Aquata Cove

Chapter 26: In Good Company

Kaiken snorted as he glanced to his side, past over Umiato. He shook his head as he led his pod to the sand, and turned to them, "We shall rest here for a time!" He announced, "Hunters, go forth and bring game! The rest shall prepare a sand bank!" He commanded. A handful of mermen and mermaids then swam in different directions, while a few others, started digging into the sand.

Kaiken sighed in aggravation as he shook his head, "We should have traveled far from here by now..." He sensed his mate come up behind him, "The pod is dragging slow. Nothing should be changing..."

"Is it that hard to understand, Kaiken?" Umiato asked, "We have just lost an important part of our pod..."

"... It matters not," Kaiken said bitterly, "And why does Daughter carry that fragment with her? It is useless now."

"Kaiken..." Umiato said as she swam in front of him, "She has lost something that is very special to her. Do you blame her for wanting to cling to whatever she has left of him?" She asked sternly, "Do not tell me you do not feel remorse for what has happened."

"..." Kaiken turned his head away, and drifted apart, "He has forsaken himself as well as us, we should move past the fact that he has chosen his own fate... And that includes Daughter. He is nonexistent, and not worth our sorrow." He brandished his trident, and swam away. Umiato sighed, and looked down upon the Adra Noita.

Savarna is sobbing as she held the two halves of Merrick's trident, clinging to them as she tied them together, using a spool of fishing line.

~~~

"Oh my gosh..." Yuri said as Merrick held his forehead, with more tears running down his face, "Merrick, that's terrible, I'm so sorry."

"... Yuri... Look on the back of my neck..." Merrick said, "Tell me what you see..." He said weakly. Yuri crawled off the edge of the cliff, and moved behind Merrick, and saw the black symbol.

"A tribal symbol? It looks like a heart." She said, "Here," Yuri then took a nearby stick, and turned Merrick around to watch her. She drew an outline of a heart-design symbol on the ground, "Here's what it looks like... Give or take..."

"I see..." Merrick sighed as he bowed his head. He put his hand onto the mark behind him for a moment. Just like a tattoo, he can't physically feel it, but he knows its there.

Merrick sniffled as he rubbed his eyes, "I bring this misery upon myself... I couldn't bring myself to tell Adam what truly happened... I can't stand how much of a liar I am..."

"Well..." Yuri said, "Tell him the truth, then. He loves you, he deserves to know. You have to tell him eventually; he's going to wonder why you're still here."

"I get what you're saying, but you don't understand..." He replied, "Every time I even think about it, my heart falls apart..." He shook his head, and whined, "I can't... I can't say it again..."

"That's ok, you're just not ready to talk about it yet," Yuri said, "That's natural - everyone has times like that. And that's all you would have to tell him, and he'll understand. Hey," She turned Merrick's face to look at him, "He loves you with all his heart. You don't need to lie to him."

Merrick turned his face away from her, and looked out to the ocean. Yuri fiddled with her popsicle stick, "Look, I understand, Merrick. You feel that your love is what has gotten you exiled, and you didn't have the heart to let him know that. Adam told me that you called him a mistake when you tried to break up with him," Yuri said, making Merrick tremble as he whimpered, "But that's what love IS. It's a mistake, it's a risk, it's the best thing that can ever happen to you, and it can hurt you in so many ways, it involves so many risks, but the feeling you get from it is worth all the pain and struggle..." She looked down at the word, 'WINNER' engraved on the small stick of wood, with a crown symbol at the top of it, "Then again, what would I know...? I never even had a real relationship before... I'm probably in no position to be giving advice here..."

Yuri sighed as she stood up, and brushed her pants off of the sand, "I'm here if you need to talk to me, Merrick." With that, Yuri turned, and walked away from Merrick.

~~~

Adam sighed as he looked out of the back porch, seeing Merrick still sitting at the cliff. He's really worried about him - Yuri told him that Merrick has been out there all day. Adam groaned as he walked into his bedroom. He feels so helpless for Merrick - his poor merman is so upset, nothing seems to be able to cheer him up. Times like this, it's best for him to give his space.

Jamal looked as Adam went into his room, before walking out the back door. He slowly approached Merrick, looking up at the moon. "Hey," The blonde looked behind him, and then turned back around, "Mind if I sit here?" Jamal asked. Merrick just shrugged at that, so Jamal sat himself down right next to him.

A pause went by, to which they both said nothing. Jamal doesn't know what to say - he wants to try and console Merrick, but he can't think of a thing that could possibly be helpful. This kid lost most of his family after all, not to mention his best friend. Jamal sighed, and moved his leg to push himself up.

