Chapter Twenty Six
A/N: I do not own anything other than my OCs when they come out to play. Everything else belongs to either Disney or the Greek Myths.
*blows horn in celebration* Guys we made it over six hundred reviews! Thank you all so much for your continued support with this story! I love seeing your reviews and suggestions!
Tracie Adams: Yeah Ben's not really the most subtle is he?
Guest: So glad you're liking the story!
Urmimala Hazra: Milah's from Once Upon a Time, an ABC TV show where Disney/Fairy Tale characters end up in our world. I use a lot of references from the show in this story.
danifan3000: So…in my defense I didn't know that. I always thought Jane was Ben's age. Ah the pleasant image of Phillip Sr. going after Leah never fails to make me smile!
Marcus Emrys: We can only hope! I like Hadie too—hopefully he's not too hurt!
Anonymous Reader: He might drive himself insane but he's going to figure it out! :D
TheGirlofManyFloods: I'm so glad you're enjoying the chapter and the story! :D
ScoutGinevera: Only if it's bad that I'm looking forward to writing it!
TR Kurtis Trent: Oh thank you so much! I'm glad you're enjoying it—the dream Ben has is in Choosing Family so it will be covered here!
Guest: Thank you!
Guest: I'm honestly not sure who Freddie's mother would be, as for the Baker…again not sure.
Katt Kiki: I can definitely see what I can do about getting CJ and Harriet there as well!
AmethystDragon14: Yay! Thank you so much! :D Ben's definitely right, Mal is good and damn Maleficent to Tartarus! I think you might be right about that!
Roxas Itsuka: Thank you so much! Oh I think that's a high possibility since Persephone would want Maleficent to know that Mal is her child and not Maleficent's.
Guest: Huh, now I know! :D
quil . theimperial: Oh please write your story! I really want to read it and see how it turns out! Unfortunately since I've already written the other stories, I don't really see how it could work where they'd take breaks between and live their lives.
billyandkimfan1994: Nope, it's really not.
smc-smfan1: Milah is Harry's mom, she died in childbirth giving birth to CJ—of my own head canon since we never know who Harry's mom is so I borrowed a tiny bit from OUAT.
twilightgirl587: Very true! Hey Evie's still learning to use that lovely brain of hers! Gods help the Isle indeed! I think Audrey was referring more to Maleficent rather having a spell book than a sketch book. Timeframe: the VKs just arrived in Auradon. Like, when they're in front of Beast's statue.
AthenaArtemis25: Thank you so much! Ah something terrible to Maleficent would be fantastic indeed!
lilyflower101: It really does! :D
midnight rose112358: Ah sorry about that! I didn't want it to get too repetitive!
Dance love 2007: Thank you so much!
Ayakitten83: Oh that's going to be interesting to see how everyone handles that, both the drowning and the abuse.
Hope you all like the chapter! Let me know what you think! :D
"I must say it's been interesting to see how the Isle's been," Fairy Godmother said.
"I…I don't know if 'interesting' is the right word mom," Jane said softly as her mother unfurled her scroll.
Time passed, as time often does.
"I see we're stating the obvious," Milah said as she shook her head in amusement.
Another birthday had come and gone for Mal, this time with a small party where Uma, Jay and Harry spent the day with her, her dad and Virgil. It had been nice, being able to spend the day with her cousin and friends-plus they had finally confirmed that Virgil was in fact Hades' nephew through Vanessa.
"Oh good, I'm glad we finally got that confirmed," Poseidon said with a smile.
"Wait…Panic and Vanessa had a…"
"Don't worry about it mom. No one really understands it," Harry said. After all, he didn't even know that Panic had a child with Vanessa until he met Mal so it'd make sense that his mom wouldn't have known.
Persephone had done a little digging since she was over across the bridge.
"I couldn't resist," Persephone said, shrugging slightly as some of the other readers looked over at her.
Poor kid had almost passed out when Hades told him but Virgil always seemed close to passing out so there was really nothing new there.
"Poor thing," Cinderella said, her voice a near whisper.
Honestly, Panic probably was more nervous than Virgil was though to be fair Virgil wasn't the one married to Lord Hades' niece. Mal didn't truly understand it but she knew Virgil was her cousin. That was easy enough to understand.
Several of the older readers there couldn't help but smile at the innocence of youth. No messy explanations needed, the older boy was her cousin. Simple as that.
