This is my entry for smile-in-ur-sleep's Mermaid Ken challenge, and SugarSpiral will tell you it's funnier than hers... BUT DON'T LISTEN TO HER, BECAUSE IT'S NOT!

Disclaimer:: I, emotionless-robot am personally in love with Mermaid ken [based on Nina-Neko's drawing of pure beauty, which was based on emotionless-robot's (my) slightly wacky and disturbing dream], and I am choosing to use this idea, written by Jazzeh* (smile-in-ur-sleep) to manipulate him in my own way. I do not own Digimon, for if I did, Mermaid Ken would be real and not simply in this written work. Ho hum.

Link to the awesome pic will be posted in my profile soon enough... so go check it out XD


"But, Kari…" Ken protested. "I don't see what the point in doing all this is. I mean, what are the chances?"

"… About the same as Tai getting a decent job." The muttered reply came.

"Exactly! So, really, it's no use wandering aimlessly around the beach for an entire day than rather, I don't know, doing something productive with our time?"

Kari turned to glare at Ken, but she said not one word. They had been assigned to do a report on local myths and legends for their final project of the year, and Kari wanted to do something spectacular. Being paired with Ken (the genius) had simply given her an advantage in the whole situation that elevated her spirits and purely made her determined to ensure this mission would count for something.

Ken sighed and continued following Kari on their trek to the nearby ocean, where they hoped to find the legendary mermaid so many people (namely girls) had been gushing about recently. This "mermaid" was said to be incredibly handsome and dashing, while some had even suggested that Ken was secretly this famed mermaid in disguise, for whatever reason. They had even dubbed the invented fantasy, "Lord Merken". That whole ridiculous, preposterous idea always made Ken scoff at them and wonder what they ate for breakfast, because he most certainly was not a mermaid.

At all.

Ever.

Okay, maybe once he had dreamed about being a mermaid, but in this particular case, dreams were not concrete evidence and they certainly weren't going to be admitted to the general public. That would only serve to fuel the public's opinion of him in a way he really did not enjoy. Being ogled had its perks obviously, like ego boosters on a daily basis, but other than that it was the worst to have fangirls lining up beside your locker for an autograph, and to have reporters trying to peek through your curtained windows in hopes of snapping a picture of you in the nude.

Not that Ken would have any experience with that sort of thing, clearly.

Either way, he didn't need anyone else telling him how much he resembled a fable. He was legendary all by himself, thank you very much.

Ken's feet hit sand as they continued their march, in search of wealth, glory and power… or mayhap just a good mark—Ken was rather unsure of Kari's motives by this point. Ignoring the masses sprawled across the shoreline, who were occupying their time with all sorts of interesting activities like sleeping, playing games, and rubbing suntan lotion all over each other's bodies in a way Ken imagined, was supposed to be sexual.

Except that it wasn't.

Kari headed straight for the rocky slopes and rough terrain that extended far past the reaches of the smooth sand of the beach, her partner in crime trailing along behind still. They climbed and vaulted over the obstacles in their paths; trudging through small streams, shooing away the annoying seagulls and delicately stepping over any crabby crabs that happened to stand in their way. It was nearing late afternoon by the time they reached a suitable spot, far enough away from civilization to only hear the crash of the waves and nature's natural soundtrack.

Kari tossed him a water bottle without pause before she vaulted another log obstructing her way to the grotto where she believed her mermaid laid in wait. Her enthusiasm wasn't convincing Ken today though. He stubbornly refused to admit there was a small chance the rumours were true. It was foolish to think that venturing a few miles away from the general population would reveal an unearthly being just like that.

"So what do we do now?" he asked, gulping down some refreshing water eagerly.

Kari was snapping some pictures of their location for "evidence" as she replied, "We wait."

Ken sighed and took a seat on one of the many large rocks littering the ground. This was going to be a long afternoon.

Sure enough, they lingered around the grotto for hours, listening to the far-off waves and the chattering of birds soaring overhead. Ken nearly fell asleep more than a few times, but every so often Kari would jump up, thinking she'd spotted something, only to sit back down once again, disappointed. Every time she did this routine, Ken's heart would leap in excitement—did she really see something?—only to be let down by the apparent lack of mythical creatures in the area.

The sun was almost completely gone by the time Ken's stomach growled hungrily and he complained, "Kari, we haven't seen anything all day. Can we please go home now? I'm starving."

"Quit your whining, Ken Ichijoji. You're starting to sound like Davis."

Ken pouted and snatched up Kari's bag to see if there was any food in there that he could munch on until they returned to civilisation. The bag was deep—his whole arm could fit in there comfortably—but he was determined to search every last corner until he found something edible. His literally shoved his head in the backpack, reaching around feeling in the darkness and then finally his hands struck gold. A smushed granola bar was what he had to extradite the gnawing sensation in his abdomen, and he would accept it willingly. It certainly was better than nothing.

