Author's Note: I never thought this story would go on this long, but I'm glad it did. It's been fun writing it. And while I may be done with this story, I'm not done with this idea. I've decided to do the sequel, but I'm going to take some time to plan it out, although, I will try to have something out soon I might take a little time to organize it and work on others stories that have gotten put off this week. This time, Evie will be in it as a main character, not just mentioned here and there.
"Girls, come on, you're going to be late," Fairy Godmother shouted as she walked into the kitchen, putting the finishing touches to pinning her hair back into a loose bun.
Summer was over and it was the first day of school. Fairy Godmother was stressed beyond belief since she was running late, mostly because the girls had decided that after a month of peace, today would be the day they resurrected their morning arguments over the use of their shared bathroom. She only sped things back up by letting Mal use hers to avoid someone getting turned into some kind of pet.
"You're the headmistress, we can't be late," she heard Mal shout from her room.
"Don't get smart, Mal."
"Sorry. If it helps…then the king's girlfriend can't be late," Mal shouted.
"During school hours, I'm in charge, and believe me, it is entirely possible for you to be late, so hurry please. You too, Jane."
"I'm almost done," Jane shouted from her bedroom. "Mal, I need help zipping up."
"Just let me finish putting on my boots," Mal answered back.
"Girls, you still need to eat," Fairy Godmother told them as she pulled out some fruit along with bottles of juice out of the refrigerator.
"We're coming," both shouted back, impatience in their tones.
Thank goodness I made them pack up and leave most of their things in their dorm rooms days ago, she thought, otherwise this would've been a very long morning.
The Jenkins house was usually a well-organized place, mostly thanks to Liz. The boys, all four of them, were up no later than eleven and having breakfast before completing a few chores and then being allowed to do what they wanted. But that was the routine that had prevailed for most of the summer.
On the morning of the first day back to school, things were running a little different.
Currently, the twins were the only ones seated for breakfast. Liz smiled as she looked them over in their new clothes as they ate their cereal and toast. She was always surprised by how quickly they seemed to be growing up. Today was another reminder of that since they were starting seventh grade. A few more years and it'll be off to high school, maybe even Auradon Prep, she thought, and then they're moving out for college. She almost felt herself becoming teary eyed as she thought of that – like she did every year.
It didn't help that this year, she was sending two more kids to school. Except the older two wouldn't be coming back at the end of the day like the twins would be. No, they'd be moving onto campus and if she was lucky, she might see them on weekends.
"Alright, so Jay and Carlos' stuff is in the car, now they just need to join it," Coach Jenkins said as he came back in from packing the boys' belongings into the car. "Boys, let's get a move on," he shouted upstairs.
A few seconds later, Carlos came down, his backpack hanging off his shoulders. "No breakfast?"
"Eat fast," he heard Liz say from the kitchen. He went over and grabbed some toast, beginning to eat while he waited for Jay.
"Where's Jay?" Liz asked him.
"Finishing getting dressed, he overslept," he answered through a mouthful of toast and grape jelly.
"Manners," she told him.
He forced down his mouthful, took a large drink of milk and then said, "Sorry."
"There any food left?" they heard Jay ask as he finally made his way down into the kitchen.
"We've got to go," they heard Coach from the living room.
"Boys, go grab your bags," Liz told the twins, who nodded before running up to their room. "You," she said in Jay's direction, sliding a plate of toast and a banana toward him, "make it quick."
As he started eating, she looked at both boys. They'd come along way from the first day they'd walked into this house three months ago. They were strangers then. Now, they were her family. Why do they have to be going back to school, she thought. Yes, I'll have the twins at the end of the day, but the house isn't going to feel the same without these two.
"I'm gonna get lost," Raymond said as he, Evie, and his parents, Snow White and Florian, sat in the back of the car as it drove them to Auradon Prep. They'd spent the past few nights in the house his parents kept here in Auradon whenever one or both of them needed to be here for something official.
"You're not going to get lost, Sweetie," Snow told him.
"You might," Evie stated.
"Evie," Snow chided her, giving her a playful nudge to the knee with her own.
"What? I want to be honest with him," Evie said. "When me and my friends were brought over we kept getting lost for the first few days. It's a big campus. Luckily for you," she smiled to her nephew, "you'll have the same thing I had to make it easier."
