A/N: I do not own anything other than my OCs when they come out to play. Everything else is owned by Disney.
So...would you believe this one-shot was born of a Tumblr post? Yeah, Tumblr's a dangerous place lol! But the one-shot was bouncing around in my head for the past couple of weeks until it got to the point where I needed to write it!
Hope you all enjoy! :D
"But this isn't their fault!"
"No son. It's your's."
Ben stared at his dad in shock and disbelief. Was…was this mess really his fault? Could he have done something to prevent Leah's tirade?
"Mom?" Ben asked, his voice faint as he looked to his mom for reassurance. The old title of 'maman' almost slipping from his lips, something he hadn't used in years. But in that instance, Ben didn't feel like a Prince on his last day before becoming King. He felt like a little boy who wanted reassurance from his mother that he hadn't messed up.
But there was no reassurance to come from his mother. Only a glance over her shoulder as she walked off with his father. Ben honestly felt his heart breaking but knew there would be onlookers after Leah's tirade and Chad and Jay's altercation. He couldn't fall apart. Not today. Not one day before becoming King.
He pulled his blazer down to straighten out his suit and put on a stone face. Never let them see they got to you, he thought. No losing control, no outward displays of anger. You've inherited some of the Beast enchantment, do you really want to find out if you could turn into a Beast too?
Ben walked off and made his way to the picnic table where Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos were sitting at. No matter how much he was hurting, he knew they were going to be hurting much worse. And they would never let him know it either so he was going to make sure they knew that someone was in their corner.
"Hey guys," Ben said, trying to keep his voice jovial and not show the pain he was feeling, seeing them sitting there alone. "How is everyone? Yeah? Hey listen. Forget about it. All right? It was nothing. Forget about it. Let it go. Tomorrow, after the coronation, I promise everything will be okay."
Gods am I telling that to them or to myself? Ben thought as his anger, frustration, and sadness continued to bubble up especially as the VKs remained silent. He was reaching his boiling point at the whole situation—it wasn't their fault!
I have to get out of here before someone says something that pushes me over the edge, he thought as he eyed the group of AKs that were milling around the table behind the VKs. Even Lonnie, one of his oldest friends, wasn't even checking to see if they were okay.
"I have to go," Ben said softly, kissing Mal on the cheek. "I'll see you guys later."
As he walked off, he passed by Doug and Ben ducked behind a tree. Maybe Doug would provide some comfort? He seemed to get on just fine with Evie after all.
"Listen Evie, I want to talk about earlier today," the half-dwarf said and Ben felt himself smile for the first time since seeing Leah. Talking was good. "I—."
Damnit Chad! Ben thought, his hand curling into a fist as he heard the voice of his friend and former teammate. Didn't you do enough today?
"It's my fault, Doug, I'm sorry," Evie's voice brought Ben back to the situation at hand and he shook his head. It wasn't her fault.
"No, it's mine," he heard Doug say and wanted to scream in frustration. What was it with people taking fault when they didn't need to? His dad even said that it was his fault so clearly no one else was at fault!
"Doug," Evie said softly and there was a pause where Ben hoped the four of them were about to get some company.
"Sorry, I can't," Doug said after a minute, dashing all of Ben's hopes into a fine dust. Doug, one of the nicest boys Ben knew, wasn't going to do anything?
It was at times like this that he wished Emir and Akiho were here. Sadly, Akiho was in the hospital wing with a stomach ache after trying to eat as many chocolates as he could in two minutes and Emir was there for the same reason because what was the point in Akiho doing something if he wasn't going to be faster than someone?
They were two halves of a whole idiot, as Chip liked to say.
"How long does she think that's going to last?" Audrey's voice drifted over to him and Ben stilled. "Mal's just the bad girl infatuation."
No, she's not Audrey! Ben thought. I know I probably could have handled our breakup better but in all honesty, if this is how you truly act, then I'm glad we broke up!
Since when does Jane pal around with Audrey? I mean I knew they used to be friends but Audrey drifted apart from Jane and Lonnie after Mal did their hair. After all, perish the thought that someone looked just as good as Audrey.
"I mean he's never going to make a villain a Queen."
Ben couldn't take it anymore and practically sprinted away. Yes, he should have stepped out and stood up for Mal. Yes he should have said something. But at that moment, all Ben could think about was finding a private spot, any private spot, to finally let the emotions out that were bubbling to the surface.
