Chapter 1: Skyfall
Gavin decides to venture out, only to find himself stuck in the middle of a storm. He's going to need a certain mer's help.
Before beginning the story!
I would like to thank Connorrk1700writes for contributing and being a co-creator of this story. This was originally an idea up in the air for me, and we decided to roleplay it out, further turning it into a story. Without her I probably wouldn't even be posting this story! Both of us wrote parts, me writing for Nines' role, and she took Gavin's. Be sure to check out her works!
Things got pretty boring on the mainland. Everything Gavin knew was all the same, nothing seeming new or exciting to him.
The avian sat perched in a tree, his wings folded neatly at his sides as he gazed around. Gavin's eyes then landed on the beach.
He always wondered what was out there, beyond all that water. He always wanted to find out, to get off his homeland and explore. He knew no one else would care if he disappeared if it was just for a little while.
Gavin was adventurous, and had a curious heart. Nothing could stop him from investigating new things, even if they trier.
With a final decision, the avian jumped off the branch, expanding his large brown-black wings and giving heavy flaps to carry himself above the trees for a long distance, gliding as soon as he found himself above the water.
It was beautiful, the water a pretty, crystal blue. He continued flying, staring ahead of him, excited to see what was out there. He had never felt this much air on his wings; It was such a glorious feeling, the way the breeze carried him, and it was very refreshing. He closed his eyes for a moment and grinned, just focusing on the air, and nothing else around him.
Nines had been instructed his whole life never to stray too close to the surface. He was warned many times about dangers and about avians and land-walkers, and was told stories about the violent slaughtering of his ancestors long, long ago.
That didn't necessarily mean that there was no contact between the two species though. There would occasionally be trade at some of the sea ports, normally between Markus, Simon, and Josh, since they were of the diplomatic type. And of course, not to mention, the occasional attacks on ships for sailing too close to the shoal's home-waters, or the petty female mers going and luring men to their deaths for fun.
They lived in a fairly large shoal. Nines grew up surrounded by the pod he has learned to call his family. They grew together, learned to hunt and fight together, and were told stories about land-walkers and the avians, and learned about their lifestyle on land.
It was his home, and he'd do anything to protect it and it's people.
Nines had been hunting alone for a while, enjoying the peaceful solitude. His shoal wasn't necessarily annoying when it came to hunting or anything, he just preferred to be alone at certain points in time instead of being in a group. He couldn't connect to the others as much, even though they were welcome and loving toward him. Sometimes it was just too much for him to handle.
Nines felt the currents of the water as he swam, passing by a lone fish or a fellow shark every now and then. He could tell there would be a storm soon, just by the way the current felt against his skin. Storms were exciting. He liked going to the surface and feeling the force of the waves, feeling the rain against his skin.
Nines continued to explore, finding himself nearing land, by the way the sea floor got higher and the way it smelled, even from underwater. Maybe he'd stick around and see what was here. If he was lucky, he'd find a crashed ship or two.
Nines continued onward.
Gavin, of course, had been too naive to notice the giant, angry storm clouds heading his way, the thunderheads forming in front of him. That's when the sound of thunder knocked him out of his moment of bliss, sending him flapping his wings nervously as he glanced around catching sight of the storm, lightening and thunder falling upon him rapidly.
Gavin was already to far from the land to fly back... but he tried. But... where the hell was land?! Which direction was it?! He couldn't see it!
"Fuck!!! Fuck, fuck, fuck!!!" The avian cried out, looking around rapidly. He was an idiot... rain began pouring onto him, feeling like needles on his skin and wings. He beat his wings heavily, flying in whatever direction he could to try to get out of the storm, wincing through the rain as it hit his face.
Lightening flashed all around him, surrounding him, getting dangerously closer and closer until-
A painstakingly blinding flash, and an agonizing pain shooting down his back.
He himself was hit with a small streak, a loud cry of pain leaving his lips as he immediately fell out of the sky. His body was limp, and he plummeted until he found himself smacking harshly into the water.
He sank for a few good seconds, out cold for a moment from the impact before he jerked back to life, inhaling water on accident and desperately flapping his large wings underwater, flailing about, dragging himself back up to the surface. His head shot out of the water, gasping and flapping his wings harshly against the water, trying to get back up into the air.
He couldn't, his wings were already drenched by the salt water.
"HELP!!!" He cried out, continuously attempting to jump out of the water, flapping, then falling again. "ANYONE!!!?" He cried out again, trying to call to any avian in the air for help.
The creature continued struggling, flapping its wings desperately trying to get out of the water. He finally exhausted himself. Slowly his movements ceased. He was inhaling too much water, his wings were beginning to feel like dead-weights. The bird slowly began to sink once the last of his energy depleted, waves crashing over him and forcing him down, sinking into the depth of the dark, dark ocean.
Nines was swimming along with the wakes, enjoying the toss of the water and how the rain batted his skin. He took a flying leap out of the water and dove back in, letting out a sweet sigh as he landed. He was about to call it enough and go back to the shoal when something splashed down into the water some distance away.
That... wasn't any ordinary sea creature.
Curiously Nines swam over, in time to see the creature, an avian jerk back awake and swim hastily back to the surface. He could hear the jumbled cries for help, muffled by the storm above the surface, before the avian was finally tugged back under.
What was an avian doing out in this weather?
It was obviously struggling, disoriented and sluggish. Its wings were half spread in the water, buffeted hard by the ocean.
Nines swam over, inspecting it closer.
It seemed to have fainted.
And then, blatantly, Nines remembered avians... avians couldn't swim, nevertheless breath underwater.
Feeling a fresh new wave of urgency, Nines finally decided to help, despite all of the warnings he had received in the past blaring in his head. He looped his arms under the bird's arms, before beating his tail to swim them to the surface once again.
Nines inwardly thanked himself for deciding to stay close to the shore. Making sure the avian's head was above the surface, Nines began to pull them toward land, saying occasional curses as a wave would jostle them under for a few seconds.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid birds," Nines growled, beating his tail as hard and as fast as he could manage.
The unconscious creature didn't move as the merman pulled him along. He has a large burn mark on his back from where he was hit by the lightening.
That would be causing him a lot of pain later, Nines knew it. His wings made it hard since they weighted by the water, obviously not supposed to be in water at all.
He wouldn't be waking up anytime soon, and that was the concerning part. His lungs were obviously full of water, and he needed assistance, soon. But, despite all of that, his heart still maintained a shallow, faint beat.
Nines finally made it to a shallow cove that had some flat rock outcroppings and a beach dotted with palm trees.
With a large heave upward, Nines threw himself and the avian up onto a rock at the edge of the water near some tide pools.
He sat there panting for a few moments, his tail dangling in the water, before he turned his attention toward the avian.
It.. it wasn't breathing, or was struggling to. He remembered stories about mer-folk saving land creatures, and how sometimes their lungs got clogged with water.
