So here's the next in the Alice's Wonderland series. It takes place two months after 'Blood of the Jabberwocky', and contains a fair amount of fluff. So be warned!
The idea came to me after my History teacher told our class a story similar to it. So I would like to thank him for this idea! I hope you all enjoy!
Disclaimer: Don't own Alice in Wonderland. End of.
Trail of Memories
Alice hadn't really been expecting anything special when she woke up that morning, two months to the day since the events of the Frabjous Day. She had expected everyone to be a little brighter than normal, and of course, for the White Queen to inform her of yet another celebration ball in anniversary of the historical day. Alice thought that two months was reasonable, but a two-week-and-a-quarter anniversary? Mirana had been going too far with that one.
What Alice woke up to, however, was something she hadn't been expecting at all. A hat sitting atop of her head. She didn't have to guess to know who put it there, but it certainly was a pleasant surprise. Removing it from her head, Alice sat herself up and took a good look at it; it was blue in colour, like the dress she had worn when she first arrived in Underland, and in the style of the Hatter's own hat, only smaller.
It was a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, and Alice knew just by looking at the delicate stitchings that it must have taken weeks to complete. It certainly explained why the Hatter had been working late during the past few weeks. Alice reminded herself to most definitely thank him for it.
It was then that she noticed a small card tucked into the silk blue ribbon which was tied around the hat. Alice removed it with curiosity, and saw the numbers '10/7' written onto it. She then turned the card over, to find that there was a note on the back:
McTwisp is waiting for you by the Room of Doors. Do not be late.
Alice read the note over and over, wondering what it could mean, but her mind had drawn a blank.
"Whatever for," she said aloud. "I hope he won't send me back up there again. Still, I won't know until I meet him."
So, Alice carefully placed the hat on her bedside table and climbed out of bed. She washed up and changed into practical travel clothes, since the Room of Doors was a long way off, before she placed her new hat upon her head. It really was a lovely hat, after all; there was no point keeping it hidden away.
Alice met none of her friends as she made her way through the castle, which she did find rather odd. She would usually see a number of familiar faces first thing in the morning, but she met none. The Bandersnatch was even absent from his stable when Alice went to fetch him. She sighed. Walking to the Room of Doors would take far too long.
The girl in question turned, to find the Queen's white mare, Serena, standing behind her. She was all saddled up and ready, as if she had known Alice would be needing her.
"Her Majesty said you would be needing me," she continued. "Where is it you would like to go?"
Alice was silent for a few moments, wondering how the Queen knew and what was going on. But she decided to leave the questions for later. She doubted that she would be getting any answers at that moment.
"The Room of Doors, if that's all right with you?" she finally replied.
"It's no trouble at all," Serena assured her. "Hop on."
So Alice climbed on. She had ridden many horses as a young girl, so knew how to hold the reigns and how to keep her back straight. Her mother had always forced her to ride side-saddle like a proper lady, but Alice found that position very uncomfortable, so sat astride Serena like a man would.
"And hold onto that hat, Miss Alice," Serena warned her. "You wouldn't want to lose something as special as that."
Alice understood, so gripped onto her hat tightly as Serena leapt forwards into a steady canter.
They arrived at the Room of Doors, and when Serena slowed to a steady halt, Alice dismounted and walked the last few metres to the steps. All around her, the flowers were whispering to one another, and a couple of times Alice heard her name mentioned. She wondered what they were saying about her.
Like it said in the note, McTwisp was indeed waiting for her. He was looking down at his pocket watch when she arrived in front of him, and sensing her presence, the rabbit looked up.
"Ah, there you are, Alice!" he exclaimed, putting his watch back into his pocket.
"You needed to see me, Nivens?" she asked, crouching down in front of him.
"Well, more specifically, I needed to give you something," Nivens replied, before handing her a folded piece of paper.
Alice looked from the paper to him, then back again, before she took it with a hesitant hand. Opening it up, Alice saw that there was writing written on the inside:
It was here where you first came to Underland as a little girl and then as a young woman. You had to shrink in order to get through the door, if I recall. Must you always be too small?
Confusion settled in. What was going on? Alice's eyes fell back upon McTwisp, who just gave her a smile.
"Hurry along, now. Absolem is waiting for you in the Mushroom Garden," he said, before he turned and hopped away without a trace.
Alice watched him go with a bemused expression. She knew that the inhabitants of Underland were a bit odd, but this was unusual, even for them.
"To the Mushroom Garden, Miss Alice?"
Turning to walk back to Serena, Alice nodded to answer the mare's question.
"Yes, to the Mushroom Garden."
