Disclaimer; In a world beyond my imagination, I do not own HnKnA and all its wonderful bishies and characters.
Gowland x Alice
One could say Alice was quite the musical connoisseur. She enjoyed a wide variety of music. Whether it was classical, jazz, or even hard rock, Alice Liddell would enjoy it. To her, a person could not go wrong with music. Music was a representation of one's soul, their hearts exposed through the gentle melody of song. If you loved music and poured every fiber of your being into each verse, Alice would understand and enjoy it.
But as with everything, there were always those rare exceptions, those very few that made her question her musical ideology.
One of those people included Mary Gowland.
"Ack! Alice, save yourself!" shouted an exasperated Boris, shooting out form the Amusement Park as fast as he possibly could.
But the foreigner could not run. She could only hear. Those discordant notes, that demonic sound of the devil's violin… She felt immobilized in her place, trapped by the horrible sound.
Then appeared the conductor of such earsplitting music… if one could even call it that.
"Oh, Alice! I didn't know you came!" Gowland dropped his bow to his side, smiling good-naturedly at the young foreigner.
Alice felt her own smile spreading over her face, inwardly joyous that such noise finally ceased. "Yeah, I just came for a visit."
"And at such a wonderful time as well! I was just practicing this piece I was dabbling with. It still needs work, but I'm getting there."
The brunette resisted a violent shiver, her head still throbbing from the memory. "O… oh. So that's what that… unique sound was?"
Gowland cheerfully nodded his head. "Hey, do you mind listening and telling me what you think?"
She fell completely still, processing the request in her mind. "E… excuse me?"
"Yeah! I was hoping you'd listen to my new song. I can't get anyone else to sit put and listen to it through its entirety. Boris was no help. Before I even got started, he just ran off.
The memory of the pink feline was still fresh in her mind. She remembered that look of horror, the sheer agony n his face. Alice never felt so sorry for the poor guy.
"So, will you listen?" Gowland pleaded, raising his bow and violin into the air, his eyes retaining a hopeful gleam.
Her mind suddenly felt alert, her senses on edge. It was as if some primal instinct of survival awoke from within her at the very life threatening suggestion. She had to get out of it.
But what could she say? She can't be too hard on the man... no matter how her ears still rung.
While her mind struggled to form a decent excuse, the Cheshire Cat returned and appeared by her side, coming to the girl's rescue. "Oh, there you are! I've been looking everywhere for you, Alice. We were supposed to go on that ride together. You promised," said Boris.
Brown lashes fluttered in confusion, staring at him as if he had just gone insane. Boris winked a golden eye. She immediately understood.
"O… oh, yeah! Right, I almost forgot." The young foreigner turned herself to face the Amusement Park owner. "I'm really sorry, Gowland, but I promised Boris first. You don't mind, do you?"
"Oh… yeah. Sure. Maybe later then. You go have fun," Gowland said, trying to keep his tone light and carefree… but failing miserably.
Boris grabbed Alice and pulled her forward, dashing off to sweet freedom.
But Alice's mind was elsewhere.
All she could think about was that forlorn expression, that uncharacteristic melancholy on the violinist's face.
Days passed. Alice hadn't gone back to the Amusement Park in quite sometime, sorting through this strange arrangement of emotion. At first, she was happily relieved. Her ears drums could finally recover from the original horrors of the park.
But, all that euphoria seemed to disappear. All that was left was a horrible, agonizing guilt.
Was she too hard on Gowland? Couldn't she have spared even a second of her time before running away? None of these wonderings and musings of her guilt-ridden mind could erase that air of disappointment.
That was why Alice stood there at the park's colorful gates, staring at the commotion, waiting for… what? She just didn't know. She just couldn't shake this sense that's something was missing.
Her lungs filled themselves with oxygen, allowing the warmth of the overhead sun to fill her with strength and courage to do what she came there to do.
Alice walked into the Amusement Park and set off on a search. Green eyes roved throughout the territory, straining her ears for even a single note. There was no strident noises, at least no noises that she considered out of the ordinary. She didn't even see him anywhere.
"Alice, I'm so glad to see you!" The brunette turned her head, verdant irises looking into cat garbed in bright pink.
"Oh, Boris, it's been awhile. Sorry I haven't been here for so long. I was… busy," she said, forcing her worried voice to lighten up into a more cheerful octave.
"Oh, that's okay, but I am really glad you're here. You wouldn't believe the good news even if I told you!" Alice was completely flabbergasted, studying that elated glint in his golden eyes. "I think it stopped, Alice."
"Can't you hear it?" Boris paused for a single dramatic moment. "I think the era of that devil music is finally over!"
Instead of even trying to match Boris's joy, she felt the very pits of her stomach twist and curl. She asked, "What do you mean?"
"It's the old man! He hasn't played his instruments at all these passed cycles. I think he's finally had it!" he happily explained.
Alice suddenly felt lightheaded, dizzy. Did Boris really mean that? Gowland… actually quit music?
