Disclaimer: I don't own Alice In Wonderland

Author's note: So missed the update last week, was on holiday and despite taking my laptop with me there was no internet. Unfortunately I go back to university next week so to make sure I can keep up with this I'm going to have to change updates to every 2 weeks :) Thanks to ChillyRilly for the review :)

The Wrong Rabbit Hole

Chapter 9- Blame

Alice was aware of a few things; air rushing swiftly past her ears, soft fur gently brushing against her cheek and the calming presence of someone holding her close. But where she was she did not know, but she felt safe and that was what mattered. She tired to open her eyes, but they were so heavy and the small amount of light that pierced through her eyelids had her eyes retreating back to the safety of sleep. Her body was not ready for wakefulness yet, so she sunk back into the darkness knowing that for now Stayne could not touch her.

Hatter felt glad as he saw the towers of Marmoreal come into view. His journey was almost at an end. The Bandersnatch stopped on the brow of a hill and they both stared out towards the castle. It was welcoming sight, for a second Hatter forgot about the coming battle and enjoyed the relief he had from seeing Marmoreal. The only sign that anything was marching towards Marmoreal was the White Queen's flag flying proudly on the tallest tower as if daring anyone to attack. But thinking back to the army he had seen Hatter shuddered as he thought of the force coming to tear the place apart. He looked down at Alice, she still slept and Hatter still feared for her. But they were almost back and once they were he hoped that the White Queen would be able to cure her. He bent his head and whispered softly into Alice's ear.

"We're almost there." He hoped that somehow she had heard him. That in some deep dream his words reached her and that her body would rouse her from her sleep in thankfulness that she was safe. But after a few minutes of watching her, she showed no signs of waking. Sighing Hatter urged the Bandersnatch on towards marmoreal.

"Your Majesty, someone approaches the gates." A startled voice cried as it ran into the room. Mirana looked at the man. It was a young Knight already scared of the coming fight. He was scared that the forces had already arrived. She nodded to the knight and hurried to look through her telescope. In the distance to her relief she saw not an army but Hatter and the Bandersnatch. He had Alice and Mirana rejoiced. He had rescued Alice. But she wondered how long they could keep her safe? The army was coming and Mirana hoped Hatter would be able to tell her it was small, easily defeated. And if he could not, then Mirana feared they would lose. The consequences of which she dared not to think of. Mirana hurried down to the entrance to greet the pair. The doors opened and Hatter strode in carrying a sleeping Alice in his arms. He did not wait for a greeting but quickly spoke.

"Yer Majesty, please Alice needs yer attentions. She has nae woken for two days an I fear she mey nae wake unless she receives help."

Mirana noted the urgency in his voice and without another word gestured for him to follow her. Any news of Stayne was pushed aside. Now Mirana had to focus on Alice. The champion would give hope and joy to the troops. But if Alice was to be overcome by this then there would be no hope, not even false hope. Alice was laid down on a bed and Mirana wasted no time in instructing Hatter to fetch her bag of medicines and to get Mallymkun. Once Hatter had shut the door behind him, Mirana set to work. First she removed Alice's garments trying to ignore the blood some of them carried. She looked for signs to show what had caused her collapse and deep sleep. But no obvious cause could be found. All Mirana could hope for was that it was simply exhaustion that had reduced the champion to her current state. Mirana knew how vital Alice was for this fight, and if she did not wake then she would be left with no protection. No one could be spared to see to her welfare. If the battle was lost she would have no last defence against Stayne. She would just be lost to him.

Mirana was pulled from her thoughts as Hatter burst into the room. He swung in one hand her medicine bag and clinging desperately to his hat was a bedraggled Mallymkun. Though Mirana disapproved of his entrance she understood the seriousness of the situation and that Hatter's only aim was to get Alice better.

"I'll look after her." Were Mirana's assurances as Hatter was ushered from the room. Wordlessly Mallymkun passed Mirana various bandages and creams. The more they healed the more injuries they found. The scale of what had been done to Alice was finally hitting Mirana. It seemed to her that no part of Alice had been spared. Mirana dared not think of the memories that would haunt Alice forever more, nor the scars that she would be left with. As every cut was soothed and every break mended Mirana dwelled on how she had let this girl down. As a champion Alice had vowed to protect Underland and so she had done. She had gone into battle for a world she was hardly part of and killed a creature to save all of Underland. But surely the protection went both ways? In battle Mirana protected Alice with amour and weapons, but after the battle any protection stopped. But why was that so? Why could Mirana not continue to protect her? The reason Alice was lying on the bed besides her covered in so many injures, was because of her. If she had listened to her advisers and sent troops then perhaps Alice would have been safe. With Alice safe, Stayne would never have been able to escape the Outlands with an army. The whole war rested on Mirana's shoulders. Every death that acquired as result was her fault. She'd promised all of Underland after her sister's reign ended she would protect them. But here she was doing everything but what she promised. The worst thing however was, that if she wanted she could get away with it all, and no one would ever blame her.