Down the Rabbit Hole
Bevan rubbed her eyes and stared back at her notes, heaving a sigh.
Still at it? Nigel asked, walking in and handing her a folder.
Yep, she nodded, looking over the results, So much for our romantic evening.
He looked at the clock and smiled, Maybe tomorrow night.
Go on home darling, she said, looking up at him, No sense in you loosing sleep waiting here for me.
Now, if I really go home are you going to get angry? he grinned, Because you could be using reverse psy. . .
Nigel, she smiled, raising an eyebrow.
Dont fall asleep at your desk again, he smirked, leaning over and giving her a small kiss, Goodnight lovely.
See you tomorrow darling, she said, watching him walk out of her office.
She turned back to her files and sighed, Looks like its going to be one of those nights.
Bev. . . Yo, Bev.
Bevan shot up and looked at Woody, who looked like hed stepped out of Miami Vice, complete with the white jacket with the sleeves pushed up to the elbows.
Whats with. . .
No time, Woody said quickly, Weve got to go. Were going to be late, so hurry.
Late? For what? she asked, getting up and noticing her suit was a soft shade of blue, What in. . .
Come on, hurry, Woody said, turning and walking swiftly out.
What in bloody hell could be so important? she asked out loud, following him out the door.
The moment she stepped over the threshold of her door, she felt herself stumble and fall, and keep falling, seemingly through the floor.
I really need to stop drinking so damn much, she said, rubbing her forehead from where shed landed.
She looked down and realized she was sitting on grass, and looked around at tall stately pines. Not exactly common in a morgue in the middle of Beantown.
What are they putting in liquor these days? she asked out loud, getting up and dusting herself off, Woodrow, tell me Im not insane. Woodrow?
She looked around and a glint of white flashed into her peripheral, and she turned towards it and began walking, noticing the woods were definitely getting thicker.
Maybe I ate something trippy, she said softly, I did have something with mushrooms earlier. God, now Im talking to myself.
There was another flash of white to her left, and she ran towards it, pushing through a strand of brush. A briar caught the hem of her skirt and she turned towards it and began cursing as she tried to extract herself from the offending bush.
Having trouble there babe?
Oh god no, she groaned, turning slowly around.
Tweedles, Flowers, and Hookahs
Berman and Winslow both grinned at her, dressed in knee breeches and shirts with Peter Pan collars. For one absurd moment she thought the collars would have their names on them, but instead, they had black hearts embroidered on them.
How odd, Bevan said softly, and raised an eyebrow, Now let me guess, youre supposed to be. . .
You really ought to remember your manners and say hello, Winslow said, elbowing Berman, who let out a noise like a cheap squeaky toy.
Yes, you should be polite hot stuff, Berman grinned, elbowing Winslow back.
Why in hell do I have to be stuck with you in this ridiculous outfit? Winslow growled, And dont elbow me so damn hard!
So is this where you have a battle, or are you going to regale me with poetry about mollusks and walruses? Bevan asked, crossing her arms.
We could throw you in the sea and get you all wet if youre into that kind of thing, Berman grinned.
Much as I would like to see that, Winslow said, thumping Berman on the head, We have our jobs to do.
Don't hit me you jerk! Berman growled, thumping him back.
I guess its a battle then, she sighed, Did you see which way Hoyt went?
I'll get you for that you ass! Winslow growled back, ignoring her.
They were soon in a big brawl, and she sighed, looking around. There was another flash of white to her right and she walked towards it, still hearing dumb and dumber in the background fighting. She stepped through another wall of brush and stared at an enormous, sky-high hedge wall.
And where was this in the book exactly? she asked out loud, raising an eyebrow.
There was a creaking sound to her left and she turned, seeing a large wooden door beginning to close, and ran towards it, and ran through it, hearing it close and click, locking.
Well, at least I havent had to drink anything or eat anything weird, she said, looking back at the door.
She turned back around and wrinkled her nose at the trees in front of her. They were completely green, and as she looked up the trunk of one, saw the leaves were a vivid yellow.
Not a tree, she said, realizing what it was, Its a ruddy giant dandelion.
What she thought were trees had been blades of grass and dandelions, and she sighed, thinking Great, now Im only six centimeters high in a world where the tigers and lions have six eyes and eight legs. Wonderful. She looked down at herself and saw she had on a puffy dress with even puffier sleeves, with a white apron over it. She pushed the skirt of it against her legs and looked down at a pair of black Mary Jane's, and giggled.
