These land dwellers are nothing like what he's known, no small shred of honor nor kindness as he has seen before. Those had been so different from these pale cruel ones. The concept of time and distance mean little to a being such as he but the sense of long and far tells him enough. He'd been caught, become the prey of these slow, clumsy, cruel beasts that may have the same shape as what he knows but ooze wrongness from their pores.
There is also no concept, no word in his peoples tongues for what they do to him. The lightning stick and sharp tools they use to cut his rough hide. They make sounds so unlike those of his peoples singing but eventually he begins to pick meaning from sounds and their word for what they do, torture, the sound fits the act in its guttural and disgusting hiss through their blunt teeth. The long journey in their dead water, tank they call it, leaves him weak. He begins to hear the word over more and more and puts meaning to sound to conclude their journey will soon come to an end. He can only assume their treatment of him will worsen. They are predators but in no way known to him and being so out of depth could mean his end.
Glass they call it, a strange barrier he can actually see through but is solid against his touch. From the small openings he can see a new strange cave filled with even stranger things and more of the pale land dwellers. Weak he may be but he is made to live in dark waters and his eyes are ravenous because knowledge is power so he devours all he can about what surrounds him with senses dulled by his dead water. He hears but it is muted as those whom he'd traveled alongside move farther away, more complacent in the safety of their own territory. His attention is diverted to listen to the muted sounds of their strange language and he fails to see until pale appendages press flush to the glass above. There is no webbing and they are very small compared to his own large paw. Hands he remembers the others calling them as they'd poked and prodded and made confusing sounds as they compared him to themselves. He'd clicked his affront when they'd labeled his powerful paws with their thick claws something so wrong.
This hand is unlike the others he'd seen, small and dare he even say delicate. One slim blunt claw, fingers he must remember, taps gently against the glass. Its hesitant, gentle almost. Something new. Desperate as he's seen nothing gentle nor kind in such a long time and he wants to know so badly what, or who he supposes, this gentle touch belongs to he slaps his own large paw against the barrier against it. He is punished for his thoughtlessness when the pale hand is ripped away and gone with a very faint gasping sound. All he can gauge in that small moment is the distinct impression that whoever it had been, it had been a female.
The dead pond they've chained, another new he could curse for it disgusting spitting sound, him into is not enough to sustain him long term. Not that by now he has any expectation that they want him to live. Very much the opposite if his understanding was correct. He could recognize madness in even these strange land dwellers and the one who relishes in his pain is mad beyond his nightmares.
His blood tangs with his sickness. It is bitter on his tongue but shredding the filth's fingers with razor teeth meant to tear and rip flesh from bone but had gone unused for so very long is a much needed reminder of what, WHO he is. The pain is a small price to pay for such pleasure. Cupping the sluggishly bleeding wound he nearly misses the soft tapping, the gentle sound unfit for this place. He whips towards the noise slower, calmer this time and glides forward to clear his view.
Females of his own kind are very similar to males, strong and fast and sure. It can be difficult for other creatures to distinguish the differences between them, he knows. The small, delicate hand is attached to an impossibly pale arm. His eyes follow that moon like hide, fascinated despite himself. The females steps closer and even through the murky barrier the first clear look of her takes him aback. The feathers that adorn her kind grace her but are longer like the land people he's seen before and is a shock of inky darkness against her pale hide. Her eyes are smaller than his kinds but blown wide in concerned wonder. She looks at him and he thinks she may actually see him and for some reason his gills shiver.
She is delicate and lovely in such an alien way. He hates these land dwellers and thought them all cruel and wrong but her dark eyes shine worriedly as she curls downwards slightly to eye his wound as best she can and that tiny finger taps gently. He is fascinated as her mouth moves expressively, lips full and lush and so unlike his own. A concerned purse makes his heart skip. The moment is broker abruptly by a harsh sound of grinding, the strange caves entrance, and the female is gone. He should not feel bereft but he does.
