Title: Inside Every Princess is an Evil Queen
I own nothing... dear gods don't sue me. This is all in fun.
With perhaps some rather unintentional shoujo-ai subtext.
"Sure...You can call it the Magic Kingdom." The woman stated in an exasperated tone. "But you have more merchandise than the average bear. I mean, I used to have the occasional opportunity to grace a T-shirt or something but now..." She rolled her eyes when she turned to see the bear stuck in a honey pot. She sighed in vexation. "Why do I even bother talking to these creatures? No one understands. No one cares."
She took her leave of the bear, deserting it to extract its sticky self out of the honey pot, trailing her long black cloak behind her.
No one cared anymore. It was useless to try and make her point. Oh sure, she had a nice little guest spot on The House of Mouse recently but she wasn't the main attraction. She wasn't the brains behind the evil plot. A black eyebrow arched as she thought over the show. It was perfectly alright for her not to have been the brains of such foolishness anyway. Jafar was moron, as were most of the male villains, and quite a few of the females as well. There were not any true terrors anymore. Suddenly a new villain would appear and she could only roll her eyes (bright as yellow moons) as she watched them stumble around the Happiest Place on Earth vainly trying to achieve respect.
The only other person she could readily discuss things with was Lady Tremaine, but even then, the woman was obsessed with her ugly children, and trying to stay out of Cinderella's way. The evil stepmother had once been the most wicked of all the villains. Even she, Maleficent, The Mistress of all Evil, could not compare to some of the darkly plotted cruelties that woman had once put into action. All gone now though... Damn sequels ruined everything.
Ah well, she did her run in that video game, but it wasn't the same. Not like the old days when she could storm in and curse a little baby she hardly even knew. Some child who would grow up to be the picture of blithe innocence, as those idiotic fairies fought so vainly to keep her from the ways of the world. And of course it all worked out in the end, but romance never lasted too long, and unlike some of the other ludicrous pretties passing as princesses, Maleficent was sharp enough to notice that Aurora was not entirely blind to her plight. The poor girl would have been happier living her life in the woods singing to her animal friends, and then of course there was that blasted pink dress.
The powerful sorceress wound her way towards the Haunted Mansion. She was hoping some of the better ghosts would be about to chat with. Madame Leota always had an amusing bit of gossip to relate, but, alas, when she arrived everyone was preoccupied with other matters.
It was so depressing, so dull. She sighed again. And there went Captain Hook blindly chasing after Peter Pan for the millionth time. Her eyebrow rose again. She should check in on Tinker Bell. There was a girl who was one step towards joining the dark side, and besides the little fairy was highly amusing if she was being mischievous.
As she moved along some of the newer heroines gave her a courteous nod as she passed. She liked the bright new faces. She liked the intelligence and the fact that most of those girls did not depend on fairy godmothers, or princes to help them. She had remarkable respect for the ones that could defeat a villain on fair ground. Not that she was ever really fair, but she wasn't supposed to be. Mulan stopped her for a moment.
"So, we have a bet going on." The young woman stated as she gestured towards Belle.
"Indeed...and what is the bet?"
"I'm betting that you would have been able to succeed in defeating one of us newer ladies, but Belle seems to think differently. Something about good triumphing over evil...yadda yadda..." She grimaced as she watched the expression on Maleficent's face grow dark.
Yellow eyes narrowed and then her expression relaxed and a friendlier tone was induced. "Well, while it is indeed...flattering to consider... Circumstances get in the way. It is true, that if I had been invading China I may well have defeated you. It is true that if the Beast stood in my way, I would have prevailed, but let us not over look one plaintive fact…"
"What's that?" Belle decided it was time to move closer.
"Reason?" The two young women said together.
"Yes, reason. What reason would I have to invade China? What reason would I have to destroy the Beast? I'll grant you that not getting an invitation isn't a great reason, but for the most part I would say I'm an evil villain who doesn't bother with others unless I am bothered with first." She grinned. "I would love to stay and chat, but I have other matters to attend to."
She wandered off quickly. Too...depressing... The only reason she lost in the first place was because, like an idiot, she relied on a horde of morons to do her dirty work. She knew better now, but it didn't really matter because the tale was done with, it was over.
