Ships were very comfortable to Feliciano; he grew up fishing, among other Mediterranean activities. The Mediterranean had always been kind and nurturing to his family, supplying them with copious fish and an enjoyable - albeit temperamental - playground. It's shores have always been as delighting as its waters to both Feliciano and his family, so they always frequented the beach throughout his life, starting from the oldest fragments of his memory. Wind pulled the smell of salt off of the ocean and puffed it into Feliciano's face as if it were spritzed from a perfume bottle. Nostalgia built in his chest as the scent built in his nose. It made him smile.
This time he was on a ship to visit his brother, Lovino, who found residence in Spain. He always felt confusion knot in his brain when he thought of Lovino. Sure, he loved his brother, but Lovino wasn't one to show emotion like nearly everyone else on planet earth. Feliciano could never tell what his brother was really thinking, so the distance, though saddening, wasn't horrible. It did make it a lot more special when he actually did get time to see his brother.
Feliciano and his shipmates were about halfway along on their journey. The trip had been quite pleasant all the way from the Western shore of Italy to where they were now. It the sky would stay true to its message, then there would be no ill tidings for them all the way until they reached the Southern ports of Spain. Feliciano found himself eager to see his brother's pout and his Spanish friend's easygoing smile.
A flash in the water dragged his mind from its thoughts. It seemed to vanish the moment Feliciano took notice of it. He had to push doubt from his mind; he was positive his eyes had glimpsed a silhouette in the water. The shadow seemed feminine due to the delicate curve inward where it's waist was. To him, she seemed like she was swimming lazily with her legs floating together behind her. It was an intensely graceful movement, no matter how lethargic it may have been. The woman seemed to have curled and twisted with the water around her as if she were part of the current herself.
With curious eyes, Feliciano examined those around him. Perhaps he was imagining things. No one else was even hinting that they had any intimation that something was amiss. His chest felt tender when he thought he was seeing things. He had desired to spot the woman agai-
"What the...everyone get over here!" a man shouted frantically from the side of the boat. His voice was rushed with awe and a tinge of fear as well. Nearly half of his weight was leaning over the boat's railing, because he was desperate for a better look. Every soul on the boat rushed to his side. Even Feliciano put some speed behind his generally laid-back steps. All the men were pushing themselves to their toes and craning around each other in a tumultuous mass. In all the madness Feliciano managed to finagle his way to the boat's edge and look down. His eyes instantly popped wide open.
Smiling charmingly in the water was a woman - you. Your shoulders, arms, and head were the only parts of you not encased by the sea. Your pale skin was shining with water in the sun and bursting with the giddy energy of your smile. Your (color) eyes were exploding with stars as they twinkled. Your soft hands were gently pressing onto the dark wood of the ship's side. Shell, pearl, and rock jewelry of metallic blues, creamy whites, glinting silver, and sunny peach made great ornamentation on your neck and wrists. The bracelets held snugly to your wrists in strong numbers. The necklaces you wore were fewer and farther between, and they hung both low and high from your neck. One of the most appealing of your features was your hair. It held a natural luster and came down thickly to drape over your shoulders and submerge in the water. Feliciano found it enticing how it floated around your frame and brushed lovingly against your skin.
"Miss, are you okay?" called one of the men. He raised his voice a bit, since you were about fifteen feet below them. His voice sounded utterly wary. You had to hold back a chuckle. They're always so confused, you mused.
"I'm fine," you answered sweetly. Your eyes were open and inviting as you looked up at the men. "I was curious about your destination. I always ask anyone who passes through." You smiled wider.
The men all shot each other skeptical looks. Feliciano stared at you with an astonished face. His brain hadn't even registered that you had spoken. It hit him now. His grandpa often told him stories of the women he would meet out at sea. Some sang with enough charm to trick a holy man, some came from the trees and water to entice young hearts, and some were born to the water as fish with the faces of goddesses. His grandpa had always stressed how dangerously deceiving these women could be. Uneasiness seeped from Feliciano's stomach and wound itself into a pit. The only question on his mind was which of the monsters was this woman. Would she sing and make them forget of their lives? Maybe she would tempt them to sin. Worse yet, she could draw them into the waters and watch as they drown.
"Excuse me, bella, but could you come up so we could talk to you more comfortably?" Feliciano asked timidly. He didn't want to rouse your anger, should you be as temperamental as his grandfather described. His heart beat faster when your brows knitted and a frown tugged at your lips. Anxiety ran a muck through his system. Had he said the wrong thing?
"I wish I could," you started sadly, "but I have trouble getting onto ships." Your voice was so pleasant to the ears of all those watching you that they nearly forgot that you were actually telling them something. Your voice sounded very pure in tone like ringing bells and hung on the air like the true sound of a French horn. Feliciano was startled out of his trance by what you said next. Your words were sung in a flirtatious and nearly irresistible manner.
"You could come into the water if you'd like though~"
A blaring alarm set off in Feliciano's head. Only about two other men had the same reaction. It was so clear in Feliciano's mind what you were. A mermaid, he thought with both excitement and dread. She's actually a mermaid! Grandpa really had seen these women. She's just as breathtaking as he described, but I shouldn't. We need to get away from her.
"Sorry, bella, but we're in a rush to get to Spain. Is there a small favor we could do for you before we move on?" Feliciano spoke out. A smile, which he found addictive, formed on your face with all the exuberance you had when first looking up at the ship.
You liked this man. Though anxiety was oozing off of his being, his voice was still affectionate and charming. Maybe you'd let this ship through. Usually you'd send them off on their way or towards the grip of your sisters, who tended to be more aggressive in nature than you. There was something about this man, though, that made you want to protect him from the harshness of the Mediterranean's mystic and stormy side.
