Title: Of Clockwork and Mist
Genre: Mild angst which is completely shadowed by the horror, suspense, and drama
Word length: 2716
Synopsis After fleeing her world when Larxene of the Organization claimed it as her own, Alice has finally returned with Sora and his friends to beat the evil Nobody. As she fights, a figure waits for the outcome in the shadows...
Rating: PG-16 for some creepy shit, like some gore.
Yaoi/Yuri/Pairings: very very vaguely hinted Alice&Cheshire Cat... companion...ship...friend...? I don't know. But that's all you're getting out of any positive interaction with this story.
Notes: Alright, then, all of the stories within this collection are based off of the Gaia Online roleplay "Kill the Hero', which is based off of a song. Look us up. Long story short, it's an AU ending to the first Kingdom Hearts game. Instead of Xehanort's Heartless, it's the Organization who takes Kingdom Hearts power for themselves. They split it amongst themselves and now each control a world. Heroes are thrown into hiding, worlds locked down, and one final task remains for the Organization... They have to eliminate an obstacle: Sora. A lot of people involved have written 'What if' stories for it, from powers, to events we imagine would happen... Lots of different fandoms also get drawn in, including Marvel universe (Tony Stark, Deadpool) and Pixar (like The Incredibles). This collection features lots of different writers, myself included. Each will be credited on their own fics.
It's the Rabbit she notices first.
She remembers, once upon a time, how very fine his clothes were, how so well-kept he maintained himself despite tumbling down holes and traversing the great dreaming marvelous Wonderland. It was quite a feat, she remembers thinking back then, and how curious were his constant calls of how late he was.
He doesn't call anything now. He doesn't make a noise. He just quivers by the stolen throne, grime and blood clinging to his once white fur, the fur which had enticed her down a little rabbit hole. His eyes are wider than ever, no longer the faint pink she remembers but bloody red from vessels inside which have burst. As he stares at her from behind the monster responsible for all this ruin, he quivers all the harder, and tears begin to blend with the sludge and dirt on his fur.
Something deep, deep inside of her is pierced... And begins to burn white hot.
"Awwww, what's wrong? Is wittle Princess Alice getting all upset because I kicked over her little sandcastle?"
Everything... Everything, everything, everything is this demon's fault! Alice can feel her gauntleted fingers begin to shake from how tightly she has them curled into fists, and how her jaw aches from the tenseness she is filled with. How odd, to think how nervous she had been, how unusual she had thought this situation, her clothes, the people around her.
All that is gone, now.
She's not thinking about how a lady shouldn't wear pants tucked into knee-high boots made for exploring, about how Sora and his friends around her are ready to fight, about the sturdy steel gauntlets which guard her child's fingers or the odd gold clock choker which keeps tight around her throat, a precious gift from her dear Jack Spades...
All her thoughts are focused on how to make this scourge disappear.
Noise, from her right- It's Sora, shaking and scared (we're all only children, why us, why us), but she can't hear what he's saying to the evil creature known as Larxene. Everything is noise noise noise, buzzing static which covers her ears like cotton and bounces around her skull... And suddenly, one thing is clear.
A familiar whisper. A reassuring voice. Guidance.
"One, two! One, two! And through and through, the vorpal blade went snicker-snack! Time to do a service to our long lost Queen, and rid this blonde vixen of her head... You know the words, little Miss Alice..."
And she does.
Rolling her head back so that her face is looking up at the stormy sky, Alice's eyes fall shut. Inside her chest, the pain is growing all the harsher, scratching at her ribs and grasping at her lungs. It's like a wildfire gone all too right, and it's just screaming for a chance to get out...
So she lets it.
The power explodes from inside of her, bursting from her feet outwards. She doesn't look down to see what it is; her gaze is focused straight ahead on Larxene. If she had, however, she would have seen the elaborate gears of clockwork and numbers which glow from the dead grass, forming a clock beneath her. No notice is paid to how she's suddenly floating ever so slightly, the tips of her toes grazing the ground, because that's when the fight begins.
Even though she can't have any possible idea of what is happening, Larxene dashes forward, but Alice is not alone; Goofy is suddenly before her, protecting her valiantly with his shield, and Sora leaps over him, Keyblade at ready. Kairi and Donald are firing off spells already, she thinks, but is not certain, and where the odd Heartless who assists them is, she doesn't have a clue.
None of it matters, really.
All that she knows she must do is sing an old, old rhyme under her breath, one she heard upon a golden afternoon in a forest where she was watched by a face with no body.
"And, as in uffish thought he stood-"
Metal screeches against metal, flying blades which just barely miss their mark, but not for long-
"The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame-"
The air is burning, burning around her as she reaches out, carving a name in the air; maybe it's from the bright blue flames which appear at her fingertips, a peculiar substitute for ink; maybe it's from the Fire spells which Donald and Kairi are unleashing...
But Alice thinks it's none of those.
