Obligatory Disclaimer: I clearly do not own any of the characters within (even those who may or may not be originals), any of the settings, concepts, or other potentially copy-written works within this piece. I am merely a vessel; A messenger who conveys a story, nothing more, nothing less. No one here owns Alice or Wonderland or anything in relation thereof.
Written for Dokuga's Valentine Exchange for Ejunknown.
Special thanks to: Bunny – For existing, without you this plunnie would not have come to be. Smo – The best Mitchan ever. Naq – For writing a nonsense poem of which you will see a snippet of this verse within here, for the full version please ask her! Tangie – For amazing songs which helped wonderfully in completing this. And all my cheerleaders in Dokuga chat who helped keep me on track when this plunnie exploded into a massive story.
The smog from the passing cars filled the dusty air as Kagome stepped out of the bustling pub, rubbing at her arms with a most irritated expression on her face as she looked up at the grey skies above. With a sigh, puffing her bangs out as she did so, she turned on her heel and left her friends to their business as they laughed with partially inebriated men who spoke such eloquent English that the young Japanese girls could barely keep up. Kagome couldn't take any more of it. She was fed up with men – males in general, really – all such a bother but never worth the real trouble.
Oh sure, she thought she'd found one such boy and had even gone through great lengths for him. Giving up her entire time period, family, education, everything to be with him... only for him to ruin it all with one stupid sentence. Her eyes closed and she shook her head, forcing her mind to clear off the depressing thoughts as she once again glanced around. The hotel was not far from here, if she cut through the alley she could make it there in a matter of minutes.
With a nod of determination, she set forwards toward the darkened alley while giving no consideration towards the possibility of danger within. Her life had once been riddled with fears and torments, death and destruction, to the point where she foolishly thought that nothing in the modern world might scare her as she had once been afraid. As she stepped out of the hallway-like alley and into the rear of the pub she soon realized her folly.
Gleaming eyes watched her, beady and hungry as crooked grins joined them in the darkness. Her heart skipped a beat when one of them stood, a short man with a round face, and she made to run – only to slip in a greasy puddle that was partially filled with moistened newspaper. Her body crashed into the ground, and her head cracked against a crate innocently sitting by. A rusty chuckle came from one of the men as they closed around her, and she let out a squeak, moving to stand again only to slip as her body seemed unwilling to move. Her vision clouded, and she groaned, trying to do something that might save her from what was sure to be a horrible fate.
Darkness began to overwhelm her but she heard... was that a growl? It couldn't be. It had to be her imagination. Surely, even if there were a dog nearby, these men wouldn't be so afraid of it. Kagome groaned and tried to sit up, blinking and catching a glimpse of... white hair? She gasped and then, before she could say anything, the world went black.
She was falling.
Not a fearful type of fall. A familiar, all too comfortable, very nostalgic type of fall. Kagome opened her eyes, expecting to find the empty void of the well and the lingering light at the end of the tunnel that always awaited her. Instead, she was floating through a void full of unexpected objects. Her bed from her childhood home passed by, the rice cooker her mother had used for years, one of the many unusual medicinal gifts Hojo had given her, her brow furrowed as she watched many objects from past and present flutter by.
A gust of wind rushed up and Kagome gave off a startled squeak at the sudden cold that ran up her legs. Reaching down, she was surprised to find herself dressed in her old school uniform. Why this and now? She hadn't worn it in years! Her chance to consider it all ended as she landed softly in what appeared to be a circular room.
Glancing around, Kagome's brow furrowed at the unusual space. "Where am I?" Lingering, there in the back of her mind, was a hint at the possibility that she knew how this might go. Brushing off the sense of deja-vu, Kagome's gaze stopped on a rather familiar old friend sitting in the center of the room.
That should not be here. Her backpack had been lost to the feudal times, left behind when she'd defeated Naraku and then again when she'd carelessly left in a moment of hurt and anger. She had never expected to see it again, particularly not in such an unusual situation. Her brow furrowed as she lightly stepped over to it, glancing around but noting that there seemed to be only one door, which was firmly shut. It couldn't hurt to look, right? It was hers, anyway.
Inside she found many things. Some she recognized: her old diary, a pen, a brush, even a package of ramen. That was not all that was in there, however. Unfamiliar things that she had never seen were also amid the contents. A bottle with a pretty label marked "DRINK ME" in quaint script sat within. The liquid within seemed rather harmless at first glance, but Kagome knew better than to trust a strange drink simply because someone placed it inside her backpack.
It was at that time, of course, that a curious thing happened. She had the strangest sensation that someone was watching her. Turning, she glanced behind her and frowned as she saw what was clearly a rabbit of some kind standing before her in a wine red waistcoat. Once again her mind tried to remind her that she knew this from somewhere and that this was all very silly, but she ignored it for favor of trying to find out why there was a rabbit where once was none.
"Hello?" She questioned, not at all startled at the concept of a talking rabbit. After all, she had known many talking animals and this one was surely not going to disappoint.
The rabbit, reaching into his breast pocket for a golden pocket watch, glanced at the time before giving Kagome a withering look and walking past her to the doorway. She watched as he placed the watch into his pocket and proceeded to shrink down to the all too small size of the door, opening it with a key he procured from somewhere, and going through.
"Wait!" She called, surprised and not wanting to be left behind. He paused and looked at her, brow furrowing lightly as his yellow eyes gazed her up and down.
"I'm late. You're not worth the trouble if you can't even follow simple directions." And with that, the door was closed behind him. Kagome frowned and reached for the door, only to find it was locked and wasn't going to open anytime soon. With a sigh, her shoulders slumped as she considered what he meant by directions. So far, no one had even spoken to her since she'd come to this unusual place. What directions... except... oh.
Now she just felt stupid. Of course he meant the bottle. Why wouldn't he? Nothing else in this place made any sense! Opening her backpack, Kagome took up the bottle before shrugging the large yellow burden back on out of habit and popping open the cork. Sniffing at the contents, her eyebrows shot up in surprise. It smelled good, like one of those odd jamocha shakes that Eri was constantly making her consume during their late night cram sessions – a chocolate like smell with a hint of coffee.
Looking back down on it she blinked at how confusing that was since it appeared to be nothing more than water. "Well, even if something strange happens it wouldn't be all that odd considering the rest of my life." Kagome said, giving a shrug. "Bottoms up!" She downed the contents and sighed, staring at the strange glass bottle with the elegant tag. "Funny I don't feel diff... woah!"
Suddenly, at once, she realized that she was now just the right height to fit through the door – which also meant she had shrunk a good several centimeters. She reached for the knob and tried to open it, only to find it was still locked. Not that she expected any different. Brow furrowing she pulled her backpack off, opening it and shuffling through the contents. No key. How was she supposed to get in. Her mind wandered as she thought over what her mother or grandfather might say about such a situation before it dawned on her. Nevermind that this whole scenario was rather unbelievable, she had simply forgotten her manners and that would not do. Standing, she knocked gently on the door.
