I don't own Alice in Wonderland or any of its characters. Based on the 2010 Tim Burton film.
Rated M for adult concepts.
This story is based on a LiveJournal Prompt for the AiW Pr0n Battle. Prompt - This Little Game We Play.
Mirana and Alice play a game without words. But sometimes, games can end badly.
The Language of the Fan
She'd been doing odd things lately, my Champion had. She'd been been doing everything she could do to distract, disconcert, and disarm me.
Had she any idea how close she was to the latter? I doubt it. I am Queen. I could not love her. Could I? No, no! I mustn't even think such a thing. Underland has been under my reign for two years and whispers are amongst my White Court are beginning to float about at an uncomfortably increasing rate.
I had to stop those whispers soon. I had no Choice.
"The Queen must soon marry! We must have heirs to secure the peace!"
"Why isn't Queen Mirana entertaining suitors? Surely it is past time!"
"Is the Queen overly attentive to the...of course she isn't. What was I thinking? Such a thing would be scandalous!"
"Why doesn't our Queen care enough to make a good marriage and alliance and give us Princes and Princesses?"
"I hear the Old Kingdom of Blue is thriving once more in the East! Prince Cailean is said to be very comely and amiable."
I received a letter and a gift last week from Prince Cailean of Blue. He...he wrote that he is interested in making my acquaintance and believes that a relationship between us would be beneficial to all. The Prince sent me rare ingredients for the Healing Arts. He obviously has had me investigated and has taken a serious interest in pursuing an Alliance between our Realms.
My Champion, my friend and constant companion, stood behind me as I sat at my vanity and read his letter over and over. I read it aloud, unfortunately, and this was the Time when Alice made her Choice to go Mute. At least in regards to her voice.
Alice had a fan in her hands and moved to stand beside me. When our eyes locked, she kept her face impassive, but moved the fan in an obviously significant way; but I could not discern her meaning.
Cerulean eyes locked on my deep chocolate ones. After a few moments I saw her blush, despite the stillness of her features. She then obscured her gaze with the fan for several long moments. Then she held it to her side, curtsied, and excused herself from my presence.
What game was this; for surely this was a game. Alice had to know that I could not possibly understand what the gesture meant! She also knew I had a library with an extensive collection of books from Above. She surely also knew that I would be unable to resist looking into this strange behaviour.
At last! When my morning appointments were finished, I had time to go to the Library. I was frustrated to see that there was not a book that seemed to tell me about ladies fans! Sighing, I was forced to ask McTwisp, who had been Above many times and would possibly know.
He was startled by my questioning regarding such a subject, but he haltingly informed me that it was common practice at public gatherings for ladies to use them to silently alert someone, generally a suitor, of a sentiment or an intention.
I kept my hands resolutely held alongside my shoulders and managed to reign in my impatience. I informed him that I had reasoned out that much on my own, but what did covering one's eyes with it signify?
McTwisp cleared his throat nervously. Suddenly I became uneasy; did he know that Alice had taken to keeping a fan on her person?
"It...it..." he stammered, "it means that the lady loves the person, Your Majesty."
Person, he had said; not man. He knew. McTwisp knew.
I took in a deep breath and flashed what I hoped was my most confident and unruffled smile. After a few more questions concerning fans, I thanked him and left the Library.
I obtained a violet ribbon from Tarrant Hightopp, my friend and Royal Hatter. He was puzzled by my request, and I could see that he was curious as to why I had need of such a simple thing. Surely, he had said, I needed the ribbon to adorn something? Could he be of service to me?
I declined politely. I knew that Tarrant had feelings for Alice, too. He would be dreadfully hurt if he had so much as an inkling that those feelings would likely never be reciprocated. Momentarily, I considered taking him into my confidence, if for no other reason than to keep my friend from having his hopes raised at the upcoming ball.
However, I decided to say nothing. Oh, I was a horribly selfish creature! I could never allow love to blossom between myself and Alice! It was simply not done! But...but I could also not allow her to love another.
I was failing to be a good Queen at that moment, I knew! I should always put the happiness and welfare of all others before my own. But Alice...
I fled to my rooms with the ribbon clenched tightly in my hand. Why did my Honour fail me when it came to Alice? I could never allow myself to love her, yet I could not tell her so.
