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He hadn’t a clue what he was doing, but he knew what he wanted. Life at home wouldn’t last if things kept going the way they were. He’d either get left behind, kicked out, or shunned. What were his options when he felt he had none? Leave. He worried that his parents would never speak to him again, feared that something awful could happen to him on land, but maintaining the status quo was equally scary. Despite these things he still felt he had a hope on land that he didn’t in the vastness of the ocean. If he could meet that boy again, or someone like him then maybe he would be okay in the end.
Gael held tight to these thoughts as he carried some of his sisters treasures in a pouch he had slung over his shoulder. She was the only one that really knew he was leaving, had plans to leave, and though he hadn’t expected her to support him in anyway he was beside himself when she’d offered some of her prized possessions to him. He knew that she feared land more than most did. She still didn’t try to convince him not to go, and it was perhaps because she knew that he wouldn’t listen. It touched him when she gave him the things he held onto now, and as he left he sang a song of reassurance and love for her even when he knew she couldn’t hear him any longer.
Once he reached the beach he waded near the shore for a while, nervous and still a bit afraid himself because despite his plans it was still scary. Land. In his twenty plus years of life he’d never even ventured from the sea. Talking to a single human was the closest he’d come and even then he’d been too much of a coward to leave the water. However, the sun was setting, and the beach was mostly clear of strangers and their loud land boats. It was as safe as it was going to get, and with that in mind he let the water carry him to shore.
Slowly his tail separated where human legs were formed. He feeling was still strange and jarring, regardless of how the process didn’t cause him any pain, and when his hands met with the sand at the shore it took him a moment to even figure out how to bend his new knees to help push him up. He had been watching humans at the beach, at a safe distance of course, for a few days as of late, so he might be able to learn how walked the way they did. It looked easy in practice, but as he sluggishly tried to even push himself up he felt like he was a hundred times heavier than he was. Once he got to his feet, wobbling slightly, he didn’t get further than a half step before he was tumbling into the sand.
Humans certainly made it look easier than it was.
It took him several minutes just to get on his feet and stay that way without falling back or forward, but once he managed that Gaelan kept his arms spread out wide for balance and very, very carefully started tip toeing around on the sand. He was determined to make it out of here tonight, no matter what it took.
It was still odd, knowing how long he had been in Mythril now. Very odd. He felt the itch to take flight, a new path, but he had so much keeping his feet in place. It was selfish, all the things that kept him glued. So selfish. How long had he been traveling? How long ago had it been that he decided the world needed him and that was what was most important? Hope seemed to be such a fragile spark in the world these days. Wars. Home grown terror. Diseases. Corruption. People so compliant, not fighting back enough and letting it all wash over them and thus, living in their grief or sweeping it under and normalizing it. Where was hope in that? Oppression was a hope killer. An oxygen thief. A life prisoner.
He usually stayed just long enough to get the worst cases he came across right on track, where they needed to be before he was off again, searching for the next largest pull of despair to offer the gentle touch of guidance his gift could give. He needed it too, it was a trade off. The more hope he gave the stronger he felt and more sure of himself and....it kept his own demons from whispering in his head. The death of hope was the death of him. It was the creation of his reverse, it was what had aged him so much. Believe it or not he didn't always look like a man in his twenties. He had started as a youth because what was more hopeful than the youth of the world?
Where he might have felt the tendrils of dismay, those dark whispers caressing his ear like a sick and sinful lover, trying to lure him into their dark cold abyss, for the moment....he felt nothing but peace. It was beautiful. Really it was, it was so beautiful. It was a gods damn gift. Frey was such a constant source of light and hope and happiness in his life but....was it right? Oh Gods no it wasn't. He didn't even know why he had to sit around asking himself that. First rule was to never get too attached. Perhaps that seemed cold but he could care so much for his patience, his new friends, but total attachment was bad. It made it hard to leave. His presence was supposed to be the helping hand to turn them in the direction in which they needed to be. He was supposed to influence just enough but not be so strong a presence in their life that it would be crippling when he was gone.
Leaving Frey would be crippling for them both. He had crossed a line and now....he was living the life of a selfish man in utter love with someone who he shouldn't be in love with. He was a man made for the world. The world was not his to find roots in. He was supposed to belong to no one. Hope did not belong to one soul person. It was supposed to be spread and whispered into the ears of many so it might blossom in the hearts as many as it could. It was this that plagued him this night as it did most nights when Frey wasn't in his company. Nights were hard. Nights were usually when he had the most time to roam. His curse to the day light hours made it hard to be a social creature. He battled with it, tried to tell himself the good that he did here for others besides Frey could outweigh his selfishness...couldn't it?
