This is my first venture into the fandom, so I hope I do it justice.
Borrows elements from both the movies and the books, with a few original tidbits thrown in by me.
"You wanted to see me?" Carlos inched through the doorway of Fairy Godmother's office, clutching his disconcerting amount of notebooks, folders, and textbooks to his chest. He didn't appreciate that Jay kept nicking his backpack. Old habits shouldn't die that hard.
"Bibbity boppity, yes I do!" Fairy Godmother chirped.
Carlos instantly wondered if he was in trouble. Fairy Godmother only bippity-boppitied if she was feeling emphatic or surprised.
"Come in, sit." She ushered him in with flapping hands, indicating the comfily padded chair in front of her desk. Carlos stepped the rest of the way in and maneuvered his load around the arms of the chair, sitting awkwardly with them in his lap. Fairy Godmother's desk was festooned with sticky notes and stacks of brightly colored papers held down with inspirational paperweights, sporting such proverbs as A good grade is an effort your brain makes.
Fairy Godmother couldn't seem to keep her hands still; they fluttered around her and across the desk as she spoke, re-positioning the nearest stack of sticky notes over and over. She seemed to always feel the need to stay busy; sitting at a desk was a far cry from her usual merry bustling about.
"So," Carlos started.
But just as he opened his mouth, Fairy Godmother began to speak. "As you know by now, this being your second year at Auradon Prep, I have a policy to meet with students for a twice yearly midterm check-in."
Carlos tilted his head. "But Midterms were two weeks ago." Whoever had decided to schedule the Cotillion the week of Midterms should be grateful no one knew who they were, lest they received multiple angry emails from students.
"I thought the conferences were cancelled because of the, well, the whole thing with Uma, and the dragon fight, and all that," Carlos said.
Fairy Godmother nodded. "Yes, well, I've decided to reschedule instead of cancel."
No one else had mentioned anything about having a conference with Fairy Godmother today. Mal would certainly have complained about having to schedule a meeting with Fairy Godmother, whom she saw on a regular basis anyway as a recently delegated Lady of the Court. Carlos wondered if he were the first one.
"So," Fairy Godmother went on. She opened a file folder lying in front of her on the desk, which Carlos had not noticed before. He realized it must be his folder. He felt a few beads of sweat forming around his temples.
Chill, dog, he told himself. It's been weeks since you've done anything really wicked. There couldn't be anything too bad in there.
"Looking at your grades," Fairy Godmother said, "I see you got a B+ in Remedial Goodness 101."
"Yes," Carlos said, a little confused. That had been months ago, and Fairy Godmother had been the teacher of that class. She shouldn't have to read his file to remember his grade. He'd been one of exactly four students in that class.
Fairy Godmother nodded. "And I see you are also doing well in Remedial Goodness 102," she said, turning a page in his file.
"So far I've gotten mostly A's," he ventured. But again he was a little confused. He was currently taking that class with Fairy Godmother, and she'd just handed in their midterms last week (which he'd aced, by the way).
"I'm also doing well in Chemistry and the History of Heroism," he pointed out. He was hoping that counted for something and Fairy Godmother wasn't just focused on his improvement as a former villain.
Fairy Godmother nodded again. he noticed she seemed a bit distracted, not really meeting his gaze. "And the topic for your misterm paper?" she said.
"How having an emotional support animal can help you rewire your brain for goodness?" She had to remember. There were only four papers she'd had to read. It was pretty obvious he hadn't written Jay's paper on the positive effects of athletics on one's morale compass (morale, he pointed out, not moral) or Evie's presentation on how fashion can be used as inspiration for redemption. He wasn't sure what Mal had written. He suspected she passed by virtue of turning into a dragon and saving Auradon from Uma, which didn't really seem fair, since the rest of them had helped save the day too. But he'd been happy to write about animals (with Dude as his inspiration, of course).
"Yes, of course," Fairy Godmother said, pulling out what Carlos assumed to be a copy of his paper, based on its significant length and the faint traces of pawprints on the back. "I especially appreciate the section on how emotional bonding increases the presence of 'happy chemicals,' and, when paired with a regular routine of practicing goodness mindfulness, can cause the brain to connect the two and make them 'partners in practice.'"
Carlos had been particularly proud of that line. He smiled when Fairy Godmother read it and cast him an approving glance.
"Would you say this emotional bonding, and its subsequent positive effects, can be extended to human relationships?"
"Uh." Carlos's eyes widened. Was this a new step in the process? Was she asking him to defend his thesis? He wished he'd known ahead of time so he could prepare. Flash cards would be handy right now.
"I'd have to do more research," he said. "The topic of the paper really focused on pets."
