Categories > Books > Dresden Files

Harry in Wonderland

by mitsukai613 0 reviews

Harry Dresden is dreaming. This is certain. He does not know who is making him dream this, but whoever it is will soon be a charred lump on the ground, because Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden ...

Category: Dresden Files - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Humor,Romance - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2015-07-04 - 7302 words - Complete

I was asleep. I had to be. There was no other explanation for this shit. Someone or something in the Nevernever was fucking with me. It wouldn’t be a new situation. It happened all the time. I was asleep, Hell’s Bells, I was asleep. I was asleep, and I was in a little blue dress that hardly reached the middle of my thighs and a stark white apron tied in a big bow behind my back. I looked down at my feet and saw that they were encased in stockings of equal white to my new apron, and a set of shiny black patent leather shoes. There was a head band or something in my hair. I was sleeping, I was sleeping, Stars and Stones, I was sleeping. Definitely. Maybe Lea was getting more creative in her torture. Yup, yup, yup. My life is crazy, but it’s not to the levels where me suddenly wearing a dress and patent leather shoes is a day to day thing, thank the Almighty. I shook my head, and tried to wake up. Nothing happened. Damn it. My surroundings, which had previously been black nothingness, solidified into a green meadow. There was a white rabbit in a waistcoat in front of me and Hell’s Bells, I was in Alice in Wonderland and I was Alice. The rabbit ran off, and honestly I was pretty sure at this point that the only way to get out of this shit was to go with it, so I chased the thing towards the rabbit hole I saw off in the distance.

“Oh, I’m late, I’m late, I’m very, very late!” Stars and Stones, that sounded like… Butters. Yeah, the more I looked at the little guy, the more it reminded me of him, all wide blue eyes and frazzled fur. If only it was playing polka. Whatever. Apparently my tired brain was a weird motherfucker. Maybe this was my ID playing some kind of subconscious prank. I wouldn’t put it passed him. He’s an asshole. Not like me, of course, I’m your stereotypical nice guy, you know? Anyway, I followed after Bunny Butters, and when he jumped down the rabbit hole, I jumped after him. You know, when Alice did it, her skirt stayed demurely where it was. Mine flipped up over my ass. I had a pair of lacy white panties to complete my ensemble, in case you were wondering. I really hope you weren’t wondering. Oh, and another thing that’s different: landing on that floor hurts like hell. And I’ve had falling lessons. I don’t know what the hell Alice was doing to prepare for that adventure, but it was obviously more strenuous than weekly aikido lessons with Murph. At least I wasn’t getting quite as much of an entrance as Alice did, what with the whole crying giant tears and flooding an entire miniature ecosystem and whatnot. There was a shiny golden key on the table, beside the little drink me bottle. I grabbed the key, then sipped down the liquid in the bottle. It tasted as bad as any potion, some foul mixture of expired fruit punch and liquefied gummy candies and… was that scotch? What the hell? This was a children’s book! I shrank as expected, though, and shoved the key into the doorknob’s mouth and that sounds a lot worse when I write it down. I hate my life. I hate that this is my life. I really hate that this is probably one of the more normal things that’s happened to me.

The damned doorknob wouldn’t wake up, so I glared at it and wiggled the key. It coughed and spluttered before its sleepy eyes listed open. They were icy, frozen blue, and when it spoke it was the Merlin’s voice I heard.

“What a rude little girl you are.” It was my turn to splutter angrily and nonsensically.

“How could you possibly mistake me for a little girl? I’m a man! A man, damn it!” The Arthur Langtry doorknob looked skeptical. That might have been due to the fact that I was so freaked out I was hitting high notes I’d never dreamed of before.

“Yes, well, I’m afraid I don’t feel like opening today. You’re skipping parts of the story. Go over to the other side of the room and talk to the White Rabbit.” And then he ate the key and went back to sleep. The Merlin has, it seems, made it his personal goal to fuck with me in every form, no matter what, because I’m worth it, I guess. I made my way across the room, and yeah, there was Bunny Butters, tapping one big foot on the ground and dancing around, checking his pocket watch over and over again. When he caught sight of me, he tried to school his expression into something angry, but it just made his nose twitch in a way that even I, badass Wizard that I am, had to admit was adorable.