It hadn't taken much in the way of persuading the boys to put Virgil under the crew's protection. Sure they were a little iffy at first considering Virgil was a year older than Jay but, as Mal reminded them, Virgil was jumpier than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. That, plus the fact that he was a minion's kid, made him a prime target for gangs like Freddy boy's.
"Plus the fact that his dad was Uncle Hades' minion made Virg an even bigger target for Freddy," Uma stated. "Considering Freddy hates Uncle Hades."
Uma had easily backed Mal up-the daughter of the Sea Witch stood by their motto of Ruthless yet Loyal. If there was anyone Uma was going to be loyal to, it was her crew and her family. Besides, any extra reason to go after Freddy boy was a positive in both their eyes.
"Don't go picking a fight now," Persephone warned.
"Don't worry mom," Mal told her. "Freddy always starts it but Uma and I make sure to finish it."
"Yeah Aunt Steph, the day Freddy bests us in a fair fight…well I can't think of anything because it'll never happen," Uma added.
School continued on but Mal paid it no mind. The only purpose of Dragon Hall was to teach kids how to be evil.
Ben frowned slightly at the thought of Mal not liking school but at the same time he couldn't help but feel a jolt of excitement at the thought that she wasn't paying heed to a school that taught kids to be evil.
Mal though enjoyed her private lessons with her father, where she learned to harness her magic and made sure she at least had some control over it. They couldn't do any advanced lessons—mainly because of the barrier but also because Hades didn't want to risk Mal getting hurt.
"If you had to teach her, at least you were making sure she wouldn't get hurt," Persephone said with a sigh.
"Of course I did, Steph," Hades stated, shaking his head. "You know if I didn't, or if I forbade it, Mal would have tried to teach herself."
"I only meant I wish I was there too," Persephone told him.
With no proper doctors on the Isle, it wasn't worth the risk.
"That will be something that will be rectified too!" Ben stated.
"After the coronation," Chip told him.
"After. The. Coronation."
"Ben, you're going to burn yourself out if you don't slow down okay? I care about this too but you're my brother. Your health matters too."
The private lessons, though, meant Hades soon learned about the 'lessons' Maleficent had taught Mal. To say the Lord of the Underworld was furious would be an understatement.
"Ah so we're still stating the obvious," Poseidon muttered, his hands curling into fists at the thought of anyone harming his niece.
Mal still remembered the rant her dad had gone on when he saw the mark Maleficent had made when she'd slapped Mal.
"And the Dragon's still alive?" Uma muttered.
"Mal? What's that?"
"My face?" Mal told him, aware that it wasn't what he had meant.
"Don't be cute Mali." Hades told her, picking her up and sitting her on the sofa.
She already is, Ben thought and then shoved that thought down into the back corners of his mind. He was with Audrey, he couldn't think like that.
"How'd you get that mark on your face?"
Mal shrugged, knowing that anything she said would just mean a worse 'lesson' from the dragon when she eventually found out. Because she always did.
Poseidon's hands curled once more into fists and he briefly wondered if it wouldn't help just keeping them balled up.
"Mal, did Maleficent do that to you?" Hades asked gently, trying to keep his temper under control. Mal didn't need him ranting about smiting his ex wife. At least not right now. That didn't mean that when Mal wasn't in the room Hades wasn't going to let it rip.
"So…when should I go get my sword?" Phillip whispered to Aurora.
"I said you could do it Phillip, why are you still offering?" Aurora whispered back.
"Because I mean every offer. A kid shouldn't fear their parent, even if that parent is just an egg donor," Phillip said and Aurora gave him a small smile.
Mal sighed. "She's the only one who could do it," she muttered. "Everyone else is terrified about potentially upsetting her to ever lay a hand on me. Freddy boy being the obvious exception but he's just a few bricks shy of a full load to borrow a saying from Steph."
"Ooh that saying fits Freddy perfectly and we've only seen him twice," Ashaki said with a smirk.
"I've said it before but I'll say it again. It's a shame how much he turned out to be like his father. Doesn't seem like he had a chance," Phoebus sighed.
Hades sighed and bit back the tidal wave of curses dying to come out of his mouth. Those were things Mal definitely didn't need to hear-though he was sure she already had.
"Oh I had, but you're always more creative with your curses than the pirates are, dad," Mal said with a smile.
Hades shook his head. "Flattery will get you everywhere Mal."
