The Little Merman
Up where they walk, up were they run, up where they stay all day in the sun wondering and free. Arthur wishes he could be part of their world. Upon saving prince Alfred from drowning, this young merman will stop at nothing obtain his affection, even going as far as trading his voice for a pair of legs. AU and human names used.
Prince Eric: America/Alfred
Flounder: Italy/ Feliciano
King Triton: Scotland/Robert
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters from Hetalia nor do I own the songs from The Little Mermaid
"Please don't die. Please don't die. Please don't die." The mantra was being repeated desperately in a hushed voice as green eyes never left the sunflower. A red tail worked overtime in effort to reach the agreed upon location while the man watched in horror when yellow petals began to fall off. Already the stem was turning black from the exposure to such high concentration of salt but what could he do? He wanted it no…needed it to live long enough to get it to his benefactor, else he'd suffer and everything he's gained would be lost. With that in mind, Antonio swam faster towards the mouth of a cave located dangerously close to a hotspot.
The water was beginning to increase in temperature the closer he got to the cave; bubbles spewed from neighboring mounds as if to demonstrate just how hot the water was. Antonio winced in pain, the skin on his torso was reddening from the heat and the delicate portion of his fin was beginning to sting. Despite this, he pushed himself further and was surprised when the water suddenly became cool. 'Gracias al Rey,' he thought to himself in relief. The cool water was blessing to his skin and he smiled. Perhaps the sea warlock wasn't as cruel as he thought. Antonio saw a glow of light and followed it; his heartbeat increasing in speed as he grew closer and surfaced into a pocket within the cave. Looking down at the flower he paled. "No. Oh no. No, no,no," he cried in horror.
"What's wrong, comrade? You didn't have a hard time finding the place, did you?" Antonio shivered at the overly friendly voice. "Oh, was the water too hot? I'm sorry; I did cool the water around us but well," Ivan glanced over his shoulder as he lounged inside a crater where the water was obviously hotter than the water lapping against Antonio's back, " I personally love warm water."
Antonio watched as two mermaids reached around and fed the warlock live shrimp, the poor creatures looking at him desperate for help. Antonio feared for his own safety to take theirs into consideration so he waited patiently for Ivan to finish. Ivan closed his lips around Natalya's fingers, making her blush and rush to get another one but her sister, Natasha, beat her to it. With a smirk, the merman flicked his black tail in contentment before hoisting himself out of the crater to drag himself closer to the edge, "Tell me then, comrade, did you bring me what I asked for?"
Looking down at his hands, Antonio sheepishly brought out the wilted flower, "I-I tried. Believe me I tried but every time I brought one with me, it would die. Please, give me more time. I'm sure I'll figure out a way and-"
Ivan took the dead flower and frowned. "More time? The contract specifically stated that you would only have three days to complete your end of the deal. I held up my end, da? I gave you strength. I made desirable so that your lover would pay more attention to you." His face darkened, "I gave you everything you asked for and this is how you repay me?" He shoved the dead flower in Antonio's face, "You're mocking me aren't you?"
Antonio frantically waved his hands in defense, "No! I'd never do that, Ivan. Please, I can make this work if you just give me another chance."
Cheery violet eyes looked over to his sisters, "Natasha. Natalya." The mermaids came closer and laid on either side of their brother, heads cocked in question. "What do you girls think? Should I give him another chance?"
"No brother. A deal is a deal," spoke Natasha quietly eying the flower with disgust. She ran a hand through his platinum hair.
"I agree with big sister, you should take care of him now, big brother." Natalya slapped her sister's hand away and placed a yellow flower in her brother's hair.
Ivan nodded in approval. "Well, you heard them. I'm sorry, comrade but a deal is a deal. It's such a shame really. You should've known that bringing sunflowers into the sea would only be sentencing them to death. Poor things."
Antonio stopped shaking when he realized what the warlock had said. "Y-you knew that would happen? That they would die?"
"Of course. Everyone knows that flowers from the surface can't handle the amount of salt in sea water. And the hotspot water would only kill the flower faster because it's too hot." Ivan smiled pleasantly, his eyes closing with cheerfulness.
