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Damaged (Can't We Be Seventeen)

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“How- how are you here? And how have you stayed so young?”

“Queen Leah, it’s okay! Maleficent is still on the island! This is her daughter, Mal. Don’t you remember my proclamation to give the new generation a chance?”

They should definitely not have come. Carlos had immediately looked up and began heading over when Queen Leah yelled {ready to defend against the attack of a mad-woman}, and Jay’s muscles tensed, ready for the fight he’d learned to expect. Mal tried to keep her cool. She breathed in deeply, as though, somehow, it would keep her from really registering Queen Leah’s words {the magick that had been bound to her flesh on the Isle was wild, stretching a thrashing and feeling}.

Mal was sure that Evie’s nails were digging crescent moons into her palms. Leah’s shrill voice was terribly familiar- she sounded like another queen her age, one they’d grown up with. A queen whose voice meant no food- meant pain {Mal ached for her beautiful Evie, the kindest girl on the Isle; the girl who deserved more}.

She’d known when it was announced, that they shouldn’t go to Family Day, this event full of PTSD-ridden heroes who hadn’t once bothered to see a shrink because they were too good for that. She knew that she and her lovers would pay the price for daring to assume that they might be welcome in Auradon {they should have stayed in bed like she’d suggested. They could be eating strawberries and cuddling and pretending that their remaining safe, and in Auradon, wasn’t dependant on Mal dating the love-spelled prince}.

The noise drew chad Charming in- unsurprising. They’d learned quickly that he was always willing to come to Audrey’s defence against the four evil, rotten kids who would never learn to be good. It also brought the Faerie Godmother closer, no doubt ready to defuse the situation {by ignoring the struggles of the villains’ kids}. Finally, it gained the attention of darling prince Ben, ready to come to the rescue {a rescue that would only make things worse}.

In the midst of this, she fought to tie her magick back down, securing it to Evie, Jay, and Carlos. Internally, she chanted an old spell for protection, hoping it would have an effect even if she didn’t say it aloud.


thrice around the circle’s bound,


sink all evil to the ground.

O goddess good, of day and night,

protect this place with all your might


by the magic power of three,

summon angels to accompany me


so may it be, so may it be, so may it be


And Queen Leah was talking about how they’d destroy Auradon, and wasn’t she supposed to be the good guy? Audrey clutched at her grammy’s hand, face sombre but eyes sparkling with her victory.

The Faerie Godmother tried to console the queen that had ruined Mal’s life out of pettiness against faeries, and Mal saw red because the Faerie Godmother had turned her back on her heritage, on what gave her power.

She stood side-by-side with Evie, Carlos, and Jay, and their hands were clasped together. They stood against the hate they’d known that they’d have to face and tried their best to ignore the cruelty of Auradon {because the Isle was so, so much worse}.

“My daughter was raised by faeries, because of your mother’s curse.”

Mal’s mother had warned her, in the midst of a drunken rant, seconds before forcing that same alcohol down Mal’s throat, that outside of the Isle, things were different. That there was a deep hatred of faeries {inspired at least in part, she’d admitted, by her rise to power and cursing of Briar Rose} that found its way into conversations, that humans wouldn’t notice it, or bother to call it out.

A fantastical form of racism, she’d called it, and when her eyes had lighted on Mal’s partners {a djinn and a succubus and a Dökkálfar} she’d laughed cruelly and told them that Auradon would fucking ruin them.

“Her first words, her first steps. I missed it all!”

And Mal couldn’t, wouldn’t stand here, not through this abuse, these false accusations. Because she’d taken years of it- from her mother, who told her that she wasn’t worth anything and that she would fail at anything she ever tried.

She’d taken it from her father, who’d abandoned her as a little girl with the parting comment of, “fuck off, kid. ‘s not like you’ll ever amount to anything” and a swift kick to the stomach.

Evie had taken it from her mother, who’d left her with badly-healed ribs that had broken when her mother tied her into corsets too small for her, who had a severe eating disorder that she refused to talk about, who wouldn’t touch food until she was sure it wouldn’t affect her ability to see her bones.

