Chapter Twenty Three
A/N: I do not own anything other than my OCs when they come out to play. Everything and everyone else belongs to Disney.
Guys, I...I can't believe we're at the penultimate chapter! I seriously can't believe it and I want to thank you guys so much for all your support! You've made this story into my second most reviewed story, following Watch and Learn.
As always, special thanks to AmethystDragon14 for your help with this chapter! You're amazing! :D
LeanneJordan: Yep, sisters with an 's'. Though she probably meant Freddie and Celia, it's safe to say she probably considers Mal a sister too. I love Kitty too, she's one of my favorite OCs. The Smee twins are in fact adorable, this is a fact. How can you not like Chip? :D
Guest: Oh thank you!
Guest: Audrey wouldn't be punished for anything she didn't do yet, she'd only be punished for stealing the scepter and the crown. However in the movie itself, she needed a punishment for...you know...committing a coup!
AliceCullen3: Oh I'm so glad!
medical ranger: Thank you so much! I liked writing the playful banter, it's a lot of fun! You are so welcome, thank you for reading and enjoying the story!
Bananaboat2009: Yeah it's official I want to write one shots of all of these. You keep giving me ideas! :D
Guest: That's a good point, I hadn't considered that it might not even be a genuine apology from Leah.
Jarjaxle: Yeah, that's not going to be the most pleasant reaction...
Creator of Magic: Well as for Huma, I think I can promise them getting together either this story or the next one!
danifan3000: Yeah I honestly think Leah was trying to keep up appearances because after what she said to Audrey, I doubt she'd be by her side. I've never actually seen the Alien vs. Predator movies but I'll take your word for it! :D
Tracie Adams: Oh I'm so glad you liked it!
61394: You know, that's an excellent point. We never do see a lot of the people these kids are descended from...which is why I think it would have worked better as a TV show than a movie.
TheRanger'sDaughter: Hey, everyone's got their limit and Chip's probably reached his. Honestly I think all of the Gods had problems with holding onto grudges, I mean Persephone turned a nymph into a mint plant because Hades liked her and Athena turned someone into a spider because they said they were better than her. Well Aurora and Phillip only banned her in this viewing so it'd make sense Leah would still have control...plus Fairy Godmother's not the brightest bulb on the tree.
Turnabout of the Shadows: I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I have to say I like both options but I do think more likely option B would be the way to go.
Lord of the A.U. Fanfiction: Oh thank you! I do want to write that because it sounds like an interesting premise, I just need some time to sort of plan and nail down everything.
Marcus Emrys: Personally I don't think the barrier should have been completely destroyed because I'm sure there were VKs and villains who still wanted to destroy Auradon. Plus there'd be no jails, what if the villains or someone from Auradon did something evil again? What could Ben do, throw them on the Isle?
AmethystDragon14: Oh yay! I always enjoy your help-and trust me, I agree wholeheartedly with your rant. Mal's a Godling going up against Fairy magic! Maleficent may have been extremely powerful but Audrey who'd only just started using it would not have been!
Roxas Itsuka: Thank you! Yeah Audrey's going to have to work hard to repair any relationships she wants to keep. I really think Uma would have had a bond with her sisters, even if they never shows that in the movies. I think I can manage a few chapters about Hades and Ben getting along.
SnowWhite495: Trust me, I also ship Huma and it was quite frustrating when they never got together in Canon...but that's what fanfiction is for. I agree, Natalie definitely needs another slapping.
OceanBlueSeaEyes: Gotcha! Hey, anger toward Leah is perfectly understandable-I feel it constantly!
lilyflower101: Unfortunately, it's a Disney movie so they had to.
Technobabble1: Had to!
Kaybugg1: Thank you! Well considering we never see Aurora or Phillip throughout the movie, I...have no idea.
Guest: The difference between Audrey and Uma is the fact that a: Uma actually helped save Auradon and therefore was probably granted clemancy for that and b: Audrey well...she committed a coup. Now if you're talking about the Audrey in my story and not the one in the viewing, she had already stolen the crown and the scepter which she'd need to be punished for.
Jeremy: I can see what I can do!
epiiphxny: Thank you! Hey, I love Bal as much as the next girl and was always disappointed with how little we got of it in D3!
Guest: Thank you so much! Uma gets her God from Poseidon-I'm taking from the deleted scene in The Little Mermaid which says that Ursula was Triton's sister. Well going from Greek Mythology, which states that Triton was Poseidon's son, that would have made Poseidon, Uma's grandfather.
ultimatebookworm08: No, they really aren't!
CrystalKaouri: Thank you so much! Honestly, after rewatching that part for this, I really do think Beast felt a little guilty because he seemed to look down and off to the side after Hades said that. Of course then Hades had to immediately challenge him which got Beast's blood boiling and then we had the stare down.
princesswyla06: I'm so glad: The English translation is: Thank the Gods you're alright.
Mata631: That'll be fun to write in the next story is all I'll say to Chad :D
billyandkimfan1994: Trust me I love writing it. Leah should have been served more in my opinion!
Sorceress of Magic: It really was, and I really think Mal and Uma would have enjoyed working together!
Guest: Good point, I guess Ben should have clarified with 'Greek Gods'.
Maybelle Rose: Thank you so much!
I hope you all enjoy this chapter! Let me know what you think! :D
[The next day, a limo arrives in front of Auradon Prep, with about five or six guards rushing to the door. As two of them clear out of the way, Hades hopped out of the car with both his feet shackled together.
"…why is he chained up?" Mal asked, her voice low. Even if her relationship was still rocky with her father, he didn't deserve to be in chains. Especially coming from the Isle where Hadie could have seen that! "He's coming to Auradon as a favor! He's not getting anything in return that I can see! What, just because he's from the Isle, you can't trust that he'll keep his word?"
Smoke began to rise slightly from Mal's head once more, as if she was truly going to copy her father and burst into flames. She was only able to not burst into flames because she remembered the words she had told her father in the last viewing: that going full flame might upset Hadie.
Meanwhile, Ben looked over at Beast, his eyes wide as the gears in his head turned. He wouldn't have told the guards to chain Lord Hades, or at least he wouldn't have been chained unless he hurt one of the guards. But he wasn't the only one his guards answered to…
"Dad…please tell me you didn't…" he whispered.