"Came whiffling through the tulgey wood-"
Wind rages past her, blowing her long hair past her face and throwing the participants of the battle, but mostly that monster, off balance. Perhaps they attribute it to the storm which screams about them, and only she knows that is otherwise.
"And burbled as it came."
She finishes it in a whisper, feeling the air within the circle bubble and press against her from all sides. Slowly, her hand drops, her pointer finger returning to a fist while the word burns in front of her... And then, one by one, the letters flip around, each motion accompanied by a sharp ringing sound perhaps only she can hear. It reminds her of metal slamming down, creating a stamp, a seal, a proof of existence...
The name burns in front of her, letters writhing in their elegant, twisting blue font.
Wonderland seems to slow. Before her, beyond the curls and angles of letters, she can see the combatants pause for what is probably a split second, but feels so much longer to her. Inside the circle, time goes by the opposite, reminding her of something she believes the Mad Hatter once said about angering it...
Apparently, Wonderland's Time is very much her ever humble servant.
Something creaks and groans and snarls, pulling itself out from the golden watch face beneath her feet. A massive claw slams into the ground besides her, but Alice doesn't even spare it a glance. Even though she's not looking at it, she knows exactly how the creature which guards her and fights for her appears: a grotesque yet fitting representation of what her Wonderland was and now is. Clockwork and steam and flesh are molded together, entwined, creating massive claws and teeth, stretching out to make disturbing wings with claws that click, and stretching to allow those giant orbs which dared to be called eyes...
For a moment, they are sweet golden.
Then Alice blinks, her eyes suddenly nothing but engulfing blue, and its are suddenly nothing but drowning red.
"Snicker-snack," they say, echoes and fun-house reflections of one another.
"Just... some children, and animals."
Despite the broken bones, the bruises, the gashes, and the blood which drips down her mouth, staining her lips red, Larxene manages to jerk her head up, clumsily leaping backwards from her wounded crouch on the forest floor. There's no more of that savage gracefulness the Organization once knew her for. It left her, sometime in that long, aggravating battle against the bastard Keyblade Wielder and his little friends, against that Darkness damned little bitch with her clockwork toy which would just never fucking die...
Oh yes, she's hurt. She hopes they hurt all the worse with the condition they are in as well. Unfortunately, they have an advantage she doesn't: healers.
That might change now, however. Sitting on a tree branch a few yards away from her is a familiar face, one half hidden behind slate-colored hair. Like he seems rather fond of these days, "King" Zexion is garbed in that royal attire of his, all black and silver; it's just another way of dressing in Organization colors, except now he has a fancy crown to go with it. The only thing that has changed today is the long black cape with a bit of fur which drapes over his shoulders as he keeps one leg curled up to his chest, arms lazily wrapped around it.
"How disappointing," he continues, and Larxene would almost be pissed at the condescending words, except... something's off. Maybe it's because his words aren't belittling her because they are perfectly, completely blank. Or maybe it's how even at this distance, she can see the bags around his eyes, signs of days without sleep, or how his pupils are constricted within irises that seem just a bit too bright a blue...
Larxene can't spare the energy to pretend to care or be worried, however. She's too busy wasting it on being pissed at being beaten by those little self-righteous snots, and too busy bleeding to death. All she can manage is a snarl and "Shut up!" It's not that threatening, however, when her voice bubbles because of the blood still in her throat. "Just shut up, Zexion! Heal me, now! I know you carry potions with you!"
Something is definitely off. Zexion has always been the one to advocate teamwork, of the Organization sticking together. That said, he's always been the one quickest to heal an injured member, to lend a bit of magic or a taste of hi-potion. This time, he doesn't hurry to her aid. He only lets his head tilt to the side in an almost lazy manner before he slips down from the branch, landing with a form a feline would be jealous of. As he slowly walks over to her, hands hidden behind his back and cloak, he sings under his breath. "The Twelfth was a gallant red one, wielding knives in Wonderland, slicing down everything in her way... She was followed by a bloody red path..."
Just a few feet away from her, he stops, and she's in no position to get up herself. Damn, her wounds are this bad...? Her attention is drawn to the superior member once more when he begins to speak. "You know, Twelve, I'm currently in the middle of two experiments. One involves that dear Princess you were just fighting. I... had been hoping. Hoping that you were strong enough to get her to reveal more. You... That was a disgrace compared to what my expectations were." His eyes almost flutter closed before snapping open again. "I... I'm afraid that means you can only assist me in one more endeavor, Twelve."
"Whatever!" Why is the bastard still talking! She's dying, dammit! "I'll help you with your stupid experiment! Help me up!"
The way he stares at her is so disturbingly blank, so disgustingly reminiscent of that which they try so hard not to be. But with a blink, it's gone for the moment as he leans down and offers her a hand. With a tug, she's leaning on him, waiting for a vial to reach her lips or sparks of magic to flicker about her...
