Continuing Tales

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 22 of 48

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Tarrant Hightopp was an extremely frustrated hatter. For the past three days, his favorite person in the world seemed to want nothing to do with him. Again.

Three days ago, Alice had stepped into the tea room with hurried apologies and shifting eyes. Her voice had been lilting as usual but her eyes seemed dull. She also hadn't said a word to him. That evening she had come into his work room to look over the final designs for the metal work of her helmet and to just spend time together as they usually did.

While she had been very cheery looking over and approving of his plans, she hadn't stayed. She gave the flippant excuse that she needed to study and had quit the room post haste. At first he had thought it was just that she was not feeling well.

Then she had done the same thing every day since.

Tarrant watched her as she bustled about beside the Queen and Chessur. She looked healthy enough except for the growing dark circles beneath her eyes.

It was now the day before she would take her vows and tie herself to Underland forever, and by Fate she would give him some answers!

Tarrant stormed around the castle looking for her. He checked the library. No Alice. He checked the throne room. No Alice. He checked the Queen's study. No Alice. He even went so far as to check Thackery's kitchen. Still no Alice!

Just when he was getting ready to give up, Chess appeared next to him.

"Try the water garden." Was all he said before vanishing.

Tarrant sped out of the castle, hoping that Chess wasn't leading him on a wild goose chase. He wasn't disappointed.

Tarrant finally discovered Alice beneath the weeping willow. She held her hand to her mouth and seemed to be talking to someone. As he pushed the branches of the tree aside, he saw it was Absolem. The sight puzzled him as did the smile on Alice's face. It was first time he'd seen her at peace in a week. Absolem seemed to know he was there and took off. Alice watched him go before looking up at Tarrant. She was no longer smiling.

Tarrant stared right back at her, trying to figure out to demand his answers. As his mind fumbled for the words, Alice stood up and brushed off her breaches. She leaned back against the tree, arms crossed across her chest. She raised an eyebrow at him. The look on her face threw him into action.

"I have a riddle for ye lass. What's constant, true, and never blue?" His emotions were very close to the surface and he could actually feel his eyes fading to yellow. Any smart person would have done their best to answer him. Not Alice though.

"Not a clue." She said simply.

"Not a – not a – NOT A CLUE!" Tarrant sputtered in rage. Alice shrugged.

"Sorry Hat—"

"THAT'S NOT MY NAME!" His shout caught Alice off guard. She seemed to reach for her knife and her eyes suddenly hardened. His eyes must have flashed red, or else Alice wouldn't have had such a look on her face. The sight took the fight out of Tarrant.

"I'm sorry lass. It's just, ye know my name, but ye never use it." Alice relaxed back against the tree and refolded her arms. Her eyes only softened slightly though.

"I don't have the right to do so Hatter. I'm sorry. Truly I am." He stared at her blankly, trying to make the words make sense. No luck though.

"What do ye mean Alice? I call ye by yer first name all the time. Ye don't expect me to start calling ye Champion after tomorrow do ye?" Alice shook her head at his confusion.

"No Hatter, I don't. But I gave you the right to call me Alice long ago. You haven't given me that right. And now you never can." Tarrant's face cringed at her somber tone. Alice pushed off the tree and started to walk past him. He wanted to reach out and stop her but something held him back. As she passed him, she gave him a few final words. They weren't the ones he wanted to hear though.

"I'll have Nivens collect the helmet tonight." And then she disappeared inside the castle.


The next day at high noon, Alice Kingsleigh, daughter of Charles and Helen Kingsleigh, the most recent citizen of Underland and favorite of the White Queen, became Champion of the White Kingdom.

She walked up the long isle toward Mirana and the throne. She wore the armor and carried the Vorpal sword at her hip. Her helmet was on her head. When she had put it on that morning, a wave of sadness stole through her.

Tarrant had done an amazing job on the metal scroll work. There weren't any defined shapes at first, just elegant sweeps and swirls. Then they all converged at the point between her brows. They shaped beautifully into bird. A very familiar bird perched on a writing desk.

Alice had to draw her eyes away from the sight and stroked the silvery blue feathers attached to the top …

Eventually, Alice made it to stand before the Queen. She placed her helmet on the floor and then drew her sword. Placing the tip gently in the ground, she knelt and looked up at Mirana. The White Queen smiled gently at her.

