An Alice in Wonderland Fanfic
Tarrant Hightopp was glad to be in the palace of the White Queen once again. It was far more peaceful here than at the dark, twisted world of the Red Queen. Iracebeth's castle was warped in its perfection, dark in its sweetness. It was like the queen was trying to advertise the castle as a warm and gentle place, but only managed to highlight the evil within its walls. The constant fakeness of the queen and her court, the way that the animals stared at you with tortured eyes as you walked past, and the overwhelming crowds of people pressing in on all sides had nearly destroyed what was left of the hatter's sanity. Not that he'd had that much to begin with.
The hatter was passing by a balcony, his hat tucked under his arm, when he saw a figure out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see Alice Kingsley leaning on the railing, staring gloomily into the night. The moonlight made her blonde hair shine like silver; she looked beautiful. Tarrant forced himself to stop that trail of thought. Why are you thinking about her like that? Why would she care about a mad old hatter like you? He berated himself.
He walked out, coming to stand beside Alice. The girl turned to look at him with a smile. As he came to stand beside her, he asked, "Have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?"
The girl smiled, turning away as she answered, "Let me think about it."
They talked for a while longer. Alice still seemed convinced that her adventures in Underland were nothing more than a dream. Even the hatter, she insisted, was a figment of her imagination. Tarrant protested with mild hope, "Yes, yes. But you would have to be half-mad to dream me up."
Alice smiled, laughing softly. "I must be, then." She replied easily. Tarrant continued to smile at her, unable to look away. Alice's smile faded, and she added, "I'll miss you when I wake up."
Several moments passed, Alice still frowning sadly. To break the silence, Tarrant asked, "Do you think you'll wake up soon?" Even with his loose grip on reality, he didn't truly believe that this was nothing but the idle dream of a young girl. But he decided to humor her.
Alice sighed. "I don't know. I hope so." She hesitated, and then, in a softer voice, as though afraid to speak the words too loudly, she admitted, "And yet I'm not really sure if I want to."
The hatter raised his eyebrows, interested. "Oh? Why not?"
The girl hesitated, but seemed to gain confidence from her theory of the world around her being nothing more than a dream. "My father died a few months ago. It's been really hard on my mother. She tries not to show it, but I can tell. My sister's married to a complete scumbag. I don't trust him, but I don't know whether to tell Margaret or not. And now everyone wants me to marry Hamish-"
"What?" The hatter had not meant to voice his surprise; it had slipped out unintentionally. He blushed slightly, but with only the moonlight to see by, Alice didn't notice.
The young blonde explained sadly, "He's perfectly horrid, but he is a lord. Margaret's right, I can't do much better than a lord. If I refuse him, no one will ever let me live it down. I'll have disgraced my mother. I can't do that to her, not after losing Father." Her eyes were filled with fear and uncertainty, and her voice wavered a bit as she added weakly, "But I don't love him."
As Alice explained, the Mad Hatter became increasingly anxious. He'd always known that Alice wasn't his, that he had to right to feel this way about her. But to hear that some pompous lord would be the one to take his love away from him was more than he could bare. He felt his sanity begin to dissolve in the face of this horror. The hatter began babbling like an idiot, unable to control the flow of words. "It's no concern of mine, but it's come to my attention that if people aren't in love, then marriage is madness. That bamboozling fool can't make you do anything. You're you, not him, and he can't make you do what he wants you to do if you don't want to." His tone became frantic and quick, his eyes turning to a wild shade of orange as he lost his grip on reality, and somewhere in his rant, he slipped into Outlandish. "That's the most foolish thing I've heard, and I-"
Alice laid a firm hand on the man's shoulder, shaking him slightly. "Hatter!" She said firmly, trying to shake him out of his fit.
To her relief, his eyes softened back to their gentle green, but there was still torment there. She saw a thousand emotions flash in his eyes in a single moment. She dropped her hand from his shoulder and started to say something, but she never got the chance. The Mad Hatter laid a hand on her shoulder, drawing her a little closer, then leaned toward her. Alice's eyes widened as his lips met hers, taking her by complete surprise. Before she could react properly, he pulled back, shame in his eyes. "I'm sorry, my dear. I shouldn't have done that." He turned away, his shoulders slumping and his head lowered dejectedly. "I should go." He mumbled.
Alice's thoughts had dissolved into a useless heap when Tarrant had kissed her. Now, as the miserable hatter turned to leave, her thoughts scrambled together again, forcing her to take action. She took a step forward, reaching out and grabbing his arm. "Tarrant, wait." She said gently.
The use of his name was what stopped him more than anything. He turned slightly to face her, most of his face still hidden to her. "I'm terribly sorry Alice."
At first, the blonde had been unsure on how to react. But memories surfaced of her relief at his safe return to the castle, the way he had sacrificed himself for her in the Red Queen's castle, and the way she had also risked her life to save him from said castle, and an emotion burst forward within her, free at last from the chains she had never noticed. She released his arm and brought her hand gently to his cheek, turning his face towards her. "Don't be." She told him. She leaned toward the confused hatter slightly and kissed him.
Tarrant's mind was whirling with shock. Alice was kissing him! It was something he had only dared to dream about. He hesitated, unsure of whether this was truth or another lie of his half-mad mind. Then he closed his eyes and allowed himself to return the kiss, pushing his fears to the back of his mind.
Alice pulled back first. She smiled at him, amused by his shock. He tried to speak, but found that the words wouldn't come. After a few more failed attempts, he finally managed to stutter, "I never... I... I mean I never thought..." She just kept smiling at him. He finally burst out, "Have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?"
