Well, here we are! The final chapter of Memories Kept Alive! This year-long adventure has been one full of storms as wild as the seas themselves, as well as fun moments and moments where I simply couldn't stop writing. I wish I could thank each and every one of you, but there are some authors who need it the most: Frieda, Bo, Fury, Caitlin, and Thomas. You guys rock and always keep me going. Every single one of my fans, you guys are awesome too. Hey, you know how Lady Gaga's fans are called her "Little Monsters" and Adam Young's are his "Owlets?" Well, I need a name for my fans! Submit your ideas and I'll reveal the winner in Chapter 11 of Savior Returns!

Anyway, this has been one of my favorite stories, and I am so glad that you all shared the trek with Gill and myself. Like Gill, I have found the path to my niche and am gladly walking (and swimming!) on it. Thanks to you all again, and I'll see you all in Savior! Just keep swimming!

~Raindrops to all of my fans, your loving Cel :)

Chapter Seventeen: Where He Belongs

A week passed by since the Gang's induction to Nemo's family. Needless to say, both the Gang and Nemo were extremely elated to finally, permanently, have each other in the family. That evening, the newly-formed family celebrated with nice big supper with everyone's favorites. They also got to meet Bloat's new inamorata, Swell. She was a sweet pufferfish who also possessed a biting case of satiric humor to prove it. Dory was so thrilled when she was told the news that eight new members were joining her family that she forgot it immediately. During the supper, she kept asking everyone present why they were all here. Finally, after the eighth time she was told, she finally got the message. The next ten minutes were spent trying to pry Dory off of everyone.

She became so excited that she wrapped Gill in her fins and gave him a huge, long kiss right on his cheek. The look on his face was so hilarious that it sent everyone into a (rather painful) bout of laughter. After Marlin finally managed to pry his friend off of the poor, embarrassed Idol, he received a large kiss on the cheek as well. Needless to say he always denied that he'd blushed that night. Everyone was so excited they all began hugging one another and dancing and twirling. Gurgle even mustered to courage to give Deb's cheek a quick peck.

Bubbles and Dory burst out in duet of several choruses of "Just Keep Swimming!" Their enthusiasm was so contagious that they managed to get everyone singing – even Marlin and Gill. Surprisingly, Gill was quite a good singer and Marlin sang the entire song with a smile on his face. It was a night to remember.

Throughout the entire supper, Gill couldn't help but keep thinking how his path had somehow ended here and here was where he belonged – with a group of zany, colorful crowd that he loved dearly. After all those years of loneliness, he finally had a family again. He couldn't remember being this happy in quite a long time. He welcomed the feeling of love and peace back into his heart with open fins.

Exactly a week afterwards, a lone figure was soaring on the warm air currents created by the softly churning waves. The figure, silhouetted against the early morning sun, kept his soft brown eyes down on the waves below him. The warm currents pushed against his brown and white feathers as he began to circle directly over the edge of the reef, pinpointing exactly where he wanted to land. Finally after a moment or two of circling over the vast abyss of water, Nigel folded his wings to his body and dove down through the center of the currents. Spreading his wings just before he disappeared under the waves, Nigel gave a few quick flaps before gently settling on the ocean surface. Ruffling his feathers to rid them of excess moisture, the Brown pelican peered down through the water.

He saw hundreds of fish swimming below him, going about their daily lives. Most fled in fear of being eaten for breakfast. However, Nigel wasn't here for a mid-morning snack. He was here to check on his seven little friends whom he had deposited here a little over a week ago. He wanted to see how they were faring in their new home and if they'd found their little friend Nemo yet.

