Finally… THE LAST CHAPTER! *thunder strikes dramatically in the background* So sorry I didn't update quicker—it's just that I had an English paper due, got sick (for the fifth time or so this winter) and was taking a break from my midterms.
But now that were here, it feels so nostalgic. I can remember the first night I actually decided to create my account (and post the first chapter of this story in the process). I remembered having so much fun writing this and getting all the warm butterflies from all your reviews. You (the reviewers, readers, and alerters) are the reason we're here today.
In honor of that, I would like to give special thanks to Yoruko Rhapsodos (whose hatred of Peter kept me from going soft), ThePandaHat (who reviewed nearly every chapter, always asking for more xD), xXSolaine-GirlXx (one who has written some very nice fanfiction, so it meant a lot that she enjoyed my work), and The-Cheshire-Neko (who, even though left lengthy reviews, gave me insight to things I was not quite on the dot with). You all were there with me the entire way, and I salute you.
As for the rest of you (HNKNA LOVA, Kawaii Youkai Hime, Proud Mary, xGrellSutcliffx, BlackestFog, Lil Hamari, movielover9, and TheBlueQueen) you gave me so much so support. My face lit up every time you reviewed.
Okay (as if that wasn't lengthy enough) here's the chapter~
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN HNKNA, FOR THE LAST STINKIN' TIME!
One week later…
"Haha—CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!"
"You wish Boris!"
"Yeah, you're on, stupid cat!"
"HA!" said cat yelled back, turning around and giving the one-fingered salute to his pursuers before slipping around the bend in the hallway. Slowing down, he made his way towards a door closed tightly and went to slip inside.
Only to find it shut tight with the lock latched.
"Shit!" he cursed. Just as he turned around…
….he was met with the sight of two smiling twins.
Lunging forward, Dee grabbed Boris' right side while Dum brought out his knife. Slowly, he made his way towards the struggling cat, getting prepared to finish his prey. "This is the end!"
Boris chuckled and finally wretched free of the offending twin before readying his gun. "My my—its only just begun!" Boris began shooting at the twins, but scowled when he noticed them reflecting nearly every shot.
"Boris! Dee! Dum!" a female voice rang clear in the air and the three fighting stopped for a moment. Glancing back at the once locked door, the roleholders noticed a very amused looking Alice standing in her nightdress in the doorway. Her soft pink lips were set in a smirk and her normally free-flowing hair was pulled back out of her face. All in all, it gave her the impression of being someone much younger.
"It's the Pretty Lady!" the twins cried, effectively latching themselves on the outsiders opposing sides. She laughed and placed her hands around their shoulders.
"I'm glad to see you too," she chuckled, glancing at Boris. "You too."
Boris blushed an impressive shade of scarlet before clearing his throat nervously and regarding Alice. "Uh… you too. Are you really sure you should be up? Last I heard, your wounds hadn't completely closed up yet."
It was true; even with an entire week bed-ridden, Alice still couldn't walk around without help of a cane. And even with the cane, she still couldn't walk long distances without the help of someone else. Still, this day, Alice felt better than she had in a very long time.
Well, that wasn't entirely true. What none of the roleholders were aware of was she was still having nightmares. But these nightmares weren't the normal kind; rather, they were continually looping, as though the channel was stuck on some particularly disturbing channel.
The strangest thing was, though, was that they seemed to revolve on what could have been. Every night, she returned to that same moment when her entire life was put into libido. But the similarities stopped there. Each dream ending was different from the last, but for the life of her, she couldn't remember how any of them ended. It was… concerning, to say the least.
"—right, Alice?" The question snapped Alice out of her trance. Glancing up into Boris' eyes, she shook her head slightly.
"I'm sorry, what did you say? I just spaced out a little there."
Boris and the two gatekeepers exchanged uneasy glances before asking Alice in a serious tone:
"Are you sure you're okay?"
She nodded her head and smiled warmly; still seeing their disbelieving glances being exchanged, her smile died down and she replied carefully, "I'm fine, seriously. I was just thinking a little bit."