"Hm." Fairy Godmother put the paper back in the folder. "Overall, how do you feel about your progress in school?"
"My grades are getting better," Carlos said proudly. He'd always been a good student (even when that was considered "bad" by some back on the Isle), and though it had taken a while to get used to the heroes' teaching styles and the focus on punctuality and civility in the classroom, he was happy to see his F's from the first few weeks (when he was still a villain) grow to C's and B's and finally, this semester, some A's.
"Yes, yes, very good," Fairy Godmother said. "And what about…" she tilted her head left and right, eyes shifting slightly upward, in an exaggerated expression of mental searching. "Your overall goodness level?"
Carlos had hardly been the baddest of the bad to begin with. A low-life hood, sure, a bit callous, okay, but not to the extent of wanting to take over kingdoms or spell people into loving you (no offense, Mal). He liked to think goodness was something he didn't struggle with quite as much as his fellow VKs, whose nastiness was driven from years of training and manipulation, rather than from the fear and intimidation Carlos had experienced from Cruella. After escaping her clutches and bonding with Dude, his penchant for politeness and consideration had picked up a bit more quickly than, say, Jay's, who still had a habit of taking things that didn't belong to him (case in point: Carlos's backpack).
But he wasn't sure now was the time to get into all of that with Fairy Godmother.
"I think my good grades are indicative of that," he said, hoping she'd chuckle at the pun. She merely looked at him with her signature bright but unchanging smile. "Also my involvement in extra-curriculars?" he ventured. In addition to tagging along with whichever athletic team Jay wanted his "brain" to join in, Carlos was also a member of Auradon's SCREAM (Science Connecting Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Magic) Club, and applying to be a Teaching Assistant for the school's Ethical Hacking course, which he'd aced. If only he could hear back about that credit overload waiver.
"Hm, yes, I see," Fairy Godmother said. "All of that is indeed admirable. I'd say you've come a long way from…" she trailed off, then cleared her throat. "When we first met."
Carlos vividly remembered the blanket incident and falling out of the limo, and how his first interaction with anyone on Auradon was to be chastised, something he'd been hoping to escape when leaving his mother behind.
"How do you feel about your transformation?" Fairy Godmother asked.
"Transformation? Uh." Carlos shifted in his seat as he felt one of his notebooks sneaking down his knees. "I'd call it…character development?"
"Why the distinction?" Fairy Godmother asked. She was still smiling sweetly, but there seemed to be a bit of a challenge there, too.
"Well…" Carlos tried to put it into words. "I don't feel like I've transformed. That makes it sounds like I'm an entirely different person."
"Aren't you?" Fairy Godmother interjected. "You're not a villain anymore."
"Well, yes and no," Carlos persisted. "I may not be a villain anymore, but I'll always be a VK. It's part of who I am. It doesn't mean I want to go back to being, uh, wicked, but transformation makes it sound like I'm something entirely different. Irreversible. Which I'm not."
Fairy Godmother's eyebrows raised almost darkly.
Carlos quickly continued. "What that means is, I'm choosing good," he said. "It was hard. But I chose it. And I keep choosing it. I think that's a little more powerful than transforming. Don't you?"
Fairy Godmother's expression didn't change at first, and Carlos felt himself slowly shrinking into himself, afraid this answer had gotten him into trouble.
But after a few (chest-knocking) heartbeats, Fairy Godmother's eyebrows lowered, relaxing her face, and she gave an approving nod. "I can see that. Thank you, Carlos."
Carlos relaxed. "Is that all?" he asked.
Fairy Godmother shook her head. "One more question. How do you think your goodness manifests in your personal life? Outside of school?"
Carlos wasn't sure what that had to do with his academics. Wasn't that what he was here for—academics?
"How so?" he asked.
"I just want to make sure your good choices extend beyond the classroom," Fairy Godmother said. "For example, with your classmates, your friends…" she made that exaggerated thinking expression again "…your dates…"
Carlos opened and closed his mouth once, then blurted out, "Are you vetting me?"
Fairy Godmother's eyes snapped back towards his. He flinched, but noticed she didn't seem angry. She almost seemed…sheepish.
"What do you mean by that?" she asked evasively.
"Is this about me and Jane?" Carlos asked. "Are you…interviewing me? For the position of being her boyfriend?"
"Well," Fairy Godmother said, "I wouldn't call it that…"
Carlos felt something slightly warm in his chest. "You're making sure I'm going to be good to your daughter."
Fairy Godmother pursed her lips.
Carlos gave a tentative, shy smile. "I really like Jane," he said quietly. "And…I think she likes me."
"That's good," Fairy Godmother said.