"I hope at the very least my son didn't witness his father being put in chains!" Persephone snapped, having not heard Ben's whisper. "On top of that, are you leaving him alone on the Isle?!"
"Steph, calm down," Hades said softly, noticing Hadie starting to shake slightly. "Hadie…come 'ere."
"I'm fine, dad," Hadie said softly, his lips barely moving. There was no way he was okay with the idea of his dad being in chains, with the idea of being left completely alone on the Isle for the first time in his life. Uma wasn't on the Isle either so it wasn't like he'd have any family to turn to. But he was a VK, VKs didn't just run into their father's arms.
Not to mention…seeing the smoke come from Mal's head reminded him too much of seeing his dad yell at Ben during the second viewing. VKs may not get scared but somethings you couldn't help.
"I got him," Mal said softly, giving their dad a small smile as she pulled Hadie toward her. She frowned slightly as Hadie flinched away before accepting the hug.
"Dad, tell me you didn't okay this," Ben said again, looking at Beast. "Because I know for a fact it wouldn't have been me or Mal and I'm sorry but I highly doubt it would have been mom."
"Ben…son…I don't know know if I did or didn't approve this," Beast said, taking off his glasses. "This hasn't happened yet, not to mention it was done off screen. The guards could have acted on their own regard."
And if I did okay that, it was for the best. Even if he is Mal's father, he's still a high security risk and you're my son. I'm not going to let you be unprotected Ben, he thought.
"Then they should be fired! As Mal said, Lord Hades is there to do us a favor and they should have more respect fo their future Queen's father! Not to mention they most likely scared the living daylights out of a child! Dad, this hasn't even happened yet and Hadie's already shaking!"
"Ben, dear, calm down," Belle said gently. "We can't fire the guards for something that hasn't happened yet. I'm as furious as you are, believe me, and if your father did do this, I'll be having a private talk with him, right Adam?"
"I'm fine King Ben," Hadie said softly.
"It's okay Hadie," Mal said gently. "We're not on the Isle anymore. You don't have to act tough. We can all see that it couldn't have been an easy thing no matter how quickly dad probably shooed you out of the room."
"Mal, why would they do that?" Hadie asked softly. "Dad was coming to help you. I…I didn't think help needed chains…"
"I don't know storm cloud because you're right…help doesn't need chains. But dad's fine. You can see him in this room, no chains. What's on the screen hasn't happened yet and by the look on Ben's face, it won't. It's okay."
Ben watched Mal try to comfort Hadie and sighed softly. "Dad, please. I need you to tell me you didn't okay this."
"I don't know why we're all trying to deny the possibility. After all, 'lock 'em up and throw away the key' is Beast's MO," Hades spoke up.
"There's no proof of that," Beast told him.
"Oh so you didn't throw all the villains on an Isle and then never provide any aid, medical assistance or decent food?" Hades shot back. "I know the food thing was apparently that Leah woman but you were in charge for how long and you didn't check in on that? The only good thing that Isle did was allow me to have my daughter. There's a whole Isle of proof Beastie!"
"Lord Hades, we are working to improve conditions on the Isle," Ben said but turned to Beast "Dad…these are kids! By your logic, that kids should be punished for the crimes of their parents, should I be punished because you kidnapped mom and held her as her prisoner?"
"Ben!" Belle exclaimed.
"Benny's growing a spine it seems," Harry muttered to Uma, who nodded slightly.
"The correct answer is no by the way," Ben said as Beast opened his mouth. "Dad we wouldn't be dealing with the ramifications of the Isle to this day if you hadn't set it up in the first place! The only good thing the Isle has done is allow me to meet my fiancee and her friends when I invited them off it! An act, which I recall, you were opposed."
Ben sighed and shook his head in exasperation.
"Ben…it's okay," Mal said softly, grabbing his hand with her free hand. "Well…not the chains but that hasn't happened yet. I don't want you losing your relationship with your dad over this. If nothing else, he's your father."
Ben sighed. "Mal, even if this viewing never happened, I'm not exactly the most forgiving toward my father right now. Remember, he agreed with the plan to close the barrier forever."
"Ben, it's your father," Mal said softly. "At the very least, don't put your mom in a position where she has to choose sides between the two of you. I know what it's like…to lose years with your parent because of a fight. Just…just think about it Ben. Now, I'd love to keep this conversation going but I have a shaking eleven year old boy by my side who still hasn't figured out we're not on the Isle and he doesn't have to act tough."
"Take care of your brother Mal. He matters more than I do right now."
"Ben, you will always matter to me," Mal said gently before turning back to Hadie. "Hadie, it's okay. If you want to sit with dad, I'm not going to blame you. No one will blame you. You don't have to act tough. Especially not for dad—he was the one who motioned for you to join him when he saw you shaking. Go on."
Hadie bit his lip. "Mal, Uma, Gil and Harry are sitting right there. I know you're friendly with them now but at some point we're going back to the Isle. I'd rather not be a target for the Warf Rats by running to dad because I got scared."
"Hadie, if Harry or his Rats touch you, he and I will be having a very serious talk. Go on. I know you want to be with dad…and if anyone says anything, I can easily turn into a dragon and scare 'em straight."
Hadie bit his lip before finally scurrying off toward their father.
Hades opened his arms and wrapped them around his son. "Hey, it's okay," he whispered. "I'm fine—and what's on screen will not happen because they're crazy if they think I'm going to let you be on the Isle by yourself. I'll bring you with if that's what it'll take."
"But you didn't do anything," Hadie said softly.
"Don't worry about it okay?"
"Hadie, it's okay. I promise."
Hadie bit his lip. "You're sure?"
"Promise," Hades said, lightly kissing his head.
Hadie smiled slightly at his father's words. "Okay. If you say so dad."
Hades gave his son a sad smile at that. "Trust me Hadie. It's going to be fine. I think your mother and sister would fry anyone who tried to make that happen this time."
Hadie gave a weak laugh at that, causing Hades to smile slightly. He loved hearing his son laugh, even if it was a weak one.
"Alright, let's get to the rest of this huh?"
