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“You’re really going back to the Isle alone?” Carlos shifts nervously.

Jay nods. “I can move faster alone. Don’t worry, I can hold my own.”

“I know.” Carlos nods and shifts again. “I know you can… it’s just… we’re supposed to stick together. We’re family. We’re supposed to help each other with this stuff. And now you’ve got this whole magic thing to deal with-”

“No, I don’t. Not right now. Thanks to you.” Jay punches his shoulder, no real force behind it. “You are helping. It’s just… you know you can’t go with me this time. The four of us… We draw too much attention together.”

Carlos slumps over. “Yeah, I know.”

“Be back before you know it.” Jay grins and throw his bag over his shoulder.

Carlos shoots up. “Wait!”

Jay turns back expectantly.

“Maybe you don’t have to do this alone.”

“Carlos, no one is coming with m-”

“No! I know no one is going with you. But what about someone who’s already there?”

Chapter Text

Kumar is three the first time he shifts. He doesn’t even mean to. One of his dad’s friends is over and Kumar gets scared of something, and next thing he knows, instead of inching backward on two feet, he’s tripping and stumbling and rolling on four paws. He will never forget how proud his dad is that day. Once Kumar manages to shift back, Shere Kahn lays a hand on his shoulder and actually smiles and tells Kumar he hadn’t shifted until he was almost five. Kumar never tells him he only managed it because he was scared. When Shere Kahn puts a knife through his visiting friend’s heart, Kumar shifts again and cowers as near to the floor as he can get. Shere Kahn kneels in front of him and lifts his chin to tell him that no one can ever know their secret - no one can ever know that they can still shift, even on the Isle, because people will try to use them, and they are not meant to be ruled. Kumar manages a clumsy nod before he stumbles his way to the small cave that serves as his room and curls up under his rickety old bed, staring out at his floor sleeplessly through the night. He isn’t been calm enough to shift back to human form until late into the next morning. That day is his first real memory.

 


 

When Kumar turns six, his father shoves him toward the door and tells him to go to school. “Learn something,” he says, “because one day we’ll be kings again, and knowledge is power.”

Kumar slinks into the back of a room full of screaming children and practically sits on one of them. Kumar spins and glares down at the red and white clad boy who seems to shrink in on himself.

“How old are you, three?” Kumar sneers, looking down at the scrawny kid.

The boy’s voice barely reaches Kumar. “I’m four.”

Kumar groans and deflates as he sits down next to him. “Look, kid, you’re gonna die here if you don’t learn to stand up for yourself. You’re younger and smaller, so you’re gonna have to fight harder, but you can’t just spend your life hiding and hoping they’ll go away. What’s your name?”

The kid straightens up a bit and looks Kumar suspiciously. That’s better. “Carlos.”

“Kumar,” he offers easily in return.

“Why are you being nice to me?”

Kumar shrugs. “No one can tough this place out alone, no matter what our parents say.”

“So, you… you wanna be… f-friends?” Carlos sounds hesitant. Kumar decides the kid was smart. That’s good - it’ll help him survive.

“Yeah, why not?” Kumar tries to sound casual.

Carlos almost smiles, but manages to clamp it down and nod. “Okay.”

“Who do you belong to anyway?” Kumar asks.

“Cruella deVil. You?”

“Shere Kahn.”

 


 

Kumar is twelve when he finds Carlos cornered by some random witch’s son with a knife to his throat. Kumar doesn’t even think. He just runs and leaps, shifts in mid air and knocks the guy away from Carlos, tears his throat out before they even tumble to the ground. Kumar’s tiger form is awkward, gangly, and he trips over his own paws as he rights himself. Carlos is curled up against the wall, shaking in terror. Kumar curses in his head, a rumbling sound coming from his throat in place of his voice. He shifts back slowly, holds his hands out in front of him, and crouches in front of Carlos as non threateningly as he can.

Carlos’ eyes grow wide. “K-Kumar?”

