Based on princenothinq's ideas for a mermaid au. C:

Prologue: Drowning Crown

Sirius wandered about the city, lost in his own head. He appreciated the Callaghans always checking to make sure he was handling everything okay, he really did, but it was getting to a point where he felt smothered and needed some space and some time to himself. So he managed to get his hands on an outfit that didn't scream 'royalty', and snuck out of the palace.

He was pleased that no one seemed to recognize him. It allowed him to do his wandering and thinking in peace. It also allowed him to hear some of the gossip going around about him that no one would say to his face if they knew. It came as no surprise that people loved the former Queen; she had an impeccable public face. She also clearly favored the nobility, and constantly undermined his efforts to improve the lives of the lower classes. She had screamed and railed against him for months when he'd decided to open Octan's borders to non-human species, and often aired those grievances to the general public to sway the people against their king.

The final straw came when she'd been chasing him down a corridor, screaming at him about 'fulfilling his husbandly duties' when he ran into Cary, who immediately drew himself to his full height, wings spread in a threatening manner, and snarled at her to get away from Sirius. He'd never heard any of the Callaghans use their Voice in anger before; it had been quite the experience. It'd had even more of an effect on her, sending her all the way back to Paradisa, where their marriage was promptly nullified upon the revelation that they had never once shared a bed in the entire year they had been together. Sirius was glad enough to finally be rid of her, but it seemed she wasn't through with him yet; her 'parting gift' had been to spread malicious rumors about his preferred bed partners.

Which, honestly, wouldn't have bothered him, but for one problem: he was still without an heir, and now no one, royalty or nobility, would touch that prospect with a ten-foot pole. He was also saddled with the daunting task of getting the people to trust that he did actually know what he was doing. He'd been raised for it, after all, taught by the finest educators Octan had to offer. He just had to trust that his hard work would speak for itself soon enough.

Sirius paused and glanced around when he realized he couldn't recognize where he was at. Judging by the run-down state many of the buildings were in, though, he could guess he was in the poor part of the city. He frowned to himself; he hadn't meant to wander to this area. He was being met with curious, and even hostile, stares. As he glanced around to find the palace, he abruptly found himself face to face with a young woman holding an infant. She looked very ill, and he involuntarily took a step back away from her.

"Oh," she gasped, eyes widening. "Oh, my prayers have been answered-"

"Ma'am?" he barely squeaked out as she eagerly stepped closer to him.

"Please- please, you have to help my son-" Said infant was deposited into his arms without further ado, and he nearly dropped the baby as he struggled to adjust his hold quickly enough. Nearly. He thanked his lucky stars he'd had practice holding Keelan when he was a baby, even if that was almost fourteen years ago now. "Please, sir, find someone who can look after him, I can't-" She took a shuddering breath. "I can't take care of him anymore…"

He supposed not, judging by the look of her. "I could- I could find you a doctor-?"

She gave him a sad smile. "I thank you for your offer, but I'm beyond any help now… Please, sir, I know The Man Upstairs sent you to me, please help my Emmet…"

"What- what about his father?"

She choked back a sob, tears welling up in her eyes. "Gone… gone at sea, my poor Joseph…"

Sirius bit his lip, and glanced down at the fussing bundle in his arms. "…Alright," he agreed. "I'll… find someone to take him in." He glanced back up, but she was already gone. Startled, he looked about to try to find her, but could not spot her anywhere. "…Huh." He sighed, and looked down at the baby. Emmet didn't look like he was doing too well either. "…Well, at least you can't turn down a doctor. Not that I really put much stock in such faith, but maybe your mom's right about The Man Upstairs making our paths cross. You need someone to take care of you. I need an heir. What do you say, Emmet Joseph, want to stay with me for a while, see if it works out?" Emmet stopped his fussing, and stared up at him with wide eyes. "I'll take that as a yes. Now that that's settled, let's figure out how to get back home."