Daddy!” Aliya spied his blue hair shinning in the dim lights that lined the main hall of the hatter’s mansion. This was the first time that he had ever been with in its walls and he was constantly scanning the area around him, wary. He nearly did not have time to brace himself as she flung herself in his arms in her customary greeting. His eyes narrowed on a chuckling Ace, who looked perfectly at home leaned against the wall.
Aliya bounced over to him, curtsying, giggles escaping her red lips. “Sir Knight.” She declared, eyes blinking prettily up at him with mischief lighting blue.
He immediately bowed, hand outstretched toward her. “My lady fair,” he said.
Julius rolling his eyes as Ace pulled her up into his arms, kissing her. “I believe you are finely getting used to our daughter.” Blood commented, somehow appearing beside him. In fact, he did have tunnels and exits though out his home. You never knew when you needed a clean get away. It was also how he had visited his sister when they were supposed to be at war.
Julius just barely managed not to jump. He had shocked himself by missing the obnoxious way Blood had been chasing him. “I think she’s broken me.” He drug an hand over his face as his friend danced his daughter down the hall, her laughter filling the open space, “But I think I needed it.”
“Hmm,” Blood stepped closer, just shy of pressing against him. “Let me know if you need further braking.” He grinned as Julius glared at him. Though the words did not leave his lips, he could read ‘bastard’ in his gaze.
Nightmare stole Aliya away from her knight as they moved down the hall. Ace graciously allowed it and caught up with the hatter and the clockmaker, always amused by their new relationship. She snuggled in his arms as the dance stopped. He rocked her gently as he smiled down at her. “I love you.” He said quietly.
“I love you too.” She reached out, touching his face, “What is it?” he had almost a desperate feel to his words and his sliver eyes seemed to memorize her face. His hands stoked her stomach where their child lay.
“I felt a new tie today, to the dreaming void and to the island. It is not solely under my control anymore.” His smile widened, “Our son was dreaming. It means that this world will go on even if something were to happen to me.”
The grand doors flung open, revealing the ecstatic twins “There is smoke coming from the direction of the tower.” They yelled, “Is it time to play, Boss?”
Nightmare looked toward them, getting ready to walk away, when he turned back to her, his fingers rubbing the mound of her belly. “If for any reason I don’t…” he trailed off as her eyes began to light, the doors ripped from the twins hands as a large gust of wind filled the hall. “Will you give him my father’s name?” he asked.
“WE,” she said, her eyes narrowing dangerously, “We will give our son your father’s name.” She grabbed his shirt, dragging him close. “Understand this, Nightmare. You had better fucking live, or so help me I will find a way to pull your ass back here to kick it.” She looked around the entryway now filled with all those she loved, “And that damn well goes for all of you!” Aliya released him and walked out the door, not waiting to see if they followed. Storm clouds rolled in the sky, wind blowing the smoke from the tower away from them, the top no longer visible on the horizon.
She paused just shy of the gates, surprised to see the small child that waited there for her. The mother had indeed diminished, no more than the size of a four or five year old, her hair brushing the back of her ankles as she watched her with too knowing eyes. “You must control your emotions. They cannot fight if they cannot stand.” She indicated the blackness that had formed in the sky.
Aliya looked up, realizing that she was the cause. “Damn it.” She muttered. Control was not her strength, she was more of a give in and go with it type.
The mother laughed, the childlike sound joyous and saddened at the same time. “You are quite special, daughter of Alice. Come, I will give you the control that you need.” She held a tiny hand out to her.
Aliya walked forward cautiously. “Why would you help us fight against your son?”
The jewel toned eyes looked around, taking pleasure in all she saw. “There are things that no longer belong here, like the jabberwocky and like me.”
“And your son.” Aliya added firmly.
She closed her eyes, “And my son.” She took Aliya’s hand, so warm within her own. She was tired, so tired. At least, mercifully, she would be gone before her beloved child and pieces of her would linger here. The thought of her grandchildren brought her comfort. Opening them, she looked at her. “He cannot be killed in this world. Understand, daughter of Alice, not in this world.” With that, a bright light flashed and warmth flooded her. As her vison cleared, she looked around, but she was gone. The mother had given her the ability to control the elements with the last of her strength, fading into the void, awaiting the day when creation would come again.
Blood and the twins promised to meet them there before disappearing into one of the many doorways. The rest began the walk toward what had once been the only safe haven in all of Wonderland. The walk was a quiet one until Boris stopped her just out of sight of her old home. “I have to tell you, Ally Kat.” He hugged her tightly. “I love you.”
