A Pretty Frock And A Happy Smile

I do not own anything, except for my spell check *laughs* but please enjoy anyway

Hot angry tears burned my cheeks as I looked around the strange room the guards had led me to. Beautiful intricate clocks lined the wall, including the dark blue one that had swung inward to let me into this strange place. Soft mechanical ticks pounded at my ears, somehow getting louder for every second that passed. Nine clunky cylinders lined the wall with a tenth sitting right in the middle of the room. I leaned over the closest one, intent on opening it and seeing what was inside, when the panels on top shuddered.

Suddenly, all the tops slowly opened like giant metal flowers blooming in the sun. Dolls with masks for faces and arms draped in golden cloth rose up like jack-in-the-boxes and smiled at me. Fear trickled down my spine as they began to sing some sort of lullaby and, joints creaking, reached out their hands toward me.

Why do birds suddenly appear

Every time you are near?

I backed away, trying to find the dark blue clock that was the door out of this crazy place. Before I could reach the door, the dolls straightened up, flinging sparkly gold dust into the air and suddenly...I didn't want to leave anymore.

Just like me, they long to be

Close to you.

Gentle hands stroked my hair, caressing it in a way that my mother never had. Their soft touches were filled with so much love that my heart nearly burst. Feeling ashamed that it had taken sixteen years for me to feel this kind of all-enveloping love, I began to cry again. I tried to wipe my tears away with the edge of my nightgown, but I couldn't. There were too many.

Why do stars fall down from the sky

Every time you walk by?

The dolls cooed and gently wiped away my tears for me, slowly and carefully untangling all the knots and snarls in my hair at the same time. Relaxing into their calming touch, I closed my eyes and let them do what they wanted to me.

Once my eyes were fully shut, they began to delicately trace and color in my eyelids. Without even looking in a mirror, I was willing to bet that they had done an amazing job, yet another thing my mother had never managed to do. She always laid the makeup on too thick or too thin, always in too much of a hurry to really focus on me for more than a few seconds at a time.

Just like me, they long to be

Close to you.

Finishing up with my eyes, they slid a fresh layer of lip gloss over my lips with all the precision of a team of surgeons. Pulling my hands closer to themselves, they painted a thin coat of a deep black polish, blowing over them to help the paint dry quicker and prevent smudges.

On the day that you were born

The angels got together

And decided to create a dream come true,

Examining my new nails happily, my eyes widened as the doll from the center of the room lifted a gorgeous long black gown out of her cylinder. She passed it to the other dolls and, together, they gently tugged the dress onto me, careful not to mess up my new nails and hair.

So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold

And starlight in your eyes of blue.

It fit perfectly, hugging my body warmly without suffocating me to death in its embrace. As if it had been handmade by people who actually cared about making me look...beautiful.

That is why all the girls in town

Follow you all around.

Heat pooled in the corners of my eyes and my breath snagged in my throat. I knew that these dolls were just lifeless objects, only animated to dress me as the Dark Queen saw fit. But right now...right now I didn't care about that. In less than eight minutes they had shown me more love and caring than anyone had ever showed me before in my life. I loved them.

Just like me, they long to be

Close to you.

Dry sobs wracked my body and the dolls cooed at me again, gently caressing my arms, hair, and back in an effort to calm me down. Embracing their touches, I swallowed my tears and smiled at them. Maybe the Dark Queen had been right about one thing after all.

Just like me (just like me)

They long to be

Maybe, by making the outside happy, you could make the inside happy too. The dolls smiled back at me and, after placing light kisses on my forehead, pointed towards the door. I bowed low, like a Princess should, and thanked each of them in turn.

Close to you

Close to you.

Walking carefully measured steps out of the room, I held back my tears. I truly loved those dolls and it nearly broke my heart in two to leave them so soon. Another thought struck me and my heart almost curled in on itself and died from sadness right then.

If I fixed this world and left the Dark Queen's palace for my own world I would never see them again. I would go back to living in an emotional void, where I went without human contact for days and the only people I did see did not love me as much as those lifeless dolls did. My resolve to wake the White Queen and save the world weakened and crumbled away.

If I could feel that kind of love every day, even if it was only coming from soulless animatronic machines, I would gladly let the world burn.

Just like me, they long to be

Close...to...you