Underneath the Red Lights (the melancholic remix) [2015-09-15]

jacksgreysays:

A/N1: Uh, so, this probably won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the brainstorm of Underneath the Red Lights. I highly suggest you read that first.

~

It doesn’t mean anything, Carlos thinks, as he sits at the same table he sat at last year and the year before that. Normally this restaurant would be out of his price range–too expensive for a factory worker, never mind that he has steadily been moved more and more towards the R&D division and with it a higher salary–but not today. Because he’s not the one paying for it today.

The waiter is different, he can’t really expect to be served by the same person, but the maitre d’ is the same. She recognized him–perhaps from that brief splash of time when his face was everywhere in the media, but his fifteen minutes of fame is years past. Perhaps from his previous outings to this restaurant, but she must have seen hundreds if not thousands of other customers, more frequent patrons–likely, she was shown a photo of him. To let him in, to seat him at a specific table and let him order whatever he wanted, despite his casual and shabby outfit.

And Carlos knows he could’ve worn that particular outfit–even two years out of style it is still the fanciest thing in his wardrobe–but it just doesn’t seem right. Not that sitting here, eating a dinner worth probably a month’s worth of his wages, in his oil-stained, rumpled work uniform feels right either but. He thinks he is owed this, at the very least.

It could be argued that him not being in prison is above what he deserves, but who are they to judge? He just wanted his friends, wanted to take back what the government had stolen from him, wanted to carve out a little happiness for himself. 

When he is finished with his entree–a different one every year–dessert is brought out and this is one of the things that does not change. It’s their molten chocolate cake, and maybe these dinners are not apologies but punishments, because for all that he loves chocolate, for all that the cake is perfectly baked and so divinely delicious, he can’t help but feel that this whole situation is bittersweet.

Because it is the taste of their first and only kiss, before the truth came out and Carlos was left with all that he had before–no family, no friends, no boyfriend–with the glimpse of another life that slipped through his fingers.

A life that he would have never had, anyway, like this dinner at this restaurant–because factory workers can’t afford thousand dollar meals, and they don’t date princes either.

~

A/N2: I just read the most strangely heart-rending DCU fic and for some reason it gave me Underneath the Red Lights feels. But… angsty feels? Basically, the “bad ending” in which Ben not only finds out about the whole magical possession thing BEFORE Carlos gets to the castle, but also doesn’t forgive Carlos (and further does not think that magicians should be free). But at least he doesn’t put Carlos in prison? Because technically, Mal was the one who did the possessing and it could be argued that Carlos had no role in Mal’s crime.

I DUNNO, I’M SORRY. I JUST HAD TO SPREAD THE MELANCHOLY. Still pretty sure I’m not going to do UtRL but if I am, please rest assured, that this is not how it will end.

Okay, this isn’t my post for today, but I need to type this out now before I fall asleep and forget it but basically two things related to the above drabble:

  1. WHAT IF THE REASON THE MAITRE D’ RECOGNIZES CARLOS IS BECAUSE THE ONLY DAY THE CROWN PRINCE EATS AT THE RESTAURANT IS THE SAME DAY.  Like, after closing hours, Ben just rents the entire restaurant (and of course they’re going to keep it open just for the crown prince) and he sits at the same table as Carlos and basically acts like he is on a date with Carlos just several hours displaced. AND THIS IS THE KIND OF THING THAT PEOPLE REMEMBER, SO OF COURSE THE MAITRE D’IS GOING TO RECOGNIZE THE PERSON WHO CAN INSPIRE THAT KIND OF HEARTBREAKING DEVOTION FROM THE FREAKING CROWN PRINCE.
  2. WHAT IF I DO ACTUALLY WRITE UNDERNEATH THE RED LIGHTS STARTING WITH THE ABOVE DRABBLE. As a sort of… reconciliation love story, in which the boys are both a little bit older and a little more broken but all the wiser for it and Ben isn’t so reactionary and hurt by the lies and Carlos realizes that he did actually like Ben for himself and not just a means to an end and they “fall back in love” (and then eventually Ben does realize that magicians are treated unjustly).

Just, ugh, stab myself in the heart. (Literally kept shrieking NOOOOOOO MIMI NOOOOOOO to myself as I was typing this, though).

Underneath the Red Lights (the melancholic remix) [2015-09-15]

A/N1: Uh, so, this probably won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the brainstorm of Underneath the Red Lights. I highly suggest you read that first.

~

It doesn’t mean anything, Carlos thinks, as he sits at the same table he sat at last year and the year before that. Normally this restaurant would be out of his price range–too expensive for a factory worker, never mind that he has steadily been moved more and more towards the R&D division and with it a higher salary–but not today. Because he’s not the one paying for it today.

The waiter is different, he can’t really expect to be served by the same person, but the maitre d’ is the same. She recognized him–perhaps from that brief splash of time when his face was everywhere in the media, but his fifteen minutes of fame is years past. Perhaps from his previous outings to this restaurant, but she must have seen hundreds if not thousands of other customers, more frequent patrons–likely, she was shown a photo of him. To let him in, to seat him at a specific table and let him order whatever he wanted, despite his casual and shabby outfit.

And Carlos knows he could’ve worn that particular outfit–even two years out of style it is still the fanciest thing in his wardrobe–but it just doesn’t seem right. Not that sitting here, eating a dinner worth probably a month’s worth of his wages, in his oil-stained, rumpled work uniform feels right either but. He thinks he is owed this, at the very least.

It could be argued that him not being in prison is above what he deserves, but who are they to judge? He just wanted his friends, wanted to take back what the government had stolen from him, wanted to carve out a little happiness for himself. 

When he is finished with his entree–a different one every year–dessert is brought out and this is one of the things that does not change. It’s their molten chocolate cake, and maybe these dinners are not apologies but punishments, because for all that he loves chocolate, for all that the cake is perfectly baked and so divinely delicious, he can’t help but feel that this whole situation is bittersweet.