Carlos’s mother had left her own scars, both literal {little circular burns scattered across his skin, in the shape of cigarettes that Cruella de Vil had put out against his body- scars across his ankles where bear traps had clamped down} and figurative {nightmares and a deep-seated fear of authority}.

Jay lived with scars from handcuffs his father had used to lock him in the cupboard under his stairs, and a brand across his back that made it clear to everyone exactly what Jafar thought of him {or, rather, had once made it clear. Since then, Mal had covered the scars with a complicated tattoo composed of angel wings and exposed bone}.

She’d protected them the best she could, and they still looked like hell. And she was still expected to accept the complete crap that was thrown at her as if she fucking deserved it. And maybe, maybe she could have done it, if she’d thought that she had supporters beyond Evie, Carlos, and Jay. If she’d thought that this crowd didn’t agree with Leah’s views; if Leah was just an old woman with outdated views.

But instead, the King and Queen of Auradon had fought against bringing her and others like her over to Auradon. Instead, Lonnie and Jane and the Faerie Godmother and Ben watched from a distance, making no effort to show any kind of support.

She’d have been better off sticking with Carlos, Evie and Jay, because even without the love potion because at least they fucking loved her.

“You mustn’t trust her,” Queen Leah warned, and something deep inside Mal snapped. She would never be able to stand up to her mother or her father the way she wanted to, not when her mother was the queen of the fae and her father was god of the underworld, but she could {and would} stand up to this bitch who thought she had the right to insult her {regardless of the consequences, she would not allow the Kings and Queens to slander them like this- even if it meant being sent back to the Isle of the Lost without the magick wand}.

“I don’t feel sorry for you,” she tells Queen Leah. Around her, the spectators gasp in horror, and Evie grips her hand tighter. Jay and Carlos close in, backing them up. Just like on the Isle, because they’re still being forced to defend themselves because of something their parents did. Mal shrugs.

“I was raised by a faerie,” Mal tells her, eyes locked not on Leah, but the woman behind her. Queen Aurora.

“And I promise you, Maleficent was a worse fate than anything your daughter went through.”

Leah stumbled back as though Mal had physically hit her, and Mal had to admit that she was still considering it.

“You think you guys hate us? You’ve got nothing on our parent when it comes to hating the kids of villains. VKs aren’t given love, they’re given beatings. I’m more scared of my own mother than I could ever be of your pathetic threats,” she spat.

She had their attention now, the fickle attention that would catch onto something else if she didn’t act now. She caught a glimpse of the Faerie Godmother, clutching her chest as if she was surprised. And that just spurred Mal on.

“You warned not to trust us? You’re completely right, Leah. None of you should trust us. I would never trust a person I’d convicted and sentenced for something they hadn’t done. I’d always be looking over my shoulder, expecting the day that they came after me,” she swallowed hard, letting her eyes drop from Aurora’s and instead allowing them to skim the crowd.

“But then, maybe that’s because I was raised on the Isle of the Lost. Maybe I don’t trust people because my abusive bitch of a mother taught me that I shouldn’t expect kindness or honour from anyone, not even my own kin.”

“Or maybe,” she continued, “or maybe it’s because I trusted my father to protect me from her before he abandoned me because I’d never amount to anything. Maybe I don’t trust people because the only people I’ve ever been able to rely on are these three.”

She clenched her jaw to keep the tears from spilling down her cheeks. That would be weakness and no matter how much weaker Auradon- and safety- had weakened her, she couldn’t let it show.

“Mal’s the reason I’m still alive,” Evie broke in, softly, and Mal watched her in shock and awe. Evie was just as strong as any of the rest of them, but she didn’t like conflict, and Mal respected that. For Evie to voluntarily join this fight spoke to how much she cared for Mal.

Mal couldn’t love her more if she tried.

“Mal used to be the only person who’d tell me to eat. When my moth- when Grimhilde confiscated my food, Mal was the one who made sure I had something to eat. I’d have starved without Mal-” she halted, voice thick, to choke down a soft sob. A black-haired woman was crying, bawling her eyes out, and Mal would bet anything that it was Snow White. Fucking hypocrite.

