Out of the Ashes

Prologue

"Sword of Truth fly straight and sure so that evil DIE and good endure!" chanted Flora.

Prince Phillip threw the sword at Maleficent, who had chosen that moment to rear up to strike. The sword pierced her chest where her heart should have been. Thanks to her dragon anatomy, she lived, but just barely, after falling off the cliff. In order to make a clean escape, Maleficent left her cloak behind and transported herself to the Forbidden Mountains, where she discovered that her minions had fled. She decided to bide her time until she could extract revenge on Phillip for attempting to kill her. So, she studied up on some of the darkest magic ever performed. And she watched and waited for the perfect opportunity to strike.

…...…...Present Time...

"ACHOO! ACHOO!" could be heard echoing around the Forbidden Mountains. Maleficent's minions had long since been gone and her only friend had been turned into stone. It was moments like these when she wished she had decided to be a good fairy. She was currently curled up in bed trying to do something about the harsh wind currently blowing across her fevered body, making her shiver even more violently than she should have. In retrospect, she probably should have made further repairs to the abandoned castle she called home, especially to the crumbling tower she called her room. Maleficent sighed as yet another spell was extinguished by her lack of concentration. Eventually, she just gave up and huddled down further under her blanket.

She knew she hadn't been taking good care of herself lately, mainly because she was so concerned about turning Diablo back into a bird. Not to mention she was already weakened by the supposed "death blow" Prince Phillip had given her. (Not that it did anything besides weaken her for a short period of time). Now she was simply biding her time until she could extract revenge on him for attempting to kill her. Or at least she was until she caught this cursed cold. Now she was stuck in bed until it went away, which, according to her magic intuition, would be quite awhile. 'Curse those three good fairies!' Maleficent thought to herself as she was overcome by chills. Magic colds tended to hang on longer than the average ones. Not to mention that the symptoms and fever were always worse.

To top it off, the Kingdom of the North was in the middle of an extremely harsh winter, complete with howling winds and random blizzards. As she slipped into a restless sleep, Maleficent couldn't help but wonder what the Princess was doing, now that she had her fairy tale ending.

…... The throne room in the castle of Aurora and Phillip...

Princess Aurora, or Rose as she preferred to be known, was tired of being stuck in the castle. She longed for the freedom she had in the forest and she missed her woodland friends. She was also tired of Phillip fussing over her. Yes, it was winter. Yes, it was cold. But that didn't mean she had to be with him every second of every day! She was honestly starting to miss the eternal sleep she had been in for a few days. Despite the numerous visits from Maleficent, she had slept peacefully, which was not something she could say now. In all honesty, Maleficent was the only thing that seemed normal in that world of dreams.

Now, lounging on her throne beside Phillip, she was bored out of her mind. Sure, this was a nice life, but she had never wanted it. She had been happy singing to the animals in the forest. Rose missed her simple peasant life. She had been restricted to limited human contact with only her "aunts" of course, but at least she was left alone for more than five seconds at a time. Phillip had been watching her more closely than he had when they were first married. She could understand of course, since there were rumors circulating that Maleficent was back.

Since Phillip had heard the rumor, he had been with Rose every minute he possibly could. She had in fact heard the rumor herself from a traveler when she was in the village. Since then, she had been extremely curious, for it was also rumored that the "Mistress of All Evil" was ill. Rose wasn't sure if she believed that one or not. She decided she wanted to find out for herself.

"What are you thinking Dearest Aurora?" asked Phillip.

Rose flinched involuntarily at the use of her birth name. Phillip, however, didn't seem to notice.

"I'm thinking that I'm bored."

"Well, we can fix that. Come." he replied with a sly grin.

Later that night, Rose snuck out of the castle and headed to the Forbidden Mountains to see if the rumors were true.

…...Maleficent's castle...

Maleficent woke herself up the next morning coughing and discovered she was feeling worse than the previous day, although she wasn't sure how this was possible. Another blizzard had blown in overnight and had successfully covered every inch of her room in at least a foot of snow, including herself. Any snow that landed on her exposed skin melted instantly. 'I really should get a better gown.' she thought as she stared at the tattered scrap of green cloth that barely covered her body. It was torn in several places, and had holes in places that wasn't torn. Since Maleficent normally enjoyed the cold, she hadn't bothered to mend her only remaining night gown when she had returned home.

She launched into another coughing fit that she could hear echoing down the mountainside. She again wished she had chosen to be a good fairy, or that she had at least one friend in the world. She jerked into a sitting position as she heard footsteps on the staircase that led to her room. Through her blurred vision, she saw someone come in and then she thought she heard a gasp. Having used all of her energy sitting up, Maleficent collapsed back onto the bed. The figure approached slowly and cautiously. Maleficent could now tell that it was a girl, a young one at that.

"Maleficent?" the surprised girl whispered.

'No. It can't be. I must be hallucinating.' Maleficent thought as the girl came nearer still.

"It's me... Aurora."

And Maleficent passed out.

…...Rose, earlier that morning...

Rose had just reached the base of the Forbidden Mountains. It was bitterly cold, and she was extremely tired from walking through the unexpected blizzard that had blown in the night before. Thankfully, it had stopped early that morning. She had just begun the dangerous climb up the mountain when she heard coughing. Bewildered, she looked around, but soon realized it was only an echo. She raced the rest of the way up the mountain and quickly reached the castle. Rose had a vague idea of where Maleficent's bedroom was, from the slim details her "aunts" had provided her, so she ran off in that direction. She soon saw a crumbling tower with gaping holes in the walls and an uncovered staircase leading up to it. The coughing came again, and she knew someone was in there. Whether it was Maleficent or not, she still wasn't sure. Rose raced up the stairs and entered the bed chamber. Shivering, she pulled her traveling cloak tighter around her body. She gasped in shock, not only at the snow that seemed to cover everything, but at the figure sitting in the bed. Rose saw Maleficent collapse onto the bed and came a little nearer.