"Which is?" he asked nervously.
"Someone you can ask for directions any time you want." Both Snow and Raymond looked at her. "I mean me," she finished with a ruffling of his hair.
Evie watched as Raymond nodded apprehensively. Poor kid, she thought, new schools are hardly easy to begin with, but this had to be terrifying for him. At least at his old school he could go home where he felt comfortable. But now he was actually leaving home and the safety and reliability of his parents, probably for the first time in his life. It was just what she felt last year when she, Mal, Jay, and Carlos arrived.
But just like her, he'll have some back up looking out for him. She'll watch over him for her sister, just like her friends watched over her.
"There you go, Ray," Florian said to his nervous son. "Evie will make sure you're okay."
"Who helped you find your way around?" Raymond asked.
"Doug, of course," she scoffed. "So don't worry, you'll be fine, I'll make sure of it."
Snow smiled at the sound of her sister reassuring her son. These past three months had been a test of resolve for both women. From getting past the emotional powder keg that the specter of their mother created, to figuring out where each other stood, to finally coming together as a family; the road was long and anything but a smooth ride. But now, Snow White and Evie, the daughters of Grimhilde, the Evil Queen were something that neither of them ever thought they'd be, sisters and friends.
The campus was buzzing with energy, as usually happens with the first day of any school. But as Fairy Godmother watched the multitude of students crisscrossing the grounds, she felt a swell of pride. She loved when her students came back to campus. The whole place felt alive with them on it. And since she had to spend some time here preparing the school for them, she knew what it felt like without them.
Depressing...that was the least harsh word she could come up with to describe it.
But now, all the old buildings were practically brimming with life. The incoming freshman were nervously moving back and forth, trying to find their way and hoping to not get lost. For most of them, this was probably the first time they'd ever been away from the home and families. Now they'd have to learn how to make new families out of the friends they made.
Their parents were equally as nervous. Most schools in Auradon for younger children weren't boarding schools, so they still went home at the end of the day. But now, these parents were going to have to let go of their children and let them leave home, probably for the first time ever. And she did sympathize with them when talking to them to alleviate their fears and concerns, since last year she went through the same thing with Jane. The only difference was that since was headmistress, she still got to see Jane every day.
"I remember having to move in like this last year," Jane said as she watched the throng of students doing to their best to move in as fast as possible.
"It's like chaos," Mal uttered. "How are we supposed to have time for classes with all this?"
"Easy, we don't have classes today," Jane answered her.
"Contrary to what most of the new students actually believe, Mal," Fairy Godmother started to explain as she led the girls to their dorm hall, grateful that they were in the same building. "Classes start the second day of school here at Auradon Prep. Day one, is move in day."
"Good call bringing us in a couple of days ago then," Mal nodded as she realized that she didn't need to worry about this as much as the other students did. "I wonder if –"
"Mal! Jane!" they heard shouted from behind them. They turned and became excited at the sight of Evie running toward them. Once she reached them, the three girls hugged each other, elated to be seeing each other after essentially three months apart. Fairy Godmother smiled at the way the girls greeted each other like the sisters they were. She was happy to see Mal and Evie together again, and was even more pleased to know that the two of them had chosen to include her own daughter into their bond.
"It's quite the sight isn't it?" Fairy Godmother heard from behind her and turned to see Snow White and Florian walking toward them, their son Raymond pulling up the rear.
"Hi Snow, Florian," she greeted with a small bowing of her head. "And hello to you too, Raymond."
Germania's royal family greeted the school's headmistress, though Snow's attention was on her sister and her friends. "It's good to see them together again," she said without thinking as she watched the three girls get reacquainted
"It really is," Fairy Godmother agreed. "Thanks to Mal, Jane's grown up so much this summer, she's more confident, she actually defends herself now."
"And Mal? Has Jane been an influence on her?" Florian asked.
"She's still a handful, but she's learning to think before she does something. And most importantly, she's learned that she can admit to her mistakes without feeling like she's being weak," she said, almost feeling like she was bragging about how far both her girls had come. "What about Evie?"
"Amazing, I have the best little sister in the world," Snow beamed with pride.
