Seagulls cry could be heard across the bay as fish jumped happily in the water. The waves splashed against the shore roughly, carrying with it the seaweed and starfish. A small boat glided along the top of the water, carrying precious luggage. Golden strands fell into the water next to the small one-man ship, uncurling as the wait of the water held it down.

Minds wandered, a small and fragile body perched in the boat, scanning the sea in front, searching for a sign. A song no one had ever heard was sung into the mist of the early morning water. A soft, unknown voice that rarely said a thing sung to its content, the song of the sea embedded in her heart.

She smiled, her rose bud lips pulling upward in the corners lightly. She wore a very light white dress, making it easier to swim and move in. she stood, not caring weather she tipped the boat or not. She smiled and dove into the crystal water, splashing lightly. The wonders of the sea opened up to her, showing her fish that swam in schools, strange flowers that hide if you go near them and wonderfully decorative coral. Small sea horses swam passed unnoticed to the girl as she looked at the beautiful angelfish.

She almost laughed before remembering she couldn't breath underwater. Her fingers travelled along in the water, creating an almost dance effect to the surface above her.

"CRAP!" she swore, climbing back into the boat and began to row back to shore.

He looked up as the door of his room opened and his missing daughter stepped in. her head bowed, he could tell she was very ashamed for missing the royal ball. Her golden hair was slightly damp, most likely from a recent bath.

"Serena…" he said it low and menacing. She flinched at the sound of her own name, knowing she was going to get the lecture of her life.

"Daddy, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to miss it. It was an accident…"

"None the less, you should be more responsible. It was your debut, You are a princess, and when people see I cant even control a sixteen year old, how will I be able to hold up to their standards?"

"I'm sorry, I just got too carried away with the water and I forgot…"

"Water? You weren't out in the sea where you?"

"Well, I…"

"Serena! You know you aren't supposed to go out there. Its dangerous, sharks and sea lions…mermaids…Its not right and I told you not to."

"But daddy!"

"I don't want to hear it, Serena, you know you are forbidden to go out there. Young lady, you're grounded!" she turned on her heel and stalked out, clenching her fists in rage. Her father shook his head and sighed sadly. None of the other four sisters where this way toward him. She was the most graceful sister in the royal family. Even her mother wasn't as easy stepping as that girl. Beautiful as all of them where, she was the youngest of five.

Though she wasn't going to inherit the throne, she still had to marry pretty soon. And marry well; he had to make sure she was taken care of. No one had had enough guts to ask her yet, though. She was slightly younger then any of the men in their court. In fact, he almost felt sorry for the man that did get her, she was very stubborn and one minded.

'What could possibly be so bad about the sea, I think its fine." She said irritated, laying her head on her arms as she looked out her window. Her cat jumped up on the sill and sighed.

"Well, maybe you should listen your father."

"Well, maybe I don't want to listen to him. He's being cruel, banishment from the sea, that's absurd. I can't stand it!"

"Hey, Prince Darien, did you hear, there's a new angel fish in town." His friend smiled and whispered to him.

"Is that so?" is he asked with a sly smile. He pushed himself out of his chair and swam away with his friend toward the outer skirts of the town. They passed the coral reef and out into the deeper part of the sea, taking the rout most odd to the prince. Andrew's tail was a golden colour; twin stripes of green ran from the middle down to the fin. The prince's was an abnormal black with midnight blue stripes, matching his hair and eyes.

"She's been seen just over this next hill." Andrew said with a smile.

"Just be careful, this is shark area." He said back grumpily, he didn't like sharks, not that they where scary, it was more like they where annoying. A dark shadow swam on the other side of the hill, though it looked like a shark more then anything. They moved in a little closer, hoping the girl wasn't out there with a shark.

The sun came up over the surface and light shone down in the small pit. A dolphin was swimming in circles in the water, singing the normal song it always did. Darien turned to Andrew and slapped the back of his head with a hand. Andrew threw him a look that said 'don't move'. Something was harmonizing with the dolphins' song, taking the lower part of the chord. The voice was untrained, but beautiful.

Something flashed bright silver; shining a lot brighter then anything they had ever seen, taking the form of a fin. It then turned gold, taking a wavy look, like hair, but it couldn't have been. It was almost as long as the fin. The light slowly dimmed as the sun settled into place overhead.

