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A Tangled Web

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When Ben decided to bring four villain kids to Auradon from the Isle of the Lost, he expected there to be some bumps. He understood that they were victims of their parents’ actions, and in his mind, they were good people in a bad situation. It didn’t hit him until they arrived that they may not be as innocent as he thought.

They had decided that upon arrival, the VKs would be brought into a center where they would be evaluated. In order to truly get an idea of where they were mentally and physically, Ben’s parents had chosen to isolate them.

Originally, it seemed like a good idea. But once the limo actually drove across the bridge and they stumbled out, he realized it probably wasn’t going to be easy.

As soon as Ben’s eyes landed on the four teens, he realized that he may be in over his head. The girl with the purple hair, Mal, was glaring at him as if he had just kidnapped her from her home (and honestly, he kind of did). Next to her was the girl with blue hair and a crown, Evie. Her smile was big and she batted her eyelashes at him, but even he could see how dull her brown eyes were. The smaller boy, Carlos, was jumpy and seemed to be struggling to take everything in. The taller boy, Jay, was studying his surroundings, looking as if he was ready to jump out and fight anyone who dared to mess with him or his friends.

“Welcome to Auradon! I’m Prince Ben, son of Adam and Belle.”

“It’s so nice to meet you, Ben.” Evie said, reaching out and running her hand down his arm. “I like your suit. You know, I’m a princess since my mother is the Evil Queen and…”

“No you’re not.” Audrey chimed in. “Her royal status was revoked here, so you’re nothing.” She smiled in an overly sweet way.

He didn’t miss the way the other three moved, as if they were ready to attack. Ben just smiled at her. “Thank you, Evie. If you follow me, I can show you to where you will be staying.”

“But Benny-boo…”

“Audrey, I’ll catch up with you later.” She turned back to the VKs. “Come on.”

The teens looked hesitant, standing close together. Their postures were defensive, and they were all turned slightly so they could see all the angles around them. He just smiled reassuringly and led them towards the health center.

When they arrived, Adam and Belle were waiting. “Hello, it’s nice to meet you all.” Adam greeted. “I’m King Adam, and this is my wife, Queen Belle.”

Mal scoffed. “Yeah, as if we could forget your names.”

Ben was momentarily thrown off, but then he remembered that, technically, his parents did imprison them onto the Isle of the Lost. He was sure that there were some hard feelings.

“You will each have your own rooms for now.” Belle picked up, smiling gently. “I’m going to show you to them.”

“That’s okay.” Jay interrupted. “We’ll stay together.”

Adam stepped forward. “It’s not really a choice, son.”

Jay walked closer. “You are not my father.”

“Okay, I think we’re getting off on the wrong foot here.” Ben intercepted. “We are putting you into separate rooms so that you can be evaluated. We want to make sure you’re healthy and…”

“You’re going to poke and prod us like animals?” Mal said with a glare. It didn’t go unnoticed that she stepped defensively in front of the others. “That’s not happening.”

“What if we’re not healthy?” Evie questioned. “Are you just going to throw us back onto the Isle?”

“No.” Ben wasn’t sure what to say. He probably wouldn’t like being separated from his friends either if he was in an unfamiliar place.

“Listen, Benny-boo.” Mal came closer to him. “We’re not going to be locked into cages or…”

“Definitely not cages.” He interrupted. “You’ll be completely safe, I swear. A doctor will come into the room and examine you, and there will be someone to ask you some questions. You will have to spend the night here, but as soon as everything checks out okay, you’ll be at the dorms.” He tried to give them a sympathetic smile. “At least you can wait a little longer before you start school.”

He could see the four of them trading glances, trying to decide what they should do. He opened the door leading to the hallway that would contain their rooms. “Do you want to at least check them out?”

Ben studied them. Carlos looked absolutely terrified, Jay was frowning, Evie’s face was completely blank, and Mal looked angry. It was Evie who finally stepped forward. “Let’s go.” She encouraged her friends. Ben saw the way Carlos reached out and grabbed her hand, following closely behind her. Mal and Jay were more hesitant, but they went too.

“Each room has a bed and desk and books. You’ll get hot meals and you’ll be able to meet up in the common room, where you can play games and watch TV. Remember, this is only until the doctors think it’s safe. There are a lot of germs and illnesses here that you might not have built up immunity to, so you’ll need to get shots.”

“Shots?” Carlos questioned. “You’re going to shoot us?”

“No, it sounds worse than it is. There’s a little needle that they’ll put into your arm that will expose you to the virus so that your body can fight it off.”

“So you’re going to make us sick?”

“It doesn’t make you sick.” Ben explained. “I’m not sure exactly how it works, but it will help you. Otherwise, you’re going to be exposed to all these new germs and you’ll get really sick.”

“Please, as if this place has any germs that the Isle didn’t have. We ate rotten food.” Jay said with a roll of his eyes.

Ben led them to where their rooms would be. There were glass windows on each door and they were all on the same side of the wall so that they couldn’t see each other. “I know that you guys are in a new place and this is scary, but I promise that we’re trying to help you.”

Mal made a noise. “As if this is anything to be scared of.” She brushed past them all and went into one of the rooms.

Jay looked to Carlos and Evie. “If anyone touches you or…”

“We’ll be fine, Jay.” Carlos sighed before going into a room.

Evie smiled. “See you soon.”

“You too, Princess.” They went into their rooms.

Each of the doors were shut, locking automatically. Ben sighed in relief and turned, meeting his parents’ gaze.

Adam looked at him proudly. “You’re going to make a great king, Ben.”

But Ben wasn’t so sure. He felt terrible for locking them up after they finally got some freedom from the island they had been trapped on since their birth. He just hoped that everything would check out okay so they could start school and have their first experience with a normal life.

-----

Three days later, Ben was given permission to skip school so he could go to the health center. He was ready to hear what the team of doctors had discovered about the VKs. Honestly, the four of them fascinated him and he was curious to hear about how they had reacted to spending the last couple nights alone.

“Good morning, Dr. Williams.” He greeted as he entered. “Do you have a moment to discuss our new guests?”

“Of course, Prince Ben. Come right this way.” He led him down the hall and into his office. “You certainly chose some interesting kids.”

“How are they doing? Are they cooperating?”

Dr. Williams shrugged. “Well, as much as you would expect a villain kid to cooperate. There are definitely signs of trauma starting to show already.”

“Okay. What did you find out?”

“Let’s start with Jay. Physically, he’s in great shape, but a little underweight. He wasn’t happy with the idea of changing into a gown for the full exam, so that took a while to talk him into. There is some scarring on his back and arms, almost like he was beaten with a whip. He is very protective of the others and he just kept asking to see them. When asked about the Isle, he told us that it was a dangerous place and they did what they had to do, and he refused to talk about his father.”

“Was he able to get vaccinated?”

“Yes.” Ben nodded in understanding. “Mal was a little harder to convince. She is also underweight, and she downright refused to get into a gown. We did what we could, and she is healthy and did the vaccines. She’s very rude and sarcastic, and quick to get defensive. I can tell she is manipulative. Like Jay, she kept demanding to see her friends. She told us that her mother is in power on the Isle, and that ‘if you want to stay alive, you have to have power’.”

Ben was interested in that statement. He filed that away for later. “What about Carlos?”

“Underweight and has a lot of scarring. When he was given food, he scarfed it down as if it would be taken away at any second. He huddled in the corner whenever we came near him, so it took a while before he allowed us to do the vaccines. He is very jumpy and doesn’t like loud noises. I see some signs of physical abuse based on the bruising on his body and his reactions. He struggles with making eye contact and his answers were short and to the point.”

“Yeah, I could see that yesterday. He seems a little awkward.”

“Out of the four, I think Evie is the hardest to figure out. She’s very polite and talkative, but only when it’s on her terms and a subject she wants to talk about. For example, she had been talking and cooperating, but when I asked her to put on a gown, she started to get upset and her hands were shaking and she refused. She did allow us to give her vaccines, and like the others, she is underweight. At meal times, she only really picked at her food, not even finishing half of it. She was saying how excited she is to be here, and when I asked about the Isle, she shut down.”

“Okay, so overall, would you say that they are healthy?”

“Physically, yes. I think that there is work to do with all four of them mentally, and I would recommend weekly visits to a therapist.”

“Do you think they’re ready to come to Auradon Prep?”

Dr. Williams looked at him. “I want to try something first. I want to let them all see each other and watch how their relationship with each other works. If they have healthy relationships with one another, I think we can release them today.”

“Okay, good. Let’s go.”

Dr. Williams led the way to the rooms. Ben curiously glanced into the windows. Mal was laying upside down on her bed with her head hanging off. When she saw him, she stood. He kept walking and saw that Carlos was on the bed huddled under the blankets, Evie was drawing at the desk but turned towards the side so she could still see the door, and Jay was just laying on the bed staring up at the ceiling.

The first thing Ben noticed was that Mal, Jay, and Carlos were in new clothes. They all had on identical black sweatpants and gray long sleeved shirts. Evie, however, was still in her Isle clothes.

“Why aren’t they in their clothes?”

“Because many of the pieces sewn into the fabric could be used as a weapon. We tried to get Evie to change too, but she refused. I’m going to leave her in her room until she changes; hopefully once she sees her friends, she’ll do it.”

Ben didn’t exactly agree with that, but he figured that this man was a doctor and understood this better than he did.

Mal’s door was unlocked first and she walked out, looking around curiously. “Where are we going now?”

“To the common room.” Ben explained as Dr. Williams unlocked Carlos’s door. The young boy jumped when he heard the door open and sat up, staring at them in a mix of confusion and fear. As soon as he saw Mal, he got up and came out. Dr. Williams skipped Evie’s door, then let Jay out, who joined the others.

“Why didn’t you let Evie out?” Mal demanded.

“She refused to change into the clothes I gave her. As I explained to you, you can’t wear anything that could be used as a weapon.”

“So you threw clothes at a teenaged girl and expected her to change in front of you?” Mal narrowed her eyes. “You really thought that would go over well?”

“It doesn’t have to be in front of me. If she wants to come out, she has to change.”

Mal went over to Evie’s door. “Did you hear that, E? Put the clothes on and you can come out with us.” Ben watched as Mal glanced towards Jay and Carlos, then nodded towards the door. All three of the VKs went over, standing in front of the window on Evie’s door as if they were guarding her from Ben and Dr. Williams’ sight.

A moment later, Ben heard a mumbled voice from behind the door. Mal turned and looked inside, then all three of them moved so that Dr. Williams would unlock the door. Evie walked out slowly, smoothing down her hair and clothes as she walked.

“We’re going to go to the common room.” Dr. Williams announced. He turned and started to walk in that direction. Ben watched as Jay slung an arm over Carlos’s shoulder, and Mal whispered into Evie’s ear. They all four seemed to be checking in with each other, scanning their eyes across bodies to make sure there were no injuries.

Once they got into the room, Dr. Williams took a seat. Mal let out a loud groan. “You’re going to sit here and babysit us?”

“I want the four of you to be able to spend some time together.” Ben jumped in. “For that to happen, he has to be present.”

Mal rolled her eyes, but went over and sat on the couch. Evie instantly sat next to her, while Carlos took the chair next to the couch, and Jay sat on the table across from the girls. They spoke in hushed tones.

Ben leaned over to Dr. Williams. “We can’t even hear what’s going on. How is this going to help?”

“I can already see a difference. They’re more relaxed now that they’re with each other. You wouldn’t have believed how different Carlos looked when he was on his own. Mal was much snappier, Jay was a lot more tense, and I tried everything possible to get Evie to put on those clothes and for them, she was dressed in minutes. I think having people to relate to will help them to adjust. It seems like they’re opposites; Mal and Jay are defensive and argumentative and strong-willed, while Evie and Carlos seem calmer and like they can balance them out. You have them as roommates, right?”

“Yes, Evie and Mal, and Jay and Carlos.” Ben turned to the doctor. “Now that you think they’re okay, is it alright to give them their clothes back? I don’t want them to be forced into a new place and think that they have to completely change who they are.”

“If that’s what you would like to do, then I think that’s alright.”

Ben stood up and approached the group. As soon as they saw him, they all tensed up, locking their gazes on the young prince.

“Your bags are here. You are going to be able to take a shower and get dressed, and then I’m going to show you around Auradon Prep.”

“We’re getting out of here?” Jay questioned.

“You’re getting out.” Ben confirmed.

If only he knew what an interesting ride they had ahead of them.

Chapter Text

As the teenagers got their first look at Auradon, Mal couldn’t help but think about the real reason they were there. She knew that she couldn’t disappoint her mother, but there was so much more riding on this trip. There was no room for error, and she would do everything she could to avoid messing up.

She half listened to Ben’s tour while also focusing on her friends. Seeing each other and showering had definitely done wonders for their moods. Carlos and Jay seemed to be warming up to Auradon, and they didn’t seem as nervous as they had in the health center. But it was Evie who Mal put most of her attention on. She looked shaky, pale, and Mal could see how spaced out she was.

“Hey.” She whispered, nudging her. “You okay? Did they hurt you? I swear I will…”

“I’m fine, M.” Evie looked up at her, plastering a smile on her face. “Just excited!”

“…and this is the cafeteria, where we have our meals.” Ben looked at his watch. “Actually, it’s about lunch time. We can grab some food and sit down.”

“Are we allowed to take food to go?” Mal questioned, earning a glare from Evie.

“If you need to, yes, but meals are a good way to meet new friends.” He suggested gently. “Would you like to eat or keep doing the tour?”

“Eat.” Carlos and Jay answered immediately.

“Alright, let’s grab something.”

As they approached the counter, Mal’s eyes widened. She didn’t think she had ever seen this much food in one place before. Even more surprising, none of it was rotten.

“What do we have to pay for this?” Mal demanded.

Ben smiled. “It’s part of being a student here. It’s free.”

“Nothing is free.” Jay chimed in.

“When you sign up to go to school here, you pay a fee. Your fee is covered by the VK exchange student program, of course. You can get what you want.” Ben grabbed a tray and started to grab a few food items.

The boys followed his lead and grabbed trays. Mal walked behind them, noticing that Carlos pocketed an extra apple, and Jay had snatched a few wrapped sandwiches. She glanced back at Evie, whose eyes were wide.

“Just grab something.” Mal said.

“I’m not…”

“Here.” Mal reached out, grabbing something wrapped in some kind of foil. “Try this.”

“M, I’m really not hungry.”

“E, I didn’t ask.” Mal put the same thing on her own tray, then grabbed some fruit and a few other things. Evie only had the foil on her tray and then she took a water. They joined the three boys at a table.

“What kind of food do you guys like? I can try to make sure we serve it here.” Ben offered.

Carlos had his mouth half full as he answered. “Trust me, you don’t want them to make anything we usually eat.”

“Why not?”

“This is way better than the shit we had on the Isle.” Jay stated. He looked at Mal and Evie’s trays. “What is that?”

“A hamburger.” Ben responded.

Mal unwrapped hers curiously. She saw some type of bread, some vegetables that actually looked fresh, and something she suspected was meat. They only really had fish on the Isle, so she wasn’t sure how it would taste. She saw how nervous Evie looked and just took the chance, biting into her burger.

“It’s good.” She told her friends. “Try it, Eves.”

“I don’t like hamburgers.”

“You’ve never had it before.”

“Is there something else you want, Evie? I can run up and grab it.” Ben told her with a genuine smile.

Evie was all smiles and eyelashes after that. “Oh no, Ben, I wouldn’t want to trouble you. I’m okay; I’m still full from breakfast.”

Mal heard Jay scoff and she looked over, sending him a warning look. He seemed to catch the hint because he held his hands up in surrender.

“Here, try this instead.” Carlos held a small bar out to Evie.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a granola bar.” Ben said. “You guys really didn’t have any of this on the Isle?”

“We had rotten fruit, old vegetables, stale bread, and fish.” Jay listed off. “You know, whatever was left over from here.”

“Jay!” Evie gasped.

“What? He’s the one who asked.”

“Ben, come sit with us.” The dark haired girl who had met them when they arrived, Audrey, said.

“That’s okay, we’re still finishing our tour.” Ben told her. Audrey rolled her eyes and stormed off.

Mal raised an eyebrow. “Looks like your girlfriend is upset.” She wanted to make the girl a lot more than upset for what she said to Evie, but she couldn’t do something irrational and screw this up.

“She’ll get over it.” Mal could feel him looking over them, studying each of them as if they were the most fascinating thing on the planet.

But Mal didn’t have time to entertain Ben. She nudged Evie, nodding towards the granola bar Carlos had handed her. She brought it up to her mouth and took a tiny bite. Mal gave her a small smile.

“So what’s left on the tour?” Jay wondered, pulling Ben’s attention away from the two girls. Mal was happy for the distraction.

“M…” Evie whimpered.

“I know.” The purple haired girl reached over and grabbed her hand underneath the table, squeezing it. “Please.”

Evie finished the whole granola bar, and even drank some of her water. Carlos slid a bowl of pineapple across the table and towards his friend, knowing it was Evie’s favorite fruit (though they rarely got it when it was fresh). She shook her head no and Mal allowed it, relieved that Evie at least put something in her stomach.

“…and we’ll get to see your rooms next.” Ben stated.

“Let’s go.” Mal agreed, standing and grabbing her tray. The others followed her lead and they threw away their garbage. Ben led the way down a long hallway.

“This is the boys’ room.” He said after they took an elevator to the 5th floor. “There is a bed, a dresser, and a desk for each of you, along with an attached bathroom and a TV.” He opened the door. The teens were surprised to see that Carlos and Jay’s bags had already been delivered to the room.

“We really get beds?” Carlos said in awe. He walked over to one and sat down. “It’s so soft!”

Jay moved forward, testing out the other bed. “Wow.”

Evie and Mal couldn’t help themselves as they moved forward, each sitting on one of the beds.

Ben looked at them in confusion. “Were the beds not comfortable on the Isle?”

Mal snorted. “I wouldn’t even call what we had beds.”

“Would you like to rest for a little bit and we can meet back up later? I’ll show Mal and Evie to their room.”

“Yeah.” Jay agreed as he sprawled out on the soft comforter, resting his head on Evie’s lap. She ran her fingers through his hair.

“Come on, E.” Mal practically ordered. She and Evie joined Ben near the door.

“How will we know where your room is?” Carlos wondered.

“You guys are in 5C.” Ben explained. “Evie and Mal are on the 7th floor, room G.”

“Got it.” The boys spoke in perfect unison.

Ben spoke to the girls about their classes on the ride up to the 7th floor, but they were both pretty tired and not really interested in thinking about their studies. When they got to their room, Ben smiled politely and opened the door before excusing himself.

“Wow.” Evie gasped as she walked in. Mal watched with a small smile as Evie moved around the room, inspecting every detail. “It’s beautiful.”

“Yeah.” She agreed, keeping her eyes planted on the blue haired princess.

Evie noticed and rolled her eyes. “Don’t be sappy with me.”

“You love when I’m sappy.” Mal moved forward, tugging Evie towards the bed. She sat down and pulled Evie to stand between her legs. “This is weird.”

“It’s very different.” Evie agreed. She rested her hands on Mal’s shoulders. “I know that not much has happened yet, but I’m exhausted.”

“We left the Isle, and then we were separated for three days and locked in rooms like animals. That’s a lot.” Mal pulled her forward until Evie was straddling her lap. “Plus, I bet you haven’t been eating. I’m sure that doesn’t help.”

“Can we not start?” Evie questioned weakly, her eyes looking into Mal’s pleadingly.

“How were the last couple nights? Did they hurt you? Did that doctor put his hands on you?” Mal demanded. She was running her fingers through Evie’s long blue curls. Evie just rested her head on Mal’s shoulder and let her soothe her worries away. All four of the VKs were bad when it came to overthinking, but Mal knew that Evie worried the most. She had to already be running every possible bad scenario through her mind.

“No. I’m okay, M. Promise.” Evie leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss against the side of Mal’s neck, silently thanking her for trying to calm her down. Mal turned her head so she could catch Evie’s lips.

Time stood still as Mal got lost in Evie, clinging to the older girl. They were both full of nerves and anxiety, but it all melted away when they were this close to each other. After leaving their home and being separated in a strange place for three days, they just needed to be close and make sure they were okay.

Mal pulled back before things could go any further. She smiled at the sight of Evie’s smeared lipstick and swollen lips. “God, you’re so fucking beautiful.”

Evie blushed instantly. She reached up, swiping her fingers over her lips and seeing that they were red. She groaned and tried to get up.

“No, let’s lay down.”

“I need to clean up.”

“No one will be seeing you but me, and I love seeing you like this.” Mal laid down, pulling Evie with her. She could see that Evie wasn’t going to give in, so she reached out, dabbing at her face with the sleeve of her own t-shirt. She made sure all the lipstick was clear. “There.”

“Thank you.” Evie smiled. “You always know exactly what I need.”

“It’s my job.”

Evie giggled. “You have lipstick on your face too.”

“I don’t care.” Mal pulled her closer. “Sleep, baby.”

Evie cuddled up to her. Mal occupied her hands by running her fingertips up and down Evie’s back. Soon enough, her breathing evened out and right after, Mal felt herself drifting off.

-----

When Evie woke up, she heard talking. She didn’t care enough to listen, instead scooting closer to her source of warmth. She felt arms tighten around her and knew without opening her eyes that it was Mal. She nuzzled her face further into Mal’s neck.

“I thought you agreed that you were going to pretend you’re not in a relationship.” Evie nearly groaned when she heard Jay’s voice. She just wanted to sleep.

“No one is here to see us, now are they?” Mal stroked her hair and Evie nearly fell asleep again.

“We just need to be careful.”

“What Evie and I do is none of your concern.”

“It is. You’re our best friends and like it or not, the choices we make here will affect all of us.”

“So you’re saying you want us to break up?”

“That’s not what he’s saying at all.” Carlos interrupted. “You just need to be careful.”

“We will be.”

Jay spoke again. “And what’s up with Evie not eating?”

“She’s awake.” Mal informed them. Evie wasn’t surprised that Mal knew; her eyes were still closed and she hadn’t spoken, but the other girl was intuitive, especially when it came to her girlfriend.

“Good, then I can ask her. Why aren’t you eating, Evie?”

She debated on just not answering and pretending she was still asleep. But then she heard Mal sigh, and that made her change her mind. She sat up reluctantly, not wanting to move too far from Mal. Lucky for her, the purple haired girl seemed to feel the same way because she still kept her arms wrapped around her.

“I can’t.”

“Evie, you have to eat.” Carlos told her. “We need you to be healthy, okay? We can’t lose you.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re going to eat.” Mal stated, looking down at her. “It’s not up for discussion, and you can be mad all you want. I don’t care.”

“Mal…”

“There’s nothing I care more about in the world than making sure you’re okay, and this is how I’m going to do that.” Mal kissed her forehead.

Evie just stared down at the blankets, already dreading the next mealtime. Mal ran her fingertips down her ribs until she finally gave in and smiled, breaking the awkward tension.

“You still have lipstick on your face.” Evie giggled. Mal smiled back at her then reached up, wiping it off. When she missed a few spots, Evie leaned forward to help her. She rolled her eyes at the boys’ fake gagging noises.

“Thank you, gorgeous.” Mal placed a loud, smacking kiss against her lips, mostly to annoy the boys.

“So, what’s the plan for the rest of the day?” Carlos wondered.

“I guess we’ll meet back up with Ben and see what he wants. Our classes start tomorrow, so that sucks.” Mal said.

“I’m a little excited.” Evie admitted.

“Of course you are, you nerd.” Mal kissed her cheek lovingly. Then, she got serious as she turned to face each of her friends. “We can’t mess this up.”

“Nope.” Jay agreed. “This is going to be hard.”

“It can’t be that hard to be good.” All eyes turned to Evie as she spoke. “Okay, so it’s probably going to be hard. But we have to make it work, at least for now.”

A knock on the door interrupted their conversation. Mal kissed Evie one last time and then stood to answer it.

Ben smiled. “Oh good, you’re all here. Have you had enough time to rest? I’d like to finish showing you around.”

“Let’s go.” Mal walked out the door, followed by Ben, then the other three.

Evie was holding in a groan. She was sick of hearing all about how great Auradon was. Sure, it was beautiful and there was a lot to offer, but her mind was occupied. She was so ready to wash her face and then curl up in bed with her girlfriend.

“So, what is it that you all like to do?” Ben questioned.

All four of them just kind of stood there. On the Isle, the only thing they cared about was staying alive and having power, which weren’t exactly hobbies.

“Jay’s good at sports.” Carlos blurted out, as if he was scared he would be punished if he didn’t have an answer.

“We have a Tourney team. Have you ever played?”

“Never heard of it.” Jay admitted.

“You and Carlos can come to practice with me tomorrow; I bet you would have a lot of fun.” Ben looked to the girls. “What about you, ladies?”

His smile was so genuine that it made Evie want to come up with something. “Mal is a great artist.”

Mal smirked. “Yeah, these hallways could use some redecorating.”

“I don’t think graffiti is what he had in mind.” Evie corrected her.

“E is good at sewing. You should see how even her stitching is. Jay, show him that scar on your leg.” Mal said.

“No! That’s okay.” Ben interrupted, his face looking a few shades paler. “Do you make clothes?”

“The best clothes you’ll ever see.” Mal bragged. “She can make the coolest outfits out of scraps.”

“I’ll see about getting you a sewing machine and some fabrics, Evie, and maybe some art supplies for you, Mal, as long as you promise not to vandalize the school. What about you, Carlos?”

“He’s crazy smart.” Jay chimed in. “He’s great with computers and all that. We didn’t have much on the Isle, but he could put together spare parts.”

Ben nodded. “I’ll see what I can do about getting you a computer then. I want you all to feel comfortable here. If there’s something you need or want, you can ask me and I will do whatever I can to make it happen.”

No one really knew how to respond to that. They didn’t want to be treated like charity cases, but they also weren’t sure how to say that without starting a fight.

“Thank you, Ben.” Evie finally settled on, flashing him a smile. “We appreciate it.”

“Are these the new kids?” All four of the VKs looked over. Ben’s girlfriend and a boy with blonde hair came over. The boy’s eyes immediately roamed up and down Evie’s body.
The girlfriend reached up, smacking him on the back of the head. The boy flinched and they started to argue, and even Ben rolled his eyes.

“Guys, this is my girlfriend, Audrey, and my friend Chad. This is Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos.”

“So I’ve heard.” Audrey snarled. “Mal, your mother has been the talk of my family for years.”

Evie felt every protective instinct in her body flare up. This girl was not going to be rude to her girlfriend and get away with it.

“Same.” Mal said casually, picking at her nails in disinterest.

“Hey, maybe we can meet up some time. I can show you around Auradon, let you know all the best spots.” Chad said as she stepped closer to Evie.

“Thanks.” Evie smiled, trying to make sure it looked genuine. She didn’t want to make enemies, but she definitely wouldn’t be going anywhere with this creep. Something about him just made her feel…off.

“Are you available tomorrow or…”

“Hey Ben, when is dinner?” Carlos interrupted Chad. The blonde glared, but Evie gave him a grateful smile.

“Right now.” The king seemed just as happy for the distraction. “Come on, let’s start walking that way.”

Evie felt the dread creep into her body as they got closer and closer to the cafeteria. Eating was one of the things she hated most in the world and she wasn’t planning on just giving in.

She looked at the different food options. She wasn’t even sure what a lot of it was, let alone what would be less filling. She watched as Audrey came over and filled up her tray. She figured that the other girl was skinny, so maybe she should just take whatever she took.

“Good job, baby.” Mal whispered to her once Ben, Audrey and Chad had gone to sit down. “You can do this, E.”

Evie and Mal followed the boys over to the table. Evie was happy to see that Jay had taken the spot directly across from Chad. The order was Evie across from Audrey, then Mal across from Ben, then Jay across from Chad, followed by Carlos across from an empty seat.

Everyone was pretty occupied with conversation. Ben and Chad were telling Jay and Carlos about Tourney, while Mal and Audrey had been going back and forth with snide little comments. Evie poked at her food, trying to make it seem as if she had eaten more than she did.

She took a small bite of her salad and nearly gagged. She had to pinch herself to help her remember where she was and that it was definitely unacceptable for her to get up and puke right now.

Evie chewed the lettuce, trying as hard as she could to hold her breath, and then swallowed it down with some water. She had grabbed a container of pineapples, so she chose to go for that next; at least she knew that was something she liked. She stabbed one with her fork and took a bite. It was so much sweeter than the ones on the Isle, and she could even admit that she liked the taste.

Mal noticed she was eating and smiled at her. Evie was just waiting for one of the Auradon kids to scream at them for being gay, but it never happened. She snuck a glance at them and saw that Ben and Audrey were talking, while Chad was still in a conversation with Jay.

Evie didn’t want to eat anymore, but Mal was looking at her, so she didn’t really have a choice. She turned to Mal’s plate. “What’s that?” she questioned, pointing to a small bowl.

“Pudding?” Audrey interrupted, as if it was obvious.

“It’s good. Try it.” Mal encouraged.

Now, all eyes were on Evie as she picked up her spoon. She really, really didn’t want to try it, especially when everyone was watching her, but now she didn’t have a choice. She took a small bite, then smiled politely.

“Yeah, it’s good.”

“Good?!” Chad’s outburst caused Evie and Carlos to jump as he stood up from his chair. “Pudding is one of the greatest foods of all time!”

“Then you’ve never had spoiled soup.” Jay joked, causing the VKs to laugh.

“What’s spoiled soup?” Ben asked, though it was obvious he was treading lightly in case it made them uncomfortable.

“It’s when you grab whatever foods you can find on supply drop-off day, dump it in a bowl with some water, and then eat that until the next drop off.” Jay explained.

Silence.

“Pudding is much better.” Mal said.

“So, uh, Evie. You have jello on your tray. You should try it; it’s Audrey’s favorite.” Ben informed her.

Evie looked at the bowl of red…jello, apparently. She laughed nervously and went to reach for it, but her hands were shaking. She couldn’t keep doing this. She couldn’t have everyone stare at her while she ate.

“I’ll take that.” Jay reached over, snatching the jello off her tray and shoveling a huge bite into his mouth. “Wow, it looks like shit, but it’s good.”

The blue haired girl had never been so grateful for her friend. One look at her friends told her that even Mal and Carlos were feeling sorry for her for the amount of attention she was getting. She smiled at Jay, silently thanking him. He winked in return.

“How’s your salad?” Mal asked quietly once everyone else was talking. Evie just shrugged. “Try this, it’s really good.”

“That’s okay.” Evie tried, but Mal wouldn’t let it happen. She ripped what Evie would later find out is called pizza in half, handing part of it to her best friend.

“Just try.”

Evie took a small bite and she couldn’t help but admit that it was good. She ate the rest of it, but as soon as she swallowed the last bite, she felt that familiar feeling that happened any time there was food in her stomach.

“Are you going to eat your pineapples?”

“No.” Evie’s voice was much quieter, and luckily, Mal knew to back off. She felt Mal grab her hand and scratch her fingernails gently up and down Evie’s arm, keeping her grounded.

She completely tuned out of the conversation, so she was surprised when everyone started standing up. Mal let go of her hand, which caught her attention enough to see that the others were grabbing their trays and walking over to clean up.

Chad hung back, falling into step beside Evie. “I’m serious about my offer. I would love to show you a good time.”

“Yeah, maybe someday.” Evie tried to smile, but it was already forced enough without also trying to hide the fact that she was on the verge of throwing up. She walked away from him, hurrying to catch up to Carlos.

“You good?” he whispered after they both threw their trays away.

“No.” Evie admitted.

“Shit. Okay, let’s go.” Carlos grabbed her hand and dragged her away before anyone else noticed. They went into the girls’ bathroom and Carlos locked it behind them.

Evie sank down on the floor, resting her forehead on her knees. “I can’t do this.”

“What’s going on?” he sat next to her.

“The food.” She whimpered.

“Try and explain it to me. How do you feel?”

“I’m full. I’m so fucking full that I feel like I’m going to explode.” Tears started to well up in her eyes and Evie bit her lip, trying her best to hold them back.

“Just breathe, Eves. Come here.” Carlos pulled her forward until her forehead was resting against his shoulder and she was nearly in his lap. “Take some deep breaths.”

Evie was practically vibrating. She knew if she stuck her fingers down her throat, this would be over in a few minutes. How was she supposed to keep doing this every day, three times a day? There was no way she was going to survive.

Their phones started to vibrate, but they ignored them. Carlos just kept her close, stroking her hair and whispering to her. He had always been good at calming her down. While Mal and Jay jumped to anger, Carlos’s first instinct was comfort. Of course, Mal was great at holding Evie and making her feel better, but she had a feeling she wouldn’t be babying her all that much when it came to the whole food thing.

Carlos stood, pulling her up with him. He led her over to the sink and turned on the cold water. He stuck his hands under until they were cold, then pressed them to her cheeks. She groaned slightly at the relief of the coldness on her hot skin. She knew her makeup was probably washing off, but she couldn’t bring herself to care right now.

“I love you, E.” he said.

“Love you too.” She sighed and pulled away from him. She still felt too full, but she felt calmer. She grimaced when she saw her wet, pale face in the mirror. Luckily, she kept makeup in her purse. She dried her face off, then started to reapply. Carlos waited by her side without saying a word.

Finally, after she felt collected enough, they walked out of the bathroom. “Where do you think they went?” she wondered.

“Who cares? We’re going back to your room.”

Evie just nodded her head. She hooked her arm through Carlos’s and let him lead her. She tried not to focus on everyone staring at her as she walked by, but she couldn’t help it. It made her skin itch.

As soon as they got to the dorm, they saw Mal pacing around and Jay sitting on the bed. When they saw Carlos and Evie, they both jumped up.

“What the fuck?” Mal nearly growled as she grabbed Evie’s shoulders, looking her over for any sign of damage. “Do you not know how to answer your phone?”

“Not really.” Evie admitted. Ben had just given them phones when they left the health center that morning, so it’s not like she had time to play around with it.

“Did you throw up?” Mal demanded.

“Back off, Mal.” Carlos said. Evie looked at him in surprise. It’s not like he was scared of Mal, but he wasn’t the type of person to stand up to someone who was more powerful than him.

“What?” Mal asked.

“You heard what I said. Back the fuck off.”

“Alright, knock this shit off.” Jay interrupted. “We’re not going to start turning on each other. Mal, we get it, you’re pissed. Now take a few steps back.”

“Are you gonna make me?” she challenged.

“Will you stop?!” Evie interrupted. “I’m not a child, Mal. I don’t need you to check up on me.”

“Clearly you do because it’s day one of being in Auradon and you’re already running off to throw up. I would think that you more than anyone would care about appearances here and trying to make sure we look normal so that we can do what we need to do. Maybe you got away with hurting yourself on the Isle, but there’s not a fucking chance in this world that I’m going to let you keep doing that shit.”

Evie had calmed down a little after sitting with Carlos in the bathroom, but any ounce of control she had was gone now. The tears spilled out of her eyes all on their own, no matter what she did to try and stop them. She knew Mal was trying to help her, but she was already uncomfortable and anxious and upset and she couldn’t handle all of that on top of her yelling.

That’s when she felt the anger start to course through her body. Why couldn’t she just be normal? Why didn’t she just eat food like a normal person, or look in the mirror and not want to hurt herself? When would all of this stop?

-----

Mal wasn’t really familiar with feeling guilty. On the Isle, she did what she had to do to survive and to keep her friends alive. She never felt guilty for something that she did to help herself because honestly, who else in this world would help her? Not her psychotic mom or deadbeat dad.

But when Mal watched Evie’s entire face crumble, she felt nothing but guilt. The blue haired girl’s carefully maintained composure was gone as she stared at the floor, tears dripping off her chin. Carlos and Jay looked beyond uncomfortable, but she didn’t have time to feel that way. She needed to do something.

“Hey.” Mal whispered, putting a hand on Evie’s cheek. She tried not to take it personally when she flinched. “Evie, look at me.”

She waited a moment, but nothing happened. Mal slid her hand down so she could gently push Evie’s chin up. Her gaze stayed on the floor for a moment before she finally looked up. Mal felt a pain hit her in the chest at the sight of her watery chocolate brown eyes. She grabbed her hand and pulled her over to the bed, waiting until she sat down. She kneeled down in front of her and rested her hands on Evie’s thighs.

“Evie, I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions. I didn’t mean to yell at you, I’m just so worried about you. I need to know that you’re okay and right now, I don’t think you are.”

“I didn’t throw up.” Evie choked out. “I wanted to, but I didn’t.”

“I’m so proud of you.” Mal kissed the top of each of her hands. “There is nothing I love more in this world than you, and if you’re not here…”

“I’m here.” Evie interrupted. “I’m not gonna be better overnight, but I’m trying, okay? I promise I’m trying.”

Mal couldn’t stop herself. She grabbed Evie’s arms, pulling her forward until she was sitting on the floor with Evie on her lap. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t expect you to just completely change in a day. I know that things have been hard and that you did what you had to do on the Isle. But I’m going to make sure you’re safe here. You don’t have to worry anymore, okay? I will do anything to keep you safe.”

“I know.” Evie whimpered, burying her face in Mal’s neck.

Mal sighed in relief. She knows how physical of a person Evie is, so showing affection like this means that she’s not as upset anymore.

“I know you’re not a little kid who needs me to watch over you every second of the day, but I was so scared when I turned around and you and Carlos weren’t there. We didn’t know what happened, and then Jay and I started thinking that you were throwing up. Just next time, can you tell me where you’re going at least?”

Evie’s voice was quiet when she spoke. “But I was gonna throw up.”

Mal shut her eyes, trying to reign in her temper. “Why didn’t you?”

“Carlos.”

The purple haired girl wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer to her next question, but she asked anyway. “Do you still feel like you need to?”

“Yes.” Evie answered with no hesitation.

“Why do you feel like you need to throw up?” Jay barged into their conversation. Mal wanted to glare at him, but she was curious to know the answer.

Evie kept her face buried in Mal’s neck as she spoke. “Because I’m fat.”

Mal shook her head. “No, you’re not.”

“That’s not what I mean.” Jay interrupted as he got up and moved over to sit across from the girls, Carlos joining him a second later. “Today, after dinner, what made you want to go to the bathroom? How were you feeling?”

“It’s hard to explain.” Evie sat up slightly, but she was still on Mal’s lap and holding her hand. She absentmindedly drew patterns on Mal’s palm as she spoke. “I get so full and then I need my stomach to be empty. The food is like a weight inside of my body and I can’t think about anything other than what I’ve been eating and how much better it would feel if it was gone.”

“Can I ask something?” Carlos wondered. Evie shrugged. “Do you think part of the problem is you get anxious?”

“Yeah.” Evie admitted.

“When you’re eating, what makes you feel anxious? Besides, you know, the fact that you’re eating.”

“I don’t like when people watch me.” Evie practically whispered.

“Even I noticed today how much everyone was focusing on you.” Mal said as she kissed her temple. “We’ll try to do a better job with that, okay? I wouldn’t want a bunch of people staring at me while I’m eating either.”

“It’s hard too because I don’t know what a lot of the foods are. If I’m going to eat, I at least want it to be healthy, but so many things here are new and I don’t know what to do.”

“We’ll talk to Ben.” Mal promised. “It doesn’t seem like he would care to explain it to us.” She had no interest in speaking to the future king, but she would do anything to make sure Evie was healthy.

“Also…actually, never mind.” Evie started.

“No, we want to hear it. Any time you want to talk about this stuff or you feel uncomfortable, you know you can talk to me, right?”

“And us.” Carlos added, pointing to himself and Jay.

Evie took a deep breath, but then ended up laying her head back down on Mal’s shoulder. “I know you’re worried about me, but it doesn’t help when you question me. I don’t like being yelled at and it makes me feel like a little kid.”

“I’m sorry.” Mal said. The boys were surprised; an apology from Mal was practically unheard of, and now they had heard her apologize three times within a few minutes. Evie, however, knew the other side of her girlfriend and she knew she was capable of admitting when she was wrong and trying to make it better. “Things are already rough and I overreacted. I’m sorry that I made things worse for you. I’m just so worried about you, baby. I want to help you, but I don’t know how.”

“Maybe we can think of some ideas.” Carlos offered. “Evie, what can we do to help you?”

Evie shrugged. “Can you build me a time machine so I can go back and not listen to my mother?”

Carlos gave her a small smile at the joke, but Mal was not amused. She looked at Jay and saw an identical frown to her own; they were not going to give up on the subject at hand, no matter what jokes Evie tried to make.

“Do you feel like it would be easier to eat in the room instead of in the cafeteria?” Mal questioned. “Then it would just be us and you wouldn’t have to worry as much.”

“M, don’t take this the wrong way, but sometimes you guys make me feel even more nervous. I know that I need some help with eating, but you all know my problems and I know you know what’s going on, so it’s hard to put my mind on something else. I’m just always so worried that you’re going to say I’m not eating enough or…”

“Hey, calm down.” Mal ran her fingers gently through Evie’s long blue curls. She could feel her start to shake, so she wrapped one arm tighter around her waist and the other stayed in her hair. “Don’t get upset. Honestly, I don’t know what to tell you. I can’t just flip a switch and stop worrying about you.”

“But we can back off a little.” Jay chimed in. “At least, until we are needed. You need to be upfront with us though, Eves. We don’t know that you need help unless you come and tell us. Otherwise, the only way we can tell is by questioning you.”

“We’ll work on trusting you if you work on being honest with us when you feel like you want to throw up.” Carlos compromised.

Evie nodded. “Okay.”

Mal used the hand she had in Evie’s hair to tilt her head up. “I love you.” She whispered, then pressed her lips against her girlfriend’s. Evie melted into her immediately. After a couple seconds, the boys started to groan. “You can go to your own room if you’re so disgusted, you know.”

“Nah, we’d rather stay here.” Jay laid back on Mal’s bed, tucking his hands behind his head and crossing his ankles. “Come on, Evie. I’ll let you cuddle with me.”

Evie scooted even closer to Mal, if that was possible. “I’m good.”

Mal couldn’t help but laugh before kissing the tip of Evie’s nose. She was grateful that Evie was so small and that she was pretty strong because she was able to stand up, keeping her girlfriend in her arms, and then plop down on the bed. Evie slid her shoes off and then instantly cuddled into her chest.

“Carlos, turn on a movie.” Jay whined.

Carlos rolled his eyes, but did as he said. The four of them laid together, mindlessly watching the TV as they wondered what tomorrow would have in store for them.

Chapter Text

When Mal woke up in the morning, she was surprised to find that she was alone in bed. She pouted, not even bothering to open her eyes.

“Evie?” she called out. “Evie!”

“Will you shut up?” Jay grumbled from the other side of the room.

“What’s wrong, M?” she heard the soft, soothing voice of her girlfriend and opened her eyes. She had clearly gotten up a while ago because her hair and makeup were flawless (though she was still dressed in only the t-shirt she had fallen asleep in).

Mal didn’t speak, instead grabbing Evie’s arms and pulling her forward. She held her as close as she could and then sighed contently.

Evie giggled. “It’s time to get up.”

“Nope. I need a few more minutes.” Mal knew better than to run her fingers through Evie’s hair (even though she really wanted to). She settled instead on slipping her hands under Evie’s t-shirt and rubbing her back.

She felt Evie settle against her and let out a happy sigh. Mal just smiled and continued working her magic. All four of them had tossed and turned the whole night, so she knew that a little extra rest wouldn’t hurt.

“Seriously, M. It’s time to get up.” Evie insisted, pulling away.

Mal groaned, but finally sat up. She looked over, seeing that Jay and Carlos were in her bed, both of them still passed out. “You wake up the idiots while I get ready.”

Before Mal could get up, Evie grabbed her by the hem of her shirt. She pulled her over so she could plant a kiss on her lips. This time, Mal couldn’t resist and she put her hand on the back of Evie’s neck, sliding it up until she could feel blue hair in her grasp.

“Don’t touch.” Evie gasped as she moved away, waiting for Mal to untangle her hand from her hair.

“You’re such a tease.” Mal complained before going into the bathroom. She peed, brushed her teeth and hair, and then came back into the room. She smiled at the sight of Evie laying on the bed, cuddled in between Jay and Carlos. Jay had both arms around her waist and Carlos was holding her hand.

Mal went over and sat on top of their legs. “Nope. If I’m up, everyone is up.”

Jay whined. “Do we actually have to go to school?”

“Yes.” Evie told him as she gently scratched his scalp. “Come on, let’s get it over with.”

He finally rolled out of bed, but not before giving Evie a kiss on the forehead. Carlos joined him a second later, and both of them left the girls’ room to go to their own. Mal wondered where they would sleep tonight. She wasn’t sure if they had stayed because of Evie’s episode last night, or just because they wanted to stay together.

She turned her attention back to her girlfriend and saw that Evie was now standing in front of the closet. They didn’t do any unpacking yesterday, but the closet was full of their clothes.

“When did you do that?”

“This morning when I woke up. It’s always easier to see what you have if it’s laid out.”

“What time did you wake up?”

“Mmmm, around five?”

Mal grimaced. “Disgusting.” She came over to her and wrapped her arms around her waist from behind. She rested her chin on Evie’s shoulder. “I don’t want to hover, but how are you feeling?”

“Nervous.” Evie admitted. “I don’t want to go to breakfast.”

“You know that’s not an option, right?”

Evie sighed. “I know.”

“But you don’t have to grab a lot. I’ll be happy if you just eat one solid thing, okay? I just want you to have something in your stomach.”

“Okay.”

Mal could tell she was done talking about it, so she changed the subject. “I have no clue what to wear.”

“I have an idea! You could do…” her statement had the desired effect as Evie started raving about possible outfits Mal could wear. She couldn’t help but smile at the way Evie’s eyes lit up and how her hands gestured wildly as she spoke. She leaned forward, backing the other girl into the closet door so she could kiss her properly.

Evie kissed back for a few seconds, and then suddenly pushed her away. “No M! You’re going to ruin my lipstick.”

Mal smirked. “Kind of the point.” She could see Evie’s hand practically itching to reach up and touch her lips. “Don’t worry, Princess. No smudges.”

Evie sighed in relief. “If we’re going to pretend we’re not together, you really need to keep your lips to yourself.”

Mal slid her hands up to touch Evie’s sides. “What about my hands?”

“Those too!” Evie smacked her arm. “Be serious! We need to get dressed.”

“Ugh, fine.”

Mal watched as Evie walked over to one of the desks where she had already laid out her outfit for the day. She pulled her t-shirt over her head, leaving her in just a pair of underwear. She turned and caught her eye.

“Stop staring!” her cheeks blushed instantly.

“You’re just so fucking perfect.” Mal told her simply before going into the closet to grab some clothes. By the time she came out, Evie was ready to go. Mal changed quickly, pulling on her purple leather jacket as a final touch.

“Ready?”

For the first time, Mal noticed Evie was holding a backpack. “What is that?”

“It has school supplies in it. Ben sent us a message this morning and said each of us had one in our closets and that we need to bring them to class. Yours is at the bottom of your bed.”

Mal picked it up in confusion. “But it’s blue.”

“Thank you for the observation, M.” Evie joked.

“I’m just saying, that’s your color. Don’t you want this one?”

Evie turned around to show her the pink backpack that was currently on her back. “I figured you wouldn’t go anywhere with this one. Besides, I kind of like the idea of you walking around with my color on you.”

Mal grabbed her hand and pulled her over, pressing a light kiss on her lips so she didn’t mess up her makeup.

“Are you ready to do this?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

The two girls walked out of the dorm room and to the cafeteria. They were able to find Carlos and Jay quickly since the two boys were sitting at a table alone with a mountain of food in front of them.

“Let’s go through the line first.” Mal suggested. They went over to grab their breakfast. She could tell Evie was already struggling, but she wasn’t sure what to suggest other than fruit.

“Hi!” they turned around slowly at the unfamiliar voice. A girl around their age with dark hair was smiling. “I’m Lonnie. You must be Mal and Evie.”

“Hello.” Evie greeted, while Mal stayed silent. They both turned back towards the food.

“Your friends really like to eat.” Lonnie stated. Mal was confused on why she was still behind them. Then, she realized she could use this to her advantage.

“Yeah, we didn’t have a lot of this stuff on the Isle. It’s still kind of overwhelming trying to make a choice.” Evie could tell what she was doing instantly and glared, but Mal ignored her. “Any suggestions?”

Mal hated being friendly. She hated asking for help, and she hated talking to strangers. But this was for Evie and she would do anything for the blue haired girl.

“I usually go for a bagel and fruit, or maybe oatmeal.” She must have noticed their expressions. “Do you know what oatmeal is?”

“Obviously.” Mal couldn’t help but let a little snark in. “But I’m not clear on the bagel.”

“Right there.” Lonnie pointed towards what looked like a circular piece of bread.

That was one thing Mal did know; bread was filling, and while she wanted Evie to eat enough, she also knew that would make her uncomfortable.

“I was thinking something a little lighter.”

“Try yogurt!” Lonnie reached forward and grabbed a little cup with a lid on it. “It’s really good if you add strawberries to it.”

“What’s a strawberry?”

Lonnie’s mouth fell open. “You have to try them.” She grabbed a bowl of red fruit and put it on Mal’s tray. “What about you, Evie? What are you gonna have?”

“Same thing.” Evie responded with a tight smile, grabbing a cup of yogurt and some strawberries. “Thank you, Lonnie.”

“Yeah, of course!”

They walked away before she could say anything else. They went to the boys’ table and sat down, Evie next to Jay and Mal next to Carlos.

Even if Evie wasn’t going to eat, that didn’t mean that Mal wouldn’t indulge. She studied the foods laid out on the table and reached out to grab a plate.

“That’s mine!” Jay called out, his mouth still full of food.

“Mine now.” Mal took a bite. “Mmmm, this is amazing. What is it?”

“A waffle. Isn’t it crazy how much food they have here? On the Isle, we literally have like five options.”

“If they would send a quarter of this to the Isle, imagine how much healthier everyone would be.” Evie said.

They were all silent for a moment, picking at their food as they considered the statement. Then, Jay started a conversation again.

“What do you guys have?”

“Yogurt and strawberries.” Mal answered. She grabbed one of the strawberries and bit into it. Her eyes widened immediately and she let out an embarrassing moan, causing the other three to stare at her. “Holy shit.” She grabbed another one and took a bite.

Evie couldn’t help but laugh. “Is it good?”

“So good. Try it.”

Mal could see Evie’s hesitance as she picked it up. She took a much smaller bite, but even she smiled after she chewed it. “They are pretty good.”

“Lonnie said to put them in your yogurt.” Mal said, giving a look that she hoped conveyed to her girlfriend that it wasn’t optional.

Evie sighed, but grabbed a knife and cut up a few strawberries, then put them into her cup of yogurt. She stirred it around as the others talked, but Mal still had half of her attention on her. She watched her out of the corner of her eye even though she was carrying on a conversation with Jay. She could see Evie take a bite, and it must not have been too bad, because she took another.

Mal cut up strawberries to put in her own yogurt. It was good, and she was hoping that it was at least enough to give Evie some of the nutrients she desperately needed.

“Good morning!” they all turned as Ben came over to their table. He had papers in his hand, and he passed out one to each of them. “These are your class schedules. We have seven classes in a day. I tried to pick some out based on your interests, and then there are some that are mandatory. Class starts at 9am Monday through Friday.” He turned to Carlos and Jay. “We’re having Tourney practice tomorrow, and I would like both of you to come, if you’re interested.”

“Hey Benny-boo, can I ask a question?” Mal interrupted.

He seemed unfazed by the nickname. “Of course!”

“Is there some kind of food class or something? I hate to say it, but we need some guidance on what these foods are, and what is healthy.”

“That’s something that Dr. Bren wants to talk to you all about.”

Mal frowned. “You’re not locking us back up at that place.” She could feel Carlos grab her hand, and she saw the way Evie leaned slightly into Jay.

“No, you won’t have to stay there. Did Dr. Williams not explain this to you?” he took a seat next to Jay, who scooted towards the other way, pushing Evie over as he moved. Ben didn’t mention it. “Instead of going to 7th period on a certain day of the week, you will go to the health center and talk with a therapist.”

“What’s a therapist?” Carlos demanded.

“A doctor who will teach you coping skills and help you work through any trouble you’re having adjusting to Auradon. It was one of the conditions of you being released from the health center and I’m sorry, but it’s not optional.”

“Which day do we go?” Evie wondered.

“You each go a different day of the week.”

Mal frowned. “Wait, we aren’t going together?”

“No, therapy is an individualized thing. It’s specific to you and how you’re coping. I’m sorry, I thought Dr. Williams had explained this to you already.”

“He didn’t really do a lot of explaining.” Evie mumbled.

Mal was confused on why she made that comment, but she wasn’t going to ask her now. Unfortunately, the prince picked up on it.

“What do you mean, Evie?”

She glued on her fake smile. “Nothing, Prince Ben.”

“If you weren’t treated fairly at the health center, then I would like to know so I can take care of it.”

“What happened, E?” Jay prodded. Mal hated him for doing it, not wanting to expose a weakness to Ben. But maybe this would be a good test of his character; if Evie had been hurt, would he really do something about it?

“Nothing bad, I promise.” She insisted, her eyes flying over to meet Mal’s as she spoke. “He just didn’t really explain anything he was doing. I didn’t like not knowing what was going on.”

Ben nodded. “I’m sorry that happened. I can’t even imagine how nervous you must have been when he kept coming into your room for things and you weren’t sure what he wanted. I will have a serious conversation with him and try to fix this for the future.”

“Thank you.”

“Of course. Now, I’ll give you guys a couple minutes to look over your schedules. On them, it says the day of your therapy appointment. Carlos, yours is Monday, so that’ll be today. Mal is Tuesday, Evie is Wednesday, and Jay is Thursday. You each have a locker, and the number is on your schedule. If you have any major issues with your schedule, text me and let me know. Have a good first day!”

Evie said goodbye as he walked off. Once he was gone, she held out her hand and all three of them gave her their schedules. She was the best with planning and organization, so she could tell them quickly what they wanted to know.

“1st period, we all have English.” She stated. “2nd period we’re all in different classes. Carlos and I have math together 3rd period, but you guys are alone, and then we’re back together in 4th period.” Evie scoffed. “Guess what class we have. Goodness 101.”

Mal rolled her eyes. “I bet that’s a new one they added this year.”

“5th period, you guys all have history. 6th period we’re separated again, and then 7th period Mal and Jay have math.”

“So from 5th period on, you’re separated? I don’t like that.” Mal said with a frown. “They really tried hard not to keep us together.”

“I’ll be fine.” Evie reassured her. “I have a fashion design class, and something called study hall. You know I love studying.”

Mal rolled her eyes affectionately. “Nerd.”

“You have art, and magical control.”

“Otherwise known as ‘contain yourself and don’t hurt any precious princesses’.”

Carlos smirked. “That’s really ironic that you say that considering how much you protect your precious princess.”

“Shut up.”

“Jay, you have physical education, and Carlos has technology. At least Ben did try to incorporate our interests a little bit.” Evie handed back their schedules. “We better go if we don’t want to be late.”

As they stood, Mal and Jay made eye contact. She gestured her head towards Evie, silently asking how much she ate. Jay subtly looked as they turned, then mouthed ‘half’ back to her. Mal knew it would have to be enough for now, but she would have to keep an eye on her.

When they walked down the hallway, everyone scrambled to get out of their way. It was weird, but it made Mal feel like she was back home.

The minute they went into the classroom, the atmosphere changed. The people who were already there turned to stare at them as they entered. Mal led the way, as always, finding a set of desks in the back of the classroom where they could sit next to each other. She and Evie took the ones in the front, and Jay and Carlos sat together in the row behind them.

The teacher came in, and even he seemed stunned. Mal couldn’t help but sigh; this was going to be a long day.

-----

“Send me a picture of your schedule so I know where you are. If anything happens, text me and I’ll be there.” Mal whispered to Evie as they got ready to leave English. Last night, Carlos had played around with their phones for a while and he was able to teach them some basic things, like how to call and text and take pictures. It seemed like it was pretty easy, but it would just take some getting used to.

Evie knew that to anyone else, Mal would sound like a controlling girlfriend. But she appreciated her concern and she knew that she only acted like this because she was worried. “I will. You do the same.”

“Mmhmm. Want me to walk you?”

“I’ve got it. Jay’s class is close, so I’ll go with him.”

“Alright. Stay focused.” Mal squeezed her hand.

“Have fun in art.” Evie replied as she squeezed back. She and Jay turned to walk the opposite way.

“You gonna be good?”

“I wish you guys would stop hovering.” Evie told him.

“Sorry, old habits. If it makes you feel any better, I gave Carlos pretty much the same talk Mal gave to you, and we’re not even dating.”

Evie rolled her eyes. “We’re going to be fine. This is Auradon; what could happen?”

“Anything.” Jay answered immediately. Evie just wrapped her arm around his and let him lead her. It was kind of funny to see the fear on everyone’s faces as they passed them. They hadn’t even done anything yet to show that they were evil.

They got to Jay’s class first. “See you later.” She said, not giving him a chance to give her a big speech. She loved Mal and Jay, but they could be overprotective to the point of it being suffocating.

Evie walked in and found a seat near the middle. She wasn’t thrilled about having her back open to an attack, but the whole back row was taken. She sat down and pulled out a pen and notebook, ready to take notes.

“Hey gorgeous.” She turned her head, seeing that Chad Charming had sat down next to her.

He kind of creeped her out, but at least he was a familiar face and he wasn’t running to the other side of the room to dodge her. “Hi, Chad.”

“How’s your first day treating you?”

“So far, so good.” She gave him a small smile, then turned back to her notebook. She pulled her phone out and snapped a quick picture of her schedule, then sent it to Mal.

To: Mal
Guess who is sitting next to me.

From: Mal
Who???

To: Mal
Chad.

From: Mal
If he tries anything, stab him. I slipped a knife into your backpack at breakfast.

To: Mal
MAL!

From: Mal
Safety first, Princess.

Evie rolled her eyes and put her phone back into her bag, catching a glimpse of the knife. She almost laughed, but everyone was already thinking the worst of her; she didn’t want them to think she was crazy too.

“Class, we have a new student. This is Evie of the Isle. Evie, stand up.” Evie stood, smoothing out her skirt as all eyes turned to her. The middle aged man standing at the front of the room moved closer to her. “Tell me, what do you already know about Auradon’s history?”

There was two ways she could play this. She could go the defensive route and make a comment about how they locked up innocent children; that’s the route that Mal, Jay, and probably even Carlos would take. Or she could try and be diplomatic.

“I’ve heard some parts that are a little startling, but I believe there are two sides to every story and I’m excited to hear a different perspective.”

The teacher stared at her. The classroom was so silent you could have heard a pin drop. Then, he turned and went back up to the board. “Open your books and turn to page 52.”

“Wow, sexy and smart.” Chad complimented with a grin. “I like that.”

Evie didn’t respond. She looked at the clock- only 42 more minutes of this. She must have gotten lost in taking notes because when the bell rang, she jumped. She glanced around, hoping no one had noticed. She gathered all of her things and stood.

“Where’s your next class?” Chad wondered.

“Room 412.”

“Do you know how to get there?”

“I’ll manage, thank you.”

“I can walk you. My class is right down the hall from there.” Chad slung his own backpack over his shoulder. “Come on.”

Evie clenched her fist, digging her nails into the palm of her hand. The last place she wanted to be was with Chad, but she would let this play out. She couldn’t cause a scene, and at least she had math with Carlos, so he could help her if anything went down.

“Have you tried ice cream yet?” Chad questioned.

“No, I haven’t really had the chance.”

“Maybe I could take you after class one day. You have to try it, it’s amazing.”

“I’ll let you know.” She said with a tight smile. She didn’t know why he wasn’t getting the hint.

Chad mostly talked about himself for the rest of the walk. Evie was lost in her own thoughts, so she just nodded at the appropriate times. She was relieved when they saw Carlos standing outside of a classroom door. As soon as his eyes met hers, he was moving forward.

“Hey Eves.” He greeted, reaching out to grab her bag and stepping between them in the process. Carlos may be smaller than some guys and he wasn’t exactly intimidating, but Evie knew he would do anything to protect his friends.

“See ya, Chad.” Evie stayed close to Carlos, ignoring Chad calling after her about getting ice cream. They went into the classroom and she let out a sigh of relief.

“What was that about?”

“He was in my last class and he insisted on walking me here.”

“Why didn’t you say no?”

“I did.” She sat down at a desk in the back row and Carlos took the one next to her. “You had study hall last period, right? What was that?”

“Basically a free period where you can catch up on homework or whatever. Since I didn’t have anything, I just played around on my phone. This thing is so cool…” Evie smiled at she listened to Carlos explain the technological aspects. She didn’t always understand, just like he didn’t always get what she was saying when she was talking about designing, but they respected each other and listened anyway.

“Quiet!”

Evie and Carlos jumped at the sudden noise. Evie cursed herself; she really needed to get that under control. The whole class stopped talking and stared towards the front.

“Who are the Isle kids?” Nearly the whole class turned to stare at them, and Evie raised her hand. “My name is Mr. Reynolds. There will be no funny business in this class. If you even breathe in a way that I feel is threatening, I will send you to Fairy Godmother. Is that understood?” Evie and Carlos nodded. “Are you not able to speak?”

“Yes, sir.” Evie answered, Carlos mumbling along with her.

“Who knows what you have learned so far, so I’m sure you will be behind the rest of my class. Pull out your books and let’s go to page 77.”

Evie and Carlos did as instructed. Evie was nervous until she saw the material. She glanced at Carlos and noticed the same relief on his face. They could do this in their sleep.

The rest of class was basically a showdown between Mr. Reynolds and the VKs. He would call out a question, and then get angry when they knew the answer. He kept trying to trip them up, finding ways to complicate problem, but Evie and Carlos were easily two of the most intelligent people on the Isle. They had no doubt that they could adapt to the Auradon curriculum after what they had seen so far.

The bell rang and they collected their things. After they stood, Mr. Reynolds called out to them. “I expect you both to be back here later for detention.”

“What’s that?” Carlos questioned.

His face got even redder, if that was possible. “Now you’re going to backtalk?”

Evie stepped in. “He’s not trying to backtalk, sir. We really don’t know what detention is.”

“What a surprise that you take on the role of being the nice and mature one. Do you think you can manipulate me? I know what people like your parents are capable of.” He looked at them both in disgust. “I expect you here at 4pm sharp. Next time, think twice about being disrespectful towards me.”

Evie and Carlos walked out even more confused than they came in. They still weren’t completely clear on what detention was, and they didn’t understand what they had done wrong. Evie bit her lip anxiously as she recapped the class, trying to figure out what had happened.

Mal and Jay were standing in the hallway outside of Goodness class, so they didn’t even have a second to try and change their expressions. As soon as Evie’s eyes met Mal’s, the purple haired girl was coming towards her.

“What’s wrong?” she demanded, grabbing Evie’s chin gently in her hand and turning her face side to side, as if she was looking for a mark. She ran her thumb across Evie’s bottom lip, freeing it from her teeth. “Talk to me.”

“We got detention?” she said the last word as more of a question, hoping Mal or Jay had more clarification.

“What’s that?” Jay asked.

“No clue.” Carlos answered. “Our teacher was mad though.”

“Look how evil my girl is.” Mal smiled approvingly at Evie. “What did you do? Tell him off?”

“We didn’t do anything.”

Mal must have realized that Evie was upset about this because she tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “Walk us through it.”

Evie explained how Mr. Reynolds started off on the wrong foot as soon as he walked in, and that he had basically called them stupid, then kept calling on them throughout class and was mad that they knew the answers. Carlos picked up then, saying how he had given them detention and when they asked what it was, he called Evie manipulative and made a comment about their parents.

By the end of the story, both Mal and Jay looked furious. “Which room was this in again?” Mal questioned.

“Don’t.” Evie grabbed her hand. “We’re already in trouble, I don’t want you to do anything stupid.”

“People don’t get to talk to you like that.”

“I’m fine, M. Let’s just go before we’re late.” Evie and Mal walked into the classroom, their hands still joined. Carlos and Jay glanced at each other; at this rate, the girls weren’t going to last a week pretending that they weren’t together.

“Hello, children!” Fairy Godmother greeted with a big smile. Evie knew she was kind of annoying, but she was grateful for how respectful she was towards them after the other experiences she had had so far. “How is your first day of classes going?”

“What’s detention?” Mal said immediately.

Fairy Godmother’s smile fell a little. “You already got detention?”

“What is it?”

“When you don’t pay attention in class, or you don’t do your work, or you are disrespectful, your teacher may give you detention. That’s when you go back to that class at the end of the day and sit to think about your choices, and it’s a time for you to finish your work. It’s a punishment. Which teacher gave you detention?”

“It wasn’t her, it was Carlos and me.” Evie interrupted.

“Which teacher, dear?”

“Mr. Reynolds.”

Fairy Godmother just nodded. “Then you’ll have to go to Mr. Reynolds’ class at the end of the day.”

“How is that fair?” Mal demanded. “They didn’t do any of the things you said. He was just mad because he thought they would be stupid and they aren’t.”

“I don’t understand…”

Evie sighed. “It’s okay, we’ll go.”

“Carlos can’t go.” Jay reminded them. “He has therapy or whatever today.”

“Well Evie isn’t going to go sit with some asshole who has it out for her on her own.” Mal stubbornly stated.

“I’m not going to therapy.” Carlos interjected. “I’ll go to detention with Evie.”

Fairy Godmother seemed confused as she stepped forward. “Therapy is not an option, Carlos. You have to go, and I will write an excuse to Mr. Reynolds for you. Mal, watch your language in this room or else you will serve a detention with me. Now what do you mean he has it out for Evie?”

Evie turned to Mal, silently asking her not to say anything. She didn’t want to make this a bigger deal than it needed to be. “I guess we really do need this Goodness class after all. Can we get started?”

Fairy Godmother hesitated for a second before sighing in defeat and moving on. Mal and Evie were sitting at the same table, meaning now she was free to reach over and grab her girlfriend’s hand. She drew patterns on the top of it with her thumb, trying to calm her down.

Luck was not on Evie’s side because after Goodness class, they had lunch. Breakfast had been okay; she hadn’t eaten much, but the yogurt and strawberries did taste good, and it didn’t sit too heavy in her stomach. She knew she wasn’t going to be as lucky this time.

“I can’t do it.” Evie whispered as they walked into the cafeteria.

“I’m sorry, E, but you have to.” Mal tugged on her hand gently, pulling her further into the room.

Evie looked at the boys pleadingly. “I’m being honest.” She said.

They both got what she was trying to say right away. Jay put an arm out to stop Mal from walking any further. She turned to look at them in confusion.

“Stop and listen to her.” Jay scolded.

“What’s up, E?” Carlos questioned.

“I can’t eat right now. I know I’m supposed to and I know that I said I would do better. My stomach is already bubbly, I can’t add food to it too.”

Mal frowned. “What do you mean ‘bubbly’?”

Evie hated to acknowledge her feelings. She wasn’t the type of person to make things about herself, and any time someone asked her a personal question, she usually found a way to turn it back around and make it about them. Of course she trusted her three friends more than anyone else in the world, but even talking to them about this was difficult.

She met Carlos’s eyes, knowing he was probably the most understanding about this whole thing. “Today has been hard.”

Carlos nodded. “It has been. It’s going to take some getting used to, huh?”

Evie sighed. “If I eat, I’m going to throw up.”

“I know.” He grabbed her hand and squeezed it gently. “How about some juice?”

Even that didn’t sound great, but she had to give in somewhere. “Okay.”

“Okay, let’s go.” He smiled and pulled her over towards the drink machine.

Now that they were alone, she bit her lip. “Mal is going to yell at me.”

“No she’s not.”

She glanced over her shoulder. “She looks pissed.”

“She won’t yell at you, but I probably won’t be as lucky.” Carlos handed her a cup. “I’m proud of you, Evie. I know that you’re feeling anxious about the detention and everything. I’m glad you told us.”

“Thank you for listening to me.”

“Of course.” He led her over to a table. “Why don’t you wait here and I’ll be back in a second?”

“Okay.”

Evie hated the idea of sitting alone. The last thing she wanted was to have anyone watching her, wondering why she was in the cafeteria with only a cup of juice. What if they asked why she wasn’t eating?

A tray was put onto the table next to her and she jumped (she seriously needed to get that under control). Mal sat down and just stared at her for a couple seconds.

“I don’t like it, but I get it, okay? I know you’re already upset about how the day has been going and it’s not good to put more stress on you on top of that. I don’t know how to handle this. I don’t know when to push you and when to back off. It’s going to take me some time to learn.”

“Thank you, M. For caring enough about me to try and push me. I-I’ll try at dinner, okay?”

“That would make me so happy.” Mal grabbed her hand. She looked around, seeing that no one was watching, and pressed a quick kiss to the top of it.

“Alright, time to talk about that.” Of course Jay popped up out of nowhere, setting his tray down across from Evie. Carlos joined them a few seconds later. “You two are way too touchy.”

Mal raised an eyebrow. “Your point?”

“Look around. Do you see any girls kissing, or guys touching each other? I would bet my entire morning haul that these people are homophobes.”

Evie frowned. “What do you mean ‘morning haul’?”

Jay smirked and opened his bag, showing them what he had stolen. “If they’re going to be assholes, they at least owe us a little something in return.”

“No.” Carlos interrupted. “You guys need to chill. No stealing,” he gave Jay a stern look, then turned to the girls, “and no touching. We can’t have our cover blown just because you two can’t keep it in your pants.”

“We’re not even doing anything!” Mal protested.

“The hand holding, the longing stares, the hand kisses, whispering to each other.” Jay listed. “Those aren’t Auradon things.”

“Neither am I.” Mal snapped.

“Okay.” Evie stepped in. “We get it. Sorry, I don’t think we even realized we were doing it. We’re focused.”

Before another word could be said, Evie felt a presence behind her. She knew Mal must have too because she whipped around, sending her arm flying towards whoever it was.

“Mal!” Evie called out, reaching out and catching her arm just before it hit Chad. She turned around to see the terrified look on the prince’s face. “Sorry about that, we don’t like people coming up behind us.”

“No problem, beautiful.” He grinned as he came around to the table. He sat down next to Jay, causing both boys to frown and scoot further away. These people had no concept for personal space, apparently. “Now, about the ice cream. Are you free this weekend?” he laughed. “Of course you’re free. What do you say?”

“Actually, she’s busy.” Mal chimed in, staring at her food with more interest than the boy. She looked at him with a bored expression. “You can go now.”

“I’m speaking to Evie.” Chad told her, then looked back at her.

“This weekend isn’t a good time. Thank you for the offer.” Her friends could tell how fake her smile was, but it was obvious that Chad was charmed.

“Oh, playing hard to get?” he stood with a grin. “I like that. I’ll figure out a way to get you to agree, sweetheart.” He walked away.

As soon as he was gone, Evie grimaced. “God, he makes my skin crawl.”

“Why don’t you just shut him down?” Carlos wondered.

“I have! Every time I say no, he doesn’t take the hint. He’s completely oblivious.”

“Maybe you should take him up on his offer.” Jay suggested, causing three other heads to whip his direction. “What? E, your mom groomed you for your whole life to find a ‘perfect prince’. It would help keep up appearances, and it might distract from how touchy you guys are.”

Carlos shrugged. “It’s not a bad idea.”

“No.” Mal said with so much finality the boys knew not to bring it up again. “Evie will not be pretending to be in a relationship.”

Everyone got back to their lunch as conversation moved on to what they had left to do for the rest of the day. As usual, Mal’s hand linked with Evie’s underneath the table and away from prying eyes. Evie must have been squeezing because suddenly, Mal’s hand moved away from her own, going instead to her wrist. She pressed down gently and Evie snapped back to the conversation, letting out a sigh.

“It’s okay.” Mal told her. “The rest of the day will be fine.”

“I’m gonna be by myself.” Evie said quietly.

“You’ll be okay, Princess. You’ve got this. Fashion will be fun, and you love chemistry. From what it sounds like, study hall is easy. You’ve got this.” The bell rang, and Mal must have noticed the way she jumped. “You’ll get used to that.”

They all stood to throw their food away. Mal, Jay, and Carlos had to go one way, while Evie went the opposite.

“Want us to walk you?” Jay offered.

“No, I’ll be okay.” Evie tried to give a reassuring smile, but she was sure it looked more like a grimace. She walked down the hallway alone and was able to quickly find her fashion design class.

She didn’t recognize anyone, which she was kind of relieved about. Luckily, the teacher was nice and the material was interesting. She found herself kind of sad when the bell rang to signal it was time to go to the next class.

She took a seat in chemistry, holding in a groan when she saw Chad walk in the door. He spotted her and smiled, then came over. But before he could sit next to her, a scrawny guy in glasses took the empty seat.

“You’re Evie, right?” he asked. “I’m Doug, son of Dopey.”

“Nice to meet you.” She said. Of course this guy would be connected to her mother’s story. She could only imagine what he thought about her.

“You’re not falling all over Chad.” He whispered a few minutes into class.

She looked at him in confusion. “Huh?”

“He hasn’t stopped staring at you, but you’ve barely even looked his way. Normally, all the girls are kneeling at his feet.”

Evie scoffed. “Yeah, not happening.”

“You’re different than I thought you would be.”

She wasn’t sure how to respond to that, so she just stayed quiet. When their teacher told them they would need a lab partner for tomorrow, Doug quickly volunteered to be Evie’s. She was happy about that because at least she wouldn’t have to be with Chad.

“Where’s your next class?” Doug questioned as she gathered her books.

“It’s study hall.”

“Do you know where to go?”

“I can find it.”

“It’s not far. Just take a right, go down the stairs, and it’s on the left.”

Evie smiled. “Thank you, Doug. See you tomorrow.”

“See ya.” He smiled and waved before heading in the opposite direction.

Evie moved quickly, hoping that she would be able to avoid Chad. She followed Doug’s directions and walked into study hall.

She spent the next 45 minutes getting her English and math homework out of the way. As the time ticked, she felt herself getting more and more nervous. She really didn’t want
to go to detention. All she could think about was the way the older men acted on the Isle, and how the teachers punished the students…

The bell rang and she nearly dropped her book from how hard she jumped. She dug her fingernails into her hand, cursing herself for getting lost in thought and not paying attention so that she could time her reaction. She shoved her books into her bag quickly so she wouldn’t be late; if Mr. Reynolds already didn’t like her, she didn’t want to give him even more of a reason.

When she walked back into his classroom, she was surprised to see Mal and Jay sitting there. Mal had her feet propped up on a desk, and Jay was a few rows ahead of her tapping on his math book.

“Hey Princess.” Mal greeted.

“No talking in detention!” Mr. Reynolds called out. He looked even more flustered now than during Evie and Carlos’s class. She realized that her friends must have done something to get into trouble. “Well? Are you waiting on a formal invitation? Sit down!”

All amusement drained from Mal’s face and she stood up. “Don’t talk to her like that.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Are you threatening me?”

“No, but that might change if you’re going to disrespect her.”

“Mal, sit down.” Evie told her as she walked over and sat next to her.

“Find a different seat. You can’t sit next to each other.”

“Maybe you should have explained that to her instead of just telling her to sit down.” Mal continued to sass.

“If you don’t stop talking, you’re going to earn yourself a detention for tomorrow too.”

Evie moved a few seats over from Mal and looked at her, trying to communicate that she needed to shut up. Mal was still smirking, but she did finally sit down.

Since she had some extra time, Evie pulled out her chemistry book and got to work on that. She was lost in her own little world until her phone vibrated. She checked it carefully so Mr. Reynolds wouldn’t see.

From: Mal
You’re so hot when you’re being smart

From: Mal
Seriously, how am I so lucky? My girl is gorgeous and has a brain

To: Mal
You’re ridiculous

To: Mal
Can we take a nap after this?

From: Mal
There’s nothing I would rather do

Evie could help but smile. She put her phone back into her bag, hoping to stay out of trouble. She finished her homework and then let her mind wander for the remainder of the hour. She hoped that Carlos was doing okay at his therapy appointment.

“Go.” Mr. Reynolds commanded after the time was up. “If you continue with your behavior, you’ll find yourself in these seats again.”

They stood without a word and left the room. Evie looked at her friends in amusement. “What did you do?”

“It didn’t take much.” Jay responded. “You guys were right; he does have it out for the VKs.”

“Besides, did you really think I was going to let you outshine me? I’m supposed to be the wicked one.” Mal joked.

Evie laughed. “I’m glad you were there with me.”

“If anyone gives you detention, they better expect all four of us. You’re not going alone.” Mal insisted. “I don’t care what I have to say or do.”

“What are we doing now?” Jay wondered.

“It’s nap time.” Mal announced. “You can come to our room if you want and we can wait for Carlos.”

“Okay.”

As soon as they walked through the door of the girls’ dorm, they dropped their backpacks on the ground. Immediately after, Mal pulled Evie towards her and planted a kiss on her forehead, then cheeks, then nose, and then her lips.

“I’ve been waiting to kiss you all day. It’s not fair how perfect you are.” She kissed her again.

“God, if you’re gonna do this, I’m going to my room.” Jay complained, but laid on Mal’s bed anyway.

Evie held onto Mal’s arm with one hand as she pulled her shoes off with the other. She took off her leather jacket and wiggled out of her skirt, leaving her just in leggings and her shirt. She crawled into her bed, then looked over to see that Mal was still standing near the door with her phone in her hand.

“Mal.” She whined. “Nap time, remember?”

“Sorry, baby. I was sending Carlos a message.” She took her shoes off and then got into bed. She held open her arms and Evie curled into them, resting her head on her chest and a hand on her stomach. One of Mal’s hands played with Evie’s hair while the other rubbed up and down her arm gently.

Evie sighed, relaxing into her girlfriend. It had been a long, tiring first day and she was happy to finally lay down. She was nearly asleep when she heard the door open. Her eyes fluttered open.

“It’s just Carlos.” Mal whispered soothingly. Evie relaxed into her again. “You wanna talk about it, C?”

“Not now.” Evie heard Mal’s bed creak under his weight and figured that he had laid in bed next to Jay.

The last thing Evie remembered was Mal pressing a kiss to her forehead, and then she fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Mal was the first one to wake up, unsurprisingly. Jay could sleep through anything, and as long as Evie was being cuddled and felt safe, she could too. Normally Carlos was a light sleeper, but it was obvious the whole therapy thing had taken a toll on him.

She stared down at her girlfriend’s face and was glad to see that she looked peaceful. She knew Evie was struggling with being in Auradon and she was determined to help her adjust. But for now, she would just hold her and love on her until it was time to go to dinner.

After a little while, she started hearing movement from the other bed. She glanced over, wondering which one of the boys was waking up. She was surprised to see that it was Jay.

“Hey.” He whispered in greeting as he ran his hand through his hair. “She asleep?”

“Mmhmm.” Mal said quietly, worried that if she was any louder she would wake Evie up. “How’s Carlos?”

“Sleeping, so that’s good at least. You saw his face when he walked in. Whatever happened wasn’t good.” Jay sat up. “I think it’s probably better for both of them if we just stay in here. Want me to go grab dinner?”

“Good idea.” Mal agreed. “I know it’s hard, but please try and find something that Evie will eat. Something smaller, and at least grab some pineapples or maybe even strawberries in case I can’t get her to eat anything else.”

“I’ll find something.” Jay slid his shoes on and walked out the door.

Mal started to run her fingers through Evie’s hair gently. She felt her nuzzle closer to her neck and couldn’t help but smile.

“So perfect.” She whispered before kissing her cheek. “You deserve everything in this world, my Princess. I will spend the rest of my life trying to give it to you.”

A couple minutes later, Jay came in with a plastic bag. “They just let me fill up to-go boxes. Can you believe that?”

“These people are so careless with their food.” Mal stated.

Jay went over and sat next to Carlos. “Get up, C. I got dinner.” He shook his shoulder.

Carlos groaned, but jumped awake after a second, sitting up quickly. It was kind of startling how abruptly he always woke up.

“Dinner.” Jay repeated, holding up the bag in his hand.

“Okay.” Carlos rubbed his hands over his face, then went into the bathroom.

“You gonna get her up?” Jay wondered.

Mal hated that she had to do this. This was the most peaceful Evie had looked since they left the Isle, and she would have to wake her and then force her to eat. She almost wanted to let her sleep, but she knew that wasn’t what was best for her.

Mal sighed and started to tickle Evie’s sides. She ran her fingers up and down her ribs, digging in a little harder at the places she knew she was sensitive. Evie nuzzled into her again, letting out a tiny moan.

Mal flipped their bodies so she could hover over the taller girl. “Time to wake up, baby.” She said, pressing kisses on her face.

Evie groaned. “Nooo.” She tried to push Mal away. Mal trailed her kisses lower, planting them on her jaw and neck. “You’re not being fair.”

“You have to wake up.” Mal finally kissed a path from her neck up to her lips. Evie responded immediately, wrapping her arms around Mal’s waist and pulling her down until she was flush against her.

“Um, we’re still here.” Carlos reminded them.

Mal smiled against Evie’s lips. She kissed her one last time and then sat up, pulling her girlfriend with her.

“I got us dinner.” Jay told her. “You get first pick, E.”

Instantly, any trace of a smile was gone from Evie’s face. Mal felt her stomach twist as she saw the discomfort on the blue haired girl’s face. Evie just sighed and stood up, going over to Mal’s desk where Jay had laid out the food.

“The special today is fried chicken and French fries, but I didn’t know if you would want that or not, so I grabbed some other stuff.”

Mal could see the slight tremble in Evie’s hands as she reached out to grab something. “What’s this?” she asked, turning to show the others a small bowl with something orange in it.

“It’s called macaroni and cheese. Everyone was talking about how good it is.”

Evie took that and a cup of pineapples and then sat on the floor. Mal grabbed something next, and then the boys took whatever was left. For the first time that day, they all relaxed and just laughed and talked to each other. Mal noticed that now that they were having fun, Evie didn’t seem as upset with having to eat. Maybe the key to all of this was trying to separate eating from the other negative stuff in their lives.

“You ready to talk, C?” Jay wondered.

Mal could see the frown on Carlos’s features, and she noticed immediately the way that Evie tensed up. “Not yet. Let’s just enjoy this, okay?”

“Okay.” Carlos and Evie responded quickly. Even Jay nodded his head.

“Is that good?” Carlos asked Evie, nodding towards the macaroni and cheese.

“Try it.” She got some on her fork and leaned over so she could feed it to him.

“That’s good!” Carlos said with a smile. “Wanna try my mashed potatoes? They’re really good.” Evie looked hesitant. “You don’t have to.”

“Just a little bite.” She gave in. Mal almost died in shock when Evie actually let him feed her a bite. “They are pretty good.”

Mal couldn’t resist. She grabbed Evie’s arm and pulled her over so she could kiss her. “I know this is hard, and I’m so proud of you. You’re so fucking amazing.” She mumbled against her lips, kissing her between words.

Evie giggled. Her cheeks were flushed from blushing, but she didn’t say anything. She continued taking small bites of her food, eating both the macaroni and the pineapples. She didn’t eat as much as the other three, but it was progress and Mal was happy.

“Let’s mess with some of this stuff.” Jay said. He went over to where the TV was hooked up and pressed a button. Ben had given them a quick explanation of how to work the TV, and mentioned something about video games, but they hadn’t tried to figure it out until now.

Carlos joined him a second later. Mal glanced over at Evie, who just laid down until her head was in Mal’s lap. The purple haired girl was perfectly fine with that, but she had other ideas.

“Do you wanna take a shower?”

They had showered at the health clinic, but they had yet to try their dorm room shower. Evie nodded her head and sat up. Mal stood, then reached her hand down to help pull her up.

“We’re gonna shower.” Mal called out to the boys. They hummed in response as Jay pressed buttons and Carlos read directions.

Mal leaned into the shower and looked at the different knobs. On the Isle, it was rare to get to wash your entire body at once. There wasn’t enough clean water to go around, and even if it was clean, it was freezing cold. The shower at the health center had been confusing, to say the least. She had kept her old underwear and a t-shirt on there so she wouldn’t be vulnerable in case anything happened, but now that she was in her dorm with Evie and with the boys right outside, she felt a little more comfortable with getting naked.

Mal turned the handle and felt the warm water on her hand immediately. “These people don’t realize how fortunate they are.”

“If they sent some of this water to the Isle instead of wasting it, it would make such a big difference.” Evie agreed. She pulled off her shirt and her leggings, leaving her in just a bra and underwear.

“Is this new?” Mal wondered, reaching out to touch the royal blue strap.

Evie nodded. “I made it before we left.”

“Pretty.” Mal said, but now her hand was stroking Evie’s cheek. “Are you going to take it off?”

“Are you going to take anything off?” Evie countered, noting that Mal was still fully dressed.

Mal held eye contact as she took off her clothes. She was still a little nervous, but she hooked her fingers in the sides of her underwear and let them drop. Now that Mal was naked, Evie had no choice but to completely strip.

Mal led the way into the shower, Evie joining her a second later. They huddled together under the warm water. Evie smirked as Mal’s hands started to wander down her sides.

“I wouldn’t want you to be cold.” Mal told her.

“I bet you can find ways to make me warm.”

Mal studied her girlfriend and it struck her (not for the first time) how beautiful she is. Evie’s hair was wet and matted down and her makeup was running, but Mal wouldn’t ever choose anyone else. This beautiful, intelligent, perfect human in front of her was hers and she couldn’t be prouder.

Mal pressed their lips together. It was wet and messy, but she just stuck her hands in Evie’s hair and held her still. She turned their bodies so she could lean Evie against the wall. The blue haired girl shivered as her back came into contact with the cold tiles.

They pulled apart and rested their foreheads together as they caught their breath. Mal kept her eyes locked on Evie’s, watching as her eyes darkened. She kissed Evie’s forehead, then her lips, biting the bottom one until she heard a groan. Mal trailed her kisses across Evie’s jaw, then leaned down to start kissing her neck. Her lips attached to her pulse point and she sucked harshly.

“No hickeys.” Evie warned as she gripped Mal’s hair. Mal moved down to her collarbone and kissed there instead. “No visible hickeys.” Evie corrected.

“Mine.” Mal mumbled against her skin.

Evie let out a quiet moan. “Show me I’m yours.”

-----

After a long, hot shower, Evie and Mal wrapped themselves in fluffy white towels and went back into the room. Jay and Carlos were staring at the screen, each with a controller in their hand.

“Those bathroom walls are thin, you know.” Jay commented. “And Evie, you are loud.”

Evie felt her cheeks heat up. Mal jumped in. “You can always go to your own room.”

“Why would we do that when we could have a front row ticket to the show?”

Evie just shook her head as their banter continued and went into the closet. She opened her drawer and pulled out a pair of panties, then grabbed one of Mal’s sweatshirts. She put them both on and brought the purple sweatshirt up to her nose, smiling at how it smelled like her girlfriend. She turned around and went back into the craziness.

“…and go get dressed instead of stealing my game!” Jay was shouting.

Mal was still wrapped in her towel and she stood directly in front of Jay’s view of the TV with a controller in her hand.

“M, quit bothering them and get dressed.” Evie chastised.

Mal turned to look at her and she watched as her eyes lit up when she saw what she was wearing. She passed the controller back to Jay and came over to her. She grabbed Evie’s cheeks in her hands and leaned forward to kiss her.

“You look great in my shirt.” Mal whispered against her lips.

Evie smiled. She knew exactly how her girlfriend felt about her wearing her clothes. She melted into her, letting Mal kiss her lips, her cheek, her nose, her forehead…

“Ugh, they’re gonna go for round two right in front of us.” Jay announced loudly. Carlos rolled his eyes, but otherwise didn’t speak.

“You mean round three?” Mal asked him with an evil smirk. Jay started to fake gag.

“Go get dressed.” Evie said with a laugh as she shoved Mal in the direction of the closet. She went over to the couch and sat next to Carlos. She leaned against his side and put her hand on his knee.

She could tell that therapy had been tough, but she knew better than to ask. If he wasn’t ready to talk, she wasn’t going to push him, just like he never pushed her when she had something going on. She knew Jay and Mal probably wouldn’t let him stay quiet, but she was in no position to force anyone to talk about their demons.

“You ready to talk about it, C?” Jay asked predictably.

Carlos groaned, so Evie sent him a reassuring smile and squeezed his knee. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her into him.

“It wasn’t fun having a stranger poke and prod to find out your deepest, darkest secrets.” He confessed.

Mal came over to join them, now completely dressed. Carlos, Evie, and Jay were squeezed on the couch, so Mal sat on the table in front of it so she was across from Evie and Carlos. “Walk us through it.”

“I went to the health center, which was already shitty since they had us locked up there for three days. They took me to the room with this lady, her name is Dr. Bren. She sat me down and started asking questions, you know, my name, how old I am, who my parents are.” Evie could tell he was getting agitated; his arms tightened around her and his hands started to play with the ends of her hair. “Then it was all about the Isle and where I lived, if I went to school, who my friends are. I don’t know, it just gave me a bad vibe.”

“Did you answer the questions?” Evie wondered.

“Some. I didn’t want to be too specific though. I don’t want to give her a weakness.”

“That’s smart, Carlos.” Mal praised. “We can let them talk to us and ask us whatever, but we need to stay focused. We’re not going to go spilling our business to these people.”

“Who’s up tomorrow?” Jay asked.

“Mal.” Evie answered, having already memorized their schedules. She studied her girlfriend. “You gonna be good?”

Mal scoffed. “I’ve dealt with Maleficent for sixteen years. I think I can handle some preppy Auradon doctor.”

“Anything else you wanna tell us, C?” Evie said.

“No, that’s pretty much it.”

“Then let’s get back to the game.” Jay passed a controller to Mal. “You want one, E?”

“No, I’m gonna sketch.”

They shifted their positions around. Jay and Carlos each took an end of the couch, while Mal sat on the floor with Evie between her legs. The blue haired girl had her back leaned against Mal’s chest and her head resting on her shoulder.

She grabbed her sketch book and flipped through until she found an empty page. So many ideas had been swirling through her mind ever since she got her first look at Auradon fashions, and she hadn’t had the time to draw any of them out. She got lost in the gentle scratch of her pencil against the paper.

“YES!” Evie jumped at the loudness of Mal’s voice. Apparently, she had killed Jay’s character. “Sorry, baby.” She apologized for scaring her, then kissed Evie’s temple. “Rematch?”

They got started on a new game, Evie again returning to her sketching. She could picture a new jacket for Carlos, a pair of pants for Jay, a dress for Mal if she would ever give in and actually wear one…

Someone knocked on the dorm room door. They all ignored it, hoping that one of the others would answer it. Finally, Carlos sighed and went over, pulling the door open.

“Hey guys!”

All their heads swiveled at the unfamiliar voice. Evie felt something hit her arm and she looked over, noticing the way Jay was motioning towards her- she was still sitting between Mal’s legs. She tried to subtly move so that they were next to each other instead.

“I’m Lonnie, I met you in the cafeteria.” She stated as she walked further into the room.

“What are you doing here?” Mal cut straight to the point, clearly not enjoying the fact that their night had been interrupted.

“I just wanted to invite you to a movie night tomorrow. We’re doing it out in the courtyard and I thought maybe you would be interested.”

“We’re not.” Mal said. Evie pinched her arm, making her grit her teeth. “We’ve been working so hard to adjust to everything and make sure we’re getting our homework done, so tomorrow isn’t really a good time.”

“Oh, okay. The offer still stands if you change your mind!” Lonnie turned her attention to Evie and eyes suddenly grew. “Oh my God!”

“What?” Evie asked. Then she realized that she was only in a pair of underwear and a sweatshirt. Was showing this much skin to your friends weird in Auradon? She also hadn’t brushed her hair yet, or moisturized, or…

“Did you draw that?” Lonnie pointed towards her sketch book.

“Um, yeah.” She said nervously. Warmth hit her legs and she looked down, seeing that Mal had thrown a blanket over her lap.

“That’s amazing! Do you make clothes too? Do you think you could make something like that for me?”

Lonnie’s excitement actually made Evie smile a little bit. But before she could speak, Mal interrupted. “Why would she do that?”

“Because I’ll pay for it.”

“Done.” Evie confirmed. “We can meet up tomorrow and talk details.”

“Awesome! Thank you, Evie!” Lonnie smiled and waved at the others. “See you guys tomorrow!”

She left the room and Carlos shut and locked the door behind her. “What the fuck.” He mumbled.

“Why isn’t she scared of us? Why did she just come strolling in like she owned the place?” Mal added with a frown.

“Maybe she’s just a nice person.” Evie suggested. “Maybe she realizes that we’re not defined by our parents’ actions.”

“Why did you agree to make something for her?” Jay wondered.

“Because we’re going to need some type of income. Do you want to have to ask Ben for money?”

“Evie has a point.” Mal acknowledged. “But I don’t want you meeting up with Lonnie on your own. I don’t care if she is a nice person. I don’t trust any of these people.”

“I’ll go with her.” Carlos offered.

“It’s settled then.” Evie said with a smile, hoping Mal would drop it. She knew Carlos was probably Mal’s last choice on who should accompany her, but she wasn’t going to say that straight to the boy’s face. “Are you guys gonna get back to your game?”

They all shifted back into their original positions. Evie’s mind was overflowing with ideas as she imagined different clothing items that would work for Lonnie. Eventually, her eyes started drifting shut, but she blinked hard to try and wake herself back up. She really wanted to finish these sketches before tomorrow, but her eyes shut again and her head lolled back against Mal’s chest.

“Game’s over.” Mal announced as she turned the video game off with her controller.

“What the hell!?” Jay shouted. “We were almost done! Why did you quit?”

“Evie’s tired.” Mal said as if it was the simplest thing in the world. Honestly to her, it probably was. Evie was no stranger to her girlfriend’s love and dedication to her; she just hoped she knew that she felt the same way. “Come on, Princess. Up.”

Evie sighed, but gave in. She stood, then held out a hand to help Mal up. The shorter girl leaned up on her toes so she could press a kiss to Evie’s forehead, then nose. She laughed quietly when it made her nose do the scrunchie thing that Evie knew she loved.

“Are you guys staying here again?” Mal wondered.

“Yep.” Jay stated. “I call dibs on the shower.”

Carlos nodded. “I’ll go after.”

“Hopefully the thing isn’t contaminated.” Jay joked, laughing when both Mal and Evie flipped him off. He went to the bathroom and shut the door.

Mal sat down on Evie’s bed, while Carlos laid on the couch, his eyes glued to his phone screen. Evie grabbed her brush and then came over to her girlfriend. She silently held out the brush and then sat down on the floor.

Mal began to run the brush through the tangles in her hair. She worked gently, trying not to pull too much. “Your hair is so long.” Mal commented. It wasn’t the first time; she was obsessed with the long blue locks. “You smell different though.”

Evie knew what she meant. Back on the Isle, she had made her own hair products and soaps out of whatever materials she could find. Today, she had used the stuff that was already put in the bathroom for them.

“I know, I need to work on some soaps.” Evie agreed. Mal finished up on her hair, signaling she was done in the same way she always did- kissing the top of her head. She stood and turned around to kiss her. “Thank you.”

“Mmhmm.”

Evie took the brush and then ran it through Mal’s hair. It wasn’t nearly as long or thick, so she got done quickly. After she finished, Mal laid down on the bed, wiggling until she could prop her back up against the pillows. Evie swung her legs over her waist so she could straddle her lap.

“How was your first day?” Mal asked, running her hands up and down Evie’s bare legs.

Evie shrugged. “I survived. What about you?”

“Not as bad as I thought it would be, honestly. Could have done without you getting detention, but we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen anymore.” She stilled the movement of her hands. “Evie, are you happy?”

This wasn’t the first time she had heard the question, and she knew it wouldn’t be the last. She also knew better than to lie. “No, but I think I could be.”

Mal leaned forward and kissed her, pulling back after a moment and resting their foreheads together. “I will do anything to make you happy, baby girl.”

“I know, and I will do the same for you.” Evie wrapped her arms around her and leaned her head on her shoulder. Sometimes, she just wanted to be close to Mal and feel her warmth.

She heard the bathroom door open and then a voice. “Are you being mushy? Stop it before you scar Carlos.”

“Unlike you, I’m not a child, so I don’t care.” Carlos stood and went into the bathroom.

Now that Jay had ruined the moment, Evie felt extremely tired. She let out a sigh and a second later, Mal slid down on the bed so they could lay. Evie shifted so she wasn’t completely on top of her girlfriend. She buried her face in her chest and reached out to hold one of her hands.

“Evil dreams.” Mal whispered. Evie just smiled and closed her eyes.

Chapter Text

Tuesday wasn’t much different than Monday. Evie woke up early and accidentally elbowed Mal, resulting in her waking up too. Instead of talking, they made out for a while until it was time to start getting ready. Evie picked out another great outfit while Mal woke up the boys, and then their day was starting.

They went to breakfast and Evie managed to eat a piece of toast with a little bit of jelly. She didn’t feel great, but she felt like she could handle the weight in her stomach. It suddenly struck her that this was the longest she had gone without throwing up in years.

English was fine, and even history wasn’t bad (despite Chad’s annoying flirting). In math, Mr. Reynolds was still trying to antagonize Evie and Carlos, but they stayed quiet and to themselves to avoid any confrontation.

Evie instantly relaxed when she walked into Goodness class and was next to Mal again. The morning had been okay, but she always felt better when she had the other girl with her.

