A/N: Er… first thing's first. Sorry for... leaving this story to rot for the last *checks update status * seven months or so… Yeesh, seven months. So yeah, sorry about that! I'll try not to leave this story alone that long again! ... I'll just stick to five-month intervals next time… Kidding! Anywho, here's the long-long-long-awaited next chapter! Hope you enjoy!
This update is for all you people who still have patience with me, had patience with me, and that guessed from the chapter title that this would be another angst-chapter. WRONG.
Disclaimer: Alice in Wonderland, its characters, movie, etc. does not belong to me. Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton enjoy those rights. Big surprise there.
"And… why are they doing that precisely?" Alice whispered to Tarrant as they observed the specimens before them. A great bemoaning and wailing could be heard for miles around from that occupied spot. In fact, it was that very wail that drew the ever-curious Alice towards it. Naturally, Tarrant felt that he was obligated to follow. Naturally.
"Well, it is a weeping willow, Alice. What else did you expect them to do?" he replied as if he was stating the obvious. As if on cue, the trees all began to screech and flail their branches about as if all of Underland was coming to an end.
"They sound more like banshees to me," Alice muttered as she hastily drew her hands over her ears.
"Really?" Tarrant said, a surprised expression spreading across his face. "I don't think so. Banshees have a certain… something that needs more fixing. These willows, however… they're simply… simply… harmonious." Again, as if on cue, the screeching commenced… loudly. Very loudly.
"You call this harmony?" she replied, hands still clamped over her ears.
"Well, this is Underland, Alice," he chuckled.
"What?" she shouted.
"I said, 'This is Underland'!" he repeated, attempting to be heard over the blasted foliage.
"I can't hear you! Those trees are screeching far too loudly!"
"What? You must speak up, Alice!"
Holding up a finger, as if to pause their in-abnormal conversation, Tarrant promptly walked over to the trees with hands on his hips. "Pardon me—" Naturally, the willows paid no mind to him and continued their wailing. After a few more failed attempts at courtesy, the Hatter's eyes swiftly changed color as he marched up to the bark itself. "FOR THE LOVE OF JABBERWOCKY'S DEAR AUNTIE, WILL YOU PIPE DOWN, YOU INFERNAL SHRUBBERIES?"
Needless to say, that got the trees to settle down… for the moment.
"There we are," Tarrant beamed, walking back toward Alice. "Now, what were you saying?"
"… I don't even recall anymore," Alice replied, chuckling to herself. Slowly, her chuckles began to transform into mirthful laughter that she experienced in years. Without missing a beat, Tarrant began to join in as well. The sound of their boisterous laughter permeated the air until they were panting for breath.
"When was the last time you laughed like that?" he asked, wiping away a few mirthful tears.
"Not since I was a child… before my father died," she said softly, brushing a finger against her necklace.
'Wrong turn there,' he thought, waves of awkwardness pressing down upon on him. Now what was the proper response to that kind of statement?
"Don't bother yourself about it though," Alice suddenly added, as if she could read his mind. "I've long since come to terms towards his death. If anything, it's his business partners that mourn his contribution to the company."
"Dreadful things, companies," Tarrant winced. "If three's a crowd, then a company must resound across the land like a herd of elephants."
"… What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, eyebrows furrowing in confusion.
"You know… I don't rightly know… Perhaps some tea would help, don't you think?" he suggested with a gap-toothed smirk, offering Alice his arm.
"I believe it most definitely will," Alice replied, taking his proffered arm.
"Then there's not a moment to waste! To the kettles!" he exclaimed, sprinting as quickly as he could (with Alice still attached, of course) back to the castle.
"Now listen here, you insufferable feline! If you don't come down here this instant…!"
"What about your vows, hm?" he purred, debonair smile already in place. "Never to harm a living creature, correct?"
"Vows can be revoked! Especially when it involves blasted, evaporating cats!" the White Queen screeched. Currently, she was attempting to pile enough chairs to reach Chess, who was casually juggling three jars of her most rare… specimens. Or whatever they were.
"Now, that's just rude," Chess huffed, his front paws on his hips.
"Rude? Oh, you're one to talk, you pompous, conniving, flea-covered alleyca—" Suddenly, a great slam against the kitchen doors interrupted the Queen's near verbal-mutilation of Chess. The stack of chairs Mirana found herself atop of abruptly began to dangerously sway back and forth as the noise reverberated across the area. Luckily enough, she was easily able to steady herself and the mountain of chairs. Adjusting her crown, Mirana looked toward the kitchen doors to see what had caused the commotion. Ever so slowly, the double doors creaked open to reveal Alice peeking her head into the room.
"Er… Good day," she murmured.
"Alice… what was all that noise just now?"
"Oh, that was just Tarrant. You see, he forgot to turn the door handle." Opening the door a little wider, she revealed none other than the Mad Hatter himself plastered against the kitchen doors.
Slowly peeling his face away from the door, Tarrant began drunkenly laughing. " 'Ello Majesty! We've come for the tea!"
"I should've guessed," the White Queen sighed, rolling her eyes as most Underland Queens were apt to do. Giving another bout of laughter, Tarrant promptly slid from the door to the floor.
"Regardless, I'm sure if we start up that tea, he'll be up and about soon enough," Alice laughed, watching Tarrant as he began to wildly debate with the nearby bread and butterflies. And, if anything, it was this dear world and wonderfully mad man that helped her to laugh.
A/N: Pff, did you really think that this chapter would be longer than the othersjust because of my seven-month break? Better luck next time! Anywho, hope you enjoyed! And thanks again for all the encouragement!
Next Chapter: Returns and Revelations