Shiro is a raven shapeshifter and Keith is a merman.
Shiro lost his arm in a fight with some cat shifters, but was saved by the witch Allura, who nursed him back to health. The two became friends and are now roommates living in a small, sea-side town–Allura working for the local apothecary while taking classes at the local magical school and Shiro working at a tattoo parlor.
Shiro’s raven form is missing half of his right wing, has a scar across his beak, and a white patch of feathers at the back of his neck, reflecting Shiro’s human side.
Shiro also has wings tattooed on his back and arms.
Shiro sometimes likes to go to the beach and just relax in his raven form. Since he can’t fly anymore, he’s more vulnerable in that form, but it would be more difficult for any predators to sneak up on him at the beach, where there aren’t any hiding places, so it’s where he’s most comfortable shifting these days, other than in his own home.
Keith is a merman who doesn’t have a family to travel with, and so has had to survive on his own, often hugging the shore for safety. He eventually finds a nice stretch of beach that isn’t frequented much by land-folk, and so he feels comfortable sunbathing there and breaching the water’s surface. (Land-folk always ask questions when they realize he’s alone, and he hates having to explain that he doesn’t have a family.)
Keith meets the local apothecary, Coran, who asks him for help collecting certain types of shells and sea life that he needs for various potions and spells. In exchange, he offers Keith deep sea fish that can’t be found by merfolk that hug the shoreline. (And they’re very tasty.)
Shiro and Keith meet when Shiro, in his raven form, investigates the sea shells, oysters, and other sea life that he finds lined up on a rock one day and Keith comes back and tries to shoo him away. Keith doesn’t realize that Shiro is a shifter, at first, and Shiro doesn’t tell him for a while, just enjoying letting Keith talk at him about his life.
Keith finds out Shiro isn’t just a raven when Coran comes to exchange goods with Keith at the old pier and recognizes Shiro as his apprentice’s roommate. Keith is, understandably, angry and hurt, since he shared a lot of very personal things with Shiro under the pretense that he was just a bird, not a person.
Shiro ends up going to the pier day after day, in human form, and talking to the water, never knowing if Keith is even listening. He sits at the end of the pier, and he talks about all of his own secrets and fears and embarrassing stories. For a whole week, he gets no indication that Keith is even listening, but he keeps coming, nonetheless. One day, though, as Shiro is leaving, he notices a shell that has been placed on one of the pier’s posts.
Shiro comes back the next day, and while he’s talking Keith shows up and pulls himself out of the water to sit next to Shiro.
Shiro thanks him for the shell and apologizes for not being upfront with Keith. Keith accepts his apology, and then promptly pushes Shiro into the water.
The two end up hanging out as much as possible, becoming closer and closer as time goes on. Sometimes, Shiro will join Keith in the ocean. Other times, they’ll just sit on the end of the pier and talk for hours, or Shiro will sit in his raven form and watch over the shells that Keith brings back from the sea floor.
When they kiss, it’s something that feels completely inevitable. They’re incredibly different, a creature of the sky and a creature of the sea, but they meet each other where they are, and it’s enough.
In closing: Let it be known that I have accepted my place in the universe. I understand now. One week ago I knew nothing. Now I know. I have powers. Powers that are not humanly possible. Because I am no longer human. I am more than human. I am super human. I just don’t know what to call myself. So my friends, people of earth, I leave that to you.
This is a true story. The events depicted in this story took place in Bemidji, Minnesota in 1976. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.
Rip Hunter used to have dreams of making a difference in the world. But life saw fit to deal him a bad hand and after too many years on the job, he’s become inured to the vile nature of man. He spends his days sitting across the scum of the town, collecting piss in plastic cups, pretending he gives a shit about his charges, and drinking too much whisky in the nights until he passes out. And then he wakes up the next day to do it all over again.