"You do not have a key." A voice came from the other side. A rather familiar voice, at that.
Kagome smirked and crossed her arms. "No, I do not, but you do. Thank you for waiting."
He grumbled and she could hear some scuffling as he shifted about. "What makes you think I waited for you?"
"You were going to be late..." She trailed off, trying to tamper down the amused tone in her voice. She wondered if she might like this rabbit, he seemed like someone she knew. While she was busy trying to recollect who he reminded her of, the door opened and brought her out of such thoughts.
"Yes, I am going to be very late, no thanks to you." He frowned slightly when she did not immediately step through, one ear twitching slightly. A small irritated noise came from him and she looked to him, smirking at how his nose wrinkled lightly. "Will you please? This door must remain closed at all times."
"Oh! Sorry!" She stepped through the doorway, staring around her and not taking notice of the fact that the rabbit seemed even more sour than moments before. When the door was closed he proceeded to hop off, leaving her behind for a few yards until she noticed he had left. Her eyes widened and she chased after him. Her brow wrinkled as her eyes darted all around the thick forest. "It looks so familiar."
The rabbit did not seem surprised, in fact he did not seem much of anything, and gave a small shrug. "It would. You have been here before."
Kagome stopped in her tracks and frowned. "I have?"
He did not stop, however. He did not even respond, just kept going and mumbling quite frequently about how tardy he was for some unexplainable event. Kagome, not having much better to do and wanting to know just where this was that she had been to before and more importantly, how a rabbit she did not know had come to such knowledge, followed him. They traveled for some time, wandering through the trees which seemed both very familiar and quite foreign to Kagome, until they happened to break through and into a clearing that housed a large village.
Going through the village she noted that it was not full of humans but rather youkai of varying sorts. Many of them turned to watch her go by, seemingly not bothered at all by a walking, talking, waistcoat wearing rabbit – and why should they be when they were beasts of such nature, too – but more so by a somewhat indecently dressed young human girl following him. It had, after all, become rather apparent to Kagome that she was not in her present time period, but in some more distant time in Japan or some other Japanese type country (as everyone there wore kimono and hakama) – oh but surely it was Japan as she had supposedly been here before and she had never left Japan in her entire life, present time period or otherwise.
Not shortly after this realization came another. They were traveling towards the rather large castle-like residence ahead. It was massive, residing on a hilltop centered amid the bustling village, with beautiful white exterior walls that showed no sign of distress. Could this even be the Sengoku time period, if she were to believe that was where she found herself? (As that was all she could believe, considering the notion that she had been here previously.) Most castles were destroyed and were not rebuilt until the period after, the Edo period. Then again, it was a castle full of youkai, likely, so perhaps that explained everything.
Part of her wondered if she might be stepping into a trap as she walked past the guards and through the gate, following the rabbit who continued to huff and puff in annoyance. However, all thought of youkai consuming her in delight or turning her into target practice soon disappeared like a bubble, popped suddenly, when she followed the rabbit into a large chamber and heard a woman screaming at the top of her lungs.
"This is not the right color! How dare you wear such an atrocious shade in my court? Off with you!"
Kagome stilled, jaw dropping as she watched the woman scold a guard for wearing what was clearly a top faded with many washings. This woman was clearly someone of importance in this place and had a rather shrill voice that made one think of nails being run down a chalkboard, but none of that was what surprised the modern girl. Oh no, what had Kagome quite dumbfounded was the fact that this woman was the spitting image of Kikyo.
"Don't gape at the Queen!" The rabbit insisted, causing Kagome to catch herself and close her mouth with a nod. He rolled his eyes and shuffled over to where the woman pranced back and forth in what looked to be an entirely out of place English style gown. The blouse was white, with a cross-hatch gold pattern across it, and it came down into a rich red skirt with more of the gold cross-hatching along the hem. The sleeves were puffy at the shoulder and then flowed down her slender arms tightly. Her hair was drawn up in a tight bow, with a golden hair piece stabbing through it that had a large teardrop shaped red gemstone dangling from the end. Kagome swallowed hard when the woman who she swore was Kikyo turned to glare at her with penetrating brown eyes.
"And who is this?" The woman's scalding tone drove out any idea that she might possibly be a friendly person and Kagome found herself standing firmer and sticking her chin up defiantly.
"I am Kagome Higurashi."
At that, the Queen's eyes became glaring slits as she did a rather excellent job of cutting through Kagome with her gaze. "Who permitted you to speak?" She dismissively waved Kagome off before turning to the rabbit who gave the young modern girl a wary look before swallowing roughly.
"Forgive me, your majesty; she seems to have come from that room." He said, suddenly not appearing all that bossy or stuffy. In fact, if Kagome managed to get around the fact that he was quite obviously a rabbit she would say he looked rather like a whipped puppy, something in the way his long ears drooped.
The Queen's tone was quite light, almost amused at this. "Oh. That room – does she now? Well then, you already know what to do with her." At once, Kagome was sure the room dropped several degrees in temperature (if one had a thermometer she was sure it could have frozen water, but lacking such devices she was not absolutely positive) as the queen leaned toward the rabbit who shivered – clearly from the frigid air – and ground out her next words most hatefully. "Don't you, my friend?"
He nodded. "Yes, your majesty, but I just thought – well, we've never had one quite like her before and..."
She cut him off, not even looking at him anymore as she pretended to remove an invisible speck of lint off her otherwise impeccable clothing. "Who ever asked you to think? Get on with it!"
As with all good subjects, the rabbit did an excellent job of shoving Kagome around until she was no longer within the sight of the villagers (and more importantly the queen) where he promptly acted as if he had never touched her. In fact, he acted almost as if touching her might garner him some sort of unusual and horrible disease, which caused Kagome no end of irritation. "Where are we going and what did you mean by that room?" She asked, doing a great job of imitating the queen and her minon's previous tone in regards to said room.
The rabbit's shoulder stiffened and he frowned, shaking his head. "You don't need to know about that. What you do need to know is that you need to leave here, quickly." His eyes darted around and his whiskers shifted as he sniffed the air, checking to see if anyone was nearby. "Don't stay here and don't ever come back."
Kagome's stomach flipped. She knew that tone. Something was seriously wrong. Was she in danger? If so, was he also in danger? She frowned and put her hands on her hips. "It's that queen, isn't it? What is going on?"
He shook his head quickly, if he repeated that action any more she was sure his head might come clean off. "No, no... listen, listen! You will run from here, and head west. Do not stop until you reach the kingdom in that direction. There you will find safety."
She didn't know why, but watching him turn away caused a familiar pang of regret and she held up one hand limply, as if to grasp him. "Wait. You're going to just leave me here with nothing more than that?"
