Aquata Cove

Chapter 40: At Wit's End


Doctor Kaiser leans on the wall with his arms crossed as his predator-like eyes leered through his glasses at the files that lay on the table. Another scientist nervously fiddles with her notes, fearing that Nigel will snap her head off the very second she opens her mouth, while Keith clinks around with his old butterfly knife, completely calm and collected.

Nigel paces around the room, his eyes full of silent rage as he glances at the surveillance screens. Brimming with frustration and anger, each sight of Adam turning in his sleep, or Merrick looming in his tank, brings him nothing but white-hot fury.

"Well," Kaiser said softly, "This is getting us nowhere."

"..." Nigel stopped in his tracks as he looked at the various X-Rays, "And what do you suggest we do, Kaiser?"

"I believe we are up a creek without a with these young men," The doctor said, "Maybe it is time to begin the hunt anew? Perhaps we should question Mr Bryant's bedfellows."

"Don't you think I've thought about that?" Nigel said, "From what I've done with Adam, I'm at my limits on any further conduct. I'm facing enough noise as it is, with Miss Conally constantly nagging me."

"What about Miss Pink then?" Keith said, referring to the very few files that they have on Belinda - which consists of nothing more than a written profile and a few photographs.

"Haven't you been listening, Keith?" Nigel growled, "If I pull another abduction like with Adam, I'm finished. If that woman turns out to be a citizen, that's it."

"What if she ain't?" Keith said, "S'ppose she a mermaid. Wouldn't that be progress?"

"And what if she's not?" Nigel said, "Get it through that thick skull of yours - I am on thin ice."

"How bout this," Keith continued, "I go to the pier we spotted her at. I get a cup of water. I throw it in her face. She changes, we take her in," Keith stated. "What do ya think?"

"I think you need to keep your goddamn mouth shut." Nigel replied.

"Hey, just tryin to help here."

"Hmph."

"Um..." Said the meek scientist, who barely has worked up the nerve to utter a single sound, "What if we tried the Water Torture with him?" Nigel turned to her, giving her an evil gaze of death, "A-Adam, I mean..." She shook as his eyes reduced her to a meager mouse.

"The Water Torture." Nigel turned his attention to the girl, "After spending 10 hours of it on the merman, only for him to sneer at my face, you want to try that on his boyfriend." He walked up to her, towering in rage over the young scientist.

"I-It's just..." Taking a bold move, the female spoke on, "You haven't done anything more since you had him paralyzed... Sir."

"Are you really going to sit there in your seat," Nigel began as his arm began to rise, "And tell me how to run my detainees, you little, useless, simpering-" His arm backed up, and thrust at the quivering scientist.

KHH!

Nigel's wrist is grabbed by a rubber-gloved hand, belonging to Dr Kaiser. Nigel's eyes of rage stared right into Kaiser's dead gaze.

"Nigel, say and do whatever you want to anything else," Kaiser said very softly, "But I will not have my protégés harmed out of aggression" Those glazed eyes narrowed, "Not even by your hand." Nigel yanked his hand away. He turned around, and threw a chair from across the room. The scientist eeped as she observed the mild violence. "Jessica, why don't you go to the labs, and see if they have anything for us."

Without saying another word, she dashed out of the office. Keith snickered at the mere drama of the moment.

"Now really, Nigel," Kaiser said, "She was only trying to sort out your-"

"Then she should have come up with a better answer!!!" Nigel yelled, "What in the hell were you bringing a fledgling like HER for anyway?!"

"You ordered me to come in here, and I was still in the process of setting up shop. It was her turn to sort the files, and you know I can't leave anything unlocked and vulnerable."

"YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!" Nigel roared.

"Hey hey," Keith said, "Take it easy, bossman."

"And you shut your goddamn hole!" Nigel said as he pointed, "You're lucky I even keep you around, if it weren't for your efficiency."

"Pfff," Keith shrugged, "You wanna tell me why you're all bent outta shape? Last I heard, havin the Fagfish's personal ass-fucker was gonna make things easier."

"It was!" Nigel retorted, "We've pumped him with enough Sodium Pentothal to get his whole goddamn life story!!! Yet he hasn't even given a slightest bit of anything I'm inquiring!"

