Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 14 of 48

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Alice burst into her room at top speed. Her eyes searched wildly for any sign of Celeste. They did not search in vain.

Celeste was seated in Alice's window seat beside two mannequins draped with cloth. At the sight of the slightly frazzled Champion, she grinned. Alice leapt forward eagerly. Bouncing on the balls of her feet, her words came out in a rush.

"Is it complete?" Her voice was weak and breathless, but Alice didn't care at that point. All that mattered was the creation before her.

Celeste merely smiled, gripped the drape of the nearest mannequin and tugged. Alice's let out a sigh of relief at the sight. Her hands gently skimmed over the material, almost afraid it would disappear at the slightest touch.

"Is everything up to your standards Miss Alice?" Celeste's voice was soft.

"It's perfect Celeste."

The dress was a pristine sky blue. It was the same color that she had always worn when she had visited Wonderland in previous years. The cut was shorter than someone her age should be wearing and the lacey white apron was very childish, but the neckline and fullness of the skirt were that of a woman's dress. It was the perfect blend of the child she had been and the woman she had become upon her return to Wonderland.

In truth, it was the combination of who Hatter thought she was.

"I had left over cloth and thought this might be useful." Celeste pulled the drape off of the other mannequin to reveal a sky blue vest. Alice smiled widely at the sight of it. Turning to her armoire, she pulled out a white blouse, clean breeches and socks, and grabbed a random black ribbon from her vanity. She quickly piled all of these things and the new vest onto her bed. Removing her belt and knife, she turned to speak to her companion.

"This is going to work Celeste. I can feel it from my head to my toes!"

"It had better Miss Alice or else." Alice went rigid at the young woman's tone. Celeste's eyes were a cold, flat black. Fighting off a shiver, Alice raised herself to her full height and stepped toe to toe with the seamstress.

"Is that a threat Mistress Seamstress? Because I will warn you, I'm not afraid to shed blood in my own defense, Jabberwocky or any other." Alice's voice was hard and she clenched her right hand into a fist. Celeste seemed to have noticed because she backed away. Alice turned on her heel at the sign of weakness and marched to the door.

At its entrance, she paused and turned back to the shaken young woman. Cocking her head to the side she smiled slightly.

"Your work is most appreciated Celeste. I suggest you go back to your rooms until I'm met with success."

Alice then shut the door and sped off to find the Queen.

An hour later she stood outside the metal door that separated her and Hatter. She took a moment to smooth her skirts. How different it felt to be dressed as a lady again! Well mostly.

Her breeches, socks, and boots were still on underneath her dress, but she had a feeling Hatter wouldn't really be looking at her feet in the next few moments. Her hair was curling about her shoulders and felt heavy on her neck. Hopefully it wouldn't lead to complications later.

Finally ready, Alice tightly gripped her bundle and stepped into Hatter's rooms.

It was completely dark. The only sound in the room was breathing. Hatter's at least. Alice had decided to hold hers in an attempt to locate him. The sound was coming from the far left corner of the room. After letting her eyes adjust, placed her bundle on the table. She moved to stand at the wall with the windows. The barely visible line of light peeking out beneath the drapes gave her one last lick of courage and Alice silently thanked Mirana for following through on her promise.

"Hatter? Are you going to sit by yourself while I'm here?" Alice kept her voice light and friendly. She heard him shift and his footsteps approach. She deftly turned so her body was angled towards the drapes and took them in her hands. Patience was of the essence at this point.

"Why have ye come back figment? Are ye truly that daft? Of course ye are though. Ye come from me mind so ye must be at least half mad!" Hatter cackled before falling abruptly silent.

"Still think I'm only a part of your imagination Tarrant?" Alice smiled even though he couldn't see her features.

"Of course silly mist! Ye have yet to prove me otherwise!" He sounded extremely put out with her which only made her smile more broadly.

She gripped the curtains more tightly and then threw them open.

Sunlight poured into the room, flooding it with light, and blinding them both temporarily. As her eyes adjusted to the light, she heard his gasp. Her eyes finally found his. They were fading from red and black to orange to yellow and finally became a murky, confused green grey. The color caused her to sigh in relief.

"What about now Hatter?" She asked softly.

"Alice?" His voice was scared and confused, yet Alice heard the hope behind it all. She smiled and held out a hand to him.

"I'm real Hatter. Come, see and feel for yourself." He slowly moved closer to her and reached out trembling hands. One grasped her own and the other hesitantly fingered the blue silk of her dress. After touching it, it moved to stroke her loose hair. Alice watched his expressions carefully. Disbelief was quickly being overtaken by hope and a touch of sadness.

"You're … real." His whisper was strained still.

"Yes, I'm real." She whispered back.

"You seem to be a … mix. Why does that feel wrong?" His confusion and sadness seemed to be growing. Alice knew it was time to move onto the next part of her plan.

