So this came to me early this morning, and I've been writing non stop ever since. This oneshot (as well as my two others, Blood Of The Jabberwocky and Um And The Hat Man), is apart of a series I'm calling "Alice's Wonderland", which will be a series of oneshots which will either be missing/extended/alternative scenes, scenes from before the movie, and scenes set after the movie. For more info, check out my profile.
So yes, I know there are loads of these 'what if?' balcony scenes, but I felt like doing one of my own. I hope you all like it!
It was funny how the very little light of the stars could illuminate the grand castle of Marmoreal, especially with no moon out and the clouds shutting out most of the sky. Alice pondered this as she stood on the balcony alone, gazing out over the wondrous place she had somehow dreamed up. But since it was a dream, nothing had to make sense, right? This was what Alice concluded. There were talking animals here, a drink that could make her shrink, and a cake that could make her grow. There was a disappearing cat, a queen with a head that was too big for her body, and a hatter who's eyes could change colour with his emotions.
Yes, nothing made sense at all. Why would an illuminating castle be any different?
Alice allowed herself to sigh. This place was so much different compared to London, and some part of her wanted to believe that this was all true. That she had really fallen down a rabbit hole. But her mother had once told her that if it was too good to be true, then chances were, it wasn't true at all. Not to mention how impossible it all seemed.
"The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe that it is possible."
Her father's words echoed around in her head, and Alice wanted so much to listen to them. But this was a dream. It had to be a dream. She had dreamt so many like it since she could remember, despite this particular one being the most realistic she'd ever had.
She was unaware of the Hatter standing in the archway, hat under his arm, and carefully watching Alice with a smile on his face. His mind drew back to all that had happened; the fight in the Red Queen's dressing room, where he had discovered that Alice felt the same way about him as he did her. Then, his mind drew back to their reunion; how she had run into his arms, happy that he was alive, and he had held her like she would disappear again, just like she had done all those years ago. He had loved her back then, only that had been a different kind of love. But now, it had transformed into something he wanted to learn more about.
Finally, plucking up the courage, he went to stand next to her. Alice turned and smiled up at him as he placed his hat in front of him. There was so many things he wanted to say to her, but all he could find himself saying was:
"Do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?"
It still appeared to be the right thing, though, for Alice smiled up at him. He had asked her this question so many times in her dreams, and yet, she still didn't know the answer to it. She wondered if she ever would find the answer.
"Let me think about it," she answered thoughtfully.
The Hatter's smile never left his face. Maybe, just maybe, she had changed her mind about the Frabjous Day? She had tried to rescue him, after all, and had retrieved the Vorpal Sword. Her muchness was there, too; not as much as it had been on her first visit, but she had regained most of it already. He knew that when she stepped out to slay the Jabberwocky, the rest would come to her. He had faith in her. And he needed her to see this.
"You know what tomorrow is, don't you?" he asked, his eyebrows waggling.
Alice turned to look up at him, confused at first, before she let out a sigh. The entire castle had been talking about it all day long. It made her wonder how she could have forgotten. But then again, she had purposely tried to forget; she didn't want to dwell on the fact that the following day, she would be faced with what would be the greatest choice of her life. Even though it was all a dream. Her dream. Why did she have to slay it if it was her dream?
"Frabjous Day, how could I forget?" she remembered, in what seemed to be dismay. "I wish I'd wake up."
The Hatter snapped his head round to face her. Wake up? So she still believed this to be a dream. After all she had been through – after all she had said – she still thought that this was all a dream. He thought that maybe she would believe this to be real after what had happened in the Red Queen's castle.
"You still believe this is a dream, do you?" he asked, although he already knew the answer.
"Of course," Alice replied, almost sadly. "This has all come from my own mind."
The Hatter pondered over this. If all this had come from her own mind, then who was he? Just some character she had dreamed up? What if this really was just apart of her dream? His brain was in a big muddle when he finally spoke.
"Which would mean...that I'm not real?"
Alice smiled weakly up at him. As sad and upsetting as it was to admit, she had dreamt him up.
"I'm afraid so," she admitted. "You're just a figment of my imagination."
And what an over-active imagination it was, since it could think up all this, more, and make it look real. The Hatter turned away, a look of confusion, shock, and sadness spread across his face. This did not go unnoticed by Alice. She began to fear that she had offended him, so decided to try and cheer him up a bit.
