The Clownfish

Disclaimer: Lenalee is awesome, but I don't own her, or the rest of the DGM cast.

This is a version of The Little Mermaid (the Disney version – there will be a happy ending). Enjoy.

Prologue: Lenalee's Getting Married?!

It is a well-known fact that fairy-tale princesses are never allowed to remain single.

This was something that Lenalee Lee, sister to and only living relative of the land's king Komui Lee, was about to learn, to her brother's distress. Despite a relative lack of available princes, many having gone and killed themselves on some adventure in recent years, Lenalee – as there was no other heir to the kingdom, and the unmarried Komui was unlikely to provide one any time soon – would certainly be required to continue the family line. To do so, she would need a prince.

Fortunately for Lenalee, Komui would rather have the family die with her than give his sister to some stranger in a faraway land, the siblings never to see each other again. The royal advisors therefore found themselves with an incredibly difficult task: find a prince who would not inherit his throne and therefore be willing to marry into the Lee family. These being rare, the young Lenalee spent her days mostly free of romantic worries.

And so our story begins, one pleasant April morning in the late Victorian era… the cries of the head advisor and chief scientist echoing through the castle halls as they did nearly every day.

"Your Majesty! Your Ma- you, have you seen his Majesty? No? Then go look for him- Hey, where… Princess Lenalee!"

Lenalee promptly looked up from her mildly interesting book to see a tall, unshaven man standing in front of her and scratching his head in a puzzled manner. "Section Chief Reever? Are you looking for my brother again?"

"Well…" Reever gave a long sigh. "You know how he is, Princess…"

"I'm sorry, but I haven't seen him this morning- ah," she added, seeing Reever's disappointed look, "you could always try the kitchens, though. He hides there sometimes."

The scientist's face brightened. "As always, you're certainly right, Princess. My utmost gratitude." He bowed quickly and turned away, having already set his mind completely on reaching the kitchens. Lenalee's mouth twitched into an amused smile.

"Brother is always like that," she murmured softly. "Never wanting to do his job…"

But I know he'd do anything to protect me.

It wasn't until another distraction in the form of a red-haired teenager arrived that Lenalee realized she was already halfway to the kitchens herself, book still in hand, and anxious to see her older brother. Indeed, Lavi's appearance startled her to the point where he was forced to make hurried apologies just in case Lenalee's mood had been disrupted and his head became a target for that book…

"No, no," she reassured him, "it isn't your fault. I was just… thinking."

"About me?" Lavi removed his hands from his head and grinned slyly, though he quickly sobered at Lenalee's answering slap. "It was a joke, a joke… but a girl of your age, you've got to be thinking of romance, right, Lenalee?"

"Huh?" Lenalee blinked. "What do you-"

"You weren't?"

"I was on my way to the kitchens to see my brother," she told a puzzled Lavi, continuing on her way to the aforementioned destination as her friend followed her. "That isn't normal?"

"Most girls don't have such a brother complex… well, most brothers don't have a sister complex like Komui, either!" Lavi gave another cheerful grin, slightly relieved at a lack of reaction from Lenalee. "But about romance-"

"Lavi, I don't want to get married…"

"But you know it's gonna happen…"

"In a decade or so…"

Lavi feigned hurt. "And after I found you the perfect man and everything!"

"What?" Lenalee stopped abruptly and Lavi spun around a moment later. "But I'm only sixteen!"

"Sixteen-year-old girls are always thinking about romance and marriage! Everyone's anxious to find themselves a perfect, handsome, rich older man to marry and live out their lives in happiness…" Lavi batted his one uncovered eye in a mocking imitation of these young ladies. "And you just want to stay with your brother for the rest of your life!"

"Well…" A pink flush spread across Lenalee's cheeks. "I don't expect to stay single forever, but-"

"Okay! Then I have information on three wonderful potential fiancés for you." Lavi cleared his throat and pulled a piece of paper from his pocket (for dramatic effect; it was actually a grocery list). "What about this guy – nice young man, nearby kingdom… kinda shy… not very rich, but he isn't the heir, and he seems very dedicated to what he does-"

"The one like Section Chief Reever?" Lenalee interrupted.

