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More Alice in Wonderland Fic: "Practice Makes Perfect" - Alice/Hatter - NC17 [Mar. 13th, 2010|06:53 pm]
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Title: Practice Makes Perfect
Fandom: Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton)
Pairing: Alice/Hatter
Rating: NC-17
Notes: This piece is a follow-up to Six Impossible Things—the first part of this piece picks up right where section 5 leaves off. Now that I've seen the film a second time, I'm feeling more confident with their voices, and I wanted to do a piece with more actual dialogue. And now that I know people aren't weirded out by the idea of explicit scenes, I wanted to push that a bit further, too, but still in a tasteful manner.
Summary: There are more important things than getting it right on the first try.


Alice wakes to the smell of Keemun laced with rose petals and orange peel.

She stretches languidly, savoring the feel of worn cotton sheets against her bare skin, and rolls over onto her stomach. Tarrant has thrown on one of her dressing gowns—curiously charming, if rather ill-fitting—and donned his hat, which had got tossed halfway across the room in their rush to undress each other a little over two hours before. He kneels before the bedside table, his attention fixed upon the tea tray that he's brought up from the kitchen, contemplating Alice's sugar bowl with spoon in hand.

"I have noted with some interest your wardrobe's general lack of corsetry," he murmurs, sneaking a bashful sidelong glance at her. "Naughty. Likewise, your collection of stockings is lacking. At least I shall always be able to see your legs."

Alice wriggles until the sheets are down far enough that she can kick them off.

"You can see my legs any time you like. Three lumps, please," she adds.

Tarrant's eyes glaze over for a few seconds, as if he's distracted by the swishing of her ankles, but he recovers himself quickly, scooping three lumps of sugar into her cup and four into his own. As he stirs each one briskly, Alice can't help but note, just as she had earlier, that his hands look peculiar without their usual accoutrements and bandages. Life under Mirana's rule has been good to him, leaving only faint scars. Alice restrains the urge to reach out and draw his index finger to her mouth.

"One for you," he says, offering her the cup into which he'd put four, "and one for me." He rises with his cup cradled carefully in both hands and walks around to the other side of the bed, where he props up one of the pillows and settles down beside Alice. She turns her head to look at him, taking a sip of her tea. Perfect.

"I brought it all the way from Hong Kong," she tells Tarrant, carefully shifting into a sitting position so that she can lean against him. "I still haven't got the knack for brewing a perfect cup, but you've done a whole pot on your first try. It's hardly fair."

Tarrant tsks at her, downing half his cup in one gulp. "I've met my fair share of teas, young lady, over time—and yes, I know I've made a rhyme. If you listen closely enough, the leaves tell you precisely how to brew them." He pauses for a moment, reaching out to wistfully stroke Alice's hair. "Tell me, how old are you?"

"I shall be twenty-one in two months' time," she answers, balancing her teacup on her knees. "And what about you? I don't think I've ever asked. Not that it matters."

Tarrant's fiery eyebrows knit in contemplation. "Well, you see—last I counted, I was perhaps thirty-six. But years keep sneaking away every once and a while, the devilish things! Once, not that long ago, I could have sworn I was only thirty-two. Or twenty-nine. But they always come back in the end. Yes. They always return to haunt you."

Alice sets her almost-empty teacup aside on the tray, twisting sideways against him so that she can drape one leg across his lap. "You needn't worry about it," she says softly in his ear. "I'm not counting. Besides, you've looked exactly the same for as long as I can remember." Which isn't exactly true, not anymore: there's the matter of his hands, which look healthier, and his hair, which has unquestionably got longer.

"In which case, I fear you shall tire of me rather quickly," he sighs, dropping his own empty cup on the floor. "Especially since I haven't the faintest idea why a raven is like a writing desk, or whether or not I'm the one who has dreamed up you."

Alice slips one hand beneath the dressing gown and pinches Tarrant's hip. Hard. He yelps and tries to roll off the bed, but Alice keeps him exactly where she is, adding both arms to the leg she's got wrapped around him. She makes a big show of pinching herself in the same spot, shivering slightly when Tarrant grabs her wrist.

"Stop that!" he scolds. "Those scars on your arm are quite enough, thank you."

Alice eyes what's left of the wounds once inflicted by the Bandersnatch and shrugs. "I'm quite pleased that they scarred, actually. I've come to regard them as a badge of honor. Even a token of friendship, though that probably sounds quite mad."