I've even got on the petticoat, she snickered, No more ethanol for me before bed.
She began walking, and didnt notice her hair was down until it caught on the jagged edge of another dandelion.
"Next time I have a hallucination like this, there will not be any twenty foot flowers in it," she growled, smoothing down her long hair.
"Who said this was a hallucination?"
She spun around and stared at Lily's face, stuck in the middle of a rose, and blinked a few times before she replied, "You're a rose?"
"This is your weird dream," Lily said, putting her leaf-like hands on her hips.
At the thought Bevan began giggling, and Lily raised an eyebrow, "What?"
"It's just that now you have rosehips," she laughed, and at Lily's unamused look cleared her throat, "Sorry. So are you going to give a bit of unimportant yet tragically brilliant advise?"
"No," she said, shaking her head, "I was just going to say that Woody went that way."
Bevan looked where she was pointing, and muttered a quick, 'thanks' before heading that way, noticing that the dandelions were getting sparser and the grass was getting thicker. She pushed between two fairly large blades of grass and stopped as a puffy, vivid green 'W' floated in front of her nose.
"I'll never live it down if I tell anyone about this," she grinned, watching another colorful letter float by and walking towards the direction it was coming from.
She ducked under a fallen twig the size of a sequoia, and stared at what was sitting on the mushroom in front of her.
"Hello Bev," Bug said, taking another hit off a deep red hookah.
If that wasn't odd enough for her, he also had two extra pairs of arms and legs on a long, snakelike body.
"This is getting creepy," she murmured, watching the red 'H' and blue 'B' float by, "You're a bug. . .Bug."
"A caterpillar," he said with a frown, "I know you know the difference."
Odd shapes floated out of his mouth in every color imaginable, and she shook her head for a moment, "Right. Did you see Detective Hoyt go by?"
"I did. But you'll never catch him," Bug answered, taking another long draw.
"Just out of curiosity, what is in there?" she asked, looking at the hookah.
"Can't you guess?" Bug asked, stretching out and crossing his legs and four of his arms.
"You're the entomologist, not me," she smiled, swearing to herself she was never drinking again, it was strictly water and tea from here on out.
"Don't you want to ask me something?" he asked, closing his eyes.
"Let me guess, one side will make me larger, and the other will make me smaller?" she grinned.
"Would you eat a death's cap mushroom?" he asked, lazily opening an eye.
"This doesn't look like one," she said, turning and looking at the mushroom, "So what is in it?"
"Milkweed," he drawled, "This one only makes you bigger."
"I see," she nodded, raising an eyebrow, "Aren't you going to loose your temper and turn into a butterfly?"
"No," he said, leaning on one of his elbows, "Sorry."
"So either side will work?" she asked.
"Mmm hmm," he nodded, looking like he was asleep.
Bevan tore a large piece of the mushroom off, and unfortunately, it was the part that Bug's last set of legs were on, and he began sliding off.
"Umm, Bug," she said, noticing he seemed oblivious.
"Will you just take it and go?" he asked, looking at her, "I'm trying to sleep."
"Your um, well, you're slipping," she said, deciding she'd better play it safe and give up tea too.
Bug looked from her to his back end, and shrugged, taking another drag, "Whatever."
She smiled slightly and took a small bite of the mushroom, and shot up to her normal height, and noticed she was just a foot away from a path. Making sure she didn't step on Bug, she stepped onto the path, and began walking.
Chartruese Stripes and Ball Gowns
She saw there was a tree ahead, and that it was growing in the fork in the road, and had signs nailed to it. She reached up to push her hair out of her face and noticed that it was in tight, pretty ringlets, and that half of it was up in a small bun. She looked down at herself and saw she was wearing a corseted ball gown, the skirt was a pale sky blue. The corset was white with the same blue trim, and she wondered what in hell this was about. She shrugged and picked up the skirt and walked towards the tree. She was reading the signs when she heard a very familiar voice start humming.
"Had to be you didn't it?" she asked, looking up.
"That's no way to talk," Nigel grinned, and she was quick to notice the large, fluffy, swishing, purple and chartreuse striped tail, which matched the purple suit he was wearing.
