"Any particular reason you chose grounding, Mistress?" Diaval asked as he and Maleficent walked through the Moors together. Aurora's punishment had ended just a few hours ago and now that Diaval was finally free to travel without needing Aurora to come with him, he was curious as to what drove Maleficent to such a strange and human sort of punishment.
"I mean, I get that it is what humans do with their misbehaving young, but Aurora is more fairy than human. Why not choose something more Moorish?" the raven-man continued to ask. In the Moors, they preferred to discipline children with either a lecture, a lesson or hard labor in exchange for misbehavior. The human concept of grounding always seemed fairly pointless to Diaval. All it did was keep someone trapped, which was hardly a fruitful lesson. And being trapped was awful anyway. It seemed more like a method of torture than a disciplinary action, though of course, Diaval would never compare Maleficent's light sentencing to the equivalent of being locked away or trapped under a net or something like that. But he couldn't help but wonder about Maleficent's rationale.
"Besides, she tried to run out on us anyway and you let her go, even though we could've caught her easily," he continued.
For a time, Maleficent did not answer. It was because she didn't really know how to answer. Oh, she had a real reason for why she had chosen grounding over anything else, but it seemed like such a silly and selfish reason that she did not feel brave enough to share it. But after enough of Diaval's questions, Maleficent figured that she owed him an answer, if only to shut him up. He would keep musing until he got an answer anyway, might as well cut things short and tell him now before he continued to pester her until her ears fell off.
"I wanted to keep her close to me," the Dark Fairy said quickly. She spoke so quickly, in fact, that it took Diaval several moments to process what she had said. Once he got it, however, he understood immediately and his puzzled expression changed to one of compassion. He knew Maleficent better than anyone and he knew how protective she was over the things and people she loved, especially Aurora.
"You didn't want her leaving the nest," he said. It wasn't a question, but Maleficent nodded anyway. "Oh, Mistress…"
"I do not need your pity," she cut him off sharply.
"Oh, it is not that, Mistress," Diaval corrected himself. "I simply mean that I think you have it all wrong. You see, even though you were right to discipline Aurora, if you really think trying to impose some sort of detainment on her will work, I must ask you to reconsider that. She is yours after all. Nothing will ever hold her down, especially if she is really determined."
"I am all too aware of that, Diaval," Maleficent muttered, conflicting emotions rising up in her chest in response to this. It was true, Aurora was just as stubborn, powerful and passionate as she was. It was one of the many things Maleficent loved about her. But it was also one of the things Maleficent hated about her. No one could tell Aurora no, especially if, like Diaval had said, it was something that really mattered to her.
"But I think that may work out in your favor, Mistress," Diaval continued, a playful light entering his eyes.
"How?" Maleficent gave him a guarded look.
"Well…" Diaval gestured to a nearby tree where Aurora had been listening in on their conversation.
"Beastie! Have you been there this whole time?" the Dark Fairy sounded impressed, annoyed and embarrassed all at once.
"Sorry," came the sheepish reply. The girl skittered down from the tree. "I had asked Diaval to ask you why you chose to ground me, of all things, and I wanted to hear the full and honest answer."
"Well, did you get what you were expecting?" Maleficent asked dryly.
"Well, no," Aurora admitted. "But I am still glad I heard it anyway. I am sorry if you were ever worried I was going to abandon you and the Moors in favor of the human kingdom. That was never my plan at all! I just like to check in on them from time to time to make sure they're doing ok. Stefan really did a number on the land and economy and even though I have given most of my power to the people, I still like offering a hand whenever I can. I assure you, though, I have never once thought about leaving the nest. I like it here far too much and would much rather just stay here forever than go anywhere else, but I can't just leave the human kingdom to rot either. Not when I have the power to help."
And then Maleficent got to learn her own lessons that day. The first was why Aurora really kept visiting the human kingdom, and it was not out of a desire to rejoin them. It was, as she had said, a desire to help them gain some level of stability again after Stefan's tyranny brought them to ruin. And the second thing she learned was that, indeed, Aurora was a true Moor creature at heart. She really did love this place more than any other and she really would rather stay here forever than go anywhere else. Maleficent's fears, insecurities and secret jealousies were, although very real, unsubstantial. Aurora was not going to leave them now. Or ever! So Maleficent did not need to worry and she no longer needed to resort to petty or subtle tactics to keep Aurora close. Aurora wasn't planning on leaving anyway.
"Thank you, Beastie," Maleficent grumbled embarressedly as Aurora embraced her reassuringly.
"You're very welcome, Godmother," Aurora smiled into Maleficent's shoulders. Diaval stood off to the side, watching with a touched expression on his face. Then Maleficent caught that grin on his face and she shot him a warning look not to ever speak of this moment with anyone else ever again. His tender expression changed to one of innocence, silently promising not to say anything that might humiliate Maleficent later on. Satisfied with that, Maleficent's glare vanished again and Diaval gave her a playful, amused wink, which she responded to with a roll of her eyes. Theirs was an interesting family, but their love was true and that was all that really mattered.
AN: StoryReader01, here's your "real reason being Maleficent grounding Aurora"
To everyone else, this is a non-canon portion of the story. In my original plan, Maleficent only grounded Aurora because that's what most parents do to misbehaving children. There was no deeper meaning to it. But this chapter is something of an AU (so to speak) writing that Maleficent grounds Aurora to keep her close, which is very in-character, I confess, but not originally what I had in mind.