looked differently

Recently I’ve been trying my hand at embroidery. This one’s for everyone’s favorite Fjerdan, Matty 🌷

a reminder: sunbeams find andrew every morning in bed. he no longer abruptly sits up, rapidly blinks, and scans the shadows in his room. instead, he sinks deeper into the sheets, blankets wrapped around him and his arm wrapped around another pillow. he feels the steady weight of honesty and trust and always pressed against his palm, a promise that isn’t just lip service. his bones aren’t tired of the body they’re in, nor are intrusive thoughts slamming against the solid confines of his skull like plaster. he doesn’t open his eyes, but if he did, he’d be met with slate-eyes and a soft smile, copper curls and patchwork skin. 

stay, his mind whispers–soft, unbidden, assured. the word doesn’t taste like desperation, only certainty. 

To a sailor, honest or not, the sea was always a threat. Even on the kindest days, she could be deceptive. Still waters and clear skies never lasted long, hiding storms behind the horizon.

It was Yurio who first spotted the flash of color in the water, sounding the alarm. Scales of red and gold hiding amongst the glittering blue of the sea under a bright summer sun. Glimpses of a tail flirting out from the wash of the waves, never permitting a solid look.

“How many are there?”

“I can’t tell.”

“Is it a school?”

“I think it’s only one.”

“They’re not like sirens, they aren’t solitary.”

“Look, there, see!”

“It’s circling us…”

“Well that’s freaking great. Exactly what we need. What kind is it?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never seen one with a tail like that before. Usually mermaids–”

Chris had to seize onto the powder monkey to prevent him from plunging into the water, nearly knocked overboard by the expanse of Yuuri’s wings. The siren had sprung off his perch on the crow’s nest with a sharp cry, diving straight into the water below.

In the split moment before he hit the surface, it broke from beneath with the vibrant flash of gold on scarlet fins. The mermaid leapt into the air, colliding with the siren. Webbed hands grasped onto Yuuri’s feathers, dragging him down into the sea.

Neither reappeared. The surface settled.

“Captain!!”

“Yuuri– it grabbed him, he’s gone!”

“I don’t see them!”

Victor came running. He threw off the sash tying his pistols to his hip, ready to leap in after his siren.

The ocean erupted. Droplets of water burst up into the air like diamonds, propelled over the ship with the force of Yuuri’s wings. The siren shot up into the sky, twirling as he flew. His arms were wrapped around the mermaid, waist encircled by its tail. 

Yuuri’s forehead was tipped against the mermaid’s, smile split across his face. The sound of combined laughter filled the air, wondrous and uplifting in its power.

Yuuri peaked above the tops of the masts, stilling in his ascent. The two fell back into the water. Yuuri’s wings pushed them across the surface as they rolled in the waves, splashing with abandon. Their chatter barely reached the ship, excited, like that of two friends reunited.

The men on board stared, watching the siren kick up water with his wings, splashing at the mermaid. Who proceeded to grab his shoulders, shoving Yuuri down under the water without any sense of fear. He cackled openly when Yuuri emerged, spitting out sea water with a playful scowl.

“….Your bird’s friends with a freaking mermaid?!” Yurio  demanded, spinning to glare at Victor.

“I had no idea,” Victor answered, pouting a bit as he watched Yuuri’s lips move rapidly, able to see it even at a distance but unable to hear the siren’s hushed words.

“How delightful life on board this ship has become,” Chris remarked, leaning forward to try to glimpse more of the mermaid. “He’s quite cute, do you think the tales of them growing legs on land are true?”

“We’re all gonna die,” Yurio muttered. “Drowned by mermaids, eaten by sirens…”

From out on the water, the mermaid shouted out something in shocked delight. His brilliantly colored tail slashed through the waves as he tugged Yuuri back to the ship by the hand, waving enthuastically at Victor. “Hiiiiiiiiii!!!”

Victor blinked, slowly waving back. From down below, Yuuri blushed. The mermaid beside him grinned, sharp white teeth contrasting his dark skin.

“Yep, all dead,” Yurio quipped while Chris and Victor shouted down a greeting.