This came from this really crazy idea I had after listening to some Disney music. If it makes any sense to you, you must be as crazy as I am. A couple of warnings: this is completely unbeta-ed, and a bit of the dialogue comes from The Little Mermaid, but not a lot. I don't own any of the incarnations of the Little Mermaid, and I certainly don't own Harry Potter.
Please comment and critique! C&C is love!!
The Prince and the Merman
In which there is a ship at sea, a shark, a merboy too nosey for his own good, a king with questions, a celebration, a great storm, and the warmth of a stranger, along with the aforementioned young prince and the mysterious merman...
It was a perfect day to be at sea. The waves were easy-going and the dolphins were playful as they swam in the wake of the large sailing vessel. The sailors onboard were singing as they hauled in their catch, the mass of fish wriggling in panic inside the nets as they hit the deck.
Harry's grin was wide as he gripped the ropes, adding his weight and strength to that of the seasoned sailors beside him as he helped to haul in the catch. His black hair was sticky with the salt of the ocean and his nose was still red from the bright sun, but there was nothing that could break his joyous mood.
The sailor next to Harry laughed. "A fine strong wind and a following sea. The White King must be in a friendly-type mood!"
"The White King?" Harry asked.
"Why, King Albus, ruler of the merpeople, of course," a sailor two men away said. "Thought every good sailor knew about him," he said with a teasing wink.
"Merpeople?" said Percy, his voice weak, from the other side of the deck, his face green with nausea. "There is no such thing as merpeople. Harry, please, pay no attention to such," he sniffed, "nautical nonsense."
"It ain't nonsense, it's the truth!" cried the man next to Harry. "I'm tellin' you, there's more mysterious and frightful things in the ocean than you can imagine, so just shut your gob about things you don't understand."
Percy stared down at the man, his nose imperiously high, before the motion of the ship got the best of his stomach once more. He leaned over the side of the vessel, retching what little was left in him. The sailors laughed good-naturedly at his expense.
"Have you ever seen a mermaid?" Harry asked, his green eyes wide.
"If I had, I wouldn't be here, would I?" the sailor next to him said. "And you best not be wishin' to find yourself one anytime soon. They'll drag down into their depths and never let you go, mermaids." He gave the prince a leer. "Not that we'd let you go under without a fight, right boys!"
A hearty cheer rang from the sailors, making Prince Harry grin.
Fathoms below, where the world above was considered as mysterious and as dangerous as any of the sailor's wilder imaginings, a merman was exploring far from home.
The waters surrounding the shipwreck were dark and foreboding. The mast of the forgotten ship jutted up towards the surface, a thin, final cry of mercy against the ravages of the sea. The merman stared at the wreckage, his long, glossy black hair floating behind him, moving in raven waves in the current. One of his elegant white hands gripped the top ring of a forgotten anchor, his black fishtail lazily resting against the rusted iron. His eyes, as black and as bright as two polished pieces of jet, took in the sight, tracing the shape of it from bow to stern. His pale lips softened to what could only be classified as a smile as he patted the empty sack slung over his shoulder.
"What a beauty you must have been," the merman, Severus, said softly as he swam towards the wreck, his black fishtail effortlessly propelling him through the water. "What treasures you must hold."
He swam up to an open porthole, the wood along the edge crumbling at his touch. Inside the hull was dark and murky, the dim light catching on a stray bit of metal or illuminating a frayed bit of cloth.
A shark swam above, its great shadow falling over the merman as it passed by. He ignored it as he swam into the wreckage through the fatal, yawning hole in its hull.
He looked through what remained of the cabins below decks, growing more and more disappointed as he found nothing interesting and new. He already had three of those tiny silver tools with the sharp, narrow teeth that uncomfortably reminded him of the sea king's trident. The odd, horn-like wooden toy he uncovered had some merits; yet, as he slipped it into his bag, he was half-certain he had a similar toy resting quietly somewhere in his lair.