One bite of the snack informed Ken that Kari hadn't cleaned out her backpack in a while, because he nearly choked on the overwhelming taste of stale that accompanied his hunger-dispeller. A clanking sound startled Ken, and his head whipped up to find Kari and her mouth hanging wide open, eyes staring blankly at something in the far-off distance.

"Kari, are you okay?" Ken asked, concern toning his voice.

She turned to him, amazement evident in her eyes but no words bubbled forth. Her shocked form simply stood there, camera on the ground (hence the clanking noise). Ken advanced towards her warily and set a tentative hand on her shoulder, shaking the paralyzed girl gently.

"Did you see that?" the young girl asked incredulously. Ken shook his head, puzzled as to what she was referring to. "I swear I just saw a bunch of mermaids swimming over there!" She pointed and Ken squinted in that general direction, but he couldn't make out anything except vast amounts of blue seawater.

"Umm… no? … Maybe you've finally lost it, Kari." Ken answered honestly. Kari glared at him and pushed his hand off her shoulder.

"They were there, and I know it! Just you wait and see—they'll come back." Kari adamantly sat back down; checking over her camera to make sure it was alright and prepared for the oncoming, inevitable wait.

Their shadows elongated elegantly in the setting sun, and Ken yawned numerous times, discreetly pinching his arm in a hopeless attempt to keep himself awake. Even Kari began nodding off, until a moving figure out in the distance caught her eye. She stood up slowly and tapped Ken on the shoulder, motioning him to follow her, but to keep quiet.

Their shoes hit the sand as they ran as silently as possible out to where Kari was sure she had seen the apparition. Without hesitating, she took off her socks, rolled up her pants, and waded into the ocean. Her camera was clutched tightly in her sweaty palms, ready to capture their adventure on film. Ken slid into the water as well, flinching at the coldness that the water carried. Goosebumps rose over his body and he shuddered, wishing he was at home with a hot meal right about now. Kari seemed oblivious to the chill; she forged on without doubt and never looked back. By the time the waves reached his chest, Ken was ready to turn back. Kari was nearly submerged, but she kept afloat and continued on.

She stopped suddenly, bobbing in the blue-blackness of the waves and whispered, "I just felt something touch my leg." Her pale face, illuminated by the moon's rays, was frightened and tense. Ken froze up as well. Something slithery and scaly rubbed up against his foot, but disappeared in a flash. His teeth chattered from the cold. Kari's breathing grew shallow. She moved closer to Ken instinctively, hoping he'd save her from whatever it was that haunted them.

Rapidly, a splash disrupted the still of the night, and Kari screamed, clinging to Ken unabashedly. He gave out his own squeak before booking it to shore. As his legs grew tired from fighting against the water and from carrying more than his own weight, Ken slowed down despite Kari's protests and he nearly collapsed into the soothing cold of the ocean, which would have no doubt effectively drowned the both of them. His lungs couldn't take much more of this. His heart drummed faster than a jackhammer in his chest and his eyes lost focus. He became disoriented by the salt water getting splashed around and Ken started choking on the water his lungs inhaled. They weren't going to last much longer like this—soon he'd collapse and they'd sink to the bottom of the ocean floor.

He could almost imagine it now—their corpses washing up on shore the next day, found by some random little kid smothered in sunscreen and who just wanted to build a damn sandcastle. There'd be an investigation of course, not to mention a big funeral for the both of them. Everyone would be there. It would be a sad day, and there'd be lots of people crying. He even bet Davis would bring a handkerchief. But dying wasn't such a bad thing, was it? After all, he'd get to see Sam again…

"Ken…" a disembodied voice called out to him, "Ken… wake up, Ken…"

Ken opened his eyes only to find himself looking in a mirror. A warped mirror, to be exact. His reflection appeared to be somewhat concerned and had wet hair plastered to his face. Ken most certainly did not have wet hair plastered to his face. He frowned, but his reflection didn't copy the movement. Ken waved his hand and the image finally frowned back. Ken supposed the mirror was a bit slow.

"Are you okay?" The reflection asked. Ken stared at him in amazement and blinked, astonished.

"You can talk?" Ken inquired, still bewildered.

"Well… yeah, I guess I can." The image replied, smiling a bit.

"But… but you're me, aren't you? You're just my reflection!"

Mirror-Ken chuckled, "No, I'm not you. We're totally different. For one, you have legs… I don't."

