Author's Notes: Tch. Time flies quickly...Aurora Wind is ending. Now. Today. This is it. Last chapter. Yep.

-Bursts into tears.- I love this story. -Waves goodbye sadly.-

Disclaimer: I OWN MERMAID MELODY!

Mark Twain: "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

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Aurora Wind - Chapter Ten

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Subaru pulled away reluctantly. "Do you see, Caren? I really, truly love you from the bottom of my heart."

Caren trembled slightly and she raised her right hand to her lips. He just kissed me...

Finally, she spoke. "Subaru, you must already know how I feel about this. Noel-'nee-san loves you, and I cannot - "

"Noel is a very understanding person," Subaru argued. "She'll understand!"

"You don't get it!" Caren cried, clawing at her wine-coloured locks. "You're asking me to break 'nee-san's heart, and I can't do that!"

"We're not going to break her heart! Caren, Noel will understand!" Subaru took her hands gently. "Caren..."

Her cinnamon eyes softened. "Subaru...I don't want to hurt 'nee-san, but - "

"Like I said, we won't hurt her. We'll ask Lucia, Hanon, and Rina to help us. They know all of this and they'll help us sort it out, okay?" His words were soothing, and she relaxed slightly.

"Oh...Okay," the princess sighed, giving in. Hopefully this would all turn out alright.

Around the corner of the hallway, somebody concealed in the shadows smirked and fled, showing a glimpse of their golden blonde hair.

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"My pain... is our suffering.

My smile... is our joy.

The things we share and the things we surpass by ourselves

binds with our bonds to the seven seas that we believe in!"

Caren continued to wind up the stolen bubble maker, wondering why she'd just sung that short refrain from KIZUNA. It wasn't like her to sing in the bathtub, but that line had been on impulse...

Oh well. She stole - borrowed with the intent to return - Lucia's sponge and began to scrub at her tail fins.

Oh yes, Caren's, Noel's, Coco's and Rina's baths at Pearl Piari were usually filled with ransacking. Of course, Lucia and Hanon knew - how wouldn't you know after you found purple, deep blue, yellow, and green scales in your otherwise pink or aquamarine sponge? But they couldn't do anything because then Nikora would go on a rant about the price of sponges and how sharing wasn't a problem at all. However, nobody ever touched Seira's orange sponge except for the youngest princess herself. There had been some sort of talk about how she hadn't reached puberty yet and other stuff that Caren hadn't really listened to. Nonetheless, she didn't ever use it.

Caren swore under her breath as a lavender scale peeled off. Thankfully, there were still many more scales in that spot, and therefore it didn't leave any kind of raw patch.

She carefully placed the sponge back in its rightful place and pulled Hanon's blueberry shampoo off the shelf. She hummed the chorus of Ever Blue as she applied it, the familar scent making her think of her aquamarine friend.

Hanon...she'd been there at Antartica. Caren silently hoped that Hanon would help with the situation. Lucia and Rina, too.

With a splash, she drew her head underwater and took in a deep breath of ocean water. Once she was used to the different method of breathing, she started to clean the lather out of her curls.

She coughed a little and squinted her eyes shut as the foam corrupted the water. Once she was sure it was out, she raised her head above water level again, stuffing the oxygen down her lungs.

The purple princess pulled a bottle of strawberry-scented conditioner and spread the smooth liquid through her hair, wondering what Lucia was doing at the moment. She heard a shrill shriek coming from the pink princess's bedroom and giggled. Of course, what else did she do in there when Kaito was around?

This time, she only pushed her head in enough so that her hair was covered, but her face wasn't submerged. She ran her fingers through the silky strands, cleansing out the conditioner. Once she was done, she drained the bathtub, rinsed herself one more time, and dragged her body out. In a flash of purple light, she turned back into her human form.

"Hmmm...I wonder what 'nee-san will say about this..."

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"And that's basically it," Subaru concluded, falling into a fluffy pink chair.

The three girls sitting on the bed seemed shocked.

"Did you even think about Noel's feelings before you did something like this?" Rina demanded.

"That's what Caren said too. I really do owe my apologies to her, but this is - "

Hanon interrupted. "Subaru-san, we'll help you! Lucia and I have actually been waiting for something like this to happen!"

The pink princess nodded. "Yeah! After what happened in Antartica, we just knew you and Caren were made for each other! And poor Caren...I know how I would feel if Kaito got together with Nikora-'nee-chan!"

Rina fell off the bed.

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"Noel...we need to talk," Coco declared, a sad glint in her eyes.

The deep blue princess sat down elegantly and nodded. "Of course, Coco, you always need to talk," she teased. "Now, then, what's the matter?"