“Harriet, there you are! You simply must fetch the duchess’ gloves and fan! Come along, come along, through here.” He dragged me through a door I was pretty sure hadn’t been there before, and then pointed at a larger, cottage style home. “In there, please! Fetch her gloves and fan! Oh, we’re so late, so late, so very, very late! I’ll lose my head if this keeps up! Oh dear.” I blinked.

“My name isn’t Harriet, and polka will never die, Butters.” I said, completely thoughtless. The rabbit twitched its nose at me again. And then he suddenly turned into the real life butters, except with a set of twitching white ears on his head. He ran a hand through his wiry, dark mane and pushed up his thin wire rims.

“How’d you know my real name?” he said, a tiny grin splitting his face. I stared blankly.

“Because we’re friends, and this is a dream produced by my really, really weird subconscious. My name is Harry, by the way, not Harriet.” He cocked his head, and the ears flopped over to one side. He was still as annoyingly adorable as he was as an actual bunny.

“Harry? But that’s a boy’s name, and you’re a maid. Go fetch the duchess’ fan and gloves, Harriet!” Oh, for fuck’s sake! I took a deep breath and reminded myself that the faster I played this out, the faster I could get my ass home. Or in bed, having a normal dream. I stomped into the house, but my stomping was more of a muted clicking thanks to the stupid little shoes. The dress flounced up and brushed the bottom of my ass with every step. I tried to ignore the eyes I felt in that general area as I went inside and actually found the gloves and the fan, thankfully without any height changing shenanigans. I don’t like shenanigans. I shoved the fan and gloves at Butters angrily, then crossed my arms. No, I was not pouting. Or sulking. I was… gazing at him balefully. Butters gave me a crooked little smile.

“Thank you, Harriet, there’s no need to pout! Please, just follow the path there. The Queen of Hearts would likely enjoy speaking to you, and that path will get you there. I’ll be along later. And do watch out for the Hatter! He simply loves to snack on little maids like you!” Not a maid. I’m not a maid. I’m also not a girl. I’m a man. A man! I resisted the urge to peek into the panties just to make sure, because it would be just like my ID to do that to me. I just shook my head, though, and followed the path the recently bunny-fied Butters had indicated.

The path was uneven, the trees dark and swooping over my head. I was at least the right size at this point, though, rather than ridiculously miniscule, so I supposed I couldn’t complain too much. I assumed that was mostly due to the fact that I’d read Alice in Wonderland, so I knew exactly what to do. If I’d never heard the story before, chances were I’d have fucked up even more than Alice. Hell, by this point I’d have probably burned Wonderland down, if left to my own devices. I had a habit of that, you understand. At least I could say the flowers on this path were pretty, although they were a little too chatty for my tastes. I’m not quite sure how a flower could fuck me, but the wildflowers I passed were pretty sure it was possible, and were perfectly willing to try. I was less willing. Stars, I’d never guessed how perverted a plant could be. I wanted to step on them, but I was pretty sure that might be offensive and dangerous and a bunch of other stuff, so I decided that maybe that wouldn’t be a good idea and walked on. I eventually came to a clearing filled with sweet-smelling smoke that filled my mouth and nose and throat completely.

It made the whole clearing hazy and surreal, dreamlike, and I walked forward slowly so I wouldn’t be surprised by anything jumping out of the haze. It stops being paranoia once it saves your life, by the way. Ahem. I heard a voice coming from far off, and I moved towards it until it became clear enough to understand. All I could really manage to see was a blurry mass of red and black and flesh color.

“Harriet, I’ve been… expecting you.” Holy shit it was Hendricks! I waved a hand to clear the smoke, and there he was, sitting on a mushroom smoking a hookah, dressed up all in black. The only difference was the two antennas sticking up from the crown of his shorn red hair. He blew smoke in my face like it would bother me. The antennae twitched. I stared. More smoke ended up in my face.

“Hey, Hendricks, if you’ve been expecting me, maybe you should tell me what you want? Also, my name is Harry. Not that I think you’ll listen, but still. I feel better if I say it.” He produced a low hum, and lounged backwards on his mushroom, gigantic body shifting until it was comfortable. His movements were lazy and slow, unlike how he normally was, quick to action. And now I was criticizing the dream-casting. Hey, wasn’t the caterpillar supposed to be really wise or some shit like that? Huh.

