Chapter 1: The Garden
“Wade.” Peter shook the mercenary. “Wade, wake up.” He shook him again; Peter couldn’t tell if Wade was awake with the Deadpool mask on. “For goodness sake, wake up already.” Wade mumbled something unintelligible and turned over. Peter jabbed his side. “Enough! Wake up!”
“C’mon, babe, five more minutes…”
“Eep!” Peter yelped as Wade yanked him down and hugged him. “Okay, now I know you’re awake. Let go!”
“Aw, c’mon Petey, I want to snuggle!” Wade opened his eyes and gaped. “What are you wearing! OMG! You look like a playboy bunny! I’m dreaming still, aren’t I.” He started to pinch Peter.
“Aah, stop it! You’re supposed to pinch yourself, not me!” Peter shoved him away, standing back up and brushing himself off. “Right now, I wish you were dreaming. Because then I wouldn’t be in this utterly ridiculous outfit.”
“Ridiculous? You’re fucking gorgeous!” Wade squealed as he looked Peter over. Webs was wearing a white corset, matching white booty shorts that looked like they’d been painted on and yes, they had a poofy white bunny tail on them. Add into that the thigh-high boots, the white gloves with over-sized cuffs, and the white bunny ears, and Wade nearly passed out from sheer giddy horniness. He gave himself a minute to memorize the look before bouncing up. “Turn in a circle, I totally need my phone to capture this, you – whoa.”
Wade looked down at himself. Then spun in the circle he’d tried to have Webs turn instead. “I’m in a dress,” he said. “Oh, yes, I look so cute! Look at this!” He did a little curtsey in the blue and white dress. “What is all this poofy?” Started lifting up the skirt and rummaging through petticoats. “Oh, I’m still in costume under this. And I still have guns. And my pouches.” He twisted around a few times until he worked the belt free and put it on over the dress. He reached over his back. “And I’ve got the katanas. This is weird. Why’d they leave me my costume and change you? You don’t even have your mask, Petey.”
“I’ve noticed, and I’m not happy about it.” He held out his wrists. “They at least left me my web shooters. You missed your bow, by the way.”
“Bow?” He looked around. “What bow?”
Peter reached up and patted the side of Wade’s head. “Whoever did this to us put a headband with a bow on you. It’s blue, like your dress. Why are you in a dress and I’m a bunny costume?”
“Oooh! I get it! I get it! Pick me!”
Peter rolled his eyes. “’Pool!”
“We’re in Wonderland!”
Peter looked around. They seemed to be in a garden. Woods lined the edges of the beautiful clearing, and there were several well-kept paths leading into the trees. He could see a little hill in the distance if he looked up one of the paths. It was a lovely garden, but hardly what he vaguely remembered from reading Alice in Wonderland as a child. “How did you get to that?”
“You’re the White Rabbit! And I’m Alice!”
Peter looked himself over. “I’m a white rabbit. I guess.”
“Say it! Say it!”
Peter crossed his arms. “Oh, no. We do not have time for this. This is Arcade. Or Mysterio. Or—"
“C’mon pretty bunny, saaaaaaay it.” Wade gathered Peter up into a hug. “Pleeeeeease?”
Peter sighed with an exasperated, albeit fond, smile. “I’m late. I’m late. I’m late for an important date.”
“YES! With me, right?”
“Wade will you PLEASE focus! We have been kidnapped from our apartment and we’re in a garden that’s who knows where! This is a scheme of some kind and we’re probably being filmed and get your hands off my ass I’m not up for being a porno!”
Wade squeezed Peter’s ass, grinding into him. “Dressed like that? You already are, and I’m completely ready for my close-up.”
Peter took a deep breath. Counted to twenty, because ten was never enough with Deadpool. “Can we please focus on the situation and not on the fact that someone dressed me like a sex symbol?”
“The – oh, right, Wonderland!” Wade looked around. “Okay, if you aren’t letting me fuck you, which is a crime, you are sinful in that outfit – if you aren’t, then sure. We can focus on the situation.”
“Great, let’s focus on getting out of here.”
