DISC: I DO NOT own any of the chars from Adventures in Wonderland. They belong to Disney. I do however own Alicen Sierra Kimberly Miller and her little sister, Samantha. I also own anyone else you don't' recognize. Please ask me if you wanna use any OC's of mine.
A/N: This is my Christmas story for this year. I hope everyone likes it. I'm sorry it's a little late.
"The Best Gift of All"
Twelve-year-old Alicen Sierra Kimberly Miller, Alice sighed as she tried to wrestle the ribbon away from her calico cat, Dinah. She loved her, but sometimes she picked the wrong times to play.
"Dinah, come on." She said. "I have to get these presents wrapped before the Christmas party at church this weekend. I also have to get my secret Santa gift."
Dinah meowed and pounced on a list that was lying on Alice's bed.
Gazing down at the list, Alice sighed as her eyes landed on a particular name.
"I don't know why I have to get Cynthia something, especially afta the way she treated me this afternoon."
Dinah meowed sympathetically.
"Well, she started making fun of my Christmas traditions. She made fun of us because Aunt Alyssa, Sammie and I and Gran go to church every Christmas and help out with the kids' Christmas party. I enjoy doing it. It's fun! And it's a way to spread the true meaning of Christmas."
Dinah meowed in agreement.
"Maybe I'll get her a little something. But what do you get someone who hasn't been nice to you? I mean Sammie and I are really close, but we still fight sometimes. But I still got her a present. But Sammie's my sister. I love her and I know she loves me. I need sometime to think about this…" She smiled at her antique mirror as she put her wrapping paper down and set the present she had been wrapping on her bed. "I'll finish it latta."
She had come to stay with her Grandmother for a few days.
She would be going back home to Wonderland on Monday.
She was also going back tonight for a small Christmas party her mother, the Queen of Hearts was throwing.
As Alice was about to step through the mirror, her phone rang.
Picking it up on the second ring, Alice sat down on her bed to talk
"Hello?" She asked.
"Hey!" Her best friend Megan greeted. "What's up?"
"Firefly." Alice answered with a giggle.
"Good one." She agreed. "I actually saw Firefly yesterday. Anyway, I was just wondering if you could do me a favor?"
"Sure." Alice replied.
"Well Julie and I are going Christmas shopping, but Molly can't go."
"Is she still sick with the Chicken pox?" Alice asked in concern.
"She's not sick anymore." Megan assured her. "She's actually feeling a lot better. But Aunt Abby wants her to get a little more rest before she starts going out again. She let her go to Ponyland this weekend, but that was it. And I made sure she rested while she was there. She was really good for me, but I could tell she wanted to play outside with Fizzy and the others. I was wondering if you could watch her for me until we get back. We won't be more than a few hours. You can even take her to Wonderland if you want. I know it's a little different there than it is here."
"It's funny you mentioned Wondaland. I was just about to go there. I can take Molly with me. Mom was asking about her a few days ago."
"I'll even come over and pick her up." Alice offered. "You guys only moved two blocks away from me."
"Great! We're not leaving for another forty-five minutes though, so you can take your time."
"Okay. I need to get one more gift anyway. I'll be there in a half an hour."
"Okay. Molly will be really excited. I'm gonna go and tell her what's up."
"Okay. Tell her we'll have a lot of fun." Alice said sincerely.
"I will. See ya later."
Putting down her phone, Alice turned to Dinah.
"Well Dinah, it looks like this day just got interesting. Well, I'm off to the bookstore to get Megan's present. I'll be back with Molly soon."
Dinah meowed hopefully.
"Of course Molly will be happy to see you, silly." Alice assured her. "She loves you just like I do." She pet Dinah's head before leaving the room.
Alice smiled as she walked down the aisle of Barnes and Noble ten minutes later. She found herself humming the song she had sung to her Wonderland family about snow the year before. She was glad she had been able to help the Queen enjoy Christmas again.
Sifting through the shelves of books, Alice picked up one she knew Megan would like.
She was about to leave when she saw the young reader's section not far away.
Smiling to herself, she went to find Molly a little something. She had already gotten her a Christmas gift last week. But maybe she could find her a little get well gift.
As she stepped into the section, she saw a book that caught her eye immediately.
It had a picture of Ariel and her sisters on the front cover. It was called "The Haunted Palace."
Alice knew Molly loved Ariel and she read and collected the TLM novel series.
Remembering Megan had told her "The Haunted Palace" was one of the books Molly didn't have and she hadn't gotten her it for Christmas, Alice picked up a copy and added it to her basket.