When she jerked away from him he is nearly ashamed though he knows that after so long of their abuse he has leave to be cautious and perhaps over react by mistake. Still, he does not like the guilt. Relief lives and breaths for him when she braves to reach towards the hard shore of his dead pond, egg in her hand. The barely seen tremble of those elegant fingers is more shame and he snatches the boon then turns in a dive, overwhelmed. His prize is decorated by one small bite mark he traces with claws in slight reverence. Can't help but remember those dark eyes widening and shining as he'd puffed and trilled in display. He may be chained but he is strong and virile and he could see it reflected in her eyes, one small pleasure in this new strange world of pain.
The next time she comes he is eager but sings for calm, eyes tracking as she offers another egg. It had been strange but good, not what he knows but close. She lay a line of them then turned her back, blindly trusting and leaving him astonished. Her voice does not sing in his way but neither does she seem to make the vulgar land noises but there is sound. A strange melody of breaths and gasps. He chirps and watches raptly when he joltingly realizes he realizes this female uses those pretty, delicate and oh so pale fingers to communicate. She is teaching, trying to speak to him in the way she knows as if she knows he is no simple minded creature and his trill is elation.
A pattern emerges and her odd hand speak begins to make sense and their pockets of peace become dear. She is alien but not monstrous like the others, simply a fascinating new creature he wants to know every hidden facet of. Why she is here in this dark, wrong place. Why she has no sound of her own. She is silent save her breathy sounds and simple clicks of a tongue he can see is pink and smooth behind pearly blunted teeth. He learns her special words and rejoices when those full pink lips curve for him with her pleasure. It makes him feel stronger than he has felt in such a long time. One thing he's learned, delights in using to welcome her presence no matter what has happened in the missing time between her visits, is what her people call her. Eliza.
Music quickly becomes a favorite pastime, a distraction from the horrid reality they both seemed trapped in. Eliza is attentive, knows now his preferences and accommodates for them. He is bobbing behind his glass, enjoying the melody even warbled by the water when his female ( he must clamp these thoughts when they come for they are very different but he cannot make that matter like is should) suddenly twirls. It is a sultry, flirtatious movement, easy to picture her repeating in the water. All fluidity and teasing curves of her mouth. Despite how different they are he can see the teasing light in her eyes and know she knows exactly what she is doing. Eliza is delicate and lovely but mischievous like a river otter, a tempest in his small dead cave. Watcher her spin and curve those lips in what he's come to call a smile just for him is its own kind of freedom.
Of all the times she had come to him just this once he wishes she had stayed away. Blood pools and her soundless cry tears at his heart. There are no assurances he can give as water pools then drips from her dark eyes. He wants to be strong, stronger then she's seen him be, but weakness is all he has to give now. Death and life move in tandem in his world and he'd never feared either but his weakness makes the reality crash around them. He is running out of time. Eliza drips her sorrow and does all she can, which is not much before a familiar sound sends her scurrying to shelter. Even weak the urge to protect his female pushes a hiss past his dry throat that begs for water please water.
It is less menacing then a youngling could manage but it does it's job and the crazed land dwellers do not notice her huddled behind their odd rocks. Pride is a rush of strength when she safety slips away, eyes so desperate to help him he can see. That shining desperation leaves him feeling warm and calm even with the knowledge that his end draws ever nearer. Eliza a precious and good and he despairs over leaving her in this place alone when he goes.
Time becomes meaningless again and Eliza does not come but delirious now in his wounded and malnourished state he is both saddened and relieved she will not see him at his end. Scales shed and the skin beneath is raw from the dead water, his eyes are so dry it becomes impossible to focus and in his muddled thoughts he is lost between his own familiar songs, the land dwellers grunts and the special Eliza words that have all jumbled together.
