Disclaimer: I do not own the Descendants, or anything of relation to it.
Warning(s): AU. Possible OOCness. Possible swearing and references to violence.
Of Bumps and Bruises
Camilla fiddled nervously with the rose-shaped pendant hanging around her neck (her family crest- Ben had been given a similar one, though his was modeled after their father's beastly head) while she waited for the members of Auradon's Council to file in and take their seats. Today she and Ben would officially announce their proclamation, putting it to a vote before finally bringing the VKs over into Auradon.
It was nerve-racking. Even with Lumiere and Cogsworth standing at the ready on either side of the door, encouraging smiles on their faces. She nauseous, and giddy, and still probably not thinking clearly.
"Good morning, Your Majesties," a polite voice greeted, snapping Camilla from her reverie.
"Good day to you as well, Queen Aurora," Ben returned the greeting, smiling politely.
Camilla tried hard not to frown. Of all the people to show up first. She cleared her throat, trying for a polite smile, which- judging by the slight wince Aurora gave- was probably unsuccessful. Perfect. Just Perfect.
"Princess Camilla," Aurora added (sounding like Camille had been an afterthought- at best). It went completely over Ben's head, but Camilla couldn't really fault him for that.
"H-hello Queen Aurora. How's- um, how is Audrey?" She mentally kicked herself for stuttering.
Aurora's face immediately brightened at the mention of her "all too perfect" little girl, shifting her attention back onto Ben while answering Camilla's question. "Oh, she is doing wonderful, in fact, she is looking forward to your date this evening, Prince Ben. She says she has a wonderful surprise planned."
At the reminder of the date, Ben's face did, well… something. A sort of grimace really, which forced Camilla to have to hold back a very un-ladylike snort of amusement.
"Oh yes, I'm... I look forward to it as well," Ben's recovery was quick enough where Aurora didn't seem to notice the mild hesitation in his tone- or maybe she just didn't really care. Too high off the fact her baby girl was dating the future monarch of Auradon- well, one of them at least, assuming Camilla ever found someone.
As more members of the Council started to filter in, Camilla felt more put out by their presence. She was neither oblivious nor particularly fond of the wayward glances some would send her way. She let talks of last night's Tourney scores go in one ear and out the other, until-"So Princess Camilla, Chad tells me he's offered to be your date for the upcoming coronation."
Camilla almost spat out the spiced cider she was drinking, pounding her fist against her chest when it went down the wrong way. Thankfully, she didn't outright gag- she would have never heard the end of it!
"Oh-I uh-" she coughed, "Ew- I- I mean, uh-…" Mr Charming stared, a few of the surrounding members looking slightly baffled by her choice of words, starting to whisper. "N-not you I mean, the uh...the cider." She spoke quickly, lamely gesturing to her cup. Her lips quirking into a nervous smile as she did.
From their spots beside the door, she swore she heard Cogsworth groan a little bit, and Lumiere chuckling under his breath.
"You-you know what, Mr Charming, uh sir.," Camilla began, wishing at times like these she possessed the grace of her mother- or brother even. "Gosh, it is just...such a far way off from today that I-I completely forgot. Yeah, it just totally slipped my mind. "
If the looks on some of the faces of the others -princess Tiana, Doc the Troll, and Arista (one of Ariel's sisters), to name a few- were anything to go on, she was only digging herself further into her grave. "Honestly, I think any boy I try to bring will get scared away by dad anyhow."
"Ha! Ya got that right," Grumpy decided to pipe in. Truthfully, Camilla was grateful to the disgruntled man for taking some of the attention off her. "Ol' Beasty boy's likely to tear that boy of yours to pieces if he so much as tries to lay a hand on his lil' girl. Why, if I found out some no-good hooligan was tryin' to make the moves on my daughter- well I oughta string the wise guy up and leave him to rot!"
Camilla heaved a sigh, slowly tuning out the ensuing banter, 'If the only guy willing to ask me out is Chad, then I'm probably better off flying solo.' Her eyes did a quick sweep of the assorted gathered princesses. 'It must be so easy, having some dream guy just fall out of the blue sky like a bird-'
The slamming of the huge oak doors silenced any ongoing conversation.