"You're the Cheshire cat?" she grinned.
"I suppose," he said vaguely, still grinning.
He was wearing a purple top hat and purple suede shoes, and Bevan smirked.
"You know what they say about men in purple."
He disappeared and she felt a pair of arms wrap around her waist.
"I think you know that's not the case," he nearly purred in her ear, planting a small kiss behind it, "Now then, want to play a little game?"
"Do I get to pull your tail?" she smiled.
"You just missed him," he whispered, pushing her curls off her neck and brushing his lips along her shoulder.
"Woody?" she asked.
"Woodrow," she said, feeling him grin against her neck.
"What about him?" he asked.
"Would you stop that," she said testily, and realized he wasn't behind her anymore.
She turned around and then felt the back of her dress raise up.
She spun around and watched him grin at her, "You're not helping."
"Aren't I?" he smirked, pulling her to him and brushing his lips against hers, "I'm better than any old rabbit you know."
"If you don't tell me which way he went right now, I will pull on your tail, and you will not enjoy it," she growled, the fact that she wrapped her arms around his neck not making it a very threatening phrase.
"If you're looking for a rabbit, try the March Hare's," he grinned, kissing her, "You sure you want to leave so soon?"
"If I remember correctly," she said, "In the movie, the cat nearly gets her beheaded, so no."
"And in the book?" he asked.
"Didn't get that far," she said, shaking her head, "Stopped when I found out the baby was a pig."
He chuckled and she felt him bunching up her skirt, "Well, I'll try not to let that happen."
"Which way?" she asked, grabbing his wrists.
"You saying you don't want to turn this into an erotic dream?" he smirked.
"Left of right?"
He grinned and she realized he was starting to disappear, "The left."
When he was finally gone, she gave a short laugh, "That wasn't all that odd actually. Maybe I should be worried about that."
Bevan was just thinking that a ball gown was definitely not made for walking any sort of distance, when she saw a roof. She walked towards it and noticed it was made of thatch, and surrounded by a stone wall. She was looking at the height of it and almost missed the narrow gateway. She looked into the yard and all she could see was a garden marked off with a large hedge. She opened the gate and walked towards the garden, hearing the sound of familiar, maniacal, female laughter. An arbor of sunny yellow roses marked the entranceway inside the hedge, and she had to bite her lip to keep from laughing.
Serena and Jordan were sitting at the end of a long table completely covered in teapots. That wasn't what she found amusing. What was amusing was that Jordan was wearing a bunny costume, though not the Easter kind. Serena was wearing a ball gown, a bright pink one, and on her head was an enormously oversized pink top hat with lurid florescent green pheasant feathers in the band. The bodice had tails like a tuxedo, and both she and Jordan were wearing shirt cuffs and collars with bow ties.
"I'd kill for a camera right now," Bevan chuckled, walking over.
Tea, Mice, and Mallets
The table was set for at least twenty, and there was enough teapots of every size and shape imaginable to accommodate sixty. They were all steaming, and some were actually emitting notes with every small 'puff' of steam, and there was one in particular that had three spouts, and sounded like a bassoon. She smiled slightly and looked around more, noticing the butterflies looked strange. Oh yes, they're bread and butterflies, she mused, at least they're not singing. They both laughed again and the hair on the back of her neck stood up, God Serena's got the cackle down. The teapots suddenly began to tune, and she sighed.
"Please don't start singing," she said, and watched Jordan and Serena stare at her.
"It's very rude to interrupt Bevie," Serena said, putting her hands on her hips.
"Very rude indeed," Jordan said, "Really Bev."
"Very, very rude indeed," a small voice said, and Bevan watched the lid of a teapot raise and saw Emmy yawn, two large mouse ears sticking out from the side of her head, "Very Rude Doc B."
Bevan stared as the lid of the teapot slowly lowered, and she realized Serena was talking again.
"Now then Bevie, what brings you here?" she asked.
"Some more tea?" Jordan asked.
"But I haven't had any," Bevan said, "I can't take more when I haven't had any."
"Nonsense," Jordan said, "You can always take more."
"Then yes," Bevan said, raising an eyebrow.
Serena poured her a cup and set it in front of her, "Now then start at the beginning."
"And when you get to the end," Jordan grinned, cracking open a teapot and emptying out it's contents into a cup like an egg, "Stop."
