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The Poisened Youth

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Evie, Mal, Carlos and Jay walked into Ben’s office. Each one settled themselves into the room with tense shoulders. Mal was perched at the edge of the prince’s desk, Evie sat at one of the chairs facing the desk with perfect posture, Carlos was seated beside her leaning forward while resting his elbows on his knees and Jay, while appearing nonchalant, was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed on his chest with his hands fisted.

“Whatever you think we stole, we didn’t.” Said Jay, trying to defuse the tension in the room, while simultaneously trying to figure out why they were there. Ben let out a chuckle at that.

“Don’t worry. Nobody’s accusing anyone of anything.” Everybody who entered the room let out a collective sigh of relief. “I called you in here to discuss a serious matter,” he made a pause, hesitating for just a moment, “regarding the Isle.” At once the tension in the room came back. Ben started to talk before anyone started to get ideas.

“The committee is meeting up next week and one of the ideas I wanted to talk about was getting more kids from the Isle to attend Auradon Prep. The reason I called you in was for you to give me suggestions on who could come. I was thinking maybe three kids, five maximum. I know Evie you wanted to bring Dizzy to Auradon and she’s one of the candidates. Do any of you have any other recommendations?” The former villains looked at each other, thinking who they could possibly choose. Carlos was the first to speak up.

“I have a cousin on the Isle, Diego, he’s part of the anti-heroes club. He helped us in the fight on the Isle.” They all nodded and Ben scribbled the information on his clipboard.

“Everyone on the Anti-Heroes club should get the chance to come to Auradon. They already proved too choose good by fighting alongside us, not to mention they’re targeted by most of the Isle now. We should get them off as soon as possible.” Added Evie. There was a moment of silence following her statement. There were more suggestions from Evie and Carlos, but nobody noticed that Jay had stopped listening and that his usual cheerful self was gone. Nobody noticed but Mal. When she got up the three of them stopped talking to look at her. She made her way to Jay and carefully placed her hand on his shoulder. He met her gaze and they stared at each other, having what appeared to be a silent conversation. After a minute he looked at Ben.

“There’s someone else you should consider.” Realization dawned on Carlos and Evies faces, and shame settled in not long after. Evie placed both her hands over her mouth and Carlos looked down at his shoes. Ben glanced between the two, noticing the sudden change in them before addressing Jay.

“Well, can you tell me about them? Who are they and what makes you think that they would choose good?” He heard Jay sigh and the group exchanged looks between them.

“Her name’s Lalasa. She’s the daughter of Shere kan and Kaa. She doesn’t live with them anymore, she got kicked out. Which isn’t unusual on the Isle, but most parents choose to keep their kids as minions. She lived in our hideout.” He stopped there and rested his head against the window. From there one could see the Isle of the Lost. Sensing that Jay wouldn’t go on, Mal picked up.

“She was a healer. She would often patch us up when one of us got hurt. She used plants and things she found on the island’s woods. I still don’t know how she managed to do it in a single day. Yzmas potions take at least a week to make.” They all started to get smiles on their faces remembering her.

“And she could cook anything out of anything. Jay would steal food for dinner and she would cook it into something edible, which doing in the Isle is impossible. But somehow she did.” Evie said with a wistful smile. Ben started to grin just from hearing about her.

“She sounds wonderful. What did you say her name was again?” He asked.

“Lalasa” They said in unsion. Ben scribbled this new piece of information on the almost full page.

“Theres something you need to know about her” Ben looked up at Jay. He noticed that everybody was tense and avoiding his eyes. He waited patiently for him to continue. “She has a kid.” Everybody waited for Ben’s reaction. They expected for him to yell, to tell them that she couldn’t come. They expected something. They didn’t expect him to freeze up and stare unblinkingly at them. They grew concerned when he didn’t move for a minute. Carlos stood up from his seat and waved a hand over his eyes. When that didn’t do the trick, he poked him.

“Do you think we broke him?” He asked.

“I don’t know” Said Mal with concern for her boyfriend. She came up and stood next to Carlos. She stood thinking for a moment before slapping the King’s face. Hard. He broke out of his stupor and looked accusingly at his girlfriend. He made a pained noise.