“Time to kill a Jabberwocky!”
“Time to kill a Jabberwocky!” Wade repeated.
“What’s a Jabberwocky?” Peter tried to remember the plot of Alice in Wonderland, but all he could think of was a tea party and playing cards that tried to cut people’s heads off. “I don’t recall something called a Jabberwocky in Alice in Wonderland.”
“It’s from Through the Looking Glass. It whiffles, and burbles, and has flaming eyes and I’ve always wanted to kill one, but I could never find a tumtum tree.” He hummed. “Or catch it and tame it and keep it as a pet.”
“I’m pretty sure a Jabberwhatsits will violate our lease.” Peter grabbed Wade’s arms and shook him. “Wade, I really need you to focus. We went to sleep in our nice comfy bed, and we woke up in a garden in the middle of nowhere. This isn’t a fun vacation through some childhood book; this is a dangerous trap we’re caught in and you need to take it seriously.” He shook Wade again. “Can you manage to pay attention so we can get out of here?”
Wade nodded. “I can be serious, Petey.” He waited for Peter to let go of him, unsheathed a katana, and leveled it at the woods. “This way! I think I hear slithy toves!” he yelled and took off running.
The surrounding trees quickly hid him from sight. “Wade! Stop! Wait!” Peter sighed. “I may love you, but there are days I seriously hate you,” he muttered. He cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “If you’re Alice and I’m the White Rabbit you’re supposed to chase me, you idiot!”
Chapter 2: The Caterpillar and a Beach
Wade talks to the Caterpillar and then ends up on a Beach.
“Here Jabberwocky! C’mere Jabberwocky!” Wade stalked through the woods, shouting for his prey. Birds took to the skies in startlement. “This way, Petey.” He stopped, looking around. “Petey? Petey!” He sighed, katana drooping to his side. “Great, now I need to find a Jabberwocky and Petey.”
“Who is Petey?”
Deadpool spun in place, spotting a caterpillar on a giant mushroom. It was deep purple with pink poison marking, and gently puffing on a hookah. Or a vacuum cleaner; Wader wasn’t entirely sure. The mushroom was just as colorful.
“Petey’s my boyfriend.” He curtseyed to the Caterpillar. “I’m Deadpool. I mean, Alice.”
“You’re not Alice.”
“I’m in the dress, I’ve got the hair bow, I’m carrying the katanas! Of course I’m Alice!”
The caterpillar blew a waft of smoke towards Wade. “Are you?”
His shoulders slumped. “I’m Wade. Or Deadpool. Or Alice.”
Another puff from the hookah; the lazy smoke drifted around the Caterpillar in rings. Each ring shifted color as it floated towards the sky. “That’s a start.”
“It is?” Wade tilted his head. “A start to what?”
The Caterpillar sighed, the gesture sending shaky puffs of smoke into the air. “You don’t know, Not-Alice?”
Wade stamped his foot. “I am Alice!”
The creature blew smoke into his face. “Then where is the White Rabbit?”
Wade frowned, looking around the small clearing. “I don’t see a rabbit.”
The Caterpillar laughed. “You lost your White Rabbit.”
What White Rabbit? He sheathed his katanas. “I was chasing…chasing…a Jabberwocky.”
“You might as well chase yourself.”
“You can’t chase yourself!”
“If you don’t, you’ll never find yourself.”
Wade laughed. “But I’m right here!”
“Who are you?” asked the Caterpillar.
“I’m ALICE!” Wade shouted at it.
The forest floor…disappeared.
Wade wasn’t exactly unused to falling. He fell off buildings, jumped over ledges, tumbled down staircases. Sometimes he fell out of airplanes. He’d never fallen through solid ground that he could recall. But he’d never fallen through the ground into a giant tunnel that didn’t stop. There’d been that one manhole, but that ended. Abruptly.
This kept not ending. At first it was nice; he didn’t enjoy landings so much, so just falling well past the more familiar landing points was a pleasant surprise. Then it began to worry him; how bad would this hurt when he finally hit bottom? Then it just got weird. There were tree roots. And then a TV. Tea set. Several skee balls. Daffodils. That might have been a deck of gold cards. Random bullets slowly flew past, or fell up, or down – he wasn’t sure.
