[identity profile] .livejournal.com posting in [community profile] heroescuties
Title: Sea Legs
Fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
Rating: PG
Characters/Pairing: Seychelles/France
Word Count: 2,663
Summary: Sesel has always heard tale of the humans that lured mermaids away from the safety of the sea. But when she meets one, she finds that perhaps the legends aren't as they seem. [Mermaid!Seychelles x France]

Notes: For [livejournal.com profile] cure_lover_17 as part of the [livejournal.com profile] girlnationtan Secret Santa Exchange who asked for something with Seychelles as a mermaid.


Beware all ye mermaids of sailors above,
Though they promise you paradise, they cannot show love.
They’ll lure you in with a song and a kiss,
Then chop off your head as if you were a fish.

Oh daughters, dear daughters, don’t dare swim astray,
Or a sailor’s net will take you away.
Take heed of this warning; don’t fall for their charms,
And that my dears will keep you from harm.


She’d heard the tales about the legendary humans, stories passed down from one generation of merfolk to the next. Some, those who had traveled or who had spoken to other pods of merfolk passing through, had even said they’d seen humans before. It was such a foreign concept to Sesel, to actually see a human.

It was rare as is to see a boat passing over the waters where they lived, the last one being when she was but a little girl. But to see an actual human? That was just impossible. Sometimes Sesel even wondered if humans were just some false creatures her people had created to keep daring teenage merfolk from spending too much time on the surface.

Things that were like merfolk but without a fin! And in the place of a fin, they had these strange parts called legs and feet. It was just too ridiculous to be true.

But Sesel had always wondered what a human would be like. Would they be like the stories? Or was there something more to them than that? She never expected that she’d soon have the chance to find out.

------------------------

The boat had paused, right over their waters, and seemed to sit there for most of the day. The elder merfolk kept telling everyone to stay calm; that the boat would surely move on soon. The humans were, as it was repeated and passed along from one merperson to the next, “just fishing” and would leave before sundown.

So when the boat remained there after the sun had set, the elders began to worry. And like most things elders worry about, the younger merfolk began to get curious and daring. As she chatted with her friends, telling them bravely how she didn’t think humans were flesh-eating monsters, Sesel yearned for a chance to go up and look about.

“I dare someone to go up and bring back a trinket from a human!” One of her friends had challenged.

The others gasped, all shrinking back as if to say that they wouldn’t be volunteering for such a task. But Sesel fearlessly swam forward and flashed a grin while pumping her fist in the air.
“I’ll do it!” She vowed. “And I’ll prove to you once and for all that humans aren’t evil while I’m at it.”

And so, as the stars and moon came into view that, Sesel surfaced near the edge of the boat and slowly swam around its hulking mass. The boat itself was a wonder to behold, the wooden beams creaking with each lap of the waves against it and yet still buoyantly defying the call of the ocean to sink into its depths. But Sesel had barely gotten around the bow of the ship when she heard the eerie cacophony of voices.

The song of the humans! She thought in alarm, quickly pressing her hands tight over her ears in hopes it might protect her.

The words were slurred together and each voice seemed to be doing its best to drown out the next. Some painfully screeching noise was coming from a red box with folds in it as it was squeezed by the human holding it.

At that, Sesel dropped her hands and stared. These were humans, real live humans. They were dancing around (at least Sesel assumed the strange moments they were doing had to be dance) and belting out their odd song. She grinned and did a little flip back into the water in excitement.

The song of the humans was haunting, yes, but she didn’t feel as if it drew her in. In fact, if anything, Sesel thought it was a horrid noise that might be meant to drive others away. As she watched the humans lurch about on the deck of the ship, she slowly drifted with the waves back towards the stern. She never noticed the lone sailor sitting there until he called down to her.

“Sacre bleu, they do exist!” He gasped.

Sesel darted behind the rudder at the voice, peering around warily at the strange human. The creature had golden hair that was pulled back in a ponytail and tied off with a ribbon, and even stranger, there seemed to be a small amount of hair growing from his chin.

“Mademoiselle Mermaid,” the human called out. “Please, I merely wish to set my eyes upon your beautiful form.”