His shoulders sagged and he bound off, not bothering to respond. Kagome watched him go, staring around her before realizing one major problem. She had no idea which direction was west. With a sigh, she took hold of the straps of her backpack and started to march in the opposite way of the creepy Kikyo like Queen's castle, hoping that whoever might give her sanctuary would have the good sense to live as far away from such a person as possible.
At this precise time, Kagome came to a rather important realization. She was, after all, far too concerned with the rabbit and his strange queen to consider her own predicament. That being that she was no bigger than an insect. Oh a somewhat large one to be sure, but a bug nonetheless, and as it were bugs were rather small. This would not have bothered her so much except for two great issues stemming from this unfortunate size. One being that walking a great distance proved to take quite some time (to which she half-heartedly wondered how she made it this far without complaint but soon realized that one can do many things when distracted) and the other, which was more immediately pressing, that it was beginning to rain.
With a gasp, she ran for the cover of a tree, climbing up a low lying lichen and scrambling into a small hole within the trunk. Letting out a heavy breath she sighed and frowned, only to cough as a thick cloud of smoke wafted lazily over to her face. She raised an eyebrow, turning with a curious expression to see none other than a funny looking little … caterpillar? That lingering sense of deja-vu crept upon her once more and Kagome's frown deepened. Again, he blew smoke onto her, a lazy sort of expression loitering about his face as he leaned against a mushroom.
"What are you?"
She watched him, a weird sense that she might have known him in another life lingering over her as she took in his appearance. He was a dark black color, with a hint of blue, and clear blue eyes that were currently looking at her with a rather irritated expression. Another puff of smoke in her face and she backed up, coughing. "Could you stop that, please?" She asked, having forgotten his question in her fascination of him.
He scowled. "What are you?"
Kagome took a few breaths, trying to take in the fresh air from outside before giving a polite bow. "Kagome Higurashi."
At this, the caterpillar sighed and turned over onto his back, rolling his eyes at her as he took another long drawl of his cigarette and puffed the smoke into the air again. "I did not ask who you are, but what."
"I am a human woman."
He scoffed and scratched at his belly. "Lies."
Her eyes widened and she gaped at him, a little confused and rather annoyed at his insistence that she were lying. "Am too!"
His eyes closed for a few lingering moments. "Human women are many things, but they are never this short. Therefore, you cannot be one."
Kagome blinked at that logic and smirked. "Well, where I am from caterpillars don't smoke cigarettes. So I guess we're both odd."
His eyes opened, hardening with a glare. "I am not a caterpillar!"
She laughed a little, coughing some on another puff of smoke as he sent it her way. "Well then, what are you?"
He stared out into the rain with a smile, puffing on his cigarette, but said nothing. After a while, Kagome realized that he was not going to ever answer her question and therefore she decided it was an excellent time to ask another. "Excuse me, which direction is west from here?"
Giving a shrug, he yawned as he curled up with his bottom leaning up against the wall and his head lolling about on the mushroom. "What use have I for such things?"
She wanted to say something, but realized there was little she could say and therefore they sat in quiet company and watched the rain fall outside. Soon enough, as rain is quite apt to do, Kagome found herself lulled to sleep by the rhythmic sounds.
When Kagome awoke with a start, she realized she was still within the tree and was now alone with nothing more than fungi to keep her company. Stretching with a lazy yawn, she stood and stepped out, glancing about before continuing with her concept that west would obviously be in the opposite direction of the queen's castle. After some time, however, her first problem returned to her and she realized that she would have go grow taller in order to manage to get anywhere within any decent time frame.
It was, therefore, quite fortunate for her that she happened upon a youkai who seemed rather familiar looking. So familiar, in fact, that she knew him by title. "Inu no Taisho?" She gasped, looking up at him as he paused and glanced down on her.
"That is not my name, tiny human."
Kagome had to struggle not to giggle at being called a tiny human, because it was highly accurate and would have been rather rude. Still, she was a tad confused at how InuYasha's father claimed to not be his father. "I'm sorry, you just look like someone I know of."
He did not seem in the least bit confused by this, or even surprised. In fact, he leaned over and lifted Kagome gently before placing her on his shoulder where she grabbed hold of his armor and he began to walk. "You seem to have a problem, tiny human. My Queen can fix that. While we are on our way would you care to tell me how you came to be this size?"
Kagome told him everything she knew. Being in London, falling down the unusual furniture filled shaft, drinking the coffee and chocolate flavored liquid, and meeting the white rabbit and his Queen. By the time she was finished with her tale they were entering yet another castle, this one full of of busy people and happy noises.
"My Queen!" InuYasha's father called out, causing a lovely youkai in a grand kimono to come from a nearby room. She was regal and quite beautiful and smiled lightly. The inu male took up Kagome and held her out to his mate, who looked down on her curiously. "This young female is Kagome, who has fallen under the Queen of Heart's wrath. She has come from the mysterious room, where the prophecy foretold our savior would come."
At this, both women's eyes widened. The Queen was surprised at the possibility that Kagome might be their savior as the prophecy had foretold and was quite excited at this. Kagome was surprised at the possibility that she might be their savior as the prophecy had foretold and was quite unnerved. (Had she not saved the world enough for one lifetime?) Despite her discomfort, neither inu seemed to notice or care much as they whisked her away into what was very clearly a kitchen of sorts.
The Queen took to baking, while her mate talked of the lovely fortune that was smiling on them to have found Kagome and something about their son? Kagome's mind ground to a halt. They couldn't mean InuYasha – he was part human – so could they mean... Sesshomaru? She decided now was an excellent time for getting down to the bottom of all this. "Excuse me, but what exactly is the prophecy that was foretold?"
Both inu stilled before InuYasha's father began to speak again. "Things were not always this way. We once lived peacefully here. The four kingdoms were ruled by benevolent rulers who were kind to their people and the lands flourished. Even the Queen of Hearts are not always so fearful and angry. Then, one day, the King of Clubs died and his replacement soon came – a terrible man who wanted the Queen of Hearts for himself. This, of course, could never happen. The last time a pair from neighboring kingdoms tried to join together, a curse fell upon them."
"Replacement?" Kagome asked, the odd word choice not lost on her.
The Queen nodded. "He is not a recognized King of the Club kingdom."
The male inu sighed and continued the story. "My second son was the one who fell to the curse; he and the Queen of Hearts fell in love and decided to give up everything to be together. Unfortunately, when she tried to give up her position – my son fell ill. Our eldest son was angered by this and went to see one well known in magic who could possibly find some way to bring his brother back, but it was in vain. When he returned he had nothing but the prophecy which spoke of a young human girl who would come from the mysterious room in the wood and would save our people. After he told us this, he vanished and we have been unable to find him since. I was looking for him when I found you, Kagome."
She slumped down, giving a sigh. "So I am supposed to save the world?"