He tried swimming one way, then the other, but he couldn’t do anything, and he had the vague idea it made him look silly, so he went back to – well, continued – falling. This was more boring than he’d thought falling could be. Usually the wind and the screaming and the imminent hitting of the ground gave falling an adrenaline rush, ten out of ten, would do again. This made him yawn as a chess set floated past him. By the time a set of Avenger pool floaties fell past him, he was sound asleep.
He woke to find himself cuddling a pool noodle. A wet pool noodle. Wet? He looked around to get his bearings and realized he was on a beach surrounded by small animals. The creatures were all trying to get up the beach towards the forest, but the waves kept washing in, grabbing them, and sweeping them back towards the ocean.
“This will never do,” Wade said, and began to grab the small animals. He fished a rabbit, a squirrel, two ducks, a mouse, and a fish from the waves and tossed them up to the tree line. Then he gasped, ran after the fish, and threw that back into the ocean. “There! Everyone better now?”
“I am a bit exhausted from being thrown about after nearly drowning, but otherwise quite all right,” said the mouse.
“And we’re rather wet,” complained the squirrel.
“And you’re talking!” Wade bounced in glee, then several more times as he realized his dress actually flounced with the motion, something he thought only happened in books. Oh wait! This was a book!
“Well of course we’re talking,” said a duck.
“I don’t suppose you have something to dry us off with, would you?” asked the brown rabbit, brushing its whiskers nervously.
“A handkerchief would do nicely,” the mouse said.
Wade sifted through his pouches. “Will Kleenex do?” he asked, offering a travel sized packet.
The creatures all stepped, or hopped, or fluttered back. “Clean Nex? What’s a Nex and why is it clean?”
Wade pulled open the packet. “It’s tissues.”
“Then why didn’t you say that?” asked a duck.
“But I did!”
“There’s no point in arguing; we all heard you.” All the animals nodded at the mouse’s words.
“But we will accept drying off,” added the squirrel, its tail quite bedraggled at this point.
One by one they lined up and let Wade use the tissues to dry them off, except the ducks, which said they were quite used to water, thank you, and they were fine. Wade was nearly out of Kleenex by the time he finished, but everyone agreed they were much better off now. Excepting, of course, the ducks, who were finding they didn’t like saltwater so much, and were now too proud to admit perhaps some drying off would help.
“Since that’s settled, has anyone seen a Jabberwocky?”
The animals all squealed in terror and bolted, except for the squirrel, which ran up a nearby tree and threw nuts at him. “Alice doesn’t chase the Jabberwocky!”
“I’m not going to chase it!” Wade put his hands on his hips. “I’m going to kill it!”
“Oh.” The squirrel flicked his tail. “I don’t think Alice could kill a Jabberwocky. She was suited to tea parties. And croquet.”
Wade leveled a katana at the squirrel. “Do I fucking look like the kind of girl who goes to tea parties?”
“Well, you do seem dressed for one?”
Wade charged at the squirrel, which chittered in terror and fled up the trees. He sheathed his katana and climbed up after it. “Come back here you little rodent! I’m going to get you!”
Partway up, he stopped. A very large grin floated in the air.
“Oh no. Not again,” Wade groaned.
Chapter 3: The Red Queen
Flowers don't like Rabbits much, even White Rabbits.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Wonderland,” Peter muttered as he stalked across the field after Wade. “Run ahead without a thought in your head, why don’t you. Never mind that this is clearly a trap and sticking together is obviously the right answer, no, no, I’m Deadpool, I’m crazy, I’m chasing something that doesn’t actually exist.”
“Aaaaaahhhh! A rabbit! Hide! Everyone hide!” screamed a voice near his knees. He looked down to see a bed of flowers shaking in the breeze. Frowned. There wasn’t a breeze.
“It’s seen us!”
He knelt carefully and tried parting the flowers, looking for something in them. “Hello? Who’s there?”
