A/N: For those that have been reading this, for at least a while, I've been doing a lot of revisions to get the transition in one area to work. It's not all that much, but I did move a page or two around(not here yet, but I'll get there in a few days). Also, I've changed it so that Chapter 2 is now Chapter 2 and 3, which is because of the revisions. So those that think they missed a chapter, you haven't.
Alice stumbles closer to Loki, staring at the floor. Pondering over the letter, she plops down on the bed and snatches it from Loki’s hands. Again and again she reads through it and panics.
Loki digs through the white envelope, pulling out the last letter. It’s much longer than the first. He waits for Alice to pause her thoughts before reading it aloud to her. Loki begins, “Ah Loki, there’s a few last things I forgot to mention. First, I want to tell you where you’ll put the pocket watch. I want you to place it at the base of the tree outside your window sometime this week. Do not make us wait.” Loki stares at the letter and mouths the last few sentences over again to make sure he read it correctly.
Both Alice and Loki’s trail outside the window and down the bark of the tree. Gradually, he blinks his attention back to the letter. “I take it that you’ve checked the tree. The second point I want to make, is about your friend, Alice. However, before I do, I want to ask you: Do you know about Wonderland? If you don’t, then ask Alice, she knows all about it. Or you can ask your other buddy, the one with the dark sunglasses and shameful scar. Raven’s his name, right?
“However, Asgard doesn’t call him Raven. To us, he’s Thor. It’s the same for you and Alice: Loki and Midgard Serpent. Though, you probably know her best by another name—Lacie. It’s been a long time since you’ve called her that, hasn’t it been? Two years ago, if I am correct. Speaking of which, you’ve changed her name quite cleverly; I’ve always loved an anagram.
“Now, for the main point that I’ve been meaning to tell you. There’s something I must warn you about--Alice’s mission given by Wonderland. She has been given orders to retrieve your pocket watch and hand it over to her superior. I warn you for your own good: Don’t fall for any tricks she might throw at you to get your pocket watch. I know I don’t seem very trustworthy, I’ve even threatened you in my previous letter, but I advise you to heed my warning. The Queen of Hearts, the leader of Wonderland, will stoop to dirty tricks to get what she wants. Wonderland is a very dangerous place, and their plans are always rotten. I don’t want you be another victim of them. Well, until I see you, this is goodbye Loki.”
Loki stares blankly at the long letter, as does Alice. Then a knock on the door takes them out of their trance-like state. Sliding the letter back in its envelope, Loki hides both envelopes in his pocket. He half-hesitates to open the door, fearing that Asgard is at the door.
Before Loki says anything, the man on the other side makes his complaint. “Hey! I was beginning to think that no one was home.” He strides in and leans against the wall near the door.
Loki clicks the door shut while breathing out a relief. “What brings you here so early in the morning Raven?”
Swirling around a nearby chair, Raven sits himself down and leaning back, raising the front two legs off the ground. “I had a feeling like you might need my help soon, but never mind about me,” Raven points to Loki’s pocket with the envelopes. “Seems like you’ve got something interesting. Hand it over, I want to take a look.”
Shrugging at Alice, Loki hands over his share while Alice is reluctant to hand over hers. However, she gives in. When Alice spots the black envelope, her eyes twitch and her head throbs. She gets a sense of Deja-vu. As soon as Alice focuses on something else, the pain subsides.
A few minutes later, Raven finishes the letters and hands them back to Loki. “Looks like you have trouble all right. I thought so.”
“So,” Loki slips the envelopes and letters into his back pocket. “Do you know about this Mad Hatter from Wonderland? Is he like the book?”
“Yeah, I know him. More than I would wish to; but no, he’s not mad like in the book. He’s worse. Yet, of the people you’ll meet from Wonderland, he’s probably going to be the least of your problems.”
The conversations stops unfinished. Alice motions to leave the room and take a walk. Raven agrees. They exchange similar glances. Watching them eye each other strangely, Loki begins to suspect something between them, but he gets no chance to say a word. Alice and Raven start to leave. Usually Raven doesn’t go with Loki and Alice on their daily stroll, but today he has a suspicion that he should.
Making her way to the park, Alice occasionally peers behind her at Loki. He’s falling far behind both her and Raven. Far inside the park, they encounter a problem. Or rather, three of them.
Wonderland shows up. Three members stand in their path. One is a man with a black top hat, which has a card that says ‘10/6’ protruding from the brim, appearing elegant compared to Loki. Yet, while he seems like a gentleman, standing rigid in his long coat, but his wild hairstyle and dirt on his coat implies otherwise. Loki determines his identity to be undeniable: the Mad Hatter.
Beside him stand two adorable looking identical twin boys. Giving the impression to be around the age of ten, they are roughly half the height of the Mad Hatter. Their blonde hair and deep blue eyes are nearly kept the same as the other. The only difference between them are where they part their hair, one parts on the left, and the other parts on the right. However, since they’re with the Mad Hatter, they’re bound to be more vicious than they look. They’re Wonderland’s own Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
Silence from the accidental encounter is quickly broken by the Mad Hatter. “How do you do, Loki? It’s such a pleasant encounter to have the chance to see you. We have heard that you have received a letter from Asgard.” The Mad Hatter releases his hands from Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum’s while pausing. He ends his introductions. “Yes, we do indeed want the pocket watch as well, but stay rest assured, we do not want it to do such evil deeds as Asgard wants to. It would be unspeakable Wonderland to do quite a thing.”