Severus frowned, unhappy with the lack of genuine treasure, when he found a fairly intact specimen of what he dubbed a 'hardpock', its hard shell still smooth and the thin, pale sheets within it still whole and covered in rows of strange black symbols. He slipped this into his bag as well, tucking it alongside the horn toy when he heard a scream coming from just outside the ship.
He swam out of the wreck, his black hair streaming out behind him, and frowned when he spotted the source of the screaming.
Swimming desperately around and through the shipwreck was a blond-haired merboy, his pale, pointed face frozen in a panic. He swam wildly, hoping to escape the snapping jaws of the shark intent on making him dinner. He dove around the bow of the ship, and, noticing the black-haired merman watching, darted forth with one last panicked burst of energy.
The merboy's mouth was wide open and trembling as he cried out, "Help!" His gangly arms were stretched out in front of him as the shark tore through the wooden ship with its crushing teeth in pursuit.
The merboy grabbed Severus' arm and spun them about in the water, as much to pull the merman away from the threat as to put another, more tantalizing prey in the shark's path to enable his escape. Severus retaliated by grabbing the boy's arm in return and pushing him back towards the shark, which was now encircling them in a slow, threatening manner.
The merboy was whimpering, his pale gray eyes darting between the shark's black, beady eyes and Severus' visage. The merman bared his teeth in a facsimile of a smile, not reassuring the merboy in the slightest that he would be allowed to leave with life and limb intact.
"Don't you know the graveyards are off-limits to little merfolks like you?" Severus said silkily, the tail on the large shark swatting the merboy's backside for emphasis. "Perhaps we should let Krum here teach you why that is so."
The shark, pleased with the suggestion, snapped its sharp, pointed, monstrous teeth at the merboy's pale green fishtail.
The merboy jerked away from the teeth in fear, unable to get as far as he wished while the merman still had a tight grip on his white arm. He stared wide-eyed at Severus. "That thing's your pet?"
Severus pushed the boy off and away from him with a sneer. "You have ten seconds," he said smoothly. "Use them wisely." Krum the shark was grinning viciously from just over Severus' shoulder, anticipating the inevitable hunt.
The merboy, perhaps in a testament to his intelligence, wasted no time and immediately turned tail. He swam as fast as possible away from the black-haired merman and his violent, fish-eating friend. By the time Severus' mental countdown had reached five, the merboy was nearly home free, a dim pale spot in the distance growing ever smaller.
Severus ran a hand down Krum's smooth body and smiled at the shark in approval. "Do you always have to play with your food, Krum?" he asked the great white with much affection. The shark's fin slapped against Severus' side in reply.
"Let's leave before that fool decides to return," he said to the shark. At that, the two parted. The massive great white swam off towards the west in search of prey. The black-tailed merman swam south towards his lair, his salvaging bag light but for the toy horn and the hardpock he intended to examine once he got home.
Severus' lair was a grotto, vast and lit only by what light shown down from the porthole-small opening at its peak. A large boulder protected the narrow opening near the ocean floor, and, despite the dark, foreboding nature of its inhabitant, little about its exterior suggested dark and foreboding on its own. In fact, it was quite innocuous and so far from the homes of other merfolks that Severus' isolation was rarely broken, which suited the merman perfectly.
Inside the lair, the natural shelves were filled with all the bric-a-brac of the surface world Severus had ever collected. Thin, metal rods on various lengths and unknown uses were cluttered together in hollows in the rock. Flat, colorful drawings rested on the edges and rows upon rows of hardpocks encircled the cavern like guardians of a world Severus would never know.
He pulled out his newest acquisitions, laying aside the toy horn to more closely examine the salvaged hardpock. There were symbols along the hard, long edge, symbols that he knew but could not decipher. A quick look through his collection revealed he did not already own a hardpock with the same exact symbols written along its spine, so with a sigh of muted happiness, he placed the new hardpock alongside others with a similar-looking first symbol, the common one that appeared like the head of a hammerhead, with its eyes perpendicular to the surface and its mouth towards the ocean floor.