"Right," Bevan said, "By the by, did you know Nigel was the Cheshire cat?"
At the word 'cat', there was a rattling from one of the teapots, and Emmy flew out of hers, screaming.
"CAT! CAT! CAT!" she screamed, running around, knocking tea cups and pots all over the place.
"Someone catch her!" Serena yelled, jumping up.
"The jam, quick, the jam!" Jordan shouted, pulling out a large mallet and running around the table.
Bevan was searching for the jam pot, and she found it as Serena made a flying leap and caught Emmy, only to have Jordan hit her on the head and mash her hat onto her head.
"Of all the preposterous . . ." Serena said, pulling her hat up again, one hand firmly around the tiny figure of Emmy.
"Quick, the jam!" Jordan shouted, and Bevan ran over with it.
Jordan picked out the spoon and flung some on Emmy's face, who immediately calmed down.
"Thank god," Serena said, dropping her back into the teapot, "See how much trouble you've caused Bevie?"
"I'm terribly sorry," she smiled, watching Jordan lean on the mallet handle.
"Now then, I propose we change the subject," Jordan said, picking up the mallet and hitting Serena's hat again.
"Damnit to hell!" Serena growled, "This is the last time. . ."
"Time. The time. Who's got the time?" Jordan shouted.
Woody suddenly rushed into the garden, "There you are, we're going to be late, we already are late!"
He held up a large pocket watch, and Serena ran over and grabbed it, "Of course you're late, this watch is two days slow?"
"Two days slow?" Woody asked.
"Of course you're late," Serena said, dunking it into a teapot as Jordan went to stand next to her.
Serena slammed it onto the table and it popped open, "Here's your problem, it's full of wheels!"
She took a fork and began popping out gears.
"No, don't do that," Woody said, trying to step forward, only to have Jordan's stiletto heeled foot placed into his stomach and hold him out of reach as Jordan crossed her arms.
"I know what we need," Serena said, "Butter."
"What?" Woody asked.
"BUTTER!" Jordan shouted, and Woody rubbed his ear and handed it to her.
"Thanks farm boy," she grinned, handing it to Serena.
"No don't put that in it!" Woody said, starting to step forward.
"Relax cowboy," Jordan said, pushing him into a chair and sitting on his lap, "Leave it to the professionals. Sugar?"
"Yes, sugar," Serena said, "Two spoons should do."
"Tea? Yes, of course, I forgot all about tea," Serena giggled, pouring it over the watch.
"Jam?" Jordan asked, pushing it over and then putting her arms around Woody's neck.
"Yes jam," Serena said.
"Mustard?" Jordan asked, pushing it over with her foot.
"Yes, of course, mustard," Serena said, and then paused, "Mustard! Are you crazy? Lemon, now that makes sense."
She closed the back of the watch and it began to hop around the table, sputtering and spitting.
"It's gone mad!" Serena said, jumping back and grabbing the brim of her hat.
"Oh dear," Bevan said.
"Mad watch!" Jordan yelled, jumping up and going for her mallet.
"My watch!" Woody cried, watching it jump around before Jordan smashed it into a thousand pieces, "My poor watch."
"You're a danger with that mallet," Bevan said, looking at Jordan's smile.
"Two days slow, that's what it was," Serena said, pushing the mangled watch towards Woody.
"Now how am I supposed to tell time?" Woody asked.
"Well, then you better hurry so you're not late!" Jordan said, grabbing one of his arms and frog marching him to the gate.
"Yes, wouldn't want to be late!" Serena said, running to help, and they unceremoniously threw him out of the yard.
"Wait a minute!" Bevan called, and passed them as she ran to look for where Woody had landed.
She ran out into the dirt road and looked around, not seeing him, and sighed, "Might as well just walk on. I'm liable to be next to get the mallet."
She picked up her skirt and began walking, wondering what could possibly be next.
All Ways Are the Queen's Ways
The woods were getting darker as she walked, and she had to admit, she was getting a little creeped out by the weird birds and insects she passed. She was beginning to think she was lost, and she was getting tired as well. She finally found a smooth rock and sat down, stretching out her legs and pushing her hair out of her face.
"Stilettos don't make good hiking boots," she said softly, pulling her skirt up to look at her matching shoes.
"They make your legs look fantastic though," a voice said from above her.