There she was, swimming along side the dolphin, smiling like an angelfish. The dolphin was absolutely stunned by her, charmed into submission by her sweet voice. He'd never heard anything like it before. She was beautiful, long flowing golden hair, deep, cerulean sea eyes, tight, cinched body, and long, silver tail. The colour of it was so uncommon, he'd never heard of anyone with that colour before, not even a dull grey.

She wore no jewellery, all the better; it wouldn't have complimented her if she had. There was something very mysterious and beautiful about the way she moved in the water, she wasn't graceful, nothing close to it, but she wasn't exactly klutzy either. He was completely gone on her.

Andrew glanced over at his friend's shocked face. Her beauty was something not even the queen could outdo, and since the queen was easily the fairest, it put this girl even higher then that. Darien was totally lost for words, completely in love at first sight. Andrew almost laughed. Darien had never looked at a girl like that before in his life. He would flirt every now an again, but nothing like what he was doing now.

The song ended far too soon and they just swam on, not knowing that anyone was watching them. The dolphin was completely hypnotized, unable to do anything less then stare. And so was Darien. She stopped swimming and hugged the dolphin before laughing and swimming circles around it.

Something dark swam above them and the dolphin darted before she could look up to see what it was. Darien almost missed Andrew's hand signal; it was a shark. The girl froze; not knowing what to do, maybe it wouldn't notice her if she didn't move.

It moved on without disturbing the girl and she let out her breath she' been holding. Laughing nervously and shaking her head she began to breathe normally. His head shot up and he swam out in front of her, knocking her out of the way a split second before the shark would have got her.

His tail whipped out as fast as lightning, hitting the shark and sending it reeling into a rock shelf. A sharp blade somehow made it to his hand and then into the shark's fin. It swam away disdainfully and didn't turn back to attack again. The blade disappeared and he turned back to the frightened girl.

She was shaking visibly, huddled into a tight ball on the ground. Reaching down, he took her hand and helped her up before checking her over to see if she was bruised. Seeing nothing big, he smiled.

"Are you alright?" she nodded, unable to muster anything else. He chuckled and floated back to look her over again.

"Th…Thank you…"

"That's ok. You know; you really shouldn't be swimming around out here. Sharks make this place their home. I really would hate it if you got eaten." She giggled nervously and stretched a hand toward him.

"I'm Serena."

"Darien. You really scared me for a minute there."

"I scared myself for a minute there." She smiled and he found himself swooning. Taking her hand back, she turned to swim away, but he caught her arm.

"Wait, I haven't seen you around here, are you new?"

"Yes, it's very…different then where I come from."

"Well, here, I'll show you around. Where do you come from, anyway?"

"What does it matter? I ran away, and I'm not going back." An angry look flashed across her features and he smiled.

"What could possibly be that bad?"

"My dad." She smiled and slowed down enough that he could catch up. She sure swam fast.

"What's so bad about that?"

"He's forcing me to get married. But I don't really want to yet, there's so many things I haven't seen that I want to."

"That's awful!" he scowled, placing a hand on her bare shoulder. "Don't worry, your secrets safe with me."

"Thanks. But I'll be gone in a few days, anyway." she shrugged and smiled as they entered the big city. Golden pillars stretched for miles in all directions, outlining the great castle walls. Mere people swam from store to store, buying and selling a like, just like on land. Her hands swept passed necklaces and shells taken from the beaches above.

"My lady…" a tanned hand reached over and grabbed hers, taking it up to a merman's lips and kissing it lightly. "I don't think I've ever seen beauty to equal yours." He smiled and kissed it again. He was rather handsome young man with sandy blond hair and deep brown eyes. She pulled away shyly and turned a healthy shade pink.

"Thank you, sir."

"May I accompany you around the market today?"

"Actually, I already have a guide, but thanks anyway." she floated back over to Darien's side and smiled. The other bowed low and smiled in return.

"Your highness. I hadn't expected you to be out of the palace today."

"Its nice to see you too, Alex." His face had turned to stone, unreadable and hard. She looked at him in shock as Alex swam away.

"You didn't tell me you where a prince." She said softly, turning away from him. He laughed.

"Would it have mattered?" he shrugged and grabbed her hand before she could object. They swam through the whole town, looking at strange things she'd never seen before and eating together. He found himself liking her more and more and finally being totally enthralled with her; he couldn't even see strait by the end of the day.

