The Last Spark - Blossoming Warmth

Alice slowly aroused from her haunting nightmare, waking to a world of wondrous snow and ice. She slowly raised her head and stared at the window, blinking in groggy confusion.

Then came luminous clarity.

'Wonderland.' Awoken by that simple realization, Alice slowly lifted herself from her perch and proceeded to walk forward through the winding halls of Clover Tower.

She had arrived in the Country of Clover not too long ago, but it felt far longer than that. She didn't really mind staying. It was far better than staying home after all.

Ever since that incident - the day that Alice's fire powers went out of control - many people scorned her and rejected her because of her difference, the fire that she was condemned with, the fire that destroyed everything in its path… the fire that killed her sister, the only one who ever believed in her.

Her mother and Edith kept their distance from Alice, not even daring to so much as brush against her. Alice was, quite literally, untouchable. All those who laid a hand on her bare skin would be burned.

'And everyone here seems to avoid me as well...' As Alice continued her walk, faceless Clover servants scurried passed her, working their hardest to avoid eye contact.

Even though all loved Alice very dearly, there was no any could deny it.

They all feared her.

They all feared this flame that could devour them, torch them to ashes if they got too close.

'But I don't care… I've never cared…'

Alice breathed in the outside cold, frozen air. The air was even chillier now that the sun was disappearing over the horizon. Not that Alice minded. She loved the frigid chill, the coldness over her skin.

It also had helped when she practiced controlling her power. She had to admit, she was becoming much better at it. Sure, she was nowhere near perfect, but she was getting there.

'Despite my improvement, people still keep their distance from me.' Alice sighed, seating herself at the stoop of Clover Tower, absently picking at the white snow below her.

She did seem to forget a certain someone who couldn't bear being away from her for a prolonged period of time...

"Alice!"

The foreigner intrinsically cringed, recognizing the proprietor of the voice instantly.

She slowly raised her gaze and watched Peter White dash towards her, scarlet eyes sparkling with evident euphoria.

If Alice could incinerate one person in the entire universe, she would definitely choose that White Rabbit. The stupid hare was the one that kidnapped her and brought her to this crazy world. To make matters more annoying, unlike the rest of the role holders, he couldn't distance himself from her. He was the only one foolish enough to risk getting badly burned just to hug her.

Emerald eyes narrowed into a glare, bracing herself for certain harassment.

Instead of his usually clinginess and hyperactivity, he merely smiled and sat himself beside her form.

"How are you doing, Alice?" he inquired cheerfully. "I haven't seen you forever!"

"F... Fine?" All irritation melted away from her systems as she regarded the rabbit in curiosity. What was up with him? Had he lost it? Was he abducted by aliens and replaced with an extraterrestrial lookalike?

She quickly assumed it was all some sort of tactic, a strategy to somehow obtain her affections. He did seem rather pleased to see her accept his presence without question. Alice then sighed in defeat at the thought and dropped her gaze to the snowy floor.

Moments passed by in silence. Neither spoke a word. Like Alice knew what to say. She had never been one for conversation and contented herself with the inventions of her mind. She grew very used to spending time on her own.

'Peter is so strange today...' She glanced up to the White Rabbit and studied the smooth planes of his face. There seemed nothing truly off about him. He seemed like the same, annoying rabbit. He had the same circular glasses, the same tartan jacket...

Emerald irises widened, examining something white wound underneath his jacket sleeves.

A lump blossomed in her throat, blocking her breathing passages. "P... Peter?"

At the sound of her voice, Peter snapped his head towards her, his gaze soft, inquisitive. His clock heart immediately went out to the foreigner, watching as she sniffled once. Her eyes became glassy, but no tears ran down her cheeks.

"Alice, what's wrong? Why are you...?" Peter fell completely silent, following her gaze to his bandaged arm. He swiftly pulled his sleeve down, whispering quietly. "I didn't want you to see that..."

"But it's my fault! You're injured because of me! That's why you didn't try to hug me, isn't it? It's because you're hurt!" Alice dropped her head into he hands, cursing herself and the lack of precipitation in her eyes. "You really shouldn't be near me, Peter. I only seem to harm those around me. I'm just... a monster."

"No, you're not a monster." Peter gently turned her face towards him. With a bright smile on his face, he added, "You're Alice."

She refuted, "But I am, Peter. You're always getting hurt whenever you touch me. This fire I wield... It only brings destruction."

