Ten Continuing Trips Through Wonderland (Trips 111-120)
Author: AkaiNagi
Rating: NC-17 for serious pron
Pairing: Alice/Tarrant
Summary: Prompts 1-10 Table 12 from ElJay's 10Prompts Community

Prompt: Letter

Tarrant had been contemplating things that begin with the letter "R"

Reminder … Revenge … Regret

There had been a subtle change in his wife, ever since that fateful meeting with that odious doctor. The meeting where the couple learned that their family of three would always remain so. Her carefree air had been dampened, her smiles, more often than not, had a note of melancholy to them. She was lost in her own private mourning, and Tarrant found himself quite at a loss to do anything for her. He could only hope that Alice's heart, as well as her body, would heal with time.

For his part, regret lay heavy on his own heart. Five years ago he had that bastard Stayne under his sword. Reason had stayed his hand.

But now, in the warped and angry recesses of his mind, reason warped into cowardice. Why had he not been man enough to finish the evil villain off when he had the chance? Surely he should have foreseen that letting him live could come to no good. And his wife, his beloved Alice, had paid the price for his single act of cowardice on that chessboard five years ago.

His madness wanted to rage at the thought of it. Wanted to scream and rant and visit destruction. He wanted to punish himself as he deserved to be punished for the failure to protect his family, his only treasure.

But Alice came first. And in caring for her he quashed his mad side with a viciousness that startled even him. So he cared for his wife, putting her first in her time of pain and sorrow. But every time she gave him that smile that was not quite a smile, his rage sprang up anew, and he knew it was just a matter of time before he could no longer contain it.

Prompt: Sharp

In time, the sharp pain that hit Alice whenever she moved dulled to an ache. Every day she felt a little stronger. And every day the desire to get out of that damn bed and move around grew stronger and stronger still.

One day, unable to stand it anymore, she asked her husband to help her so she might walk to the window and look outside.

Tarrant looked terrified at the very thought.

"Well you don't expect me to spend the rest of my life in this bed, do you?" Alice asked frustratedly. "Besides, you'll be there to help me, so it's not like I'll fall."

With prodding and pleading and persuasion Alice managed to get her husband to agree. Slowly, she sat up, slowly she inched her legs over until they were hanging off the side of the bed.

With considerable help from her husband, she stood up on her own feet for the first time in over a month. Weak from disuse, her legs trembled from the exertion. Clearly her plans to walk all the way to the window were altogether too ambitious. But perhaps she could manage a few steps.

"Love, I think you should sit back down," her husband protested. He supported her with an arm around her waist. "You're shaking like a leaf."

Alice shook her head. "Just a few steps. I need to start somewhere."

She managed one trembling step before her legs gave out on her. Tarrant tried to hold her up, but the silk of her nightdress slipped in his grasp. He watched in horror as she fell to the floor, landing hard and with a yelp of pain.

"Damn and blast," Alice cursed out her frustration.

Tarrant picked her up gently and deposited her back in bed, hovering over her and checking her for injuries.

"I'm fine, I'm fine." Alice said crossly, frustrated at her own weakness.

Tarrant announce he was going to get the physician so she might be examined properly. His voice was strained and his eyes had a tinge of the Outlandish to them. Alice didn't want to let him out of her sight.

"But I'm fine!" she protested. But it was too late. Tarrant was already out the door, no doubt rushing like a madman in search of the doctor.

Alice cursed her own weakness. Her anger grew and grew until tears of frustration were trailing down her face. She cursed her weakness, she cursed her fate, she cursed Stayne, who had put her in this state.

She cursed those who had brought this suffering down onto her and her family. For Tarrant suffered as much as she did. She had seen the light of madness in his eyes just now. Something she hadn't seen in a long time.

She wondered who was more broken right now, her or her husband?

Prompt: Language

With Alice safe in the hands of the physician, Tarrant stepped away.

He could control himself no longer.

The voices in his head raged in the old language. The curses sounding all the more violent in Outlandish.

He shut himself in his workshop and began to visit destruction on anything and everything he could get his hands on, all the while cursing himself for his failures, for his weaknesses. He cursed himself for not killing Stayne five years ago. He cursed himself for not thinking, even for a moment, that the knave might be a danger to Alice. After all, Alice's victory had led to the dethroning of Stayne's queen and his banishment to the outlands. How could he have been so shortsighted as to not see the danger?

Years ago, Alice had sworn to him that when he fell mad, she would always be there to catch him. But how could he deserve her devotion, when he himself let her fall, literally and figuratively.

He had failed to protect his wife. How could he claim to be husband to her when he had let her down so completely?

Prompt: Darling

The stodgy Doctor blanched at her demand. "I beg your pardon?"

Alice snapped, having no time to lose. "I said, carry me to my husband's workshop, or find someone who can."

"I'm sure that's not necess-"

Alice glared daggers at the man. "Do it. Or shall I crawl there on my hands and knees?"

The doctor sighed. "That will not be necessary." Really, he had never had such a stubborn patient. "I'll find a guardsman to take you there."

The doctor disappeared for a moment and returned with one of the palace guards, who dutifully scooped Alice up and, following her directions, carried her to her husband's workshop.

Finding the door unlocked, Alice and her escort swung the door open to view the devastation.

The room was in shambles. Shredded cloth lay all about, the work table was overturned, the chairs were broken. And in the middle of all the wreckage, was Alice's husband, kneeling on the cold stone floor, sewing scissors in his hands, muttering to himself in Outlandish.

Alice asked the guardsman to put her down next to her husband. Then she thanked him for his pains and asked him to give them some time alone. The guardsman assured her he would be just outside the door should he be needed. Alice could tell that the man was more than a little shocked and concerned. But she couldn't worry about him right now.

"Tarrant?" she called hesitantly. Suddenly all her bravado seemed to melt away at the sight of her husband's pain. "Tarrant, talk to me. What is this all about?"

Tarrant stared down at his hands, red with fresh cuts from his own sewing scissors. He said in a voice so low it was barely audible, "I let you fall."

Setting aside the scissors, Alice gingerly took his damaged hands and held them in her lap. Little spots of red blossomed on her white nightdress, but she didn't care. "So I fell. It was an accident. All that's hurt is my bum and my pride."

Suddenly he gripped her hands with a fierceness that took her aback and met her eyes with his own burning green orbs. "Not just that. I failed you. I'm your husband. I should have been there to protect you."

Alice smiled tenderly and cupped his face with her hands, meeting his stare fearlessly. "That's a load of rubbish and you know it. Sexist rubbish to boot. What would you do?" she asked. "Wrap me in cotton wool and hide me away somewhere?" She grinned slyly at him. "I've slain jabberwockies remember?"

She took a deep breath. "You can't blame yourself, love. I should know. I blamed myself for letting Stayne get to me so easily. For causing you and Lara such pain. For not being able to give you any more children as a result." Tarrant tried to interrupt in protests by Alice silenced him with a finger over his lips. "I blamed myself for not seeing the danger I was in. But, you know, I finally learned something. It's not my fault any more than it's your fault. Stayne was the one at fault and he's dead. And I'm alive, thanks to you. The only way he can hurt us now is of we let what he did rule our lives. And I don't plan on doing that. I plan on getting well. I plan on walking, and running, and riding Lady Ascot again. I plan on playing in the gardens with Lara again. I plan on working for the queen again. I plan on making love to you again. I plan on falling in love with you again every day we're together."

Tarrant listened to his wife with an expression of adoration and awe on his face. This was her gift: the ability to calm his soul with nothing but her words and the touch of her hands. He leaned in and kissed her softly, a kiss of love and gratitude.

Alice whispered into his lips. "Please, love, don't let anyone take that away from us."

Prompt: Every time

Even though Alice was awake, the Tweedles still brought fresh flowers to her bedside every week.

She thanked them profusely each time. Alice was touched by the pair's thoughtfulness, and amazed that the contrary twins worked together long enough to get the job of picking the flowers accomplished.

Alice asked them once how they managed to get the garden flowers to agree to be part of a bouquet. Alice had tried numerous times, and had been rebuffed every time.

'Well," said Tweedledee, "we 'splained we wanted flowers on account of to help make you well again."

Tweedledum elbowed his brother. "I did the 'splainin'. He just stood there like a lump."

"Did not!"

"Right so, you did!"

"Boys, boys," Alice interrupted. "I still don't know how you managed to get them to agree."

Tweedledum took over the explanation. "Well, tha's all, really. They said that if it were for you, they would gladly let us pick 'em."

Alice grew a little misty at the thought. "Really? They said that?"

"Yup," Tweedledee said. Then he looked thoughtful. "All 'cept one. Said no way no how and something about knickers."

"Yeah, wha' was tha' about?" Tweedledum asked.

Tarrant, who had watched the whole exchange in silence until now, cleared his throat and hastily herded the Tweedles out the door with thanks and shut the door behind them.

The tweedles could hear peals of laughter ringing out from the other side of the door.

The pair pouted. "Still dunno wha' the knickers was all about," Tweedledum said grumpily.

Prompt: Pieces

Bit by bit, day by day, hour by hour, the pieces of Alice's life began coming back together.

It started with that walk to the window she had been yearning for. Then it continued with a walk to one of the balconies so she could stand outside in the fresh breeze once again. The day she was able to walk, with assistance from her husband, through the garden again, was a happy one. The day she was able to finally go out to the royal stables and see Lady Ascot for the first time in almost two months, that was a glorious day indeed. The great creature seemed to sense that her mistress was not her well self, and instead of her usual vigorous playing and romping, Lady settled for warmly nuzzling Alice's hand. Alice had to wipe away a tear of happiness at the joyful reunion.

As her travels expanded, so did her world. Her life which had shrunk to the size of a bed, was gradually being reclaimed.

Prompt: Fragrant

Tarrant had tried to dissuade her. Had practically begged her not to go.

She embraced her husband, and kissed him soundly, and told him not to worry. Stayne was dead and buried, and could not harm them anymore. It was important to her that she not let what he did curtail the joys she found in life. After much persuasion, and promises and a few more kisses, he relented, but told her in all honesty that he should be absolutely beside himself with worry till her return. She had been hardly out of his sight in the past two months.

So Alice kissed him one last time and promised that she would not be long. She also told him, with a gleam in her eye, that she would be back with presents for both him and Lara.

So for the first time since her near brush with death, she mounted the back of the ecstatic Lady Ascot and took off at a leisurely gallop to the place that Alice half dreaded seeing again, but knew that she must face, or it would forever haunt her memory.

It was with the spectre of fear in her heart that she faced the idyllic looking field that had been the scene of Stayne's attack. She half expected the grass to still be stained with her blood, but of course it was not. Time and rains had washed it clean away. She took a deep breath and willed the churning anxiety in the pit of her stomach to quiet itself.

It was an innocent field of flowers. Nothing more, nothing less.

Remembering her promise to her husband, she quickly went about the work that had been interrupted two months ago by the point of a sword. She gathered and weaved the flowers like an expert. One for herself, one for her daughter, and one more besides. She would have loved to make one for Lady as well, but one that large would take longer than she wanted to make her husband wait. There would be other trips. Besides, she had imposed on the flowers enough for one morning.

Once more she straddled Lady, and with her armload of flowers and took off for the Palace. She allowed herself to feel the exhilaration of the ride, after her long incapacitation. She was almost sad when it ended. She had to remind herself that she had tomorrow and the day after and the day after; an infinite number of days to ride her fill and enjoy the feeling of freedom it brought her. But today she had a worried husband waiting for her.

And she found, after leading Lady back to her home next to the royal stables, that he indeed was waiting for her in the palace gardens, with Lara in his arms and relief in his eyes. Lara squealed with joy when she saw her mother, and then again when Alice presented her with the crown of flowers, placing it on the child's golden head. Her husband watched with surprise and amusement when she asked him to bend down as she slipped a larger crown of flowers over his hat. It fit him perfectly, the ring of multicolored flowers resting around the brim of his hat. Alice laughed as she took in the sight of her matching husband and daughter. Her joy threatened to overflow and she embraced them both.

Much to her amusement, and Lara's delight, Tarrant wore his crown proudly for the rest of the day.

Prompt: Faultless

Alice's first day back as the Queen's Advisor did not quite go as Alice had planned.

The Queen welcomed her back, to be sure, but she had done so not in her usual warm and familiar way, but rather formally and distantly. Alice had little to say throughout the meeting, as she had been away for so long, but when she did speak up she was met with the same cool, formal tone. Alice was so distraught by the end of the meeting, that when Queen Mirana asked to speak to her in private she fairly jumped she was so tense.

When it was just the two of them, the formality was gone, replaced instead by an awkwardness that seemed out of place on the normally calm and confident monarch.

Queen Mirana approached Alice and took one of her hands in both of the Queen's own. "First," she said, "I want to say how glad I am to see you well again."

"Thank you, Your Majesty."

The Queen continued. "And I want to say how sorry I am at all that happened to you. Stayne was at large due to my lack of insight. I did not foresee that he would try to take revenge. Because of my error, he injured you, one of my subjects and a member of my court, a hero of the revolution. I am sorry."

Alice was aghast. Why was everyone, Alice herself, Tarrant, and now the Queen, so ready to take responsibility for the evil that was Stayne's doing alone?

Alice took the Queen's hands and squeezed them fiercely. "Your Majesty, don't say such things. You did what was right at the time. Killing Stayne was impossible because of your vows, and it would have been wrong anyway. No one could have foreseen what happened. It was Stayne's evil that was at fault, not your judgment. All the blame lies with him."

Queen Mirana gave her a smile of gratitude at her kind words.

"And … Your Majesty," Alice continued hesitantly. "I want to tell you how sorry I am. About your sister. I have a sister of my own. I can't imagine how I would feel if … well, I am truly sorry for your loss."

The Queen looked stunned. No one had offered their condolences to her since her sister was discovered to be dead. That anyone would do so was amazing. It was a gift.

Was Alice mistaken or were the Queen's eyes misting over?

"Thank you, Alice, for your condolences" the Queen said sincerely. "That will be all."

Alice bowed and departed the council chambers.

Mirana waited until Alice left before she allowed the tears to fall.

Prompt: Savior

Tonight would be the night, Alice decided. She would not be put off any longer. Over a month of forced celibacy was more than one red-blooded woman could be expected to tolerate. They had slept together in the same bed like brother and sister, Tarrant barely touching her at all, let alone sexually, even though her injury was totally healed. But tonight would be different. Tonight she wouldn't take no for an answer.

Tonight she would take her husband and have her wicked way with him.

She waited until he was in Lara's bedroom reading her a bedtime story, quickly she shucked off her dress, not bothering with a nightdress, and slid under the covers of their bed, naked as the day she was born and fairly quivering with anticipation.

She closed her eyes, feigning sleep, when she heard Tarrant leaving Lara's room. She heard him shutting the door softly so as not to wake the child back up. She heard the rustling of clothing as he changed into his own nightclothes. All this seemed like an eternity to Alice.

Finally she felt her husband's weight settling into the bed next to her. "'night love," he whispered to her, thinking she was asleep. She felt a pair of lips ghost softly over her forehead.

Oh, Tarrant, she thought to herself. If you think I'm going to be satisfied with that, you've got another thing coming.

Before Tarrant knew what hit him, Alice grabbed him by the front of his night shirt and kissed him with all the passion she could muster.

Tarrant jerked away in surprise, pressing against her shoulders to escape her lips. It was then that he noticed her state of undress.

"Alice," he said in a strained voice. "You appear to have forgotten your nightgown. I suggest you go put it on before you catch cold."

Alice slung a bare leg over her husband's so he couldn't turn away from her and she maintained her death grip on his nightshirt. "Oh I have a mind to catch someone all right," she replied huskily. "But it's not a cold."

"Love." Tarrant's face wore a pained expression and his voice was so strained it cracked when he spoke. "You're only just healed. I don't think-"

"Exactly, I'm healed. So what the hell are you waiting for?" she growled.

"It's been so long," he admitted. "I've wanted you so badly, I don't know if I can control myself.

Alice brought her lips to the shell of her husband's ear. "Then lose control," she whispered. She pressed the length of her body against him. She could feel the evidence of his desire. To punctuate her words she rolled her hips against his own, the act sending a thrill of pleasure up her spine.

Something broke in her husband and suddenly she found herself flat on her back, her husband kneeling over her and stripping his nightshirt off over his head. "'Ye want me to lose control, 'ye say?" he asked her in the Outlandish brogue that made her insides turn molten.

She took in the sight of him, naked and towering over her, his desire for her prominently displayed. Her entire body thrummed with desire, the ache between her legs waiting for the cure only he could provide. She should probably be ashamed at how wanton she was being, but right now she was too desperate to care. "I want you any way I can get you," she replied honestly.

With a growl he parted her legs and with one swift stroke, entered her completely. "Like this?" he asked teasingly.

Alice had to muffle her cry for fear of waking Lara, who slept jut the other side of the door. Her body sang with the sweetness of the moment. She felt full to bursting, and her heart swelled with the knowledge that she was finally one with her husband after so many months and so much heartache. The pleasure that coursed through her as he rocked into her was almost unbearable. "Oh, god, yes. Just like that."

He thrust into her sharply and hard, each time hitting that magic spot inside her that made her toes curl. And when he leaned down to take the peak of one breast into his mouth she came hard, bucking against him and covering her mouth with her hand so she didn't cry out from the sheer pleasure of it.

He pulled out of her so abruptly she nearly cried out from the loss. But when he guided her to turn over and get on her hands and knees, she eagerly complied.

And when he drove into her from behind she had to bury her face in the bed pillow to keep from crying out. He punched in and out of her with a ferocity that quickly had her climbing the pinnacle to another climax. He reached underneath her and filled his hands with her breasts, fingers tweaking her sensitive nipples. She continued to spiral higher and faster.

She knew he was getting close as his thrusts became irregular. She was teetering on the edge herself. Finally he gave a few quick, hard thrusts and stiffened behind her. The feeling of him climaxing inside her sent her careening over the edge again and she came with a whimper. God, her climax felt like it was going on forever. Finally it tapered out, the aftershocks still causing little pulses of pleasure to travel up her spine.

Totally spent, Tarrant rolled off of her and collapsed beside her on the bed. Alice wasted no time in snuggling up beside him, totally contented, and frankly exhausted.

Tarrant's hand cupped her face and he looked her in the eyes, his own face full of trepidation. "Did I hurt you? I didn't mean to be so … I lost control, really. God, please tell me I didn't hurt you."

Alice drew him in for a long, deep kiss, trying to reassure him with something more powerful than words.

"No, love, you didn't hurt me. Rather the opposite, in fact. You saved me."

Tarrant's face was a mask of confusion. "Saved you?"

"Yes. You saved me when I was lying there dying. It was your song that brought me back. You've saved me from the very beginning. You saved me from a hopeless life in another world. You've given me love, a life, a beautiful daughter. You bring me joy every day we're together."

"That's how you saved me"

Prompt: Deeper

The greatest love affair in Underland's history began at a tea table full of loonies.

It survived revolution, misunderstanding, separation, and the icy jaws of death.

It grew stronger and deeper with each step.

It grew even as Tarrant sat in a cold dungeon. It grew as he faced the executioners axe. It grew even as Alice faced the Jabberwocky. It grew as she threw away the vile purple liquid that would have separated them.

It soared to new heights when Tarrant proposed. It grew through a year-long engagement. It grew through years of marriage. It grew through the birth of their one and only child. It grew even as Alice was gone in another world, it exploded to life when she returned.

It grew as Tarrant kept watch over her still, dying body. It blossomed when she returned to him. It grew as they nursed each other back to health. It grew with each step their daughter took toward womanhood. It grew with each grandchild.

It grew with each kiss, each time they made love. It grew with each year, each week, each day, each hour.

Their love had no bounds, it grew like an infinitely expanding universe, beyond what mere words can convey.

And it all started, as many great things do, with loonies and revolution.