Zeus and Poseidon watched the exchange between the father and son with sad smiles and heavy hearts. This was their brother, one of the Big Three, needing to comfort his son because mortals thought it necessary to chain a God.
As the scene cuts back to Audrey's dorm, we see Beast pacing as Ben and Mal stood at the foot of Audrey's bed.
"I'm sorry but why does it look like Beast is pacing like a nervous father?" Eugene whispered to Aladdin.
"More importantly…where are Audrey's parents?" Aladdin whispered back.
Leah was in Evie's spot,
"What are you doing there?!" Aurora exclaimed.
"Nope, I don't want to hear it. Not after all your lies and tricks. What could you have done to make it so I am not by my daughter's side?!"
"Aurora, honestly. You're acting like I'm some criminal mastermind—"
"That's because you are."
Chip shook his head, rubbing his temples as he glared at Leah. "What do you have over Fairy Godmother, Belle and Adam? On what planet would you ever be allowed anywhere near Audrey after all the crap you've pulled?!"
"…you okay teacup?" Lucas asked, hesitantly putting a hand on his boyfriend's shoulder.
"I like him," Hades grinned.
"Oh Gods," Ben sighed. "Chip, don't let Leah rile you."
"And why not?!"
"Because she's not worth it," Mal said softly.
sitting by her granddaughter's side as Fairy Godmother sat in the spot previously held by Mal with Belle by her side. A light knock on the door drew their attention and Beast quickly rushed to open it
"So…am I the only one wondering why there's not an attendant or something to open the door?" Rowyn asked.
"The fewer people who know, the less likely it'll spread around the kingdom," Rachel told her.
"Chances are we already know though. I mean there was a news report. Not to mention, secret meeting or not, you really think the former King is going to be opening a door on his own?"
"If the person on the other side of that door is a God?"
before pausing and slowly getting out of the way as Hades was led in and Mal walked slowly toward him.]
"Thank you for coming," Mal told him, her hands folded behind her back.
"Didn't have much choice," Hades responded.
Despite the tension both on the screen and in the room, Ben couldn't help but smile slightly as he saw Mal's dragon hair accessory. It was a weird thing to notice but he did. It was…it was just pure Mal.
"We wouldn't have forced you," Belle said softly.
"Didn't have much choice because my daughter was the one asking me," Hades elaborated. "You don't ask for favors on the Isle after all because you end up owing someone something. For Mal to ask for a favor…"
Audrey looked over at Mal in shock. After everything she did to her, for Mal to go against what sixteen years of teaching would have told her...
"Well of course she did," Leah scoffed. "After all her family did to mine, why shouldn't Mal ask for a favor?"
"Okay let's clear up one thing," Mal stated, glaring at Leah. "It will be a cold day in the Underworld before I do anything for you, Lady Leah. Audrey and Queen Aurora, I'd gladly do a favor for because they aren't the spawn of unholy demons disguised as kindly grandmothers!"
"Mal..." Ben said softly, resting a hand on her shoulder. "Remember what you said to Chip."
"Right...what was that again?"
"Can you wake her?" Ben asked, walking up to the God and his future father in law.
"In my sleep," Hades smirked.
"Since when do heroes care about villains?" Hades shot back with a small tilt of his head as he looked over at Ben.
"You know, that could be less a question as to why Ben cares about Audrey after what she did and more a question about why Ben's dating Mal," Rose said softly.
"One of your own," Hades said and then chuckled slightly as both Ben and Mal looked over at him.
"One of my best friends," Ben said softly. "One who had been hurting and who tried to reach out and I missed the signs."
"I missed them too Ben," Mal told him gently.
"We all did," Akiho muttered.
"Right. When you guys try to destroy the world...it's an error in judgement but when it's one of us...lock them up and throw away the key."
Belle sighed, a pain in her heart as she heard those words. Hades was right after all...no matter the fact that the villains had committed crimes against them, it would be hypocritical for them to just forgive Audrey. The viewing Audrey she meant, not the Audrey before them.
He looked over at Beast who seemed to be looking down slightly in regret. "Right, Beast?"
Beast looked up and glared slightly at him as Belle hung her head in the background. Hades sighed and raised his arms, causing the guards he was with to quickly move to restrain him as Mal stepped back in shock and Beast moved forward slightly as if to protect Mal.
Hades looked over at Beast and glared slightly. "Okay, let's get one thing straight. I may be a villain in your eyes, I may be trapped on that Gods forsaken Isle but I would never harm Mal."
"And what about Ben?" Belle asked, speaking up as she looked over at the God.
"Only if he hurts Mal," Hades said simply.
"And that would never happen," Ben assured him.
"Good. I'm not Maleficent. I won't punish a kid because their parents wronged me."
"The Fates said you'd be the cause of my failing at my eighteen year plan to rule the Cosmos. My hatred of your father for sticking me with the Underworld gig was unrelated to my turning you mortal," Hades told his nephew.
"Yeah. I'm gonna need to use my hands," Hades told them, looking slightly shocked at the reaction. Mal and Beast looked over at Ben, as if waiting for an answer to an unasked question.
"It's like they remembered he's the King or something," Emma muttered.
Ben looked over at Mal and gave a small nod in return.
"Well thank you for the permission to do the thing you asked me to do," Hades muttered, rolling his eyes.
Mal turned back to Hades as the guards quickly unshackled his hands and Hades shook out his wrist before holding out his hand to Mal. Mal slowly placed the ember into Hades' waiting palm and Hades' hair lit up bright blue.
"That red haired guard looks almost impressed," Herkie chuckled.
"You're part God, it'd be almost common place to you but most mortals rarely get to see the Gods at work," Macaria told her little brother.
"Haven't lost my touch," Hades told Mal after sighing a little and shaking out presumably any cobwebs that might have occurred from twenty years of lack of use. He chuckled slightly before turning to Beast, staring him down, the guards moving slightly as if to be ready to restrain Hades if needed.
Ben sighed at seeing the guards move slightly but this time he couldn't blame them. If his father got hurt…he may have been annoyed at his father but Ben didn't want any harm to come to him.
Both of them began to growl softly, as if challenging each other for dominance.
"So…is no one going to comment that Lord Hades' growl sounds like a platypus?" Emir asked softly.
