Hana stretched out on the bench and looked up at the twirling mers swimming in the nursing lagoon beside her. She smiled, watching a group of pups go zipping by with one of their caretakers struggling to keep up. She set her sketchpad on her knee and tried to find her favourite nanny-mer in the crowd.
Nanny Jack, as she had taken to calling him, was a mangled old mer that the rehabilitation center claimed was still in the prime of his life. She had a hard time believing that whenever the old mer came swimming up to the glass with his newest pup clinging to his underbelly. He was white haired with only a splash of blond left in one little lock of hair. He was covered in scars and most of his tail was shredded to pieces.
She spotted him lazing with a suckling pup on his chest. He was carding his fingers through the pup’s short brown hair as little Lena eagerly ate her lunch. Hana smiled at the sight and looked at her sketchbook. She started drawing, adding shadows to the figures on the page. Jack was her muse, one of the only mer in the entire facility that drew her attention time and time again.
She loved his nurturing nature. She had seen him covered in abandoned pups nursing them back to health when no other mer would. She’d figured out that mers were hermaphroditic because of him; the volunteers at the center confirmed it for her, shrugging when she asked why that wasn’t common knowledge. Knowing that their closest aquatic relatives were in possession of both sexual organs gave rise to a huge swamp of questions, namely if the same could happen to humans.
The only reason she knew of the entire biology was the other reason she loved Jack. The mer had a twisted sense of humor. He had figured out almost immediately that she was drawing him and swam over to the glass to have a look. He was pregnant with a different pup at the time and had happily shown her his belly so she could get the markings properly oriented. When she was almost done, he had drawn a lot of attention to the two slits on his tail. She had been confused as she had drawn both of them and she remembered the nasty grin on his face. There was no preparing for the speed at which his dick hit the glass.
She had screamed in surprise and tumbled off of the bench. Jack had laughed at her, wrapping his arms around his swollen belly and bubbles exploding out of his mouth. She remembered calling him a jackass before she had flipped the page on her sketchbook and started sketching his sexual organ to show to the volunteers later.
It started a wonderful friendship between them, one that eventually saved Jack’s life when he had complications with the birth of his stillborn pup. The pup had been twisted in the birth canal, but Jack wouldn’t let any of the medical staff near him. He kept his back to them and flared the venomous barbs on his back, preventing them from getting close. Hana had braved the aggressive display and he allowed her to approach.
The head doctor walked her through the painful process of pushing the pup back into Jack’s womb and twisting it so that it would flow out easier. Jack had screamed and clawed the rock beneath him, sobbing loudly as Hana almost went elbow deep inside of him to get his pup untwisted.
It took two pushes once the pup was properly aligned for Jack to give birth. Hana was the first one to hold the pup and she was the first to know what was wrong. The pup wasn’t breathing. Jack had known that something was wrong and sat up, reaching for his pup. Hana had pulled away, tears in her eyes as the doctors tried to tell her how to give the pup CPR. She had stared into Jack’s blue eyes and saw the pain there. He knew his pup was dead and he still wanted to hold them.
Hana had burst into tears as she passed the pup to Jack. He cradled them to his chest, nudging their mouth against his teat. There was no response and Jack had crumpled forward. He curled around his dead pup, whimpering softly as he held them against his chest. Hana had run her fingers through his soft hair, trying to offer comfort as the doctors made sure that he was physically well.
Jack passed his placenta and left, taking his stillborn with him. The volunteers said he was going to pay the pup their last respects with his mate, but that they didn’t know what that entailed. Jack was missing for over a year and Hana was scared he had died of a broken heart. Then he returned to be with one of the pups he had adopted years ago as they prepared for their first birth. Jesse gave birth to two healthy pups and a few months later, Jack returned to the nursing pools with a belly full of growing mer-pup.
Hana let out a soft sigh at the memories and added some shading to the picture she was working on. She was happy that Jack was back in the pools with a healthy pup. She was even happier that Lena was energetic when she wasn’t stuffing her face full of milk.
She felt something vibrate the glass behind her and lifted her head. Mothers and pups were scattering in all directions. Only Jack and Jesse remained. She saw the gills on Jack’s neck flare out before he handed Lena off to Jesse. Jesse and his twins swam off quickly, Lena held tightly to Jesse’s chest.
Hana grabbed the walkie-talkie off the ground and pressed the button on the side. “Hey, Angela, something big’s about to go down,” she said. “Everyone just scattered except for Jack.” She looked up and felt her heart skip a beat. “Ange, it’s a bull. And he’s huge.”
