|Coming After You
Author: Ara Goddess of the Broken PM
"In three years of marriage, that's the one thing I've never wanted to do." "Why not?" "She's here, and so is my life." "She's not here now." "No, she's not." Eric comes after Ariel, but their fight becomes the least of their problems when he vanishes.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,475 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 07-02-12 - Published: 02-04-11 - id: 6715388
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: This story keeps nagging at me when I listen to the songs that I have planned for it. So, if you didn't read this when it first popped up last year, tell me what else needs fixing. I know it's kinda vague right now, and I'll try to clear that up as I go along.
Disclaimer: I don't own Disney or Daughtry.
Title: Coming After You
Category: Movies – Little Mermaid
Rating: T (light language and torture/violence later on)
Summary: "In three years of marriage, that's the one thing I've never wanted to do." "Why not?" "She's here, and so is my life." "She's not here now." "No, she's not." Eric comes after Ariel, but their fight becomes the least of their problems when he vanishes into thin water.
It was a calm, crisp evening that the redheaded royal strode in from, her soaked bag neglected at the door to prevent it from permeating the carpets with seawater. She herself was dry (her father's trident was a wonder for that in and of itself), but still seemed waterlogged, a bit uneasy as she looked around at the near dead castle. No one around, barely a light on… the place looked nearly deserted. The only time she'd ever seen this was when she came home early from Atlantica and Eric was away, leaving the staff no reason to waste the oil.
So if things were like this… where was her husband? The question had been on her mind even as she'd come ashore, for she wanted – no, needed - to find him and work out the fight they'd had sometime last week. Ariel had been planning her trip below, anyways, but the fight simply allowed them time apart to consider the rocky ground they were on. It also allowed them no chance for making up, as he couldn't follow her and she'd have to get over this all by herself to come back to him.
She'd concealed the quarrel, or at least attempted, but her liaison (read: ex-babysitter) Sebastian had certainly spread word, for at least three of her sisters had come demanding details and offering advice. That was half the reason she demanded to come back earlier than her intended fortnight. And she knew this choice had been the right one now, as the sound of her heels echoed clearly in the silent salon.
Venturing out of the salon and into the hallway, she was thankful for that sound, for soft as it was, it would alert and summon Carlotta. The maid's ears were sharper than a tack, and as Ariel strayed past the dining hall toward the kitchen, she knew the husky woman had heard her and straightened the others up before she was even within sight of the door.
The double-door pushed open to reveal the first strong light she'd in the castle tonight, the warm gold and orange silhouetting three forms, two fat, one thin.
"Your highness! So wonderful to see you've returned safely." Carlotta cheerfully greeted her queen, "I trust your visit was productive."
"No more so than any other." Ariel softly relented, "Where is everyone?"
"With you both away, we sent them home early. We kept the guards, of course, but we didn't expect you home for another couple of days." Grimsby answered easily, "I'll have the staff assembled as swiftly as possible, your highness."
"I'm not sure that's necessary." Ariel bit her lip a moment, trying not to let the fear take over. It did, however creep in, "What do you mean 'both'? Where's Eric?"
"He's not with you, ma'am?" The fear spread to the trio as they looked at each other and shared a silent conversation Ariel only caught parts of: Louie and Grimsby were sharing looks of their dark predictions being realized, while Carlotta was scowling at them for something she couldn't quite grasp.
Ariel seemed more dumbfounded by the question than anything else, "With – with me? Why would he have been with me? I've been in Atlantica."
They shared a look again, but this one was much more easily understood. The men both deferred to the woman between them: YOU tell her.
Ariel felt the knot in her stomach double when she saw Carlotta fold her hands behind her back, "He went after you, ma'am."
"B-But how could he do that without asking Daddy?" Ariel fought the initial fear that her father had caught wind of the fight and done something to Eric. She knew him too well… which only made it sound more plausible.
"Someone else offered, ma'am."
Ariel took that news better than the rest, turning away from the now harsh light and breathing a mental sigh of relief, "Well, then…who was it?"
The advisor grimly stated, "A stranger visited – we still have no idea how she got in. She offered-"
"Offered what? Wait…" The redhead felt the color draining from her skin as a sickening realization set in, "Wait. If you thought he was with me… he hasn't come back?"
"No, your highness." Louie's normally exuberant voice seemed almost dull, soft and restrained as it was.
Turning back in horror, she almost hesitated to ask, "How long has he been gone?"
Carlotta sighed, "Six days, your highness- I told him not to do it. We all did… I trust he never made it to the palace?"
"He never even made it to the city." The hollow reply seemed to bring her from panic to shock, "But then where could he possibly be?"
Turning back to the wall of windows, she stared out them to the relatively calm ocean. It seemed to not give any hints to the new secret it held, and more importantly, the royal it mercilessly withheld. Her azure eyes were the exact opposite, storming like a hurricane as she searched the waves for the lover she knew wasn't there. "Where's Eric?"