Carlos nodded eagerly. "It is. It's good," he emphasized. "I mean—we're good. I'm good. I'm going to be good. For her. And just good. You know. For goodness's sake. And…yeah." He realized he was rambling a little.
Fairy Godmother's lips were set in a straight line, but seemed to be quirking at the edges. Carlos couldn't tell if she was fighting a smile or a frown.
"You promise?" she said severely.
Carlos nodded. "I swear on a magical pumpkin carriage," he said, trying to be clever.
"The one that disappears when the clock strike twelve?" Fairy Godmother said dryly.
Carlos gulped slightly, wracking his brain for a better metaphor. "Uh…"
Fairy Godmother chuckled, her face melting back into her warm smile. "Carlos, I'm kidding," she said.
Carlos relaxed slightly, giving a short, nervous chuckle. "Oh."
"I hope you can understand," Fairy Godmother said. "I'm very protective of Jane. She's never dated…"
Carlos's shoulder slumped, and a familiar lump of shame formed in his throat. "A villain's kid?" he mumbled, casting his eyes towards the mess of schoolwork in his lap.
"A classmate," Fairy Godmother said.
Carlos looked back up at Fairy Godmother. "Yeah?"
Fairy Godmother nodded. "She's not the greatest at picking up hints, as you've probably noticed," she said. "Most of her, shall we say, romantic encounters have been online. It's a self-esteem thing, I hear. She's so certain of her unattractiveness, inside and out, that she doesn't understand when the boys flirt with her."
Carlos felt a pang of sadness for Jane. She was so amazing. So kind and funny and thoughtful and smart. And cute. It was unfortunate she couldn't see that for herself.
"You're the first 'guy' of hers I've met," Fairy Godmother said. "And I am Fairy Godmother, after all. I look out for my little pumpkin."
Carlos thought of echoing her crack about the pumpkin carriage, but decided his luck had probably run out as far as humor went today.
"I will be good," he promised. "I really like Jane."
Fairy Godmother cast him her warmest smile yet. "I'm sure you do. And she likes you, too. For the record."
Carlos sat up a bit straighter, pleased to hear that from Fairy Godmother. "Does she talk about me?"
"She talks about you a lot," Fairy Godmother said. "I feel a little silly that I didn't see this coming."
Carlos's friends had seen this coming for a while. It was painfully obvious to them, to the point of irritation. If Jane hadn't also been his friend, Jay might have banned her name from conversation within their dorm, tired as he was of hearing Carlos complain about his numerous failed attempts to ask her out.
Carlos been into Jane pretty much as soon as the whole Coronation debacle was over with. Seeing her sitting alone on the bench, sulking while everyone else celebrated, reminded him of how many parties he'd ducked out of himself, certain that no one would notice his absence (even the howler he himself had planned way back at the Isle). He and Jay had gone to sit with her and eventually pull her into the merriment. Jay had wandered off after that, but Carlos had stayed with Jane, and they'd just started talking. He didn't even remember what they'd talked about, but when he finally saw her smile, hours later, it had been the highlight of his night. Well, after saving Auradon from the villains, of course.
"But know," Fairy Godmother said warningly, snapping Carlos out of his reverie, "I am a fairy. And I'm not above using magic for personal reasons."
Carlos's eyes widened as he tried to come up with a response.
Fairy Godmother laughed. "I'm kidding again." She reached across her desk to bop his nose, somewhat of a feat, given she wasn't the tallest fairy in the world. "You'd better get used to it," she added with a wink. "I've been told I'm simply a riot at family game nights."
Carlos's heart lifted at the idea of being invited to family game nights.
Fairy Godmother made a shooing motion with her hands. "Alright, alright," she said. "Conference over. I'll see you on Thursday for our next class session."
Carlos jumped up, his body energized with a tumult of mixed emotions. He regretted it, though, when his books and papers fell from his lap and onto a mess on the floor. He groaned audibly.
"Oh, that reminds me." Fairy Godmother turned in her chair and reached behind her, turning back around with Carlos's backpack in her hands.
"Where'd you find it?" Carlos exclaimed, gratefully taking it from her.
"Let's just say Jay is going to have to get some extra credit to work off some of his lower grades," Fairy Godmother said cryptically.
Carlos crammed his books and papers into his backpack and stood back up straight. He nodded awkwardly at Fairy Godmother.
"Thanks," he said.
Fairy Godmother smiled. "See you later, Carlos."
Carlos turned and headed back out the door. As he slung his backpack onto his back, he heard something crinkling. He felt around and pulled a piece of paper from the small pocket on the side. He unfolded it, reading the text within as he walked down the hallway towards the dorms.
Bippity boppity well done, Carlos.