Disclaimer: I wish, but no, I don't own the characters/movie.

He had seen her throw mud with her magic, of course, and it was usually aimed at him. But he'd never seen her actually on the field of battle, so to speak, until a night shortly after Aurora's crowning as Queen of the Moors. The girl had been plenty busy with her human kingdom, so the night she arrived for a visit was a night of celebration for all the fair folk she'd befriended.

Those friends included the mud-slingers, and before long a full out mud war was underway. His beautiful self had been sucked into the conflict as well, and he had to admit in his human form it was pretty good fun. Pale skin and clothing were much easier to clean than feathers after all.

His former Mistress, however, remained well out of range, and more than once Diaval caught Aurora gazing at her godmother's shadow with a frown. As they sent another volley flying, however, he finally heard her call out.

"You won't join us, Godmother?"

Maleficent shook her head.

"You seem to be finding victory already. No need for my help."

The girl's frown grew, but then her eyes lit up with mischief that he swore she could have only learned from the Protector of the Moors.

"Your help? Can you even throw mud without magic?"

Wings rustled and eyes glowed. The challenge had been made, but would she accept?

Then white teeth gleamed, like a cat's just as it was about to pounce.

"Be careful what you wish for, Beastie," she rose and headed straight for them.

Well played, hatchling, Diaval smiled.

But his smile didn't last long, as a large mud ball smashed into his face. He didn't have to see to know the culprit, her chuckle was evidence enough.

"Oh, you will pay for that!" he shouted, grabbing a ball of his own and throwing it hard.

It gave a satisfying "Splat!" as it landed right on her neck and chest, but his bravado vanished at the shocked, then angry look on her face.

He was dead. Dead, dead, dead.

"Help me, Aurora!" he shouted, racing past her as Maleficent used her wings to her advantage.

Diaval felt his arm being grabbed before being lifted up into the air, and he flailed like a fledgling first learning to fly.

But this flight didn't last long, as she promptly released her grip, and he fell face first into a giant mud bog.

He heard laughter all around him, the grunting chortles of the fairies, Aurora's like bell-chimes, and the throaty thunder of Maleficent. Rather than rise right away and face the embarrassment, however, he lifted his head just enough to breathe and take a moment for himself.

"Diaval?" he heard Maleficent call, but he didn't budge. His face he was sure was still too red, one of the true setbacks of a human complexion.

"Diaval, this isn't funny. Get up this instant!" she called again, but it sounded more like an order from the old days.

But still he persisted and stayed still, and an idea worthy of Aurora's mischief awoke in his mind. Oh, he thought, this will be too good.

"Godmother, he isn't moving," Aurora pointed out, concerned, and he heard steps come closer.

"Diaval?" he heard Maleficent again, softer. Only when he felt her hand on his shoulder did he strike.

In a whirl he spun, and smashed two massive globs of mud into her face. Her expression was priceless, and he howled with laughter, soon joined by Aurora and the others.

"You imbecile!" the tall fairy shouted after trying to wipe away most of the mud, "I thought you were hurt!"

The last word was emphasized by another mud ball slamming down on his head, but Diaval in his mirth barely noticed.

"I got you so good!" he screeched, the merriment about them so intoxicating that that was what he'd later blame for his next action.

Because without another thought he wrapped his arms around her waist, and pulled her into the bog with him.

Giant wings thrashed in her surprise and even more mud and water was thrown about but he never stopped laughing, and laughed even harder when her face appeared.

Normally so regal and calm, even in anger, Maleficent now resembled something more like a wet cat, her hair wet and clinging at odd angles around her horns, but with murder in her eyes.

I wasn't dead before, because I am now, Diaval thought, shrinking under that gaze.

But then, she surprised him, and started laughing. Joyful, uncontrollable laughter, and soon he was laughing too.

Aurora walked over to them with a smile, only to slip and coat them all in more mud and make Maleficent laugh harder.

And right then, with one arm around the Queen of the Moors, and the other tentatively placed behind its Protector, Diaval thought he couldn't be happier. But then Maleficent leaned against his arm, and smiled at him, muddy face and all, and made him a liar.

Yet another surprise, just like the mud ball that Aurora put in his face right after, but as he raced after the hatchling for revenge and heard Maleficent's shouts of encouragement, Diaval knew he wouldn't change one bit of it.