"What the hell do you mean I'm transforming into a merman!? How can that happen?!"
"Prompto please try to calm yourself. This information is heavy, I understand, but you need to keep a level head."
"Yeah yeah, I can totally keep a level head when I am becoming a merperson! I'm growing scales and constantly need to stay hydrated! How is that even possible, Iggy!?"
"It is most likely due to the merfolk and their magic. Since whomever is kissed by one becomes a merfolk, the usual non magic explanation is that they just vanish from the human world. There are some that say that few of the people from a missing person report actually became a merfolk."
Prompto whimpered slightly. While he had heard the legends here and there, he never really paid much attention to them. But now it was happening to him…he was going to become a merman. It was honestly terrifying, but at the same time he felt something else. There was a different emotion that started to swirl in the back of his mind.
"Is there any cure for this?"
"Not that I can see. Once again, there is not a lot of factual information on this. But either way I wouldn't want to bring this to medical attention, knowing how the world of science works it would only end poorly. I do not wish to see my friend used as a science experiment."
"Aw thanks, Iggy," Prompto replied before he let his mind drift to the other thoughts again. "So like… I'll be a merman. I'll breathe underwater and stuff. Holy shit, I'll be able to see a hidden underwater city!"
"Prompto, are you sure you are going to be okay with this? While we shouldn't alert anyone in the science field, I am sure we could figure out something."
"I um well, actually, I don't know now. I keep going back and forth. Like I'm terrified for one thing 'cause I'm actually growing scales on my legs! I feel stiff and tired, but also it means I'll breathe underwater. It's like every little kid's dream!"
"We should discuss this all together, I can call Gladio and we can meet you at your place again."
"I guess...but can you make sure that Gladio doesn't tease me too much? Please? And oh! That goes for you too."
"Now that I see the seriousness of the situation, I promise I will be more considerate. Gladio on the other hand…" Ignis sighed. "I will try to keep him in line. You know he does care, he just has his ways about making humor for various situations."
"Yeah… thanks," Prompto sighed.
"We will be over shortly, I will call when we arrive."
Prompto hung up after saying goodbye and now flopped back on to the bed. He finally gave into the thoughts that he was trying his best to hold back. "A merman… who would have thought it… hey, wait a minute!"
Prompto sat up quickly, his eyes widening. "Does this mean that Noctis knew?! Did he actually kiss me knowing, this would happen to me!? That sneaky little…if I…no, when I see him again, I have a lot of questions!"
Ignis and Gladio came over soon enough, though it took Prompto a little bit to head down the stairs to the front door. His legs still were so stiff and it really made walking a struggle, especially going down the stairs.
Thankfully, Ignis and Gladio were both considerate. It surprised Prompto at first but Gladio didn't make a single joke during their entire talk. But the talk itself still was a challenge. Ignis said he couldn't find any way to solve the transformation. Magic was not well known in the human world, it was most likely a common thing in the merfolk world though.
"So…" Gladio said. "What if we just try and find Noctis again? I'm sure the one who did it knows how to fix it."
"But if there was a way to fix it, you'd think that other people would have done so, yeah?" Prompto asked. "And plus… what if I don't want to fix it?"
"Prom, you can't be serious, can you?" Gladio asked. "You mean you'd willingly let this happen to you?"
"I was already tricked into kissing a merman, so it's my own fault in the end of it. But as I said before…this could be a lot of fun. Like what if I got one of those waterproof cameras? I could take so many good pictures of a hidden underwater city!"
"And it would give you a chance to see your boyfriend again," Gladio said.
"Hey!" Prompto grumbled. "He is not my boyfriend!"
"But he is the one that kissed you and caused all of this," Gladio replied. "I'm just calling it how I see it. You like him, don't you?"
"I barely even know him…" Prompto muttered under his breath.
The memory of meeting Noctis danced across his mind. That night felt so long ago at this point, even if it had just been two days, but at the same time he could remember it vividly. The beautiful blue eyes that reflected the ocean themselves were ingrained into his memory. He couldn't shake away how handsome Noctis was and how gentle he seemed just by his expression alone.