“Oh don’t be such a baby” Said Mal. He started rubbing the reddening mark on his cheek and, feeling bad, she bent down and placed a peck on his cheek. They both smiled at each other with love in their eyes. Ben knew that she didn’t need to say sorry to him because he could see it in her eyes that she was. He turned his head and with a roll of her eyes she gave him another peck on the lips. Evie, Carlos and Jay had witnessed this event what seemed like a thousand times and the couple never seemed to get tired of one another. Ben realized that he was being observed and blushed. He shook his head and a serious expression was etched on his face. He placed his elbows on his desk and rested his chin on them.

“That’s going to be a problem, you know that.”

“You could just maybe forget to mention it at the committee meeting?” He looked at Jay and shook his head.

“You know I can’t do that. If they find out when she gets here, we’re going to suffer a lot of consequences, including her.” He stared of into space for a moment, rubbing his hands over his face. He looked at the crestfallen looks on his friends faces, and a sense of determination rose in him.

“Tell me about the kid.” He made sure not show any emotion, less he give them hope. Going to council meeting with his father since he was young had it’s benefits.

“His name is Aakash. He’s the cutest little think that you have ever seen. He’s got these little dimples when he smiles and we all tried to make him laugh at least once just to hear it.” Evie made silly faces when she described Aakash’s laughs. The VK’s had fond smiles on their faces.

“He just turned two months when we left so he’s around eight months now” Added Mal.

“Who’s the father?” All the fond smiles and memories stopped and in their place were faces devoid of emotion.

“We don’t know who the father is. She never told us.”

“Why wouldn’t she? I mean you make it sounds like you were her closest friends I would even say family. Why wouldn’t she tell you?”

“You don’t have friends on the Isle, you have allies. And you don’t tell anyone your secrets.” Mal said, looking at the wall with a death glare. Everyone shared her expression. Ben was silent remembering again just how different his and his friends upbringing was. That sadness only seemed to fuel his want to bring the villains kids to Auradon.

“I’ll try to bring her here.” Tentative hope began to appear on their faces. “But I won’t promise anything. The board will take a lot of convincing, but I will fight tooth and nail for her. From what I’ve heard she’s worth it.” By the time he finished, the VKs had smiles on their faces.

“She’s totally worth it.” Nobody heard Jay whisper those words, as they were still discussing who to bring. When Mal glanced at him, he had his gaze firmly set outside the window, looking at the Isle.

Chapter Text

Ben was walking, more like sprinting, trying to find them. He wanted to share the good news with them. The committee had finally decided on who to bring from the Isle. He couldn’t help the giant smile on his face. He arrived at the courtyard and found them sitting at their usual tree. It was the un-official VKs tree, everybody knew not to sit there unless they were invited. He sped walked to them. They looked up at him when he reached them. He still couldn’t wipe the smile of his face and they guessed what he came for immediately.

“So, who did they pick?” Evie asked excitedly. She had her hands grasped to her chest. Everybody had similar poses to her, although much more subtle. He looked at every one of their faces and the smile on his face grew bigger, if it were possible.

“They agreed that every one of the Anti-Heroes members should get the opportunity to come to Auradon. So, the first person they agreed on was Claudine.” The group nodded, agreeing with the committee’s choice. “The second person they chose was Dizzy.” Evie let out a squeal at that and the rest looked at her with fond amusement. “They also chose Hadie. He and Dizzy won’t be attending school this year, but they thought to choose the youngest as to take them out of the Isle first.” They held their breath for the last person he was to announce. Ben took a breath and looked at them with a smile. Hope began to fill their eyes. “And the last person to be chosen was Lalasa and Aakash” Evie squealed louder than Ben thought possible and they all began to celebrate. They hugged each other and Evie had tears in her eyes. They were going to be a family again.

Chapter Text

They had to wait for a month for the next Isle kids to arrive. Preparing for them was just as difficult as the first group, but now they at least knew what to do and expect. They didn’t have the marching band waiting for them, but they couldn’t avoid the school gathering around them to see the newcomers. Fairy Godmother had to be there as headmistress, but she promised to be more subdued as to not overwhelm the Isle kids. Ben as king was also there, as were the VKs. Evie was suppressing the urge to bounce on her toes and Carlos wasn’t much better. Jay and Mal were the calmest of the group but if one knew them well, they could see that they were just as excited as the rest. There was an air of nervousness around the school. Everyone wanted to meet the new students, but they were also hesitant. Although the VK had demonstrated that anyone could be good, they were not ready for another coronation fiasco.