"The former King and a God are having a stare down and that's the thing you focus on?" Aziz shook his head.
"Dad!" Mal said firmly and Hades backed off, shrugging a little. He walked over to the foot of Audrey's bed and Mal made her way over to Ben's side, gently moving him out of the way. Belle looked over at Beast in worry, her arm wrapped around his. Hades sighed and began to wave his hand over Audrey's bed, the room becoming encased in a blue glow as Mal and Ben looked on in shock.
"This may be a weird thing to notice but…you all couldn't have put socks on Audrey's feet?"
"You're right, that is a weird thing to notice."
Hades continued to wave the ember as Leah backed away from Audrey, everyone continuing to look on in shock and amazement. With one final wave of his hand, Hades got Audrey to sit up and everyone gasped as Audrey opened her eyes.
Mal's hands flew to her mouth as Ben's eyes grew wide in astonishment.
"Audrey!" Leah gasped, resting her hands on Audrey's shoulders.
"Get. Your. Hand. Off. Of. My. Daughter."
"Honestly Aurora," Leah shook her head.
Uma looked over at Audrey. "So…can we start taking bets about how much therapy you're gonna need in the future?"
"Hey!" Melody exclaimed. "Before, when Audrey was asleep here, Leah said that no one loved Audrey more than her which was why she should be the one to do True Love's Kiss. Since Audrey's still asleep on screen, does that mean Leah doesn't love Audrey so True Love's Kiss didn't work or does that mean they didn't even try it?"
"My money's on the first one," Elle told her sister. "With Audrey slipping away, time would be of the essence so they probably tried it while waiting for Great-Great Uncle Hades."
Mal looked over at Hades, who tossed the ember in his hand as his hair went back to normal.
"Show off," Mal chuckled softly.
"No thanks to you! You know I honestly envy people who haven't met you, I wish I could be one of them!"
"Are you defending Audrey?"
"Of course not but you think I'm going to let an excuse to go after Leah to to waste?"
"Watch your tone! Honestly Kit, I'd have thought you'd raise your daughter better," Leah sniffed.
"I've been called worse things by better people," Kitty shot back.
"And Leah? You seem to be mistakenly under the impression that we're of the same rank," Kit said. "While I do raise my children to respect their elders and all people regardless of rank, if they're not shown the same respect in return, why should they show you any Lady Leah?"
Fairy Godmother held her hand to her chest as she stood up in shock, looking at Hades before looking over at Leah and Audrey. Beast still stared at Hades, as if making sure the God wasn't going to try anything.
"Why are you all looking at me like that? I did the thing you asked me to do!" Hades exclaimed. "Unlike some people in this room, I keep my side of my deals."
"Tell me Wonderbreath, does this sound familiar? 'You like making deals. Take me in Meg's place'." Hades said with an eye roll. "Spend much time in the Underworld have you?"
"Tell me it was all a bad dream," Audrey whispered as she looked at Ben and Mal.
"I could but that would be lying so I shan't." Neal nodded.
"I wish I could," Ben told her and Leah gently rested a hand on Audrey's back. "But, it's over now," he said as he looked over at Hades who scoffed in annoyance.
"…no it's not," Harriet said. "She'd still need a trial."
"And you know, we shouldn't forget that this all started because she was upset that her ex boyfriend got engaged to someone else," Sammy spoke up. "I know that's not what we know but the viewing never gave a reason other than that."
Audrey got up and moved closer to Mal and Ben.
"My dad gets shackled but she's free to get as close to the future Queen as she wants," Hadie muttered.
"I'm sorry," she whispered again. "I wanted to hurt you both."
Mal stared back at Audrey while Ben looked down at the ground.
Chip sighed softly as he saw Ben's onscreen persona look at the ground. Honestly, his surrogate little brother needed a better poker face!
"I wanted to hurt all of you," Audrey continued, her voice now at a normal level but laced with tears.
"And this is a very nice confession, one that should be used at her trial," Kitty nodded.
Beast copied his son by looking down at the ground while Belle looked at Audrey with concern.
Audrey couldn't help the small smile that came to her lips as she saw Belle look at her in concern. "I…I guess I'm no longer stuck up or self absorbed huh?"
"I am…so sorry I said that," Belle sighed, hearing Audrey's comment. "I wasn't much older than you when I was dealing with adults talking about me behind my back for my love of reading. Even if it was what I thought, I should have kept them inside."
"Thank you Belle," Audrey said softly. Even if she didn't deserve the apology…it was nice to hear.
Mal stepped forward and gently took Audrey's hand. "I have owed you an apology for...a very long time now," she told her. Audrey gave Mal a weak smile at that.
"Question. Why do you owe her an apology?" Uma asked.
Mal sighed. "Okay so when Evie, Carlos, Jay and I came to Auradon, Maleficent gave us a mission to get Fairy Godmother's wand so we could take down the barrier and you know, let all the villains run rampant throughout Auradon. We tried multiple things, they all failed. Until Ben let slip that the wand was going to be used at his coronation and that only his girlfriend and his parents would be in the front row. Close enough to grab it."
"His girlfriend, at the time, was Audrey," Jay told her. "So we may have made a love potion cookie to get Mal to be Ben's girlfriend instead."
"We did not expect though that Ben would break up with Audrey in front of not only our school but the rival Tourney team's school as well," Mal said, taking back the explanation. "There was a big song and dance number. Completely ridiculous."
"…do they know what Maleficent would have done to you four if you failed?"
"It was heavily implied. I still owe Audrey an apology though and for not being able to see what Leah was putting her through. I came from the Isle, Uma. I know what certain parents put their kids through."
"Why does Maleficent have a love potion in her spell book?" Hades asked. "Maleficent, Ms. Love is Weakness? And why does it make cookies?"
"Thank you!" Kristoff exclaimed. "That's what I've been wondering for the past three viewings!"
"And so have I," Ben said, stepping forward. Audrey's weak smile seemed to get stronger at hearing those words.
"…you what now?!"
Emir rubbed his temples while Akiho stared at Ben and Mal with his jaw dropped.
"She did all that and you two just apologize to her?!" Emir exclaimed.
