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The Aquarius Grotto clinks with the many dishes and silverware as usual. The fine dining establishment is full of fine patrons as they enjoy their gourmet seafood. Jason pushes the bridge of his glasses up onto the front of his brown eyes while he wears his formal uniform as he goes along the trolley to collect the dirty dishes, and having a small smile from picking up the tips left for him from the tables he’s waited on.

The teenage young man looks to the sunset from the flawless windows before he looks to check his watch. It’s time to clock out. Jason picks up the last plate, and pushes the cart towards the kitchen. “Alright, I’m out guys.” He tells his coworkers.

“Alright, good work today, Jason!” Says Olivia, his manager. Jason punches his number in and takes his belongings from his locker before exiting the back door. The tanned young man rolls his neck to crack it before he takes a few more steps.

“Oh hey, Jason.”

He turns and brightens up as he sees a taller Asian woman wearing her glasses, wearing a pink and ivory tweed suit and her black hair groomed in a bun, “Oh Mom, hi!” Jason trots over to her and gives her a hug. Yuri smiles as she holds him tight.

“Rrhhh, good to see you, honey.” Yuri says as she rubs the teen’s back some before patting it.

“When did you get back, why didn’t you call??”

“I wanted to sit in at the Grotto and surprise you when you come to take my order.” She says.

“How was Nagano? Is Aunt Fumiko doing ok?”

“Oh yeah, she’s fine. Where’s your father, I wanna say hi.”

“I saw him about 10 minutes ago around the corner, fishing. He’s probably still there.”

“Oh great, lets go.” She says as they go around the enormous building; the Aquarius Grotto is side-to-side as a joint business with the Fish House. They walk along the backside of the entire structure along the docks, passing the few fisherman casting their rods and lines over the railing.

“Oh, there he is now.” Jason points out as they spot a man talking to the Captain. Captain signs a few things while speaking with the Fish House employee, discussing something before the Captain sits back down.

Yuri slowly grins as they arrive over by the usual spot. “Catch anything good yet?” She asked the Captain just as the employee walks away.

The Captain turns to look at Yuri and Jason with his warm brown eyes. His hand goes up to adjust his navy blue hat with the brass shell-slice embedded into the cap, wearing a full-length coat over his rubber overalls and woolen sweater over his thick build. He kicks back as a smile curls from his finely groomed shallow beard, having let it grow half an inch thick. Captain locks the reel into position before sitting up.

“Well looked what the net dragged in.” Adam says with a broad smile. He huffs as he gets up out of his chair after setting the rod down.

“Still haven’t bothered with that low-carb diet I sent you, I see.” Yuri says as she crosses his arms. Adam gives her a mild frown and a quirked brow as he draws his long coat back and puts his hands on his hips, almost emphasizing his pot-belly hidden in his uniform.

“What’re you trying to say?”

“I’m saying that you can’t go sky-diving without causing a solar eclipse, that’s all. Seriously, did you even look at the diet plan??”

“No, Dad just tossed it into the bin.” Jason adds.

“Hey, do I pry in on what you eat, boy?” Adam asks, “Yuri, I’m fine.”

“Your blood pressure still has me on edge.” She says with a slight frown.

“Yuri, that was six months ago, and I happened to be having a panic attack about the operations at the time.”

“Dad, you couldn’t breath for 5 whole minutes.” Jason tells him, “Seriously, Mom says you have Grandpa’s heart problems.”

“Half the docks were demolished by a hurricane!” Adam exclaims, “You have ANY idea how expensive and horrendous something like that gets?? And I had to manage almost everything since Olivia was out of town for the month!”

“Adam, you had a freaking heart attack.” Yuri persists.

“Would you two stop nagging me?” Adam says, “I’ve been taking the pills and checking my blood pressure every week like you told me. I. Am. Fiiiiiine.”

“Yeah?” Yuri digs in her pocket and takes out a coin. She flips it with her thumb, which clinked to Adam’s feet, “Pick that quarter up without wheezing. Go on. I’m waiting. I dare you. Now.”

“PFFF, hghghgh,” Jason snickers as Adam gives her a sour look.

“… Gee, I would, Yuri. But I’d hate to take away what’s left of your other daughter’s college fund, despite the fact that you just tossed it my way.”

“KHogghhllll.” Jason scoffs as he suppresses a huge outburst as his Mom leers at his Dad. “This is great, I love this, this is what I live for, this is a fun time.” He says lowly to the spectacle.

“Ok, Adam. This is USUALLY the part where I throw you over the railing. But I might actually KILL you, and I’d hate to make a bastard out of my little boy.” Yuri says as she puts her hands on Jason’s shoulders.

“Yeah, I’m the best bastard illegal bahis you’re ever going to know.” Adam smirked, “So you’re back, huh? Couldn’t stay away much longer?”