"You cheater! You tricked me!" The teenaged merman felt himself grown angry. "How could you-"
"Ah-ah-ah. You brought this upon yourself." When Antonio made a move to flee, Ivan jumped in and grabbed him. "You weren't thinking of leaving so soon where you? You still need to pay me for my services." His hands glowed an eerie purple as he ran them through the panicking merman's hair, down his face, chest and tail. Antonio clenched his eyes in pain when he felt a burning sensation on his back and cried out when he felt his body convulse. Ivan backed away to watch with his sisters as his dark magic worked. "This business transaction is complete, da?"
~Three Weeks Later ~
All of Atlantica was in mourning of their late King yet they watched proudly as their crown prince Robert, eldest of King Triton's sons, was being crowned as their new King. His golden tail curled underneath him, the tip fanning out delicately, as he waited for his close friend, Roderich, to place the crown upon his head. Usually it was the duty fell upon a member of the court to crown the prince but the last remaining member had also died, leaving behind two grandsons. As it were, the oldest grandson was mourning not only the loss of his grandfather but also the disappearance of his lover. The youngest was far too young to be able to perform such an important task and was also mourning his grandfather.
"All hail King Robert, King of the seven seas and sole wielder of the powerful trident," shouted Toris, the royal herold. Applause erupted from the citizens of Atlantica as they cheered for Robert.
The red-headed merman swam before them and raised the Trident in his right hand. Serious green eyes were fighting back tears at feeling the weight of the golden crown on his head that once sat on his beloved fathers. "Thank you. I vow to always keep Atlantica safe from harm. I will find who is responsible for the disappearances, this I promise you. My father left behind a legacy that I can only hope to live up to and as my first decree as your king, and in honor of my father, I forbid anyone from going to the surface." Nobody dared to argue against that. They understood and honestly saw it coming; had it not been for the surface and its dwellers, the king's father would still be alive. And so would the last member of the court who had died protecting him.
When the ceremony ended, Robert sat on his throne. Roderich swam to him followed closely by a brunette with a curl fly away. Robert stared at it wondering how it was possible for that single curl to stay that way in the water. Then again perhaps it would be best if he didn't question it, in all his years knowing the Italian merman, it had always done that. Lovino brought his hands across his chest, his face in a scowl but both Robert and Roderich could see the pain in his eyes. "I take it Antonio hasn't returned," asked the king, hands running across the trident.
"No and to be frank, I'm starting to think he just left me. Not that I blame him, I can be an ass," Lovi looked away and Roderich had to bite his tongue to echo the statement. The men made small talk until Toris swam in frantically.
"Forgive me your majesty," he panted, "But the guards have new information on the disappearances." Toris handed over a ledger with information to Roderich who glanced it over. "It would seem that all signs point to…t-to Mr.I-I-I"
"Ivan," finished Roderich. He gave the ledger Robert so that he could see for himself. "Ivan is the teacher at the Atlantica Academy. He teaches witchcraft. I know because I use to attend the school as a child. Lovi did too if I recall."
"That guy was weird. His sisters are ever weirder. I remember failing the class; I never was very good at with all that hocus pocus nonsense," muttered Lovi, his tail twitching with irritation. "He said he could make me stronger if I made a deal with him but old grandpa taught me better than that. Said 'Lovi, if you only learn one thing from me let it be this: Never make deals with crazy. I've lived by that creed and so far I've been fine."
Roderich chuckled at that. He remembered meeting Lovi's grandfather a couple of times and the merman had always been offering strange yet helpful advice. "I agree. Ivan is a little strange. He threatened to turn me into a sea urchin because I was busy writing symphonies during class instead of helping him with the end of term project. He was my partner in class, though not my instructor. I pity your luck, Lovino."
"Shut up. I'm going to go see to supper. Good luck with Ivan, your majesty." Lovino took Toris's arm and dragged him out of the throne room.
Robert looked away from the ledger, eyes darkening. "Do you think this is true? Do you think Ivan's capable of this?"
"I have no doubt in my mind," answered Roderich, " It wouldn't be the first time Ivan's made deals with merfolk and it certainly won't be the last. Lovi's right, the merman is bad news."
"Do you think that others like him will rise to what he's done?"
"Others? You mean like Lovino and myself?"
"No. I trust you and him. The others, not so much."
"Your brother, young Arthur, has the talent as well, your majesty. And unlike myself and Lovi, he has great potential. His tail is already showing the coloring that marks magic prone merfolk." Roderich looked down to his own tail. The plum scales reflected pale lilac and lightened in color as it reached his fin but along the base, where tail became fin, there was a ring of black scales. He glanced at his friend with a raised eyebrow, "What do you plan to do about that?"
