A/N: Hello everyone! I give you today a small one-shot inspired by the latest Maleficent movie. I'm just starved for Maleval stories, really. XD Enjoy!

Hold my hand

Maleficent has always been someone who is careful of every touch she bequeaths to or accepts from everyone. Diaval has learnt that fact quite quickly ever since he came into her service, and with years and years of getting to know her, he is now pretty familiar with what she will accept and what she won't.

Diaval also knows that hand touches are what she will more easily accept depending on where said hand will touch her. He never got close to her scars, at first, and to her wings, next, for he knew the trauma she'd been through pertaining to that area of her body.

The first time he was allowed to touch her, Maleficent was on the forest ground. She had crouched there to check on some animal marks that perplexed her, and he had outstretched a hand to help her up. Naturally, as if it was a normal thing to do.

She'd stared at his hand, then at his face before placing her dainty fingers in his and letting him pull her upright. She'd let go at once, but the fact that she hadn't cursed him into a dog – the worse thing she'd ever done to him in his opinion – had made a fuzzy feeling creep into his chest.

When Aurora was made Queen of the Moors, there'd been times when she still lived in her father's castle – not long, though, for she could not stand it – and so, the second time Diaval and his Mistress held hands was when he helped her up a flight of stairs littered with rubble. There again she'd let go immediately, but had accepted the touch.

In fact, the first few times their fingers had touched, he'd been the one initiating it, even if he let her decide whether or not she accepted the touch. Sometimes she ignored his outstretched hand, and he tried not to feel too gutted about it.

But once, she was the one to reach for him. Albeit to channel her magic through him and help carve a magnificent throne for Aurora in the Moors, but that time, their hands hadn't merely joined: their fingers had laced, he'd felt her pulse and the fire of her magic course through him. He'd caught goosebumps that time.

Diaval knows, after years of being by her side, that his relationship with Maleficent has evolved. He's not just her servant now, he's also her friend, some kind of companion as well as their fledgling's godfather. So, when Maleficent appears to give Aurora away on her wedding day, they hold hands again.

He gently leads her away from Aurora, asking in a gentle voice that she 'let her go', the same way that he is letting his chick go, in a way, by letting her leave his and Maleficent's side to join Phillip's. His mistress takes his hand and lets him pull her gently to the side, and doesn't let go immediately. Instead, she lets their fingers brush tenderly as she lets go, and it brings tears to his eyes as easily as the sight of Aurora in her wedding gown did.

After their daughter leaves their side, Maleficent makes the decision to leave with the Dark Fae, to get reacquainted with her people while also making sure that those who wish it know they could come to live in the Moors. She leaves her kingdom to his care, and as she goes, they hold hands in front of them, sharing teasing smiles and jests before she takes flight.

Diaval lives without her for several months, cherishing the gift she's given him: a staff that grants him the shapeshifting abilities she's been the one to grant him ever since they've met. He spends most of his days as a raven, sometimes as a man with he needs to convey words, and once or twice, he indulges into a silly wish to be a bear again.

When she comes back, Aurora and Phillip are celebrating their first anniversary, and all of their subjects are invited. Maleficent takes Diaval with her, a grin on her lips that feels more genuine than ever, and that night, he takes her hand in his as they dance around the castle's ballroom.

Two months later, as their daughter is screaming in pain and agony in a room not far, Maleficent reaches for him and squeezes his hand hard, panting "Hold my hand" in a way that doesn't make him want to let go anytime soon. He laces their fingers and holds her tight, her grip becoming almost painful as they hear Aurora scream.

He's still holding her hand when they meet Princess Melody.

If Diaval was ever curious about his feelings for his mistress, it becomes clearer one starry night, as he stands as a man beside her, casting their dark eyes to the shower of light overhead. "I wish our Beastie was here with us," she calls gently to the skies then, and he can't help taking her hand and tenderly kissing her fingers. Her eyes glow golden then, surprised, perhaps, but she doesn't push him away.

One winter, as Aurora falls ill, they fall from exhaustion on the bed they've been lent in Ulstead, their hands joined between their two bodies. Diaval doesn't even complain he doesn't get to sleep in his raven form, for once.

When, at long last, after Melody's third birthday and her brother Prince John's first, Diaval gets to his knees to ask one most important question, they hold hands again, lacing their fingers together when he voices 'Will you let me be your life companion, Maleficent?'.

But the most significant time they hold hands would have to be without an ounce of a doubt the day when, blessed by her beauty and affection, Diaval stands under a canopy of flowers and holds Maleficent's hands as a cloth is placed above them.

They are, and the significance of the words is deep after years of their timid touching, handfast.