…...Present Time...

"Maleficent?" she whispered.

Rose saw her eyes widen in shock as she came nearer still, until she was at Maleficent's side.

"It's me..." she had to pause and force herself to use her given name. "Aurora."

And then Maleficent passed out. Before she did so, however, Rose took in the glassiness of her eyes, her pale and sweaty skin, and the shivers that racked her body. Cautiously, she reached out a hand and placed it on the unconscious woman's forehead and abruptly drew back in shock. She had never felt a person get that hot with fever before. Rose was surprised Maleficent wasn't dead already. Ignoring the fever, the room was bitterly cold, almost colder than outside if not equal to it. And Maleficent had only a solitary blanket covering her body. Her night gown was also inadequate, Rose noted. If the fever hadn't killed her, she surely should have frozen to death. Rose removed her traveling cloak and placed it over Maleficent's trembling body.

Rose should have been afraid of the woman. After all, she had almost killed her. But she wasn't. She actually had a significant amount of respect for her because Maleficent was the only person who had never lied to her. That was part of the reason she set out to see if the rumors were true. The other reason was that she had to get out of the castle before Phillip drove her completely insane. She was brought out of her thoughts by a movement from the bed. Realizing Maleficent was waking up, she took a good four steps away from the bed, just in case. Maleficent blinked and held her head as she tried to sit up, mumbling to herself. Still thinking it had been a hallucination, she was quite shocked to see the Princess standing fairly close to her bed.

"How do you stand it here?" Rose asked while shivering violently.

Maleficent noticed the girl didn't have a traveling cloak on and looked down at her lap, startled to see it resting there.

"Because I have to." she rasped before starting to cough again.

Rose bit her lip, unsure of what to do. On one hand, she couldn't be sure that Maleficent wouldn't still kill her, despite her weakened state. On the other hand, she obviously needed help or she could possibly die. Seeing as how Rose didn't hate her and didn't want her to die she chose to help her instead. She approached slowly and observed Maleficent grasping her chest for a few seconds before she slipped her hand under her shoulders and pushed her into a sitting position. She was much lighter than Rose had expected. Maleficent's eyes, which had previously been closed in pain, flew open at her touch.

Rose felt a brief tingle of magic coursing through her body, but since it seemed too weak to cause any damage, she ignored it and continued to support the sorceresses' back. After the fit ended, she eased Maleficent back onto her back. Maleficent looked up at her, laboring for breath.

"What's wrong with you?" Rose asked.

"I've caught a magic cold." Maleficent responded in a weak tone that was so far from her usual smooth, powerful tone that Rose blinked a few times.

"Wh...what's that?" she managed to stutter.

"A magic cold is exactly that: a cold enhanced by magic that often lasts months with all symptoms magnified."

"Oh. Umm...how did you, uh, get it?" Rose asked nervously.

Suddenly Maleficent's face filled with anger.

"From your so-called aunts." she spat.

"How do you know it was them?"

"A magic cold can only be sent by another magical being and is increased when more than one helps to cast the spell. This definitely has the strength of three and your...aunts are the only magical beings within a hundred miles of here. And before you ask, no it can't be cured with magic it has to run its natural course."

"Oh."

Maleficent sighed and tried to get comfortable on her already too-hot pillow. No sooner had she got comfortable than she started to sneeze, causing a string of curses to fly from her mouth. Rose just winced and remained standing. Maleficent started to shiver again, cursing once more.

"Don't you have anymore blankets?" Rose ventured to ask when Maleficent had regained control of her temper.

"No."

Rose silently rocked back and forth trying to stay warm, which wasn't easy considering the wind was blowing through the numerous holes in the walls and there was snow everywhere. Maleficent watched the girl with slight pity. She was used to the harsh temperatures while Aurora was not.

"Here, take your cloak back, I'm perfectly fine without it."

"No you're not." answered Rose in such a condemning voice that she surprised both herself and Maleficent. "It's a miracle that you haven't frozen to death."

For the first time in her life, Maleficent didn't know how to respond. She knew Rose spoke the truth. Her eyes widened and she struggled for words. Finally, some came to her.

"I'm used to the cold temperatures and you're not." she said smugly.

Maleficent wondered why the girl she had tried to murder would make such a hard journey to see her. However, company was company and she wasn't about to argue about the girl's presence. At the same time, Rose was wondering why Maleficent didn't ask her why she was there. 'Maybe she's too miserable to care.' she thought. Rose recalled the simple spells Flora had taught her to help around the castle. There was one for levitating, one for conjuring, and one to create fire.

"I...I think I can help you, Maleficent." Rose whispered sheepishly.

Maleficent chuckled lightly to herself. She couldn't wait to see this.

"And how can you do that?" she asked with a hint of amusement in her voice.

"I...I know a few simple spells...you know, conjuring, levitating, that sort of thing."

"And how would that possibly help me?"

"I could levitate you to a warmer part of the castle. And then I could conjure some blankets and a new gown."

Maleficent thought for a moment and then shrugged. It would be interesting to see how much magic the bumbling fools had tried to teach the child. Rose took a deep breath and concentrated on Maleficent's bed. She raised her hand, pointed at the bed, and moved her finger upwards. The bed rose compliantly. Maleficent gasped despite herself. She couldn't believe the simple minded girl she had cursed was capable of magic. Maleficent knew she could turn this to her advantage once she was well.