King Ben, Fairy Godmother, Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay were part of the welcoming party and they stood front and center. The school surrounded them in a semicircle. The welcoming party and the students were separated by King Adams statue. Ben thought it would be nice thing to show off to the new arrivals. Only Fairy Godmother, the VKs and him knew of who would come and only they knew about Lalasa and Aakash, and they weren’t sure how the student body would react to them. They knew some would treat the single mother and her son harsher than others, but they were prepared to defend and protect her. Ben had already made and attachment to her from all the stories he heard from his girlfriend and her friends.

Finally, they could see the limo pulling up. Excitement filled the air, mostly coming off the former villains. Evie did not let her excitement show. She was the picture of perfect poise. Carlos had picked up Doug of the floor, needing something to do with his arms. Mal was beside Ben her arms looped around his, her hair purple again after her trip to the Isle and her fight with Uma. She had had a talk with Ben, and they came to an agreement. After that talk she decided to keep her hair purple.

Jay was beside Carlos and he had his arms crossed in front of him with his face devoid of emotion except for the slight smirk he always seemed to carry. He was the only one who seemed to not to want to be there, but he was as nervous if not more so than the rest of his friends. He was tapping his foot impatiently but that ceased the moment he saw the limo pulling in. He stood taller, as did the rest of the crowd. The limo pulled to a stop and the driver stepped out. He walked around the car and opened the door. The first one to step out was Claudine. She stepped out with grace and looked around her, as if surveilling for any threats. She had her hair in a bob with a hat similar to her dads on her head. She was dressed in what seemed a leather coat with the top buttons made and wore black leggings. When her eyes landed on the greeting party, more specifically King Ben, she curtsied. She surprised everyone by doing that.

“Thank you, your Highness, for considering me for the scholarship.” When she rose up, she tried hard to disguise her emotions and her poker face was on. Soon everybody’s attention was directed at the high squeal that came from beside her. Dizzy was jumping up and down and she was soon hugging the living daylights out of Evie. They both had huge smiles on their faces, and nobody could help but feel happy at their reunion.

“I can’t believe how beautiful everything is here. It’s better than we could have ever imagined” Said Dizzy detangling herself from Evie. She crouched down to Dizzy’s level and gave her a sisterly smile.

“And it’s all yours now.” It was a feat for Dizzy not to start crying tears of joy at that moment, but the habits from the Isle would not be so easily broken. Dizzy joined Evie at her side, with the blue princess arm wrapped around her protectively. Hadie had already come out of the car in between the sister’s reunion and was now standing beside Claudine, looking around him in wonder.

The former villains were waiting anxiously for the last people to step out. They heard a gurgle and a woman with scars running all over her body stepped out with a baby boy in her arms. Lalasa and Aakash. There was an uncomfortable silence followed, but Aakash took no notice of it. The second his eyes landed on the four from the Isle an enormous smile grew on his face. He started clapping his hands leaning towards them. Lalasa, deciding to ignore the silence coming from the students, let him down on the cobbled floor and helped him walk towards the four. Carlos and Jay crouched down to the baby’s level and made cooing sounds to encourage him. To say that everybody was stunned was an understatement. To see the tourneys finest crouched down and making baby noises was not something you see every day. Aakash finally made it to them and Carlos picked him up.

“Los, Los, Los!” Babbled the baby. He squished Carlos face in between his chubby hands and made a concentrated face, or how concentrated a baby could look. To say that Carlos was shocked was an understatement. He looked at Lalasa with a look of wonder in his eyes. Lalasa had a shy, small smile on her face and explained to the group in front of her, ignoring the stares from every side.

“I’ve had the TV on ever since you left. He probably knows more people here than I do.” Everybody couldn’t help but smile at her quiet explanation.

The baby had russet brown skin, much like his mother. He had short black choppy hair. Just like Evie had described, had had dimple on both sides of his mouth when he laughed. His mother stood behind him, looking at him and Carlos with a fond expression. The four looked at Lalasa and she was staring at them, each cataloguing the differences time had made. Lalasa had her straight black hair in a French braid that reached the end of her back. She had a maroon printed crop top paired with baggy pants. Both hands had big, bulky rings on every finger. Her clothes did nothing to disguise her scars that ran down her whole body. She had four scars running sideways down her cheek.