"Prince Benjamin! Princess Camilla!" Camilla's mood lightened, straightening the smallest amount in her seat when she recognized the glowing golden aura and flash of long flowing red hair-both signature traits of two of her best friends- Hercules and Megara, followed by Ariel and Eric striding forward.
"Late as usual I see, looks like most of the fun has already started, "Meg remarked dryly, lips pulling into a coy little smirk.
"Sorry everyone," Eric called out sounding genuine even as he whispered to his wife, "I told you carpooling with these guys was a bad idea." The accompanying laugh gave away his amusement though, along with Ariel's accompanying giggle earning her a reprimanding stare from a few of her sisters.
Once everyone was seated, Camilla took her place beside Ben, surveying the council in front of her as her brother began to speak- "Right. Well now-"
"-that everyone is here, we can officially begin."
"As you all know, in a matter of months, it will be mine and my brother's coronation," Camilla continued, keeping her tone pleasant as she shared a quick look with her brother, "and to help, uh, commemorate the occasion... we've decided to put into effect what will be our first official proclamation here today."
There were quiet murmurs around the table. Most of the occupants looked curious, though a couple (Hercules, for one) seemed excited.
"What's this new proclamation about exactly?" Grumpy said, raising his voice above the others'.
Ben and Camilla drew in a breath, Ben speaking first.
"Well, as you are all aware, twenty years ago, my father and mother rounded up all of the villains-" cheers broke out at this, and the two siblings winced, "-and sent them to what is now known as the Isle of the Lost, with a barrier to keep them there."
Some of the princesses - Snow White, Ariel and Cinderella- shifted a bit uncomfortably, a slight frown marring their beautiful faces sharing a small knowing glance with one another before looking towards Camilla herself. Camilla knew amongst the heroes and heroines they were probably the ones most likely to back them, perhaps Mulan too, given their more forgiving and understanding nature. Even so... Camilla had her doubts.
"And... why bring that up now, your majesty?" Ariel's voice was soft yet firm. Her deep blue eyes seeming to hold the two young rulers-to-be in place, "Does this new proclamation involve them somehow?"
"Are ya' gonna get rid of em? Cause ya' should! Once and fer all!" Grumpy exclaimed, banging a fist down on the table.
"Or put them into some kind of jail perhaps?" Aurora added.
"I always did think they got off too easy!" Another voice chimed in. Shouts and arguments began breaking out.
"Please, please...calm down everyone," Ben started to say, trying in vain to pacify the others. "If you'll just listen, we-"
"Hold on a moment!"
The bickering died down, everyone turning in their seats towards one corner seat of the table, where princess Tiana sat, a thoughtful look on her face. Prince Naveen who had been momentarily locked in a heated argument with Cinderella's husband placed a hand on her shoulder.
"What is it, my love?" Naveen asked.
"You said your father and mother sent all the villains to the Isle. Wasn't there one who-"
"Don't you dare speak of that- that thing!"
Silence fell over the room. Aurora stood with fire in her eyes, a look of utter fear sweeping across the gathered faces, tensions mounting even further than they were moments ago.
Camilla looked around, seeing even Ben had grown deathly silent. Her fingers twitched figuring this was their chance, but not sure if she herself could say it- the words getting lodged somewhere in her throat.
"U-um, a-as we were saying..." Slowly, the gathered council members looked back towards her, "As our f-first official proclamation, m-me and Ben- Ben and I-we want to..." She could feel her anxiety reaching an all-time high with so many eyes suddenly focusing on her. Relief washing over her when Ben decided to step in.
"We've decided that the children from the Isle of the Lost should be given a chance to live here, with us, in Auradon."
The ensuing chaos was deafening.
Hadie slammed one of the cupboards shut, not caring if he woke a few souls with his anger. He would eat one of them if he could because gods forbid they have more than a few rotting bones and questionable mucus-like substances- those idiots must have brought it back- in the fridge. He turned, slowly, when he heard an audible pop a few feet from where he was standing.
"Oh well, look who finally decided to grace us with his presence today," Hades drawled, his two lackeys cowering behind his toga when they saw the wicked gleam in Hadie's eyes. The boy chomped his teeth at them, like a shark chomping at its prey.