Because it is the taste of their first and only kiss, before the truth came out and Carlos was left with all that he had before–no family, no friends, no boyfriend–with the glimpse of another life that slipped through his fingers.

A life that he would have never had, anyway, like this dinner at this restaurant–because factory workers can’t afford thousand dollar meals, and they don’t date princes either.

~

A/N2: I just read the most strangely heart-rending DCU fic and for some reason it gave me Underneath the Red Lights feels. But… angsty feels? Basically, the “bad ending” in which Ben not only finds out about the whole magical possession thing BEFORE Carlos gets to the castle, but also doesn’t forgive Carlos (and further does not think that magicians should be free). But at least he doesn’t put Carlos in prison? Because technically, Mal was the one who did the possessing and it could be argued that Carlos had no role in Mal’s crime.

I DUNNO, I’M SORRY. I JUST HAD TO SPREAD THE MELANCHOLY. Still pretty sure I’m not going to do UtRL but if I am, please rest assured, that this is not how it will end.

Ain’t No Rest 4/? (2015-09-13)

Ben likes to think he’s a patient person–except, no, that’s a lie, he knows he’s easily excitable and tends to rush ahead with only minimal thoughts to the consequences–but he’s pretty sure anyone on as little sleep as he got, with as much shitty coffee as he’s drunk, would be impatient too after an hour of being stonewalled by the one of the perpetrators of probably the only interesting case to happen in Auradon in years.

Decades.

Any other day, this would be the kind of thing Ben would be grateful for, a break in monotony from the usual Knight’s duties. Just figures this would happen when Ben’s not at his best.

He’s fidgety–Ben, that is–and if it didn’t seem to at least sort of unnerve the suspect he’d feel weird about acting so vulnerable in front of a stranger, much less a criminal. But as it is, just because the guy isn’t saying anything doesn’t mean he’s not giving them information.

The guy has been verbally uncooperative, but he was pliant enough when it came to booking. Obediently standing and turning for pictures, even if he had a pout the entire time, and letting himself be fingerprinted. Not that that helped at all; no match in the system. Even now there are still smudges of ink on his fingertips, the blackened lines and whorls standing out darkly against pink skin. Ben let’s go of his paper coffee cup, the fourth of the night, to slide his own hands across to where the suspect’s are resting against the table.

The perp doesn’t quite flinch away from the movement, but it startles Ben out of that course of action before he makes contact.

Whoa, Ben thinks, shaking his head, I am really tired. He clears his throat, hands going back to his coffee cup, the liquid inside lukewarm and sludgy, but at least it gives him something to do. Something like not touching the prisoner which is very clearly against the rules of conduct inside an interrogation room.

The camera in the corner of the ceiling has been constantly recording, steady red light like a judgmental eye. He hopes Lonnie doesn’t bring that up.

A knock on the door jolts both of them, but the perp does not look away from Ben, and Ben finds it hard to look away too, even despite the heaviness of his eyelids, but then the door opens and one of the precinct’s uniforms calls out, “Uh, sir?” Even though Ben is clearly younger than the police officer. But that’s what he gets for being a Knight, so Ben turns.

“Yeah?” Ben says, voice low and scratchy, before he clears his throat again and tries again, “Yes, what is it?”

“Lab results for the DNA test are back,” the uniform says, holding out a folder but not stepping inside.

Ben tries not to let the irritation or the skepticism show on his face. The former because that means Ben has to heave himself out of this surprisingly comfortable chair just to walk three steps over to get the folder. The latter because it’s not like the prisoner looks all that intimidating–he’s probably a few years younger than Ben, several inches shorter, and a good twenty pounds lighter–what could be so scary about that?

“Let’s see it then,” he mutters, flipping open the folder and paging through the information. Like his fingerprints, there’s no exact match for the perp in the system, but there is a partial match.

Ben can feel his eyebrows raise in surprise as he looks between the lab results and the perpetrator still sitting silently at the table, a smirk slowly edging onto his face as he realizes what it is that Ben must have just found out.

Partial DNA match found–their prisoner is related to Cruella de Vil.

~

A/N: I DO REALLY WANT TO DO THIS STORY, BUT IT’S SO DIFFICULT, ARGH. I think the problem is that I’m being too perfectionistic with it so it’s not flowing like A Tale of Two Kingdoms or Only Fools Rush In did. And I figure, I might as well write Ben’s POV while I’m tired since he’s tired, too, right?

Come on mystical muses, hit me with some inspiration.

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Fake Fic Summaries 5/?, the Descendants AU edition (2015-09-12)

A/N: Day 3 of arriving at home ridiculously late, this sucks, wtf. Couldn’t scrounge together a drabble but here’s a plot bunny that’s been on my mind that I might as well articulate it now.

~

Underneath The Red Lights

“There is no Isle of the Lost, no convenient rock in the middle of the ocean to banish villains. Instead, there is a walled and warded prison, where all magic users are held. When Carlos is fifteen, his best friends are taken from the orphanage in the middle of the night and imprisoned there.

Three years later, either Carlos is going mad or he’s about to pull off the greatest jailbreak in history. He just has to get the crown prince to cooperate.”

Okay, wildly AU, really don’t think I’m going to do it, because there’s a lot of overlaps with Ain’t No Rest, WHICH I STILL REALLY REALLY WANT TO DO, and this one also seems like a lot of world building which may just warp things too much.

Anyway. Based off a weird dream I had, essentially, as the fake summary above suggests, there is no Isle of the Lost. Instead, the villains and minions are imprisoned in various facilities and any children are raised in government run orphanages. Actually, all magicians are in a maximum security prison. I’m toying with the idea that that includes the Fairy Godmother, too. And so Jane would also be in the orphanage.

Anyway, at age sixteen (I just figure the other three Lost kids are older than Carlos) the government does checks for magical potential, and thus Evie, Mal, and Jay are all locked up. Even if they weren’t on the Isle of the Lost, they are still Carlos’ best friends so he’s just like… wtf, damn it Auradon, but he can’t really do much since… he’s a minor and living in a government run orphanage.

