What ever it was, it was just floating there.

The youth took his time swimming up to it, careful to take in every aspect of the thing. It was white, dull under the water, but gleaming in the sun's light. It bobbed on the waves, listlessly moving at random.

He wondered how long the creature had been there, unmoving by its own power. Gaining the courage, he finally surfaced a short distance away from the thing and found that while it was curved on the underside, above the water, it was flat save for one fin laying flat in the air.

Bewildered by this strange creature, the merman drifted closer, cautious least the thing prove to be baiting him. The little seahorse that had made a home in his hair began to grow nervous, tugging at black strands. The merman threaded his fingers through his hair, knocking the little creature away. There didn't seem to be any life within the creature, massive as it was, but one learned to not take chances. After circling around the thing several more times, he decided that it was either dead, or nonliving.

Deeming it safe, the merman approached close enough to touch, but then quickly retreated to see the thing's reaction. Which was nil. The seahorse had reattached itself to his wild mane of hair, blowing bubbles into his ear, making its displeasure with him known.

Twisting his lips in a confused frown, he ignored the seahorse, and again approached and slid his body against the thing, deciding that he liked the feel of its smooth surface against his skin. There was a bit of growth on the underside, but above the water's reach it was as smooth as fine pearls, if warmed by the sun.

Growing braver, he reached up to the bars spanning the length of the above surface area and pulled himself out of the water. The seahorse shot away from him, giving off waves of anger and the general air of pouting. Still there were no signs of life, only the rocking of the thing as his weight was applied to it, and that was easily lost amongst the rocking of the waves. His tail still dipped into the water as he leaned against the bars, black eyes taking in everything. The fin in the center was tall, taller than he was, and flapping uselessly in the breeze. Perhaps the thing was dead, its fin cut so that it couldn't grasp the currents of water to swim, he thought with a slight frown.

Then again, this thing was unlike any he had ever seen before. It wasn't as large as a whale, but bigger than a shark. What could have killed it without having any blood spilling into the ocean?

Tipping onto the surface, he landed with a thud, but he had long ago lost all sense of caution, assuming the thing was lifeless, and began an exploration of the surface. His hands grasped random, secure objects and pulled the rest of him along, his fin nearly useless out of water.

There was nothing he could recognize. Each object was foreign to him, and he found great pleasure in inspecting everything he came across, pulling them closer to him, touching every facet before tossing it aside to find another one. The surface was as smooth as the side had been, dipped in to keep water out. Every object had a strange shape, and some had colors he had never encountered before.

As he made his way across the surface, he became aware of noise coming from under him. At first it started as just a random clunk, then grew in frequency, and became louder. Fear taking root, he quickly scooted to the edge and over. Instantly, the seahorse was tangled in his hair, pulling as hard as it could on single strands, letting the merman that was his home know that it didn't care for him going above water.

Still too full of curiosity to leave, he floated next to the thing, keeping his eyes on the sky just above the long bars. Surely something would appear there, inspecting the noise he had made, right?

He waited, and waited, then grew bored. Pressing his back to the thing, he reached into his hair and extracted the seahorse, much to the later's annoyance. He allowed the seahorse to curl its tiny tail around his finger as he scratched a nail along the ridged spine of his friend. Soon the seahorse was still, large eyes closed as it enjoyed the affection the merman was giving it.

It was only by chance that the merman glanced up just in time to see the oddest thing. His eyes widened as he dropped the seahorse and again crept closer to the floating affair. There was a mer-person up there, only its hair was a color he'd never seen before.

Its back was to him, shoulders covered unlike his own, and hair that only reached to its chin in a mass of wild curls of the very vivid shade of red. Again, he pulled himself out of the water, clutching the thing's bars, eyes seeing only the usually bright hair. The other being was leaning against the same bar, its arms folded behind its head, eyes closed.

The merman didn't think about his actions, merely acted. The only thought it had was that he wanted the pretty red hair. He reached out a hand and grasped a fistful of the violently bright hair and pulled. The other being gave a shout as it lost its balance and tumbled head first into the ocean. The merman started at the sound from the other creature and instantly loosed his hold and fled to the safety of the opposite side of the floating thing, as the other being headed for the surface.

The seahorse caught up with him, winding itself tightly into his hair next to his ear fin. Heart pounding, he waited, peeking under the lifeless object, trying to see the other mer-person. Instead of a fin, he found that the other being wasn't a mer creature at all. Blinking in astonishment, he approached and discovered the creature had four arms, two extra where one fin should have been.

Its arms were spread out wide, while the lower arms wheeled about under it. Giving it a wide berth, the merman surfaced and turned black eyes to the bright red mop. The seahorse followed only as far as the surface, keeping underwater, yet still in his hair. Clear blue eyes, the same color as the noonday sky, met his and widened much wider than his own.

"What in heavens are you doing way out here? Where's your boat?" It suddenly frowned. "What's the idea, pulling me off? I thought I was being attacked by a shark!"

The creature sure made a lot of noise, but, while it was foreign, it created vibrations in the water that the merman found oddly appealing. He'd never heard anything make noise the way this creature did, and he decided that he liked it. He approached, his curiosity overpowering his base instinct.

The other creature ran a hand through his red hair, his eyes wandering over the ocean's surface. "Where is your boat? It can't be that far off, you've no scuba gear." Those blue eyes turned back to him, sudden confusion filling them. "Why are you not talking?"

The merman was now close enough he could reach out and touch the other being, and he did so, touching the covering on its shoulders. He pulled the stuff away, and it was heavy with water. He frowned, why would anybody want to put something so heavy on them?

The other's blue eyes suddenly went to the side of his head, where, amid his hair, his ear fins peeked out, limp now, as they were out of the water. The eyes widened.

"What are you?"