Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing…except this AU idea. Anyway, let's move on.

Chapter 1

It was almost time. He was sure of it. It was in the air whenever he went up to greet the morning seagulls and pelicans; the hermit crabs whispered it to him whenever he went to the tide pools with his eldest brother, Calder. It was what the mothers told their youngest ones about each year, when the eldest, unmated child of the family set off to warmer waters for the summer.

And now, finally, it was his turn. It was only the logic of his kind. With Calder's first eggs preparing to hatch, and the others already mated—but not father's yet—it was only logical that he go out and find a beautiful mermaid to be with; to find the perfect female to bare his "guppies". And like his brothers and father before him, he wouldn't accept anything less than perfection.

His beautiful mother, Lydelle—whose very image in the moonlight had been enough to lull him to sleep at a young age—was a perfect inspiration of what he and his brothers all wanted in mates: beautiful, kind but stern, intelligent, and with a voice so gorgeous, it could melt an angel's heart.

And now, here he was with his frenemy Francis Bennefoy—and all the other young, unmated merfolk—as they each waited for the eldest mated child of their families. It was tradition for the eldest mated child in the family to come escort the sibling that was to be mated to the warmer waters. If the oldest child had eggs, then the grandparents would watch them while they were away.

Arthur Kirkland swished his tail back and forth, bored with waiting for Calder. Beside him, Francis' older brother, Gaul Bennefoy, was already with him. Arthur had no doubt that the second the mating rituals began, Francis would do everything in his power to entice and impress the prettiest girl around, which happened to be Natalia Arlovskaya. While he himself found Natalia to be very pretty, he knew she was completely insane, so he'd promised himself he wouldn't even try to impress her.

Mermen attracted mates by being romantic, like male humans—however, a mermaid's idea of romantic was a bit different than a human's idea of romantic. To a mermaid, being romantic was a merman bringing her the most beautiful seashells he could find, and either making sweet music with them, or crafting her lovely jewelry out of them; romantic was using enchanted hand mirrors to light pretty undersea caves for a nice dinner; romantic was convincing a school of fish to spell out her name on the soft sands of the seafloor; and, if the merman were lucky, or looking hard enough, romantic was a merman bringing her a boxful of precious jewels, or something gold, from a sunken ship. That was a mermaid's idea of romantic.

Arthur sighed irritably. He'd had enough. "Francis, may I borrow your mirror?" he asked, worried that something may've happened to Calder. His brother did have a habit of teasing the local hammerheads and great whites…

"Of course, mon ami," Francis replied with a smile, pulling a clear, crystal-glass mirror—decorated with pearls and beautiful shells—out of the bag slung across his torso. Francis was considered to be very handsome by a great deal of mermaids, stretching all the way from the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. He had wavy, shiny, shoulder-length blonde hair, and crystalline blue eyes that shone with "romance", as he put it. (Arthur liked to think they shone with rape.) His skin was creamy and pale, and his tale was red, but when put in the sunlight, it gave off a luminous blue glow. He had slight chin stubble, and a prominent French accent. He had a thing for giving people flowers that grew underwater, like sea lilies, a special kind of flower that only blooms if completely submerged in saltwater. (Humans know nothing about it, because not only is it a saltwater only plant, but it only grows in the deepest parts of the oceans, where no light reaches. And even if a human tried to bring one to the surface, no matter how, it was burst the second it was out of saltwater.)

Anyway, back to the mirror. If a human were to see Francis—or any merman—with this mirror, they'd think themselves crazy—for seeing the merman in the first place—or think the merman crazy—for owning such a "girly" mirror—but this kind of mirror was typically what all merfolk carried. With just a few simple words, a mermaid/merman can see a fellow mermaid/merman who swims below, or walks above.

And that's what Arthur planned to do.

"Mirror, as I speak to you," he began, watching as its crystalline glass began to glow, "show me my brother, who swims in the blue."

A moment later, an image of his brother—flaming, spiky red hair, creamy pale skin, emerald-green eyes just like his own, a proud and devious smirk on his face, and his shimmering blue-green tail—came into view. He was swimming upward, and rather quickly, from the look of how swiftly his tail was moving. Seconds later, the image disappeared, and just as Arthur was beginning to fear the worst, (his brother may've been a jackass, but he was still his brother!), Calder's head broke the surface, and he swam toward Arthur.

"Mornin', brother!" he greeted, giving Arthur a not-so-playful punch on the shoulder. Arthur glared at him and rubbed his shoulder.

"Yes…good morning, Calder," he replied curtly, mentally noting to tell his future bride and children to stay away from Calder…and all of his older brothers, for that matter.

"Everybody's here, oui?" Gaul called out to the others. Once he'd done a quick headcount, he called out, "We've got until September, and it's the end of May, so let's get going!"

With gleeful cheers—from both the mated and the unmated—the merfolk set out on their journey to warmer waters.

And, for the unmated, new lives.

A/N: This is actually kind of a rewrite. I had to delete the original because of a few technical difficulties, but everything should be fine now…I hope. Anyways, I got this idea while sitting in the middle of my first-period class, and I just started writing stuff down. So…yeah… Bye!