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Summary: Two very different creatures find themselves in an unlikely romance at the lake’s surface.

Characters: Dave, Eridan
Ships: Dave<3Eridan


Category One:
Tags Present: NSFW for nudity
Tags Not Used: N/A
No other Cat.1 tags apply.

Category Two:
Tags Present:
Tags Not Used: (alternatively: No Cat.2 tags used.)
No other Cat.2 tags apply.




The surface of the lake is calm when he lands on one of the low branches of the winding old tree he thinks of as his. As far as he knows, he is the only one who ever perches there so he hardly needs to worry about anyone contesting that claim.

Counting on his sharp claws digging into the coarse bark to keep him balanced he looks down at the water’s surface, ignoring his own refection staring back at him as he tries to discern movement below.

Crow Dave

For a long time the water remains still and he almost considers giving up for the day. Then something shimmers between the swaying algae and he crouches, squinting to get a clear view. Within a flash it is gone again and the water is clear aside from the aquatic plantlife dancing with the flow.

Instead of writing it off he remains crouched, eyes searching for movement. Something’s changed in the atmosphere and he is unnaturally certain he didn’t imagine it. Then he catches another glimmer below the surface from the corner of his eye. He turns his head just in time to see a flash of purple vanish between the wiry leaves of a ruddy looking plant.

Spreading his arms he adjusts his feathers and leaps, gliding towards a lower branch, closer to the water’s surface. It is dangerous, he knows, to get too close to the water. His kind climbs and glides, but never takes off and flies like he’s seen other birds do, and to let himself fall too close to the surface with too little support to climb back up would more than likely not end well.

He’s heard of them before, the careless, the reckless and the unfortunate that take to a slow death in the lake, feathers heavy and burdensome in the water and feet useless in the struggle back to the surface. They’re stories, told more to warn than to amuse. He remembers being unable to sleep once upon a time, staring at the leaves overhead as he imagined being encased into heavy liquid instead of a nest, struggling to break free of its hold.

Now the cautioning tale is only background noise to his search for motion in the lake. Purple flashes right under the surface behind him and he turns, only to see it vanish again. He grins and crawls down the branch so he can almost touch the water with his fingertips.

Like a curtain in reverse the leaves are drawn aside and a face appears, looking up at him with an expression as amused as can be while still scowling. Abandoning his hiding spot the fish glides from out of the forest of plants, all lean muscle and elegant fins. Like the water weighs nothing, he moves as freely as the birds in the sky do and sometimes it’s like the water is tempting him to loosen his grip on his perch and dive, because if the fish move so freely how dangerous can it be?

But there is still the echo of a cautioning tale so he settles for reaching out his hand, holding it as close to the water as he can. The fish lifts his own webbed hand, breaching the surface to run one of his strange, cold fingers over his palm. At first he thought the difference between their hands was strange, but he’s learned since then that fish do not grasp or hold, that they value the ability to catch the current more than the ability to carry a blade.

After a few moments the hand retreats back under the water and the fish makes a face at him. Then he kicks his legs and vaults down into the shadows of the lake, once again staying right out of sight.

In the depth the shimmer of the fish’s scales and shine of the gold he scavenges is still visible so the bird remains on his perch, curious. Suddenly the fish shoots upwards, breaking the surface with enough force to launch himself out of the water. The sun catches on the fish’s skin, making his fins appear translucent in a way they never do under water and time seems to freeze as their eyes meet, stretching the moment of the fish dancing in the air into an infinity. Then gravity sets in and the fish crashes back down, upsetting the inky, smooth surface of the lake.

When the ripples subside enough for him to see into the water again he finds the fish looking up at him curiously, seemingly contemplating something. He cocks his head to the side in a question that got lost somewhere in between the language barrier.

In the distance a cricket begins chirping and every bit of sense the bird possesses tells him he needs to return to his flock’s nesting ground before the sun sets and takes with it the warmth he needs to feel under his feathers to glide. He plucks one of his own feathers, wincing as he does so, and presses it to his lips before letting it fall into the lake. Then he begins his climb back to the upper branches.

First he wonders if fish understand what kissing is. Then he allows himself to sink into a daydream where he isn’t leaving the lakeside alone, but with another by his side. In his imagination deep purple feathers catch the light of the setting sun and the image is beautiful but oh so wrong because those should have been scales and fins.

He shakes his head and focuses on the climb, well aware that his own imagination just cost him his good mood.

Fish can’t fly after all.

---
Almost like it’s dancing, the tangled plantlife on the bottom of the lake sways with the current. He emerges from his resting place, a small woven tangle of plants that protects him from being carried by the stream while he sleeps, and seeks out a suitable current to carry him closer upwards, to the surface.

Fishman Eridan

He follows the sway of the long foliage, letting the tide guide him to the shallows where he hooks his toes around a thin, wiry plant to anchor himself in place and watches the branches overhead, waiting for something to happen.

His wait doesn’t last long before a crow lands there, gazing into the water just like the fish was expecting. While it is common knowledge amongst their kind that birds are fickle creatures, so used to their endless skies that they never stay in one place for long before they move on, distracted by something new and foreign they deem more interesting than their current nesting ground , the crow has perched above the lake every evening without fail for almost five moons.

He knows what it is the bird seeks but still he waits, hidden in the thick underwater forest, curious to see what’ll happen. Some days he remains hiding for the entire duration of the crow’s stay, others he doesn’t bother to stay away at all.

It’s only when the bird begins to fidget that he releases his foothold and kicks his legs together to gain speed. He skims right below the surface before once again diving down and straying out of sight, peeking through the wiry grass he’s chosen for his new hiding spot. He was only visible for the barest of moments, he knows, but the crow has noticed him nevertheless.

