Aquata Cove

Chapter 4: Life At Sea

Over the sea's horizon, the canvas of deep blue gradually seeped through bleak orange. The warm aura soon birthed a bright yellow peak. The light touched the trees, scanned the rock, and illuminated a vague rainbow on the waterfall. The morning sun soon laid upon a young, burly, semi-hairy male, with a soft, younger one upon his lap, both men under a blanket.

As the sunlight lowered onto the two lovers, Adam's eyes soon blinked awake. He squinted as the fiery, half-hidden orb ascended slowly from the edge of the ocean. The man closed his eyes again to shield his sight from the blinding shine. Still, it felt warm to have he morning light pour on him and his lover.

Adam took a deep breath, and then exhaled. His hands gently roamed under the blanket, feeling what would be the last while of the touch of that incredibly silk-like skin.

Merrick stirred in his sleep as he snuggled closer to his lover, his cheek brushing against the hair layered on Adam's left pec.

"..." Adam nuzzled on the top of Merrick's blonde hair. The younger male's eyes peaked open, feeling his man's hand rub his rump and back. The shell slice on Merrick's necklace began to flicker.

"... Adam..." He muttered. Adam nodded, tenderly hugging his boyfriend, "... I..."

"Yeah..." Adam sat up, and held him close. Merrick wrapped his arms around Adam in response. The two lovers rubbed their foreheads together. The merman's lower lip trembled before he sniffled. Adam caressed him lovingly as soft whimpers could be heard from the younger male. "I know, I know..." He said softly.

Droplets rolled down Merrick's cheeks as he pushed his forehead to Adam's chest. His hands held those shoulders as he sobbed quietly. "I love you, Adam-m..." Adam felt his own eyes moisten as his boyfriend cried. "I don't wanna leave..." Adam held the back of his head as he kissed him, "It hurts, every time..."

"I know, Merrick..." He gently shushed him, like a sad child, "It hurts me, too. I love you..."

The two held each other until the sun had left the wavering line of the sea. They both knew they were pushing their luck. They both knew this has to end. This is it. It's time for them to part ways again.

Adam moved his hand to his hip, and tugged his boxers off with his thumb. He put his arm behind Merrick's back, and under his knees, and then pushed himself up. The blanket slid off of the naked males as the human carefully made his way to the bank. Merrick held himself around Adam's neck as they moved back towards the water, wanting to keep the touch for as long as he can.

The man ignored the cold warp of the water as he stepped into the subterranean pool. He took his time, steeping into the water as the level slowly elevated to his calves, then thighs, chilling his balls and dick, and then above his waist.

His brown eyes looked directly into Merrick's blue eyes before planting a soft, kiss upon the other. Adam's arms lowered the fair-skinned male into the cold water, the surface consuming his slowly descending body. Once submerged, Merrick's legs melded together, and the peach-color deepened into silvery-blue, and the smooth plain became a scaly coat, and the feet widening and feathering into one large fin.

The merman felt himself start to drift away when suddenly, he felt himself clung onto tightly, and then forcibly submerged in a large dive.

Under the water, Adam's mouth was pushed down harshly on the other as his arms held tight around the slender build of his love. Merrick held his hands around and onto Adam's shoulders tightly as he exerted his own mutual passion into their joined maws.

There they hovered, in the middle of the grotto, savoring their touch and fierce love for one another through the ravenous kiss. Their tongues clashed in a stunning embrace that as they clung to each other.

Alas, this moment of last-minute passion too had to end. Adam's arms softened and slid very gradually from Merrick's back. Merrick's webbed hands brushed gently down and away from Adam's thick chest. The kiss slowed down to a loving lap. The two lovers nuzzled each other one last time before the merman drifted oh so slowly from the human. His long fish tail reluctantly undulated as he swam through the darkened tunnel, away from the floating man, and the fresh water reef.

Merrick can feel his lower lip tremble as he closed his eyes and swam. He took a moment to stop, and curl up inside the tunnel, sobbing softly as he held himself, wishing the arms wrapped around him were Adam's instead of his own.