"Ben, what is this? What are you doing? Explain yourself," Chip said, shaking his head. "You can't even call that a slap on the wrist let alone a punishment!"
"An apology?! She put you through hell, she cursed Mal, she shoved Chad in a closet and almost killed Mal and Celia! On what planet does she deserve an apology?!" Kitty exclaimed.
"No Ben! She. Said. She. Wanted. To. Hurt. You!"
"And she apologized for that," Ben said simply.
Kitty rubbed her temples and looked over at Chip. "I now understand you so much better. Identify morons and then yell at them."
"I shall teach you my ways," Chip nodded. "It should be better for my blood pressure anyway."
Lucas sighed. "If we ever have kids, I'm teaching them about how to walk away from a situation like this."
"You're talking kids and you haven't even proposed?" Chip smirked. Lucas shook his head before giving Chip a tender kiss.
Hades looked over at his daughter and future son in law with a raised eyebrow. "If you two are having difficulty in deciding a punishment, I would be quite happy in suggesting some."
Uma shook her head. "Honestly. Uncle Hades had a point. We do something wrong, we're given life sentences. If you all do something wrong, they get an apology even when they said they wanted to hurt you!"
"Oh and what punishment did you get in the second viewing for cursing Ben and escaping the Isle?" Mal asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Will you stop bringing that up?! It's in the future that'll never happen!"
Mal sighed. "That being said, we can't just do nothing Ben. I know you want to help her but there's a difference between helping her and letting her off scot free. She did steal the scepter and the crown after all."
"My brother would be an impartial judge," Hades pointed out. "As well he is the God of Law so really he'd know the best punishment for the crime and I doubt anyone would argue with his decision."
Hades shot a glare at Leah and Natalie.
"Thank you brother," Zeus said softly and Hades shrugged.
"They've got to do something with her otherwise they'll be seen as the type of rulers who just don't give punishments. That is a recipe for them getting over thrown especially since this right here is a coup. Take it from me, kinda tried to throw one."
"And the happy family feeling's gone," Poseidon sighed.
"I'm French. As my dad likes to say, we're kinda used to that," Ben said in a deadpan tone.
"Ben!" Belle scolded.
"May I just point out that this entire viewing where Audrey did anything wrong is in the future. She hasn't done it yet. No one else got punished for their future actions as is the rule in this room," Leah said, her voice hard.
"Oh yeah right!" Emir exclaimed. "I'm pretty sure breaking into the museum, stealing the Queen's Crown and Maleficent's scepter and breaking that light was done in the past! Meaning she's done it already! That alone is worth punishment!"
"It's not Audrey's fault if she was driven to passion for her feelings of disappointment," Leah sniffed.
"Ben has the right to make his own choice in who he dates," Emir countered.
Mal turned to Ben. "Did you ever officially break up with Audrey or was it just the song you did after that Tourney game in front of not only our school but the other team's as well?"
"No he did not for your information?"
"Was I asking you?" Mal asked, glaring at Leah.
"Even if you weren't, it's still the answer you're going to get. If you ask me this engagement is a farce!"
"Lady Leah, I will not tolerate you talking to my fiancee like that nor do I think Lord Hades wold appreciate you talking to his daughter in that tone," Ben warned.
Leah opened her mouth but Aurora cut her off. "Honestly. They're kids, they're not going to marry the first person they date. And more importantly, if you hadn't somehow been able to manipulate Audrey, this whole mess wouldn't have happened!"
"And perhaps," Leah spoke up as Mal turned to look at her, "I have owed you one, too."
"Yes you have. Where is it?" Carlos muttered.
"Carlos," Mal sighed.
Mal stared at Leah in slight shock as Ben's eyebrows raised though they were hidden by his hair. Leah gave Mal a small curtsey which Mal returned, Ben giving Mal a loving smile all the while. Beast waved his hand and the guards moved.
"Adam!" Belle sighed and shook her head. "What if Mal wanted to talk to her father? Or what if Ben wanted to thank him for coming and saving Audrey? What if Audrey wanted to thank him?"
"Also, why do the guards listen to anyone who's not Benny boy over there?" Harry asked. "Seems kinda weird having two people the guards listen to."
"Are you implying I'd throw a coup against my own son?" Beast exclaimed.
"Didn't need to. You just put the implication in everyone's head," Harry smirked.
"Oh, yeah," Hades said and then scoffed as the guards began to lead him out of Audrey's room. The attendants moved out of the way as Hades was led into the hall. Mal watched as her father was led out before quickly following him out, Ben moving to follow her.
Mal gave him a small smile as she kissed his cheek. "This'll be something I'll need to do on my own," she told him.
"If you need me, I'll be there at your side," Ben promised.
The guards continued to lead Hades out of the hall and back to the car that would take him back to the Isle of the Lost.
"Dad!" Mal's voice called, causing them all to pause as Hades looked back at Mal. Hades walked forward and two of the guards reached out to restrain him before looking back at Mal, as if unsure of what to do next.
"Oh come on! He's going to talk to his daughter!" Emir exclaimed.
"Stop treating him like a criminal when he hasn't done anything to earn that!" Akiho nodded.
"Don't. Say. A. Word," Emir glowered at the blonde.
"I'm gonna have to miss you all over again," Mal said, her voice catching slightly with unshed tears.
No you're not Mal, Ben thought as he held her close to him. He didn't care how long it would take, he'd make it so she could see her dad whenever she wanted.
"Thanks for a glimpse of the sun," Hades told her, giving Mal a small smile.
Mal walked forward and gave Hades a gentle kiss on the cheek. He turned to leave, the guards holding his arms all the while. As they all turned, he opened his hand to give the ember back to Mal who took it in her hand. She watched as the guards led Hades off, her father giving her another small smile as they turned the corner.
Mal stared at the screen in shock as she realized what her dad was saying by giving her the ember. No matter what, she'd be his daughter. No matter what, he'd provide for her. Even if she tried to shut him out, he'd be there for her.
Before she could stop herself, she walked over to Hades and, just like her onscreen counterpart, gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek.
"I love you dad," she whispered to him.
"Love you too Mali," Hades whispered back. "Thanks for my glimpse of the sun."
"You'll get more than a glimpse this time. I promise," Mal told him as she went to go sit back by Ben.