“How sad. You’ve got no idea who you are, have you, Harriet? Calling yourself Harry. How foolish, to have forgotten who you are.”

“Cujo, if you keep using full sentences your brain may explode.” He raised one heavy brow at me.

“I don’t think the one who’s forgotten their own name can complain over my intelligence, can they? Especially not when they don’t know my first name. It isn’t Cujo, it’s Nathan. Nathan Hendricks. Bitch.” Oh, what the hell. Everyone thought I was a woman anyway.

“That’s no way to talk to a lady!” I said, crossing my arms. Hendricks the Caterpillar laughed, low and rumbling, and took another puff off his hookah.

“Then be nice, sweetie. I’m sure as hell not the worst thing in this forest for a cute little thing like you to come across.” Another puff. I sighed.

“Yeah, the Hatter, right?” He cocked his head.

“The Hatter? No, he’s a good man. Maybe… unorthodox, but good. I was thinking more of the Cheshire Cat. He’s been known to suck the life right out of unwary little girls like you.” It’s a sad day when a bunch of men calling you a girl stops being upsetting. I’m pretty sure I was getting used to it, although John Marcone’s guard dog complimenting my appearance and speaking in real life sentences was a little disconcerting. I didn’t want to get used to it. I wanted to keep my righteous indignation, honestly.

“Okay, so, what, you’re going to be my guide safely to the Queen?” He shook his head.

“I’m happy where I am. Go towards that house over there. Might be someone there to help you.” I crossed my arms and glared.

“What, you don’t want to hear a poem?” He shrugged, and drifted back onto his mushroom even more.

“If you know one, go ahead, I guess. I’m not going to protest being entertained by a nice looking girl, although my girl might be upset.” Hendricks had a girlfriend? I scrutinized him. He scrutinized me. We all scrutinized each other.

“A man named Harry got to go to the moon, because the Summer Queen owed him a boon. He ran and he played, each day away, until the Summer Queen sent the Billy Goats Gruff after him,” I said, and then, just to be contrary, curtsied. Hendricks threw a rock at me.

“That’s the shittiest poem I’ve ever heard.”

“Well then your girlfriend won’t be jealous. Who is she, anyway?” He grunted and pointed at the house again.

“The Duchess. She lives there.” Oh. Well then. If this was a parody of real life, then maybe I could learn something from this foray into madness after all. Of course, if this was a parody of real life, then Hendricks was actually smart, and that was something I wasn’t sure I could come to terms with. Stones, but it wasn’t something to dwell on right now anyway, so I walked up to the building and opened the door. I fell into a sneezing fit the moment the stench of pepper hit me, and I heard a crying baby doing the same, along with a woman. Molly, who stood at the stove dumping the pepper in, seemed to have no such problems. My apprentice, everyone. No sense of smell and lacking all of her mother’s grace in the kitchen. It’s kind of upsetting, honestly. I coughed, and took in the other woman in the room: Sigrun Gard, resident Valkyrie. Huh. I’d always thought Cujo had a crush on her, but I hadn’t really considered that they might actually be a thing. She bounced a baby in her arms despite her sneezing and I really hoped that hadn’t happened in real life. The world really doesn’t need to see the spawn of a Valkyrie and a guard dog. It’d be the scariest infant ever.

“Molly,” I said through rapid fire coughs and sneezes, “Damn it, stop cooking!” She whipped around towards me; blonde hair tinted blue at the ends, like I remembered, and proceeded to toss a plate at my head. I ducked, but honestly, just the fact that she’d do something like that anyway was weird. She spared me a smile afterwards, though, and ran up to wrap her arms around my middle.

“Boss! It’s been forever! I’ve had to cook while you were away, and Duchess has been upset!” There was something purple on the ceiling. Something purple and unidentifiable. It was also dripping. I didn’t want to touch it. I could also see why Gard would maybe be upset. At least Molly seemed to recognize my maleness, though.

“Uh, at least I’m a man here, I guess.” She blinked at me.

“Boss? You’re not a guy. Mother wouldn’t have let you train me if you were.” The peppery smell was at least dissipating. There. There’s my silver lining, if even my own damned apprentice doesn’t think I’m a man in my own damn dream. Gard cleared her throat and stood, dressed in a long, pretty mauve dress that displayed her curves far better than her usual pinstripe suits. She passed me the baby, for no particular reason than because she could.

