Alrighty, so I got a wild hair the other day after seeing Soph's shark!kiri art and decided to try my hand at a kiribaku twitter thread.

Here goes! 💜
- Kiribaku
- Merman Kirishima
- Angst?

I honestly don't know where this is headed or I'd tag it better. 😅
Bakugou pulled into the parking spot and curled over the steering wheel with a tired groan. It was four in the fucking morning and he was expected to make a good first impression to his potential new employers? They might as well have asked him to conjure pearls from thin air.
He could leave right now; the parking garage was almost completely deserted. They’d never even know he’d shown up. Just turn around and leave a message that he’d had some sort of emergency.
Damn it all.
He peeled himself out of his car before he could tempt himself to back out. This was the one job he’d been aiming towards for almost a decade now; no last minute self-destructive thinking was going to mess this up.
He locked the car behind him, ignoring how final the sound felt echoing through the concrete structure.

The elevator ride up to the aquarium was chillingly quiet in comparison.
He rolled on the balls of his feet, counting the fish as they circled past to keep himself from screaming. They were waiting for last member of the dive team to show up and his patience was all but gone; Bakugou was ready to fire the man before he’d even arrived.
Sure, the aquarium hadn’t /officially/ given him the role as team lead yet, but the execs would be idiots to pass him up. He had all the qualifications and more; the dive hours, the animal handling experience, the biology degrees, the open ocean experience.
No one in the room was more suited for the position than he was.
“Mr. Bakugou.”

He swiveled so fast he nearly bashed his head in on the dive locker.

/Fuck/, he needed to wake the hell up. “Yeah, that’s me.”
Waiting in the doorway were a handful of sharply dressed administrative types and the aquarium’s lead vet, a short, ancient woman with a penchant for sweets. Dr. Shuzenji had been his ticket in with the senior staff; +
+ if not for her adamant recommendations, he’d never have made it past the first interview.

Right now, though, she lacked her normal soft smile and fond tone. “Bakugou boy, I need you to come with me.”
No, this wasn’t right.
He couldn’t miss this meeting. This was /the/ meeting to land the lead dive position at the world’s most advanced aquarium; his damned dream job!
Bakugou gentled his scowl as much as he could physically manage and crossed his arms. “What’s going on, baba? You know I’ve got to be here for this.”
Behind him, the rest of the divers stirred hopefully; without Bakugou in the running, they suddenly had a chance again.
“Forget the meeting, boy. You’re not getting the job,” she rapped her cane against his shin chidingly, “and don’t go giving me attitude.”
His teeth squeaked as he bit his tongue, reeling from the blatant dismissal. She /knew/ what this opportunity meant for him; he’d almost made it, convinced himself it was a done deal.
He’d jumped through every damned hoop, cut back on his cursing, paid out the nose for extra certifications. Hell, he’d moved cities just for this one fucking chance!

What the /fuck/ had he done wrong?
One of the suits behind Dr. Shuzenji leaned down to whisper in her ear, but she brushed him off. “Yes, yes, fine, I’m aware.” She said, her attention focused on the ticking time bomb blonde steadily spiraling into an angry panic in front her.
She thwacked his shins again, derailing his descent.
“Now, are you going to follow me or not? I‌ have something to show you.”
There, he spotted it; the briefest flash of a smirk on her wrinkled face. It was the one tell the doctor had never quite managed to hide when he’d been her intern and Bakugou had used it to his advantage countless times during their late night poker games.

To see it now…
Bakugou nodded slowly, mechanically, and followed her out into the hall. His skin prickled with the cold sweat of his aborted panic attack and he tamped down a full body shiver, focusing on the doctor’s entourage instead.
They looked like everyday businessmen, but he couldn’t shake the bizarre feeling that they were dangerous. He rolled his shoulders and stuffed his hands into his pockets.

