Title: Pendragon at Sea, part 5
Characters: Arthur, Merlin
Summary: Arthur learns that there are more things under the sea than sharks.
Word Count: 932
Prompt: 372, July Bingo, attacked by creature
Author's notes: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
When the storm had blown itself out, Arthur looked around and saw that there was one last piece of debris left floating from the wreck. He started to swim toward it, towing his survival kit, the water jug he’d salvaged, and his boat hook behind him.
He was almost there when he felt the hit to his abdomen. The sharp shock made him pause and look back. There was a fin and it was coming back at him. Oh, god, he had made it three weeks and he was going to be eaten by a shark? Hell, no. He grabbed the boat hook and ducked under the water to fight off the shark.
Wait a minute, when did sharks come with a human face?
He held up his hands, and watched as the shark-man paused in its charge. It settled in the water a bit, watching Arthur warily, tilting its head.
Arthur needed air, so he pointed up and let himself surface. He gulped in a few lungfuls and was about to go back under when the creature’s head breached the surface a hell of a lot closer than it had been just a few moments ago. Arthur held the boat hook tightly and tread water while he waited for it (him?) to speak.
When it just looked at him for a minute, Arthur spoke. “Hello, I’m Arthur.”
The creature still didn’t speak.
“Um, I’m trying to get over there, to that piece of hull. I need to get out of the water if I’m going to survive to be rescued.” He turned a bit to point to the hull and watched in horror as it sank out of sight.
The creature just watched as Arthur moaned. “Just fantastic. Now what do I do?”
“There’s a ship that way.”
“What?” Arthur turned to the creature. It had attacked him, now it was helping him?
“Whaling ship. They’re not supposed to come here. But they do. I thought you were one of them.” The merman, because that must be what he was, tilted his head again as he spoke in a strangely accented English. “I think there’s one of those little boats that harass them nearby.”
“I have a flare gun. Are they close enough to see it?” Arthur was getting tired treading water, but he could keep it up if it meant getting rescued.
“No. Swim closer.”
“I honestly don’t think I can swim much longer. Treading water is all I’m really up to right now.”
The merman frowned. “Humans are weak.”
Arthur glared. “You try being stuck on land for three weeks with minimal water, shelter, and food, fishboy.”
The merman grinned, flashing sharp teeth. “I like you. I’ll bring you closer.” He grabbed Arthur’s arm and waited until he had situated the boat hook and rope better before he started swimming.
It was faster than Arthur could have swum himself, even before he was dumped into the Pacific Ocean by a storm. The merman probably could have swum even faster, but he was keeping himself to a speed where Arthur could still grab a breath. After what must have been a good forty minutes, the merman stopped. “Now you’re close.”
“Thank you. Thank you so much.” Arthur pulled the survival kit close. “I know you’ve done so much, but can you get the flare gun out? I can’t tread water and retrieve it.”
The merman nodded, pulling the bag to himself while Arthur let the reality of his situation sink in. He was going to be rescued. Hell, he had been rescued. By a merman. He laughed.
“What’s so funny, human?”
“Arthur. My name is Arthur Pendragon. What’s funny is that after three weeks at sea I was rescued by a merman who is about to call over either a whaling ship or what my father would call eco-terrorists to actually pluck me out of the water.”
The merman smiled as he lifted the flare gun out of the water and fired. “My name is Merlin.” He put the gun back in the bag and handed it to Arthur. “I’ll stick around until they get close. There are always sharks near a whaling ship.”
“Thank you, Merlin.” Arthur smiled. “I’d say that if you were ever in Camelot, to come look me up, but it’s in the middle of England. I owe you a debt, though. I just wish I could repay it.”
Merlin shrugged as he watched the horizon for one of the boats he knew was there. “Maybe one day, Arthur Pendragon.”
“I’ll be honest, Merlin, I’ve had enough of the ocean for one lifetime. I don’t ever intend to get on a boat again.”
A boat horn sounded close enough for Arthur to hear. He looked up and watched a cutter show up on the horizon. “I’ll be underwater until you get on the boat. I have no desire to be ‘rescued’.”
Arthur nodded, watching Merlin sink underwater. He almost wished he had more time with Merlin. When would he ever get a chance to talk to a merman again? He wanted to know all about him. But Arthur was tired and more than ready to be back on dry land.
The cutter took both forever and no time at all to reach him and he was pulled up by people who spent most of their time trying to save whales from being hunted. He looked out over the water as they started to move toward shore and gave a tiny wave to the head he saw poking out of the water before it ducked under again.