A/N: If you are reading this, then you have obviously watched Disney's Descendants. The continuity errors aside, I enjoyed the movie. When this idea first struck me, moments after the movie ended, I knew I had to start writing it down. I hope you enjoy this! Read & Review, please.
P.S., I am not meaning to bash/villainize any Disney hero or heroine. I will preface this story by saying that Belle and Beast/Adam are my favorite Disney royals and always have been. Enjoy!
P.P.S., This chapter was inspired by the relationship I have with my father versus my stepfather, Gilmore Girls and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and a song which you all could probably guess.
Piece by Piece
The remainder of the morning was spent in Belle's rose garden. At lunchtime, a nervous looking Adam entered the garden and walked over to the foursome. Rose and Ben could tell something was going on, and it didn't seem good.
"What happened, Dad?", Ben asked.
"First, it's time for lunch. We're eating in the private dining room today. Second, I received an urgent call from Auroria's embassy. Mal, Aurora would like for you to meet with her as soon as possible, maybe even tomorrow after the coronation. I told her I would pass along the message, but I could make no promises.", Adam said, and Mal took a deep breath before speaking.
"How did she find out?", she asked simply.
"After you defended yourself, and quite marvelously in my opinion, I'm afraid most of the student body began talking about it on social media. #PrincessMal is currently trending.", the King of Auradon said grimly.
"Great! That's just what I needed.", Mal groaned sarcastically, and Ben gave her hand a squeeze.
"It could be worse, Mal. You're legitimately a royal. What do you think they'll talk about when we announce our engagement in a few years?", Jay asked her quietly.
"Utter chaos and corruption in the castle? Am I evil, or are you truly good?", Rose asked teasingly, making Mal laugh.
"Have Mom and Dad, or even me, gone off the deep end for allowing it?", Ben added, increasing the laughter.
"Thanks, guys. Now, don't the two of you have an aunt and uncle to meet?", Mal asked, prompting the twins, and thus the whole group, to move forward towards the dining room.
The scene in the dining room was, in a word, bizarre. Chad was holding Jane, who was sobbing into his jacket, while their mothers and Chad's father stared at them in disbelief and a mixture of other emotions. Fairy Godmother looked almost as upset as Jane; King Henri looked livid; and Queen Cinderella looked somewhere between sad and angry. It was a look of sheer disappointment, and it was one Mal and Jay knew quite well, given their upbringing.
"What's going on here?", they heard Adam ask Belle, and the Queen of Auradon sighed before ushering them into the connecting kitchen.
"Ben, close that door, please? Esme and your aunt and uncle will need some time to talk to their children.", she said first, and Ben did as he was told.
"What's going on, Mama?", Mal asked worriedly.
"Well, for starters, Jane's father wants to see her. He walked out on Esme and Jane when the latter was still in the womb; and the last time she saw him she was no more than five or six years old. Now he wants to be in her life again as if nothing has changed. Word got out, much like your parentage, Mal, of hers and Chad's genetic magic match, and now he claims that all he wants to do is to meet his future son-in-law. Secondly, Jane is pregnant.", Belle explained, and there were gasps all around.
"She's what?", Adam asked.
"Pregnant. Congratulations, dear, we're about to be a great-aunt and great-uncle. Thankfully, with her faerie genetics, Jane shouldn't even start to show until the very end of her pregnancy over the summer. If you four ever do this, however, I probably won't be holding back my temper. I am way too young to be a grandmother!", she insisted, getting a few good-natured chuckles out of her kids.
"We understand, Mama. We'd all need a few more years of guidance from a proper mother and father, like you guys, before we even thought about that. It's not like we, Ben aside, have had very stable role models.", Rose said, and Belle smiled at her.
"She's right. I would be a horrible mother right now, I'm sure. I know very little about stable households, even less about loving ones. However, I wouldn't object to learning.", Mal added, and Belle turned her smile on the other girl.