He nodded. "Again."
Her eyes widened and she looked up at him with a curious expression. "Are you going to tell me that I have been here before, too?"
"You do not remember?" This was the Queen asking. Kagome looked to her and shook her head. "How unfortunate. Things have changed to some degree, of course, but not so much that you should have forgotten."
"Perhaps when she left her memories were erased?" Her mate asked, to which his Queen gave a shrug. It was at this moment that Kagome understood two very real things. One, neither of them knew the full story. Two, she had been here once before and did not remember. (How that was possible, she wasn't sure, but she knew better than to question such things at times when it was unlikely anyone would have the answer.)
"So what do I do?" Kagome asked.
The Queen smiled and held out a small pastry to Kagome. "First, you will eat this."
Upon eating the cake, which was only describable as fudge with a hint of raspberry, Kagome found herself growing slowly upwards until she was at her regular size again. Blinking, she stared down on the remainder of the cake. "If I ate the rest?"
"You would be rather tall, I would think." The not-really Inu no Taisho said with a smirk. Kagome was amazed that a little dessert could have such an effect on an entire person, but felt there were more pressing matters.
"Okay, so now that one problem is solved – what do I do next?" Both looked at her and sighed before looking to the other. Kagome hopped off the table where she had been sitting after having grown to normal and brushed herself off. "As far as I see it, I have two options. I can find whoever made this prophecy or I can find your son. From the sounds of it, I may not be able to find him so who made this prophecy?"
"The Cheshire cat, of course."
Kagome's jaw dropped as she turned to look at the Queen with wide eyes. "The... what?" (And she promptly forgot that this might be an important thing to remember as soon as her thoughts we interrupted.)
"Oh well, I suppose you wouldn't remember. He's not quite good, not quite evil, sort of a prankster – you and he got along rather well the last time you were here." The female said with a small shrug. "He lives in the forest. Unfortunately, part of that forest belongs to the Heart kingdom. You'll have to be careful."
"We can arrange for an entourage to go with you. They may not seem like much at first glance, but they're a useful pair."
"Oh darling, you're not thinking of sending them, are you?" The Queen said with a hint of annoyance.
"Them?" Kagome asked with a frown.
"A pair of idiots, I assure you. They're talented on their own but seem to always be together and when they are one distracts the other quite frequently." The female inu said with a sigh.
"But they are quite talented and for that you will be in good hands."
Kagome was both curious and concerned at the idea of being sent on this grand adventure when the opinion of these two individuals was so mixed. (Who would want to risk their life with such odds?) Yet, Kagome couldn't help herself – her curiosity really would get the better of her someday – and what was how she found herself standing in the courtyard before the castle with two very familiar figures before her.
"Sango! Miroku!" She called, entirely forgetting that she had already mistaken one person for another just hours earlier. It should have come as no surprise, then, when both individuals – dressed as she quite remembered them – gave her strange looks.
Sango frowned and crossed her arms with a sigh. Miroku gave a sad expression, as if Kagome was suddenly someone to be pitied. "My lady, forgive me but we are not who you think we are." He stood taller, pulling his staff up with him as he did so and Kagome felt a pang of nostalgia at his actions. "You may call me Tweedle-dee, this lovely young lady is Tweedle-dum."
Sango rolled her eyes and a resounding smack could be heard echoing through the courtyard as she hit him over his head with her fist. "I am Tweedle-dee, you are Tweedle-dum. When will you ever get the titles right?"
Their argument was not what caused Kagome some amount of distress. In fact, she wasn't entirely certain if she was currently standing right side up or if she was somehow standing on her head and had yet to notice. You see, it was at this moment that she finally grasped that this was a rather familiar story and that, while somewhat different than what she knew, she should not be at all surprised by much of anything that happened from here on out.
Perhaps it was a dream. Maybe she was delusional. Whatever the reason, Kagome had found herself in a strange Wonderland, much like Alice in childhood lore. Of course, almost nothing had gone as she remembered from the tale. It was to the point where Kagome felt more lost in knowing this information than she did when she was still clueless.
One great thing came from this epiphany. Now she was not as concerned about her dilemma as she had been before. If this were just some silly fantasy then there was no need to worry that she might die. In fact, she wouldn't have to think negatively about much of anything after this point. She could focus on enjoying herself and the strange world she was in.
Therefore, with this in mind, Kagome went forward with the Sango and Miroku like Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum into the wood where she glanced about, hoping to see miraculous and strange things. It was surely a grand let-down when she noticed that this forest looked rather much like any other forest she had spent time in during her travels throughout Japan.
Eventually, several hours went by and Kagome finally asked (as many of you are likely pondering) an all too important question – one she should have asked sometime earlier. "Do either of you know where we are going?"
The Sango doppelganger shrugged. "We assumed you knew."
The Miroku doppelganger nodded. "It would be presumed that one such as you would know where we are headed."
"Because I have been here before?" Kagome asked with a sigh.
Both her companions glanced at one another before looking at her with confusion. "Because you led the way."
At this moment a sensible and sane person might pull out their hair due to sheer frustration. Kagome, however, knew not to take this situation seriously because nothing in this world would ever make any sort of logical sense. Instead, she chose to continue on her way while talking to her companions. "I suppose we will have to just wait for the one we are seeking to come to us!"
Wait they did, although not for long, as one evening when she turned from preparing a meal she was greeted by a floating grin. Nothing more and nothing less and, despite all her assurances that she shouldn't take anything far too literally in this strange place, Kagome still let out a screech of shock and fell back onto her rump. You see, no matter how prepared one is they can never be entirely ready to see a disembodied smile – however, once they have they are surely not going to be shocked by much of anything ever again.
"You were looking for me?" Slowly the mouth moved as a smooth voice came from it and a body began to form with the smile – a quite familiar red-headed body with piercing green eyes. Kagome sighed and stood, brushing herself off and giving a nod.
"Yes. I hear that you made a prophecy to the Queen of Spade's eldest son (Kagome made certain to use their titles or names as from this period and as she had not assured that Sesshomaru's name was, in fact, still Sesshomaru, she chose not to use it and felt herself quite clever for it.) potentially involving myself. I would like to know the details."
The Shippo-like Cheshire grinned and closed his eyes, floating there before Kagome with his tail waving to and fro in slow and deliberate movements. "Well it involved him, the eldest son of the Queen of Spades, coming to me for guidance and my telling him the answer to the questions he asked."
Kagome groaned inwardly. She would be unable to get an answer from this mischievous cat without asking directly. Suddenly, a light came on in her head and she grinned up at the floating Shippo doppelganger. "Can you direct me to the Queen of Spade's eldest son, please?"
He was surprised that she was so clever as to ask a rather thorough question. There was a loophole, of course, and he took it as he always did. "I can."
Kagome's eyes widened. "Where is the Queen of Spade's eldest son?"