If the avian was choking on water, then CPR should do the trick, right?
Nines hesitated, before locking his fingers and began to repeatedly pump down on the avian's chest.
And, to Nines' satisfaction, it worked.
The pumping managed to shoot a bunch of water out of the avians mouth which was a good sign, his mouth soon filling up with water until he began to choke and sputter, which escalated to harsh, rapid coughing. Nines jolted back the moment the avian began to cough up water, weary.
The avian took in a few stuttering gasps and wheezes. He continued coughing, trying to get the rest of the water out of his mouth, before managing to roll over onto his side in a natural recovery position.
Gavin's eyes partially opened, only being able to see blurry, unfocused images. His hearing even sounded like static, disoriented and fuzzy. He couldn't comprehend anything that was happening, and the creatures eyes slowly closed, before he was out once again.
He had been saved... but by who?
He'd find out when he'd wake up.
Nines knew some of his pod wouldn't necessarily like for Nines to be near an avian - the two species had plenty of quarrels and fights in the past, which left centuries of passed on grudges still held to this day.
Even so, Nines couldn't just... leave him here. He was obviously struggling and in pain. So Nines did what he could.
Though he was already farther up on land than he preferred, he dragged the bird a little ways, out of reach of the sea mist and the waves, behind a few large rocks, closer to the beach where sand began to replace the rocks. He cursed, wishing he could have legs so he could properly move around and search for somewhere a little more dry, but this would have to suffice for now. It was important for the avian to be safe, at least. He knew the salt of the sea would definitely be harsh on the wound.
The bird didn't move nor make a sound as he was dragged along, out cold for the time being. He did whimper softly in his sleep, due to the wound beginning to hurt, and his salt water soaked clothing touching the wound which only made it worse.
Nines propped the avian against one of the large rock outcrops, and with only a moment's hesitation, the merman crawled back and jumped into the water, where he went to search for a fish for the avian to eat when he woke up and some herbal sea plants to make a poultice for the wound.
Slowly, after a long while the bird slowly began to stir, letting out a low noise as he tried to get up, only to collapse again in pain with drawn out groan, squeezing his eyes shut as he began to pant lowly but softly, surprised he was breathing and.. alive.... but he figured he should just lay here and not try to hurt himself.
He stayed laying down, eyes closed, only focusing on breathing, trying to ignore the fiery pain of his burned back.
Chapter 2: Friendly Sharks, Mean Birds
Nines rolled his eyes. "I don't prefer chicken," he deadpanned, then tacked on more seriously, "I just didn't want to see you die."
Who would've thought the shark is the nice one
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Nines was successful in catching a rather fat tuna. He carried that and gathered some of the plants needed for the poultice, before heading back.
He didn't expect his day to go like this AT ALL.
He just hoped the pod wouldn't get too worried. He knew how protective everyone was, and he just prayed they figured he needed some alone time.
Nines yet again found himself hauling himself up onto land, before pulling himself over to the avian.
Huh, it had moved, it seemed.
Was it awake? It's eyes were closed... Nines experimentally leaned forward and poked the bird's cheek gently.
Gavin had been resting in the sun, trying to dry his wings so he could fly away whenever he got better, but his body froze and tensed as he sensed movement near him. Gavin held back a low hiss, waiting for the thing to get closer, keeping his eyes shut.
As soon as the thing touched his cheek that's when Gavin shot up, wrapping a hand around the other creatures neck and pinning it down to the sand with a loud hiss. His eyes slitted like a cat's, and his wings spread out to make himself look bigger and more intimidating. His foot was planted on the siren's chest to keep him down, keeping his hand tightly wrapped around the creatures neck, tilting his head as he observed the creatures features, growling lowly to himself.
Nines' gills fluttered in slight panic under the avian's grasp, and he let out a shrill shriek of alarm. His tail beat down against the rock as he struggled, letting out continuous spits and hisses. He tried not to let his claws dig too deep into the avian's skin, but he was being choked, for fuck's sake.
He let out another shrill whistling sound, before coughing out, "..I.m not.. goi-no to h-urt y—ou."
The avians gaze was merciless, hissing louder at the creature he held down before he flinched as he felt the twitching of the gills underneath his hand. Wincing and growling at the creature's grip and sharp claws, he pressed down more on the merman.
That's when his gaze turned, glancing back at the tail moving around.
Wait- tail? Gills? Scales?
"Wait-" the avian growled, then looking down at the merman again, his eyes widening.
"AUGH! FUCK!" He yelled out, and jumped away from the merman, flapping his wings until he fell back into the sand, panting harshly, trying to get up but he couldn't move his wings, a low whine of pain leaving the avians mouth.
He was in pain.. a lot of pain... and he was trapped with a fucking merman... his breathing picked up rapidly, almost in a panic but also in pain, slowly sitting up again, leaning against a rock a good distance away from the merman. His chest visibly rose up and down from the harsh pained pants.
Nines let out a shuttering gasp when he finally was released, letting out a whining cough.
"Shit," he breathed, then turned to the avian. "What the hell!" He coughed again, his gills sore from being squeezed so ruthlessly. God, this avian was about to kill him after he saved him. Nines scowled.
"Jeez, a 'thank you' would've been nice!"
Of course, Gavin didn't know this merman saved him... so you couldn't blame him for being aggressive. The pained bird creature glared up at the merman a few yards from him, letting out a low aggressive hiss. He would've gotten up and went to attack the fucking beast again but refrained, considering he was in severe pain.
A then heartbreakingly agonizing whine left the avians mouth, slowly slumping even more into the sand, closing his eyes painfully. His back was destroyed from the lightening bolt; it was charred, a series of burnt vein like marks spreading across his back, skin cracked open, the blood dry. It was extremely painful to look at, but even worse to be bearing through. Gavin would never admit: he was scared, confused, and just wanted to get out of this mess.
"stay....-" he cut himself off with a painful groan,"-away...." he warned, breathing very heavily and painfully. Breathing was still hard after basically drowning.
Nines swished his tail like an irritated cat, getting over his initial shock of the incident.
"What," he asked, "Am I really that intimidating?" Nines examined his nails. "God, I should've left your sorry ass to drown if I knew you were going to be such a prick." He then glimpsed at the avian, who was obviously in an immense amount of pain. "You've got to be in pain, though. I brought some herbs to help with that AND went out of my way to catch you some tuna... but I guess you don't want it."
The avian growled softly as he listened to the merman, glaring at him weakly. His hand harshly gripped the rock he was leaning against, his body shaking in pain. The salt in his soaked clothes was really burning his nasty wound.
"Yeah.... m-maybe... you should have..." he hissed through clenched teeth, but his confidence drained immediately as he gasped, letting out a small wail of pain.
Irrational, but fair, given what he was going through at the moment. His wound was infected, obviously, and it really hurt him.
Another low whine left his lips, a painful one.
