Running to Comfort
Alice In Wonderland 2010
Alice Kingsleigh/Mad Hatter Tarrant Hightopp
Alice ran with all her remaining energy towards the familiar meadow. She had escaped from yet another engagement party. After this, she knew she wanted to return. Not only that reason but she was scared that she was being hunted.
Alice had had a rough time since she arrived back in her homeland. She had at first, began to evade from her mother had to avoid herself around the many suitors who were coming daily. No matter how hard her mother had pushed her, Alice still refused all the charming men, explaining she already had big plans for the future. At her family's confused faces, she explained (as a cover up) that she was already in love and was planned to marry already.
After her mother had questioned her about preparations, Alice had told her that she was in love with the most delightfully mad man (who her mother guessed would be a good match for her) and they weren't talking about being completely serious like that yet. Her mother had nodded and then complimented Alice on her planning.
After she had declined all marriage proposals, she had gone on a trip to China to finalise the plans for her late father's trading company. She hadn't remembered and known much about it at first, but after reading several very complicated books, maps and studying her father's diary of trading, she had grasped it.
She had loved the thrill of trading, travelling to see what and who you would meet, what they had and how much they'd trade for. It was exciting for her to learn new languages, meet new friendly people (as well as more marriage proposals) she almost at first forgot about her true home.
But then one chilly misty morning, as her boat coasted along the African coast, she had spotted some creatures in the trees. The ship had been docking and Alice, curious had wandered off to explore. Only she had seen was images of her imagination were. She didn't see any living creature, she just saw her old friends. It was as if looking through a distant window, she could see them but couldn't reach them. After returning to the ship and sailing back towards England she had changed.
She regretted ever leaving Underland in the first place and caused all her friends all that pain, remaining in her cabin moping and grieving for them. She hadn't forgotten her friends, Mirana the White Queen, McTwisp, the Twedles, the March Hare and last but not least, her Mad Hatter.
Having realised she hated this world; she couldn't wait to smell English air once more and end up in the arms of her mother and sister again. She wouldn't ever be alone.
She kept repeating what her mother had once said before the engagement party to Hamish "You will end up a foolish spinster, Alice Kingsleigh! Do you want to end up like you Aunt Imogene?"
Halfway on the journey home, she had learned that her mother, Ms Helen Kingsleigh had died in her sleep to which Alice had to be comforted. A young maiden crying over her dead mother in a ship, far from home with only men for crewmen, a trader had put his arm round her as she sobbed into his jacket, staining the expensive fabrics there.
His name was Victor Hailing, a rich trader who sold and bought peculiar items. He had a soft accent which she couldn't put her finger on and she later learned he had recognized her as the young Kingsleigh and wanted to marry her to gain the company's money. She had found this out a few weeks after and been slightly nervous around him, making herself look very innocent and tender.
Her bruises still hurt from when Victor had hit her, making her believe she was still his and nobody else's. Victor had even declared to a large crowd that Alice was his for the taking and nobody would stop him from making it that way. Alice had tried to fight back but she was delicate, beautiful and stubborn, but weak and vulnerable at the same time.
He had tried to make it clear to her that he hated her imagination and free spirit. He had of course been a charmer in the beginning but then he hadn't known that a total of twenty six suitors had been declined from the youngest Kingsleigh daughter.
Alice had trusted him as he had been different to all the others, and she thought he understood her (he was so familiar). She had half hoped that it was her friend, Tarrant Hightopp in disguise to bring her back to Underland. But she was wrong. At the mention of another man, Victor had gotton angry and attacked her, hitting, kicking, punching every part of her fragile body, making Alice lean to never lead him on and then two time him again. He had left in a fury (but pausing to be sweet and kiss her soft cheek) and her collapsed in a sobbing heap upon the marble floor, bleeding and in pain.
Tarrant would have never hurt me, Alice thought as tears filled her vision. She missed her friend so much her heart ached for him. She missed his gap toothed grin and comforting embrace when she was upset. She fully remembered how he was when she was little. When she had been scared, he'd hugged her and made her happy.
And this is why she was leaving. She was nearly there. She tripped over something as she turned the corner and heard a tick tock noise.
"McTwisp?" Alice stuttered, wiping her tears and looking around wildly. "Oh please tell me that wasn't a stick I tripped over!" she pleaded aloud. "Stick's don't tick tock, do they?" she hissed.
"No they don't Alice" McTwisp said from behind her making her jump. Then he saw her tears and numerous bruises and slap marks on her face. "Why are you crying Alice?"
"I'm coming back, for good. I can't stand this world anymore!" she sobbed.
"Come, I can take you to Tarrant if you wish" he said and Alice nodded. She went to the edge of the rabbit hole and jump clean in and willed herself to fall faster.
She couldn't see McTwisp anywhere but all she cared that she was becoming closer and closer to comfort.