And then there was his voice. It wasn't extremely deep, but it was soothing and gentle. It was almost alluring, which was probably why he found himself so easily distracted by it. If he was going to see Noctis again, he really wanted to hear that voice once more. He wanted to make sure it was as beautiful as he remembered and not just an overly dramatic thought that his mind exaggerated
"You were zoning out on us. Are you feeling okay? Do you need some more water?" Ignis asked.
"I think he needs more of his fish boy," Gladio laughed. "He's deprived of his fish boy."
"Gladio! Please try to be nice," Ignis scolded.
"I am, though! I'm telling him that he should be with his merman boyfriend, who, by the way, we will totally have to meet."
"How can we even meet him? We don't even know if or where he will show up if we go to the ocean again! Though I think he did say he would see me again. The more I think about it… he probably knew what he was doing when he kissed me. So…I guess we just need to wait."
"Are you sure, Prompto?"
"You said it yourself, there isn't any clear answer since we are dealing with magic. So we just gotta deal with it. Let's just see how it plays out okay?"
"All right, if that is what you decide. But Gladio and I will be spending the night here," Ignis replied softly.
"Why's that?" Prompto asked as he tilted his head.
"If your legs are growing stiffer, most likely due to the fact they are trying to transform into a tail, it may make it hard for you to get down to the ocean by yourself. Not to mention your need to stay hydrated. You'll need us to keep an eye on you."
"Right… yeah that makes more sense when you put it that way," Prompto nodded. "Okay, so we can set up the guest room then for you two. I think I still got a blowup mattress somewhere in the attic."
The day went as smoothly as it could. Ignis stayed by Prompto's side while Gladio went out to gather items for Ignis and himself. Prompto would have thought of it as a fun little sleepover, where they could spend the night playing video games and watching movies, but his thoughts still were wavering. Though they did try to keep the day fun all the way until night, it was still very hard to shake off everything else.
If his legs were already feeling this stiff and there seemed to be more scales now than in the morning, what would tomorrow bring? How much more would his body be changing within just three days? Prompto really started to wish he had gotten a better look at Noctis to notice what other merfolk features he would be having.
"I don't think he had gills…unless the gills only show up in the water. Is that how gills work? It could be magic after all… and I don't think he had scales anywhere else on his body other than his tail. I wonder how my tail will look… the scales look purplish red, I wonder if there is any reason for it. Man… when I see Noctis again I am going to have so many questions for him."
That night was probably the roughest sleep he had ever gone through. He kept waking up gasping for air, or something like that. He was waking up with this throat feeling so dry, making it feel like he could barely breathe. Thankfully Ignis suggested keeping bottles of water on the nightstand for him to drink so he wouldn't go too long without water.
But it still made a huge problem for everything else. With drinking so much he had to go to the bathroom more, and he really did not want to have to wake Ignis or Gladio so they could help him. But his legs were getting worse, becoming more and more stiff. The scales had spread and grown even farther now, still in patches but still spreading over his entire legs.
The scales were dry and scratchy, no doubt because he wasn't out in the ocean yet. He was pretty sure once he was out in the water that the itchiness would go away. But he wasn't sure when exactly that time would be. He had talked about it with the guys and they decided that they would have to go sooner than later since they had no idea how many days the transformation would go on for.
But by his 5th or maybe 6th trip to the bathroom, he was too tired to count at this point, he crumpled to the floor. He cried out upon impact and tried to push himself back up into a sitting position. He could barely move his legs at this point, and he was beginning to believe that they would end up stuck together. Honestly the more he thought about it, he started to assume that was going to happen. After all, his legs were going to become a tail, or something like that, and while Prompto didn't know merfolk anatomy he assumed that the tail was all one connected bone, similar to the spine.
While Prompto was getting lost in his thoughts, he heard footsteps and saw Ignis, who happened to be a light sleeper, burst into the room and knelt down right beside him. "Prompto, are you okay?"
"Yeah, perfectly fine," Prompto muttered. "Just wanted to go to the bathroom and my legs think it's really funny to stop working like legs should."
"Come, I'll help you to the bathroom. And perhaps after we can try an idea that could help you."
"An idea? Like what?"
"Since water does help alleviate the pain you feel, I was considering filling the tub with water and you could lay in it. It may be a way to help your legs feel better."
"Oh… why didn't we think of that before. That sounds like a great idea!"
