Well, I couldn't say I was completely pleased. To have been abandoned for so long, then swept up into a broken family once more. I felt a little cheated of the time I had spent alone, wandering the ocean. Well, I was still happy that I'd be in my own home again, even though the place had become strange for me. I was still halfway into the sub when my father had dumped this on me, so he was still waiting for an answer.
"But…what about Hatori?" I asked, seeing their puzzled expressions. "I can't just leave him…"
"Oh, you mean that young man over there," my Mom pointed out, gazing out the front window. "Well, sure, he can come." Nodding in appreciation, I dropped out from under the sub and rejoined my group. They still didn't know of the change in plans, so now would be the time to reveal it.
"Well, Father has decided to accept us into his home again…" I said slowly. Lily's face was already lighting up and I hadn't even got into detail. "Hatori can come too, so-"
"Yay, we get to be a family again! This is great!" Lily squealed, squirming out of Hatori's grasp. She had started to paddle over to the Slicky, but with great speed, I swept her up to prevent further harm to the poor girl.
After containing the wiggling, writhing mass of Lily, we all followed the sub to the bio home, climbing through the moon pool that I had long forgotten. As I crawled onto the deck, everything started flooding back into my head. There was the old sub sitting in the corner where I had learned to pilot aquatic vehicles, as well as my old manta board that had busted a while ago. Dad said he would fix it, but he had never gotten around to it. While I had lived here, all those things were just junk to me but now they symbolized home.
My bare feet padded across the puddled, iron floor towards the kitchen where familiar sounds were produced. There was the holo-vision, spouting the week's news from the Topside, as well as the sound of Lily's fish tanks humming and bubbling. I hadn't heard sounds like this in so long, it felt like a piece of me had been put back together.
Hatori and Lily came in after me, as well as Mom and Dad. They looked a little worried as to have disease-ridden mutant fish things in their home again, although they looked like they were at least trying to make a good impression. There wasn't much conversation the rest of the day, considering all the things I had missed in our home, as well as the things I had seen and the places I had visited. My parents were oddly quiet.
"So, how have you two been?" I asked, fearing for the worst that they would say 'good'. No one could just be 'good' after losing both of their children to the ocean. It was beyond comprehension.
"Well, we've had our ups and downs," my mom responded, worrying at the handle on a teacup. "It's been hard without you and Lily."
"It's been hard without you two, as well. Have you…shown any symptoms of this?" I asked, pointing to my gills. They looked a little taken aback, as if they hadn't expected me to notice that I actually had gills.
"N-No, we're fine…" Mom said, although she looked even more worried than before. I knew I was screwing this up, making them feel awkward, but they had no right to be. If they abandoned us again, I would be broken.
"Hey…" Hatori said, looking slightly somber. He had been mysteriously absent for a while, and I wondered as to where he had went.
"What's wrong?" I asked. Looking closer, I saw there were dark circles under his eyes and he looked even paler than before. "You look sick…"
"I…I wanna go visit my mom…" he choked out. He must have been reminded of his family from observing mine...I thought. I understood completely, of course.
"Are you sure you're alright to? The last time you saw her…" I started, but he looked even more distraught.
"I know. I just…I wanna try to make this right…" he murmured. It was as if every word he spoke dragged his health down more and more. He could barely keep himself standing anymore. I stood up to give him a hand, but he was already hustling out of the kitchen. Deciding to just let him do his own thing, I returned to the couch where my family was seated. Lily had found her way into Mom's lap, which to be honest, seemed to disgust her quite a bit.
"I wonder why he left so fast…" my Dad muttered, looking wistful. "I bet he's sick with this…disease. It'll probably kill off the lot of you." My Dad's words were cruel, but to point it put would be disrespectful. Although, he barely deserved my respect.
"We have decided on a course of action," my Mom suddenly blurted, startling Lily. "Some way to cure you of your illness. But just you, Mefreet."
"Why only me?" I asked. If there was a plan to supposedly cure us, I would want Lily and Hatori to be cured as well. Something was wrong.
"Because we have come to believe that yours is the most serious, and that you are in the most danger of dying from this." She went on, her voice shaking slightly. I was taken aback slightly by this, considering I didn't feel death-y at all.
"Mom, I'm completely fine. This isn't going to kill me, and I know it. In fact, I feel even more energetic now than I was as a human." I explained. My parents seemed to flinch at the word 'human' but it had to be said. Even I had accepted it. I was no longer human.
"Enough talk like that. You've never had this before, so don't you dare say what this is," my Dad barked growing angry. "Lily will stay next door with Zoe and Ty, while we will execute our plan to change you."
I had a foreboding sense of danger prickling the hairs on my neck, which physically disturbed me. I always trusted my senses, and whatever I was about to hear wasn't going to be good. My parents looked to each other for reassurance, and then hit me with it.
"We're moving you Topside."