Below Nigel was the school clearing. It was Saturday, so there was no school for the youngsters. That, however, did not deter little Nemo from rocketing around the clearing, sending sand drifting up behind him and a trail of bubbles to issue from his rapidly-waving tail. He had prompted his family into a quick game of hide-and-seek before they went to eat breakfast. So far he hadn't found anyone, but he was determined to do so. After all, among his friends, he was the best seeker this side of the Great Barrier Reef. The adult fish were all watching him, however, trying to hide their laughter. Poor Nemo had passed by Gurgle at least four different times. The tank fish all had good practice finding small hiding places whenever the dentist, the odd child, or worse, Darla, would come poking around their home and tap on the glass or stick a finger in. After all, there were as many hiding places in the tank as there were in the reef. Finally, because they knew Nemo was getting a bit frustrated (and because they were all getting rather hungry) someone coughed loudly. Turning sharply, Nemo darted towards a large rock covered with sea grass and moss. He swam behind it, looking for the hiding fish. Instead he caught a glimpse of a flash of black and white. Quickly swimming around the rock, Nemo found himself chasing Gill who was heading for the "base."

"Keep up, Sharkbait!" Gill called over to Nemo. The little clownfish grit his teeth and paddled even harder with his tail, clawing at the water with his fins. Gill grinned as he turned to see Nemo very nearly at his side. Laughing heartily, the older fish admitted defeat by allowing Nemo to leap into his good fin. The two flipped over and over in the water in a miasma of bubbles, laughing and simply enjoying life. As Nemo looked up when they finally stopped spinning, he let out a joyful cry.

"Hey, you guys! Look, it's Nigel! Nigel is here!" Nemo cried, pointing up at the pelican floating above their heads. He instantly recognized his feathered friend from Sydney. Everyone darted out of their hiding places excitedly, zooming up to the surface to greet their pelican friend (leaving Nemo to wonder how he didn't immediately figure out where everyone was). He grinned widely down at the group of fish swimming up towards him. Soon enough, eleven faces (Peach was resting in Gurgle's fins so she could greet Nigel as well) were grinning happily up at the pelican.

"Well, pull a peacock by his tail, you mates found each other!" Nigel exclaimed happily, his umber eyes shining brightly. The fish all nodded, looking at each other and smiling. "That's what I was so hoping for. It's good to finally see my mates all happy again." Nigel bent down and looked at Nemo, Marlin, and Dory.

"I am so very glad that you had the courage to find your son, Marlin. You as well, Dory." Nigel said. Marlin grinned sheepishly and took Nemo's lucky fin underneath the waves. Dory just smiled, looking a bit confused but ecstatic to meet a brand-new friend. She waved up to Nigel, smiling cheerfully.

"Hi! What's your name?" She asked curiously. Nigel's brow furrowed slightly as the others all rolled their eyes. Marlin slightly leaned towards Dory, whispering, "Its Nigel, remember?" Dory immediately perked up and she managed to smile even wider as some slightly fuzzy memories came rushing back to her. She remembered riding in the Brown pelican's bright orange pouch as they escaped the ever-ravenous seagulls. She remembered holding tight as Marlin prompted Nigel to fly insanely around the office at P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. Dory realized that, with so many other members in her family now, her memory was getting even better! With a gleeful cry, she practically jumped out of the water as she hugged the tip of Nigel's orange beak, giggling.

"Hello, Geoffrey! It's nice to see you again!" Dory exclaimed. Nigel blinked, then rolled his eyes, accepting Dory's slippery embrace. "Close enough, Dory. It's good to see you as well." Everyone laughed in unison. As Dory slid back into the water, the former Tank Gang swam up to their pelican friend.

"Hey, Nigel, how is the dentist taking our sudden disappearance?" Peach asked curiously. Nigel grinned and chuckled, shaking his head.

"He's been rather confused by your absence. He keeps telling Barbara, 'They must've rolled themselves right into the harbor! I've searched everywhere but I simply couldn't find them. Poor fellas.'" The Gang all grinned and winked at one another. Poor Philip would never know what had become of his beloved fish, how they had braved the ocean, made it to the reef, got a new family to be with, and were living pretty much a happily ever after. "But you know how much that man loved fish," Nigel continued. "He's already filled the tank with a butterflyfish, a seahorse, a parrotfish, and even another Idol. You think I should give them some tank-escaping tips, eh, Gill?" Nigel asked and the entire group shared a good laugh.

Nigel then spotted Swell, who had joined Bloat in meeting the pelican. Nigel bent down, raising one brow towards the grinning male pufferfish.