At last she arrived at the castle. She was uncomfortable sharing the space with Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora, but there really wasn't any other place for her, unless she wanted to take up residence on Tom Sawyer's Island, and, really, she did not. She lived in a cozy nook that at one time had been dungeon space. She gave an awkward passing glance towards The Evil Queen's residence as bounding up towards the door came Gaston followed closely by his little servant who was toting a huge covered mirror.
"The vain leading the vain," she muttered to herself and stepped quickly into the door (her secret entrance) that lead to her rooms in the dungeon.
Once safely in what she had made her sitting room Maleficent was free to toss aside her long cloak, and horned cowl. It wasn't a rule that she had to appear in a recognizable state but it did help to keep the riff raff away from her when she strolled though the kingdom. She paused in front of her mirror (a gift from The Evil Queen when they were still speaking to each other) and checked her pale green complexion, before taking her long black (graying slightly here and there) hair and twisted on top of her head in a bun, masterfully held together with pencil.
She rang for tea and after some time a few mice scurried in with a tray. She nodded her thanks and watched as they scampered off. They weren't rejects from Cinderella's castle; they were pretty much the only mice who weren't completely terrified of her. Which she could hardly understand, because she wasn't a terror...not any longer...not like the old days. She sighed heavily as she took a sip from the cup and then set it down on the small table near her grand chair. She really needed to plot something, or maybe someone somewhere was putting together another video game. She would bring herself to guest appearances if she had to. It stemmed the tides of boredom at any rate.
Still though, she was depressed, it hardly seemed worth even trying to be evil when she knew the good would always win and always...always in the most idiotic a stupefying luck filled way. She shook her head and moved towards her book case for a little light reading in Greek mythology. Nothing made her happier than a good tragedy, true the villain usually perished but at least the hero went down as well. It was a nice bit of vindication she had always thought.
Before she could settle in with the book there was polite knock on her door.
She put the book down and then said, "Enter."
The door opened slowly and then, meek as a mouse, there was Princess Aurora. Maleficent arched an eyebrow as she watched the young woman amble nervously inside. She was not in a blue or pink gown, but in the garb of her former years, that of a peasant.
"Are you...busy?" The princess asked shutting the door quietly behind her, leaning into the thick wood.
A grin slithered across her face. "Not in the least. Won't you please come in for some tea?"
The blonde princess released a slow breath of relief and settled herself into a smaller chair that was on the opposite side of the table. Maleficent rang the mice for another cup that was brought in quickly. She filled it and handed it over to the young woman. Looking her over, the evil sorceress was ashamed she had even considered killing the child. Clearly her reasoning had been faulty at the time. She should have struck out against the king and the queen. Ah well, she had tucked that lesson away and hoped she'd be able to make use of it someday.
Princess Aurora sipped at the tea slowly, plaintively, and the dark mistress could see that she would have to initiate conversation. Not that she wanted to speak with the young woman but because there was nothing worse than sipping tea in an uncomfortable silence.
"Out and about in the forest, where you?" She brought her cup to her lips, eyes partially lidded as she took a quick sip.
"Yeah... I was... I wanted to visit the animals."
Eyebrows raised and then relaxed. Princesses and their animals...she supposed though that she had affection for beasts as well. After all there was her raven and...well… Her minions were close enough to being pets. "I see, and how are the little-"
"You don't have to feign interest." The princess cut in softly as she watched the older woman struggle. "I just wanted to have someone to talk to."
"I thought that was why you visited with the others."
Aurora grimaced. "We don't have much in common. I suppose that's the problem. And then I look at the new princesses and you know...They really are...great girls. Belle let's me use the library whenever I want...and well...but..." She sighed and took another sip from her tea. "Did you get this from Alice?"
"Mad Hatter, his blends are far more...interesting." She studied the princess closely. The girl wanted something that she didn't know how to ask for, but what? "So, the other princesses...you feel-"
"So ordinary...I mean look at me compared to them. They all had such wonderful adventures. They all battled a villain or had to escape into the unknown. I... I fell asleep."
The eyebrow arched again. "You were forced to live in seclusion until you were sixteen, raised by three bumbling old ladies who were really fairies, while I scoured the countryside trying to kill you."
