- Raven/Apple. Involving Christmas cards, or something. Wholesome stuff.
Original Author's Note: "I literally screamed in the middle of class while sneakily checking my phone when I found out that you were my secret santa! I’ve always loved your Poison Apple fics, writing, headcanons, and you’re one of my favourite EAH blogs. Trading headcanons and fics with you has been so fun, and I tried to incorporate a Christmas theme and some Rapple cuteness into this fic for you!"
|⹂||I can’t say the words out loud / So in rhyme I wrote you down / Now you’ll live through the ages / I can feel your pulse in the pages||„|
— Bastille - Poet
Their shared dorm was covered, carpeted. A sharp, incredible contrast from the so commonly impeccable room.
Apple White lay down on her bed, her back hitting the mattress with a thump, and buried her face in her hands. “How on earth will we sort through all these Christmas cards?”
They were everywhere. Musical cards, ones shaped like reindeer, cards that looked as if they walked through a glitter massacre.
While Raven got a nice handful – a pop-up card from Maddie, an exquisitely painted one from Cedar, one with a lollipop taped to it from Ginger, and a scrawly written one from Cerise – Apple White drowned in admirers and friends. Even people who Raven swore she never seen Apple interact with approached the blonde princess shyly with their cards, which she accepted with a smile that would make flowers bloom.
Over the week, more and more cards had flooded in. Apple White stacked them, piled them, arranged them. Neat little boxes, colour-coded and sized-coded, filled her side of the room so much that Raven couldn’t even see her roommate.
While Apple was disappearing behind walls of cards to sort them out, Raven kept glancing at a coloured piece of paper she kept tucked in her diary.
It was so ordinary.
Too plain for Apple White.
Raven Queen knew, without a doubt, that Apple would love her card. Her dearest friend and roommate would tackle her down with a hug, call her sweet, and life would move on.
The thing was: the card she clutched in her hand was not the card she wanted to give. Apple White deserved more than hasty scribbles and a generic friendship message. More than a shop-bought card addressed with a “To Apple” and signed “From Raven.”
She wanted a “My dearest, Apple”, signed “Love from Raven”. A dearest with a comma afterwards, to change the meaning from an archaic formal greeting to a sign that Apple was indeed, Raven’s dearest.
Still, what would that card even mean to Apple? Especially amongst all the other cards she received.
Raven chucked her card neatly into the bin on her side of the room. Apple didn’t deserve this. She deserved better. To Raven, Apple White deserved the world. She might not be able to give Apple the world right now, but at least Raven had the opportunity to give her the Christmas card she deserved.
There was no cheesy message to it, Raven reckoned. She wanted something from the heart. Like music. But Raven wrote songs with chords and riffs and melodies. Lyrics didn’t seem to come naturally with her, unless one counted the parody version of the official Legacy Day song she altered at the Legacy Day party.
She needed someone with expertise to help her with this predicament.
When Apple waltzed off to Princessology and Raven had a free period, the young princess took her chance.
She remembered Holly O’Hair being part of the other Princessology Class. That would mean that the next Rapunzel would be having a free period at the same time as Raven.
Holly O’Hair had a reputation. She was brilliant in the sense that she wrote like she was running out of time, producing screeds of prose and poetry with the most beautiful words. Raven recalled a fellow princess saying something about how Holly’s writing made her nostalgic for things that never happened, and made her yearn for adventure outside of destiny.
If anyone knew the language of lovers, it was Holly O’Hair. The girl destined to enchant a prince to her tower purely with words and voice.
Raven dived down to the kitchens, where she knew a certain fellow General Villainy student spent her free periods.
“Ginger! Where can I find Holly? O’Hair, that is.”
The candy witch jolted from Raven’s yelling, leaving a crooked line of frosting on her snowman cupcakes.
“Holly? Probably in the Library,” Ginger frowned. “I hear the top floor has the fastest WiFi connection.” She wiped her hands on her apron and took out her phone. “Wait, just lemme shoot of a text to Three-Eyes’ daughter. She’s pretty good at spotting people.”
Raven shot a glance at her phone clock. Forty minutes of this period left, and lunch break to go. Sure enough, Holly was at the top floor of the library, and had built herself a shelter of books. Raven grinned when Ginger told her that. It was so typical of the princess.
She strolled up to the shelter and knocked. “Holly? You there? I had a really important question to ask you! You know Christmas cards, right? Well, I’ve been trying to write a romantic one, and writing is not my forte, but it is your forte, so I’m sure you’ll know what to do! This is the kind of thing right up your alley!”
