Chapter 1: Proper Etiquette
Story originally posted on Fanfiction.net: 6/15/14 - 8/25/14
Link to original story: www.fanfiction.net/s/10454062/1/The-Little-Mermaid-Beyond-The-Shore
(A/N: My newest fanfic has arrived. I must admit, I'm rather excited about this one. I have a great plot in mind, and, truth be told, I've always had a fascination with mermaids ever since I was young; I guess you would call it my guilty pleasure. This story takes places four years after the second movie. Truthfully, I don't know why so many people disliked it. I for one thought it was one of Disney's better sequels. Along with Jasmine, Ariel is my favorite Disney princess, but I also adore Melody's character. I also love her and Alex as a couple. If you don't know who Alex is, he's the blonde merboy she ran into in Atlantica. And yes, that's his actual name, I found it on both the Disney website and The Little Mermaid website. He's just one of many characters Disney gave a name to but never had it spoken in the movie. I even found out that the shark from the beginning of the first movie was named Glut. Ha, ha, Glut. He was supposed to have a bigger part in the original movie too, and Flounder was supposed to be the one to defeat him while he swam Ariel to the ship to stop the wedding between Eric and Ursula, but the scene was cut for some reason. I don't know why, I think it would have been pretty cool seeing Flounder being a hero. He is one of my favorite characters. Ah, there I go, rambling again, I need to stop that. I hope you enjoy the first chapter.)
Takes place 4 years after the 2nd movie. Melody is now 16, and is making plans to take up her grandfather's offer to join the merfolk in Atlantica. She keeps this a secret from her parents, unsure how to tell them of her decision. At the same time, she maintains a steady relationship with Alex, the blond merboy she met in Atlantica years ago. But things suddenly go bad when a band of pirates arrive, led by a sadistic captain and a reluctant first mate. For some reason, these pirates are hunting the merfolk. They have their eyes set on Atlantica's treasures, and they plan to kidnap either Melody or Ariel in order to hold them ransom in exchange for King triton's magic trident in order to achieve their goal. But it is Alex that they end up catching in their fishing net, and they plan to use brutal means of interrogating Atlantica's location from him. It's a race against time to rescue Alex before he talks or dies and save the mer-kingdom from the threat of the pirates. But there is something far more sinister at work as the captain makes plans to unleash an ancient evil upon the world.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
“THE LITTLE MERMAID: BEYOND THE SHORE”
Chapter 1: Proper Etiquette
Lots of girls dream of the honor of being a princess. It does indeed seem like such a splendid life full of happiness and free of worry. But while there may be many great benefits in being royalty, there are also many drawbacks that go along with it.
Being a princess, and eventually a queen, is a tough life. There are many responsibilities that go along with it, and a proper etiquette must be followed. In all actuality it was a job you were born into, and it wasn’t the carefree life of running through fields of flowers by day and attending romantic balls by night. There was a lot of work involved, and not everyone was up to it. As a certain Arabic princess once said, there were always people telling you where to go and how to dress; you weren’t free to make your own choices, and sometimes you felt like you were just trapped.
Melody knew all this very well. Being born a princess, she had spent her 16 years living the life of royalty. Even as a commoner, living up to people’s expectations was difficult, but when you were royalty, and people had much higher expectations of you, not to mention they were always watching your every move, it became very stressful. There wasn’t much time for fun, there was very little privacy, and there was always much work to be done. In short, playing the role of a princess was enough to drive a person crazy. At least that’s how Melody felt right now.
It wasn’t all bad though. Quite the contrary, there were many wonderful things about being a princess, enough to make the bad things worthwhile. But this was not one of those times. Listening to her instructor drone on and on about unimportant proper etiquette had Melody ready to throw a fit. She was a known tomboy, and this dainty princess lifestyle was not for her.
Sighing, she looked out the window at the ocean. The sea called to her, and she longed to answer its call. The moment she was free from these lessons, she was hitting the beach, or the water to be more precise. It was in her blood after all. Being half mermaid, the sea was a part of her, and she desperately wanted to return to it.
“Princess, are you paying attention?” her instructor demanded.
Coming out of her daydream, Melody returned her attention to the overly strict by-the-book woman. “Yes, sorry. I just got a little distracted.”