Tarrant strokes the marks with his rough fingertips, as if he'd gladly erase them.

"You ought to have let Chess tend them," he says, bending to kiss each scar in turn. "The point is that the Bandersnatch hurt you, which thought I can bear no more than the knowledge that I hurt you, too. Quite badly, I think."

Alice gives him a questioning look, using her elbow to tilt his head up. "When?"

Tarrant lowers his eyes, his pale cheeks turning faintly pink.

"Oh, for heaven's sake," Alice mutters. "It was hardly as bad as all that. And your coat was very warm. My bed at the Embassy felt like ice by comparison. It was wretched."

"Your bed here is nothing like ice," says Tarrant, lowering his head to kiss between her breasts. "It is entirely like freshly baked scones. Or tea-cakes with sultanas."

Alice blushes, sweeping off his hat. "Whatever gave you such a wicked idea?"

Tarrant tweaks her right nipple, his face buried lower now, at her navel. He licks a warm streak down her belly, leaving a soft kiss between her legs.

Alice squirms and tugs impatiently at the dressing gown. "You'll stretch it if you wear it any longer! Then, I shan't be able to wear it at all. I'll have to wander about naked."

Reluctantly, Tarrant raises his head and blinks at her, as if he's lost focus again.

"One by one, I'll stretch them all," he vows, his voice dark with a familiar burr.

Alice cradles his face between her palms. "Tarrant," she whispers.

He blinks again, as if seeing where he is for the first time, and then looks up at her, vaguely afraid. "Writing desk," he says under his breath. "Raven. I mean—scones. No. I'm fine." He frowns. "Alice, if I'm dreaming, then that means none of this is—"

"Shhh," she soothes him. "It's all real. But at least now you know how I felt."

"It's a terrible feeling," he admits, turning his face in order to kiss her palm. "The part where one thinks one is dreaming, I mean. The rest of it is exquisite. Impossible."

"Only if you believe it is," Alice says, and hauls Tarrant up for a kiss.

She's content to lie back this time and let him do what he will, the urgency of her fever largely spent. Much though she loves looking down on him as her hair falls around them like a curtain, a canopy to shield them from prying eyes, she finds new wonder in being able to see his features clearly, undimmed by the shadow she casts. He breathes her name in moans and half-whispers, and when he seems to drift—for they're moving slowly, so very slowly this time, no sign of their usual hurry—she finds that closing him in a firm, insistent grip is enough to remind him of the task at hand.

"You should take me now," Alice gasps in Tarrant's ear, surprised at her own boldness.

"That's an excellent idea," he agrees, far too capable of speech for Alice's liking.

There is still some pain, just as there was earlier, but Alice isn't about to let him know it. He kisses her deeply, as if he hopes it might serve as a distraction, but, ever impatient, Alice locks her ankles at the small of his back, forcing his careful thrust forward into something fiercer, more urgent. His cry is wordless. Perfect.

It lasts longer this time, too, which Alice had not thought possible. She falls first, trembling, wracked with pleasure, unable even to push his name past her lips. Not fair, she thinks, but he's falling after her now, their bodies slicked with sweat, limbs entangled, and the dressing gown decidedly ripped along one shoulder seem where Alice bunched her fist in it too tightly. They finally collapse, still and panting.

"I'll mend it for you," Tarrant says hoarsely, kissing the top of her head. "No. I shall make you a new one. And perhaps a corset or two, not to be worn under clothing."

Alice yawns, losing her fingers in his tangled hair. "Will you still call me naughty?"

"Always," replies Tarrant, fondly. "As will your mother, I shouldn't wonder."

"She'll expect us to get married, you know," Alice muses. "So will Margaret."

"Weddings are delightful," says Tarrant, propping his chin up on her breastbone. "So many new heads to hat! I should like that very much."

"And we'll have to have a second one," Alice continues. "In Underland, you see."

"Practice makes perfect," replies Tarrant, with a daft smile. "With weddings and tea."

Alice grins back at him, combing out his hair. "Indeed."


