A/N: Sorry for the long wait for updates. I've had finals, and I haven't even finished them. I have 2 left (ugh). But I'm writing this in my break. I just wanted to point out that I am the biggest hypocrite on the planet. I must admit: I am not a fan of season 3 because I personally enjoy the really lighthearted non-serious story lines from the first 2 seasons. And here I am, writing a serious H2O story. So yeah, I'm a hypocrite. You heard it from me first. That said, hope you like the chapter. It's a bit long, but with reason. You'll see.
The night was a blur. A wet, noisy blur.
Asami remembered being back home. She remembered Tokyo city; all too familiar. She remembered the night sky, and water pouring over roads and sidewalks. She remembered the sight of numerous signs going down in a gust of wind, and she remembered holding her hand high in the air as the city lost its power and went pitch black.
As she held her hand, a large glowing ball of light floated above her head and split into hundreds of small orbs. As the water gushed over the civilians legs, soaking their jeans and t-shirts, their business suits, and skirts, long orange tails appeared beneath them. There was splashing and howling and lots of commotion. She saw a face appear next to her. It was a young japanese boy. He held his arms out in the air and waved his hands about. Orbs appeared in his palms like apples, and he threw them into the air, giggling, holding himself up with his hands, occasionally swallowing dirty water with a spluttering cough.
The noise was soon becoming overwhelming. It was as if humanity looked upon itself in the mirror and saw it broken. As a whole, they all outraged at this unfamiliarity. But then, it was as if they were overwhelmed with the beauty of their new forms and powers. Ice sprouted from the water flooding the streets and made large ornaments in the sky. Fire burst like embers from the wrists of teenage girls, and the metal from buildings became warped and twisted. Mania was overwhelming the city and its people.
With a burst of blue light, the dirty water became instantly clean and drinkable, breathable. The garbage and cigarette butts disappeared in smoke, completely disintegrated. A soft chant could be heard behind Asami. She joined in, knowing the words by heart. Rikki and Cleo's voices emanated from behind her.
The foreign language echoed through the noisy streets. Every person, woman and man becoming engulfed in the song. It was oddly hypnotic. The chant... the voices... grew louder...
The moon above their heads was nearly full, but the moonlight emanated through the water... coming from a large creature living in the ocean. The GateKeeper... Their Master... With the power to store and amplify the power of the moon. With the power to break the boundaries of time and space, and overcome the detriment of fatigue.
It was at that time, Asami knew... that the world would never be the same again. And where was her family? They were no where to be seen. She stretched a glowing red orb with her hands, producing a glowing set of japanese characters with her hands. They lifted into the air as a cry. A plea.
'I didn't know I had this kind of power... to stretch the light...' a distant part of her thought. 'Then again, had I ever really tried?'
Asami felt, something rumble inside her head. Voices. She thought back at them, defiantly.
'No... I'm not Kaihan. Go away, voices.'
But the dream, the darkness, the glowing light and the flooded Tokyo city disappeared with a snap. She felt aware of a bed beneath her, and a hand on her face. She sat up and her eyes darted around the room. She arms waved around to knock the hand away.
She had been lying on a bed in an unfamiliar room. It was barely lit. It was very small and dark, and a green orb floated above her head. Despite being able to see in the dark due to her power, she saw nothing of interest in the room other than a large wooden clock propped against the back wall. Sitting next to the bed on a wooden chair was an old japanese man. His face was greatly wrinkled and his hair, though grey and patchy, reached his shoulders. A pair of horn-rimmed glasses rested precariously on his nose. Asami couldn't believe her eyes. She remembered this man, from many years ago.
'Papa?' she whispered, intonating in her native tongue. The man smiled, not saying a word, and touched Asami's wrist.
'Yes, it's me,' he replied.
Asami felt her chest tightning. Her eyes stung, and she held her breath. It had been so long... She didn't know what to do. The darkness around her, oddly, was a comfort. A close friend.
'You must be disappointed with me for running away,' Asami admitted.
The man by her side nodded, but any lingering sadness in his face seemed largely distant.
'Yes, but I was even more sad to hear that you had died.'
Asami looked down at her hands, hanging her head down in shame.
'I'm sorry, Papa.'