"I told you she still cared about you," Persephone said softly, looking at Hades.
Mal looked down at the ember before holding it tightly in her hand, breathing deeply as if trying to stem the tears that were threatening to fall. She gave a soft, watery chuckle as she held the ember close to her heart.
Ben frowned as he saw his fiancee crying in the hallway alone. He should have been there with her, or at least come out after he stopped hearing Lord Hades' voice.
The scene changed to what was presumably Ben and Mal's engagement party, as a group of people were milling around the area by the bridge to the Isle.
"Look at you! That color!"
Evie stepped forward
"Looking amazing as always E," Mal said softly.
"There they are," she said softly as she gave a small smile at seeing Ben and Mal walk out to cheers, holding up their hands in recognition of their guests. Everyone gave a bow or a curtsey as the couple greeted everyone.
Ben couldn't help the small smile at seeing Chad bow. Not because he took pleasure at seeing his friends subject themselves to him but because it looked as though Chad was on the mend to becoming his regular self again.
"Get. Your. Ass. Away. From. My. Brother!"
"Which one is Kitty angry at? Audrey or Leah?" Alexandria muttered to Lucy as the eldest Charming daughter glared at the two Roses.
"Safest best is to say both of them," Lucy muttered back.
"Katherine!" Kit warned.
"Hi," Evie said softly.
Mal smiled softly and gave a small curtsey to Elle who curtseyed back.
"You didn't have to do that," Elle shook her head.
"You're my cousin," Mal said. "And you're a Princess and an heir to your throne. You technically outrank me."
"You're the future Queen of Auradon and the daughter of Lord Hades. Pretty sure we're on equal footing ranking wise."
"Mal doesn't curtsey," Jay said. "It's pretty much like Leah not being a horrible person. In fact I think Mal curtseys more than Leah's been a decent person."
"Accept the curtsey is what Jay's saying," Uma told her.
Mal and Ben ascended the stairs to the balcony area, everyone still applauding wildly. Ben and Mal met Beast and Belle at the top, Beast giving a small bow of his head before patting Ben on the shoulder as the two moved to stand by the railing.
Sammy couldn't help but smile as she saw her twin brothers in their formal wear. Even though they looked the same as they did in their regular clothes, they still managed to look adorable.
"Lady Mal and I want to thank you for celebrating our engagement with us today." Ben said before looking over at Mal. "I couldn't be prouder or happier to call you my Queen."
"Careful Ben, if you keep being so sweet, people are going to start thinking you're in love with me," Mal teased him.
"What could I have possibly ever done to make you or anyone else think that I'm not?" Ben asked in astonishment.
"So…" Ben said after a minute of silence, "raise your our future Queen of Auradon!"
"So does Mal not get any punch?" Squirmy asked softly.
"To our Queen of Auradon!" Everyone called out and took a sip of their punch.
"Speech, Your Special-ness." Carlos called.
"Woof," Mal shook her head in amusement.
"I said 'Speech' not 'Speak'," Carlos chuckled, Rodger and Anita smiling in amusement.
"Speech, Your Fancy One." Jay added, holding up his cup and causing the crowd around him to laugh. Mal and Ben also laughed before everyone quieted down to hear if Mal was going to give a speech. Mal remained silent as everyone continued to stare at her, Ben lovingly but everyone else almost expectantly.
"So…you gonna talk soon or are we just going to stare at you?" Ashaki asked.
Evie looked over at Carlos, unsure as to what was happening, while Audrey looked over at Leah.
"Well this silence has just crossed into the awkward territory," Lil Shang muttered.
As the seconds ticked by, Ben looked back at the crowd; a look of unsure panic crossing his face almost as if he didn't know if Mal was going to run.
Mal looked over at Ben and gently gave his hand a squeeze. "I may not like being the center of attention Ben, but I promise you I would not run from us. Not again."
"I can't," Mal said, finally breaking her silence as Ben looked back at her and the crowd gasped in alarm. Evie looked on in concern, looking back to Jay who clearly had not seen Mal's statement coming.
"But…you made plenty of mini speeches to us in the first viewing," Jay said, looking over at Mal.
"I don't think that's what I mean," Mal said softly.
Ben looked on in concern and alarm as Mal continued. "I can't be Queen of Auradon."
"Mal." Ben whispered as he looked around, resting a hand on her's and looking at her in concern.
"This may just be me but that might be something you talk to your fiancé about before you're in front of the kingdom," Jacob said, his voice soft as he looked at the two in concern.
"I can't turn my back on the Isle," Mal whispered as she turned to look at Ben.
"I won't turn my back on the Isle," Mal said, looking over at her brother, the woman who was practically a mother to her, and her father. Her cousin and her first mate, the boy who was practically another brother to Mal.
Belle looked like she understood while Beast stared in confusion as the crowd still seemed concerned. Mal turned back to the waiting crowd. "We made a decision...to close the barrier forever."
"But considering it was a stupid ass decision, we've all elected to ignore it," Akiho nodded.
Dizzy and the Smee twins looked on in alarm at that, as if that wasn't information they'd been made aware of. Squeaky and Squirmy looked over at Dizzy.
"You don't have to worry though," Ava told Dizzy, giving her cousin a small smile. "That won't happen."
Lady Tremaine scoffed slightly. "I'll believe it when I see it."
"Lady Mal's given us no reason to doubt her, Grandmother," Ava said.
"And it was my idea," Mal continued as Fairy Godmother looked up at her. "But it's wrong."
"You made up for it though Mal," Ben said softly.
Evie looked at her with a proud smile as Mal continued to speak. "I've learned...that you can't live in fear...because it doesn't actually protect you from anything."
"Um…debatable," Phillip Jr. said softly.
"My mother and father lived twelve years in fear because of Morgana," Melody said softly. "But it didn't protect me from her."
"Leah and Stefan sent me away because they were afraid but I was still put under Maleficent's curse," Aurora stated.
"An entire generation of children was subjected to the Isle because you lot were afraid of their parents," Harry pointed out. "And Maleficent still tried to take over."
"I hate when he has a point," Harriet sighed.
Carlos looked on as Mal gave a small chuckle, nodding slightly and giving his friend a small half smile as if to encourage her to keep going.
