Connections Drawing Nearer
Hiccup groaned, slowly opening his eyes as he woke. It took a few moments for his vision to clear up, trying to sit up once it did. He hissed, gripping his leg where it had been bandaged. He took a few moments to observe himself, seeing that his side and the top of his head was bandaged as well. His shuffling caused Toothless to stir, the dragon trotting up to him excitedly but nudged him as gently as possible, still sensing that Hiccup was hurt.
"Toothless..." Hiccup reached a hand out to pet his nose. "What happened...?"
As the dragon whimpered lightly, Hiccup heard stirring on the other side of his bed. Merida blinked her eyes open, laying still for a few moments before sitting up quickly, forcing herself into alertness. Her thick curls bounced as she got to her feet, her eyes widening with surprise to see Hiccup awake.
"Hiccup!" She exclaimed, beaming. "Are y' alright, lad?"
The Viking shook his head, trying to understand exactly what was going on. "Hold on a second…" He shifted himself a bit, wincing as he rubbed at his leg. "… why am I back here? The battle… Merida, did… did we defeat the Queen?"
Merida exhaled lightly, sitting on the edge of Hiccup's bed beside him as she shook her head. "No, we didn't. I couldn't stop her in time… she gave you a good beating." She bowed her head. "Alice didn't fare so well either."
"Wait, Alice? She was hurt? Is she alright?" He hissed as he held his head, and Merida held her hand against his good shoulder.
"Hiccup, you need to REST." She frowned. "She'll recover quicker than you, that's all y' have to know." Merida was about to say something else when she noticed something. Her eyes were drawn to the hand on Hiccup's shoulder as it began to glow a bit. She retracted it to look upon it, but the glow dimmed into the lighter, typical glow that she had.
"Merida?" Hiccup tilted his head. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing…" She cleared her throat. "I… I'm really glad you're awake…"
Hiccup chuckled lightly. "Come on… you're talking to the same guy that deals with dragons, I'm as tough as nails."
"More like as tough as porridge right now, lad." Merida giggled, sighing contently. "Y' know… it would have been nice to have someone as adventurous as you back in Dun' Broch." She said. "The boys from the other clans are just… blech." Both of them chuckled at that, Hiccup scratching the back of his neck bashfully.
"Well… before I found Toothless, it would have been nice to have someone like you in my corner. I was pretty wimpy back then… actually, I still kind of am." Hiccup shrugged.
"No, lad. You just need someone to believe in you. I believe in you, Hiccup. You're not… pompous, or dull, or thick-skulled…" Merida said.
"Apparently not, otherwise I probably wouldn't have this going on right now." Hiccup pointed to the bandages on his head. Merida looked from his face to the bandages before bursting out in laughter. Toothless chirped happily as Hiccup laughed with her, his spirits already feeling lifted.
When their laughter died down, Merida sighed contently once more, looking into Hiccup's eyes. "You know… I never really liked the thought of being wed… m' mom tried to marry me off to one of the lads from the other clans… but Hiccup, I just want to say that… I can't help but feel-"
"Well, look who's awake!" North laughed heartily as he walked into the room. "You've done such a good job taking care of young Hiccup here, Merida. A couple of my elves should be here any minute to give you some breakfast to help rebuild your strength!"
Hiccup blinked, smiling and nodding his head. "Oh, um… thanks… for that and um… being happy about me being awake…"
North chuckled, tapping the side of his own head with his finger. "Ol' North always knows!" He laughed heartily once more as he walked out of the room.
Merida cleared her throat, glancing around as she moved some hair out of her face. "I should, um… check on those elves of his… little food thieves, they are… last time I caught them taking from m' own plate, the one still has his hand wrapped in cloth after I stabbed it with m' fork." She giggled, Hiccup chuckling lightly as Merida rose, floating out of his room. She stopped outside his door, sighing blissfully before heading downstairs.
Meanwhile, Jack and Bunnymund sat by Alice's bedside, side by side, having been silent for quite some time. Every once and again, they broke their focus on the unconscious Alice to glance at one another, quickly looking away if their eyes happened to make contact. Finally, it was Jack who broke the silence as he straightened up.
"You know… we've been here all morning. Maybe we should get something to eat and then come back later." He said.
Bunny shrugged. "I'm fine, mate. You go on ahead if you're hungry."
"I didn't say I was hungry… I just thought it would be a good idea. But you, you need to keep up your speed, you may need some fuel." Jack said as he tried to pat Bunny's belly, but the rabbit smacked his hand away.
"I said I'm fine." Bunny said with annoyance, crossing his arms. "You on the other hand… you could use something to eat yourself. Wouldn't want to go for too long without replenishing those dashingly good looks you have… not enough in there-" Bunny went to poke Jack's stomach then, Jack snickering as he shoved Bunny's hand away. "… your face will lose that unearthly glow, and your eyes will lose their little twinkle." Bunny said as he imitated Jack mockingly.
"Good thing we're guardians and we pretty much live forever, huh?" Jack smirked, raising a brow. Bunny's expression dropped for a moment before he grumbled, crossing his arms. Not a moment later, he emitted a second grumble; Jack blinked as he looked down at Bunny's stomach, before smirking even wider. "Oh yeah, you're totally not hungry, are you?"
Bunny shot a glare at the ice guardian. "Jack, I swear if you do not can it, I will shove one of my giant feet right up your-"
"Morning, lads!" Merida smiled as she floated into the room. "How is Alice faring this morning?"
"She hasn't woken up yet…" Jack answered.
"Have you filled up yet downstairs? I just brought something for Hiccup." Merida asked.
"Nah, I'm okay… but uh, Bunny here…" Jack started as he pat Bunny's back. "… he's starving, so if you haven't eaten yet, you two can spend some quality time together!"
Bunny shook his head, holding a paw up. "No wait, I'm not really-"
"I'd love that!" Merida smiled. "Come now lad, before it all runs cold! No offense, Jack." She giggled, taking one of Bunny's paws in her hand as Jack playfully shoved him towards her. Bunny smacked his hands away, glaring daggers at Jack and mouthing empty threats at him as Jack could not hold back his snickering.
Merida scooped up an apple, biting into it and wiping her mouth on her sleeve before sitting down in a chair. Bunny slid some food onto his plate, plopping down next to Merida as he rested his head in one hand, stabbing at his food with his fork.
"What's with the long face, Bunny?" She asked before taking another bite of her apple.
