Finally! Yes, finally I have finished my schoolwork, enough of it anyway to finish this story! I apologize that this story has had so many problems but I hope you will at least read the ending. If not, oh well since I would have had to finish this story anyway (I can't leave stories unfinished). So, I won't say anymore other than enjoy! Reviews are appreciated.


The Lobster Quadrille

Now that the chaos of Stayne had been taken care of, there was nothing left but to celebrate the wondrous victory. Queen Mirana immediately had her heart set on a grand ball at Marmoreal to which her sister would attend before deporting to the Outlands. It was to be celebrated in a manner that suited both Queens: one that would mix red and white.

Alice insisted on leaving before the set engagement however no one would hear of it, especially Tarrant. He insisted upon her staying and even went so far as to assist in the creation of her dress. Despite all this, Alice was still protesting.

"For you see Alice, you simply must attend such an extravagant event. To not do so would be a crime in and of itself!" Tarrant insisted would Alice would protest. It was upon these occasions that Alice would sigh and allow Tarrant to continue explaining Underland balls. It was not that Alice wished to avoid the ball, however: she knew the longer she remained in Underland, the more attached everyone would become to her being there.

And so, the evening of the ball finally arrived. Alice wore a magnificent blue dress (for Tarrant insisted blue was the best color for her) as she entered the large ballroom. Chess' floating head immediately caught Alice's attention as it glided above the crowd, surveying the area until it found a decent place to be. Directly below Chess was Nivens, who was wearing a tabard with the Red Queen's insignia on it. The Tweedles were near him, also wearing Iracebeth's insignia.

Alice's gaze shifted as she heard a loud crash. Thackery was jumping and jittering so much he had accidentally knocked some cups down. Not too far away from him was Mallymkun and Alice could not help but to notice she was wearing a dress (which, after a moment's thought, did not surprise Alice).

"There you are Alice," Tarrant called as he came from behind her. The two greeted one another with a friendly smile. Tarrant then looked over towards the front of the room. "Don't they look lovely?" he inquired as he motioned towards the two queens sitting in complete harmony next to one another. Alice nodded, feeling as though it was, indeed, lovely to see the two sides at peace.

While Tarrant and Alice walked amongst the citizens of Underland and greeted their friends, a certain Mock Turtle was having an unusual conversation with a Gryphon.

"I think it would be most appropriate if we start with the Futterwacken," the Gryphon stated.

"No, no! This celebration is begging to start with the Lobster Quadrille," the Mock Turtle insisted, tears streaming down his eyes as he recalled the marvelous dance.

"But we haven't got enough lobsters," the Gryphon retorted, which was an essential component to the dance.

"Just have them use their dance partners," the Mock Turtle replied.

"But we haven't got a sea!" the Gryphon returned which was another essential component to the dance.

"The dancers will figure it out," the Mock Turtle insisted and before the Gryphon could continue his protests, the Mock Turtle was instructing the musicians to play the Lobster Quadrille.

Alice heard the music had started to play but chose to ignore it since she did not plan on dancing right away. However she soon felt Tarrant grabbing her hand as he urged her towards the dance floor.

"Alice you simply must dance the Lobster Quadrille," Tarrant said.

"The Lobster Quadrille?" Alice inquired and sure enough, a few lobsters were beginning to encompass the ballroom floor (for once Iracebeth had heard the Lobster Quadrille being played, she immediately ordered all lobsters to make themselves present). Before Tarrant could say anything further, the Mock Turtle was singing the lyrics.

"'Will you walk a little faster?' said the whiting to the snail,

"There's a porpoise close behind us and he's treading on my tail.'"

Alice tried her best to follow the dance moves which involved throwing the poor lobsters across the floor. It was a rather odd dance to say the least but she dare not say so aloud as others (Tarrant included) seemed to be having a marvelous time.

"Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?"

Alice was soon seeing how easy it was to have fun during this dance especially when throwing the lobsters. Of course, the lobsters seemed to mind this considering they were not being thrown out to see; however they were soon enjoying the dance as well. In particular, Alice found Tarrant's eccentricity during this dance to be rather entertaining. He practically jumped up and down the entire time as he threw his lobster across the floor.

It was a shame the music was forced to change as too many lobsters were suffering from their floor injuries. Tarrant took Alice's hand and they began to dance to a more ordinary piece. Despite this being a dancing piece Alice couldn't possibly picture Tarrant dancing to, he was doing quite well. In fact, he was dancing marvelously. She supposed she should have guessed he was a very good dancer since he was able to do the Futterwacken and what not.