It was too fucking early in the morning for all of this.
He didn’t recognize this part of the aquarium at all. Admittedly, he hadn’t seen much of the facility’s back-of-house on his interview tour, but still. This wasn’t a normal exhibit.
Normal exhibits didn’t need locked elevators and three levels of card clearance.
They’d ended up on an observation deck above an absolutely massive pool, plenty large enough to house a half dozen whale sharks. Walkways hung suspended over the water’s surface in a criss-crossing web and he counted no less than nine staff members bustling along the catwalks.
A hydraulic crane system had been installed in the ceiling, complete with padded slings; they’d be able to lift animals from any part of the pool with a setup like that.
Strangely, though, he couldn’t see a single flicker or shadow of life in the water. No schooling fish, no large bodied mammals, no sharks or skates or rays, just replica rock towers and colorful coral beds.

It was eerie.
They took a side staircase down to a small viewing area and Dr. Shuzenji waved him towards the exhibit window. The room shimmered blue with the reflected water light, shadowy and dreamlike, and for a moment Bakugou could swear he was out on a dive, +
+ gliding over coastal reefs under a starry sky.

He smoothed his fingers over the cool acrylic.
“Where are we, baba?” He asked, surprising himself; his voice had come out far softer than he’d intended.
The doctor hummed and settled into one of the nearby chairs, looking deceptively young in the dim lighting. “When you were a kid, did you ever dream of impossible things? Alien worlds and fantasy creatures and wild magical adventures?"
"The sort of imaginative nonsense that you insist you’ve grown out of as an adult. It’s just make-believe, right?” She folded her fingers around her cane and nodded towards the exhibit. “You owe your imagination an apology.”
The air punched out of Bakugou's lungs in a rush.

No way.

No /fucking/ way.
He was still asleep, he had to be. This was just a bizarre fucking anxiety dream about his stupidly early morning meeting. He was going to wake up, beat the shit out of his alarm clock, and crawl into the shower like he did every morning.
Bakugou willed himself to wake up, screwing his thumbs into his eyelids until he saw stars.


It was still there.

Watching him.
Bright, fiery eyes, a mouthful of razor teeth, and wild mane of blood red hair.
The creature twisted and shot forward, stopping just short of the window.

It stared for a long moment and Bakugou nearly forgot how to breathe.
Slowly, so slowly, it raised its hand to the window, spreading its clawed fingers against the surface.

Bakugou swallowed hard, counted to three, and raised his palm to match.
Of all the things Bakugou had trained and prepared for in his life, he was not ready for this.

What the ever-fucking hell are you supposed to do when a merman /smiles/ at you?
Noon rolled around and Bakugou still didn’t have a good answer.

Not that he’d had a lot of spare time to think about it.
He’d been shunted from office to office and meeting to meeting for over eight hours, passed between vets and animal trainers and researchers and aquarium execs and any number of other halfway important figures.
He’d begun to doubt he’d ever be allowed to leave when Dr. Shuzenji finally reappeared, shooing off the batch of divers that had been grilling him on long-line air hose usage.

She'd demanded that Bakugou be given a break, and what she wanted, she got.
Seniority had its perks sometimes.

The doctor looped her frail fingers around Bakugou’s forearm and patted his hand gently, gripping his wrist with a strength completely at odds with the calm smile she offered those walking past.
“So,” she began, leading them down the maze of hallways Bakugou was only just beginning to memorize, “Tell me. Why do you think you’re here?”

The niggling feeling of wrongnes and danger settled deeper into Bakugou’s nerves and he scowled down at the top of Dr. Shuzenji’s head.
Aside from the fact that the aquarium was housing a fucking true-to-life merman, he’d felt oddly unsettled the whole morning, as if he was missing important information.
He tried his damndest to read her mind through all the layers of grey hair, hoping for some sort of clue, but found nothing.

He hated not knowing what the fuck was going on.
“Hell if I know, baba. I was expecting one of those suited monkeys to tell me something earlier, but no one’s given me a single fucking clue.” Bakugou kept his voice low as they stepped onto the exhibit’s top deck.
It was crowded with unfamiliar faces and he didn’t feel like tempting the unease curling in his gut. “I didn’t even know I’d /be/ here until this morning.”

Movement flickered in the water beside them, a quick flash of red and silvery grey, and his eyes slid toward the motion.
Up until a few hours ago, he would have laughed off anyone that tried to convince him mermaids were real. Now he was walking no more than ten feet away from one.

God, it was a weird day.
“They want you to be his handler.”