“Mhm. Dennis has been whining nonstop, Gintatsu has basically been babysitting her own father since I left. Besides, Merrick and Naomi are due back any day now, right?”

“Oh yeah,” Adam nods, “It’s been a month since I got their latest picture.” Adam digs into his coat, and brings out the photographs he’s been receiving all year, “Here are the last few ones.” Yuri accepts them and smiles as she looks at them, and also noting the writing on the backs.

“She always looks like, completely different when she’s wearing kelp and stuff.” Jason says as he looks at the older pictures. He moves one behind the pile, and then sees an elderly woman with long white hair and wearing a simple white blouse, standing next to Naomi, both of them smiling, “Wait, I never saw this one.” Jason says as he blinks at it, “Who’s this lady?”

“Oh, that’s Merrick’s mother, Umiato.” He says as Yuri looks over it as well. Her eyebrows rise as she looks at the both of them.

“Wow, pretty uncanny.” Yuri remarks.

“Yeah, Merrick says they especially look identical when they’re underwater.” Adam says as they look at the pictures, some of them showing Brishen, Savarna, a few scenes showing the camping equipment Adam sent Taci to deliver to them, some of them taken during the night.

“Yeah. Great. Glad to know she looks like ONE of us.” Yuri says flatly.

“Oh not this again…”

“Come on! These two kids don’t look anything like me!” Yuri says as she holds a photo of Naomi with one hand and lightly grabbing the top of Jason’s head with the other.

“Oh come on, Yuri! Naomi… KINDA looks like you, and Jason has… Uh… Your personality. That counts, right?”

“Heh, in what way, Adam?” Yuri scoffed.

“Yeah, Dad.” Jason says with a smirk as he crosses his arms, “In what way?”

“You know… If she had like, black hair… And uh…”


“Hhh…” Adam gives Yuri a dulled glare, “You’re really gonna make me say it? … Ok, the eyes, she doesn’t have your Asian eyes, and what is it you’re trying to prove by bringing this up for the hundredth time?”

“I just think it’s ‘charming’ how she looks like her Grandmother rather than her own Mother.”

“I know, Mom, it’s just not fair, right?” Jason says snidely.

“And you’re not one to talk either, boy. You’re just basically Adam from a hundred years and a thousand pounds ago.”

“Kkhh!” He snickered.

“Excuse me?” Adam says with his hands on his hips, “You’re older than me, Kung-Pao Kitten.”

“Yeah, by like one year. And I don’t age. I mature.” Yuri smirked, “Look at me, I’m like a porcelain Geisha doll.”

“Geisha doll.”

“Geisha doll.”

Adam and Jason said in sync, as Yuri ALWAYS makes that simile. She gives them both a very sour look.

“Yeah, I know. That’s another Asian stereotype we don’t seem to have in common.” Adam says as he goes to get his rod and reels in the line.

“Come on, Dad, play nice.” Jason says as he puts his hands behind his head.

“Buddy, if I wasn’t playing nice, there would be a LOT more yelling going on.”

“Well if you would’ve went on that diet like you were supposed to, I wouldn’t be giving you a problem, now would I?”

“Yuri, for the last time, I am FINE.” Adam says as he attaches the hook onto one of the rings attached to the rod as he also picks up his bucket. “You two are blowing it way out of proportion.”

“Alright, fine.” Yuri checks her phone, “I’ll have to catch up with you two later, Dennis is waiting for me to pick him up.”

“Wait, wasn’t the point of you coming here was to get dinner, Mom?”

“It’s more like I stopped by. I’ll be back in about in a few hours or so, it’s open house at Gintatsu’s school. Afterwards, we can meet up at Kahiko Paku’i BBQ for dinner, is that ok?”

“Sounds awesome!” Jason says as he smiles from the promise of his favorite restaurant.

“Alright, I’ll see you, sweetie.” Yuri hugs Jason and gives him a kiss. “Adam, let me know when Merrick and Naomi get back.”

“Sure thing. And great to see you, by the way.” Adam says as they hugged too, “I missed you.”

“Debatable, but I’ll play along.” Yuri chuckled before she turns and walks off.

“Ok, bud.” Adam says as he turns to his son, “You want a ride home?”

“Sure, Dad.” Jason says before they walk off. They make their way into the office. The room is lined with elegant water and fish sculptures around each corner and has a few nautical themed plywood weapons hung up on the walls; Adam has always been an avid collector of prop weapons. On his desk are several unique seashells, files and books along with pictures of loved ones, including Merrick, Naomi, Jason, Yuri, Jamal, his parents, even one where Adam was promoted by Captain Oliver Grugger himself to succeed the Fish House, with Captain’s daughter next to him to take ownership of the Aquarius Grotto as a joint-partnership. illegal bahis siteleri There is also a small rainbow flag in Adam’s pen and pencil cup. A big white and blue trident is posted upon the wall on the back in the middle, with a thin layer of mist flowing down from the solid ice surface, as it always has.

