In Aurora's world, fairytales were incredibly common, though the parts that were true and the parts that were false were not always easy to distinguish. But that was the thing about fairytales. They were never as simple as "Once upon a time…" and "And they all lived happily ever after…" Usually, they were far more complex and complicated, every new storyteller adding his or her own perspective onto the tale in order to keep it fresh and exciting. And that was another thing about fairytales, they could be changed so easily whether intentionally or not and soon what used to be one singular event could spiral out into thousands of different retellings until people who had heard the same tale could wind up recounting different stories. Such was the case for Aurora's godmother, Maleficent.
"I remember the story of a baby. A baby cursed to sleep and never wake up," Queen Ingrith cast a sly, cruel glance at the Dark Fairy.
"Really? Who would do such a terrible thing to an innocent child?" Ingrith's husband, King John, seemed genuinely perplexed. Somehow, he had yet to hear the true and full tale of Maleficent and Aurora.
John knew that there had been bad blood between Maleficent's family and Aurora's, but they had overcome that bad blood through their mutual love for one another, but that was it. His son, Prince Phillip, had refrained from telling him the more gruesome parts of the tale. He had refrained from telling Ingrith as well, but she had done her own digging and managed to get a much darker and fuller story. And that was the thing about fairytales. With every teller able to spin the story however they chose, one single event could be highly contested by every party who ever heard the story. And Ingrith used this fact to her benefit, continually throwing low blows at Maleficent all throughout their meal together.
After a time, Ingrith used Maleficent's temper to her advantage and said what she knew would be the straw that broke the camel's back.
"She will finally get the love of a real mother," Ingrith said smugly, looking at the human sitting beside Maleficent. "I consider Aurora my own!" But in the split second before Maleficent could finally lose it completely, Aurora snapped first. She'd remained silent throughout the entire meal, struggling to maintain the peace even if she wasn't particularly fond of Ingrith or everything she had said during the past hour, but that little remark about Maleficent not being her true mother, or not good enough, finally caused the young princess to stand up and lash out.
"She is my real mother!" the girl dared to snap, rising from the table with anger in her eyes. "You may not believe it and it may not seem like it, but Maleficent is my real mother! She's looked after me since I was a child, protecting and caring for me to the best of her ability. You are correct that she cursed me, but she has long since paid for that mistake. Her love for me proves that. Didn't you know? Didn't the fairytales say? It was she who saved me from the curse. Perhaps she was the one who put me under it, but she pulled me back out. Does that not cancel out most, if not all, of the debt she may owe to me?" the young girl demanded threateningly.
For a moment, there was only silence at the table, everyone stunned by Aurora's outburst, but for once, she did not care. There was a lot of personal insult that she could take, but when it came to Maleficent, Maleficent was off limits. Reputation may have written Maleficent off as the protective one of their duo, but that was the thing about fairytales, it was so easy to miss certain parts and leave out somewhat important details. This was one of those times. Aurora was just as protective of Maleficent as Maleficent was of her. After all, had it not been Aurora who restored Maleficent's wings to her? Had it not been Aurora who stayed to try and help Maleficent fight off Stefan? Even though it would've been safer for her to run, Aurora had stayed with Maleficent, fleeing only in order to find Maleficent's wings, but not to try to save her own life. Aurora had been just as willing to stay and die with Maleficent as Maleficent would've done for her.
Now, the mutuality of their mother-daughter bond was showing itself off again as Aurora challenged Ingrith and dared her to ever again act as if she could replace Maleficent. It was a rare day for Aurora to get so mad, so her temper was a terrifying sight to behold.
"You would not be a better mother than her, for it was not you who looked after me when I was young, nor was it you who saved me from my curse and my cruel, tyrannical father. It was her! And you are nothing compared to her!" then Aurora's face softened as she turned to look at Maleficent, whose eyes were wide with gratitude and love. Then it was time for the tables to turn again and Maleficent reached out to touch Aurora's hand, calming her down instantly. Just as Aurora had done for her throughout the entire meal, now Maleficent was doing for Aurora. And it worked just as well. The moment their hands touched, Aurora felt all of her anger fade away and she took her seat again with a dainty, delicate smile.
"Good!" she sounded dissonantly cheerful and chipper now. "Now that we have that under control, let us continue!" and the smile she gave Ingrith was laced with power and ferocity. That was thing about fairytales, they so often left out critical details, as was the case with Aurora. The stories wrote her off as a sweet, innocent little damsel in distress who was nothing but an endless ray of sunshine, warmth, innocence and purity, but that was not the whole picture. As kind, gentle and selfless as Aurora was, there was a true queen that lay in waiting underneath that young and tender exterior. She was fierce, protective, brave and upright and she would not ever hesitate to defend the ones she loved. The almost challenging look she gave to Ingrith made that all too clear. The girl was far stronger and tougher than the legends would say.
Like mother, like daughter! The human queen mused as she watched Aurora snarl and spit at her, Maleficent watching smugly from her seat.
And all around the table, everyone else looked similarly shocked. Diaval's eyes were wide with surprise, awe and admiration. Phillip looked much the same and he fell in love with Aurora a little bit more after seeing such a bold and blatant display. John looked a bit uncomfortable, but still very admiring and touched by the lengths to which this sweet little girl would go to defend her mother. And Maleficent herself looked very smug, the last of her own anger vanishing as well now that she had gotten to see such a blatant, powerful and firsthand display of just how much Aurora loved her and just how much Aurora would be willing to do to make that fact undeniably clear. She smirked at Ingrith and made a big show about holding Aurora's hand, also silently daring the human queen to ever try to replace her again. Maleficent and Aurora had never looked quite so similar before. Now it was all too clear that Aurora was Maleficent's daughter, not just because of her passionate speech, but because of how mad she looked at the prospect of having anyone other than Maleficent as a mother. They were definitely mother and daughter, no doubt at all.
Ingrith, meanwhile, was left stunned and humiliated. She was able to keep a flat expression, but underneath, there was anger and shame. She would be willing to admit that Aurora and Maleficent had won this round, but she was not going to give up just yet. One day, she would get Maleficent to reveal her true colors a monster and then, the world would thank her. Maybe tonight's dinner had not gone in the way she had expected, but if Aurora really was going to try to be with Phillip, there would be plenty more times for Ingrith to do everything in her power to tear it all apart. All she needed was time, but time was most assuredly on her side…
What she failed to notice, though, was that through the rest of the tense, but silent, meal, Aurora and Maleficent remained together. Even though they were eventually forced to let go of one another's hands, they were in silent agreement to do everything in their power to stick together. Their unity would be more important now than ever before, especially now that they knew Ingrith was trying to bring them to ruin. Their bond was going to be put to the ultimate test, but now that they knew what they were in for, they could start preparing. They wanted to make it absolutely clear that this petty human queen was no match for them. If there was one thing the fairytales could agree on, it was that Maleficent and Aurora were a mother-daughter duo for the ages and nothing would ever tear them apart.
AN: Assassin Akame, here's your "Aurora actually stands up and defends Maleficent at the dinner table" AU. It was fun to write and while I get why Aurora originally remained silent, I almost wish this could've been canon because I would've loved to see it!