His gills quivered as the shell around his neck vibrated again. He took a deep breath of water, and then pushed forth, through the tunnel he swam, making a note to try and see if there is any other way into the grotto, as he always does. As he made his way through the narrow pathway, Merrick began to taste the salinity of the sea from the clarity of the fresh water.

Soon, he emerged from the opening of the tunnel, located in a ragged array of reef rock, along with several bushes of dark purple coral. His tail curled out of the tunnel as he drifted next to a fairly large giant clamshell.

Before he could push it, a slimy, thick tendril emerged from the darkness, and seized his wrist. He gasped as he squirmed, a blazing red tentacle not relenting at all as it tightened its grip. A second worm-like arm snaked up, and over to the merman, and then a third. In the dark of the shadow, Merrick can make out a distorted maze of flesh and shape, distinguishing a large round head, with one fiery yellow eye glaring directly at him. Slowly edging across the broad shell, scaled a fierce, grotesque octopus, its ruby red skin flashing a threatening pattern that danced along its strangely scattered flesh.

As a tentacle reached for his other hand, Merrick's gills flared as his neck deepened. From the depths of his chest, the merman pulsed a strange noise. Like a magnified heartbeat that sounded once instead of twice. As Merrick made these strange gulping noises, that seemed to impact the water in the direction of the octopus, the creature's limbs trembled slightly, before carefully retracting itself away from Merrick. As it slowly retreated, Merrick spotted a few strings of weird white seed-like objects, just an inch away from the edged of the shell.

When the last suction cup plucked off of his arm, Merrick, moved slowly to the shell, still pulsing that threatening noise at the octopus in case of any further sign of offense. The octopus reluctantly kept at bay, its goat-like eyes starring daggers at Merrick as he slowly eased the shell away, and over to the hole to cover up the tunnel. It's when the entrance was securely blocked when Merrick ceased the noise, turning and drifting his way through the bushel of coral, allowing the octopus to hover protectively over her eggs.

Merrick floated gently around the branches of coral, careful not to break or disturb the natural surroundings. He soon came to his belongings; three pearlesent white scallop shells, decorated with elaborate silver designs, attached with a chain of narrow mako shark teeth. The merman picked up one shell, and strapped the teeth chain over himself, placing the shell over his left shoulder, and then doing the same of the other, with the third and shortest one onto his head, securing it just onto his gills.

He then drifted to an unusual cluster of sea urchins, the crest of his chest deepened again, as a strange, wiry noise came from his mouth. The bed of spikes slowly edged away in opposite directions, soon revealing they have been lying on top of a gap. When the sharp points were at a safe enough distance, Merrick reached in, and drew out a sharp, wooden shaft, about a little over 4ft long, with a large, white conch shell stuck on the middle as a sort of hand-guard, a lower jaw bone, carved to a sharp edge of one side at the top end, and a stingray barb tied onto a small curved piece of the staff with tightly wound fishing line on the other side, with three tiny glowing crystals from the cove tied, dangling on the opposite end of it.

With his shells and trident in hand, Merrick carefully swam towards the edge of the reef. Before moving out, he took a glance around. He did not need to see anything before he sensed the presence of two other creatures. He hid behind a fan of coral, and peered upward.

Drifting leisurely, were two human-shaped figures, their forms mostly black, with what looks like a large, flat eye and a pair tube-worms coming from their mouths and staying over their shoulders, and long, large fins on their feet. Not to mention that they look like they're carrying a large, metallic egg on their back, while issuing a large amount of bubbles.

Adam said those are called Scuba Divers. They're supposed to be humans wearing some items to let them explore underwater, but they hardly look like any human Merrick has ever seen; then again, Adam's pretty much the only human Merrick has ever seen him up close, and he's hardly seen him wearing these things he calls 'clothes'. He has seen Adam wearing such a glass eye object before, and those weird fake fins one time or another; a human's invention to adapt to water, Merrick presumed.

Their figures are still human-like, so he is to stay out of site at all times. He blinked as he saw that they were headed in his direction! Presumably, if he stays put, they won't see him, but still. His head shifted around, looking to see any room or gap he can hide in. There isn't any! Merrick begins to send sonar waves from his forehead, blinking in any animal that can help him.