"Well, well, well, who is this lovely Sheila, Bloat?" Nigel asked slyly with a wink. As Bloat introduced his new inamorata to his friend, Gill couldn't help but silently rejoice, glancing at every one of his friends – the members of his family – with soft ruby eyes. Everyone was smiling and laughing and talking and, in that moment, the Moorish idol felt something that had been missing from his very being fall right into place. For the first time in fifteen years, he felt whole once again. Suddenly, Nigel was by his side, looking down at the Idol with soft brown eyes. Gill looked up at him with a soft, grateful smile.

"Thank you, Nigel. Thanks for everything. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't be here. We, all of us, will be forever grateful to you." Gill said. To his confusion, however, Nigel shook his head in disagreement.

"Naw, mate. It wasn't just me. It's you that had the courage and the brains to get your mates out of that tank. You are the one who protected them for all of those years." Nigel said and Gill was silent. Had he possibly done something so right by his friends that he'd helped them gain the lives they'd been pining for, for countless years? Nigel grinned widely as the early morning sun glinted off his feathers. Turning to the rest of the group, he spoke.

"Well, it's time for me to be headin' back to good ole' Sydney. I've…eh…" Nigel then turned sheepish, looking down and smiling softly to himself. "I've got someone waiting for me back home. I'll take her to see you guys in a few months...after the little ones hatch, of course." He admitted with a chuckle. The group all looked at each other in elation. Nigel was married!

"Oh, Nigel dear! That's wonderful! I can't wait to meet her!" Deb cried, tears forming in the corners of her eyes in joy. Everyone else nodded in agreement.

"It was about time you found a girl, Nigel." Bloat teased, meanwhile holding Swell's smaller fin in his own large one. Nigel nodded in agreement, still grinning. He was met with plenty of "good for you!"s and "I'm so happy for you!"s and "I can't wait to meet the little lady and the kids!"s. Nigel continued to blush, looking quite bashful. Looking down at his friends, he spread his long wings and began to beat them against the air currents lifting up from the gently swelling waves. He rose into the air, droplets of water dripping from his feet and soaked belly feathers.

"Bye, Nigel!" Everyone called out to the pelican, lifting their fins and waving goodbye. Nigel was soon nothing but a mere dot in the crystal-blue sky, disappearing in his journey back to Sydney. The group then dove back underneath the water, chattering excitedly about Nigel's soon-to-be family. They paddled down through the clear waters and back to the clearing.

Gill, however, paused on a small overhang overlooking the clearing as well as the gorgeous reef beyond. His deep ruby eyes were filled with the splendor and beauty of the place he knew he could once again call his home. There had been many obstacles and dark days that had been in his way as he traveled down the path of life. He'd lost Milo and Marion, his son and wife, the only family he'd ever thought he would have. He'd been captured and stuffed into a tank in a dentist's office all the way in Sydney. He'd become the leader of a group of zany yet lovable fish who'd never felt the ocean waters around them. He'd become an escape artist, trying countless times to escape that tank and make it back home, hoping that there'd be something there. He'd dreamed, he'd pined, he'd lost his right fin and scarred his side.

However, these were things of the past now. Gill knew he could now let go of the grief that had haunted him for fifteen years. He would always miss Milo and Marion, but he had a whole new life ahead of him. As little Nemo had told him, they would forever be in his heart and the best way to honor them was to remember the wonderful life he had with them. Now, he had found a brand-new family in the Tank Gang, Nemo, Marlin, and Dory. The little clownfish himself swam up to his side, looking over the reef as well. Silently, he lifted his lucky fin and took Gill's left fin in his own. Gill smiled, glancing down at the little clownfish lad he'd grown to love with all of his heart. Soon, Dory and Marlin were by his side, looking over their home as well.

This was it. Gill knew he'd finally done it. He had let go of his past as he was hurtled into his future. His family would always be with him, physically and in his heart. He was part of a family now. There was no way of telling what life had in store for Gill next, good or bad. However, he knew that no matter what he encountered next in his path of life, he would not be alone. He had purpose once again in Nemo and the rest of his family. He would never fail himself again. The memories of Milo and Marion would forever be kept alive. Finally…finally…Gill was home. He was where he belonged.

The end.