Mal couldn’t believe it. She had one job- one job! She’s supposed to be the protector of Auradon and she somehow managed to fuck even that up. All she had to do was get her dad’s ember, check, and then make it back to Auradon with it and fight Audrey. Of course, this is where she screws up- so close but so far away. She just had to drop the stupid thing off the bridge when Carlos bumped into her, a result of him and Jay joking around in giddy excitement over making it off the isle again, alive.
Well, some successful mission this turned out to be. The ember is probably somewhere at the bottom of the ocean by now. Perhaps, if she was like her mother, with some bird familiars, none of this ever would have happened. But noooo, of course it had to happen like this. Of course!
The young half-fae feels like curling up in a ball and crying right there on the bridge. In fact, she’s pretty sure she’s already doing the latter part.
“Mal, honey,” comes Evie’s comforting voice as she places her hands on Mal’s shoulders. “It’ll be ok. We’ll find a way to get the ember back and-“
“How, Evie?” She turns to face her friend. “You heard my dad. The ember can’t get wet! Even if we can find it, it’s useless to us now.”
“No it’s not,” Evie says. “There’s always a way, we just have to find it. Right?” she asks the rest of their group, who only look moderately less downtrodden and guilty than Mal (well, except for Celia, she seems pretty nonplussed by everything).
Jay steps up first under Evie’s prompting gaze. “Right.”
“Yeah,” Carlos quickly adds, “we always find a way, don’t worry about it, Mal.”
Evie looks expectantly at Celia. Noticing, the younger girl points to herself.
Evie nodes pointedly and Celia rolls her eyes. “Yeah, I guess there’s a way.”
“Good,” Evie says. “Now that we are all in agreement that we can’t give up,” she continues, walking out in front of the group to turn around and face them all, “how about a brainstorming session, hm? Who wants to go first?”
Carlos hestently raises his hand in the ensuing silence. “Carlos?”
“Um, well, we probably need some type of spell or your mom’s magic mirror to find the ember.”
“That is an excellent idea, Carlos.”
“Yeah,” Mal says, “except for the fact that a spell like that doesn’t exist, and even if it did, or Evie’s mom’s mirror can show us where it is, there wouldn’t really be a way for us to get down there easily and comb the ocean floor.”
Carlos nods his head, looking thoughtful. “True, depending on how deep it is, the water pressure could kill us.”
“If only we knew someone who could breathe underwater,” Jay says.
Evie nods, thinking. “There’s Ariel's daughter, but she went home already for the summer.”
Jay looks like he’s suddenly had a thought. But what could… No, Mal thinks. He can’t be about to suggest-
Carlos continues, “And there aren’t any other merfolk that go to our school.”
He is, she thinks as Jay finally meets her eye.
“No,” she says just before Jay speaks.
“Maybe not at the school,” the son of Jafar says.
Mal shakes her head in denial even as looks of budding realization make it on to the teens’ faces. “No, no,” the half-fae says, followed by humorless chuckle, “there has to be another way.”
Suddenly Evie’s there, holding her in place by her upper arms - she hadn’t realized she’d started pacing. “Mal, we have to. It’s the only way. No one else is reachable.”
“And how do we know Uma is?! She could be anywhere in the world right now!”
“Well,” Jay chimes in, “you seem to think she’s near enough to warrant extra patrols along the harbor and in between here and Auradon. You tell me.”
She continues to glare hard at the taller teen and his determined stance and heroicness, trying to get him to back down, and- “Ugh!” Mal stomps her foot before blowing a strand of hair out of her face. “Fine,” she relents, straightening up and crossing her arms, prompting Evie to release her hold and take a step back. “We’ll try calling Uma.”
“To what do I owe the pleasure, your royal dragon breath?” the sea witch asks as she appears at the edge of the bridge.
In the end, it was exactly as hard as Jay made it sound to find Uma - as in, not very hard at all.
All it actually took was some very loud screaming from them, how they were ready to make a deal and all that, yada yada, and she came right out. Mal knew Uma couldn’t be away from her pirates for too long. She’d likely been constantly monitoring their situation, looking for a way to get them out or, at least, checking in on them as well as she could through this side of the barrier. She cares too much, and Mal had been banking on that being her downfall with the other boats and ships in the harbor she had running patrols, but the sea witch was crafty. Of course Uma wouldn’t be found unless she wanted to be.