He's in luck! He deepened his neck muscles again, and sounded a slightly screechy call a few feet beside him. Just as the divers were about to come to Merrick's position, a moray eel wriggled right up to them, opening its large mouth threateningly as it jetted straight for the divers! The two humans panicked, and quickly kicked away, swimming quickly as the eel chased them away.

When the divers and eel were at a long enough distance, Merrick slipped out from the reef, and swam his way downward, descending along the reef of various fish and coral, reaching the darker portion of the area. He continued until he reached the sandy bottom. Looking left to right, and scanning the vicinity for any aggressive creatures, Merrick swam forth, and continued on, until he came to a dip in the floor. He swam further down, sending quick scans there and again, mapping out everything around him in his mind.

Merrick began to 'hear' numerous voices ahead of him. His sonar began reading into several other signals in the dark blue around him. He kept sending his own signal over and over again until he could visually make out other figures.

Upper torsos of humanoid shape, lower bodies that of fish-like qualities - of cool color schemes between blue, green, violet, and blends between, along with webbed hands, crests of scales on their chests, side fins on their arms and along their backs, with flare-like gills on the sides of their heads, holding various weapons or items, though wearing nothing else other than a sling or pack.

Merrick has arrived at his pod.

A few of the other merfolk turned to see him arrive. They moved aside, forming a path, and bowing halfway to him as he swam.

As he swam, he would approach the only merman who possessed an unusually elongated grey tail below his waist, with dim smudge-like dark patches on his arms, back, and fanged face, over his grey skin. There are many tiny hook-like appendages along his tail, holding net strings, holding numerous fractured seashells. The grey man wore a whole conch shell around his neck, along with several others on his shoulders and arms, all which glimmered and glowed the same as the shell sliver around Merrick's neck. Merrick came to a steady stop before him.

Denizyr; The razirah of the pod. It is the razirah's task to summon and assemble every member of the pod when it is time to depart, excluding any unfamiliar merfolk.

The larger merman nodded to Merrick.

{Merfolk speak in a complex, untraceable language network that works in very complicated ways. Some species are able to communicate, and some are not. They once learned to speak by learning from whales and dolphins, and time has divided and refined methods of communication between species of merfolk, and most have evolved to a point where they are born with the ability to communicate and comprehend the sounds and signals of others and difference of their kind. To the human ear, merfolk communications vary, depending on the species; from clicks to moans, from squeaks to gurgles, from growls to screeches. Some more evolved merfolk are even able to speak human speech above water.}

"Welcome, Adra Merrick," Said Denizyr.

"Acknowledged, Razirah Denizyr," Merrick replied.

"If I may submit a request, Adra Merrick," The stern razirah said.

"I can accept." Said Merrick.

"Adra Savarna has yet to arrive. I fear her shell is off of her body. I respectfully request for you to locate her, and bring her to the pod."

"I acknowledge and accept, Denizyr. In what direction is her shell located?" Merrick asked. Denizyr pointed to his right.

"I feel her shell resonating in that direction. Please hasten. Young mermaids make easy prey."

With that, Merrick turned and swam forth.

Savarna giggled as she placed the her shells into her pouch, making a small mountain of shells and even a few rocks that out-sized her bag.

The small mermaid wears a string of pearls over her chest and waist, and draped over her short arms, with a frilly, white membrane covering her chest, and the sides of her tail. A band of seaweed is strapped around her head, above her short, flowing, platinum hair.

As she swam about, plucking up more small shells, a Humboldt squid lurked nearby. A little bigger than herself, the creature hovered closer and closer towards the small female, before it lurched out. The mermaid saw the predator in a split second, and let out a started screech.

SHINK!

In a flash of a moment, the squid jerked aside, with a three-pronged weapon is its side. The creature writhed horribly as it was slammed into the nearby reef, a dark veil seeping from each of the puncture wounds. A webbed hand then placed itself onto the squid, before another cranked the shaft down, and ceased the squid's movement, before ripping the trident out of it.

