Author's Note - Thank you for all of the amazing feedback on my first 3 submissions! Every review/fave/etc. is special to me and makes me feel like a million bucks.
This next effort spawns from reading the book adaptation umpteen times partnered with my favorite span of time in the movie being from the moment Alice begins her masquerade as Um until the end of the balcony scene. (Everything within that span of time is the heart and soul of the movie for me.) Basically, the following series is of additional moments that take place during that time frame - all structured around a common theme of duties and dreams. It begins following Alice's fleeing from Salazen Grum. (Because I felt that everything before that point was detailed enough. Plus, this is where the scenes start cutting back and forth between Alice and Hatter.)
Since I imagined everything to be like an addendum to what's already given in the movie/book, I admit, it doesn't seem to flow very smoothly. Also, if you haven't managed to read the original script which is floating around online, it has Hatter being dutifully devoted to the Resistance against the Red Queen, even more explicitly than in the final film. I use that original character development as a very big base of the Hatter portions of this series.
Disclaimer: By now everyone should know that anyone posting on FFN probably doesn't own anything they are writing about. I don't even claim to know if this plot, any of the specific details, etc. have already been used somewhere in this vast section as I haven't read everything. So, my apologies if you feel I have stolen something from you. I promise it was unintentional!
Memories and Mally
Everything had happened so quickly. One moment she had been attempting to free him, the next she was fleeing for her life. She was fleeing for her life without him!
Alice rode the galloping Bandersnatch as the wind beat against her face, threatening to unleash the tears that were already forming in her eyes. She wanted nothing more than to turn back around, but it was no use. Tarrant had told her to run. Even as his own life was in danger once again, he only cared about getting her, or at least the Vorpal Sword, safely to Marmoreal.
It wasn't fair! Her dream had finally been going her way. Or at least it had felt that way when she was alone with Tarrant in the Red Queen's dressing room. So why did it have to come crashing down around her? Why had her dream made her insanely huge in a moment that could have been otherwise perfect? Well, perfect except for the fact they had been dangerously close to the Red Queen. It might have been quite difficult to explain why Um from Umbrage was kissing a mad hatter, she thought. But why had her dream then made him so stubborn? She could have just broken the chains and they could have fled to Marmoreal together.
Together. That had been her promise and now here she was breaking it.
"I'm ready to wake up now!" Alice screamed. Her command didn't bring her back to consciousness, but it did bring the Bandersnatch to a halt.
Bayard, who had been trailing behind, also came to a stop once he reached her side. "Is there a problem, milady?" he asked between heavy pants.
"Yes, there is a problem…" Alice started, but didn't finish her train of thought. She had already once taken out her anger on Bayard and he didn't deserve it again. "I just needed to rest a moment. And I'm sure he could use a rest too from carrying my weight," Alice patted the Bandersnatch on the head gently before dismounting.
"But if the red knights come searching for us," Bayard tried to make her see reason. Of course, it was no use. He'd already learned previously that Alice had a strong will of her own. Thus, they continued towards Marmoreal at a brisk walking pace.
"I'm sorry about your family, Bayard," Alice finally broke the silence they had been travelling in for at least a mile or so. She had been too angry to care when he told her that he'd betrayed Hatter for the sake of his wife and puppies. Now, she regretted having been so cold. "Tarrant didn't blame you," she hadn't heard him say so, but she was certain it was true, "and neither should have I."
Bayard looked up at the very large girl, slightly amused by the fact she had once been small enough to ride upon his back. "Thank you," he appreciated her words. She had indeed made him feel guilty for having done what he'd done. As he thought about it, he suddenly realized something he'd failed to before. While it was obvious Tarrant wasn't with them, it dawned upon him that it meant Alice had not succeeded in her quest to rescue him.
Bayard began to sniff the air as he studied Alice closely. His sixth sense clearly picked up on the many troubling feelings she was struggling with. He only felt guilty he hadn't taken notice before. He was certain it had to do with the fact the Hatter was still being held in Salazen Grum and it hit home. He understood the guilt and fear he smelled in her. It was the same guilt and fear he felt every waking moment he spent without Bielle and his pups. The feeling of not knowing tore him apart and he hated to see Alice go through the same thing.