"I'm gonna beat the flurries out of mister 'nip at your nose' upstairs, I'll tell you that." Bunny muttered.
Merida laughed. "Is there a time where you two aren't bickering over something?" She asked.
"Trust me, Jack and I have been 'bickering' for centuries now." Bunny rolled his eyes.
"You think you would have come to some sort of agreement now?" Merida tilted her head. "Y' know… m' mom and I fought a lot… but after she was almost turned into a bear forever… we learned to listen to each other."
Bunny raised a brow. "What, you think I don't listen, eh? Have you not seen the size of these?" He said, pointing to his ears. "I can hear stuff better than anyone here."
"Well of course y' can, lad. But it doesn't mean you always use them." Merida smiled, putting her apple core on Bunny's plate and ruffling the top of his head lightly before floating upstairs.
Meanwhile, Jack sighed lightly. "Please… wake up…" He whispered, biting his lip for a moment and closing his eyes. He opened them, sitting still for a few moments longer. He noticed a strand of hair hanging in Alice's face, reaching over to gently tuck it behind her ears.
It was as if his touch had triggered something, Alice shifting a bit in her slumber. Jack gasped lightly, blinking. "Lizzie…" Alice muttered. "Close your window, if you please… there's a draft…"
Jack took one of Alice's hands in his anxiously. "Alice, it's me, Jack. Alice, wake up!"
Making Jack jump, Alice gasped as she awoke with a start, flying into an upright position as she grabbed her vorpal blade, gripping it tightly. Her grimace soon faded, furrowing her brows as she slowly looked over to see that her right hand was still being held by Jack's hands, realization hitting her as she dropped the blade. "Jack… what… why am I…" Her eyes widened as she gasped, swinging her legs to rise to her feet.
"Hey, wha- Alice!" Jack held her shoulders to stop her, going in front of her.
"I haven't a clue as to why I am HERE, but I need to go back and teach those sorry mongrels a lesson!" She exclaimed.
"You aren't going anywhere! Just… just sit down, and… Alice, please…" Jack led her back to her bed, and she plopped down, closing her eyes for a moment as she shook her head.
"How could I have been so weak?" She asked, glancing up at him. "That was my chance to save them."
"Alice… we can still save them… we just need to wait for you and Hiccup to recover, and then we'll put together a new plan." Jack said.
"I failed, Jack. I was supposed to be strong, but I wasn't." Alice exhaled sharply.
"You didn't fail, and you ARE strong." Jack sat next to her, putting an arm around her.
In the hall, Sandy was floating towards the stairs, exhaling as he was in deep thought. Each time he seemed to come up with some sort of idea, his smile would fade, shaking his head and resumed his deep thinking. He then heard voices, snapping out of it for a moment to peek inside the doorway where the voices were coming from. He smiled when he saw Jack talking to a now conscious Alice, floating downstairs. Bunny was moping at the table, Sandy approaching him and tapping him to get his attention.
"Oh, hey Sandy." Bunny said. Sandy waved his hands, using his sand to form the outline of Alice above his head, before making a waking up motion, pointing up a level. Bunny looked from him to the upper level, his eyes widening. "Wait, are you telling me Alice is awake?" Sandy nodded, and Bunny wordlessly bounded up to the next level. He skid to a stop in the doorway, a smile poking at the corners of his lips when he saw Sandy had indeed told him the truth. "Alice!" He exclaimed.
The young woman glanced up, smiling lightly. "Hello, Bunny. Pleasure to see you're well."
"Crikey, I was so worried that you weren't gonna-" Bunny blinked when he noticed Jack had his arm around her, pointing an accusatory finger at him. "Hey, hey! Get your grimy paws off! Oh yeah, get ol' bunny out of the picture than get all warm and fuzzy! Well guess what mate, I'M the one who's warm and fuzzy!"
Jack held his arms out, raising his brows. "Oh well excuse me, you're the one with 'grimy PAWS!' I'm sorry that I'm trying to console the poor girl after everything she's been through!"
Bunny jabbed a finger at Jack's chest. "Yeah, right! The perfect excuse to-"
"Will BOTH of you cease your quarreling for one moment and kindly explain to me what this commotion is about?" Alice shouted, looking from Jack to Bunny. The two silenced at Alice's shouting, glancing at each other for a moment before slowly pointing to her. The young woman groaned, rolling her eyes and shaking her head. "Alright, here is how we're going to proceed. You are both going to sit down like good little boys, and you are going to explain to me plainly, and calmly… the reason that I seem to be the source of your animosity. I have a feeling that this isn't something that just came about." Jack and Bunny raised their brows, glancing around nervously and each taking a seat on the edge of Alice's bed as she ushered them to, she taking a chair to sit in front of them. She crossed her legs, raising a brow as the two continued their nervous gestures, either coughing lightly into their hand, or avoiding her stare. She crossed her arms, pursing her lips. "Well? Aren't you both going to explain yourselves? You seemed to have quite a lot to say to each other just now. What's the matter? Cat got your tongue? I'll have to see if Cheshire has confiscated them." She smirked.
Bunny was the first to break the awkward silence between him and Jack, sighing lightly. "Look, Alice… we, uh…" He glanced at Jack before continuing. "… we have a bit of, uh… a problem."
"Oh?" Alice sat up a bit from her reclined position in the chair. "And what might the problem be?"
Before Bunny could say anything, opening his mouth to speak, Jack beat him to the cut this time. "I don't think either of us can hide our real feelings anymore, Alice."
The genuineness in Jack's expression and words made some of Alice's playfulness dissolve, her own expression softening as she looked at him. There was no denying that as they had come to know each other over the past several weeks, they had become substantially closer. Even she and Bunny, which had started off quite roughly, had formed a close bond. At times there would be a pinch of flirting in their interactions; after all, though Jack and Bunny were centuries old, their mentalities were not so. Despite Alice's nightmarish past, these interactions had softened the strong, concrete walls she had built up around herself, making her more welcoming of those playful moments.
She also had begun to understand that in her heart, she felt a deeper connection to them… but more prominently, to Jack.
It all began with their understanding of losing a dear sister… oh yes, her heart sank when she was reminded once more of the situation with Eliza. She closed her eyes for a moment as she exhaled slowly. She craved for that connection; she craved that assurance that there was this one person who understood a fraction of her plight. And from there, she began to see that craving develop. Amidst all the fighting, this craving had been pushed aside; or had it? It was all coming back to her now… she had been fighting Pitch quite valiantly, but then she saw that Jack had been in potential danger… in normal circumstances, such as in Wonderland, nothing could distract her from fighting all of the card guards in the world, but Jack… no, nothing could happen to him. He made her feel something… something so foreign to her, but it felt… it felt so heavenly, an antithesis to the usual hell she had faced for the last decade or so of her life.