Kumar grins. “Hey, pal.”

“What… how… why… but, magic…”

Kumar shakes his head. “It isn’t magic. Just DNA.”

“You saved my life.”

Kumar shrugs. “I told you no one survives the Isle alone. You can’t tell anyone.”

By the time Kumar reaches home that night, someone has found the body and rumors have spread about wild animals on the loose. Shere Kahn looks ready to murder him. Kumar shrugs it off, tries to hide his fear.

“Did anyone else see you?” His father demands.

Kumar looks his father directly in the eyes. “No.”

Shere Kahn concedes that eventually the excitement will die down and everyone will blame the more savage goblins, but beats Kumar for his carelessness anyway, then rewards him for his first kill with not-quite-rotten meat for dinner.

 


 

 

Kumar raises an eyebrow toward Carlos without looking up from his sketchpad. “Not too good for me now that you’re hanging out with the big dogs?”

Carlos throws a book at his head. “You know how I feel about dogs. And I thought the whole point of cats was that they adopted you .”

Kumar dodges the book and laughs. “Point.”

Carlos shrugs. “And besides that, this is my tree house, which you are in.”

“Point again.” Kumar sets his pad aside. “So what are you working on?”

Carlos holds a transmitter up. “I’m pretty sure I can manage to create enough of a signal to text if I can find chips that I can to be compatible with the transmitter I rigged up.”

“So we’re barge diving for cell phones?”

“Radios will work too.”

 


 

Getting transferred to Auradon Prep.

Hatching plot to take over and bring down barrier.

Be back soon.

Long live evil, blah, blah, blah.

Don’t break my stuff while I’m gone.

-C

 

Kumar looks at the hastily scrawled note and laughs. There is no way in hell Carlos was coming back. The kid has always been too good for the Isle and now he actually has a chance not only to prove it, but to see it for himself. Carlos is gone, and Kumar couldn’t be happier for him.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Joy flies Jay straight to the barrier as soon as darkness falls and opens a hole just big enough for a teenage boy to squeeze through.

Jay actually slumps over in relief as he stumbles onto the bridge and the barrier closes again behind him.

“You okay?” Joy’s forehead creases in worry. She flutters on the other side of the barrier, hovering just above the pavement.

Jay turns back toward her and nods as he drags in a ragged breath. “Yeah… it’s uh… it’s the first time in the last few hours I feel like I’ve been able to breathe right, without magic crawling under my skin.”

Joy nods sympathetically. “You’ll get it under control in no time once you’re back in Auradon. We’ll all help. Now go save Z. I’ll be waiting here when you get back.”

“Yeah. Going. Thanks.”

Jay sticks to the shadows as he slinks across the Isle, checks his dad’s shop first, despite knowing it’s a futile attempt, makes his way slowly to the rocky hills on the far side of the main Isle village. He knows that many of the caves are occupied - he’s stolen from more than one of them, but he’s never ventured to the topmost cave. Even he didn’t have the balls to cross Shere Kahn - not until now.

Another shadow detaches itself from the hillside before he reaches the mouth of the cave. The shadow solidifies into a tall, bulky teenager with dark skin and a sharp smile. “You’re lucky I spotted you before my dad did.”

“Kumar?” Jay guesses.

“What’s it to you?”

Jay takes a deep breath. Despite adapting to life in Auradon, he’s back on the Isle, and asking for help goes against his every instinct.

Kumar watches him expectantly.

Jay swallows thickly. “I need your help.”

Kumar snorts. “Did that hurt?”

Jay grins wryly. “Yeah, a bit.”

“How, exactly, do you need my help?”

“I don’t know.”

Kumar raises one dark eyebrow.

Jay shrugs. “Carlos said you could help me. He wouldn’t say how, but he swears you were one of the only people on the Isle who could. He also said to tell you he said sorry, but it was the only thing he could think of.”

Kumar tenses and carefully releases a long breath. “ What exactly do you need help with?”

