Finding Nemo; I See Her Reflection in You

By Koji

Disclaimer: see chapter 1

Author's note: ^_^ I've been relaxing for too long! Way too long! I stopped writing this after I read some other people's awesome FN fanfics. Mine seriously sucks! I realize how un-Finding-Nemo-like this is getting. *sigh* I always do that….geez… I'm sorry if I'm letting you down! Lol, everybody probably forgot what happened in this story. ^^o

I'm REALLY sorry about the wait, everyone! For the sake of my simple minded brain, pretend that sea sponges smell as bad as sponges that grow in homes. I don't know. .o Everything in italics are flashbacks that play in the speaker's mind. Okies?

Chapter 5; Life is Full of Sorrow

The barracuda lunged at the exhausted clownfish, rapidly snapping for Marlin's dorsal fin. "Escape!" Dory nearly slipped out of his fins when he quickly dodged its attack. She was still unconscious due to the anemone's poison. "I'm gonna get us out of here. I promise!" He tightened his grip on her, "I gotta find another escape!" turned and dashed off into the other direction, "A tunnel, cave, anything where we can hide!" only to be stopped dead in his tracks. Marlin slammed on his breaks, because if he hadn't, they were about to be shredded in between the teeth of another predator. "Oh, for crying out loud!" Marlin feverously shuffled backwards. A second barracuda eagerly greeted him with its bloody teeth.

Dory and Marlin were easy prey. They were completely defenseless against the attacks and agilities of barracudas. What chances were there if there were two of them at the same time?! "What are we!? Fishes with the word "Free Dinner" stamped on them?!" Marlin screamed in frustration. He was in a predicament once again. Things seriously didn't look up to him anymore. Dory was breathing harder, even "sweating" off cold body temperature. The anemone's poison wasn't going to stop spreading! "Dory needs medical attention, RIGHT NOW!" Those fish eating monsters did not spare them anything, even a safe shelter. Everything was out of their reach. If things haven't become drastic enough, the chances of Marlin and Dory survival just became one in a million. Two ferocious fish against two powerless reef fishes, so what were the odds?

"Tell me….," Marlin's ears picked up a faint groan. He glanced down at Dory, surprised to see her conscious, "…you still….have to," before the two barracudas initiated their attack, "tell me…."

'I know, I do, but—!' The barracudas were quickly closing in on them, "Now's really not the time!" He spun about in every direction, but no matter which way he turned, it always ended up staring into the eyes of those lethal eyes. He felt his strength fading, 'I still have to tell Dory, ' she moaned as the poison continued withering her from the inside, "Don't do this to me! Hang in there! There's still—" he couldn't help it, his thoughts simply burst out in a desperate attempt to keep her awake, "there's still something important I have to tell you!"

Dory's eyes fluttered open, 'You do?,' slowly looking up to him, still feeling a little woozy, 'You really do?'

Clownfish didn't qualify as the fastest swimmer in the ocean, but, with such speed even he didn't know he possessed, Marlin rushed toward the water surface. 'I want to stay awake, ' Dory strived to endure the pain, 'I want to know what you have to say to me,' and long enough before her short-term memory could make her forget. 'Marlin, is there something on your mind….?'

Spotting something shiny at the surface Marlin aimed for it, despite the danger of this silvery object. "I'll take the risk!" He was extremely exhausted, "Rather than letting these barracudas devour us!"

The moment Dory slipped out from Marlin's grasp, one of the barracudas saw its chance and lunged at Dory, "AAAARRRGH!" She screamed, immediately regaining consciousness upon being greeted by those oncoming teeth! "Sta-STAY AWAY!" she begged.

Marlin quickly grabbed her fin, "Hold your breath!" and darted for the water surface again, with two lighting speeded barracudas on their tail.

"WHOAAAAA!" Dory cried out in terror as they shot out of the water and into the air above the ocean surface. She was wide awake, so were her eyes, the moment the barracuda emerged from the surface, "MARLIN!" flying higher, but falling faster toward them. Dory was practically unable to protest out of fright by her terrified scream as they were about to fall back into the water, toward a shiny, sharp hook!

"Hey Sherman! Look! Reef fishes!" the man on the boat hollered, pointing at the three fishes in the mid-air.

"Yeah, I know." An aged man on a familiar boat answered. "You know, the last time I came here, I caught a cute clownfish."

"Yo! I caught something!" the other man interrupted as he pulled on his fishing rod.

"Good for you. Well, he lived for a couple of days, but the poor little fella' died before I could give it to my sweet little niece."

The man reeled in his catch. "Whoa! Hey, a big one, eh! Look!" Proudly he presented his catch to his partner.