With a deep frown and furrow of his brow he continued to debate it while walking barefoot along the shore. The ocean was usually a soothing thing, the fresh air, the spray of water, the crash of the waves, the dark sky and the glistening stars cast on the waters. But tonight it seemed to take no effect. Thankfully though, something was about to happen that would break through to him when the usual norms would not. A man, there was a man up the beach and after a few moments of blinking stupidly he squinted to see him stumble and fall. With a gasp Seren quickened his pace. The urge to help so strong that he didn't even think to be wary. "Sir! Sir! Are you--" He started to call, though as he reached the scene he saw he was very naked. This sir, this man was very naked indeed and soaking wet and....there were no foot prints anywhere. Nothing not a thing as to where he could have come from but....
"Oh my....oh my stars." He whispered, a hand raising to his pale pink lips before he pulled his shocked and delighted head out his bum and started to shuck off his shirt at the very least for the poor creature. "Oh darling you picked the best time to decide to be a land dweller, please let me assist you. I promise I mean no harm."
He didn’t even notice that someone was coming towards him, but the sound of a stranger's voice so close made him more aware of it the moment the man called out to him. He made a panicked sound, withdrawing air into his lungs too fast to be too comfortable, then fell. He’d wobbled at first, trying to keep his balance, but his arms just couldn’t keep him up. At least he managed to buckle his knees before he fell on his face again. There wits of sand coating him just about everywhere and it was..terribly uncomfortable.
A pained wince escaped him, then panic because..there was a stranger next to him and he was on the ground defenseless. Frantically he tried crawling a couple feet away, just to put distance between them, and once he had he turned to face him. Clutching his sisters bag to his chest, he looked at the pink haired man with wide eyes. Was he a danger? Was he a monster or some dark thing he’d heard horrible stories about? Gaelan realized he didn’t even know how to defend himself against something evil aside from screaming or..returning to the water but he couldn’t just run back! He’d only just gotten to the surface and he had convinced himself he wouldn’t just give up.
Heart racing a mile a minute his gaze fell to the shirt in being held out toward him, confused and still scared. He’d read books, and knew what trading was well enough. Gaelan slowly connected the dots that he was being offered clothes but...he hadn’t a clue how much something like that was worth. His fearful expression turned to one of confusion and worry. At least he wasn’t being threatened so soon. A fight he wasn’t prepared for but trading was still scary. Slowly he took his eyes off of the stranger and his shirt, mostly disregarding the things he’d said because he’d been too panicked to even hear them as actual english.
After a moment he dug out a smaller pouch full of pearls. They were held in a plastic bag, dirty but reused rather than left on the ocean floor. The shiny orbs were all various sizes, some larger than others but he didn’t understand what each was valued at on land. He could only assume it was enough to get him one shirt though. He hadn’t spoken with a human tongue in years, especially not to another on land. He licked his lips, wishing he’d been able to practice using his voice before he said something dumb or potentially a jumbled mess of to a normal person but after he collected himself he tried. ”This..” He tilted the bag slightly, gesturing to it before he nodded. ”For that.”
It honestly didn't take very much for Seren to figure that if this merman had been to long before it was quite possibly some time ago. He was reacting more like someone who had not been on land than someone who had been however....though what did Seren know? In his centuries he had only met a handful of of merfolk. But he was rather pleased to say he had known them. Fascinating people they were, and he wondered just why this one was on land. Did he not want to be with his school? Maybe something happened to them? Or maybe he was merely curious and wanted to explore. It was possible...and if so he was going to need a friend. Who better to have stumbled on him than the very person who believed his very existence was meant to befriend and aid those who needed it?
If only he could touch him. He knew his skills worked on merfolk. His touch could be soothing, clarifying. He often used it on those who found themselves in panic or a fit of anxiety whenever he noticed them in passing, but he didn't want to spook him. To reach for him right at this moment when he was still so vulnerable, still trying to figure if he was a friend or foe perhaps as well, might not be the smartest decision. So he let it be for the moment and simply gave him a soft smile and continued to hold out the shirt for him.
Patience was a thing Seren had an infinite amount of, and so he simply waited until the moment the young looking merman reached into the pouch he was clutching. Seren swore to the gods it wasn't for some crazy weapon but instead what came into vision was a....he frowned the slightest. Lips thinning at the spied weathered bag. No doubt he pulled it from the ocean in his travels. Very upsetting honestly, but he supposed it was good to put it to his own uses. Still though he didn't want it, whatever was inside it. He didn't want it. This was not a trade, this was not something he wanted to barter over. He just wanted to help him before someone else took advantage of him.