Jay bites his lip and looks away. “My dad kidnapped one of the Agr- one of the Auradon kids. I don’t know how he managed it, but I have to get her back.”

“Why just you? If it’s that important why not all of you?”

Jay shakes his head. “ Because it’s that important. If the Isle saw us all come crashing across the bridge, they’d all band together against the traitors. I don’t have time to fight.”

Kumar can practically smell Jay’s desperation, despite the thief’s cool facade. “Okay… what’s with the time constraint?”

Jay visibly debates with himself. Mutters, “Carlos trusts him, that’s gotta be good enough,” then he stands tall and meets Kumar’s eyes. “The Isle will kill her. She’s a genie. Everything about her is magic…”

Realization dawns on Kumar. “And magic is blocked on the Isle.”

Jay nods jerkily. “She’s been gone since this afternoon. Her sister thinks she’ll last longer if she’s in her lamp, but… we just don’t know.”

Kumar nods slowly. “It’s not like there’s a precedent.”

“Can you help? ‘Cause if you can’t… or won’t… no hard feelings, but I gotta go.”

Kumar closes his eyes, considers the consequences. “I’m not gonna be able to come back here.”

It isn’t a question but Jay answers him anyway. “No. But if you help you won’t have to.”

Kumar’s eyes snap open.

Jay looked at him steadily. “You help me bring Zaida back, and you’re going back with us. Anyone who has a problem with you being there will have to go through me - and her, probably. And her sister, and cousin, and the rest of the VK’s.”

Kumar holds his gaze for a long moment before he nods. “Just let me grab a few things. Meet you back here in five.”

Jay nods and melts back into the shadows. True to his word, Kumar is back five minutes later, a ratty backpack slung over his shoulder. They descend the hills together silently. At the bottom of the hill, Kumar leads Jay to a smaller cave, empty and all but invisible thanks to the overgrown shrubs around the entrance. Kumar strips down to his boxers and shoves his clothes into the top of his bag before tossing it to Jay.

Jay catches it and raises an eyebrow in silent question.

Kumar shrugs. “It’s not magic, so my clothes don’t go with me, they just get ruined.”

“What’s not ma- Aaahh !”

Kumar chuffs in annoyance and shakes the tatters of his boxers off his back leg. He closes his eyes, opening his mouth and drawing in air over his scent glands, letting his and ears take in the sounds of the Isle. Magic, no matter how faint its peculiar smell, won’t be hard to track in a place where there is none. Kumar opens his eyes, checks once to make sure Jay is following, and sets to following the trail. They skirt the village until they come to a heavy curtain of fog that Jay has crossed once before.

Jay groans and reaches out on instinct to grab Kumar’s scruff before the tiger tumbles into the water. “Careful. Few more steps and you’ll be swimming.”

Kumar looks up at him curiously.

Jay leads the way through the fog, stops at the water’s edge, and gestures grandly, “Welcome to the edge of Nowhere,” he points across the water, “that way lies the Isle of the Doomed and Maleficent’s Forbidden Fortress,” he points down the beach, “and that way lies Goblin Wharf. The Forbidden Fortress damn near killed me last time I was there, and that was when I was with someone who actually belonged there. I don’t think we’d survive it alone. And my dad sure as hell wouldn’t.”

Kumar chuffa and nods down the beach.

Jay nods slowly. “Ben hasn’t managed to lift the embargo yet, so my guess is the Goblins are still overrunning the village. And the abandoned wharf could be a scavenger's paradise. Exactly the kind of place my dad would hide out.”

Kumar rolls his eyes. He wasn’t asking the thief’s opinion, he’s still following the trail. He lopes off down the beach and doesn’t bother to look and see if Jay is behind him. Sure enough, on the abandoned wharf, in a rickety old chair atop a pile of junk, Jafar sits with Iago chattering at his side and a lamp in his lap. He is rubbing the side of the lamp reverently and - when nothing happens - in aggravation, in turn.

