Alice returns to Underland by means of a tragedy and chooses to stay. This is the story of the friend, the lover, the wife, the mother and the Champion she becomes there. NOW COMPLETE All 5 books of this series have been posted together here.
Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Adventure - Alice K., Mad Hatter/Tarrant Hightopp - Chapters: 189 - Words: 489,533 - Reviews: 711 - Favs: 727 - Follows: 248 - Updated: 4/26/2011 - Published: 5/20/2010 - Status: Complete - id: 5984532
The following is a work of fan fiction. NO profit or compensation was provided in exchange. NO copyright infringement is intended.
One Promise Kept a fan fiction by Manniness Alice in Wonderland (2010 film version)
Summary: Alice makes a promise that is kept, but at a great cost. Surviving the consequences should have taught her to be more careful with future promises, but how can she refuse the queen her Champion? Or Tarrant Hightopp his Alice?
Rated: M for Violence, Character Death, Sexual Situations (non-explicit), Mature Language
Status: Finished! [Available on my homepage – please see my bio for the link, but PLEASE NOTE THE RATING and WARNINGS! The version I will post here will be rated M, in compliance with this site's policies.]
Notes: The following are not features of the film or books by Lewis Carroll and are my own creation/interpretation - (1) Underland geography/politics/other influential persons, (2) Outlandish accent/words/phrases with the exception of those found on Disney's The Glossary of Underland, (3) Biological differences between Alice and the people of Underland... more on that later in the story, (4) Tarrant Hightopp's range of mood-reflecting eye colors, (5) Tarrant Hightopp's childhood memories. If you have a question about whether or not something is from the film or books, please contact me via my homepage. Thank you!
Chapter One: A Much Madder Hatter [Scene 1 of 4]
The soft knock on the door sends the room's occupant into a frenzy of activity.
"Oh! Oh, you've arrived! At last. Come in, come in!"
A tea cup is inspected for dust and other unsightly blemishes before being set down once again on its saucer. It wobbles precariously before sliding into its niche safely. By that time, however, two pieces of silver have been polished on a slightly wrinkled waistcoat, the tea ball – minus the necessary tea – has begun to steep ineffectually in the tepid water of the blue teapot, and the plate of cucumber sandwiches has been turned over to prevent anyone from attempting to eat them now that they've been aged in the open air for several hours.
"Don't dawdle by the door! The tea is ready! Long past ready! Although I... well, that's not to say you're late... No, no, I wouldn't say you're late, but I am so very glad you've come! Sit down! Sit down!"
The man in the room hurriedly strides toward the open door and gestures as if waiting for a lady's hand to be presented to him. He then mimes guiding her, his invisible guest, to the table. A chair is pulled out and then gently pushed in.
"It's been so very long since we've had tea, hasn't it, Alice? Would you like a scone? No, no, not one of those." The offending pastry is thrown in the general direction of the bay window, but bounces against the curtain, releasing a puff of dust.
"Let us see... How about a cake? Here, I know I have a very nice slice of lemon cake here for you... Ah, finally!" The slice hovers over an empty plate for a moment.
The man tilts his head to the side as if listening to his guest. "What was that? No cake?" The serving ware trembles in his pale hands and the slice plops down upon the pristine tablecloth. With a flick of his wrists, the gleaming utensils are tossed over his shoulder, clattering against the wall, and a tray of fruit is slammed down on top of the fallen slice of cake, obliterating it.
"Very well, very well," the man continues in a calm tone, taking his seat. "Are you quite comfortable with your teaspoon?" he asks seriously and seems to listen quite intently to the reply.
He steeples his fingers and leans toward the chair opposite. His bushy red brows draw together over green eyes that nearly glow with their intensity.
"Alice," he begins, and the tone of his voice is significant, his lisp endearing, "why is a raven like a writing desk?"
