They say, that to get to a place to pure bliss - to get to Wonderland - you have to have visited it as a child. You would have had to been innocent when you first got there.
But then again, they also say that Wonderland is a myth for children to believe in good dreams.
And it was like this for years and years until the story was nothing but a little myth, forgotten by most. And in that time so much has happened.
Wonderland is now like a dreamworld hell, where death is often and never quick. The Red Queen rules with an iron fist, killing anyone at any sign of disobedience.
All of the residence of Wonderland live in fear, with no one to save them because no one remembers them - no one visits anymore.
Now reminded about all those days as a child when he would listen to the tales about Wonderland, he soon finds himself in it and caught in the struggle to stop the Red Queen's tyrannical rule, with only the Mad Hatter for help.
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Self loathing bubbled away at the Hatter's gut; he was so indecisive that it was practically painful, especially given the situation. But his mind ran in every which way - whispers of insanity clashing with the reason in his head. Then there was that feeling in his gut.
The Hatter cringed a little, gloved hands tightening on the teakettle. He knew his mind was set, there was little choice otherwise, still it almost made him sick to his stomach at how cruel life could play out.
A small laugh escaped his lips, breathy and perhaps a little saddened.
His thoughts were interrupted by Aalis' voice though, making him jump slightly, kettle clattering down to the stove loudly. He practically spun on his heels, red eyes frantically peering out from behind shaggy coal bangs. "Aalis..." The Hatter looked as if he had been brought from a daze, jaw slackened some in his confusion.
Had Aalis really been thinking this his fault?
It was a little humorous how they were both blaming themselves though, which brought the Hatter to chuckle some, drawing closer to the red haired boy with a small shake of his head. "Aalis, Aalis, Aalis, what are we going to do with you?" He set his hands on his hips and bent over a little so he almost hovered completely over Aalis, smiling quite largely. He offered his hand down to the boy, expression softening.
"Anyways, you don't need to help us, yet here you are. I should really be thanking you, Aalis."
OOC: Thanks, and again sorry for the wait. ^^;
A voice interrupted the suffocating realism that Aalis was attempting to claw out of with necessity and probably a bit of insanity; nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Instinctively, Aalis flinched away from the voice, cringing from his efforts, feeling sick with himself. He recognized it sure enough as his generous host and rescuer. Yet he felt so much like a villain; some vile, despicable thing that needed to be eradicated on the spot in order to rid the world of such a taint.
"Alright," he breathed uncertain how much effort to put into that single word that would betray his villainy. A moment passed perhaps more, maybe less, but Aalis chanced a glance over his shoulder. The door was left ajar, and if he focused his hearing he could hear gentle clinging within. Or maybe it was just the rain being overly obnoxious overhead. He'd like to believe he was a fairly reasonable person when it came to reading others. His current situation throwing all experience out the window, he was back at level one, and not a clue how to improve. Maybe he never was any good with people, the biggest failure to ever walk. He was angry at himself, infuriated; regardless of what practice he had, what convictions he had, he couldn't even help one person. If nothing else, he stabbed the Hatter in the back. He was no better than the Red Queen. She may have taken more obvious violent acts against people, if he managed to understand Hatter's tones about her; he took subtly, killing slowly and effectively like an infection.
Slowly Aalis pulled out of his fetal position. Pain lingered, but it was nothing; nothing compared to what he did. Intentionally? He certainly hoped not, but accidental sounded just as heartless. Crimson was overtaking the white of his bandages; those that remained snuggly were getting slippery, their adhesiveness failing with the rain. He shook his head sternly pulling himself to a seated and eventually a standing position with assistance from the cabin. He couldn't go back inside, not yet anyway, pain and common sense will eventually take him there but such ideals stayed out of mind. The ground was slick under his feet, but by some miracle he managed to stumble through the muck towards one of the trees. It was larger than the others in the areas, marred with gashes that could have been weapons or simply nature doing her work. Aalis leaned against it to keep his ground; he pressed his good arm against the bark resting his forehead against that allowing his eyes to travel down the tree. Gnarled, and not the good kind, was a single word to describe it. Blackened bark, rather fire or something more sinister he didn't know, didn't want to know either.
Lightening skittered across the sky less frequently, one streak made him squint his eyes toward the base of the trunk. He dropped down to his knees; more like allowing gravity to do its job as he ran his fingers against the bark. It was coarse sure, slick with rain but his fingernail caught hold of something. He pulled back a little more, the wood given way easily enough. Green was the first he saw, and then a pale green etching. Curiosity snuffed out pain for the moment as he traced his fingertips against the wood. 'Always believe in yourself. Your heart never lies,' he'd recognize the handwriting anywhere, many of the vases back home had similar etchings. Aalis could feel tears brimming, but he ignored them as he allowed his fingers to go further. More letters, some message, others were names sketched within. He didn't want to damage the tree further so he allowed his fingers to slide down and out from the crevice he found. The gnarled bark slipped neatly back into place, giving nothing to what he saw. A small smile reached his lips while he pulled himself back up.