"Heh! Would you look at that," poking at the fish on the hook, "for a moment, I thought you caught a clownfish or a regal blue tang or something alike. I didn't expect you being able to get a hold of a barracuda!" He chuckled.

"It's all good, either way!" he snapped back.

Under the water surface beneath the boat, Marlin signed, exhausted, yet surprised at how he was able to pull it off. "I didn't expect that to go well..." When they jumped out of the water with the barracuda close on their tail, they were definitely going to land on the hook. Fortunately they fell beside it while the fish behind them, due to its size, was big enough to get caught up in the hook.

Finally, Marlin and Dory were allowed a moment of rest. Dory was just a couple of inches away from him, but what surprised Marlin was the fact that she was able to keep her balance by herself. "Dory! Are you okay?" Marlin asked her while panting for water. She nodded quietly, still breathing heavily. He noticed how Dory had her face covered with her fins, as well as her trembling body. "Were you—are you scared?" he swam closer to her, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, I made you go through this," she was still shaking. A wave guilt just washed over him. "Oh, Dory…..I'm sorry, really." He searched for more words to apologize, but nothing seemed to come out.

Dory peeked on him. The moment she lightly lifted her fins, she couldn't ignore the concerned look on Marlin's face. 'Is he's worried about me?'

'The anemone's poison must be still hurting her. She doesn't seem to be okay, maybe I should just—'

"PHEW!" Dory burst out in her lively voice, nearly startling Marlin half to death. Dory swam in circles, performing some thrilling loops like she was riding a rollercoaster, "That was a close one!" Marlin just stared at her, awestruck, "What's the matter? Catfish got your tongue?" She teased. Marlin was speechless, yet relieved at the same time. Strangely enough, Dory had this unique ability of being able to recover quickly. Was it really okay?

"No-no! Uh," Just to be sure that she was fine, Marlin swam up to her, "aren't you feeling sick?"

"Nope! Not at all!" she flipped half a loop. "I feel great, thanks to you!" Dory sweetly smiled, which he returned with a shy smile.

"Are you sure?" Marlin tilted to the right swimming closer to her, "I mean, you're not feeling nauseous or anything?" he checked up on her with worry written all over his face, "honest?"

"Uh-huh!"

"Nothing's bothering you at all?"

"Yep!"

"You sure?"

"Yes."

"You positive?"

"I'm positive."

"Because you know, I mean you—"

"Marlin…."

"Okay, okay I'm just checking, " ^^o he looked away, feeling embarrassed.
"You're worried about me aren't you?" Dory asked softly.

Marlin gulped. Neither Dory nor Marlin realized the little distance between them, until now. "Well," he began nervously.

"Maybe there is something, "she replied idly.

"Huh?" She placed her fin beneath her mouth, a little upset.

"You still need to tell me," Marlin perked up confused, "something important?" her face shined with that sweet innocence again.

'Oh, that's right,' he nervously laughed, "Guess who's having short-term memory now?" she giggled, while he frowned, 'I still need to tell her, ' Marlin had a hard time facing Dory. He ended up looking at her and then staring off somewhere else, "Um, Dory, about what happened two nights ago, I—"

'There's no way you could be that clownfish, who said he hated me,' she patiently listened, 'and didn't want to see me anymore. That clownfish couldn't be the same fish who just saved me, "Marlin had his fin rub against his cheek. "That wasn't you, right? " Dory hoped she was right. 'Please tell me, it wasn't you….'

"What I mean to say is…," Dory's face just turned pale blue. Surely it wasn't because of what he said, but because of what? She had that horrified look on her like she was going to die. Marlin wondered what was wrong, until his own face turned white for realization. He had just discovered his grave mistake….

Before he had any time to react, Marlin felt a shot of pain jolting his body. Dory froze for a moment. The second barracuda viciously yanked on Marlin's tail, whipping and twisting the poor clownfish about! Dory grasped in fear, until she was able to break from her shock and rushed to help him. "DON'T COME NEAR ME!" he yelled, tying to free his tail out of its teeth.

"You big bully!" Dory ram into the barracuda's eyes, "Let GO of him!" It shrieked loosening its catch from its teeth. In just a matter of seconds, the burly tail of the barracuda swung towards them, smacking the two unconscious and catapulting Marlin and Dory into the depths of the ocean….