"Thank god, something normal for a change," she sighed, and looked up.
Nigel grinned down at her from a tree, this time in a chartreuse suit, shoes, and top hat.
"Well, mildly normal," she said with a slight frown.
He disappeared and she felt him behind her, his back against hers, "You lost?"
"Not anymore," she said, "You found me."
"That I did," he grinned, turning around, "So, what kind of reward do I get?"
"How about a thank you?" she asked, turning her head and looking at him out of the corner of her eye.
"I was thinking of something else," he said, and disappeared.
She turned around and looked around, and then realized she wasn't sitting on a rock anymore.
"What in the. . ." she said, aware she was sitting in Nigel's lap.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her against him, "This is much better, don't you think?"
"Nigel, we've been over this. . ." she began.
"Shh," he grinned, gently kissing her, "I just want you to be comfortable."
"Sure," she said softly, kissing him back, "I'm sure that was what's on your mind."
"Where are you trying to get to?" he asked, looking at her.
"I'm trying to find my way. . ."
"There's your problem," he grinned, "You have no way. All ways here are the queen's ways."
"I see," she said, "So, which way would you go?"
"Well," he smiled suavely, his hand running down her back, "First I'd go down south, and then. . ."
"Nigel," she said lowly, feeling him pinch her, and she stood up, placing her hands on her hips, "Seriously."
"Well," he said, getting up and walking around her, "Some people go that way."
He slipped his arms through hers and pointed to her left, "And some people go that way."
He pointed to the right and then wrapped his arms around her.
"And you?" she asked.
He let go of her and appeared in front of her, and pushed her against a tree, "You really want to know?"
She looked at his eyes and felt her pulse quicken, "Yes."
He grinned and leaned forward, brushing his lips against hers, "I take the short cut."
There was a noise behind her and she fell backwards, landing on her back and rolling once, the back of her skirt ending up over her head.
"Why you big . . . smarmy. . ." she growled, pushing down her skirt.
She stopped and looked around, noticing she was in the center of a hedge maze, and raised an eyebrow. She looked down at herself and saw she was in a pale blue cocktail dress, a white stripe down the front of it, and matching white heeled sandals. Her hair was up in a twist, and she sighed.
"This better damn well be worth it," she said, beginning to walk down one of the halls of the maze.
She was contemplating climbing up onto the top of the maze when a large red puddle caught her attention. She was leaning over to look at it when a large drop landed in the puddle again.
"Blood?" she asked, herself, kneeling down, "No, it's paint."
She stood up and tried to look through and over the hedge, but couldn't see over it. She was walking faster now, occasionally jumping, and jumped right past an opening in the hedge wall. Her face a deep pink, she looked around the leafy doorway, and saw Karver, Winslow, and Berman busy painting file folders that appeared to be growing out of topiaries shaped like card suits.
"What are you all doing?" she asked, noticing they were an ace, two, and three of spades.
"Were painting these files red," Karver said, looking worried, "You see, they're supposed to be red, but we haven't gotten to them, and when we found them, they were this weird yellow color."
"Manila," Bevan said.
"Whatever it is," Winslow said, throwing more paint on a folder, "If SHE finds out, we're dead."
"She?" Bevan asked.
"The Miller files finished," Berman said, "That leaves the Franklin, and the Johnson ones left."
"Well, make sure they're there then," Karver said, looking inside one of the folders.
"Let me help," Bevan said, picking up a paint brush.
They were painting the last file when there was bugle call, and the three 'cards' froze.
"Oh no!" they cried, beginning to run around frantically, throwing paint over the ones they had painted, and each other.
"What?" Bevan asked, watching them.
"It's HER!" they cried, suddenly laying prone on the grass.
"Who?" Bevan asked.
"Just get down here," Winslow said, grabbing her arm and pulling her down.
She laid there and watched row after row of cards, all hearts, come marching over and lining up, and noticed that the hearts were black instead of red. This can't be good, she thought.
Woody suddenly ran into the mix, blowing on a bugle, and she noticed he was wearing a red suit with a huge, stiff, white Elizabethan collar, "Presenting, her royal majesty, her imperial excellency, THE QUEEN OF HEARTS!"
Bevan's jaw dropped, and she shut it quickly, realizing this had just become a nightmare of epic proportions.
The Queen, and Bevan on Trial
"What has been going on here?!"