Bayard knew he couldn't ask Time to turn back and give him the chance to make right his wrong against Hatter, but he could do his best to take Alice's mind off of her pain. And although he couldn't be sure, he thought that maybe Tarrant would appreciate it if he made sure Alice didn't hurt so much. "I wonder if you remember me at all." She looked down at him strangely and Bayard remembered Alice was convinced she was in a dream. He recalled her mentioning it when she'd ordered him to take her to Salazen Grum. "I mean, did you ever dream about me before?" He changed the question.
Alice thought about it for a moment. "I can't say I did," she answered. "At least, I don't remember. Then again, everyone here seems so convinced that I've dreamed them before, so maybe I have. But I'm afraid many of my dreams are nightmares. The only familiar creatures I've met so far have been Nivens, Chessur and Absolem. And even they seemed much odder when I was younger. I don't see how I could ever forget anyone as marvelous as you…or Tarrant," Alice's thoughts were back on the Hatter before Bayard had a chance to even wag his tail. "Do you remember me like he claims to?"
Bayard wasn't sure how to respond in a way that would make her feel better. Honestly, he remembered an Alice, but he hadn't recognized her as the Alice as Hatter had. However, he had no reason to doubt Tarrant's judgment and so knew the young lady beside him had to be the same Alice from before. "Hmm, let's see. I was only a puppy at the time, but I recall a feisty little girl who went around saying things were curiouser and curiouser. I'm certain her name was Alice. She had blonde curls and soft hands that gave the best pets a puppy could ask for." His nose became wet as he recalled such happy times. His attempt to cheer up Alice seemed to be working on himself instead.
"That certainly does seem like it could have been me," Alice thought deeply. She was one to say curiouser and curiouser when no one else she knew did. She gave an aggravated huff. "Why are dreams such horrible things? Why can't I remember you if I've dreamed you before? None of it makes sense." She was beginning to wish people didn't have the ability to dream at all. "Do you remember anything else about me?" She asked, proving her curious streak still existed.
Bayard thought hard for a moment. He debated whether or not he should continue since most of his memories of her involved a certain mad Hatter. "I remember you were the only one who brought sanity to…"
"Tarrant?" Enthusiasm seemed to return to Alice's voice for a moment and as she looked at him, Bayard saw a sparkle in her eye. Perhaps happy Thoughts of Tarrant was all she needed after all.
"I was going to say Tea Parties," he chuckled a little. "But, yes, I guess I mostly meant Tarrant. You two were quite the pair. He would go into one of his fits until you would give him a smile that could light up all of Underland. Or you would get so frustrated with everything being so curious and maddening until he would make you see the wonder in everything again. It was always very entertaining for a pup to watch," Bayard gave another soft laugh, but then realized Alice was no longer beside him. He turned to see she had stopped a few feet behind him. Maybe happy Thoughts weren't the best medicine.
"As much as I want to believe you, Bayard, I just can't." There were tears in Alice's eyes as the Bandersnatch lovingly nudged her leg with his head. Bayard came over and sat in front of her. "I just can't see how dreams like that would have been nightmares to me. They sound so perfect."
Bayard gave a small whimper as he wondered what else there was left to say. He said the first thing that came to his mind, "I remember when I was a younger dog and the Red Queen's reign of terror always felt like a distant thing. I had never suffered as some like Tarrant did. I also couldn't understand how the Red Queen's hate could extend to someone like me. You see, dogs have a strong duty to be man's best friend so how could a human betray that bond?" Bayard paused, his eyes dark as his thoughts drifted towards his family. "But just because I can remember thinking those things, it doesn't mean they are still or ever were true."
Alice took a moment to ponder his words before giving him an understanding look. He was right. She wiped away the tears that rested on her cheeks. She had no business crying at a time like this or fretting over whether or not she had ever dreamed of Tarrant before. It didn't matter if she did or didn't remember everything from past dreams. It didn't even matter if this was a dream, although she was still convinced it was. All that mattered at the moment was Tarrant had told her to get to Marmoreal. She wasn't promising to slay any Jabberwocky, but if the White Queen needed the Vorpal Sword in order for a champion to arrive, then she was going to get it to her one way or the other.
