Mal shoved open the door to the boys dorm, and froze, she'd walked into some odd scenes in her life but this one had to top the list. Laying on the Jay's bed were two small children, she'd know Jay and Carlos anywhere, but she'd never seen them so small. Both boys laid on the bed, Jay was curled protectively around Carlos who had in turn snuggled against jay, his thumb dangling from his mouth. She stepped back out and pulled the door shut, she was not about to wake either of them up until she knew what the hell was going on. She ran to her dorm for Evie, who told her to get Ben.
Ben laughed as Mal told him, being pinned to the wall by Mal reminded him you probably shouldn't laugh at an Isle kid.
“What the fuck is wrong with them Blondie?” she growled her eyes glowing green.
“It's magic” Ben said, trying to stop laughing.
“I'd fucking say so, I mean explain it better!” she demanded.
“The magic around here isn't used, so sometimes it takes on it's own form. Usually it's trying to teach someone something, other times it just wants to have fun. Apparently it picked Jay and Carlos. A while back it made Doug into a Smurf for a week.”
“So it's a week long thing?”
“No, it's random, could be a couple minutes, could be a couple months” Ben said.
Mal stepped back and let him go, “How the fuck are we going to manage two kids, plus school?”
“Well you can probably bring Carlos to class with you. And I think my mom might have a spare cage to put Jay in” Ben said, only half joking. He really couldn't imagine those two as kids.
“If they're like they were as kids that so won't happen. I really hope they're not” she said frowning.
“It can't have been that bad”
“Jay hasn't changed too much, but Carlos, it was bad. He used to be afraid of everything; and they were a lot older when I met them, I don't wanna think about at this age.”
“Well, I'm going to let Fairy Godmother know we've had another magical mishap. If you need help call me” Ben said getting ready to go.
“It'll probably be better if you aren't there” Mal said.
Mal stopped back at her dorm to get Evie, the other girl was much better with kids than her. Mal pushed the door open, this time the boys were awake. She watched Carlos scramble to hide in the corner, Jay moved in front of him, as if protecting the smaller boy. Mal bit her tongue, that was normal for Carlos, but Jay was a firm believer in there's no team in I.
“Hey Jay, 'Los” Mal said, watching to see their reactions.
“Who are you?” Jay asked, his body still defensive.
“Mal, and this is Evie” she said gesturing at the other girl.
“What do you want” he growled.
“First we just want to talk, then maybe get you some food and we can play a little” Evie said, drawing attention to her.
“Shove it, we need to get home” Jay said giving the girls his best glare. Mal had to fight a laugh, deadly looked adorable on a kid.
“This is home, you two are our friends, we live in Auradon now and thanks to some stupid magical accident you and Carlos are stuck as kids for a while”
“Magic isn't real” Jay said.
Mal thought for a minute then recited a rhyme that made two small stuffed animals appear. Both bears, one was white the other a light gray, Mal threw them both to the little boy, he caught them and looked them over. He decided the girl had to be telling the truth, he could still feel the other boy shaking behind him. Without a second thought he turned his back on the girls and crouched to hand the white bear to the little boy.
Carlos was still curled in a ball, skeletal arms crossed over his head. Jay sat the bear next to him, “hey kid, got a stuffed bear for you” two huge brown eyes looked up at him. Jay offered him the bear again and smiled when the other boy took it.
“Whats your name?” Jay asked him, he thought one of the girls called him 'los but he wasn't sure.
Carlos shook his head no.
“Do you talk” Jay asked.
Another head shake. Jay looked puzzled, how did a kid survive without talking.
“Can you write?”
Carlos tilted his hand side to side.
Mal and Evie had watched the exchange, Evie went to get a notebook and a pen, she handed them to Jay who passed them to Carlos, the smaller seeming to trust him.
“So, whats your name” Evie asked, for some reason that was what Jay wanted to know, even though Mal had called them by name.
'No have' Carlos wrote carefully.
Mal read it her eyes widening, sure she didn't know her full name at four, she at least had one.
“How old are you guys”
“Six” jay said instantly, Carlos raised one shoulder before letting it fall.
“Okay, first off, your name is Carlos, and since Jay is six, you're four.” Mal said, “First thing is getting you guys food, it's nearly noon and we eat three meals a day here.”