"Well if he is not here, then where is he?"
"Somewhere else, clearly."
"Do you know where he is?"
Her face was red by now, hands on her hips as she stomped the ground below in a fit. "So show me where he is!"
"Oh, well, you could have asked that from the beginning." The Shippo-like cat turned and began to float away, pausing to look at her curiously. "Follow me."
Kagome, somewhat surprised that he was actually going to take her to Sesshomaru, blinked and stood, gathering her things quickly and grimacing when Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum ran into one another as they tried to get up far too suddenly. "Come on." She absently called to them, turning to follow the Cheshire who was moving rather lazily about and in somewhat zig-zag patterns. After some time, Kagome was beginning to suspect they had in fact traveled in a circle, or a spiral or something of that sort, and she stopped and crossed her arms. "Why are we going in such a roundabout way?"
He seemed both offended and amused by her question and for once responded rather simply. "To find a mad fellow one must first think and act with madness."
Kagome's mind reeled. "M... mad? Mad? You mean... he went... insane?" By now she was rather unsure if she wanted to meet up with a raving lunatic who happened to also be one of the most dangerous creatures she had ever known.
At this, the Shippo doppelganger simply laughed. "One must go a little mad if they are to suddenly believe in the impossible." Although, he did not seem to be talking to Kagome as he said this but more so speaking to himself, she took the words to heart. (They seemed to wise, and it is always advisable to take wise words in – even if we later find them to lose their wisdom. Better to lose a few not-quite wise words than to lose wise ones under the presumption they might not be.)
There was little time to debate on if her safety was suddenly in question as they soon heard the boisterous and rather off-key singing of several men and one girl. When they broke through the trees there stood a somewhat western style home with straw roofing and a fence around the yard which showed a severe lack of care as it required a fresh coat of paint. Within this yard sat a large dining table, the sort which Kagome expected to see in business offices or perhaps in rich homes, but here it stood out and exposed to the elements.
Upon the table rested plates, bowls, silverware, and many fine finger foods and pastries, as well as several varieties of teapots. Seated about the table, upon various styles of chairs – no two of which matched – were a few familiar faces. One withered looking old man who had large beady eyes, and a small human child with a floppy off-center pony tail both of which had their arms about each other as they sang quite loudly. Behind them stood a large tree who appeared to have a face, who seemed to be singing along as well.
None of this was quite as startling as the occupant at the end of the table. Standing there as if it were the most natural thing in the world was Sesshomaru with a rather ratty looking top hat on his head and a large, dark trench coat about him. In his hand was a dainty little teacup which he held above his head, thrusting it into the air with their song – only to pause, as everyone did, when Kagome stepped into the yard.
Golden eyes narrowed upon her and Kagome suddenly felt as if she were just a few centimeters tall once more. "You." He grumbled, giving off a sigh and looking away from her as if she were a blight on the landscape as he fell into his chair and threw the teacup, tea and all (What a waste of good tea!), across the table. "Always ruining a good party."
Kagome gaped at him, eyes widening and fury lighting in her gaze. "Excuse me?"
"Are you deaf?" He turned to the other party-goers with an amazingly pitiful expression of mock concern and continued on in a tone that implied, rather well, that he cared about her well-being. "I fear she is deaf, at the very least stupid." The others tittered and laughed, spitting tea about the table as they tried to keep their giggles to themselves and did a grand job of failing.
This only caused the modern girl to groan and flop down into one of the chairs at the end. When she did so, silence filled the yard once more – save for a gasp from the younger girl – as Sesshomaru stood and turned his head slightly at her in a look of anger and frustration. "You cannot sit there." He declared.
"Why not?" She asked, really very vexed at how this was all beginning to go. If this was a dream or delusion she would be all-together happy if she woke at this very moment. It was bad enough to be in this situation, but to have to deal with Sesshomaru – mad or otherwise – was far too much for her at this point.
"Because that seat is for a very important guest and you are not that important." The other guests snickered once more and Kagome rolled her eyes. Sesshomaru proceeded to ignore her, something she was quite used to from him at this point, and went about getting himself more tea as if he had just realized he no longer had any. (This was a great tragedy, surely.)
"I am sure. None of that matters. I'm here about the prophecy."
Sesshomaru stilled, staring down at the little cubes of sugar before him before his grip on the tea cup in his hand tightened to the point that it shattered into small pieces, falling pathetically to the ground. His eyes were hollow, empty, as they stared at the confection as if it were going to get up and do a grand little dance for him any moment now and if he were to look away he might miss such a marvel. When he finally spoke, his words were so quiet and strained that Kagome had to lean forward just to catch everything. "What did you say?"
Kagome almost felt sorry for him, the small hint of fear laced in his voice was something she had only heard from the stoic youkai once before. "I said I'm here about the prophecy. I was told this by your parents and they said that I was probably the one come to save everyone. What did they mean by that?"
He growled out, slamming his palms on the table and causing every dish to jump slightly as he turned to glare at the Shippo-like Cheshire who was still floating behind Kagome with a wide grin. "You brought her here. Why could you not just tell her yourself and leave me out of it?"
The cat shrugged. "You already know the answer to that."
Sesshomaru sighed and leaned back in his chair, reaching up to push his had over his head as if he were going to take a nap at that moment. "Do what you like."
Kagome frowned and let out a huff of annoyance at his behavior. Sane or not, his attitude hadn't really changed much. In fact, the only thing different was his attire and his willingness to show his emotions. As she watched him do an excellent job at ignoring her entirely, Kagome thought over the last time she had ever seen him – back in Sengoku Japan. That brought up terrible memories, of course.
"InuYasha!" Kagome called with a happy sigh, rushing through the cloth flap that led into their home and carrying several piece of fine China – a teapot and a couple cups. Gifts from Sesshomaru, who had recently gone on a trip and had seen fit to bring something back for her – the young woman which had gained his respect when she had removed the world of the Shikon and had brought a sense of peace to this small corner of Japan by assisting in ridding them of Naraku. They had become odd friends by this point as Rin was rather fond of the older young woman and through sheer proximity they found that they soon were at a level of companionable silence.
When she came through the curtain, however, her heart skipped and she suddenly felt sick to her stomach as she watched the young girl, with her arms wrapped around InuYasha... kissing him rather passionately. Kagome's jaw dropped and she struggled to breathe, trying hard to not think of the worst – that she was being replaced the same as before. It was all just a mistake, right? Moments went by and Kagome's heart began to crumble as a sob escaped her and her body trembled, the delicate porcelain slipping from her hands and crashing to the ground.
She ran from the building, not waiting or caring to see if he followed. She had no idea where she was going, or what she would do with her life now, but she knew that she couldn't continue this way. Mistake or no, that kiss lasted too long for her comfort and she was tired of playing third-wheel to another. No. No more. A broken sob escaped her as tears falling from her eyes as she reached the well, somehow managing to find her way there as if by instinct.