But she fell past the hall of doors. She saw it wiz past. She looked around and she was falling from the sky itself! It was then that she started screaming.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!" she screamed and then with an almighty CRASH she landed on something very hard. She felt tea cups break and fly everywhere and some sugar and milk fell onto her dress. She lay still for several seconds so she could get her breath back. Her head felt woozy and she feared she was going to be sick. She got up gingerly and nearly fell over again. Her arm was bleeding as she had landed on an angle.
"Bloody rabbit hole!" she hissed to herself, ripping a part of her dress off and wrapping it around her wound. "Why can't they invent steps?"
Then she looked around. She was in the clearing of a forest, outside the steps to the world above. She found a bit of chalk on the floor and drew with a fierce nature NEVER GOING BACK, SIGNED ALICE KINGSLEIGH.
Then she remembered why she had come back. Victor, pain, hurt, Tarrant, arm bleeding, head dizzy…
She tried to clear her head but she felt so horrible. "Why can't someone just kill me? "
"Because you don't mean it and you need a shoulder to cry on" a voice from behind her said. Alice's hopes rose. She knew that voice. That friendly, lisped voice with a hint of Scottish brogue, it belonged to the Mad Hatter himself.
Shaking, Alice turned round and her eyes went straight to the emerald green ones of her mad friend. The gap toothed grin vanished as soon as he saw her appearance. At once he saw the signs of shock, hurt, pain, exhaustion and dizziness kick in and caught her just as she fainted into his arms. But he caught one word before she passed out.
Alice was falling, falling faster than she did when she arrived back in her dreamland. She didn't stop. Her heartbeat slowed and her eyes opened painstaking slowly. At first all she sensed was the strong smell of old tea and a cinnamon smell. She could hear her own breathing as well as someone else. She didn't open her eyes; what if it was Victor?
But how would Victor get into Underland? Alice questioned herself. It must be safe to open her eyes. But the fear still clung to her insides deeply. She inhaled a proper breath of air hitting her lungs. She opened her eyes the tiniest bit and was intrigued to see where she was. She was lying under the covers of a very warm and comfortable bed with a thick patchwork quilt on. The pillows were full of feathers and they were a bright green colour. The room she was in had very vivid colours. Bright, dull, patchwork and simple designs scattered the room's walls, floor, fittings and extra space. There was a chair beside the bed on her other side and sitting in it was Tarrant Hightopp.
He appeared to be sleeping and Alice noted this was the only time she'd seen him sleep. He was half muttering to himself, odd words that were probably Outlandish made their ways out of his mouth at odd intervals. She chuckled when she heard a string of words into jokes, rhythms or even lectures at Cheshire.
"No…give me back…me hat…stupid…fur ball…slurlvish…trotter's bottom…marmoreal…bee…malice…Alice…" he half whispered huskily in his Scottish brogue. Alice blushed slightly when he said her name, it sounded right from his lips, how everything sounded sincere and gentlemen like as he was.
Suddenly Alice heard a floorboard creak from downstairs (so she guessed) and a stab of panic hit her. Was Victor here? Was the Red Queen at large? Was Victor here with guards of sorts to kill her? Or to abuse her more?
She desperately wanted to cling to Tarrant but that wasn't right. She needed his comfort, to tell her it was just a sound and not Victor but her fear outwitted it. A loud but also muffled wail came from her mouth and she clamped her hands over her mouth, hoping not to wake him up. No dice.
Tarrant yawned and then stretched, straightened his hat and looked over at the young Champion he admired so much. But he was shocked to see her face etched with panic and fear. He hated how anything could make Alice loose her muchness. He should protect her.
"Alice?" he said softly, though his voice was horse from sleep.
"Ahh!" she jumped and fell out of bed the her side. He rushed to help her up. She looked even more breath-taking than she was before. Only her beauty was dented, by slap marks and bruises. She winched horrible when he pulled her up despite him being as careful as possible.
"Keep him away from me!" Alice half wailed into his shoulder.
He put his hand on her back and shhhhed her. "It's ok, Alice. Nobody else is here but me and you. You can calm down sweet Alice."
He looked down at her face and saw she was sobbing; full body shuddering sobs which made his heart shatter just by looking at her. Who dare touch his Alice? Who even thinks about hurting innocent Alice? He felt his temper flare but stopped it when he remembered she was in his arms. She rocked her back and forward like he had done when she was little and whispered comforting things into her ear.
This is why Alice had fled her world; to return to her soothing friend and not be taken advantage of and then be looked after, despite hating being a burden to anyone.
"Tarrant, is it really you?" she half choked after she'd calmed down. He looked at her and smiled as he wiped her tears with his napkin. "Do not fret Alice. It's me, Tarrant Hightopp, Royal Hatter, and Mad Hatter at your service." He even took off his hat and swept into a low bow. She chuckled and smiled happily.
"I'm scared that…Victor will come…af…after me!" she said, only a few teas escaping her eyes.
He wiped them away just as easily. "Shhh" he whispered. "I'm here, don't worry. You are where you belong and I don't think he can get down here if he's from Upperland. You are very safe."