Two sets of eyes widened, Mal laughed, the boys had looked the same way when they were older and found out three meals was normal. Mal reached her hand out for Jay, he looked at her like she was insane. Okay, so other parents in Auradon held kids hands, clearly that didn't happen on the Isle.
“Give Mal your hand sweetie, it's so you don't get lost, you don't want to be all alone in a strange place do you?”
Jay instantly grabbed on to Mal, Evie had to laugh when Carlos grabbed his other hand. At their normal age jay and Carlos were extremely tactile with each other, it seemed like that would continue even as kids.
Mal lead them down the hall towards the cafeteria, the second they stepped through the doors people started pointing and whispering. Carlos attempted to run but he crashed into Evie's legs and bounced into Jay who instantly let go of Mal and hugged the smaller boy. Everyone was shocked as Carlos stilled, a moment later he pulled away and gave Jay a thumbs up. “We're okay now” Jay said to Mal who shared a look with Evie, before bringing them to one of the many cooler cases full of food. She tried to explain what things were, and compare them to Isle food, but she was failing. Evie finally took over and pulled two sandwiches, some fruit, two milks and a bag of candy.
“Don't give them choices, hell it still takes Carlos ages to pick a meal” Evie reminded her.
Mal grabbed a sandwich and soda for herself and Evie got a salad, they walked back to the room to eat. Mal watched Carlos go back to the corner, Jay sat next to him.
“Why don't you guys sit on the bed?”
Carlos shook his head no.
“He doesn't like the beds, he got really scared when he woke up on it”
Evie looked at Mal and mouthed “Cruellea”, the purple haired girl nodded.
“Sweetie, it's okay to sit on the beds, that one is yours anyway” Evie said pointing at the empty bed. Carlos's brows furrowed and he tilted his head like a puppy, Evie couldn't help but smile, he'd had that habit until they'd moved to Auradon.
“She's not lying” Mal said, “besides Cruellea can't get you here, promise”.
Carlos shifted and moved towards the bed, he sat on the edge as if he expected it to bite him. Once Carlos sat Jay climbed on the bed and sat against the headboard. Mal wanted to laugh, some things never changed.
After dinner Mal took the boys in for a bath, Carlos wouldn't do anything until Jay did. Luckily the older boy seemed happy to test things to make his friend comfortable. Mal magicked up a couple bath toys, now that she'd heard about the magic taking form on it's own she had no problems using it. She didn't feel like being the next one turned into a kid. After the bath she used her magic again to make them both soft pajamas. She plopped them in front of the TV and flipped through the channels until some stupid kid show came on. She went to sit and talk to Evie leaving the two kids to watch TV.
“How the fuck does he not know his own name?” Mal whispered furiously as soon as the boys were distracted.
“We knew Cruella was bad.”
“Yeah but he's four, he should talk and have a name, how fucking old was he when she finally picked a name for him. Hell how old was he when he learned his own age. I swear to god I am going to kill that harpy!” Mal ranted under her breath.
“Mal, chill! We all had it bad, we knew Carlos had it the worst, so it's a little worse than we thought.”
“He needs to grow back up, I am so grilling him about his childhood after this.” Mal growled.
“Leave that to Jay, I think you'll scare him.” Evie tried to reason with her
“That's another thing, the hell is up with Jay protecting him? Jay didn't protect anyone at that age”
“Well, it's magic right, I mean it doesn't need to be logical. Ben said a lot of times it's to teach someone something; maybe for that Jay doesn't need to be a self absorbed asshole” Evie said, trying to take a logical approach despite the illogical circumstances.
An hour later the two kids were sound asleep on the couch.
“We should put them on the bed” Evie said, standing and walking to the couch. She didn't think twice about scooping Carlos up, she knew he wouldn't weigh anything. As soon as she touched him his eyes flew open and he let out a scream. Before she could fully process what was happening he'd launched off the couch and skittered into the bathroom. Jay was awake and glaring, this time it felt a bit more effective.
“What did you do to him!” he growled.
“Nothing, I was just trying to pick him up to put him to bed.”
“For an adult you're pretty stupid” jay told her before going into the bathroom after his friend.
Carlos had lodged himself in the cabinet under the sink, Jay found him quickly thanks to the soft whimpers coming from the other boy. He pulled the door open and knelt in front of it.
