Chapter Thirty 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! This is now the most reviewed of all three of the Choosing series! Thank you all so much! I greatly appreciate it! :D
So, to stay consistent across all three stories, I'm going to try to respond directly to reviews who are asking questions/trying to get something clarified. As always, I greatly appreciate your reviews—I just want to try to avoid burn out or having an author's note take up multiple pages in my word processor! :D
Dr. Dragon: Yeah chances are the other Angels would go over to the Casters before they followed Audrey. I try to have all the fics in this series to be around 45 chapters but I do have a sequel in the works!
Marcus Emrys: Oh I'm so glad you liked it! I do enjoy writing siblings acting like siblings!
AmethystDragon14: Yay! It really did take them long enough! Plus you're right, Harriet's got to do what she's gotta do to keep CJ and Ryan from being interrupted by Harry! :D
twilightgirl587: It really did! And that's what it looks like doesn't it? :D
61394: Trust me, Audrey's fate will be revealed soon! :D
danifan3000: That sounds like it would be painful!
Monkeymama1516: I'm so glad you liked it! Next couple of chapters for Audrey's fate! :D
HufflepuffInDaHealingCoven: Oh I'm so glad you liked it! :D As for the age of innocence being 15, I'm going to be completely honest—that was the age when my parents said I was old enough to date. So I'm just going off of personal experience there!
Anonymous Reader: Oh thank you so much! And I can believe there are people who've never seen Descendants—I live with one! But I'm so happy you liked it! :D
Hufflepuff24: Hmm…*counts on fingers* I've lost count too!
SnowWhite45: Maybe in the next chapter…. :D
TheGirlofManyFloods: Oh I'm so glad you liked it! Audrey's fate will be announced in the next couple of chapters, promise! I can try to update Truth or Fiction a bit faster but sometimes the length of those chapters might delay updates compared to chapter length for The Last Bridge and this fic.
jedblack1997: Oh I love that! Plus it'd be a reason why Lucifer would give up Freddy's soul to Hades!
Hope you guys like the chapter! Let me know what you think! :D
Estelle grinned as he hopped onto the sofa. Sure it might have been a beautiful day and any other dog would have preferred being outside, running around. But Estelle was happy doing anything as long as he was with Mali!
"Comfortable?" Mal chuckled as she looked over at her dog, who was now resting his heads on her leg; his body taking up the rest of the sofa. "You know Ben was going to sit there right?"
"That's okay Mal, I can grab another chair," Ben said and Estelle looked over at Mali's mate, the doggy grin never leaving his faces.
Mal shook her head. "You're going to spoil him you know?"
"Well I get to plan my wedding with you," Ben said with a grin. "I'd be happy to do that standing on my head."
Mal chuckled before sighing slightly at the stack of paperwork in front of her. Security alone was about half that stack—thank Gods for Dean coming up with a system for Ben's regular paperwork. Otherwise Mal was convinced her workaholic fiancé would never sleep! "Ben, are you sure we can't just elope?"
"If that was an option, I'd have suggested it ages ago," Ben told her. "Unfortunately I'm pretty sure both of our mothers would kill us if we deprived them of a wedding."
"Hey, I didn't say we wouldn't invite our parents. But do we really need press at our wedding? Why can't it be a smaller affair?"
Ben sighed as he sat on the arm of the sofa; chuckling as Estelle wagged his tail before taking some of the paperwork, a notebook in his hand before Mal could blink. "Mal, nothing would make me happier than having a small wedding with you and our family."
"I'm sensing a but," Mal said.
"But realistically, the wedding between the Daughter of Hades and the King of Auradon would never be a small affair," Ben told her.
"Sometimes I really hate the fact that you're right."
"Trust me, I hate it too."
Mal groaned and flopped back against the sofa. "It just doesn't make sense Ben! I mean look at all the royals we have to invite! Plus there's the security, wedding party, choosing the dress! Something tells me I won't be able to wear anything purple to my wedding after all."
"Well what about this one?" Ben suggested, looking through Evie's designs and coming across one where Evie had noted the possibility of having an almost mesh like fabric over the traditional white gown. As well, the veil seemed to be about a pale lavender that would match well with Mal's hair.
Mal chuckled as she took the sketch from Ben. "Where'd you even find this? I swear I've gone through those one thousand designs about five times."
"It was on the table," Ben said with a slight shrug. "Do you like it?"
"I do," Mal said with a nod of her head. "I mean, I think we're going to get a lot of chatter about my dress but I do like it."
"Well it doesn't matter what anyone says considering it's your wedding," Ben said, gently taking the sketch and going over to a bulletin board they'd brought into the office for the purpose of organizing all the wedding prep info. "At least that's one thing we can check off."
