Disclaimer: Not mine! ASP's. no sue.

A/N: Third in the "Dramatic Irony" Series, 17 years after "How to Plan."

Summary: Alice Mariano down the rabbit hole.

BIG giant thank you to Arianna, who beta'd this thing! (

Welcome to Wonderland

Ch 1. The Marianos' First Day At Chilton

"It's huge."


Alice Lorelai Mariano nodded as she looked up at Chilton. "I don't know if I want to do this anymore."

"Try telling that to your great-grandparents."

"That's okay," Alice told her father. "You can do that. I'll just..." She began to rush away from the school, but her parents both took her arms and pulled her back.

"You were really excited about this," her mother said. "What changed?"

"My urinary tract, I think. I'm about to pee myself," she told them.

Her father gave her a disturbed look. "You're gonna be fine. It's just a school."

"Uh-huh...Uh-huh...a school that looks like something out of a Hugo novel."

Rory sighed and looked down at her daughter. "Don't worry."

Jess nodded. "Just remember that you're better than most everyone in there. The only difference is that they all have more money."

"You're not helping," Rory told him. She turned back to Alice. "I survived. You're a lot tougher than I was at your age. You're going to be fine."

"If I can keep my breakfast down."

Jess sighed. "It's probably all the coffee you drank."

Both women stared at him in shock.

"Should I stop talking now?"

They nodded.


Rory sighed and hooked her arm through Alice's. "Time to go in."

"Can I keep my eyes shut?"

"You'll look funny," Rory replied, warning.

"She always looks funny," Jess quipped.

"Hey!" Alice snapped as her mother half-pulled her along. "Aren't you supposed to be supportive?"

"That's never stopped him from being insulting before," Rory replied.

"I'm supportive in my own, special way," Jess told them.

"Short bus special?" Alice snickered.

"Did I tell you that you remind me of your Uncle Luke in that plaid skirt?" her father shot back.

"Oh, god," Alice moaned. "Scary mental image... Uncle Luke in a skirt." She glared at him. "You're evil."

"It's often been said."

Rory stopped, looking over her family. Jess, in his black button-down shirt and matching slacks. She hadn't even tried to get him into a tie. He only owned two, and neither matched his outfit. Rory's eyes wandered to Alice, who wore her Chilton uniform, her dark, wavy hair hanging loose.

"What?" Alice asked. "Is there something on my face? Please tell me there's nothing on my face. I can't go in there if there's something on my face."

Rory smiled. "You're fine. Just doing an once-over."

"Your skirt is on backwards," Jess commented, looking his wife up and down.

Rory's eyes widened. "What?!"

He smirked.

She glared. "You really are evil."

He shrugged.

They made their way into the building, and Alice let go of her mother and turned in a circle as they walked. "Welcome to Wonderland," she muttered.

Rory sighed as they passed by other parents and their children, and was thankful that Alice was starting on the first day of school, and not a month in as she had. It would make things a little easier.

"Rory Gilmore."

She turned and spied her old headmaster. "Mr. Charleston!"

Jess and Alice glanced at each other, and then at the incredibly old man in front of them.

"Bet you five bucks he's over one hundred," Jess muttered.

Alice smirked. "You're on," she whispered back.

They watched Rory make polite conversation with the old man, until she gestured back to them.

"...and this is my husband, Jess, and my daughter, Alice."

Headmaster Charleston smiled politely. "Hello, Jess. Alice, it's good to have you at Chilton."

Alice shook his hand clumsily. "Hi. Nice to be here, Sir."

She saw her father hold back a smirk, and had to keep herself from stepping on his foot.

"Your mother was very successful here," Charleston went on. "I trust you are equally hard-working."

"More-so," Rory interrupted. "Alice is very dedicated."

"That's good to hear," Charleston nodded. "Going into journalism, like your parents?"

Alice bit her lip. "Perhaps," she said slowly. "I haven't decided yet."

That, all three Marianos knew, was a lie. A big, stinky lie. Alice knew exactly what she wanted to do.

"Well, Rory, it was a pleasure seeing you again," the headmaster smiled. "Jess, it was very nice to meet you. Alice, I will be seeing you around campus."

