A/N: An epistolary fic. It's AU, with Hattie as Queen, and Ella remaining a scullery maid at Dame Olga's manor. I also played on the "could-have-beens" present in the original source material. I hope you all enjoy it. Reviews are welcome, positive or otherwise.

Ella,

I hope you know that I'm not writing you to gloat or parade my exquisite royalty in your face. No, I'm writing you because you're the only one who will understand. Please keep in mind that I do so love my destined, regal lifestyle. However, Charmont and I seem to have…well, we seem to have hit a snag in our marriage, so to speak. Ella, please do not relay any of what I am telling you to anyone. Not Mama, not Olive, not even Mandy. No one. This is between you and I, and, as your sovereign, it would do you well if you respect these conditions.

Ella, I can't have children.

Charmont and I have tried for the past four years. And we need a child. But I am unable to give him one. I don't know what to do. I am sure that you will not have any solutions, either, but I trust that as my stepsister, you will act as a…a friend, and aid me in my time of need.

With much love, my dear Ella,

-Queen Hattie

Your Majesty,

Though it troubles me to hear of such a dire, dire tragedy intruding upon your marriage, I am afraid there is nothing I can do, and no comfort that I can offer.

Sincerely,

-Ella of Frell

My Ella,

Stop that. Stop that. Do not use such a dismissive tone with me! I am coming to you for help and you're rejecting me. I do not care if you can fix it or not, I merely want your comfort. Have you forgotten that I am Queen now, Ella-dear? It is not wise to trifle with royalty. Be smart. Wise up.

-Queen Hattie

Hattie,

I cannot even begin to fathom how you could even assume that I would offer you consolation. After all of the things that you put me through, you expect me to give you pity? You want my "comfort," as you say? Well, I am very sorry, Hattie, but I am simply not willing to oblige.

-Ella

P.S. Please refrain from addressing me with such possessive adjectives. Thank you.

Stepsister,

Please. Stop being so difficult. This is a very serious matter; a queen unable to bear any children is…it's just…I'm useless, Ella! If I cannot give Charmont a child, then honestly, what place do I have on the throne? We NEED someone to pass the crown to, and if I can't give him that…

Hattie,

This is your problem. Please stop writing to me. I will answer no longer.

Ella,

Ella…Ella I'm sorry. There. Is that what you wanted? An apology? Do you want me to admit that I treated you horribly when you lived under my roof? Is that what it will take to get you to…to help me? To get you to see that I…that I need you? Can't you understand how difficult it is for me to admit that? I am not myself at the moment. Disregard this, if you even bother to open it.

Hattie,

You never were yourself around anyone but me. Don't think I never saw. The way you acted around your sister and your mother was decidedly different than the way you acted in my presence. Right now, you're probably sitting up in your bedroom, with Char asleep in bed, scribbling these insipid letters to me by candlelight, trying not to let your tears smudge the ink. You only want my help because you know that I'm not the kind of person who would exploit your weaknesses for my own amusement.

Ella,

I don't even know why I'm bothering to reply, Ella-dear. You've made it quite clear that I mean nothing to you.

Hattie,

You do realize how different things would be if you hadn't treated me the way you did, yes?

Ella,

Of course I do. We could have been something. I burn with guilt every second of every day, Ella, darling, please spare me, and refrain from rubbing it in.

Hattie,

Exactly. I hope you also know that, maybe, just maybe, if you'd treated me with something akin to kindness and goodwill, that I may have…

I may have loved you.