Don't you wanna be
ruthless and rotten and mad?
To be evil, friends were useless. No, worse than useless. Friends were soft spots and fuck if Mal hadn't been taught by her mother that soft spots were only good for pain.
So the brief… alliance with Carlos de Vil in sixth grade, for the duration of their evil family tree assignment, was… inconvenient. However, that didn't make Mal any less reluctant to end it.
During three consecutive days, Mal walked in silence beside Carlos to his house. He was tiny, the tiniest of their year. His hair was still black; he didn't dye the tips white until he turned twelve. They worked on their evil family trees. Mal's was easy —her mother was always proud of her fairy heritage and while she wouldn't accept to help her with her homework, it was easy enough to get her talking. For his part, Cruella de Vil had albums full with information of the last three generations, more than enough for the project.
As Mal's information was more condensed that Carlos, she finished before him. She had taken her shoes off about an hour ago, not yet accustomed to the boots. Their leather was soft —to the point of fragile— but the support of the shoe was rough. She was bored of massaging her feet (she knew she shouldn't, she was supposed to be tough and blisters on her feet would make her tough, but her mother didn't have any reason to come to de Vils' and what she didn't know she wouldn't rage over. Besides, she trusted that, if need be, she could threaten Carlos into silence), so she got up and started wandering around.
"What are you doing?" Carlos asked from his place on the floor, writing over his pasteboard (made of scraps of blank paper). He sounded worried and Mal had to smirk at that.
"Just looking around." Mal took a step toward a door of surprisingly sturdy-looking wood. "What's in there?"
Carlos scrambled up and within seconds, he was draped over the door, blocking Mal's path. Mal raised an eyebrow, feeling annoyance bristle up inside her.
"You can't enter." Carlos grimaced. "I mean, you shouldn't. That's my mom storage closet and she always tells me to stay out. I don't know what could be inside."
Mal looked at him as if he was dumb. "Furs, maybe?" she suggested, in a tone that clearly added 'dumbass' at the end. She pushed him away and opened the door before he could block it again, stepping inside.
It was dark, but obviously far larger that she expected; especially considering she was expecting a closet of furs. She couldn't see the exact size; she just knew that it was larger than any armoire should be. Irritated by her ineffective human eyes, she concentrated in glowing her eyes. One of the things she liked about glowing her eyes was that with it, she could see in the dark —and she also looked scary with those.
Carlos stepped inside too, warily, before jumping back out upon seeing her face.
"What the hell?" he shouted.
"Shut up!" she hissed, glowering (ha) at him.
"Your eyes were glowing!" he whispered frantically.
Used in past because, the second Carlos shout startled her, the glow disappeared, leaving her blind in the dark again. At least she had a vague idea of the room dimensions.
"Yes, they were. Maleficent, my mother's, heritage."
The reminder shut him up nicely.
"Are you coming?" Mal asked, still annoyed.
Carlos scrambled to enter, his steps cautious as he slid the door shut. He stepped another time —and let out an ear-piercing scream.
Mal gasped in surprise, the sound making her jump. "What happened?" she asked urgently. She blinked forcefully, trying to glow her eyes again, but her attention was to scattered, to distracted to concentrate.
"Trap," Carlos gritted out, grinding his teeth.
Mal opened the door with a sharp pull and the light from the windows shined the metal of the trap which teeth were closed around Carlos calf. He had a skinny leg and the trap wasn't meant to be mortal, obviously. It was meant to make it heart-wrenchingly painful for someone to get out, though.
"Go for the car jack in the garage," Carlos demanded.
Mal, still pale but still sane too, raised an eyebrow. "And I should, because?"
"Because if you walk away I'll make sure that when Mom finds me to mention your involvement. Let's see what Maleficent does to that, shouldn't we?" Carlos opined with rough voice, clutching his leg so hard his fingers turned white.
Mal snorted and walked away.
She rolled her eyes and turned toward the back door, assuming the garage would be there. Carlos didn't need to threaten her —she knew what would happen if she leave him there. He would tell her mother. Cruella wasn't the most evil villain of the island, far from that, but tales told how vicious she was about her furs. And frankly, Mal doubted that Maleficent would protect her, glowing eyes or not, fairy blood or not, dragon blood or not.
She bent to raise, with difficulty, the heavy thing used to raise cars to change wheels and carried it with both hands toward the storage room.
When she opened the door to find Carlos on the floor, grimacing and making pained faces to the ceiling, grunting and moaning.