She slowly edged forward in the water, her eyes going wide as she took in the human creature at a closer range. The human definitely didn’t have fins, as his not-fin parts were dangling over the ship’s edge between the railings. The flat parts at the bottom she thought she remembered to be called feet, while the other parts were legs. She crinkled her nose at them and was very glad to have fins. Legs looked very hairy after all.

“C'est magnifique,” the human murmured and he held down a hand as close to her as he could. “Mademoiselle, may this humble man touch that which is beauty personified?”

Sesel bit her lip, then remembering her challenge, she nodded and used her fin to raise herself up a bit on the waves until her hand clasped his.

“Your name, my beauty?”

“Sesel.”

He smiled and for the first time since ever laying her eyes on the humans did Sesel think that perhaps, just perhaps, could they manage to be charming.

“Francis.” He let go of her hand at that and reached back to his hair, yanking the ribbon loose. He pressed his lips to it before tossing it down to where Sesel was amid the waves.

“A trinket for you my love, for not carrying me away to my death.”

Sesel laughed. “I should say the same to you, human.”

Francis raised an eyebrow. “Ah, you speak my language.”

She crossed her arms at that, just now realizing that she could understand him from the start. Thinking about it, she placed the language amongst her memory.

“The merfolk speak in many tongues we must understand to be kind to our neighbors in the seas. You happen to speak one of them we know.”

“Fate has smiled on us then, no?”

Sesel tilted her head at that. “You humans are so strange…yet oddly handsome. I was expecting you to be a monster.”

Francis smiled, his eyes softening with laughter. “You flatter me, Sesel. We’ll be fishing here one more night before moving on. If it’s not too much to ask, would you visit me again?”

“If you try to capture me, I’ll bring the wrath of the gods upon you.”

He gave her a curt nod at that. “I’ll keep that in mind, my dear Sesel. Adieu.”

-----------------------------------------

What happened the next night occurred in such a rush that Sesel found it was difficult to fully recall it entirely. She remembered putting the trinket in her hair, pulling her hair into two pigtails and adoring one with the ribbon Francis had thrown to her. Around the other pigtail she wrapped a merfolk trinket, an elegant ribbon of seaweed and sea flowers that she planned to give to Francis in return for his kindness.

But once she reached the surface, all her fears about humans came back with a rush. There was a great heaving of nets as the sun burnished red on the horizon, fish and other sea creatures fighting against the trap the humans had laid for them. And that is when she saw it, one of the elder merfolk tangled amidst the nets that had yet surfaced.

She dove in a rush and snatched up the sharpest rock she could find, returning in a blur and quickly trying to work the sharp edge against the net’s ropes. The choppy waves rammed into her as she worked, frantic fingers slipping against the rock and cutting little pricks into her fingertips. Once she’d cut a hole large enough, she wiggled her way into the net and pushed it apart to help her kin escape. The harsh waves of the sea and the lurch of the net as it was raised brought the rough ropes against her skin and she winced as it tore into her.

But finally, they were free. The elder dived quickly and called out, “Hurry child, hurry!”

Sesel started to dive, but her fin ached and her head felt light. Hoping her beliefs about humans were right, she returned to the surface and clung to the rudder as the sun finished setting over the ocean.

Francis noticed her first, as she was almost in a daze by the time he called out to her.

“Fair mademoiselle, are you hurt?”

Sesel wearily opened her eyes and noticed the red-stained water around her. She was bleeding. There was no way she could swim back home now. With the slightest of nods, she looked up to him.

Like he had the night before, he reached down to her and took hold of her hand. She clasped it tightly and with her last bit of strength she leapt up in the water towards him.

He caught her on deck and gave her a slight smile. “I am going to guess that after your heroic rescue that tore our nets that you cannot make it home, am I correct?”

Once again she nodded. She felt tired, so very tired.

“I will take care of you then, Sesel. It is the least I can do in return for you beauty.”

And the last thing she remembered was falling into a deep slumber as he lifted her up in his arms and carried her below deck.

---------------------------

If humans were monsters, this one wasn’t human. At least, that’s all Sesel could conclude the next morning when she awoke in a large glass tank of water full of tropical fish with all her wounds tended to.

“Good morning, Sesel.”

