Characters: Cheshire Cat!Terry/Alice!Anthony (vaguely), Caterpillar!Luna
Warnings: Well, slash. Dur. Luna smokes a hookah, Terry shamelessly hits on Anthony, it's either total crackfic or very nearly total crackfic (depends on your perspective), and the narrative voice is very silly. (As it well should be, being an Alice AU.)
Word Count: ~2,080
Summary: “And, if you still hate me in the morning, we’ll talk.”
Disclaimer: All base characters are JKR's; all modifications to them are based on Lewis Carroll's characters. Wonderland is most assuredly Lewis Carroll's. These incarnations of Terry and Anthony are also based on those used by me and Chelsea/unrulygarden for the Occlumency RPG; Terry is her character. Luna, in turn, is based on her Occlumency incarnation; she is played by Lisa/spaced_oddity.
A/N: written for 20_firstkisses. Next installment is obviously the Mad Tea Party.
“Curiouser and curiouser,” Anthony whispered to himself as he walked along the wooded path before him.
And why shouldn’t he have found this place curious, at the very least? He must’ve been lost in these woods for hours, and he didn’t much fancy going back the way he came, no, no, he didn’t fancy that at all. He didn’t much blame himself for wanting to avoid it, either. There’d been nothing but mad people and trouble that way. Sassy doorknobs giving him logical impossibilities to figure out, and potions that changed his shape and size, and a group of young people about his age running all around each other – and all of them had had animal ears! How strange it all was! And somehow or other, he’d managed to lose most of the clothes he’d come to this odd little place with, and the only thing that he could find to fit him had been a bright blue pinafore dress, which he wore over his pair of jeans. It felt less odd to wear the dress and jeans. And all this because he’d been foolish enough to follow that redheaded girl with the pocket watch and white rabbit ears.
The latest of these strange encounters had been with a bug-eyed blonde, dressed all in midnight blue, with great, long antennae coming out of her head. She’d been sitting on a toadstool, which (Anthony presumed) should hardly have been large enough for anyone, but she was slight of build and so it appeared to work. But curiouser than the blonde herself, and even her antennae and her shocking blue eyes, was the elaborate, purple hookah she had seated on the toadstool next to her. She’d leaned from her toadstool towards the one with her hookah, took a deep inhale from the pipe, and blew a bright pink smoke butterfly. Smoke butterflies, Anthony had reasoned, were easily the least curious thing he had seen since arriving here, seeing as they followed same principle as smoke rings, save that they weren’t round and could flap their wings. They had wings at all, for point of fact.
And so, throwing caution to the wind, Anthony had stopped to watch her. She’d created the most fantastic things with her hookah smoke: dragons that really breathed fake fire; exquisite battles that really waged themselves in the middle of the air; and pirates what really romanced bonny pirate lasses! After he’d been watching for at least a good fifteen minutes, she finally looked up and stared bemusedly at him. And, in a light, breathy voice, she sighed:
“Who are yoooou?”
To which Anthony replied: “I… well, miss… I do suppose that’s up for debate, you see… I… well, this place has been making me question my sense of reality at all, let alone the one I thought I knew… so I really can’t say for sure who I am-”
She repeated: “Who ARE yooooooou?”
“I was just trying to tell you, miss, but then you-”
Arching one eyebrow, she interjected sternly, “No, my dear boy, you were explaining to me the specifics of your existential crisis, which I may have desire to know at some point. But, now, I have no such desires. I simply wish to know: whooooo are yoooooou?”
“I… my name is Anthony Goldstein, if that’s what you mean?”
She looked pensive for a moment, and blew a smoke centipede, before finally saying, “It is functional enough, though I’d perhaps hoped you’d at least list your astrological sign.”
It was indeed quite odd, Anthony mused, that this girl could ever sound stern, for her voice had seemed to be made of air and not of sonic vibrations bouncing off of nearby objects like normal people’s voices. But she had sounded stern that one time, though she never did again – leastways not for the duration of their little chat. She instructed him on all manner of nonsense rhymes, which, being nonsense, made very little sense at all. Finally, she’d wrapped herself in a cloud of shimmering smoke and came out having sprouted the most beautiful set of dark blue wings that Anthony had ever seen in all his eighteen years!
And then she’d flown off, leaving him all to his lonesome. And, being a naturally curious, if skittish, sort of boy, he had taken to wander, which was entirely how he’d wound up on this wooded path in the first place. It didn’t seem to sit well with the laws of physics, he supposed, that she’d been able to fly off using wings that so closely resembled a butterfly’s – but, then again, so many things about this place didn’t sit so well with the laws of physics. Anthony could almost hear them screaming in pain, since, given how this world seemed to work, they more than likely had physical manifestations somewhere inside it.
He was contemplating this possibility when something that looked like a long, striped snake dropped out of a tree branch right in front of his face. Upon closer inspection, it proved to be a tail, and it was followed by a flower falling and landing on his nose. Utterly confused, Anthony looked up into the tree.
What he saw was most curious – strictly speaking, it was about as curious as all the other things he’d seen since coming to this place, but in his waltzing along this wooded path, he’d almost been convinced of normalcy’s continued existence. But this sight reassured him that “normal” most certainly did not exist in this place. Up in the tree, you see, was a cat. …Well, it wasn’t quite a cat. Rather, it was closer to being a boy – a very beautiful boy, at that, with long legs, and dark hair, and perfectly constructed cheekbones. …But he had ears coming out of his head like a cat, and the tail was coming out of his back, and the only clothes he seemed to be wearing were a purple bow tie and a pair of very tight purple trousers. The trousers, Anthony noted, were perhaps too tight to allow breathing, but the cat-boy didn’t seem to mind.