Aurora shook her head. "But I didn't know. I didn't know there was danger. Everyone else had an idea. I mean compared to everyone else I'm extremely lucky. I didn't have to fight any battles. I just was. I was there. I was happy in the forest with the animals, even though it would have been nice for more regular companionship. And from there it was off to the castle and suddenly I'm not Briar Rose, I'm a princess. A princess...and then, there was the trance and the sleeping but after that... there was nothing. Everyone else had evil stepmothers, maddening suitors, crazed pirates... I never knew you were even out there...I never... and ... in the end what is the point? I get kissed, I get married, and I got to dance on clouds, and then what? Phillip is never home. He's always off with the Charmings doing whatever it is that the princes do." She sighed, practically burst into tears. "And I have to stay home and play nice with the other princesses who all look at me like ...What...What have I done? I fell asleep."
Maleficent could hardly think of anything decent to say. The child was right. All the action had been taken by the prince and the fairies, truly in the scheme of things Princess Aurora was incidental and what a terrifying conclusion to come to when on the outset the entire story appears to be about you. She let out a breath of mixed irritation and uncertainty. Finally she leaned back into her chair and pressed her fingers together menacingly.
"And what, pray tell, is it that you would like me to do?" She was quite sure she looked extremely intimidating, and though she never intended it to happen, she could feel her power lowering the lights around her.
The blonde princess looked confused and bit at the corner of her lip. "I don't think I-"
"Princesses do not speak to someone like me, they do not tell their sorrows so fully, unless they are seeking something. And Princess, let me tell you, there are plenty of stories that tell of what happens when you seek help from a witch."
"I just want...someone to talk to who isn't going to laugh at me."
The sorceress's expression seemed to lighten and she grinned as she spoke. "And I seemed the worthy choice, did I?"
"You seemed the best one around." She put her empty tea cup on the table. "At least with you I know you mean every word you say. If you told me right now that you had put poison in the tea I would believe you."
"Briar." The princess interrupted quickly, looking as if she had committed some mortal sin by doing so. "Sorry, I um... actually prefer to be called Briar."
"So long as you aren't a rose," Maleficent muttered softly to herself, grinning at the implication. "Would you be interested in attending a party?"
"The Evil Queen is celebrating...her self and her new mirrors tomorrow evening."
"Isn't that a villains only event?"
"Villain plus guest, I think I can convince the doorman that you are indeed just a guest."
"Um... I..." After a moment of facial gymnastics the likes of which even Donald Duck would be proud of the princess finally said. "Sure, why not?"
Maleficent was more than pleased with her self. Not only did she look her Sunday best with cloak and horned cowl in exquisite condition, but she had at her side one of the princesses dressed entirely in black and sans crown. It was a triumph of sorts, but it wasn't really. She was being… She hated to think it, but she was actually being nice. She was never nice. Well, perhaps that was not quite true. She was nice in her own "I shall destroy you" kind of way. She was always, at least congenial, even if it meant she was secretly plotting to ruin someone later.
There was little problem with the doorman. A few guests gave her approving grins, including the Horned King which was slightly disturbing. Of course, then, there were those who had the bad form (as Hook would have said) to mutter, loudly enough for her to hear, their blatant disapproval. But the real treat was watching the Evil Queen swallow down her desperate malice and semi-cordially say a hello.
The princess, Briar, edged up next to Maleficent with a glass of quite possibly the reddest wine she had ever seen and shifted uncomfortably. "Are you sure no one will...Or I mean, I feel rather-"
"Hush," was the swift interruption. "Here in these halls you will find nothing but the defeated. These villains haven't the energy or the edge to try anything. They've already lost and they are stuck within the confines of their loss."
"Even you?" A blonde eyebrow arched with the question.
Yellow eyes narrowed as the reply slid from her lips with a slight smile, "Yes, but, in difference, I must say that I'm not quite trapped by my loss. If I were I would be trying desperately to seek some sort of revenge upon your prince and those aged fairies."
Briar took that comment in and nodded. She took up her glass and sipped from it. It was an excellent vintage that wine. She enjoyed the richness of the flavor. After a few more moments she turned to Maleficent and asked, "And the Evil Queen...her jealousy won't make her-"
"She's jealous of her own shadow. Don't worry as long as pretty boy over there is doing his brainless best, and I assure you, he his, you will be quite safe from any harm." Maleficent cut in, motioning towards Gaston.
