dedication: To Emily and Sonya, coz today is your merry birthday. To Sara because I love her and we have deep convos with weird noises and smilies. To all my reviewers for your praises, your help and your... amazingness. Thank you. :)
disclaimer: I don't own anything. At all.
notes: Thank you all! I love you and... thank you. Legit. And... I will come back, at some point and fix the typos. I know they're there, scattered. But for now... this is it. :)
Breathing hard and bathed in red, The Mad Hatter stood back to her full height, gloved fists at her side as her mad-mad-mad hazel eyes stared at the entrance of the castle.
She heard the all too familiar tank-tank-tank of a knight running towards her and she squatted down to the ground, her fists clenching until they shook. The battle-cry the knight gave was like music to her ears as she jumped up, into the air, and crashed down on him, her fist pounding down until she heard the satisfying, grotesque crack of his skull, under his metal helmet.
At once, she moved away from her nth victim, her eyes scraping the bloody battle field.
There was an angry, deep, horrific wound on The March Hare's back, ripping his shirt and vest right in the middle. The Hatter was fascinated, watching him continue to stomp on bodies, shattering them into pieces – having little to no idea he was probably bleeding to death.
Her hazel eyes averted back towards the white castle and her insides boiled – her skin prickled – her madness multiplied and multiplied by ten! Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, one-hundred… Two-hundred – MORE MORE MORE. Tanned skin turned pale white and bright eyes darkened – shadows forming under them and making her look so, so, so mad! So mad! The Hatter was so mad! The wiry, tangled strands of hair framing her head swayed as The Hatter continued to shake and move and get oh so very angry.
She was here! In there! She was in there!
WHERE WAS ANKO?
Where did she have Anko hidden?
Anko was dead! Oh so very dead and it was all her fault! It was! And The Mad Hatter was so angry! She… Was… So… mad.
The Hatter let out a low, agonizing, piercing screech and when she looked up, her pitch-black eyes were filled with rage and her pale-pale skin contrasted the purple rimming her eyes and The Hatter was mad. Growling, she threw a punch at a knight coming her way, sending him almost ten feet away from where she stood.
Red and white colored the battlefield and The Mad Hatter sprinted across everything; twisting necks, breaking ribs, cracking jaws and ending lives. Because that was all she could do.
That was all she could do for her dear sister.
The Queen of Hearts tilted her head to the side, and stared from her position on the very top of the walls of the gates. Her bloody arms were crossed in front of her chest, ruby-red eyes staring at her red knights fighting her sister's white knights; stared as her trustworthy subordinates handled five-ten-fifteen enemies at once. Oh! And her Jabberwocky! How fierce it was as it fought her sister's beast – Akamaru.
A sigh escaped maroon lips as sadness and anger and elation and madness travelled through her insides. She turned towards the quiet woman next to her, lips parted and ready to speak—
—And then an arrow pierced her chest.
The Queen of Hearts turned back to the front and stared at the white knight, holding on to his bow. Slowly, she looked down at her chest, at the arrow sticking out of it and blinked, slowly-slowly-slowly. Next to her, The Duchess let out a muffled gasp, but The Queen looked unperturbed as she raised a brow, lifting a hand to push her glasses back up her nose.
"I have no heart in there," she said, slowly, steadily. A feral grin marred her lips as she gripped the arrow and pulled it out. The bloody tip glinted in the lighting of the sun. "You cannot kill me. You cannot hurt me."
And then she leapt from where she stood, the earth shaking as she landed, the arrow stabbed right dead and center to the knights skull.
"Wear a helmet, dear, it'll save you," she said as her bloody body stood properly, over the dead white knight's form. She flipped some of her crimson hair over her bloody shoulder and allowed her maddening smile to grow and stretch across her face in an almost unbelievable way. "Come Duchess. My sister waits."
The Mad Hatter gripped a white knight by the shoulders, raising a gloved hand and slapping the helmet off of his head. Her black eyes zeroed in on his face and she grinned, wildly. "Do you know why a raven is like the writing desk?"
The frog-man – he was a frog-man! – trembled and shook his head, violently. And instead of answering The Mad Hatter's question, he began to stutter for forgiveness and for his life. But The Hatter was far, far too angry – how dare he! He didn't know why a raven was like the writing desk! AND NEITHER DID SHE!
But it was alright!
She growled angrily and snapped his neck and threw him aside. Without wasting time, she grabbed another white knight and repeated the process – she slapped the helmet off his head and stared, madly placidly, at the dragon-man's snout. And she laughed – threw her head back and barked a harsh, mad laugh before she let out a dramatic gasp and looked back down at him – any sign of humor gone. The dragon-man opened his snout as he began to form fire at his throat; The Hatter gripped it shut and glared.