Most adults on the Isle didn't care if there were kids around when they let loose with their curses and swears. "Let me get you some ice, it'll help ease the pain," he told her.
Harry tilted his head. "Where'd…where'd Lord Hades get the ice? There's no running water on the Isle after all and I doubt salt water would freeze all that well."
"Mom probably brought it," Mal told him.
"I've had this for a day," Mal shrugged. "Besides dad, I'm a VK. Pain is what we're used to."
"My daughter doesn't have to be," Hades said gently before walking into the kitchen to get the ice. Satisfied he was out of Mal's earshot, he growled as he opened the fridge to try to get a bit of a barrier.
"I'm…why am I tempted to see if that'd work?" Rowyn asked.
"Because you're too much like your father," Rapunzel told her, shaking her head as Eugene smirked.
"GODS FREAKING DAMN YOU MALEFICENT! DID YOU AIM FOR THE FACE ON PURPOSE? WAS IT A WAY OF TAUNTING ME? KNOWING I CAN'T COME AFTER YOU OR THE WHOLE ISLE'LL KNOW MAL'S MINE! I SWEAR TO WHATEVER GOD THOUGHT GIVING YOU A CHILD WAS A GOOD IDEA, YOU'LL PAY FOR TOUCHING A SINGLE HAIR ON MY DAUGHTER'S HEAD!"
"…that's tamer than what I thought you'd say, Hades," Demeter told him.
"My child was in the next room and I didn't know how well the fridge would keep her from hearing it," Hades stated.
"Wouldn't you rather rant to Maleficent than the fridge, Lord Hades?" Chip asked.
"Of course. But Mal needed me."
"I know I didn't offer it at the time but you should know that my sword is fully available if you wish to go and slay a dragon," Phillip Sr. stated.
"Dad? Screaming into the fridge doesn't do much to block out the sound," Mal said dryly as Hades made his way back to the den.
"You weren't supposed to hear that," Hades said as he handed her a towel full of ice.
"Then you shouldn't have shouted into the fridge," Poseidon told his older brother.
"And yet I did," Mal said with a shrug as she put the ice on the mark on her face. "I've lived with the dragon for six years dad, I'm used to it by now."
"Excuse me Mali, but I have to go kill a dragon."
"Can we watch?" Uma, Jay, Harry, Emir, Akiho, and Chip all asked in unison.
Hades sighed. "Ask your mother, no, ask your mother, no, no, and even though I'm convinced you're a legal adult, no."
"No," Milah said firmly as Harry turned to look at her.
"Dad, what about me? Can I watch?" Hadie asked.
"When I'm dead," Hades told him.
"No! Dad, that's what she wants!" Mal exclaimed as Hades stood back up, presumably to do just that or at least confront his ex-wife. "Just ignore her. It's what I do-it's why Jay, Uma and Harry and I set up the club house in the first place. Maleficent may run the Isle but she doesn't know about the club house. It's the one place on the Isle she doesn't have spies."
"Back then," Hades said with a small smirk. "Over the years, your mother and I have made it so that the Dragon only has her spies on her side of the Isle."
"Mal, if you think I'm just going to sit by and-"
"What's stopping her from finding a way to file a report to Boreadon if you confront her?" Mal shot back and Hades sighed. She was right.
"But…like dad said, Maleficent would see that as admitting weakness right?" Lonnie asked. "So wouldn't it make sense for her not to file a report?"
"As we've said, the less we delve into her mind, the better off our blood pressure will be," Hades told her.
Hades hadn't gone to confront Maleficent after that but he did keep a close eye on Mal. Any new scrape, bruise or cut was immediately spotted and treated to the third degree-until Mal reminded him that she was friends with two boys and Uma. Roughhousing was kinda going to happen whether he liked it or not.
Hades couldn't help but frown slightly as he heard that. How many bruises that Mal had claimed were from roughhousing were really from Maleficent?
As the days dragged into weeks, Mal couldn't help but wait in anticipation for the day when Steph would arrive back on the Isle. It would be likely that Steph wouldn't have Mal's new sister but it would be close.
You can say that again, Persephone thought. Considering I think I went into labor as I stepped through the portal.
Oh, Mal couldn't wait to see little Haille and teach her all the important things—how to sneak things from under people's noses, how to sword fight, how to make the perfect smoke bomb and how to best Freddy boy in a verbal sparring match.