Now for the part I actually dreamed. Carlos begins hearing/seeing his friends–the image of Evie is next to his reflection in mirrors, shiny pieces of metal, even puddles; whenever he’s in danger, he can hear Jay’s voice telling him what to do; and every so often strangers will come up to him, all of them different, but all of them with the same glowing green eyes. Either he is going crazy or his friends have somehow managed to project themselves out of the prison and to him. Never fear, it’s the latter.

Now, because they are in maximum security, the only way to get them out is *mumbledy mumbledy plot device* which means somehow Carlos needs to get access to the castle. Not only that, but the inner sanctum of the castle–where important government stuff and such is held. That’s not open the public. In fact, the only people who can get in are extremely high ranked government officials or the royal family. And Mal can’t just possess someone because the castle is also warded against magic.

So Mal temporarily possesses Ben while he’s out being a real boy (a bit Jasmine-esque) and basically has Carlos pretend to be his boyfriend in really public places so the paparazzi will catch them and eventually the royal family will have to make the rumors true.

Except Mal can’t hold on to the possession for very long and there was one vivid scene I dreamed in which Mal!Ben brought Carlos to a really fancy clothes store, and while Carlos is in the changing room that’s when the possession fails and so when Carlos goes to show off the outfit to who he thinks is Mal, it’s actually Ben who’s just like–I have no idea what is going on, I’m pretty sure I blacked out for a couple of hours. Did I go out drinking? Did I hire a hooker while I was blackout drunk? This is a very good looking hooker, good choice drunk me. 

Ben’s as affable as canon and he kind of just… rolls with it because hey, there’s this cute boy who isn’t some snobby noble or boring politician who, sure, might or might not be a hooker, but is very fun and smart and well, drunk!Ben seemed to know what he was doing so, sure, let’s buy this cute boy some very flattering clothes and take him out to dinner.

Carlos does realize that it’s not Mal but he’s pretty sure he should keep going with the fake!dating thing–or at least, that’s what Evie’s image (there’s no sound in reflections) seems to be gesturing when he asks the changing room mirrors.

And eventually I guess they do fall in love and there’s a whole thing where maybe betrayal is brought up (but seriously, if Ben can forgive Mal for basically roofie-ing him, then he’ll probably forgive Carlos for not telling the whole truth about how they started dating) and then Ben is just like… why are we imprisoning people with magic even if they haven’t done anything wrong? Shouldn’t it be innocent until proven guilty, even with magic? So hooray, all the magicians who are not villains are set free, including the Fairy Godmother and the three other Lost kids, Carlos and Ben officially get together, happily ever after, etc. etc. 

The end.

I dunno, if anyone wants to adopt this, feel free? I would totally be up to beta/brainstorm some more.

edit: I lied, apparently, here’s a drabble for UtRL, though it’s a “bad ending” remix

I always wonder what would descendants be like if Carlos was a girl and rest of the gang were guys and were like her overprotective brothers! Or Mal could accidentally turn Carlos into a girl, and suddenly the guys at Audran Prep notice he is cute!

Hm… I’m always kind of hesitant about gender/sex bend fic. When done right they are amazing to read, but it’s pretty difficult to do right–there’s a lot of tricky parts that need to be maneuvered around with sensitivity and there are points where you have to consider how much of a personality is due to sex (in that, unfortunately in society, people of different sexes are held to different standards and so develop differently). Like, how much change is too much? At what point do the characters we know and love become unrecognizable.

In the always!female!Carlos and always!male!Mal, Evie, and Jay… hm… there would be changes in how the parents treat their children in that case. For example, Maleficent and Grimhilde treat canon Mal and Evie as extensions of themselves/their second chances–essentially, their daughters are them. Whereas with Cruella, she treats canon Carlos as a (heh) dogsbody/minion.

If all three of them were to have sex bends I think that would also change–Cruella would probably raise Carlos (Carla?) to be a leader of minions instead of to be her own minion. A lot of Grimhilde’s advice to Evie is how to get a prince to marry–but if Evie is male then that means he would be the prince so Grimhilde would raise him to be as stereotypically prince-like as possible. Basically, training him to go on quests so he can win the hand of whichever princess he rescues. Maleficent and Mal’s relationship wouldn’t be too different except for how Mal is further from the duplicate image of Maleficent, so he would be even more desperate to prove himself to his mother.

All that being said, I do think that, yes, if the gang were female!Carlos, male!Mal, Evie, and Jay then the latter three would be very protective of the former. Carlos would be Evie’s “practice princess” in a way–like how children play make believe–while her lack of magic would make Mal think she were ridiculously fragile (especially in comparison to Maleficent’s overt magical presence). With Jay, since I figure female!Carlos would be less hostile than canon Mal and less beguiling than canon Evie, Jay would be more protective of female!Carlos. I mean, Jay is already pretty protective of the others in canon so it could only increase for a female!Carlos. Female!Carlos would be more hardened and cunning than her canon male counterpart, but ultimately I don’t think she would treat the others like her minions (that’s what Horace and Jasper’s kids are for); like her protectors, maybe, but not her minions.

As for shipping… hm… well, I’ve got to be faithful to Benlos–and if anything, female!Carlos would be an irresistible blend of canon!Mal and canon!Carlos for Ben. I would be absolutely fascinated by a male!Mal x Audrey ship–I’m always a sucker for the enemies to lovers trope. I also have a soft spot for Devie (aka, DougxEvie) but I’m not entirely sure how well that would translate to male!Evie x Doug… it’d be a mix of bad-boy/jock + nerd… As for Chad, well. I hate Chad. HATE. So I am pretty sure the Lost kids would be even less tolerant of his douchebaggery if it’s Carlos he tries to exploit–and anyway, female!Carlos would be less vulnerable to a handsome prince than canon!Evie. 

