|Erin Ptah (ptahrrific) wrote,|
@ 2007-06-25 01:27 am UTC
|Entry tags:||genre: comedy, genre: crack, pairing: "stephen"/jon/anderson, pairing: ann/bill, pairing: larry/john-o/rob, sequel, series: alice in wonderland, series: fake news|
Fandom: TDS/TCR, Alice in Wonderland
Genre: Comedy crossover crack
Disclaimer: This is a work of parody. Although reference is made to real persons and events, the actions, dialog, and content are products of the artist's imagination only. Themes and content swiped liberally from Through The Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.
Notes: With original author formerlydf's blessing, I drew a movie poster for her excellent fic Stewart in Wonderland, and then took the plunge and wrote a sequel.
Chapter I: I'm British, You See
Chapter II: [You Are Here]
Chapter III: Queen Oliver
Oliver Through The Looking-Glass
- II -
Only Doing My Duty
As Oliver lighted on the far side of the brook, the landscape around him seemed to melt away, replaced by the interior of a little shop, empty except for a Sheepdog behind the counter. On the shelves were every kind of product that Oliver could think of: DVDs, action figures, plush toys, novels, pens, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, snow-globes, and more. But whenever he approached a shelf it seemed to recede upwards, leaving nothing within his reach except half a dozen T-shirt designs, some posters, and an ugly paperweight.
"This is all most inconvenient," remarked Oliver. "Suppose I wanted to buy something other than a T-shirt?"
"You're out of luck, I guess," said the shopkeeper. "This is a Professional Important Shop. We only stock what we feel like selling."
"That doesn't seem very nice," said Oliver. "I'd have to go elsewhere if I wanted to buy anything like this, then."
"You can't do that, either," said the Sheepdog. Its shaggy brown hair was falling into its eyes, and it had a friendly, if somewhat vacant, smile. "If you copy our content, we can sue you."
"But you aren't selling it yourself!" cried Oliver, much frustrated.
"Sorry, dude," said the Sheepdog. "Nothin' I can do. Now, what do you want to buy?"
Oliver had not intended to buy anything at all, but it seemed impolite now to say so. He looked about the shelves, trying to find something interesting that would not lift out of his reach as soon as he got close. At last he found a CD of jokes that he could get at, and took it to the counter.
"That's one of mine," said the Sheepdog with a smile, taking the CD. "Sweet choice. Hey, check it out - I'm buffering." It froze.
Oliver waited for a moment. The Sheepdog showed no sign of being inclined to move again; he waved a hand in front of its face, but it neither blinked nor stirred.
He looked about the shelves for some aid, and, seeing a refrigerator case in one corner with cold drinks inside, took a few steps towards it, intending to take a bottle of water and throw it over the Sheepdog. But this time the shop itself seemed to pull away, and he found himself walking onto a wide, grassy field, where he was nearly run over by the first row of a marching band.
"Excuse me! Terribly sorry!" he exclaimed, scurrying out of the way and to a sideline, where a Tiger stood watching the proceedings. "I didn't mean to interrupt!"
"It's all right," said the Tiger. "They're only practicing." Although this Tiger had the usual stripes of orange and black, Oliver now saw stripes of red and blue drawn in paint across its face. It wore a leather vest and a beaded headdress of what appeared to be eagle feathers.
"Is that the usual costume for Tigers in Looking-glass-- er, Wonderland?" inquired Oliver, with what he hoped was polite interest.
"What, this? Oh, no! I'm the mascot for the band, you see," said the Tiger. "I'm Indian - really, I mean; I'm from India - but I play this sort for the marching band. I can play other roles, too; when I'm really into them, no one can tell where I'm really from."
It looked a little wistful as it said this, so Oliver said, truthfully, "I knew where you were from straightaway. There's a lot of weird stuff in America, but there never have been tigers, at least not native ones."
"You recognized me, then?" exclaimed the Tiger, much distressed. "Dear me, my costume must be a wreck! This is dreadful! Excuse me, I must go and change it." With that, it ran off through the marchers, dodging between them so artfully that it did not cause so much as a flutter in the ranks.
