Sep 18, 2019 5:10 AM
Juliet in Mirror Wonderland
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Her eyes shift down to the hat and then back up to his face.

"There was a magic mirror portal in my house. I kinda couldn't resist exploring... uh- I'm Juliet."

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"Was there now." The hat is summarily discarded on the workbench as he stands up to come take a closer look at her.

"Hatter Dodgson, at your service, Miss Juliet." He bows. 

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She laughs and curtseys in return.

"I don't think I've actually ever curtseyed to someone before."

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"Then I'm honoured to have been your first," he says with a smile that looks a little like a smirk. 

"Tea?" 

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"Brand new world, you can be my first for a lot of things. I'd love some tea."

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"To the kitchen, then!"

He offers his arm, gesturing down the hallway with the other.

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She takes his arm.

"What kind of world is this? It looks so much like my house, but... still different. How?"

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"Oh, did I not say? Welcome, Miss Juliet, to Wonderland." 

Down a corridor, around a corner...and here's the kitchen. This house isn't laid out anything like Juliet's, or indeed in any way that makes logical sense from the parts she's seen. Hatter clearly knows it like the back of his hand, though. He starts making tea, movements smooth and practised, but has to check himself when he's getting out teacups and saucers and almost forgets to go back for a second set. 

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"Wonderland," she smiles in delight, "do you get many other-world visitors? Strangers from beyond the mirror?"

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"None at all!" he says cheerfully. "As far as I know, only Wonderland natives, or their descendants, can become mirror-walkers like you and I. So you see, you're not a stranger at all." 

He regards her curiously. "You did know that, didn't you? Surely they would have told you..." 

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"Nobody has ever mentioned anything about being from another dimension. Not my dads side of the family, anyway... they would have definitely mentioned that."

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"Then perhaps it was your mother's side?" 

The kettle whistles for attention, making him jump and hurry to finish making the tea. 

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"It has to be. But I don't know anything about her. None of us do. And she's too dead too ask."

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"—ah. My condolences." 

Somewhat awkwardly, he finishes serving the tea, setting it out on the table with a subdued flourish. 

"What was her name, if you don't mind me asking?" 

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"Thank you. She said her name was Gail King, but further research proved that that wasn't her real name. It was all very mysterious. It kinda lends credence to your whole otherworldly expat theory."

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Hatter, very calmly and deliberately, takes a sip of his tea. 

"I don't suppose you happen to know what her real name was?" he asks once he can trust his voice to stay level. It wouldn't do to get too excited prematurely, after all. 

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"I have no idea. My uncles tried to look into it after I was born, to no avail."

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"Ah. That's a pity."

He takes a big gulp of tea to cover the fact that he isn't sure what to say next. 

"So, milady, what would you like to know about Wonderland next?" 

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"You mentioned mirror-walkers. Can you tell me more about that?"

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"Of course." He thinks for a moment about how to begin.

"As you just experienced, it's possible to walk through certain mirrors and come out somewhere different. Not everyone can do this, and there's no way to acquire the ability if you don't have it. You most likely inherited it from your mother, although as we can't ask her there's no way to be sure." He seems genuinely sad about this. 

"Most mirrors on Earth don't lead anywhere; I'd expect that today is far from the first time you've touched a mirror, and you'd have mentioned if one had reacted to you before. In Wonderland, all mirrors will react to your touch, but the majority lead to self-contained pocket dimensions, consisting of what can be seen in the mirror and not much more. A few connect to mirrors on Earth, usually when the reflections happen to match up. A very small minority lead elsewhere, or to specially constructed pocket dimensions with a little more substance to them."

Hmm, what else should he mention... "A common way to spot a mirror-walker is that their reflection behaves oddly. Mirror-walkers' reflections aren't always exact reflections of what we look like. Instead, they might show us as we'd like to be. They can act independently and are often capable of mirror-walking themselves. Have you ever noticed anything like that with your reflection?" 

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"I... actually. Yes. I always thought it was a byproduct of --" she hesitates.

Telling people about her thing has always been totally forbidden. But this situation was so very unusual...

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Hatter makes an encouraging noise and doesn't otherwise press for more information. He's dreadfully curious, but he can let Juliet tell him in her own time. 

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"This isn't really... do you know what aions are?"

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"Can't say I do, no."

(He's very glad Everless isn't here right now, because she'd be asking a million questions and probably scaring Juliet off.) 

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"They -- we -- have the ability to manipulate time."

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