"Jamal?" Merrick finally said, "Where's... Where is your pod? I-I mean... Your family. Why do you, Adam, and Yuri live together?" Jamal blinked, and settled back down.

"Pshhh. What family?" He said lowly.

"Where is the rest of your pod? Where did you come from?" Merrick asked without turning to look at him.

"Wanna know bout mah family?" Jamal asked, "Well, I ain't got one. Least not anymore." Merrick turned his head to look at him.

"What do you mean?"

"I had one brutha, and a ma and dad, that's all.. I was neva really close wit any of em... I didn't have what chu call a happy childhood. No one really cared bout me when I was there. If anything, I was more of an inconvenience to them. I was always the little kid in the corner, hopin someone would notice me..."

"... What... What happened to them?" Merrick asked.

"My mama was a drug addict. She was arrested for dealing crystal meth when I was like 7 years old, and put away in jail cause eva since. I never really knew why she went away - alls I remember at the time was the cops comin in, and taking her out of the apartment," Jamal sniffed, and felt his own eyes water, "She was so tripped on so much stuff... She didn't even know me when I saw her again... Her mind is gone, where eva she is now...

"After that, my daddy had to work 3 jobs to get by. There were weeks where he didn't even look at me. Sometimes, I really wonder if my folks ever even know I was alive. Me n mah brotha was put in foster care - we got separated, he and me, since dad was workin his ass off, he didn't have time to waste on us."

"Yeas later, my brotha suddenly came to me. He says mama remembers er'ry thing bout us now, and we need to git some money to get her outta jail..."

"How?" Merrick asked. He understands half of what Jamal is talking about.

"Dunno. I was so moody at the time, I didn't think to ask questions - mah mama's empty face was driving me crazy, I wanted her to SEE me, ya know? So I went along with him..." Jamal shook his head, "Biggest mistake of mah life..."

"Why? What happened?"

"*Sigh* Mah brotha lied to me, that's wut." He said, "He had me learn how to make crystal meth - he told me it was just candy that adults eat. I wuz 16 at the time, and I guess I just shut my ears to everything around me. I just wanted mah mama...

"So he and I made a whole lot of 'candy' in this basement, and we be sellin it to people I neva even met. We was makin all kinds a money. I remember I kept askin, 'When we gonna see mama, Terry?', 'When is we gonna git her outta there?', 'I wanna see mama'. And he just kept givin me half-ass excuses..." His eyes cast downward at the dark ocean, "It went on fo 2 years. 2 years, and I ain't had a clue..."

"I was told not to take any of the stuff we was makin, but... The one time I tried it..." Jamal shook his head, "I don't remember it. Alls I can think of is when I woke up in a hospital." Jamal ignore the tear rolling down his own face, "I was told mah brotha had called an ambulance on me... That I was makin and sellin drugs on my own, and he had nuthin to do wit it. Didn't matta what I said - that he was helpin me, we was doin it for mama, and I thought it was candy... Mah daddy was there, and he didn't care nuff to vouch fo me... He just signed me off, sayin he ain't got the energy to deal wit me..."

"And... Your Mother?" Merrick asked as he looked at the dark male. Jamal shook his head.

"She was dead a long time ago..." He said. Merrick gasped silently at that, "Even when they tol me, I went to the clinic where she was stayin... And I found out she had smuggled some alcohol an pills into the ward, and drank herself to death..."

"Why... Why would your Brother fool you like that?"

"Drugs do bad things to people, dude. My brotha used me... He got me to make all those drugs, and when we got caught, he lied and left me behind..." He sighed as he looked out, "It really fucked up mah record... When mah boss found out, I was fired from the pet shop... A year later, I find out mah gurl was pregnant, and she was cheatin on me...

"Because of wut happened, I was put on a 5-year probation." Jamal said, "Heh... When I got here, I kept goin all about mah Rep, talkin bout the hood, West-Side shit, and all that stuff... Really, I's just bein a poser, cuz I wanted to pretend none of it eva happened...

"I couldn't take livin there anymo. I asked to be relocated to any other state - I didn't care where, just any place. And the agency chose to put me in Hawaii..."

"And... That's when you met Adam and Yuri?"

"Naw... I ain't met them till later. See, when you're a convicted drug dealer, they put it on yo record, and it shows to everyone who is thinking of lettin you live wit them..." His eyes lowered down, "Turns out, lotta people are a lot more shallower than you'd think... I been kept by 5 families, and none of them worked out with me..." He said, "The foster care people thought I should be put with religious families, to make sure I get put on the right way..."