“There goes Maude! Oh no what’s he doing? Why doesn’t he just eat us and be done with it?”
“I’m okay, he just pushed me, didn’t pluck me.”
There was nothing in the quivering flowers that would account for the unexpected motion. He hesitated before asking, “Are you the ones talking?”
“Of course we’re talking, you monster! Go find some alfalfa or clover! Leave us alone!” shrieked a fluttering lily. Peter found himself torn between the surprise flowers were talking and the dismay that Wade might therefore be right – this might be Wonderland. Or at least, some place designed to look and act like Wonderland.”
“There’s no need to call me names. I haven’t hurt any of you.”
“You’re going to eat us,” whispered a daffodil.
“Eat you?” Peter shook his head, laughing. “Why would I want to eat you?”
“You’re a rabbit!” the flowers wailed in unison.
He puts his hands on his hips. “I’m not a rabbit.” Whispers sounded amongst the flowers, and he sighed. “Fine, I’m the White Rabbit.”
“Aaaaahhhhh,” screamed all the flowers.
Peter threw his hands into the air. “Why are you all screaming now? Don’t you want me to be the White Rabbit?”
“He doesn’t know?”
“How can he not know?”
“Know what?” asked Peter.
There was a hushed murmuring from the plants, and then the Tiger-Lily said, voice the merest whisper, “You’re the Queen’s Rabbit.”
“But which Queen?” came a voice behind him, and he turned to see a woman dressed in red and wearing a tall crown on her head, also in red. Red crown, red gown, her shoes were red and red tipped her nails. Even her hair was red. “You are a new White Rabbit. Or perhaps not; I don’t keep up with the Court of Hearts. I can barely keep up with myself.”
“But…how can you not keep up with yourself?”
She fixed a stern look on him. “Haven’t you ever gotten ahead of yourself?”
“Well, yes, but that’s just an expression. I’m not actually ahead of myself.”
“If it is an expression, it’s expressing something.”
Peter ran a hand through his hair and nearly dislodged his rabbit ears. Anxiously he fiddled with them until they were properly situated on his head again. He felt silly in them, but he was worried without them he’d fare worse in this place.
“Right. It’s expressing the action of talking without really thinking about what one is saying.”
The Red Queen frowned at him. “You should call me Your Majesty. It’s proper. White Rabbits are usually proper.”
White Rabbits? “There’s been more than one White Rabbit?” Peter asked, adding quickly, “Your Majesty?”
The Red Queen laughed. “Well, the Queen of Hearts does have a habit of cutting off heads.”
He gulped. “I wouldn’t like to have my head cut off.” He had the troublesome worry that it was a possibility in this place.
“I shouldn’t think anyone would,” the Red Queen said. “Is that why you’re here?”
“No, Your Majesty; I’m trying to find my friend. He ran off into the woods and I’m worried for him.”
The Red Queen looked him over. “And you aren’t worried that this will make you late to Court?”
“He’s Alice,” Peter said, feeling completely out of his depth and quite silly for the assertion. “He’s supposed to be chasing me, and he can’t if he’s lost.”
“The White Rabbit chasing Alice?” The Red Queen was taken aback. “This will not do. This will not do at all.”
And then Peter found she’d taken hold of his hand with an impressive grip and that he was running to keep up with her. She kept exhorting him to go faster, and he was finding it harder and harder to do, but she never seemed to tire. “Where are we going?”
“We can’t know that, as you’ve lost your friend. So we must go faster!”
“But – how we can find him if we just run off?”
“Run off of what?”
He was having trouble keeping up, and that worried him, since he had some enhanced speed. Was something in this place messing with his powers? He hadn’t sensed the Red Queen’s approach, after all.
“I mean, where are you taking me?” Peter gasped as he tried to free his hand from hers.
“Taking you? Taking you! We’re here!”
They came to a stop suddenly, and Peter bent over, taking several deep breaths. They were still in the garden. He frowned. “We’re still here? We haven’t gone anywhere. But all the running – how is that even possible? Your Majesty?”
“Of course!” She smiled at him. “Once we knew where we are, we couldn’t have any speed at all!”
