Author's Note – Just an intro. I may try and expand on this if anyone is interested. Disclaimer – I do not own HP or Wonderland – though I'd like to borrow it….
Hermione Granger, the smartest witch of her age, stared at her two best friends in exasperation. They hadn't finished their homework! All of them were supposed to go to Hogsmeade together, but they had agreed to finish their work first!
"Oh, honestly! What have you two been doing all morning? We can't just up and go – by the time we get back it'll be too late for you to finish."
Both of them managed to look contrite, although Harry pulled it off better than Ron. He glared at the parchment strewn on his bed and heaved a deep sigh.
"She's right, Ron. If we don't get this finished, Snape'll take points and give us both detention. We'd better get started. You go on and go Hermione."
Ron started to protest, but managed to swallow his words and turned away. She shook her head in reluctant acceptance.
"Hogsmeade's no fun on my own. I'll just nip up to my room for a book and come back. That way I can help you…"
Ron turned to her, face lighting with expectation that died as it met her hard-eyed stare.
"…but I won't do it for you!"
With that, she hurried up to her room for one of her favorite novels. When she returned to the boys' room, they had perched at either end of Ron's bed so she could curl up on Harry's. Kicking off her shoes, she piled the pillows high against the headboard and leaned back to read.
The primroses were over.
She lost herself in reading for a good hour before a loud exclamation drew her attention.
Her head came up sharply, expecting to see them grumbling over their Potions essay.
He looked at her, confused for a moment, but shook his head. He pointed across the room, towards the wall across from both beds.
"Look at that!"
She glanced at Harry, who silently stared at the far wall. Turning her head, she felt her jaw drop as she stared at the full length mirror standing against that wall.
The mirror…rippled. It was not the wavering of light across the surface, or the shimmer that heat sometimes brought. No, the very glass itself seemed to be moving, like the lake during a good breeze. Watching the way their reflections moved and warped in the movement made her a bit queasy.
The serious voice drew her attention back to the boys. Harry looked at her for a moment, green eyes flat and cold. Taking a deep breath, she nodded. As she slipped off the bed and put her shoes back on, she pulled her wand out of its sheath. Ron had already moved slightly to Harry's right, and she took up a defensive stance on the left, leaving Harry in the middle and slightly to the front. The three of them stared at the mirror, waiting to see what else might happen.
Most students would have summoned a professor for aid, but these three had an entirely different definition of normal than the others. Of all of the students, they were most aware of the limitations of the adults in their school. It had not been the professors that had saved the school or the students during any of their previous adventures, so it seemed only natural for the three of them to handle this situation themselves.
As the mirror steadied, it no longer reflected the students or their room. Instead, they seemed to be looking through the mirror, into some strange sort of garden. Two familiar figures looked back at them. One of them, blond head tilted just slightly to the left gave a vague sort of smile – she seemed to look past them into some other part of the garden. The redheaded one, however, gestured for them to step forward, her movements a trifle anxious. Ron scowled.
"That's Ginny! And Luna! What's going on?"
Before anyone could answer, they saw a portion of the air in the mirror-picture seem to shudder and blur. Three more figures stepped into the garden – out of nothingness! A dark-haired girl around Ginny's age looked around in astonishment as the two older boys at her side gaped at the two girls. Harry groaned.
"Malfoy! And Zabini I think, but who's the girl?"
Luna took the girl's arm and gently pulled her to the side. Malfoy scowled as Ginny waved him away, motioning for him to follow his fellow Slytherin. When he had finally moved far enough to suit her, she turned back to the three friends and gestured at them again. Hermione sighed.
"Here we go again."
The trio moved forward, and Harry reached out to touch the mirror. Ron and Hermione put their hands on his shoulders to remain connected. As his fingertips brushed the smooth surface, they felt a strong pull and began falling. The mirror's surface rippled and danced for a moment, before becoming still once more and reflecting only the empty dorm room.
Even as they fell, the three of them remained in touch. Bright, colorful lights and a swirling silver mist surrounded them. Although the mist flowed and moved like smoke, there was no wind, no feeling of air movement. Despite the sense of falling, they could not even be sure they were moving. It may have only been the mist.
