SasoDei - Ocean Blues
A Sequel to Underneath Thunderstorms
A Commission for TerraKuman97
He could do it; he just knew that he could. The distance was short enough. With legs he would have been able to make the short trip with ease, but when your legs were replaced with something different, like a friggen TAIL, things got a little…complicated.
Sasori went flying through the water. While it seemed majestic in thought, in reality he looked like a worm writhing on burning concrete. He ended up swimming too close to the ocean floor, and his tail collided with a large rock. At the disturbance, Sasori went flying backwards, undergoing many non-consensual summersaults through the water as he did so. "Dammit!"
He felt like he was going to be seasick…if it were even possible for a merman to get seasick, that is.
Soon his somersaulting came to a halt, and he was left to sit on the sandy floor while he attempted to overcome his latest bout of nausea. It had been a week since the red head had both become a merman and joined the Akatsuki merfolk, and it had been one of the strangest weeks of his life.
The ocean was cold, the food was nothing like home, and swimming was both tiring and troublesome. Sometimes he wondered if he could find a beach somewhere and outgrow his tail; to run with legs once more upon some fine shore. He did not care for the ocean, or the idea of having a tail for the rest of his life.
But then he always remembered Deidara.
The merman who had spent most of his life waiting for the red head to come to him. That boy with his beautiful body, his utopian eyes and his golden, blonde hair. Sasori was his life, and he knew that he could continue his tailed existence for the sake of his love. He had remained a merman, and he tried his best to complain only in his private thoughts…At least he assumed they were private. The Akatsuki had a way with telepathy that still confused him.
Sasori sighed and looked around from where he now sat, perched upon a lowly rock upon the ocean floor. The waters were crystal, and he could just barely make out the top of his undersea home from where he sat. Deidara and the others had left to hunt, but Sasori was still inept in many of the underwater abilities that the others had learnt from birth. That was why he was here, trying to better his swimming while having a bi-racial crisis at the same time. Two birds with one stone…or two fish with one hook - that seemed to be the more suitable saying.
"Come on, Sasori." He perked up and puffed out his chest, trying to motivate his lowly soul. "You have to learn how to swim without making a damn fool out of yourself, or else you will never be allowed to go hunting with the rest of them!" He paused for a second before sighing, losing what little energy he had left. "Ugh, why do I even want to go hunting with them? I don't even like the taste of fish…"
He relaxed and succumbed to the ocean's gentle push and pull, staring at the sunshine that belonged to the other world. It was so far away now, and yet it still reached him in the depths of the sea. Surely it would not hurt to feel the sun upon his face one more time…
Sasori straightened up and cautiously swam to the surface. He cut through the water like a fish, and broke the surface easily. The red head gasped in the oxygen that he no longer needed, and felt the sunlight warm his pale cheeks. It was glorious. A small smile spread across his lips as he drunk in the shine of the sun, and for a moment he forgot everything.
He forgot who he was, and he forgot what he was. He forgot the Akatsuki, and even his beloved. Everything was lost in sunlight.
But only for a moment. It only took Sasori a moment to recall all that he was and all that he had, and his first response was to look around. Relief swept over him once he confirmed that there were no ships nearby, and he simply continued to wade in the water and drink in the warm glow of the sunlight.
He could not understand why he felt so strangely homesick for a world he had never even felt connected to. The people were few and forgotten, and his house had never truly held the title of home either. It had only been a week since he had left, and he was already yearning for sunshine and dry land!
"Dammit…" He shook his head to clear it and looked back into the water, noticing a figure far below him. The red head dived below the water surface and he had indeed noticed a humanoid figure on the seafloor. A mermaid with blonde hair and a violet tail was tending to some flower-like plants that grew on a small rocky-field. He had not even noticed the pull of the current, but he was still fairly certain that he was in Akatsuki territory.
He swam down to the girl and after a few moments he was able to attract her attention. She looked up at the merman and smiled brightly, righting herself in the water. Around her neck was a Konoha shell necklace. "Good morning. Did I disturb you?"