Adam takes off his sailor coat and hangs up it up on the stylized fishhook hangers on the wall, as well as his Captain’s cap, before putting away his fishing rod and bucket alongside several different kinds of fishing rods. “Seriously though Dad…” Jason says.


“Are you… Ok with your heart thing? You know Mom says…”

“Oh my God, I’m fine!” Adam smirked, “She just loves busting my balls, has for years. If she REALLY thought something was very wrong with me, she wouldn’t waste time talking about it. Heck, she’d probably stick me with a needle while I sleep.”

“Heh heh, busting your balls. Isn’t that Pop’s job?” Jason taunted.

“Hey! What happens when I sleep with the fishes is between me and the haddock.”

“Pffggh, yeah, right.”

“The heart pills are doing me just fine. And besides that, I am NOT that FAT!” He says as he holds his arms about, “Seriously, when are you people going to stop talking to me as if I run out of breath just by blinking?!”

“O-Ok, sorry, Dad.” Jason said quickly, “Mom’s just always said about your heart problems, and said you should be going on a diet, and…”

“Buddy, I AM on a regular diet.” Adam says with an exasperated smirk, “I eat just fine and I still work out 3 days a week, fat is just harder to lose than it is to put on, and I just don’t really bother with it. Jeez, I never get THIS much grief out of your Pop and sister.” He says as he gets his regular jacket from the coat rack.

“I just, I worry about you, Dad.” Jason said, “You know you really freaked us out when you had that stroke back then. It was scary…”

“Trust me. Your Mother has a habit of making a storm out of a drizzle.” Adam gets his Captain’s cap back on and gets his keys, “And as God as my witness, I am NOT going on a specific diet with you around again. You have no idea what it’s like to have your own son get to dictate what you get to eat.”

“That was awesome though!” Jason sneered as Adam walks out and closes the door, locking it promptly after.

“I swear to God, boy.” Adam growls, “You may have my looks, but you seriously have your Mother’s bitch streak.”

Moments later, they get into Adam’s car and they drive out of the parking structure and onto the street, “Hey so Dad, any idea when Pop and Naomi are coming back? Did the last picture say?” Jason asked.

“Not really. Supposedly, it takes them a week or two to get to where Atlantis is, a little less than a month tops. It’s supposed to be like a maze or something.”

“Can I see the pictures again?”

“Sure.” Adam hands them over for Jason to look over. Jason smiles as he looks over the various poses Merrick and Naomi assume, and looking at one or two with Umiato in them. He chuckles as he sees the small tent Adam sent them so Naomi can sleep in a sleeping bag instead of underwater, then one of a campfire with a couple of unfamiliar people around it, looking worried over some fish and squid being roasted on an open fire – probably Merrick’s mother, sister or something. Another one is of Naomi petting the erect pectoral fin of a moderate sized whale besides the rock-reef. Jason smiles as he looks at another photo of Merrick in his true form, sitting on a rock like a chair and holding his trident in his hands.

“You’ve met Grandma before, right? Merrick’s Mom?”

“Yeah, a few times, years ago. I’ve seen her now and then, but we haven’t talked since our wedding though.”

“What, did you have a fight with her?”

“Oh, no. God no, it’s nothing like that.” Adam checks his rear-view mirror, “I told you, merfolk aren’t allowed to talk to us. I talked to her, but she couldn’t actually speak back to me. Just a matter of technicality, that’s all. She’s actually a very nice mermaid.”

“What was she like then?” Jason asked curiously.

“Hm, well… The first time I met her… Yeah, it was when Merrick almost died in an oil spill.” Adam answered, “I took him to the house and tried to help, but she had to lure me into the water. Then she um…” Adam chuckled, “Yeah, she threatened to kill me if I didn’t help your Pop survive.”


“It was just a tough front.” Adam says as they make a turn, “She was just worried out of her mind about Merrick because neither of us could heal him, and she had to tell me where to take him to get help. After he got better, she was actually very gracious about it. That was when she found out that Merrick was gay, when I accidentally told her.”

“Pffff, how did you ‘accidentally’ tell Grandma that Pop was gay?”

“Easier than you’d think.” Adam says with a chuckle, “Anyway, in general, Umiato is a very soft-tempered woman. She has a very accepting nature and very understanding. If it weren’t for her husband, canlı bahis siteleri Merrick could’ve stayed with them a lot longer before they kicked him out. It was really hard on all of them.”

“Yeah. I guess I’m never going to meet her…”

“In my experience, ‘never’ is a very long time. But yeah, I wouldn’t put any money on it.”