Serena acknowledged and trotted towards the location once Alice was mounted. It did not take very long, and the travellers soon came across blue smoke drifting around a single mushroom. Alice dismounted, and taking a few steps forwards, she caught sight of a blue butterfly seated on the mushroom, smoking a hookah.
"Absolem?" Alice spoke up.
"Yes, it's me, stupid girl," Absolem bitterly replied.
"Sorry," Alice apologized. "I'm still getting used to seeing you as a butterfly instead of a caterpillar."
"You should still know who I am," the butterfly told her. "We could go back and forwards all day, so I'll just get this over with. There's a note for you on that small mushroom. Read it."
Turning her head, Alice noticed the folded piece of paper lying on a smaller mushroom, which she picked up. She opened it up and began to read:
It was here that you were told your destiny. You were so sure that you were the wrong Alice, but I would know you anywhere.
Alice folded the note back up again and turned to Absolem with an annoyed look.
"What's going on here?" she demanded. "Am I on a wild goose chase, or something?"
"Call it a Trail of Memories," Absolem corrected her. "It will all make sense once you get to the end, but for now, you need to make your way to the Creepy Crossroads."
Alice sighed, but she knew that she would be getting no more answers out of the butterfly. So she turned and climbed back onto Serena, asking the horse to take her to the mentioned location. She did just that, and soon, they were trotting towards the old, dark tree. Unsurprisingly, Alice found Tweedledum and Tweedledee standing next to it, pushing and shoving each other.
The two boys looked up, and the scowls left their faces when they saw Alice mounted upon Serena in front of them.
"Alice!" they both happily exclaimed.
"Let me guess, you two have a note for me, too?" she asked.
"How would yous be knowing that, then?" Dee asked back.
"She's already been having two, or three, counting her hat one," Dum explained.
"Contrariwise, that one don't count, since it just told her where to go in order to start," Dee argued.
"So do you two have one for me or not?" Alice interrupted.
"Yes, we have two!" Dee replied, holding up a bit of paper.
"No we don't, no-how!" Dum corrected him, also holding up a bit of paper, and Alice realized that it was the same note, just ripped in half. "You ripped it!"
"No, you ripped it!" Dee argued.
"That's because it wasn't being your turn!" Dum yelled, and they began to push and shove each other again.
They both turned to look up at Alice again.
"Can I please have the note?" she asked, holding out her hand.
The Tweedles placed both halves into her hand, and holding two and two together, Alice read the note:
You were so lost and so alone, with no where to go, but I want to make sure you are never alone again.
Alice smiled down at the words. They brought back so many pleasant memories of what happened two months before, ones she knew she would never forget. She was silent for a moment, before she turned back to the Tweedles.
"Where should I go now?" she asked them.
"I think you need to be going to Chessur," Dee replied.
"He be having the next one," Dum added. "If it ain't Chessur, there ain't no note, no-how."
Alice nodded and Serena trotted south-west towards the Tulgey Wood. The wood wasn't as dark as it had been last time Alice was there, but she was still slightly unsure about it.
"Miss Alice, don't sit so tense," Serena told her. "It makes me tense, and then there's more chance of you falling off."
"Sorry, Serena," Alice apologized, relaxing.
They continued, until Chessur's ghostly form appeared in front of them.
"Enjoying the ride, luv?" he asked, crossing his front paws carelessly.
"I would be if I weren't being sent all over Underland," Alice replied. "I've been told you have something for me?"
"How did you guess?" he asked, taking out a small piece of paper with his tail.
Alice took it from him and began to read it:
I knew you had returned, even as you walked through these very woods. But I was patient, and I waited. Just as I am waiting for you now.
A smile once again crept across Alice's face as she read the note.
"Smile any wider, luv, and you'll give me a run for my money," Chessur commented.
Alice just rolled her eyes.
"Do you know what's going on here?" she tried.
"I wish you were as patient as Tarrant, Alice," Chessur tut-tutted her. "Not to worry, dear. Things will soon become...transparent for you."
He disappeared, leaving Alice and Serena alone. But he soon reappeared again up ahead.
Serena trotted after him, and Chessur led them to the clearing where the tea tables still sat. But this time, only one guest sat in attendance: the March Hare. He was fast asleep, face down, but Serena's trotting hooves woke him up. He immediately picked up a teacup and took aim.
"You're all late for tea!" he cried, before launching it in their direction.
Both Alice and Serena ducked their heads to avoid it, and Chessur vanished as the teacup smashed against the tree behind them all. Thackery laughed insanely.
"Um, Thackery?" Alice began, dismounting from Serena. "Do you have a note for me, at all?"
