Carlos joins him in bed again that night, and for many more nights after that. Not all the time, and not always heady make out sessions. Sometimes they do actually just sleep next to each other, and sometimes they talk instead, whispering secrets to each other beneath the covers.
One night, Ben admits that he doesn’t feel ready to be king. He’s only sixteen, he’s not even finished with school yet, how could he possibly rule an entire kingdom? But he doesn’t say this for reassurance, he just wants a safe place to voice his fears without judgement.
Carlos spends the rest of the night doing his best to hold Ben, both sets of limbs wrapped around Ben’s torso. He still moves around in his sleep, so the next morning Ben finds himself half way off the bed, but it’s the thought that counts. It was a very well-meaning aggressive snuggling, so Ben’s not even the tiniest bit angry.
On a different night, it’s Carlos who confesses: Before coming to Auradon, he had taken the barrier down around the Isle. But he panicked, hadn’t known what to do, and so the breach had only been temporary. The truth of the matter was that he had been scared of what might be beyond the Isle, had been raised on tales of vicious creatures and human beasts.
But he’s glad that Ben reached out, had given them the opportunity to leave the Isle. Carlos loves his life now. He likes that he and the other Lost kids are finally thriving, not just clawing out their continued survival. Instead of being something to fear, Dude is a stalwart companion Carlos wouldn’t give up for anything. And Ben… makes him happy. He’s happy because of Ben, and he’s happy to be with Ben.
Carlos still can’t quite say he’s in love with Ben, but it’s early days yet. They are happy together and that is enough.
“I can’t believe we’re going to be late!” Evie exclaims, fussing over her dress before holding a napkin out, just as the limo makes a turn. The soda sloshing out of Jay’s cup lands on it exactly.
“You made the both of them change like five times each,” Mal reminds her. Unlike the other passengers, she is completely calm; partly because she’s already been to one such family dinner before, unlike the other three Lost kids, but also because she’s not the one who’s going to inform Ben’s parents about his nontraditional take on relationships.
Although, to be fair, Jay’s energy has less to do with nerves and more to do with the amount of sugary limo snacks he’s been consuming. Maybe spoiling one’s dinner isn’t something that’s warned against on the Isle.
“That’s because he kept trying to wear shirts without sleeves,” Evie says, one thumb jerked at Jay beside her, “And this one apparently doesn’t own actual full-length trousers,” she continues, nudging Carlos playfully with her shoulder. That sets off a miniature domino reaction as Carlos then bumps into Ben, who then sways into Mal.
Carlos, normally exempt from Evie’s fashion scoldings, can only shrug sheepishly in response.
Evie sighs, as if greatly inconvenienced, when everyone knows she had been the one most enjoying the impromptu fashion show earlier, “I can’t believe we’re going to be late for dinner with a queen and king,” she repeats.
“I’m a king and you have dinner with me all the time,” Ben says, just to be cheeky.
Evie looks at him, flatly unimpressed, before breaking her composure and smiling.
“I can’t believe Carlos brought Dude,” Jay says, not because he actually can’t believe Carlos would bring Dude along, but more to make a point.
“Ben said it was a family dinner, if you’re coming then Dude gets to come, too,” Carlos responds. In his lap and being treated to a two-handed head scratch is Dude, decked out in a matching outfit to his chosen human.
“This is going to be hilarious,” Mal says in general, then taps on the chauffeur’s shoulder and asks him, “What do you think, Chip?”
“It’ll be more interesting than the last one, that’s for sure,” he says without turning around. Before he can explain, the limo approaches the drive, “Clean it up, ladies and gentlemen,” Chip advises, before stopping the car and exiting, coming around to hold the door open for them. The five of them, plus Dude, manage to exit the limo on their feet, at least, if not gracefully. Chip snickers before he leaves, muttering about the kitchens being the best vantage point and helping his mother.
Rather than waiting inside, Ben’s family have come to the front door to greet them, pushing introductions sooner than Ben expected.
“Everyone,” he says, addressing the Lost kids, “this is my mother, Belle, my father, Adam, and my grandfather, Maurice.”
Beside him Carlos hisses a breath and tries to subtly elbow him in the ribs. He’s not very successful on the subtle part, but fortunately for him, that’s not the biggest reveal of the night.
“You know Mal, my girlfriend,” Ben says, this time to his family, “This is Evie, Jay, and Carlos. My boyfriend.”
His parents, somehow still not used to how unorthodox their son is, stare in silent shock. Grandfather, on the other hand, laughs uproariously, mustache quivering like mad.
“Considering the lack of imprisonment, this is still better than how I found out about your parents,” he assures before turning to Carlos, “Don’t think we won’t continue our discussion on pneumatic cylinders from earlier today, my boy, but first let me see this dog of yours.”
Obediently, Carlos holds out Dude.
“Looks a bit like my old footstool,” Grandfather says, a little nonsensically, but completely understandable, “Come along then, kids, dinner’s waiting, and I know Lumière has prepared a bit of a performance. He makes new ones every time, you see,” the Lost kids, taking the hint, follow after him, leaving Ben and his parents alone. In the silence.
“Mom? Dad?” Ben prompts, worried but unafraid.
His mom shakes off her stupor, before smiling softly at him, a hand reaching out to cup his cheek, “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, you really are my son.”
“Actually, I think in this case I’m more like Dad,” Ben says, which finally seems to get through to him.
His Dad asks, “How so?”
The answer is easy, “I’m lucky to have found love.”
WHAT?! I finished a multi-part story?! WHAAAAAAT?!
Holy smokes, I don’t even… what?!
Okay, well… uh… congratulations Descendants fandom, you are now the recipient of the first ever completed multi-part story by jacksgreyson/jacksgreysays.
If anyone would like to be a beta and help me polish this up so I can post it onto AO3, just send me a message/ask. Because… this would also be my first AO3 fic if I do that.
And maybe be a beta to help with future BenxCarlos endeavors (BECAUSE I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS BUT NO ONE TO RANT ABOUT THEM TO).
I just wanted to say, this was an absolutely fun nine days of being obsessed with a DIsney Channel Original Movie based on second-generation fanfiction. Absolutely fantastic. Writing this series was kind of the highlight of my week and I probably wouldn’t have been able to get so far (TO THE POINT OF FINISHING?!?!) without so many enthusiastic readers.
Stay rotten to the core, fandom 😉