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Pufferfish

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You had jumped onto the pirate ship just as it was taking off, hair tucked into a hat and a loose shirt tucked into your pants. One look and no one could even tell you were a girl.

You pouted at the sight, not liking the fact that you resembled a boy so much, but for the moment it was perfect, knowing if they found out you had not only boarded the ship without permission but were also a female, you would be thrown off.

You hadn’t planned to stay long, hoping to jump off at the next port.

Now, you weren’t a criminal or a cruel person, you would have totally paid the expense… if you weren’t neck deep in debt already.

News travelled quick around this town, which is where you heard of the pirate ship in the first place and how you found out that the trip would only be a few hours at most, perfect.

The plan was simple and fool proof.

Of course, nothing ever goes your way these days.

If you had of known that these guys were whalers, you would have happily waited for the next pirate ship that came by… But by the time you had found out it was too late; karma had come in the form of a giant monster.

The pirate crew held onto anything bolted down that they could get their hands on, the boat having been shaken to the point of almost capsizing, leaving the crew panicking and run like cowards to get to safety.

The giant smiled down at them all, casting the ship in his shadow, bare chest and muscles gleaming from the water as the tail behind him splashed, drenching everyone on board as the crew stared up at the god-like man in shock.

The frozen state of the crew hadn’t lasted long, and amidst the panic, you felt your hat get thrown off, your long/short hair falling down as you went rigid. Even the giants smile faltered for a second as one pirate yelled “Stowaway!” causing a chorus of others to join in.

“It’s a girl!”

“On the captains’ ship!?”

“That’s bad luck!”

"She's the reason it's here!"

"She cursed us!"

“It’s all her fault!”

Anxiety sparked through you as they grabbed you, shoving you in the direction of the railing, obviously going to sacrifice you as you thrashed and shrieked “Let me go!”

The being stared down at them, though a smile on his face, disgust was in his eyes as they shoved you off the deck, plunging you into the cold water as you spluttered for air.

"You will all pay for you've done to those poor whales, and what you're doing to this poor girl" He said before reaching for you, thick digits wrapping effortlessly around your miniscule body as you yelped and cried out, thrashing to no avail.

Whatever thoughts you had of him crushing you in his mighty grip vanished as you were raised high into the air, vertigo hitting you hard, making you wince.

As soon as you opened your eyes you had the urge to shut them again at the sight of the maw hanging below you. You whimpered attempting to wrap your arms around the thick fingers to try and prevent the inevitable as he gave you an apologetic look before with a sharp shake of his hand, you were dislodged.

The fall was short and the tongue cushioned you as teeth the size of boulders snapped shut behind you. You quickly scrambled go sit up on the tongue, your eyes focusing on the dark cavern that lay waiting for you.

Stumbling around, you tried to gain purchase on the slimy tongue as you realised just how much room there was in the mouth. Never in your life had you felt so small.

You started thrashing again before crying out as the tongue suddenly sprang to life, easily pushing you to the side until you found yourself in between the bottom row and top row molars "p-please! let m-me go!" you sobbed and begged, fearing for your life.

When you didn’t stop thrashing, he put more pressure on you, until you bit down on your hand to stop from doing anything reckless as the teeth above and bellow threatened to crush you.

Outside you could barely hear muffled screams as the giant merman destroyed the large boat, taking it apart and leaving the men and crew to drown or be killed by some other creature.

When you had finally wore yourself out and went limp, the jaw loosened up, giving you enough room to slip out let you go, allowing you to slowly crawl to the front of the mouth to weakly bang on the perfect, pearly white teeth.

No matter how much you pushed or shoved, the mouth didn't budge.

You’d honestly be surprised if it even remembered you were still there, trapped in its jaws with no escape.

You were truly powerless.

You paused at the muffled sound outside... The giant must be underwater swimming somewhere.

What were you supposed to do now? Wait until the giant swallowed you and ended your miserable existence or were you supposed to be a good girl and willingly jump down his oesophagus to your end.

You were about to continue your banging on the teeth when suddenly the mouth lurched, blood forcing its way up his throat as she gasped, the tangy smell of iron filling the place.

You could do nothing but hope it wasn't the blood of other humans who had met their demise in such a horrible way.

the Giants movements were now desperate as the maw suddenly opened, spitting you out into the water, the blood following, as the giant coughed harshly, hand raised to cover his mouth.

You struggled to see as steam suddenly came from nowhere, blocking your view of the coughing giant.

When it finally cleared up you stared in shock, the giant merman almost seemed a little shocked as well as he stared owlishly back, frozen in place.

"Oh my God... " You blinked slowly "You're a pufferfish"

Out of all the reaction you had expect from the now skinny and gaunt giant, it was not more blood coughed up as he choked out "Wait what?!" in a raspy voice.

You treaded the water cautiously, kicking your legs out slowly to preserve energy "Y'know, a pufferfish... How they like inflate to appear bigger! that's exactly what you just did!"

"I..." He was at a loss for words as he stared at you with piercing blue eyes as if trying to read your mind. You felt uncomfortable under his gaze as you pushed your fear down and powered on with your confident façade.

"And by the looks of it, it hurts you just like it can hurt the pufferfish" You tsk’ed, feeling more comfortable with the fact that he was still big but not nearly as giant as he had been before. "When a pufferfish inflate it flattens the organs, causing stress on its body which sometimes kills them"

He just sighed in defeat, head hanging "I guess I'm a pufferfish then"

You couldn’t help the tentative smile before you slowly asked "So, are you going to eat me?"

More blood was coughed into the once blue water.

"N-no! Of course not! I-I just needed my hands and it w-was quicker to swim under water where I d-don’t have to be cautious of boats and..." he trailed off his rambling, watching you laugh in amusement, "Phew, I thought I was a goner!"

"What... " The merman paused as if thinking about how to say it “What were you doing on that ship anyways, if they hadn't of made it so obvious you weren't apart of the crew, I probably would have attacked you too..." He said, using his humongous hand to swish away the lingering blood in the water. You back paddled, not liking how it got so close.

"I was just trying to get to another port" You said softly.

He stayed silent deciding not to ask any more questions as he let himself sinking further into the water with a sigh. it had obviously been a big day for him too.

"Hey, uh, can I have a little help?" You asked, feeling yourself starting to get tired as well.

He glanced down at you, as if not understanding before finally realising and nodding, reaching for you, he scooped his hand under you, letting the water drain out before continuing. "So, what's your... what’s the word... ughhh, was it name? I think so, yeah, what’s your name?" He asked innocently, mumbling some bits to himself as you glanced up "Y/N" you said simply, not bothering to ask for his as you knew he would give it anyways.

"That's a nice name, I'm Toshinori"