Ken glanced down, disturbed, only to find that Mirror-Ken was telling the absolute truth. In place of a pair of legs, Mirror-Ken sported a nice, shiny, scaly blue tail. Ken shuffled back, stunned, and once more Mirror-Ken chuckled his amusement.

"It's nothing to be alarmed about, you know."

"I beg to differ."

"Weren't you looking for me anyways?" Mirror-Ken raised an eyebrow, a questioning look adorning his face. Ken blushed. Evidently, Mirror-Ken had known about their expedition all along.

"Not me, per se. My friend was. I'm just along for the ride…" He laughed nervously. "Speaking of Kari, where is she?"

"Your friend? Oh, she's fine. She passed out right after you did, but she hasn't woken up yet."

Ken nodded and said, "Can I ask you something? Why do you look like me?"

Mirror-Ken (or Mermaid Ken, the boy genius believed was an appropriate title as well) shrugged and replied, "Why is the sky blue?"

Ken opened his mouth to answer but shut it quickly, realizing that it had been a rhetorical question.

"Anyways, I'd better get Kari home…" Mermaid Ken smiled and backed away, heading for the ocean. "By the way," Ken began conversationally, "you smell like fish."

Mermaid Ken laughed loudly, but did not turn back. The last of him that Ken saw was the weird blue tail disappearing into the murky waters. Ken shook his head, feeling groggy, and went in search of Kari.

She wasn't too far off—just around the bend—but Ken was still worried about her. Her breathing was faint and the skin on her fingertips was turning cyanotic. The early signs of hypothermia alarmed Ken considerably. He picked her up in his arms, making sure all the supplies they had dragged along with them were packed away, and he set off for civilisation. He braved the treacherous rocks and slopes of rocks before him, not once dropping his fragile package of human being. Several times he almost released her, but regained his balance quick enough to avoid any major disasters.

Feeling his arms begin to weaken, Ken pushed through the last bunch of underbrush until he finally got to the local beach. It was nearly deserted, as the day was over, but Ken paid no heed to anyone left on the sandy shores. He trudged back into the city, thankful that Kari's house wasn't too far away. Ken would drop her off, make sure she was okay, and then he was going home to a warm bed and a warm meal. This day had gone on too long—it needed to end, and soon.

Ken didn't end up seeing Kari again until Monday morning, when they were due to hand in their assignment. Kari raced up to him, flustered and sporting a lovely cold, asking and demanding to know whether or not he had finished the project. Never mind that his arms felt bruised from carrying her, never mind that his legs wobbled constantly from the strain of her weight… all she wanted to know was if the project had been completed.

Ken sighed and reassured her that it was all done and handed in, and that she had absolutely nothing to worry about. Kari gave him a grateful smile before sneezing all over his pristine uniform due to her onslaught of the common cold. Ken promised himself one day, he would find a cure for that darn illness. It was so troublesome.

Later that day, Ken and Kari were sought out by their English teacher, who wanted to talk to them about their assignment. On the journey to her office, Kari gave soundless glares to her partner, wondering what on earth the teacher wanted to talk about. As far as Kari was concerned, Ken was a model student, therefore, his work usually outstanding…

The teacher sat them down in the uncomfortable chairs and cleared her throat. Ken gulped.

"I just wanted to bring you both here to tell you that I'm very pleased with your work on this project." Kari gave a sigh of relief, until, "However… I am more than a little bit concerned. While the report in itself is of high quality, when reading between the lines… it almost appears as though you both believe that such a creature as a mermaid could exist." The teacher laughed fruitlessly, but Kari and Ken remained silent.

"I don't think I understand." Ken stated calmly. "What's wrong with believing in mermaids? I mean, what if I told you that I'd actually seen one?"

The instructor glared at her prize student uncomprehendingly behind her thick glasses. "Are you suggesting that this mermaid, this myth, is real, dear Ken?"

Ken winced at the term "dear"—only his mother was allowed to call him that and get away with it. Kari seemed flustered beside him, evidently not wanting to get involved in this particular conversation.

"It doesn't matter whether or not I believe in them. What matters is our mark, right?" Ken hoped that would end this debate and sure enough, the old hag dropped the subject accordingly.

Ken and Kari exited out of the school moments later, not sure as to what to say. Kari scuffed the sidewalk with her shoe awkwardly, and Ken rummaged through his bag for a snack to compensate for his lack of dinner the night before.

"So… did you actually see him?" Kari enquired timidly.

Ken chuckled, replying, "No, of course not, I just made it seem like that so she wouldn't notice I was the only one who actually did the report." Kari blushed and nodded, looking somewhat disappointed. "But, hey," Ken said, lifting up her chin, "long live Lord Merken, right?"

Kari's answering smile was dazzling as she responded happily, "Right."


Reviews are certainly appreciated... thanks!!