Lunch time was next and Evie chose some sort of sandwich. As soon as she took a bite, she knew there was no way she could finish it. Even though she was in a pretty good mood and nothing major had happened, she could still feel the nervousness creeping into her body.

“Mal, will you go to the bathroom with me?” Evie asked suddenly, interrupting the conversation.

“Are you okay?” Mal demanded, though she was already standing up.

Evie silently led the way towards the bathroom. It was empty, but she still grabbed her hand and pulled her into a stall. “Kiss me.” She ordered.

“What?”

“I don’t want to get upset. I need to relax, and you help with that. Kiss me.” She pleaded.

“It’s okay, you’re alright.” Mal put her hands on her shoulders and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips. Evie tried to deepen it, but Mal pulled back and started to pepper light kisses across her face. “Intelligent.” She kissed her cheek. “Passionate.” Her nose. “Strong.” Her forehead. “Gorgeous.” Her chin. “Caring.” Her neck. “You are everything.”

Evie just leaned down, resting her forehead against Mal’s shoulder. She heard the bathroom door opened, but Mal didn’t react. She threaded her fingers through Evie’s hair and kept her in place as she rocked slightly back and forth. Whoever it was washed their hands quickly and then exited.

“What’s going on?” Mal wondered.

“I tried to eat and I could feel myself getting upset. Nothing big has happened today, so I don’t know why I feel like that.”

“I’m glad you tried to do something about it instead of letting it control you.” Mal kissed her lips. “Do you feel a little better?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Let’s go back out there.” Mal kissed her one last time before unlocking the stall door.

They washed their hands, then went to their table. Carlos and Jay were frowning when they returned.

“What happened?” Jay questioned.

“Nothing, it’s fine.” Mal answered easily.

Evie took another bite of her sandwich. Each bite was harder and harder to swallow, but she kept going. She felt Mal’s hand on her back, rubbing reassuringly. She finished the entire sandwich.

“Do you want some of my chips?” Jay offered.

Evie held out her hand. If she could eat the sandwich, maybe she could eat the chips too. She saw the proud expressions on all their faces and it made her want to be better and try harder. She finished the chips, then reached for a cup of pudding and finished that too.

“I have never wanted to kiss you so badly before.” Mal whispered into her ear. “You’re doing so good, babe.”

The bell rang, signaling that lunch was over and they needed to get to 5th period. Evie would be alone for the rest of the day, plus Mal had therapy so she wouldn’t get to see her until later, and she had to meet up with Lonnie.

As she stood, she felt the weight settle deep within her body. Her hands started to sweat and her mouth started to salivate. Mal was talking to her, but she couldn’t hear her over the pounding in her ears. She just smiled and nodded, then turned to walk to the other way so she could go to class.

Instead, Evie ended up taking a detour to the bathroom. She busted into a stall, dropping her backpack and shutting the door all at once. She barely had to put her fingers in her mouth before she was throwing up. She repeated her actions a few more times until finally, she felt like she could breathe again.

This was always the weirdest part. Her body felt lighter, but her mind was racing and felt so, so heavy with the weight of her actions. Was she going to tell the others? How would she look them in the eyes and lie? How was she going to eat dinner?

Evie was covered in a light sheen of sweat and she was absolutely exhausted. She slowly stood, then flushed the toilet and went over to the sink. She dabbed lightly at her face with a paper towel, then rinsed her mouth out with water. She stared at her watery eyes in the mirror and somehow felt worse than when she came into the bathroom.

She was only a couple minutes late to her fashion design class, and luckily she was able to slip in unnoticed. She couldn’t focus on anything her teacher said.

“What’s up, sexy?” Chad greeted when Evie walked into chemistry. “You seem upset. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, Chad.” She said quietly, hoping that no attention was drawn to her.

“You are a little pale.” Doug commented. When did he even come into the room?

“You’ve known me for two days so I don’t think you’re really qualified to make that judgment.” Evie told him defensively. “I’m fine, just tired.”

Luckily, they let it drop. Her luck didn’t last long, however, because then her chemistry teacher was calling on her. She hadn’t been paying attention and she honestly wasn’t even sure what the question was.

“I’m sorry, can you repeat the question?”

As he spoke, Evie tried to listen, but she couldn’t. She heard Doug whisper an answer to her and she repeated it back to the teacher, satisfying him enough that he walked away.

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yes.”

In study hall, Evie just put her head down and let her eyes close. She must have fallen asleep because when the bell rang, she startled so much that she nearly fell off her chair.

She collected her things and walked out of the classroom, bumping into someone near the door. “I’m sorry.” She practically whispered. She looked up and saw that it was Carlos.

“You good, E?”

Evie knew it was time to make a choice. She could be honest and tell Carlos that she threw up, or she could try and hide it. She didn’t want to disappoint anyone, but she didn’t want to lie either.

“Not really.” She admitted.

“Let’s go back to the dorm. Jay’s going to Tourney practice with Ben and Mal has therapy, so it’ll just be us.”

“No, we have to meet with Lonnie.” She reminded him. She felt her phone vibrate and stopped to check it.

From: Mal
Make sure Carlos goes with you to meet Lonnie. I’ll see you in a little bit

To: Mal
Good luck! See you later

“Hey guys!” Evie looked up as Lonnie approached them. “Are you still good to meet today?”

“Yes. I have a couple of ideas sketched out for you, and a few more that I haven’t had time to draw yet.”

“Cool. Do you want to go to your dorm?”

That was the last place Evie wanted to go, but she just nodded. “Okay. Carlos is gonna come with us, by the way.”

“Fine with me.”

They walked towards the dorms, Lonnie chatting about whatever popped into her mind. Evie tried her best to focus on her words, but her head felt like it was spinning.

Evie unlocked the door to the room and the three of them walked in. Carlos made himself comfortable on Mal’s bed, while Evie and Lonnie went over to the couch.

She finally felt a little better when she started talking about her designs. She showed Lonnie each page, smiling as she gasped at each new outfit and pointed out what she liked about it. Then, Evie took her measurements and wrote out a list of all the materials she would need.

“Thank you so much, Evie. Everyone in Auradon wears the same boring dresses all the time, so it’ll be fun to actually have something different. I will talk to my parents and get everything you need. Can I have your number so I can text you when I have it?”

“Sure.” Evie wrote down the number that she had memorized as soon as she got her phone (along with Carlos, Mal, and Jay’s numbers).

“Awesome, thanks!” Lonnie hugged her, which threw Evie off, but she wasn’t exactly surprised. “See ya!”

As soon as Lonnie left, Evie’s smile dropped. She ran her hands over her face, hoping that she didn’t smudge her makeup. She let out a sigh.

“You ready to tell me what’s going on?” the room had been so quiet that she nearly forgot Carlos was there. She groaned, knowing that her day was far from over.

-----

Evie had been Carlos’s first friend. He never really got the chance to be around other kids because he was too busy helping his mother. But when he met the blue haired girl, he knew there was something special about her. Her smile was too carefree for someone from the Isle, and she gave out affection more easily that anyone he had ever known (which wasn’t many people, but still).

Sure, they had Mal and Jay now, and Evie and Mal were dating, and he was really close with Jay, but he liked to think that his relationship with just Evie was still pretty strong. He could read her better than most people, and he could tell that she definitely wasn’t okay.

“Huh?” Carlos wanted to roll his eyes, but he didn’t. He couldn’t stand when Evie played dumb.

“You told me you weren’t okay. I think we both know what that means, but I want to hear you say it before I jump to conclusions.”

Evie visibly shrank. He wondered if he was too harsh, but then he remembered the promises they had made. Evie had promised to come forward if she was feeling a certain type of way, so he needed to push her to hold up on her end of the deal.

Back on the Isle, there wasn’t a lot of food to go around. Despite this, it was pretty obvious that Evie struggled with eating. He could remember hearing her mother rip her apart, telling her that if she didn’t stop eating, she would feed her nothing but poison apples. One night, after a particularly bad fight with her mom, she had whispered to the three of them in the safety of their hideout that her mother would make her stand naked and she would walk around her and pinch all the places where there was too much fat.

No one was thrilled with letting Evie starve herself, but they understood it. They had to please their parents; Jay stole, Mal terrorized, Carlos was beaten, and Evie starved. It was just part of life.

“Come here.” He sat up on the bed. Evie came over to the side, but didn’t make eye contact. “Wanna cuddle?”

Evie almost always wanted to cuddle. Carlos had a theory that it was because her mother encouraged so much negative touching, so when she had the opportunity for any type of positive touch, she would take it.

She slid her heels off and climbed onto the bed. She laid down next to him and he put an arm around her waist, pulling her until her back was against his chest.

“Don’t touch my stomach please.” She whispered.

Carlos shifted his arm down so it rested on her waist instead. “What happened, E?”

“I threw up.” She admitted. She spoke so softly he almost didn’t hear her.

“Okay.” He responded, then kissed the back of her head. Carlos grabbed the blanket and pulled it up, hoping it would help her feel warm and safe. They laid there in silence.

The door opened suddenly and they both nearly jumped out of their skin. They were both sensitive to loud noises and Auradon had a lot of them, unfortunately.

“Hey, it’s just me.” Jay greeted quietly. He must have noticed their position because he came over, kneeling down so he could see their faces. “What happened? You guys good? Did someone hurt you?”

“We’re okay. Go shower, you stink.” Carlos told him. Jay sighed in defeat and went to the bathroom. “You need to tell Mal and Jay.”

Evie nodded against him. “I will.”

About five minutes later, Jay came over to them freshly showered and in new clothes. He lifted up the blankets and then scooped up Evie. He sat next to Carlos and moved so she could sit on his lap. Evie straddled him and rested her head on his chest. They had asked Evie once who she liked to cuddle the most, and she told them that they each had different qualities; obviously she loved cuddling with Mal because she loved her and made her feel safe and comfortable, while Carlos was great at calming her down, and she loved being in Jay’s arms because he was so much bigger than her.

“What’s up, E?”

“Why do you assume something is wrong with me? Maybe something happened to Carlos.” She said defensively.

“Well I can see that you’re pale and shaky, and even if you weren’t, you just gave yourself away by yelling at me.” Jay kissed her forehead. “Talk.”

Before Evie could, the dorm room door slammed open, hitting the wall. It hit so hard that Evie and Carlos both flinched; Evie cuddled closer to Jay, and even Carlos scooted over so he could lean his head on his arm.

“What the fuck, Mal?” Jay questioned, the anger seeping through. He wrapped an arm around Carlos’s shoulders and used his free hand to stroke up and down Evie’s back.

“This therapy thing is a fucking joke and we’re not going anymore.” Mal practically had steam coming out of her ears. Carlos knew realistically that she wouldn’t hurt him, but it still made him nervous. He glanced over at Evie, who had relaxed again- obviously she knew that she had nothing to fear when it came to her girlfriend.

“What happened?” Carlos wondered.

“That bitch had the nerve to ask questions that no one on the Isle would dare to say out loud, and then acted like I was the one out of line when I yelled at her for it.” Her pacing stopped abruptly as her eyes landed on the position the three of them were in. “What the fuck happened now?”

Carlos stared at her, trying to communicate to her that she needed to calm down. Mal’s eyes had zeroed in on Evie, and they were lighting up in that eerie green color. She came over and sat at the end of the bed. “Evie.”

Carlos watched as Evie sat up. He could see her hands shaking and she was biting her bottom lip anxiously. She pulled away from Jay and crawled over to Mal, laying her head in her lap.

“What’s wrong?” Mal questioned. She was still tense and Carlos could see the rage in her eyes, but he could also tell how much she was trying to control it. Mal had a horrible temper and she had been raised to react before thinking. It almost made him smile when he saw how hard she was trying to be gentle with Evie, despite her obvious anger.

Evie, however, looked beyond guilty. “I’m sorry.” She whimpered. The tears sprang to her eyes immediately.

Mal reached out to stroke her cheek and Evie flinched. The purple haired girl frowned. “Are you scared of me?”

“No.” Evie protested.

“No matter what, I would never put a hand on you, Evie. I don’t care how upset or mad either of us is, you never have to worry about me hurting you. Will you sit up?”

Evie reluctantly sat. Her eyes shot towards Carlos and he could tell exactly what she needed right now.

“She threw up.” Carlos announced for Mal and Jay’s benefit, though he was sure they had already guessed it.

“When?” Mal questioned.

“After lunch.” Evie said, her eyes glued to the blanket.

“Why?” Jay asked, but there was no response. Carlos thought that was a stupid question- they had already established the ‘why’ of Evie’s throwing up.

“You tried a few different things at lunch today.” Carlos reminded her. “Do you think maybe you had too much?”

“Yes.”

“Then why did you keep going?” this time, it was Mal who spoke.

“Because you guys were all so happy. I wanted you to be proud of me.”

Mal’s cool composure was gone. She reached out and grabbed Evie’s arms so she could pull her onto her lap. “E, you can’t eat to make us happy. You need to eat because it makes you healthy. You don’t have to push yourself so hard, okay? We’re proud as long as you’re healthy.”

“But you said you never wanted to kiss me so much.” Evie stated. “I want you to be happy, M.”

“You being healthy and taking care of yourself makes me happy. You being honest with us makes me happy.” She smirked. “You wearing those pants makes me happy.”

“You were doing so well until that last part.” Carlos told her, but her statement must have had the desired effect because Evie laughed.

“Remember what I told you earlier, baby. You are everything.” Mal whispered. Carlos didn’t understand what that meant, but Evie blushed, so she must have. “Are you tired?”

“Mmhmm.”

Mal slid off the bed, shifting Evie so she could carry her. Carlos smiled at the way Evie clung to Mal like a koala, her arms around her neck and legs around her waist. They fell onto Evie’s bed and dissolved into giggles, and he knew everything would be okay again.

-----

When Mal woke up, she could tell that the sun was starting to set. She looked down at her girlfriend, who was still asleep against her chest. Mal heard noise from the other side of the room and glanced over. The boys were awake and playing video games, though the volume was turned down so they didn’t disturb the girls.

Mal used her index finger to trace over Evie’s features. She started with her face, following the path carved out by Evie’s hairline and jaws. Then, she smoothed down two thick eyebrows, watching how they furrowed for a second. Mal pressed the tip of her finger down between Evie’s eyebrows and watched with a smile as her entire face relaxed. She ran three fingers across Evie’s forehead, tickling her skin gently.

She moved on to one of her favorite parts of her girlfriend’s body. Evie had the most gorgeous eyes she had ever seen. Everyone called them brown, but Mal had seen them dark, light, with hints of green, and with golden specks. They were always expressive, and she could almost always tell what Evie was thinking or how she was feeling based on her eyes. Mal lightly stroked the tops of her eyelids, then followed the curve of her long, dark eyelashes. She had watched Evie coat them in mascara millions of times, but she didn’t understand why because they were perfect.

Mal rubbed her cheeks gently with the side of her finger, watching as Evie smiled in her sleep. She loved having her cheeks stroked and that was always a good way to help her calm down.

Next was her nose. Mal started at the top and ran her finger all the way down to the tip of her nose. She kept going and traced over the middle of her lips, then to her chin. She pressed against the dimple that sat there, then moved up.

Evie’s lips were another of Mal’s favorite parts. The only word she could think of to describe them was pretty. They were so pink and plump, and maybe it had a little to do with the fact that Evie’s smile was Mal’s favorite thing in the world. She outlined her lips with the very tip of her finger and Evie smiled.

“It’s kind of creepy that you’re just laying here staring at me.” Evie told her, and those beautiful eyes fluttered open.

“I can’t help it.” Mal leaned down and kissed her. “You’re so beautiful.”

Evie just smiled and stretched sleepily. She scooted up so she could bury her face in Mal’s neck. She pressed light kisses against her skin, making Mal close her eyes in contentment.

“How was your meeting with Lonnie?”

“Good. She loved my designs, and I was able to get her measurements. She’s going to get all the materials for me and then pay me to make the clothes.”

“Look at my girl, selling Isle chic to the prissy princesses.”

Evie smiled. “Hopefully it’ll be enough money that I can buy some materials for all of us. I have so many ideas.”

“If not, I’m sure we can find another way.” Mal kissed the side of her head.

“How are you, M?” Evie reached a hand up and ran it through Mal’s hair gently. “I’m sorry I kind of stole the spotlight after your therapy appointment.”

“You didn’t.” Mal promised, grabbing her palm and kissing it to punctuate her words. “I just…I feel like an animal in a cage. These people are just poking us and digging around in our lives. I hate feeling like if we say the wrong thing, they’re going to send us back.” Evie kissed her neck again in silent encouragement. “She was asking about our parents. When we were locked up in there when we first got to Auradon, they asked me who was in charge of the Isle and I told them Maleficent. The doctor kept asking about how she gained that power and how she kept it, and where I fit into all of that.”

Evie’s hand continued to stroke through her hair. “What did you say?”

“I yelled at her. Why does she think she’s earned the right to know that after talking to me for fifteen minutes? Why should I have to tell her anything about my personal life? I really don’t want to go back, and I don’t want you going tomorrow.”

“You heard what FG said to Carlos. It’s not optional.” Evie sighed. “How do you want me to play this? Mature and nonconfrontational? Loud outburst? Silent treatment?”

“Well I already did the outburst thing, and they didn’t react very well. Besides, now that they saw me do it, they might try to plan ahead for that and have security tomorrow and I do not want anyone putting their hands on you.”

Evie pressed another quick kiss to her neck. “Mature and nonconfrontational it is.”

Mal scooted down so that their heads were next to each other. She put a hand on Evie’s cheek and stared into her eyes. Right now, they were light brown, like a pot of honey. Mal leaned in and pressed one, two, three quick kisses against her lips. Evie chased her lips after the last one, and Mal never could deny her anything. She captured her lips for much longer this time, sucking the bottom one into her mouth. Evie groaned, causing Mal to climb on top of her.

“Will you two stop eating each other’s faces like we’re not right here?” Jay shouted from the couch.

Evie pulled back. “Will you shut the fuck up and let us do as we please?”

Mal couldn’t help but laugh at her girlfriend’s response. Jay faked a gasp. “Wow, that’s not very princess-like of you.”

Mal ignored him and kissed her lips again, then her chin, then her throat until she was down to her chest. She started to nibble at the skin there, making her girlfriend giggle.

Suddenly, she was hit in the head with a pillow. She sat up, glaring at Jay, who was cackling. She smirked. “Hey E, wanna fuck right here in front of them?”

“I thought you would never ask.”

“Okay, okay, you win!” Jay called out. “I swear, anyone who says teenaged boys have the weird hormones has never met you two.”

Evie laughed, giving Mal one last kiss before she slid out from under her. She went into the bathroom, shutting the door quietly behind her.

“How are we doing dinner?” Carlos asked.

“Let’s just stay here.” Mal responded. She didn’t want to push Evie too far out of her comfort zone. “I’ll go down and get food.”

It didn’t take long for Mal to get to the cafeteria. There weren’t too many people since dinner was close to over, which she was grateful for. She made her way to the food line and grabbed a couple of boxes so she could fill them up.

She wasn’t exactly sure what she was choosing, but she grabbed a little bit of everything. She knew the boys would eat whatever, and she hoped that Evie would at least try one thing. There were no pineapples, but she grabbed a cup of strawberries as a back-up in case Evie refused everything else.

When she got back into the room, Evie and Carlos were sprawled out on the floor with textbooks open around them. Jay was still on the couch, his focus on the TV.

“I’m back.” Mal announced unnecessarily. She put the food on her desk, then sat next to Evie and Carlos. “E, first pick.”

Evie looked like she wanted to be anywhere other than there right now, and Mal imagined she probably did. But she also stood up, straightened her shoulders, and walked over to the desk.

Evie returned to her seat. She had a small piece of pizza and a couple of strawberries, and Mal nodded in approval. “I’m so proud of you, Pretty Girl. I know you had a rough afternoon, and I’m happy that you were able to pick out something.”

Evie smiled uncomfortably, but Mal didn’t mind. She would keep praising and complimenting her until she believed it.

The other three went towards the desk at the same time. Mal had to practically fight the boys off for her own share of food, but she did manage to snatch her own piece of pizza and the rest of the strawberries. She sat down next to Evie.

“You’re actually gonna do your homework?”

“Yes, and so are you.” Mal groaned. “We can’t slack off without someone being on our case, and I would like to stay under the radar as much as possible.”

The boys joined them a moment later. Jay plopped down, catching Mal’s attention.

“How was that Tourney thing today?”

Jay smiled a real, genuine smile. “It was awesome!” he launched into his story, making his friends laugh at his excitement. Mal was happy for the distraction, and she noticed that once again, when they were all talking and being positive, Evie seemed to eat more. She finished about half of her pizza and all of her strawberries, then got back to work on homework.

Carlos finished next and sat next to the blue haired girl, both working on their math. Mal knew that math wasn’t her strong suit and she would probably need help, so she cleaned her food up and grabbed her own book. Jay went to walk towards the couch, but Mal grabbed his shirt.

“Nope, sit down and get your work done.”

Jay groaned, but he didn’t protest. The four of them were able to breeze through each subject as a team. Carlos and Evie were good at English, math, and chemistry, but even they struggled a little bit with Auradon history. Jay was okay at history and math, but terrible at chemistry and English. Mal’s strong subject was English, while math and chemistry were her worst (and if she pretended to be a little more clueless in chemistry than she actually was just so she could hear Evie explain it to her, no one called her on it).

About an hour later, they were all tired. Evie had finished her homework and now her head was resting on her book and her eyes were shut. Carlos was explaining part of the English assignment to Jay, and Mal was trying to finish answering her last question.

After she added her last sentence, Mal shut her book. She looked over and saw that the boys seemed to be wrapping up, and Evie looked ready to sleep.

“Go shower.” She told her girlfriend, smoothing her hair back gently.

“Wanna join me?” Evie questioned.

Mal smiled. “Of course.” She followed her to the bathroom and shut the door gently behind them. Tomorrow, they would have to deal with more food and more homework and more Auradon kids. But tonight, she was happy to just be with the three people she cared about the most.

Chapter Text

Evie was convinced that Wednesday had been the longest day in Auradon so far. The newness of her classes was finally wearing off, so it seemed like they dragged on for forever. Mal got in trouble in Goodness class and had to eat lunch with Fairy Godmother, leaving Evie to eat alone with the boys. Chad was still flirting, her teachers were still extra hard on her, and now she had to add therapy to the mix.

When the bell rang for 7th period to end, Evie was the last one to stand. She was dreading having to talk to a doctor about her life. Her phone vibrated and she looked down at it, hoping for a distraction from her nervousness.

From: Mal
Text me if anything happens and I’ll be there right away

From: Mal
Even if the doctor looks at you in the wrong way, I want to know

Evie smiled at the overprotectiveness, but she appreciated it nonetheless. If there was one thing she never doubted, it was Mal’s love and dedication to her.

To: Mal
You’ll be the first to know

To: Mal
Thank you

From: Mal
Anything for you, Pretty Girl

Evie felt the familiar butterflies moving around her stomach as she shoved her phone back into her bag, but she didn’t know if it was from Mal or being nervous. She walked into the health center and was met by a woman.

“Hi, you must be Evie. I’m Dr. Bren. It’s nice to meet you.”

“You too.” Evie shook her extended hand.

Dr. Bren led her down the hallway to a room. When she opened the door, there were various seating options. “You can sit anywhere you like.”

Evie chose a spot facing the door so she could see if anyone came in. She sat down and studied Dr. Bren. She looked around 30 with dark brown hair. She was pretty and had a nice smile, but Evie knew firsthand how deadly that could be.

“I’ll start by telling you a little bit about me. My name is Dr. Nina Bren, and I have been a therapist for three years now. I went to Auradon Prep when I was your age, but my parents aren’t very well known. I’m married and I have two dogs. I’m excited to get to know more about you and your friends and to help you adjust to life in Auradon.” Dr. Bren smiled. “Can you tell me about you?”

“My name is Evie. I’m 16.” She said simply.

“What do you like to do?”

“I’m good at making clothes.”

“Really? Did you make the outfit you’re wearing right now?”

Evie nodded. She launched into an explanation, pointing out the different materials and why she chose them. Maybe she could just distract Dr. Bren and then she wouldn’t ask any serious questions.

“Tell me about your relationship with Mal, Carlos, and Jay.”

Evie frowned. “What do you mean?” she didn’t want to give this woman anything to use against them, so she would just play dumb.

“How long have you been friends?”

Evie laughed. “‘Friends’ isn’t really a term on the Isle. It’s more like gang activity.”

“So you were a gang?”

The blue haired girl shrugged. “We protect each other.” She gave Dr. Bren an icy stare, trying to communicate to her that even now, she would be protecting her friends and not giving information on them.

“Okay, let’s talk about Auradon. How do you like it so far?”

“It’s fine.” Evie said carefully.

“What has been the hardest part of adjusting?”

Luckily, she was the best at training her facial expressions. She just smiled. “There’s a lot more homework.”

Dr. Bren nodded, but didn’t react. Evie was pretty sure that she knew that she was trying to avoid talking about anything personal, but she didn’t call her on it. “What’s your favorite class?”

“Probably either chemistry or fashion design.”

“You like chemistry?”

Evie felt the defensiveness creep in. “What, you think that because I like fashion I can’t like chemistry too?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying. I was wondering what you like about it.”

“I just like to learn.”

“What were classes like back on the Isle?”

“Well the biggest difference is that attendance wasn’t mandatory.” Evie admitted.

“I want to switch gears a little bit here. I know your mother is the Evil Queen, but I’m not sure who your father is.”

“Your guess is as good as mine.”

“When I spoke to Mal and Carlos, they had the same reaction. Is it uncommon for someone to have two parents on the Isle?”

“Yeah, you could say that.”

“Why is that?”

Evie shrugged. “No one talks about it. Most people don’t even know who their other parent is.”

“Your mother is a witch. Have you felt any magical urges since you came to Auradon?”

“No.” Evie answered truthfully. She knew that Mal had felt her magic the moment she crossed the bridge, but Evie didn’t feel any different.

“How was life with your mother?”

“Sit up straight, Genevieve.”

“Smile pretty, a prince likes a girl with a beautiful mouth.”

“You think you can just keep eating the way you have been? The calories are going straight to your stomach, dear. You will never find someone to love you if you look like that.”

Evie blinked, pulling herself out of her daze. “Fine.”

“When I spoke to Mal, I got the impression that maybe she worked for her mother.”

Evie raised an eyebrow. “Should you be telling me that? Aren’t you supposed to only talk about me?”

“I was just wondering if maybe you had some more insight on that. Did you work for your mother?”

“If you weren’t so fat you could fit in this dress! I couldn’t even get the pirates to touch you with the way this is clinging to you in all the wrong places!”

She swallowed harshly. “How would I work for my mother?”

“Your mother is one of the worst villains on the Isle. We know she was allied with Maleficent, Cruella DeVil, and Jafar. I’m just trying to figure out what life would be like for a child of one of the most powerful villains.”

She gave her a fake smile. “It was as great as you would think.”

“Evie, my job is to help you with this transition. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to move to a completely new place that has a totally different atmosphere. I know it doesn’t sound like fun to spill your deep personal secrets to a stranger, but I’m here to help you.”

“You’re here to help?” she questioned. “Where was your ‘help’ when all of the children were cursed to the Isle just because of their parents? I don’t need your pity or your help.”

“I’m not pitying you. My goal is to discuss the hard topics so that you can begin to work through them.”

Evie laughed dryly. “I don’t need to work through anything. I’m perfectly fine.”

“Okay.” Dr. Bren smiled. “I think that’s all for today. I’ll see you again next week.”

“It was a pleasure.” Evie said in an overly cheery voice. She stormed out of the health center.

The damage was done. She had tried so hard to bottle up all of her thoughts and feelings about her mother and the Isle. She promised herself that if she could just get through this week, she would be okay. Now, her chest felt tight and heavy after one little meeting with a therapist. How was she going to do this every single Wednesday?

When Evie entered her and Mal’s dorm room, she was surprised to see Ben sitting on the couch. The boys were on the floor with controllers in their hands, and Mal was curled up in a chair with her math homework. Evie dug her nails into her palms; all she wanted to do was come home and cuddle with Mal and forget about all of this.

“Good afternoon, Evie! How are you?” he greeted.

“I’m doing well. How are you, Prince Ben?”

“Oh, just Ben is fine.” He smiled. “I just wanted to check in with you all and see how you are doing.”

Evie dug her nails even harder into her hands. Why was everyone so convinced that they needed someone to check on them? Why were their lives public business?

“The classes are great.” She responded with a tight smile.

“How was your therapy appointment today?”

Evie felt three other sets of eyes drift towards her. She just nodded. “Fantastic.”

Mal’s math book shut loudly and she dropped it to the floor. “Hey E, can you help me with some makeup?”

Evie was confused; Mal rarely wore makeup, and never by her own choice. She felt Mal’s hand wrap around her wrist and pull her towards the bathroom, so she figured she didn’t have much of a choice. She shut the door behind them.

“What are you…” Mal turned her wrists over and Evie noticed the blood on her hands. “Oh.”

“Uncurl your fingers.” Mal held her wrists gently as Evie opened her hands. “You dug your nails into your hands.”

“I didn’t even notice.”

Mal sighed, but didn’t speak. She turned on the water and stuck Evie’s hands underneath so she could clean up the small amount of blood. “I take it therapy didn’t go well?”

“I didn’t like her attitude.”

“What do you mean?”

“She’s way too carefree about the questions she asks.”

“I told you.” Mal pressed a towel to Evie’s hands to stop the bleeding. “How are you really?”

“Exhausted.”

“I’m sorry.” Mal kissed her cheek. Evie just leaned against her, letting her head rest on Mal’s shoulder. “You’re okay, Princess.” She pulled the towel away and saw that the bleeding had stopped. “No more blood.”

“When is Ben leaving?”

“I don’t know, he didn’t even warn us he was coming. These Auradon kids have no manners.” Mal sat down on the floor, then reached her arms up towards her girlfriend. Evie took the hint and sat down between Mal’s legs, letting her wrap her arms around her. She rocked her gently back and forth.

Evie just melted into her and shut her eyes. She could almost pretend that they were back on the Isle and everything was normal. “I wish Ben would leave so we could take a nap.”

“I’m worried about you.”

Evie kept her eyes shut and sighed. “Why?”

“You never napped on the Isle, and now you’ve been exhausted by afternoon every day. I can tell how much you’re struggling. I want you to be happy.”

“I just keep reminding myself that there’s a reason why we’re here. Once I get used to things here, it’ll be better.” Evie tilted her head up so she could see Mal’s face. “How are you?”

“I just told you, I’m worried about you.”

“Yeah, but how are you? Take me out of the equation.”

“I could never take you out of anything.” Mal kissed her forehead. “You’re the only thing that matters.”

Evie couldn’t help but smile. “Auradon has made you sappy, Mal Bertha.”

“Not sappy, I just want to make sure my intelligent, sexy, strong, gorgeous girlfriend knows how special she is.” She kissed the tip of Evie’s nose. “But like you said, Auradon will take some getting used to. Once I know that you’re okay, I’ll be okay.”

Evie looked down at her lap. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay.”

“You will.” Mal reassured her. She continued to rock her and Evie shut her eyes again.

She must have fallen asleep, sitting there on the bathroom floor in Mal’s arms. The next thing she knew, she was being lifted into the air. Her eyes flew open.

“Mal?” she called out frantically.

“It’s Carlos, I’m just carrying you to bed. You’re safe.” He reassured her. She leaned her head on his shoulder. A few seconds later, she was being put down on the bed. She was almost asleep again when suddenly, a voice popped into her head.

“Lay back, Genevieve. It’s your job to please.”

Evie turned, falling out of the bed and onto the ground. She crawled across the floor until she was near the wall. She sank down with her back against it and curled her knees up to her chest. She rested her forehead against her knees.

“You give them what they need. Let them use you.”

A hand touched her and she flinched. “No, Mother. Please.”

“Evie, it’s Mal. We’re in Auradon. Your mom isn’t here. You are safe. Please, baby girl, let me see those beautiful eyes.”

“Mal.” She whimpered.

“I’m right here.” Evie felt someone grab her hand, and then a gentle kiss was pressed against her palm. She opened her eyes slowly and saw Mal sitting on the floor in front of her. Carlos and Jay were standing behind Mal, looking ready to jump into action at any moment.

Evie shuffled closer to the purple haired girl. “Mal, please.” She whispered, clinging to her arm. “Don’t let them in.”

-----

It was the first time since coming to Auradon that Mal had seen that much fear in Evie’s eyes. She had hoped that coming to a new place would calm her worries, but it seemed like they were back in full force.

“No one is coming in.” she reassured her, stroking her hair gently.

Unfortunately, someone chose that moment to knock on the dorm room door.

Evie nearly jumped out of her skin. She crawled across the floor until she was under the bed. Her breaths were coming in pants and her eyes were squeezed shut.

“What do we do?” Jay questioned. He and Carlos had seen Evie melt down before, but never like this.

“Don’t answer the door.” Mal said before laying down on her stomach next to the bed. “Evie, baby, listen to me. Everything is okay.”

There was another loud knock on the door.

Evie started to cry, curling up even more if that was possible. “No, Mother. Please, I’ll be good. Please don’t let them in.”

Mal could feel her eyes light up. She glared at the boys. “Get rid of whoever that is. Now.” She wasn’t even sure what to do. Evie was crying and hyperventilating and there was an Auradon kid in the hallway asking for them. How was she supposed to fix this?

“Evie.” She called out. “Listen to my voice, my princess. I promise that you are safe. I’m going to grab your hand, okay, baby girl?” Mal touched Evie’s hand. She didn’t flinch, so she squeezed it gently. Mal scooted closer and pressed Evie’s hand against her chest. “You’re doing so good, E. Just keep breathing in and out.”

“No.” Evie cried out, her eyes still shut.

“Open your eyes for me, babe.” Mal stroked her cheek with the hand she wasn’t using to press Evie’s hand against her chest.

“It’s not safe.” Evie whispered.

“It is safe. Would I ever let anyone hurt you?”

Evie frowned as if she was considering it, and then her eyes fluttered open. “Come here.” She mumbled. Mal sighed, but scooted until she was underneath the bed next to her girlfriend. “They can’t see us.”

“There isn’t anyone here to see us. We’re in Auradon, E, remember? It’s just us and Carlos and Jay.”

They were already cramped together, but Evie squished herself right into Mal’s side. “You’ll keep me safe.”

“Always.” Mal promised. “If there was anything to be worried about, I would protect you. No one will ever even breathe the same air as you, let alone have the chance to put their hands on you.” Mal kissed her cheek, then moved out from under the bed. “Come on, baby.”

“I don’t think I can.”

“You can.” Mal encouraged. “I need you to come out, E.”

The dorm room door opened, then shut. Mal turned, seeing the boys reenter the room. She cursed when she heard Evie whimper again.

“Remember what you said, Evie. I’ll keep you safe. There is nothing to be scared of.” Evie scooted a little further towards the edge of the bed. “That’s it, my beautiful girl. Keep moving.”

“This is Auradon?”

“Yes. We’re in our dorm room at Auradon Prep.” Evie scooted closer. “You’re doing so good.”

Evie kept scooting until finally, she was half way out. Mal pulled her the rest of the way until she was on her lap. She stood up, holding her girlfriend carefully in her arms. She swayed from side to side.

“I’ve got you, baby. You’re okay.” She whispered. Mal sat down on the bed, keeping Evie safely on her lap. She couldn’t believe how quickly everything had gone downhill.

“I’m sorry, Mal. I’m sorry, I’m sorry…” Evie was repeating over and over again.

“Shhh, you don’t have to apologize. Calm down.” Mal stroked her fingers through her hair. She rested their foreheads together. “Just breathe, Pretty Girl.”

It took a few minutes, but finally, Evie seemed to settle down. She pulled back slightly and Mal’s heart broke at the sight of her red, swollen eyes.

“Jay?” Evie croaked out, her voice cracking from all of the crying.

“What’s up, E?”

“Will you stay here tonight?”

“Of course.” He came over and sat next to Mal on the bed. He grabbed Evie’s hand. “Carlos and I will be right here.”

“Come on, let’s lay down.” Mal suggested.

“No!” Evie gripped her shoulders frantically. “I don’t wanna lay down.”

“Okay.” Mal soothed, pressing a quick kiss to her temple. “What do you need?”

“I need to be touching you.” Evie practically whispered. “You’re real.”

“Alright, get up for a second.” Mal said. She waited until Evie was standing, then moved so she could sit at the top of the bed with her back against the center of the headboard. “Come here.” Evie went over, and Mal pulled her until she was straddling her lap, their chests smashed together and Evie’s face resting in the crook of her neck. She wrapped both arms around her and cuddled her close. “How is this?”

“Perfect.” Evie said with a sigh.

“Jay, sit next to me.” Mal ordered. He didn’t even hesitate before going to sit to her left. “Carlos, come here.”

Carlos wordlessly walked over, sitting on Mal’s right. He pulled the blankets up, tucking them around the four of them. Mal felt Evie nuzzle closer to her and she just tightened her arms around her. She didn’t care if her legs went numb from her girlfriend’s weight; she would sit there all night if it made her feel better.

It was clear to Mal that therapy had not been as simple for Evie as she made it out to be, and she would bet anything that it brought on some flashbacks for her. She was no stranger to the blue haired girl’s nightmares and traumas, but this was a little more extreme than Mal had gotten used to dealing with.

Evie couldn’t stop trembling. Mal did what she knew usually calmed her down- played with her hair, rubbed her back, kissed her forehead- but none of it seemed to help. It wasn’t until Mal’s arms tightened around Evie’s back at the same time Carlos held one of Evie’s hands and Jay wrapped his arm around her that Evie finally took a deep breath, then sighed out in contentment. Her entire body relaxed all at once.

Mal didn’t know what she wanted to happen next. She wished Evie could sleep so she could escape from all this, but she knew better than anyone that sometimes being asleep was worse than being awake. They had been sitting in those same positions for at least two hours when Mal felt Evie’s breathing start to even out. She kept her own breathing steady, knowing how much her heartbeat soothed her anxious girlfriend.

She waited a while before she broke the silence. “She’s asleep.” She mumbled, not needing to speak any louder because of the close proximity.

“What the fuck happened?” Jay questioned. “I’ve never seen her like that.”

“I’m guessing it had to do with therapy.” Mal said.

“What happened when you guys were in the bathroom?” Carlos wondered.

“The whole reason I pulled her in there was because I saw blood on her hands. She dug her nails into her skin and made herself bleed and didn’t even realize it. She told me she wanted Ben to leave so we could take a nap, and I told her I was worried about her. She’s been so tired lately and she’s struggling so much with food.” Mal kissed her forehead gently, trying not to wake her. “She said she didn’t know if she would ever be okay, and I told her she would. Then we sat there and she fell asleep and that’s when you came in, Carlos.”

“Did she say anything about therapy?”

“Just that she didn’t like Dr. Bren’s attitude and that she was too carefree about the questions she asked. You heard what Evie was saying, though. I think we all know exactly what she was picturing.”

“We’re fucked.” Jay stated. Mal and Carlos looked at him in confusion. “She’s losing it. How are we going to pull any of this off when she can’t get it together?”

“I swear I will knock your ass out if I ever hear you talk about her like that again.” Mal threated, her body tensing up.

“Stop, you’re going to wake her up.” Carlos interrupted. “Jay, I know you didn’t mean to sound like as big of a douchebag as you just did. We need to find a way to calm Evie down and help her so that we can move on with the plan.”

Mal felt Evie’s hand grasp her t-shirt in a fist and she started to whimper. It only last for a few seconds before she full-on screamed.

Helping Evie was definitely going to be easier said than done, but Mal knew they would have to find a way.

Chapter Text

“This is for you.”

Evie smiled at Mal as she held out a little box. “What is it?” she opened it up, finding a sketch book with a blue, barely worn cover. It was folded on one edge, both otherwise, it was in perfect condition. “But you love to draw! You can’t give me this, you should have it.”

Mal shrugged. “I still have my old sketch book. You love drawing your designs, and you’re good at it. Plus, it’s your color. As soon as I saw it I knew you needed it.”

“How did you get this? Drop off day is always so hectic.”

“Being short has its perks.” Mal bit her lip, her nervousness obvious. “Do you like it?”

“I love it. Thank you.” Evie leaned in and connected their lips.

The two girls had known each other since childhood. Their mothers, along with Jay’s dad and Carlos’s mom, would get together to scheme up ways to get off the Isle. They were never allowed to call each other ‘friend’, so they instead referred to themselves as a gang. Now that they were 13, the whole “gang” thing was starting to be taken more serious and there were more expectations from their parents.

Mal put her hands gently on Evie’s shoulders and pushed her back to lay down. She continued to attack her lips, sliding her tongue along the bottom one. Evie immediately granted her access and the battle for control began. As always, Mal won and Evie gave in, letting her take what she wanted.

Mal’s hands drifted down to the bottom of her shirt. She ran her fingers teasingly along the exposed skin, causing Evie to groan. She slid one under the material and raked her fingernails up and down Evie’s sides.

“M.” she moaned when Mal moved back, trailing her kisses down to her neck instead. Her other hand went under Evie’s shirt. The blue haired girl just closed her eyes and let her touch. They had gone this far before, and she knew Mal would ask before pushing her any further.

The bedroom door slammed open, smacking against the wall from the force. The shocked gasp was what finally cleared the haze from her mind and Evie’s eyes flew open, coming face to face with her mother. Mal stood up, allowing Evie to sit.

Others may have laughed at the idea that the Evil Queen could be scary. She spent more time worrying about clothes and makeup than she did territory or murder, but they never had to see her the way Evie did.

“So this is what you get up to when I’m not home?” Her mother’s voice was shrill. Before Evie could even open her mouth, the woman snatched her arm, squeezing her wrist. “Answer me, girl!”

“I’m sorry, Mother, it’s not…”

Her mother slapped her across the face, then gripped her chin in her hand. “Don’t you dare tell me it’s not what I think, you stupid, stupid girl. It’s pretty hard to confuse my daughter, spread on the bed like a slut, with another girl’s hands up her shirt and her mouth on her neck. Look at you, you’re all marked up like a common whore!”

Evie could hear Mal’s slight growl from behind her, but luckily her mother was too angry. Unfortunately, Evie’s eyes did drift towards her girlfriend, which brought attention towards her.

“GET OUT!” Evil Queen screamed, turning to stare at Mal. “Get out, and if you even think of looking at my daughter again, I will kill you!”

Mal was glued to her spot, her gaze focused on the woman before her. Evie nearly gasped when she saw Mal’s eyes start to glow green.

“It’s okay, Mal.” Evie told her, cursing the way her voice shook.

Mal seemed conflicted, but she must have known there was nothing she could do. She sent Evie a glance that the other girl immediately knew meant to come see her later, and then she stormed out.

Now that they were alone, her mother yanked her up off the bed. “Take your clothes off.”

Evie shook her head. “Mother, I’m sorry, I…”

“I’ve heard rumors about you running around town with that little tramp. Do you think I’m going to let you embarrass me? I have raised you to find a PRINCE, Genevieve. I did not raise a dyke.”

“Mother…”

“If you’re not undressed in three seconds, I will do it for you.”

Evie rushed, knowing her mother wasn’t kidding. She pulled her shirt over her head, then slid down her leggings and skirt. She stood uncomfortably in just her bra and underwear.

“Everything.”

Evie reluctantly slid off her undergarments, letting them pile on the floor with her other clothes. Her mother suddenly let out a yell, then grabbed a fist full of her hair and yanked her into the hallway. Evie bit her lip, trying not to cry out because she knew it would only make it worse. Her mother pulled her until they reached the stairs leading to the attic.

“Walk, you slut!” her mother shoved her hard. Evie fell, banging her knee into the stairs. She got up quickly and moved until she was upstairs. Evil Queen followed until they reached the tiny room.

Evie started to panic. “Mother, I’ll be better. I promise I’ll…”

“Oh, it’s too late for that, Genevieve.” She opened the door. “You will stay in this room where no one can see you until you don’t look like a whore. You are a disappointment.” She grabbed Evie’s hair again and used it to yank her into the room, then shut the door behind her.

“Mother, please!” Evie shouted. There were no windows and she could already feel the all-consuming darkness around her. The room was barely bigger than a closet. “Mother!”

Evie lost track of time. She sat in the darkness, completely naked for what felt like forever. At first, she drifted in and out of sleep because she had nothing else to do. Then, she started to sleep to try and cover up the pains from having no food or water. She was asleep when the door flew open one day, sending her into a panic.

“Get up, girl.”

Evie rose slowly, feeling lightheaded. She squinted and tried to stand straight, but her body hurt from being cramped up for so long.

“Seven days seemed long enough to get rid of the marks.” Her mother stated. “Are you still thinking of your precious Mal?”

Mal was all Evie had been thinking about. She knew that no matter what her mom did, it couldn’t keep her away. They had known each other for most of their lives and they needed each other.

Unfortunately, her face must have given something away because her mother just stared at her. “You know, Genevieve, I think it’s time to start the next step in your training.”

She nodded. “I’m ready, Mother.”

“Good.” Her mother smiled. “It’s the perfect cure for your little issue you’ve been having. Do you know what it is?”

“No, Mother.”

“You’re going to fuck the gay away.”

Evie startled awake, her mouth open in a silent scream. She struggled to pull enough air into her lungs. She sat up, surprised when she came face to face with Mal. She realized she was still sitting on her lap, and judging by the amount of light coming in from the windows, she had been all night.

She just let out an exhausted sigh. She tried to stand up, but she saw that her and Mal were still sandwiched between Jay and Carlos. She carefully climbed over Jay’s legs and then stood up. Evie ran her hands through her hair and then stared up at the ceiling as she paced back and forth.

“Nightmare?” Carlos asked quietly, obviously trying not to startle her.

“Memory.” Evie kept moving, trying to remind herself to take deep, even breaths. She felt her breath catch and she almost let out a sob, but she pinched her arm to bring herself back to reality.

“Stop.” She felt a hand touch hers and she opened her eyes, seeing Mal.

“Please don’t touch me right now.” Evie practically whispered. She hated herself for it, but sometimes after one of her episodes, it hurt to be close to Mal more than it helped. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. You know I’ll do whatever you need.” Mal backed up, sitting at the end of the bed. “Do you wanna talk about it?”

Evie shrugged. “It’s not worth it.”

“It is if it’ll help you calm down.” Jay chimed in.

“You guys already know the story.”

“Then there’s no reason to keep anything from us.”

Evie stopped moving. She turned and stared at the three people who she trusted more than anyone else. She studied them before giving in. “My nightmare or whatever you want to call it was all about when my mom started making me ‘fuck the gay away’.”

They all visibly tensed up. Expressions of anger and hatred stared back at her and she knew they were upset. This is why she didn’t want to tell them; it wasn’t a part of her past that she was proud of (honestly, she didn’t know if there were any parts of her past that she was proud of).

“This is why I didn’t want to tell you.”

“Why?” Carlos questioned.

“Because you all get so mad.”

“Of course we’re mad!” Jay practically shouted. Evie felt her body tense up and she had to shut her eyes, reminding herself that she was safe. She could still feel how shaky she was and she knew it would take a little while to get rid of the feeling.

“Calm down.” Mal’s voice was icy as she spoke, but Jay listened. “E, come sit.”

Evie hesitated for a second, but slowly came over to the bed. She sat across from Mal, keeping her hands in her lap.

“You know we’re not mad at you, right?”

Evie nodded. She looked over and noticed Jay’s gaze was still on her, and she could tell just by his expression that whatever he was going to say next would set her off.

“I don’t get how you’re not more upset.” Jay huffed.

Evie couldn’t hold it in anymore. “You don’t think I’m upset? Every time I close my eyes, I see that dark closet. I can still feel her hands yanking my hair around, and don’t even get me started about what happened when she invited her friend over. What do you want from me, Jay? Do you want me to break down in tears and hide under the bed and cry? Oh wait, I already did that yesterday.” She stood up again. “The point is that it’s over. I can’t sit and think about it because if I do, I’m never going to be able to get out of bed again. Can we just move on?”

“Yep.” Mal answered instantly, not leaving any room for argument. She looked at Jay and Evie could feel the intenseness of her stare even though it wasn’t on her.

“I’m sorry, E. I’m an asshole.” He apologized as he ran a hand through his hair.

“Yeah.” She agreed. “I’m going to take a shower.” She went into the bathroom, leaving them all staring after her.

-----

Jay knew that he was a little hard on Evie. He hadn’t meant to be, and he didn’t want to make it seem like he blamed her for anything that happened. The days leading up to that event were so burned into his memory and they angered him quicker than anything else.

Jay and Carlos were alone in the clubhouse. They weren’t exactly surprised; it was common knowledge that Evie and Mal were incredibly close, and the two girls had a tendency to sneak off on their own. Jay wasn’t sure what they were doing, but he would bet anything that they weren’t stealing or terrorizing.

He heard a rock hit the sign and then loud steps on the stairs, signaling Mal’s entrance (you could always hear Evie’s heels clicking, and Carlos’s feet dragged when he walked, so it was pretty easy to distinguish).

As soon as he saw Mal’s face, he knew something happened. He had never seen her look so pissed off before.

“What’s up?” he questioned. “Did someone attack?”

“It’s Evie.” She explained, but didn’t offer any other details.

Jay raised an eyebrow. “Trouble in paradise?”

“Her mom caught us.”

Jay had known the Evil Queen since he was a child. Her expectations for Evie were pretty high, and he knew that the biggest one was that she needed to find a prince and marry him. This would not go over well.

“Maybe she didn’t notice what you were doing.”

“It’s pretty hard to confuse me on top of Evie with my hand up her shirt and my mouth on her neck.” Before anyone could respond, Mal punched a wall. “I’m so fucking stupid!”

“Relax, dude…”

“Don’t tell me to relax!” Mal whipped around to face him and Jay could see her eyes lighting up green. “You didn’t see the way that bitch looked at her. She hit her across the face and…”

“Your-your eyes.” Jay interrupted, not able to focus on her words.

“That’s what you’re worried about!?”

Carlos stepped in. “She hit Evie?”

“Yeah, and she had a lot of names to call her too. She’s going to hurt her, I know she is.”

Jay shook his head. “I doubt it. You know how big EQ is on good looks; she wouldn’t want to leave bruises.”

Mal finally sat down in defeat. “You didn’t see her face. I fucked up, Jay. I fucked up and now Evie is going to pay for it.”

-----

Seven days. For seven days, Jay, Mal, and Carlos rampaged by day and paced at night. They hadn’t caught a glimpse of their blue haired princess. Mal had even snuck into her bedroom window, but there was no sign of her. It was as if she suddenly disappeared.

“I bet the bitch has her locked up in that castle somewhere.” Mal spat on the 5th day as she stared out the window. “I’ll burn the whole fucking thing to the ground.”

On the seventh day, they were all sitting around in silence. It didn’t feel right to talk or laugh when a member was missing, and Evie was usually the one leading the conversation anyway. They heard a noise outside that sounded like a rock hitting the wall.

Jay tried not to get his hopes up, but he felt his heart in his stomach. Evie had terrible aim and she almost always missed the sign on the first try, but there were no heels clicking on the pavement.

The second rock hit its target and they heard the gate start to rise. Jay was the closest to the stairs and he looked over, seeing blue hair. He ran to greet her without a second thought.

As soon as he got within reach of her, Evie noticed him coming and was clearly startled. She slammed her body back until she was against the wall, her eyes wide as she stared at Jay. He felt sick to his stomach as he took in her appearance.

Her hair was unbrushed and sticking up in odd places, as if someone had been grabbing it. She had on makeup, but her lipstick was smudged and her mascara was running down her cheeks. The most unsettling part was her outfit. She was in a skin tight dress that dipped low to show off more skin. Because of how revealing it was, Jay could see bruises littering her throat and chest. He looked lower and noticed blood running down Evie’s legs. She was barefoot, which explained the lack of clicking noise from her typical heels.

“Eves?” he called out, trying not to scare her again. She had never flinched away from him before and he couldn’t live with himself if she was scared of him.

“Hey Princess.” Jay tried not to show his surprise. He had never heard Mal’s voice so soft before, but it was obvious that Evie had because she perked up immediately. “I’m going to come closer to you, okay?” she took tentative steps towards her girlfriend. Evie started to tense up a little more with each step, so it was pretty obvious when she had finally reached her limit on personal space. “You’re okay, E. It’s just me and Jay and Carlos. We’ve been so worried about you.”

Evie glanced up at her, but still didn’t speak. Her eyes started to tear up as she took a few seconds to stare at each of their faces.

“Baby, I need to know if you’re still bleeding.”

Evie’s eyes widened as she looked down. She saw the blood and let out a whimper before letting her back slide down the wall until she could sit. She brought her knees up to her chest, but let out a pained cry from the position.

“Do you want to go upstairs so you can be more comfortable?” Mal asked. Evie shook her head. “Okay, then we’ll sit here.” Mal sat down across from her. Jay took the spot next to her, and Carlos moved over so he could sit next to Evie but across from Jay. She seemed completely lost in her own little world as she stared at the wall. “Hey Carlos, can you go get some warm water started and some clean clothes?” Mal finally broke the silence after a few minutes.

“Yeah of course.” He went up the stairs without another word.

“Evie, baby, we’re going to go upstairs. Let’s get you into something more comfortable.” Mal was still using that soft tone and it just put Jay more on edge.

“Don’t leave me.” Evie finally spoke, her voice sounding raspy and completely raw. Jay felt like he had been punched when he realized it was probably from screaming.

“I won’t.” Mal swore.

The boy prepared to leave, but then Evie spoke again. “Jay, please.”

He nodded his head. “Of course, Princess. You’ve got me as long as you want me.”

“Can I help you up?” Mal wondered. Evie nodded, so she stepped forward. Jay could see the obvious pain on her face as Mal pulled her to her feet.

Evie stopped for a second and just studied the other girl. Then, she was leaning forward and burying her face into Mal’s neck. Jay had to look away when he saw Mal bring one hand up to stroke Evie’s hair and the other to wipe a tear off her own cheek.

They took the stairs slowly and when they got all the way up, Carlos was waiting. He had clean clothes- a sweatshirt of Mal’s, some of Jay’s sweatpants, and a pair of Carlos’s socks- and a bowl of water that he had heated up.

“I don’t know how to do this, E. I don’t know how to make this okay.” Mal whispered.

Evie was still leaning into her and she sighed. “Just please get me out of this dress.”

Mal went behind Evie to unzip her dress. Jay watched as she looked up and locked eyes with him. She kept his gaze as Mal unzipped her dress, then let it fall to the ground. Jay didn’t break eye contact until Evie finally turned back towards Mal.

He could see the bruises even clearer now. They were spread across her back, her neck, her chest, and her stomach. He felt a sinking feeling when he realized that once the blood was gone from her thighs, they would probably be bruised up too.

“Sit down.” Mal commanded gently as she brought Evie over to their old, beaten up couch. “I’m going to wipe you off, okay? Just keep your eyes on me.”

Evie nodded slowly. Mal dipped a cloth into the warm water and started on Evie’s face. She cleared away all of the makeup and Jay couldn’t help but stare; he always thought she was the most beautiful when her face was completely bare. His eyes lingered on her bruised up lips and he felt his anger flare up again.

Mal took the cloth to Evie’s neck and chest next, then ran it down her arms and stomach. Then, she skipped down to Evie’s feet. She went up her legs inch by inch, cleaning off the dirt and blood. The closer she got to her thighs, the more agitated Evie got.

“Do you want me to do it or do you want to?” Mal asked once she reached above Evie’s knees.

“I don’t want you guys to see.” Evie admitted. “I don’t want you to know how disgusting I am.”

“You’re not disgusting.” Carlos spoke before anyone else had the chance. “We love you, Eves. No matter what happened, we love you and we’re not going anywhere.”

That was the first time in all of his life that Jay heard someone use the word ‘love’, but as it was spoken, he knew it was true. He did love Evie and Mal and Carlos, and he would do anything to keep them safe.

“I love you, Evie.” He stated, giving her a smile that he hoped was reassuring.

He watched as Mal reached up and stroked a hand over Evie’s cheek. “I love you.”

“I love you guys too.” Evie whimpered. “I need help. M-Mal, can you clean me off? Just you.”

“Whatever you need, my princess.”

Jay took that as a hint. Him and Carlos went over to the window, scanning over their view of the Isle. He tried to block out the sounds of Evie’s whimpers and cries behind them.

“What the hell happened?” Carlos whispered to him.

“I don’t know, but I swear I will torture whoever did this to her. I will kill them with my bare hands.” Jay clenched his hands into fists.

“Calm down. I know you’re pissed, but the last thing she needs is someone being aggressive or angry around her. Take a breath.”

Jay followed his advice. They waited another couple minutes until Mal told them they could turn around. Evie was now dressed in clean clothes and her hair was brushed and pulled into a ponytail. Jay ran his eyes over her now exposed neck, seeing the bruises. Evie was cuddled into Mal, who wrapped their best blanket around her girlfriend and held her close.

“Who did this?” he asked as gently as he could before sinking down to kneel in front of her.

“Jay.” Mal scolded.

“No. She’s ours, and we’re going to retaliate. Whoever did this will never breathe again.”

Evie shook her head. “There’s nothing you can do.”

“Like hell there isn’t!”

Carlos put a hand on his shoulder, and Jay remembered his previous words. One look at Evie told him that his temper was scaring her, and he took a second to get himself back in check.

“What happened, E?” he asked instead.

Evie smiled. Not her usual happy, blinding smile. He had never seen the girl look more heartless. “You wanna know what happened? My mother happened. She said if I want to be a dyke and a slut, then she has the perfect cure. Do you know what it is?” Jay could see the weary looks on Mal and Carlos’s faces and he knew his expression was identical. “She said I’m going to fuck the gay away, and she sold me to some guy she knows for a bracelet with a broken clasp, a basket of half-rotted fruit, and a pair of new shoes. She said it’s a win-win; I won’t be whoring myself out for no reason anymore, and I can actually show her I’m worth something.” Evie laughed, but it was dry and angry and nothing like the Evie they knew. “Isn’t that perfect?”

Mal stroked her cheek gently. “Baby…”

“After she caught us, she made me strip and then locked me in a dark closet for a week. She said I would stay there until I didn’t look like a whore anymore because there was a hickey on my neck. You know, when she opened the door to the closet, I was actually happy to see her. I hadn’t had any food or water and I thought she was going to help me, that maybe she actually cared about me. Then she told me her plan and shoved me into my bedroom and he was already there. I cried and screamed and begged, but he didn’t care, he just kept touching.” She bit her bottom lip and stared at the ground. “When it was over, she came back in and told me I didn’t please him well enough and no one wants to listen to an ugly little girl screaming in their ear.” Evie’s hand drifted to her neck. “I guess she didn’t care about him marking me up. It’s more embarrassing for me to have proof of the guy I fucked on my body than it is disappointing for her.”

“You didn’t fuck anyone.” Jay interrupted. “Don’t say that. This is not your fault.”

“But it is. I’m fucked up.”

“You are not fucked up.” Mal said fiercely, obviously not caring about containing her temper anymore. “Your mother is fucked up. She’s delusional.”

Evie just sighed and burrowed further into Mal. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have told you.”

“I’m glad you did.” Mal kissed her forehead. “I don’t care what anyone says, you are absolutely perfect and you mean everything in this world to me. I will do everything I can to protect you.”

Jay knew Mal would try her best, but he could also tell by Evie’s face that she knew Mal wouldn’t always be able to keep her safe. He understood in a way; Evie would always go back home to her mom, just like he always went home to his dad, even if he knew he would get beaten. It was part of the horrible cycle of trying to be loved by their parents.

“Have you eaten?” Carlos asked.

“I don’t think I could keep anything down.” Evie admitted.

“You’re going to try.” Mal decided for her. Carlos went over to their stash to grab Evie some food and water. “Then, we’re going to sleep.”

“I don’t know if I can.”

“Carlos and I will take turns being on watch.” Jay told her. “You’re safe here, E.”

She just nodded, and it almost startled him to see the amount of trust in her eyes. Carlos returned with the food and they all watched as Evie ate it quickly. She must have really been starving because Jay had never seen her eat so fast before.

As soon as she finished, Evie turned her body towards Mal and laid down. Mal looked around the room, then at the girl. “What do you need?”

“I just need you to be close to me. Hold me and don’t ever let me go.” Evie whispered.

Mal placed a quick, gentle kiss on her lips and then laid down. Jay and Carlos took the other couch, ready to kill anyone who dared to come after their family. From now on, they couldn’t afford to be innocent kids anymore.

It was time to grow up.

That day for Jay would probably rank up there in the top 5 worst days on the Isle. He would never forget how broken Evie had looked, but that was also when he realized how strong she could be.

He was familiar with Evie having memories and flashbacks to horrible things that had happened. All of them were constantly fighting their demons, and they loved to come back during their sleep. He knew that it was hard to shake off the feelings that the memories brought back.

Evie had been distant. It didn’t help that it was only Thursday; on the Isle, he didn’t think any of them had ever completed a full week of school, but here they were on day 4. Jay was exhausted and he imagined that his friends felt the same.

The main issue with this particular memory was the distance it usually caused between Evie and Mal. The blue haired girl always pulled away from her, and Mal would let her because she blamed herself. Jay figured he would have to push them towards each other later tonight once they were all back in the dorm.

But for now, they just had to get the rest of this school day out of the way, and then he had to go to therapy. Jay had already been nervous, but after seeing what it brought up for Evie, he was even more worried.

“I know we told them to stop being touchy in public, but it’s weird seeing them like this.” Carlos whispered as they walked into Goodness class.

“I’m gonna do some damage control.” Jay whispered back. They took their usual seats and then he pulled out his phone.

To: Mal
How is she?

From: Mal
She won’t talk about it

To: Mal
Maybe you should just leave it alone

From: Mal
How am I supposed to just sit here and let her tear herself apart but not talk about it?

To: Mal
Honestly, what is there to say? We’ve relived this so many times and you know how she feels. Not everything needs to be a conversation

To: Mal
Like you said, therapy brought up some shit. Leave it at that and just help her deal

Jay was pretty proud of his advice. Carlos grabbed his phone from his hand and read through the messages, then gave him an approving nod. They both glanced over at the girls.

Mal’s hand was on Evie’s back and she was scratching in small circles. The blue haired girl looked tense for a few seconds, but then she let out a sigh and leaned over, letting her head rest on Mal’s shoulder. Jay smiled; they would be okay.

The door opened and Fairy Godmother entered, causing them all to snap back to their previous positions. They all put on their best bored and uninterested faces as the woman studied them.

At this rate, Jay wasn’t confident that they were going to keep being able to hide secrets. At the same time, he knew he would go down trying his best to keep his family safe, and that meant protecting those secrets.

He glanced over at Mal, who gave him a half smirk in thanks. He just nodded his head, then caught Evie’s eye and gave her a full smile. She returned a small one right as he felt Carlos squeeze his arm.

Yeah, he would do anything for them.

Chapter Text

Evie was grateful that in Auradon, they didn’t have school on the weekends. It was now Friday, so after today, they could just rest. It was an added bonus that no one had a therapy appointment today. She couldn’t wait to just get back to the dorm and sleep.

Her body felt more and more sluggish as the day went on. Luckily, Mal and the boys backed off about her memory yesterday. She was surprised; normally, Mal would force her into talking about it. At this point, they had discussed it so many times that there wasn’t ever really anything to add. She was sick of talking in circles, so when Mal just pulled her closer instead of talking, she let her.

First period was easy enough. Evie sat in the back of the classroom between Mal and Carlos. She noticed that her girlfriend seemed distracted. She kept her gaze on Mal until she looked back, then furrowed her eyebrows. Mal gave her a small smile and turned the sketchbook she was hiding under the desk so that Evie could see it. She had drawn a portrait of Evie, and the blue haired girl couldn’t help but blush. Seeing Mal’s drawings of her always took her breath away- Mal’s view of her was so beautiful and she wished she could live up to it.

When the bell rang, Evie felt her heart drop into her stomach. She didn’t want to be away from Mal. She hadn’t particularly loved being in class without the others the other days this week, but today, the feeling was even more intense. As they stood, she bit her lip anxiously and shoved her notebook into her bag.

“What’s wrong?” Mal asked quietly, trying not to draw attention. Jay and Carlos were both always so in tune with their girls that they heard her immediately, and suddenly Evie had three pairs of eyes on her.

“Nothing.” She tried to answer as she slung her bag over her shoulder and walked towards the door. She could hear their footsteps behind her- Mal’s intentional stomps to assert power, Carlos’s unintentional dragging of his feet, and Jay’s smooth and calculated steps. As soon as they got into the hallway, Mal’s hand went to the small of her back.

“What’s wrong?” she repeated, staring into Evie’s eyes.

That’s when the bubbling in her stomach started. Evie bit her lip harder, trying to wish away the feeling.

Mal ran her finger along Evie’s lip, pulling it out from beneath her teeth. “You’re going to make yourself bleed. I can see how tense you are, E. Something’s up.”

Evie’s eyes darted around the hallways. She saw the students walking towards their classes, dodging the group of VKs as they went into the door they had just come out of. Carlos’s eyes were big and concerned, Jay was frowning and had his arms out to his sides protectively, and Mal was just staring at her as if she could read her mind.

She couldn’t stop the whimper that escaped her even if she tried. That set the other three off and they immediately went on the defensive, ready to attack anyone that dared to make her upset.

How could Evie explain to them that even she didn’t know why she was upset?

She focused her attention on Mal. If she told her what she was thinking, she would stop at nothing to make her happy. While that was nice, Evie also understood it was a problem. Mal couldn’t skip class without drawing attention to herself, and she didn’t want Mal to get in trouble.

“I’ll be okay.” She tried to say.

“Not good enough. What’s going on in your head?”

Evie’s body betrayed her again when she felt her hands start to tremble. She cursed herself for immediately looking down at them, because then Mal was looking too, and then she was reaching out to hold her hands.

“We’re not supposed to touch. Boys’ rules.” Evie reminded her.

“I don’t give a fuck.” Mal said harshly. “I’m not leaving until I know what’s wrong.” Her thumb traced over Evie’s hand until she found her wrist. She pressed down gently against the underside of it and Evie melted; Mal knew all the things she did to try and calm herself down and she was never scared to try them, even when Evie wouldn’t admit she needed it.

She could tell it was getting closer to when the bell would ring because there were less people in the hallway. The thought of being late and drawing attention to herself when she walked in the classroom made her stomach bubble even more. But when she looked into the green eyes she loved so much, she knew that she was going to tell her whether she wanted to or not.

“I don’t wanna leave you.” Evie admitted as she stared at the ground.

Mal softened instantly. “It’s going to be okay. You have this class, then one with Carlos, and then we’ll all be together.”

Evie was usually pretty good about resisting her urges to touch Mal in public, but she couldn’t help it. She stepped forward and buried her face in Mal’s neck.

“You’re okay.” Mal rubbed her back.

“We have two minutes until class starts.” Carlos stated.

“Do you want to skip and go back to the dorm?” Mal whispered.

There was nothing Evie wanted more, but they needed to do this. She reminded herself that she only had to get through today and then they would be alone for two days.

“We can’t.” Evie sighed.

“C’mon, I’ll walk you to class.”

“Your class is on the other side of the building. You’ll be late.”

“Once again, I don’t give a fuck.” Mal squeezed her in a quick hug and then Evie reluctantly lifted her head up. “Let’s go.” She said a little louder to let the boys know that they were also supposed to be listening.

“Everything good?” Jay questioned, his eyes landing on Evie.

She just nodded her head. Carlos had to go a different way to his class, so he left first. Evie had Mal and Jay on either side of her, and while she usually felt suffocated by their overprotectiveness, right now she was fine with it.

When they got to Jay’s class, he looked at her. “If anything happens, I’m a few doors away. Text me and I’ll be there.”

Evie just nodded to show her understanding. With every footstep she took, she felt her heart beat a little faster. She gripped Mal’s hand tightly.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” She said. “How do I make it stop?”

Mal frowned. “Make what stop?”

Evie grabbed her hand and pressed it against her chest. She could tell by Mal’s expression that she felt her racing heart.

“Just breathe for me, Princess. You’re okay.” Mal kept one hand over her heart and lifted the other to stroke her cheek. Evie shut her eyes and took some deep breaths.

Right as she calmed down, the bell rang. She let out a tiny squeak as the sound startled her. “Now I’m late. I don’t want them to look at me.”

Before she could stop her, Mal busted into the classroom, effectively drawing everyone’s attention to her.

The teacher looked at her in confusion. “Mal, what are you doing here? You don’t have history until 5th period.”

“Oh, must have mixed up my schedule.”

Evie used the distraction to slide past her girlfriend and into the room. She saw that the only open seat was next to Chad and held in her groan. She sat down and then looked up, seeing Mal looking at her. The purple haired girl raised an eyebrow, and Evie gave her one nod in response. Mal left the room.

Not even a minute later, Evie’s phone vibrated. She slid it into her lap so she could read the message.

From: Mal
Only a few more classes and then we won’t have to deal with this for two days

From: Mal
You are so strong, my Princess. You have my entire heart

To: Mal
And you have mine. Thank you for taking care of it the way you do

Evie sighed and stared at the clock. Only a little longer until she would be with Carlos, and then Mal and Jay.

“Hey gorgeous, can I borrow a pencil?”

She reached into her bag and handed him one without a word, hoping that would encourage him not to respond. Of course, that didn’t work.

“Thank you, my Queen.”

When Evie heard Chad’s voice, she felt a chill go down her spine. “Don’t call me that.” She snapped.

He grinned. “You like my other nicknames better? Alright, I’ll just call you sexy from now on.”

Evie couldn’t resist rolling her eyes that time. Chad just laughed and turned back to his book.

When the bell rang, Evie shoved her books into her bag as quickly as she could. She hoped that she could get out of the room before Chad had the chance to follow her.

“Hey, wait up!” he called after her. Evie groaned, realizing luck was not going to be on her side today. “You know, there’s no school tomorrow and that would be the perfect chance for me to take you out. I know you don’t have a lot of friends here, so I want to be your first.”

“I don’t know, Chad, I…” before she could come up with a lie, she spotted Carlos coming towards her. The other days this week, he had waited for her outside of their math classroom. Today, he must have been walking towards her because he met her halfway. She would never say it out loud, but she appreciated Carlos’s quiet concern. “Oh, there’s Carlos, gotta go!” she speeded up her pace so she could join the boy.

“You good?” he asked, scanning over her face quickly.

“Mmhmm, let’s go.” She hooked her arm through his and they walked together to math. Evie was never excited to see Mr. Reynolds, but right now, his face was more welcomed than Chad’s. They sat in their seats quickly and got ready to stay silent for the rest of the period; they had learned that if they didn’t speak or draw attention to themselves, Mr. Reynolds was a little easier on them.

Finally, something good happened and they ended up having to do a review packet. They were allowed to work with partners, so Evie and Carlos worked together to get their stuff done. She was so focused that she didn’t even realize class was over when the bell rang.

“Come on, E.” Carlos nudged her.

Evie couldn’t help but smile. It was time to see Mal, and she couldn’t wait. She put all of her stuff back into her pink backpack and then stood, hoping that the rest of the day would pass as quickly as math class.

-----

When it was time for 3rd period, Mal moved quickly through the halls. Typically, she was the first one outside of Goodness class each day, and today was the same. Jay joined her a few seconds later and they both stared in the direction they knew Evie and Carlos would be coming from.

“What’s up with E?” Jay wondered.

“No clue. She seemed okay this morning, but she got so upset out of nowhere. It’s so hard to get into her head lately.” Mal’s eyes landed on blue and then her focus was glued onto her beautiful girlfriend. Evie looked up at her and a small smile was on her face. Mal smiled back without hesitation.

As soon as Evie was close enough, Mal gave her a hug. She could feel the boys brushing against her arm and she knew they were standing in front of them so that less people would see. She was torn between appreciating the privacy and being annoyed.

“Gorgeous.” Mal whispered into her ear.

“Why does it sound so much better when you say it?”

Mal pulled back slightly so she could study Evie’s face. She immediately looked at her eyes, knowing they could tell her the information she wanted to know. She looked calm, maybe a little irritated, but obviously much better than earlier.

“Is Chad still bothering you?”

Evie rolled her eyes. “Of course.”

“You want me to talk to him?”

“No, M. I can handle it.”

“Let me know when that changes.” Mal clenched her jaw. “Actually, maybe I’ll decide that for myself…”

“Come on.” Evie squeezed her hand, then led the way into Goodness class. The four of the took their seats, watching as Fairy Godmother wrote on the chalkboard.

Mal tuned out as FG went on and on about manners. She looked over at Evie, seeing that she was sitting perfectly straight with her eyes focused on the board. She decided it was time for a little distraction.

Mal grabbed Evie’s hand, pulling it over into her lap. The other girl raised an eyebrow at her in question, but didn’t move. Mal turned her hand so her palm was facing up and started to trace letters onto her skin.

After she was finished, Evie gasped. “I know exactly what you wrote!” she whisper-yelled.

Mal smirked. “So what do you think?”

“I would never, ever let you do that.”

Mal laughed, then realized her mistake. When she looked up, Fairy Godmother and the boys were all staring at her.

“Is there something funny about proper table etiquette?” Fairy Godmother demanded.

“Nope, continue.”

Now it was Evie who was struggling to hold in her laugh. Mal just rolled her eyes and tried to pay attention.

This was their 5th day going to school in Auradon, so by now Mal was used to Evie’s halfway-through-the-day-mood-shift. She had figured out that it was triggered by lunch time and it always became noticeable towards the end of 4th period. They had known each other for so long that Mal could see her girl’s tells from a mile away- bouncing legs, biting her lip, squeezing her wrist, pinching her arm or thigh, staring at the clock…

It was time for some damage control.

“I can’t wait until class is over.” Mal whispered to Evie, who looked over at her. “I just want to sit and talk with you.”

Evie gave her a small smile. “Me too.”

“Maybe we should kick the boys out tonight. It’s been so long since we were alone, and I want to do whatever I want to you without Jay’s comments.”

Evie’s cheeks flushed and Mal smirked, counting it as a win. It could be hard to fluster her smooth talking girlfriend, but sometimes she managed it.

The bell rang and they all started to pack up. After Evie finished putting her books in her bags, Mal reached out for it.

“It’s okay, M. It’s not very heavy.”

“You sure?”

“She’s sure.” Jay interrupted. “Go.”

They walked out of the classroom and towards the cafeteria. Any trace of a smile was gone from Evie’s face and her pace slowed.

“Just one thing.” Mal told her. “You don’t have to do anything else. Just eat one thing.”

They went to the line together. Mal looked around, but wasn’t sure what to choose. She ended up grabbing a few things. When she looked at Evie’s tray, she saw that it was still empty.

“You want me to choose for you?” Mal wondered. She had a theory that half of Evie’s problem was choosing what to eat. Sometimes if she had someone else grab her food for her, she actually sat and ate it instead of overthinking. Evie nodded, so Mal ended up grabbing her grilled chicken and some fresh broccoli. “I know I said one thing, but you don’t have to eat it all.”

Mal and Evie went over to a table to sit down. Mal realized they forgot silverware, so she put her tray down. “I’ll be right back.”

She had to maneuver around a couple groups of kids, so it took her a second. When she turned around, she was surprised to see that there were more people at their table. She frowned when she saw that Chad was sitting next to Evie.

Mal stormed over to the table, hoping that would be enough to scare him away. Right before she could get there, Ben walked over and took the seat on Evie’s other side.

“You’re in my seat.” She stated as she stood next to Chad. She looked at Evie, who looked even more uncomfortable than she did before.

“Yeah, we don’t actually have assigned seats in Auradon.”

“Did you not see my tray?” this was one thing she wouldn’t back down on. Evie already struggled enough to eat and she wouldn’t make her sit and eat next to someone who had been harassing her all week.

“Why don’t you sit across from us, Mal? They’re all empty.” Ben asked, trying to smooth things over.

Carlos came over a second later and he automatically froze. Mal knew he had probably noticed her tension and she wondered how he would respond.

“What’s up?” Jay questioned as he joined them.

“Chad took my seat.” Mal informed the boys. “I was sitting next to Evie.”

“Here, take my seat instead.” Ben hopped up, moving around the table before she could refuse. Mal wasn’t happy about it, and she let Chad know by bumping into him as she walked past. She sat on Evie’s other side with Ben across from her, Jay across from Evie, and Carlos across from Chad.

The next one to join them was Lonnie, who sat next to Carlos. Audrey came over with her tray and eyed them all with disgust.

“You’re sitting here?” she spat, her focus on Ben.

Mal studied the two of them. Their relationship confused her- Ben didn’t seem like he was particularly interested in the girl, and Audrey was just a little too jealous and overbearing.

“Yes. Want to join us?” he asked, giving her a smile.

Audrey sighed, but sat next to Chad. Now that everyone was settling down and starting to eat, Mal figured it was time for her to step in. She looked up, staring at Jay until he finally seemed to notice. He lifted his head and made eye contact with her, then cocked his head to the side to silently ask what she wanted. She tilted her head towards Evie and he seemed to get the hint.

“So, Ben’s been talking to me about Tourney. Do a lot of people play here, or do they just watch?”

“Do they play!?” Chad practically shouted, causing Evie to flinch. “Tourney is the biggest sport at the school. Alright, let me explain it to you…”

As Chad launched off into a tangent, effectively grabbing everyone at the table’s attention, Mal reached a hand out to Evie. She set it on her knee and squeezed gently.

“You gonna take a bite?” she prodded.

Evie’s sigh sounded absolutely exhausted. She took her knife and fork out of the package and started to cut her chicken into tiny pieces. Mal got started on her own food so Evie didn’t feel like she was being watched. When the entire piece of grilled chicken was cut, Evie stabbed a piece with her fork and reluctantly brought it to her lips.

Mal watched as she chewed and chewed and chewed. She wasn’t sure why Evie did it, but lately she had been noticing that Evie always cut her food up and she always ate each piece so slowly. Maybe she thought that it would take her so long that lunch would end and she wouldn’t have to eat as much?

Evie got a piece of broccoli on her fork next. She took a bite and as soon as she did it, Mal could tell that something was wrong. Evie’s face scrunched up for a second, and then her eyes darted around the room, as if she was checking to see if anyone had noticed. She chewed excruciatingly slow, then swallowed. She looked around at the table and Mal wondered what she was searching for.

Without even taking his eyes off of Chad, Jay nudged his drink over to her. That’s when it hit Mal- Evie didn’t like the broccoli, and she wanted a drink to get rid of the taste. She gratefully grabbed his cup of juice and took a small sip.

“No broccoli.” Mal whispered after she was finished. “Got it.”

Evie cracked a small smile, but it was gone as quickly as it came. She ate another piece of chicken, then used her fork to push around the rest of the pieces, swirling them into different formations on her plate.

Mal glanced at the others. Lonnie and Audrey had joined in on Chad’s story, offering their own opinions every so often. Carlos and Jay watched them with what looked like undivided attention, but she could see the way Jay’s fingers tapped on the table and how Carlos’s eyes darted too quickly between the three Auradon teenagers. When Mal looked at Ben, she was surprised to see him looking at Evie.

Mal frowned. Why was the king so interested? Did he notice Evie struggling? Did he see her weakness? She couldn’t let that happen. She waved her hand under the table and seconds later, a commotion started on the other side of the cafeteria.

“What’s going on?” Ben asked, interrupting the rest of the table’s conversation. They all craned their necks to get a better look.

“It looks like some cups fell and broke.” Audrey stated, then shook her head. “Clumsy cafeteria workers.”

Mal looked to Evie, then nodded at her food. The blue haired girl understood the signal and ate two pieces of chicken this time. She glanced at the boys and saw they were looking at her, seemingly realizing that she had been responsible for breaking the cups.

“So you never answered me before. When are you gonna let me take you out, sexy?”

Mal’s head snapped to the side, her entire body filled with rage at the sound of Chad’s voice. Not only was he talking to her girl, but he was being disrespectful to her.

Before Mal could respond, Audrey beat her to the punch. “Seriously, Chad? Out of all the girls you have falling at your feet, you choose a princess wannabe?”

“What’s wrong, Audrey? You jealous?” Mal asked in a fake sweet voice, hoping it covered the rage lying underneath.

Chad rolled his eyes. “Ignore them. What do you say, Evie? Want to grab something to eat tomorrow?”

“Sorry Chad, I have plans.” Evie answered, her voice strong and leaving no room for argument. Mal didn’t love that she apologized, but she was happy that she shut him down.

You have plans?” Audrey scoffed. “You know three people here, what could you possibly be doing? You should feel honored that a prince wants to take you out.”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but Evie has plans with me.” Lonnie interrupted.

Audrey turned to the other girl in shock, her mouth falling open. “You are hanging out with them?”

“Yep.” Lonnie answered simply. “They’re cool.”

“WE are cool!” Audrey shouted, stomping her foot under the table.

“Alright, it’s almost time for class.” Ben interrupted as he jumped up and came over to his girlfriend.

Mal felt Evie tense up and she turned her head, seeing that Chad had put his hand on hers. “You’re really going to keep playing hard to get?”

Evie yanked her hand away. “I told you I’m busy.”

“You’ll give in one day.”

“She won’t.” Mal, Jay, and Carlos answered in unison. One look towards the boys told Mal that they were fuming as much as she was.

“Come on, E.” Mal practically ordered. She stood first, moving her body so that Evie could get out of her chair on her side instead of next to Chad. She blocked Evie from him, then leaned down to grab her backpack so she wouldn’t have to get close. Jay and Carlos followed her lead and they left the cafeteria.

Mal realized Evie hadn’t eaten much, but she couldn’t leave her sitting there next to that asshole. Once the four of them found a place where no one else was standing, she spoke.

“Say the word and I’ll break his hand for touching you.” She said through gritted teeth.

Evie sighed. “Mal, calm down.”

“Is that how he always acts with you?”

“Usually he just calls me a bunch of nicknames. That was the first time he’s touched me.” She explained.

Mal began to pace. “I’ll rip his throat out, and then I’m going after Audrey next. I don’t know who that bitch thinks she is, but…”

“Babe, I’m fine.” Evie interrupted. “I couldn’t care less about what she said.”

“Lonnie stuck up for you.” Jay pointed out. “What’s that about?”

“I don’t know. We haven’t talked since I did her measurements. I think she’s just a nice person.” Evie reached her hand out towards Mal, but the purple haired girl didn’t know what she wanted. “Can I have my backpack?”

“Oh, yeah.” She passed it to her.

Evie shut her eyes for a second and took a deep breath. The bell rang, signaling that lunch was over and they needed to get to 5th period. Evie would be on her own for the rest of the day, and Mal wasn’t thrilled about that based on how things had been going so far today.

“I’m fine.” Evie repeated, giving Mal a reassuring smile. “Only three more classes.”

“Text me.”

“I will. Bye boys.” She turned and walked away.

Mal’s head hurt from thinking about this day. She couldn’t wait for it to be over so they could just relax.

She led the way to history, which she shared with Carlos and Jay. She took a desk in the back row, Carlos sat next to her, and Jay sat next to him.

“What’s up with Evie today?” Carlos asked. “It’s like she’s bouncing back and forth.”

“I think she’s just tired from this week.” Mal truly hoped that that was it. She knew Evie was struggling, but she was praying that would lessen as they settled in in Auradon.

History passed quickly, and then she went to Magical Control. When she saw the name on her schedule on the first day, it sounded cool, but she quickly realized it was the opposite. It was just her and Fairy Godmother one-on-one where the older woman tried to teach her how to contain her magical urges.

“You’ve almost finished a whole week of school in Auradon, dear. How are you feeling?” Fairy Godmother asked once they had sat down.

“Never better.” Mal deadpanned. It seemed pretty obvious to her that Fairy Godmother didn’t like them, so she wasn’t going to sugarcoat things.

“Classes are going well?”

“Yep.”

“Is anyone bothering you?”

Mal studied her. “What would you do if they were?”

“That sort of behavior is unacceptable. I would handle it at once.”

“But how? Would you give them a detention?”

Fairy Godmother looked at her for a few seconds. As the time passed, Mal got more and more uncomfortable. She hated being scrutinized.

“What?” she demanded.

“How did they punish students who misbehaved at your old school?”

Mal actually laughed. “They didn’t. Misbehavior was encouraged.”

“It seems like it would be tough for you all to learn anything.”

“Education wasn’t really the priority.”

“But you and your friends are very intelligent.”

Mal rolled her eyes. “What are you trying to get from your flattery?”

“I’m telling you the truth, Mal. The four of you are very smart, in many different ways.”

“Evie and Carlos are smart.” Mal stated.

“But so are you and Jay. I see the way you respond to each other, how you observe everyone around you. Intelligence isn’t just what you gain from a book, Mal. It can be how you react to the environment around you, how you socialize with people, how you handle things that happen to you.”

Mal felt the warning bells start to go off. Fairy Godmother was digging; for what, she didn’t know, but she wasn’t going to let it go any further. “Don’t you tell us all the time in Goodness class that school is not social hour?”

Fairy Godmother cocked her head slightly to the side, as if she caught on to the fact that Mal knew she was analyzing her, and then smiled. “So you do listen to my lessons.”

“Sometimes.”

“See, I told you. You’re intelligent.” Fairy Godmother just smiled again. “Since you wanted to learn so badly, let’s get to work.”

Mal’s last class of the day was math with Jay. It was actually her favorite class because Mr. Reynolds was so easy to rile up. It only took one comment to send him over the edge, and it was even worse that she and Jay played so well off of one another because it really pissed him off.

As soon as she sat down, she felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. She saw her girlfriend’s name and opened it quickly.

From: Evie
I miss you

To: Evie
Only one more class, Princess

From: Evie
Don’t get detention

To: Evie
I won’t, I’ve got plans after school

From: Evie
Oh really?

To: Evie
Yeah, there’s this really hot girl from my English class that I’m meeting up with

From: Evie
What are you going to do with this hot girl?

To: Evie
Mmmm, I don’t know. Cuddle, make out for a little bit, the usual

From: Evie
Mal Bertha, you’re a busy girl!

From: Evie
I’m gonna leave you alone, I don’t want you to get in trouble. See you soon, my love

To: Evie
Can’t wait, baby

Jay shoved her arm. “Quit smiling at your phone. You look like an idiot.”

“Wow, I was just thinking the same thing about you.”

“That was weak.”

“So are you. Look at your arms, you’re losing muscle.” Mal teased. “Now stop talking to me, I don’t want detention today.”

Mal nearly groaned when Mr. Reynolds told them they would be doing a review packet with partners. She and Jay worked together, but they were both struggling. Jay was okay at math, but Mal sucked, so it was taking them a while to work through the problems.

Finally, the bell rang and it was time for the weekend. Mal jumped up and shoved the packet into her backpack, figuring that they could just ask Evie or Carlos for help later if they really needed to.

Every day after school, they met at the front of the school (depending on who had therapy). Mal and Jay got there first, then Carlos. As soon as Evie turned around the corner, Mal could tell she was upset. She abandoned the boys and stormed over to her, ready to murder whoever hurt her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, putting her hands on Evie’s shoulders and scanning her for injuries.

“Lonnie got the materials from her mom and now she wants to meet me at her dorm.” Evie explained miserably, her arms crossing over her chest. “I just want to go to our dorm.”

“Tell her no.” Mal said simply.

“I can’t, she’s giving me money to have this stuff done.” Evie bit her lip. “I’m so tired.”

“Ask her if she can meet tomorrow instead.” She compromised.

“Hey guys!” Mal looked over, seeing Lonnie approaching. She turned back to Evie, seeing her girlfriend slip back into her careful mask, hiding her true feelings. “You ready, Evie?”

“Yes, let’s go.” She gave Mal a sad smile and then walked away with the other girl.

“Fuck.” Mal whispered before going back over to the boys. They must have been watching because they both stared at her when she returned. The three of them started walking towards the dorms.

“Where is she going?” Carlos wondered.

“To get the materials for Lonnie’s clothes from her dorm.”

“Shouldn’t one of us go with her?” Jay asked as he held open the door to their dorm building.

Mal sighed. “She’ll be okay.” She led the way into the staircase to go up to the dorm room.

“Why do you look so upset?”

“Because she didn’t want to go.”

Jay frowned. “Uh, explain to me again why we’re not following her?”

“Because I don’t know what the fuck to do, Jay!” Mal finally shouted. “Her moods have been bouncing back and forth so quickly that I don’t know what she needs. One minute she’s our Evie, and the next she’s upset. She still jumps every time the bell rings, she’s constantly tired, she’s moody, she’s emotional, and I don’t know if you noticed, but she only ate four tiny bites of chicken today at lunch.”

“I noticed.” Jay said, his voice echoing slightly in the empty stairwell. “Why are you losing it right now?”

“What if leaving the Isle was the wrong choice?” Mal’s voice was quiet and as soon as the words left her lips, she was met with silence.

“Huh?” Jay was the one to finally speak.

“Evie is a mess. If we hadn’t of left the Isle…”

“What, Mal?” Carlos demanded. “If we hadn’t left the Isle, Evie would still be miserable. We would all be miserable. Before we came here, Evie had to starve herself because there wasn’t enough food to go around, and because her mother would have done way worse if she didn’t. It’s shitty, but it’s reality. Not eating is nothing new for her, and I know it’s hard to watch her only eat a few bites, but at least she’s eating anything. Do you not remember when she would go days without even taking a bite because her mother told her she had to lose weight? I’ll take Evie eating four bites of chicken over that any day.”

Mal sighed as the three of them walked into the dorm room. She knew realistically that he was right, but the situation still made her feel helpless. “What am I supposed to do?”

“You back off and let her handle things the way she needs to. You know that Evie has always been a highly emotional person, and she’s going through a lot right now. Out of the four of us, she has the most to lose if our plan doesn’t work. I’m sure that’s not helping how stressed she is, and you know as well as I do that when Evie is stressed, she can’t function.”

Mal nodded. “You’re right.”

“Bottom line is that on the Isle, we didn’t have anything to help us with our issues. Now, we have the supplies we need to get better. Evie has food and she’s safe, and even if it doesn’t seem like it now because she’s a mess, things will be better in the long run.”

“Thanks, C.” Mal didn’t hug often (Evie being the only exception, of course), but she stepped forward and gave the boy a quick hug.

As soon as they pulled apart, the door opened. Evie walked in and her entire stance screamed how tense she was. She was holding bundles of fabric, which she dropped onto her desk and then went over to sit at the end of her bed. Mal took one look at her and could tell how off she was.

She thought back to Carlos’s words. Evie did struggle with being stressed, and this week had been one of the most stressful of their lives. Maybe if she helped her deal with that, the rest of the issues would sort themselves out eventually.

“Hey baby?” she called.

Evie looked up at her and Mal could see the exhaustion in her beautiful features. “What?”

“It’s been a really hard week, huh?”

Evie sighed. “Yeah M, it has.”

Mal went over and kneeled down in front of her. She grabbed both of her hands, pressing a kiss to the top of one. “The only thing I want to do is take a bath with you, cuddle, and go to bed early. How does that sound?”

Evie’s eyes drifted shut. “Amazing.”

Mal stood, then pulled Evie to her feet. She led her to the bathroom and shut and locked the door behind them. They had yet to take a bath in Auradon (it was just such a waste of water), but Mal couldn’t bring herself to care. She turned on the faucet and shoved a stopper into the drain.

“Arms up, baby girl.” She whispered, not needing to speak louder because of their close proximity. Evie lifted her arms and Mal pulled her sweater over her head, then her undershirt. Her fingers went to Evie’s pants next and she unbuttoned them, letting them fall to the ground.

Evie kicked them to the side, then unbuttoned Mal’s pants. She pulled her shirt off too so now they were both staring at each other in only their bras and underwear.

Mal leaned in and gave her a kiss, trying to communicate how much she loved her without using words. When she pulled back, she rubbed her nose against Evie’s.

Evie just leaned forward and let her head rest on Mal’s shoulder. Mal took the opportunity to unhook the taller girl’s bra, and then she helped her out of her underwear. Mal took off the rest of her own clothes too.

“Hair up or down?”

“I don’t care.” Evie whispered.

“Come here.” Mal led her over to the tub. She stepped into the water, letting out a hum as the heat soothed her muscles. She sat down slowly and settled into the water.

The tub was large and could easily fit multiple people, so she knew it wouldn’t be an issue. Mal held her arms up towards her girlfriend. Evie got into the water, then turned around and sat down. Mal spread her legs so Evie could fit between them. She wrapped her arms around her and pulled her close until Evie’s back was against her chest.

“There you go, Pretty Girl.” She pressed a quick kiss to her neck. “It’s time to calm down now. I’ve got you.”

All at once, it was like the tension left Evie’s body. She let out a big sigh and then rested all of her weight against Mal. True to her word, she kept her arms around her waist and supported her. Evie’s head lolled back against her shoulder and her eyes shut.

Mal wasn’t sure how long they had been sitting there. All she could hear was the gentle inhale and exhale of Evie’s breathing, and it soothed her more than anything else. She peppered light kisses against her face, neck, and shoulder every few moments, feeling her heart swell every time Evie’s let out a content little sigh.

She could tell already that Evie was so much calmer, and she was finally starting to unwind. Mal made a promise to herself right then that she would do little things like this to get Evie to calm down more often so she didn’t reach the point where she was about to have a meltdown.

“M?” Evie called out quietly.

“Hmmm?”

“I’m sorry for being so weird lately.”

“E, you’re stressed and you’re adjusting. It’s okay for you to be a little upset while you’re trying to get used to Auradon.”

“I know, but I hate it. I hate feeling like this.” She turned her head slightly, nuzzling into Mal’s neck.

“I’m sorry, baby.” Mal kissed her forehead. “I know things have been hard.”

“You know, you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Mal raised an eyebrow. “You sure about that?”

Evie nodded. “One hundred percent. Without you, I don’t even think I would be alive. You listen to me and keep me sane and you love me; I definitely never knew what that felt like before you.”

Mal tightened her arms around her. “Same for you. You are the one who taught me what love is. I know I don’t say it enough, but I love you, Evie. I love you with my entire heart and soul, and I will do anything for you. What do you need to feel better? Just say the word and it’s done.”

Evie whimpered. “I don’t know, and that’s the scary part. On the Isle, things were so much easier. I feel like I don’t even know myself anymore.”

“You’re Evie.” Mal whispered. “You love fashion, and you’re the best designer to ever walk this planet. You are the best at stitching in our crew, and even people from the outside come to you to have you patch them up. You are the smartest fucking person I’ve ever met, and your brain works in ways that mine could never compete with. You know how to calculate risks, and you organize a plan almost better than me.” She teased, making her girlfriend smile. “You love laughing and leather and children and the color blue and pineapples. Your smile can light up an entire room, and you know how to read people so easily. You were born to a woman who wasn’t worthy of breathing the same air as you, and so many things have happened to you that you didn’t deserve. But Evie, you are strong. You know how to take the negative and spin it into a positive thing. I know you’re going through a lot here and your head is all over the place, but I also know that you’re going to get through this. You know how I know?”

Evie’s voice was tiny when she responded. “How?”

“Because when you’re too tired to fight, I’ll be right there behind you to take on your battles for you.”

Evie sat up, shifting her body so she could face Mal. She leaned forward and smashed their lips together. Mal kissed back immediately, fighting her for control before eventually winning. She scooted up and pulled Evie onto her lap. She would have kept kissing her for forever, but her lungs were begging for air, so she separated and rested their foreheads together.

“I love you.” Evie whispered, not needing to talk any louder because of how close they were.

“I love you.” Mal repeated. “You are my entire world, Evie. You are everything.”

Evie let out a quiet whimper as tears started to slip down her cheeks. Mal just held her closer and let her get her feelings out. She rubbed her back and kept her close so she knew she was still there.

After a little while, Evie was calmer and the water had gotten cold. Mal pressed another kiss to Evie’s lips and then helped her stand. She pulled the plug on the drain and then turned on the shower.

They both squealed when the water came out cold at first, then burst out laughing. As the water warmed up, they scooted under the spray and got their hair wet.

“Let me.” Mal offered, grabbing the shampoo and squirting a generous amount into her hand. She rubbed it into Evie’s hair, starting at her scalp and moving down to the ends. One of Mal’s favorite things about Evie was her hair, and she always made sure to be careful with it. “Lean back and rinse.”

After Evie finished rinsing out the shampoo, Mal put some conditioner into her hand and ran it through the ends of Evie’s hair. She let her rinse that out while she lathered up some soap on a cloth. Then, she washed Evie’s body for her.

“My turn.” Evie repeated the same process on Mal, and she just closed her eyes and relaxed. When she finished up, Evie pressed a kiss to Mal’s cheek. “All done.”

“Is it bad that I want to just stay here forever with you?” Mal asked as she pulled her closer.

“No, because I feel the same way.” Evie leaned against her.

They stood under the water and held each other until it finally turned cold. Mal was no stranger to a cold shower since that’s what they had grown up with on the Isle, but it wasn’t exactly relaxing. She reached behind her and shut the water off.

Mal reached out and grabbed their towels. She handed Evie’s to her first, then took her own. They dried off in a comfortable silence before exiting the bathroom, their hair still dripping wet.