"Alice Kingsleigh, do you wish enter into the service of the White Kingdom?" Mirana's voice rang out.

"I do." Alice's voice was just as strong.

"What position are you ready to swear yourself to?"

"Champion of the White Queen and of Underland." Alice kept her voice steady.

"So mote it be." Mirana seemed to be having trouble keeping the smile out of her voice. "Alice Kingsleigh, do you herby swear to give all of yourself to Underland, the White Kingdom, and their causes?"

"I swear."

"Do swear to put the life of your Queen before your own?" Mirana had tried to write this line out of the ceremony but Alice hadn't let her.

"I swear."

"Do you swear to never, ever, abandon your Queen or country?"

"I swear."

"Bow your head and place your hand over your heart." As Alice moved into position, Mirana handed the scroll she had been reading from off to Nivens. She then lifted the heave scepter of the White Kingdom, which she honestly thought to be a bit archaic, and held it over Alice's left shoulder.

"Alice Kingsleigh, you have given you vows freely and without rancor. You are now Champion to your Queen," she touched the scepter to her left shoulder, "country," she touched her right shoulder, "and Fate." She softly tapped the crown of Alice's head. Mirana put the scepter back down and held her hands out to her friend.

"Rise dear one." Mirana's smile was bright. Alice kept her face neutral, but the light coming from her eyes mirrored Mirana's own happiness.

Alice rose and faced the crowd. Chess, Absolem, the Tweedles, Bayard and his family, Mally, and Thackery all led the crowd in a great, roaring cheer. All around the room people were clapping.

Alice couldn't help herself. Her eyes found Tarrant's across the room. The pride shining from them gave her equal measures of confidence and sadness.

She may not be his Champion anymore, but she was the Champion. And no one, not Celeste, not Tarrant, not even herself, could take that away from her.


It was evening finally. Alice's feet were extremely sore and she needed air. She was afraid to leave the Queen's side though. She was Champion officially now and those duties were in full effect, now and forever. Eventually though, the Queen motioned Chess and Alice together.

"Alice, go take a few minutes to yourself. The gardens should be clear. Chess will keep an eye on me."

"Two eyes Majesty. Go love, you look dead on your feet."

Alice murmured her thanks and slipped outside. Her feet drew her to the water garden. The soft babbling of the fountain and the gentle wind through the willow branches was comforting. Her feet weren't the only things that were sore.

Her heart ached.

She had seen Tarrant out of the corner of her eye all night and Celeste had never been far away from him. The sight had proved too much on occasion and she had thrown herself into the dancing, pretending to let the gentleman of Underland charm her with their smiles and pretty words.

Now though, she only had to look at night sky, fading from crisp blue to deep purple.

Or so she thought.

"Alice?" That familiar lisp made her sigh. She slowly turned around to face Tarrant. His eyes were a muddy green and his mouth was pulled down in a frown.

"What is it Hatter?" Her voice was rather breathless and she hated it.

"Are you alright lass? You look … lost." His voice was pleading and sad. Alice tried to harden her heart to it.

"I'm fine Hatter. Just a little winded from all the activity." She gave him a weary smile, hoping it would assure him and send him back inside.

No such luck.

"I'm worried about ye lass. Ye haven't been acting like me Alice much lately."

The words, the possessive tone, and his rough brogue set her off.

"Stop calling me that!" Her shout echoed off the trees and water and left Tarrant stunned.

"A—Alice?" She had marched up to him in a blur of blue and white. The fire in her eyes scared him slightly.

"I. Am. Not. YOUR. Alice. You made your decision and therefore have no right to me. So stop twisting my heart in your hands Tarrant Hightopp. Go back to your chosen woman and leave me to my grief. You're my weakness and I need to expel you from my mind and heart!" Alice was breathing heavily and tears were starting to gather in her eyes. She refused to let them fall though.

"Chosen woman?" Tarrant's mind was reeling. Nothing Alice was saying was making sense.

"Celeste. She made it all abundantly clear." Alice blinked rapidly, fighting back her tears.

"Alice, I don't know what yer talking about lass." Tarrant placed his hands on his hips. This was getting out of hand.

"I should hate you." She whispered. Tarrant's heart dropped to his stomach.

"You lie to my face and act as if my heart breaking before you means nothing. I should hate you for it, but I can't."