"Replace 'Haille' with 'Hadie' and you've described my childhood," Hadie said with a grin.
Not that Mal would ever let Freddy boy get close to her sister but if he did, Haille would need to be able to shut him down. No sister of Mal's was going to be lacking in sarcastic wit after all!
"Between Hades and Persephone, I think the 'sarcastic wit' gene is fully covered," Hera stated.
Besides, if Freddy did touch a hair on her sister's head, well then Mal would gladly introduce him to his precious Hellfire!
"You won't be alone there Mal!" Uma exclaimed while Jay and Harry nodded in agreement.
However, one grey September day, Mal's whole world was going to change even if she didn't know it yet. Quickly making her way to the Underworld as school let out, Mal grinned as Estelle greeted her at the door.
"You actually stayed the whole day?" Uma asked with a smirk.
"I didn't know if mom was coming home that day and I didn't want her disappointed that I skipped," Mal said with a shrug.
"Hey boy," she said, petting the Cerberus' right head as the middle and left ones tried licking her face. "Where's dad?"
Estelle gave a small yip and grabbed his leash, which was in a basket near the front door, with the mouth of his left head.
"Aww! He wants to go on a walk," Alexandria said with a grin.
"Oh you want to go on a walk? Okay boy but first I want to say hi to dad. He'll freak out if he doesn't see me since it's not an appearance day at the dragon's," Mal said. "I think Steph comes back today too. I don't want to miss her!"
Estelle gave a small yip even as he continued to maintain his position as guard dog.
"Sorry boy, no walk," Mal said and Estelle gave a small sigh. Mal shook her head. "Though I do have to say…maybe we should have taken it. All of that would have been over by the time we got back."
"But if you weren't there, who'd have gotten Anastasia?" Hades asked.
"Virgil? Pain? Panic?" Mal suggested.
Persephone though couldn't help but smile slightly at how excited Mal had been to see her.
Estelle yipped again and wagged his tail, whether in excitement over Persephone coming home or just from the excitement of seeing Mal no one knew.
"It's because Estelle's the best Cerberus ever and he's just always happy to see people," Dizzy declared.
"She's not wrong," Celia nodded.
A small commotion near the portal room caught Mal's attention and she scurried over, with Estelle trotting after her. In the portal room, Mal saw a sight that delighted her to her core. Steph was back! She was currently hunched over, though, and being propped up by her dad. It almost looked like she was in pain but that was impossible right? Steph was a Goddess after all!
"Oh dear, was everything alright?" Snow White asked, looking over at Persephone in concern.
"Steph!" Mal exclaimed with a smile, making her way into the room to properly greet her step mother. Estelle poked his noses in through the doorway and gave his little doggy smile at seeing Persephone as well.
Persephone gave Mal a small sad smile. "Any other time I would have been glad to hug you Mali, but I was a bit preoccupied at the time."
"I know mom. It's okay," Mal told her.
Ariel couldn't help but smile. "Estelle there reminds me of Max. When he found me on that rock."
"Mal, I know you're happy to see Steph but let's not give her a hug just yet," Hades said before turning back to Persephone, his tone low and a little worried.
All the fathers looked over at Hades with a knowing smile on their faces. As if knowing the first time father panic well, even if Hades was technically a second time father at that point.
"You're sure your water broke just before you—"
"You're in labor!" Demeter exclaimed.
"Mother, you know what day Hadie's birthday is," Persephone stated.
"Well yes but I had thought you were relaxing when you went into labor, not that you'd only just arrived back on the Isle!"
"Hades, I can assure you I'm not in the habit of wetting myself. The baby's coming!"
"Okay, okay," Hades said, gently rubbing her back as a contraction hit. Turning toward the door, Hades frowned as he saw that Mal was still there. She shouldn't be seeing this, he thought. The thought of Steph in pain would traumatize her and I'm sure this isn't the end of the contractions.
Oh no, it wasn't. Not by a long shot, Persephone thought.
"Mali, run and get either Lady or Anastasia Tremaine. They'll be the best ones to help right now," Hades said, trying to keep the worry out of his voice. She didn't need to be scared by this.
Cinderella sighed. It was almost bizarre to hear her step mother and step sister be referred to as aid in delivering a baby. Especially a Godling.
"But dad, can't I help?"
"You are helping though," Lucy spoke up.
"You can help by getting the person I asked for, Mal," Hades said, a tiny bit of his stress seeping into his tone by the fact that Mal was still there. Why did she have to be so stubborn?