Her four friends took no notice of them.

“Hey” She said. That’s all it took for Evie to tackle her with a hug. The blue haired girl shoulders started to shake and Lalasa hugged her back just as strong. Evie soon stood back, wiping the tears of her eyes. Mal detangled herself from Ben, who stood back for their reunion. She walked towards Lalasa and hugged her. The group took that as their initiative and turned the hug into a group hug, including Aakash who wrapped his arms around Jays head. They stood like that for a while, but the public display of emotion in front of a large group of people soon made Lalasa uncomfortable. She had a sheepish smile on her face and looked around at the people looking at her. The sheepish smile was gone, and a hard mask took its place. Carlos saw this and handed Aakash back to her. He knew that having her baby out of reach would only make her more tense in an unfamiliar environment, even if he was with someone she trusted. Having just left the Isle, she didn’t trust anyone but herself, not even them. Lalasa stepped back and stood in line with Claudine and Hadie. The baby kept trying to reach out for them but stopped once he looked at his mother. That’s when Fairy Godmother started to give her welcoming speech.

“Welcome to Auradon Prep!” She extended her arms in an overenthusiastic gesture. “Where the doors of wisdom never close, but the library does open from eight to eleven because we do have a thing about curfews. I’m Fairy Godmother, the headmistress of this school. I hope you enjoy your stay and feel comfortable here at Auradon. If any of you have any questions or concerns, feel free to come to my office and we can talk there.” She stepped back and let Ben make his introductions.

“As Fairy Godmother said, welcome to Auradon. I will keep this short since I’m sure your eager to go see the rest of the school. I’m King Ben and I’m sure you know the VKs.” He gestured to them. He made sure not to move towards the new students, in respect to their preference of personal space. “They will show you around the school and tell you about the classes you will be attending. The schedule isn’t set yet, you will have them by the end of the week. Take that time to get to know the grounds and get your concerns out. Dizzy and Hadie you won’t be attending the same classes. You will have some leveling course work and some readying for first year classes. You each will be sharing a room with another person.” He gave them each a warm smile and clapped his hands. “Now I think that’s enough. I’ll let you get on with the tour. If you have any questions, concerns or want to talk I’m,” he gestured behind him to his friends, “we’re here. Now, if you all will excuse me, I have some kingly duties to attend.” He made a small bow and, with Fairy Godmother, left the newcomers with the former VKs. With the departure of the king, most of the students left, but there were some lurking around to get a closer look at the newly arrived.

Evie stepped towards them, the first to formally greet the group.

“You don’t know how glad we are to have you here with us. We’ll make sure your transition is as smooth as possible.” She smiled at each of them. Claudine kept up her poker face on, but anyone could see she was much more comfortable now than she was a moment ago with the whole school looking at them. Hadie was beside her looking tiny in his clothes. He, like Claudine, was much more comfortable without strangers looking at them. He gave Evie a smile that just melted her heart. Dizzy was still clutching at her waist, intending to never let go. She had the biggest smile on her face. One couldn’t help but feel happy for her. Lalasa had Aakash’s head resting on her shoulder, who was starting to fall asleep after the day’s events. She was unconsciously rocking him back and forth on her heels. “If you would follow us, we’ll show you around the castle.” She stepped to the side and wrapped one of Dizzy’s arms around her own. She started walking forwards towards the castle’s entrance. The new students hesitantly followed her and were left in awe when they reached the former King Adam’s statue. It changed from him in his human form to a beast. Hadie gasped rather loudly and Claudine tried hard to keep her mask on. Lalasa’s eyes flew wide open and a small smile made its way on her face. She turned to her side so Aakash sleepy eyes could see the transformation. His eyes grew as wide as his mothers and he started gurgling excitedly. Everyone smiled at his excitement.

“How does it do that?” Asked Hadie breathlessly, not taking his eyes of the statue. Mal decided to answer him.

“King Adam commissioned it. He says it’s to represent that anyone can change their future, no matter who they were in the past.” The new students looked at one another and gave small, barely noticeable smiles. They moved along, entering the castle. Its wooden arches amazed them and Hadie got so lost in his excitement he nearly ran into a student. He looked up at who it was. The person wore thick rimmed glasses and had a green sweater with a bow tie under it. He gave Hadie a smile.