Its official, he was as crazy as the next resident in Wonderland. Rather it was delirium caused by moving around, his injuries, fever, Mom's stories, or his own schizophrenia coming forth, it didn't matter. Realism be damned when it comes to thoughts and motivation. But it wasn't quite the case in practice. Pain scattered his euphoric delight when he rested his hands against his stomach. Aalis grimaced looking down to his torso; bandages barely clung to the skin. He pulled some of the soiled bandages away checking the damage. It wasn't bad, per se, better then what it was, but it would seem he'd need to cling to some common sense before jumping the gun to anything more. It would really suck to die from exposure. Aalis pressed the bandages back stumbling steadily back to the cabin. He paused before entering, hesitance coming back with how he left. Aalis swiped his bangs away brushing away any tears, making halfhearted attempts to not be such the blight on the scene. If the Queen and Jabberwalkie were like diseases on Wonderland, maybe a new infection, a new piece on the board could make the difference. Realism was still a bitch, but he decided to swallow that down slowing reentering the house.
Aalis stepped in slowly, leaning against the door allowing it to close behind him. He clasped his hands gently against his stomach, as if hiding it would make it go away, his shoulder hurt but it was nothing compared to how it was, or how his stomach felt now. He was going to live, and he was going to be damned if he allowed this to knock him out again. He took a few shuddered breaths readjusting to the atmosphere inside compared to outside.
"I'm sorry, for my actions, my words; everything," he began slowly feeling more comfortable on the ground he allowed his body to slide down the door. At least he wouldn't have to worry about falling on his face again. "None of this is your fault. The blame is mine alone," he resumed for the first time looking up at Hatter. "Seems causing trouble for others has become a fast forming habit of mine," a wry chuckle broke the heavy silence. Aalis brought a hand up to cease it. "If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't have gotten the chance to fix that problem. Can I have another chance at doing something right?"
I'm not worried so much of you having more time to get on or such a thing. I hope things improve, not just settle. I don't know, nor need to know the details, but if I can help somehow, please don't hesitate to ask. I dallied a bit with this post, but c'est le vie ^^' Above all please take care~
Like usual the Hatter just sat and watched with his deep ruby eyes as Aalis ranted a little, a small smile playing over his lips. The boy looked worried, and perhaps even a little lost which had the Hatter caught on a little bit of curiosity. Even with the odds against them, Aalis was still talking as if he'd try helping Wonderland. Any sane person would have probably told him where he could go and just how to get there. But perhaps that was what he liked about Aalis - he seemed just as mad as him but just a little more of a sensible side.
But as the moments rolled by the Hatter could see a change in the boy. Then he was up and out of the room, leaving the resident of Wonderland blinking for a moment. Perhaps he had been expecting the red head to cry or maybe break down, but to run? A small surge of panic lanced through the Hatter and he followed after a moments hesitation, taking the stairs two at time on his way down. When his eyes fell on the open door his gut pitched with worry, but then his gaze wandered to the boy crouched on the ground outside. Immediately his tense muscles relaxed and he slowed his pace, stopping and leaning on the doorway.
For a while, the Hatter just watched the boy, his coal gray bangs cascading over his down turned face. He couldn't help but feel a little pity for Aalis, but knew that no matter his pity, this would happen or they would be doomed. But there was some hesitation in his thoughts. Was it alright if Aalis broke during this little adventure?
That worry ate at him, and no matter how he tried to replace the thought for an uncaring mad one, it would not be banished from his mind.
And it pissed him off.
Scrunching his nose slightly, he tore his eyes away. He had spent years deciding that this needed to be done, yet why did he feel so conflicted? The Hatter had figured that his insanity would have kept him from feeling any guilt for injuries or the like, but the pain that ebbed at his gut, the one telling him that Aalis' wounds were his fault wouldn't stop.
His brows furrowed as he focused on a twisted tree in the yard. It had been beautiful once, but now it was gnarled and twisted, just like the rest of Wonderland. But there was a way to fix it - Aalis was that way, but the Hatter had his doubts.
"Aalis." His tone was coarse, shaky even; his eyes didn't even glance to the boy as he spoke but he preferred it that way with the way his innards were acting. "Try not to catch a cold." And he turned away, feeling unexpectedly angry at himself for not reaching out a hand and pulling him up. After all, this was his fault was it not? Those gashes, this situation. All because he gave Aalis the choice to fight - because he wanted the boy to be there because he was too much of a coward to stand up by himself.
Letting out a small 'tch', he walked away and into the kitchen, putting on water to make tea. Really though, he just wanted for his mind to fall back to it's ignorant insanity; that way there would be less pain and more amusement.
[Ah, thanks. Things have settled down a little so I do have a little more time.]
The air was oppressing, heavy with uncertainty, craziness that this uncertainty could be taken to clarity; Aalis felt lightheaded again. Damn it to any hell of this world or any other one! Thoughts like these were certainly not going to help him get any answers, solve any problems, if anything they were just going to keep weighing him down.
"Aalis...you're much too young to have such worries. You only live once, and it’s best to enjoy it to the fullest. Worries are nice sometimes to keep your priorities in mind but if you keep nothing but worries up there, you're going to miss out on a lot of stuff. Like living," Alicia berated him giving a solid THWAP to his head for emphasis with the wooden spoon. "We all have our worries, fears, we all make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from them so that you can avoid misfortune in the future. Sometimes I think you think too much Aalis dear. If you do all the thinking you forget the doing that changes thoughts to actions. The present into the future. You'll learn eventually I hope," she finished with a soft chuckle, before petting his head. It was strange that she was able to give such comforting words when her face was painted with her own worries, fears, and hesitance. If he didn't know better he'd call her out on hypocrisy but then that wouldn't help anyone out.
"I'll try, but you better not forget your own advice either though."
