He'd watched her from afar more than once.
The first time had been when he'd snuck up to the surface. How could he resist? Long had he collected the things that had fallen from the shipwrecks. Everything had been different; fascinating. This particular day it had been too much; he'd looked at the tantalizingly sunny surface and broke into the air.
Gakupo – crown prince of the merfolk – had broken the vow he had made to his father. However, this would not be his last time, not by a long shot.
The merman had arisen nearby to a beach. At first he was just ecstatic to be breathing air and feeling… some strange tickling sensation in the air around him. However the air was filled with more than just air to breathe. Gakupo leaned his ear near the sound, and smiled to himself.
The song was beautiful. From what he could tell it was a song of desperation. At least, that was how this voice sang it. There was an underlying frustration to the soaring tune, and he had the sudden urge to discover – at all costs – who this voice belonged to. Perhaps it was because it was the loveliest voice he had ever heard.
He swam deftly around a few of the rocks that lined the shoreline, and soon found the source of the music.
Upon the beach was a girl. She was settled comfortably upon a rock sunning herself. Despite this she looked frustrated with the world around her. What struck him most was not her bubblegum-pink hair, (such hair colors were common amongst merfolk, his own hair was a vibrant purple,) but how overdressed she was.
Any human would have known that what was truly unique about this girl was that she was wearing a boy's tunic and pants. Or they would have commented upon the color of her hair.
Gakupo was too busy trying to figure out why humans thought they needed so much to cover them. He glanced at his tail, and tried to imagine fitting the strange thing the girl wore over her… legs. Humans had legs. And even then, why would they cover up their chests? Mermaids wore nothing to hide their womanhood. In many cases, it was the only thing that differentiated them from the mermen, for the men were so girly looking.
He laughed to himself. Humans were such prudes.
The laugh must have been louder than he had thought, for the girl ceased her singing and stood up stiffly. He watched her look around, almost as if daring someone to come out and do something to her. He'd seen squids do the same thing. He grinned. That was what he would call her. 'Squid Girl.'
"Who's there?" She called, and his grin faded. If he were to be discovered by a human, his father would be livid. Gakupo began to leave. It would be better that way. Curiousity at what she would do held him back. "I know someone is out there. Who are you?" Her voice was lovely, even when she was speaking.
He imagined – if only for a few moments – what it would be like to sing a duet with her. Gakupo was known for having a tenor matched only by the baritone of his father. Wistfully, he thought about how the song would go – her soaring with his swimming.
The image dissipated when she began to look behind rocks for the source of the laughter. Time to go, he thought, and dived back under the water. Back into safety. Back to home.
For the next few months he would visit her. Sometimes she came, sometimes she didn't. Occasionally she sang. Occasionally she talked.
Gakupo didn't care. He liked to listen to her, either way.
When she sang, he thought about the imaginary song between them that was building up. At times he thought he would explode with the way it burst through his mind. After some time, he began to hear it before he slept. It invaded his mind, and as it grew and grew in force, he began to visit with more frequency.
But when she talked – oh, when she talked – she talked of many sad things. She spoke her frustrations to the sea. When she got so upset that she cried his heart broke in tandem with hers. He had little idea as to what the words meant at first, but they soon began to grow in meaning. Years of developing a musical ear aided him in picking up the strange human language, and he began to practice speaking it on his own. He wasn't sure if he was right one hundred percent of the time; what mattered more was that he was trying with all his heart to comprehend.
Perhaps Squid Girl was an obsession to him. He loved to watch and listen, even if he felt as though he were invading something private. Which made him guilty and he wouldn't come for a few days. But the burgeoning need for him to see and listen would come again and he would return.
On day, he came and she was there talking about how she was going to be in something that she referred to as a 'ship.' He had no concept of what this was supposed to be, but he could tell that she was upset. Gakupo was left uncertain of what to do for the Squid Girl. Even though he wanted to comfort her, it would bother his father even more if he were to reveal himself to a human.
Hearing tears was what made him hurt the most. There was nothing more he loathed now than hear the normally optimistic and stubborn Squid Girl cry. Nothing.
Which was perhaps why the song burst out. The melody that had been building up inside his mind like an ominous presence burst forth from him. Although in Mermaidian, the meaning was still there. Partly it was a song of comfort. Partly a song of friendship. His voice bore tenderness unlike any song ever sung before. The music was alive, and was the purest form of music that someone could make – music straight from the heart.
The song captivated her. It seemed as though the entire universe was captivated by it. The waves almost held back so as to not interrupt, the wind held its breath for a short time. Even the wicked Sea Witch far in the depths of the ocean melted for that song.
Finally, he stopped. He had no more to say. All he heard was the girl saying, "That was beautiful. Who are you?" For a few moments, he ran the scenario of swimming around the rock and revealing himself to her. He thought about her reaction, though, and stopped. A man with a fin would be shocking to anyone on legs.
Gakupo dived deep beneath the sea feeling melancholy, undoubtedly leaving Squid Girl bewildered.