Trying to be at least a little polite, Anthony cleared his throat loudly. Startled, the cat-boy fumbled his flowers, but, once he noticed Anthony’s presence, he broke out into a wide grin.
“Why hello there,” he purred.
Anthony stammered: “Er… hello, erm… mister cat person-”
“Cheshire Cat-person,” the cat-boy said matter-of-factly. “But you can call me Terry.”
“Oh well, erm… hello, Mister Cheshire Cat-person who goes by the name of Terry-”
“Hello, little lost boy who appears to have a penchant for wearing ladies’ clothes.”
Anthony blushed bright pink, tugging on the dress. The cat-boy went on:
“I wouldn’t be embarrassed, if I were you. It’s really quite a fetching dress.”
“But I don’t normally wear dresses!” Anthony protested meekly. “You see, when I first came here, I was dressed quite like any other boy, but somewhere along the line, I lost my jacket and t-shirt. And I’d been quite fond of that t-shirt, too.”
“Well, if you ask me, my pretty little sir, I think that dress looks nice on you.”
“My name’s Anthony,” he murmured.
“My name,” he said again, “is Anthony. So… you can call me that?”
“I see.” The cat-boy pursed his lips pensively, and then broke out into a grin again. “And just what are you doing here, Anthony?”
“Well, you see, sir-”
“Not ‘sir.’ Terry.”
“Alright. Well, you see, Terry, I followed this redheaded girl with white rabbit ears, and all sorts of nonsense happened, and now I seem to have lost my way. I should rather like to find this girl because she said she was late for something, and I’d rather like to know what she’d be so worried about being late for. Could you perhaps point me in her direction?”
“I’ve seen no rabbit-eared girls, unfortunately for you.”
“Do you know anyone who might know how to find her, then?”
At this, the cat-boy sat up straight on his branch perch. He took a deep breath and pouted. Agitated and in time with absolutely nothing, he began swishing his tail back and forth.
"Well," the cat-boy said in a most professorial manner, "you could go see the Mad Hatter, in that direction." He pointed to the left.
"What about 'but?' Because while we're on the subject, you've got a cute one."
Anthony blushed and reflexively flattened the back of his skirt.
"Or you could ask the March Hare, in that direction." The cat-boy pointed to the right. "Of course, he's mad too and the Hatter's probably more reliable-"
"But I don't want to go among mad people!" Anthony shouted, just barely aware of the whine in his voice.
"Tough luck, honey," the cat-boy replied with a shrug, "we're all mad here."
“Au contraire, poppet, you’re quite mad.”
“Says who?” Anthony snapped. Being called a transvestite, he could handle; being called mad, though, that was crossing all sorts of lines that were never meant to be crossed.
“Let’s run this down all logical-like, alright? Everyone here is mad. The Hatter’s mad. The March Hare’s mad. I’m mad-”
This hardly came as a surprise to Anthony, but he still had to ask: “And why are you mad?”
“For one thing, I’ve never had these wretched ears removed.” He pointed at his second set of ears, the cat’s ears. “They itch all to high heaven, and they certainly don’t benefit my hearing, but they look positively adorable and so they stay.”
Anthony had to grant that to the cat-boy: the ears did, indeed, look quite cute. Had Anthony been an Anna or an Alice instead, he likely would’ve had himself quite the time scratching behind said ears, just to see the contorted expressions the cat-boy could make. But, as it stood, he was neither and so had no purpose in so doing.
“Furthermore,” the cat-boy continued, “I hardly respond to situations in a manner which one would deem acceptable. For example, I wag my tail whilst irritated and have this habit of growling whilst pleased. These are, you will grant, antithetical responses?”
“Well, yes, but-”
“And so, we can agree I’m mad?”
“I don’t think there’s any question about that, but-”
“So, if everyone here is mad – including myself, the Hatter, and the March Hare – and you happen to be here, then you must be mad.”
“But I’m not mad!”
“So says you, and who can trust a madman to judge his own condition?”
“I’m! Not! MAD!”
“Alright, I have a test for you. To prove that you’re not mad.”
“Alright. I’ll take it! And then you’ll see that-”
Anthony abruptly cut himself off, staring at where the cat-boy had been sitting. For, as sure as the sky is blue and the grass is green, there was no cat-boy on the branch anymore. He’d vanished entirely, which hardly bore good omens for Anthony’s case in favor of his sanity. If he was seeing cat-boys where there were none, then he could hardly be called sane – and he was surely less so for having had a conversation with the beast! Feeling slightly sick, he looked down at his shoes. If he truly was mad, then there could be no helping him. Surely, if that were the case, then he must have been sent here because he’d been mad and he was now doomed to roam these wooded paths, perhaps as a spirit of some sort-
His thoughts on this matter were now violently interrupted. Before he could proceed to think on his apparent fate, the full weight of something or other had forced him back into a tree, and a pair of wet lips was trying to devour his own. He looked up; the cat-boy had reappeared and decided to help himself to Anthony’s mouth. …So this was kissing, then? …It wasn’t so bad, though it was most assuredly sudden.
Seeing no other option, he opened his mouth and attempted to kiss back. It certainly was quite messy, wasn’t it?
And then, as abruptly as he’d come, the cat-boy backed away. He briefly looked Anthony over before saying:
“Well… you might not be mad.”
And, with that, he vanished once more. For a few minutes, all Anthony could do was stare at where the cat-boy had been.
“Curiouser indeed,” he whispered to himself. “Well… perhaps this Hatter might be able to make some sense of this place…”