"Sisterrrrr." Merrick uttered as he turned to the small mermaid.

"Brotherrr!!" The mermaid bolted, and hugged the much bigger merman. Merrick smiled as he padded the small one.

"You know you are not to come this far from the pod, Sister," He then took a tucked, spiral shell sliver from one of the teeth belts on his chest, "And you know you should ALWAYS have THIS." Just like the shell around Merrick's neck, the one he is holding is glowing and vibrating.

The mermaid blinked, as she looked at the slice. Her tiny, webbed hands darted to the seaweed band around her head, feeling particularly at the middle. Her orb-like eyes looked up at him, before snatching it up, and hastily tucking the shell slice into the slimy green band.

The merman chuckled as he rooted his trident to the sand, "You know Denizyr desires you to wear your shell in a different fashion than putting it on your head." Merrick then leaned in, and adjusted Savarna's shell on her head, making it a lot more secure.

"Brother, YOU know it is forbidden to hunt in the time of gathering." The mermaid said.

"I am not hunting. The squid wanted to eat you, and it was too late to make it change its course."

"And what of the squid, Brother?" The young mermaid said as she picked up the strap of her pouch.

"Hunting is forbidden right now. An easy meal for a shark or another squid." Merrick said as he pulled his trident from the sand. He looked as Savarna pulled at the overloaded bag. The mermaid's short tail wiggled harshly as she endeavored to lift the bag. "Sister, you have done this in the past. You're too little to carry so many shells."

"I can carry them this time!" Savarna grunted and squirmed as she barely made it sift. She strained as she pulled at the heavy sack relentlessly.

"Sister, I know what is going to happen. The bag will rip, the shells will fall, and you will weep. Just like the last year. And the year before, and the year before."

"No, I will not!" The mermaid irked stubbornly, "These shells are too pretty to leave!"

"Sister," Merrick smiled and shook his head, before looming onto his sibling, and then grabbing onto the bag, just as the straps tore away, and threw the mermaid out of balance. Savarna whirled about, and scrambled to see her webbed hands holding the ripped strap, and her brother holding together the bag, so that the shell pile remained intact.

"Sister, why not make this your..." He hesitated for a moment, searching for a word, "Sea Spot?" The girl quirked her head.

"Sea Spot? What is that, Brother?"

"It is... Um..." He pondered for a moment, before coming up with ANOTHER idea. He then started remove the shells and rocks from the pouch, and started placing them around the reef base, and on the sand, "It is a place where a merperson chooses to locate," Savarna watched curiously as Merrick arranged the shells in a crescent-moon shape bigger than himself, "A spot where he..." He glanced at his sister, "Or SHE," He then took the bleeding squid, and drifted it aside, where a nearby grouper darted, and swallowed up in one large gulp, almost casually. Taken aback for a few seconds by the sudden large fish, Merrick got back to explaining his invented term, "Arrives, and resides in as they desire," Sarvarna looked with intrigue as Merrick explained, "They can even bring items they find from other places to the spot, and even bring friends to play at the spot too."

Savarna swam in, and picked up the pouch, "You mean I can put anything I want here??? And when I have friends, we can come to my Sea Spot???"

"Uh, yes, yes!" Merrick said hurridly, picking his trident back up.

"... What if someone tries to take my items? Or try to destroy my Sea Spot???" Merrick shrugged.

"You um... You make it hard to find. Or you can rebuild if it is broken," Merrick then took the empty sack, and put a heavy rock onto it, "When Mother teaches you, you may even be able protect it while you are gone."

"Alright..." Savarna said. She put the strap in front of the pouch. She then followed Merrick, and swam right beside him, "... Brother, do YOU have a Sea Spot?"

The merman hesitated, his eyes darting to the side, and back again. "Uhh... No, I don't."

"Huh? Why not? It sounds fun!"

"Because... I just don't want one. Unlike you, I do not feel the urgency to collect every shell in sight."

Savarna giggled as she swam above Merrick, and held onto his shoulders, "Why not? They're all so pretty!"

"I grew out of it, actually. I used to collect items from migration, but Father told me it was best to stop the habit of collecting items."