She looked up to find Francis sitting on a pile of boxes across from her and the evening before flashed through her mind.

“Francis, come closer please.”

He obeyed; an expectant smile on his face. But if he was expecting thanks for his help, he was about to be disappointed.

Sesel smacked him, then cursed as her injured hand throbbed.

“Ouch! What was that for?”

“You captured me, that’s what!” She shot back. Clearly Francis had planned it all, somehow.

He shook his head at that. “No, Sesel, I swear it. Fate just had a funny joke to play on us both. I will release you as soon as you feel up to swimming home again, my dear. If I had wished to capture you, would I have worked so hard to smuggle you down here without any of the crew noticing?”

Sesel frowned, still not certain if she should believe this human. Everyone in her life had warned her about them, after all.

“Look, I am not even a true fisherman. I am merely buying passage to the islands near here by working on this ship. To me, my only interest in you is to have you smiling.”

She eyed him warily. There had to be some way to prove his only interest in her was her safety.

“Well, I can only eat one thing, so I hope you have some around or I’ll starve,” she lied.

But Francis just took this in stride. “What is it, and if I have to I will dive to your home and bring it back for you.”

“Oysters,” she said, thinking of her favorite treat that was down at the deepest part of the ocean. Francis could only get it if he dove.

This thought seemed to cross his mind as he frowned, then he sighed. “I must admit, I am not a strong enough swimmer to reach them on my own. But, if you would but assist me, I will gladly get them for you.”

Letting her go back to the sea? Well that certainly sounded like he meant it. So even though she ached, she agreed to his offer.

---------------------------------------

They’d had to support one another the entire way down, Francis being a horrid swimmer in Sesel’s opinion and her own injuries prohibiting her from making it on her own. But, true to his word, the human gathered up the oysters she showed up and they both returned to the surface and got back up in the ship. The crew, who had been quite used to Francis going after various sea food that he thought would cook up well, didn’t think much of him as he returned to the boat soaking wet and carrying a large bundle wrapped up in cloth.

After lowering Sesel back into the fish tank (the fish he’d caught previously because he wanted to see what they tasted like) he joked that he’d never cook something as beautiful as her and took their collection of oysters off to the galley to cook them.

The result was beyond delicious and Sesel chastised Francis for tempting her with his evil monster cooking, which just made him laugh. If anything ever made her think being captured by humans was a good thing, this cooking was it.

But Francis, despite his lewd glances at her chest and his vague remarks about what it’d be like to copulate with a mermaid, held true to his word. And once her fin felt held enough that she could swim again, he let her go that very night.

Sesel, who had grown fond of the strange human who had told her stories of the great restaurant he was going to open on the colonial island, found she almost didn’t want to leave him. And it wasn’t just because he found the most amazing ways to cook oysters either.

As she bobbed in the ocean waves in the twilight, she toyed with the seaweed ribbon in her hair and awkwardly held it up to him.

“A thank you, Francis. For everything.”

He smiled and reached down, a task that was much easier since he’d taken out the rowboat from the ship.

“Thank you. But, if it’s not too much, may I ask for one thing more before you go?”

She nodded and he leaned down low in the boat, cupping her chin in his hand.

“Would you, my fair mermaid, bestow this lowly cook with a kiss?”

And seeing as she didn’t find him as monsterly as expected (and perhaps was even thinking that a kiss with him might be nice herself) she obliged, surging up in the waves to capture his lips with her own and tangle her hand in his loose hair.

They parted in almost complete silence, both of them just giving the other a small wave as Sesel started to swim away. But before she dove, she paused and called back to him.
“Where is this island you’re going to open your restaurant on?”

“Seven leagues to the South,” Francis yelled back.

“Cook some oysters for me!”

------------------------------

Two weeks later, as Francis finished cooking a full dinner with oysters and fish, he noticed a familiar looking fin in the bay outside his window. He rushed out the door, his shoes sinking into the sand as he trudged across the beach and into the tide. Then, with a smile and open arms, he felt the force of a mermaid jumping into his embrace.

“You better have saved some oysters for me, Francis,” she whispered into his ear as she wrapped her arms around him tight.

He pressed a kiss to her damp forehead.

“Of course I did, Sesel.”




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