"Where is that boy?!" Ana yelled as guards and servants alike rushed around the halls of the palace. "I told him to be here at noon, and guess what? It's a quarter til, and is he here?! NO! I swear, that boy is SO gonna get it when he gets back here!"

"Your concern for your one and only son is truly touching, my love." Hope stated as she dismissed the guard she had been speaking with.

Ana rolled her eyes and glared at her wife. "Oh, really. I don't see you sending a search party after him!"

The laid-back queen chuckled, patting her wife on the shoulder. "Darling, Wander is a big boy. He can handle himself. Besides, you know as well as I do that he never goes anywhere without that Zbornak friend of his- uh, what's her name, Cecilia? Sara?"

"Sylvia?"

"No, that's not it. Ah, well. Back to the point, if they run into trouble, Whatshername will give 'em what-for!"

The bespectacled queen sighed. "It's not that I don't think Wander and Sylvia- which is her name, by the way- can't handle anything that comes their way. I'm worried because they can." She looked at her wife, concern evident in her eyes. "What if they don't come back, Hope? Wander was very clear about not wanting to go through with this, and-!"

"Darling, if you were talking about Corsair, I might agree with you. But you know as well as I do that Wander isn't the type to run away from anything." She snorted. "Even if running away is in his best interests."

Her wife smiled despite herself, sighing. "I suppose you're right. Still, I would think he'd be back by now."

"Ah, you know our boy. Kid's a natural-born explorer. I wouldn't be surprised if he and Celia-"

"Sylvia."

"Right, her, are just wandering- no pun intended- around the woods; they probably just lost track of time. I'll bet you anything that they'll come running back here the minute they remember."

Ana gave her a doubtful look, but sighed, shaking her head. "I hope you're right, darling."

"Hey, don't worry! I'm always right, remember? Besides, our guest isn't going to be here for another-!"

"Your Majesties!" A guard shouted, standing at attention as the doors opened behind him. "Presenting, Her Majesty, Queen Andromache Derinoe Gramaire Visigoth of the Morterian Empire!"

The pair stared at their guest for a moment, then turned to each other.

"'Always right', huh?" Ana snapped, her eyes cold and angry.

"Heh, w-well, there's... there's a first time for everything, right?"


"Syyylllviiiia..." Wander whined as he and his best friend/ personal guard ran towards the palace. "Why did you remind me that she was coming today?!"

"I tried, but you insisted on helping that kid get their pet out of a tree!" She retorted indignantly as they ran inside and up the stairs.

The prince didn't seem to hear her, instead dashing towards his chambers, slamming the doors behind him. "Late, late, I'm so late, Mother is probably worried sick, and Mom probably hasn't made her feel any better-!" There was a crash. "Ow..."

"Wander?" Sylvia asked cautiously as she knocked on the door. "You okay in there?"

The door opened suddenly, and Wander ran out, pulling on his robes haphazardly. "I'm fine! We have to hurry!"

"Hey, your hair-!" Sylvia started as she grabbed her friend, trying to pull the long orange locks back into the braid. Wander groaned, swatting her hands away and breaking back into a run.

"Leave it! We don't have time! For all we know the queen of- of- of wherever it is could be getting ready to leave!"


"... Once again, Your Majesty, I'm terribly sorry about our son. I can't tell you how mortifying it is for us." Ana turned to glare at her wife. "Right, love?"

"Of course, dear. Although, I have to say that I'm not entirely surprised that he didn't-" Ana quickly elbowed her spouse, shutting her up.

"We're very disappointed in him."

"Do not despair." The statuesque queen stated. "There is purpose behind all things. However unfortunate it may be, the marriage was simply not meant to happen." With that, Andromache turned, walking towards her ship. "I thank you for your hospitality, and wish you all the best in your endeavors."

Just then, the doors at the other end of the hall burst open. "W-WAIT! Wait, wait, wait!"

Everyone turned towards the door; Hope and Ana both gaped in disbelief.

"Wander?!"

The orange-furred prince dashed towards them, panting when he finally reached the entrance. "I'm so sorry that I'm late! I was- I just- I..." He paused, thinking for a moment, then sighing. "I won't lie- I lost track of time because I was helping one of the village children. See, this little girl's bearcat had gotten stuck in a tree, and-"

"Wander, just..." Ana sighed, pressing her hand to her forehead. "Just stop. Stop making excuses. Please."

Wander stared at her for a moment, then looked away sadly, his shoulders sagging in defeat as he swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat.

He'd known that they'd be disappointed.

But he hadn't thought they'd look like they had been expecting him not to show.

He really shouldn't have been surprised. After all, this was, what, the fifth meeting he'd failed to show up to?

Why did it hurt to know that they'd given up on him?

"Excuse me."

The three of them turned, staring at the foreign queen inquisitively.

"Am I to assume that this young man is Prince Wander?"

Wander stared up at her for a moment, unable to speak. "I, um, I... wow, you're really tall."

"WANDER!" His parents shouted, mortified.

Andromache, however, smiled for the first time since she arrived on planet. "Thank you. I couldn't help but overhear the reason for your tardiness."

The orange prince flushed, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. "Er, um, well-"

"I must say, you seem to be an incredibly kind young man."

Wander blinked, looking up at her in disbelief. "R... Really?"

"Indeed. Forgive me if I'm being a bit forward, but you seem to possess the exact qualities I would like for my son's spouse to have." She turned towards Ana. "Perhaps it was not Fate's design that this marriage should not happen." She gestured towards the hall. "Might we continue this conversation inside?"

Ana simply stared at her, wide-eyed and frozen with shock. Hope cleared her throat, patting her wife on the back.

"Love? I hate to tell you this, but when someone asks you a question, you are generally expected to give them an answer."

The bespectacled queen blinked, shaking her head. She shot a quick glare at her wife, then smiled nervously at Andromache. "O-Of... Of course. Please, come in."

As they walked inside, Ana shot her son a quick smile, and Hope gave him a huge grin and a thumbs up.

Wander smiled weakly, trying to ignore the horrible, sickening sinking feeling in his stomach.

What had he done?

A/N: Welp. Here I am again. Cross-posting another fic from tumblr.

Yep.