Mal supposes she should be moderately thankful for the other demigod coming out when they did call her. Of course, she’d never voice such a thing aloud. Why would Mal when she has Evie, the pinnacle of manners and decorum, to do it for her.
“Thank you for coming, Uma.”
“Yes,” Mal can’t help but add, stepping around Evie, “thank you for coming out from beneath the rock you’ve been hiding under.”
Uma just cocks an eyebrow at her, smirk in place, as she crosses her arms and juts out her hip in amusement, clearly catching on to the fact that their group must be desperate to be calling her out like this.
“Mal,” Evie reprimands, urging her friend to stand down. “Uma,” the blue harried princess says, turning back to address the sea witch. “I speak for all of us when I say we need your help.”
Uma snorts, shaking her head.
“Auradon needs your help,” Evie continues.
“The isle needs my help,” Uma says. “My crew, those kids you abandoned, need my help.”
“And we are working on it,” Evie tries, diplomatically, “but right now-“
“Not fast enough,” Uma interrupts, full of righteous indignation.
“You know what, Uma?!” Mal says, sick of the superiority in the witch’s tone, like they don’t already know that they should be doing more. That Mal doesn’t already know she’s failed so many kids. That she doesn’t already feel guilty for planning to close the barrier forever.
“What, Mal?” The pirate captain asks, tone dangerous. “A little too close to home?”
“That’s enough!” Evie shouts, placing herself firmly in between the two demigods, arms raised. “We are not here to fight. We are here to find Hades’ ember.”
“His what now?” Uma asks.
“Hades’ ember,” Jay says. “It’s this magical rock thing-“
“That Mal dropped into the ocean,” Celia interjects. At the unimpressed looks she gets from the Core Four, she says, “What? It’s true.”
“And without it,” Carlos says, getting them back on track, “we can’t break whatever curses Audrey, Sleeping Beauty’s daughter,” he adds on, remembering that Uma probably has no idea who that even is, “is laying out over all of Auradon.”
“So what you’re saying,” Uma begins, “is that the good guy is now the bad guy?”
At their awkward and dumbfounded faces she can’t help but clap her hands as she chuckles. “Wow, ain’t that a twist? At this rate, what even is the barrier for?”
“Uma, this is serious,” Mal says.
“I’m sure it is, Mal,” Uma says, mockingly, “just as serious as a bunch of kids trapped on an isle with their no good parents, left to rot for all eternity.”
Mal has to grit her teeth to stop herself from rising to the obvious bait.
“Will you help us?” Evie asks.
Uma’s eyes glint dangerously. “On one condition.”
“Fine,” Mal says, “what do you want?”
“Wow, how good of you to ask,” she says mockingly, then her face becomes hard. “I want the barrier gone and any and all kids who want off the isle given the ability to do so.”
“Uma-!” Mal starts to argue.
“Deal,” Evie says.
“Evie!” Mal turns to her best friend, betrayed.
“What?” Evie whispers, “it’s not like we weren’t trying to get all the kids off the isle anyways. This is just expediting the process a little bit.”
Mal can't bring herself to argue with the main problem with this logic because Evie can’t know yet, she mustn’t know yet. So, instead, she settles for, “Yeah, by a lot a bit.”
But Evie’s not deterred, clapping her hands and smiling brightly as she turns back to the rest of the group. “Good. So we are in agreement,” she says. “Uma helps us get back and dry the ember and we bring down the barrier once this whole issue with Audrey gets resolved.”
“Sounds good to me,” Uma says, obviously relishing Mal’s discomfort with the whole situation.
“Fine,” Mal says, for lack of a better way forward. “Let’s just get this whole thing over with.”
Of course, nothing’s that simple, is it?
Uma finds herself mildly irritated that they thought just her alone, searching for the ember they dropped in the ocean, would be enough to find their magical macguffin.
Fortunately for them, she thinks as she leads them to a cave along the cliffs of Auradon proper, she has options she can explore that they can’t.
“So,” DeVil starts, as he tries not to look down over the ledge of the rocky cliffside they’re carefully making their way down, waves crashing uninvitingly against the rocks below, “when you said you could lead us to possible allies who could help us find the ember, you mean-”
“A pod of sirens that’s taken up residence here,” she tells him from her place at the front of the group.
“Oh,” he nods, shakily. “Deadly sirens. Great. Just checking.”
“Scared?” Jay goads from behind DeVil, bringing up the rear of the group.