"You don't much care for him do you?"
"Briar, I do not care for much that I see here." And with that, staff in hand, she gracefully whisked away towards the dinning room. A moment later a gong rang and the rest of the guests filtered in to be seated for dinner.
It was an exquisite feast. The table was lined with all sorts of wondrous foods. Briar could hardly remember the last time she and Philip had held a grand affair with such delicacies. She contentedly helped herself to many things she might not normally consider trying. The veal she found was very much to her liking, and even when Shere Kahn pointed out what veal was, she was not fazed in the least. Over all, though, the gathering was not quite as exciting as she thought it might be. She was hoping to perhaps over hear evil plots, or something interesting, but no... Most of the villains were, as Maleficent said, trapped in the past. They went over and over how they almost succeeded. They never went over how they might succeed anew, in some different area.
Towards the end of the evening when some guests were leaving and others were helping themselves to one more after dinner drink, or dessert Maleficent found herself under the attention of Scar and Shere Khan. She rather enjoyed speaking with the two big cats. It was their voices, and their extreme style.
"I had no idea the Princess Aurora was such a delightful conversationalist," the tiger drawled. "I dare say she has more brains than are allowed a creature such as herself."
Scar nodded, "Oh yes...pleasant young thing. But really Maleficent, what is the catch? Why did you bring her here? Her royal pain in the neck is just about ready to burst a blood vessel because of the princess. Not that I would mind the show, but you don't even seem to be enjoying the affect."
The sorceress curled her fingers lightly about her staff and grinned. "Ah, but don't you see there is no better way to get to someone than to show you haven't a care for what they think or how they react in the least. The queen will fume and rage. She might even break one of her mirrors later on when we are all gone, but it will never negate the fact that the dear princess looks better in black than she does."
The tiger arched and eye brow and the lion merely gave up a "hmph" sort of noise that was crossed with a guttural roar. Maleficent shrugged them off and stepped over to hear the last few lines of a conversation between Ratigan and Briar.
"Well, I suppose that kind of emotional damage does get carried with you, what with labels and all." Briar was trying to be exceptionally polite.
"But rat...What kind of parent gives a child such a name? The stigma was on me from the start."
The blonde rolled her eyes and out of no where said, "But you are, in fact, a rat. I've had a chance to speak to a few and they aren't very creative. You should just be happy to have risen above your station in life, pulling together a gang and everything. You know, using your intelligence."
"What little he has been given." Maleficent stepped in. The rat gave her a dour look and then scuttled off. Maleficent turned to the princess with a large smile that almost bared her teeth. "My, my, that was intriguing. Are you sure that won't retract your princess license?"
Briar's mouth was agape, as if something very unprincess like was about to escape her lips but she smiled instead. It wasn't the vacant smile of happiness that some princesses presented, it was a sarcastic smile. It was a smile that gave the insult without actually voicing it. The black hearted sorceress was never more proud in her entire life.
"Come now, we should get back to the castle."
"I won't be missed."
"My dear, you would be surprised what is missed when the princess is not where she is supposed to be, and doing what she is supposed to be doing."
They were but a few steps away from the castle when a loud crash was heard from the Evil Queen's residence. Maleficent grinned like a well feed cat at the sound. The princess quirked a curious eyebrow but she said nothing. They arrived at the castle and stood outside Maleficent's door.
"Would you join me for a nightcap?" Briar offered.
"Up in the castle? No, the fairies would never let me hear the end of it."
"Well then, how about your rooms? If that isn't too presumptuous...inviting myself over?"
"You may presume what you like. A night cap would be...nice. I do long to hear your opinion of the party."
And the princess's opinion was intriguing and amusing. The sorceress doubted she had ever enjoyed such conversation as much as she did. It was so refreshing and so... She pulled herself into her thoughts as she sipped at her brandy. Now she knew what the princess was seeking and it...It made her happy. It was hard not be happy under such circumstances.
"Do you know something, princess?"
"You don't really want someone to talk too."
Eyes went wide with surprise. "I don't?"
"No. You want to change. You want to step beyond the boundaries of your tale, and can I tell you what I think?"
"I think you have already made a step in the right direction."