"You never know where the bad is gonna come from. And you never know where the heroes are gonna come from either. Without Uma and her pirates, Auradon would be gone."
Uma and Harry looked over at Mal and gave her a small smile, which Mal returned.
Mal looked to her right as Jay nodded slightly.
"And without Hades…" Mal continued as Ben looked down slightly, "my father…"
The crowd gasped once more upon hearing the news.
"Are we just pretending that we didn't already know or something?" Akiho asked.
"Possibly for the new VKs?" Emir ventured.
Ben looked over his shoulder as Belle looked at Beast in shock. Evie looked at Mal in surprise, as if not knowing where her friend was going but wanting to support her no matter what.
"...Audrey would be gone."
"And we didn't run screaming when we saw her?" Lucy asked. "I mean the last time we all saw her and we were at a party, she was putting us under a sleeping curse! What, just because her clothes are lighter and her hair's different, we're just supposed to assume she's herself again?"
"I thought Kitty would be the one to say that," Alexandria said.
"I think she's seething over the fact that Audrey's just standing there and able to go to the party after everything," Neal stated.
"What makes you say that?"
"Because that's what Akiho, Emir, and Chip are doing."
"Of course he is," Lucas sighed.
Audrey looked down as everyone turned to look at her, Jay looking over in concern as Chad looked at Audrey before looking back up at Mal.
"We are all capable of good and bad, no matter which side of the barrier we come from," Mal stated as Ben gave her a small smile. "And that's why I can't be Queen of just Auradon. I have to be Queen of the Isle, too," she continued as she turned to face Ben, resting her hand on his forearm. "And it's time that we take the barrier down forever."
"Well I mean the Isle is part of Auradon so really…wait did you just say what I think you just said?"
"Mal, quick, turn into a dragon before we completely lose Ben," Emir chuckled as a face splitting grin began to grow on Ben's face.
"I think he's more happy about that than the VKs are," Harry chuckled.
"Though…doesn't that mean Freddy and Zevon would be off the Isle too?" Gil spoke up.
Mal snarled. "The day Fred Frollo leaves the Isle in anything but a body bag is the day I start wearing pink!"
She shook her head and tried to calm herself down. "Okay, so obviously we can't instantly take down the barrier. What if we start to put measures in place so that we can bring the barrier down permanently but still bring over the kids who deserve Auradon?"
"And who are you to make that choice?" Uma asked, no anger or resentment in her voice. Just curiosity.
"I wouldn't," Mal said. "We'd have a representative. And I think I know who I'd recommend for it."
She glanced over at Persephone with a small smile.
Ben looked at Mal in loving shock, almost as if he couldn't believe that what Mal had said was real.
"Well you don't need to give him a wedding present," Emir smiled.
"Yeah, you just gave Ben the best possible gift you could have ever given him," Akiho nodded.
"We can't do that," Beast told them.
"I'm sorry but who is this 'we' you're talking about?" Meg asked. "This is the third time you've undermined King Ben's ability to lead in these viewings. It almost seems as though you've forgotten that you've passed on the crown. You. Don't. Have. Any. Power. In. This. Scenario."
"Knew there was a reason why I still like you, nut-Meg," Hades smirked.
"It's up to us, Dad," Ben said, turning to look at his father as Mal gave him a loving smile of her own.
"Ooh nice one!" Uma smirked. "You know, I might be pushing my luck mentioning the previous viewing but you wouldn't be out of line if you reminded certain people that you are the King, Benny, like you did in that viewing."
Fairy Godmother looked over at the former royals in alarm. Ben looked back at Mal who gave him another loving smile. Ben smiled and looked at the crowd, resting a hand on the small of Mal's back.
"Honestly what's so alarming about that? Didn't Lord Hades just help Auradon?" Carlos asked.
"I choose to be a King who moves forward," he told the guests. "It's time for forgiveness.
Beast didn't show it but he couldn't help but feel an internal wince as the Ben on the screen looked at his onscreen counterpart after saying that. It was almost as if that comment had been directed at him.
It's time for new beginnings. The barrier will come down!"
"You know, I think that's the first time you've used your 'kingly' voice," Chip said with a small chuckle.
"Yes!" Carlos exclaimed before cheering and everyone else laughed.
"I fail to see what's so funny," Carlos shook his head. "I get my cousin in Auradon with me. That's reason to celebrate."
"I'll have Jade here," Jay said softly, as if finally realizing it. Lonnie put a hand on his shoulder.
"I'll get to be with Mal?" Hadie asked with a small tentative grin.
"That's right," Mal grinned at him. More importantly, you'll be able to have both your parents in your life whenever you want now, she thought.
"Bring it down, Mal," Ben said softly as Mal gently cupped his cheeks with her hands.
"I guess you could say I can fit my whole world in my hands right there," Mal said softly.
"Ambitious but I don't think that's possible—"
Mal shook her head and gently cupped Ben's face with her hands. "See?"
"That was smooth," Ben chuckled and leaned down to kiss her.
"Gods, you two are so sweet I'm going to get a cavity," Uma shook her head.
Carlos began to clap as the others joined in, cheering.
"I'm sorry but why is she applauding?" Lucy asked, looking at Leah as her onscreen counterpart was seen applauding.
"Probably just to keep up appearances," Kitty scoffed.
Mal looked away from Ben and gestured to the others to come up and join her.
"Wait seriously?" Evie asked, looking at Mal.
"The Isle's your home too E," Mal said softly. "I wouldn't be up there if not for you guys. I want my family there with me."
Jay patted Evie on the back and grabbed her hand to lead her up to the balcony, Carlos running after them. Fairy Godmother walked up to Mal and handed her the wand.
"You know, Malefic-lizard is probably freaking out if she can see this." Evan said with a chuckle. "After all, what was the main reason she sent you to Auradon Prep in the first place?"
"Malefic-lizard? I'm using that from now on," Hades chuckled.
Persephone shook her head in exasperated amusement.
The others quickly joined Mal at the balcony, Evie looking on in tears as Carlos looked at Mal in slight shock. Ben stood as close to Mal's side as he could, Evie and Jay having taken their places by her left and right side.
"Let the man stand by his fiancee!" Chip shook his head in amusement.