“Hey, its okay, they're just stupid” Jay told the other boy he got no response. Having a sudden idea he ran back out to the main room and got the stuffed bear Mal had given him earlier. He crouched back at the sink and held the little white bear out to the other boy. Huge brown eyes looked up to him, before a tiny shaky hand reached out for the bear.
“You okay in there?” Jay asked curiously, he didn't like closed in spaces like that.
Black and white hair bobbed a yes, before a single word was added, “safe”. Jay gave him a huge smile, the others voice was broken and frail just like the rest of him, but he could speak.
As soon as Carlos said that Jay went back to the big room and pulled the blankets off the bed. Mal and Evie watched him silently, neither sure what he was doing. Jay took the blankets, he stuffed the edge of one into the cabinet to Carlos before laying under the other one himself, just outside the cabinet on the cold bathroom floor.
“Take the blanket, those girls say it's yours anyway”
That made Carlos move, he pulled the blanket around his tiny body and leaned his head against the wall of the cabinet. The two boys quickly drifted back to sleep.
Mal looked into the bathroom to see what the hell the two kids were doing, her eyes widened before she waved Evie over. The blue haired girl clasped her hands over her mouth to stifle a gasp. “Should we try to move them?”
“Yeah that went fantastically last time, nah just leave them there.” Mal said, I'll sleep on 'Los's bed, you take Jays.
“Like hell! I'll share with you, I don't think Jay knows how to change his sheets.” Evie whined, Mal laughed before laying on the stripped bed.
“I could grab us some blankets” Evie offered
“Auradon is making you soft” Mal told the other girl, “I'm fine”
Evie huffed, but laid next to her friend.
Carlos woke up and tried to stretch, he found quickly he couldn't move much. Opening his eyes didn't clear anything up for him. He was wedged in the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom, that wasn't too odd, he'd curled up in there a couple times after a really bad nightmare, no one had caught him yet though. Jay was laying on the floor in front of the cabinet, so clearly he was caught this time, but why would Jay sleep on the floor with him. He carefully uncurled and slid out of the cabinet, being careful not to step on Jay, being small and flexible did have it's benefits. He walked out to their bedroom, and paused, why were Evie and Mal asleep on his bed. Something seriously screwed up must have happened, why couldn't he remember it. Last thing he remembered was arguing with Jay about locking the door to their dorm. Carlos wanted it locked and Jay didn't see the big deal, in the end he'd gone to sleep with the door unlocked, but that shouldn't have been enough to make him hide in the bathroom.
With a sigh he walked over and shoved Evie's shoulder, the blue haired girl looked up bleary at him before launching off the bed and grabbing him in a bone crushing hug. He flinched before hugging her back and whispering, “what the hell is going on?”.
“Hang on, is Jay awake?”
“Not yet” Carlos said, Evie seemed to know something was up, so now he head to wait for her to decide to fill him in.
“You wake him up, I'll get Mal.”
Carlos walking in and kicked Jay's shoulder, the older boy groaned and swatted at his foot. He kicked him again and told him, “wake up, weird shit, Evie wont talk until you're up”
That got the other boy up in an instant.
“Why the hell am I on the bathroom floor”
“Like I said, weird shit, come on!” Jay followed him out, Mal and Evie were sitting on the bed against the headboard, Carlos and Jay sat at the foot board.
“Talk” Carlos said.
“How old were you when your mother named you” Mal asked.
Carlos was caught off guard, that was a fucked up question.
“Minute, hours, how the hell should I know?” he asked, the last thing he was doing was telling his friends when his mother had actually bothered to name him.
Mal grabbed her sketch book and showed him the page he'd written 'no have' on.
“You and Jay got turned into kids, some shit about wild magic. When we asked your name that was your answer, you also wouldn't speak and didn't know your age.”
Carlos felt his heart stop, there was no way this was happening, he'd been too careful to hide just how bad his life had been. He shifted to run, but Evie seemed to have predicted that and had him in another hug. He knew he could get away from her, but when he felt Jay hug him from behind he knew he was screwed. Sure he probably could have gotten away from Jay if he'd really tried, but he couldn't bring himself to really try. The few times the older boy had wrapped his arms around him all he wanted to do was melt against him, even now, the desperation to keep his past hidden was over shadowed by the fact that Jay was holding him.