The Mad Hatter pauses nudges Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum closer to him. They cling to his pockets. He rubs their back to keep them quiet. Tweedle Dee digs his head in the Mad Hatter’s side while Tweedle Dum glares at Raven.
Holding the twins lovingly, the Mad Hatter continues his speech. “However, the vile Asgard has committed a sin so atrocious that we must now eliminate them. Their plan is to destroy the town that we live in, then the world, one city at a time. They will only leave a safe haven for themselves, all the way up in the realm of Asgard, their own namesake. They perform their evil deed with your pocket watch. It’s the legendary watch that can connect to Ragnarok, the weapon of ultimate destruction, and it can lead the world to its salvation or its doom. I don’t expect you to believe me at this moment, but let these two explain the details.”
The twins take a shy step forward after several gentle nudges. They continue to cling to the Mad Hatter’s front pocket. Tweedle Dee combs his to the side with his fingers, parting his hair to the right. “Aw, why us Hatter? We don’t know these people. They’re scary.” His bother encourages him on.
The Mad Hatter holds their shoulders firmly while shaking them reassuringly. They stare at the ground continuously, until their courage gathers. Tweedle Dee raises his head quickly, clenching his free hand into a fist while avoiding eye contact with Raven.
Nearly whispering, Dee slurs the longer words he tries to speak. “Fine, we’ll talk.” He rudely points to Loki. “Okay, this introduction is going to be short and sweet. You better listen or you’ll miss out. I’m Tweedle Dee and this is my brother, Tweedle Dum.” Loki’s mind gives himself a short praise.
Dum continues instantly where Dee leaves off, slurring his long words and over exaggerating. “Yup! But just because we’re ten, doesn’t mean that people aren’t scared of us.”
Dee finishes off the introductions. “Any questions about us before we move on?”
“Now,” Dum jumps in right away, “I’m supposed to tell you about some important stuff, so let’s start.”
“Well,” Dee switches off with Dum, using a lot of hand gestures while he speaks. “You see, this pocket watch of yours can open this really big pathway,” He holds his arms out wide and his mouth wide open for a few seconds. “And somewhere along it, before reaching Asgard, is Ragnarok. But unlike what most people think of it as, Ragnarok is a weapon that can cause the end of the world and the end of the Gods. It doesn’t have to kill.” Dee shakes his head.
Dum takes over rapidly enough that it gives the impression that the same person is speaking and doing the hand gestures. “Yeah, and we’re not really sure what this weapon looks like, no human does, so we can’t tell you what it looks like. Oh well.” Dum gives a little shrug. “But the problem is that we don’t know even how we’re supposed to open this pathway, only that we need your pocket watch and a song to do it. The song.”
“The song?” Loki interrupts, speaking his thought aloud.
Dee answers Loki’s question. “Yeah, Alice. You’ve heard of it, right?”
Loki jumps at the mention of the name, then Dum continues where he left off. “So, somehow we need to connect the song to the pocket watch before the watch strikes midnight. We don’t know when the watch will, and that is why we’re asking you now because it could strike midnight at any time. We need you to figure out how to connect the song to the pocket watch.”
Stepping closer, Dee grins with excitement. “So, that’s about it. Any questions?” When no one speaks during the few seconds given, Dee makes his final reply. “No? Good. Well, we’re done, Hatter!”
The twins turn to the Mad Hatter, expecting praise. He kneels down at them and knocks their head against his. “You two did wonderful. See? I knew you could talk to strangers just fine.” Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum giggle. The Mad Hatter stands back up while the twins cling to his jacket while hugging him around the waist.
He holds them close again, but takes his hand off of Dum in moments, holding it out to Loki. “So, will you help us? Will you let us have the pocket watch so that we can protect this town and its people in your steed? I don’t want to dirty your hands.”
Loki’s eyes waver, glancing down at his watch. His fingers follow the lines of the engravings. The chain rattles silently against his leg, similar to the silence in the discussion.
Alice breaks in, “Edwin, I know these people, they’re trustworthy. They’ll keep your pocket watch safe; you’ll be fine.”
His eyes change their focus to Alice. It had never been matter of trust between Alice’s words or of Wonderland’s, but of himself. His heart hesitates, inquiring what he should do. Asgard wants the pocket watch, but from what Loki gathers, they don’t seem like that bad of a group. Wonderland doesn’t seem all that harmful either, but the groups’ words conflict with each other.
However, he doesn’t want to regret his actions. This watch is the last thing he has left from Lacie. It’s a battle between his feelings and what seems right. Yet, even with all the thought he put into a decision, he knew what he was going to say from the start.
Peering over at Raven, Loki notifies him of his decision. A nod is response. Then Loki smiles at Alice, which she returns. He tries to voice his decision as soon as he turns to the Mad Hatter, but something strikes within that they’re extremely dangerous. His breath leaves him.
Loki gulps the knot down in his throat. “I know what the possible travesties that I may cause because of this, but I still cannot hand it over.”
The Mad Hatter lightly taps the twins’ shoulders. They let go of him. “Is this final?”
Loki replies calmly. “Yes, it is.”
Taking a few steps back, the Mad Hatter slides his hands into his pockets. “Very well.” He hands each boy a pair of white gloves, similar to the pair he’s wearing. While they slip the gloves on, the Mad Hatter continues, “It is most unfortunate that we could not come to an agreement, but I did make it your choice. Now it looks like I’ll have to make one myself. Please excuse me as I will have to take the pocket watch from you by force!”