There is something exhilarating about knowing he is the reason the bird continues to come back, about those sharp eyes being so honed on catching sight of him that he hardly ever misses the playful taunting maneuvers.

His kind rarely strays from the deep, where they are the mightiest on the food chain and the battle trophies and treasures they don themselves in glint menacing in the few fragmented rays of light that manage to penetrate so far down. Sometimes the fish wonders if the crow would be able to pick him out of a hunting party, or if he’d be deceived if another came up to him during one of his visits one day.

Of course he’s been careful never to give away the nature of his solo adventures. They’d be considered foolish, childish, and not being taken seriously because of his fascination with a bird of all things is the last thing he wants. Not to mention the idea of sharing these oddly private moments with anyone else seems like a betrayal, although he’s not sure to whom.

The bird is still watching the water intently and so he allows himself to glide from the grass to a tangled patch of rope-like plants, almost feeling the bird’s eyes following him for the brief while he is visible.

He watches the crow’s descent with interest. It had taken weeks before the bird had dared to approach the water as closely as he did now, and the fish takes enjoyment in knowing it was to see him up close that the bird grew more daring over time despite the risks the fish knows he is taking. In his carefully woven home, the fish keeps his treasures; one of the most precious possessions is a sharp sparrow’s beak scavenged off of the dead body of a drowned bird.

He swims over to behind where the bird sits perched, carefully using the current to stay out of sight and swim without moving too much to prevent catching the eye until he is right behind him, where he once again briefly touched the surface.

Long, thin strings of algae hide him from view this time, but they also obscure his view of the crow so he figures it is about time they end this little game. He parts the curtain of plants in front of him and gives the crow a look he thinks is meant to convey amusement. The bird is looking at him with a similar expression.

He leaves the safety of the plants and allows the current to sweep him towards the bird, enjoying the knowledge that those eyes are trained on him while slides through the water. He is hardly the best or the fastest swimmer, but he knows his physique is not unimpressive, and the interest it’s earning him is both flattering and encouraging.

The crow holds out his hand and the fish instinctively knows he means for him to take it. His own hands are not meant for grabbing and holding but for swimming and steering the tide but he’s seen enough of the crow’s hands to know their impressive nimbleness. Birds, he is amused to note, propel themselves with their hands and craft things with their fingers. In a stark contrast, his own kind accelerates by kicking their legs while they twist, weave and tie with their toes, where there is no delicate webbing of fins to get compromised.

Still, he lifts his own hand out of the water where it feels heavy and unnatural, and allows the pads of his fingers to graze the strangely coarse and warm skin of the inside of the crow’s palm. Then an idea comes to the forefront of his thoughts and he retreats, diving back into the water.

He sinks a fair deal until he finds a thick, sturdy plant he can quickly weave into a shoddy launching point. Precision in weavecraft is not his specialty, but he hardly needs for it to do more than help him gain speed once. He bends his knees and tightens the muscles in his legs and stomach, flattening his arms to his side before lunging towards the surface with the kind of speed he usually avoids because it takes away his ability to steer properly.

But steering is the last thing on his mind as he vaults upwards, shooting out of the water. The sky looks lighter without the water breaking the light and everything feels unnaturally heavy. He wonders, for a moment, why birds don’t simply tumble back down. Then he catches the crow’s eye and from his underwater view he’s never been able to notice before exactly how red they are.

He meant to impress, show off his skills at swimming and the muscles he’d gained from years of hunting, but before he can do anything more than stare, the power of his kick off wears off and he tumbles back down into the water.

When the ripples clear he finds the bird looking at him with confused interest and he cocks his head. He wonders if he’s succeeded, if the crow realized that he’d just attempted to impress him the way he would have another fish he intended to court. But the crow’s facial expressions speaks a language he doesn’t understand and the moment passes before he can get a read on what he’s thinking.

Then the crow plucks one of the long, shiny feathers out of his arm and puts it to his mouth in a gesture the fish does not recognize, before letting it flutter down to the lake. The initial gesture stays unclear but the significance of the personal token is not lost on the fish, who carefully flounders up to the feather and pulls it down underwater with his toes, intrigued by the way bubbles of air cling to it.

When he looks back up he realizes that the crow has already started his ascent into the tree. Refusing to stick around and gaze at his retreat like a wee guppy in love he carefully grasps the feather between his teeth and makes to swim back to his weave where he will place it with the rest of his treasure hoard.

While feeling for a current to help him back home he closes his eyes and imagines it is not a feather he takes back home but a warm live bird. Something dark and sick coils in his gut as he remembers the sparrow’s beak and he chases the idea from his thoughts.

Birds, after all, can’t swim.


Date: 2012-07-24 05:14 am (UTC)
brokenballoons: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brokenballoons
Stop making me ship these two omg if you weren't my moirail I would... I dunno do something but it's 1 am and I'm too tired to figure out a good punishment for you at the moment.

Date: 2012-08-01 07:27 pm (UTC)
a_stands_for: A (Default)
From: [personal profile] a_stands_for
This is lovely, both art and story. The uniqueness of the two species, the effort they have to take in order to get that close, be it fighting the current or clinging to a branch, they way they're both trying to court each other even though they don't understand... good job pulling me into this magical world!

Date: 2012-08-06 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] crevangrietje
aaah this story has some lovely poetic imagery and I enjoyed that very very much!

I also enjoy the world they where in I wish you could of elaborated more, it sounds waaaay super interesting :D

I love the nod at Runawaystuck too, what a great cameo heheheheh I love runawaystuck !

cultural and physical difference keeping two people away is always such a heartbreaking thing, sucks for these two, but I hope they enjoy their little meetings anyway.... aaah sugoi.... <3

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HSO 2012 Round 3 Sector 2

July 2012

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