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Dec 17, 2018 5:12 AM
We don't really date much on the island. It's more like...gang activity.
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"Are there other things you like doing with someone who knows what they're doing?"

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Ben rolls his eyes dramatically.

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He pretends not to see the eye roll. "There are," fake-coy. 

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"Art, I assume."

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"Among others." He's looking at Asher through his eyelashes. 

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"I'm good at everything." He says it casually, like he's stating a well-known fact, not like he's bragging.

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Someone's confident. "Are you." 

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He traces his fingers lightly along Sasha's arm. "I am. So, you know, if you want to do something with someone who is very very good, I could probably be convinced to do something with someone who is very very pretty."

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He drops the fake-coy act. "I would love to do something with you." 

Being in Auradon has made him very aware of the fact that here are other people in this room, but not so much so that he won't shift again and lean into Asher's side. 

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"Tonight when Ben goes home, if you're not busy?"

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"I am not." 

Hearing King Ben referred to by first name only: still weird. 

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Asher wraps an arm around Sasha's shoulder and pets his hair. 

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"--Did you deliberately invite the three of us so we'd have to leave and you could get laid?"

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"Yes."

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"The three of us are going to have to duck out soonish," Ben says in explanation, "because I need Carlos and Jane to help me figure out how to present my proposal that we no longer allow people on the Isle to have children."

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He was relaxed, before.

"...not that I don't see the point of what you're aiming for, but how are you planning on stopping them?" 

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"We'd alter the anti-magic field to allow for a contraceptive spell to be laid over the whole island. I realize this is an imperfect solution, because lots of people on the Isle are fine parents, but my hope is that the Isle will be abolished in a decade or so and if that happens I absolutely promise the Crown will cover the cost of fertility spells for any former villain who needs it and would be a good parent." He leans forward. "Do you think there's a better way? I'm always interested in advice from people from the Isle about Isle issues."

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"If I heard that while I was on the island, my first thought would be that there was no way that was all you were going to do. My second thought would be to wonder why you were even bothering to lie about what you were going to do, it's the Isle, and my third thought would be that it must be so awful that you couldn't get the political capital to do it any other way. Opinion would be divided on whether it was going to kill us all or whether it was something nicer, like mind control so we're all unrecognizeable. Some people would decide that if they're going to die anyway anything's worth it. 

Even after the spell is in place, nobody is going to trust that that's actually all you did, they'll just think it was something subtle. Nobody is going to trust Auradon's definition of a good parent, I don't trust Auradon's definition of a good parent. Nobody is going to trust that your fertility spells are actually fertility spells. Maybe a handful of people will ask for one anyway; they'll be test cases who are bracing themselves for whatever Fairy Godmother would do to Harry Hook if she got the chance. And — for an islander, anyway — I'm not unusually untrusting." 

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"Oh, I'm not going to tell anyone that I'm planning on abolishing the Isle and giving villains state-funded fertility spells, if I did that I wouldn't be allowed to reform anything. My announcement is that I'm going to be punishing the villains by not letting them have any children. --I realize that the Islanders have no reason to trust me, and any time I do anything that affects the Isle it is going to make people frightened that I've actually done a bunch of other horrible stuff, because in fact Auradon does horrible stuff to the Isle all the time. But I can't just leave the Isle the way it is, because the way it is is horrifying. I hope that over the course of years, in which I only ever do what I say I'm going to do, I integrate most Islanders into Auradon, and I give the ones who can't be rehabilitated something other than garbage to eat, I can build trust."

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He shoves down the part of his brain that is going you are arguing with the King of Auradon why are you doing that he'll send you back, because Ben won't. 

"I really cannot emphasize enough that if you start by altering the anti-magic field to let you lay a spell over the entire island, the result you will get will be an entire island full of people who hate and fear you, are long-used to having violence as the only option for solving their problems, and think they have nothing left to lose." 

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He taps his tongue against his teeth. "That makes sense-- and, of course, while I don't want to be paranoid, weakening the anti-magic field will make it easier for the people currently trapped there to do magic. But you understand my concerns here? The Isle is a horrible place to raise children. I'm doing the best I can to improve it, but all I've managed to do is add food and medicine shipments to the garbage shipments. Every person who comes out of there is horribly horribly traumatized. I'm interested in your other suggestions, if you have any."

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"I don't disagree with you. It is absolutely a horrifying place to raise children, I just don't think you can stop people from having children there in a way that won't make things exponentially worse.

The food is already helping more than you think — it's not just not being hungry, it's not having to fight for resources, and for Islanders sharing food is the most important gesture you can make, it's an enormous show of good faith and it's made in our language rather than Auradon's. Literally just sending more food won't solve all the problems but it'll do a lot to help, especially if you think you can abolish the Isle within a generation, and it's lower-cost than anything else I can think of." 

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"I totally can! Even now, every powerful family in Auradon has at least one member whose primary association with villain kids is Mal or Carlos or Claudine or you. --Thank you for saying this. I mean it, thank you. I can't say I'm going to do what you're saying, but I am taking it very seriously."

He's so earnest

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Asher is staring at Sasha with open-mouthed adoration. 

"Je t'adore, je t'aime."

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He doesn't speak French but he recognizes the shape of the word adore and can guess. 

How about he does not interact with that statement. 

"Thank you," he says, instead, to Ben. 

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