Mal was surprised that there was no comment from Jay, but she figured that even he wasn’t stupid enough to say something that would wind Evie back up. Mal led her girlfriend to their walk-in closet.

“Can I wear your sweater?” Evie asked.

“You can wear whatever you want, baby. You don’t have to wear anything if you don’t want to.”

Evie rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I’m sure Carlos and Jay would appreciate that.”

Mal smiled. “They have a dorm of their own.” She pulled Evie into her and gave her one kiss, then another, letting their lips linger. When they separated, she handed over the dark purple sweater that Evie had made for her.

Evie slid on a pair of underwear, then pulled the sweater over her head. Mal put on a pair of pants and a long sleeved shirt, then followed her girlfriend into the room.

“I grabbed dinner.” Jay announced, gesturing towards Mal’s desk. “Grab whatever you guys want.”

Mal watched Evie carefully, and she was relieved to see zero stress on her girlfriend’s face. Evie walked over to the desk and selected macaroni and cheese, then went to sit next to the boys on the couch. Mal chose some type of pasta with red sauce on it.

“What’s this?” she questioned.

“Spaghetti.” Jay answered. “It’s the special today.” He and Carlos raced over to the desk after they saw that the girls were done.

Mal sat next to Evie, smiling at the blue haired girl. “Can I try yours?”

“Mmhmm.” Evie got some of it onto a fork and held it out, letting Mal take a bite.

Her eyes widened. “That’s so good.”

Evie smiled. “You think everything is good.”

“I haven’t had anything I don’t like yet.” Mal agreed, before taking a bite of her spaghetti. “Oh my God, this is amazing!” Evie laughed. “Wanna try it?”

“A tiny bite.” Evie gave in. Mal did her best to grab a bite on her fork, but the noodles kept sliding off. Finally, she managed to get one and fed it to Evie. “Yeah, that’s good.”

“So we found out this week that you like macaroni and cheese, strawberries, spaghetti, pizza, yogurt, and some sandwiches. That’s amazing, Princess!”

Even Evie smiled a little bit and Mal hoped that this would mean the progress would continue. The boys rejoined them and they all ate together, laughing at Mal’s attempts to eat her spaghetti.

By the time they finished dinner, it was dark outside. Carlos volunteered to clean up their mess while Jay took it upon himself to find a good movie for them to watch. Mal studied her girl and tried to figure out what she needed next; she could see Evie’s sleepy smile and that her eyes were starting to droop.

Mal reached out grabbed Evie’s hand. “I think I promised you going to bed early.”

“You did.” Evie agreed.

“Is that what you want?”

“More than anything.”

Mal stood, then pulled Evie to her feet. She kept their hands linked as she led her over to the bed. Mal moved back the blankets and let Evie crawl under them, and then she laid next to her. She wasn’t at all surprised when Evie rested her head on her chest, right over her heart, and then threw her leg over Mal’s hips.

“You guys are going to bed already!?” Jay protested.

“Yep.” Mal answered. “See you in the morning.”

She pulled the blankets up to right below Evie’s chin, just how her girlfriend liked it. Mal stroked her fingers through Evie’s hair, feeling her relax more and more until her breathing evened out.

“Sweet dreams, baby.” She whispered before pressing a kiss to the top of Evie’s head. Mal closed her eyes and drifted off.

Chapter Text

Ben was a lot smarter than most people gave him credit for. When he announced that he wanted to start taking children off of the Isle, everyone had laughed and thought it was a joke. The other kingdoms, and even his own parents, thought he was just living in a world of dreams that could never come true.

Ben had fought and fought for the VK Exchange Program, and he was determined to keep it running. When the first week of school ended, he was happy to hear that very minimal damage had been done by the four Isle kids. Sure, they had all gotten detention the first day, but he could brush that off. No one had been in a fight or used magic or skipped class, so he counted that as a win.

But over the course of that week, Ben had done a lot of observing. He didn’t want to overwhelm them by constantly coming up to them, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t noticed things.

As soon as he met them, it became clear that Mal was the leader. He wasn’t surprised; after all, she was the daughter of the most powerful villain on the Isle, which must have carried some weight. The other three didn’t do anything without looking in her direction first for permission. If Mal walked down a hallway, everybody else looked away, as if they were scared to even make eye contact with her.

Jay was the muscle of their group. He was taller than Ben and he had never seen a sixteen year old boy with such large arms. He was a little intimidating, and Ben noticed that the Auradon kids would run to get out of his way whenever he was coming.

Carlos was the youngest, but he was intelligent. Ben had talked to each of the teachers about how the VKs were doing in class, and he heard nothing but good things about Carlos. But he could see the way the boy jumped every time there was a loud noise or someone got too close to him.

But it was Evie that fascinated Ben the most. She was the most social and polite of the group, but she seemed so withdrawn. He couldn’t help but see the way Mal was practically glued to her side, and if she wasn’t there, then the boys took her place. She seemed like the one who would fit in the most in Auradon, but there was something about her that Ben couldn’t read. He noticed the way the others would whisper to her, how she would zone out during meal times, and how she tensed up whenever Chad spoke to her.

Everyone else in Auradon seemed to fear Mal, but Evie is the one he kept his eyes on. Mal may be the leader, but Evie is the center of their little world and it was becoming increasingly obvious that she is hiding something.

No matter what it took, Ben was going to find out what that something is.

-----

For the first time in a while, Evie’s chest felt lighter. She could actually breathe again, and she was smiling and laughing much more. She knew that her friends had noticed the change too; Jay joked around with her a lot more, Carlos would stare at her and smile, and Mal couldn’t keep her hands off of her. Evie felt like she couldn’t go more than a minute without Mal touching her or kissing her, but she reveled in the attention.

The weekend was just what she needed. The four of them had laid around the dorm, laughing and talking and watching movies. The boys had even talked her into playing a video game, and Jay pouted when she somehow beat him.

When Monday rolled around, Evie expected her mood to waiver, but she felt solid. She woke up with a smile on her face and didn’t even protest when it was time to go to breakfast. She hoped that if she tried her best to stop dreading meal times, maybe it would be more enjoyable and she wouldn’t hate it so much. Mal seemed to understand her perfectly and picked out her food for her, which took some of the pressure off the situation. Ben and Audrey had joined them for lunch, and while the princess still threw in snide comments, Ben was pleasant and friendly.

On Tuesday, she was still happy. Classes were really starting to pick up, and they weren’t getting much of a free pass anymore (not that they ever really did, but the teachers were slightly more understanding). Homework was piling up, but even that didn’t stop Evie’s happiness. She and Carlos had gone to the library to do their math and history homework, and she was pleasantly surprised when Lonnie joined them. The other girl was funny and smart and knew when to back off of a subject, so she was okay in Evie’s book.

By dinner time, she was exhausted and she had to push herself to eat, but as soon as that ended, Mal asked her to go on a walk. The fresh air and being alone with her girlfriend did wonders for her mood, and Evie felt recharged by the time they got back to the dorm. Mal even opened up to her about her therapy appointment, and while that didn’t seem to be getting any better, Evie felt like if that was the worst part of being in Auradon, they would be okay.

On Wednesday, Mal woke her up early with a kiss, which then turned into a make out session until their alarms went off. When Jay saw their swollen lips and messy hair, he pretended to gag and left the room. Evie just giggled and got dressed for the day.

Evie walked with Mal down to breakfast, and she was struck suddenly by how badly she wanted to hold the purple haired girl’s hand. On the Isle, relationships and affection were frowned upon, but Mal still held her hand anywhere they went to show everyone else who she belonged to. It was weird being in a new place and having to hide their feelings for each other.

When they got down to breakfast, Jay and Carlos were already there. Evie went through the food line with Mal, letting the other girl put things on her tray without comment. She was happy to see fruit and yogurt; so far, that was her favorite because it was lighter and didn’t feel so heavy in her stomach.

By the time they went over to the boys, Ben had sat down next to Carlos. Evie and Mal sat directly across from Jay and Carlos. Lonnie came over a moment later, sitting next to Mal and across from Ben.

“Good morning, everybody!” Lonnie greeted. Evie felt Mal tense up and she struggled to hold back her smile; while she was starting to get used to the cheeriness in Auradon, Mal certainly was not. She still couldn’t stand when she saw people smile for no reason (to which Evie replied that she liked when she smiled, and Mal had told her that was different because she was gorgeous, which led to Evie blushing profusely).

“Good morning!” Evie replied. “I’m halfway finished with your designs. I should have them to you by Saturday.”

“Awesome, I can’t wait! You’re the best, Evie!”

Evie felt someone looking at her, and she glanced up, seeing it was Ben. “You’re designing clothes for Lonnie?” he asked.

“Yeah, I drew up a couple things and she asked me to make them.”

“Is that a problem?” Mal demanded, butting into the conversation. Evie put a hand on her leg under the table, squeezing to let her know she could handle this.

“No, of course not. I was just wondering if you would make something for me.”

Evie blinked a couple times in shock. “You? You want me to make something for the King of Auradon?”

Ben laughed. “Yeah, if you’re interested…”

“Yes!” Evie interrupted. “What are you thinking?”

“How about you draw a few things for me and then we’ll decide?” Ben offered. Evie nodded enthusiastically, but of course Mal interrupted again.

“Lonnie is paying her for the clothes.”

“Mal.” Evie warned through clenched teeth.

Ben smiled. “I will be more than happy to compensate you. Are you free today after school?”

Evie’s smiled deflated a little as she remembered that she had therapy. “No, I can’t today. How about tomorrow?”

“I’ll clear my schedule.”

Conversation shifted as Jay started to ask Ben questions about Tourney. Evie was really proud of him for branching out and trying to find something to do, and she was even happier that he was dragging Carlos along with him.

Evie felt fingers start to move up and down her leg. She glanced over at Mal, who nodded towards her yogurt. Evie grabbed her spoon and took a bite.

“Happy?” she asked.

“Ecstatic.” Mal deadpanned, making Evie laugh.

A few minutes later, the bell rang, signaling that breakfast had ended. Evie had almost eaten her entire bowl of yogurt, and she knew Mal was happy about that when the other girl put an arm around her waist and squeezed.

“Hands off.” Jay scolded quietly as they started to move.

Mal rolled her eyes. “Who knew Jay would take over the mother role when we got here?”

“It was your idea to pretend to not be together, not mine. I’m just enforcing it.” He reminded the girls. “If you want to jeopardize our plan…”

Mal scoffed. “Wow, that’s a big word. Do you even know what jeopardize means?”

He glared. “You little…”

Evie and Carlos both rolled their eyes, moving to walk ahead of their friends. Evie could feel the boy staring at her, and she looked over. “What?”

“You seem good.”

Evie nodded. “I feel a lot better.”

“What changed?”

“I don’t know, I guess I finally realized that I’m not in this alone. I don’t have to keep everything inside anymore. Plus Mal has been doing a really good job at helping me wind down when I get too worked up.”

“I’m happy for you, Eves.” Carlos squeezed her hand quickly as they got to their English class. Old habits die hard, and the two of them stopped outside the door so Mal and Jay could catch up. Jay took the lead, followed by Carlos, then Evie, and Mal brought up the rear. They sat in the seats in the back row that had now clearly been claimed as theirs.

Evie lost focus as she doodled in her sketch book, trying to come up with a few designs for Ben. She tried to do different categories of clothes- formal wear, something to wear to school, something for around the house…

She was interrupted by the teacher calling out her name. She looked up, trying to study the board for what the question was. Carlos whispered the answer and she repeated it, earning an approving nod from the teacher.

“What are you doing?” Mal whispered.

“Drawing designs for Ben. What do you think?” she turned her sketch book towards her girlfriend.

Mal wasn’t big on fashion, but Evie appreciated that she still always tried to give her feedback. “They look good, I like the school outfit the best. I feel like that seems similar enough to things he’s worn before, but with a little extra.”

She beamed. “Thanks, M.”

When class ended, they went their separate ways. Evie was one of the first people to arrive in history class, and Chad immediately came over and sat next to her.

“Hey sexy.” He greeted.

She didn’t know what came over her, but she had finally had enough of this. “I don’t like it when you call me names like that, it’s degrading. My name is Evie. Please call me that.”

“Okay, chill.” He held his hands up defensively, but still had a big smile on his face. “So, I’m having a big party at my castle this Friday, Evie. I want you and your friends to come.”

She smiled politely. “Maybe.”

“Come on, it’s going to be the party of the year. Everyone will be there. Even Ben is coming, and I know you’ve been hanging around with Lonnie and she’ll be there. It’ll be fun.”

Luckily, their teacher came in and class began. Evie pushed Chad and the party to the back of her mind while she tried to focus on history instead. This was her most difficult subject, and they had a paper due tomorrow, so she really wanted to pay attention.

After history, Chad jumped up to walk her to math class. He even reached out to grab her backpack for her, which was new, but Evie politely refused. As they walked down the hallway, Chad wouldn’t shut up about the party, which would apparently have all kinds of food, a great DJ, alcohol, and an indoor pool.

Carlos was accustomed by now to the fact that Chad always walked Evie to class, despite her protesting, so he had started meeting them in the hallway. As soon as the blonde saw him, he called out.

“Carlos!” Chad shouted. “Hey man, I’m having a party on Friday and I want you all to be there. What do you say?”

He glanced at Evie, then back to Chad. “What did Evie say?”

“She said maybe, but it’s gonna be awesome…” he continued to list all the things he would have at the party as he followed Evie and Carlos to class.

“We’ll see, Chad.” Evie said, then pulled Carlos into the classroom.

“I can’t stand him.” Carlos stated.

“You? At least he leaves you alone. He gives me a headache.” She rubbed her temples as she walked over to her usual seat.

Math class was easy enough, and Evie found the equations pretty easy to follow along with. She took notes and did her best to pay attention, and when Mr. Reynolds called on her, she knew the answer right away but waited a few seconds before answering, which he just nodded indifferently at. When the bell rang, she barely even jumped.

Goodness class was next and as soon as Evie saw Mal, she felt herself smiling. Evie was itching to hug her, but she knew that she couldn’t.

“Hi.” She greeted.

“Hi.” Mal repeated. “You seem happy.”

Evie shrugged. “I’m in a good mood today.”

“I’m glad.” Mal chuckled. “C’mon, let’s get in there.”

They took their normal seats as Fairy Godmother walked into the room. They were surprised to see that Dr. Bren was with her. All four of them tensed up and went on the defensive immediately.

“What’s she doing here?” Mal demanded.

“Now Mal, let’s be polite. Dr. Bren has agreed to come in and discuss healthy food and eating habits with you all. King Ben told us that you had asked, and we wanted to set something up so you could all get this information together.” Fairy Godmother explained.

Evie took a deep breath to try and calm herself. It would be a good thing to learn about food so she knew what things were and what was healthy. But she really didn’t want to spend the next 50 minutes talking about food and eating, especially when lunch was right after this class.

She felt fingers thread through her own and looked down. Mal was holding her hand and she pulled it over into her lap. She ran her thumb back and forth, and then in small circles. Evie took another deep breath and tried to relax.

Dr. Bren went over the main food groups and how much food they should eat from each category a day. She discussed that they were all underweight and needed to eat some extra calories so that their bodies had the proper nutrients to keep functioning. She reminded them that there were signs out at each meal time, and that would help them to figure out the names of all the different foods.

“Jay, you are at a pretty good weight, but for your height, I would expect you to gain a little more. Mal, Evie, and Carlos, the three of you are very underweight and if you do not begin to increase the amount of calories you are consuming, it will negatively impact your health.”

“How?” Carlos asked.

Dr. Bren launched into everything that could go wrong, but Evie zoned out. She couldn’t talk about this anymore or she was going to get upset. She stared down at her desk and visualized designs in her mind. She felt Mal squeeze her hand tighter, but she wouldn’t pull out of her daze.

“…and thank Dr. Bren for being here today.” Fairy Godmother was saying when Evie tuned back in to the conversation.

“Thanks.” Jay said.

“You’re welcome, I hope this helped. If you have any more questions, or there’s another topic you want me to discuss, please let me know. Evie, I will see you after school.” She walked out.

The bell rang right after and they grabbed their things and walked to lunch. Evie was still uncomfortable, and she didn’t even notice that Mal hadn’t let go of her hand.

“How are you?” Mal asked quietly.

Evie gave a half-hearted shrug, keeping her eyes on the ground. She felt a pull on her hand, and a few seconds later, Mal was bringing her into the bathroom. It was empty, but Mal led the way into a stall and locked the door behind them.

Evie looked up, making eye contact with her girlfriend. Mal lifted her hands and gently carded them through Evie’s hair, tucking any loose strands behind her ears. She leaned forward and kissed Evie’s cheek softly.

“What do you need?”

She thought it over for a second. She was uncomfortable and starting to get a little anxious, so she knew eating wasn’t going to be easy. After lunch, she would be alone for the rest of the day, and she had to deal with therapy after school. Before she did any of that, she needed to calm down.

“Can you just hold me for a minute?”

“Whatever you need, baby.” Mal pulled her close. Evie settled into her, resting her head on Mal’s shoulder and closing her eyes. Mal moved them slowly back and forth while Evie focused on her breathing.

After a couple minutes, Evie felt the weight on her chest being lifted. She wanted to stay there with Mal for the rest of the day, but she knew her girlfriend needed to eat lunch before her next class. She stood up straight.

“Better?”

“Uh-huh. Thank you.”

“Anything for my girl.” Mal grabbed her chin and tilted it down so she could give her a kiss.

They walked into the cafeteria and towards the lunch line. Evie really didn’t want to eat, but she knew she had to at least try. Before Mal could put anything on her tray, she reached out and grabbed a salad and a bottle of water. She glanced at Mal, who was smiling at her with so much pride that it made her stomach flutter (in a good way).

They went over to the table they had claimed as theirs, seeing that Carlos and Jay had already inhaled most of their food. Chad was sitting across from them and Evie barely held back a groan.

Mal took the seat next to Chad, letting Evie have a buffer. She smiled gratefully at the purple haired girl, who smirked back.

“Good, now that you’re all here, I want to invite you to my party.”

“You already did that earlier.” Carlos reminded him before biting into his hamburger.

“Well now you guys are together. I’m having a party on Friday and I really think you all need to be there.”

“Why?” Jay questioned.

Chad launched off into all the reasons why his party would be the best of the year, but Evie zoned out. She had already heard this multiple times and she didn’t need to hear it again.

She used her fork to chop up her lettuce as much as she could so it would be easier to take bites. Then, she added a packet of dressing and stirred it around. She sighed, but took a small bite. As soon as she moved her fork away from her mouth, she felt a hand on her thigh. She looked over at Mal, who squeezed her leg reassuringly.

“So, what do you say?” Chad asked hopefully.

“Maybe if we have time.” Jay responded.

Evie took another bite of her salad, chewing it as small as she could before swallowing. She took a sip of her water. She repeated this process until the bell rang, seeing that she had finished about half of her salad.

“You did so well.” Mal praised quietly. “I’m so proud of you.”

“What did you say?” Chad questioned.

“Is that any of your business?” Mal snapped. Chad just rolled his eyes and walked in the other direction.

Evie smiled. “I need you to follow me around and do that all day.”

“Say the word and I’m there.” Mal promised. She glanced around, checking to see if they were alone before she spoke again. “You’ve got this, Pretty Girl. You’re a genius, so classes will be easy. You can handle therapy, and I’ll be waiting in the dorm with a bubble bath when it’s over."

Evie had seen people in Auradon hug each other when separating in the hallways, so she hoped this wouldn’t draw too much attention. She pulled Mal into her arms for a quick hug. “Thank you, my love.”

“Stop this.” Jay interrupted, grabbing Mal’s shoulder and pulling her back. “Let’s go.”

“Asshole.” Mal mumbled.

“Once again, not my choice. If you wanna change things up, I’ll be happy to stop playing babysitter.”

“Alright, stop.” Carlos said before they could start arguing. “Time for class. See ya later, E.”

“Bye guys.” She smiled and then turned the opposite way.

The rest of the day went relatively smooth. Chad still pestered her about his party in chemistry, and even Doug chimed in and mentioned he would be there. Evie started to consider it (though she would never tell Chad that). It may be fun to spend some time with her friends outside of the dorm room, and she was pretty sure Mal would keep Chad away from her, which was an added bonus.

Evie walked slowly to the health center, wishing that she could just skip the appointment. The week had been going well up until now, and she knew that this could be the turning point.

“I just have to stay calm.” She whispered to herself. “I can’t let this ruin my mood.”

She walked inside and checked in at the receptionist’s desk, then was directed back to Dr. Bren’s office. She knocked twice, then opened it.

“Hello, Dr. Bren.” She greeted, gluing a polite smile onto her face.

“Hi Evie. Please, take a seat.” She offered. Evie took a spot where she could see the door again, wanting to have an easy route to the exit if something bad happened. She knew Dr. Bren noticed, but luckily the woman didn’t comment on it. “How was your day?”

“It was pretty good. Homework is really starting to pick up, so I’ve been busy.”

“Have you had any time to do things you enjoy?”

“I’ve been working on some designs. Honestly, I don’t mind the homework though. I like to learn.”

Dr. Bren smiled. “I think you’re the first person who has ever said that.”

“My friends would agree; they call me a nerd.”

“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying learning.” Dr. Bren reassured her. “The reason I asked is because Fairy Godmother told me that she has noticed that you and your friends rarely leave your dorm rooms. There are many activities to participate in, and I think you could find something you really enjoy. Did you know there is a sewing club?”

Evie held back her frown. She doubted she would have much in common with people who learned to sew because they liked it verses learning because their friend would have bled to death if they didn’t. “No, I didn’t know.”

“You should sign up. I know that Jay and Carlos have shown some interest in Tourney. Is there anything you think Mal might like? Maybe you could talk her into a club.”

“Maybe.” She said noncommittally. She knew there was an almost nonexistent chance of Mal joining a club, but she was trying to be polite and friendly today, so she wouldn’t say that.

“Peer interaction is very important when moving to a new place. I imagine it must be difficult adjusting to life in a vastly different environment. Making friends and maintaining relationships would make that transition easier for you and your friends.”

“Okay.”

“I would like you to make one goal for this week. Just one thing that you will try to help you with adjusting.”

Evie nodded. “Actually, I’m considering going to a party this weekend.”

“Oh really? I think that would be the perfect opportunity. I’ll add that to your weekly goal sheet.” Dr. Bren pulled out a pencil and started to write on the clipboard in her hand. “I’m proud of you.”

Evie hated herself for the rush of happiness that filled her at the therapist’s words. She blamed it on her constant need for adult approval since she had never gotten it before. She pinched her arm to keep herself grounded so she didn’t slide back into a memory.

“Thank you.”

“You know, you’re the only one who does that.” Evie raised an eyebrow in question, causing Dr. Bren to clarify. “Says thank you. Your friends never do.”

“Manners aren’t really encouraged on the Isle. In fact, they’re frowned upon.”

“Why is that?”

“Because we are taught to be evil, and being polite isn’t evil.”

“Who teaches you to be evil? Is that what you learn at your school, or from your parents?”

Evie realized that she had walked right into Dr. Bren’s trap. She dug her nails into her hand and took a deep breath. “No one teaches us.”

“Then how do you learn?”

Evie gave her a look. “We’re just born that way.”

“No one is born evil, Evie. It’s the choices you make that determine if you are good or evil. You know what I think? You are not evil.”

“I am.” Evie argued back.

“I don’t think so. You are polite, and you have a good relationship with Mal, Jay, and Carlos, and you like fashion and learning. You’ve been here over a week and you haven’t lashed out or hurt anyone. You’re not evil.”

“You don’t know me. Just because I’ve told you a few things doesn’t mean you know who I am.” Evie stood. “Back on the Isle, we are the worst of the worst- rotten to the core. People fear us in the streets because they know how evil we are.”

“How do you prove that?”

Evie let a cold smirk land on her face. “Do you really want me to show you? You couldn’t handle knowing the things I’ve done.”

“I would rather you sit down and talk about it with me.”

Evie realized how tightly her hands were clenched into fists. It hit her that she had given her too much information and she cursed herself, knowing Mal would be mad. She sat back down in her seat.

“Why do you think you are evil?” Dr. Bren asked.

Silence.

“Did your mother teach you about being evil?”

Evie just studied her nails, but kept her mouth shut.

Dr. Bren sighed. “I guess we’re done for today.”

Evie stood up, gluing her picture perfect smile back on her face. “Have a nice rest of your day!” she walked out of the room.

She couldn’t believe she had been so stupid. Why had she let the woman trip her up like that? She stormed back to the dorm, feeling the dread creep into her stomach as she got closer and closer.

When she went inside, she found the boys playing a video game and her girlfriend nowhere in sight.

“Where’s Mal?” she demanded as she dropped her bag on the floor.

“In the bathroom.” Carlos replied, not even looking away from the TV screen.

Evie remembered Mal’s words from earlier and went over to the bathroom. She opened the door slowly, peeking around the corner and seeing that Mal was already in the tub.

“Hey baby.” She greeted, smiling sleepily.

Evie went over and sat on top of the toilet lid. She stared down at the floor and took some breaths.

“I just got in. Come join me.”

“I fucked up.” Evie blurted out.

Mal shook her head. “Strip first. You can tell me after you’re in the water.”

“After I tell you, you’re not going to want to touch me.”

Mal frowned. “Evie, stand up right now.” Her tone left no room for argument, and Evie reluctantly did as she said. “Get out of your clothes and come get in the bath with me.”

Evie’s hands shook as she unzipped and unbuttoned. She was naked a few minutes later. She reached up to her hair next and started to undo the intricate braids in her hair, leaving her blue waves free and untamed.

“You’re so gorgeous.” Mal commented. “It’s not fair how perfect you are, inside and out.” Evie still bit her lip and didn’t move forward, but Mal just reached a hand out to her. “Come here.”

Evie walked over to the bath tub. She held Mal’s hand as she stepped over the side. She lowered herself slowly into the water as Mal’s hands drifted to her hips and guided her to sit on her lap. Evie’s tensed up muscles tried to relax at the warmth of the water, but she wouldn’t let them.

“What happened?” Mal questioned.

“I gave too much information away.”

“Walk me through it.” Mal said as she reached up, running her fingers through her hair. “I love when your hair is loose like this so I can touch it as much as I want.”

Evie couldn’t concentrate with Mal stroking her hair. It took her a moment too long to realize that that was probably the reason why Mal was doing it.

“She said that I have good manners and asked why the rest of you don’t, and I told her it’s because we’re evil.”

“Okay…” Mal trailed off, clearly expecting more to the story.

“Dr. Bren asked who taught us how to be evil, and I told her we’re born that way. She tried to tell me I’m not evil, and I snapped.”

“You’re not evil.” Mal told her.

“Yes I am.” Evie responded automatically.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and you know what? I don’t think any of us are evil.” Mal stated. “If I was evil, I wouldn’t take care of you and want to protect you as much as I do. If Carlos was evil, he wouldn’t try so hard to reassure all of us when we’re upset. If Jay was evil, he wouldn’t hug or tease the way he does. If you were evil, you wouldn’t make us special clothes or cuddle. All of our lives, we’ve been told that we are evil and we have to keep being evil and we have to prove how evil we are to our parents. But what if we’re not evil? What if we can choose good?”

Evie considered Mal’s words. “I still gave her a weakness. I told her people feared us on the Isle and that we were the worst of the worst.” She sighed. “I said she couldn’t handle knowing the things I’ve done.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong, E.” Mal reassured her, pressing a light kiss against her cheek. “Maybe you lost your cool a little, but you didn’t tell her anything major.” She kissed her nose and then ran her hands up and down her arms. “Now relax your muscles, Pretty Girl. You’re way too tense. Deep breath in, and then let it out.”

For once, Evie didn’t argue and chose to just listen to her words. She took a deep breath, then let it out slowly, allowing her body to relax. She leaned forward as she did so, collapsing in Mal’s arms.

“I’m sorry.” She said, even though she wasn’t really sure why.

“You don’t owe me an apology for anything. You’re allowed to have feelings.” Mal leaned back, pulling Evie forward until she was laying on top of her. “Just close your eyes. I’ve got you.”

Evie did exactly as she said and her eyes drifted shut, letting the weight of her thoughts disappear.

Chapter Text

When Friday rolled around, Mal was practically buzzing with excitement (though she would never tell anyone that). Last weekend had gone so well and Evie made great progress, so she hoped that this weekend would be the same.

Mal thought she would lose it after she got upset from her therapy appointment, but Evie had surprised her and recovered quickly. Thursday had been uneventful, and now they just had to get through today.

“So, I think we should go to Chad’s party tonight.” Evie announced at breakfast time.

Mal nearly choked on her juice. “Excuse me?”

“What? It might be fun.”

Carlos frowned. “You can’t stand Chad.”

“You’re right, but it’s not like I’m going to go and hang out with him. The four of us can stay together and if he comes over, you can scare him off, M. I know you love doing that.”

Mal smirked. “I do, but I don’t really want to spend our break from school hanging around with a bunch of Auradon preppies.”

She heard a chuckle from across the table and looked at Jay, who was laughing. The dark haired boy shoved Carlos. “One guess on what we’ll all end up doing tonight.”

Both boys were looking at her girlfriend, so Mal turned her head. Evie was staring at her with her signature pout and puppy dog eyes.

“No. It’s not going to work this time.” Mal insisted.

“But babe…”

“No, Evie.” She said, carefully avoiding looking at her face.

“It’s a good way to blend and make friends. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? Adapting to Auradon life so that we can make our plan work?” Evie grabbed her arm, but she still refused to look at her. “Dr. Bren made me make a weekly goal. She wants us all to be more social, and I told her we were going to this party.”

“So? It’s not like she’s going to check and make sure.”

“I wouldn’t put it past her.” Carlos grumbled.

“Please, M? Please?”

Mal sighed and looked towards Evie. “Why?”

The blue haired girl looked thrown off. “Why what?”

“Tell me why you want to go.”

She started to list off reasons. “Doug and Lonnie will be there, and they’re nice. We can finally get out of the dorm room. It might be fun. It’ll give us more insight on how the people behave in different environments so we can try and imitate it if we need to. We could find out some useful information. Audrey will be there and she’ll hate it if she sees us walk in the door. It’ll keep Dr. Bren off my back. We can get drunk and make out.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

“Alright, she does have some good points, other than that last one.” Carlos said, shooting Evie a look.

Mal had to agree with him. It would be good to go out and study the Auradonians in a new situation, and she was all for making Evie’s life easier, especially where therapy was involved.

Evie looked at her, her eyes widening again and her bottom lip pouting out. “Please?”

If she wasn’t sold already, the damn puppy dog pout would have definitely sealed the deal.

“Fine.”

“Yay! Thank you, M!” she leaned forward to kiss her and Mal intended to meet her halfway, until Evie yelped. “Shit!”

“What?” Mal asked.

“You guys are fucking ridiculous.” Jay scolded. “Do you remember that we’re sitting in the middle of the cafeteria? Back away from each other before I kick you again.”

Mal glared. “How about if you ever hurt her again, I…”

“Stop.” Evie interrupted before she could finish her threat. “He’s right, we do need to pay attention. I’m sorry, Jay.” She looked at Mal expectantly.

The purple haired girl scoffed and turned back to her breakfast. It would be a cold day in hell before she would apologize to Jay.

“Mal Bertha…” Evie warned.

“I’m not saying anything to that asshole.”

“Oh, I’m an asshole? Let me remind you again who came up with this rule. Carlos, was it you? Was it me?”

“Nope.” Carlos said. Mal studied him; the younger boy looked like he was fed up with all of them.

“No, it was the two of you, and yet I’m always left to enforce it. Grow the fuck up and keep to yourselves before you get our cover blown.”

“We will.” Evie insisted. “We’re sorry.”

Mal rolled her eyes and just continued to eat. When they were on the Isle, the whole pretending not to date thing seemed like a good idea. Even now that they were in Auradon, Mal had been keeping her eye out for any same sex couples, but she had yet to find one. She was sick of pretending.

The best part of the Isle was the lack of discrimination. You could sleep with whoever you wanted and no one batted an eyelash. Of course, relationships were frowned upon, but no one cared about making out or hooking up. Mal broke the usual Isle rule by claiming Evie as her own- the two of them held hands more often than not, and she made it a point to kiss her in front of as many people as possible, but it was a protection tactic. Everyone knew Evie belonged to Mal, and that lessened the chance that something would happen to the other girl.

She hated listening to Chad flirt with Evie and degrade her. She hated the longing looks that her girlfriend received in the hallway, and how other people stared at her for a little too long. Mal knew she was possessive, but she was itching to claim Evie as her own so these Auradon kids would get back into their place.

The rest of the school day flew by. Mal didn’t have any issues, and she couldn’t help but notice that Evie seemed the most like her actual self today compared to the rest of the time they had been in Auradon. At the end of the day, she was waiting for the others in their designated meeting spot.

She and Jay had walked together after their last class, and Carlos joined them a moment later. Mal kept her eyes scanning the crowd, searching for blue. She spotted Evie a second later and as soon as their eyes met, Evie smiled at her. Mal smiled back, but then her view of Evie was blocked. She saw that Chad had stepped in front of her girlfriend.

“I swear, that Charming kid needs to be taught a lesson.” She complained.

Carlos came over to stand next to her. “I agree.”

Mal looked at him in surprise. While she and Jay usually jumped to violence as their first line of defense, Evie and Carlos preferred to act more like peacemakers.

“Really?”

“I don’t like the way he treats her. He’s always following after her and calling her names. He calls her ‘sexy’.”

Mal growled at that. “I know, I heard him the other day. This is why I don’t want to go to his party tonight.”

“Evie is right about the party though. We should go so we can actually start planning out how we’re going to pull this off. We need information.”

Mal nodded in agreement. “I still don’t like it.”

“You don’t like what?” they were interrupted when Evie came over. She was still smiling, so Mal guessed she didn’t have to hurt Chad yet.

“What did Chad want?” Mal demanded.

“He was making sure that we were still coming tonight.”

“Is there going to be alcohol?” Jay questioned.

“Yes.”

“We’re keeping a clear head.” Mal told her friends, but Evie and Jay just chattered on about the party. The two of them were the most social, so it was no surprise that they were excited.

Carlos hung back by Mal as they all walked towards the dorms. “Have you thought about coming out with your relationship?”

Mal sighed. “I think about it every single day.”

“What’s keeping you from doing it?”

“I haven’t seen any other same sex couples in Auradon. I’m not going to paint a target on Evie’s back and draw more attention towards us.”

“So you’re just going to keep living like this for forever?”

“For as long as it takes.” Mal corrected. “We just need to carry out our plan first.”

They all climbed the stairs up to the girls’ room (they weren’t big fans of elevators). As soon as they got inside, Mal dropped her backpack and collapsed onto Evie’s bed.

“Tired?” Evie asked, her amusement showing through in her tone.

“Mmhmm.” Mal reached out for her. “Nap time.”

“I can’t, Lonnie is coming by to pick up her designs so she can wear one of them to the party tonight, and then I need to finish my outfit.” Evie leaned down, her long hair forming a curtain around their faces. She pressed a kiss against Mal’s lips, which the other girl eagerly returned. “I can’t wait until I can kiss you whenever I want.”

“Me either.” Mal kissed her again. “Just five minutes?”

Evie smiled. “Well, you are going to this party for me tonight, so I guess I owe you something.”

Mal grinned in victory as Evie laid next to her, her back resting against Mal’s chest. She wrapped her arms around her waist and held her as her eyes drifted shut.

Just as she started to fall asleep, someone knocked on the door. Mal tightened her grip on Evie, who giggled. “That’s Lonnie. You’re gonna have to let go.”

Mal groaned, but let Evie get up. She sat up on the bed; there was no way she could nap with an Auradon kid in her room. She watched as Evie opened the door, allowing Lonnie to enter their space.

“Hey guys!” she greeted with a smile. Mal thought Lonnie was so strange. She was the only one who hadn’t shown fear of the VKs, and she spoke to them as if they were just normal people. It was refreshing, but also made Mal feel like she was losing her touch.

Mal watched as Evie carefully pulled out the designs she had made for Lonnie. Her girlfriend had been insistent on finishing by the weekend, and every night after she finished her homework, she sat down at her sewing machine and got to work. The results had been amazing, and even with her miniscule amount of knowledge about fashion, Mal could admit that they were beautiful.

Lonnie let out a high pitched squeal as soon as she saw the outfits. The boys even paused their game and turned to look, alerted by the unfamiliar noise.

“These are so awesome, Evie! Thank you so much!” Lonnie jumped forward, wrapping her arms around Evie.

Mal launched out of the bed, standing defensively and ready to attack. She realized her girlfriend wasn’t in any distress when Evie returned the hug. Mal relaxed slightly, but stayed standing in case anything changed.

“I can’t wait to wear this outfit to the party tonight. It’s going to be so different from everyone else’s clothes.” Lonnie gushed. “Here’s the money!”

Mal’s eyes widened at the amount of money Lonnie placed in Evie’s hand. She glanced at the boys, who looked just as surprised.

“See you guys tonight!” Lonnie turned and left with her arms full of new outfits.

Evie moved around to face them. “I can’t believe she loved them so much!”

“Of course she did.” Jay scoffed. “You’re fucking amazing.”

Evie went over to him, sitting on his lap and giving him a big hug. “Thank you, Jay.”

“Now what are we buying with this?” he asked, taking the money out of her hand.

Mal came up behind him and snatched the money away. “Evie will buy whatever she wants. It’s her money.”

“It’s ours.” Evie corrected. “Is there anything you guys need?” Mal, Carlos, and Jay shook their heads. “Anything you want?”

“Babe, it’s your money. You said you wanted to make some new soaps and shampoos, and that you wanted to make more clothes. Get what you need.”

“Are you sure?”

“I could go for one of your shampoos.” Jay agreed. “This soap here is drying out my hair.”

Evie smiled. “I’m so proud. I never thought I would hear those words come out of your mouth.”

“Yeah, well you teased me enough about it on the Isle.”

Carlos grinned. “Now if only Mal would listen when you talk about her split ends.”

Mal rolled her eyes as the three of them laughed. “Ha ha, very funny. Don’t you guys have a room of your own that you should be in?”

“You would miss us.” Jay told her, but Mal just sighed. “E, get your girl out of her mood.”

“Come on, M.” Evie stood, grabbing Mal’s hand. “Come take a shower with me.”

Mal ignored the boys catcalls and smiled as she followed her girlfriend into the bathroom.

-----

“Ugh, I still can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” Mal said as she walked up to Chad’s castle with Evie, Jay, and Carlos. Limos had been running back and forth from Auradon Prep to the castle, and it was their first time leaving campus.

“Please try and have fun.” Evie told her.

“Alright, everyone remember the rules?” she questioned as she turned to face her friends.

“Don’t drink too much.” Jay pouted.

“Don’t take food or drinks from anyone you don’t know.” Carlos added.

“Stay within sight of each other.” Evie stated. “Don’t get distracted, keep your eyes and ears open, listen for useful info. We got it, Mal.”

Mal sighed. “Let’s do this.” She raised her hand and knocked.

“Hey!” Chad greeted as he opened the door. “Everyone, the VKs are here!” he shouted into the house, earning a cheer from the crowd of teenagers. Everyone was drinking out of red solo cups and music was blasting from the speakers.

Mal didn’t care about appearances right now. She reached down and locked her hand in Evie’s. Chad fist bumped Jay, then Carlos, and then leaned forward to give Evie a hug. Mal felt her tense up, and when he pulled back, she could see the uncomfortable look on her girlfriend’s face. He moved towards her, but she just glared.

“Mal.” He greeted.

“Chad.” She tugged Evie’s hand. “C’mon.” she led the way to the kitchen, feeling the boys close behind.

“Stay away from him.” Jay said before Mal even had the chance.

Evie rolled her eyes. “I don’t need a lecture, I can handle it. Will you make me a drink?”

Jay started to dig around through the bottles of alcohol lined up on the counter, opening a few and smelling them. “Mal, Carlos, you want one?”

“I’ll stick with beer.” Carlos stated, grabbing a can out of the fridge.

“Same.” Mal agreed, catching the beer Carlos threw to her.

Jay made a weird concoction out of a few bottles, stirring it around by moving the cup and letting the liquid slosh around. He handed a cup to Evie and took one for himself. “Cheers.” They pressed their cups together, then each took a drink.

Mal watched Evie’s face as she drank, grimacing with her as the taller girl coughed. “Fuck.”

Even Jay made a weird face. “Sorry, I don’t really know what all this stuff is. I just picked what smelled okay.”

“It’s awful.” Evie said, but tilted it up and took another drink anyway.

Mal shook her head, remembering all the times on the Isle that Jay and Evie had played bartender. It was one of their favorite pastimes to steal alcohol and see what kinds of combinations they could make. They always woke up the next morning hungover and sick, but they continued to do it anyway.

“Hi guys.” They all looked over as Doug joined them in the kitchen. He ate lunch with them occasionally, so they all knew him, but Mal wouldn’t really consider him a friend. She knew that he had saved Evie from being stuck with Chad a couple of times though, so she did appreciate that.

The boys ventured off into the house, but Evie seemed content talking with Doug, so Mal stayed by her side and sipped her beer. She watched everyone around them, seeing people dancing and kissing and drinking. This was nothing like an Isle party, but maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing.

Mal heard Evie laugh and she glanced over at her, smiling at the sound. Her girlfriend was fucking gorgeous and she still couldn’t figure out how she got lucky enough to be with her. Doug looked equally enamored, and Mal made a mental note to find a way to make the boy back off.

Doug walked away, leaving them alone in the kitchen. Mal wanted to kiss her, but she knew better than to do something like that out in the open. Evie walked around the counter and started to make herself a new drink.

“Are you having fun?” she asked.

“Mmhmm. It’s nice doing something different.” Evie smirked. “But there’s still something else I would rather being doing.” She bit her lip and ran her eyes up and down Mal’s body. “Or someone.”

Mal groaned. “Don’t fucking start or I’m throwing you over my shoulder and we’re leaving.”

Evie giggled, then brought her cup up to her lips. “This is so much better than what Jay made.”

“I don’t know how either of you drink that stuff.”

“It’s fun. You never know how the combination will taste. Sometimes it’s good.” Evie held her cup out. “Wanna try?”

Mal leaned closer. “Uh-huh.” She quickly pressed their lips together. “Tastes amazing.”

Evie just smirked and then turned to walk towards the living room. Mal followed after her, keeping a close distance so no one would touch her. Evie led the way right to the center of the room where the DJ was playing.

“Dance with me?” Evie questioned.

Mal didn’t like dancing and she had no coordination, but when her girlfriend asked her to do something, you better believe she was going to try her best. They started to follow the beat of the music.

Evie threw her head back and finished off her second drink as her body moved from side to side. Mal felt someone brush against her and turned, seeing that it was Jay.

“You guys good?” he wondered, leaning in to talk in her ear since it was so loud.

“Yeah!”

“Jay! Make me another?” Evie shouted over the music, holding out her cup.

“I got you, Princess.” He made his way back to the kitchen.

Mal studied her girlfriend. Evie’s eyes were clear, her movements were strong, and her voice was steady, meaning she could probably handle another drink. But if she asked for a fourth, Mal would step in.

Jay came back over with Carlos by his side. Evie grabbed the cup from his outstretched hand and leaned up to kiss his cheek as a thank you. She took a drink and it must not have been bad because Mal noticed she didn’t make a face. Evie stayed close to Jay, allowing him to twirl her around and dance with her.

Mal looked at Carlos and he nodded at her, signaling that he was ready to get out of the commotion. Mal caught Jay’s eyes and nodded towards the couches, to which he nodded back in understanding. Mal knew that Jay would keep Evie close, and she and Carlos could sit for a few minutes.

“It’s so hot in here.” Carlos complained as they sank down on an empty couch. “I don’t get how they can like something like this.”

“They love dancing and drinking and talking to people, so it’s not that surprising.” Mal reminded him before sipping her beer. “I’m just glad Jay likes it as much as Evie does so he can hang out with her.”

“True.” Carlos agreed. “Have you found out anything useful yet?”

“Not really.” Mal said, not wanting to admit that she had spent more of the night staring at Evie than doing anything else.

“Hey guys!” Mal and Carlos looked over at the sound of the prince’s voice. They were a little surprised to see Ben there, and it was weird that he was dressed so casually.

“Hi Ben.” Mal greeted dryly, hoping he would leave.

Of course, he didn’t catch the hint. “Where are Evie and Jay?”

Carlos nodded towards the dance floor and Ben looked over. A slower song was currently playing and Evie was wrapped in Jay’s arms, the two of them laughing as they spoke quietly to each other. If Mal wasn’t completely secure in her relationship, she may have been a little jealous, but she knew about the brother/sister relationship her girlfriend and friend had and knew there was nothing to worry about.

They talked about random subjects with Ben for a few minutes, the overly eager boy leading most of the conversation. Jay and Evie came over, Jay plopping down next to Carlos and Evie taking a seat on his lap since there was no more room.

“You’re hot.” Jay complained.

“Why thank you, Jay. You’re not so bad yourself.” Evie teased.

He shoved her off, causing her to fall onto Carlos’s lap instead. Mal’s gaze was on Ben, but she watched out of the corner of her eye as Carlos just wrapped an arm around Evie’s waist and let her get comfortable. As soon as Jay chimed in, catching Ben’s attention, Mal glanced over at the others. Evie was flushed and sweaty, but she looked happy.

“I’m gonna grab a beer.” Mal told them. “Anyone need anything?”

“Can you get me one?” Carlos asked.

“I’ll come with you!” Ben said as she stood. Mal held in her groan; she hated entertaining other people.

They weaved through the crowd of sweaty bodies and made it into the kitchen. Mal opened the fridge and reached in for a beer.

“So, did you guys have parties like this on the Isle?”

Mal shrugged. “Sort of.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, there wasn’t this many people, and it wasn’t so loud. But we hung out and danced.”

“Was there alcohol?”

Mal snorted. “That was one of the very few ways we could have fun.”

“I’m sorry about that.” Ben said, his face suddenly getting serious. “If I had known what it was like over there, I would have…”

“You would have what? You’re not even king now, so what could you have done? Besides that, don’t think that you understand the Isle because you’ve had a couple of conversations about what may be happening there. You don’t know anything.”

“Excuse me?” Mal looked over at the new voice, seeing Audrey walk into the room. “Apologize for speaking to your future king like that.”

Mal scoffed. “He is not my king.”

“You have no problem taking advantage of living in Auradon.” Audrey said, gesturing towards the beers in her hands. “He will be your king. You and your friends need to learn some respect.”

“And you and yours need to learn to keep your mouths shut.” Mal argued back.

“My friends and I aren’t the ones dancing like a slut in the middle of the dance floor. Tell me, did Evie sleep with everyone on the Isle, or just Jay?”

Mal felt her eyes start to tingle, but Ben stepped in. “Audrey, stop. That was completely unnecessary.”

“Why? Ben, these people come over here acting like we owe them something and then they take advantage of us! It’s obvious that they have some type of ulterior motive. I know you’ve seen the way Evie makes Chad fall all over her, and how Mal manipulates Fairy Godmother.”

Mal was confused. She didn’t understand how she was manipulating anyone, let alone Fairy Godmother. “What are you talking about?”

“You and your little private lessons with her. We all know you have magic. You’re a danger to Auradon, and you shouldn’t be here. The four of you are like an accident waiting to happen. As far as I’m concerned, they should have left you on the Isle where you belong so you could rot.”

Mal knew she had two choices here. She could explode, like she really, really wanted to. Or she could walk away. She knew they had a lot on the line to lose, and a Mal-sized screw up might jeopardize their plan.

She took a deep breath, then slammed past Audrey and out the backdoor. She heard footsteps following after her and someone calling her name, but she ignored it. She felt a hand on her shoulder and she whipped around, coming face to face with Ben.

“What?!?” she seethed in anger.

“I’m sorry about Audrey. What she said was wrong.”

“Are you so sure about that? I bet some of your friends would agree.”

“I don’t really care about what my friends think.” Ben admitted as he sat down on a bench in the garden. He gestured with his hand towards the empty spot next to him, which she reluctantly took. “Mal, for as long as I can remember, it has been my dream to fix things on the Isle. You’re right, I don’t know anything about it besides the random snippets I’ve heard. But I want to know. It’s my wish to come up with a solution to problems that were created by our parents so that all of the children on the Isle have a fair shot.”

Mal studied the prince. “You really mean that?”

“Of course.”

The gears in Mal’s head were turning. Maybe the angle they needed was getting close to the prince.

-----

Evie laughed with Carlos and Jay, the three of them watching how the Auradon kids struggled to hold in their alcohol. She glanced towards the directions of the kitchen, wondering when Mal would be back. Even though they couldn’t be touchy or affectionate, she still craved the other girl’s presence.

“Hey!” Lonnie came over. “Great party, huh?”

“Yeah, it’s fun.” Evie agreed. “You look so good in that outfit, even better than I had imagined!”

“I’ve been getting so many compliments. I’m telling everyone you made it for me, so I hope you don’t mind.”

“No, of course not. I love designing and making clothes, so if anyone wants to put in an order, I would be happy to fill it.”

Lonnie laughed. “Good, because I’ve already had like seven people tell me that they’re going to try and get you to make something for them.”

Evie felt a tap on her thigh, which dragged her attention back to the boys. She saw that a couple guys from the Tourney team were standing near them.

“We’re gonna go play a game with the guys.” Carlos told her. “You good?”

“Yeah, Mal should be back in a minute.”

“We’ll be right over there.” Jay chimed in, pointing towards where a table with a bunch of cups was set up. “If she’s not back in two minutes, come over.”

“I will.” Evie agreed, sliding off Carlos’s lap and onto the couch. The boys followed their new teammates, leaving Evie with Lonnie.

“I’m so jealous.” Lonnie stated as soon as they were alone.

“Why?”

“You guys are all so close. I don’t have any friends like that.”

“What about Jane?” Evie wondered. “You guys seem close.”

“We are, but not like you and your friends.” Lonnie smirked. “Unless you’re more than friends.”

“What?” Evie asked, her heartbeat starting to race. Did Lonnie know about her and Mal?

“I saw how you were dancing with Jay, and you were just sitting on Carlos’s lap. Are you dating one of them?”

Evie laughed, half because of the statement and half because of how innocent these Auradon kids were; they didn’t even consider that she could be with Mal, despite the fact that she was touchiest with her. “No, we’re just really good friends.”

Lonnie sighed. “That sucks. You and Jay would make a cute couple.”

Evie laughed even louder this time. “Have you been drinking? I think you need to lay off.”

Lonnie smiled. “What? Jay’s attractive.”

“But it’s not like that with us.”

“I’m just saying, you’re both gorgeous. You would make the prettiest babies.”

Evie eyed her. “Okay, now I really know you need to stop drinking. You’re cut off.” She smirked. “But I do think it’s interesting that you think Jay is gorgeous.”

Lonnie’s cheeks flushed, and Evie knew she had hit her mark. “What?”

“Jay’s a great guy. Maybe he would be interested.” Evie told her.

“I don’t know, I…” Lonnie trailed off, stumbling over her words.

“Just think about it, okay?” Evie stood. “I’m going to find Mal, I’ll be back.”

She headed in the direction of the kitchen. It had been almost five minutes now with no sign of the purple haired girl, and she wasn’t comfortable with that. She kept her eyes glued towards the kitchen, not even realizing when someone stepped in her way.

Evie crashed into the person, her drink flying out of her hand and all over their shirt. She looked up, seeing that it was Chad.

“Well hey there, sexy. You didn’t have to spill your drink to catch my attention- you already have it.” He smiled charmingly.

“I’m so sorry.” She apologized.

Chad looked down, seeing the state of his shirt. “My mom is going to kill me for this. This is the fourth shirt I have ruined with alcohol.”

Evie felt the hairs prickle on her neck. These kids were scared of their parents? What would Cinderella really do to her son if his shirt was messed up? She could only imagine what her mother would do. “No, it won’t be too hard to get out. Where’s the bathroom?”

“Right over here.” Chad grabbed her hand, leading her up the stairs. Evie frowned at the feeling of the hand in hers; it felt nothing like Mal.

Chad pulled out a set of keys and unlocked a door. She walked into a bedroom. “Is this your room?”

“Yeah, there’s a bathroom right through there.” Chad pointed towards the open door.

Evie went in, flipping on the light. She grabbed the little bottle of hand soap sitting on the counter and held out her hand.

“What?” he asked.

“I need the shirt.”

Chad smirked, but unbuttoned his shirt and held it out to her. Evie took it without a second glance, applying the soap to the spots her drink had landed. The shirt was white, so it made this a little more difficult, but she was confident that she could fix it. Even though Chad wasn’t very high up on her list of people she enjoyed being around, she didn’t want his mother to kill him.

“So, have you been having a good time?” Chad wondered.

Evie nodded. “Yeah, it’s been fun.”

“I saw you dancing. You’re a really good dancer.”

She shook her head. “No, I’m not that good.”

“Yes you are. You move so naturally, it’s beautiful.” He smiled. “You look really nice tonight, Evie.”

She looked up at him, seeing that for once, he actually was making eye contact instead of staring at her body. “Thank you.”

“Lonnie told me that you made her outfit. Did you make yours too?”

“Yeah, I’ve been making clothes since I was a kid.”

“You’re really talented. Maybe you could make something for me some time.”

Evie rinsed the shirt in the water, smiling in relief when the fabric returned to its original white. “Maybe.” She finished rinsing the shirt, then handed it back. “There you go, as good as new.”

“Thank you.” He grinned. “Good thing I ran into someone who was able to fix it. Most people wouldn’t have even tried.”

“Yeah, well I know a thing or two about disappointing your parents.”

“Really?” Chad shut off the bathroom light as they walked back into his bedroom. “What do you mean?”

Evie shook her head. She couldn’t believe she had said something like that. “Nothing. I’m glad your shirt is clean. I’m going to go find my friends.”

Chad was still shirtless and blocking her path towards the door. She tried to walk around him, but he moved, holding onto her arms. She realized too late what he was doing and then, Chad’s lips were pressed against her own.

Evie stayed stiff, pulling her head back quickly. “No, Chad. I’m not interested in you like that.”

“From the first day I saw you, I could tell exactly who you were. I know that comment Audrey made about you not being a real princess cut deep. If you were with me, you could be a real princess.”

“No, that’s okay.” Evie went to walk around him again, but Chad walked towards her, backing her up until the back of her knees hit the bed. She was forced into a sitting position as he loomed over her.

“I know you like to play hard to get, but it’s getting old, sweetheart.” He stroked her cheek.

“Get off of me.” She struggled in his grasp, but Chad just kissed her again. “No. I want to find my friends. Let me go.”

“I see the way you look at me.” Chad leaned over her until she was laying down on the bed. “I know you want this.” He leaned down and kissed her neck.

Evie felt her entire body freeze up as tears filled her eyes. Auradon wasn’t supposed to be like this. On the Isle, she had been through this more times than she could count. She shut her eyes tightly, being reminded of all the men who had touched her, kissed her, hit her…

What was the point? Why should she stay in Auradon if they were just as evil as the people on the Isle?

She felt Chad’s hands roaming around her body and she felt physically ill. She bit her lip, trying to keep herself from vomiting right there. She flinched every time Chad’s lips touched her skin, praying that this was all just a nightmare.

Hands went to the buttons on her pants and her eyes flew open. No. She wasn’t going to let this happen. She couldn’t.

Evie screamed at the top of her lungs. “GET OFF ME!” she yelled as loud as she could, causing Chad to jump as he pulled her pants off her legs. “NO!” he tried to cover her mouth, but she bit down into his hand. Chad slapped her across the face as he shouted in pain. “DON’T TOUCH ME! STOP!”

The bedroom door busted open and Chad rolled off of her, but Evie couldn’t stop screaming. She sat up, bringing her legs to her chest as she waited for all of the Auradon kids to turn on her and help Chad hurt her. She flinched when she felt a hand on her arm.

“…and you’re okay, Evie. It’s Lonnie…” she slid off the bed when she felt someone touch her shoulder. She pressed her back against the bed and buried her face in her knees as she screamed louder and louder.

-----

“Yes!” Jay cheered as he made his shot in beer pong, reaching out to high five Carlos. Carlos laughed with him, watching as their rivals tried to throw the ball.

A noise from the side of the room caught his attention and Carlos watched as a couple kids went running up the stairs. He scanned the room, his mind immediately going to Evie and Mal, but he didn’t see them.

Then, Doug was running down the steps. Carlos locked eyes with him and the other boy sprinted over to him.

“Carlos…it’s Evie…come quick…”

Carlos dropped the can of beer in his hand and took off with Jay hot on his heels. The raced towards the stairs, shoving people out of their way without a second thought. Carlos could hear her screams the closer they got, and it just motivated him to move quicker.

He followed the sound into a bedroom, seeing Lonnie, Audrey, and a couple other kids he didn’t know standing around. When his eyes landed on Evie, he swore he felt his heart break.

Evie was sitting on the floor in a closet, her knees brought up to her chest as she rocked back and forth. She was still screaming and choked sobs escaped her lips every couple seconds. Her eyes were squeezed shut and she was holding her hands over her ears. She had no pants on.

“Hey, E. You’re okay.” Carlos sank to the floor in front of her. He didn’t want to scare her, but he knew she couldn’t hear him. He brought his hands up carefully and put them over hers. Her eyes squeezed tighter and the screams intensified, but he leaned in towards her ear. “It’s Carlos. I’m here, Evie.”

She whimpered, pulling away from his touch and slamming her back into a shoe rack in the process. She started to cry even harder.

“Evie, open your eyes.” Jay insisted as he sat next to Carlos. “Calm down.”

But Evie was inconsolable. Carlos looked around the room, then turned to Jay. “Where the fuck is Mal?”

“I’ll find her.” Audrey reassured them before running out of the room.

Carlos knew that he and Jay could try their best, but no one would be able to get Evie to calm down until Mal was here.

-----

It surprised Mal how…normal…Ben was. The boy still had the manners and demeanor of a prince, but he actually listened. He asked questions in a way that didn’t feel like digging, and he showed genuine interest in what she said.

Mal wasn’t making it easy. She was talking in circles to try and get out of telling him any real information, but she was learning a lot about him anyway. He was persistent, intelligent enough to know when to back off, and he seemed to care a lot about the Isle and the VKs.

Loud, clicking heels pounding against the ground interrupted their conversation, and Mal was reminded of her own heel-wearing girlfriend. She had been gone for too long and she needed to get back to her princess.

“Ben!” Audrey shouted as soon as she was close enough to see them. If she was upset about him sitting with Mal, she didn’t comment on it. Mal was actually surprised when the girl turned towards her. “You need to get inside.”

“Audrey…” Ben started to interrupt.

“No, something is wrong with Evie…”

Mal didn’t need any more information. She ran faster than she ever had before, letting the crowd guide her in the direction she needed to be. She felt like a knife had pierced her heart when she heard Evie’s screams and cries.

Mal burst into the bedroom, taking in the scene before her. Evie was screaming in the closet with Jay and Carlos kneeling in front of her. There was a crowd of people gathered in the room, all whispering quietly as they stared at the blue haired girl.

She let out a growl as she felt her eyes light up. “Everyone, out. Now.”

They all ran out of the room without hesitation. Carlos and Jay looked to her for guidance, but she ignored them, effectively sending the message that they needed to leave too. She heard the bedroom door shut and then they were alone.

“Hey baby.” She said quietly. “It’s just me. It’s Mal.” She gently grabbed her hands, removing them from her ears. She put Evie’s hands on her cheeks, then ran them down her neck, then chest, then stomach. “You’re safe. It’s just us.”

The screaming stopped, but Evie was still sobbing. “No, no, no…” she chanted over and over again.

“I’m here, Pretty Girl. It’s Mal.” She just kept guiding Evie’s hands across her body. She knew her girlfriend would startle if she touched her, but letting her feel that it really was her could help.

After an agonizing minute, Evie’s eyes fluttered open. “M-M-Mal?”

“I’m right here, E. It’s just you and me.” She crawled further into the closet and reached her arms out. Evie climbed into her lap without question, straddling her and burying her face in her neck.

Mal just held Evie as she cried. She felt her blood boil as the moments passed, wondering who had dared to put their hands on her girlfriend. She could see a red handprint on Evie’s cheek and a faint mark on her neck.

“I’m sorry, M. I’m s-s-sorry.” Evie cried.

“Hey, stop that. You don’t need to apologize. This isn’t your fault, baby. Just take some deep breaths, okay? Listen to my heartbeat.” Mal shifted, guiding Evie’s head down so it rested over her heart. “You’re safe.”

“He k-kissed me a-and p-p-pulled my pants d-down.” Evie admitted through her tears. “I’m sorry, M, I d-didn’t w-w-want t-to.”

“Don’t apologize. I’m not mad at you.” Mal soothed, running her fingers gently through Evie’s hair. “What else happened, baby girl? Did he hurt you?” she still didn’t know who ‘he’ was, but she didn’t want to set her off even more by asking.

Evie shook her head. “I screamed when h-he got my p-p-pants off. People came in and Ch-Chad ran.”

Chad. Mal clenched her jaw. Chad Charming was as good as dead.

“You did so good, baby. I’m so sorry that this happened, but you are so strong and you handled it so well. You kept yourself safe.”

“I froze.” Evie whimpered. “He’s so much taller and he kept backing me up until I was on the bed, and then he was on top of me and I froze.” Her hand went to her neck. “He was kissing my neck.”

Mal kissed her temple and stroked her back. “You’re okay.”

“Is there a mark?”

“It’s tiny, it’ll be gone by morning.” Mal cupped her cheek. “Did he hit you?”

Evie nodded. “When I screamed, he covered up my mouth and I bit him.”

“That’s my girl.” Mal peppered tiny kisses across her face, feeling Evie relax into her. “I love you.” She whispered before kissing her forehead. “I love you.” She kissed her cheek. “I love you.” She kissed the tip of her nose.

“I love you.” Evie whispered, her voice cracking as she settled into Mal. Mal tightened her arms around her and just held her close. She played with her hair, stroking her fingers through it and gently scratching her scalp the way that Evie liked.

There was a quiet knock on the door and they both tensed up. A few seconds later, they heard it open. “It’s Carlos.”

Evie relaxed again, burrowing her face into Mal’s neck and closing her eyes. Her eyelashes fluttered against her skin, tickling her neck, and Mal couldn’t resist kissing the top of Evie’s head. How could someone want to hurt such a perfect human?

“Come in.” she said back, not raising her voice so she didn’t scare her. A few seconds later, Carlos and Jay were sitting on the floor in front of the closet. Mal looked at the boys, who were both seething in anger. Jay’s hands were shaking and he was frowning. Carlos didn’t show it as obviously, but Mal could see how tense he was.

Jay raised an eyebrow, but Mal understood the silent question and shook her head no. The boys both released a sigh at that, knowing that at least Evie hadn’t been hurt too badly.

“E?” Carlos called out gently.

“She’s okay.” Mal reassured the boys, continuing to hold her and stroke her hair. Evie nuzzled even closer to her and let out a content sigh.

“Everyone is worried about her.” Carlos said.

Mal didn’t comment on that. She didn’t care how everyone else felt. The only person in the world that mattered was sitting on her lap and finally calm, so she would stay there as long as she needed to.

After sitting in silence for a little while, there was another knock. Evie tensed up immediately and Mal didn’t blame her; they were all in the room, so who could that possibly be?

“Tell whoever it is to leave.” Mal practically growled.

Jay was the one to stand and go answer it. A few seconds later, he came back over to them. “It’s Ben.”

“Who cares? Get rid of him.”

“No.” Evie’s voice was tiny, but they still heard her. “Let him in.”

“Are you sure?”

“Mmhmm.” Evie didn’t attempt to move off her lap, and there was no way Mal would ever make her after what just happened. Even the boys were smart enough to keep their mouths shut.

“Give me your jacket.” Mal said. Carlos handed it over and she laid it over Evie’s legs, trying to cover some of the skin.

Jay led Ben over to the closet and Mal studied him. She could tell how nervous the future king was.

“Sit.” Carlos ordered, and Ben sat without complaint.

“Evie? Are you okay?” Ben asked hesitantly.

“She’s alright.” Mal answered, knowing that Evie’s throat was probably sore from all of the screaming and crying. Besides that, she could tell her girlfriend was comfortable and she didn’t want to ruin that.

“I am so, so sorry for what happened tonight.” Ben said, looking at each of them. “This is inexcusable, and I feel horrible that this happened while you all are under my protection. I swear to you that Chad will be brought to my father and this will be taken care of.”

Mal felt Evie’s breath hitch at Chad’s name, and she fought her urge to go find the boy and rip him to shreds. “If he doesn’t take care of it, I will.”

“He will.” Ben insisted. “If you need anything, please let me know. I will do whatever it takes to make you feel safe here, Evie.”

She lifted her head, turning slightly so she could look at the boy. “Thank you, Ben.”

“Of course. My private limo is outside waiting to take you all back to your dorms. Is there anything else you need from me?”

“Get everyone away from her.” Mal said. “Make sure there’s a path from here to the front door.”

“You got it.”

“Alright, time to stand, baby.” Mal told Evie. If Ben heard her say the pet name, he didn’t comment on it. By now, Mal was past the point of caring. If it was up to her, she would make an announcement that she and Evie are dating right now. No one would ever dare to touch her again.

Mal shifted Evie to the floor, then stood. She reached her hands out and wrapped them around Evie, carefully pulling her to her feet. Carlos’s jacket fell off in the process and now her legs were completely bare, but Ben had enough sense to look away.

Mal picked up Evie’s pants from the ground and held them out for her to step into. Evie got into them and Mal pulled them up, zipping and buttoning them. Evie wrapped both arms around Mal’s neck and leaned their foreheads together. Right now, no one else in the room mattered. This was all about Evie, and she would do whatever her girlfriend needed. Evie tilted her head down and that was all Mal needed before leaning in and kissing her lips.

After she moved back, Mal kissed the corner of Evie’s mouth, then cheek, then her neck. She remembered that Evie had said Chad had his mouth on her neck and she waited to see if she reacted, but she just snuggled closer to her.

“Mal?” she whispered.

“What do you need, Princess? Anything you need I’ll give it to you.”

“Can we go back to our room now?”

“We’re leaving right now.” Mal glanced at the others. Jay and Carlos looked unaffected; clearly they understood that taking care of Evie outweighed keeping their relationship a secret. She looked at Ben, but his face was completely free of judgment, and he even gave her a small smile when they made eye contact. “Jay?”

“I got her.” Jay leaned down, grabbing Carlos’s jacket from the floor. He held it out, letting Evie put her arms through the sleeves. Now that she was warm, he carefully scooped her up in his arms. “You good, E?”

“Just get me out of here.”

Mal led the way, opening the bedroom door and seeing that it was clear. Ben stepped in front of her, and Mal noticed the guards posted near the stairs. Mal led the group, followed by Jay holding Evie, and then Carlos took up the rear. Everyone stayed back as Ben guided them to his limo. He opened up the door and Mal stepped aside so Jay could get in first with Evie, then she let Carlos get in.

“Are you coming with us?” Mal wondered.

“Yes, but I’ll ride in the front. I don’t want to crowd her.”

“Thank you.” Mal blurted out.

“Of course. Again, I am so sorry that this happened. I will do everything I can to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Mal just nodded and then got into the limo. Evie was still sitting on Jay’s lap, but as soon as Mal got in, she crawled across the seat to her. She laid down with her head resting on Mal’s lap and her feet on Jay’s. She put one hand on Evie’s back and the other on top of her head, and within minutes, the other girl’s breathing had evened out.

When they finally got to the dorms, Mal shook her shoulder. She wanted her to keep sleeping, but she knew how confused she would be if she fell asleep in one place and woke up in another, and that confusion wasn’t good for keeping her calm.

“We’re at the dorm, babe.” Mal told her as she rubbed her back. “Wake up.”

Evie sat up, blinking tiredly as she looked around. Mal could tell the exact moment the events of the night came back to her because suddenly, she frowned and her body tensed up.

“You’re okay, beautiful.” Mal stroked her cheek. “Time to go inside. Don’t you want to get in our bed and cuddle?”

“Mmhmm.” Evie agreed.

Mal got out first, followed by Evie. The passenger side door opened and even though Mal knew it was Ben, she still stepped protectively in front of the other girl. Carlos and Jay got out and stood behind them. They just stared at one another, not really sure what to say.

“What will happen to him?” Evie questioned. Her voice sounded raw and it brought Mal back to too many memories. It was disgusting how good she had gotten at talking her girlfriend through this situation, and that she had ever had to talk her through this in the first place.

“I don’t know. That will be up to my father.” Ben admitted. “But he will take care of it.”

Mal reached a hand back, feeling Evie grasp it immediately. “We’ll see you later, Ben.”

“See you later.”

They actually rode the elevator this time, figuring that it would be easier than climbing all the stairs. Evie was still leaning heavily on Mal, so they didn’t want to push her.

As soon as they walked into the dorm, Evie stripped out of her pants and shirt, then unclasped her bra. She climbed under the blankets and settled in.

Mal collected Evie’s dirty clothes, knowing she would regret not picking them up tomorrow. She changed in the closet and grabbed one of her t-shirts, then went over to the bed.

She pulled back the blankets, careful not to expose too much of Evie to Jay and Carlos. They had all seen each other in various stages of undress, but that didn’t mean Mal wanted to reveal her girlfriend’s body to the boys. Normally, she wouldn’t have a problem with Evie wanting to sleep shirtless, but she knew that what had happened tonight may trigger nightmares and flashbacks and she wanted to do everything she could to avoid that.

Mal took the shirt and slid it over her head, then lifted her arms and guided them into the sleeve holes. Evie sighed contently and just scooted closer to her, gripping her tightly in her arms.

“Do you believe in fate?” Evie asked, her head resting against Mal’s chest.

“I don’t know.” Mal responded as she gently stroked Evie’s cheek.

“I do. I think the universe planned for us to be together because if we weren’t, I would be dead.”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s true. So much has happened and if I didn’t have you around to keep me grounded, I would have probably killed myself. You have made my miserable life a million times better, but I don’t understand why fate tied us together because I have nothing to offer you.”

“Don’t talk like that.” Mal pulled away from her, then scooted down in bed until they were face to face. “You have so much to offer the world. It’s you who has saved me, okay? I would have no purpose if you weren’t here. You have made my life a million times better than what it should have been. Do not ever talk about you not being alive, because I will do anything to keep you here.”

A tear slid down Evie’s cheek. “I’m so dirty and used up and worthless. You deserve better.”

“No.” Mal kissed the tear away. “You have been through so much, but those things don’t define you. Do you know what does?” Evie sniffled, but looked up at her. “You are happiness and light and love and everything that is good in the world. Your smile can change anyone’s mood around, and your voice is like music to my ears. You make me want to be a better person, Evie. I am a better person because of knowing you. I don’t know how else to say the words I love you, but that doesn’t seem big enough for how I feel about you.”

Evie cuddled into her. “Sometimes when we’re together, my chest aches and I want to tell you how much you mean to me, but I don’t know how. It’s fate, Mal. I think we are meant to be together.”

Mal nodded. “We are. In this life and every other life, it’s you and me.”

Evie hummed, her eyes drifting shut. “You and me.”

Chapter Text

Friday night was rough. Mal pulled out every trick in the book- cuddling, playing with her hair, rubbing her back, stroking her cheeks, warm baths, and even singing, and still Evie only slept for a total of two hours. She ended up getting up for the day at four in the morning because she was so tired of forcing herself back to sleep, and while she said Mal didn’t have to get up yet, she wasn’t going to leave Evie alone. They went into the bathroom together and sat on the floor so they could turn on the light without disturbing the boys and sketched until the sun came up.

Mal didn’t push the issue of food. She knew that right now, Evie being comfortable and feeling safe outweighed her need to eat. Honestly, Mal even felt a little sick, so she couldn’t even fathom how her girlfriend was feeling.

At around 10am, Evie’s eyes started to drift shut and her head bobbed back and forth as she battled with sleep. The boys were in the middle of a video game, and she wandered over to the couch to try and watch. She ended up falling asleep with her head on Jay’s shoulder. When lunch came around, he carefully snuck out from underneath her, all three teens breathing a sigh of relief when Evie stayed asleep. The boys went down to grab some lunch while Mal sat on the floor next to the couch.

She studied Evie’s face, wondering once again how someone could hurt a person who was so genuinely perfect. Mal knew she was biased when it came to Evie, but she was pretty sure that she was the kindest, most amazing person anyone could ever meet.

The boys brought some food back to the dorm and then settled down in front of the couch to watch a movie. The three of them didn’t bother to move Evie; they had sat in much worse places than plushy Auradon Prep carpet. Mal grabbed a plate and made sure to save something in case Evie woke up and wanted food.

By 4pm, Mal was getting a little nervous. She didn’t expect Evie to sleep this long, and while she was happy she was finally getting rest, she knew that would make nighttime more difficult.

“You were up all night with her.” Carlos commented. “Why don’t you take a nap?”

Mal nodded because there was really nothing else to do. She didn’t even have to ask what the boys would do; she knew that they would never leave when Evie was so vulnerable. She went over to their bed and got under the blankets, nearly falling asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. A few seconds later, she felt the bed dip and she opened her eyes, seeing Carlos had carried Evie over.

“Why would you move her?” she questioned.

“She’ll be more comfortable with you.”

Mal just wrapped an arm around Evie’s waist and pulled her closer until their bodies were molded together. Evie’s back was pressed to Mal’s chest and she let out a content sigh now that she had the blue haired girl close. Carlos grabbed their blanket and spread it over top of them and before long, Mal was asleep.

When she woke up again, it was 9pm. Mal looked around the room in confusion, seeing that the boys were playing a video game (with the sound on mute), and Evie was still passed out in her arms.

“Baby.” She said, shaking her arm gently. Evie didn’t even budge. Mal sat up, pulling her girlfriend with her. “Evie, babe, time to wake up.”

Evie frowned, her lips drawing into a pout with her eyes still squeezed shut. She stretched her arms up high above her head, then sighed and leaned all of her weight back on Mal.

“Are you still tired?”

“Mmhmm.”

“You’ve been sleeping for 11 hours.”

Evie cuddled in closer to her. “Can I sit on your lap?”

Mal kissed her temple. “You can do whatever you want.”

Evie moved her body so she could sit on Mal’s lap instead. “I just want to be close to you.”

She just stroked her fingers up and down Evie’s back and let her keep resting. After a little while, she spoke again. “Are you hungry?”

“No.”

“Do you want to try and eat something anyway?”

Evie shook her head, then buried her face in Mal’s neck. Mal could feel Evie’s weight pressing down more and more on her until she realized that she had fallen back asleep.

“Is she back asleep?” Jay questioned.

“Yeah. What do I do? Do I just let her sleep?”

“I would.” Carlos answered. “Maybe getting some rest will help.”

Mal held Evie for a while, then shifted her onto the bed so she could get up and eat the dinner the boys had brought back a while ago. Then, she got into the shower.

Right after she washed the conditioner out of her hair, she heard a noise. She turned around just as the shower curtain opened and watched as Evie climbed in. She wrapped her arms around her from behind and Mal just leaned back into her.

“You left me.” Evie whimpered.

“I’m sorry, Pretty Girl.” Mal turned around. She grabbed Evie’s cheeks in her hands and gave her a soft kiss. She had been careful about not being too touchy because of what had happened, but Evie pulled her closer and deepened their kiss.

They made out for a while under the spray of the water, but as soon as Evie’s hands starting wandering, Mal separated from her. She didn’t want her to feel pressured to do something that she most likely wasn’t ready for.

Mal washed Evie’s hair for her, they washed their bodies, and then they got out of the shower. After getting dressed, Evie went straight back to the bed and climbed under the covers.

“E, why don’t you come play a game with us?” Jay suggested.

“Or we can watch a movie.” Carlos added.

“I want to sleep.” She said, leaving no room for argument.

Mal got into bed next to her and instantly, Evie rolled over to face her. “You’re gonna lay down now?”

“Wherever you are, that’s where I want to be.”

Evie scooted in closer and rested her head on Mal’s chest. The purple haired girl trailed her fingers through her hair and held her until she fell back asleep.

-----

By 2am on Saturday morning, Evie was wide awake. She was regretting sleeping so much now. The bedroom was dark and all she heard was Mal’s soft breathing, Jay’s snores, and Carlos’s sporadic sleep talking. The longer she laid there, the more she felt her heart start to race.

She got up after a little while and took her sketchbook into the bathroom. She flipped on the light and then got into the bathtub, sinking down to sit and opening to a new page. She started to draw different outfits for her friends- leather jacket for Mal, pants for Jay, shoes for Carlos…

Evie was so into her drawing that she didn’t hear the bathroom door open. All she saw was something move out of the corner of her eye and it made her jump.

“It’s me.” Mal reassured her. She moved further into the room with a blanket wrapped around her shoulder. “What are you doing?”

“Designing.” Evie answered, her eyes still glued to the paper; she needed to get the details of the jacket just right.

Mal climbed into the tub next to her, moving the blanket over so they could share. She rested her head against Evie’s arm while she drew. The relaxing back and forth motion of the paper quickly lulled her back to sleep. Evie didn’t mind; she loved having Mal next to her, even if she was sleeping.

She didn’t know how long she sat there for, but her muscles ached from being cramped up. Mal woke up after Evie had finished nearly 15 designs.

“What time is it?” Mal wondered.

Evie shrugged. “I haven’t checked.”

Mal got out of the tub and went into the bedroom, returning a few minutes later. “It’s 10am.”

Evie nodded; no wonder why her muscles felt so cramped. She stood up, nearly stumbling from the loss of blood flow to her legs. Mal held on to her arms to steady her as she climbed over the side.

When Evie went back into the bedroom, she immediately smelled food and saw that the boys had set up breakfast on Mal’s desk. She tried to go over to her bed, but Mal grabbed her hand.

“Please.” She said, staring at her with big green eyes. “You need to stay healthy, remember?”

Evie wanted to scream, but she just sighed and went over to the desk. She grabbed the yogurt that was sitting there and ate it as quickly as she could, hoping that if she did it fast, she could just go to sleep after.

As soon as she was done eating, she knew that it was the wrong choice. The weight in her stomach was overwhelming, and she tried to force her gag reflex back. She wanted so badly to throw up, but she was too embarrassed to do it with her friends in the room. With Mal in the room.

“E?” Mal questioned, reaching over to touch her hand.

Evie snatched it back quickly, then realized who had touched her. “I’m sorry. I can’t…I’m sorry.”

“Shhh, it’s okay.” Mal tried to reassure her. “What do you need, baby?”

Evie’s eyes welled up with tears. “I don’t know.”

“Come here.” Mal ordered gently. Evie reluctantly crawled over to her, then laid her head in her lap. “I’m here, Pretty Girl. Everything will be alright.”

She shut her eyes, focusing on the feeling of Mal’s fingertips running over her face. She leaned into her touch as much as she could before falling asleep.

-----

The next couple days went the same way. Evie would sleep all day, and then be up all night. She could barely eat, and every time she did, she felt like she would throw up. She did finally throw up on Sunday, and she didn’t even have to put her fingers down her throat.

When Monday morning came around, the VKs silently decided to skip school. There was no conversation, but they all knew that they weren’t going. Mal tried to convince Evie to go on a walk, but she refused and they spent the whole day in the dorm, with the exception of when Carlos left for his therapy appointment.

Tuesday was pretty much the same. Evie did get dressed in real clothes after her shower, which was an improvement, but she still was barely eating. Mal tried to refuse going to therapy, but the boys talked her into it.

On Wednesday, Evie really didn’t feel like going to therapy. She was dreading having to see Dr. Bren, and it didn’t help that she hadn’t left the dorm since Friday.

“Come on, baby girl.” Mal whispered from where she was lying next to her. Evie was on her stomach with her face buried in the pillow, and she felt Mal’s fingers slip up her shirt and start to run up and down her back. “Are you going to shower first?”

Evie turned towards her with a pout. “I don’t wanna go.”

“I know, but you have to. We all agreed that it’s best to still go to therapy, remember?”

Evie was exhausted. She was up all night the night before and didn’t fall asleep until around 11am, and now it was 2pm. She shuffled over to Mal and threw a leg over her so she could lay completely on top of her, her face buried in her neck.

“Please don’t make me go.”

She could tell Mal was about to crack, but a different voice joined their conversation.

“Come on, E.” Carlos said. “I went and Mal went. Now it’s your turn. Besides that, FG is already going to be on our cases about missing class. Do you really want to hear her complain about missing therapy too?”

Evie felt Mal sit up, bringing her with her. Mal moved back so they could make eye contact. “Carlos is right. As much as I wish we could, we can’t just hide you away forever. You’re going to have to get back out there at some point.”

Evie bit her lip nervously. What if something happened on the way there? Or the way home? What if Dr. Bren knows what happened? What if she blames her? What if they send her back to the Isle. What if…

“Hey.” Mal put both hands on her cheeks and stroked them gently with her thumbs. “Calm down, okay? What are you scared of?”

“No one ever told us what happened to him.” Evie blurted out as her hands started to shake. “What if he didn’t get in trouble? What if he’s outside of the dorms, waiting for me to come out? What if he comes up to me while I’m walking to therapy and…”

“Slow down.” Mal encouraged. She let go of her cheeks to instead grab her hands and she pressed a gentle kiss to the top of each of them. “I’m going to walk you to therapy and I’ll wait there for you, okay? No one will dare to come near you when they see me.”

“We’ll go too.” Carlos agreed, throwing a look over his shoulder at Jay, who was passed out on Mal’s bed. Evie felt a little guilty; her erratic sleep schedule was starting to affect everyone. Maybe it would be best if she got back into the routine of things.

Evie leaned forward and put her forehead against Mal’s. “Will you sit in the bathroom with me while I shower?”

“Of course, baby.” Mal gave her a quick kiss. Evie wished it had lasted longer, but Mal was always so careful after something like this happened. She loved it, but it could also be a little frustrating.

Evie took her time showering and getting ready, chatting with Mal as she worked. As she painted her usual makeup on her face, she realized it was the first time she had done this since Friday. If her mother had seen her, that would have been the end of her.

“I already miss your pretty face.” Mal commented.

“Hmmm?”

“I think you’re pretty with makeup too, but I love that you feel comfortable enough to show us the real you, even with everything that has happened with your mother.”

Evie couldn’t help herself. She went over to where Mal was sitting on the closed toilet lid and sat on her lap, wrapping her arms around her as tightly as she could. “Thank you.”

“For what?”

“It feels like you’re always in my head. You know exactly what to say to make me feel better.”

“Yeah, I like to think that it’s because I know you pretty well.” Mal kissed the tip of her nose.

“You don’t have to do that, you know.”

“Do what?”

“Be so careful with me. I trust you, M. I know you would never hurt me.”

“I know, but I don’t want to trigger any memories. I would never want you to associate us with something bad that has happened to you, so I like to wait until you’re ready.”

Evie hugged her even tighter. “Every bad thing that has ever happened to me has been worth it in exchange for you, my love.” She heard a little sniffle and she pulled back, studying Mal. She could see the tears in her eyes. “M?”

“You’re just so fucking perfect.” Mal kissed every inch of her face, making Evie giggle.

A knock on the door interrupted their moment. “Almost time to go!”

Evie sobered up and stood again, finishing up her makeup. She went out into the room, seeing that the boys were sitting on the couch and waiting for them. She struggled with choosing an outfit- she didn’t want to wear one of her usual designs, but if she wore something more relaxed, people would think this whole thing with Chad was affecting her (which it was, but she could never let them see).

Mal came into the closet and must have realized her dilemma. She had been wearing her purple sweater that Evie loved, but she pulled it over her head and handed it over. Evie put it on and inhaled, relaxing instantly at her girlfriend’s scent.

“Thank you.” She whispered.

“Mmhmm.”

She paired it with some jeans and some heeled boots. When she was finally ready, she grabbed Mal’s hand and reentered the bedroom.

“Let’s go.” Mal announced. Jay and Carlos stood without question and the four of them walked out of their dorm room together for the first time in five days.

At first, they didn’t see anyone. But as they exited the dorm room, they saw people starting to get out of classes.

Evie kept her head held high and her gaze glued ahead of her. She didn’t want to see the judgmental stares or the pity. She realized Mal was still holding her hand and thought that maybe the only reward in this whole thing was that they could come out with their relationship. After all, Ben had seen her sitting on Mal’s lap, Mal calling her baby, and they kissed, so it was kind of obvious at this point.

They got to the health center way too quickly and Evie felt her heart start to race. She looked at her friends, who just smiled reassuringly and sat down on the bench outside.

“We’ll be right here.” Mal promised.

“You’ve got this, Princess.” Jay added.

“See you soon, E.” Carlos said.

She took a deep breath and walked into the building. She checked in and then walked back to Dr. Bren’s office.

“Hello Evie.” Dr. Bren greeted, sounding slightly surprised. “I’m glad to see you made it.”

Evie just nodded, not exactly sure what to say back to that. She took her usual seat and waited for the doctor to start her questioning.

“How are you doing?”

“I’m okay, how are you?”

“To be honest, I’m a little concerned about you.” Dr. Bren sat across from her. “Fairy Godmother told me that you haven’t been to class in a few days. Have you been sick?”

“Yeah, something like that.”

“You know the health center is open at all hours, right? If you’re not feeling well, you can always come here and be seen by a doctor.”

“I don’t really like doctors.”

“What is the medical care like on the Isle?”

Evie shrugged. “You find a cure for whatever is wrong, or you die.”

Dr. Bren nodded. “Do a lot of people die?”

“If they get sick enough they do.”

“What are the rules like on the Isle? What happens if someone does something wrong?”

“Nothing. I told you last week that being evil is encouraged.” Evie reminded her as she pinched her thigh.

“Even if someone does something bad to a child?”

Evie sighed. “You have to learn how to protect yourself, or find someone who can do it for you.”

“You said before that you and your friends were like a gang. Was that for protection?”

Evie nodded. “At first, yes.”

“Who did you need protecting from?”

“Stupid, worthless, little girl! You will please them or you will live on the streets and we’ll see what people do to you then!”

Evie pinched her leg a little harder, trying to clear the memory from her head.

“Come on, sweetheart. You can do better than that.”

She bit down on her tongue until she felt blood.

“You are mine now, my Queen.”

Evie dug her nails into her leg and let her eyes drift shut. She couldn’t bring herself back from this. All of a sudden, faces appeared, swirling around her mind and yelling at her for everything she had done wrong. She was never pretty enough or skinny enough or smart enough or good enough…

“Evie!”

Suddenly, it all drifted away and she opened her eyes, seeing that she was back in the health center with Dr. Bren. The woman looked concerned and Evie quickly masked her features.

“I’m sorry, what was your question?”

Dr. Bren looked startled by how easily she tried to hide what just happened. “Evie, I’m going to be honest with you. Fairy Godmother told me that you went to the party last weekend and while you were there, something happened.”

Evie felt heat creep into her face. How did Fairy Godmother know? Why had she sold her out?

“It happened, and now it’s over.” She told Dr. Bren.

“Trauma like this can stay with you and affect your life. This isn’t something that you should just brush off. You can talk to me about it and we can try to help you heal.”

“I don’t need your help. We didn’t have fancy doctors on the Isle to help with shit like this, so I don’t need help now. I’m fine.” She stood up. “We’re finished for today.”

“Evie, I…”

“I said I’m finished. Do I have to stay?”

Dr. Bren sighed in defeat. “See you next week.”

Evie grabbed her bag and stormed out of the room. She threw open the doors that led to outside, relieved when she saw her friends still standing there.

“We’re going to school tomorrow.” She announced as she began to walk.

Mal and the boys moved quickly to catch up with her. “What made you decide that?” the purple haired girl questioned.

“Fairy Godmother told on me.” She spat angrily. “Now apparently I’m experiencing trauma and speaking to someone I’ve only met three times is supposed to help me heal.” She whirled around to face them. “I am not going to let everyone continue to think that I’m some weak little Auradon girl. We’re going to school.”

The other three just nodded. Evie knew school was going to be hell tomorrow, but there was nothing worse than people thinking she was weak.

Chapter Text

When Evie woke up the next day, she instantly felt a headache settling in. Her sleep schedule was still a mess, so she had barely gotten any rest, plus she had been tossing all night while thinking about going back to school.

As soon as she opened her eyes, she came face to face with Mal. Her girlfriend gave her a small smile and tightened her arms around her. She started to hum a song quietly and Evie just sank against her.

“You’ve got this, beautiful girl.” Mal whispered before kissing her forehead. “Whatever you can’t handle, I’ll deal with it for you.”

“I’m nervous.”

“I know.” Mal kissed her cheek, then the tip of her nose. “It might be a little awkward today, but we’ll get through it. We’ve gotten through worse.” She kissed her lips.

Evie returned the kiss, then pulled back after a few seconds. She rolled out of bed and went to the bathroom to get to work on her makeup and hair. She went through each step of her routine slowly to make sure she didn’t miss a step; she couldn’t look anything less than perfect on her first day back in the real world.

She walked past Jay on her way back into the bedroom and immediately went over to the closet. She studied each of the pieces hanging up, trying to come up with a good outfit for the day. It took her a couple minutes to choose and she put it on, then walked over to the full length mirror.

Evie couldn’t help but stare. Was the material bunching by her stomach? Did her waist look small enough? Did the shirt enhance her breasts? Was it…

“Fucking gorgeous.” Mal whispered as she came up behind her and wrapped her arms around her waist. She pressed a gentle kiss to the side of her neck and Evie involuntarily let out a whimper, feeling her knees get a little weak.

When everyone was dressed and ready, the four of them walked down to breakfast together. As they moved through the halls, everyone turned and stared, but no one dared to speak.

“E…”

“No.” Evie said immediately. She knew there was absolutely no way that she would be able to keep any food down with how much her stomach was bubbling.

“You’ve barely been eating.” Jay reminded her.

“I can’t do it.”

“Okay, we have two choices here.” Carlos told them. “We can force Evie to eat and then she’ll be even more anxious than she already is and probably throw up. Or we can let her skip breakfast, hopefully get her calmed down, and push harder for food at lunch and dinner.”

Mal and Jay seemed to realize Carlos was right because they both sighed in defeat. Mal grabbed a tray and started to walk through the line, Evie staying right behind her.

They sat down at a table, the boys on one side and the girls on the other. They were hoping that no one would try and join them today, and luck seemed to be on their side.

Evie couldn’t help but notice everyone in the cafeteria staring. No one spoke to them, but their eyes were all glued towards their table. Evie reached her right hand over and grabbed Mal’s left hand, pulling it off the table and onto her lap.

“You okay?” Mal asked quietly.

“I don’t know. I need something.”

Evie was glad her girlfriend knew her so well. Mal pulled Evie’s hand over to her lap instead and turned it over so her palm was facing up. She started to trace swirls and patterns from below her elbow up to her palm. Evie’s eyes drifted shut as she focused on the sensation instead of what was ahead of her for the day.

The bell rang and the four teens rose to go to English class. Mal led the way, followed by Evie, and the boys were right behind her. Though they didn’t have a conversation about it, Evie knew that they all took those spots around her as a form of protection.

They moved through the hall together and Evie started to notice the staring more and more. In the cafeteria, people were just watching with no expression. Now, she started to get the feeling that everyone was angry based on the sneers and judging looks she was receiving. Maybe she was just being paranoid.

“Why does everyone look so pissed?” Jay whispered behind her, probably trying to talk quietly so only Carlos heard. Now Evie’s heart started to beat a little quicker. Were they mad at her?

“Because we just outed one of their precious princes as an attempted rapist.” Carlos responded back, and Evie knew now that they definitely thought she couldn’t hear them. She picked up her pace slightly and grabbed one of Mal’s hands. The purple haired girl turned to look at her questioningly, but something in her face must have given her away because she just squeezed her hand and kept moving.

They got to English class and sat down. Evie noticed they instantly went on the defensive, and it felt like the first week of school all over again. Last week had been nice and much more relaxing, and she was actually starting to feel like she was getting the hang of things in Auradon. Now, they were back to square one.

She was jolted out of her thoughts when someone slammed into her chair from behind. She jumped and Mal was instantly on her feet.

“Watch where the fuck you’re going.” She spat.

The guy laughed. “Why? You gonna try and slap a case on me too?”

Mal literally growled and Evie moved, grabbing her hand and pulling her back into her seat. “Sit down. It’s not worth it.”

“It’s definitely worth it.” Mal argued.

“Don’t give them the satisfaction.” Evie pleaded. She couldn’t wait until this day was over. After what had happened so far, she didn’t think she would be coming back tomorrow.

Their teacher walked in and all conversation ended. He didn’t even give the VKs a second glance, whereas normally he would call on them and be interested in hearing their perspective.

Evie didn’t pay attention to anything he was saying. Her eyes kept scanning the room, just waiting for someone to attack. She could feel how tense Mal was beside her and knew she was thinking the same.

When the bell rang, she was so startled that she dropped her book on the ground. It echoed loudly around the classroom and everyone turned to stare. She felt her cheeks flush instantly and her hands started to shake.

Mal leaned down, picked up her book, and shoved it in her bag before ushering her towards the door. Evie felt like she was going to throw up. Everyone was mad at her and now she had to go to class without her friends, and to make matters worse, she was going to a class that she used to have with Chad.

“Say the word and we’ll leave.” Mal told her once they got to a quieter place in the hall where they could be alone.

Evie bit her lip. There was nothing she wanted more than to go back to the dorm and sleep, but if she didn’t do this now she wasn’t sure she ever would.

“We have to stay.”

“Everybody, keep your phones right next to you. If anything happens, send a message and we’ll leave.” Mal put her hands on Evie’s cheeks, cradling her face gently. “If anyone even looks at you for too long, text me and I’ll give them something to look at.”

“That was bad.” Jay said, shaking his head in fake disappointment.

Evie smiled at his attempt to lighten the mood. She leaned forward and gave Mal a quick kiss on the cheek, then pulled back. “Let’s go to class.”

Evie walked with Jay while Mal and Carlos went the opposite direction. She just stared straight ahead, hoping that if she didn’t acknowledge anyone, then maybe their reactions wouldn’t bother her as much.

They arrived outside of Jay’s next class. “If…”

“…anything happens, text you.” Evie finished for him.

Jay gave her a hug. “You’re so brave, Princess.”

Evie smiled back slightly and then walked towards her classroom. At least Chad wouldn’t be there to bother her anymore. Maybe she could actually focus on history for once.

“…and she just kept saying how much she likes me. She practically begged to come to my party, and I let her because I felt sorry for her. She was hanging all over me, saying how she wanted to be a princess and she would do anything for me…”

Evie walked into the room and felt her blood run cold. There, sitting on top of one of the desks in the front row, was Chad Charming. His back was to her, but the people he was talking to looked in her direction, causing him to turn around.

Now suddenly, the whole day made sense. Everyone was angry at her because they thought she lied about Chad trying to rape her. He was telling everyone it was her who came onto him.

As Chad stared into her eyes, she knew whatever came next wasn’t going to be good. Slowly he grinned, then started to laugh.

“Oh look, the little whore who tried to ruin my reputation!” his friends laughed at the comment as Chad spun his body around on the desk so now he was facing her. “You really are evil, aren’t you?”

“Excuse me?” Evie said, her voice coming out a lot stronger than she expected. She walked further into the room and put her hands on her hips. No matter where she was living, she would always be a VK; she was not going to let him see that he was getting to her.

“You had been begging me to touch you, but as soon as everyone caught you, you didn’t want to own up?” he slid off the desk and stood, leaving some distance between them. “Did you really think that my father would let King Adam kick me out of school over some worthless VK slut?”

The coolness in her blood disappeared as she felt herself heat up in anger. “Yes Chad, I was begging when you would come find me in the hallways after I told you not. I was begging when you asked me over and over again to go out with you and I said no. I was begging when you pushed me into that bedroom even though I told you I wanted to go find my friends. I was begging when you had to hold me down to kiss me, and I was begging when I started screaming as loud as I could because you pulled my pants down.”

Evie’s chest was heaving and she took a step forward with each statement until she was standing right in front of him. He stood over six inches taller than her, and he used every bit of those inches to try and intimidate her.

“You are a pig and you are the type of person who belongs on the Isle. Back there, at least people would actually treat you like the trash you are.”

Chad took a sudden step forward, causing Evie to automatically step back, unfortunately giving him the upper hand. “Oh, like how they treated you?”

The rest of the room erupted in laughter and Evie felt her heart race. No matter what she said, these kids weren’t going to believe her. They would side with Chad and believe that she had really pretended to be attacked by him.

No matter what she did, everyone always thought she was a slut.

Chad took another step towards her, and another, and another until Evie’s back hit the white board. He loomed over, smiling his most charming smile. “You will never belong here, bitch. No matter what you do or who you try to sleep with, we will always know that you’re just Mommy’s little slut.”

Laughter filled the room again and they started to yell out little taunts towards her. Evie’s knees felt weak and she gripped onto the ledge underneath the board to keep herself standing.

The teacher walked in the door with the frown. “What is going on in here? I can hear you all yelling from down the hallway!”

“Sorry.” Chad said, going over to his seat.

“Evie, if you don’t sit now, you can count on a detention for later.”

Evie turned and tried to leave the room, ignoring the laughs behind her from everyone else. They all know she is weak. They know exactly who she is.

