Also, what about an AU where they’re both mermen and the idea that we’ve somehow evolved from a semi-aquatic life isn’t so far fetched.
The merfolk would be very similar to ordinary fish in that they life in schools and their tails match the aquatic creatures they’ve evolved from. They’d have marine etiquette and codes about not swimming too close to the surface but they also have to be careful around other species of ocean life because not only do they get mistaken for those pesky humans but there are some seriously scary looking dudes hanging around on the ocean floor.
And, of course, they mate within their own species.
James is a part of a school of Queen angelfishes; his scales are mainly dark and royal blue, but he has these stripes of bright, luminescent aqua and patches of yellow where his pale skin gives way to the start of his tail, his fins are also accented with bright yellow. His people are all blonde with blue eyes; even the homo sapien part of his DNA is programmed in concordance with his mer features.
Leonard is a Blue angelfish, he’s not as young as Jim and so most of his stripes have faded out, giving way to a clear aqua tail that looks a sort of spring green in places. The fringes of his fins are yellow too, but it’s mostly a darker blue. Almost the flipped version of Jim’s.
While each of the many variant of angelfish usually only mate with their own genus the Queen and Blue angelfishes have been known to dally with each other on occasion. Although this sort of cross-breeding isn’t half as common, or tolerated, in their merfolk counterparts.
Both their clans make their homes around the reefs of the Atlantic, near Florida. Although the blue angelmers tend to swim as far down as Brazil to get some warmth and colour into their tepid skin. Jim catches sight of them migrating sometimes, and he wonders… wonders about going on an adventure, past the Caribbean and all the way to South America.
He’s a wild child by nature, not like his older brother Sam. He’s always swimming too close to humans and boats and chasing Bull sharks and trying not to get himself killed.
He’s seen this dark haired mer too; he makes Jim’s heart race.
He’s seen the crazy green-brown-amber irises shining in the water… So crazy, like nothing Jim’s ever seen in his own people.
But Queen angelmers don’t run off with other merfolk. They don’t swim too far south or too far north. They stay by the reefs and they live out happy, carefree lives.
Jim doesn’t want that though. He thinks, if he really tried, maybe found some squid ink and painted his tail, he could pretend to be a Blue angelmer. Maybe he could become friends with the dark haired Blue and then it wouldn’t matter.
But maybe Leonard’s seen this pretty blonde Queen too, maybe he doesn’t want to migrate. His people understand the pull of other clans more, though. His mother is actually part Koi.
One day he sees Jim swimming around an old wreckage, picking through bits of metal, human toys and gadgets that have always scared Leonard more than interested him.
All it takes is one look from Jim, half-surprised at the company, half-thrilled by it, and Leonard’s pretty sure he’s in love. Mers mate for life and if he could have the chance to entwine his tail with Jim’s for the rest of his days then he’ll die a happy merman.
Jim can feel the spontaneous fondness that radiates off of Leonard and it’s like a call, pulling him into Leonard’s bronzed chest.
There are lots of courting rituals, which are, thankfully, similar among most angel clans. And then Jim gets his adventure to Brazil, and maybe he’ll even get a honeymoon to Bermuda.