“Harriet. I believe I was to tell you how to get to the Queen’s castle. I would escort you myself, as I have been invited to the Queen’s party myself, but there is little time and I simply must eat, if ever your… apprentice manages to cook. There is a path behind this house that you may take, dear Harriet, but you simply must watch out for Cheshire. He often roams those woods.” I nodded, even though I had no idea what was actually going on. I glanced down at the baby in my arms and noted that it was a pig. Huh. Gard took it back at my look, which had to have been pretty disgusted. She cooed at it. I don’t ever want to hear a Valkyrie coo again. It’s just against… everything. I will admit that I fled because of that, before Molly could even tell me goodbye again.

Where the last set of woods I’d been in, the ones with Cujo the Big Red Caterpillar, had been pretty light and friendly, these were dark and dangerous looking. The light only came down in patchwork splatters where it could force its way through gnarled branches, and I’m pretty sure my dress got caught in ever patch of brambles on or near that path. The white apron was stained beyond reason, and I had the inane thought that if Mac were in this situation the apron would stay perfectly white. I’m pretty sure dirt is scared of Mac. I heard a quiet, familiar laugh from somewhere in the trees. Was that… was that Thomas? Oh, Hell’s Bells. Don’t tell me. No, no, no. Nuh uh. No. My ID was going too far if what I thought was going to happen happened. I saw a set of chromed eyes gleaming out at me from a thick patch of shadows, along with a toothpaste commercial smile. I think there’s a point when you have to admit you’re totally insane and there’s nothing you can do about it. My brother secretly being the Cheshire Cat? Yeah, that’s that point for me, I think. My brother’s face popped into existence behind the eyes and the smile. Fuck.

He swept his long, wavy black hair back from his face, looking unfairly clean and gorgeous despite the fact that he’d been traipsing around that forest for god knows how long. Striped cat ears twitched on top of his head, and a matching tail was draped over his right arm. His grin turned into a smirk. Fucking… fuck. He actually did this odd little sashay over to me, a bounce in his step.

“Hey there, I haven’t seen you around before!” I decided it would be best to nip this in the bud right away, because it was very likely that this mental Thomas thought I was a girl, and also thought we were not related.

“I’m a man and we’re brothers.” He blinked.

“Well, I already knew you were a man. Kind of obvious. And hey, if you’re into that, I won’t argue. I guess we look a little similar.” He winked at me. My half-brother, Thomas goddamned Raith, winked at me. That was enough to kill the entire thrill of being recognized as a male. I didn’t really know why I was happy to be recognized as a guy, though, since that meant I was also recognized as that one freaky guy in an Alice dress. Still. At least I was a freaky guy. And I wasn’t dressed like this because I have some secret love of crossdressing that manifests itself in my dreams; don’t even try to pull that stupid crap. “So, brother, why don’t you come for a little visit to my house? We’ll take a bath together, like we used to.” Oh come on. This is… this is just dumb! Stars and Stones! I backpedaled away from him.

“Hell’s Bells, no, I’m not trying to say I have an incest kink! I’m trying to say that we’re literal real-life brothers!” He paused, cocked his head, and finally caught sight of the pentacle that didn’t even leave my side in dreams. His hands shook a little as he pulled its twin from underneath his shirt, and he gave me a shaky happy grin as he lunged forward and grabbed me around my middle, his head knocking into my chest and nuzzling there a little.

“Mother told me I would have a little brother! You’re so pretty, too! My pretty little brother! Mine!” He pressed wet kisses to the sides of my throat and cheeks, nipped at my jaw, but I didn’t feel any sort of compulsion. Apparently he wasn’t really White Court right now, just… really sexualized. And also a Raith. From what I’d seen, in that family the only thing incest actually stood for was a way to tell who was top dog. Thomas probably didn’t have the same moral compunction against it that mortals like me did, if his past was similar here, and the only thing missing was the vampirism. Of course, Hendricks did say he’d been known to suck the life right out of a girl, and his eyes were the pure chrome of his monster, so I honestly wasn’t exactly sure what was going on. Maybe he just wasn’t pumping up the mojo around me.

