Basic Story Info.

Story Title: Where I Belong
Chapter Number: 23
Chapter Title: "For Good"
Pairing: Ariel/Eric
Rating: T (Just in case!)
Disclaimer: I own nothing, as always.

Just as Eric had promised, he and Ariel were, in fact, able to figure out something in order to organize the marriage between the two of them. Well, technically, the whole thing hadn't been Eric's idea in the first place, but at least he was willing to be flexible and, at the same time, fulfill his promise to Ariel in the end. He also executed his role in their plan quite nicely.

See, when Ariel's father had accompanied her to the surface and witnessed the proposal, he had been struck with a brilliant idea. If Ariel couldn't become a human to marry Eric, then, if it could be arranged, Eric could just as easily become a member of the mer-community to wed Ariel. Simple, right? It could be explained to the people of the mer-kingdom that he was foreign, from a city far, far away, and had courted his daughter in secret for many months now, which, actually, wasn't far from the truth. Plus, Eric's absence could be explained to his people by a made-up story in which he was going off on an exclusive and extensive tour of the world and would not be back for many, many years to say the least. Someone else would be found to take over the crown in the meantime. That way Eric would not have to worry about the going-ons up on land.

A couple of months later, things began to calm down, but only slightly. Plans had been made and set forth and, in the meantime, Eric had made his transformation into a merman, of which he adjusted to quickly. If she hadn't known any better, Ariel would have thought that he must've been a merman in one of his past lives, or something, because of how easily and naturally being a mer-folk came to him. To her immense relief, the people of Atlantica warmly accepted their new citizen and really came to like him in due time.

Life continued to be busy under the sea and the entire kingdom of Atlantica seemingly could not wait any longer to see Triton's youngest daughter be wed in the most extravagant and most talked about event of the year in which the entire population, of course, was invited. Well, all except for Jordan, if you could even count him as a member of the kingdom. Speaking of which, after confessing her love for the evil little devil to her sisters, Andrina finally came to her senses and realized that he really wasn't all that she thought he was and moved on fairly easily and quickly. She's now steadily dating a nice young merman named Justin and the two of them just might have some wedding bells of their own ringing in their near future, too.

Flash forward another couple of months: it's their wedding day. Ariel, as any bride would be, waited nervously for the ceremony to start. It wasn't everyday that a girl got married to her true love, after all. And she had little to fret, for her standard white, beautiful wedding dress had been picked out and fitted to her body perfectly, her bridesmaids and groomsmen had been selected and clothed to match the theme of the wedding, and, among other things, the catering and flowers had been delivered without a singly mistake... so far, so good. She crossed her fingers that everything would continue to run smoothly. And pretty much all she had to do was survive the trip down the isle and she'd be set to go.

Minutes later, as she made that fateful swim down the isle, the swim that would change her entire life, she began to feel silly for being so worried about today. If something went wrong, well, so be it then. She and Eric would deal with it just as they did everything else. In that respect, all her worries seemed to melt away as she locked eyes with Eric. She was proud to report, after the fact, that the two of them successfully made it through the ceremony in one piece. Later on, as the night progressed, she didn't even know why she had worried so much in the first place because everything, right down to seating arrangements, went off smoothly and perfectly; truly without a single hitch. They could only be so lucky, right?

Toasts had been made and gifts organized and the bride and groom had shared their first dance, and, as soon as it had begun, the wedding and its accompanying reception were over with.

The next day, after saying their goodbyes, Eric and Ariel set off for their honeymoon, cheered on for miles by citizens who had lined the streets in order to see the newlyweds off. Little did they know, that two and a half week vacation would mark the beginning of a wonderful family. And, sure enough, a month later, she announced her pregnancy. Nine months later, their pride and joy, their beautiful baby girl, the one they named Melody, came along. People gathered in the royal square for hours before and after the birth just to get a glimpse of the newest member of the royal family. And they were not disappointed in what they saw. She was presented late at night, on her birthday, Friday, April 28, to her people and her mother and father couldn't have been any happier. Eric could only describe his wife as "simply glowing" that day. A couple years later, in the middle of August, they welcomed another baby, this time a boy they named Sean, into the world.

Years later, Ariel truly couldn't have been happier with her fairy tale ending, which was still unfolding right before her very eyes. Her life was still full of thrills and never ceased to surprise her, especially with her children growing older by the second and their imaginations, as well as the kids themselves, boucing off the walls. Honestly, she owed most of her happiness to her love, Eric, for he had changed her life in all the ways a life can be changed. He had smitten her, intrigued her, cared for her, given her company and hospitality, among many other countless things.

In the time they spent together, for now and forever more, he showed her right where she belonged, which was right there with him, beside him. He helped her find her place in the world. But all she really needed a push in the right direction to get herself going and he was just the person to help her get her life back on track.

Now, whether or not he had changed her for the better or for the worse, she did not know. But she knew, for sure, that he had changed her for good. And, for that, she would be eternally grateful.

Well, there you have it! We find out that the ending of the movie/Broadway musical and my version of TLM aren't all that different, after all. Well... kind of. It was just a different path Ariel/Eric traveled to get there to the end. Yes, it quite different, indeed, wasn't it? But wow! It's over! I can't even believe it, can you? This story has been my baby for the past... six months-ish. Almost half a year! Wow, wow, wow!

Anyhoo, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of your reviews (over one hundred and counting!). It means so much to me! Thank you for sticking with me through the thick and thin and just know that I probably wouldn't be here if not for you all and your wonderful encouragement. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I can't even begin tell you that enough!

And so concludes this story. I am still working on Love Sneaks In so watch out for that in the near future!

Alright, well, that's all for now, folks!


Au Revior,
Dreaming Wide Awake