Mermaids and other mystical creatures
Disclaimer: Don't own anything in this story except, maybe, the word order, and it's not like I'm making money off of that. So enjoy the mindless fluff but remember it's not really mine.
"Ariel's always been my favorite."
"That's just 'cause she's the only redhead. Aside from Jessica Rabbit, of course."
"Seth!" Nessie was adorable when she tried to look disapproving. "Jessica wasn't...well, she was but...fine. I guess she is a Disney cartoon. But she's nowhere near my favorite. Even if Roger was a sweetheart."
"What was his line? 'I'd love to embrace you, but first I have to satisfy my sense of moral outrage?' Rabbits—no priorities."
"Just like werewolves?"
Pretty much. Jacob had accompanied Bella on an after dinner walk because apparently hanging out with Nessie was less fun than obsessively making sure no one had bought a submarine and snuck up on the island since the last time he had patrolled. All Seth said was, "Still, Roger was pretty cool. Even if they were one mismatched couple."
"He made her laugh," Nessie quoted.
"And she wasn't bad..."
"...she was just drawn that way," they finished together.
"Ariel isn't the only redhead," Nessie said, returning them to their original topic. "Cinderella is sort of strawberry blonde in the first one, at least. Not that it matters, even if they do have pretty hair. There are other reasons I like Ariel."
"The voice? The flippers? The seashell brassiere?"
"I bet Alice would make me one, if I asked."
Because she was his friend, Seth loyally did his best to ignore what a good idea it was for Nessie to have just a few strategically placed seashells against her pale, perky—
"Is it because she has awesome sidekicks?" he asked. "I must have talked with a Jamaican accent for weeks after I heard Sebastian. Well, it may have come out more Scottish than anything, but I was trying."
"I'm sure it was close. You want to keep guessing?"
"How much time do you have?"
"Forever, actually. What about you?"
"What a coincidence—me, too. Was it the singing?"
"Nope. I just...she makes sense to me. How she wants to be human, how she would give anything to be...something else. But I don't understand how she could leave like that. Maybe if I watch her long enough, I'll figure it out." Nessie fiddled with her hair, staring at the screen. "Plus, she has her room full of treasures. Collecting forks is so cool."
"You're already human, Nessie."
"The best kind there is."
That got a tiny smile out of her, though like most things about Nessie it managed to be sad at the same time. When he reached out to take her hand, she explained: "Three high schools, five colleges—they know, Seth. They always know there's something wrong with me."
"Or they notice that there's something special about you."
Nessie burst out laughing and he joined in, drowning out the movie. After she stopped blushing she complained, "That was so cheesy."
He shrugged. "I like your type of weird. I can't see why most people wouldn't."
She had beautiful eyes; it was almost frightening how kind they were sometimes. "Dad can read my mind, Jasper can read my emotions—how come you're the only one who always says the right thing?"
"You're giving me too much credit."
"No," she announced with all the arrogance a double doctorate holding genius. "You do it for everyone, so easily no one ever notices. It's...I wish I...we should thank you for it more often, I think."
"There's nothing to thank me for." To stop her from arguing, because she hated being wrong more than Jacob hated being told to just give up already, Seth added, "Thank you."
There was a hint of pink on her cheeks but Nessie just muttered, "You're welcome."
They watched in silence as Ariel traded away her voice and got accustomed to her new legs, finally being taken to the palace by an utterly clueless Prince. A small smile was playing across her lips as she rested her head on his shoulder and watched the movie, completely engrossed. Seth had half a mind on the movie, half a mind on trying to figure out if her legs sprawled across his lap could possibly be as smooth as they looked. The movie eventually demanded his entire attention.
"Is Sebastian really telling her to act easy to get the guy? And here I thought this movie was PG."
"Batting your eyes is not being easy. Now Ursula talking about body language...well, I think we're old enough to handle it, even if it is a little riské for a cartoon."
"I resent that. I am nowhere near mature enough for this."
She giggled, but pressed a finger against his lips. "Shh...this part is my favorite."
While he wanted to be quiet for her, Seth felt uncomfortable listening to the singing crab. After years with an army in his head he wasn't good with silence, anyhow.
"Leah always had a huge problem with this part of the movie. She always used to complain about Ariel not just kissing him. Girls should be able to make the first move, she'd whine."
"He has to show he's fallen in love with her. Which means he has to kiss her. Ursula explained it very clearly, Seth; Leah was just being difficult. As usual."
"True but it doesn't mean she wasn't part right. If Ariel kissed Eric, he might actually figure out he's into her. He isn't the brightest, seeing as the mysterious stranger he finds near the water looks just like the mysterious stranger who saved his life and he still doesn't get it. Clearly, he needs a little push. If Ariel kissed him, he might get it. See?"
Seth turned to look at her, to see if any of that had made sense and because he sometimes had a problem not staring at her. Nessie considered his latest idea, a tiny frown on her forehead—she wasn't big on questioning authority, even if that authority was only Disney.
Then she stopped considering and kissed him.
"What was that for?"
