Alice sighed as she watched, well more like heard, the twins live up to their nickname. She could hear their axes slash through the air and with every soft thunk she squeezed her dress. Her fingers curled around the fabric tighter and tighter until she was certain the seams were in danger of splitting but she couldn't bring herself to remove her hands.
"You can open your eyes now Big Sis," Dum called out with a toothy grin and Alice peeked her eye open only to be met with the sight of Dee's weapon sinking into the soft flesh of a heart soldier's neck. Bile rose in her throat and as she fought to keep it down Dee quickly marched over to his brother and smacked Dum on the back of his head.
"Ow," Dum cried as he rubbed the back of his head, causing more blood to attach itself to his scalp, "what was that for?"
"For telling Big Sis she can look, idiot!"
"Well if you wouldn't have been so slow she wouldn't have seen it!"
"What are you two brats doing this time?" another voice yelled out and instantly the two brothers groaned.
"Our jobs chicken bunny," both Dee and Dum declared together right as Elliot and Blood stepped out of the wood line.
"Don't call me that," Elliot growled in frustration as he glared at the two thorns that were constantly in his side.
"Make us." the twins challenged before grinning at how Elliot's eye began to twitch.
"All of you stop it, can't you see you're upsetting Alice?" Blood commanded softly before sending a smirk her way, "She's still a delicate outsider after all."
"I am not delicate," Alice protested loudly as she crossed her arms and contorted her facial features into something a little more menacing. However, Blood merely chuckled at her pitiful attempt as he strode past her and through the large gate.
"I am not delicate," Alice repeated, although at a slightly higher tone, as she childishly stomped her foot, "Am I?"
"Well you can't really handle death," Elliot answered while he rubbed the back of his neck as his eyes flicked over back to the house before he started for the door, although not before giving his female friend an apologetic smile.
"So that just means I actually value life. Something you people know nothing about!" Alice shouted so that Elliot could hear her as he slipped into the building.
"Who cares, they'll just be replaced anyway." Dee piped in while Dum nodded his agreement.
"People can't be replaced," Alice groaned but the twins were already running off once again and so with another groan of frustration before heading back into the mansion herself.
Alice sighed as she wandered the halls of the building. Tears welled up in her eyes, which she quickly blinked back, as she thought back to the Heart solders whose deaths she had just witnessed. Alice paused to take a deep breath and push the images out but memories from her old life came to fill up the space. Her chest began to hurt and that pain began to force her mind away from her old life but not before a holiday struck her.
"Miss Alice are you okay?" a faceless maid questioned as she helped Alice stand without support from the wall.
"Yes, I'm fine thanks," Alice reassured the woman but she still seemed reluctant to leave Alice on her own.
"Well alright if you're sure."
Alice smiled at the maid and waited for her to disappear around the corner before she twisted on her heel and rushed down the hall. She counted the doors on the left until she reached the third one and stopped.
"Blood?" She called out as she rapped her knuckles against the wood. She took a deep breath while she waited for the reply but upon receiving none she knocked once more.
"Come in," Blood's voice softly penetrated the door just as she raised her fist for one more try. With one more soothing breath Alice swiftly pushed open the door and stepped inside.
"It's a rule," Blood stated tiredly before Alice had a chance to vocalize the reason she had come.
"You don't even know what I was going to say."
"You were going to complain about the twins killing those people," Blood rubbed his eyes while he tossed his pen down unto his desk, "but it's a rule and there's nothing I can do to stop it."
"Actually I was wondering if you knew what Christmas was," Alice declared as she crossed her arms and watched Blood raise an eyebrow.
"No, what is it?" he asked while he propped his elbows on his desk and laced his fingers together.
"It's a holiday from my old world. It's a day where people give each other gifts and are just nice." Alice grinned.
"Sounds exhausting," Blood sighed as he once again rubbed his eyes.
"Well can we please start something like that here?" Alice questioned with a couple steps toward the man.
"If you want to give gifts to people go ahead but I won't enforce them to do the same," Blood practically snapped as he waved away her attempt at reasoning.
"Fine," Alice huffed as she stormed from the room.
"What's that?" Dee and Dum exclaimed as Alice handed the two of them wrapped boxes.
"It's a Christmas gift." Alice smiled at the boys as they eagerly tore into the dull blue paper. With wide shining eyes and toothy smiles Dee and Dum pulled silver chains from their boxes.
"What are they?" Dum questioned as the brothers held the chains up to look at the object on the bottoms.
"They're the yin and yang necklaces."
"Oh, well thank you Big Sis."
"Yeah thank you Big Sis."
"Aw, you're welcome guys," Alice told them as she helped them put the jewelry around their necks before giving both one final hug and rushing off to find Elliot. She quickly bounded down the hall with peeled eyes but just as she rounded the corner another body came into view and despite her efforts she still slammed into him. The boxes in her hands fell to the floor with loud thuds but Alice never met the unforgiving floor but rather two hard arms wrapped around her waist and back.
"Oh hey Alice," the man greeted her as she peeked open an eye to see a grinning Elliot with his arms still around her.
"Hey, Elli." Alice quickly pulled herself from his grasp before she bent to retrieve her lost gifts with Elliot's help.
"Here you go," Elliot stated as he handed her the small red box.