They crouch behind a pile of junk at the edge of the wharf and Kumar shifts back to his human form, sitting down and keeping his knees together and drawn up in an attempt to retain at least a bit of modesty… not that anyone on the Isle would care if they saw him. “So what’s the plan?”

Jay is too busy cursing Iago under his breath to hear Kumar.

Kumar reaches out to nudge the younger man’s shoulder.

Jay jumps. “Sorry. Just… that damn bird is how my dad got her lamp. We’ve been through the barrier so many times in the last year it was stupid to think no one else would manage to slip through one of the gaps. Iago got through the barrier, and he probably would have had enough of my dad’s magic lingering on him to fly to Auradon and get back with the lamp on one of the trash barges.”

“So I can eat the bird?” Kumar grins toothily.

It has the desired effect. Jay laughs quietly and a bit of the tension drains out of him. “Trust me, you don’t want to. He’d taste disgusting. But if you happen to step on him…”

“Step on the bird. Got it. That’s part of a plan.”

Jay nods. “Right, okay. You circle around. There’s enough shit piled around here you should be able to sneak up pretty close on the other side without them seeing you. Once you’re over there, I’ll step out, distract him. I’m gonna try to get him to hand it over, but reason and my dad don’t exactly get along when it comes to lamps... Z’s lamp is some heavy cast metal something or other, it won’t break if you bite down too hard. Then you get the hell out of here. Take the quickest route back to the bridge to Auradon. Doesn’t matter who sees as far as I’m concerned. Our way out is waiting.”

Kumar nods and shifts back. Jay’s right. He circles the wharf easily and is soon crouched a few measly yards away. He lifts his head enough to catch Jay’s attention, then crouches in wait, ready to leap.

Jay takes a deep breath, makes sure his and Kumar’s bags are both strapped tight against his torso, adjusts his grip on his sword, and stands. He steps out of the shadows, sword held at his side. “It won’t work,” he calls.

Jafar leaps to his feet, a rusty old piece of rebar held out in front him like he’d once held his staff. He lowers it ever so slightly when he sees Jay. “Jay! My boy. Look, look. See what I have. And I never needed you for it!” Jafar’s eyes gleam, too wide and too bright to be sane.

Jay steps forward. “Yeah, Dad. I see. You need to give the lamp to me. Now.”

Jafar drops the rebar to rub furiously at the lamp again. The usually glossy red and gold surface has been made dingy and dull by rough handling and no amount of polishing from Jafar can change that.

Jay takes another step forward. “I told you, Dad, it won’t work.”

“It has to work!” Jafar snaps.

“No.” Jay shakes his head. “She’s not bound by the Rule of the Lamp, she will never obey you and you are killing her by having her here. You need to let me take her back.”

Jafar clutches at the lamp. “Mine!”

Jay’s shoulders slump. Clearly, he was right. Jafar is beyond reason. He takes a breath and draws himself up straight once more, raising his sword as he does. “Give me the lamp.”

Jafar takes a step back, his head snaps back and forth as he searches for an escape. He turns and flees directly toward Kumar.The tiger leaps from his hiding place to land right in front of Jafar. Jafar squawks and falls back, clutching the lamp to his chest. Kumar looms over him and bends to yank the lamp from Jafar’s grasp, not particularly caring if his teeth catch flesh in the process. The infuriating little parrot zooms toward his head, screeching curses. Kumar bats the ball of feathers absently towards Jay and pretends not to see the other boy’s sword flash and send a bit of red flying.

Kumar uses Jafar’s stomach to launch off again and takes off running back toward town. Jay hesitates mere seconds before following. Back across the edge of Nowhere, and through town, they don’t slow, claws and sword flash in the dingy light, but few actually try to stop them. Kumar slows when they approached the bridge, but Jay puts a hand to his haunch and shoves him on.

“Joy! Open sesame!” Jay calls.