"I love you, girls, really. If, at least five years in the future, you find yourselves bearing my grandchildren, I promise I will be there to help guide you to the best of my ability; it's what mothers are for.", she told the two, pulling them away from their respective boyfriends for a hug.
"We love you, too, Mama.", they chorused, and Adam smiled at the trio of women before turning on the boys.
"You should both know I'll always be here for you to ask me for advice; it's what fathers are supposed to do, and I know better than anyone what it's like to have a dad that doesn't do that. Everything I know about kids was either wisdom passed on from Maurice or learned on the job.", he said to Ben and Jay, who both nodded in understanding.
"Didn't Jane try to see her father a few years ago?", Ben asked, no one bothering to comment on the men going out of their way to not have a feelings-filled moment that most would consider to be unmanly.
"She did, hoping he'd teach her magic. Unfortunately, he said he didn't have time, and he sent her back to her mother with no further contact with either of them until about half-an-hour ago.", Belle said, garnering a snort from both Rose and Mal.
"What?", Ben asked, and Jay broke into the conversation.
"Jane's magical potential is substantially higher than one might expect. In short, it seems her father missed the chance of a lifetime to be the one credited with training her. Mal and Rose took her on as their student, their apprentice, if you will, so they get to share the glory that comes with training someone with that much potential. Her father will get no recognition for it.", he explained, and Ben gaped at his girlfriend and sister.
"I trained both Jay and Mal, though there was only so much I could teach them inside the barrier. The day we had to help you and Chad convince her to join us at dinner, I realized she was ready for simple magic. One of my final tasks for Mal, as her Magic Mistress, was for her to use her working knowledge to help teach Jane the practical side of spellwork. If you can teach the practical while mostly only knowing the theory, you can do the practical yourself. The spell I did to get the two of you ready for breakfast our first morning here is a simple one Mal has been able to both master and teach Jane just over the time we've been in Auradon.", Rose explained further, her best friend/future-sister-in-law nodding along with a smile on her face.
"It's a good way to exercise your magic daily without causing any major catastrophe.", Mal said, confusing Ben once more.
"I didn't realize magic was so complex.", he said, and the three other teens nodded seriously.
"Your magic is like a muscle that you can't see. If you don't flex it, work it out, it'll just deteriorate. It's a 'Use it or lose it' situation.", Mal explained simply.
"My magic work-outs usually involve meditation, as genie magic is more involved at the atomic level of things. We create something out of nothing to grant wishes, or normal genies do, at least. Being in touch with the very molecules in the air is key to mastering genie magic.", Jay added, but Rose had her own take.
"Where small and simple spells are good for Mal, and meditation is good for Jay, I have to exercise my magic a little differently. Although mine is ultimately rooted in my emotions, it does mostly focus on transfiguration; I do best by turning small inanimate objects, like rocks or pieces of driftwood, into new, shiny things. If I get too upset and try to transfigure something, it might not turn out right; that gives me an indicator on whether or not I need to reign my emotions in again. Anger means more grotesque things, such as when my predecessor cured Papa. Joy equals out to more pleasant things, like Mal's amethyst choker; I gave that to her for completing what I affectionately call Magic Apprentice Boot Camp.", she said to her brother and parents, giving Mal an affectionate nudge.
"So you didn't just conjure it out of thin air your first morning here then? It was with the rest of her stuff in her dorm.", Ben guessed, and the girls nodded.
"Yep, you've got it!", Rose told him, as a person not familiar to Jay and Mal entered the room.
"And the long-lost niece has indeed returned.", the newcomer said, and Rose turned around with a large grin on her face.
"Uncle Chip!", she giggled out, hurrying over and practically throwing herself into the just-post-college-aged man's arms for a hug.
"I missed you, too, kiddo. Alright, Ben, Your Majesty, your turn!", Chip said, and Ben tossed pretense and princely manners aside in order to greet his uncle with a hug of his own.
