A/N: I have no excuse…please enjoy :)
'BEN!' Mal screamed in panic, jolting out of an almost sleep. The walls of the room were old and shabby. Large multi-coloured patterned carpets were draped in a mismatch from the ceiling failing to cover the light streaming in from the windows. The ground felt a familiar mix of furry and sticky to Mal as she pushed herself into a sitting position. Any relief about knowing whereabouts she was on the island were completely crushed by the lack of friends that surrounded her or the very fact that they were actually all on the island.
Confusion and fear were beginning to take control, what was going to happen now, where was everyone, had they survived and if so how was she going to keep them all that way. What was Chad doing? Were her family and friends back on the mainland okay? What if she couldn't save them? What if she was too late? What if she wasn't good enough?
Questions flooded and swirled her mind, she needed to snap out of this. Trying to focus, she attempted to make a plan of action. Step 1 was find Ben and her friends; step 2 get off this island alive; step 3 stop Chad and save the day. 'Simple enough' she thought to herself.
Her mind was interrupted as a flurry grey, white and red burst through one of the drapes, grabbing her shoulders.
'Mal are you okay?' Carlos asked, his voice heavy with worry. Mal was dumbfounded staring at him mouth open unable to form any coherent words. To say he looked dishevelled was an understatement, his knee had a large scrape which and ripped his trousers leg to ribbons and he had previously removed his suit jacket revealing a torn, previously long sleeved, black shirt.
'How… How did that happen?' Mal questioned, surprising herself with how small her voice sounded. Carlos looked taken back, not used to seeing his sister so shaken and unsure of herself.
'Its nothing, we have to go. Jay and Evie have Ben and have already run ahead. We need to get out of the market now. It Gaston, he's got a mob and they are after us' Carlos rambled while pulling her to feet. 'Come on'.
Mal brain kicked into overdrive as she processed the information. Positive, her friends were alive. Negative, an angry mob was chasing them. Okay so that was a major negative but they could do this. She had to believe they could survive this. Putting on her survival face she followed Carlos as he sped out of the room, clambered through the window and darted out on to the roof.
From the roof Mal could see the entire island, as a child she'd loved coming up here. Once believing that all she could see would one day be her kingdom. How times had changed. Through the main street she watched as a large way of villains slithered down towards the market. At the snakes head was an ageing drunkard waving torch around like a barbarian.
'Glad to see Gaston hasn't changed' Mal whispered to herself, but she was sure she saw Carlos smirk. Her smile quickly died on her lips when she say who Gaston was chasing. A flash of blue was quickly followed by a large red blob with a smaller figure being carried over the red blobs shoulder. 'What happened to Ben? We have to help them!' Mal questioned making to move towards them. Carlos reached across, grabbing her arm and stopping her from continuing. 'Carlos let me go, I can help them'.
'Not from up here we can't. They'd kill us all Mal, smaller teams are better. You know this. Trust me, I want to help as much as you do, but we are too high up. I promised them we would get to safety and they promised me the same.' Carlos stated, his grip on Mal was unusually tense. 'Please Mal, we have to go, I promised' He pleaded. Mal knew he was trying to do what was right but she couldn't listen to him. She knew that he felt the same way that she did, that they'd do anything to protect each other. Her brain knew it was a bad idea but she had to listen to her gut. She just hoped it wasn't just her heart messing with her.
'I'm sorry' she announced defeated to Carlos before she began to scramble down the building towards her family.
'Thank god' she heard Carlos sigh as he too began to follow her. He obviously wanted to help as well but didn't want to break a promise. She guessed that Jay had put him up to this.
Dismounting from the wall a few feet behind Jay and Evie they were quickly able to catch up with them.
'What the hell are you doing here?!' Jay growled angrily through huffs from running. Mal had no idea how Jay made running for his life while fireman lifting her boyfriend look so easy. Carlos upon hearing Jays tone immediately looked sheepish but only for a fraction of a second.
'You know what they say the family that runs for their lives together, stays together' Carlos puffed with a smile on his face though there was still fear engulfing his eyes.
'Not the time Carlos! In case you haven't noticed these heels were not made for running in' Evie called out as they rounded the corner, coming face to face with a deep end. Evie's quip died on her lips as she stared at the large brick wall at the end of the street. The group halted running. That's when the panic set in. Behind them the mob was getting louder, calls of kill the 'Beastly Bastard' could be heard slurring from Gaston's lips.