Bakugou snapped back to attention, hyper-focused suddenly. “They want me to /what/?”
“Don’t act like you didn’t hear me, boy.” Said the doctor, frowning at him good-naturedly. “They’ve already decided. You and three others will be working hands on with the creature, the front line of all interaction with him."
She paused and then laughed to herself. “You’re gonna be team lead, too. Just like you wanted.”


Being head of the aquarium's dive teams and trainers was one thing.

This was...

He didn't even have a box to put THIS in.
“When do I fucking start?"

They stopped at the water’s edge, at one of the many shallow water entry points around the exhibit’s rim, and the doctor nudged him towards the wet suits hanging nearby.
“Now.” She said, smiling and leaning heavily on her cane, looking far too satisfied for his liking.

“Welcome to the team, boy.”

Chapter 1 has been edited and published to Ao3!

Reminder that I love comments, but please send them as Quote Retweets so the thread doesn't break.

Love y'all!

Bakugou tugged at the wetsuit he’d been handed, grimacing at the clammy feeling of chilled neoprene against his skin, and watched the other divers milling about the dive locker.
Most of them were busy cleaning gear and prepping ice buckets for fish, but it was obvious they were all curious about him. One woman went so far as to wash the same set of goggles four times as she tried to subtly study him.
He bit back a snarl, dropped his sleeves at his waist, and headed back out to the exhibit edge. He’d finish suiting up at the damn pool.

A small group of people had gathered already, turning to greet him as he approached.
Three of them wore the same style of wetsuit he did and he guessed they were his new team. Their names were stitched across the shoulders of their uniforms in tight black thread: Shouji, Sero, and Hagakure.

At least now he didn't have to pretend to remember them.
Bakugou absently noted that /his/ name had already been stitched into his suit as well, right under DIVE LEAD.

/Confident assholes/.
He was pissed to think they'd just assumed he’d be okay with his whole damn world being turned on its ear, but it wasn’t like they were wrong; he wasn’t about to pass up a chance at working with a legitimate mythical creature.
“Good to see you’ve joined us, Bakugou.” A tall, broad shouldered man stepped out of the group. He reeked of cologne and arrogance and Bakugou hated him immediately. “You ready to meet your new project?”
Bakugou batted away the man’s outstretched hand with a ‘tch’ and an utterly unimpressed scowl. “Don’t you think you should give me some background info on him? You could start with his damn name or something.”
A flash of something dark slid across the man’s face before he schooled his expression, laughing to himself as he pointed at the water. “That /thing/ out there,” he started, staring Bakugou down like he was a petulant child, “It doesn’t get a name.
It’s a fish. A very rare, very expensive fish, but that’s it.” The man slid his hands into his pockets and leaned back, flashing a truly ugly smile. “You’d do well to remember that.”
The air between them sat heavy and charged for a solid minute before the man rolled his shoulders and dropped the oppressive tension he’d been radiating. It was like switching a light off; suddenly he looked like any other business exec in a nice suit. “Shouji!”
One of Bakugou’s new team members perked up, patting a comforting hand on Hagakure’s shoulder before making his way over. The woman seemed pissed, but Bakugou didn’t have time to think about it.
“Ah, Shouji, good. Get Bakugou ready to go. We’ve got a number of tests to run before the end of the week and I’m not in the mood for more bad news.”
Shouji nodded, eyeing Bakugou from behind a thick mop of silver hair. He was a good head taller than Bakugou, with thick muscles and a stocky build, but he held himself like he was expecting a punch at any second. It was... odd.
Bakugou was in the middle of debating if it was worth tearing Mr. Shitstick a new asshole when the water suddenly stirred. Every head swiveled to watch as the shark’s tail broke the surface, slicing clean through like a sickle blade.
It was a rich steely grey color with a startlingly red edge, almost as if flecked with bright blood, and the upper caudal lobe was whip thin and long as hell. It reminded Bakugou of a Thresher’s tail.
He stepped towards the pool automatically, tilting on his toes to try and see as the tip disappeared below the surface.