She tried to walk out the door, but her body slammed into someone. Her eyes were unfocused and it took her a few seconds to realize that the person she had bumped into was Mal.

-----

As soon as Mal walked into her classroom, she started to hear the rumors swirling. Her hands tightened into fists as she heard people whisper that Evie tried to say Chad raped her, how Chad would never do that, how the VKs are here to ruin their lives. Then, she heard the final straw.

“She even tried to get Chad kicked out of school. Good thing King Adam didn’t listen.”

Mal was up out of her seat before she could even fully process the statement. She moved quickly, only thinking of one thing. She needed to get to Evie. If Chad was at school today, then her girlfriend had already most likely seen him; after all, they do have second period together.

She got closer to the room and she could hear laughter and Chad’s voice. She picked up her pace, watching as the teacher walked in. She made it there a few seconds later, just in time for Evie to crash into her in the doorway.

Mal put her hands on Evie’s arms to steady her. It quickly became clear that her princess was not okay. She was shaking, her eyes were unfocused, and the entire group of kids (including Chad) sitting in the room was laughing and joking.

It took all of three seconds for Mal to get so angry that her eyes started to glow. She walked further into the room and attention turned towards her. She stomped straight over to Chad. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could even get a sound out, Mal had punched him so hard that his head slammed back.

He cried out in pain, but she didn’t give him any relief. Mal wrapped her hand around the collar of his shirt and yanked him forward so he had to look at her. Blood was pouring from his nose and running down his face, but she didn’t care.

“I heard you’re spreading rumors. I’m going to say this one time and one time only.” She raised her voice so that the rest of the students heard her. “Do not look at Evie. Do not talk about Evie. Do not say her name. If you see her coming, turn and walk the other way. If I ever hear about you touching her again, or even thinking about her in a negative way, I will end your useless life.” She used her grip on his shirt to pull Chad out of his seat, throwing him on the ground easily. “Stay the fuck away from my girlfriend.”

The entire classroom gasped. The teacher was yelling, but Mal couldn’t hear it over the pounding of her heartbeat in her ears. She felt Evie come up behind her and hold her hand and she squeezed back reassuringly, letting her know she was okay.

Mal turned, gently ushering Evie towards the door. Then, Chad’s voice stopped her dead in her tracks.

He laughed, despite the fact that he was on the ground with blood pouring out of his nose. “Wow, so you’re a whore and a dyke?”

Mal didn’t even have to move. As soon as the words left his mouth, Evie slammed past her and straight into Chad, sending another hard punch towards his face. Mal could hit harder than Evie, but the purple haired girl knew for a fact that a punch in the face never felt good, no matter how hard it was.

A friend of Chad’s stepped forward to help as Evie kneeled on him, continuing to hit his face and chest. It took one snarl from Mal and he was back in his seat. The teacher was still screaming, but Mal stood defensively next to the fight, waiting for her moment to step in.

The second Chad’s hand reached up to grab Evie’s wrist and prevent her from hitting him, Mal stepped in. She wrapped an arm around Evie’s waist and easily yanked her off the boy, shuffling so she was behind her. Mal stepped down on Chad’s throat.

“Did you not hear my warning?”

Then, an arm shoved her backwards and the teacher had thrown himself between the two of them. “Mal and Evie, get out of this classroom right now! Go see Fairy Godmother!”

Mal knew the fight was over. She gave Chad one last menacing glare, then grabbed Evie’s hand and pulled her out of the classroom. They walked down the hallway until they found the bathroom. Mal led the way inside, knowing Evie needed to be calmed down sooner rather than later, and honestly, she just wanted a second to hold her girl and make sure she’s okay.

Mal tried to hug her, but Evie brushed past her. “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why does this always happen? It doesn’t matter what I do or how hard I try, this always follows me. Even when I was nice about rejecting him, he was still pushy. He had to have known.”

“What are you talking about, E?”

“Why do I always have to be a slut!?”

Evie’s voice echoed off of the tile walls. Mal felt her eyes glowing green again.

“I’m going to stop you there. You are not a slut, Evie. Not even close. This is on Chad, not on you. Do not put the blame on yourself.”

“But apparently it is my fault!” Evie shouted back, finally losing it. It was true that Evie got stressed out easier than the other three, and she is a pretty emotional person, but it took a lot for her to really get angry. They had been in Auradon for nearly three weeks now, so Mal knew this had been building up for a while.

“I was walking down the hall towards class and I heard his voice. I walked around the corner and he was telling everyone that I asked him for it. He said I begged him to come to the party, and he let me because he felt sorry for me. He said that I told him I wanted to be a real princess and that I would do anything to be one.” She shuddered, her skin growing more and more flushed as she got worked up. “He called me a whore and said I was trying to ruin his reputation and that I had been begging him until someone caught us.” Evie started to pace, running her fingers through her hair and pulling at the roots. “He told me I really am evil, and did I really think King Adam would kick him out of school for a worthless VK slut?”

“E…” Mal tried to reach out to her, but Evie brushed her off.

“I tried to explain it to them all. I asked him if I was begging all the times I rejected him and told him not to follow me in the hall and when he held me down to kiss me or when he pulled my pants down.” The tears started to slide down her cheeks, and Mal wasn’t even sure if she realized it. “I told him he belongs on the Isle so they can treat him like the trash he is, and he said like how they treated me.” her sobs started to increase. “He kept backing me up until he had me cornered against the wall. He said I’ll never belong here.” She paused for a second. “How do they know?”

Mal was confused. “How do they know what?”

“He said that no matter what I do or who I try to sleep with, they’ll always know I’m just Mommy’s little slut.”

Before Mal could stop her, Evie swung her body around, slamming her right hand as hard as she could into the mirror. It shattered instantly and Mal jumped back, trying to avoid having any of it hit her.

“Baby.” Mal whispered. She reached out to grab Evie’s hand, but she was crying so hard that she started gasping, and then suddenly, her eyes got wide. Mal had seen that happen too many times and she knew right away what would happen next.

Evie turned and ran into the stall, slamming down to her knees and emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet. As soon as Mal reached out to help her, she heard their phones start to go crazy in their bags. Mal smoothed all of Evie’s hair back, then got up and grabbed their phones when she heard them ring for the 4th time. She found Evie’s first and answered, seeing it was Carlos.

“Bathroom near history class.” She said before hanging up, turning her attention back to her girlfriend. Evie’s hand was bleeding everywhere, she couldn’t stop throwing up, and she was struggling to catch her breath.

Moments later, the doors busted open and Mal turned, seeing that it was just Carlos and Jay. They both looked shocked to see the state Evie was in, and Mal guessed she would probably look the same if she saw Evie bloody and puking.

She didn’t even know what to take care of first. She looked to the boys for guidance as they walked into the large stall with them.

“FG is looking for you guys.” Carlos whispered as he sank down on the floor next to her.

Jay sat next to Evie. She had stopped puking for the moment, so he reached out and pulled her back until she was sitting between his legs, her back resting against his chest. Luckily, it seemed to help her calm down and she wasn’t crying as hard anymore. He grabbed her right hand and checked the damage. Mal could see the glass stuck in it from where she sat. She couldn’t believe how horribly this day had gone.

-----

Evie tried to relax into Jay’s strong chest. Normally, his strength and muscles soothed her, but right now, all she could think about was Chad and the other Auradon kids.

Jay released her hand, guiding it to rest on his thigh. “Well that’s gonna hurt like a bitch.”

“It already does.” Evie mumbled.

“No more tears, Princess.” Jay reached up and wiped the tears off her face.

She sighed. “Can you get my sewing kit out of my bag?”

Carlos stood and left the stall for a moment, then returned with her sewing kit. As soon as he sat back down next to Mal, Evie heard the bathroom door open. She tensed up immediately, feeling Jay’s arms tighten around her as they both looked to Mal and Carlos. They were too deep into the stall to see who it was, but the other two were sitting right in front of the open door. They both looked like they were on the defensive, but Evie at least knew it wasn’t Chad because Mal hadn’t jumped up to attack the person.

She heard the clicking of heels and few seconds later, Fairy Godmother entered the stall. Her eyes scanned over the four of them, but she didn’t seem surprised to see them there. Jay was still holding Evie with his left arm, but he reached up with his right to flush the toilet.

Evie opened her sewing kit and pulled out her tweezers. She used her left hand to hold the tweezers and grab a bigger piece of glass out of her right hand. She deposited the glass into Jay’s open hand.

Fairy Godmother studied her. “Let’s go see the nurse for that. You shouldn’t have to do it on your own.”

Evie didn’t even look away from where she was pulling out another piece of glass. “Mal can’t handle it if it’s my blood, Jay moves too quickly, and Carlos is too shaky. It has to be me.”

FG shook her head. “An adult can help you, dear.”

Before Evie even had a chance to think of a response, Mal jumped in. “What, like how adults helped her when she came forward about Chad hurting her and they still let him come back to school? Or how the history teacher helped when he kicked Evie out, but not Chad?”

FG sighed. “I understand you’re upset and…”

Evie was so done with this whole situation. She knew that no matter what they said or did, nothing would ever change. Chad was right about one thing- they don’t belong.

“I want to go home.” She interrupted.

Fairy Godmother nodded. “You can go back to your dorm after the nurse sees your hand and we talk about this.”

“No, not the dorm. I want to go back to the Isle.”

The bathroom was silent. Fairy Godmother seemed at a loss for words and though Mal, Carlos, and Jay didn’t speak, Evie knew that if she really wanted to go back, they would go with her.

FG sat down across from Evie. “I don’t want you to make a drastic decision, Evie.”

“These people will never accept us. At least on the Isle, we had some control. People knew not to mess with us. People here act like it’s a game to see who can hurt us more.” She put another piece of glass into Jay’s hand and then paused for a second to look at the headmistress. “It’s funny because I thought all the villains were supposed to be on the Isle, but you have plenty of bad people here.”

Silence.

This time, it was Mal who broke it. “Can you just tell us what you’re here for so we can get it over with? Are we in trouble for dating, or for punching Chad, or are you going to punish Evie for making up the fact that Chad tried to rape her?”

That word made Evie feel like she had been stabbed. She flinched and Jay instantly noticed because he hugged her tighter and kissed her shoulder quickly.

Evie felt the woman’s gaze on her, but she refused to make eye contact. “Did you know my daughter, Jane, is in your history class, Evie? After she saw what happened, she came to me immediately to explain. You’re not in trouble for hitting Chad, though I am concerned that you threatened his life, Mal.” She gave the purple haired girl a look. Evie couldn’t help but think that FG had no clue how much truth was behind Mal’s threat. “While same-sex relationships aren’t common in Auradon, they are not illegal and I wouldn’t judge you for who you are dating. And I want you to know that I do believe you, Evie.” This time, she did look up at her. “I know Chad Charming isn’t as perfect as his parents make him out to be, and I will make sure he is punished for what happened to you.”

Evie scoffed. “How? Are you going to ambush him too and tell his therapist about it?”

“E, stop.” She heard Mal say, then sigh defeatedly. She felt instant guilt rush through her. “She’s trying to help.”

The blue haired girl didn’t respond, instead pulling out the last piece of glass. Jay let go of her and started to feel around in her bag. Evie moved so she could kneel next to the toilet and hold her hand above it. Jay found the bottle of alcohol he was looking for and opened it, then dumped it over her hand. Evie hissed in response to the pain, but gritted her teeth and let him continue.

“Do you have wrap?”

“Mmhmm, in the bag.”

Carlos came over with a paper towel and held it out. Jay put all the glass onto it and let the younger boy throw it away, then searched through Evie’s bag. He found what he was looking for and started to wrap her injured hand.

“I still want to go home.” She finally spoke.

FG started to speak, but Mal interrupted. “We’ll talk about that later. Right now, let’s get back to the dorm.”

Their teacher gave them each a stern look. “You have missed a lot of school this week…”

“Wow, right when I actually thought she was kind of cool.” Carlos said as he got up.

FG just sighed and stood. “Please come to class tomorrow.”

“Not until Chad is gone.” Jay told her. He stood, then reached out and pulled Evie to her feet, being careful of her hand. Mal took the lead, Evie following behind her, then Carlos, and finally Jay.

Fairy Godmother shook her head as she watched them go. They had no idea how severe of trauma these Isle children faced. Just as she exited the bathroom, she saw the prince running towards her.

“I just heard what happened. Tell me it’s not as bad as I think it is.” Ben said, clearly having run there based on his rapid breathing.

FG truly admired how caring Ben was and she knew he thought he was helping the VKs by bringing them to Auradon, but she wondered if they were really doing enough to help them.

“Evie wants to go back to the Isle.” She informed him. Ben groaned. “You know, Mal may be the leader of their group, but it’s pretty obvious that Evie is the heart. If she leaves, they’re all going with her.”

Ben looked at her sadly. “How do I get them to stay?”

“Surprisingly, it was Mal who didn’t seem as enthusiastic about them going back. All I know is that they’re refusing to come back to class until Chad is gone, and that we need a new mirror in the bathroom.” Fairy Godmother started to walk back towards her office.

“Why?” Ben called after her.

“Because Evie punched her hand through it.” She said back before turning around the corner.

Ben shook his head. He had a lot of questions, but he knew there was one thing he really needed to do.

He needed to have a talk with his father.

-----

Evie, Mal, Jay, and Carlos walked back into the girls’ dorm room in silence. The weight of Evie’s statement was still hanging over all of them, festering in their minds.

Carlos knew for a fact that he wanted to stay in Auradon. He didn’t have to deal with his mother’s crazy demands or beatings, and for once, he had enough to eat. Classes were kind of fun and they were even a little challenging, and he had all the technology he could get his hands on.

Jay felt the same as Carlos. He didn’t have to steal to impress his father, and then face his wrath when it wasn’t ever good enough. He was playing Tourney and trying new foods and making new friends.

Even Mal was a little hesitant to return to the Isle. Here, she could just be a teenager. She didn’t have to worry when her mother’s next order would come, or when she would be punished for not being evil enough. Most importantly, she could be with Evie here. Even if up until today they could only be together in their dorm room, that was still better than the Isle. She didn’t have to worry that every time she left her girlfriend, something terrible would happen to her.

Mal knew that she was going to have to talk some sense into her girl. There was no way they could go back to the Isle, especially without facing repercussions for not even attempting to complete their parents’ plan.

“Well that was interesting.” Jay commented as they all settled into the room, the boys sitting on Mal’s bed and the girls on Evie’s.

“I’m shocked.” Carlos chimed in. “You guys lasted a whole two weeks keeping your relationship a secret.” Jay laughed along with the statement.

“I couldn’t care less.” Mal informed them. “I want people to know to stay away from my girl.”

The boys rolled their eyes at her possessiveness and went over to the couch instead. Mal glanced over at Evie, who looked so trapped in her own head that she probably didn’t even hear the conversation that just happened.

Mal stood and reached a hand out, pulling Evie to her feet. That snapped her out of her daze a little and she held her hand without question as Mal led her to the bathroom.

“Bath?” Evie asked hopefully.

Mal smiled; just one more positive towards Auradon. “Yes, baby, we can take a bath.” She reached towards the faucet and turned on the water.

They stripped out of their clothes and climbed into the warm water. Mal got in first and then Evie sat across from her so they could look at each other. Mal leaned forward, carefully brushing Evie’s hair out of her eyes. She leaned into her touch instantly.

“I know you’re upset, and you have every right to be. But you need to keep your mind on the reason we are here. I know it’s hard and that these Auradon kids are assholes, but I’m not going to let anything happen to you again.”

Evie bit her lip and looked down, as if she was trying to make a choice. She must have decided because then she was leaning forward until she could rest her head on Mal’s shoulder. Mal adjusted her body without a second thought, allowing Evie to get as close to her as she wanted.

“Do you really think we can trust FG to take care of the situation?” she whispered.

Mal stroked long strands of wet blue hair. It was a question she had been asking herself ever since they left that bathroom. “I kind of do.” She did believe that FG was a good person and wanted to help, but she didn’t think the older woman even knew how to begin to help the four of them.

“What if this whole thing is a waste? Like I said before, the people here aren’t as good as we thought they would be. How do we know it’s any better here than the Isle?”

“Well there’s food, there’s heat, we can take baths whenever we want, schooling matters, you don’t have to pay for things with sex, there are no psychotic murderous parents…”

Evie sighed. “I guess you’re right.” She turned her head slightly, pressing a gentle kiss against Mal’s neck. “Thank you for standing up for me today.”

Mal sank down a little further in the water, pulling Evie even more on top of her. “I thought you knew by now that I will always stand up for you. No matter what happens, who is around, or how wrong you are, I will always be on your side.” She kissed the top of her head. “I guess we’re going to have to go back to Isle rules- no one even looks at you without my permission.”

Evie just nuzzled her neck. When they were on the Isle, Evie didn’t mind her possessiveness and knew it was a necessity to keep her safe. Mal hadn’t been sure how she would feel about that continuing in Auradon, but based on her reaction, she didn’t seem opposed.

Mal reached down, grabbing Evie’s chin gently and tilting it up so they were making eye contact. “I will do my best to make sure that what happened with Chad never happens to you again, baby girl. You have my word.”

Her girlfriend cuddled into her. “I trust you, M. I trust you more than anyone else on this planet.” Her voice was slow and Mal could tell she was exhausted. She wrapped an arm tighter around her and Evie let out a content sigh.

“Then trust me and say you’ll stay here.”

She felt Evie’s eyelashes flutter against her neck as she closed her eyes. “We can stay.”

Chapter Text

The VKs had decided after Evie’s traumatic day on Thursday, they wouldn’t be returning to school for a while, and Jay even skipped his therapy appointment. On Friday, they didn’t show up, which they were sure no one was surprised about.

The weekend came and went. Evie’s sleeping was still sporadic, and the others knew it wasn’t helping the situation. They were doing what they could to get her to sleep, but it didn’t seem to be working. They stayed locked away in their room with only Jay leaving at mealtimes to collect food for them.

That was another big issue. Evie hadn’t eaten at all on Thursday, she had breakfast on Friday that she then threw up and a small dinner that she barely managed to keep down, she slept the entire day on Saturday and never ate, and only had lunch on Sunday.

When Monday rolled around, Evie had been up for over 24 hours, she was having nightmares, and even Carlos had woken up from a nightmare. Mal and Jay made the executive decision that they would be skipping school again, and they even let Carlos skip his therapy appointment.

Looking back on things, Jay should have realized that that would have been what got them in trouble, but he was just too worried about his friends to consider the consequences. He knew Mal was in the same boat- Evie had been extremely clingy and Mal hardly left her side.

Monday night, a little after dinner time, there was a knock on the dorm room door. Jay was sitting on the floor with his back against the couch. Carlos was on one end and Mal was on the other, and Evie was passed out on Mal’s lap. They had been watching a movie in hopes that it would lull Evie to sleep, and their plan had been successful.

Jay cursed quietly; you would have thought he would have realized long ago that success never came without a price.

He rose to his feet and went over to the door, swinging it open aggressively and hoping the person got the message that their presence wasn’t wanted. Fairy Godmother stood there, looking a little surprised.

“Hello, Jay.” She greeted. “May I come in?”

“We’d rather you didn’t.” he responded.

She smiled undeterred. “I’m sorry, but that’s not really an option.”

“Then why did you ask?” Fairy Godmother didn’t even flinch at his rudeness. Jay stepped aside, letting her enter the room. She went over and sat in the living room chair near the others.

Jay went back to his friends. Carlos and Mal were both sitting now, leaving space in the middle for him to sit. Evie was still asleep, luckily, though he was sure Mal wasn’t happy about someone intruding on them while one of their members (especially when that member was Evie) was asleep.

“It’s time that we have a discussion.” Fairy Godmother began. “Could you please wake Evie up?”

“No.” Mal said seriously, tightening her grip on the girl and leaving no room for argument. “Anything else?”

Fairy Godmother’s eyes scanned over them and Jay wondered what she was thinking. He realized that they weren’t really dressed for company. He was shirtless and wearing only sweatpants, Carlos was in an old pair of sweats and a t-shirt, Mal had on a long sleeved shirt and pajama pants, and Evie was in a big t-shirt and underwear, her legs completely bare and her underwear peeking out a little from where her shirt rode up. Jay reached over, grabbing a blanket and spreading it on top of his friend to give her a little more privacy. Mal sent him a grateful nod.

“It’s about Chad. It’s important that she hears this.”

Jay studied the way Mal’s jaw clenched. He knew she probably wanted to scream at the older woman, telling her about how this was one of the few times Evie slept since she was attacked over a week ago, how she had barely been eating, how she had cried so hard because of a nightmare that she lost her voice. But she couldn’t do that without exposing a weakness, and the VKs were nothing if they weren’t strong.

“Evie.” Mal finally said, moving the girl in her arms in a half-assed attempt to wake her up.

Jay glanced at Carlos, both of them fighting the urge to laugh. Mal and Evie had been together for over four years now and they had been witnesses to their entire relationship. Evie was a heavy sleeper, and Mal never woke her up just by shaking her. Jay knew she was trying not to expose too much of their relationship to FG, but it was still funny to not see Mal kissing Evie’s face or tickling her or calling her a sappy nickname.

Jay glanced at FG, who seemed confused by the interaction. He nudged Mal with his leg, motioning for her to hurry this up.

“Evie.” She said a little more forcefully, her hands going to the girl’s thighs and running up and down them.

Evie stirred. “Mmmm.” She groaned, cuddling even closer into Mal’s chest.

Jay decided to step in and speed this along. He wrapped his arms around Evie’s waist and pulled her up into a sitting position, pinching her side.

Her eyes opened tiredly and she looked around in confusion, rubbing her side.

Mal shot him a death glare, knowing exactly what he had done. “I swear to God, Jay…”

“Yeah yeah, we get it. Beat his ass later for touching her.” Carlos chimed in.

Jay barely held in his laugh, but he couldn’t stop himself from smiling. “Some of us actually want to get this over with instead of watching you try to wake her up for three hours.”

Fairy Godmother cleared her throat, interrupting their conversation. The four teens’ heads swiveled in her direction, Evie looking extremely confused to see her there.

“Hello, Evie. Sorry to wake you, but I have some news for you all about Chad.”

From how Jay had moved her, Evie was now sitting half on Mal’s lap and half leaning against Jay’s arm. Because of this, he felt her tense up immediately at the boy’s name. His hands instantly tightened into fists; Evie was the most genuinely good person he had ever met, and she shouldn’t ever have to feel afraid.

“Prince Ben and I spoke to King Adam about everything that has happened and given him our personal recommendations. Chad has officially been expelled from Auradon Prep. He will return to Cinderellasburg, and he is not permitted to be anywhere on Auradon Prep’s campus.”

Jay felt the whole group give a collective sigh of relief. With no hesitation, Mal leaned forward, pulling Evie into a hug.

“It’s over, baby.” He heard her whisper. “You’re safe.”

After indulging for a moment, Evie moved back. For some reason, Jay got the impression that that wasn’t all Fairy Godmother had come for, and he figured his friends felt the same way.

“Evie, I want you to know that we are all dedicated to helping you feel safe in Auradon. What happened to you is inexcusable, and I feel so deeply disgusted that you had to go through something so terrible. If there is anything we can do to help you, please let us know.”

“Thank you.” Evie said quietly. Jay knew that wasn’t what she had actually wanted to say, but she had been raised to keep her opinions to herself, especially negative ones, and that was a hard habit to break.

“What are you going to do about all the people who will bully her?” Mal demanded. While Evie could be hesitant, Mal was the total opposite. Jay nodded in approval; if Mal hadn’t of said something, he would have.

Fairy Godmother frowned. “What do you mean?”

“These kids have been friends with Chad since they were born. You saw how they treated her in class the other day. Do you honestly think that’s going to stop since Chad got kicked out?”

“I’m hoping that they will be mature enough to realize their friend was wrong. These are good kids, they…”

“Good kids?” Mal scoffed. “Yeah, the ones calling Evie a slut or a whore are awesome.” He felt Evie tense up again as tension filled the room.

“Please, just give them a chance to prove you wrong.”

Jay laughed, causing Evie, Mal, and Carlos to look at him in surprise. “They did prove us wrong. We thought we were coming to Auradon where we would be safe and accepted by all these ‘good kids’. Instead it’s just the same shit, different place.”

Evie shuddered against him. “Jay.” Mal growled, causing him to shut his mouth. He hated himself for possibly revealing too much, but he needed to say it.

“Sorry, Princess.” He mumbled, but he could tell Fairy Godmother had heard him.

Fairy Godmother studied them all for a second, her stare making Jay uncomfortable. Finally, she spoke. “I am sorry to bring this up now, but the four of you need to begin going to classes again. I understand this is a big change and so much has happened, but you are here to get an education and it’s my responsibility to make sure that you do. If there’s something I can do to make you feel safer when going to class, then I will try my best.”

“There is.” Mal said instantly. “Switch my schedule to match Evie’s.”

“Do you have copies of your schedules?”

Carlos stood, going over to Evie’s desk and pulling them out of her carefully organized folder. He returned to FG and handed her all four of them. “Jay and I want to have the same schedule as the girls too.”

Fairy Godmother scanned over them. “Mal, Magical Control is a requirement for you. Also, I can’t imagine you really enjoying a Fashion Design class.”

“Yeah, well I enjoy Evie being safe a hell of a lot more.”

“I will speak to Prince Ben tonight and see what I can do.” She promised, tucking the schedules into her bag. “Next order of business is therapy.” All four teens groaned loudly, causing her to sit up a little straighter. “What’s wrong with therapy?”

“Would you want a stranger to dig into your past?” Jay wondered.

“Dr. Bren is just there to help. From what I’ve heard, the four of you aren’t exactly participating. I’m sure you would find more benefit to it if you actually answered her questions.”

“Does she tell you what we say?” Evie questioned.

“If she believes it is something important for me to know, she will inform me.”

“And you tell her things too?”

“If she needs to know.”

“I’m not okay with that.” Evie said, surprising the others. She wasn’t big on talking back, especially to authority figures, but here she was challenging Fairy Godmother. Jay almost smiled with pride. “I don’t like that you told Dr. Bren what happened with Chad.”

“I was just trying to help you, Evie.”

She bit her lip and Jay could tell she was getting anxious. He glanced over and saw that Mal must have noticed too because she reached her hand up and started twisting her fingers through the ends of Evie’s long hair.

“We’re not wired to tell people our business.” Evie stated hesitantly. “On the Isle, if you told someone the wrong thing, you were going to be punished or worse. Secrets were what kept people alive.”

Fairy Godmother nodded. “I know it doesn’t seem like it with everything that just happened, but you are safe here. You don’t have to worry about someone hurting you for saying the wrong thing.”

“I’m sure you understand why it will take us a while to believe that.” Mal interrupted. As soon as she knew Mal would take over the conversation for her, Evie leaned forward and rested her head on her girlfriend’s shoulder, not caring anymore about making the headmistress uncomfortable. Jay looked at her eyes and could tell how close she was to mentally checking out of this conversation.

“That’s fair.” FG agreed.

“So go to class and go to therapy.” Jay summarized the conversation. “Anything else?”

FG actually seemed like she was hesitating before she said the next thing. She looked at Jay, then Carlos. “We have noticed that the two of you are never in your dorm room.”

Jay glanced at Carlos. This was the last thing he expected her to bring up. “Yeah, we usually spend time with the girls.”

“Have you been sleeping in the girls’ room?” she looked around, the question clearly being answered when she noticed Carlos’ and Jay’s clothes strung across one side of the room, their backpacks and shoes thrown carelessly on the floor.

“Yeah.” Carlos answered.

“I’m not sure if this was explained during your tour, but it is against the rules.”

“Why?” Mal scoffed.

“I’m sure you can imagine why people wouldn’t want a boy and a girl to sleep in the same room.”

“But who cares? Everyone knows now that Evie and I are dating. It’s not like we’re going to be fucking them.” She gestured towards the boys.

“Mal, watch the language please.” She sighed.

“That rule is bullshit.” Jay argued. “We’re not going to be that far away from each other.”

Fairy Godmother opened her mouth to speak, then shut it for a moment before opening it again. “If you can give me one good reason why you should be able to sleep in the same room, maybe I will consider it.”

Jay couldn’t help but admire how dirty she played. She knew that the four of them would never reveal a weakness to her, especially after just telling her they didn’t like therapy because it dug into their past. There was no way they could casually say they felt safer together without revealing too much.

Jay stayed quiet and he knew Carlos wouldn’t speak either. They both turned to look at the girls. Evie was still laying against Mal and most likely not even paying attention anymore. The leader of the group looked at each of her friends, then towards Fairy Godmother. They had clearly all come to the same conclusion and just stayed quiet.

“Well that settles it then.” Fairy Godmother stood. “Starting tomorrow, you will come back to school, Mal will attend therapy, and the boys will sleep in their own dorm room. As always, if you have any issues, come and talk to me. I will see you in the morning.” She let herself out of the dorm room.

As soon as they were alone, Carlos broke the silence. “Standing up to Fairy Godmother? That was pretty badass, E.”

Mal smiled, putting her hands on Evie’s cheeks and raising her face so they were making eye contact. “Carlos is right. My girl is so brave.”

Jay reached out and patted her shoulder. “We may still have a chance with getting you to stop with the whole manners thing.”

Evie laughed. It wasn’t as loud or as cheerful as her actual laugh, but it was still a laugh. “You guys are annoying.”

“So, what’s the plan from here?” Jay wondered, turning to Mal. “Are we actually going to do what she said?” Evie and Carlos both looked to her too, the three of them waiting to hear the purple haired girl’s opinion.

“I do think we’ll be making our lives harder if we don’t go to school or therapy.” She said. “FG is the headmistress, so she’s going to know if we don’t show up to class. If she can switch our schedules around, then I think school will be fine.” She sighed. “I know we all hate therapy, but they told us in the beginning that it was nonnegotiable, so as much as that sucks, we’re going to have to go. I’m not sure how I feel about actually participating, like FG said, but we should at least make an appearance.” She looked at the boys. “Maybe you can spend some nights in your dorm and sneak in on other nights. They’re not separating us.”

“Agreed.” Jay told her, the other two nodding along with him. “If we’re two floors apart, there’s no way any of us will ever sleep, and someone has shown us how hard that is.” He ran a hand through Evie’s messy hair affectionately.

“I’m sorry.” She said, her cheeks flushing.

“There’s no one else in the world I would stay up for.” Jay kissed her cheek. He felt a sharp pain in his arm and pulled back. “What the fuck!?”

“First off, don’t ever pinch her again.” Mal told him. “Second, keep your lips to yourself.”

“Damn, E. Your girl is a little too clingy.”

Evie just laughed, settling back into Mal’s chest. After a few seconds, she sat up and frowned, her attention going to her girlfriend’s face. “Say it.”

“Huh?”

“I can tell you want to say something. Just say it.”

Mal glanced at each of them. “I never got the chance to tell you guys this because shit hit the fan, but I found our angle.” They all looked at her in surprise, immediately realizing she was talking about their plan. “It’s Ben.”

Jay was confused, but Carlos spoke up first. “Explain.”

“Ben was the one who wanted to bring us over, right? At the party he was telling me all about how it has always been his dream to right the wrongs of our parents. I know that everyone else might not be eager to have us here, but Ben fought for us to come over. He said that even though he doesn’t know much about the Isle, he wants to learn so that all the children on the Isle can have a fair shot.”

Jay, Evie, and Carlos instantly perked up at that information. “Seriously?” the white haired boy asked.

“This couldn’t be more perfect.” Jay agreed.

Mal nodded. “Ben is our angle. Now we just have to figure out how to play this.”

Evie cuddled into her again. “Can we plot tomorrow? I’m tired.”

Mal immediately settled down, dropping the whole conversation. “Whatever you want, baby girl.”

Carlos played the movie they had paused when FG came in and the four of them went back to their previous positions. Tomorrow, things would change, so they at least had to make the best of tonight.

-----

Ben sat in his office, staring straight ahead at the wall. He knew that right now, Fairy Godmother was talking to the VKs about the decision his father had come to.

He clenched his hands in fists, still disgusted by how casual his father had been about everything that happened.

“They came here for a better life, Dad! Do you know what we have to show for it? Attempted rape.”

King Adam shook his head. “Ben, you need to bring in your temper. I know that you’re upset and…”

“Upset!?” Ben shouted, his voice booming loudly in the quiet room. “I’m beyond upset! My whole life, I have wondered about the kids on the Isle. My first act as future king was to bring four of them over, and then when they are here, one of them is attacked by a person who has been my friend for as long as I can remember!” he shook his head. “Have you even seen them? They’re quiet and they stay to themselves, but you can see how much they love each other. They’re just scared kids trying to fit in in a whole new world.”

“I know you don’t want to hear this, but no matter what happened here, it’s still better than what they faced on the Isle, I’m sure.” Adam put a hand on his shoulder, as if that was supposed to be comforting.

Ben brushed him off. “Anything that happened to them on the Isle is because of the rules you made.”

“Ben…” Adam called after him.

“May I chime in here?” Fairy Godmother interrupted before Ben could storm out of the room.

In his rage, he had forgotten that FG and his mother were sitting there too. He turned around so he could hear what she had to say.

“King Adam, the children have not had any major issues since coming to Auradon. They were attending class and therapy up until the incident with Chad. I was a witness to the events after Evie saw Chad in class today, and Jane saw what happened. She said that the way Chad and the other boys spoke to Evie was heartbreaking, and I could tell how affected she was even after the fact. This poor girl left everything she knows to come here, and then she is attacked and taunted by people who she has been told were good for her entire life. Imagine if the situation was reversed and you sent Ben away. How would you feel?”

Ben saw his father clench his jaw as he thought of what happened. “I would never send my son away.”

“Adam.” This time, it was Belle who spoke. “You need to think of this a little more objectively.”

“Chad is a good boy. He’s from Auradon.” Adam argued.

“Everyone thought Gaston was good too, but you saw what he was capable of.” Belle practically whispered. Ben felt sick when he remembered the things his own mother had been through. He knew that he couldn’t allow the VKs to be treated the same way ever again.

“They won’t come back to classes until Chad is gone.” Fairy Godmother announced.

Ben went over, wrapping an arm around Belle. The three of them stared at the king, wondering how he would react.

King Adam’s hands flexed for a moment, clenching and unclenching. He gave one short nod. “I’ll speak to Prince Charming.” He exited the room without another word.

Ben heard a knock on his office door and he called out for whoever it was to come in. He sat up a little straighter when he saw that it was Fairy Godmother.

“Did you talk to them?” he wondered, gesturing for her to take a seat.

“I did.” She sat across from him. “You know, you definitely chose the most difficult Isle children you could find.”

Ben smiled apologetically. “Go big or go home, right?” he shut his laptop. “How did they react? Do they need anything?”

“They are a fascinating group.” Fairy Godmother explained. “I’m sure you know that Evie and Mal are a couple?”

“Yeah, I kind of assumed when I saw Evie sitting on Mal’s lap and the two of them kiss after everything that happened with Chad.” He said the boy’s name in disgust. Chad may have been his friend, but what he did was inexcusable and Ben would be fine with never seeing him again.

“The dynamic between the four of them is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. They are all so in-tune with each other’s emotions, almost like they are one person. Evie was asleep on top of Mal when I got there, and they all refused to wake her up until I told them I had news about Chad. When they finally did, Mal got upset with Jay, and Carlos said something about Mal beating Jay’s, um, butt later for touching Evie.”

“Really?” Ben listened with extreme focus.

“Evie was on her lap the entire time I was there, and she was dressed in only a t-shirt. Mal started playing with her hair and Evie had no problem laying on her chest. I have never seen a relationship like it.”

“Well if you think about it, it doesn’t seem like there were a lot of positives on the Isle.” Ben said. “Maybe being together was the only happiness they got.”

“I just don’t think it’s healthy for two people who are so young to already seem so dependent on each other.”

“We can keep an eye on it.” Ben agreed. “What did they say when you told them they had to go to school and therapy?”

“Mal wanted to know what we will do about people bullying Evie for coming forward about Chad.” Fairy Godmother looked upset, and he was curious to know what else had been said. “During the altercation with Chad, other students were calling Evie derogatory names. I tried to ask them to give them a chance to prove them wrong…”

She trailed off, causing Ben to frown. “What did they say?”

“Jay told me they already did prove them wrong and they thought they would be safe here, but it’s just the same, uh, stuff, different place.”

Ben tilted his head in curiosity. “What does that mean?”

“I’m not sure.” Fairy Godmother shook her head.

Ben almost didn’t want to know the answer, but he had to ask. “Do you think that maybe they have been through this before?”

“I want so badly to say no, but based on their reactions, I think it’s a possibility. After Jay said it, Mal got upset and he apologized to Evie, who I noticed he calls ‘Princess’.”

“Remember when she came here, she told us her mother is a queen, so she is a princess. Maybe everyone on the Isle referred to her as ‘Princess’.” Ben theorized.

“When I asked if there’s anything we can do to make them feel safer going to class, they asked to have their schedules switched so they match. I reminded them that Mal has to go to Magical Control, and I asked if she would enjoy having Evie’s Fashion Design class, and she told me that she cared a lot more about Evie being safe than her enjoying a class.”

“Did you tell them you would switch it?”

“I took their schedules and said I would speak to you.” She pulled the four papers out of her bag and laid them on Ben’s desk.

“Are they going to start going to therapy?”

“When I brought it up, they all groaned and said they hate therapy because they don’t want someone digging into their past. I talked to them about how they may like it more if they participated. Evie told me she doesn’t like the fact that Dr. Bren and I share information with each other, like how I told Dr. Bren about what happened with Chad.”

Ben could understand that. He imagined they felt pretty uncomfortable with people talking about such personal things without their permission.

“She also said they’re not wired to tell people their personal business, and that secrets are the only reason people survive on the Isle. She said if you tell someone the wrong thing, you will be punished or worse.”

Ben felt sick at that information. He couldn’t fathom what these teenagers had been through, and it was exactly why he wanted to help give all the children on the Isle a chance, and exactly why he had fought so hard against his father to have Chad kicked out of school.

“After that, she kind of shut down and just laid against Mal and didn’t speak for the rest of the time I was there.”

“Did you bring up the boys sleeping in the girls’ room?”

“They weren’t happy.” Fairy Godmother stated. “They got very vulgar.”

“What do you mean?” Ben questioned. He had sent Fairy Godmother to talk to them because he thought they may react better to hearing the information from her instead of him. He got upset at the idea that they had somehow hurt her.

Fairy Godmother’s cheeks flushed as she spoke. “Mal said we already know she and Evie are dating, so it’s a pointless rule because they won’t be sleeping with the boys. They didn’t want to be away from each other, and I told them if they could give me one good reason why, I would consider letting them stay.”

“Did they?”

“No. I knew they wouldn’t because that would involve exposing part of their past, and they are still too hesitant and untrusting to do that. I told them that starting tomorrow, they would have to go to school and therapy, and the boys need to sleep in their own room. That was the end of the conversation.”

“Thank you for speaking with them, FG.” Ben smiled at her. “I know that eventually, they will feel more comfortable with you. You’re the perfect person for this job.”

“Ben, I don’t want you to be naïve about this situation.” She cautioned. “These children have some serious issues, and it’s obvious that they have been through a lot of trauma. They are struggling and it will probably be a while before they are able to let go of their past. I don’t know if it’s the best idea to bring over more kids right now.”

“No, I will wait until Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos are settled first, and then I want them to help me. Maybe they’ll be able to make some suggestions on what I need to do to help the Isle. I want them to be involved.”

Fairy Godmother nodded. “You have a good heart, just like your mother.” She stood. “I will see you tomorrow.”

“See you tomorrow.”

As soon as FG opened the door to leave, Ben saw Audrey standing outside. She smiled and hugged the headmistress, but he could tell that she had been there for a while. She shut the door so they were alone and came over, taking the seat FG had just vacated.

Ben studied his girlfriend. “How much did you hear?”

“Almost all of it.” Audrey admitted. “I’m a bitch.”

He came around and sat on the edge of his desk in front of her. “Why do you think that?”

“Chad has always been weird.” She said. “He’s always had girls all over him, and they’re all fine with it because he’s a prince. I was so mean to Evie because I thought it was the same with her.” She nearly whispered the last part.

Ben grabbed her hand. “Come here.” She stepped forward, giving him a hug. “You didn’t know.”

“It doesn’t matter. I judged her the second I saw her because she is gorgeous and intelligent. Chad was always obsessed with me, and as soon as she came, he didn’t care about following me around anymore. I know that sounds so bad because I’m dating and in love with you, but it was weird not being the center of everyone’s attention. Everyone loves Evie’s clothes and hair and makeup…”

Ben just tightened his arms around her. “Like I always tell you, you need to let go of this. Be happy with what you have, Audrey. You shouldn’t compare yourself to everyone else.”

“I called her a slut.” Audrey’s voice choked up and Ben realized she was crying. “Do you remember? The night of the party, I said something about how she was dancing like a slut and asked Mal if Evie only slept with Jay or if she slept with the entire Isle.” Audrey let out a sob. “And then she almost got raped right after.”

Ben tried to comfort her. He didn’t know what to say to soothe her. Audrey had always battled with insecurities and when her self-esteem was low, she lashed out towards others. It wasn’t okay and he couldn’t defend her for it, but he hated that she was beating herself up so much.

“You should have seen her in that room.” Audrey pulled back slightly so she could make eye contact with him. “She was hiding in the closet and her hands were over her ears and she was just screaming. I have never heard a person scream like that, and no matter what Lonnie did, she wouldn’t stop. She just screamed and cried.” Audrey bit her lip. “Sometimes when I fall asleep, I have nightmares about it. What if Chad had actually done it?”

“You can’t think about that.”

“When Carlos and Jay finally got there, she didn’t even react. You could tell how raw her throat was from all the screaming, but it was like Evie wasn’t even there.” She breathed shakily. “When I told Mal to get inside, she busted into that room so quickly. Her eyes were actually glowing, Ben. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

“It seems like she’s very protective over Evie.” Ben agreed, brushing a piece of hair behind Audrey’s ear.

“I called her a slut, and I yelled at her for throwing herself at Chad, and for not feeling honored that a prince wanted to take her on a date. Now that I know what happened, I keep thinking back to all the times I saw them. Chad was always so close to her, and Evie looked so uncomfortable. I just remember that day Chad touched her arm at lunch and she looked like she was going to throw up until Mal stepped in. It’s so obvious now that Evie didn’t like him. I wish you and I had seen it then. I wish we had been able to stop this.”

“Honey, there’s no way we could have known at the time.” Ben said. “But now we do, and we know that she’s going through a lot. You heard what FG said about them being worried about people bullying Evie, right?” Audrey nodded. “Maybe that’s where we can make up for what happened. We can defend Evie when people lash out at her about Chad, because you know they will.”

Audrey nodded quickly in agreement. “Of course. Is there anything else we can do?”

Ben shrugged. “Maybe it would help Evie to have a friend.”

Audrey seemed to shrink. “What if she doesn’t like me?”

“I think she’s a pretty nice girl. You just never really gave her a chance.” He shrugged. “It wouldn’t hurt to try.”

Audrey just hugged him tighter. “I hope you can help them. I hope that even with what happened, they are safer here than on the Isle. No one deserves to go through that.”

“We’re going to help them.” Ben promised, resting his chin on top of her head. “No matter what we have to do, we’re going to help.”

Chapter Text

As soon as the four of them woke up on Tuesday morning, Carlos could tell it was going to be a long day. Everyone was on edge and seemed to be preparing for battle.

Carlos was up first, finally sick of the tossing and turning. Evie got up next so she could get to work on her extensive makeup routine. She waved slightly and gave him a small smile when she noticed he was up, then went into the bathroom.

He decided to join her. It had been a while since they had talked one on one, and maybe he could give her a little encouragement. He lifted himself to sit on the counter next to her.

“You okay?”

“No.” Evie admitted. “You?”

“Nope.” Carlos watched as she started to moisturize her face. He didn’t know a lot about makeup, but he had seen Evie do it enough to at least know some of the basics. “Do you think they’ll actually let us all match our school schedules?”

“FG seemed pretty genuine about wanting us to ask for help. It would be kind of shitty of her to say all that and then not even try and do what we asked for.” Evie sighed. “I just wish we could have no one else in our classes. I miss learning and I even liked some of the work we did, but I don’t want to see anyone.”

“I miss the work too.” Carlos told her, making her crack a smile. “We really are nerds, huh?”

“Yep.” She said with a giggle.

A moment later, Mal came into the room. Her hair was sticking up everywhere and she still looked half asleep. She instantly wrapped her arms around Evie’s waist and gave her a quick kiss on the back of the neck. “Morning, beautiful girl.”

“Good morning.” Evie replied, not looking away from the mirror.

Mal stood there and held her for a minute, then kissed her shoulder and went back into the bedroom, probably to get dressed.

Carlos picked back up the conversation. “Maybe we can do something after class today. It’s been a while since we’ve gone to the library.”

“Maybe.” Evie agreed. He knew she wouldn’t agree right away; they needed to see how the day went first. But he wanted to at least give her a possibility of something to look forward to, especially since Mal would have to go to therapy after school.

Mal came back in again, this time fully dressed. She quickly went to the bathroom- privacy was almost nonexistent on the Isle, so they had gotten over that a long time ago- then washed her hands.

“Have you done lipstick yet?” Mal wondered.

“No.”

She reached out and grabbed Evie’s chin, turning her face towards her so she could kiss her lips. Carlos shook his head in amusement, trying to hold in his smile.

“Now it’s a good morning.” Mal stated.

“I miss when you didn’t say cheesy shit.” Jay announced his entrance, bumping Mal with his shoulder as he passed her to use the toilet.

“I missed when we didn’t have to watch you take a piss.” Mal shot back.

“We just watched you!” Carlos said, pointing towards himself and Evie.

“That’s different. You don’t actually have to see anything when I go to the bathroom.”

Carlos looked at Evie, seeing that she wasn’t even smiling from this conversation. He took a closer look and could see that she was gripping the counter so hard her knuckles were white. He looked at her and noticed her eyes squinting uncomfortably and figured that she had a headache.

Jay and Mal were still bickering. Evie held up her mascara wand and tried to put some on her eyelashes, but Jay shoved Mal playfully, causing her to fall back into Evie. Mascara smeared across her cheek and her entire face fell.

“Can you all just get the fuck out!?” Evie yelled, turning around to face them. “Now I have to start all over!” The room was immediately silent. Evie rarely raised her voice, so when she did, people listened.

Mal, Jay, and Carlos filed out like scolded children, the door slamming loudly behind them. They went over and sat on the couch.

“Well, safe to say that she’s pretty on edge today.” Jay said quietly.

Carlos frowned at him. “Did you really expect anything different? She’s nervous and uncomfortable and about to walk into a situation where she has no idea how people will react. How would you feel if you were her?”

Mal nearly growled. “I swear that if anyone says anything to her, I will kill them with my bare hands.”

“Okay, stop.” Carlos interrupted. “You both need to calm down. I’ve been noticing lately that Evie feeds off of our emotions. Yeah, she’s upset and nervous, but if we act like that too, it’s only going to make her feel worse. We need to try and stay positive for her and be supportive.”

Mal nodded. “You’re right.” She put her head in her hands. “How do I play this? Do we act like we’re together, or should I stay away from her?”

“Thanks to your announcement, everyone knows you’re together. I’m sure it doesn’t matter anymore.” Jay said, Carlos nodding in agreement. He didn’t think it would benefit them at all to continue pretending the girls weren’t together, and he was pretty sure Evie would need Mal today.

Carlos and Jay got dressed, then joined Mal in checking all of their backpacks. They hadn’t been to school in a while, so they had to make sure that they had everything they would need.

The bathroom door opened and Evie walked into the room. The three of them immediately stopped what they were doing and looked over at her. Carlos noticed her red eyes right away, and he was sure she had spent extra time trying to cover blotchy cheeks and tear tracks.

“I’m sorry.” Evie said, instantly sucking in a breath and starting to cry.

“Hey, no, no, no.” Mal ran over to her and cupped her face in her hands, gently wiping at her tears. “None of that.”

“I’m a bitch.” Evie moaned miserably. “I’m sorry.”

“We’re not mad.” Carlos reassured her, coming over to stand beside Mal. He grabbed Evie’s hand. “We know you’re nervous.”

“Yeah, we’re not taking it personally.” Jay joined in.

“You guys have done nothing but try and help me and then I yelled at you.” She whimpered.

“Evie, stop.” Mal interrupted. “This conversation is unnecessary. No one is upset with you. We all love you and we want you to have a good day, and this is not a good start to that. Close your eyes and listen to me.” Evie let her eyes shut as Mal continued to hold her cheeks. “Today is going to be hard, and it may be weird. But we are going to get through this. You are going to get through it, because you are strong and incredible and amazing, and if you start to feel like you’re not, you have back up. Hopefully we’ll see Ben and he can talk to us about our schedules, and even if he doesn’t, I’m going to classes with you today no matter what. Maybe FG is right and the Auradon kids will surprise us. Maybe they will be supportive and all of this worrying is for nothing. Open your eyes.” Evie’s eyes fluttered open. “Wanna know the best part?”

“Hmmm?”

“We don’t have to hide the fact that we’re together anymore.” She gave her a gentle kiss. “If you get upset, I can hug you or hold your hand or kiss you and no one will be surprised.” Mal gave her another quick kiss. “I’m not even worried about today because I know you’ve got this.”

“Same.” Carlos said.

“Yep.” Jay agreed at the same time.

Carlos glanced at the clock. “We have to go if we’re making it to breakfast.”

Mal put her forehead against Evie’s. “Time to get back on schedule, remember?”

Evie looked miserable again, but she nodded reluctantly. They waited on her to get dressed and then the four of them grabbed their backpacks and left the dorm room.

-----

Evie expected someone to be waiting there to hurl insults at them as soon as they walked out of their building. She was surprised instead to see that there were only a few kids, and they all walked past them without a second look.

She reached down and tangled her fingers with Mal’s. The one thing she was looking forward to was being able to touch her girlfriend whenever she wanted. Mal brought their joined hands up to her lips and kissed the back of Evie’s hand.

They walked into the cafeteria and people stared. Evie leaned into Mal’s side and kept her gaze glued to the floor. She didn’t want to see their judgment or anger.

Mal led the way to the lunch line and let go of her hand so she could grab their trays. She started to select food for both of them.

“Not a lot. Please.” Evie whispered.

“I’ve got you, Princess.” She put a bowl of pineapples and a glass of water on her tray. Evie was grateful; her eating habits had been a mess and she didn’t think there was much of a chance of her holding down solid food.

After the boys had stacked as much food as they could fit on their trays, they all went to look for a table. Evie scanned the room quickly, hoping to find an empty table.

“Hey guys!” Lonnie greeted as they walked past her at an empty table. “I saved you some seats.”

Mal turned to Evie, and she knew she was asking for her permission. Evie gave a small nod, figuring that at least if they were next to an Auradon kid who did like them, it would discourage others from being mean.

Evie saw Mal look over at Jay and raise her eyebrow. She wondered what they were doing, until she went to sit down and had Mal on her right and Jay on the left. Carlos sat down across from them and next to Lonnie.

“Good morning!” Doug said with a smile, putting his tray down on Carlos’s other side. “Glad you guys are finally back.”

Evie looked up at him curiously. Someone had actually noticed their absence? Sure, she and Doug talked in chemistry, but she wouldn’t exactly call him a friend. Maybe there were some people here who weren’t completely terrible.

“Hey.” Evie was surprised when this time, it was Audrey who spoke. She came over and sat next to Jay. Evie looked at Mal, who seemed just as perplexed.

“Oh good, you’re all here!” Ben said as he took the last seat at their table, next to Lonnie and across from Audrey. “I have your new schedules for you.”

He passed them out to each person, who immediately handed it to Evie. She lined them all up and started to look, Mal and Jay reading from either of her sides.

“They’re not the exact same, but we did the best we could to move them around and still incorporate your interests.” Ben explained.

“1st period, we all still have English.” Evie read. “2nd period, we have Study Hall, boys, and Mal, you have Art.” She wouldn’t say it out loud, but she was happy her girlfriend would still get to have art class because though Mal wouldn’t admit it, it was her favorite. “3rd period, we all have Math.”

Jay laughed loudly. “Wow, Mr. Reynolds almost had an aneurism when we were separated. Can you even imagine his face when we all walk in together?” Mal smirked too, just about to open her mouth, when Ben interrupted.

“Please don’t terrorize your teachers.”

Evie interrupted before they could continue to cause trouble. “4th period we have Goodness, 5th we have History…”

“I’m not okay with this.” Mal blurted out, pointing to their next classes.

Evie kept reading, seeing that all of their 6th periods were different. She had Fashion, Mal had Magical Control, Carlos had Technology, and Jay had Physical Education.

“Fairy Godmother and I decided to keep your 6th period classes separate so you could still do the things you’re interested in.”

“You can put me in Fashion then.” Mal announced.

“It’s a requirement for you to take Magical Control.”

“Then I’ll take Fashion.” Carlos chimed in.

“Yeah, sign me up too. I’ve been wanting to learn how to make some new pants.” Jay agreed.

“Evie, we moved you from 5th bell Fashion to 6th bell because I knew there was someone there to look out for you.” Ben explained.

“Who?” Mal demanded.

“Me.” Audrey said, causing the VKs to look at her in surprise. “I have Fashion at the same time as you now, Evie, and trust me, no one will dare to say a word to you if I’m around.”

Evie was confused. Since they had arrived in Auradon, Audrey had been nothing but mean to her. She said she wasn’t royalty, she was a wannabe princess, and that she should feel honored that Chad wanted to date her. She didn’t understand the sudden change in heart.

“Evie, I know that I’ve been a bitch to you.” Audrey told her, and the blue haired girl noticed Ben reach across the table to hold her hand. She looked at Audrey, wondering if this was all some kind of joke, but she actually seemed genuine. “To be honest, I was jealous. For my whole life, I’ve been the prettiest girl in school. People have always fallen all over me and loved my outfits and been talking about me, but from the minute you got out of that limo, everything was about you. I’m sorry for the things I’ve said. If I hadn’t of been so mean, maybe we could have been friends. It seems like we have a lot in common, and based on what Doug and Lonnie have said, you seem really cool.”

She couldn’t believe that she was hearing those words come out of the princess’s mouth. She didn’t even know how to respond.

“If you’ll give me a chance, I would really like to get to know you.” Audrey finished, then looked at her tray in embarrassment.

Evie nodded. “Okay.”

“Really?”

She gave her a small smile. “Really.” Audrey returned the smile. Evie felt Mal’s hand reach over to grab hers, and Evie squeezed it, hoping that maybe the day wouldn’t be so bad.

“What’s 7th period?” Carlos wondered. Since he was across the table, he wasn’t able to see their schedules.

“We all have Chemistry.” Mal informed him.

“So, is everyone okay with their new schedules?” Ben questioned.

Mal looked like she was going to complain, but Evie squeezed her hand a little harder, hoping she was getting the message. She would be okay for one period on her own, and she believed that Audrey really would keep her word.

“Yeah, we’re good.” Mal answered.

“Thank you, Ben.” Evie added.

“It’s the least I can do.”

Now that they felt a little better about the day, everyone’s attention turned back to eating breakfast. Evie took slow, careful bites of her pineapples, trying not to eat too quickly or think about it too much.

Conversation went on around her and she tried to focus on that, but it was hard when she it felt like she could feel each piece of pineapple sliding down her throat and settling into her stomach. She nearly choked on her fourth piece and had to stop to take a drink of water.

Mal must have realized what was happening because she put a hand on her thigh and squeezed, drawing her attention there instead of on her food. She managed to clear her throat without coughing, then just sighed in exhaustion.

Luck was on her side because that was when the bell rang, signaling that breakfast was over. Everyone rose to throw their food away. Evie took her time standing and grabbing her bag. Mal stood next to her, waiting for her to finish.

“You okay?”

“Mmhmm.” Evie bit her lip. She didn’t feel like she was going to throw up, but she just felt uncomfortable.

“I’m pretty excited that we’ll get to spend almost our whole day together now.”

Evie cracked a smile. “You’re not gonna get sick of me?”

“Never.” Mal said, then pulled her towards her and kissed her. Surprisingly, she let her lips linger and Evie completely melted into her, feeling calm for the first time all day. When they separated, Evie noticed the large crowd of people who were supposed to be going to class watching them.

“You did that on purpose.” Evie realized.

Mal smirked. “No one is going to bother you now.”

Honestly, if it worked, Evie wasn’t opposed to Mal’s tactics. They threw their food away and then linked hands, following Jay and Carlos to English class.

When they walked in the door, it was an entire different atmosphere compared to last Thursday. People glanced at them, but there was no anger in their expressions. Evie followed Mal to their usual seats, then leaned over to whisper to her.

“Everyone seems different.”

Mal shrugged. “Maybe they realized they were assholes last week.”

Class started quickly after and Evie actually paid attention. They had missed a lot in the past week, and she scrambled to write everything down. She would definitely have to help Jay later, and possibly even Mal.

The bell rang when class ended and she jumped. “Shit.” She mumbled.

Mal kissed the top of her head sympathetically, then stood up. Evie followed, then the boys. They went into the hallway together.

“We’re going to study hall, you’re going to art.” Carlos reminded his friends.

Evie pouted. “It was so nice having study hall 7th period so I could do all my homework. Now the only work I have is English.”

“Oh no, the Princess doesn’t have enough homework.” Jay teased. “C’mon, let’s go. We’ll meet you in math, Mal.”

Mal stepped closer to Jay. Though he was much taller than her, she still stared up at him intimidatingly. “If anything happens to her while I’m gone…”

“Mal!” Evie said, pushing her away from Jay. “You know, I’m not completely useless. I don’t need someone to watch over me and hold my hand every second of the day.”

Mal’s face softened. “I know that, baby. But the thought of anything happening to you makes me feel sick. I need to know that someone is looking out for you.”

“I don’t want people to treat me different.” Evie nearly whispered. “Everyone knows. I don’t want them to think I’m fragile or that I can’t handle myself.”

Mal pulled her into her arms. “I’m sorry. Like I tell you all the time, you are strong. I know you can take care of yourself.” She kissed her cheek. “I’m sorry I made you feel like you can’t.”

Evie sighed and relaxed into the hug. She felt herself starting to slip into that uncomfortable place where she didn’t want to leave Mal. She leaned back, gave her a quick kiss, then looked to the boys. “Ready?”

“Let’s go.” Carlos agreed. Evie moved to walk next to him, leaving Mal to walk to art class alone. “How are you feeling so far?”

“Uncomfortable.” Evie admitted. “Breakfast was hard, everyone is staring, and my stomach feels bubbly.”

“Are you anxious? Maybe that’s what the bubbly feeling is.”

Evie nodded. “Yeah, I guess it could be.” They arrived at study hall quickly and found a table together. “Wanna get our English homework done with?”

“Yep.” Carlos started to pull his book out.

Jay groaned. “Ugh, I forgot how big of nerds you two are. You’re actually going to make me work, aren’t you?”

“Yeah.” They said in perfect unison.

Evie gave him a pointed look. “What happened in English class today?”

Jay looked for a second like he was going to make something up, but then he thought better of it. He sighed in defeat and pulled his book out of his backpack.

Evie actually had a lot of fun with the boys. They finished their homework with some time to spare, so they started an intense tic-tac-toe competition. When the bell rang, she was laughing and smiling. Her first thought was that it was time to see Mal and she stood quickly, shoving her stuff into her bag.

It didn’t even occur to her that last period would have been the time she would normally be in history class with Chad until she passed the classroom. She felt the nervousness return when she remembered how terribly he had treated her last week, and she started to shake when they went past the bathroom she had blown up in.

“I’ll be right back.” She told the boys, separating from them and walking into the bathroom. She opened the door slowly, seeing that there was a new mirror in place above the sink. Everything looked back to normal, almost like it had never happened.

One of the stall doors opened and she saw that the person walking out was Fairy Godmother’s daughter, Jane.

“Oh!” Jane’s eyes got wide as she looked at her nervously. “Hi, Evie.”

“Hi.” Evie said quietly. The girl always seemed so afraid and she didn’t want to startle her. “How are you?”

“I’m good. How are you?” her voice was high pitched and squeaky.

“I’m okay, thank you.” Evie’s eyes drifted back to the mirror again.

“Prince Ben ordered a new one.” Jane blurted out, then gasped as if she didn’t mean to say it. Evie turned to look at her again, wondering how she knew. “I overheard my mother talking about it. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Evie swallowed harshly. “Um, thank you, by the way.”

“What do you mean?”

“For sticking up for me. Your mom told me that after what happened, you went to her and explained the situation. You believed me and you did something about it, and that means a lot to me, so thank you.” Evie smiled at her. “If there’s anything I can do to return the favor, let me know, okay?”

“Well actually, there’s one thing.” Jane piped up. “I don’t know if you know this, but Lonnie is my best friend. She showed me all the outfits you made and they are gorgeous. I’ll pay you, of course, but do you think you could make something for me?”

Evie nodded. “Yeah, I would really like that. And don’t worry about paying me; if you bring the materials, I’ll do it for you as a favor.”

“Really?”

“Yep.” Evie smiled, seeing that the girl was relaxing a little more. “Why don’t you come to my dorm after school today and I’ll do some measurements?”

“Yeah, okay.” Jane’s face lit up in a smile and Evie couldn’t help but think about how pretty she is. “Thank you!”

The door opened and Mal busted in, scanning the room with a determined look on her face. As soon as her eyes landed on Evie, she was moving forward.

“What happened? Are you okay?” she saw Jane and stepped in front of Evie, effectively blocking the other girl’s view of her. “What are you doing here?”

“Uh, I’m just using the toilet!” Jane said, almost cowering under the purple haired girl’s glare.

“M, relax.” Evie pushed her out of the way. “See you later, Jane!” she grabbed her girlfriend’s arm and yanked her out of the bathroom. She saw the boys were still waiting across the hall and they seemed just as worried. “Wow, who knew that you two are such snitches?”

Jay rolled his eyes. “Back off, Princess. It’s not like you gave any explanation before you just ran into the bathroom.”

“I didn’t know I had to give an explanation. It’s a bathroom!”

“Yeah, that stopped being just a bathroom after last week, or do you not remember pulling glass out of your own hand?”

“So you decided to tell on me like you didn’t know Mal would overreact and freak out?”

“She asked where you were and I told her.”

“Are you really going to argue about this?” Carlos interrupted.

“It’s annoying that I can’t even pee without you guys hovering!” Evie huffed.

Mal looked at her, raising an eyebrow. “So did you go in there to pee?”

“Mmhmm.” Evie answered, though it sounded fake even to her own ears. The other three rolled their eyes at her obvious lie.

“You’re losing your touch. Normally you’re a better liar than that.” Jay commented.

“Why did you go in there, Evie?” Mal wondered.

“None of your business.” She started to walk in the direction of their next class. Mr. Reynolds was already going to be pissed that they had their schedules moved around; she didn’t want to add being late to the list.

“You are my business.” Mal argued. “Either you went in there because you felt sick, or because you wanted to check the mirror. Which one?”

“Can you just drop it?”

“Nope.” She walked quicker to catch up. “And why were you talking to Jane?”

“She’s weird.” Jay agreed.

Evie whipped around to face them. “So are we!” she shouted. “If you must know, I was checking to see if there was a new mirror. To answer your question, Jay, no, I didn’t forget that I put my hand through it last week. And not that it’s any of your goddamn business, but I was talking to Jane because I was thanking her for standing up for me to Fairy Godmother after Chad tried to tell everyone I asked him to sleep with me. Are you fucking happy now?” she stormed off, going into math class and sitting in her usual seat.

She felt a little bad for yelling at them, but she was so sick of everyone treating her like she would break at any moment. She knew that she had been a mess since they came to Auradon, but she wanted to be better and there was no way she could do that with her friends hovering constantly.

“Evie.” She heard Mal whisper. She saw that Mal had taken Carlos’s usual seat, and that the boys were sitting a couple rows over in the only other vacant seats. “E…”

Evie just angled her body away from her. Mr. Reynolds came in and as soon as he saw the four VKs, his face heated up, but he didn’t speak.

“Pop quiz.” He announced, digging around in his drawer until he found whatever he was looking for. He started passing out papers to each student, then set a timer.

Evie stared down at hers and realized she had no idea how to do the problems. She used whatever knowledge she could to try and somewhat figure it out, but she knew that it wasn’t going to be good. When the timer rang, she felt defeated.

“Pass them to the person in front of you.” Mr. Reynolds said, then collected the papers. He looked at the one on top and started to laugh. “Just as I thought. You know, you have to actually come to class in order to understand the material. I can already tell that a few of you failed.”

Evie felt her cheeks heat up in embarrassment. She made a mental note that she couldn’t skip class anymore. She had missed too much information, and now she was going to be lost.

The rest of class passed by slowly. The new concept built onto the one learned last week, and since she wasn’t there, Evie had no idea how to do anything. She felt herself growing more and more frustrated as she tried her best to understand.

“Who knows the answer?” Mr. Reynolds questioned, turning towards the class. His eyes scanned over them and Evie looked at her desk, hoping he wouldn’t call on her. “Evie?”

She had tried to solve the problem on her paper, but she just didn’t know which steps to take. “I don’t know.”

He smirked. “Perfect example. See what happens when you don’t come to class? You’ll end up like Evie here, who probably didn’t even attempt to solve it because she has no clue where to start.”

“Why don’t you back the fuck off?”

Evie groaned as Mal spoke, wanting nothing more than to hide.

“Excuse me?” Mr. Reynolds’ face got red again as he studied Mal.

“I thought teachers were supposed to encourage their students, not try and embarrass them and call them out in front of everyone.”

“Teachers are also supposed to talk to their students about attending class every day instead of supporting the fact that administration lets them get away with anything they want.”

Mal laughed. “You’re hilarious.”

“What’s hilarious is the fact that our future king thought it was a good idea to bring over such disrespectful, appalling children!”

“Mal, stop.” Evie whispered, hoping that her girlfriend wouldn’t keep digging herself into a bigger hole.

But Mal had never been able to walk away from a fight. “Based on recent events, it doesn’t seem like we’re the disrespectful ones. Maybe you should teach a special lesson about that to your students born in Auradon.”

“Maybe I should give detention to the four of you for the rest of the week.” Mr. Reynolds challenged.

Mal smiled. “Awww, Mr. Reynolds, did you want to have some bonding time with us? I agree that that sounds like a great idea.”

The bell rang, interrupting the argument. The entire class jumped up, ready to leave the awkward atmosphere.

“I expect to see you all here every day after school for the rest of the week.”

Mal lifted up her bag and headed towards the door. “Can’t, I’ve got therapy. Have fun though!” she led the way out.

Evie followed, feeling like she wanted to cry. As soon as they were out of the room, Jay started to laugh. He and Mal joked around about Mr. Reynolds, reenacting his expressions.

She felt a hand slip into hers and looked over, seeing that it was Carlos. He smiled at her sadly, pulling her forward and giving her a quick hug.

Mal and Jay finally stopped laughing and turned towards the other two. As soon as their eyes landed on Evie, they instantly froze. She just shook her head and started walking towards Goodness class.

“What’s wrong?” Mal asked, walking faster to catch up with her. Evie ignored her. If she spoke, she was going to cry and she really didn’t want to cry. “Evie.” As soon as they got to the classroom, Mal grabbed Evie’s arm to stop her from going in. “Damn it, Evie, just talk to me!”

Carlos and Jay moved past them, obviously not wanting to be a part of that conversation. Evie looked at Mal and the tears started to fill her eyes.

“You embarrassed me.” She admitted. Mal’s expression instantly changed to guilty as tears spilled down Evie’s cheeks. “You ran in the bathroom and scared Jane. She already acts so nervous around us and she was actually talking to me and smiling and you scared her. I don’t know her very well and I know that shouldn’t matter to me, but it does. I know how it feels to be uncomfortable and worried, and right when she calmed down, you busted in and yelled at her.” She sniffled, trying to wipe away the tears, but more replaced them. “Then you yelled at me in front of the boys and treated me like a child again, even after our conversation about it this morning.” She tried to take a deep breath to calm herself down, but her voice was still shaking. “You should have never talked to Mr. Reynolds the way you did.”

“I can see your point with the rest of it, but I’m not apologizing for that.” Mal told her stubbornly, crossing her arms over her chest. “He intentionally called you out to embarrass you and that’s not okay with me.”

“All you did was bring more attention to the fact that I didn’t know what to do!” Evie said. “Mr. Reynolds already didn’t like us, and now he has an even bigger reason.”

“I don’t care. I don’t like his attitude.”

“Even if you wanted to say something, you should have stopped when I told you to! Now Jay, Carlos, and I have to go to detention today!”

“I’m sorry that you felt embarrassed, Evie. You know it would never be my intention to hurt your feelings or make you feel bad. When the boys told me you were in the bathroom and they seemed worried, I didn’t know how to react. We didn’t have 2nd period together, so I didn’t know where your head was at and I thought they were worried because something had happened. I didn’t expect to see Jane there and I didn’t mean to yell at her, I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I’m sorry for questioning you about why you were in the bathroom. I should have just let you drop the conversation, but I kept pushing and I’m an idiot.” Mal looked at her. “But I’m not sorry for standing up for you. I don’t care if he’s a teacher or not, no one will talk down to you or try to make you feel stupid when I’m there.”

“I could have handled it myself.”

“You would have sat there and taken it, and you don’t deserve that.”

“It’s my decision to make!”

“We are a team, Evie. You and me against everything else, and I’m sorry, but there’s no way I could stand back and let him say that you were a prime example of why people should come to class because you didn’t even know the first step to solving the problem.” Mal brushed a piece of hair back behind her ear. “You don’t deserve to be treated like that. I know you think I was being disrespectful, and I was, but he deserved it. I can’t promise that next time someone is rude to you I won’t say anything, but I will try to stop myself before I take it too far, okay?”

Evie was still upset, but she didn’t want to fight. She stepped forward and hugged Mal, resting her head on her shoulder. She knew she was overreacting a little, so maybe it was best to just let it drop. Mal’s fingers immediately went to her hair and they stood there in silence.

“Ladies, no loitering in the hallway!” Fairy Godmother practically sang as she came up behind them. “Let’s get into the classroom!”

Evie whimpered. “I wanna go to our room.”

Mal held her tighter. “E…”

“Please, M. I can’t do it.”

“You’re strong, remember? You’ve got this.” Mal leaned back and kissed her forehead.

“Girls, is something going on that I need to know about?” FG wondered.

“Nope.” Mal answered. She grabbed Evie’s hand and pulled her into the room. They took their usual seats and Evie still felt like crying. She was just so mentally exhausted and she didn’t want to deal with this anymore.

The boys turned to look at her in question and Evie’s eyes burned even more. She took some deep breaths to try and calm herself down, but it wasn’t working. She could feel her heartbeat quickening with every breath.

“Mal.” She whimpered again, turning to look at her girlfriend in desperation.

“Put your head down.” She whispered, putting her hand on the back of Evie’s head and guiding it down to rest on the table. “Now close your eyes and take some big breaths. You’re okay, baby. Just calm down.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Shhh, no apologies. Just breathe.”

“I want to leave. She’s going to know something is wrong and she’ll tell Dr. Bren again. Please, M, I want to go to our room.” Evie tried to sit up, but Mal’s hand held her in place.

“Stop. None of that matters if you don’t start breathing, Princess.” Evie tried her best, but she still couldn’t catch her breath. Then, all of a sudden, she couldn’t breathe at all. Her eyes got wide as she shot up in her seat and stared at Mal.

-----

It had been a while since Evie had a panic attack this bad. Mal was doing her best to try and calm her down, but nothing was working. When she finally sat up and stared into her eyes, Mal could tell she wasn’t sucking in any air.

The boys and Fairy Godmother were all watching in concern, and Evie’s eyes were big as she stared at Mal and struggled.

Mal’s biggest rule was to not show any weaknesses. But as she watched Evie’s face start to get slightly red from the lack of air, she knew she had to break her own rule.

Mal stood, moving in front of Evie quickly. She slid her hands under her thighs and hoisted her up so she was holding her, then turned so she could set her on top of the table. They were closer to eye level now and Mal leaned in close.

“Close your eyes and listen to my voice. Take a big breath.” She encouraged. Evie’s eyes drifted shut, but she was obviously still struggling, a little noise escaping her lips. “Come on, E.” she rubbed her back, hoping to snap her out of it.

Evie still wasn’t moving, her eyes flying open again as she stared at Mal, her whole body shaking.

Mal put both hands on Evie’s thighs and dug her nails into the tender flesh as hard as she could. Evie gasped in pain, finally pulling some air into her lungs.

“Now keep breathing. Listen to my heart.” Mal guided her head to rest on her chest. “Good, baby. Nice and slow.”

Evie was struggling, but she was at least breathing now. Mal kept Evie close and had her eyes glued to her; she didn’t even want to see Fairy Godmother’s reaction to all of this. She held her until her breathing evened out and when she glanced down, she saw that Evie was asleep.

“Is she okay?” Fairy Godmother questioned, breaking the silence.

“She’s fine.” Mal answered.

“After what I just saw, I have a hard time believing that.” Fairy Godmother stepped down from her platform. She grabbed a chair and pulled it to right between the two tables the VKs shared. “It is my job to help all of you. I want you to be safe and comfortable, and for you to learn and to adjust to life in Auradon. You have been here for three weeks now, and it is becoming very clear that you all are still having a hard time.”

“What do you want from us?” Jay asked. “We can’t just flip a switch and suddenly adapt to our new life here.”

“I want you to talk to me when something is happening.” She said softly. “I want you to trust that I will help.”

Carlos scoffed. “Yeah, the word ‘trust’ isn’t really in our vocabulary.”

“What happened that caused Evie to have a panic attack?”

Her question was bold, and Mal was honestly surprised she had gotten up the courage to ask it. She and the boys stayed silent.

“I want to explain this to you in the best way that I can.” Fairy Godmother began. “The four of you are doing well in your classes, well, you were before you starting missing class. The issues since you’ve arrived in Auradon have been minimal, and I have received very few complaints about you all. But every time I look at you, I can see how much you are struggling. At first, I thought it was just being in a new place, and I still do think that’s part of the problem. But the more I get to know you, the more I see that you are all having a hard time because of how much Evie is falling apart.”

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, the VKs were on the defensive. The boys stood, and Mal held Evie closer. They stared at FG in anger.

“She is not falling apart.” Mal argued.

“Maybe that was a poor choice of words, but do you deny that she is struggling?”

Mal glared. “You have no idea what we’ve been through.”

“No, I don’t. I wish that you would feel comfortable to open up to someone here so we could help you work through it. You all clearly had a traumatic past, and until you learn to work through it, you are going to be stuck in the place that you are right now. I just hope that you start to consider speaking to someone, whether it be Dr. Bren or myself, so that you can move forward.” Fairy Godmother stood. “I’ll give you the rest of class to prepare yourselves for the rest of the day. If you need my help, you know where my office is.” She grabbed her bag and left the room.

Now that they were alone, the boys sat. Mal shifted Evie, moving so she could sit down and hold her on her lap instead. They were all silent for a few moments.

“Maybe there is some truth to what FG said.” Carlos said.

“You think Evie is falling apart?” Mal snapped.

“I know you don’t want to hear that, but yeah.” Carlos sighed. “We know what Evie has been through, and we know that she has a pretty big reason to be on edge. But we’re never going to accomplish anything if she can’t start working through things.”

“We just exposed a weakness.” Jay picked up from there. “FG spoke to us nicely and didn’t judge anyone. Maybe she is willing to help.”

“I don’t care. We’re not telling these people our business.”

“What’s more important? Keeping our past a secret, or helping to make a better future? Isn’t that what we’re here for?” Carlos demanded. “This has got to stop. Evie needs help, Mal. What happened with Chad is going to bring a lot of shit up and it’s just going to keep getting worse.”

“Oh, so you’re going to go to therapy and tell Dr. Bren about your mom then?” Mal spat, then looked at Jay. “You’re going to talk about your dad?”

“I don’t know, but…”

“No. Evie’s past is more fucked up than any of ours, and we can’t possibly understand how hard that would be for her to admit. Beyond that, think about what we’re trying to accomplish. If they hear what she’s been through, do you really think we’re going to be able to carry out our plan? There is absolutely no fucking way.”

“I don’t know what the right answer is here, but we need to do something because we can’t keep living like this.” Jay answered. “I’m sick of watching her tear herself apart. Evie deserves to have a better life, and if we have to talk to get it for her, then we’ll talk.”

“Agreed.” Carlos said. “We don’t have to tell everything, but we at least need to try a little bit.”

Mal looked down at Evie. She looked conflicted even in her sleep and it broke her heart. Did the boys have some good points? Should she start encouraging her to talk more to Dr. Bren?

Evie whimpered and clung to Mal a little tighter and that’s when she made her choice.

It was time to help Evie heal.

Chapter Text

If there was one thing in the world Mal couldn’t stand, it was living in her mother’s shadow. She had been doomed since the moment she was born; she even carried the exact same name as the woman.

Maleficent’s one goal was for Mal to be as evil as her. From the beginning of her life, she did whatever she could to break her.

Mal had grown up with very little human contact. She wasn’t allowed around people her own age, and her mother never hugged or cuddled her the way she saw the poor kids on the street being treated by their moms. The one time she tried to give Maleficent a hug, she had been slapped across the face and sent to her room without dinner.

When her mother would force her into doing evil things, Mal always felt something nagging her in the back of her brain. She did her best to push it away, telling herself that she is evil and she can do anything her mom can do.

After Mal formed her little “gang”, Maleficent started to get suspicious. Mal wasn’t allowed to have friends, so she knew she couldn’t let her mother know that she kept Evie, Jay, and Carlos around because she actually liked them.

“Tell me, Mal. What do they have to offer you?”

“Jay is strong.” Mal told her. “He steals quicker than I’ve ever seen, and he never gets caught. Carlos is smart, he can find flaws in any plan right away.”

“And the girl?”

“She’s the perfect person to throw into any situation. People see her as a pretty face, so they don’t even realize how deadly she is.”

Maleficent had just nodded, but didn’t give her opinion. From then on, every time Mal and her crew were carrying out a plot, she felt as if her mother was watching.

At 14, Mal walked into the castle just to be thrown to the ground by Maleficent. Her eyes were glowing in rage and she stepped on Mal’s chest, keeping her pinned to the floor.

“Do you think I am a fool, girl?” she shouted.

Mal had gotten used to her rage and knew that when she got upset like this, it was best to just say whatever she wanted to hear.

“No, Mother.”

“What do we say about love?”

“Love is weakness.” Mal recited.

“Then tell me what I heard isn’t true.” Maleficent kicked her ribs, then stepped back.

Mal knew that was her cue to stand. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t lie to me!” Maleficent hit her again. “I’ve been hearing rumors about your little blue haired girl. People say she’ll drop to her knees for anyone who walks by.” Mal dug her nails into her hands, fighting the urge to argue back. She knew it wouldn’t end well. “Does she get on her knees for you too, Mal? Are you jeopardizing your reputation, MY reputation, for Grimhilde’s little whore?”

“No, Mother.”

Maleficent’s eyes glowed even brighter. “My associates have told me they’ve seen you kissing her in the market, even marking up her neck. Do you accuse me of making this up?”

“No, Mother.”

“Have you slept with the girl?”

“Yes.” Mal answered, knowing that her mother already knew this. She still couldn’t figure out her angle here.

“Do you love her?”

“No.” Mal felt a pang in her chest as she lied, but she couldn’t show weakness. She couldn’t let her mother know how much Evie means to her or she was as good as dead.

“Then tell me, Mal. Why did I get word that you and your boys killed one of the men seen touching your little bitch?”

Mal stood taller as her own eyes started to light up. “Because she’s part of my crew. No one on this Isle messes with a person who is loyal to me.”

Maleficent stared at her, willing her to back down, but Mal stood her ground. She stared right back at her mother, refusing to give in.

“Love is weakness, Mal.”

“Yes, Mother.”

“Do not fall victim to what became the downfall of so many. Love will drag you down. Protect your crew because you own them, not because of any feelings.”

“Yes, Mother.” Mal said, knowing that no matter what it took or who she had to stand up to, she would always protect her crew.

-----

Mal charged into Dr. Bren’s office with a purpose. She walked past the sign in sheet (she refused to ever sign it, so it’s not like this was anything new) and busted into the office.

“Mal.” Dr. Bren greeted dryly, clearly not affected by her antics anymore. Normally, that would have frustrated Mal, but not today. She had more important business to take care of.

“You’re always telling me to talk, so let’s talk.” She said, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Okay.” Dr. Bren stood from her desk. “Would you like to take a seat?” Mal went over and sat on the chair that faced the door. “You know, it’s funny that all four of you always choose to sit in that chair.”

“Best vantage points. Clear view of the door so you can see if someone enters, and not too far so that if something happens, you can get away quickly.” Mal explained.

Dr. Bren nodded. “That makes sense.” She sat across from Mal. “What would you like to talk about today?”

Mal frowned. “Aren’t you supposed to tell me what to talk about?”

“It seems like there’s something on your mind. Do you want to talk about it, or would you rather me ask you some questions?”

“You kept asking me how I fit into my mother being the ruler of the Isle.” Mal reminded her. “When the Isle of the Lost was first created and villains were shipped there, Maleficent was the most powerful of all. I guess it took a little while for the barrier to go into effect completely, because when they first arrived, she still had some magic. Not enough to break the barrier or escape, but enough to assert dominance over everyone else.

“There were five major villains on the Isle- Maleficent, Evil Queen, Jafar, Cruella, and Ursula. At first, they all had their own territories, but then Ursula betrayed my mother. Cruella is a nutcase, Evil Queen cared more about her looks than anything else, and Jafar just wanted the best of everything, so they teamed up with Maleficent and gave her their territories in exchange for protection, putting her in charge of majority of the Isle. Then, they started having children. No one on the Isle was raised by two parents. Most people don’t even know their other parent, and it’s not a question that we are allowed to ask.”

“You told me before that having a villain for a parent is exactly the way it sounds. Can you explain that a little more?”

“I don’t know what there is to explain. Just because Maleficent and I share DNA it doesn’t mean she was any easier on me than everyone else. Honestly, it made things harder.”

“How so?”

“When someone takes power, they usually do it with an army, right?” Mal looked at her icily. “Who do you think she made into the perfect little solider?”

Dr. Bren nodded in understanding. “Can you tell me a little bit about your childhood? How were you raised?”

“To believe that the most important thing in this world is power. If you don’t have power, then you have nothing. Maleficent took what she wanted and kept it because of her power. She caused fear in every single person on the Isle so that she could stay in charge. From the time I was little, she raised me to be just like her. I wasn’t allowed to play with other kids, and she barely let me go to school. Everything was about following in her footsteps and being evil.”

“How did you meet the others if you weren’t allowed to play with other kids?” Dr. Bren wondered.

“Maleficent met with Evil Queen, Jafar, and Cruella every now and then to reassert power and give them smaller tasks that she didn’t feel like dealing with. When they met, they all brought their children. I met Evie for the first time when we were 6, and then we met the boys not too long after.”

“Were they raised to fulfil their parents’ agenda too?”

Mal scoffed. “You have no idea. But that’s their story to tell, and I don’t want to get into that.”

“That is perfectly understandable.” Dr. Bren smiled at her. “I respect the way you said that. We hit a boundary, and that’s okay, Mal. You don’t have to tell me everything, just what you are comfortable with for now, and then we’ll work on that until you’re ready to tell me more. This isn’t about digging into your past. It’s about understanding who you are so I know how to make it easier for you to cope.”

“Why is everyone so interested in what happened on the Isle?” Mal questioned.

“Because we have very little information. Personally, I find it horrible that King Adam didn’t keep tabs on what was going on with people he sentenced to the Isle, especially knowing that there were innocent children being raised there. But even if he does have some information, he never shared it with the public. Most people just know the Isle as the place where bad people were sent, but as you know, that’s far from the truth.”

Mal nodded in understanding. “You keep saying you want to help. How is talking going to help?”

“If we can find the root of the issue, we can treat it. Think of it like this. If you wake up from nightmares every single night and you don’t understand it, it’s helpful to talk about what leads to the nightmares. Maybe the solution is as easy as buying a nightlight.”

“Do you think there is a solution to all of our problems?”

“No.” Dr. Bren admitted. “But some problems heal over time. I want you to know that what we discuss will not leave this room unless it is absolutely crucial information that I have to share with someone else. Fairy Godmother spoke to me about Evie’s discomfort with us sharing information, and this was the agreement we came to in order to fix that.”

“What would you consider crucial information?”

“If you told me you wanted to hurt yourself, I would have to tell someone.” Dr. Bren gave her an example.

Mal just sighed. “I just want things to be better. Our entire lives have been shitty, and I don’t want to live like that anymore.”

Dr. Bren smiled. “You’re taking an amazing first step to breaking that cycle, Mal. You are very brave and I admire your courage. I know it’s difficult to trust someone in a new place who you don’t know very well, but I am here to help you.”

“I can’t promise you that I’ll always want to talk or that I’ll answer all your questions, but I want to try.”

“That’s all I can ask for.”

-----

After therapy, Mal felt exhausted. She didn’t realize how hard spilling some of her past would be until she walked out of Dr. Bren’s office and felt like she could sleep for a week. She walked quickly across the school until she reached their dorm.

Today was the first day the boys would have to sleep in their room, but she hoped they at least had the sense to stay with Evie until she got back. After what happened in Goodness class, Evie had been quiet and a little out of it the rest of the day. She spoke when spoken to and did her classwork, but she wasn’t her usual self.

When she walked into their room, she was happy to see Jay sitting on the bed. She looked around and saw Carlos and Evie passed out on the other bed.

“Hey.” Mal greeted, dropping her bag on the floor and sliding out of her shoes.

“How was therapy?” Jay wondered.

“I actually told her some stuff.” Mal shrugged. “I don’t know, it was weird.”

“Do you feel better?”

“A little bit. It just feels like there’s not as much weight on my chest, you know? Maybe these people can help a little.” She sat next to him. “How was detention?”

“Awesome, thanks for that.” Jay said dryly. He clearly didn’t appreciate that her attitude had landed them all in detention.

“How was E?”

“Same as before, not really talking. It was weird though, she was going through her math book and trying to learn what we missed last week. Mr. Reynolds came over and I thought I was going to have to beat his ass, but then he asked what she was doing and when she told him, he sat with her and showed her a couple problems.”

“Really?” Mal asked in surprised. “Why?”

“I don’t know, he said something about how he was willing to help if she was willing to put in effort. When we got back here, Evie tried to show Carlos, but she could barely keep her eyes open so they took a nap instead.”

Mal sighed. “What am I supposed to do, Jay? How do I help her?”

“Well first of all, I think you need to back off a little. Ever since we came to Auradon, you’ve been fighting all of Evie’s battles for her and it’s making her pull back into herself. On the Isle, she didn’t take shit from anyone. If you give her some space, I feel like she’ll start sticking up for herself again.”

“It’s just hard not to be there for her when I know she’s going through so much right now.”

“There’s a difference between being there for someone and coddling, and you’re coddling.” Jay stated. “Just give her a little space. No more hovering.”

Mal nodded. Maybe Jay had a point. She promised herself to try her best, but she wasn’t sure how well that would go because Evie being uncomfortable flared up every single protective instinct in her body.

Mal laid down on the bed, feeling strange without having Evie practically on top of her. Jay filled the space next to her after a minute and she actually scooted a little closer to him.

“Oh wow, is the great Mal Bertha actually trying to cuddle?” Jay said with a fake gasp.

“Shut up.” Mal mumbled. “And don’t call me that.”

“It’s okay, Mal. I won’t tell anyone.” He wrapped an arm around her. At first, she thought about pushing him off, but he was warm and comfy so she let it go. She was asleep within minutes.

-----

When Mal woke up, she felt the bed dip slightly. Her eyes fluttered open and she saw Evie crawling up the bed until she was over top of her. She lowered herself carefully and looked at her.

“Why are you all the way over here?”

“When I got back, you and Carlos were sleeping.” Mal responded. She looked around in confusion. “Where are they?”

“They went back to their room.” Evie answered.

Mal stroked her fingers through Evie’s hair so she could hold it away from her face. “You’re so beautiful.”

“So are you, my love.” Evie leaned down and planted a gentle kiss on her full lips. “I’m sorry for earlier.”

Mal sat up, bringing Evie with her so the girl sat in her lap. Mal wrapped her arms around her waist.

“Why are you apologizing?”

“Because I was stressed and nervous and I took it out on you and the boys. I shouldn’t have overreacted so much when you came into the bathroom, and I shouldn’t have argued with Jay about you coming to find me. I know I’ve given you a lot of reason to be nervous lately.”

“I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have kept prying into your business, and I shouldn’t have taken things so far with Mr. Reynolds.” Mal kissed her cheek. “How are you feeling?”

“Still uncomfortable.” Evie admitted. “I’ve been uncomfortable ever since the party and I don’t know if it will ever go away.”

“It will.” Mal promised, kissing her temple, then her cheek, then her chin. “How do you feel about what happened in Goodness class?”

“Embarrassed.” Evie bit her lip. “I don’t know how I’m ever going to look Fairy Godmother in the eyes again.”

“She was very understanding about the whole thing. She brought up some good points.” Mal hesitated before speaking again. This was a make it or break it kind of moment; either they had this conversation and Evie responded well, or she would be upset and they would fight about it. Mal had been struggling to get into Evie’s head lately, so she wasn’t sure which way things would lean.

“Like what?”

“She said that until we learn to show a little trust and start to open up to people who are here to help us, we will always be stuck in the place we’re at right now.” Mal stroked Evie’s hair out of her face gently. “I think she’s right.”

“What do you mean?”

“All of our lives, we’ve been taught that we need to be evil and we have to do what our parents say. Now that we’re in Auradon, we’re seeing that that’s not necessarily true anymore. We are safe physically for the first time in our lives, but now that we’re not constantly running from danger, all the bullshit in our heads is starting to be a bigger issue. Today in therapy, I talked to Dr. Bren.”

“Really?” Evie seemed surprised. She brought a hand up and stroked it over Mal’s cheek. “How did that go?”

“I didn’t tell her anything major. We talked about Maleficent and how she got her power, and I told her she raised me to be a solider for her. She asked how I met all of you, and I said through our parents, and she asked me if your parents raised you guys the same way. When I told her I didn’t want to talk about it, she said that was okay and I was allowed to have boundaries.” Mal shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s actually going to help, but I felt a little better after I talked to her. It’s nice not having to hide everything.”

Evie looked down, avoiding eye contact. “I don’t want to talk to Dr. Bren.”

“What about Fairy Godmother?” Mal suggested. Evie looked at her hesitantly. “Dr. Bren told me that from now on, whatever we say in therapy stays in therapy, unless it’s something dangerous. Fairy Godmother told her how you were uncomfortable with them talking about you when you’re not around, and they changed their rule because of that. FG seems like she cares about you, E. If you don’t like Dr. Bren, then I think she’s a good option.”

Evie bit her lip nervously. “I don’t know how to talk to them. I don’t know what to say or what’s too much. What if I say something wrong and they find out? I don’t know if I can do it.”

“FG will help you. She can ask the questions and you can answer in a way you think is good, okay?” Mal kissed her cheek again. “Stay calm, baby. Don’t get worked up.”

Evie grimaced. “I just always feel like I’m so wound up and waiting to snap. I hate feeling like this.” She tried to get up, but Mal held her hips and kept her in place.

“Hey, when you start feeling like that, talk to me.” Mal grabbed her chin gently so they could make eye contact. “We can find ways for you to wind down when you need it. Taking baths, sleeping, taking a walk, designing, making out…” Mal listed. “Whatever you need, I’ll help you, okay?”

Evie gave her a small smile. “Okay.” She leaned in for a hug. “I think I could use a little help right now.”

“Oh really? What do you need?”

“Maybe a little of that last one.” Evie pulled back so they could make eye contact. Mal laughed at her overdramatic pout.

“I think that can be arranged.” Mal flipped their bodies, pressing Evie’s back into the mattress and kissing her. When they separated for air, she smirked. “You know what’s great?”

“What?”

“The boys are gone.”

Evie raised an eyebrow. “Okay…”

Mal trailed her kisses down her neck. “That means we can be as loud as we want.”

Chapter Text

The next morning, Evie’s chest felt a little lighter. Spending time with Mal always helped, and though they were up half the night, it was for a good reason this time.

“Morning, boys.” She greeted as she sat next to Carlos at the breakfast table.

“You look happy.” Carlos commented.

Jay laughed. “Does it have anything to do with the hickey on your neck?”

Evie slapped her hand over the mark Mal had left on her skin. “You can still see it? I spent forever trying to cover it up!”

Carlos moved her hand out of the way. “Damn, she got you good.”

Mal came over, sitting down next to Jay. She slid a cup of yogurt and a bottle of water over to Evie, who groaned.

“No complaints, Pretty Girl. You didn’t eat at all yesterday.”

“Oh really…” Jay began with a smirk, until Evie kicked him under the table. “Ouch! Evie, what the fuck!?”

“Keep your comments to yourself.”

“Did I missing something?” Mal questioned.

Jay laughed again. “No, I think you got most of her neck.”

The purple haired girl shrugged. “Sorry. We took advantage of having our room to ourselves.” She turned to Jay with an evil smile. “Many times.”

“Thanks for the visual.”

“Anything for you.” She ruffled his hair. “So, how was being in a different room? Did you guys sleep okay?”

“It was fine.” Carlos answered before Jay could say another sexual comment. “A little weird, but nothing too bad.”

“Good morning!” they all looked over as Ben joined their table. “How are all of you?” he took a seat next to Jay.

“We’re fine, thank you for asking.” Evie gave him a charming smile.

“Some of us better than others.” Jay grumbled.

Audrey came over next, taking the empty seat next to her boyfriend. Conversation started to flow, and a few seconds later, Lonnie sat next to Carlos.

Ben gasped suddenly. “What happened?”

Evie looked around in confusion, wondering where that had come from. Then, she realized Ben’s gaze was on her. “What are you talking about?”

“Your neck is all bruised up!” he stood. “Did someone hurt you? Whoever it is, give me a name and I’ll…”

“Honey, sit down.” Audrey said, tugging on Ben’s arm. Evie felt her entire face heat up as she realized what he meant. It hit the others at the same time- Carlos shook his head, Mal smiled proudly, and Jay started to laugh.

“No! I want to know who is responsible for this so I can…”

“Ben.” Audrey interrupted again.

“Why are you not more upset about this?”

“Because I think it was Mal.” Audrey told him.

Ben frowned. “Mal?” he looked back and forth between the two girls. “You put your hands on her?”

“That’s not all she put on her.” Jay joked.

“Oh my God.” Audrey groaned. “Ben, it’s a hickey.”

His face immediately flushed. “Huh?”

“Mal gave Evie a hickey.”

At this point, Evie’s head was buried in her arms. Carlos patted her back in support, but he was trying to hide his grin. Mal and Jay were both laughing.

“Oh…oh, um, okay. Sorry.” He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly.

“It’s good to know that you have our backs though, Benny-boo.” Mal said.

“Of course I do.”

Conversation picked back up and Evie finally felt like she could look everyone in the eyes again. She sat up and saw that Mal was staring at her. Green eyes darted towards the cup of yogurt pleadingly and Evie gave in, taking a small bite.

She tried to focus more on everyone talking than the fact that she was eating, and by the time the bell rang, she had eaten half of her yogurt.

“Proud of you.” Mal whispered in her ear as they walked towards the trash can. They both disposed of their garbage and then Mal kissed Evie’s forehead.

“I need to go to the bathroom.” Evie told her.

“Do you want me to go with you?”

“If you want.”

Mal looked at the boys. “We’re going to the bathroom. Meet you in class.”

“Don’t take too long.” Jay called, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Evie rolled her eyes. She glanced at Audrey, Lonnie, and Ben, wondering how they felt about all of Jay’s jokes today. Ben was so innocent that he probably didn’t even understand, Audrey rolled her eyes, and Lonnie laughed.

They walked to the bathroom together and Evie stopped in front of the sink. She opened her bag and pulled out makeup.

“I can’t believe you did this.” Evie said, meeting Mal’s eyes in the mirror as she rubbed more foundation over the hickey.

“Sorry.” Mal’s voice was monotoned, showing that she clearly didn’t care. On the Isle, Mal had left marks as often as possible to stake a claim to her territory. Evie didn’t necessarily mind (especially while it was happening), but it was a little embarrassing.

After she had covered the mark the best she could, they went to class. Their first two periods passed quickly, and then it was time to go to math class.

Evie was surprised, but grateful that Mr. Reynolds had helped her during detention the day before. She hoped that he wouldn’t throw it in her face now.

“Please keep your temper in check.” Evie said as she tugged on Mal’s hand.

“I’ll do my best, Princess.”

“I’m serious, Mal. Keep your mouth shut.”

Mal nodded, obviously knowing better than to argue with her. “I’ll try.”

They sat next to each other, the boys taking the empty seats behind them. Mr. Reynolds began class, and Evie was happy that it was all making more sense now. She had tried her best to get some more work done after detention, but she had been so tired. She knew that today after her therapy appointment, she would have to teach Jay and Mal- though Carlos didn’t say anything, she was sure he was listening when Mr. Reynolds was helping her.