"I'm so glad you're here, Uncle Chip.", Ben told him as he broke the hug.
"As if your mother would let me live if I missed your coronation AND Family Day? Just kidding, Belle, but the only reasonable excuse for missing this would be if I were either dead or incapacitated.", Chip retorted, earning a chuckle from his step-sister and brother-in-law.
"You've already missed the best part of the day.", Belle chided with a hint of mystery in her voice.
"And that would be?", he asked, moving to hug his step-sister and best friend.
"It seems Dowager Queen Leah finally got hers. I need to check to see if anyone recorded that!", Adam said before he could stop himself.
"How?", Chip asked eagerly as he exchanged manly hugs with his brother-in-law.
"The answer to your question is right in front of you, Chip.", Belle told him with a light laugh, inclining her head towards Mal and Rose.
"Rosie, dear niece, what did you and your friend here do?", Chip asked teasingly.
"Well, Queen Leah decided to threaten Mal with expulsion from Auradon Prep. In addition to her not having any right to expel students, Mal did nothing wrong to her. She started belligerent attacks on Mal, essentially saying Mal is inherently evil and a boyfriend stealer, and she had her in tears by the time I got there. I spoke my mind, Mal revealed to everyone who'd gathered to watch that King Stefan is her biological father and that he and Queen Leah knew about her but refused to take her off the island her entire life, and we put both Queen Leah and Audrey in their places.", Rose said, the smile on her face devilish.
"Please tell me someone got that on video?", he asked, and the room dissolved into laughter.
"We should check School of Secrets tonight. Lonnie knows everything that happens around here that's headline worthy.", Ben said, and the other teens nodded.
"Adam.", none of them had heard the door to the dining room open, but everyone turned when Fairy Godmother called to the King of Auradon.
"Yes, Esme?", he asked, and she took a deep breath.
"I stalled him for now. I explained that, with the coronation being tomorrow morning, there is a lot I have to get done tonight; therefore, I can't possibly find time to meet with him until after the semester ends. He told me he'll be too busy to come for a visit next semester, as late winter and early spring are when Camelot needs the most help. I responded by telling him that summer isn't a good time for Jane or me because I have paperwork for incoming students to handle, orientations to set up, and your squabbling staff/surrogate uncles to deal with, while Jane trains with Mal and Rose. He wants to set a meeting date for next year's Family Day.", she explained, and Belle responded first.
"This is actually good. No, hear me out. By the time he finally gets around to seeing you or Jane, she'll have had the baby and hopefully completed her training. We'll have time to prepare her. Jane won't go into this meeting with her father as vulnerable as she was the last time.", the Queen of Auradon reasoned, and each person found him or herself agreeing.
"If things go my way, she'll finish training before she has the baby. My control method might be good for pregnancy mood swings.", Rose said, her determination shining in her eyes.
Lunch was a happy affair once everything had been sorted out. Henri and Ella got to know their niece, her boyfriend, and their nephew's girlfriend; they felt that Jay and Mal fit perfectly into the family, as the two teenagers understood what family meant more than most kids their age. The King and Queen of Charmington could also tell that Mal was just as perfect a fit for Ben as Jay was for Rose.
Something Ella noticed, something that her husband did not, was how Belle and Adam treated both teens. She saw how the pair spoke to them in the same manner they did their own two children, how they talked to both of them about their interests and hobbies, and how they showed genuine care and affection for the two villain-spawned teenagers. Ella saw several similarities in how they behaved with Mal and Jay to the way Henri and Adam's father had with herself and how Henri was with Jane. She knew that her husband had taken to being there for Jane when she was young because of not only her genetic magic match with their son, but also because of her father walking out on her and her mother to return to Camelot once his insane desire to capture his archenemy when Mad Madame Mim had been satisfied. He had made infrequent visits after his initial leaving; however, once Jane had shown no magical potential beyond that of a normal faerie, the visits stopped. Ever since that had occurred, Henri had always tried to make up for all of the man's shortcomings as a parent. Ella wasn't all too surprised to see that her brother-in-law and sister-in-law/best friend were much the same behavior-wise.
