dedication: happy Christmas, Mars.
notes: i hate this fandom so much she whispers as she cries and never leaves
title: bonny sailor bold
summary: I will follow you into the dark. — Sasuke/Sakura.
There were legends, where he grew up.
It was the way of the world. The storms were ship eaters, and people thought that maybe something dangerous out there. For a very long time, he had believed them delusional, or at the very least afraid to face the world for what it was.
Captain Uchiha Sasuke had never had time for the stories.
At least, he'd never had time for them until his brother had gone to sea, and never come back.
Things had changed, after that.
(Because his brother had been hunting mermaids. It was said their tears could heal any disease. And Itachi had been dying and desperate and Sasuke had never wanted that for him. Hunting sirens was all he had left.)
"They say that monsters haunt these waters."
The captain paid his first mate no mind. Naruto stared out at the night around them, eyes narrowed in suspicion. Yes, monsters—the sirens lived deep below the surface of this place, and the creatures only came out at the full moon. Sasuke had been hunting for years.
"Monsters are what we're looking for," he said, quietly.
And then the wailing started.
"Dobe," Sasuke breathed, "go below. Tell the crew to prepare."
Naruto's jaw tightened, and he nodded once before he was gone.
The wailing that filled the air was eerie and cold, the twining voices echoing wetly off the water. Sasuke folded his arms, and a girl rose from a break in the waves. She was pale and perfect with moon-silver hair and green eyes. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
"Hello," she smiled. "I'm Sakura. Would you like to come for a swim?"
"No," he said, "I don't think so."
"Haha!" she laughed, mouth opening wide. Her teeth were white and very sharp, glinting with the moonlight. "You're one of them, aren't you? One of the ones who hunt us! The ones who call us monsters. Silly, aren't you?"
Sasuke kept his face very still, blank of emotion. The stories had always said that the merpeople could take your emotions and turn them against you; this lovely creature in front of him with her moon-colour hair and glittering gem eyes showed him exactly why. Men could not resist beauty, and she—Sakura—was beautiful.
"Aww, won't you talk to us? It's been a long time since someone came to talk to us. You humans are so strange," she sighed, shaking her head. The movement slicked light off of her hair, dancing shadows along her inhumanly ethereal face for a moment, and Sasuke realized that her hair was pink. Of all colours, pink.
Mermaids, he thought despairingly.
"You keep saying us," Sasuke said delicately.
"Of course," Sakura inclined her head. "My sisters swim below. They sent me up to find out if we should sink you and eat your hearts! We are very hungry, and you did come to us."
"What do you mean?"
The mermaid smiled with all her teeth, needle-point sharp like blood and strawberries in her mouth in a way that simply ought not have been possible. Sasuke stared down at her from the railing, her hair sticking to her neck as she rose a little higher out of the water, moonlight splashing merrily along her bare collarbones.
"You know what I mean, Captain Uchiha Sasuke. The seas tell tales, you know," she said conversationally, leaned back in the waves and flicking long shimmering scarlet fins at him. "Monster-hunter!"
"I don't hunt monsters," Sasuke said quietly.
"Oh?" the mermaid asked, tilting her head back and forth, eyes wide. "Then what do you hunt? Humans? You'd be interesting if you hunted humans."
"Is that what you do?"
"No," Sakura smiled, "we eat humans."
Sasuke didn't recoil at the admission, though perhaps he ought to have. The legends had said that the mergirls drowned sailors, but they never said anything about eating. She must have seen the thought process on his face, though, because she threw back her head and laughed. It was a furious empty hungry sound that echoed out across the waves.
"Oh, Captain," she said, shaking her head and still laughing through her sharp, sharp teeth. "It's too bad! I thought you'd be different. You've hunted us a very long time. Your brother was the same. It's kind of a pity, you know?"
"What do you know about my brother?" Sasuke's voice went very cold, and even the air seemed to draw away from him. Clenched fists beneath the cuffs of his long black coat, he stared down at her with eyes flashing red.
"Oooooooh," she said, "pretty eyes!"
"Sakura," Sasuke said through his teeth, a muscle twitching in his jaw. "What do you know?"
"I know that his heart tasted very, very good."
He jerked forwards, hands reaching down and down to close around her throat. There might as well have been a mile between them—she in the water and he near over the edge of ship's rail, fingers digging hard into the wood—but she flipped her tail at him and shook the water out of her hair as she laughed and laughed and laughed.
"Oh, Captain," she said again, this time with a killer's humour behind her lips. "You don't know anything."
"Tell me, then," he said. "Tell me, Sakura!"
"Come for a swim, and I might think about it!" she told him, and sunk back down until the water kissed the bottom of her lips. She smiled up at him, a tiny flash in the water, but only for a moment.
"Be careful, Captain," she advised quietly, her words nearly lost in slop of water against the ship's hull. "A meaner monster than me would sink you and let you drown."
And then she dove, and that was the last of her that Sasuke saw for a very long time.
"So you did come back," she said.
"You followed me here," Sasuke said grumpily. Tortuga had long empty docks, and his crew were out sleeping off the hangover after a night of drink and dance and women whose names they would never remember.
"The seas are my home, stupid," she retorted. She looked different in the sunlight, hair a brighter pink than he'd expected. Her scales crawled up her hips, glittering red-gold with long streaks of black along the ends. "Are you sure you don't want to come with me? It's interesting, down below."
"I'd drown, you said it yourself."
Elbows on the docks, fins swishing back and forth, she tilted her head back and forth at him. The sun gleamed off her wet hair. "My sisters didn't want me to come, you know that? They say you're a disaster waiting to happen. That they'll find us."
"I found you," Sasuke said.
"But you want to be eaten, don't you. Like your brother. They didn't leave anything of him, not even his teeth!"
"How do you even know that, Sakura?"
She shrugged, bare shoulders sharp little knife-cuts up and down. "People talk. You're kind of famous, you know."
"Because you're relentless. The North Atlantic tribes hate you. You'll kill anyone, they say. I'd probably be in trouble if they knew," she said, chin in her hands.
Sasuke stared at her, uncomprehending. How was this his life. A mermaid was talking to him like it was nothing, bare-chested and pink hair shorn to above her shoulders and shadows in her too-hollow wrists.
"You want something, Captain Uchiha Sasuke. And I want to know what it is."
"Revenge," he said, thoughtless, too fast, tumbling out of his mouth because her eyes were wide and honest in a way that he'd never seen before, inquisitive, alive with fascination. And she knew things, things that no one else would have been able to.
"I can help," she said, softly.
"How?" Sasuke asked. It wasn't sharp or hurried or anything—it was just a blankness, a question that ought not have an answer.
"By taking you to them."
"I'll drown," he reminded her, but there was a sudden hunger in his gaze.
Sakura's smile was a slow killing thing, gouging against Sasuke's better sense. "Don't you know, Captain? If a mermaid kisses you, you can breathe underwater."
"No," he said.
"Trust me," Sakura said, and reached one alabaster hand up for him to grab on to.
Captain Uchiha Sasuke stared down at the mermaid with pink hair and green eyes, and thought what do I have to lose?
He caught hold of her hand.
Her lips met his fast just as the seawater would have filled his lungs, and then she pulled him down and down and down, into the dark.