“No, me? Scared?” he says, clinging to the side of the cliff. “Why would I be scared? Just some simple humanoid fish people that can lead us to our watery dooms. What’s scary about that?”
“Relax guys,” Evie says, optimistically from her place in front of them and behind Mal, “I’m sure Uma has a plan for any possible watery dooms.”
“Don’t worry guys. I’ll protect us.” The half-fae snorts. “I’m pretty sure siren calls won’t work on me, godly heritage and all.”
“You’re pretty sure?” Celia asks from her position in front of Mal, not at all comforted as she trails down the rocky cliff side behind Uma.
“Chill,” the sea witch tells them, “I’ve got something that can keep everyone safe.” Granted, she never thought her first trial run of using said ‘something’ would be on her arch nemesis and friends, but, she supposes, they make for better lab rats than her own crew.
“See,” the blue haired princess says. “Uma knows what she’s doing.”
The pirate captain raises an eyebrow at this, but otherwise doesn’t bother correcting her as they draw closer to the cave’s entrance. “Just don’t get too close to the edge of the tide pool,” Uma tells them. “I’m not diving in after anyone if you manage to get yourselves dragged under.”
“Thanks,” Carlos says, “so comforting.”
If only he knew, Uma thinks.
In her travels, during the off time in between attempts to break down the barrier surrounding the isle by force, she’s run across her fair share of sirens. Unlike mermaids and other merfolk, whom she tended to avoid, sirens didn’t report to any one god or ruler. They didn’t report to anyone. Since their creation, born from the old river god Achelous (whom no one had heard from in a millenia) and one of the nine Muses (the stories were never forthcoming on which of them, exactly, did the deed - and none of the Muses themselves seemed to want to clarify), they were made beautiful outcasts. Lovely to look at, wonderful to hear, deadly to all that listened.
Merfolk tolerated them, unaffected by their song (and, perhaps, envious of their singing), while none of the gods or rulers of the sea bothered to claim them as their own, not wanting to be associated with that which not even the Muses would rightly claim. Their existence, for the most part, was an unacknowledged one.
Just like the Isle of the Lost, sirens were made to be seen and not heard, contained to the outskirts of society.
Of course, just because they had things in common with those from the isle didn’t mean Uma necessarily liked them.
In fact, Uma found the ones she’d run across so far rather vapid and relatively uninspiring, with only a few exceptions. She only bothered seeking them out so she could gain protections against them. After all, it wouldn’t do for her pirate crew to start jumping to their deaths once they were finally free of the barrier due to some siren’s song.
For all her trouble of interrogating sirens, since they wouldn’t bow to Uma just because of her heritage, needing, instead, a show of power before they willingly parted with any information (and only grudgingly so), she gained a spell from one of the older sirens she managed to track down named Harriet. Said siren also informed her of a nearby pod, closer to the isle, that some of her younger siblings had formed. According to her, they were curious about all the recent goings on in and around Auradon, even if the waters were more prone to inspection by naval personnel.
Of course, all this information could be wrong. The spell could be a lie, as Uma didn’t have anyone to test it on, and the sirens could be based somewhere else. Or, the spell is a lie but the siren pod is not and this is all an elaborate trap set by the older siren to get Uma and her allies killed. She wouldn't put it past Harriet. After all, there was a reason why other merfolk tended to steer clear of them.
Still, the supposed spell to ward off the effects of the sirens’ calls was the best Uma had to go on. And she made sure to cast it over the other teens in her group, even Mal - despite her protests (“Save your breath! It probably won’t even work on me. Save it for Carlos or something.” “Hey!”), once they made it to the mouth of the cave.
“Thanks, Uma,” Evie tells her once all the casting is done.
“Yeah,” Jay says awkwardly. “What she said.”
Carlos nods his own quick thanks and the daughter of Facilier just rolls her eyes before muttering her own, while purposefully Mal won’t meet anyone’s eye.
Uma wasn’t exactly expecting anything from any of them, so she ignores them all, heading inside the cavern. “Stay behind me and let me do all the talking,” she tells the group. Last thing she needs is Mal’s ego or Evie’s overly optimistic attitude messing up negotiations. Sirens could be fickle at the best of times.
Heading further into the cave, their footsteps crunch along the rocky ground.
“Hey guys,” Carlos whispers, “is it just me or is it getting lighter in here?”