Still, Alice found it very difficult to completely enjoy herself. There was still one very pressing matter Alice had neglected: she had yet to instill upon Tarrant that she was leaving. It was true there was something in the back of his mind that must have told him Alice would leave eventually but the fact of the matter was it probably had not been fully processed in his mind. As though Alice leaving was just a saying they had invented; it was not yet a serious matter for Tarrant. Alice knew this and she just had to find a way to break this news to him. For, she couldn't bear to say goodbye at the last minute and leave Tarrant in utter bewilderment.

"Aren't you glad you decided to stay Alice?" Tarrant inquired excitedly as they danced across the room, breaking Alice out of her current thought process.

"Yes, I'm glad I stayed," Alice admitted. "But you know I'll have to be going soon."

"But the party has just begun! You can't leave now!" Tarrant insisted. "Besides, what else would you be doing? Everyone's here."

"I meant I'll have to leave Underland soon," Alice explained. And here, Tarrant was silent for a moment and Alice was afraid she had upset him.

"Do you have to leave?" Tarrant finally inquired.

"Why yes, of course I have to leave," Alice replied. "I have a family that would miss me and I have to take care of Father's Company."

"Well, when you're done with that, you can come here," Tarrant said as though it were the simplest solution in the world. At first, Alice was offended as he brushed her father aside but then she remembered that he was mad and this way of thinking couldn't be helped.

"Tarrant, these things take time I'm afraid…." Alice replied.

"How much time?"

"I don't know…but it's going to take a while. Years," Alice said cautiously.

"Well…we'll worry about that later. Let's just enjoy this dance," Tarrant said and it was quite clear from his tone of voice he did not wish to speak of the subject anymore. However, Alice very well knew that Tarrant was avoiding the subject because he quite possibly wouldn't take 'no' for an answer.

"Tarrant, I have to leave," Alice said definitively.

"…You can't leave Alice," Tarrant replied quietly.

"Why?"

"Because I love you."

And at this point, both had stopped dancing and were standing in the middle of the dance floor as others surrounded them, still twirling away. Alice had taken a few steps back and was now staring at Tarrant, unsure of what to do or say. Tarrant stared at her as well. That was all they did: they stared at one another, neither knowing how to react or what to even feel as Tarrant's words were being processed. All of time seemed to stop and last for an eternity in that one instance until finally it decided to start again and dancers were bumping into them. So, without saying a word to one another, Alice and Tarrant left the dance floor.

Alice avoided Tarrant the rest of the evening. She simply did not know what to do anymore. Tarrant loved her. But, did she love him? She thought about this for a good deal. It was true, she loved him but did she love him in the sense he had meant? And, if so, was this affection strong enough to cause her to stay in Underland and abandon everything in her own world? This, she wasn't exactly sure about.

Before Alice realized it, the ball was coming to a close and she had no idea where Tarrant was. It was as if she were in some sort of a daze, a daze she couldn't get out of. In her daze, she managed to spot Tarrant walking out towards the balcony. Even though she had wanted to avoid him, she knew she couldn't and proceeded to follow him out on the balcony.

"Hi…" she said rather awkwardly as she approached Tarrant. There was another moment of silence as the two stared at one another. "Tarrant…I…I don't want to leave, you know. But I have to." Tarrant did not respond to this and Alice had a feeling this wasn't helping very much. She sighed as she leaned over the balcony. "I care about you Tarrant," Alice managed to say.

"So then the question is, what do we do now?" Tarrant inquired.

OoOoOoOoO

Alice stepped into her private room. She had had a rather long day dealing with the necessary affairs of her father's company as some businessmen were attempting to convince her to sell Opium to the citizens in China. Of course, Alice was completely against this idea despite the large sums other companies were making. But she knew there was another way to bring the company profits.

"I guess it's about time for tea," Alice thought. Even though she was exhausted, she could always use a cup of tea. She took a moment to look at the mirror in her room. It was a rather large mirror, just the way she liked it. Without hesitation, she stepped towards the looking glass and pressed her hand on it. Her hand was able to go right through the mirror and, before she knew it, she had placed her entire body through the portal.

"There you are, Alice!" Tarrant exclaimed, clearly very happy to see her. "I thought you might not come today." Alice merely smiled at him and sat beside at the tables that were placed together to create on overly large one.

"Of course I'd come today," Alice remarked. "I didn't come yesterday so it's only fair that I come today."

"Quite right," Tarrant remarked.

And the two sat down together and enjoyed their tea.


I really debated on how to end this piece. I did want to put a kiss in there but when I was writing it it just didn't ...feel right. I think that's partially because I have been putting this story on hold a good deal and for that, I apologize. That's all I really have to say...now time to write something else :D.

~LS