She sat back on her side of the couch, Sebastian still singing. Her face had gone from pink to bright red and she seemed rather horrified. "You weren't—oh, you really didn't mean anything at all, did you?" Her eyes closed and Seth was pretty sure she was having one of those moments where you wished the floor would open up and swallow you. "I'm such an idiot. Oh, god, I—"
She looked so upset that he leaned over and kissed her.
This time she was the one pulled back, startled. Narrowing her eyes suspiciously, she stopped the movie.
The silence was worse than the singing crab.
Seth said: "Hi."
Her look warned him not to interrupt whatever thought process was going on in her head, so he didn't. Instead he watched as she kept opening and closing her pink lips, trying to figure out what she was going to say next.
"Are you doing this because you feel sorry for me?"
Seth couldn't help laughing. "Yes. It must be awful to be perfect. I don't know how you survive it."
And because he knew better than that—knew better than most people how damn hard it was to be faster and stronger and obviously not the same, especially when you couldn't explain it, even when you wanted to—he apologized. "How can I feel sorry for you? You have friends like me."
That got her to smile, even if it was a bit forced.
"Always. Not that we can't also…" He wasn't really sure how to finish that sentence, so he followed the loose waves of her hair to her pale cheek like he had been wanting to for a long while. She seemed content with that answer because she let him trace the curves of her face while she continued working out whatever it was she had to.
"I just…I can never tell, with people," she whispered eventually. "The Covens, the Volturi, my family...I'm their special little girl but do they ever...and Jacob—does anybody know what I am to him?"
"Since I live in his head I can safely say the answer is no. He thinks you're hot, if that makes you feel better."
"And Bella's daughter."
"Well, you are." It wasn't helping her, since it was exactly what she already knew. "I'm sorry I can't help defending him. Even when I think he's being an idiot."
Because leaving Nessie to watch Disney movies by herself? Made Jacob an idiot.
"I know you can't help it. I would be more concerned if you stopped. But..." She took a deep breath and pushed on. "Since you kissed me anyway, even though, I don't know, I'm his...territory, or whatever misogynistic word you all use, does that mean...?"
"I'm expecting you to defend me when he tries to kill me? Yup. I'd also like to do it again, if you don't mind."
"But not because you feel sorry for me. Because—"
"I like you. A lot." He tilted her chin up, so she was looking him in the eye. "Seriously, Nessie. Yes, it sucks that you can't really be human with all the vampires and werewolves around you constantly, and I'm not exactly thrilled myself that they move us around so often we can rarely make friends with anyone else but...they're sort of worth it. And you really will always have me. Not because I feel sorry for you but because you're gorgeous, and brilliant, and the most over eager person I have met—"
Finally, there was that smile.
"—and able to handle the wonderful but totally insane people in our lives. And you're, like, the bravest person I've ever met, since you know you're never going to be as strong as those vampires you keep trying to fight."
"I wouldn't have to fight anyone if you could all stop trying to get yourselves killed defending me."
Since Seth agreed with her that their frequent fights were unnecessarily risky—even if he usually defended Jacob because no one deserved to have Leah's anger directed solely at them—he just returned to his thoughts.
"You're the only one who will watch Teen Wolf with me, anymore, even though I know you stopped liking it five years ago. You always try and keep the peace. And you get it. That it's not exactly perfect or fun all the time—"
"But it's totally worth it, if we're all together."
"And we should all stop angsting about it and get along."
"See? You really are brilliant." She giggled quietly, her big brown eyes reminding him of what he had almost forgotten to say. "And besides all that other really awesome stuff, you're just…fun to be with. I like spending time with you."
She was going to kiss him again—Seth survived (and kept his family safe) by knowing how to read a person at a glance the way he could never hope to read any of Nessie's giant books. He couldn't put it into words how he knew, he just did and that was enough.
So it took a lot of willpower to start talking again.
"Are you just doing this because I'm not Jake?"
He may have failed more high school courses than his mother could forgive, but that was because he was a werewolf, not because he was stupid. From a distance, even Leah had difficulties telling them apart when they were still, even if she'd never admit it. When Jacob was completely relaxed and happy (which had happened maybe three times in the last decade, but it had happened), Seth knew they even acted the same. Did she see him as Jacob, without the responsibilities, without the history? It would—
"I can always tell you apart," she chided, ever so gently. "He's always there for me and you're always there for him—and you're the one who likes being there. And…you never complain about the smell; it's like you don't even notice it's there."
"Not to give up our sacred werewolf secrets but...you guys don't smell bad. We just say that so you'll feel bad and give us more food."
She laughed. "Besides, Jacob's seen The Little Mermaid fifty-six times with me. But I never kissed him. You didn't even have to wait the whole movie."
He could only ask, incredulous, "Why would you want to see a movie that many times?"
"I told you. I love Ariel. And it really is my favorite movie now."
To start the movie again she had to sit up a bit and when she came back down it was on his lap. The benefit of having seen a movie so many times (she explained) was that she didn't have to be facing the screen to know what was happening. As Nessie made herself more comfortable in his arms, Seth had to admit, "I think it might be my new favorite, too."
Then he listened to the animated crab and kissed the girl.