Aalis felt eyes on him which helped to drag him out of the past to deal with the present. There was that dry humor again; Aalis shook his head slowly to drown the rising doubt. So it seems not even the Hatter knew all there was about Wonderland. If that was the case, what else in Mom's stories would have more truth than fiction? The thought was encouraging and disheartening at the same time. Mom certainly had the imagination, something he had to have picked up from her.
"But why haven't the people done anything yet? Yes the Jabberwalkie probably prevents most action, but surely there are those who would stand up against it and the Queen's Reign? I mean, you are right? You're showing bravery and courage in such a time that would surely rally others to your cause, create action instead of just words?" His words fell listening more to the Hatter's words and meanings behind them. He pressed his head into his knee closing his eyes. "It's easier to follow then to lead; kneel instead of stand; run instead of fight; obey instead of question. Is that why no one else has done anything? Any sane person would choose oppression over suicide even if it was only going to end in a miserable death. Why die now for something hopeless, when it would be easier to die later for the inevitable?"
Aalis opened his eyes looking at the Hatter following up his form to stay at his face. There's was that 'we' with his words again. He's been saying it for awhile now, yet he never dwelled on it until now. Guess that answered some of his questions. He shifted his gaze back to the glass pile, if nothing was done Wonderland would become just like that; shattered memories of younger days, forever lost and stained by blood and fire; a land filled with nothing but corpses a float in oceans of blood. An all too familiar red satin hat bobbing against the crimson waves. Nausea replaced lightheadedness, Aalis quickly brought a hand to his mouth; barely registering the steady trickle of tears down his cheeks. He tried to swallow the bile down; to no effect as instead he demanded his body to move. His demands were rewarded for once as he stumbled to his feet. Eyes frantic he spied the stairs as he barely caught himself after he tripped over his bag, the album spilling out in his escape. It was a miracle he didn't fall down the stairs as he reached ground level before he threw himself out the door.
Momentum finally caught up with him when he smashed to the ground on his knees throwing up whatever was going to come onto the ground. His throat burned, his face flushed with the effort to get down there. The rain was a relief this time as it helped to cool him down. His wounds flared up but he was pretty sure he already put back his recovery a little longer wouldn't matter, may even be the drive to get better faster to stop that for happening. Aalis crouched as best he could on himself pressing his face into his knees ignoring the pain along with trying to calm his stomach. It was marginally successful even though he could feel his shoulders shuddering.
"Even with the Vorpal Blade and the Hatter would that be enough? What would the price be even if we were successful? Would it be worth all this," he questioned himself softly. The realist part of him was rearing its doubtful head, something Aalis did not need at all. He tried to shake the thought away as he wrapped his arms as tightly as he could around himself; taking in a few deep breaths listening to the rain.
And thank you~ I hope things improve by you, sounds a little iffy going by your status. Feel free to let your own ideas roam free. :} Above all please take care~
The Hatter's eyes trailed Aalis, watching his every movement carefully. He made no move to help the boy when the teacup was dropped nor did he move when Aalis told him what he knew. The Hatter merely sat there and drank it all in carefully, his mad mind circling the information around in him head.
His Aalis doubted himself so much that it was almost humorous, and perhaps even slightly endearing. But that doubt would only slow them down. "I don't how much of that story is true, but rather that the Jabberwalkie is a threat either way. If we kill the queen there's also the possibility that the Jabberwalkie will just go on an unrestricted rampage." A chuckle caught his words and he raised a hand to stifle it, red eyes rolling at the thought of how many deaths that would bring. When his little fit of chuckles ceased, he dropped his hand to the bed beside him.
"Either way it makes it so the people of Wonderland have to get off their asses and do something for themselves, rather than simply being the queen's little lapdogs. Just to be sure though, we need to get the Vorpal Blade - the holy sword of Wonderland cast away in the icy wastelands. Pleasant, hmmm?"
Of course the Hatter knew where it was located - he had cast it there himself so the Red Queen couldn't get her clutches on it. The only downside was the creatures that roamed the area. A difficult task, but a good start for Aalis. "But Aalis, even though you have to kill the queen, you won't be alone through this."
[[ Thanks! Oh, and I thought that your idea was splendid. :) ]]
Aalis played with the teacup, tracing its rim, the subtle color patterns; rightly anything about the little cup to keep his fingers busy. A habit he picked up from Gramps while thinking about topics on such a grand scale of this.
"I guess every story has to have fragments of truth to make it believable," he answered vaguely. Could that mean Mom, or Gramps even may have come to Wonderland before? If what the Hatter said had any truth it certainly sounded possible. Wouldn't that mean he had to have come here once before as well? Memory was an odd thing, malleable to stories and not always strong against time. A memory changes each time you look back on it. There may be an underlying understanding there, a similarity each glance back, but something always changes, becomes fainter, harder to grasp until the memory just vanishes. He shook his head absently, no memories don't vanish they just hide behind other memories, hide behind other thoughts; sometimes even the most important ones hide. Nagging as it was it wasn't going to help Aalis figure his thoughts out anymore. He allowed his gaze to wander over to Hatter. His posture changed, his tone dropped; there wasn't that lightheartedness that was there. "Did she change because no one showed up?" The topic was on shaky ground, he caught that much from the Hatter's hesitance.
His fingers ceased, tightening a bit around the cup. That was a story he heard only a few times; times that always gave him nightmares.