When Bunny noticed the way Alice was suddenly staring at Jack, he panicked internally. This was what he was afraid of, what Pitch had made him aware that he was afraid of before he even realized it himself. There was that look in her eyes, he didn't have to be cupid to know there was a longing in them. It was his turn to interrupt Jack as he opened his mouth to continue, blurting out the first thing that came to mind.
"We really, really like you!" Bunny exclaimed, holding his paws out.
Jack looked at Bunny flatly as Alice raised a brow at him. "Thank you for those deep and meaningful words." Jack said.
Alice exhaled, knowing the moment had passed for Jack to pour his heart out. She figured that what he had to say to her would be said in time, when the right moment came. For now, all she could do was wait anxiously and speculate as she reclined once again in her chair.
"Well then… this is quite a dilemma. I'm… assuming when you say that you 'really, really like me,' you mean more than just as an acquaintance." Alice said. When she received nods from both of them in response, she sighed lightly, pinching the bridge of her nose. "I do hope there is a reason for your feelings other than for sport between yourselves."
"Look, I know it may seem that way, but… this is just kind of a mess. It all just… happened." Jack said.
"As do most attractions between one individual and another." She looked up, her expression a bit more serious. "Very well. I'm not going to give you assignments or make you undergo an endless series of tests. I'm not going to make you my tortured servants or pin one of you against the other… that last bit you do quite well in doing on your own, anyhow. My heart shall not be won by competition. And know that both of you already have a special place in my heart as we currently stand…" Her voice became gentler as she reached both her hands out, taking one of Jack's and one of Bunny's hands into her own. "… if I do decide at some point in the future that I would like to engage in a courtship with either of you… that the other not believe that I did not choose them out of any particular lacking. You are both equally eligible for a worthy and noble heart." When she smiled, Jack and Bunny both returned the gesture. "I feel much gratitude that you see my heart as such."
After a moment of content silence, Bunny was the first to speak. "So... how will you decide?"
Alice pursed her lip in thought, rising to her feet to pace about the room. "Jack, did you say that Hiccup requires a bit of time for recovery?"
"Yeah... some of his ribs were broken." Jack sighed.
"Now that I am aware of both your feelings... I will take this time to address and consider them and their influence upon my own. I shall make my decision after the next meeting with our enemies. If we all make it back... one of you shall have the pleasure of courting me." Alice said. "And remember... just remain as you are. There's no point trying to impress me if such behavior isn't consistent." She gave a final nod before walking out of the room, heading down the hall towards Hiccup's room. She poked her head inside, seeing that Merida was seated near him and they were talking. It was Toothless that noticed her, perking up and tilting his head at her. Hiccup noticed Toothless, craning his head to look towards the door, Merida turning around.
"Alice!" Merida smiled. "You're alright!"
"Pleasure to see you both still have your lives. Well… sort of." Alice cleared her throat, her statement making Merida roll her eyes playfully. She approached Hiccup, jumping a bit when Toothless lowered his head towards her. Despite his kind nature, Alice still harbored a bit of discomfort towards the dragon; memories of the dreaded Jabberwocky still haunted her, so it took her a moment to relax, stiffly patting his nose. Toothless wrinkled it as Alice sat at the edge of Hiccup's bed. "I heard you were in poor condition." She said to him.
"Yeah, it's going to be a while before I can kick card guard butt again…" Hiccup scratched the back of his neck, sighing then. "Alice… I know how much those kids mean to you. And… I'm going to try to get better as soon as possible so that-"
"Hiccup…" Alice breathed. "I've been so focused on saving them that I have forgotten that we are all placing our lives at risk to do so, not just me." She bowed her head. "I'm sorry for neglecting to remember that. You could have very well lost your life yesterday."
"I've survived through worse… trust me." He smiled, gently patting her arm.
"I'm sure you have… anyone who can be best friends with a dragon doesn't have a faint heart." She said as she gave his hand a gentle squeeze.
Merida cleared her throat, floating over to extend her arm, taking Hiccup's empty plate off his lap. She raised a brow, her expression a bit irritated. "I'll be taking this off your hands." She whirled around, floating out of the room.
They both glanced up, Alice raising her brows before smirking lightly, chuckling to herself. Hiccup looked over at her when she did that, tilting his head. "Uh… what's so funny?"
"Hiccup… I may have spent ten years in a place akin to a prison, but I know a green-eyed monster when I see one. She must have taken our interaction the wrong way." Alice said.
"… I'm... I'm sorry, I'm not following you." Hiccup shook his head.
Toothless rolled his eyes, putting a paw on his face. This made Alice laugh more. "Oh you poor soul, even your dragon is more attune to what's happening than you are."
Hiccup looked from the two of them to the door, groaning as he held his head in his hands. "Look… I know she likes me, but… I mean-"
"She is of sixteen years of age and has quite a free spirit. She is used to chasing after anything she desires; you seem to be the current source of her desire. Why, I'm not exactly sure how things are in your cultures, but in my time, in England, it's quite common for young women her age to be married, some even preparing for motherhood!" Alice said.
Hiccup choked a bit, holding his throat as his eyes widened. "Wha- Why does everyone keep reminding me that- ohh, this is bad, this is… this is very, very bad… Alice, I have a girlfriend back on Berk, I have Astrid, who is probably worried sick about me! I cannot, I will not, do this to her. Look, I really like Merida, I really like, all of you here! You've all become like some sort of… weird, odd, dysfunctional family to me, but that doesn't mean I can just forget the family I already have at home!"
Alice's smile saddened, tilting her head. "Yes… you do have a family to go back home to." She ruffled his hair a bit, chuckling lightly. "You have no idea how lucky you are."
Hiccup's expression softened, furrowing his brows a bit. "Alice… maybe I was a bit critical just now, but… after everything we've been through together, we're a family, there's nothing that can change that. We may not be the same as the one you lost… but it's better than being alone."