"Oh, it's great! I'm thinking even throwing a party to celebrate this miraculous occasion!" The cat soon blinked, staring at her with curious eyes. "Hey, Alice… you okay?"
Alice made up her mind.
"… I need to see him."
"Oh, okay. That's just… wait. What?"
Her posture straightened. She knew exactly what to do. "I need to see him."
Despite Boris's cries and shouts for her to reconsider, she knew there was no going back now.
Alice must be insane. Absolutely and positively insane.
Not even that!
Alice Liddell must be a complete lunatic for doing this. Didn't she savor her hearing? Didn't she enjoy even having ears?
Deep down in her heart, she knew she had to make this sacrifice. It had to be done.
She knocked her knuckles against the door. "Gowland?"
No response. All that answered her was this disturbing manifestation of silence. Alice wrapped her hand around the cold knob and opened the door.
There he was. Mary Gowland sat quietly before a table, his green orbs dull and lackluster as they stared out into space.
"Gowland?" Her voice came quietly, almost like a whisper. She swallowed. "Gowland, are you okay?"
The Amusement Park owner raised his gaze, meeting her eyes. Chills raced down the length of her spine, seeing his orbs carry such a faded light, so gloomy and dreary.
His lips twitched, trying to force his mouth into a smile. "Oh. Alice. It's been awhile hasn't it?"
"Yes, I know." The fair-haired foreigner gingerly settled herself across from him.
Another long silence.
His gaze had fallen, transfixed on some unknown object below. Alice couldn't help, but stare at him.
How funny it was to see him like this. It was strange to see such a glum looking man wear such bright looking clothing. She then followed his gaze down. Her breath was caught in her throat; a cold chill enveloped her body. There it lay unused and forlorn – Gowland's violin.
"H… hey. Is it true?"
The Amusement Park owner lifted his gaze to stare at her, perplexed by such a statement. All he could see was the sadness washing over her own face, flooding into her large emerald eyes.
"Is it true that you haven't played any music lately?"
He merely observed her, dull eyes watching a pair of dewy green.
"Was it because of me? Was it because I didn't listen to your song that one day? If that's the case, I'm just so sorry. I never meant…"
Gowland cut her off from her babbling. "No, it has nothing to do with you not listening to me play." Alice released a sigh of ethereal relief, her mind freed of one worry. "My current disposition actually has to do with something I've felt for a long time now."
Now it was her turn to be perplexed, green eyes staring at him in curiosity.
He then decided to elaborate. "No one likes how I play, do they?" The foreigner remained silent, her body becoming stiff and rigid. "Come now. No need to hide it. I'm not stupid or blind. No one here seems to appreciate my music. At first, it never bothered me… but lately, it's starting to make me think. Maybe they're right. Maybe I'm not just cut out for this musician thing. Everyone would be much happier, wouldn't they?"
Alice was completely speechless, staring at his hunched form, that sad line flattening his mouth, dulling his eyes.
Alice just couldn't help herself. She slapped him right across the face
Gowland sat frozen, gently touching his reddening face before meeting the gaze of an annoyed girl.
"So that's why you stopped playing? Because of what other people think? Because not everyone seemed happy?" Her eyes seemed to burst into green flames. "That's the stupidest reason I've ever heard! Who cares if everyone is happy? All that matters is your happiness. That's all that matters. That's why I…"
Then she caught herself, falling completely still. Everything seemed to fall into place in her mind.
There was a reason why she kept returning to the Amusement Part, endured the ear shattering music, and damaged her hearing. Why she kept coming back again and again no matter how her ears warned her otherwise.
She loved seeing that smile on his face, that passion in his eyes. It touched her heart every time she saw him play.
"That's why you can't stop…" she continued softly. "You can't just give up something that makes you so happy…"
Gowland blinked several times, staring at her face and processing her words in his mind. Her green eyes glanced down at the tabletop. The brunette lifted the violin from its desolate perch and handed it up to him. "Can you please play me that song again? I'd love to enjoy an ancora."
For the first time since she saw him that day, a smile curled his mouth, adding a cheerful wrinkle in the corners of his eyes. "Sure."
The weight that encumbered her heart was suddenly lifted when the violinist took his instrument into his hands… and attacked her ears with a noise even more dreadful than she last heard it. She kept her face completely composed, forcing a smile on her lips and resisting the urgent need to run and hide. In the distance, she swore she could hear Boris wailing at such a sound.
But she told herself it didn't matter. Alice was just glad to see Gowland happy again.
'Well, didn't I say I enjoyed a wide variety of music?'
As long as they poured their whole heart into their music, then she would like it. Right now, Gowland must have had a huge heart.
Resisting a violent shudder of horror and distaste, she then came to a new conclusion. Alice wasn't insane.
She was simply a masochist.
A/N Notes: Poor Gowland... the guy doesn't get a lot of attention, you know? DON'T WORRY! I STILL CARE FOR YOU, MARY!
Thanks for reading~