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Fanfic / The Little Stark

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The Little Stark by Moon Witch ‘96 is a crossover between the Disney films and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with a particular focus on Iron Man and The Little Mermaid. Relocating the kingdom of Atlantia to the present day, the film opens when an eight-year-old Ariel wanders into Ursula’s domain by accident, resulting in Ursula turning Ariel into a human as a punishment rather than as a ‘gift’, with Ariel only just getting to the surface before she drowns. Ariel is subsequently rescued by Tony Stark (pre-Iron Man), who swiftly forms such a close bond with her that he arranges to become her legal guardian even before he learns the full details about her true history, and the storyline continues to explore Ariel’s impact on Tony in particular.

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The Little Stark contains examples of:

  • Adorkable: Played with; Ariel is relatively inexperienced with the human world, but as she’s eight she has only limited opportunities to ‘embarrass’ herself while Tony acts as her guardian.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Ariel spends some time sneaking around the vents in Tony’s house; justified as she’s only eight and hence fits into them rather neatly
  • The Baby of the Bunch: As always for Ariel, to the point that Tony wonders if her parents had one child a year after their first daughter was born.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Ariel’s family expands from just her father and six sisters to include Tony, Pepper, Rhodey and Happy on land, to the point that she admits that she considers Tony’s house a home after less than a year on the surface.
  • Body Horror: From the perspective of Triton, at least; he explicitly thinks of Ariel as ‘mutilated’ when he sees her human form for the first time.
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  • Canon Welding: As well as bringing together the MCU and the Disney universe, reference is made to the X-Men Film Series, with Tony referencing the recent crisis at the Statue of Liberty when he initially assumes that Ariel is a mutant who can talk to fish.
  • Daddy's Girl: Ariel is attached to Triton, but also comes to be very fond of Tony, to the point that Pepper notes that one thing she can trust Tony to do is take care of Ariel.
  • Demoted to Extra: Flounder might be Ariel’s best friend in the original film, but he has barely appeared in the story so far, even if he saved her life by getting her to the surface after Ursula changed her into a human before she drowned
  • Fantastic Racism: Downplayed; Triton is concerned about Ariel when he learns that she has been turned into a human, but when he finds that Ariel has been kept safe by Tony and the others, he is immediately grateful to them.
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  • Happily Adopted: Despite the obvious culture gap as Ariel adjusts to life on land, after less than a year living with Tony, she admits to him that she would find it hard to return to her biological family as Tony has come to be a parent to her as well.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Comes up for Triton on various occasions, due to the loss of his wife and his favourite daughter.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: It takes some times for Tony and Pepper to learn that Ariel was a mermaid, initially assuming that she is ‘just’ a mutant who can talk to fish.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Downplayed; despite Tony’s relative ‘immaturity’ prior to him becoming Iron Man in canon, here he swiftly adjusts to having Ariel in his life, ranging from giving up fish in his diet to making other necessary adjustments to accommodate an eight-year-old girl.
  • Reality Ensues: A few examples;
    • While Ariel and other mermaids can talk to fish, only a few are depicted as being sentient enough to talk back to the mermaids in turn, such as Flounder and Sebastian
    • While the mermaids were shown to have no trouble communicating with humans in the films (once the issue of Ariel’s ‘stolen’ voice was resolved), here Ariel has to learn how to talk to Tony and Pepper after she’s taken in (the language of the mer-people is described as a mixture of Danish with other languages), and Triton has to cast a spell with the trident to facilitate later communication between Ariel’s sea and land families.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Triton is clearly established as the child of Poseidon, which makes Ariel and Heracles distant cousins.
  • Rescue Romance: A platonic version, as Tony is inspired to adopt Ariel after saving her from drowning.
  • Shout-Out: When Ariel is initially speaking on land, JARVIS describes it as Danish with hints of other languages, as a homage to the original writer of the Little Mermaid tale, Hans Christen Andersen.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Everything starts because Ariel impulsively decides to take a sneak look at Ursula’s cave, which results in her being turned into a human with the intention of drowning her.
  • Unishment: In a sense; Ariel didn’t exactly ask to be human or express any prior interest in being changed, but her interest in humanity probably made her better-suited to such a change than any of her sisters might have been.
  • You Remind Me of X: Phil comments on the fact Ariel lives through the same crisis as Herakles — she too is a Child of Two Worlds.
  • Your Magic's No Good Here: All but explicitly stated, as Ursula’s magic is so different and powerful that Triton and the Ancient One cannot return Ariel to normal
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