Even as the thought occurred to Hermione, she attempted to move her wand arm in an experiment. It moved easily, normally. However, when she tried to step closer to Harry, nothing happened. It was as though something allowed her a minimal range of motion while keeping her body in place. Before she had time to formulate any kind of theory, the mist closed in and then…scattered. It literally blew apart like broken glass, and the three of them stepped into a garden filled with a glorious confusion of color. As they looked around in bewildered amazement, a small snort drew their attention to the younger Gryffindor. Ginny gave them all a grin.
"Glad you could join us! Would you look at this place?"
Despite the wonderful tangle of greenery, and the riot of colors, Harry had not relaxed his stance. Wand firmly in hand, his eyes scanned the surrounding area. Even as they peered around, Ron and Hermione kept their guard up as well. This would not be the first time someone had attempted an elaborate trap. As they scrutinized the location, green eyes swept across and met grey. Mutual distrust and disdain flowed between them. Finally, Harry took a deep breath.
"Until we know what's going on, I propose a truce."
A single white-blond eyebrow rose. Draco stared at him for a long moment before glancing down at his younger companion and meeting the gaze of his Slytherin year-mate. Whatever he saw in both gazes caused him to sigh. He turned back and met Harry's gaze.
"Agreed. We are in truce – until the end of this…incident."
The two young men nodded at one another before turning back to their surroundings. Luna stood head tilted and her eyes half-closed as she seemed to be listening to a song only she could hear. Ginny and the Slytherin girl wandered about the small clearing, looking with delight at the unusual flowers, oversized mushrooms, and strange trees growing nearby. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco, and Blaise remained on defensive. Maintaining enough distance to give them room to maneuver, they watched the shadows and spaces between plants for any sign of trouble.
"Do we have any idea of where we are? Let alone why we're here?"
At the lazy, drawling voice, four of the sentinels turned to their fifth. Blaise Zabini, a Slytherin of their year, peered around as cautiously as any of them while maintaining an air of detachment. Brown eyes skipped over the other three girls, barely hesitating as they moved from one place to another.
"We're pretty much down to figuring out where we're not. We came through because of Ginny and Luna."
Ron looked at Blaise.
"Yeah, why did you come?"
Blaise gave the red-head a tiny sneer, but lifted one shoulder.
"It's a…singular kind of experience to see a garden in a mirror down in our dorms."
Draco sniffed and rolled his eyes.
"Not to mention Astoria started through on her own. We would never have heard the end of it from Greengrass if we had stood back and just watched as her little sister disappeared into a mirror."
They both nodded and she huffed.
"You mean the entire school would never have heard the end of it."
Blaise just slanted her a look, but Draco's mouth actually twitched in amusement. Daphne's idea of a gentle remonstrance could rival Molly Weasley's. She had been told it was her duty to mind her younger sister and make sure she fell in with the "proper" crowd.
At the sharp breaking of a stick, the five guardians whirled to face the direction of the sound. While eight pairs of eyes focused on the newcomer, only five hands held wands ready for trouble.
"You are quite late, you know."
Standing before them, shakings it's head, was a white rabbit. Not just any rabbit, however; this rabbit wore a blue waistcoat and carried a large gold pocketwatch. He looked around at each of them, then down to his watch, and back up once more. Holding his front paw over his mouth, he cleared his throat.
"I said, you are quite late, you know…dear me, I do hope they are the right ones…"
With a shake of his whiskers, the white rabbit turned back to them. Drawing himself up, he focused his pink eyes on Harry.
"My name is Nivens McTwisp. Underland needs your help."
Harry grimaced and pinched the bridge of his nose, not replying immediately. Ron gave a small groan and threw his hands up in the air. Hermione took a deep breath and held it while counting to ten. The others just looked at them in confusion. Finally, Harry took his hand away from his face and focused his sharp green eyes on the…on McTwisp.
"Look…um..Mr. McTwisp…I'm really, really sorry about this, but we're kind of already in the middle of one war. I'm not sure…"
McTwisp began pulling at his right ear.
"Yes, yes, we know. That's just it, you see. One of Underland's greatest enemies has made a bargain with your enemy. She is going to provide him with soldiers while he supplies her with magic help. We need you to help us stop her before she can take over here and give him even more help!"
Harry's shoulders dropped, and he looked over to his best friends. Ron could only shrug helplessly while Hermione lifted her hands. She stepped forward.