"Well because she's got you and Persephone for parents," Poseidon pointed out.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Hades asked.
"Hades…you're very stubborn."
"Mal, go!" Hades snapped, and regretted it the instance he saw the slight look of hurt on Mal's face before her walls went back up.
"Sweetheart, thank you for wanting to help," Persephone said, her tone gentle. "But while your father shouldn't have snapped at you, he was right. You didn't need to see me like that."
She turned and left, Estelle by her side as always. Hades sighed and turned back to Persephone.
"Let's get you to our room, okay?" Hades suggested. "You shouldn't be on your feet right now."
"You're not going to apologize to Mal?" Hadie asked, looking at his dad.
"Hadie, mom was more important," Mal told him. "You needed to be born after all."
"You shouldn't have snapped at her," Persephone said as they slowly made their way to the bed. Thankfully their room was only across the hall from the portal room so Persephone didn't have far to walk. "She only wanted to help."
"I see you haven't changed much over the years, Aunt Persephone," Macaria said with a small smile.
"I know, and I'll apologize to her once all this is over," Hades promised.
"I mean…I know Mal and I are 'all that' and it makes sense to make a fuss but maybe use a bit of tact dad?" Hadie said, slightly teasing his father.
"All this," Persephone chuckled as she laid down on the bed. "It's only the birth of your kid but sure, let's refer to it as 'all this'."
"Like mother, like son," Hades said, shaking his head.
"Sorry, sorry. Bad choice of words," Hades sighed and gently kissed the top of her head. "How are you feeling?"
"Better since that contraction passed," Persephone said, her brow lightly tinged with sweat from the contraction. Hades grabbed a cloth and dabbed away the sweat as gently as he could. "Eileithyia had warned me that giving birth might be harder on the Isle than it would be on Olympus or even in Auradon. I mean, I don't know how she knows what giving birth on the Isle is like since we're the only Gods who've stepped foot here-"
"She probably was going off of the fact that the barrier was set up around the Isle," Hera pointed out.
"Well you're going to be fine okay?" Hades said, grabbing her hand as another contraction hit. That turned out to be a mistake as Persephone gripped as though her life depended on it. Oh sweet Zeus, Steph, you're going to break my hand if you squeeze any harder! Mal, where are you?
"Gods I know that feeling well," Eugene said, shaking his head.
"Yeah, but it's better to just let her squeeze rather than comment on it," Kit added, stretching out his hand as if Cinderella had squeezed it five minutes ago rather than it being years since it happened.
Meanwhile, the seven year old in question was furiously making her way toward Curl Up and Dye; the most logical location for either Lady Tremaine or her eldest daughter to be. While they may not have had a medical system on the Isle, they did have the Tremaines—somehow the noble women had taken it upon themselves to become midwives on top of running the only hair salon on the Isle.
"How were they able to do that without any training?" Kitty asked.
"From what I understand, all their training was done on the fly," Uma said.
Maybe Lady Tremaine did it in an effort to make a suitable match for her daughters, maybe they did it so that if they were ever given a chance to get off the Isle they would be looked on more favorably than others. Mal honestly didn't care.
"The thing is, wouldn't the kids be invited off first?" Aziz asked. "So really it'd be Lady Tremaine's grandkids who'd benefit from that. Not her kids."
"There's still a benefit factor there though," Rachel told him.
Why would dad do that? Just yell at me like that? I could have helped! Instead he just tossed me out of the room like I was Estelle chewing on his slipper.
…Lord Hades has slippers? Akiho thought as he tilted his head slightly, never knowing that his father had the same thought run through his mind.
Mal shook her head. She would be able to talk to her dad once all this was over. Right now, she needed to focus on getting one of the Tremaines.
Hades couldn't help the sad smile that tugged at his lips. "We ended up having the talk a little later than we should have."
"Hello?" Mal called out as she stepped into Curl Up and Dye. Estelle stayed outside, mainly because Lady Tremaine hated dogs. If she was there, and saw Estelle, it wouldn't matter that Estelle was a Cerberus. She would have refused to help and Steph would have been up the creek.
"Which was probably why Lady Tremaine was the Dragon's midwife. Both of them have egos the size of the Isle," Mal stated.
"Mal?" Anastasia Tremaine asked, looking at her from behind the counter, and Mal sighed inwardly in relief. Anastasia wouldn't waste time needing Mal to play to her ego before she would agree to help. "Does someone need assistance?"