"So, Serena, do you have anywhere to stay?"

"Well, not really." She admitted sheepishly. He laughed and extended an arm toward the palace. She looked at him oddly before accepting it and following him down and into the gates. "So, just who was that back there?"

"Alex. Big playboy types. Wouldn't be surprised if he'd dated everyone in the city by now. And believe me, I wouldn't want you associated with him. Uses girls like paper and just as quickly, too. Here, this will be your room." He stopped and gestured to a room off to the left and she peeked in.

"Oh, no, I couldn't."

"Why not? It's the guest room."

"Its too fancy…"

"Nonsense. It's just right. Now, sweet dreams and I'll see you first thing in the morning." He smiled, gently pushing her through the open doorway.

"Are you sure…I don't want to impose…" she backed out slightly and he scoffed.

"Please, you're not imposing. I offered, remember?" he smiled and walked in with her, showing her the different rooms and bed she could use. After a while, he'd convinced her to stay, though, a bit reluctantly. She was very humble.

"Thank you so much." She smiled and hugged him lightly, leaving him little more then stunned.

"It's nothing. Goodnight." He smiled and floated out, taking care not to hit the doorway. She smiled and waved as he close the door behind him and didn't begin to look around till she heard it click shut. Not bad for a first day.

Made friends with a prince, found a place to stay and had a great time in the market with him, though she hadn't bought anything. She smiled and collapsed on the bed, thinking too hard for one night.

"So, we meet again, angel fish." He smiled and placed a hand over hers, kissing it lightly. She looked startled, but soon regained control. Smiling, she nodded and turned back to the necklace store she was going into. He followed her, bent on talking a bit longer. He found one made of white pearls and picked it up, placing it around her throat and looking her over. Tiny hands went up to feel it before taking it off. "No, leave it on, I'll buy it for you." He whispered in her ear before she turned to face him.

"No, thank you." She replaced it where he's found it and moved on to another display. He frowned and followed, placing his hand around her waist and pulling her against him.

"Why not? Would you like a different style?"

"You can buy ones heart as easily as buying a star in the heavens." Her hands flew up onto his and broke the grip.

"What's that supposed to mean?" He called, trying to catch up to her as she swam away. She looked behind, only to see him coming up fast. Scowling, she sped up, only to make an unexpected left turn. He didn't even see the wall he almost ran into. He turned just in time, only to see her swim behind the prince for protection.

"What's up, Serena?" he laughed as she swam in back of him and peeked out over one shoulder. He followed her glance back to a very unhappy Alex. "Oh, Alex." He nodded in greeting and the other followed suite.

"Your highness. I was just asking the young lady for a date, though I think I rather scared her unknowingly." He smiled charmingly, but she hid her face from him.

"I don't think she likes you very much, Alex."

"Don't be silly, of course she does." He chuckled and stretched out a hand for her. She backed away even more and almost bolted, had it not been for Darien.

"Let's just see, Serena, do you like him?" he turned back to face her and she shook her head no. "There, you see? Not interested. Run along and find another playmate." He brushed him off and took her hand.

"Thanks."

"No problem. Actually, I've never done that before, to tell you the truth."

"Really? Thanks again. I didn't really know anyone else I could turn to…"

"No, really, its alright. I was glad to help. Besides, I've always wanted to do that. Now, I know this great store you have to see." He started off, basically dragging her around the corner and into the shop she' just left.

"Darien, this was the shop I was just in." she laughed and looked around once more. His eyes fell on the pearl necklace Alex had tried to give her and he picked it up, looking over the beadwork. It was well made and durable; for a necklace, besides, it kinda suited her. He looked up and found her looking at a picture. Some things sold here where taken from shipwrecks and sold as strange, unknown things.

He smiled and glided in next to her, looking over her shoulder at the strange picture. It looked kind of like her, but the woman was much older with silver hair instead of gold. Her eyes where strangely blue-grey and bird looking. He placed a hand on her shoulder and she turned to look at him.

"Did you know her?" she nodded and looked down.

"Yes…and no. I don't know it's hard to explain. I would just rather not talk about it. Don't you have like royal duties or something? I mean there are better things to do then be my bodyguard. Not to offend…"

"Na, not till later. Until then, I don't mind swimming around with you. You're not really that bad a person." She smiled and blushed, looking back down at a necklace before turning and swimming out.