"How did it not work with them?"

"They's all judgemennal. They kept me on a short leash, keepin a close eye on whatever I do, made me go to church. Theys hardly even truss me to go to the bathroom. I was actin out too. I was skippin curfew, skippin school, cussin them out er'ry turn... Guess it was just mah way of sayin, 'Fuck you, you don't know me!'

"Finally, the foster people asked ME what I wanted. I says, 'I wanna live wit someone mah age. I don't want no family or bible-swingin bitches preachin to me er'ry time I come home'. So, they lemme check the roommate ads mahself, I looked up this Adam Bryant dude," Jamal started to smile, "His granparents leasin him the house and stuff. They went over every detail of mah past wit him, and he still lemme live with him..." Jamal chuckled, "Movin in wit him was the best decision of mah life..."

Merrick started to smile as Jamal's story improved - nice talk about Adam... Somehow it made him feel better, "He and I got along REAL quick. He help me find a job at a place I like, treatin me like I was anybody else... That was somethin I ain't neva had, in a long, long time... He was bein mo than a friend... He just... He looked out fo me, WITHOUT judging me... He AND Yuri... When I got in trouble with the cops this one time, they was right there to bail me out... Tell them I wasn't doin nuthin..." The black man smiled and shook his head.

"Me an Adam git into all kinda of stupid stuff. We hang out, we have fun, I annoy him, he gits back at me... Yuri, she nice, almost mothery, she acts all grown-up when we git into it, she keeps us in check..."

"Adam is more of a brotha to me than mine eva was... And Yuri, she like a prissy lil sister that knows how to keep us both in line...

"Me 'n Adam git into scruffs, some stupid, rough play... No harm no foul - we even use to pull some dumbass pranks on each otha" Jamal said with a snicker, "Like REAL brothas... And Yuri's al'ays lecturin me bout housework, gettin on mah case fo things that don't even matta, taken care a me if I get sad, upset, or sick and stuff...

"They care, ya know? I ain't neva had anyone to just... Be there, ya know? Adam was curious bout how I got to be a convict, and I told him... And unlike anybody else I told, he believed me... He and Yuri, they didn't judge me... They just gave me a room, and... Took me in."

Merrick smiled up at him "So that's mah family there. Adam n Yuri; they's all the family I eva need. I keep wantin to git a dog though, but Yuri won't let me - since we gotta cat, she thinks theys gonna tear up each other."

"A dog?" Merrick asked.

"Oh yeah, you prolly don't know what that is. Here..." He took out his phone, and looked up several breeds of canines, "On'na these days, I'mma get a puppy, and I don't care wut Yuri says."

"Hehe. They remind me of seals..."

*NEEKNEEK! NEEKNEEK!*

Jamal checked his cellphone, and stood up, "I gotta head out," Jamal said, "You be good now, ya'hear?" Merrick smiled a little as Jamal walked away.

He turned to look at the sea once more, and stood up on his own. He walked back to the house, and slid the heavy glass door before he entered. Merrick walked into the bedroom, where Adam is already under the sheets. Merrick sighed and smiled as he looked at his lover.

At least there's one bright side to this ordeal. One thing that he knows will always be here. He'll always come back to Merrick, and he will never let him down.

Merrick climbed into bed, and slipped into the covers. He scooted up to Adam, and grinned as he felt Adam is already naked. He spooned up against the human, putting his arm around him. Adam smiled as he just pulled out of the slip into slumber, and turned around. Merrick giggled as Adam put his arm around the blonde, and snuggled him close.

"Feeling better?" Adam muttered. Merrick nodded against him, "That's good... I love hearing you laugh..." Adam whispered. He kissed Merrick's soft lips as his legs entwined with Merrick's.

"... Wanna feel even better~?" Adam asked as he pressed his flaccid penis against Merrick's.

"Ooh~ Yessir~" Merrick nodded. Adam chuckled as he then climbed up onto Merrick. The merman rose his pelvis up against Adam's hairy patch. "MMmm... I love how you're so fuzzy~" Merrick said. Adam chuckled as he laid himself down onto Merrick. The merman smiled peacefully as he felt Adam's weight upon him, "Mmmhhhh... You're so warm..." Merrick uttered. Adam smiled as he rubbed his body against the other.

"You're so smooth..." Adam whispered back. He nuzzled his neck as he started to ground his hips against the other. Merrick let his head back, and huffed slowly as he felt Adam's hot breath over his flesh. Adam gently kissed his neck, placed his lips down onto his jaw, and nibbled tenderly onto his cheek. Merrick murred as he felt his lover cuddle and nibble at him. He pushed his body up against Adam's form as their members slowly hardened as the cuddled in the warm darkness.

