OK, so this was originally going to be a oneshot, but I turned it into a full chapter story. It's about Alice returning to Underland, but bringing her sister, too. This is not my first Alice In Wonderland story; I have three others, which are Of White Rabbits & Mad Hatters, Birth In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. Please give those a read, too.
Disclaimer: Don't own Alice In Wonderland; Disney, Tim Burton and Lewis Carol does.
Now, without further ado...
Do You Trust Me?
One day, Margaret's life was perfect, but then the next, it wasn't. That was what it felt like, anyway. Sitting in the drawing room of Lord Ascot's grand house, she reflected back on the words she had said to her sister just two years before, at the failed engagement party.
"You will be as happy as I am with Lowell, and your life will be perfect."
She had been blind as to what had really been going on. And when she realized this, it was already too late. Lowell had run off to Scotland with another girl, and had left Margaret all alone, becoming the new gossip of all the young ladies in London.
"Did you hear about Margaret Manchester? Her husband ran off with another woman."
"I heard that Margaret Manchester was dumped by her own husband."
"What do you call a woman who's husband has left her for another girl? Because that's what Margaret Manchester is now."
"Word is that Margaret Manchester was never properly married; she'll die and old spinster after all."
Whenever these few sentences were whispered, Margaret would hang her head low and avert her eyes as she passed, trying her best to ignore the giggles and the looks of disgrace that people were giving her. Margaret knew that the Chattaway sisters were to blame for the fast-spreading gossip, and if she ever saw them again, she would not hesitate to strangle them for real.
Margaret allowed a tear to shed from her eye as she gazed down upon her locket, one side containing a picture of her mother and father, and the other side containing a picture of her sister, Alice. She wiped away the lone tear as she sniffed on the lump in her throat.
"Oh Mother, what should I do?" she asked the picture.
But she knew that neither her mother nor her father could hear her. Her father was long gone, and her mother had only passed away just a few weeks before. Margaret had already been in a big enough state with her mother's death, and Lowell running off didn't help it one bit; Margaret suspected that he had always been afraid of Helen Kingsleigh, so had used her departure to his advantage.
"Will I ever have the perfect life again?" she questioned to herself, before resting her face in her hands and crying some more.
She did not remain alone for very long, though, when Alice entered the room looking for her. When she caught sight of her sister crying, she immediately sat down on the chair beside her and wrapped a comforting arm around her sister's shoulder.
"There, there, Meg," she said, using the shortened version of her sister's name. "It's going to be all right. Lord Ascot is doing all he can."
"But even if he does find Lowell it'll never be the same," Margaret said, sniffing on her tears. "No one will ever forget this. The stories will still remain, and everywhere we go we will be frowned upon. Lowell has ruined me, and unknowingly ruined himself. Our lives will never be the same, and all because of his thoughtlessness."
"I understand," Alice said, before taking a deep breath. "Meg, I have a confession to make. I...knew that he was doing it; I caught him doing it two years ago at the engagement party, but I didn't want to tell you out of fear of ruining your marriage. I cornered him later, though, and threatened him so that he wouldn't do it again. He seemed to stop, and I always knew that he would end up doing it again...but I never thought that he'd go as far as this."
Margaret looked up at her younger sister, but knew that she couldn't blame her. Alice may have known about it, but how could anyone have suspected that he'd do anything this reckless?
"I do not blame you, Alice," she said, looking down at her lap again. "The damage is done, and nothing can be reversed. Oh, if only we could escape to a place where no one will frown down upon us."
Alice turned away, a smile forming on her face. All her questions had been answered, and her father's company was at it's peak. The only thing holding her back was Margaret, but after what Lowell had done to her, who's to say that she can't come, too? Alice's smile widened as she made her decision.
"Meg, I want to show you something," she said.
Before Margaret could ask what it was that she wanted to show her, Alice took hold of her hand and pulled her up out of her seat, before hurrying out of the room with her older sister trailing behind. Down the stairs and out the door, Alice broke into a run as she raced across the gardens of the Ascot estate. Poor Margaret was dragged behind her, her dark blonde hair flying out behind her.
"Alice, where are you taking me?" she asked, shocked by her sister's enthusiasm.
"You'll see!" was Alice's reply, her face baring a big, wide smile.
They ran through the maze and out into the woods, ducking and avoiding branches as they went. They soon arrived out in a meadow, and Alice led Margaret around an old tree where a large rabbit hole lay. Alice crouched down in front of it, and Margaret did the same.