That made Mal's blood boil. No way in hell was she letting her and her family's story end in a crappy side street on the Isle of the Lost. That is not how their story ended. After everything they had been through, they deserved better.
'What the hell did you just say Gaston?' Mal shouted suddenly turning herself to face the mob. Her family were still face to face with the large concrete wall unable to think of a way out of this. They froze as they heard their leaders remark. Gaston merely laughed as he swaggered towards Mal, ushering the mob to remain a few feet behind him.
'Dearie me. I see you've come home little girl and you've brought your little cherub along with you' Gaston cooed, mocking her while eyeing the past out Prince behind her. Mal was beyond mad but also hated to admit that she was terrified. They were trapped. She flinched away as Gaston reached out to touch her hair. 'We all saw your sceptical, how you fraternised with the enemy. What you did to Maleficent. There is no one on this island who doesn't want to drink your traitorous blood. You had everything, and again we all had nothing. Left behind in the dirt while you get everything. And then that dearie of a young want to be prince comes along and takes everything from you and that mongrel. I knew you would be here somewhere. That's why I organised this little welcoming party.' Gaston smirked through his entire speech. With every word the gangs rage only grew. Mal was ready to explode, she felt her very veins on fire and a pressure build in her mind. 'I think it's only fitting that we spill the Princes blood first, don't you think?' As Gaston smirked, reaching towards Ben, Jay dodged out of the way.
That was the last thing Mal saw as the pressure exploded from within her and the world went black.
When Mal woke up, she smiled at the familiar surroundings. She would know the décor of her own room anywhere. Gripping her hands in her sheets she realised she wasn't dreaming as she had thought. At this realisation, she bolted up right. Memories of what happened flooded back to her. Why was she still alive? What happened? Quickly jumping out of bed she made for the door and up the stairs, rushing into her old living room.
When she opened the door, she was stunned by what she saw. Every was the same as how she imagined her mother had left it, except for the attention of three of her friends. Evie was busy staring into her hands at her mother's old plotting desk; Jay was napping over her old couch; and Carlos was looking out onto the balcony almost dumbfoundedly. Mal had a million questions, the primary one being where the hell was her boyfriend.
Clearing her throat made Evie and Carlos face her, Jay bolted up right, startling himself awake. It felt weird. She felt like she had fallen back in time to a year ago when this scene would have made perfect sense. She never thought she'd be here again. They were looking at her again as their leader and commander-in-chief. Despite her knowing they'd always kind of look to her as a leader they had lessened their need to over the past months becoming their own people without the restraint of the Isle. Time to put her leader hat on she thought to herself. They needed her.
'What happened?' Mal asked, an air curiosity seeped out under her supposedly commanding tone. 'How did we get out of there? And why here of all places?' At this the trio looked between each other in confusion. 'Guys?'
'Well, we don't actually know. One minute I thought we were goners and then everything froze, and by everything I mean the mob froze. Then you passed out and we panicked. I carried you – Jay had Ben – and when came here, it was the only safe spot we could think of. Maleficent isn't going to be home for the time being so its empty. Are you okay what happened? What did you do?' Carlos rattled off.
'Yeah that amount of magic would have been intense with a wand and in a place that you know actually facilitates magic but on the isle and wordless? How the heck did you do that?' Evie asked her scientific curiosity taking over for a moment. Mal was stunned. Voiceless magic? Magic on the Isle? What the heck?
'I have no idea I could do that. Why can I do that? What's wrong with me?' Mal started freaking out about her own power. Throwing her hand in the air before shoving them in her pockets. The trio looked dumbfounded at Mal unsure as their leader was never normally unsure of herself.
Suddenly Mal felt something in her dress pocket. Pulling it out she realised it was a piece of crumpled paper. Unfolding the paper, she read the inscription.
'Mal and friends, I'm sorry. I have no control. I have to follow his words exactly. But he didn't specify exactly what he want so, I have increased you wordless magic. We both know its always been there, I only tweaked it a little so you could use it on the Isle. I promise I shall try until my dying breath to help restore Ben to the throne. Please be safe.
Hurry back please,
'What the hell?' Mal shouted throwing the piece of paper at the trio who each read it.