Satisfied with the placement of his new treasure, he moved towards the darker parts of his grotto, intent on examining his potion stores in preparation for some brewing later when there was an odd clatter from the string of shells he kept by the opening of the cavern.
His brow creased in a frown as he slipped out of the cavern through the opening at the peak, curious as to who was calling. He silently swam down the opposite side of the rocks, not intending on alerting his visitors to his presence until the most opportune time. Peering from behind a sea anemone, Severus made out the miniscule shape of two seahorses standing at attention in front of the boulder, both in full royal messenger regalia.
He bit back the sigh before sliding out from behind the rocks. It seemed that the sea king might wish for his presence today.
The White King's throne was as garish and blinding as his palace, Severus thought as he approached the sea king. King Albus was reclining in his white shell-shaped throne, appearing as if he was not expecting any company for the afternoon and was actually just about to take a refreshing nap. His long white hair floated around his face like a halo and his beard, weighted down with bits of coral and shells, rested on his chest and down his belly to pool on his lap. At the sight of Severus, his mouth lengthened into a gentle smile.
"Severus," the sea king said as he watched Severus come closer. "We missed you during today's recital. I believe you promised to perform today?" The sea king's fingers were resting against the tip of one of the golden trident's sharp prongs.
"My liege, you know I promised no such thing," Severus said smoothly as he bowed at the sea king, stopping a reasonable distance away from the king, and more than amply out of reach of the trident's prongs. "Performing for the masses is something I do not do. Not even for the White King."
"And more's the pity," the sea king said. "For the kingdom will never know the true beauty of your voice if you keep denying me this one thing."
"The day I believe the kingdom is in true need of the 'true beauty' of my voice, then I will concede," Severus said, unhappy with the conversation. "Until then, I see no reason to make myself the laughing stock of the entire kingdom because one merman, however king he may be, wished to hear me sing."
The sea king said nothing for a moment, and Severus, once he had spoken his peace, grew anxious in the silence, fearful that he had rebelled against the White King for the last time.
"I heard the oddest piece of gossip earlier today," the sea king said, almost catching Severus off-guard by the unexpected change of topic.
"Nothing worthwhile is ever heard from gossip, my liege," Severus said dutifully.
"Of that, you can be certain," the sea king said with a sage nod of his head. "For example, I heard that you have been cavorting with sharks and other disreputable companions."
"My liege, surely you know that I am not one to 'cavort' in any sense," Severus said.
"Indeed, you are much too serious to indulge in such things. However," the sea king said, his tone growing serious, "I've also heard you've been dabbling with things that are forbidden to merfolks."
"I am merely trying to understand the larger world, my liege," Severus said quickly. "Surely you can this is no terrible thing."
"You were seen, Severus," the sea king said. "You were seen going to the surface, which you know is explicitly forbidden."
"Forbidden for foolish young mermaids who drag their paramours underneath the waves," Severus said, bristling.
"And for foolish young mermen that can't let the past be," the sea king retorted hotly before taking a deep breath. "I know you do this to be closer to her," he continued, his voice softer, more paternal now. "That, one day, you will go up there and she'll be there, waiting for you, but that will never happen." The sea king slid off his throne and closed the gap between them. He placed his bony, fragile hands on Severus' shoulders. "She's gone, Severus, and it's no good to cling to her and forget how to live."
Severus scowled at the floor.
"Promise me you will not return to the surface," the sea king said. "It is dangerous up there, whether you believe me or not."
It's only dangerous for foolish young mermaids, Severus thought, as he nodded. "I promise," he lied, knowing the king didn't believe him.
"I only want what's best for you."
The moon up above was full; its light was strong and bright as it lit Severus' way back home. He was not often summoned to the palace, but each time was a draining experience and he did not relish in the privilege.