"Alice, what are you trying to show me?" her sister asked. "I know you said that you liked rabbits, but we shouldn't be looking for one, it is not proper-"
"Do you trust me?" Alice suddenly asked.
Margaret blinked in surprise.
"I said, do you trust me?" Alice asked again, holding out her hand for her sister to take.
"Well, of course," Margaret replied, placing her hand in her sister's.
"Then don't let go," Alice told her, and before Margaret could do anything, Alice threw herself forwards into the hole, dragging Margaret behind her.
Margaret let out a scream, expecting to hit the dirt at the bottom, but no such dirt came. She and Alice kept on falling, and when she opened her eyes, she found that the two of them were falling past things she never expected to be in a rabbit hole; paintings, maps, mirrors and bookshelves, all crowded with odd bits and bobs. Margaret let out a scream of fright, but was shocked to hear Alice laughing out loud as the fall continued.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, the two of them crashed through something, and landed on a wooden floor. Both sat up, and Margaret was about to ask what had happened, when she realized that she and her sister were sitting upside down. They fell again, landing on a tiled floor.
"What...was that?" she asked her sister, standing up and brushing herself off.
Her hair had come undone and was now a tangled mess, as was Alice's; but the style looked better on Alice than it did on Margaret.
"The rabbit hole," Alice replied, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. "Do you really think that I fell down into an ordinary hole two years ago?"
Margaret blinked in surprise.
"You've been here before?" she asked.
"Twice, actually," Alice explained. "Once when I was six, and the second time when I ran out on Hamish two years ago."
She was looking around the room, until finally spying a small glass table in the centre of the room. She walked over to it, and picked up a key and a small bottle of liquid.
"Here, you need to take a sip of this," she said, handing the bottle to Margaret.
Margaret removed the top and sniffed the contents, but recoiled at it's foul smell.
"Are you quite sure it's safe to drink?" she asked.
"Most positive," Alice replied. "You said that you trusted me, so why would I lie to you?"
Margaret thought this through for a second. If what Alice said was true and she had done this before, then it should be safe, right? Margaret hesitated as she finally pressed it to her lips and took a sip, but coughed and gagged at the taste. Suddenly, she began to shrink, her clothing falling around her.
"Alice, what's happening?" she cried.
"You're just shrinking," Alice explained, double checking that she had the key in her hand and drinking the potion too, before she shrinking as well. "We need to be this height so we can fit through the door."
"Which door?" her sister asked.
She looked around. There were many doors, and all were big enough for them to fit through at their normal height; why do they need to be this size?
"That door," Alice said, pointing at a curtain at the other end of the room.
She hurried back to the table and picked up a small box, before dragging her clothing with her as she made her way over to the curtain. She pulled it back, to reveal a tiny door. Margaret understood why they had to be so small.
"Bring your clothing," Alice told her, as she fit the key in the door and opened it.
Margaret dragged her clothing and followed Alice as she stepped outside, where the two sisters were met by the sight of a beautiful garden full of life.
"It's healed itself," Alice commented.
"Pardon?" Margaret asked.
"The last time I was here, the garden was all tangled and brown," her sister explained. "Now it's all better again, like it was the first time."
She opened the little box and brought out a cake, and took a small nibble out of it. She suddenly shot upwards, until she was at her right height again fully clothed. She bent down and handed the cake to Margaret.
"Take a bite out of this, but not too much," she told her. "I learnt that lesson the hard way."
Margaret took a small nibble like Alice had done, and grew back to her normal height with her clothes fitting correctly again.
"So what happened when you were here last time?" she asked her sister.
And so, as they walked through the garden, Alice told her everything about her adventures in Underland – or Wonderland, as she called it. She explained about her first visit, and then about being lured back again by the White Rabbit. Margaret listened closely, her eyes going wide at the battle against the Jabberwocky, but remained silent until the end.
"Well, it certainly explains the way you are," she commented once Alice had finished her story.
Alice smiled. They were walking through a dark wood, when the youngest Kingsleigh sister felt a sudden rush of wind.
She looked above her, and sitting on a branch, was the Cheshire Cat. Margaret gasped and whipped round.
"It looks like the Champion of Underland has returned," he commented, his tail swishing from side to side. "And she's brought a friend."
He disappeared, and only his head reappeared beside Margaret. The eldest Kingsleigh sister gasped and gripped Alice's arm tightly.
"Who might this young lady be?" he asked, grinning widely.
"This is my sister; Margaret," Alice introduced.
"How...how do you do," Margaret greeted him politely.
"How do you do to you, too," Chessur said, disappearing again.
"That's Chessur," Alice whispered to her sister. "He can disappear and reappear wherever he likes, sometimes not all at once."
Chessur reappeared again, this time a short way ahead.
"I'm assuming that you are going to visit the Hare and the Hatter?" he asked. "I know Tarrant would like to see you again."
"Yes, if you'd be so kind as to take us there?" Alice asked.
Chessur nodded, before floating up ahead with Alice and Margaret following.
"Who's Tarrant?" Margaret asked.
"The Hatter," Alice replied. "He does have a real name, you know."
They soon arrived in front of a long table, which was very untidy and only had four guests sitting at it. One was the White Rabbit, drinking his tea nervously and occasionally twitching his ears at the slightest rustle in the bushes. Mallymkun was there too, emerging from a tea pot after having a nice nap. The March Hare was seated on the other side of the table, examining a spoon in his hand. And at the head of the table sat the Hatter, his hat lowered down over his face. When the new arrivals were acknowledge, the White Rabbit's face brightened up whereas Mallymkun scowled.
"Look who's here!" she said in an annoyed tone.
"You're all late for tea!" the March Hare cried, launching a cup in their direction.
Alice grabbed hold of Margaret's hand and pulled her down, the cup soaring over their heads and smashing against a tree behind them. At the sudden disturbance, the Hatter looked up, and he bolted upright at the sight of Alice. His whole being seemed to brighten up, and his eyes flashed a mixture of greens and blues.
"Alice!" he cried, before standing up onto the table and walking across it, knocking aside cups and spoons as he went.
"OI! Watch what you're doing!" Mallymkun shouted.
"Oh dear! Oh dear!" the White Rabbit cried.
The March Hare just proceeded to set everything straight again. As the Hatter approached, Margaret gripped hold of her sister's hand tighter, a little uncertain of the man that was approaching her and her sister. But Alice's face was bright and happy; she was clearly glad to see him.
"You're back!" he said, finally stepping off the table in front of them.
"Told you I'd be back before you knew it," Alice told him.
The Hatter smiled a toothy grin, before his eyes fell on Margaret.
"And who might this be?" he asked.
"Oh, this is my sister; Margaret," Alice introduced.
Margaret just nodded her head in a greeting, too stunned to say anything.
"Well, she's welcome to stay for tea, too!" the Hatter cried with an insane laugh, before stepping over the table again back to his seat.
Alice and Margaret just took the long way around, Alice taking a seat in the same chair as last time, and Margaret sitting in the chair next to her.
"We were waiting for your return, which is why we're still having tea," the Hatter explained. "You're terribly late again, you naughty thing."
"Time still not agreeing with you?" Alice asked.
The Hatter took out his watch and stared at it for a brief moment, before tucking it away again back in his pocket.
"Still not a tick to be heard," he concluded.
The March Hare took out his watch and did the same. But what got Margaret surprised was that he had taken the watch out of his cup of tea.
"Do you like riddles, Miss Margaret?" the Hatter asked, turning to the eldest Kingsleigh sister.
"Well...I could give one a go?" she said, shrugging.
"She's good at riddles," Alice commented. "Father kept a book of riddles in our library at home; she solved every single one of them."
"Try and solve this one, then," the Hatter said, before leaning forwards. "Why is a raven like a writing desk?"
Margaret turned away in thought, puzzling it over in her head.
"Raven...writing desk...is it because they both have quills?" she finally answered.
The Hatter frowned, realizing that she was right.
"Oh...don't know why I didn't think of that," he said, laughing.
The March Hare and Mallymkun laughed along with him, while the white Rabbit sipped his tea quietly and Chessur just stirred his with a calm look on his face.
"So, you are staying for good this time, aren't you?" the Hatter asked Alice, a pleading look in his eyes.
"Why else do you think I came back?" Alice answered.
The Hatter smiled his toothy grin, but Margaret turned to her sister with a puzzled expression.
"Staying?" she questioned.
"Yes," Alice replied. "You said that you wished for a place to escape to, and here we are. You'll never be frowned upon down here."
Margaret looked thoughtful. The world above was her home, and and she was used to living there, even though it could be a bit dull. But as she looked around her, she saw that this place wasn't dull at all; it was quite the opposite. Not only that, but the only person she had left was Alice, and if her little sister wanted to stay here, then so should she.
"I guess I could give this place a chance," she said.
Alice embraced her sister in a hug, while Hatter sighed in relief.
"What's wrong, Hatter?" Alice asked, pulling away from her sister.
"Well, you wouldn't have been able to go home anyway," he answered.
"We're out of Jabberwocky blood."
Please let me know what you all think!