"No need for that. I'm offering this to you out of kindness. You keep your treasures for when you actually might need them, okay?" He insisted gently and reached to place the shirt on the man's lap, stood and kindly turned his back so that he could dress in peace...even if he wasn't very conscious about being naked. Seren could still uphold manners okay! And thoughtfulness. "My name is Seren. What's your name?" He asked, genuinely curious of course, and maybe if he got him talking the poor thing would look less....afraid.
The strangers initial reaction to his trade troubled him. The thinning of lips, the furrow of his brows as he frowned, it didn’t aid in helping him feel less frightened. Was what he had not enough? His hand lowered some, but he was wholeheartedly prepared to give him something more if what he had didn’t appease he just didn’t want to already start causing troubles for himself when he’d only just surfaced. Already things were going not according to plan, but in hindsight his planning had essentially ended here. He didn’t actually know what he was supposed to do once he got a hold of his balance and ventured farther than the beach.
He tried not to let his thoughts get too carried away while he had this man in front of him. Best not to let his guard down in case he decided to hurt him. Slowly he lowered his offering. It seemed that no matter what the stranger didn’t want it. He was still careful with it either way, as he returned the slightly water filled bag of pears into his satchel of sorts. Gaelan watched the pearls float around before he truly put it away, remembering his sister and her kindness still. His attention returned to the unknown man as soon as it was put in its place.
His eyes slowly scaled the man, but when he stepped closer the merman was still quick to hold his things protectively to his chest as if it would be taken from him. He had no way of knowing if he wanted something from him, try to steal or something worse. His fascination with land people and their cultures ran deep, but he also heard plenty of horror stories to keep him afraid just like everyone else he knew. Without the safety of his school it was even scarier but..he’d made his decision.
He flinched slightly when his shirt was handed to him, or rather placed in his lap. He didn’t know what he was waiting for really, but when that was it and the pink haired stranger was turning around he stared at the shirt in his lap and realized that he was being offered it without payment. Strange. He had believed that things could never just be given without payment. He learned this from his own people especially. Supplies weren’t always so abundant. It seemed..bizarre to him that this stranger would just give him something without asking for anything in return but he did know that he could just walk around as he was. He supposed he looked too obvious. He’d seen people on land wearing clothes, he just hadn’t a clue what to use as to cover himself with when he surfaced. Slowly he set down his bag, looked up at the strangers back, and felt that it was safe. What would he gain to give him something for free like this?
Gaelan adjusted the bag over his shoulder, taking it off so he could try to get the shirt over his head. It was..strange to put on clothes. He’d never tried before, and once his head was inside the mass of fabric he didn’t even know which whole his head was supposed to go through or how to get out of it in general. To Seren’s questions he sadly couldn’t give him any real answer, but instead whimpered as he struggled to fight his arm out of the head hole, and his head out of the sleeve. Still, he’d heard the man say his name. ”S-seren.” He mumbled anxiously as he essentially called for help.
His facial expression as of that moment probably didn't help no, and Seren was trying his hardest to appear friendly. He could understand though, that grasping friendly in a possible new world or surrounding could be quite hard. So he would just keep trying and keep offering to help should the young looking merman need or want it. His pears could be of such value should someone know what to look for or found him out. If he had no one here to watch over him, well, Seren feared the worst might happen to him.
But perhaps he was getting ahead of himself. Maybe the young man wouldn't want his help at all and maybe this was not his final destination. Maybe he had plans to go else were. Even then Seren would be more than happy to point him in the direction to go if that too was needed. They'd see. His mind was a bit wild at the moment but it couldn't be helped. It was not every day you caught merfolk coming out of the water you know. At least it never much happened when he was around. Either way he felt rather terrible as the young man clutched at his things when he leaned in to place the shirt in his lap. But again, he tried to offer him a soft and friendly smile, tried his hardest to come off as none threatening and then of course, turned around to give him a bit of privacy.
The tarot laced his fingers together behind his back, rocked easily and slowly back and forth on the balls of his heals while he waited. Mix matched eyes looking up at the stars as his head tipped back just enough to peer at them comfortable. He wanted to ask more questions, but kept himself from doing so. Overloading or scaring the poor man was not what he was doing and he didn't want to come off....pushy or perhaps suspicious or....he didn't know. He didn't know just how this young man might view people. Clearly he was frightened at the moment, but would he always act that way toward everyone? Look at them with guard up and that was all there was? Or was he just momentarily shell shocked with this possibly new to him sort of world? Or maybe if he could touch him, show him his power, show him he was different too, maybe he would open up to him more? If he didn't in the coming moments. Hmmm.