Merrick cooed as Adam kissed and lapped his lips upon Merrick's neck. While the human tenderly enticed him, Merrick's hand fumbled at the nightstand, and located the bottle of lube. He snuck the tube under the covers, and under their bodies.

"Mmmfff... Ooo!" Adam jumbled a little as he felt a sudden coldness spill onto his manhood. Merrick giggled as Adam's length felt a wet, slippery fondle. He bit his lip and stifled a grunt as he felt his heavy nuts get lubricated as well, "Heheh, you're like that too much, babe~" He said with a grin. Merrick giggled again as he played with Adam's genitals.

"Hehehe, you like this?" Merrick asked as he rolled Adam's balls around in his oily hand.

"Ooh, me likey a lot~" Adam said as he swerved his hips. Merrick smiled as he continued to palm and stroke Adam's sack and rod, before he kissed Adam's lips.

"I'm ready, Adam... I want you inside of me..." Merrick said.

"Mmmm..." Adam murred as he scooted his lower region inward, stroking his dick, and rubbing the sensitive glans along the flawless crack of Merrick's anus. He dug his tool deeper and deeper towards Merrick's crevice, until he found the right spot. He let go of his dick, and slowly put his hand onto the bed. Carefully, Adam moved his hips forward, feeling the small, tight muscle spread around his log. Merrick's brow furrowed, his mouth ajar, before widening, and moaning outloud as he felt himself swallow the human's thick cock.

"AHHHww! Ohhhh Adam~!" He moaned. His legs moved to behind Adam pushed in deeper. Adam sank himself deeper, until his pubic region pressed against Merrick's butt. Adam moved himself back, dragging his penis to the edge of Merrick's asshole, and pushing back in. Merrick's body arched as he whimpered in anticipation, "Ohhhh Adaaaamm~~" He moaned as Adam eased back, and pushed back deep again.

Merrick put his arms around Adam's shoulders as he felt him push into the depths of Merrick's insides again. "Ghhhhoood..." Adam growled as his hips rolled into Merrick again, "You drive me so crazy, baby..." Adam grumbled as he pulled back, and pushed in again, loving every inch of Merrick's tunnel, squeezing his cock as if to try and keep him anchored in his bottom.

"Oh Adam... You're so big..." Merrick moaned as he felt his anus fill up with Adam's thick, hot dick again. Adam positioned himself to push up, and made Merrick gasp and moan out, "OHH!" His hands gripped Adam's back as he rocked his pelvis to stir and press inside of Merrick. "Oh Adam!"

"That good, babe~?" Adam asked as he moved backward, and forced himself into Merrick once again, elating another weak moan from the merman. "Yeah, tell me you like that... Mmnnhh!" Adam moaned as he shoved hard into Merrick's rump again.

"Oh Adam~! I'm so hot for you~" Merrick moaned as his own hard penis throbbed against the fuzzy trail of Adam's abs. With his hand still dripping with lube, Merrick reached down, and started stroking his dick, "Ohhhh yesss!" He moaned as he masturbated underneath Adam, "Harder..." He uttered.

Adam moaned as he repositioned his legs, crouching down above Merrick, and shoved his rod into Merrick. "OHHhhh!" Merrick moaned out as Adam yanked himself back, and thrust back into him, "Ohh just like that!" He moaned as his arm jerked up and down.

The sounds of Merrick's squelching hand only made Adam hornier as he hilted into Merrick again, rolling his butt backward, and shoving deep into him again. The merman moaned and arched his back in pleasure as he felt that thick shaft drill into him again and again. "Oh Adam!" He wailed out as Adam started thrusting into him like a very randy hound dog.

"Ahh! Awww! Ooohhh! Ohh!" Merrick grunted and moaned as he jerked himself off, while Adam slapped his pelvis into him repeatedly, "Oh you're so good~! AHH!" Merrick moaned out more as Adam pummeled deep inside him, "OhhH! Ohhh! Ohh!" The merman groaned weaker and weaker as his man fucked him harder and harder. He became very aroused at the sheer power of Adam's dominance, feeling himself bounce back and forth on the bed from the raw thrusts Adam pushing into him.

"AWW! Adam!" Merrick said as his hand hammered up and down on him, "I-I'm close... Oh don't stop!" Merrick begged as he jerked off, "I'm so close! Don't stop fucking me!" Merrick moaned.

"Beg me more, Merrick. I think I wanna stop~" Adam said, taunting his lover as he shoved his cock deep into Merrick's ass. The merman gasped and moaned out.