"Kagome! Wait!" InuYasha called out.
She spun around, glaring at him as her tears continued to fall. "I don't want to hear your excuses, InuYasha! Just do whatever you want!"
He scowled and gave off a growl. "Fine! I will! I didn't want to talk to you anyway!" With that, he stormed off, leaving a confused Kagome who, in a ]oment of frustration and desperation, decided she really needed her mother right about now.
With that thought in mind, she threw herself over the lip of the well only to be stranded in the modern time. It was a foolish move and she'd always wondered what InuYasha might have said if they hadn't been so young and stupid, but it was all in the past now and he was long dead.
"Are you seriously crying?" Sesshomaru asked her with a tone that couldn't seem to decide between annoyance and a whimper as he sat forward and stared at her with a disgusted look. She broke free from her thoughts, brow furrowing in confusion and frustration as she reached up to touch her face.
"I am no... I am..." She sighed and slumped forward. "I'm sorry. I was just... remembering."
He watched her with a calculated gaze. "You were here before?"
She stiffened, unsure how to answer that. "I'm not entirely sure. I remember everyone but it's not quite the same. I also recognize parts of this story but, it is also different. It's almost as if everything has changed but me."
"Or, perhaps you are the one who changed." His tone left no room for exception or doubt, so Kagome was left with the only option to accept that he was right. (It never occurred to her that she might dismiss the comment entirely as the ravings of a madman.)
She smiled sadly and nodded. "Yes, perhaps that is right. Still, I have learned something so far. That is... changes do not matter in this place. You are all changed for me and I for you, so we should all just get over it."]
Sesshomaru perked up at that and grinned creepily, only solidifying his insanity in her mind. "Get over it. That sounds like a lovely plan. Let us just pretend that you don't exist for me and I for you and call it even!" With that he leaned back once more, resting back with his chin tucked down into the flowing white cravat tied about his neck and attempting to ignore her once more.
Kagome's brow furrowed and she shook her head. "I don't like that plan. You see, he won't tell me anything about this prophecy and so I need you to do so."
"I fail to see how that is my problem. I have lived quite well all these years, ignoring the prophecy entirely, so I see no reason to help you." The other party-goers mumbled among themselves about this, grinning wildly as they nodded their heads in agreement to their leader's logic.
The modern girl sighed and stood, placing both hands on the table as she leaned forward. "You didn't ignore the prophecy. You ran away. Tell me, what is it that you are so afraid of?" (It never seemed to occur to her that these were dangerous words – but then not much occurred to her as of late.)
He stood abruptly at that, knocking his chair over before stepping up with relative ease onto the tabletop and marching across the surface (blessedly avoiding stepping on anything, despite the crowded state) and coming to stand directly before her so as there was no more than a few breaths of space between them. "Do not presume to know what you are talking about unless you are willing to offer a solution!"
Kagome blinked. "A solution?"
Suddenly he looked aged and all his fury escaped him, deflating him rather like a balloon until he was soft and sad looking. "Do you think I have not honestly tried to figure this out?"
Understanding dawned on her and she gave him a smile. "Is that why you are here now?"
He shrugged. "Perhaps I am here because I prefer the scenery and the company!" His guests all cheered at that, raising their glasses, and the Tweedle's shifted nervously behind her.
Kagome considered his response before giving her own, something that great thinkers always suggest. "Yes, it is lovely here. So tell me about the prophecy."
Sesshomaru sat on the table, directly on the place setting there, and crossed his arms as he looked away from her as if the landscape had somehow become excessively interesting. "If I tell you, will you go away and never bother me again?"
At this, the Cheshire who had been floating about and cleaning himself with disinterest, perked up and started to chuckle. "That won't work."
Kagome was beginning to feel like something rather important wasn't being said, which was very true as many important things had yet to be spoken. Like how she had been here before, or what the prophecy was, or why Sesshomaru had gone mad – momentarily, Kagome's brain derailed on the crazy notion that he had perhaps always been insane and that it just took his solitude for people to notice?
Before she could say anything, however, Sesshomaru went out of his way to be exceptionally kind (a trait she did not remember him having, polite or even somewhat kind perhaps but he never went out of his way to be kind to anyone) and chose to finally answer many of her questions – save if he were originally mad or not, that would have to wait for another story.
From the room within the wood,
from the land of the sword,
come two star-crossed lovers;
Terrors only madmen understood,
when two - as one - go forward,
bringing about change.
A hero emerges from within the bane,
wading through that which cannot be seen,
declaring their love before all;
While the other slowly goes insane,
such madness never before been,
unable to grasp their lover's truth.
Kagome's brow furrowed. She always disliked riddles and poems were not far from that. However, some phrases caused alarm bells to go off in her mind. She began to worry her lip as she thought it over. "Star-crossed lovers? So... I have to find... InuYasha?"
Sesshomaru shrugged and she swore she caught a glimpse of him rolling his eyes as he fiddled with the end of his sleeve as if she had suddenly become very boring. His guests laughed and snickered amongst themselves, as if what Kagome had said was rather silly. It might have been, but for the life of her Kagome could not figure out why. She had been in love with InuYasha and they had been they very symbol of star-crossed lovers. If the one from the wood was her, and the land of the sword was the kingdom of Spades – where InuYasha's father came from, that would make sense, right? She paused as something occurred to her and she looked up at Sesshomaru curiously.
"You sought madmen in order to understand the terror that was to fall on the country?" He did nothing, but she noticed the hardened tone in his eyes and understood the silent message there. "And in doing so, went a little mad yourself?"
"Enough talk of going mad... let us be merry!" The elderly man at the table said with a cough, which led the girl next to him to laugh heartily.
Sesshomaru turned to them and gave a slight bow. "Alas, my friends, this is where we come to the end of the road. I must go to do my part."
The elderly man and the young girl both stared at him as if he had suddenly gone sane and were quite terrified that it might be contagious. After all, the one they'd considered to be the most mad of them all had said something rather sensible. He did not wait for their response, turning away and taking Kagome by the elbow where he led her away with the Tweedle's following – the Cheshire staying at the party because it had no particular reason to go with them on this journey.
They walked for what must have been ages, Kagome rather shocked at the idea that Sesshomaru was touching her. He had never been that friendly before. It suddenly dawned on her that she should ask two very important questions. "What do I call you and where are we going?"
He did not stop and she rather expected he wouldn't until they reached their destination. "You may call me Hatter, like all the others do, let's not get too friendly. As to where we are going, that would be north, to the kingdom of Diamonds."
She raised an eyebrow at this. "Why there?"
"Because it is the one place that I haven't looked yet." He said this as if that somehow settled the matter and did not speak to her again, despite her many attempts at conversation, until they reached said kingdom and sat in a grand waiting room with hot tea before them.