Peter's face fell completely serious, holding her gaze with his scarlet eyes. He repeated firmly, "Alice, you're not a monster. Monsters don't have any feelings. If you were a monster, you wouldn't care if I got burned, would you?"

Alice remained completely silent, absorbing his words in her mind.

"You're magical, and you need to realize it. Fire doesn't always bring destruction." She released a low gasp. Poignant memories stinging her mind, resurfacing from the dark recesses where they once were.

'You really are special, Alice. Despite what people say, it isn't all that bad. Fire doesn't always bring destruction...'

She watched as Peter gingerly opened her hand, watching as she allowed a small flame to ignite. In the incoming darkness, the fire appeared like a tiny bud, sparking forth into a beautiful, gentle fire flower. She glanced up, watching the fire caused the shadows the dance across Peter's face, lighting over that smile on his lips.

"It can bring light. All I want to do is stay close to that beautiful light, that gentle fire flower, no matter what."

Alice dropped her gaze in embarrassment, finding her heart warmed by such a statement. She slowly lifted the flame up, willing it to hover over them. She then examined her gaze to Peter's hand.

'Peter...'

His pristinely white gloves were sullied with light splotches of black. Even though he could have gotten injured even further, he still risked touching her, risked everything just so she could be happy.

A smile curled her lips. 'Sure, Peter can be pretty annoying, but he means well.'

Despite his clinginess, his loudness, his constant proclamations of love and affection, Alice felt she could count on him to be there when she really needed him.

Like now.

She glanced down to her own hand.

'...Well practice makes perfect.'

Ever so slowly, Alice edged her hand over towards his, getting closer and closer, until...

Peter glanced down, feeling something gentle and warm wrap onto his hand. A jubilant smile spread over his lips. "A... Alice... You're actually holding my hand..."

"And you're not burned. I know." A triumphant smile spread over her lips. "I've been practicing."

"No, that's not what I meant. I meant you're holding my hand." Alice quirked a brown brow, confused by such an irrelevant statement. "If... If you're holding my hand... Oh my god! Alice, you must really love me after all!"

She quickly drew her hand back. Her cheeks suddenly felt as if they were burning, flushing into a bright crimson. "Wah... What? N... No! What are you taking about?"

Hearts seemed to replace his crimson irises as he swooned, "Oh! You're even blushing! This is all too good to be true! My Alice finally loves me!"

"You stupid rabbit, I don't lo..." Before Alice could finish her statement, Peter flung himself onto her unsuspecting body, crashing them both onto the cold snowy floor. Struggling to recapture her breath, Alice rasped, "Get off of me, you idiotic hare. I might burn you."

"But you were doing so well before! Here, perhaps I could help you practice."

"N... No! Peter, it isn't safe. I..." Her words died at her tongue when a pair of lips pressed onto hers. It was so gentle, so soft. It made her breath escape from her very lungs. Her mind fell completely blank.

'My first kiss…'

Peter slowly separated from her and smiled. "See? I'm not burned at all."

"Y... yeah," Alice breathed out in a daze. "M... maybe we should go back inside. You might catch a cold."

"But you're so warm, Alice... I don't want to go. Just yet."

The foreigner was in deep contemplation, gaping at the content hare as he rested his ear against her heart. She considered pushing him off and then make a mad dash back to the comforting depths of Clover Tower. Then, the most irrational part of her brain insisted against such an act. She could tolerate this position, just for a little while longer.

'You're light, Alice.' Those three, little words echoed in her mind. When she was younger, she long lost hope that those words were true, a simple delusion fabricated to offer her comfort.

Now, hearing those words again rekindled that spark of hope in her heart, her hope that she could be something more.

Alice glanced over to her single wisp of fire, suspended in mid-air. It was so small and insignificant in comparison to the surroundings darkness, yet it still produced such a radiant warmth.

'I want to be just like that flame, that tiny spark of light. I want to be that flower of flames and continue to grow into something brilliant for me, Lorina…' Alice glanced down at Peter, his lips spread into such a wide grin. Such a sight created a smile on her own lips. '…and for Peter.'


A/N Notes: Wow! This turned out angstier than I intended. lol

And I was thinking of actually making the pairing Alice x Boris at first… but then Peter took over my mind and forced me to write him instead. Sorry, Boris!

Thanks for reading~