"Pleeeeeaaase don't stop!" Merrick pleaded, feeling so close to the edge, "Oh don't stop!" Merrick moaned out as he felt himself get pushed back and forth, feeling that fat, thick cock shove deep inside him.

"Tell me what you want~" Adam growled as he forced himself back and forth into Merrick.

"Fuck me!" Merrick moaned out, "Fuck me harder..." Adam's thrusts became harder and faster, "Ohhh! Harder! Harder! Harder~!" Merrick begged as his hand squeezed his member, "Haaaaaarrrrrrr!!"

Merrick moaned and jerked as he felt his balls tighten, and his dick pulsed as he felt himself pour his thick seed all over his hand, squirting all over his stomach, moaning oh so pleasantly as his hot, slimy cum dribbled all over himself.

"Fuck, you're so hot!" Adam moaned as he pistoned himself into Merrick more and more, pummeling into that warm, tight tunnel. "Hoh! Hoohhh! Ohhh! Right there, right there, right there!" He ground his penis in one spot inside Merrick. His fists gripped into his sheets as his cock spasmed into Merrick's anus. "AWWW! Ahhh! OHHH! Haahh!"

Adam grunted and panted as he felt himself explode inside of Merrick. Merrick groaned as he felt the hot contents wash deep inside of him.

The human sighed and hissed as he tenderly pulled his dick out of Merrick's tight hole. He laid his sweaty body right next to Merrick, before giving Merrick a passionate kiss. The merman moaned as he felt Adam's tongue invade his mouth. Adam broke the kiss to gasp for air as he cuddled next to his lover.

Merrick murred pleasantly as he rolled to the side, and rested right next to Adam, "Oh Adam... I needed that... I love you... So much..." Adam cracked a smile as he kissed Merrick's forehead.

"That... Yeah, that was awesome..." Adam said. He smiled as he rolled on his side, as Merrick snuggled up to him. Adam pulled off the blanket, feeling VERY hot after just fucking him under the covers, "I'm always right here for you, sweetheart..." Adam muttered. Merrick nodded against Adam's burly chest.