As for the second part of your ask… there’s a difference between gender/sex bend fic and… well, I don’t know if there’s a better term for it… gender/sex fucks. That is, instead of always!female!Carlos, it would be a temporarily!female!Carlos. The latter can be funny and silly, but I’m concerned with the phrasing? Like, why do the guys at Auradon Prep suddenly realize he’s cute when he’s female? Why did they not realize it sooner (like Ben)? That goes into exploring the sexualities of random Auradon guys who I don’t particularly care about?

I don’t think Carlos would do anything if he were suddenly turned female–I think it would be mostly the other Lost kids doing stuff. Like Evie having another model who actually enjoys clothes, Jay glaring daggers at all the Auradon guys who keep trying to ask out Carlos just because he’s suddenly female, and Mal trying to figure out how to reverse it. 

Maaaybe the only one I’d accept Carlos actually dating when suddenly female would be Ben (because, yes, I’m a Benlos shipper, but also he’s the only Auradon guy who showed any interest in Carlos before his sudden magical sex swap), but I’m not really sure where the plot would go from there. Unless it’s a story about gender dysphoria, in which having accidentally been turned female Carlos realizes that he actually wants to be a she. Thus all of her friends (+Ben) are her support system as she transitions (mentally, since Mal’s magic already took care of the physical part).

Uh.. but yes, sorry for all that heavy text. Here are some pictures for what I think I female Carlos may look like:

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(This is Quin as photographed by James McCloud)

AVATAR MAL STUFF

jalencolbert:

Ok I’ve been seeing this..

In the form of this…

AND I Thought I’d share my thoughts. 

SO basically I like the idea. 

HERE’S WHO I THINK PLAYS WHO.

Mal = Aang 

(They are the main charcaters of both television events and….. it’ll make sense if you keep reading ok?”

Carlos = Katara 

(Forget the Mal X Carlos relationship. Fuck heteronormativity. Anyways he’s the sweetest, probably gives the best hugs and is cute so.. yeah)

Jay = Toph

( Have you seen Toph earthbend? Have you seen Jay’s arms? Case closed.)

Ben = Zuko (Only because of that scene where you thought Katara and Zuko were getting together… and how that would make BENLOS CANNON, therfore saving my life. Plus it makes sense, they weren’t exactly on the same side in the beginning…by the end they were.. yeah? Yeah)

Evie = Suki (She probs can kill anyone, and Suki and Evie, could both rock a fan. Plus we all lowkey appreicate suki’s acrobatics and everyone loves EVIE soo its simple addition) 

Doug can be Sokka, because neither do anything important in my opinion.

 Well scratch that Doug helps Evie learn important feminism stuff…. so they are who they are also for the pairing.

Help are my thoughts, comment your opinions follow me, reblog if you will.

-Fanboy

Okay, wait, okay. I first want to clarify–did you mean matching up characters with roles or matching up characters with elements? Because those are two different things entirely and I mostly agree with you on the roles (that is, Mal as the Avatar) but not necessarily which elements they are?

I hope you don’t mind me ranting, but SORRY YOU GOT ME STARTED NOT SORRY.

So, here we go. In my opinion, in this theoretical AU, I think only the Isle kids should be benders. So instead of banning all the villains to the Isle, they banned all the villains and benders to the Isle. Or maybe (as evidenced with Jane’s lack of magic) for some reason only those born on the Isle have bending abilities anymore.

Anyway:

Mal is the Avatar, but she is primarily Fire. Since it’s Disney canon that Maleficent can do fire stuff and the whole dragon thing and all. And, gotta be honest, Mal is like the slightly better adjusted version of Azula.

Evie is a Water bender; because potions/chemistry and water being reflective like mirrors… and… blue… but also because she’s fairly adaptable, a generous person, and a good foil to Mal’s harsher tendencies.

Jay is an Earth bender… because he’s pretty much Toph except a big buff dude. (Like the Ember Island players episode).

Carlos is an Air bender, because he’s fast and willow-y and playful and pacifistic; personality wise he is the closest to Aang. But… I also want him not to realize he’s an Air bender, because maybe Fairy Godmother is also an Air bender and even before the banishment of benders to the Isle there were a startlingly low number of Air benders. (Also maybe Cruella herself wasn’t a bender, so no one expects Carlos to be a bender either). ((Also, also, this explains the strange, preferably not romantic relationship between Jane and Carlos. It’s kind of like seeing someone who you were supposed to be but aren’t? I dunno)).

Then for the non-benders–that is, Ben, Doug, Jane, Lonnie (and Chad and Audrey? Do we particularly care about them in this AU?)

Hm… well, Lonnie would be Ty Lee or, rather, have the chi-blocking abilities of Ty Lee. In part because, except for Ben, she was the least prejudiced against the Isle kids. Part of that is probably because she was the least afraid, meaning she would have some way to defend herself against benders. Ty Lee could literally shut down someone’s bending, so that would not be a problem for Lonnie at all.

I’m trying to think of all the other non-benders in the series… Sokka, Suki, Mai, Jett… ooh, Teo (son of that inventor) and June (the bounty huntress)… oh! YUE.

Okay, so Jane is probably the Air equivalent of Yue–in that, she herself isn’t a bender but she has some spiritual chi in her. Maybe there was a complication with her birth and the Fairy Godmother (as an Air bender/implied spirit bender) pulled some sort of deal so that Jane would live even without the ability to bend.

Doug is Teo–in the sense that he comes from a family without magic but who are probably more technologically advanced than the rest of the kingdom. (I figure the dwarves are kind of like genre-typical dwarves in that they are immune to magic. It’s a two sided blade because that means spells and such don’t work on them, but they have to use tech to achieve things instead of magic. Although, since the rest of the kingdom doesn’t really have magic, they’re probably further ahead. [Hm… yeah, I’m gonna keep this headcanon: Dwarves are immune to magic, therefore Doug is immune to magic.])

