Disclaimer: I do not own Disney's "Descendents", or any of the associated characters.
Summary: Mal knew that some of the so-called Good people weren't as nice as they pretended, and had nearly as hard a time letting go as villains. Mal had no intention of letting herself be cast as the villain and risk being sent back to the Isle. She planned accordingly, and the Family Day Confrontation went a little differently, thanks to a few blunt truths.
Even since her date with Ben, Mal had been feeling conflicted about the mission Maleficent had given them. At first, she hadn't thought it possible that someone could be so good without an ulterior motive. Anyone with eyes could tell that Ben and Audrey either wouldn't last, or would end up miserable. When the love potion had gone into effect with such speed and intensity, Mal had gone back to research it more closely.
They had seen the warning about the effect on pre-existing emotions, but had largely ignored it. Clearly, Ben didn't actively hate them, so there was no need to worry about periodic renewal. Mal hadn't reckoned on Ben being attracted to her already, or she would have chosen a less potent potion.
Meeting Ben's parents had been a little harrowing, but bearable. Jay and Carlos were happier here than they had ever been, and Evie, if still a little down over Chad, was coming into herself without the Evil Queen constantly insisting that beauty was all that mattered.
A lifetime of evil conditioning was hard to overcome, but lately, Mal had to constantly remind herself that Auradon was not Home. It became harder and harder to believe each time.
After all, Maleficent, Jafar, Cruella and the Evil Queen were stuck on the Island, and if they made a good impression, it would be possible to get the other children, the ones who didn't deserve to be there, away. That pressure, more than the mission, weighed on them.
Mal and her friends hadn't even been born when their parents were banished to the Isle of the Lost, but it often seemed like every time they turned around, they were confronted with the fact that Villains weren't the only ones seemingly incapable of letting bygones be bygones.
Case in point: Queen Leah, the mother of Sleeping Beauty.
Mal could feel all the progress they had made vanishing as the Queen's shouting drew the attention of the other parents, and she struggled not to remain calm and at least appear Good. "My daughter was raised by fairies, because of your mother's curse."
Mal's eyes flashed, greener than usual. "I am not my mother, and I would have expected you, of all people, to be above punishing children for the actions of their parents."
After all, if Aurora's parents hadn't directly insulted Maleficent by excluding her while inviting literally everyone else in the world, Mal's mother probably would have contented herself with ruling the Forbidden Mountain, inflicting the occasional curse on the goblins and people who irritated her, and playing tricks on the Good Fairies. True, Leah and Stefan may have had to deal with the Mistress of Evil for some other reason, but deliberately snubbing a fairy, Good or Evil, was practically asking for a curse!
Queen Leah's mouth dropped open. "Are you saying that what your mother did was our fault? How dare you!"
Mal felt her friends approach, flanking her protectively and ready to leap to her defence. "I'm saying that your daughter was lucky! Mother couldn't touch her until her sixteenth birthday, and after the fairies intervened, the worst she faced was a long nap until her true love showed up! She may have been raised in a cottage, but at least she wasn't forced to grow up like us!"
Chad popped up behind Audrey, always willing to cause trouble for the Isle kids. "What did you expect, your Majesty? They're villains, just like their parents. All they'll ever be is evil."
Evie stepped forward, regal and proud, every inch the princess that Auradon insisted she wasn't as she gripped Mal's hand. "That's rich coming from you, Prince Bullies-And-Bribes-Other-People-To-Do-His-Homework! For the children of Heroes, a lot of you don't act nearly as Good as you like to pretend!"
Audrey turned an unflattering shade that clashed horribly with her dress, spluttering in fury. "Says the gold-digger and the boyfriend-stealer! Why should we believe that you're any different from your parents?"
Jay stepped in. "You can't 'steal' someone's affection, and if you were raised by the Evil Queen, you'd be desperate to escape, too. They aren't the one who wanted Mal to undo the hair spells so that you could still be the prettiest, or the one who can't stand being the centre of attention and has to put other people down to make herself feel better!"
Chad shoved the taller boy, "You enjoy hurting people, what would you know?"
Carlos, of all people, shoved him back before picking up Dude, drawing courage from the dog. "People get tackled in Tourney, and it's not Jay's fault that he's better than you, get over it! Enjoying a sport doesn't make a person evil, or half of Auradon would be on the Isle by now!"
Ben appeared, closely followed by his parents, having to push their way through the growing crowd of spectators. "Everyone calm down. Queen Leah, the Isle kids are not - "
Mal cut him off with a hand on his arm and a kiss on the cheek, the latter at least a little to infuriate Audrey. "It's all right, Ben. We shouldn't have expected everyone to be as willing to look past their prejudice as you. We'll make ourselves scarce for the rest of the day, give them time to adjust."
If this continued, one of her friends would do something unfortunate, and they would come off as the bad guys. Right now, Sleeping Beauty's family (plus Chad) were on the receiving end of the disapproving looks, and Mal wanted to keep it that way. If they retreated now and played up the 'unfairly persecuted' angle, it would gain them sympathy and trust.
Maleficent might have been all about the Grand Displays of Power and Making Your Enemies Fear You, but that was how she wound up on the Isle of the Lost in the first place. Mal preferred the long game, the more subtle route. Your enemies still suffered, but no one felt sorry for them or said that they didn't deserve it.
Mal curtsied to the King and Queen, and turned to Audrey for a parting blow. "I'm sorry you need a prince to feel good about yourself, but there's no need to spread rumours or attempt to make my life miserable as revenge. My mother would be proud of that attitude, but I'm not so sure about yours."
Evie had caught on by now, and wrapped a supportive arm around Mal. "Come on, we'll do a fitting for your coronation dress."
A swift look at Jay had him grabbing a plate and filling it with strawberries, falling into step behind them with Carlos. "It's Family Day, so we may as well stick with you. You're as good as our sisters, anyway."
Mal and Evie reached their free hands behind them, gripping the boys' hands. "If the kitchen is free, we'll make a batch of cookies. Comfort food always helps."
Lonnie and Jane stepped forward, almost involuntarily. "Do you want - ?"
Jay flashed them a charming grin. "Thanks, but we'll be fine. Enjoy your visits."
They'd need to do something nice for the two of them, to show that being friends with the Isle Kids had benefits. Mal saw an approving smile from Fairy Godmother, and softening stances from several parents.
Who said that you had to curse someone to get revenge?
A/N: Medieval Christenings were a BIG DEAL, and not being invited to one, especially if you were a person of status and power, was a massive insult. Maleficent probably would have turned down an invitation if she received one, since that was just as big an insult, but not being invited made her angry.
I'm way out of the intended age bracket for this movie, and maybe that affects my viewpoint, but seriously, some of the 'Good Guys' are almost Villainous in the attitudes! Before Family Day, the VKs were clearly having second thoughts about carrying through on their parent's plans. After Family Day, I wouldn't have blamed them in the slightest for going through with it.
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