“That’s…not how the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle works.”
“Are you certain about that?” She put her hands on his shoulders and turned him away from the direction he thought Wade had gone. “Now, White Rabbit, if you follow that path,” and he could see a path through the trees, “You’ll come to the Court of Hearts in no time at all.”
The path looked inviting, lined with roses, and Peter regarded it suspiciously as it hadn’t been there before. “No, I don’t need the Court, I need to find Wade.”
Silence answered him. He looked around him, but the flowers and the Red Queen were gone. There was a path, and trees, and some grass lining the path. The dirt pathway seemed to start at his feet.
He took a deep breath. If that was the way he was supposed to go, it was probably the wrong way entirely. “And so, by that logic,” he said to himself, “I should pick a random direction and that’ll be better than anything obvious. Right? Right.” He nodded, and closed his eyes, spinning in a circle, hand pointing. “That way it is,” he declared, and headed off into the trees.
Sorry this was late! Things in life got busy.
...Okay I guess it wasn't late when there wasn't a posted schedule.
But I knew!
Chapter 4: The Cat and the Knight
Wade chats with the Cheshire Cat and the White Knight.
Wade leveled a katana at the grin that hung mid-air on the tree branch. “We meet again, cat.”
The grin did the opposite of fading; it slowly became more real, more attached, and then there was a cat that fit the grin, with pink and purple stripes in its fur. It gave a large, toothy yawn at the sword.
“But are we well met?”
“We are at least well.”
“That’s well enough, then, for what we are.”
Wade sheathed the katana, as there was only so long one could point a weapon at someone or something else without actually using the weapon. Otherwise one just looked silly.
“What we are is hunting a Jabberwocky.”
The tip of the cat’s tail twitched. “That’s what you’re doing, not what we are.”
He leaned back against the trunk of the tree, watching the cat’s tail as it twitched. “What are we then?”
“Mad,” the Cheshire Cat answered matter-of-factly. “We’re all mad here.”
“I’m not mad. I’m not even upset!”
“Because you don’t understand the set up.”
Wade frowned. That was what Petey thought was going on – they were being set up. Oh, fuck, he’d lost Peter. How was he going to find the Jabberwocky and his boyfriend at the same time?
“The Jabberwocky and the Rabbit aren’t a set,” he said finally, although it wasn’t his best witticism ever.
“You’re chasing a Jabberwocky and not a Rabbit, Alice.”
He sighed. “I can’t chase both!”
“Were you late?”
The Cat yawned. “Then don’t you have time?”
“I don’t know where the White Rabbit is,” Wade said.
“Perhaps you should find him, then.”
Wade pushed off the branch and landed on the ground. “Maybe I should – oh, no, wait. You’re trying to trick me, Cat! Are you helping the Jabberwocky?”
There was another yawn from the slowly fading cat. “Cats only help themselves.”
Even the grin disappeared.
“I really hate it when that happens.”
“When what happens?”
Wade spun to see a knight mounted on a horse. The device on his shield was emblazoned in white, and the barding on the horse was white as well. “Who are you? Oh! You’re the White Queen’s Knight!” He frowned. “Wait, which White Queen? Paris Hilton or Elsa Frost?” He sheathed his katana. “I think I maybe got those mixed up. Besides anyone only remembers Elsa. Elsa? Elmo? Emma! Emma Frost! Tell me it’s only her if she’s in a good phase and not an evil phase. Or a thong phase. That will work too.”
“What are you blathering, Miss?”
“Your Queen; who is she?”
“The White Queen, of course.”
The Knight dismounted and took off his helmet. He had a shock of white and gray hair and kindly but firm blue eyes in a wrinkled face. “She is the only White Queen currently on the board. Although you are headed in the proper direction to become a Queen yourself, Miss…?”
He gave a courtly bow. “A pleasure to meet you, Miss Alice.”
Wade gave a curtsey. “And a pleasure to meet you, Sir Knight. Do you know where I can find a Jabberwocky? Or a White Rabbit? Ooh! You must know where the White Rabbit is!”