"No," Sasori quickly shook his head and he glanced down at the flowers inquisitively, having never seen them before. "Did I stray into Konoha territory accidentally? I'm pretty new around here…"
"Oh no," she smiled and waved a friendly hand at him, "this is still Akatsuki territory. I've been coming here for years. The flowers that grow here are beautiful, and I love tending to them. Konan said that it was fine as long as I didn't cause any trouble, and I never have." She extended her tail to the red head in a greeting similar to a handshake, "I am Ino, by the way. You must be Sasori."
"Yes." He nodded while attempting to move his tail forward, but he used a bit too much effort and ended up somersaulting through the water. Sasori groaned with embarrassment while the mermaid giggled lightly.
"Don't worry; you will get used to it. In any case, it is good to meet you." She nodded her head pleasantly before turning her attention back to the flowers.
Sasori righted himself in the water, a light flush on his face as he looked around. The mermaid was consumed once again with her flower tending, and the red head knew that the conversation was over. He began to swim further in the untravelled direction, but knew he would have to be cautious. Konoha territory was probably nearby. One flower-crazed mermaid was not something worth fearing, but a flock of them would be a different story.
While he was swimming, he noticed a school of large fish tearing through the water, and his mind was once again drawn back to the Akatsuki. They were off hunting fish somewhere, while Pein had decided that Sasori was too inept to join them. "If I can catch a fish and bring it back, maybe they will let me go on the next hunt." Sasori stared at the school thoughtfully before deciding that, even if he failed, it would still be good swimming practice.
He sped through the water towards the school, his eyes locked onto the largest of the group. Yes, if he brought that one back he would at least make Deidara proud. With his love in mind, he swam as fast as he could after the fish, catching up before he even realised it. The school grew panicked at his presence and began to dart around, just as he was reaching for the largest fish. It slipped from his grip and he started to struggle to keep up with the school. Each fish darted in a different direction, and he desperately fought to keep his attention to the largest of the group.
He had to catch that fish. He had to prove his worth to the Akatsuki. Sasori reached out again for the morsel, but it evaded him once again. He continued his quest, his mind set solely on the fish.
He reached his hand out again and finally grabbed the food by the fins. "Gotcha!" He smiled to himself, a giddy relief sweeping over him, but it only lasted for a moment.
Deidara and the others had been hunting for food along a deep, rocky ridge, but the blonde was more preoccupied with his thoughts of Sasori. He felt bad since the red head had been told that he could not join them, and the blonde almost wished that he had stayed behind with him. Deidara could have offered him some swimming lessons, or he could have taught him about the underwater plant life. Instead, he was out here with the others, and his lover was back at home, probably sulking. "Are we almost done, un?"
"That's the twenty-fucking-fifth time you have asked that, blondie!" Hidan smacked Deidara on the head and the blonde retaliated by slapping him back. The albino merman stuck his tongue out before offering an immature grin. "Man Blondie, you're so fucking needy for this guy! I'm sure that dick bag doesn't mind having some time to himself."
"You think so?" Deidara frowned and Konan swam up to them, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Sasori can join us for future hunts. In the meantime, he needs to learn about being a merman at his own pace. Trust me, it takes a while to adjust to this lifestyle. Even if you didn't have the best experience with land living, it is still difficult to give up." She smiled at him, but all he could do was pout.
"I still don't understand what is so great about the land. It's dry, sunlight burns, and all the humans are evil, un."
"You're forgetting, Dei Sweetie; a week ago Sasori was a human, and he was never evil." He was silent, and she continued to poke at the flaw in the blonde's logic, "I was once a human, and I was never evil."
"I disagree." Hidan grinned widely at her, "I always thought you were fucking evil. Shit, all of the complaining you used to do gave me fucking migraines! It's too fucking cold, it's too fucking dark, I hate having a tail, blah, blah, blah!"
In an irascible feat, Konan managed a summersault, smacking the albino across the face with her tail fin in the process. He groaned in pain before glaring at her, but she was quick to speak before he could unleash his string of angry, foul words. "Look Deidara, Sasori will be just fine."
"You don't think that Danna will leave me, right?" Deidara frowned and ran an anxious hand through his flowing blonde hair. "He won't leave me just to have legs, un? I know that he misses life on land, even if the people were so bad to him."