Inside the shelter, shuffling noises rose. A roof was made as books were shifted, revealing a rather confused princess.
Holly looked up at Raven, putting down the book in her hands. The next Rapunzel blinked slowly, trying to process Raven’s fast mangled speech.
“I have a question. About writing,” Raven repeated. “And Apple White.”
“Oh! Is this a romance question?” Holly’s eyes lit up as she snapped shut the book.
“Yeah,” Raven wondered if her cheeks were red this moment. “So, how do you write a love letter? And like, a love letter that stands out. For a Christmas card. Or just a card.”
A squeal came from the princess, and she flailed her arms a little in excitement. “Aha! This is the perfect opportunity! Thank you Raven!” She laughed, and clapped her hands in excitement. “So, for the letter, you got to be unique, right? The thing is, everyone’s trying to be unique, aren’t they?” Holly frowned. “What makes you unique?”
“What about music? I’m good at the musical thing, right? And Apple likes that.”
“Maybe make a musical card?”
“That’s been overdone.”
“And not well enough, too,” Holly made a face. “Maybe musical cards are like autoplay when you visit someone’s blog! It’s annoying! You need something less direct but more… personal! Like a poem! Maybe sonnets!”
“Sonnets?” Raven echoed.
“Sonnets!” Holly tapped her pen on her lips. “Sonnets are… like the classic example of love! You don’t write a sonnet for something you don’t love. For example, I’ve written sonnets about Oscar Wilde’s plays, clicking pens, violets, Princess Darling Char– oh wait, am I oversharing?”
Raven Queen arched a confused eyebrow, but did not comment.
“Look, Raven. Apple probably knows what a sonnet is, right? So you write her one! And then she’ll read it and kiss you and you’ll get the girl…” Holly sighed, bringing her hands together and looking wistfully away. “That would be so romantic.”
In response, Raven chuckled at Holly’s dramatics. “Next time around, you can be my wingman.”
“Really? That would be so nice! Imagine… people realising that I’m the one responsible for the most powerful couple in the fairytale world getting together?”
“Ignore me Raven,” Holly giggled, waving a hand. “I’m just talking. Now, let me pull up the rhyming scheme of a sonnet and one of those snazzy rhyming websites!”
Sonnets were time-consuming.
It might have been less time-consuming if Holly hadn’t went into a few rambles about her current fanfiction projects and her own novel. But Raven supposed that Holly’s loquacity couldn’t be avoided, and that the sonnet was definitely something she had to write, so she stuck around until a finished, less-than-perfect sonnet laid out before them.
In Raven’s mind, it sounded more tacky that it should be. Apple White deserved better. But better wasn’t something that was going to come from Raven’s sonnet writing. All that Apple was getting was Raven’s best, and for the young Evil Queen, that suited just fine.
“I brought the card,” Raven said, in a low voice. “I should write it in now, shouldn’t I?”
“I’ll leave you to it!” Holly clasped her hands together. “But Raven, please, you got to tell me what happens when you deliver it!”
“I’m sure I will.”
The school’s annual Christmas Dance rolled around the week later, and Raven still hadn’t mustered up the courage to hand Apple her card.
It was nearing Christmas, and what would have been the point of giving Apple a card after Christmas? Holly had been bugging Raven through texts, begging to know the sonnet situation. If Raven didn’t hand her card in soon, she knew she was going to be beset with guilt.
On the day of the dance, Apple handed a bouquet of flowers to Raven and told her that they should go together.
“Like a date?” Raven said.
“Raven!” Apple beamed up, latching onto her roommate’s arm. “Of course! Could I be anything other than your date?”
She looked beautiful. The crown of fairy lights in her hair could have hardly rivalled the glimmer in her eyes. Raven’s stomach did somersaults and cartwheels. If she didn’t keep close count of her number of steps, the next
Evil Queen knew she would have tripped over her heels for glancing at Apple instead of the floor.
Raven kept the Christmas card in her clutch. It was copied out in neat, fine print. On the cover, one of Raven’s fellow witches did a beautiful typography of a quote – “My Sun And Stars” – from a mainstream fantasy novel. Raven even made sure to add a final touch a fairy glitter! She thought it could be better. Anything for Apple White could be better. But this was Raven’s best, and Apple always loved that.
The two walked off to the Grand Hall, arms intertwined.
In the back of the hall, a figure loomed, talking to another girl with spiked purple girl and a tall white knight. The figure turned to look at the two while Raven and Apple ambled arm-in-arm, before greeting both with a wave and a grin.