- Continue: Half a Dozen Teatimes -
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[User Picture]From: aros_66
2010-03-13 07:26 pm (UTC)

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ohmygoodness i can't even properly put into words how much i love this fic...akfjaksdfjaifjalove<3

i won't even lie...when i saw this post in my news feed, i did a little celebratory dance. >.<

anyway, wonderful work! thank you so much for sharing!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 08:55 pm (UTC)

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And thank you for reading! I think I'll stop biting my nails now.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 08:57 pm (UTC)

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I picture him much the way you're describing him - a little more human, slightly less colorful (you can't really take the hair and eyebrows away, can you?), but yes, very decidedly odd :)

Thanks once again; I'm quite pleased these pieces of writing are going over so well. I do feel this is a tricky pairing, and this is only my second go, so if I ever run afoul of characterization, please do let me know!
[User Picture]From: faerionette
2010-03-13 07:40 pm (UTC)

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This is the first Alice/Hatter fic I've read that has had a higher than PG13 rating. I was a little hesitant at first, but I'm pleasantly surprised! I really enjoyed it. The characterizations are wonderful and everything just seemed so perfectly right. ♥ I shall be adding this to my memories for future enjoyment as well!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 08:59 pm (UTC)

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Finding the right language to keep it all in the right tone is a bit of a challenge, so I can see why high-rating fic isn't being written by the bushel just yet. I didn't dare push either dialogue or a love scene too far till I'd at least seen it a second time and taken more mental note on their voices. And there are so many voices in this film to keep track of!

Thank you very much <3
From: maddylonglegs
2010-03-13 08:11 pm (UTC)

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I've been worried that this pairing could not convincingly yield some good smut whilst remaining in character, which is pretty imperative in this fandom, but you have proved me utterly wrong. *mems*
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 09:01 pm (UTC)

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Well, this follow-up was an experiment, I admit! I'm pleased it works for those of you who have read so far, at any rate. I just can't get it out of my head. The ending begs so much more :) Thank you for reading!
[User Picture]From: randombattlecry
2010-03-13 09:07 pm (UTC)

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Heh, I love that this is the only pairing I've ever read where wedding talk doesn't result in immediate backpedaling and "Waitwaitwait!" They would be awesome, and so would the cake.

Mmm, cake.

Oh, the fic! Right. I'm incredibly fond of your habit of writing in-character Alice and Hatter. I am now (unfortunately) aware of how deeply difficult it is to do so. I vote for more fics from you, purely out of selfishness, because yours are pretty much the only ones I'm reading. (They're curiously addicting, aren't they? *kicks plethora of half-written fics under the couch*)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 09:28 pm (UTC)

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What happened was, I saw the film for a second time yesterday - only this time in 3-D, and it left me with a wicked headache that lasted pretty much all night. So, I lay there awake until 3 AM distracting myself by constructing the scenes that have become this story. I built it backwards, because the first thing that I pulled out of the air was the brief wedding discussion. It didn't seem like a starting point; it seemed like a good ending.

I plan on getting the books out of the library on Monday, and once I've finished them, I'm going to reread that piece of yours, because I have the feeling it'll help to know what the original dynamic was like. Gosh, though - I'm so in love with this take on them, I really am. I love the fact that Tim Burton's really just a romantic fanboy at heart <3
[User Picture]From: skarlettfever
2010-03-13 09:21 pm (UTC)

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Lovely! I'm so happy you've continued and look forward to your next update.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 09:29 pm (UTC)

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I'm happy to be continuing! Thanks once again :) Without such a lovely audience, I'd doubtless have much less incentive...

(Well, except for the part where my head's a very unquiet place at the moment. They won't shut up, and I don't think I want them to.)
[User Picture]From: hothobbit
2010-03-13 09:51 pm (UTC)

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I just finished reading "Six Impossible Things" and this story and I am literally amazed! Both of those writings are by far my most favorite Tarrant/Alice stories I've had the pleasure of reading. This is just perfect in every sense of the word. I simply love the charaterizations, the dialogue, just...everything! I hope to see more Tim Burton 'Alice in Wonderland' fics from you in the future :]
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 10:10 pm (UTC)

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Many thanks! I do like to ride waves of creativity to the end of the line, so I'll see how far this one will take me :) Some fandoms never leave, and I never know which ones they'll be, either...
[User Picture]From: chocolate_inyx
2010-03-13 10:38 pm (UTC)

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Absolutely wonderful! You write them exquisitely well. I couldn't write a drabble for them, but this work was so well done! And I was really happy with the both the rating and the ensuing tastefulness. XD I'm going to go squee now.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 10:43 pm (UTC)