Oliver tried to run after it, thinking to ask for directions, for he was quite muddled and had no earthly idea in which direction he ought to be moving. But he could not predict the movements of the band members, and found himself dodging and ducking erratically; rather than following the Tiger, he had to focus entirely on not crashing into anybody.
Just at the moment when, dizzy and dazed, he did not even know which way would lead him out of the marchers, his hand found a solid wall. Shutting his eyes tightly, he pressed up against it; when the dizziness cleared, he opened them, only to find himself in the store again, leaning on the counter across from the Sheepdog.
"Here you go," said the Sheepdog, handing Oliver a bag that was far larger than the CD had been, but appeared quite stuffed nevertheless. "Enjoy, and come again!"
Oliver wasn't sure how he had paid, but as he doubted he had any Wonderland money, he had no desire to draw this to the shopkeeper's attention. Instead he said his thanks and carried the bag outside, where he nearly tripped over the next little brook.
* * * * *
After walking through the next bit of forest for a while, it occurred to Oliver that he ought to see what he had bought. He took a seat at the side of the path, leaned against a tree, and opened the bag.
Out came a vast supply of sports paraphernalia, all in pairs: two baseball caps, two pennants, two jerseys. As he pulled out the two giant foam fingers, Oliver began to realize that the bag must be much larger on the inside than it appeared on the outside. But he did eventually reach the bottom, by which time he was entirely surrounded by all manner of items by which fans show their devotion. Half of it was sky-blue and the other half ivory-white; the blue items were adorned with a logo like a little waving flag with panels of orange, green, yellow, and blue, while the white ones had a silver apple.
As Oliver was wondering what it could possibly mean, he heard the thud of running footsteps approaching, and a moment later the runner, a Hare, came into view. "Hear ye, hear ye!" it shouted. "The game is about to begin!" It skidded to a stop before Oliver and repeated himself more loudly. "Hear ye, hear ye!"
"You needn't shout!" exclaimed Oliver, putting his hands over his ears. "I'm right here!"
"Hear ye, hear ye," repeated the Hare, more quietly. "I, the White Queen's Messenger, bring news."
"The game, right? Who's playing, anyway?"
"But I see you already know about it," cried the Hare, looking about at the items piled at Oliver's sides.
"I don't, actually," said Oliver. "What--" But he was cut off abruptly by the footsteps, and shouting, of a second runner from the same direction. This runner wore a large top hat, though he was clutching it with both hands to keep it from flying off of his bald head.
"Hear ye, hear ye!" shouted the second Messenger, coming to a stop next to the Hare. "The battle--"
"He knows," interrupted the Hare. "He knows all about it."
"I don't," began Oliver again. "Is it a battle, or a game?"
"Oh, come on!" cried the bald Messenger. "What do you have all your team support gear for, if you don't know what it is?"
"This?" Oliver waved helplessly at the things which he had inadvertently purchased. "I got it by accident -- I don't even know which team I want to support!"
"But they both bat for the same team," said the Hare. "Now hurry up, or you'll miss the beginning." With that, each of the two Messengers grabbed one of Oliver's arms and pulled him to his feet.
"Wait - where are we going? What game is it? Cricket? Baseball? And we're leaving all my stuff behind!" But it was no use; he was dragged to a field, which closely resembled the one on which the marching band had been practicing, though this one had its crowd behind the sidelines and only two figures on the field itself. The people (human and otherwise) in the crowd were mostly seated upon towels and blankets, some with picnic baskets, most with hats or pennants or other fannish gear of the sort that Oliver had briefly possessed. It seemed not to matter what the colors or logos were, as there were many people who by their clothing and accessories were supporting both sides at once.
The two Messengers shoved Oliver forward; he stumbled through the crowd and landed on his hands and knees at the front. When he looked back his companions were gone, but the Tiger was sitting beside him. It was now dressed in a black and white referee's jersey, with a whistle hanging about its neck.
"You're just in time!" he exclaimed. "The battle is about to begin."
Oliver adjusted himself into a more comfortable position and sat down next to the Tiger. "What's going on, exactly? Who's fighting?"
"The LiOS and the UnicOS."