"... I know... Babe..." Merrick whispered back. Using cutesie names is going take getting used to.

~~~

"You sure you don't wanna come with me, Merrick?" Adam asked as he and Merrick walked on the gravel.

"I'm sure... I still need some time, Adam..." Merrick said.

"Ok. Jamal should be home all day, so he can keep you company. Remember," Adam said as he pointed his finger at Merrick, "No hanky-panky while I'm gone, ok?" Merrick laughed as his man bent over and picked up his helmet.

"Yes, Adam, I got it. Be glad there isn't a red moon present, or I'd be all over him all day. Can't help it~" Merrick said with a smirk.

"THAT is an exception," Adam said. He put his hand onto Merrick's cheek, and kissed his lips. Merrick kissed him back, a little more affectionately, and nuzzled his man before he put his helmet on, and rumbled out of the gravel.

Merrick walked back into the house, where Yuri is sitting at the table with her laptop, "Hey, Merrick, do you have a minute?" She asked. Merrick shrugged as he walked over towards her.

"Sure. I have a lot of minutes if you need them." He replied. She chuckled as she pulled up a chair next to her - now that she knows he's a merman, his nudity became strangely acceptable.

Just then, a fully dressed, Italian guy with a duffle came in, and looked with a grin at Merrick, "Wow, it's ALWAYS rockin here!" He chuckled as he went to the door, "Tell Jamal I had a great time!" With that, the man left, leaving an awkward pause between Yuri and Merrick.

"Um... Sure," Merrick said as sat down next to Yuri, "What's up?"

"Well, you know how merfolk are a myth to humans, right?" Yuri asked. Merrick nodded to her.

"Yes. Adam has told me on occasion."

"Well, NOW I'm curious as to what's real and what's not; humans have come up with a lot of superstition over the years." She said. Merrick chuckled, as she typed into the Google Searchbar.

"I am not an expert, Yuri, but I'll answer the best I know."

"Sweet... O-K! How about... How about THIS thing?" She asked as she brought up a picture of the Sanbi - The three tailed turtle from Naruto; obviously fictional, but just to make sure. Merrick blinked and chuckled.

"That looks like a mighty beast, but it doesn't look like anything I've ever seen. Something like that would need to live very, VERY deep."

"I thought so. It's called the Sanbi, and it's from a TV show, it's not real. Now what about... This?" She pulled up a search of the Lochness Monster, "Is THIS real?"

"Heheh, you know, Adam asked me about that particular animal the last time I was here. I don't know what humans call them, but we call them Niseags. They exist, but they're vicious. We try to avoid them if we can - Accept the ones that live in or near the waters of Scotland, those are exceedingly docile."

"Ah cool. Now what about... Ok, something else, not well known... What about the Shen? It's a giant clam that makes illusions?"

"I'm not sure about making illusions, but I have seen clams and scallops as big as THIS house before."

"Ok. And the hippocampus? Half-horse, half-fish?" She said as she pulled up pictured from Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Sea of Monsters.

"Oh!" Merrick said, "That's it! That's a hippocampus!" Merrick said, "How did you get one to pose for pictures?!"

"Haha, we didn't," Yuri said, surprised, "This one was illustrated with computers, but you're saying they really look like that?"

"Yes! That's EXACTLY what they look like! They live in red kelp forests deep in the ocean. They're very easy to tame if you know how to talk to them.

"Wow... Ok, so how about THIS one?" Yuri asked, "This one is supposedly Japanese mythology," She typed up the grotesque, turtle-like creature, "It's called the Kappa. Not sure if you'd know it - it lives in rivers."

"... Yeah, I've seen one. Well, only two of them, once in MY life. According to the Razirah, they used to be merfolk."

"Wait, USED to be? How did they 'use to be' merfolk?"

"They mutated from a black sun."

"Black sun? You mean a Solar Eclipse?"

"Sure, whatever humans call it. They used to be Holsien merfolk, and when they mutated, they lose the consciousness of the sea, and become something differently foreign."

"And what does that have to do with a Solar Eclipse?"

"When a black sun comes into the sky, merfolk deform and twist into something else - ONLY when they're on land though. It's very unpredictable as to what the mutation will yield. Lets say that I was to be outside, while a black sun is happening. Even in human form, I'd become..." Merrick sighed and shook his head, "I don't know. Anything would happen."

"... That COULD be the reason for any other creatures. Like Sirens - are they fish-like, or bird-like?"

"Ugh, Sirens," Merrick grumbled bitterly, "Beautiful singing, but more bloodthirsty than anything else I know."

"Yeah, Adam mentioned those yesterday. He said they're both cannibals, AND maneaters?"

"Yes. Their gluttony knows no bounds..."

"There's been speculation that Sirens are bird-like?"

"I THINK I've seen one before, but I'm not sure. It's possible for a Piscien to turn into an Amnien during a black sun. Terrible creatures are born when the human god sleeps."

"... The human god?" Yuri asked.

"We know Him as the Land Father Mithras."

"Ok, now what about the Leviathan?" Yuri asked as she Googled it too. The site pulled up a handful of images pertaining to watery, dragon-like sea creatures. Merrick blinked, and shook his head.

"No. None of these look like Guardian Leviathan."

"Wait, Guardian? How do you mean?"

"There are 3 Guardians of the merfolk that come and serve to protect us when a Triton calls for them."