They shrieked. Hadie smirked, relishing their fear.
"Would it kill somebody to go out and get some damn food once in a while?" Hadie asked, already bored with his own father's temper tantrum. He ignored the small little yelps of fear when he walked towards them -Panic and Pain- brushing past his father, grabbing his bag off the floor.
Hades let out a dry chuckle, turning as well, "I see what you did there, very funny."
Hadie rolled his eyes, giving a slight shake of his head at his father's lack of a good sense of humor opening the door only for it slam shut right away. A wisp of smoke curling around his face, jerking him back and off the ground- "You are always such a comedian, I swear! You get that from me, ya' know? Anywho…" Hades chattered, the cheerful façade melting away in an instant, "just where exactly do you suppose you're going?"
Hadie snorted, jerking his face free from his dad's all too cold and dead fingers, leveling him with a dark, venomous glare.
"Out." Came the waspish reply, "Don't try and stop me, old man."
Hadie's lips twisted into a bemused sneer when Hades visibly flinched at the nickname.
"Hey, how many times have I said not to call me...old!" The blue flames flickered wildly, growing in ferocity and height, fanning further out and becoming a brilliant orange-red instead. Hadie's only response was to flick a speck of fire off his shoulder, arching a neat blue brow.
"I mean, I get it. Sure, I'm a few thousand years old, but 'old man' come on...I'm still in my prime, what is it now...?" Hades rambled on, his temper tantrum waning. He looked down at his two fearful lackeys for support, "Help me out here."
"Uhm, thirty-thousands...?"Panic whimpered.
"I was going for more for, uhm, like at least FIFTY-thousand..." Pain said seriously.
Hades bristled a bit. His son pinching his brow in mild irritation at the two, mumbling "Idiots..." Just before another wild explosion rocked the terrain.
"Memo to me, memo to me. Maim you two later..." Hades sighed, directing the statement to the charred remnants of the two demon servants flattened against the wall. "Back to you." He continued, swinging around to face his son again.
"I'm leaving," Hadie said, already turning.
"Ah-ah, not so fast my precious little chip-off-the-old-block!" Hades voice was soft and menacing, brushing along Hadie's ear with a sibilant hiss to it "Son." Hadie's jaw clenched, the cold fingers gripping his shoulder gradually starting to burn like lava.
For a moment the pain was hot enough for Hadie to consider a small plea or two, then the thought was gone as soon as it came- this was the Isle. Beggars weren't allowed to live. So, with fire and evil in his eyes Hadie turned once again, throwing off his father's burning hand with a snarl, "Do. Not. Touch. Me."
Pain and Panic, now recovered from their flattened state, quivered with fear at the quiet look of rage brewing in their master's eyes while he regarded his son. "Oh, he talked back to him again, he doesn't like that..." Panic whimpered to Pain.
"Uh, you know what? Maybe we should go. This is really more of a family thing anyhow." Pain whispered to his fellow demon, both starting to backpedal furiously.
"Hehe- toodles," Panic said before they both vanished in a puff of smoke.
"So... that's the way you wanna go about this today? Fine." Hades said giving a small elegant shrug before his fingers were in his son's wild blue hair, forcefully dragging him out the house, "I swear kids today, you think you just know it all, boy I tell ya..."
Hades continued rambling to himself, dragging his son along deeper into the depths of the Underworld.
"A pint of pond scum, two brine balls, a bucket of chum, and a side of rot," The old pirate grumbled, using his one good eye to peruse the menu.
"Rot: You want that dry or wet?" Uma asked all business for once, her pencil poised above her notepad.
The old codger thought about it for a moment. "Wet."
"Terrible choice," Uma sneered. "Order up!" She yelled in a far ruder tone than necessary placing the ticket on the revolving machine by the window.
"Gah! I can hear ya, stupid girl!" The cook growled back. She was a surly woman in a white chef's hat and red apron who always slammed the orders onto the table with a loud bang, thereby spilling half the contents onto the floor before even making it to the customer.
