Lerene: That they are...and I'm resisting the urge to make a dirty joke in relation to your comment.

no-ones-puppet: Yes, having people move away is bittersweet, isn't it? They go away to pursue their dreams but at the same time, it means they're going away. As for Kiyi, you're right that he's not asexual (he enjoyed Morgan's special box as much as his brothers), but he is asocial enough to be happy by himself. Nice question about how I find the time; outside of a full time job and a relationship, my evenings are surprisingly open for my writing - I just try to get a thousand words done a night and it builds nicely. Heck, I've already built up a bit of a buffer for my next story and about a story arc and a half (20,000+ words) to a special project that won't be placed online. I'm glad that I've earned your accolades, and if my writing is ever crap/bad/poor, please let me know - I like constructive criticism. If that's what it takes to find out, I suppose I better release some back into the wild....

Nelehania Sky: You'll have the answers to all your anxieties this chapter - for better or worse. As for the reason why, there are two explanations. The first is that when life changes in any major way, it feels like too much is happening all at once; seemingly never at a pace one is comfortable with. The second - and the explanation that hasn't been pulled out of my...well, you know - is that I had reached the point where I couldn't think of much else for the characters to do that wouldn't leave the story over-extended and ruin the quality. As much as I enjoy the characters, it's reached the point where they have to advance and for the story to conclude. Enjoy!

For the next eleven days, Kiyi spent his days happily re-reading all his textbooks and course notes in preparation for his new career. Every evening, at which time Morgan insisted he take a break from his studies, the three housemates would watch a sci-fi flick; the middle brother accepting no alternatives if he were to be separated from his review.

On the last of these days, they got the call to announce the acquisition of an apartment. He wouldn't be able to move in right away, but for the sake of ease, was to be picked up to stay with the scientist until such time as he could.

On twelfth day, Morgan treated him to a pack of Skittles as a going away present. "After you've gotten settled into your new job and home, ask Ryan to set up an internet connection for you, alright?" she requested.

"Internet?" he asked, opening up the bag of candy and popping one of the sweets into his mouth. Kiyi's body shivered with delight which was only doubled at the sight of Dace's jealous expression. "Why do I need that?"

It was true he had needed it for his courses, but now that they had been completed, he didn't see much point.

"To keep in touch," Morgan explained. "If you put on the right software, we can talk or write as often as you'd like.

The merman hummed to himself as he considered it. "Only as often as I'd like?"


"Okay, I guess I can manage that."

Right up until the last moment, his attitude was less than sociable, with having his things carried out to Ryan's car being the most enthusiastic he had been outside of receiving the candy. Had Morgan only lost one of the three brothers, his departure was the one that she minded the least, but it still hurt to be losing his company.

Giving him a hug that he clearly did not want, Morgan and Dace said their farewells, to which he responsed half-heartedly while popping another candy into his mouth as to enjoy Dace's reaction once more.

Shouting out to his younger brother as the car took him away, Dace wished him the best of luck on his new life, chipper as always. Out on the front step, the eldest brother stared at the great outdoors for several minutes before returning to the comforting confines of the cottage, making his way back to the computer to resume the work he had been performing for well over a month.

Morgan, deciding to leave him to his curious project and wandered through her quaint home, taking in how much larger, more empty it felt now. The guest room was all tidy, with no one needing it any time soon; not unless Jessica were to arrive with her new lover unexpectedly. The kitchen no longer had the seemingly endless stream of appetizing scents wafting through the air and leaving everyone with a desire to eat. Though it had been this way for some time, the cleanliness of the washroom, with the tub no longer serving as the bed to a merman, made her nostalgic for the good old days where her days were a hassle of dealing with the collection of uneducated pieces of fetish fuel.

As night fell, all the reminiscing brought forth questions she needed answered but loathed the though of receiving unfavorable answers. She tried to push the inquiries from her mind, sitting down with Dace to watch a romantic comedy; one light-hearted and sweet to bring her out of her self-inflicted gloom.

When the movie was coming to a close, she felt Dace cuddle up next to her, his head resting on her shoulder as he held her arm-in-arm. His proximity made her warm and comfortable, but when the movie's credits started to roll, her thoughts drifted back to her earlier concerns.

"Dace, are you happy like this or do you want more?" Her mouth was moving before she had the thought to stem the question, the query now out in the open.

Raising his head and pulling away until only his hand was in hers, the merman quietly contemplated his life and what he wanted out of it. After a length of silence that was unnerving for the author, he approached and squeezed her tightly in his arms in a loving embrace.

It was a momentary comfort before he answered with: "I do want more." Ending the hug, he crawled over to the computer and turned it on, bringing back the uncomfortable silence as the faint glow of the screen showed the booting process. When the operating system had finished loading, Dace found the file he wanted and opened it, waving for Morgan to approach.