"Actually, there is. You said you were heading to Spain?" you asked. When Feliciano gave a brief nod you continued. "There's a storm headed to your path from the west. I would suggest you head closer to the coasts of the North and follow them to Spain. If you swung South, you'd meet some rowdy pirates. Or maybe one of my sisters. They can be a lot less... friendly than me."
You determinedly met Feliciano's pensive gaze. It was understandably adorable how his lips pouted slightly at his deep thinking. All the other men seemed to be thinking of your instructions too. The thought that you had sisters was making the gears grind in Feliciano's head. You did seem friendly, so much so that he wanted to ignore his instincts and jump into the waters with you, but his grandpa's voice rang strong in his head. Their lives depend on their ability to deceive. His fear and that warning kept his feet planted firmly to the ship's deck.
"What's your name?" you suddenly queried, pointing a finger directly at Feliciano. You had to know. You needed to know more about this man. You knew that he could tell exactly what you were, and it wasn't hard to guess what he thought your motives were, due to all his trembling. It intrigued you that he simply wanted to be on his way. Usually men would throw themselves to you or try to capture you as a prize, but not him. You liked that.
"M-my name?" he stuttered. You gave an affirmative nod. "It's Feliciano Vargas."
You became so shocked at the name that you made Feliciano startled as well. That surname was familiar to you. You thought back to your early adolescence to remember a man with kind eyes, a warm smile, and worn hands. He was familiar with your siblings as well as the other mythical families; he ran into you all quite often. Many of these meetings were that of conflict, but you and a few others held the man tenderly in your hearts. He was the first human to spot you and he induced your respect for them. His charms just didn't work as well for the overwhelming majority of the others.
You turned an ecstatic smile to Feliciano and began pouring sentencing from your mind and onto the poor man. "Do you happen to have a relative - I think he'd probably be your... grandfather! Anyway, what was his name..." You looked around as you thought almost as if the answers would appear in the air around you. Feliciano was looking at you with raised brows. Could you have personally known his grandpa?
"I think I heard people call him Roma." You tilted your head as you said the name with a confused pout. Feliciano's heart gave a strong pump at the adorable look. He tried to settle his heartbeat as you turned a now beaming face to him.
"He was so nice! I knew him when I was younger. He came by quite a bit. You know, you two do have the same eyes..." Your eyes bore into his as if you thought you could see his grandfather in them.
Feliciano was relieved to find that his grandpa didn't bother you. He had thought that some unfinished business between you and his grandpa would give you motive to harm him. He had thought that you might be an advocate of original sin or blood vengeance. Thankfully, you seemed beyond such old ideas. He realized that you were still staring at him hopefully for an answer. His shipmates were also looking back and forth between the two of you. So he answered, "Yes, that was grandpa you met."
A boisterous laugh left you as joy lit up your system. You knew there had been something familiar about Feliciano. Once you calmed down a bit, you set a loving gaze on him. Feliciano swallowed thickly, trying to keep his heart from jumping to his throat. A little giggle left you before you said, "It's very nice to meet part of his family." A content sigh left you and you continued. "Please, please, listen to me and go on the coast, okay?"
"Sure," He said with slight hesitance in his voice.
"Great! Please be safe." Feliciano felt your eyes lingering on him. He gave a nod. You gave a final smile and disappeared into the water.
All the men were beginning to bicker with each other. They were arguing furiously. Some wanted to go after you and become rich and famous for your capture, others wanted to leave you be and heed you, while others still wanted to ignore the whole thing and head straight for Spanish ports. Feliciano stood and watched the chaos grow and breed around him. He couldn't find any insincerity in your words or behavior. He found himself trusting you. It scared him. You were different and you were supposed to be deceiving. His grandfather, who had even met you, always talked of the legendary skills your people had pertaining to the art of lies. He forced himself to set his mind on that.
"Enough!" bellowed a blonde man. He was Feliciano's friend and, being German, he was one of the few that weren't Italian on the voyage. Feliciano was relieved at his friend's presence; he had a way of making order morph from chaos. Feliciano's friend continued, "She obviously knew Feliciano's family. He's probably heard stories about her before. He should make the judgement call."
The German put a hand on Feliciano's shoulder. The poor Italian was shaking from nervousness now. He wasn't really one to make tough decisions for a big group, even when he knew what choice he would make. A deep breath wracked his chest before he started speaking. "Well, u-um... Grandpa did talk about creatures like her." Everyone leaned close in anticipation of his verdict. "He always talked of how dangerous they are. Mermaids like her could sink entire ships with only a thought. They could bring on fierce storms and drowning tides. It would be suicide to go after her."
Protests burst from a handful of men in the crowd. They yelled about the riches they could get and the fame they could receive. Every man, woman, and child would know their names. The tough German, Ludwig, shut them down by spitting, "Don't you think there's a reason Feliciano's grandfather hasn't gone to capture her himself?"
Everyone quieted, so Feliciano continued with his plan of action. "My grandpa also talked about how treacherous they were. Thieves and murderers under interrogation are less deceitful. There is no reason to believe a storm is coming." Feliciano gestured upwards at the almost cloudless sky. "The weather is clear. There's no sign that any storm could possibly come."
The men of the ship seemed to accept his words. They moved and hustled around to get the ship heading in a straight line for Spain. Ludwig was praising Feliciano on his effective speech and new found leadership skills, but the Italian barely noticed his friend. All the praise went in one ear and out the other. The only thing in his mind was the raw uneasiness eating away at his heart and lungs. It made his heart pound with effort and his lungs struggle for relief.