Tatiana walked down the long winding marble hallway of the palace to the throne room; her heart in her throat as her eyes locked on the large golden double doors engraved with a star.
"They'll be waiting for you in the throne room, Princess." Edgar had told her.
"You're not coming with me?"
Edgar shook his head, smiling slightly. 'This is one part of the journey I cannot assist you with.''
Tatiana came to the doors and slowly pushed them open.
They sat in thrones upon a great altar; not moving as she stopped in the middle of the room. She felt like crying, like running away. Her stomach clenched painfully they stared at each other.
Slowly, oh so slowly, the King stood and stepped down the alter; his eyes wide and his mouth open slightly as he stopped before her. Tentatively he reached out a hand and cupped her cheek; his eyes searching hers.
Tatiana smiled shakily; a tear running down her cheek. Hatter laughed slightly; his thumb wiping away the tear as he pulled her into a crushing hug.
"It's you.'' he whispered, his voice breaking. "I'd know you anywhere.''
He felt her hug back and his smile grew wider as he caressed her hair.
"I'd know you anywhere, Tatiana.''
Opening her eyes, Tatiana saw the Queen, her mother, standing behind Hatter and their eyes locked; the girls green eyes meeting the Queen's black ones.
The King let his daughter go and The Queen held out her arms. Letting out a breath of releif Tatiana went into them; wrapping her arms around her mothers thin waist as she lay her head against her shoulder.
"...Mother...'' her voice shook and broke as she felt Mirana kiss her forehead.
Hatter wrapped his arms around his two girls, his wife and his daughter, for the first time in seventeen years since Tatiana was born.
Everything was fine now. They'd never be separated again.
Never in her life had Tatiana gone through such a rigourous process like that of the bathing of a Princess.
They scrubbed, buffed, and eliminated the very idea of dirt from her skin.
Her hair now hung in curled waves down her back (without frizz. she had never been able to make it frizzless in her life) with flowers braided in here and there. She wore a dress and corset so tight she could barely breath but it was worth it because the dress was the most beautiful gown she'd ever seen in her life. It was a lush emerald green embroidered with brown flowers; the sleeves dropping off her shoulders and flowing in lace around her arms.
The doors opened and she was faced with the small crowd that was the royal court. They clapped and smiled at her as she walked down the aisle; careful to keep her back straight and head up.
Mirana and Hatter stood at the alter; beaming at her as she stopped and knelt at their feet.
"People of Wonderland.'' Mirana said. "We gather here today for the momentus return of our Daughter and to bring her into the Royal Court.''
There were more claps as Mirana turned, picking up a crystal crown with emeralds and rubies shaped like small flowers and held it above Tatiana's head.
"She is now, and forever will be, Tatiana Ambergiana Minioette," she placed the crown atop Tatiana's head and beamed. "Princess of Wonderland.''
Tatiana straightened, turned, and curtsied with the King and Queen to the crowd.
A small crowd assembled around Tatiana and she shook hands, smiled and received welcome backs from people who she'd never seen before.
Placing a gentle hand on the clearly frazzled Princess' arm, the Queen excused them both and ushered her daughter out to a small balcony; closing the small door behind them.
"This is all so much, mother.'' Tatiana said, letting out a breath.
Mirana smiled lovingly; brushing a lock from Tatiana's face. "I know. But in time you'll learn. After all, you were born to rule.''
Tatiana smiled; turning her head and looking out to the vast sea in the distance.
"What was it like?"
The Queen's voice was so soft that Tatiana almost didn't hear it. She turned back to her mother.
"What was what like?"
Mirana let out a small breath. "The world we sent you to.''
Tatiana shrugged. "Fine, I guess. But it was...." she searched for a word. "Boring. It held no magic and no toleration for magic. When I told people about my dreams of you and father and Wonderland they didn't beleive me. I suppose the only thing that bothered me was the fact that I was alone.''
She looked back at her mother and to her severe guilt saw that the Queen was crying; her brows knitted together and tears running silently down her pale cheeks.
"We only sent you away to protect you....Oh, Tatiana, I am so sorry....''
The Princess moved and wrapped her arms around her mother, who hugged her back.
"When we were frozen I worried about you.'' Mirana said, smoothing her daughters hair down her back. "If you were happy, where you were, if you were healthy....Most of all if you would ever come back to us. But I knew that you would be the victor in the War of Wonderland." she pulled away and smoothed a tear from her cheek. "You had to fight our battle for us and for that I am forever grateful to you. And so very proud.”
Tatiana smiled. “I’m just so happy to be home.’’
“And as we are to have you home.’’ Mirana said, kissing her cheek. From inside music began to play and Mirana held out her hand to Tatiana. “Shall we? The feast is to begin and you must be tired.’’
Tatiana took her mothers hand and was lead off the balcony.
The feast was amazing; as was the food. Thousands of kinds of puddings, meats, pastas- Everything Tatiana could imagine and more lined the long tables. Mctwisp, Malyupkin and the Hare were all there eating and speaking with her. But one person was amiss.
Mctwisp looked at her, nose twitching. "I've no idea, your highness. I have not seen him since you went into the Palace.''
Tatiana nodded and then excused herself.
She found Edgar walking down a hall to the front doors.
He stopped and turned, bowing as he saw her. "Hello, your highness.''
Tatiana knitted her brows. Why was he acting like this after everything they had been through together?
"Edgar, I would love it if you were at the feast. You had a hand in helping Wonderland. You should take part in the celebrations.''
Edgar looked at her then; stunned at how beautiful she looked. A true Princess....
"You look beautiful.'' the words left him before he could stop it. He remembered the kiss they had and longed to partake in another one.
She smiled her amazing smile and did a little turn for him.
"It's a pain in the ass to get on but I think I clean up pretty well, don't you?" she winked at him and almost laughed at the blush spreading across his cheeks. Sobering a little she stepped to him and took his hand in hers; looking up into his eyes.
"I love you, Edgar.''
His stoic face broke into a smile as he squeezed her hand.
"I love you too, Princess.''
She scrunched her nose. "It's Tatiana, Edgar. Say it.''
Edgar hesitated. "Tatiana.''
Smiling, Tatiana leaned into him; her face inches from his. "Good job.'' she said softly as she kissed him.