I figure Ben and Chad are basically just Knights. Y’know, swords and such. Specifically with fighting styles, I suppose Ben would be more like Zuko (sans Fire bending), while Chad would be like Jett (who, I will be honest, I have extremely mixed feelings about. I kind of both love and hate that guy. And hella shipped him with Mai, gonna be honest.)

Which leads me to thinking that Audrey would probably have Mai’s fighting style. In that she has a bunch of hidden knives and needles hidden around her person. It’s not as effective against benders as Lonnie’s chi-blocking, so it explains her and Chad’s continued fear+prejudice against the Isle kids.

Although, hm… maybe Belle is a bender? But only secretly, and not very strong and definitely not Air. So it kind of mimics Zuko and his mother’s story arc. Like… maybe it’s something she only told Ben, because she knows how much bending has been vilified (except for Fairy Godmother, but it’s something else entirely to have the queen be a bender than a magical advisor). And so then when her bending was discovered, she had to leave in order to protect her son. So in this AU Ben isn’t as optimistic and happy (because even from the few snippets of her in the movie, Belle was very obviously the better parent).

So the roles they play don’t quite match up, but you can adapt things pretty easily. A fusion more instead of an overwrite.

… Uh. Yeah. Thaaaat’s it. Promise.

(I’m pretty sure I’m not going to write this, but if anyone would like to and would like to have me as their beta, shoot me a message. Because this was very fun brainstorming).

[Also, I am counting this as my daily post for August 30th.]

edit: sort of writing this, check out “Outliving The Ruins

Amazing chapter, and I’m glad I helped inspire you. What actually happened while Mal and Ben where on the other side though? Did they seal the tear?

I’ll admit, the whole “cameras don’t work” thing was a bit of a cop out on my part. Because it has to do with the magic parents and the ritual and it was… Well, not unrelated, but tangential to the story I wanted to tell.

Basically, the kaiju masters were using the magic parents to fuel their invasion–using dragon!Maleficent’s DNA to create magic resistant kaiju, Jafar’s mind control to… well… control the kaiju, and Ursula and Grimhilde to keep the tears open and other stuff. Essentially, Carlos had the jaeger program and all the stuff from Ben while the kaiju masters had the magic villains. It’s part of the reason why Mal, Evie, and Jay were being hunted because they are three more magical batteries for the kaiju masters.

So what the Dragon Knight did was to free the magic parents from however the kaiju masters were controlling them, thus also freeing the kaiju and it kind of turned into a bloodbath on that side with everyone fighting each other and Dragon Knight preventing kaiju from going through the tears then racing to go through one themselves before all the tears collapsed/disappeared.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms, part 11/11 (2015-08-27)

It’s as if all the thoughts have flown out of Carlos’ head leaving only an overwhelming sense of relief, vague confusion, that mild contrariness from before. And fear. Denial. But the part of him that is the head of the jaeger program is already moving, planning, changing up orders.

“Get more pilot suits,” he says to the technician, who startles but does as told. To Dreda he says, “Tell your crew to prep the fourth jaeger,” and though she hesitates at first to look him in the eyes, she nods and leaves as well.

He doesn’t fully understand it, but it’s as if he just suddenly knows. Knows that what Auradon says it the best course of action. He doesn’t need the drift analyst to know that the four of them would be better jaeger pilots than he and Dreda.

“Queen Cobra?” He asks Evie, she tilts her head toward Mal and Auradon and smiles, small and reserved.

“And the Dragon Knight,” she says, and something in Carlos deflates, resigned.

Carlos sighs, a long quiet exhale that drains everything but the jaeger program from him. “Let’s get to work, pilots,” he says, then turns and walks away, headed towards the control room where he belongs. The docks are his domain, here he is king.

They follow.

Queen Cobra is the first to set out, towards the class five kaiju.

Mal knows that Evie and Jay will be fine, in part because of her own experience of them. Evie’s omniscience combined with Jay’s battle prowess could only be enhanced by the literal giant fighting machine Carlos has built. They’ll be fine, she knows, because she has faith in them; they are her friends, and she believes in them.

Those aren’t words she’s all that familiar with, but in the drift with Ben it’s easy to admit these things.

In the drift, she also tells Ben the complete truth of the kaiju. Thoughts bounce between Mal and Ben, pooling together their knowledge and building off of each other.

The kaiju are to that world what the jaeger are to theirs–tools for battle. But where the masters of that strange world use the kaiju for conquest, Carlos has built his for defense.

Carlos has built the jaegers out of scraps, not bioengineering like the masters. There are only four jaegers; four jaegers to defeat over a year’s worth of kaiju.

If the masters had gotten a hold on the mind behind the jaegers… It’s why Mal couldn’t let Carlos go.

The past several kaiju had not been designed to demolish everything in their path. All of the past kaiju had headed straight for the Isle, not the shores of Auradon. They had been designed to capture Carlos.

How dare they?

A wave of protective aggression crashes through their drift. It is the ferocity of Mal defending her gang and the devotion of Ben fighting for the boy he loves.

How dare they even try?

The Dragon Knight won’t let that happen.

All of the jaegers are equipped with cameras, streaming directly to the control room; all the better to keep track of the situation. The footage caught on that day tells a story. A story of survival, yes, but there’s more to it than that.

It is a story, not about heroes defeating villains, but of humanity. Of people, regardless of their past and their legacy, working together to protect each other. The Hell Jalopy and the Rebel Watcher, two jaegers built by Isle and Auradon hands, used by Isle and Auradon pilots. Both defending each other to defeat their shared enemy.

It is a story, not about villains’ kids realizing their potential for heroism, but of redemption. The Queen Cobra, Evie and Jay, defending the Isle which their parents’ greed had put at risk. Proving that magic is power, but power can be used for great acts instead of terrible.

It is a story, not about good versus evil and the unlikely places both can grow, but of sacrifice. The Dragon Knight’s camera works up until it crosses through the tear into the world of the kaiju. Maybe it was the signal, or maybe the strange star and it’s twisted light could not be recorded. The events that occurred there will forever be a secret, known only to Ben and Mal.

