All right, this is my first (published) story, so please try not to be too harsh. The title comes from the song "Hello" sung by Lionel Richie (if you've never listened to it, look it up, it's amazing). Reviews are welcome, constructive criticism is welcome, and flames will be laughed at or ignored. Enjoy and Happy Valentine's Day!
Disclaimer: I own a lot of Disney DVDs. Does that count?
Ah, Valentine's Day. The day of over-the-top romantic ploys, cheap cards, and brightly colored heart-shaped treats with the consistency of chalk. A time to gloat over the fact that you actually have someone to spend the day with - or mope if your luck wasn't that good.
It was all Maleficent could do not to vomit.
The wicked fairy sat at a booth at the House of Mouse with Queen Grimhilde. The vain queen was currently busy applying makeup for her date with Captain Hook. The two had been dating for six months.
"So, Maleficent, what time does your date arrive?" Grimhilde inquired in the midst of putting on eye shadow.
"Jafar's not my date!" Maleficent snapped.
"Of course not. You're just spending Valentine's Day together. Alone. That's not a date at all. What was I thinking?" Grimhilde rolled her eyes. "And you didn't answer my question."
"He should get here around the same time as Hook," Maleficent said, still looking annoyed. "I believe they're coming together."
As they had no other plans, Maleficent and Jafar had decided to spend Valentine's Day together at the House of Mouse making fun of the lovestruck heroes.
"That makes sense," Grimhilde said with a nod. Her attention returned to her pocket mirror, giving herself appearance one last critical check. "How do I look? I didn't put on too much makeup, did I?"
"You look lovely as always, my friend," Maleficent responded in a bored tone. She felt a slight twinge of envy and hated herself for it. Grimhilde was beautiful. She always had been and if the Disney magic kept working, she would be beautiful until the world ended. Maleficent was ninty percent sure that she had never had to worry about a man rejecting her.
Maleficent, on the other hand... well, "pretty" wasn't exactly a word she would use to describe herself. And she had had more than her fair share of rejection.
And Maleficent was going to stop thinking about this now because quite frankly it was depressing her. Instead, she let her gaze wander to the other guests at the House of Mouse. For the love of Walt, had every couple given Disney magic come out tonight? It certainly seemed that way. Aurora and Phillip, Aladdin and Jasmine, Snow White and Ferdinand, the list went on. Not surprisingly, there were very few villains out tonight. There was the Queen of Hearts, looking particularly smug because she had provided the club with its Valentine's Day decorations. Gaston, who was alternating between flirting with every woman who walked by and staring adoringly at himself in a small mirror.
Maleficent rolled her eyes; and people said Grimhilde was vain. She craned her neck to see inside the lobby and felt her heart flutter.
"They're here, Grimhilde," she announced.
Grimhilde looked up from her pocket mirror. Maleficent saw her friend's envy-green eyes light up with glee. She put the mirror away and anxiously adjusted her crown and straighten out imaginary wrinkles in her purple dress.
Maleficent smiled, amused, and looked back at Jafar and Hook... well, more specifically at Jafar. Their eyes met and Maleficent immediately looked down at her hands, overcome by a feeling that by now was all-to-familiar.
Lovely, Maleficent. Would it be possible for you to be any more obvious? I don't think he knows how you feel yet.
Maleficent had known for some time that she was in love with the vizier. There had been a certain spark between them since their first meeting. She had tried to dismiss it at first. After all, why shouldn't she have bonded with him? Her design had had influenced his, he was of (near) equal intelligence to her, and that wasn't even taking in to account the numerous other similarities they shared. It was perfectly natural, she had assured herself, and they became fast friends.
For some time, she was content with this arrangement. Jafar was easy to talk to and before Maleficent knew it, she was telling him about things she had never confided in anyone. She wasn't sure why - it just felt so natural to talk to him. He listened to her woes and offered her comfort when it was needed. She never felt weak when talking to him or showing emotion around him. Instead, there was always an immense feeling of safety and that everything was going to be all right.
It was at this point that she realized she was in love and this time there could be no denial - one does not live in a Disney universe without learning to recognize when they've fallen in love. The problem was, she had no way of knowing how he felt without asking him and if she asked, there was the chance that she would be rejected. Maleficent didn't think she would be able to bear that. Not this time. Not from him.
And so she forced herself to bury these feelings deep within herself, trying to convince herself that having him simply as a friend was better than not having him at all. But with each passing day, they got harder and harder to suppress...
"Something catch your eye?"
Jafar tore his gaze from Maleficent and turned to face Hook, who was smirking at his friend in a knowing manner.
"Really? Hook raised an eyebrow. "No one at all?"
"I believe that's what I said," Jafar replied in a cold voice. "Don't you have a date to prepare for?"
"Don't you?" Hook retorted. "Oh, that's right, it's not a date."
"Right." Hook's tone said quite plainly that he didn't believe him. Straightening his red jacket and adjusting his silver hook, he continued, "Come on, then, can't keep your not-a-date waiting."
Jafar scowled. Was two friends of opposite sexs spending time together really such a difficult concept to grasp? Why must people insist on insinuating that their was something going on between them? Mind you, Jafar wished there was something going on between him and Maleficent, but it was not to be. They were friends, good friends, but that's all they were, all they ever would be. Maleficent was the Mistress of All Evil. Jafar was a simple sorcerer. He considered it nothing short of a miracle that she had even noticed him in the first place and knew that he shouldn't push his luck, but somehow he couldn't stop himself.