He finds sleep comes in great waves he cannot battle, dragging him into long periods of blank unconsciousness. A relief really. The world continues to blur and he dreams. At some point he felt hands and warmth and doesn't waste the energy to fight anymore. He is proud and he is strong but he is also tired and smart and he knows when enough is enough.
Breathing is no longer possible and suffocating agony rips him into reality. A gulping gasp floods his gills and somehow, someway he breaths once more, heaving. Eyes swivel, stinging terribly as he scrambles for coherency. Dark eyes watched him steadily, receding panic leaving them wet again. Eliza. Of course. Always any good that came to him came with Eliza. But reality is slippery and painful and he loses his grasp with a shudder of relief.
When he come to again he is cramped and folded as uncomfortable as that is he is also in unfamiliar territory. His gills frill in agitation and feeling much farther from death then he'd been reminds him of her. Her scent is saturated everywhere, full and seductive and Eliza. As if on cue there is a click and the door swings and there is his pretty female, water leaking from eyes that light with joy. Her special words come almost too fast but he can feel the elation and tracks her meaning easily enough.
That this delicate creature, so frail and small even compared to her own kind let alone he, has somehow saved him from his prison and cared as best she could for him is astounding and humbling. Eliza is a creature of secrets and mystery and good but so much strength he hadn't seen. His female, small as she is, protects him with her everything. In return he swears with his own songs to make her his everything as well. The differences no longer cage him and she is his in his soul already against it all.
Time moves sensibly again as he strengthens and weakens in equal measure. Much as his sweet female tries her dwelling is not enough, not nearly enough for him. Nor for her if he has his way. He yearns to show her his world, his strength and skills in home waters. How he could care for her so perfectly if she would let him. This creature deserves everything and he will give it to her somehow. He knows they plan and count time, cautious to speak of how they see him diminish but hopeful and assuring that soon he would finally be free again.
He sings his sorrow and confusion when Eliza gasps and flees his touch. Those dark eyes of hers had traced his lights in wonder and he'd chirped his pleasure, assured by the want expressed to exquisitely by his quiet female. Her eyes had been hot with a desire to touch and he'd happily encouraged it. So very pretty she is. His kind sing songs of emotion but only their eyes could express it on their face but Eliza...full lips bow and brows draw and every inch gave some minute clue he delighted in discovering. Though quiet his female may be she is far from silent; coos and huffs of breath, puffs and clicks of her dexterous tongue...oh his female he found to make her own songs.
Little fingers danced across his hide, or skin and shed taught him, in a wonder that had flushed him with pride. The lips bowed and pouted just enough to hear tiny puffs of air as her chest moved in shallow breaths, the natural breathing rhythm becoming an enticing display. Curious wonder he'd been helpless but to respond to. He'd chirruped in encouragement with a rumbling undertone close to a purr and everything in him had demanded he touch her as well. Those eyes had fluttered in a way none of his people could ever hope to imitate and what a wonder she is. Pale skin, not hide for its far thinner and so fragile ( he still feels the need to bow in apology each time he sees Giles) is dry and the most uniquely smooth thing he's ever touched. Scales have a texture of their own, sleek and oily with ridges and edges that will slice if one is not careful. He knows not what to compare her to but he sings of how soft and smooth she feels. Warmth radiates so appealingly and he could actually feel her blood pound through the thin skin when the sensitive pads of his own paw explores for that one short moment.
Eliza had tried to explain the concept of the skins she covers herself in that they were not attached and could be removed to bare her softness but he's curious to see for himself. He'd barely slid the first bit away when she fled from him. The loss is poignant and sharp as the knives they used on him. He sings the loss because he can do nothing else.
He is flustered and unsure only because he is so afraid of scaring her away again. Her eyes challenge him, daring him to deny her. To reject what she has clearly come to offer. A particularly delectable offering. His light makes patterns on pale flesh so foreign and perfect and his greed knows no bounds. He wants and primal demand pumps power into weak muscles.