"Why did.... you save me...?" Why would a merman, a siren, help an avian? He could have ate him instead, protein was beneficial. He hadn't really heard of mermen or seen one, this was the first mer he's ever seen.
But he's heard stories, of course, about the merfolk who guard the sea. He heard stories and news about people's ships being sunk, or the classic tale of the sirens who killed wayward sailors. But, at this point Gavin was laying in the sand, his guard now completely lowered. He couldn't defend himself, the pain distracted him to much.
Nines rolled his eyes. "I don't prefer chicken," he deadpanned, then tacked on more seriously, "I just didn't want to see you die." It was true, and honestly now that he was thinking about it, he did wonder why the heck he cared. "I guess that's it. I don't know. But honestly, we don't eat avians or humans, for the matter. At least... not usually. Not normal sirens. It's the nasty female outcasts who do. Normally fish suits us just fine." Nines pushed the tuna forward. "I don't know what you guys eat... but I caught this. I'm not hungry... and you should probably get some strength back. I can also make a poultice out of herbs for you. It'll help get the salt out of your wound and help fight the infection at least."
Gavin slowly looked at the merman as he heard him speak. The thing... cared? Why..? The bird growled softly and tensed up as the merman got closer, but then his eyes darted down to the fish. He was hungry, very hungry, and he slowly took the fish, sitting up slowly with soft whines of discomfort. He took his pocket knife and skinned it, not really caring about trying to cook it. He cut it up into smaller chunks then and began to eat it tentatively, before eating it faster and more desperately.
"We usually... eat.. fish...." he muttered. Gavin ate a lot of meat, which was why he was pretty well built. "Thanks," he said sincerely.
But the poultice, he backed up at that, pressing more against the rock with a low noise of uncertainty. He was a bit jumpy, mostly because he's never seen a merman before.
Nines shrugged off the thank you like it was nothing.
"You're welcome." He subconsciously pressed a hand against his fragile gills again. "If you don't want to trust the herbs, I guess that's up to you." He paused, icy blue gaze observing the avian. He still was scared of Nines, which sort of hurt in a sense. "Am I really that scary to you?" He said softly, making his hands into fists to hide his long nails.
The creature looked back at Nines again as he listened to him, eyes scanning him over warily with a cocked eyebrow.
"Well... you're half shark.... everyone's afraid of sharks," The avian bit back sarcastically, getting the merman back for calling him a chicken. "And sharks usually eat chickens, or really whatever they can fit in their mouths," he huffed with a sassy grin. He finished the fish and slowly put the bones down. He stared dubiously at the herbs. Would that actually help...?
Nines let out a huff of a breath, almost a laugh.
"Yeah, you're right about that, but I promise you if I had any intent on eating you, I would definitely not wait this long. Feathers aren't too appetizing anyways- hell, I don't even eat stupid seagulls." He shrugged. "What's your name? I've never met an avian before."
Gavin stayed pressed against the rock, his breathing low and excruciatingly painful, closing his eyes, shaking and actually holding back a tear of pain before he focused on the merman again. "I've never met a merman before, what the fuck is your name?" He retorted, but slowly mustered up an answer to the merman's question.
As soon as he was done speaking he let out a low hiss of pain, opening his eyes which only mirrored the pure pain he felt from the wound all over his back.
"I'm Nines, and if I were you," he proceeded, almost looking amused at how reluctant Gavin was to apply the poultice to the wound, despite his pain, "I would definitely put some stuff on the wound. You're just making yourself more miserable than you already are, stupid bird." He had to admit, he did feel bad, but this fucking avian wouldn't listen to his advice!
The bird glared at the shark as soon as he heard those words, letting out a low aggressive growl.
"How bout you get back in the water and swim back to your sea cave, stupid fish," he snapped back but shut up and whimpered in pain, since he had tensed his back to much, making some of the burnt skin crack back open and bleed again. His clothes were ripped apart due to the lightening strike, revealing the entire nasty looking wound spread across his back.
Without a second more of hesitation, he took the herbs and carelessly slapped them on his back, letting out very loud yells of pain, his wings flicking open in response, stopping and dropping the rest of the herbs aside harshly, panting heavily with pain. It hurt way to much, ans it made Gavin extremely light headed.
Nines just watched the incident with a disbelieving stare.
"You dumbass," Nines muttered, scooting closer. "Do you even know how to treat a wound?"
Despite Gavin's situation, Nines grabbed ahold of him.
Gavin's body tensed as soon as the merman got closer, letting out a loud startled hiss before he was grabbed, flapping his giant wings around. Yes nines still had his big obnoxious wings to worry about, which could easily scratch someone's eye out if they hit just right.
Ignoring Gavin's struggle, Nines, taking the herb, squeezed out the excess juices, letting them drip onto the wound. The avian tried to wrestle his way out of the sharks grip, growling and expanding his wings until he felt the immense pain from the herb juice, letting out near earth rattling yells of pain, jerking in the merman's hold. "OWWWWW OWOWOWOW STOP!!" He yelled out, jerking with snark like growls. He clearly wasn't moving that much if nines was able to be so gentle in spreading the stuff and press the thing on his wounds.
"OW!!" The avian cried out now, not a growl, a cry. His body was so weakened from the pain, he started giving up on the useless struggling.
Nines sighed, and, as gently as possible, spread the natural ointment around, before laying the actual strip of plant down against it, lightly pressing it down to make sure it stuck. "There."
He let go finally, letting out a huff. "Sorry, but trust me, it's going to help. It stings at first, but it'll minimize the pain in a few minutes. Even little minnows tolerate it better than you," Nines joked, comparing Gavin to the babies of the pod. "But it's over now. I'll go if you really want me to. Your welcome for saving your sorry ass, or whatever."
The avian pulled back quickly as soon as he was let go, letting out a very low shaky noise, glaring at the shark harshly before looking away with a pained whine. 'You try getting electrocuted in the back,' he thought to himself with a low growl.
"I don't fucking care.." he snarled to the merman's smartass comment. "Let's see how you like it the next time when you're struck by lightening!" He spat back and collapsed in the sand with a soft grunt. It hurt worse for Gavin... his wings were extremely sensitive, and your back had the most nerves in it, including your spinal cord. Gavin's wings were attached to his spine, making things about 10x more sensitive. That's why he couldn't fly away, that's why he was stuck here - fuck - the pain kept him from going anywhere.
He didn't speak for a while, keeping his gaze off the smartass merman.
".... thanks for.... saving me...." he grumbled under his breath after a while. Gavin could barely focus anymore, his eyes beginning to roll shut in exhaustion. "You can leave..." he said quietly, closing his eyes painfully with a low breath and a pinched look.
Nines gazed down at the avian.
He... really must be in a lot of anguish.
"I'm really sorry," Nines expressed, because he felt bad. "I... I can stay and keep watch for you. I hate to leave you like this," Nines admitted sheepishly. He shouldn't care, but he did. "I'll be in the water right nearby. Just... call if you need anything, okay?"