"Noel, before we talk, I need to tell you a story..."

"Oh...okay." Noel settled herself in her chair and motioned for Coco to continue.

"Hm...okay. So there was once this girl. She met a guy and they fell in love. But, they didn't know the other also had feelings for them and so the love remained unrequited." The older princess paused to think. "Then the guy had to leave...so the girl went somewhere else as well."

Noel frowned. This was certainly a sad story...

"It turned out that they were going to the same place! But they didn't see each other until it was much too late...the guy had gotten together with the girl's twin sister," Coco emphasized the last two words, and Noel blanched. Was Coco telling her how Subaru and Caren met in Antartica? Then...that meant she'd been antagonizing the...oh dear.

Noel put a hand to her mouth. "Oh my gosh...I'm horrible. I'm absolutely horrible, I - "

"Noel, you're not horrible, you didn't know," Coco attempted to comfort the distraught mermaid, but it didn't work.

"It's all my fault! No wonder Subaru seemed so unhappy when he found out we were twins! How could I have not seen it?! The mall trip, and Caren...she must feel so bad! I've completely ruined it all! They must hate me! And I was so stupid not to realize - " The poor girl was hysterical.

"Noel! It's okay!" Coco grabbed the princess by her shoulders. "It's not your fault! It's not! It's not your fault, or Caren's fault, or Subaru's fault!! Don't blame yourself, you didn't know. Noel..."

Noel fell into Coco's arms, sobbing. After a while, the tears stopped flowing out of her eyes. "Coco...can you help me tell everyone I'm sorry? And then I'll just...break up with..." Noel choked slightly. Even though she now knew the situation, she was still fond of him. But Noel had a habit of putting others in front of herself... "I'll just break up with him so he and Caren can live happily ever after." She finished.

"Don't worry, Noel, I'll help you. Remember, it's not your fault," Coco patted her lightly on the back. "Don't you dare think it is, either."

"Thank you, Coco. Thank you."

---

"Lucia, Hanon, Rina, Caren, we need to talk - "

"Noel, we need to talk - "

Noel paused. "Can I go first?" she asked shyly. Behind her, Coco beamed.

The four princesses looked at each other and shrugged. "Go ahead, 'nee-san," Caren said.

"Caren, I'm sorry I split you and Subaru up."

The purple princess's jaw dropped. Noel knew?

"I didn't know until today, and I'm really sorry...I can understand if you never want to speak to me again, but - "

"'Nee-san, I forgive you! Like you said, you didn't know, so it's not your fault. How did you find out anyway?"

"Coco told me..." Noel trailed off, slightly confused. Coco hadn't been at Antartica either, or at least that was what she'd been told.

Hanon bit her lip to keep from smiling. "I told Coco while we were searching for Seira...by the way, we never heard what Seira wished for!"

The orange princess popped up out of seemingly nowhere. "My wish came true! Noel found out, and Caren can be happy with Subaru." She blushed as the older girls beamed with pride at her.

"Well, now we just have to tell Subaru and this can all be cleared up!" Lucia said cheerfully.

Rina nodded appreciatively. "Yes, we'll be all back to normal..."

---

Noel watched, eyes slightly misty, as Caren and Subaru cuddled up on the sofa. They really were cute together.

"Are you okay?" Noel turned, already knowing who it was. Nobody else she knew had such a low, yet still feminine voice.

"Yeah, Rina. I'm fine. I'll get over it quickly, just watch." She winked, and the green princess smiled approvingly.

"Just checking. Hey, Coco and I are going out for a swim. You wanna come?"

"Sure!"

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"Caren...you remember that night when I found you as a mermaid?"

"Yes...why?"

"Finish that song for me."

Caren blushed and freed herself slightly from his grip.

"My dream now is still but a dream

(Let me stay together with you now)

but I'll believe in our place."

She cleared her throat and started on the chorus.

"Will my wish riding on the wind of the aurora reach you?

I'm sure it'll make it there, because I definitely want to see you again.

Even if our two lives are beneath a star-crossed sky

Our hearts are one

and we both embrace the same wish to see each other."

Subaru smiled and closed his eyes, contently listening to her voice.

"Will my wish riding on the wind of the aurora reach you?

I'm sure one day, being apart like this, we might say "Thank Goodness".

So we both can become real adults, we've put our two lives on different voyages."

Caren noticed that he'd fallen asleep and giggled, whispering the last line softly into his ear.

"But always remember to keep everything & everyone you run across, precious to you!"

And with that, she dropped into his arms, quickly falling into slumberland.

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That was satisfying. Such a cute, beautiful ending... R&R, please?