*I owe you all the favor since I've slacked off SO many darn times and ended with a cliffhanger. Here ya go! A longer chapter! ^_^*

'How could I be so stupid?!' Marlin cursed under his breath, 'How could I forget about the other barracuda!?' He writhed on the ocean floor, wincing at the soreness of his tail. 'Dory,' before he opened his eyes, "UGH! YUCK!" Marlin's nose literally screamed when he breathed in the nasty stench given off from the field of sponges that surrounded them. The odor was so intense, so unbearable even predators choose to keep their distance. "Dory, is she okay?!" Not too far away from him was Dory, unconsciously laying sideways on one of the soft sponges around them. Marlin feebly pressed his fins against the ground, pushing him up only to fall back down again. It hurt. His tail stung like a needle on the side of his stomach. He groaned in frustration. These sponges reeked of rotten flesh, that's precisely how Marlin felt like right now, simply awful, not because of his wound, but because of everything that happened in all of his life, where he was always the one to be blamed…

"Coral, get inside the house," an all too familiar predator keenly had its eyes on the beautiful, yet tasty female clownfish. "No. No! The eggs will be fine," Marlin assured his wife, 'Please Coral, listen to me…,' but Coral shifted toward the eggs, to the barracuda, then back to the eggs inside the small cave, hesitating on what to do. "You, get inside," Marlin begged Coral, "right now!" before disaster struck.

'I wished you had listened to me!'

The moment his wife bravely went for the eggs, the barracuda darted straight for Coral."NOOOOOOOOOO!" Marlin desperately dashed toward the oncoming fish to protect her, but to no avail, he was flung against a rock, turning his world pitch black,

'I never realized death was so close…'

Night time has fallen, by the time he regained consciousness, "Coral?" Marlin anxiously searched the cave for the eggs. A cold shower of terror kept whipping the back of his mind, "Coral?!" Telling him that she was gone…..

'how death took you away from me…'

'I was wrong. It wasn't your fault. You were eaten because of me. You died because I couldn't stop your death! Had it not been for me choosing such a dangerous location, you would be alive today. You'd be here…in my fins….alive…..

('Marlin….')

"Oh Coral….." Marlin sobbed alone in the night of the ominous sea.

"You sacrificed your life for the eggs, for Nemo…"

"I don't have the slightest idea what has gotten into you, but I would have never thought," Gill shook his head in utter disbelief,"you would go this far—"

"Daddy! Help me!" Nemo pleaded, while the jellyfish continued zapping him. Marlin just floated there, emotionlessly starring at Nemo. "How…..how could you….?" '….daddy…,' a single tear escaped Nemo's eyes before the tentacles covered them, turning everything around him dark…..

"To go as far as MUDERING YOUR OWN SON!"

"It can't be! I would NEVER let Nemo die!" Gill's remark kept stabbing his mind, "It wasn't me!" While Nemo's frail cry echoed in the distance, "NEMO?!"

"Are you….in love with someone else?" Darla kept observing Marlin's action," Someone other than a clownfish?"

"Dory…" everything was taken away from him, now only Dory remained. Marlin began floating over to the blue tang, 'Everything I have done just made it even worse! I only meant to protect them! Not to bring them down to their demise!' Did it have to cost him the lives of his wife, children and Nemo to realize the importance of someone dear to him?! "How? How can this all be happening?!" he felt like sweat was running down his forehead. "Everything before was just fine two days ago!" Marlin gently took her fin, "Dory, please!" She began mumbling gibberish half-conscious. "I-I don't know if you really remember what happened two nights ago,"

"Listen. I don't know you! And I don't plan on seeing someone who can't even remember to stick to her own kind!"

"and I wish you didn't, " Marlin regretted everything he had said to her….."I-I don't even know if you can hear me now, but—," he shut his eyes in attempt to force the words out of him, he had to admit everything now, "but that wasn't the real me!" At that exclamation, Dory's head turned to him, half-awake, with her confused, yet saddened tears of amnesia. "It was a fake, Dory! That clownfish was just me pretending to be someone else!" There was little reaction from her. It took her a while to process what Marlin was trying to tell her, "Please don't leave me….I can't bear losing another fish dear to me…...don't leave me, " he searched her sleepy crimson eyes, "….hear me out, just long enough," he lightly brushed her face, smiling weakly, "before I can't tell you anymore …."

Dory had that hurtful look on her, just like Nemo's at that time when Marlin rejected him. He wasn't even sure if she remembered him, if she was conscious, if she was still the Dory he knew and if she could ever forgive him. But Dory would come to hear his side of the story….

"Dad," Nemo could hear Sheldon, Tad and Pearl laughing at him. It was embarrassing being hugged in public, "Dad, you can let go now."

"Oh! Oh sorry!" Marlin released Nemo. It was just like any other school day Nemo was getting ready to join the rest of his classmates with Mr. Ray for another round of exploring and after that was time for summer vacation.