Hana stared at the massive mer as they swam in slow circles around Jack. Jack’s barbs were slowly rising, flaring out in warning as the huge bull eyed him. Hana’s mouth ran dry and she swallowed to try to get her glands working again.
The bull twisted and struck too fast for Hana to track and she screamed as long talons sank into Jack’s shoulder. Jack roared, shaking the glass as he lashed out. His talons slashed across the bull’s face, tearing the bronze skin open so that more red leaked into the water. Jack darted off immediately, but the bull was right on his fluke.
“Go, go, go,” she whispered as she watched Jack swim as fast as he could.
Jack changed directions on a dime and the bull rolled over him trying to follow. She saw the bull’s gills shake as he roared, but she heard nothing. Jack rushed by, zipping back and forth quickly as the bull struggled to keep up.
“Oh,” Angela said as she and her assistant came to a stop beside the bench. “Oh, it’s just Gabriel.”
“What?” Hana demanded as she tore her gaze away from Jack. “What do you mean ‘just Gabriel’?”
Angela nodded to the bull as they rolled and tried to grab Jack. “That’s Jack’s mate,” she said. “He doesn’t usually come into the pools. Something must be bothering him.”
“That’s Jack’s mate?” Hana’s mouth opened in disbelief. “But they attacked each other!”
“Violent foreplay,” Lucio grinned at her. “Trust me, they’re fine. We only had to stitch Gabriel up once and Jack was freaking out the whole time.”
“But… why?” Hana demanded.
“No idea,” Angela shrugged. “Something that’s unique to them. Oh, looks like Gabriel’s about to catch him.”
Hana looked up and watched as Gabriel slammed into Jack from the side. She saw the startled look on Jack’s face before it morphed into something lewd and almost pornographic. Hana’s mouth fell open as the two mer slammed into the glass and she watched a long length of bronze flesh vanish into the lower slit on Jack’s belly. She stared as Jack and Gabriel shamelessly started having rough sex against the side of the glass observation room.
“Oh, wow,” Lucio coughed as his face turned red. “They’re, uh, really going at it.”
Hana covered her face, but she couldn’t block out the sound of flesh violently thudding against glass. She let out a disgusted groan and lowered her hands, glaring at Jack and Gabriel as they unintentionally forced her to watch them having raunchy sex. They got faster and faster until Jack’s talons were scrapping at the glass as his mouth opened wide in a scream. Gabriel’s teeth were sunk deep into his shoulder and his arms were wrapped around Jack’s chest, holding him close.
Jack suddenly slipped out from under Gabriel and semen splattered against the glass as Gabriel climaxed. He blinked down at his empty length before turning to glare at Jack. Jack was rolling through the water, bucking his hips as he chewed on his lip.
“Is he okay?” Hana asked as Gabriel swam over to Jack.
“I think he just denied himself an orgasm,” Angela frowned. “Probably doesn’t want to run the risk of another pup while he’s still nursing Lena.”
“So what’s he going to… are you kidding me?!” Hana shrieked.
Gabriel buried his face into the swollen slit and Jack’s body practically folded in half. His talons sank into Gabriel’s massive shoulders and he humped Gabriel’s face with a happy look on his face. Hana threw her hands in the air and grabbed her sketchbook.
“I’m done,” she announced. “I am so done!”
“Same,” Lucio laughed as he followed her out of the observation room. “I’d rather not watch mer porn.”
“There’s my pup,” Gabriel cooed as he scooped Lena out of Jesse’s arms and nuzzled her. “Oh, you’re getting so big!”
“Watch her dorsal,” Jack fretted as he reached out. “You’re going to bend it.”
“I’ve held how many pups, Jack?” Gabriel shot him a smirk and settled Lena against his chest. “I know what I’m doing.”
Lena immediately latched onto Gabriel’s nipple and started suckling. Gabriel and Jack exchanged amused looks and Jesse snickered as his twins peeked shyly out from around his hips. Lena let out a long whine as she sucked harder, only to find there was no milk for her. She pulled away with an insulted wail, slapping her tail against Gabriel’s stomach.
“Grumpy little pup,” Gabriel chuckled as he handed Lena over to his mate to suckle. “Just like her Daddy.”
Jack shook his head as Lena latched onto his teat and happily started suckling. He stroked his thumb over her cheek, cooing at his pup as she kneaded his chest.
“She’s a fighter,” Jack said happily. “Just like her Papa.”
Gabriel smiled and nuzzled him, holding both of them close. “A good final pup,” he murmured.
Jack nodded his head and touched his heart. “He’s still here,” Jack murmured. “He always will be.”
“I know,” Gabriel kissed his cheek. “I know.”