Bevan looked behind her and saw that one, just one, of the files was half painted and dripping. She looked back at none other than DA Renee Walcott, dressed like Queen Elizabeth I in all those paintings, her gown a mixture of black and blood red velvets and silks, the large starched collar making her look even more imposing. There was an enormous crown on her head, and she felt like she knew what was coming next.
"Karver!" she thundered, "Who's been painting my file cases RED?"
"Berman!" Karver said quickly.
"Me!" Berman screeched, "It was Winslow!"
"What!" he yelled, "It was your all's idea!"
"THAT'S ENOUGH!!" Walcott yelled, and if Bevan's hair had been down, it would have blown backwards.
Regardless, her ears were ringing.
"OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!" Walcott thundered.
From behind her stepped Elaine, dressed in all black, with a large, vicious-looking ax in her hands. God is this ever an appropriate image, Bevan's mind smirked, even though she knew she was in a very perilous position. The crowd cheered, and six cards came forward and dragged Karver, Berman, and Winslow off, Elaine following close behind.
"Oh dear," Bevan said, brining attention to herself.
"AND WHO ARE YOU?" Walcott yelled.
A slight figure stepped out behind her, and she saw it was Garret, and stifled the snort that threatened.
"It looks like a young lady my dear," he said.
She giggled despite herself, "You're the King of Hearts?"
"And if I ever find out about it, you're dead," he said, his brow furrowing.
"I can see that you moron," Walcott said sharply, apparently not hearing their brief conversation, "Stand up."
Bevan stood up and smoothed down her dress, realizing that the ball gown would have been more appropriate.
"Stand up straight, turn out your toes," Walcott said, reminding her very much of etiquette classes in boarding school, "And open your mouth a little wider."
"Yes your majesty," she said politely.
"What is your name dear?" Walcott asked, studying her.
"Well," she said, wondering what she should say.
"Curtsy while your thinking, it saves time," Walcott said.
"Yes, your majesty," she said, wondering how she was supposed to curtsy in a skin tight dress, but tried it anyway, "My name is Bevan."
"Well now," she said, beginning to fan herself with a heart-shaped fan, "Where are you going, and where do you come from?"
"Well, I was trying to find my way. . ."
"YOU'RE WAY?! ALL WAYS HERE ARE MY WAYS!" Walcott bellowed.
"Yes, your majesty, of course they are," she said quickly.
"Now then, so you play roque?" Walcott asked.
"You mean the bastardized version of croquet?" she said sarcastically before she could stop herself.
"What?" Walcott hissed.
"Yes, I do," she said, seeing Woody and Garret staring at her with wide eyes and dropped jaws.
"Hmm," Walcott hummed, looking her over, "Very well then. To the pitch!"
The game was going along well, Bevan was purposefully losing, something which a person as competitive as herself found hard to do, and 'Queen' Walcott seemed pleased. Bevan sighed and leaned against her mallet, when she felt an arm slip around her waist.
"Having fun?" a voice purred in her ear.
"Not at all," she said loudly.
"Who are you talking to?" Walcott snapped, spinning around.
"Myself, your Majesty," she said, heaving a small sigh when she turned back around.
"You really must learn to speak quieter."
"I thought you weren't going to do this?" she whispered, "You want to get me beheaded?"
"Do what?" Nigel grinned, moving around to her other side, "I haven't done anything."
"Yet," Bevan said, "For all I know you're going to go push her down and pull her skirt over her head."
"That sounds like fun," Nigel grinned, kissing her neck before he suddenly disappeared.
"I didn't mean. . ." she said loudly.
"I'm beginning to lose my patience with you," Walcott said, not turning around.
Bevan watched in horror as Nigel appeared behind her, and gave her a swift kick in the rear, sending her rolling down the slight hill. She covered her mouth with her hands, on the verge of laughing hysterically, and expelling the proverbial brick. Garret and Woody both began chuckling, but stopped and turned pale as the Queen tyrant extraordinaire came marching up the hill, a murderous glint in her eyes.
"YOU!" she fumed, poiting at Bevan, "OFF WITH HER. . ."
"Wait my dear," Garret said timidly, jumping in front of Bevan, "Couldn't we have a trail? Hmm? Just a little one?"
"Oh, very well," Walcott said, "ON TO THE TRIAL!"