To Kumar’s amazement, a pinprick of dark pink light hovers just outside the barrier, flashing brighter at Jay’s words. In front of them a  hole begins to open in the barrier. Kumar leaps through it with no further hesitation, Jay right behind him. They crash into the ocean and fear of the man eating crocodiles flashes through Kumar as he struggles to keep his head above the ocean without dropping the lamp. Jay surfaces beside him a moment later and Kumar whines to get his attention. Jay immediately turns and takes the lamp, holding it safe in the crook of his arm as he treads water. Kumar spits out a mouth full of salt water and chuffs gratefully.

“Bringing home strays?” The fairy flitting above their heads seems amused as she pointedly ignores the crowd gathered and glaring on the other side of the barrier. She’s the source of the magenta light and smaller than the size of Kumar’s fist.

Kumar stares; he’s never seen a sprite before.

Jay squints up at her. “Yup. Kumar, Joy. Joy, Kumar. We gonna have a problem?”

Joy grins. “Nope. Not from me. FG is gonna flip her shit.”

“And she can kiss my ass.” Jay informs her. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind… this water is really cold.”

Joy laughs, the sound like the tinkling of bells, and makes a throwing motion with her tiny hand. A sparkling gold substance, like dust, falls over both of them. Jay immediately floats up out of the water and tucks the lamp snugly into his bag and cinches it closer to his body. Kumar keeps paddling and looks up at them curiously.

Joy flits down right in front of him and smiles, softer than her earlier grin. “Faith, trust, and pixie dust,” she sing-songs. “Think happy thoughts, and you’ll fly.”

Kumar chuffs and closes his eyes, thinks about digging through barges and fiddling with broken tech with Carlos, thinks about the Auradon girl with the sword, lets the fact that he is finally off the Isle actually register. When he opens his eyes again, he is hovering above the water, and Joy is smiling at him approvingly. Kumar shakes violently, expelling as much of the salt water from his fur as he can.

“Gross, dude!” Jay laughs and tries to block the spray from hitting his face.

“Let’s get out of here.” Joy flits off. Jay and Kumar follow.

Kumar doesn’t look back, so he doesn’t see his father lurking at the back of the crowd, glaring at his son’s retreating form.

Chapter Text

“Bringing home strays?” Mal quirks an eyebrow at Jay when they land on the dock.

Jay offers a single tired finger in response.

Mal simply grins back.

Kumar stretches, glad to have all four paws back on the ground.

Ooooh , so pretty!” Lonnie steps forward then pauses. “He’s not gonna bite me if I get too close is he?”

Joy laughs. “I sincerely doubt it. He let me ride on his back most of the way here. Pretty sure your fingers are safe, Lonnie.”

Lonnie still hesitates. Finally she offers a slight bow before holding her hand out in front of her. “May I?”

Kumar chuffs and inclines his head. He doesn’t even try not purr when the dark haired girl reaches out to scratch behind his ears.

“Kumar?” A familiar voice comes from the middle of the knot of people on the dock. Carlos pushes forward a moment later. Kumar trots over and gently butts his friend with his head. Carlos stumbles a bit and laughs. “I knew you’d help. Thank you.”

Kumar inclines his head.

“Uh… no offense, but,” Evie holds a hand up, “why are we talking to a tiger like it’s a person?”

Kumar eyes the group in front of him - Lonnie, a dark skinned girl fussing over the rescued lamp and paying him no attention, the VK’s, and Joy - who, now that she’s full size, looks like she came straight off the Isle with him. Kumar decides a bit of scandal won’t hurt anyone present and shifts. “Because I am.”

Evie shrieks and stumbles back. Carlos and Joy laugh. Mal smirks. Lonnie blushes. Jay and the other girl pay him no attention.

Kumar has the grace to hold his hand in front of him - maintaining at least a bit of dignity. “I’ve got pants in my bag if anyone can catch Jay’s attention for two seconds.

Joy takes one look at him fussing over Zaida’s lamp, rolls her eyes, and snaps her fingers. Kumar’s bag flies straight into her hand and she digs into it without so much as a by-your-leave. A moment later, she flings a pair of pants at him and he debates briefly before turning his back on the group long enough to step into the loose pants - his bare ass is probably the lesser of two evils here, and it amuses him to no end that he actually has to consider that now.

“For the record,” Lonnie meets his eyes as he turns back around, “I suddenly feel very embarrassed about scratching your ears and calling you cute.”

Kumar feigns offense. “You mean you don’t think I’m cute?”

Lonnie opens and closes her mouth a few times before a mischievous glint enters her eyes and she brazenly gives him a once over. She shrugs. “I don’t know if cute is the word I would use.”

Kumar is saved from responding when a bright blue light floods the dock, followed by a high voice. “Who’s down there?”

Joy groans, “Ugh, FG,” before promptly shrinking and flitting up to perch on Kumar’s shoulder. “Don’t let her intimidate you. She can do jack and shit without the Council’s approval these days and Zaida’s dad is head of the Council. He won’t let you get sent back.”

Tension that Kumar didn’t realize he was holding drains out of him.

Fairy Godmother finally appears in front of them and tsks disapprovingly. “Now children, why is it always you lot I find where you aren’t supposed to be?”

Genie pops up before any of them have to answer. “Jay?”

Jay turns his face up briefly. “Got her.” Jordan lists to the side, blue magic waning. Jay catches her. “Jordan, stop!”

Jordan shakes her head. “She needs more. She’s so weak.”

“Killing yourself won’t help her!” Joy snaps, jumping off Kumar’s shoulder and growing back to her normal size. “We’ll all help. I know our magic is different, but -”

“No, you’re right,” Genie interrupts, taking his oldest daughter’s place, “it doesn’t matter what kind of magic it is as long as it’s magic. She’s djinn. Magic is magic.”

Fairy Godmother’s screeching questions and demands go ignored as Genie pushes his own magic into the lamp until his already transparent form starts to waver. Mal silently takes his place, purple magic flowing around the lamp until her nose starts to bleed and Evie takes her place until she lists to the side. Joy’s golden magic swirls around the lamp almost as long as Genie’s did before she collapses, breathing raggedly.

Jordan lays a hand on the lamp and shakes her head. “She’s still weak.”

“Fairy Godmother,” Genie’s voice is as hard as any of them have ever heard, his tone makes it clear her assistance is not a request.

The fairy in question visibly hesitates, but does step forward to lay her hand on the lamp. She may not approve of casual use of magic, but this is far from casual.

When she steps away, Jordan lays her hand on the surface again before shaking her head sadly.

Carlos’ head snaps up. “Jay?”

Jordan’s eyes brighten and she nods. “Of course, Jay!”

Jay looks at Jordan desperately. “Anything. What do I have to do?”

“Just put your hand on the lamp and take the inhibitor off.”

Jay takes a deep breath and lays his hand on the lamp. His hand fiddles at the clasp of the cuff, but his hand shakes.

Joy pushes herself up and gently pushes his hand away. “Let me?”

Jay jerks his chin in a nod.

“Ready?”

Jay nods again.

Jordan lays a hand over Jay’s and nods to Joy. “Go ahead.”

Joy unclasps the cuff and Jay’s eyes turn the same color as the cherry red magic that bursts from his hands.

Behind him, Genie gasps and gapes. “He-”

“Doesn’t even know what it means,” Joy cuts him off quietly. “We haven’t had the time to explain.”

“Does Zaida-”

“No,” Joy shakes her head, “his powers didn’t emerge until he heard she was missing.”

Jordan pulls Jay’s hands off the lamp and Joy snaps the cuff back in place as Jay slumps against her and Jordan smirks triumphantly. “She’s gonna be okay.”

Joy wraps an arm around his shoulders and squeezes. “Hear that? She’s gonna be okay. You did it.”

Jay offers a weak thumbs up and promptly passes out.

Genie immediately scoops Jay into his arms -- in the same moment Zaida materializes out of her lamp in a rainbow of magic. She glances at the magic, and then the people, surrounding her and smiles brilliantly. She falls into her older sister when Jordan opens her arms. “Thank you.”

Jordan squeezes her tight. “Anything for you little sister, but it wasn’t all me.”

Zaida’s eyes land on Jay, cradled in her father’s arms and she turns an incredulous look on her older sister. “Jay, really?”

Jordan nods. “And Joy and Kumar.”

“But mostly Jay,” Joy adds.

“That last burst of magic,” Zaida demands, eyes on Jay again.

“Jay.” Jordan confirms. “His power manifested when I told them where you were.”

“But the color…”

Jordan shrugs. “Apparently fate has a sense of humor.”

Chapter Text

“Why was she so surprised it was Jay that rescued her?” Kumar asks.

Lonnie glances at him as they walk. “Who, Zaida?” She shrugs. “She’s been… slow to trust Jay.”

“Because of his father?”

“Because of his father,” Lonnie confirms.

“And now?”

Lonnie laughs. “Now I think she’ll probably trust him more than anyone.”

“Does, uh… does Mowgli have any kids around here?”

“Nah,” Lonnie shakes her head. “Bagheera insisted on homeschooling the offspring of that whole lot. There’s so many of them he may as well just establish a school in their village.”

Kumar laughs. “Is it wrong that I’m grateful for that?”

Lonnie shakes her head. “No. I understand. I’ve met many Huns. One of them even gave me a baby hawk as a gift when I was young. I still have him. He and Mushu do not get along. Anyway, my people are mostly at peace with them these days, but… well, I don’t think I would react well if Shan-Yu had any children I came across. The stories of him… I can’t imagine someone who did that much bad ever producing anything good.”

Kumar shakes his head slowly. “The Isle is all kinds of bad, but Shan-Yu is… evil. Just evil.”

Lonnie freezes and looks at him sharply. “You know him?”

Kumar shrugs. “He’s friends with my father… well, as close as anyone can get to having a friend on the Isle. He always scared me.”

“Your father or Shan-Yu?” Lonnie asks, an all too perceptive glint in her eye before she resumes walking.

“Yeah,” Kumar answers.

Lonnie bumps his bicep with her shoulder. “They can’t get you here.”

“I know.”

Lonnie pauses again, this time pushing a door open. “Here we are. The bed’s a little small for someone as big as you. I’ll talk to Ben about getting it switched out tomorrow… well, later today, I guess.”

Kumar gapes at the room. “This is mine?”

“Yeah,” Lonnie grins, “all yours, too small bed and all.”

“This room is as big as our whole cave,” Kumar mutters.

“Cave?” Lonnie asks.

“Yeah,” Kumar answers absently, taking in then two four-poster beds, matching sturdy desk and bookshelf, flat screen television, and the deep couch, “cave.”

“Right,” Lonnie answers uncertainly, “well, uh, is there anything you need tonight? Toothbrush, extra pillows, food… oh my gosh, food! You’re probably starving.”

Kumar waves her off with a smile. “I can wait. Honestly I’m just kinda tired.”

“Of course!” Lonnie jumps a bit. “Right, well, I’ll leave you to it then. Get some rest and I’ll come by tomorrow morning to give you a tour?”

“Sounds great, thanks.”

As Lonnie walks away, she suddenly remembers the original four VK’s wary obsession with food when they first came to Auradon and changes direction to head for the kitchens. She makes three sandwiches and grabs a bottle of lemonade and a bag of chips before heading back toward Kumar’s room. FG and her curfew can kiss her ass - it’s already way past it, anyway.

Kumar is still shirtless when Lonnie knocks on his door. Lonnie forces herself to focus on his face and offers a smile. “I know you said you weren’t hungry, but I decided to call bullshit.”