The avian had his eyes closed at this point, breathing heavily with soft whimpers occasionally leaving his lips. He cracked them open at the sound of the merman's voice, looking away from him with a low sigh.
"Sure..." he muttered and closed his eyes again. The avian curled up in his wings then, like a cocoon. He slowly began to doze off for the night. The merman was right though... the wound did seem to feel better. It didn't hurt as much, and hopefully by morning he'll be able to fly again without so much pain.
Nines hesitated before pulling himself back toward the water, letting himself slip off the rock with a splash.
Oh- the water felt so nice on his dry skin. Nines took a nice inhale, before swimming in a few circles.
He hoped that nobody would get too worried- he was out a long time though. Knowing Connor, he's probably try to start look for him.
Oh well, this... Gavin was his priority right now. Nines went to the surface and floated on his back, watching as the silver moon rose in the sky. He didn't go to the surface a lot, so seeing the moon and stars from here was really something. Nines closed his eyelids, keeping alert, but still getting some rest by resting part of his brain, just like a shark would.
He finally sunk down beneath the surface, letting the gentle sway of the water lull him to sleep.
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 3: Smell the Sea and Feel the Sky
Nines gets into a quarrel with a shark. The two struggle to get along, but they're making progress!
Gavin had gotten a good night sleep, surprisingly. With the deceased pain it was a lot better, he was relieved.
In the morning he slowly unraveled from the shelter of his wings and he yawned, stretching them out, surprised to not feel any pain.
Huh..... the avian looked at his pinions, moving them to test them before flapping them as hard as he could and getting off the ground, blowing sand everywhere.
God- but the fucking palm trees. They were everywhere, getting in his way, keeping him in place in the air. Gavin let out loud a few frustrated screeches into the air.
Nines was startled by the squawks of sound coming from the air. He sat up, swimming back up and observing what was happening. Well... it seemed the herbs helped... but shit, he shouldn't be trying to strain himself so quickly!
"You're going to regret that!" Nines called, watching the avian.
Gavin growled harshly and began to just punch through all the palm leaves, busting through them until some vines managed to tangle around his wings, making his freeze and look at them in panic, pulling and tugging on them harshly with a loud squawk of alarm, using his teeth and biting through them.
God he was a dumbass, realizing a second too late that that was bad idea because he immediately fell out of the air, flapping to try to catch the wind, before hitting the sand roughly with a loud groan. He realized a few feet further he would've landed in the water.
He laid there motionlessly, the throb returning in an instant, a low shaky whine leaving his body then as he lay there in the sand in front of the water's edge.
Face-palming, Nines swam over, before propelling himself up onto land before inching over until he was incredibly close to Gavin, face merely a foot away from Gavin's.
"The bird has been grounded," Nines grinned, resting a hand against his palm. "You probably should give your back time to heal, y'know." He traced a finger in the sand.
The bird groaned lowly on the ground, not getting up or moving. "No... shit Sherlock..." he groaned, his voice muffled since his face was pressed into one of his arms. His wings were fanned out, anyone being able to see how large they were now. Of course, they had to be so Gavin could fly properly.
Nines continued to grin, while reaching over to gently run a hand against Gavin's wing.
"You have really soft wings," he mused. "It's a weird texture compared to anything in the ocean." He probably should've asked to touch Gavin's wing, but oh well. They were too soft not to.
"Do you want me to catch you another fish?"
The avian flinched at the touch on his wing, focusing on it and freezing where he was.
Why did that feel so good....?
He grunted and tried to pretend he didn't like it, pulling his wing away and folding them back up on his back as he slowly sat up in the sand, wincing harshly in pain.
"Sure..." he muttered, looking now at how close the merman was to him. He tensed but stood his ground, slowly calming down now. He was hungry, and he needed the protein and nutrients to heal properly.
Nines propped his head with his palm again, still unwavering from his close proximity to Gavin. He let his gaze lock with Gavin's for a moment, his signature grin still capturing his lips. "Tell me," he began, "The herbs helped, didn't they?"
His eyes shifted to the scar on Gavin's nose, then traveled down to his lips for a quick moment, before darting back up to his eyes.
The avian glared back at the merman in slight alarm but then looked away. "Maybe.." he softly growled, no real all bite to it. He caught sight of the merman staring at him and his scar, his wings shifting uncomfortably as he quickly looked away so he couldn't look at his scar. "Yes they helped... it doesn't hurt as bad.." he admitted with a low groan.
Was Gavin flustered? Nines wanted to pursue that, but he decided to spare the bird for now.
"Told you so," Nines said, feeling a sense of triumph. "I'll go get your fish now," he said, the twisted around and began pulling himself back toward the water. Curse the sand and rocks, he could feel it scraping his underside. He'd have to apply ointment on himself if he kept this up. Gritting his teeth, he finally made it to the rocks, where he slid back into the water and swam off to find a decent fish for Gavin.
Gavin glared back at the merman and watched him struggle to get back into the water. Why did it keep sliding up on land if it was clearly hurting itself? Next time the dumb fish climbed back up here Gavin would carry it himself and put it back in the water. because Gavin needed to return the favor somehow. He sat in the shade and waited for his fish. He could fish on his own if he wasn't grounded.
It was easy for Nines to find a pod of tuna. A great white shark was already having a feast, but Nines wasn't too bothered- he knew if he kept his distance it wouldn't be aggravated. Nines managed to catch two, one for himself and one for Gavin. Now it was just the struggle of bringing it back without attracting other lazy sharks by the stench of freshly spilled blood.
He swam fast, but even so, he could see movement below him. Nines let out a warning growl that reverberated in the water. Any sensible animal would know to back off, but this dumb fish wasn't leaving him alone. No, instead it came forward, in attempt to steal the tuna from under Nine's arm. He swiped a claw at the shark, but didn't come out unscathed.
Curse shark's rough skin.
Nines let out a snarl, attacking the shark again. It was hard battling with only one hand, and that payed a price. The shark twisted, and before Nines could react, the shark got a loose grip on his arm and pulled, tearing his arm.
Nines let out a furious and pained screech.
Oh, this fucker was dead.
Gavin was becoming a little worried and slightly impatient, but he tried not to focus on it. He got up after a minute and tried to fly again to grab some fruit. He managed to do so, landing on the ground unceremoniously with a grunt. He munched on the sweet reward in his hand while stared at the water.
Where the hell was the dumb fish? He flapped again trying to see anything but couldn't, falling out of the air once again but this time landing on his side, letting out a loud blood curdling screech of pain, sitting up with very loud harsh and heavy pants as if he just broke a bone but he didn't. He was just extremely fucking sensitive, and his wounds hurt like a bitch. He slowly began eating once again, waiting for the merman's return.
