Aka scolded himself. He didn’t mean to be seen. He didn’t mean to be seen by the one person who he couldn’t let see him. He just wanted to look at him. He just wanted to see him. He just wanted to admire his soulmate. Was that too much to ask?

His orange scales glittered in the moonlight as he broke the surface. He loved the color of his tail. His tan skin transitioned into sunset orange scales which transitioned to a light red and finally a purple. Every tail was different for his people and their eyes always matched their most prized possession. Their tail. He dragged his fingers through his albino hair and sighed. How could he have been so careless?

Aka had just mustered up the courage to see his soulmate. He didn’t expect the boy to look lonely, and so he swam closer. He didn’t expect the boy to see him. And he especially didn’t expect to have found a boy so beautiful.

The human was small, especially for a nineteen-year-old boy. Striking turquoise eyes that showed every emotion but was also very cold. Aka found himself fantasizing about the boy.

“Aka? Hello?” A girl with red hair waved a hand in front of the daydreaming boy’s face. “Anyone in there?” When, again, there’s no response, the girl scoffed. “AKA!”

The boy blinked out of his daydreaming and stared at his best friend. “Cora. What the actual-”

“Don’t you swear at me, young man.” Cora scolded, pointing a manicured finger in his face. You’re not even my age, idiot. You're younger than me. Aka thought but chose not to say anything. Cora was a literal Ariel. Her wavy red hair flowed behind her in the sea. Her tail transitioned from green to blue to turquoise. Cora smirked as she earned a scowl from her friend. “How’d it go?”

She was referring to his little spying spree. Aka looked away and began to swim away from her but she grabbed his tail and pulled him back. Aka glared at her but didn’t try to swim away again. “What’d you do, Aka?”

He looked away but responded this time around. “He… saw me.”

“What?!” Cora hit his shoulder. “Oh my God! How careless can you be? Does he know-” Aka nodded. “Aka!” She scolded him. “You’re lucky I’m such a good friend. Or else I would’ve told your folks by now.” She quieted down and shook her head. “Jesus Christ, Aka. How we have stayed hidden for so long with you in our pod, I’ll never know.” Her blue-green eyes glared at him, but she turned around to swim back to the pod. He sighed. He wished that Cora didn’t act like his mom all the time. He eventually swam after her.

Their pod lived about five-hundred feet from the shore. They all lived in caves or caverns around the ocean floor. Sometimes, however, small houses were built out of whatever was lying or floating around. The pod consisted of fifty or so men, women, and children. The pod was on the small side, but no one had ever left it. They usually stayed in one place unless they were discovered or something drastic happened. Aka loved his pod more than anything in this life, or so he thought.

The more he thought about the human, the more Aka fell in love with him. Of course, Aka had no clue what love was and for all he knew it could be infatuation. He liked the boy, how he looked, how he acted, how small he was.

Aka broke out of his reverie to realize that they were at the pod’s town square. It was a place to hang out with friends or just go shopping. A restaurant and bar sat off to the side. Different shops lined the square and at the very end of it was Town Hall. It was where the council met every month and operated the same as a usual Town Hall, on land or otherwise.

Cora and Aka swam into the restaurant and bar, A Fish’s Nightmare. Not the most charming name, but it was true. A man with yellowish hair and a purple and pink tail greeted the two at the door. “Hello, welcome to A Fish’s Nightmare. Their nightmare, your heaven. How many- OH!” The man seemed taken aback when he saw the familiar faces when he looked up from the script that he was meant to memorize.

“Nice to see you too, Kil.” Cora scowled as a man began to check her out, scaring off the poor innocent bystander.

“Hey, be nice.” Aka elbowed her side. “It’s not his fault you like p-”

“Not. Another. Word. A~ka.” She shook her finger in his face every time she said a word. He smirked at her reaction. She scowled once more in return but looked back to Killian. “Yes, table for two. What else would it be?”

