Here is a new little story for my friend OstelanExcruciasm! It's for their birthday but I hope you all enjoy!
Noctis wheeled his chair to the edge of the boat. He looked down at the waves that splashed up against the boat. It was a bit windy, but he paid that no mind as he summoned his fishing pole and unhooked the hook. With a deep breath he cast his line out and began to wait.
"Any fish on that side?" his father called.
Noctis laughed. "I just cast my line in! Can you give me a minute?"
"I thought you were the 'king of fishing'," his father replied with a hearty laugh. "The fish should be swarming to you the instant your lure hits the water."
Noctis huffed, leaning further back in his chair. "Whatever. I'll catch a fish soon enough! Just you watch."
With the wind against his back, blowing through his hair, he waited for a bite. He knew with the wind and oncoming weather, there was a good chance that the fish may not bite, but he wasn't going to give up. He had come all this way with his dad, both of them excited to fish all day long.
Noctis waited, moving his line along in the water, hoping for a bite. After a few minutes he slowly reeled in his line and cast it out a bit further.
"Come on fish, I know you're out there," Noctis thought to himself.
Before he could get comfy again, the boat suddenly jerked to the side, making Noctis almost lose his grip. The sheer force of whatever hit the boat was enough to shake the entire thing, all the way down to causing Noctis's wheelchair to slide to the side. Quickly he held onto one wheel while holding the rod in his other hand. He needed to keep himself as stable as he could.
"What was that?!" Noctis shouted as he looked over to see his father running to the wheel.
"I don't know. We shouldn't be near the shallows out here. Pull in your line and move back here!"
Noctis started reeling his line when he felt something pull harshly on it. At first it felt like the line wasn't coming in another further, most likely meaning he had snagged on a rock or log at the bottom of the lake.
He knew he should just let the line snap so he wouldn't lose his fishing rod, but he also didn't want to lose the lure. It was his Ranker Tonberry, one that his father had given to him on his birthday several years ago, and he wasn't about to lose it to the depths below.
As the boat rocked in the water, which was getting choppier by the minute, the tension on the line tightened. The way the line tugged and pulled made Noctis realize that this was no snag on a rock or log.
"Dad! I think I caught a fish. Big one too! Can you hold the boat here any longer?"
"I can try, but I don't know where these sudden bumps are coming from. We're still over areas that are twenty feet deep."
"Could it be like… a big fish hitting the boat? Cause the wind can't just be doing this."
"I'm not sure, the radar isn't bringing up anything," his father replied. "But the wind is still picking up, we'll keep drifting off from our spot."
"If it's a fish I'll just pull it along and tired-'
There was another strong hit against the boat just as the wind started to pick up. With it practically plowing into him, he could feel his wheelchair moving again across the deck of the boat.
Noctis barely had any time to realize what was happening before he plunged into the waters below. The salt water was the first thing to meet his face and it stung his eyes. For the briefest moment the cold and salty water reached inside of his mouth.
He was able to spit it out before a wave tumbled over his head, pushing him down into the water. When the wave passed and his head bobbed up again he managed to take a big enough breath before another wave washed over him. The cold water had soaked up every part of his body as he began to sink deeper and deeper.
He tried to swim, trying to move his legs, but they were damaged and were stiff. Sure he could walk short distances if he had the proper leg braces and crutches, but swimming? That was a big no go for him.
Surely his father would jump in to save him at any moment. He just had to hold his breath a little longer as he would inevitably float back up to the surface. It was all basic science.
But he somehow had been plunged several feet below and he didn't have the strength in his legs to help kick back to the surface. His breath was getting harder to hold and if he didn't reach the surface soon enough… well he didn't want to think about that.
Just as he was nearing the surface, he could feel his arms growing tired. They were doing all the work, and swimming through such an upset ocean wasn't his strength. With breaking the surface again he tried to look around to find where the boat was, but all he could see were huge waves trying to pummel him back down.
They beat him and pushed him around, trying to drag him back down to the watery depths. Through all that he had tried his hardest to keep his mouth shut, to prevent any more salty water from entering his mouth. But with the waves never ending and his limbs still growing more and more tired by the minute he couldn't hold it much longer. His mind already was dizzying and without any strength left, his mouth opened, letting the water flood him.