"Bye, Dad!" shouted Nemo as he departed with the rest of his class for a hike in coral forest.

"Bye, son!" Marlin waved, "I'll pick you up later!"

"Ok! I'll bring you something from the forest!"

"Please be safe," he whispered and watched Nemo disappear into the ocean.

"This is how it all started…." Dory continued staring into his eyes, not really understanding his story.

Marlin was on his way home, "I better go remind Dory that we'll be leaving for the "beach" today. After all, we don't want to leave her behind." He changed course to Dory's tunnel, but then remembered she was probably going over to his place for a talk. There was something he had to tell her, something he had promised to himself that he should admit to Dory. Marlin felt a little nervous all of the sudden, "Weird…" he shrugged it off and proceeded ahead.

'Admit?' Dory was confused, "There was something you had to tell me before this?'

"Then, I met her….." she squinted at the enthusiasm of "her."

Upon arriving at his anemone, Dory was no where to be found. "Hmm, maybe she did forgot about today, " he swam around, but when Marlin turned around the corner, he stopped dead, his breath stopping in a halt.

"Hi Marlin," A familiar, yet notorious female clownfish greeted him. "What's wrong? Aren't you going to give me a hug?" He didn't move. Marlin was stunned, shocked to see HER, the one female fish he had hoped to never see again. She itched in closer on him. "Awe, don't be like this," passing by him and cuddling Marlin by surprise. He immediately swam off to the other side of the anemone, shocked by her presence.

"Darla?! Why are you—!"

"Why am I here, you ask?" she finished for him, he slowly nodded. "Do you think you can just swim off to the Great Barrier Reef without even saying good-bye to me?!" Darla yelled. He shrunk back into a corner. "Are you trying to get rid of me?!" She blurred out in exasperation. "Remember this, you will be my mate!"

Marlin shoved his politeness aside and regained his courage, enough to retaliate, "That is not to be decided by you!"

"Oh, really?" she implied sarcastically and pinned Marlin down against the anemone floor. "Did you forget that it was because of ME, you were able to mate my sister in the first place?!" Marlin shoved Darla off of him.

"I may have met Coral, because she's your younger sister," she kept glaring at him, " and I may be in debt to you," refusing to accept his reason, "but that doesn't give you the right to—" *SMACK!* Darla tail whipped Marlin across the face..

"To what?!" Darla screamed. "What about me?!" Tears began flowing freely, while Marlin remained staring off to the side somewhat feeling guilty, "Have I ever been granted anything in my entire life?!"

"Darla—" Marlin attempted calming her, before she burst out,

"I love you, Marlin! Doesn't that mean anything?!"

"and then….?" Dory was transfixed at those words, scared to hear more, yet curious about Marlin's reaction, "what…what did you say?"

"I'm sorry, Darla." he replied more like an excuse than apology, "You very well may be Coral's older sister,"

"What does she have that I don't?!" Darla demanded, Marlin paused before watching the sunlight reflect on a piece of orange coral.

"You? You're not like her," he turned to her, shaking his head at the difference between Coral and Darla, "You don't have the kindness and sweetness of your little sister," and began leaving.

"Is that all?!" She exclaimed in disbelief.

"Darla, you just can't go around forcing people to have your way!" Marlin told her straight into her face. "I'm not going to be your mate," she was silent. "That's for me to decide," he clearly stated. "I loved Coral more than anything before…..and I'm not going to forget her." he thought Darla understood Marlin now,

"…." Dory was speechless, happy, but sad at the same time.

'Love is not something you go pick out from someone. Neither is it something you demand from them. It's something you desperately want to share with the one you trust the most. And vow to protect…..'

Dory was still confused, "This is where everything started, Dory," It was slowly getting harder for Marlin to breathe, "It's the cause of Nemo's death and your assassination attempt."

He thought she would understand, but he was wrong, "Don't underestimate me," she hissed."If you won't become my mate," he ignored her, " then I can't guarantee the safety of your son!" This surely grabbed Marlin's attention. She smirked proudly after finding his ultimate weakness, "you heard me right!"

"This is why I threw Nemo out! Had he returned home, I wouldn't know what she would have done to him! I'd rather have him stay away from here as far away as possible!" Dory listened in awe, "I had to pretend I disowned him! I had to hate him! It was the only way to keep Nemo away from Darla! But—" Marlin's anger leaked out from his dry, yet saddened cry, "but she killed him anyway!" Marlin dug his head into the ground, "If only I had thought of something more useful, Nemo wouldn't have—," he couldn't bring himself to finish the thought, "She lured Nemo into the jellyfish forest! She knew everyone would accuse me!" Dory was understanding Marlin's hidden objective now. The very reason to his cold hearted behavior toward everyone in the reef was because he was desperately trying to protect Nemo and…

"Then….?" She wondered,

"I'm glad you suffer from short-term memory," Marlin threw an acid look, "because right now, it would've been better for you to not have come here in the first place."