"Only a few," he spoke softly licking his lips, nausea partnered with vertigo threatening to knock him on his ass again. His hands felt clammy, he felt weak. It's been so long since he heard those stories, and he still felt like nothing more than a child again. Lost in his own thoughts, the Hatter's sudden chuckle shook him up the cup slipped out of his fingers and shattered on the ground. Without thinking Aalis leaned forward landing on his knees with a loud thump as he tried to catch himself. As expected, another failure chalked up to the list; he half caught himself. Pain exploded in his shoulder which landed him on the bad shoulder to add insult to injury. He chewed his lip, deciding to stay put for the moment. Allowing the pain to ebb away he scooped some of the pieces together, before grabbing the bed post to pull him up to a half seated position.
Aalis ran his hand through his hair, pushing his bangs away, wiping the blood from his lips.
"Mom only told me a few stories about the Dragon of Wonderland. As you can figure it wasn't a tale that was often repeated. Some of her stories went that Jabberwalkie was once human. A man of the Spades, he was infatuated with the younger sister of the Red Queen; the Snow Princess. But according to Mom, it was only one sided and one of the Queen's trusted advisors knew of this love and tricked the man to some far corner of Wonderland. There he was sealed and his malice only grew of Wonderland, corrupting his body and soul into a beast of fang and fire," he released a breath managing to pull his knees to his chest, pain throbbed from his stomach, but it was comforting in a strange way. Probably since it kept him up, and away from the nightmares of Jabberwalkie. "Rather it's truly a dragon or not, I don't know, but it was always how I viewed it. Mom said his unrequited love manifested into a curse or so that stole the life of the Snow Princess. She said it was a curse that sapped away the very heart of Wonderland for the Snow Princess was greatly loved by the people." He paused again resting his chin on his knees. "But that was only a story, truthful or not for this Wonderland... I have my doubts; it ended with the Red Queen being a heroine to her people, bringing prosperity to the land. From there she became a secondary character that was of lightheartedness and didn't rightly do anything of malice or such like I told you before."
"I don't know how much of those stories are true. But do you really think killing the Queen will help? If the Jabberwalkie is as ferocious as you say it is, mostly what your tone said about it, will a simple void of a contract be enough to stop it? What makes you so sure the Queen's army could even kill it?" Aalis looked up towards the Hatter. "How could I kill either of those creatures? When I was dead at the hand of her guards? What if-" Aalis ceased his words looking down at the Hatter's feet. What if he couldn't do it? What would happen then; to Wonderland, to Hatter? His thoughts trailed back to earlier. No, it wouldn't matter what happened to himself; but if there was some chance slim as hell he could do something about this, shouldn't he do whatever he possibly could to achieve such a goal? A small smirk graced his lips. "But the crazier the better, when coming to disprove the impossible. How would you want to begin this?"
Ah, I see, I see. I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation! x} As for this post, I just had some ideas and decided to throw them in. Work, or not, I don't know. But please take care~ :}
Inwardly flinching when Aalis brought himself to sit up, the Hatter couldn't help but feel concern lance through him. The boy's wounds were bad and moving could only make them worse, but the Hatter wouldn't deny him this. Still his ruby eyes darted to the red that peeked through the snow white bandages, like blood on a fresh snowfall.
Though it could only lead the Hatter to ponder more, lazily taking off his hat and setting it aside. Was this Aalis a good choice? Well, did they have much of a choice really? As painful or aggravating the truth may be, it was still the truth, accept it or not.
But the emotion in the boy's speech brought the ruby gaze to shift from looking lazily at the bed between them to the boy's face, the look behind them like he was trying to determine something as Aalis continued on. Then at the mention of Mom, a realization brought a soft smile to the Hatter's lips.
"Aalis, how do you think the story of Wonderland started? Simple enough really. One day a girl visited us one day - it was complete chance, but she still visited. When she left, she took her tales with her. Now, the tales were passed along and others have visited, but that was a very long time ago. No one has visited in years and in that time the queen has... changed." He took a sip of his tea, smirked as memories of her bold movement tugged at the edges of his mind. It had been a peaceful day alike any other, and yet it was different - it was the first day that the queen had used her boldness to march on Wonderland.
Finishing his tea, the Hatter set aside the cup, shifting so he was sitting on an angle towards Aalis. "Have you ever heard stories of the Jabberwalkie? The beast of fang and fire that sleeps somewhere in Wonderland? The Red Queen found the Jabberwalkie and made it a deal. It serves her and it has free meals you see." A small chuckle broke his throat. The memories were still so fresh in his mind along with the smell of charred corpses and the butter taste of ashes and blood in his mouth. "To tell you to kill the Jabberwalkie is what I should say because it is the cause of all the deaths, but the Queen would be simpler to kill and it would negate the contract. Without a leash to hold the Jabberwalkie, the Queen's army would have no other choice but to kill it."
Of course the plan was risky, it was made by the Hatter after all, but it kept Aalis as safe as possible, something that he preferred to the other option of making him fight the beast, which the Hatter was sure the boy would appreciate.
[[It's a vacation absence. But if I get the chance to post I will take it. :)]]
A small smile reached his lips which he hid in the blankets looking up following the Hatter's finger. A soft chuckle emerged as well, why would the Hatter answer him if he wasn't alright? Turning the conversation around on him was unfair, but that of itself answered his question for his well being.