“Whoa, Thomas, settle down. Thomas, Thomas, stop it!” I said, as he grew uncomfortably close to my mouth. He sighed, and pressed one last kiss to my cheek.

“Empty Night, what? You’re my brother, my only one. My baby brother. What’s your name?” His tail was flicking at the bare skin of my lower thigh, the thin swatch of flesh left uncovered by both the dress and the white socks. It was a strange, foreign sensation, seeing as how Mister’s tail was bobbed and Mouse’s didn’t do gentle. If ever he managed to hit me with his tail it felt like someone was smashing a hammer into me. I was pretty sure he could conceivably break bones with it, if he wanted. That’s kind of irrelevant right now, though, because my elder brother’s tail is creeping up higher, and is now under my skirt, and that is something I will not stand for. I grabbed it and held it near a safety zone, so I’d have time to grab it again if he managed to wriggle it free and attempt more funny business.

“My name is Harry, and you need to stop… doing whatever it is you’re doing.” He cocked his head, then gave a shit eating, devil-may-care grin I’d seen on his face countless hundreds of times in the real world. And then I recalled that it had been a long time since I’d seen that grin, a long time since I’d seen Thomas himself. He’d fallen off the ‘just-take-nibbles’ wagon and gone back to full-on feeding. Maybe that was the real reason why my ID or whatever it was that put me in this dream had made his eyes permanently vampified. I found myself missing the storm-cloud gray.

“What for? We’re brothers. Can’t I touch my own brother?” He jabbed one finger into the center of my chest teasingly, and slapped me on the shoulder with his free hand in another gesture we’d repeated many times over the years. The memories were almost deadly by themselves, at this point; now that I wasn’t too busy fearing for my dream-life or my dream-virtue.

“Like how you’re doing now? Yeah. But no kissing or anything like that.” He pursed his lips and grinned again, then nodded easily, eyes crinkling up unnervingly at the edges. Easy predator grace wafted off of him, the sort that let you know he didn’t even have to bother chasing his prey. They’d come right to him, let him chew them up, and thank him for the privilege. The kind that made me certain that in all the years we’d known each other, all the time we’d lived together, there had been hundreds upon hundreds of instances where he could’ve done the same to me. I was certainly weaker physically, and I knew I was only slightly less susceptible to the White Court’s power as anyone else, and Thomas’ strength was on the level with Lara’s.

“Okay,” he said, “No kissing. You’re my little brother, so I won’t eat you. I’ll just protect you, okay? You’re going towards the Hatter and he’s just a little… not sane.” It seemed like the Hatter and my brother, the Cheshire Cat, were the two top predators around here, although apparently most people didn’t agree on which was the most dangerous. I was going to have to go for the Hatter, despite not knowing who he was, since hey, Thomas wouldn’t hurt me, ever. He’d proven that much, by never trying anything on me even when the Skinwalker had done… whatever terrible things it had done. Besides, I hardly ever let him play the big brother in my waking hours, even though he’d tried it relatively often, worrying over my injuries or trying to beat me in inane little competitions. Once he’d even tried to sucker me into seeing who could play a full game of solitaire the fastest. I’d ignored him. Even if he never knew about this dream, even though he probably wouldn’t care if he did since he was back in with Lara and the White Court, I’d let him be the big brother. Hell, I didn’t even know if I could use magic here anyway.

“Thank you,” I said, and gave him my best smile. He grinned back, and suddenly faded once more into a set of silvery eyes and a wide, unnerving smile.

“I’d do anything, for my little brother. Family is the most important thing. I’ll stay invisible, though, and just follow, since I’m not invited to the Queen’s party like you are. The Hatter is, though, so he may be getting ready when we arrive. Just follow this path, Harry, and we’ll get there in no time at all.” I nodded, and the eyes and grin flickered away too. As I walked, the only think that even remotely informed me of his presence was the occasional snap of a twig or crunch of a leaf. The forest grew steadily darker, until the only light was tiny pinprick pockets where only the most determined rays of sunlight managed to force their way through. Little to know plants marked the ground, even though the beginning of my trek through these woods had been plagued by weeds. The ground was sticky with mud, and only grew stickier as we went along; until I worried that I’d get stuck in some patch of it. The animal sounds were shifting from small, scrabbling things caused by rabbits or foxes to loud, almost leonine roars and wolf howls. Apparently Alice got the easy path. I got the one from the Wizard of Oz, which was honestly probably fitting. Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! We were still missing two members of our team, though. I supposed I got to be Dorothy instead of Scarecrow this time. I guessed Thomas was still the Tin Man. I didn’t think we’d find any Cowardly Lions in this particular forest, though. From the sound of it all the lions around here were pretty brave. Stupid Wonderland.