The two of them headed down to the bathroom and after Prompto relieved himself, Ignis helped fill up the tub. Prompto stood and watched, gripping the countertop of the sink for support. "So, um, like, if I am just going to sit in the tub should I, like, um…"
"It would be rather uncomfortable to sit in wet clothes," Ignis replied. "Do you think you will manage on your own? I understand you want your privacy, but with the condition of your body, I must express my concern."
"I think I can manage it. I'll let you know if I need help, okay?"
Ignis nodded before he stepped out of the bathroom, closing the door behind him. Now alone, Prompto let out a long sigh before he started to undress as carefully as he could. It was a little hard to move his legs now but thankfully he didn't have to call in Ignis in the end. Though he did keep his underwear on, knowing that Ignis and Gladio would want to come in and check on him at some point. He was already embarrassed enough and he knew that would only make things worse in his mind.
Slowly, he stepped into the tub and sat himself down and almost instantly he started to feel better. With a deep breath he adjusted himself a bit more and just started to relax within the warmth of the water. Though a moment later, he opened his eyes and looked down at his legs. While they still felt stiff, the scales were starting to show more prominently now that his legs were under water.
"Whoa…" Prompto muttered as he looked at their color. The purplish red was much more vibrant than it was when dry. It almost shimmered and sparkled, and Prompto couldn't help but reach out his hand, running his fingers gently over the scales. The sensation tickled him slightly and he actually found himself starting to laugh.
Ignis knocked on the door a second later and Prompto nearly jumped back. "Are you all set in there, Prompto?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Legs feel way better!" Prompto said loud enough for Ignis to hear him clearly through the door.
"All right, if you want, I can come back later with something for you to eat and drink. For now, though, would you prefer to be alone?"
"I think so, yeah…I just got a lot of thoughts now about this. It's still really weird… but also really cool at the same time. Like, the color of the scales and everything…I still can't believe it but it's really happening."
"I know I have said it before, but are you sure that you are not afraid of what is happening? I can't help but notice you seem uncertain, but you talk about how exciting it is."
"I don't really know how to explain it, Iggy… I had a chance meeting with a merman. He was cute… you'd have to see him to believe me. Gladio said it himself, I've been looking for a boyfriend for a while, now. So who cares if he is a merman, I'd like to get to know him more."
"But you would be giving up everything you have on the surface."
"Yeah… but like, I never had much of a life here. You two are really the only good things in my life, but I still always feel so out of place. Maybe I belong better out there."
"Ah, I see," Ignis replied from the other side of the door.
"But I don't mean to dismiss you guys! I won't change our friendship for anything! Maybe I can still visit you guys from the ocean or you can come see me? I just want to find where I finally fit in life… and maybe it just so happens to be with a merman."
There was a pause before Ignis finally let out a hum. "Well, it is nice to hear you so more intrigued rather than distressed over the matter in that regard. I know how much you value our friendship, and you know very well Gladio's and my own feelings are mutual. Besides, if this merman truly is a good person, er, merperson, then I wish the best for the two of you. I wish to see you find a good partner."
"Thanks, Iggy! I'm glad you are so understanding. Really… it means so much. But I guess now it's just the waiting game, yeah?"
"Yes, please call for one of us if anything happens or if you need something else."
After Prompto thanked Ignis again, he was left alone once more. He sighed peacefully, trying to sink down into the water a bit more than before. He couldn't even describe how good it felt over his skin, it was just what he needed, though of course it always made more questions arise in his head.
"I wonder if this means merfolk have different skin than us. Like water resistant skin?" Prompto asked himself before he ran his fingers over his other hand. "I guess so, otherwise merfolk would probably look all pruney. Geez I never realized I had so many questions about merfolk."
Tilting his head upwards, he stared at the ceiling. "Noctis… man I can't wait to see you. I hope you'll be there waiting for me."
The day seemed to pass by fairly quickly, despite him being stuck up in the bathroom all day. Ignis and Gladio came in to check on him throughout the day, asking him how he felt. At some point Ignis even brought Prompto his phone, with which he was very careful as he continued to sit in the water.
Though, at some point, later in the evening, he nearly dropped it. There were sharp pains suddenly in his chest. It felt like it was squeezing him and at the same time tearing him apart from the inside. He cried out loudly, unable to form proper words. He wasn't even sure he was loud enough to be heard, but sure enough, Ignis and Gladio burst into the room.