In another time, he'd take and gluttonously. Proud and powerful in the way of youth. But Eliza is everything and dare s him so he only stands on weak muscles made strong by desire alone. Could any creature deny her? He aches to feed her pleasure but patience is rewarded when she presses to his front, so very soft and clearly inviting his touch. He sings again and it's full of a purring rumble of want and assurance as his webbed hands roam with long swipes.
He learns her song of pleasure and his quiet female has never sung so beautifully for him, breaths and flutters of half formed hand words. He is drowning and singing his own enjoyment as his light flash wildly. Draws it on her skin with claws and his rough tongue and even once with his sharp teeth. He is careful and watchful and he listens and learns.
Being with his female is everything and he would die over and again to live each day beside her but he sees her worry and how dark the spaces below his favorite set of eyes grow and knows she is unhappy. Even when she sings so wonderfully for him in her pleasure. Together they are more than he has ever imagined being but time, once so inconsequential, is now a foe he must fear. It runs short and they both feel the strain. He is almost as weak as before now, hardly able to stay awake for his Eliza anymore. She counts the time on strange material with even stranger markings, sadder and more worried with each passing day.
The time comes just as he'd imagined. Panic and clogging fear diluted only by the realization that he was actually going back into water that lives and he can show her all the things hes sung of. Weak he is but his female keeps him moving and determined. When he sees water, so much water and more falling from the sky like a welcome he almost collapses. Its finally over but not over over and he is excited and relieved beyond measure. The excitement dies a quick death and her odd but oh so pleasant mouth pressing is bitter on his tongue.
Not together she sings. She expects him to leave her behind in this dark cruel land dweller world? It makes no sense in his mind. Mates are a pair, forever. He had assumed...could she not want him? But no, her sadness pours out into the air and he knows this idea of apart is not what she wants. Through all the plans he had always thought they planned for them, not for him to go alone. How was he to leave her in this disgusting place?
There is more pain then he can ever remember. Fierce and sharp in his chest and the world fades in an instant. It feels like no more than a beat before his mind snaps to awareness again but time must have passed as he is no longer upright. The first coherent through is remembered pain and his light flares savagely to repair, the well he'd thought tapped suddenly full with a rage he hardly understands. It is for Eliza but his focus is drawn to the threat not the last sound he remembers echoing through the darkness.
Claws made for savaging slice so easily in land dweller flesh, no more effort then moving through the water and he is disgusted he'd let them rule him for so long. He doesn't even stop to enjoy his victory, spinning in his awkward land dance and in an instant taking in all before him. It is all the time he can allow. His light pulses heavy in his chest, primal and demanding. He takes his mate from her kin with the utmost care, singing their goodbye mournfully. He does not have the time for a proper farewell to the ones who'd so aided him but he things they will forgive him. For Eliza's sake if nothing else.
The water is still wrong and nearly dead but he is stronger than he'd been in his desperation. He circles her still form and sings for his female, his Eliza. Gathers all the light he can muster and pours it into her mouth, coaxes scars to become gills and the hole in her abdomen to heal. Forces a strange metal pearl from her cold flesh just as he'd done for his own. Sings desperately when the light fades and she remains still. No, he cannot fail her. He is strong, he is strong enough to protect her and he trills a demand the vibrates through the water in its force and finally has her moving. One convulsion, two then panic he is quick to assuage with a croon and a song that below the water is full and joyous as it should be. She is his female and he will show her his everything.
Eliza is confused, her song lost in the water and her hands shaking far too much to form her special words. But she calms as he nuzzles and croons to her. She will be the most beloved female he tells her and she flushes red at the tone, a reaction that has delighted him from the first. Then her face crumples and one small hand presses where her hole had been in sudden realization. He gurgles and pulls the hand to rub against his chest instead. Tells her he will protect her in her special words and his own song. Things are not perfect and really after all they've been through he is so unsure and lost but his everything waits and he leads her eagerly into his world.