Disclaimers: Any characters you recognise aren't mine. Or to make that clearer, Lewis and Feather are MINE!

This chapter is dedicated to the art bunneh...yes you heard me! The ART BUNNEH!

Class Dismissed-An Alice Fanfic.

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Chapter 1: Waiting.

They had been in the skool, thankfully. This place had always been sheltered from the rest of wonderland, even in those days when it's madness had been more cheerful.

They'd watched as a sheet of flame washed over wonderland, tearing across the sky, raining down destruction upon the unsuspecting land. Even in this sheltered place they'd been flung back as their entire world warped and twisted before them, he'd looked up at the broken sky. A seething maelstrom, flowing, swirling hypnotically. With a great effort he'd torn his eyes away from the sky and glanced around at the other children. Not long afterwards the other children had all managed to break free from the hypnotic effect.

In time they'd gotten used to it. Nothing much had changed inside the skool, or at least...that's how it appeared on the surface. In truth they were all aware of the dark shadow that hung over wonderland, and the tension would soon become unbearable, trapped within this haven become prison from the insanity of the rest of the world.

Most of all, Lewis feared for his sister. Feather was a dreamer, for her the boundaries between fantasy and reality didn't apply.

Once he'd loved her for it. Enjoyed listening to the strange stories she told, but now, with this dark cloud hanging over wonderland she was in danger of slipping into true madness.

Still the skool remained untouched, sitting safely within the fortress of doors, only the twisting constantly changing sky hinting at the chaos outside. Some of the children grew restless. Assuring the others that the danger must have past they ventured outside. Promising to come back as soon as they'd found out what had happened.

The others had all waited patiently, passing the time listening to Feather's ever more incredible stories, playing games or just lazing around.

A few of the older children had now realised however, how the skool itself was slowly changing. The once bright and cheerful decoration had become drab and the patterns on the walls subtly disturbing.

Not long after two of the children to have left the skool finally returned, he'd wished at once that they hadn't. They were wrecks, shells of their former selves, their clothes were torn and hanging loosely off their thin, skeletal frames. Worst was their eyes. Reflected in their eyes you could see the flames that had torn through wonderland, madness dancing in their eyes.

The children had cared for them as best as they could manage, but the pair's crazed ramblings and appearance scared the hell out of everyone, even Feather could see their insanity and refused to go anywhere near them.

The two children's health began to fail, he'd been watching over them both when one had grabbed his wrist, refusing to let go. She'd whispered just one word before slumping down, life having abandoned her body.


The taint of wonderland had finally entered the children's refuge...purple smoke began rising from somewhere deep under the skool, freezing into glowing red crystals scattered all around it.

Shaken by the death of their old friends many of the other children began to lose their grip on sanity. Completely by accident they'd discovered that the crystals could help clear their minds, and keep them sane.

It was at that time that they'd received a visit from an old friend.

They had been dismayed to see the state of the Cheshire Cat, but despite his sickly appearance the air of mischief about him still remained, although it was now accompanied with a faint sense of urgency. He had that same wide grin, but it now seemed a mask to cover his pain.

"Meta-essence is the lifeblood of wonderland," he'd motioned to the crystals with a paw,

"It may for now stop you from succumbing to madness but use it sparingly."

The children had nodded, for the cat this was blunt and clear instruction indeed, this information was vitally important.

The cat had turned his large yellow eyes upon Lewis.

"You are one of the oldest here?"

He'd nodded.

"Do you remember meeting a little girl named Alice, a few years ago?"

Taken aback by the cat's new straightforward approach he'd paused for a moment before nodding.

"It is her who will save wonderland, or lead us all to destruction. She will be here soon. You will help her all you can."

The cat had gasped suddenly, looking toward the entrance of the skool.

"The queen's forces approach! Beware the red queen and the mad hatter! Both have fallen further than you could ever imagine, maybe even as far as Alice herself."

With that the cat faded, leaving his everlasting grin behind for a few seconds.

His last statement having caused utter panic Lewis had only been saved by Feather grabbing him by his sleeve.

"Come on, we'll go to my secret place."

Lewis sighed, it had been so long since that day, when the skool had fallen to the red queen.

He was 15 now, or, at least, he thought he was. All sense of time had been lost, along with any other sense in this world. Remaining hidden within the skool had taken it's toll, but he'd somehow managed to retain some shred of sanity, and so, unlike the other children, his body had grown normally. The other children were now a sight that caused him intense grief. Their minds completely broken their bodies had followed, now the stunted, malformed things wandered all over wonderland.

Lewis stopped dead, quickly ducking round the corner to avoid a card guard. As the mindless drone turned the corner he wrapped his arms around it's neck as tight as he could, rewarded with a snapping sound, he jumped back quickly, but not fast enough to avoid the dying guard's flailing. The guard's spear left a wicked gash in Lewis' arm, he gasped in pain but stayed as silent as he could. He couldn't afford to be discovered now. He grabbed his prize, a diamond shaped crystal, a purple gas sparkled inside it. He suppressed the urge to use it himself, and heal his wounded arm. There was someone whose need was greater than his own.

He climbed up to Feather's 'Secret spot', their sanctuary ever since the queen had invaded.

"Feather," He whispered softly.

Feather looked up at him, taking a moment to focus.


He nodded, holding out the crystal of meta-essence.

She looked at it in confusion for a moment, then took the proffered crystal and pressed it close to her heart, it flared brightly and disappeared.

The spark of life returned to her eyes, she looked up at him clearly, noticed his arm and gave a cry of dismay.

"Lewis! What happened?"

He shook his head, it wasn't important.

"You were almost gone. I had to risk it. I won't lose you!"

She smiled softly at him.

"Thank you. But....will YOU be okay?"

"I'll be fine."

Feather lay back, content with his answer.

"Feather, I don't know if I can carry on fighting them like this..."

She just smiled at him

"Lewis, this is wonderland. As long as you imagine, and you believe....you can do anything."

"If that was true you wouldn't be sitting up here all the time!" Lewis yelled. The realisation of what he'd said hit him, and he went red with shame.

Feather gave him a hurt look, then turned to sit away from him so he couldn't see her crying.

The day the queen had invaded she'd taken a spear to her leg, and hadn't been able to walk properly since. Lewis knew it was this one thing, more than anything else, that was driving her mad. She couldn't stand being stuck up here, forcing her brother to risk his life getting enough meta-essence for both of them, it was almost as if she was seeking escape in the madness, from this dreary reality.

Lewis wrapped his arms round her protectively.

"I'm sorry...."

Lewis crept along the corridors of the skool, they'd both fallen asleep like that...it reminded him of happier times, but right now he was searching for meta-essence to heal himself.

He rounded the corner without checking first and found himself face to face with a card guard.

Unfortunately this wasn't just a spade guard, this card's uniform was emblazoned with the red diamond, and signified that this would be an altogether more difficult opponent to face.

Lewis would have cursed under his breath if he knew any curses.

"Bad timing." Lewis muttered, there was no way he could win already wounded like this.

He had to run, not just for his own sake but for Feather. He spun around quickly, avoiding the guard's spear by pure chance and bolting down the corridor.

Just as he was considering risking a look behind him a red blur sped past him, then another cut into his unwounded arm, he staggered and fell, the shock of the pain immobilising him.

The guard stood over him, readying the spear to end this meeting. Lewis lashed out with his leg desperatly, knocking the spear from the guard's hands and unbalancing him at once.

What happened next felt like it happened in slow motion , he managed to bully his tortured arms into grabbing the fallen spear, and slid along the wooden floor, placing the spear so that the card guard impaled himself on it as it fell. He pulled himself to his feet, though every limb burned and screamed in defiance at him.


He looked up at the Cheshire Cat, how long had he been watching?

"The means to fight back hard to come by. Don't waste your chance, seize opportunity with both hands!"

Lewis' eyes widened, and spinning round he wrenched the spear from thje card guard mere moments before it disappeared. He also quickly took the meta-essence left by the fallen minion, holding it to his heart and breathing a sigh of relief as life rushed back into failing limbs.

"What brings you back to this place cat?" He said, while working the stiffness out of his arms.

"Have you forgotten Lewis?" The cat leaped down to land at his feet.

"Alice has finally returned to wonderland. They tried to keep her out but now she's here."

"She's a bit late." Lewis said bitterly.

"If you want to survive I suggest you learn how to use that spear in your hands." The cat continued, ignoring him.

"Now, listen closely," The cat glanced at Lewis from the corner of his eye, " Just swinging it about is all very well, but that spear can fire cards with sufficient skill, a fact you well know." The cat's smile grew wider.

"Now, point the spear towards your target. Envision it in your mind. Now imagine the card. Imagine it bursting forth from your spear into the target."

Lewis fixed his mind on a nearby window, tried to imagine the red card, burning, card, burning, b u r n i n g...

"Lewis!" Lewis jumped, the Cheshire cat briefly had a worried look on his face, but quickly masked it again.

"You have to be careful. Practice with the spear. Soon you won't have to think to use it's power."

Lewis raised the spear again, determined to succeed. He'd show the cat.

This time he fixed his mind on a grandfather clock, after a momet he was rewarded with a blazing red rectangle, striking the clock, which promptly burst into pieces.

The cat nodded.

"You learn fast. That is good. I will leave you to fend for yourself now, but if you feel that you need my guidence, and I'm not otherwise engaged, I will come to your aid."

With that the cat faded from view and Lewis turned to go, he had wasted enough time, he had a sister to care for.

Feather's eyes widened in wonder as Lewis told her about his fight with the diamond guard, and subsequent meeting with the Cheshire Cat.

"I wish I could help you Lewis." she sighed, "Instead I'm stuck here being no use to anyone...so useless..."

Lewis flung his arms round her again.

"You're not useless Feather. I could never go on without you. You're my sister and I will always love you."

He lay back, Feather now sleeping peacefully, all they could do now was wait for Alice.

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It's come to my attention that this chapter ALREADY has a plot hole, in that the meta-essence has not healed Feather's leg for some strange reason. Why? Send your answers on the back of a postcard or alternativly just review.