Nines finally managed to shake the shark off, snarling as it swam off, giving up. Luckily the tuna went without any damage- though Nines suffered a bite wound to his arm and rather harsh scratches on his hands, body, and tail trying to ward the shark away. Not the worst he ever had, at least. But oh, it did fucking sting like hell. He kept his teeth gritted all the way back, and when he leapt out of the water onto the rough rock, he let out a gasp of pain, feeling the sharp edge of the rock dig into one of his fresh wounds.
This was okay, he'd just put some herbs on the wounds later. "Gavin?" Nines called out in a pinched tone, looking around.
Gavin had been resting under a tree in the shade but then he heard the pained call from the merman, opening his eyes. He could see him on the rock out there and he saw blood- what had happened? He got up with a groan of pain.
What the hell did that dumb fish do?
The avian got up and weakly flew over to the merman, wrapping his arms around his midsection and groaned out in pain as he lifted him up, flapping back over to the sheltered rocks before he collapsed in the sand, letting go of the merman and panting harshly in exhaustion. That alone exhausted him, that was bad. "Put some herbs on that sweetheart," he mocked, but ended up sounding very out of breath. Maybe not a good time to be sarcastic.
The merman grunted, feeling weird from being suspended in the air for a moment, but he let out a breathless laugh, offering the tuna.
He rolled onto his back, happy to rest even if it was out of water. He let his eyes drift to Gavin. A small smile. "'Sweetheart?' Well that's endearing."
He knew Gavin was joking, but nevertheless it was somewhat surprising. He grunted, before observing his bite on the arm. Blood dripped from the gash down his arm and hand, onto the pale sand below.
"Yeah, I guess you're right." He frowned, pulling off a loose part of his skin. How inconvenient.
Gavin was trying to sound like an annoying mom. He sat up slowly, looking at the tuna and grabbing it slowly and beginning to munch on it after lazily removing the skin. He sat back as soon as he was done and sighed softly, rubbing over his full belly. "Where the hell did you go, and who the hell attacked you?" He asked slowly. He then turned and watched the merman pull the loose, bloody skin off and nearly vomited. "Ew, what the fuck! Don't do that!" He exclaimed in disgust and flapped a wing, blowing sand at the merman with a huff.
"Hey, don't put sand on the wound!" Nines spat out in surprise, pulling away for a moment. "I went maybe a mile. Found a good pod of tuna, but after I caught two, the smell of blood attracted a shark that wouldn't leave me the fuck alone. I had to get it away before it ate the tuna. But don't fear- I sent it swimming away in fear," Nines said in an act of fake boasting, before snorting. "These wounds are nothing, though. " He shrugged, not making a big deal about them. "I'll deal."
Gavin snarled slightly in disgust at the wound, but Gavin's lightening bolt wound on his back was about 10x more disgusting to look at then a simple bite or scratch mark.
"I didn't think sharks could heal after a wound," he muttered, looking away and laying in the shade with a painful whine. "Put herbs on it," he said, trying to sound like Nines when he told him to put herbs on his wound. He opened his wings and stretched them out, wincing as it stretched his back wound, before yelling out a curse and closing them again.
"Fuck this..." he muttered out in irritation.
Nines frowned. "I used all the herbs I gathered on you, dumbass. I have to collect more." He raised a brow as Gavin tried to stretch his wings. "Are your wings cramping or something?" He asked, leaning in. "I could give you a massage or something. Maybe that'll help."
Gavin looked at the merman as if he were crazy.
"Then go get some more," he said. He sounded slightly worried for the merman, and he felt bad seeing those wounds. He then clarified, "No it's my back. I can't fly with the pain my wings cause. They stretch out the wound." he groaned and sat up. "One more day... then I can fly." he said hopefully.
He then thought... "do you... need any help.. finding herbs..?"
"You can't go underwater," Nines reasoned, already trying to pull himself toward the ocean. "I'll be fine. And you should be careful," he reminded the avian. "Even though you may feel like you're ready to take off, your back isn't fully healed yet. You shouldn't hurt yourself further."
Nines turned to make his way back to the water, but let out a very slight hiss as a rock scraped against one of his existing scratches. "Fuck," He spat.
Gavin watched the merman with a low glare, groaning slightly as he watched him try to pull himself. "Oh no you don't," he growled and got up, walking over to the merman and grabbing him around his waist, immediately taking off into the air. As gently as he could, he dropped the merman into the water and flew back, falling back onto the beach with a hiss of pain, sitting up shakily.
Nines scowled, wishing Gavin didn't have to push himself for him. Deciding not to dwell on it, he sped off, looking for the small reef he got the plants from. He just hoped he didn't attract any more predators. Luckily it wasn't too far, and he finally found the plants he was looking for. He picked a bunch, for himself and Gavin, before turning and coming back.
Gavin sighed and closed his eyes with a soft sigh. He needed fruit, something good. He glanced up and noticed coconuts. He hadn't drank anything in a very long time... he jumped up and snagged a couple, breaking them open on a rock since he didn't have a stupid machete, and began drinking the water. After he was done he ate the meat of the coconut, ripping it out with a pleasured groan. The palm trees? Redeemable.
Nines finally made it back.
He didn't have the energy to jump back up onto land, so he just slowly lifted himself, wiggling onto the edge of the rock with a grunt. 'Pathetic,' he told himself, 'You're one of the strongest in the shoal and you can barely lift yourself up.'
It was probably that he didn't get very good sleep, combined with the exertion of going on land and hunting, with only a little bit of food in his system. And thinking of the shoal... he really should get back to at least show that he was okay.
Right now, he just called out, "Gavin!" and waited.
Gavin was very busy eating and drinking all the milk, water and meat from the coconuts. His ears twitched as he heard the call and looked up, seeing the merman at the edge of the rocks. He sighed but he became worried as he saw the state he was in.
Sitting up with a twinge of fierce discomfort, he took off over towards the merman, grabbing him around his waist and flying back towards the tree he was sitting under, crash landing once again into the sand with him. "You're.... heavy..." he groaned out and laid on his side, panting.
"Sorry," Nines muttered. "It's my stupid tail." He took the herbal underwater plants. "Got these, at least. I'll put some more on your back, if that's okay." He squeezed some of the juices onto his own wound across his chest, letting out a pained hiss.
Gavin tensed but he sighed and slowly nodded, waiting for the pain.
"F-Fine but just... be quick..." he almost whimpered. It hurt so much... He moved his head and grabbed a coconut he was munching on and bit into it nervously as he waited for the shark to start applying more herb.
Nines nodded, and scooted closer before taking the plant and proceeding to lather the wound, just as he had done the previous time.
"It's looking a little better, at least," Nines mused. "Less angry red. Not infected either, at least not from what I can tell." He pressed down one of the leaves, letting it stick.
Gavin opened his mouth and let out a loud scream yell as the merman pressed the leaf onto his body, flinching with a soft cry actually and sitting as still as he could, wiping a tear out of his eye. That really hurt.. a lot..