"Ok..." Savarna looked back as they slowly moved away from the rock-post at the shell-line crescent. She smiled as they went "I can't WAIT to find more items to bring to my new Sea Spot!" Merrick smiled wryly as he felt his sister hold onto him.

'Come to think of it...' Merrick thought, 'I DO have a Sea Spot... Funny, and I just made it up... A special spot of my own, where I bring things to... Where I get to share time with Adam...'

---One Year And A Half Ago---

Merrick swam eagerly through the narrow tunnel. His equipment hidden and stored in the reef behind, the 'naked' merman made his way through that water. The salt in his gills soon changed into freshness as he transgressed into the grotto, seeing filters and waves of bright sunlight dance in the pool. He peered from the tunnel, for any signs of the human. His eyes quickly spotted a pair of those strange feet waving back and forth from the surface. Grinning mischievously, he placed the thing he brought with him to the side, and swam close to the sandy floor, and onto the rocks.

Adam sighed as he leaned his head back, sitting in his swimming trunks, leaning back as he kicked his feet in the water, "Maaaan. He's ALWAYS late," He said to himself, "Just once, it'd be nice if HE was the one to be here fir- AHH!" Out of nowhere, Adam felt himself get yanked down below! Before he knew it, his whole body was sunk into the cold water, and felt himself pushed down until his back dug into the sand. He grunted bubbles as he heard the strange, foreign laughter on him, smiling and squirming at the merman. Just as suddenly, Adam felt his butt grind against the sand. He looked and chortled as the pseudo fish was yanking at his swimming trunks. Adam kicked his legs as Merrick eventually pulled his shorts off, exposing the rest his body to the water.

Merrick then swam up to him, nipped at his chin playfully. The human swam to an upright position, grabbed his blue and shiny koi trunks, and kicked off from the sandy bottom. When he reached the surface, he climbed out, and plopped his saturated trunks onto the rock. He smiled as he stepped back onto a submerged rock, and hugged his merman just as he swam up to him.

"What took you so long, Merrick?" He said.

"What do you mean, Adam? I just got here!" Adam scoffed as the merman kissed him.

"Look, I don't have all day, Merrick. I have to go by sunset." Merrick pouted at that, but Adam smiled, "I'm sorry, sweetie. I'll be back in a couple of days."

"Ok..."

"Aww," Adam put his hand onto Merrick's face, "Don't be like that. Besides, I got something for you."

"Ooh! Me too!" Merrick quipped, suddenly in a better mood.

"Ok, I'll go get it." Adam got up as Merrick dove down behind him. He quickly swam to the entrance to the cave, and picked up the item he brought with him, and quickly swam up back up. When Merrick swam back up, he saw Adam walk back with a strange, bright red box with green designs on it, and a shiny white ball of points on top.

"Here you go, Merrick," Adam said as he held out the present, "Merry Christmas!" Merrick blinked as he saw the weird object.

"Uh... What?"

"Merry Christmas," Adam repeated. He looked, and then smiled "It's something that humans do; it's called a holiday."

"Holiday? What's that?"

"Holidays are special events that humans do to celebrate a certain something in that happened in the past in different ways. Christmas, in particular, is a holiday where friends and family give each other gifts to show their love and thought for one another."

"Oh umm..." Merrick said. This idea does seem intriguing, if not totally strange and foreign. "H-Here, I brought you this!" Merrick said as he held up a large seashell. It appeared to be a cross between a conch and whelk shell, with many curved spikes that resembled teaspouts. The coloration is deep purple with streaks of silver and pearl-white playing across the spikes and chutes.

"Huh," Adam put his gift aside, and carefully took the shell, "Wow, never saw any shell like THIS before," He turned it around, examining it closely.

"It belonged to an octopus slug," Merrick said, "They're a rare find on the ocean floor; the Holsien merpeople hunts them a lot, but I found this one and managed to bring it back in a hunt. I was hoping you'd find it... Interesting."