Robert rolled his eyes, "It's simple really. I'm going to place a ban on magic in Atlantica. Those who wish to stay will be sealed so that they can't practice magic. You…you wouldn't mind that would you? Do you think Lovino would?"
"His majesty is kind to think of us but no. We wouldn't mind. As you know, I prefer my music and Lovi prefers to cook in your kitchen. Not mention leaving Atlantica would prove too much heart break for him and his brother."
"Indeed. Speaking of brothers, where's mine?"
Before Roderich had a chance to speak a guard swam in, "Your majesty. Ivan has been located."
"Finally, some good news. Have you apprehended him?"
"No, sir. You see the young prince is with him. Prince Arthur is…he's being instructed, sir." The merman flicked his fin nervously, "he's being instructed in magic." He watched as his king clutched the trident tightly in his hands. He saluted in response to the unasked question and began to lead the king towards where his men had found Ivan. "He's just over here, your majesty."
Sure enough they found the sea warlock in the royal playroom. Ivan sat on a rock near Arthur while the boy arranged runes in order. The older blond merman nodded in approval, "Da, that's very good. Very good. Oh, hello Robert," he said with a smile. "Did you come to learn from me as well?"
Robert pulled his little brother away and snarled at Ivan, "Don't you dare come near my brother or family again. As a matter of a fact I don't want you here anymore. From here on out you are banished from Atlantica. You and any other merfolk who refuse to have their power sealed. Leave now! You are here by exiled do you hear me? Exiled!" He turned to the guard, "You make sure my orders are carried out."
"B-but big brother," started Arthur with tears welling in his eyes, "He wasn't doing anything wrong. I like magic."
Roderich took him in his arms, being mindful of the little prince's fin, "Come on, Arthur. Leave your brother to his duties. I have someone I'd like for you to meet." With a nod to the Robert, he swam towards Arthur's room. The little merchild was crying softly in his arms. "He's doing it because he thinks its for the best, little one. We're going to be sealed so don't worry we won't be banished."
"It's not that," Arthur sniffed and wiped at his eyes. "I'm alone now. Dad's dead. Ivan is being banished. I have no one."
The older man blinked in confusion. "No one? You have six brothers and a whole nation who loves you. How can you say you're lonely?"
"Yeah, and they're all older than me and they pick on me." He sighed and looked away, "Just leave me. I want to be alone." The boy curled up in his bed, a large clam with purple sheets and pillows. He held tight to a green sponge shaped into a seahorse, a gift from his father. When he heard Rodrich sigh and leave he started to cry some more. "It's not fair. Bugger all, it's not fair." A timid knock startled the little prince and he curled into himself, "G-go away!" The knocking became a bit more insistent and Arthur puffed his cheeks in annoyance. Grumbling to himself, he swam angrily to the door, "I said go aw-oh…I'm sorry I thought you were Rodrich." He watched the little boy in front of him poke his fingers sadly. His eyes fell on the satchel wrapped around him. "Um, are you lost?"
They boy shook his head, "No. My brother told me to come here."
"Lovino. He's your chef here. Roderich and him are friends, I think," he added as an after thought not meeting the blonde's green eyes. "They told me to stay in here."
Arthur nodded but didn't really understand why they would send a stranger to his room. He moved aside and motioned for him to come in. Feli did so, albeit slowly. Arthur watched Feli's tail move on its own accord and the boy sat on the ground. "You can sit on the bed if you want. It's big enough for the both of us." Feli moved onto the bed and hugged the bag to his chest. "What's in there?"
"Treasure? Like pirate treasure? I heard they're pretty scary."
"No, it's just my special things. I wasn't allowed to bring much with me after…after my grandpa died," mumbled Feli with tears welling in his eyes. Arthur placed a hand on his shoulder in comfort. He did after all know what the poor boy was going through. "They're things my grandpa and I collected from the surface."
The surface? This intrigued the young prince and he sat next Feli. "Really? Can I see?" He watched as Feli's face changed into an excited on as he emptied the contents of the bag onto the bed. There were only a handful of goodies and to some it may not look like much but to the Arthur, it was as if he'd stumbled upon a whole new world. "What's all this?"
"I don't really know honestly. I just know that this," he picked up a compass, "lets you know where you are when you're lost. And this, "He picked up a telescope, "lets you see things from far away. There's also this, "He picked up a comb, "I don't know what this is but it looks cool."