Killian mocked her words in a higher voice but led them to a two-person table. There were no chairs since they weren’t needed. As soon as they were stopped in front of the table, he left straight away. Cora hit Killian on the back of his head as he left, earning a yelp of pain in response.

Cora leaned on her knuckles and smirked at the boy across from her, already forgetting what happened not even two minutes ago. “So…?”

Aka gave her a puzzled expression. “So?”

“So,” She gestured with her hand at him. “You promised you’d tell me everything about you finding out the human’s your soulmate once you got back.”

Aka scoffed. “Yeah. And you wouldn’t even know about him if you just kept your nosy self out of my business.”

“Oh, come on. You know I can smell a lie from a mile away. And you’re horrible at keeping secrets once I realize you’re lying to me. I don’t even know why you tried.” Cora rested her cheek on her hand. “Now, spill.”

Aka sighed, dragging a hand down his face. He knew there was no way to get out of this one, so he just complied. He began to fidget with his necklace, a black string that held a single red shell. “A couple of weeks ago, I was swimming out too close to the shore. I realized this, so I turned to swim back out to the open sea. But, when I turned around, my tail dragged across someone’s leg. By the time I realized that person was my soulmate, they were long gone. So, I turned into a human in the night and followed the tugging in my chest. I saw him. He was in his room and drawing. He gave off this… lonely vibe. I wanted to connect the bond, right then, right there. But… I didn’t want to freak him out. So, I never saw him again.”

Cora gave him a look between pity and sadness. “Until today.”

Aka nodded. “Until today.” He looked at Cora and gave her a bittersweet smile. “I swam to the shore and watched him walk along the beach with someone, I think it was his brother. Then, later, he came out to the beach. He seems to like one of his brother’s friends and I just hate myself. Because he can’t be with him, he’s with me. And, to top it all off, I think he just started feeling the tug in his chest. I don’t know. How long does it usually take for the bond to hurt?” He asked, seeing Cora open her mouth to answer, but he cut her off. “No one knows. No one’s ever had a human soulmate before. Why is this happening to me?” Aka hadn’t even realized he had been crying until he saw tiny droplets float off of his cheeks and mix with the sea. “I-I’m sorry. You probably don’t-”

“Does it hurt?”

Aka stopped. “What?”

“Does it hurt not being able to connect the bond with your soulmate?” She asked as she placed her hands on his.

Aka looked at her. She no longer had that pitying look but instead looked like she was experiencing everything with him. Aka appreciated this. “So much.” He sobbed. “So, so much. It’s torture not being able to look at, kiss, hug, touch the one you belong to.”

Cora swam around the table and wrapped her tail around his and hugged him. “I know. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have made you tell me. It wasn’t fair to you. I was just being my ‘nosy self’, as you said.” Aka chuckled dryly. Cora pulled away to look him straight in the eyes. “How about this? We go visit the shore again in a couple of days and you try to talk to him. If he runs away, then we know that he isn’t the soulmate for you. Can’t you have multiple soulmates if the first one doesn’t work out? As in, if they reject you or something?” Aka nodded. “Then you have nothing to worry about. In two days. Together.”

Aka managed a small smile. “In two days.” Is the day I either get my one true love or get heartbroken.


About the author

Red Night

Bio: Just a girl in love with writing.

Hey y'all! (Wow that sounded so southern lol). My name is Reina (it's a pseudonym) and I've been writing since I was a child (literally. I wrote my first "book" in fifth grade) and have been honing my skill for years now. I've published some books but ended up deleting them later on because they were so cringy. I plan to become an actual author one day but for now online publishing will have to do. Besides I don't have money to self-publish anyway (I'm poor af haha). But that's besides the point. I love the lgbtq+ community and am I myself a part of it. I also personally love the thought of two boys together (maybe that's just me, who knows). So I started writing it. I have many book ideas (i.e. mafia, zombie apocalypse, dragon/magic school) but, for now, I'll be sticking with the supernatural story line. I hope you enjoy my books!

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