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Truth be told, I had wondered if the end result didn't so much merit an NC-17 as an R - but it is far more explicit than its predecessor, so I've erred on the side of caution. Thank you very much <3
[User Picture]From: tsunamizombie
2010-03-13 10:46 pm (UTC)

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Oh my GOD this was beautiful. I adored the short stories before this, and this was just... perfect.
Aghhhhh more please! <33333
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 10:57 pm (UTC)

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This warrants a mirroring piece set entirely in Underland, I think, so I'll set myself to thinking about that next :) Thank you for reading!
[User Picture]From: kichisama
2010-03-13 11:02 pm (UTC)

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nice, esp loved this part: 'Tarrant's eyes glaze over for a few seconds'

so cute when guys get distracted by lust

love it!!

oh and why IS a raven like a writing desk? I'm sure I heard the mad hatter say that in batman too and I can't remember the answer
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-13 11:04 pm (UTC)

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Well, his eyes do tend to do that ;) Thank you!

Carroll himself admitted that "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" is a riddle without an answer, but several clever people have invented answers to it over time. My favorite is, "Because Poe wrote on both."
[User Picture]From: moonbeamdancer
2010-03-13 11:25 pm (UTC)

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I was wondering if we'd EVER get some smut with this pairing. We have and it was wonderful. :)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:44 am (UTC)

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I was wondering the same thing ;) I suppose my stubbornness and impatience drove me to it. Nobody likes to be first, but if nobody dares to go first, then it'll never happen. My hope is that now I've broken the ice, maybe other people will happily follow. The psyche reacts with vague twitchiness, I think, when it comes to considering smut and Alice/Hatter in the same thought. You wonder if you're going to end up ruining somebody's childhood!
[User Picture]From: jinma_chan
2010-03-14 12:01 am (UTC)

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Tasteful:check.

Believable:check.

An appearance by Dark Hatter: check.

I loved it; I do hope you can add more smut fanfiction to this ship :D
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:46 am (UTC)

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There'll be more; I think my unexpected obsession is going to see to that. As for Dark Hatter, I have plans to play with that some more. I'm trying to work out exactly what all the triggers are. Anger and excitement. Fear. But there may be others I'm missing.
[User Picture]From: kidouche
2010-03-14 12:04 am (UTC)

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I am so hopelessly in love with your writing. No, really. I could read this stuff all day. The dialogue...it was absolutely charming. I think you've got an excellent grasp of both Alice and Hatter- you could write about them...I don't know...DISCUSSING THROW PILLOWS and it would still be the best thing ever.

Once again, thank you for sharing!! ♥
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:47 am (UTC)

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See, I think it would be very in-character for them to discuss throw pillows; it's just frivolously mad enough. Thank you so very much
[User Picture]From: cthonical
2010-03-14 12:34 am (UTC)

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*throws hands up in despair and shoves the fic she was working on under the couch*

You pinned it so perfectly, I think the entire fandom could implode tomorrow without a single other fic being written and it wouldn't really matter so long as we got to to keep this one. I think what makes it so particularly great is that you really have nailed their voices in such a way that it feels so wonderfully canon-y and real. Guh.

I hate you, sirrah, in a most fond and envious manner. XD
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:49 am (UTC)

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Hey, now, pull those back out, even if the dust bunnies cling; I just read something of yours, and I don't think you should be throwing in the towel ;) My hope is that now the smut-ice has been broken, maybe others will follow. I think this is a tough pairing on which to be first, but if nobody had gone first, we'd all probably be wondering where it was. You do sort of fear you're ruining somebody's childhood, though. Then again, it's all behind a cut, and I'm not forcing them to click...
[User Picture]From: jillianfish
2010-03-14 01:20 am (UTC)

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I really enjoyed this. I liked Six Impossible Things, because the sex wasn't so graphic that I got uncomfortable reading it, and the same held true for this one. It really was fantastic and the love between them is palpable. Their voices are great, with just the right amount of teasing and joking and madness. lol. Thanks for a very enjoyable read!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:52 am (UTC)

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The interesting thing is that the time period provides an automatic safeguard; in characters with a Victorian sensibility, it's hard to consider anything too florid (unless you're intentionally wanting to mimic the anonymous pornographic tracts that circulated at the time, in which case it sounds just ridiculous and would be out of character to boot).

Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: dj_rocca
2010-03-14 01:40 am (UTC)

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I ♥ you. I'm so glad you wrote this. Seriously, perfect. I cannot say much else. *HUGS*
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:53 am (UTC)

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*hugs back*

Thanks
[User Picture]From: sirdrakesheir
2010-03-14 02:06 am (UTC)

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TRUE STORY: I WAS ON THE FENCE ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT TO GO AHEAD AND SEE IT, AND IT WAS FINALLY YOUR FANFICTION ON THE SUBJECT THAT CONVINCED ME TO GO AHEAD

THIS WAS MARVELOUS *_* I HOPE YOU REVISIT THESE LOVELIES.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:55 am (UTC)

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You, my dear, are not given to fibs, so I'll believe your story. And since this itself is a revisitation, I don't doubt there will be a third instance. After all, setting something entirely in Underland will be a lot of fun...
[User Picture]From: jessicadwyer
2010-03-14 02:45 am (UTC)

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Guh....just...guh.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:55 am (UTC)

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*grins*

Thank you :)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:56 am (UTC)

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I'm honored to hear it :) Thanks again. And, as per usual when I get on one of these unexpected binges, do keep an eye out. I think there's more.
[User Picture]From: flowerangel050
2010-03-14 04:46 am (UTC)

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...I LOVE YOU!
I love this! ♥


XD
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:57 am (UTC)

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*blush* Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: alaceron
2010-03-14 06:43 am (UTC)

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I actually cried out in joy when I saw that you'd written another Alice/Hatter. And then felt slightly ashamed of myself.

BUT THIS FIC WAS SO MUCH MORE THAN WORTH IT.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:58 am (UTC)

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As long as you were alone in the room, I don't think you have much to worry about ;) I've done that, though. The same with laughing out loud when something I'm reading is hysterically funny. I can't help it.

Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: sheerpoetry
2010-03-14 06:51 am (UTC)

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Absolute love.
I haven't discovered much in the way of this for any incarnation of Alice and it's gorgeous!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 09:58 am (UTC)

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Thank you :) Have you seen the film yet?
[User Picture]From: lady_theta
2010-03-14 03:33 pm (UTC)

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*reads*
*mems*
*dies of happiness*
Well-written Alice/Hatter smut!!!*dies again*
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 03:41 pm (UTC)

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*revives you*

Thank you very much :)
[User Picture]From: cimness
2010-03-14 10:57 pm (UTC)

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Mmmm, you know, it's like some happy confluence of celestial bodies that this fandom has come along for you! The historical setting, the contributions of Burton and Depp (the fact that I've always loved the books anyway) - it's perfectly suited to your style, I thought so at once when I saw the post come up, and then I had to wait for a while before reading to savor the anticipation (in case you don't write too much more of it)!

I can see you've found your feet already - there's a marked improvement in this piece from the first one, because the character voice in this one is so strong. Given a little room to stretch out, the dialogue really shines here, and beautifully evokes the characters. Now that you've gotten that immediate post-script fixit out of your system (I left the theater trying to make one of those up for myself, I admit: the ending was screaming for one), and flexed your muscles with your typical exquisite attention to detail, I look forward very much to seeing if you've got anything further up your sleeve!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-14 11:10 pm (UTC)

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With respect to the books, I think that I once tried reading the first one, but didn't get terribly far; I seem to remember stopping right after Alice's first encounter with the Caterpillar. However, I went out and bought a dual edition today (Oxford World's Classics), and I'll be spending tomorrow reading it! Admittedly, I was quite young the first time, so I don't doubt my ability to focus and buckle down will be considerably better ;)

Your commentary is always a pleasure <3 If you do come up with something, I'll be first in line to read it. And yes, I do think I have some more up my sleeve.
[User Picture]From: cobweb_diamond
2010-03-15 12:37 am (UTC)

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Oh my goodness! Both of these stories were quite delightful, although I think I preferred the sequel... Hatter's voice seems tempered by the "real" world, a little less crazy, which is cool. It's the romance I wanted from the movie. I'd be interested to see how Alice's family reacted to the situation...
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-15 09:53 am (UTC)

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I think I may deal with that in the next piece, although Underland will also feature quite prominently. Thank you very much <3
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