"Perhaps not, I don't think you would take my leaving so easily. Might be able to outrun you for awhile though, til I turned around by my own doing; guess I wouldn't be able to get far if I kept looking over my shoulder," Aalis replied. Despite his words, it would have probably been himself that couldn't do the leaving. Physically that was obvious, logically likewise, but there was that something else. He could run for all his worth, but he couldn't outrun himself. Aside from that there was also that line he refused to cross, no matter the cost. Distraction reached before more troubling thoughts could weigh him down. Learning from his first attempt, he took this try a little slower. He grabbed for the bedpost to help keep him steady as he pulled himself up to a seated position. Aalis passed a glance to the bandages; there were minor traces of blood seeping through, along with a few speckled spots but it would seem they would hold for the moment so he tossed the concern to the side for now.
Aalis took the cup tilting it towards the Hatter in thanks taking his first sip. There was a slight bitter tang that was soon lost to the sweetness of it, overall a pleasing taste that helped warm him up. A wry smirk pulled at the edges of his lips, now he was sounding just like Gramps. Aalis kept his gaze towards the cup, tracing its rim.
"A hero you say? And who is the hero, what is the story this time," he shook his head. "No, forget it. Guess that would ruin it if all was revealed. That would certainly not make for an interesting story, let alone a convincing one," he rationalized. His list of heroics was nonexistent, not that that held him back from trying, all saw how that ended up. His fingers tensed around the cup at the memory. What was done, was done, Micah would always tell him to just let it go, and simply try a different approach next time. If that ended in failure as the first, well you just learn from it and keep trying. It infuriated him a little at the time that he was being lectured by the younger one, more at himself then anything. Toss in Hatter's words and he was back to square one; you get used getting thrown back to the beginning doing it enough time, eventually though you learn and proceed. Regardless of the outcome, the lines crossed, nothing will happen if you stay put. Aalis' knowledge was flimsy at best to the happenings going on, but staying put was something he couldn't do that was about the only certainty he had going for him, and he was going to hold onto it.
Satisfied for the moment Aalis pulled himself closer to the edge of the bed, at least getting to sit there. Progress, walking would be the next step in his agenda. He leaned against the bedpost for support passing the occasional glance towards Hatter feeling his toes brush against the floor. Wait a minute. He blinked a few times, maybe he still had sleep stuck in his eyes, but those were definitely not his pants. Too long, he had socks on when he left Dad's place as well. Quickly he set the teacup down and brought his hands behind his head, damning it at the sharp pain that shot through his arm causing him to drop it immediately to his side. With the still functional arm he grabbed the hair at his neck. Perhaps it was as some homage, or memory or something to Mom but he always kept his hair long, going past his shoulders at the shortest, at the moment somewhere down his mid back. Maybe another way Dad could reasonably mistake him as Alicia. Pretty sure he pulled it up, along with being covered in mud and the like. Hatter cleaned the wounds before bandaging them but not the other parts. Any anatomy class would say the wounds would have to be clean a couple more times.
Realization dawned as a slight tinge to his cheeks; thankfully his hair was covering it up this time.
"Seems I was out longer then I have thought," he began releasing an annoying sigh feeling the blush leave. Obviously he was more delirious then he first thought to not notice some pretty apparent changes. He usually wore a hair tie on his finger, taking the moment to busy his still functional hand he pulled his hair up in a messy ponytail. "Have you forgotten so soon? It was you that protected me from what I assume her guards. I doubt I could be much use against the Queen herself, when her guards had me down for the count," he answered taking the cup once more looking at the Hatter noting the clean clothes. "I don't even know what is going on. Mom-" he cut himself short. All of what that has happened, and all of what he heard, he still found himself fumbling with his words. But what else could it be but what he thought? He took a breath finishing the tea as he played with the cup. "She told me stories, stories she heard from her grandmother, and from Gramps about...Wonderland...here." There he admitted to it. "But her stories don't add up to what I've seen. The Red Queen? She tended to just keep to herself, not a threat to anyone. What's going on, Hatter," he asked softly. The Hatter's easy manners were always the parts he loved most about the stories how he had a way with making any situation seem not as bleak as it was, inspiring action in some of the most uncanny of ways. But was the Queen so bad to change that? Change Wonderland into something Aalis couldn't even recognize?
That's good to hear :} I hope things go well during your absence. I needn't the details, just hope things go well and you can some fun with it :} Or if that isn't the type of absence then hopefully things go well nonetheless :}
His thoughts always drifted when he sat alone drinking tea, but he was just never sure if it was the madness in him or just stray thoughts and feelings from years ago bubbling surface. Be it either - it still made the Hatter's skin crawl and his brows furrow. But not because these thoughts were sad or anything, but because they haunted him with a time, a memory, just outside of his grasp. It felt important too; like it was something he should have remembered, like if he did he would avoid an accident in the future, but no matter how he dwell or ponder the matter, it would always escape him.
Perhaps it infuriated him a little, having such little grasp on his own mind which he found perfectly tame despite his so called 'insanity'. It was like when you would lie in bed in the middle of the night hearing a leaky faucet but too tired to move and turn it off - it practically drove him crazy because of the urge he had to seek out what was missing. But what if it were best forgotten? Was the really acceptable as well?
Just when the Hatter was about to shake his head and call himself a fool, he noticed Aalis shift ever so slightly. Curiosity and concern drove him to move closer, examining the boy. That was until his hand was grabbed by Aalis' own, making him pause for a second and smirk. Oh how he'd tease the boy about this later.