"Maleficent would kill me if she finds I committed a crime without a proper plan."
Mal kneeled, facing sideways from Carlos, and prepared the jack. She adjusted and then twisted in the correct places. Slowly, but faster than she expected, the jack started opening the trap, freeing Carlos' leg.
Carlos let out a fragile sigh.
"Well, I think it's time to go," Mal declared, leaving the jack beside Carlos. "I'll leave you to finish you family tree and tomorrow I'll present it." She put on a menacing glare. "And you better present mine correctly, got it?"
Carlos nodded weakly, distractedly.
(And if later, when she walked through the halls pickpocketing and swatting people she ignored him completely —well, that was a coincidence.)
The islands definition of innocent was this one: anyone who hasn't wronged you lately or directly (one would've even added 'ever' if it was even a possibility).
It was very broad.
Mal's was more accurate: anyone who hasn't wronged anyone intentionally or ever.
The first time she felt glee for an innocent's suffering was when she made her mother break the Evil Queen's daughter's party. Her main source of pleasure was watching them run after being exiled, but she felt gleeful to watching the retreating backs of her guests, afraid of her mother's wrath.
"Do you enjoy watching innocent people suffer?"
"Well, yeah, I mean, who doesn't?"
Yeah, she enjoyed watching innocent people suffer. Everyone on this island did.
The only reason that Jay hadn't yet stolen from Mal at his sixteen years of age was that Mal always kept herself at arm's length of Jay. The fact that, while Maleficent left her to fend for herself, Mal was still her mother's daughter.
Besides, it was known she was fond of setting houses on fire.
Within the next two weeks after the four started hanging out, Carlos learned from the others.
He always knew he wasn't the only one who had it bad (that the worse on this island wasn't a mother who didn't love his son but did his furs), even if his mom left him for days at a time, to clean the house, her car and fluff her furs. That he was not only her servant, but also occasionally his stylist and his masseuse.
"Who would touch up my roots, fluff my fur and scrape the ball knots of my feet?"
Not even that, when he was a kid, she enjoyed creeping into his room in the middle of the night to tell him, in whispers, about the dogs and his teeth and what beasts they were.
He heard the complains of Evie, at any opening, telling how her mother talked to herself at lack of a functioning magic mirror and how every time she stepped on the house, her mom would start listing off beauty tips she already knew. Carlos understood that meant that she was never pretty enough for her mom, which explain another of the bitter comments she also let out.
Jay, for his part, was always charming, always a touchy-feely person. At first Carlos was always absent-mindedly checking his pockets for missing items, but things were still there. From time to time, Jay would mention the Big Score or they would walk past his house and hear his father hollering about gold. Carlos realized that most of the things in the shop were brought by Jay and that he was the only one providing for it, while his father counted the money.
A true villain.
Mal also had it bad. She didn't let anything out, apart from what was expected from the average islander kid, things like 'of course my mom doesn't love me' and 'my father hates my mother'. From what Carlos could gather, her father didn't hate her mother (mainly because he wasn't in the picture), but his mother did hate her father with a burning passion. Carlos got that Mal would never be enough for Maleficent —Mal would have to be Maleficent for it to happen and by then, Maleficent would hate her for it.
They always evaded their houses and stayed in the woods or the market if they felt like wreaking havoc, but seeing their parents was inevitable. Cruella usually ignored them, which hurt Carlos deeper than he would like but shallower as long as he was with the other three. The Evil Queen would approach to offer a makeover (which nobody believed was offered under truthful intentions) for Mal, which she always turned down with a sneer. Jafar would hug and prod all around so much that Mal, Evie and Carlos had taken to wearing chains on their wallets.
Maleficent was by far the worst. In front of her was the only time that Mal didn't look imposing and strikingly intimidating (and beautiful too, if one saw Anthony Tremaine's face when she walked past). Maleficent would look down at her with her nose up; talk condescendingly while bearing a disappointed glint in her eyes. They would hold stare contests which always ended, eventually, with Maleficent making Mal bend her head, just a little, in submission. She liked dragging Mal around, as if she was a puppet and her the puppet master, tugging at every string.
No, Carlos liked it best when they were all singing.
If Evie was forced to choose her second worst fear, she would say the future.
She could be beautiful for all eternity. She could sweep and mop and curtsey as gracefully as the princesses that appeared in Auradon News Network but she was still trapped on this damned, goddamned island —and there was no prince looking for her.
Once, about two years ago, Maleficent fed her daughter poison, which she injected inside a wormy, sour apple with a needle of questionable origin, something Mal never knew.
