The Clockmakers Daughter

The After

Aliya sat in Bloods rose garden, pink bundle curled in her arms. She smiled gently as she stroked the delicate white bunny ears that graced the newborns head, smiling down into a face so like her mothers, including the brightest blue eyes filled with love and hope. A loud crash made her sigh, as she saw the tea table flipped up on its side, four innocent looking faces standing where it once sat. She rolled her eyes, peaceful moment gone.

Slowly, she stood walking over to them. The oldest by almost a full time change smiled up at his mother adorably. “And what was the game today, my charming incubus?” he had his father’s dark gray hair and his face, but his eyes were a good mix, with slivery blue pupils and both black where white should have been. He was dressed in his usual gray and blue, his fondness for Gray and Julius showing through. He also had his father’s ridiculous side more often than not.

“I didn’t do anything, Momma.” He said, blinking cutely.

“Uh hu.” She said, moving on the brains of the group. She stood there, hands folded in front of her, pink eyes looking up through soft pink bangs, broken by on wide blue strip just to the side of one of her little kitty ears. She was adorable in her little pink shorts and kitty skull t-shirt. “You too?” the girl nodded, having trouble not giggling.

Her second son stood there cockily smirking. He was the image of his father, black eyes and all. “I did it omma.” He said with pride. Aliya had so much trouble not laughing at the kid, he was always up for getting into trouble. He was dressed in his father’s favorite black color, jeans and t-shirt, a red heart with a rose bursting out of it graced the front. He said it was in honor of his favored aunt now known as the bloody queen of hearts. Vivaldi was quite taken with the boy after he had shot at her king for rolling his eyes at her.

The last little girl standing in the line had her hands buried in her blue skirt. “I tried not to Momma, but he made me mad again.” Jeweled eyes of pink and white looked up at her. The bow pinning back the white and blue hair having been snatched, now lying a few feet away. Aliya had to smile. She looked so like her grandmother, but her attitude came straight from her mother, as did her temper.

“So I see.” She leaned close to the mischievous group, “If I were you, I would run, you crushed Elliot’s favorite carrot cake again. Wasn’t there something about stringing the four of you up by your toes?” She pretended to ponder the matter as they scattered toward the roses. Chuckling she watched as Boris popped out of them, scaring the children the other way. He was as bad as his daughter.

Arms came around her waist, taking a moment to lovingly stroke the infants head. “They at it again?” Nightmare asked, enjoying the sight of his son racing across the grass with his siblings.

“Hmm, I’m sure that Aislin put the idea in Jeremy’s head, and he passed the idea on to Eb, who pissed Aria off again. Or Aria gave the idea to Aislin to begin with, you never know with those four.” She leaned back against him, “Where did Peter go?” She asked.

Nightmare chuckled, “Nothings good enough for his Alice, you know. He’s rearranging and disinfecting the nursery, again.” Aliya was having a house built in the field next to the newly rebuilt clock tower so that she would be neutrally between all the fathers. None of them officially lived with her or their children, but they were with them more often than not even though they still had their roles to play, with a few differences. After all, Aliya was now the game maker. Until it was finished, Blood was allowing her and the children to live with him because, though he loved them, they drove Julius nuts with constant pranks. Of course this meant that the clockmaker visited often, Blood using every opportunity to farther their relationship to which Julius still blushed every time.

In truth, Wonderland changed little from the stories that Alice had told her. there was still battles between the faceless and the role holders, still gunfire more days than not, still a need for hero’s like the valiant knight camping in the corner of the rose garden, pretending to be lost. Still plenty of reason for Blood to go out at odd hours with Elliot, seeing to the secret empire he had built. He even went weekly to the room behind his wine cellar where a certain door mouse remained pinned to the wall, alive. Still a reason for Julius’s amazing ability to restore life to those around him. Could Aliya have made the world perfection and sunshine all the time? Perhaps it was so, but it would have changed so much of that beautiful, violent world she cared for. What was the sense in that?

She looked around her, taking in all that was in her favorite scene of life. The scared Black, who was bending over his mirror image, Ebon, was more than likely whispering battle tactics in his ear for out smarting Elliot. He was still as rough, crude, and unapologetic as he ever had been, but great with his son and Aria, the daughter he had claimed as his own. She knew of White, they had hid nothing from her but the details. Aria understood that there were people who hated her because of her blood and who she came from, but in her mother’s spirited way, claimed she could give a damn less about it. Her papa Black, her Momma, and her favorite grandfather Blood said that she was her perfect self to them and that was all that mattered. Blood was already teaching her target practice with near glee in his eyes whenever Aliya spied them at it. She was pegged for the future mafia princess for sure.

Boris was the same as he ever was, living for the fun of life. He was still her best confidant and mischief partner. They had taught their daughter, Aislin many, many great games to play, especially on Gowland who was like a third grandfather to the girl. Boris still chuckled when he remembered the child telling him straight out his playing sucked and he needed a new hobby, but she loved him anyway. She was in constant trouble, but was often forgiven at the flash of her innocent, smiling eyes. Boris was a big sucker for her, giving in more than any other, she was also very fond of Ace who was teaching her camping skills, much to her granddaddy Julius’s horror. He began leaving fire extinguishers at random places throughout the land of hearts.

Nightmare strolled over to his their son, Jeremy. He was always up for whatever his brother or sisters suggested, was the absolute best at hiding, much to Grays annoyance. He also was notorious for playing in the dreaming void when he should be sleeping. Secretly, he had informed her earlier, he was training one of the Bandersnatch kittens so that he could talk his papa Nightmare into keeping it in clover tower. Aliya suggested he work on Gray first, because his dad was a push over and Gray ruled the tower. Who knows, a kitten maybe just what the tower needed, she giggled at the thought.

Peter came over to her, already holding his arms out for the week old baby Alice. He could not bear to be apart from her, so he had been staying with Aliya since she gave birth. Vivaldi laughed at the situation, saying when the child got old enough, she could come to work with him. Until then he was free to watch over their Alice who already seemed as good at capturing hearts as her grandmother had ever been. She handled the tiny bundle to him willingly, stretching her arms.

“WHAT HAPPENED?!” Came the outraged voice. Elliot had arrived, crying crocodile tears at the mess of the carrot cake. Damia and Mira patted his arms comfortingly. The three had been dating for over a month now and seemed content. Elliot, having spied the culprits peeking out of the rose bushes, took off after them filling the garden with squeals and rolling laughter.

“Happy?” Julius asked, giving her a brief hug. How she had changed his world, how much life she had actually brought to them all. She was the heart of him just as much as she was to Wonderland.

“Yep. You, Daddy?” She asked, smirking at his reddened face as Blood wrapped his arms around him from behind.

“Yes,” he said quietly, smiling at the sound of her laughter as the children dog piled on Elliot with the help of the twins in kid form for now. He leaned back in Blood's embrace. “I think I am.”

Not far from the sounds of laughter and merriment, a small opening formed, a thinning of the worlds. A young boy of maybe ten walked in an overgrown rose garden beyond the burnt remains of an old house. His family had just purchased the property, cheap. They were going to build a grand home and clean up the gardens, making it the perfect place to raise him and his sister.

A small spot beside a giant old oak tree drew his attention. The air seemed to thicken, like a mirage on hot stone. Curious, he ran his fingers through the spot, amazed when they disappeared. He began to step into it when his mother’s voice calling his name pulled him away. “Coming!” He shouted with one last look at the phenomenon. Fantasies of where it might lead began to fill his head and he promised as soon as he was brave and big enough, he would see what lie beyond. He raced away, joining his family as they left their future home.

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