The light inside the tunnel is indeed growing brighter instead of dimmer as they continue inwards, and the source of the extra light soon becomes apparent as they enter one of the main caverns.
Evie gasps and Mal’s mouth drops open.
Around the spacious area are various different gemstones and crystals lining the walls in clusters surrounding a clear blue pool of water, emitting their own special glow in teals, blues, purples, and pinks.
“Woah,” Jay says.
“I’ll say,” Carlos adds in amazement.
“Dang!” Celia says. “This place is nice! Way better than Hades’ underground crib.”
“Is this place for real?” Mal asks.
The blue haired princess looks close to tears as she fans herself. “I don’t know. But I do know that some of these gemstones would look fabulous on one of my outfits.”
“What kind of properties do you think these rocks have?” the white haired DeVil asks, edging towards one of the walls for closer examination. “Do you think they’ve all been catalogued yet?”
Uma rolls her eyes. “I don’t know, but we aren’t here to look at pretty rocks,” she tells them, approaching the tide pool. Crouching down, she can see the entrance and exit to this pool of shallow water down below through the clear waters.
“Well darn,” Mal says, peering over her shoulder. “It looks like no one is home. Guess this was all for nothing.” She straightens up. “Thanks for wasting our time, Uma.”
Uma restrains herself to closing her eyes, letting out her frustration in only a long sigh.
Splashes in the water, alongside gasps and various other reactions of shock, has her reopening her eyes to come face to face with a blond haired siren.
“What do you want?” the siren demands, the multi-colored beads in her hair shining in the light.
Straight to the point, Uma thinks, one of the only good things about sirens. “Who’s the leader of your pod?” the sea witch asks.
The blonde smirks from her place floating in the center of the pool. “Who wants to know?”
Oh great, Uma thinks, nevermind. This one wants to play, and Uma isn’t in the mood to indulge her. “Look, your sister Harriet sent me.” Which might technically be a lie, but this siren doesn’t need to know that, and the lie has the lovely effect of getting the blonde’s self-righteous smirk wiped right off her face.
“Harriet sent you?” Her brows furrow. “But I- we haven’t done anything wrong.” She looks angry and defensive, and Uma really doesn’t have time to sort out what all that is about.
“Just get your pod leader,” the sea witch tells her.
The siren narrows her eyes, nostrils flaring. “Fine,” she grits out before diving underneath the water, a maroon tail with streaks of blue making a quick appearance above the water as she does so before disappearing along with its owner out the entrance of the pool.
“So that was a siren,” Carlos says, in an obvious attempt to fill the ensuing silence the blonde’s exit left.
Uma briefly contemplates stabbing herself in order to be spared from such inane conversation with her enemies turned allies. Based on the eye roll and head shake from Celia, which Uma spots as she looks over her shoulder, she’s probably not the only one.
More splashing from the pool and more subdued, if more confused, reactions from the other teens behind her, are accompanied by an accented voice, asking, “Well, well, well, what’ do we hav’ here?”
Immediately, the reason for their confusion becomes apparent as she looks forward and is greeted by a very blue eyed, very male siren.
Never before had she met a siren that had a stare this intense, with eyes that promised the storm, or an apparent Y chromosome
“You’re the pod leader?”
The siren's answering lazy smirk is less irksome than his sister’s. “Indeed I am,” he says, drawing closer to the edge of the pool where Uma’s crouched.
“Uh huh,” she finds herself saying, eyeing him critically.
The dark haired siren seems to take it all in stride, smiling charmingly as he comes to rest his arms on the outer edge of the pool below Uma. “I know,” he says with a mock pout as he stares up at her through his eyelashes, his eyes outlined in some type of waterproof eyeliner, “Me sisters get all the mentions.”
Uma just cocks an unimpressed eyebrow, paired with an amused smirk.
The siren only grins in response.
“Wait,” Carlos butts in, making Uma’s budding good mood vanish and the siren before her turns his head to the side, peering around her and finally taking in the presence of the rest of the group. “I thought sirens could only be females.”
The siren's smile is tight, but no less charming, as he replies. “I’m the first and only son of Achelous and Melpomene. Name’s Harry, by the way,” he says, returning his attention to the young sea witch, smoothly taking her hand, like a gentleman of the court, and dropping a kiss to the top of it, staring at her with those blue eyes of his all the while. “What’s your’s?”
