Hey, look! T's gonna write another story! How excited are you? *cricket noises* Okay, not that excited. I gets it. Oh well. Okay, so here's how it's gonna go down: as of right now, this story has only an itty bitty amount of plot to it. I'm hoping that's going to change as this story goes on. Hope you enjoy! Also, the summery is utter crap. Dealz with it.

DISCLAIMER:: Don't own the characters that are mentioned in the chapter. None whatsoever. Nopie nopie nope.

It had been a beautiful day, even though at about noon it was at least 100 degrees – one of the things Alec hates most about their little Florida town. Alec had spent the whole day with Max, something they rarely got to do, just the two of them. Alec had to admit, he really had fun. They had gone to a comic book store, then went to the movies, and afterwards went out for ice cream and came to where they are now: the beach about a mile away from their house, and sat down on the small dock away from the people. It was a secret dock, one that Alec had found a few years back. It was at the very end of the beach, and hidden within tall grass. The only people who ever really used it were Alec, his siblings, and Jace – Alec's next-door-neighbor and best friend of seven years.

Alec leaned back on his hands, relaxed and enjoying himself, and watched his younger brother swing his legs back and forth. It was hot, even though the sun was going down. There were kids about a mile up the beach playing in the water, trying to soak up the last of the sun before dark. Alec and Max had just finished their ice cream cones, and were now just sitting and enjoying tranquil waves of the dark blue ocean that eventually gave way to a pink and orange sky.

"Hey, Alec?" Max asked, breaking the moment of comfortable silence between the two.

"Yeah?" Alec answered.

Max turned his head to him, his round grey eyes blinking up at him from behind his large glasses. "What happened to that guy that used to come over all the time for Isabelle?"

Alec paused. He didn't really know if he should answer this or not, considering it was not a very pretty story. "You mean Sebastian?" Max nodded.

Sebastian Verlac moved to their little Florida town at the beginning of the summer. He seemed to fixate on Isabelle – Alec's younger sister – immediately. Everywhere they went, he seemed to follow, and eventually she finally said yes to his incessant plea to go out with him. They hung out a lot after that, at the beach, mostly. He even gave her this beautiful solid black conch shell necklace. At first, Alec thought it was just painted black, but upon further inspection, it was the actual color.

After about two weeks, Isabelle came to Alec and told him she didn't think she and Sebastian were working out anymore. Something just…wasn't right. But when she had tried breaking up with him, and he became really hostile, yelling and pacing. Alec was just returning home from the gym with Jace when he saw them in the yard, and he instantly went to get Sebastian away from his sister. Necklace in hand, Sebastian reluctantly left, giving Alec a long hard glare as he did so.

"Uhm," Alec said now. "They broke up."


Alec shook his head. "He wasn't very nice, and she didn't like him as much as she thought she did."

Max pondered this, then shrugged and looked back out into the water. Suddenly he jumped to his feet and pointed to the water. "Did you see that?" he yelled. "Something jumped in the water!" He pointed to a rather large ripple traveling towards them. "It looked like a fish, but it was purple."

"Purple, huh?" Alec peered at the water with interest as Max sat back down. He glanced sideways at his brother with a smile. "You know, there are mermaids that live in these waters."

Max looked dubious. "Nuh-uh."

Alec raised his hands in mock surrender. "Honest. Hodge told me so." Hodge Starkweather was their caretaker. Native to Florida, he was hired when the Lightwood family moved here from New York eight years ago, when Max was only a baby. Robert and Maryse Lightwood, Alec's parents, traveled a lot for their work (they were real estate agents for some big company, and it required them to travel all over the U.S.), therefore they had to have a caretaker. Hodge was always telling them stories about different creatures that lived in the deep, and mermaids were his latest. "He said they live just off the coast of this very beach. They come up every once in a while to enjoy human life."

"So they have legs?"

"Yep. You can't even tell; they look so much like us. Hodge said the only way to tell if you are in the presence of a mermaid is if they have a conch shell around their neck…" He trailed off. "Kind of like the one Sebastian gave Isabelle." A pause. "Funny coincidence, isn't' it?" Thinking back, Hodge did act a little strangely around Sebastian, and Sebastian didn't seem too crazy about Hodge.

"Do you think Sebastian's a merman?" Max looked mystified.

"No, I don't think so. A squid maybe, but not a mermaid."

