Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters in Pokemon. The storyline, however is mine.

A/N: I'm continuing this because I got some reviews from people that liked this story.

Special thanks to Kazeto Tamashil for a very nice and useful review. I am, indeed, honored to know my fanfiction was the first AAML you put on your favorites. I had not even thought about providing a new Ash past, but now I think I'll do one. If you have any further comments or suggestions, I would be more than glad to receive them.

And so, Let the story CONTINUE!

Mer-ly Matters

It had been almost a year since that fateful night when Misty had discovered Ash's secret heritage. The revelation had only brought them closer as friends. Like co-conspirators in a mystery plot.

Many of Ash's little idiosyncrasies now made much more sense when knowing his mer-heritage.

While Ash could change freely from human to merman form, there were a few little things that remained to betray his true form. Almost all traces of his merman form faded into his human form, but there were always a little webbing between his fingers, it was almost unnoticeable unless you actually looked for it, but it was enough that Ash had begun the custom of wearing his gloves. Similarly, his ears retained a point at the edges, which was why he wore his hair long and always had a hat on his head. The last, while his back fins totally disappeared, there was a unique patterning on his skin that all merman had in human form. Thus the reason he wore a shirt and jacket.

Misty had learned a few additional facts from Ash about merpeople. The most important being that they needed to have lots of water while on land. They were, after all, sea creatures; if they dried out too severely, they could die. This was why he had been anxious about the water supply on that fateful day two years ago. It was strange to note that merpeople sweated very little, as their bodies conserved as much water as possible. Also, the back fins that were so impressive on Ash's merman form, were only on the males of his species. The webbing between his fingers was more flexible than Misty had thought webbing could be, allowing merpeople to pick up and grasp things as easily as any webless human.

Brock still had no idea.

It wasn't that Ash didn't want to tell him, but he had kept it secret from Brock so long that it was almost a game of how long he could keep Brock in the dark. There was no malicious intent to the game, Ash had even been dropping hints for over a year as to his true nature, it was just that Brock was so hard-headed that he never noticed something unless it hit him right in the face.

In fact, when they came to rivers and lakes, and when they were certain they were alone, Ash had taken to turning into his merman form and even talking to Brock, and Brock still didn't notice.

Ash and Misty had just about died laughing from that.

During their journeys, Misty had encountered other merpeople as she now knew the signs to look for. She had learned that all merpeople were a different color, ranging in color as far as the color spectrum could go. No other merperson however, displayed the same beauty as Ash's merman form. They were all of darker, and duller, shades. It may have been her imagination, but they also seemed to treat Ash with a deference to him, like he was of a higher station than them. Misty had never really inquired into mer-society politics, so she just assumed it had something to do with that.

She had only seen a few females of the mer-species, but she had to admit there was a large difference between the genders.

The largest difference was the back fins on the males and that the females had a completely different tail and fin structure. While the males were beautiful, slim and streamlined with a large and broad fin at the end, the females had a tail fin that was voluminous, almost extravagant, starting a third to a forth from the end of the tail. There were also two little fin ridges, one on the underside about a foot into the tail, and one on the top, which started two thirds down the spine and went almost the entire way down to their main fin. All three fins waved and rippled in the waters they were in, making a rather dazzling display as they swam.

They were all so beautiful in the water, that Misty felt grungy in comparison to their sleek splendor. While on land, they may appear somewhat normal looking, but underwater, with their true colors showing, they were all gorgeous.

Especially Ash, all pale and shining, he always stood out from even the largest gathering of merpeople.

That was another thing. The first mer-gathering she had attended with Ash (while wearing a breathing mask) had severely startled the merpeople until Ash had stated she was with him. Everyone had settled down quickly and the subject was never brought up again; it didn't matter how many other gatherings she attended with Ash, they all treated her like they would treat each other.

Misty was sure however that they were whispering about her behind her back, but there didn't seem to be any cruelty to it, just gossip.

Mer-gatherings were never very large, maybe only a dozen at a time, and most of these were males. Apparently females were even more sensitive to temperature changes than the males, so they tended to do less traveling.

Ash had, however, been elusive when Misty had asked how the merpeople had adapted to come onto land. The most she'd gotten out of him was that it was similar to how pokemon could evolve and change shape.

Misty sometimes wondered if this would classify them as pokemon, but never asked Ash if this were true. It seemed somehow rude.

She had however discovered that merpeople and humans could marry and have children. All the children would be merpeople though, as the genetics for that would never be dormant.

Misty asked Ash if it were possible to find out if any of her family were of the mer-society, but Ash had commented that if there were, it would be easily known to him. However, he would not elaborate on this statement.

While Ash could sometimes be stubborn about some details, the mer-society fascinated her.

Ash on the other hand, still had some reservations about revealing everything to Misty. While she was his unofficial and unannounced girlfriend, there were a few things he was hesitant to tell her. Did it really matter where the merpeople came from? Did she really need a complete history of his race?

There was also a matter that troubled him, Misty hadn't shown romantic interest in him until after she found out his secret.

It was well known Misty was a near-fanatic about anything to do with water. Could she have become infatuated with him because he was a merman, and not because of who he was?

That would also explain why she had become so enraptured by the fact of a race that was so attuned to the element she loved.

Ash was also troubled by a reaction of hers that raised warning bells in his head immediately.

The moment he had explained their transformation as being like pokemon evolution, he had seen the flash of thought in her eyes, that spark of question at the correlation with pokemon.

Was this an act to try to get a chance to capture a merperson to use like a pokemon?

It was a horrible thought, he knew, to suspect her of this. He loved her after all, and it hurt his heart to think she might be leading him on, especially after how long he had known her.

But he couldn't let personal feelings interfere with a very serious matter. This wasn't only about him, it was about his entire race. He might have been willing to risk himself, but he couldn't risk every other merperson of his world.

He had too much responsibility to risk his world on a fling with a girl who may not even care for him as he cared for her. There was too much at stake for him to make a mistake.

Especially now.

A/N: Hope you enjoyed this chapter. I'll try to update in a week or so. I'm still developing the storyline.