Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Evie/Mal, Ben/Mal, hinted Doug/Evie
Challenge/Prompt: femslash100100: Alphabet Soup: Trickle
Warning(s): Future Fic
Word Count: 1,734
Date Written: 7 November 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Disney, not the author, and are used without permission.
“You’re beautiful!” Evie breathed, her dark eyes wide. Of course she had known she would be. Mal had for years been her favorite subject for anything new and feminine she wanted to make. The girl looked fantastic wearing ripped jeans, leather, or even mere rags. Now Evie’s breath was being held so hard it hurt. Tears started to well in her eyes, but she fought them down, determined Mal would never know.
Mal didn’t know her best friend was so close to crying as she slowly raised her gaze from her wedding dress. “It’s beautiful!” she exclaimed, grinning widely. “Evie, I don’t believe you went with my favorite color!”
“Of course I went with your favorite color!”
“But the kingdom -- “
“Screw the kingdom! They’re getting the best Princess ever, and that Princess deserves to wear what she wants to wear!” Propping one hand on her hip, she asked sarcastically, “Or would you prefer me to dress you in plain, boring white?”
“No . . . “ Mal’s gaze was once again riveted on her dress. “No, of course not,” she answered, having to force her eyes back up to Evie’s. “This is beautiful! Perfect! Everything I could have wanted!”
“Of course it is!” Evie returned, not just a small bit smug. “And the green accents really bring out the sparks in your eyes. That’s why you chose me,” she teases with pride that hides sorrow too well, “for both your dressmaker and your best friend!”
“And bridesmaid!” Mal exclaimed. “Don’t you forget bridesmaid!” She reached out and pulled her into a tight hug, never seeing the tear that trickled down Evie’s cheek. Oh, how she wished that she could forget!
Weeks later, the event hasn’t been forgotten but remembered by everyone in Auradon. It’s the wedding of the decade just as the Prince’s father’s wedding to his commoner mother was the wedding of their decade, if not the century. The weddings in this kingdom have a long standing tradition of always outdoing one another, and no one can quite agree on which one of them all really makes the mark of being the wedding of the century.
Mal thought she would die of fright with everybody watching her, but she’s become accustomed to the crowds at last. No, there’s something else dying inside of her today, something that makes her every movement as she walks down the aisle painful, something that makes her went to scream, tear off her wedding gown, out of this place, and back to the island’s safety, something that makes her want to demand of her best friend why she won’t say something, especially when the Priest asks for anyone who wishes to lodge a complaint against her union with Prince Ben to come forward.
At that point, Mal almost turns around to face Evie. She almost rushes back to her. She almost screams at her to say something, anything! But everyone is silent. No one dares whisper a word, and the ceremony that’s supposed to make her the happiest woman in the kingdom continues without pause.
She can barely meet Ben’s eyes, but he dismisses her sudden shyness as nervousness for she knows she doesn’t like large crowds. He had actually originally suggested a small, private ceremony, but they had allowed his mother and Lumiere to push them into this grand affair. It was the way of his people after all, Mal had argued, and she didn’t want anyone to still oppose their union.
She just hadn’t expected to suddenly oppose it so strongly herself. Yet, as she listens to his words, she finally raises her eyes to his. She sees the sweetness in this man she is to marry, the eager, true love. How can she say “no” to him now, when they’ve come this far together? How can she break his heart when he loves her so truly?
She recites her own vows as if on automatic, the words spilling from her darkly painted lips. He’s let her wear her colors. He’s let her even paint her lips dark. His parents have accepted her; his subjects, too. This marriage goes far beyond the two of them. Their kingdoms will finally united. The other kids on the island can come to Auradon if they want; there’s even walk of allowing the villains yet another chance, not that her fiery mother deserves one.
This marriage is important. It’s done so much for so many people. Her husband to be has done so much for so many of her own people. Her dearest friends are happy now, even Evie, who surely would have said something by now if she felt even the tiniest inkling of the feelings Mal has secretly harbored for years. She loves her but as a friend, as a sister, not as a woman with whom she wants to spend the rest of her life beside. She has Doug for that, and she’s been behind Mal’s romance with the Ben since the very start, even way back when it was just a scheme to make Audrey jealous and turn Auradon on its ear.