"Obviously," Chad scoffed.
"In her defense, most people would come to Curl Up and Dye for assistance," Mal said. "However, since she can't read minds, there's no way for Anastasia to know what they wanted—hair assistance or you know, birthing assistance. Hence the question.
Mal nodded. "It's Lady Persephone. I don't know what's wrong but Lord Hades told me to get either you or your mother."
Mal didn't need to told it was more than likely a better idea to play up the errand rat angle than reveal to Anastasia that Hades was Mal's father.
"Smart," Hades said, giving Mal a proud smiled.
Mal returned the smile and shook her head slightly. "Well it was the safest angle I could use. I couldn't exactly say 'my step mother/mother is in labor with my sibling' could I? That would just open up a can of worms you didn't need."
"I didn't realize Lady Persephone was pregnant," Anastasia gasped before grabbing a bag from behind the counter. Ducking into the back for a second, Mal could hear her instruct Anthony to watch the shop while she ran out.
"Oh I bet little Lord Tremaine got a reality shock there," Uma said, rolling her eyes.
"Sorry Dizzy but even I have to say my…my brother?" Celia said before slowly trailing off as she realized that was in fact the case. Anthony Tremaine was her brother.
Mal held back a snort as she followed Anastasia out of the shop and, grabbing Estelle, showed her the way to the Underworld. The young girl had to give Anastasia credit—she didn't react upon seeing Estelle. Then again, they had a time crunch. Her sister was coming and she wasn't going to wait for Anastasia to dilly dally.
"Let no one ever say Mal is a patient person," Carlos said, his voice soft.
"Lord Hades?" Anastasia called out as they entered the Underworld once more, the journey made in silence.
"In here!" Hades called from his room, all the way at the end of the hall. "Anastasia, thank Gods. I—"
"I have to say, Anastasia is a lot better suited to being a midwife than her mother," Persephone spoke up.
"I'm not surprise. Anastasia was always the more maternal one," Cinderella said, her voice soft.
"No need to explain, just tell me how far apart the contractions are," Anastasia said as she walked into the master bedroom. Mal tried to follow but was held back by her dad.
"Not this time Mal," Hades said gently. "You wait outside okay? You don't want to see this."
"Not this time? So was that to imply I'd be going through labor again or that Mal would be present in the room for the next time I went into labor?" Persephone asked, gently teasing her husband.
"No Mal," Hades said, more sternly before shutting the door. Mal stared in shock before sinking down to the floor in front of the door to Hades and Persephone's room. The door was thick enough that, if people kept their voices down, Mal couldn't hear what was being said.
However, when one was giving birth they weren't likely to keep their voices down.
That would be an understatement, Aladdin thought as he glanced at Jasmine, thinking about all the screams, all the exclamations, she had emitted. He found himself hoping Lady Persephone had a short labor as to prevent Mal from hearing all of that.
Mal wrapped her arms around Estelle's neck and buried her face into his fur; trying to block out the sound of the occasional screams of pain coming from the closed room.
"I'm…I'm so sorry mom," Hadie said softly.
Persephone gave her son a small, sad smile. "The pain is temporary, my little lightning bolt. You however are forever."
Why is my sister doing this? Mal thought. Steph's in so much pain because of her! But…I mean she's a baby right? She doesn't mean to do this. Besides, I'm getting a sister. Someone who can look up to me!
"But…why wouldn't you have gotten a gender reveal when you were in Auradon, your ladyship?" Emma asked Persephone.
Persephone gave the girl a sad smile. "I wanted Hades and Mal to be there too. It seemed almost cruel to see for myself without them being there."
However, Mal couldn't help the tears that leaked from her eyes as Steph's screams of agony rang through the Underworld.
Hadie couldn't help but hate his lip. I'm so sorry mom, he thought. He knew it wasn't necessary but he wanted to apologize again.
For some reason, even though screams like Steph's weren't uncommon on the Isle, it hurt more when it was Steph.
"Who were you around who gave birth?" Hades asked Mal.
Mal shrugged. "Not every woman on the Isle could give birth in private dad. Sometimes Uma or I would stumble across one in an alley."
We really need to set up that hospital, Ben thought with a slight frown at the idea of women giving birth without the aid of medical professionals.