"You don't know either, do you? YOU DON'T KNOW WHY A RAVEN IS LIKE THE WRITING DESK!"
There was a quake as The March Hare hopped to her side, crazed, electric-blue eyes shifting from The Mad Hatter, to the white knight. "He doesn't know? BLASPHEMY! He doesn't know!"
He laughed and clapped his hands together. His sun-kissed hair fell over his eyes, his shaggy-brown hare-ears drooping over as he stopped laughing and stared at the white knight with big, wide blue eyes. "Kill him, Hatter – kill him!"
The Hatter spared her companion a glance, her wide-wide-wide grin growing as she turned back to her victim and threw him in the air, sending a punch that sent the dragon-man flying, leaving nothing but the crunching sounds of his bones breaking. Together, The Mad Hatter and The March Hare clapped their hands and laughed and flailed, linking their arms together and dancing around.
The March Hare let her go and he watched, crazed eyes glittering, as The Hatter danced around him, "A very merry unbirthday! To who? To you!"
He clapped and laughed and clapped.
The Hatter froze and stared at him with a big smile, her eyes slowly turning back to golden-brown and her skin growing tanned once again. She skipped towards The Mach Hare, rounded around him and stared at the deep wound on his back – he still hadn't noticed a thing. She feathered her finger through it, until it was bloody and then she skipped and twirled around until she was in front of him.
"Tag," said The Mad Hatter, bending forwards and tapping the bloody finger on The March Hare's nose. "You're it."
It took him a moment, and he just stared and blinked and stared. "I'm it?" He tilted his hair, pulling at his ears. "I'M IT! HAHA! I'M IT! I'M IT!"
Cackling in glee, The Hatter grabbed onto her hat and began to run around, punching and kicking and killing any white knight as she went. She twirled around The White Rabbit, as he cleaned the chain of his pocket watch. "He's it! He's it! He's it! Catch me if you can, Naruto! Catch me if you can!"
The White Rabbit watched them passed with blank teal eyes before he shook his head and threw his pocket watch over his shoulder, allowing it to dangle as he sprinted after his two mad-mad-mad companions. They were running and screeching and killing and punching and kicking and throwing all around the front courtyard of The White Queen's castle, the four of them, making a chain as they chased each other around.
Singing and screaming and laughing and clapping.
Oh, how mad-mad-mad they could be.
a l w a y s r u n n i n g o u t o f t i m e
went the clock
before it stopped
Alice twirled the bloody Vorpal sword in her grip, her other hand on her armored hip. Green eyes glowed in contrast to the blood-stained pink hair that fell in front of them and the white walls of the castle. In a flash, she switched her sword from her left hand to her right and pointed it at the knight that was standing up, her eyes never breaking away from The White Queen.
"I see you've changed, Alice," The White Queen said placidly, lifting herself from her seat. "Bloody, hm? Having fun on your spree?"
"Not as fun as I could be having, Ino, Dear."
"I see." Pale blue eyes narrowed as The White Queen froze on her trek to near Alice. "So, first name basis, hm, Sakura?"
Alice's face was as blank as the walls that stood behind her. Slowly, a smile appeared on her rosy lips; and just as slowly, the smile grew… And grew… And grew until The White Queen was positive it reached from ear to ear. "Yes, Ino, first name basis. Sakura will be enough… Alice is… Not in your league."
The White Queen threw her head back and allowed a piercing laugh to escape passed her lips. "Not in my league? Are you quite sure, Sakura? You surely aren't full of yourself, are you? Sakura is pathetic, she cannot win against me." She let out a mocking gasp as she placed a small pale hand on her chest. "You haven't forgotten, have you? I killed Sakura."
Alice's grin grew as she took a step forwards. "You killed Alice." She tilted her head to the side, feigning confusion. "But Alice and Sakura are the same person… Or not? Who knows? Curiouser and curiouser. Why separate the two, hm? They are, after all, the same person. So let me rephrase that, dear Ino." She came to a halt, ignoring everyone else in the room. "I will be enough. Alice… And Sakura. In one."
The White Queen snapped her head towards her knight and shrieked, "Hand me your sword!"
The knight blinked and, baffled, lowered himself to the ground, sliding his sword towards his Lady. He didn't really catch the smile that manifested above him, as he stood.
Bending over, The White Queen picked up the sword and smiled coldly at Alice, pointing the tip towards her as she tilted her head to the side. Her white-blond hair fell over her eyes as she twirled the sword, testing it. And her frosty eyes never broke away from Alice's crazed green ones. Oh, how she abhorred her! How she… How she abhorred her!
She had no right to be here!
No right to come back!
Oh, The White Queen was livid as she poised her sword, ready to strike. One of her delicate arms came up, palm facing Alice. "Let's finish this, Dearest Sakura. Once and for all."
"With pleasure, Ino, Dear." Alice got in a battle stance, short pink bangs floating in front of her eyes.
They stood like that, for what seemed like another one hundred years before they both began to charge towards each other; they swung their sword-wielding arms back before they brought it back down, full force. The sound of the swords clanking against each other in a clash filled in the spacious white room; Alice and The White Queen locked furious eyes, teeth gritted as they tried to out-strength the other before they pulled back and scrambled feet away from each other.
"Why can't you just stay dead? WHY WHY WHY WHY?" The White queen ripped some of her gown off, shortening it until it was above her knees to give her more access to move with all the agility she could muster. "You were never meant to come into Wonderland! Alice doesn't exist here! She never did! And she never should have!" She sprinted toward her, ice-blue eyes showing nothing but wrath. "And she never will!"
Alice watched with maddening wide eyes as The White Queen approached her, rapidly, with the full intention of killing.
A low, wickedly mad hum began to slowly, slowly, slowly make itself audible in the room. The tank-tank-clash of the swords as the two women fought did not seem to swallow it up. Hum, hum, hum – there came a tail, lazily swinging from side to side, in the air. A smile stretching wide flashed until pearly white, razor-sharp teeth glinted.
The White Queen's knight did not hear it – far, far, far too absorbed in the battle.
"Some battle, hm?" A pair of eyes manifested – red, black, red, black, red, black, red – and the smile, below them, grew sickly so. A short, hysterically mad laughter soon followed before the smile and the eyes and the tail composed itself. The White Queen's Knight tensed as he looked up to stare at those mad, mad, mad eyes looking right back down at him – and the smile continued to stretch.
"What—what—what the bloody hell?"
With that, The Cheshire Cat was quick to fully manifest, his feet propped on the knight's armored shoulders, arms using his head full of black hair as a recliner. The Cheshire Cat tilted his head to the side, ever so slightly, and peered down, upside down, at the knight with an elegant eyebrow raised. "My, my. Do you kiss your mother with that mouth of yours, knight? How indecent – did you know I have no mother? Is she nice? Kind? Would she serve me warm milk? Allow me to curl around her feet in the fireplace?"
The knight blinked his coal eyes and he stumbled back, slightly. "Wh-what?"
The Cheshire Cat let a low, guttural chuckle. "You sure are a rather… Slow one, hm, Zaku? That is your name, isn't it?" He disappeared for a split second before he reappeared right in front of the knight, hands shoved in the pockets of his slack, cat-ears twitching and cat-tail swaying behind him. "So, come, come, tell me. You weren't devising a plan to strike Alice while she was in battle with your Queen, were you?"
Zaku stared at him, unresponsive.
"Where you," The Cheshire Cat asked once again, anger and malice laced in each of his words. His swirling eyes shifted colors – black, red, red, black, red. "Stop hiding your abilities, Zaku. There is a reason you are your Queen's Knight."
The knight allowed a slow smirk to appear on his lips. No later was he running towards The Cat.
"Do you know," The Cheshire Cat asked, disappearing and manifesting feet away from where he had stood, "who is the maddest of them all?"
Zaku remained silent as he sprinted towards him again.
"No?" The Cat disappeared once again and reformed on top of the glorious chandelier. Blazed red eyes peered down at him through messy black bangs as he hung on to the chandelier with his tail. There was that broad, never-ending smile on his face as he said, "I'll give you a hint – who did Curiosity kill?"
"You're such a pretty, pretty girl, Alice," The White Queen hissed through gritted teeth. They were, once again, caught in a lock between swords, with The White Queen looming over Alice.
Alice's green eyes were narrowed as they locked with The White Queen's pale ones; her jaw was clenched and her arms held on to the hilt of the Vorpal sword, shaking as she poured all her strength to her tight fists to keep from losing. The White Queen's eyes were filled with hate – the kind that chilled one to the bone. A shiver passed Alice's spine, but she ignored it.
She would not lose.
"Very pretty," The Queen seethed as she jumped back a couple of steps. She tilted her head to the side, white-blond hair falling over menacing blue eyes. "Why can't I be pretty like you? I wonder."
Alice remained silent as she raked bloody fingers through her bloody pink hair. Her face was blank – rosy lips in a straight line, green eyes narrowed. And then, ever so slowly, a very mad, mad, mad grin appeared on her lips and her eyes widened with maddening excitement and she was laughing again. She threw her head back and barked out her wind-chime laugh.
The White Queen stared at her, expression blank, fury in her eyes. She couldn't possibly fathom what He saw in her. She didn't see anything special. Pale pink hair (bloody, bloody, bloody), alabaster skin (bloody, bloody, bloody), with that bloody crimson armor and that bloody sword – and she just couldn't see it! She couldn't! She didn't see anything special this girl had, that she didn't! Why did He prefer her? What did she have, that she didn't? Why did he love her so?
"You have something that belongs to me," she crooned as they both began to circle around each other, swords ready to attack. "Something that is mine and you took without permission – see, I liked you, Sakura. I did – I wanted to make you my closest friend and then you went and took what was mine. And you did it all while pretending you knew nothing – and you did! You did know!"
Alice danced towards The White Queen all in her bloody, crimson armor and her bloody sword. She giggled and gripped the Vorpal sword with all her might. "Knew?" Alice let out another fit of laughter and shook her head, mad-mad-mad smile on her lips. "I knew nothing."
"Why do you have to keep coming back – this is my land! This is my world! I RULE HERE. Why do you continue to come and want to take away what is rightfully mine?"
"SILENCE," Alice roared, clear, maddening anger in her green eyes. She pointed her sword towards the pale woman. "These lands are not yours! You are not the ruler of Wonderland! You merely stole those rights – that crown – from The Queen of Hearts! Without her you'd be nothing! Absolutely nothing! Don't you dare speak lies, Ino." Alice shook with anger. Her madness seeping out of her in violent waves. "Enough with games. I said it once, and I'll say it once again – I am your judge. I am your juror. I am cunning old fury and my wrath shall reign upon you until nothing is left."
"SHUT UP. SHUT UP. SHUT UP. I'll do it all over again," The White Queen hissed, "I'll kill you. I'll sacrifice my men. I'll kill my sister's men. I'll do everything. I'll do everything again, again, and again until The Cheshire Cat is mine."
Alice shook her head and laughed, harshly. "Then you will do this again, and again, and again and nothing will ever change. I'll always come back, Ino – I'll always win. I am Sakura – I am Alice. Alice always wins."
At once, the two women ran towards each other, swinging their swords with all their might.
Tenten staggered out of the destroyed, burnt town.
She was numb – hazel eyes glazed over as they stared at the horizon, without really seeing anything at all. Soot covered her, her clothes were torn and there were hissing, angry scratches littering her body.
No one survived.
She didn't see anyone there – the baker, the shoe maker, the little children… They were gone. Gone, gone, gone and they were not going to come back, were they? Tenten leaned her back against one of the many trees, hugged herself as she slowly sunk down to the ground. No tears came out – she was so numb, so, so, so, so numb.
Her hair was a mess – tangled and messy as it framed her face, falling around her like a brown curtain as she wore her pretty, pretty, pretty new top-hat.
"I apologize," came a slow, cunning voice. "Your town is in ruins. I apologize."
Tenten was unresponsive. No one was there – no one but her… She wasn't as afraid as she should be; she felt nothing.
"I should have known she would come after me – I shouldn't have hidden in that town." A tail appeared out of thin air, swaying form side to side. A smile soon followed it, as well as a pair of black eyes; then came two legs and a torso and two arms and a head until a young man was standing before her. He had cat-ears that twitched and a cat-tail that danced behind him. His face was impassive and blank, black eyes holding a fraction of sympathy. "I apologize."
Tenten was quiet for a long, long time. She was not blinking, her breathing was shallow and she was… She was so numb – so, so numb. But then the cat-man's apology sunk and it made her lips twitch upwards, made her shoulders flinch as a giggle passed her lips. And that giggle turned into small laughter…
…And that small laughter turned into a full out bark of mad, mad, mad laughing.
And she laughed. Sitting there, on the ground, dirty and messy and with her top-hat resting on her head. She laughed as loud as she could, holding on to her hat and clenching her eyes shut as laughing-tears prickled her lashes and her tanned face turned pink. And the cat-man stood in front of her, watching her with those blank black eyes.
"Why, you're a mad hatter, aren't you," he murmured with amusement. "A mad, mad hatter. Come with me. There's nothing left for you here."
Tenten let out a dramatic gasp as her hysterical laughter came to a complete halt. She looked at the cat-man with glassy hazel eyes and allowed a broad, mad smile to split her face in half. "I am going to hold a tea-party."
"A tea party?"
"Yes," she said as she stood up and followed him. "Today is my unbirthday."
"YOU'RE IT, MR. KNIGHT!" The Mad Hatter threw the man in the air and punched him, square on his armored abdomen. She blinked her hazel eyes and stared as the white knight flew feet away from where she was. "He didn't want to play with me…"
The March Hare was sprinting around her, in a circle, pulling at his shaggy hare-ears and staring at the sky with wide, crazed, blue eyes. As he ran, he panted and panted and panted and panted and he pulled harder onto his ears and his hare-tail twitched from side to side and he just kept running! "I'm going to die! I'm going to die! Oh, why did no one tell me I was bleeding! And I'm it! I can't be it if I'm dying! Oh!"
"Quick!" The Mad Hatter, breaking out of her sadness for the white knight's lack of interest to play with her, twirled around towards The Hare. "Tag The White Rabbit! Tag him!"
White knights – dead and injured, missing limbs, decapitated – littered the bloody grounds of The White Queen's castle along with misfortunate red knights. Only few stood – and The Queen of Hearts' band of Merry Men stood above them, elegantly. Casualties varied from The March Hare's slash, to The Knight losing the upper half of his crimson armor, red scratches taking its place.
The Queen of Hearts – as she made her way to the entrance – was glad to know that her subordinates were alright.
"WHITE RABBIT. OH MR. RABBIT!" The March Hare sprinted towards The White Rabbit, flinging himself at him once he was within reach. "TAG. YOU'RE IT. HAHA. YOU'RE IT! HA! YOU'RE IT!"
The White Rabbit glowered as he threw The March Hare off him, ironically cleaning his bloody white clothing from any dirt. His teal eyes moved towards the entrance of the white castle just as his Queen and The Duchess passed right through them. He lifted the chain of his precious pocket watch and flung it towards one of the few remaining white knights. "Tag," he murmured, madly. "You're it."
And the white knight split in half.
The Rabbit sucked at his teeth and glared.
"What is wrong with these knights," The Hatter yelled, hotly. "They don't wish to play with us!"
"I'll be it," said The Knight, a mad grin on his lips. He stared at his comrades through bloody brown bangs and barked out a laugh. "Run as fast as you can."
Zaku let out a piercing yell of agony.
He was pressed to the cold, white ground, the right side of his face flattened against it as he screamed in pain. The Cheshire's foot was digging onto his back – his spine – as his hands held onto Zaku's wrists, pulling them back with all his maddening might. There was a wide grin fixed on his lips, red eyes dancing with pure excitement as he felt the bone slowly begin to leave its socket.
He pulled harder.
And the screaming penetrated the room – drowned the slicing noise of sword against sword.
"See there," The Cheshire Cat hissed through his teeth, through his smile. "This—" he pulled at his arms harder, chuckling at the satisfying cracks " –is why I am the maddest of them all. Your ill intentions towards something precious of mine… It made me mad."
He leapt towards Zaku, as the man groveled in the pain of his two broken arms. The Cheshire cat sat on his shoulders – laughing at the screeches – and grabbed onto the man's head, his fingers intertwining with messy black hair. He chuckled, lowly, and lifted the head up enough for the man below him to look up into his eyes.
"I am going to kill you," he spat. His mischief was lost and unadulterated anger took its place for a split second before he was chuckling, once again, and humming a song.
"You wanna join?" Tenten's grin was still on her lips as she tilted her head and stared at the jumpy guy in front of her. "I'm holding a tea-party!"
"TEA?" The guy let out a crazy laugh and clapped his hands, grabbing the white mailbox he had been standing next to (Gaara, it said, and a little rabbit doodle at the side) and flung it as hard as he could. When he heard the wood crack into millions of splinters, he cackled another crazy laugh and clapped his hands. He was pulling at his shaggy brown hare-ears, then. "Tea?"
Tenten nodded, smile still intact and completely unfazed by the blond-boy's reactions. "Yup! Today is my unbirthday!"
Next to her, Sasuke rolled his eyes and twitched his cat-ears.
"Oh! Oh! I love unbirthdays! A very merry unbirthday!" He clapped his hands and hopped in place.
"To who," Tenten asked, still smiling.
Tenten laughed and clapped her hands alongside the blond-boy. And then she went completely blank-faced and stared at him, hazel eyes blank before she was all happy and grinning and bubbly again. "What's your name?"
"Me? I'm Naruto!"
"I'm Tenten and this is Sasuke!"
Naruto stared at the two before he pulled at his ears and ran towards the house they were standing in front of and barged through the doors. The house was white, with a hay-stacked roof. And it was just so white and plain and Tenten could only stare at it with wide amber eyes. Naruto was thrown out the window a second later, laughing and clapping as he soared in the air. Seconds after that, a boy emerged from the knocked down door, dressed in white with rabbit ears that stood straight up in the air, and glaring teal eyes. Behind him stood another boy, with white eyes and brown hair and a rat-tail twitching behind him.
"Hi!" Tenten waved at them, frantically. "I'm holding a tea-party! Would you join?"
"For?" asked the red-haired-white-rabbit-eared boy.
"It's my unbirthday!"
The rabbit-boy took out a pocket watch from the pocket of his white petticoat and stared for some time. "Very well then." He stared at them, and tilted his head. "Where?"
Tenten shrugged. "I don't know! But we'll need a table and seats and tea and bread and butter!"
The rabbit-boy stared at her, stared at the cat-boy and stared at Naruto for a second before he sighed, twirling in his feet and twitching his very white rabbit-tail. "So be it. But we must hurry. We'll be late."
"I am going to kill you. Do you know how?"
"I'm not going to snap your neck. Too quick."
Red eyes snapped towards the enormous door.
"I am going to chop you into pieces. I am going to rip your tendons. I am going to gauge your eyes. I am going to shred your intestines. I am going to pull your tongue out.
"And you will feel it all. And die in pain.
Feel the pain I felt for one hundred years."
The door was opened.
The Queen of Hearts wasn't really sure what she was expecting to find once she pushed open the huge door with both her bloody hands.
She hadn't thought she would find much, though – she had been sidetracked quite a few times! Enough to drive her mad! So mad, she actually unleashed her wrath on her sister's mediocre subordinates and beheaded each and every one that stood in her path. Really! She hadn't thought her sister would have so many white knights! A group of trio managed to pierce her chest with a sword, even! But she had just smiled at them, cruelly and madly, grabbing them by their throats and squeezing until the bone shattered and their body fell to the ground and their heads rolled off her tightened fists.
But as she walked through the door, The Duchess at her side, her crimson eyes fell upon The Cheshire Cat sitting atop her sister's knight, murmuring cruel things, she bet. And Alice, gloriously fighting her sister – rather… Her eyes fell upon Alice slapping the sword off her sister's grip and snatching it in the air before gluing her body against The White Queen, one sword threatening her from behind and the other threatening from the front.
The Queen of Hearts tilted her bloody head to the side and stared.
"What do we do, m'Lady?" The Duchess asked.
The Queen of Hearts pursed her maroon lips and pushed her bloody glasses back up her nose. "We wait. And we watch, Duchess. Just wait and watch – there's always time for that. Always."
Her eyes snapped to The Cheshire Cat – he was staring at her, that cunning smile on his lips. The Queen raised an eyebrow at him.
"M'lady, may I borrow that sword that so gracefully penetrates your chest?"
She looked down at the hilt and took a firm hold of it before pulling it out. She stared at the sword, long and hard before she slowly lifted her head, a mad, mad, mad smile on her lips and her eyes dancing with excitement and adrenaline. "Oh, my poor, poor, Cat, of course you may," she cooed and threw the sword with precision.
It pierced the ground next to The Cheshire Cat.
With madness swirling in her eyes she watched the scene unfold with a mad smile on her lips.
The Dormouse squatted down and pierced his sword to the bloody ground. His rat-tail twitched from one side to the other, fingers digging into the grassy-dirt ground as his pale eyes looked at the bloody field. There was a wide grin on his lips as he stared at the endless amount of white knights; at the decent amount of red knights… And he snickered lowly, wrapping his tail around his hips.
His left arm was bleeding, a lot – maybe he broke the bone.
His madness didn't really allow him to care; rather, he un-dug the fingers of his right hand and lifted his useless arm up so his eyes can observe. He tried to wiggle his fingers, but nothing happened.
The Dormouse shrugged and dropped his arm back to the ground.
"How booooring," The Mad Hatter drawled as she came to a stop in front of him. Her bloody, gloved hands were at her hips hazel eyes looking at the castle behind him. "D'you suppose they have butter in here? Bread with butter?"
"Your arm's broken," murmured The Knight as he came to a stop next to them.
The March Hare dropped himself, on his stomach, next to The Dormouse and sighed. "I'm bleeding!"
The White Rabbit snorted and crossed his bloody arm in front of his bloody chest.
They all looked at the castle.
"Wasting time, waiting," said The Hatter, "How fun. We can wait forever."
The others remained silent.
"There's always time."
Tenten concentrated her pure, mad anger on her fists and punched a tree. She didn't really pay attention as the tree broke in half – didn't notice the splinters scratch her face.
"WHY IS THERE BREAD, BUT NO BUTTER? HOW CAN THAT BE? BREAD BUT NO BUTTER, IT'S—"
"Tenten," said Neji, calmly. His eyes were closed and there was warm tea-in-a-cup in front of him. The cup was sliced in half –the left half was missing, and oddly… madly… the tea was still in place.
Tenten instantly relaxed, grin on her face as she skipped right back to her precious recliner and plopped right down. She brought her feet up, resting them right on the tip of the table; her hands brought the brim of her hat down enough to shadow her eyes. She leaned back and sighed, her smile still in place – growing wider by the second. "Where is that cunning cat?"
"He went out!" Naruto grabbed his teacup and threw it towards the trees with all his might. He cackled in glee, clapping his hands and twitching in pure excitement – pure madness.
There were footsteps. Two – Neji could hear. By the way Tenten twitched and lifted her head ever so, she heard them too; and by the way Naruto's crazed eyes widened, he heard them as well. The three froze in place – listening. No one came to the mad hatter's tea party without an invitation! No one!