"If he returns to land, then that is his own decision, and we must all respect it." Pein swam towards the small group, a handmade net in hand with various fish and crustaceans captured inside of it. "Even you Deidara. Also remember that just as Sasori has the choice of living in the ocean, you have the choice of living on land as well."
"I don't want to live on the land." His face grew disgusted at the mere thought alone. "I hate humans, and the sun, and…What are those strange things they have on them called? Clothes. I fucking hate clothes, un! They're so weird."
Konan laughed and patted the blonde on the back, "Trust me, Deidara, clothes are actually pretty necessary when you are a human."
"Well they look weird, un!"
"In any case," Konan ruffled Deidara's hair to reassure him, "I think that Sasori will stay with us, just like I did. It will be hard, but I am sure that he can pull through."
Suddenly, a sharp ringing filled their ears. The group was all too familiar with the sound, having only heard it a mere week ago when Deidara had been captured.
Danger. A member of the Akatsuki was in danger.
"Danna!" Deidara felt his heart skip a beat, and they all knew that it could not have been transmitted by anyone else.
The ringing only sounded for a short time before it was replaced with the sound of silence. There was a moment of disconnection that went through all of the Akatsuki clan.
Sasori's presence had disappeared.
The red head had finally managed to grab the fish that he had sought; that was when everything shifted.
Suddenly the fish were all around him, clustered and struggling. He did not even realise what was happening until it was too late. Sasori felt himself get pulled out of the water, along with the school of fish he had followed for far too long. His tail disappeared as soon as he lost contact with the ocean, but it was still impossible to escape from the netting that had scooped him up. "Captain, we got a live one!"
The voice was unknown to Sasori, and he could barely see the world beyond the fish and the net. That was until he was abruptly dropped onto the deck.
The net fell away and fish splayed everywhere. In his hand, the large morsel that he had wanted so badly was forgotten, yet still it struggled aimlessly against him. The sunlight was harsh against his skin and was no longer the comforting condolence that it had been only minutes before.
But then the sun was gone. A towering figure stood before him; tall, menacing, and disturbingly familiar.
"Well, look what the net dragged in~" The man was smiling down at the red head, with a tone of irony set deep in his words. "It has been far too long, my friend." Black hair, pale skin and a pair of unforgettable, golden eyes. The eyes of a snake.
"Orochimaru…" The red head spoke the name cautiously, making sure he stated it carefully.
A short, amused laugh filled the air, and the next moment a hand was being offered to him. "Look at this, boys. This is a man who has been lost at sea for the past week, and yet he has managed to survive all on his own." From the crew came a few cheers and gasps, but Sasori never took his eyes from Orochimaru's.
He took the offered hand slowly and stood, letting go of the fish that he had already forgotten. "Did you find me by chance, or was this a search and rescue?" Sasori noticed his nakedness in front of the entire ship, and his human side recalled his need for modesty.
Orochimaru seemed to notice the yearning as well, for only a few moments later, the snake was draping his own coat over Sasori's shoulders. The red head was surprised by the act, and he was quick to pull the warm jacket shut, his modesty momentarily restored. Orochimaru leaned in close, and his calamitous smile never left him for a second. "A little bit of both."
He knew. Orochimaru knew what he was. What he had become…
"This way, Sasori. You can rest within my chambers." He took the red head by the arm, and his fingers dug into his skin tightly without any of the crew noticing. His voice dropped and there was a familiar sharpness in his eyes as he stood tall above the red head. "Don't go jumping back into the ocean now. We don’t want to have to go through the trouble of fishing you out again, right?"
Those of the crew who heard the remark simply laughed, assuming that it was a simple joke, but Sasori knew better. All he could do was nod and allow the snake to take him to the captain's cabin, where the door was shut tightly behind them.
"Poor little Saso~" Orochimaru let go of him at last, and the red head quickly spun around to face him, backing up several paces. The snake laughed and stepped towards him, "I honestly was not expecting to find you this easily." Sasori paced backwards, but the larger man simply matched each step with his own, until the red head was backed into the corner of the room. Orochimaru was right in front of him. A thin finger ran up Sasori's chin, tilting his head upwards, and the snake's smile grew sinisterly dark.