"Oh that's yours."
"What? Really?" Elliot's eyes lite up as Alice waved away his attempt to hand it back. Without any more hesitation he swiftly opened his present up. "A carrot dish cook book!"
"I hoped you'd like it," Alice laughed when Elliot scooped her up into a hug.
"I love it!" Elliot exclaimed as he set her feet back on the floor before hugging the beloved book to his chest.
"What's it for?"
"It's for Christmas."
"What's that?" Elliot inquired and tilted his head as he gazed down at Alice.
"If you help me hand out the rest of these I can tell you on the way." Alice's smile grew when he shook his head yes and the two of them quickly started for the kitchen with Alice talking animatedly the whole way.
Blood tilted his head to the left as he watched his second in command bring happiness to the only female that could make his insides churn and he didn't like the feeling he got as he stared at the pair. He stayed that way until they walked out of sight and even then he still stayed rooted in that spot until a smile turned up at the corners of his lips. He knew just what he was going to do.
"Miss Alice," a maid called out as softly tapped on said woman's door. The door quickly swung open to reveal a rather pleased and confused looking Alice.
"I thought my shift didn't start for another two time periods, sorry."
"Oh no it's not that, Miss Alice. Mr. Blood wanted me to give you this and help you put it on." The maid held up a rather large gold and silver box that Alice wasn't really sure how she missed.
"Oh," was all she could say as she took the box and stepped back to allow the maid into her room. Alice non-so-carefully shoved the wrapping paper to the floor but took her time in lifting the top from the bottom until the lid dropped from her hands as she let out a gasp. She slowly lifted the dark blue halter top floor length dress from the box and even the maid let out a gasp.
"Blood got this for me?"
"Yes, Miss. Oh it's so beautiful," the maid sighed, wishing for a man who would love her. A smile tugged at Alice's lips as she pulled a pair of matching fingerless elbow length gloves out as well.
"I should probably go ahead and get you dressed now," the maid declared as she stepped closer to Alice and reached for the dress. Alice quickly surrendered the dress as she stood from her bed and let her outfit drop to the floor.
Alice smiled lightly as she smoothed the dark blue fabric of her dress while the maid wrapped a small black string around Alice's upper right arm.
"You look lovely," the maid gushed as she led the girl to a full length mirror. Alice blushed at the comment but silently agreed.
"What is this for though?" Alice murmured as she gazed at her reflection.
"Now that's a surprise."
"Blood!" Alice cried angrily as she twisted around to face him.
"Yes?" Blood replied evenly with his best poker face on before he took two roses and placed them in her hair. Alice pressed her lips together as she glared at him but her eyes were still glazed over with joy.
"Thank you for the dress."
"You're welcome and it does look stunning on you," Blood complimented as he lifted her hand to kiss it. Alice flushed with red as a small giggle forced its way up and with a flash of a smile Blood placed her hand in the crook of his arm and lead her from her room.
"Um, where are we going?" Alice inquired nervously as she glanced back at the Hatter territory.
Alice tapped her fingers as she settled into her seat but Blood's hand quickly enclosed her fingers and forced them to be quiet. Alice breathed heavily through her nose but Blood ignored her slight anger and continued to look out the window of the carriage. With a noiseless sigh Alice too peered out her own window and into the forest and prayed that they wouldn't get attacked.
"I'm sorry but you're going to have to be blindfolded." Blood's voice brought Alice's attention from darker thoughts and she twisted her head to gape at him.
Blood merely held up a crisp white piece of cloth and despite him saying nothing she could hear his condescending voice tell her 'it's a surprise'. So with a small shake of her head she turned her head back around and let darkness overtake her.
"Alright Alice we're getting out the carriage," Blood declared as he opened the door and lifted her out and unto the ground. Alice clung to his arm as she gingerly took a step forward but she had only gone a few feet when she was scooped up.
"We're going to be late," was Blood's only comment as he clutched her tightly to his chest and briskly walked up steps. The air was quiet save for Blood's footsteps and Alice couldn't figure out where they had gone at all. Finally after what seemed like a million steps Blood set her back on her feet and a loud squeak filled the air. Alice's eyebrows furrowed and she opened her mouth but the blindfold was hastily yanked off and her voice died in her throat.
"Merry Christmas Alice!" her friends all yelled out in unison as Alice stared down at them from the top of the stairs. Tears spilled unto her cheeks as she glanced around the Heart Castle's ballroom to take in all the decorations.
"How?" Alice questioned breathlessly as Blood once again placed her hand in the crook of his arm and lead her down the stairs.
"Elliot told me about this Christmas holiday," Blood replied as the two of them stopped in front of a large tree decked in handcrafted hearts, "and I just let the rest of Wonderland know."
"Thank you. I don't know how I can ever repay you."
"I can think of many ways but I'll settle for a dance." Blood grinned as he offered his hand out for Alice to take. With a toothy smile of her own Alice immediately grabbed ahold of his hand and let him escort her to the dance floor. Blood smiled down at Alice as the two of them danced before he pulled her closer and rested his forehead on hers. A blush settled nicely on Alice's cheeks but that didn't stop her from tilting her head up so that her lips were mere millimeters from Blood's.
"Merry Christmas my little Outsider," Blood breathed softy before capturing Alice's lips with his own.