Morg: Heyo! Just in case any of you were wondering, I'm just lazy.

Ikuto: You could say that again.

Amu: Well, not entirely. You do write for other sites.

Morg: Yeah, but I've had plenty of time to update these stories so…

Ikuto: Exactly! Make it up to me right now!

Amu: This story is rated T, Ikuto!

Morg: Imagine what your life would be rated if I owned you, Amu.

Ikuto: :3

Amu: No thanks!

~ At the Water's Edge~

Ikuto let his gaze slide from the mermaid before him to look out over the water lapping gently beside them. His mind was still attempting to take in everything she'd said. "Can we back up for a second? You can control the elements?"

Raising her eyebrow, Amu turned back to meet the eyes of the other. She was wondering why Ikuto had been so calm when she gave him that bit of information. Usually people scrambled to get away from her. "Yes, I can control the elements."

"Like what elements?"

"How many do you think there are? Water, Earth, Fire, and Wind."

Not quite knowing what to say but knowing better than to not believe the half girl before him, Ikuto attempted to just let the information settle. "That's… unique."

"This is why others fear me. I'm the only one that can bend the forces of nature to my will. When I pulled you out of the ocean after you had drowned, I pulled the water from your lungs and pushed the air in."

Nodding his head without looking at Amu quite yet, Ikuto had to admit that that made sense since she'd pretty much told him the same thing before. "Do you know why you can do that?"

"What do you mean?"

"Like, were you born under a full moon while the planets were aligned or something like that?"

Laughing, Amu rocked slightly on the sand she was seated on. "No, nothing like that! Honestly, I don't know why. I only know a little of my parents. They didn't survive long after I was born. I've been on my own for most of my life. My familiars have been with me for a long time. I'm out casted for that as well since I have four and most others have one maybe two if they're lucky."

Ikuto returned his gaze onto the beautiful pink haired mermaid before him. Her laugh was amazing along with the spark of joy in her eyes. "Do the other merpeople just find reasons to pick on you?"

Amu simply shrugged her shoulders in response.

Not wanting the conversation to die, Ikuto randomly asked a question. "So what other fish are your familiars? I know you have a rainbow fish. I think you called her Miki?"

Smiling now as they moved onto a topic she was more at ease with, Amu nodded her head. "Yes, Miki is my rainbow fish. I have Ran who is a red snapper, Su the octopus and Dia the mandarin."

Ikuto knew of the fish she was talking about. At one point he was willing to brag that he knew every fish in the sea. Obviously he'd been proven wrong. "So what do familiars do?"

Having to think about the answer to that question for a moment, Amu thought over how she should explain the complex relationship to a human that could never begin to understand. "We take care of one another. Emotionally, physically. We would do anything for one another. I can communicate with my familiars. I can understand them while another merperson would not be able to."

"So their like your best friends?"

"Sort of. The bond is much deeper than that. I know when they are in danger or afraid. I could feel the strain on Miki when you had her out of the ocean. We are linked."

Ikuto nodded. He didn't feel the least bit guilty about having the fish out of the water. It wasn't as if he'd been torturing the creature on purpose. Nor was he about to leave her lying on the beach to die. "So why is it so odd for you to have four and the others to have one or two?"

"Most merpeople don't have-what's the right word to use?-capacity to bond with more than one fish. Those who had two were renowned for their abilities."

"But you aren't even though you have four."

"Correct. Though Su being an octopus is even more odd."

The universe was against this girl. There was no doubt about that in Ikuto's mind. She was so different than any human girl (and the one mermaid) he'd met. The biologist couldn't help but like that about her. "Well at least you have your looks going for you."

Blushing again, Amu didn't know what to say to that. Mermen rarely complimented her without ulterior motives and this was the first time she'd ever talked with a male human. "Th-thanks?"

"Oh it's a compliment. No doubt about that."

With the smirk he wore and the wink he threw at her, Amu blushed more. Were they all this… perverted? "I think I should go."

Noticing that more time had passed than he realized, Ikuto reluctantly nodded. "I should as well. Kukai is waiting for me so he can tell me that he knew I would be upset."

"About what?"

"My stepfather owns the company that works with your king in order to move things across the ocean. They have some sort of deal. Last night he took me to the meeting I told you about. He's forcing me to take over everything once he retires since he doesn't have a different heir. I don't want anything to do with the business, but there is nothing I can do to say no. He would cut off my funding to study the ocean. However, now I know that he was purposely holding back the exploring of the ocean because of the deal he has with the king."

Dragging her lower half back towards the waves, Amu prepared to return to her home. Maybe she'd stop at Nagi and Rima's on her way back. They were the only merpeople that didn't treat her as a freak. Plus she could tell them about this strange human. "You seem very clever to me, Ikuto. I'm certain that you'll figure something out."