If she had been shocked before by any number of things in this rather odd world that she had found herself in, nothing could have prepared her for what she saw next. (Not even disembodied smiles floating about!) For coming through the door was the most familiar face she had yet to see in the entirety of her duration in this odd land. There, in a rather modern looking dress of simple yellow, stood her mother.
She gave her typical smile of understanding and went to sit across from them at the low, traditional Japanese style table. "I wondered when you would come to me."
"You were waiting for us?" Kagome asked.
"Well, not both of you." She looked to her daughter with happy eyes. "Only you." Mama closed her eyes with a slow breath, suddenly aging rather quickly. "I suppose you are here for answers. Promise me you will listen with open hearts and minds before I finish, and then we can discuss where you will go from here – okay?"
Kagome nodded, wondering how her mother knew what she wanted, but then it should be even less surprising that her mother in this place would somehow know just what she needed to hear without even being given a clue. A pang of homesickness washed over her, quickly drowned out by her mother's voice.
"There is a curse on this land. We of the four kingdoms live rather peacefully and in relative comfort. However, we cannot merge with those of any other kingdom. A heart cannot love a diamond and a club cannot love a spade – if they do, a terrible tragedy will strike them down and cause them great distress. The more the lovers try to fight against this, the worse their fate." Her lip trembled and her hand shook as she brought it up to her chest, clearly disturbed.
"As a young woman, I was led to believe that it was my duty to marry another diamond and I had no qualms with this – until one day, in the wood, I met a man who instantly took my breath away. I could not look on another again. There was one problem... he was the King of Clubs. Still, we loved each other very much. After our first night together – he died suddenly overnight." Her eyes opened, revealing great sadness in their depths, and she looked up at Kagome. "I was pregnant with you."
"To try to keep the curse from hurting you, I sought out a powerful witch who granted me access to a world she called reality – and I sent you there to be raised in safety and happiness. I did not expect you to return, although I probably should have, knowing the full tale of the curse."
Kagome's brow furrowed as she shook her head. "What do you mean?"
"Only one possible solution is known to this curse – someone who is born in this land but without a kingdom must fall in love with someone from one of the four royal suits. When they both love each other, it is said that the curse will be broken and the kingdoms will be allowed to mingle."
"The Alice Theory." The Hatter said, whispering under his voice.
Mama nodded and folded her hands in her lap with a sigh. "I thought it was just a myth, I never knew that my own daughter would be her. There were rumors that you returned – that an Alice had come to this world – some years ago when the young Queen of Hearts and her lover, the Knave of Spades (when she said this, the Hatter twitched rather uncomfortably) were nearly faced with the same fate as your father and I. From what I heard, you cared so much for the Knave of Spades that you risked your own life and safety to seek out the same witch that had granted my sending you to reality, and convinced her to curse him in a way that he could not die."
Kagome gasped and sat back, bringing a hand up to her mouth as her eyes widened. Floppy ears that twitched upon his head, a sour attitude that was familiar, yellow eyes, a good sense of smell, a red top... her mind ground to a halt. "InuYasha... is... the White Rabbit?"
Her mother seemed to understand that this was upsetting her, but didn't press that matter and continued on. "I don't know this InuYasha, but I do know that the Knave of Spades did become the White Rabbit and now serves the Queen of Hearts loyally. When you disappeared, it was rumored that you might never return – that your task had been fulfilled. Yet, the Queen of Hearts had become jealous of your interactions with the Knave of Spades and so she has yet to have accepted the love that he so willingly gives her. Meanwhile, the Knave of Hearts was rather upset as he was meant to be her intended and had loved her for some time. He, too, went a little mad and decided that he must get power in order to woo her."
The pieces began to fall into place as Kagome remembered what InuYasha's father had told her. "So he became the King of Clubs, despite having no right to do so."
Silence filled the room as they sat there, considering how this was all becoming both simple and rather complicated all at once. Grown up matters always seemed to do that with no amount of relative ease, which is probably why children never really understand them. (Or perhaps that is why they are the only ones who seem to understand them until it is really too late.)
Kagome's eyes hardened with determination and she took a deep breath. "So, what exactly do I need to do again?"
Her mother laughed lightly and took a sip of her tea. "Well, we all know that falling in love doesn't exactly work on command. Do you have any memories or knowledge of those you have met in this place?"
"Well it is sort of like an alternate reality or parallels reality or something like that, but I was never very good in science. So I do remember people, but they aren't exactly the way I remember them?" Kagome admitted with a blush.
"Tell me what you know of these. Perhaps we can find an answer there." Her mother said, glancing between the two and smiling lightly at how Kagome was so focused while the Hatter was rather intently watching dust particles dancing in the sunshine as if it were far more important.
"From what I know, an alternate reality or parallel reality contain the same people but work in conjunction of each other. The people will be similar in some ways but different, so I know them but I don't?" She obviously didn't feel entirely certain of her explanation.
Mama nodded in understanding. "I see. So are there some who you would be particularly close to? That you might love? You should start with them, perhaps?"
Kagome frowned. "You can't expect me to just love someone that easily. I already loved InuYasha and he ruined everything." Her shoulders slumped and she sighed.
"You should choose someone that you are certain will let you down – then when they do, you won't be surprised." Hatter said as if it were the most sensible thing in the world. Perhaps it was, but Kagome found one flaw in his logic.
"By that thought, I should just go love InuYasha anyway. I expect him to let me down!"
"Ah, but you were surprised by his actions! Therefore, there was a limit to how much you expected him to let you down! You should choose someone that you have no doubts would let you down!"
Her mother let out a happy sound as an idea struck her. "It's just so crazy it might work! We'll hold a ball!"
"Oh, I like that idea!" Said Hatter with a grin on his face. Kagome tried to argue, but found herself outnumbered. "Still, she's not ready to be presented to society. Whatever will you do?" He said, an amused tone in his voice.
"You will train her. She'll have a few days to prepare and in that time I am sure you can help her, you were always quite so poised." Mama replied, leaving no room for discussion.
So it was that Kagome was left in the Sesshomaru-like Hatter's care, who spent hours training her to be a lady – albeit a rather insane one. Days went by as Kagome thought over her predicament. If she didn't find someone (and this was all so rather sudden, wasn't it?) what would become of her? Would they discover that she was not actually an Alice as they assumed?
She was finding her life became very uncomfortable as the mad Sesshomaru forced her to stand just-so, made her dangle from his arm as they went from place to place, and danced with her to and fro – often in no order and sometimes for what appeared to be no reason.
The day of the ball came quickly and she stood before a long mirror in a mauve dress, frowning greatly. "This color looks terrible."
Smile, blush, dear maiden of eyes periwinkled!