Merida hovered about the doorway, listening to them speak. Her expression softened, feeling a bit badly for being so jealous just earlier. "Indeed, it is." Alice replied, smiling up at Hiccup. "And I don't regret the friendships I've made her thus far." She gave him a nod, standing up to turn to Toothless. The dragon tilted his head lightly, Alice hesitantly petting his nose, less stiffly than earlier. "Perhaps I shall someday not be so fearful of you." Toothless purred lightly in response, smiling at her as Alice walked out of the room. Not a moment after she stepped into the hallway, a voice cried out from behind her.
"Alice!" Eliza cried happily, running down the hall and nearly knocking the young woman over as she hugged her. "You're awake!"
"I am!" Alice laughed, hugging the child close to her. "Have you been well?"
Eliza smiled and nodded. "I made a new friend." She looked back, Olaf waddling around and chattering away about something.
Alice smiled warmly, realization coming to her as she took Eliza's hands in hers. "I am so proud of you."
"I'm not so afraid anymore." Eliza smiled. "I wanted to play with Jack, but he was with you. He said he would watch and make sure you were okay so I could go play with Olaf."
Alice's heart felt light. She tucked a strand of hair behind Eliza's hair. "I'm so happy to hear that, love." She kissed her forehead. "I'm going to have a spot of breakfast."
"They have tea, Alice. Your favorite." Eliza smiled. Alice nodded, hugging the child once more before going downstairs.
Pitch stood in the middle of his room, exhaling slowly. His eyes were closed, only opening when he heard approaching footsteps come to a stop several feet behind him.
"Is someone in a conflict with their heart, Pitch?" The Queen asked. "I can assist with that."
"Perhaps I do not desire your assistance." Pitch responded.
"I do recall we had a bargain." The Queen said, approaching closer and going around to stand in front of Pitch.
The King of Nightmares noticed that the Queen would often retract her tentacles into herself when in his presence, and the action fascinated him as he looked down at her human like legs, red and raw like the flesh of her oversized hands, yet oddly her feet were of normal size. It perplexed him as to how she possibly defied physics by making her tentacles virtually disappear, and then could conjure a limitless number of them in mere seconds. Where did they all go, exactly? Where did they come from? Was there an endless space under that dress of hers? He thought it would be best if he never learned the answer to those questions.
"Ah, yes..." Pitch spoke finally, glancing at the Queen. "... you want me to... let you in."
"You do remember..." The Queen chuckled lightly, taking a step closer to him. "So... care to tell me what's on your mind? Or rather, your heart?"
Despite how much he resented the Queen, Pitch suddenly thought that perhaps this could be a good thing. A second opinion on what these foreign sensations meant to him may put them to rest and clear his head once and for all. "Very well... I shall describe my visions to you."
Meanwhile, Wick perked up and smiled when Elsa approached, taking her a bit off guard when he hugged her. She stiffened for a moment, but relaxed after a few moments to hug him back. They sat down together, remaining silent at first. Elsa then inhaled, turning to look at him.
"Wick... I apologize for my conduct towards you earlier... I would never mean to hurt you like that." She said, bowing her head.
"It's okay…" Wick replied. "You said before that brothers and sisters fight sometimes, right? But they still love each other…"
Elsa smiled lightly. "Yes, I did say that." After a moment, she wondered something. "Wick… why exactly do the guardians dislike you so much? Are you not like them?"
Wick's expression changed then, darkening at the mention of them. "No, I'm not like them. That's why they didn't like me." He shut his eyes tightly, remembering of his time back in the dark ages. "The man in the moon chose me to guide the children during the time of harvest… the nights grew longer during that time, and it was the scariest time of year because families would always worry if they had enough food to last through the winter. I was chosen to make them forget that, to bring them joy, and light. I tried… I would offer them candy and the light of my fire to keep them safe from the dark… but they were afraid of me. I wasn't jolly, or furry, or beautiful… so I thought that maybe… maybe scaring was what I was supposed to do. So I did. I would scare them right to their mommies and daddies. The other guardians… they were angry. They said it wasn't what I was supposed to do. They said I was just like the Boogeyman, that I was no good. I told them that it felt right to scare the children… that scaring was all I knew. They hated me… so I ran away. Then I found him…"
"Found who, Wick?" Elsa frowned, holding his hand as she was saddened by his story.
"Brother Pitch… the Boogeyman." He answered. "I told him what happened… and I remember he smiled. 'There is a place in this world for you, Wick.' He had said. 'Together, we will show the guardians that we deserve to be believed in too.'" Wick smiled. "He liked me. We worked together, but then the guardians came… there was a big fight, and they put brother Pitch into a deep sleep… the Sandman did… and then…" He inhaled shakily, his hand squeezing Elsa's. "They turned me back into a pumpkin… they took my life from me."
Elsa closed her eyes for a moment, staring at him sadly. "I'm so sorry." She sighed. "We can't help the way we were born."
Wick glanced over at her, smiling lightly as both his hands held hers. "But don't worry." His smile grew. "We'll kill the guardians and their friends together. They'll never hurt us again. Then you, me, and brother Pitch can be happy. The children will believe in us." He nodded.
Elsa did not answer, she sighed lightly, simply pulling Wick in for a hug. He hugged her back as she closed her eyes, resting her head on his shoulder. The rim of his hat brushed against her hair, the feeling oddly comforting to the young woman.
The Queen narrowed her eyes as she clenched her jaw; that wretched girl even appeared in Pitch's dreams! What would it take for him to understand that Elsa was not a proper match for him? That he deserved someone stronger, more suitable to his standard of wickedness, ruthlessness? She knew she had to convince him somehow, that his little pet was nothing more than that. As for the mysterious woman he too had seen, she sensed that her presence was of very old, ancient nature… that her presence was derived from something that had once been quite tangible, very meaningful to Pitch. This intrigued the Queen, and she hoped this was an opportunity to learn more about him, delve deeper into his heart.
"Tell me…" The Queen began. "What do you know of your life before the guardians?"
"Before the dark ages… nothing. I can remember nothing." Pitch replied. "Not that it ever really mattered, anyhow."
"Oh, but it does… you have no idea what hidden secrets are locked away in the abyss of your heart… secrets that may be arising through these visions." The Queen said. "What is the oldest memory you can recall?"
Pitch closed his eyes, thinking for a few moments. He hated to admit it, but he actually felt quite grateful for the Queen's assistance in her attempt to decipher the bizarre, maddening visions he had been experiencing. "I remember… longing for something… a family, of some sort… I felt like… I had lost something… something very dear to me. But over time, the feeling lessened. I cared less and less about wanting a family… instead, I only longed for power, to drive every child to the darkness so that they may believe in me, that they may fill the void inside my heart."