After lunch, while everyone else in the family had returned to the main gardens for the remainder of Family Day, Ella made her way to the music room. Smiling sadly to herself, she saw Jane at the piano.
"Mind if I join you?", she asked, and Jane jumped.
"Your Majesty! I apologize; I just wasn't expecting anyone to come in here. Of course you can join me.", the young faerie exclaimed, and Ella raised an eyebrow at her.
"Jane, between the fact that I helped raise you and that you're engaged to my son, I think you can probably call me 'Ella' by now.", she said, and the girl's cheeks tinged a light pink color.
"I know, and I apologize. Today has just been…long. Even the day we weren't sure if Chad was going to pass Chemistry wasn't this bad.", Jane said, and Ella chuckled.
"How did my straight-A son almost fail Chemistry?", she asked, and Jane giggled.
"Audrey stole Evie's magic mirror; Evie tries to keep it under close supervision so her mother can't accidentally try to make contact and overhear something she's not supposed to. Well, Audrey took it and tried to make Evie look like a cheater. Chad and Doug stood up for her and said that Evie is smart enough to pass without cheating. They were all three told that, if Evie passed, she would get the mirror back. If they failed, on the other hand, all three would flunk the course. She got a B+.", the teenager explained with a laugh.
"Well, that was quite noble of Chad and Doug both. Jane, you know that I'm proud of you, right?", Ella asked, placing a hand delicately on the younger girl's shoulder.
"Really?", Jane asked, answering Ella's question.
"Jane, whether or not you were currently carrying my grandchild, I would still be proud of you. While I am sure you were hesitant at first, you've become such good friends with Evie, Mal, Jay, and Carlos, and you've reconnected with Rose. So many others still treat them like they're evil, but you've given them a chance to prove that they aren't. Just by doing that, you are proving to be a very brave and courageous young woman. I know, even though she won't come out and say it, your mother is also very proud of you.", the blonde woman said, her blue eyes meeting Jane's.
"Thank you, Ella, truly. Ben introduced me and Chad to the other four, but Rose sought me out on her own; she and Mal taught me how to do a simple spell to style my hair, and I begged to learn to change my nose. The two of them refused and made me see what Chad's always seen. I don't need magic to make myself pretty, and hanging out with Audrey and Anxlin isn't really worth it. I gave them a chance because they gave me one first. Isn't that fair?", Jane explained, and Ella smiled.
"Exactly; now, why don't we rejoin everyone in the gardens?", she said, and Jane nodded in agreement.
Down in the gardens, Henri decided to have a talk with his, essentially, soon to be niece-in-law. With the revelation that Aurora happen to be her older sister, added to the fact that her father might as well be worse than her mother, being around other people was sure to be a lot for the young girl. Discovering Adam was his brother had been a whirlwind experience for himself, after all, and that was without the press finding out about it.
"Mind if I sneak one of those?", he asked as he saw the girl taking delight in the strawberries at the chocolate fountain.
"The more the merrier, I say.", she told him with a slightly red smile.
"You know, Mal, I know first-hand how much it sucks to find out you have an older sibling; but, I also know what can happen if you judge your newfound sibling too early.", Henri said as he dunked a strawberry into the fountain.
"Did Papa hate you when he found out you were his brother?", she asked tentatively.
"No, he didn't. Adam was in love with the idea of being a big brother from day one. Never mind the fact that I was almost twenty-one by then! I was actually the judgmental one. With all of the rumors I had heard about him, I thought my brother to be a barely civilized man with an out of control, vile temper and a low intelligence level. When we met face to face, I realized Adam was none of the things I had heard; his mannerisms were as regal as my own, his speech was impeccable, his intelligence quite possibly outmatched my own, and his temper was kept under control. He was ecstatic to see me, though, and he never treated Ella differently because of her past.", Henri answered, and Mal chuckled.