"Because it has been three years Hatter. I'm older, hopefully a little wiser, and much muchier. Will you let me prove that I am still myself despite all this? Please Hatter; I need you to know me for me." Tarrant watched her carefully for a moment more before gently squeezing her hand and nodding. Smiling softly she stepped away from him and began unbuttoning her dress. She kept her eyes locked with his, trying to ignore her own growing blush.

"A-Alice? This seems highly inap—"

"Just watch me Hatter, please." He swallowed hard, his eyes wide and fearful.

Alice let the dress hit the floor and stepped out of it. Her chest had been wrapped tightly with the Queen's binding, but it still didn't provide much modesty. Moving quickly, keeping her eyes on Tarrant, she shrugged first into the white blouse and then into the sky blue vest. Properly clothed again, she quickly tied back her hair in the ribbon. Keeping her arms at her sides, she let Tarrant look his fill before speaking.

"Who do you see now Hatter?" She tensed and waited.

"Fig – no Al – no Fig – Al … I – I – I don't know!" His whispered reply was anguished and his eyes were a sad grey. Alice slowly stepped up to him and warily raised her hands. He flinched slightly but didn't back away. Taking a deep breath, she pressed her palms to his cheeks and spoke.

"Hatter, why is a raven like a writing desk?"

Hatter's entire countenance changed. His body began to shake and his eyes became the bright, happy emerald green she once knew.

"Oh Alice!" He cried. He fell to his knees to hug her middle, laughing and crying all at the same time. Alice couldn't help but fall down too. Laughing and crying, she wasn't sure how long they sat there and in truth it didn't matter. It wasn't until the sun was setting in the windows that she made them stand up.

"By the by Alice, I still haven't the slightest idea." He smiled at finally answering their riddle. She smiled back before shoving him into his room with an order to get cleaned up. She decided to wait at the tea table.

A few minutes later he came to her side timidly and she smiled at the change. Back were the bright socks, shiny boots, and fluffy ascot. Taking his hand without a word, she steered them along the corridors and to the throne room. Just before she could shove open the doors he stopped her.

"Alice, I'm not certain about this. Surely they all are -"

Alice placed a finger to his lip and shook her head.

"They all are anxious to see you Hatter. They have all missed you terribly." She watched his Adam's apple bob in nervousness.

"Like you?" The question came out as a whisper, but Alice smiled softly.

"Me most of all Hatter. Come." With that she led him into the throne room.

Mirana was seated on the edge of her chair, giving the impression that she wanted to fly from her seat. The sight made Alice giggle and Tarrant glance nervously at her.

"Tarrant?" Mirana's voice was hopeful.

Without hesitation, Tarrant swept into a gallant bow and smiled at her.

"In the flesh Majesty!" His green eyes sparkled and Mirana leapt from her seat to seize his hands. Laughing gaily, they exchanged pleasantries as though he had only been gone on a long journey. Eventually though, she stepped back and motioned for the others to come in. All at once, Bayard, the Tweedles, Thackery, Chess, and Mally stormed in to hug and exclaim at him.

"Yer late for tea!" Thackery bellowed. Tarrant grinned ruefully and shook his head.

"Sorry about that old friend."

"As you should be!" Mally called indignantly. Tarrant lowered his hand slowly for her to climb onto. Once he brought her up to eye level, he attempted to apologize but the brave little mouse merely poked him in the nose and told him to hush.

"Not a twit matters now that yer yerself again ye goose!" She chided. Mirana tearfully smiled at the scene and squeezed Alice's hand. The Champion turned to beam at her sovereign.

"Tarrant!" The voice calling from the doorway wiped the smile from her face.

Celeste hurried into the room and flung herself into Tarrant's arms. He seemed surprised at the contact but hugged her back after the shock. Alice stiffened at the sight. Mirana sensed her Champion's disquiet and turned to look at her carefully. Alice was revealing nothing though.

Her head was cocked to the side and her face was an emotionless mask. Her dark eyes were flitting back and forth between the two entwined figures, and seemed calculating. Mirana looked at the scene again, trying to see through Alice's eyes.

Celeste seemed to be glowing and Tarrant … Tarrant truly seemed happy to see her. Mirana searched for the words to calm Alice's racing mind but was interrupted by Celeste again.

"Oh Tarrant! You're back!" The woman was near squealing!

"Aye, I'm here." Tarrant was still smiling.

"I'm so thankful you're back with me!" Celeste's voice was almost … victorious. Mirana gasped at the young woman's obstinate words and frowned.

"You have Alice to thank I believe." Tarrant turned toward the throne where the young woman in question had been standing but all his eyes saw were thin air. Mirana and the other gaped as well at Alice's sudden disappearance.

The only indication that she hadn't disappeared into nothingness was the soft click of the closing door behind the throne.

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 14 of 48

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