat made quick work of the remaining distance to the island. However his expression turned perplexed as instead of one man, two emerged from the boat.

One had a rough expression on his tanned face that turned softer as his eyes met Pete’s. “This must be his Ae,” Tutor muttered to himself. Ae was not classically handsome, at least not by mermen standards, but Tutor could see that he was exactly to his twin’s taste. Firm, compact, strong, clear of mind and vision with a soft spot a mile wide for just a particular person. Pete was already waving him over. But the other…

Taller, broader, with a more defined chest that was barely contained within a flimsy linen shirt dyed a vivid blue. By the assortment of things about his waist and the large hat that did little to hide his strong brow and curious eyes, Tutor could tell this man was in charge, the captain perhaps then.

And then their eyes met properly as the wind blew back the man’s hat. Tutor found himself lost in the sea of memory, the tight and scratchy feeling of a net binding him, piercing eyes and a voice telling him he’d cut him loose, a warning to not struggle, but how could Tutor not in his panic? A quick flash and then pain in his shoulder, the sound of apology, but Tutor had not bothered to listen, he had run to dive back into cool waters.

Tutor hefted up his spear but the taller man only stepped up to the point and let it lay poised against his chest. Ae and Pete broke from their little tryst of sighs and giggles to watch warily.

“So you do live,” the other man said solemnly. “I am glad to see it.”

“You… You can’t…”

“If you choose to run me through for wrongs done to you, I would not take offense.” The man rested his hand on the spear shaft and Tutor fought the urge to wrench it from his grasp or reach for his dagger. “But I spared your life because I wanted to. I hope you will do the same for mine.”

“Tor…” Pete called out warningly, but Ae pulled him back and whispered in his ear.

“Tor…” The other man said as if he was testing the name on his tongue. “It suits you. I assume it’s short for something?”

“That’s not for you to know!”

“Then please let me introduce myself.” The man removed his hat in lieu of a bow. “Captain Fighter, of the Merman’s Mercy.” Fighter’s eyes twinkled with something that Tutor dared not name. “It is a pleasure to meet you again, merman Tor.”


Fighter watched as the lithe figure growled, tossed, and turned in the net. A lucky catch, or so the captain had claimed, but Fighter knew that merpeople were not so easily caught. Not ones like this with fire in their hearts as opposed to the ice of the ocean. 

And it was truly a beautiful specimen. Fair and lovely, but obviously not the demure kind that sailors often wished they could attempt to seduce. No, this merman was more likely to gut a man.

Fighter would let him if it meant he could kiss his salt covered lips.

But it would not be right to hold such a creature against his will and Fighter himself had nothing to lose. After all, his last most hefty payment for services rendered unto the captain was now safely tucked away and his contract ended. 

Fighter edged closer and the merman began to thrash even more. 

"Shh..." Fighter used his most gentle tone and held his hands up in peace. "I'm going to let you go... I promise, I'm going to cut you free. Just don't struggle too much or you'll hurt yourself."

The merman glared at Fighter for the briefest of moments and continued to struggle. Fighter did his best to continue trying to soothe the panicked merman, but he still twisted left and the net slipped in Fighter's grasp as he cut to the right. There was a yelp of pain and Fighter felt it in his chest before he found himself floored by the slam of a powerful and muscular tail before the merman jumped off the deck and back into the water. Fighter shook himself out of his daze and watched after the faint shimmer of scales in pale moonlight as he swam away, just under the ocean surface. 

Bells were ringing in alarm and Fighter could only sigh. 

"Until we meet again one day," he whispered.


Fighter traced the wood of the hull of his new ship. It had taken all his savings, but at last, she was his. Rightfully and completely. Through his admiration for the ship, he felt a presence to his right. Fighter turned to find his First Mate, Ae, standing silently, a bottle of wine in his hands. Ae had also been there, on the day where Fighter had found his world rocked by nothing more than a look at the most beautiful thing he had ever laid eyes on. However, Ae had not seen him, and Fighter thought it for the best. 

"What have you decided to name her?" Ae asked as he handed over the bottle to his captain.

"Hmm..." Fighter smirked before smashing the wine bottle against the hull. "I name you the Merman's Mercy, may you serve us well." Ae raised an eyebrow but said nothing before returning to get the crew in order. Fighter stroked over the splash of wine on the hull. "May my merman have mercy on my heart and appear before me again some day."


"Captain!" Ae burst into the captain's quarters with an urgency Fighter had never seen, not even when they were potentially facing down pirates. "Captain, the crew! They've... They've caught a merman!"

"What?!" Fighter immediately stood up. "Who-"

"I've already punished the sorry ass," Ae said firmly. "But, can I let him go?"

Fighter's heart leapt up into his throat. "Let me see him first."

Ae scowled, but allowed it. Fighter mused his hair as he passed. "Easy sir, if your heart is already swayed for him and he is not the one I seek, he's all yours to woo." Ae scoffed, but there was no way of hiding how his blush was not from the burn of the sun. 

It was easy enough for Fighter to push past the stares of his crew to look their ill gotten captive in the eye. Of course, as a merman, he was beautiful. His face the exact image of the one that still haunted Fighter's dreams. But the eyes... The eyes were different. It was not his merman, but close, so very very close and Fighter's heart ached. 

"Set him loose," Fighter ordered as Ae caught up to him. "And if you have the chance to meet him again, I am coming with you."


"I have my suspicions. Just humor me, Ae."


And how happy Fighter was, even at spearpoint to find his suspicions were right. 

“It is a pleasure to meet you again, merman Tor.”