The hare immediately gained some sense, and looking round, his eyes fell upon a teapot, which he picked up. He handed it to her, and Alice took it. But she was very confused.
"This is a teapot," she stated.
So Alice did as asked, and inside, she found not tea, but a note. She took it out, and after placing the teapot back down again, she began to read:
I hid you in this very teapot when you finally came to me. You were the Right Alice, but lacking the Muchness I loved about you. And you were still too small! Why were you always too small?
Alice couldn't help but giggle as she placed the note back into the teapot.
"Where to now?" she asked the hare.
But Thackery just laughed madly, before he began to sing rather out of tune, jumping up and down.
"You won't get much out of him," Chessur explained, reappearing again. "Head for the clearing, Alice. Mally should be waiting for you there."
So Alice once again remounted Serena, and the horse trotted past the tea tables and back into the Tulgey Wood. It took them a short while to reach the clearing, where the remains of the Horunvendush Day still stood in ruin. Alice held her head low in respect as they passed through. She would have to talk to the White Queen about rebuilding it.
"Well, it's about time!"
Alice turned and looked to the ground, where she saw the little white dormouse known as Mallymkun standing, arms folded and glaring up at her.
"Could have made it here a lot faster, if you ask me!" she snapped.
"Mally, I know we haven't been on very good terms, but what do you have against me now?" Alice asked, dismounting.
"A lot of things, actually, which you will never understand!" Mallymkun snapped again. "I'm only doing this for Hatter! So here's the note, and afterwards, Bayard is waiting for you in Salazen Grum! Goodbye!"
And with that, she handed the note to Alice and scurried away into the woods, not even giving Alice a second glance. Alice just watched her go, rather confused, before she read the note:
What happened here was what started all this in the first place. I will never be the same after that day, but I wish to start over again. I hope you feel the same way.
Alice felt a tear come to her eye just thinking about what the Hatter must have been through. What would have happened if she had well and truly left? She shuddered at the very thought, and remounted Serena.
"To Salazen Grum, Miss Alice?" she asked.
"I guess so," Alice replied, a little unsure.
"Not to worry, Miss Alice," Serena assured her. "Salazen Grum has been empty since the fall of the Red Queen. We wouldn't let you near there if it wasn't safe."
So Alice allowed Serena to gallop at full speed towards the Red Queen's fortress, and once they were outside the drawbridge, they met up with Bayard.
"Good morning, Bayard," Alice greeted him.
"Good afternoon, actually," Bayard corrected her.
Alice looked up at the sun, and noticed that he was right. She had been travelling all morning long, and the sun had already passed the midday point.
"If you would like to follow me, Alice, I have a note waiting for you inside," Bayard continued.
Serena waited outside as Alice followed Bayard, the bloodhound leading her through the long and dusty hallways of the castle. Alice realized that Serena had been right; the place was deserted, apart from the many spiders inhabiting the cobwebs strung in the corners of the walls.
Bayard came to a halt outside of a very familiar room.
"In here," he said, gesturing for her to go on.
Alice did just that, and found that her suspicions were correct. She had stepped inside the Hatter's old work room, where most of his hats and tools were still lying carelessly across the work table. It was on this very table that Alice found another note:
It took a lot of muchness for you to come here. And all for me, as well. I really wasn't that important, but you seemed to think so. You brought me from my rage, and assured me that the madness was nothing to be ashamed of. I wanted to comfort you too, but you were too tall! Always too tall or too small! But I will never forget that it was here when I first found out that you love me as much as I love you.
Alice smiled, and a tear ran down her cheek as she remembered those precious memories; her holding his face, and finally realizing her feelings for him. She sniffed as she wiped the tear from her face, before she walked back out again to Bayard.
"Such wonderful memories," she told him, when he gave her red eyes a questioning look.
"I understand," he said. "Make your way to the battlefield. Your great lump is waiting for you."
Alice smiled, knowing that he meant the Bandersnatch, before she hurried back out the castle and remounted Serena. She travelled at full gallop, since the sun was already starting to go down, and they arrived on the chessboard field where the great battle had been fought. And standing there in the middle was the Bandersnatch. He whimpered happily as Alice approached him on foot.
"Hello, Bandy," Alice greeted him. "Do you have something for me?"
He made a noise in reply, and removed his paw to reveal a note lying underneath. Alice bent down to pick it up and opened it:
You were Alice at last. I knew you were the right Alice! You fought the Jabberwocky for all of Underland, but when you went down, I was scared. I was scared that you were going to be killed and I would never see you again. So I interfered. I'm sorry if you didn't want me to, but I couldn't bare to see you hurt. That is all behind us now, and thanks to you, Underland is peaceful at last. And I am happy that you have chosen to stay in order to enjoy the White Queen's reign of peace.
