Merman Laurent rescues drowning Damen ("stupid heavy human. He weighs a ton.")
Hates humans for killing his family, antagonizes Damen who keeps coming out to try and see him. It doesn't work; Damen is already smitten.
He really should've just left the human to drown. It would've been so easy. And so much safer. Much as he hated conceding the point to his uncle, the Regent was right about humans. They were dangerous and wrought more destruction and pain than good. They didn't deserve mercy.
But Laurent was in a rebellious mood today, having earlier had the displeasure of sitting through a long and tortuous meeting with the council during which his uncle continuously undermined him and questioned his capabilities. And maybe he also felt a little empathy for this strange human, trapped underwater and bound, unable to swim for the surface.
Laurent hooked his arms under the human's armpits and swam upwards, groaning at the weight.
Admittedly, Laurent was slight even by merfolk standards, but this, this was just ridiculous. Surely not all humans were this large. This man had to be twice Laurent's size, and apparently it was all muscle. What were the humans being fed to make them this huge? No one needed this much body mass.
But Laurent had already started this so he might as well keep going. It took more effort than the merman would like to admit, but he managed to drag the human up to the surface where humans needed to be in order to breathe.
The human gasped loudly as his head cleared the water, eyes snapping open as he briefly regained consciousness. He started coughing up seawater, then promptly threw up right next to Laurent.
Laurent crinkled his nose in distaste and moved them away from the mess the human had just made. Disgusting.
Well, he'd dragged the human this far. Might as well finish the job he'd started.
Having often felt the need to escape his Uncle's watchful eye, Laurent knew this region well, and it didn't take long for him to tow the human over to a small island he'd discovered a few months back and drag him up onto the sandy beach.
It felt liberating to be free of the human's ridiculously massive weight, and he had to admit that when the human wasn't hacking up seawater he wasn't too bad to look at. He was… attractive, in a brutish sort of way.
Laurent found himself soothed by the steady rise and fall of the human's chest and the strong heartbeat thrumming beneath the soaked fabric of the man’s shirt where his palm rested. Laurent closed his eyes and filled his secondary lungs with air, matching the rhythm.
And then the rhythm stuttered and shifted, and Laurent opened his eyes to see the human looking up at him.
"Hi," the human said dazedly. His deep voice was rough from all the coughing he'd been doing, but it was nonetheless pleasant to hear.
"… Hello, human."
The human looked confused for a moment before he seemed to notice Laurent's tail and understood. His eyes widened and he looked back up at Laurent with a dazzling smile.
"Thank you. For saving me."
Laurent simply nodded, carefully maintaining his mask of impassivity. He hadn't expected to be met with such sincere gratitude. It made him uneasy.
The human twisted his body to present his bindings to Laurent, effectively making himself even more vulnerable to attacks now that he wouldn’t see them coming. "Would you untie me?"
Laurent made quick work of the rope binding the human's hands, then watched as the human bent forward to untie his legs. He wouldn’t attack unless provoked, and thus far the human didn’t seem to have any ill intentions towards him.
The human nodded his head politely at Laurent as he finished freeing himself. "I am Damianos, but you may call me Damen."
Damen’s eyes trailed down Laurent’s body to his tail in obvious interest. “You’re a mermaid.”
Laurent gazed flatly at him. “And you are incredibly observant. What will you tell me next, that my eyes are blue?”
Damen grinned. “Are you always this friendly, or are you just in a good mood today?”
A small smile tugged at Laurent’s lips.
Laurent had left not long after their first meeting, but he’d remained in Damen’s thoughts ever since. The prickly blonde merman was a welcome distraction from the recent mutiny aboard his ship and the subsequent marooning on this island.
All he had left from his ship were the clothes on his back, a few knives they hadn’t bothered to confiscate, and the ropes that his crew had bound him in before throwing him overboard. He didn’t understand how it had happened, or why his crew had turned on him. He only hoped Kastor had also managed to survive. Damen couldn’t bear the thought of his first mate and older brother sinking into the depths of the ocean, never to see the light of day again.
Amidst all these dark thoughts, Laurent was an intriguing enigma. The beautiful merman was delightfully contradictory. His demeanor had felt closed off and distrustful, yet his touch had been gentle when he’d placed his hand atop Damen’s heart. Those petal pink lips hid behind them a biting wit. Lovely blue eyes shone with fathomless depth and intelligence, and Damen wanted nothing more than to get lost in them.
Laurent returned to the surface a few days later. He peeked over the waves and was surprised to see that the human had built himself a somewhat decent shelter and… what appeared to be a large pile of sticks. Perhaps to create a fire.
Laurent slowly drifted closer to the shore, watching Damen. The human had shed most of his clothes, and worked under the hot sun in only a pair of weather-beaten trousers. Laurent watched with interest as the muscles beneath that smooth brown skin rippled and flexed.
When Damen finally noticed his silent observer he seemed happy to see him. He smiled and raised a hand up in greeting.
Laurent frowned. This human was altogether too trusting for his own good. Surely it was this trait which had led to his unfortunate circumstances. Betrayal was inevitable and to expect otherwise was naive.
“Hello again,” Damen called out, coming over to sit at the edge of the water.
Laurent swam closer, making sure to stay in enough water that he could easily slip away if he needed to. Beaching himself would be a grave tactical error.
“You are very strange, human.”
“I recall your name,” Laurent replied. “I simply don’t care.”
Oddly enough Damen seemed to find this amusing.
“Are you so dim that you don’t realize that I’ve insulted you?”
“Oh, I noticed, but despite your disagreeable nature I think we’ll get along just fine. It’s not like there’s anyone else to talk to.”
Laurent flicked his tail, splashing the unsuspecting Damen. “Oh no look at that, you're all wet. What a shame."
Damen's surprise quickly turned to amusement, his cheeks dimpling as he chuckled good-naturedly. "I live on the sea, sweetheart, a little water doesn't bother me."