Author's Notes: Hey all! Discovered both Z-O-M-B-I-E-S and the Descendants trilogy while stuck in quarantine, and now I can't get them out of my head. This meant that they kind of naturally fell together in my imagination, and what you see is the result. I'm brand new to this fandom so if I make egregious mistakes in character personalities please let me know. I am also unable at this point to access Z-O-M-B-I-E-S-2 so I am not comfortable in pulling much from that story (& its characters) over into this fanfic. At least not yet. But hopefully soon-ish! Anywho, I hope you enjoy! Constructive criticism is always welcomed.
Disclaimer: All characters contained within belong to Disney. I'm just shuffling them around for amusement.
"Imagine it, guys," Zed gushed as he wove through the press of the crowd of teenagers. "Welcome signs everywhere, meeting the Student Body President – the prince himself, learning in actual classrooms. This year is going to be great!"
There's a snort of derision behind them that Zed ignores even as one of his best friends, Eliza, rolls her eyes at what she sees is Zed's naive exuberance. "They're humans, Zed, ergo – spiteful, vindictive, crazy, and absurdly pale. But welcoming? Never."
"Oh, come on, Eliza, show a little faith," Zed countered with a grin. "They can't be all that bad." His other best friend, Bonzo, who towered over everyone, nodded enthusiastically beside him.
"Zombies," a feminine voice muttered with disgust from behind them.
Zed glanced back to see a girl with vibrant purple hair with dark blue streaks rolling her eyes in obvious disbelief and amusement.
"Can't believe they're letting No Brains in," a tall boy with long dark hair standing just behind her agreed with a smirk of contempt.
Eliza came to a full-on halt at the slur and whirled on the teens, fury radiating from the tips of her curly green hair to the toes of her orthopedic boots. "Who the hell do you think –" Zed and Bonzo cut her off before things turned ugly by grasping her arms and hauling her back around. "Don't mess with Enchanteds, Eliza," Zed said under his breath. Fighting off their hold with a noise of disgust, she stormed ahead along the fence line that was set up between Auradon High's double entrance – each side clearly designated for "Humans" or "Others."
There was a scoff from the Human Side and Zed, the purple-headed girl, and her friends all turned to see an older boy, probably a senior from the look of him, his dark eyes lit with disdain. "All you monsters are alike. And with your collars on, your bark is worse than your bite."
The purple-haired girl leaned close to the metal-wire fence and snapped her jaws at the older boy who jumped back in fright. She grinned, her eyes flashing maliciously. "Spineless humans," she mocked. "Take down your metal and magic cages and let's go a few rounds. We'll see whose bite hurts more." Her eyes began to glow a stunning green. There was an immediate reaction to her magic usage from the band she was forced to wear around her wrist, but she'd learned to tolerate this level of pain. She didn't even flinch at it anymore.
"Mal," the dark-blue haired girl beside her chided as the human stumbled back. "Let's not start a fight before we even get through the doors."
"Yeah," a boy with a shock of white hair and dark roots chimed in from behind them. "You gotta at least get into the school before you can get kicked out." The taller boy with long hair laughed and high-fived him.
There was a stirring in the crowd as a member of the Patrol Guard muscled her way through the Other crowd in her gray and black uniform, her face set in strict, no-nonsense lines. "Everything alright over here?" She questioned, her voice hard.
"Everything's fine," a new voice added to the general hubbub as a very petite blonde wiggled her way through the humans and in front of the older human boy. "Everybody's fine, right, Bucky?" She addressed the boy behind her.
"Fine? Fine?" He asked, incredulous. "That girl's eyes –"
"Are gorgeous," the blonde gushed. "I agree."
The girl, Mal, smirked at the blonde's attempts to subdue the situation. "Right back at you, Shorty."
The blonde smiled, her blue eyes lighting up at the compliment. "Thanks, born with them."
"Likewise," Mal returned with a crooked smile, amused, despite herself.
"Fine," the guard muttered, huffing out an irritated breath. "Enough lollygagging. Everyone inside – school's about to start."
Bonzo took a step closer to the guard with a big grin, his arms out wide as he asked a question that sounded like gobbledygook to everyone who wasn't Zombie. Zed jumped in front of his friend, pressing his friend's arms down with a quick, "No, she doesn't want a hug, Bonzo."
Bonzo looked crushed as the guard leaned away from the imposing teen. Mal rolled her eyes.
"Come on, Bucky," the blonde on the Human side of the fence encouraged the older boy as he sputtered in outrage at how the Other kids were getting away with what he obviously had interpreted as an attack of some sort.
"Don't want to be late – First Day of School and all, and you've got cheer tryouts to manage," she persisted with dogged good cheer. The sputtering boy allowed himself to be pushed away and into the building, the blonde turning around once to wave at the assorted group of teens on the Other side. "Welcome to Auradon High!" She called out to the group. Her eyes met Mal's with an apologetic sort of quirk to her lips, her eyes an arresting, vibrant blue before she was swallowed up by the crowd.
Mal frowned. There was something disturbingly familiar about those eyes.
"Who was the chick?" Jay, the tall, dark-haired boy asked of his friends.
"Daughter of the Guard Chief," Evie, the blue-haired girl, responded without hesitation. Evie had a thing for communication and gossip – her networking and general knowledge surpassed them all.
"Best stay clear of her then," Carlos, the fourth member of their group commented.
"Ah," Mal said. "That's what was so familiar about her." Released from the ponderings of the short blonde, the incident already put out of her head, she turned to move into the building to find her way blocked by the tall, lanky zombie Jay had insulted earlier. He was gazing in the direction of where the blonde had disappeared with stars in his eyes.
