"And it was a sight to be seen last night as Moors CEO, Maleficent Moors, and Moors president, Diaval de Raven, were spotted yet again having another ferocious argument with billionaire entrepreneur, Stefan Goldenrose. The circumstances of the situation are unknown as the footage was sent in by an anonymous bystander who claimed to have "watched the experience from afar." The disagreement seemed to take place outside what was a grand charity event to which both parties had received an invitation to. Many people speculate that- "

The news report vanished off the television screen with a press of a button. The raven-haired man turned to look at the hazel-haired woman gazing sorrowfully out of the window.

"That's enough of that," he said, scoffing at the newsreader's audacity.

Maleficent turned to face her friend, leaning slightly on her cane. She breathed out slowly.

"Thank you,"

"They're being ridiculous. He started it, he was the one who came up to us and began to argue. We were trying to leave; I don't even know how somebody could have caught that on camera. News stations always exaggerate things and try to shadow people in the worst possible light and- "

"Diaval," Maleficent cut in with a calm undertone. Diaval looked down sheepishly.

"Sorry,"

"I know. You needn't go on about it. I feel the same as you do."

Diaval nodded silently. He made his way to the sofa that onlooked the vast garden and sank down into it slowly and sighed. Maleficent gave him a look of concern. These last few days had been as hard on him as they had on to her. She slipped across the room to him and perched on the black leather arm, resting one hand on his shoulder.

"What bothers you?"

Diaval looked up quickly, his face a mixture of confusion and worry, "What? Oh- nothing, nothing. I'm just… tired after last night, is all."

Maleficent felt a wave of guilt rush over her. Ever since the accident that had happened two years ago, her oldest and only friend had dropped everything to aid her in her recovery. He cooked, he cleaned, he managed her business, (consulting with her about everything, of course) he did whatever he could to make her life easier now that she was disabled. The doctors had said she was lucky, that not many hit-and-run victims made it out of the operating room with limited mobility, but she felt otherwise. She hated to see her friend crumple before her.

"Diaval?" she asked softly.

"Yes?" He cocked his head at her, seeing the pain in her eyes.

"Why don't you take tonight off? Have a rest, get some sleep. You'll feel better in the morning,"

"But I have to- "

"You have to nothing. I insist."

Diaval looked at her with curious eyes. He could sense something was troubling her, but he daren't ask what. He knew Maleficent, and ha also knew she would tell him what was bothering her when she was ready.

"But- "

"Go,"

Diaval sighed, knowing this was a losing battle. He reluctantly rose from the sofa.

"Fine, but if you need anything, I will be awake just upstairs. And I mean anything. Goodnight Maleficent,"

"Goodnight, Diaval,"

She watched him leave and sank down into the buttery leather of the sofa, allowing herself to groan a little as her spine throbbed with the movement. There wasn't much to do anyway, nothing she couldn't handle. She sighed as she looked upon the endless garden, the pond shining in the midnight moonlight. Her eyes fell onto the cottage that sat just outside of the great iron fence, and she noticed that the lights inside the cottage were on.

"Strange," she murmured to herself. Nobody had lived in that cottage since she could remember. Maleficent prayed that they would gain no irritating neighbours in weeks to come. She wasn't the sociable businesswoman she used to be.

Maleficent rose from the sofa slowly, leaning on her blackwood cane for support. She shuffled towards the doorway that fed into the great hall outside the living room, switching the lights off as she went. She skimmed up the stairs, glancing into Diaval's bedroom as she made her way to her own. She smiled to herself as she saw him passed out, still fully clothed, on top of his bed. She closed the door to his room quietly, careful not to disturb him.

Standing alone in the vast abyss that was her bedroom, Maleficent stared at herself in the mirror. Her semi-hunched posture, her knuckled white from clutching a cane all day, her face pale and her eyes dark, she was not who she used to be. No trace of the person she had left behind on the side of the road could be spotted through all the layers of pain. She smiled to herself pitifully as she slipped into her bed. Yes, these days she was quite a sight to be seen, but she was a sight only to be ever seen by a few. She couldn't face the world clothed in all this pain. She didn't want to add another crack into something that was already breaking. Maleficent closed her eyes and tossed and turned as she was sucked into a world of bittersweet dreams and endless nightmares. But nothing, nothing, could predict the events of the day about to come.