Without a word of thanks, Uma picked up the tray, tucking her pencil behind her ear, and saw to the other 'patrons' in the drafty, the perpetually damp tavern that always smelled of week-old fried fish. Long wooden creaking benches were filled with disgusting looking pirates and louts, some missing an eye, others a finger perhaps.
In the far corner of the room sat a seashell-made throne; it was modeled after one made for her mother, using only the best of the best of what the Isle had to offer, leading to a colorful array of teals, lavenders, oranges and reds -blue and red being her personal favorite- given to her on her 'Sinister Sixteen'.
"You look like you're having fun." A dry voice said. One Uma recognized, succeeding in hiding her little smirk at catching the familiar glimpse of blue out of the corner of her eye. "Oh yes," another voice piped up sounding more amused and with a noticeable lisp "you seem to have a rather noticeable hop in your step there, lass."
She slammed her notepad onto the table looking at the two grinning boys; the sly little grin on each of their faces widening a fraction of an inch.
"Harry." Uma greeted with a roll of her eyes, turning towards the other smiling a bit more as she did so. "Hadie, cous, so what brings you two troublemakers here so early in the day?"
"Well I just became a vegetarian, not sure if you were aware-"Hadie started to say, a cheeky grin in place while Uma nodded along "-and I thought, well now, Uma should really be the first to know...you know...considering you're part fish and all." She laughed, feigning amusement while lightly bopping him in the head.
"And how could I not want to see such a... lovely little damselfish as yourself." Harry lied smoothly, pausing for dramatic effect. He stood at his full height taking her hand into his, watching her arch a brow in silent askance. Just as he was about to kiss it, however, he was stopped when the edges of his red coat suddenly caught on fire. "Is something burning?" He asked smelling smoke.
Hadie laughed. "Yeah, you are, smartass."
Uma tried hard to suppress her giggles, she really did, considering Harry was one of her most trusted crewmates, but... the sight of him hopping around like a madman was just too much! Her mood had been lifted hearing the audible sigh of relief when he finally managed to splash some water on himself. Sharing a wicked grin with her cousin, only to have it immediately melt away when she caught sight of a nasty looking burn.
"Hey, hothead, what's that?" Hadie blinked following her line of sight, his jaw clenched.
"It's nothing." He said quickly, brushing the small flicker of concern that was working its way onto her expression. He was thankful Harry chose that moment to re-join them at the table.
"You know I'll be gettin' ya back for that," Harry promised, flashing one of his charming yet slightly insane grins at his friend across the table. Hadie only shrugged.
Uma's lips pursed into a thin line, continuing to stare at her cousin. Harry noticed this, glancing back up when Uma didn't give her usual snarky response. His own smile diminishing at her serious look, following her gaze and seeing the blood dripping from underneath Hadie's sleeve. Something like the feeling of lead settled in his stomach.
"Hey firecracker, what's the deal with that?" He nudged his head, silvery eyes flicked up to meet Hadie. The prince of the Underworld only sighed, rubbing at his forehead, trying to ward off his mounting headache. "Another lil' somethin' from dear ol' dad?" Harry asked, lowering his voice.
Hades wasn't his favorite person, but he was still a god. The effects of his punishment were limited in an effort where he couldn't really openly lash out at any mortal-even while confined to the Isle-even so, Hades was clever and he knew how to make certain folks have 'accidents', particularly those who try and cross him. In some ways he was way worse than Maleficent, take away her magic and that's that.
Hadie wrinkled his nose a moment, fixing the collar of his jacket some when Uma and Harry noticed the dark ugly bruising peeking out from along his shoulder blade. "Doesn't matter. We all have our crosses to bear. How's Harriet and CJ?" He asked, trying to hedge out of the conversation.
A moment of silence passed between them, in which Uma and Harry shared a knowing look. The later of the two shaking his head, signaling not to push it, which was when Uma finally turned away, reluctantly.
"They're fine, mate," Harry answered just as Uma's latest order was finished and ready to be served.
Just be yourself. Her mother had said kindly. There are other ways to show strength than your father's kind, or even Ben's.