Before Snow could say anything further, the three girls let out squeals and screams of joy and started making their way back toward the parking lots. Turning to see what had grabbed their attention, the assembled parents saw that Coach Jenkins and his wife had pulled up, and for the girls that meant one thing; the boys had arrived.
As they watched the girls get reacquainted with their friends, boyfriend in Jane's case, the adults stood back and watched. There were hugs, mostly from the girls, a few pecks on the cheeks, even from the boys, and one large kiss from Jane to Carlos.
"Aww," Snow White and Liz gushed as they witnessed the reunion. Coach Jenkins just smiled.
"Jane! There are rules about public displays of affection like that," Fairy Godmother called out to her daughter, as she watched Jane and Carlos practically making out. "Jane!"
Jane and Carlos broke their kiss, the two of them blushing profusely. "Um…sorry, Mom," Jane stammered as she straightened out her skirt.
"Uh…yeah," Carlos said, still caught off guard by the kiss.
"I guess Jane's the aggressive one in the relationship," Snow laughed.
"It's always the quiet ones," Liz said, both amused and slightly surprised.
As they continued to watch the kids talk, every one of the adults heard their phones begin to sound off. All of them checked their respective devices and saw that it as a text from Belle. "She's asking us to meet her in the library after we get the kids settled," Fairy Godmother relayed out loud.
Unlike the rest of the school, the library was relatively quiet, the chaos that was move-in day not making its way there. In fact, today was one of only a handful of days where the library would see no visitors. So as Snow White and Florian, Coach Jenkins and Liz, and Fairy Godmother waited for Belle to arrive, they sat in relative peace. "You're sure you have no idea what she wants?" Coach Jenkins asked Fairy Godmother.
"Not a clue," she answered. "Although, considering we're all here, it has to do with the kids I'd wager. Probably just wants to see how they did all summer."
"Thinking like that is why me and Adam made you headmistress," they heard Belle say as she entered. The group of parents began to stand, only to be motioned back into their chairs. "I apologize for being a little late, getting Ben settled in took a little longer than I anticipated.
"He wanted to go see Mal rather than move in didn't he?" Fairy Godmother asked.
"I had to force him to unpack," the Queen Mother answered as she sat at the table with the other parents, people she now called her friends. The collected group let out small laughs. "That being said, I called you all here because I wanted to say thank you. I know this summer was probably much different than all of you are used to." A few nods. "But I hope that it was worth it."
"Definitely," Liz said out of reflex. Again there was a small erupting of laughter.
Before they knew it however, all the parents were talking about the children they'd let into their lives and the changes that had occurred, both to the children and to themselves, because of it. Coach Jenkins and Liz talked about how Jay had learned to let down his guard and let people in. That having the twins looking up to him forced him to become more mature and look into himself to see that maybe he didn't have to act as if he was alone in facing the world. And how Carlos had opened himself up to the idea of what a stable and loving home could be, and that it was possible for him to have it and that it wouldn't be taken away.
Snow White gushed over how Evie had learned that she didn't need to be perfect. That she was exceptional just the way she was. But Snow felt a great feeling of pride as she recalled that Evie had eventually made the decision that while she happy with who she was now, that it was still okay to make changes, not because she was lacking, but because changes can be for growth, and to make her into an even better version of herself.
Finally, Fairy Godmother was all smiles as she recounted the summer that had changed her and her daughter's life. Mal had come in and taught all of them that it you couldn't shut off part of yourselves. And that her presence had brought changes to both herself and the girl that Mal now considered another sister. For Mal, it was the dawning of a new, growing family, something she'd never even considered back on the Isle. A family that was ready to accept her for who she was, both good and bad, and was eager to help her embrace a future that held a destiny that she never imagined would ever be hers. For Jane, it was the answering of prayers she'd had since she was a little girl; the wanting of a sister to help her overcome the inadequacies that she saw everyday by telling her that plain and simply, that those inadequacies weren't there. That it was okay to feel like you didn't fit with the rest of the world because you family would always accept you.
Belle listened to these stories, doing her hardest not to cry. Her plan had come full circle. What had started as her own motherly instincts driving her to protect children that others might have cast off back into a place where their very lives might be endangered, had turned into a proving of something she believed more than anything else. That the love a family, whether it was one you were born into, or one you created, could bring out the best in anyone, just like it had these four children, and brought out even better in the loved ones that had taken them in.