Alice laughed softly. "I'm sure I'll figure it out."
Tarrant smiled, reassured by her laughter. his mind clearing somewhat. "I'll let you get some rest. Big day tomorrow." As he turned away, he saw her frown slightly, leaning forward, apparently lost in thought.
The next day arrived, and the battle between Alice and the Jabberwockey was over. The head of the latter lay on the ground, severed from the body, and Alice stood triumphant and - thankfully - alive. The joy in his heart turned to dread as the White Queen gave Alice the blood of the Jabberwocky, which would allow her to leave Wonderland. The girl lifted the vial slowly to her lips. She was about to drink it when Tarrant forced himself to speak. "You could stay you know."
Alice turned to look at him and smiled. Tarrant allowed himself to hope as she replied, "What an idea. What a mad, crazy, wonderful idea." But then the smile faded from her face. "But I can't."
She saw the hope in his eyes fade away to misery, and wished she could give him a different answer. But to stay here would be to easy. To stay here would mean leaving Hamish without an answer and pubicly humiliated, which for all his flaws, he did not deserve. It would mean leaving Margaret, who would become unwary prey to her husband's unfaithfulness. It would mean leaving her mother, who was still grieving horribly for her lost husband. Alice couldn't do that to her. She couldn't abandon the people she loved. The people of Wonderland didn't need her anymore; the people of her world did. She tried to make Tarrant understand. "There are questions I need to answer. Things I have to do." She saw from the sad acceptance in his eyes that he understood. She lifted the vial to her lips and drank, wishing she didn't have to.
She told him with a forced smile, "I'll be back again before you know it."
He shook his head sadly. "You won't remember me." He said softly.
She looked surprised. "Of course I will. How could I forget?" They looked at each other in silence for a moment, neither wanting to say goodbye. Alice finally asked, "Hatter, why is a raven like a writing desk?"
He smiled sadly. "Haven't the faintest idea." The hatter leaned in as though to kiss her, but changed his mind quickly. He would not stall her departure anymore. It was killing him, but he had to let her go. He instead leaned towards her ear and whispered, "Fairfarren, Alice." Tarrant pulled back and smiled at her, wishing that there was something he could do to make her stay. But she was already fading, slipping back into her world. A world he could never be a part of. In a few moments, she was gone, as if she had never been there at all.
Ten years passed. Iracebeth and Stayne had left without much protest, knowing that they were beaten. The White Queen ruled with justice and love, just as it had been before the reign of the Red Queen. Everything that Tarrant had worked for had finally happened. And yet the hatter could not bring himself to be happy. Oh, he smiled and laughed as was required of him, and he was glad that the White Queen was on the throne once again, but there was an emptiness to his laughter, a fakeness to his smile. All this could be explained in one word; Alice. It was Alice who occupied his thoughts every moment of every day, for all of those long ten years. He missed her more then he ever could have imagined possible. It was she who had reminded him that there was a life beyond politics, she who had dragged him from the dark memories of the past and taught him joy again.
The hatter wandered alone through the flower fields near the rabbit hole where Alice first entered Underland. After all these years, it was merely habit, but in his heart, Tarrant still held the hope of Alice's return. But he knew she never would. It had been too long; she had forgotten him again, or else had no wish to return. Perhaps she had even found someone else and gotten married. These thoughts dug their way into his mind, refusing to leave him alone.
The hatter froze. That voice... Ten years hadn't erased the memory of that voice from his mind. He hesitated, dying to see her face again, terrified that it was just a dream, that Fate was playing another cruel trick on him. Finally, he forced himself to turn and look.
Behind him stood a tall blonde woman of thirty years. She was wearing a pretty blue suit, her blonde wavy hair falling freely down her back. Her brown eyes sparkled with the same confidence that had been there the day that the Jabberwocky had been slain. It was her. She was older, yes, but she had only grown more beautiful with time.
The hatter's mismatched eyes widened in surprise. "Alice, you're here!" He couldn't keep the idiotic smile from spreading spreading across his face. "I knew you'd come back, I knew it, I knew you would!" He was babbling like an idiot, and he knew it, but he couldn't stop the words from coming. "There's been so much happening around here, you wouldn't believe-"
Alice interrupted his senseless babbling with a kiss. He closed his eyes, allowing himself to enjoy this moment that he had dreamed of for ten years. The blonde woman eventually pulled back, smiling, that fiery confidence shining in her eyes. "I told you I'd come back, didn't I?" She inquired brightly. Tarrant nodded, closing his eyes once more as he hugged Alice close to him. Later, she would tell him about her journeys in China, her success with the company, her sense of closure after the death of her mother and the birth of her niece. Later, he would lead her around Underland, reminding her of the places she had been and introducing her to the places she had not. But for now, he let himself feel the joy that had escaped him for so long. Alice was here now, and that was all he needed to know.
Alice looked up at him, her brown eyes shining. "I love you, Tarrant." She said softly.
The Mad Hatter returned her look, imagining with joy the future they would have together. "I love you too, Alice."
Alright, this is my first real attempt at fluff (human fluff, I'm not counting A Misty Flame) so don't kill me. I wanted to try doing a piece with actual human romance, which I've never really tried to write before. I highly support the pairing AliceXTarrant, and the discovery that the original script had them kiss twice has only made me like the pairing more. I was recently in an ice skating show of Alice in Wonderland (I played Tweedledee, my cousin played Tweedledum), so I felt like writing about Alice in Wonderland. Hope you guys like it. As always, critique is greatly appreciated.
Alice, Mad Hatter, and other characters (c) Lewis Carrol and Tim Burton
Most of the dialouge (c) Time Burton