'It doesn't matter. Forget about it.'
The man then took his glasses off his face and balanced them on his knees.
'Your mother died a few years after you were reported dead,' the man said. 'I wanted to tell you that. But I know you never had a very high opinion of your mother.'
The words came out of nowhere; it was very sudden. Asami had to remember to tell herself to breath. The memory floated back: at the thought of returning home when her student visa expired, she, Chiyo, and Kaihan all ran away to Mako Island... stealing the boat of one of their host parent's. They were thought drowned. She found it hard to imagine her mother disappearing a few years after that. She wasn't sure how her father knew about her feelings toward her mother, either.
'How do you know I felt that way about her?'
'Your host family told me you ran away because you didn't want to return to the stress of living back home. They heard some things at the school,' the man said. He stared at Asami with a distant look to him. 'It was important for your mother and I that you succeed and do well at school, but we never imagined you would try to stay away from home for it.'
Asami closed her eyes and thought for a moment.
'I'm sorry to hear about mother.'
Suddenly, her breathing shuddered and she gasped. A flood of memories came back to her of the previous night. Her father approaching her with a long orange tail, and placing a hand on the back of the boy who had become so enamored with her and the lights she and he could make. She remembered watching her father's lips form some words, but she couldn't comprehend it. She had been too busy singing... The moon... It was like recovering from a hang over the next morning.
'I have a younger brother?' Asami gasped, realising.
Her father nodded, and invited the young boy into the room. He had been standing outside, and opened the door hesitantly. Now Asami could get a better look at him, she realized that he looked about 9 years old. He had black hair like she did.
'His name is Kohta. But we'll play catch up in a few minutes,' Asami's father explained, putting his glasses back on and hoisting Kohta into his lap. 'We just wanted to talk about this whole mermaid business...'
Asami nodded, trying hard to remember more of the previous night. All she could hear in her head was the dull clicking of the clock against the wall.
Kohta started wrapping his father's hair around his hands.
And they talked about mermaids... and what had happened the previous night. And then they talked about Lewis... and the GateKeeper.
'Lewis!' Cleo called, her voice echoing. 'Lewis! Where are you?'
She was standing in an ice cave. Where on earth was she? The himalayas? Antartica?
Cleo shivered at the cold. Her shoes tapped lightly against the ice. It didn't feel like a mermaid creation. She couldn't even see in the dark. A few steps walking made her hit a wall. She bumped her head and groaned in response.
The darkness closed in around her, the cold breathed against her skin and the cave was threatning to collapse on her. How had she gotten here?
She closed her eyes and felt for water with her mind. She could feel the ice, but could not make much sense of it – not like Emma. She projected her mind our further, searching for traces of water... She found it. A fountain trickling through the mountain she was in. She felt it trickle down to her right. She followed the water trace down the mountain with her mind. It ended in a pool. What was this place?
She felt with her hands the sides of the cave. It was cold, but melted slightly against her skin. One mermaid transformation later, she felt a crash underneath her tail and she screamed. To her surprise, however, light reached her eyes and nearly blinded her – sunlight. She slid down an icey slope, having crashed through the floor of the cave. It seemed such an unnatural thing, yet it reeked of nature – but not by mermaid creation. The water followed her down the twisting slide, ice walls towering around her, preventing her fall. Cleo's skin no longer had goosebumps; her mermaid self was perfectly adapted to the cold water. She saw mountains upon mountains of ice and rock when the walls were low enough. She pressed her hands against the sides of the slide to prevent herself falling off a cliff, should it end in a cliff.
The slide continued for some time, but it was very quick. It was only a few seconds after she had fallen that she remembered that she could control the water. With a quick flick of her hand, she gathered the water around her until it was enough to lift her. She gracefully floated down the slide, feeling comforted at the thought that she wasn't about to fall to her untimely death. The slide ended against a part icey, part rock, part grassy plain. When her fin hit the ground, she removed the water from her body and her legs appeared gracefully underneath her. Her shoes hit the ground.
The ice rocks towered around her as she made her way around to look at the slide. It was then she noticed where the water was flowing to. A mound of rock surrounding a shallow pool. A moon pool.
There was somebody with blonde hair sitting near the edge. Cleo gasped.
