When asked who is the person with the most Ever After High school spirit, Raven Queen is never the first to come to anyone's mind. Given the fact that she is actively rebelling against her fate to be the next Evil Queen, and thereby going against everything her school stands for, she probably isn't the second person either.
Most of her classmates don't see her as someone brimming with school pride. And she isn't. Raven is fine with admitting that. So yes, sometimes on Friday Pride-day when everyone is supposed to dress in school spirit wear, she'll wear regular street clothes because she just isn't feeling it. But she is excited for the Playoff Pep Rally this afternoon. Okay, maybe it's because it meant everyone got out of class early for the festivities. History of Evil Spells was cut short by 20 minutes. But she's still excited enough to put on her leather jacket with her school logo on it.
Her school hadn't had a real pep rally in years. Yeah, there was the Thronecoming spellebration, but that was more for the parade and the dance than the actual game. There wasn't much to be peppy about. The Bookball team sucked harder than she did when she tried using her magic for good. Everyone always said "This is gonna be our year!" Spoiler alert, it never was. Until this year. Thanks largely in part to Cerise, they were going to the playoffs for the first time in 20 years. So the Royal Student Council decided to celebrate with a playoff pep rally to boost the school's morale.
The rally was kicked off by the band playing the school song. Even though she played the piano and she couldn't possibly lug the school's Steinpage Baby Grand into the gym, she was still required to be there when the band performed. Professor Piper wanted her to help transport all the bigger instruments, and, for reasons beyond Raven's comprehension, play the woodblock as well. So while she was helping move the sousaphones back to the band room she missed the cheerhexers' performance and The Headmasters' speech. She caught the tail end of her best friend and Co-Royal Student Council President Maddie addressing the student body in Riddlish. She probably didn't mean to talk in a language only 5 people at their school understood, but she had a tendency to slur her languages. Her address was met with a scattered applause.
Shortly after the clubs and activities set up their booths for the second half of the rally, and the gym was transformed from assembly ground to fair ground. Raven wasn't involved with any of the booths, so she was free to walk around the pep rally for a short while. She didn't have a whole lot of time to spend. Her dad was coming to pick her up for the weekend. When she made plans with her father she didn't know there would be a playoff rally. She's a little disappointed her times' cut short, and that she'll have to miss the game, but she's pretty confident the team's going to win.
Ginger had asked earlier if she'd stop by the baking club's booth and try some of the cupcakes she made earlier. Raven had seen her making them this morning and they smelled like heaven, so she was happy to oblige. Raven thinks she said her booth was set up on the north end of the gym, but she can't remember for certain. It gives her an excuse to explore the fairest a little bit.
She passes by Blondie's booth promoting her Mirrorcast show. Blondie's taking a break from covering the fair to pass out handmade teddy bear key chains. They're cute, but Raven's key ring is already cluttered enough. Plus she really isn't in the mood for an exhausting, long-winded talk with Blondie. Every conversation they'd had left her wanting to take a nap.
Next to them is Sparrow's band. Tucker's fiddling around with one of their amps, which is letting off some serious sparks, and Sparrow's yelling at him about being careless with the equipment. It doesn't look like they'll be performing until it's fixed. She lets out a quiet sigh of relief. The last thing she wants to hear is Sparrow singing, or rather screaming, all throughout the fair.
She then walks by the Art club's water balloon toss, currently manned by Cedar and Cerise. She wants to say hello, but they seem pretty busy. A lot of people must be in the mood to get hit with water balloons and walk around soaking wet for the rest of the day. Even so, Raven wonders how they'll be able to go through the dozen or so tubs of water balloons they made. If you ask her it's too many. She'll swing back around later when things die down.
Across from them is The Marsh King handing out free samples to promote his new restaurant. She will definitely pass on that one. Those things he passes off as sloppy joes make it easier to understand why Ashlynn and Hunter are vegetarians.
There's a huge line of squealing girls in front of the next booth. She has to stand on her toes to see over the crowd to figure out what it actually is. She rolls her eyes. She should have figured it's the bookball team's kissing booth. It was probably Hopper's idea, but right now Daring is the one manning it. That explains the buzz.
She doesn't get Daring's appeal. Yeah, he has a pretty face. She hates to admit it, but even she was smitten by his strong jaw and gleaming white smile for a few days when she thought he'd written her a love poem. But he was also irritatingly narcissistic. The only love poem he'd ever write would probably be to himself. If these girls want to throw themselves at a handsome but vain guy, that's their business. She however walks on by.