"I would dream up someone who's half mad," she added, shrugging innocently.
This seemed to do the trick. The Hatter's face brightened up, and he turned to Alice with a look of playfulness mixed with joy.
"Yes, yes, but you would have to me half mad to dream me up," he said back, his smile wider.
Alice couldn't hide the smile from her face. She didn't mind people calling her mad; her father had once called her mad (followed by him telling her that all the best people are), and many others have, who Alice chose to ignore. And the Hatter calling her mad made her feel warm inside. It felt...right.
"I must be then," she proclaimed.
They exchanged a smile, before turning back to gaze upon Underland. Then, having another thought, Alice turned back to the Hatter.
"I'll miss you when I wake up."
It was true. Her father excluded, never before had she met anyone who truly understood her, and who she understood completely. A look of confusion spread across the Hatter's face.
The Hatter turned back to her.
"What's strange?" he asked.
"I just had another thought," she realized. "Do you think it's...strange, to fall in love with a dream?"
She smiled up at him, but the question was still very much there, clearly shown in her features. The Hatter found himself pondering over this very possibility; he couldn't be a dream, surely! Otherwise he would not be able to remember what happened before Alice first arrived in Underland. If Underland was a dream, then it would not have existed before Alice. So what was the use of asking – and answering – such a question? He wasn't a dream. But Alice's pleading eyes made him reconsider.
"Well, does it feel strange to you?" he asked her.
Alice turned away, deep in thought. He had a point. In her mind, it didn't feel strange at all. The heart wants what the heart wants, and she knew very well what her heart wanted. She imagined it to feel strange, falling in love with a dream, but it didn't. She had dreamed him up, after all, so it wouldn't really feel strange.
"No...it doesn't," she admitted.
"Then it's not strange at all," the Hatter answered. "These things all depend on how you feel about them. If you don't think it's strange, then it does not matter what others think. Just so long as you're happy."
Alice smiled up at him.
"I guess it does make sense, though," she realized. "I dreamed up the kind of man I was looking for; who I desired."
"You were looking for me?" he asked.
"Well, not necessarily you," Alice explained, "but the kind of man you are, yes. Back in London, Mother was always pushing suitors in my face. Saying that I had to find someone soon or die a spinster. I kept on telling her to stop it, saying that I didn't want to, but in truth, I did. I just wanted to find the right man in my own time. So I guess that was what made me dream up this world...it's the only place I can find a man like you. Since everyone is mad here."
"I am not mad," the Hatter resorted playfully.
"Then why do they call you the Mad Hatter?" Alice asked with an equal amount of playfulness.
"All right, I give in," the Hatter gave up, causing Alice to giggle slightly. "But everyone has to be at least a bit insane, mad, bonkers, off their rocker-"
"I'm fine. No one can be completely sane," he finished.
"You have a point," Alice realized, her mind drawing back to her friends and family. "My father was mad to try and expand his company East. My Aunt Imogene was mad to think that she had a prince for a fiancée. My sister was mad for marrying Lowell, the dog. My mother was mad to think that she could marry me off to the first suitor who came knocking on our door. And Hamish was mad for asking me to marry him."
Alice immediately turned back to him, to see that the Hatter's eyes were threatening to turn to that reddish colour whenever he was angry. Of course he would be upset about that particular topic; he loved her, after all.
"Oh, Hatter, don't worry, it's nothing," she assured him. "I never would say yes to him, even if he was the last man on Earth. It was that which made me chase after McTwisp in the first place. He had just asked me, and I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to marry him, and yet, everyone was staring at me, adding the pressure. Everyone expected me to, he's a Lord, my face won't last, and I didn't want to end up like my Aunt Imogene. So, when I saw McTwisp standing off to the side, I did the only thing I could think of and ran."
"But Alice, why would you want to wake up to that?" the Hatter asked.
"As much as I would love to stay in this dream forever, I know that I'll have to wake up eventually," Alice replied. "There's my mother and sister, for a start. They'd be worried sick. And my sister's husband, Lowell; before I left, I saw him kissing another girl. I need to go back there and make sure that doesn't happen again. Then there's my father's company; he died before he could follow his dream and expand it, so I wish to do that for him. And there's the pleasure of soundly turning Hamish down."