I reached my rooms and collapsed onto my bed and sobbed. I would have to tell her. I had to stop this before it could even start! After I gave her the violet ribbon I would tell her. Yes, I would. I would!
Dinner that night was an uncomfortable affair, to say the least. Myself, Alice, the Hatter, and McTwisp were the only attendees. I had lately shunned large dinner gatherings. Everyone understood. It was an Open Secret that various Princes and Noblemen from other Realms were beginning to petition for consideration for my Hand.
The Hatter was chipper and oblivious of the tension between Alice and I. I could see that McTwisp was unnervingly attuned to it. Alice was placid and silent. She did not meet my eyes.
"So, Queen Mirana," the Hatter bubbled enthusiastically, "you have had a Grey Prince, a Blue Prince, and even a Purple Prince petition you? Why, that is marvellous! The Blue Kingdom is doing quite splendidly from what I hear, and their sea-faring trade and commodities are enviable! Of course, they have no textiles even worth mentioning. The newly rising Purple Kingdom, however; now they have fabrics that are worthy of the name! And..."
"Lord Hightopp," McTwisp interrupted, thankfully stopping the Hatter's unwelcome choice of topic, "I believe Her Majesty does not wish to discuss marital prospects over dinner."
The Hatter giggled nervously and clapped a hand over his mouth, yet his giggling persisted. Alice looked at him reproachfully, and he fell silent at once.
"Sorry, Alice," he mumbled.
Why did I do what I did next? I untied the violet ribbon from around my wrist, retied it into a bow and handed it to the still-mute Alice.
Alice's eyes widened slightly as she accepted my gift.
Hatter and McTwisp gasped, and Alice looked at them, her brow furrowing in curiosity.
"You...have a violet ribbon...from...the Queen," the Hatter stammered.
"Yes, apparently I have," she replied, looking confused.
So, she was only Mute with me! Was this another part of her Game? First the muteness, then the fan. What was next?
What was next took us all by surprise. The Hatter snatched the ribbon bow from Alice and stuffed it into his pocket.
"What are you doing?" Alice demanded. "Sir, you will return that at once!"
"I will not!" he retorted. "It is not an...appropriate gift. Her Majesty is jesting with you!"
I was angry. How dare he interfere?
"Mr. Hightopp, may I remind you that I am Queen? Return my gift to Alice at once!"
The Hatter gasped, recalling his place, and immediately returned the bow to Alice.
Alice reached into the side pocket of her skirt and pulled out her fan. After pointedly catching my gaze, she took the fan into her left hand and twirled it several times, and then, after making certain that I had observed her movement, she flicked it open and ran her fingers through its ribs.
But now I knew the Language of the Fan.
You are being watched. I want to talk to you!
She then pocketed it, rose, and made her excuses.
After she left the room McTwisp nervously began to relate the daily goings on about the Castle.
Now, the only mute ones at the table were the Hatter and myself.
I did not speak to Alice when I saw her less than an hour later, waiting for me in the hall. I passed her by with a polite nod and, though it pained me, I ignored the tears in her eyes.
I slept not at all that night.
The following morning my heart ached and I longed to see her. She did not come by my rooms. She did not come to my Receiving Room. And she neglected to attend any meals, at least the ones I attended. When I did not so much as see my friend and Champion for four concurrent days I began to fear, truly.
Why? In truth, I should have been relieved. I knew I could not allow myself to love her, and she did not love another! Oh, selfish me! I could see that Hatta's heart was hers for the taking, but she had no interest in reciprocating. She still loved me; I knew it! She wanted desperately to speak to me, yet she had been avoiding me.
I knew why. I had finally given in to what everyone expected of me. I allowed the Princes Grey, Purple, and Blue to visit Marmoreal. Alice was at last forced to reveal herself for introductions. After all, she was my Champion and the Champion of Underland.
Alice exchanged all the pleasantries that were required and stood at my side as each Prince attempted to court me during his visit. She only spoke when necessary. Once, her fan appeared while the Purple Prince, Raymond, was enthusing over my vast medicinal collection. He knew almost as much of the Healing Arts as I did.
Alice gently struck my apothecary table with the instrument and cast me a gaze filled with longing.
I am impatient!
