Author's note: Saw The Princess and the Frog today, lines are as close as I can remember. HAD TO WRITE IT! (Sorry to anyone who's reading this who's from another fandom I typically write for! I'll get back to work eventually!) Last part is something written right before the frog version of the wedding.
Where the beads had come from was anyone's guess. The necklaces they'd come from were strewn across the ship, broken, and probably abandoned for that very reason. Had it not been for a certain frog, their existence would have been inconsequential. But this is not the way things go when one finds themselves in a fairy tale.
And so, hours later, after the beads had served their usefulness to humans lucky enough to still hold their shapes, Naveen, Tiana, Louis and Ray would come across them. Louis was far too interested in his opportunity to play with the band to even notice them, and his excitement proved contagious. It was Naveen who decided to stay behind, the beads causing things to fall further into place.
It had been slowly dawning on him that he was enjoying being around Tiana. Sure, she could be a kill joy, a stick in the mud....but she was willing to help him to learn how to do things for himself. She didn't give into his whims as other girls did. The mere fact she didn't swoon over him had at first irritated him, then held a distinct fascination, and now made him realize it was because she was not the type to only look at the shell of the person. She saw him for who he was. Knowing that, she'd still helped him. Even before he'd promised to marry Charlotte and give Tiana the money for her restaurant, she'd still saved him.
But it was Madam Odie who'd made it sink in. He'd been told to dig a little deeper, after all....Prince Naveen was many things...vain. Spoiled. Selfish. And of course, handsome, but he was no fool. Unlike Tiana, he'd heard Madam Odie's message loud and clear - there was something missing from his life, and it wasn't money.
He suspected that the old witch had purposely made him see Tiana's reflection as she explained, but he'd never know for certain.
Staring at the beads and a bit of wire gave him an idea. He'd never felt this way before, about anyone. He was experienced with women, certainly, but the minute a girl had brought up that hideous 'l' word, he had run away from them. And yet, the more he thought about love and Tiana, the more he began to associate the two. He'd felt a twinge when they'd danced together, and he'd tried to ignore it. But he just couldn't keep lying to himself.
He took the bead and wire and jerry-rigged a ring. He admired his handiwork, inspecting it to see if it looked appropriate. He smiled to himself, considering just how perfectly it had turned out.
He took a gulp as he stared at the ring, wondering momentarily if this feeling could have been some strange side effect of the Shadow Man's spell. Naveen shook his head. No. No, he wanted her. And he was going to propose, tonight.
After the misunderstanding with Ray thinking Naveen was proposing to Evangeline, not only was the firefly relieved that Naveen's intentions lay elsewhere, he was most certainly glad to help. It was Ray who located the wine and gave Naveen a hand in fixing the table up.
"You listen here, you treat her good, right?" Ray asked, elbowing Naveen in the ribs.
"Of course I shall. But uh, now, if you don't mind, my friend?"
Ray chuckled. "Y'all needin' some alone time? Don't bother ole Ray none. You jus' tell me how it goes!" The firefly flew away, presumably to find Louis, as Naveen headed to get Tiana.
"This is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me!" she exclaimed, looking around. She made her way to the table, and Naveen pulled her chair back for her.
Tiana received everything well, but for the first time in his life, Naveen was nervous. Tiana was the first girl to ignore his charms upon their first meeting, who was to say that anything had changed? He repeated in his head over and over to stop worrying, stop acting like such an idiot. You are a prince, you are handsome, you are talented. She will most certainly want you. Who would not?
Each time he tried to reach for the walnut shell that held the ring, he'd be thwarted - either by himself or by Tiana. Finally, she interrupted him to point to the building she was hoping to buy.
"And people will come from miles around for our food!"
"Our food?" Naveen blinked, his hand desperately groping for the walnut shell. This was it! This was what he'd been waiting for. She wanted him. She'd say yes.
"My daddy's and mine," Tiana elaborated. Naveen let out an inaudible "oh", feeling rejected. She continued to talk about her dream.
A feeling arose in Naveen. He suddenly didn't care what he had to do...he loved Tiana. He wanted to be with Tiana. But all she wanted was that restaurant. And yet he couldn't even hold a grudge against it. All he wanted was her happiness. And so, he resigned himself to his fate. He promised her then, he was going to marry her friend and make sure she had the money for her dream.
Tiana thanked him, somehow missing just how sad the other frog looked. The idea of marriage itself no longer terrified him, but marrying someone other than Tiana? Naveen felt a pain in his chest he hadn't known before. But she just looked so...happy. He leapt off by himself, unaware that some sneaky shadows were laying in wait for him.
The kiss hadn't worked. Ray had passed on from this world, though that pain was dulled from the knowledge he'd gone on to be with Evangeline, his own true love. But Naveen and Tiana were still happy, even though things hadn't turned out as they wished.
"Well?" Naveen asked one day, waiting for a response.
Bewildered, Tiana stood up on her long frog legs and crossed her 'arms'. "Well what? You never said anything for me to give you an answer to!"
Prince Naveen pretended to be hurt. "My love, you wound me. Did we not talk about marrying? Unless you are no longer interested…"
"You're not getting out of it that easily," Tiana laughed. "But you're not doing it right."
"You heard me," Tiana planted her hands firmly on her hips. "You never actually proposed. So how'm I supposed to know if you're serious about it? You have dated 'thousands of women' after all. I could just be another number for you."
"Of course not! While I, Prince Naveen, have loved many women….did I say 'loved'?" Naveen laughed nervously at Tiana's glare. "I wished to say 'dated'. But I have only loved one."
"Prove it," Tiana said with a smile, poking Naveen on his chest.
"If I did not, would I have been keeping this this whole time?" 'This' referred to the ring he'd made her on the boat. He had been keeping the shell nearby at all times, waiting for the opportune moment. He opened the walnut and got down on one knee. "And will you?"
"Will I what?"
Naveen laughed. "Oh, very well, I will do it properly. Will you, my most beautiful Tiana, marry me? If it helps your answer, I am a prince. Also, very charming and handsome."
"Yeah, and covered in warts."
"Does this mean no?"
Tiana pulled him into her, hugging him tightly. "Of course I'll marry you. I love you, Naveen."
"And I love you."
Author's Final Word: There is more to this story, of course, but you already know how it ends. A prince marries a waitress, and she becomes a princess. Their wedding kiss reverses the horrible enchantment upon both of them. But a starting factor in this part of our tale was a simple, abandoned bead.