Maleficent was unlike any woman he'd ever known. She was highly intelligent, more so than Jafar had ever thought possible, refined and sophisticated without coming off as being helpless, cunning, and (though Jafar knew many people would disagree with him here) incredibly beautiful. Not in the classic sense, but a sort of exotic way that Jafar couldn't explain. A diamond in the rough in every sense of the word.
With a heavy sigh, he followed Hook out of the lobby.
Grimhilde's eyes suddenly brightened and a wide smile stretched across her pale face. Maleficent didn't need to turn around to know that Hook and Jafar had come.
"Well, speak of the devil," Grimhilde cooed. She batted her long eyelashes at Hook. "We were just talking about you two."
"Not saying anything bad, I hope," Hook teased. He offered Grimhilde his right (and only) hand, which she used to pull herself up.
"Of course not." She tilted his head towards hers and the two indulged in a passionate kiss, sparking the envy of both Maleficent and Jafar. The villainous couple seemed to realize this because they broke their kiss and glanced back at their friends.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Maleficent," Grimhilde said brightly, taking Hook's arm and walking away. Hook said nothing, but gave Jafar a suggestive look. The vizier glared at him in response and slid into Grimhilde's now unoccupied spot in the booth.
"Hello, Jafar." Maleficent acknowledged her fellow villain for the first time.
"Good evening, Maleficent," Jafar greeted her. "I take it you're not having a good time?" he asked, seeing boredom in the fairy's luminous gold eyes.
"If I wanted to watch lovestruck fools embarrass themselves, I'd watch any of our movies."
Almost as if they were trying to prove her right, Snow White and Ferdinand chose that moment to lean across their table and kiss.
"I see your point," Jafar agreed. "Well, at least Grimhilde and Hook manage to retain their dignity."
He gestured over to Grimhilde and Hook's table.
"They seem happy," Maleficent observed. "I don't think I've ever seen Grimhilde smile so much."
"Hook can barely stop talking about her," Jafar remarked. He twisted his corkscrew-shaped beard around one finger, looking thoughtful. "Allah, I envy him."
Maleficent raised an eyebrow.
"Oh? And why is that?"
Inwardly, Jafar cursed; he hadn't meant to say the words out loud. Now he had to explain himself without revealing his feelings for Maleficent.
"Well..." He shifted nervously in the booth. "He's found someone who... understands him. Someone who accepts him and cares for him beyond the usual bonds of villainy."
"And you're interested in finding someone like that, then?" Maleficent inquired. Her heart was beginning to beat faster. Was it possible...?
"It certainly wouldn't hurt," Jafar said. He was growing uncomfortable with the topic of discussion. "Not that I've had any contenders." Again, he cursed himself.
Yes, let her know how pathetic you are. That'll impress her.
Maleficent blinked, trying to keep her surprise hidden. It didn't seem possible to her that Jafar had never been involved with anyone. He was intelligent, handsome, and charming. He was certainly much better than a good deal of the men she'd known in her life.
She suddenly looked away from Jafar and stared in to her wineglass. All this talk of lack of lovers was depressing her.
"That makes two of us." Her voice was barely above a whisper, but Jafar heard every word.
"Honestly?" His shock was genuine. What imbecile would turn down the chance to be with her?
Maleficent nodded, took a moment to compose herself, and held out a pale green hand, eyeing it with contempt as she did. She had always hated her skin.
"Generally speaking, people saw me and took off in the opposite direction." She spoke bitterly. Even after all these years, her past was a sensitive topic. "And then they wondered why I became... like this."
Maleficent bit down on the tip of her tongue to keep from embarrassing herself any further. What was the matter with her tonight? Usually, she was an expert at keeping her emotions under lock and key, but now... now she was beginning to lose her grip.
It pained Jafar to see the fairy so upset. In his mind, she had done nothing to deserve such awful treatment. His sympathy for Maleficent quickly turned to anger at those who had hurt her, and for no other reason then that her skin was a different color than theirs. It was positively disgraceful.
With surprising gentleness, his fingers slid under her chin, tilting her head towards his. Maleficent's gold eyes widened in surprise, but she gave no signal that she disliked the touch.
"It's their own fault." Jafar's voice was now oddly soft. "They failed to see you for what you really are."
"And what would that be?" Maleficent inquired, hardly daring to believe what she was hearing, what was being implied.
"Nothing short of a diamond in the rough, of course," Jafar said. "A beautiful, wonderful diamond in the rough."
There. He'd said it. Now he just had to pray she didn't laugh at him.
Maleficent stared at him in amazement. It couldn't be... this was far too good to be true. But it was. It was true and it was all hers. She smiled, the most radiant smile Jafar had ever seen, and took his face in her hands.
"What a coincidence," she whispered. "I was just thinking the same thing about you."
Jafar's dark eyes filled with light and their lips connected in a kiss that would hopefully be the first of many. Finally, they were free. No more pretending, no more doubt, no more loneliness. When their lungs begged them for air, they reluctantly ended the kiss, but remained close together.
"I love you, Jafar," Maleficent breathed. Jafar smiled and caressed her cheek.
"I love you, too, Maleficent."
Maleficent shifted her position so that her head rested on Jafar's shoulder. In the process, she became aware of the fact that most of the heroes were staring at them rather than the playing cartoon, but she really couldn't care less. Let them think what they wanted. A contented sigh escaped her lips.
Perhaps Valentine's Day wasn't so bad after all.