From my reticule I handed her a pink bow when Raymond was not looking. Her eyes lit up and a smile curved her lips.
I knew I loved her. How could I resist her any longer? I did not wish to marry. I wanted, with my entire heart, to be with Alice. I would attempt to send each Prince away without committing myself to any of them, charming as they all were.
Alice struck her palm with her fan.
I made some excuse I don't even recall to excuse us from the Prince's presence.
My Champion and I made love that afternoon in the privacy of my Chambers.
But, of course, I had been so wrong and so selfish. I should never have encouraged Alice. I never should have, for a single moment, allowed my lonely and slurvish heart to even touch hers. At all.
This little game we have been playing had turned into something exquisitely cruel
Now, I had to Choose. The White Court expected me to Choose. The Kingdoms Purple, Grey, and Blue all sent their Princes and their entourages once again, demanding that I select a husband.
My citizenry were abuzz with talk of my marrying. I did not wish to marry! I wished to love! I wished to love my love!
McTwisp approached me one morning with a tray filled with notes. I sighed and began to read.
It was as I feared. The Pressure was now too great. Everyone expected me to select a husband.
I called for McTwisp and instructed him to send Alice a silver ribbon tied into a bow.
My heart broke for the first time.
I stood smiling before Alice and Tarrant Hightopp. Oh, I did that so easily, didn't I? I could smile and flutter about and no-one could see beneath my cool Façade. No-one could see that I was a Queen with half a heart.
The Hatter was dressed in the finest wedding attire I had ever seen. His bright purple eyes shone with Love that all in the room could feel. His orange hair was surprisingly smooth and tamed and shone brilliantly against the white and silver suit. The matching top hat was a classic touch that made more than one lady sigh in envy at his stunning appearance.
Alice was radiant in blue and silver. Her veil had been crafted with diamonds and aquamarine. Her gown, so similar to my own, was cloud like and dreamy in its loveliness. Her husband-to-be had outdone himself.
Her calm and pale visage threatened my fragile, ice-calm veneer.
Just before I began their Ceremony Alice opened and closed her fan several times, then closed it and let it dangle from her wrist as she took the bridal bouquet from from my fiancé's sister, Princess Angelique of Purple.
You are cruel.
I swallowed the lump in my throat, resolutely kept my tears and composure in check, and married Alice Helen Kingsleigh to Tarrant Hightopp.
The only truly happy people in the castle today were my fiancé, his family, and Tarrant Hightopp.
Tarrant had been almost literally walking on air since being married to Alice. To her credit, Alice had dedicated herself to being as good a wife to Tarrant as possible. The poor fool had no idea that he did not hold her heart.
Raymond and I stood before Absolem. I saw a flash of pity in Absolem's eyes, and then he returned to the business at hand.
And so I, the White Queen, Mirana, was married to Prince Raymond of Purple, making him the new White King.
As my new husband and I strode arm in arm down the White Carpet Alice smiled wanly at me. Then she dropped her fan at my feet.
I belong to you.
My glass heart shattered.
This story is an attempt to incorporate most of the signs and signals that ladies of the Victorian Era used in public settings with their decorative fans. When I found some sources on the Internet that interpreted these gestures, I was fascinated and decided to attempt a short story written around these signals.
I wrote this very quickly, but I hope it is enough to entertain, and perhaps inform. Any Victorian historians out there; please feel free to correct me on any errors I may have made!
Of course, I made up the Underlandian Ribbon custom! Hey...I had a time limit! LOL
Victorian Fan Flirting
The fan placed near the heart: You have won my love.
Half-opened fan pressed to the lips: You may kiss me.
Hiding the eyes behind an open fan: I love you.
Opening and closing the fan several times: You are cruel.
Fanning slowly: I am married.
Fanning quickly: I am engaged.
Twirling the fan in the left hand: You are being watched.
Resting the fan on her lips: I don't trust you.
Running her fingers through the fan's ribs: I want to talk to you.
Striking her palm with the fan: Love me!
Looking closely at the painting on the fan: I like you.
Dropping the fan: I belong to you.
Striking any object with the fan: I'm impatient.
Underlandian Ribbon Significance (presented to the recipient tied in a bow)
Violet: I have great affection for you.
Pink: I love you.
Silver: I am marrying another.