His mind was whirling with thoughts that he nearly missed the soft whimpered call of his name. Almost. After blinking once he turned his head to look over his shoulder and saw....oh my. Was it horrible to find the scene before him sort of endearing? He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling before he turned around completely and stepped closer to kneel beside him. "Alright, hold on." He said gently, reaching as he spoke to carefully help right the wrong committed here. He had thought too much to think that he would get it right off. Definitely knew to this world then, if he didn't even know how to put on clothing. Once he had gotten Gaelan out of the shirt, he then helped him pop his head through the opening, then reached for a wrist to guide one arm through the hole, then motioned for him to do the same with the other.
Once they were all finished he smiled gently and placed his hands atop his thighs as he remained where he was a little longer. "So young one, did you have friends or a place to stay tonight? Staying out all night can be quite dangerous in Mythril. I can help you get there if you like? To keep you with some safe company."
For someone who could possibly hurt him, Gaelan was certainly putting a fair bit of trust in the man when he essentially asked for his help. He was still afraid that he might try something, though he wasn’t even sure what, but for someone who possessed such a soft spoken voice surely he wouldn’t have such devious intentions to do him harm. Briefly he’d recalled the stranger saying something akin to to that thought, but his worry wasn’t something he could so easily shake. He’d made his decision to be daring and take risks, but that didn’t mean he was so bold he would stare any scary thing in the face right from the start.
That said Seren didn’t really appear all that scary in fact. After he helped him get his arms through the right holes of the shirt, and he breathed a sigh of relief thankful that his head was no longer trapped in fabric, he shifted his cheek to glance at the man and made note that he didn’t really appear all that intimidating close up. Anxiously he fussed with his damp locks until they were less of a mess in his face, fingertips skimming the occasional shell he had tied in his hair. That was something he cherished too, the ornament in his hair that his sister helped him make. His hand fell from it before possible longing could take hold. The sounds of the ocean water lapping at the beach was bad enough.
Seren asked good questions. They were rather important ones he supposed, and sadly they were also things that he had no good answer for. To admit that he had nowhere to go seemed dangerous, but if he lied and Seren left him be what then? Gaelan assumed he would just go with his original plan, but that plan was still so poorly thought out that he didn’t know how to go about it if he could hardly walk. Get off the beach, that was his goal. Slowly he shook his head, deciding to tell the truth even if a part of him condemned the idea of telling this stranger too much. Seren did have a good point overall. Staying out here would be dangerous, and now that he was mentioning it he was suddenly becoming very aware of just about every other sound aside from the ocean.
”I want to go..away from the beach.” Before the temptation to go back was too strong for him not to. Gaelan knew he would regret it if he didn’t get up and at least try to walk. He spoke slowly once more as he stared at Seren intently as if it would help him understand. ”To the city. I want to go there.” Beyond that he still didn’t have a clue, but he was taking things one step at a time. If he had more of a chance to think about all of his actions he would have talked himself out of it before he’d even surfaced on the beach.
His eyes fell to Seren’s bare chest, staring off for no reason other than to think, calm down, clear his head. Then he realized he hadn’t said his name. When his eyes lifted to Seren’s he set his hand on his own chest and nodded. ”Gaelan. My name is Gaelan.”
Lucky for Gaelan the night was Seren's time to shine as funny as that was to him to think or say because...he was the star card of his tarot deck. And no thanks at all to that lovely curse of his. Serious? No energy in the day? Swore Fate was a hilarious person to have a cup of tea with. Seren hoped he got to meet such a force one day. The conversations they might have and oh oh how he'd love to bend their ear on some words and complaints of his own. Point being though, he had time to try and gain his trust enough of anything to see what he might need help with this night. He'd have to see. If he had no lodging, if he was too scared to rent a hotel room, then Seren always had space to spare in his own home. Viciousness was not something he sensed his aura, so he himself felt as though he could trust the adventurous merman.
Looking at him now, well. He was a handsome one wasn't he? And those shells. All those pretty shells and trinkets in his hair. Mermfolk were such interesting in their delights. He had to restrain himself from reaching out to touch the merm's hair as he fussed with it, got it out of that handsome youthful face. Definitely would be figured for merfolk by the wrong sort of people....if they knew what they were looking for and Seren knew there had to be plenty. Mythril was the Mecca for the supernatural after all so where else was best for poachers to be?
Away from the beach he could help with, and into the city he had already guessed as much but for the moment, Seren didn't press. They were going to have to work on his appearances. And he still had no shoes. He wondered if a CVS store might still be open. Surely they would have some flip-flops being it was the summer season. So he made that the first note of a thing to do, or suggest to the young man. "Alright, I can help with that. Perhaps as well we can take you to a store? Get you some shoes? The city terrain can be a bit unforgiving on bare feet." He hoped he would take him up on it, understand that these were things he was going to need if he was going to venture these lands.