"Indeed… the void in your heart is of great depth." The Queen said.
"It was only when I encountered Jack Frost in the tundra… when I tried to convince him to join my cause… for a glimpse of a moment, as I tried to express how I related to his circumstances; I remembered that feeling once again. Like the soreness of an old wound… it went away upon receiving his bitterness." Pitch said.
"Your heart has kept what your mind has lost." The Queen said. "The heart always does. As long as it remains… regardless of the length of time that passes, it may come to rise again." She neared Pitch, smiling lightly. "You cannot deny what the heart desires… it governs us all…" Her eyes stared into his.
In his emotional vulnerability, Pitch did not back away, nor did he venture forth. He stood poised, tall, like a statue. The Queen was a mere inch from him now, the corners of her lips poking into a smirk. Her eyes were half lidded, her bottom lip just barely gracing against his own. She emitted a soft chuckle, her eyes looking up into his once more as she backed away slowly. No, she would not dive in for the kill now; she would only tantalize him, cast out the bait to lure him in little by little. She was breaking down his resistance, and this made her tentacles curl and writhe with anticipation, wherever they may have been in that given moment. Without another word, she took her leave, sashaying past him. When he was left with nothing but his thoughts, Pitch exhaled deeply, releasing the breath he had been holding. He had no idea what had just happened, and he sat down slowly as he tried to wrap his mind around what had just occurred. When nothing seemed to work, he exhaled sharply, rising to his feet. He descended down a flight of ice stairs, glancing over to see Elsa and Wick conversing on one end of the cavern. He paused for a moment, pursing his lips in thought. He then pivoted his feet, changing his course of direction as he began to make his way towards them. When Wick noticed Pitch, he perked up, smiling a bit wider, getting to his feet to float over to him.
"Hi, Pitch!" He exclaimed. "You want to sit with us?"
Pitch cleared his throat; the Halloween themed creature was a bit obnoxious to him; though he had helped him in the past and even now, but he was more of a bother than Pitch would have preferred to tolerate. "I'd rather not." He responded. "However… I was wondering…" He waved Wick off with his hand, approaching Elsa as he then extended the same hand towards her. "… if you would like to walk with me, Elsa."
The young woman blinked in response, looking at the ground for a moment before nodding. "Sure…" She took his hand, Pitch helping Elsa to her feet. As Pitch took the lead ahead of her, she glanced behind her at Wick, who waved at them shyly. She smiled lightly, following Pitch.
"Here… walk beside me." Pitch said to her. "You've certainly proven yourself these last couple weeks, I think you should be considered an equal, don't you agree?" He smirked lightly.
Elsa took a few quick steps to join his side before returning to her prior pace, glancing up at him. "Thank you." She smiled lightly. She rubbed her arms as she hung her head a bit. They ascended through the hole in the bottom floor of Houndsditch, stopping when they ascended the stairs to the balcony so they could look out onto the night together.
"Look at this… great, vast world, Elsa." Pitch said to her. "All of this could be ours… you have to be fearless enough to want it." He glanced down at her, noticing she was staring up at the moon. He grimaced at the large, round object in the sky.
"The moon used to keep Anna awake at night… that's when…" Elsa held her head a bit, closing her eyes. "No… forget… forget…" She whispered to herself.
Pitch stared at her, narrowing his eyes ever so slightly. A flash from his vision came to him then; the roar of the train's engine erupted in his ears as it left the destruction of Arendelle in its wake. He could see the mysterious woman falling from the window, holding the doll to her. The woman slowly turned into Elsa… and Elsa slowly turned into a doll herself. She fell into the smoke stack of the train; the smoke filled her lungs with black soot, the embers nestled in her hair, making it black and rough. The flames licked at her skin hungrily, the heat cracking and ruining the smooth, perfect finish. He gasped lightly, the sound causing Elsa to look up at him curiously as he snapped out of the sudden vision, a short continuation from what he had seen in his slumbers.
"Pitch?" Elsa tilted her head lightly. "Is something wrong?"
The Nightmare King straightened himself, remaining composed. "Elsa…" He started, deciding to answer her question with one of his own. "… when you remember something… uncomfortable, something that stems from the root of your fear… why do you suddenly choose to forget the memory? That is not what you did in the beginning… you simply attempted to control and conceal the fear itself."
Elsa closed her eyes tightly for a moment, exhaling. "Well… concealing my fear didn't seem to do any good." She answered.
"No, it didn't. To confront your fear you must first acknowledge it; trying to keep it bottled up inside of you will only make it fester more." Pitch said. "But you did not answer my question."
"The doctor suggested I forget the memories that remind me of my fear… that the only way I will succeed in eliminating my pain is to forget those memories… he said they are unproductive." Elsa said.
Pitch's brows furrowed then, his eyes lowering as something clicked in his mind. The vision of the train with its dolls contained within it… the decay, the destruction, the corruption… Elsa's unusual, increasingly violent and uncharacteristic behavior… this was all his doing…
Oh, how the dastardly doctor had been whispering his black words into Elsa's open ears right under his nose! He should have been happy, he should have been grateful that finally, the doctor had snapped Elsa out of her helplessness, her fearfulness, her withdrawn state. But deep inside, Pitch sensed that something was not right with Bumby… that even he, a dark and wicked being himself, would not even go as far as Bumby did in twisting their minds. Oh yes, how he relished in watching all their simple, boring little dreams become his beautiful, wild nightmares…
Pitched realized then, that there was a sheer difference in motive.
All he wanted was to be believed in; so had Elsa, it was something they shared, regardless of the reason why he dragged the young woman into all of this. But Bumby… what reason did he have to not just play with their little heads; which is all Pitch did really, especially after he lost the ability to turn them into fearlings… but to go as far as to virtually suck the life out of them, to force them into vile occupations, and then plaster a label as a good Samaritan upon himself? At least Pitch gave no bones about what he did. Even by Pitch's standards… something about this, what was happening to Elsa… felt very, very wrong.
"Elsa…" Pitch began, wanting to choose his words carefully. "… forgetting your fear is not eliminating it. To truly overcome your fear, you must confront it. Trying to forget them will leave you with nothing."
"I… I don't understand." Elsa replied, sighing. "Pitch, I… I just… want the pain to go away…"
"Well, trying to forget it, or your fear, won't do that." He replied.