Nodding his head at that comment, Ikuto had to admit that his problems seemed rather less worrisome than Amu's. Still didn't make them any less frustrating. "Wait! When can we meet again?"

Without pausing her progress into deeper water, Amu turned back to throw a smile over her shoulder. "I don't know. Maybe we won't be that lucky."

Chuckling, Ikuto couldn't help himself. "For a mermaid as hot as you, I'd search the entire ocean."

There went that heat, rising to her face again. Amu seriously couldn't tell if he just liked teasing her or if he was serious about the comments he made. "Goodbye, Ikuto."

"No, not goodbye. It's see you later."

He received no response from the girl as she disappeared below the waves.

XXX

The swim to Nagi and Rima's cave went by fast as Amu's mind was on other things. Blue haired other things. That human was so strange. Her thoughts were so focused that Amu didn't realize that she was there until she was just outside of their home.

"Just come in, Amu."

Smiling since she should have known that the other knew that she was there. "Hey, how are you doing today?"

Rima glanced over at her friend from where she rested against a large shell. "Nothing."

Amu couldn't blame her friend for being on the mopey side. The girl's husband was gone on a job. Something that both mermaids knew was dangerous. Rima had a right to be a bit put out. "Want to go for a swim?"

No response.

"We could take Kusukusu to my house to play with my girls."

No response.

"Are you hungry?"

"Amu, I know that you are trying to help, but just let me sit here."

Sighing, Amu sat herself on the shell next to one of her only friends. "I can't. You are hurting because Nagi's gone and I hate it when I see you like this. What can I do to make you feel better?"

Rima refused to look at her friend. The words she was about to release were meant in a joking way even if Rima sort of meant them in a serious way. "Use your powers to take over the kingdom and end this stupid deal so that I don't have to worry about Nagihiko being hurt."

Dense as she may be about feelings and interactions and how to behave in social situations, Amu wasn't stupid. A long breath was released from her mouth as she slumped her shoulders down. "I wish I could do just that for you."

"I'm sorry, Amu. I don't mean to be so cold while Nagi isn't here. It's just-"

"You love him. I get it."

The two fell into a comfortable silence for a while. Simply enjoying the presence of the other. Rima was thankful that she wasn't alone with her thoughts. That would make this situation a lot harder for her. Amu was rather good at being there for her while Nagi was gone. "So, anything happen to you today?"

"If you are referring to a run in with Tadase then no. I did meet that human I saved before though."

"What? You saved a human?"

"Yeah, I told you about the one that drowned so I took him to the surface and saved him."

"Oh yeah. So you met with him?"

Amu ruffled her pink locks as she thought over her meeting with the human again. "Yeah. He was casting a net near a cove where the girls and I were playing. He managed to snag Miki so I didn't have a choice but to reveal that I was there. We talked for a while."

A small smirk came over Rima's mouth. Amu talking to someone when she didn't have to was a big deal for the pinkette. "About what?"

"Ourselves. I told him about me and he told me about him. Strange people, humans."

"Not that I disagree, but why do you say that?"

Frowning a little, Amu knew that her friend was going to take what she said the wrong way. "He kept telling me how beautiful he thinks I am and that he would like to teach the ones that bully me a lesson."

Rima's smirk did nothing but grow. Sure, she had a few meetings with a rather energetic human girl, but never had Rima met any other. This man sounded like he was exactly what her friend needed. "Oh really?"

"Don't say it like that! He was just teasing me!"

"Are you sure?"

"I mean, I think so. I don't know! I don't know how humans act!"

Laughing, Rima patted her friend on the back. "Don't worry about it. Are you meeting him again?"

"We didn't make plans to."

Rima knew what that meant. "But you aren't against meeting him again. So you'll be hanging out around the coast for a while, right?"

Blushing again, Amu couldn't deny her friend's assumption. "Only because I want to avoid Tadase!"

Rima didn't believe a word of that. "Yeah, sure."

XXX

"You get home and then instantly drag me off the boat without saying anything. Are you going to tell me what we're doing?"

Ikuto rolled his eyes as Kukai berated him for the hundredth time about his actions earlier. In order to end his suffering, Ikuto finally caved. "We're going to meet with Yaya. I want to know what she knows about the way merperson society works. Amu said that the prince has been courting her recently. I want to know what that entails."

Grinning like the fool he was, Kukai sent a sly look over to the man driving. "So you're worried because you have some fishy competition! You could have just said so!"

"Shut up now if you don't want to walk home."

.

Morg: Things are moving!

Ikuto: So the plot thickens.

Amu: Barely.

Morg: Be nice! I wrote this sort of the spur of the moment! I wasn't even planning it, but Mirene asked for it.

Ikuto: Whatever.

Amu: You tell us all the time that it isn't our opinions that you want!

Morg: That is true! Review please!