But then there were those serious words followed by concern, which brought the Hatter's brow to furrow more. My, Aalis was such a worry-wart! Replacing his frown with a grin, the Hatter rose a finger and shook it back and forth as if he were scolding the boy. "My, my Aalis~ Bearing such a heavy heart! You wouldn't want to leave your poor Hatter alone would you?" A snicker broke his throat as he reached for the small teakettle he had brought up earlier, pouring tea into a spare cup and holding it for Aalis to take. "A hero in a story never starts out brave and strong; it wouldn't be an interesting story that way."
But to say that the Hatter wasn't worried about what would happen to the hero of their story would be a lie, and a grand one at that. The boy, despite being one of the many who passed through Wonderland, was quite the surprise to the Hatter and he felt a little... enthralled to have seen that bold spirit before yet at the same time touched by his gentle concern. "Ah, but if you were to leave Aalis, I would be quite sad. Who would protect little old me from that big red queen?" He spoke in a mock pouty voice, his smile wide.
Without the boy sure maybe he could kill a few of her best guards but the Hatter didn't have what it took to kill a queen. He was mad, not brave after all, and he was sure that his little Aalis could, if even for the sake of someone else's, just because he had that kind of heart
[Thanks! ^^ I'm feeling a little better, but not really up to a 100% quite yet. Give it a few more days and I'm sure that I'll be fine.]
"What happened Aalis," Alicia questioned softly taking a seat on the edge of the bed. Aalis was under the covers burying his face in his knees to help muffle the sobs. Slowly Alicia moved closer pulling the blankets down causing him to spring into her lap, the sobs settling down to hiccups. Alicia was silent gently running her fingers through his hair massaging his tensed shoulders. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but you don't have to be afraid either, I'll protect you," she whispered kissing his head. "No matter what happens."
"I-I wanna go to Wonderland," he pleaded trying to cease his trembling. Soft, melodious laughter reached his ears as he turned over to catch his mother's face.
"Of course, I know just the tale. This is when the Hatter and the Hare with the ever mischievous Cheshire Cat snuck into the Red Queen's palace."
Maybe this was all a twisted dream, bordering on the edges of a nightmare; and all he had to do was wake up. Wake up and be back home with Mom still by his side petting his head, watching him sleep so she knew it would be pleasant and if anything bad was to happen she was right there. Aalis couldn’t though try as he might nothing was working at getting out of this sinking abyss. Each struggle only pulled him further down making breathing next to impossible. Lungs bursting he gave a final lunge latching onto whatever he could. Something solid interlaced with his hand, pulling him out.
Slowly Aalis' eyes opened into slits steadily inviting the newness of the situation in. He wasn't home, the scent wasn't right, so Mom was definitely not here. Stiffness was what registered next, every muscle ached, and stretching sounded like a good idea, but it was almost a brittleness that working the joints too soon shot pain through his system. Something quickly learned the hard way. A hiss seeped through his lips, the past events flashing before his eyes resulting in nausea. With nothing to heave up nausea turned into coughing that disturbed that brittleness of his body like fresh snow crushed underfoot. Aalis turned his face slightly into the blanket biting down on the fabric until the pain subsided. Yet he still felt something from that dream, he turned his head to see his hand squeezing another, recognizing the Hatter's, he pulled his hand away grabbing the blanket instead.
When did their roles change? When did Aalis become savior and his mother in need of one? A tired sigh escaped his lips; knowing that wouldn't change anything though what was done was done, with his mother and where he was now. Than why the trivial thought in the first place? A more frustrated sigh came this time as he attempted to pull himself up the soreness from first getting up ebbing away. The rain was still falling he could make that much out but he didn't have a clue how long he was under.
"I..can't stay here. Far more the burden than assist," he murmured, as if he had anywhere else to go; but that was besides the point. Granted it was painfully obvious he wasn't going to get anywhere fast, not that that entirely stopped him from trying. He slowly managed to edge himself closer to the side of the bed, but fell short breathing hard before remaining put. A dozen or so questions were running circles in his head before he settled on plucking one of them out. "I'm sorry if I hurt you...and my lack of manners, seems I forgot those again. Are you okay?"
Hope you feel better :}
To say that the Hatter wasn't surprised by Aalis' words would be an understatement, because to him, Aalis sounded a little mad himself. But that was the fun of the whole situation, was it not? To see if he could stand up and kill without losing his mind? Still, the Hatter felt a little unsettled by the thought of his precious Aalis breaking.
But as unsettling as he it was, he was also a little intrigued, taking a moment to think after Aalis lost consciousness. Was this what Wonderland really needed in the end? A battered and broken hero?
The Hatter shook his head, chuckling. Why would his opinion matter in the end so long as Wonderland was saved? It didn't, and the madman knew this, still he couldn't help but feel a little annoyed with how things were suppose to turn out. But he couldn't really change anything but the moment they were in, so with a small sigh escaping his lips, he gingerly moved Aalis so he was laying down on the bed, fetching a fresh blanket and covering the boy up.
For now, the Hatter would just have to wait and see what would happen, even if he didn't like it. But perhaps things would be interesting that way. As the Hatter mused with this thought, he left the bedroom and went downstairs, making some tea and then returning to watch over the sleeping boy.