“The White Queen’s Court does not include woodland creatures. I do believe the Court of Hearts has a Seneschal that is a rabbit, but I do not know the Rabbit and invites to the Court of Hearts are rarely accepted. Their Queen tends to lop off heads.”
“Oh, she sounds like fun. Perhaps I should let her try mine.”
Alarmed, the White Knight stepped towards Wade. “Oh, no, Miss Alice. I don’t think you’d enjoy it. Wouldn’t you rather be here, and become a Queen yourself?”
“Actually,” Wade drawled, “I’m really trying to find a Jabberwocky. This is my one chance to really kill one and I don’t want to miss it.”
“Are you sure? You don’t look like you should be killing a Jabberwocky.”
“Why does everyone keep saying that? Is it the dress? The bow? I can kill things wearing a dress and a bow, I assure you.” Wade drew his katana once more, pointing it at the knight. “Draw your weapon, and have at thee!”
“I’m on the board but not in play right now!” the knight protested, fumbling with his helmet.
“If I can become Queen, that puts me in play, right? Which means I’m threatening your square. That makes you fair game.”
He hadn’t even drawn his sword before Wade sliced his head off. “Some knight.” Wade looked at the horse. “You gonna be a problem too?”
The horse shook its head.
“Good girl.” Wade hopped up onto the horse. “Let’s find a Jabberwocky.”
Chapter 5: This Isn't a Tea Party
Peter serves Cake and mathematical paradoxes
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Stupid woods. Stupid Wade. Stupid Alice in Wonderland. Stupid bunny ears getting caught in tree limbs…” Peter detangled his ears. “Wade!” he shouted. “Where are you?”
Nothing answered. It was actually reassuring as he’d just had a conversation with a bed of flowers. But he did hear something off in the distance. He hastened through the woods, coming onto a road which led a distance before opening into a clearing with a substantial crowd. He made his way through the crowd until he found the cause of the commotion: a unicorn and a lion were engaged in fisticuffs, which Peter admitted he found impressive as they didn’t have fists. Or hands. Just hooves and paws.
Peter grinned at the sight of the unicorn. “Oh, Wade would love to see this. He loves unicorns. On the down side, a unicorn does make it more likely this is actually Wonderland, darn it all.” The lion seemed to be winning quite easily as they circled around the field, the crowd cheering them on. “And, well, he wouldn’t like the unicorn losing,” he muttered, then raised his voice. “Get him, Unicorn!” he called out.
The two stopped fighting. “Get him what?” asked the Unicorn, breathing heavily as it came to stand before Peter.
“I shouldn’t mind a present,” said the Lion.
“You should mind the present,” cautioned the Unicorn. “I nearly had you that time.”
“Oh!” said the Lion. “If you have me do you get me?”
“What?” asked Peter.
The Lion’s whiskers drooped. “I don’t think I got it.”
“Perhaps we should have some cake. Who has the plum-cake?” asked the Unicorn.
A strangely dressed man – although Peter felt fairly sure he was normal for here – pulled a cake on a platter out of a bag along with a serving knife. The Unicorn looked at Peter. “Perhaps the White Rabbit will serve the plum-cake?”
“The White – Oh, right, me.” Peter took the platter and knife. “There’s a lot of people here. Does everyone want cake? I don’t think there’s enough.”
“When you serve it, there will be enough,” the Unicorn said, sounding amused.
“Oh! Is it an infinite cake like a Hilbert Hotel, so there’s enough cake for an infinite number of people? No, wait, it’s clearly a finite cake and while there’s a lot of people, they clearly aren’t infinite. So how can a small finite cake serve a large finite amount of people without everyone just getting a molecule or two?”
The Unicorn and Lion shared a glance. “You should just serve it.”
“I can’t serve it until I’ve cut it. I have to figure out how to cut it for all these people.” Peter placed the cake platter on a large rock and walked around it. “I suppose if I just cut it in half, then each half in half, and so on, I’ll end up with enough slices for everyone.”
“Oh, no!” said the Unicorn. “If you do that, the cake will become too small to eat!”
