Light It Up (Burn It Down), 2/? (2016-03-06)

Ben doesn’t mention the blue rose until Chip catches him staring at the magic mirror. And, given Chip’s history with floating magical flowers, his reaction is completely justified.

“I’m fine!” Ben protests as Chip bodily hauls him to the Fairy Godmother.

“Tell that to my porcelain childhood!” Chip yells back, panic making his word choice odd but no less accurate.

By the time Fairy Godmother gets to her office, she is greeted to the sight of her king being held in a headlock by his bodyguard. She smiles, even though this is not the first time she’s seen such a thing.

The situation quickly become serious, however, when the topic matter is explained to her.

“I’m not going to be losing my limbs any time soon, am I?” Chip asks, though what he’s really asking is if this curse is the same as the one from his childhood.

Fairy Godmother examines the magic mirror, the image it contains, and her brow furrows in concentration and concern.

“It’s not the same, that much I know for sure,” she says slowly, as if carefully laying down the foundation for something huge she doesn’t even know of, “Roses were never really my specialty, and curses even less so, but I have been researching ever since the jewelry store robbery…” She purses her lips, “I’ll let you know what I find. Until then… for how long has this been going on?”

“Ten days,” Ben says, and immediately gets an indignant glare from Chip.

“Well, since then only the first petal has fallen, correct?”

“Yes,” Ben nods, and only feels the slightest twinge of worry when the Fairy Godmother doesn’t say anything in response to that.

“I’ll hold on to this for now,” she says instead, gesturing at the mirror, and not so subtly dismissing them.

Ben, despite being her king, was also once her student, so he leaves. And where he goes, Chip follows.

The thing about most curses is that they are fairly easy to undo–but only under very specific parameters. The more powerful the curse, the simpler the cure… and vice versa.

But she doesn’t know what this is. As far as she can tell, nothing has happened to Ben–yet–or to anyone else.

Unless the rose is meant to throw her off the right track. Have her make the obvious connection between this spell and the one that afflicted Ben’s father–wasting her time trying to undo one curse only for it to turn out to be another.

The petals must mean something, though. Maybe not a countdown to escalation but a countdown to activation. Something with such a long activation time would surely be incredibly strong.

In which case… an activation of what, exactly? And what triggers a petal falling?

Before she can research the answers, the image in the mirror changes. Gone is the rose; replacing it is a painted stone wall with a question of its own:

“Who did Laurette Bibeau hurt?”

She brings the mirror to Ben, who reads the question and is immediately alarmed. Considering the last one led to a murder investigation, it makes sense to expect the worse.

Captain de Châteaupers is eager to jump on it, even with so little to go on–it must be galvanizing to see the perpetrator of his last case walk free even with all the impeccable detective work and evidence against Chad Charming.

Still, even determination and skill does not make up for the lack of information on Laurette Bibeau, much less her possible unknown victim. The Knight hits a dead end within the week–the only Bibeau is an old bar in a small village in the outskirts of the capitol.

Ben checks the mirror obsessively, worriedly–if a failed conviction caused a petal to fall, what would a stalled investigation?

Thankfully, a lead appears. From the queen, in fact, visiting her son for their biweekly lunch. He tells her about the question–but not the curse–more as a way to vent than anything else, so it’s surprising when Belle solves it.

“Laurette Bibeau?” She responds in surprise, “I haven’t heard that name in years.”

Ben stares at his mother in shock, “You know who she is?”

“I did grow up with her after all. She and her sisters were the only other girls my age in our village,” Belle explains with a small nostalgic smile, “We weren’t that close, but I know none of them would hurt anyone,” She pauses, considering, “The triplets did have terrible taste in men, but in their defense, it was a very small village.”

Ben squints in confusion, “I don’t understand,” he has no idea where this is going.

“Well, all of them wanted to marry Gaston when we were younger,” at this point, Belle’s mouth twists into a frown, “Of course, only Laurette actually succeeded.”

“Where is she now?”

His mother looks at him, incredibly sad, “She married Gaston,” she says, instead, as if that were answer enough.

In a way, it is.

Ben sits in his study, head propped up in his hands, staring blankly at the magic mirror on his desk. The sky has already gone dark, but he has yet to turn on the lights in his room. Only the low gleam emitting from the mirror illuminates the room.

He’s already passed the information on to the captain–who will continue his investigation out of professionalism by finding and interviewing the remaining two triplets–but Ben is quite certain as to what he will find: nothing.

Laurette Gaston née Bibeau has hurt nobody, that’s the point. She’s hurt no one and yet she was exiled to the Isle of the Lost because of who she married.

“Why are you asking me these things?” Ben asks futilely, fingers pulling at his hair in frustration, “Why are you making me do this?”

It’s rhetorical, of course, Ben knows why. The kingdom of Auradon is imperfect, it’s justice system clearly flawed, and these questions are making him confront these facts. Who better to correct these problems than the king? But no child wants to know this about his inheritance, about the home he grew up in.

The mirror does not answer him.

“Laurette Bibeau hurt no one,” he says, then watches in fascination as the image wavers and changes, like the reflection on the surface of moving water.

“So what?” the mirror asks, flippant and cruel and goading.

Ben is confused, startled–what does that even mean?

“So,” he begins, “if she wants to return to Auradon, then I can arrange it.”

The image flickers and twists, back to the blue rose. Another petal falls.

“No, wait!” Ben says, “What did I do wrong? What do you want?”

Again, the mirror does not answer him. He resists the urge to throw it against the wall.

Four days later, after the latest Isle barge run, Princess Melody visits Ben in person, bearing a package.

“Normally, I’d say something about how I don’t appreciate being a delivery person. But I think for this I’ll make an exception,” she sets the box on Ben’s desk and steps back, looking away to give him privacy as he unpacks it. Which he appreciates when the contents become clear.

Inside is an urn. The plaque reads: Laurette Gaston née Bibeau, Beloved Wife and Mother.

Date of death, three years ago.

Ben thinks maybe he understands why the second petal fell.

~

A/N: This took me a very long time. So I don’t feel guilty about being ten minutes late for my daily post 😛

Also, in case you didn’t catch it, Laurette is one of the three “Bimbettes” (aka the three swooning blonde sisters) from the Beauty and the Beast movie. Why did I choose Laurette? Well, just use the search function on the wiki page and read about her. SHE WAS CLEARLY THE MOST AMBITIOUS AND CUNNING OF ALL THREE SISTERS. Why did I choose Bibeau as their last name? Well, I basically looked up French surnames, went to the part of the list that started with “Bi” and found one that means ‘heavy drinker’ and considering they’re apparently waitresses at the village tavern it seemed to suit.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed 😀

(Still no Carlos yet–sorry about that @walker2702)