I sort of accidentally wrote this. Completely unintentional until Axel and Roxas popped up in my shower this morning all "HI PLOT BUNNY DELIVERY FOR YOU" and then I had to do as the bunny said, so.
YES, I AM AWARE IT CHANGES TENSE, UP TO AND INCLUDING MID SENTENCE IN SOME PLACES. This was done entirely on purpose. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, even if it's a complete lie. 7_7; Anyway! Yeah. My first Kingdom Hearts fic ever, and I blame playing the games and falling in love with Axel and Axel/Roxas for all of this, okay? It's probably fitting that I debuted a KH fic with Wonderland somehow. Though Alice in the Country of Heart sort of worked its way in there as well. Those familiar with that might notice where I managed to fit it in, if they look for it.
This isn't the Wonderland he remembers, he realized upon waking. Somewhere between The World That Never Was and Wonderland, he'd made a wrong step and his corridor of darkness had spit him out where he did not belong.
This land was too dark. The Wonderland he remembered had been light and cheerful, despite the Queen of Hearts' tendencies to yell for the cutting of heads. His Wonderland never had ominous clouds that hung over everything, dark and bleak like so many Heartless clustered together in the sky.
Somewhere in the distance, someone laughed and it made his heart ache- (but you don't have a heart, silly boy. Nothing there so how can it ache? Sit for a spell while I sing lullabies in your ears until you don't remember the ache you can't feel, child. Everything will be alright, a voice croons softly) but that's wrong too.
The longer he walks, the more lost he gets. Sometime in the past (how long have I been here, it feels like days but maybe it's only minutes or hours or maybe it's weeks months years the sun never sets but there's no sun to set) hour, the land has moved from twisting plains to dark forest. He stops to get his bearings, and doesn't startle when white teeth float into his line of vision.
"Are you lost?" the teeth ask
"Do you know where you are?"
"No. I thought it was Wonderland, but it doesn't seem like the one I remember."
"If you don't know where you are, how can you be lost?"
"Isn't that what being lost means?"
"No, you silly boy. Being lost implies that you knew where you were when you started, but somewhere along the way you took a wrong turn and now you don't know where you are. Being lost is an adventure, and adventure is finding yourself. Are you looking for yourself, boy?"
"No, I don't think I am. I'm just looking for a way back. I can't seem to open the door that brought me here in the first place."
The teeth open widewidesowide and laughter spills forth, and red materializes behind them, and suddenly the teeth are a man-cat with a grin so wide its face is splitting open and dripping blood.
Roxas thinks the man-cat looks familiar, but he can't remember why or how and that makes his heart ache again (but he still has no heart to for it to ache) but it's still so very wrong.
"Do you have a name, boy?"
The man-cat laughs again, blood drippingfalling and bows mockingly. "You may call me Axel."
Roxas clutches his chest and walks past the laughing beast as it vanishes, teeth and all.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
He recognizes the sound as a clock (like the big clock on the clock tower where we ate ice cream, but I don't think I know what that is anymore or who 'we' were, and it was so much louder on the tower than this), and looks around the town square to find the source.
He's alone in a crowd of faceless people, but a shape flickers by, blurred. It has a key in its hand.
He follows, because he's lost and has nothing better to do, and he wants to know why he can hear so many clocks, ticktickticking away.
He thinks maybe he should be horrified as the girl fades away into nothing, leaving behind a small key and a little clock on the ground. Instead, he's only curious. Why a clock? They took it right out of her chest and then she faded away and now there's only a clock.
He doesn't understand.
(Who needs a heart, really? Hearts only break and break and they can't be fixed, but that's wrong, he knows it is, he remembers that he once had a heart even if he doesn't remember having it, because redredredandgreengreeneyes –what was his name oh god I forgot his name! – told him once that they were going to get their hearts back, which means once he had a heart all his own.
He may prefer the clock, because clocks can be fixed.)
She's blonde and beautiful and Roxas is sure there's something familiar about her too, the way there was something achingly familiar about the man-cat and the girl with the key. He's dragged in and dropped before her, and he can only stare, while she watched from atop her throne of ticking hearts.
"Who are you?" she asks. Roxas blinks slowly.
"Alice," he says, on a whim. (Alice was the girl, the princess with the heart the one who could open Kingdom Hearts. Alice belonged to Wonderland and Wonderland belonged to Alice and it is only right that here there is an Alice too.)
"Alice? I have never heard of an Alice, in my kingdom. Where did you come from?"
"I fell down the rabbit hole." He'd been told once, a long time ago, that the entrance to Wonderland lay beyond the rabbit's hole.
"Did you? Pity. I am the Queen of Hearts."
"I don't think I really understand."
She smiles and there's hearts in her eyes and her mouth and ticking in her chest and he feels a sharp pain in his own.
"I am the Queen of Hearts," she repeats. (And she owns them, all of these ticking hearts, they belong to her and only her even as they tickticktick away in the chests of others.)
He finds himself alone in a barren wasteland.
There's a castle in the distance, but there's no castle out there in this land. It's a castle that isn't, and something about it strikes him as familiar (you lived in a castle that wasn't, child. Remember, remember. Castles that weren't in worlds that aren't, only the moon that isn't real in a sky that doesn't exist. People that shouldn't be yet are, people like you. They yearn for hearts they don't have, Roxas-child).
It flits on the edge of memory, and he remembers a name he can't remember. His chest aches again, and he wonders if perhaps these people he remembers-without-quite-remembering who don't exist also keep clocks in their chests to remind them of the hearts they (he) don't have.
He gives up wandering eventually, when he's back in that dark forest and the widewidewide smile of white teeth come back to him.
The man-cat is still dripping blood from the smiling mouth, and Roxas shudders.
"Something wrong, boy? Have you found yourself yet?"
"No. I'm still looking."
"Such a pity, don't you think? Would you like my clock?"
"It's what you're looking for, isn't it? Your heart? I will give you mine, if you want it that badly."
"I can find my own-"
"No you can't. Hearts don't exist here, you understand. There's only the clocks."
"I still don't understand, Axel."
"One day, perhaps you will. Goodbye. I hope you get un-lost someday."
And then he's alone again, and he's still lost in a land of hearts that tick like broken clocks with no heart of his own.
To be completely honest, I hate most of everything after Axel's first appearance. This is because when I first sat down to write it, I had less than a half hour due to school classes, so I had to stop for at least an hour and fifteen minutes in the middle of writing, and therefore lost the thread. The rest of the fic didn't flow as easily, leaving me to feel like it's not as good.