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Chapter Text

                                                                                                                  Prologue

I know, I know. You want to go straight to the chapter. But this a little too complicated too go straight to the beginning. St Grimm's Academy for Future Leaders may have a massive handbook with things like the honour code and code of conduct, but if you want to survive- REALLY survive- there are three rules.

One-There are two sides to choose from: Royal or Rebel. Pick one.

Two- Your secrets are yours. If they get in the wrong hands, that's your fault.

And three- Your destiny is predetermined. You WILL get good grades. You WILL follow these rules. You WILL respect the people in power, and you WILL graduate and go to an Ivy League school. You have no choice. Everything is set in glittering, granite stone. You do what you're supposed to. Everyone will bow, one way or another. It's not your decision to make.

But you know how life is. Once in a while, people decide to break the rules. And when that happens, sometimes the followers realize they're being tricked.

And the people in power will do anything- ANYTHING- to stop that from happening.

Chapter Text

If Raven had one word to use on her hellhole of a school, it would be 'fucked'. If she had more than one, she'd use 'screwed up,' 'shitty', and a bunch of other words she'd never use in front of her dad. She leaned away from the window, hoping if she pretended she couldn't see it, she wouldn't. It didn't work, but Raven Queen wasn't a quitter. 

Her SUV pulled up in front of the gate. She glanced at her dad. "I really, really don't want to be here," she began.

Her dad sighed. "Raven..." 

"I hate it here. The students don't like me. The principal doesn't either. I just wanted to make a difference, but I only helped them fit me into their stupid little box -"

"Raven-"

"And now I'm just labeled as this carefree, don't give a fuck girl when I'm so much more-"

"Raven-"

"And then there's the rumour about my mom-"

"RAVEN!"

Raven flinched. Her dad seemed suprised even at himself. "I... I'm sorry. It's just that I-"

Raven cut him off. "It's fine, I get it." She gave him a thin smile. "I'm sorry. It's probably really tiring fathering a problem child like me."

Her dad choked out a laugh. "No. Not tiring. Stressful, sometimes. But never tiring." Raven leaned over and hugged him. "I love you," she whispered. 

"I love you too," he murmured in reply.

She was the first to back away, as always. Not because she didn't want his care, but for fear of hurting him. The way she always hurt people.


Perfect. It was Apple's favourite word. It captured everything she wanted so beautifully. The best house, the best grades, the best boyfriend, the best friends. She needed everything to add up. Life was an equation- it needed to be balanced.

"Huh," she mumbled. "Poetic." Maybe she'd use it in an English assignment. A poem or something. It was about time she nudged that 99.9% in English to a 100%.

Not that that would be the highlight of her school year. School had just started and her phone was already blowing up with messages. Clearly, no one at St Grimm's slept.

A buzz of her phone interrupted her thoughts. She glanced at the caller's ID, saw who it was and automatically ignored it. No time for distractions, she thought. Best to leave that all in the past, where it should be. Future leaders didn't waste time on people like-

There was a sharp knock at the door. Her new roommate, obviously. "Come in!" she yelled.

The door swung open to reveal a tall pale skinned girl with dark hair swamped with purple highlights. The unmistakable figure of Raven Queen. 

Apple knew who Raven was. Everyone did. Since her arrival last year, she had formed a reputation as a troublemaker, a rulebreaker- the leader of the Rebels. Those guys had always been a pain, but until Raven had come along no one had really taken them seriously. Just a bunch of nobodies trying to bring change that would never come, Apple and her friends had figured. Not anymore. Not now that Raven was here.

A pity. She had such a nice bone structure.

Apple had been only mildly taken aback by Raven's appearance. Raven, however, seemed shocked. "Wha-Apple?! What are you doing here?"

"It's my room," Apple replied. She held back the 'duh' she wanted to say just to be polite. Manners were manners, even in Raven Queen's case.

"No. No, there has to be some mistake. Why would we, of all people, be roommates?!"

Apple shrugged. "I dunno," she said. "Then, without looking at Raven, "Maybe Principal Milton felt I'd be a good influence on you. Help you review your... bad decisions."

Raven narrowed her eyes. "Right," she said. "Well, I'm gonna unpack. Talk to you never."

