Title: The Prince by the Sea

Author: Piyo

Disclaimer: I am afraid that I own nothing other than my own story idea and any characters whom you are not familiar with. Disney owns their version of this movie and whomever Mr. Andersen left his rights to owns the original story.

Author's Note: I thought I might stray a bit from my usual fan fic inspirations and write something I have been meaning to for a long time. The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite Disney movies and I am a big fan of the princes as well as the princesses and thought it was rather unfair how the princes are treated (they really have no backgrounds and parents). Two ideas that have been floating around in my head are the stories of Prince Eric and Phillip. Anyway, enough of my babbling; here is the beginning of one of the two fictions (and I am sorry to say that I am not sure when it will be finished and/or updated due to a very hectic schedule…but then again, it might not be any good…). Please read and review.

Prologue: The Death of the King

A black haired seven year old stood on the tips of his toes as he reached over the side of a great ship to toss a wreath of flowers over the side and into the water. He felt a pair of arms around his waist steady him as his eyes followed the wreath as it sailed off over the waves and disappear into the setting sun. Leaning back, the young boy took his place as his mother's side and tightly held her hand as they listened to the uncomforting words of a priest as he read from a little book.

The boy's eyes were red from crying and wet with tears, yet no sound escaped his lips as he stood patiently at his mother's side. A handkerchief muffled her mournful sobs, but the breeze and the waves carried off the sound. Each was dressed in black clothing along with the crew and their guests and their sorrow was widely felt by those around them.

It was a painful loss; the death of the King was something unexpected, and the pain was felt by all whom he had touched. He had been the cliché perfect King. Kind, loving, forgiving, gentle, loyal, any quality one would want in a king he had and it was those qualities which were going to be missed, as well as the person. The townspeople and villagers were worried about what was to become of their peaceful kingdom now that their king was gone and his only son and heir was still a child. Who was going to rule until the young prince was himself ready?

But these thoughts were lost to the waves as the priest spoke on and in time the ceremony was over. The waves rocked the ship and its passengers, and for a while, the subtle motion calmed those onboard. Of course, the Queen was inconsolable. When the bible was closed in the priest's hands, she turned and went below deck with her son in tow.

After a while, the boy returned to the deck and stood silently watching the others. They were the gentry of the kingdom, the noblemen and women whose eyes were just as red and wet as the peasants whom remained on shore. Many of the men and women gave their love to the young prince, yet he walked by them, his ear deaf to their words. They found it strange that the boy wasn't crying, but they knew that the pain was new and that the prince might not know how to express his inner feelings.

They were wrong. The prince understood what was going on around him; he knew what had happened and knew that his father was never returning. Gone were the days of sailing around the harbor for fun, running down the sandy beach in the setting sun, going inward to the forests and the lagoons. Lost were the bedtime stories and the stormy evenings spent by the fireplace. Everything was over and there were still so many things, which the prince was never going to experience with his father or be able to share with him.

His eyes cast down at the deck, the young prince heard a familiar voice and looked up. A man stood at the bow of the ship, his arms open waiting. He was a tall, gangly fellow with graying hair pulled back by a ribbon. With a smile, the man nodded and the prince ran to him, his eyes watering. The man scooped the child into his arms and held him tight, letting him cry.

"It's all right," the man whispered. "It'll be all right."

His cries stopping, the prince nestled his head into the man's shoulder and looked out at the vastness of the sea. There was confusion on his face as he pondered whether or not he loved it anymore. The sea was the only thing the prince had of his father. In time, the boy would grow to look like his father, and he might have many of his characteristics, but there was nothing real that he could hold or touch that would bring his father that much closer to him than the sea: the one thing they both loved.

But it was the sea that took his father away. Closing his eyes, the prince could remember his father kissing him and his mother goodbye. It was going to be nothing more than a routine sail around the harbor. No one had seen the gray clouds or heard the thunder or lightening until it was far too late. When the King did not return within the night, the Queen grew worried and when the sailors she had sent out returned with no one the next afternoon after the storm had passed the Queen grew afraid, as did the prince.

They found the wreckage a few days later and there were no survivors.

"He is at peace," the man told the prince. "He is in the Heavens looking down at you and your mother. Always will he be with you to watch and protect you."

"I miss him," the prince said, speaking for the first time since he knew his father was dead.

"I know it won't be the same, young highness, but I shall watch after you as if you were my own and love you as a father would."

Turning from the sea, the prince looked up and mustered half a smile. He knew the love wouldn't be the same, yet the fact that there was someone there, a real person able to love and be loved, was a comfort. With that in mind, the young prince climbed down from the man's grasp and close to the railing of the bow of the ship. Looking out over the horizon, the prince knew that his friend was right: his father was out there watching over him. He was about to climb up even further until a shrill voice stopped him.

"Grimsby!" the voice shouted.

The man turned away from the prince and faced the Queen who stood behind him. She had come up silently from her cabin below; her face was pale and her eyes red from crying. There was anger and hurt in her eyes also as she gathered the ends of her gown and marched toward the man and her son.

"Majesty," Grimsby answered, giving a bow. "May I ask what it is you require?"

The Queen huffed as she walked by him and reached up to her son and pulled him down from the railing. As surprised as she was, the prince stared up at his mother questioningly, wondering what it was that he had done wrong. Kneeling before him, the Queen placed her hands on his shoulders.

"Sweetheart," she began softly, "you can't get that close to the water. You might fall over."

He shook his head. "I won't. Papa taught me how to be careful."

Taking a deep breath, the Queen stood and cast her gaze elsewhere and muttered under her breath sadly, "Look where his caution brought him."

With a cough, Grimsby spoke up. "I was watching him, your Majesty. The prince was perfectly safe and if he were any danger, I would have been right there to help."

Turning away from her son, the Queen motioned for Grimsby to follow her. "I have a simple request, Grimsby, and I should expect that you of all people should obey it."

Without a word, he nodded.

"I do not want my son to go into the water. He is to stay away from any river, lake, pond, and he must never set foot in the ocean, or above it in a ship. Unless it is a bath or there is rain, there is no reason for my son to get wet."

Grimsby took a step back, aghast. "Madame, is that not a bit extreme? I know you are distraught by what has recently happened, but keeping the boy from the water is not going to bring your husband back, nor keep anyone else safe from the same fate…" Grimsby bit his tongue and lowered his head. "Forgive me, I should not have been so open."

The Queen's eyes softened and she gave a sad smile. "I know what you are trying to say. My husband is gone and I am not sure when I shall be able to deal with it, and I know that many of my decisions regarding my son may be harsh at first, but I need to do this, Grimsby. My husband is dead; I am not going to lose my son to the ocean too. Perhaps in time, I will be more lenient, but for now this must be done and I would like what I have said to be obeyed."

Understanding, Grimsby nodded once again and promised them that he would do his best. The two turned back towards the prince and found him climbing back up the railing of the ship. Knowing that boys will only be boys, Grimsby shook his head with a laugh, but moved aside when the Queen stepped forward and took her son's hand and pulled him down again.

Her voice firm, the Queen looked her son in the eye, almost scaring him. It was then that the boy knew that whatever it was that his mother had to say had to be obeyed no matter how much he didn't want to. Afraid, he gazed up as his mother and dreaded her words. This was something the Queen could sense and she wished there were an easier way to tell her son what she must.

"Eric, you are never to go in the ocean again."