Her mother left the apple on the counter, for days and days until, finally, Mal got hungry enough to notice it sitting there after leaving school. She swept it up and took a bite, not minding the ugly flavor —it was usual on the Isle of the Lost.
About ten minutes later Maleficent appeared from the doorway, shot a look at the counter and then fastened her eyes on Mal.
"Yes, mother?" she asked, frowning at her notebook with the background noise of Dungeon Shopping Channel.
"The apple was poisoned."
Mal blinked, alarmed, and raise her eyes from the notebook.
"The apple you just ate, sweetie. One would think you didn't have functioning ears."
"Why did you leave it in the counter?" Mal demanded, wondering if she should vomit or something.
"It's a fast acting poison and a test, Mal," Maleficent answered cheerily, lining up multiple bottles of remedies on the counter. "You should be happy; if you pass it you'll be allowed to call yourself Maleficent. You'll be worthy of your full name, instead of shortened to Mal."
One hour later, with her throat closing up, her eyes puffy and purple tips of her fingers, Mal scrambled to take the remedy in the center, just before blacking out.
When she woke up, she was still on the floor and her mother nowhere to be seen.
Evie grew up used to the fact that she was beautiful, but never enough. Walking the hallways of Dragon Hall for the first time had been a novelty for her and her ego, and through the days she could feel it stretching, inflating —and that usually lasted until she stepped into the castle and her mom intercepted her and started listing off the things that were imperfect in her.
Still, when she walked past a window or a through a hall, Evie had come to expect eyes following her with envy or desire.
She was understandably surprised when, while a pair of eyes flickered towards her at the start, they settled on her side, centering on Mal.
Now, Evie knew Mal was prettier —she knew it the way her mom knew she herself was beautiful; detecting all the way it could be better. She was astoundingly pale and her hair unkempt even to islander standards. Most of the people here were quite vain, after all. Regardless, Evie knew if she was walking next to Mal, the attention would be naturally dragged toward herself. I was like the Laws of Newton; irrefutable and of common knowledge to anyone of average intelligence and above. Sometimes even below.
But obviously Anthony Tremaine hadn't received the memo, because his eyes stayed fixated on Mal until they left the hallway.
Randomly, things started appearing in places only Mal would find them. Her place in Selfishness 101 welcomed her with a pair of purple earrings with a fantasy diamond (there was not even one real diamond on the island, from what Evie knew. Maybe inside?) in each and a couple of days later, pasted to Mal's locked was a packet of cookies. It was a full packet of lemon cookies, expired as they were, which was quite the feat.
Evie didn't dare ask, especially after seeing Mal's murderous expression to each of these gifts, which had a clear signature written into them, as if Anthony Tremaine's smirk from the other side of the room/hallway hadn't been enough.
The puzzle was resolved when, hanging out in Carlos' treehouse, Jay teased Mal about it.
"So, Mal," Jay started with a smirk, sitting on a window with his leg hanging out. Evie was sitting on a chair next to Carlos, on a table he had somehow carried over here, while Mal dangles her legs over the entrance of the house —which was about ten feet from the ground, "hear you have a not-so-secret admirer."
"You heard wrong," Mal deadpanned back.
"No, no, I'm pretty sure I didn't. After all, all the class saw Anthony Tremaine solemnly offer you a carved moonstone that looked suspiciously like a ring during Weird Science."
"It wasn't a ring," Mal hissed, pressing her pen and tightening her hand dangerously around it. "It was tiny and people are so dumb they don't do anything but gossip, gossip, gossip."
"Man, I knew that Tremaine had a thing for you, especially when he asked you to dance in you party—"
"It was mine, too," Carlos complained half-heartedly, as focused on Mal and Jay's conversation as Evie.
"…but to give you a moonstone of questionable shape in the middle of Weird Science?"
"He wants people to know he likes her," Evie suggested.
"Why would he?" Carlos wondered, frowning. "I mean, he doesn't present much of a threat compared to Mal, right? People are more likely to leave Mal alone for who she is than for Anthony Tremaine's so-called claim on her."
"He doesn't have a claim on me," snarled Mal, closing her book so brusquely it clapped. "And moonstone is ab-so-lute-ly useless inside this fucking island, so he better stop mocking me or I'll make sure he knows what certain private parts of his taste like."
Carlos and Jay winced.
A day later they were in Auradon.
Beware! Borderline ─if not downright─ Mary Sue!Mal. Read with discretion. (This should probably go before the chapter...)