Rose concentrated extremely hard all the way through the door, down the stairs, and into the throne room. Still concentrating on the bed, Rose pointed a finger on her free hand at the throne and moved it. Then she pointed at the stone steps and raised them so that they were an even flat surface. Panting, she then motioned the bed to a spot on the newly raised surface and sat it down gently.

Rose felt completely drained of energy. Any time she did magic she felt sooooooooo tired afterward. All she wanted to do was sleep. But she knew she had promised Maleficent a new gown and blankets, so she concentrated once again and pointed at Maleficent. A new black and purple gown took the place of the tattered, faded green one she had previously been wearing. Rose walked closer to the bed, knowing she would more than likely faint when she was completely through with magic. She pointed at the bed and heavy black blankets appeared over the solitary one wrapped protectively around Maleficent. Quickly, Rose spun around and pointed at the fire pit below the stone ledge and, using her last ounce of energy, conjured a roaring green fire. As soon as the fire was lit, Rose's knees buckled and she collapsed onto the bed beside Maleficent.

Maleficent stared in shock at the girl that had just collapsed onto the bed beside her. She couldn't believe the amount of magic the girl had just exerted. It was enough to have killed any normal mortal, Maleficent knew that. But considering the girl's parentage, she really shouldn't be surprised. Aurora was the daughter of Queen Leah and a male fairy. Maleficent knew this because the Queen had come to her shortly after finding out she was pregnant. She wanted to get rid of the unborn child, which surprised the wicked fairy greatly.

...Flashback: 17 years ago...

"Why your Majesty, what brings you to my humble home?" Maleficent asked the young queen.

"I...I came to ask a favor."

"A favor? Well, surely you of all people know this won't come without a price."

"I'll give you anything you ask for!" said the desperate young woman.

"Fine. What is this 'favor' you wish to request?"

"I...I'm with child."

"And?"

"I wish you to get rid of it."

Maleficent was shocked to say the least. She was well aware that the King and Queen had been trying for several years to conceive an heir.

"I'm afraid I don't see the problem."

Queen Leah took a deep breath. "It is not Stefan's."

At this Maleficent laughed. Who knew the prim and proper queen had a rebellious streak? While the thought of taking a life tempted her, Maleficent decided to do something much more evil.

"Why, I'm afraid I can't help you."

"What do you mean? I thought you were the most powerful creature in the kingdom."

"Oh I am. I've just decided I don't WANT to help you. I'd rather you have the baby and be reminded of your unfaithfulness for the rest of your life." and she burst into laughter again at the sight of the Queen's expression. "One more thing your Majesty, who is the father?"

"A male fairy."

Maleficent could control herself no longer and burst into another round of laughter. The Queen's face held such a look of hurt and shame as she left that Maleficent found herself unable to stop laughing for quite some time. And so it was that nine months later the Queen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Maleficent then of course cursed her upon not receiving an invitation to the babe's christening.

…...Present Time...

Maleficent gazed at Aurora intensely. She now knew three things. One: The girl didn't seem to hate her. Two: She was capable of magic. Three: With proper training she could be very, very powerful.

…...The throne room of Phillip and Rose...

"She's gone! Aurora's gone!" Prince Phillip shouted at the three good fairies.

"I bet Maleficent took her!" fumed Merriweather.

"Now you know that's not possible dear. After all, Maleficent's sick remember? We caused it." said Fauna.

"Unless...no. R...I mean Aurora would never do that." said Flora.

"Do what?" demanded Phillip.

"Venture to see Maleficent." responded Flora.

Phillip sighed. "Then I suppose we should start searching the kingdom."

…...Maleficent's castle...

"Aurora. Aurora!"

Maleficent was starting to get desperate. Aurora had been asleep for several hours and nothing Maleficent did to try and wake her worked. She finally opted to shove her off the bed. Rose hit the floor with a very audible thump. Maleficent half grinned, half panted as she heard a loud groan of pain from the floor.

"Did you have to shove me off the bed?" came the mumbled question to which Maleficent first laughed then coughed.

Rose sat up slowly. She was still very weak from over exertion. Slowly, she climbed to her feet to face a coughing Maleficent. Rose felt sorry for her, she really did. She knew Maleficent felt miserable. Rose sat on the bed beside her. As Maleficent caught her breath, Rose looked her over. She was very thin, her long black hair was loose and tangled, and her eyes...those black eyes that were usually so expressive, were glassed over and dull. Rose attempted to conjure a chair for herself to sit in. The result was a sizzling sound and a very painful stinging coursing through her body, causing Rose to wince. This did not go unnoticed by Maleficent.

"Aurora, I must admit, that was very impressive magic for a mortal. Tell me, have you always been able to do that?"

"Please, call me Rose. I really don't like Aurora. And yes, since Flora taught me, I've been able to do it with little trouble. Although I suppose I over did it just a tad."

"Whatever do you mean?"

"Usually, when I do magic, I just get tired. This is the first time I've ever passed out."

"Ah, I see. Tell me, how is it that you, a mere mortal, can perform magic so well? And so powerfully. Those spells, while simple, do require a great deal of magic."

"I...I don't know how I can do magic. It just seems to come naturally." Rose answered sheepishly.

'Good, she doesn't seem to know of her true blood line. I can use this to my advantage as well.' Maleficent thought as she stifled a yawn.

"Maybe you should rest now." Rose suggested softly, noticing how hard it seemed to be for Maleficent to stay awake.

"Tell me, why is it you care Princess. You don't seem to be afraid of me either, which puzzles me as well. I did try to kill you, after all." Maleficent said while fighting sleep.