It is a story, not about a boy defying both nature and nurture to save the world, but of a boy just trying to do his best. A boy who built a ship for a heartbroken girl, a boy who let his friends fight despite the risk, a boy who asked for aid and was always surprised to receive it. A boy in love.

It has been said that every story is a love story.

The steady beeping of the heart monitor has been the soundtrack of Carlos’ life for past two weeks. It’s as easy to manage the gradual shutdown of the jaeger program from a hospital room as it is from the docks. Though he does admit, he has been delegating a lot of his duties to Harry, Jace, and Dreda.

It’s not like he’s the only visitor: Evie and Jay stop by frequently, as much to reconnect with him as it is to check on Mal–without the rush of danger, the gang can take their time. They realize that Carlos has gotten a growth spurt in the past year and is finally taller than Evie, so long as she doesn’t wear heels. He’s still no match for Jay, of course.

Chip has acted the part of a guilt ridden statue in the room everyday. When he’s not arguing on behalf of the Isle for better equipment and better supplies and a better way of life, really– “Just continuing what he would have wanted,” Chip shrugs, though with how tense he is, it’s more like a hunching of his shoulders.

But Carlos has a lot of time to himself, the metronomic beeping and his thoughts. No more kaiju, so no more jaeger program. No more head of the jaeger program, so he’s just Carlos now. Just himself–a runty, nerdy boy from the Isle.

With a prince from Auradon?

That’s ridiculous.

The steady beeping of the heart monitors suddenly… isn’t. Carlos startles out of his sulk to stare–the pulses on the monitors are getting faster. Away from comatose state into consciousness.

They’re waking up.

Carlos pushes the call button for a nurse who enters, startles at the long-awaited revival of her patients, and proceeds to summon practically an entire army of nurses and doctors. Most of them are from Auradon, and they crowd around their prince, but there are some who circle around Mal’s bed. At least until her hoarse, but still scathing voice forces them to make room for Carlos.

“Carlos,” she calls, voice rough from disuse, and she gestures weakly at him to come closer.

The first thing Mal does to him, after he’s within grabbing reach, is to take Carlos’ head in both of her hands and just…. stare. Even without knowing she now has magic, Carlos freezes in fear–Mal had always been more intimidating than Jay despite muscle mass, despite the fact that she’s been unconscious for two weeks.

“I don’t want to kiss you,” she says evenly to him. Which… okay?

“I don’t want to kiss you either?” He agrees uncertainly, this is a very strange conversation.

“But if you do not kiss that guy soon,” Mal says, physically turning Carlos’ head so he can see Auradon in the other bed, “I may just kiss you to put all three of us out of our misery.”

Carlos is fairly sure that doesn’t make any logical sense, but he’s not going to argue. So he nods, or nods as much as he can with his head in her grip.

She releases him, and though he straightens his back he stays by her bed. “Mal,” Carlos reaches for her hand, and she magnanimously lets him hold it, “You did good,” he says.

She shoots back, “We all did good,” and they both laugh at the irony–the baddest gang of the Isle, saving the world. Then she bats his hand away, and Carlos probably would feel hurt except she pointedly waves towards Auradon’s bed, significantly less crowded than before.

And Carlos’ empty chair next to it.

“Hey Carlos,” Auradon rasps, and smiles. “I’m back from my quest,” his fingers barely have to twitch before Carlos grabs for his hand.

“You brought my friends back to me,” Carlos responds, voice little more than a whisper.

“You asked for them,” Auradon says simply, easily, as if he would give Carlos anything he asked for without hesitation. Because… that is what he’s been doing, Carlos realizes. “I have been trying to court you for several months, Carlos,” he explains.

“Auradon–” Carlos starts, then stops, cheeks flushed red. Because even now, he doesn’t know Auradon’s actual name.

Fond amusement spreads across his face, stretching his grin wide, “Please, call me Ben.”

~

A/N: IT’S FINALLY DONE! WOOHOO!!!! Descendants fandom you are now also the recipient of my second ever completed multi-part story!

Just want to say thanks a lot to theotpauthor for all the encouragement during this fic! I’m so thankful to you, really, and your messages were greatly appreciated. You know how frustrated I was with this story, but you really helped me through it. So thanks again 🙂

And, yeah, it’s technically three in the morning on the 28th, buuuuuut whatever. I’m counting it as my August 27th post.

Okay, if I’m gonna be completely honest, there was more content that I was considering putting in but decided not to. Because, seriously, this was getting too long. Just little things, like–what happened to the villain parents, especially the magical ones involved with the ritual. And random stuff like–I was actually considering keeping Anthony Tremaine alive and having him be drift compatible with Doug? But then it was like… that’s totally unnecessary.

So if anyone wants to shoot me questions about various head canons I have about this story that I couldn’t include in the story itself, go for it. That sounds like fun.

Also, if anyone would be willing to beta this so I can put it up on ao3, please let me know. Because that would be really cool, and I would be extremely grateful.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms, part 10/11 (2015-08-26)

“Carlos!” They call out, and he’s helpless to stop the smile that spreads across his face. He waves down at them, and perhaps his good cheer is contagious, because Dreda waves as well, even if she doesn’t really know them.

For a second, he forgets. It’s as if the past fifteen months haven’t happened, no kaiju, no jaegers. For a second he’s just a kid again, the youngest member of the Isle’s baddest gang.

But only a second.

“Sir,” one of the technicians says, no doubt originally from the Wall–the primary way to tell technicians apart is by how polite they are–and Carlos looks up, looks away from his friends and Auradon. “Miss Dreda,” he adds, “It’s time to go.”

The jaeger is ready for its pilots.

A wave of numbness washes over him; in his peripheral vision he can see the way Dreda shudders one last time before gearing herself. They both step away from the railing, towards the cockpit entrance.