Apple was stationed next door at a bobbing for apples station. Of course that would be her booth's theme. Raven assumes a few of those apples floating around in the wooden tub are from her admirers. Apple gets enough every day to feed a small army. She might enjoy her namesake food, but she couldn't possibly eat them all. Raven's not sure what club this is supposed to be for. Yearbook? Debate team? Peer Mediation? She lost track of how many organizations that girl's affiliated with. She's almost too dedicated if you ask her. Holly's there to help, but from those longing stares at the booth next door it's clear she'd rather be somewhere else.
"Holly we're really not that busy, so you're more than welcome to hexplore the fair if you like. Maybe visit next door?" Apple says kindly to her friend.
Holly laughs nervously and her cheeks flush pink. "Oh no I wouldn't do that! Daring's there right now. I couldn't possibly kiss Daring. That would be wrong! He's your Prince and I'm your Best Friend Forever After."
"Holly, I don't mind. As you know we're not dating yet."
"Well… if you really don't mind. Plus all the money they make goes to the Ogre Advancement Association. By kissing him I'd be giving to charity."
"That's the spirit! Meet back in 15 minutes alright?"
"Okay, thanks again Apple."
A soft smile blossoms across Apple's face as she watches Holly join the crowd surrounding their neighboring booth. This turns to a toothy grin accompanied by an overenthusiastic wave when she locks eyes with Raven standing a little ways away. "Raven, care to try for an apple? Don't worry they aren't poisoned." She giggles because she thinks she's being clever. It would be adorable; if she didn't drop references to their story almost daily.
"Thanks but I'll pass."
"So are you enjoying the pep rally?"
"Yeah. It's been spelltacular so far. The Royal Student Council did a great job planning it."
"Thanks! I'll have to tell Maddie. She organized most of it. All I did was sign a few papers." It's refreshing to see Apple acting humble.
She's about to ask if Apple could water her ferns while she's away for the weekend, but she's interrupted by a screech coming from the direction of the water balloon toss. It's not loud enough to silence the entire gym, but it's quieted enough for Raven to hear the conversation now going on at the booth.
"Faybelle I'm so sorry." Cedar says. "Stay here, I'll get you a towel." Raven can't see what's going on. Daring's mob of fan girls blocks the view of everything.
"Your water balloons just ruined my cheerhexing uniform!"
""It was an accident Faybelle." Cerise says defensively, "Cedar said she was sorry. Don't you think you're hexaggerating just a little?"
"Hexaggerating? How dare you! I have a performance in four hours, and I can't be seen wearing a wet, smelly, wrinkled uniform! "
"You got hit with one water balloon. You'll dry. Maybe if you hadn't been hexting you would've notice it flying towards you."
"Oh so now it's my fault I got hit? You two should have been paying better attention to your booth instead of gossiping! It's so typical of you rebels to shift the blame for your problems onto everybody else."
"Well it's so typical of you royals to make a fuss over something that's not a big deal!"
Oh hex no. Not this pointless, immature royal and rebel drama again. The last thing this school needs is another incident. If one of them gets angry a water balloon fight could ensue. Or an even messier food fight. The Art Club booth is located dangerously close to the Marsh King's sloppy joes.
Tension between royals and rebels was at an all-time high. For a short while things had calmed down a bit, but something had sparked and the two factions were at odds again. Things had been silently brewing for the past few weeks. All that was missing was the catalyst to ignite the tension into all-out war. Raven hoped they could put their differences aside for the pep rally, or that maybe everyone laughing and having a good time at the fair would calm things down. But it seems all the rally is doing is cause even more problems.
This is why they can't have nice things.
People had been asking her what to do about the tension. Like she knew. All she wanted was to choose her own destiny, not become a symbol of rebellion. She hated that she'd become the de facto rebel leader. She didn't agree with the royal's perspective, but she didn't want to fight with them either. Fighting wouldn't make their situation any better. There had to be a peaceful solution to all of this. So far though she hadn't been able to come up with anything.
"Raven? What in Grimm's name is going on over there?" Apple's standing on her toes trying to see over the crowd. Raven is a half a head taller than her, and if she can't see anything, Apple must be struggling. If it weren't for the heels she's always wearing she'd almost be as short as Lizzie.
"Come on." Raven grabs Apple by the wrist and they run to the gym's exit.
"Where are we going?" She asks as they pass by Blondie, who's stopped handing out key chains to investigate what's going on.
"To get a mop. I've got a bad feeling the gym is about to get trashed."
The two run down an empty hallway as fast as they can until they reach a janitor's closet. Raven yanks on the door handle, but it's locked.
"Let's see if I can open it." Hoping to magick the door open, she points her finger at the door handle and sends off a stream of purple energy. Instead of unlocking it, the whole door bursts into purple flames. Ashes and the melted door handle land in a pile at her feet.
"Oops." She winces, and mentally kicks herself for her magical slip up. Now she owes the school a new door.
