Episode Seven: I’m Coming Home (1.7)

Last episode saw our serene siren speedily swooning with her suitors! (Try saying that ten times fast!) But in today’s episode, one of those suitors will be heading home…just who will be sent packing?

The early morning found most of the contestants up and awake already. None of them had been able to sleep for long, given what day it was.

Elimination would be taking place today, and one of them would go home. Each of them was on edge, reviewing their date in their mind to see whether they thought it had gone well enough to keep them in the competition. Most of them found something that they thought had gone wrong. Still, it seemed as though everyone had had a good time.

“Arhun, it was…incredible. She’d never been to a swimming pool before. And when she’s nervous…” Ursula took a deep breath. “It makes me nervous too. I expected to be packing my bags first.”

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“Well, I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.” Arhun could tell from her face that she was happy with how the date had gone.

“So, how are you feeling about tonight?” Ursula asked.

“Well, I think that if I go home now, I’ll have a lot to think on. Certainly, I’m feeling more confident in myself.”

“That’s the spirit. Man, travel is just such an amazing thing, though. If I’d known that this was going to be so fun…” Ursula laughed, just as Amira walked sleepily into the kitchen, smiling at the two of them.

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Shiro and Scorpius had ended up talking things over in the living room. As Scorpius had given him the initial push he needed, he found himself opening up more to the other man. Scorpius, Shiro thought, would have made a great therapist, and as it was, he made an excellent friend.

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“Showing my mer-form like that…” Shiro let out a deep sigh of relief. “I…feel more whole, now. Like I’ve…done something right.”

“It’s always right to be yourself,” Scorpius said, gently. “I think that even if you did it for her, you might learn to do it for yourself someday too.”

“Honestly, coming here was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Shiro admitted. “I think I was starting to feel disconnected to myself in San Myshuno. I love it there, but…the islands are always going to be a part of me.”

“That’s the spirit!” Scorpius said, cheerfully.

“What about you, how did your date go?” Shiro asked, somewhat nervous to hear what Scorpius would have to say.

“Oh, we talked about things, and had a good time…” Scorpius smiled to himself. “I really think Amira and I are quite like-minded.”

 

Skye came downstairs humming, bypassing Arhun and Ursula in search of breakfast. Last night had been amazing. Once again, she’d felt as though she really connected with Amira. She was almost tempted to think of Amira as her Yennefer, but then it was early days. Instead, she settled for concentrating on her breakfast.

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After she’d eaten, she looked for Arhun, and eventually found him in the study.

“So…”

He gave her a strange smile. “So,” he echoed. “Are we talking about our dates?”

She laughed. “I don’t know, are we? I mean, I had a good time, and I hope that you did, too. But I guess…we don’t know anything until this evening, and I kind of wanted to hang out a bit.”

“In case one of us ends up going home, you mean.” Arhun gave her that same look.

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“Well, yes. I don’t know what we’re being ranked on. But…” Skye leaned against the desk. “I also want to make sure you have my contact info just in case. I don’t want to go home and never talk to you again. You’re a cool dude.”

Arhun noticed how politely she’d phrased it, and took it to heart, entering the contact info she then gave him into his phone. It was true. Skye was one of the best things about the mansion. He just hoped that they wouldn’t lose their friendship later.

 

Skye wasn’t just securing things with Arhun, however. When she went into the living room, Zissy was stood, watching a documentary.

“Hey, Zissy.” Skye sat herself down.

“Hey.” The other girl gave her a tentative smile. “So, I guess…today is the day?”

“Yup.” She smiled, nervously. “I think we should…put aside our differences just in case, you know?”

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“Well, as long as there isn’t a repeat of last time.” Zissy seemed to relax somewhat. “I know that there’s some energy hanging around because of the elimination ceremony. I wouldn’t want us to add to that.”

The fact that she was at least admitting that there could be some fault on her part relaxed Skye too.

“So, this is…” She gestured up at the TV. “What is this?”

“Oh! It’s like, an expose on how much plastic there is that we don’t know about. It’s pretty interesting, especially given how much of it ends up in the ocean.” Zissy took a seat on the sofa, and began to talk about it. To her surprise, Skye found herself understanding and enjoying the conversation.

“Well, good to see them getting on,” Ursula commented, looking at the scene from by the easels. Shiro shushed her as Amira walked in, hair still wet from her morning swim.

“Hello!” She smiled brightly at Shiro. “I, um, I’m sorry for dipping out after breakfast. I felt like a swim to clear my head.”

Ursula looked between the two of them. Had something happened? Shiro and Amira both seemed flustered, with Shiro seeming much happier than he had before. She wondered to herself for a moment, but Shiro coughed.

“Yes, the water is always perfect on a sunny morning. Next time, we should go together.”

Amira beamed, and Ursula gave up trying to understand. She’d probably find out later.

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“So, Amira…” Shiro gave her a nervous smile. “I’ve no doubt you’ll look as beautiful tonight as you did at the last ceremony.”

“Charmer,” Ursula said, with a grin. “Although I have to agree.”

Amira flushed, looking pleased, and Ursula decided to give the boy a chance. She’d noticed how shy he was around Amira, and how long it had taken him to talk to her. It would be easy to step in and brush him off, or third wheel it, but it wouldn’t be kind. Instead, spotting Scorpius through the window, she waved to him and tossed a smile over her shoulder at the other two.

“I’ll catch you later, princess,” she said, winking at Amira. “Have fun!”

Shiro gave her a grateful smile that absolutely didn’t give her a feeling like she’d just cuddled a puppy. Nope, she was an independent, definitely not a sap girl. She looked back over her shoulder again at the doorway and saw them sat down next to Zissy, quietly talking with each other. Amira was laughing slightly, while both Zissy and Shiro looked on with a smile.