The water was nearly still before the creature finally reemerged, his red hair plastered across his face and shoulders.
The shark cocked his head and Bakugou mimicked him, watching with fascination as his pointed ears flicked back in surprise. Bakugou checked his footing and took another step, still a good seven feet from the edge, and crouched down.
He held his hand out, palm open, and waved slowly. The shark immediately reacted, lifting out of the water to stretch across the deck in a single sinuous movement. It slapped its hand firmly into Bakugou’s, grinning ear to ear as it threaded its fingers around Bakugou’s.
“Holy shit…” he rasped, holding as still as possible while the merman played with his hand, looking over his fingernails and knuckles and palm. He couldn’t help but shiver when the shark ran a knife sharp claw against his wrist, tugging him closer to examine his arm.
Bakugou let out a half gasped curse as the merman dragged him forward, toppling him onto his knees before probing at his naked ribs. The confusion on the creature’s face would have been hilarious if Bakugou wasn’t acutely working to stay alive.
The shark leaned back and squinted hard, his red eyes flicking across Bakugou’s face like he was looking for something. He even went so far as to lift Bakugou’s lip and tap his flat teeth, circling slowly around one of his incisors before dropping his hand.
“Somebody get that damn fish back in the pool!”


Bakugou felt himself spinning before Shitstick was even done yelling.
His back slammed into the shark’s chest, knocking the air from his lungs, and it dawned on him just how much bigger the merman was than him. His head was pressed tight between salty pecs and he could feel the creature’s gills flaring against his arm.
They were wet and soft and Bakugou barely resisted the urge to touch them. He had bigger things to deal with, like the mob of idiots bearing down on him.

“Stay back!” He yelled, grunting as the merman’s hold on him tightened. “Give me a fucking second!”
The shark was steadily sliding back into the water, his sandpaper skin rasping nearly as loud as the rumbling hiss knocking around in his chest. Bakugou wiggled until he could get a hand on the merman’s chest, thumping his fist into the wall of muscle.
“Hey, shut up idiot!”

Amazingly, he did.

Bakugou craned his neck up to find the merman staring at him. The damn thing looked so butthurt that Bakugou couldn’t help but laugh.
“Oh quit it, I’m not going anywhere,” he crossed his arms and stared hard at the other divers hesitating a few feet away, “I’ve got all day to sit right here.”

If Bakugou smiled a little wider at Shitstick’s red face, well, no one could really blame him.

Please remember to QRT rather than comment, thank you!

Top of the thread is here:

(Is there an unnecessary amount of actual science discussed in this update... probably. >.> I'm a fish nerd.)

“Think you can convince him to present for a blood draw, Bakugou?” Hagakure asked while she busied herself with a small black cooler. She pulled out a handful of sterile vials and iodine swabs, as well as an assortment of pre-labeled collection cups.
“The research heads would kill for the full sample panel, but I’d be happy to just get his blood.”

Bakugou frowned and eyed the merman swimming lazy figure-eights a few feet away.
It had taken over half an hour to convince the shark to let Bakugou go and he seemed intent on sticking close by. Neither the vet staff nor divers had seen the behavior before, but they’d all agreed it was worth taking full advantage of.
“I don’t know. I could try.” He admitted, brow furrowing deeper. He stepped down onto the observation deck and let the chilly water curl around his calves. “What have you been able to collect in the past?”
Hagakure hummed thoughtfully, eventually looking to Sero and Shouji as they approached with a number of heavy feed buckets. “You two have been here longer than me, what sort of sampling have you managed?”
Sero set his load down with a dull thunk and stretched out his shoulders. “Honestly, not much. The intake team managed a couple vials of blood before he arrived, but they hemolyzed in transit. He didn’t handle the ketamine well either, so we’ve been hesitant to sedate him again.
We did find some of his teeth in the substrate though, and we finally got his measurements last week.”

Behind him, Shouji nodded in agreement. “He’s a little over nineteen feet, though six of that is just his caudal fin.”
Bakugou’s surprise showed before he could school his expression and Hagakure laughed at him. “Yeah, he’s a big boy.”

As if on cue, the merman popped up at the pool wall. He pulled himself partially onto the shallow deck, chest rumbling with a deep clicking hum.
His attention flicked from diver to diver before returning to Bakugou. He grinned at him, all teeth and deep red eyes.

Bakugou felt the look deep in the marrow of his bones.
“I’ve never heard him make that sound before.” Sero said curiously, crouching at the pool edge to watch the shark’s gills vibrate.

“Huh…” Bakugou grunted, barely listening to the excited conversation behind him.
He was far more interested in the near hypnotic sway of the merman’s tail, the way the muscles of his back shivered with the effort of holding himself still in the shallow water.
The silver grey of his tail dappled the skin along his spine, fading out into punches of red around his shoulder blades like a bloody cape.

Everything about the creature screamed predator.
A moment later the heady thrum cut out, leaving Bakugou feeling oddly like he’d just finished an hour long dive session. His ears rang loud with the sudden silence and lack of pressure.
“He’s very interested in you.” Shouji appeared at Bakugou’s side with a fish bucket and the merman’s smile shifted into hungry attention. “I wonder why?”

Bakugou forced himself to pay attention and shrugged.
He honestly had no clue why the shark had picked him, but he wasn’t above feeling smug satisfaction over it. Even a fucking merman thought he was the best.
Taking one of the larger mackerel as a peace offering, Bakugou knelt beside the creature and held it out. “So, listen up. We want to run some tests on you and it would really help if you didn’t bite one of us while we’re at it.”
He pointed his free hand at the collection of buckets. “I’ve got all the fish you could want right here as a thank you. Not that I’d keep them from you either way, but whatever.”
The shark’s claws curled slowly around the offered fish as he talked, and he watched Bakugou with what he hoped was curiosity. He didn’t look upset, but he didn’t really expect the merman to have any idea what he was saying, either.
“You gonna be good with us poking you for a bit?” He didn’t get an answer, just a front row seat to the shark slowly tearing into his mackerel. Bakugou leaned back and motioned for Hagakure to join him in the water. “Go slow and don’t do anything stupid.”
She nodded, looking much more serious than she had ten minutes ago as she slowly worked her way towards the exposed dorsal fin. Bakugou offered up another fish.
Not once through the entire process did the merman even move. He watched Bakugou’s team from the corner of his eye, but seemed perfectly content to bask in Bakugou’s attentions.
It wasn’t until Shouji mentioned gathering a sperm sample that he suddenly barred his teeth and /growled/. He whipped around the deck with a snap, narrowly missing Sero as he dragged Hagakure up and out of the water.
He lashed his tail in Shouji’s direction, hissed, and disappeared back into the exhibit.

The four of them stood in silent shock for a moment before Bakugou barked out a laugh. “Alright. New rule. Take him out on a date first.”

Bakugou leaned into the chill of the shower tiles and the melting warmth of swirling steam and attempted to catalogue the day he’d had. It was /nothing/ like he’d prepared himself for yesterday.
He’d expected a ridiculously early morning meeting, an unnecessary celebration as he was awarded dive team lead, and a long afternoon of tedious introductions.

To say things had gone differently was a damned understatement.
He’d met a merman.

Practically sat in its lap, but he couldn’t think about that for too long before he’d need to switch the water temperature to something a fair bit cooler.
Bakugou groaned and pressed his forehead into the wall, squeezing his eyes tight as if the dancing spots would block out the image of the dangerous smile haunting him.
He wanted to trace those teeth with his tongue, memorize the feel of sandpaper skin beneath his palm, drown himself in the uniqueness of it all.

He’d give in tonight. It’d been a long day, after all.

His fingers traced down his ribs, remembering the force of the merman’s grip as he’d been pinned to his chest, the swell of hard muscles against his back. Heat washed over his skin with dizzying speed.
He felt lightheaded, like he was drifting away. He wanted to feel the heavy press of weight against his body, the solid, immovable presence that threatened both danger and safety.
Bakugou dropped himself into the fantasy, let himself imagine the pinprick of teeth at his neck, the rumbling thrum of the creature’s voice singing through his bones as he slid his palms lower, lower, ghosting over the swell of his thighs and dipping into the v of his groin.
He nearly bit through his tongue at the first touch against his cock, couldn’t help but think of the shark’s deadly claws wrapping around him instead. God, he wanted it so damn badly.
He squeezed tight at the base, breathing hard while he steadied himself under the white noise of the shower. He was already so fucking close and he’d barely done /anything/.
Bakugou forced himself to wait until the sharp edge of pleasure had faded before stroking slowly again, letting his free hand wander down to roll and tease his aching balls.
The vision in his mind’s eye shifted as he reached blindly for the bottle of aloe vera he’d left on the counter. He coated the fingers of his right hand, not caring about the excess dribbling to the floor as he spread his legs further apart and rubbed teasingly at his hole.
(Gentle reminder to QRT instead of commenting, thank you. I appreciate the love, though! 💜 DMs and CCs are also fine.)