“Are you alright?” He asked. Hadie gave a hasty step back and into Lalasa. She circled her free arm around him in a protective matter, her other arm holding Aakash. The glare that Lalasa directed at him made even the bravest person cower. The student looked at them and gave a tentative smile, trying his best to ignore the glare. “Hello. I’m Doug, Dopey’s son. You know? Snow White’s seven dwarfs? Grumpy, Bashful, Doc, Happy, Sleepy and,” He snapped his fingers trying to remember the last of the dwarfs. “I always forget one.” He was starting to look frustrated with himself.

“Sneezy. You always forget Sneezy.” Evie came to his side and rested her elbow on his shoulder. She gave him a peck on his cheek. Lalasa tried not to let her shock show on her face. She remembers Evie saying that she would find herself a prince if she ever got off the Isle, but what she saw from her and Doug told her otherwise. She needed to talk to them privately, soon.

Chapter Text

They continued giving them a tour, every stop taking the breath right out of the newly arrived students. They finished it by showing them everybody’s dorm room. Claudine was sharing with Jane, Dizzy and Hadie would go to a foster home for the time being and would move in next year to the school grounds, but for the night Dizzy would stay with Evie and Mal and Hadie would stay with the boys. Lalasa had a room of her own, giving her specific circumstances. They explained to her that there would be a possibility that it wouldn’t stay that way forever, but that they would warn her should it change. It was late and dinner was being served. The newly arrived students from the Isle joined Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay to eat. As they made their way to the cafeteria, students kept glancing and whispering at their group, most were directed at Lalasa and Aakash. The mother kept her back straight and shielded her son from the student’s eyes. Her friends around her, further providing comfort and protection. And maybe a few glares from Jay and Mal.

Ben joined their groups before they made it to the cafeteria doors. He threw his arm around Mal’s shoulder and gave her a peck on the cheek. Lalasa couldn’t help but smile fondly at the display and the blush that formed on Mal’s cheeks. Dizzy squealed, Hadie looked away and Claudine pretended she didn’t see. Ben smiled at all of them. He noticed the protective circle around the mother and son but didn’t comment on it. He started asking questions to Claudine, who in turn answered politely, if albeit a bit cold. But Ben plowed ahead. They reached the cafeteria and the look on the new VK faces was as funny as it was sad.

Hadie and Dizzy rushed to the serving table, wide eyed at all the fresh food. Claudine was bit more calm, still maintaining polite conversation with the King, but her eyes kept glancing back at the food. Ben let the conversation fall so that she could go explore the table. That left Lalasa and Aakash. When the circle broke out around her, letting her see the options, her eyes went comically huge. They nearly bulged out of her sockets. A shocked laugh left her mouth, which she quickly covered up with her free hand, the other still holding the baby. The smile was still evident behind her hand. She cautiously approached the table amazed. She turned around at her friends, who stood back to let her explore. They offered smiles of encouragement and she eagerly grabbed a tray and stood in line behind Claudine. Lalasa stubbornly ignored the stares she was getting from both students and staff members. The baby boy was entranced with the amount of food and kept trying to grab everything, tugging at his mother’s hair when something caught his attention. Lalasa grabbed one of everything, making sure to grab things that would be easy on Aakash stomach. When she reached the end of the line, she noticed a lady with a cash register and she suddenly grew nervous. Before she could put the food back, Jay stepped in front of her and payed for their food. When he was done, he shot her a wink over his shoulder and grabbed both their trays and headed for the table where everyone else was already seated. She sat beside Evie with Jay seating in front of her. She put Aakash on her knee, who had started clapping and gurgling happily. Lalasa started feeding him mashed potatoes and everybody couldn’t help but coo at how adorable he looked when he opened his mouth wide. He closed his mouth around the silver spoon and made a humming sound when he tasted the potatoes. As he was tasting the food, Lalasa took the chance to try the mashed potatoes herself. She closed her eyes when the food touched her tongue. She had never tasted something so good in her entire life. When she opened her eyes, she saw that the whole table was looking at her expectantly.