"Oook?" Keith said.

"You're such a goddamn idiot!" Nigel threw up his arms and walked away.

"Sodium Pentothal," Kaiser said, turning to Keith, "Otherwise known as 'Truth Serum', is a drug that basically makes someone talkative, and utterly honest - the idea is to make them high in a way where they openly talk just about anything."

"Now see, that's MY kinda language!" Keith commented as Nigel shook his head, "So what's the problem?"

"We've administered 50ml of the Truth Serum into Adam's blood stream - that's five small bottles a little bigger than a shot glass," Kaiser continued, "And not only is it not having the desired results, but he shows absolutely no behavioral effects from the injections. We may as well have injected him with his vaccinations while we were at it."

"Well, this is all news to me." Keith said.

"Usually, I'd be very fascinated to examine as to how a living human being could have such immunity," Kaiser turned his head to Nigel, "Were someone would give me some time to do my work my way."


"Don't start with me, Kaiser." Nigel snarled.

*KSSSH* " Kaiser?=" Came a voice on the doctor's walkie. He picked it up, and held it to his mouth.

"Yes? What is it?"

" may have found something interesting about Mr Bryant's blood.="

"Very well. We'll be there presently." Dr Kaiser put back his communicator, and gestured for Nigel, "Shall we?"

~~~

Nigel and Kaiser entered the lab, where the other scientists were at work. They walked to one in particular, who has a sample of Adam's blood.

"First few times, I thought I had accidentally been studying the merman's blood. However, it's Adam's blood, and these are still the results."

"How do you mean?"

"Well, I've studied his blood, and introduced it to a drop of the Sodium Pentothal, as well as a few other compounds." Nigel looked into the microscope, "Just like with the merman, Adam's blood seems to defuse any foreign substances that are injected right into the bloodstream." The enzymes of the blood eat away at the tiny drop of serum on the small glass slate, "It's broken down into useless proteins within minutes, sir."

"So what are you saying?" Nigel asked, "He has fish blood now?"

"N-No, it's still human blood. But it has astounding immunity over most of the chemicals I've put into it." The scientist said, "I think it also worth mentioning that the previous paralysis victim needed over 24 hours to recover, while Adam here showed signs of trembling within 90 minutes, and he was able to move his arms within 3 hours after that."

"My, that IS impressive." Kaiser commented, "To have such an interesting biology..." He turned to Nigel, who really looked at a loss for words, "So what do you propose next, Nigel? If chemical warfare is not going to work, what can we do?"

"..." Heavy with frustration, Nigel's fists clenched, "I stopped playing nice a long time ago..." He muttered. He straightened up, and turned to Kaiser, "Now the gloves are officially off..."

~~~

Jacob's pencil shook slightly as he had paused in drawing the possible compounds of Merrick's tears. It's such a strange and wonderful substance, but he can't even enjoy the thrill of breaking down and developing on it from what's been going on. He's so close to forming a new chemical from it. Just a few hypotheses away from discovering a new possible element!

"..." He sighed as he put down the pencil. He still has trouble sleeping. Merrick's muffled cries and screams are still resonating inside his head. He can still remember seeing the helpless aquatic creature as his colleagues crowded around him, cutting, plucking, and skinning him bit by bit.

"I can't..." Jacob muttered. He can't think right now. Hell, he doesn't even think he can continue this work anymore...