"What about…..what about the things you said to me? What was—"

"It's a lie…. I lied," he admitted, "I really wished you didn't come, that way Darla would've never known about you. As soon as she did, she was going to kill you next."

And Darla nearly succeeded in killing Dory, if Marlin had not intervened, but "Why me?" Dory questioned. "Why would she want to get rid of me?" Marlin didn't respond. If he was ever going to tell Dory, now was the time.

"Darla. She swore to tear away everything that was precious to me," Dory was stunned.

'Precious?' she was moved by what Marlin meant, "Am I—? Am I precious….to you?" he glanced at her innocent face, while she gazed into his soft eyes. Seconds passed, before he whispered, barely audible for Dory to hear, "Yeah…"

Silence was all that surrounded them. Neither Dory nor Marlin could respond. It felt strange, so awkward to stare at each other, yet everything seemed perfect, so right, there was no doubt they could trust their feeling. "Because you," he neared Dory's face, "you're as gorgeous as the orange sea coral…..I once loved…" and kissed her on the lips. 'It doesn't matter if you understand me, I hope you do, but all I ever wanted to do, was admit this;

Speechless, at first Dory was surprised by Marlin's move. She didn't know what to say, what to do, except eagerly accepting Marlin's tender kiss, "Dory…I love you," Dory was overjoyed. She could simply forget about every negative thing that happened to her in her whole life, because this confession meant everything to her.

Dory could feel Marlin loosening the kiss, she didn't want it to end so soon. Every fish she met had abhorred her. She was called a freak, a lunatic, even he thought of her like that, but he stayed. Marlin stayed with her longer than anyone before him had ever done. She had to repay him, Dory broke the kiss, and now it was her turn to do so….

"I like you, too….," she whispered nervously, blushing uncontrollably, "I-I adore you in every way. Your (unfunny) jokes, how much you care for—," she recalled instantly, "Ne-Nemo, and your pretty charm," Dory kissed him, "I like you very much….." tears swelling up her eyes as she leaned to the side against Marlin.

"I hope you understand now, Dory," his voice dripped of frailness, "It wasn't me, just the clownfish who vowed to protect you. So please remember…..,"

'Strange, somehow Marlin seems to be so sleepy, so tired….'

"I could never hate you…because when I look at you,' Marlin gazed into her eyes, "I see her staring right back at me, I see Coral's reflection smiling right back at me, " Marlin began breathing unevenly.

'So weak, like he is—!' Dory grew white in horror upon spotting the red mist leaking out from Marlin's torn tail; the severely injured wound that was once caught by the jaws of the tenacious barracuda.

"But you…..you're Dory….you're too lively….too pure…..too innocent to be rejected…" Dory would give anything to say something in return, but no matter what she did, it wouldn't help her! Marlin was dying! And there was nothing she could do to stop it! All she could do right now, was holding him firmly in her fins.

"…I want to see you….." Marlin stared at a small piece of blue coral. "…I really do.….."

'Coral…I'm going to see you again….you too, Nemo…I'm coming to see you again.' he collapsed in Dory's fins, 'farewell, my sweet Dory…I'm glad I had the chance to see you again….'

'Hey! Hey! What are you doing?!" His body slit through her fins, slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

'No matter what I did… in the end….I hurt you. I'm sorry Dory.'

"Ma-Mar—"

'If I stare any longer into her face…I may never forget Dory, ' more blood tainted the ocean water, 'so if I'm reborn again, then please let me be a regal blue tang…..'

"MARLIN!"

Yes, I know…the worst way to end it. _ It was SOOOO DARN difficult to build up all the emotion in this chapter! Took me like FOREVER just to do that! This has to be my longest chapter EVER! Writing the end part was HARD! GEEZ! I was always interrupted and constantly had to start over, because I screwed up so many times! Enough complaints! ^^o

I hope I made up for the long wait. Again, I'm sorry for being such a lousy-lazy writer. ^^ And I also hope I was able to made you feel like I did when I was writing this chapter. I feel so bad :sadyellow: for having done this now! WAAAAAHHH! *sobs*

This was the final chapter of "I See Her Reflection in You," unless wanna protest and change Dory and Marlin's fate! ^^o