Peter frowned. “Well, no, but we do approach the problem of infinite cake, although incredibly small pieces.”
“Infinite cake! Then how would anyone else fit? The world would be taken over by pieces of cake!” The Lion laughed. “I’ve heard of being too full for cake, but never cake being too full for people!”
“Well, but I still need to cut it!”
“Just serve it!” the Unicorn and Lion said together.
Feeling silly, Peter walked around, handing out small plates and offering everyone cake. When he finished, there were pieces enough for everyone, although thinner than he would have liked. “This,” said Peter as the cake slices appeared on plates, “is not logical.”
“You mustn’t forget to cut it,” the Unicorn warned. “Or else the cake will not be in pieces.”
“But it is already on the plates! I can’t cut what isn’t here,” Peter said, but the Lion and Unicorn stared at him so intently – the Lion with frosting on his whiskers – that he dutifully sliced his knife through the air that had been cake, hoping he’d manage to get the correct number of times.
The cake stayed sliced, and on people’s plates, and Peter breathed in relief.
“Did the Queen of Hearts need something?” asked the Lion.
“The – oh, no, I’m searching for my boyfriend, Wade.”
“There’s no water,” said the Unicorn.
“To wade in?”
“Oh! No,” Peter said with a smile. “His name is Wade. Except I think everyone here is seeing him as Alice.”
“Alice?” asked the Lion. “Wasn’t there a Queen once named Alice?”
“I think we met her when she was a pawn.”
“No, I’m quite certain she was a Queen.”
The Lion and Unicorn glared at each other and started to circle each other, preparing to fight each other once more. With each step the drumming noise sounded, and the crowd cheered. Peter winced as it all became quite loud, and he clapped his hands over his ears, curling up into a ball, trying to escape the sound.
The Hilbert Hotel is a way of comprehending how to fit an infinite number of people into an infinite number of rooms, and what to do if one more shows up.
Chapter 6: Red Roses
It's the Queen of Hearts. You know what she wants to do.
The horse pranced down the road at a sedate pace. When Wade tried to make her go faster, she turned her head to nip at him, and while he wasn’t concerned with being hurt, he wasn’t interested in being eaten by a horse, so let her take the lead. Such as it was.
She brought them into a field, and through it, and on the other side there was another road leading into a palace garden, with roses being painted by the gardeners.
“Hello! Where am I now?” Wade asked them.
“The Court of Hearts.”
He looked around. “So far it looks mostly like a court of flowers.”
They both held onto each other and shivered, looking around. “Shhh! Don’t say that or she’ll chop off your head!”
Wade shrugged. “Oh, that’s annoying, but it won’t really stop me,” he told them, trying to sound reassuring. All it did was make them shake more. “Which way to the Jabberwocky?” he asked, but that seemed more than they could handle, throwing their paintbrushes in the air and running.
Wade leaned out of the saddle and caught the brushes. “What strange people. I’m really enjoying this. Do you think, Horse, that the Queen will really chop off my head?”
The horse started eating an unpainted rose.
“That’s not a good answer.” There was a sudden commotion, and Wade clapped as a kind of parade came along the path towards them, led by a regal woman who was clearly the Queen.
The horse chewed on a second rose.
“Theft! Murder! What is that creature doing to my roses!” the Queen exclaimed.
“She’s eating them.”
The Queen turned to glare at Wade. “Is it your creature?”
“I think she was the Knight’s horse, but she’s mine now by right of combat,” Wade said.
“Thief! Thief!” The Queen of Hearts leveled her scepter at Wade. “Release that animal!”
Wade let go of the horse. The horse started eating another rose. The Queen drew in a deep breath. “Off with their heads!”
One of the courtiers edged forward nervously. “The, ah, the horse? Or the jester?”
“Jester?” asked Wade, looking around.
“He does look like a jester, doesn’t he?” the Queen mused. “We’ve never had a court Jester before.”
“So just the horse, then?”
The horse glanced at Wade and nibbled into the grass, unconcerned. Wade bounced up and down. “Pick me! Pick me! No one’s chopped my head off in weeks! It’ll be funsies!”