"Prompto!" Ignis exclaimed. "What's the matter?"
"It hurts," Prompto muttered as he placed a hand to his chest. "Something is hurting me."
"Must be part of the transformation," Ignis muttered as he knelt down in front of the tub. "The scales nearly cover the entirety of your legs now. Perhaps this is a signal of the end of the transformation?"
"Do we just stand here, then?" Gladio asked. "Or is he going to just sprout a tail suddenly?"
"You think I would know?!" Ignis nearly snapped. "If it is hurting, I don't know if it means it's supposed to happen or if it means something else. I wish I could have found more information…"
"Well, what if he needs ocean water?" Gladio suggested? "The merman is from the ocean, yeah? So, what if Prompto right now is like a saltwater fish in a freshwater tank?"
Ignis turned to stare at Gladio and then faced Prompto again, who was wriggling in pain. "You know, you may be right. Grab a towel, we need to get him down to the ocean. And quickly!"
Gladio nodded without a word and grabbed a towel while Ignis carefully lifted Prompto out of the tub. He gritted his teeth and squirmed more, trying to form words but only pained whimpers came out instead. Once he was wrapped up in the towel, Gladio took to being the one to carry him while Ignis patted Prompto's head.
"It'll be okay Prompto, we're going to see if this will work."
Quickly, the two of them headed out, thankful the sun was setting and anyone at the beach would have gone home. On a second note, they were also thankful that Prompto lived fairly close to the seaside so there wouldn't have to be much of a run. Prompto was being more quiet than before, but his breathing was still heavy and slow. Whatever it was that was bothering him seemed to level out, whether or not that was the water's doing they couldn't really stop to question it.
When they made it down to the ocean, they ran towards the dock that Prompto had been on the other night. Running down it they got to the end and began to look around, trying to see if there was anything out there amongst the water.
"Guys…?" Prompto whispered as he turned to look out at the ocean. "Oh, we're here… is Noctis…?"
"We don't see any sign of him, but we will keep looking," Ignis instructed.
Suddenly, as if on cue, the water sloshed as someone popped out from underneath. Gladio and Ignis's eyes widened as they saw a black haired man, who wore no shirt, staring up at them. He frowned at first, seeing the two, but then his eyes fell to the lump wrapped in a towel.
"Ah," he started to say. "I was wondering when you'd show up."
Prompto tilted his head down to look at Noctis floating in the water. "Did you…" he winced from the pain. "Did you know this would happen?"
"Let's get you into the water first. That way the transformation can be complete. Toss him in, big guy."
Gladio frowned. "I am not just tossing Prompto into the water. How do we know we can even trust you with this?"
"Cause either you let him stay stuck in a half transformed state, causing him more pain, or you let the ocean waters finish it so he can finally relax," Noctis replied.
"I'm still not just tossing him in," Gladio replied gruffy.
"Then hand him down to me and I'll place him in the water. How's that sound?" Noctis said as he moved closer to the end of the dock, holding up his arms.
Gladio looked over at Ignis. "Are we really doing this?"
"If it is to help Prompto…we must," Ignis sighed. "Let's see if what he says is true."
With a sigh of his own, Gladio stared back down at Noctis, still waiting in the water. "Fine, whatever. I guess we're doing this."
As carefully as he could, he leaned over the end of the dock, with Ignis holding him for support, and lowered Prompto down to Noctis. Prompto felt the sudden change in whose body he was pressed up against and opened his eyes to see Noctis right above him. He was floating on his back but he could feel that Noctis's arms were around him, keeping him afloat. The cold water splashed around him making him shiver. But before he could ask or say anything, he felt a strange sensation in his legs.
He shut his eyes tightly, as if that would push away the pain. For a good few seconds, he couldn't even process what was happening because of the throbbing in his skull. But then there was nothing bothering him. There was no more pain or dryness. The water didn't even feel cold against his skin anymore; it felt… well, he wasn't sure how to describe how it felt. If he had to try and think of something if anything, everything felt right now.
Opening his eyes again, he looked and saw that Noctis was still looking over him, smiling softly. "Your color is beautiful, Sunshine."