“Uma,” she tells him, not backing down from the challenge of maintaining eye contact. Siren’s were predators, after all. They could sense weakness, and Uma was anything but weak.
“Uma,” he hums, and if Uma didn’t already know that she wasn’t affected by the singing of sirens, she’d think she’d been spelled with the sudden impulse his tone gave her to jump into the water and join him. His eyes flash mischievously as if he knows exactly what she’s thinking, even as he lowers her hand gently back to her side. “What a beautiful name for a queen,” he continues.
Uma’s eyes narrow at that, searching for an insult. Sirens weren’t known for their compliments, compelled to scorn and mock those around them, unless they wanted something. But she can’t be drowned or easily killed by a siren, or even a pod of them. So where’s the insult? Where’s the hidden agenda?
Whatever, she decides, we’re on a timetable. “Listen, Harry,” she says, “me and my-“ she pauses, trying to think of an appropriate term, “temporary allies,” she settles on, “need you and your pod’s temporary assistance.”
“Ye do, do you?” the siren asks, seemingly delighted at the prospect. And Uma doesn’t trust it for a second. “And what could little ol’ me and me crew do for you that a goddess,” he says, causing something inside Uma to start to rage at the implications, “like you couldn’t do fer yerself?”
Before she even realizes it, her hand has struck out and grabbed a hold of the siren’s neck, lifting him a few inches out of the water with strength she didn’t previously know she had, all of his long and vulnerable torso out of the water and on full display. His hands grab at hers, but don’t do much more than rest there as it quickly becomes apparent that her grip can’t be broken easily.
“You dare to make fun of me?” she says, and her voice is different, echoing deeper and older along the cavern walls, accompanying the swirling ball of energy she feels coalescing at her throat around her mother’s necklace.
“Uma,” the blue haired princess is saying somewhere behind her in muted alarm, with similar sentiments being raised by her friends. But no one touches Uma. And Uma doesn’t have any thought for anyone other than the floundering siren in her grip.
“No,” the siren rasps, even as his body gives an involuntary convulsion as it tries to suck in enough air, causing his blood-red tail to splash water over the sides of the pool.
She only tilts her head to the side as she allows the siren to elaborate, loosening her hold just enough to make the process easier. She swears the siren, Harry, is stroking her fingers now with his in some form of morbid thanks and Uma can do nothing but watch in fascination as he licks his lips and continues on. “I meant no disrespect,” he says.
“Then what did you mean?” she asks, giving his throat a quick squeeze, causing his tail to splash up more water and his grip on her hand to spasm, his eyes going half lidded.
“You’re,” he starts, Adam's apple bobbing as he tries in vain to swallow, “a queen,” he finally manages to get out. “A goddess.”
“And?” she raises an eyebrow, unimpressed.
“I just-” he seems to cough, tail spasming alongside his hands as he tries to continue, “-I don’t understand why a goddess would seek us out,” he rasps.
This gives her pause and she drops her hold on his throat allowing him to find sanctuary back in the tide pool, inhaling deep lungfuls of air.
“Explain,” she orders the still gasping siren.
“Isn’t it obvious?” he asks, gripping a rock at the edge of the pool to steady himself, shuddering.
No time for games, she thinks, as she reaches out and pulls a fist full of his hair back, making him meet her eyes with that of his blue, even as he gives a startled, “Oh!”
“Explain,” she demands again.
This close up, she can see his pupils are blown. “Ya know,” he says, licking his lips, as he allows his eyelids to go half lidded again, “a bloke could catch a different meanin’ from this.”
She wishes she could say she’s more irritated with him than she is for his disobedience. As it stands, she just tightens her grip, watching his eyelids flutter and his mouth open into another round ‘o’ as he utters a sound that’s borderline pornographic.
“Okay, okay,” he says after a moment, swallowing hard. “Yer the first goddess - ruler - to come seeking our aid.”
Behind her, the others have started up a new round of murmurs, but she ignores them, choosing instead to focus on this new information and the implications it adds to what she already knows. “Your aid?”
“Any of us,” he says.
“And this matters to you?” Her eyes are searching.
“Of course.” And those two words are full of something she hasn’t heard before, with those blue eyes that speak of the same thing. Something which no one would dare give her on the isle so openly. Something which one would have to be crazy to offer her on or off the isle - the daughter of a sea witch, an ousted goddess of the sea.
She makes a decision right there and then.