Mal huffed out an annoyed breath. "Move it or lose it, Veggie Brains," she barked.
Zed started at the sound of her voice, Bonzo pulling him out of the way for Mal and her friends to push past. As they moved toward the doors, signs with arrows greeted them upon their entrance. The one on the left read "Enchanteds" and had an arrow pointing up the staircase to their left. The other sign read "Zombies" and had an arrow pointing down a set of stairs to the right.
Mal and her friends shrugged at each other and proceeded up the stairs as Zed and Bonzo fell into step with Eliza who had waited for them near the entrance, a scowl on her face as she glared after the sharp-mouthed teens ascending to the next floor.
"Come on," Zed murmured. "Don't worry about them. This is a real school – with computer labs, music rooms, sports fields and everything! We finally won't have to learn in some dingy, damp basement anymore. Let's go."
With a sigh Eliza trudged down the stairs with her friends and the rest of their gray-skinned, green-haired zombie cohorts. She glanced dubiously about her as they descended further into the bowels of the school. As they reached a solid metal door at the bottom of the stairs and made their way through Zed stopped short in shock as he looked around him.
"You were saying?" Eliza asked with flat sarcasm.
Zed's shoulders dropped at the gloomy, cement hovel with its scattering of damaged desks beneath the school.
"I told you," Eliza muttered. "Nothing's ever going to change."
"It might not be so bad," Zed tried. "I mean, we're still at school, and there's a teacher here and everything." He pointed toward the gray-skinned man standing at the front of the room who was eyeing the incoming teens with uncertainty and trepidation.
"He's wearing a janitor's uniform."
Zed's smile fell. "Oh."
The door opened up behind them and a severe-looking woman in a pale peach suit marched up to the front of the room, cringing away from the zombie teens.
"I'm Principal Lee," she told them without preamble. "All underage children of the Other Side at the high school level have been granted permission to attend Auradon High upon decree of the King and Queen of Auradon." Her face looked like she'd just bitten into a lemon. "This includes the children of the Enchanted and…you lot." She swiped at a spot on her skirt where it had brushed against a desk, like she was afraid it was contaminated.
"Right," she continued. "As your school records are spotty at best, we have prepared a series of basic skills tests to examine your aptitude and determine where to go from there. Please take a seat. You will begin shortly." She moved to swiftly exit the room but came to a halt as Eliza slid in front of her, arms crossed across her chest.
"There aren't enough seats." Eliza pointed out.
Principal Lee back-peddled from the scowling teen and dodged around her. "An oversight, I'm sure. I'll have someone look into it." She rushed out the door, her heels clacking a quick staccato against the cement flooring.
"Which means 'never,'" Eliza muttered under her breath.
"We'll make do." Zed nudged his friend with his elbow. "We always do."
She looked up at her friend with a flat expression. "We shouldn't have to, Zed. They have more than enough resources to share." She glared at the door separating the zombie teens from the rest of the school. "We'll never be accepted. Face it. Someone needs to rise up – stand up for what's right."
"Bonzo's right." Zed nodded. "Test first, and then you can plan your revolution, General."
Eliza followed her friends with a shake of her head as they made themselves as comfortable as could be on the cement floor, using whatever was at hand for makeshift tables as the janitor handed out their first test packet – English.
There was a rustle of papers across the room as the students diligently began. After a few silent minutes Eliza let out a note of disgust.
"Are they kidding? What kind of moronic joke is this? This is first grade level work!"
Zed shrugged. "Makes it all the easier to pass."
"It's a level of absurdity that borders on the imbecilic, Zed."
"Like I said – easy."
"I think the word you're looking for is insulting," she hissed back.
"Uh," a voice broke into their conversation and the two teens looked up at the janitor who stood hovering at the front of the room. "I don't think there's supposed to be talking during a test."
"Sorry," Zed called and ducked his head back down over his exam. "Let's just finish the test, Eliza. We'll ace it and prove them wrong about us. Every step forward is progress."
Eliza muttered something insulting under her breath in Zombie that had Zed's lips quirking up in a half smile. "This'll be our year, Eliza," he murmured. "It's going to the best one ever."
"If it doesn't kill us all first." She muttered darkly back. "Probably put poison in our food at lunchtime."
Zed smiled weakly back. "Well, they do think we're living corpses and all that. Probably wouldn't think it'd hurt us."
She glared at her friend before diving back into her test, muttering all the while about brainless Humans, arrogant Enchanted kids, and idiotically optimistic friends.
Zed just shook his head, turning back to his own test with a sigh. It was insultingly easy. Like they thought a zombie's brain was as slow as their pulse.
Progress, he told himself. Every day was progress. First, they'd ace their tests, make some new friends at lunch, join some clubs, and pretty soon everyone would realize how wrong they were about the Zombies. How wrong they'd always been. Everyone deserved a chance to be seen for who they were instead of being judged for what they were or where they came from. And he was determined to prove it. Zombies had so much more potential than they were given room to show, and being part of Auradon High opened up doors to possibilities they had only ever been allowed to dream of before.
Yes, he was going to make it his year. Study hard, join the tourney team, hangout with his friends at the local ice cream parlor – he'd heard of this sweet treat but hadn't quite been able to imagine it – and who knew? Maybe he'd fall in love and even bring his girlfriend along with him.
An image of a short blonde with arresting blue eyes and an engaging smile flit across his mind's eye. He quickly pushed the mental picture away in order to concentrate, but not before the thought of her brought a small smile to his face.
It sounded like just a fantasy – even to his mind.
But, hey, crazier things had happened.