At first, Prompto had no idea what Noctis was even talking about, but when he tried to sit up, that was when he realized what felt different. He wasn't trying to move two separate legs, well he thought he was but now there was a different feeling when he tried moving.
Looking down at himself, he saw that he no longer had two scale-covered legs, but instead a long and shimmering tail. The reddish purple color looked far more brilliant than ever before. He couldn't help but stare at his tail, watching it move slightly in the water. He was controlling that, he was making that tail move. He actually had a merfolk tail! All of this was really real and, at this point, he knew he couldn't have been dreaming.
"Omg…" Prompto murmured. "This is my… my tail? And you said it was-" Prompto's eyes widened, a small blush creeping across his face. "O-Oh… Oooh. Um, thanks?"
"Prompto?" Ignis called. "Is everything all right for you now?"
Gladio nudged him in the side. "Come on, Iggy, don't interrupt them. I was waiting to see if our little angelfish here could handle being flirted with."
"Hey!" Prompto shouted, trying to go straight to standing up. The only issue was that he was in the water still and the floor of the ocean wasn't just under his toes, er, fins.
Thankfully Noctis grabbed him and helped him ease into an upright position. "Hey, easy, now. You gotta find your balance again, but I'm here for you."
"Right, balance…that makes sense. I can do this."
"Yeah, I know you can. Also," Noctis looked up at Gladio and Ignis. "You got some pretty weird friends, here."
"Ah, they're just looking out for me. You guys aren't going to be rude or stuff, right?" Prompto asked with a near pleading look.
"Of course not," Gladio said, speaking up first. "We gotta be polite to your new boyfriend, after all. See if he really is all you chalked him up to be."
"I said not to tease me!"
"Well, actually you said don't be rude or stuff. That leaves 'teasing' to be pretty vague in that range, cause it sure ain't stuff. So I think it's fair."
Ignis just shook his head. "While Gladio finds this all amusing, I still am concerned over this matter. So I must ask you, Noctis, is there any way to reverse this?"
Noctis scoffed at him. "Reverse the transformation? Seriously? This kind of thing doesn't work like that. It's a one way ticket or whatever."
"And you never considered to even ask Prompto in the first place if he wanted this?"
"Iggy!" Prompto interrupted. "I'm glad you're being thoughtful, but I can ask Noctis this myself, can't I?" He turned to face Noctis as he rubbed the back of his neck. "So, um… why didn't you ask me?"
"'Cause…" Noctis lowered his gaze. "I was so lost in the moment and… I didn't want to be rejected. I took my chances, just hoping for the best."
Prompto felt a small pang in his chest. This beautiful merman, who seemed to be a nice and friendly guy, was worried about being rejected? What kind of life did he lead if he was so uncertain about getting close to someone like this? Either way Prompto moved closer and reached his hand out, placing it onto Noctis's shoulder.
"Hey, it's okay. I was a little confused and shocked when this happened, and it would have been nice if you asked first, but in all honesty I'm okay with this. I thought about it a lot these past couple days. Well, it was like one of the only things I could really think about y'know? It's a new experience after all."
Noctis looked back up, his eyes meeting Prompto's again. Slowly he started to smile and Prompto felt like his heart was going to melt. "All right, thanks. I mean ah… yeah I'm glad you don't hate me or anything."
"Sure thing. I was a little frustrated at first, and it's still pretty confusing, but just give me a bit? Also if I can ask… there's nothing wrong with coming to the surface to visit, right? So I could come and talk to my friends here? I promise they would keep this a secret, right, guys?"
Ignis and Gladio both nodded and then Ignis was the one to speak. "While trying to feasibly cover up your disappearance is one thing, I assure you we will not tell anyone the truth of the matter."
"Yeah what Iggy said. As long as you are okay and there's no trouble, there's no reason for us to say anything."
"We can do that, then," Noctis replied. "Just figure out whenever you'd wanna meet up. Preferable times are when no other humans are around, though. Or if you can take one of those boats you humans drive, farther out to sea that could work."
After that, Prompto quickly discussed some plans for when they would meet up. They decided a week would be best as it would give Prompto plenty of time to adjust to being a merman. After they set their date and time, Noctis moved to wrap an arm around Prompto's.
"So, does this mean we can go? It's getting late after all and I should be getting home."