Yeah, except people actually listen to them, Camilla thought dejectedly, dreading the moment that was about to come. Doing her best to hide her own fraying nerves, smoothing out her pretty white dress -her mother's idea, and she'd thanked every god she knew that it wasn't pink- offering a tight-lipped smile to the occupant across from her; Grumpy the dwarf.
The dwarf looked about as happy to be there as Camilla herself felt. Sadly, he had been the one elected to represent the sidekicks and his fellow dwarves in their petition. Though she would never say it aloud, Camilla partially assumed it was because it seemed in his nature to argue really, another reason she was not at all looking forward to the oncoming discussion.
"Thank you for meeting me on such short notice, Mr Grumpy." The dwarf bristled noticeably, huffing at the princess' formal address.
"Just Grumpy ta you!" He spat back; arms crossed tersely. "And after that little stunt you an' that brother of yers done pulled with the council, don't know one else wanna deal with you punks!"
Oh, I'll give you a stunt you old- "I'm terribly sorry you feel put on the spot Grumpy, but if we are to stand strong in the belief that here in Auradon, everyone is entitled to have their voice heard, would that not in fact apply to all occupants. The VKs have in fact done no wrong unto any of us-"
"Not yet they haven't! Give 'em time though, once they get over here, you'll be beggin' to have them shipped off again!" The old buzzard shouted. He squinted at her, his eyes full of judgement and anger. "Ya know, I bet it was you that done put such a crazy idea in your brother's head in the first place. Darn no good woman and their hazardous wiles, y'all think yer so cunnin' but ol' Grumpy's gotcha pegged!"
"Is this the kind of discussion you have with your wife?" The jab itself may have been somewhat distasteful, maybe even unnecessary considering Grumpy was just being his usual, Grumpy self. Still, she felt a pang of satisfaction when the old dwarf noticeably reddened in the face.
"Hmph." Grumpy huffed, swirling around in his chair, it may have been a tad more threatening were his legs not kicking around like a child's just before she walked in. A small little voice squeaked in her head over how all the dwarfs' short stature made them look so adorable.
"I apologize," Camilla said, guilt already working its way to the surface, "I um, I believe that perhaps right now... tensions are simply at an all-time high is all. Even so, that is no reason for my behavior Mr-ah, I mean- Grumpy." She amended, lips tugging into a small smile. The gesture was not returned at all.
The ticking of the clock was the only sound heard in the room. Camilla avoided Grumpy's gaze for a moment or two, suddenly feeling a tad overwhelmed.
"Why don't we just, uhm... cut right to the chase then, shall we?" She cleared her throat, still receiving no answer. "N-now then, I have read all one-thousand-and-one pages of your complaint-"
"All one-thousand pages?" Grumpy repeated sounding incredulous despite himself.
"And one," Camilla repeated, smiling a bit more now.
Another a long stretch of silence.
"You're not gonna suggest another crazy proclamation, are ya?"
Camilla bit her lip, withholding the intense urge to snap at him. Why was everyone suddenly blaming her for something she and Ben decided on together? She saw the looks of disbelief and even outrage on some of the council members when they left the chambers the other day- specifically Aurora.
"No," She said instead, remembering her lessons of etiquette from her mother.
Grace under pressure. Her mother would always say, smiling gently. And remember dear, a true queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is but another stepping stone to greatness after all.
"I admit my proclamation may have been delivered in haste, perhaps even digging up a few unpleasant memories for some. Be that as it may, I... I do not regret it." She said, her voice gaining a lick of confidence causing Grumpy to raise a brow at her, "A queen will always turn pain into power; even if that pain is her subject's."
Grumpy looked taken aback.
"Now then, I believe the two of us together can come to a reasonable agreement. You and the others are asking for a voice, after all, to be heard more in the future, more than a simple seat on the council?" She said, her eyes looking over her notes. She stayed up all night taking them, underlining crucial bits of information, re-reading certain paragraphs she thought were more important.
"It's not that much to ask for, is it?" Grumpy asked keenly.
"Not at all." Camilla reasoned. In all her time researching and reviewing, Camilla had arrived at one crucial tidbit of information; she had no knowledge of the workings of these people and their lives. Still, they were looking to her and her family for consolation on things that would impact their expenditures and daily lives.
