Marcelina wasn't sure how long she and Emilio sat there, feeling each other out, giving and taking, understanding their tentative love. She was sure, however, that she wanted more of it. Emilio pulled away and she tried to chase him back, earning a soft chuckle and a brush of lips to the corner of her eye. Marcelina opened her eyes and saw perfection in Emilio: his face, his hair, his body, the steady ebb and flow of his emotions mixed with hers, his faith in her, the readiness of his devotion. She felt liberated yet tied down, but only to Emilio. Not Arturo, not Ramon, just Emilio.
It was wonderful--a bit scary, and so incredibly new and tentative--but wonderful. Emilio mirrored her, but with a confidence for their future happiness. He wanted to give her his everything, and now he could. "Now, we can converge," he cooed, his voice a pleasant rumble of warmth. He took her hands in his and pressed them to his chest, then copied the position on hers. "Do you agree to my proposal of converging, Marcelina?"
Marcelina's heart was pounding again, but out of steadily rising fear, not excitement or romance. Yes, she had just had an epiphany about her feelings and future with Emilio, but there was so much that would change once she agreed. It wasn't something she could go through with while leaving so much undone, unchecked. It wouldn't sit with her conscience. Ramon, still drowning in his darkness, flashed in the back of her mind, taking prevalence. She had to reconcile with him. Her hesitance lingered heavily between them, crushing the rosiness. Sighing, Marcelina pulled back her hands, closing her eyes to avoid Emilio's hurt gaze. Just the half-formed bond told her enough. "This isn't no, Emilio. You just have to be patient, I have to see to Ramon before going through with this, otherwise, I'll never feel complete with our converging. These aren't meant to be done without an audience. I just need a little more time, we have two more days, after all."
Marcelina gave Emilio a pleading look, melting his heart. "Of course, I don't want to rush you into this. Be careful, alright?" He removed his hands from her chest as well. His understanding nature further endeared her to him. Marcelina pushed off the lounge pile, hastily undoing her hair. "There's a pouch of fish in that small niche over there. Your body will be able to eat them raw. I don't know how long I'll be gone, but I will come back." She gave Emilio a small smile and nod before she was gone, swimming with a sense of purpose and dread. She didn't know what to expect from Ramon now, or if he was still in his cave.
It took an hour to get to his large cave system, and only a few minutes to find Ramon. He was still in that lounge cave, strewn out across the bed, staring at the rocky ceiling. Tear burns lightly marred his face and a certain spot on his chin. Marcelina sighed low and shaky, slowly swimming to his side. She laid down close to him, her breath's bubbles tickling his skin, but eliciting no reaction. Almost fearfully, she reached across and dusted her fingers up his jaw line. A twitch, muscles tensing, golden eyes almost looking, but holding back, lips trembling. Finally, Marcelina took a breath, "Ramon? I'm here, it's Marcelina."
Slowly, dreadfully so, he looked at her, sleep-deprived and heart-broken. His whole body shook with a shiver and new tears bubbled out of his eyes. Marcelina wanted to hurl herself straight at a rock for doing this to him, whether or not it was truly her fault. She couldn't control Poseidon's whims, but she wished she could, at least, take the hurt from Ramon. "Oh, Ramon. Please don't hate me for what happened. I had no say, you know this, don't you?" She asked, biting her lower lip. Ramon didn't answer. Marcelina tipped her head towards his, touching their foreheads together. "I know I'm selfish, but you're all that I've got, you're my best friend, Ramon," she pleaded, locking their eyes together for what felt like eons. "I know you loved me-"
That seemed to be the trigger, for, in a flurry of movement, Marcelina was pinned to the bed, her arms in Ramon's painful grip. Sharp nails threatened to tear the skin. "My love is not past tense, Marcelina. It is all-encompassing! I devoted myself to you, accepted that while we would never truly know each other's souls as mates do, we could have the closest bond to it! I existed in this barren world because you do! Now how am I to go on, knowing you're truly beyond my reach? How could you betray me like this? My heart is dead!" Ramon's tears visibly sizzled down his cheeks, dripping off his chin into bubbles of nothing. Marcelina instantly burst into tears as well, shaking her head vigorously. "I had no choice! You knew that I was one of the Gemini descendants, Ramon, Poseidon has twice as much power over my future! If I could've stayed with you forever, I would've, but it was not to be! You have to let this fantasy go."