“Clearly we're back to normal now, so just leave it” he tried to sound angry, but even to himself he sounded broken and lost.
“A four year old that can't talk and doesn't have a name is going to grow up to be normal? I'm sorry 'Los but you're talking this time.” Mal said standing right next to him, he wondered briefly if she'd end up holding on to him too, hug Carlos seemed to be the theme here.
“I could talk at four, I just didn't. Jay was turned into a kid too, why the hell aren't you annoying him?” Carlos asked.
“I think he changed to protect you, Mal said she'd never seen him act like a guard as a kid, but that's what he did. We even got the death glare out of him for scaring you.” Evie said.
Jay stiffened as he remembered an even smaller Carlos whispering the word safe to him, it felt like a memory, but he didn't know Carlos at that age.
“After he hid in the bathroom I went after him, he wouldn't leave so I gave him a blanket. I asked him if he was okay in the cabinet, because I used to get scared in small spaces and he nodded and said the word safe” jay spoke softly, which was odd in itself for the other boy.
“Oh come on, you get to remember this shit but I don't?” Carlos whined.
“I'm still waiting to hear when that fucking cunt named you” Mal reminded him.
“She never did” Carlos snapped, maybe shock would get them to leave him alone. Evie gasped. Jay held him a little tighter, or maybe he just imagined that. Mal growled, her eyes glowing green.
“But you have a name” Evie said
“Yeah, she only knows that from other people calling me it.”
“How'd you get it?” Jay asked softly, his voice right next to Carlos's ear.
“Found it in a book and picked it”
His friends stared at him, “when?” Evie whispered.
“Not sure, I think like six” Carlos said.
“Why pick that name?” Mal asked, Carlos flinched, he didn't want to answer that.
Oh well, clearly they were going to learn just how fucked up he was anyway, may as well see if he could make them die of shock.
“I liked the meaning, it's everything I'll never be” he told them. Mal looked confused, Evie furrowed her brows together as if trying to remember what the name meant. Jay tightened his arms, this time Carlos knew he didn't imagine it.
“It's everything you always were” the other boy whispered so low Carlos didn't think Mal or Evie could have heard him, for a moment he wondered if he was hearing things.
“What's it mean? I remember looking up our names but I can't think of it” Evie finally said.
Carlos bit his lip, he wasn't saying it.
“Means strong” Jay said just loud enough for both girls to hear.
“Yeah, weak wouldn't have made it this far” Evie said, Mal was still trying to wrap her head around the whole thing.
“So when'd you figure out your age?”
“Who said I ever did?” Carlos asked, a small grin flitted across his face, the shock on Mal and Evie's face was so worth it.
“But you're two years younger than us!” Mal protested.
“I never said that, everyone just assumes” Carlos said
Mal sat back down on the bed, she felt like someone had punched her in the stomach. It'd been almost a year since she'd started protecting Carlos, she knew he'd had a bad life before they met but this was beyond even her wildest dreams.
“How the hell did I not notice any of this” she muttered, her head in her hands. Evie let go of Carlos and walked over to her and sat her hand on her shoulder, “we all missed it, someone hides too well”.
Carlos sighed, Evie had moved and they got the information they wanted so Jay would let go of him any second now.
“I sort of understand it, I mean Mal, look how long it was until you found my dad was an abusive prick” Jay reminded the girl, “it's a weakness no one can afford on the isle” he muttered.
“We're off the Isle” Mal pointed out.
“Yeah and how much have we talked about it since we left? I mean really Mal, how many times have you willing discussed your mother?” Jay asked, when she didn't respond he continued “why don't you leave it for now, I'm sure if something is important he'll tell us”.
“Oh fine; I'm glad you two are back to the right age, I'd hate to have lost my whole weekend babysitting” Mal said, with that she slid off the bed and stood toe to toe with Carlos, “you ever need something, tell me” she said before pulling him into a hug, Jay loosed his grip on his freckled friend. Hugs from Mal were extremely rare, he wasn't going to hinder her, but as soon as she let go he pulled the slim boy back against his chest.
Mal and Evie left, Carlos kept waiting for Jay to let go of him, he didn't.