Max looked back out into the water. He gave a decisive nod. "That was what I saw. It was a mermaid. Or merman," he added. Alec raised his eyebrows at him, but his gaze didn't falter.

Alec chuckled. "Alright. It's dark, let's go home." They both stood, dusting off their clothes.

Something splashed under the water right below them, drawing their attention. Then a hand broke the surface of the water, wrapping itself around Max's arm and tugging him downward. Max let out a little shriek before the water silenced him. Alec stood in shock for a moment, unsure of what had just happened, unsure of what to do. "Max!" he yelled, and then he practically ripped his shirt off, dropping it on the dock before jumping in.

Only after did it occur to him he couldn't swim.

It was dark. The saltwater stung Alec's eyes as he looked around the blackness. He tried to move his arms, but was getting absolutely nowhere. He knew the water was shallow here, but he couldn't find the bottom with his feet. He thrashed his arms and legs, trying to get to his brother, trying to get anywhere at all. The lack of oxygen was getting to him, pressing on his lungs with the force of an elephant. Eventually he could not take it, and breathed in through his nose. Water invaded his body, and he tried to get back to the surface. His arms still wouldn't move. More darkness was overwhelming his vision. He thought he saw something swim past, and then he felt strong arms around him, pulling him to the surface.

That was when the darkness engulfed him completely.

Alec was cold. He could feel himself shivering. He wanted to open his eyes, but couldn't find the strength. There was a dull noise in his ears, but Alec couldn't make out what it was. Something was pressing on his chest, slapping at his face, trying to get his eyes to open. It pushed on his chest again, and it was like a dam broke inside Alec's body. He felt water come back up through his throat and out his mouth and nose. He turned on his side, coughing and sputtering. Water flowed out of his ears as well, and finally he could hear the noise clearly. In fact, it was a voice.

I'm so sorry. I couldn't save him. I'm so sorry.

Alec finally convinced himself to go back to that dock about two weeks, settling an argument between him and his sister. She had probably wanted to go with him, so they could be together, but Alec preferred to do this alone.

Someone down the beach had heard the screaming that night, and had called the police. By the time they came, Alec knew his brother was gone, and he was never coming back. Jace had seen the lights from his house, and he came and took Alec back home after the paramedics checked him over. On the way home Robert and Maryse Lightwood came racing by them, not even looking at Alec, eyes fixated on the dock. Alec was sitting on the couch with Isabelle when they came in, Maryse's face red and puffy from crying. Robert's arm was around her, his stance ragged. Alec looked at his parents, and immediately saw two completely different people than he was used to seeing. He looked up at his father, who gave a small shake of his head. Isabelle threw her arms around Alec and sobbed, triggering their mother's tears once again.

Alec shook his head to get that memory out. He didn't want to think about it, didn't even want to be here right now. But he couldn't stop thinking about right before the police got there, when he was mysteriously saved. He was sure no one had been near when Max fell; no one had even been looking. He remembered the voice. It was a man's voice, deep and slow and…beautiful. It was also full of sorrow and regret..

He was so wrapped up in thought he didn't hear his best friend come up behind him until he cleared his throat. Alec jumped and turned. Jace's eyes, which usually twinkled with mischief, were full of sadness. "I'm very sorry, Alec." Alec didn't answer, just turned back toward the water, not wanting to talk about it. But Jace was persistent. "Come on. Don't ignore me, I want to help."

"How could you help me?" Alec asked, but the words came out harsher than he actually meant them to.

This time Jace didn't answer; only looked out into the distance, where the water met the sky. Alec looked down. Something was floating in the water, and the sun reflected off it, catching Alec in the eye. He blinked and bent down, reaching into the water and pulling it out. It was a conch shell, on the end of a thin black leather rope. Alec palmed it in his hand for a moment or two. Jace looked over his shoulder at it, puzzled. It looked like a normal conch, one that you find out on the beach or at a novelty store. But here is the thing: it was purple. It looked almost identical to the one Sebastian had, aside from the color.

The iridescent conch shimmered in the sunlight, almost putting Alec in a trance. There was something special about it, but he couldn't figure out what. All he knew is that he was drawn to it in a way that he could not explain. Put me on, it seemed to say. Put me on. Taking both ends of the leather, he tied the conch around his neck. The shell rested perfectly just below his collarbone, like it was made for him.

Jace watched his actions with an eyebrow raised, but he didn't say anything. Alec did not know what possessed him to put the necklace on, but he did know he was not about to take it off anytime soon.

Review? Pretty please?