"Mama and Aunt Ella have similar backgrounds. Why would he treat her differently?", the teen giggled out, and Henri blushed.
"As it is, I had been out of the country for much of the year and a half leading up to my brother's wedding. I didn't know until afterwards, when Ella told me, that Belle was an inventor's daughter. I've never known her to not possess those leadership qualities we see in her personality today, and I've never known her to not also possess the same grace, kindness, and gentle manner all of the other princesses-turn-queens have. When Eric and Ariel married the following year, I was caught up enough to know that she was a mermaid, if it helps.", he joked, and Mal smiled.
"It does a little, Uncle Henri. Kidding! It's fine that you didn't know; despite being his best friend for three years, Rose couldn't figure out that Jay is enough of a gentleman to not call her his girlfriend before officially asking her. She thought he had a thing for me, which he didn't, until he explained it to her. Then, about a year later, Mama explained genetic magic to Ben, who used their twin connection to tell Rose, and she knew then that their love was real and meant to be. Oh, and Ben, he almost proposed to me two days ago; he decided not to because he thought I might say no. He knows we're meant to be, and he still thought I, who was taught by his own twin to trust my magic and my instincts, wouldn't want to get engaged to a man I'd just met.", she said, and Henri shook his head and smiled.
"I guess it's just a family trait then. Speaking of, how is your magic progressing? I ask, not only because I care, but because I heard you were training Jane.", he asked, and Mal smiled brightly.
"I'll have my mastery tasks completed when Jane masters the basics, and she is progressing beautifully. I wouldn't be surprised if she had the basics down before the school year ends.", the teenager said excitedly.
"I'm proud of you both.", the King of Charmington said, his eyes narrowing as he caught sight of someone over Mal's head.
"Thanks, Uncle Henri.", Mal whispered, turning around to see Aurora and her husband Phillip entering the garden.
"You don't have to talk to her, Mal, but I'd give her a chance to say her piece. After all, you said yourself that Stefan and Leah never told her about you.", Henri said quietly, and the girl nodded.
"I know.", she said, watching as the two walked over to where Adam and Belle were standing as they talked to Sultan Aladdin and Sultana Jasmine.
Taking a deep breath, and relishing in the fact that Belle had just called Jay and Rose over to introduce them to the royal couple of Agrabah, Mal made her way over to the growing group. Adam, who had turned to greet Aurora and Phillip, saw her and nodded. She felt that confronting her sister wouldn't be half as hard at this point.
"Aurora, Phillip, it's nice to see you again. May I introduce you to Princess Mal D'Arcy?", Adam said, taking Mal by the hand.
"How do you do, Your Majesties?", Mal asked formally, curtseying slightly, but never releasing Adam's hand.
"I'd be doing a lot better if my little sister didn't address me so formally. Is their anywhere we could talk privately, just the two of us?", Aurora's gentle voice came, and Mal looked up to see a face which resembled her own, only age lines, a nose, cheekbones, and irises showing a difference between the two.
"I know a place. Oh, Papa, before I forget, we so need to make strawberry tarts with chocolate drizzle the next time neither one of us can sleep!", the teenager said as she turned from her half-sister to her future father-in-law.
"That sounds like a plan to me, mon chérie. Say, Phillip, how long has it been since you've seen my brother? Henri, get over here!", Adam said, calling out to his brother as a distraction for Mal and Aurora to use as cover to sneak into the castle.
Inside, the two daughters of Stefan went to the kitchens. Since all of the lunch dishes had been cleared away, and it was assumed that most of the students were going into town to eat dinner with their families later on, the room was essentially deserted. Mal sat down on her preferred stool, and Aurora took the one beside her.
"I wish I could have done something about the way you grew up.", Aurora said after a few moments had passed.