“Get your pod together,” she tells him, letting go of his hair and allowing her nails to scratch along the back of his head. His eyes close as he leans into her caress with something that sounds almost like a purr. “Scour the ocean floor beneath the end of the bridge closest to the isle for Hades’ ember. It’s basically a large blue rock. You’ll know it when you find it.”
“And try not to kill any humans while you're at it,” Mal interrupts cheerily from right behind Uma.
The sea witch glares at the half-fae over her shoulder before her attention is stolen away once again by the siren in front of her as Harry lets out a snort, pulling away from her hand to face the other teens. “‘Kill any humans!’” he says in a high pitched imitation of the purple haired teen’s voice. “Please,” he continues in the face of Mal’s anger, “I haven’t killed anything more intelligent than a clown fish in at least the last half century, not with those lighthouses enchanted to keep us away. So hard to hunt unseen with those things - and those nasty boat horns. Who ever invented horns should be-”
“Harry,” Uma warns.
“Yes, luv?” he rejoins with a smile.
She holds his gaze for a long moment. “Can you do it?”
“Of course, darlin’,” he drawls, carefully taking one of her hands between both of his. “But ye have to make it worth me while.” She raises an eyebrow. “Or should I say, yer while.”
“You're a goddess,” he says conspiratorially, leaning closer with a wicked smirk, their foreheads almost touching. “You don’t pick and choose who follows you. You take. You take them all without complaint.” He lets the fingers of one of his hands draw intricate patterns over the skin of her arm. “So take me,” he all but whispers to her. “Use me. Use me, do whatever you want with me.”
And that same something in his voice, in his eyes, is still there - a crazy sort of twisted, loyal devotion - worship - even though they’ve only just met, and all because she looked to them when no one else would.
“Whatever I want?” she asks, letting the digits of her free hand come to tangle loosely in his hair.
“Whatever,” he tells her, lips inches from hers, eyes alight with the promise of storms to come.
And, she thinks, pulling him closer by the back of his head, bringing their foreheads together as she laughs wickedly. Her other hand comes up to hold the back of his neck and trace one of his sharp cheekbones with her thumb, she wants the storm.
And so Uma does the one thing she’s never done with any of those who haven choosen to follow her before. The one thing she’d be crazy to do by giving a similar something to one who offers it so readily to her.
She bites him, claims him, after easily maneuvering his head to the side as he laughs along with her. Sinking her teeth into that long pale neck he willingly displays for her, his blood immediately rising to greet her. It sings in her mouth, and she immediately feels the influx of power, a buzzing in her head as Harry lets out a low moan. For a moment those are the only things she can hear, and then it’s all over and she’s pulling away, licking at the wound, causing the siren before her to shiver, and the sound abruptly cuts back in.
She ignores the other teens, instead focusing on Harry who is grinning much like the cat who ate the canary - a satisfied, predatory thing.
“Well,” the sea witch says, with a matching grin of her own, “you have your orders.”
“Aye, that I do.” He stretches up out of the water towards her as she begins to pull away and stand up. “A kiss?”
Uma scoffs, pushing him away with a hand to his chest.
He laughs, falling back into the water happily. “Such a temptress, my queen,” he says, his eyes alight with the oncoming storm as he floats backwards.
“You have an hour,” Uma tells him.
“And such a demanding one at that,” he replies cheekily, laughing again as she rolls her eyes, before doing a lazy backflip in the water, showing off his long, red tail before disappearing beneath the surface of the tide pool.
With him gone, she no longer has a valid excuse for ignoring the other teens in the room.
“Uma-,” Evie starts.
Mal’s voice raises above hers. “Uma, what did you just do?!”
Uma rolls her eyes. “I got us assistance,” she says, standing up. “You’re welcome.”
“That-” the half-fae gestures to the water, “was not just getting us assistance.”
Uma cocks her hip, as well as an eyebrow, as she crosses her arms.
“That was-” the purple haired teen seems to be struggling to come up with the right thing to say, “-that was something else. You bit him, Uma.”
Uma scoffs, shifting her weight to her other leg. “And? Didn’t you hear? He was more than happy to have me do it.”
“That’s not normal, Uma!”
“And you starting your relationship with King Ben by using a love potion is normal?”
“This isn’t about me, Uma!”
“Isn’t it always?”
“Guys,” Evie says, coming in between them, “now is not the time.”
