Basic Story Info.

Story Title: Where I Belong
Chapter Number: 1
Chapter Title: "Where I Belong"
Pairing: Ariel/Eric
Rating: T (Just in case!)
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Honestly!

"Isn't the day just gorgeous, Flounder?" A female voice sighed.

High in the sky, the sun was shining brightly, casting its beautiful rays of light onto the surface of the Atlantic Ocean below. The shimmering water gently rolled in waves to the shore, of which was not too far away, frothing the sparkling ocean water ever-so-slightly in the process.

"I've only ever heard about this place before in books and stories," the voice continued. "But seeing it is just absolutely breath-taking..."

"Ariel, I-I don't know about this. I don't think we should be up here..." Flounder's timid voice sounded in response.

"Oh, don't be such a guppy, Flounder," Ariel teased, pulling slightly at his fins.

"I am not a guppy!" Flounder protested, wriggling away. "I'm just as brave as you are!"

Ariel glanced at Flounder with an "Are you kidding me?" expression, but, not wanting to ruin her blissful mood by fighting with him, she let it pass without further argument.

The young mermaid took a few deep breaths and relaxed her muscles, shifting onto her back. She splashed her fins in the water playfully as she adjusted, intentionally splattering Flounder as she did so. She laughed lightly at the grimace of annoyance on his face as she shifted a little more, so that her view was now of the sea, in all its glory, seemingly endless beyond the horizon.

"It's just... I just... have this feeling. It's something I can't really explain. I don't know, it just feels so right I'm meant to be here and not under the sea..." she said to no one in particular, closing her eyes slowly.

Suddenly, a splash sounded somewhere in the distance, unheard by Ariel, causing Flounder to turn sharply.

"What was that?"

Ariel glanced over to him, barely moving, "What was what?"

"I heard something..."

Ariel sighed, "I'm sure it's just your imagination, Flounder."

Frustrated, young Prince Eric padded through the warm sand. He was longing to get away from the palace, desperate to forget he was a prince for just one moment

It's just... no one understands me, he thought bitterly. No one.

See, lately, Grimsby had been introducing him to many princesses from foreign lands with a special sort of gleam in his eyes, so to speak. Indeed, it had been made very clear that he was trying to find Eric a wife.

Eric flung himself down on the beach at the mere mention of a wife, bringing his knees up to his chest. Deep in thought, he turned slightly and took up a handful of sand into his palm and opened his hand, letting the grains of the warm sand filter through his fingers.

A wife?

Grimsby obviously didn't understand that taking princesses swimming, or even out on a ship for that matter, was a joke. Most didn't want to even get anywhere near water. And what use was that kind of a girl to him? He loved the sea more than anything or anyone else in the world.

All he needed a girl who was as wild and care-free as the ocean itself. Someone with an adventurous soul and a heart, like his own, that belonged to the sea.

But where ever will I find a girl like that?

He sighed again, defeated, and peeled off shirt and boots, tossing them both aside. He took a deep breath and dove into the cool ocean water, breaking through the surface with a new sense of contentment.

It was true: this was right where he belonged.

He took a relaxed breath and gazed at the sea out ahead as he waded in the water. It was just so pretty here...

Suddenly, some sort of vibrant object caught his attention in his peripheral vision. He shifted his body and squinted against the harsh glare of the sun to get a better look, but all he could see was red. And a lot of it.

He took another deep breath and dove into the water again, his curiosity getting the better of him...

Ariel rested her head on her hands, now floating on her stomach. She was on her own now, for Flounder had since left for some reason or another. Honestly, Ariel hadn't really been paying that much attention when he explained where he was going. But that didn't matter to her now, for she was gazing at the shore intently, swallowed up by her own daydreams.

What was beyond that sand and shore? Were there... humans? Humans! Oh, how she longed to see one or meet one!


A figure then surfaced right in front of Ariel, startling her from her daydream.

"Ahhh!" Both Eric and Ariel screamed at the same time.

Ariel scrambled to hide her fins within the water as she stared at the boy that seemed to have appeared out of no where.

Wow! Ariel thought incredulously as she marveled the human in front of her. Talk about being careful what you wish for!

She then eyed him contently, finding herself completely paralyzed as she stared at the most beautiful human face she had ever seen. Well, it was the only human face she had ever seen.

It was a man, obviously, probably about the same age as her, with piercing blue eyes almost as blue as the sea, if she did say so herself. He also had a very handsome face that was probably tan from constant exposure to the sun and messy black hair to go along with it.

Eric, too, found himself unable to move as he gazed at the woman in front of him. She had vibrant red hair like none other and glimmering blue eyes.

After a few more moments of silent stares, Ariel, finally gaining control of her body, slowly swam back away from the man, unsure of what to do next.

"Hey, don't be scared! I don't bite," he said with a chuckle. "I don't believe I've seen you around here before," he continued gently, reaching his arm forward to her.

Ariel watched closely as he gave her a warm smile and moved nearer to her. He then reached out and grasped her arm cautiously.

"I- I have to go," Ariel managed to stutter. As much as she really, really didn't want to, she had to stop his before things got too far.

"No! Don't go..." the mysterious man said quickly. "Or don't go without at least telling me your name."

"My name?"

He nodded.

"My name is A-Ariel," she said.

"Ariel... Ariel... Hey! That's really pretty!" he said, trying her name out a few times. "I'm Eric."

"It's nice to meet you, Eric," she said politely.

"The pleasure is all mine," he responded.

Neither Ariel nor Eric spoke in the moments that followed.

"You know," Eric said, breaking the silence. "You are really beautiful, Ariel," he said, taking her hand and kissing it. She watched, giggling, as he blushed bright red.

"You're pretty cute yourself," Ariel commented, feeling her cheeks burning at her comment, too.

"Well, hey, what can I say?" he chuckled.

He began to move his hand again, which had been long forgotten on her arm, up to her hair. He brushed a few stray locks away from her face, running his fingers through her long, soft locks and then down the side of her face, making a trail with the back of his hand from her ear to her lips.

Snap out of it! Things had already gone too far! She thought desperately as a wave of pleasure shot up her spine.

He was a human. She was a mermaid. They weren't supposed to interact this closely, even if he was insanely handsome and had just made her feel absolutely wonderful. Oh, if her father ever found out!

Regretfully, she snapped back away from his touch. "I'm really, really sorry, but I really have got to get home," she uttered hastily. "It was great to meet you, Eric!"

"Wait! Ariel! When will I see you again?" Eric inquired, taking both of her hands in his and desperately searching her eyes for an answer.

"I'm not sure," she responded truthfully. "But when the time comes, you'll know."

"What? How-?" he started. But he was cut off as she swam forward, taking an enormous dive into the sea and rapidly swam completely out of his sight.

Wait a second, how was that even possible? Wasn't the shore back the other way?

Unless... it couldn't be... could it?

Author's Note: Wow! It's been about a year and a half-ish since the last time I posted a story! Amazing, right? It actually feels really good to get back in the habit of writing and posting and all that jazz...

Anyway, please, please review (no flames, thanks) and try not to be too hard on me!

Dreaming Wide Awake

P.S. Yes, I revised this chapter and author's note quite a bit since the last time you all probably saw it. The explanations I originally put in here turned out to have been very unnecessary to say the least, especially considering the story completely changed, in a good way, though, from what I had intended in the beginning of all of this. It has changed for the better. Plus, I'm SO much happier with this version of the chapter. I hope you all are, too. :)