She and Apple step over the remains of the door and enter the closet. Raven finds a bucket, and uses the mop sink to fill it with soap and water.
"I thought tension had gone down between royals and rebels." Apple says as she searches for some rags, We'd been getting along like peas and carrots for so long."
"I know, but it doesn't take much to escalate things."
"There has to be a way to get them to stop."
"I can only wish. I haven't been able to think of anything. Have you?"
Her curls bounce as she shakes her head, "We've gotten along fine in the past. How did we do it before?"
"Thronecoming and Spring Fairest seemed to calm things down. Looks like school festivals have lost their charm."
"Before that there was when Maddie almost got hexpelled. We're not repeating that one. Then there was when Hunter and Ashlynn announced they were dating."
A light bulb goes off in both their heads. Raven turns to Apple, and they exchange knowing grins. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"This school totally needs a new royal and rebel power couple. Who do we know that could be set up?" Apple asks.
"Bunny and Alistair seem like the obvious choice here."
Apple raises a brow, "But they're both royals."
"Really? I thought Alistair was a rebel."
"Why would you think that?"
"I don't know. He just seems like the rebel type."
"Well he's not. So no go on that one."
"What about Ginger and Hopper?" Raven suggests, knowing Ginger has a massive crush on him.
"Hopper's only got eyes for Briar." Apple taps her chin, "What about Dexter and… Dex and… oh you're better friends with him than me. Do you know if he likes anyone?"
"I'm not sure." It's a lie. From what she saw at the True Heart's Day Dance she's convinced that he has a thing for Cupid. She probably likes him back too. They'd be the perfect couple they were looking for. Raven adores Cupid, and she hates herself for being so bitter and spiteful about this. But she isn't quite ready to let her crush on Dexter go.
"Do you think he'd like Rosabella? There's a rumor going around that he's the next beast."
Dexter? The next Beast? People will believe anything these days. Next thing you know there'll be a rumor that she and Apple were switched at birth.
"Where did you hear that from?"
"Oh… you know… around."
"Well… I don't really think they'd work." Raven has to stifle a laugh. Rosabella's passionate, outgoing and wants to bring about big changes in the world, while Dexter's shy and likes to go with the flow of things and not rock the boat.
"How about Lizzie and Sparrow? They're both… loud?" She's reaching here. In a school their size there has to be some royal and rebel couple they could set up. Instead they're coming up with absurd, wildcard pairings that she and Daring would have a better chance at actually happening.
"Sparrow might go for it, but there's no way Lizzie would." Apple says as she spots the rags on a high up shelf, "We don't have to decide this right now. Let's just get what we came here for and think about it over the weekend."
Apple steps onto a bucket to reach the rags. Even with the bucket, she still has to balance on her toes to try and reach. Raven sees her eyes widen the moment she realizes she's lost her balance. Apple is headed face first towards the floor, and sticks out her arms to try and break her fall. Raven catches her, but the force of Apple landing on her is enough to knock her back a few steps. If the closet had been any bigger she would have fallen to the floor, but instead her back collides painfully with the broom rack on the wall. She has her arms wrapped around Apple's back, and Apple is hugging her tightly around her neck. Raven gets a whiff of Apple's cherry blossom scented perfume. When Apple realizes she's safely on the ground her grip loosens, and she unburies her head from Raven's collar.
"Sorry about that. Usually I'm not so clumsy." Apple smiles at her awkwardly.
Raven thinks she hears heels clicking down the hall. A few moments later a female figure appears in the doorway, "Apple? Raven? What are you two doing in the janitor's closet? And where did the door go?" Blondie's hair is dark and wet, probably from whatever brouhaha they missed in the gym.
Apple and Raven look at each other nervously for a brief second. Apple's eyes have widened and her pupils have dilated. She scurries out of Raven's arms. "We were getting a mop. To clean up after the water balloon fight."
"How did you know there was going to be a water balloon fight? I saw the two of you running out of the gym hand in hand before it actually started. You both look a little flustered. Are you sure there isn't more you aren't telling me." Blondie was notorious for asking probing questions like these. She calls it being inquisitive. Raven calls it being nosy. It's annoying when Blondie thinks there's a journalistic scoop where there actually isn't.
She looks at Apple for some guidance. Surely she has some insight on what to say. But she just stares back at her blankly.
Then a thought hits Raven. What if there was a scoop that would knock the socks off of Blondie, and everyone else who hears it. Blondie alluded to their hand holding. She found them in an awkward embrace. Apple was a royal. She was a rebel. It all makes perfect sense.
Raven gently takes Apple's hand. Apple tilts her head and knits her brows, but Raven just smiles at her tenderly for a moment before turning to Blondie.
"We're a couple."