He got up, and walked away from the table, shaking his head as he went.

~~~

"Nnngh!" Adam grunted as his arms were strapped down with thick, wide belts, along with his legs, ankles, and over his torso, "What are you doing now?!" He demanded as they even bound his head to the table. A masked doctor takes a needle pilled with muscle relaxant, and lines it up to Adam's arm. He grunts in pain as the needle pushes through his skin, and injects the chemical.

"I am getting sick and tired of all this drama, Mr Bryant," Nigel said as he came in. Adam looked up at him, from his awkward position on the table, "Since neither of you will cooperate, I have to resort to drastic measures."

"Please, just let us go!" Adam begged, "Haven't you done enough to us?!"

"No." Nigel answered, "I will never have done enough until I get the answers I need."

"You're wasting your time!" Adam said, "You're killing us for nothing!!"

"I wouldn't have to be killing you two if you would just help an old man achieve a dream in jeopardy." He calmly said.

"So sorry I'm late." Kaiser said as he brought in some old-fashioned looking equipment. Adam looked as best he can, his stomach feeling like its about to be sick.

"What's that??"

"You know, when I was a young man - younger than yourself, I might add," Kaiser said, "I was working at one of those Ex-Gay Ministries. Mother insisted." He said. Adam looked with terror into those glasses, "Oh, not that I really believe that homosexuality is a sin - frankly, I couldn't care less. It was just some of the methods they used - call me dark, but half the time, I had to keep myself from laughing at all of the staff's idiotic idealism. Those self-righteous fools all came across like clowns to me.

"In particular, I was fascinated by a rather nasty old treatment of theirs..." He said as he stroked the box next to him, "They believed that homosexuality can be cured through the administration of Electro-Shock Therapy..." Under his paper mask, Kaiser was grinning, "Once again, I don't care one way or the other over the subject of homosexuality, but just the sheer science of it. It always bothered me how such lunatics could be allowed to wield such magnificent equipment..." He giggled very lowly, "I was eventually fired because I was caught making a dead frog move again using the tech. Hahaha, the way they ranted and raged at me was so hilarious..."

TCK. The device buzzed quietly into life, priming up for use.

Adam turned his eyes back to Nigel in fear, "No! You wouldn't! NOO!"

"The gloves are off, Adam," Nigel said darkly. He leaned closer so his face was right next to Adam, with Dr Kaiser picking up a rubber block, "Are you going to help me, or not?"

Adam's eyes watered as he breathed deeply, his heart going wild in his ribs. It's so tempting to just give in now. If it was anyone else, he would tell everything he knew. Even imagining Merrick - poor, poor Merrick, who has suffered so much already - is enough to make him break down into pieces. One fact, maybe two, heck - repeat everything that went on inside of Aquata Cove. To tell this ruthless man all that Merrick has told him. To have all of the pain from this Agency end, the idea of going home, holding hands with his merman. To cradle the love of his life in his arms, doing his best to ease the suffering...

Merrick would never forgive him.

Taking a deep breath, a single tear ran down the side of his face, "Go to hell..." He groaned as his lower lip trembled.

Nigel sighed as he shook his head, "Alright. Have it your way." Adam glared at him while a thick, rubber mouthpiece was shoved into his mouth, prying his jaws open. "Kaiser," Nigel said, "He's all yours."

"Don't worry..." Kaiser said as he dipped each electrode into the conductive jelly, "I'll be gentle..." Adam breathed harshly through his nose as he could sense the doctor getting ready to shock him. A whine sounded in his throat as he closed his eyes tightly.

~~~

Merrick leaned on the wall with his wrists cuffed together, glaring at Keith as he stood armed and ready to strike anytime, but looking completely content.

"Is there any reason why I have to be near you?" Merrick asked, "I'd rather be alone in the tank than have to look at you for more than a moment."

"Tough luck, Fagfish." Keith answered.

"And stop calling me that."

"Or wut?" Keith said, relishing the name-calling, "Fagfiii~sh?"

"Want a reminder of how I can beat you?"

"Hmph," Keith pulled out a gun, and pointed it at Merrick, "Try anything, and I'll blast your goddamn brains out, Faggot."

"Can't imagine your Nigel would be pleased with you doing something like that to me, Redneck."

"Yeah, go on and keep talkin." Keith said, "I'm just here to-" His communicator flashed up, and he brought it to his ear, "Yeah? ... Ah, ok then." He put it down, and looked at the dry merman, "That was Nigel. Says he's gotta good show for ya."

"And what could that mean?" Merrick asked. Keith chuckled at him.

"Tell me, Ariel. You ever heard of Shock Therapy?"

"No. And that's not my name, Redneck."

"Shock Therapy is where they strap a patient down, and electrocute them. One use for it is to cure homosexuality, or dealing with kids on bad behavior."

"Yeah, not getting it. Try again."

"It means, they put lightning in yer body, and it shocks ya."

"So? What does that have to do with me?" Merrick blinked, and glared daggers at Keith, and taking a stance, "It's not like I would even let you do that to me."

