A.N: Well, I believe this is finally ready to be posted. It's been collecting dust in my Microsoft Word for awhile now. To be honest, I kind of forgot about it, but nevertheless, here it is!

It's just a small jump into Ariel's head and about how much Melody means to her. You could call it a companion fic to "Eric's Promise." But you don't need to know anything of the latter to read this one. And it's also got some family fluff, which I don't think we see enough of! : )

-"In My Daugter's Eyes" by Martina McBride


Melody's shrieks of laughter and sometimes even shouts of fear echoed throughout the palace as the sound bounced back and forth off the tall hallway ceilings.

"I'm gonna get you!" Eric shouted, hunched over as if he was trying to keep a low profile and hands extended out to his three-year-old daughter.

"No! No! Daddy, don't!" Melody yelled back at him. Looking over her shoulder, she wasn't paying attention to where she was going and was surprised when she suddenly found herself sprawled on the floor after bumping into something solid. She lifted her head to see a dress skirt and her eyes continued on up to see her mother's face greeting her with a warm smile, "Mommy!" Melody grinned.

But then Melody was grabbed up by the Tickle Monster. He attacked her with a barrage of tickling. His fingers were at her throat, her armpits and then the sides of her stomach. Melody rolled around on the floor, breathlessly laughing and flailing her feet, futilely trying to get him to stop tickling her, "Stop!" Melody finally managed to gasp.

Gratefully, he did so. There was a wide smile on Eric's face, along with a devilish glint in his hazy blue eyes. He gave her enough time to get back up to her feet and take a couple breaths before reaching out for her again.

Melody's eyes widened in fear and she screamed for her mother, running around behind Ariel and just missing Eric's groping hands.

Ariel set her feet and spread out her arms, shielding Melody from Eric. "Keep away from my daughter," she growled threateningly, yet a smile played on her lips.

"Ohh, I'll get you my pretty!" Eric cackled in the best evil old witch impression he could manage.

Ariel's eyes widened in mock fear and she quickly turned volte face. "Run, Melody! Go!"

Immediately Melody turned tail and started running, but seeing as her chubby little legs weren't fast enough, Ariel quickly scooped her up and charged on down the hallway, Eric following closely behind.

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear

Eric chased them all the way down into the parlor room, not far from the front entrance of the palace.

Ariel, still holding tightly to Melody, turned to face the Tickle Monster. "Oh no, we're trapped!"

Melody gasped.

"No where to run, now," Eric said threateningly as he advanced upon them, fingers at the ready.

Melody screamed in fright and she shut her eyes tight, waiting for the inevitable.

Then, the Tickle Monster attacked!

But wait . . . .? Where was the insufferable tickling that left Melody out of breath and laughing like a mad girl? And why did she feel slightly squished all of a sudden?

Melody heard her mother giggle softly. She peeked her eyes open and then gave a sigh of relief.

Instead of tickling them, Eric had opted to give them a warm hug instead. His arms circled around his wife and daughter, with Melody sandwiched snuggly in between her parents.

He had just given Ariel a small peck on the cheek and was now about to give Melody a kiss atop her head. She noted his advancing face and gave a reflex reaction. She shot out her hand and grabbed his nose. "You big meanie!" Melody yelled at her father, while twisting his nose painfully.

"Ow!" Eric pulled back and dropped his arms from around the pair. "Melody!" he shouted angrily.

Melody giggled. Her revenge was complete.

Ariel giggled along with her. "You deserve it, you know. You wouldn't quit with the whole tickle monster thing."

Eric pouted slightly, rubbing his nose. "Great Neptune, that girl has a strong grip," he complained. Then he sighed and lowered his hand. Looking meekly up at Ariel he said, "Yeah, I guess you're right."

Both girls grinned widely.

"Okay, time for bed," Ariel proclaimed as she shifted Melody to her hip, "Too much tickling for one day." She approached her husband. "Give Daddy a kiss good night," she prompted Melody.

The child complied, she leaning over and planting a sloppy kiss on her father's cheek. In return Eric gave her a kiss on the head, just as he'd been planning to do earlier.

"Night, Melody."

"Good night, Daddy."

And just like that, all animosity was gone.

Ariel sighed as she sat on the edge of Melody's bed. The child had been granted a "big girl" bed for her third birthday. It was a small double bed, yet still had enough room for Ariel to sit on its side and Melody to lie down in it comfortably.

Melody looked to her mother with bright cerulean eyes. She was still riled up from the tickle monster fiasco and Ariel was going to have to tell her a good bedtime story in order to wind her down properly for sleep.

Ariel sighed again, thinking. Then, she sat up straighter and her blue eyes brightened, she had it. Turning her face to Melody, she began, "Once upon a time there was a Little Mermaid . . ."

Ariel spun the tale well, satisfied to see Melody in rapture of the story. It was a memory from Ariel's past, a treasured one that she looked back on with great fondness.

Her story was about the night she and all her sisters had snuck out of the palace and visited the secret Catfish Cabana music club. There had been dancing, singing and smiles all around. It was the only real fun she and her sisters had had in a very long time. They had all been able to reconnect not only with each other, but to music as well. Arista had even jumped onstage and started playing the saxophone, after practically drooling over the instrument as she'd watched the puffer fish, Cheeks play.

Ariel finished her bedtime story with the "Little Mermaid" and her sisters sleeping soundly after dancing all night long, snuggled together on their bedroom floor, too tired to even make it into their beds.

". . . and they lived happily ever after," Ariel finally said. She smiled contently as Melody gave off a wide yawn. Her story had been a successful one indeed.

She kissed Melody on her forehead. "Goodnight sweetie and sweet dreams," she said as she stood up from the bed and then blew out the bedside candle.

Ariel sighed as she stopped in the doorway and gazed at her sleeping daughter. The Little Mermaid stories were the only connection Ariel had with her past life anymore. She missed her family deeply and longed to just dip her toe into the ocean, if only for a moment. Thankfully, she could relive her mermaid days through the stories she told Melody. They were her favorite to hear and were, in fact, the only ones she would listen to, since she was so enamored with anything oceanic. Ariel smirked, Humph, figures.

Ariel loved sharing those stories with Melody. It kept her sane and grounded when she was hit especially hard with a bout of home sickness.

It was true that she had chosen this human life, traded her tail for legs willingly, and she was enormously satisfied with her decision, but she still missed being able to see her friends and family.

At least Sebastian was around now and again, checking up on Ariel and giving her updates on the ones she treasured most under the sea. But still, she'd do anything to see Flounder . . . hug her father . . . talk with her sisters.

Ariel sighed. It had only been three years since Morgana had reared her ugly head. What if she was never found? What if it was to be several more years before Ariel could go for a swim in the ocean? Hot tears pricked at the corners of her eyes as she dwelled upon that possibility. That would be far too long.

Then, she glanced back up at Melody, sleeping so soundly, and gave a small smile. A warm, light feeling spread in her chest.

Ariel blinked her tears back.

As long as she could keep on sharing her Little Mermaid stories with Melody, she'd be just fine.

This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe in my daughter's eyes

It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light in my daughter's eyes

A.N: I know I skip around with the song a bit *those of you who are familiar with this song will know* but, these are the lines I wanted included in the story. I think it all ties together quite nicely.

I was orginally going to do the entire song, but then I quickly lost inspiration, and so then I thought I'll just do the beginning, cuz that's the main message I wanted to convey and then it eventually evolved into this, which is what we have now.

Anyway, till next time, au revoir!