Spotting an Ariel bookmark display a few feet away, Alice went for it.
Slipping a pink and blue one in the book, she slid one with a kitten into Megan's book for good measure.
She was about to go pay for her items when she heard a younger child's voice from behind her.
She smiled until she heard the child address whoever she was with by her name.
"Cynthia, can I get a book, please?"
Alice smiled despite herself. She had never met Cynthia's little sister, but she sounded adorable.
"Eliza, we're not here for you!"
The little girl, Eliza frowned, but said nothing.
Alice decided to try and make amends. After all, it was getting close to Christmas.
"Hi!" She said cheerfully. "Hi there." She added, bending down to Eliza's level. "You're Eliza, right? I'm Alice."
Eliza grinned at Alice.
"Hi!" She greeted happily.
Alice got a look at the little girl's shirt and tried to start a conversation that way.
"You like Ariel too, huh? My friend, Molly loves her."
"Ariel's awesome!" Eliza agreed. "I like her songs. My favorite one is-"
"What are you doing here?" Cynthia interrupted Eliza, glaring at Alice.
"Getting Christmas presents." Alice replied. She was still trying to remain calm. "What are you doing here?"
"Getting a gift for my cousin." Cynthia replied. "Are the gifts for that stupid church picnic?"
"Huh!" Eliza gasped. "I LOVE church picnics! Can I go, please?"
"Shut up!" Cynthia ordered the little girl.
"It's not nice to tell your little sister to shut up." Alice said, not being able to keep her mouth shut. Then to Eliza she asked, "Do you go to church, Eliza?"
"Yup!" She answered. "My Aunt Rachel takes me and my cousins, Alyssa and Faith. It's a lot of fun!"
"I'll bet it is." Alice agreed. "Do you like the music?"
"That's my favorite part!"
"Mine too." Alice said. "Listen, your Aunt Rachel is helping out with the party. I'll talk to her and see if you can come. Would you like that?"
"Yes, please!" Eliza said happily. Then before Cynthia could stop her, she ran forward and gave Alice a hug.
Alice hugged back and ruffled the child's auburn hair before pulling away.
"How dare you." Cynthia said through clenched teeth. "How dare you…"
"How dare I what?" Alice asked. She glared right back as she started making her way to the counter. "I didn't do anything."
Alice was determined to have this fight outside in a more public place. She prayed it didn't turn into a fight, but she had a bad feeling about it.
"Will that be all today?" The clerk asked as Alice put her three books on the counter, along with the two bookmarks.
"Yes, please." Alice replied. She put her money on the counter and the clerk took it.
After bagging Alice's purchases, Alice took her bag and headed into the mall.
She went out an exit, hoping Cynthia and Eliza were following her.
She glanced over her shoulder to see the two girls weren't far behind.
"Don't you walk away from me when I'm talking to you!" Cynthia yelled.
"Don't' yell at Alice!" Eliza pleaded. "It's not nice. She's my friend!"
Alice smiled inside. Eliza was definitely an angel in disguise as far as she was concerned. She thanked God for sending her an angel to help her as she faced off with Cynthia.
"I wasn't walking away from you." Alice said evenly. "I wanted to take this talk out here so we wouldn't disturb anyone else."
Cynthia nodded, but she still looked ticked off.
"How dare you…." She repeated.
"How dare I what? How dare I make friends with your little sister who you treat like dirt? How dare I try to connect with her through our love for God and Christmas? I don't' regret what I did. Eliza is sweet and she deserves a friend."
"It's bad enough my aunt drags her to church every Sunday and the brat asks me to read her Bible stories at night." Cynthia said angrily.
"Eliza's not a brat!" Alice said in the younger girl's defense.
"I like going to church with Aunt Rachel." Eliza reminded her.
Cynthia ignored her little sister.
"Now you're gonna take her to that church party and fill her head with junk!"
"It's not junk!" Both Alice and Eliza shouted in unison without meaning to.
Alice continued speaking after that.
"It's true and whoever told you otherwise lied to you." She said with conviction.
"Don't you talk about my mother like that!"
"I wasn't. " Alice tried to explain. 'I just said whoever told you that God wasn't real was lying to you. You shouldn't lie to your sister or try to deny her the one thing she's had all along. God's love. God loves you too." She said sincerely.
Cynthia was seeing red now. She let go of Eliza's hand and lunged for Alice.
"No!" Eliza shouted. She ran forward and got in between the two girls.
Alice tried to shield Eliza from Cynthia's attack, but it was no use.
She winced as Cynthia hit her in the right eye and pushed her down.
Alice tried to push her off, but she was too strong for her. She did her best to see that Cynthia hit her and not Eliza.
"Hey! What's going on over here?" A female voice asked. She ran over and pulled Cynthia away from Alice and Eliza. "Are you two girls all right?"
Eliza was crying and clinging to Alice's arm while Alice was trying not to cry herself, despite the pain she was in.
"I'll be okay." Alice managed to say.
"Why don't you and your sister get home and I'll call your parents." She said, turning to Cynthia. "Is your little sister okay?"
"Eliza, are you okay?" Alice asked. She pulled away from her so she could examine her closely.
"My cheek hurts!" Eliza cried.
"Okay. Let's get you cleaned up and then I have a surprise for you." Alice told her.
This got Eliza smiling a little bit.
"Why don't you take your sister into the bathroom and clean up and then you two can go home." The officer suggested.
"Okay." Alice replied. With that, she led a willing Eliza back into the mall and to the bathroom.
Once inside, Eliza smiled up at Alice even though she was still crying.
"I wish you were my sister." Eliza said wistfully. "You're nicer to me than Cynthia."
"Well we are sisters in another way." Alice explained.
"Oh yeah!" Eliza said in realization.
"Aw, there you go." Alice said when she was finished. "Would you like me to give you your surprise now?"
"Please?" The little girl asked.
Alice smiled as she pulled out another copy of "The Haunted Palace" and handed it to Eliza.
"Merry Christmas, Eliza." She said.
"Thank you!" Eliza cried happily. She gave Alice another hug.
"You're welcome. I need to take you back to Cynthia because I need to get back home."
"Do you have to go home?" Eliza asked.
"I'm afraid so." Alice replied. "But you'll see me again at the church Christmas party."
This got Eliza smiling again.
Taking the child's hand, Alice led her out of the bathroom and back towards the entrance to the mall.
Thinking that the officer had taken Cynthia to security, she went in that direction.
Sure enough, the officer who had saved her and Eliza was in the office, along with a still fuming Cynthia.
Alice knocked on the door tentatively.
When the officer answered it, she smiled warmly at the two girls in front of her.
"All cleaned up?" She asked.
"Yeah." Alice replied. "Listen, Eliza isn't my little sister. She's hers." She said, pointing to Cynthia. "I wish she was, but she's not."
"Okay. Thank you for being honest and bringing her back. But since I can't reach their parents, I don't feel comfortable letting them go, not after what Cynthia did to you two. I don't want her hurting her again." She turned to Eliza and asked softly, "Does your sister ever hit you?"
Eliza hesitated, so Alice squeezed her hand reassuringly.
"Yes." She said softly.
"Okay. In that case, could you watch her until I can get in touch with her parents?" She asked, turning to Alice. "I'll take your phone number down and when I get in touch with her parents, I'll tell them where Eliza is and they can picker up at your place."
"Okay." Alice replied.
Eliza smiled from ear to ear. She liked the sound of going home with Alice, even if it was just for a little while.
Alice gave the police officer her cell phone number and then left with Eliza.
Getting to Megan's house fifteen minutes later, she explained everything that had happened and Megan understood completely. She was worried for her best friend when she saw her black eye and bruised right knee, but Alice assured her she would be okay.
"Molly will be safe with me." Alice assured her friend.
"I know she will. " Megan said. She gave her baby sister a kiss and hug. "I love you, my little sunshine. You be a good girl for Alice, okay."
"I will." Molly said. "I love you too, Megan."
"Have fun you two!" Megan called after them as they left.
"We will!" Molly called back.
Entering Alice's bedroom ten minutes later, Molly squealed at the sight of Dinah.
"Hi, Dinah! Remember me?"
Dinah did remember her. She purred and licked Molly's hand as the eight-year-old pet her head and tummy.
"She's a pretty kitty." Eliza said shyly.
"Would you like to pet her?" Alice offered.
"She doesn't bite, does she?"
"Of course not." Alice assured her. "Come on, we'll pet her together."
Eliza nodded. She set her new book on the desk and allowed the twelve-year-old to lead her over to her bed.
Reaching out a hand, Alice pet Dinah's head, making her purr even more.
"Hi Dinah. This is Eliza. She's a new friend of mine."
Dinah responded by licking Eliza's right hand, making the child giggle.
"She likes me!" Eliza said.
"I told you." Alice said with a smile. "All right you two. Are you ready to go?"
"Yuperoo!" Molly replied.
"Where are we going?" Eliza asked.
"TO visit a few friends of mine." Alice replied. "Come on." With that, she took Eliza's hand and led her over to her mirror.
Molly was first in and Alice let her go. She called after her to wait for them and she knew Molly would listen.
Eliza gasped when she saw Molly go through the mirror.
"Does it hurt?" She asked.
"Not at all." Alice assured her. "It's fun!" With that, she took the child's hand and stepped through the mirror with Eliza following close behind.
When they reached the other side, Eliza's blue eyes grew wide as she gazed around her surroundings. It was all new to her.
Alice led the way to the palace and went inside with the two girls following her.
They met the Queen halfway between the kitchen and the dining room.
"Hi Mom!" Alice greeted her mother. "Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas, my dear. And I see you've brought some friends."
"Do you remember Molly?" She asked, gesturing to the eight-year-old who was beaming beside her.
"Of course I do." The Queen replied. "How are you, dear?"
"Good!" Molly replied. She curtsied to the Queen, making her smile. "Merry Christmas, You're Majesty."
"Merry Christmas." She replied. "And who is this?"
"This is my new friend, Eliza. Eliza, this is my mother, the Queen of Hearts."
"Hi, You're Majesty." Eliza replied softly.
"She's a little shy." Alice explained.
The Queen nodded. It was then that she noticed her eldest daughter's injured eye.
"Alice! What in Wonderland happened to you?"
"I'll explain latta." She said.
The Queen shook her head.
"I demand you tell me right now. Did someone hurt you?"
"My sister did it." Eliza admitted.
"But Eliza's really nice." Alice assured her mother.
"I'm sure she is." The Queen said. "Alice, are you sure you're all right?"
"Yes." Alice replied. "I promise."
"Were you in a fight?" She asked.
Alice nodded. And before her mother could say anything, she started to speak.
"Cynthia hit me and pushed me down. I tried to push her off of me, but I didn't hit back."
The Queen nodded approvingly.
Alice smiled, despite the pain she was in.
Just then, the palace door opened and Hatter and Hare strolled in. Sammie was with them.
When she saw her older sister's eye, she gasped and ran to give her a hug.
"Alice, what happened to your eye!"
"I'll be okay." Alice assured her, hugging back.
"Hey Alice!" Hatter greeted his long time friend. "oh I see you brought friends with you. Hey, Molly!"
"Hi Mr. Hatter!" Molly said. She had heard a lot about him and Hare from Alice.
Once the introductions were over, Molly and Sammie went into the dining room to help the Tweedles set up some more. The two best friends loved helping the brothers out with things.
"Wow, Alice, who gave you the shiner?" Hare asked.
"She was hit unjustly." The Queen replied.
"This calls for some tea." Hatter said. "I brought your favorite, kiddo." He added, turning to Alice.
"Thanks, Mr. Hatta." Alice said. She gave him an appreciative smile.
"No problem." Hatter replied. He went into the dining room, quickly followed by Hare.
Once they were gone, Alice turned to the Queen.
"Do you need any help, Mom?" She asked.
"it's kind of you to offer, my dear. But Rabbit has everything under control."
"Okay." Alice said.
Just then, Rabbit skated in with several packages in his hands as well as two reefs hanging from either arm.
"Are you sure you don't' need any help?" Alice asked.
Rabbit gave her a grateful look.
"Here, Mr. Rabbit, let me help you." Alice said as she took the two packages out of his hands. "There. Where do you want these?"
"Thank you, my dear." He said. "You can just put them in the dining room for now."
"Okay." With that, she led Eliza into the dining room.
They found Sammie and Molly at the table. They were talking to Dum while helping set some food out.
Just then, Dee glanced up and noticed his little sister's injuries.
"Alie, what happened to your eye?" He asked.
"Someone beat me up." She replied.
"What?" Both brothers said in unison.
"I'll explain latta." Alice told them.
Dum nodded. He knew Alice would talk to them when she was ready.
As for Eliza, she seemed a little reluctant to join in the fun at first.
"It's okay." Alice assured her. "You're safe here. Come on. Let's have some food."
"Okay." The little girl said softly.
Gazing around the room, Eliza suddenly grew curious.
"Why do you have fruit and veggies hanging from the ceiling?" She asked with a giggle. "They look silly!"
Normally, the Queen would have taken Eliza's laughter and comment as an insult. But she reminded herself that Eliza was just a child and she was also shy, so she tried to stay calm.
Fortunately, it was Hatter who answered the question.
"It's a Wonderland Christmas tradition." He explained.
"Do you wanna bob for Christmas crab apples with us?" Dum offered. "It's a lot of fun!"