"Hahaha, it ain't got nuthin to do with you. Nigel reckon you git killed if we put you to it."

"Alright, so why are you still talking?"

"Like I said," Keith picked up a remote, and turned on the TV that was in the room, "He gotta good show for you."

Merrick looked at the screen, and saw a human on a table, squirming wildly as his body convulses, but seems unable to move. He gasps as he came closer to the TV, "No..." He looked closely at the human's face, and felt an icy surge of fear run through his heart. "Adam?"

"Can't risk eletracutin a fish. So they's goin with a guy, ain't they?"

"What are they doing to him?!" He demanded as a pair of hands placed onto either side of Adam's head, before his upper body erected up, "ADAM!!!"

"I told you before, Fagfish. They's puttin lightning in his brain, and fryin him up in the inside..."

Tears welled in Merrick's eyes as he saw Adam's body thrashing about, strapped down onto the table, "STOP IT!!" He yelled, "He's done nothing to you!! STOP HURTING HIM!!"

"They can't here you, Ariel." Keith said with a smirk, "It's just a TV." Merrick huffed and sobbed as he helplessly watched his lover suffer at the human's hands.

"And it's aaallll on you, fishbrains." Keith continued, "You had been a good little faggot, and tell Nigel everything that he wanted, you two Sodomites could be walkin outta here alive." Sparkling tears seemed from Merrick's eyes as he cried, "But noooo. You just had to keep kickin and screamin, and now he's gotta teach yall a lesson about respect." Merrick put his hand on the screen as Adam's body twitched and tensed.

"Adam... Don't die..."

"This could all have been avoided if you was just a good lil fairy."


"No!" Merrick watched as the scientist placed the tools to Adam's temples once again, "LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!"

"I told ya, they can't hear you." Keith said. Merrick cried as Adam's torso once again arched.

"ADAAAMM!!"

"You can make this stop, Ariel." Keith said as he got his communicator out. Merrick slipped his hand off the screen. "Alls ya have to do is tell me ya ready to talk, and you and your assfucker can be right outta here."

"..." Merrick began to shake, "Shut up..."

"Hm? What'chu say?" Keith inquired, "You ready to talk now?"

"..." Merrick turned around, his eyes darkened with rage, "Shut your repulsive face..."

"Now now, Ariel..." Keith taunted, "Lets not get ugly." Merrick slowly turned around, his eyes narrowed at the human, seething with wrath.

"That... Is not..." He took a hard step, "MY NAME!!!" He roared. Keith snapped the gun right up, aimed right at Merrick's head.

"You stay back now, Fagfish." Keith threatened. "One wrong move, and you're shark bait, ya got me??"

"... Fine..." Merrick's throat began to rumble, purring like a predator on the hunt, "I will not move..."

"Don't try any funny moves now, Fagfish..."

"Release him..." Merrick growled, "You tell them to release my Adam immediately... Or else pray to your God."

"I'm warning you." Keith cocked his pistol, "You sit your queer ass down, lil mermaid."

"... You have wasted my mercy." Merrick's teeth bore as he took a deep breath.

~~

"MMMMMGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" Adam screamed with his mouth full of the rubber block, his body convulsed wildly on the table as the electricity coursed through his body.

Through all the mind-numbing agony, he kept thinking of only Merrick's happy face. All the times they've spend together.

Swimming in the grotto, that perverted fish yanking off his trunks everytime he jumps in, he has no idea why he bothers with them. Collecting trinkets and shells to keep in the little chest they set up in the cove. All those times they've kissed and made love in that crystal cavern. The very moment Merrick taught himself to walk just to please Adam. Cuddling with joy when Atarah had cured Merrick of the oil. Comforting him after he was banished, then celebrating his birthday with him. There has to be more times than that!!

After almost a whole minute, Adam's body eased down again. His chest jumped up and down as he breathed harshly through his nose. Tears poured from his closed eyes as he endured the endless spiral of electric pain. His cries were muffled in with the mouthpiece as he shook terribly on the table.

Nigel came in close again, and leaned down, "You're at your limit, Adam." He muttered coldly, "One more dose, and you'll be knocked out for the rest of the day, not to mention any brain damage that might occur." Adam groaned loudly as his body still buzzed with agony. "Now I'll ask again. Will you help me now?"