She ended up on the very outskirts sitting on a rock warmed by the sun above them. He didn't complain or try to persuade her to stay in the city, merle followed. Picking up a seashell, she began to examine it interestedly before sighing and giving up.

"I don't mean to offend you, Darien, but why are you always staring at me?" her eyes turned on him leaving him speechless. He looked away and laughed.

"It's silly. Actually there's this girl I've seen up there." He paused to point upward in a general direction. "She's a princess with really long blond hair like yours. I kinda was thinking you two where the same people, but that's silly."

"You've been up there? I thought it was forbidden."

"It is, but I'm a bad child. Besides, these people wouldn't discipline me if they could. I keep trying to get them to, but they refuse. I've seen her several times, out in boats and swimming but I've never seen her face for some reason. She's got a sister that kinda looks like her, but she's taller. And her hair was half as long."

"I think you fancy this princess, don't you?" Serena grinned as she looked over at him. She knew he was talking about her, but she wasn't going to let on to anything. He thought they couldn't be the same person, and she was content to let him believe that. He chuckled and lay back on the rock, looking up at the surface.

"I don't know. I thought I did once, but I knew nothing would work out, so I left it hanging. Besides, what about you, haven't you ever loved someone?"

"I wish. Everyone's so wrapped up in your rank in court and how much money or power you have; I just needed to get away from it. If I had met someone I loved, I wouldn't be here." She looked back down on him and he looked away quickly. He had been staring again. "Do you have to get married sometime soon?"

"Yeah, couldn't hate the girl more. She's this power hungry redhead from up north, name's Beryl. But I brought it on myself, I guess. Mom told me if I didn't choose a bride, she would. I just didn't find anyone I could love, I guess." He shrugged as she slid down to lay on her stomach.

"That's why I ran away. Father gave me four days to choose a suitable husband or he would choose for me. My time was going to be up tomorrow. Had I stayed, I would be married next week. All my sisters are married to men they love, but no one could ever fall for me. All they care about is my money." He rolled over on his side and looked at her. She had been serious about that, he couldn't believe it.

"Serena…don't feel like that. I know a guy how's totally gone on you."

"But for what? How I look, how I act? Does he even know me?" she looked up at him, her eyes sad. "Let's review some facts, k? Guys like their girls smart, pretty, rich, powerful, funny, and graceful. So far, I've got two out of six. I'm not even half what people want me to be. I don't even have that now that I've run away." she stopped and looked down at the seashell again before throwing it away from herself.

"What? Come on, you're totally beautiful! Besides, you're smart and funny. I don't know anything about your background, so I don't know if you're rich or powerful, and frankly I don't really care. I mean, I've got all the power and money I could use in several lifetimes. You might not be the most graceful girl, but I think it's cute when you trip." She turned beat red and looked away from him.

"I am not worthy of such a compliment." Her voice came out soft and low as she spoke. He frowned and tilted her head back with his finger. Kissing her forehead softly, he looked down into her eyes.

"I think you are."

"It won't matter by tomorrow night anyway." her hand came up and pushed his hand away before she slid down the rock and swam away.

Her tear stained face looked out over the edge of the rock to where he floated a few feet away. Her tiny hand reached out to take his, but could never touch it. He couldn't raise himself out of the water enough to make contact with her.

"I love you." She whispered down to him. He nodded his understanding and relaxed his arms back into the water around him. Pulling her arm back, she buried her head in the folds of her dress and cried.

Yards away from them, a king and queen sat and watched the two. One stood on land, the other out in the sea. The king turned to the queen and nodded causing her to smile.

"I'll miss you." He whispered as the spell began to weave itself around her.

She stopped and looked down at herself before looking across the water to where her father sat smiling. All her emotions tumbled out of her as she dove into the water, coming back up as a mermaid. She swam directly to him, huddling into his arms as fresh tears made their way down her face.

His lips were everywhere on her face until finally meeting against hers in a gentle, loving kiss. Her arms snaked around his neck, playing with the tips of his wet hair. His arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her roughly against him, his passion taking over.

"Marry me?" He asked softly as he pulled away. She nodded and laid her head on his chest.