When we hit a clearing bathed in bright, late afternoon sunlight, it felt like heaven. It quickly transformed into a heartbreaking hell when I noticed who was sitting at the clearing’s central table: John fucking Marcone. He wore a large hat with a little card proclaiming 10/6 propped on the brim, and his suit was more aptly described as patchwork than designer. It wasn’t something I’d ever expect to see him in, but he looked just as annoyingly regal, powerful as always. Some guys have all the luck. Those guys don’t ever seem to be named Harry Dresden. His money green eyes were glittering brightly as he thumped a smiling Vince Graver with drooping brown rabbit ears on the shoulder. A miniature Murphy wandered around on the table, cute little mouse ears and a long, skinny tail informing me that my subconscious had made her the Dormouse. Well, shit. At least she’d never know about this. If she did, she’d beat me up mercilessly. I’d probably never manage to get off the Aikido mat after that. Marcone turned his eyes towards me suddenly, and smiled his fatherly smile at me. He took his hand from Vince’s shoulder and propped his chin onto his fist.

“So our esteemed guest has finally arrived,” he said, voice business casual, but there was a sharp note underneath, the ringing power of a man used to being obeyed. “Welcome, Harriet. I must say, I was expecting someone a bit more… feminine, when I heard your name. Which is not to say you don’t look absolutely ravishing, of course. I’m certain you’d be quite the sight, all cleaned up.” I glared and crossed my arms. It had no effect on him in my dream world either, the bastard.

“My name is Harry, scumbag.” He paused for a second, then broke into a loud, clear laugh. It sounded much more natural, well-used here. I didn’t bother questioning why I apparently made this version of him enjoy laughing. I did at least know why Hendricks and Gard had spoken well of the Hatter now, though.

“Even when you’re all dressed up like that? I think Harriet suits you better, dear.” There’s this thing about John Marcone: he lives to annoy me in all forms. Even the forms he himself isn’t aware of.

“Shut up, I’m a man. Hell’s Bells, this is getting annoying. Can’t I just go to that stupid party so I can go home already?” He smiled and stood, sweeping some nonexistent dust from his ragtag suit before he walked slowly over to me. Murphy-mouse giggled and hiccupped drunkenly as Marcone draped his arms over my shoulders.

“Oh, yes, you’re all man. I can see that rather well.” He palmed my ass. I don’t even know how he moved an arm off my shoulder to do that without me noticing. Thomas appeared suddenly beside him, not even bothering to indulge in that one annoying second where his body was invisible but his facial features showed, reeled back, and punched Marcone hard. Other than a swift jerk of his head, Marcone didn’t even react.

“Don’t touch my little brother!” Thomas crowed, and kicked out. Marcone dodged, body serpentine, somehow managing to keep his hands on me. It was honestly pretty bothersome, but then, when is Marcone ever anything else.

“Hello, Cheshire. Good to see you. It has been so very long since you’ve come by for tea time. What is it you’re hollering about?” The hand Marcone had determinedly kept on my ass squeezed, then patted and removed itself. My ID hates me, obviously. Otherwise he wouldn’t put me in ridiculous situations like this. I mean, really? John Marcone grabbing my ass? Yeah, no, never going to happen.

“You’re playing grab ass with my baby brother, and I never said you could.” Marcone laughed.

“Can I?” Thomas looked thoughtful. I wanted to punch him in the face very badly, but Marcone was holding me relatively still. I attempted to summon some magic and found myself unable to. Damn it.

“Yes! You’re a sort of lord, high in the Queen’s court. You can increase his status, and help me protect him,” Thomas said, nodding once, stiff and serious. I… what? What the hell? Why was I doing this in my own damned dream? I thought hard about Marcone bursting into flames and crying like a little girl. Nothing happened. Marcone grabbed my ass again. Murphy laughed. Vince snorted (I’m not hiring him again, now. Yeah, I know this isn’t technically his fault, but I bet that actually it is. He and my ID are working together. Murphy might be in on it, but she seems drunk here.).