"Mmmhmff," Adam shook his head back and forth, refusing him once again. Nigel shook his head.

"You boys really are gluttons for punishment, aren't you?" Nigel stood up, and nodded to Kaiser, "One last shock. And we'll try the routine again in the morning."

"Yessir-"

"KEEEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

A thunderous screech roared throughout the entire building. Everybody jumped as the lights flickered from the long sound.

"What in the world was that?!" Nigel demanded.

"What's going on? What's happening?!" Kaiser said.

Nigel picked up his walkie and turned it on "Keith, what was that noise?! What it Merrick?" There came no answer. "Keith! This is your commanding officer! What is your status?!" Again, no answer. "GODDAMMIT ANSWER ME!!" Once more, there was no response on the other side. "Alright, Kaiser, turn off the machine until I get back!"

"Very well." Kaiser complied, and turned off the electric box, while Nigel stormed out of the place, and called for half a dozen guards to meet him.

~~~

"Keith!" Nigel said as he burst into the cell where he ordered Keith to detain Merrick. He looked down, and gasped as he saw his best guard on the floor, with his gun near his hands. Keith's eyes were open, lifeless. A stream of blood is slowly oozing out of both ears, and drool leaks out of his ajar mouth.

Nigel's eyes darted to see Merrick, snarling a dark rumble as he glared up at them. Just as Merrick took another deep breath, Nigel drew out the sound-gadget, and emited the same horrible chirping noise.

EEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEPEEP

"AHHHH!" Merrick squirmed as is the noise had physically tackled him against the wall - with his hands bound, he is unable to cover his ears. Several guards rushed in, and gagged Merrick's mouth and held tightly onto his arms.

"What do we do with him, sir?" Asked one of the guards. Nigel stopped the noise.

"Just throw him into the tank for now! I'll decide later. Run the standard protocal for Keith too!" Nigel shook his head as he looked at Keith's lifeless body, "Just couldn't keep your mouth shut, could ya."

~~~

Nigel strode down the hall towards the cell where Adam is strapped for the Shock Therapy. He squinted his eyes, before widening with anger as he saw a head of curly blonde hair through the window, "God's sake," He ran down the hall, "ERIN!!!"

He burst through the doors, to find his assistant helping a very shaky Adam off of the table, and onto a wheelchair held by Daniel.

"Miss Conally, what do you think you're doing?!" Nigel demanded.

"It's alright, you're going to be ok..." Erin said softly. "That's it, take it easy." Adam sobbed and grunted as she put him in the chair, still shaking horribly from the ordeal.

"Conally, you are dismissed!" Nigel declared as he took some long steps to her, "I am relieving you of-" Erin whirled around, and SLAPPED Nigel's undamaged cheek, "AHH!" He staggered to the side. He put his hand onto his face as he looked at her.

"What in the hell is the matter with you?!" Erin shouted, "SHOCK THERAPY?!"


"There is no other way, Conally!" Nigel retorted, "You are overstepping your boundaries this time-"

"That's rich, coming from you!" Erin said, "You are in a WHOLE mess of trouble, do you understand me! You have gone TOO far, Nigel!"

"You don't have the authority for ANYTHING, Conally! Just stay out of my way or-"

"Or WHAT?! Huh?? 'I'll lose everything dear and precious to me'? Enough with the bullshit, Nigel!" She said, "Listen to me carefully, Nigel. It's one thing to capture and interrogate a merman! He's considered an unclassified animal, and I can't change that!" Erin backed up, and pointed to Adam in the wheelchair, "But Adam is an adult American Citizen with human rights, and you cannot - repeat - CANNOT treat him this way! He has NO criminal record, has not been ordered by a court to be here, you just flat out abducted him from his job!"

"I have just about had it with you, Conally." Nigel said, "I AM the law here! What I say goes, and you, Missy, have crossed the line."

"You're not even listening to me, are you?!" Erin asked, "And that's why you're going down, you hear me?" She turned to the guard, "Lets go, Daniel. Now." Obediently, Daniel pushed the wheelchair around Nigel, and through the door that Erin in holding open.