That'll work, Ben thought as he found his way onto the Tourney field and more importantly the locker room where they always changed before and after a game. Ignoring the lingering smell of sweat and teenage boy, Ben unbuttoned his blazer and threw it off to the side.
Finally letting go, he punched the nearest thing he could find. Which turned out to be a locker.
"Shi…sugar honey ice tea!" Ben exclaimed, in case there were small ears lingering around that shouldn't hear that kind of language. It was Family Day after all and younger kids got into the strangest places.
"You okay Benji?"
"Chip?" Ben asked, looking around. Chip chuckled as he walked further into the locker room.
"This is what I get for arriving late huh? My little brother upset and punching lockers?"
"Really funny," Ben sighed as he sat down on one of the benches. Chip frowned as he sat down next to him.
"What's going on Ben?" Chip asked. "Come on, it's me. You know you can tell me anything. What, did Belle and Adam not approve of your secret desire to be a cheerleader?"
Ben snorted and a small smile pulled at his lips.
There we go, Chip thought. Honestly seeing a morose Benji is just strange.
"It was my fault," Ben sighed. "It was my fault and now the four VKs we brought over…that I brought over are miserable and ostracized."
"You lost me. What was your fault?"
"Ah!" Chip nodded. "Who's blaming you for something the Beauty Matriarch from Hell did?"
"Chip, don't! It's no use getting angry," Ben sighed and shook out his hand. "Gods I should have had better self control than that."
"One. I'm going to be angry on your behalf Ben because you're sixteen and as the Gods as my witness someone needs to. Two, as stated before you're sixteen and have the self control of a twenty five year old. You are allowed to have emotions you know. You're not a robot."
"I know," Ben sighed. "I just…the day before I become King and I lose control? Not really a great way to start my rule."
"Okay, okay," Chip said, gingerly taking Ben's hand and feeling for any breaks. "That hurt?"
"No," Ben shook his head.
"Okay, good," Chip sighed in relief. "I don't know how we'd be able to explain away a broken hand. But you need to know something Ben. I know Adam likes to say that the buck stops with the King but whatever happened with Leah was not your fault."
"Ah ba ba! Not. Your. Fault. What was Leah going on about, that made it your fault?"
"She…she was going after Mal for what Maleficent did to Aurora, so I stepped in to remind her about my proclamation, about how we were going to give the kids from the Isle a second chance."
"A chance, you mean."
"Ben, take it from someone who got turned into a tea cup when they were five for something that they didn't even do. Those kids weren't even given a chance. But continue."
Ben sighed. "So Leah started going on about the poisoned apples, and the curses, and the spells…and Mal started to apologize when Chad jumped in."
"Of course he did," Chip sighed.
Ben nodded. "He started going on about how Mal stole me from Audrey and how Jay liked to hurt people and how Evie was a gold digger and a cheat."
"Huh. And what is Princess Leech then, considering she was only dating you to have a shot of being Queen of Auradon."
"You know this'll go a lot faster without the commentary."
Ben shook his head in amusement before sighing. "Evie apparently has this magic mirror that she brought with her so she asked it who the biggest jerk in all the land was and showed it to Chad. He wasn't happy when it showed his reflection so he knocked away Evie's hand, which knocked her a little off balance. Jay pushed Chad back and it…it got into a fight that I tried to break up but Evie knocked Chad out with a spritz of her perfume. The four of them left when everyone was trying to wake up Chad and that—."
"That's when Adam said it was your fault?!"
"I was trying to get people to see that it wasn't the VKs fault that everything went pear shaped," Ben shook his head. "Maybe it was my fault but I can't figure out how I could have prevented that."
"You couldn't've Benji," Chip stated. "We both know Leah's a force of her own making, what were you going to do? Keep her from her own granddaughter? Play interference of the old woman who saw fit to lambast two sixteen year olds or the teenage boy who thought it appropriate to put his hands on a woman?"
"Ben, there are three people at fault for the mess. Well five if you want to get technical but none of them are you," Chip said gently. "Now, come on. Get your blazer and go check on your girlfriend! I mean for Gods' sake man, she just had her first introduction to Leah be a Leah tirade and you're in this smelly locker room having a pity party?"
Ben chuckled and did just that, dusting off his blazer and putting it on before following Chip out of the locker room. Chip always knew what to do to cheer him up.
And if he noticed his father get pelted with purple, blue, and yellow smoke bombs a couple of days after coronation…well who was he to say anything?