A Week in Wonderland, Ch. 15
A/N: I really don't have anything to say about my year-long absense other than the fact that I didn't know how to continue the story! I wrote several versions of this chapter, but either they just didn't fit well or they were too confusing. This is the first version I've actually been happy with. Hopefully you will be too =)
And I also want to say a billion thanks to all this tory's fans who are STILL following Alice and Hatter through their adventures, and who are STILL begging for me to upload the next chapter! I would have thought you would have just given up hope on me! But no, your loyalties remain strong ^_^ Although I truly value every single one of your reviews and love, I want to send out a special thanks to Ryuno chu, Kuroii-chan, Chocolate and Vanilla, and Cecilie for reading this story recently, even though that last time I updated was a year ago o.0 I want you all to know that I read every one of your comments and messages, and I love every single one 3 Thanks everyone for sticking with me, even if I haven't held up my end that well =/
As for the story, this isn't the last chapter, don't worry. I still need to get a bit more AlicexHatter smut in there ;)
Let me know what you think of this chapter. If enough people actually don't like it, i might change it again. We'll see!
"Excuse me, Sir?" McTwisp inched his head into the doorway of James' room and found James starring out the window as if sternly concentrating on something.
"What is it?" James answered a bit roughly. He rubbed his face in irritation before looking back at the rabbit. To say he was frustrated would be an understatement. Nothing was working. He could barely get the Queen to himself, let alone kiss her to initiate the spell. Everyone seemed to have some urgent need to see the Queen and, being the kind-hearted woman she was, the Queen never once hastened to listen. The only time he had spoken with her was when she asked for Alice; he simply said she was still recovering and was currently asleep in her room.
"Well, t-there seems to be a need for you in the dungeons. A-Alice wishes to see you." Mctwisp nervously rubbed his front paws together before scurrying away.
James sighed before following the furry white creature. He had nothing else to do anyways; the Queen was still 'tending to her people'.
Alice and the Hatter waited for the sign. They heard Mctwisp knock on the door in the code they had agreed upon, and stood. It was time.
"Don't hold back," Hatter whispered. Alice nodded, daring one last look in his eyes. Gray. Alice's stomach turned. Well, that should help make things look more believeable, she thought. But she knew that at the moment, that was the only real thing about the Hatter.
The door swung open. James entered the room, guard in tow.
"I told you," Alice began yelling, "I never want to see you again!
"But Alice—," Hatter reached between the bars for her hand.
"Don't!" Alice smacked his hand away. She stared icily back at the Hatter. Don't hold back. "I never loved you. And I never will! How could I ever?" She crossed her arms and glared at the Hatter. "How could I ever stay here with you?"
Hatter stood straight, arms at his sides, fists clutched. His features seemed like stone, his lips pursed into a thin line, and his eyes…
Alice felt her stomach drop. His eyes were pewter gray. Colder than she'd ever seen them.
"Fine," he barely choked. He tipped his hat over his eyes before turning his back on Alice.
Alice was just about to reach forward, to call out to the Hatter and tell him not to believe a single thing she said. To remind him it was all a game. But before she could open her mouth to speak, she was brought back to the present when she heard James clapping.
"Well, well." he sneered. "Seems I was wrong about you after all." He sauntered forward.
"James!" Alice feigned surprise. She ran towards him, and gripped at the bars. "James, I'm so sorry! I see now that you were right! I was wrong about everything! Everything! I love you. I want to be with you! Please take me back!"
James pulled a key out of his coat pocket and began unlocking Alice's cell. "Don't you fret, my pet." The door opened, and Alice flung her arms around his neck. "But you'd better behave this time."
Alice pulled back and looked up at James. "Oh, I promise! I promise! I'm so sorry!" She buried her face in his chest. She couldn't believe she was doing this. All she wanted to do was turn around and run back into the Hatter's arms. But she knew she couldn't. If they were going to put an end to this, she had to play her part. Besides, she thought, it's not as if she hadn't done that before.
James was internally smirking. He knew this could play to his advantage. If Alice needed the Queen, she'd drop everything for her "champion". He was beginning to get desperate enough that he didn't even once consider whether Alice was telling the truth.
"Come along, Alice." He wrapped his arm around Alice's shoulder, and headed towards the exit. Before exiting, though, James turned and smirked upon seeing the Hatter shooting daggers his way.