“It’s so buttery” She said with her mouth still full of mashed good. At her comment, the other three arrivals started eating the food and made similar reactions, if a bit more explicit on Claudine’s part to everybody but Lalasa’s surprise. Claudine liked to put an air of formality and politeness around her, but she was as foulmouthed as a drunken sailor when she was comfortable.

When everybody had finished dinner, conversation not exactly flowing but not horrible either, Lalasa stood up and put her son on her shoulder. She started rocking side to side. The baby had put his thumb in his mouth and had his eyes half closed. Evie had stood up and approached them.

“May I?” She whispered. Aakash somehow still managed to hear her and made grabby motions at her. The mother gave a fond laugh and gently handed him over.

“You were always better at putting him to sleep anyway.” Lalasa had crossed her arms over her chest, absentmindedly scratching at the scars on her face. Evie smiled fondly down at the half-asleep boy. She gave the other a mock surprise look.

“He’s gotten so heavy!” Evie had a smile on her face that quickly went away at what the other said next.

“Yeah, that what happens when you leave.” The look in Lalasa’s eyes was hard to bear. Evie looked down towards the sleeping baby, not able to meet the others eyes. Mal, Jay and Carlos looked away from her gaze, feeling the guilt eat up at them from the inside. They heard her sigh and they looked up to see her looking at them with a guarded look in her amber eyes. She started at each of the in the eye before landing on Evies. Ben, sensing what was needed at the time, quietly ushered the newcomers and himself to their dorm rooms. Mal shot him a grateful look before looking back at Lalasa. She still had her arms crossed over her chest, her feet apart, a stance that indicated that she was ready to fight or run. Since she didn’t have Aakash in her arms, they all concluded that she was ready for a fight.

“You left.” She said, leaving no room to disagree. They weren’t planning on doing that anyway. The four nodded their heads, all avoiding her gaze except for Evie whose eyes were locked with Lalasa’s. “For months.” Her voice broke and she had to look away from Evie, in fear she would see how much it affected her. She had known these people, trusted them, but their departure left her reeling. When she looked up, there was a fire in her eyes that left them glowing. “No letters, no calls, no nothing. You left me and Aakash.” The way she said them felt like a slap to the face. “I knew you couldn’t bring me immediately; I know how it works, but you didn’t contact us at all. For goodness sake, you went to the Isle two months ago!” Good thing everybody had went to their dorms because they would definitely be looking at them after the way she was talking to them. It was close to a controlled shouting, but Aakash still woke up and reached out to his mother, sensing her distress. Evie handed him to her without hesitating. Lalasa’s glare diminished when she had her son in her arms. He helped her calm down, knowing if she didn’t, he wouldn’t be able to. Aakash put a chubby hand on her cheek and babbled softly to her. He made a soft whining sound and pressed his forehead to her cheek. Lalasa smiled tenderly at her little boy and placed a hand on the back of his head, both of them closing their eyes. When Lalasa opened hers again, they didn’t glow as they did previously. Her eyes weren’t as hard to bear, but they shined with unshed tears. With a broken whisper, she asked what finally broke their heart.

Why?” Evie, the most emotional of the group, couldn’t take it anymore and lept at her. Lalasa stood tense for a few moments before wrapping the arm that wasn’t holding the baby around her friend. Lalasa pressed her face into the crook of the other girl’s neck and let a few tears drop. They could hear Evie’s muffled sobs as she hugged the mother tightly. Lalasa stood back from Evie and hastily wiped the tears out of her face. She took a deep calming breath before continuing.

“I know you couldn’t come right away, and I understand that, but I felt like you’ve forgotten me. Abandoned me. If I had been on my own, maybe I would have felt less betrayed,” The VK’s tried hard not to flinch at her words, “but you not only left me, you left Aakash. Do you know how dangerous is to be a single teenage mother on the Isle? I didn’t have protection, no one to leave Aakash to if something happened to me. I was terrified every. Single. Day.” Lalasa took deep breaths. She was vulnerable but she didn’t know if she could trust the people around her anymore. “Aakash and me would have been dead if it weren’t for the Mothers.” The whole group was shocked at her statement. They knew it was rough, but they seemed to have forgotten just how hard it was. The silence that followed was uncomfortable for everyone. Carlos was the first to get up and approach Lalasa. He stood in front of her and offered a smile. He reached for her hand and she let him take it.