A shadow passed over him, and Severus looked up, half-expecting to see Krum or some other shark out on the prowl. The dark object was no shark, however; it was much too large for even a great white. Curious, Severus swam to the surface, his black fishtail kicking furiously.
On the surface was a large sailing ship, above which were bright, loud flashes of exploding light. Severus stared, mesmerized by the lights, before deciding to swim closer to the ship. As he drew closer, he could hear music playing and men singing and laughing. There were shouts and bits of song floating over the calm waters, and above all this noise the blasts of sound from the exploding lights in the sky.
His promise to the White King long forgotten, Severus climbed up the side of the ship, perched himself on a jutting bit of the hull, and stared at the humans celebrating, fascinated by their odd ways. It wasn't the first time he had seen humans this close, so anxious he was for a glimpse of the one he had lost so long ago. Sailors, however, with their rough ways and less-than-friendly look at merfolks, were never enough to catch Severus' eye for long.
This time, however, just as he grew full of the sight of dancing, singing, slightly inebriated sailors, someone caught his eye. Or, more specifically, a boy, with untamed black hair that stuck out in all directions and an unkempt, free air.
Severus stared at the boy and his heart raced as he noticed the boy's green eyes. He might have been wearing those strange "crystal frames", black and nearly obscuring the boy's face, but the frames only made the boy's eyes all the more noticeable, and the sight filled the merman with great longing. The human's body was fit and lean as he danced, a thousand songs could have been composed on the shape and color of his lips alone, and even his sunburned nose had a charm all its own, but it was his eyes that enchanted Severus. Those eyes were so similar to another's, and the merman's blood grew hot for the boy.
He needed the boy. He needed to be with him.
He needed to possess him.
Harry, for better or worse, was not aware of the merman's hot gaze. He was dancing about and playing with his large black dog, Sirius, laughing at the dog's antics. Harry hopped and danced around Sirius, driving the large dog into a great, joyful frenzy. It jumped and barked and nearly knocked the young man off his feet on occasion in his enthusiasm. Harry only laughed all the more with each of the dog's attempts.
The music, bright, cheerful, and largely impromptu, stopped abruptly with a wave of Percy's hands. "Quiet, quiet!" he said over the din. The sailors silenced, curious, as Percy led Harry to something large, draped in a thick red cloth. "In celebration of your 18th birthday, it is my honor and privilege to present our esteemed Prince Harry a very special, very expensive, and very large birthday present. Gentlemen, if you please."
"Aw, Percy, that's really," Harry said as two of the sailors unveiled the gift with remarkable flourish. "Fantastic," he continued, his voice flattening with faint shock.
"I know," Percy said with self-satisfaction.
Harry ran a hand through his hair and stared at his birthday present, a life-size, larger-than-life, painted stone statue of himself. Every stone strand of hair was in place in a way that would have never been possible in real life, and the smooth lines of the formal white were perfect and unflustered in any way. Harry doubted he had ever looked so… majestic.
"The artisans assured me that the paints would last for ten ages," Percy said, utterly pleased with the statue. "They even used real emeralds to bring out the sparkles in your eyes."
Harry looked at the painted stone face, which was nearly identical to his own but for the lack of glasses and the abundance of an unplaceable arrogance. Even the lightning-shaped scar on his forehead was present, even if its stone counterpart was thinner and less obtrusive than the original. "They do almost look real," he admitted, staring at the glittering green eyes. "It's almost like looking at my mother's portrait."
"You do have Princess Lily's eyes, Harry," Percy said, his voice a measure less genteel, and softer for it. "There's no escaping that."
Severus, who was not completely fluent in the humans' language, did not pay any mind to the conversation between the boy and the tall, thin, red-haired man, his attentions already split between the warmth of the boy and the perfection of the stone statue. Even from hiding spot, Severus could see the glitter of the statue's green eyes, nearly as captivating as the real thing. Yet, between the cold perfection of the statue and warm, disheveled boy it represented, there was no comparison.