She laughed, and the Hatter had to laugh with her.
"This may be a dream," Alice continued, "but I've had so many like it. I know that I can always come back whenever I feel like London is getting too much for me. All I'll have to do is sleep. And I will thank the heavens that I have friends like you all, and a place I can escape to when reality is being a pain."
"Yes, he has a tendency to do that, Reality," the Hatter commented, referring to reality as a real person, like time. "He can be worse than Time, the tricky bugger."
"But even if you are all a dream, I can't stop worrying about you all, particularly you, Hatter," she continued once again. "It made me scared, knowing that you would be facing your death back at the Red Queen's castle, and it makes me worry that it may happen again. And next time you won't be so lucky."
"Alice, this is your dream, remember?" the Hatter told her, despite knowing that this wasn't a dream at all; he just needed to reassure her. "And so long as this is your dream, you decide what happens. So, it's safe to say that I shall live a long life, thanks to you."
Once again, Alice smiled. She loved him so much, even if he was just a dream.
"And I would happily die for you, if that was what it took to keep you safe, Alice," the Hatter continued. "We all would. You're not just our Champion; you're a friend."
"And I'm happy that I am," Alice agreed, even though she disagreed with the Champion part.
There was silence for a moment, both of them just staring out over the vast landscape, before the Hatter found himself speaking again.
"We would miss you too, you know," he began. "When you "wake up", I mean. Nivens will probably faint, the Tweedles will probably have an argument over who misses you more, Absolem will have no one to call 'stupid', the Bandersnatch will probably let no one else near him, Chessur will vanish and probably never appear again, Thacks will throw the entire tea set everywhere until there's nothing else left, the White Queen will turn slightly grey in sadness, Bayard will whimper like a common dog, and Mally...well, she'll have no one to poke."
She couldn't help it. Alice burst out laughing, but deep down, she knew that was what everyone in Underland would do. They seemed mad enough to, anyway.
"And what about you, Hatter?" she asked. "What would you do when I wake up?"
The Hatter turned away, giving it some thought. What would he do when Alice "woke up"? Well, if there was one thing he knew he wouldn't do, it was sit at those tea tables again, killing Time in the process. Alice wouldn't want that.
"Well, I would become the Royal Hatter again," he began. "I would make hats, of course, but most of them would be for you. I would have a special room, filled with hats only fit for an Alice to wear. I would make dresses, too, for you to wear when you returned, but of course, with no corsets or stockings, since you've already told me that you despise them, and I wouldn't want to make you unhappy, although I can't say that I disagree with you, because from what you've told me, they are very nasty things-"
"I'm fine," he thanked her. "I would also name one of those stars after you; the Alice star, it would be called. And at Brillig, instead of going to tea, I shall stand out here, gazing up at your star, and I would think of you. I would call it my Alice Hour, where I would spend an hour each day thinking about you, and wondering what you're doing up there in your world. And maybe...I might even cry."
"Of course," he replied. "You're very important to me, Alice. Dear, even. To everyone."
"And you're all dear to me," Alice agreed. "I glad I imagined McTwisp at the party, and I'm glad I followed him. He saved me, in a way. I don't know what would have happened with Hamish if I hadn't run off."
"I'm glad you did," the Hatter stated. "Because you ran to me."
Alice smiled. Again.
"I guess I did, Hatter," she agreed. "Even if I didn't know it, and even if you are only a dream. You're the best dream I've ever had."
"I shall take that as a compliment."
"Alice, will you be waking up any time soon?" the Hatter finally asked.
"Hopefully not," she replied. "I still need to figure things out, and I would like to see Underland when I'm not trying to get kidnapped or killed. And it all depends on what happens tomorrow, really."
"So you're going to step forwards?"
"I'm not sure," Alice admitted. "That's one of the things I need to think about. We shall see in the morning, I guess."
All he could do was smile down at her, and Alice found herself smiling back. The rest of the evening was spent in a calm, friendly silence, both thinking about each other and how they had both come into each other's lives, and what life would be like once they were separated again. Alice especially was in deep thought; oh, she wanted this place to be real. That would mean that the Hatter would be real, too.
If there was one thing she had never expected to happen in this dream, it was to fall in love.
Please review and tell me what you all think! And stay tuned for more from this series!