The man turned and looked at Cleo. The sight was frightning. He was definitely human and wearing his human clothes, but his hair was still long and flowed down his chest and past his legs. His skin was smooth and human, and he didn't have any strange snout – just a human nose. His eyes were bright yellow, though, and his toes and hands still sported claws, although they were faded from orange to a more natural white colour. Somehow there was something more frightning about this Lewis than the reptile one.
Lewis forced a smile, though it didn't reach his eyes. Cleo approached him, and sat next to him, staring at the icey moon pool. Small blue crystals jutted out of the sides.
'Where are we, Lewis?'
Lewis pushed his long blonde hair behind him so it flowed down his back. He chuckled.
'Antartica. I always wanted to see this place. It always seemed so mysterious and serene. And look...'
'A moon pool,' Cleo said. 'Yeah, I noticed. But...'
'But how did we get here?' Lewis finished her sentence. His bright yellow eyes were amused. 'I don't even know.'
They listened to the water trickling from the ice towers and swirling into the moon pool. It lapped at the sides.
'There is one thing I do know, though,' Lewis admitted. He turned to look at Cleo, and he took her hands in his claws. 'This form of mine is only temporary. And it is running out. When it runs out, I will never turn into that reptillic thing ever again.' Lewis sounded half sad, and half relieved. Cleo pulled her hands out of Lewis's and them climbed into his lap. She ran her hands through his hair, the long strange hair that had become snake like the night before.
'There is a condition, though.' Lewis muttered, his breath reaching Cleo's ear. 'As the GateKeeper, I have a choice to make.'
Cleo pulled away from the crook of Lewis's neck and looked into his eyes. It was the first she had heard of choices, though the term GateKeeper was mildly unfamiliar to her. It was familiar to the mermaid part of her, though. She wagered Lewis had a better understanding of it than she did.
Lewis heaved a heavy sigh. 'You may remember or you may not, but the whole planet, every human on the planet was turned into a mermaid or merman last night. As that reptile thing, I absorbed the moonlight and somehow projected it into the water spreading it across the planet. No human was untouched. Everything moved very fast. We lost a few people across the world – like Asami is in Tokyo, for instance -, but I'm confident we can find them again.' Lewis closed his eyes, and rest his claws on the rocky turf. 'This is just... so unreal. It's crazy.'
Cleo agreed. She touched Lewis's face with her hand.
'You mentioned something about a choice you had to make?'
'Oh, that,' Lewis grimaced. 'You see... I won't change back to normal until I make it. This last ounce of power from this... creature... is to remove the moon pools from this planet, and move them to another one, another one with life.'
Cleo frowned. 'But... I thought the moon pools came from, well... the moon.'
'The funny thing is...' Lewis said. 'Is that we were completely wrong about that. It's just a coincidence. They're influenced by whatever passing celestial body there is. 'I would be lying if I said I understood all of this because I really don't.' Lewis laughed, lightly. 'All I know is that the GateKeeper is what started all this mermaid business. Somehow... Maybe he was a magician or something from long ago, cursed maybe from witches. Or maybe he was never a human to begin with. Maybe he was just a merman with some weird mutations, or maybe he started as a fish or water reptile. But whatever he was, he's connected to the moon pool. His scales... His scales are the crystals from the moon pool.'
Cleo was staring at Lewis, hardly believing her ears. But she could do nothing but believe in her heart. The mermaid within her knew the truth.
'The song they were singing last night...' Cleo realized. 'It was about the GateKeeper. And the song me, Emma, and Rikki sang when you were made into a merman. It was like a reincarnation or something, right?'
'Right,' Lewis agreed. 'The GateKeeper has been jumping across the universe and dying again and again, leaving moon pools where it died. It turned humans into fish-people. Into merfolk. Then a new GateKeeper is born, the world is turned into fish, and then it dies again. All the moon pools are gone, and a new planet gets moon pools, and the GateKeeper is born again and yet another planet is fish. This is a farfetched theory... but my hypothesis is that it can only survive that way. By dying on a planet, leaving a new heap of pools, and then maybe being reincarnated again.'
'That's a crazy lifestyle,' Cleo mumbled. She looked at the moon pool in front of her. 'So this is a dead Gatekeeper – or part of one?'