'Jenny?!' Jay cried out. 'She's helping us? And you… you can… Anytime you like? That's why everyone in town is still frozen.
'Still frozen?' Mal questioned. They shook their head in agreement. Mal looked out the tower window and sure enough the crowd was still in the alley unmoving. Holy gods she was a monster. She had done this. Would they ever move again? This magic was so new to her and she had no idea how strong she actually was now. The magic seemed to take a lot out of her as she passed out. As she was mulling her thoughts over she suddenly remembered her boyfriend. 'Where's Ben?' She questioned.
'I put him in the spare room, he has been out cold since we got here Mal. Me and Carlos woke up beside him and he was already unconscious. I have no idea why though.' Jay answered. Immediately after hearing this, Mal headed towards the stairs.
'I need to see him' She called over her shoulder as left the room. Knocking on the door she heard no response but entered anyway. What she saw stunned her to the core. Ben was awake, but was cradling his knees in the corner of the room, tears were streaming down his face but he was silent. It was at that moment Mal's heart shattered.
'Ben?' Mal asked softly treating him almost like a feral cat. She didn't want to spook him. Gently approaching him as he failed to reply. He had failed to acknowledge her even as she slumped next to him. His body was still but one look into his eyes and Mal knew his mind was turning at a rapid pace. She knew that look, she'd seen it in enough people. It was the look of a broken man.
'Ben? Talk to me! Please! Ben. Please…' Mal began to sob, clutching him for dear life. She couldn't lose him. Not him too. Not now.
'I, I failed you….. I failed you all' Ben muttered shakily.
'You didn't fai-' Mal began but was interrupted by Ben with a stronger voice which was drenched in self-loathing.
'Mal I failed. I failed everyone. I'm not a King. I can't protect anyone. I'm nothing. I'm actually worse than nothing, I'm a liability. All my loved ones are in perilous danger and I'm weak and powerless. I can't do anything to save anyone and… and I've just made things worse. My parents are trapped. My best friends are either trapped or in a face worse than death. What if Chads already killed them? What If the islanders kill us? I'll never forgive myself if anything happens to you. This is all my fault. I hate this. I hate me. I did this to us. Maybe things would have been better if I'd never tried to help anyone, if I'd just been an airhead kid. I'd still be King. Without those stupid proclamations Auradon would be safe. You would have been better off here –' Ben rambled his voice shaky with tears which made it easy for Mal to interject. She couldn't believe what she was hearing.
'Better off here? Seriously? I don't care how much I love you, you do not get to say that to me. Ever. Do I make myself clear?' Mal interrupted annoyed by her boyfriend's self-loathing. She understood it, but there was no way she was going to let him believe that crap. Ben looked taken back by her outburst, saddened that he'd only made his girlfriend feel worse. 'You don't get to say that… You don't know what it was like here. My life here, my life before you, was awful. I've never told you the extent of how bad it got here because I didn't want you to worry. I told you Carlos's story but I never told you mine. Can you imagine having a mum as evil as mine. Sure, she never hit me, but she didn't have to as the threat was enough. Everything I did, I did for her. She manipulated my every action, made me do things that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I've hurt so many people because of her and the way she made me think and act. But then you came along. You and your 'stupid' proclamations that took me away. You brought me to safety and for the first time ever I was actually free. The only way I can explain how it felt was remember that time you took me to teach me how to swim? Well that freedom felt like when I was finally able to tread water by myself without the fear of drowning, without the water suffocating me. I know that's a rubbish metaphor, but that's all I've got. You are not nothing. I was nothing before you saved me. I was a spoiled nasty villain of a girl, that was more likely to kill another human being than kiss one. You changed that. You are the man I love. You are Ben. The man who saved me. The man who saved my friends. The man who will save his family. You don't need a crown to be all those things but we will get you your crown back. I promise you. But don't you ever believe I was better here. That any of us were better here….' Mal didn't realise how intensely was crying until the end of her speech. Quickly attempting to use her jumper to dry away the tears she realised there were too many. She didn't often cry which alarmed Ben. Gently he gathered his girlfriend in his arms, her purple hair absorbing the tears he himself was shedding.
'I'm sorry' Ben mumbled as he hugged her tighter. They both understood that their lives where only going to get more difficult from now on but right now in this moment they had each other. And in this moment, that was all either of the pair cared about.
Until the next time (whenever that maybe) Takeawalk :)