"Don't touch me." Sasori bore his teeth at the man, but he could not risk batting the hand away, lest he uncover himself. "Why are you here?"
"The crew of the Lightning Queen were far too excited to keep their mouths shut." Orochimaru ran a finger over Sasori's lips, sending a disgusted shudder through his body. "They talked and they talked and they talked. You should be thanking me really; I managed to shut most of them up…for good."
Sasori hesitated. "What did they say?"
"Mermaids, mermaids and mermaids. That seemed to be the hot topic of conversation. They spoke of how they had caught themselves two mermen, one of which had been secretly aboard their boat the entire time~" Orochimaru leaned in closer, and all Sasori could do was pull the coat tighter around his exposed body. "And through it all, you never returned. Neither did Sakura, but let's be honest here; she was an idiot. Whatever fate she met, I am sure she deserved." He leaned steadily closer, pausing only mere centimetres from the red head's lips. "Now, I wonder what would happen if I kissed a merman…?"
Sasori swallowed and managed the darkest glare he could muster. "I kissed a merman once. If you enjoy having legs, then I wouldn't recommend it."
Orochimaru was still and silent as he slowly ran his fingers over Sasori's lips, but his sickening smile appeared only moments later. "Then I guess I will just have to resist the temptation. Although I must say, it is strange how alluring you have become ever since your transformation. I guess it's the spell of the species…" Orochimaru finally backed away, leaving Sasori feeling out of breath, with his heart hammering heavily in his chest. Even when he had been mortal, he had always been unsure in trusting Orochimaru, and he was all too familiar with the effect that merfolk had on humans.
"You still haven't told me why you are here…" Sasori shivered, but it was not from the cold.
The snake looked him up and down, before taking a moment to lick his lips. "You could get a lot of money from a merfolk. It doesn't matter if they are a male or a female, whether they are young or old, nor even if they are attractive. A merfolk is a merfolk. You can earn a lot of money…Boil them into a gourmet stew, sell their tail as an expensive medicine, take photos to sell to anyone who wants one, sell them to science, or you can just put them on display until the end of days~" He paused once again to eye the red head, before nodding in affirmation. "You can earn a lot of money from a merfolk."
"So then, what is to be my fate?" Sasori stood as tall as he could, never unlocking his gaze with Orochimaru's.
The snake shrugged far too casually, and he licked his lips once more. "None of the above. Having ownership of a merman is surely one of the quickest routes to having your throat slit while you sleep. Sakura was far too stupid to ever think of that little problem in her dream. No, I plan to get you off of my hands as quickly as I can, and selling you to the highest bidder sounds absolutely perfect~"
At that moment there was a knock on the door, and a crewmate's voice sounded a few seconds later. "Captain, we require you on deck to decide our next course."
"I will be there shortly." Orochimaru waited for the man to leave before turning back to the red head. "You are a smart man, Sasori, but I will say this anyway. I am the only one on board who knows what you are, so if I were you I wouldn’t go around telling anyone the truth." He stepped closer to the red head, still grinning sadistically. "If they were to find out, they would be sure to slit my throat, before all turning upon you. They might be merciful and just murder you straight out for being the half-breed monster that you are, or they might be a tad more…desperate." He took another step forward, and Sasori glowered at him darkly. "These men haven't seen a woman for at least a week, and it is just as I said earlier…It doesn't matter if you are male or a female, whether you are young or old, or even if you are attractive. A merfolk is a merfolk." With that said, Orochimaru abruptly cupped the red head's face and kissed him roughly.
Forgetting about his modesty entirely, the red head shoved the snake away from him, exposing himself in the process. He felt sick to his stomach, but Orochimaru seemed undeterred as he eyed the red head's naked body.
"I guess even I am not immune to the spell of the merfolk." The snake winked at him before tapping a foot upon the wooden flooring. "Oh, and look; I still have my legs~" He tilted his hat at Sasori and offered him a wink. "Don't go swimming off now. I'll have someone outside the door to make sure you don't go rushing off in your 'traumatised' state. Being stranded at sea for a week straight can really affect a man. Besides, we don't want to have to get the harpoons out, do we?" He laughed and turned on his heel, leaving the red head alone in the room.