Standing in the doorway to her beloved Hatter's rooms, Mirana, the White Queen of Underland, closes her eyes and turns away from the scene: nothing has changed. Every week she stops by his apartment in the castle to see how he's getting on and every week his delusions grow more and more elaborate. She knows what comes next – she's heard it dozens of times before – but she flinches nonetheless.
"You must speak louder, Alice, I cannae hear ye..." the Hatter murmurs softly, his Scottish brogue thickening the words and deepening his voice.
And then more forcefully: "I wi'nae speak teh a figment of yer imagination!"
And finally: "What things have ye finished, ALICE? WHAT NECESSARY DUTIES HAVE YE DISAPPEARED TEH? YE WILL FINISH YER TEA 'AFORE YE TRY THAT UPELKUCHEN! WHY MUST YE INSIST ON BEIN' TOO SMALL OR TOO TALL FOR TH' TEA SERVICE, ALICE?"
Mirana flinches as the teapot with its empty tea ball and tepid water crashes against the wall just an arm's length from her face. The Hatter leaps upon the table, stomping the overturned plate of cucumber sandwiches with his boot.
The first dozen times she'd seen this particular opera, Mirana had tried to reason with him, calm him, bring him back to the here and now in Underland. And, the first dozen times, it had worked.
However, interrupting his teatime delusions have not been possible for some time now.
Now she knows there is no comfort she can give her very dear old friend that he will accept. No, only one person can reach him. The one person he has been waiting for ever since she'd drunk the blood of the Jabberwocky and disappeared from the checkered battlefield.
Mirana closes the door behind her. And barely a moment later, a teacup – or some other piece of china – explodes against it. For months, Tarrant Hightopp has been waiting for his dearest Alice to return as she'd promised. For months, he's been hosting these lonely, weekly tea parties before destroying the contents of his parlor. For months, the Queen of Underland has merely watched and waited for a single promise to be kept.
But no longer.
To the casual observer, Mirana seems to wander gracefully through the castle, in the general direction of her office, but actually, the queen is quite intent on her destination. She drifts into the room and, pivoting neatly, closes the door behind her. She considers the calendar on the far wall and sighs. Mirana had hoped to give her dearest Champion a bit more time to return to Underland on her own. After all, there is still time, a bit of time before she will be required to attend to her duties.
The sound of broken glass startles her. Hand fluttering over her heart, Mirana glances outside in time to see a small tea table, draped in a white tablecloth, with a good half of the surviving tea service and silverware settings, crash to her balcony.
Perhaps she shouldn't have offered Tarrant the room above her study after all...
She approaches the pile of broken engagements slowly, dreading the sight of a certain Hatter following them in his despair. In the open doorway, out of sight, she pauses.
A sob escapes the broken bay window above.
Mirana closes her eyes, recognizing that soft lisp.
"You promised, Alice..."
His tears are silent but not his pain. She flinches as a strangled cry echoes through the valley. Mirana waits, not sure of what she would or could do if her Hatter decides to join the tea table on her balcony. But, in the end, all is silent.
Wiping a tear away, she calls her footmen.
"Please see that Mr. Hightopp is comfortable and, if he is sleeping soundly, perhaps this would be a good time to straighten up his rooms a bit."
"As you wish, Your Majesty."
As the frog in the pale grey waistcoat bows himself out, Mirana settles down at her desk and tries to focus on the royal decrees awaiting her seal and signature. But she can't. With a frustrated growl, she stabs her quill back in its stand and lets her mind wander where it undoubtedly wants to go.
It saddens Mirana that she cannot simply ask Alice to come back for the sake of the Hatter. After all, Alice had promised him she would return. Mirana certainly hadn't expected Alice to be so long in getting back to him on that. So there had been no reason not to agree to Hatter's request all those months ago when he'd still been speaking to actual people at teatime:
"Promise me ye wi' nae bring herback teh Underland. Promise me ye'll leave her be..."
"Of course, Tarrant. It won't be long now..."
What a silly, stupid promise Mirana had made.
And she'll have to keep it.
[End of Chapter 1: Scene 1 of 4]
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