When Lance surfaced the second time, it was with brown hair and a terrified expression that James had never seen before. His heart was beating too hard and fast for him to be rational about this, and Lance was out of reach in the water; if he leaned too(more) far the small boat threatened to capsize.
"Where is he?" James yelled, voice hoarse, and Lance sucked in his bottom lip, lower half of his face disappearing but not those ever-bright, ever-unnatural blue eyes. They stared at James and he was sick. "Where is he?" the second time the words were thready, weak - the terror solidified in his bones. No, no, no...
The waves smacked the side of his boat, relentless and choppy; and Lance seemed to be drifting out of reach. He didn't care, Lance wasn't a man, he was at home in these unfathomable black depths, and James had just lost everything.
A strong hand gripped his shoulder and he'd forgotten just that quickly he wasn't alone on the boat. "Are they gone?" Shiro asked Lance, whose head fully emerged from the water at the voice of his love, eyes flickering away from James with purpose.
"No," Lance said, and James sucked in a small breath, a broken sob. "But they're beyond our reach, for the moment."
"Beyond our reach how?" How Shiro's voice was so calm, so level - wasn't Keith his kin, if not by birth than by blood? But his hand remained on James's shoulder, a solid weight anchoring his reality.
Lance's nose crinkled. He looked like he wanted to dive, duck beneath the waves and get away from this scene of mortal anguish. "I hate mermaids," he said with an undisguised noise of irritation. "Disgusting creatures."