Class passed quickly. Mr. Reynolds called on her towards the end and Evie could see Mal sit up straighter out of the corner of her eye. She quickly finished the problem in her notebook, then told him the answer she had gotten.

Mr. Reynolds actually gave a small smile. “Very nice, Evie.” He studied the rest of the classroom. “You all should take notes from her. Even after what happened in class yesterday, she worked hard during detention and accepted my help.”

“What did she do for you in return?” one of the Auradon kids shouted, causing his friends to laugh.

Evie felt her entire face heat up. She heard the scrape of Mal’s chair against the ground as she went to stand and defend her.

“Excuse me?” Mr. Reynolds interrupted. He stomped over to where the boy, who Evie now recognized as one of Chad’s Tourney teammates, was sitting. “Do not ever disrespect me or another person in this classroom again.”

The boy stuttered. “S-sorry sir.”

“I’ll see you in detention today.” Mr. Reynolds glanced over at the VKs, seeing Mal was still standing and had her fists clenched. “Can we get back to our lesson now?”

Evie studied Mal, hoping that for once she would just sit down and shut up. She was pleasantly surprised when Mal sat and nodded towards Mr. Reynolds.

The rest of math class went by without anything eventful happening. When the bell rang, Evie gathered her things and then went over to the teacher’s desk.

“Mr. Reynolds?” she said quietly.

“Yes?” he stopped his grading and glanced up at her.

“Thank you for helping me yesterday. I know that I missed a lot of class, but I’m going to try my best not to do that anymore. I really appreciate your help.”

He nodded. “As long as you put in the work, I’m here to help you.”

“Thank you.”

“And thanks for standing up for her.” Mal said, coming up behind Evie. “I know I’ve been rude to you, but thanks.”

Mr. Reynolds looked at the two of them, then just nodded his head. “Evie, you have therapy today, correct?”

“Yes.”

“Mal, I’ll still see you in detention?”

“Yes.” Evie answered for her, then grabbed her hand. “Thank you, Mr. Reynolds.” She pulled Mal out of the room and they met up with the boys in the hallway.

“Maybe Mr. Reynolds isn’t a complete asshole.” Jay commented.

Carlos nodded. “You guys should go a little easier on him.”

“I’m going to miss seeing how red his face gets.” Jay said with a dramatic sigh, making Evie laugh.

She sobered up quickly, remembering how Goodness class had gone yesterday. So far, it had been a good day, but she wasn’t confident that that would continue. It would be a miracle if Fairy Godmother didn’t make a comment about what had happened the day before.

They found their usual seats and before Evie could even move, Mal reached out and grabbed her hand. She kissed the back of it, then each one of her knuckles, and then her wrist.

“You’re so calm today.” Mal told her as she stroked her thumb in circles over her hand. “How are you feeling?”

“Better.” Evie said with a nod. “I’m nervous about what FG will say though.”

“It’s going to be okay.”

“How do you know?”

Mal shrugged. “I just do. Am I ever wrong?” Jay and Carlos busted out laughing and she glared over at them. “What’s so funny?”

“Are you ever wrong?” Jay repeated. “Remember the time you made us charge into the drop off and we nearly had our asses handed to us by Uma’s crew, all because you wanted some more sketching paper?”

“Or when you said that we could steal chemicals from Curl Up and Dye and Lady Tremaine beat us with a broom?” Carlos laughed.

“Or when you decided we all should wear matching t-shirts.” Evie shuddered. “I still have nightmares about Carlos in that tight pink shirt.”

Carlos gasped. “Excuse me?”

Mal rolled her eyes. “You’re all assholes.” She grabbed Evie’s chin gently. “Except you. You’re perfect.” She leaned in and gave her a quick kiss.

“Wow, what a surprise. You know, you’re not really supposed to play favorites with your crew.” Jay told her.

“Yeah, I think I broke that rule a long time ago.” She turned Evie’s face towards Jay. “Look at this beautiful face and tell me you wouldn’t do the same.”

Jay shrugged. “She’s alright.” Evie pouted, making Mal laugh and run her thumb over Evie’s bottom lip until she smiled again. “Okay, you’re right. She’s fucking gorgeous.”

They heard the door open and Fairy Godmother walked into the room. Their conversation ended quickly as all their smiles faded and they stared towards where the headmistress was standing.

“Good morning, children.” She greeted. “How are you all today?”

“Fine.” Mal responded.

Fairy Godmother must have noticed how tense they all were. She smiled at them. “I’m glad that you’re all in class today. I have a wonderful lesson prepared for you about how to behave during a dinner party.”

Just like that, she glossed over everything that had happened yesterday. Evie was in absolute shock. She was waiting for Dr. Bren to appear, or for FG to send her off to the health center to talk about her problems. Instead, she pulled out examples of outfits to wear during fine dining and talked as if she hadn’t seen Evie have a panic attack the day before.

Evie actually enjoyed the lesson that day and she was surprised when the bell rang. As she packed her things up, she remembered that lunch was next and felt some of the familiar dread creep into her body.

“Come on, Pretty Girl.” Mal said, holding her hand out for Evie to grab. Evie took it without hesitation and they headed towards the cafeteria. “I’m so proud of you today. You’re having such a good day.”

Evie smiled. “Yeah, it hasn’t been too bad.”

“I know you probably don’t want to eat lunch, but you’re trying to stay healthy, remember?” Mal led her to the lunch line. “Any preferences?”

Evie shrugged. “I don’t care.”

Mal chose food for both of them and carried it over to the table. They sat and she divided the food up, leaving Evie with a plate of a few different fruits and vegetables. The portions were small, but it was still a lot more food than Evie had eaten in a while.

“You don’t have to eat it all, but you should at least try each one and see what you like. I made sure there’s no broccoli.”

“Thank you, M.” Evie sighed and picked up her fork, knowing there was no going around this. She tried fresh carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, and green beans. The cauliflower was little plain, but none of it was bad.

She moved on to the fruit next. Fruit was sweeter, and she had liked every fruit she tried so far. She saved the strawberries and pineapples for last, knowing that she liked those and could eat them if she didn’t like the other fruits. She tried the grapes and oranges that Mal put on her plate and they were good, but she didn’t like the pears.

After she had eaten a bite of everything, and even finished off the asparagus and pineapples, she tuned into the conversation happening at the table. She looked towards Mal and saw that she was looking directly at her and had a huge smile on her face.

“You’re amazing.” Mal told her.

Evie smiled back as she blushed. She looked over and saw that at some point, Audrey, Lonnie, and Doug had joined them, and they were all looking at her in confusion.

“Do you want my strawberries?” she asked Mal.

“Are you finished with them?”

“Mmhmm.” Evie didn’t feel uncomfortable yet, but she knew she would if she kept eating. She had tried a few bites of each thing and that was the best she could do. She opened her bottle of water and took a big drink, knowing that water was good for the body and she didn’t drink enough of it.

She felt Mal’s hand on her back. She slipped it under her shirt and gently scratched her lower back in circles. Evie felt the tension practically melt away as she sighed and let Mal work her magic. Her girlfriend always knew exactly where to touch and what to do to help her relax.

Lunch ended not too long after, and Evie actually felt good. Normally, this was the turning point in her day, but she still had some energy left and she hoped that she could get through her last three classes without any issues.

History class was next. The tables were arranged in long rows, and Evie sat between Carlos and Mal. She pulled her notebook out and tried her best to focus and take notes. She struggled the most with history and they had a test coming up that she was already behind on studying for since she missed class every day last week. She looked around at her friends to see what they were doing. Jay looked like he was half asleep, Carlos was scribbling notes down on his notebook, and Mal was sketching. She had drawn a familiar face and Evie leaned over to rest her head on Mal’s shoulder when she realized who it was. Mal kissed her forehead and shut her notebook without a word.

After history, they broke off into their separate classes. Evie walked with Mal, while the boys had to go in the opposite direction.

“How was this class yesterday?”

“Fine. No one said anything to me, if that’s what you mean.”

Mal nodded. “Good.” They got to the outside of the door. “See you in a little bit.”

“M’kay.” Evie leaned forward and gave Mal a quick kiss on the cheek, then walked in. She took the empty seat next to Audrey.

“Hi.” Audrey greeted.

“Hi.” Evie gave her a small smile in greeting.

“How has your day been? You seem a lot happier than yesterday.”

“It’s been good. What about you?”

Audrey looked surprised. “Me?”

“Yeah. How was your day?”

She seemed shocked that Evie had even thought to ask. “It’s been good. I haven’t seen Ben that much because he’s been so busy, so that sucks, but nothing out of the ordinary has happened.” She pulled out her sketchbook. “Did you finish your sketches that are due today?”

“Yes.” Evie pulled out her sketchbook; it wasn’t nearly as nice as Audrey’s with its worn blue cover, but Mal had made her a new one every time she filled one and it was special to her. Audrey held hers out, so they traded and looked at each other’s designs.

“Oh wow.” Audrey said, turning the page slowly as if she would rip it if she moved too fast. “Evie, these are amazing.”

“Thank you, I like yours too.”

“No, I’m serious. I’ve never seen anything like this before. You’re really talented.”

Evie smiled uncomfortably. “Thanks.”

“Miss Andrews!” Audrey called out. “You have to see these.”

Before Evie knew it, the teacher was coming over to inspect her sketches. When she had taken Fashion Design on a different period, she had a different teacher, so this was only her second day with Miss Andrews. The woman looked at each page with little expression, and once she finished, she handed Evie’s notebook back with a big smile.

“I think you were made to be a designer, my dear.” She told her. “How long have you been sketching?”

“I’m not sure. I was six, maybe seven?”

“Really?”

“My, um, my mother was very insistent on me dressing nicely. She would pick out clothes for me that I didn’t like, and she told me if I could think of something better, then she would consider it. So I started drawing my own designs and when she thought they were acceptable, she would help me get the materials for them.”

Miss Andrews nodded her head. “Do you make all of your own clothes?”

“Yes.”

“Did you make what you’re wearing right now?” Evie nodded. “You have some real talent, Evie. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m the leader of the sewing club. We work on sketches and then put together different pieces. Would you be interested in joining?”

“I’m in the club too.” Audrey chimed in. “It’s really fun.”

Evie didn’t know what possessed her to do it, but she actually agreed. “Okay, I guess I could try it out.”

Miss Andrews smiled. “Great. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. Can you come to tomorrow’s meeting?”

“Yes.” Evie decided.

“I can’t wait to see you there. You have a lot to bring to the table.” She went to the front of the room to get class started.

Evie was shocked by the turn of events. Someone actually thought she had some talent? She knew that her designs weren’t bad, but most of the people who liked them were kids who never knew any better. She had never had an adult actually praise her for her designs before.

She was still smiling when she met her friends in 7th period. Mal noticed instantly and raised an eyebrow. “What has you so smiley, beautiful?”

“Audrey asked our Fashion Design teacher, Miss Andrews, to look at my sketchbook today. She was really impressed with my designs and she asked me to join the sewing club.”

“That’s amazing, baby!” Mal kissed her cheek. “My girl the fashion designer.”

Evie beamed proudly. “She said that I have real talent and a lot to bring to the table.”

“That’s because you do! You know your stuff and you can make beautiful outfits out of next to nothing. Did you say yes to joining the club?”

“Yeah, they have meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.” Evie gave a small shrug. “Maybe it’ll help me to have things to do during the week instead of just going back to the dorm room and sleeping.”

“I agree.” Mal just stared at her as a dopey smile forced her lips upwards. “You know, I think I fall more in love with you every single day.”

Evie leaned her head over to rest on Mal’s shoulder. “The feeling is mutual.”

7th period flew by without an issue. It was chemistry, so Evie understood everything without a struggle. When it was time to work with a lab partner, Evie and Mal obviously chose each other.

“Okay, do you want to start?” Evie questioned.

Mal laughed. “You give me a lot of credit, you know that?”

“What do you mean?”

“I didn’t understand a word he was saying.”

Evie rolled her eyes. “I guess we’re going to have to go back to group study sessions.”

“Probably. I was clueless today in math and history too.”

“Mal!” Evie said. “You need to start paying attention!”

“But you’re just so pretty and I would rather look at you.”

Evie gave her a look. “Maybe I’ll talk to Fairy Godmother about us not being in the same classes then.”

Mal smiled. “Yeah right, you would miss me too much.” She sighed. “Alright, try and show me what to do.”

Evie performed their experiment with ease. Their teacher even came over to observe, and he nodded approvingly when he saw that Evie knew exactly what to do.

“Look at my girl impressing all the teachers.” Mal whispered once he walked away. “Is there a chemistry club for you to join too?”

“Probably.”

“Have you looked into that? Maybe you and Carlos could join.”

Evie shook her head. “You have to be really smart to be in chemistry club and…”

“…and you’re smart as fuck.” Mal finished for her. “Don’t ever try and tell me you’re not smart enough again. I understand not wanting to do too much, or not wanting to add more to your plate on top of everything else, but you not being smart enough is not even close to being a good excuse.”

Evie bit her lip to try and hide her smile. “You know what, Mal Bertha? You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“And you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

When class ended, the four of them walked to the front of the school together. Evie had her therapy appointment today, which she had been pushing to the back of her mind all day. Now that it was time, she felt the nervousness starting to creep up.

“Do you want us to walk you there?” Jay asked.

Evie sighed and shook her head. “I don’t want to go to the health center.”

“We don’t really have an option, E.” Carlos told her sympathetically.

Evie turned to Mal. “You said maybe I could talk to Fairy Godmother. Do you think I can go there now instead of therapy?”

She knew Mal had no clue what the rules were, but the purple haired girl nodded anyway. “Doesn’t hurt to try. C’mon, I’ll walk you to her office.” She grabbed Evie’s hand and looked over her shoulder at the boys. “Meet you in detention.”

They walked through the hallways quietly. Evie felt her stomach start to bubble as she got closer and closer to Fairy Godmother’s office. Suddenly, Mal grabbed her arm and pulled her over to a secluded corner of the hall.

Mal pushed her back against the wall and put her arms on either side of Evie’s head, holding her there. She leaned in and kissed her once, then again for a little longer this time.

“Do you have any idea how much I love you?” Mal asked, then kissed her again. “All day you have worked so hard and you have done some amazing things, baby girl. Now you’re being so brave and going to talk to Fairy Godmother and I couldn’t be prouder of you.” She kissed her again, stealing her breath away.

When they separated, Evie rested her forehead against Mal’s. “Thank you for always being here for me. I don’t know where I would be without having you supporting me.”

Mal kissed the tip of her nose, then her cheek, then temple, and finally her forehead. “Take a deep breath.” Evie did as she instructed. “Let it out nice and slow, and let that nervous energy out with it. You’ve got this, E.”

Evie nodded her head, causing Mal’s head to nod too since their foreheads were pressed together. She laughed at the weird movement.

They moved apart and Mal reached forward, running her index finger along Evie’s lips. “Sorry, I smeared a little of your lipstick. I fixed it though.”

Evie laughed when she noticed Mal’s lips were a shade darker than before. She wiped the layer of lipstick off, then pressed a light kiss to her lips. “There.”

“Come on, baby.” Mal held her hand and kept leading her down the hallway.

When they got to Fairy Godmother’s office, Evie felt nervous, but she knew she had to do this. She raised her hand and knocked.

“Come in!”

“I have to go to detention, but as soon as I’m done, I’ll be right back here.” Mal promised. She kissed her cheek. “You’ve got this my brave, beautiful girl.” She whispered.

Evie bit her lip as she worked up the courage to open the door. She pushed it open slowly and peaked her head around the corner. “Hello, Fairy Godmother.”

“Evie! Hello dear, come in.” she smiled welcomingly. She entered the room and shut the door quietly behind her. She went over and sat in the chair across from FG. “What brings you to my office?”

“I don’t trust Dr. Bren.” She blurted out, earning a concerned look from FG. “I just…I don’t know how to talk to her or what she wants from me. But you…I know that you want to help me. You’ve told us so many times that you’ll do what you can to help, and when we came to you about schedules and all that, you fixed it for us. I know you’ll try your best.”

Fairy Godmother nodded. “Of course I’m here to help.” She came around to sit in the chair next to Evie’s. “What can I help you with?”

“I’m supposed to be in therapy right now, but I can’t go. Every time I go, something is triggered inside of me and I’m a mess. I don’t want to be a mess anymore. I need to get better, for me and for Mal and for Carlos and Jay.”

“Would you feel better talking to me?”

“Yes.” Evie practically whispered.

“Okay. I want to start by saying that I’m not a therapist, so I’m not going to always know the right thing to say or how to help you. There may come a time where I have to speak to Dr. Bren about how I should handle a situation with you. I know you are uncomfortable with us sharing information about you, but would it be okay if I asked you before I speak to her?”

Evie nodded. “I guess so.”

“Alright. Why don’t you tell me about you?”

Evie frowned slightly. “What do you mean?”

“I don’t know much about you. I know the obvious things- you are sixteen years old, your mother is the Evil Queen, your favorite color is blue, you design clothes, and you have excellent scores in chemistry. I also know some things that I’ve figured out from watching you the past few weeks- you are the most polite of your friends, but also very guarded and reserved, almost more so than Mal. You love your friends very much and you would do anything for them, and they would do the same for you. But I want to know more about you. Can you fill in some blanks for me?”

“I never knew who my father was.” Evie began, figuring that it would be best to start at the beginning. “Mother didn’t like it when I talked about him, so I never asked who he was. I would assume that he was human because as you know, my mother is a witch, and I don’t feel any kind of magic in my body. I learned chemistry because of that; if I can’t make a potion with magic, then making a potion out of different chemicals was the next best thing. It made me useful. On the Isle, to be considered powerful, you have to have some type of use. But of course, my brain wasn’t what most people saw as useful.” Evie said, then realized what she had just implied. She snapped her mouth shut, hoping that Fairy Godmother wouldn’t question her on it.

“Why do you like blue so much?” FG asked, completely changing the subject.

Evie was a little taken aback by the fact that she backed off, but she certainly wasn’t complaining. “I don’t know, I’ve always been drawn to it. When I was little, Mother always dressed me in red, but I would run off and change into blue at any chance I got until she finally agreed that blue was a good color for me. She thought it would clash with my hair.”

“What color hair were you born with?”

“Blue.” Evie said in confusion, twirling a lock around her finger. “Did you think it was fake?”

“No one here has colored hair. Does that mean Mal’s hair is naturally purple?” Evie nodded. “I wonder if it has something to do with the barrier.”

“Many of the girls on the Isle have colored hair.” Evie informed her.

“That’s very interesting.” Fairy Godmother smiled at her. “Tell me about your friends. When did you meet them?”

“I was six when I met Mal. Our mothers worked together; in the beginning, the Isle was split between Mother, Maleficent, Jafar, Cruella, and Ursula, but over time, most territory was given to Maleficent. She would make sure my mother’s castle was protected, and she would allow her first pick over most of the makeup that came to the Isle in exchange for her territory and loyalty. Mother would do little jobs for Maleficent, and when she did, she would bring me along and Mal was always there. We weren’t allowed to have friends, so we called each other a team. We terrorized the market together.” Evie couldn’t help but smile. “People were so scared of us because they knew who are mothers were and that we weren’t to be messed with. We met the boys not too long after and then we became a gang.”

“What do you mean by a ‘gang’?”

“We worked together.” Evie said, shifting uncomfortably. She didn’t want to tell Fairy Godmother some of the things they had done. She knew it would change her view on her. “When we got old enough, some of our parents’ jobs were pawned off on us and we helped each other get it done.”

“What kind of jobs?”

Evie bit her lip, trying desperately to block out her memories. She remembered what Mal had said about her meeting with Dr. Bren yesterday and decided to try it.

“I don’t want to talk about that. Dr. Bren told Mal she could have boundaries. Can I have boundaries too?”

“Of course, dear. Anytime something gets too personal to talk about, tell me and we will stop. The goal of talking about your past isn’t to push you so far that you trigger an uncomfortable memory.” Fairy Godmother smiled reassuringly. “Do you want to keep going and talk about something else, or is that enough for today?”

Evie shrugged. “What else do you want to know?”

“Tell me about you and Mal. The two of you have a bond that I’ve never seen before, and it’s honestly a little unsettling.”

Evie couldn’t fight back her smile. “Yeah, we’ve always had that effect on others.” She thought about her girlfriend lovingly. “From the first time I saw her, I knew there was something different. She wasn’t allowed around other children, but Mother had me mingle with other kids as often as possible to help develop my social habits. As I’m sure you’ve seen, Mal is a bit socially delayed.” She couldn’t help but giggle at her girlfriend’s expense.

Even FG laughed. “Yes, I’ve noticed.”

“I was the first person she ever met who was her own age, and even then we only saw each other every couple weeks. It took a while for her to really start talking, but she protected me from the first day.”

“Now that I have no problem believing.”

“When we were 8, our parents let us loose on the Isle. We were allowed out as long as we followed their rules and completed the tasks we were given. The four of us would work together to get things done so that we could hang out the rest of the time. Mal knew my mother would have a heart attack if I ruined one of my dresses, so she always brought a spare change of clothes for me to wear while we played.” Evie’s face broke out into a smile, and she honestly forgot who she was talking to for a moment. “The first time she kissed me, we were 9. I loved playing princess and they would all play along. Mal rescued me and gave me a kiss, and that was when I knew I was in love with her.”

“When did Mal know?”

“Well, we didn’t use the word ‘love’, but she always insists that she knew things were different with us from that first day in the market. Mal’s love is usually shown through her overprotectiveness, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true.” Evie realized it was Fairy Godmother she was talking to and tried to wipe the lovesick smirk off of her face.

“How old were you when you started to date officially?”

“Carlos and Jay always say that we were practically dating since we were 6, but we didn’t actually acknowledge it until we were 12. Mal let everyone know I was hers and that was that.”

“What do you mean you are hers?” Fairy Godmother wondered.

Evie tensed up slightly. “That’s just how we say that we’re dating on the Isle. She is mine too.”

“How did your mothers react to the two of you dating?”

Now, every part of Evie’s body was tense. She dug her fingernails into her palm. “Boundary.”

Fairy Godmother nodded in understanding. “Okay. Would you like to continue, or are you ready to stop for the day?”

She knew she was too close to a memory, so she shook her head. “Can we stop?”

“We can stop any time you are ready, Evie.” Fairy Godmother smiled. “You have made some amazing progress today, my dear. It may not seem like it, but just the little bit that you opened up is such an improvement from when you first came to Auradon. By the way, Miss Andrews spoke to me about your designs. I’m very pleased to hear that you joined the sewing club.”

“I think it might help me get out of my head a little more.”

“I agree.” FG looked at her. “I want to make a deal with you, okay? I want you to come see me every Wednesday instead of going to therapy. If there are any other days where you feel like you need to talk, I want you to know that my door is always open to you. Even if it isn’t Wednesday, you can come here and I will talk for as long as you like. Okay?”

“Okay.” Evie nodded. “Thank you. I don’t know what this whole therapy thing is supposed to be like, but I do feel a little better now that I’ve talked to you.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Fairy Godmother stood. “Is Mal waiting for you outside, or did you walk on your own?”

“She had to go to detention and then she was going to come back and wait for me.” Evie glanced at the clock and then smiled. “She should be here by now.”

“She is very protective.” FG said, earning another smile from Evie. “I’ll see you tomorrow in class.”

“Bye FG. Thank you.” Evie exited the office.

Her eyes landed on Mal immediately, who was so caught up in whatever she was sketching that she didn’t even noticed she came out.

Evie walked over slowly, peering over Mal’s shoulder at the sketchbook. She gasped. “Are you drawing me naked?”

Mal jumped at her sudden appearance. “Huh?”

“Your picture.” She nodded down at the paper.

Mal smiled sheepishly. “You’re just too perfect. I had to draw you.”

Evie studied the drawing, the gentle lines to represent all of the curves and edges of her body. It was beautiful. “Is that really how you see me?”

Mal reached out, pulling her onto her lap. “Baby, this drawing doesn’t even come close to how I see you.” She gave her a gentle kiss. “Are you ready to go?”

Mmhmm.” Evie stood up, letting Mal pack up all of her things. The purple haired girl grabbed her hand and they started to walk together.

“How was it? You seem good.”

“It was…I don’t know the word. I just feel like we’re keeping so many secrets and it’s nice not having to hide every single detail of our lives. Besides, I don’t know why we’re not being honest about the Isle. It’ll probably benefit our plan to let them know of some of the horrible things that happen there.”

“That’s a good point.” Mal agreed. “Not that I want them to particularly know our horrors, but still.”

“FG said I can meet with her now on Wednesdays instead of Dr. Bren, and that if there’s ever a time I need to talk, her door is always open.”

“What kinds of things did you talk about?”

“How we met. I told her that we all did jobs for our parents, and when she asked what kind of jobs, I told her that was a boundary and she changed the subject. She wanted to know about me and you and how we got together, so we talked about that a little bit. She asked how our mothers responded to our relationship and I said that was another boundary, so we stopped talking.”

“It sounds like you made some progress at least.” Mal kissed her forehead. “The boys went to Tourney practice after detention. Do you want to go watch?”

“Sure.”

They walked to the Tourney field together, laughing and joking about different things. Right now, Evie felt invincible. She was happy and didn’t feel like the world was caving in on her. She smiled and looked over at Mal, knowing that she was part of the reason she felt that way.

They sat down on the bleachers once they got to the Tourney field. They were excited to see their boys in action. They had missed a lot of practice last week, but Coach was understanding and still willing to let them play (Evie was sure it was because Jay was better than all the rest of the boys on the team, even without experience).

Evie felt sudden warmth and looked over, smiling when she saw that Mal had wrapped her jacket around her. She leaned her head against Mal’s arm, feeling her girlfriend’s hand come over to rest on her thigh. The cool air and comforting atmosphere caused her to close her eyes.

She was nearly asleep when Mal suddenly jumped up. “Are you kidding me!?” she screamed.

Evie blinked, trying to clear her vision. She looked at the field, seeing that Jay was helping Carlos up.

“He just slammed him down!” Mal yelled. “What, do you know you can’t beat him any other way so you instead try and hurt him?”

Evie stood too, not really understanding what was happening but willing to back Mal anyway. She put a hand on Mal’s shoulder, letting her know that she was there.

Another kid turned towards her. “Why don’t you shut your mouth? What do you know about Tourney anyway?”

“Watch your tone.” Jay said, walking dangerously close to the Auradon boy.

“Back up, back up!” Coach shouted, getting between the boys. “Jay, tell your friend to sit down.”

“If your friend knows so much, why doesn’t she come out here and try?” the boy questioned.

Without a second thought, Mal stormed onto the Tourney field. Evie frowned, wondering how far her girlfriend was really going to take this. She had never played Tourney and knew very little about the rules, so she couldn’t imagine that this would end well.

Mal got the middle of the field and crossed her arms. “Well? Are we going to do this or what?”

Evie watched anxiously from the sidelines as Mal took Carlos’s spot. Carlos jogged over to her.

“What is she doing?” he questioned.

“I have no idea.” She bit her lip nervously. Carlos was by far the smallest player on the field, and Mal was even smaller than him. She didn’t doubt Mal’s strength or abilities, but she knew she could seriously get hurt if she was tackled by one of the boys.

Coach blew the whistle and everyone started to move. Evie gripped Carlos’s hand, biting her lip as she watched Mal run. Jay got the ball and quickly passed it to Mal. She was running directly towards the guy who had slammed Carlos and Evie waited for him to do the same to Mal. She was surprised when she instead maneuvered around him and scored a point with ease.

Jay cheered, running over and slapping her on the back. Mal looked the boy up and down. “You know, you shouldn’t count Carlos out. Being small has its perks, mainly moving quicker and staying lower.”

A different guy jogged over. “Coach, can’t she be on the team?” a couple of other boys called out in agreement, and Jay was nodding enthusiastically.

“Girls can’t play Tourney.” The first guy argued.

“Really? Because I’ve been reading over the rule book and I don’t see anywhere in there that it says a girl can’t play.” Jay challenged.

“He’s right.” Coach said. “Mal, are you interested in being on the team?”

She glanced over towards Evie and Carlos, then back at Coach. “Only if Carlos is too.”

Evie wasn’t thrilled about it, but at least Mal would be joining a club. That would keep Dr. Bren satisfied, and keep Mal busy. She gently pushed Carlos forward and when he walked onto the field, all of the guys started to cheer except for the first one.

When practice ended, Mal walked over to her. Evie stood up and Mal carefully adjusted the jacket on her shoulders, pulling it forward to make sure it was still keeping her warm.

“Well that was unexpected.” Mal commented.

“Definitely.” Evie agreed.

“How do you feel about it?”

“I’m nervous that you’ll get hurt. I know you’re tough and you’ve been through worse, but you’re small, my love. If someone hits you hard enough…”

“If the team does their job right, they won’t even get close enough to hit me.” Mal told her.

“How do you feel?”

Mal shrugged. “It might be fun.”

“Then I’m happy.” Evie leaned forward, nearly connecting their lips. “Just promise me you’ll try your best not to get hurt.”

“I promise.” Mal met her the rest of the way, sealing the deal with a kiss.

Chapter Text

The next week passed by without an issue. The VKs were actually shocked with how much things had settled down.

On Thursday, Evie went to the first sewing club meeting, while Mal went to her first Tourney practice. They both had fun, while led to a much nicer evening than going home and taking a nap because they are so mentally exhausted. Jay went to therapy and actually talked to Dr. Bren, and agreed with the girls that it was helpful.

On Friday, Evie ate all three meals and managed to keep the food down. They had another pop quiz in math, and Evie and Carlos passed with flying colors (Mal and Jay failed, but they weren’t worried about it, knowing their friends would help them catch up). That night, Audrey and Lonnie invited them to go to the movies with the two of them, Jane, and Ben. They had their first real outing in Auradon, and they all agreed (when they were alone, of course) that it was fun.

Saturday and Sunday were spent lazing around the girls’ dorm. They played video games, the girls drew, they worked on some homework at Evie’s insistence, and they actually left the room for meals. Time passed too quickly and then it was back to normal life.

Monday was Carlos’s therapy appointment, and while he talked to Dr. Bren, he said that it didn’t really have as positive of an effect on him as it did on Evie, Jay, and Mal. They all handed in their chemistry reports, which thanks to Evie and Carlos, they aced.

By Tuesday, Evie’s mood started to shift a little, but Mal was quick to react. She woke her up early and surprised her with all the ingredients she needed to make her special soaps, which helped Evie perk up. After school, Mal went to therapy and Evie went to sewing club, and then met Mal and the boys at Tourney practice. She was surprised to see Audrey there, who explained that she was a cheerleader. Evie divided her attention between her sketches and her friends, and she was so into her drawing that she got a little startled when Mal came over and kissed her on the cheek.

On Wednesday, Evie met with FG instead of Dr. Bren again. She enjoyed talking to the headmistress and they dug a little deeper into her past. The woman was still respectful of her boundaries and backed off immediately if she said she was uncomfortable.

On Thursday morning, Evie woke up uncomfortable. She ate breakfast, then spent the first half of 1st period in the bathroom trying to talk herself out of throwing up. Mal came and sat with her and stroked her hair until she calmed down, then went back to class with her. Evie thought that would ruin the day, but her friends quickly snapped her out of her mood. She had sewing club again, and afterwards, she walked with Audrey to the Tourney field. More than once, she saw that Mal’s attention was on her instead of practice and every time, those green eyes made her stomach flutter.

But nothing could bring Evie down quicker than when she woke up on Friday and saw the date. Her heart instantly plummeted to her stomach and she felt tears fill her eyes.

She laid back down, cuddling into Mal’s side and resting her head on her chest. She fought hard to keep the tears back, but before she could stop them, they spilled down her cheeks.

Evie bit her lip, hoping to at least keep her sobbing quiet. She clung to Mal, needing her comfort but not wanting to wake her up. She didn’t know how long she cried for before she felt fingers start to run through her hair. That was always the first thing Mal did when she woke up.

“Morning, babe.” She said quietly, her voice raspier from sleep. “You’re usually up by now.” A few seconds later, Mal was sitting up, forcing Evie into a sitting position too. “What happened? Why are you crying?”

Evie tried to talk, but all that came out was a sob. She covered her face and cried into her hands.

“Hey, it’s okay. Talk to me, Pretty Girl. What’s going on?” Mal pulled her back to lay down, then laid on her side to face her, propping her head up with her hand. She stroked her fingers over Evie’s cheek, but that wasn’t the comfort she needed. She scooted closer to her girlfriend and buried her face in her neck.

Mal held her for a while, squeezing tightly and whispering quietly to her. Evie knew she was supposed to be up and getting ready for school, but she couldn’t get the tears to stop.

Once she was finally a little calmer, Mal moved away from her so they could make eye contact. “Are you feeling a little bit better now?” Evie shrugged. “What happened?”

“Do you know what today is?”

Mal shrugged. “Friday?”

“It’s been a month, M. One whole month since we left the Isle.” She sniffled. “I just feel like we haven’t even made any progress!”

“We have.” Mal reassured her. “We’re going to class and therapy, we all joined a club after school, our grades are good, we’re making friends, we aren’t getting in fights, you’re actually eating, we’re healthy. Baby, we knew that this was going to take a little while. We’re finally starting to fit in, and you know that’s the first step.”

“I wish we could move quicker.”

“Me too.” Mal kissed her gently. “No matter how long it takes, we’re following through on our plan, okay?”

“Promise?”

“Promise.” Mal confirmed. “Now go get dressed so we can go down to breakfast.”

Evie got up and went to the bathroom to start getting ready. She groaned when she saw her reflection- her eyes were red and swollen, her cheeks were flushed, her…

“Nope, none of that.” Mal interrupted, pressing a loud kiss to her cheek. “You still look gorgeous, even after all that crying, so stop.”

Evie kissed her cheek in return and then got to work. Both girls moved quickly, trying to make sure they weren’t late for breakfast. Evie honestly wouldn’t mind missing it, but she knew that Mal needed to eat.

She finished her makeup first, then hair, and finally got dressed. Mal patiently waited for her on the bed and when she saw she was finished, she stood and grabbed both of their backpacks, offering Evie’s to her.

“Thank you.”

“Mmhmm.” Mal wrapped her up in a hug. “I love you, Pretty Girl.”

Just like every other time she heard those three words, Evie’s heart melted. “I love you too.” She let out a big sigh, trying to release some of the tension from her body. “Come on or we’re going to be late.”

Evie held Mal’s hand the whole way down to the cafeteria. Though they were definitely late and wouldn’t have long to eat, she still wanted to enjoy this. It was a nice day outside and everything seemed so much brighter.

“Want to go on a walk later?” Mal asked.

“Yes.” Evie agreed. She was glad it was Friday. It seemed like they had a commitment every other day of the week, but Friday was usually left open (unless someone ended up with a detention).

“Go sit, babe. I’ll grab breakfast.” Mal told her.

Evie just nodded and scanned the room. She found Jay and Carlos quickly, seeing that Ben, Audrey, Lonnie, Doug, and surprisingly Jane were there too.

“Wow, about time.” Jay joked. “What were you guys up to?”

“We just woke up late.” Evie answered. She hoped her tone would convey to the boy that he needed to stop talking; she didn’t want anyone else to pick up on her mood.

Of course, the ever-observant Carlos immediately saw through her voice and his head shot up. His eyes scanned over her as if that would tell him everything he needed to know. She just shook her head and he knew to drop it.

There were only 8 chairs at each table, and with Jane joining them, that meant only one seat was left. It was on the end next to Carlos and Evie walked over to sit next to him. He grabbed her hand and squeezed and she squeezed back.

“Good morning, Mal.” Ben greeted.

Mal came over with a tray of food and set it down in front of Evie. “Up.” She ordered gently, causing Evie to stand. Mal sat next to Carlos, then wrapped an arm around Evie and pulled her over to sit on her lap.

“You can have my seat so you both can eat.” Carlos offered quietly. Evie respected the fact that he tried to keep things subtle.

“We’re good.” Mal responded. She glanced up at Evie. “Anything look good?”

She scanned the random foods Mal had brought over. She ended up settling on a piece of toast. She reached over to take a little packet of strawberry jam that Mal had grabbed, then carefully spread it onto the bread. Evie grimaced as she stared down at it.

“Just a few bites.” Mal whispered, then kissed her shoulder.

Evie sighed and bit into it. It didn’t taste bad, but she just wasn’t in the mood for eating. She tried to think about something else while she forced herself to eat, but her mind kept wandering back to food.

-----

Ben had made it a point to try and have at least one meal a day with Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos. Sometimes, they laughed and joked around, and sometimes, it was like pulling teeth to get them to speak, but Ben did genuinely like them. They were so different from the people in Auradon and he loved hearing their perspectives.

The last week had gone relatively well. They all seemed happier, and they spent most of the time talking. Ever since Ben went with them to the movies, he had noticed one strange detail. Though Evie was arguably the most polite and conversational of the four teenagers, she often spoke less than everyone else at meal times.

He started to keep an eye on the situation, wondering if he could figure out why. Ever since they came to Auradon, he had seen the VKs had strange reactions to food. Carlos and Jay would eat anything and everything in sight, especially if it was sweet. They would often have their trays piled high with food, and Ben couldn’t imagine eating that much, but the boys usually finished everything. Even Mal had a pretty good appetite and ate bigger portions, almost always cleaning her plate.

The first thing that stuck out to him about Evie was that she rarely grabbed her own food. He had walked through the lunch line with her and Mal one day and noticed that Mal pulled both trays and placed food on each. He was confused when he saw Mal piling plenty of food on her own tray, but very little on Evie’s.

That’s when his first theory hit him. What if Mal didn’t want Evie to eat a lot because she didn’t want her to gain weight? As soon as he thought of it, he shook his head. There is no way that the girl he saw carefully holding Evie on that closet floor would ever do something that could hurt her, like not feeding her enough food on purpose.

He decided to watch a little closer. That’s when he noticed that even though Evie always had the least amount of food at the table, she was always the last one finished. She would take a painstakingly long amount of time to cut her food, and he watched her shuffle it around her plate to different places to make it look like she had eaten more. He had never seen her finish something before.

After seeing that, Ben started to observe the other three’s reactions to Evie. Jay and Carlos didn’t seem overly concerned, though he didn’t notice that they would slide their drinks across the table to Evie sometimes without her even having to speak.

It was Mal’s reaction that gave the most away. Ben was subtle with his staring and he tried not to let them see how interested he was. But he couldn’t help but notice the way Mal would constantly lean over to whisper to her, or how she was always touching her. That seemed to be something different about them in general- it was rare to see Mal and Evie next to each other and not have some part of them touching.

Even now, Ben was studying the two girls. Breakfast was almost over, and yet Evie spent an abnormal amount of time spreading jam onto her toast. She took a tiny bite, but seemed completely uninterested in the food. He noticed how Mal’s left arm was wrapped securely around Evie’s waist, while her right hand was stroking Evie’s arm. She leaned in to whisper to her, and though Ben couldn’t hear, he was guessing she told her to eat because then Evie brought the toast up to her lips and took another tiny bite.

After she took the bite, Evie put the toast down. She turned her body so she could rest her head on Mal’s shoulder, and the purple haired girl sighed, but didn’t protest. The hand that was stroking her arm moved instead to her hair.

Finally, Ben’s curiosity got the best of him. He didn’t know if they would answer, but he at least had to try.

“Evie?” he called out.

Mal’s head immediately snapped up, looking to see what he wanted. Evie sat up slightly.

“Yes, Ben?” she asked softly.

“Are you alright?” he was glad that everyone else was wrapped up in a different conversation, though he would bet that Carlos and Jay were still half tuned into what he was saying to the girls. The four of them always seemed to be dividing their attention between what they were doing and what their friends were doing.

“I’m fine.”

“You’ve hardly touched your food and you seem upset.” He observed.

“She said she’s fine.” Mal said, her voice a lot more tense than Evie’s, clearly telling him to back off.

“I’m just worried about you. You don’t seem like you like the food, and if there’s something else I can get, I’ll…”

“Do you know what today is?” Evie interrupted, sitting up fully so she could turn on Mal’s lap and face him.

Ben nodded. “Friday?”

“One month ago today, we left the Isle.” Mal told him.

“Oh.” It had completely slipped Ben’s mind. He started to smile, but then he realized that they didn’t seem to be happy. “Are you sad?”

“It’s a lot of weird emotions.” Mal responded, her hand never stopping its movement through Evie’s long, blue hair.

The bell rang, interrupting their conversation. Mal waited patiently for Evie to stand, then collected all their leftovers. Ben busied himself with grabbing his backpack, but he was still listening to the girls.

“You didn’t eat.” Evie whispered.

“Taking care of you was more important.”

“M…”

“You act like I won’t be down here again in a couple hours. It’s fine, E.” he looked up just in time to see Mal kiss Evie’s forehead, then reach out her hand. Evie took it without hesitation and they walked out of the cafeteria together.

Ben started to think over the new information. Maybe they were just homesick. A month was a long time to be away from the place where you grew up. He started to think about what it would feel like if he left home for a month. He would miss his parents and his friends.

That’s when he got a great idea. Ben grabbed his backpack and hurried off to find Fairy Godmother, hoping his surprise would make them feel better.

-----

“Hello, children!” Fairy Godmother greeted as soon as they walked into Goodness class.

Carlos didn’t know if he would ever get used to how cheery everyone in Auradon was. They all acted like they had never had a bad day in their lives, and honestly, they probably hadn’t.

“Hello.” Evie said, while Mal and the boys grumbled. Fairy Godmother was on their backs about being polite in her classroom, so they had come to learn that it was better to just do it on their own instead of having her stare at them until they did it well enough individually.

“Today, we are not going to have our normal class.” FG informed them.

“Seriously? We can go?” Jay questioned, already standing.

“No, we have something else to do instead.” She walked closer to them and Carlos knew that whatever it was, it wasn’t going to be fun. FG had definitely toned it down since she started talking to Evie during her therapy time, which he was grateful for, so he was curious to know what she had planned.

“What is it?” Mal demanded.

“We are all going to the health center.”

Carlos listened as Mal and Jay started to protest immediately. He glanced over at Evie, who looked apprehensive, but didn’t speak. He knew exactly why she was upset today, and going to the health center was not going to help things.

“Why?”

“You have been in Auradon for a month now. Do you remember when you came here and you met Dr. Williams?”

Mal scoffed. “Don’t tell me we have to deal with that asshole again.”

“Language, Mal.” FG scolded automatically. “When you came the first time, you were evaluated and given vaccines to make sure you stay healthy. It is important for you to have a follow-up.”

“Why?”

“Because it helps us plan for what to do next.”

“So if Dr. Williams says we’re fine, does that mean we won’t have to go to therapy anymore?” Carlos asked hopefully.

“No.” FG smiled at them sympathetically. “Dr. Williams is in charge of how you are doing physically. Dr. Bren will be the one to dismiss you from therapy when she thinks you are ready.”

The four of them groaned, knowing that it would be a long time until they would be done with therapy if it was up to Dr. Bren. Though Carlos didn’t really mind her, and he knew Mal and Jay were starting to hate her a little less, he still wasn’t happy with going to therapy.

“Do we have to?” Evie wondered.

“Yes, I’m sorry. I know this isn’t fun for you all, and I wish you didn’t have to, but it is part of the conditions that were put in place when the VK Exchange Program was created.” She stood. “Now, please gather your things.”

“Are you coming with us?” Mal asked.

“Yes. Is that okay with you?”

“Yes.” Evie answered.

The four of them grabbed their bags and walked out the door. Fairy Godmother led the way to the health center, chatting about anything and everything that popped int her mind.

Mal and Evie led the group, followed by Jay and Carlos. Carlos knew Evie wasn’t in the best place today, and he could see how tightly she was gripping Mal’s hand. He just wanted to get through this with no major issues.

Fairy Godmother opened the door to the health center, then moved aside so the four teens could walk in. They stood uncomfortably in the lobby, and Carlos didn’t miss the way Mal was a half-step in front of Evie. He came up behind them and put a hand on Mal’s shoulder for a second, silently letting her know that he was there and he had her back.

Dr. Bren and Dr. Williams walked out together. While Carlos had gotten used to the therapist, he didn’t like the doctor they met when they first came to Auradon. He remembered Evie’s comment about how he didn’t explain anything that he was doing before he did it, and he hoped that Ben really did have a conversation with him about it.

“Hello everyone.” Dr. Bren greeted. “Now that you’ve been in Auradon for a month, it’s important to reevaluate your health. I’m going to do a quick check-in with how you are feeling now that you’ve had some time to adjust here, and Dr. Williams is going to do a physical examination for each of you.”

“Why?” Mal questioned.

“Remember when you came to Auradon and you got vaccinated? We need to check and make sure they have been working and you haven’t gotten sick.”

“We’re not sick.” Jay chimed in.

“I’m glad to hear that, but we still have to assess you.”

Dr. Williams stepped forward then, holding gowns in his arms. He passed one out to each of them. “I am going to put you each into a room and…”

As he explained, Carlos noticed Evie getting more and more agitated. He remembered that when they were kept here the first time, Evie had refused to change into the gown (for obvious reasons). He didn’t know how things would go this time, but he wouldn’t be surprised if she refused again.

“I’m not okay with that.” Mal interrupted, gaining Carlos’s attention again.

“What do you mean, Mal?” Dr. Bren asked, and suddenly Carlos understood why she was there. They knew her better than Dr. Williams and they probably thought she could help diffuse any tense situations.

“I’m staying with Evie.”

“This won’t take long. You’re just going into different rooms so you have privacy for your exam and…”

“I don’t need privacy.” Mal argued. “You really think I’m going to leave my girlfriend alone in a room wearing only this flimsy paper gown with this guy who was an asshole the first time we were here? You’re fucking delusional.”

“Mal, I would never try and hurt Evie or…” Dr. Williams started.

“May I intervene?” Fairy Godmother interrupted. “Mal, would it be okay with you if I stayed with Evie?”

Carlos could see how tense Mal was, and he knew she was probably ready to explode. But then, Evie let go of her hand and stepped forward.

“Yes, that’s fine.” Evie responded. “Can we just get this over with?”

“I’ll take you to your rooms.” Dr. Williams said. He led the way down the hallway, the four teens, Fairy Godmother, and Dr. Bren following. He stopped in front of four rooms, which Carlos could tell were the exact same ones they stayed in when they came to Auradon.

“How long do we have to stay?” he questioned. He could tell his friends were nervous too. Anyone on the outside of their group wouldn’t have noticed, but he could see Jay practically bouncing back and forth, Mal’s clenched fists, and Evie biting her lip.

“This whole thing should take less than an hour.” Dr. Bren answered. “You’ll be back in time for lunch.”

Mal nodded and, as usual, took the first step. She went over to Evie, kissed her forehead and whispered something to her, then went into one of the rooms. Jay moved next, shooting both Evie and Carlos a look. Evie and Fairy Godmother went into the third room, leaving Carlos in the fourth.

He changed quickly into his gown, hoping to be done before someone walked in the room. Then, he sat down on the table and waited for Dr. Williams to come in. Carlos really hoped this was just a quick exam and that it didn’t bring up anything traumatizing for anyone. But based on their track record so far, he knew that would be nothing short of a miracle.

-----

“I’ll stand by the door while you change.” Fairy Godmother said as she turned, facing out the small window. She could hear Evie moving around as she took off her elaborate outfit; she had come to realize that the teen always wore multiple layers of clothing, all meticulously designed to fit into the perfect ensemble.

“You can turn now.” Evie called out quietly.

Fairy Godmother turned around and was a little surprised by the girl’s appearance. She looked so tiny in the white gown, which stretched down to her knees. Her arms, legs, and feet were bare, and she stared down at her lap.

FG went over and sat in the chair next to the one Evie was sitting in. “Are you alright, dear?”

Evie looked up at her with a half-smile, half-grimace. “I’m not a big fan of doctors.”

“Did you have a doctor on the Isle?”

She shook her head. “Not really. No one was really trained to know what to do, so most people relied on herbs and potions to help them get better.”

“Did it work?”

“Sometimes. It depends on how sick you were.” She could see how agitated Evie was, and noticed the girl twisting the rings around on her fingers. She decided to change the subject.

“Tell me about your jewelry. Did you make it?”

Normally, Evie didn’t acknowledge the quick subject changes. But today, she looked up and actually made eye contact with FG. “I know what you’re doing.”

“Like I told you before, the point of this is not to push you so far that you retreat into a memory. When you start to get upset, it’s okay to change the subject until you’re ready to talk about it.”

“Thank you.” Evie told her, her voice so genuine that it made FG’s heart ache.

“Of course, dear. Now tell me about the jewelry.”

Evie actually smiled as she held up her right hand. She had on three rings, one on her index finger and two on her ring finger. She pointed to the index finger first, showing off the bright red ruby. “This one is an old family heirloom. It belonged to a grandmother a few generations back.” She pointed to her ring finger as Fairy Godmother studied it. One had a small diamond of some sort, and the other was silver and wrapped around her finger up to her knuckle. “The smaller one is from Jay.”

Fairy Godmother was surprised. “He bought it for you?”

Evie let out a genuine laugh, and FG smiled at the sound. “Yeah right, no kid on the Isle could get their hands on this unless they stole it. He took it from someone and he had planned to give it to his father, but then he brought it to me instead because he thought it looked like something I would like.” She trailed her finger up to the longer ring. “This one is from a friend of mine.”

“What is the significance?”

“She made it for me. She’s great at making jewelry and accessories.” Evie reached a hand up, touching the small braid across the top of her head. “The little braids were her idea.”

“What about the other hand?” Fairy Godmother looked at Evie’s left hand. There was only one ring, in the shape of an oval with an indigo jewel, and it was on her ring finger. FG had seen it before and noticed that Evie never took it off. “Let me guess. Is that one from Mal?”

“Yes.” Evie smiled softly, tracing the shape of the jewel.

“Do you ever take it off?”

“Never.” Evie brought her hand over and rested it on top of her heart.

FG suddenly realized which finger the ring was on and started to get curious. “Is it an engagement ring?”

Evie shook her head. “No. It’s a promise that as long as I am alive, I am safe and protected and loved because I am Mal’s.”

Fairy Godmother was still a little worried about how close the girls were. She didn’t particularly like Mal’s possessiveness, or how Evie seemed so willing to be treated as if she was owned by Mal. Evie looked up and studied her for a few seconds.

“I know it sounds weird to you.” Evie said, surprising the headmistress. She rarely elaborated without being asked. “That’s what you’re thinking, right? That Mal and I are too dependent on each other? Life is very different on the Isle, and because of that, we have different rules than you do in Auradon. As much as I belong to Mal, she belongs to me. I know she can be a little overprotective, but that’s because she always had to be and it’s hard for her to change that right away, especially after the situation with Chad. Mal and I have always had an intense relationship and people get a little weirded out by it, but if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here. She has kept me alive, both physically and mentally, for so many years and even though you might not understand, we’re good for each other, okay?”

Fairy Godmother was a little startled by the complete honesty in Evie’s voice. She knew she would just have to trust the girls to know their limits with each other, and hope that Evie would feel strong enough to pull away from Mal if it was needed. “Okay.”

There was a knock on the door and then Dr. Bren entered. When FG looked over at Evie, she noticed all traces of a smile were gone from her face. She sat completely straight, legs crossed, with her eyes glued to the therapist.

“Hello, Evie.” Dr. Bren greeted. She pulled a chair over to sit in front of her. “How are you?”

“I’m fine, how are you?”

“I’m doing well. It’s nice to see you again.”

FG couldn’t help but smile at Evie’s polite nod back; she knew that the girl would rather be almost anywhere other than here right now, but she appreciated her politeness.

“Now that you’ve been in Auradon for a month, tell me how you feel.”

“I feel fine.” Fairy Godmother gave her a look, silently telling her to add more details. Evie sighed, but complied. “School is going well. I joined sewing club.”

“Really? That is fantastic! I’m glad that you’ll be able to meet some other students who have the same interest as you.” Dr. Bren scribbled something on her notepad. “Have you had any issues since you’ve come here, other than the incident with Chad Charming?”

Evie instantly looked down. FG reached out, gently touching the girl’s hand. She had never tried to touch one of the VKs before, never knowing what their reaction would be. But she had seen Mal and the boys hug Evie or hold her hand when she was upset, so she hoped it would work. She was pleasantly surprised when Evie gripped her hand back.

“No.” she responded quietly.

“Has everyone been helpful to you since you arrived in Auradon?”

“Fairy Godmother has, and Ben. Even Audrey, Lonnie, and Doug have done a lot for us, and the teachers are starting to come around.”

“How has the food been? Is there anything else you would like us to try and incorporate in your meals?”

FG felt Evie tense up and she looked at her curiously. She had never spoken to her about food before, but there was obviously an issue there or she wouldn’t have reacted.

“The food is good.”

“Do you feel like the school work is too difficult?”

“No.”

Dr. Bren continued to read off of her notepad, not noticing that she was losing Evie’s interest and her answers were getting shorter and shorter. FG was now understanding why Evie hadn’t liked going to speak to the therapist. She knew Dr. Bren was good at her job, but she just didn’t seem to know how to adjust her questions to fit different children.

“Are you happy with your room assignment?”

“Yes.”

“Any issues with your roommate?”

“No.”

“Is there anything you feel like you need that you were not provided with when you came to Auradon?”

“No.”

“Is there anything you want?”

“No.”

“Is there anything else you would like to tell me?” Evie just shook her head. “Alright. Thank you, Evie.” She turned and walked out of the room.

Fairy Godmother was still holding Evie’s hand, and she squeezed it. “I can see now why you don’t like therapy.”

Evie turned to her in surprise. “What?”

“She didn’t pay any attention to you or your reactions.”

Evie shrugged. “The actual therapy appointments weren’t as bad as that. When she talks to me, I just feel like she’s doing it out of obligation, not because she actually cares, you know?”

“Yes, I get it.” Fairy Godmother squeezed her hand. “Thank you for understanding that I do care about you, Evie.”

She smiled. “Thank you for caring.”

They talked quietly for a few minutes, staying away from any big subjects. Evie talked about her classes and sewing club, and then told her about how her friends had been doing during Tourney practice.

“Have the rules and the game been explained to you all?” Fairy Godmother wondered.

“Yeah, Jay read the rule book as soon as Ben took him to the first practice. I made him retell me things from the book so I could be sure that he really did understand what he wasn’t allowed to do. Then Carlos read the book and came up with like ten extra things Jay never bothered to look at, and then once Mal joined the team, both of the boys explained everything to her. Sometimes we go over to the field on the weekends so they can practice.”

“Do you ever play with them?”

Evie smiled. “Yeah, when they force me because they need an even number.”

“Do you like it? Would you want to join the team?”

Evie laughed. “That wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest.”

“I’m sure you’re not that bad.”

“But can you imagine what Mal would do if someone laid a finger on me?” Evie shook her head. “I’d rather watch anyway.”

Fairy Godmother laughed at the girl’s comment, knowing that she was probably right. As she sat with Evie, she was grateful that she trusted her enough to talk to her about these things.

There was a knock on the door and Evie’s smile disappeared again. Dr. Williams entered, then came over and sat down without a word.

“On the bed.” He directed.

Fairy Godmother watched as Evie stood. It took her a second to realize, but the girl was actually trembling. She walked slowly to the bed and lifted herself onto it.

“Why does she need to get on the bed?” FG questioned. She knew what steps would be taken in the medical exam, but she wanted Evie to know so she wouldn’t be as nervous.

“I’m going to start with her physical.” Dr. Williams explained, his focus completely on the headmistress, not even sparing a glance at the teenager.

“I’m not your patient, she is.” FG interrupted. “She has never been through this before, and I’m sure she would appreciate being walked through the procedure.”

Dr. Williams looked like he wanted to complain, but he just turned and looked at Evie. “I’m going to be checking your eyes, ears, nose, and throat. We’ll talk about how you’ve been feeling since you came to Auradon, I’ll make sure there are no issues with your heart, lungs, or stomach, and we’ll check your height and weight.” He said.

Evie nodded and FG could tell she was a little more relaxed now. She turned to look at her. “You’re staying?”

“I’ll be right here the whole time.” Fairy Godmother confirmed.

“I’ll take your temperature first.” Dr. Williams came over to her, holding the thermometer. He put it near her face and Evie stared at him in bewilderment, not understanding what she was supposed to do. “Open your mouth.”

“The thermometer goes under your tongue.” FG explained. “It will tell us if you have a fever.”

Evie reluctantly opened her mouth and Dr. Williams slid the thermometer under her tongue. The girl’s eyes were shut and FG knew that she was struggling.

It beeped and Dr. Williams pulled it out. “98.6, no fever.” He wrote that down on her chart. He grabbed another tool and before he could do anything, Fairy Godmother spoke.

“What are you going to do with that?”

“This will shine a light into your ears, eyes, nose, and mouth so I can look at them and make sure there is no problem.” Dr. Williams directed her on what she should do and Evie looked far from comfortable, but at least she understood what was happening.

Fairy Godmother made a mental note to talk to Ben about this. She knew he intended on bringing more Isle kids over and she didn’t believe that Dr. Williams’s bedside manner was the best for dealing with traumatized children.

Dr. Williams pulled out his stethoscope and slid it beneath the collar of Evie’s gown. She flinched. “It’s cold.” He warned after it was already pressed against her skin. Fairy Godmother felt like that wasn’t even the reason she had flinched.

She stood up and went over to stand next to her. “You’re safe, Evie.” She said quietly. “I’m right here, remember?” She nodded, but didn’t speak.

“Is there a problem?” Dr. Williams finally snapped.

“Yes, there is. You can tell Evie is uncomfortable. She has never been through an exam like this before, and it would be appreciated if you could just pay a little bit better attention to your patient.” Fairy Godmother scolded. “She’s a child, for Heaven’s sake! How would you feel if someone treated your daughter this way?”

“I apologize.” He said. “Please take some deep breaths so I can check your heart.”

Fairy Godmother had seen Evie’s terrible panic attack during Goodness class. She had never brought it up to the VKs, but she could tell that she was nervous and hoped that this wouldn’t all lead to another panic attack.

“Can I touch your back?” she asked quietly. Evie looked weary, but nodded. FG put her hand on Evie’s back and rubbed gently. “Try and calm down first, okay?”

Evie nodded and shut her eyes, taking slow and steady breaths. About a minute later, she was much calmer. She turned to Dr. Williams. “I’m ready.”

He stuck the stethoscope back under the top of her gown, pressing it over her heart. Evie took deep breaths, allowing him to hear what he needed. “Now, I’m going to do the same thing to your back.” He removed the stethoscope and moved it to the back of her gown. Fairy Godmother was relieved he seemed to have caught on a little bit and was at least speaking.

“Lie down. I’m going to feel your stomach.”

“Why?” she asked.

“To make sure everything feels the way it’s supposed to. Parts of your organs can get swollen or something might feel out of place. This is just to check that everything is okay.”

Evie laid back slowly and FG noticed that the nervousness was back. As soon as Dr. Williams’ hands touched Evie’s stomach, she shut her eyes. He moved his hands along her abdomen, pressing down in different areas. Evie let out a small whimper.

“Do you feel pain?” he questioned. She didn’t answer.

“Evie?” FG called out.

Her eyes flew open. “Huh?”

“Do you feel any pain?”

“No.” she said quietly.

“You may sit up.” Dr. Williams said. “Now, I have a few questions for you. Have you ever had any type of surgery?”

“No.”

“Any major illnesses?”

“No.”

“When was your last menstrual cycle?”

Evie shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Does it come every month?” she shook her head no. “That’s something we’re going to want to keep an eye on. Now it’s time for a height and weight check. Slide off the bed and come over here.”

Evie followed Dr. Williams over to the side of the room where they had everything set up. He instructed her first to stand against the wall.

“Five feet, four inches.” He informed them. “Step on the scale.”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes.”

Fairy Godmother noticed Evie biting her lip as she stepped onto the scale. Dr. Williams looked at the number.

“101 pounds.”

FG barely held back a gasp. She knew Evie was underweight, but she had no idea that she was that underweight.

Evie looked like she was going to be sick. She stared down at her bare feet.

“We’re going to do the next steps of your vaccines.” Dr. Williams told her. “Go back over and sit on the bed.”

Evie walked almost robotically over to the bed and climbed back up. She didn’t make eye contact the whole time she sat and waited. Fairy Godmother went over to stand next to her as Dr. Williams prepared the shots.

“Do you want to talk about how you’re feeling?” she asked her quietly so the doctor wouldn’t hear.

“No.” Evie said back, barely above a whisper. “Is this almost over?”

“This is the last thing.” Fairy Godmother reassured her. “You’ve been so brave today.”

“Where’s Mal?” she questioned. “Is she done already?”

“She is talking to Dr. Bren.” Dr. Williams answered.

“What about the boys?”

“Jay is finished, Carlos is waiting on me.”

“Can Jay come in here?” she asked almost desperately. FG picked up on her tone instantly and knew that she needed someone.

“Let me go grab him.” She offered. She exited the room and went back to the waiting area, seeing that Jay was leafing through a magazine. “Jay?”

He looked up at her. “Yeah?”

“Evie would like you to come sit with her.”

He was on his feet in seconds, the magazine long forgotten as he headed in the direction they just came from. Fairy Godmother followed after him, hoping he could help.

-----

As soon as Jay went into Evie’s exam room, he knew something was wrong. Everything about her screamed tense and she looked like she was close to losing it. He glanced over at the doctor, ready to attack, and saw that he was preparing the shots.

“Hey beautiful.” He greeted. “What’s up?”

Evie reached a hand out to him and he went over, grabbing it with no hesitation. He walked closer to her and as soon as he was within reach, she buried her face in his chest.

“Please stay with me.” She whispered.

“Of course.” He said back just as quietly, then kissed the top of her head. “Did they hurt you? Did something happen?”

“No.” she whimpered. “Please just stay.”

Jay wrapped one arm around Evie’s back, letting her stay cuddled into him. Dr. Williams turned back around with the needles. Jay grabbed Evie’s sleeve and pulled it up so he had access.

Evie flinched as each needle pierced her arm, four shots in total. After it was over, Jay stroked his fingers through her hair and felt her let out a deep sigh.

“That’s all for the exam. If you start to feel sick or something is wrong, you can always call the center and schedule an appointment.” Dr. Williams said before packing up his supplies and leaving the room.

“He’s an asshole.” Jay said to Fairy Godmother.

“I would agree with that.” She came over to stand next to him. “Evie, dear, are you alright?”

Jay glanced at her, wondering if she would admit what was wrong. He had no clue what had set her off, but he could tell she was uncomfortable.

“No.” she replied honestly. “I don’t like being touched.”

As she spoke, she was clinging to Jay, who had both arms wrapped around her. FG noticed too because she gave her a look.

“You let Mal and the boys touch you all the time. You let me touch you earlier.”

“I trust them.” Evie said, then looked at Fairy Godmother with wide eyes, as if she was just now realizing something. “I trust you.”

“I am so happy to have earned your trust.” FG smiled. “I’m going to step outside so you can get dressed, unless you would like me to stay.”

“I can handle it.” Jay told her.

“I’ll see you in a few minutes then.” She excused herself and exited.

“What happened?” Jay asked, pulling back and stroking a finger across Evie’s cheek. “Where did he touch you? Did he hurt you?”

“It was part of the exam. He was feeling my stomach to check my organs, and he put his stethoscope under my shirt.” She shivered.

“Why don’t you get dressed?” Jay said. He moved to stand in front of the door instead, letting Evie have a few minutes to put herself back together.

“Let’s go.” She told him once she was ready. He opened the door and they went back to the waiting area.

Mal and Fairy Godmother were waiting, and he knew it would be a couple minutes before Carlos joined them.

“Hey, Pretty Girl.” Mal greeted, reaching an arm out for Evie. As soon as she saw her girlfriend, the blue haired girl went over and sat in the chair next to her. She let Mal hold her hand and then leaned over so she could rest her head on her shoulder. “What’s wrong?” she kissed the back of her hand.

“I just want to go back to our room.” Evie responded quietly.

Mal stared at Jay in confusion, but he just shrugged. He didn’t know what to tell her because even he was really sure what happened. He did believe that part of it was being touched, but he had a feeling that something else was going on.

“Come here.” Mal ordered gently. Evie stood and moved to in front of her and Mal pulled her down onto her lap. Jay watched as Mal did her best to comfort Evie. He honestly admired that fact that even in the middle of the health center (which was empty besides the three of them, Fairy Godmother, and the women at the front desk), Mal wasn’t afraid to hold Evie and try to help her.

A few minutes passed before Carlos came out. Dr. Williams and Dr. Bren were right there with him.

“We would like you all to come back to the room for a discussion.” Dr. Williams stated. “Is it alright if Fairy Godmother joins us?”

“Yes.” Jay answered. If Evie trusted her, then he did too. She was the main person to help them and treat them like normal people, so he didn’t really have a problem with that.

The four teenagers followed them to a bigger room, which Jay recognized as the common room from when they first arrived in Auradon. They all took a seat, the four teens on one side of the table, the doctors on the other, and FG on the end.

“We would like to discuss the results of your health exams. Before we begin, I need consent from you all that you are okay with everyone in this room knowing this information.”

“Whatever.” Jay answered easily.

“Okay.” Carlos agreed.

“That’s fine.” Mal said.

“Evie?” Dr. Bren prodded.

“Yeah.” She told them with a tiny nod. She was still clinging to Mal’s hand, and upon realization that she was still upset, Mal brought her other hand up and started to rub Evie’s back.

“We’ll start with Jay.” Dr. Williams began. “You have gained 15 pounds since coming to Auradon, and you are in great health. Dr. Bren has told me that you are participating in therapy, and that you joined the Tourney team. You seem to be adjusting well, and we will stick with the once a week therapy schedule.”

“Carlos.” Dr. Bren took over. “You have gained 13 pounds, but you are still very small for your age. If you continue to eat larger portions as you have been, we believe it will trigger a growth spurt and cause you to catch up to your peers. You also joined the Tourney team, which is great for socialization. While you have been participating in therapy, I think that you are still holding back and I would like to help you open up more. I am going to extend your therapy sessions for an extra half hour.”

“But then he’ll miss some of practice.” Jay argued immediately.

“We have spoken to Coach and he agrees that mental health and stability comes first.” Dr. Bren said.

Jay glanced over at Carlos, who looked crushed. If they increased his time by a half hour, he couldn’t even imagine what they would do to Evie.

“Mal, you have gained 12 pounds.” Dr. Williams informed them. “You are still underweight, but as long as you increase your calories, you should catch up in no time. Like Jay, you joined Tourney and you are participating in therapy, so your therapy time will stay the same.”

“That leaves us with Evie.” Dr. Bren stated. Jay clenched his fists and held his breath, just waiting for the shit storm that was about to come from this conversation. “You have only gained four pounds since arriving in Auradon.” Jay let his eyes drift towards his friend, seeing her practically flinch at the words. Suddenly, it all made sense. That’s why she was so upset. “You are still very underweight, and Dr. Williams said you do not have a regular period, which could be caused by your low weight. You did join sewing club, which I am very proud of you for and that is a great opportunity. You are talking to Fairy Godmother on your designated therapy days, but I don’t feel like that is enough. There have been some incidents since you arrived in Auradon that are concerning, to say the least. I want to add another day of therapy.”

“No.” Evie said. Jay was honestly shocked; Evie very rarely talked back to an adult, and he was surprised that she had managed to fire back before Mal.

“I’m sorry, but it’s not optional. I am going to add an extra therapy session in on Friday, and I would like to be present while you and Fairy Godmother talk.”

“I’m not doing it.” Evie argued. “That’s not fair. One of your precious little princes shoves me in a room and forces himself on me and now I’m being punished? Maybe that would be expected back on the Isle, but I can’t believe you would do the same in Auradon.”

“It’s not a punishment…”

“Therapy is a punishment.” She responded. “You expect me to sit in a room for an hour with you listening, writing down little notes as if me speaking to you isn’t going against every instinct in my body. You couldn’t care less about me or my friends, so honestly fuck this. Friday is the only day of the week where we have nothing to do and we can just hang out and pretend to be normal. I’m not giving that up to spend an extra hour a week dealing with this bullshit.”

“Evie.” Fairy Godmother scolded. Jay raised an eyebrow, wondering how this new development would go over. Evie was now completely pulled away from Mal, sitting up straight and staring daggers at Dr. Bren. Mal looked just as pissed, ready to jump in at any moment. Carlos was wringing his hands anxiously, but Jay knew that if he was needed, he would step up and defend the girls. “I know you’re upset and that therapy isn’t fun. It’s hard for you to open up about your past and spill your secrets, and I understand that. But right now, you’re not making enough progress to continue with only having therapy one day a week.”

“I trust you.” Evie practically whispered.

Fairy Godmother sighed, but nodded and turned towards the doctors. “Is there any way we can reach some sort of compromise?”

“Is there a better day of the week for therapy?” Dr. Bren asked.

“Sewing club meets on Tuesday and Thursday, and her appointments are already on Wednesday. How about Monday?”

“What if on Monday, you meet with Fairy Godmother on your own, and on Wednesday, I come with you to speak to her?”

Evie still didn’t look happy with the arrangement, but she must have realized she was fighting a losing battle. “Whatever.”

“Okay.” Dr. Bren smiled at them all. “You are free to go. I will see you next week.”

They all stood quickly and exited the health center together. One look at Evie told Jay that it was going to be a long night.

-----

As soon as Mal and Evie got back to their dorm room, Mal braced herself. She knew that some stuff was going to be brought up as soon as they went to the health center, but she wasn’t prepared for this. She didn’t even know it was a possibility for Dr. Bren to increase their therapy time.

Mal walked in first, dropping her backpack near the end of the bed. Evie dropped hers too, then immediately went over to her desk where her sewing materials were set up. She had been working on some designs for Jane all week, and she got started on them without a word.

“Are we going to talk about this?” she questioned after a moment of silence.

“What is there to talk about? Everyone knows I’m fucked up and now they’re punishing me for it.” She didn’t take her eyes away from the sewing machine.

“Don’t say that.” Mal responded. “There’s nothing wrong with you.”

“Really? Then why did I almost have a panic attack because that asshole doctor had to listen to my heartbeat? Why did I flinch as soon as he touched me? Why did Fairy Godmother have to ask if she could touch me and rub my back to try and help calm me down? Why did I need Jay so I could get through the shots? Why did I gain weight?” as soon as she said the last thing, Evie snapped her mouth shut.

“Because you are trying to be healthy.” Mal reminded her. “Nothing matters if you starve yourself to death.”

Evie laughed dryly and so unlike her usual laugh that it sent a chill down Mal’s spine. “I would be dead if Mother saw that I’m in the triple digits.” She shook her head. “I can’t do anything right.”

Mal yanked the material out of her hand and tossed it onto the desk. She grabbed her chin, forcing her to look at her. “You are not wrong for eating. You need food to survive, Evie. You are working on being healthy and I know it’s hard because of everything that happened with your mother, but we have to do this.”

We don’t have to do anything.” Evie argued. “You’re not the one forcing foods down your throat, or dodging mirrors every time you pass them, or pacing around bathrooms trying to talk yourself out of puking. You don’t understand.”

“I don’t?” Mal made it a point to not ever raise her voice at Evie. She knew what she had been through and that she didn’t react well to being yelled at, but she just needed to get this out of her system. “Do you know how much I worry about you!? I stay up half the night every single night, just watching you sleep because it’s the only time you look peaceful. I fight with myself every single day on how much to help you and how much to back off and let you deal with things on your own. Sometimes, I feel like I’m watching you destroy yourself and that’s not going to happen anymore! Just like I said when we got to Auradon, you are going to eat because you don’t have any other options. If you ever want to accomplish what we came here to do, then you have to get your shit together.”

Evie was glaring at her and Mal felt a pain through her chest. If there was anything she couldn’t stand, it was fighting with Evie.

“You were doing so well before today. Please just keep up your progress. Prove to Dr. Bren that you don’t need that extra day of therapy. Keep eating and keep talking to Fairy Godmother and things will work out.”

Evie still looked pissed, but a little calmer. “I don’t want to fight with you.”

“I don’t want to fight either.” Mal turned her chair around so she could kneel in front of her. She reached out and pulled Evie’s shirt up, then ran her fingers down her sides. “Baby, I can feel every one of your ribs poking out. Your arms and legs are so, so tiny. It’s not safe for you to be this small.”

Evie’s eyes filled with tears. “I weigh 101 pounds. The last time I got to triple digits, she did this.” She pulled her pants down slightly, revealing the scar on her hipbone that Mal had seen a million times.

She leaned forward and pressed a kiss against it. “She’s not here.” She kissed right above her belly button. “She’s not here.” She kissed the opposite hipbone. “She’s not here.” She kissed across her stomach lightly.

Mal felt Evie’s hand on her chin and she lifted it up so they could make eye contact. She leaned down and Mal met her halfway, pressing their lips together.

“I could really use a distraction.” Evie whispered against Mal’s lips after they finally separated.

Mal lifted her easily and carried her over to bed. “Whatever you need, baby.”

Chapter Text

“Where is your journal, Genevieve?”

Evie pulled out the little journal her mother had given her for her 8th birthday, the black cover still perfectly intact. She flipped to the newest page and handed it over.

“Dislikes- your cheeks.” Her mother looked up at her with a nod. “You did make them too light, add some more blush immediately.” She continued to go down the list. “You’re right, your eyebrows are getting bushy again, it’s time for you to pluck that unibrow. Now, let’s look at the likes.” She read the opposite side of the journal. “Your hair?” her mother busted out laughing and pulled out her red pen, crossing it off. “You think your hair looks good? All I can see are the split ends.” She reached out, yanking Evie’s hair and shoving it in her face. “Cut them immediately.” She read the next part. “Your outfit? It’s clinging to your stomach.” She grabbed the material, pinching Evie’s skin as she did. She made a big ‘x’ over where Evie had written ‘outfit’.

“You’re right, Mother. I’m sorry, I will fix it.”

“Yes, you will. No meals for two days.”

“Yes, Mother.”

“I don’t understand how it is so hard for you to be pretty. It comes so naturally to me and I thought it would be passed on to you, but that’s definitely not the case.” She handed her back the journal.

-----

As soon as Evie heard the knock on her bedroom door, she knew what was expected of her. She stood gracefully, smoothing down her dress and hair before going to the door.

“Good morning, Mother.” She greeted. She pulled her black journal out of her desk drawer and flipped to the right page, then gave it to her.

“I hope you were honest. You are always lying to yourself and it’s really doing you no favors, Genevieve.” She started to read through the list. “Dislikes- hair…yes, I agree, it’s very dry today. You must condition it immediately. Mascara…” her mother grabbed her chin, yanking her forward and studying her eyes. “Why is it clumping? Add more liquid to the tube to make it smoother. Outfit…don’t even get me started, you look like a slut. Your dress is much too short.” She looked at the other side. “Likes- lipstick…” she put a red slash through it. “No, this color is much too light for your skin tone. Shoes…” another red slash. “Wrong. They make your legs look even longer when paired with that dress, which makes you look even more like a whore. Do you want someone to touch you, Genevieve? Are you trying to beg for someone’s attention?”

“No, Mother. I’ll change right now.”

“Yes, you will. You will never go out of the house and embarrass me like this. Fix yourself now or you can say goodbye to your free time.”

“Yes, Mother.”

-----

Evie made sure her journal was in her mother’s hands before she even had a chance to ask. She tried to hold back her sigh as she stared at the ground, waiting to see what she had to say today.

“Dislikes- hair, makeup, outfit. At least you are finally being honest.” Her mother looked at the other side. “Likes- nothing.” She pulled out her red pen and wrote a note, then handed it back without another word. “Fix yourself, Genevieve. Remember, I have some errands to run and I won’t be back until tonight. Don’t get yourself into any trouble and do not embarrass me.”

“Yes, Mother.” She said. As soon as she left, she set the journal on her bedside table, then laid down on her bed and let out a sigh.

It wasn’t long before she heard noise outside her window. She knew instantly what it was, and her suspicions were confirmed when she saw a head of purple hair.

“Good morning, gorgeous girl.” Mal greeted, swinging her legs over the windowsill and climbing into her room. “What’s going on?”

“I’m just really tired.” Evie practically whispered. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to go out today.”

“That’s okay.” Mal reassured her. She came over and sat next to her on the bed. “Your mom is gone, right?”

“Mmhmm, she’ll be gone until tonight.” Evie scooted across the bed and cuddled into Mal’s chest. She never felt as safe as she did in her girlfriend’s arms.

“Just get some rest, baby. I’m right here.” Mal kissed the top of her head.

It didn’t take long before Evie was asleep. Mal decided to get comfortable and took off her jacket. She intended to put it on the table next to the bed, but it ended up falling, bringing a black journal to the ground with it. It opened up as it clattered to the floor.

Mal carefully moved out from under Evie so she could pick up the journal and jacket. She was confused when she saw what was written on the page the book had opened to.

There was a line down the middle of the page with the word “dislikes” written on the left, and “likes” on the right. Under “dislikes”, she noticed the words eyeshadow, pants, and ears written in Evie’s perfect handwriting. Under “likes”, she saw Evie had written hair and shirt, but both words were crossed out in red pen. Unfamiliar handwriting wrote “greasy” next to hair, and “clinging to your skin” next to shirt.

She continued to flip through the pages, seeing that every time Evie had written something she liked, the other handwriting had a comment on why it wasn’t good enough. It only took her about two pages to realize it was the Evil Queen who was writing in red.

Mal finally got to the newest page, which said ‘dislikes- hair, makeup, and outfit’ and ‘likes- nothing’. In red handwriting, the words ‘I am proud you finally realized there is nothing special about you. Work harder and maybe one day, you can be pretty’ were written.

She felt her skin heat up as she re-read the words over and over again. Did EQ really make Evie write things she liked and disliked about herself, just so she could critique what she said and bring her down?

Mal stood, shaking Evie until she woke up. The blue haired girl woke up in confusion.

“What the fuck is this?” Mal demanded, tossing the journal onto the bed next to her.

“Why are you going through my stuff?” Evie asked defensively, grabbing the journal and holding it against her chest.

“I swear to fucking God, I’m going to murder her with my bare hands.” Mal spat through clenched teeth. “Evie, look at me right now.” She reluctantly made eye contact. “What she says doesn’t matter, okay? You are fucking perfect, baby girl.”

Evie scoffed. “Yeah right. There’s always something wrong. No matter how hard I try, nothing ever turns out perfect.”

“That’s because you are given unrealistically high expectations, and no matter what you do, it’s never going to be good enough. Baby, your mother is sick in her head. She gets enjoyment out of hurting you and that’s why she does things like this.” Mal gently cradled Evie’s face in her hands. “How long has this been going on?”

“Every single day since my 8th birthday.” She admitted.

“Six years?” Mal pulled her into her chest, planting little kisses across her face and hair. “Don’t believe anything in that book.”

“But it’s true.”

Mal moved away from her, going over to her bag that she had dropped near the window. She pulled out her sketch book and scribbled words on to the page, her tongue poking out in concentration. Once she finished, she ripped it out and went over to Evie, sitting next to her and handing her the paper.

“Read it out loud.”

“Dislikes- listening to your mother”. Evie read, her voice trembling. “Likes- 1. Your intelligence, 2. Your laugh, 3. Your kind heart, 4. Your beautiful voice, 5. How talented you are at designing, 6. Your gorgeous fucking face, 7. Your long, silky hair, 8. Your bright, happy eyes, 9. Your smile and lips, 10. How much you love me, and how you’ve made me believe I’m worth loving.” Evie looked up at her with tears shining in her eyes.

“Every time she writes something in that journal, I want you to remember this list. You are literally flawless, E.”

Evie crawled across the bed until she could rest their foreheads together. “You have my entire heart, my love.”

“And you have mine, my princess.”

-----

Evie understood. It may not seem like it, but she really, truly did. In order to survive, your body needs nourishment. That nourishment comes from food and water.

While she knew that information, she also knew that with eating came weight gain. If you ate too much, the number on the scale would rise and rise until you were forced to starve, beaten, locked up, or given to a new man who had something to offer your mother.

It had been a while since she saw Grimhilde, but those habits were hard to break.

Mal had spent years now trying to get her to eat, but she could never fully understand what Evie was going through. Everyone thought it was easy to just forget the habits her mother had beaten into her head since day one.

The weekend was tough, but she managed to eat two meals each day. When Monday rolled around, she tried, she really did, but it was hard. It felt like she had her mother whispering in her ear, reminding her of all the reasons why she shouldn’t eat.

When it was time for Goodness class, the teens were surprised to see Ben was sitting in the classroom. There was a large TV set up and he was smiling.

“I have a surprise for you all.” He announced, the smile never leaving his face. “Go ahead, FG.”

The headmistress pressed a button on a remote and the TV switched on. Suddenly, they saw their parents’ faces.

Evie felt as if someone had punched her in the stomach. She wanted to throw up when her eyes landed on her mother. It had been so long since she had seen her and she hoped it would be much longer before she ever had to look at her again.

She looked at her friends. Mal looked confused and angry, her eyes flying around the room as she tried to figure out who was responsible for this. Carlos was trembling and looking so much smaller all of a sudden. Evie hadn’t realized how much he had opened up since they came to Auradon until that moment. Jay was frowning, but his hands were shaking.

“I know you were all feeling a little homesick the other day, and I realized that if I was in a new place for a month, I would probably miss home too. So I arranged for you to be able to talk to your parents!” Ben told them, obviously not reading their facial expressions.

Evie, Mal, Jay, and Carlos slipped back into the careful masks that they wore when they arrived in Auradon. They all walked slowly towards the screen, hands by their sides and faces carefully kept blank.

Their parents all spoke at once and Evie suddenly felt like she was trapped in a nightmare. Auradon was supposed to be safe. They were supposed to never see their parents again.

“Hello, Mal.” Maleficent greeted loudly, stopping all the rest of the chatter. Evie felt Mal tense beside her and she wanted to hold her hand, but she knew it would hurt more than it would help.

“Mother.” Mal said back, her voice coming off as dry and uninterested. Evie silently praised her in her head; she didn’t think her voice would sound that strong.

Evie glanced over at Ben and Fairy Godmother. They both looked sort of confused, like they were finally realizing that this wasn’t a good idea.

“Carlos!” Cruella stepped closer to the screen, blocking everyone else from view. “How are you, my sweet puppy? Have you been running from the dogs?” Carlos took a half step back, moving slightly out of her view.

“Jay, my boy!” Jafar shouted with a smile. Jay’s hands clenched into fists.

“Genevieve.” Her mother snapped, drawing Evie’s attention instantly. It was strange that her body instinctively straightened up, standing nice and tall and pushing out her chest.

“Hello, Mother.” Her voice didn’t waiver and she congratulated herself, knowing that was probably the only positive thing that would happen today.

The four adults all started to speak at once again, and then they were fighting about whose turn it was to speak. Maleficent obviously won the battle- flashing her green eyes was enough to silence the others.

“How is Auradon, Mal?” she questioned.

“It’s good.”

“Are you making progress?”

Evie was suddenly reminded of Maleficent’s master plan, which was the entire reason they had been allowed to come to Auradon. They were supposed to get the wand, lower the barrier, and then Maleficent would take over Auradon.

As soon as they stepped foot off the Isle, they never spoke about it again. If there was one thing they were going to avoid, it was helping their parents escape from behind the barrier.

“Yes, I’m making progress in school.” Mal said, trying to cover up the true meaning behind her mother’s words. Evie understood; there was no reason to make FG or Ben suspicious of them when they weren’t even planning on carrying out Maleficent’s evil plan.

“How much longer until your grades are up?” Maleficent asked, understanding the code.

“Soon.” Mal replied simply. Luckily for her girlfriend, Mal and Maleficent had never had a relationship that required much talking. They both worked through action.

“You better not disappoint me, Mal.” The ‘or else’ was already implied.

Unfortunately, that also meant that it was time for one of the other adults to talk. Cruella stepped forward.

Evie listened to her ramble and even though she wasn’t standing next to Carlos, she could guess what he looked like. His mother had an obvious mental illness, which led to Carlos receiving a lot of abuse. Though she was talking about loving and missing him, Evie knew the truth.

She looked at the screen, feeling as if her mother was staring into her soul. She had forgotten how intense her gaze was and her skin felt like it was crawling.

“Well, if it isn’t my daughter.” Finally, it was Grimhilde’s turn to talk. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you. You disappear for a year and then suddenly pop back up in time to go to Auradon?” She faked a gasp. “And you didn’t even say goodbye.”

“There wasn’t time.” Evie answered, hoping to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

“No time? Do you even understand what you have put me through, you ungrateful, spoiled brat? Look at you, standing there as if you’ve done nothing wrong. It’s obvious that you need me, Genevieve. Your hair is atrocious, and I can even see your skin glistening from here. And is that extra weight you’ve put on?” she laughed, the sound ringing in Evie’s ears. “Of course it is, you never could control yourself. Not around food, and certainly not around men. Tell me, have you managed to snag yourself a prince yet?” Evie waited for the verbal assault to end. “Answer me, girl!”

“No, Mother.”

“No…?”

“No, I haven’t found a prince.”

“Even your clothes are terrible. Shouldn’t there be better materials there? If you don’t have a prince, then you should have plenty of time to sew. Are you making yourself useful? Are you offering to cook and clean and design? Are you using the skills I gave you?”

Evie didn’t know what to say. She stumbled over her words, trying to force out a response.

Grimhilde laughed. “Listen to you, you don’t even know how to speak anymore. Face the facts, child. You need me. You are failing in a world without me. Too bad you’re not pretty, I’m sure that would help score you some extra points in the land of princes and princesses.” She paused for a second and based on her evil smirk, Evie knew that she wouldn’t like what came next. “I hope you haven’t forgotten your lessons, Genevieve. I know how you struggle with temptation, and I would hate to hear that you are still messing around with that girl. When we see each other again, I think you’ll need an extra special lesson. Quinton says hello, by the way.”

That was the final punch Evie needed. She felt physically ill and if this conversation didn’t end in the next minute, she was going to vomit right here in front of everyone.

Jafar was last, questioning Jay about what he had been able to get his hands on. Jay attempted to tell him about Tourney, but his father immediately shut that down, saying that he had other much more valuable talents (aka stealing) that he should be practicing.

Mal was the one to finally press the button on the TV, ending the conversation. Deafening silence filled the room as Ben and Fairy Godmother stared at the teenagers.

When Evie let out the breath she was holding, it came out as a sob. Mal instantly turned towards her and put her arms around her, pulling her close. Evie wrapped her arms around Mal’s neck and buried her face in her shoulder. She felt strong arms around one side of her and realized it was Jay, and then Carlos went to the other side, both of the boys making sure they were hugging both Evie and Mal. The four of them stood like that for a while, just shaking and breathing and trying to come to terms with the fact that no matter how much better Auradon got, their parents were still out there waiting for them.

“I’m gonna throw up.” Evie whimpered. As hard as she had tried to hold it in, she knew she couldn’t do it anymore.

“No.” Mal responded, giving her a little space. “You’re okay, Princess. Don’t listen to what she said.”

Carlos must have realized that she couldn’t be talked out of it. He returned to her side with a trash can, holding it out just as Evie felt the bile rising up her throat. She took the can and leaned into it, throwing up the contents of her stomach.

“Sit.” He said gently, wrapping an arm around her to guide her to the floor. Evie sat on the floor of the classroom, her head still in the trash can as she threw up again. Carlos was right next to her, carefully holding her hair back.

As soon as she finished, Jay was there, kneeling beside her with a tissue to wipe her mouth and a bottle of water. She used both and then looked around. Ben and Fairy Godmother were standing next to them, still silent. Mal had her arms across her chest and was looking anywhere but at Evie.

“I’m sorry.” She choked out, feeling the tears start to fill her eyes. “M, please. I had to.”

“I know.” Mal finally said with a sigh. She came over and sat across from her. “I’m sorry, baby. I know.” She pulled her into her arms. Evie just closed her eyes and relaxed into her, letting all of her thoughts drift away as she focused only on Mal.

-----

Ben was in shock. He didn’t know what to say or what to do. His hands were sweaty, his stomach hurt, and he just kept staring at the four broken kids sitting on the classroom floor.

How could he have been so stupid to believe that villains actually loved their children? It was obvious after listening to the way each parent spoke to their child that they didn’t matter to them. The coldness in Maleficent’s tone, the insults the Evil Queen spat, the anger in Jafar’s stance, and the crazed look in Cruella’s eyes would haunt him for the rest of his life.

He stood frozen next to Fairy Godmother. He may be the future king, but he didn’t know how to react and hoped that the headmistress would take the first step. When the VKs stood and walked out of the room, neither of them made a move to stop them.

“What just happened?” he questioned softly.

“I think we underestimated the villains.” Fairy Godmother told him. She turned to look at him and he must have given something away, because she smiled sadly. “Sit down, Ben.”

They sat down across from each other. He looked up at her. “I don’t understand.”

“I know that you want to do the right thing. You understand that the Isle of the Lost is not a place for children to live. But you have to know that these children have traumatic pasts, Ben. The four you chose are strong and they still have some fight left in them, but I don’t think they will all be like this. Sometimes, the burden is too much to bear.”

“So you’re saying I shouldn’t bring over any more children?”

“That’s not what I’m saying at all. Auradon needs to be better prepared to deal with them, and we need to understand what we are getting ourselves into. No more blindly choosing random children just because their parents are the worst of the worst. We need to know what the kids have been through so we know how to help them.”

“I get that, but right now, I’m not worried about the other kids. I’m worried about Mal and Evie and Jay and Carlos. The way their parents spoke to them…”

“It’s terrible.” Fairy Godmother agreed.

“What if we can get some information out of that?” Ben suggested. “We heard what their parents said and how they reacted. Maybe we can use that to figure out what our next steps should be to help them.”

The older woman smiled. “Now you are thinking like a King. Alright, let’s think this through.”

“When Carlos first came to Auradon, Dr. Williams noticed bruises in different stages of healing. After seeing how he practically hid behind Jay when his mom spoke, I think it’s safe to assume that his mother was abusing him.”

Fairy Godmother nodded. “We know he came here severely underweight, and part of that may be from lack of food on the Isle, but it seems like it could be a possibility that his mother also withheld food as a form of control. Even knowing this information, I would say Carlos is doing pretty well. He is the quietest of the group, but he is eating and passing classes and playing a sport, so he is doing okay.”

“Maleficent is terrifying.” Ben commented. “She didn’t even have to say anything horrible, all you have to do is look at her. Mal might not have been crying or flinching, but you could tell how tense she was.”

“I don’t think we’ve even begun to crack Mal’s shell.” Fairy Godmother admitted. “We know Maleficent is in charge of the Isle, so who knows what she has put Mal through?”

“Do you think Mal is scared of her?”

“I think she is too smart not to be.” Fairy Godmother said. Ben nodded his head in agreement.

“Dr. Williams told me that when Jay came to Auradon, he had bruising on his back, like he was hit with a whip.” Ben shuddered; he had had nightmares about that. “Even in Jafar’s stance you could tell that he is an angry person.”

“He does seem volatile. Just like Carlos, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jay’s parent is the one abusing him. To be honest, I would almost guarantee that Mal and Evie have been abused by their mothers too.”

Ben nodded. He felt sick to his stomach, but he knew it was true. “What are your thoughts on Evie?” he had been told that Evie was having her therapy appointments now with Fairy Godmother instead of Dr. Bren, so he knew she had a lot more insight on the girl, though he wasn’t sure what she would be willing to tell him.

“She’s been through a lot, and it’s obvious that her mother is the root to many of her problems.” Fairy Godmother stated vaguely.

Ben appreciated that she valued Evie’s privacy, but he still figured he would offer his own observations and opinions.

“She’s doesn’t eat.” He said. “I’ve been trying to have at least one meal a day with them to help get to know them. Evie rarely talks during meals, she never gets food on her own, she usually only has one or two things on her plate and always in tiny portions, and Mal is constantly whispering to her while she eats. After hearing the Evil Queen say that she’s put on weight and that she can’t control herself around food, I wonder if maybe Evie has some type of eating disorder.”

“It could be possible.” Fairy Godmother mused.

“But I was confused about some of the other stuff she said, like how Evie can’t control herself around men and how she kept saying she needed to find a prince. Did you hear her comment too about how she would hate to hear that Evie’s still messing around with ‘that girl’? What do you think that means?”

“I am assuming Mal.” FG said. “I get the impression that the Evil Queen doesn’t approve of her daughter’s sexual preferences.” She paused for a second, as if she was hesitating. Ben waited to see what she would reveal. “I wonder what she meant when she said Evie disappeared for a year and then popped back up in time to go to Auradon without saying goodbye. When you sent the letters to the children, were you told that Evie wasn’t living with her mother?”

“All of the letters were intercepted by Maleficent’s crew. She was the one who distributed them to the children.” Ben frowned. “So then where was Evie for the year before she came to Auradon? And who is Quinton?” he had noticed that as soon as the Evil Queen said that name, Evie turned multiple shades paler.

“Like I said, we still have so much to figure out about them.” Fairy Godmother stated. She sighed. “Just when I finally thought we were making a little progress, they’re going to face set-backs again.”

Ben shook his head. “Maybe not. Maybe we can still fix this.” He grabbed his backpack and slung it over his shoulder. “I’m going to talk to them.”

“That might not be such a good idea, Ben.”

“I need them to know that I’m sorry.” He left the room without another word and practically ran towards the dorms. He made his way to the girls’ room and knocked, then waited patiently for someone to answer.

Jay was the one who opened the door, immediately frowning when he saw him. Ben didn’t take it personally.

“Hello, Jay.” He greeted, trying to catch his breath. “Is it okay if I come in?”

“We’re busy.”

“Please.” Ben pleaded.

“Let him in.” He heard Mal call out from within the room. Jay sighed, but stepped to the side so Ben could enter.

Ben scanned his eyes over the room. Mal and Carlos were sitting next to each other on one of the beds, and there was an open space on Mal’s other side that Jay went over and filled. Evie was laying between Mal’s legs, her head resting on her chest with Mal’s arms wrapped tightly around her.

“I just wanted to apologize.” Ben said. “I didn’t realize how…strained… your relationship with your parents is. I would never do something intentionally to hurt you.”

“We’re fine.” Mal told him.

“Next time, ask us.” Jay added.

“I’m sorry, I should have thought of that. You all just seemed so upset about being off the Isle for a month and I wanted to do something to make you feel better.”

“Our parents weren’t the best choice.” Carlos said.

“I can see that now. Is there anything else I can do to help you feel better?”

Ben was surprised when Evie sat up and looked at him. “There is one thing.”

“Name it.” He agreed eagerly. They had never asked him for anything (besides changing their schedules), so he was happy to comply.

“Consider expanding the VK Exchange Program. I know you probably can’t bring more people over now, but don’t forget about them, okay?”

“I won’t. Like you said, Auradon wants to see proof from the four of you that you can be accepted into our society, and then as soon as that happens, I plan on bringing over more kids. I would love if you all could help me with that.”

Evie smiled brightly, and Ben saw the other three smiling too. He was happy he had made them happy. “Of course, Prince Ben.” She said sweetly.

“We’ll see you tomorrow.” Mal stated, ending their conversation.

“See you then. I’m glad you’re alright.” He walked out of the room with a smile on his face. He was so happy that the four them were okay and he truly believed they wouldn’t let this be a setback.

-----

As soon as Ben walked out of the room, Evie felt hands on her cheeks. Mal pulled her over and pressed their lips together.

“You’re a fucking genius!” Mal praised, pressing a kiss to her cheek, and then another to her lips. Evie couldn’t help but giggle.

“Well played, Princess.” Jay agreed.

“Alright, sounds like our plan is about to be set into motion.” As Carlos spoke, the other three nodded.

“We need to continue playing it cool. The conversation with our parents definitely made a chink in our armor, especially since FG and Ben saw our reactions.” Mal reminded the others. “Tomorrow, we go back to class and we act like nothing happened. We go to our therapy appointments, keep playing sports, and get good grades. As long as we’re in good standing with the Auradonians, they’ll think we are fitting in here. That’s exactly what we need so that Ben will be able to continue the program. As soon as he’s given the okay to bring over more kids, we’ll get in there and help.”

“So we need to get closer to the others.” Jay picked up. “Keep hanging out with Ben, Audrey, Lonnie, and Doug. Even Jane would be useful so she can report back to her mom that we’re doing well. E, you’ve got the advantage of speaking with Fairy Godmother.”

“Is that really an advantage though?” Mal questioned.

“Yes.” Carlos said. “You can spin your stories to her however you want, and as long as she thinks you’re making progress, she’ll give a good report to Dr. Bren.”

“You want me to lie?” Evie clarified. She had been honest with Fairy Godmother so far, and while she didn’t know if it was ‘fixing’ her, she did feel better afterwards.

“No.” Mal interrupted. “Keep telling the truth, or stay as close to it as possible so we don’t have to keep track of different stories.” She smiled. “Who knew that talking to our parents would jumpstart our plan?”

“It’s time to get it rolling.” Evie said. “We’ve waited long enough. We’re established here, they know we’re not violent. Maybe we can add in an extra part to the plan where we murder our parents after we’re successful.”

“I could get behind that.” Jay nodded.

“Me too.” Carlos agreed.

“We’ll talk about that when we get there.” Mal interrupted. “For now, stick to the plan. That means both of you,” she gave Evie and Carlos pointed looks, “need to go to your therapy appointments today.”