Her instructor’s lips thinned, indicating her disapproval. “You are the princess! You must learn proper etiquette!”
‘Proper etiquette’, Melody really hated that phrase. She wanted to point out that she did know proper etiquette, and that her perfection striving instructor was unnecessarily repeating the same lesson for the ten thousandth time, but she held her tongue, knowing it would just mean another lecture she would have to suffer through.
“You need to get your head out of the clouds and back down her where it belongs,” her instructor continued, unknowingly quoting a certain crab. “You are already 16 years old, and of marrying age. Suitors will be lining up for your hand, and you must present yourself properly.”
Melody resisted the urge to scowl. Marriage suitors? No way was she going to go through that nonsense, but, again, to mention this would mean an even longer lecture. So she remained silent as she listened to her instructor, once again, begin explaining the meaningless and ridiculous things she claimed a princess needed to know. As she tried to pay attention, her index finger impatiently tapped against her leg. She recognized the importance of these lessons, but did her instructor have to go through such lengthy insignificant details, and did she have to hear the same things over and over again? Couldn’t she learn something new?
She felt as if she was going to go crazy is she didn’t get out of here soon, when at long last, her instructor pulled out a pocket watch and checked the time. “We will end here for today. You are excused.”
It was best to leave before the woman changed her mind. With hardly a second thought, Melody jumped up from her seat and raced out of the room. Behind her, she heard her instructor shout that she had forgotten to curtsey, and that it was unbecoming for a princess to run around, but she didn’t care. Her lessons were over, and she was free for the day. The next few hours were for her to spend the way she wanted. And there was only one place she wanted to be.
Hurrying down the halls, servants moved out of the way as she raced passed them, used to this behavior of hers. As she ran, she let her shoes fly off, followed by her gloves, and then her socks, which she had momentarily stopped running to remove. She left the items where they fell, knowing that the servants would take care of things; that’s what they were paid for after all.
Her dress came off next, followed by numerous of other unnecessary garments that restricted her movements, and all the jewelry she was made to wear. Many would claim that she wasn’t being modest enough, and that her state of dress was unacceptable for a lady. She didn’t see what the big deal was; it wasn’t like she was running around naked or too overly exposed. She still had on her camisole and her bloomers, which nearly reached her ankles. Besides, the merfolk that showed up in the waters outside the castle wore far less than she was wearing now, and no one seemed to have a problem with them. The mermaids only wore their shell-bras, and the mermen didn’t wear anything at all! Melody wondered if it was from her mer ancestry that she got her lack of modesty from.
Bursting outside, she raced down the pier that had been built a few years after the wall came down. Reaching up, she pulled the ribbon from her hair, letting her long inky black hair flow out behind her. When she reached the end of the pier, she immediately leapt off and dove into the water without a hit of hesitation. The instant she was submerged, she experienced a sensation of coming home.
Breaking the surface, she closed her eyes and floated on her back, her long black hair flowing around her. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensation, missing this feeling of belonging.
Ever since she could remember, she loved the sea. It was so much more than a massive body of water to her. It was a world of utmost beauty, filled to the brim with life, mystery, and magic. Truth be told, she couldn’t understand why her mother had wanted to leave the sea for a life on land.
It had been a real shock to discover that her mother had once been a mermaid, and not just any mermaid, but the youngest of the seven daughters of the great sea king. Always being fascinated with the land, she had been a real misfit in the underwater kingdom of Atlantica. But it wasn’t until she fell in love with Prince Eric that she traded her voice away to an evil sea witch known as Ursula in exchange for legs.
All of this had been hidden from Melody for most of her life. Her parents had felt it had been necessary when another sea witch, Ursula’s very sister, had threatened her life. Melody had been left to figure things out on her own. She cursed that wicked hag for all that she had done to her and her family, but at the same time, she was grateful to her, for it was through her that Melody had discovered her true heritage.
Suddenly, everything made sense. Her love for the sea, her inability to relate to other human children, not to mention her ability to speak to sea creatures, it was all due to her mer ancestry.