They drive into the old gravel driveway, where the house still resides within a large and broad driftwood fence. “You want to stick around for a while, Dad? Watch some TV?”

“Well…” Adam checked for the time on his phone, “… I have about 35 minutes before I have to get back.”

“Ok, cool.”

“I’ll get the mail.” They walk to the mailbox and unlocked it, pulling out several envelopes.

“Dad, I can check my OWN mail.”

“Let’s see…” Adam says as he sifts through them, “A bill, a bill, a bill, jury duty, eviction notice, overdue Netflix bill.”

“Daaaaaad.” Jason rolled his eyes. Adam does this EVERY time.

“Overdue bill for the sex-line…” Adam casually jested, “Back order for inflatable doll… Oh hey, we got something from Japan.” Adam says as he takes an internationally sealed and stamped envelope.

“What, seriously?”

“It’s from your Aunt Fumi and Uncle Arnie.” Adam says as he opens it up and takes out the written letter within and looks it over, “Here, it’s in Japanese.” Adam says as he gives the paper to his son. Jason takes it as he leans on the fence and scans the letter, his eyes starting from the right side and reading downward, and then up, and repeat.

“… Oh it says Uncle Arnaav made it just in time before Aunt Fumi went into labor.” Jason says as he raised his eyebrows.

“Huh… Oh, the envelope came with pictures.” Adam then takes out a few photographs depicting the young man with the light brown skin, a thin layer of facial hair below his jaw, with Fumiko in a hospital bed holding a newborn baby in in a wrapped blanket, and so is Arnaav. Both of them are smiling in the photo. “What is it about merfolk that they prefer sending letters and photos instead of email?”

“They had twins – two boys.” Jason noted as he reads the Hirogana and Kanji, “Wait, it says Arnaav barely just got there when she started. Wasn’t he gone for over a year?”

“Yeah. I guess merfolk babies take longer to develop.” Adam says, “Yuri was pregnant with Naomi for almost sixteen months, she didn’t even start showing until like seven months in.”

“Oooook.” Jason says before they turn and go to the front door, “Hey wait, if Uncle Arnaav made it back by now, you think Pop and Naomi should be back soon too?”

“Not a clue; I don’t know where their Kingdoms are, Jase.” Adam says as Jason unlocks the door to open it, “For all I know, they could…” They walk in, and stop dead in their tracks.

There they stand, Merrick just putting on the last button of a short-sleeve polo shirt with cargo shorts, and Naomi staring at the door with her hands in mid-earring wearing a cyan tanktop and skirt.

“Oh my God!” Adam ditches the mail on the kitchen table and rushes over.

“Pop!” Jason says as he jogs over to them.

“Papa!” Naomi says as she lets her hair fall without her accessory to come to hug Adam.

“Oh my GOD, you’re back!!” Adam says as he bends over and hugs his teenage daughter.

“You made it!” Jason says as he grips Merrick’s forearm before his other dad pulls him into a tough hug.

“By the depths, it’s been freaking ages!” Merrick says through excited gritted teeth as he pats hard on Jason’s back.

“When did you get back?!” Jason asks with high enthusiasm as they scramble amongst themselves.

“We literally just walked through the back half an hour ago!” Naomi answers.

“Look at you, boy!” Merrick says brightly as he grasps Jason’s shoulders, “God, I feel like you’ve gotten taller!”

“Papaaaaa!” Naomi nearly squeals before Adam hugs her again, even picking her up.

“Ffffff, sweetie, you feel lighter!” Adam says before he sets her down, her giggling with excitement before she hugs him again, “Have you been eating right??”

“Not much to eat except what’s on the reef! I was practically living off your care packages!”

“Oh for God’s sake, Naomi, there was plenty to eat if you weren’t so picky!” Merrick smirks.

“Raw fish isn’t exactly what I’d call a steady meal, Dad!”

“Wait wait, where’s Sabrina??” Adam asked as he peers over to the door to Sabrina’s room, “Is she here too?”

“No, she and Aunt Syrinx are going to be with Uncle Kevin for a week before she comes back.” Naomi answered.

“Oh! Pop, hang on, I want to show you something!” Jason says as he then dashes into the hall and into his room.

“Mnnnnhhh, I missed you Papa!” Naomi says as she hugs Adam tighter.

“Me too, honey, it’s been too quiet around here.”

“I missed you too, Papa Bear~” Merrick says to prompt Adam to stand up straight.

“Need I say the same, babe?” Adam grinned as he and Merrick finally embraced for the first time in a year and a half, “Mmmff! The bedroom’s been way too quiet without my-“

“Ack! Don’t!” Naomi whined, “Can’t we just have a nice moment here, Papa???”

“I’m kidding, sweetheart.” Adam says as he goes and kisses her head, “Oh my God, I still can’t believe you guys are here!”

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