The moment he finally gave him his name though, Seren smiled. "I quite like that name. I am very pleased to meet you Gaelan." He said as he stood and offered his hand to help him up. "Are you hungry at all too? I would be very honored if you would like to use me as a bit of a guide for the night. You couldn't have come upon the more perfect person to meet in the night time hours. The night is sort of my prime time."
To be honest he hadn’t expected anyone to want to help him so eagerly. He had his assumptions and prejudice about what the people on land were like, and though he had met a human in the past that he got along fairly well with that didn’t put an end to his concerns. He still wasn’t so sure he would ever find that boy again, but without not knowing what else to do now that he was here it was worth the effort to try. Maybe Seren could help him look. He hesitated to ask for now, but made a note of it to bring up later.
A light frown crossed his features at the mention of shoes on the other hand. Gaelan tilted his head, confused why they seemed so necessary, but he had to remember that he had new feet. He would have to wear shoes! The merman’s frown gave way to a flustered sort of excitement, one that he was trying to hide by nibbling on the inside of his cheek. He’d never thought he’d have to wear shoes. He’d never thought he’d actually get the courage to come to land either, but here he was. ”Okay.” He offered in response, and then had a real reason to feel flustered what with Seren’s compliments to his name.
He grinned my shyly, turned his cheek away and smoothed the front of his long shirt down his stomach a bit nervously. ”Mm.” He hummed, then nodded to admit that he agreed their meeting was pleasant. His first assumptions of Seren were being proved wrong by the minute. At least so far he hadn’t tried to hurt him at all and in fact done quite the opposite. He wondered if everyone was like Seren around here as well. He had met some far scarier people in the past, all entirely by accident of course.
When the subject of food was dropped he peeked over at the pink haired man, then considered it quietly to himself at first. He had eaten several hours ago, but he was used to existing on an empty stomach until it started gnawing at him. Not having realized that Seren was moving to stand, when he looked up at him again he was staring at the man’s hand instead then lifted his chin further to look into his features. Slowly he reached up to take his hand, and very carefully used it to help stand up. Just as before he was wobbly on his feet, and wavered in the sand until he nearly tipped over. It was a good thing he had Seren’s hand in his hold, but despite it he still grasped the man’s arm to hold onto him instead of falling over.
He shut his eyes tight, winced as if he were expecting the earth to move on him so he’d meet the ground again. To his relief it didn’t, and hesitantly he opened his eyes to see that he was practically hugging the strangers arm. That...that wasn’t smart or considerate of him at all, he thought in a panic, and let go of him as quickly as he could without disturbing his balance. ”I apologize.” He mumbled, bowing his head. He could only hope that he hadn’t caused some sort of offense. The cultures on land were so different, he knew. Shifting his gaze over to his bag left in the sand, Gaelan bit his lower lip and prayed that he could grab it without falling. He bent his knees, balanced his arm out, then reached for it with his free hand.
It was a careful act but once he snatched it up he stood and was beaming with pride that he hadn’t sank into the sand again. Gaelan treated it with care as he placed it over his shoulder once more, and at last submitted his attention to Seren. ”I am now ready.”
Such a darling young man thus far, was all Seren could think as he grinned so shyly. He hoped to make a friend of him, take him under his wing as just one more person to offer some guidance too. It excited him. The prospect of it. Helping was what he was made for and this, oh coming upon him on this night of all nights when his thoughts wandered to such dark treading places, it was just what he needed. It just made him so very sure he was certainly meant to be here. It was in the cards and the stars. Fate. Yes. Seren was very much a believer in fate. Nothing happened with out reason.
The star card waited patiently for the other to arise, though for a moment he seemed just a small bit lost with how he raised his gaze from his hand up the line of his arm to meet his own mix matched eyes. Seren only gave him a warm and encouraging sort of smile and once the other man finally reached to take his hand in his own, Seren gripped it just firmly enough to help the man keep himself even as he pushed himself up to stand. Wobbly, he was wobbly but it was good that Seren expected as much and braced his knees for it, leaned back just a little himself to counter balance Gaelan as he felt backward just a bit himself before they finally got the poor wiggly limbed man on his feet.