"Sure, whatever you say," Aalis murmured in response, although he doubted his voice was heard over the sound of the rain. Seems Mother Nature was still in a tissy. Adding blurring images to an already hazy sight did not bode well for his feeble attempts to figure out where exactly they were going. He didn't know before this mess, and for the moment, living seemed to be a little more important than sightseeing, so he kept his eyes shut, his teeth clenched to his bottom lip to silence any vocals that could get them caught. As to what would catch them, he hadn't a clue, guards seemed bad enough but if this really was Wonderland, his mother spoke in great detail about the other creatures that inhabited this world, some that gave him nightmares. But if this wasn't already a nightmare, he didn't know what was. Monsters under the bed seemed rather tamed compared to all that he witnessed. The speed of this journey was slowing down, the rain sounded farther off; curiosity got the better of him when he chanced a look around. A cabin was in view for a moment before it melted away to the interior with too much newness for him to stomach, he closed his eyes tight flinching more with each step without the soggy cushion of dirt, he wanted to pass out going up the stairs and he swore he died and went to heaven when his body was enveloped in the softness of the bed.
Convinced that the world stopped going all over the place, Aalis slowly opened his eyes taking in what he could of the room. It seemed of modest size with some type of order to the chaos of it that only the owner rightly understood and could find anything to it. Manners be damned when guilt wriggled its way to his thoughts of taking the man's bed and making a mess of it. He was on his back when he tried to make a half-hearted attempt at getting off the bed, which ceased immediately when the Hatter returned with some odds and ends sitting down, the bed dipped slightly in his favor bringing him closer to the edge but that was it. Aalis nodded his head at Hatter's request as he slowly removed his arm from his stomach trying to get his other arm to cooperate enough so he could get out of the damnable shirt. Either his fingers were too numb or fumbled too badly to make any progress with getting his shirt off, something the Hatter caught onto immediately as his fingers were much more cooperative and nimble for the job.
Aalis didn't have time to protest as the Hatter went straight to work patching him up. Hisses and swears escaped his lips during the mending process through which he attempted to be helpful to make the work easier, most efforts were wasted as the Hatter seemed to go about this business without rightly acknowledging him like he's done this thousands of times and instead of a living thing he was a doll in Hatter's hands moved appropriately and gently to secure all the bandages; all this done within a relatively decent amount of time in tune to some melody that apparently only the Hatter heard while he attempted to imitate it. Afterwards Aalis was bandaged securely and snuggly, practically having a new shirt made out of bandages. Movement was slightly easier, not much, and certainly not without pain but he managed to lie on his side, adding subtle pressure to his injuries with his back towards Hatter. He could feel his eyes on him, the sensation making him feel all the more exposed, weak, useless, pathetic like a newborn babe; yet there was some other feeling he couldn't place, more like didn't want to place. A weak smirk pulled at his lips, seems some things never could change.
"Been a long time since someone spoke to me like that, as well as looked at me in a similar fashion. I'd have forgotten such times along with plenty of other important things I told myself not to, swore to myself I wouldn't," he explained softly. Slowly he took in a breath to prepare when he pushed his body up painstakingly to a seated position as he looked at Hatter, two toned emeralds looking at rubies through a curtain of rosy hair. One arm was laid protectively against his stomach. "Tell me Hatter. How can someone as broken as I am, who can't even protect himself let alone a friend he has forgotten, be of any use to anyone," he questioned. Damn he was completely out of his mind and way out of his league; but as such impossible scenarios danced in his head, he couldn't hold himself straight before he fell against the Hatter his forehead pressed to his chest. A harsh chuckle seeped through his lips tinged with delirium or madness was anyone's guess. "But I guess the impossible is always fun to prove wrong the crazier the better, right," he concluded in a whisper letting go the reigns of consciousness to fall into the depths of unconsciousness.
How fragile Aalis was, yet with such a strong streak to him. It made the Hatter smile and glance down; He could see the boy's pain, and quickened his pace, though he attempted to keep him steady as he went. "Good, let's keep it that way, shall we?"
It never took the Hatter long to get to his little cabin on the edge of the forest - it was so conveniently placed that he could have laughed. But there was no other thought in his mind besides getting Aalis somewhere safe, as he practically ran to the door and opened it with a little fumbling with the handle. The moment the room beyond was revealed to him, the Hatter felt an urgency bubble in his gut.
Running for the stairs, he went up them cautiously as to not hit Aalis off the walls. Once he was in the top hallway the Hatter entered his room and laid Aalis on the bed gently, setting his bag down on the floor as well. Running for something to tend the wounds with, it didn't take the Hatter long to return to the room.
Immediately he went to the boy's side, sitting on the edge of the bed. Gently, he coaxed Aalis a little. "Off with the shirt so I can fix you up Aalis." Already he was pulling at the clothing to assist him on getting it off. The moment the article was off, he set to work cleaning and bandaging the wounds. As he did this, he hummed off-key. When he was finished he leaned back a little to admire his work, his ruby gaze sliding over Aalis' frame contently. "You'll be better in no time little Aalis."
Sounds struck his senses, slowly Aalis chanced to open his eyes. Obviously he still had his head, at the moment he couldn't decide if that was good or bad, his eyes trailed after the swift movement of the madman. It was like a dance, nothing but a game to him as he could barely follow the movements through the edging blurriness. A shudder shook his form feeling the other guard's body impact the ground. Yet he didn't feel any fear from the man causing such mayhem, wasn't he just like him only a moment ago? Lashing out at another human being like some crazed animal? Bile rose in his throat, remembering his dive into madness; the idea of killing was unsettling, but the fact some small part of him actually enjoyed spilling another's blood tore at his insides like a rabid animal. If he didn't get struck down, he didn't think- he knew he wouldn't have been able stop himself until all of them were dead.
That little resolution caused him to heave whatever was left landing him on his side curled slightly into a ball. He tasted blood, but couldn't be sure if it was from internal bleeding or when he bit down on his lip. Aalis barely caught the madman's words as the final guard retreated back into the storm. Blood, rain, and mud mingled together as he didn't even attempt to pull himself up. His shoulder was on fire, the rain feeling nothing more but acid rain for the wound, his breathing being little more then wisps filling his lungs with blood tinted air that only made the nausea remain. Yet some small, tiny sane part of his mind at least kept their wit to keep pressure on his stomach. His left arm was next to useless, the shoulder strike all but took the damn thing off, but he still tried to hold his left hand in place with the right as they were staining crimson. Now all the sensation of blood did was increase his nausea and revulsion at himself. He gave up on his sight shortly after the guard left, hazy shapes weren't worth the headache to try and make out.
Pressure left his back as he felt the guard get pushed to the side, he caught his name amidst the rain, but it sounded alien with how it was delivered. Guess he looked as bad as he felt. Footsteps receded then returned as he felt his body lift off the ground. Aalis bit hard on his lip drawing blood to prevent the scream while he was shifted gently about to be easier to carry. Was he always so weak? Such a lightweight? His hands managed to stay put over his stomach, his head lulled against the man's chest pinching his shoulder to keep a continual thrum of pain with each step the man took. The madman's pace was a rhythm of its own adding to the pain as it flared and died down like a continuous roller coaster, when he thought the pain would recede a little, it would spike each time. His mind was going in a like manner, riding the highs and lows of his life. Was this how it was like to die? At least this was a little better then dying because of the weather.
A memory kept repeating itself. Aalis was a young boy, his legs pulled to his chest as he felt tears stream down his cheeks. He got in another fight. Blood and dirt was smeared against his skin as the tears fell down his cheeks going down his skinned knees. Someone came up and held him close as he was picked up.
"Still alive Aalis?"
His eyes fluttered open hearing the same question. Looks like death wasn't to be his mistress quite yet. He tilted his head as much as it was willing to go catching a glimpse of rubies from under the shaggy coal bangs and infamous hat. A fleeting grin painted his features, as he dropped his head back against his chest.
"For the moment Hatter. The Reaper will have to wait a little longer before we share tea," he spoke softly with a small chuckle.
Maybe, for the briefest of moments, the Hatter thought that Aalis wouldn't fight - that he would have to fight. But as these thoughts rolled around in the madman's head, Aalis took the switchblade, shoving him away. Of course he landed in the mud, his expression hesitating from shock that Aalis would shove him. But then again, he was being awfully protective. The Hatter's eyes immediately darted to watch the fight, a bloodthirsty grin on his face as he watched contently from where he sat in the mud.
Of course he was sorely disappointed at how easy Aalis went down. Then again, this worked to his advantage as well. Aalis was covered in blood and the Hatter would be able to kill. Oh, how thrilling.
Cackling at the display before him, the Hatter set Aalis' bag down before removing his hat and setting that down too. He got to his feet, red eyes narrowed. The guards seemed to have forgotten that he was there and he couldn't have that now could he?
He pulled another switchblade from his pockets and bounded forward swiftly and silently. His ruby eyes were locked on his target - the one with their weapon pressed against his Aali's neck. That one would pay dearly.
The Hatter lunged for the guard, switchblade slashing at his face. It was a simple tactic to throw the guard off so the Hatter could put himself between the guards and Aalis.
Sure maybe the Hatter wasn't immediately intimidating, but he certainly was dangerous when he was in the mood to see blood. And he was in the mood for blood. Giggling, the Hatter licked his lips as his eyed the guards. They looked a little cautious now that he had joined the fight, but they didn't look like they would back down. Maybe if he dropped one? Perhaps.
He waited for one to attempt to attack him first, using the mud slide and dodge the attack, bringing the blade up to slash at the guard's neck, digging in and making blood pour out. The Hatter's malicious grin only grew more when he saw the crimson fluid flowing - signalling that that guard's life was as good as gone.
Pulling the switchblade from that guard, he looked to the last one, whom was backing up nervously, his weapon slacked as he glanced around - as if something would save him. A cackle was once again brought to the Hatter's lips as he step toward the final guard. "Afraid little pawn? Why not run to that bitch of a queen you have?"
If anything, the Hatter enjoyed watching the guard squirm on the spot for a second - deciding between life and death in the face of his duty. But instincts won out this time and, with a hurried panicked glance at the Hatter, the guard fled. That was that.
The Hatter slid his own blade away and went to Aalis' side, moving the one guard's body away from the boy. "Aalis." There was no hint of lightness in his tone - he, even despite being insane, could see the boy's injuries were quite bad, and as much as the blood brought shivers to his spine, he couldn't leave them unattended. He went to retrieve Aalis' bag and his hat before returning to where the boy lay and picking him up carefully, holding the boy like a princess in his arms.
But as humorous as that thought was, he bore no laugh to it - instead he just began walking at a swift pace, his ruby gaze drifting down to peek at Aalis'. "Still alive, Aalis?"
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