“No.” they both groaned.

“Yes.” Mal kissed Evie’s forehead, then Carlos’s. “We’re okay. We’re safe. We’ve got this.”

As Evie looked at each member of their crew, she believed it.

Chapter Text

Ever since they agreed it was time to get their plan rolling, Evie felt stronger. She had a purpose to keep moving and keep working. She found herself repeating this to herself over and over again- on Monday night when she felt like throwing up, she reminded herself. On Tuesday, when she was completely overwhelmed by history class and all the information that she couldn’t fully comprehend, she reminded herself. On Tuesday night when she was exhausted, she cuddled up to Mal and reminded herself.

Now, it was Wednesday. One month and five days since they arrived in Auradon. She winced at the amount of time that had passed. She knew that a month on the Isle was much harsher than a month in Auradon, and she wondered what all had changed.

As Evie walked to breakfast with Mal and the boys, she felt her stomach start to bubble up. She took a deep breath, cursing herself internally. She reminded herself of why she was fighting and why this plan was so important, but it didn’t help. With every step closer to the cafeteria, she felt like she was drowning.

Then, Mal was there. Her fierce, beautiful Mal who realized something was wrong immediately. Evie cuddled against her, letting Mal hug her close and run her fingers through her hair.

“You’ve got this, pretty baby.” Mal whispered.

Evie raised an eyebrow at the nickname. “That’s a new one.”

“Shut up.” The purple haired girl gave her a quick kiss. “Are you okay?”

“I don’t know. My stomach hurts.”

“How are you feeling? What brought this on?”

Evie shrugged. “Breakfast time? I don’t know. It was just like all of a sudden, my body realized it was time to eat and reacted badly.”

“You still need to try, okay?” Mal kissed her cheek and squeezed her hand, then pulled her towards the breakfast line.

Evie allowed Mal to choose her breakfast, trying to hold in her grimace at the sight of all the food. Mal put a cup of fruit on her tray, and then reached for a bowl of yogurt.

“No yogurt.” Evie pleaded.

“E, just fruit won’t give you enough energy for the day. You need that energy to keep you moving.”

She pouted, but Mal didn’t seem to care and just put the yogurt on her tray anyway. After they were both finished, they walked over to what had become their usual table.

They took their seats across from Jay and Carlos. Doug came over and sat on Carlos’s other side, then Audrey on Evie’s side, Lonnie on Mal’s side, and Ben took the last seat next to Jay and across from Audrey.

Mal’s fingers were digging into Evie’s thigh, reminding her that she needed to take a bite of her food. She sighed and picked up her fork, stabbing it into a strawberry and shoving it into her mouth. She chewed slowly, grimacing at the feeling. She loved the taste of strawberries, but right now, she couldn’t handle it.

A sharp kick under the table made her flinch. She looked up, seeing Jay looking at her. He nodded towards her food, then yelped loudly as the table clattered. Evie knew immediately that Mal had kicked him in retaliation for him kicking Evie.

Mal leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss against her cheek. “Please, baby.” She whispered into her ear.

Evie wanted nothing more than to throw up, but she couldn’t disappoint Mal. She fought back the urge to groan and ate another strawberry, and then another. After she finished chewing, she glanced up, seeing that Ben’s eyes were locked on her. She had noticed him staring at her a lot during meal times, but she wasn’t sure why.

Before she had the chance to say anything, the bell rang. Evie heard a frustrated sigh next to her and turned towards Mal, who looked disappointed. She felt guilt settle into her stomach.

“M…” she started.

“Let’s just go to class.” Mal stood, grabbing her tray and walking towards the garbage. Normally she waited for Evie, but today she didn’t bother.

Evie felt her stomach rolling and clenching. Mal was mad at her, and she hated when Mal was mad. How could she make it better? What could she do to get back on her good side?

After they threw their garbage away, Evie walked next to her. Normally, Mal would grab her hand or kiss her forehead or put her arm around her waist. But today, she didn’t even look in her direction.

“M, please…” she said, reaching out to grab her hand.

“For this to work, you have to at least try, Evie. You didn’t even try to eat today.”

“I’m sorry, I…”

“No.” Mal interrupted. “I don’t want to hear your apologies. Show me that you can do better, and then maybe I’ll believe that you actually care about your health.”

She walked further ahead, leaving Evie feeling alone. A hand gently grasped hers and she knew without looking that it was Carlos. When they got into their first class, Evie sat next to him, while Jay took the seat next to Mal.

On a normal day, after English class ended, they would all meet in the hallway and say goodbye as Mal went to art and the other three went to study hall. Today, things were different. Mal stormed off without even a glance towards them.

“What’s her problem?” Jay questioned.

“She’s mad because I barely ate.” Evie admitted.

“What’s new?” he asked sarcastically, earning a dirty look from Carlos. “What? I’m just saying that it’s normal for E to not eat a lot, so why should Mal be mad?”

Evie didn’t realize that her friends paid so much attention to her eating habits. She didn’t understand why they let her choices bother them so much.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it, E.” Carlos said softly. “You know Mal will come around.”

Evie just bit her lip in worry, feeling her entire stomach flip. She was going to throw up. Carlos studied her in concern, obviously noticing the change. She turned and walked towards the bathroom, hearing the boys’ footsteps following behind her.

She ran into the bathroom, collapsing in front of the toilet just as the bell rang. She emptied her stomach without even having to stick her fingers down her throat.

She felt one of the boys pulling her hair away from her face and a hand rubbing her back, but she couldn’t get up yet. She leaned over and threw up again.

After she was finished, Evie felt frustrated. Normally, there was a little relief after she threw up, but right now she only felt guilty. She couldn’t believe she had been so weak.

If Mal was pissed before, she would be absolutely furious now.

That thought made her whimper. She sat up slowly, turning to face the boys. She expected to see looks of disgust, but they just looked sad.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered as Carlos let go of her hair. “I didn’t want to. I’m sorry.”

“Shhh, calm down.” Carlos grabbed her hands. “You’re okay, Eves. Take some deep breaths.” He pulled her into his chest.

“Mal is gonna be mad.” She cried into the fabric of his shirt.

“It’s going to be okay.” He just held her and stroked her hair. Evie closed her eyes and focused on regulating her breathing. She needed to get up off the bathroom floor before she threw up again.

After a couple minutes, she was calm enough to stand. She got up and as soon as Carlos stood, she gave him a hug. “Thank you.”

Evie went over to the mirror and stared at her reflection. She was pale, her eyes and cheeks were red, and there were obvious tear tracks. She pulled out her makeup from her purse and got to work to try and cover them up. Then, she took a drink of water and ate a mint to rid herself of the taste of vomit.

“Ready?” Jay asked from where he was leaning against the wall.

“I guess.”

The three of them exited the bathroom together. They were supposed to be at study hall, but since they were already late, they decided to just sit down in one of the various seating areas spread around the school.

Instead of talking to the boys, Evie pulled out the book they were assigned for English and started to read. Her mind kept drifting, but she tried her best to really focus. By the time the bell rang, her head felt like it was spinning.

Math class was next and when they walked in, Mal didn’t even look at her. Evie bit her lip anxiously and tried to decide if she should still sit next to her. Luckily, Jay made the decision for her when he grabbed her hand and pulled her over to a different set of desks, leaving Carlos to sit by Mal.

“Come on, Princess. I need your help with this.”

Evie appreciated him trying to distract her, and it actually did work. She was able to sit and listen to Mr. Reynolds, partly because she knew that they were starting a new concept and Jay would need help with it later, and partly because she didn’t want Mr. Reynolds to call her out and put her in detention.

She still wasn’t feeling great when it was time for Goodness class. Evie stayed next to Jay and kept her eyes glued to the floor, not wanting to be rejected by Mal again.

Mal went to her normal seat and Evie knew it was best to follow. Goodness class was a lot smaller than the rest of their classes, so it would be obvious to Fairy Godmother if they moved around. She sat in her usual seat and immediately rubbed her temples.

“Are you okay?” Mal asked softly.

“No.” Evie said flatly. Her hands were shaking, so she clasped them together in her lap, hoping that Mal wouldn’t see.

“Children.” Fairy Godmother greeted when she walked into the room. It was a lot less cheery than her usual greeting, and Evie couldn’t help but feel like they were about to get in trouble. “Evie, Jay, Carlos, why did I get a message saying that the three of you weren’t in 2nd period?”

Evie felt her throat close up as she struggled to come up with a response. On the Isle, she was one of the best liars. Why did she have such a hard time doing it in Auradon?

“Carlos had a headache.” Jay commented, turning all attention on him. “Evie and I stayed with him. We did our work at one of the sitting areas, but he didn’t want to go around a lot of people since his head was hurting.”

Fairy Godmother didn’t look convinced, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, Mal was staring at her. Evie knew that Mal hated to not know what was going on with her crew, and the fact that they were being questioned about their whereabouts and she didn’t know the truth was probably killing her.

Luckily, FG didn’t call him on the lie. “We’re going to use the beginning half of class as a study hall. Go ahead and pull out some work you need to get done.”

Evie reached into her backpack and started to pull out her chemistry book. She felt suddenly like another person was staring at her and when she looked up, she saw Fairy Godmother standing right in front of her.

“May I talk to you for a moment, dear?”

“Sure.” Evie said quietly. She laid her book down on the table carefully and followed FG out into the hallway.

Evie didn’t like this. She knew that FG had something serious to say because otherwise, she wouldn’t have separated her from her friends. Did she know that she threw up? Did she know that Mal wasn’t talking to her right now?

She felt her breath catch in her throat. Did she find out her secrets from the Isle?

“Evie, take a seat please.” Fairy Godmother said. There was a seating area right outside the classroom and the older woman sat down, motioning for the teen to sit next to her. Evie was hesitant, but she sat, making sure to keep some distance between them. “I wanted to talk to you about something. I can tell how upset you are right now, are you okay?”

She cursed herself for being so obvious. She pinched her leg, trying to calm down. “I’m okay. What did you want to talk about?”

“I have some concerns.” FG admitted. “I don’t know how else to really approach this, so I’m just going to say it. I’m worried about your eating habits.”

Evie wished a hole would open up in the ground and swallow her. She dug her nails into her thigh. She wanted to get up and run. “Why?”

“For starters, you are very underweight, and you have not gained very much weight in the past month. Even before this, I was concerned with how small you are. Others have come to me and expressed that they notice you don’t eat very much. But the worst part was when I overheard the things your mother was saying to you during that video call.”

Just like that, Evie found her strength. She couldn’t afford to be weak right now. She couldn’t expose herself to Fairy Godmother. Even if Mal was mad at her, and she had thrown up, and her stomach was still aching, she couldn’t let Fairy Godmother know her secrets. She took a deep breath and sat up straighter, letting a casual smile grace her features.

“Thank you for your concern, FG, but I’m okay. I’m just a very picky eater, so I don’t really eat a lot.”

“Evie, sweetheart, you told me the other day that you trust me. Is that still true?”

She nodded hesitantly. “Yes.”

“Then I need to hear the truth. Your mother told you that you had put on extra weight, and that you can’t control yourself around food. Has she always spoken to you this way?”

She kept her smile on her face, hoping that it didn’t look like a grimace. “I thought we already established that none of the adults on the Isle are exactly Parent of the Year material.”

Fairy Godmother was starting to look flustered. “Evie…”

“I don’t know what you want me to say. Why does it matter that I’m underweight? So are Mal and Carlos, but no one talks to them about it. Like I said, I’m picky and I don’t like a lot of foods. Regardless of that, on the Isle we only got Auradon’s scraps, so even if I liked the food it’s not like I could have had a lot of it.” She saw FG flinch slightly at her implication. “My mother will say anything to put me down, that’s nothing new. It’s not a big deal.”

“It is a big deal when it’s affecting your health. You are 16 years old and you only weigh 101 pounds. For your height, you should be at least ten pounds heavier, and that would still put you on the smaller side.”

Evie felt her stomach roll again. Ten more pounds? There was no way she could let herself gain ten more pounds.

“What if I ask your friends about this?” FG wondered. “Would they agree that you’re healthy?” she stared straight into Evie’s eyes and tilted her head slightly. “Would Mal agree?”

The question caught her off guard and Evie didn’t know how to respond. She was pretty sure that with how fed up Mal was right now, she would probably rat her out.

The silence must have been enough of an answer because Fairy Godmother nodded her head. “This is something that we are going to have to talk more about in therapy. If it’s not an issue, then great, we’ll move past it quickly. But if it is, I want you to be able to receive the help you need. I know you don’t want to hear this, but I’m going to have to bring Dr. Bren in on this because I am not qualified to give advice on eating disorders.”

Evie visibly flinched at the term. She instantly regretted it, knowing that she just gave herself away. How could she have been so stupid?

“You may go back into class. I know you might not like this, but I’m doing it because I care about you, not because I want to punish you.” She stood. “I’m giving you all the last half of class to work on your own. I’ll see you at therapy.” FG turned and walked away.

Evie felt her eyes well up with tears as she bit down on her lip. She didn’t want to go back into the classroom and face Mal, but she couldn’t sit out in the hallway and cry either.

She reluctantly stood and went into the room. She felt her sadness subsiding as anger took its place. As soon as she opened the door, three heads turned towards her. When they realized FG wasn’t coming in, they all jumped up. Mal got to her first.

“What happened? What did she want?”

“Oh, now you care?” she said angrily. She brushed past her and started to pace back and forth.

“No matter how much you frustrate me, I always care about what’s going on with you.” Mal argued back.

“You don’t need to be frustrated. I’m allowed to make my own choices.”

“Like I’ve told you a million times before, we are a team, Evie. Your choices affect my life, just like my choices affect yours. I don’t know why you don’t understand that.”

“Because what I do is none of your business!”

“It is when you could get hurt!” Mal finally shouted. Evie recoiled slightly; Mal rarely yelled at her, so she didn’t know how to react to that.

Evie ran her hands through her hair, pulling at the roots. “I don’t know when it became everyone’s fucking business if I’m eating or not.”

“That’s what FG wanted to talk about?” Carlos figured out quickly, earning a glare from the blue haired girl. “What did she say?”

“She’s concerned that I haven’t gained enough weight, and after hearing my mother’s comments and having people tell her I’m not eating, she wants to talk about it in therapy with Dr. Bren.” Evie finally admitted.

“Who told her you’re not eating?” Jay demanded.

“I guarantee it was Ben.” Evie said as she continued to pace. “Every time he eats with us, he’s always staring at me. Even this morning, he was watching me during breakfast.”

“I’ve noticed that.” Carlos agreed.

“So what should I do now? Should I say something to him?”

“I don’t think you should.” Mal said.

Evie whipped around to face her. “What? A person who is basically a stranger to me just invaded my privacy and betrayed me to Fairy Godmother. The fact that these Auradon kids think they can get away with something like that is bullshit. But you of all people don’t think I should say something?”

“Okay, first off, you need to calm down.” Mal told her. Evie opened her mouth to respond, but Mal came over to her and wrapped her arms around her, pulling her tightly against her chest. “I know that you’re upset with how I was acting this morning, and I’m sorry. I know that you can’t always help how you’re feeling with food, and I shouldn’t punish you for it by ignoring you. Princess, you’re practically bouncing right now, and what I know about you tells me that even though you’re angry, it’s more from being anxious and upset. Am I right?”

Evie bit her lip. She could admit that she was letting her anger take the place of all the other uncomfortable feelings going on in her body. She just sighed and nodded her head, then leaned into Mal slightly.

Mal hugged her even tighter. “You know that I am the first person who will always stand up and defend you. I’m not happy at all with the fact that Ben went to FG, and I completely agree with you that Ben was the one to say something because I’ve seen him watching you too.”

“But…” Evie said, knowing there was a catch here somewhere.

“I want you to be healthy.” Mal told her, her hands leaving her waist and moving up to cup her cheeks. “Baby, I don’t know what to say or do to make you better, but you have got to start eating.” She kissed her forehead. “Where were you during second period?”

The guilt settled back in Evie’s stomach. “I threw up.” She whispered in shame.

“Thought so.” Mal kissed her forehead, then her cheeks, and then the tip of her nose. She rested their foreheads together. “I hate that people are prying into your life, but I don’t know how to help you. If this whole incident opens up the conversation with FG and Dr. Bren and they can figure out a way to help you, then I’ll be happy with that.”

Evie tried to move away from her, but Mal reacted quickly, putting her arms around her waist again and pulling her close. Evie at least put some distance between their faces. “I’m not talking to Dr. Bren.”

“Babe, I…”

“No. She couldn’t care less about me. What am I supposed to do if she tells me they’re going to send me back to the Isle?”

Mal frowned. “Why would she say that?”

“Because I’m not perfect. Something is wrong with me and they’re going to figure that out and send me back, and then you guys will still be here and I’ll be by myself and…” she felt her breathing start to quicken.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Jay came over. “I’m going to interrupt you right there. Do you actually think we would let them send you back by yourself?”

“If they did try and send you back, which they won’t, we would go with you.” Carlos agreed.

“We would kill anyone in our way.” Mal chimed in. “You will never be away from me, baby girl. Do you understand that?” she kissed her, long and slow, ignoring the boys clearing their throats.

When they separated, Evie felt a little better. She leaned forward and rested her head on Mal’s shoulder. “I’m not talking to Dr. Bren. I can’t.” she whimpered.

“Then just talk to FG. You’re going to be okay. You are safe and loved and soon, you will be healthy, okay? It’s all part of our plan. Don’t forget why we’re here.”

Evie nodded. She just needed to stay focused.

-----

Fairy Godmother sat in her office with Dr. Bren while the two of them waited for Evie. The conversation with the girl earlier hadn’t been fun, and she knew that she would probably be a lot less willing to participate today.

“Did she admit that she has trouble with eating?” Dr. Bren wondered.

“She didn’t actually say the words, but her mannerisms showed me that she does. She was very uncomfortable with the conversation and got defensive, but tried to cover it up by being charming. She only does that when she’s trying to hide something.”

“Do you think she’ll actually talk to us about it?”

“Hard to tell. Probably not today, but maybe after a couple weeks. We need to get Mal and the boys to understand how serious this is so they can talk her into getting help.” Before they could say anything else, there was a knock on the door. “Come in!” FG called out.

The door opened and she was surprised to see Mal standing there. She turned, reaching out and grabbing something. It only took a few seconds to realize that it was Evie’s hand. She gently pulled the girl into the room.

“I’m going to wait right outside.” Mal warned the adults. She looked at Evie, and Fairy Godmother could tell just from seeing her that she was beyond nervous. “Please, E.”

Evie just nodded her head, letting Mal kiss her cheek but not reacting. The purple haired teen left, shutting the door behind her.

“Take a seat, dear.” FG said, waiting to see if Evie would actually stay. She looked ready to run out of the room, but she just took a deep breath and sat down. “Evie, you know what we have to talk about today. Is there anything you want to start with?”

“No.” she answered with no hesitation.

“I know this is an uncomfortable topic, but it’s something we need to figure out. If you really are struggling with food, then there are resources in Auradon that can help you.”

“I don’t have a problem with food.”

Fairy Godmother could see how on edge Evie was. She hated having to push her, but this was for her own good. “Then why did you not answer my question earlier? I asked you if the boys and Mal would agree you are healthy, and you didn’t respond. Even from the way Mal walked you in here, I can tell that she wants you to open up to me, Evie. I’m here to help you, remember?”

“I don’t need help. I’m fine.”

“What foods do you dislike?” Dr. Bren asked.

FG studied Evie’s reaction. She instantly frowned at the therapist’s voice. “It’s a long list.”

“Okay, go ahead and tell us. If you are a picky eater, I want to know what you don’t like so we can find some more stuff that you will like.”

Evie’s leg was bouncing up and down and she was biting her lip. “I don’t like broccoli.”

“Okay.” Dr. Bren wrote on her board. “What else?”

Fairy Godmother felt uncomfortable from how anxious Evie clearly was. The girl’s eyes were darting around the room, obviously trying to come up with more foods that she didn’t like. She couldn’t sit and watch it happen anymore.

“What is your favorite food?” Fairy Godmother interrupted, earning an approving nod from Dr. Bren. They both knew the intention of this wasn’t to make Evie uncomfortable, so the slight subject change was welcomed.

“I like pineapples.”

“That’s a good choice. I know that Mal loves strawberries, have you tried them?”

“Yeah, they’re good too.” Evie’s teeth dug harder into her lip, so hard that FG was waiting for her to start bleeding. “Pizza isn’t bad, and I like asparagus.”

“Good! So there are a couple foods that you have preferences for, and almost all of them are healthy.” Dr. Bren told her. “That’s so good, Evie. Thank you for telling us some things you like. Now, I want to ask you a question. Do you ever feel like you eat too much?”

FG knew that that was too far. She knew that Jay and Mal were making great progress with Dr. Bren’s abrupt approach, but Evie was different. She needed gentle guiding into a conversation, not straight forward questions.

As predicted, Evie stayed completely silent. She stared down at her lap, twisting the ring Mal had given her around and around.

“How did you get food on the Isle?” Fairy Godmother asked, hoping to steer the conversation back to a place where Evie would actually respond.

The blue haired girl didn’t even look up.

FG sighed, but stood up and went over to the door. She opened it up, seeing Mal sitting on the bench across from her office, just like every other day Evie had therapy.

“Is she finished?” Mal questioned. She started to shove her things into her bag.

“She’s done for the day.” Fairy Godmother confirmed.

“It’s only been ten minutes.” Mal realized. She slung her backpack over her shoulder and went into the office. FG saw Mal’s shoulders sag when she saw the state Evie was in.

She walked further into the room, kneeling in front of her girlfriend. She put her hand under her chin and guided her to make eye contact. “Hey baby.” She practically whispered.

“I wanna go to our room.” Evie said.

“Okay.” Mal pulled her to her feet. She leaned down and grabbed Evie’s backpack, slinging it over one of her own shoulders. “Let’s go, Pretty Girl.” She kissed her forehead and led her out of the room. Fairy Godmother watched them leave, then shut the door behind them.

“Well, that was unsuccessful.” Dr. Bren stated.

“I know it’s not my place to tell you how to do your job, but you are being too harsh with her. That approach is working fine for Mal and Jay; they are both straightforward, mentally strong people who, for the most part, have their emotional issues in check. Evie is the exact opposite. You almost have to talk in comparisons with her; I learned the most about her when I let her speak instead of firing off questions.”

“You’re right.” Dr. Bren said with a nod. “Next week, I will let you take the lead with talking, and I’ll just listen, if that’s alright with you.”

FG nodded. “That would probably be better.”

“After this though, I think we can definitely confirm that Evie has some sort of eating disorder. It also seems like Mal wants her to speak with us about it, so maybe that’s something I can mention to her at her appointment next week.”

“That’s a good idea.” FG agreed. “I just hope we can help her. That poor girl has been through so much, and I don’t even think this is the most serious of her issues.”

-----

As soon as Mal opened the door to the dorm room, Evie walked inside and went towards their bed. Mal dropped both of their backpacks near her desk, then glanced over at her girlfriend. Evie slipped her shoes off and then crawled under the blankets.

Mal glanced at the clock. She had Tourney practice in 40 minutes; if she couldn’t get Evie taken care of by then, she would just skip it.

She slid her own shoes off and walked over to the other side of the bed. She lifted up the blankets and got into bed, Evie watching her with those dark, beautiful eyes she loved so much.

“Hi.” Mal whispered, not needing to speak any louder.

“Hi.” Evie repeated.

“I know we haven’t been on the best terms today.” Mal said. She felt guilty for the way she treated Evie this morning. As soon as Mal found out Evie threw up, she knew that her attitude towards her probably played into things. She was starting to understand that Evie’s emotions were tied heavily to her eating disorder, but it was so hard to cover up her feelings sometimes. “I’m really, truly sorry, my Princess. I know that I said that earlier, but I want you to know that I mean it. I shouldn’t have gotten upset with you.”

“I understand why you did.” Evie’s voice was small and squeaky, nothing like her usual voice. “I put you through so much every single day.”

“You are completely worth everything we go through.” Mal reassured her. She reached out, letting one of her arms drape over Evie’s waist, but she didn’t pull her closer so that she could still see her face. “I take it therapy didn’t go well?”

“I don’t want to talk to Dr. Bren, or even Fairy Godmother.” Evie’s eyes welled up with tears. “This isn’t fair.”

“No, it’s not.” Mal agreed. “You should have been born into a perfect family who loved and took care of you. You should have had a mother that encouraged you and made sure you were healthy instead of pushing you into bad habits. I should have worked harder to make sure you were eating on the Isle.”

Evie shook her head. “That’s not your fault, Mal.”

“It is.”

“You gave me all the food you possibly could. If I had eaten everything you brought me, then my mother would have locked me up.”

Mal closed her eyes for a second, trying to clear her mind of the visual of Evie being locked up and starved in one of her mother’s many closets.

“I need you to listen to me and really hear me this time, okay, beautiful girl?” Mal stared directly into Evie’s eyes. “This is the first step at getting better. This is not something that can continue anymore. It is not healthy for you, and it’s not setting a good example for anyone else. So many little ones on the Isle look up to you. Do you want them thinking that this is how they’re supposed to treat themselves?”

“No.” Evie whimpered.

Mal put her hands on Evie’s shoulders, pushing her down until she was laying flat on the bed. She moved the blankets back and crawled down until she was even with her girlfriend’s stomach. She pulled up her shirt.

“Your stomach is so flat that it looks like it’s going to start caving in.” Mal told her before leaning down to press gentle kisses against her skin. “Give me your hands.”

Evie didn’t protest when Mal grabbed her hands. The purple haired girl straddled Evie’s legs. She put Evie’s hands on her stomach, then ran them up towards her chest.

“Do you feel that? Those are your ribs.” Mal let go of Evie’s hands so she could pull off her own shirt. She took Evie’s hands and ran them up her own sides. “Do you feel my ribs?”

“No.” Evie’s voice was tiny.

“You used to be able to. Before we left the Isle, they always poked out. But now that I’ve been eating, they’re hidden. That’s a good thing because if you’re too skinny and you get hurt, you need that extra weight on your stomach to protect your ribs and organs.” Mal made Evie touch her stomach again. “If you fell the wrong way, I’m worried you would get seriously hurt. You are not healthy, Evie.”

Evie sniffled. “I know that, but I can’t do it, M. I can’t eat.”

“You can.” Mal kissed Evie’s stomach again, then the backs of each of her hands. “Your mother isn’t here. No one will stop you.”

“It’s not just her. Sometimes, I can’t even control it. Like today, I knew that you would be mad if I didn’t eat. I wanted to do it for you, but I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t let me.”

“The only thing I know to say back to that is that you can’t want to eat for me, baby. You have to eat because you know it’ll help you. I want you to say that. ‘I will eat so I can be healthy’.”

“I will eat so I can be healthy.” Evie repeated through her tears. “But M…”

“Shhh.” Mal pressed a kiss against her full lips. “I know there will be hard days and times that you struggle. You just have to try your best, Pretty Girl. Try and talk to FG. Eat three solid meals a day.”

She could tell Evie was miserable with the idea, but the blue haired girl nodded through her tears. “I’ll do my best. But I can’t be perfect.”

“Just try your best.” Mal repeated, giving her another gentle kiss. “Now, I think you need a nap. It’s been a hard day.”

Evie sniffled, reaching out and wrapping her arms around Mal’s shoulders, pulling her down so she was on top of her. “You have Tourney practice soon.”

“I’ll skip it.”

“No. I don’t want you to miss it.” Evie told her, her voice already lowering from exhaustion.

“Okay. Is it alright if I stay with you until you fall asleep?”

“Mmhmm.” Evie tightened her arms around her.

Mal shifted so that they were both turned on their sides and her weight wasn’t completely on Evie. She knew realistically that her girlfriend wasn’t so tiny that laying on her would hurt her, but she still worried.

“No.” Evie whined.

“Shhh.” Mal stroked her fingers gently over Evie’s face, earning a content sigh. “Sleep, baby girl.” Evie’s eyes fluttered shut and her lips pouted gently as she started to drift off. She leaned forward and kissed her. “God, I love you so fucking much that I feel like my heart is about to burst.”

“Love you too, babe.” Evie whispered out tiredly.

“I wish you could feel how much I love you. I wish you knew that my entire heart is beating only because of you, and that you mean everything to me.” Mal kissed her again. “I will help you get better, my beautiful baby.”

But Evie was already asleep, her breaths coming out slowly and quietly. Mal just pulled her closer and cuddled her, praying that she could keep her own temper in check in what was sure to be a rough couple of weeks.

Chapter Text

It was normal for there to be a few days between seeing the members of her crew. Mal wasn’t happy about it, but she understood. Sometimes, Jafar needed Jay to stock up on extra, or Carlos had to clean the house from top to bottom for Cruella, or Grimhilde refused to let Evie out because she wanted to try some weird new beauty remedy. Even Maleficent would keep Mal in the house occasionally to scheme together.

One day was nothing out of the ordinary. Even two days wasn’t unusual. But as soon as they hit that three day mark, especially when it came to Evie, Mal worried.

The boys didn’t even try to reassure her, and that almost made things worse. They all knew what was happening with Evie, but they didn’t know how to save her. How could they possibly stop this without facing even bigger consequences from their parents?

Right as the sun started to set, they heard the tell-tale clicking of high heels. Mal heard a rock being thrown, but as usual, it missed on the first try. The second time, the door opened up.

Mal had learned that it was never helpful to rush towards Evie after one of these incidents. It was best to let her come up the stairs on her own.

“Evie? Is that you?” she called out. She knew it was unlikely that Evie would answer, but it helped her girlfriend to hear her voice.

Mal closed her eyes and listened as Evie came up the stairs. It didn’t sound like she was limping, so maybe she wasn’t hurt too badly.

Evie came around the corner, her eyes glued to the floor. Her hair had fallen in a curtain around her face and she couldn’t see her expression.

“We’ve been worried about you, my princess. Are you okay?”

Evie froze where she was standing. She looked up slowly, biting her lip as she finally made eye contact with Mal.

Mal felt ready to explode. Her beautiful girlfriend’s perfect face was bruised up, leaving dark rings around her eyes and the shape of a handprint on her neck. Her lips were red and swollen and there were smaller bruises littered across her cheeks and nose.

Mal sucked in a deep breath, trying her best not to jump up and run over to her. She glanced at Carlos and Jay, who were frozen in their spots.

Evie was the first one to move. She slid out of her heels, then walked over to the couch Mal was sitting on. She sat on the opposite end, bringing her feet up under her. She stared off into space, her eyes looking darker than usual with the bruises around them.

“What happened, baby?” Mal asked.

“Someone she knew saw us kiss in the market.” Evie rasped out. Mal nearly flinched; she would never get used to how raw Evie’s voice was after her mother arranged a “lesson” for her.

“I thought she told them not to mark up your skin.” Carlos chimed in. Mal was grateful that he was the one who spoke; Jay’s tone was always too harsh and sometimes it set Evie off.

“He paid extra.” Evie leaned her head against the back of the couch. “I just don’t know what the point of this is anymore. I wish I wasn’t here.”

“Don’t say that.” Mal said, but she didn’t know how to reassure her. She liked to let Evie initiate contact so she could make sure she wasn’t pushing her too far. “You are so important, E. You matter to all of us, and we wouldn’t be here without you.”

“I can’t do it anymore, M.” her voice sounded choked up, but she wasn’t sure if it was from the swelling on her throat or her tears. “I’m not strong enough.”

“Yes you are.” Mal scooted a little closer. She reached her hand out, inviting Evie to make the first move. Evie grabbed her hand, then scooted over towards her. Mal spread her legs, letting Evie lay between them with her head on her chest. “You are perfect, baby girl. You deserve all the good things in this world.”

Evie buried her face in Mal’s neck. She could feel the hot tears and heard the tiny whimpers every couple seconds. Carlos came over, laying a blanket out on top of them.

“Hey E, have you eaten? Do you need food?”

“I can’t.” Evie refused. “I already threw up when I was walking here. I can’t eat.”

“Okay, baby. Calm down.” Mal whispered as she ran her fingers through her hair. “You’re safe now. I’m here and I will protect you.”

“Why are we still dealing with this?” Jay demanded.

Mal growled, but tried to keep her voice level for Evie’s sake. “Stop, Jay.”

“You’re going to let someone bruise her face up and get away with it?”

“Taking care of her is more important.” Carlos argued, standing and facing towards Jay.

“We could take care of her if we eliminated the problem.”

“Either sit down or leave.” Mal said. If Evie wasn’t laying on top of her, she would have gotten up and thrown Jay out herself. She couldn’t believe he was doing this when he knew how agitated Evie could get.

But then, she heard a tiny whisper, so quiet that she barely heard it. She realized that it was Evie, who was now half asleep in her arms.

“What did you say, baby?”

Evie whispered a name, then snuggled even closer to her. Mal looked at the boys in surprise, who clearly hadn’t heard what she said.

Normally, Mal didn’t ask who had hurt her. She had tried before and it ended with Evie hiding under a table having a panic attack; it took hours until she came out. Since then, she had never gotten the courage to ask.

“Sit.” Mal repeated. Jay sighed, but stormed back over to his couch. Carlos followed a moment later.

Mal cuddled Evie and laid gentle kisses on top of her head until she finally fell asleep. Once it had been a little while and she knew she was really out, she looked at the boys.

“She told me the name.” Mal announced, breaking the silence that had settled over the hide out.

Jay and Carlos instantly perked up. “Who?” Carlos demanded.

“What are we going to do?” Jay questioned.

As Mal glanced down at her girlfriend, she knew exactly what had to be done. She could never give this man the opportunity to go to EQ and ask for time with Evie again.

“We’re going to kill him.”

-----

Evie tied the hair tie around the end of Mal’s braid carefully, then stood back to admire her handy work. She put her hands on her girlfriend’s shoulders.

“All done.” She leaned down and kissed the top of her head.

“Thank you.” Mal stood, turning and giving her a quick kiss. She went over to check out her French braid in the mirror. Evie had insisted on it, figuring that the Tourney players on the other team may try and play dirty and pull her hair.

“My turn.” Jay interrupted, coming over and plopping down in the seat Mal had just vacated.

Evie rolled eyes, but obliged. She tangled her fingers through Jay’s hair, pulling and twisting the strands of hair until they were in a braid. Then, she tied it into a bun so his hair could be tucked under his helmet.

“Done.”

“What, no kiss?” Jay joked. Evie just smiled and shook her head at him. Jay stood and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks, E.”

“Mmhmm.” She glanced at Carlos. “What about you?”

“Me?” Carlos looked decidedly more skittish than normal. Evie knew he was nervous and she felt a little bad for him.

“Do you want me to do anything special with your hair?”

“No, my helmet covers it all. Thanks though.”

“You okay, C?” she asked, running a hand through his curls and scratching his scalp gently. The effect was immediate as he practically melted into her.

“A little nervous.” He admitted.

“It’s fine. You’ll probably get to sit the bench anyway.” Mal said. “Hey babe, have you seen my uniform?”

“I hung it up in the bathroom.” Evie told her. Her hair and makeup were perfect, but she was still dressed in only a t-shirt and her underwear, so she went over to the closet to try and find an outfit to wear. Today was the first Tourney game of the season and she couldn’t wait to cheer her friends on.

As soon as she started to sort through the hangers, she heard Mal’s voice again. “Baby?”

“Yes?” she called back.

“Do you know where I put my cleats?”

Evie leaned down, picking up her girlfriend’s sweaty shoes from the back of the closet. She wrinkled her nose at the smell.

“You’re gonna have to start keeping these in the boys’ room or something.” She said, passing them off in disgust.

“Thank you.” Mal took the shoes.

Evie went back into the closet to attempt to get dressed again. She found the shirt she had buried in the back of the closet so that it was hidden from Mal. As soon as she started to look through her pants, she heard her name again.

“Princess, did you move my gloves somewhere? I thought they were on my desk.”

Evie huffed and went back into the room. “No, you left them on the bathroom floor after practice the other day, so I picked them up and put them on top of your Tourney bag. You know, you could just keep all of this stuff in your bag and then you wouldn’t have to search for it.”

Mal took the gloves she handed her. Evie walked into the closet again, quickly grabbing a pair of leggings and a skirt to put on before Mal could interrupt her again. She got dressed quickly.

“Hey baby, is my tourney stick in here?”

Evie turned and stared at her girlfriend, who was leaning up against the door frame. “I swear, if you ask me for one more thing…”

Mal smiled. “I’m just kidding, I know where it is.” She walked further into the room and kissed the tip of Evie’s nose. “Seriously though, thank you for helping me get ready. I’m a little nervous.”

“It’ll be okay.” Evie put her arms around Mal’s neck. “You’ve been practicing constantly. You know how to run and dodge.”

“You’re not scared I’ll get hurt?”

“Of course I’m scared, but that’s for me to worry about, not you.” Evie pressed their lips together. “Good luck today. I know you’ll do your best.”

Mal pulled back from her slightly, studying her outfit. Her face broke out into a giant smile when she saw Evie’s shirt. “What is this?”

“I just wanted everyone to know who I’m rooting for.” Evie had taken all of her spare time and designed a shirt that looked similar to the Tourney uniforms. On the back was the number 6, along with “Mal” at the top, which was almost identical to Mal’s own uniform. She had even pulled her hair up into a ponytail today so the name and number could be seen.

“It’s perfect, Princess. You look so fucking gorgeous.” Mal kissed her cheek, then her lips. Evie just leaned into her, letting Mal hug her. “So, uh, do you know where my Tourney stick is?”

Evie punched Mal in the arm, making her laugh. She stormed back into the room and grabbed it from where it was leaning against Mal’s bed. “Do you even look?”

“Why would I look when I know that you know where everything is?”

“Maybe so you’re not constantly bothering me?”

“Alright, you guys can bicker later.” Jay interrupted. “We’ve gotta go.”

“Cool shirt, E.” Carlos praised. His own jersey had the number 101 and the name DeVil.

“That’s weird.” Jay said, glancing down at his jersey. “I’m pretty sure I’m number 8.”

Mal rolled her eyes. “Find your own girlfriend to be your personal cheerleader. This one’s taken.” She grabbed her Tourney bag.

Evie couldn’t help but smile at the sight of her friends. They all looked so cute in their matching uniforms. She held her phone up. “Smile!” she snapped the picture and then looked at it. Mal was scowling, Jay looked confused, and Carlos had smiled just in time.

“At least give us a second to get ready.” Jay argued, plastering a charming smile on his face.

Evie took another one, this time with both boys smiling and Mal smirking. The purple haired girl wrapped her arm around Evie’s waist and pulled her over. “Get in this one with us.”

She held the phone up, snapping a picture of the four of them. She didn’t think any pictures existed of all of them, and it was something she would cherish forever.

“Ready?” she asked, turning in Mal’s arms so she could look at her. She put her arms around Mal’s neck, while Mal kept hers around Evie’s waist.

“Mmhmm.” Mal leaned in and gave her a kiss on the forehead, then her lips.

“You’re going to do great today.” Evie whispered. “I know you are going to go out there and do your best and help your team win.”

“Thank you.” Mal said in response. Right then, they heard the noise of a camera. They turned and saw Carlos with his phone.

“What? Are you the only one allowed to take pictures?”

“Let’s go before we’re late.” Jay chastised again.

Evie waited while they all grabbed their Tourney bags. Mal instantly took hold of her hand, keeping her close while they walked out to the field. It only took them a few minutes to get there and when they did, they saw that the team was already warming up.

“Score some points for me.” Evie gently cupped Mal’s cheeks in her hands. “Be safe.” She gave her a kiss.

“Mal!” Coach shouted. “She’ll be there when the game’s over. Let’s go!”

Mal’s eyes lit up slightly and she let out a quiet growl. Evie couldn’t help but laugh. “Stop it. Get out there before you get in trouble.” She turned to walk, but Mal grabbed her hand again and pulled her back over for one last kiss.

“You look so pretty today, baby.” She said, reaching a hand up to stroke her cheek, then twirling her ponytail around her fingers. “See you soon.”

Evie couldn’t stop her blush even if she wanted to. Ever since their conversation last week, Mal had been so sweet and attentive. She was an amazing girlfriend normally, but Evie knew she felt guilty about getting upset with her for not eating, so she had been overcompensating.

The last week had been jam packed full of things to do. Mal, Jay, and Carlos had Tourney Monday through Thursday, Evie had sewing club on Tuesday and Thursday, plus they were all still dealing with therapy appointments. It was a lot to balance and they were exhausted by the time the weekend came.

In therapy that week, Evie still didn’t talk to FG or Dr. Bren. She knew that she had promised Mal, but she just didn’t know what to say. Their number one rule had always been to not expose weaknesses, and if she told them she struggled with food, they would know one of her greatest weaknesses. She told herself that maybe she would try against next week on Monday when it was just her and Fairy Godmother.

Evie shook her head, trying to clear the thoughts from her mind. It was Saturday, so she still had a few days left to worry about that. Right now, she just needed to focus on Tourney.

“Hey Evie!” she looked to the side when she heard someone say her name. Doug and Lonnie climbed up the bleachers, taking a seat on either side of her.

“Cool shirt.” Lonnie complimented. “Did you make that yourself?”

“Yes. It was pretty easy, I just looked at Mal’s jersey and made a few alterations to make it a little more me.”

Doug glanced at the back with a smile. “I think everyone will know who you’re cheering for now.”

Lonnie laughed. “You two are seriously the cutest.”

Evie just smiled and shook her head. The three of them turned their attention towards the game as the whistle was blown, signaling that it was about to start

The blue haired girl scanned the field, looking for her family. Carlos was sitting on the bench; normally, she would have been upset by that, but after seeing how nervous he was to play, she realized it was probably for the best.

Jay was a center forward, while Ben took the left side, and Mal took the right side. The other players were familiar and she knew most of their names after watching her friends practice so much, but she didn’t know them very well, so she didn’t care to pay attention to them.

Evie watched as everyone lined up behind the Kill Zone. Jay and the defenders were up in front, while Mal and Ben were a little further back. Evie’s eyes were glued to her girlfriend as she held her breath; she was so tiny compared to all the boys, and she looked even smaller covered in the padding and armor she was given.

The ball was thrown into the Kill Zone and Mal shot forward, along with Ben and the two forwards on the opposing team, the Neverland Lost Boys. Someone from the other team got to it first and then everyone was running forward. That’s when they started shooting the Dragon Cannons.

Mal went running full speed towards her opponent who had the ball. She slammed her body completely into his, sending him flying to the ground. Luckily, Mal crashed to the ground too as the Dragon Cannon was shot towards her, narrowly missing the Dragon Fire making contact with her skin. Evie felt her breath catch in her throat.

“Shit.” She whispered, flinching as an opponent went running towards the ball, but Jay slammed into him so hard he went flying into the air before hitting the ground.

Evie heard laughter next to her and looked over. She realized that at some point, she had grabbed Lonnie’s arm and she was digging her nails into her skin.

“Sorry.” She apologized sheepishly.

Lonnie just smiled. “It’s fine. You can squeezed my hand if you want.”

Evie didn’t think she would, until Jay was hurling the ball towards Mal. Her hand locked with Lonnie’s just as the two defenders on the Neverland team realized Mal was running towards them. They ran at her at the same time.

Mal threw the ball towards Ben, then ducked down as much as she could, but one of the guys still hit her square in the chest with his shoulder. Mal flew to the ground and Evie was instantly on her feet.

“C’mon, M. Get up, baby.” She whispered anxiously.

Mal jumped up, grabbing her stick and running towards the goal. Evie shifted her focus back over to Ben, who hurled the ball at Jay, who then scored a point.

“A point is scored for the Auradon Fighting Knights by newcomer number 8, Jay of the Isle!” the announcer called as everyone wearing blue and yellow cheered.

Evie sat back on the bleachers, wondering how she was going to survive the rest of this game. She was so incredibly nervous for Mal and Jay and she didn’t want them to get hurt.

They started over again, players running into the Kill Zone to get hold of the ball. This time, Ben was the one to grab it and Jay and Mal ran forward. Unfortunately, Jay wasn’t paying attention to the Dragon Cannon. Evie saw the Dragon Fire coming right before it hit Jay in the back, sending him tumbling to the ground.

Evie divided her attention between Jay, who was starting to get up, and Mal, who was wide open and waiting for Ben to hurl the ball towards her. She caught it easily and ran quickly, but Jay was still behind her, leaving her a prime target for both Neverland defenders and their center forward. This time, she didn’t even have the chance to dodge before she was completely tackled to the ground. Evie flinched so hard she bumped her shoulder into Doug’s.

“I can’t watch this.” Evie groaned miserably, letting her head rest in her hands for a second while trying not to smudge her makeup.

“She’s up.” Doug said after a few seconds.

Evie reluctantly lifted her head. The ball had been recovered by the other team and they scored a point, causing their side to cheer.

After they reset again and threw the ball into the Kill Zone, Evie was on the edge of her seat. Every time Mal, Jay, and Ben got close to the other team’s goal, they would be stopped and the ball would return to the other side of the field. They were constantly running in and out of the Kill Zone, meaning Mal had to dodge both Dragon Fire and her opponents. At this point, she couldn’t even watch Jay anymore. Her whole focus was centered on Mal and trying to see if she was on her feet or not.

When the Dragon Fire did finally hit Mal right before the end of the first half, she hit the ground hard. Evie bit into her lip so hard that she started to bleed, and she could feel her nails digging into her palms. When they finally blew the whistle, signaling the first half was over, Evie let out a sigh in relief.

“So Evie, how are you liking Tourney so far?” Lonnie teased.

“Why do people think this is fun?”

“Mal is tough. She can take the hits.” Lonnie reassured her.

Many people ran to the concession stands during half time. Audrey and Jane, who were cheerleaders, came up to see them for a second.

“How are you doing?” Audrey asked.

“She’s a nervous wreck.” Doug answered for her.

“You get used to it. The first time Ben played, I was freaking out. It takes a little while to believe that the hits really aren’t that bad, but you’ll get there.” Audrey told her with a smile.

Evie smiled back. “Thanks, Audrey.”

“If anyone can take this, it’s Mal. She might be small, but she isn’t going to take shit from those boys.” Evie looked at her in surprise. “What?”

“I just don’t think I’ve ever heard an Auradon kid cuss before.”

Audrey laughed. “Yeah, if my father knew, he would probably pull me out of Auradon Prep and castle school me himself.” The whistle blew, signaling the game was about to start again. “See you guys later!” Audrey grabbed Jane’s arm, pulling her back towards the bleachers and towards the field.

Evie didn’t think things could get worse until she caught sight of the number ‘101’ on the field. She sat up straight, wondering what in the world had possessed Coach to put Carlos in. He looked shaky and uncomfortable.

The game started and after the ball was launched into the Kill Zone, Mal got possession quickly. She raced forward, charging towards her opponent with no fear. Jay was running towards the same person and they slammed him at the same time, knocking him off his feet.

Mal transferred the ball to Jay, who ran forward, swerving around one of the defenders. Mal was blocked, so he passed to Ben, who then scored a point.

“Prince Ben of Auradon scores a point for the Auradon Fighting Knights, bringing the score up to 2-1!”

They reset again and the other team gained possession. One of Neverland’s forwards charged straight towards Carlos, who ended up ducking out of the way. The boy got around the other defender and shot it straight into the goal, tying the game again.

“What was that, DeVil!?” Evie heard one of the boys on Auradon’s team shout from the sidelines. She recognized him as the kid who had been taken out so Carlos could go into the game. “Pull him out, Coach! He’s useless!”

“Watch your mouth!” Jay shouted back as he and Mal both completely abandoned the game to defend their friend.

“No.” Evie groaned, just waiting for the two most stubborn members of their group to start a fight. Even though she didn’t particularly love watching her friends get pummeled by other people or Dragon Fire, Tourney had been a nice way for them to let out some energy. It was going to suck when they were kicked off the team for starting a fight.

“All of you, shut your mouths!” Coach shouted back. “Mal and Jay, zip it and get in position or I’ll pull you both out. Danny, if you say another negative word about a teammate, you’ll be out the rest of the season”.

That quieted everyone and Mal and Jay returned to their spots. Carlos was still on the field and he looked over, making eye contact with Evie. She tried to give him a reassuring thumbs up, but it didn’t seem to help.

The game started again and Ben and a member of the opposing team went for the ball at the same time. They crashed into each other and fell to the ground, neither of them taking possession. Mal ran over, grabbing the ball just as the other Neverland forward got there, slamming into her from the side.

Evie watched in horror as Mal’s feet completely left the ground before she fell flat on her back.

“That had to hurt.” Lonnie commented from next to her.

“Come on, M. Get up.” Evie said quietly, jumping to her feet so she could see better.

The other player got the ball and started to run towards Carlos. Maybe he was mad because of what just happened with Mal, or maybe he just finally decided to step up. Carlos ran straight into the other boy and shoved his shield right into his chest, knocking him clear off his feet.

“YES CARLOS!” Lonnie, Doug, and the rest of the crowd started to scream for the younger boy. Evie wanted to, but she was still holding her breath as she watched Mal struggle to get to her feet.

“Breathe, Evie.” Lonnie commanded. “Your face is as red as your necklace. Breathe.” She rubbed her arm gently.

Evie flinched at the unexpected touch and sucked in a breath. “Sorry.” She said in embarrassment.

Lonnie just studied her with a raised eyebrow. “Are you going to make it through the whole Tourney season?”

“Not without having a heart attack.”

Carlos had picked up the ball with his stick and he flung it forward, straight to Mal. Evie watched with a small smile, seeing the determination on Mal’s face as she ran forward, dodging Dragon Fire as she raced through the Kill Zone. Jay took out one defender and Ben took out the other, leaving Mal to weave around one player. She took the shot and made it.

This time, Evie did cheer with the rest of the crowd. “Number 6, another newcomer, Mal of the Isle, has scored the 3rd point, putting Auradon in the lead! Mal is the first girl to play Tourney, and now you see why, ladies and gentlemen!”

Evie beamed in pride as Ben and Jay each slapped Mal on the back. The purple haired girl turned her head towards the crowd, and she knew she was searching for her. Evie couldn’t help but laugh when she finally spotted her and just pointed at her. Evie cheered louder and blew her a kiss.

The rest of the game was pretty intense, but Mal was mostly unharmed. Jay managed to score another point, and Carlos was pulled out to sit on the bench again. Auradon’s defense held it together, not letting the other team score.

As the final buzzer went off, the announcer’s voice was heard. “Auradon Fighting Knights will take the win over the Neverland Lost Boys with a final score of 4-2!”

Both teams lined up to shake hands with their opponents and tell them good game, and then they went into their separate locker rooms. Evie grabbed her bag and walked with Doug and Lonnie to the bottom of the bleachers.

“We’re gonna go get lunch before the rush gets there. Wanna come?” Lonnie wondered.

“No, that’s okay. I’m going to wait for Mal and the boys.”

“See you guys later.”

Evie walked over near the locker room exit and waited patiently, looking around at all the people who were leaving the field. The Neverland team got out of the locker room first and walked by.

“This must be one of the Isle girls.” A boy said, looking her up and down. He stopped walking, his friend staying by his side. “Funny how Auradon had to go get some villain kids to finally win a game. You all should go back where you came from.”

Evie just rolled her eyes and turned her body so she wasn’t facing them anymore.

The boy stepped in front of her again. “I was talking to you.”

“Yeah, and now you’re not.” She said.

“You think you can come over here and talk to us like that? You’re the Evil Queen’s daughter, aren’t you?”

“Watch out bro, she might try to cut your heart out.” The second boy warned.

“Wasn’t your mom supposed to be the fairest of them all?” the boy scanned his eyes over her again. “The apple fell far from the tree with you.”

“Oh no, I’m so hurt by the opinion of some sad little boy who got knocked down by two different people who are half his size.” Evie said in a fake sad voice, clutching her chest dramatically.

“Listen to me, bitch…” The guy grabbed her arm.

“No, you listen to me, bitch.” Evie twisted his arm quickly, bending it to an uncomfortable angle. “First off, if you ever touch me again, I’ll end your useless life. Second, you better get the fuck away from me before I show you how we settle issues on the Isle.”

Evie didn’t break eye contact as the other boy stared her down. Before he could even open his mouth to speak, someone interrupted.

“Is there a problem here, Frankie?”

Evie looked over, surprised to see that it was Ben. He came to her side, taking a sudden step forward that caused the Neverland boys to step back.

“Needed some villains to help you win, Benny boy?” The boy, Frankie, sneered.

“No, but they certainly helped, didn’t they? I especially enjoyed the part when Mal knocked you clean off your feet.”

“Since when do they let bitches on the team?”

Evie took a threatening step forward. “Why is it any different than your team having a bitch? At least Mal is actually good.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder. “I didn’t see you scoring.”

“Why don’t you…”

“Why don’t you turn around and walk out of here before you lose the ability to do so?”

“What are you going to do, you little Isle slut? You going to make me?”

“I could.” Evie agreed.

“Or she could tell Mal.” Evie looked to her other side, seeing that Audrey had joined them. “She may be small, but the daughter of Maleficent doesn’t mess around with people who bully her girlfriend. You know Mal’s mom is Maleficent, right? Her eyes can even glow.” Both boys paled slightly. “Oh look, there she is now!”

They both turned and ran off. Evie couldn’t help but laugh. “Assholes.”

“Why were they bothering you?” Ben questioned.

“They were mad you have people from the Isle on your team, and they recognized me as someone from the Isle.”

“Did they hurt you? Are you okay? Did they…”

“Ben.” Evie interrupted. She was still mad at him for ratting her out to Fairy Godmother, but she appreciated that he had come over to help her. “I’m fine.”

“Mal is going to kill me for letting them near you.”

“You didn’t let anyone do anything.” Evie told him. “I’m okay. You guys should go.”

Ben looked her over for a second and Evie couldn’t help but feel like he was studying her. It worried her that he seemed to be able to read her and her friends (not as well as they could read each other, of course, but more than she was comfortable with).

“Hey Audrey, could you give Evie and I a second?” Ben asked his girlfriend.

“Why?”

“We have something to discuss. Please?”

Audrey raised an eyebrow at him, but something in Ben’s face must have told her it was okay, because she nodded. “Evie, let me know if they come back. I’m not afraid to help you fuck them up.”

Evie could help but laugh at the very unladylike language coming from Audrey’s mouth. “Thank you, Audrey.” The dark haired girl left, leaving her alone with Ben. “What do you need, Prince Ben?”

“Stop it.” He said softly. “You don’t have to call me that.” She didn’t know what to say, so she said nothing. “I’m worried about you, Evie.”

“Join the club.” She scoffed. Evie really didn’t want to let this boy who was practically a stranger to her get away with talking about her, so she would resort to Mal’s favorite tactic- sarcastic comebacks.

“I don’t know if you know this or not, but I talked to Fairy Godmother about you. I told her that I’ve noticed you haven’t been eating and that you have some issues with food. I know that we don’t really know each other that well, but I care about you. I don’t even know the half of what you’ve been through on the Isle, but I want you to know that Auradon is a safe place. You will always have food and anything else you might need here. I know talking to FG probably violated your trust, not that you really trusted me anyway, but I had to do it. I want you to be healthy. I don’t want you to be upset with me, but if this helps you, then I don’t regret it.”

Evie studied him. Ben was technically older than her, but he looked so young with his boyish smile and bright eyes. He had an easy life, and he didn’t understand struggling to survive.

He didn’t understand that sometimes, secrets were the only thing that kept you alive.

Evie took a deep breath. She wanted to stay mad, but he was winning her over. “I know you didn’t have bad intentions, but I wish you had come to me first.”

“You would have told me you were fine. I’ve asked you before if you’re okay, and you always say you’re fine.”

“I’m not your responsibility to worry about.”

“You are.” Ben told her gently. “Even if you all don’t believe it, I want you and Mal and Jay and Carlos to have a life here. I spend more time worrying about you all than you could imagine. I know you can handle yourself, but it’s okay to have help from time to time.”

Evie nodded. “I’m trying to understand that. But I don’t like being ambushed, and I don’t like when other people talk about me.”

“I’m sorry.” Ben said. “I hope I didn’t ruin the chance of us being friends.”

“Isle kids don’t have friends.”

“You’re not on the Isle anymore, and in Auradon, we love having friends. Sorry to break it to you, but Audrey, Lonnie, Doug, and I already consider you friends. Even Jane does.”

Evie smiled. “Now that I have a hard time believing.”

“Okay, so Mal and Jay scare her. But she does like you and Carlos.”

Evie couldn’t help but laugh. “Thank you for coming to me about this, Ben. Maybe one day, I’ll thank you for it, but I can’t right now.”

“Take all the time you need.” He smiled. “You know, Fairy Godmother is a great person to talk to, but I know another person who would love to listen.”

Evie rolled her eyes. “If you say Dr. Bren…”

“No, no, not Dr. Bren.” He reassured her quickly. “My mother is very interested in learning more about the Isle.”

Evie frowned. “She had the past 20 years to learn about the Isle but chose to look away, knowing there were villains there having children.”

“I’m sorry.” Ben said again. “I didn’t want to upset you. Maybe that was a stupid thing to say.”

“It was.” Evie agreed. She looked up, seeing Mal and the boys exiting the locker room. “You better go catch up with Audrey.”

“See you later, Evie.”

“Bye, Ben.” She watched him walk away, her chest feeling a little lighter. Ben is practically the most innocent person on the planet, so she knew he hadn’t gone to FG to hurt her. Besides, she had more important things to worry about than being mad at Ben.

“Hey Princess, you ready to change that number on your shirt to an eight yet?” Jay called out as soon as they were close enough. He flexed his arms. “You know, to represent the lead scorer of the Auradon Fighting Knights?”

“There’s been one game.” Carlos said with a roll of his eyes.

“Why was Ben talking to you?” Mal demanded, instantly causing the boys to lose their smiles.

Evie sighed. Leave it to Mal to ruin a good moment with her overprotectiveness. “He wanted to apologize for talking to Fairy Godmother.”

“Really?”

“Mmhmm. Are you okay?” she scanned her eyes over her body.

“I’m fine. I’ve got some sick bruises. Wanna see?” she turned around, pulling up her shirt. Her back was covered in bruises, making Evie wince.

Jay gasped dramatically. “Oh no! How are you guys going to cuddle for hours now!? The pain might be too much to bear!”

Mal whipped around, kicking his legs out from under him, making Evie and Carlos bust out laughing.

Jay jumped up. “Wanna fight right here, right now, Bertha?”

Carlos just groaned and walked forward, looping his arm through Evie’s and pulling her away. They could hear Mal and Jay playing around behind them, but they decided to ignore it.

“How are you? Are you hurt?” Evie asked. “That hit looked bad.”

“No, it’s not too bad with all the padding.” Carlos told her. “I have a few scrapes and bruises, nothing major.”

“You got that one guy good, C. I’m proud of you.”

“He shouldn’t have pulled a dirty hit on Mal.”

“Look at you being overprotective.” Evie ruffled his hair affectionately, then wrinkled her nose when her hand came away wet. “Is that sweat?”

“No, I jumped in the shower before I left the locker room.” Carlos smiled at her. “Were you nervous during the game?”

“You have no idea.”

Mal jogged over, coming to Evie’s other side. She frowned when she saw her face. She stepped in front of her and ran her thumb over her bottom lip. “What the fuck happened to your lip?”

Sometimes, it scared Evie how quickly Mal could go from playing around to her eyes glowing. It was both annoying and endearing to know that the fastest way to get Mal’s eyes to glow was to mess with Evie.

“I bit it when you got hit by Dragon Fire.”

“Baby.” Mal said soothingly, leaning forward to press a light kiss to the bruise on Evie’s lip. She grabbed her hand gently, then held it up. “Were you pinching yourself too?”

Evie looked down in confusion, seeing that she did have a couple small bruises around her wrists. “I didn’t even notice.”

Mal turned her hand over and saw the creases in her palms from how hard she had dug her fingernails into her skin. “Princess.”

“I’m okay, M. It was just a little nerve-wracking to see you guys get blocked, or hit by the Dragon Cannon.”

“C’mere.” Mal held out her arms and Evie went into them instantly. Mal hugged her tightly and pressed kisses to the side of her face. “I’m sorry we made you worry.”

“Don’t be sorry. Did you have fun?”

Mal couldn’t hide her smile. “Yeah.”

“Then it was worth it.” Evie kissed her nose.

“Will you two stop kissing and start walking so we can get lunch?” Jay shouted. Evie didn’t even realize that him and Carlos had passed her and Mal.

“I’m gonna kick his ass today, I swear.” Mal grumbled. She kept her hand linked with Evie’s as they walked into the cafeteria.

-----

Mal thought school was insanely boring, with the exception of art class. Though she wouldn’t say it out loud, it was her favorite and the only time she really felt like she got to express herself. Her teacher didn’t suck and actually offered some helpful criticism.

She lost herself within her latest painting until the timer rang, meaning they had to start cleaning up. Right as Mal finished with her work station, the door opened and Ben was standing there.

“Hi Mrs. Barnell, may I grab Mal?”

“Once she’s all finished cleaning up.” Mrs. Barnell allowed. “Nice work today, Mal.”

Mal just sent a nod in her direction and then grabbed her backpack. She strolled over to Ben, who stepped aside so she could exit the classroom and then shut the door behind her.

“How was art?”

“Fine.”

“Was Evie alright after the Tourney game the other day? I haven’t seen you guys since then, so I didn’t get to ask.”

Mal looked at him with a frown. “What are you talking about?”

“Some of the Neverland guys were harassing her.”

Mal raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”

“Oh, uh, it wasn’t that big of a deal.” Ben started to blush as he tried to backtrack.

“Nice try, Benny-boo. What happened?”

“I walked in halfway through it. She was doing a good job at defending herself.”

Mal scoffed. “Of course she was. She’s from the Isle. Do you really think Evie is as sweet and innocent as she may seem?”

“Definitely not after what I heard.” Ben said. “They were upset about you guys being on the team. He asked when they let, um…” his face started to turn even redder as he scratched the back of his neck.

“Spit it out, Ben.”

“He called you a name, but I don’t want to repeat it.”

Mal rolled her eyes. She didn’t have time for his innocence right now, she needed to figure out what had been said to Evie that worried him enough for him to bring it back up two days later. “A slut? A whore? A bitch?”

“The last one.” Ben said.

“They wanted to know when you let a bitch on your team?” Mal clarified.

Ben nodded. “But then Evie said that it wasn’t any different from them having one on their team, but at least you were good and she didn’t see him scoring.”

Mal laughed. “That’s my girl.”

“They called her a name too though, and that’s what I was worried about. One of the ones you said.”

Mal guessed that it must have been ‘slut’ or ‘whore’. She felt a tiny pang in her chest when she realized that Ben was concerned because of everything that had happened with Chad.

“What did Evie say after they called her a name?”

“Audrey came over and told them that she’s your girlfriend, and that you’re Maleficent’s daughter and your eyes glow like hers. They got scared and ran off.”

“Ben, I’m going to say this to you once. Evie is sweet and good and she understands emotions better than everyone else on the Isle combined. But don’t ever mistake her kindness for weakness. Evie is strong and she doesn’t need you to be worried about her over a little name calling.” Mal explained.

“After I saw her upset…” he trailed off, obviously referencing Chad’s party. “I don’t ever want to see her upset again.”

Mal nodded. “Thanks for checking in with me about it.”

“You’re welcome.” Ben said in surprise. Mal was a little surprised herself; She never said thank you. “Hey, what class is Evie in right now?”

“Study hall.” Mal started to get a suspicious feeling. There was no way Ben pulled her out of art to talk about this, so what did he really want? “Why?”

“A letter came in this morning from the Isle. It was a request from Evie’s brother. He said that he heard that you all got to video chat with your parents, and asked if he could do the same.”

As soon as Mal heard those words, she felt her blood run cold. She broke out into a run towards Evie’s classroom. “How long ago was this letter written?”

“It was dated from yesterday.”

“Shit.” Mal cursed, picking up her pace. “Why didn’t you start with that?”

“I didn’t know it was serious. Is something wrong?”

The bell rang, filling the halls with other students, but Mal just weaved around them. She could hear Ben’s footsteps behind her as they ran in the direction of Evie’s classroom.

The blue haired girl was walking out, a smile on her face as she joked around with Jay and Carlos. Mal had two options here- she could alert her whole group to what was going on, which would probably cause things to blow up. Or she could pull Evie aside and they could figure things out before involving the boys.

As soon as Evie saw Mal, she smiled again. “Hey M.”

“Hey baby. Can I talk to you for a second?”

“Is everything okay?” Evie frowned. “Were you running?” she glanced behind Mal at Ben, who looked uncomfortable.

“What’s wrong?” Carlos questioned.

“You two should go to Math. Tell Mr. Reynolds that Evie and I will make up the assignments we miss.”

“Let him know I approved it.” Ben added.

“No. That’s not how we do things.” Jay argued.

“I’ll explain as soon as I know what’s going on. Right now, you need to go, Jay. Stay with Carlos.” Mal urged.

He seemed conflicted, but he just sighed and nodded, walking the other way with the younger boy.

“What happened? What’s going on?” Evie demanded, her eyes widening. Mal didn’t know what to tell her, but her heart broke at the fact that Evie had to go from happy and laughing straight to scared and nervous.

“Your brother wrote a letter to me yesterday. It was brought over from the Isle this morning, and he requested a video chat after hearing that your parents got to have one.”

“No, no, no.” Evie whimpered. “What else did the letter say?”

“Nothing, just that he wanted a video chat.” Ben turned to the girls. “I don’t understand why that’s a bad thing.”

“The Isle never has good news.” Mal stated as she wrapped an arm tightly around Evie’s waist, leading her towards Ben’s office.

“Evie, I never knew you had a brother.” Ben said.

“Never came up.” Evie answered shortly.

As soon as they got into Ben’s office, Ben directed them to sit so he could get the webcam set up. Mal sat down and pulled Evie onto her lap.

“Listen to me, baby.” She whispered, trying not to alert Ben to their distress anymore than he already had been. “We don’t know what’s going on. Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it together, okay?”

“We have to go back.” Evie was practically hyperventilating. “Something must be wrong, so we have to go back.”

“Once we know what we’re dealing with we will make that decision.” Mal kissed her cheek, then her forehead, then nose, and finally her lips. “Take a deep breath and try to calm down.”

“My chest hurts.” Evie whimpered.

“It’s because you’re not breathing. Deep breath in, let it out slow.” Mal soothed. “Feel.” She grabbed Evie’s hand and put it over her heart. She hoped that it helped, but she wasn’t sure if it would; Mal felt like her heart was racing too. “Just calm down, my Princess. I’ve got you, no matter what.”

“It’s set up for whenever you’re ready.” Ben said.

“Can you give us some time?” Mal questioned.

“I’m sorry, but one of the conditions of the VK Exchange Program is that you can’t have any contact with the Isle without someone else present. I promise I’ll sit here and do my best not to listen though. I’ll catch up on paperwork.” He said. Ben turned the computer towards them and then settled into his chair with a file and a pen.

“Ready?” Mal asked.

Evie stood, moving to sit in the chair next to her. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”

Mal pressed the button to start the chat. It buffered for a second and then it finally connected. Mal felt every inch of her body tense up as rage filled her.

Black hair, nearly black eyes, and pale skin stared back at them. The boy on the screen smiled slowly, his lifeless eyes instantly landing on Evie.

“Well hello there, My Queen.”

Chapter Text

Evie sat at her sewing machine, working slowly and carefully on her newest dress. She knew that her mother would be angry if every seam and stitch weren’t perfectly in place, so she had to double check her work. She made sure to go slow so she could catch a mistake quicker and not have to redo the entire seam.

Just as she picked the dress up to inspect it, she heard the front door slam open. She made sure her back was straight and that her legs were crossed like a lady. She looked into her reflection at the tiny mirror at her table, checking to see if there were any hairs out of place.

“Hello, Genevieve.”

Evie put the dress down and turned her body fully to face the woman. “Hello, Mother. How was your trip to the market?”

“Oh, it was just delightful.” Evie felt a chill run down her spine at her mother’s tone. She could tell that there was something she wasn’t saying.

“I am happy to hear that. Did you find the creams you were searching for?”

“Yes, and some information that I was not.” Her mother sauntered over, placing her bag down carefully on Evie’s sewing table. “Is there anything you care to tell me?”

“No, Mother. I have just been working on my dress and…”

Before she could even react, her mother’s hand had flown up, snatching her by the chin and digging her nails in. “Do you take me for a fool, girl!?” she raged, shoving Evie so hard that her back slammed into the table. She slapped her across the face. “Tell me!”

“No, Mother, of course not! You are not a fool! You…”

Grimhilde grabbed a hand full of her hair and dragged her back up to her feet. “You dare to lie to me still? Did you think I would not find out? Are you so naïve to believe that people would pledge loyalty to a little whore over the Evil Queen?” she bellowed.

“I’m sorry, Mother, I don’t know what you are talking about.”

The older woman stared into Evie’s eyes for about three seconds before grabbing her by the cheeks, then slamming her head backwards into her sewing machine. It sent the machine flying to the ground and it broke apart, pieces flying everywhere. Evie felt dizzy as stars swam in her vision.

“You stupid, worthless, little girl. I have associates everywhere. You have had lesson after lesson about why you are not allowed to be near the daughter of Maleficent. I’m starting to think you enjoy the lessons.” She grabbed her by the front of her dress. “Am I right, Genevieve?” she pulled as hard as she could, sending buttons flying as she ripped the front of Evie’s dress open. “Do you like when I set you up with those men?”

“No, Mother. Please, I…I…”

“You don’t even bother to deny it!” she grabbed her by her arms and started to shake. “What can I say to make you remember? Are you so stupid that you cannot realize that you are not allowed to be a dyke?”

“Mother, please!” Evie begged, though she wasn’t even sure what to beg for anymore. She didn’t want another lesson. She didn’t want to be locked up.

There was a knock on the door and her mother smiled. “Oh good, time for your next lesson. I thought after the last one bruised up your face you would realize, but it is clear that I was wrong.” She grabbed her by the hair. “You better get out of that dress and if I hear you scream, I swear to God, Genevieve, this will never stop. I will let them use you up until you are begging me to kill you.”

-----

When Evie got to the hideout, she felt empty. Three days she had spent with that man, no food, no water, no sleep. She didn’t want to face Mal and the boys and let them see what had happened to her, but she had no other choice. They were the only people who made her feel safe and if she fell asleep in the castle, she was scared about what her mother might do.

She hit the sign on her second try and then walked towards the stairs. She heard Mal call out to her, but she couldn’t muster up the strength to respond. She tried to climb up the stairs, but her body was too weak. Evie lowered herself to the ground as carefully as she could and let her head lean back against the wall.

When her eyes opened again, she saw Mal in front of her. The purple haired girl was talking, but Evie couldn’t hear anything she said. She reached a hand out, touching Mal’s chin and letting her index finger trace her lips and the slope of her nose. Her eyes shut again.

Evie’s eyes fluttered open a moment later. She could feel Mal’s hands on her cheeks, but she still didn’t understand. She tried her hardest to focus, but it was no use. Mal gently grabbed her arms and put them around her neck. Evie nearly smiled. Being close to Mal was so nice. She tightened her arms around her and leaned her head on her shoulder. She felt her body being moved and realized Mal must have said she was going to carry her.

Evie must have closed her eyes again because the next thing she remembered was laying on the couch. She couldn’t see anything, but she knew Mal was still there because she could smell spray paint.

She felt something touch her hair and she flinched violently, sitting up. As soon as her body shifted, she threw up. It took her a second to see that she had thrown up all over herself.

Eyes closed.

Eyes opened. She could see Mal again, but she seemed so far away. Why was she so far away? Evie wanted to touch her. She didn’t care if her mother called her a dyke or slut or whore, she loved Mal. She would always love Mal.

Eyes closed.

Eyes opened. Was Mal crying? She could see her face, but her eyes wouldn’t focus. Carlos was there now too, he was sitting right next to her. Evie wondered if he was scared. He looked different.

Eyes closed.

Eyes flew opened. Someone was touching her. She couldn’t let someone touch her again, she was too sore and too tired. Her heart raced as she tried to gather her strength. Evie lashed out, flinging her arms towards the person, grabbing whatever she could and trying to get some hits in. She rolled, sending her body crashing to the floor.

“You have to move.” She thought to herself. “You have to hide. You have to stay safe. Mal would want you to stay safe.”

Evie crawled until she was behind one of the couches. Not the best place, but at least no one was touching her.

Eyes closed.

Eyes opened. Her hearing was coming back now and it was loud. She couldn’t tell what the loud noise was but it hurt her ears, so she brought her hands up to cover them. Why was it so loud? Why did Mal leave? Why did her chest hurt so bad?

Her heart raced as her chest throbbed more and more. She realized she wasn’t breathing and sucked in some air, causing the noise to stop. Evie frowned, wondering what the noise was. She swallowed, feeling like there was sandpaper being rubbed against the inside of her throat.

That’s when she realized the noise had been her screaming.

“…so sorry, baby. I’m so sorry. You are safe now, okay? Carlos, Jay, and I are here and we’re going to protect you. I love you, baby. I love you so much and I’m so sorry. You are safe…”

“M?” Evie tried, but her voice wouldn’t work. She tried to swallow, but her mouth was too dry. She attempted to speak again, but it just came out as a little squeak. “M.”

She heard shuffling and then the floorboards were creaking. “Evie, do you hear me, baby? It’s Mal. I’m right here. Can I come to you?”

Her next noise was a tiny whimper. She looked over in time to see Mal crawling across the floor towards her.

“You’re safe, baby girl. I’m here.”

Evie couldn’t respond, so she just held her hand out. Mal crawled over and sat across from her. She grabbed her hand carefully and pressed kisses against her skin.

“I’m here, Princess.” She glanced behind her. “Carlos, get her some water.”

“Is she okay?” Evie heard Jay’s voice. When did he get there?

“Just stay over there, Jay.” Mal said. “She’s calming down.”

“Shit, Mal. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Evie frowned. Was Jay crying? She had never heard his voice sound like that before.

“Baby, Carlos is right here. I’m going to get the water from him, okay?” Evie squeezed her hand, letting her know that she heard her. Mal kissed her palm and then crawled out of sight.

Eyes closed

“No, no, no, baby. Open your eyes.”

It took all of Evie’s strength, but she would do anything for Mal. Her eyes opened back up as she felt a sharp pain in her head.

“Take a drink.” Mal scooted closer and held the cup for her.

Evie took a tiny drink, feeling her body instantly relax. It had been so long since she had water. She took big, greedy drinks, sucking in as much water as she could. As soon as she finished, she only had a second of warning before she threw up.

“Mal.” She whimpered, her voice strained but coming out clearer now.

“It’s okay, Pretty Girl.”

Evie looked down, seeing that she was covered in vomit. “Mal.”

“I know, my love. You’re okay.” Mal scooted even closer and Evie leaned over, resting her head on Mal’s shoulder. “Can I touch your arm?”

“Mmhmm.”

Mal stroked her fingers up and down Evie’s arm. The blue haired girl felt her eyes start to close again.

“Eyes open, remember?”

Evie blinked, looking around the room. “Carlos?” she croaked out.

“He’s over by the window with Jay.” Mal kissed her wrist, then palm. “We need to get you cleaned up, E. Can I help you?”

“Yes.”

Mal leaned down, putting an arm around Evie and helping her stand. As soon as Evie was on her feet, she felt her body protest.

“Carlos started some water. It should be ready by now.” Mal took her into their tiny bathroom. The plumbing only worked sometimes, and they didn’t have a shower so they had to boil water and then wipe off in a tub, but it was better than being at any of their houses.

Mal helped Evie into the room and lowered her to sit on the toilet lid. Carlos shuffled in a few minutes later with the pot of water.

“Thanks, C.” Mal said. “Can you get her another cup of water to drink?”

After the boy left, Evie turned to her girlfriend. “Where’s Jay?”

“By the window, remember?”

Carlos came back, passing her the cup of water slowly. She tried to say thank you, but her voice cracked. She just nodded, and he nodded back in understanding.

“Tiny sips, babe.” Mal reminded her.

Evie took a tiny sip, feeling her sore throat moisten up a bit. She tried speaking again. “Jay doesn’t want to see me?”

“No, baby. That’s not it at all.” Mal kissed her hand again. “You can see him when you’re all cleaned up, okay?” Evie just nodded because what else could she really do. “I’m going to help you out of these clothes.”

Now Evie’s eyes couldn’t close even if she wanted them to. She watched as Mal carefully pulled her shirt over her head, tossing it into the corner of the room. She helped her out of her pants and underwear, leaving her naked body on display. She was still sitting on the toilet lid with Mal standing in front of her.

Evie felt tears well up in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Mal.”

“Listen to me right now.” Mal said, her voice much harsher than before. “Don’t you ever apologize to me for this. This is not your fault. You are perfect and intelligent and so fucking beautiful, Evie. I don’t think you even realize how much I love you. How much my heart aches for you. How much I need you.”

The tears finally spilled over as Evie wrapped her arms around Mal’s waist. She buried her face in her girlfriend’s stomach and sobbed her heart out. She wasn’t sure how long it went on for, but when she finally pulled away, her eyes were nearly swollen shut and her throat hurt even worse.

Mal’s own eyes were red and swollen and her bottom lip was still quivering. She kissed Evie’s forehead, leaving her lips pressed there for a long time. “I love you. You are my entire heart.”

“I love you.” Evie managed to rasp out.

Mal helped her get into the tub. She grabbed a cloth and started to carefully clean Evie’s body. Evie had been through this many times before, but it never got easier. This time was by far the worst. Normally, she couldn’t handle her legs being touched. Now, she was jumping even when Mal wiped off her face and arms.

As Mal cleaned her, Evie looked over her body. She could see deep purple bruises on her stomach, and she realized she probably had a couple fractured ribs, if not broken. Her wrists had deep, raw red marks around them. Her throat still hurt and she didn’t need to look in a mirror to see that her neck was probably black and blue. Her stomach hurt, between her legs was throbbing, her arms were bruised up, and she couldn’t even imagine how her face looked.

“It’s never going to stop.” Evie whimpered as Mal washed her hair. “No matter what I do, I’ll always be trapped on this island with her.”

“We’ll find a way to get you away.” Mal promised. “You’re never going back.”

“I have to.”

“You’re not.”

Evie didn’t want to argue, so she just let Mal keep working. She was shivering from the cold air, but it still felt better than being trapped in her castle the past few days.

Now that she was clean, Mal wrapped a towel around her. She dried her off carefully, pressing little kisses against her hair as she worked. Evie just leaned forward and wrapped her arms around her. Mal let the towel drop as she just held her.

Evie didn’t know how long they stood like that, but it truly helped. There was nothing better than being held by Mal, and it was the only time she felt safe. After a while, Mal wrapped the towel back around her and helped her out to the main room.

Jay and Carlos were sitting on the couch- Jay’s head was down and Carlos was rubbing his back. They must have heard the girls coming because they both looked up at the same time.

Mal sat on the couch, keeping Evie on her lap. She cuddled close to her, feeling so safe that it didn’t even occur to her that she was naked under the towel. Her eyes shut again.

“Uh-uh, beautiful. Eyes open.” Mal prodded.

“Need sleep.” Evie protested.

“Hey Jay, would you mind finding something for Evie to wear?” Mal asked. “Something warm.”

“Got it.” He left the room.

“Keep those eyes open.” Mal said as she gently rocked her.

“They’re open.” Evie lied, but she knew that Mal could probably feel her eyelashes fluttering against her neck.

“Open, E. Only for a little longer.”

Jay returned a moment later. “Underwear, sweatpants, long sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, and socks.” He listed.

“Good job.” Mal shifted Evie on her lap. “I’m going to get you dressed, okay?”

“Mmhmm.” Evie shut her eyes and this time, Mal didn’t tell her to open them.

“…them now, baby. Please open your eyes.”

Evie moaned miserably. “M, please.”

“I know, E. I know you are so, so tired and it’s almost time to sleep, okay?” Mal kissed her cheek. “You are so strong, my baby. Is it okay if Carlos sits with us?”

“Stay with me.” Evie whispered.

“I’m staying right here. He’s coming over now.”

Carlos came over and sat across from them. “Where is it?”

“The back of her head.” Mal answered. Evie didn’t know what they were talking about. “I’m going to tilt your head, okay, Princess?” she trusted Mal. “I need you to speak, babe. I can’t see your face.”

“Okay.” Evie voiced. She winced as she felt fingers touching her hair and jolted forward.

She felt Mal’s hands on her arms. “We’re going to turn your body. I want you to straddle me, E.”

“My body hurts.”

“I know, baby girl, and I’m so sorry. But we have to look at your head. You’re hurt.” Evie let Mal help her move. She cried out as she straddled Mal’s lap. “It’s only for a minute, my love. You’re okay. I’m sorry, Evie. I’m so sorry.” She kissed her cheek.

Evie felt the hands on her head again. She flinched when they touched a sore spot. Mal wrapped her arms around her, effectively holding down her arms. Evie wondered if that’s part of why they had her move.

“E, do you remember what happened to your head?” Carlos asked.

“Mother was so mad at me.” Evie whispered. “She grabbed my face and she smashed my head into something so hard that I thought I saw stars.” Her face crumpled as she realized what it was. “My sewing machine. It fell off the table and it broke.” Evie started to cry again.

“We’ll fix it, Princess. I’ll get you a new one. Please don’t cry, beautiful.” Mal kissed her cheek.

“I know it’s stupid to worry about it, but that sewing machine was the only thing I had in that house to make me happy.”

“I will get you a new one.” Mal repeated as she rubbed her back.

“Evie, I’m pretty sure you have a concussion. It doesn’t look deep enough that it needs stitches, but we have to keep an eye on it. That’s why you threw up.” Carlos explained. “You’re going to have to rest the next couple days.”

Evie just nuzzled into Mal’s neck, sniffling to try and stop her tears. “M, you’ll stay with me?”

“Always.” Mal promised.

“Carlos?”

“Yes.” He agreed.

“Jay?” Evie listened, but didn’t hear her friend’s voice. “Jay?” she lifted her head, seeing Jay sitting on the other couch with his head in his hands. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry.” Jay cried out.

Evie sat completely up, whimpering at the movement. She held her hand out towards him, but couldn’t bring herself to speak.

“She wants you to come over here.” Carlos said for her benefit. Jay looked up, surprised to see her hand out. He stood slowly and kneeled down in front of her on the couch.

“What happened?” Evie questioned. Jay’s nose was swollen and bloody and there were scratch marks across his cheek and neck. She gently touched his nose.

“I hurt you.” Jay whispered.

Evie was so confused, and she didn’t have the strength to try and figure this out. She looked at Mal helplessly.

“When you got here, you were pretty out of it. Do you remember?”

“A little.”

“Jay touched you and you got upset.”

Evie’s eyes filled up with tears yet again. She didn’t know if she would ever stop crying. “I did that?”

“It’s not your fault.” Jay quickly reassured her. “I didn’t warn you before I touched you. I know better than that. It’s not your fault, Evie. Please don’t feel bad.”

“I’m so sorry, Jay. I trust you, okay? I trust you.” She reached out, pulling Jay off his knees and up so she could hug him. Jay rested his head against her chest and Evie winced, but still hugged him.

“Okay, long enough.” Mal interrupted, gently pushing Jay back. He stayed where he was on the ground. “Evie, baby, can I pull your shirt up?”

She knew that Mal must be concerned about her ribs. She sighed, but nodded reluctantly. Mal kissed her forehead and then shifted her over so she was sitting on the couch instead of her lap. She helped her lay down and her and Carlos moved so that Evie was laying on the couch and her friends were kneeling next to her. Mal kept a hand locked with hers as she carefully pulled her shirt up.

“Shit.” Jay and Carlos cursed at the same time.

Mal’s fingers gently prodded at the bruises, making Evie wince. “Do we have any ice?”

“I’ll get it.” Jay offered. He disappeared, returning a moment later with a couple ice packs they had managed to snag a few weeks ago.

Mal laid them on Evie’s stomach. “I need something to hold it in place.”

“Here.” Carlos grabbed Jay’s sweatshirt. Mal helped Evie sit so she could tie the sweatshirt around her abdomen to hold the ice packs in place. “Not too tightly, you don’t want to restrict her breathing.”

“Got it.” Mal pulled Evie’s shirt back down to cover it up. “Do we have any of E’s scar cream left?”

Carlos brought some over without a word. Evie watched as Mal carefully rubbed it onto her wrists, her neck, and a few spots on her face.

“M, I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.” Evie admitted.

“I know, baby. It’s time to sleep now.” Mal kissed each of her eyelids. “Can Jay carry you into the bedroom?”

“No, I don’t want to hurt her.”

“I can’t carry her without bothering her ribs. You need to do it.” Mal responded.

Evie opened her eyes again to look at Jay. “I trust you, remember?” she reached out to him.

Jay scooped her up carefully, trying to keep her as still as possible. He carried her into their little makeshift bedroom and laid her down on the bed. Mal crawled up next to her, pressing a kiss to her cheek and wrapping an arm around her.

“You’re safe, baby girl. This will never happen again.”

Evie wanted to believe her, but she knew the truth. She would have to go back to her mother sometime. But maybe she wouldn’t have to see this man again. “M?”

“You’re okay.”

Evie mumbled the name of the man who had visited her castle. She felt Mal tense up, then take a deep breath.

“I will always keep you safe, Pretty Girl. No matter what I have to do.” She kissed her forehead. “It’ll be over by tomorrow night.”

“Don’t leave me yet.” Evie whispered into her skin.

“We’ll be right here, Princess.” Mal promised. “Sleep.”

With Mal’s permission, Evie drifted off into a painless dream.

-----

“What’s wrong, Genevieve? You can’t say hello?”

Evie felt nothing but panic. She couldn’t speak, couldn’t think, couldn’t even breathe as she stared at the screen. She never in a million years would have thought that this would happen. Her body wouldn’t stop shaking as she struggled to come to terms with the person staring at her.

She could feel how tense Mal was beside her. She wanted to just shut the screen off and pretend like this never happened, but she had to find out what he wanted.

“Why are you calling, Quinton?” Mal demanded.

He started to laugh. “I thought Auradon would make you a little sweeter, Mal. I can tell you’re still just as wretched and hateful as you were when you abandoned…I mean left your home.”

“Why the fuck would you care about if I left the Isle or not?”

“Oh, I couldn’t care less about where you are. What concerns me is that you took what belongs to me.”

“You are delusional.” Mal said. Evie was proud of her for not taking the bait and arguing with him because that’s all he ever wanted. “Feel free to get to the point on why you are calling.”

“I wanted to see my Queen again.” Quinton smirked and Evie felt sick. “Do you miss me, Evie?”

Evie took a deep breath. “No.”

He laughed. “Wow, listen to you. Maybe Auradon will help you get some of your fight back. It’s no fun playing around with something you’ve already broken.”

“You’ll never know.” Evie felt rage fill her body. “I will never be near you again. I will kill myself before I ever end up in the same place as you.”

“Careful, Genevieve. You’re starting to sound rebellious again, and you only do that when you’ve been hanging around with Mal. What would your mother say if I was to tell her this?”

Evie didn’t know what to say back. Luckily, Mal stepped in. “You have two seconds to get to the point before I cut this call off.”

Quinton laughed loudly. “I spoke to Harry and Uma. I know all about your dirty little secret, my Queen.”

Evie would never forget the haunting smile on his face. She leaned forward, pressing the button to turn the screen off, then threw up all over the floor. She coughed as she struggled to control herself.

“Breathe, baby. You’re okay.” Mal rubbed her back comfortingly.

Ben looked in shock. “That was your brother?”

“No.” Mal answered.

“I’m sorry, Ben. I didn’t mean to.” Evie apologized profusely. “I’ll clean it up.”

“Don’t worry about it. Try and calm down, okay?” he handed her a tissue and a bottle of water.

Evie wiped her mouth off, then took a drink. She felt Mal’s hand locked on her leg and she whimpered, then leaned over to rest her head on Mal’s shoulder.

“We’ll figure it out. It’s okay.” Mal kissed her forehead.

“I don’t want to overstep, but what’s going on?”

Evie glanced at Mal, silently asked her to answer Ben. “There’s just a lot of tension left from us leaving.”

“Why?” Ben wondered.

“When someone who has possession of major territory suddenly leaves the Isle, it stirs up a lot of issues.” Mal stood, pulling Evie to her feet. “Are you sure you don’t want us to clean up?”

“I can call the cleaning service. Just get Evie back to your room and rest.”

“Okay.” Mal grabbed her bag, then handed Evie’s to her. They walked out of the room together.

“We have to go back.”

“We can’t.” Mal said. “If we go back, he will find you. You’ll be in danger and I’m not letting that happen.”

“You know there are more important things at risk, M.”

“Shhh, I don’t want to talk about this here. We’ll talk when we’re back in our room.”

-----

As soon as Goodness class ended, Jay and Carlos completely skipped out on lunch and ran back to the girls’ dorm. They busted in, but didn’t see them.

“Bathroom door is shut.” Carlos noticed.

“Come on.” Jay charged over, knocking loudly on the door. “Mal! Evie!”

“It’s open.” Mal responded.

Jay opened the door. He was surprised to see Mal and Evie sitting fully clothed in the empty bathtub. Evie’s knees were pulled up to her chest with her forehead resting against them, and Mal had both arms wrapped around her.

“What the fuck happened?” Jay demanded.

“Ben came and found me today to tell me that a letter came from the Isle. He said Evie’s brother was requesting to video chat with her.”

“Why? What happened?” Jay questioned.

“Let her finish.” Carlos scolded.

“Long story short, we got to Ben’s office. He set it up and when the video loaded, it was Q.”

Jay’s hands tightened into fists. He would kill him. He had envisioned the other boy’s death many, many times and he couldn’t wait until the day it actually happened.

“Why?” Carlos asked in confusion.

“So he could fuck with Evie’s head.” Mal said.

“You don’t know that!” Evie shouted, lifting her head. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. “You have no idea what he knows!”

“What did he say?” Jay wondered, his eyes darting back and forth between Evie and Mal.

“That I took what belongs to him to Auradon. He said he wanted to see E and asked if she missed him, and she said no.” Mal’s jaw clenched. “He said he hoped she was getting some fight back because it’s not fun playing with something that’s broken.”

“Do we really need to give them the word for word description?” Evie questioned as she ran her fingers through her hair.

“He said she’s getting rebellious and she only does that when she’s with me, and threatened to tell her mom. Then he said that he talked to Harry and Uma and he knows Evie’s dirty little secret.”

Jay was on his feet in seconds. “Why are we still here? We need to go.”

“Because we have no idea what he knows.”

“You’re willing to risk that?” Jay asked.

“No.” Evie said. “See Mal, I told you! We need to leave!”

“We’re not leaving.” Mal argued. “You guys know how Q is. He likes to mind fuck people. Of course he would throw out some cryptic message like that.”

“Or he really knows.” Evie countered.

“But I don’t think so. He made those comments about you on purpose. He wanted to hurt you because he isn’t close enough to touch you. He only wrote that letter because he heard that our parents video chatted with us. I guarantee your mother mentioned it to him and they agreed to do this together.”

“Then what secret would he be talking about, Mal? What else is important enough for him to hold over my head?”

“He doesn’t know any secrets, that’s why he didn’t say anything specific.”

“So you think he just made it all up?” Jay summarized, trying to make sense of this conversation.

“Unless there’s been a huge power shift on the Isle, I don’t see Q being in the same room as Uma and Harry and living to tell the tale.” Mal stated.

Carlos tilted his head. “So you’re saying you trust Uma and Harry?”

“As much as I hate to say it, when it comes to Evie, I do.” Mal agreed. “Princess, think about it. The only people who hate Q almost as much as us are Uma and Harry. They might hate me, but they wouldn’t betray you for him.”

Evie bit her lip. “It’s still a risk, Mal. We can’t just let this go without checking to be sure.”

Mal put her hands on Evie’s cheeks. “I want you to listen to me and understand what I am saying to you. You are not under any circumstances going back to the Isle. Not with your mother and Quinton still breathing. Maybe we can find a way to send a message or something, but you’re not leaving Auradon.”

Jay watched as Evie wiped the tears off her cheeks, but more kept coming. “You can’t ask me to do that, Mal.”

“I’m not asking. We’ll figure it out, but it’s too big of a risk for you to go back.”

Evie shook her head angrily. “Three days. If I don’t have something confirmed in three days, then I’m going back.”

Jay knew this was going to be bad. But even he couldn’t have predicted just how bad things were about to get.

-----

The first day, Evie barely spoke to her. Mal knew she was angry, but it didn’t hit her just how upset Evie was until she refused to sleep in the same bed as her. Mal felt guilty; there was nothing she hated more than fighting with Evie. But this was for her own good.

On the second day, Ben helped her send out a message. She knew it would be difficult because Maleficent intercepted any and all mail. Mal was hoping that if they could get the message to the right person, they would deliver it to Uma and Harry. After Evie found out about the message, she talked to Mal a little more, but things still weren’t the same. It didn’t help either that it was Wednesday and Evie had to go to therapy. By the time Mal got home from Tourney, Evie was passed out and didn’t wake up until morning.

On the third day, Evie was ready to pack her bags and leave for the Isle. Mal couldn’t calm her down enough on her own, but with Jay and Carlos’s help, they were able to talk Evie into waiting one more day. She wasn’t happy about it, but she stayed.

On the fourth day, Ben delivered the message to her. He said he didn’t understand what it meant. Mal grabbed it, quickly scanning over the code they had developed. The note said that everyone was safe and nothing with their plan had changed. When Evie saw it, she cried and then locked herself in the bathroom for over an hour. When Mal finally picked the lock, she found her asleep in the bathtub. She hated seeing her upset, but she was glad she made the tough call. Evie wouldn’t have been safe if she went back to the Isle, and it all would have been for nothing.

It was Friday now. They had a game tomorrow, so Coach called for an extra Tourney practice. Evie was finally letting Mal hug and kiss her again, so Mal gave her a kiss and then ran off to practice.

They ended up finishing early and Mal couldn’t be happier. This week had been hell and she was so ready to just cuddle with her girl and decompress.

She unlocked the dorm room door and was surprised that she didn’t see Evie. She looked around, then noticed the bathroom door was shut. Mal dropped all of her Tourney equipment in the closet and changed clothes (luckily, she had jumped in the shower right after practice). When she was finished, she realized Evie still wasn’t out of the bathroom.

That’s when she heard the coughing, followed by the sound of throwing up. Mal went over and opened up the bathroom door just in time to see Evie sticking her fingers down her throat.

“You cannot be fucking serious.” She said with a dry laugh.

“Mal?” Evie turned around, looking guiltier than Mal had ever seen.

Evie had struggled with food for almost as long as Mal had known her. She was around eight when her mom started monitoring her weight and constantly mentioning that she needed to be smaller. She knew that sometimes Evie skipped meals, sometimes she would eat and then throw up involuntarily, and sometimes she forced herself to throw up. In all the time Mal knew her, she had never had to witness Evie actually sticking her fingers down her throat.

Mal turned and stormed out of the bathroom. She couldn’t believe this. This week, Evie had been present at every meal. She was eating and had actually seemed to stop dreading it as much. She should have realized that it was because she was sneaking off to throw it all back up.

“Mal, I’m sorry.” Evie whispered.

“You’re sorry? That’s what you’re going to say to me right now?” Mal questioned. “What in the actual fuck, Evie?”

“I…I just…”

“No. There’s no excuse. I actually thought you were trying! I was so fucking proud of you because I thought that even though this week has been terrible, you were still trying to be healthy. I guess I’m just a fucking dumbass.”

“I’m sorry, Mal. I didn’t want to.”

“You didn’t want to!?” Mal yelled. She tried hard to contain her voice, but she was pushed past the point of being able to control herself. Evie started to come towards her, but she pushed her back into the bathroom.

“Mal.” Evie said, tears starting to fill her dark eyes.

“Show me.” Mal told her simply.

Evie frowned. “What?”

“You want to hurt yourself so badly, go ahead and show me. Seriously, Evie. I want to see what’s so amazing about you hurting yourself that you continue to do it over and over and fucking over again!”

Evie was crying now, shaking her head back and forth. “I couldn’t help it, Mal. I’ve been so worried all week and I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t…”

“SHOW ME!” Mal screamed, interrupting her excuses.

“Please stop.” Evie begged. She tried to walk around her, but Mal shifted so she was blocking her in. “I want to go.”

“You’re not leaving.”

“Stop!” Evie shouted, her cries turning to sobs.

“I’m giving you the chance to do exactly what you want to do!” Mal yelled. “Do it, Evie! Go ahead!”

“Mal, stop it!” she tried to move past her again, but Mal stepped forward, pushing her further into the room. “Please Mal, I’m sorry. Please stop.”

“What the fuck is happening right now?”

Mal was still staring at Evie, wondering how she had been so blind to the fact that she was throwing up. She thought back to every moment this week where she had disappeared and conveniently, they were all near meal times. She had been doing this all week and Mal didn’t even notice.

That’s when she heard the new voice join the conversation. It snapped her out of her thoughts and she turned, seeing Jay and Carlos in the doorway. She looked back over, seeing that Evie was sitting on the floor and bawling her eyes out.

“Get out.” Jay ordered, grabbing Mal by her arm and shoving her out of the bathroom. He shut the door gently behind her.

“Back off.” Mal growled.