"Harry, now we have to at least look into it. If it's true, if someone from here is helping Voldemort…"
She broke off for a moment when Ron and Ginny winced while the three Slytherin's drew sharp breaths. Rolling her eyes at them, she turned back to Harry.
"As I was saying, if someone is helping Voldemort, then we need to at least see if we can put a stop to it."
He looked at her for a long moment, and she could see him fighting a desire to explode in frustration. He heaved a deep sigh and turned back. McTwisp stared up at him mournfully, with a form of sheer desperation on his face. Harry muttered for a moment under his breath before huffing in surrender.
"All right, Mr. McTwisp, let's talk."
McTwisp brightened, his whisker arching forward eagerly. Stepping back towards the opening in the trees, he gestured with a paw.
"Not here. We have to meet the others and then we can talk."
As he hopped into the woods, Harry, Hermione, and Ron moved to follow him, gathering up Ginny and Luna as they went. The Slytherins remained still for a moment before Astoria gave the boys a quick grin and ran after the others. Draco and Blaise exchanged a grimace and followed her.
Hastening a bit, Draco moved up next to the lead trio.
"Let me get this straight. With no more than a couple of sentences, we're following a talking rabbit into an unknown forest to discuss some kind of enemy? One that makes deals with the Dark Lord?"
"Yep – pretty much."
"Are you mental?"
"Who's the more mental? Me for following a rabbit? Or you for following me?"
Draco rubbed the fingers of one hand across his forehead.
"Why are we doing this?"
"We're being rash – I've been told it's a Gryffindor trait. Not real sure why you're doing it."
The three younger girls giggled and Blaise rolled his eyes.
As they followed McTwisp further, they spotted a large mushroom with a set of small cups on top of it. McTwisp headed directly for it. With a bow, he offered each of them a cup.
"Please, have some Pishsolver."
They all exchanged looks – no one recognized the name of the drink or the scent rising from the cups. However, after Hermione performed a couple of detection spells and turned up nothing dangerous, they decided to drink. It would be only proper after all.
Within a few seconds of swallowing the strange drink, all of them started to feel funny. Their fingertips and toes began to tingle, and their skin felt jittery. Suddenly, they noticed the plants around them beginning to grow rapidly. Hermione shrieked.
Sure enough, the robes were beginning to get too large. As they shrank, McTwisp calmly gathered the cups and placed everything neatly back in its place. When they stopped, all of them were holding their garments carefully to prevent any slippage. Harry growled for a moment and then looked towards Hermione.
She nodded and cast some quick charms on their clothing. It shrank to match their smaller forms. Once she was certain everyone had been taken care of, she gave McTwisp a hard look, worthy of McGonagall. As he cowered away from her, she gave a sharp turn and cast one more spell on the group. Now, their clothes would grow or shrink with them.
Harry stalked towards McTwisp.
"What is this about, then?"
McTwisp shuffled backwards.
"It's the only way! You are much too big in your normal size to talk to everyone. I told you it was Pishsolver!"
"Like we know what that is!"
"Well, why didn't you simply ask?"
Nobody answered, although all of them grumbled under their breath. After a moment, McTwisp headed off down the path again.
"Well, come along then."
Muttering softly, the group followed. The trail seemed to meander for quite a while. Astoria and Luna had started to wilt a bit, and even Ginny was stumbling a bit more, even though she had become accustomed to keeping up with her older brothers. The others fared better. The boys were all active in Quidditch, and the elder Gryffindor trio had become familiar with staying one step ahead of being dead. Still, even they were beginning to give some nasty looks to the white rabbit that remained ahead of them. As they came around a bend in the path, they came to a sudden stop.
In front of them stood a rather unique group of…individuals. A large blue dodo wearing a jacket stood behind a pair of round twin boys. Next to them on a large stump perched a white dormouse in a pink tunic with white ruffles. McTwisp hopped up next to them.
"Well, I've brought them."
The dormouse sniffed.
"Are you sure they're the right ones?"
The twins shook their head, but the dodo cleared its throat.
"Come now, Mallymkun, do not be hasty. They do appear to fit the descriptions."
"Yes, Uilleam, but are we sure?"
McTwisp rolled his eyes.