"Well, you were the only person who never lied to me, and I respect that. As to being afraid, you seem too weak to do any damage now. You couldn't even seem to repel my touch when I propped you up earlier."

"Fair enough." said Maleficent with a yawn.

"Sleep now, just sleep." said Rose in as gentle and soothing a tone as she possessed.

As Maleficent slipped into a light slumber, Rose decided to walk around the castle. What she found disgusted her. There were rats everywhere. Not to mention the numerous cracks in the walls. Well, the walls that weren't missing that is. The only thing she found that impressed her was the library, which had an extensive selection of books. Granted most of the books were about fairies and dark magic, but they interested Rose none the less. As Rose browsed through the books, she noticed one that caught her attention. It was titled Simple Spells for the Dark Beginners. Rose knew dark magic was forbidden, but the title was just so interesting. She couldn't help herself. She slipped it off the shelf and began to read.

The spells seemed quite easy. From what Rose could figure out, it seemed you only had to recite a simple spell and concentrate and it should work. Rose flipped through the book until she found an easy one that interested her as well. It was a spell for teleportation. It read:

Time twirl and bend

Howling winds swirl and blow,

This present moment shall end.

Transport me where I want to go!

The directions said you had to simply had to think of a place to go while reciting the incantation and concentrate on only that one place. Rose decided to test the spell out. She recited the spell, all the while concentrating on Maleficent's throne room. The world around Rose began to bend and spin and she disappeared into a burst of green flame, only to reappear the same spectacular way in Maleficent's throne room.

'Wow! I can't believe that worked!' Rose thought to herself.

She glanced over at the bed to make sure that Maleficent was still asleep before she conjured a chair and placed it by the bed. She continued to read through the spell book, choosing random spells and practicing them. In between spells, Rose checked Maleficent's temperature and had to conjure a cool cloth more than once to cool her off. She also had to place the covers back on her body when she would throw them off in her sleep. Maleficent woke briefly once and argued with Rose, who covered her up once again, as she had thrown the blankets completely off the bed and onto the floor.

"But I'm hot!" Maleficent whined in her half-awake state.

"You're only hot because you have a fever. Now if I don't cover you up, you'll be cold in five minutes."

Maleficent begrudgingly allowed Rose to cover her back up and in five minutes, Maleficent did indeed complain of being cold. The only thing Rose could do, however, was conjure more blankets. Maleficent soon settled down and went back to sleep. She seemed to take no notice of the book in Rose's lap.

Night soon fell and Rose found herself growing tired. She fought sleep for as long as she could manage, but soon found herself unable to keep her eyes open. Maleficent was asleep, and the fire had long since burned out. Rose tried in vain to ignite it once again, but was too tired to do much but make a small spark. Therefore, the large room had grown quite cold again. Rose was huddled up on the chair trying to stay warm. Another blizzard had blown in and Rose had exhausted the last of her energy repairing the gaping holes in the walls. Earlier in the day, she had created simple coverings for the windows, and they seemed to have held out quite well.

Rose eventually found herself growing increasingly uncomfortable in the chair. She decided to sit on the bed beside Maleficent. Rose highly doubted she'd mind, and if she did, she wasn't in a position to do much about it. No sooner had Rose sat down on the bed than she found herself laying down instead. As soon as Rose's head hit the pillow, she was asleep.

…...Throne room of Rose and Phillip's castle...

"Have you found her yet?!" yelled a frantic Phillip.

"No, Sire. Not yet." answered the head soldier in Phillip's army.

Prince Phillip was growing increasingly worried. An unexpected blizzard had blown in, causing his search parties to withdraw to the castle until it ended, which it currently had not. Rose had been missing for nearly twenty four hours now. Phillip didn't want to think about all the possible things that could have happened to his beloved wife. She could have been kidnapped. She could have been kidnapped and killed. She could be lost and wandering around in the snow. Or, she could have frozen to death. Phillip was beside himself with worry.

"What about your group Flora?"

"Sorry your Majesty, we haven't found her either."

"Merriweather?"

"No, your Majesty." she said sadly.

Phillip was growing desperate. Surely FAUNA would have found some clue as to where his wife was.

"Fauna?" he asked with a pleading tone.

"No, your Majesty."

Currently, Phillip himself hadn't gone to look for her, but he decided that once the storm ended he would be joining a search party. Until then, he could only wait and hope someone would bring news.

…...Maleficent's castle: Middle of the night...

Maleficent woke with a start. She was sweating profusely, and had the urge to throw her covers off, which she did. Once this task was accomplished, she searched for Rose. She suddenly felt a pang of fear when she could not locate the girl. Why she felt afraid she could not explain. She supposed it was because she had gotten used to another human presence in the castle.

Maleficent soon became cold, and replaced the covers over herself. She discovered that the spot on her pillow where her head was resting had become extremely hot and uncomfortable. She attempted to turn over onto her side, only to discover that she was pinned down by some unknown force. Her eyes darted to the right first, then the left. And that was where she found her answer. There was Rose, on top of the covers, her arms around Maleficent's waist, and (she couldn't believe she hadn't noticed before) her head was resting on her shoulder. She stared at the sleeping girl for a moment, contemplating whether or not to displace her from her current position.

Maleficent eventually noticed the girl's shivers and felt a bit sorry for her. She then noticed the spell book on Rose's abandoned chair. 'She found one of my old spell books. She must have been practicing magic all day.' Maleficent then noticed the patches on the walls and the covers over the windows. She felt something stirring in her hardened heart. It was very faint, but it was there none the less. Maleficent was startled from her thoughts by Rose trying in vain to get closer to Maleficent. Maleficent realized that she was probably the only source of warmth for the child.

