The story begins with a teenage mermaid named Ariel who is infatuated with the surface world and its humans. She asks a sea witch to turn her into a human. The sea witch does so, however there's a catch: if Ariel can't fall in love in a year, she'll die. Ariel doesn't think much and believes she'll be permanently changed in a manner of weeks, but life has other plans. Ariel soon becomes disillusioned with humanity and locks herself up in a castle with only animals for company. She regrets her decision to live amongst humans, doubting that they can even feel love in the first place.
Everything changes when a young woman named Belle enters Ariel's castle looking for her father.
This fanfic provides examples of:
- Adapted Out: Several characters, most notably Eric, Flounder and the Beast, are removed.
- Adaptational Heroism: For a given value of 'hero', as Ursula only appears to have turned Ariel into a human because she was paid to do so, with no obvious sign that she had her canon counterpart's ulterior agenda of a political coup.
- Adaptational Villainy: While Monsieur D'Arque just seemed to be assisting in Gaston's plan because he was getting paid for it, here he is shown to have his own twisted interest in Belle, transferring her to his asylum and attempting to 'adapt' Gaston's plan so that he is the one who would marry Belle.
- Composite Character: Ariel's character is composited with the Beast. She was cursed with a flower to return to her mermaid state (which would amount to a death sentence if she cannot return to the sea) if she doesn't find true love in a year. She also ends up confined in a castle all alone with no other humanoids for company.
- Darker and Edgier: Ariel has developed a prejudice against humans after her harsh treatment from them, Belle spent some time in an asylum as a child while dealing with her grief over her mother's death, and the final confrontation graphically describes Gaston stabbing Ariel before Belle pushes him to his death.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Monsieur D'Arque reveals that Belle was briefly institutionalised as a child when she had a tantrum in a church after her mother's death.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Invoked; while Belle initially has some trouble at the idea that she is attracted to another woman, Ariel muses that the only problem her father would have the relationship if they were both merpeople is that Belle isn't royalty.
- Demoted to Extra: Ursula is only briefly referenced in the flashback discussing how Ariel became human rather than explicitly appearing.
- Dying Declaration of Love: Belle confesses her love to Ariel after Gaston has killed her, which fulfils the terms of Ariel's original deal and heals Ariel's injuries as she returns to her human form.
- Everyone Has Standards: Gaston is still an arrogant git, but he shows a degree of sympathy and understanding when he learns about Belle's time in an asylum as a child, recognising that she wasn't actually insane but just grieving her lost mother, although he has no problem using her fear against her to force her to marry him.
- Gayngst: Belle briefly experiences this when she feels afraid at the depth of her feelings for Ariel, but decides to ignore it as she doesn't want to be like the villagers who were so prejudiced against her for being 'different'.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Characters describe Belle as being "queer". They're using the older meaning, but it also foreshadows the modern meaning.
- Humans Are Bastards: Ariel has come to adopt this view after being exposed to some of the worst examples of humanity in her initial contact with the surface world, hiding away from humans even though that will mean her death when the spell ends, but meeting Belle helps assure her that not all humans are like that.
- Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance:
- Belle decides to stay with Ariel because she correctly guesses that Ariel will have no idea about the importance of fire in the coming winter months.
- Belle has no idea that Ariel will turn back into a mermaid eventually.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: It is stated that Ariel won't be able to live longer than a few hours if she returns to her mermaid state out of the water, making it all the more important that her friends find a way to save her from that fate.
- Race Against the Clock: Ariel has a year to either find true love or return to the sea, and the animals decide that getting Belle and Ariel to fall in love is easier than trying to ask Belle to make arrangements to get Ariel back to the sea.
- Shipper on Deck: Ariel's animal friends do their best to see that Ariel and Belle get together.
- Slash Fic: The story is Ariel/Belle-based.
- Song of Many Emotions: The song "Beauty and the Beast" is adapted to "Ariel and Belle", as Sebastian sings about their relationship.
- Took a Level in Badass: Compared to the original film, Belle shows herself to be far more physically capable, to the point that she not only fends off a group of wolves attacking Ariel but briefly fights with Gaston on Ariel's behalf.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Suggested; Ariel's musings suggest that mermaids have no issue with homosexual relationships.