Nines winced. He didn't want to tell Gavin his ears were sensitive to noise, so he just stayed quiet until the avian was finished.
"There, I'm done."
He moved back to face Gavin. "Try to restrict how much you move for a bit, until it soaks in a little bit." The merman then pointed a finger accusingly at the avian, "And NO FLYING for the rest of the day. I can pull myself to the water fine, I've done it before, I can do it again."
"w-wow. O-ok m-mom..." he tried to sound sarcastic but that pain really cut into his voice. He most certainly wasn't going to move for a while.
"I'm sorry," Nines huffed. He didn't like seeing Gavin in pain. "And I'm not-" He paused, then just proceeded to roll his eyes. "Here, can you put the herb on my arm? I can't reach it and I honestly don't think I can trust putting it on myself."
He held the plant out to Gavin.
"And please don't just slap it on, do what I do. Squeeze the juices out and massage it in a little bit, THEN slap the leaf on."
Gavin continued to breathe heavily to steady himself, until he heard Nines's order and looked at him slowly. He nodded after a minute before scooting over and grabbing the herbs. He did what he was told to do and squeezed the juices in before gently massaging them in, then slipping the leaf on with a grin, since Nines has done that to him twice already.
Nines gasped out, letting out a high pitched keen, before gritting his teeth in pain.
"Thanks," he breathed out, before taking another leaf of his own and applied it to another spot.
"Shit," he hissed, before pressing the leaf down against the wound and letting out another high pitched sound and a small series of frantic, dolphin-like clicking out of natural habit and reaction to the ointment. It was unintentional, but slipped out nevertheless.
Gavin jerked back a bit at all the noises, tilting his head as his feathers ruffled at the sounds nines made.
"The hell is wrong with you?" He asked and tilted his head slightly in confusion.
Nines shook his head, laughing at himself. "Sorry, it kind of slipped out. We have sounds used to communicate with one another, whether it be to express emotions or to alert others when something is wrong. It's just kinda an instinctual thing, I guess. Sorry."
Gavin had to stop himself from laughing and he did, closing his eyes and letting out a breath to calm himself down, but a smile still tugged at his lips.
"That's weird" he said, but as a joke.
"We can also sing," Nines said with a grin. "The types of songs that put creatures into a trance so we can kill them." It was a joking, fake threat, just to get back for Gavin's joke. Gavin frowned at Nines' empty threat. "Oh you're a fuckin siren now?"
"We are all sirens, dumbass, or at least those who learned to sing, like me. It's a defense mechanism, too, and it can also have healing properties, depending on the song."
Gavin shook his head with a low grunt. He moved back after a minute and sighed, curling up in the sand to rest for now.
"Does it feel better now with the herbs?"
Gavin wounds definitely felt better, even though it hurt so much the first few times.
Nines shifted his weight slightly.
"It helped on the wounds that were more of a surface scratch, but the bite wound might take a while to feel completely better since it's a lot deeper. But I'm fine." He then scooted closer, running a hand through Gavin's feathers just for the heck of it. "What's the sky like? Flying?"
What caught Gavin off guard after listening to Nines talk was the hand raking gently through his feathers, his large wing flinching slightly at the touch as Gavin snapped his attention to Nines. He wanted to pull his wing away but his wing wouldn't move... he clearly liked the sensation.
He looked away, trying not to blush.
"It's... cool.. I guess. You feel really free. It feels good." he muttered an answer softly.
"I've always wondered what it was like to be up in the air," Nines hummed. "Until now, I've really never been up on land. I never needed to." He smiled softly, continuing to card his fingers through Gavin's feathers absentmindedly. "I'm happy I met you. I have my own shoal, but it's nice to change things up and meet others, avian or merfolk."
Gavin was quiet for a while as he listened to Nines talk, closing his eyes with a soft relaxed sigh.
"Maybe when I'm healed I can carry you around..." he muttered, he meant carrying Nines in the air. Nines chuckled at that suggestion.
"I don't think you'd be able to lift me. You said it yourself- I'm heavy." He flexed his tail toward them, before letting it flop back down into the sand.
Gavin found it a bit calming listening to the merman talk, and the rubbing through his feathers which felt...really good. "I was never apart of a flock.. I don't need one," he muttered and then sighed gently, "I'm glad to have met you too, though..."
Nines smiled, but he felt a small pit in his chest. His smile faltered.
"Speaking of my shoal, I've been gone a long time. They might get worried..." he hated to leave Gavin right now, but in order to get there and back before the sun went down, he'd have to hurry. "I should probably go back and make sure they're all okay... I'll try to make it back by sundown, though. Are you okay here on your own?"
Gavin listened to Nines silently and opened his eyes, pulling his wings into himself again and sitting up.
"Sure. You should go back to them," he said and laid down in the sand again. He could use some downtime, it would give him a lot of time to rest. And when he wasn't injured, Gavin was a pretty strong flyer. It would be a lot easier to lift Nines when he was healed.
Without any further conversation, Nines nodded and hastily made it to the water without assistance, speeding off toward his shoal's territory.
Gavin watched the merman leave and then turned away with a small sigh. Now he was alone, on a large island he's never seen before. He laid in the sand with his arms crossed and his head down. It would be dark pretty soon, and Gavin was left in the cold sand wrapped in his wings, staring at the water as if waiting for the merman to reappear. He wondered what it would be like to see more merfolk... to see Nines's shoal.
That was food for thought.
As Nines streaked through the water, he passed a pod of dolphins, and he let out a whistle to them in greeting.
He continued to dive deeper, where the water became colder and sunlight faded. He had to admit, because he was on dry, warm land, it was little bit of a shocker to feel the water get colder. His skin and body temperature in general was made for deep, deep water, but even then it sent a faint chill down his spine.
He would get used to it soon enough though. Right now, he focused his attention on making sure he was going the right direction, and planning what kind of excuse he would give to the shoal for his unexpected absence.
Chapter 4: Following the Heart
As an oncoming storm approaches, Nines finally finds his shoal and informs them of his decision.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Gavin closed his eyes after a while. It was pretty boring here alone on the island. Another storm began to pick up as well, making the avian flinch and look up in fear, before a scowl painted itself across his face. Did he really need to have a storm make his night worse? He shuffled back away from the water and pushed himself under heavy giant leafs, trying to keep himself dry as the storm blew through, rain pouring relentlessly. He tried to close his eyes and go to sleep, but knew that was a tough chance.
Nines finally began to pass areas familiar to him, which encouraged him to speed up even more, feeling the nicest drift against his skin. He was almost home, his shoal would probably soon smell his scent being carried by the underwater currents.
The siren continued through the kelp forest. Just past this was a dip in the seafloor, and a tunnel that connected to a large jutting rock formation serving as a wall. Past that was a large clearing, where most of the shoal lived in the narrow crooks and caves the eroded rock had to offer, and in the practically deteriorated cargo ship called JERICHO.