Maleficent decided to wake Rose up and...well she didn't know exactly what she would do, but she was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, and Rose couldn't sleep like that all night.

"Rose. Rose." Maleficent whispered as she shook Rose's shoulder.

"Rose!" she said a little louder and with more force when the girl failed to wake up.

"Hmmmm...Wha?" OH MY GOSH!" Rose shouted when she realized where she was and what she was doing.

"Shhhhh, Rose, I'm not angry."

"Y...you're not?"

"No. Merely...surprised."

"Surprised at what?"

"Surprised that you didn't leave. Surprised to find you with nothing covering you. Surprised to find you cuddling up next to me for warmth." Maleficent said the last part with a hint of amusement in her voice.

"I'm sorry. I should move. I was in the chair, but I was just so tired and uncomfortable. I didn't think it would hurt to sit on the bed, but the next thing I knew I was laying down and, well, I'm pretty sure you can figure out the rest."

And indeed Maleficent could. Based on what Rose had told her, she figured that after Rose had fallen asleep, she had become cold with no blanket and had snuggled close to the only source of warmth around. And that had just happened to be her. Not that she could deny that she was warm. She was practically on fire with fever. That was probably what had caused Rose to get so close.

Strangely, Maleficent wasn't mad at all. Indeed, she felt, what was it? Happy? Content? Perhaps both? She had never had children, event though she was still young for a fairy, at three hundred years old. But with Rose, being only seventeen, so close to her, she felt almost maternal. She definitely felt protective. And that scared her. Maleficent had no idea where these feelings had come from, or why they had emerged. She just knew she felt oddly complete and she didn't want that feeling to go away.

This actually coordinated with her plan. Her plan was to first turn Rose against her parents by explaining her true blood line. The second part was to then explain that she was no longer royalty, making her terminate her marriage to Phillip based upon the belief that Phillip only wanted to be married to a princess. Maleficent would then teach her all the dark magic she knew and train her to be her successor. Maleficent knew that with Rose at her side, she would never lose. And since it seemed that Rose not only had an interest in the dark arts, but a head start as well, her plan would carried out much more quickly than expected.

Maleficent was torn from her thoughts by a movement from the bed. It was Rose, getting up to go back to her chair. Maleficent quickly reached out and grabbed her wrist. 'Good to know my reflexes haven't been affected, only my senses.' she thought to herself. Rose looked down curiously at her wrist. Maleficent took a deep, shaky breath.

"Stay."

Rose looked unsure, but she also looked like she wanted to listen to Maleficent.

"Please. The chair is obviously uncomfortable and you've admitted that you're tired. Why don't we share the bed? It's big enough."

Rose looked at Maleficent like she was crazy, and perhaps she was. Rose almost pulled away, until a rather violent chill ripped through her body, causing her to shiver violently. Rose quickly decided to accept Maleficent's offer. 'I have really got to suppress this protective/maternal thing.' Maleficent thought as she watched Rose resume her position, this time under the blankets. Rose sighed contentedly as heat started to seep back into her body.

In spite of herself, Maleficent smiled broadly as Rose resumed her position with her head on Maleficent's shoulder. This time, however, she didn't wrap her arms around Maleficent's waist.

"Thank you." Rose whispered just before she fell asleep, completely worn out and soothed by the warmth emanating from Maleficent.

"No, thank you Rose." Maleficent whispered once she was sure Rose was asleep. "For bringing out my maternal side."

Maleficent was truly surprised and even a bit delighted to discover that she liked the maternal feelings she was experiencing. These thoughts in mind, Maleficent carefully wrapped her arms around Rose's shoulders and fell asleep, knowing all the time if Rose were to wake up before her, she would assume that one: Maleficent had been asleep and unaware of her actions, or two: that she had gotten cold during the night.

Rose had many odd dreams, most of them centering on one main idea: What if Maleficent was her mother? Rose honestly couldn't say the dreams bothered her. In fact, she noticed she was resting better with her supposed "enemy" than she had at her own home in months. Rose had to admit that she rather liked the idea of Maleficent being her mother. In the past day, she had shown her more affection and attention than her own mother or father ever had. (And Rose had to admit, her mother didn't really seem to care for her at all). Rose found this hurtful because, while her parents were perfectly healthy, Maleficent was quite ill. This hurt Rose in more ways than one, and she found herself wishing she could stay with Maleficent forever. She knew, of course, that this was impossible because as soon as she was well Maleficent would either kill her or turn her away. This thought depressed Rose.

She supposed this was why she had the dreams she did. Rose did not have one nightmare the whole time she slept next to Maleficent. Because, for perhaps the first time in her life, Rose felt truly safe. Maleficent too, slept quite peacefully with Rose beside her. This was, in fact, the first time in many years, ill or healthy, that she had slept so well. Maleficent found her dreams centered on the same topic as Rose's. And she fully enjoyed them. They both slept so well, that when morning came and the sun rose, waking Rose up, she cast a darkening spell around the room just so she could go back to sleep.

And she made sure to resume her position, with a few minor changes. Now Rose's head rested on Maleficent's chest with Maleficent's arms around her. In fact, Rose and Maleficent spent much of Rose's second day at the castle sleeping, which was perfectly fine with both of them, because they were both extremely exhausted.

…...Throne room of Phillip and Rose's castle...

"It's been two days, your Majesty, and we haven't found a single clue as to her Highness' where-abouts. Perhaps you should assume the worst?" said the head soldier.

"No! We WILL find her! Even if it takes months! Years! Do you understand?!"

"Yes your Majesty!" the soldier yelled as he left the throne room to continue his search.