Alice shook her head and looked at him properly. He had slightly longer hair (still the same bright orange), his normal clothes with waist jacket and unmatched socks. The only real and biggest change was that he wasn't as white as before. His normal colour was returning and it was a very light pink colour. His scars on his hands were still there but his happy and kind personality was still there.
"Would you like some tea, Alice?" Tarrant asked; his hands still round her waist and her head still nestled in his chest. She nodded. "I would love some tea, Hatter."
After three cups of tea each and a bit of a sing song in between, Alice had resumed her normal façade and she was her normal self again. Only the Hatter wanted to know what that evil twisted man had done to his precious Alice. Nobody hurt her without being seen by Tarrant.
Alice had left no hints and Tarrant had decided against it for now. He knew that the calm face she was having now would not last. It was around midnight and they were both curled up on the sofa in Tarrant's living room. They had had an afternoon of games, jokes, talking about what had happened since her departure and general conversation between best friends.
Tarrant hadn't remembered his true feelings about Alice until she was snuggled in arms on the sofa in front of a warm and happy fire to keep them warm. It was only until Alice shifted her position so she was resting her hea don his chest that they awoke in his heart. Then the questions flew about his brain.
Tarrant? Don't you love the lady who is snuggled in your arms?
Yes…why do you ask?
Well aren't you going to tell her?
I don't know if she will feel the same. I mean its Alice. The Alice who defeated the Jabberwocky and stole my heart…
Stole? What rubbish! You love her. Tell her, Tarrant. If you love Alice, then you will tell her.
But…but she isn't in a good mood.
She looks quite happy from where she's sitting…
Oh shut up! Stop being weird, I don't think about her in that way. It's pure; I love Alice for who she is and not like that. She's been through a lot today. I don't want to be hurt when she needs me most.
Hurt you? She loves you!
Yes but how do you know that? She hasn't told me.
That's because you tell her first!
But she's tired!
He attempted to stop the voice in his head which was getting a bit angry at him. Alice was lying on his chest and the heat from the fire was nice. When should I tell him I love him? She wondered.
Oh don't you start! The voice said.
"Tarrant?" she asked, sleepily.#
"Yes, love?" he answered.
"I know it sounds awfully improper and all but I really am terrified that that…will come and attack me while I'm sleeping" She said, nervous and shyly.
"Yes?" he said, not aware of what she was asking him.
"Can you stay with me tonight?" she asked in a tiny voice. Tarrant stopped and looked down at her.
"I know it sounds horrible or something but I really am scared Hatter" she whimpered.
He quietened her by putting a finger to her lips. "Shhh, don't worry. Yes I will stay with you. And don't worry I don't like the rules of 'proper' either."
"But you're the perfect gentlemen!" Alice exclaimed, totally surprised. She then blushed deep red and looked down.
Tarrant was blushing as well at the compliment but he didn't realise he was as he hadn't realized how pink his cheeks had become.
"Thank you Alice. But no, you are correct. I may act like that, it was how I was raised but I don't know – the rules are understandable despite not being totally fair to people like us." He said boldly.
"People like us?" Alice asked, confused.
"People who love each other" he said, very quietly and met her eyes without blinking. Alice's heart leapt and her nerves fell away. She looked at him with wide eyes and noticed his had turned lavender. He does love me, she thought.
I do love her, he thought as well.
See Tarrant, this is the time when you lean in and kiss her! His voice commanded.
He did as he was told. Alice didn't realise she had learnt in until they were nose to nose. Their breathing was quiet and they only had eyes for each other. Tarrant's were lavender still and Alice's hazel eyes were deep with affection.
Very carefully, not wanting to ruin the moment, Tarrant closed his eyes and pressed his tender lips against Alice's. He breathed in through his nose slowly as she responded as slowly. His lips may have been rough but to her they were like butter. She was breathing in his scent, tasting his mouth and feeling his love for her in that one kiss. He could feel the same from her. Alice smelt of roses, all delicate and rich in beauty. Her curls cascaded down her back and he smoothed his hands through it as he held her close. She tasted like cream teas and scones, happy days and rays of sunshine. She loved him as much as he loved her. They were one item that nothing could separate.
When they did part lips and look at each other again, Tarrant stood up and carried Alice to his bedroom. He laid her on his bed, removed her shoes and helped her out of her dress. She was wearing her underdress and she knew Tarrant wouldn't judge her. He got changed going into the bathroom quickly and allowing Alice in afterwards. She cleansed her face and tied her hair up so her face was clear of her curls.
She came out of the bathroom and lay down next to Tarrant in his bed and took his hat off for him and rested it on the bedside table. Carefully she maneuvered herself so she was curled up in his chest and had his strong protective arms around her small slender body.
"I love you Tarrant" she said quietly and she reached up to kiss him again. He leant down and kissed her deeply so she was so dazed afterwards that she fell asleep quite quickly. But not before she sighed happily and slid closer so him. Tarrant wrapped himself so he was around her so nothing could harm her, before he too drifted to a peaceful slumber.
Hehe I MAY do an Extar bit of this later but right now I need to catch up Twilight-wise and this has been on my PC edited and compete for a few months now