Curious though, that he closed his eyes and reach to hug his arms around the arm of the hand he had offered the man to help him up. Like a frightened child who had just been saved from the edge of a cliff. Seren raised his free hand to pat the young man gently atop his blue adorned head. "Bravo." He cheered gently, waiting for him to compose himself. Patience was one of his more saintly qualities, had to have it in his line of work. When Gaelan seemed to realize just what he was doing however, he was quick--or as quick as he could be on new feet-- to release him. Seren chuckled so softly and shook his head while Gaelan bowed his own. "No apologies needed, this is new, I assume for you, yes?" New or as said, it had just been a very long time since he had been on land.
With his belongings remembered, Seren almost asked to get it for him, but Gaelan was already bending and so Seren thought it best to let him try. Get that practice in while he could and with out others around to look and judge him. Again the pinkette waited patiently, ready to help balance the man should he need it, but it seemed he was doing just fine. When he had his sack carefully over his shoulder Seren gave him a bright smile and nodded. "Fantastic." And with that, looped his arm carefully through Gaelan's to offer the man at least a little support, though if Gaelan would rather not, he had but to let Seren go and he'd be equally fine with that.
"So what brings you to land, Gaelan?" He asked after a few minutes of carefully guiding the young man through the sandy shore of the beach, and then found the wooden steps up to the board walk area. The main attractions of the area, all closed down now they were and sadly it was a few blocks to the nearest CVS or late night store he knew of.
He felt a heat in his face when he looked up at Seren, and then felt the man pat his head. It made him more urgently let go of him despite his need for balance. Thankfully he didn’t have any slip ups or it may have been worse. After he’d adjust his bag over his shoulder though, there was Seren looping an arm around his again. Gaelan blinked a bit taken aback, and tensed not really knowing what to do or what it meant, but..the pink haired man’s reaction was so calm and collected that slowly the tension left his frame if only a moment before they needed to start walking.
Admittedly he was grateful that he had the man so close to him for balance. Walking still felt like a foreign maneuver to him, and each time his toes pressed into the sand he felt like he was going to fall over, so yes, having Seren at his side greatly improved his ability to keep himself upright. He stared down at the man’s feet as they walked, honestly just trying to mirror his actions as best he could until he’d realized they’d made it off the beach entirely.
He glanced over his shoulder to see it in the distance, before his feet met with the wooden surface of the boardwalk steps and he gasped a bit surprised. It was such a different feeling from the sand, that the firmness of the wooden steps actually scared him at first. If it wasn’t apparent that he’d never ventured land before it certainly was now. He turned his attention to Seren to see if he was just as shocked as Gaelan felt, but of course he couldn’t have been. He was a land person so clearly. If he were a merfolk surely Gaelan would have been able to tell. It was then that he realized the man had asked him things but he’d been so focused on walking that he hadn’t answered.
”Looking for someone.” He blurted out without really thinking. Mentally he cursed himself for it, but afterwards he looked down at the wood steps and ventured to at least very carefully test one with his foot. He put pressure on it, and clung to the poor man beside him just in case. When the wood didn’t move or shift like the sand had, he tried with his other foot and finally let himself breath. Upon further inspection of the steps, he finally realized..”This is ..wood?” Suddenly an image of the side of some boats flashed in his head, and it was at least something familiar enough that the steps frightened him even less. When he looked up to see that the boardwalk was made of a bunch of these wooden planks he was more in awe than afraid. ”So many of them..like a giant boat on land.”
It pleased the star card that Gaelan allowed him to keep his arm looped through his. He hoped it meant he had some trust to be allowed to keep a hold on him. Well clearly he did if he was willing to allow him to help him around in general but...still, it was nice and he was glad for it. It was adorable really, watching him go and following his gaze to see Gaelan was trying to watch how he stepped, mimic it himself. Smart lad. He kept his praises to himself however, so not to embarrass the young man. Make him feel self-conscious. He let it be and lifted his mix matches hues to watch where they were going.
His sudden gasp nearly set Seren to find himself started as well, nearly. Though of course not for the same reason. He quickly came to realize that Gaelan had simply been shocked by the new feel beneath his foot. At this he couldn't help but smile, chuckle lightly as he looked back up to take in the other man's expression. Oh, to experience the world again for the first time. Seren could....hardly remember it himself. He remembered important things. He also...remembered the sensation of the first rain on his face. He remembered the smell of his adoptive mother's cooking. The sound of the animals his adoptive father kept. The jingle of bells his siblings had played with. He remembered things not quite whole and he remembered the pain of loosing them.
But that was hardly the good things to try and be thinking of now was it? No no. A celebration of firsts and if he couldn't remember all of his own, then he would happily live them over through this young man here. It was a marvel really. The Star chuckled a bit more as he seemed to blurt his answer in his distraction. Though he hardly had to curse over it. Well not that Seren knew that was what he was doing, but he could only guess by the look on his face. The mental checks and lines he crossed in what to answer and what not to when it came to a stranger. "I see." He said for the moment, watching then as the other man tested the wood under his feet.