Phillip himself had just gotten back from searching the Northern Mountains. He was fast exhausting his search options. His troops had already searched the Western and Eastern Valleys, the Great Lake, and the neighboring kingdoms. The only places Phillip hadn't searched was Rose's forest home, her parents' castle, and the Forbidden Mountains.

"Don't worry Phillip, we'll find her." said Merriweather.

"Of course. We just have to look twice as hard and maybe even re-search where we've already looked." encouraged Fauna.

Phillip sighed. He was beginning to think his head soldier was right. They didn't seem to be getting anywhere. Any tracks Rose might have left were buried or blown away by the wind. Phillip knew he had to make a decision.

"All right. I want half the royal soldiers to look at Aurora's parents' castle. The other half are to look at the wood cutter's cottage in the woods. Flora, Fauna, Merriweather, come with me. We're going to the Forbidden Mountains."

…...Maleficent's castle...

Dusk was falling as Rose woke up. Immediately, she noticed she felt well rested. She raised her head slightly so the she could look at Maleficent. Rose jumped slightly at what she saw. Maleficent's black eyes were staring into her own violet ones.

"I'm sorry Rose. I didn't mean to scare you." Maleficent said as she sat up.

"No, it's okay. I just wasn't expecting it, that's all...Do you feel any better?"

"Actually, yes. I do feel a little better."

'Now that I'm not alone.' Maleficent thought that last part. Sure, she liked Rose as a daughter, but she wasn't sure that Rose felt the same way. And she wasn't about to ask her. Rose, on the other hand, began to become depressed. 'Why doesn't she ask me how I feel? Or at least what I'm thinking.' Rose was wrapped up in her thoughts and didn't notice the thunder until it was too late.

Unbeknownst to Rose or Maleficent, it had finally grown warm enough to rain instead of snow. Rose, however, hated storms. She always had, ever since she was little. She remembered her first night at her parents' castle, a violent storm had come up and woken Rose up. Terrified, she had fled to her mother's sleeping chamber only to be told to return to her room. Not even Phillip, after they were married, comforted Rose during a storm. Of course he normally slept through it, but when she woke him up it was always 'Go back to sleep dear. It's just a storm dear.'

When the next flash of lighting came accompanied with a great boom of thunder, Rose launched herself at Maleficent. Startled, Maleficent, with Rose's added weight, fell off the bed. Rose landed on top of her and promptly buried her face in Maleficent's shoulder and wrapped her arms around her waist. Rose started to sob uncontrollably. Maleficent, having finally understood what was happening, tried to console Rose and make her stop crying.

"I...I'm...s...sorry." Rose managed between sobs. "I...didn't mean to m...make you f...fall. I'm j...just really s...scared of s...storms."

Something dawned on Maleficent with this new piece of knowledge. She recalled something her mother used to do when Maleficent became scared (which was not very often). Maleficent began to slowly rub Rose's back, making circles. She recalled when she was young, her mother would do this and allow her to cry herself out. Slowly, Rose's sobs slowed and quieted. When Rose was finally quiet, she looked up at Maleficent, who continued to rub her back.

"Thank you. No one has ever done that before. It...means a lot."

Maleficent observed Rose. Her face was still slightly red and swollen with visible tear tracks. But Maleficent could tell by the way Rose's eyes were shining that she meant every word. Thankfully, the storm had ended while Rose was sobbing, so Maleficent didn't have to deal with more thunder-induced crying.

"You're welcome." Maleficent said with a nod.

Rose, not wanting the moment to end, snuggled her head back into Maleficent's shoulder. Maleficent responded by starting to stroke Rose's hair. They sat like this for a few moments, until Maleficent jerked away unexpectedly, causing Rose to fall.

"What was that..." Rose started to ask, but grew quiet when she noticed the reason Maleficent had pulled away.

Maleficent was curled into a ball, sneezing and shivering violently. Rose's eyes widened, she wasn't sure what to do. She reached out a tentative hand and placed it on Maleficent's shoulder. Rose noticed Maleficent relaxed slightly at her touch. She slowly slid her hand down Maleficent's shoulder until it rested on her back. As Rose sat on the floor beside Maleficent, she noticed that the floor was still icy cold. She supposed that while it wasn't frigid enough to snow, it was still freezing. Maleficent finally stopped sneezing, but remained in a ball, shivering. Rose stood slowly, and offered her hand to Maleficent, who took it gratefully.

Rose helped Maleficent stand and put her back to bed. She tucked the blankets tightly around her, to which Maleficent sighed gratefully. Rose watched as she proceeded to burrow further under the cocoon she had managed to create around herself. Rose just smiled warmly and proceeded to lift the darkening spell she had placed on the room earlier. Rose then decided to show Maleficent what she had learned the day before. Rather than walk the few steps to her chair, she opted to teleport.

"Watch this." she said to Maleficent as she began to recite the spell in her mind.

In seconds, she disappeared into a burst of green flame, only to appear seated in the chair a few moments later. Maleficent watched with wonder and approval. 'She has definitely been practicing. I wonder what else she learned.' She turned to Rose, who was smiling smugly from her seat on the chair.

"Bravo. Very well done. So, do you like the dark magic?"

Rose bit her lip and blushed. The truth was, she loved dark magic. It seemed to come more naturally to her than normal magic. She had also noticed that she hadn't collapsed from exhaustion after only a few simple spells. Rather, she had been doing difficult, energy-consuming spells without feeling so much as drowsy.

"Yes." Rose finally said. "I like it very much."

"I've noticed you've memorized the teleportation spell."

"Yes. I found it quite easy."