Awkward silence went on between the two for about an hour before Apple spoke up. "How's your mother?" she asked.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Raven freeze. She held back a smile. The mention of her mother always inspired demonstrative reactions from Raven.

"She's fine," was the short cool reply. Raven continued bringing out a variety of T-shirts and jeans, though this time there seemed to be a bit more vigour in her throwing. 

"Are you sure?  saw on the news-"

"She's fine, Apple. Leave it."

Apple arched a brow. Raven arched one of her own. Apple shrugged and went back to what she had been doing. "Well, welcome back," she called.

"Welcome back to you, too," Raven replied.

Apple had a feeling that the words seemed to be coming from the Devil on both sides.

 

Chapter Text

Briar Beauty was always the first one to show up at a party and the last to leave.

The loud hip hop music blasting from the speakers pounded in her head as she danced wildly to the music. Briar was crazy; unstoppable. She was in her element, enjoying herself. Living while she still could.

She felt a tap on her shoulder to see who it was. A grin broke out across her face. "Ashlynn!" she cried happily. The two girls embraced. Briar could smell Ashlynn's flowery perfume. accompanied by the smell of dirt and fresh grass. She inhaled the scent and buried her face in her hair, breathing in her shampoo. Threading her fingers through her curls, she leaned in and whispered, "I missed you, Ashlynn." Then she leaned in, pursed her lips and-

"So how was your summer?" Ashlynn asked, jolting Briar from her reverie. "Oh! Well, we went to Mexico!"

"That's cool! Exploring your roots! I went to London for the summer."

"Chip Chip Cheerio!" Briar grinned. Ashlynn laughed and Briar's heart fluttered at the sound. Ashlynn. Beautiful, wonderful Ashlynn. Ashlynn, who made everything shine brighter. Ashlynn, who Briar was in love with.

"Where's Apple?" Ashlynn searched the crowd for their other friend. Briar rolled her eyes. "Ashlynn, sooner or later you're gonna have to accept that Apple White, heir to White Industries, will never have time for parties."

Or us. The words, unspoken but present all the same, hung thickly in the air. Ashlynn cleared her throat. "When are we going to talk to her again?"

"Sometime soon. When she's not in a mood."

Apple White had always been charming, beautiful, smart and talented. However, with her friends, Ashlynn, Briar and sometimes Blondie, she was also known to be affectionate, fun-filled and kind. But of late she had grown distant and cold- a shell of her old self. In the place of their tree of life was a hard marble statue. There would be no getting her back. 

Briar and Ashlynn could tell something was wrong with her, but she wouldn't budge on what. And for a force of nature like Briar and a kind soul like Ashlynn, it was getting harder and harder to be around such a pale and cold rendition of their best friend. 

"I hope she gets better," Ashlynn said, "otherwise we'll be spending more time with Blondie."

Briar shuddered at the thought. Blondie wasn't exactly a bad person, but she was a huge gossip, and you had to be careful what you said around her. She was known to stab even those she called friends in the back for views on her YouTube channel, Just Right. Briar wasn't in the mood for her shenanigans this year. Apple had better sit up.

She voiced these thoughts to Ashlynn who laughed out loud. Briar felt warm inside. Ashlynn was so kind, so sweet, so... warm. For her, Briar could do anything. In a life blurry with one crazy event after another, each day having to be a fiasco to fill Briar's truly empty world, Ashlynn was the only thing genuine and real, the only thing that would satisfy her all the time. Ashlynn was Briar's dream come true.

It was almost sad.

Because one day, Briar would kill herself. 

And her dream would never know the truth.


                                                                                                         Little roses in a bush,

                                                                                                  Dreaming of a beautiful princess,

                                                                                                            To pick them up.

                                                                                                    Snip snip snip, snip snip snip

                                                                                       Growing on the castle walls, higher and higher,

                                                                                                    Snip snip snip, snip snip snip

                                                                                                Princess leans close, looking for a rose

                                                                                                     Snip snip snip, snip snip snip

                                                                                                      Thorns prick the princess,

                                                                                                               Poor majesty,

                                                                                                        Should've stayed away,

                                                                                                    Should've never drawn near,

                                                                                                             Snip snip snip

                                                                                    'Where are the roses?' 'They don't grow anymore'