"It's not your fault, Aurora. Honestly, if your mother had a different personality, I might have grown up in a castle, sheltered away from the world after what you went through. If I had, I wouldn't be me; growing up the way I did showed me the value of family, and I learned that family neither starts nor ends with blood.", Mal explained, but her half-sister merely shrugged.
"But I could have given you a home.", she said, and Mal groaned.
"Aurora, you had your own child to raise, and you didn't even know who I was. There is nothing you could have done, and that's okay. I don't blame you.", she insisted while shaking her head.
"Something tells me that you aren't ready to be sisters yet.", Aurora said after a moment or two.
"Did you notice the way I addressed His Majesty Adam Devereux, King of the United States of Auradon, as Papa in the gardens?", Mal asked, and Aurora sighed.
"Yes, but I didn't say anything because I wasn't sure how close the two of you were at the time. I assume you're pretty close then.", the Queen of Auroria answered.
"Quite obviously, I wasn't raised by normal parents. Maleficent treated me like a lump of clay she could mold into her image, and Stefan and Leah flat out ignored me after I turned thirteen. I didn't have the faintest idea of what a stable, loving parent was until my first night here. Mama and Papa both were so loving and so kind to the four of us that didn't belong to them, and they showed us that it was okay to leave a broken home and start over.
"Two nights ago, I had a horrendous nightmare and couldn't get back to sleep to save my life; so, given that I am allowed in whenever I want, I went down to Mama's private rose garden. I cried myself to sleep and woke up to her singing to me. She apologized, much like you just did, for not getting me off the Isle sooner. I told her it wasn't her fault, because no one can know that villains will either reproduce or be incapable of loving their children more than themselves, and we bonded. We had a long discussion about families, and she gave me permission to call her Mama.
"When Mama went back to bed, I made my way here. Papa was in here, making a mess of the mixing bowls and baking sheets, and I offered to help him clean up. He knew something was wrong, so he asked me to help him with his late night project of the day. About 2,000 chocolate cupcakes later, we had bonded as well. He gave me permission to call him Papa, and he acknowledged that we have quite similar backgrounds. Much like me, Papa was abandoned by his father at a young age; we've both had our lives saved by magic; and we've both found that, sometimes, the blood of the covenant is stronger than the water of the womb.", the teenage faerie explained with a small smile and a shrug.
"They've given you a family and understand your background. Is there anything else as to why you aren't ready to be family?", Aurora asked tentatively, hoping for a negative response.
"Actually, there is one more thing. Mama and Aunt Ella are both amazing queens despite not being born into royalty. Why would you think it would be proper to refuse them invites to your ladies' luncheons for so long, especially Mama?", Mal asked by way of reply, and Aurora blushed scarlet.
"No one knew that Adam and Henri were brothers at the time the United States of Auradon was founded, so none of us ever understood why Henri was Adam's chosen successor instead of one of the more established royal houses. Because Belle and Ella were so close, many of us just assumed that they'd had something to do with it. When the heads of state were notified the day Rose was sent to the Isle of the Lost, all of us who had been so cruel to the two of them felt terribly ashamed of ourselves. At that point, Ella had already been attending the luncheons for four years; Belle had been attending for three-and-a-half. We didn't honestly know of any way to make it up to them, so we just didn't do anything.", Aurora admitted, and Mal took a deep breath and reigned in her anger.
"Well, as a former bully of a legitimate princess, I can easily tell you that the words 'I am sorry' carry a lot of wait as long as you truly mean it. Without that little phrase, I wouldn't even be here right now in the most literal sense possible. Rose is the only reason I'm even alive to tell you this, and I put her through ten years of hell on the Isle of the Lost. I mean, Jay wouldn't even let her go into the marketplace on her own because of me. Once I apologized, and she knew I meant every last word, she never left my side; for the last two-and-a-half to three years, Rose has been my Gemini Cricket, my fairy godmother, and my sister. Oh, and if you think being raised by three nosey faeries was bad, try living with the Enchantress herself. Rose literally knows me better than I do half the time; our first night here, she refused to let me sleep alone because she knew I'd be so conflicted over breaking away from Maleficent, the only mother I had ever known, that I would have night terrors.", the teenager explained, and her half-sister frowned slightly.