Dreda’s hand reaches towards him blindly and Carlos catches it in his own. They squeeze each other’s hands; they’re scared, but they’re ready.

“What should we name it?” Carlos asks her, not so much a distraction, but a focusing technique. The jaeger is a frightening future only because it’s an unknown. But they’ve both been a part of building it, and they’re going to be fighting in it. It’s theirs, it’s them, they should get to name it.

Dreda gives a shaky laugh, more exhale than sound. “My cousin Anthony used to call me something before… before.” Carlos vaguely recalls an Anthony Tremaine, a year or two older than himself. He had been… well, not kind–because kindness was not something done on the Isle–but he had been civil towards Carlos when he was just a runty science nerd. He can easily believe that Anthony would have been kind towards a runty, science nerd cousin.

Everyone has lost someone, Carlos is not unique in this. “I think you’ll like it Mr. De Vil,” Dreda says, pointedly using his last name.

“Oh, really?” Carlos asks, looking at her in curiosity.

“Mischief Demon,” she says, with a sly smile, and Carlos can’t help his own huff of amusement.

“That’s a good name.”

“Carlos!” They call out, and the sight of him in person instead of through a mirror, is more efficient than anything else in convincing them that they’re finally free. He smiles and waves down at them and that prompts all of them, even Mal, to smile back up at him.

Well, Ben has been smiling since first catching sight of him, so it would be more appropriate to say his smile grows even wider somehow. Until something pulls Carlos’ attention away, and Ben notices what he’s wearing.

That’s a jaeger pilot suit.

And beside Carlos is a short figure in a matching suit.

No.

Then Carlos and his partner step away from the railing, disappearing from sight.

No.

“No!” Evie shouts, echoing his thoughts, but the din of the docks or distance or whatever has taken Carlos away prevents her from being heard. “We have to get up there now!”

Jay pulls at one of the technicians, “How do we get up there?”

Maybe it’s surprise or fear, but it might be something else, because her eyes glaze over and she obediently says, “The elevator,” she waves toward the freight lift, but it’s already en route upwards and moving far too slowly for their tastes anyway.

“I’ve got this,” Mal says, and with a sharp arm gesture, she’s suddenly several feet above the ground. The technician, startled, moves away, as do others not even at all close. As does Chip.

But Evie and Jay step closer, familiar if not expectant, each with an arm raised up towards her.

As does Ben.

“That’s a good name,” Carlos says to Dreda, and with one last squeeze of their hands, they step towards the cockpit.

Only to be stopped by the technician, feet rooted to the walkway, unmoving; looking behind them, and turning pale.

“Almost as good as Queen Cobra,” Carlos hears from behind him, and he doesn’t know what that statement means but he knows that voice. Knows it so well, even if he hasn’t heard it in over a year.

“Evie,” he says, turning, then “Jay!” he yelps, when an arm curves around his shoulders and bodily pulls him away from the jaeger. Dreda is pulled along with him briefly, before she lets go. Smart, since Carlos is dragged into a bruising group hug. Even Mal joins in, though she extricates herself quickly enough.

She is also quick to get to the point.

“You can’t get in that,” Mal says, and no matter that Carlos had been dreading actually piloting a jaeger, no matter that she probably had a good reason and would explain, Carlos’ hackles rise.

It’s one thing to temporarily feel like that kid he once was, one thing to remember being the runt of the gang, jumping to attention whenever the others say so. But he’s not just Carlos anymore, he’s head of the jaeger program now.

“We have to,” Carlos contradicts, and steps away, towards Dreda, towards the jaeger, towards his duty. What does Mal know about the jaeger, about this new way of life on the Isle? She and Evie and Jay have been gone for over a year.

“Carlos.”

They might not have been around, they might not understand. But Auradon was, and he knows.

“Carlos,” Auradon repeats, then steps forward to stand beside Mal, “You don’t.”

Ben lets the friends reunite, stays back so he doesn’t intrude. He thinks it’s rather sweet, really, though he knows better than to say so. He averts his eyes, in part to give the gang some privacy, but also to look about.

The Isle is empty, the Hell Jalopy and the Rebel Watcher missing, the third jaeger prepped, Carlos and a young girl in pilot suits. He can read the signs: it’s either a triple event, or the kaiju have escalated to class fives and the first two jaegers are being overwhelmed.

The technician, who had paled so quickly upon spotting a group of flying teenagers–the image of a young Maleficent at the forefront–meets Ben’s eyes. Even if Ben weren’t the kind of person to remember people’s faces and names, it’s obvious that this technician is one of the engineers from the Wall, with the way he seems to be drawing comfort from seeing his king alive and unharmed, if a little messy from a dip in the waters around the Isle.

Ben silently and clumsily asks a question about the situation in the hand signs the jaeger program use around the docks when construction is too loud for speaking.

Two class fours, one class five.

So it’s both a triple event and a class escalation.

His attention snaps back to the gang when their conversation turns sour.

“We have to,” Carlos says, backing away and towards the jaeger. Towards danger.

Mal has told Ben what lies on the other side of the tears, the world of the kaiju and their masters. The whole point behind the kaiju. If the masters get a hold of Carlos…

“Carlos,” Ben doesn’t even want to consider that possibility. “Carlos. You don’t,” he steps forward, closer, “You don’t have to. Because we’ll go instead.”

~

A/N: Ugh, okay fine. This has to be two separate parts because I need to get out of this double POV scene thing that’s going on and also this is a decent enough length already. Hopefully I will have the actual final part up later today.

A Tale of Two Kingdoms, part 9/11 (2015-08-24)

There’s something almost electrifying in the air, and it has nothing to do with cauldron’s inert energy. Ben stares, letting his eyes adjust: purple-haired Mal, blue-haired Evie, and Jay whose biceps probably are the size of his head. Carlos’ friends.

None of them move, a sense of astonishment on all sides making them pause and take it in. Mal, Evie, and Jay reveling in the fact of finally being home, Ben in the success of having completed his quest.