"Huh? Oh yeah, yeah. We should do that," Prompto said as he turned to look towards Ignis and Gladio. "I'll see you guys, then, okay?"
"Be safe, Prompto," Ignis said. "And I wish you well in this new life."
"Yeah, and I hope next time we will be herring about all your fin-tastic adventures."
"Aahh! You can cut out the fish puns now!" Prompto grumbled, wanting to bury his face away. He didn't even know if fish puns were a good thing or a bad thing to a merperson, and he was too afraid to look at Noctis to find out.
Gladio was laughing though. "Oh no, you're wrong, Prom. The fish puns have just begun. We'll see you next week, be prepared."
Finally Ignis stepped in and prompted Gladio to leave. They waved to Prompto and he waved back before he watched them walk away. Now he was left alone in the water, with Noctis right beside him. It was just the two of them again and he was feeling his heart racing. Noctis pulled lightly on Prompto's arm and they began to gently swim away from the dock.
"So, now what?" Prompto asked once they were farther out from the docks.
Noctis laughed. "We go back to my home, of course. You ready for this?"
"I mean…I think? I gotta go underwater and I'll be able to breathe, right?"
Prompto breathed in deeply. "Oh, boy… this is going to be harder than I thought. Like, I know I should be able to breath underwater now, but at the same time, my brain is telling me I can't."
Noctis swam a little closer to Prompto, wrapping an arm around his shoulder. "Hey, you got this. I'm right here for you and I know you can do it. But…" he smirked. "I can help you overcome your fear if you want."
"What? How can you help me?"
For the second time now, Noctis was kissing him without warning. His lips gently graced Prompto's, and he barely had any chance to comprehend it. Closing his eyes he fell into the feeling that surged between them. It felt even more magical than the first time, and Prompto sighed happily as he put his arms around Noctis.
When he opened his eyes he quickly let out a panicked gasp. How and when did they get underwater?! Prompto was starting to panic when he realized that he wasn't taking in water with each gasp… or really he was but it pretty much felt like he was breathing air.
"Whoa…" he mumbled, even more astonished that he could hear his own voice underwater. "I'm breathing and talking underwater!"
"And you're doing just fine," Noctis commented cheerfully. "Now come on, let's get your tail some training."
Prompto followed Noctis, the two of them swimming deeper and deeper into the water. Along the way, Prompto started to ask a few questions about the merfolk that were on his mind. He decided with just the basic things, like how long could he sit on land now without drying out and what kind of food merfolk ate.
Eventually, Prompto saw glowing lights further out in the water and he realized that they were coming to an underwater city. It was far more magnificent than Prompto could have ever expected. A shining, shimmering city deep below the surface, and no one knew about it! Though that was due to a special magic, as Noctis had explained. It was how they stayed safe from the humans after all this time.
When they got into the city, Noctis reached out and took hold of Prompto's hand. Any worries or nervousness he had been feeling seemed to melt away. He smiled back at Noctis as they continued to swim through the streets of the underwater world.
"Heya, Prince!" someone suddenly called. The two boys looked over to see a mermaid with blonde hair waving to them. "Is this your new friend you were tellin' me about?"
"Yup," Noctis answered plainly. "This is Prompto, but we will chat some other time. I gotta finish showing him around first."
Noctis pulled on ahead, dragging Prompto along before he could even ask any questions. As they headed further into the city, more people called out to greet Noctis, either calling him by his name, prince, or prince Noctis. Finally, Prompto knew he couldn't keep his thoughts quiet and he needed to ask what was on his mind.
"So like… everyone's calling you prince and stuff… does that mean…"
Noctis was beaming with a rather amused look now. "Yup, I'm a prince and stuff. Looks like you won yourself a real prize catch."
Prompto's expression was a mixture of blushing and pouting. "Don't you start with the puns, now. I thought I would be escaping them once I got away from Gladio."
"Hey, I happen to like my puns," Noctis replied as he leaned his face in closer. "So too bad, you're stuck with them."
"Well… if the puns are coming from you, then I guess I don't mind." This time Prompto leaned in and gave Noctis a quick kiss on the lips. "Being stuck with you sounds like a pretty great life."
And that was Prompto's story. I have more planned for this series so keep an eye open to see what will come next!