The dungeon doors slammed shut.
"Well, the went well!" Chessur popped backed, floating right next to the Hatter, his eyes transfixed to the door Alice and James had just left through. "Seems Alice is quite the actress, if I do say so my—" Chessur turned to look at the Hatter, and stopped mid sentence. "Tarrant?" No answer. The Hatter kept his hat slung low across his head, and his fists were still clenched. "Tarrant, you know she didn't mean any of that, right?" Chessur wrinkled his forehead at his old friend.
"Di' she?" His brogue apparent and his voice barely audible, the Hatter still didn't move.
"Of course, ol' chap! Alice loves you!"
Hatter cleared his throat. He readjusted his top hat, and straightened himself out before turning back around to face Chessur. "Come along, Chess. We have business to attend to."
Thoroughly unconvinced, Chessur pursed his lips and handed Hatter the keys he plucked off of James's back pocket when James was busy hugging an (apparently) apologetic Alice. Hatter took the keys, and without saying anything else, unlocked his cell and hurried up and out of the dungeons.
With his arm slung across her shoulders, James led Alice out of the dungeons. "I'm so glad you've come to your senses, my love," James growled into her ear as they walked along the hall.
Alice felt a shiver run disgustingly down her spine. She forced herself to smile sweetly, and tilted her head up towards James. "I'm glad you've found it in yourself to take me back." To play up the game, Alice tipped up on her toes and quickly kissed James on the cheek.
James chuckled low in his chest. "Come now, Alice. You've missed dinner. You're probably hungry." He made to lead Alice towards the kitchens, hoping that the Queen was still where he last left her.
"No!" Alice panicked, and James was taken aback at her sudden outburst. She was supposed to get James out into the gardens. Her job was to get James to sit with her at the bench next to the lake… the same bench which the Hatter had once hid behind as she was kissing James. She mentally puked at the thought. Hatter explained that it was very easy to hide behind the bushes and easily hear everything, thus making it an excellent spot for someone to overhear James's plan. That was the other part of her job. To get him to confess. Her brain was reeling when James's voice snapped her back to the moment.
"Alice, dear?" The two had stopped walking, and James regarded Alice with a lifted brow.
Alice nervously laughed, and waved off her prior outburst. "I just mean, I'm really not all that hungry. In fact, I think I just need some fresh air. Do you mind?"
"Of course not." James forced a smile, took Alice's hand and redirected them towards the gardens. He mentally sighed.
When the two finally reached the outside, Alice led James towards said bench. To her surprise, James didn't protest, and instead followed her eagerly. She sat, and he followed suit. She didn't hear the code the Hatter said would let her know they were listening, and she looked nervously around.
"Alice? Are you sure you're okay?" James took hold of one of Alice's hands, forcing her to stop looking around and face him.
She squeezed his hand reassuringly. "Of course, James. Everything is perfect now that I'm with you." She smiled (reluctantly), and James leaned in for a kiss. Of course, everything was not fine. Where could the Hatter be?
"My Queen!" Hatter whispered furiously into the kitchens where he finally found Mirana. He glanced around, making sure no guards were in sight. "My Queen!"
Mirana was busy mixing up what looked like some sort of potion. She looked up, and her face lit up when her eyes fell on the Hatter. "Tarrant! Oh, do come in! Come in!" With one last look up and down the hall, Hatter stepped into the kitchen and closed the door behind him. Mirana greeted the Hatter with a polite kiss on each cheek; Hatter bowed respectfully. "Took you long enough!" She then hurried back to her prior engagement.
"Took— I'm sorry?" Hatter didn't understand.
"Yes, well, if I'm not mistaken, I believe Alice and James are waiting for us, are they not?" She winked.
"Why, yes actually!" Hatter smiled the truest smile he had in a while. So the Queen was in on the whole operation, too? "But— I don't understand, how did you—"
Mirana held up a golden scroll and playfully waved it at the Hatter. "Mmhmm! Did you forget?"
The Hatter's face relaxed, and he laughed. "Oh! The Oraculum! I had forgotten about that."
Mirana smiled. "Hmm. My boy, never forget that I know what is going to happen and when. To an extent, at least. The Oraculum portrays just the important events of the time. All the bits in between I have to figure out just like everyone else. And, apparently we are at an important event in time, aren't we!"