The slide of the first finger was tight and he moaned into the sensation, easily pretending it was the merman’s thick tongue swirling inside.
He worked a second finger in quickly, biting back against the burn. His shark would be greedy, would pin him down and eat him up and leave him gasping, begging for more. He /wanted/ it, wanted to be growled over, bitten and marked and spread so wide on the merman's cock-
Bakugou gasped, realization flushing hot across his cheeks as he slammed his fingers deeper.

The merman was a shark.

He didn't have just one cock. He'd have two.
And they’d be /big/, thick and heavy as they slid across his ass, smearing salty precome and seawater into his skin with every desperate rut of the merman above him.
Bakugou scissored his fingers desperately, just enough to squeeze a third in while his other hand stroked torturously slow across his dick, pinching at the red, weeping head.
The shower rained loud against the tiles, but even that wasn’t enough to drown out the sharp, needy sounds spilling from him. A curl of his fingers had him choking on a sob and he did it again, arching into the pleasure as it built in the base of his spine.
Thoughts of sandpaper skin, red hair, strong arms and deadly teeth teased at him and suddenly he was right on the edge, stabbing harshly at his prostate, hardly able to breathe as his body tensed tighter and tighter.
He didn’t want to give in, wanted to ride his fantasy as long as he possibly could, but the mere idea of himself sinking down onto the merman’s lap snapped the hot coil in his gut and sent him hurtling into orgasm.
Bakugou shouted unabashedly, curling into the waves of liquid pleasure as they drowned him, nearly forcing him to his knees as they dragged the air from his lungs. The corners of his vision hazed white and all he could hear was the pulse of blood in his ears.
Eventually the sting of oversensitivity forced him to stop. He slumped down to the shower floor and let the water cascade across his face and chest while his senses slowly returned.
He was tempted to sit there until morning, basking in the bone deep satisfaction and the tremble of his thighs, but he knew better. He had to work tomorrow, after all.
Bakugou groaned and grabbed the soap bottle from the corner; he hadn’t even heard it hit the ground. He flipped the cap and set about /actually/ showering finally.
It dawned on him as he washed that he’d have to look the merman in the face tomorrow and act like he hadn’t just had the best orgasm of his life thinking of being fucked insensate by him.

He scowled and scrubbed harder.
Ch. 2 has been edited and added to Ao3!

I NEVER LINKED THE ART THAT STARTED IT ALL! (I’m so sorry Soph, I have failed you.)

The break room door slammed open, startling Sero out of his cat nap with a yelp and a flailing of arms; his chair overtipped, dumping him onto the floor in a dramatic heap. “Dude, a little warning next time!” he grumbled, giving up and star-fishing across the cool tile.
Shouji hid a smile behind his sandwich.

Bakugou ignored them both. “Suit up, we’re hittin’ the water in 20 minutes.”

“Really?” Hagakure poked her head out from behind the fridge door, eyes wide and curious, “We haven’t been able to get in before. What’s the reason?”
“Me.” With that, Bakugou turned on his heel and disappeared down the hall in the direction of the exhibit deck.

The others sat in the sudden silence for a moment before Hagakure quietly shut the fridge.
“Either of you think this is odd?” she asked, chewing her lip, “I mean, I’m stoked to be diving finally, but we haven’t even had a meeting with the rest of the vet staff, let alone our safety divers.
Hell, the other departments don’t touch their gear without one or two scheduled briefings beforehand and they’re working with well documented animals.”