He was about to ask if he had an idea as to where this someone was but distracted he became as it clicked in mind that yes, yes this was wood he was standing on. Another chuckle gained, especially at how he described it. A land boat. "They are called stares when built like this. It helps, as you see, to get to higher ground." He motioned with his free hand up the steps before taking a step of his own on up. "Take your time with this, I've got all night here." He assured the youthful looking man. "So this someone you are looking for. Do you know if they reside here in this city? I've met plenty of people...and I know someone who knows more. Perhaps I can help you find this someone if you don't know where they are."
Seren’s laughter, though to some may have registered as mocking, was honestly mostly overlooked by the quite fascinated merman. It was just so incredible. He’d seen roads and suck from beaches, near cliff edges, but he’d never actually ventured off the beach to see more of what the land really looked like this way and it was just so strange how big everything looked up close. Like the light poles. When his eyes caught one he just stared at it because he only knew what they’d looked like from a distance and now..it seemed so huge!
Gaelan looked down at the stares, and after they were pointed out to him he did slowly do his best to venture up them without falling. To his satisfaction he made it the whole way and didn’t wobble once. He was beaming once they got to the top of them, and as Seren started asking his questions he had to try and stop smoothing his right foot along the smooth surface of the boardwalk so he could focus. This someone he was looking for was very important after all, and hearing the other man mention them certainly pulled his attention.
He watched the man’s face, loosened his hold on his arm now that he felt he didn’t need to cling to him to keep steady. Then, when he was told that Seren could actually help him find his special person his eyes grew in genuine surprise. ”Really?” He blinked, hoping that he was being honest. He never thought anyone would be able to help him find his friend, and certainly not so quickly. It was true that he didn’t know where this human lived, but..on that note he averted his gaze and hummed to himself in thought. ”They did live here.” From what he remembered anyway, but he was used to having to travel so often. Truthfully he thought that humans were often the same in that regard, despite the fact that they had so many more resources. Strange, how that was.
”I don’t know if he still does.” Words said sullenly, but while his eyes scanned store fronts that he couldn’t possibly have seen from the shore he was more fascinated with exploring all these new and interesting things- all cautiously of course. It was a good thing he had Seren or he would have taken much longer to get off the beach. Gaelan finally looked at the other man then, staring at him long and hard a moment and still so tempted to gift him with something for his troubles but uncertain if he would dislike it or not. Maybe later.
”You can take me to the someone that knows more? Could we go now?” Having no real concept of opening and closing hours, human sleeping habits, he just assumed that since they were talking about them they would go. However, to his dismay his stomach did decide to grumble at that very moment, turning Gaelan red and causing him to look away in search of where food might be. He thought he would be fine till the next evening for food but..all that walking and he suddenly felt starving.
He was hardly trying to mock the youthful looking merman. It was just....delightful to him to see someone experiencing it all for the first time. Though suppose it was a good thing that Gaelan didn't see it that way or really think much of his pleasure in watching his reactions. Too concentrated on what he was feeling beneath his toes he imagined. Either way he was rather proud of him for making it all the way up the stairs with out him feeling as though he might have fallen at any moment. He had met a poor merwoman who simply couldn't at all connect with her feet and walk properly and....it honestly had broken his heart to see her grow so upset.
"Careful not to harm your feet." He murmured softly while watching Gaelan scuff them at the wood. Splinters were nasty little things and he did not simply walk around with a set of tweezers...though suppose he could buy some. But he'd rather not have to do that if he could avoid it and hopefully Gaelan would take it as a note to mind himself because as he had mentioned before. Shoes were things needed for the terrain here above water. Sometimes even walking in parks he found broken bottles, sharp objects in the grass. Disheartening. He always picked it up to make sure no one, children especially honestly, stepped on it while running around and enjoying themselves.
The hope that blossomed from his words, oh, it made Seren feel light and so he smiled a bit more widely himself and nodded. "Truly." He assured at the merman's "really," and got all the more hopeful himself that if this person he was seeking lived here, that even if he no longer did perhaps if they found where he lived they could track him from there. Excited Seren began to get it, well all the more excited. He so did enjoy a good mystery and puzzle. He loved putting the pieces together, watching the fog lift, and finding the pride they so sought at the end. The joy it brought people. He lived for it.