"You don't quite grasp the situation, Conally!" Nigel called out.

"Whatever!" She retorted.

"You're going to regret this!!"


"Shut it before I push your jellyfish wound into the shore!" Erin yelled right before throwing the door behind her.

~~~

"MMMM! MRRRRMMMHHH!" Merrick struggled as the two guards dragged him into the tank room. One of the other guards started to work the controls of the tank, while another opened the sliding hatch. Merrick seethed through his gag as they brought him closer and closer, determined to kill all of these guards off as well.

When they were up to it, they forced the merman into the tank, before quickly removing the cuffs, and slamming the hatch shut! Merrick yanked the gag out of his mouth as he whipped around, and banged on the tank, yelling like a crazed criminal at them.

"Jesus Christ..." Said Sarah as she looked at the merman as the water began to pour into the tank, "He killed Keith... Just by screaming?"

"LET ME OUT!" Merrick screamed, "LET ME OUT NOW, YOU MONSTERS!!" Merrick's flesh soon melded into blue and silver. Once he was completely submerged, Merrick began to screech in the water while still clawing and banging on the glass tank.

~~~

"Nnnnhh... Ghhennnnn..." Adam trembled and whimpered terribly as Daniel and Erin carefully moved him to the bed.

"Careful... Easy now..." Erin said lowly.

"I got him." Daniel said as he gently placed Adam's head onto the pillow.

"He's..." Adam's eyes remained closed, "He's not an animal..." Adam whimpered thickly, "He's not an animal, he's my Merrick..."


"I know, I'm sorry..." Erin said.

"Please, just please..." Adam held back a sob while still squirming on the bed, "Just please get us out of here..." He sobbed as tears continued to flow from his eyes. "Or just him... Please, he's... He's suffered too much..."

"Don't worry, it's ok..." Erin stroked Adam's forehead, "I'm putting an end to this. It might take me a few days, a week tops. But I'm getting the both of you out of here."

"NNnnggh... Thank you..." Adam cried. He cringed and shook as Erin and Daniel left Adam to recover. After looking the door, Erin looked at Daniel, who was beginning to sob himself.

"Daniel."

"Just..." He huffed, "I have a boyfriend too, and..." He shook his head, "I can't talk about it, Erin..." He managed to say. He strode away, wiping at his eyes.

"Right..." Erin muttered as her eyes cast down, "Then I've got some work to do..." With that, she walked down the hall.

~~~

"What a shame..." Dr Kaiser said as he placed his electrodes into their container, "All this time of waiting to use you, only to have it end too soon." He closed the box, and placed it on the shelf, and locked the cabinet door.

He walked down the lab, and glanced at a table, and saw some compound notes. "... Ah, young Jacob's tear notes. Odd that he would leave them lying here, unattended..." He picked up one of the sheets of paper, and examined it, "And unfinished..." He commented.

"Hmmm... These figures look very interesting..." Kaiser sat down, and put the paper back. Picking up the pencil, he drew in some of the blank points on the paper, "Hmmm... If I was to add this to that, then wouldn't..."

Kaiser spent the next hour experimenting with some of the tears, combining, mixing, and editing their very substance. "Remarkable..." He said, "Not only has he pinpointed the very chemicals that make up these tears... But it seems like..."

After a few more doses and mixes, Kaiser gasped as he saw the results.

"This... This is incredible..." His very core is shaken as the doctor started preparations, "If this works... This is unbelievable!"

~~~

"Reeewwr~" Roxas meowed as he jumped up onto the counter, where Yuri was in the middle of chopping strawberries. She sighed as she looked over on the kitchen counter - it's a letter for Adam. She usually NEVER opens anyone else's mail, but the mailing address is from Hamburg, Germany, where his grandparents live.

[Dear Adam,

By God, it's been too long since I left you hour house. I sincerely hope you haven't gone and wreck the place up! I swear I be havin your legs strung up over me old doorway if you turned it turned it into a feckin party house!

Heh heh heh! Just kiddin, love. I forgot to mention that I got your last batch of photographs. They're bloody gorgeous! You better be thinking of takin some Photography classes, you hear me?? And your boyfriend is quite the looker!

