I do not own Alice in Wonderland. I do not own Alice in Wonderland. Maybe if I repeat this often enough no one will sue me. Please read and review. Much love!

There was nothing Alice wanted more than to go home. Or wake up. Which ever one got her back to her world where she would never have to slay a Jabberwocky. Of course, Alice had no intention of actually going through with the slaying. As long as the queen had the Vorpal Sword, someone else could take over as champion. No matter how much her majesty protested otherwise. There had to be another Alice. A strong, wise girl with enough heart and enough love for Underland to willingly sacrifice herself to this monster.

Alice walked out onto the terrace of the majestic palace. She looked to the bright blue moon for comfort, but found only fear. Such a perfect night should not be followed by the horrific morning dawn would surely bring. Unless the other Alice was hiding in the shadows waiting to make her appearance, the White Queen would surely fall within hours.

"I'm sorry I cannot be that Alice for you," Alice whispered to no one in particular. A long, exasperated sigh resounded from the corner bench. "Stupid girl. How do you know that you are not Alice if you haven't even tried to be Alice? It's a lot of work being one's self and you haven't been trying at all."

"Absolem?" Alice peered in the direction of the deep voice, trying to spot the little blue caterpillar.

"Yes, I'm Absolem. What we are trying to work on is who YOU are. Do try and keep up."

Alice wandered over to the bench. Her eyes lingered on the marble seat then finally flitted up to the leaves hanging from the Jasmine trees. There sat the caterpillar in question, lighting his hookah pipe, waiting for her rebuttal. Alice sat on the bench and turned her eyes to Absolem.

"I am Alice. Not the Alice that everyone speaks of, but I AM Alice."

"There is but one Alice in Underland. No other Alice would be permitted to enter our world. No other Alice would have followed a rabbit in a waistcoat. No other Alice could have escaped the Knave and tamed the Bandersnatch and no other Alice could have fooled the Red Queen." Absolem leaned in closer to Alice, letting his blue smoke cloud her face. "And no other Alice can slay the Jabberwocky. It is foretold."

"I am Alice Kingsleigh," Alice huffed. "I am the daughter of one of the most celebrated traders in all of England. I am almost a full grown woman, and I refuse to be bullied by a two inch caterpillar!"

Absolem paused, mid-puff, and leered at Alice for one horrifying moment. "I do apologize, Miss Kingsleigh. I should have made this a fair fight." And in a whirl of blue smoke, Absolem was gone, and in his place sat a man such as Alice had never seen. His eyes were like sapphires, sparkling in the night. His hair was a perfect mix of brown, blonde, and grey, and his skin was tan. Had she been anywhere else but Underland, Alice would have taken notice of his unusual garb of dark blue silk lounging pants and a matching shirt, unbuttoned until it was almost inappropriate.

Noticing Alice's shocked glance at his chest, the man decided to speak. "If I am going to do this, I am going to be comfortable, so you'll do well to look me in the eye and thank the heavens that I chose to wear clothes at all."

Alice gasped at the familiar voice. "Absolem?"

"I thought we had established this. I am Absolem and you are almost Alice. And this conversation will go a lot smoother if you will just quit gawking and pay attention." Absolem stretched his legs out in front of him and pulled a pipe from his pocket. "And if I am going to deal with you a whole lot longer, I'll need a smoke."

"Absolem, you're not a caterpillar anymore!"

"I'm not a caterpillar NOW… there is a difference. Underland is a place for transformation. I choose to transform into a butterfly, most of the time. Tonight, I chose to be a man. Do you understand?"

Alice just stared.

"Well, it's of no consequence. You will understand soon enough. The White Queen needs her champion, and it is your duty to transform into the Alice she needs. Otherwise, all is lost."

It was like lightening under Alice's feet. Her pale face reddened and her doe eyes narrowed to slits. She stood in front of the lounging man and clenched her fists. "Duty? My duty? You made yourself a man just to remind me of a duty that does not belong to me? Whoever this amazing, jabberwocky-slaying Alice is, she's not me! I've never been here in all my life and I wish I was not here now! You've wasted a transformation. I'm not the Alice you want."

Alice turned to leave the terrace, but a firm hand on her wrist stopped her. "Who said you are not the Alice I want?"