After many lies, much deceit, and a great deal of misunderstandings, everything eventually worked itself out. Her grandfather then offered her the option of becoming a mermaid and going to live with him in Atlantica, or to remain with her parents as a human and return to her normal life on land. Melody had chosen to remain with her parents, but used her grandfather’s magic trident to destroy the wall around the castle that separated the land from the sea, which had been built in order to keep her safe from Morgana. But with one witch dead and the other frozen in a block of ice, there was no longer any reason to keep the land and sea separated.
Things became infinitely better now that the truth was out in the open and the threat had been neutralized. Also, with her ancestry revealed, she was no longer called a freak by other children for her “strange” behavior. She got to know her sea dwelling family, made many friends, and no longer had to sneak out to go swimming, except for the times she skipped out on her lessons.
Oh, but what she would give to truly live in the sea like the other merfolk. She may have passed on her grandfather’s offer at the time, but that was because she had just turned 12 and had wanted to spend her childhood with her parents. But now she was reaching adulthood, and she felt ready. Besides, all children must leave the nest eventually, or so the saying went. The sea was calling her home, and she desperately wanted to return to it. It was where she belonged, where she wanted to be, where she was always meant to be. And there was one more reason that trumped all the others.
Suddenly, something grabbed her from below and pulled her under. Melody yelped in surprise as her head went beneath the surface. Something was holding her from behind, wrapping around her legs to prevent her from kicking.
Then she was being tickled. She thrashed about even harder as bubbles escaped from her mouth as she laughed. She reached out and pinched whatever was holding her, and she was immediately released.
Breaking the surface, she coughed as she caught her breath. Pushing her curtain of hair aside, she saw a familiar blonde head with green eyes dancing in amusement.
“Alex!” she cried in mock outrage. “You know I hate that!”
The boy reached out and pulled her to him, pressing his lips to hers. Melody struggled for a few moments before wrapping her arms around him and kissing him back. When the kiss ended, she felt dazed and light-headed, but in a good way, and she stared at him with hooded eyes.
“Nice to see you too, Mel-Mel,” he teased.
Melody tried to scowl at him, but was unable to keep up the annoyed act, not with him looking so handsome. Blonde hair with dark streaks in it that fell past his ears, large green eyes that held her captive, that annoyingly adorable grin on his face, not to mention that perfect swimmers body that nearly all merfolk seemed to have from a life of swimming. Even his beautiful emerald green tail that was currently wrapped around her again, holding her close, kept her completely mesmerized. His only flaw, if she could even call it that, was his pet name for her.
“You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?” she asked, cutting her eyes at him.
He affectionately tapped her nose. “Not unless you order me not to, your highness.”
She rolled her eyes, remembering back to when they first met. After accidentally bumping into him while observing the wonders of Atlantica, she had found herself instantly attracted to him, leaving her love-struck and completely tongue-tied. As a result, when he asked for her name, she had ended up stuttering over it. Ever since, her misspoken “Mel-Mel” had become his term of endearment for her.
“You know I don’t like to flaunt around my authority,” she told him.
Smirking, he circled around, wrapping his arms around her from behind. “I would do anything you ask of me,” he whispered in her ear, “royalty or not.”
She shivered at his words, feeling blessed for having such a wonderful boyfriend like him. They’d been together for four years now, the attraction they had felt for each other having grown evermore over time. They’d started out as friends, both of them dancing around their feelings for each other, but soon enough, they became a couple.
Truth be told, they were more of an unofficial couple rather than an open one. While they considered themselves to be exclusive, the outside world, particularly on land, had yet to acknowledge their relationship. It wasn’t that they were keeping thing a secret, but with her being royalty and him being a commoner, the land dwellers didn’t consider them to be official. Normally, on land, royalty married other royalty, or at the very least those of rich or noble birth. There were very few cases where a commoner would marry into a royal family, such as the case with a certain glass slipper. It was just another one of the many downsides of being a princess.
Such things were far more acceptable in the sea though. Even her Aunt Adella had married her teen sweetheart, Stevie, and he had been a commoner. Sometimes she really wondered just where all these rules and regulations came from, especially for those on land. Titles and riches meant nothing to Melody. If necessary, she would abdicate the throne if it was a choice between ruling and being with Alex. If her mother had felt for her father even half of what she felt for Alex, then she could easily see why she would give up her life in the sea for him, regardless of how wondrous of a world it was.