Sero raised his hand from the floor, pointing at the open door, “Whatever’s going on is because of Bakugou.
Guy shows up out of the blue and suddenly our merman decides to be cooperative. If you ask me, I think the whole situation smells a little fi-“

“If you finish that sentence, I will beat you with my breakfast.” Shouji said, brandishing his sausage biscuit threateningly.
“Don’t you dare, Mezo!” Hagakure yelled, leaping across the room and practically throwing herself over the counter, “I worked hard on those biscuits!”

Shouji laughed but complied, ever so gently setting down his sandwich. “I’m sorry love, my apologies.”
He pulled the woman closer, planting a gentle kiss on the top of her head as she attempted and failed to glare up at him.

“Come on you two, we’ve got a temperamental asshole and a fish waiting for us. You can make heart eyes at each other later.”
Sero said as he rolled to his knees and hopped up, brushing the floor lint from his shorts before righting his chair, grabbing his duffel bag, and sauntering towards the hallway.
“And,” he added, pausing in the doorway, “Be careful today. All joking aside, something weird /is/ going on around here, and that’s coming from a guy who works with a real life merman for a living.”

The water was cold, even through his wetsuit.

It swirled around his waist, licking at his hips like it wanted to drag him down, down, deep to the bottom of the exhibit. That, or Bakugou was projecting the weird nerves in his chest onto the damn pool water like a weirdo.
He wasn’t afraid of getting in, absolutely not, but he wasn’t an idiot. There were certain inherent risks that came with every dive; this time just happened to include a twenty foot merman with fucking shark teeth and claws.
Bakugou shrugged his shoulders, settling his gear into a more comfortable position while he waited for the rest of his team to finish suiting up.
They’d spent far more than their assigned twenty minutes going over safety protocols, affirming they were all up to date on the same hand signs, and checking over their dive equipment, but Bakugou found he was thankful for the extra precautions.
Not that he’d ever say so, or anything, but this was new territory and he wasn’t interested in swimming blind.

Water stirred far out in the middle of the exhibit and Bakugou’s attention snapped to the movement.
The merman had been keeping tabs on them since the moment they’d stepped onto the top deck; he hadn’t surfaced yet, but it was obvious he was curious. Bakugou wondered briefly if the creature had any idea what they were doing, or if he was just interested in all the activity.
He heard his teammates drop onto the shallow water deck behind him and Bakugou shook off his wandering thoughts. Sero stepped up on his right, Shouji to his left, and Hagakure beside him.
They all radiated the same seriousness and excitement that he did and Bakugou found himself grinning behind his respirator.

It was time to get to work.
They turned and one by one dropped backwards into the deeper water. The bubbles cleared like a curtain rising, unveiling a silent, empty world of shifting blues and shafts of falling light. It was beautiful, being underwater always was, but it felt wrong. Sterile. Dead.
The merman was nowhere to be seen.

Bakugou swirled in a slow circle, trying and failing to spot the creature amidst the lifeless exhibit decor. Motion along the exterior wall caught his eye and he drifted down towards one of the many viewing windows.
Dr. Shuuzenji waved from the other side and Bakugou felt a brief stirring of distorted deja-vu.

Just yesterday he’d been standing in her place as he irrevocably changed his life forever.
The doctor was seated comfortably beside a number of individuals Bakugou vaguely recognized as her fellow vet staff; a tall, tired man with wispy purple hair, a short, wide eyed woman with an intricately knotted green braid, and a bulky, rather timid looking bald man.
Dr. Shuuzenji smiled and pointed towards the bottom of the exhibit where a tangle of rock and faux coral created a sort of sheltering mound. Bakugou nodded and kicked away from the wall, rejoining his team and motioning for them to follow him to the pool floor.
Sure enough, the merman had wedged himself underneath a stone overhang, watching with obvious wariness as the divers approached. His gills flared wide as he breathed, eyes flicking near frantically between each human.

The rock beneath his grasping claws looked ready to crack.
Bakugou slowed to a stop, pleased when his team followed suit, and slowly raised his hand to the merman. He splayed his fingers wide in what was quickly becoming the standard greeting between himself and the creature and waited.
He spotted Shouji holding his hand out as well, and presumed Hagakure and Sero were doing the same.

Recognition flashed within the shark’s eyes, but no excited smile followed after.
No, there was a very different expression curling the creature’s upper lip and tightening his face into a twisted snarl.