"And delicious!" Dee added with a grin.
"Sure!" Molly said with a giggle.
"Me too!" Sammie agreed, making Dum laugh as Hatter ruffled her light brown hair affectionately.
"How about you?" Dum asked, turning to Eliza.
"Okay." She said. "What other Christmas traditions do you have?"
"Glad you asked." Hatter said in his signature way.
As they started to explain some of the other Christmas traditions they had, Alice grinned. She was happy Eliza was finally enjoying herself.
As Alice was getting a second plate of food for herself, her cell phone rang.
"Hello?" She asked as she put the plate down.
"Hi, is this Alice?" A semi familiar voice asked.
"Yes. This is she." The twelve-year-old answered.
"This is Officer Garcia from the Nebraska mall. I wanted to let you know that we've gotten a hold of Cynthia's and Eliza's parents. They're coming to get Eliza in a half an hour."
"Okay." Alice replied. "We'll be there. Bye." With that, she hung up the phone.
"What's going on?" Dum asked.
"Who was that?" Eliza asked.
"That was Officer Garcia.?" Alice said. "The police officer at the mall."
"Well your parents came home from their party and they're on their way to pick you up. We need to go back to my house to meet them."
"Okay." She said.
"We don't have to go right away though." Alice assured her.
"Can you do another dance again?" Molly asked Dee. "Please?"
"Sure!" Dee said.
"Moll, will you be okay here while I take Eliza back?" Alice asked.
"Uh-huh!" Molly replied.
Alice ruffled her hair as she stood up.
"I'll be right back, everyone." She assured her family. With that, she took Eliza's hand and walked out of the dining room and out of the palace.
Walking back through the mirror, she sat down on her bed with Eliza next to her.
"Would you like to read the book I bought you?" Alice asked the little girl.
"Okay." She said with a grin.
Halfway through the book, the doorbell rang.
"I think that's your parents." Alice told the little girl.
Alice gave Eliza her book and stood up.
Eliza took her gift and followed her downstairs.
Opening the door, Alice was surprised to see Cynthia and an older woman standing on her porch. She assumed it was their mother.
"Hey, sweetie." The girls' mother greeted Eliza. "Did you have fun with Alice?"
"Uh-huh!" Eliza replied. She turned to Alice. "Thank you for the fun time!"
"You're welcome." Alice replied. "It was my pleasure."
"Thank you, Alice." The girls' mother said graciously.
"You're welcome." Alice replied.
"Cynthia has something to say to you. I'll be close by, but she's gonna behave." She gave Cynthia a pointed look as she said this.
"Come on, sweetheart." Their mother said. "I'm gonna drop you off at Aunt Rachel's for the night."
"YAY!" Eliza shouted. "I can show Alyssa and Faith my new book Alice bought me!"
Left alone once again, Alice tried not to show her fear. She took a deep breath and tried to be brave.
Before she could speak, Cynthia beat her to it.
"Alice, I'm sorry I hit you. I'm not sorry for what I said, but I'm sorry I hit you and pushed you down."
"I accept your apology." Alice replied. She was about to say something else when an unexpected feeling of peace came over her. She knew exactly what she was going to give Cynthia for Christmas. She then added, "I forgive you."
Cynthia was speechless. When she finally regained her voice, she asked the only question that came to her mind.
"How?" She asked. "After what I did to you and even what I said…how can you just forgive me like that?" She snapped her fingers for emphasis.
"Because that's how God created me."
Cynthia nodded. As she turned around to leave, she was stopped by Alice's voice.
"Merry Christmas, Cynthia."
Cynthia turned back around to face the other girl.
"Merry Christmas." She replied.
Alice smiled as she closed the front door.
Entering her room a few minutes later, she picked Dinah up and cuddled her close.
"Well Dinah, I solved my problem."
"I figured out what to give Cynthia for Christmas."
Dinah meowed as though to ask what she got her.
"I gave her the best gift of all." Alice replied with a satisfied grin. "I gave her the gift of forgiveness."
Dinah gazed at Alice and meowed in surprise when she saw her eye.
"Don't worry, Dinah. It'll get better soon. Oops, I gotta get back to the palace! My friends are probably wondering where I am. I love you, Dinah. Merry Christmas."
Alice carried Dinah over to the mirror and prepared to step through it for the second time that day.
Dinah meowed once again just as Alice stepped through the glass.
"You're right, Dinah. Forgiveness is the best gift you can give someone any time of the year, but especially on Christmas. I totally agree." With that, they left to celebrate Christmas with their family.