He knew his shoal would probably be resting from a hunt, since it was evening.
He decided to let out an experimental call, something to alert whoever was there of his arrival.
The sound of Nines' calls finally reached the other merfolk and slowly they called back and began to swim in the direction of Nines' voice.
"Nines?" Connor called out, being the first one to appear with his glowing brown eyes, flecked with amber. At night, Connor's brown eyes seemed to glow a little bit golden in the water. His face lit up to see his brother, swimming over to him swiftly while slowly more of the shoal appeared in the distance.
"You're alive! Where the hell have you been!?" Connor asked, resting in front of Nines, hands on the tiger shark's shoulders. They hugged, letting out coos of happiness, before Nines pulled back, his face breaking into a relieved smile.
"Aww," he teased, "you were worried about me." But more seriously he added, "I've been um... exploring." That was a lousy excuse, but he couldn't think of any other valid excuse off the top of his head without giving away what he was actually doing. "And I uh," he probably should go a little more in depth, "Found a hurt... turtle? I've been helping it heal." He probably could've done better, but that was what came to his mind.
Connor frowned as he listened to Nines, all the merfolk getting closer but staying back to let Connor talk to Nines.
"A turtle?" Connor tilted his head with a frown, not seeming to buy it. "If it was a turtle wouldn't you bring it back here? Why keep that a secret?" he said and swished his tail. He peeked up around Nines as if looking for something.
"Can we see the turtle?" He asked, looking back at Nines.
"It's not here," Nines shook his head.
Shit, this was hard.
"And it's probably gone now, since it was feeling better. That's why I came back."
Crap. How could he explain to them when he leaves again where on earth he was going?
Nines hesitated. "Can I talk to you Connor, for a moment? Just us?" He glanced at the rest of the shoal.
Connor frowned, a bit disappointed. He was curious, he wanted to see the turtle. But then he heard Nines and slowly nodded.
"Sure," he said and looked back at all the other curious mers watching them. He made a movement with his hand and made the pod swim away for a bit.
"Okay.. what is it?"
Nines pulled a deep inhale of water through his gills to calm himself.
"I... didn't want to tell the whole shoal the truth about where I was, and I know you're probably the only one who'll actually understand. Markus and the others... they're too protective. But truthfully, I've been helping an avian. He got grazed by a bolt of lightning in a storm and fell into the water far from shore. I saved him from drowning and have been helping him recover." He folded his arms, looking away. "I'm sorry I've been gone for a while."
Connors listened intently and slowly his eyes widened excessively, especially when he heard Nines say avian. An avian?
"An avian?...for real?" He asked, sounding both curious and amazed. He's never seen one up close, he wanted to see it now. "Where is it? Why would it be out here?" he questioned. "Did it hurt you? Is it fearful? Is it mean?" Nines was beginning to feel bombarded by all the questions being asked.
"Can I see it?" Connor asked softly, curiously.
Nines laughed, trying to process all of Connor's questions.
"Yes, an avian. He's currently camping out in a small cove I found. Uh..." Nines paused. "He was... shocked on our first encounter, and attacked me out of self defense. But he didn't really hurt me, no." Nines spared Connor the part where Gavin almost strangled him. "He's prickly, but not... mean, if you don't take what he says seriously. He's kinda like North when she's being sarcastic, except that's his constant mood."
Nines hesitated on the last part though.
"And... I don't know if you should see him or not. I think I should ask him first, you know?" Nines wasn't entirely positive on that part.
Connor listened to all the details, his excited expression faltering a bit as he heard that the avian was basically grumpy.
"You sure..?" he asked, still kinda wanting to see the avian. He's never seen one before and he heard their wings are beautiful. Connor almost pouted at Nines, trying to give him the big brown puppy eyes.
"Just... let me ask Gavin first, okay? I'll need you to cover for me anyways while I'm gone, and maybe if you do that you can come see him yourself. I need to go see Lucy anyways before I leave to get this bite wrapped."
Connor whimpered in disappointment but sighed and slowly nodded his head.
"Alright..." he muttered out and slowly swam away. He made a noise and called the shoal back over, in which they all came swimming back and crowding around Nines, making a bunch of clicking and cooing noises, all communicating at once and swimming around, welcoming him back.
Nines responded accordingly, letting out his own series of calls. It felt nice being back, to talk to others in his mother-tongue, but he knew he had to go back soon, especially considering it was beginning to get really choppy further above.
"I've miss you guys too," Nines smiled, but then said, "I need to go to Lucy for my arm."
He felt bad for leaving so soon, but everyone seemed to understand.
Saying goodbye, he departed from the shoal, swimming down to where Lucy's cave was.
"Lucy?" He called softly, looking around the dark cave.
"Nines," the female called back, appearing from the shadows with her pitch black eyes locked onto nines. "It's good to see you've returned safe." She said, swimming and stopping in front of him. Seeing the wound on his arm, she immediately grabbed a sea slug and swiped some slime off of it, applying the very sticky goo over the wound which would seal it shut and prevent infections from getting in. "You fought with another shark, I see. Who started it this time? You, or the poor fish?"
"He wouldn't leave me alone," Nines muttered bitterly, curling his lip ever so slightly. "I wasn't the one who started the fight, the damn fish did." He glanced at the wound, sighing. "It's not infected is it?"
"It is not." the female said and pulled back, wrapping sticky kelp around it to help it stay shut and to keep bacteria or any hungry fish away. As she secured the wrap on his arm, her dark, perceptive eyes studied Nines' face.
"You seem...compassionate. I sense your solicitude for something. Perhaps that creature you are caring for?" The mermaid spoke, seeming to already know what was up, slowly swimming back into the deeper part of her cave.
"Oh, you heard?" Nines asked, slightly confused whether she was spying on Connor and him or heard about his turtle fib.
"Uh, yeah, I guess it's that. I'm going back tonight." He didn't want to say anything else about it in case he was assuming the wrong thing.
A soft, smile pulled at her lips.
"I didn't know, only assumed. I know you have a hidden caring compassion for others, you would most definitely abandon your pod temporarily to help someone in need." She spoke the truth and looked at Nines with a small nod.
"Go back to him. He needs you."
Nines didn't know what to say with that.
She knew, fuck, of course she knew. This was Lucy.
Stunned, he hesitated one last moment, before dipping his head in respect.
"Thank you," he said, before turning and swimming off, saying a few goodbyes and "I'll be back soon"s along the way. He had to be quick if he wanted to get there before sundown. He didn't want to dwell on the fact that he wasn't sure on when he'd come back. He didn't think his heart could handle it. He wasn't good at parting with those he let into his life.
So he left the shoal, not once looking back.
He just hoped Gavin was doing alright.
God, I wish Lucy didn't die in the game, I absolutely loved her character.
Chapter 5: Idling in a Storm
Nines makes his way back to the island, but as he returns, a storm hits.