/Shit. Fucking shit!/

Bakugou kicked back furiously, thumping his fist into Shouji's chest and ordering him to turn back.
Shouji was already in motion, moving to protect the others as they fled, and Bakugou felt a quick surge of pride. He was suddenly grateful the tank of a man was on his team.

A deep, rumbling tremor shook the water and Bakugou whipped his attention back to the merman.
He had just enough time to recognize bright red and steel grey before he was slammed into.
The impact was bone rattling.

Bakugou couldn’t help the shout into his respirator as he flipped end over end, bubbles filling his vision as he felt something catch his leg and haul him down, pinning him to the sand.
A great, overwhelming weight settled across his chest.

He fought hard against his body's natural panic, willing himself to steady his breathing and regulate what air he had as the pressure on his ribcage grew.
The heavy thrum of the shark’s growl vibrated across his body, setting his teeth on edge and freezing him into place. Impossibly strong fingers curled round his neck, sharp claws pinpricking along his nape as they slowly tightened.

And then, all of a sudden, he couldn’t breathe.
Saltwater flooded his mouth as the merman tore away his air supply. He clamped down on what little remained in his lungs, knowing from experience that it wouldn’t last long.
He /needed/ to steady his heartbeat, keep himself from burning through his meager lungful, but his body wasn’t cooperating. His legs spasmed, knocking uselessly against the creature’s belly.

The grip around his throat tightened.
Black spots popped at the edges of his vision and his diaphragm bucked; he nearly relented, holding back through sheer stubborn will as his body screamed for air.

He had no intention of fucking dying on his second day of work.
Bakugou wrenched his arm out from under his back and threw everything he had into a punch straight to the merman’s face. It connected with a satisfying crunch.

Immediately the shark recoiled, screeching in pain.
Bakugou reached blindly for his air hose, tearing it out of the sand and shoving it into his mouth. The first rush of air hit like a drug, heaving ragged into his lungs. It hurt like a bitch, but he pushed through the dizzying swirl in his head; he needed to fucking /move/.
He hauled himself up, half dragging his ass away from the creature while it snarled and cupped its face. Bakugou made it all of two feet before he felt familiar claws on his calf.
Half delirious from air loss and shock, he just barely recognized how much gentler the hold was this time. He was pulled upright, set against a rock, and promptly abandoned.
Bakugou didn’t give the strange turn of events a second thought, just turned tail and swam as fast as his battered body could manage.
Hands surrounded him the moment he made it to the surface, hauling him out of the water and stripping him efficiently of his gear. He knew his team was trying to talk to him, could see their mouths moving, but his ears were stuffed with cotton.
All Bakugou could hear was the roaring rush of water as he promptly blacked out.

Me, straight up vibrating from happiness: CHECK IT OUTTTTT!!! Kiri’s coming to get Bakugou!

Lakes whipped up the most BADASS Shark Kiri I have ever seen! 😭💜😭 Please open the link to the actual art so Lakes can see your likes and comments!!

Link to the top for those of you just joining. :3

Also, reminder that I adore hearing your thoughts about the story, but please remember to Quote Retweet instead of commenting directly to the thread! Thank you! 💜

A week later, Bakugou was fucking tired of playing nice. No one had been allowed anywhere near the shark since the ‘incident’; a moratorium had been declared on all testing, the top deck was roped off, and all feeding was handled through an automated dispersal system.
It was fucking ridiculous, in Bakugou’s opinion, and the administrative board agreed with him, though their impatience stemmed from the continued lack of profitable research findings.
The medical department, however, was still playing pansy with the whole situation and without their go ahead no one was going to get close to the merman anytime soon.
“Why the hell is he alone in there?” Bakugou asked suddenly, waving an arm at the nearest exhibit window, a shimmering blue portal to an otherwise dead environment.
He slammed his other hand on the table, cutting through the lull in the morning meeting, “Where are all the fish and invertebrates? Where are the damn plants? You expect me to believe an intelligent creature like him would be stimulated in a place like that?”
The vet tech seated beside Bakugou jumped in her chair before cautiously leaning away.

Dr. Shuuzenji eyed him curiously from her spot across the meeting room.
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