Choking on the water that stung his throat he started to feel like his body was being pulled back down by invisible hands. The weight of the water was too much now for him to continue to fight and he already felt his vision fading.
Just as he was closing his eyes, closing off from his blurry vision, he felt actual arms wrap around his chest. He tried to open his eyes, but he was met once again with the same stinging water, so he shut them again. Seconds later here was something pressed against his lips. Something that felt warm and almost relaxing. He melted into the feeling and took in a deep breath when the warmth left him.
Immediately his eyes shot open, not thinking about the water this time. Though when his eyes were open he saw that the water no longer burned his eyes. Plus he was breathing! He was breathing underwater!
Turning his head to the side he looked to who it was that was holding on to him and he gasped. A young man around his age looked at him with deep green eyes. He looked right at Noctis before he started moving fluidly through the water.
"What…?" Noctis thought to himself. He blinked a few more times, realizing that his eyes were actually seeing perfectly through the water. He could see the brown and messy hair of his savior as well as the strong muscles of his chest.
That brought another thought to Noctis's mind. "Wait! He's shirtless? Am I just dreaming this?"
With the tilt of his head he looked behind and saw just how they were moving through the water so quickly. The man who was holding on to him had a glimmering tail! It shined with a glimmer as it pushed through the water.
"A merman!?" Noctis nearly tried to jump away, forgetting he was still underwater.
The merman slowed down as looked at him carefully. "Be still. We don't wish to stress your muscles anymore than they already are."
He spoke so softly and eloquently it completely caught Noctis off guard. It also brought forth a hundred questions to his mind as the merman began to swim again. "If he can speak underwater does that mean I can as well? I'm able to breath so maybe it's possible. But where is he taking me?"
Just as he was ready to open his mouth, the merman swam upward and broke the water's surface. Noctis blinked a few times before he was able to take in his surroundings. They were at the shores of Galdin Quay, right next to the docks that Noctis had left with his dad early that same day.
"You brought me back to the Quay?" Noctis asked.
"Yes. It's where the land is and your father will return shortly."
"What? How do you know what? He could still be looking for me out there!" Noctis snapped. "You just took me away and now he won't know where I am!"
"He will though," the merman answered calmly. "He prayed to the Astrals to save you since he was unable to locate you through the waves. So I was sent forward to retrieve you and bring you to safety."
"You… You're a Messenger of the Astrals?"
The merman smiled as he shook his head. "Not entirely. We merfolk are worshipers of the Astrals, specifically Leviathan. She called for one of us to come and help and I was the closest to you."
"Oh, I guess that makes sense. Uh… do you have a name?"
"Ignis," the merman replied.
"A merman named Ignis?" Noctis asked, starting to smirk a little.
Ignis tilted his head slightly. "Is there something amusing about that?"
Noctis shook his head. "No, nevermind. I'm Noctis, but call me Noct."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Noct."
The way Ignis said 'Noct' set his heart racing. While meeting a merman was already weird enough though, he had no idea that he would meet one that was so handsome, or so polite. He turned his head away, hoping the blush on his cheeks wasn't too obvious to see.
"So uh, thanks," he muttered. "But now what? I can't climb up the ladder to the top of the docks. Not easily at least."
"Why would it not be easy?"
"Because…" Noctis glanced downward. "My legs don't really work normally. So trying to climb a ladder wouldn't work so well. My legs aren't strong enough."
Ignis looked over at the shoreline where people walked through the sand or rested on their beach blankets. "Can you move out of the water if I bring you closer to shore? There would be no need to climb up any ladders that way."
"I mean I could but it still wouldn't be easy. But you said my father would be back soon? He'll be able to help."
Ignis turned back to look at him. "So you would be alright waiting with me?"
"Yeah I guess. I mean, it's not everyday that I get to talk to a merman. Figured it would be okay to ask some questions."
Ignis gave a bow of his head. "You may ask whatever you wish."
Noctis hummed for a moment, mulling over the thoughts that roamed in his head. He had so many things he wanted to ask, but he knew there had to be somewhere he could start. "Okay, so the first question I have… why did you kiss me back there? It was like a kiss right?"
