Epilogue: Ariel & Belle

"Hard to believe it's been a year since we met," mused Belle when she woke up one snowy day, "isn't it?" And she turned herself over so she was facing Ariel, who was smiling warmly at her.

"I lost track of the time," chuckled Ariel softly, "the day we finally came together." And both Ariel and Belle cast their minds back to that intense, amazing day.

"What a day that was, eh?" smirked Ariel slyly.

"I'm getting wet just thinking about it," winked Belle.

"How?" queried Ariel, confused...or so her face seemed to indicate. "We're not even in the water yet." And both women burst out laughing.

"Good one," Belle giggled, and moved in for a kiss. Ariel graciously obliged, surrendering herself to the love and passion that Belle exuded whenever they looked at each other. It only grew more intense as the kiss lengthened.

And, when both women finally let themselves go, the explorations that ensued were heavenly. Belle went first, so Ariel could pick up on what usually went down during encounters such as these, and when Ariel reached her zenith, the two would switch off, giving Ariel a chance to practice. As Belle hit her peak, Ariel would usually give her a little nudge, pushing her over the edge.

These such encounters had happened on many occasions since the day the two lovers had officially reunited, and the magic...and ecstasy...still had not lessened. And both Ariel and Belle had vowed never to let that happen.

Later on in the day, Belle and Ariel were out in the back yard, playing around in the snow. As Ariel grabbed a handful and threw it skyward, an idea occurred to Belle.

"You want to learn how to build a snowman?" she asked.

"Uh..." Ariel said slowly. "...I usually work with rock whenever I make a sculpture."

"Which is how often?" Belle wanted to know.

"It used to be quite often," answered Ariel, "but the last time I did it was before I met you. Also, I almost always had help from Flounder. He was especially good at it. I'm more of a painter, myself."

"Well," began Belle, "first of all, this isn't your traditional sculpture. It's not going to look like Michelangelo's David, by any stretch of the imagination. Second off, it's quite easy. Just do as I do." Ariel complied, and soon, she and Belle had matching snowmen, three sections tall, and as Belle had promised, it was definitely no David.

"Well," Ariel noted, patting her snowman's head, "you were right about it not being a masterpiece. But it doesn't even look like a man. Am I missing something?" And she stared, perplexed, at the lumpy snow sculpture.

"Well," chuckled Belle, "a face, for one. But other than that, no. It's supposed to look like that."

"Really?" said Ariel, surprised. Glancing back at the white statue, she added: "Funny-looking man."

Belle, taking no notice of Ariel's jibe, simply went to a pile of wood and took a small stick. Returning to her own creation, she stuck it in the snowman's side, thus giving it an arm.

"Ta-da!" she said proudly, gesturing grandly towards said addition. Ariel, however, had lost all interest in the snowman and was looking off to the west, towards a small flock of small, sky-blue birds with disproportionately large-sized, pure white wings.

"What are those?" Ariel asked in wonder, pointing to them. Belle looked, and immediately recognized them with a laugh. They were Swablu, relatively calm and quite people-friendly by nature. She said this to Ariel, who responded with a whimsical sigh.

Intrigued by their fluffy, cottony wings, which very greatly resembled clouds, Ariel slowly approached them...or would have, had Belle not put a hand on her shoulder and stopped her.

"They may be friendly," warned Belle, "but if you get too close, they'll scatter. Birds frighten easily, and Swablu are no exception. Instead of going to them, let them come to you." To demonstrate, Belle extended her index finger, parallel with the ground, making a perch, and gave a gentle whistle, inviting any cotton-winged would-be visitors over. Several of the Swablus' heads perked up, and one flew over to land on her finger. Belle, slowly extending her arm towards Ariel, gave a warm smile.

Ariel, amazed as she was, quickly realized she must make the same perch with her own finger. This, she did, and let loose a cheery whistle. The Swablu hopped over from Belle's finger, alighting on Ariel's.

"Now, very slowly, extend your arms," instructed Belle, as an idea came to her. Ariel obeyed, inching her arms to their fullest extent. The Swablu did not leave her finger. Belle let out another whistle, and went to go make a few more additions to her own snowman. Meanwhile, Ariel felt several more birds land on her arms and shoulders. She could not suppress a sweet smile; maybe some of them could talk, as well. One even landed on her head, making Ariel look as though she had donned a fluffy blue-white hat.

When Belle finally looked back towards Ariel, the sight that greeted her would not have been out of place on a social media website under "Funnies". She had to fight gallantly to prevent herself being reduced to gales of laughter, but it was a close thing. She did, however, manage to keep it to snorted giggles.

