My first Fanfic! Excited!

Hope you enjoy...

Emma sighed as she looked out of the window of the plane. She could see the big mass of Australia looming in the distance through the clouds and knew it was not long to go until she could see her best friends again. It had been a long year – her mermaid secret had nearly been revealed when her annoying brother Elliot had accidentally knocked over his glass of water and it had spilled all over her lap. Luckily she managed to get to the bathroom cubicle in time, leaving her family bewildered. If only Rikki had been there, and then she could've quickly dried her off with her powers. But no, she wasn't, and it took Emma at least half an hour to completely dry herself and remove her mermaid tail.

But it was all worth it to see her friends again – if only she hadn't had to of gone away in the first place, because apparently it was a stressful year what with the moon pool suddenly attacking them every full moon, and there was a new mermaid in town – Bella, who had all but replaced her in the group. Emma was trying to look at the situation positively but she couldn't see how she surprising everyone by turning up a few weeks early was going to help.

Despite this, she couldn't stop grinning as she got off the plane with her family. It was good to be back.

Cleo Sertori rushed past Rikki's as she made her way to college, hoping not to be late on the first day. Lewis had gotten there at 6 am. Always the over-achiever, Cleo had thought when she got his text. Despite her best preparations, she had still managed to somehow be late but was happy because her first class was with Lewis. She hadn't seen him all summer because he had taken an internship at a fancy science lab up Brisbane and had had to stay there most of the time. So much for spending time together.

Rikki was just walking out of the café when Cleo raced past her. Not surprised with her best friend's lack of organisation, she cleaned up a few tables and headed back inside. After the summer was over she had decided to resume her job at Rikki's instead of going to college – learning was never much for her anyway. As she walked through the doors Zane came to greet her with a light kiss.

"How's my beautiful today?" he asked.

"Trying to do her job, today," Rikki replied. She still hadn't fully forgiven him for what he had done in the past year, but she was letting him make it up to her… slowly.

"Okay, sorry," he said, backing away. "Back on the business side of things, we need new staff now that the café's getting bigger and Sophie's taken off. It was true, she had left suddenly in the middle of the night, leaving a note for her brother Will and taking barely anything. She wrote that she was fed up with him not pursuing what she wanted him to do and had had enough of the entire situation.

"How about Will?" Rikki suggested. "He needs something to take his mind of Sophie just leaving like that – he's been really depressed."

"Sure," Zane said cheerfully. He and Will were now on much better terms then they had been during the year. "I can hold up fort here, so can you go do that right away 'cause we're really desperate."

"Okay and maybe Bella's back from that trip to New Zealand. It feels like I haven't seen her in years!" Rikki took off her apron and left it in Zane's arms as she hurried out the door.

She made it to Will's shack in no time, but there was no one there.

"Hello?" she called through the windows, her eyes meeting nothing but an empty shack.

Down by the water, bubbles began to emerge and two heads surfaced. Rikki turned around and sure enough, there was Bella and Will, just back from a swimming trip. Will was covered head to toe in his diving gear and Rikki could just see Bella's golden mermaid tale under the water.

"Bella!" Rikki exclaimed. "You're back!"

Bella turned to face her. "Yeah, me and Will thought we would go for a short swim before we came to the café."

"Speaking of the café," Rikki began, "Will… I was wondering if you maybe work there for a bit, it's just we're really understaffed and I thought it would help take your mind off recent events…"

"What recent events?" Bella asked, turning her head towards Will.

"Nothing," Will said, "I'll tell you later. Sure, Rikki. I think that some distraction would be great right now."

"Cool," Rikki said. "Hey, I wouldn't mind a swim right now – are you up for it?"

"Oh, definitely," Bella replied excitedly. "We've found this awesome reef that we so want to check out again!" She submerged and Will watched her tail swim off into the distance. Her head surfaced again, just enough time to say, "Last one there is a rotten egg!" before zooming off into the ocean. Rikki dived in after her and followed suit.

"Hey!" Will said, "No fair! We're not all mermaids too!" He took a deep breath and began to follow the girls.

Will had only been swimming a couple of minutes when he spotted the mermaid tail. Oh, he thought, Bella must have waited behind for me. He only saw the tail turn behind another bed of coral, and thinking this was a game, he followed it quickly.

After a few more minutes, he finally caught up with the tail, and saw its owner. Bella had her back to him and hadn't noticed him yet, so he swam up behind her, grabbed her by the shoulders, flung her body around, and kissed her full on the mouth. The kiss held for a long time.

It was only then that Will opened his eyes once more and realised the mermaid he had been kissing was not Bella.

He recoiled quickly. This mermaid was new; he had never seen her before. Mixed emotions crossed the mermaid's face as they looked at each other. First surprise, then confusion, then worry, and then anger. She thrust her hand towards Will and he felt his whole body go cold…

Rikki and Bella were starting to get worried now. They had been at the new reef for over half an hour and they knew that Will was slower than them – but not this slow. They silently agreed to go back and search for him. Bella was just rounding another bend when she saw Will, or at least his body. He was frozen solid. Panicking, Bella looked up and saw coming around the bend another mermaid, a new one. Her worry grew to fear as the new mermaid (who hadn't noticed her) began to drag Will's lifeless body towards the shore of the nearest island – Mako Island. In a bewildered daze, Bella raced to where Rikki was, pulling her to where she had witnessed the mysterious event. As they both turned the corner, they got a short glimpse of the mermaid's face before she shot out of the water.

Rikki's mind erupted in a collision of happiness and fear.

For it was the face of Emma Gilbert.

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