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Ursula sighed. She really was too nice for her own good sometimes.

“Ursula!” Scorpius gave her a large smile. “To what do I owe the pleasure, huh?”

“Scorpius…why are Amira and Shiro so much…closer now?” She winced as she said it. “I’m curious, that’s all.”

“Oh, Shiro finally showed off his merform. It was a big step for him.” Scorpius looked around. “I mean, I wouldn’t tell the others, but…you don’t strike me as the type to spread secrets.”

“I’m not. But…huh. Good for him.” She found herself smiling. No wonder his confidence was up.

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“Yeah. I think no matter what happens, that’s really been a big step for him. He’s really benefited from this trip.” Scorpius gave her a smile. “What about the girls, are they still being awkward?”

“Nope. I think they might even have buried the hatchet a bit. They were talking about plastic in the ocean or something when I left.” Ursula smiled. “Thankful for small mercies, huh?”

“Absolutely. Do you want to take a swim with me?”

“Nothing would please me more.” She grinned. “And who knows, Shiro might come out of his shell more while we’re away.”

The rest of the day’s hours until that evening’s ceremony were whiled away pleasantly. Whether through knitting…

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Chess…

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Or good conversations…

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The day went well.

However, eventually, they all had to gather outside for the rose ceremony, and wait for the bachelorette. All of them had dressed up for the occasion, and Skye, resplendent in a silver dress, manage to draw a couple of gasps as she walked past.

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Scorpius, so often seen in his swimming clothes or an easy outfit, also drew some looks of approval from his other contestants in a formal tuxedo.

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And of course, Amira, once more in a beautiful green dress, looked as lovely as ever. Each contestant hoped that they would not be left without a rose.

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“Over the past week, I’ve lived with you, gotten to know you, and had a wonderful time,” Amira said, looking at each contestant. “I’m so lucky to have met you all, but in accordance with the rules one of you must go home tonight.” Her lip wobbled for a fraction of a second, but she continued.

“Shiro.” She held out a rose to him. “There is no one else who deserves the first rose more than you do for your bravery and courage. You showed me sides of yourself I would like to see again.”

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His breath stuttered slightly. He’d hoped for a rose, but this made him even more determined to try and win Amira’s heart. She smiled at him, and then turned away.

“Skye.”

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“You are a companion already, and I hope you will accept this rose.” She offered it out to her, and their eyes met over the red petals, each smiling at the other before Amira turned away again.

“Zissy. You bring me back to my roots and remind me that to care for ourselves, we must care for the earth. Please take this rose.”

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Zissy gladly did so, her smile lighting up her face as she gently took the rose from Amira.

“Scorpius. You’ve been as much a friend to the other contestants as to me, and your kindness has…won you this rose.” Amira handed it over, and he smiled down at the bloom.

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Only two contestants remained, waiting for a rose – or to be sent home. Ursula and Arhun, who had just that morning been talking about how well their dates had gone. Each stole glances at the other, and at Amira, who stood in front of them.

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“Both of you are truly wonderful.” Amira’s voice trembled. “But in the end, I only have one rose.”

The silence seemed deafening, until Amira stepped forward, holding the rose out to…

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“Ursula. You broaden my horizons and show me new ways of thinking. I’ve enjoyed our time together. Will you take this rose so it will continue?”

Ursula looked down at the rose with a bittersweet happiness, and took it gently. She didn’t want to be in the last two, but she was very happy to continue trying to win Amira’s heart.

Arhun watched with a sad envy as Ursula stepped away. Amira sat down on one of the benches, her face the very picture of regret.

“Arhun, I’m sorry. I really enjoyed our dates, but I haven’t always connected with you as I have with the others. I don’t think that we’re the right people for each other, however much I enjoy your company.” She looked torn as she said it, and he knew it was time to come clean.

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“I shouldn’t have held back. I’ve been hiding a secret from you, Amira, because not everyone takes the news well. I’m not a mermaid, or a human. I’m actually…” He gulped. “A vampire. And maybe if I’d opened up a little more to you instead of hiding we could have connected like you wanted.”

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Amira looked down. “Well…I guessed that, actually. Or something like it. But you never told me yourself.”

That hurt a little, but he bowed his head gracefully.

“I’m still grateful I had the chance to win your heart,” he said, meeting her eyes. How deep they were, like the sea.

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Impulsively, she reached forward and hugged him quickly. “I mean it. You show such compassion. Don’t hide your light from others.”

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The ceremony over, Amira took her leave, and the contestants were left to their own devices. Skye pushed past the others to fling her arms around Arhun.

“Don’t go. You’re basically my best friend here. You’re like…my Jaskier.”

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He patted her back. “We’ll stay in contact, don’t worry. I’m sure that after everything’s done you and I can be good friends still. I’ve got faith that you’ll win her heart.”

She sniffled slightly, hugging him even tighter before she stepped back.

“I’m going to miss you, you dork.”

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“Believe it or not, Skye, I believe I’ll miss you too. Don’t forget to message me, okay? Keep me updated.”

And with that, he had only the evening left to hang out with his fellow contestants before the production crew came to ferry him away. However, he felt in his heart that he would miss Sulani and the week’s experience he had had.

Fangs for the memories? With Arhun gone, only Scorpius is left keeping the new peace between Zissy and Skye…and with Skye now blue, will she continue her pursuit of Amira?

Tune in next time to find out!

(Shiro belongs to 15aewar, Ursula belongs to VanPelt81, Skye belongs to Irishsong, Zissy belongs to marryacheesecake, Arhun belongs to Butterfreeguy, and Scorpius belongs to INFINILoki! And as always, Amira belongs to me!)