"Adam said there are 3 kinds of merfolk: Piscien, Amnien, and Holsien, right? Fish, mammals, and mollusks?"

"Yes. Leviathan is the Guardian that protects the Piscien merfolk."

"Interesting... Here," Yuri got up, and went to her room. She came back with a few pieces of paper, and a black marker, "This is called a marker," She explained, taking off the cap, and writing in a few kanji characters on one sheet. Merrick observed with intrigue. She moved a paper to Merrick, and handed him the marker, "Think you can draw it out for me? I'd like to see what it looks like."

"Ok..." Merrick put the marker to paper, just like Yuri did. He then drew in an elongated, fish-like image with fangs and large, sail-like dorsal fins, "This is a... Rough idea of what Guardian Leviathan looks like..." Merrick then drew in a dolphin-like torso and head, with four extended, frilly fins instead of pectoral and tailfins, before drawing in a whirlpool image that curved and lead to its bottle-nose. "This is what the Amnien Guardian Charybdis may look. And..." Merrick then drew a squid-like image with many tentacles, a large, curved, black fang on the front and backside of it, with arrow-shaped flippers on either side of its head, "And this should be the Holsien Guardian Kraken."

"And merpeople worship these Guardians?" Yuri asked.

"No," Merrick said, "We revere and rely on the Guardians to protect us. We worship the Sea Mother Atargatis."

"Ooh, tell me about Her." Yuri said, intrigued.

"The Sea Mother is the goddess of all merfolk and all other creatures of the ocean," Merrick said, "She gives us life, love, our souls, everything about us, She gives and watches over us."

"So, is She Piscien, Amnien, or Holsien?" Yuri asked.

"She is none of them. Or rather, She is all three," Merrick said, "Here, lemme..." Merrick took another paper, and started to draw, "Instead of fins or hair, water flows from her head, that eventually becomes part of the sea... She is draped in the winds that blow and fly around the sea... Her tail is of pure moon light..." Merrick said as he smiled peacefully as he drew the best he can of the goddess he reveres, "She is what makes merfolk for what we are..."

"... And what about Mithras?" Yuri asked. Merrick put aside the drawing of Atargatis, and took another clean sheet of paper.

"The Land Father Mithras... Is said to have a head of trees... Draped with the leaves of plants... And a mantle of pure sunshine..." After the illustration, Merrick paused, and looked to his Japanese friend.

"... Yuri? I want to ask something..." Merrick said.

"Oh? Go ahead-" Yuri started, but was interrupted by her cellphone. "Shoot, I'm running late! Sorry, Merrick, I have to go."

"G-Go where?" Merrick asked.

"To the hospital. I'm still studying to be a doctor." She said as put on her white leather jacket, "I'm not gonna be back till tonight, just so you know."

"O-Ok..." Merrick said.

"See you later!" Yuri took off quickly. Merrick sighed as he closed Yuri's laptop, and looked over the drawings he drew. He then heard a groan from the hallway looked up and smiled. Jamal came into the living room, stretching as he walked. Merrick blushed harshly and giggled as he saw the muscular, black man come in, wearing absolutely nothing on his dark chocolate body.

"Ggghhh... Hey, Blonde," Jamal said, "... Did you see a hot guy come by here?"

"Yes, he left a while ago. He said to tell you he had a great time." Merrick told him as he got up from the kitchen table.

"Ah, ok. Glad to hear it, cause I think it coulda gone better." He said as he rubbed his eyes. He chuckled as he looked at Merrick, "Gotta say, it's real nice to be hang out nekkid wit somebody that don't freak out."

"Why would I freak out?" Merrick asked, "You're... Hot? If that's what humans say. You're sexy anyhow!" Jamal chuckled at that.

"Thanks, kid," Jamal said as he flopped down onto the couch. Merrick sat right next to him.

"Jamal... Can I ask a question?"

"Sure, Blonde. Go ahead."

"... What are humans' approach towards... Homosexuals? I think that's what we're called - that I'm attracted to males?"

"Yeah, Homosexuals, that's what they called. They also called 'gay'."

"Mhm. See, I ask because..." Merrick hesitated, and talked steadily, "I was wondering... Do humans get banished for mating with the same gender?"

Jamal took a deep breath, and sighed, "Yeah. Alla time..." He said lowly, "It's a lot better to how it used to be, but yeah, people still freak out about guys screwin other guys."

"But... What about you? I've seen males and females alike come from your room. Which one are you attracted to? I've been confused about that since I came here." Merrick asked. Jamal chuckled.

"Yeah, see, I'm bisexual. Dat's someone who likes BOTH genders - men AND women," He explained.

"... Did Adam get banished for being gay?"

"Naw, he just wanted to move out of his folks place. Same with Yuri."

"So... Humans don't live in pods? With each other?" Merrick asked.

"Some do, others don't," Jamal said, "It depends."

"Alright... I have one more question..."

"Sure, shoot."

"Why won't Yuri let you have a... Dog? I just, I don't understand it."

"Psssh. You n me both, kid. We got plenny of space, only got one other animal. She just a cat person, she afraid a dog's gonna kill Roxas."

"Why's that?"

"Dogs and cats tend to get aggressive wit each otha. Plus, she thinks a dog would be too big fo round here."

Merrick paused for a moment, before speaking again, "I'm not sure what humans are used to, but if space is an issue, I do know of one creature you may be interested in..."

