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Home to the Sea

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Once upon a time a long, long time ago there lived a man who loved the sea. Every day he would swim out on his surf board as far as he could and then he would float for a long time, looking up at the perfect blue sky. Once he had grown tired of drifting in the ocean he would paddle back towards the shore and wait for the perfect wave to take him back in to dry land. Every day he dreamed he would never have to walk on dry land again but he knew it was just a dream despite the fairy tales his mother used to read to him when he was a child.

He recalled the story of the beautiful mermaid who fell in love with a man and gave up the sea for him. He could not imagine ever giving up the sea for anyone, wishing the tales of mermaids and the lost city of Atlantis were true.

One day he paddled far out into the sea on his surf board and once more he stopped and floated, waiting as always for an impossible dream to come true.

"Why do you keep paddling out here?"

The voice startled him and he flailed uselessly as he lost his balance and tipped off the surf board into the water. Strong hands caught at him and pusshed him back up to the surface but not before he caught sight of silvery tail where the man ought to have legs. He decided it must be an hallucination because merpeople were just fairy tales.

"What the... " he coughed out the water he had swallowed, "What the hell! I could have drowned."

"If I wanted you to drown I wouldn't have pulled you back up," the merman stated imperiously, "And you didn't answer my question. Why are you always swimming out here?"

John took a moment to actually turn and look at the man in the water beside him, seeing ocean blue eyes in a quirkily handsome face despite the crooked, tight lips. He also noticed the broad shoulders and strong biceps, probably from swimming because they were a fair distance from shore and the man seemed to have no board or other flotation device.

"I'm John. Who are you?"

"Meredith."

"Isn't that a girl's name," he teased, enjoying the sudden flush and the way the man's hands began to flail.

"What? I'll have you know it can be either."

John smiled and the man - Meredith - flushed again, eyes dropping away. There was something about Meredith that called to his heart, and when he felt the crooked lips suddenly pressed against his own, John smiled again.

"I'm-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... but you're so beautiful," Meredith stammered out, and rather than feel embarrassed, John found he liked it.

"So, are you going to answer my question?" Meredith demanded.

John shrugged because this meeting was already so weird he doubted his explanation could seem any stranger.

"I was waiting for an impossible dream, to stay in the sea forever and live in the city of Atlantis."

"Really?"

Before John could answer he felt Meredith pull him off his surf board and drag him under the water. He struggled, feeling the last of the air burning in his lungs but before he could take in a breath that would only be water rather than air he felt Meredith's lips seal over his and breathed in the air he needed. Little by little they sank deeper and deeper until they passed through a strange shimmering light in the water. All the pressure of the water above fell off him and they floated down towards the amazing towers and spires, stopping when they reached the top of the tallest tower. Meredith gently pushed him inside and John watched as the water drained away leaving just a shimmer between him and the ocean. Beyond the shimmer he could Meredith fully for the first time and realized his hallucination of a fish tail was not an hallucination after all. Meredith was beautiful in his eyes, from his broad shoulders to his strong silver tail. A small object was dropped in beside him and when John picked it up it turned a beautiful azure blue in his hand.

John heard a disembodied voice. "You have the sea in your blood. If you wish to remain with us then choose now, but know you can never return to the land."

For a moment John was torn but as he looked through the shimmering shield to where Meredith waited just beyond, John knew it was more than just a love of the sea that pulled him to this world.

"I choose to stay," he stated firmly, and he gasped as a light wound around his body, the water slowly rising as his legs melded together, silvery scales forming around them. As the last of the transformation faded away the water rose over his head and he took a breath only to feel the water rush over gills along his flank. He reached out and caught hold of Meredith. Finally he was where he belonged, with Meredith and with the sea forever.

Far above in the world beyond the sea a surf board slowly drifted into shore, and though the humans searched far and wide, they never found a body.

END