Just as Boris was about to say something else, a loud grumble filled the air. Alice's face turned beat red before she laughed embarrassedly. Boris chuckled too, while Dee and Dum snickered like children.
"Is the Pretty Lady hungry?" Dee asked. Turning towards Dum, he said to his brother, "Let's go kill something for the Pretty Lady!"
Dum let out an exuberant response before he began to follow his brother. Boris watched the twins walk away before glancing down at Alice's stock-still form.
"Hey—are you sure you're alright?" Boris questioned, placing a comforting hand on Alice's shoulder. Alice stared at Boris' face for a good moment, debating on if she should lie to him or not.
Releasing a sigh, Alice's smile dropped and she replied, "Actually Boris…"
But before she could finish, the exuberant voice of Gowland cut through the air. "Hey Alice, I heard you were u—my my, what do we have here? Boris out to stud?"
Boris blushed an impressive shade of before sputtering angrily back at the Amusement Park owner, "Like hell Old Man! Alice and I were just getting her something to eat!"
Gowland snickered a little at Boris' expression. "You don't have to lie to me, Boris. I understand how you do things."
Boris, who by this time had even his ears red, looked away and pouted slightly. "Shut it, Old Man! Alice and I were just…" But Boris stopped as he felt a feminine hand rest on his shoulder. Glancing down at Alice, he realized that she breathing heavily and her skin was a poignant red. She wasn't blushing though.
"Alice?" he asked, pulling her face up to get a better look. "Alice, what's wrong?" But Alice didn't answer. Instead, she grabbed onto Boris with renewed vigor as her breathing intensified. Then, much to the horror of Gowland and Boris, she passed out.
As soon as Alice fell unconscious, Gowland gave a strict look to Boris and said with urgency, "Take her back to her room and stay by her. I'll go get a nurse." Boris nodded and scooped Alice into his arms before he ran back to her room. He laid her on the bed and stared hard at her convulsing face. How? He thought she had been feeling better. Even without her words of encouragement, the nurses had said she was doing better. So why was she unconscious?
After a few more moments of silent contemplation, the only door to the room flew open and Boris expected to see white-clad nurses.
What he wasn't expecting was to see Nightmare.
The incubus ran over to the bed and shooed Boris away. Then, in a deadly whisper, he asked:
"What happened to the vile?"
Boris' eyes widened. "The vile Alice destroyed?"
Nightmare nodded his head. "Yes, that's the one; but there was another one. When… the Prime Minister had taken her, Gowland came knocking at the Clock Tower." As he said this, he grabbed a wash cloth and placed cool water over it, before slipping it on Alice's head. "He asked about Alice and I told him that the only way she was going to be okay was if he took… the other vile with him."
Though Boris didn't know what he meant by 'the only way she going to be okay', he did remember the Old Man distinctly telling him about how he saved Alice. "He… he said he took the vile with him and… poured the contents into her mouth."
Nightmare bit his lower lip in distress. "That's what I was afraid of," he muttered before yelling for Gowland, who still wasn't back yet. After a moment, a disheveled Gowland ran through the doorway.
"What's up Nightmare? Got any idea what's wrong with Alice?" But as he said this, he felt the dire tension in the room. But before he could say anything else, Nightmare answered with:
"Did you feed Alice what was in the vile?"
A look of shock passed over Gowland's face before he answered shakily, "Yeah. What of it?"
Gowland bit his lip again and said in low urgency, "That vile… I know I said that it would save Alice…" He paused for a second; then, taking a sharp intake of breath, he said, "But the vile contents have… a special property, so to put it. All she needed was the physical vile; she didn't need to drink what was inside."
Gowland, who had until this time been glaring a hole into the floor, responded with, "But you didn't see her Nightmare! She was almost gone; if I hadn't done it, SHE'D HAVE DISAPPEARED! Is that what you wanted?"
Nightmare lost his composure. "Well, now, the rules have been broken; since she drank the contents of the vile, she must pay the penalty."