"What about you?" Mal asked. "Suits and stuff?"
Ben gave her a small smile. "Evie showed me her design for my suit a couple of days ago. She's modeling it after my suit I wore at my coronation. Speaking of which, we need to set up a time for your coronation."
"As excited as I am to officially become your Queen, Ben, can we focus on one major event at a time?" Mal asked. She honestly didn't care about that title—she cared more about getting the title of Ben's wife than his Queen.
Estelle snorted in approval. Honestly, he didn't know why the humans put all this stress in their mating. Just pick a mate and that's your mate.
"You getting bored boy?" Mal asked, looking over at Estelle as she heard the snort. "Or are you getting lonely? Is that it? You want a girlfriend too?"
"Hey, you know I'll never argue against having another Cerberus in the castle," Ben grinned. "But we know how Estelle acts around people and we don't know how another Cerberus would act in a crowd. So maybe after the wedding?"
Mal chuckled. "I'll talk to dad about where he found Estelle just so mom can start keeping an eye out when she's in Auradon."
"Or your dad can come over here and look for himself whenever he wants," Ben said.
"Very funny Ben," Mal said, shaking her head. "You know perfectly well that Zeus would never allow—."
"See, when you ask the King of Olympus for something everyone thinks he'd refuse, it helps when you're framing it as a wedding present," Ben said, handing Mal a scroll that was tied with a purple and blue ribbon and sealed with a wax lightning bolt.
"I want our wedding to be something we both enjoy," Ben said, his voice soft as Mal stared at him in shock. "And I…I know it wouldn't be fair if both my parents were there and your dad was still trapped on an Isle and not able to walk you down the aisle on our wedding day. Lord Zeus is going to make it so that Lady Persephone's portal is active year round since the Underworld is located on the Isle so Lord Hades can continue to do his job."
Mal launched herself off the sofa, wrapping her arms around Ben in a hug that surprised even her. Not because she had an issue with hugging Ben but because of the intensity of it. It had been something she'd been putting off asking because she knew there was no way Zeus would go for it.
But Ben had asked on her behalf, hadn't even told her he was asking for that matter.
Just when I think it's not possible for me to love this man more than I already do, he goes and does something like this, she thought as she broke from the hug.
"I guess we should choose our bridesmaids and groomsmen," Mal said as she sat back down.
"Chip, Akiho, and Emir with Chip as my best man," Ben said without hesitation.
Mal chuckled. "Something tells me you've thought about that?"
"Maybe just a little," Ben said, a small smile pulling at his lips. He didn't want to tell Mal that he'd actually spent a few weeks thinking about it. Actually ever since he proposed—the last thing he wanted to do was make his friends on the Tourney team feel like they weren't as good of friends as Emir and Akiho by not having them in the wedding party. But a large wedding party like that wasn't him and it wasn't Mal. "What about you?"
"Well she might not want to do it since it'll involve wearing a prissy dress but I'd like Uma to be my maid of honor," Mal said. "And then for bridesmaids…Harriet and Evie."
"Evie?" Ben asked. "I mean I'm happy to hear that but I thought you'd ask one of your cousins."
Mal sighed. "I know it makes sense to ask them considering I wasn't really close to Evie when we arrived in Auradon. But Evie's come a long way since then—i never thought the girl I knew from the Isle would have gone up against Freddy the way she did. But from what Harriet told me, Evie stood strong against Freddy."
"And Harriet?" Ben asked.
"Harriet's part of my crew. There's no one I'd want by my side more," Mal stated.
Ben smiled and wrote down all the names they listed on a sheet of notebook paper before pinning the page on the bulletin board.
"Estelle of course," Mal said with a grin and Estelle yipped in agreement.
Ben smiled. "And here I thought Hadie would be the ring bearer?"
"He's too old for that," Mal said, shaking her head. "As much as I'd love to have Hadie involved in the wedding, I wouldn't want to embarrass him or anything. Besides Estelle's a good choice for ring bearer."
"So…maybe I have a third groomsman?" Ben suggested. "He's going to be my brother in law anyway, he should be in the wedding party."
Mal grinned at the thought. "I think Evie might be a bit disappointed though. She was working on his suit when…back during all the excitement happened."
"Well then she just has to design a new suit," Ben said with a shrug. "Something tells me she won't mind that much."
"You know now I have to pick another bridesmaid?" Mal sighed. "Hmm…well if you broke up your AK group by picking my brother…it's only right that I break up my VK group and go with Alexandria."
"Why her?" Ben asked.
