E (ebailey140) wrote,

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HP fic: Black Alchemy: The Queen's Riddle, Chapter 3: Threshold

Title: Black Alchemy: The Queen's Riddle
Author: Perceval
Rating: PG
Summary: Tom Riddle has found himself in Wonderland, something he knows to be impossible. He's always been a reasonable boy...

Bloody rude flowers.

The Tiger-Lily was the only one with any manners, Tom thought.

He'd considered trying to pick the lot of them, but he remembered they had told Alice something about a protecting tree. He recalled that they didn't say that the tree would get physical about things. He imagined a violent tree taking swings at people, and decided that would be very unlike a tree. But, considering where he was, somewhere nothing behaved as it normally should, he reasoned that it was probably best not to risk it.

He really needed to leave this garden, though. He remembered that this would lead him to the Red Queen, and he really had no desire to meet the Red Queen. This would lead to playing an elaborate chess game, and, while Tom found chess quite interesting, at seven, he'd hadn't the opportunity to learn to play it well, at least well enough for the stakes he'd be playing for, here. Besides, she'd insist on offering him a biscuit when he really didn't want one, especially if he didn't want one.

And anyway, this wasn't the Queen he wanted to see. But, he thought sadly, she surely wouldn't be here. After all, she'd left, many years ago, left and was living her life. His Alice was long gone.

But then, he thought, if this was a dream, and surely it was, anything was possible. Except, it didn't feel like a dream. The Dreamworld felt very different than this, as one noted when one realized one was dreaming. He reasoned that he MUST be dreaming, but he clearly wasn't.

"Curiouser and curiouser," said Tom, as he wandered out of the garden.

If he wasn't dreaming, then he had to be in a very real place. But, Wonderland could not be real. There were rules governing the world, and this place defied every single one of them. The only possible explanation was magic, and magic didn't exist. Tom knew that.

But... He'd had some interesting experiences during his seven years, that had, as far as he could tell, no simple, reasonable, explanations. He considered, for a moment, that perhaps magic DID exist. But surely, if it did, everyone would know it. Of course, people didn't seem to notice so many things that Tom did. He was... special, he'd been told. And, he was here, which pretty much settled the argument. Perhaps.

Maybe he really was mad, after all.

"Well, of course you are," a now familiar voice said.

Tom looked up, and there was the Cheshire Cat on a tree branch, fortunately not a violent one.

"We're all mad, here," said the Cat. "I'm mad, you're mad."

"I'm NOT mad!", Tom said angrily. Well, maybe he was a bit mad, but not in the way the Cat was referring to.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

"I knew you'd say that," Tom countered.

"Of course, you did," said the Cat.

"And, Alice wasn't mad, which proves you wrong."

"Isn't she? Her Majesty is Queen and Creator, after all. All of this came from her mind. It's... a reflection of how she saw the world, out there."

"No one can shape a world as they see fit."

"Is that so? You can tell her that, when you meet her."

"I can't meet her, because she can't be here."

"Why not?"

"Because..." Tom was losing his patience, he knew, which never led to good things, here, but he had to maintain some reason... "She's out in the real world, living a real life. It's been in the newspapers, and someone can't be two places at once!"

"How do you know?"

"It's impossible."

"And, how many impossible things have you done, today?"

"At least it's well after breakfast," Tom conceded. "But, we have bodies and souls. She'd have to have more than one body..."

"That's very convenient for her, yes."

"And we CAN'T have more than one soul. You'd have to be able to split the one you have."


"And, that's impossible."

Tom felt really stupid saying that, all things considered. What was impossible in a place like this? How could a place like this exist? All he could think of was... magic.

Well, either magic existed, or he was quite mad. He preferred the first option, even though it was the least logical one.

"You're tense," the Cat noted.

"OF COURSE, I'M TENSE!!!" Tom shouted.

"Perhaps you could use a soothing cup of tea," the Cat suggested, before disappearing, again.

Right, Tom thought. If he was certain of one thing, he'd never be able to actually drink a cup of tea in this place. Still, though, he knew this place, however mad, had it's rules, it's way of doing things, it's own internal logic. He knew, from the Cat's words, exactly what was coming next.

He wouldn't have any tea, he was certain, but he'd have to try, anyway.

So, he set off towards inevitable destiny.
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