“Mal used to help with my chores,” Carlos took up. He was starting at Cinderella, over the heads of her son and his girlfriend, “even when she was black and blue from beatings.. when she had other responsibilities to her mother- things that led to more abuse if she didn’t do them, she always made sure to come over, because she knew I couldn’t do everything that was expected of me, knew that there was no way I could clean Hell Hall and Cruella’s furs and cook and mend.”

“Even after Maleficent found out what she was doing and threatened to kill her if she continued, Mal still came to help. She doesn’t deserve this. She’s not her mother.”

“None of us are our parents,” Jay told the crowd, “and you condemned us because of what they did. You never gave us a second thought.”

“We aren’t the only ones who suffered, though. Uma, Ursula’s daughter, has been working at her mom’s store since she could walk. She works there every day of the year. It’s the same for Dizzy- Drusella’s girl. Gaston has three sons, and he kicked the youngest out years ago. Claudine Frollo’s dad beats her regularly.”

“You decided that this was acceptable,” Mal hissed at the heroes, “You were so self-obsessed that you didn’t think about what villains could do to their children. I was the witch of the Isle. I was my mother’s enforcer and the one people were scared of and the only one they could come to when it got so bad that they were scared for their lives.”

Lonnie was seriously crying, again, even though she already knew that their parents didn’t love them. The altercation had drawn all the attendees of Family Day in, and Mal was speaking to three women- mother, daughter, and granddaughter. Doug was flinching under Evie’s glare, and Ben and his parents had crossed over to stand on the side of the Auradonians.

“So, I do hope you all understand. It’s been hell. But I want you to remember- especially you, Sleeping Beauty, especially you, Queen Leah- that we are always going to be villains- that you were always going to find us untrustworthy- because that’s what you made us.”

Mal stared them down, eyes flickering over to Ben.

“Nothing to say?”

He just stood there, jaw slack, and Mal nodded bitterly.

“Just what I’d expect from a bunch of fucking cowards like you.”

She, Evie, Carlos and Jay made their escape after that, careful not to turn their back on the Auradonians {they’d learnt their lesson, long ago}.


“I mean- he’s never gonna make a villain a queen,” Jane said {snarled, really}.

How, Mal wondered, had they still not learned their lesson. She, Evie, Carlos, and Jay and fled the scene of Family Day to seclude themselves in a far corner of the grounds of Auradon Prep. She didn’t know how Audrey, Jane and Chad had found them, but she wondered if she knew any spells to make them go away.

Then again, she was already expecting to be sent back to the Isle, and she really shouldn’t give the King and Queen more ammunition.

They deserved better than this.

It wasn’t a thought that she had often- well, that was a lie. On the Isle, it had been a continuous refrain. The only way to keep her sanity about her was remembering that she hadn’t done anything to deserve what was happening to her. The reminder that she was in the right.

But since she’d arrived in Auradon, the thought had popped up less and less. Which made sense, she supposed.


Chad and Doug and Audrey and Lonnie and Jane, they were the villains now, and they thought- somehow- that they were better because they didn’t have to go through the crap that Evie and Jay and Carlos and Mal had gone through. Somehow, it still hadn’t clicked for them exactly how dangerous she could be.

So, in place of banishing the three of them, Mal just undid the glamour she had cast over Jane- after all, the girl was a fucking faerie, and if she was that desperate to look pretty, she could use her own fucking magick.

“There’s a lot more where that came from,” she warned. More, and worse. Because Mal might not have been able to perform magick on the Isle, but in her mother's worst moments, she muttered curses {titim gan eiri ort - may you fall without rising; dóite agus loisceadh ort - burning and scorching upon you} that Mal had memorised because if she could, even for a moment, she would get rid of Maleficent. Permanently.

“I’m sorry, just who do you think you are?” Audrey snaps.

“I think I’m the daughter of the most dangerous villains to ever exist. I think I’m the girl who’s been Maleficent’s punching bag my entire fucking life. I think I’m the most dangerous parts of Maleficent’s hate and Hades’ anger. I know I’m the heir to the title of Queen of the Fae. I am the girl you have judged and found guilty, without knowing her crimes.”

She locked eyes with Audrey, and let all of her pain and anger shine through.

“I am Maleficent Deirdre le Fae. I am more powerful than you could ever be, Audrey. I’ve suffered through hell for love. And you don’t even know what it is.”