I could help! I may only be only half God but that's better than nothing! Hail better appreciate what Steph is going through for her! If this is what having kids is like, then I'm never having them!
Uma gave her cousin a sad smile. "You made the vow early then."
"Guess I did," Mal nodded, returning the smile.
"The vow?" Emir asked.
Mal sighed. "There are a lot of girls in our crew who've vowed to never have kids," she said and Emir nodded. He didn't need any explanation as to why.
The hours trickled by, with Mal still sitting guard outside Hades' bedroom door; waiting for news like Estelle begged for scraps.
"Why didn't you get your sketchbook?" Harry asked.
"Didn't think of it. Besides, if dad needed or wanted help I wanted to be ready," Mal said with a slight shrug.
Why would he let you know anything? A nasty little voice sounded in her head. After all, this is his and Steph's kid being born. A full God, someone who wasn't tainted by the dragon. A kid that dad can raise from birth and not worry that her mother will want her back because her mother lives with him.
Mal hugged Hadie close to her, burying her face in his dark blue hair. "I'm so sorry, I am so sorry," she whispered.
"It's okay Mali. You warned me remember?" Hadie whispered back though he wasn't going to lie, some of Mal's thoughts stung a little.
Mal shook her head to banish the nasty thoughts. Dad would be back to normal when Hail's born, Mal thought. Why would…
I mean I was right, dad would go back to normal once the stress of mom giving birth was over, Mal thought.
Mal's thoughts trailed off as the door opened for the first time in hours.
"Mali?" Hades said gently and Mal looked up from Estelle as she took in the lack of screams. Instead, a faint coo of a baby took their place. It was hard to believe…after all this time, Haille was finally here!
"I should have known something was up when you kept referring to Hadie as 'your sister'," Hades said, his voice soft as he let out a small sigh.
"Is my sister here?" Mal asked, standing up and looking at Hades with hope filled eyes. Hades gave him a small smile. "I'm a big sister now right?"
"I mean, yes to the second question…" Uma said with a shrug.
"That's right Mal. You want to come say hello to your little brother?" Hades asked and Mal blinked. Did…did he just say brother?
Maybe the word for sister in Greek sounds like brother in English? Mal thought as she walked into the room.
"…does it?" Herkie asked.
"We can look it up later," Hyllus told his brother.
"Mal," Persephone said with a small smile, holding a bundle wrapped in a blue blanket.
You know, I'd like to point out that past me was an idiot. Blue's dad's color, that didn't necessarily mean that Hadie was a boy. I could have at least gone up to Steph, Mal thought with an inward sigh.
It was safe to say that Mal's world shattered into a million pieces. Instead of a sister who would look up to her, she would have a brother who would replace her.
"…Mal?" Hadie asked, and the slight hurt and confusion in her brother's voice caused Mal's heart to crack.
She pulled him closer than she thought possible and held him to her. "No matter what, I want you to know I don't think that anymore okay?"
After all, when you think about the Gods, who's the first who come to mind? The Big Three—dad, Uncle Zeus and Uncle Poseidon. You don't tend to think of the Goddesses, the nasty little voice was back.
Mal sighed, hating the fact that everyone was hearing about her negative thoughts—never knowing that the same type of thoughts were rattling around in her friends and fellow VKs' heads at that moment, as if her past negative thoughts had summoned theirs.
You're worthless…why can't you ever steal anything of value? If you had, maybe we could have had enough money to bribe someone to provide care for your mother! A voice that sounded like Jafar's rang though Jay's head.
If you hadn't bothered your mother so much during the pregnancy, she'd have had the strength to recover from CJ's birth! Harry's negative thoughts sounded through his head, sounding like his father.
You're fooling yourself into thinking that anyone cares about you. It's just you! Uma thought, taking care to make sure the mental link was muted.
You'll never be pretty enough to land a prince…it's why mother has to set you up with matches. Evie thought, lightly chewing on her lip.
You're a worthless, weak, ingrate of a son who can't do anything right! You'd be better off as a dog's chew toy! Carlos thought with a small sigh.
Why would dad want anything to do with you now that he has a son? Not just any son but a son who was full God? Someone who could easily break out of here once he was old enough-after all, what's fairy magic compared to the magic of the Gods?
Mal held back a sigh. Sure there was a part of her that had hated Hadie at the time but…she had also hated herself too. Hearing Gaston, Hook, hell even Frollo when he'd venture out from wherever he bunkered down talk about the importance of a male heir if Mal overheard them..she knew it was stupid now but back then it wasn't hard to realize that she wasn't a boy. She wasn't a full God. She wasn't what her dad needed.
