Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
Author's Note: First attempt at an Alice In Wonderland story, I hope you enjoy. Will be updating weekly :)
The Wrong Rabbit Hole
Chapter 1- Another Way?
Business was good in China and Alice had made remarkable progress for the company. In fact, everything was basically finished. Alice wasn't needed anymore, so she was taking a few days to explore before the return ship to England. The trip had certainly been an adventure, but it didn't stop the dreams of the mysterious man with the orange hair and the green eyes. Alice longed to see him again. At least this time when she returned she would know it was not a dream. And now that her father's company was set up to be the best it could be, she could not wait for the day she would return.
But even so, there was that niggle at the back of her mind that things wouldn't be the same when she returned. She'd left in such a rush, running away again- only this time, for feelings she didn't understand. But this trip had given her much needed time to think on it. And now that she understood her feelings, she hoped that maybe when she returned the Hatter she loved would return her feelings. If not, she would still stay because there was nowhere else she felt she truly belonged.
Granted, Alice had family here in this world. But she knew they would cope without her. They didn't need her, and no matter how much she loved them they weren't enough to hold her here. They'd never truly understood her, and the only family member who had was long gone. Alice still grieved for the brilliant man that was her father and wished he could have seen her Wonderland. But now that she had ensured that the company would thrive, she knew his name would be remembered.
"Miss Kingsley, I must insist that you take an escort with you."
Alice retreated from her thoughts with a sigh and turned to the young man who had spoken. "And I must insist that I am perfectly capable of looking after myself, Mr. Dashwood."
Alice had been in battle, slayed a Jabberwocky and saved a whole world. She would be fine taking a stroll through the nearby countryside. Plus, she suspected there was another reason for Mr. Dashwood insisting that he joined her. Ever since the trip had begun he had not kept her out of his sights. And he frequently claimed that he was a man of high standing in the company and of high breeding and that all this made him a very suitable escort. Alice had tried to discourage him, but nothing she said ever said seemed to be given much notice. She'd heard from the other sailors that he was smitten, and she dreaded another marriage proposal might come her way. She already knew her answer to him. He was nothing compared to the man she loved.
"I believe you overestimate yourself, Miss Kingsley. You are in a foreign country and could not possible know what dangers await a poor, defenceless young woman."
Another sigh escaped Alice's lips. This really was getting her nowhere. Either she could continue this discussion and miss the best part of the day, or she could agree and spent most of the day ignoring him. Perhaps then he would get the message of her disinterest.
"Fine, Mr. Dashwood. If you insist that you accompany me then so be it. But do not expect me to agree with it."
He nodded and moved to open the door for her.
No woman could call Mr. Dashwood ugly; he was far from it. He had soft brown locks that were always perfect no matter the weather. His face was angular, but with a softness to it. His eyes were brown and warm. His body was muscular but at the same time graceful. Alice could tell that many a woman will have wished to have been pursued by him. But it didn't matter how perfect he was, he was not the man she loved. As Mr. Dashwood drove the carriage, Alice ignored him and instead admired the countryside around her. Everything was different here. Though there were trees and forests much like at home, they had a different feel to them. And the creatures and plants living in them were different. While pondering this, the carriage came to a halt near some trees. Climbing out of the carriage Alice thought of which path to take, but before she decided Mr. Dashwood grabbed her arm.
"What is it, Mr. Dashwood?" she asked in surprise.
"Please, call me Robert." he said.
"Mr. Dashwood, what is it?" Alice cried, ignoring his request to be called Robert.
"Miss Kingsley, Alice. I have something I wish to ask you. I've thought about this long and hard. I know this is what I want. Alice, will you marry me?"
Alice looked away and then back. There was no way she could put this nicely. "Mr. Dashwood, I do wish you hadn't put me in this situation. I have tried to show you no interest, but you have continued to pursue me. I cannot marry you, Mr. Dashwood. I just don't love you."
Mr. Dashwood still held Alice's arm and when she turned to leave he pulled her back. "No, Alice. I've seen you looking at me. And sometimes when you think no one is watching you stare off into the distance and I just know you are thinking of me. You do love me."
Alice pulled on her arm. "Please, Mr. Dashwood, let me go. You are mistaken. It is not you that I think of. I am sorry, but my heart belongs to another. Leave me be and find another woman to pursue." Alice pulled more.
"No!" Mr. Dashwood cried, "I love you, no other will do. You will marry me and we will be happy. If you do not love me now than you will later!"
Alice was distressed; she had to get away from him. She pulled more and finally she was free. Before Mr. Dashwood could react Alice had dashed into the forest. She didn't care where she went, as long as it was far away from him. She could hear him calling out for her, and it only increased her speed. He meant for her to marry him. Who knew that such a gentle soul had such anger within?
It was dark in the forest, and although Alice kept tripping she pressed on. And then she stopped. There was a gap in the trees and light shone down in a circle. In the center was a hole, a large rabbit hole. Without thinking Alice dived into it, hoping that perhaps that there was more than one way to Wonderland.
The descent was different than the last time; it was darker and the there were no objects other than clocks. Despite all the fact that all of the clocks were ticking, they were all stopped at 12 o'clock. It was unnerving, especially with the silence that followed each tick.
When Alice reached the bottom, there was no room like before. She was in another forest. It was dark, and all the trees were dead. There were no bright colours, which Alice usually associated with Wonderland. Once again Alice was struck with the silence. What had happened to Wonderland? Was she even in Wonderland? Or had she stumbled across somewhere else entirely?
She walked on through the forest, thinking that perhaps she would find a way out. When she did, she noticed the glow of the same familiar colours on the horizon- Wonderland. Suddenly the truth dawned on her; she was in the outlands, the same place where Iracebeth and Ilosovic Stayne were banished. She needed to find her way out of there and back to Wonderland.
But as Alice looked around, trying to decide which way to go, something hit her, and then there was only darkness.