Bevan looked at the two cards on either side of her, and back to the enormous judge's stand.
"The defendant is accused of flagrant disregard for. . ." Woody began, reading off a roll of parchment.
"Just get to the important part!" Walcott snapped.
"Yes," Woody said, going down the list, "And further torment, leading to the loss of the Queen's most kind temper."
"Well, I never!" Bevan said angrily, putting her hands on her hips.
"Silence! Now, are you ready for your sentence?" Walcott asked in a poisonous kind of sweetness.
"But that's not the way. . ." she began.
"ALL WAYS. . ."
"Are your ways, your majesty," Bevan interrupted, curtsying.
"Yes," Walcott nodded, "OFF WITH HER. . ."
"We haven't called any witnesses," Garret said timidly, "Couldn't we call just a few?"
"All right," Walcott growled, "BUT GET ON WITH IT!"
Woody unrolled another roll of paper and cleared his throat.
"First witness," Woody said, "The March Hare."
Another two cards led Jordan to the witness stand, where she sat on the podium and crossed her long legs, swinging them.
"What do you know about this travesty?" Garret asked her.
"Nothing," Jordan replied with a wink at Woody.
"NOTHING WHATEVER?" Walcott yelled.
"NOTHING WHATEVER!!" Jordan bellowed back.
"That's very important," Walcott said, hitting the stand.
"What?" Bevan said softly.
Jordan got down and went over to stand next to Woody, flipping his collar. Woody turned pink and Bevan watched Jordan lean over and whisper something to him, his face turning red.
"AHEM!" Walcott said impatiently.
"Oh!" Woody said, his voice squeaking. He cleared his throat again, "Second witness, the Mad Hatter."
"Oh thank god," Bevan said, watching Serena walk in.
She sat down at the witness stand, and gave the card that had escorted her a silky smile and a wink, before she turned to the 'Queen'.
"OFF WITH YOUR HAT!" Walcott screamed.
"I'm doomed," Bevan groaned.
Serena took off her large hat, and took a tea pot off her head and poured a saucer, a cup, two cubes of sugar, and a cup full of tea out of it.
"Where were you when this tragic event took place?" Garret asked.
"Having tea," Serena said sweetly, taking a sip.
"Write that down!" Walcott said to the jury.
Bevan's jaw dropped and she watched Serena step down and walk over to flirt with a jack of diamonds.
"Next witness," Woody said dreamily, his face covered in lipstick and his collar half undone, Jordan playing with the top button of his suit, "The Dormouse."
"The. . . Oh," Bevan said, seeing them bring in Emmy's teapot.
"WELL!" Walcott yelled.
There was a soft voice coming from inside the teapot, and Bevan leaned forward to hear, "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat."
"That's the most important piece of evidence so far," Walcott whispered to the jury.
"Fantastic. All I need now is. . ." Bevan groaned, then watched a grin appearing behind Walcott's shoulder, and could already feel the cold steel on the back of her neck.
"Now for the sentencing," Walcott said with an evil smile, looking at Bevan.
"Wait a minute!" Bevan said, watching Nigel wink at her, "Just turn around."
Walcott turned around and Nigel disappeared again, and Walcott turned slowly and glared at Bevan, "And just what am I supposed to be looking at?"
"The damn Cheshire cat! Haven't any of you duffers ever seen it?" she snapped, putting her hands on her hips.
She'd said the wrong thing, as there was a sudden rattling from the left. A tiny figure flew out of a teapot, screaming "CAT!", and threw the courtroom into chaos. Serena turned from the jack of diamonds and started chasing Emmy, Jordan jumped into Woody's arms for a moment before getting her mallet, Garret began chasing with Serena, Walcott began shouting and pointing out Emmy, and all Bevan could do was to cover her mouth with her hands, watching the chaos.
"My my, you're wonderful at this," a silky voice said, and she felt lips brush along her ear.
"You!" she growled, spinning around and watching Nigel grin at her, "This is all your fault!"
"I tried to bargain with you," he smirked, pushing up against her and pushing her back into the railing of the platform she was standing on, "But you wouldn't hear anything of it."
"Jam, someone get the jam!" Serena screamed, running by with her hat down over her eyes.
"That's still no excuse," she whispered, looking at his lips.
"Here it is!" Garret said.
