Disclaimer: Alice in Wonderland franchise and the film's characters regretfully don't belong to me.
Author's Note: Hiya guys. The idea of this fanfic crashed into my mind a week ago. I actually had doubts about making the story since my university life's starting next month but alas, I can't get the plot off my mind so I decided to give it a try. This is my first Alice in Wonderland fanfic so please bear with me. Thank you!
Friendly Warning: The story will not follow the exact timeline and plot of the film. There will be deviations here and in the next chapters.
For now, you guys enjoy!
"..and the Hatter, oh Jen, you have to meet Tarrant! Then there's also the March Hare, the twins, and ah, yes, Mallymkun! I don't think she liked me very much at first though. She could be as snobbish as the Knave of Hearts sometimes but at least, he's not as mean as the Red Queen. Still, it's all wonderful! I wish you were there with me."
Six-year old Alice Kingsley beamed brightly at her cousin, the enthusiastic spark in her wide blue eyes so contagious that her older girl couldn't help but throw skepticism out of the window and finally believe in her cousin's tale of this place she called Wonderland.
"You said you saved the Knave of Heart's life when you grew as big as a giant. How'd you do that?" Seven-year old Jen Isidore struggled to keep her tone from sounding so curious but the excited smile Alice sent her clearly told her she has failed miserably.
"Oh that. I think I had a bit too much of Upelkuchen then."
At the quizzical look that her cousin sent her, little Alice grinned sheepishly. "Eat-me cake. It's a cake that makes one grow."
The blonde's grin erupted into a giggle when she saw the brunette make a sour face. Her cousin hated sweets.
It wasn't a dream. It was a memory.
With a shrug, twenty-year old Jen Isidore nonchalantly resolved to forget about it altogether. She had more important things to worry about, one of them being her tardiness.
She knew her arrival to the party was more than a tad bit late. Not that they could blame her. Ascot Manor was after all quite a long-distanced travel when one was from an entirely different continent. Besides, the only reason she decided to attend anyway was her cousin. And now, she couldn't find her anywhere.
When she first stepped inside the manicured lawns of the impressive property, she was expecting a dancing throng of aristocrats scattered along the estate gardens. The sight that greeted her instead, caused a genuine look of confusion to settle on her normally confident gaze.
Assembled around the gazebo was the crowd of people she was looking for. Their lack of movement emphasized the absence of merry-making. In fact, disappointment and bewilderment was on the majority's faces. It was as if something completely unwelcomed happened just now.
Her attention was drawn when she neared the pavilion structure, her gaze never missing the lone figure of a man inside. She only needed a quick glimpse of his face in order for her to recognize him. It was no other than Hamish. And if it weren't for the glum atmosphere that seemed to hang in the air, she would have laughed at how odd his face looked with that utterly dumbfounded expression instead of his usual irritatingly snobby one. What could have happened to illicit such change of countenance to the arrogant Ascot heir?
"Jen, is that you?"
She knew that docile voice anywhere. Without a second thought, she whirled around to face no other than Margaret Manchester née Kingsley. Just the perfect person to ask about Alice's whereabouts and perhaps the root of the enigmatic incident that happened before she arrived.
"Hello Margaret. It's been a while." Jen smiled warmly at her cousin and it was only after their exchange of curtsies did she notice that Margaret wasn't mirroring her smile at all. If anything, she looked stern and very much worried.
"He hit you again, didn't he." It was more of a statement than a question. "Where is he? I'd very much like to have a word with him."
Jen instantly looked away, her hand briefly traveling to her right cheek. With a light amount of the right shade of foundation, no one could have noticed the fading bruise marring the flawless skin. But then again, the experienced eye always knows how to look through. "This is nothing. I assure you I fought back." Her clenched fists betrayed the nonchalance in her tone, moreover when those agitated fingers twisted an expensive-looking diamond ring around her ring finger. "And Francis' occupied with the shipments for China so he won't be here until dinner. Let it go, cousin."
The weary finality in her tone thankfully kept the Margaret at bay. Though Jen was sure that the same tactic won't work on the younger Kingsleigh. Speaking of which. "Have you seen Alice, Margaret? I've been looking for here since I came here."
Silence met her and Jen turned to look at older girl straight in the eye. This time, it was the latter who avoided her gaze.
"Is something the matter?" She pressed on, noting how the same look of distress crossed the elder Kingsleigh's face just like that of everyone else's in the party. The only difference was the strong tinge of guilt that was present in her blue eyes.
"It's Alice. Right after Lord Hamish's proposed to her, that child ran away to who-knows-where."
At once, Jen fought the urge to cast Margaret an accusing look as well as to smile proudly in Alice's behalf. She needed not to ask Margaret as to why her sister abandoned a would-be engagement. In all the months that Jen and Alice weren't given the chance to see each other, letters were their most useful form of communication. The bond that she and her adventurous cousin shared was as close as that of siblings. She ought to know if there was anything between Hamish and Alice. But alas, her latest letters failed to even mention Hamish's name so it was no doubt that Alice was just as clueless about the proposal beforehand as she was.