Gaelan seemed to be of the same mind but no matter! He patted the man's shoulder gently, giving him a more soft an encouraging sort of smile. "Even if your friend no longer resides in Mythrial, there will be records or something we can follow to find him." He tried to assure him, tried to cheer that no sullen look on his handsome face. "Keep hope my friend, hope is a powerful and driving thing." With that, a moment of silence was birthed and Seren took it to look in the direction of the closest store he knew of that would still be open this late. When he was about to suggest they start toward it, he caught Gaelan staring.
"One thing at a time." Getting ahead of themselves a bit, they were and things simply didn't happen in a blink. "First, it is late for most people. Longwei has a little girl that said I am sure they are both tucked away in bed. So....if you've no where else to go you can always stay with me until you find yourself a place or until you find your friend? If you like. If you are comfortable with that. I honestly don't mind the company and....new friends are always welcome." His smile was more warm now before he gently tugged Gaelan along in the direction of the store. "So if you at least would like to stay the night with me, I will get in contact with Longwei and we will see what we can do to find this friend of yours."
He paused at a cross walk, waited for the light for pedestrians to turn white and started across while the sign started to count down to how much longer they had. Though he was more leisurely at this time of night. After crossing the road it was but a few more blocks until they reached the CVS he had in mind, and carefully he slipped inside, giving the clerk a smile and casually shielded Gaelan so they couldn't see he had shoes before ushering him down where he spied some summer articles. Flip-flops were indeed easy to find and he tapped a finger to his lower lip as he looked down to inspect Gaelan's feet before grabbing a blue hair to match that pretty hair of his. "Try these. You put them on like this." And with his words he was already slipping his right foot from his slip on shoes and demonstrated as to how to slip your foot into a flip-flop for him.
When it was pointed out to him to mind his feet he stopped what he was doing immediately, growing wary to even move in thanks to the warning. Like a child caught doing something bad he listened, but not necessarily for fear that Seren would punish him, rather he worried he was in fact going to somehow get hurt. He didn’t know how, since splinters weren’t common an injury, and not one he could say he’d felt before, but it would be best to avoid injury so soon. He legs were already feeling a little achy from the walking. Gaelan didn’t know if that was some sort of side effect of the change that might wear off, if that was how legs always felt, or if he was just using them so much already that it was in fact wearing him out.
At any rate he was conflicted in what he wished to do next. Get something to eat, look for this someone to ask them how he could find his friend..or he supposed former friend. There was always the possibility that the boy no longer remembered him but with no other goals to keep him going it was the only logical objective for him to follow. He was still so in awe that Seren knew someone that could help, and that he too had helped so much already. In his smiles and positive words, it began to sink in that his initial impression of fear may have been misguided in this case. Then he also began to wonder..was Seren not human?
As the man went on to describe how late it was, and the stranger who had a daughter -the one that would help him later- he tried listening but found it difficult as he just stared at him in wonder of what he could be if not merely human. The lighting had been poor at the beach, but now that they were near street lamps he could see that the man’s eyes were different shades. That seemed out of the ordinary. Ah, but then he was offering to let Gaelan stay with him and that was certainly something to get him to snap out of his observations.
He followed along with the man’s gentle tug, then wondering to himself if it was truly safe to stay with him. So far he had been given little reason to be afraid, aside from not knowing much of the man at all. What he had seen of him though, had been nothing but good things. His conclusion: He had few options and didn’t know where he was even supposed to go when it came to a place to sleep for the night. Staying with Seren was a reasonable option for him to accept. For him to remind him that they could contact this friend of his later, he couldn’t help but slowly smile. ”Okay.”
Gaelan became so pleased that he started humming a slow yet happy melody as they walked. Though it sadly came to an end once they’d started crossing the street, and he saw cars and more things he’d never seen so close up. The merman couldn’t help but be vigilant. There was just so much- so many things, and noises that he felt so foreign to. He found himself bumping against Seren a couple of times while they walked, forgetting his footing and accidentally getting a bit too distracted with the passing of a car or the bright lights of a store front. When Seren guided him into a building with clear windows that swooshed open, it nearly made him jump out of his skin. Thankfully he had Seren to gauge for how he was supposed to react, because apparently the moving doors weren’t as scary as they had seemed to him.
When they found the rack of shoes, it was thankfully just another thing for him to gawk at because there was so many of them. How could any one person need so many shoes when they only had two feet fascinated him. He blinked when Seren returned to him with a blue pair of sandals. He had seen these before, sometimes near the beach, or the bottom of the sea floor. He beamed at the idea of actually wearing some that would fit. He slipped one on his foot like Seren said, and then tried the other and was smiling as he stared at them. ”It feels funny.” He chuckled, wiggling his toes and finding the little bit between them kind of tickled. He wanted them. ”I get to keep these?”
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