Mal looked over at Jay who nodded softly, the cheers and applause from the crowd dying down.
"To make the world a better place…" Mal started.
"You're actually doing it!" Uma gasped, grinning at her cousin. Celia wouldn't have to make the choice between the Isle or Auradon. She'd be able to be in both places.
"We have to do it face to face," they all finished the spell and Mal pointed the wand at the Isle. A beam of light burst from the wand and hit the barrier, causing it to dissipate on contact.
"Not to be a buzzkill," Lucas said softly, "but wouldn't exposing that much sunlight to kids who'd never been around it before do more harm than good?"
"He's right," Fairy Godmother nodded softly. "I wonder…oh there's got to be a way to eliminate the barrier in stages as to allow the kids to get acclimated."
"If there is we'd be happy to help find it," Flora said, Fauna and Merryweather nodding in agreement.
"Again, you all kinda just threw us off the docks when it came to that," Carlos pointed out. "Same deal."
"Yeah but you still got the ability to be somewhat acclimated since you were in the limo and those windows are tinted," Emma pointed out. "Direct sunlight like that is different and could cause serious damage."
The crowd of Auradonians cheered once more as a bridge began to form between Auradon and the Isle. However, unlike the bridges of the past, this one was not a golden bridge but a stone one as if to cement its permanence.
"Why no handrails? That seems like a safety hazard right there."
Carlos looked on in astonished shock, his mouth ajar. Evie almost looked as if she was going to burst into tears. Ben's hands had flown to his mouth as if he couldn't believe all he'd worked for had come true while Mal began laughing in glee, her hand resting on Jay's before the two of them rested their heads together.
"Yes! Yes!" Uma exclaimed, all thoughts of dignity or VK stoicism forgotten as she saw the barrier that had surrounded her home all her life was destroyed. Freddie hugged Celia close to her, both girls' eyes shining with unshed joyful tears at the sight.
Dizzy squealed and hugged Ava, who grinned and returned the hug. Even though they were off the Isle, it didn't mean they weren't happy for their friends and family members who were still on there. Even Anthony managed a small smile but it was more refined than that of his female relations.
Anastasia smiled slightly and curled into Jacob, who held her close. Even if she didn't have a strong relationship with her family, at least now she could visit Drizella and her mother whenever she chose.
Harriet pulled Sammy to her and gave her a big kiss on the lips, smiling all the while. Mr. Smee couldn't help but smile at their embrace, happy that his kids would have a pleasant future to look forward to. He hugged his boys close to him, the smile still staying on his face.
Facilier also smiled at the sight, happy that for once none of his girls would need friends on the other side since there would be nothing to be on the other side of.
Carlos and Jay cheered while Evie applauded, silent joyful tears running down her cheeks.
Gil joined in the cheering, hugging Macaria to him in his glee. Something which, Meg at least noted, Macaria did not object to in the slightest.
"You did it," Harry said softly, looking at Mal in shock. He could actually do all the things he had talked about doing back when he was a child, back when the innocence of childhood hadn't been snuffed out.
"Of course I did," Mal said, her voice just as soft as she leaned against Ben, holding Hadie close to her as he had rushed over into her arms in celebration. "Like I said, I can't be Queen of Auradon if the Isle's just going to be forgotten."
The Auradon Kids were happy for the VKs as well but stayed silent in their celebration. After all, while Auradon spent twenty years in prosperity, the Isle had languished in squalor. What right did they have to cheer?
Audrey applauded in glee as Chad smiled, looking back up at the balcony where the VKs and Ben stood and giving a small thumbs up.
Ben grinned at the sight of Chad's thumbs up. It was strange but that small gesture meant the world to him. Especially coming from Chad, someone who'd been very vocal against the VKs during the first viewing.
Mal grinned and reached out for Evie's hand with the hand that was holding the wand; Ben wrapping his arms around all the VKs, one hand on Jay's shoulder and the other on Carlos'.
The Auradonians began to tentatively move onto the bridge as the VKs of the Isle began to gingerly walk into the sun. Some of the kids looked on in amazement.
"Okay, let's not immediately rush to the Isle," Mal sighed.
"Yeah I know we're all celebratory but VKs do not like being rushed," Uma nodded. "Not to mention our sense of sight would be down as we're adjusting to the sunlight. So now we've got a bunch of wary and toughened kids with a downed sense and now people we thought to be our enemy rushing toward us?"
"That wouldn't be pretty," Harriet shook her head.
"Look!" One of the VK girls called as the celebrations continued on the Isle, with kids hugging each other.
Ben couldn't help but give a small, sad smile at the sight that was so reminiscent of the celebration that happened earlier. Kids shouldn't have to celebrate being set free from an Isle they didn't deserve to be on in the first place.
Harry and Uma brought up the rear of the group, Harry looking over at Uma in concern before giving a small smile.
"You know, it's almost like wolves in a way where the leader of the pack will bring up the rear in order to protect the rest of the wolves."
"I will take a wolf comparison over a stick comparison," Uma nodded.
Harriet though smiled slightly at the smile the onscreen version of her brother gave Uma.
"How are they not together yet?" Emir whispered to Akiho.
"I don't know," Akiho whispered back.
"You two are not interfering with their love life," Aziz interjected. "Bad enough you're almost attached to Ben's hip."
"You want me to interfere with your love life?" Emir asked, raising an eyebrow as he looked at his older brother.
"…forget I said anything. See if Mal and Jay need help. They look like they're plotting something."
Uma returned the smile and gave a small laugh, as if she couldn't believe the barrier was actually down.
"My plan," Uma said with the smile still present before spinning around in glee. "Yes!"
"No need to be smug cuz," Mal teased slightly.
The VKs continued to cheer as Uma and Celia ran to the top of their own balcony, the same balcony in fact that Mal and Evie had stood on when choosing the VKs to come to Auradon all those days ago.
"Friendly reminder that this all took place over three weeks," Ashaki sighed and shook her head.
"Explain your math there," Emir told her.
"VK Day started the viewing and then there was a week between that and the proposal where Evie said that the engagement party would be the following week."
"Exactly. That's two, not three."
"…I hate when you're right."
"And yet I love it!"