The water was calm, cool, and relatively numbing to the already emotionless creature barely floating along, drifting from current to current like a stray patch of seaweed. His navy tail seemed undamaged, but it barely kicked to push him along, the sparsest hints of gold echoing in the waxing moonlight as he fell to the seabed and pushed himself up. His normally light skin seemed almost unnaturally pale as he scraped past a bed of dead coral, the skin barely revealing any hint of the abrasion as he drifted on, eyes dim and struggling to stay open. This was made no easier by his mussed obsidian locks, batted every which way by the currents before plastering themselves to his forehead and his eyes.
He didn't know where he was going, he didn't know where he was, and he didn't really care. After all, why care about where his location or destination when he couldn't even remember who he was?
As he stumbled along, faint thoughts of food and sleep pestered him – he was severely over-taxed, after all – but they paled in comparison to the main questions that flooded him at the moment: who was he and what was he doing out here in the middle of nowhere, alone? The currents twisted and turned before darkening as he swept through a cavern of sorts, but as the currents moved up and out of the shelter, he slipped out of it and landed roughly on the debris-riddled floor, rising and resettling as the momentum that had kept him going for - how long was it now – struggled to bring him to rest.
Sight re-solidifying to ensure he could collapse here, he saw bits of junk lining the wall, but all was covered with a soft lining of silt. This place was abandoned, and thank god, 'cause he wasn't going to get much further as he was. Foggy blue eyes seemed to lose all depth and color as they slowly slid shut, granting the poor soul the rest he so badly needed.
The merman felt something nagging him as he passed out: he should be somewhere, should be doing something… but he hadn't a clue where or what, and without either of those, he wasn't going to heed the voice, quelling it just as something had quelled the rest of his cloudy thoughts. Only one fact pressed him, and that fact was that he was too tired to swim. So, he shuffled, almost too subtly for the eye to catch, and drifted into dreamless, thankless sleep.
A lone spotlight shines in a small club, the local patrons quietly ending conversations and turning to the stage. The merfolk here obviously had clear standards for their background noise, and as the dark-haired talent sheepishly shook off the pressure, his careless expression deepened with intense thought before he turned from the crowd to the piano and shooed the player away to sit down. Taking one last calming breath, he began to play.
"Tell me what you need and I will find a way to stop the bleeding- No! Don't add to my mistakes…" Those who hadn't given the man the attention turned. His eyes shut a steely grey but opened with a soft blue tint, like storm clouds were beginning to roll away and reveal a beautiful sky.
A honey-haired maid behind the bar smiled as she watched them all fall under the spell of his voice. Her work was unparalleled, especially when given such magnificent material to work with. Even she felt moved to pitiful empathy as he continued, "And tell me you're not leaving and I'll tell you everything you need to know! Don't throw it all away…"
The grey was forgotten as azure orbs reopened and saw not the pub, but the image of a redhead leaving, forcing a hand from the keys to reach for her retreating silhouette. "Don't say my words are just too la-a-ate…"
'Ari…' a voice within vainly tried to cry beneath the chains and curse that held it fast.
The musician's hand and head both fell, and as he looked down at his navy tail, he couldn't shake that it didn't belong on him as he retook the keys and began once more, the band behind him sweeping in to aid and amplify his hold on them and the scene.
"I don't wanna be left behind, I've been so blind, to all that I have broken!"
A young prince looked out on the ocean from his balcony, posture slack and expression guilty. He turned in surprise as someone appears from behind.
"Can we put this back together?" The singer all but begged.
The royal sat in bed alone in the dark, expression torn before reaching for a small portrait from a bedside drawer. He looked at his fiery lover and nodded in decision before swiftly throwing the covers back.
"No more empty promises – they don't exist! Just me out in the open…"
He stood before the amber-haired stranger, her dress dark and her expression true as she shook her head. She had to make this clearer than the purest glass: this was not some fleeting spell. The man nodded his acceptance with determination in his eye: this was not a fleeting matter.
"I know this will take time!" The prince acknowledged, no shame or discontent in it before he threw his head back and sang to the currents, "Can we put the past behind us?"
His mind trailed from a prefect kiss on the beach to pure isolation, chained up like an animal. He fought the violent light tormenting him, but he refused to yield his hold on that kiss, on that girl. His girl.
"Tonight, I'm gonna fight for you!" His ferocity made the few patrons that had seen him stumble in earlier before throwing him on-stage feel a shred of guilt. Except the stranger in the back who was more alarmed than remorseful. She didn't have a reason to be sorry for his choices, but she was worried that things might not have gone quite according to plan.
As blue faltered and immediately fell to grey in a flash that her skilled eye caught across the room, she stopped dead and listened to the same plea he'd made to her not a week ago. And as she looked him over she had to wonder just what all HAD happened in that time?
"Just give me one last chance to make it right!"
AN: As I said when I first wrote this, the story's planned start to finish, but I don't work on fan fiction unless readers tell me to. So tell me to!