"Are they that bad?", she asked of the night terrors.
"Rose has been present once before when I had one; I screamed so loud that the villains sleeping down the hall thought we were practicing excellent torture techniques on one another and were too proud to even check on us. If they had, Maleficent, Queen Grimhilde, Jafar, and Cruella would have tried getting rid of Rose a lot sooner; Jay had moved her into the second attic space at The Bargain Castle without any of the adults knowing, and the five of us kept it a secret. After that one terror Rose witnessed, she refuses to be around me when I have them. She would hear me in her thoughts before she'd hear my screams, and she'd send Jay in to wake me as gently as he could. Knowing who caused my night terrors and why makes her anger go way out of tamable range, so she has to either remain at a safe distance or stay tucked into Jay's side the whole time. I think she chooses distance to keep Evie and Carlos from having to see me in that much pain or her in that particular state of anger.
"Now, the one I had our first night here, Ben was present for that one. I had cried myself to sleep on his shoulder once Mama revealed that she knew there had been absolutely no way our parents would send us to Auradon Prep without some sort of master escape plan; knowing me as well as she does, Rose told them not to take me to mine and Evie's dorm room. With me not needing to be alone and her inability to be with me during the terrors, Rose insisted Ben let me sleep in his room. He slept on the chaise lounge, but he woke up when I screamed. He asked about the night terror, and I showed him. Telling him would have been too hard, and I know how to share memories. That was a lower level spell Rose taught me before we ever left the Isle. Ben told me that he could not, as a human being, send me back to Maleficent in good conscience ever again; that was honestly the most loved I'd ever felt up to that point, and that was just because someone cared about me despite only knowing the bare minimum about my life.", Mal answered, her words bringing tears to Aurora's eyes.
The Queen of Auroria kept her gaze down at her younger sister's words, her light pink dress and matching nails becoming more interesting by the second. Mal wondered if Aurora really had wanted to apologize when she had shown up; personally, the faerie girl thought it was more than likely that her half-sister had shown up in an attempt to save face for her daughter after the likely extensive amount of publicity issues Audrey had caused.
"You know, Mal, there's always someone like you.", Aurora finally said, and her violet eyes met Mal's emerald ones.
"What do you mean?", the girl in question asked, holding back a smile, wondering if her spoiled-brat half-sister was about to compliment her for something.
"Every last time I think I've finally done enough to get my father to not look at me like I've been nothing but a black mark on his reign because I never got the proper training to be Queen, which is because of that damn curse that your mother placed on me, someone always manages to make me look like an idiot.", the Sleeping Beauty explained, not bothering to hide her smirk as tears formed in her younger sister's eyes.
"No one can make you look like an idiot, Aurora. Only your lack of empathy, and probably your lack of any and all sense and thinking, make you look like an idiot. In addition to that, I'm not even sure how I made you look like an idiot at all.", Mal forced out, not letting the tears break through the invisible barrier she imagined kept them.
"You told Audrey the truth, making her look like an elitist and making me look like a fool for not knowing about my father's history with your mother! You also embarrassed my mother in front of everyone of any sort of importance in Auradon!", it was this that made Mal shake her head and laugh.
"Wait, you actually think any of the kings, queens, and noble people out there care that your mother is embarrassed? She verbally assaulted a teenage girl who had done nothing to her, she made what happened into a big scene, and she was more worried about everyone thinking your father was just as bad as the villains he helped lock away. If anything, those people probably, just based on what I've heard being discussed in the halls since I've been here, think everything you call an embarrassment is your just desserts after all these years of you acting as if you are somehow better than everyone else. In case you missed what's trending on social media right now, you're the same as every other family out there. Sorry.", the purple haired girl said, smirking.