A confused babble arose from the gathered court. Even the Queen looked taken aback. “You…want your head chopped off?”
Wade went down on his knees, grasping at her hand. “Oh, yes, it will be perfect!”
Tugging her hand free, she stepped away. “This will not do! The criminal shouldn’t enjoy the punishment!”
“The punishment shouldn’t fit the crime!” Wade yelled back at her.
“Enough! Enough! I want him gone! And the horse! Where is my Seneschal! I need a proper announcement made to banish them!”
Everyone glanced around. Wade put his hand up. “Who’s the Seneschal?”
“I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be me,” Peter said, coming up the path behind Wade. “Or at least the White Rabbit.”
Chapter 7: Off With Their Heads!
Wade, Peter, and the Court of Hearts have a bit of a conversation of sorts.
“Baby boy!” Wade ran over, scooped Peter up into a hug, and swung him around. “There you are! Guess what? The Queen’s going to cut off my head!”
“Put me down! That’s not a good thing!” Peter’s protests went ignored as Wade kissed him.
“Unhand my Rabbit!” the Queen ordered.
“Oh, hell no,” Wade said, turning to face the Queen of Hearts, holding Peter close to him. “He’s my Rabbit, not your Rabbit, Madam!”
The court gasped. Peter squirmed in Wade’s arms. “Can you stop calling me a rabbit? I’m not really a rabbit.”
“Pfft.” Wade blew out a breath, tickling Peter’s ear. “Next you’ll tell me I’m not Alice!”
“You aren’t Alice. You’re Wade Wilson.” Peter finally squirmed free, and glared up at him, hands on his hips.
“But I am Alice!”
“Don’t you dare start, Wade –"
“TREASON!” shouted the Queen. “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”
Peter and Wade glanced at the Queen as she kept shouting. “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!”
“See I told you! She’s gonna chop my head off! So much fun!” Wade gave a little gleeful hop, clapping his hands together.
“Our heads,” Peter sighed. “She said our heads.”
“Start with mine!” Wade bounded over to the Queen of Hearts and knelt in front of her, the blue skirts of his dress billowing around him. Eyes bulging, the Queen stared at him.
The King of Hearts pushed forward through the crowd and whispered in his Queen’s ear. There was a tense moment and then the Queen leveled her scepter at Wade. “You are banished for the corruption of my Seneschal.”
Wade looked at Peter, still in the utterly sinful bunny outfit. “You want to be corrupted, Baby Boy?”
“I want our bed. Our apartment. I want a TV and the noise of cars outside the window and people on the street shouting at each other in six different languages. I want tacos from a street cart and to sit on a rooftop and have dinner with you. This –” he waved his hands around, taking in the garden, the Court of Cards, and the horse placidly eating another rose, “—I don’t want this!”
Everyone stared at Peter and then each other; the cards looked extremely confused at this plaintive desire from the Seneschal. The Queen of Hearts was so livid she was turning purple with her rage.
“Yeah, yeah, we know,” Wade said, getting up to go hug Peter again. Peter gave in and rested his head – carefully, due to the rabbit ears – on Wade’s shoulder. “We’re banished.”
The Court whirled into chaos around them, cards swirling through the air; a whirlwind of hearts dancing in the air. Peter and Wade held onto each other as reality changed around them once more and they landed on a beach.
“Where are we now?” Peter asked.
Wade glanced around the beach and sighed. “Not another one.”
Peter surveyed the sand. The beach turned into woods several yards away. In the distance he could see a small ship headed towards their location. “I don’t see what’s so wrong with that. Beaches can be nice. It’s not home, but it can be nice.” He pointed at the boat. “Any idea what that is?”
“A boat.” Wade waved energetically at the approaching ship.
“Are you really sure you should be inviting them to tea?”
“We have tea?”
“No, but –” Peter paused as a tea set washed up on shore. “Yes,” he drawled. “We seem to have tea.”
“Then there’s no harm in inviting them to share. Besides, they are coming ashore.”
“Yippee,” Peter said.