Gavin is a stressed out avian.
a shorter chapter- the next chapter coming up is going to be longer!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The avian was still on the beach waiting out the storm as it continued to rage on. He was both freezing and soaking wet, considering the leaves he had been roosting under had broken away.
He couldn't stand this. he could be on his homeland right now curled up in his home in the tree. But no, he had to be an idiot and come out here. The flashes of lightening and claps of thunder really scared the avian, making him flinch each time it would crack through the sky. He curled up under his wet wings and just waited, painfully waited for the siren to come back.
Nines swam as fast as he could, rocketing through the water. He had always been one of the fastest swimmers in his shoal- he thanked that now. The land was up ahead Nines could see it, and he let out a sigh of relief. He was done trying to fight through the angry toss and turn of the waves.
The merman swam up to the rocks, and, as he had done many times before, used momentum to jump out of the water up onto land. Spotting the shape of the avian huddled under some palm leaves a little further up the beach, he smiled. He let out a trill of greeting, knowing that would carry much farther than spoken words alone.
Gavin could barely hear anything from all the rain, but he was able to hear the shrill sound from the merman. He flinched, letting out a defensive hiss as he curled up under his wings to hide, growling lowly to whatever just screeched at him. He didn't realize yet that it was Nines. He was scared due to the storm, he was worried he'd be hit by lightening once again even though he was low to the ground.
Nines frowned, pulling himself toward Gavin. He jumped slightly in surprise as thunder rolled around him. He had to admit, storms were a lot more unpleasant above water. Louder, definitely, and since his ears were already highly sensitive, it seemed even louder.
"Gavin!" He called out again with words this time. He continued to pull himself over, muttering little curses as he dragged himself against the drenched sand.
Gavin opened his eyes as soon as he heard the familiar voice, glancing over towards the water and seeing the merman coming towards him, giving a low scared scowl towards him.
"It's about damn time!" He yelled back at him, staying wrapped up under his wings since the storm was blowing rain water on him. He hated this storm, he wanted it to end. He was scared, and he hated how vulnerable he seemed at this moment.
Nines finally made it over, lifting up the leaves covering Gavin curiously. "Are you doing okay?" He asked, smelling a fearful scent coming from Gavin, even through the rain. "I'm sorry it took a while, but I'm back now."
Gavin looked up at the merman with a shaky growl when he lifted the wet leafs off of him. Gavin was visibly shaking, both from fear and from the cold alike.
"D-id you find them..?" he asked shakily, wincing and staying curled up under his wings, only his head peeking out from under the pinions.
"I did," Nines nodded. "My brother didn't buy the turtle fib I came up with to explain why I was gone for a few days. I told him about you, and uh," Nines let out a small chuckle, "he wants to meet you."
Gavin listened closely to the merman and his eyes slowly widened as he realized someone wanted to meet him.
"Uh..." he looked away, not sure about this at all. "I don't know..." he muttered. Another merman hanging around may just be a bit overwhelming to the still wounded avian. He'd have to get a little more used to Nines' presence first.
Nines understood why Gavin didn't want to have two mers hanging around, which was precisely the reason he told Connor to wait until he asked.
For now, this was enough stress on both of them, really.
The storm slowly began to calm down after a while, and Gavin became less tense, closing his eyes and relaxing slightly. He was freezing now, the cold rain water and wind causing him to feel extremely cold.
"F-fuck..." his wet wings couldn't provide any warmth, no matter how tightly he enveloped himself in them in the attempt to warm his skin.
The siren hesitated- Gavin currently looked both cold and scared. Nines had fairly warm skin since he needed to stay warm in the depths where sunlight's warmth didn't reach. But... he didn't know how Gavin would react, even to a mere hug to warm his body up. Nines knew the avian was prickly. He WANTED to hug Gavin, both for comfort and for warmth, but found himself frozen, unsure whether or not to actually act on his impulse.
Gavin was freezing nevertheless, and becoming more aggressive because of it. He wasn't as used to the cold as nines was; he spent his time huddled up in warm trees, especially during storms. This wasn't anywhere close to that, and he hated it. He whipped around and turned his back on the merman suddenly, growling and shaking harshly in the cold, his wings beginning to flap on serious irritation as cold water beat down upon them.
Nines felt a pit in his chest for a moment, feeling slightly rejected. Gavin was facing away from him... he almost reached out until he caught himself, movement faltering, hand suspended in the air as he gazed helplessly at the avian. "I-" he again cut himself off, lowering his hand slightly. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid fish for hoping for something that probably wouldn't happen.
Gavin wasn't thinking about anything but the cold at the moment. He was distressed and aggressive, his wound was in pain due to the nasty rain water hitting it, feeling like a thousand needles hitting it every second. "What?!" He snapped, even if he didn't mean to, taking it back instantly as a sharp painful whimper cut past his lips. "T-this hurts!"
It did hurt, a lot.
Nines flinched at the avian's harsh movement, but didn't move away.
Gavin tried again to wrap up in his soaked wings, only making himself colder and more wet, shaky groans and whines leaving his lips every second. If only the trees were big enough on this island. They were tiny palm trees. Useless.
The wetness on Gavin's body was sparking his fear of drowning once again.
Nines, after finally seeing enough of the suffering bird gingerly came forward, and without really asking, wrapped his arms securely around Gavin, looping his tail around the avian for even more security.
Gavin did not expect to be touched or grabbed at all, letting out a shrill screech like sound and expanding his wings before they were pressed shut by Nines's arms.
"What are you doing?!" He screeched out, feeling his legs become immobile due to Nines's tail wrapping around them.
Nines hesitated, almost embarrassed about what he was about to do, but decided to sing the melody many merfolk sang to those who were afraid or were sick. It was a hushed melody, no words, that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once. It was slow, soothing, and Nines closed his eyes, letting his own song soothe his own troubled mind.
Gavin struggled and thrashed for a while in the merman's grip until he heard the song, his eyes immediately widening as the song's affect immediately sank into the avians brain, hypnotizing him and calming him down. Gavin relaxed in the merman's arms, the small amount of warmth reaching him as he closed his eyes. He only focused on the song for the while, letting it ease him into a state of sleep.
Nines' singing continued to pulsate softly, and his hand found its way to Gavin's hair, carding through the brunette locks. He really hoped this was okay, hoping he wasn't pushing any boundaries or anything... All he knew currently was that it has calmed Gavin down from his previous, panicked and angered state.
The avian was shaking softly, still caught in the trance of Nines's song. A weak whimper left his lips as the other combed through his hair, leaning into it with a soft whine, then slowly lowering his head down once more as the avian finally fell into a soft comfortable sleep.
Nines sighed lightly, letting his singing fade into a few lasting notes, holding Gavin close. Though he probably should sleep in the water, he couldn't stand leaving Gavin right as he was finally falling asleep. So, he got comfortable where he was, before closing his eyes himself and letting his mind drift into a dreaming state of mind.
Birds hate storms