"What do you suggest?" Grumpy asked gruffly.
Camilla smiled. "I propose listening to the people who know best."
Grumpy looked a tad confused.
"Let's start with the mermaids, shall we? They should charge a silver coin for every undersea tour. And I'll personally talk with Ariel about giving Flounder a break from collecting for her." Camilla stated.
Grumpy nodded. "Sounds reasonable."
"I've also set up a college fund for the Dalmatians-all one-hundred and one of them will be eligible for financial aid through what is known as the Puppy Grant," Camilla said looking through her notes. She pushed a single black-and-white spotted folder containing all the forms across the table.
Grumpy accepted it, flipping it open. "Pongo will appreciate that." After checking to make sure all forms were indeed inside, he nodded placing the folder back on the table. "And what about us miners?"
"I'm afraid half of everything you mine must still remain the property of the kingdom," said Camilla. She knew deep down her father would settle for no less.
"Half? What about the rest of the diamonds? Where do those go?" Grumpy asked, sounding alarmed.
"The other half will go towards a 401K fund. It will be a retirement fund for dwarfs, to take care of your families and children. You can tell Bashful not to worry." Camilla added sincerely.
"Sounds fair enough." Grumpy relented. Stroking his beard in thought. "What about the restriction of magic? Just between you and me, those three fairies make quite the racket."
You're telling me, Camilla thought, internally rolling her eyes.
"I'm afraid the three good fairies will have to take their complaint up with Fairy Godmother herself. I can't actually do anything about it, I'm afraid, however at the very least I can schedule a meeting with her for them."
"And Genie's request for unlimited travel within the Kingdom?"
"Approved, so long as he clears his itinerary with the palace beforehand." She knew her father would most certainly not appreciate one of Genie's spontaneous 'visits' out of the blue, truth be told, few probably would have a tolerance for it. Camilla included herself, even if the blue-skinned apparition was one of the more fun residents of Aladdin's kingdom.
"What about the woodland creatures? They're off working their paws and hooves to the bone, ya know."
"I've already had a team install dishwashers, washer-dryers, and vacuum cleaners in every household. I think it's time we all realized we're living in the twenty-first century, don't you agree? Woodland creatures included, of course," at this point Camilla wanted to give herself a little pat on the back.
They continued tackling the different issues listed, one at a time, and each time Camilla offered a new suggestion a small barely noticeable shred of respect became more visible in Grumpy's eyes. Bit by bit, her previous nervousness melted away and they were on relatively good terms by the time they were finally shaking hands.
"Deal," they said together, pulling their hands free.
"You know what, little lady?" Grumpy said once he reached the door, turning to look back at her fully.
Camilla steeled herself for another grouchy, almost venomous remark. She had just started gathering up her notes.
"You're going to make a fine Queen. Any guy ought to be lucky to have ya." The old little dwarf said, the faintest semblance of a smile tugging at the wrinkled corners of his mouth, and Camilla almost dropped her papers in shock. "Give yer father my best and send yer mother my love."
"I will." She said softly just as the large oak doors slammed shut behind Grumpy. The princess stood, an odd sense of triumph lighting up her features as she replayed his words in her head, smiling like a dork. Her thoughts drifting back to the mysterious blue-haired boy from her dream suddenly, just before shaking her head.
" I have to go help Ben get things ready for the VKs..." She muttered to herself, still in somewhat of a daze, making a beeline for her brother's room.
Along the way she passed Cogsworth and Lumiere in one of the hallways, seeing the two give a low bow.
"Princess," They each greeted respectfully, receiving a slight curtsy in response. She skipped along, humming absently.
"Yes!" Camilla suddenly cheered, throwing her fist in the air. "I nailed it!"
Lumiere and Cogsworth froze, sharing a look. "Kids these days..." Cogsworth commented, shaking his head for a moment before continuing as if nothing happened.
"I think the meeting went well, yes?" Lumiere added.
"Was there ever any doubt?" Cogsworth asked seriously.
"None whatsoever!" Lumiere said, smiling.
Hope you enjoyed! Review.
What do you guys think so far of Camilla? Of Hadie?