“You need to back off!” Jay yelled. “We could hear you yelling at her from down the hallway. How can you be so goddamn insensitive?”

“How is everything always my fault?” Mal yelled back just as loudly.

Jay grabbed her arm again, dragging her out of the dorm room and away from the sounds of Evie’s cries. He led her to the stairwell.

“She does this over and over and over again and I’m supposed to do nothing about it?” she questioned. “I am so frustrated with just standing by and letting Evie hurt herself!”

“Yeah, well trying to force her into doing it probably isn’t the best way to get her to stop.” Jay chastised.

Mal felt a pain in her stomach as the guilt settled in. “I knew she wouldn’t do it in front of me. I just wanted her to see how much it hurts me when she hurts herself.”

Jay shook his head. “I know it’s been a hard week, and things have been pretty tense between you and E. But this is E we’re talking about, you asshole. In all the time I’ve known you two, I have never seen you be so disrespectful towards her.”

“That’s because I haven’t.”

“Think about how she feels right now. I’m not saying that I agree with Evie throwing up, because trust me, it pisses me off too. But this week she had to see Q, worry about what he knows about her, wait around and see if someone responds saying everything is safe, and on top of that the two of you haven’t been getting along. You know she gets upset and nervous and when that happens, the food stuff starts acting up.”

“She told me she couldn’t help it.” Mal said. “That’s she’s been so worried all week and she couldn’t control it.”

“I know it’s hard to believe, but maybe she couldn’t.” Jay told her.

Mal sat down on a step. “I’m such a bitch.”

Jay sat next to her. “You made a mistake. It happens.”

“I can’t afford to make mistakes like that. Not when it comes to her.” Mal ran her fingers through her hair. “I yelled at her and I made her cry. I’ve been bossing her around all week, telling her she can’t go to the Isle. Then I yell at her to show me how she hurts herself.”

“You were doing it to protect her. For what it’s worth, I agree with you that it was in Evie’s best interest to stay here. I’m happy nothing was wrong, but even if it was, I wouldn’t have wanted Evie to go back with us. There are too many demons lurking on the Isle waiting for the opportunity to hurt her.”

Mal wiped angrily at the tear that fell from her eye. “What do I do, Jay?”

“You go back to your dorm and you apologize. You tell her that you’re there and you’re going to help her get through this. You remind her what’s at stake if she can’t control herself. You push her to start talking to FG and Dr. Bren about food, and then you stop. As much as you want there to be, there’s not a switch you can just flip to make her better, Mal.”

She wiped another tear away. “When did you become so wise?”

“I don’t know, I guess Carlos is rubbing off on me.” Jay stood up and offered her a hand, which Mal took without hesitation. “Come on, let’s go get your girl.”

They walked back to the dorm slowly. As soon as they got to the door, Mal could hear Evie’s sobs. She felt like she was going to throw up.

Jay reached around her and pushed open the door before she could protest. Carlos was sitting on the floor outside of the bathroom with Evie on his lap, who was inconsolable.

“Shhh, calm down, E. Deep breaths.” Carlos urged.

“I…made…her…hate…me!” Evie sobbed.

“I don’t think so.” Carlos tilted his head towards the door. Evie looked over and as soon as she saw Mal, she turned on Carlos’s lap so she didn’t have to face her. Mal swore she felt her heart break a little.

Evie’s face was buried in Carlos’s neck, Jay was just standing there in silence, and Carlos was gently stroking his fingers through her hair. Mal didn’t know what to do.

“Go.” Jay pushed her forward.

Mal sank down on the floor across from Carlos. She slowly reached her hand out and he stopped playing with her hair, letting Mal take the lead.

“Baby…” as soon as her hand touched Evie’s back, she flinched. Mal pulled back as if she had been bitten. She couldn’t believe she had scared her so badly that she jumped when she touched her. No matter what had happened, Evie had never been afraid of Mal’s touch before.

She looked to Jay and Carlos helplessly, but they didn’t have any answers. Jay came over and sat next to her and patted her back reassuringly.

Mal cleared her throat as her vision started to blur, knowing she needed to speak. “Evie, I’m so sorry, baby. I fucked up.” She cursed herself as her voice got choked up and started to crack. “It’s so hard seeing you hurt yourself and I just wanted you to stop. I crossed a line, and I should have never yelled at you like that or told you to hurt yourself.” Her bottom lip quivered as the tears streamed down her cheeks. “I just don’t know what to do anymore because I keep seeing you get more and more distant and I hate it. I love you so much, and I know I don’t say that often enough, but it’s true. I love you more than I have ever loved anything and the only thing I want in this world is for you to be okay.”

Mal studied her girlfriend, seeing that Evie was still trembling in Carlos’s arms. She didn’t want to do this, but she would do anything for her beautiful girl.

“If you need to take a break from us, I understand. I…”

Evie’s head lifted up slowly from its place in Carlos’s neck. “I don’t wanna take a break.”

Mal couldn’t help but sigh in relief. “Good, because I really don’t want that either.” She tried to wipe her tears away.

Carlos reached up and wiped Evie’s cheeks off with his hand. “E, it’s time for you to get some help. We’re all really worried about you and we just want you to be safe and healthy.” He squeezed her tighter in his arms. “This isn’t something you have to do on your own anymore.”

Mal nodded in agreement. “I know it probably doesn’t sound like fun, but you need to talk to Dr. Bren about this. If you want, I’ll even go with you. I’ll do anything to make you happy, baby. I just want you to be better.”

“I want to be better.” Evie whispered.

“We know you do.” Jay stated. “That’s why we are so hard on you and why we care so much when something happens. But I think we also need to realize that there’s going to be slip-ups.” He looked pointedly at Mal, who rolled her eyes.

“How about we all go to therapy with you one day?” Carlos suggested. “That way, we can learn what to do because the last thing any of us wants is to upset you or do the wrong thing.”

Evie hugged Carlos as tight as she could, then leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Thank you for loving me, you guys. I hope you know how much I love you back.”

She crawled across the floor to where Jay was sitting and then kneeled. Jay pulled her into a hug, and then she kissed his cheek. “We do.” He said.

Mal felt her breath catch in her throat as Evie shuffled over to her. She straddled her lap and pressed their lips together. Mal put everything into that kiss, trying to communicate to Evie how much she loved and cared about her. She tilted her head slightly, trying to find a better angle. Evie’s lips parted and Mal took the invitation without a second thought. She pulled Evie’s bottom lip into her mouth and sucked on it gently. After a moment, Mal finally pulled back.

“I’m sorry.” She whispered against Evie’s lips.

“Me too.” Evie agreed before connecting their lips again.

As soon as Evie let out a moan, Jay jumped up. “Alright C, our work is done here. We don’t need to be here to watch the reunion.”

“See you guys later.” Carlos called, but Mal and Evie were already lost in their own world.

“Thank God that worked out.” Jay said to Carlos once they left the room.

“Yeah, I can’t imagine a world where they’re not together. I think we learned how miserable that could be when they pretended they weren’t dating.” Carlos stated. “You think they’ll be good?”

“I think they love each other too much to not put their all into solving their issues.” Jay told him. “Mal felt pretty guilty about the whole thing.”

Carlos nodded. “I know Evie was wrong for throwing up, but I just have such a hard time blaming her for things when a- she’s bawling her eyes out on my lap, and b- I know the shit she’s been through.”

“Hopefully she can open up in therapy, and we’ll all just stay on her about it. I don’t want her to feel like we’re babysitting, but maybe we should stop leaving her alone after mealtimes too.”

Carlos shrugged. “That’s all we can do, I guess.”

Both boys knew the issues were far from over, but they have confidence that Mal and Evie would always figure things out.

Chapter Text

“Happy birthday, Pretty Girl.” Mal whispered against Evie’s lips as they stood in the doorway of the hideout.

“Thank you for making this day amazing.” Evie told her.

“You deserve nothing but amazing things.” Mal kissed her forehead. “You better go, I don’t want you getting in trouble today.”

Evie hugged her tightly, soaking up all the love that Mal had to offer. It was so strange that everyone considered Mal to be the most dangerous villain kid, but she could be loving and sweet towards Evie (and the boys on occasion).

“Go, baby.” Mal said, giving her one last kiss.

“See you tomorrow.” Evie slipped out of the hideout and started the long trip back to her castle. She knew Mal would be trailing behind her; they couldn’t be seen together, but she would never let her walk home at night on her own.

Evie couldn’t help but smile when she thought about her day. It was her 15th birthday, and she was really holding out hope that this would be the best year yet. Mal and the boys had made the day perfect. They had all worked together to get her new fabric, and Carlos was able to put parts together to make her a new sewing machine. She had cried when she saw it, realizing how lucky she was to have a crew who cared about her.

When Evie arrived at the castle, she turned around and waved. She couldn’t see Mal, but she felt her presence. She opened the door carefully, hoping that her mother had already gone to sleep for the night.

“Genevieve, my darling! Come in here!”

Evie couldn’t believe it. Did her mother actually sound happy? Maybe now that she was 15, she would let Evie do her own thing. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad anymore.

She found her mother in the living room with a box laid out on the table in front of her. “Happy birthday, child. Go ahead and open your present.”

Evie carefully pulled the ribbon off the box and opened it up. She found a dark blue dress along with a matching diamond necklace and earrings set that looked nearly brand new.

“Thank you, Mother.” She said, running her fingers over the fabric.

“Go ahead, try them on. I want to see.”

Evie went into the other room and changed into the dress. It was a little tight and her stomach dropped. Her mother was going to be mad when she saw.

But to her surprise, she just stood and smirked. “Come here, Genevieve.” She stuck her hand down the top of the dress, yanking it down so that some cleavage was showing. She ruffled up the bottom, making her legs look longer. “There we go.”

“Thank you, Mother.” Evie said, because she didn’t know what else to say. She didn’t like how much skin was showing and she was honestly surprised that her mother had chosen that dress.

“That’s not all. I have an even bigger present.”

“I can’t accept any more, this is plenty.” Evie tried to tell her.

Her mother actually laughed, and that’s when Evie felt her instincts go on high alert. Something wasn’t right.

“I finally found you a prince!”

There it was. Evie felt like she could throw up right then and there. “What do you mean, Mother?”

“There’s been one hiding here on the Isle all along. You are too used up for the Auradon princes, but this one will do. His family has power and riches and he will help us.”

“Mother, I don’t understand.”

Her eyes squinted, scrutinizing the teenager. “What is there to understand, girl? You will be given to this prince and in exchange, he will supply me with everything I could ever want!” she practically shouted.

“But what about school? What about making clothes and…”

Before Evie even had a second to react, her mother’s hand was around her neck and her back was slammed into the wall. “None of that matters now, you stupid little girl! You have failed the biggest lesson I ever tried to teach you. This union will help us, Genevieve. You will be his queen, and as his queen, it is your job to take care of him in any way he desires. He may take whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and there is nothing you can do to stop it because you will be his future wife. I will have what I want, and you will keep him happy so that he keeps providing me with the things I need. You will please him like all of your lessons have prepared you for. I have heard he has his mother’s mean streak, but I’m sure it’s nothing you can’t handle.”

“Mother.” Evie practically whispered.

“Try and sneak off with that little girl now.” The Evil Queen smiled, showing off all of her teeth as she heard a noise outside. “Oh, that must be him now.”

-----

The calm moments were the best and the worst. Sometimes, Evie felt at peace when she was in Mal’s arms and the world was absolutely silent. Other times, the calm gave her too much time to think, too much time to spiral off into thoughts that she had no business worrying about.

The past two weeks had been filled with a lot of calm moments, and honestly, it was unnerving. Ever since she and Mal got in a fight about her throwing up, Evie really had been trying. She didn’t ever want Mal to think she wasn’t worth all the time they had put into their relationship. So even though it hurt and it was a struggle every single day, she got up and ate all three meals and went to therapy. The Monday appointments where it was just her and Fairy Godmother weren’t terrible, but Evie absolutely dreaded the Wednesday appointments with both FG and Dr. Bren.

It was nice that her weeks were usually filled with something to do. Monday and Wednesday was therapy and then she would go watch Mal and the boys at Tourney afterwards. Tuesday and Thursday was sewing club, and sometimes afterwards she went back to the dorm to sew and sometimes she went to Tourney. After practice was finished, they all went to dinner together and then went back to the dorms and relaxed. On Friday, she had been designing and working on new outfits. Jane, Lonnie, Audrey, and a few others girls had been begging for an Evie original, and she was happy to comply. At least it distracted her in this long phase of what felt like standing completely still.

She still wasn’t over the conversation with Quinton. Evie had every intention of going back to the Isle sooner rather than later, with or without her friends. She understood their fears, but she was a big girl and she had to be able to handle herself.

Those two weeks slowly dragged to an end, bringing the total up to six weeks. Six weeks they had spent in Auradon and while they were making progress, Evie felt like they didn’t have enough to show for it.

Right now, Evie was laying on Mal’s chest in their bed. The steady thumping of Mal’s heartbeat was soothing, but as always, it was a 50/50 chance on if she would find peace or worries.

“What are you thinking about?” Mal wondered, leaning down to kiss the top of her head.

“Everything.” Evie admitted.

“The weight of the world is too heavy to carry only on your shoulders, you know.”

Evie smiled. “That’s funny coming from you.”

Mal cracked a small smile. “I want us to be happy. Let’s talk about good things. We can take turns and name good things. You go first.”

Evie didn’t even have to think before she spoke. “Us.”

“That’s the best thing.” Mal agreed. “I’m gonna say showers.”

“Bubble baths.” Evie chimed in.

Mal stroked her hair. “Having enough of everything. Water, food, blankets, clothes.”

“Tourney and sewing club. The Isle should create some outlets for kids to express themselves.”

Mal snorted. “Yeah right, they would have to stop us from killing each other first.” Then she shook her head. “Happy thoughts, remember?”

“You’re the one who said something sad!”

“You’re right.” Mal kissed her forehead. “You don’t jump when the bell rings anymore.”

Evie hadn’t even realized, but Mal was right. “You don’t deny it when I say that you love art class anymore.” She countered.

“Video games.” Mal added to the list.

“So many different materials for my designs.”

“Same, but for my artwork.”

“Being respected.” Evie said quietly. “Telling when something is wrong and having consequences actually happen to that person.”

“Your smile and your laugh.” Mal stroked her cheek.

“Your dimple, and don’t say you don’t have one because I see your face more than you do.”

Mal laughed. “You’re not wrong.” She pulled Evie up and kissed her on the lips. “See? Isn’t this so much better than worrying?”

Evie nodded. “I guess I didn’t realize how much good has come from Auradon.”

“That’s because you’re letting yourself worry too much. Trust me, E, I didn’t think things would take so long either. I know you’re getting antsy, but we’ll get there. We can’t mess this up.”

“I know.” Evie laid her head back down on Mal’s chest.

The door busted open, making both of them jump up in alarm. Jay laughed hysterically in the doorway while Carlos rolled his eyes.

“You should have seen your faces.”

“You’re lucky I didn’t put a spell on you.” Mal grumbled, wrapping her arms around Evie and pulling her back down.

“Yeah, like you could do that, Miss Magical Control.”

“FG is actually going through some spells with me, and regardless of that, I can still cast a spell even without permission.” She rubbed her fingers together, causing green fire to bounce from her fingertips.

Evie rolled her eyes and grabbed Mal’s hand, causing her to instantly extinguish the flames. “Quit showing off.”

“You guys need to get dressed.” Carlos said. “Ben wants to see us.”

Evie didn’t like the sound of that. Sure, Ben had proven himself to be an ally, but she couldn’t believe that he was calling them all to his office just to ask about their weekend plans.

The girls got dressed quickly, then Mal and the boys sat in the bathroom with Evie while she went through her usual makeup routine. It was already mid-afternoon, so it was a little late in the day for Evie to get completely ready, but she refused to leave the dorm without looking perfect. She knew they didn’t exactly approve of it, but they understood and did their best to support her.

“What do you think he wants?” Mal questioned.

“I don’t know, he passed us in the cafeteria and asked if we could grab you two and come to his office.” Jay informed her. “It didn’t sound like there was an emergency or anything. Maybe he just wants to chat.”

“No one ever ‘just wants to chat’ with us.” Mal argued.

Evie finished her last curl, then looked herself over in the mirror to be sure everything was perfect. “I’m ready.”

“So pretty.” Mal said before pressing a gentle kiss against her cheek. The two of them linked hands and led the way out of the dorm room.

The walk to Ben’s office was nice and filled with light conversation. Evie was already worried about what Ben might say, so she was grateful that her friends didn’t spend the whole time running over possible scenarios.

Mal, always the leader, stepped forward and knocked on the office door. They heard Ben’s voice tell them to come in, so she pushed the door open. Ben was sitting at a round table with four extra chairs pulled up to it.

Evie waited for Mal to choose a seat first and noticed immediately that she took one of the spots next to Ben. Predictably, Jay took the other, leaving Evie and Carlos sitting only next to members of their crew while also being the closest to the door. No matter how long they spent in Auradon, Isle habits always crept back up.

“I wanted to start this conversation with you all before I bring it up to anyone else on my council.” Ben began. “As you know, the four of you were the first students brought over with the VK Exchange Program. It is my intention to expand this even further and if it’s possible, I would like to have your advice on the matter.”

“No one on your council is going to listen to what we have to say.” Mal instantly dug through his statement, pulling out the biggest issue.

“They’re going to have to. The fact of the matter is that Auradon is grossly unaware of what happens on the Isle of the Lost, me included. Can I be honest?”

“We would expect nothing but honesty.” Evie informed him.

“I got lucky with you all. I went through a list of known Isle children and I picked out the descendants of the four worst villains I could think of.” Ben smiled. “I didn’t know how else to make this happen, so I just chose the kids with the worst parents because I figured if I could help you, I could help anyone. Now that you’re here, I’m seeing how stupid of a plan that was.”

Jay scoffed. “Yeah, that’s pretty dumb.”

“Jay!” Evie scolded.

“What? He said it first.”

“I can’t just make blind choices anymore. Even with just the little bit I know about each of you, I know you’ve been through a lot. I am so lucky to have been able to get the four kids who I truly believed needed my help the most.”

Evie was surprised. This conversation seemed to be leaning towards Ben regretting that he brought them over and had to deal with their problems. He was actually happy about that?

“I want to expand the VK Exchange Program as soon as possible. I need your help on figuring out who needs to be brought to Auradon the most. To be honest, I’m not even sure how many kids are on the Isle. There used to be a record, but it seems like it stopped about five years after the Isle of the Lost was created.”

“So what do you need from us?” Mal questioned.

“First, I need information. I want to compile a list of who all lives on the Isle, and I especially want to focus on the children. My long-term plan is to first help all of the children, but then I want to reform the Isle completely and make it more livable for everyone.”

“Big aspirations.” Evie commented.

“Yeah, that’s what everyone here thinks. But even if some of them are villains, they still deserve to have their basic human needs met. I can’t fathom the idea that there are people living there without enough food.”

“Or heat, or running water…” Mal threw in.

“Or education…” Carlos added.

“Or clothes…” Jay stated.

“Or medical supplies, rules, separation of the most dangerous villains from the less threatening ones, protection for children…” Evie listed.

“Okay, okay, I know.” Ben interrupted. “There is so much work to do. But let’s start with what I called you here for today. If you were able to bring over a couple more VKs, who would you choose?”

“It’s not that easy.” Mal said with a shake of her head. Evie agreed; the dynamics on the Isle were so complicated that they wouldn’t be able to just sneak in and steal their top choices.

“Can you try and explain it to me?” Ben wondered.

“The person in power right now would be one of our first choices, but if she leaves, every other kid there is doomed.” Mal explained.

“I thought you said Maleficent controls the Isle?”

“She does, but it’s complicated. There are different territories, and our first choice is in power of a large territory.”

“But if this person is a child, how are they in power?”

“How are you sixteen and about to become King of Auradon?” Evie countered.

“Fair point. I guess I just don’t get how that would affect all the other kids.”

“Territory is shared on the Isle.” Evie decided they could at least give him some basic information to start with. She definitely intended on being involved with whatever Ben would let her in regards to the Isle, so maybe this would help. “That is the main thing everyone is fighting over. Different crews run different territories, and you have to go through them if you need to go somewhere or get something that is part of their territory.”

“What crew were you guys part of?”

“We are our own crew.” Mal told him. “We had control of a lot of the Isle, which is why things got a little tense after we left.” She referred to the conversation they had with Ben after the video chat, hoping he remembered what she was talking about.

“This other girl, she is part of a different crew?”

“Yes, but she became an ally.” Mal said. “If anyone needs to get off the Isle and come here, it’s her. But if she goes, now that we’re gone, that only leaves one major crew to take over everything.”

“And if that crew takes over, they won’t be helpful to the other kids?” Ben finally understood.

“Exactly.” Carlos stated, though ‘helpful’ was a definite understatement.

Ben nodded his understanding. “So how do we avoid that?”

Jay shrugged. “I think the best thing to do would be to bring as many kids over at one time as possible to avoid the Isle backlash, but Auradon would never agree to that.”

“It would be difficult to pull that off.” Ben agreed. “But maybe not impossible. Thank you all so much for explaining this stuff to me. I hope you’ll consider being on some type of Isle council with me.”

“We would love to.” Evie told him. She didn’t know if that was coming on too strong, but she needed him to know that they wanted to be involved.

“I’ll try and set up a meeting time for next week where maybe we can start getting together a list of children. I’ll let you know.”

“Thank you, Ben. You really are going to make a difference on the Isle.” Evie said.

Ben smiled proudly. “So Audrey and I were talking about going out to eat in a little bit, and then maybe bowling. Would you guys want to come with us?”

“We can’t, it’s nap time.” Mal said as she stood, reaching out to grab Evie’s hand. The blue haired girl stood without hesitation; a nap sounded great right now.

Ben laughed. “You can join us after, if you want.”

Carlos rolled his eyes. “You don’t get it. They don’t just get into bed, sleep for an hour, then get up and do something.”

“First, they start whispering to each other, then they finally fall asleep and they’re dead to the world for like two hours, and then when they wake up, they just stare at each other for forever. It’s ridiculous.” Jay teased.

“I don’t understand why our naps bother you guys so much.” Mal said.

Evie smiled. “Are you jealous? Do you need some cuddles too?” she went towards Jay, holding her arms out.

Ben laughed. “Well Carlos and Jay, if you’re not napping, feel free to join. Girls, if you end up feeling like doing something, the offer still stands.”

“Thank you, Ben.” Evie went back over to Mal and held her hand again.

“We’ll go.” Jay said for himself and Carlos.

“Great! Meet us in the lobby in an hour.”

“See you later.” Mal led the way out.

“You’re really not going to go?” Jay questioned as he walked faster to catch up with them.

“Hmmm…go out and socialize, or cuddle with my incredibly hot girlfriend. The choice is pretty easy.” Mal told him.

“You’re boring.”

Mal completely ignored him, instead wrapping her arm around Evie’s waist and pulling her closer. She just leaned into her and stayed quiet. They called their goodbyes to the boys as they went to their separate dorms.

As soon as Mal held Evie in her arms and she felt the calmness and safety wash over her, she knew she made the right decision.

-----

Everyone took their time getting down to breakfast on the weekends. Mal and Evie didn’t always go (sometimes they slept in too late and the boys had to drop something off for them), but they were trying to be better about staying on a routine. Mal thought consistency would be best for Evie’s eating habits right now, so they were awake, dressed, and in the cafeteria by 10am.

Audrey, Jay, and Carlos were already sitting at their usual table. Mal and Evie walked through the breakfast line and chose food- eggs, bacon, toast, and a cinnamon roll for Mal, and scrambled eggs and fruit for Evie. Eggs wasn’t one of Evie’s usual options, but Mal was working on expanding the list of foods that Evie would eat.

“Morning.” Carlos greeted when he saw them come over. He was next to Audrey with Jay across from them. Evie took the seat next to Jay, and Mal sat on her other side.

“Good morning.” Evie replied with a smile. Mal was happy that she had woken up in a good mood and she was hoping to keep it going for as long as possible.

They talked about classes, Tourney, and sewing club as they ate. Mal tore into her own food, keeping an eye on Evie to make sure she was taking bites.

“How are the eggs?” she asked after she noticed Evie eat a little bit of them.

Evie shrugged. “They’re okay. I don’t love them, but I don’t hate them.”

“Try adding a little salt and pepper.” Audrey suggested, pushing the shakers over towards the blue haired girl.

Mal watched as she lifted the shakers, pouring a little bit of seasoning onto her eggs. Evie swirled it around for a moment, then took another bite.

“That’s better.” She said in surprise.

“Really?” Mal reached out and grabbed the salt and pepper shakers to add some to her own eggs. When she took a bite, she nodded in agreement. “You’re right.”

“I’ve got to get back to my room and finish my English homework.” Audrey announced as she stood up and started to gather her things. “Hey Evie, I was thinking of going into town to shop in a few hours. Would you want to come with me? It would be the perfect opportunity for you to help me pick out some material for the new dress you’re making me.”

Mal waited to hear her girlfriend’s reaction. Evie smiled. “Can I text you and let you know? I have some homework to catch up on, so I can get started on it and see how long it’ll take me.”

“Yeah that’s fine, just let me know! See you guys later.” Audrey left the four of them alone.

As soon as she was gone, Evie turned to Mal with the puppy dog eyes. “M…”

“No.” Mal answered instantly, then continued cutting up her food as if it was no big deal.

“You didn’t even think about it!” Evie argued.

“I don’t want you going off without any of us. I don’t care if Audrey is nice to you now, I don’t trust her to keep you safe.”

“I can keep myself safe.”

“E, we’ve only left Auradon Prep a couple times, and that’s when we were all four together. What if something happens? I don’t want you that far from me.”

“Nothing is going to happen. It’s just shopping, it’ll only take a few hours. I’ll be careful and pay attention. I lived on the Isle for sixteen years; I think I can handle myself in an Auradon shopping center.”

“Are you going to finish your breakfast?” Mal wondered.

Evie sighed. “I have to pee. As soon as I get back, we’re talking about this some more.” She got up and went to the bathroom.

Mal kept on eating, but she felt like someone was burning a hole in the side of her head. She looked up, noticing that Carlos and Jay were staring. “What?” she asked around a mouthful of bacon.

“Aren’t you being a little harsh?” Carlos questioned.

“No. We don’t separate. That’s always been one of our rules.”

“But she really wants to go.”

“You need to let her breathe and go have some fun.” Jay joined in. “No offense, but I don’t know how Evie deals with you constantly smothering her.”

“Me!? You guys are just as bad as I am!”

“You can’t expect her to step out of her comfort zone and do things differently if you’re not willing to do the same.” Carlos said wisely.

“If she’s going, then I’m going.” Mal countered.

Jay raised an eyebrow. “That’s funny, it didn’t sound like you were invited.”

“I have a fucking right to go anywhere my princess goes.”

“Mal, you need to back off.” Carlos interrupted before the two of them could start arguing. “Audrey has proven she can be trusted, and Evie deserves to go have fun. She’s been through so much lately.”

Mal sighed. She wanted Evie to be able to go off and shop and spend time with someone who may possibly be a friend to her, but she hated having to trust anyone else with her girlfriend’s safety.

Evie came back over and gracefully sat back in her seat. She ate a piece of her fruit, then smiling charmingly at Mal. She batted her eyelashes, which Mal swore were darker than when she had left, and pouted her bottom lip.

“Please, M?” she asked, her voice as smooth as silk. “I just want to be normal for a little while. I know how much you hate shopping, even if you pretend you don’t care because you know I love it. Audrey is my friend and I want to go hang out with her.” She bit her lip and looked down at the table. “If you really don’t want me to, then I guess I can stay home. But I really want to go.”

Mal stood her ground for about half a second before finally giving in. She leaned in and pressed a kiss against Evie’s cheek, then pulled her in for a hug. “You know, it’s really becoming a problem that I can never say no to you.”

Evie’s eyes lit up and she started to smile. “I can go?”

“Baby, I’m sorry I’ve made you feel like you need my permission to do things. Thank you for always asking me about stuff like this. If you trust Audrey and you think you’ll be okay, then go have fun.”

Evie nodded enthusiastically. “I do. I’ll even text you when we get there and before we leave, okay?”

“Okay.” Mal agreed before giving her a quick kiss. “Now eat your breakfast.”

Evie ate more than half of her food before finally saying she was full. Mal knew the weekends were a little harder for her when it came to eating. During the week, the bell would ring, cutting off the meal and allowing her to leave without finishing. But on the weekend, there was no bell, so Evie had to make the choice on her own of when she had eaten an acceptable amount of food.

Carlos and Evie walked together to throw away trash while Mal cleaned up the table. She noticed Jay smirking and gave him a dirty look.

“Is there a reason why you’re just staring and not helping?”

“You gave in pretty easily.”

“Yeah, well Evie has been unhappy enough to last a lifetime. I can’t stand the idea of her being unhappy ever again, especially if it’s because of something I did. I have to start trusting her to take care of herself.”

“So you’re not going to sneak there and spy on her to make sure she’s safe?”

Mal laughed. The thought had definitely crossed her mind, but she knew she had to do what was best. “I trust her.”

-----

Evie was surprised by how easily conversation flowed with Audrey. The two girls had a lot in common, so it helped prevent any awkward moments from creeping up. Evie never would have imagined the first person to be rude to her when she came to Auradon would end up becoming her friend.

“Alright, so I have to ask.” Audrey said as they walked through the mall. “What’s the deal with you and Mal?”

Evie frowned. “What do you mean? You know we’re together.”

“Yeah, but can I get some details? How long have you been together? How did you know you liked girls? Your relationship is honestly fascinating to me. There’s nothing like you guys in Auradon.”

“What, two girls in a relationship?”

“Well yeah, but not even just that. You two are so connected, it’s kind of freaky.”

Evie laughed. “We’ve known each other since we were six, so we’ve had a lot of time to get comfortable. We actually acknowledged our relationship when we were 12, but it’s always been us.”

“So you’ve always known you liked girls?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. I just always knew I liked Mal. There have been other girls and other guys that I thought were attractive, but it didn’t matter because they’re not Mal.”

“Have you ever dated anyone else?”

“Nope.”

“That’s so sweet!” Audrey gushed. “I love how possessive over you she is. Sometimes I wish Ben was a little more like that.”

Evie smirked. “Yeah, the possessiveness is nice sometimes, but it can be a little overbearing.”

“I think it’s cute that she’s protective. I’m just saying, it’s obvious how much you mean to her.”

Evie smiled, knowing she would have to tell Mal that later. The purple haired girl would love to know that her protectiveness isn’t going unnoticed. “Enough about us. What about you and Ben?”

Audrey got a shy little smile on her face that made Evie wonder if she looked the same when people talked to her about Mal. “Our mothers are close friends, and we’ve known each other as long as we’ve been born. We are practically betrothed.”

“But you love Ben, right?” Evie had seen Audrey and Ben and it seemed like they had more of a connection that just being betrothed.

“Of course. He was my first friend, and we spent practically our entire childhood together. We were castle schooled together for years.”

Evie looked at her in surprise. “You didn’t always go to actual school?”

“I don’t know how it works on the Isle, but in Auradon, you have a couple different options for school. When kids are really little, from like kindergarten up until 5th grade, they can go to Auradon Elementary. It’s still a boarding school, like Auradon Prep, but the rules are a little different. You know we have to live at Auradon Prep in order to go to school here, and we can go home on the weekends. When kids go to Auradon Elementary, they can do that, or there is the option of their parents moving here with them and the whole family stays in a cottage together, or they can have a different type of school schedule where the kids only stay here for four days out of the week, then go home for three days. If parents don’t like that option, then they can castle school their own children. Our parents weren’t big on the idea of sending us off to live on our own, and they all had kingdoms to rule, so Queen Belle decided to castle school us herself. We all had our own private rooms in King Adam and Queen Belle’s castle and she would take care of us and allow our families to come visit anytime, or we could go home. It was me, Ben, Jane, and Chad.”

As soon as Audrey said Chad’s name, she got visibly uncomfortable. Evie noticed the abrupt change and felt her stomach start to bubble. Audrey had been raised with Chad and because of her, he was sent away.

“I’m sorry.” Evie said quietly.

“What?” Audrey asked.

“Are you upset with me for what happened with Chad?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“What?” Audrey’s mouth fell open.

“I know he was your friend and you grew up together and…”

“…and he tried to hurt you.” Audrey interrupted. “I don’t care how long you’ve known a person, that is never okay. Evie, I know I judged you after you came here, but I would never be mad at you for telling when someone hurts you. He was always a little too touchy, but we always thought it was just part of his eccentric personality.” She shook her head in disbelief. “As far as I know, he never tried that with any Auradon girls, because if he did, Ben and I would have had his ass handed to him. Do not ever doubt yourself for that situation.”

Evie nodded her head and gave her a small smile. “Thank you for believing me.”

“Thank you for being brave enough to tell the truth. What if he hurt another girl the way he tried to hurt you? I don’t care that I’ve known him since I was a kid; he was wrong, Evie. You don’t deserve that.”

Evie bit her lip, trying desperately to keep back the tears. Her heart soared at the fact that someone (outside of her group of friends) finally cared enough to believe her, and that something had actually been done about it.

“Alright, enough of the heavy talk.” Audrey gave her a mischievous grin. “How about we go look at materials while you tell me some more about how Mal leaves hickeys all over your neck?”

-----

Audrey would have never in a million years imagined that she would spend her entire afternoon shopping with a VK. She could remember all the days of their childhood where she and Ben would sit on his balcony and he would stare at the Isle of the Lost, rambling about how he wanted to go there. Audrey never understood; her mom and dad told her there were bad people there, and she didn’t know why Ben would want to meet bad people.

She was seven when she found out that Maleficent, the woman who spelled her mother into a long sleep, had a child the same age as her. She had seen her grandmother cry over lost time with her mom too many times to believe that Maleficent’s daughter wasn’t just as evil as her. If she was evil, then she deserved to be locked up there.

Each year that they got older, Ben became more and more passionate about the Isle. Audrey listened like a good girlfriend, but she never thought it would actually happen. She had been absolutely shocked when Ben ran to her in the middle of the night, yelling that the council had finally approved for the VK Exchange Program to be created.

When Ben told her family that Maleficent’s daughter was one of the children being brought over, her mother had cried and her father yelled. Audrey stood beside them, wondering how Ben could possibly betray her by bringing her, of all people.

As soon as she saw the four teenagers step out of the limo, she knew there was something different about them. They all stood so close to each other and looked so defensive, as if they would attack anyone who came near. Her eyes landed on Evie and right away, Audrey knew the boys would be all over her. Of course Audrey loved Ben, but she admired the attention she received from others. She had been cruel to Evie in retaliation for her stealing away everyone that had always adored her.

But now that Audrey had spent her day with Evie, watching her talk and smile and laugh and act like a normal teenager, she felt like even more of a bitch. The more Evie spoke about Mal, the more obvious it became that she was head over heels in love with the purple haired girl whose existence Audrey had been taught to hate from the beginning. The same girl who she had watched hug, kiss, cuddle, and love on Evie without a single care in the world.

Now, Audrey didn’t understand how people could hold hate in their heart for someone that they had never met. She didn’t understand why there was any doubt that the VK Exchange Program needing to be expanded.

“Are you sure it’s cool with Mal if I come over?” Audrey asked Evie as they walked through the halls of the dorm. Audrey’s room was on the next floor up, but Evie had offered to show her a sketch she was working on and Audrey wasn’t going to pass that up. The blue haired girl had so much talent and Audrey sincerely hoped that she would be able to become a famous fashion designer one day.

“She won’t care.” Evie reassured her.

They got to Evie and Mal’s dorm room door. As soon as Evie lifted her hand to unlock it, the door was quickly pulled open. Audrey saw Mal standing on the other side.

Audrey was still a little unsettled by how piercing Mal’s green eyes were, especially after seeing them glow. The other girl was shorter than her, but she was still intimidating. Mal was silent as she stood in front of them, her eyes scanning over Evie. Audrey looked at Evie for her reaction, but the other girl just rolled her eyes and continued to be stared at. Audrey got the impression that Mal was searching her for some kind of injury.

After a moment, Mal gave one quick nod and then a small smile. “Did you have fun?” she questioned.

“Yes, it was great.” Evie told her. She was holding a couple of bags in her hands and Audrey nearly swooned when Mal reached out to take them. She stepped aside so they could come in.

Evie led the way over to her desk, which had a sewing machine, her sketch book, and various materials laid out over top of it. Audrey heard conversation and glanced over, seeing that Jay, Carlos, and surprisingly Lonnie were sitting on the couches. They each had a controller in their hand and there was a paused video game on the screen.

“Look at you!” Evie praised. “Branching out and inviting a friend over.”

Audrey snorted. “Yeah, I doubt Lonnie was invited. She kind of has a habit of making herself at home wherever she goes.”

Mal laughed softly. “That’s exactly what happened.” Audrey watched as she came up behind Evie, wrapping her arms around her waist and pulling her into her chest. Evie sighed and immediately leaned into her. “I missed you.” Mal gave her a quick kiss on the neck. “What did you buy?”

“Mal, can you get off Evie’s ass and come back so we can start the game?” Jay shouted from the couch. Audrey had been spending more time with the VKs, but she didn’t think she would ever get used to Jay’s brashness.

“Can you shut the fuck up and go play in your own room if you’re so upset?” Mal snapped back immediately.

Jay started to mumble about being disrespected, but Audrey couldn’t take her eyes off of the two girls. Evie began to pull different materials that she had purchased with money she made from making clothes for others out of her bags. Mal listened with full attention to every word Evie said as she showed off each fabric and then described what she was going to do with it and who it was for. Mal would smile every single time Evie smiled or laughed, and Audrey felt like she might explode from the cuteness.

She couldn’t believe she had ever been scared of someone who was so soft and loving around her girlfriend. When Audrey saw how gentle Mal was with Evie, she had a hard time believing that she had ever done anything to deserve the life she grew up with on the Isle.

Evie pulled out a dark purple fabric, running her fingers over it gently to smooth out the wrinkles. “I got this for you. I’m going to make you a scarf, gloves, and a hat for when it starts to get colder outside.”

Mal kissed her shoulder. “Thank you, baby, but what did you get for you?”

As they were shopping, Audrey had noticed that Evie didn’t choose any materials for herself. She skimmed her fingers over various shades of blue, staring at some longingly but putting them down in exchange for another because “Jay needs a new hat” or “Carlos is growing out of his pants”.

Evie shrugged at Mal’s question. “I don’t need anything right now.”

Audrey smiled. “Yeah, about that.” She dug into one of her own bags, pulling out a blue fabric that she had seen Evie circle back to multiple times. “I know you said you didn’t need it, but you couldn’t stop staring at this and I wanted you to have it.”

“Audrey, no. This costs way too much. I can’t take it.” Evie immediately rejected, shaking her head and refusing to grab it from her.

“Well unfortunately, I can’t return it and I don’t look as good in blue as you do, so you’re going to have to.” Audrey held it out and raised an eyebrow expectantly.

Evie finally gave in and took the fabric. As soon as it was in her hands, she squealed and leaned forward, pulling Audrey into her arms.

She was surprised; that was the first time Evie had ever initiated physical contact with her, and the first time she saw her hug someone other than Mal or the boys. She squeezed back tightly, her eye meeting Mal’s over Evie’s shoulder.

“Thank you.” Mal mouthed.

“You’re welcome.” Audrey mouthed back. Her phone vibrated and Evie pulled back, turning towards Mal and started to ramble about what she wanted to make. Audrey checked her phone and saw that it was her boyfriend. “Hey Benny-boo.”

“Hey. I just got out of my meeting and I wanted to see if you were free.”

“I’m over at Evie and Mal’s right now.”

“Oh really? That’s good!”

“Is that Ben?” Evie asked, earning a nod from the brunette. “Tell him to come hang out.”

“Evie wants to know if you want to come over too.”

“Yeah! Sure! That would be great!” Audrey couldn’t help but laugh at the excitement in Ben’s voice. He wanted nothing more than to be friends with the VKs. “Let me change and I’ll be right over!”

“See you soon.” Audrey hung up.

“He’s coming?” Mal assumed.

“Yeah, he should be here in a few minutes.”

“When Ben gets here, you guys should go down and get dinner.” Mal said, turning towards Jay and Carlos.

“Okay.” Carlos agreed. “What are you thinking for tonight? Movie night, or video games?”

Mal shrugged. “Whatever everyone wants to do.”

Ben got to the dorm quickly and greeted Audrey with a kiss. “How are you? Are you having fun? Did they invite you over? Are they…”

“Honey, calm down.” Audrey whispered with a laugh. “It’s not a big deal. You and the boys are going to get dinner and then we’ll all just hang out. Play it cool.”

“Sorry, it’s just that this has been my dream for so long. I can’t believe they actually want to hang out.”

Audrey just hugged her adorable boyfriend again. She was so grateful that his dreams were finally coming true.

-----

After the boys left, Evie handed over her sketch book to Audrey and Lonnie. The two girls huddled together on the floor by the couch, studying each of her designs. Mal could tell Evie was ecstatic; the Auradon girls had never had a negative thing to say about anything she created.

“C’mere.” Mal said from where she sat on the couch, reaching a hand out to Evie. The blue haired girl didn’t hesitate before walking over and sitting down on Mal’s lap. She cuddled into her chest, resting her head on her shoulder, and then let out a comfortable sigh. Mal knew that that was Evie’s absolute favorite place in the world to be, and it was perfect because it was Mal’s favorite place too.

Mal grabbed her sketch book and laid it on Evie’s lap. She began to draw, letting the pencil scratch against the paper as her ideas flowed. It only took her a moment to realize that what she was drawing was Evie, and she took her time drawing her girlfriend’s beautiful features.

She glanced down at Evie, seeing that her eyes were half shut and her lips were slightly pouted in the way that told Mal she was tired. She kissed her forehead. “Do you want me to have Jay and Carlos take everyone back to their dorm so you can sleep?” she whispered.

“No.” Evie objected. “I’m having fun. I just need to rest my eyes for a minute.” She shut her eyes and nuzzled closer to Mal’s neck.

“Are you hungry at all?”

Evie sighed. “No, but that doesn’t really matter. I need to eat so I can be healthy.”

Mal couldn’t stop the huge smile from breaking out on her face. “You’re so fucking incredible, Pretty Girl.”

“Hey Evie, do you think you could make something like this for me?” Lonnie interrupted, plopping down on the couch next to them. Mal looked at her in curiosity; she thought Lonnie was okay, but she didn’t have much of a concept of boundaries or personal space.

Evie sat up, but still stayed on Mal’s lap. Mal continued to work as Evie explained the design to Audrey and Lonnie, along with what she needed for it and some of her other ideas to go with it.

The door opened up and Ben, Carlos, and Jay reentered, their arms full of to-go boxes. They spread everything out on Mal’s desk, which was empty besides a couple of her colored pencils.

“Dinner is served.” Jay announced. He stepped back and though he didn’t say anything, Mal knew it was because he was letting Evie get up there first.

“Go pick something.” Mal urged her. Audrey and Lonnie went over to the food and even though Evie wasn’t very enthusiastic, she joined them. Mal stood off to the side, waiting until Evie was finished.

“Ladies first, Mal.” Ben offered.

“I’m going to wait a minute.” Mal told him. “They can pick first.”

Evie came over to her a minute later, her expression panicked. “I don’t know what to get.” She whispered, trying not to draw the attention of the others in the room.

Mal grabbed her hand and pulled her back over towards the food. She scanned over the items, looking for something that she could talk her girlfriend into eating. Everything that was laid out looked greasy, which Evie had been adamant about avoiding. She didn’t see any fruit, vegetables, salad, or yogurt. There wasn’t even macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes.

Mal went over to Jay, yanking his arm and pulling him over to the side of the room. “What the fuck did you get for Evie? Looking at what’s sitting there, it seems like you didn’t think of her at all.”

“Sorry, they didn’t have any fruit or yogurt or salad left when we got down there. I got pizza though, I know it’s not her favorite, but she eats it sometimes.”

Mal sighed. Of course when Evie was actually willing to eat and understanding why she needed to, there wouldn’t be anything for her to enjoy. Mal went back to the food and grabbed a plate, putting a small slice of pizza on it. She went back over to her girlfriend, who was biting her lip uncomfortably.

“Jay said they didn’t have any of your normal stuff. How about you try a piece of pizza?”

Evie shook her head. “I really don’t want to, M.”

“I know. I’m sorry, baby, but there’s not a better option.”

“It’s greasy. It’s going to make my stomach hurt.”

“Just eat slow and drink some water with it.” Mal pleaded. “Come on, E. Please.”

“What’s going on?” they both glanced over, seeing that Ben was standing next to them now. Mal did a quick sweep of the room; Lonnie, Audrey, Carlos, and Jay had their food and they were sitting on the couches.

Mal didn’t want to give him any information, but she knew he could help. She didn’t like asking for favors, but this was Evie. She had to consider her options here.

“So, uh, you know that E has a hard time with food sometimes.” Mal began awkwardly, earning a glare from her girlfriend. “There’s nothing here that she likes.”

Ben looked at them in surprise, though she wasn’t sure if it was because she was talking to him about this, or because Evie didn’t like the foods typical teenagers practically devoured. “Really? Evie, is there something specific you want? I can call down to the cafeteria right now and have it brought up.”

Predictably, Evie shook her head. Mal knew that she hated when people went out of their way for her. “I don’t want you to go to any special trouble.”

Ben smiled reassuringly. “It’s no trouble if it will get you to eat. If there’s something you are willing to have, then I will stop at nothing to give it to you.”

Mal stepped in, grabbing Evie’s hand and squeezing. “What do you want, babe?” Evie looked at her in nervousness, biting her lip. “Macaroni and cheese? Or what about some toast?” Evie shook her head no. Mal kept gently prodding, but it was difficult. Most of the time, Mal was still choosing Evie’s meals for her, so she hated having to put Evie on the spot and make her think of something on her own. “Did you eat anything at the mall?”

“No.”

“Then you haven’t eaten since breakfast. How about a salad, fruit, and milk?”

Evie instantly pouted. “No milk, M. Please.”

Mal smiled. “Chocolate milk or white?”

Evie was still pouting, but Mal refused to give in. She knew her girl needed some extra calories since she skipped lunch, and adding milk seemed to be a solid way to do that. Finally, she realized she wasn’t going to budge. “I guess chocolate.”

“I’ll call down right now.” Ben said, hurrying over to grab his phone.

Mal pulled Evie into her arms, noticing how tense she was immediately. “Fucking incredible.” She repeated her statement from earlier, then started to press kisses all over her face. She continued until Evie finally giggled and relaxed into her arms.

Mal realized that the others were all staring at them, but she didn’t feel like explaining. Evie’s eating was none of their business and she was just happy that her girl was smiling again.

While they waited, Mal went over to the desk and grabbed a few other things to eat. She kept the plate of pizza that she had originally gotten for Evie and added some chicken wings and nachos. It only took a minute before someone was knocking on the door.

Mal set her plate down and went to answer it. One of the ladies who worked in the cafeteria was standing outside. “Delivery for Miss Evie?”

“Thanks.” Mal said, grabbing the plate and going back in. She didn’t realize until the door was shut how natural it was becoming to use her manners. She went over to where the others were sitting. Evie was between Carlos and Audrey and Mal passed her the food without another word.

“Thanks, M.”

“Mmhmm.” Mal gave her a look, hoping she understood that she actually expected her to eat the food.

She went back over to grab her own plate. Ben was just now making his plate and when he saw her coming, he lowered his voice. “If you make me a list of foods you know Evie will eat, I can have it sent to the cafeteria so that it’s always available. I know you all don’t like special treatment, but if it helps her eat, then we can do it.”

“Thank you, Ben.” Mal nodded at him. “Seriously, it might not seem like a lot to you, but this…it’s important.”

Ben smiled and glanced over to the others. Mal’s eyes were immediately drawn to Evie, who was talking and laughing with their friends as if she had no care in the world. “You know, I can see why your entire world revolves around her. She’s pretty special.”

Mal couldn’t help but smile back. “She’s everything.”

Chapter Text

Evie had never been so sore, and that was saying a lot considering all that she had been through. She had been through this more times than she could count, but she had never felt so disgusting in her entire life.

She didn’t want to go to the hideout. All she could think about was going to one of the docks and throwing herself into the ocean. She didn’t know how to swim, so it wouldn’t take long before she just sank beneath the water and escaped from the pain.

But as much as Evie wanted that, she knew it wasn’t fair. She had been missing for days now; she wasn’t sure how many because they had all started to blend together. She knew that Mal and the boys were probably worried sick.

Evie wished they didn’t worry so much about her. Maybe it was her fault. She needed to start phasing herself out of their lives so that they would eventually stop worrying. She didn’t want them to still think about her after she was gone.

She got to the hideout just as the sun was setting. Evie was happy that she hadn’t seen anyone she knew on the walk over here, though she was pretty sure they wouldn’t have recognized her even if she did. She actually hit the sign on the first try.

As soon as she walked in, she heard Mal’s voice. “E?”

Evie bit her lip as she held on tightly to the railing. She did her best to move up the stairs, but she was so tired. She only made it a couple steps. “Mal?”

Seconds later, her girlfriend was next to her. Evie lifted her head slowly and as soon as Mal saw her face, her eyes started to glow.

“Evie…”

“I know.” Evie whispered. “It’s bad. Please just help me get upstairs.”

Mal scooped her up effortlessly and carried her upstairs. The boys were both standing, obviously waiting to see her. Evie could feel the anger radiating off of them once they saw her.

“Sit.” Mal commanded, pointing towards Jay and Carlos. They both did what she said without hesitation; after Evie had attacked Jay, they had gotten much better at listening to Mal’s orders when it came to Evie.

Evie almost wished she was out of it. There had been times where she stumbled to the hideout after being locked in her castle for days and her friends would take care of her while she slipped in and out of consciousness. There were times where Jay would sneak into her room at the castle and carry her all the way back here and Evie would wake up, confused but feeling safe. Right now, she was fully aware of everything that had happened. The pity in her friends’ faces made her stomach ache.

“How long was I gone?” Evie questioned.

“A week.” Mal answered. “You seem…calm.”

Evie smiled sadly. “I think it’s time.”

“Time for what?” Carlos asked.

“Time for me to go. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to.”

Evie would never forget the heartbroken look on Mal’s face, or the overwhelming anger on Jay’s, or the tears that instantly slid down Carlos’s cheeks. She couldn’t look at them anymore, it hurt too much. She leaned her head against the back of the couch and stared at the wall.

“No.” Mal said. “You don’t get to talk like that. You don’t get to be selfish, Evie.”

“Why not?” Evie wondered. She sat up so she could look at her girlfriend, ignoring how badly it hurt her entire body to move. “I always have to do what other people want me to do. I have to be skinny and pretty and I have to fuck whatever guy my mother brings into my bedroom. What about what I want, Mal!? What if I just want to go to sleep and never wake up again?”

“Then you would be a coward.”

“I don’t care anymore. My life is over, do you not understand that? I will never, ever get away from her and now…” Evie trailed off, biting down on her lip. It stung instantly because of how raw her skin was, but she didn’t care. “Now…”

“Now what?” Mal asked.

Evie didn’t want to tell her. She didn’t want any of them to know. There was nothing they could do to change it anyway. “Nothing.”

“What happened, baby?” Mal practically whispered. She reached out, stroking her thumb gently over Evie’s bruised up cheek. “Where have you been the past week? Were you in your castle?” she shook her head no. “What’s going on?”

Evie pulled away from her touch as tears swam in her vision. “Please, Mal.”

“What do you need, Princess?”

“You have to help me.” Evie’s brave façade crumbled as her chest started to heave. She began to sob.

“I will do anything you need, baby girl. Just say the word and I’ll do it.”

“She…sold…me…” Evie wailed.

The tension in the atmosphere got even worse, if that was possible. “What?” Mal asked softly.

“On my birthday, when I got home…” she had to pause while she tried to gather herself. She had to tell them. She at least owed them that. “She gave me a dress and new jewelry. She sounded happy, and I thought things would be different.” She sniffled and tried to wipe away some of her tears. “But then she told me that she found me a prince. She said I’m too used up for the Auradon princes, but there’s been one here this whole time.”

Mal reached out to her again. Evie knew she should probably distance herself from the girl, but she couldn’t help it. She was weak. She crawled across the couch and buried her face in Mal’s chest, letting the purple haired girl comfort her.

“Then what happened?”

“She choked me up against the wall and said that I should try and see you now.” Evie recalled, her voice muffled from her tears and Mal’s shirt. “She said he can take me and hurt me any way he wants, and it’s my job to keep him happy so that he’ll keep giving her what she needs.”

“Is that where you’ve been?” Mal asked, gently smoothing the hair off of her bruised up face. “Is that who put these marks on you?”

Evie didn’t want to talk about that. Mal had never asked for specifics from one of her “lessons” and she was eternally grateful for that. She couldn’t tell her what happened. She couldn’t tell her how much pleasure he got out of beating her. She couldn’t tell her that the bruises on her face weren’t even the worst of what he had done to her.

Mal pressed gentle kisses against her forehead and Evie couldn’t help but lean into them. How could she be so willing to still let Mal touch her? Why did Mal not think she was disgusting?

“Who is it, my love?” Mal whispered into her skin. “Tell me his name.”

Evie knew that Mal had taken care of the last two men who hurt her. She wasn’t naïve enough to believe that Mal would be able to get rid of this one too; he was too powerful, too well connected. Besides, she didn’t know what her mother would do to her if he wound up dead.

Evie whimpered as she pressed even closer against Mal. She couldn’t do this. She wasn’t strong enough.

“Do you trust me?” Evie nodded with zero hesitation. “Who?”

Evie stared down at her lap. “Quinton, the son of the Queen of Hearts.”

-----

Mal held Evie’s hand tightly in her own as they walked to the health center. She could see Evie biting her lip out of the corner of her eye and she knew she was nervous. Even Mal was nervous, so she couldn’t really blame her.

Jay, who was a few steps ahead of them, opened up the door. Mal led the way in, keeping Evie right behind her, followed by Carlos, and then Jay brought up the rear.

It was Monday, which was normally the day that Carlos met with Dr. Bren and Evie met with Fairy Godmother. But Mal had decided that today was the time to finally take some action, and Evie was actually willing to cooperate.

“Hello, everyone.” Dr. Bren was waiting for them in her office with Fairy Godmother. She smiled and Mal tried her best not to react negatively. While she didn’t hate Dr. Bren and thought she could be somewhat helpful, she knew that Evie’s feelings were a lot different. Mal wanted to support her girlfriend since she was the entire reason they were there today. “Please, take a seat.”

Mal sat down, pulling Evie into the chair next to her. Jay and Carlos stayed next to each other too, but a couple feet away from the girls. Fairy Godmother and Dr. Bren were next to each other, and there was a table separating them from Evie and Mal.

“Mal, you asked for us all to have a meeting together.” Dr. Bren stated. “Is there something specific that you would like to discuss or that you feel like you need some advice on?”

“Yes.” Mal squeezed Evie’s hand, earning a squeezed back a second later.

“It’s about me.” Evie responded. “You know that I have trouble with food.”

Mal decided to take over and just jump straight to the point instead of forcing Evie to say the words and get uncomfortable. “We need advice on how to handle Evie’s eating habits.”

“Evie, are you ready to talk about this?” Fairy Godmother asked. Evie nodded. “What made you decide this?”

“I want to get better. I’m done hiding and pretending like it’s not an issue.” She let out a shaky breath, but then lifted her head to look at the adults. “I’m going to warn you both now, I’m not going to make this easy. Right now, I’m ready to talk, but I know I’ll regret, maybe in a few days, maybe as soon as tomorrow. There will probably be times where I’m a giant bitch and I argue with you. But I want to try.”

“We’re here to support you.” Dr. Bren told her. “I’m glad you know it won’t be an easy process. From what I’ve seen, it seems like your friends are in it for the long haul.”

“Damn right.” Mal agreed, pressing a kiss to the top of Evie’s head as the boys offered enthusiastic nods.

“Fairy Godmother and I will be here too, even if you get upset. It’s going to be hard, but you can beat this, Evie.”

The blue haired girl nodded and Mal felt her heart fill with pride. “Where do we start?”

FG took over from there. “Let’s talk about the Isle. I know that you all don’t like to bring it up, but that’s where this issue began. Tell me about what kinds of food you ate growing up.”

“Scraps, pretty much.” Evie answered. “There were drop off days and if you were in a powerful crew, you had first pick over the scraps. My mother was aligned with Maleficent, so she was able to get food. When I was little, everything was fine. I ate what my mother gave to me and I knew better than to ask for extra because even when you’re a child on the Isle, you pick up on the tension and you know that people are struggling.”

“When did things start to change?”

“I was eight.” Evie said, her voice getting quieter as she looked down at her lap. Mal squeezed her hand, then leaned over and wrapped an arm around her waist to pull her closer. She didn’t care about FG or Dr. Bren’s expectations right now, she would give Evie whatever kind of support she needed.

“What happened when you were eight?”

“For my birthday, my mother gave me a journal.” Evie turned towards Mal, her expression pleading.

Mal reached down and grabbed out the black journal. That journal was one of the things she hated most in the world, and she didn’t even know Evie brought it to Auradon with her until last week. She hadn’t written in it, but Evie did admit that she went back and read some of her mother’s comments.

“Evil Queen would make Evie write her likes and dislikes about her appearance for the day. Then, she would go through and critique everything she wrote.” Mal pushed the journal across the table to FG. “You can keep that.”

“Mal…”

“No, Evie. You don’t need it.”

“Mal is right, Evie. It’s harmful to hold onto items that remind you of your struggles with eating.” Dr. Bren agreed. “If you don’t want me to, I won’t read it. I can hold onto it for you until you’re ready to get rid of it.”

“Okay.” Evie agreed somewhat reluctantly. “But don’t read it.”

“I won’t.” Dr. Bren promised. She took the journal off the table and slipped it into her bag. “What changed with food when you were eight?”

“My mother was a lot more strict when it came to what I was allowed to eat. Her entire goal for me was to be pretty and perfect and to find a prince. If she thought I was too fat, she would have me stop eating for a few days to go back down to an acceptable weight.” Evie winced as she said it. Mal stroked her hair, hoping to keep her in the present so she didn’t slide back into a memory.

“What was an acceptable weight to her?”

“Below 100 pounds. As I got older, her expectation didn’t really change, and she would get upset when I gained more weight and couldn’t slide back down to 60 or 70 pounds.” Mal studied her girlfriend, looking for any of her tells. Evie’s leg was starting to bounce.

“Is that why you were upset at the health center?” FG prodded, her voice gentle. Evie just nodded in response.

“Can we take a break?” Mal interrupted, immediately earning a grateful look from the blue haired girl.

“Of course. Evie, whenever you feel like talking is getting too stressful, you can always ask for a break.” Dr. Bren reminded her.

Mal reached over and grabbed Evie’s hand, then pulled her to her feet. She led her out of Dr. Bren’s office and to the little seating area in the hallway. Dr. Bren had been good about giving her breaks during her sessions, so Mal was familiar with where to go if you needed to calm down for a minute.

“C’mere.” Mal pulled Evie onto her lap and kissed her cheek, then jaw, then neck. “You’re doing such a good job, baby. I’m so fucking proud of you.” She kissed her lips carefully so she didn’t smudge her lipstick.

“We’ve hardly even talked and I already feel so tired.” Evie admitted.

“I bet it will be hard the first couple times, and then after you get used to talking about it, it will get easier.” Mal stroked her hair and rubbed her back. “But you’re doing so well.”

“What else do you think they’ll ask?”

“We should probably tell them about the throwing up.” Mal said, feeling Evie tense up immediately. “That’s one of the things you need help with. You have to stay healthy, remember? We have a lot on the line here.”

“I know.” Evie nuzzled her neck. “Can you just hold me for a minute?”

“Mmhmm.” Mal tightened her arms around her and just sat there in silence, letting Evie gather her thoughts. After a few moments, Evie lifted her head up. “You ready?”

“I guess.” Evie gave her a kiss. “Thank you.”

“If there’s anything you don’t want to talk about, tell me and I’ll do it for you. I’m here to help however I can, Princess.”

“Okay.”

Mal held Evie’s hand as she led her back in the room. She could hear FG talking to the boys about Tourney, and they let the conversation continue even once the girls came back in and sat down. Mal was happy about that because at least she could get Evie sitting down and settled before the questions started again.

“Are you ready to keep going, dear?” FG asked.

“Yes.” Evie said, her voice coming out strong. Mal smiled at her girl’s strength and confidence.

“You said that you mostly ate scraps on the Isle, and that if you had power, you could go to the docks and get food. What happened to the people who didn’t have power?”

“They didn’t eat.” Jay answered. “Or they had to trade something for food. There wasn’t nearly enough food to go around, so people had pretty small rations anyway.”

“That’s part of the reason power is so important on the Isle.” Mal picked up, looking at Dr. Bren as she spoke. “If you don’t have power, then you don’t get food, water, clothes, shelter, protection- the basic things you need to survive.”

“The four of you had power though?” Dr. Bren clarified.

Mal nodded. “We were all under the protection of my mother, and then when we made our own Crew, we were able to protect ourselves.”

“Were you in competition with your mother for power?”

“No.” Mal explained. “We did jobs for her, and for the rest of our parents. In exchange for that, we got to run our own portion of my mother’s territory. My mother has the majority of the territory of the Isle, which makes her the leader. But the younger generation is constantly fighting a war to gain more territory for our parents.”

“Was food ever used as a way to bargain?”

“Always.” Jay said. “But if you had the right protection, it didn’t matter. They would make sure you ate.”

“What did people have to exchange in order to get protection?”

“Services.” Carlos replied. “Depends on what you have to offer.”

“What did the four of you have to offer?” Fairy Godmother asked, though Mal could pick up on the hesitation in her voice.

“Boundary.” Mal responded. She could explain that she terrorized the younger kids into following Maleficient’s orders, or that Jay could steal right out from under your nose, or that Carlos could create amazing things out of a few broken discarded pieces of trash. But she would never, ever make Evie sit there and say that, according to their parents, her most useful service was her body.

“I’m sorry for overstepping.” Fairy Godmother said, earning a nod back from each of the teenagers. “Is it okay for us to keep going?”

Mal looked at her friends. The boys seemed okay, and Evie’s eyes were still focused and she seemed attentive, so everything was good for now. “Yes.”

“Evie, if it’s okay with you, I want to go back to your eating habits.” Dr. Bren stated. “How often did you eat on the Isle?”

“If my weight was good, my mother would let me eat dinner every day.”

“Evie’s dinner was nothing like dinner here.” Mal interrupted. “She was allowed to have a couple apple slices, maybe some nuts if her mother was being generous. It wasn’t enough to hold her over and she was always exhausted.”

“Mal would sneak me meals.” Evie said. “Berries, fish, the freshest vegetables she could find. There were times where I would be close to passing out, but Mal always helped me. Then I would go back home and my mother would weigh me and my numbers would go up, so I would get punished.”

“This might be too far, so you can call boundary if you need to.” FG warned. “What types of punishment did you get?”

Mal could tell Evie really wanted to say that was a boundary, and she almost did it for her. But then her brave, beautiful girlfriend started to speak. “Most of the time, it was no food for a week. I was allowed to have a little bit of water each day, but nothing of actual substance until my weight went down.” She looked to Mal pleadingly.

“Do you want me to tell them?” Evie nodded her head. Mal leaned over and kissed her forehead, then pulled her into a hug. “Her mother would pinch the places on her body where she said there was too much fat. When she was really angry, she would lock Evie in a dark closet for days with no food or water.”

Mal could feel how shaky Evie’s breath was on her neck. She rubbed small circles on her back, hoping that she could stay calm. She was doing such a good job and Mal wanted her to be able to keep going.

“Do you need a break, E?” Carlos questioned.

Evie sat up. “I just want to get this over this.” She looked at FG. “Ask me whatever you want. I just want to be done.”

“Evie, dear, the point of this isn’t to push you to the point where you are mentally exhausted. If you want to stop for the day, we can stop.”

“If I stop, then I know next time I won’t want to talk. Let’s just get it over with.”

Dr. Bren nodded in understanding. “When you say you have eating trouble, what exactly do you mean?”

“I don’t eat a lot. Even though I know my mother is still on the Isle, I can’t shake the habits that she pushed on me. Sometimes, I throw up after I eat.”

“Do you make yourself throw up, or it just happens?”

“Both.”

“How long have you been doing this?”

“I don’t know.” Evie said, looking to Mal for help. The purple haired girl shrugged; Evie had never told her when it started.

“When was the last time you threw up?”

“It’s been over two weeks.” Mal internally sighed in relief; she had been hoping that Evie wasn’t secretly throwing up after their big fight, and if what she said was true, then she hasn’t.

Dr. Bren steered the conversation in a new direction. “Walk me through a normal morning for you. Tell me how you feel when you wake up and you know you have to go to breakfast.”

“Usually when I wake up, that’s the first thing on my mind. I dread meal times because I know that Mal, Jay, and Carlos will make me eat, even if I don’t want to. The whole time I’m getting ready, my stomach is bubbly. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself that I have to eat because it will help me stay healthy. Before that, I was just forcing myself to eat so that Mal and the boys were happy. That’s still part of the reason why I’m eating, but I’m trying to be more positive about it.”

“Do you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner now that you’re in Auradon?”

“It depends on what’s happening. Mal tries to get me to eat all three, but if something else happens that makes me upset, sometimes she lets me miss a meal because she knows I’ll throw it up anyway.”

“By force, or it just happens?”

“Normally if I have a bad day, it just happens.”

“How do you choose what to eat at your meals?”

“Mal picks for me. There’s always too much food, and sometimes it makes me feel sick just looking at it. I don’t know what a lot of it is, so Mal will try new things and if she thinks I will like it, she’ll give me small portions of it.”

“The main things I can get her to eat are yogurt, fruit- she has always loved pineapples, and now she really likes strawberries too-, asparagus, salad, toast with strawberry jelly, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. Sometimes pizza, but she says greasy foods make her stomach hurt.” Mal added.

“Evie, you have done such a great job today.” Dr. Bren praised. “I think it’s best that we stop right here. You’ve given me a lot of good information, and now I can get the resources that we’ll need together for your Wednesday appointment. Mal, I would like you to come to Evie’s appointment with her on Wednesday.”

“I’ll be there.” Mal promised. She looked to Evie, who just seemed relieved to finally be leaving the health center.

“Thank you.” Evie said as she stood. The other three followed her lead and they walked out of the health center together.

“You did so, so good, baby.” Mal grabbed Evie’s cheeks, pulling her towards her for a kiss. “Alright, the next thing is up to you. Do you want to go watch Tourney practice, or should we go home and take a nap?”

“You have practice.” Evie reminded her. “You can’t go take a nap.”

“I can miss practice.”

“No.” Evie gave her a hug. “I’ll come watch you at practice, but you have to take a bath with me tonight and wash my hair.”

“Deal.” Mal sealed it with a kiss.

-----

Wednesday came much quicker than Evie was anticipating. She was nervous, but she got through the day without any major issues. When it was time to go to therapy, she started to worry. She had no idea what kind of solution Dr. Bren was going to give her or how much she would have to change.

“Ready to go, Pretty Girl?” Mal asked her as they packed up their bags once the final bell rang.

“I guess so.”

“It’s going to be okay. This will help you feel better, E.”

“I hope so.”

“See you guys later.” Carlos said as the two girls headed towards the door.

“Text me if you need anything.” Jay added.

‘Thanks, boys.” Evie smiled at them. She reached out for Mal’s hand, her girlfriend taking it with zero hesitation.

Her appointment was in the health center again today, which added to Evie’s worries. She had gotten used to Fairy Godmother’s office and felt safe there.

Mal, as usual, led the way inside. She knocked on Dr. Bren’s door before pushing it open. Dr. Bren, Fairy Godmother, a woman, and a man were sitting in the room. Evie had never seen them before. The man looked to be in his early 30s with dark hair and blue eyes. The woman had curly red hair and brown eyes and was in her mid-30s.

“Hi girls.” FG greeted as they walked in. Evie could feel Mal tense up when she saw the strangers. “This is Scott, he is a nutritionist, and Dr. Annie Rhodes. Scott, Annie, this is Evie and Mal.”

“Hello, it’s nice to meet you.” He held his hand out. Mal stared at him in disinterest, while Evie reached forward to shake his hand.

“Nice to meet you.” She replied.

Mal sat down first, taking the seat that was closer to Scott. Evie wasn’t at all surprised by this, and she was even a little grateful. This left Evie in a seat between Mal and Fairy Godmother.

“Evie, on Monday you talked to us about your issues with eating. I took all the information you gave me and I used it to help me figure out what steps we’re going to take next. When you are working on overcoming eating issues, you can’t do it on your own. This will be our team while we’re working through everything. Scott will help to design a meal plan that will help you get to the point where you are able to accept that eating is part of staying healthy and that it is just fuel for your body. Dr. Rhodes is a pediatrician, and she will use any lab results and information to determine if you are in need of medication or any other types of medical services. You and I will work together to deal with the psychological issues from your past that involve eating. Fairy Godmother will stay as a trusted person you can confide in, and I would like Mal to be aware of your treatment plan, which is why I invited her here today.”

“Okay.” Evie said. She didn’t expect Dr. Bren to bring in new people that she would have to spill her darkest secrets to, but it made sense. She couldn’t do everything on her own.

The next two hours were absolutely exhausting. They had Evie make a log of everything she had eaten in the past week (which Mal ended up mostly doing for her). Dr. Rhodes took her height and weight, and then drew blood so they could test and see what she needed to eat more of. Evie had been a nervous wreck during that, but once Mal let her bury her face in her chest and stroked her hair, she calmed down enough that Dr. Rhodes could get the blood samples she needed. Scott asked her all kinds of questions- how she feels about food and weight, does she take vitamins, where she gets food, does she know how to cook, and what goals does she want to accomplish. FG sat beside her the whole time, reassuring her that she was doing a great job. Dr. Bren asked more questions about eating and food.

By the end of her appointment, Evie wanted to cry. She didn’t want to talk about food anymore, she felt guilty that Mal was missing Tourney because of her, and she didn’t want to go to dinner.

That’s when they took over and started to explain the treatment plan. Scott sat down with her and discussed portion sizes and what kinds of food she needed to be eating. Then, he helped her make a plan of what she wants to eat this week (with some input from Mal). Fairy Godmother made a list of ingredients and told the girls about the kitchens located in each dorm, telling them she would get what they needed and have it stored there.

“I want to talk to you about anxiety.” Dr. Bren said, catching Evie completely off guard. “Obviously, you have some anxiety that revolves around eating. But I think it extends beyond that.” Evie nodded her head; she could see that. “Evie, I believe that some of the cause of your eating disorder is your anxiety. You start to get nervous about other aspects of life, which then makes your stomach hurt, and then you assume that your stomach is hurting because you don’t want to eat, when in reality that may not be the case. I want to start you on medication.”

“What?” Evie asked. She had never really had medicine before, and she didn’t want to start now.

Dr. Rhodes pulled out an orange bottle. “You take one pill every night before you go to sleep, starting tonight. This will help send chemicals to your brain that it needs to regulate your emotions. You won’t be so nervous anymore.”

“I don’t want medicine.”

“Evie, this will help you.” Fairy Godmother told her. “If your anxiety is lowered, then your resistance to eating will hopefully be lowered too and you won’t have to keep continuing with all of this treatment.”

Evie definitely wanted to cry now. She looked over at Mal, who nodded encouragingly. She reached out and took the bottle from Dr. Rhodes in defeat.

“Now it’s time to talk about you, Mal.” Dr. Bren said. Evie listened in interest, knowing they were probably going to tell her girlfriend to babysit her. “You have done a great job with helping Evie to get healthy, but now, it’s time for you to take a step back.”

“Huh?” Mal sounded just as confused as Evie felt.

“The only way that Evie will heal is if she takes control over her own body. Evie needs to make the decision on if she will eat or not, and what she will eat. Let me ask you this- has your relationship suffered because of Evie’s eating disorder?”

Mal turned to look at her and Evie knew she didn’t want to expose her, but at this point it didn’t really matter anymore since they had already dug so deep into her life. She nodded in permission.

“Yes.” Mal answered.

“In order for the two of you to have a healthy relationship, Evie has to have some independence. Mal, if you police her about what she is eating, you are going to feel exhausted and Evie is going to feel like you are controlling her. That will lead to more bad choices being made.”

Both girls nodded in agreement; they could definitely see the point Dr. Bren was making.

“But what am I supposed to do if Evie is making bad choices? Am I supposed to just let her hurt herself?”

“You call me.” Dr. Bren said simply. “Right now, the best way for you to support Evie is to be there for her. If she wants to vent, listen. Don’t force her to eat. Remind her of her meal plan, and support her by following it with her when you are able. Compliment her about things that don’t have to do with her body. She just needs you to be there.”

“I will be.” Mal promised. She kissed the top of Evie’s hand, and Evie gave her a weak smile.

“Evie, how are you feeling?” Dr. Bren wondered.

“Exhausted.” She admitted. “I really don’t want to go to dinner after we talked so much about food.”

“That’s your choice to make. You can skip dinner, or you can follow the plan that you just created with Scott.”

Evie sighed. “I need to eat so I can be healthy.”

“I’m very proud of your progress today, sweetheart.” Dr. Bren smiled at her.

“You did so good, dear.” Fairy Godmother agreed.

Mal stood, pulling Evie to her feet. “Can we go?”

“Yes.”

Mal held Evie’s hand as they walked out of the room. As soon as they were in the hallway, she pulled Evie into her arms.

“My girl is so fucking amazing.” Mal showered her with kisses. “I love you so much, you know that? I’m so proud of you!”

Evie giggled as Mal continued to kiss her forehead, cheeks, noses, lips, neck, anywhere she could reach. “Stop it.”

“You did so good, pretty baby.” Mal gave her one last kiss on her lips, letting this one linger.

Evie cuddled into her. “I’m so tired, M.”

“I know.” Mal hugged her tighter. “Dinner, shower, homework, then bed. How does that sound?”

“Good.” Evie said. “Come on, let’s get it over with.”

Mal laughed, squeezing her hand. “Fucking amazing.” She repeated.

-----

Evie took her medicine for the first time on Wednesday night. She didn’t notice any difference. She fell right asleep in Mal’s arms, like usual.

On Thursday, things were the same. Classes were good, she had fun at sewing club, and she watched Tourney practice after. She followed the meal plan that Scott had helped her make- for breakfast, she would have yogurt and fruit in the cafeteria. Lunch was salad with grilled chicken, nuts, and dried cranberries in the cafeteria. She and Mal made dinner together in the dorm kitchen (fish with asparagus and a baked potato with butter, cheese, and sour cream), and they laughed and joked around the whole time. When it was time to sit down and do her homework, Evie had a headache, but she pushed through it anyway. She figured it was just from being busy all day. She took her medicine and laid down with Mal, but it took her longer than usual to fall asleep.

On Friday, the day went by with no issues. She stuck to her meal plan for breakfast and lunch and ate in the cafeteria with her friends. There was a game tomorrow, so Coach called for an extra practice. Evie surprised Mal, Carlos, and Jay by having dinner ready for them when Tourney was over. They all raved about her cooking and Evie actually felt like she accomplished something. She even ate all the food on her plate. She took a bath with Mal, then took her medicine. They joined the boys on the couch for a movie night. As soon as the movie started, Evie felt a headache coming on, which was joined by nausea about halfway through. She cuddled up to Mal and tried to fall asleep, but sleep wouldn’t come. They got through two movies and normally, Evie would be asleep during the first (especially after such a long, exhausting week), but she was still wide awake by the end of the second.

On Saturday, they went down to the cafeteria first thing in the morning. Evie’s head was still hurting, but she ate her breakfast anyway. She was doing okay so far, and she didn’t want to mess up her meal plan. After she ate, she instantly felt nauseous again. The Tourney game was rough and she winced every time someone cheered too loudly around her.
When halftime was called, she rested her head in her hands and closed her eyes. She was sitting with Doug and Lonnie, who were used to her being worried about her friends by now. They didn’t realize that she had hardly been paying attention and that her head was down because she wasn’t feeling well.

“Hey baby.” Evie’s head shot up at the sound of Mal’s voice. She was surprised to see her girlfriend kneeling in front of her in full Tourney gear instead of in the locker room where she was supposed to be. “You okay?”

“M, what are you doing over here? You’re going to get in trouble, you better go.”

“You were quiet at breakfast, and every time I look over at you it looks like you’re in pain. What’s going on?”

“My head is pounding and I’m really nauseous.” Evie admitted.

“As soon as this is over, we’ll get lunch and then take a nap, okay?” Mal stroked her cheek. “Can you make it the rest of the game?”

She didn’t really have a choice, so she just nodded. “I’ll be okay.”

Mal leaned in and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “See you soon, Princess.” She kissed her forehead, then walked down the bleachers towards the locker room.

“Coach is probably pissed that she left the locker room. What is she thinking?” Doug asked.

“She’s thinking about her girlfriend, obviously.” Lonnie said, nudging Evie with her arm. Evie smiled, but it wasn’t as bright as normal.

True to Mal’s word, when the game ended, they went with the boys to the cafeteria for lunch. Evie ate her salad, but it was hard because of her stomach hurting. She gave up after eating half and leaned her head over on Mal’s shoulder.

Mal wrapped and arm around her waist and rubbed her stomach. “Still feeling nauseous?”

“Mmhmm.”

“Are you finished eating?”

“I can’t eat anymore or I think I might throw up.” Evie said quietly.

“Okay.” Mal took her last few bites of food, then stood up. She started to gather her garbage.

“Where are you guys going?” Carlos questioned around a mouthful of food.

“E needs to rest.” Mal answered. “See you at dinner.”

Once they were alone in their dorm room, Evie stripped out of her clothes she had been wearing that day until she was only in a pair of underwear. Mal tossed her a t-shirt and she pulled it over her head. Evie gathered her outfit from today and laid it out on her desk chair so she could wear it to dinner later.

“M, you better put your uniform in the hamper.” Evie scolded.

“I will.” Mal said, her voice muffled since she was in their closet.

Evie climbed into bed and took a deep breath, letting it out as she relaxed against the pillows. Mal came out a few minutes later in pajamas and crawled across the bed until she was over top of Evie. She leaned down, pressing her cheek against Evie’s forehead.

“You don’t feel warm, so you must not have a fever. At least we know you’re not sick. Talk to me, babe. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know. Eating hasn’t been horrible, and I actually like following the meal plan. But my head has been hurting, I feel nauseous, and I haven’t been sleeping very well the past couple days.”

“What about your anxiety? Have you been feeling anxious?”

“I’m not sure. My stomach has been hurting, so I can’t tell if it’s from eating or the bubbly feeling.” Evie reached her arms up towards Mal. “Can you cuddle me?”

Mal moved her body so she was laying next to her girlfriend. Evie laid her head against Mal’s chest and threw her leg over her hips. The purple haired girl just pulled her closer.

“I feel like the medicine is what made this start.” Evie said after a few moments of silence. “Ever since I started taking it, I’ve had headaches, been nauseous, and haven’t been sleeping well. That can’t be a coincidence, right?”

“It could be.” Mal kissed her forehead. “Or maybe it is the medicine, and your body is just adjusting to it. It’s only been a few days.”

“It’s not helping with the eating problems. Constantly feeling like I’m going to throw up for the past few days isn’t helping me keep food down.”

“I’m sorry, babe, but you have to keep taking them.” Mal slid her hand underneath Evie’s t-shirt and gently scratched her nails across her lower back. “It’s going to help you.”

Evie was frustrated that Mal didn’t seem to think it was a big deal, but maybe she was right. Maybe after she adjusted to the medicine, these side effects would stop and she could get better. She decided to give in and let her eyes slide shut, focusing only on the feeling of Mal’s fingers against her back.

Chapter Text

When Mal woke up, she was surprised to see she was all alone in the bed. Normally, Evie was sprawled out on top of her, or at least cuddled into her side. She sat up, running a hand through her messy hair, and scanned across the room. She didn’t see her girlfriend anywhere.

Mal practically jumped out of bed. Had someone taken Evie away while she was sleeping? Did someone find their hideout? Did…

Mal let her internal questions end when she walked out into the main area. Evie was standing near the window, looking out at the perfect view of the Isle.

She went over to her, stepping purposely on one of the squeaky floorboards so she didn’t scare her. Evie glanced over her shoulder, but didn’t seem surprised to see her.

“I don’t like waking up alone.” Mal said as she wrapped her arms around Evie’s waist. She rested her chin on Evie’s shoulder, tilting slightly to press a quick kiss to her neck.

The way the moonlight filtered in through the window hit all of Evie’s bruises perfectly. Mal still felt sick at how bruised up Evie’s body was. She had never seen her this hurt before, and she vowed that she would make Quinton’s death long and painful, just like he deserved.

“Sorry.” Evie practically whispered.

“Why are you out of bed, baby?” Mal leaned up to kiss her temple. “What’s going on in that pretty little head of yours?”

“I meant what I said earlier.” Evie said. “I can’t be alive anymore.”

“Shhh.” Mal tried to stop her.

“I’m serious, Mal.” Evie turned to look at her and when they made eye contact, she felt a chill run down her spine at the emptiness in Evie’s normally warm brown eyes. “I hate being alive. I would give anything to not be here anymore.”

“E, I can’t even begin to understand what you’ve gone through. But we’ll fix it, okay?”

“There’s nothing you can do, don’t you get that?” Evie laughed dryly. “No matter what, I will always run back to my mother because I am weak and desperate and I need her approval. She will give me right back to Quinton because he owns me now and she wants whatever riches he can offer her. How am I supposed to keep doing this, Mal? Look at me!” she gestured to her face. Evie pulled out of her embrace and tugged her shirt over her head, then pulled her pants down, leaving her in only a pair of underwear.

Mal’s eyes started to glow as she looked at the discoloration on her girlfriend’s skin. She was covered from head to toe in different colored bruises. “I’ll kill him.”

“It won’t matter. If you kill him, she’ll kill me.” Evie turned and looked back towards the window. “I think about killing myself sometimes. I think about how I would do it, and what would happen. But I don’t know if I could go through with it.”

“Baby…”

“I’m dirty.” Evie had tears streaming down her cheeks now. “I’m dirty, and used up, and disgusting. There’s no way you could want to be with me anymore.”

“But I do.”

“But you can’t!” Evie shouted, her voice cracking from her tears. “I hate myself.”

Mal went back over to her. She wrapped her arms around her waist again, then pulled her down so they could sit. Mal held Evie carefully on her lap, pressing gentle kisses to her forehead and cheeks.

“Breathe, Evie. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.”

“Please.” Evie practically begged. Mal just kissed her head again. “I just want to be free from her.”

Mal sat on the floor with Evie for hours, rocking her. “You will be. No matter what I have to do, I swear to you, you will be free.”

-----

Mal felt like she could never shut her brain off. From the minute she woke up until she went to sleep, she thought about Evie. Sometimes her mind drifted to art or Tourney, but it always came back to the blue haired girl. Is Evie eating? Is she throwing up? Is anyone being mean to her? Is she happy?

The last question seemed to be sticking out more and more in Mal’s brain. It seemed like ever since they came to Auradon, Evie wasn’t happy. It was crazy when you considered all that Evie had been through on the Isle, but there were still moments there that she was happy. Mal didn’t understand why those moments were so few and far between in Auradon.

On Sunday, Evie still wasn’t feeling well. Mal went and got them breakfast from the cafeteria and brought it back to the room, but it ended with Evie gagging as she was eating. Mal reassured her that she could stop and Evie laid down, but never fell asleep.

“It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I can’t sleep!” Evie complained in absolute misery. “My head is pounding but nothing helps. I don’t know what to do, M.”

“Shhh, just keep resting, okay?” Mal got up, shutting all the curtains around the room and turning off the light. “We’ll just hang out in bed today.”

“You’ll stay with me?”

Mal kissed her forehead. “Always.”

She ended up taking a short nap in the afternoon, but other than that, Evie was restless. She couldn’t focus enough to design and watching TV wasn’t helping, so she spent most of the day sitting on Mal’s lap and cuddling against her chest while Mal drew.

At dinner time, Mal cooked. Evie sat on the countertop and cut up some vegetables, but Mal did most of the other work. When everything was ready, they gathered their plates and went back to the dorm.

After they ate, Mal stood up. She lifted Evie into her arms. “Let’s take a bath.” She was hoping the warm water would help Evie calm down before bedtime.

Mal filled the tub with warm water and added some of Evie’s soap she had made so it would make bubbles. She got in and Evie sat across from her so they could look at each other.

“I’m sorry I’ve been boring today.” Evie said.

“You’re not feeling good, babe. It’s not your fault.” Mal reassured her. “Maybe getting out of the room tomorrow will help you feel better.”

“Maybe.” Evie sighed. “I just hate this.”

“I know. Come here, Pretty Girl.” Mal held her arms out and Evie moved carefully towards her, trying not to splash water over the side of the tub. Mal pulled her girlfriend on top of her, letting Evie rest her head on her shoulder. “Let’s just close our eyes and wind down, okay?”

They were quiet for a while, the only sound being Mal lifting handfuls of warm water and letting it run over Evie’s exposed back every few minutes so she wouldn’t get cold. Eventually, Evie sat up.

“Can we get out soon?”

“Let’s wash our hair and then we can.” Mal agreed. She stood, then offered Evie a hand to pull her up. She unplugged the drain and turned on the shower. “I’ll never get over the fact that you can take a bath, then still have hot water left to take a shower.”

“I know, it’s kind of ridiculous.” The water had warmed up, so Evie stepped back so she could rinse the bubbles off of herself. As soon as her hair was completely wet, Mal went to wash it. She saw that there were new bottles.

“Which one is shampoo?”

“The blue one.”

Mal squirted some of the liquid into her hand. She was surprised when it came out pink. As soon as she put it in Evie’s hair, she caught a whiff of the scent.

“Is this strawberry?”

“Mmhmm. I figured you would like it.”

“You’re so talented, you know that? I don’t understand how you get it to smell so close to the actual thing.”

“It’s just a balance of chemicals.” Evie started to go off into an explanation, reminding Mal that she was dating a complete nerd. Mal just listened with one of her lovesick smiles glued to her face.

“All done.” Mal said once she finished shampooing and conditioning Evie’s hair, punctuating the end of her sentence with a kiss. “Do you want to go get in bed and I’ll meet you there?”

“No, I’ll do your hair.” Evie squirted shampoo into her hair and then started to massage her scalp. Mal just leaned her head forward and let her work her magic. She might have been one of the most ruthless people on the Isle, but she craved Evie’s touch and affection just as much as her girlfriend needed hers. They were both incredibly touchy and took any opportunity to give the other love and attention. Sure, Evie needed a little more affection than Mal, but Mal would never say no to it.

Once they were both clean, they made out under the spray of the water for a while. Mal held Evie close, trying to convey how much she loved her through her actions.

The water finally turned cold, so Mal shut it off while Evie grabbed their towels. They dried off on their own, brushed their teeth, and got dressed- Evie in underwear and a t-shirt, Mal in pajamas pants and a tank top.

Evie grabbed her brush and went over to her girlfriend. “Will you help me?”

“Uh-huh.” Mal took the brush and gently detangled Evie’s hair. When she was finished, she pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “Done.”

“Thank you.” Evie stood and gave her a quick kiss. “Want me to do yours?”

“Yeah.”

It didn’t take long and then they were both ready for bed. Evie laid down first, trying to get comfortable. Mal remembered that she hadn’t taken her anxiety medicine, so she grabbed the bottle and shook out a pill, then grabbed a bottle of water.

“Here, baby.” She held the pill out.

Evie grimaced. “Not tonight.”

“Evie, the pills aren’t an option. Dr. Bren said you have to take them to help keep you from getting anxious, which will then stop you from getting sick.”

“But I feel sick now.” Evie said. “I really don’t like how they make me feel.”

“I’m sorry.” Mal kissed the tip of her nose, then her lips. She brought the pill up. “Open.”

Evie looked ready to cry, but she opened her mouth. Mal set the pill on her tongue, then handed her the bottle of water. After she swallowed it, Mal put the water on the table next to the bed and turned off the light.

She crawled into bed and tried to pull Evie closer, but she didn’t budge. “Are you really mad at me?” Evie rolled over so she was facing away from her. Mal scooted up behind her, slinging an arm around her waist and pulling her into her chest. “You can be mad all you want, but I’m just doing what’s best for you.” She kissed the back of her neck. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” Evie mumbled.

Mal just squeezed her tighter and shut her eyes.

-----

On Monday morning, Mal could see dark circles starting to form under Evie’s eyes. She knew that her girl was still struggling with sleep, and she hoped that something could be figured out to help her.

“Maybe you should say something about the sleeping to FG today in therapy.” Mal offered. “Maybe they could give you a sleeping pill.”

“Yay, more pills.” Evie said dryly before going into the bathroom to get ready.

Mal didn’t particularly like the idea of Evie being on medicine either, but she would try anything at this point to help her get better.

They had breakfast with the boys, and then classes started. Mal noticed Evie wincing if people were too loud, but otherwise, things were normal. They had lunch in the cafeteria, then finished up their classes.

Evie and Carlos split and went off to therapy, while Mal and Jay played around until it was time for Tourney practice. Mal kept glancing towards the bleachers, waiting to see when her girlfriend would arrive. She smiled when Evie finally came over and sat down.

“How was therapy?” she asked during the walk to dinner.

“Fine.”

“Did you mention the sleeping problem?”

“No, it was just FG there and she can’t do anything about it. Maybe I’ll say something on Wednesday when Dr. Bren comes.”

That night, Mal had to bring Evie her medicine again. She looked absolutely exhausted as she reluctantly swallowed the pill.

On Tuesday, Evie was up before Mal. When she walked into the bathroom, she found the blue haired girl doing her extensive makeup routine.

“Morning, baby.”

“Good morning.” Evie said.

“How are you feeling?”

“Much better.”

“That’s amazing.” Mal kissed her cheek. “See? I told you that you would just have to adjust.”

Evie was quieter than usual, but nothing out of the ordinary happened. Mal had to go to therapy, and then she had Tourney practice. By the time it was over, she was ready to just go back to the dorm and spend the rest of the night with Evie.

Mal opened up the dorm room door and the first thing she noticed was that she didn’t see Evie anywhere. She scanned her eyes over the room, trying to find something that indicated where she could be.

The first thing she noticed was the closed bathroom door.

The second thing was the empty orange bottle laying on their bed.

Mal felt her pulse jump as she walked forward. She picked up the bottle that Evie’s anxiety medicine was previously stored in, but it was completely empty. She looked around, hoping that maybe the lid got loose and some of the pills fell out, but she didn’t see them anywhere.

Her heart started to race as she remembered all of her conversations with Evie about ending her pain. Were her headaches and nausea bad enough that she finally decided to act? Had she swallowed the bottle of pills in an attempt to escape from the world?

Mal suddenly jumped into action. If Evie was here, she had to be in the bathroom. She kept the bottle in her grasp and went over to the bathroom door. She banged on it as hard as she could.

“EVIE!” she shouted. She reached down, surprised that the door was unlocked. She pushed it open, her breath coming out in pants as she searched for her princess. Was she sprawled out on the floor somewhere? Was she still breathing? Was she…

“God, Mal, you could have waited a second.”

Mal looked so quickly in the direction the voice had come from that she swore she would have whiplash. There was Evie, her beautiful, living Evie, in the bathtub.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Mal demanded.

“What are you talking about, M?” she let the empty bottle fall onto the tiled floor, listening to the way it bounced. “Will you get in with me?”

Mal could still feel her hands shaking and her heart racing. She had never been so scared. There had never been a time where she was so convinced that Evie had ended her life. “I…I thought you…”

Evie sat up, letting the water and bubbles drip off of her skin and back into the tub. “Mal, get out of your clothes and get into the bath with me.”

Suddenly, Mal wanted nothing more than to hold her. She had to touch her and know that this was all real. She stripped out of her clothes as quickly as possible and then got into the water. She reached out and touched Evie’s face, tracing her jawline and chin, then the shape of her lips.

She was real. She was safe.

Evie held both of her hands between the two of them. “Imagine lying awake at night with your mind racing.” She said softly, instantly gaining Mal’s attention. “Imagine having headaches so bad you feel like you can’t see straight. Imagine having people constantly telling you not to throw up, but then you start taking medicine that makes you so nauseous to the point where you think you’re going to throw up even without forcing yourself to.”

Mal let her words sink in. Was it really that bad? She knew Evie wasn’t feeling good, but she didn’t know she was hurting this bad.

“I can’t do it, Mal.” Evie said with a shake of her head. “I know that Dr. Bren says the anxiety triggers the eating problems, but this medicine isn’t helping anything.”

“Where are the pills?” the words were out before Mal could control herself.

Evie’s face fell, as if she was realizing that Mal didn’t care about anything she had just said. “I got rid of them.”

“Did you take them?” Mal demanded. Her voice was coming out so harsh, and Evie flinched slightly. Mal couldn’t stop herself even if she wanted to.

Evie frowned. “I flushed them down the toilet.” Her head tilted slightly to the side. “Did you really think I took them all?”

“I don’t know. I just saw the empty bottle and I freaked out.” Mal confessed. She ran a hand through her hair and took a deep breath, still trying to calm her racing thoughts and wildly beating heart. “I hear what you’re saying, okay? I didn’t know you were feeling this bad. I’m sorry for yelling at you. I just…I didn’t know what to do. I got scared.”

Evie brought her hands up to gently hold Mal’s cheeks. “M, baby, there are times in my life where I didn’t think I could keep going. But I know things are getting better. I still hate food and I hate eating, but I love you and our family and our new Auradon friends. I know we’re getting close to achieving what we came here to do.” She leaned forward until their foreheads touched. “I want to be alive…not even just alive, I want to be happy.”

Mal couldn’t help it anymore. She yanked Evie forward into a bone crushing hug. “Then I will stop at nothing to make you happy, baby girl.” She kissed her cheek. “I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.”

“I still want to get better. I’ve been trying to eat even though my stomach has been hurting.”

“I’ve noticed, and you’re doing such a good job, Princess.” She kissed her quickly. “Now we just need to figure out what happens next because those pills definitely weren’t the answer.”

Evie smiled at her. “Thanks for sticking by me.”

“Always.”

-----

On Wednesday, Mal joined Evie at her therapy appointment with Dr. Bren and Fairy Godmother. She wanted to offer moral support, figuring that her girlfriend would have to argue with Dr. Bren about why she couldn’t take the medicine anymore.

“How are you feeling, Evie?”

“I’m okay.” She said.

“How have you been feeling since you started the anxiety medication?”

Evie took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Mal squeezed her hand in reassurance. “The medicine was horrible. I couldn’t sleep, and every time I did fall asleep, I couldn’t stay asleep. I had really bad headaches and I was so nauseous that I was constantly worried that I would have to go throw up.”

“Are you still taking it?”

Evie looked down at her lap. “No. I flushed the pills down the toilet.”

“Okay, so that one didn’t work for you.” Dr. Bren said, completely surprising both girls as she marked something on her clipboard. “We’ll try a different kind.”

Mal’s mouth nearly fell open. “There’s more kinds?” she turned to Evie, who seemed just as shocked. “I’m so sorry, E.”

“Why are you sorry, Mal?” Fairy Godmother wondered.

“I had no idea that there were multiple kinds of pills.”

“Yes, one type of medicine doesn’t work the same for everyone. It can be a process to find the right one that will work for Evie.” Dr. Bren told her. “I’m sorry, I should have made that clearer when I gave them to you.”

“I feel like I’m making everything worse.” Mal admitted. “I kept pushing Evie to keep taking the medicine, even after she told me about how it was making her feel.”

“You’re doing your best to support Evie.” Dr. Bren stated with a smile. “You’re still learning, and it’s okay to make mistakes.”

“Not when it comes to her.” Mal argued.

“Mal, Evie is a strong girl. Even though it’s not something we would choose for her, she can handle a few stomach aches and sleepless nights. It’s all part of the long-term battle to get her healthy and taken care of. You don’t need to beat yourself up over one little mistake. Now you know that medicines can have negative side effects and you won’t make that mistake again.” She turned to Evie. “Would you be willing to try a new medicine?”

Evie looked skeptical. “What if this one has side effects too?”

“Then we’ll try another kind. There are plenty different ones to try, and one will work for you. We just have to find the right one.”

“Okay.” Evie reluctantly agreed.

“I know you don’t love the idea of taking medicine, but once we find the right one, you’re going to see why it’s so helpful.” Dr. Bren reassured her. “If you start to feel different after taking this pill, call me, okay? As soon as you start to notice something is off, we can talk about it and figure out if it’s because of the medicine or something else.”

“Thank you, Dr. Bren.” Evie said.

When the appointment ended, they walked out with a new little orange bottle of pills. As Mal watched Evie talk and smile and laugh, she prayed to whatever Gods were out there that this would help her girl finally be happy.

Chapter Text

Evie limped through the alleys, trying to avoid the main strip of the market. Quinton always returned her when it was daylight, and it made sneaking around a lot harder. She couldn’t let anyone see her like this. If they saw her, she would lose her reputation that she had worked so hard to get. For three months now, she had put in so much work to avoid having anyone but Mal, Jay, and Carlos see her after Q was done.

