|Rum and Tea
Author: theDeadTree PM
"Everyone who has ever wronged you, you would drag them down into the dark and turn them into something they hate, and watch them scream and cry and cling to sanity, only to slowly slip away. This is our revenge on the world that has wronged us, Alice. Our crowning moment of glory."Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Adventure - Alice - Chapters: 32 - Words: 38,139 - Reviews: 68 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 01-20-13 - Published: 03-25-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7955785
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Alice stood stock still, confused.
"Where is everyone?" She asked herself quietly as she surveyed the deserted table and the twelve empty mismatched chairs that surrounded it. Jesse leaned against a tree and sighed heavily.
"They're probably at a different tea party. Are you going to tell me why we're looking for them?"
Alice whirled around. "A different tea party? What does that mean?"
"They have more than one table, Alice. I thought you knew that."
She turned to face her friend. "I should find them. We have to keep looking."
Jesse didn't meet her eye, as he was gazing off into the darkness of the trees. Alice looked around too, generally contemplating the world and the idea of sanity. She would've lost her mind by now, surely. The more she thought about it, the surer she was. She was in a place that made no sense, ravens appeared out of nowhere and swept down on them every so often, her reflection talked to her, her sister had kidnapped and decapitated one of her friends, giant tea-loving almost dragon like creatures roamed around unchecked, her best friend was a cat with the ability to vanish, and he didn't even like cats.
"I miss Oliver." She moaned, sinking into the closest chair to her. "This isn't fair."
"You think so? Because it's about to get a bit worse."
Alice looked up. "What does that mean?"
Jesse moaned quietly and leaned against the table. He ran a hand through his jet black hair and Alice stared at him, waiting. She couldn't remember what he used to look like anymore. She couldn't imagine him with eyes any other colour than that bright, incandescent turquoise. She knew he hadn't always been like that, once upon a time, he had looked different. She couldn't remember much at all of their friendship before Wonderland, just that they'd gotten into a fight over Dinah and that's how the two of them ended up here. She wondered briefly if Jesse could remember anything about the real world anymore.
"I can't remember what you looked like." Alice mumbled dolefully.
"The way you were before all this happened. I can't remember."
He laughed a little sourly. "Neither can I. I guess we have that in common now."
Alice rest her head on the table and moaned. "I wish I would just wake up."
"And I wish Mock would leave me alone." Jesse sighed wistfully. "But she never does."
"What did you do when you got dragged down, Jess?"
He rolled his shoulders back and looked up at the canopy of leaves that blotted out most of the sky. "I don't really remember. It was a weird, disorientating day. I was…scared. Mock found me trembling against a tree and she's not the greatest person to have things explained to you. Told I was going to go completely insane and there was nothing I could do about it. She's so annoyingly cheery about everything."
Alice laughed a little. "Her and Blue are so much alike."
A small smile tugged and corners of Jesse's lips. "Yeah, I know. Everyone here is annoying in one way or another. Patrick's got his superiority complex, Violet's overly happy constantly, Terry's got an extreme drinking problem, Adrian's power hungry, the list goes on and on."
"…Margot as an unhealthy obsession with cutting people's heads off…" Alice added vaguely.
"The Knave is the biggest arse kisser the world has ever seen…"
Alice giggled. "So is everyone who lives in the inner circle of the Deck, if you want to put it like that."
Jesse smiled too. "Not to mention that Mitchell and Camille are utterly in love with each other but neither of them will admit it."
"Mitchell and Camille?" She repeated, confused. "Who are they?"
"March Hare and Dormouse." He answered listlessly. "I can't believe they didn't tell you their names."
Alice bolted upright. "Mitchell…Mitchell…I know someone called Mitchell, don't I?"
Jesse shrugged. "Maybe you do. It's a fairly common name."
Alice blinked several times. "Maybe that's it."
"The common link, Jesse. It's me." She said slowly, realising. "Of course it's me. It's my dream, isn't it? It's so obvious now that I think about it."
It was so obvious when she thought about it; she almost kicked herself for not seeing it beforehand. Jesse looked at her oddly, ignoring his hair that got into his eyes as a breeze greeted them. Alice pushed her hair back in an effort to see more clearly, and looked up.
"This is my fault." She muttered.
"Yeah, it probably is."
His tone was so blunt and to the point that Alice couldn't think of something to reply with. A heavy sigh escaped her as she tried to think of some way to escape this dream. She picked up one a cracked, chipped tea cup that was well past its prime, staring at the lines and cracks, imagining patterns that weren't there. Her eyes moved down the table, searching for something she knew wasn't going to be there. It seemed to pass the time better than standing there, trying to work out all the answers the countless question. It was something other than the endless fear and running, something calm and almost relaxing. She had gotten precious little time to relax since coming here, she realised. It made her think of the first time she'd found the beach with Oliver. She sniffed a little and wiped a stray tear away at that thought. Oliver. She would give everything she had and more to see that boy again or even know his fate. She couldn't rid herself of the small, tiny speck of hope that he might just still be alive, somewhere in the House of Cards. She knew it silly and irrational, but it was there all the same.
She looked back to Jesse and forced herself to smile a little. "Are you okay?"
"What?" He asked, startled. "Oh – I'm fine. Peachy."
"You don't look it."
He moaned a little and looked away. "I've probably told you this a million times Al, but I'm glad you found me. Being around you makes me feel halfway sane again."
She nodded. "I'm glad I found you too, Jess."
They fell silent for a while, their voices fading into the noises of the woods. Alice could hear birds twittering pleasantly and for the first time she could see why one would want to spend so much time here. She just wished Oliver was here to share the moment with them.
She stiffened. "Oh. Oh."
Jesse turned. "What?"
"The one I found and the one I'm looking for. It's you." Alice whispered, realising now. "It's you and Oliver. Oh my god, it's so apparent now! I found Oliver while I was looking for you! Blue's right, I am slow…"
"Do I even want to know what you're talking about?"
"It's just something Blue told me." Alice muttered, waving Jesse away. "I can't believe I didn't see this coming."
"See what coming? Hello? Alice?"
She ignored him and turned away. "He's still alive. He's got to be."
Jesse materialised in front of her, looking worried. "Okay, what's going on?"
"He's still alive Jesse."
"Oliver's still alive."