Ain’t No Rest, part 5/? (2015-09-16)

Carlos is trying his best to stay strong or, if not that, then at least silent–trying to mimic his friends’ confidence in the face of a stream of strangers and bureacracy–but it’s been growing steadily more difficult as time passes. Especially with the Knight just… sitting in front of him.

It’s not like Carlos is going to snitch, but the fact that the guy’s not even trying to get him to talk is weird. The guy is weird. But maybe that’s just what people from Auradon are like.

Carlos startles when a knock on the door interrupts their lack of a conversation, but he keeps staring at the Knight. It’s not eavesdropping if they’re talking right there in front of him, and anyway, it’s about him so Carlos has a right to listen.

He was never one for stoicism, and so when he sees the Knight find out who he is–who is mother is–Carlos bares his teeth.

Carlos is put into a holding cell after the big reveal, so they can figure out what to do with him in relative peace. He knows he’s not the most physically intimidating, but no doubt the mere idea of an islander escaping their precious barrier is something that scares the shit out of Auradon. He’s a manifestation of their nightmares–born and raised by one of their bogeymen.

And so he smirks, and sits, and waits.

He is shocked awake with a splash of cold water. He jerks and splutters, hearing the sounds of sneers and laughter, before he blinks the water from his eyes.

Two of the officers–not Knights from what he can tell of the uniforms–stand outside his cell. A bucket noticeably hanging empty from one of their hands.

Carlos does not break his silence, though he does internally curse that the fear of his heritage has already worn off.

“Told you,” One of them says, the one with the bucket, “He’s not much to look at.”

“Caught on your first heist? Not as smart as mommy dearest?” The other sneers, though Carlos does catch the way the phrase stumbles as it passes the officer’s tongue; as if it’s curdling in his mouth as he speaks. The possibility of Cruella de Vil hearing anyone mock her, at least, a twisting trepidation.

With her reputation, it’s not so far off base. She had been a terror to the authorities in her prime. A suspect for dozens of heists–though never officially proven until that last one. Each of them had been ruthlessly successful, planned perfectly, outwitting her opposition at every turn. She didn’t care about collateral damage caused to bystanders and the police sent after her. In fact, the one task force formed in an attempt to stop her received a present of an incendiary nature. Needless to say, Cruella de Vil is a name to be feared.

There’s a damned song about it.

But he’s not his mother… even if everything is going to plan.

He bites that back, though. He doesn’t like these two assholes thinking that the heist was anything less than successful but he stays silent. And anyway, Carlos being incarcerated is part of the plan; a secret part of the plan.

So he just smiles–the way Mal would in the face of any weakness, the way Jay does after an unnoticed pick pocket, the way Evie smiles at an unsuspecting victim–all sharp edges and barely concealed danger.

He’s not Cruella de Vil, no, but he’s an islander outside the barrier. And he’s not the only one.

“You little shit,” the uniform spits out, dropping his bucket with a clang and reaching for the keys to Carlos’ cell.

A little worried, Carlos sits up, but he doesn’t move away, doesn’t want to be the one to back down first. The door of his cell doesn’t creak open–the hinges well oiled, no rust in Auradon, not like the Isle–but the clatter of the bucket was enough to gather some attention, because before the officer can actually enter the cell the Knight from before calls out.

“What are you doing?” He says, a harsh reprimand, going so far as to bodily shove the officer away. The other officer disappears quickly, though from the way the Knight’s eyes flick to a ceiling camera, he won’t be able to hide.

Carlos doesn’t quite sigh in relief, but his muscles relax.

“I was just–” the officer starts feebly, trying to weasel his way out.

“You were just about to harass a prisoner,” the Knight says, then looks at the bucket and Carlos’ still wet hair, “To continue to harass a prisoner,” he amends.

“He’s from the Isle! He’s a fucking de Vil!” he shouts, twisting around the Knight in another effort to get to Carlos’ cell door, only to be shoved back again. Harder, until he smacks against the opposite wall.

“He’s as much protected by the laws as anyone else in Auradon,” the Knight says coolly, and at some unseen signal, several other Knights–probably called in while Carlos was sleeping–drag the officer away.

One of them hands a folded towel over to Carlos’ Knight–the first one, that is–before saying something, too soft for him to overhear, glancing at the ceiling camera, and leaving.

Then, it’s just like the interrogation room, just Carlos and the Knight.

He opens the cell door, but doesn’t step in. And for that, Carlos feels a rush of gratitude–one that grows when the Knight wedges the towel between the bars instead of trying to hand it over.

Carlos walks over and reaches for it gingerly, pulling away quickly, then beginning to pat himself dry.

“Technically,” the Knight begins, “the only crime we can prove you committed is trespassing. There’s no evidence of any breaking and entering or theft. So, you’re free to go,” the Knight says with a shrug, and he steps away.

Carlos stares, confused. This isn’t going how Evie said it would. Go where? He doesn’t ask.

But maybe something about his expression asks for him because the Knight continues, “As part of a law enforcement agency, I can’t tell you what to do or where to go from here,” and with another shrug, an almost casual movement if it weren’t for the fact that it turns his face away from the camera, “But as a private citizen I can tell you that I’ve got a pretty decent guest room in my apartment. And since my shift is over, I’ll be going home now.”

Then the Knight smiles, friendly, honest; nothing at all like what Carlos has been doing.

“I’m Ben,” he says, extending his hand out.

You’ll be safe with him, Evie had said, and Carlos trusts her even if he doesn’t trust this Knight.

Carefully, because he’s only ever seen it done on TV, Carlos shakes his hand.

“I’m Carlos.”



Also, I know all my laws are arbitrary and Ben offering Carlos a place to stay is probably illegal but, blah, whatever.

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