"Oh, Belle has definitely gotten to you! That sounds so much like what she told me when I tried explaining how bad it looked for everyone when the United States of Auradon didn't have an experienced monarch to lead it if anything happened to them. Ella said that she and Henri were plenty experienced, and they made us look like such fools to the ambassador from Camelot!", Aurora exclaimed, and Mal snorted.
"Oh, I highly doubt anyone in this family gives a damn about Camelot! There's a reason we only have officials visit from there once or twice a year when Sherwood and Olympus send officials multiple times a year.", the girl said with a groan.
"I couldn't have said that better myself. Aurora, won't you be a dear and get the hell out of my kitchen?", Belle snarled, startling the arguing half-siblings.
"Don't mind if I do; oh, and Mal, I wouldn't expect to succeed if you try to get your title legitimized before you get married.", Aurora said haughtily before making a dramatic sweep from the room.
"What was that about?", Mal asked, and Belle sighed.
"Aurora is the queen of her father's domain; unless there is a record of Stefan claiming you as his child, she has the power to say that you aren't truly one of his heirs. For those who are still slaves to the old ways, the King of Auradon marrying a non-royal or non-noblewoman is shameful. While we obviously don't care, some people do. However, we can worry more about that after the coronation tomorrow. How about dinner?", the shrewd Queen of the United States of Auradon vanished as Belle explained Aurora's statement, and Mal's mother-in-law surfaced.
"We should probably get to the dining room before Papa, Uncle Henri, and the boys eat everything!", Mal laughed, and Belle nodded in agreement.
After the meal had been finished, Belle and Ella volunteered to wash the dishes. Elizabeth tried to object, but her stepdaughter was adamant. While they worked, the two women discussed the events of the day and their children.
"I think Aurora lives to irritate me! She actually thinks that it would be a problem if Ben married Mal without Mal being a completely legitimized princess!", Belle exclaimed as she handed a plate to Ella to dry.
"If it wasn't a problem for Adam or Henri, I doubt it'll be a problem for Ben! Why did she even show up here today?", Ella asked, and Belle snorted in a highly un-queenly manner.
"From what I heard outside the kitchens earlier, she was trying to get Mal to agree to be a good little sister and aunt, essentially forgiving Audrey and Leah for the trouble they caused. Once again, it's another black mark on the Ahlberg family image; in that family, image is everything.", the brunette surmised.
"I know I'm supposed to be kind and generous, but I really have a taste for revenge right now. Have any ideas?", the blonde responded hopefully.
"You know what? I actually might.", Belle said suddenly, and Ella was grinning.
"Do tell!", she insisted.
"The twins' birthday is the summer solstice, and we've been making tentative plans for a masque ball birthday party. Because I already know Mal is more than willing to have a long-term engagement, announcing both engagements that night would be great. I mean, how often do we get the chance to ram it down Aurora's throat just how much we don't care about royal bloodlines staying pure? Plus, Jane will have had the baby by then; we could add hers and Chad's engagement to the list as well. Aurora would fall into a dead faint on the spot!", Belle explained, clapping a laughing a bit as she ended her plan for revenge.
"I guess we'll just have to talk with our sons about this then. This is going to be the greatest event we've ever planned!", and with that, the two queens were scheming away in a mild fit of giggles.
A/N: Remember how I said I'd have more frequent updates soon? That one was my bad, guys! I should have counted on my stress levels staying high. Piece of advice to all readers who have yet to go to college: never trust someone from out of town until you've done a full psychological evaluation on them. It's a long story, but the lesson is ten times more valuable. I know it might seem like the plan and the remainder of the movie's plot is toast now, but I have my own plan in store.
So, we saw a fair bit of Henri and Ella in this chapter. What did you all think of the Charmings? I really enjoyed writing from Ella's perspective, and I hope you all enjoyed reading it! Please write a review and hit that nifty little submit button!