~ Salazen Grum ~
"She has the Vorpal Sword," Mallymkun said, trying to comfort Hatter in any way possible. He sat in a trance upon the floor of his cell, a position he'd been in for most of the time since they were both captured. He had only been aroused momentarily when Stayne had visited. Of course, it had been a mad arousal which only led to the Knave declaring they would both die at dawn.
"I know she has the Vorpal Sword, Mally," Tarrant finally spoke. "And now Underland will be safe. She is safe…" his sentence trailed as he thought about Alice in the halls of Marmoreal. He hoped that there she might find the wonder in Underland again.
Mally, however, did not necessarily agree. "How do we know Underland will be safe? The girl is too scared to wield the sword. Or foolish enough to wield it on something other than the Jabberwock," she spoke out of undeniable jealousy. She had come to rescue Hatter and that would-be Alice had messed things up. How dare Alice think it was her right or duty to save the day, with the Vorpal Sword no less?
"She will wield it come Frabjous day," Tarrant had never been convinced otherwise. "And she has every right to be scared or foolish if she pleases. This must all be very overwhelming for her. Seeing as she is still trying to find her muchness."
Mally wasn't as insane as Thackery or as prone to fits of madness as Hatter, but she could feel her temper welling up within her which could still prove to be a dangerous thing for anyone or anything within her path. "Oh, yes, let her be foolish, he says. That's the reason we're in here to begin with." She knew it wasn't entirely true. After all she had been the one to let Alice's name slip. However, she wouldn't have had made that mistake if Alice had just fled as soon as she'd gotten her hands on the Vorpal Sword. Why did she have to be so concerned with Tarrant all of a sudden? No, maybe she didn't want to know.
"You have to believe in her like I do," Tarrant tried to hold back his own temper. There was a part of him that partly understood Mally felt threatened by Alice. He just hadn't put together all the pieces that explained why yet. "She needs everyone to believe. The cause…"
Mally cut him off, "No, Hatter. It's the other way around. She needs to believe. If not, the cause will never survive. Even if we gathered everyone behind her, what would they do if she told them she isn't the right Alice? Run right back to Bloody Big Head and have their heads cut off, that's what!" Mally hated that Hatter thought so much of Alice despite her obvious flaws. She had only been in Underland for a day or so (Time was a funny thing in Underland and so it was hard to tell when one full day had actually passed). Yet, Hatter was already willing to die for the sake of Alice in the name of the Cause.
"An' if we don' belie' in 'er then 'ow can we be expe'tin' 'er to belie' in 'erself?" His Scottish brogue appeared, but to Mally's relief it quickly passed. "She is Alice. She has the Vorpal Sword. She is safe. She will be our Champion." There would be no more arguing with him on the subject and so he changed it. "I am sorry, though, that you're in here too, dear friend."
His words stung Mally. Even after risking her own life to rescue him every bit as much as Alice had, she was just a dear friend while Alice was the Champion he believed in with all his heart. What had happened between them before she'd gotten there? Again, she didn't really want to know. "I'm part of the Cause just as much as you are, Hatter," she said with a soft sigh, which came out more like a squeak.
"Still, Alice would be better off on Frabjous day with you by her side," Tarrant's voice sounded hollow and Mally could sense he was falling back into another hopeless trance.
The little mouse wondered if he had already fallen to a place beyond the reach of her voice, but she spoke anyway. "No, Hatter. Alice needs you by her side." It pained Mally to admit such a thing, but it seemed as though it were true whether she liked it or not. Feeling more helpless than she ever had before, Mally laid down in the cage, a few small tears escaping from her eyes as she did.
Tarrant had managed to hear what she said, but it only made his state of mind darker. He was suddenly consumed with a longing to be able to see Alice in her shining white armor on the glorious Frabjous day. To actually be there at her side, as Mally suggested, was something he had only ever dreamed about. However, as he stared at the bars that held him in, he knew it would remain a dream. But as long as she was safe, that was all that mattered.
Okay, so I know I took liberties with Bayard having been a puppy and a part of Alice's original adventure. Please don't shoot me for it! I also would like to say that Bayard's memory of Alice and Tarrant being quite the pair during her first adventure was directly inspired by the lovely web series, When Curiosity Met Insanity. If the flow proved really confusing and you would like to know where each scene is supposed to take place in correspondence with the film, please feel free to ask (and my apologies for making it so confusing!).