"You honestly can't blame her Margaret. Alice, she's…" She wasn't sure if she ought to continue or not. But for both of their sakes, she knew she had to.
"…well, Alice isn't like us. At least, she refuses to be. And I'm proud of her for doing so."
And with that, she pretended to ignore the look of hurt that flashed through Margaret's blue eyes and turned on her heels, just in time to see a blur of golden and blue speed towards the forest meters away from the manor.
She was too late.
Jen was only able to catch a glimpse of her cousin's signature thick mane of disarrayed blonde locks before her whole form disappeared entirely into the hole beneath the tree.
Even with franticness of her yell that was sure to be heard by anyone near the vicinity of the clearing, her cousin failed to answer her. There were only two possibilities which her brain could formulate as to why. One, her cousin might have hit her head in the process of stumbling into the wretched hole and lost her consciousness. Second, her cousin had fallen into a hole that was deep enough to prevent her from hearing Alice's responses from below because of the altitude. Despite the slim chances of a third probability, Jen hoped that both of the situations above were not the case.
Gathering her skirts, she quickened her pace towards the direction of the tree she last saw her cousin crouched under and felt all her energy drain her. She fell to her knees beside the gaping hole into which dear Alice tumbled over. The pit looked bottomless even as dared to peer inside, nothing but a massive pitch of hollowed darkness. The sheer memory of witnessing her cousin falling in there brought a frosty shudder down her spine.
"Alice it's me, Jen! Can you hear me?"
She bit her lip, viciously contemplating about what to do. Alice's lack of response alarmed her to say the least. And with each passing second that ticked by, all the more time was wasted and all the worse the predicament might be for her cousin's well-being.
Ignoring the possible conclusion of Alice getting into more trouble than she was already in, she eventually quelled the idea of resolving the problem herself right there and then. If she was to go down in there with no certain knowledge of how deep the hole was, both she and Alice might end up being trapped in there without anyone else knowing.
With one last look at the rabbit hole, she was all intent then on wasting away a few more minutes to get help. It was just her misfortune however that she had accidentally stepped on the hem of her dress as she tried to stand up. The inevitable happened.
Her horrified gasp was in vain as she stumbled back, lost her footing and plummeted down to the very same hole her cousin, Alice Kingsleigh had fallen into.
She couldn't remember the last time she screamed. But as she continued to descend down the endless pit of what seemed like a nauseating whirlwind of random furniture and the likes, she became painfully aware that she was yelling at the top of her lungs all the while.
With an unceremonious thump, her body hit what she presumed to be the ground, full force. Almost immediately, she could feel a terrible headache coming. She clenched her eyes shut, slim fingers flying to her temples in an attempt to massage the pain away. Thankfully, it worked and she opened her eyes again only to regret doing so. Everything was upside down.
For the second time, she was falling. And thankfully, something soft, albeit thin and scratchy prevented her body from hitting solid marble floor this time around. She sighed in relief, intent on thanking her savior until she saw what it actually was. There was no denying it. It was the gown Alice was wearing when she saw her rush towards the forest.
Scrambling to her feet in the most unlady like manner that would have made her younger cousin proud if she was here, her eyes immediately surveyed every inch and corner of the small room she was in. All she could see was a glass table at the center of the room and a dozen doors of different sizes surrounding the walls. Of course, there were also the two human-sized fissures on the checkered ceiling which meant that her cousin definitely went through the same ordeal as she did. But that was that. She was the only one in the room.
No sign of Alice.
Slowly but surely, black rage began to creep inside her chest, the immense concern she has for her cousin slowly ebbing away her usual iron-clad composure. In her arms lay Alice's dress and if she was devoid of it…
She closed her eyes and struggled to reign in her frustration. She felt sick from fearing the worst. With a heavy heart, she inched towards the table for support only for her weariness to leave her when she felt her hand collide with something. Immediately, her eyes flew open and her reflexes kicked in just in time to catch an ordinary looking bottle from falling off the table. She blinked, hazel eyes scanning the label that was attached to it. It read, 'Drink Me'. Moreover, the bottle was almost empty and by her estimation, it was only ten drops away from being completely devoid of its contents.
A soft creak stalled her inspection of the bottle. She turned around to find one of the doors slightly opened. Upon closer inspection, she was also able to spot a discarded key lying on the floor beneath the door. It was a clear insinuation that someone has already passed through it. Only problem was, the passage couldn't be more than two feet tall.
Hazel eyes lit up in realization, the vibrant glint in them sure to tell anyone who was to look that the wheels were turning furiously inside her mindscape, wasting no time in connecting the remaining pieces of the puzzle.
Gingerly, she uncorked the bottle. Then casting one last hopeful look at it, she raised the bottle closer to her face, threw her head back and tipped its contents over her parted lips. She would just have to trust her instincts as she normally does.
The effects were immediate. All at once, every joint in her body seemed to be shrinking. Ironically, it didn't hurt but it was assuredly a most uncomfortable feeling. For a second, she even thought she was hallucinating until she actually looked down to see her dress slip from the contours of her figure and drop to form a puddle of velvet maroon around her feet.
And then everything was dark again. It only took her a couple of seconds to become aware that she was just buried under the thick layers of her gown and another few seconds more to entangle herself from the sea of fabric. Then finally, she was free and her gaze immediately drank in all the largeness around her.
To say the least, she suddenly felt incredibly insignificant and before she could realize it, her eyes were darting for something that was remotely close to her size for comfort. She did not need to look too far.
Three strides away from her was another table, a hundred times smaller than the first one she saw. And as soon as her eyes found the piece of sweet, a grimace crossed her features. And then it clicked.
"Eat-me cake. It's a cake that makes one grow."
"Oh heavens, is this a dream? Don't tell me I'm in…" Eyes widening in recognition, she made a point to ignore her dislike for sweets and stick to logic. If her childhood memory serves her right and she really was indeed in Wonderland, she better keep the cake for future use later, especially after she made it through the door.
Mind made up, she was all too ready to retrieve the insufferable treat when the sudden cool breeze from the parted door hit her nude figure full force. Right. How could she forget she was naked down to her toes? Shivering, she laughed in spite of herself and buried herself back amidst the expensive maroon fabric of her discarded dress.
She emerged minutes later, thanking her couture lessons for the first time in her life. With a satisfied smile, she looked down and admired her work. Gone was the elaborate bodice of her court dress and in its place was a loose make-shift corset, showing off her shoulders and shaped tastefully with an outer layer of ruffled fabric that cupped her bust and hugged the small of her waist. With much effort of tugging, she has thankfully managed to make the hem of the petticoat reach her calves, giving decent glimpses of her shapely legs. The dark maroon ruffled dress that clad her figure was nowhere near as intricate and formal as the previous gown she was made to wear but she was proud of her craft nonetheless. The design of the dress was assured to enable her to move around more easily.
And now that she was clothed, she readily approached the table with the cake on top of it. Just as expected, she found bitemarks on it on closer inspection. Choosing not to ponder as to why her Alice would find the need to help herself with it when she was still inside the room, she tentatively reached for the cake and broke off only half a portion of it. It was the only size that could fit into the improvised pouch stashed around her waist after all.
Then as if on cue, the door produced another distinctive creak, all at once reminding her that she couldn't afford to waste any more time. Taking deep breath, she approached the door, hands trembling slightly as the flat of her palms made contact with the hard surface of the wood.
"I'm coming Alice."
Once forceful shove later and the door swung completely open, and lo behold Wonderland in all its glory.
It was just unfortunate that she was only given a few moments to marvel at the beauty of it. For mere seconds after her feet touched Wonderland's eccentric grounds, her attention was cruelly diverted by a familiar frightened scream.
Whipping her head at the direction of its source, she knew then that her hearing didn't fail her. Down across the orchard filled with giant mushrooms was her cousin, by her estimation just as small as she was, untamed mane of curly blonde locks in wild disarray as she broke into a desperate run.
But what little relief that wormed its way to her chest was crushed when her gaze found the reason why she was running.
Pursuing her cousin was an army of what looked liked armored red cards though it wasn't them that made Jen's heart skid to a momentary stop. It was the monstrous dog-like creature that led the troupe. With her size, Alice stood no chance. And nor does she. . .
Unless. . .
Fumbling inside the pouch where she kept the cake, she reached for the small portion of the cake she took and unhesitatingly popped the whole piece into her mouth.
Her apprehensive gaze never left the sprinting figure of her cousin as she did so, even as the uneasy feeling crept over her stretching bones. She didn't appear to care at all when the fabric of her dress began to hug her figure with tightening aggression, effectively removing every room of leisure breathing. Not at all. Her darkened eyes were focused solely on her cousin alone, strong features flinching not because of the uncomfortable fitting of her clothes but at the instances of advantage in favor of her pursuers.
When the hem of her dress finally stopped rising anywhere above the lower portion of her thighs, she finally took it as a sign that she had stopped growing.
And she would have broken into a sprint right then and there if not for the mighty neigh that forced her to hit the ground and avoid being viciously run down by a black steed that appeared seemingly out of nowhere. She barely had the chance to catch a glimpse of those formidable black hooves galloping to a stop next to her prone form on the ground before a ruthless hand forcefully yanked her to her feet and trapped her left arm in a vicious vice-like grip.
"Now what would a lovely foreigner such as yourself be doing in the middle of a hunting party?"
Thank you for reading guys. What do you think?