A/N: Alice in Wonderland belongs to that place with the mouse, and as always, Charlotte and Will belong to the lovely Starlight623
Charlotte was met with a face-full of wood splinters and a lung-full of ashes. Coughing, she looked around her. She had stepped out of the mirror and into a broken pile of wood and glass, with twisted spires of metal jutting out of the wreckage like quills on a porcupine. She blinked in the harsh sunlight, trying to get her bearings. It had been midnight in Underland, so the sudden brightness was startling.
"He-hello?" she whispered, trying to make sense of all that was lying around her, "HELLO?" She slowly stood up, (for the mirror had been hanging upside down from a rafter, you see,) and brushed the dirt and ash off of her now-ruined dress. She didn't understand, the mirror was supposed to be in her grandmother's house. Why was it in this old burnt-out mansion?
She wandered aimlessly through the remains, reviewing the plan in her head. Since she was obviously not in her grandmother's house, she would have to find it, and then proceed from there. Easy.
Then something under her foot broke with a loud crunch, causing her to look down. It was a teapot. The teapot that Charlotte had given to her grandmother when the old lady had turned sixty. With a gasp, she squatted down and scooped up the broken china, cradling it to her chest.
"Grandmother?" she whispered, realization dawning on her. This was her grandmother's house. It must had been destroyed in a fire, and Charlotte had no idea where her family was, or if they were even alive. She shuddered at the thought. No, they're alive, she thought. They have to be.
So where were they? She rummaged around in the ashes, hoping to find a further clue to her family's whereabouts. It was then that she noticed the man.
He was standing at the end of the long walk that led to the charred remains of the old house. His head was cocked to one side, as if he had heard a strange noise and was pausing to see if it would sound again.
She cursed under her breath and crouched lower into the ashes, praying to every deity she could think of that he would not discover her, but as luck would have it, she lost her balance and landed with a crunch on a stack of broken teacups (to go with he teapot, of course.) She cursed again, wincing at the harsh sound.
"Hello?" questioned the man, stepping closer to the ruins. "Is anyone there?"
Charlotte tried to evaporate.
It didn't work.
"Hello?" said the man again, wandering closer.
With a sigh, Charlotte straightened up and brushed the remaining soot off her dress, plastering a Cheshire smile on her face. "Why hello there! Fancy meeting someone else way out here. And here I thought I was the only one who liked exploring, ahem, things."
The man stared at her for a while, his head still tilted in thought. She stared owlishly back, her copper curls rustling in the breeze.
"Are you a ghost?" he asked, twirling his hat in his hands.
Charlotte paused for a moment. "Well," she stated plainly, "I suppose I could be one, for who else would reside in a haunted house? Logically, I must be a ghost. Lucky for you, not to mention myself, I made the decision to ignore logic whenever possible a long time ago, so, for the time being, I am not, in fact, a ghost. My name is Charlotte Hightopp, daughter of Lord and Lady Hightopp, and heir to the title of royal hatter, if my father ever decides to impart it upon me, but no! The mercury's much too dangerous he says, you'll go mad, he says! But that is an entirely different story. Ah, but now I'm rambling. You see, back home I usually have someone to stop me, but here in right proper England no one would dare interrupt a lady, so not I'm stuck forever, blathering on and on until someone has the muchness to-"
"My name is Jacob." the young man interjected, giving her a small bow, "Jacob DeQuincey at your service."
She grinned and half-chuckled tocover up the awkwardness.
Barely even out of Wonderland and already sticking out like a sore thumb, she thought to herself. "Well, it is a pleasure to meet you, Jacob DeQuincey, even if it is under such circumstances."
He nodded, still trying to puzzle out the peculiar girl before him. She had curly red- no; orange hair that flowed free down to the small of her back that rustled in the breeze like it had a life of its own. She was as pale as pale could be, which was the height of fashion, but her porcelain skin was marred by constellations of freckles over the bridge of her nose, down her cheeks, and onto her neck. He supposed that her forehead was thus marked, but it was obscured by a large hat, a bright green men's top hat, to be precise, which was the most peculiar work of haberdashery he had yet to lay eyes on. The whole ensemble was topped off by a sooty dress that was at least a decade old and the bluest pair of eyes he has ever seen. He brushed his dark hair back out of his eyes. "It is a pleasure to meet you as well, Ms. Hightopp."
She squinted back at him for a moment, then abruptly turned on her heel and walked deeper inside of the mansion.
"Wait!" he called, jogging after her, "you shouldn't be here, it's dangerous!"
"Okay!" she called back, rolling her eyes. "You should probably get back to where it's nice and safe, then."
She picked her way through the wreckage, thanking her lucky stars she hadn't chose to wear a corset that day.
"Clues... Clues..." she muttered under her breath. The one thing she knew for sure was her mother had been there, either before or after it burned. Hopefully not during, she mused, climbing over the charred remains of her grandmother's favorite side table. She spun around and faced Jacob, who was only a few steps behind her by then.
"If you lost everything in your entire house all in one day, where would you go?"
"Um... To my family?"
"Fantastic!" She shouted, startling some crows on the other side of the estate. "Aunt Margret!"
A/N: Hey kids, it's been a while, huh? (pleasedon'tkillmepleasedon'tkillmepleasedon'tkillme) Well, here you have it the next (moderately anticipated) chapter of Charlotte in Other World! Huzzah!
The next chapter is a toughie, so bear with me, k? Sorry that this is taking so long... I'm easily distracted. *shrugs* I promise to have it up moderately soon. Until then, hit the review button, you know you want to.