"What penalty?" Boris squeaked out, who, until this time had been uncannily quiet.
Remorse and anger etched Nightmare's features. "She can no longer remain. She MUST return… and learn the past regrets."
Before Gowland or Boris could ask what he meant, he finished by saying…
"By tonight, Alice will be gone from Wonderland."
Later that night…
News of Alice's demise spread fast through the small hospital. It spread even quicker to the other territories.
So, it was no surprise when nearly every roleholder in Wonderland (minus the Prime Minister, of course) gathered in Alice's small hospital room.
She had yet to wake up.
There was very little noise coming the numerous people assembled; rather, it seemed as if they were all holding their breath, waiting for the outsider to wake up.
Glancing over at the clock, Nightmare sucked in a shaky breath. It was nearly time and Alice wasn't even close to waking up. Most likely, she wouldn't wake up at all.
Exhaling, Nightmare faced the small congregation of people.
There was Vivaldi, still bandaged but otherwise unharmed as her gaze pierced everyone in the room.
To Blood, who looked sick and uncomfortable.
To Boris, who looked completely lost.
To Gowland, who had so much anger etched into his face at his stupidity for putting Alice in this position.
To Ace, who was gazing deadly at Alice, as though he was looking at a corpse.
All in all, it was an unhappy procession. But Nightmare knew what he had to say. Closing his eyes for a brief second, he snapped them open and said, in a voice lacking confidence, "It's most likely she won't wake up to say goodbye. Her times almost up."
Nobody answered him, but he saw the rare threat of tears in some of their eyes. But what else could he say? Anything else would be too cruel of him to do.
The clock stroke midnight.
It wasn't long until the body of the outsider all together disappeared. She didn't go out with a blinding light or a loud boom; rather, her body continued to fade until nothing remained. The bed was still warm.
Nobody said a word. They didn't need to; everybody understood the implications.
It was a sad procession out.
When Alice opened her eyes, she was greeted with bright sunlight.
"ALICE!" a chipper voice screamed from downstairs. The voice sent Alice jumping straight onto the floor. She winced and rubbed her head, before yelling back in agitation, "Stop screaming Lorina! You scared me!"
Alice was met with the giggling face of Lorina as she opened the door. "I'm not the one who's sleeping in so late! In case you forgot, we're having guests today."
Lorina blinked at Alice's confusion. "Yeah—I'm pretty sure I told you about them. You know, the Sterlings? They'll be here later tonight."
Alice didn't know why, but when she heard the name, a pang of… something resounded in her chest. Shaking her head at her childishness, she responded with a flustered, "Of course I remember! How could I forget? It's all you've been talking about for the last… oh, I don't know, month."
Lorina giggled. "Well, whatever the case, hurry up and get ready. We still have to clean the house before they appear."
Alice chuckled slightly. "Alright," she said. "I'll be down in a moment."
After an entire day of cleaning and cooking, the younger Liddel went to bath and washed all the grime off her body. It felt heavenly.
After effectively drying herself off, Alice pinned her hair back into an elegant updo before spraying a heavenly rose-scented perfume on her. Though she wouldn't admit this to anybody, the smell brought back that similar pang she'd been feeling all day.
Yes, for the entire day, Alice went through the motions with a sense of… confusion? Dread? More like a sense of repetition. It felt as though she had been here before.
Shaking her head, she reached for her nightgown, only to grab at nothing.
"Crap!" she muttered. "All my clean clothes are downstairs!"
Quickly grabbing her towel, she threw it around her body before rushing towards the steps. Taking them two at a time, she wasted no time in getting down.
But fate wasn't smiling in her favor as she collided with someone—hard.
"Ouch!" she cried. Glancing up at the unfortunate person, she noticed how incredibly handsome he was. She blushed in spite of herself, but quickly remembered what she was wearing and shot up like a rocket.
Becoming flustered, she glanced into the pissed amethyst orbs glaring her down. Swallowing her fear, she bowed (to the best of her ability in a towel) and said, "I'm sorry! I should've looked where I was going!"