“Yeah,” Carlos cuts in, “can we talk about the fact that the deadly siren kept referring to Uma as a queen and a goddess? Am I the only one who’s concerned about all that?”
“Trust me, anybody who’s delusional enough to think Uma’s a queen or a goddess is someone to be concerned about,” Mal says.
“Excuse me?” Uma says.
Evie sighs. “Mal, enough. I’m sure there’s a perfectly valid explanation for all this.”
“Yeah, like the siren’s hit his head one too many times,” Jay says, laughing, before high-fiving Mal.
“Sorry to burst your bubble there, thief,” Uma says, not at all sorry, “but it’s exactly as it sounds. The sirens are just grateful, or,” she rephrases, “at least, this one is, to have anyone with any sort of authority finally taking an interest in them.”
“And you’re supposed to be the authority?” Mal asks.
“Wait,” the blue haired princess interrupts before the two demi-gods can properly get into another argument. “Authority, as in royalty or someone else of godly descent?” At Uma’s nod, she continues, “But doesn’t that mean King Triton and Poseidon, or maybe even Aphrodite would be the proper authorities they would look to?”
“No. None of them claim the sirens as theirs,” the sea witch explains. “And they’re not harmful enough to warrant fully ostracizing or demonization by those of the sea, but they aren’t really loved or accepted by anyone, only tolerated.”
“So when he was talking about you being a queen and a goddess, and all that choosing business-?”
Uma snorts, uncrossing her arms as she gestures to herself. “Look here princess, I’m half-god and I’m becoming less human by the day.”
Mal, the other half-god of the group, is quick to speak up with a shake of her head, “No, that can’t be right-“
“I’ve been stuck behind a barrier since I was born,” Uma interrupts, “and yet I survived where my siblings didn’t. You never had any other siblings, Mal. And you sure as shit don’t have the possibility of becoming a full god on your own, not with your mother’s blood fighting it. Human blood is different, sometimes it can allow those who possess the blood of the gods to transcend into godhood all on their own, without Zeus' precious permission. All they need is enough believers.”
“But,” Evie begins, “behind the barrier, there isn’t-”
“There’s no magic, nothing tangible, anyways, outside the body.”
A look of understanding seems to dawn on Jay. “Your crew, that’s why-”
“Say my name,” Uma says, with a smirk. “Yes, the more crew I have, the more territory, the more people I control, the more powerful I become. And not just on the isle,” she continues, looking bemused, “but outside of it.”
“So you,” Evie swallows, “biting that siren...?”
Uma smiles shark-like, careful not to lick her lips or run her tongue over her teeth, remembering the taste, the moment he became hers. “A territorial claim, the only sort my kind and their kind will respect. My first one outside the barrier with full magical strength behind it.”
Carlos laughs nervously. “You don’t normally bite your crew mates,” he pauses, “do you?”
Uma just smiles, tight lipped, causing Carlos to gulp nervously, backing up behind Jay.
The rest of the group looks just as uneasy as they come to their own conclusions.
Uma lets them think whatever they want, even if they’re wrong.
She’d never bite any of her crew. The strong bond that it would create has to be used sparingly, after all. And it wasn’t as natural to form such bonds with her kind and humans as it was for other gods by other means, those who primarily ruled over the land.
She purposely doesn’t let her mind wander to what else a bite like that could mean, especially if she chose never to bestow another living creature with it, instead, choosing to bite and suck at the mark, and make new marks, repetitively, all over the pale skin of that mischievous siren of hers - the one who’s steady heartbeat she can now feel in the back of her head beating strong, his mess of emotions and the occasional stray thought trickling through, whispering, Uma, Uma.
All the other bonds she’s accumulated by association with her crew, the isle, they’re all present as well, all pulsing beneath her skin, in her veins, but none so strong as his - so powerful. Creating a bond with another magical being was exactly as powerful as her mom said it would be. She has no doubt it could also be just as dangerous for herself as her mother warned it could be, one of the many reasons she gave Uma for why she never did it herself. But Uma isn’t afraid of a little gamble, unlike her mother, who, for all her dealing, always had the upper hand, an ace in her sleeve to ensure her way, until, one day, the tides rose against her.
Uma was the tides, though. Her sea could never be against her. And she needed people who could weather her storms, help bring them, maybe even sing them - sing her tales and spread her discord. Someone to rise with the tide and drown those stuck in it.
A siren was an excellent choice, she grins.