It was only the mentioning of one name, the name that was forever in his heart and in his thoughts, that jarred him away from waxing ever more dreadful eloquence over the green-eyed boy. They could not have meant his…
A fork of lightning split the darkening sky. The wind was beginning to blow dangerously fast. A storm was approaching, sending the sailors on the ship running about to secure their vessel.
Severus dove in the safety of the ocean and watched as the humans scrambled about onboard. Their ship crashed through the storm. It tossed about dangerously, uncontrolled by the humans onboard however much they tried. The waves, once fine and smoother than a sand-smoothed stone, was choppy and turbulent, pitching the large ship every which way. Lightning crashed all around, striking the ship and starting a fire near the stern. As the humans attempted to put the fire out, a large rock loomed dangerously in the ship's path.
The ship crashed against the rock, pitching much of the crew overboard, an act the others on board quickly imitated. The fire was growing stronger, the ship was beginning to sink, and then an explosion, greater and more frightening than the ones Severus had seen in the sky earlier, ripped through the ship, tossing up wood and metal and people up in the air like so many grains of sand.
Severus ducked from the sudden flare of heat and debris, the water acting as a shield against the hot, dangerous projectiles, before emerging again, seeing nothing of the once-grand ship in the burning, sinking husk bobbing helplessly in the water.
He looked about, searching for any humans that might see him, floating there in the middle of the wreckage, when he spotted the boy, clinging weakly to a piece of driftwood before losing what grip he had and sinking into the waters.
Without hesitation, Severus dove after him, determined to save him, if only for the sake of those eyes.
Harry was warm, in a way he imagined he must had been when his parents had been alive. It was a warmth that felt not just comforting, but safe, protected against all the dark, dangerous things in the world. He could feel the sun shining on him, but, more than that, there was a warm hand against his cheek, filling his spirit with comfort.
A voice was singing to him, a dark, velvety voice just as warm and comforting. It sang in words Harry did not know, or could not understand, still rousing himself from what felt like a deep sleep. It sang, the rhythm almost a chant, and as Harry slowly opened his eyes, the sun bright as it shone above them, he drowsily stared at the face of his rescuer.
Harry could not make out the man's features, but there was no mistaking the strength of the person singing to him. Harry could see the dark, smoldering look in the man's jet-black eyes and the thick fall of the man's long black hair.
Harry's hand weakly reached up and touched the man's cheek, knowing his mouth was slowly quirking up into a grin but he could not stop himself. His hand cupped the stranger's face as the stranger's hand continued to cup his own, and Harry's heart began to ache with the stirrings of young love.
But, as Harry began to understand the ramifications of what was before him, as he yearned to know the man's name, the stranger was gone, suddenly driven off as a barking dog drew closer.
"Harry!" Percy cried out as Sirius licked at Harry's face, pulling him out of the daze of strange dreams and blossoming love. Harry rose to his feet, shakily staring out at the ocean. He searched for the stranger in the waves, certain that the man could not have just disappeared.
"Oh Harry, I swear. One day, you're going to be the death of me," Percy said, one hand reaching out to touch Harry's arm, as if to make sure the young prince was truly there.
"Did you see him?" Harry asked anxiously. At Percy's quizzical look, he added, "The man who rescued me." A silly smile formed on his lips as he slipped out of Percy's light grasp. "He was… singing." His voice was almost sighing. "He had the most beautiful voice."
Percy, unsure of what to make of Harry's delusional ramblings, only guided the prince away from the shore with a firm hand on the young man to keep him from straying. Sirius barked and ran about around them, aching for his newly-found Harry's affections.
The merman watched, unseen, from behind a rock, and he ached all the more for the boy with the green eyes.
The boy the other called 'Harry'…
to be continued...
What do you think? Please review! I really need to know. :)