The Golden Age of Unlikely Friendships

Author's Note

Hello, lovelies! This is the final chapter of The Golden Age and I honestly cannot believe we're here. I've had so much fun writing this story and I am so grateful that Wander let me have this little story. She's an incredible person with an incredible heart and I will forever be in debt for her kindness. And of course, thank you to every single person who has given this story so much love and for all of the wonderful comments and the kudos. We both appreciate it and are so happy that everyone has loved this story as much as we did. Enjoy the last chapter!

Three Years Later

Ben straightened when the music turned to a familiar tune, signaling that the bride's entrance was beginning, his gaze turning towards the heavy wooden doors.

The cathedral where he was crowned was decorated exquisitely, dark blue flowers with lavender and golden banners and ribbons, a perfect mixture of the groom and bride.

Jane had done a good job helping plan it.

Belle sat in the front row next to Adam, a hankerchief dabbing at her eyes delicately while Adam wore a strained smile.

Ben fought the urge to laugh at his father's discomfort and instead smiled along with the other guests, a mixture of Islanders and Auradonians, dressed in their finest pastel dresses and black suits and leathers, as the procession continued, Doug coming to stand at his side as the best man after placing the velvet pillow with the rings on the pedestal, and Carlos and Jay following behind as his groomsmen.

Lonnie and Jane, the two girls who had grown close to Mal and therefore became her bridesmaids, followed, the Chinese girl winking at Ben as her and Jay's daughter skipped along the aisle in a small purple dress, throwing matching colored petals everywhere.

Lonnie and Jay had gotten together a few months after Mal and Ben did, the two of them attending Sherwood Academy with tourney and swords and shields scholarships, and another few months later, Mal and Ben became an aunt and uncle to the little girl.

Doug and Evie were together, too, set to be married at a later date. Evie was in the fashion industry and Doug was working for a science company. Even Jane and Carlos were together, going through Auradon University together, the former studying to become a teacher and the latter going through vet school.

The Isle had undergone a full reconstruction, as well. Mal worked hard alongside Ben to bring better change and they had done it.

A new education system, a new hospital system, new housing and shelters. Therapy.

They were making changes and it felt good.

Of course, there were a few kinks here and there, but that could be settled after the wedding.

The wedding that Adam had objected to at first, but had no say in. And neither could the council.

Ben had shown them who was in charge.

How life has changed within the past few years.

Everyone aww'd at Diana, who circled around to sit with her grandparents behind the two parents of the groom. Evie, of course as the maid-of-honor, came after her, standing with the other two girls, her eyes teary.

The significant bridal march began and Ben held his breath as the guards opened the doors, revealing a radiant Mal, wearing a shimmering white dress with a purple hue, the matching veil pinned to a silver crown atop her violet hair. Maleficent walked next to her, their arms linked, as they walked slowly.

Ben almost cried with how lovely she looked.

Three years of living together, accompanied by the yearly meetings where they had truly bonded, had led to this.

Led to the sarcastic, purple-haired girl who he never knew would be his wife and queen.

Led to a love he never imagined he'd have.

He had proposed on their three-year anniversary, with a purple gemstone encased in a gold ring, and she had said yes (obviously.) With Evie and Jane's help, the wedding was happening a mere few months from that point.

Ben's smile grew wider when Mal approached him, a smirk on her face.

"You look drunk."

"Drunk on my love for you."

Maleficent gagged. "Not married yet and already in the honeymoon phase. Disgusting."

She hugged Mal lightly, venturing to give her daughter a rare kiss on the cheek, before turning to Ben and lowering her voice.

"If you so dare hurt her, I will murder you. And not a quick death either. An agonizing, slow, incredibly painful death. I'm in Auradon, I have magic. Don't tempt me." she threatened and Ben nodded quickly before the woman reluctantly handed over her daughter.

The wedding was a blur. Fairy Godmother officiated for them, Ben slipping her ring onto her finger and Mal slipping his ring onto his. They kissed sweetly, the sounds of applause and camera flashes filling the cathedral.

Mal was crowned as queen. Her little tiara was replaced with Belle's crown, the now former queen sobbing happily as she embraced her new daughter-in-law.

"Oh, I love you, Mal."

"Love you more, Belle."

After the coronation, Mal and Ben were escorted to the reception venue in a horse-drawn carriage, where they kissed and giggled giddily. Mal beelined to the bathroom where Evie helped her into her reception gown and she and Ben had their first dance to Call It What You Want, that lovely song by the anonymous songwriter who sent it to the palace.

"My wife." Ben murmured softly as he gazed at Mal, a dreamy look in his eyes, and she laughed, throwing her head back and cupping his cheek with her hand.

"My husband," she whispered back. "Although I'm divorcing if you bring me somewhere cold for the honeymoon."

Ben laughed. "I'm not, I promise. It'll be nice and sunny."

"You'll teach me how to swim? And there'll be strawberries, right?"

"Yes and yes."

Mal beamed and Ben lowered his head to kiss her again, pulling her to the side once the song ended. They watched as their friends danced and smiled when Maleficent and Belle hugged each other at the buffet table. Adam was drinking a glass of wine, eyes darting around the room apprehensively.

"Give me a minute, my love." Ben squeezed Mal's shoulder and she nodded, running over to where Evie was dancing with Diana.

Ben approached his father, clearing his throat. "Dad."

"Son, er, congratulations."

"I wanted to say sorry," Ben shrugged as he raised his chin to gesture to the space. "I know this isn't what you expected from me."

Adam swallowed nervously. "No, son. I should apologize. You're happy with Mal, and she's happy with you. That's all I should care about, isn't it? You're a good king and you'll make a fine husband for her, as she'll make a fine wife and queen for you." he said, clapping Ben's shoulder and the latter gave him a small smile.

"Thanks, Dad."

Adam nodded and Belle ushered him to go dance with Mal again and he did, grabbing his new wife's hand and pulling her towards him.

She kissed his cheek and laughed when Diana made a face. Mal teased the little girl, who blew her a raspberry, and Ben could see her as the most perfect mom.

To a little girl with his hair and her eyes and maybe a little boy who looked just like her.

But, one step at a time first.

That's how they did things after all.

Year after year, pining after her and waiting for her.

And now she was his, as he was hers.

That certainly was a golden age of unlikely friendships, her being the daughter of supposedly the evilest villain in the land (Although Ben knew Maleficent was a big softie when it came to Mal, but he'd never tell her that) and him being the poster boy for goodness.

But golden ages were called golden for a reason.

They meant change and good things.

Seeing Mal hold his hand as tight as she could, her ring shining brightly under the lights, while she chatted with their closest friends and played with Diana, was definitely a good change.

A golden change.