"Dobe, you idiot – watch where you throw those things." Sasuke appeared, hands stuffed in the pockets of his black slacks, messy black bangs falling in front of his dark eyes. His tail was swaying behind him, cat-ears flapping in annoyance. Next to him, walked a girl, dressed in red – with red hair, red eyes and red lips and a red smile. And next to her walked a knight in crimson-red armor, snow-white hair and violet eyes.
"So Gaara's not with you, huh?" Tenten looked up, tapping the brim of her hat with one finger, eyes looking at the new arrival with a very big smile. "Where is that rabbit?"
("I'm late, I'm late, I'm late. I'm late for an important date."
"W-wait, Mr. Rabbit! Mr. Rabbit!"
"I'm late, I'm late, I'm late. I'm late for an important date. No time to say hello – good-bye! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!")
"No," Sasuke said, his aristocratic nose crinkling ever so. "He's not."
Naruto stood up and bounced over to the lady in red. "Who's your friend, Teme? She's pretty! Hi, I'm Naruto, nice to meet you!"
He grabbed the girl's delicate hand and shook it, not at all grasping the fact that the knight, next to her, tensed and twitched his hand to his sword. The girl smirked and gave him a wink, shaking his hand right back and placing her other one on the knight's tensed, armored shoulder. "Very nice to meet you, Naruto. My name is Karin. And this here is Suigetsu."
"She's The Queen of Hearts," Sasuke said, in a drawl.
Tenten's grin grew more in size as she stood up, got on top of the table and walked towards The Queen of Hearts, breaking everything in her way. She grasped The Queen's hand and shook it, her mad, mad, mad laugh escaping passed her lips. "It's very nice to meet you, m'Lady. Very nice indeed!"
"The pleasure is all mine, Mad Hatter," Karin said, her lips still in a smirk. Eyes, behind red specs, twinkling.
"I am holding a tea party," Tenten said. "Would you like to join?"
Karin's eyes brightened and grinned, "Well, of course! What is the occasion?"
Tenten tilted her head and stared at her, hazel eyes swirling with madness. "Today is my unbirthday."
"What a coincidence," Karin said, giggling. "Today is my unbirthday too!"
("Oh! Where did that rabbit get to, now?"
"I'm late, I'm late, I'm late! I'm late for an important date!"
"Oh! There he is! Wait! Mr. Rabbit! Mr. Rabbit!"
"No time to say hello – good-bye! I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!")
"Backing up!" Naruto called out in a loud voice, clapping his hands. "Backing up!"
"Backing up," Tenten echoed, standing up and moving down to the seat Neji had once occupied.
Karin laughed and clapped her small hands, sparing Suigetsu a glance and allowing her smile to grow wider as he looked puzzled. "Well," she said, accepting the teacup filled with tea that Neji offered her. At her other side, Naruto was pouring tea to three teacups, at the same time, with a kettle with three spouts. "I need your help."
Tenten perked up. "Help? How so?"
Floating in the air, Sasuke crossed a leg over the other, one hand holding a small little plate and the other one lifting the teacup to his lips – he didn't like tea, that much, of course. His cat-ears twitched as he caught some noise, but he spared it no mind.
"My sister…" Karin furrowed her brow, a small frown on her lips. "Has stolen my crown! She has stolen my responsibility of ruling Wonderland. And my sister is not a very responsible woman – she is childish and frosty cold. The people of Wonderland cannot go on being ruled by someone so chilling! I need your help in getting it back! It can't be done right away… We have to be as cunning as a cat."
Sasuke grinned a crescent shaped smile.
"I will help you, m'Lady," Tenten said, all traces of her madness hidden behind a veil of impassiveness. "As long as I can avenge what was taken from me."
"Consider it done," Karin said, smiling once again. Her eyes flickered to the other two, her smile widening at their nods. "Oh, how lovely, children of my heart!" She clapped her small hands and stopped, eyes staring. "I will give you names, now. And you will go by this until this war is over, is that alright?" It was quiet and Karin turned towards Naruto. "You, are now The March Hare, Naruto. And you, Neji, are The Dormouse. Tenten, leader of these boys, you are The Mad Hatter."
Her eyes turned towards Sasuke; he was unperturbed to what was going on, eyes distant, his hand still holding the little plate and the teacup, ears still twitching and tail still swaying.
"You, Sasuke, are The Cheshire Cat."
"What about Gaara, m'Lady," Tenten asked, tilting her head. "He will be in on this too, once he gets here."
Karin grinned. "He shall go by The White Rabbit. And the five are you… Are now my most trustworthy subordinates – my Merry Band of Men. You have given me your hearts, and I have given you mine."
It went without saying as Tenten, Naruto and Neji stood from their seats, turned towards Karin and bowed; it went without saying that Sasuke disappeared and manifested next to Tenten, bowing down to his Queen.
There were footsteps before Gaara appeared in sight. He stared at the scene – murmuring to himself about being late. And Gaara was perceptive – Gaara… had already known what was going to happen. He and Sasuke may not have gotten along all that well, but the two spoke about things, a lot. And… Gaara knew. He knew.
"M'Lady," he murmured, bowing down to Karin. "I'm late."
Before Karin could respond – another pair of footsteps were heard. Everyone froze, lifting their heads to stare at the direction the footsteps were coming from. Suigetsu stood from his seat, sword at hand and—
—A girl appeared – pink hair, green eyes, pale skin. She looked lost. She looked startled at the sight of them. "Mr. Rabbit, there you are!"
Karin stared, pushing Suigetsu's sword down. And she murmured, "Alice…"
The Cheshire Cat threw the limb behind him, ignoring how blood splattered his face, how it stained his hands and his clothes.
There was a grand, mad smile on his lips as he forced Zaku's mouth open, pulling his tongue out. Zaku, sweating, crying, and at the brink of death began to scream in anticipation – of utter agony at having nothing but his head and neck connected to his torso. The Cheshire Cat laughed as he brought the bloody sword down; Zaku's head fell to the bloody ground.
"What's the matter," The Cat said, holding the pink organ in his hand. He stared at it for a while before turning to the corpse. "Cat got your tongue?"
The Queen of Hearts had tears prickling her eyes; her nose was flared, her lips shook.
She looked away.
"Off with her head," she whispered.
Alice was breathing hard. She was bleeding – she was sweating. She was tired.
Her green eyes were locked with The White Queen's blue ones, hands still holding to the swords surrounding The Queen's neck. Alice lifted her chin, chest rising and falling under her armor at a rapid pace. This was it – this was the part where she avenged everyone – avenged herself, avenged The Mad Hatter's home, avenged… Avenged The Cheshire Cat's broken heart.
This was it.
It was time.
Bloody strands of pink hair glued themselves to her bloody forehead, falling in front of her eyes. Alice allowed all of her madness to seep out of her every pore. She shook in pure euphoria, pure madness, pure rage… Pure sadness. Her green eyes shone with hurt and heartbreak as she continued to stare down at The White Queen.
"You…" she said, softly, "I trusted you. You were my very best friend. I told you everything – everything. You… were Ino… You were… You were Ino!" She sobbed, screaming at The Queen. "You were Ino! I… You were supposed to be there for me! Just… Just like I was there for you! You… You threw that away… You threw that away for your selfish reasons… You killed me once… You fooled me once… Shame on me… You fooled me twice…"
She shook her head, watching The White Queen's chest rise and fall just as fast as hers was. Watched as she swallowed thickly over and over again. Watched her fear for her life.
"I'm sorry," Alice said, softly, fury slowly taking over the softness in her eyes. "I'm sorry," her voice grew hard, strengthened by madness and fury and venom. "But I can't forgive you!"
The White Queen's eyes widened as Alice pulled her arm back, far enough – as far as her arm could go. And she opened her mouth to say something – anything, anything, anything! …But nothing came out. It was too late.
Too, too, late.
She ran out of time.
Alice pierced the first sore through The White Queen's chest. And sliced her head off with the other.
Blood splattered her face – her hands – her armor.
But Alice didn't say anything.
She dropped the second sword… And held on to the Vorpal sword like a lifeline. Watching as the body thudded to the ground, hiding the head. She looked away, walked away and steeled herself.
The Queen of Hearts, not allowing her tears to fall, walked towards her sister's body and picked up the crown. It was bloody – just like everyone else. Just like her. She took a deep breath and placed it on her head.
They walked out of the bloody white castle, quiet and mad.
Everything was done – everything was over. The never-ending war ended and Wonderland was in Karin's care, once again. And she walked out of the castle, small, bloody shoulders straight, bloody chin held high and her bloody crown on her head. She grinned at those waiting for them – and wishing her Heart was there with her.
"HOORAY!" Everyone cheered – Tenten tossed her top-hat in the air, a very dizzy, blood-lacking Naruto jumped in the air. Neji attempted to clap his hands, but that prove troublesome with his broken left arm, so he settled for grinning a mad smile. And Gaara clapped his hands and Hinata smiled a smile full of warmth while The Jabberwocky screeched in joy.
They all stood there, in the bloody field, filled with bloody bodies and blood. They stood there, tall and proud and joyous and mad.
Sasuke stared at Sakura from the corner of his eyes. She was smiling, and grinning, and crying and full of madness. And he loved her – and he wished for a happily ever after, this time. With her.
His bloody hand found hers.
Notes: There you go; the grand finale - let me tell you, the ending was the only thing I planned. The rest just wrote itself. I hope... You liked it. Just as much as I did. And... Thanks, again. For reading and reviewing. It means a lot. :)