Germany is amazing by the way! Mind you, it's a lot better than it was when we first got here - Understood fuck-all since I didn't know the language.

Granddad's doing great too - the bastard, pisses me off. The meat shop has to get new walls, so I'm stuck with him when we come over for the week. Well, what can ya do - except feckin kill'em. Please don't ask me why I love him so much.

Can't wait to see you!

Love,

Granny]

"Oh Adam..." Yuri muttered, "What're we going to do?"

The door opened, and in comes Jamal. He walks to the kitchen, and goes straight for the fridge. He takes out a wrapped up sandwich, and a vanilla soda. He sits at the table, and starts eating, not even a word to Yuri.

"... Hi Jamal." Yuri said.


"Hey." He replied.

"... How was work?"

"Fine."

"... How's Nick doing?"

"We still ain't speakin." Jamal and Nick had a fight since Jamal's attitude has been less than agreeable, "He don't even go to the club no more."

"I see..."

"... So when're the grandparents comin over?"

"Tomorrow." Yuri said, fighting back the urge to cry, "They're coming to visit tomorrow, and he's..." She put a hand to her brow.

"..." Jamal stood up, and picked his keys back up, "I'm out."


"Jamal, wait!" Yuri said.

"What, Yuri, what?" He raised his voice, "I don't talk, aight? I got a lot on my mind."


"And so do I!" She said.

"Wut? You worried about yo exams?? Well I got probl'ms too! Not sleepin, workin myself over to keep up with the bills! Adam's grandparents are comin over, and they only see me as a criminal, Yuri! A hard-ass criminal! And my officer is comin next week, and Adam's not around to sign for me! When that happens, I'm out fo REAL!"

"And you think I don't know that?!" She crossed her arms, "I've got a lot on my mind too, and no one to talk to! Ryo's off to Japan for the next month, everyone at the hospital's too busy. All I do is study until I pass out, I've got NO social life, any friend I have is unavailable! Ever since Adam and Merrick disappeared, I just..." She lowered and shook her head.

"Yuri..."

"No." Yuri looked up, "You know what? FINE! Just go!" She started to tear up as she turned around. "I can't stand you like this, so just go on and get the hell out of here!!" She walked into the kitchen, putting her hands on her face and sobbing.

There was a long pause between the two. Yuri couldn't help by cry silently, until Jamal came up to her, and hugged her. She turned around and put her arms around him.

"Is all my fault, Yuri..." Jamal whimpered, "Is all my fault..."

"No it's not, you jerk..." She replied.

"I just wish they were here..." He groaned, "He's like my brother, gurl... He IS my brotha..."

"I know, Jamal..."

"I'm sorry, Yuri..." He mumbled, "I'm sorry."

"It's ok, Jamal... It's ok..." Yuri whimpered.

TAC TAC TAC

Roxas's ears perked up as his head turned. He jumped off the counter, and went over to the glass sliding door.

TAC TAC TAC

"Reeeeeerrrrrr!" The cat mewed as it pawed at the glass.

"Hang on," Yuri sniffled, "Roxas wants to go out." They parted, and Yuri walked through the living room, and over to the glass door, "What the heck?"

"Wut?" Jamal wiped his eyes, and traced back to Yuri.

"There's a big seagull on our porch." She said. As soon as Jamal had caught up, the bird flew up on a post. She looked on the grey and white bird, and noticed that it has a yellow flower tied to its leg.

Yuri opened the door, and Roxas immediately slinks out. He took a position, and lowered himself as he aimed for the gull.

EEYA! EEYA!

The seagull jumped at Yuri and Jamal!

"AHH!"

"HEY!"

Roxas jumped up at it, and managed to scare it away from them. The seagull screeched before flying off.

"What the hell?!" Jamal scowled.

"Hey, Jamal, look." Yuri nudged him, and pointed at the beach.

"... Wait a sec, don't we know her?"

Over by the beach is a dark woman. Dressed in rags and leaves, with long black hair containing dried up flowers, and wearing a large sea turtle shell on her head as a sunhat.

Atarah held her arm out, and the seagull had flown across the sky, and perched upon her arm. Yuri and Jamal leave the house, and walk over to the woman while she gently strokes the gull's wing.

 

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