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Title: Tight Rope
Author/Artist: Pachelbel/vilify
Pairing: Alice/March Hare/Mad Hatter
Fandom: Alice in Wonderland
Theme: Rafters, 101. "Ärthjärna"
Ratings/Warnings: PG; reference to a hookah, mild cruelty to the Dormouse. Same things you find in the book and any of the adaptations.


She wasn't sure when the March Hare learned Swedish, because she'd been quite sure that he was a Welsh hare, and up until the day it began to rain fat red tear drops he had seemed content to speak only in English. Of course, when she expressed her curiosity over the Hare's linguistic skills, the Mad Hatter had laughed and offered her a lukewarm cup of tea and explained it was simply because they'd had a tiff. As if everyone picked up a foreign language when they were angry.

Alice was not about to be left puzzling too long over any subject; it would drive her mad, as mad as the Cheshire Cat at any rate and that was not a pleasant thought at all. So she had sat with the March Hare for hours, trying to soak in the guttural flow of words he was happily spouting at her. The only word she picked up was "ärthjärna", and she only hoped the March Hare was saying it accurately enough that the Mock Turtle could help her. If anyone could, of course; in this world, it was possible that they'd make up some sort of rationalization that had nothing to do with anything (although of course it would have to do with something, she realized; if it had nothing to do with anything, they'd be saying nothing at all.)

When she skidded her way past the chattering daffodils and down the long, sloping hill where the pigs were grazing like cows, she found Caterpillar lounging and decided he probably knew a bit of Swedish. It was as likely as the Mock Turtle knowing, anyway, and Caterpillar was typically more forthcoming in his answers. Besides, the scent of the smoke from his hookah reminded her of her father (the few times she'd seen him) and it was nice to be reminded of home when you were pondering such mysteries as how the March Hare managed to keep two languages in his very addled brain.

And indeed, the Caterpillar was happy to share the translation of ärthjärna, as well as where it originated, and the many ways it could be used, and in fact just how many famous people had used it.... He went on and on, smoke curling in little streamers around his head, cloying in Alice's senses, until they were both fast asleep.

She woke before he did; little Alice always woke before he did.

"Oh, dear," she said to herself, brushing dandelion fluff from her skirt and determining she didn't want to wake Caterpillar. He was an irritable sort of fellow, and was likely to launch into a lecture on how disagreeable a little girl she was. "'Pea brain'. That isn't very kind of March Hare at all." She sighed. "I suppose I ought to do something, or they'll continue bickering at each other forever."

Alice, fortunately, had a plan. And since the Hatter and the Hare were so preoccupied with their one-sided arguments (the one cheerily spouting off insults in English while he pulled tea from his hat, and the other fidgeting and responding musically in Swedish while he attempted to drown the Dormouse), neither of them suspected Alice might be up to anything.

When she whispered in his ear that all he had to say was, "Jag er lei mig" he was so pleased to be able to trick the Hare by speaking their newfound native tongue, he didn't care to ask what it meant, nor even pause to think Alice might have just forced an apology out of him. Not that it mattered. In a matter of seconds, that was the only phrase the two were babbling back and forth at each other, while they laughed like lunatics and made a mess of their UnBirthday Party.

Alice watched, sipping her tea demurely, hoping only that the Hatter wouldn't realize what she'd done; he never missed an opportunity for payback.


- Any and all suggestions are welcome. I know the dialogue is choppy, I'm not going to be offended if you point it out. :)

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
jitkajaylor
Jan. 5th, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
I suddenly feel very vindicated. When we read Lewis Carroll in high school, I asked my teacher why the March Hare and Mad Hatter sounded like a married couple. An insane married couple, but they talk over and around each other while seeming to know exactly what the other one's going to do next. I got the funniest looks.

The narrative was nice. The flow's smoother than you think because the tone is a bit slower than all the contemporary action writing, and it fits very well for this fandom. I like your take on the characters. Looking forward to more!

~JJ~
runic_binary
Jan. 7th, 2007 10:06 am (UTC)
Reading this, I felt like I was reading a scene out of the book. The characterizations are lovely, and I agree with jitkajaylor--the Mad Hatter and the March Hare (two of my favorite characters, by the way) always sounded to me like an old, married, crazy couple. Very nice.
fyretoppaaa
Jan. 8th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
Waaaah, this makes me wanna go back and read Alice in Wonderland like I always meant to~! _^_ But going on what little I know of it, the style matches beautifully with Carroll's, and the characterization is spot-on as well. It takes an exceptional writer to pull that off, I hope you know. >3
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )