Disclaimer: That movie sure was awesome, wasn't it? No way I could've come up with that. But I just couldn't resist writing a sequel.

Febricula

Fit the First: Lunula

She was up too late again, studying by lamplight. A cold half-full cup of tea sat next to the inkwell.

The trading post on the Chinese coast had seemed like a magical place, a world away from familiar, prosaic England, but after a year and a half her apprenticeship here was beginning to feel a bit routine.

It was a strange night. The warm, humid air was still, silent. No voice of bird or insect disturbed it.

The small flame in the lamp sputtered. She glanced up from the paper on which she'd been copying Chinese characters for colors, reciting them to herself with each brushstroke.

The flame steadied, burning brighter than it had.

On the table by the window was a vase holding a wisteria bough. It's fragrant lavender flowers draped across the table, the end of them dripped coyly over the edge.

She had not known this flower in England. She'd never seen it, and she never knew its name. But she had recognized it when she saw it in China, both by sight and by scent, and greeted it like a long-lost friend. One of her shipmates remarked that she seemed to have taken an instant liking to it. She'd claimed it was the most fantastic blossom she'd ever seen.

She hadn't added that learning this was a real flower proved to her that she had not dreamed her fantastic adventures, for she had first seen wisteria in Underland.

Forcing her eyes from the flowers, she returned them to her studies. But her mind would not stay there. Yellow, blue/green, black, red, white, the colors of his eyes...

But there had been doubts, days when she was almost sure it had been all a dream. Of course, as she had learned, the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tsu had once dreamed he was a butterfly, and then asked if perhaps he was really a butterfly dreaming he was a philosopher.

Her boudoir was suddenly illuminated by a white glow. The clouds must have parted, she realized, letting the moon shine through her window to the mirror on her wall. She turned to admire it.

A crescent moon, the kind that always brought to mind Cheshire Cat's manic smile.

She stood and went to the mirror. She was wearing an aquamarine silk robe, tied at the waist with a black sash. She was in her twenties now, but the moonlight shining from the mirror on her face revealed the flower of her youthful beauty had not yet faded, and her flowing golden hair was as thick and lustrous as ever.

Though not the kind of person who reflected on the wisdom of her actions and tallied her regrets, she was quite sure not getting married was one of the best decisions she ever made. Next to fighting the Jabberwock, of course.

Turning away from the mirror, she discovered something odd: there was no moon in the window.

She slowly turned back to the mirror. "Are you toying with me, Cheshire?" she murmured to the glowing grin.

It didn't answer.

Alice tentatively reached out a finger to touch the glass. Her hand passed right through, as though the mirror were made of mist.

"That's peculiar," she said.

She turned from the mirror again and returned to her desk, where she thoughtfully sipped at her tepid tea. "It seems I am being invited back," she mused aloud. "Should I go, or should I not?"

An unexpected rush of wind from the window blew the round black and white stone tokens from the game board on the windowsill, where she had set it after a match with her maid earlier that evening, to the floor.

"You don't have to tell me twice," she said, and stepped through the looking-glass.