Then again, her mother had also always dreamed of a life on land anyway, even before having met her father, so it all worked out for the best.
The two floated along on the surface together for a while, Melody lying on top of Alex with her arms stretched out. His arms were stretched out as well, holding her hands, his powerful tail gently pushing them along.
“I missed you,” he told her.
“I missed you too. My instructor is just so dead set on teaching me how to be her definition of a proper princess.”
“I still don’t understand why you have to go through so much trouble. You’re royalty, you should be making the rules.”
She chuckled at that. “Tradition, it seems, outranks royal status. It’s considered essential.”
“I consider it silly, and a waste of time.”
Melody giggled. “That’s for sure. I’m glad I’ll only have to put up with it for a little while longer.”
A question appeared in Alex’s eyes, but it took him a few seconds for him to voice it. “Did you tell them yet?”
Melody fell silent, fighting down the guilt she felt. “No, not yet. But I think that they know. I think they’ve known for years, but none of us have ever brought it up.”
The topic they were discussing was Melody’s return to the sea. Her permanent return to the sea. She may have declined her grandfather’s offer to live with him in Atlantica at the time, but she had been a child, and had wanted to grow up with her parents. But it had always been her intention to become a mermaid once again when she grew up. It was who she was, who she was meant to be. She felt this in the depths of her soul.
Her parents knew, she thought. They never actually sat down and discussed it, but she felt that deep down they knew what she wanted. Perhaps that was why they weren’t so insistent on her following the proper etiquette that her instructor demanded of her. The ways of those on land weren’t the same as those under the sea, so they had been more lenient towards her more wild and tomboyish behavior.
Perhaps it was because they knew what she was going through that they were so understanding about her unspoken decision to go back to the sea. After all, she and her mother were a lot alike. Her mother had also been a misfit and an outcast, never feeling content with her life under the sea, always dreaming of a life on land. Now the situation was reversed, and it was the daughter that didn’t fit in with the land society and craved a life under the sea.
Of course, as king and queen, her parents needed an heir, and Melody couldn’t possibly rule a kingdom on land from under the sea. That was where her little brother came in. Only four years old, but still second in line for the throne, it was little Dorian who would inherit the throne when the time came. And, unlike her, he didn’t seem overly fond of the sea, while she had always shown signs of wanting to be in it or near it, even as an infant, or so she had been told.
She was brought out of her thoughts as Alex shifted them from a floating position to a vertical one so he could turn her around to face him. “You know I wouldn’t ask for you to give up your life on land for me. If I had to, I could learn to… adjust.”
He was trying to hide how uncomfortable the idea of leaving the sea was to him, but Melody could see right through him. She thought it was sweet how he was willing to give up everything he knew and loved for her, but it was not necessary. She would never ask such a thing of him, and it didn’t even matter since she was the one who wanted to change.
“I’m not really giving up anything,” she told him. “I made this choice a long time ago. I wanted to stay with my parents while I was growing up, but we all have to go live our own lives eventually. It was always my intention to return to the sea one day. You’re just my biggest reason for it.” Smiling, she leaned in and kissed him. “Besides, I wouldn’t want you to change for me; I love you exactly the way you are.”
“And I love you,” his tail curled around her legs, “whether you have fins or feet.”
“Oh?” She raised an eyebrow. “You have no preference?”
He gave her a knowing look. “Is this one of those trick questions you girls do that are meant to trap a guy so he’s in trouble no matter what he says?”
Melody giggled. “Maybe…” She decided to let him off the hook. “If it helps, I really loved my tail.”
“Your tail was beautiful,” his tailfin tickled her feet, “but your feet are cute.”
“Cute, huh? I wonder what you would look like with feet.”
He looked uncomfortable again. “Um… no thank you. I’m happy with fins.”
He was fun to tease; it made him look adorable. “Well, you don’t need to worry about that. Grandfather only did it for Mom since she was his daughter, and offered it to me because I’m his granddaughter. And speaking of Grandfather, did you ask him yet?”
If Alex looked uncomfortable before, he looked even more so now. “Uh… no, not yet. I was thinking that it might be better if we talk to him together.”
“Don’t be a guppy,” she teased, using her mother’s joking insult for her fish friend’s cowardliness. She knew good and well that Alex was no coward, but how exactly was one supposed to ask the sea king for his granddaughter’s hand? Alex had no desire to end up sharing a cell in the sea dungeon with the old crone Marina Del Rey. And then there was still her parents to ask. King Eric and Queen Ariel may have been on good terms with Alex from his frequent visits, but that could easily change if they felt that he was taking their only daughter away from them, especially in the father’s case.
“I just think the king will be more inclined to give his blessings if you’re there with me. He completely dotes on you after all.”
Melody chuckled at how true that was. “Firstborn grandchild, and of his youngest daughter to boot. But you know he has a soft spot for you too. Your parents and my mother were very good friends. And I heard that Grandfather had practically adopted your father.”
She had a point there. Alex’s parents were none other than Urchin and Gabriella, the childhood friends of Melody’s mother. So it was a safe assumption to say that he had some good standing with the sea king.
Alex opened his mouth to say something else when several voices cried out.
The two of them turned to see five yellow fish with blue stripes leaping in and out of the water towards them. Flounder’s children, Seaweed, Gils, and Gummy, along with their sisters, Bubbles and Fins, were also frequent visitors to the castle, stopping by every couple of weeks. Although they were fun to hang out with, they did tend to unintentionally interrupt Melody and Alex’s quality time.
A soft groan escaped Alex, and Melody gave him an apologetic look before turning her attention to the five fish. “Hi, guys,” she waved. “How are you?”
“We came to see you!” Gummy, the youngest, cried happily.
Melody chuckled. “Are you guys allowed to be this far away from home all by yourselves?”
“We’re not by ourselves,” Gils, the eldest, replied.
At that moment, two more aquatic critters made their appearance.
“It’s Titanic Tip!” the penguin yelled.
“And Daring Dash!” the walrus shouted.
Smirking, Melody didn’t miss a beat. “Adventurers slash explorers!”
Her friends swam over and she soon found herself being hugged tightly against Dash’s blubbery body. “Great to see you, Melody!”
“Yeah,” said Tip, “old blubbery boy here was being all mopey, so when the kids said they wanted to come visit you, we volunteered to be chaperons.”
Dash gave his friend a dirty look. “Hey, I wasn’t the only one.” He looked back at Melody. “He was being really broody too. You should have heard him. ‘I miss Melody’, ‘I wonder what Melody is up to’, ‘it’s been a while since we last saw Melody’.”
She stifled a laugh at the irritated look on her penguin friend’s face, who reluctantly admitted the truth. “Ok, so maybe I missed you a little. You have been pretty busy lately with all this princess stuff.” He swam over to Alex and patted his shoulder. “Sorry, pal, don’t mean to intrude on your private time, but we don’t got much choice if we ever want to see our human friend again.”
Alex sighed. “It’s fine, I can share.”
“Hide-and-Seek!” Flounder’s guppies cried.
Melody sighed. “Guess that means I’m the seeker.” She always was since she was the only one who couldn’t breath underwater, or hold her breath for such a long period of time.
“You’ll never find me!” Bubbles, the youngest of the sisters, declared. “I’m the best hider ever!”
“That’s because you cheat,” Seaweed, the second eldest, accused.
“I do not!”
“You do so! You keep changing hiding places in the middle of the game!”
“That’s not true! And I’m telling Daddy you were being mean to me!”
“One!” Melody counted loudly to stop the argument. “Two… three…”
The others quickly submerged as Melody covered her eyes. Alex lingered behind a moment to plant a kiss on Melody’s cheek before going under as well, earning him a smile from the princess.Up above in the castle, King Eric and Queen Ariel watched from the window as their daughter played with her friends. It was a bittersweet feeling to see her so happy and so in love, knowing what it might lead to one day.
(A/N: The first chapter is done. Did everybody like it? Did I do a good job on creating an older version of Melody? I always felt that she wanted to spend her childhood with her parents but intends to become a mermaid once she grows up. Oh, and yes, Flounder's kids are going to play a bigger role in this story than they did in the movie. Did I come up with good name for them? Oh, and who caught my Disney references? I'll be throwing those around throughout the story. Disney actually does that in a lot of their movies. Several characters make cameo appearances. I'll also be making references to the TV series, so look out for them.)