"You don't have to be Princess Aurora. You don't have to be Rose, as the fairies called you. You do not have to be The Sleeping Beauty. You already were all of those things. That story is finished. The problem with so many of us in this kingdom, we stick to our stories like life preservers. We cling to what we know, but I see it now. It is very clear to me... When the story ends it isn't really over with. All you have to do is step out and make a new story for yourself."
"Like a sequel?"
She shook her head quickly. "No, no...Not a sequel, never a sequel...just a new story, perhaps one that won't even be told. The story of the Princess Aurora is long complete...you should be working on the story of Briar, whoever she really and truly is."
The blonde smiled. She stood from her spot and muttered a thank you and a goodnight very quickly before leaving the room. Maleficent smiled to herself, wickedly. She loved doing a good deed, especially one that would not be seen as such. And her thought would be brought to light the next morning when there was a rather desperately angry knock on her door.
She hadn't had much sleep. Even if she was very happy, the sensation kept her up. She wandered to the door of her bedroom and pulled it open slowly. A short, fat, woman with dark hair and a pointy blue hat scuttled in, in a fury of words she could not quite make out. Merryweather always did have the best temper tantrums.
"What have you done you...you...evil thing?"
"What have I done?" She asked in semi-shocked tones. "Whatever do you mean?"
"I mean Rose." The fairy said swiftly her little face scrunching up in anger. "What have you done to her?"
"I haven't touched a hair on the girl's head." She shut the door softly and candles lit in her room. She moved towards a chair and sat in it. "Now, do you think you might calm down and explain things to me?"
Merryweather flew into a tirade. "Calm down. She's talking about leaving the prince! She's talking about wandering the countryside! What ideas have you put in her head? She keeps saying things that don't sound like her! In fact they sound an awful lot like you!" She pointed a chubby finger at the sorceress before continuing. "I should have known you'd plot something. You're turning Rose into a villain!"
"I!" She rose from her seat unable to disguise her triumphant smile. "I am turning her? Oh my, my...That is a bother, but...as much as I'd love to take credit for whatever transformation is occurring to Briar I simply can not."
Her yellow eyes stared down into the face of the feisty fairy and she grinned. "I have not done a thing to her you see. I cast no spell. I laced no poison in her cup. There was no magic potion she was forced to drink. I'm afraid she is doing things of her own free will. You see, my dear, as powerful as I am, I can hardly force someone to do anything. People choose, all on their own and people change-"
"Well, maybe they should." She threw her hands up. "And perhaps you should as well. Have you not noticed how miserable the girl has been? Could you not see it on her face? Her prince pays her no attention. The other princesses are of no help to her. I imagine if she had tried to communicate with you, she was rebuffed and told that she should be happy with what she has."
Merryweather was shaking with rage. "Oooo, you had better get ready to pack. The prince won't let you stay here any longer I can tell you that."
The door slammed and she let out a long held laugh. Blessed day, she never felt so wonderful.
About an hour later Maleficent was strolling through the kingdom looking for a new place to reside. Her raven perched on her staff as she moved elegantly about. Along the way she bumped, quite literally, into Briar. She smiled politely at the girl and the blonde in turn gave a small bow.
"You were kicked out weren't you?" Concern in her voice, she would never be a villain, but she was well on her way to being herself.
"Indeed, I was given the royal eviction notice, or rather the fairy eviction notice. Your prince hasn't much will power."
Briar grimaced, "Well, it's sort of tough between the three of the fairies. Merryweather probably flipped out. I can hear the rant now."
"Oh yes, she did. Gloriously, I might add."
The blonde folded her arms over her chest and looked the sorceress over. Her head cocked to one side. "So, was this your revenge?"
A dark eyebrow quirked as she replied, "No, but it's better than revenge. Revenge is so... Well it's typical and I loathe typical."
"Do you think you'll rise to a higher station of evil?"
"Oh eventually... I'm sure."
A group of lost boys came rushing by, pirates at their heels. Maleficent grinned eagerly and pushed out her staff just a bit. Briar watched her with a smile. A boy tripped and a pirate descended upon him. The two women stepped out of the way.
"Well, thank you!" Briar said once they were at a safe distance from the rough housing.
"Not forcing me to change."
"Would I do something like that?"
"I think you rather would if you could." She grinned and then chuckled, "Back there with the Lost Boy-"
"I'm evil...It's what I do."