"Always the suspicious one, aren't you? Very well then, let us take them to Absolem. He will tell you."
The strange group began walking off. Harry held up his hand and the students remained still. After a moment, McTwisp turned back. He hopped back a few feet and stared at them.
"Aren't you coming?"
Harry stared back at him and pursed his lips in irritation.
"Just how much further is it?"
Draco tilted his head.
"And who, exactly, is this Absolem person?"
The rabbit's ears twitched at Draco's question, but turned to the dark-haired Gryffindor first.
"It is not far. Just a few more minutes along that path."
Turning towards Draco, he lifted his chin.
"He's wise. He's absolute."
With that, he turned and hopped away. Hermione snorted and Draco looked at her.
"Because that obviously answered the question!"
Harry shrugged and started to follow the rabbit once more.
"In for a penny…"
The group continued walking. True to McTwisp's words, it only took about five more minutes to reach a hazy section of the forest that seemed to belong to the mysterious Absolem. Hermione wrinkled her nose, not quite sure what the smoke smelled of, but it was very strange. As they moved forward, the haze cleared like fog and a new spectacle greeted them.
Standing…inclining…sitting on a large red mushroom with white spots was a large blue caterpillar. He gave a long slow blink at McTwisp and friends. Shifting closer to the hookah next to him, he deeply inhaled of it before turning his gaze (complete with monocle) on the students. He looked down on them with a great disdain, and blew a smoke ring down upon them.
"Who are you?"
They jerked in surprise at the sound of his voice. Surely they were mistaken?
Hermione stepped forward, stopping when Harry put his hand on her arm.
The caterpillar sniffed.
"You're not Absolem. I'm Absolem. The question is…who are you?"
"A silly enough name. Who are these others?"
She gave a little huff of annoyance. Harry tugged her gently back before facing Absolem and gesturing at himself and his companions.
"I'm Harry Potter. In addition to Hermione, there are Ron and Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Astoria Greengrass, Blaise Zabini, and Draco Malfoy."
Absolem gave a slight shake. It might have been a shrug…if he had shoulders anyway. He stared at them for a long moment over his round nose.
"Not really what we expected of champions."
Ron gave a soft snort.
"Skip Hogsmeade to do Potions homeowner, walk through a mirror, call a truce with Malfoy, follow a talking rabbit, get questioned by a talking mouse – all so we could be brought to be insulted by a blue smoking caterpillar with the voice and personality of Snape. This is a nightmare, isn't it?"
The other students snickered while the Underland observers rustled in confusion. Absolem drew himself up as tall as he could and cleared his throat.
"Are you, or are you not, planning to give us some kind of assistance?"
Harry gave him a long look and then grinned. Stepping sideways, he raised his eyebrows to Blaise. Blaise sneered, but stepped forward.
"While I am certain we are most appreciative that you have deigned to grace us with your presence, we have not even been informed of what the nature of your problem even is. How precisely do you expect us to answer that kind of question without some kind of solid information? We are not from Underland; we have never even heard of Underland before this. Until we have more concrete details, your problems are exactly that…yours."
He stepped back, throwing a look at Harry who nodded to him and frowning at Ginny who was smothering giggles behind her hand. Draco scowled at Harry who shrugged.
"He does that better than the rest of us."
"That was his light version. You should hear him at social gatherings."
Now, Astoria giggled.
"Especially when the parents are involved."
The Gryffindors shuddered. Luna tilted her head and peered at Blaise.
"Were you bitten by the Selcouth fairy as a baby?"
They turned to look at her. She blinked at the sudden attention.
"Well, the Selcouth fairy is drawn to the innocence of children. It is said that the bite will give a person the gift of words…to find the beauty in the various ways words can be used, including all of the various tones and distinctions that can be made by sound alone."
Harry smiled, giving the blond a fond look.
The others were still staring at her with bemusement when a loud cough brought their attention around to the Underland group gathered near Absolem. He stared at them with a deep frown, annoyed by their easy dismissal of him.
"We are still here, you know – should you care to pay attention."
With a roll of the eyes, Ginny looked at her fellow students and shrugged.
"You know, he just doesn't have that intimidating air. The voice apparently is not enough. I don't think it works as well without the dark hair, hooked nose, and billowing robes."
The laughter of this unusual group of students rang out through the garden.