“How'd you get outta the cabinet without waking me up?”
“I'm flexible” Carlos told him.
Jay let go of him and grabbed his shoulder, effectively spinning him around before pulling him back against him.
“Yeah and I wanna date Mal” Jay said rolling his eyes. “how many other times have you hidden in there?”
“A few” Carlos muttered, not looking up.
“Carlos” Jay said, the other boy instantly looked and met his eyes before looking away.
“Look, I know a bit about the magic around here, I looked into it after that stupid force-field threw me. Wild magic like that happens for a reason, it broke while we were sleeping in the bathroom, so clearly the reason has to have something to do with you hiding, so how often do you hide in there?”
A mumbled answered him, Jay tried not to growl, Carlos could wear out any ones patience. He gently grabbed the other boys hair and forced him to look up, “I wanna hear the answer”.
“Three or four times a week” Carlos said, he felt the familiar burning in his eyes right before his anger flared, he was not going to cry in front of Jay over his fucked up head. “I have fucking nightmares that the psychotic bitch will come after me so I end up hiding until I calm down. It's not a big deal.” He said, not sure who he was trying to convince.
“Is that why you wanted me to lock the door?” Jay asked, Carlos nodded against his chest.
“Why didn't you tell me that?” Jay asked
“Didn't want you to think I was stupid” Carlos mumbled.
“C'mere” Jay said letting the smaller boy go only to grab his hand, he pulled him over to his bed, Carlos went along. Jay reached under his pillow and pulled out an old pocket knife, “I sleep with that there in case my father ever figures out a way in. Promise I'd use it on your mom just as fast”.
“What happened to no team in I?” Carlos asked with a small smirk.
“Some freckled runt changed my mind” Jay said laughing and pulling Carlos back against him before flopping back on the bed.
“Now what the fuck are you doing” Carlos asked, landing roughly on top of the other boy.
“I think Mal calls it gang activity, Evie'd probably call it cuddling” Jay said, he watched Carlos tilt his head and furrow his brows together, “why me?”
“Cuz we both like it” jay said if it was the most obvious answer in the world.
“Oh” Carlos said softly, he let his head rest on Jay's chest enjoying hearing the others heartbeat. Jay ran his hand up and down Carlos's back. After a while Carlos started to doze off.
“Hey, if you wanna nap why don't we lay on the bed like humans” Jay asked.
“Don't wanna move, 'sides it's not like we're really used to a bed.” Carlos tried to reason.
“Okay, so you don't move” Jay said sitting up, causing Carlos to sit in his lap, he smirked and stood up. Carlos wrapped his legs around Jay's waist so he wouldn't hit the floor.
“This isn't what I had in mind!” He protested while Jay pulled the blankets down on his bed and laid back down, still holding Carlos close.
“I wanna complain about how light you are, but that woulda been hard to do if you weren't a stick.” Jay told him while pulling the blankets up over them both.
“Bite me” Carlos muttered, Jay immediately moved and nipped gently at the side of Carlos throat before letting his head drop back to his pillow.
“The hell was that?” Carlos asked.
“You offered, fuck me mighta been more fun though” Jay told him with a lazy smirk.
Carlos stared at him, before reaching up to lay his hand on his forehead, “no fever”.
“I'm not sick” Jay said with a small chuckle, “just got a really harsh reality check”
“And you've lost me again” Carlos said, he thought he knew where this was going, but that just took more optimism than he had. Jay moved again, but this time he pressed a kiss to the very corner of Carlos's mouth, “Love you 'Los”.
Carlos moved his mouth but no sound came out, no way, no fucking way had that just happened. A kiss he could almost understand, after all him and Jay didn't pay much attention to personal space, but no one had ever told him they loved him before, not even as a cruel joke.
As usual, Jay understood him without him saying a word.
“Scared shitless and never heard that before hmm?”
Carlos nodded, Jay smiled at him, not his usual smirk or flirting half smile, a true smile.
“It's alright” Jay told him absently running his hand through the others hair, “After the last couple hours I really didn't expect anything else-” Jay was cut off as Carlos kissed him, it was hard, rough and perfect. Both of them were breathless by the time they broke apart.
“Love you too, Jay” Carlos told him before snuggling against Jay's neck, “really, really love you”.