Sure enough, now that he was close to the field, Oliver could see that one of the figures was a Lion, with shaggy brown fur and a blue T-shirt; and the other was a Unicorn, very pale, with thick glasses.
"And what are they fighting over?"
"Market share. Which is very silly," added the Tiger with a smile, "because it's my market all the while!"
The two figures began to walk towards each other; the crowd went silent, holding its collective breath in anticipation. Oliver studied them, but he could see no swords or pistols or weapons of any kind. "What are they fighting with?" he inquired. "Fists?"
"Wits," said the Tiger.
When the Lion and the Unicorn, or rather the LiOS and the UnicOS, were within ten paces of each other, the duel began. Aside from the occasional full-throated cheer at a particularly sharp barb, the crowd remained very quiet in order to hear the fighters clearly. Oliver was enthralled, for they were very witty indeed. He felt that the LiOS was technically winning, for it scored more perceptive hits, but he couldn't help feeling sympathetic towards the UnicOS.
He could have watched this for hours, but all too soon the Tiger blew its whistle and yelled, "Halftime!" Turning to Oliver, he added, "Now you'll see the band."
Oliver heard them before he saw them. The march that they played was oddly familiar, but so loud that it was difficult to think of what it might be. By the time the band reached the edge of the field, the noise was nearly unbearable, and the players were still approaching. At last Oliver could take it no more. He sprang to his feet, clapped his hands over his ears, and ran headlong through the crowd away from the field as quickly as he could go.
Still the noise seemed to grow louder; a little stream came into view, and he flew towards it and leapt over,
* * * * *
and only then did the noise die away.
Breathing heavily, Oliver slowed to a walk. He was back on the familiar path, with no idea how much time he had lost or how quickly he ought to be moving, but he felt quite unable to run any longer. Though he continued to walk for a bit, he was weary enough that he did not notice the horse that galloped up behind him until it turned and cut across his path.
"Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!" cried the rider.
Oliver stopped short and looked up. The horse was red, and on it sat a Red Knight all in armor, with his helmet tucked under one arm. He had wavy brown hair and a very prominent moustache. "Check!" repeated the Knight. "You are my prisoner."
Before Oliver could decide how to respond, a white horse galloped up from the opposite reaction. This rider was in identical armor, except that it was all in white; his helmet was on, but when he spoke it was in a distinctive, slightly nasal voice. "Ahoy! Ahoy! Check!"
"This Pawn is my prisoner," announced the Red Knight.
"Not any more," replied the White Knight. "I've just rescued him."
"You most certainly have not," snapped the Red Knight. "You White Knights exist in a small, little place where you count for nothing; you cannot simply waltz in and declare my prisoner rescued."
The White Knight bristled. "I shall duel you for him, then," he said fiercely.
"En garde!" cried the Red Knight obligingly.
The duel was over in a twinkling; the White Knight had the far superior wit, and the Red Knight was beaten with a few strokes. Muttering darkly into his moustache, he rode away.
"Thank you," said Oliver fervently to the remaining Knight.
"All in a day's work," replied the Knight, removing his helmet to smile down at Oliver, who blinked in surprise. "Larry. White Knight. Pleased to meet you."
"John Oliver. White Pawn. Er..." He hesitated, as the Knight dropped the helmet into one of the saddlebags. "You're really a White Knight?"
"Of course," said Larry. "What else would I be?"
"Well, er ... you're, ah..." Oliver stuttered, unsure what to say.
"...oliver than you are?" offered Larry.
Larry shrugged. "Doesn't matter, for I support the White Queen. Come to think of it, he's Jewish. We're not exactly the plain-vanilla side."
Oliver was beginning to feel uncomfortably plain-vanilla himself, and not just because of his skin. He was standing in the presence of a Knight: witty, noble, courageous, self-assured, dynamic; not classically handsome, but possessed of an appealing, matter-of-fact set of features and, behind his small round glasses, bright and intelligent eyes.
And what was Oliver? A C-list comedian turned Pawn. One might have said that the most remarkable thing about him was that he was remarkably unremarkable, but he was not even that; that would have been quite a different parody.
"You're new to this, aren't you?" asked the Knight. "Not just the game, I mean. Wonderland."
