AN: This is my first fic in years so it's probably a) really terrible and b) even worse. Still, I read every Maleval fic I could get my hands on and still needed more, so here I am. This was originally going to just be a one-shot, but I got a lot of positive feedback so I'm going to make it a collection of fairly unrelated Maleval drabbles. This one's when Aurora's about ten, so there's that.
Disclaimer: I don't own stuff.
"Diaval?" Maleficent called, tapping her knuckles impatiently against her staff as she waited for her servant. It wasn't like him to take this long in returning to her from a patrol, and though she might try to hide her concern with annoyance, she couldn't deny the sense of dread rising in her gut. She'd never admit it to him, of course, but… well, she needed Diaval. Maybe in more ways than she'd let herself believe.
Though she acted as if Diaval's presence was a nuisance, his absence made her feel as if something was missing. He'd been an important part of her life for almost twelve years, and she'd grown used to his company.
Maleficent's drifting thoughts faltered when, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a small figure approaching from the air. She didn't need to turn to know it was her black raven, and as he neared her from behind, she flicked her fingers briskly. Now that he'd returned, her concern evaporated like water.
"Well?" She asked, not bothering to look over and watch his form elongate into that of a man. She awaited his response impatiently, but all Maleficent was greeted with was silence. She rolled her eyes at the dramatics of her servant, and turned to look at him…
And saw Diaval lying, semi-conscious, in a pool of his own blood.
"Diaval," she exclaimed in shock, dropping to her knees beside his limp body. Blood soaked her cloak, but she didn't notice as she searched his body for wounds. "Diaval," she said as calmly as she could manage, "Diaval where are you hurt?"
Diaval's eyes twitched slightly, but she wasn't greeted with his black irises. A short gasp of pain slipped from his mouth before he managed to pull his left arm to gesture to an area underneath his ribs. Though Maleficent worked quickly, removing his shirt and revealing the large, deep gash in his side, she found her heart beating a little faster than it should be. She could heal him, of course. Now that's she'd seen the injury, she knew it was easily remedied by her magic; after all, most things were.
She knew she'd kept her face stolid, eyes revealing nothing, as usual, but as she raised her hands to stitch his wound together with tendrils of her fiery magic, she couldn't stop her fingers from trembling ever so softly. As much of a pest as her servant could be, she knew within her heart, that he was by far the closest thing she had to a friend. And despite herself, the idea of losing him made her heart drop.
The slash seemed to take hours to close, though Maleficent knew it couldn't possibly have been more than a minute. The image of Diaval motionless and broken flashed over and over in her mind. It'd been a long time since she'd really had to feel the pain of loss. Losing Stefan, losing her wings, losing everything about her that had once been happy- she'd lived with those losses. They haunted her and guided every step she took, but the idea of losing the only person she'd been able to trust with, well with anything, for more than a decade sent her mind reeling.
Maleficent watched as Diaval's eyes flickered open, groggy and unfocused. He blinked several times, taking in the blue sky watching over the Moors. When his dark eyes caught hers, they filled with a sort of understanding, and the confusion faded out of his eyes as he spoke, "Mistress, I-"
"Diaval," she cut off quickly, "How did this happen?"
Diaval's pale lips twitched into a ghost of smile. "Ah, well, really it was my fault. I wasn't being cautious-"
"Diaval," Maleficent commanded, but he kept rambling.
"-I should have been-"
"How?" she asked darkly, eyes narrowing. Diaval did stop, and he started directly up at Maleficent, meeting her gaze.
"They knew who I was," Diaval said quietly, his voice soft. He dropped his eyes to the side as he continued, "They'd heard you were often accompanied by a black raven and when I flew over the wall…" He trailed off with a careless shrug, reluctant to continue. Maleficent didn't blame him; her imagination could finish the story just fine. She was no stranger to the cruelty of men, but it didn't change the disgust she felt on Diaval's behalf. She felt an anger stir inside of her, an anger that had nothing to do with Stefan and everything to do with the servant- the friend- around whom she'd spent the last twelve years.
"Who were they?" Maleficent's voice was serious, void of any trace of light. It spoke of her absolute anger, her terrible fury. Though most would not be able to distinguish her tone from the detached façade she usually wore like a laurel, Diaval could hear the merciless cold lurking beneath her words.
"Mistress," he said, quickly, trying in vain to prop himself up on his elbows despite his weakened state, "I'm fine, it really doesn't matter anymore-"
But it was too late. Maleficent had already risen from the ground, Diaval's blood still wet on her clothes. "Who?" She commanded once again, her back to Diaval.
With a soft sigh to himself, Diaval replied quietly, "A party of three archers, all in steel armor with King Stefan's coat of arms." Maleficent nodded, her resolve for vengeance growing, but as she walked away from Diaval, his voice followed her.
"You don't need to do this," Diaval called out to her, and for no reason she could understand, she stopped. "The men didn't even attempt to breach the wall- they came for me. I made it, you still have your servant, it's done. Next time they come after me-"
"No." Maleficent said, still not turning towards Diaval. "No, I do need to do this. So there won't be a next time." And with that, Maleficent left Diaval wondering if this could maybe be a sign that somewhere in her heart, she'd allow herself to feel for Diaval what he knew he felt for her.