"Yes, yes, that's right." Hatter nodded, and moved forward. "Alice is just about to get James to confess all his evil doings, and if you come with me, I can prove that he is—"
"Nothing but a little snitch." Mirana poured the silver liquid into a little bottle, and capped it tightly before pocketing it. She looked up at the Hatter's stunned silence. "What?"
"What did I just say, Tarrant?" She held up The Oraculum again.
Hatter blushed. "Right. Well then, why didn't you do something before?" He was starting to feel betrayed that the queen had let everything go as far as it had.
"Because, my dear, it was not the time. If I had stopped James before all this happened, then he'd have nothing to be seriously guilty of, would he? He'd be able to try again and again, and frankly, I'm quite tired of people trying to turn my kingdom askew!" The Hatter thought about it, then nodded. "Now come along! We've got a villain to unmask!" Hatter smirked, and led Mirana out to the gardens.
Hatter peered over the bushes. There was Alice sitting with James. She was talking animatedly with her hands, and James was laughing. Hatter felt his stomach knot up, and his eyes began to turn yellow.
"So is she there? Is it time?" Hatter snapped back to the moment at the whispered sound of Tweedledee's voice.
"Yes, all is set." Hatter turned back to face everyone.
"I'm just about ready to slice that bloke in two!" Mallymkun slashed her needle in the air a couple of times.
"Yeah, he's m-messing with our Alice!" Thackery was shaking, but this time with excitement.
"Now hold on, everyone. We need to do this properly," Chessur whispered.
"He's right. Now when I give the signal, Alice is going to hopefully get James to confess everything. That's when we appear. Now, I'm sure he won't go down without a fight, so don't hold back. Jump on him if you need to. Restrain him." Mallymkun, the Tweedles, and Chessur all nodded their understanding. "My queen, once we have him down, then you emerge and out the bastard." Mirana nodded. "All right." Hatter made a whistle very similar to the whistles of the local birds almost always around the palace; he modified it just enough for Alice to recognize.
Alice's back stiffened. James was still laughing at her recounting of her "fallout" with the Hatter. It was time. She gulped.
"So, James, I wanted to ask why exactly you used that Blind Love on me?" James laughter died down a bit. He was still gleeful over the thought of the Hatter's misfortunes when Alice asked the question. "I mean, you would have had me even without it." Alice fluttered her lashes and placed a hand on James's thigh. His laughter completely subsided, and he looked at Alice questioningly.
James smirked. "Is that so?" He placed his hand atop Alice's, trapping her against him.
"Mmhmm." She nodded. "You're very attractive, James. I don't see why you thought I would think otherwise." Alice leaned closer, and was surprised at the way she was practically purring at James.
James guided Alice's hand further up his thigh. Alice puked mentally. He was so improper! From behind the bushes, Hatter felt his face growing hot again. "Well, you're Champion of Underland. How exactly was I supposed to get your attention from all the other competition?"
"You don't have any competition." Alice leaned the rest of the way and kissed James full force on the mouth. James responded almost immediately. Alice smiled inwardly. It was working! "I love you, James," Alice said breathlessly.
"Mmm. Me too." James took Alice's face in his hands and started taking control. He was hopeful that any passersby would see him with Alice, and see that he still had the trust of their Champion. Alice did not approve of how indecently he was behaving in a public place, but was happy that she had him in the palm of her hands.
James began kissing Alice's neck. "So, then why were you going to use the spell on the White Queen? I thought you loved me?" James froze in place against her neck. He straightened, and looked at Alice. "Why were you going to do it?"
James studied her face. So she had remembered that. He stroked her cheek and looked into her eyes, debating what to tell her. "Alice, love…"
Alice batted her lashes. James stroked her cheek and debated what to tell her. "James?" Alice cooed.
Then it suddenly clicked. He knew that coo. James abruptly stood, causing Alice to fall back on the floor. "You lying little girl! You're setting me up again, aren't you!" His hand went to the dagger he stashed in his belt, and made to fling it through Alice.
Hatter jumped out just in time. "Alice!" He pushed Alice back, and took the dagger through the chest instead. His eyes turned completely white, and his body slumped against the ground.