"Wha- oh, right, you've met him already." Lavi scowled momentarily. "Next one! Oooh, this one's quite a catch… he's the only heir, but I'm sure he'd stay with you; he's that kind of obsessi- I mean, dedicated man… terribly handsome… comes from a long line of powerful rulers… a bit eccentric, can have a quick temper but be serious when required… looks very young, about the same age as your brother…"

"He sounds like my brother. Lavi, we aren't like that!"

"Oh, you aren't? Well then – there go my fanfics- ah, Lenalee, I wasn't serious!" Dodging a flying chair, Lavi continued 'reading'. "And the final prince. He's about my age – doesn't seem like the nicest guy ever, but everyone likes you, Lenalee, so that shouldn't be a problem… Not what I'd call handsome, though. Not ugly, but I think Komui might have to lock up his beauty products every night. Strong, though. If you marry him, you'd have plenty of control over national affairs- Lenalee?"

"He sounds…" Lenalee paused to think of a criticism. "All right," she conceded. "At least he isn't a playboy like you, or all the other young, beautiful and stupid men out there…"

"We're not all that bad, Lena- hey, I'm not stupid!"

He really wasn't, Lenalee had to admit. Very few highly ranked people who lived in the palace were even of average intelligence, and as a historian of the kingdom, Lavi was not one of them. He was, however, fun to tease…

"Actually, isn't he your childhood friend? That last prince, I mean."

"Hm?" Now that he mentioned it… "You were talking about Kanda-kun?" Lenalee inquired. "I haven't seen him in years..."

"Consider him, at least, before some other prince snaps him up…"


"Right, right. Princess."

"It's just that…" Lenalee sighed and turned to look out a nearby window – staring at castle walls while deep in thought was simply boring. "Lavi, I don't really want to marry anyone unless I'm in love with him. I know that may not necessarily be the most realistic option, but…"

"Anyone should be able to marry for love," Lavi said quietly. Hearing that, Lenalee smiled.

"I think so, too. And right now, I just haven't found anyone that makes me feel that way. You understand, right?"

"Yeah." Facing away from him, Lenalee failed to see the sadness in her friend's eyes as he spoke. "Then I hope you find the right person someday, Lenalee. You should be happy."

A long and peaceful silence followed. Lenalee continued to look out the window – it opened onto the nearby capital city, its millions of people awake and active at this hour, and eventually culminating in the distant harbour with its hundreds of ships – while Lavi just watched his princess without saying a word. Finally, Lenalee spoke again.

"I wonder which one of those boats it'll be…"

"Huh?" Lavi blinked, startled out of his thoughts. "What?"

"That I'll be going on. I thought everyone knew?" She turned around to give him a quizzical look. "Anita is taking me to meet her fiancé tomorrow. He lives on a nearby island, although it'll take nearly half the day to get there… He sounds…" Lenalee chewed on her lip, trying to think of the right word. "Nice. Nice enough, anyway."

"Oh, really? Now that you mention it… Anita, she's that old friend with that transsexual bodyguard, right?"

"Mahoja. But yes, that friend."

"She's getting married, huh… Such a beautiful woman…"

"Yes, married, Lavi! So don't think of her like that!"

"I know, I know!" Lavi suddenly became serious, dispelling the momentarily playful mood. "Be careful, okay, Lenalee? The sea can be unpredictable, and while the weather seems nice now…"

"I will be." Lenalee beamed at him. "Thanks for worrying, though."

And with that, she strolled off to find her brother, unaware of Lavi's last comment muttered under his breath: "I always do."

Unbeknownst to Lavi, Lenalee's love would come sooner than she expected…

Thus begins his story.

Lavi's love is incredibly one-sided. Allen/Lenalee romance shows up next chapter with the appearance of – duh – Allen.

I think he'd make an awfully cute merman. :)

(By the way, Lavi's potential candidates were Rikei, Bak, and Kanda. If you don't know who Rikei is, he obviously isn't important enough for you to care. Heh…)