"Mal?" Hades' voice broke through her thoughts and Mal looked up at her father. Hades looked at Mal with a kind smile that had hints of concern hidden with it.
"Call me crazy but it might be a good idea to talk to her or ask her what's wrong," Meg suggested.
"Go on, say hello to your brother Hadie."
Hadie. It was even worse knowing the little whelp's name. He was going to be a Hades clone…just like Mal was a Maleficent clone.
See? She even admits it Ben yet you're going to bring her over to Auradon and risk the safety of our kingdoms! Leah thought. She had opened her mouth to comment but a low growl from Estelle made her think otherwise.
"I am not Maleficent's clone. If I must be a clone, I want to be my mom's clone!" Mal stated.
I will not look at him. I'm not going to give dad the satisfaction! Mal thought as she turned on her heel and walked out of the room with Estelle on her tail—unaware of the stunned looks her father and step-mother were giving her.
"You had been so excited during the pregnancy," Persephone said. "We didn't know why you'd changed your mind."
Marching into her room, Mal waited until Estelle was safely in before slamming the door behind her. The sounds of Hadie's cries pierced the air, only slightly muffled by the door.
Ben tried to school his face into one that didn't have a disappointed expression on it. He knew Mal was seven there, he knew she loved her brother.
But…there was a part of him that longed to do nothing more than hold his little sister. To be able to truly call himself a big brother. And to hear Mal reject Hadie just because he was a boy…?
"I…I'd never shut him out anyway but if I didn't let him in, Estelle would just let himself in," Mal said, her voice soft.
Flinging herself onto her bed, Mal grabbed her pillow and jammed it over her head as to block out the wails.
It didn't work, Mal thought with an inward sigh.
Why did he have to come? Life was perfect before—almost like getting to see the sun, like in Steph's stories!
I know the feeling Mal, Harry thought. Before the runt came, life was perfect. Just the Captain, Harriet, me and mom.
Hey, it might not be so bad. He's the shiny new thing and then dad will be yours all over again. Just watch—dad's never let you down before.
Hades couldn't help the slightly sad smile that pulled at his lips.
You always had me Mali. I love both my kids equally, he thought.
Unless you count the fact that he left you to live with the dragon for five years until he finally got around to telling you he was your father.
Hades wasn't going to lie, hearing that thought from Mal was almost like getting slapped in the face.
The whelp will just ruin everything!
Mal shook her head. Whelp was Uma's nickname for Celia, and even now it had become more of a term of endearment rather than the cruel nickname it had started out as.
Celia rolled her eyes as she noticed that some of the AKs were looking at her. "What? I'm supposed to be upset because of a nickname? I'm a VK, full Isle born. We're made tougher than that."
No, Mal needed her own way to show her displeasure toward…him.
Hatchling? No that was too close to dragon…which he wasn't. No relation to Maleficent at all. Just another way he blotted out the sun of her life. Like a…cloud.
Wait…no…it's just a coincidence right? Mal's nickname for me is a play off of mom's nickname of 'lightning bolt'. That's what she always told me, Hadie thought to himself.
Mal smirked as she thought of the perfect way to reference her little replacement. After all, he ruined her life like a lightning bolt ruins a sunny day…and what brought lighting, at least according to Steph?
It was Hadie's turn to feel like he'd been slapped in the face. His nickname, the thing that was solely his, that Mal had given him…it'd been an insult? A way for Mal to show her displeasure at his very existence?
"Don't!" Hadie exclaimed and got up to sit next to Hades, missing the hurt yet understanding look on Mal's face.
It was a shame too. He liked storm clouds, he always had. But hearing them, hearing his nickname used as a way for Mal to show how much she hated him?
Besides, like Celia said, the full Isle born were made tougher than he was. He was just a half VK after all.
That was the perfect way to describe the little beastie. As a storm cloud-and that's all he would ever be!
"…well this was awkward," Akiho muttered to Emir, who rolled his eyes. He could sympathize a little with Mal; according to his parents he'd reacted the same way when his mom told him she was pregnant with Ashaki.
Akiho couldn't understand. He was an only child after all.
"Who…who wants to read next?" Fairy Godmother asked, her voice soft.
"I'll read," Phoebus offered.