“If you would let us,” he said, “We would like to be your family again. If you would let us.” He added the last part uneasily, afraid of her rejection. She looked into his eyes and smiled softly. She let go of his hand and placed it on the top of his head. Her eyes travelled to the rest of the group. She wanted these people to be her family again, she really did. She just didn’t know if her heart could take another betrayal. The hopeful look they gave her almost made her accept them. Almost.

But she would try.

“I need time” She told them. They couldn’t hide the disappointment in their eyes completely, but she noticed that the smiles they gave her were genuine.

“We will give you all the time in the world if we have to” Said Evie. Lalasa had missed her. Gosh how she had missed them all.

Carlos passed a hand through the soft hair on top of the sleeping baby’s head that was in Lalasa’s arms. A confused look came over his face. He turns it towards Lalasa from where he was looking at Aakash.

“You mentioned you couldn’t have made it without ‘The Mothers’ help? Who are they?” He made quotations marks with his fingers around the title. Lalasa couldn’t hide the bittersweet smile at the mention of the group.

“That my dear Carlos, is a story for another time.” As he did previously to Aakash, Lalasa passed her hand through Carlos hair with a fond expression on her face. He returned it tenfold. At moment like these one remembered just how young he was.

Lalasa turned to the group.

“Could someone show me where my room is? I would get lost if I tried to navigate the school on my own. It’s been a long day and Aakash is getting heavy.” They all laughed at that.

“I’ll take you.” Jay stood up and came to stand beside the mother. Lalasa gave him a small but grateful smile and the two waved their goodbyes before disappearing from the groups sight.

“This is going to be harder than we thought, isn’t it?” Asked Evie, once she was sure Lalasa was out of ear shot. The silence following her question confirmed what they were all thinking. Evie sighed.

“At least we’ve got her. Nothing bad can happen to her here.” At least, they hoped so.

 

Chapter Text

Jay and Lalasa walked in awkward silence, neither one of them knowing what to say to the other after such a long separation. Finally, Jay decided to break the silence with one of the useful things he learned at Auradon: small talk.

“So, how did you like the food?” Immediately a smile lit up Lalasa’s face, the kind he only saw rarely on the Isle. It seemed like Auradon was already working its magic on her. She turned her head towards him with excitement.

“I can’t believe it! It tasted so fresh. The mashed potatoes,” she made a sinful noise that had blood rushing to Jay’s cheeks. He forgot how vocal she could be. “They were so buttery! I never tasted something so good.” Jay smiled at her enthusiasm and couldn’t help his own from growing.

“Wait until you taste chocolate. It’s the first thing me and Carlos ate when we got here. You are going to die when you finally taste it” Her smile widened to an impossible length, not able to contain her glee at tasting new things.

“I can’t wait to get my hands on the kitchen. Do you think they will let me cook?” She looked down at her feet with a furrow in her brow. He never liked seeing that expression on her face. It only showed up when she was going down the rabbit hole in her head.

“I’m sure they’ll let you. No one can say no to you when you pull out the puppy dog eyes, and you know it.” It seemed to do the trick. She let out a short-surprised burst of laughter. She slapped a hand over her mouth trying to muffle her laughter, afraid to wake up the sleeping baby in her arms.

“It is my most powerful weapon in my arsenal. It works every time.” She said with a smug smile. He smiled at the sight. He hadn’t realized how much he missed her until he saw that smile. They walked in silence again, a comfortable one this time. He had his hands in his pockets and she still had remnants of a smile on her face. Finally, they reached her room. He made a large, exaggerated bow with that same smile he used when he knew he was being ridiculous. She couldn’t help the small laugh that escaped her at the sight.

“After you, my lady.” As best she could with a sleeping baby in her arms, Lalasa returned his bow with a clumsy interpretation of a curtsy.

“Why thank you kind sir.” This time it was his turn to laugh. He shot her a wink and opened the door for her. Thankfully his back was to her, so she managed to control the slight blush that came to her cheeks.

When Lalasa caught the sight of her room for the first time, her reaction was similar to the one she had at the cafeteria. Her eyes bugged out and her breath was stolen from her lungs. The room was everything she had never had. There was a closet to store her nonexistent clothes, a bed with a clean mattress and the biggest television she had ever seen. But what brought tears to her eyes was the crib that was across from her bed. On the Isle, Aakash had only scraps of fabric on the floor as his bed.

