Disclaimer: I don't own Alice in Wonderland. That belongs to Lewis Carroll, Disney, etc. Nor do I own any characters, things, ideas, or places therein. I am not making monetary gain off this story, though a few nice reviews would be appreciated…
Summary: Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland." Three times Alice Kingsley has visited Wonderland, and this time she shall stay. AlicexHatter
Pairing: Slight Alice/Hatter
Dedication: To all the lovely people who read/reviewed/favorited Madly, Deeply, Sincerely. I thank you all so very much, I appreciate every single one of you, you all made me so happy!
Special Thanks: Goes to the lovely jewel of athos, my fabulous beta and twin sister, who helped me decide whether I wanted to make this a one-shot or three-shot. Thanks!
Author's Note: I went to see Alice in Wonderland again today with my friends, and was once more inspired. Thank you so much for checking this story out, and I hope you enjoy it! ~fyd
The first time Alice Kingsley visited Wonderland, she was a little girl. Everything was a wonderment to her, but she realized she hadn't really experienced the world until she reached Wonderland. Animals could talk! Cats could disappear! And she was famous. Everyone knew her name, it seemed. They were anxious to see her, talk to her, show her this or that and tell her this or that.
It was all a little overwhelming for such a little child, but Alice had friends to help her. They were waiting for her at every turn, guiding her through the wonderful fantasyland that could only be a dream, it was so fantastic.
There was even tea! And oh, what lovely tea it was. The Hare was a little strange though, going off about this and that, obsessing over spoons and cups and sugar cubes and scones. And he loved to throw things at random times, at random people. Everyone acted like it was a normal occurrence, and eventually Alice got used to dodging the flying objects, too.
And there was Hatter… Dear Hatter, her friend who was funny and delightful and just a little mad himself. Perhaps that's why they called him Mad Hatter. But it didn't matter to Alice: he was a wonderful and funny man, and she liked him. He would get this huge smile on his face when he talked to her, and his bright green eyes would glitter, and even his strange bowtie would smile with him.
"We're friends!" Alice declared, nodding importantly as she sipped her tea delicately like her mother and older sister had taught her. "Best friends, always!"
Hatter had smiled fondly and nodded, carefully setting his beloved hat on her head and declaring that all best friends must have hats. He would make her one someday soon, but until then, she could wear his. But only if she promised not to give it to Cheshire, who wanted it but could not have it, because it was a special hat, and only for special people, like Alice, he explained as he ducked yet another flying cup thrown by the Hare.
But then Alice had had to return to the "real" world. She had seen sadness in all of her new friends' faces, but the saddest of all was her Hatter's. As she gave him his hat back, she smiled up at him and promised that she would see him again soon, blissfully and naively believing it, because she couldn't understand sadness, not really. Nor could she understand the concept of a long separation, for after all, best friends couldn't be separated for long. It just wasn't possible.
In such short time her memories of Wonderland faded into dreams, then into nightmares of the worst parts she'd seen. She forgot the White Rabbit, she forgot Cheshire, she forgot the Hare, she forgot the Tweedles, and worst of all, she forgot Hatter. Though the dreams kept revisiting her, they were just that -- dreams. Wonderland didn't exist. It couldn't exist. Such places, she was told, were impossible. Unreal. She was told that so many times, she eventually began to believe it.
She grew up believing her wonderful adventures and dear friends weren't real -- until she returned.
Alice Kingsley was going mad. Completely bonkers. Around the bend.
There were "more important" things to be doing this day, such as (apparently) being proposed to and impressing her future in-laws, but all she could concentrate on was the white rabbit in a waistcoat she kept seeing everywhere.
…In fact, it looked just like one she'd seen in a nearly-forgotten dream, a long, long time ago.
"Alice! The Alice?!" "No, she's not the Alice! He brought back the wrong Alice!"
It was hard for Alice to believe. How could she be the wrong Alice? It was her dream! She had fallen and hit her head, and she was dreaming now. Granted, pinching herself wasn't helping her wake up, but she recognized a few of these things from her recurring nightmare. Everything was so -- huge! Then again, that might have had something to do with her size (since she had been shrunken, then stretched, then shrunken again), but still, she remembered things being overly large in her nightmare, too.
There were the weird creatures, too. The Bandersnatch and the dodo and the Tweedles and the blue caterpillar who smoked a hookah…
Then the grinning Cheshire cat showed up. There was something familiar about him… Perhaps he was a part of her nightmare she never remembered when she woke. He was a little creepy, what with the appearing and the disappearing and the overly large grin, which cats weren't supposed to be able to do in the first place…
He took her to a tea party. Alice had been to several tea parties in her life, but none were quite like that one. Insanity was the order of the event -- if the word "order" could be used to describe such chaos. There was a Hare who threw things at unsuspecting guests and had an extreme fascination with spoons, a little Mouse who liked to challenge everyone to duels, and a very tall man that was very familiar, if only she could place him…
The Hare was mad, and the Mouse was mad, and the Cat was mad. But perhaps none of them were as mad as the Hatter, who made her drink more shrinking potion and then stuffed her into a teapot quite against her will. Then he told her to climb aboard his hat, and they took off into the Great Unknown, which was still somewhat familiar to Alice, who had seen a place such as this in her nightmare, which was now a dream with new yet familiar characters.
Suddenly everything started happening quite quickly. Hatter was captured; she met the Red Queen; she became friends with the Bandersnatch; she escaped, but without Hatter, whom she had gone to rescue in the first place; she met the White Queen…
And then, suddenly, she was Wonderland's champion. She stood on a battlefield with the White Queen, backed by the White Rabbit and the Hare and the Mouse and the Tweedles, with the Hatter at her side. The Red Queen called out her Jabberwocky, and the White Queen called upon Alice, and then they were in the middle of the battle.
Six impossible things… Six impossible things… Perhaps it was then, more than any other time, that she finally realized that Wonderland (or Underland, as those who lived there called it) really was real, and she had visited it as a child. Her dreams were not dreams, but memories and reality. Hatter was her dearest friend, and always had been, even when she was not in Wonderland. Even when she did not remember him.
Even as she killed the Jabberwocky, she realized that she couldn't stay in Wonderland. There was a deeply rooted part of her that desperately wanted to, that needed to stay with the strange motley of friends she'd made there, but something deep inside equally desperate told her that it was the wrong time. She needed to go back home, to answer a few questions, to learn a bit more.
But she could come back, she was sure of that. And this time, she would make sure that even if she forgot the rest of Wonderland, and what was real and what wasn't -- she wouldn't forget her dearest Hatter.
A top hat here. A pair of green eyes there -- close, but never quite the right shade.
The occasional glimpses poked at the back of Alice Kingsley's mind, sparking a long-forgotten memory. Or was it a dream…?
She was the co-owner of an extremely successful trading company with ties all over the known world. She had become rich and successful when she was twenty-two, an unheard of accomplishment for someone of such an age, let alone a woman. She had traveled the world and seen it all, and yet… There was a part of her that was pulling her in another direction, into a dream she often fell into.
Several men vied for her attention, for her hand in marriage. Most were only interested in her beauty, her power, her money. Some were earnestly interested in her, but she couldn't stir even an ounce of interest in herself for any of them. They all fell far short of her dream-man, who wore the hat and had the green eyes she remembered so well, though she couldn't even remember his name.
And then, one day while she was strolling through the gardens of her spacious home, she saw a white rabbit in a blue waistcoat peering at her around the edge of a bush, pointing impatiently at the pocket watch dangling from his paw.
The White Rabbit…
Alice chased him, suddenly feeling lighter than she had in ten years, since she first woke up from the dream where she had met the green-eyed, top-hat-wearing man. Her heart was beating in a strange rat-a-tat-tat rhythm in her chest, as if trying to escape. Butterflies flipped and soared in her stomach. And when she came upon a dark hole at the base of a tree, she inexplicably did not hesitate but simply jumped feet-first through it. She tumbled down, down, down, landing in a familiar room with many doors, a table, a key, a flask, and a cake.
More and more memories were returning to her. Nearly holding her breath, Alice ignored the cake in favor of palming the key and drinking some of the potion. The world around her seemed to grow bigger as she shrank, all the while her gaze focused on the little door that led to what was so important that it had haunted her for the past decade.
Before she left, she took a little bit of the cake, tucking it into her pocket for later. Unlocking the little door, she stepped out into a colorful, crazy world she suddenly remembered from a series of dreams and nightmares that had repeatedly visited her for most of her life.
She ate the cake, slowly stretching back to her normal size even as she ran frantically through the multi-hued wilderness she was suddenly remembering more and more of. With each step a new thought -- memory? -- occurred to her, spurring her on. Her feet steadily ate up the space between her and the remembered image that had drawn her back here.
The strangely colored trees thinned, and suddenly she was in a clearing. Everything was in even more disrepair than before, and the scene was missing two characters -- a Hare and a Mouse. But the rest was the same, including the man with the green eyes and the top hat that rose from the chair at the head of the table and walked atop the surface of the table, breaking china and smashing food in his wake. He stopped before her, an expression of wistful hope on his face.
"You've come for tea?" he whispered, a question.
"I've come to stay, Hatter," she replied. Even as the unexpected response left her lips, she knew it was the right one. Even though she was born somewhere else, grew up there, learned so much there, she knew Wonderland was where she really belonged. And she also knew with absolute certainty that her dearest Hatter was whom she belonged with. He was the man all the others couldn't measure up to, even though she had mostly forgotten him several times.
With a tremulous smile, Alice threw herself at Hatter, wrapping her arms around his neck in a tight hug even as the widest smile she'd ever seen graced his familiar and much-missed features.
And then they had tea together, just like old times. And, after that, they danced the futterwhack together, quite vigorously.
At last, Alice Kingsley had come home.
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed!