Disclaimer I don't own Alice, Jack Hearts, Wonderland, Hatter or anything else originally from the show/books - the rights belong to Lewis Carroll/SyFy. I do however own my OC, Joker, Cheshire Cat (in this story anyway...) and Kipper.
Author's Note Just noticed I've been writing this fanfic for over a year! Whoop, whoop! And now;
ilovemedia18 - Really glad you love the story, I'm still not quite sure where I'm taking this. I might end it with a Christmas chapter. Then again, I might not. That didn't really help... Sorry. Anyway, yes, glad you like what I'm doing.
glowgreen4me - I am definitely making another chapter - possibly another few maybe.
ehluvr3 - Awe, you're too kind, really. And I'm trying to update, but I never have time. Darn!
Hannah - Update now :)
momopanda95 - Yeah, I was puzzled when I watched the show and noticed when Cheshire Cat wasn't in it at all. Totally confused. I'm really happy you love my style of writing and the story plot, and also about Joker and her background as well. I love that you love the story, and I'm trying to write as much as I can. Christmas is coming up and I'm stuck between College and work, if I'm not at one I'm at the other. But anyway, that's for reviewing and here's what you're looking for :)
A/N PS. It's very late, I know. I was actually going to write another Christmas special. But it never happened.
SyFy's Alice, 2009
Chapter Seven - Lesser of Two Evils
The first week had been very quiet and very tiresome since the incident, the book store was still ruined, but Joker was recovering steadily. The damage done to her had been worse than it had originally looked, as she'd suspected.
A black-eye, cuts, bruises, a sprained wrist and minor internal bleeding was what Joker had sustained from the attack – she constantly had to assure Hatter that Kipper was in worse condition than herself. He just couldn't bring himself to believe her though...
The doctor they met at Wonderland Central Hospital, a charming old fellow by the name of Alfrex Zymzil with fluffy ivory hair and mossy green eyes, had promised Joker would be up and about within the week.
Doctor Zymzil prescribed Joker three different medications; a painkiller, a sleeping-aid, and something to help heal the minor internal bleeding quicker.
After the first week, Joker was slowly up and about, Hatter not leaving her side for more than a few minutes at a time. He cared a lot for her, more than he wanted to admit to himself. Everyone Hatter had cared for so far in his life had left him; his mother, father, siblings, friends... Alice... He didn't want to lose another person he cared for.
It was Thursday, the middle of the second week of her recovery, and Joker found herself sitting upon the front desk of her destroyed store. Her dream, her life, her safe haven (for the past eleven years) was no more. Everything would need to be fixed and replaced, not just the books.
Financially, Joker had more than enough money to get the book store looking brand new. But that was the thing, she didn't want a new book store, one that smelled of fresh ink and flawless mahogany bookshelves. She wanted her old book store back to the way it was, the air thick with the smell of musty old books and its cosy, inviting atmosphere.
It would take a lot of time, and care, and kindness to get the place back to the way it was – Joker was ready and willing.
Cheshire Cat hadn't appeared back in the store since the attack, either too ashamed or too frightened to return. Ashamed because he'd let his best friend get hurt, frightened at what Hatter might do to him the next time they met.
If she were perfectly honest, Joker felt almost betrayed by her dear friend, she had warned him not to go looking for Kipper and yet he had anyway.
Joker's internal bleeding had healed quickly but not fully, the bruising had faded to a dark yellow colour, all her little cuts had healed. Her wrist, however, was still in a wrist support.
Hatter was there in the book store with her, helping her sort through the books. Some bloodied, most ruined, while a (very small) few seemed salvageable. The books had been well worn before the incident, and unfortunately Hatter couldn't tell the difference.
"Keep or bin?" Hatter asked Joker after holding up a burgundy hardback book, in gold letters across the front it read 'Alex's Adventures in the Oyster World' written beneath it in the same font and colour was the name of the author, a Wonderland author, 'Louis Barroll'. The book was twice as thin as it should have been, the spine nearly faded white and cracked.
Joker stared at it for a moment before sighing with a frown, "Bin it." - she'd liked that story.
Hatter threw the book into a yellow plastic box behind him before picking up another and asking the same question, "Keep or bin?"
Now, this book was rather large, about the size of an A4 piece of paper and as thick as a brick. The book was also a hardback, but the colour of it was a deep forest green. 'The Complete Adventures of Winnie-The-Pooh' was imprinted on the cover in gold letters as well, the outline of a teddy bear and teddy piglet holding hands beneath it (also in gold). The spine of the book was hanging off it, but the pages looked all there.
"Actually," Joker slid off the counter and gently took the heavy book from him, hugging it to her chest by her uninjured arm. "This one's mine."
"Keeping it, then." Hatter commented as he picked up a book splattered with blood and torn down the middle, throwing it into the box without asking. They had been at if for hours now and they'd only made a small dent in the damage, there was still much to do.
"I like it." Joker replied, stifling a yawn as she turned to slide the book onto the front desk. Even with the sleeping pills she'd been given by Doctor Zymzil, she was still having restless night sleeps. No nightmares, or night terrors, just difficulty getting over.
"Maybe you should go have a lie down," Hatter suggested as he brushed dust from his knees as he stood straight, his back popping as he did so. "You look a bit tired."
"I'm fine, really." Joker tried through another yawn, not sure if she was trying to convince more, Hatter or herself.
"A nap would be good for you," Hatter smiled encouragingly, pushing her gently with his hand on her lower back through the kitchen and up the first few stairs. "I'll be down here waiting for you with a cup of tea."
Objecting was too tiring, so after giving him a loving peck on the cheek, Joker climbed the rest of the way up and inter her room – collapsing as softly as she could onto her familiar old mattress. Her organs were still a bit tender, so she needed to be careful.
Hatter waited until her heard Joker's bedroom door close before grabbing his coat and keys and heading out the newly placed and painted blue door, turning the three individual locks until they clicked into place.
That sly dog Kipper still hadn't been caught and Hatter was quickly running out of ideas, he had been left with two options – neither of which he wanted to use but might need to if he wanted Kipper.
The first option was simple, go and ask King Jack and Queen Alice for help. But could he ask the woman who broke his heart for help?
The second option was equally as unpleasant, and involved travelling deep into the underbelly of Wonderland. A shady group known as 'The Ravens' were rather good at finding people who didn't want to be found, which was exactly who Kipper was. It wasn't his first choice as he didn't know what they'd want in exchange for their... Services.
There was only one sensible choice of action, he would have to ask the King and Queen of Wonderland for help. If that didn't work, he would consult The Ravens.
It being Thursday, the Royals would be allowing the occupants of Wonderland into the Palace to suggest certain ways to improve Wonderland. Capture the Jabberwocky had been one of them. To build new houses was one suggested by Ratty, it was currently under way.
Hatter was at the palace within the hour and quickly joined the long line leading to the thrones of the King and Queen, who were dressed in their finest red and white clothes – as usual. It didn't take long for more people to line up behind him; some holding inventions, others with folders to present their ideas with, but everyone dressed in their best clothes for the Royals.
In front of Hatter stood a young boy, no older than seventeen or so, dressed in a worn brown suit a size or two to big for him. He was muttering to himself, obviously rehearsing what he planned on saying to the Royals as he clutched a folder to his chest.
Standing at the entrance to the Palace were two tall, smiling men dressed in identical white suits with identical red ties and identical pairs of dark red dress shoes. The one on the left however had a red '3' on each of the lapels on his suit jacket above a heart, whereas the one on the right had a red '2' on each of the lapels above a red heart also. Their only job was to make sure that no trouble kicked off, and to be friendly to the visitors to the castle – public image and all that.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girl," The Two of Hearts greeted with an overly cheerful grin. "Welcome to the Royal Palace."
"We're very grateful for your patience." The Three of Hearts continued, clasping his hands together.
The natives to Wonderland quietly shuffled on past the two suits, who towered over them in an accidentally intimidating way – causing the Wonderlanders to subconsciously cower as they passed.
An hour later and Hatter was not only at the front of the line now, the nervous teenager that had been in front of him having just stepped into the throne room, but he was also getting more and more restless. It was taking him longer than he'd though to speak to the King and Queen, the last thing he wanted was for Joker to wake up and find that he's vanished.
Barely five minutes later the doors in front of Hatter opened, a sign that the teenager was gone and it was his turn.
Another guy, dressed exactly like the two at the entrance to the palace except for the red 'A' on the lapels of his suit, approached Hatter and asked him his name.
"Hatter. Just Hatter." Was his reply.
"Whatever you say, mate," The Ace of Hearts shrugged his shoulders before leading the way into the throne room. "Your Majesties, may I introduce to you next, Hatter."
At his name, Hatter straightened his jacket and cleared his throat before stepping forward into the throne room, tipping his hat off his head as he approached the King and Queen.
"King Jack. Queen Alice," Hatter acknowledged them with a not of his head, the rim of his hat clenched in his right hand. "There is a criminal on the loose."
The doors to the throne room closed with a thundering bang.
As soon as Joker heard the front door to the shop close, she slid out of bed and pulled on a baggy black hooded jacket over the blue short sleeved shirt she'd been wearing, so as not to hurt her arm. If she had to guess, it being a Thursday, Hatter had left to talk to the Royals of Wonderland. She respected them, yes, but she didn't think they would be able to pull off what Hatter wanted from them.
Carefully Joker climbed down the stairs, grabbing her keys from the kitchen so as to unlock the front door. After relocking the front door, a gust of wind rushed past Joker – chilling her to the bone, so much so that she was forced to zip the front of her jacket all the way up.
The platform lift Joker normally took to the top layer of Wonderland only went as far as the level the book store was on, if she wanted to go where she was thinking of going then she was going to half to walk. Or find a raven.
Two layers down and it was even quieter than the barren levels above, but it was the first level Joker had come to where there was a raven's nest placed on a windowsill. There were two ravens, but she'd only need one. So, pressing her back to the wall, she slowly and soundlessly slid her way to the windowsill and waited for her chance – which came seconds later when the smaller raven looked the opposite way of where she was standing. Taking the chance, Joker leapt towards the feathered creatures and swiped the smaller one, holding it between her chest and her uninjured hand.
The raven squawked and struggled furiously, trying to get free.
"Stop struggling, I just want you to deliver a message for me," Joker hissed, to which the bird immediately stilled. She gingerly slid her injured hand into the back pocket of her jeans, wincing as a small jolt of pain shot through her wrist, and pulled out a piece of faded yellow paper before holding it out. "Give this to Allepo."
The raven stared up at Joker with unusual dark grey eyes, just for a moment, before snatching the piece of paper in it's right claw. She let the bird go and it flew out into the gap in front of them, then folded its wings in and dive-bombed down into the very bowels of Wonderland.
The folded piece of paper that Joker had given the raven had a short note she'd scrawled, enclosed with a Joker card; 'You own me a favour'.
Minutes later and the silence was disturbed by a soft springing sound echoing against the walls, that only seemed to get louder, and louder, and louder.
Joker barely so much as flinched when a figure at least three feet taller than herself landed beside her, completely dressed in black. The figure, which was a man, had a mop of dark ginger on his head.
"Roo," Joker smiled up at the man, who quickly crouched down to her level with his own smile. "It's good to see you again."
In actuality, Roo was only slightly taller than Joker was. The difference in their height at the moment was that Roo was wearing black, spring-like appendages on his shoes, they were identical to what the oysters had in their world called 'Pogo stilts'.
"Awe, it's great to see you to, Lit," Roo wrapped his arms around her and stood straight, he'd been smiling until he'd heard her wince painfully through clenched teeth. He quickly set her down, afraid he'd hurt her, only to notice the white bandage wrapped around her left hand poking out from beneath her jacket. "What happened?"
"It's the reason why I need to speak to Allepo," Joker carefully hugged her injured wrist to her abdomen. "I was attacked. The book stores ruined."
It was at that point that Roo lost the playful spark in his green eyes and finally noticed the condition she was in, "Why didn't you say so?"
"I thought Allepo told you." Joker shrugged her shoulders tiredly.
"No." Roo responded, he crouched down again and scooped Joker up, this time hugging her back tightly to his chest.
Roo was called Roo because, not only was his real name Rodney, he hopped wearing the Pogo stilts in a very similar fashion to a kangaroo. He was also very fast and very endurable.
It took the two longer getting down to their destination than it had taken Roo to reach Joker, mainly due to the fact that he didn't want to hurt her. Within minutes though the pair had reached the bottom of the gorge, but instead of stopping Roo hopped on at a slower pace. They had to go down a few alley ways and bounce over a few craters in the pavement before they'd reached the building hidden right in the heart of a part of Wonderland referred to as Underland, a building that looked no different to the others around it – apart from the artistically sketched drawing of a raving in flight on the door they were heading towards.
Joker pulled open the door and strolled into the house, which was much bigger on the inside than it appeared, with as much confidence as a battered looking woman could. There were ravens pattering about the place, cawing and squawking at each other every now and again.
Roo lead her around a corner and through another door, much stronger looking than the front door. They walked into a room full of black mismatched furniture of all shapes and sizes, but sitting in a very throne-like chair standing at the top of a small flight of steps, sat a black haired, dark eyed man wearing a cloak made from black feathers. This was Allepo Veran, the head of The Raven.
"Lit," Allepo stood from his throne and made his way towards her, Roo backing away from Joker a few steps. "What's his name?"
The members of The Raven knew Joker more commonly as Lit, short for Literature, as most of them were locals to the book store.
"Kippley Dogard," Joker gladly handed over the name. "He's more commonly known as Kipper the Dog."
"Oh, that guy," Allepo smirked at the mere thought of him. "We've been keeping an eye on him for a while now."
"He destroyed the book store, Al. And look at the state of me," Joker gestured with her good hand at herself, tugging her left sleeve up her arm to show him the bandage. "I'm afraid he'll get me again."
All the members in the room stopped what they were doing and turned to the pair, both shocked and angry that their favourite bookshop had been destroyed, and that their favourite shop keeper had been attacked. Most of the members had never heard Joker confess she was afraid before, she'd been slightly scared once when she'd dislocated her shoulder, but that was pretty much it.
In their teenage years, Joker and Cheshire had frequently helped out The Ravens in whichever way they could. Running information between groups, hiding members that were being hunted, etc...
"Trust me, Lit. You won't have to worry your pretty little multicoloured head about him ever again," Allepo promised, dropping an arm over her shoulders as he turned to look at his gang. "Get ready, we're going on a mutt hunt."
Hatter quietly let himself back into the book store, just as he was closing the door again, a purple converse shoe halted the door from closing over completely.
Cheshire, the pink and purple haired idiot, pushed his way into the store.
"Where is she?" He demanded, quite loudly. He didn't get an answer quick enough. "I said where is she?!"
"Will you shut up!" Hatter hissed as quietly as he could. "She's upstairs sleeping."
Cheshire jolted towards the stairs, and without even thinking, Hatter lashed out and punched him rather violently on the side of his head. Cheshire collapsed before he'd even reached the door. Hatter couldn't explain it, but it had just been a gut instinct that he couldn't ignore.
Not leaving him lying in the middle of the floor, Hatter dragged him to the side and propped him up against the wall – where one of the bookshelves just to be. Cheshire groaned a bit, but otherwise stayed still.
"She's not going to be happy." Hatter worried as he climbed the stairs as quietly as he could, he knocked on Joker's bedroom door softly before opening it. She was lying on her right side with her back to the door, a black jacket of hers lay across the end of the bed. As he was about to close the door over, she slowly woke up and looked over her shoulder at him.
"Everything alright?" She asked through a yawn.
"Yeah, no problem, everything's fine," he replied with a nervous smile. "I just thought I'd check on you. Go back to sleep."
"Stay with me?" she asked as he almost closed the door. "Please?"
Hatter thought about it for a moment before moving into her room, closing the door behind him as he discarded his hat and jacket over the end of the bed. As he kicked his shoes off she moved over to make room for him to lie down beside her, as he got comfortable he wrapped a protective arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him.
"Night." He mumbled into her ear, smiling slightly, happy he'd gotten away with going to see the Royals.
"Night." She replied, an identical smile on her face, happy she'd gotten away with going to see The Raven.
Chapter Seven is finished!
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Until the next chapter! Which will be soon hopefully!