“He has a crib?” She asked incredulously. It broke Jay’s heart to see her reaction. Every baby should have a crib. It shouldn’t bring anyone to tears to have a bed and yet here he saw that happen, and to her. He had forgotten how bad it was on the island. He swallowed the knot that had formed in his throat and stood beside Lalasa.

“It’s brand new.” She smiled and a tear ran down her face. She didn’t bother wiping it. She carefully walked up to it and gently placed Aakash in it. The baby made some noises but continued sleeping. More tears escaped Lalasa’s eyes. They ran down her face rapidly and she tried to muffle her sound by covering her mouth with her hand. She looked at him and his heart broke for the third time that day. He made his way to her side and placed a hand on the edge of the crib. The tears would not stop but her eyes shone with happiness.

“He has a crib.” She said incredulously. He wrapped one arm around her shoulders and they both gazed down on the sleeping baby. They stood like that for a long time. Her tears had stopped, and a smile replaced it. She quickly dried her eyes and stepped away from his embrace. It confused Jay how much he missed her warmth at his side. He recovered without Lalasa noticing it. He gestured to the closet.

“There’s no clothes in the closet, but there are bottles, diapers, pacifiers and everything you would need.” Lalasa drew in a breath. She ran to the closet and ripped open its doors. Inside it were all the thing had Jay said and more. She let out a sound that was a mix of a cry and a laugh.

“Oh, this can’t be real.” She whispered. She reverently touched each item in the closet. Clean diapers, unused wipes, new baby clothes, pacifiers, everything she needed but didn’t have at the Isle. “This is a dream. It has to be” She couldn’t believe it. She had struggled every day on that island and now, to have these things handed to her as if they were nothing? It was too good to be true.

Jay stood back letting her soak it all in. He knew it was going to be difficult for her at first. None of them suffered quite as much as Lalasa had. She had suffered long before Aakash came and, as much as they loved him to bits, the Isle was not equipped to raise a kid. He hoped that Aakash could grow up here, away from the toxicity of their birthplace and he hoped that Lalasa would regain what was so harshly stolen from her. He was suddenly ripped out of his reverie when Lalasa came crashing into him with a hug. He felt her shoulders shaking and, without much thought on his part, wrapped his arms around her. She felt so small in his arms, her frame skinny from the Isle’s lack of food. He rested his head atop of hers and rubbed his hands on her back. When her shaking stopped, she stepped back and looked up at him with teary eyes but with the biggest smile he had ever seen.

“Thank you” She whispered. They stood there for a long time, just holding each other, glad to be where they were and secretly glad that they were with each other again.

Suddenly aware of how close they were, Lalasa let go and stepped back. She scratched at the scars on her face like she always did when she grew nervous. Sometimes, when she scratched hard enough, they would start to bleed. She never noticed when she did it and any time she would start one of them would remind her and distract her. It occurred to him then how many times had she started to bleed because there was nobody there to look after her. The thought sent a pang in his chest.

“Well, I better get some sleep. Aakash always wakes up early and he just started sleeping through the night.” She said with a small chuckle. Jay took that as his cue to leave.

“Ok. I’ll be on my way then.” He started walking towards the door with Lalasa. She opened the door and he stepped into the hall. Just as she was closing the door he spoke. “If you need to talk about anything or need something, you know our doors are always open. Although you have to be careful after 11. FG does have a thing about curfews.” He rubbed his neck not used to having these kinds of conversations, especially with her. He knew she wouldn’t bother any of them even if she was in trouble, but if he offered her help now maybe she would ask for it later. He really wasn’t good with these kinds of conversations. That was more Evie’s field. She gave a small nod of her head, the small smile on her face helping him relax immensely. “One of us will stop by at around 9 for breakfast and we’ll see what we do from there. Is that alright with you?” He asked

“I’ll probably be up before then but I’m not confident enough to go out and try to find the cafeteria on my own. Sounds like a plan.” They shared a smile and with a quiet ‘Goodnight’, she closed the door. He didn’t understand why there was such a huge smile on his face, and why his step was just a bit more cheerful when he walked to his dorm room, but he just chalked it up to having his friend back. Whatever the cause, it felt nice.