"Then what am I to do?" She asked desperately.
"Let me ask you this, Elsa." Pitch said, turning to face her. "How do you think I carry myself? How do I appear to you?"
The young woman was a bit surprised by the question, taking a moment to think. "Well… I think you're strong… stronger than me."
"Why is that? Where do you think my strength comes from?" He asked.
"Your powers." Elsa answered.
"Oh, it takes more than having powers to be strong, Elsa. You've had powers your whole life, but you were nowhere near strong. Try again." Pitch said.
Elsa bit her lip in thought. "Because… because you fear nothing, you… inflict fear upon others."
"Yes… and no." He said. "Even the King of Nightmares can have fears. But I do not allow them to fester; I do not cower in self-pity." He reached out a hand, the tip of his index finger lifting Elsa's chin to observe her. "I face them head on, I fight. That is what causes others to fear me. I embrace the darkness rather than run from it. But Elsa… you are not dark." He took her hands, facing her palms up as he looked down at them. "Do not fear what you are. Embrace it. Once you do this… you will realize your power is an asset… and it shall be yours and yours alone to control."
Elsa took a bit of time to let his words sink in, looking from her hands held in Pitch's to his face, smiling lightly. "Why couldn't you just… tell me that from the beginning…?"
Pitch could not help but let a snicker or two sneak past his lips, smirking. "Oh, that would have been far too easy."
Elsa returned her hands to herself, folding them. "I am glad… that we aren't bitter anymore."
"As am I… we can accomplish great things together, Elsa." His expression became serious then. "Just heed my word on one thing; and speak of it to no one."
Elsa blinked, tilting her head. "What is it?"
Pitch narrowed his eyes. "… do not dwell upon anything the doctor tells you. Be wary of him."
Tooth giggled as she tickled Baby Tooth, the little fairy squeaking as she held her little tummy. Their merriment was interrupted when Sandy approached, making a gesture to clear his throat with his hand. When he caught Tooth's attention, he made a gesture in an attempt to ask if she could speak with him.
"Oh, are North and Alice holding another meeting?" Tooth asked.
Sandy shook his head, pointing at himself and her, smiling.
"Wait, they just want to talk to us?" Tooth tilted her head; Baby Tooth looked back and forth between them curiously.
Sandy's expression became exasperated, waving his hands to signal for her to not pay any mind to it, floating away with a defeated attitude.
Tooth raised a brow, looking over at Baby Tooth. "Did I say something wrong?" Baby Tooth replied by rolling her eyes playfully, giggling as the little fairy floated along her way.
After Eliza and Alice finished breakfast together, the child skipped upstairs, wandering down the hall until she reached Jack's loft. She glanced up the ladder for a moment before climbing up, looking around cautiously for a moment before fully entering the area. She noticed Jack sitting on his bed, smiling before approaching him.
"Oh, hey Eliza." Jack smiled. "You must be happy that Alice is awake."
She nodded before looking around, biting her lip for a moment before leaning in, speaking lowly. "Jack? Do you think you could... make a snowball? Just a small one... I just want to see one, okay?"
The ice guardian blinked for a moment, chuckling softly. "Sure..." He waved his hand, blowing on it lightly to make a snowball, small enough to fit in the palm of her hands. "Do you want to hold it?"
"N- Not yet... I just want to look at it." She replied, staring at it a bit warily.
Jack smiled lightly as he watched her; he had to give the child credit for trying. "You know… you really made me happy, Eliza."
The child looked up at him. "Because I made friends with Olaf, right? Because I'm not so scared of you anymore, either."
"Yeah… thank you." He said.
"For what?" She smiled a bit.
"For believing in me." Jack replied, looking from the snowflake to her. "So, does this check out okay?"
Eliza pursed her lips, nodding soon after. "I think it's okay." She held her hands up a bit hesitantly, and Jack gently placed the snowball in her hands. She stared at it, slowly passing it from one hand to another. Eventually, the warmth of her hands began to make it drip, making her blink and look under her hand. "It's melting."
"Don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from. But it's not so scary, right?" Jack asked.
"No." Eliza looked up at him, smiling. "But… Jack?"
"Do you think… do you think you can… take me outside…?" Eliza asked. "I want Alice to come too, she always makes me feel better."
Jack stared at her with disbelief, his smile growing. "You… you really want to?" He beamed. "This is… this is great, Eliza! I could teach you how to make a snowman like Olaf!" Eliza smiled in response, giggling. "We could make snow angels! We could make our own snow fort, or an igloo!" Without thinking, he hugged the child close to him. When he heard her gasp lightly, his happiness wavered at this, furrowing a brow. He internally cursed himself, thinking that he may have undone all the progress the girl had made in one move. As soon as the worry came, it went when he felt something coil around his waist. He looked down, seeing Eliza hugging him and resting her head against his chest.
"That sounds like a lot of fun, Jack." She said.
Happiness swelled in Jack's heart once more, returning the child's hug. "I promise, it will be."
Meanwhile, Anna sighed sadly as she stared out a window. Seeing the snow outside offered her no comfort, it only reminded her more of Elsa, of how much she just wanted her sister to come back to her. She felt a light hand gently press against her upper back comfortingly, turning to see Kristoff as he sat beside her.
"Anna, I'm worried about you. You didn't eat much this morning. Well, I mean… I guess you eat less than me anyway, but… I mean not much by… your typical…" Kristoff shook his head as he stumbled over his words.
"I'm sorry, I don't want to make you worry… I just… I've hardly been able to eat or sleep knowing Elsa is out there, that she's in danger. I would do anything just to make sure she's safe… I would spend an eternity waiting outside of her door and her never answer just as long as she was safe inside there." She frowned deeply, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
"I can't imagine what you must be feeling, Anna." Kristoff started. "But I think Elsa would want you to be strong. Just think of what she would tell you to do if she was here. We'll get her back, Anna… I know we will." He smiled, gently pulling the young princess into a hug.
Olaf waddled up to them then, smiling widely. "Anna! Kristoff! Eliza is going outside to have her first day in the snow! Come on!" He waved his stick arm to follow him, giggling. "Wait for me, Eliza!" The child's giggling could be heard further along, Jack, Alice and Bunny joining her.
Anna smiled sadly, glancing up at Kristoff. "You go ahead with Olaf and Sven… I'll stay in here."