"Yeah, I love it!" Adam said as he tilted the shell in order to make it gleam in the light, "Octopus slug? I never even heard of that..." He picked at the holes from the top of the spikes, "Did ink come out of these?"

"They're also known as Black Clouds. Octopus slugs are known for being dwelling in the sea bottom; a black mass comes from a single slug in order to hide itself from hostile creatures."

"This is nice, sweety," Adam said with a smile. He leaned in, and kissed Merrick affectionately, "I love it, thank you." Merrick blushed as he nuzzled Adam. The human backed up, and then plucked up the red box, "Ok, your turn!" Merrick looked at the box quizzically, taking it, and looked at it strangly.

"Uhhhh... What IS it?" Adam chuckled at him.

"Babe, you have to unwrap it. Ummm... You have to take off the red thing on it." Merrick blinked as he fumbled for a crease, until he plucked a flap off of it. He pulled on it a little more, before he gasped when the paper tore.

"A-Adam, I'm sorry!" Adam laughed and patted the merman's shoulder.

"It's ok, Merrick, you're SUPPOSED to rip it."

"Heheh, ok," Merrick said. He then started to pull and rip the paper off, until he uncovered a cardboard box. Merrick opened it up, and curiously picked up a purple thong. "Uhh, what is this?" Adam irked as he snatched it, feeling suddenly flustered.

"Wh-What the hell?! I didn't buy this!" Then, a folded piece of paper fell from the skimpy bottom, onto the wavering water. Adam plucked it up, unfolded it, and read it aloud,

"~Very funny, yo. Now here's a REAL gift for yo BF, homie.

J~"

Adam rolled his eyes as he tossed the thong to the side, "Damn hornball..."

"What?"

"Nothing, just one of the humans that lives with me trying to be funny. Look again, my gift should still be in there." Merrick dug into the box, "I wasn't sure what to get you, so..." Merrick then Picked up a figurine of a bird. Made with real, soft, brown and black speckled, white, and red feathers, it is a bird-like model of a creature Merrick has never seen before. The merman turned it about in fascination, looking at the open wingspan of the figure.

"Adam, what is this??" Merrick smiled as he studied the avian object, "I've never seen anything like it, is this a creature from land?"

"Sort of. It's called a Red-Tailed Hawk. It's a bird from California that flies high in the sky. Of course, this isn't a REAL hawk. It's just an art sculpture made from feathers, Styrofoam, and a few other materials."

"This is... This is so cool!" He looked up at the human, "Do ALL birds look like this???" Adam smiled and chuckled.

"Yes and no. Most of them come in that shape, others don't. And they call come in different designs and colors." Merrick smiled wide as he wrapped his arms around Adam.

"Thank you, Adam~!" He looked over, and moved towards the violet thong. "But... Adam, what's THIS thing, anyway?" Adam looked, and chuckled.

"THAT, Merrick, is called a thong. It's a type of clothing humans wear to feel and look... Kinda... Heheh, sexy..."

"Um..." Merrick hesitated, "Can you... Put it on?" Adam blushed, and chuckled.

"Heheh... O-Ok..." Adam said as he got up, and picked up the little thong. He bent over, stepped his feet through the straps, and pulled it up between his legs. This is strange, because ever since he's known Merrick, he's always made it a priority to remove his clothes.

Merrick watched, and blushed as he saw Adam's package in the red fabric. "Do I... Do I have it on right?" Adam said as he turned round, pulling at his thong from the back. Merrick blushed heavily as he watched Adam's fuzzy rump on that purple straps.

"A-A-A-Adam???" Merrick sputtered. Adam turned around.

"Hm?"

"C-Can we g-go into the waterfall now???" He blushed even more. Adam slowly grinned as he picked up his octopus slug shell, and a plastic bag to take the hawk in, and dove into the water, still wearing his purple thong. Merrick swerved into the water after him, wanting to have his human-form as soon as possible.

---One Year And A Half Later---

'I have my own Sea Spot before I even knew it...' Merrick thought with a smile, 'Not that anyone can ever know...'

Soon, Adra Merrick relocated to his pod, with his sister, Adra Savarna, to prepare for the Time of Departure.

 

Feare

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