Mal shrugged. "She's been a good friend for Hadie throughout everything. Besides, it'd be weird for Hadie to be partnered with someone who's significantly older than him don't you think?"
"Oh that's a good point," Ben nodded. "And so who were you thinking for flower girl?"
Mal smiled. "Well I was thinking about asking Aurora if we could have Ari as our flower girl since we won't be married until we're twenty but it just occurred to me…why not have your new sister as flower girl instead?"
Ben couldn't help but grin at the thought. One of the new VKs had been pregnant upon her arrival, much to Gil's shock considering she was his sister.
Honestly, someone needs to go smack Gaston over the head for having kids and not acknowledging them, Ben thought as he sighed. Thankfully I was able to go ahead and invite almost all of them—Mal put her foot down about inviting Locklyn but after she explained that Locklyn was in Freddy's gang, I can understand why.
It'd been a pleasant surprise, though, when Ben learned that his mom and Gia had formed a friendship. It made sense though; she was Gil's guardian while he was in Auradon. Why wouldn't she look after Gia too?
So it was to the surprise of no one when Gia asked Belle and Beast if they would adopt the baby. After talking it over with Beast, Belle had agreed—on one condition.
Gia was to stay in her daughter's life and the little girl would know who Gia was to her, would know who all her aunts were and her uncle Gil. A condition Gia readily agreed to.
"So Genevieve will be our flower girl?" Ben asked. "You know, why can I just picture her riding in on Estelle, flower petals trailing in their wake?"
"Because that's adorable and something the newest Le Bête would definitely do," Mal said, jotting it down and pinning the idea on the board. She paused as she looked it, biting her lip slightly.
"What's up?" Ben asked.
"I just…how's she going to handle all that press?" Mal asked with a small sigh. "Like you said, our wedding is rather newsworthy and there's going to be press from all over covering it.
"I've actually been thinking about that," Ben said as he sat on the sofa, gently pulling Mal toward him as she walked away from the board. "What would you think about two weddings?"
"I think I'd have to kill you."
"Okay, okay. Hear me out before you resort to regicide," Ben said with a chuckle. "There's so much we don't want to deal with for our wedding—the press, the large number of invites, and in all honesty having the wedding in the Cathedral. I know it's apparently tradition but after everything that happened with Freddy, I'd rather not be reminded of him on my wedding day."
"That is generally advised," Mal nodded. "But what are you thinking Ben?"
"It was your comment about eloping that gave me the idea," Ben said. "We can have a wedding a week before our actual wedding. One that's just for us and our families—something a bit more laid back. We could even have your aunt officiate."
"Lady Hera," Ben elaborated and Mal pursed her lips. It was no secret that Mal wasn't the closest to the other Gods of Olympus. But it did make sense to have the Goddess of Marriage officiate a wedding.
"So you're saying that you want two weddings?" Mal asked to clarify.
Ben nodded, holding Mal close. "Just imagine, the wedding can be what we want before we have to follow all the tradition and protocols of our public wedding. We could have our family and friends wedding at the Enchanted Lake—you know, where we had our first date?"
Mal gave Ben a small smile. "I do have to say, that's very tempting Benny."
"I'm sensing a but?"
"No but," Mal said, shaking her head. "I actually kinda like it. I mean I'm not sold that it won't be a ton of stress but I'm not going to lie. Having a wedding where it can just be what we want is definitely tempting."
She looked down at the sketches of the wedding dresses that were still on the table in front of them. "In fact…this dress might be the perfect one for such a wedding. Evie's got a note that the dress would be lavender."
"I like that," Ben said. "Hey, maybe your bridesmaids could have a navy blue dress? With a lavender ribbon around the middle?"
"Ever since you switched from suits to actual clothing, you've gotten a real talent for pairing colors," Mal told him. "I'll talk to Evie, those colors should work with everyone. Plus your groomsmen could wear navy blue suits to make sure everyone matches."
Ben grinned and kissed the top of Mal's head. "I think we might actually be able to do this."
"Hey I fought a dragon," Mal chuckled. "Planning a wedding can't be nearly as difficult. Or as fun."
Ben shook his head. "You would be the only person to think fighting a dragon would be fun."
"Says the man who refused to leave the room because he thought I was in danger," Mal teased. "I'm pretty sure Darwin would have crapped his pants if he saw that we survived your coronation."
"I know Chip did," Ben chuckled. "Now come on. Invoking Charles Darwin's name usually signals a need for pie so let's go grab some."
Mal tilted her head. "I mean I'm not going to argue against pie but how…?"
"Okay so I want pie."
"Then let's go get some," Mal chuckled as Ben led her out of his office, Estelle trotting dutifully after both of them; a doggy grin on all three of his heads.