"Um, yes," said Oliver. "I stumbled in here from England this morning - at least, I think it was this morning; so much has happened since."
"England?" repeated Larry. "That explains the charming accent." As Oliver flushed, the Knight dismounted. "You've been on your feet all day, have you not?"
"Almost," admitted Oliver.
"Hop on, then. I'll walk you to the border."
"You really don't have to..."
"Of course I do," said Larry matter-of-factly. "I'm a Knight. My duty is to protect you - especially now, when you've come so far."
"Have I?" asked Oliver. "How far have I gotten? I lost track at some point."
"Why," cried Larry, "you mean you don't know? You're in the Seventh Square, my dear Pawn. One more move, and you'll be a Queen. Now, up you go."
Although he was not an experienced rider, Oliver managed to get onto the horse's back with his face forwards. It was a great relief to be off of his feet, and as the horse began to walk its gait was so gentle that he felt not the least discomfort.
As Larry led the horse forward, he asked, "Is there anything you would like to ask about Wonderland?"
There were, in fact, many, many things that Oliver wanted to ask. Nevertheless, he suspected that many of the questions would only generate more nonsense than they cleared up. At last he settled for inquiring, "If the Red Queen and the White Queen are both trying to be Queen of Wonderland, and I become a White Queen too, what will that make me?"
"You'll be Queen Oliver - nothing more, nothing less," replied the Knight. "The White Queen is also the Queen of Hearts and the Queen of Wonderland. You'll only be a Queen in the game - which is all that the Red Queen will be, too, unless her side wins."
"Does that seem likely?" wondered Oliver. "What I mean to say is, how is the game going?"
Larry grew solemn. "Not well, I'm afraid," said he. "We've lost both Rooks - what they call Castles in some places, and Studios in others - and a Bishop, and half of our Pawns. But we're in a good strategic position despite our losses; if we can corner them, we can still win this thing. We'll need a Queen to pull it off, and you're the only Pawn who's made it this far; once you become one, we'll stand a chance."
"So that's why you're protecting me," said Oliver, a little disappointed. "You need me for your strategy."
"Of course. That, and your charming accent."
Flushing again, Oliver studied the Knight's face for some sign that he was jesting, but either his wit was very dry indeed or his comment was entirely serious, for his expression never wavered.
They came to the top of a hill; the ground was rough and rocky, the going slow, but from here they could see the little stream in the distance, and beyond it, green grass. The horse stopped, and Oliver climbed down.
"There you are," said Larry. "The Eighth Square."
"It's beautiful!" cried Oliver, then checked his enthusiasm. "I really can't thank you enough, Sir Knight," he added more shyly.
"Only doing my duty," began the Knight, but then the clip-clop of hooves drowned him out, and he leapt back upon his horse. "It is the other Red Knight," he declared. "I'll hold him off as long as I can. Hurry!"
"I don't think there's anything to worry about," replied Oliver. "You were so far out of the other Red Knight's league, it wasn't even funny. Well, you were funny. He wasn't."
"I appreciate that," said Larry with some surprise. "But this Knight is an actual comedian, and when he gets off on a rant he can be wittier than I. Now go!"
The Red Knight was approaching rapidly as the White Knight wheeled to face him; Oliver took a last wistful look at his rescuer's face before the helmet was placed over it again, then took a deep breath and tore down the hill.
The slope was steep enough that he had to do little more than put one foot in front of the other to get up a respectable speed. The wind whistled past his face; he squinted against it but pressed on. He reached the edge of the brook and launched himself across--
* * * * *
--and tumbled headlong into the soft grass.
For a moment he lay still, breathing heavily, until he felt restored enough to move again. "Well!" he exclaimed to himself. "I do declare, now that I'm here, it looks much the same as any of the other squares. To be sure, it has the nicest scenery since the garden in the Second Square. I suppose I'd enjoy it more if I hadn't got this headache - I do declare, there's actually something on my head! What can it be, I wonder?"
He raised himself to his knees, unsteady for the mysterious weight on his head. Reaching up, he lifted it off and set it gently on the ground.
It was a white crown.