boxofcomfits: (intrigued)
[personal profile] boxofcomfits
Prompt: Time paradox

Words: 880

{{A/N: Yes, this is a [ profile] charloft prompt response. I usually only post these on the community itself, but as this is the longest piece I've written for Alice so far I thought I'd put it here as well. I’m not really sure how canonical this is, but I’ll just blame it on the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey-ness of the prompt. ^_^ That being said, I’m still not certain how the Rabbit recognises older!Alice ... }}

After a full day of unbirthday parties (three this afternoon), bread-and-butterfly chases, and general mischief, Alice was beginning to grow tired. She had been visiting Wonderland—the strange realm she found four months ago. It was a fantastic place, especially for such a curious child. As she was in danger of nodding off into her soup (rather like the Dormouse), the White Rabbit decided it was time for Alice to go home.

He led her to the little door that was her usual gateway between the dissimilar worlds of Oxford and Wonderland (Alice had yet to find the door on her own) and sent her through with a little wave and an entreaty to come back soon. Generally, this door would take her to the large tree in the Deanery garden.

Today, however, Alice found herself on her dressing-table (“How curious!” she thought). Even more curious was that her own room was already occupied. At Alice’s sudden entrance (presumably through the looking-glass), the lady sitting on her bed looked up from her book with an “Oh!” of surprise.

After climbing down from her dressing-table and studying the lady for a few moments (whilst trying not to openly glare at her for being in her bedroom), Alice concluded she was fairly pretty and vaguely familiar.

“Hello, Miss Alice,” said the lady pleasantly, with a bemused sort of smile. “How are you this afternoon?” (For it was still afternoon in Alice’s bedroom. Time in Wonderland did not always run on the same schedule as that in Oxford.)

“Oh, very well!” exclaimed Alice, bouncing slightly. She then gave a shortened, yet still rambling, description of the day’s adventures (the lady smiled and laughed throughout Alice’s story, sometimes sadly, and asked her a few questions as well).

“Are you one of Mother’s sisters?” Alice asked, a bit abruptly, when she had finished. The lady was older than Elsie, but younger than Mother—being one of Alice’s aunts might explain why she looked so familiar (for Alice had several aunts who lived in farther parts of the country that she rarely saw).

“No, I’m not,” replied the lady, then added with an amused smile, “Though I suppose one could say we are related. Would you care for some tea?”

“Yes, please! I never seem to have any at Mr Hare’s table. It’s very disagreeable." Alice tried very hard not to pout, but failed to succeed. The lady left to procure tea (Alice hoped she would not get lost) and whilst she was gone Alice set about examining her room. During her conversation with the mystery lady (who was pleasant enough, but it was still somewhat disconcerting that she was in her room), Alice had noticed several objects that had not been in her bedroom as she left it. An extra hatbox here, hair-ribbons in colours Mother usually did not select, her soft bunny Mina nowhere to be found—and here was a small portrait of the lady with a slightly older young lady.

Alice peered at the portrait. “That must be Mother when she was younger,” she said to herself, indicating the older subject. Her musings were cut short by the lady’s return with a cheerful tea-tray laden with a small selection of tea-things.

The tea was poured and sweets were selected. The two enjoyed their tea in companionable silence and were on their second cups when Alice’s looking-glass shimmered and the White Rabbit stepped through, noting identical looks of surprise from the room’s occupants.

“Alice!” called the Rabbit, wringing his paws together, “You must come back through! The Gateway is being bothersome and brought you back at the wrong Time!” At this point, he turned to her older companion, who was looking inside the teapot. “Miss Alice?”

“Hello, Mr Rabbit,” she said with a small smile. “Would you like some tea? We were just finishing up, but I’m certain I have an extra teacup about somewhere.” (Now Alice did stare, dumbfounded and rather intrigued—the older lady was herself? How curious indeed!)

“No time, no time!” cried the Rabbit, taking out his pocket-watch and examining it. “Thank you kindly for the invitation, but I must take, er, Alice back to her own house before she is left here.”

Alice found herself being fiercely embraced by the lady—rather the older version of herself—who was now whispering in her ear. “It’s all real. Don’t ever let them convince you otherwise. It’s not just a lovely story—it’s real.”

* * * * * * * *

Alice poured herself another cup of tea after waving her younger self and Mr Rabbit goodbye and seeing them off through her looking-glass. It wasn’t everyday one had tea with one’s younger self (and she would have to speak to Mr Caterpillar about her looking-glass—she hadn’t realised others were able to travel through it as well). Come to think of it, she didn’t ever remember herself at seven having tea with an older version of herself (though she did recall the other events her younger self had described as the day’s adventures). Perhaps it was because it had only just happened? (Time wasn’t usually so capricious, but one never knows about these sorts of things.)

“Curiouser and curiouser,” she mused, with a slightly incredulous shake of her head, before nibbling on the last lemon square.

May 2014


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