Then Evie hisses sharply, a gloved hand rising to her temple, “Carlos,” she breathes, as if in pain. “He needs us now.”

“Time to go,” Mal says brusquely, stepping towards the shore.

Ben–unaware of what exactly is going on, but reacting to both Mal’s order and the thought of Carlos needing help–follows her, Chip trailing behind him.

“Lagan! Derelict!” Jay calls out, and the eels sway in the water almost playfully at their names, before disappearing.

They come back, moments later, with a rickety but water-worthy dinghy. The girls climb in first, Jay keeping it steady before he climbs in as well. Ben and Chip join them, though not without a mild complaint from the latter, “There was a boat this entire time?”

Some force, whether magic or eels, begins pushing the dinghy through the water, back towards the inhabited part of the Isle.

“None of us can swim,” Jay says with a casual shrug, almost challenging someone to say anything about it, before his face twists and he adds, “Well–”

“Uri could,” Evie sighs, hand still against her temple, “He was teaching Jemma before the… before.”

Before the ritual. Before the kaiju. Before his death.

“What happened?” Ben asks, before realizing how that might be misconstrued, “I mean, it’s been over a year since you disappeared. Where were you?”

The other three teenagers look at each other, a silent conversation passing between them through facial expressions alone.

Mal is the one to look him in the eye and answer.

The pilot suits are strangely comfortable, Carlos thinks. Not that they’re designed to be uncomfortable, just that he would have expected the weight of the armored plates and sensors to be heavier. If anything, he feels free.

There are no crossbones on his suit.

“We have a match,” the drift analyst says solemnly. But everything about this situation would instill solemnity, so Carlos doesn’t take offense.

Some of the techs, the ones not up in the control room, the ones on the ground prepping the third jaeger–Carlos’ soon to be jaeger–hiss and murmur to each other. Relieved, but uncertain.

“Who is it?” he asks, when nothing else seems to be forthcoming.

“Dreda Tremaine,” the analyst states, so carefully, so hesitantly, that Carlos knows something is up even before the other techs burst into loud denials.

“Quiet,” the head of the jaeger program demands forcefully, “Who is Dreda Tremaine?” Carlos asks, concerned.

She’s one of the ground crew, mostly works on the fourth jaeger. She’s fairly skilled with wire work and but especially talented with firmware.

She’s twelve.

“Why do we even have her scan?” Carlos asks, honestly baffled; the head of the jaeger program asks, a little irritated.

“Everyone who joins the jaeger program gets tested. We… we weren’t sure how long the kaiju would keep coming,” the analyst explains haltingly. For all they knew, the jaeger program would last years longer. They weren’t expecting someone so young to be needed so soon.

“Where is she?” he asks, resigned, both parts of himself in unison.

Around him voices speak up and protest, She’d be over by the fourth jaeger now. You can’t seriously consider it. She’s too young.

“I’m here,” a small thin voice says, and the crowd of technicians part for her. She’s a short girl, dressed in an overly large shapeless technician’s coveralls, grease on her cheeks and her upturned nose. She’s shaking, and her hands are fisted into her pockets, shoulders hunched up to her ears, but she still walks forward and says, “I’m Dreda Tremaine.”

The past is the past; nothing can change that. Mal talks about the ritual, about the world of the kaiju, but only in the bare minimum. The past should be remembered, yes, should be learned from, but there is a time for reminiscing and that is not now. What they need to talk about is what they’re going to do next.

They know how to stop the kaiju for good. They need the jaegers, they need Carlos.

They need to stop Carlos from getting into the jaeger.

Once back onto solid ground, it’s Ben who leads the way. The Isle has changed over year they’ve been gone and while the jaegers are easily spotted from a distance, Ben is the one who knows how best to get to where they need to go.

The streets and alleys are deserted, as if the people had simply vanished mid-activity. Or as if a warning siren had gone off, alerting people to go to the safe zones. Even as they run, Ben can see that the Hell Jalopy and the Rebel Watcher are gone, only their nameless comrades remaining.

But Ben has also been on the Isle for months now, and there’s something else he notices. He can recognize the difference between a prepped jaeger and a jaeger in sleep mode. One of the nameless jaegers have been powered up.

There isn’t a pilot suit Dreda’s size, but they modify the smallest they do have to fit her. She changed with no complaint, but Carlos can see they way her tied up hair is swaying, an echo of her bodies’ trembling.

She’s only twelve.

“Hey, Dreda,” Carlos says, and even though he’s not one for comforting people he tries his best, and lays a hand on her shoulder, “I’m Carlos.”

She looks at him almost incredulously, “I know who you are,” she says, and her voice is still soft and thin but at least its not panicked.

“I just wanted you to know that I’m sorry,” because he is, he really really is, “These jaegers are supposed to protect the people of the Isle, and I’m sorry that just because we’re drift compatible you aren’t one of those people.”

It’s one thing to volunteer yourself for the jaeger, it’s another to drag someone else down with you, Carlos thinks to himself, but still there are no crossbones on his back.

“I… I’m scared,” Dreda admits, but she looks Carlos in the eye as she does so, and that gives him the courage to say back:

“I’m scared, too.” Maybe this is what makes them drift compatible, a willingness to do something terrifying because it needs to be done and they’re the only ones who can.

Their moment is cut short when shouts ring out; the ground crew heralding someone’s arrival. Carlos and Dreda look down from their spot up in the catwalks, just outside the jaeger cockpit entrance.

Five figures, not in the jaeger technicians’ jumpsuits.

Carlos recognizes the tops of those heads.

“No way,” Dreda breathes beside him, saying what he’s thinking.

It’s impossible for them to have heard her from so high up, but the group looks up, one by one. Carlos knows those faces, too.

Auradon actually did it.

A/N: ARGH! Okay, okay, what?! Why is this not done yet?! OMG. Okay. NEXT PART, FOR SURE.