'Easy? Surely she's lying. I constantly perform that spell and am always a bit drained afterward. Surely her father wasn't a DARK fairy. The Queen surely had better sense than that.'

"Did you not feel tired afterward?" Maleficent ventured to ask, curious to know the truth.

"No, not at all." said Rose with a smile.

'Surely she is not the child of...no. That's impossible. He died a hundred years ago. But her father was a dark fairy, that I know for sure. She is even more powerful than I imagined. Perhaps...more powerful than...me.'

"Show me what else you learned." Maleficent said, snapping out of her thoughts.

Rose then proceeded to show Maleficent all the spells she had mastered the day before, and indeed, Maleficent was quite impressed. It had taken Maleficent a year to master some of the spells Rose was now performing flawlessly, and without much effort. Rose, at the same time, was quite happy that Maleficent seemed interested in what she was doing. All her life she had only gotten a half-minded 'That's nice Dear'. Now, she felt exceedingly happy that Maleficent had taken an interest in her.

'I wonder if she's tried to shape-shift yet? Of course, that takesyears of practice. She probably couldn't do it now. And if she could, it would most likely only be a mouse. Still...'

"Have you tried to shape-shift yet?" Maleficent asked Rose, who had just finished the last spell she had learned.

"No. What do you do?"

"It's simple. You recite the spell, and focus on the creature, object, or thing you wish to become. Try it."

With Maleficent's gentle urging, Rose located the spell and quickly memorized it.

"What should I turn into?" Rose asked Maleficent, fully aware that she was a master at this spell.

Maleficent thought for a moment.

"What about a dragon?"

She knew that Rose's chances were slim to none of successfully changing into a dragon on her first try. Rose silently recited the spell and concentrated on a dragon. She had only seen one once, and it was a picture. (The picture was actually a picture of Maleficent, which Rose didn't know). Rose felt nothing, and thought she had failed. Suddenly, she felt a strange tingling throughout her body. Rose opened her eyes and found the room to be shrinking. As Rose reached her full height, she looked down happily at a very stunned Maleficent.

As Maleficent looked up at Rose with a gaze mixed with wonder, happiness, pride, and surprise, she realized she had met her match, even if Rose didn't realize it yet. It was at this moment when Maleficent realized that Rose was indefinitely more powerful than her. As Rose shrank back to her normal human form, Maleficent could do nothing but stare at this child who had just mastered a spell that, even though she didn't care to admit it, she herself still had trouble with. When Rose reached her normal state, she beamed at Maleficent proudly. Rose could tell from the look of pride on her face that she was happy. Rose herself didn't quite know what to think. She knew that she probably shouldn't have been able to do that on her first try.

"So what did you think?" asked Rose as she beamed again.

"That was very...impressive. I'm quite proud." and Maleficent smiled back at Rose, realizing she no longer wanted to use her for revenge.

Again, Rose felt that familiar flutter of pleasure in her chest. She was glad she had done something right. Rose waved her hand and one of the window covers vanished, letting in the now back-to-frigid air, causing both Rose and Maleficent to shiver, and revealing it was getting quite late. As if agreeing with Rose's thoughts, Maleficent yawned and snuggled further under the covers. With another wave, the window cover re-appeared, and Rose took her place in the chair beside Maleficent's bed. Maleficent glanced at Rose, and Rose caught the look of disappointment on her face before she averted her gaze. Rose chuckled lightly and proceeded to pry some of the covers off Maleficent, who grumbled lightly when cold air reached her body. Rose resumed her normal position with her arms around Maleficent's waist and her head on her chest. In response, Maleficent wrapped her arms around Rose and snuggled closer. With the warmth from each other soothing the two women, they became rather sleepy very quickly.

When Rose was sure Maleficent was so sleepy she wouldn't remember, Rose whispered "Goodnight Mother." To Rose's surprise, Maleficent, who apparently wasn't as tired as Rose thought, whispered back "Goodnight my child" and drifted off to sleep. Rose fell asleep soon after, wondering if Maleficent had meant what she said. She also realized how much she liked having a mother-figure in her life.

…...Maleficent's castle: early the next morning...

Phillip and the three good fairies had just reached the entry to Maleficent's castle. Due to the temperature plummeting again after the thunderstorm, all the water and melted snow had re-frozen into ice, making the climb up the mountain even more dangerous and hard. With the help of the fairies, Phillip had reached the castle safely, and was now ready to confront Maleficent if she was there. Just before they had gotten too deep into the surrounding forest, word had come that Aurora was not at the castle or wood cutter's cottage, which left the Forbidden Mountains as the last option. Looking up at the crumbling castle, Phillip wondered why she would ever want to visit a place like this. He also wondered why anyone would ever want to live there.

"Are you ready your Highness?" Flora asked.

"Yes."

And Phillip began the climb up to the actual castle, hoping that Aurora was there and unharmed.

…...Maleficent and Rose...

Rose and Maleficent were awoken by footsteps echoing around the passage outside of the throne room. Rose jerked into a sitting position when she heard a man's voice. She grew pale at the realization of just who was outside the door. Maleficent glanced at Rose, suspecting the same person. Rose locked eyes with Maleficent and held a finger to her lips, indicating that she should stay quiet. She slipped out of bed and crept to the doorway. As Rose looked around the door, she spotted Phillip and the fairies headed to the throne room.

"It's the only place we haven't looked." Phillip's voice floated down the hall to Rose, who gulped. Rose should have known they would come looking for her, but she hadn't thought about it when she ran away. Rose knew what she had to do. She had long ago realized that she was no longer in love with Phillip, and she no longer wanted to be queen. Taking a deep breath, Rose went into the passage to face Phillip.