"Hey… look, maybe a little bit of fun will do you some good. You being there may even help Eliza. Look at how much better she is now since you two have gotten to know each other. You were always upset when Elsa didn't come outside to play in the snow with you as a kid… isn't that what you told me?" Kristoff said.
Anna furrowed a brow, nodding a bit. "You know… you're right." She stood up slowly. "I think Eliza needs all the sisters she can get." She smiled lightly, kissing Kristoff's cheek before grabbing her winter attire to suit up for a snow day.
"Alice, are you sure you're warm enough?" Jack asked.
"This attire offers a bit more warmth, I assure you. I'm more concerned about keeping her bundled." Alice replied, motioning to Eliza. She was currently wearing her steam dress. When she noticed Anna and Kristoff coming outside, she raised a brow. "I would have thought you'd had enough of snow by now?" She said.
Anna shrugged. "Guess it's something I've just gotten used to over the years…"
Alice turned back to see Jack, Eliza and Olaf playing in the snow together. As they made snow angels, she glanced over at the young princess as she stared at them, sighing forlornly. "I remember what that felt like." Alice started, and Anna tilted her head at her. "After my family burned with my home in the fire… I used to… just stare straight ahead… waiting for this nightmare to end… waiting to wake up and to see her pleasant face waking me. I yearned to… to read picture books with her again, to… ride bicycles with her… explore by the brook, but… it never came." Alice exhaled, tears brimming her eyes. "Forgive me, I…" She wiped at her eyes as Anna stared at her sadly. "… I seriously misjudged you… as I have many, in the beginning. My fate turned out to be a bleak one… I hope you and your sister's fares better."
Anna surprised Alice by reaching over, gently taking her hand to squeeze it reassuringly. "Thank you." She smiled lightly. "I know that nothing can ever replace your sister… but if there's anything I can do to help…"
Alice's expression softened, smiling a bit. She snapped to attention when Eliza called her name, quickly wiping her eyes as the child ran up to her.
"Alice, come see the snowman Jack and I built! It looks just like Olaf!" Eliza beamed.
"Very well, I cannot bear the suspense!" Alice laughed, and Kristoff smiled as Anna joined them in their merriment.
Sven nudged the young man, and he smirked back at the reindeer before they had their own fun. Sven used his antlers to toss snow on Kristoff when he wasn't chasing him. Alice crouched down, smiling at the snowman Eliza built.
"Do you like it?" Eliza smiled.
"It looks just like Olaf. You did a wonderful job!" Anna smiled, hugging the child.
"I agree." Alice said, smiling lightly at Jack. Their eyes met for a moment until a snowball hit the back of Jack's head, surprising him as he shook the snow out of his hair. Alice raised her brows, snickering as she saw Bunny rolling another snowball in his paw.
"That's all fine and well… but let's show this little ankle biter what a real snow day is all about." Bunny smirked.
Jack chuckled, shaking his head. "My friend… you have no idea what you just put yourself up against."
"Bring it on, mate!" Bunny laughed, and Alice giggled as Jack and Bunny engaged in a snow fight.
"Alice, Anna! Come help me and Olaf build a snow fort!" Eliza exclaimed. "Kristoff can help too, because he's quite robust!"
"We're coming!" Anna cried, giggling as she kneeled down to help. As she did, Kristoff snuck a kiss on her cheek, making her blush a bit.
"It's good to see you enjoying yourself a bit." Kristoff said, smiling.
"Yeah… it's hard not to, I guess." Anna said.
Alice rolled her eyes playfully at Jack and Bunny shouting playful insults at each other in the background, about to resume what she was doing when she noticed something in the distance. She tilted her head curiously, getting up to walk towards it. It was hard to see through the snow carried by the wind at first, but soon, she recognized what- or who, was present.
"Having fun? Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once…" The Cheshire Cat grinned, tilting his head lightly.
Alice sighed, glancing back before looking at him. "I haven't time to be lectured, and you're late. Caterpillar took care of the job."
"Ah, time… speak to the White Rabbit about time, he's been rambling about it more than the usual. I'm not quite here to lecture, rather to report." Cheshire replied.
"Oh? And what is there to report, exactly?" Alice placed her hands on her hips.
"Simply that your guilt is festering… it's causing quite a stir, my dear. It's like an unclean wound, slowly eating away and leaving nothing in its wake. The foundation of what you have built here is sure to crumble."
"Your report is insufficient; I already know of all this." Alice said.
"And yet you've not acted upon it? The truth of this, and other matters, rest within you, easily at your disposal. The truth can be used as a weapon; if you equip it yourself, you place it down, if you allow others to use it against you, all the more blood shall spilled from your already nasty wound."
"And here you said this wasn't going to be a lecture…" Alice breathed, crouching down. "Cheshire, how am I to go about telling him? This would be so much of a shock to him, to her…"
"When all else fails, saying something as bluntly as possible should do the trick when it comes to getting something off your chest. You know better than anyone that having something on your chest is quite unpleasant. Don't let the leeches syphon any more of your precious blood, Alice."
Alice drew in a breath, exhaling. "Very well. I need to make plans… when the time is right… I shall make it known to him."
"Alice? Alice!" Eliza called out, running up to the young woman. Alice turned to look at her, glancing back to see that Cheshire had disappeared. "Why are you standing all the way over here…? It's too windy!"
"I'm sorry… I must have wandered off." Alice smiled gently, tucking a strand of hair behind Eliza's ear. "Come. You may show me your progress." She said as they headed back; Jack and Bunny had taken a small break from their snow ball fighting to help them build a nice sized igloo. "Well, I'm impressed!" Alice exclaimed. "It's a fort fit for the finest royalties!"
As the group had fun outside, Merida floated into Hiccup's room with an afternoon snack. "Got to keep up your fill, lad." She smiled.
"Thanks, Merida." Hiccup smiled. "I… I really don't know how I'm going to repay you for all this. I feel bad that everyone is outside having fun and you're stuck in here with me."
"I don't mind at all." She smiled. "I do miss being outside though… in the nice green pastures… the breeze blowing through my hair…" She lay back at Hiccup's feet, smiling blissfully.
North came in then, grunting as he plopped down a large bag. "Well, here's a little something that Toothless will enjoy!" He smiled.
The dragon blinked at his name being mentioned, looking towards the bag and approaching, sniffing it. He smiled a bit, nudging his nose inside to pull out a fish, eating it happily.
"Wow, thank you, North!" Hiccup smiled.
"I helped!" Tooth waved from the doorway, giggling. "Merida gave me some great fish catching tips!"
