Family Maintenance

Author's Note

Hello, hello! This is the second story I have gotten from WanderlustandFreedom. She is leaving on a trip and was kind enough to give me the stories she hasn't been able to finish. She is an incredible writer and individual and you should check out her other Descendants stories! You can find her on A03 and FFN at her penname, WanderlustandFreedom. We are both so excited to get this one out for you all, and here is the first chapter! Hope you enjoy!

**This story was given to me by WanderlustandFreedom. The majority of the ideas/outline and this first chapter was written by HER .**

Chapter 1

"There they are," Fairy Godmother whispered, biting her lip as she watched the limousine appear at the far end of the driveway. The sun was blinding today. Harsh beams beat down on them through the trees that were offering the welcoming party their speckled shade. Ben wiped a wet washcloth over his neck and forehead and then tucked it away in a pocket before offering his arm to Audrey. Audrey took it and squeezed tightly. Her makeup was clumping from the heat. Her smile was strained and lines had appeared around her mouth.

The car hummed up the driveway and then was switched off without the motor really making any noise at all. Ben straightened up and fixed his jacket as the driver exited and came around to open the child-locked door that hid the four Island kids from view. The kids he had chosen. His personal quest to reintegrate the Isle into Auradon.

He hoped they would be wide-eyed about everything here. He hoped that they would think things were better here and agree to stay and be part of their student body. He hoped they would like him and others and things like sports or school. Things worth changing for. But most of all, he hoped that they wouldn't destroy Auradon.

The first boy who climbed out of the car made his heart leap into his throat. It was a boy, five inches taller than him, bulky with rawboned strength and thin in places where most people retained fat. His red beanie slouched over his head, but didn't cover his sloping forehead. Beetle black eyes squinted through the light and a long, thin nose, wrinkled at the band and the prince standing in front of him.

The second was another boy who was very short. He crept out of the car with his arms raised like he was about to fight. A face structure that would be round if it wasn't so thin. White and black curly hair clipped close to his skull. Dirty white and red clothes. A jagged metal pole strapped to one side of his belt and a screwdriver in the other.

A third stepped out. Whereas the boys had clearly been the muscle, this young lady seemed the vision of a diplomat. She raised her chin high as she clasped her hands in front of her and took in everything around her with an air of "I am in charge here." Sans her blue hair, she looked precisely like the girls his parents tried to introduce him to.

There was a beat of silence where Ben and everyone took them in. Then, Ben's eyes flicked to the door. He'd arranged for four. Were there not four? Why were there not four?

There had been the son of Jafar, the son of Cruella De Vil, and the daughter of the Evil Queen. But where was the daughter of Maleficent?

A green-clad leg appeared, followed by a pale hand and then a head of purple hair. The last girl straightened up behind the door of the car, balancing something in her arms, and then stepped out. Immediately, the entire school let out a simultaneous, startled gasp.

In her arms, she clutched a tiny girl, fast asleep on her collarbone, with similar bright purple hair.

Ben exhaled. They'd brought a fifth. Either his father would kill him and the council would cancel the entire mission, or he'd just struck the biggest goldmine of his political career.

"Ben," Audrey whispered. "She's got a child with her!"

That was pretty obvious. The girl– Maleficent's daughter-frowned.

Ben ignored Audrey. "I'm Ben," he introduced himself, stepping forward to extend a hand to the son of Jafar. The boy stared at it suspiciously then glanced behind him at the two girls. The purple-haired girl nudged him aside and extended her hand.

"I'm Mal," she supplied. "That's Jay, that's Carlos, and this is Evie."

"And who is this?" Ben asked, gesturing at the little one in her arms. He made to run his fingertips down the child's back, but Mal twisted her body so that the child was out of reach.

"She's nothing that you'll concern yourself with." Mal snapped.

Overprotective. Worried. Ben nodded. "Fair enough," he agreed. "Is she old enough to eat on her own? I'd be willing to arrange for her to have a lunch number in the cafeteria to get food alongside you."

Mal hesitated, then nodded. Ben smiled to confirm to her that it would be so. "Would you be keeping her in your dormitory, or would you like a separate room for her? We can arrange things so she won't be far."

"I'll keep her," Mal murmured in a guarded, hostile tone.

"Splendid," Ben clapped his hands together softly so as not to wake her up. "Would it be presumptuous of me to arrange for her bed place to be delivered?"

"No," Mal shook her head. "The gesture is appreciated."

She laid her head on the child's sleeping head and Audrey burst into sound like she couldn't hold it back any longer. "Is she your sister?" She demanded, gesturing flippantly at the baby's hair. Mal frowned again and pulled back, hiding the girl from Audrey's judgements.

"No," she replied softly. "My daughter."

Daughter. Wow. That was a lot to take in. Mal looked even younger than he was. He didn't react though, not until Audrey demanded: "Who is their father?" while glancing between Jay and Carlos, who immediately looked disgusted.

Ben raised an eyebrow at Audrey. "That's not really our business," he reprimanded her, then turned back to Mal and the others. "We'll be starting with a tour of the grounds before Doug, a member of the student body organization, shows you your dormitories. I'll try to have proper allocation arranged before then." He pulled out his phone and began typing into it.

"Thank you," Mal murmured again, glancing at Audrey in disapproval. Fairy Godmother leaned up and put a hand on Ben's shoulder, giving him an anxious look.

"Oh!" Ben exclaimed, looking back to Mal. "I almost forgot, my bad. We'll need to make arrangements for where she can go during classes, as she could be a potential disruption to you and your classmate's lessons.

"She's okay to stay in my… my dorm," Mal narrowed her eyes at Ben. "We've left her alone before."

"I'm sure it must be hard to find people to look after her on the Isle," Ben reasoned. "However, there are laws in Auradon that state you can't leave a child under ten for more than two hours at a time, and someone of her age probably shouldn't be left alone at all." He crossed his arms and smiled while Mal eyed him warily. He knew he was charting into risky territory, telling her how she was now required to parent. "Besides," he chuckled. "There are a lot of new and potentially dangerous things around. It'd probably be best for you to learn all her new hiding places and playthings while you're around first, and then you can decide if you want to leave her alone."

Mal pressed her lips tighter together and then looked away. He supposed his argument had either won her over or had his name blotted out from before her face forever.

"Shall we begin the tour?" He asked.

The band broke apart and Ben momentarily drew the rag back out to scrub at his forehead before gesturing them forward.

This could be a disaster. The council could panic and declare the mission too risky and send them all back. Or people around could see the little girl and gain sympathy. Support the idea he'd fought for. He glanced back at Mal and the baby she walked slowly with. And every doubt slowly faded.

This was perfect. She had both feet in Auradon and now, with her baby's life on the line, all he had to do to bring her head over was convince her of the better life they could have here. And the chances of the other three being able to plan something without Mal potentially catching on… it was perfect!

It was a lot easier to drag Audrey's hesitant weight around with the spring in his step that had suddenly appeared.

**This story was given to me by WanderlustandFreedom. The majority of the ideas/outline and this first chapter was written by HER .**