She couldn’t let people know she was weak.

“Well, look who we have here.”

She flinched at the sound of the voice. Evie didn’t even want to turn around.

“Where are you going, Genevieve? Our castle is the other way.” She heard her mother’s steps getting closer and closer. “Unless you weren’t going to the castle.”

“I was going to the market.” Evie told her. She winced at how raspy her voice sounded.

“Looking like this?” Grimhilde laughed. “Prince Quinton really did a number on you this time. But knowing you, I doubt he did anything you didn’t deserve.”

Evie didn’t know what to say. She didn’t think there was anything to say; no matter what, it would be wrong and she would be punished.

Grimhilde’s smile quickly turned to a snarl as she snatched a handful of Evie’s hair, bringing her closer until their faces were inches apart. “Tell me, Genevieve, where were you really going?”

“I was meeting up with a friend.” Evie quickly lied. “I need more chemicals to make scar cream. I don’t want to ruin my skin.”

Her mother’s face softened for a second as she slowly smiled. “Oh my, you really think I’m a fool, don’t you?” she yanked her hair even harder, making Evie whimper involuntarily. She flinched when her mother raised her hand to grab her chin. “You do know that your prince and I speak to one another, right? I found it a little strange that he was telling me that every time the two of you spend time together, he was dropping you off a full day before I saw you. I can only think of one possible explanation- you must be going somewhere else for the night and then returning to the castle.”

Evie stared into her mother’s cold, cruel face, wondering what would happen next. There’s no way she didn’t know she was seeing Mal.

She wondered if this would finally be enough for her to just kill her. It honestly wouldn’t be unwelcomed at this point.

“Tell me, Genevieve. Even after I have brought countless men in to fuck you, after I have locked you away for days, after I allowed people to mark up your skin, after I marked up your skin myself, after I sold you to a prince, are you still running off to mess around with Maleficent’s daughter?”

Maybe if she had food or water or rest the past couple of days, Evie wouldn’t have done it. Maybe if she wasn’t in pain and missing Mal more than ever, she wouldn’t have gotten up the courage. But for some reason, she spoke without thinking.

“Yes, Mother. I was going to see Mal and no matter what you do to me, I’m always going to go back to her.” Evie smirked. “You should see us together in the market. She can’t keep her hands off of me. Everyone talks about how even though you put in so much work, your daughter still grew up and started kissing a girl.” Evie studied her mother’s face, seeing it getting redder by the second. She should have stopped there, but she couldn’t. “The only way you’ll ever get me to stop is if you kill me.”

The Evil Queen pulled her face closer until their noses were nearly touching. “You worthless, disgusting bitch.” She shoved her as hard as she could, sending Evie flying to the ground. She didn’t even have a second to react before her mother’s heel was pressed into her throat. “It would be too easy to kill you. I’m just going to make it so your precious Mal is too disgusted to even look at you ever again. After everyone hears about how many people you have been fucking around with, no one is going to want to come close to you.”

Her mother grabbed her arm so hard she nearly pulled it out of the socket. Even though it felt good to talk back, Evie was now realizing her mistake. She tried to yank her arm away, but she was so weak after being stuck with Quinton for the past few days.

She was practically dragged back into the castle. “GET UP THE STAIRS!”

Evie did as she said, starting to head towards her room.

“Oh no. You’re not going there yet.” Her mother shoved her up against the wall. “Get undressed.”

“Mother, I…”

She didn’t even realize her mother had punched her in the mouth until she tasted the blood. Then, she was ripping her clothes from her body until Evie was naked.

“You think you can speak to me that way, you slut? You think you will get away with the way you have acted?” her mother choked her. “I should have killed you the minute you were born. You are a fucking disappointment. Do you know what I’m going to do?” she squeezed even harder and Evie felt her vision start to blur. “You’re going to have an extra special lesson. I’ve been saving this one up because I didn’t want to taint you too much, but you’ve shown me that you are past that point. If the boy isn’t enough to make you listen to me, then maybe a man can take care of the job. This man will tear your body apart, Genevieve. I’m going to let him do it over and over until you’re begging me to kill you. Then, I will have someone bring me your precious Mal and I will let her see how you let a man touch you. Then, I will hand you back over to Quinton. You will never get a break, do you hear me? Your life as you know it now is over.”

She finally dropped her and Evie gasped for air, but couldn’t stand. Her entire body was on fire and she felt tears filling her eyes. She didn’t know what to do, but she couldn’t let her put her through this. She had to figure out a way to kill herself fast.

While she sat there trying to breathe, her mother went downstairs to open the door. Evie’s breath caught in her throat when she saw him. She had never seen this man before and she didn’t know his name, but she knew his reputation. He wasn’t a part of any of the main heroes’ stories, but he was one of the most brutal and violent of the villains on the Isle. He was thrown there specifically for hurting a woman the way her mother was about to let him hurt her.

“Get up, dyke.” Her mother grabbed her by the hair again and dragged her to her feet. She shoved her into her bedroom until her back slammed against her bed. Evil Queen looked at her with a sick smile, then turned to the man. “She’s all yours.” She walked out, letting the door shut behind her.

-----

Evie’s entire body shook as the man passed out half on top of her. She couldn’t even feel pain anymore, she just felt completely numb. She had to get out of here. If she didn’t get out now, she was going to die. While that didn’t sound particularly unappealing, she couldn’t let her mother have the satisfaction.

She slid her hand over the side of her mattress, feeling something sharp pierce her skin. She grasped it a little tighter, ignoring how it dug into her palm and made a cut. When Evie pulled her hand up, there was blood dripping down it, but she was holding the knife.

The knife was given to her by Mal, who made her promise to keep it with her. Evie’s mother checked her over every single day, so she couldn’t hide it anywhere with her. She had stashed it under her mattress so her mother wouldn’t find it.

Maybe this was her way out.

She let her free hand drift up the man’s back, trying to count his ribs so she could figure out exactly where his heart was. He was muscular, but like most of the others on the Isle, he didn’t get proper food portions. If she just dug the knife in hard enough, she could do it.

Evie bit into her lip as she lifted the knife so it was over his heart. She tried to take a deep breath, but she hadn’t felt like she could breathe for a long time now. She brought the knife down as hard as she could.

His eyes flew open and he looked at her. Evie pulled the knife out and brought it down again, and again, and again until there was no life left in him.

Her hands shook as she pulled the knife out for the last time. She squeezed out from under him, and practically jumped off the bed. She scooted as far away from him as possible.
Her dark blue sheets were drenched in blood, make them appear almost purple.

Purple.

Evie had to go.

She hastily pulled on some clothes, feeling her body ache in protest at the way she was moving. Right now, she knew she couldn’t think about that. This was her one shot and she had to take it. Evie kept her knife in her hand and went to the window.

She wasn’t as good of a climber as Mal or Jay, but she had done this enough times that she knew where to put her hands and feet. It was dark now, providing some cover as she scaled the side of the castle.

As soon as Evie’s feet hit the ground, she ran. She had never run as fast as she was right now. If her mother saw her, she was dead. She had to move now.

The hideout was about a fifteen minute walk from the castle, so she started to count. If she could just count to 60 fifteen times, she would be there.

Evie had counted to 60 six times now. She was up to 28 when her body crashed into someone else, sending her flying to the ground.

“Watch where you’re going before I break your legs!” Evie scooted as far away from the person as she could. Her heart was racing but she couldn’t feel anything else. “Whoa, Blue? Is that you?”

Evie recognized the voice, but she couldn’t look at the person. She didn’t have time, she just needed to go. She was still too close to the castle. She brought the knife up, holding it out towards them.

“Get away from me.”

“Evie, you need to breathe. It’s okay.”

Evie’s eyes finally focused and she saw the person kneeling next to her left side. “Uma?” she practically whispered.

“Yeah, it’s Uma. Calm down.”

Evie looked around and saw two tall figures standing on her right side. She instantly flinched, shuffling over until she was close to Uma.

“Hey, it’s just Harry and Gil. You’re safe, Princess.”

“Please.” Evie whimpered.

“Evie, it’s me. It’s Harry.” She heard a voice from the right side of her body.

She couldn’t handle it. She practically threw herself at Uma. “Please Uma, please. They can’t see me.”

“I’m gonna take this.” Uma said, prying her fingers off the knife and taking it from her. Evie didn’t have the strength to fight her.

“We’ve got to move.” Harry said. “Hey Eves, I don’t know what happened, but something tells me that someone is going to be looking for you.”

That’s when Evie looked over at the dark haired boy. “She’s gonna kill me, Harry. She’s gonna fucking kill me.”

“Can I touch you?” Evie flinched as soon as he said the word. “I know, I’m so sorry, but we have to move. I can carry you, okay? We’re not going to let anyone hurt you.”

“I’m right here. If anyone tries something, we’ll kick their asses.” Uma said from beside her. “Harry, pick her up.”

Evie cried out when she felt her body being scooped up. She wrapped her arms around Harry’s neck and tried to keep her eyes open. She needed to stay aware. She had to watch out for danger.

“Where’s your girl, Blue?”

“Mal.” She instantly started to move in Harry’s arms. Her vision was starting to blur and she could hear her heartbeat in her ears. “I have to find Mal.”

“Gil, I don’t care what you have to do, you better get Mal and her crew to our place. Now.” Uma hissed. “Gil will get them.”

That was the last thing Evie heard before she was taken over by darkness.

-----

When Evie opened her eyes, she was in an unfamiliar place. She was laying on a bed. She looked around, trying to find a way out. Where was she?

She tried to move but pain shot through her entire body. She let out a groan, then heard shuffling.

“Evie, it’s Uma.” She followed the sound of her voice, turning her head until her eyes were on the other girl. “Don’t move, okay? I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

“I have to go.”

“No, you need to stay here. Your crew’s on the way. Gil went to get them, they should be back any minute.”

Evie heard loud stomps and before she could stop herself, she jumped, falling over the side of the bed. She brought her knees up to her chest.

“Shit. It’s fine, it’s just some of my crew. We’re on the lower deck of the boat.” Uma moved so she was in her sightline.

Evie studied the pirate. She and Uma weren’t exactly friends, and Uma and Mal hated each other. She didn’t understand why she had taken her here. Was she just bringing her here to torture her? Was she holding her as leverage to get something from Mal?

She scanned the room, looking for a weapon or a way out. The room had two twin sized beds across from each other, a table in the middle of them. Uma was right across from her, their backs leaning against opposite beds. She would have to pass her to get to the door. Evie kept looking, her eyes going to the table. That’s when she spotted her knife.

Uma must have realized at the same time as her because when Evie lunged for the knife, Uma reached out too. Evie got there first and grasped the handle tightly in her hand.

“Stay away from me.”

“Evie…”

“I’m not staying here. You’re not using me.”

Uma looked confused. “I brought you here because you’re hurt and you needed help.”

“You don’t know what I need.” Evie stood up, still pointing the knife towards Uma. Her hand slipped down and the blade pierced her skin again. That’s when she got the idea.

She could end it right now and then her mother couldn’t hurt her anymore. She had found the right spot on the man to shove the knife. She could find the right spot on her own body too.

Evie turned the knife towards her stomach.

“Evie, listen to me. Put the knife down.”

Evie shook her head. “You don’t get it. No one will ever get it.”

“Try and explain it to me.”

“She’s going to always come back until she finds me. I’ll never get away. She won’t kill me and I can’t let her torture me.”

Evie pressed the knife closer. She wished that she could see Mal and the boys one last time. She hoped they understood how much she loved them.

“I can’t be here anymore.” Evie said.

“Think about Mal. What would she say right now?” Uma was standing now, and she looked a little desperate. Almost like she was scared. Why would she be scared?

Evie shook her head. “I can’t stay.”

“Mal would tell you to put the knife down. She may be an unbearable bitch, but the two of you have real love, Evie. I’ve seen it. Not many people on the Isle get to experience happiness, but I know you have when you’re with her. Let’s just sit down and talk, okay?”

“I can’t talk.” Evie shut her eyes. “I have to do it now. I’m sorry.” She pulled the knife back, but right before she could shove it into her stomach, she heard a loud crashing noise.

Evie’s eyes flew open involuntarily and then, she saw Mal. Her eyes were glowing brighter than she had ever seen before. Her hair was wild around her and her chest was heaving, as if she had been running. Harry was right behind her and seconds later, Jay and Carlos skidded to a stop behind him.

“Hey baby girl.” Mal said as she stepped slowly into the room.

“I’m sorry.” Evie whimpered. “I can’t, Mal. I’m sorry.”

“Me too.” Mal replied.

Suddenly, Evie felt a tight grip on her wrist as Mal bent it sharply to the side. The knife clattered against the floor.

“No, no, no, no.” Evie sobbed.

“Shhh, I know, baby.” Mal wrapped her arms around her waist, pulling her into her as they sank to the floor. “It’s okay, Pretty Girl. You’re safe.”

“Please.” She begged.

“Shhh.” Evie could feel Mal’s fingers running through her hair as she pushed her head down to rest on her shoulder. “Just breathe, baby.”

“Let me go. Please, just let me go.” Evie cried as she struggled in her arms.

“I can’t do that.” Mal kissed her forehead. “I love you, Evie.” She kissed her cheek. “I love you.” She kissed the top of her head, leaving her lips pressed there. “I love you.” She started to rock her and Evie felt her body begin to calm down.

Evie scooted closer, nuzzling her face into Mal’s neck. Mal was here now, she could keep her safe. She let her eyes shut.

-----

When Dizzy busted into the hideout, Mal was surprised, to say the least. The younger girl had only been there once before with Evie, and she didn’t expect her to remember where it was. Something must have happened because she looked close to tears.

“Hey Diz, what’s up?” Mal greeted, jumping to her feet to approach her.

“Gil came to my grandmother’s shop.” Dizzy said, her voice shaking. “He didn’t know where to find you and he thought maybe I would.”

“Did he hurt you?”

“No. He said that Evie is hurt really bad. Uma and Harry took her back to their place and you need to go now.”

Carlos and Jay were on their feet before Mal could even say a word. “Go back to the shop. Don’t leave no matter what, do you hear me?”

“Mal, what’s going on? Is Evie okay?” Dizzy questioned.

“Do not leave the shop.” Mal insisted as they all took off running down the stairs.

Curl Up ‘N Dye was on the way towards the Slop Shop, so they ran there with Dizzy. Mal saw Gil waiting outside.

“Go, Diz.” Carlos ordered. Luckily, she listened right away.

“What the fuck is going on?” Mal demanded.

“I don’t know. We were out by the market on one of our runs and she came out of nowhere. She’s all bruised up and covered in blood and she wouldn’t let anyone touch her. She wouldn’t even let me or Harry near her, then she said ‘she’s gonna kill me’.”

“Take me to her now.” Mal growled.

She had never moved so quickly in her life. She didn’t even know what to expect. Why was Evie covered in blood? Was it from Quinton? If she had said ‘she’s gonna kill me’, that made Mal believe that it had to do with her mother, but how?

It had been a week since she last saw her girlfriend, so she didn’t even know what state she would be in. Her heart raced as her mind went to worst case scenario.

As soon as they saw the pirate ship, Gil shouted out that they would be downstairs. Mal didn’t care that the ship was full of a rival crew, she charged on board, hearing Gil yell that she was with him. She took the stairs two at a time until she came to a closed door.

Mal opened the door, hearing it clatter loudly against the wall. Nothing could have prepared her for what was in front of her.

Evie was standing there with a knife pressed against her stomach. Her makeup was running, her hair was a wreck, and she was wearing mismatched clothes. Mal could see that Evie’s neck, arms, and hands were all covered in blood. It looked dried up, besides a spot on her hand where blood was dripping onto the floor. She was hyperventilating, her eyes were scanning around the room unfocused, and there were tears falling down her cheeks. She was covered in bruises and it was obvious she was in pain.

“Hey baby girl.” Mal said confidently before taking a slow step into the room. She couldn’t show how scared she was or that would just freak Evie out more. She needed to be in control of her emotions.

“I’m sorry.” Evie’s voice cracked when she spoke, and she shook her head back and forth. “I can’t, Mal. I’m sorry.”

The knife moved again and Mal knew what she had to do. She needed that knife out of Evie’s hand before she could make any drastic movements.

“Me too.” Mal lunged forward, grabbing Evie’s right wrist and twisting it hard to the side. Evie cried out in pain, but the knife fell to the ground. Mal used her foot to kick it to the side.

“No, no, no, no.” Evie wailed.

Mal had never felt so sick in her life. How had they gotten to here? How could the beautiful, blue-haired little six-year-old she saw for the first time in the market have turned into this girl?

“Shhh, I know, baby.” Mal pulled her close, ignoring the way Evie fought her grasp. She used her strength to lower them to the ground. “It’s okay, Pretty Girl. You’re safe.”

She held Evie on her lap, which was normally her favorite place to be. Right now, Evie was still fighting. “Please.”

“Shhh.” Mal stroked her hair. She just needed her to calm down. She pushed her head down until it rested on her shoulder, then started to run her fingers through the tangled blue hair. She felt sick when she noticed dried blood. “Just breathe, baby.”

“Let me go. Please just let me go.” Evie’s voice was desperate, her hands trying to push Mal away.

Mal felt her heart shatter. It might be selfish, but she couldn’t live in a world without Evie. “I can’t do that.” Then, she did the only thing she could think of. She started to press kisses into her skin, whispering that she loved her. She didn’t care that love was weakness. She didn’t care that Uma, Harry, and Gil were watching. Right now, the only person that mattered was Evie. She just needed to get her girl calmed down before she hurt herself. She rocked back and forth.

All of a sudden, the tension in Evie’s body released. Instead of pushing, she was now pulling her closer. She felt Evie bury her face in her neck and Mal sighed in relief and shut her eyes. She just continued to stroke her hair until she felt soft, even breaths against the skin on her neck.

Eventually, Mal worked up the energy to open her eyes. Uma was sitting across from her. Jay was next to Mal and Carlos was directly across from him. Gil and Harry were sitting near the door. Everyone was dead silent, and Mal could see tear tracks on all of their cheeks.

“Is she sleeping?” Jay whispered.

Mal nodded. “What happened?” she asked softly. Power and appearances didn’t matter. She just needed to know what to do next.

“We were out and she came running towards us out of nowhere. I don’t even think she was paying attention because she crashed into me so hard that she fell on the ground.” Uma explained. “I kneeled down next to her because I could tell something was up. She was all bloody and I was trying to see where the injury was from, but I couldn’t tell. She was obviously in pain, but she didn’t mention it. She just kept saying she had to go. When she saw Harry and Gil, she practically climbed onto my lap and kept saying they couldn’t see her.”

Mal leaned down and pressed a kiss against Evie’s forehead. Her heart absolutely ached for her girl.

“Did you give her the knife?” Jay questioned.

Harry spoke up. “I don’t know where she got the knife from, but it was with her and it was covered in blood already.”

“I gave it to her a while ago, for emergencies.” Mal answered.

“I told her we had to move.” Harry stated. “She said ‘she’s going to fucking kill me, Harry’. I think we all know who she was talking about.”

Mal felt anger fill her. “No, I don’t think you know.”

Harry frowned. “I know better than anyone.”

“You get to live here on your cushy little boat while she’s being tortured every fucking day. You don’t understand.”

“Alright, stop.” Uma interrupted. “Now is not the time. Evie didn’t want Harry to touch her, but we had to move, so he picked her up. She passed out on the way back here. When she woke up, I was in here with her. I told her not to move so she wouldn’t hurt herself, but she just said she had to go. I told her you guys were on your way, but then she got scared by some of the crew stomping around on the upper deck. Then all of a sudden, she was diving for the knife. She pointed it at me and said she had to leave and that I couldn’t use her. She turned it around on herself and I kept trying to get her to talk or put it down, but she wouldn’t listen.”

Mal hugged Evie tighter and kissed her cheek. “We owe you for helping her. Let us know when we can repay.” She stood up, keeping Evie in her arms.

“No.” Harry objected. “This wasn’t a favor. We don’t expect anything in return.” He stepped forward. “You should stay here for tonight.”

“We’ll be fine.”

“Whatever she was running from is going to still be an issue right now. More time has passed, so someone has to be looking for her.” Harry stated. “It’s going to be hard running when she’s passed out. Just stay here for tonight, let things blow over. You can leave tomorrow.”

“He’s right, Mal.” Carlos said. “It’s too far.”

Mal looked at Uma, raising an eyebrow. “You’re cool with this?”

Uma went over to Harry, resting an arm on his shoulder. “If he is, I am.”

“We appreciate it.” Jay told them.

Mal turned, laying Evie down on one of the twin beds. She lifted Evie’s arms carefully, examining them for any type of wound, but she didn’t see any.

“Can you tell where the blood is from?” Jay wondered.

“Both of her hands have cuts on them, but they’re not deep enough for that.” Evie’s left hand was sliced down her palm and still bleeding. Her right hand had a small cut that wasn’t too deep. “I don’t know what to do.”

“Just check under her clothes.” Uma said as if it was obvious.

“No.” Mal objected immediately. “Not while she’s sleeping.” She regretted saying it, knowing that it implied too much.

“What do you need?” Harry asked.

“Clean water, wash cloths, bandages if you have it.” Mal listed off.

“Got it.”

“I can get her clean clothes.” Uma offered, earning a nod back from Mal. Gil and Harry went with her to gather supplies, leaving Mal alone with her crew.

“What the fuck.” Jay said as he sat on the twin bed across from them. “What are we going to do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Something bad must have happened. Why else would she be running away covered in blood?”

“I don’t know, Jay!” Mal snapped.

“Tension is high right now. Let’s try to stay calm.” Carlos interrupted before they could start to argue.

It didn’t take long for the pirates to return. They brought back clean clothes, a towel, bandages, a large bucket of warm water, alcohol, wash cloths, and food. Uma assured them that the room was theirs for the night and no one would bother them. She told them to come upstairs if they needed anything, and then they were gone.

Mal got to work on cleaning up Evie’s face first. It was covered in specks of blood. She dipped the wash cloth into the water, then ran it carefully over her face to remove the blood, dirt, and makeup that had built up. She noticed that Evie’s bottom lip was split open and swollen, and there were hand shaped bruises on her chin. Mal felt her blood boil; Evie had told her about EQ’s tendency to grab her chin, so she knew that had to be from her. She had dark circles under her eyes and other smaller bruises randomly across her face.

Mal didn’t even want to touch her neck. That was one thing that pissed her off to no end; she couldn’t stand seeing the varying shades of yellow and purple on her girlfriend’s neck. She couldn’t help but imagine her gasping for air and screaming for help. She gently wiped off the dried up blood that had gathered there.

Evie started to move. Mal scooted closer to her, wanting her to see her and know that she was safe. Evie’s eyes fluttered open and as soon as she saw Mal, she gave her a small smile.

Mal could tell the exact moment that everything rushed back to her. Evie’s smile dropped and she frowned instantly. Her eyes started to dart around the room.

“Listen to me, Evie. You’re safe, okay? It’s just us, and Jay and Carlos. You know we wouldn’t let anyone get near you. Just stay calm, okay?” she leaned down, letting her forehead rest against Evie’s.

“Do you think I’m crazy?” Evie rasped.

“I think you’ve been through a lot of shit.” Mal answered. “We’ll figure this out, okay? But right now, I need you to tell me where you’re hurting. You are covered in blood, but I didn’t want to undress you while you were sleeping, so I don’t know where it came from.”

“It’s not mine.” Evie whispered.

Mal frowned. “Then whose is it?”

Evie just turned her head so she was staring at the wall. Mal reached out to stroke her cheek and Evie leaned into her touch immediately.

“Can I help you get undressed so you can get cleaned up?” Mal wondered.

“Mmhmm.” Evie sat up slowly. “M?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m sorry I’m so broken.”

“You’re not broken, baby.” Mal touched their foreheads together again. “You are so strong, my love.”

“If you want to leave me, I understand.” Evie’s eyes welled up with tears. “I won’t blame you.”

“Nope, you’re stuck with me.” Mal kissed her cheek. “I’m here until the end, do you understand me? Nothing you say or do can get rid of me.”

“I don’t deserve you.”

“Oh baby.” Mal whispered. “You deserve so much more than what you’ve been given.” She felt a tear slide down her own cheek. Evie leaned forward and kissed it away. “Come on, let’s get your shirt off.”

Mal helped Evie out of her shirt. She was surprised to see that there was blood covering her entire chest and stomach. Mal worked quickly but gently to wipe it away, seeing Evie squeeze her eyes shut so she wouldn’t have to watch.

She found dark purple bruises on her back and ribs, and a small cut on her stomach by her belly button. She realized that that must have been caused by the knife and it made her throat clench.

Evie’s legs were always the worst part, but Mal knew it had to be done. She pulled her pants off, feeling her anger rise when she saw the hand shaped bruises on Evie’s hips.

“Baby, are these from Q?” she couldn’t help but ask. Something wasn’t right here. Evie had been dealing with Quinton for three months, and he was pretty consistent. Some of these injuries weren’t matching up with the ones Evie usually had from him.

Evie shook her head no.

Mal moved slowly. The blood had reached all the way down to Evie’s thighs, and then it stopped. It was like someone had dropped a bucket of blood on top of her. She had some scattered cuts, so Mal wetted a cloth with some of the alcohol, then dabbed it over top to clean it. She wrapped it in a bandage. By the time Evie was completely cleaned up, her teeth were chattering.

“Let’s get your clean clothes on.” Mal kissed her forehead. Uma had given them sweatpants, a long sleeved shirt, and a pair of socks. Mal helped Evie get dressed, wrinkling her nose at how different she smelled. “I want to look at your head now, okay? I saw some dried up blood in your hair.”

“Okay.” Evie’s voice was tiny.

Mal really wanted to wash Evie’s hair, but the water in the bucket was the color of blood now and they didn’t have soap. She looked towards Jay and nodded towards the bucket. He grabbed it and left the room.

Evie reached her hand out and wrapped it around the bottle of alcohol. Mal was a little surprised when she brought it up to her lips and took a drink, but if it helped her pain, she didn’t necessarily mind. She let Evie take one more drink before taking it out of her hand; she figured she probably hadn’t eaten much and she didn’t need her getting drunk.

Jay returned with a fresh bucket of water and a bar of soap. Mal didn’t see any injuries on Evie’s head, and she was glad to wash the dried up blood out of her hair. Now, she was completely clean, but they were so far from being done with dealing with this situation.

“Alright baby, we’re here and we’ve got your back, but we need to know what we’re dealing with.” Mal told Evie as she pulled her over onto her lap. Carlos came over and sat next to her, and Jay sat on the floor in front of them.

Evie recounted the story of what she had been through. She described being dropped off by Quinton, her mother finding her in the market, their argument, and then being brought back to the house. That’s when she started to get quiet.

“You’re doing such a good job, my Princess.” Mal encouraged. “What happened after you got home?”

“She punched me in the mouth.” Mal gently ran her finger over the split on Evie’s bottom lip. “She stripped me out of my clothes, then choked me until I almost passed out.” Evie brought her fingers up to grab her neck as she spoke. Mal reached out and tangled their fingers together instead, not wanting her to hurt herself. “She said she’s been saving this because she didn’t want my body to be tainted, but that I needed a special lesson.” Evie whimpered.

“Who was it?”

“The man everyone talks about. The one who goes after women.”

Mal knew instantly who Evie was referring to, and she knew Jay and Carlos did too based on their facial expressions. Mal knew that her mother even avoided this particular villain, which was saying a lot.

Evie’s voice took on the detached tone that she tended to switch to when the story got too hard to tell. “My mother said he would tear my body apart over and over again, and then she would go get you so you could see what I let him do to me.”

Mal felt physically ill. She tightened her grasp on Evie, nuzzling her neck. She needed a minute after that. She couldn’t even imagine seeing her girlfriend broken and hurt the way her mother wanted her to be. Once Mal calmed down, she gave her a gentle kiss and then nodded to tell her to continue.

“He passed out.” Evie said, skipping over the actual details. She never told them what happened during her lessons, and Mal was eternally grateful. She hated that Evie had to carry that weight on her own, but she didn’t know if she could handle knowing the specific things her girl was put through. “I was underneath him and I wanted to get out. I reached out to grab the mattress when I was trying to get up, but something cut my hand. That’s when I got the idea to grab the knife you gave me.”

“How did you cut your hand?” Mal questioned, holding up her left hand, the one that had been sliced open. She had cleaned it with alcohol and bandaged it, but she was still curious to know.

“When I grabbed the knife, I couldn’t reach the handle, so I had to pull it by the blade. It cut my hand.” Evie’s eyes were far away and her body was trembling. Mal knew that whatever happened next wasn’t going to be good.

“I love you.” Mal reminded her.

“I love you too.” Evie stated. She turned to look at Mal. “I don’t know what to say next.”

“Just take it slow, baby. What did you do after you grabbed the knife.”

“I counted his ribs, and then I stabbed him in the back right where his heart was.”

Evie said it so quickly that it took a minute for the words to register. Mal felt her heart drop into her stomach. No, no, no. That couldn’t be right.

“His eyes opened right away and stared at me.” Evie practically whispered. “I just pulled the knife out and stabbed it into his back over and over again. I killed him.”

Mal rubbed Evie’s back and held her close. Her sweet, kind, sensitive girlfriend didn’t deserve this. While most people on the Isle were cold and hardened to violence, Evie was not. Mal had killed someone before, Jay had killed someone before, but they never intended on having Evie and Carlos follow their lead. She had never wanted Evie to have to go through this.

“I had to do it.” Evie whimpered. “If I didn’t get away from him, my mother would have kept torturing me. I had to leave, Mal. I had to do it.”

“I know, baby girl. You would never hurt someone if you didn’t have to. You did what you had to do to keep yourself safe and I am so proud of you.” Mal kissed her temple.

“I want to forget.”

“Shhh, it’s okay.” Mal started to rock her. “Are you hungry? Uma brought food.”

“I can’t eat.”

“Okay.” Mal wouldn’t push her, not after what she had been through. “Do you want to sleep?”

“I don’t think I can.”

“Let’s just rest then.”

Evie lifted her head up and looked towards the boys. “Can we lay together?”

Mal knew that sometimes, Evie didn’t react well to Jay after something like this happened. She didn’t want to trigger her, but she knew having the boys close would make her feel safer. Mal laid down with her back against the wall. She pulled Evie into her arms, and Carlos laid on Evie’s other side. Jay sat at the end of the bed, pulling Evie’s feet into his lap.

“Close your eyes, my love. It’s all over.” Mal whispered. “You can rest.”

-----

Everyone knew that the VKs were close. They all moved as a pack, and it was crazy how in tune they were with each other. Sometimes, it surprised Ben that they seemed to be able to have a whole conversation with only their eyes.

It had been a little over eight weeks now since the VK Exchange Program was open. For two months, the four of them had lived in Auradon.

Ben had finally gotten the time to get them together to help him make a list of children. He decided to go visit the girls’ room, knowing it was a Sunday and that’s where they all usually hung out on the weekends.

He could hear their voices as soon as he got out of the elevator. He frowned; were they fighting? Tension did seem to be getting higher between the four of them. Mal and Jay were arguing at breakfast yesterday, and he had even seen Evie snap at Carlos in class last week. They were subtle, but Ben had been paying close attention. He wondered what the problem was. He knew it wasn’t right, and it wasn’t something a king should do, but he walked closer to the door so he could listen.

“…and stop treating me like a fucking child! I can handle myself!”

That was Evie. While she typically seemed like the most calm and put together of the four, Ben knew better. He knew she was struggling with an eating disorder, and though Fairy Godmother couldn’t tell him any specifics, she did say that Evie was making progress. He could also tell that there was still a lot to Evie that they hadn’t even begun to figure out yet.

“That’s not the problem here! We have no idea what’s waiting! If they see us come back, they are going to bring everything they have to the table, and I’m not willing to take that risk!”

Uh-oh, if Mal was yelling at Evie, things were bad. He had seen the girls banter with each other, but it never got too serious. He wondered what she meant by ‘come back’. Come back where?

“Mal’s right, E. You need to take a couple steps back from the situation and think about what could happen.”

Jay sounded irritated. How long had they been fighting for them to all sound so over it? Ben tried to listen closer- it sounded like Jay and Mal were both on the same side, so were the two of them arguing against Carlos and Evie?

“We’ve been dealing with this for close to a year and a half now. We’ve have honestly gotten lucky to avoid most of the trouble. Evie, you can’t ruin it now.”

Nope, sounded like Carlos was on Mal and Jay’s side too. So what was bad enough that the three of them were ganging up on Evie?

“It’s been too long. I can’t just keep waiting around. It’s not fair for you to ask me to stay.”

Evie’s voice was choked up, almost like she was about to cry. Ben didn’t like the idea of her being upset.

“I know, baby. Nothing is fair in this situation, but we have to do what’s best for everyone. I need you safe and alive.”

Ben decided that now wasn’t a good time to interrupt them, so he turned and walked back to the elevator. He felt guilty for eavesdropping, but the four teenagers just fascinated him so much. He wished they would confide in him. He would do anything to help if they just gave him the chance.

-----

Carlos could see Evie’s patience waning more and more each day. She was taking new anxiety medicine, actually eating meals, and as far as he knew, she hadn’t thrown up. She actually seemed to have the eating issues in check for once, but he could tell that her mental state was a mess.

Evie wasn’t designing anymore. That was always a great outlet for her stress, but he knew that when she got too overwhelmed, she stopped. Carlos was surprised since she had people waiting on orders from her, but every time he came to the girls’ room, Evie was laying in bed.

It broke his heart to see one of his best friends struggling so much. Every day that passed, Evie got more and more restless and it was starting to rub off on everyone else.

He noticed her and Mal bickering more. It was strange because their relationship was actually at a really good place right now, and he had noticed Mal letting Evie be a lot more independent. She wasn’t policing her eating habits anymore, and that took a lot of weight off her shoulders. But now, they were arguing about little things. It was never too serious and they were fine a few minutes later, but it was a new change to their relationship that he definitely took note of.

Jay was a lot more aggressive. In their last Tourney game, he had gotten benched for getting too rough with a player on the opposite team. Carlos could see the energy practically seeping from his body, and he knew Jay was starting to get nervous. He always overcompensated for his feelings by being aggressive.

But it was Mal whose change was the most obvious. She was always on the defensive, ready to pounce on anyone who dared to get close enough. She was moody and picked fights with Jay on purpose. She even tried to bait Carlos sometimes, but he just ignored it. He hadn’t talked to her about the changes he noticed in Evie, but he could tell Mal noticed too. Mal could always pick up on the slightest change in her girlfriend. He could see she was worried, and he wondered if maybe she was overcompensating too, but with anger.

It was currently Wednesday and classes had just ended. Evie had therapy today, and on those days, Mal usually walked her to Fairy Godmother’s office and waited for her to get done. The boys would grab something to eat, and then the four of them would meet back up at Tourney practice.

“You don’t have to wait for me.” Evie told Mal. “I can go by myself today.”

Carlos saw Mal frowning immediately. “I don’t mind.”

There was something different about Evie today. She was obviously feeling anxious, and she had been biting her lip, bouncing her leg, and pinching herself all day. Her eyes looked kind of dazed, like she wasn’t completely paying attention. It gave Carlos an unsettling feeling in his stomach.

“Really, I’m fine. Go with the boys.”

“You good, E?” Carlos glanced at Jay, who was frowning. Then, he looked to Mal, who he knew could definitely tell something was up.

“Yeah, everything’s good.” She nodded her head and forced a smile.

Carlos could tell her hands were shaking. Evie’s eyes met his, and then she put her hands in her jacket pockets. She gave him an almost pleading look.

“Okay, see you at Tourney.” Carlos grabbed Jay’s arm, pulling him in the other direction. “Come on, Mal.”

Mal was still staring Evie down. “You sure you’re good?”

“I’ll see you soon.” Evie said. She leaned in and cupped Mal’s cheek, giving her a gentle kiss. “I love you.”

Now, Carlos knew something was definitely up. It was obvious that Mal and Evie loved each other, anyone with eyes could see that. But they didn’t just casually say it when they were separating in the hallway.

“Evie, dear, are you ready?” Fairy Godmother called from her office.

“I love you too.” Mal told her. She still didn’t seem convinced that she should leave. “E…”

“Bye, M.” Evie turned and went to Fairy Godmother’s office. She looked back over her shoulder at them, offering a small smile and a wave, then disappeared into the room.

“Something’s wrong.” Mal said as soon as it was just the three of them.

“Yeah, that was weird.” Jay agreed. “Has she ever told you to leave before?”

“No. It’s not only that. She was obviously nervous about something, and she’s been quiet all day. I don’t like this.”

“Let’s just go get food. I’m sure she can get to Tourney by herself after therapy.” Carlos said.

“But why would she want Mal to leave?” Jay questioned.

“Maybe she has to talk about something tough in therapy today. Maybe she had a slip up and she’s too embarrassed to tell us, but she’ll tell Dr. Bren and FG. We need to trust her.” Carlos reminded them.

Mal sighed, but nodded. “Let’s go to the cafeteria.”

-----

Evie’s palms were sweaty, but no matter how many times she wiped them on her pants, she started to sweat again. She could feel Dr. Bren’s and FG’s eyes on her as she walked into the room. She went over and sat in her usual seat.

“Hello, Evie.” Dr. Bren greeted. Evie’s relationship with the therapist had definitely improved. After seeing how much work went into trying to treat her eating disorder, Evie had a better understanding of Dr. Bren. She knew that she really was trying to help.

Right now, she had to trust that both of these Auradon women would help her. She could just sit around and wait anymore. It was time to take action.

She just hoped her friends would forgive her.

“Evie?” Fairy Godmother called out. She looked at her, trying to take a deep breath and gain the courage to actually go through with her plan.

“I have something to tell you.” Evie blurted out before she chickened out.

“We’re here to listen.” FG encouraged.

Evie shut her eyes, took a deep breath, and then told them her biggest secret. She didn’t tell them all the details (she didn’t know if she could ever tell anyone everything), but she finally admitted the secret she had been holding onto for the past two months in Auradon, and for over a year before that on the Isle. She kept her eyes glued to the table, not wanting to see the looks on their faces.

She just hoped that when they threw her back on the Isle, Mal was nowhere near her. Evie couldn’t bear the thought of Mal looking at her in disappointment.

When Evie finished speaking, she took a second to gather herself, then looked at Fairy Godmother and Dr. Bren. Both of them had tears in their eyes.

“You need to talk to Prince Ben about this.” Dr. Bren told her.

“King Adam and Queen Belle are going to want to be involved too.” Fairy Godmother added. “Do you mind if we call them?”

Evie shrugged. She knew FG and Dr. Bren wouldn’t let her refuse, so she didn’t bother to object.

“Do you want me to call Mal and the boys too?” FG asked. Evie didn’t answer. “I’m assuming they know already?” Evie nodded. “Did they know you were going to tell us?” she shook her head no. “Let’s call them. You can use the support, Evie.”

Evie just let her eyes close, hoping that she had done the right thing.

-----
Evie heard movement outside of the hideout. She tried to get to her feet, but the alcohol that was rushing through her veins made it difficult. She used the couch to help pull herself up and then stumbled over to the window.

She could see her crew, talking and joking around as they walked closer to the hideout. She wished she could be with them. It had been 51 days since she left her new home and she was ready for something to change.

Evie took another drink from the bottle as she heard a rock hit the sign. A few seconds later, the door opened up.

“E? Are you up?” Mal called out. She got up the stairs so quickly that Evie didn’t have time to hide the bottle. When she saw the alcohol, she sighed. “Baby, we talked about this. If you don’t eat enough, you’re going to get drunk way too quickly. You need your senses to stay sharp.”

“Why? It’s not like I’ll ever get to leave anyway.”

Mal frowned. “This isn’t permanent, Evie. You’re healing.”

“It’s been almost two months. I’m fine.” She brought the bottle up to her lips again.

“Yeah, real convincing.” Mal took the alcohol. “We scrounged up some fabric. Why don’t you see what you can do with it?”

“I don’t want to.” Evie objected as she plopped down on the couch. Her ribs still burned when she sat the wrong way and it made her wince.

“Come on, Eves. I was hoping you could show me.” Carlos tried.

“I don’t feel like it.”

Jay came over and sat next to her, though he kept a safe distance between them. Evie hated that. He had been so careful around her and it was pissing her off.

“You don’t have to scoot away.” She snapped.

“Huh?” Jay asked, looking at her in confusion.

“Unless you’re scooting away because you think I’m disgusting.”

“I’m just trying to give you a little space.”

“I don’t need space. I need everyone to stop treating me like I’m going to break.” Evie argued. “Why is this so different from the other million times? I fucked a guy, big deal.”

“You didn’t fuck anyone.” Mal instantly corrected. Evie knew it made her angry when she said that.

Evie scoffed. “Tell that to my mother.”

“Listen to me. I know you’re pissed, and you have every right to be angry at almost every person in this world. But not us.” Mal said, gesturing towards herself, Jay, and Carlos. “We are doing what we can to keep you safe.”

Evie studied her. “So what, you’ll just keep me locked away in the hideout? That didn’t really work for Mother Gothel, did it?”

“You’re going to stay here until you’re strong enough to fight on your own. I have every intention of getting you back out to running shit with the rest of the crew. But I need you on the top of your game first.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not.”

“Why, because I’m drinking? Who cares? Everyone on the Isle drinks.”

“Evie, it’s late. We should go to bed.” Mal said.

Evie felt her anger start to rise. No one ever let her feel the way she wanted to. Everyone was always trying to tell her how to feel.

“I fucked a guy.” Evie repeated her words from earlier. “I fucked him, then I killed him. I’m over it.”

“Stop saying that.” Mal practically growled.

“You can be mad at me, you know. I bet you hate me. I would hate me if I was you. I’m a horrible girlfriend, I cheat on you, I…”

“Will you stop!?” Mal finally yelled. Evie had baited her into it, but the volume still made her flinch. “Stop blaming yourself for things that you’re not responsible for! You didn’t make those choices, that was your mother. You are not to blame for anything that has happened to you. Don’t you understand that?”

Evie stared back at her, feeling the familiar emptiness in her chest. “Then why do I feel like it’s my fault?”

“Because you’re a good person.” Mal said, her voice much softer now. “Come here, baby.”

Evie got up, going over to where Mal was standing. The purple haired girl wrapped her up in her arms and Evie let out a sigh, relaxing into her touch.

“It doesn’t matter that he was evil because you aren’t. I am so sorry you ever had to be in the position where your only choice was to kill someone.”

“Stop apologizing.” Evie said, her voice muffled. “It’s not your fault either.”

“I know that you hate being trapped here, but I can’t let your mother or Quinton find you. If that means you’re mad at me, then so be it. I need you to be safe. You will stay here until you can fight, and then once I think you’re ready, you can start going out with us again. But Evie, no matter what, I’m not letting you go back to your mother. I should have stopped you a long time ago and I hate myself every day for not doing it.”

“You couldn’t have stopped me.” Evie told her. “I think I had to make that choice by myself. But now, I’m never going to go back. I will kill myself before I go back to her.” She sighed, feeling the lightness that came with being drunk. “I’m a mess, Mal.”

“You’ll be better soon.” Mal reassured her. “It’s going to be okay.”

-----

For the whole two months she had been locked away in the hideout, Evie had been crumbling. She was drinking, lashing out, and angry. At night, when it was just her and Mal, she usually cried and allowed herself to be comforted. Finally, after talking to Mal on day 51 of her being in hiding, Evie started to let go of a little of that anger.

A week later, school opened back up. It was August, so she should have been expecting it, but Evie had been through so much that she forgot. Mal, Jay, and Carlos started to go to class occasionally (though never at the same time). Evie wanted to go, but Mal told her it was too big of a risk. That’s when things started to change.

The first thing Mal noticed was that Evie was constantly tired. She would get home from one of their jobs or school and Evie would be fast asleep in their bed. She was always ready to sleep before any of the others, despite not really doing much throughout the day. Sometimes, she would even fall asleep on Mal’s lap after dinner when the four of them usually hung out with each other.

Then, she started feeling sore. Mal knew that Evie’s ribs had been bruised up multiple times over the years, and they had gotten messed up again sometime between the week she spent with Quinton and the last night at her mother’s castle. They had mostly healed and Evie seemed to be doing well, but then suddenly, her whole body was hurting. The only thing Mal could think of was that she must have hurt her ribs again. She did find it weird though that Evie would practically beg her for a back rub, saying that her back, chest, and feet were the places it hurt the worst.

After that, it was the vomiting. Mal would wake up in bed alone, sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the middle of the night. When she went looking for her girlfriend, she found her in the bathroom, emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet. Her first thought was that it was related to her troubles with eating, and the second thought was that it was due to all the drinking Evie had been doing lately. But then, the drinking stopped and Mal saw that the puking really came out of nowhere.

That’s when Mal started to worry. Was it nerves that was causing Evie’s behavior to change?

Then, she thought over the symptoms. Suddenly, it seemed like they had a much bigger problem on their hands.

Chapter Text

Evie didn’t know how much time had passed since she told Fairy Godmother and Dr. Bren the truth, but it felt like forever. The room was practically suffocating her. She was staring at the wall in a daze, trying to come to terms with what she had just done.

She heard FG talking on the phone to Mal, and she knew she would be here any minute. Evie was praying she had made the right choice. She couldn’t mess this up when they had so much on the line.

“Evie, honey, are you alright?” Dr. Bren asked. Her voice was too soft, and she had that look on her face that told Evie she pitied her. She wanted to be mad, she really did, but she guessed that if she was in the therapist’s position she would probably feel pity too.

All of a sudden, the door was opening and Mal, Carlos, and Jay were rushing into the room. Evie didn’t have a second to brace herself before Mal was in front of her.

“What’s wrong? What happened? Are you okay?” her eyes scanned over Evie’s face, her hands instantly coming up and resting on her shoulders.

“I’m okay.” Evie said, trying to give her a small smile.

“Why do I find that so hard to believe?” Jay wondered.

“Yeah, time to tell the truth. What’s going on, E?” Carlos questioned.

“I’m sick of waiting.” Evie told them. “I couldn’t wait anymore. It was time to do something.”

Mal tilted her head slightly to the side. “Evie, what did you do?”

“I told them the truth.” Evie practically whispered.

“What?” Mal asked. Evie wasn’t sure if she had actually not heard her, or if she just didn’t believe that she did it.

“I told them.” Evie repeated a little louder.

Mal’s jaw locked and her entire body tensed up. Carlos and Jay immediately went to either of her sides, the three of them ready to attack if needed.

“Please, sit.” Fairy Godmother encouraged. “Prince Ben and his parents are on their way. We’re going to get this all settled.”

“She’s not going back to the Isle.” Mal instantly snapped.

“Mal, no one is saying that Evie will go to the Isle.”

“You don’t know that. You don’t know what will happen when the great all-knowing king walks through the door. You have no idea all the shit that he has caused!” Mal shouted. “I don’t care what you all say, Evie is not going back to the Isle.”

“Of course she’s not.”

They all looked towards the door when they heard Ben’s voice. The young prince walked into the room. Evie assumed he felt the tension in the room because there wasn’t a trace of his usual smile on his face.

“What’s going on?” Ben asked, looking from an upset Fairy Godmother, to an angry Mal, and finally his eyes landed on Evie. “FG said you needed to talk, Evie.”

“Let’s wait for your parents. We’re all going to sit and we’ll talk this through.” Fairy Godmother stated.

Mal refused to sit, standing by Evie’s side with her hand locked on her shoulder. Carlos sat on Evie’s other side with Jay next to him. Dr. Bren was still in her seat across from them, and FG sat next to her. Ben took a seat on Mal’s other side (though he did leave a chair open for her in case she decided she wanted to sit down). There were two empty chairs left between Ben and FG.

It made Evie sick to think about talking to the King and Queen. The VKs had had very limited interaction with them, and it was honestly for the best. Everyone on the Isle blamed King Adam for all the troubles and misery that he had caused, and all of the villain children knew that it was his fault they were locked up for their parents’ crimes.

A firm knock on the door snapped Evie out of her thoughts and she jumped slightly. Mal squeezed her shoulder and Evie looked up at her pleadingly. She reached up to lock their fingers and then pulled Mal over towards the empty chair. Her girlfriend sighed but gave in. She leaned in to kiss Evie’s forehead and then sat down.

King Adam walked through the door first. He was tall, much taller than Evie remembered. She didn’t think she had seen him up close since the day they arrived in Auradon, which was now two months ago. He strutted into the room, oozing power and confidence. It made Evie sick.

Queen Belle followed after him. Evie was surprised by her size too, not remembering that she was so tiny. She seemed softer, and stopped to cup Ben’s cheek as she walked past him.

“Hello, Fairy Godmother.” Adam greeted. “What kind of trouble have they gotten themselves into?”

That statement instantly rubbed the VKs the wrong way. Evie could feel the tension in the room heighten as her friends tensed up, sitting a little straighter. She felt like she was going to throw up. There was no way that this arrogant man sitting in front of her would ever care about her problems.

“I don’t appreciate that comment.” Ben said, surprising everyone. “Mal, Jay, Evie, and Carlos have been practically model students and have had very little issues since coming to Auradon two months ago. It’s ignorant for you to assume that they got into trouble, Dad.”

Evie felt a chill run down her spine. Why did Ben stand up for them? His father looked angry. How would he punish him for talking back?

“Ben…” Adam began.

“It’s my fault.” Evie interrupted. She jumped to her feet, causing all eyes to turn to her.

“What is your fault, Evie?” Fairy Godmother asked.

“I’m the one with a problem. Ben shouldn’t get in trouble for saying something. I’m the one who is responsible.”

Belle was the one to stand. She slowly approached Evie, who took a step back, nearly stumbling when she bumped into her chair. “Evie, Ben isn’t in trouble.” She told her with a gentle smile. “We know he is going to be king soon, and we value hearing his thoughts and opinions. His father and I would never hurt him for speaking up when someone is wrong. I agree with Ben; Adam shouldn’t have made assumptions.”

Evie frowned. They weren’t going to hurt Ben? Adam wouldn’t care that he talked back to him?

“Are you alright?” Belle wondered.

Evie’s eyes darted over to Adam. He was frowning, but he was still sitting. His fists weren’t clenched and he didn’t seem tense. Maybe it really was okay.

“Yes.” Evie said, feeling her cheeks flush in embarrassment.

“Evie, are you okay with all of us being in the room?” Dr. Bren wondered. She was sitting so quietly that Evie honestly forgot she was there. “If you want, some of us can leave.”

Evie eyes darted towards Adam again, then back to Dr. Bren. “I’m okay.”

“E, come sit.” Mal ordered, grabbing her hand and pulling her back over to her chair. She didn’t let go of her hand even once she sat down. Mal rubbed soothing circles into her skin, keeping her grounded. The room was silent as everyone settled down and adjusted to each other’s presence.

Ben was the one to finally break. “Fairy Godmother, why are we here today? What’s going on?”

Evie bit down hard on her lip as she stared at the older woman. She knew that she had to come clean. There was no way FG or Dr. Bren would just pretend that they didn’t hear her biggest secret. If she wanted things to change, she had to tell.

Before Evie could speak, Mal was pulling her into a hug. Evie took a deep breath, trying to relax for a second.

“You’ve got this, baby.” Mal whispered into her ear. “The boys and I have your back, always. You can do it.”

Evie knew she was right. She had to be strong and confident right now. She sat up straight and looked the King of Auradon right in the eyes.

“I have a baby.”

The room was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop. All eyes were on the King and Queen as they reacted to the news. Ben’s mouth dropped open and he started to stutter.

“A…a baby?” Ben looked at her in surprise. “How? When?”

Evie looked right at him, knowing she would have to answer whatever questions that were coming next as best as she could. “She’s eight months old.”

“You have a daughter.” Ben said in disbelief. “What happened to her?”

“She’s on the Isle with someone I trust.” Evie responded. “But there’s not a lot of time, Ben. You’ve heard the reports that things are getting tense on the Isle. There are fights for territory constantly. My child has been kept a secret from almost everyone, including people there. There are people that would stop at nothing to hurt her if they were to find out she exists.”

“Like the guy who video chatted you?”

Evie felt her breath catch in her throat. “Especially him.”

“I’m not understanding what we’re talking about here.” Adam interrupted. “You have a child? Why were we not notified about this before you were taken off the Isle?”

“Because I had to keep her a secret so she would be safe. She’s not safe on the Isle anymore.”

“You are sixteen.” Belle said. “How old were you when she was born?”

“She was born five days before my 16th birthday.”

“When I had Ben, I was in my 20s and it was difficult. You are so young, sweetheart. I worry about how you will cope with being a mother when you are still a child.” Her voice was gentle, but Evie felt herself tense at what she was saying.

“The VK Exchange Program was barely voted in, Ben. People were weary of bringing children over from the Isle already. What do you think people will say when they find out one of the kids you brought over is a teenaged mother?” Adam asked.

Evie felt her eyes fill with tears. She fucked up. There was no way they were going to help her bring her baby to Auradon. She heard Mal practically growl beside her.

“That doesn’t matter.” Ben interrupted before anyone else could speak. He stood and started to pace around the room. “No one knows the first thing about what these four went through on the Isle. Even with the very little that I have been lucky enough to learn, I know that they went through hell. Now you’re going to tell Evie that she can’t have her child because you’re more worried about what other people are going to think? You have said it yourself a million times, Dad. The Isle of the Lost is dangerous and full of villains. That is exactly why we need to get Evie’s child to safety.”

“Do you honestly think we could just have someone go in and grab this one child and get out safely? There’s no way.” Adam objected. “I’m assuming the child is with her father. What will he say?”

It took everything in Evie not to flinch at the statement. “She’s not with her father.”

Adam raised an eyebrow. “Where is the father, or am I wrong to assume you know who it is?”

Evie felt Mal rise up to defend her, but someone else beat her to the punch.

“I’m right here.” Jay announced.

Evie looked to him in surprise. That was definitely unexpected, but she could understand why he had said it; telling them all she had been forced into sleeping with men by her mother was probably not going to lead them in the right direction. She glanced at the others, trying to gage their reactions.

“So you both made the conscious decision to leave your child on the Isle, knowing it was dangerous, and didn’t think to inform us as soon as you arrived?” Adam clarified.

“Why don’t we drop the high and mighty act?”

Evie nearly groaned when she heard Mal join the conversation. She was already pissed off, so she knew that anything she said wouldn’t be helpful.

“Excuse me?” Adam asked, his voice getting deeper.

“Are you really going to sit here and blame a sixteen year old girl for the issues you caused? You can say whatever you want about Evie leaving her daughter behind, but you are the cause of all of this. Everything that happened to us was because of the island you created. You knew we existed and chose to let us rot for our parents’ mistakes. You don’t even have an inkling of an idea of what Evie has been through on the Isle, what any of us have been through. You don’t get to stand there and pass judgment when it’s all your fault.”

“I have given countless resources and created programs to help the people that live there. I don’t understand how I am at fault for your girlfriend choosing to sleep with your friend.” Adam responded. The VKs scoffed, realizing the king was even more blind to the issues on the Isle than they thought.

Evie knew that no matter what she said, there was no way Adam would agree to let her bring her baby over to Auradon. She would do whatever it took to save her child.

“What if I bring her to Auradon and give her to a good family?” Evie asked, causing everyone to look at her. “No one ever has to know she’s mine. I just want her to be safe.”

The room was silent for a moment as everyone thought over what she said. Finally, Adam spoke.

“The only reason my guards were able to collect the four of you was because Maleficent allowed it. How will I know that my guards will be safe this time around if they are expected to pick up a child that has been kept a secret?”

“We’ll go get her.” Mal answered. “We don’t need any guards. The four of us know the Isle better than anyone else. We can get in and get out.”

Adam looked to Belle, then Ben, then Fairy Godmother. “What are your opinions?”

“The child deserves to be kept safe.” Fairy Godmother said immediately. Her eyes met with Evie’s, and she felt a little unsettled at how concerned the older woman was.

“I agree.” Belle stated.

“That child should be with her mother.” Ben argued.

“Then that settles it.” Adam stood. “The four of you will go collect the child and then she will be given to an Auradon family.” He exited the room.

“I can start looking for a family.” Belle told Evie a moment later. “We’ll find somewhere safe where she will be loved and taken care of, alright?”

Evie just nodded, feeling completely empty inside.

Ben came over. “Evie, I want to help. I’ll do what I can, okay?”

“Okay.” She practically whispered. Ben and Belle left, leaving just the VKs, Fairy Godmother, and Dr. Bren.

“How are you feeling, Evie?” Dr. Bren asked.

“Can we be done?” she replied, not looking up from her lap.

“Sweetheart, I am so sorry.” Fairy Godmother said as she came over.

“What does it matter? She needs to be safe and now she will be. Now she’ll have a real family instead of a fucked up 16 year old dyke with an eating disorder.”

“Evie!” FG gasped.

But she was already up and exiting the room. As soon as she was out the door, she took off running. She heard the others calling her name, but she ignored it. She ran as fast as could, feeling her lungs burning as she gasped for air. She just needed to get away from here.

-----

Jay and Carlos were sprawled out on the couch in the girls’ room, but Mal hadn’t stopped pacing. It had been two hours since Evie ran off and she hadn’t heard from her. She was worried that she might do something drastic.

“I can’t believe this happened.” Mal practically whispered.

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Evie told.” Carlos said.

“How is it not a bad thing?” Mal shouted. “They are taking her away!”

“This whole time, we’ve been saying that we’ll find ways to fit in, we’ll get them to like us, we’ll show them we’re not a problem and then they’ll let us bring her here. But it’s pretty obvious now that that wasn’t going to happen. King Adam barely even listened, and I doubt things would be any different a month or two down the line.”

“It doesn’t matter. We’re fucked. We’re in an even worse place than we started out in. At least on the Isle, Evie had her baby.”

They heard the dorm room door open up and a second later, Evie came in. Her face was red, she was sweaty, and she looked disheveled, which was definitely unusual for her.

Mal went over and smashed into her, pulling her into her arms. Evie instantly buried her face in her neck.

“I’m sorry for running.” She whimpered.

“Shhh, it’s okay. You needed some space to think, I get that.” Mal leaned back so she could see her face. “How do you feel?”

“Like shit.” Evie deadpanned.

“We’ll figure this out.”

“What is there to figure out, M? He’s the King of Auradon. If he says I have to give her away, then I don’t really have a lot of choices. This whole thing blew up in my face and I’m a fucking idiot for ever believing it would work.”

“The way I see it, we have two options.” Jay spoke up. “Option A- we go get the baby, bring her here, then give her to a family. Option B- we go back to the Isle and stay there.”

Mal hated both of those choices. She didn’t want to admit it, but she loved being in Auradon. Even though they were hashing out all of Evie’s troubles and it was hard, she knew it was only temporary. They could truly be happy here. They were safe, well-fed, and had everything they needed. She had never wanted something as badly as she wanted to live in Auradon with Evie, the baby, and the boys.

But if they went back to the Isle, Evie could keep her child. Mal had watched how hard she fought to bring that baby into the world and she knew that no matter what she thought, it was Evie’s choice. If she wanted to stay on the Isle, then Mal would die making sure she was able to stay there without having to worry about her mother or Quinton.

Tears were pouring down Evie’s cheeks, her voice raspier than usual. “We have to bring her to Auradon. Even if she’s not with me, I need her to be safe. I want her to have a good life and to not have to be hidden away. She is so little that she won’t remember any of this anyway. She can be happy.”

“Baby.” Mal whispered, pulling her back into a hug. She kissed her cheek. “I’m so sorry.”

That’s when she started to sob. “I wish there was another option. I don’t want to give my baby away.”

Mal pulled her down to the floor so she could sit on her lap. She held her tightly. “I know, baby girl.” She didn’t know what else to say.

Evie just leaned into her and cried until they both finally fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Uma hadn’t had any issues with Mal’s crew since the day they found Evie and brought her back to the ship. They saw one another occasionally at school and passed each other in the hallway without even a glance. This was much different than their usual verbal beatdowns and physical brawls. One thing that did surprise Uma was that she hadn’t seen Evie since.

She was surprised when she went to her locker one day and found Carlos and Jay standing against it.

“We need a meeting.” Jay said, always one to jump straight to the point.

“When and where?”

“Somewhere private, maybe Curl Up ‘N Dye? Tonight at 7.”

“I’ll bring my boys.” Uma agreed. “Is Blue coming?”

Carlos shrugged. “Guess you’ll have to show up to find out.”

After school, Uma walked with Gil and Harry back to the ship. “We have a meet tonight with Mal’s crew.”

“Really?” Harry perked up instantly. She felt for her first mate. Though he would never admit it out loud, she knew he had been worried.

“Yep. I don’t care what the situation is, we need to prepare for the worst. Make sure you’re ready to go tonight.”

The three pirates left their ship with enough time to get to the hair salon. Curl Up ‘N Dye was right on the edge of their territories, so it was usually where Mal’s crew and Uma’s crew did their business (when Lady Tremaine wasn’t around, of course).

When they walked in, they found the four teenagers already waiting. Mal was sitting in one of the salon chairs with Evie standing next to her. Carlos was in a chair a few feet to her right, and Jay was leaning up against a post closest to the door.

Uma’s eyes scanned over Evie; after that night, she had honestly been concerned that she was dead. The only reason she knew she was alive was because if anything had happened to the Isle Princess, Mal would have been on a rampage. Uma had noticed that her rival had been laying low, and she was determined to figure out why tonight.

“Hey Eves.” Harry greeted, approaching the girl slowly.

“Hi Harry.” She gave him a small smile.

“Can I give you a hug?” she nodded, and Harry went over and hugged her. Even Uma could see how tense Evie got, and Harry let go pretty quickly. “You look good.”

“Much better than last time we saw you.” Uma chimed in. She came over to stand closer to Harry, Gil following behind her. She couldn’t leave her first mate right next to the enemy without backup. Her eyes turned to Mal, seeing the purple haired girl looked far from her usual uninterested expression. “What’s this about, Mal?”

“I want to propose an alliance.”

Silence settled over the room. As long as Uma could remember, she had been fighting with Mal. Their mothers were enemies, making the two of them do their bidding and pitting them against each other. She couldn’t imagine a world where she wasn’t constantly looking over her shoulder and waiting for Mal to stab her in the back.

It didn’t go unnoticed that as soon as Mal said the words, she reached out and grabbed Evie’s hand, pulling her closer. Uma wanted to say no. She guaranteed that if the roles were switched, Mal would say no without a second thought and that would be the end of the conversation. But as she stared at the blue haired girl, she knew she at least had to consider it.

“I’m listening.”

“Something important came up, and we need to keep our territory protected. The last thing either of us wants is for Quinton to get in and take any extra territory.”

“Agreed.” Uma and Mal may not get along, but they had a common goal. They wanted the best for the Isle children. There were plenty of innocent kids who didn’t deserve to be hurt or used. If Uma didn’t have control of a territory, then Mal would be her second choice. If Quinton managed to take over more space, he would hurt all those children without any remorse. “But why can’t you protect it yourself?”

“Because there are more important things going on right now.”

Uma raised an eyebrow. “More important than your territory?” There were only three things that Mal valued more than her power, and they were standing right in front of her. Uma noticed the way Mal’s arm was locked around Evie’s waist. She noticed that Evie had dark bags under her eyes and still didn’t look completely healed up.

“Yes.” Mal said simply.

“Then why don’t I just take that territory from you? Why would you come to me and expose your weakness, knowing I could just attack and steal it all?”

“As much as we argue, I know you’re not that kind of person.” Mal said. She stood up, walking over to stand right in front of Uma. “I’m coming to you because I have no other choice. This is serious, and if anyone else finds out, we’re all dead.”

“I want to know what’s going on.” Uma decided. “We can form an alliance if you tell me why you need to.”

“It’s none of your business.” Mal snapped.

Uma shrugged. “Then I guess you don’t need my help. Come on, boys.” She turned to leave.

“Wait!” Evie called out. The pirates faced back towards her as she walked up to stand next to Mal. “It’s, um, it’s me.” She stuttered out nervously.

“What about you?” Harry asked gently.

“I’m pregnant.”

Uma’s eyes widened. No, there was absolutely no way. It had to be a trick. “Are you serious?”

Instantly, Carlos and Jay had moved up to stand next to the girls. Mal was holding Evie’s hand tightly, her body angled so that she was still slightly blocking her.

“We work together to keep Quinton out of both of our territories.” Mal stated. “That’s the deal, take it or leave it.”

Uma took one look at Harry and knew instantly what his choice was. She glanced at Gil, seeing the determined look on his face. “Looks like we’ve got an alliance.”

-----

Despite the life-altering bombshell that Evie had dropped, things were going on as normal. They were still expected to go to classes, they still had to eat meals, and they were still going to their normal activities.

It had been three days since Evie had announced that she had a daughter, and Mal had been on edge ever since. She felt so much more protective and defensive over her girl now that people knew her secret. It was obvious that Evie was struggling, and Mal was trying her best to help her, but what could she really say? She was devastated knowing that they would have to risk their lives to go get Evie’s daughter just to then pass her off to a new family.

When they walked into Goodness Class, they were surprised to see that Ben was there instead of Fairy Godmother. He smiled and Mal fought the urge to roll her eyes. How was he still so happy? She took her usual seat and stared up at the prince.

“I asked Fairy Godmother to give us this time to come up with a plan for going back to the Isle of the Lost.” Ben came over and pulled out a chair, moving it to between the two tables the VKs occupied. “So what are you all thinking?”

“Simple. Jay and I will go back to the Isle, get the baby, then come back here. End of discussion.” Mal stated.

“No.” Evie immediately argued. “That’s ridiculous.”

Carlos nodded in agreement. “We’re coming too.”

“Me too.” Ben agreed.

“No.” the four VKs all refused in perfect unison.

“If I’m going to be a good king, then I need to see my entire kingdom. I will never know how to help the people on the Isle if I don’t see it. You all can help show me it so I know what changes need to be made.”

Mal shook her head. “This isn’t show and tell, Benny-boo. We’re not exactly popular on the Isle right now. This is going to be dangerous and I don’t have time to worry about unnecessary people. My only priority is getting Evie and the baby off the Isle.”

Evie rolled her eyes. “You need to relax.”

But Mal could see right through her. Evie had cried herself to sleep every night since she told FG and Dr. Bren, and she would get tense and shaky every time the Isle was brought up.

“I know you don’t want to go back there.” Mal said, reaching out to stroke her cheek. “I can see on your face how scared you are. It’s not necessary for you to go. Jay and I can handle it.”

“Yeah E, we’ve got it.” Jay insisted.

“You shouldn’t have to go alone.” Evie argued. “It doesn’t matter what you say. Carlos and I are coming.”

“I’m going too.” Ben added.

“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” Carlos told the prince.

“Please, M.” Evie said quietly. “I need to spend as much time with her as I can while she’s still mine.”

That statement broke Mal’s heart, and she knew she couldn’t fight against Evie on that. “Okay, if you and Carlos are up to it, you can go.” She kissed her nose. “I don’t care what happens to anyone else as long as you and the baby are together and safe.” Mal told her.

Jay snorted, ruining the moment as usual. “Wow, thanks for your concern, Mal.”

“You and Carlos can handle yourselves.” Mal replied. “Ben, on the other hand? Not so much.”

“I know you don’t think I should go, and I respect your opinion, but I need to do this.” Ben said.

“Whatever, just don’t get in the way.” Mal finally gave in. If he wanted to kill himself, then that was his choice. She was dead serious when she said that the only people she cared about were Evie and her daughter.

“Can I ask a question?” Ben wondered. The four VKs looked at him expectantly. “Evie, what is your daughter’s name? I’ve never heard you guys say it.”

Evie’s eyes took on the faraway look that was typical when she was speaking about her daughter. Mal squeezed her hand in support, wanting nothing more than to take all the pain away. Evie smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Her name is Gabriella.”

Ben smiled. “That’s a beautiful name.”

“Not like anyone ever uses it.” Jay joked. “We call her Ellie most of the time.”

“Her name is similar to Evie’s.” Mal informed Ben. “Her whole first name is Genevieve and obviously we call her Evie, so we named the baby Gabriella and we call her Ellie.”

“Can you tell me about her?”

“She’s absolutely perfect.” Evie practically whispered. Mal grabbed her arm, pulling her out of her chair and over onto her lap. She wrapped her arms around Evie’s waist and rested her chin on her shoulder.

“She’s like a mini-Evie.” Carlos said. “Same eyes, nose, lips, she even has the dimple in her chin.”

“Ellie’s the best baby.” Jay joined in. “Her laugh is the cutest thing in the world.”

Mal couldn’t resist joining in. “She doesn’t cry very much. When she smiles, her nose scrunches up, just like someone else I know.” She reached out and tapped Evie’s nose, making the exact smile she was talking about show up on her face.

“I can’t wait to meet her.” Ben told them. “She sounds amazing.”

Evie nodded. “She is. That’s why I had to do all this, Ben. I had to lie so I could keep her safe.”

“I understand. You are her mom, Evie. You did what was best for her.”

Mal leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss to Evie’s neck. “I agree.” She tightened her arms around her, feeling Evie lean more into her touch. She could feel that her breathing was getting faster. “Nice slow breaths, baby. You’re okay.”

“Let’s talk supplies.” Jay said, drawing attention away from how much Evie was struggling. Mal was grateful, and even happier when it only took Evie a second to calm down.

“We’ll need food and medical supplies.” Carlos began. Ben pulled out a piece of paper and started to make a list.

“We’re going to have to find appropriate outfits.” Evie chimed in. She looked over at Ben in his perfectly ironed suit and raised an eyebrow. “I’ll make something for you.”

“Where is Ellie right now?” Ben asked.

Mal felt weird hearing the future king of Auradon say Evie’s daughter’s name. She knew Ben was trying to help, so she didn’t comment on it.

“She’s with my brother.” Evie responded.

“So you do have a real brother.” Ben commented, obviously referring to the video chat where Quinton had lied and said he was Evie’s brother. “Is that why you were so nervous when you thought he was calling? You thought something happened to your daughter?”

“Yes.” Mal said. She decided to quickly change the subject before Ben could even think to ask any more questions about Q. She grabbed out a piece of paper and a pencil and drew a quick sketch of the Isle. “Here is where the bridge is, and here is where we have to go.” It was a pretty long walk, and it would definitely be dangerous.

“Why didn’t Ellie stay with her father?” Ben asked, turning to look at Evie.

“Were you not listening?” Jay questioned. “I’m her father.”

Mal didn’t believe for a second that Ben actually bought that. Maybe Adam and Belle did, but Ben wasn’t stupid, and she guaranteed that Fairy Godmother and Dr. Bren had been able to piece together enough about Evie’s past to know that it probably wasn’t her choice to conceive a child.

She watched as the blonde boy just nodded. “Right, sorry. It’s just weird to believe that Evie could ever be with someone other than Mal, especially one of their mutual best friends.”

Jay shrugged. “It was a short lived thing.”

Mal couldn’t help but smile at the way Evie just leaned further into her. She looked up at her with a grimace that made her laugh out loud.

Carlos smiled. “That bad, E?”

Evie just shook her head. “My lips are sealed.”

-----

As soon as all of their commitments for the day were taken care of and they had eaten dinner, Evie and Mal went back to their dorm room. The boys had been staying with them for the past few days and they had gone to their room to grab some clothes for school tomorrow.

“Wanna take a bath?” Evie asked, squeezing Mal’s hand to catch her attention. She could see that her girlfriend’s eyes were unfocused and it was obvious that her mind was somewhere else. Mal did such a good job at taking care of her, so she intended on returning the favor.

“Mmhmm.” Mal leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss against her cheek.

“Come on.” Evie led the way to the bathroom. She turned the knob for the water, then stuck her hand underneath it to test the temperature. Once it was warm enough, she plugged the drain and let the water fill the tub.

Mal was leaning up against the sink and she smiled when they made eye contact. “You’re beautiful, you know that?” she said softly.

Evie felt her cheeks flush. “So are you.” She went over to her and grabbed the bottom of Mal’s shirt, then tugged it over her head. Evie kissed her forehead, smiling when she let out a content sigh. She unhooked Mal’s bra, then pulled down her pants and underwear all at once.

“Your turn.” Mal repeated the same process until they were both naked. “Facing each other, or you in my arms?” she asked as she stepped over the side of the tub and sat down in the borderline hot water.

“Facing.” Evie insisted. Though she loved being in Mal’s arms, she wanted to talk and find out what was going on with her. She got in and sat down so she was across from her, thinking her millionth silent thank you to whoever invented the giant tubs in the Auradon dorm rooms. “What’s going on in that pretty little head of yours?”

Mal rolled her eyes, causing Evie to giggle; that was a phrase that Mal said to her constantly. “Stupid.”

“I’m serious though.” Evie tucked a loose piece of hair behind Mal’s ear. “You’re always talking about how well you know me. You know I know you just as well, right?”

“You’ve got enough on your plate, baby. You don’t need me to add even more.”

“You shouldn’t have to keep it all in to protect my feelings. I’m a big girl, M. I can handle it.” Evie cupped her cheeks gently and leaned in to press a kiss against her lips. “Talk to me.”

When she pulled away, she could see Mal’s control waning. Her bottom lip was wobbling and her eyes were darting around the room, trying to find any excuse not to talk. As much as Mal preached about Evie expressing her feelings, she wasn’t very good at following her own advice.

Evie decided to help her out because she was pretty sure she knew what the problem was. “You have been very quiet ever since I told them about Ellie. I’m surprised you haven’t been arguing with me more about letting them take her away.”

Mal let out a shaky breath and Evie knew she hit the nail right on the head. “It’s not my choice.”

The blue haired girl instantly frowned. “Like hell it’s not your choice. You may not have given birth to her, but she’s basically your daughter too. When we were on the Isle, it was you rocking her to sleep at night. It was you who would take her when I was so exhausted I could barely keep my eyes open. It was you who sat with me and brought me ice packs when I was sore from breastfeeding. It was you who made Ellie laugh for the first time.”

Mal looked straight down, refusing to acknowledge what she had just said. Evie put her hand under her chin and tilted her face up carefully.

“You’re allowed to talk about her too, babe. I know you’re feeling just as shitty about this situation as I am.”

She shook her head. “I don’t want to put more stress on you.”

“You don’t stress me out by talking about your feelings. I will be more upset if you just sit here quietly and pretend like nothing is happening. I need you to know that it will never be okay with me that you push your own feelings down so that you don’t hurt me. I always want to hear how you feel, M.” she held both of her hands. “Please talk to me.”

Suddenly, a sob escaped from Mal’s lips. It honestly caught Evie off guard. Instantly, Mal’s breathing quickened as she finally allowed herself to feel. “I’m sorry.” Evie just kissed her cheek and smoothed her hair down, hoping it would encourage her to speak. “I just…I wanted us to be a family.”

Evie nodded. “Me too. More than anything.”

“None of this is fair!” Mal sobbed. “We have fought so fucking hard for this. We left behind our six month old baby to come to Auradon to try and make a better life for her. I would have never, ever imagined it would have ended with us having to give her away. We are her family. You, me, Carlos, and Jay. She should be with us!”

Evie pulled Mal into her chest, hugging her tightly the way that Mal always did for her when she was upset. She stroked her back in circles.

“I just want to know when it’s been enough. When is the world going to stop constantly shitting on us? Ellie was supposed to be our fresh start. She was our chance to finally put some good in the world. We were going to raise her to be intelligent and confident and to help her understand she is beautiful and has her own voice. How the fuck do they expect us to just walk over that bridge and pass her off to whatever random asshole they pick? Besides that, why couldn’t they let you be involved in picking the family? They don’t even know Ellie, so how could they possibly know what she needs? It’s just such bullshit!” she shouted through her tears.

“I know.” Evie said soothingly.

“But do you know the worst part? My heart is fucking shattered for you. You had this pregnancy suddenly forced on you out of nowhere and though it was a horrible situation, some good came out of it with Ellie. You were so sick, so sore, so exhausted and you had to hide for a year and half. You have been through so much, and then you had to push a child out of your body at fifteen years old. When that little girl came into this world, something changed with you, Evie. You felt so broken, and when she was born, it was like most of you healed. You have made so much progress since we came to Auradon. What the fuck is this going to do to you now? How are you going to be after you give away your daughter?”

Evie felt her throat tighten at Mal’s words. She had been thinking all of these things for the past three days, and it hurt her heart to know that Mal had been suffering through the same thoughts in silence.

“I’m going to be a mess again.” Evie whispered.

Mal looked up at her with so much sadness. “I don’t know how I’m going to put you back together if I’m broken too.”

Evie hugged her tighter and let their foreheads press together. “We’ll have to figure it out together. One step at a time.”

“I don’t want to give her away.”

There it was. Evie had been waiting for that since the moment the decision was made. Mal had been very uncharacteristically silent on the matter and Evie had been waiting for her to confess.

“Me either.” Evie agreed. “But I don’t think we really have a choice unless we stay on the Isle. Now with Ben coming, I don’t know if that’s even an option.”

“We can get rid of him easily.” Mal said. “If you really wanted to stay, we could find a way.”

“I’m scared.” Evie whispered. “My…my mother…”

“She’s dead.” Mal interrupted. “No matter what I have to do, your mother and Quinton are going to be dead. Even if I have to die trying.”

“No.” Evie objected. “See, that’s the issue. I know that it’s going to come down to us having to get rid of them because there are literally no other options. But I can’t lose you, M. Having Ellie doesn’t matter if I don’t have you.” She stroked her cheek. “I need you.”

“We’ll figure it out.” Mal dismissed, but Evie knew the truth. If they went back to the Isle, Mal would instantly get herself into trouble by trying to kill Evie’s two biggest tormentors. Evie didn’t want to give away Ellie, but she couldn’t lose Mal either. “I’m sure Uma will give back my territory. Or maybe I don’t even want it back. Maybe I want to get away from all the villain bullshit and we’ll just live in some quiet little cottage on the edge of the Isle away from all the drama. You, me, and Ellie. The boys can have one next door.”

Evie smiled sadly. “As nice as that sounds, I think we both know that’s impossible. If you wanted to escape from all that, we would have to kill your mother too.”

“We’re sixteen.” Mal stated. “None of this is fucking fair.”

“We have to get Ellie off the Isle before she falls into the same cycle as us. Keeping her away from our parents and anyone else who would want to hurt her is more important than her being with us.” Evie practically whispered. “I hate it, but it’s true.”

“I just want us to be happy.” Mal said. She leaned back, pulling Evie with her so that she was on her lap. “I want us to get a nice little castle, just like you have always wanted. You’re a fashion designer and I’m an artist. We have our beautiful, perfect Ellie and we raise her together- she calls you Mama and me Mommy. We give her a little sibling that we plan when it’s a good time for us. The boys come and visit at least three times a week, most of the kids from the Isle are in Auradon, and everyone is safe. Is that so much to ask for?”

Evie’s eyes filled with tears. She and Mal had obviously talked about their future before, but a few details stuck out more than others. “You want Ellie to call you Mommy?”

Mal rarely blushed, but her cheeks turned bright red. “I, um, I’ve thought about it.”

“She would be so lucky to call you Mommy.” Evie kissed her. “Thank you for helping me with my baby, M. The six months we were a family were the best months of my life. You stepped up and helped take care of a baby that you had no obligation to, and I will always appreciate that.”

“Of course I had an obligation to her. Evie, I seriously don’t think you understand how much you mean to me. You are the only reason I am alive. There is nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for you. I love you so fucking much.”

“I love you so fucking much too.” Evie replied with a smile. “You really would want to have another baby with me?”

“I would have a hundred babies with you if that’s what you wanted.” Mal gave her a kiss, letting their lips linger for a few seconds. “When we’re older, I would love for us to plan a child together. I want you to be able to enjoy being pregnant.”

Evie raised an eyebrow. “Who said I’m the one having the baby?”

Mal rolled her eyes. “Shut up, you know you would want to.”

The taller girl smiled. “Yeah, I would.”

“You deserve to have a nice, happy pregnancy, an easy labor with someone who actually knows what they’re doing, and to get to raise a baby without any fear.”

Evie rested her head on her shoulder. “That sounds amazing.”

Mal kissed her forehead. “One day, we’ll make it happen.”

Chapter Text

Evie had never been as scared as the moment she found out she was pregnant. It was true that fear had been the dominant emotion for most of her life; she was no stranger to being afraid. But this was the first time she had ever been scared for another person.

Of course Evie loved and cared about her friends, but she never had to be scared for them. Mal, Jay, and even Carlos could handle themselves and they could always bounce back from anything that happened. But this…this baby wouldn’t have that same ability.

She would be a liar if she said she didn’t consider finding a way to get rid of the child. That had been her immediate thought and she was sure she could find the right mix of chemicals to drain the clump of cells out of her body. But then, she started to think more and more about it. What would make her any different from her mother if she hurt the child that was growing inside of her?

Evie was downright terrified during the pregnancy. Every morning she woke up wondering if she was still safe, and every night she went to sleep praying that no one would find their hideout. She was trapped and had to rely completely on the others, and luckily she trusted them to keep her safe.

But when that baby was born, Evie felt some of the fear melt away. It was as if part of her heart was healed. Little pieces of her that she thought were gone forever suddenly fused back together. Over the past six months, that little girl reached to parts of her heart that even Mal couldn’t touch.

Evie had never felt so whole.

But loving little Gabriella had a price, and she had to pay it in order to keep her baby safe. When the letters from Auradon arrived and Maleficent informed Mal that they had no choice but to go, Evie knew she had to act quickly. Other than Mal and the boys, there were only two people she could trust with her daughter. Arrangements were made and the night before they left for Auradon, it was time to act.

Evie had spent the whole day cuddling with her sweet Ellie. She carried the six month old around the hideout- bouncing her, singing to her, feeding her, and trying to give off enough love that Ellie would be able to soak it up and hold onto it while she was gone. Every time she looked into Ellie’s light brown eyes, or every time she ran her fingers through hair so black that it had a blue tint, she felt her healed heart being chipped away again.

“It’s time, E.” Mal said softly. She had been by Evie’s side, trying to help her in any way she could and taking over when she got too upset.

They had decided that Jay would be the one to take Ellie to Evie’s brother. It would be too long of a trip for Carlos to do on his own, Evie couldn’t leave, and Mal would have to be there to take care of her heartbroken girlfriend. Jay was the best decision.

“Can I say goodbye?” Carlos questioned. Evie nodded and walked over to him, transferring the baby carefully into his arms. “Hey Ellie, we’re going to miss you so much, you know that? But we will do our best to make sure things are safe so you can come be with us. We won’t forget about you.” He kissed her cheek. “I promise I’ll take care of your mama for you. I love you, little princess.” He held her close to his chest, her tiny little fist coming up and touching his cheek.

Evie felt her heart clench. She was so lucky to have found this family for her daughter. Ellie deserved to have the best of everything, and the four adults in her life were definitely the best family she could have ever asked for.

Mal was the one to stand and go pick her up. Evie felt her eyes instantly fill with tears when Mal picked up her daughter and cuddled her close to her chest. She pressed her lips against Ellie’s forehead and let her eyes shut, just standing there and rocking her for a few moments in silence.

“I’m sorry, Ellie girl.” Mal whispered. “I’m sorry we have to leave you behind.” Ellie made a tiny noise and held onto a piece of Mal’s hair. “God, you look so much like your mama. You’re strong like her too. I know that you will be okay while we’re gone. We’re making a safer life for you and as soon as we’re able to, we’re bringing you to Auradon. I promise I will fight every single day to bring you with us. I love you.”

Mal came over and sat next to Evie on the couch. The blue haired girl looked at the two people she loved most in the world, noticing the lone tear that slid down Mal’s cheek. Evie leaned in and kissed it away, then pressed a gentle kiss to Mal’s lips.

“Here, baby.” Mal held Ellie out and Evie reached out to take her.

“I don’t know what to say you to you, my little love. You are so innocent and I know you won’t remember this time, but my heart is still broken. I hope you never question how much I love you because I’m doing this all for you. You will never have the life that I did, and you will never know the pain or unbearableness of growing up on the Isle.” She stroked a hand through her hair, hoping to soothe her baby to sleep. “My perfect baby girl.” She stroked her cheek, traced over her tiny lips, gently touched her angelic eyelashes.

Ellie let out a content sigh as her eyes fluttered shut. Evie leaned down and kissed her forehead, the tip of her nose, her cheeks, her dimpled chin, and finally her little lips.

“I swear that I will come back to you. No matter what I have to do, we will always be together, Gabriella.” She held her close to her chest.

Ellie nuzzled closer to her neck. Evie felt Mal’s hand come up to rest on her back and she leaned into her girlfriend, letting her wrap both of them in her arms. It only took a few minutes before Ellie fell asleep.

“It’s only temporary, Princess.” Mal whispered before kissing her temple. “We’ll see her soon.”

Evie didn’t want to hand her baby to someone else. She didn’t want Jay to have to sneak into the night, dodging enemies to pass her daughter off to her brother. She didn’t want an entire ocean and magical bridge separating her from her child.

“Mal.” She whimpered.

“I know, baby. I’m so sorry.” Mal hugged her tighter, being careful not to squish the six month old.

Evie knew it couldn’t be avoided any longer. She slowly rose to her feet, cradling her daughter against her chest. She closed her eyes and tried to memorize the feeling of her weight in her arms, the feeling of her tiny breaths against her skin.

The four of them walked down the stairs and to the door of the hideout together. Once they were there, Mal helped Jay put on the black sling Evie had made for him to carry the baby.

“Here’s the bag.” Carlos passed it to Jay. Mal had already dropped off a few things, but this bag had Ellie’s favorite toys and all of the breastmilk Evie had been able to pump and store. That was the part that scared her the most; how would her baby, who had been surviving off the nutrients in her body, manage to eat without her?

Mal, Jay, and Carlos looked towards her. Evie’s arms shook as Carlos leaned down and kissed the top of Ellie’s head. She started to feel nauseous when Mal pressed a kiss to Ellie’s cheek. She felt ready to explode when she kissed her daughter’s forehead one last time and then carefully put her into the sling.

“I love you, Ellie.” She whispered, running her index finger over her tiny hand. “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

“Go, Jay.” Mal ordered. He turned around and disappeared off into the night, taking one of the biggest chunks of Evie’s heart with him.

Evie’s knees finally got too weak to hold her body up and she sank to the floor. She brought her knees up to her chest and rested her forehead against them.

“E…”

“My baby.” She said before bursting into tears. Evie had never felt as much pain as she did in that moment. What her mother did, what those men did, what Quinton did…none of it compared to the aching, empty feeling in her chest right now.

“We’ll be back soon, Eves.” Carlos told her.

Evie just shook her head and continued to cry. She felt like she was drowning. How could it hurt this much? She had only known that little life for six months, and carried it for nine months before that. How could she have made such an impression on her?

Is this what a mother’s love felt like? Why didn’t her mother ever feel like this towards her?

That thought crept into her mind without warning and it made her cry even harder. Evie could feel Mal’s hand on her back and her lips pressing kisses against her face, but it didn’t help. She was inconsolable.

She didn’t know how long she sat there and sobbed her heart out. Mal and Carlos’s soft words and gentle touches didn’t make a difference. Her heart was broken.

Eventually, they heard a rock hit the sign. Jay came into the hideout, his eyes slightly red and breathing hard after the long journey to the opposite side of the Isle. Evie looked up and he kneeled in front of her.

“It’s done, Princess.” He said. “She’s safe. I didn’t see anyone there, I made sure I wasn’t being followed, and Uma had people posted throughout her entire territory to double check that no one was following my trail.”

Evie nodded. “Thank you.” Her voice was hoarse from crying.

“We better get to bed.” Carlos told the others. “We have to get up early tomorrow.”

Evie leaned her head on Mal’s shoulder, finally accepting some of her comfort. She didn’t even have time to protest before Mal was scooping her up in her arms and carrying her upstairs. She took her straight to their room and laid her on the bed.

“I love you.” Mal whispered into the darkness.

“I love you too.” Evie reached up to cup her cheek. “Tell me things will be okay. Promise me she’ll be safe.”

“Everything will be okay, and I swear to you that she’s safe.” Mal gave her a kiss. “We’ll get her back, E. I promise you that we’ll get her back.”

-----
Mal would never admit it out loud, but her heart was hammering in her chest as they walked to their designated meeting point. There was a royal limo waiting and Ben was leaning against the side of it. She scanned his outfit in amusement; Evie had him dressed head to toe in blue leather with a hat on his head.

Mal huffed out a laugh. “Never thought I’d see that.”

Evie, who was standing beside her, cracked a small smile. “Trust me, it was difficult to find something that worked for him. He’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.”

“You did good, Eves.” Carlos praised. “He’ll be fine.”

“Yeah, if he keeps his mouth shut.” Jay joked.

The four of them stopped across from Ben. They were all dressed in their usual Isle attire. They had weapons sewn into the fabric and knives hidden on their bodies. Physically, they were prepared. Mentally, it would be a miracle if they got back to Auradon without a major breakdown.

“It’s weird seeing you guys dressed like that.” Ben commented.

“Feeling’s mutual.” Jay agreed. “Last chance to back out.”

Ben shook his head, his stupid smile still plastered on his face. “Let’s go.” He opened the limo door and stepped aside. “Ladies first.”

“Quit with the manners, and wipe the smile off your face while you’re at it.” Evie said as she walked past him to get in the car. Mal couldn’t help but smirk; clearly Isle Evie was coming out tonight.

Once they were all piled into the backseat, Ben leaned forward and told the limo driver to get moving. Mal took a look at each of her friends.

Evie was practically buzzing with energy. She hadn’t slept at all the night before, and she was barely sleeping the past few nights before that, so Mal didn’t understand how she was still functioning. Her posture was perfect, her legs were crossed, and her hands were folded in her lap; already reverting back to her Isle habits wasn’t a great sign.

Carlos was bouncing his leg and staring out the window. His hands kept rubbing up and down his thighs, as if he was trying to wipe off sweat. Normally, he would have been all over the candy that was fully stocked on the shelves, but he didn’t even glance in that direction.

Jay was leaned back against the seat, arms spread on top of the backrest. He was the picture of confidence and relaxation, but Mal could tell it was all a front. She was glad they had been working out during Tourney because if anything happened, she was depending on Jay to get them out of the situation with his strength.

Ben was sitting quietly, his eyes scanning over them. Mal could admit that he was pretty good at reading people, and she knew he was trying to base his behavior off of how they were acting. She imagined it was difficult since they were all giving off such different vibes.

“So, can I ask a question?” Ben said, interrupting the silence.

“Doesn’t mean you’re going to get an answer.” Carlos mumbled.

“What was the plan all along? Why did you really come to Auradon?”

Mal felt three pairs of eyes on her. She knew they were probably still unsure on how much to say to Ben. At this point, they were already bringing him to the place all their nightmares had been created and letting him meet Ellie, so she didn’t think there was a reason to lie.

“As soon as Maleficent told us we were being asked to go to Auradon, she said there was no option and we had to go. We weren’t happy about it and we thought about refusing, but after thinking it through, we decided this would be our best chance to create a safer life for Ellie.” Mal answered. She reached over, letting her fingers brush against Evie’s. Her girlfriend instantly grasped her hand. “We made a plan to do everything we could to fit in. We would say anything, so anything, be anything so that you would trust us. We would go to school, make friends, not cause any major issues, and get the people of Auradon on our side. Then, we would find a way to bring Gabriella over.”

“All we wanted was for people to trust us, or at least to see that we’re not evil.” Evie chimed in. “We just want to give Ellie and the other Isle kids a better chance at life.”

“I still don’t understand why you didn’t just say something about having a baby.” Ben said, his eyes locked on Evie’s.

Evie shook her head. “If people on the Isle were disgusted by a 16 year old with a baby, can you even imagine how people in Auradon would have acted?”

“I would have helped you bring her over.” Ben stated.

“We wouldn’t have even let you near us.” Jay replied. “If you think Mal is protective now, just imagine Mal being extra overprotective over Mama Bear Evie. We had to ease into things, and we had to make sure it was safe to bring her here before we did it.”

“We needed to trust you just as much as we needed you to trust us.” Mal summarized.

Ben tilted his head slightly. “What do you think now? Do you trust me?”

Mal hadn’t given much thought to that, but she supposed they did. The prince of Auradon had a way of planting himself in their business, and while his opinions weren’t always welcomed, he had never done anything to betray them.

“I guess we do.”

Ben nodded. “I promise you I will do my best to honor that trust.”

Before anyone else could speak, they noticed the magical bridge was opening up. In minutes, they would be back on the Isle. They would be back to the one place Mal swore she would never let Evie go again. What was even worse was that now they had Ben to protect too, and even after all this work, they wouldn’t get to bring Ellie home with them.

They exited the limo in silence. The limo driver would be waiting inside, but they pulled tarps overtop of it to hide it from view. Mal was hopeful that no one would be over this way anyway; these docks were pretty much unused.

As she turned to look at her home, Mal was surprised by how normal this seemed. They had been in Auradon for a total of two and a half months now, which really wasn’t that long, but she wasn’t expecting to come back here and feel like no time had passed. She breathed in the salty air and then started to walk, hearing the footsteps of the others behind her.

Evie sped up to walk by her side, as usual. Mal glanced over her shoulder and saw that Ben and Carlos were in the middle, and Jay was bringing up the rear, his eyes scanning through the darkness.

Mal could hear Evie’s breath catch in her throat. She tried not to look at her. She needed to get back into Isle mode, and that meant trusting that Evie could take care of herself. She did start to get concerned when she never heard Evie exhale.

She turned towards her and could see that Evie’s face was starting to get red. Mal couldn’t believe that they had only been here for a total of five minutes and already there was an issue.

She stopped walking and reached out, grabbing Evie’s chin. “Hey, listen to me. You can’t do this right now, baby. I know this is hard, but you’re okay.”

“M…” she whimpered through a shaky breath.

“What’s wrong?” Ben questioned.

“Let’s go make sure no one is coming.” Jay said, looping an arm around Ben’s shoulder and dragging him away with Carlos following. Mal knew she owed Jay for that distraction.

“Evie, take a breath. You have to relax. Come on, let it out.” She wanted to reach out and touch her, but she could see the razors sewn into leather covering her ribs and thought better of it. Mal grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her forward until their foreheads touched. “Breathe, baby.”

Evie finally took a full breath, exhaling shakily. “I’m sorry.” She whispered.

“You’re scared, I get it. Why do you think I didn’t want you back here?”

“I had to come.”

“I know.” Mal kissed her cheek. “Let’s go find the boys before Ben gets himself in trouble. Keep breathing, okay? You’re alright.”

Mal grabbed her hand and pulled her in the directions the boys had gone. She saw a shadow around the corner and expected to see one of them. She felt every hair on the back of her neck stand up when instead, she saw a different face.

“Well, well, what do we have here? The Princess of the Isle and the Mini Mistress of Evil. Who knew I would get so lucky?”

“Back the fuck up, Tristan.”

Mal didn’t know Tristan very well, but she definitely knew of him. He was the son of a lower level villain and one of the guys from Quinton’s crew. While he was skinny, he towered over them both in height. He was not someone that they could sidestep easily, and they couldn’t let word get back to Quinton or any of their parents that they were on the Isle.

“Q is going to be so happy to see you, Princess.” He addressed Evie, turning towards her as if Mal wasn’t even there. It made her blood boil. “He’s heard about your little secret.”

“Yeah, hate to break it to you, but Q won’t be seeing me.” Evie snapped.

“Really? You should know better than anyone that he always gets what he wants.”

“So do I, and he will not be coming near her.” Mal interrupted, taking a step towards Tristan.

He didn’t even move. “Do your mothers know you’re here? Something tells me they would be very disappointed if they knew their bastards weren’t following through.”

Evie glanced at her nails in disinterest. “Tell me, Tristan. What secret could Quinton possibly know?” Mal silently praised her in her head; looking at her now, she never would have imagined that Evie was having a panic attack two minutes ago.

“That your mothers gave you the task of breaking us all out of this hell. He’s very upset he wasn’t invited to the party though. He thinks he would do a better job at stealing Fairy Godmother’s wand than any of you. It’s pretty obvious none of you have what it takes.”

Mal thanked every God in existence. So Quinton thought Evie’s secret was that they went to Auradon to get Fairy Godmother’s wand? While not ideal, it was much, much better than the alternative.

“This chat has been fun, but it’s time for us to go now. Q has been going on and on about how he couldn’t wait to see you again.” Tristan said, his attention back on Evie. “Are you going to make this easy?”

Evie laughed. “Now where would the fun be in that?”

Tristan’s reflexes were quick. He reached out, wrapping his arm around Evie’s upper arm with his left hand and pulling out a dagger with his right.

Mal sighed. “I really wish you wouldn’t have done that.” He held the dagger towards her, but Evie was quicker. She stomped down hard on his foot, then kicked at his knees.

Tristan yelped in pain. “You bitch!” he turned to her with the dagger raised.

“It seems you’ve forgotten my biggest rule in my absence.” Mal came up behind him while he was distracted and pressed her knife against his neck. “No one gets near Evie without my permission. No one even looks at or thinks about her without clearing it with me first. And absolutely no one puts a hand on her without consequence.” She slid her knife against his throat.

Tristan fell to the ground, his hands flying to his throat as he started to choke on his blood. He dropped the dagger and Mal picked it up, stabbing it into his chest to put him out of his misery.

“Fuck.” Evie