'Yep,' Lewis said, eyeing the blue crystals. He frowned. 'I feel sad for it.'
'Wait...' Cleo began. 'Are you saying that you have to die?'
Lewis laughed, and then shook his head. 'No, I don't have to die. My choice is whether to hold onto this strange form, and keep all the moon pools. Or let it go, all the moon pools disappear and go somewhere else. The thing is that once the moon pools disappear, nobody will ever be able to change back to a human being ever again. But keeping this reptilian form won't be forever. I will die one day, too, and the GateKeeper will go with it.'
'And yet if you stay this way... will you turn into that... thing again, during the full moon?' Cleo asked.
'Yes. Though I think at this point, if I let the GateKeeper go – that reptile thing - that the moon will never have the same effect on mermaids and mermen on earth ever again. We'll have control. I think the reason why you and we were ever affected at all was because of the GateKeeper's influence – be in from the pool or from the thing I was. It has some interaction with nature I don't completely understand. But it's an interesting thing. I have to say I've become a bit attached to it.'
'I know what you mean,' Cleo said. 'I mean, whenever we're hit by the moon or near the moon pool or even in the water, everything feels right.'
'It must be strange for a creature to jump across the universe like that...'
'And what about the weather?' Cleo suddenly mentioned, remembering the hazardous weather from months ago – like the hurricane.
'The strange weather?' Lewis querried. 'Well, the GateKeeper did want to stay alive. So the moon pools would be safe. So its future lives and influences would be safe. Naturally it would need help to keep safe.'
Cleo and Lewis nodded and thought for awhile. The sun shone from above and the ice glimmered. They thought about the strange creature called the GateKeeper that travelled across the universe and transformed its inhabitants before going away. It was part creature, part rock, part human... and it somehow was involved with the stars. Some strange creature it was. That something could embody the universe like that. Nature was a strange thing. And now... the entire earth were mermaids and mermen. And all because of this creature's natural life cycle... whatever it was.
'I can see why we called it Master,' Cleo admitted. 'If it has that kind of power. But if anything it's sort of like a God. It grants powers to its followers in exchange for keeping it safe - not forgotten.'
Lewis frowned. 'I didn't think of that.'
Cleo thought for a moment.
'Do you know what you're going to do? The choice, I mean.'
'Well, yes,' Lewis admitted. 'I am going to let the Gatekeeper go. I feel bad for holding onto this form, and it will only hassle us with the moon until it goes away...'
'So nobody will ever be able to turn back?' Cleo asked.
'Not unless the GateKeeper comes back,' Lewis said. 'But I don't think it will. There's a wide wide universe out there. Besides, I don't think this could be an entirely bad thing. Without the moon influencing us, humans can rebuild. We can create a world where mermaids and humans work together. Best of both worlds, really.'
'That sounds good.' Cleo said, and she got to her feet and helped Lewis up, holding him by the wrists so she didn't get scratched. 'What do you do, then?'
'I concentrate,' Lewis said. Cleo took a few steps back and watched.
Lewis closed his eyes. Seconds, then minutes passed. Cleo listened to the water flow into the moon pool, thinking about the GateKeeper. It was sad to think that the moment they had to say goodbye was the time they finally knew its name, and its purpose. It was an odd thing to think that something like this might be completely natural...
She noticed Lewis's long hair start to shorten, and she noticed the claws on his toes and hands start to shrink. As these features began to disappear, Cleo saw blue crystals imbedded in the moon pool behind Lewis disappear. It soon was no more than a simple rock pool. Lewis finally opened his eyes. They were no longer bright yellow. Cleo smiled at Lewis, and ran into his arms.
The couple crashed into the rockpool, and the freezing water felt normal as their legs turned to orange tails, water splashing over the edge of the icey pool. They swam in it, laughing, happy to be back to normal. Happy to finally have control.
Cleo and Lewis's hair fluttered under the water like ribbons. Cleo wrapped her arms around Lewis's waist, overjoyed to have her boyfriend back, his body clammy under the water. They shared an underwater kiss. They felt something leave earth that day. A magical power; the GateKeeper. But they had other things to worry about now, and other things to dream about. A new world of mermaids and mermen.
But first... They needed to get back home.