Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from Aria or Aqua, I'm just borrowing them for awhile.

Aria the Animation: Alice in Wonder

Alice Carroll could date the day her life really began to change to when she first met Akari and Aika. She had been practicing with her gondola out in a section of the shore with treacherous currents when she came across the two singles, struggling with the water. Both seemed surprised to see a pair with such skill, but while Aika became angry Akari's eyes were filled with gentle wonder.

Akari Mizunashi was so different from the shy, self controlled Alice that she found herself becoming fascinated by her. Akari seemed to be able to find joy in almost anything, living her life with a zest that Alice could barely imagine. She followed Akari when she took the obnoxious Akatsuki on a tour of the city and saw how she charmed the abrasive young man, and even found herself joining in as a guide.

Despite Alice's greater skill she realized Akari was farther along in becoming an Undine. Unlike Alice it seemed Akari already had the spirit of a good undine within her, and it was only a matter of time until she brought it out. And watching her Alice began to understand what she needed to do to become a better undine....


Athena Glory smiled across the table at her student as the undines of Orange Planet hurried to prepare for their day. "Going out for more group training today?" she asked, her short purple hair falling around her face, both of them sitting down for breakfast.

"Yes," Alice smiled, silently thanking Akari for helping her out with this relationship, too. For a long time Alice had been unaware of how much Athena did for her and Orange Planet, but Akari had helped her to finally see. She brushed back her flowing green hair, "Do you, Akira and Alicia have something planned for us?"

"No, not today," Athena chuckled warmly.

Athena, Akira Ferrari and Alicia Florence were the three mentors of her, Aika and Akari, as well as being known on Aqua as the three legendary Water Fairies. They were considered to be the best Undines as well as being old friends. It had rather shocked Alice, Akari and Aika to hear that their mentors had also trained together when they were younger like they did, but it also seemed strangely right, too.

Athena absentmindedly poured the whole container of sweet syrup into her drink as she added, "I did want to tell you that Akira is taking Aika out on a training trip, so I think it'll just be you and Akari." She took a drink then stiffened, her eyes widening as she realized her drink was far too sweet, again.

"Ah," Alice fought back a giggle at the expression on her friend's face, "you never change, ma'am."

"No," Athena agreed as she tried to dilute her drink, "I suppose not."

"Maa, Maa!" the little cat stumbled her way through the crowd and Alice knelt to pick her up, stroking the kitten tenderly.

"Hello, Maa-kun," Alice smiled as the little cat rubbed herself happily against her hand, purring away madly.

"Sorry Alice," one of the girls rushed over, "she got away from us again."

"Just don't lose her," Alice chided gently, "or we'll have to have Athena sing Maa-kun back out of hiding again."

"Maa!" the cat agreed cheerfully as she was carried off.

"I'll see you later," Athena smiled warmly as she got up to go, Alice also realizing it was time for her to head out too.

The city of Neo-Venezia was already awakening even this early in the morning, the Sylphs beginning their air deliveries even as boats began to make their way down the canals. The gondolas weren't the fastest way to get around the city but that was part of the charm, taking a leasurely ride with a lovely lady.

Alice called out greetings to the other Orange Planet Undines as she made her way to her trainee's gondola, her uniform skirt swirling around her legs. She carefully stepped aboard then used her oar to push off from the shore, drifting out onto one of the many canals criss-crossing Neo-Venezia. Gracefully she eased her oar into the water, feeling the current through the wood as she guided her craft into the current.

Akari was waiting at their usual spot to meet, sitting with the cat President Aria on the shore as they munched on pastries. She waved cheerfully as Alice neared, calling out, "Good morning."

"Morning," Alice found herself smiling back almost unwillingly. It happened a lot around Akari, her energetic personality making Alice smile and say sappy things. President Aria bowed to her and Alice bowed back, smiling at him too.

"Here," Akari offered her a bun and Alice sat down beside her, eating happily as they watched the sun glimmer on the water.

"So what do you want to do today?" Alice asked curiously between bites.

"I thought we'd stick with the city today," Akari said as she finished her bun, "we need to practice in traffic too."

"That makes sense," Alice agreed. She looked a bit sheepish, "We'll need to try to work on our singing too."

"Do we have to?" Akari laughed shyly.

"I think so," Alice nodded firmly. They got up together as she asked, "Do you want to go together or take both gondolas?"

"Together," Akari said with a nod, tying up her gondola to the pier as she climbed aboard with Alice.

Alice steadied her with her hand and felt a rush as she took Akari's hand in her's. It felt so good that she stiffened a moment, then made herself relax as she guided Akari to a seat. "Here you go, President Aria," Alice smiled as she lifted the cat in, too.

They took turns navigating the channels between buildings, smoothly and not-so-smoothly making their way through the town as they each tried to play tour guide. Both were improving their memories and prompting each other, trading little known facts about the sights all around them.

"You're getting better," a smiling Alice noted as Akari finished describing the city's busy spaceport.

"Thanks," Akari flashed a smile as a larger boat slipped by, two Orange Planet undines talking cheerfully to the passengers.

"So, do you want to try singing first?" Alice asked, smiling.

"Rock, paper scissors?" Akari suggested and Alice laughed. They played a quick game and Akari lost, giving in to singing with a sigh. She stood nervously on the end of the boat, taking a shaky breath.

Alice smiled up at her encouragingly, "You can do it, Akari."

Akari tilted her head back and sang, her voice ringing out gracefully across the water. She wasn't as good as Athena, Alice knew, but she still made a shiver run down Alice's spine. Her eyes shone as she raised her voice to the skies, singing a silly sweet song that seemed to suit her almost perfectly.

Akari trailed off, smiling sheepishly. "I hope that was alright," she said, blushing.

Alice smiled up at her, "You did great."

"Well, at least I had fun," Akari answered wryly. She sat down as Alice stood, "Good luck!"

Alice took her place at the stern of the ship, her long green hair flowing around her as she cleared her throat. 'She's so cute,' Alice found herself thinking as she looked down at Akari. The ballad she sang was old, a love song, and one that Alice had practiced more than once over her time as a undine.

"Wow," Akari breathed out as Alice finished singing, "incredible!"

"Thanks," Alice smiled shyly.

"I wish I could have someone feel like that towards me," Akari mused softly, blushing.

Alice nearly said something then, but held her tongue. Now wasn't the time, she knew. "Someday, maybe you will," she answered instead, smiling at her friend. She took the oar into her hands as she added, "Let's see where we can go now."

"Yeah," Akari agreed as they let the current move them forward once more.

'Someday,' Alice repeated to herself, 'someday, Akari.'


Notes: It's not canon that Alice might be carrying a torch for Akari, but it's not impossible either. Unlike Aika and most of the other characters Alice remains unattached, and she has a very close friendship with Akari..