"Aurora!" Phillip cried when he saw her standing in the middle of the passage.

"Phillip." Rose's tone was icy, causing the smile to slip from Phillip's face.

"Thank goodness we found you! We were all so worried. What are you doing here? You know that there are rumors that Maleficent has returned!"

"Indeed, they are true. She has returned. But she poses no threat."

"What do you mean?"

Rose threw a glare at her "aunts".

"They put a spell on her, causing her to become rather ill. And that, my dear husband, is why I'm here."

Phillip was dumbstruck. Flora, Fauna, and Merriweather were upset. Phillip tried to peer around Rose and into the throne room, but she stepped in front of him.

"Aurora move! Don't you realize this is the perfect chance to be rid of that monster permanently?"

And Rose snapped.

"First of all, Prince Phillip, my name is ROSE, not Aurora. Second, she is NOT a monster." At this, Maleficent crept from the bed and made her way to the doorway, where she leaned against the wall. "Third, I no longer wish to be married to you. And lastly, I renounce my title as heir and Princess."

"Aurora, she's hexed you! Are you listening to yourself?! MOVE!" Phillip shouted as he lunged for Maleficent, who tried and failed to teleport somewhere else.

Rose quickly regained her senses, and pointed at Phillip and shouted "Impedimentay!" causing Phillip to freeze in place. The fairies gasped as they recognized the dark spell. Rose then pointed at Maleficent and declared "Barrier!" causing the air to ripple with magic. Rose then released Phillip from the freezing charm, causing him to fall. Instead of calming down, he charged at Maleficent again, and screamed in agony as the barrier shocked him.

"Are you going to calm down?" Rose asked in a menacing tone.

"Fine. I'll stop attacking."

Rose waved her hand and the barrier dissipated. Rose went over to stand beside Maleficent, who had started to shiver violently. Rose wrapped an arm around her shoulders, causing their audience to gasp.

"Rose, what have you done?" whispered Fauna.

"You could say I've...severed my bonds. Basically, I've created a new life for myself."

"But Rose, dark magic?"

"I like it, and unlike your spells, it doesn't almost kill me to perform them. Phillip, I suggest you leave before I do something you'll regret. Simply tell the kingdom you found no trace of me and assume me to be dead."

"But Aur...Rose, I love you."
" Well, I don't love you."

Heartbroken, Phillip and the fairies turned and left, realizing there was no hope of getting Rose back.

"Come on. Let's get you back to bed." Rose said to Maleficent.

Still holding onto Maleficent's shoulders, Rose teleported them to the bedside.

"Was that true, what you said to Phillip?" Maleficent asked after Rose had gotten her settled.

"Yes it was. I realized a long time ago that I no longer loved him. Were you sincere last night when you called me your child?"

Maleficent averted her gaze before giving back a soft "Yes." Rose was surprised and happy. She had always longed for a mother, now she actually had a chance at having one. She was, needless to say, thrilled.

"Were you sincere when you called me Mother?"

Rose blushed.

"Yes. Growing up, I never had a mother. Then I was told that I had one. When I finally met her, she showed no interest in me. She never gave me any love either. Neither did my father."

Maleficent felt sorry for Rose. True, she had never known her own father, but at least her mother had given her attention and love. Maleficent looked up at Rose, only to see tears slipping down her cheeks. Wordlessly, she opened her arms, inviting Rose to come to her. Rose collapsed onto Maleficent, silently crying from sadness and joy. As Rose's own tears subsided, she felt something wet on her head. She gazed at Maleficent to find tears silently rolling down her face as well.

…...Six months later...

A burst of green fire disrupted the celebration in King Stefan and Queen Leah's throne room. As the flames died down, they revealed an imposing figure in billowing robes and a horned head dress.

"Maleficent." Queen Leah whispered.

There was another figure beside her. One who's face the Queen couldn't quite make out. She observed that the other person was slightly shorter than Maleficent, and was dressed differently. The second figure wore a tight black dress and had her blonde hair pinned back by a simple pin with a large green stone in the center. The person turned and faced the Queen, causing a gasp to come from her throat.

"Aurora."

"Hello your Majesty."

Rose said these words sarcastically. She no longer had any respect for the woman before her.

"How can this be? We were told you were dead."

"Well I'm not am I?"

"What do want Maleficent?" demanded King Stefan.

"I want nothing. It is Rose who requires something." Maleficent said with a smirk, noticing how the king paled as he noticed his "daughter".

"What do you want?"

This time it was Rose who smirked.

"I wish to inform you of a secret. Your wife, and my "Mother", has been unfaithful. Seventeen years ago, she had an affair with a dark fairy. He was my true father, not you. Thus, you have no heir to the throne. What does that leave you with? A ruined kingdom and an unfaithful wife." Rose laughed cruelly and Maleficent smirked.

The king looked at his queen.

"Is this true?"

"Yes." she replied softly, causing both Maleficent and Rose to laugh once again.

"I told you that you would suffer." Maleficent declared. "Rose, wasn't there something you wanted to give the Queen?"

"Yes Mother."

The Queen gasped.

"I'm her mother! Not you!"

"Silence!" Rose shouted. "You were no mother to me. You ignored me. Well, I give you this gift to remember me by."

And Rose cursed the Queen. Wherever she went, she would be ridiculed and shunned, never able to escape the effects of her wrong-doing. Not only that, but she would be stripped of her royal title and forced to work in the royal kitchens. As Rose and Maleficent left, Rose cast one more spell, setting the throne room on fire. Back at their castle, Rose looked at Maleficent.

"Did I do good Mother?"

"Yes, Rose, you did wonderfully."