Arthur took it from him and inspected it closely, "It looks like it's to play with the sand. Like maybe you run it on the sand and it makes lines and you can make fun things. Or even just to plant more seaweed!"
"Hey, that's a good idea. I never thought about it. Here you can have this one." Feli handed him a little figurine of two people dancing. "It makes noise when you move them. Look." He placed it on the bed and took ahold of the man's foot to make him twirl. A little chime from inside played a tune as he completed the cycle.
"What about this?" Arthur reached for a sea shelled box but Feli was quick to grab it. The blond blinked in surprise.
"I'm sorry. It's just that this is my most specialist treasure ever. My friend gave it to me." He opened the box to reveal a black iron cross. "I met him on the surface and he gave this to me."
Well now, Arthur was all ears. "Please, tell me about it. What's it like? What was this human like? Oh, I'm sorry. My name is Prince Arthur, but you can just call me Arthur. What's your name?"
"My name is Feliciano but you can call me Feli. All my friends do." He looked at Arthur's ruby scaled tail and saw the black along the sides of his fin. "Are you a magic merman?"
Arthur looked away sadly, "I am but I'm not going to be anymore. Big brother is going to seal away my magic abilities."
"I'm sorry. My brother can do magic too, or at least he had the ability to. I don't think he liked it much. Anyway, my grandpa and I use to play near the surface all the time. He had a crush on this blond human but he never got the nerve to say anything."
"He was married and had two sons. The littlest one's name was Ludwig. He's my friend I was telling you about. I think they're really nice creatures. Grandpa's crush use to give him sweet wine and tasty food and play music while grandpa sang. When he introduced his wife…well, grandpa got sad and never went to see him again. I think the man was sad too cause every time I'd go up to play with Ludwig he'd ask me about him." He traced the edges of the cross then looked at Arthur. He smiled when he saw that the prince's eyes were wide with wonder. "Ludwig gave me this as a promise that we'd always be together forever but then…when I went again a few weeks ago after my grandpa d-died, he wasn't there. No one was there. They'd gone a-a-away," Feli broke down into sobs and Arthur quickly hugged him.
"Don't cry, Feli. I'll be your friend."
"Of course!" Arthur rubbed his new friend's back, "And maybe we can go treasure hunting for more things like these."
Over the course of the week Feli and Arthur grew closer at an alarming rate, yet Robert was highly thankful that his youngest brother had found someone to keep his mind off all the changes that where happening around him. A fourth of Atlantica's magical merpeople had left due to his ban on magic use aside of the Trident. The rest of them had allowed him to seal the power away, the black markings on their tails and fins lightening into silver. A mark on their arms, chest or back was the only proof that they had undergone the procedure.
Roderich eyed his pectoral with distaste, "Really? Couldn't you have put it somewhere else?"
The King smirked, "What don't like it? I think it suits you." He poked at the music note on his friend's chest. "I could've given you something else. Want me to change it?" Roderich sighed and shook his head no.
"How did Arthur take it?"
"He did fine. Feli's with him in their room."
Feli swam closer to his friend as Arthur laid on his bed, "Did it hurt?"
"Not really. It just felt funny to have the color drain from my fin. Does it look bad," asked Arthur flipping his fin about.
The little brunette waved the bubbles away and shook his head, "I think it looks pretty. I wish my tail was red like yours."
"But your tail is prettier than mine! I like how it fades to other colors at the fin." Feli laid next to him with his little arms over his head. "Hey, Feli?"
"Let's go to the surface one day. Promise that if either one of gets a chance to, we won't go without the other." Arthur played with the edge of his pillow as he waited for his friend's response.
"Can I look for Ludwig if we do," he asked after a while.
"Sure." He turned over onto his side so that he could look Feli in the eye and reached out his pinkie finger. "Promise?"
*Gracias al rey: Thank the King
Please don't be upset that I used Italy as Flounder. I love Italy and...well I love Italy/Germany. I don't think that I'll write a fic without them together. Except perhaps one but even so. Also, I know it's cliche that I used Russia as Ursual, and while I don't really agree with incest (rest assured that there will NOT be any) I have Russia tease his sisters in order to keep them loyal to him. I listened to Carrot and a Stick and well, lol I feel bad for poor Russia. Anyway, I'm working on the next chapter. I hope you guys enjoy the story.