"Hatter!" Alice cried. It happened so fast. One minute she had James kissing her, the next James stabbed the Hatter. Red started to form around the dagger lodged in his chest. Alice fell to her knees and took the Hatter into her arms.
"Now!" Mirana's voice rang crisp. All at once, the Tweedles, Thackery, and Mallymkun lunged at the now unarmed James. She followed suit, but not before tossing Alice a bottle of silver liquid. "Pour this on his wound!"
James looked up in surprise right before falling backwards as Thackery pounced on him. Mallymkun quickly ran up and poked his eye, causing him to yelp in pain. By this time, a good number of Mirana's court had emerged to see what was happening. The Tweedles punched and jabbed at James, hitting anywhere they could reach. There were gasps from the now growing crowd.
While this was going on, Alice was holding the Hatter's limp form and sobbing. Chessur appeared at her side. He wrapped his tail around the handle of the dagger, and gingerly pulled it out, the blade glimmering with ruby beads as it caught light. He pointed at the bottle Alice held, and spoke slowly and evenly, trying to keep Alice calm. "Pour that into the wound, Alice. Quickly."
With shaky hands, Alice unstopped the bottle, and still sobbing, poured the silver liquid into the Hatter's wound. She watched, and when nothing happened immediately, looked back at Chessur afraid. "Don't worry, dear. It just takes time. He's fine. He's a Hightop."
He smiled at Alice reassuringly. Alice merely looked back at the Hatter in her arms, still very worried. One of her tears fell onto the Hatter's cheek, and she gently stroked it away. "Don't leave me," she whispered.
James was finally able to push everyone off him, and he stood back. "How dare you! I'm—"
"A wretch!" Only then did James notice the White Queen step forward. Her voice was full of power. "You, James Barrick, are guilty of plotting to take over the kingdom, and in so, taking advantage of and hurting innocent people." The on looking crowd had grown considerably, and there were mummers and gasps of shock all around.
James frantically glanced around, panicked. Everything was unraveling so quickly. The whole court was looking at him with judging eyes, and he knew that he had to take matters into his own hands. He spotted a courts man at the front of the crowd nearest to him with a sword in hand, and he knocked the man out (causing another collective gasp) and took the sword. Then, in one swift movement, he grasped both the White Queen's hands behind her back and had the sword at her throat (again, causing another crowd gasp).
"Now." James was breathing hard. "I will have what I want. I will have power, and order, and no one can say anything against me. If you do," he looked around the crowd, "you can say goodbye to your precious Queen."
"How dare you, James!" Alice spoke up this time, causing James to whip around.
James sneered. "Why, love?" He put extra emphasis on the 'love' part. "Don't you trust me, love? Seems everyone else has, love." He faced the crowd and saw guilt. He laughed a hearty laugh this time. "Everyone here trusts your decisions, my dear. Therefore, they trust your loving me. Even though," he smirked again, "you 'loved' me because of the spell you were under." Whispers arose throughout the crowd. He looked back at Alice. "Genius, wasn't it?"
"You are loathsome and despicable, love." Alice glared up at him, still holding on dearly to the Hatter.
James laughed. "Careful, Alice." He tilted the sword so that it caught the light, causing it to glisten brightly. He turned back to the crowd. "Now. Either you let me be King, and I let your little Queenie here go safely. Or, we find out if even the blood that pumps through these veins is white and pure. Right here. Right now." The crowd didn't move. James just smirked. Everything was perfect.
At that precise moment, James heard what sounded something like the roar of an angry bear. He, and everyone else, turned their attentions to the left, only to be met with a very angry Bandersnatch.
Alice smiled when she saw Chessur floating right next to the Bandersnatch, key dangling from his paws. "You're it, Bandersnatch." And before he could get out of harm's way, the Bandersnatch charged at James and snatched him up in his teeth, careful not to pick up the Queen as well. The Bandersnatch shook James up and down, tearing his clothing.
"Unhand me, you beast! This instant!" James struggled against the creature, but to no avail. With James still between his teeth, the Bandersnatch turned to Chessur. Chessur dismissed the creature, and the Bandersnatch ran off until it was no longer in sight.
No one knew what to say. After a few moments, it was Alice who broke the silence. "Where did you send him to, Chess?"
"Oh, to the Crimson Sea. I wonder if James can swim…"
A/N: Let me know what you think! =)