Rather than stay in the chair, he flopped down to the floor and let her sit, to stare at a screen filled with text that went on for a fair number of pages – according to the page count at the bottom of the screen. As much as she wanted to ask what this was, she chose to read it herself, thinking it would only work against her to ask anything more.

By the end of the first page of text, she knew exactly what it was supposed to be. The flow of the text, the narration sprinkled between descriptions and conversation, Dace had been writing a novel. By the second page of text, the plot of the story had become perfectly clear, as well. Without knowing what he was thinking at all times, she could only assume that he had written an autobiographical tale of how they first met, and – with so much left unread – details of his life up to this point.

It was hardly a masterpiece, as she saw it; there were problems with the flow and pacing, and the style certainly needed to be refined, but at the same time it showed promise beyond that of a complete amateur.

Turning away from the monitor she looked down at his eager face, aglow in the light of the computer screen, she made her observation. "You want to be a writer?"

"Yup!" he replied cheerfully.

It being something she could teach personally, her hopes rose. "Do you have to leave?"

Dace's head tilted to one side, his teal hair sliding along with it. "Why would I leave?" The look in his eyes was one of genuine confusion; he had not once given a thought of leaving her home.

"Never mind," she replied, shaking her head, a smile plastered on her lips and a faint welling of tears in her eyes. "You're story needs a bit of work, but I think I can make you into a fine author."

Letting out a cheerful squeal, the merman lunged for her, attempting a hug. Instead, he fell short and wound up flopped over her lap, much like a cat that has stretched out across its owner's lap.

Morgan laughed then spied his exposed rear and couldn't help herself. Moving a hand over to his firm ass, she gave it a squeeze; his head rising immediately. He then looked over his shoulder at her.

"You do that a lot."

Another laugh. "Yeah, I guess I do. Should I stop?"

"I don't mind," he smiled, his answer only spurring her on. After a minute of continuous fondling, he slid off her lap and rested his chin on her lap. "Morgan, can I ask you something?"

"Sure," she replied simply, thinking whatever he could ask was worth what he let her get away with.

"Before, you told me about relationships and the different kinds…" he began. "We're friends, right?"

"Of course," she answered, gently running her fingers through his long, thick locks.

"Do we have to be?"

Morgan froze.

"Couldn't we be romantic?"

From frozen to flush in a single heartbeat, she hugged his head as best she could given their positions. "You really want to?"

A faint glow came across his face. "Yeah…. Varden is like that with Jessica, and Kiyi has Ryan…."

Morgan knew how very wrong he was about that second thought, but damned if she didn't try to envision it.

"…And I've been thinking about you ever since we watched that movie," the merman explained.

It took her a moment to think of which film to which he could be referring, then recalled the night she had allowed him to fondle her bosom. "The one with the demonic hand?"

"No, no, the one with the men stripping for the women and—"

"Stop! I get it; don't remind me." Her face was red for an entirely different reason, as she remembered the embarrassment of having her porn stash uncovered. Laughing away her discomfort, she cupped one side of his face with her hand. "I'd like that."

With a smile as wide as he's ever had, Dace felt as she gently raised his head from her lap and leaned forward. "So we're like the people in romance movies?"

"That's right," she replied with a giggle. "We'll just take it slow and live happily ever after."

Drawing him in, her lips met his for the first time since they had met. Her eyes just barely open, she saw his go wide in surprise before slowly closing as he enjoyed the sign of affection, melting into it in such a way that appeared inspired by the reactions in movies but felt genuine. Slowly she pulled away only to feel the merman pursue her lips, the pressure of the kiss returning. Stopping long enough for him to enjoy this second caress, she pulled away and straightened out her back.

He looked disappointed it had ended so soon.

"There will be lots more of that later," Morgan assured him, bringing two fingers up to her lips. "And we'll go much farther, too…I'll really treat you once your first story gets published."

Her proposition brought stars to his eyes as he hugged her legs at the knees. Excitedly, he talked about wanting to start learning how to be a good writer as soon as possible. Whether his exhilaration stemmed more from the prospect of writing than carnal urges, only he would know the answer to that. Though a small mystery, Morgan never went looking for the answer; after all, the result was the same.

It took Morgan several minutes before she was able to calm him well enough to retire to her bed for the evening, as she knew she would be needing some good night's rest from here on out. His story wasn't that far off from going to print, especially if it were submitted under her name as a ghost writer. The coming days would certainly be busy, and she had to think how to proceed with his special lessons.

Perhaps she could dig up that box for some inspiration….

To all my readers, thank you for taking the time to look at my story and I hope it has been worth your time. Sadly, the story ends here (well, for the content that can appear on the site, anyways), but this just means I'll be moving on to focus on one of my other works. For anyone who comments (and enjoys my replies), I'll be answering the comments directly and the forum is always open for anyone who wishes to use it. Thank you, one and all!

Also, I know dedications are supposed to go at the start of a story, but this one's dedicated to the love of my life. Thank you for inspiring me, Darling!