“That pretty well goes for all of us standing here.” Black said.
“I love you all.” Aliya said, looking at each man in turn, all special to her in their own way. “And I still mean it. You all better damn well live, or I’m going to make death look like afternoon tea time.”
“Promise, sweet?” Black asked, smirking at her.
Aliya rolled her eyes, and readied herself to go into the field. It had been pre decided that Julius, Gray, Black, and Nightmare would stay with her, worried she might do something crazy in her anger. Which she fully planned to do whatever it took to wipe White from their lives, the mother’s words resounding in her head. She was sure of what she must do, but finding the opportunity would be challenging. Aliya had no intention of sharing the information with the men around her because they would fight to stop her. She was headed into this battle with the full intention of bringing everyone belonging to her heart home again, no matter what.
The enemy came into sight. The first thing that drew the eye was the large black dragon curled around the clock tower, having knocked several of the stone turrets to the ground. Smoke rose from the gaping fissures it had left with its black claws. It moved as they approached, tracking them like a dog with its favorite toy.
The next thing was the several hundred faceless that stretched out across the field, their white and red outfits standing out against the green of the field and the coal grey of the sky. Then there was White, standing proudly in front of the tower, his eight creatures fanned out behind him. Their masks were gone, the glowing blue eyes and purple lips standing out against the gray of their skin. He dressed them in solid white as well, making the jabberwocky’s black scales seem all the darker.
“Hay, crispy!” Ace called, smiling pleasantly at the beast. Its head lowered, solid blood red eyes, orange shot throughout, glared down at him as bright green smoke escaped its scaly lips, four yellowish fangs protruding from them.
“Aww, I don’t think it likes its nickname.” Aliya pretend pouted. She shared a psychotic grin with her favorite knight.
“That’s alright, give me a minute or two and we’ll change it to stumpy.” They laughed together before his eyes became serious and cold, tracking the monster. The best challenge of his life was coming and he loved it. Adrenalin rushed through him as he watched it calmly.
Aliya trembled at the look of him. There were only two moments when Ace so clear, so focused. One involved killing and the other made her shiver, a sharp jab of heat finding her even on the battle field. As if he had shared it, he pulled her to him seizing her mouth in a lust filled kiss before separating from the group, his prize ever in his sight.
“You two are seriously not right.” Came from Black. He shook his head thinking maybe he was not the only one to share her darkness, but the ace definitely had the insanity part. He spied his brother, his mocking face turned toward him.
“Sure we are.” Aliya said, sauntering up to him. She grinned, feeling Whites stare cutting into her. “It just depends on who you ask.” She trailed her fingers over his arms and chest before her hands found the back of his neck, tangling in his hair as she kissed him passionately. She broke away, smirking up at him, his lust filled eyes mirroring her amusement. “His head smokin yet?” she asked merrily.
Black glanced behind her. His brother did look like combustion was eminent. “Hmmm, you’re so mean,” he whispered, nipping at her lips, “I adore you when you’re mean.” He set her from him, taking his place as one of her guards. Nightmare, Gray, and Julius remained close to her, also guarding against White and any insane idea Aliya might come up with to harm him in interesting ways while putting her own life at risk. They would face White head on.
“Oh, good. We’re still posturing. I would hate to be late.” Blood strolled up like Sunday morning, as if he did not have a couple hundred faceless in black suits following behind him. He could not wait to pit his mafia against Whites circus freaks. There was nothing quite like bullets flying and the sorrowful sounds of the dying playing like a symphony on a star filled night. Lovely. He would be leading them onto the playing field, chess at its absolute best.
“What about those weird things he made” Elliot asked, eyeing the line of glowing blue eyes.
“Ace said fireworks.” Boris said, suddenly holding a colossal flame thrower in his hands, malevolent grin dawning on his face, “you bunnies shoot um down and I’ll light um up!” He looked down right gleeful at the idea. Peter and Elliot glared at him, then at each other, but nodded, knowing now was not the time to fight about trivial things like who got to play with fire and who was or was not a bunny.
White moved forward finely, the silence deafening as both sides tensed, waiting for the moment to strike. The time had come, he had felt his mother’s passing a short while ago, the most powerful thing in wonderland now stood before him, eyes blazing. His to claim along with the throne that had long been abandoned to stupidity. He had never understood why the mother had made things the way she had, why she had brought light to their world when it was most beautiful when it had been dark and terrifying. Before him was the key to returning to that time and she would be his. “Hello, my bride.”