Ariel resembled nothing so much as a scarecrow, her fully-extended arms completely covered with Swablu. Five of them had even landed on top of one another, and the teetering tower was now atop Ariel's luscious red locks. The look of sheer terror on Ariel's face was precious, and absolutely priceless. Eyes darting every which way, Ariel was at a loss for what to do...if, indeed, she should do anything other than remain as statue-like as possible.

"Ummm...help?" she squeaked.

"OK," answered Belle. "But first, direct me to your painter's easel and palate. I have GOT to capture this."

Bitch, Ariel thought, irritated, as Belle lost all control, and collapsed laughing on the ground. You are SO gonna get it.

As Belle's laughter filled the air, the Swablu flock took flight. Ariel cowered a little as the birds departed in a flurry, trying to shield herself from the tiny yet sharp talons and the sound of fluttering.

When Belle finally regained control of herself enough to stand up, she was greeted by a wall of bitter cold impacting on her face as she was about to open her eyes. Wiping her face, Belle soon realized that Ariel had thrown a snowball at her, and it had found its mark. When she finally did open her eyes, she saw Ariel with a silly grin on her face, looking right at her and obviously fighting not to laugh.

"Not fair," whined Belle, though she, too, was having trouble keeping a straight face.

"Remember that next time you turn me into a scarecrow," declared Ariel, unable to hold back any longer, and bursting into gales of laughter.

Laughter that was soon interrupted by an incredibly accurate snowball.

"Oh..." purred Ariel, wiping the snow from her own face. "So that's how you want to play, eh?"

"You want to play?" challenged Belle. "I'm right here. Let's play." And Ariel wasted no time in darting after Belle, who led her on a merry chase through their own back yard.

It was a bundle (no pun intended, for Ariel and Belle were both bundled up) of fun, and soon, Ariel saw an opening to take Belle down. Using her powerful legs, she executed a picture-perfect flying tackle, and sailed straight for Belle.

"I've got you..." Ariel cried out, but at the very last possible moment, Belle simply dropped out of sight.

"...now?" she finished as she sailed clear over Belle and landed with a thump in the snow, face-first. No sooner had she landed than Belle was rolling her over onto her back and straddling her. Both women started laughing, and did not wish to stop.

The only thing that stopped their laughter was Belle coming down and initiating a long, deep kiss, during which they rolled around in the snow. When it finally broke, Belle remembered something: her idea from earlier.

"Hey, Ariel," she whispered, "I just thought of something."

"What's that?" replied Ariel softly.

"There's one room in the mansion I haven't shown you yet," revealed Belle, "and that's the grand ballroom."

"You have a room full of balls?" asked Ariel, confused. "What kind of balls?"

"Not that, silly," giggled Belle. "A ballroom is a room where people hold formal dances. I've never used mine, because I never had a reason to."

"But now you do?" guessed Ariel, already having some idea where this conversation was going.

"Yes," confirmed Belle. "Now I do, and I want to share a formal dance with you tonight. And to truly capture how a room like that feels, I wish for each of us to wear a formal gown, of which I have plenty. What do you say?"

Ariel said nothing; rather, her response was another kiss, deep and meaningful. Belle took that to mean yes.

She was right.

Over dinner that evening, Belle and Ariel were chatting about nothings, as they often did over dinner.

"So what's been your favorite performance thus far?" Belle asked.

"I have to go with the Royal Albert Hall," answered Ariel. "So much to be found in that show, and I've explored the Titanic. Not to mention, the people I met were amazing, and so accepting." Ariel was referring to the performance of the score from the movie "Titanic" at the Royal Albert Hall, in which she and Belle had taken part. Not long after Ariel had permanently become "Part of Belle's World", Belle had recruited Ariel to join her in her musical appearances as a singer. Ariel had taken to it very well, belting out a song simply called "Far From Heaven" in Queen Mary's Garden during an open-air appearance. Ariel had become an instant hit, and the UK simply could not get enough of the two.

At the Royal Albert Hall, Ariel had borne witness to a movie that had captured the hearts and minds of a generation, and loved it. When she had met Kate Winslet after the show proper, she had said that Jack and Rose reminded her of herself and Belle. Kate had been a little taken aback, but in the end, she had encouraged Ariel to move forward with the relationship. Ariel had also unintentionally let slip that she was a mermaid by birth. Catching her slip, she had blushed and turned to run off when Kate put a comforting hand on her shoulder, saying Ariel's secret was safe with her.

Belle had had a similar experience when she talked to James Cameron, the "captain" of sorts.

"That was an amazing show, wasn't it?" agreed Belle. "But I have to go with the performance we both did with Bob Dylan. Such powerful songs from that man."