Ramon's low growl made her go stiff. "You did have a choice, Marcelina! You could've stayed with me and the girls a decade ago. You could've abstained from hunting ships, you could've loved me!" He shook her in his uncontrolled anger, teeth bared and sharp. Marcelina tried to scare him off, growling deep in her chest. "Why can't you see reason, Ramon?! If it didn't happen then it would only happen now! I could never have loved you the way you would have wanted me to! You can't force that sort of thing!" She tried to push him away, gathering all her strength. He moved away and she rose off the bed, panting hard.
Ramon was always faster than her, however, rushing towards her. She had no chance of dodging and ended up in his grip again. Only he kept rushing until they hit a wall. He ignored her yelp and pressed flush against her body, kissing her with brute force. He pinned her wrists to the wall, working her mouth with all the skill he could muster. In days past, his kiss would have reduced Marcelina into a sweet, doting complacency, full of laughter and ease, but not anymore. Now it burned, their tears mixing together and reacting painfully on her skin. His touch by itself made her very soul and body want to recoil away, feeling guilty and off-center. She couldn't find the right angle to push him away and had to settle for savagely biting his lip.
Startled, Ramon flinched back, causing his lip to tear and bleed, marring his perfection. They both knew it would scar. Ramon seemed to remember himself, staring at her with pure horror and regret. His body went limp, sinking down to the floor of the cave. Marcelina spat out the sickly sweet silver blood and swam to him with no hesitation. Carefully, she cradled his head on her tail, regarding him with pity and forgiveness. He whimpered quietly, eyes closed and hands shaking.
"Marcelina, I'm scared. There aren't many of us left that I could try and converge with. I don't want to live mateless, I don't want the girls to live without a mother, I'd rather die than be alone. You were all that I had, my dear old friend. What will I do without you?" He sobbed, all the adrenaline and anger melting away to leave the core of his heart: despair and uncertainty, a reluctance to change. Marcelina gently shushed him, petting his hair and letting him cling to her. "Oh Ramon, you won't lose me forever. Just because I can't love you romantically doesn't mean I don't love you at all. I do, as a brother, as a friend. There are people on land and sailors that could be in your future, it is more common than we thought,"she cooed, her heart going out to him.
Ramon gradually reduced to small sniffles and sighs, absently stroking his fingers along her back. His arms rested along the mix of skin and scales, loosely holding for comfort. "How is it that the Geminius is a human male anyway? If you two are to serve some great purpose to Poseidon, how is a human going to be of use?" He mumbled out, less judgmental and more genuine curiosity. "That's the thing, he's actually a halfling. He had no idea of his true heritage until Poseidon made him aware. Emilio owes his future to me just as much as I owe it to him." Marcelina went quiet, and so did Ramon for a while. The two sat on the ground, comforting each other as well as saying goodbye to the old way of things. It could no longer be that way between them, but that didn't mean all was lost. It didn't mean goodbye forever, just change.
After a while, Ramon tightened his hold on her, making Marcelina almost startle--she'd nearly dozed off holding him, like when they were children--and hummed into her skin. "I've been the absolute worst of friends, Marcelina, forgive me. I dearly missed you, and handling all of that information was... hard," he sighed out. Marcelina gave him a half-smile for all his trouble, tugging on a lock of hair in faux-revenge. "I'll say. You're always so dramatic, Ramon," she teased, giving him a flat look. He took her forgiveness with full gratitude, smiling crookedly and chuckling. "Well, one of us has to fill up the emotional hole you have--or had. I'm sure this...'Emilio' has filled that hole, yes?" He asked, looking her up and down with new eyes.
She neither accepted nor denied that, raising her eyebrow instead. "That answer depends, are you willing to meet him, now that you have your wits about you?" she asked, her hands pausing in his hair. Ramon sighed deeply, willing away the last of his bitterness and depression for a little while. "Might as well, you're going to need me as a third party sooner or later." He knew he answered correctly when Marcelina beamed a smile at him and leaned over to kiss his forehead. "You are a gem, Ramon."