The tears slipped down Alice's cheeks without a sound. Tarrant stared in disbelief. Alice was barely old enough to be a Champion and yet she had learned to cry like an old woman. He opened his mouth to tell her the truth but she didn't let him start.

"I saw the pendant. The emerald that belonged to your mother. Celeste clearly explained the tradition to me, about singling out the woman you want for the rest of your life. At first I didn't want to believe her, but then I realized it made sense. She's always been here. She's not complicated at all. She isn't bound to something greater than herself and won't leave you because someone else orders it. She's beautiful and creative. She's the perfect woman for you Tarrant. She's the woman I could never be."

Alice's face was bathed in tears and her eyes were bright with pain and loss. Tarrant felt his own heart break at the sight and launched himself forward to gather her in his arms. He buried his face in the crook of her neck and softly stroked the hair that fell around her shoulders. Surprisingly, Alice didn't fight him. Instead she pressed herself firmly to his frame, sending a fire that was becoming all too familiar down Tarrant's spine.

He drew back slightly to push her chin up. Alice's eyes were squeezed shut though.

"Alice lass, look at me please." Alice cracked one eye open and then the other. Her gaze was cautious.

"Alice, yes. The tradition Celeste described is true." He felt her stiffen in his arms and she tried to break free, but Tarrant wasn't having it.

"Hush and listen to me please." She quieted and looked up at him with that fire that made his life worth living.

"Think for a moment Alice. My mam and fa were a metal worker and a hatter in the Outlands, one of the poorest yet prettiest parts of Underland. We never owned any grand jewels. If I wanted to gift a woman with an heirloom, it would be more like this."

He drew a silver locket from his inner pocket and held it up for her examination. It was a simple oval, but was beautifully etched with wildflowers. He let her examine it a minute more before spinning her around. He gently made her lift her heavy mass of hair up and then, quicker than she could have thought possible, he had the chain clasped about her neck. Alice let her hair and arms fall, trying to control her trembling.

Tarrant placed his hands on her shoulders and put his mouth to her ear.

"It's you I want for the rest of my life Alice. Not Celeste, not some figment of my imagination, you Alice Kingsleigh. My Alice, forever."

Alice whirled around and flung her arms around Tarrant's neck. She hugged him fiercely and felt his body shudder in her grasp.

She made him meet her eyes.

"Tell me Celeste was lying Tarrant." She whispered fiercely.

Tarrant's eyes flashed an angry orange and his grip became a bit painful.

"Aye, she lied and when I get the chance—"

Alice's lips crashed against his, silencing any threat he may have attempted to say. Tarrant stood in shock for half a second before kissing her back.

Alice had always been taught that true perfection didn't exist in the world, but that obviously only applied to Above, because kissing Tarrant Hightopp was beyond a doubt the most perfect moment of her life.

Tarrant tasted of tea and cake. His lips molded perfectly to her own and were warm. She clutched herself closer and heard him groan in response before his warm hands began to roam over the small of her back.

Eventually they drew back to catch their breaths. Alice seemed to glow in the rising moonlight and Tarrant couldn't help but wonder at the fact she seemed to want him just as much as he wanted her. His heart swelled at the look in her eyes.

"We should probably head back inside." He whispered. Alice nodded happily and grasped his hand. As they drew near the door, she tugged him to a stop.

"One thing Tarrant."

"Hmmm?" He looked at her curiously.

"Let me take care of Celeste please."

Tarrant snorted and eyed her carefully. Even in the ethereal gown she was wearing, the muscle of a warrior was hinted at.

"Awrite. I suspect you and your muchness could put her in her place much quicker than my wrath ever could."

Alice gave him a cheeky grin and started to turn toward the door but he stopped her again.

"I almost forgot." He drew her back into the circle of his arms. Alice rested her hands against his chest and looked up at him. The trust and love in her eyes was worth every moment of madness he had experienced these past three years.

He gently rested his forehead against hers so that she could see the emerald emotion shining from his eyes.

"I love you Alice. I may be mad, but I'm madly in love with you." Alice closed her eyes and softly kissed him again.

"I love you too Tarrant Hightopp, that madness is only matched by my own and in truth, this love is the best kind of madness."

Tarrant kissed her nose in thanks and they walked back into the castle, the moon shining its blessing upon them.

Bonkers To Be Late

A Alice in Wonderland Story
by RosieLilyIce93

Part 22 of 48

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