"Also true," conceded Ariel. "I guess we can agree to disagree."

"Indeed," said Belle. Then something hit her:

"Holy Romulus, it's late! We better get our dresses on; he'll be here soon."

"'He'?" echoed Ariel suspiciously. "Who is this 'he'?"

"He's a friend of mine," answered Belle honestly. "I met him on the music circuit, through another man whose band I played with once. There's nothing between us, so no worries there."

"Who says I was worried?" laughed Ariel.

"I heard the suspicion in your voice," countered Belle. "Now, let's go get changed." With that, she set down her silverware and got up from the table. Ariel did the same. She made her way to her room and threw open her closet. Shuffling through it, she eventually found a number that really caught her eye. It was a pale sea-green full-length dress with pouf-y shoulders. The color reminded Ariel of her family, who, recently, had paid them a visit. Thinking of her family warmed Ariel's heart, and she tried on the dress, which fit perfectly, and really brought out her eye color and skin tone. She decided not to accessorize, save for a single sea lotus which matched the color on the dress perfectly.

Going over to the full-length mirror, Ariel examined herself. Nothing was out of place; she was ready for a wonderful night.

Meanwhile, Belle already knew exactly what dress she was going to wear. Going to her closet, she pulled it out: a bright yellow strapless dress with matching three-quarter gloves. Putting them on, she immediately set to work on her hair. Before long, her hair had been parted in the front, flowing down into curls on either side of her face, which ended at the swell of her breasts. The back of her hair, in the meantime, was also a similar length, with the top part pulled up into a bun, and the rest flowing downward to match the curls up front.

Giving herself a quick once-over in her full-length mirror, she could not help but feel satisfied: When Belle Cartier cleaned up, she cleaned up good. Her work done, she went back down to the foyer to wait for Ariel and her guest. As she descended the grand staircase, there came a knock at the door. She walked over to it and opened it, revealing a man only slightly taller than herself, with a very boyish face and a chubby build. He was wearing a white beret with a green vest under a white blazer with white pants. Thank God it was nighttime, otherwise he would have been almost indistinguishable from the snow that surrounded him.

"Hi, there," she greeted warmly. "Please, come in."

"Thank you," he replied, and did as he had been told. When Belle shut the door, he said,

"So, great to see you again." As he finished, he took her hand and gently kissed it.

"Likewise," responded Belle honestly. "I guess Mike was right about you."

"You met Mike?" asked the man. "He taught me everything I know about drumming, but he's forgotten more about it than I ever will. Anyways, direct me to the Steinway and I'll make sure you and your woman have the time of your lives tonight."

"That probably sounded a lot better in your head," laughed Belle.

"It did," chuckled the man.

"Door behind the grand staircase," directed Belle, "take a right, and it's the door at the end of the hall."

"Much obliged, milady," he answered, and made his way there.

Not long after he had left, Ariel made her grand entrance. Belle saw her just as she began to descend the staircase. She did so daintily, very ladylike, and looked stunning the whole way down. Just as she reached the bottom, Belle walked over to her and took her by the hand.

"Well, hello, beautiful," she said in a smoky voice, and kissed Ariel's hand.

"You're not so bad yourself," countered Ariel in a matching whisper.

"Shall we?" asked Belle, gesturing to the door that would lead them to the ballroom.

"Lead the way, my love," requested Ariel. Belle obliged, not letting go of Ariel's hand all the way to the ballroom. When they walked inside, Ariel was greeted with a truly majestic chamber. Large and rounded, there were windows everywhere stretching from floor to ceiling. Speaking of the ceiling, it was decorated with a sky painting, dotted with little cherubim here and there. There was a white tile dance area surrounded by mahogany wood flooring. The wall itself was white marble, and a spectacular golden chandelier hung from the ceiling.

Not far away from the door, there was a pure white Steinway grand piano, at which Ariel saw a man seated. He looked up when the door shut, saw them, and made his way over to them with a gentle smile.

"Is this the luckiest woman on Earth?" he said to Belle of Ariel.

"I must be," Ariel shot back, "because THIS wonderful woman somehow fell in love with me."

"I can see why she did," countered the man, looking Ariel up and down. "You look absolutely amazing. No disrespect to Miss Cartier, but still."

"Oh, you dog," laughed Belle. "This is Ariel, crown princess of the realm of Atlantica."

"Atlantica?" asked the man in wonder. "Then that would make you..."

"A mermaid, yes," confirmed Ariel. "My father is King Triton, descendant of Poseidon."

"Then that, in turn, would make you a cousin of Percy Jackson," chuckled the man. "That is amazing."

Belle and Ariel both laughed, fully understanding the literary reference.