“I thank you for your permission to court your brother, Cheshire. Come, Harry, let us go to the Queen’s party!” I grumbled unintelligibly, unsure of just who I should direct my glare at. I went for the sky, because the Almighty deserves it at this point. I know I’m not one of his favorites or anything, but damn it, there comes a time when you simply cannot torture a person anymore. I should have reached that point as soon as I appeared in this goddamned dress, but apparently not. If anything ever goes easy for me, I’m pretty sure the world will end.

Anyway, Marcone picked Murphy the Mouse up and plopped her on the brim of his hat, where she immediately lay down and started to snore. Yeah, drunk. Vince the rabbit stood up and cracked his back, looking rather tired himself, and when he walked he couldn’t do it in a straight line. It looked like he was doing an invisible slalom course, actually. Marcone told him to hurry and Vince threw a teacup at his head. He ducked and it hit me in the chest instead. Damned thing felt like it was made of rock, but at least it didn’t shatter and kill me, I guess. I still don’t know how it didn’t, but I don’t think I have much right to complain about that. Marcone wrapped an arm around my waist while Thomas held one hand and swung it back and forth happily, as though we were skipping through a meadow of sunshine and rainbows together. I ignored him. No, I wasn’t giving him the silent treatment because he’d apparently given me away to Marcone. I was pissed about that, though. This was all really, really dumb. I decided I may as well stop complaining, though. It wasn’t like it had ever helped before.

It was a long walk to the castle, and my feet ached miserably by the time we got there. The stupid shoes pinched cruelly at my toes and bit into the back of my ankle, wearing thin, aching groves into my skin. The castle was beautiful, though, in the way only a fairytale castle could be, perfectly stark white, tall spires reaching up to cut through the clouds. The tallest of them was capped with a ruby red heart, perfectly formed and shining in the setting sun. Yet another person I recognized, Kincaid, greeted us at the castle’s gate. I snorted when I saw him dressed in red tights and a white, blouse-like top decorated in red hearts. I almost wished I could take a picture in here and give it to the real life Murphy; show her that her big bag mercenary boytoy wore tights. Of course if I did that it would probably somehow come out that I was in a dress the whole time. Mousy Murphy would probably somehow manage to get that information to the real one. It makes sense to me, okay? That’s all that really matters.

“Welcome, Lady Harriet, Lord Hatter. Are those that are with you your guests?” Marcone nodded.

“Indeed they are, Knave. The Dormouse, the March Hair, and the Cheshire Cat.” Kincaid inclined his head once, sharp assassin’s eyes going over us all carefully. I saw the bulge of a gun near the left side of his chest, and a rapier hung on his hip, obviously honed to a deadly point.

“I’m certain that the Queen will make an exception for the Cheshire Cat despite his banishment, at least on such a glorious day as this. Come.” Glorious day? What? Hell’s Bells. Why do I have to be confused at everything? Don’t I deserve better? Maybe? I haven’t done anything that horrible. The gardens were lovely, made up of lovely red roses and white lilies and others I couldn’t name. Kincaid swept forward quickly, twisting by the bodies of fancily dressed men and women who all inclined their heads politely at us, and smirked when they saw Marcone’s hand on my hip (damn him). I felt like I was once again at one of Mab’s parties, and felt suitably awkward by the time we reached the tall, intricate silver door.

It was wrought with lovely designs, spiraled and swirling with warm colors, gold and brown and orange and red. The center of the door’s panels were inlaid with scenes from some battle, but rather than being nightmarish, there was a sort of terrible beauty to them, almost like that which I saw when members of the White Court fought. They almost seemed to move under my eyes, the knights lunging forward to bury their swords into monsters of all sorts. One was particularly striking, and I recognized the scene as the real Alice, or someone who looked remarkably like her, killing a gigantic flying beast of some type. Kincaid pushed the doors open, to reveal a large throne room.

Michael sat in a small, not at all extravagant throne at the corner of the room, mostly hidden by the remainder of the room’s opulence. Charity sat beside him in an even less extravagant chair, and their kids, excluding Molly, were scattered around them. They directed fond smiles to the girl sitting on the large throne at the middle of the dais, her blonde hair bound in tight curls to the top of her head, her dress full and the same shade of blue as her eyes: Ivy. She smiled happily when she saw me, her hands coming together in a few quiet claps. Michael and Charity spared me a polite smile, as did the kids.