"Yeah, you should have," he growled out, making Alice stop her bowing mid-bow. That same familiar feeling crept up on her, as did something else. She felt as though if she continued to talk to this boy, everyone… would be over.
Taking one hard glance at the boy, she muttered out in outrage, "You don't have to be so rude about it! It was an accident!"
A shocked smile played on his lips before he stood up haughtily and said, "You best watch your tongue. You probably don't even know who you're talking to, do you?"
Before Alice could reply, he turned away from her and stalked to the first floor. She watched him go for a couple minutes before the reality kicked back in.
"I need to go get my clothes!"
Later that night, after the Sterlings had retired to their own mansion farther in the country, Alice was still thinking about what had happened at dinner.
Once Alice finally found her clothes, she had hurriedly made her way upstairs, sans makeup. She was greeted with the table for once surprisingly full as Lorina sat at the head and the others (who she assumed were the infamous Sterlings) filled the appropriate seats.
After some appropriate small talk, the woman Margaret leaned across the table and asked in a drunken seriousness, "What would you think of marrying our son, my dear Alice?"
Alice blinked a couple times at the woman before answering without confidence, "I guess… I'm sorry. I don't really know."
The woman simply laughed. "Why, you must! Go ahead and be honest—I promise I'll understand."
That same incessant voice from earlier filtered through her like white noise. Slowly, she lifted her head up and stared straight into Margaret's eyes.
"I would never want to marry that self-centered, egotistical bastard you call a son."
Lorina gasped, while Margaret turned an impressive shade of purple. Glaring death at the younger Liddel, she spat out, "I have never been so insulted in my life! Who are you to say that to my son, you filthy whore?"
That blow stung. But Alice bit her harsh retort and replied evenly, "First off, I'm not a whore. Just because everybody fawns over your son doesn't mean I'm going to."
That was enough. With an indignant 'harumph', Margaret stood up (quite shakily) and said to her husband, "Let's go. It's clear these people don't have any etiquette."
Lorina, ever the moderator, tried to intervene. "Please Madam Sterling, I'm sure Alice didn't mean it. Right Alice?"
When Alice refused to answer, Margaret glared back at Lorina and angrily replied, "I think she's said enough. We're leaving." And with that, she turned around.
Once they left, Lorina started on Alice. "Why were you so rude?" she questioned, her voice barely containing her appall. "I thought Mother taught you better than that."
Alice felt tears sting her eyes. She had never seen Lorina so angry. Once Lorina saw her sister's tears, her fierce expression from earlier softened and she replied, "I'm sorry Alice. I shouldn't have said that."
Without another word, Lorina stalked out the room.
Nearly a year after the dinner fiasco, Lorina and Alice were finally on better terms. Though they had fought, they eventually saw how the other was feeling and finally made amends. They were now as close as they were before, if not closer.
That's why it was no surprise when Lorina barged into Alice's room on a cloudless sunny day and said, "Let's go outside. It's such nice weather today!"
Alice smiled and nodded her consent. After changing into more suitable attire, the two sisters made their way out into the courtyard. After an interesting discussion on a new book Lorina had been reading, the eldest sister suggested that she go get cards to play.
Before she left though, she turned around and said playfully, "Don't fall asleep Alice. I know how you can fall asleep anywhere." Alice nodded and watched as her sister left.
But staying awake be damned as she felt the wonderful sun touch her skin. Not only that, she still felt that incessant whisper in her head whenever she was alone. Though it didn't happen as much anymore, it still came back every once and awhile.
"Let me warn you about something," it whispered, barely ghosting over Alice's consciousness. "Every game has its rules. And those rules are cemented the moment you start to play."
This is where it all began.
And that, my dear readers, is the final chapter of this story. I hope it turned out to your liking and I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did. Thank you all for being here!
And I previously mentioned before, I do have a new story up called Sakura. It's an Ouran High School Host Club and Clannad crossover. Please check it out!
Thank you again! And for old time's sakes…