"Oh, where are my manners?" the man reprimanded himself. "I haven't even introduced myself. Lucas Lynch, drummer, pianist, and occasional singer on the worldwide music circuit, at your service." And he bowed deeply, then took and kissed Ariel's hand. "You can call me Luke; most people do."

"Very nice to meet you, Luke," answered Ariel warmly.

"The privilege, Your Highness," replied Luke humbly, "is all mine. Now..." And he gestured to the dance area. "...Your Majesties...whenever you are ready." And he retreated to the piano. Belle, meanwhile, led Ariel out to the center of the dance floor.

"Why did he pluralize 'Your Majesty'?" Ariel could not stop herself asking.

"I don't think he knows we're not married," guessed Belle. "Not that I'd mind marrying you."

"And I wouldn't mind it, either," agreed Ariel. "You know what? Let's do it."

"Get married?" asked Belle. "Oh, I'd be honored to. But there's a whole process we'll have to go through..."

"We'll worry about that later," reassured Ariel. "For now, let's just enjoy this moment."

"Agreed," concurred Belle. And she flashed Luke a thumbs-up, which was his signal to begin. Cracking his knuckles, he began to play a very gentle melody of his own composition, whistling a harmonic rhythm over it. Immediately, Ariel and Belle began to dance, easily slipping into a slow, easy waltz. Luke watched this and smiled as he began lyrics which a dear friend of his had written for him when he had gotten the request to do this from Belle.

Once upon a time
True as it can be
Started out as friends
But that's not where it ends
As was destiny

Didn't seem so strange
How easily they fell
Both a little scared
Neither one prepared
Ariel & Belle

The two women, lost in the dance, only had eyes for each other. The visible world had blotted out, leaving only the music and the love of their life, with whom they were dancing right now. Luke's gentle voice washed over them as he continued to play:

Never dared believe
Never such surprise
Never have before
Have they felt so sure
In another's eyes

Once upon a time
Suited perfectly
Both the sea and land
They go hand-in-hand
Mermaid and Beauty

Certain as their love
Has no parallel
Once upon a time
Two worlds did combine
Ariel & Belle

The women now slowly brought the dance to a close, looking deeply into each other's eyes.

Once upon a time
Two worlds did combine
Ariel...and Belle

As the last word left Luke's lips, Ariel captured Belle in a kiss to rival any other the two had shared. Luke smiled warmly when he saw this, and as he brought the song to its end, the kiss was broken. Luke, proud and happy to have given these two lovely ladies this moment, which they, hopefully, would remember forever, broke into sincere applause as he walked over to them.

"Thank you so much for inviting me into your home," he said gratefully to Belle.

"Don't mention it," answered Belle.

"And thank you for your time and music," gushed Ariel. "I see why Belle thinks so highly of you; I'd be honored to perform with you any time. Did you write that song?"

"The honor would be mine, Miss Ariel," replied Luke happily. "And I wrote the melody, but the honor of writing the lyrics goes to my dear friend Tiffany. Anyway, if ever you wish me to perform with you, you need only say the word. Normally, this is the point where we all sit down for a chat, and I crack open a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, I must now take my leave; I have an engagement on Baker Street that I simply cannot miss."

"At the Holmes Museum?" asked Belle with a jokingly raised eyebrow.

"No," answered Luke. "It's a bit farther down the street. But I would like to see you both again someday, under more casual circumstances."

"Of course," agreed Belle. "Our home is always open to you. You are welcome to visit anytime you so desire." Ariel indicated her concurrence via an emphatic nod. Luke gave a grateful bow and kissed each woman's hand in turn.

"Well, hopefully, we meet again sooner rather than later," he said. "Ariel...may I simply call you Ariel?"

"Of course," responded Ariel. "I've always found formal titles to be boring, anyway."

"Amen to that," laughed Luke. "Ariel, it was lovely to meet you."

"The pleasure was mine," replied Ariel, giving a polite curtsy.

"Belle," continued Luke, "always a joy to see you. Safety and peace, my friend."

"Upon you, as well," replied Belle with a silly grin, completing the reference to a book series Luke thoroughly enjoyed, and had recommended to Belle. Then, her competitive streak shining through, she threw another literary reference his way:

"May the Force be with you, Luke."

"And also with you, Belle," laughed Luke, completing the reference to his favorite book series. "Ladies...fare thee well for now." With a final wave and jovial smile, he made his exit.

"Such a wonderful young man," marveled Ariel once Luke was out of sight.

"Isn't he?" agreed Belle. "You know, if not for you, I'd probably date him," she added with a raised eyebrow.