"I suppose you could call it that, but there were no romantic inclinations if that's what worries you. It was merely a way to transfer my magic to grant you the ability to breath underwater for a short time."
For some reason Ignis saying it was not with romantic inclination made his heart sink a little. He didn't understand why he would be so disappointed over such a little thing. It was just a way to use magic after all. It saved his life in the end.
"Why not just bring me to the surface instead of all that?"
"Because, you still had water in your lungs, this way, it resolved that. When the magic wears off the water will have dissipated."
Noctis hummed, trying to take in all of the info. "I guess that makes sense. Thanks though… for saving me."
"It was no trouble at all. I am honored to have been the one to save you."
Noctis felt his cheeks heat up again. Still he felt so flustered and he knew deep down the reason for it even if he could never come out and say it. It was something that he thought he could keep hidden, but here it was, trying to crawl its way out of his chest. Soon enough he knew it would reach the boiling point where he just needed to express what he felt.
Licking his lips Noctis tried to think of what else he could say. He never felt so tongue tied before and he wasn't sure if it was all because of these feelings or if he was still a bit in shock from his near drowning experience.
"Well thanks," Noctis replied, knowing he had already thanked Ignis twice before. "So like… you live around here? In Galdin?"
"I live in this general area of the ocean if that's what you mean."
"So if I came back here one day, could I visit you or something? Like just to talk?"
Ignis hummed for a moment before he nodded. "That could work. Why? What reason would you have?"
"You know, just to talk and stuff. You seem like a pretty cool guy," Noctis mumbled. "A mer guy?"
Ignis tilted his head slightly. "I wouldn't say I am very cool. I don't know what about my impression gives that, but if you insist we could form a way to meet once again."
"Hey, don't put yourself down so much! You are extremely cool!" Noctis replied as he leaned in closer to Ignis's face. Even if he felt like his face was going to burn he kept on going, not wanting this chance to slip away from him. "There's so much more I want to ask. Besides, you are pretty easy on the eyes."
There. He had done it. He said what had been burning deep in the back of his mind since Ignis first had saved him. Even if it ended up deterring Ignis away from him, he felt proud enough that he was able to admit it.
Much to his surprise, Ignis didn't look at him with disgust or confusion. Instead he smiled warmly, making the heat in Noctis's heart ignite even further. "I should say the same for yourself. For a human you are by far the most beautiful."
"So you've met a lot of humans before?" Noctis asked with a slight smirk.
"Only from a distance for observation. But none compare to you."
Blushing, Noctis leaned closer and rested his forehead against Ignis's. "Is this okay then? For you and me… for us… to be like this?"
"I see no reason for us not to be," Ignis whispered softly. "I think I too would benefit from this. To learn more about humans."
"Sounds like a date then," Noctis laughed softly. "But you're okay with me not being the most able bodied human? Like I'd love to see more underwater being able to breathe and stuff, but I can't swim too well with my legs."
"I don't care for how able bodied one is. I've known plenty of merfolk that cannot swim without assistance and they are still just as good as any of us. I will gladly help you along if you allow me."
Noctis smiled warmly, happy to be accepted so easily for who he was. He knew through his years there were always those who looked down on him. Those who looked disappointed in him because of his disability. While he knew he had some people who always cared and loved him no different, like his father or a few of his friends, he never knew if someone could love him that same way.
Ignis was the first person, or merperson, that he had met in a long time that treated him fairly. Ignis didn't belittle him or find him annoying, but instead found him interested and beautiful on top of that! He was kind and polite and Noctis couldn't have been more relieved.
Plus he was still impeccably handsome. Maybe that last part was just a bit of Noctis's secret inner thoughts, but he couldn't ignore it. Ignis was still there, holding him closely as he stared with his vividly gorgeous green eyes.
"Thanks," Noctis replied in a whisper before he leaned forward a little more until his lips reached Ignis'.
When he pulled back he saw that Ignis had begun to blush, he hadn't even considered that the merman could do that. It was awfully cute.
"Just so you know, there was a romantic inclination behind that one," Noctis said as best as he could without breaking into laughter.
"I appreciate the inclination," Ignis replied with a smile that Noctis knew he would enjoy seeing again.