Mal had never expected it to come this far. She had never expected to actually feel for Ben, and she does, though it’s not the all-consuming love he seems to have for her. It’s not the passion that she should feel for her husband. It’s nothing like the union his parents share, or any of the other famous couples throughout Auradon now gathered to watch them become the latest union living happily ever after in their magical kingdom.
She needs to do this, Mal tells herself as she finishes her vows and Ben squeezes her hands excitedly. She needs to say the words, she reminds herself as Ben answers the Priest with a firm, completely unwavering, “I do,” and Friar Tuck turns to her expectantly. This isn’t just about her life. It never has been! What she does in the next few seconds will impact not just the lives of herself and Ben forever more but all the people back home on the island, all the villains’ kids, all the villains themselves. This is why she continued with the ruse after it met with such success.
Holding to Ben’s strong, reassuring hands, Mal glances back as though looking out over the people who are soon to be her subjects, but instead her eyes seek Evie’s. Doug is standing there beside her most cherished friend. Evie’s hands are free but clasped before her as though she, too, is eager for this moment to happen, for Ben and Mal to become completely each other’s forever more.
Mal starts to mouth her name, but Evie waves at her, as if telling her to go on. Mal opens her mouth, but it isn’t Evie’s name she breathes. The words, “I do”, slip out instead. She closes her eyes quickly and turns back to Ben, away from Evie, away from the crowd before someone can suspect something is wrong.
When she opens her eyes again, Ben is beaming at her. He leans forward and slides his grandmother’s ring onto her finger. A quick flash of fantasy makes Mal imagine herself becoming a dragon again and tearing out of this palace, but she realizes now she can not do it. Everyone back home really is depending on her, and she can not crush Ben’s feelings. She cares for him far too much to hurt him when nothing good can come of it, and yet . . . There is so much good that can come from having the bravery to finish these next few seconds of her life and to see this scheme to completion.
She closes her eyes tightly again. She won’t run. Running would free only herself. It would break Ben’s heart, and his kingdom would surely never again accept the likes of herself, or Evie, or Jay, or even Carlos. Leaving now would destroy everything for which they have worked so hard.
So she doesn’t pull away as the Priest finishes his lines. She doesn’t turn tail and run, never having been the coward. She doesn’t fight or protest in the slightest when Ben pulls her closer and whispers, “It’s okay. They like you.” Instead, she just starts to whisper back yet another lie, “You know me,” only to have his mouth cover hers.
He does know her, but only the side of her she’s allowed him to see. No one knows her like her best friend, but evidently even Evie doesn’t know her that well. For all the secrets they’ve shared over the years, Evie has no clue that Mal doesn’t want this wedding or that the person she truly loves is clapping her hands together and crying out with glee. She has no idea of the tear trickling down Mal’s cheek as she gives herself over to her husband.
The Priest sees it. A few cameras snap it. But everyone who witnesses that tear thinks it is a tear of happiness for all the grand things that have happened to her and are yet to come. They believe she’s crying with joy from marrying the man she loves. None of them could ever guess that the person she loves is a woman, the very woman who walked with her down the aisle as her bridesmaid, the very woman whose dress she is now wearing, the very woman who never batted an eye in protest at giving her best friend away to the next reigning Prince of Auradon.
The very person whose hand Doug is squeezing firmly, reassuringly right now. The very person who, like the bride, is also crying. She wipes away her tears, smiling through them as she always has since she was little and determined not to let the world break her. She looks at her best friend and smiles at her, smiles for her, all while pouring tears because she is not the person in front of the church making the awesome Mal her bride. She is not the woman with the power to make her dreams come true. In the end, no matter how many fantasies and secrets they’ve shared, no matter how many times they’ve dreamed of this moment happening for themselves, it is Ben’s ring on Mal’s finger, he who will rule over their futures, and he who will love her happily ever after, and that breaks both their hearts.