Bevan was oblivious to everything but Nigel's eyes, locked on hers as he leaned forward and gently kissed her.
Behind her, Jordan was waving her mallet around wildly, Garret had a spoon filled with the jam raised above his head, just a step behind Serena, who was holding her hat to her head. Serena made a leap and managed to grab a hold of Emmy, both of them landing in front of Walcott.
"LET ME HAVE IT YOU DOLTS!" Walcott bellowed, and was simultaneously hit in the face by the jam, and by Jordan's mallet, knocking her crown down over her eyes.
Bevan sighed and felt him cup her face in his hands, and suddenly felt something being placed in her hands.
"SOMEONE'S HEAD WILL ROLL FOR THIS!" Walcott thundered, trying to push her crown back up.
Bevan held up her hands and saw she was holding a jar of jam, and a mallet, and she watched Nigel grin, though it wasn't his usual jaunty one.
"This is my cue to leave," he said, and disappeared with a little 'poof'. Bevan turned and saw Walcott still struggling with her crown, and then looked at her hands, and realized she was up the creek with a large piece of excrement for a paddle.
"YOU!" Walcott bellowed, pointing at Bevan, who suddenly threw the objects at her 'guards' and began running out of the courtroom.
"No more coffee, no more tea, no more tap water, not for me," she panted, pushing open a door, "What a time to start rhyming!"
She realized there was no way she was going to get anywhere in her heels, and she stopped to see how far away she was. When she turned to take off her shoes, she realized she was in the ball gown, and just decided to wing it and keep running. She found the maze and ran by a line of cards coming through one pathway, and almost tripped on her skirt.
"Bollux!" she growled, gathering up her skirts to her waist and continuing on, plowing through another line of cards and knocking them down like dominoes.
She could hear yelling behind her and turned to see everyone chasing her, and turned back to see the tree with the signs on it. She passed it and felt her hair flying free behind her, and dropped her skirts, able to run faster in the low heeled Mary Jane's. The hedge was ahead and she concentrated on it, feeling a stitch start in her side and wondering if she was going to make it. She looked wildly around for the door, and finally found it, and began pushing on it, trying to get it to open.
"Sorry sweetheart, I'm locked."
"Max?!" she gasped, looking at the doorknob, "Quick, you've got to help me!"
"Do you have a key?" Max asked, looking behind her, "Whoa, what did you do?"
"You're the doorknob, can you just turn for me?" she asked, looking around, "Where's the damn table supposed to be?"
"I can't, rules are rules," Max said, "But you better hurry though."
"Pockets. I have pockets," she said, looking at her apron, "Damn pinafore! Where is it?"
She turned and felt herself on the verge of panic. She had all of thirty seconds by the look of that dust cloud. She felt something hard and metallic in her pocket and gasped, pulling out a large, gold key.
"That'll do it," Max said.
"Well, open up then," Bevan said, and to her horror, dropped the key, "Not now!"
She reached over to get it and knocked it under the door in her panic, and turned to look at the approaching mob. She got on her knees and tried to reach under the door, and felt the key, just out of her reach. She turned and noticed that Elaine was standing next to her, and she saw the ax raise up over her head, and she felt her eyes opening wider and wider. . .
She shot up and looked around wildly, rubbing her neck, "What!"
"You fell asleep again didn't you?" Nigel grinned, standing in her doorway with two cups of tea.
"Did I?" she asked, looking around.
"I'm assuming so," he grinned, sitting down, "Seeing as how your still in the suit you were wearing yesterday."
"It's gray right, not baby blue?" she asked, afraid to look.
Nigel raised an eyebrow and smirked, "Should I even ask?"
He set the cup of tea in front of her and she looked at it, wondering if she even dared to.
"You all right?" he asked, not able to hide his smile.
"Fine," she nodded, picking up her cup and looking at it, "If one drinks much from a bottle marked poison, it's bound to disagree with one sooner or later."
"What?" Nigel grinned.
"Hmm? Nothing," she said taking a drink of the tea and feeling it's warmth pass through her, not realizing she had broken out into a cold sweat, "Just giving myself some good advice."
She looked at Nigel and watched him shake his head for a minute before he took a sip of his own tea, a quirky grin still on his face.
A special thanks to Jo, who without her help I wouldn't (and couldn't) have written this. Thank you so much!