“Harriet!” Ivy said, “I missed you! And you came with the Baron of Wonderland!” Oh come on!

“Hey, Ivy,” I said, smiling happily, because even at the numerous insults I’d been dealt, she was a kid, a sweet kid who I’d long grown attached to. Kincaid stepped forward and kneeled before her. “Stand, Knave Kincaid. Harriet, come here, please! I’ve got the perfect idea for the wedding!” Hell’s Bells. What the fuck? Uh… I… just… what?

“Huh?” You see, my wit is the pinnacle of personality. I’m very quick witted, you understand. Marcone pushed me forward. I was suddenly no longer in that damned dress. I was in a different dress. A wedding dress. Ivy had put me in a wedding dress. The repository for all human knowledge had put me in a wedding dress. It was a very pretty wedding dress, I’ll grant, but it was still a wedding dress. And the lacy collar and sleeves were itchy. And it was too tight around my middle. And I was sure I’d trip over the train.

“Everyone is here to watch!” she said, and waved her arm in an all-encompassing gesture. Kincaid moved quickly to open up the door again, and all those people we’d passed, along with everyone I’d met on my little foray into Wonderland, came in. Hendricks and Gard waved at Marcone. Ivy clapped again, and hopped off her throne, hardly reaching my hips. She did at least reach Marcone’s chest, though. She grabbed both of our hands and linked them together.

“I don’t wanna,” I whined, suddenly, my voice cracking. Marcone’s hand tensed and he turned to me with a small, sweet smile.

“Too bad.” Thomas chuckled, and patted my back.

“It’s okay, Harry. He’s a nice guy.”

“You told me he was dangerous not two hours ago!” He cocked his head.

“I did? Was that when I was planning on banging you? Honestly, he’s much less dangerous than me.” My lower lip wasn’t quivering, I promise.

“By Wonderland law, with this holding of hands in my presence, you are be wed! Baron John Marcone, do you accept Harriet as your Baroness?” He nodded.


“And of course Harriet accepts, so there isn’t need to ask. Baron, you may now kiss your Baroness!” Ivy’s face was as unnervingly serious as always, too many years locked up inside a body that was far, far too small. Her eyes, ancient as they were, were more fit to be on a fairy queen or the like than a little girl. She gestured to Marcone regally, and Marcone, or John, I guess, since he was about to kiss me and I’d just married him in a dream, turned towards me and tilted my face down with a gentle grip on my jaw. The kiss was sweet and chaste, until it wasn’t, at which point his tongue had taken up residence in my mouth and didn’t seem inclined to go anyway. He was… a really, really good kisser.

He worked at my mouth slowly, teasingly, gently, yet with endless amounts of power that I’d honestly sort of expected. He settled a hand on my lower back and pulled me closer to him, so his painfully obvious erection pressed into my thigh. His tongue taunted mine into a rough game, twisting and twining, battling for who would have control, and apparently he was a hell of a lot more experienced than me and hey, look at that, he got a hard on pressing into his stomach to match the one pressing into my thigh. The hand on my back slid down to cup my ass while the other reached up to hold the back of my neck, to keep us connected. Everything was fading into the background, blank and unimportant. I groaned, and suddenly John was gone. I was alone in my bed, dressed in a ragged t-shirt I’d never dare to wear outside my house and an equally ragged pair of sweatpants. They were tented uncomfortably, and my lips were tingling. Fucking ID. I got up and took a blessedly frozen shower, attempting to keep all thoughts of mob bosses and their pretty green eyes and their strength and their honor somewhere far, far away. It worked less well than I’d been hoping.

Marcone’s POV

I awoke suddenly, as though cold water had been tossed on me. What an… interesting dream I’d had. I’d never thought Harry could pull off a dress quite that well, but he’d been… lovely. I wondered if I could manage to order an Alice costume that would fit him and send it to him without it being traced back to me. I laughed, softly to myself as I rolled over to attempt to deal with the issue in my pajama bottoms. I’d address it the package to Baroness Harriet Dresden. It’d almost be worth the inevitable fireball of raging Harry that came to tear down my office.
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