Both father and daughter nodded, and the old man walked off.

"That guy over a hundred?" Jess asked.

Rory raised an eyebrow. "No."

Alice held her hand out to Jess, who grudgingly pulled out his wallet, and removed a five dollar bill to hand it to her.

Rory rolled her eyes. "Come on; let's go get your class schedule."

"You can't leave yet."

"Your school day starts in ten minutes," Rory replied to her daughter after they'd helped her gather everything she'd need for the day. "And we have to go to work."

"No you don't," Alice insisted. "Can't you just... stay the day?" She gave her father a cute, pleading look.

Jess sighed. "Ali, you can handle this."

"No, I can't."

Rory hugged Alice tightly and smoothed out her hair a little. "Have a great first day."

Jess kissed Alice on the top of the head when Rory stepped back. "Don't let anybody push you around."

Alice sighed desperately as she watched her parents back away to turn and exit the school. She turned back to the hallway that awaited her, glancing at the other students and their parents. The girls were dressed much like she was, and the boys were dressed in sport coats and ties over their dress shirts and neatly pressed slacks. Their parents wore stiff suits, skirts and ties.

She thought of her own parents' attire. Her father's black-on-black approach, and her mother's colorful skirt and blouse.

She shook her head slowly, disapprovingly, at her surroundings, and made to walk down the hall, but stopped abruptly, remembering something.

Alice pulled a small, silver pin from the pocket of her Chilton jacket, and looked it over.

She attached the anarchy symbol to the bottom of her skirt, cocked her genetically defiant chin in the air, and made her way down the hall.

"She'll be fine."

Jess nodded.

Rory sighed, and turned around to walk back into Chilton. "I forgot to-"

"No you didn't," Jess interrupted, taking her arm to keep her from going back in.

"They're going to eat her alive."

"What happened to her being fine?"

"This is Chilton," Rory replied. "With it's... demanding teachers and... she's not like the other kids."

"That's true."

"She was listening to The Sex Pistols when she was five."

Jess nodded. "That's true."

Rory turned to go back into the school again, but Jess took her other arms and guided her toward the parking lot. "We have to go to work anyways," he said.

Rory pouted. "I don't wanna go to work."

He stopped, and raised an eyebrow at her. "Okay...what do you wanna do?"

She gave a longing look to the oversized building and Jess sighed.

"Besides that."

Rory sighed and gave this a moment's thought. "Do you remember that record store in the city?"

"Which one? There are tons."

"The one!" Rory laughed. "The one you took me to before we dated."

"Oh," Jess nodded in recognition. "Yeah, I remember."

She smiled.

"You wanna go there."

"I wanna go there."

He put an arm around her and walked toward their cars. "Okay. We can do that."

By lunch time Alice had managed to speak to no one. These people made her a little paranoid. Everyone she passed spoke of things like the gossip around school, school itself, and how wealthy their parents were.

No one seemed to talk about music or movies. No one seemed to speak her language. What she considered to be the language of normal. She was beginning to agree with her father. She was better than these people.

She found a graciously empty table in the dining hall, and sat down with her backpack and pulled out a brown paper bag that her Uncle Luke had filled up with... well, just about everything. She pulled out a turkey sandwich, apple slices, a small bag of potato chips, celery sticks in a plastic bag, and a brownie for desert. Her Grandma Lorelai had slipped her a Styrofoam box filled with cold cheese fries and onion rings.

She smiled, remembering the serious look on the older woman's face as she'd given instructions on how to hide them so as her uncle would not be suspicious.

"Wow. That is some lunch, Mary."

She blinked and looked up to see a somewhat tall boy with blond hair and a haughty smile standing over her. She didn't reply, only opened up her bag of chips and ate one.

"You're new here, aren't you, Mary?"

Her mother had warned her of the nickname. Mary. Used on girls who outwardly seemed prudish and innocent.

She gave the boy an amused smirk and ate another chip. He had no idea who he was dealing with. She was Alice Mariano. Her father's daughter. She'd be damned if she'd take this.

She looked him up and down, scrutinizing. The boy seemed to lose some of his nerve and shifted under her eyes.

"What's your name?" she asked him slowly.

"Tristin Dugrey the Second," he told her coolly. "And you're Mary Mariano."

"Huh," she shrugged. "Who knew?"

"I did," he smiled, sitting across from her. "I know all about you."

"I highly doubt that since you can't seem to get my name right."

"We'll get along great, I can tell."

She raised an eyebrow at him, and he merely gave her a smile.


"Yeah?" he asked, leaning forward.

"If I give you an onion ring will you go away?" She pulled a large book out of her bag. "I was hoping to get some of this read."

His expression became confused.

"Okay, see... some animals... dogs, mostly... if you give them something to eat, they'll leave you alone for a while," Alice explained. "And... y'know, you did comment on how big my lunch is. So, again, I ask: if I give you an onion ring will you go away?"

"How about...an onion ring and a movie on Saturday night?"

This, she was not expecting. She gave him her own confused look and sat back a little.

"Come on... I take an onion ring... you agree to see a movie with me Saturday night, and I won't talk to you, I won't even look at you, until that time."


"Saturday it is."

"Oh, crap."

"How about I pick you up at seven?"

"I did say no."

Tristin smiled, took an onion ring, and got up. "See you then."

She watched him walk off, shock written on her face. A moment later, she took out her cell phone and dialed. "Mommy?"

Rory sighed into her cell phone, struggling to hear her daughter over the loud music that was playing in the ancient record store. "Well, the next time you see him, just tell him no." She sighed. "Alice, calm down... Do you want to talk to Dad?" Rory nodded. "Okay, just hang in there, and have a good day. Okay. Love you." She hung up the phone and stared at it for a moment.

Jess walked over with a stack of albums. "What's up?"

"She hasn't been there one day, and already she's being harassed by Dugrey."

"Dugrey? The blond who harassed you at Chilton?" Jess asked, leaning against a table, looking at his wife with interest.

"That's the one," Rory nodded. "It seems he has a protégé. He's messing with Alice."


Rory raised an eyebrow at him. "That wouldn't be murder in your eyes, would it, Mr. Mariano?"

Jess shrugged. "Maybe."

"So, you're going out on a date with Tristin Dugrey."

Alice sighed. This would be the fourth girl to ask this same question. She turned and was faced with a stick-thin bleach-blond.

"Well?" The girl coaxed. "Come on, Mary, spill the beans. You and Tristin?"

This, Alice was in no mood for. It had been a hell of a day already. "You'll be very sorry if you call me Mary again."

The girl glared. "You and what army?"

"Don't need an army to bust you up, Twiggy," Alice replied harshly. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have class." She pushed past the blond and walked tall in the other direction.

"Wow... that was r-really cool."

Alice stopped and looked beside her to find a girl walking with her. She smiled and stopped. "Madison?"

Madison Gellar smiled shyly and pushed a strand of dirty blond hair away from her face. "Hey."

"Mad!" Alice cried. "Nobody told me you were going here."

Madison shrugged. "I just started today," she said. "It's been... uhm... nerve-wracking... Kayla? That girl? The one you just told off? She's uhm... she's really mean."

Alice rolled her eyes. "She's nothing special. She's no snobbier than some of the girls in Stars Hollow."

"Yeah... I wouldn't know," Madison nodded. "Home school and... and all."

"Right," Alice said. "What's your next class?"

Madison held out her schedule for the other girl to see, and Alice smirked.

"American lit. Come on."

"You, too?" Madison asked.

Alice nodded and started walking again, thankful to have someone to talk to.

"So... you and that Tristin guy?"

Alice groaned. "No. He's just a jack-ass."


Alice was tapped on the shoulder as she was exiting the school. She stopped and turned, along with Madison, who was walking alongside her.

Alice glared. "What do you want, Junior?"

Tristin smirked. "I forgot to get directions to your house."

Alice smiled sweetly, walking a little closer. "Well," she said, putting a delicate hand on his arm. "You just take a left at..." she gripped his arm quickly, lifted a knee, and slammed him in the groin with it. "And you're there."

Tristin doubled over, dropping his book bag. "Oh..." His voice cracked. "God..."

Madison stood staring in shock as Alice took her by the arm and began to walk off.