The auburn princess shot Raven a nod, and sprinted off to Melody. Raven spied the two conversing. Soon, the upbeat song shifted to a slow-moving one.
“Raven,” Apple said. “May I have this dance?”
Raven’s heartbeat skipped from iambic pentameter to something less regimented. “The pleasure’s mine,” she said. Her lips curled up into a smirk mocking the ones so commonly on princes.
They danced. Breathlessly, and with ease. Every step, every movement, every twirl seemed natural.
(Raven’s heavy panicked breathing, unfortunately, was not.)
On the dance floor, Apple sparkled. In Raven’s eyes, her princess looked like a child book illustration.
The song ended in less time than the two would have liked. Apple spun her fellow princess around another time, and skipped over to the food table, tugging Raven along.
“You having fun?” Raven asked, raising her voice over the music.
“Duh!” Apple said. “Dancing with you was nice! Those ballroom lessons from middle school really paid off, didn’t they?”
Raven laughed. The noise drowned out any noise. Apple frowned. Sure, the party was fun, but what kind of fun was she having when she couldn’t even listen to her favourite person’s laughter?
“A party’s not really my atmosphere,” Apple admitted, sipping her cup of punch. “Like, I have to yell to talk to you, Raven! I don’t like yelling at you! How about we bring this outside?”
“Yeah! Why not?” Raven said.
Apple took her hand into Raven’s, and lead the two through a double-door outside. The doors slammed behind them as they stood, hands still together, under a string of fairy lights.
The next Evil Queen frowned, hand still on her clutch. The odd feeling of having forgotten something loomed on her mind.
Her phone buzzed. A brief notification from Holly flashed up on Raven’s screen.
Oh right, the card!
Raven plunged forward towards Apple, the card clutched in her grasp. A miscalculated step sent her knocking their right shoulders together.
With a gulp lodged in her throat, Raven managed to gasp out a small “here, take it!”, shoving the card into Apple’s grasping hands.
And with a sharp spin, Raven turned and sprinted. Away from Apple, away from the card, away from all the responsibilities of giving the card and awaiting a reply. The young queen darted to the door the two had come from, and clutched onto the handle, giving it a swift turn.
Raven inhaled more air into her filled lungs as she struggled with the handle. Great, she just subjected herself to potential humiliation and open admittance of feelings, and when she wanted to evade all consequences – whether positive or negative – the world had decided to remove her of that chance?
“Oh, Grimm,” she mumbled. Her hand fell from the handle, and she sunk to her knees, burying her face in her hands. “I’m a fool.”
“Raven…” Apple said, looking through the card. She bent down to Raven’s height, and looked up into her eyes. “Well…”
“Look, Apple. There’s no… fancy words or metaphorical messes for this,” Raven gulped. “Apple, I like you! I want to be with you! I want all our hand-holding and hugging to mean someone else alongside friendship!”
If Raven wasn’t turned away at that moment, she would have noticed Apple’s lips curling upwards.
“I like you! Like, romantically!” Raven blurted.
Apple took Raven’s shoulder, and spun the other princess around to face her. “I know. Don’t you think I feel the same way?”
“Yeah, duh!” Apple laughed, leaning into Raven. “You are so wonderful, did you know that? Sometimes I look at you, and I just see why you’re totally fairest, just like me. You’re magical, you’re on fire. Metaphorically, of course. You’re so passionate in everything you do, it’s nothing less than inspiring! And what’s more, I can’t believe you went all this effort for me! And as a sonnet, too!”
She laughed nervously. “Well, it had to stand out amongst all your other cards, didn’t it?”
It was at that moment, Raven found herself the receiving end of a tackle from Apple, the other princess’ soft lips hitting Raven’s cheeks. She felt her face turn red. Raven gathered the strength for a weak smile.
“You know, you could have aimed a little more to the right.”
Apple broke into peals of laughter. “Oh, Raven, you flirt. You glorious, beautiful mess of a flirt.”
Raven’s cheeks flushed. “Apple!”
The only response she got was girlish laughter and yet another kiss, to the lips this time. It was shorter than Raven would have wished, but if it had been longer, Raven knew her heart wouldn’t have handled it. She wrapped her arms around Apple’s waist and pulled her into a proper embrace.
Apple kept her grip around Raven with her right hand, and with her left, held up the card to a string of fairy lights. “Mind if I read it aloud?”
The lights illuminated Raven’s shy smile. “Go ahead.”