There was where the Humdinger tinkled
And Bore that wine in a leaf all wrinkled
To shower lady lily with his affection thus sprinkled
Over her face – you know, because this Humdingy had gall
Kagome turned to see an even more startling face than she had ever seen before. Her eyes widened and she gasped. Of all the people to be standing just feet away, looking at her with hooded eyes. Hair tied up in a loose flourishing bow and a dark kimono pulled over his frame, stood Naraku. Reciting a weird and nonsensical poem while staring at her as if he saw a most delectable treat. (Of course, any male would stare at a beautiful young woman as such!)
He grinned. "Did you like my poem? A sweet little thing like you deserves such attentions. It is shameful that you are here alone. Come! Let me whisk you away and make you my Queen!"
Kagome's eye twitched. All at once she suddenly longed to go home, a thought that had surprisingly not been in her mind for some time now. How long had she been here anyway? Time didn't seem to pass here at all! (You would think she would have noticed.)
Brushing past the creepy Naraku who was still grinning at her like an idiot, she made her way down the hall and into the ballroom where a large group of people were already dancing to the music. Before she knew what was happening, she was being passed about to dance with every male present as if she were some sort of automated dance machine. In the end, she wound up in Naraku's embrace and shuddered at the very idea that he was touching her so intimately.
"Are you enjoying your time at this ball, my future Queen?" He asked, giving Kagome a very strange notion of Kouga – but probably a better dancer.
"Please let me go." She said, feeling rather frantic and not at all well. Despite a lingering voice in her head that told her if anyone was sure to let her down it would be him. He of course, did exactly that by not heeding her request. When he pulled her closer as the song changed to a slow number, she gasped and let out a whimper. She stared down at her feet, unable to bring herself to look at him as she might get sick and make a mess right then and there.
A hand came out and tapped Naraku on the shoulder. "May I cut in?"
Kagome's heart jumped and she looked up to see none other than Sesshomaru... well, the Hatter... standing there with a small smirk. When she was handed over to him, she felt immensely better and let out a slow breath. Her head rested on his chest as she tried to gain control of herself.
Kagome gasped and looked up at him with wide eyes. The Hatter did not say hn – ever. Only Sesshomaru said that. Even more curious – why did that make her feel so comforted? Her grip in his was light, but he held her firmly as they twirled around the dance floor. Kagome wasn't sure why, but she couldn't help but stare at him as he led her.
As the song began to dwindle down, another interruption disrupted the pair – another man wanting to take her away. Kagome felt a heavy sensation in her stomach and tried to reason with herself that it was silly to think this way. He had only barely been a friend, a mere acquaintance, but she couldn't deny that being with him made her feel stable.
"Excuse me, may I?"
Hatter stilled and looked to Kagome before looking down on the White Rabbit who appeared to be unsure of himself. Kagome waited for the verdict, somehow knowing that he would let her go and for some reason – despite knowing that this was InuYasha – realizing that she didn't want him to. It was an entirely ridiculous thought, though. He had only come to help her as a friend and nothing more.
"No, I think not." When he scoffed and shook his head at the White Rabbit, dragging Kagome away, her eyes widened and she was once again reminded with that silly little voice about expectations. She should have known – Sesshomaru would never do as she expected him to. Not because he was that unpredictable, but because he simply did things his own way. It was surely madness to love him only for that, though, wasn't it? Perhaps, but then she had been around madness for some time now and hadn't noticed much harm in it.
Swallowing down a heavy lump, she realized in a sudden and ridiculous epiphany (as many are apt to do) that she had likely loved him for some time, even if it had been buried beneath all the nonsense of life.
As the dance came to an end, Kagome spinning about in a twirl, she now realized the full depth of the prophecy. If she was the one from the wood... could he be the one from the kingdom of Spades? Meaning... they were the star-crossed lovers and not her and InuYasha?"
While the guests were clapping, Kagome and the mad Hatter stared at one another for a few moments before she leaned up on her toes and kissed him. It was a bold move, sudden and rather unexpected, but she figured that it wouldn't surprise him. Nothing would be surprising in this world, after all. He returned her kiss, because he was already quite insane and saw no reason to be sensible and tell her to stop.
A dizzy and sick sensation filled her and Kagome had to pull away, reaching up to hold her forehead as a wave of nausea washed over her. The world was suddenly spinning and her body felt very heavy. When she could no longer stand and collapsed forward, Hatter caught her in his embrace and gently knelt to let her rest.
Her vision darkened and slowly the world faded into nothing, leaving her with only the memory of screaming from guests and Sesshomaru's foolishly grinning face staring down on her.
She woke with a start, a chill rushing down her spine as she looked up to see Eri calling her frantically. "Eri?" Why did her head hurt so much? What had happened?
Her friend reached up, running a hand over Kagome's head as she let out a relieved sigh. "You fell and hit your head pretty bad. We were doing a fair job of keeping you awake as the nurses suggested, but then you started saying how sleepy you were and before we knew what was happening you had passed out."
A nurse, followed by a frantic Yumi, rushed into the room. The nurse pulled out a flashlight and began to shine it in Kagome's eyes, checking her for any signs of distress. Kagome frowned and endured it, but when the nurse pulled back she decided to ask some more questions. "How did I get here?"
"You don't remember? Someone brought you here, he said he found you in the alley and that you'd hit your head. You were in and out of consciousness." The nurse replied. "He's still outside. Do you want to meet him?"
Kagome nodded, feeling slightly dizzy at the motion. She felt as if there was something important she should remember, but couldn't grasp it. What was it?
Whatever it was, there was no time to think on it as she looked up and saw the last person she expected to see standing at the foot of her bed. Everyone else seemed to have left them to talk. "Sesshomaru?"
"Why are you here?"
"You were injured."
"Oh! You found me? Thank you! Wait, why are you in London anyway?"
He growled low in his throat and glared at her, she instinctively shrank down into her pillow. "You were in London."
Her brow furrowed and she tried to grasp this knowledge. "So... you were because I was?"
"If one wants to find a stupid human miko one must think and act like a stupid human miko – it was not hard to discern your location."
Kagome's eyes widened as information, thoughts, images, feelings … all began to flood through her. Her mouth fell open and she stared down at her hands on her lap, wondering which was the true reality. Tears welled in her eyes and she reached up, rubbing at her forehead in confusion.
Had she managed to break the curse? If so, why was she here?
"Are you in pain?" He was not asking out of concern, but more out of annoyance at his inability to know the answer with his own skills.
She shook her head.
"Are you ill?"
Again, she shook her head.
"Are you stupid?"
Kagome laughed and nodded. "Probably." A wistful smile came to her face and she looked up at him. "Sesshomaru... do I drive you a little insane?"
The youkai stiffened and his jaw set. "That would be putting it lightly."
Kagome nodded. "That's for the best."
It did not matter why he was seeking her, or if this was reality or not. He would go a little mad – and be a little free – and she would love him all the more for it.