Sasori was shaking, and he collapsed the moment the snake had shut the door behind him. He cupped his mouth, and a sudden feeling of guilt swept over him. True it had not been a consensual kiss, but he still felt as though he had betrayed Deidara. Sasori looked up at the door as realisation struck him. No one knew where he was.
He quickly grabbed hold of his shell necklace, and attempted to contact the Akatsuki with his mind. Hello, Hello? This is Sasori. I have been taken aboard a strange ship and I need help. He paused, and tried again, but there was no response. He could not reach them if he were out of the ocean. "Why did I chase that stupid fish?" Sasori banged his head on the cabin wall, feeling utterly helpless.
The Akatsuki had split up in search of Sasori, with Konan and Hidan sticking with Deidara as they journeyed to the red head's usual practice grounds. "Maybe the dick bag has just decided to take a stroll on a fucking beach or something." The albino shrugged, but they all knew that that could not be the truth. That subconscious cry of danger could not have been a fluke, especially from someone who had only been a merman for a mere week.
He had been in danger and had left the water. Whether he had been taken, or if he had moved to land to escape was unknown, but in any case it would take them a long time to find him. "Danna usually practices his swimming around here, un. He has to be around here somewhere." Deidara was biting his lip anxiously, and he knew that finding a fish out of water was nearly impossible. Humans had taken his mother and killed her; what if the same thing happened to Sasori?
If Sasori died, then Deidara would be free to find himself another mate, but that did not seem like an option. He had waited too long for the red head to just give up now. Besides, Sasori was still alive. Deidara could feel it in his heart, just as he had felt the red head's life since he had first been promised to the human.
"Come on." Konan's voice was optimistic, but Deidara still noticed the worry that was hidden in her tone. "He can't have gotten too far."
In the meantime, Sasori had managed to regain his composure. Not only did modesty begin to scratch at his mind again, but so did the cold, and he decided that, if he was going to have legs, he would also require clothing.
The cabin was of a decent size, but was windowless and only had one entryway. Sasori did not even need to check the doorway to see if it was guarded on the other side; Orochimaru would not have bothered to lie about such a thing, and he would certainly have enough crew to spare one as a guardsman.
He went through drawers and cupboards, but found that Orochimaru had been sure to leave very little lying around. However, Sasori did manage to find one thing.
A pair of clothes. Or, more exactly, his pair of clothes.
A long, red jacket, black pants with matching boots and a familiar blouse had been carefully hung up in the wardrobe, and he recognised them from his own wardrobe back at home. He had rarely worn them, and he had refused to wear them on his last voyage with Sakura aboard the Lightning Queen.
The feeling of sickness returned abruptly once he realised that Orochimaru must have gone through his house back on land just to obtain the outfit, and he realised just how sure of himself Orochimaru had been. He had set out looking for Sasori, and he had known that he would find him.
He cleared the thoughts from his mind and grabbed the clothes, knowing that he would feel a lot more comfortable once he was dressed. Sasori was clothed in no time, but the outfit felt strangely foreign after a week in the ocean, where just the idea of clothes was a joke.
He quickly adjusted to the feeling of fabric and tried to come to terms with his situation. Orochimaru had told him that he would be sold off to the highest bidder, but who knew what that person would want to do to him!
Sasori placed Orochimaru's coat onto the table, glowering at it darkly. "I'm a damn fool." He ran his hand through his hair, and again he tried to send a message to the Akatsuki, but he knew that it was hopeless. "Even if I had caught that fish, I doubt they would have let me hunt with them anyway. I should have just gone back after running into that blonde girl." The red head sighed and slumped down into the captain's chair, feeling the weight of the world upon his shoulders. "In any case, I'm here now and no one knows where I am. They will probably just assume that I decided to become a human again."
But had he not wanted to be a human again? He had felt so homesick not long ago.
"No, I don't want to go back." Sasori looked up and spoke his resolve aloud, to prove it to himself. "I want to stay in the ocean. I want to stay with the Akatsuki, and I want to stay with Deidara. I want to stay." He paused, before he felt his chest sink back into the depths of woe. "But what use is there in saying it now?"