These notes really where starting to get emotional, Alice realized. She wondered what the Hatter had planned.
"You can ride the Bandersnatch from here, Alice," Serena spoke up. "He will take you to your next location. I will be right behind you."
Alice smiled and nodded, before climbing onto the Bandersnatch and allowing him to charge off back towards the White Castle with Serena following along behind. It was sunset by the time they arrived, and once in the courtyard, Alice found the White Queen waiting for them.
"Mirana?" she questioned.
"Thank you, Serena," the White Queen thanked her horse, before turning to Alice. "Did you have a nice day, Alice?"
"Well, it was lovely, seeing Underland and remembering my adventure, but I don't understand why I'm doing this?" she asked. "What's going on?"
"All in good time, Alice," the Queen told her. "And good time comes sooner rather than later; someone is waiting for you on the balcony."
Alice didn't even have to ask who was waiting for her, and which balcony it was. She immediately took off at a run through the castle, hurrying up the stairs and towards the balcony she had been standing on two months previously. She skidded to a halt, and there, standing like he had done before, was the Hatter. Alice smiled, and took a few steps forwards to join him.
"Do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?" she asked.
The Hatter turned, and the gap between his two front teeth was revealed as he gave her his trademark grin.
"Let me think about it," he told her. "But while I do, I would like you to read this note."
He handed Alice the last note of the Trail, which Alice took, and began to read with a smile on her face.
This place holds two memories for me. The first was when you still thought this was all a dream, and that you would have to wake up sooner or later. I knew very well that it wasn't a dream, and I hoped that you would realize that too before it was too late. But it didn't matter, because I knew that you love me, and I love you.
The second is my most treasured memory of all. You left with a promise to return, but I knew that the moment you entered your world again, you would forget, so you would forget to come back. But you didn't! As I stood here, trying to kill Time again, you came back to me! And for as long as you stay here with me, I will be most honoured to have you. Forever.
Alice found that she really was crying by this time. It was just so beautiful, but she wondered why the Hatter was doing this for her.
"Hatter, I'm touched," she told him. "I really don't know what to say. But why go through all this trouble for me?"
He took in a deep breath, and Alice could tell that he looked rather nervous.
"It is a tradition that has been in my Clan for generations," he explained. "One would lead the other on a Trail of Memories, reminded them of all the good times they've had together, and all the troubles they've faced. It signifies that a new life is about to begin, and a whole new adventure."
"And what adventure is that, Hatter?" Alice asked, still quite confused.
The Hatter smiled down at her, before producing a small box from his pocket. He handed it to Alice.
She did. And she gasped. Inside was the most beautiful silver thimble she had ever seen.
"The Hightopp Clan always preferred to use thimbles instead of rings," the Hatter explained.
Alice immediately looked up into his eyes. Rings? Then it all made sense. Her heartbeat increased as the Hatter got down upon one knee, holding her hands in his.
"Alice, I know you have already done so much for me by staying, but would you be willing to do much more?" he said. "Would you even consider becoming...my wife?"
The last time Alice had heard words similar to that, she had run for her life. But at that moment, hearing them from the Mad Hatter himself, running for her life was the last thing on her mind. She immediately leapt into his arms, crying tears of happiness.
"Yes! Yes! Ninety-times-nine, yes!" she cried happily.
"Oh, Alice!" the Hatter exclaimed, pulling away to look into her eyes. "You have made me the happiest Hatter in all of Underland."
Alice smiled back at him, and allowed the Hatter to place the thimble onto her finger. And nothing could stop them from kissing to seal their happily ever after.
Of course, neither were aware that they were being watched.
"She said yes!" Mirana exclaimed happily.
"Told you she would be saying yes!" Dee told his brother.
"No, I told you!" Dum argued.
Mallymkun just said nothing, and turned away in a humph.
"Mally, do lighten up," Chessur told her. "This isn't a funeral, you know. Alice and Tarrant will be getting married."
At these words, Nivens finally lost his nerve and fell into a dead faint.
"Poor McTwisp," Absolem observed. "I doubt he'll ever recover."
"Here comes the bride, da da da da!" Thackery sang.
"McTwisp will have to get used to it," Mirana said to Absolem, ignoring the hare's singing. "Especially when the kids start coming."
Nivens had just been recovering, but hearing Mirana say this, he once again fainted.
Neither Alice nor Hatter noticed the chaos going on inside, for they were too caught up in the kiss which had begun the rest of their lives together.
I hope you all liked that! Please review! (No, do not just add to favs and alerts; those who do so without reviewing shall be beheaded by the Red Queen herself).