"I have a feeling you'd have some competition," joked Ariel. "Regardless, I had a wonderful time tonight. I enjoyed myself so much...more than I have since Daddy lifted the music ban on Atlantica."

"Huh?" queried Belle, confused.

"That's a story for another time," replied Ariel.

"I'll hold you to that," warned Belle. "I'd also love to do this again, and soon. Maybe even at a full-blown function. What do you say?"

As with earlier in the day, Ariel's answer was a deep kiss, meaningful and heartfelt.

"I love you, Ariel," whispered Belle, once the kiss was broken.

"And I love you, Belle," replied Ariel in a matching whisper. With that, Ariel led Belle up to their bedroom. Outside, the Swablu were settling in for the night: The sun had completely set, and night had fallen. A soft snow began to fall. Somewhere in the distance, the cry of Ho-oh echoed across the United Kingdom...another day had greeted its inevitable end.

But for Ariel and Belle...this was only the beginning.

A/N: And with those words, this journey has come to its close. Thank you all for reading, and for coming on this journey with me. Special thanks to Crazy Cat Lady for putting up with all my BS as she fought to make this story better. For this effort, I have seen fit to include a full credits list. Here it is now:

Casey Gallagher

Beta Reader
Tiffany Keane

Inspired by
Ariel & Belle
Ariel & Belle: A Human in Atlantica
by Tiffany Keane
Beauty and the Mermaid
by Xavier Haven

Voice Cast in order of appearance:

Belle Cartier
Paige O'Hara

Frank Welker

Maurice Cartier
Rex Everhart

Rob Paulsen

Jesse Corti

Jerry Orbach

David Ogden Stiers

Mrs. Potts
Angela Lansbury

Bradley Michael Pierce

Corey Burton

Jodi Benson

Parker Goris

Samuel E. Wright

Buddy Hackett

Flotsam and Jetsam
Paddi Edwards

Gaston Cousteau
Richard White

Traveling Hobo
Ben Wright

Dream Theater
(James LaBrie
Jordan Rudess
John Myung
Mike Mangini
John Petrucci)

Neil Garrett
John DiMaggio

Grey DeLisle

Kari Wahlgren

Tara Strong

Tara Strong

King Triton
Jim Cummings

Harold the Seahorse
Will Ryan

Pat Carroll

Jodi Benson

Luke Lynch
Casey Gallagher

Music in order of appearance:

Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Paige O'Hara, Corey Burton, and the Eastbourne Town Choir
© 1991 Disney

"Part of Your World"
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Jodi Benson
© 1989 Disney

"Part of Your World" (Reprise)
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Jodi Benson
© 1989 Disney

"The Best of Times"
Written by Mike Portnoy, Jordan Rudess, John Myung, and John Petrucci
Performed by Paige O'Hara and Dream Theater
© 2009 Ytse Jams, Inc.
Dream Theater appears courtesy of Roadrunner Records

"Under the Sea"
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Samuel E. Wright and the Catfish Club Band
© 1989 Disney

"Belle" (Reprise #1)
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Jodi Benson
© 1991 Disney

"Poor Unfortunate Souls"
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Pat Carroll
© 1989 Disney

"Be Our Guest"
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Jerry Orbach and the Servants' Choir
© 1991 Disney

"Belle" (Reprise #2)
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Paige O'Hara
© 1991 Disney

"Kiss the Girl"
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Samuel E. Wright and the Lagoon Choir
© 1989 Disney

"The Touch (2007)"
Written by Lenny Macaluso and Stan Bush
Performed by Stan Bush
© 2007 Scotti Bros. Records
Stan Bush appears courtesy of L.A. Records

"Wherever You Are"
Written by Carl Johnson
Performed by Paige O'Hara
© 1997 Disney

"My Immortal"
Written by Amy Lee, Ben Moody, and David Hodges
Performed by Paige O'Hara
© 2003 Wind-up Records
Evanescence appears courtesy of Concord Music Group

"Truly Madly Deeply"
Written by Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones
Performed by Jodi Benson
© 1997 Rough Cut Productions
Savage Garden appears courtesy of Columbia Records

"Part of Your World" (Finale)
Written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
Performed by Jodi Benson and Paige O'Hara
© 1989 Disney

"Ariel & Belle"
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Tiffany Keane
Performed by Casey Gallagher
© 1991 Disney, 2010 CC Entertainment, 2013 Insanity Works Productions

"Ariel & Belle" (Outro Version)
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Tiffany Keane
Performed by Casey Gallagher and Tiffany Keane
© 1991 Disney, 2010 CC Entertainment, 2013 Insanity Works Productions

Soundtrack available now on Infinity Records

And Ariel and Belle were to live happily ever after...