He just smiles at her, his black coat shifting slightly, whispering as his other arm moves. The way his mouth twists is wrong, all wrong, too wide and stretched too thin with teeth bared just slightly in a way that's threatening... "I knew you'd do more for me the second time," he hisses, even as something cold and hard presses against her temple.
Her body fades before it even hits the ground. Zexion stands there a moment longer, swaying gently from side to side as he lowers the handgun in his hand. It's an odd thing, a mechanical and magical work of genius. Glowing white lines, symbols, and words weave across its black exterior, all converging to one point...
Eerily calm for one who has just murdered his teammate, Zexion checks the inside of the gun, and smirks darkly when he spots the glowing bullet which lies inside. It wasn't there before... In fact, it glows with a faint lunar light, and crackles with slight bursts of electricity.
Putting the gun back together, Zexion feels his breathing slow before he suddenly chuckles. It's a short thing, soft and dangerous, before more and more slip forth as he leans back on his heals, face turned towards the branches above him. Pressing the gun and his free hand against his face, he just continues to laugh, but they're never loud, never maniacal... Just oh-so soft and dangerous, bleeding madness. Suddenly, he stops, shoulders slumping and the smile sinking into a neutral line. Breathing deeply, he lets his hands fall to his sides, and stares emptily up into the branches.
"Good work," he breathes. "It will be beneficial, I think. You... You won't have to worry. Power... This... It's mine now. I'll... It will be used well." There's barely any control when he lets his head roll back so that he's staring down at his hands. For some reason he can't comprehend, they're shaking. "Well," he whispers to himself and grass stained black. "Yes, so... very... well."
"But it can be oh-so prob-le-matic," he suddenly adds, voice rising, mock anger twisting and constricting the sing-song tint in his tone. The hand which holds his gun begins to shake violently as he bares his teeth; whether in elation or aggravation, it is uncertain. "A gun, a gun, Miss Twelve!" He twists around, spinning in place slightly as he gestures widely with his gun arm, twirling the weapon around on one finger. Shadows and hair hide his eyes, but not the crescent smile which stretches morbidly across his face. "My, my! Such force, such bloodshed, such thrice damned noise." A foot slams to the ground, stopping his whirling movement as the smile warps into the opposite.
All around him, the world melts, a child's watercolor painting left out in a storm. Greens and grays and steels all drip to the floor, disappearing into gutters with rust lining the edges. Once serene trees are now ghastly and gnarly creations of metal, rusted with blood. Grass withers away, replaced by something tough and leather, sickly yellow and tan... It's taut from being pulled at from all directions in the middle of a large opening. Beyond is all metal grating, glowing a repulsive red from something red-hot deep within the darkness down below...
And before him is Larxene.
Her face is still frozen in that wide look of surprise, and the wound is so very neat and clean, he notices as he walks swayingly over to her, barely keeping his balance. Just one little hole with a bit of black, a bit of red... If he dug his fingers in deeper and just gave a few tugs, maybe there'd be a bit of purple and gray as well...
With deceivingly gentle, slow movements, he crouches down, arms propped limply on his knees. He rolls his head around, letting it fall to the opposite side from where it started. "I can't hear myself think," he says softly, the last word snapping from his lips. "The shot drowns it all out. And sometimes I... miss things. You can't miss things within a book, but..." Cautiously, he drags a finger up the deathly pale expanse of her neck, dipping through trails of blood. "I'd have to bash... and bash... and bash... Until your skull caved in, piercing the parietal lobe with jagged edges whilst blood drowned the frontal and your neck would snap in the most enthralling manner..." The tips of his fingers stop right at the bullet's entry. They slip inside, past the ragged flesh and bone, and then slip right back out. Taking a deep, shuddering breath, he brings his arms close to himself, elbows digging into his stomach as he presses the bloody fingers to his lips, the other curled fingers brushing against his chin. "But then my book would be destroyed."
She doesn't answer him, the uncivilized hag.
His mouth tightens into a frown but it quickly fades away as he rocks back and forth on his heels, fingers still frozen at his mouth. Subtly, his gaze grows distant, and he begins to sing again under his breath. "If it weren't for the red path that she made... No one would even think she existed..."
He stays there, for a moment more, doing his best to keep his eyes open, but Master Sand eventually catches up with him... All he knows is that one minute his eyes are open, and the next, he's opening them again. The grass is green, the trees are gray and blue, and Larxene is dead, is nothing once more.
Unsteadily, he pushes himself up, holstering the gun. Tendrils of shadows twist about at his feet, rising with a dark purple smoke. Before he vanishes, he takes one final look at the spot where Larxene's body would have been had she been real...
"At last an idea, the dream thought. I shall make people come to me," he murmurs, and disappears into blackness.
Last Author's Note:
This story was written by myself, Trilies. I do not own any Disney, Squeenix, or any combination thereof characters. The song Zexion mutters to himself is Alice Human Sacrifice, a Vocaloid thing, and the Jabberwocky poem is Carrol's.
Reviews and constructive criticism is loved but not mandatory!