Underneath the Red Lights, 1/? (2016-08-29)

The week of his twentieth birthday, Carlos gets:

1) fired from his job,

2) nearly run over by a car,

3) tricked into going out clubbing by Jane for their shared birthday, then immediately ditched when she finds someone to make out with,

and

4) a panic attack fueled by an existential crisis as he considers the rest of his life playing out in terrible, bleak monochrome.

All in all, it’s not as awful as the week of his fifteenth birthday, so he’ll take it.

Oh, he also gets a boyfriend… kind of.

It’s a long story.

The collective kingdoms of Auradon have had fairly negative experiences with magic and so, in a spectacular show of panicked bigotry, decided to ban all magic and lock away all magicians.

Present and future.

Of course, the nobility like to think they’re the good guys, so they don’t exactly go around imprisoning children–but they also don’t hesitate to throw sixteen year old potential magicians into Auradon’s maximum security prison, Maison Rouge. It’s not like anyone really has the power to stop them.

Certainly not a magic-less boy living in a government run orphanage (even though technically he’s not an orphan since, as far as he knows, his mother is still alive).

So when Carlos wakes up the morning of his fifteenth birthday–January 1st, a New Year baby–and finds the three bunks nearest his empty and cold, he only cries a little bit into his scratchy blankets before quickly wiping away his tears.

(Jay’s not there to throw a stolen handkerchief at his face, Evie won’t run a comforting hand through his hair, Mal won’t stand guard and glare at anyone else who might stare or laugh)

In a different way, that morning was the worst day of Jane’s life, too. Mostly due to the fact that she woke up on her sixteenth birthday and hadn’t been in Maison Rouge.

Like him, Jane isn’t actually an orphan either.

The factory Carlos works in–or, rather, used to work in–is dwarf owned. Then again, most factories are dwarf owned. Most companies, in fact.

Forget titles and pedigrees–precious stones and metals, then later oil and technology–that’s where real prestige comes from.

As it is, though, dwarf culture and business practices are a lot kinder than human run companies. Carlos didn’t love his job–it was repetitive and boring and, if he’s going to be honest, way below his capabilities–but considering he only has the minimum government provided education and no social capital whatsoever, it was a decent first job.

Definitely better than where some of his former housemates ended up.

Until, after two years of mind-numbing diligence, he somehow managed to fuck it up entirely.

In his defense, it’s not entirely his fault.

Probably.

~

A/N: I’m a big liar who lies, apparently, because it looks like I am, in fact, going to write Underneath the Red Lights – or at least try my best at it.

Hopefully this will reignite my Descendants feels again. Fingers crossed.

So, recap: Jane has no magic, Jane and Carlos share a birthday but she’s one year older, every December 31st the government does a sweep of all sixteen year olds and throws those with magic potential in jail.

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