Hiccup gave a nod. "He really appreciates it… right bud?"
Toothless gave a nod, smiling at them before resuming his feasting. North and Tooth left the room, leaving Merida and Hiccup to speak alone once more.
"So… Hiccup?" Merida asked. "Do you think that… when this is all over… and… if I can get my soul back… maybe you can visit me? I would love if you could teach my brothers how to fly dragons when they're old enough to have their sea legs."
"Well… I guess if I can… I mean, I'd have to find some time, and I'd have to probably find some smaller dragons to tag along with me…" Hiccup replied.
Merida sighed lightly. Why did she feel like this? This was not like her at all, since when did she obsess over… a BOY? Less than a year ago, the thought of having to be betrothed made her sick; she didn't want to be tied down to some relationship! But Hiccup… he wasn't like the boys from the neighboring clans back home, no sir. He was… so full of spirit, rather than full of himself. Like her, he loved an adventure, to be more than what they were supposed to be by their society's standards. To add, Hiccup was funny, he was a great friend, and -as much as she wanted to, she couldn't- he was one of the most handsome young men she had ever seen in her time.
But deep down she understood that she had to get her priorities straight. She had a job to do; there were others who needed her help, she had to get her soul back and turn back into a human. She very well could not rule Dun' Broch as a banshee, nor could she as a coward. There was no time to be disappointed about Hiccup's reluctance; she knew little about this Astrid he had mentioned several times, and she did not want to have her heart broken. However… a part of her could not shake this feeling she had for him, and it was quite frustrating.
That evening, after meal time, Alice got up to help Eliza to bed. She had barely made it through dinner without falling asleep, tired from all the activity during the day. Anna was pretty tired also, she and Kristoff saying goodnight to everyone before heading to their room. Merida followed soon after, wanting to check up on Hiccup before taking her own rest. When she did, she smirked lightly, shaking her head. Despite being in bed all day, all the food Merida had provided him all day was enough to put him to sleep. Toothless was fast asleep as well, laying on his back as he dreamt. His paw twitched a bit as his tongue hung out of the side of his mouth, whimpering lightly as he slumbered. She went over to her mattress on the floor next to Hiccup's bed, settling down to get some sleep herself.
Alice had finished tucking Eliza in, glancing over when Jack entered. She smiled lightly, standing as he smiled at the sleeping child. "She's really come out of her shell, huh?"
"Yes… thanks in part to you." Alice smiled back. "Jack… I'm indebted to you."
"Why? I'm just doing my job." He chuckled quietly. Alice sighed contently, thinking of something then. She thought that this would be a good first step in building up the courage to telling Jack the truth, taking out her necklace to reveal a key. Jack tilted his head. "What is that?" He asked.
After exhaling deeply, Alice spoke. "This key is the most precious item I possess." She looked from the key to him as she took it off from around her neck. "This key belonged to Lizzie. It was the key to her room, the one that Bumby had taken and used to carry out his vile mind tricks… it still sickens me that he used an object that represents my beloved sister for such a disgusting act." Jack stood perfectly still as she leaned in, his eyes becoming half lidded as she placed the chain around his neck. He blinked, snapping out of his short stupor when she took a step back, glancing down at the key for a moment.
"Alice… I don't understand… why are you giving me this?" He asked.
"Because… if I am to meet an ill fate, I will rest easy knowing that it is in the hands of someone I trust." She replied.
Jack furrowed his brows as Alice was about to move past him, gently taking her shoulders into his hands so he could keep her still. "Alice… I don't know why you keep… saying that something is going to happen to you…" He shook his head a bit. "I'm not going to let anything happen to you, Alice."
She stared into his eyes, sighing sadly before hanging her head a bit. She gently extended her hands, tucking the key under the collar of his sweatshirt so it could be concealed. "Some things are not within your power, Jack." She replied.
"What do you mean?" Jack asked.
"… it's just… there's something I… there's something that you need to know, but… I've had difficulty expressing it to you…"
"You know you can tell me anything, Alice." Jack's hands moved from her shoulders to her hands, holding them gently.
Alice was silent for a few moments, trying to gather her thoughts. When she opened her mouth to speak, she gasped lightly when she saw Bunny appear in the doorway, clearing her throat. She took a step back, removing her hands quickly from Jack's.
"Hey… everything alright?" Bunny tilted his head, his heart skipping a beat when he noticed the sudden, quick movement. He began to fear that Alice and Jack were closer than he had initially perceived.
"Yes, everything is fine, thank you." Alice replied, glancing up at Jack. "I'll be retiring for the night…" She forced a smile, moving past him.
"Night, mate." Bunny said before leaving the doorway to follow Alice.
"Yeah… goodnight to you too…" Jack sighed, a bit frustrated. He glanced back at Eliza once more before heading out of the room.
Alice sighed, turning around just outside her doorway. "Bunny, I don't require an escort to bed."
Bunny blinked in response, holding his hands up. "I just wanted to see what was the matter, is all…"
The young woman hung her head for a moment, closing her eyes. "… I apologize… I just… have a lot on my mind."
"More than just the Wonderland stuff?" Bunny raised a brow, smirking a bit.
Alice smirked back, glancing up at him. "Very funny. I just have some… concerns."
Bunny's expression softened, wordlessly moving forward to hug Alice gently to him. She was a bit surprised, not expecting this. Nevertheless, she returned the embrace, closing her eyes as she rested her face against his soft fur. She felt Bunny gently lift her chin up, and she craned her neck a bit as they stared into each other's eyes. Her breathing was steady, but her heart rate quickened gradually as he lowered his face to her level. Mere inches away, he drew Alice ever closer to close the space between them.
"Hey, it's snowing outside!" Olaf exclaimed from Anna and Kristoff's room down the hall.
"Olaf, it ALWAYS snows here! Will you be quiet and go to sleep?" Kristoff groaned.
Bunny rolled his eyes, shaking his head as Alice burst into a fit of muffled laughter, covering her mouth to try and keep quiet. He exhaled sharply, frustrated that the moment had been cut short. Alice noticed this in his expression, smirking a bit.
"Goodnight, Bunny." She said.
"… yeah, goodnight, Alice." He replied, feeling defeated. The feeling lessened however, when Alice stood on her tippy toes, planting a small kiss on his forehead. She gave him a nod, going into her room and closing the door. Bunny blinked, sighing blissfully as he smiled lightly. Maybe he still had reason to hope after all.