Diana looks at her mother's room with a sense of finality, of sadness. She knows that this room is going to be hers in the next few hours. That she had to clean it, move in as the new Queen of Themyscira.
It isn't like the fairytales that Penny used to write, it isn't like it is in books and stories to simply become a new Queen, beloved by all. First there is the fact that her mother — the one who sculpted her from clay, the one who willed a child into existence — was missing for so long now that there wasn't any choice left except to ascend. There was no death, no passing of the crown. It was simply a need to fill a whole, to make sure that Themyscira could continue on safely.
The desire to rule has been supplanted with the necessity to rule. Diana is acutely aware of that as she circles her mother's bedroom, able to see the chest her mother had for thousands of years at the foot of the bed, knowing that inside wasn't weapons or gowns or jewels but things Diana had given her as a child. Toys she'd made her mother, dolls, drawings that her mother treasured and would take out from time to time to look at. That the mirror she had was magical, able to see into the land of Men at will, once used to try and keep Diana away. That the sheets on the bed, she had bounced into as a little girl, eager to have her mother wake up and play with her. That on the balcony, her mother had told her she couldn't participate in the games — and Diana had looked at the sea and decided that she would anyway. That in the corner, her mother had embraced her and wept before Diana departed.
The place was full of memories, was full of a lifetime after a lifetime and now, Diana would have to occupy this space. She would have to put on the laurels, the ornaments of her mother and reign in her stead now.
You have other options, Penny protests quietly inside of her mind. They both share each other's memories now, Diana seeing Penny, years ago, having to clean out her grandmother's house. Having to deal with a life that was gone, and having to sort things out by herself, having to reconcile with death. You could seal the room off, choose another place. You don't have to move in here, not unless you really feel like you have to.
Diana moves to the mirror, running her hand on it. In the reflection she sees Penny, not adorned as she is, but in her normal attire of jeans, looking bat at Diana with sympathy. "I know. And yet... I know that it won't truly feel real until I have this place. I also fear that my sisters won't see me as Queen until I am firmly in her place."
Penny rolls her eyes, despite the fact that they both understand what Diana means. The various factions of Themyscira, the other Amazonian nations, and Thalarion. And... something else. Penny shifts with Diana, and her voice is strong as she says, You're worried about the Circle, too. Diana nods, and the mirror shifts with the mention of them. The prisons in Themyscira are still there, the doors to their cells still flung open, empty.
They both know that Diana has faced stronger foes, worse foes. But these were different, to have her own sisters, own almost-mothers despise her from the announcement of her birth. Penny turns her head in the mirror to look with Diana at their empty shells. They both remember the siege on the island, the way they had taken Hippolyta.
The thought crosses both of their minds, that she could be with them now and neither knew. That Myrto, Charis, Philomela, and Alkyone could simply be waiting their time. The memory of Alkyone is particularly bitter — she was the one that had survived the longest, that had shown she was willing to work with anyone to bring Diana down.
And if Diana was queen now, it would be seen as provocation. That to her — the Great Dragon — would tear Themyscira apart, now that she was on the throne.
You knew this would happen, Penny says, looking back at Diana. We both did.
There had been thoughts over the few weeks before this. Both of them awake in bed, debating in their mind together, about what could happen. About what would happen. About the stakes of going on the throne, about what it would mean. And Alkyone had been ever present, the way she had looked furiously down at Diana at the forefront. In all that though, there were other facts, other things.
Including Hades. He knew, too, what would happen when he granted her the wish to help. He knew what would happen when she gained the power he bestowed on her, and the responsibility she felt. It seemed likely as ever that Hades — and distantly, perhaps Ares — had an angel here that neither saw yet.
But what was most pressing was their sisters (and, in Thalarion, their brothers). They needed someone to lead, and to guide them in this new place.
It was them both, in the end who needed to, who had access to both sides of this new place, who had a place among shifters. To say nothing of Donna — protecting Donna was part of this too, to keep her out of anyone else's clutches.
So the burden is hers, as it always would have been.
Penny sighs in the reflection, reaches out her hand. Diana lifts her own to press against the cool mirror. Even if they had to do this with the need to look over their shoulder, even if they had to anticipate Alkyone, at least it was together. At least, in the end, her mother had left plenty to her.