~~~

"What are we lookin fo, exactly?" Jamal asked as he walked along the forest path. He's carrying an empty plastic bucket with a small iron shovel, and wearing only a pair of shoes and some jersey shorts, while Merrick is only wearing sandals and satin boxers.

"You'll see," Merrick said as he lead Jamal to Aquata Cove, "We need to go behind it. Behind the waterfall," He said as he led Jamal up the hill to a river that eventually went to the waterfall. The merman went to a patch of soil, and knelt down. He put his ear to the dirt, and paused for a moment. Jamal just watched as the merman sounded a strange call to the soil.

"... I think there's one here... Lets soak the dirt."

"Aight then..." Jamal then took out the shovel, and gave it to Merrick. He went to the calm river, and dipped the bucket into it. He lifted up the heavy, filled bucket over to the patch of dirt Merrick appointed, and poured the water onto it. The water splashed down onto the soil, soaking into the dirt like a sponge.

"It needs more. More water," Merrick said.

"Aight. Just tell me when," Jamal said.

The strong, black male went back and forth to the river, scooping up water, and dumping it all over the patch. Just after he poured the 5th bucket of water, Merrick stuck the shovel into the earth, and dug into the patch. He had only dug a foot into the soil, when he smiled from a jittery growl.

Jamal raised his eyebrows as he got on his knees, and saw an otter-like canine creature. Half covered in mud, there is dog-like animal with floppy ears, twitchy snout. Merrick dipped his hand into the remaining water in the pail, holding a good amount of it thanks to his webbed hands, and sprinkled it onto the small, furry creature.

"Yo, wha's dat??"

"It's a Lavellen. They usually sleep when the soil is dry, but they become active when it's wet in their area," Merrick explained as the small, otter-like dog shook its body, and groomed itself with the water dripping down on it, "This one's a female. As long as it's fed and kept in a moist environment, it should be docile and easy to care."

"Heh," Jamal reached in, and pet the canine's matted fur - its body seems to be resistant to the dirt and water. It licked his palm, and nuzzled his hand as it murred, "It ain't a golden retriever, but it's a good start," Jamal then filled the bucket with dirt and water, and led the Lavellen into the pail, "Think I'll call her Lavi, fo short."

Merrick and Jamal got up, and walked away from the spot, with Lavi digging and tucking into the muddy bucket, and curling up into the dirt, "I'll dig her a lil pond, and a small lil shower so she thinks its rainin."

"Yeah, I know how humans can make their own rain!" Merrick said as they walked.

--- The Next Day ---

Adam walked over to the cliff, where Merrick is enjoying one of Yuri's Sea Salt bars. He smiled as he squat down, and kissed Merrick's cheek. The merman smiled as he turned his head, and kissed Adam back.

"You doing ok, babe?" He asked.

"Yeah... A little better now," Merrick replied, "You going to work?"

"Naw, I'm off today. Was just thinking we can take a walk together."

"... No, it's ok, Adam... I kinda need to be alone right now..." Merrick said. It's hard to even look at him, while still holding his secret.

"Aw. Ok, sweetie..." Adam said as he got up.

"Adam?" Merrick stood up, and faced his lover.

"Yeah, hun?"

"There's..." Merrick said as he looked up at Adam, "There's something I have to tell you... But... I don't think I'm ready..." Merrick said, rather hesitantly, "I should tell you, but I'm... Reluctant... I don't..."

"What, did you and Jamal have sex while I was at work?" Adam jested with a grin.

"N-No! Nothing like that! I just..." Merrick said as his eyes watered, "I can't... Put it in a way-"

"Sweetie," Adam said as he gently stroked Merrick's cheek, "Whatever it is, take your time. You tell me when you're ready. I'm always right here for you." Adam said. Merrick's eyes glistened as he looked at Adam.

"That much, I know already." Merrick said.

"Hey," Adam said, "I love you." Merrick smiled as he kissed Adam.

"I love you too." Merrick replied, before sitting back down onto the cliff, and nibbling on his Sea Salt.

~~~

Adam sighed as he walked along the beach. It's still early; maybe Merrick will feel like walking later.

He must still me mourning for his pod. Not ALL of them were killed, but most of them didn't make it, including his best friend. He can't help but wonder though, if his pod WAS massacred, shouldn't he be helping the remaining merfolk send the dead off? Then again, Adam doesn't know anything about how merfolk deal with their funerals or when one of them dies.

'And I wonder what he wants to tell me?' Adam pondered.

Suddenly, Adam felt his left foot stuck, "Ohff! Ah!" He staggered for a moment before looking down, "What the hell?!"

Coming from the shore, is seawater, flowing and coiling around his leg. Like a serpent, that water engulfed his foot, and flow higher onto him. He gasped as he felt his leg get pulled roughly as soon as it covered his limb, and making its way onto his stomach, "Ah! What the-" Adam grunted and struggled as more sentient water rose up from the rising tide, and elevated to grab his hands.

"Fuck, no!" His feet dragged on sand as he was pulled towards the sea. He looked to see Merrick still on the cliff, licking his ice cream. The human tried desperately to break free of the water as it wrapped itself around his chest.

"MERRI-MMM!" The water slipped over his mouth, muffling his voice as his body had been pulled into the water up to his waist. He tried in vain to move away, but it's no use. Soon, the water level of the beach reached his neck, and the sentient water next pulled his head down below the surface.

 

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