Queen, Hatter, and Princess

by Robert Teague

This story was written for fans of Ever After High, and no copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Note: I had planned to learn more about the EAH Universe before writing a story, but this just flowed out in one sitting. Originally it was going to be about Raven and Apple having a conversation, but my muse didn't see it that way.

But now I've done a bit of editing to the first chapter, and written that scene as a second. Enjoy!

EAH EAH EAH

Raven Queen sat down heavily at the foot of one of the marble columns that were part of the gazebo in the Enchanted Forest. She was still breathing hard because she had run all the way here from the lobby of Ever After High. Tears still trickled down her cheeks, making streaks from her eye shadow.

"It's Raven Queen! Run!"

"SHE IS EVIL!" the voice still rang in her head.

The bleating of sheep and the screams of students as they dropped their books and ran. The slam of doors echoing through the suddenly empty room.

Ten days. Ten DAYS in a ROW that had happened. And today had been the last straw. She had turned and run from the school to find some place to be alone and think.

The dark-haired girl put her head in her hands and her body shook with the emotional pain. Why? Why did this still happen?

She had tried her best to be cordial, if not friendly, to anybody who spoke to her. She tried to join conversations only to have the others fall silent and excuse themselves as quickly as possible. She generally ate her meals in the dining hall alone, as other students either ignored her or kept glancing her way nervously as if expecting her to cast a spell on them without warning or reason.

Maybe she should withdraw and go home. Then, at least, she wouldn't get those looks. But her mom would just send her back because she wanted Raven to follow in her evil footsteps, so that was no good.

She looked at her hands and conjured her magic. A violet mist formed around them, and she stared at it. THIS was the only evil thing about her; the magic she had inherited from her mother. She had learned by experience long ago that it could not be used for good deeds. It would backfire and cause even worse damage if she did, so she had resolved never to use it again.

Unfortunately that hadn't worked either. In times of stress or high emotion she used it instinctively against the source of the stress. So far the results had been reversible, but there was no guarantee that would always be true.

She let the magic dissapate and leaned back against the column. Alone. She was alone. Nobody cared except for-

"Raven?"

She turned quickly and saw her best friend, her ONLY friend, standing there. Maddie Hatter was at at the bottom of the steps looking concerned for her. The other students liked her, and forgave her friendship with Raven because she was "mad".

"Maddie? What are you doing here?" Raven asked, "How did you find me?"

"Answers in the order of question: yes it's me, to make sure you're okay, and with this," the odd girl answered. She reached into her hat and pulled out a crooked spyglass. It was so bent and twisted one could not possibly see through it, and yet Maddie could. She put it away and sat down on the steps by Raven.

There was silence for a minute, as they gathered their thoughts. Maddie didn't look at Raven, but instead followed the flight of a scold of blue jays until they flew out of sight behind some trees. Crazy she might be, but Maddie understood Raven, and treated her like she wanted to be.

Suddenly she pulled from her hat two cups, two saucers, and a hot pot of tea. She poured one and gave it to her friend. "Drink," she ordered, "It's an herbal tea that will help you relax."

Raven accepted the cup, and as she took a sip Maddie poured her own. Once again there was quiet, except for the normal sounds one finds in a magical forest.

When the cup was empty, Raven put it down with a sigh. "Thanks. That helped."

"You're welcome," nodded Maddie, finishing her own cup. "Now, what happened?"

"I- I guess the daily panic and comments about me being evil finally got to me. I ran before my magic got loose and did something it shouldn't," she answered.

"That was probably wise of you, but now we're both late for class," said Maddie.

"Eh," said Raven with a wave, "Better to be late than be responsible for not having a school at all."

Maddie giggled. "That bad, huh?"

"Yeah, that bad... Maddie, this can't go on," said Raven, closing her eyes and leaning back, "I've tried to explain I'm not evil by nature, and that I don't want to be, but Apple and the teachers keep pushing. 'It's your destiny to be evil,' I keep hearing, and the more I resist, the harder they try to convince me."

"I know," said Maddie, quietly.

"You've seen my room, the way Apple decorated my half of it. All that evil stuff... it's creepy; makes it hard to study or sleep," Raven continued with a shudder.

"Yes." The Mad Hatter's daughter poured another cup of tea and handed it to her friend, who accepted it and took a sip.

"Don't get me wrong; Apple's a sweet girl, even if she's a bit stuck on herself, but she thinks she knows best about everything and acts without asking first."

"I've noticed," affirmed Maddie, "I'd say it's part of being raised a princess."

"I mean, I was really looking forward to rooming with you this year, and she had to go and change it and expects me to be happy about it. Well, I'm not." said Raven, putting down the cup and crossing her arms. "And Headmaster Grimm won't let me move."

Maddie sipped her tea. "Maybe that was deliberate," she offered thoughtfully.

"Huh?" Raven tilted her head at her friend.

"Maybe Apple and the teachers are doing these quote 'nice' unquote things for you to make you angry, so you will resent her, and will turn evil and want revenge."

Raven gaped, then burst out laughing.

"I thought you were mad, not paranoid," she said at last, still grinning.

"It's not paranoia if they really are out to get you," Maddie rejoined.

Raven chuckled and shook her head. "I guess that's true. But Maddie, what am I going to do?"

"You can always join me in madness," she answered, crossing her eyes and sticking out her tongue. "Be nice to have company."

Raven snorted. "Maybe as a last resort."

"I'll keep a chair at Dad's tea party warm for you," said Maddie, and put away the tea service.

"Thanks. But what ELSE can I try? I'm starting to get desperate!"

"Sit down with Apple and talk with her, explain..."

"Tried that already. She won't listen,"interrupted Raven, "All she knows is she wants her 'happily ever after', and nothing else matters."

"That's her madness," said Maddie, "And you need to not get caught in it."

"You're absolutely right," said Raven. "Thanks, Maddie, I feel a lot better now."

Maddie stood up. "Let's get to class," she said, "And let me think about it. If I come up with something, you'll be the third to know."

"Third? Not second?" asked Raven, standing as well.

"I always discuss my ideas with Earl Gray first," said Maddie.

"I see..." said Raven, mentally picturing Maddie's pet dormouse holding up his side of the conversation.

They walked down the steps and took the path back to the school side by side.

Raven grinned at Maddie. "And maybe you'll come up with something so crazy, it just might work!"

"Do my best!"

And the laughter of the two girls, best friends forever after, echoed through the trees.