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A Blossoming Friendship (Tag: Hatter!)

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A Blossoming Friendship (Tag: Hatter!)

Post by Dumas Tweed on Wed May 06, 2015 12:52 pm

Carefully shielding his precious delivery, Dumas Tweed scooted along the back of wall of the Tea House.  But even in this relatively sheltered position, it was difficult to avoid being jostled by the boisterous crowd.  Dumas had never quite understood the business of purchasing emotions. Now, he paused for a moment, and watched the bidding.  Some of the emotions for sale were ones that he still experienced on his own -- happiness, wonder, love.  However, there were others that he hadn’t tasted since Wonderland’s civil war began.  Sadness filled Dumas’s eyes as he listened to the auctioneer shout out prices.  What would he pay to feel brave again?  Or to experience the carefree joy of childhood?

“Our childhood is gone forever, brother dearest.  And you are brave.  If you’d only believe it.”

“No.”  With downcast eyes, Dumas shook his head.  “No, I’m not.”

A brief lull in activity opened a path through the crowd.  Hastily darting through it, Dumas soon reached the door to Hatter’s office.  Hopefully, Hatter would be inside.  Dumas hadn’t thought about calling in advance to announce his intention of visiting.  He really wasn’t very good at being social, and his occasional forays beyond the casino garden were always the result of impulse or emergency.  This was a little bit of both.  Tenderly, Dumas stroked the wilted leaves of the plant he carried in a small white pot.  It was an orchid with leaves the iridescent color of opal -- very beautiful and utterly unique.  But it was sick.

Shifting the orchid into the crook of his arm, Dumas knocked on the door to Hatter’s office.  He’d heard the rumors about Hatter -- he was working for both sides, and both sides knew it, although each considered him too valuable to dispose of.  Yet.  But politics didn’t matter much to Dumas.  Hatter’s great love of plants was the thing that interested him.
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Re: A Blossoming Friendship (Tag: Hatter!)

Post by Phillip Hatter on Thu May 07, 2015 9:59 pm

Hatter had decided to do a little renovating of his office today. Space for new plants was slowly becoming more scarce as he took on new seedlings and refused to get rid of the matured ones. His office and the rest of the adjoining home was beginning to look like a jungle, although he didn't mind that one bit. He liked the plants because they brought life to a world that was so devoid of it. All around him was wreck and ruin, the city crumbling where once it blossomed. His little jungle helped him forget all about that.

He'd managed to get a hold of hanging baskets and had spent the morning putting hooks all around the office to accommodate them. Hatter couldn't wipe the grin from his face as he worked; it was going to look lovely when he was done. A leafy canopy overhead, instead of the concrete ceiling he currently stared at when lost in thought. He and the Musketeers could sit under it in the evenings and pretend they were somewhere nice, instead of in the wreck they all called home.

He was hanging a basket of fuchsias, balancing precariously on his tiptoes when a knock caught him off-guard. The chair gave a perilous wobble, before toppling down, taking a yelping Hatter down with it. Luck clearly wasn't on his side today, for he landed face first in a planter full of strawberry seeds. Cursing at his own clumsiness under his breath and the stupidity at having put the basket right there, he sat up and rubbed at his face, scrunching his nose. Finally grabbing out a handkerchief from his pocket, he wiped at his face in an attempt to get the last of the earth and seeds from his face, a morose expression crinkling his features when he looked down at the once-white square of fabric. It had been his favourite handkerchief too. White with a magenta orchid embroidered in the corner. A gift from one of the refugees when he'd brought some much needed medicine to her family.

Never mind. Surely it would wash out. Scooping up his hat and plonking it on, he strode towards the door and pulled it open, peeking out. "Hi, may I help you?" he asked with a polite smile, eyeing the stranger up and down. He seemed vaguely familiar, and as Hatter studied the man before him, he wracked his brain for where they could have met. His eyes dropped down to linger at the plant in the stranger's hands, the colour of the leaves mesmerizing him. He'd never seen such a beautiful specimen before.

A brief moment of silence made him look over the newcomer's head, eyes widening. Amelia had clearly just woken up and was about to start the bidding; the screeches and shouts of prices from the crowd the next second confirmed his suspicions. Shaking his head, Hatter threw the door open wider and nodded hurriedly for the gent to step inside. "Come in, come in. You and your cargo won't last long out here at this rate. They've been like vultures all week!"

notes Forgot to mention: I decided upon The Musketeers as a past event for Hatter but only just put it in his bio. Basically it's Hatter, Amelia (his auctioneer), and twins Fred and George (his bookies) who became best friends during the war, and fled together before Victoria destroyed the Resistance.
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Re: A Blossoming Friendship (Tag: Hatter!)

Post by Dumas Tweed on Sat May 09, 2015 10:52 pm

Dumas winced when he heard the crash that followed his knock. This was exactly why he generally avoided social situations. No matter how good his intentions, things always seemed to go a bit wrong when he interacted with people instead of plants. As the door to Hatter’s office swung open, Dumas braced himself, expecting to get yelled at. But Hatter just smiled politely and asked him inside.

Nervously, Dumas accepted the invitation. But he quickly forgot his shyness when he saw that Hatter’s office was almost as lush as the casino garden. Craning his neck, Dumas admired the wonderful assortment of flower baskets hanging from the ceiling, impressed by how well they seemed to be flourishing in such a difficult environment. Indeed, Dumas was so busy gawking that he nearly walked into a wall -- fortunately, his brother’s voice saved him just in time.

“For god’s sake, Dumas. Look where you’re going or you’ll crush that plant you’re so determined to save.”

“Right, right. I’m sorry.”

Belatedly, Dumas remembered Hatter, and turned to face him. The man seemed to be studying him with an understandably puzzled expression, so Dumas hastened to explain his visit.

“I think you met my twin brother, Devon. During the war.” That was as much as Dumas dared to say outloud. You never knew who might be listening. But he hoped Hatter would be able to fill in the blanks. Although Devon hadn’t been part of the group who took shelter in the library, he’d often coordinated with people there to help the refugees. Dumas had enjoyed hearing his brother’s stories about The Musketeers. Just because he loved Victoria, and could never bring himself to fight against her, that didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate the selfless bravery shown by the rebels. “He told me you were a good man.”

Carefully, like a mother allowing another to hold her child, Dumas offered the potted orchid to Hatter. “I bred this myself, it’s the only one of its kind. But the other flowers don’t like it. They’re jealous, and that makes them mean. So it can’t stay in the garden.”
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Re: A Blossoming Friendship (Tag: Hatter!)

Post by Phillip Hatter on Mon May 11, 2015 9:54 pm

As the male came in, Hatter cocked his head to the side, watching him quizzically. He was certain that he'd seen him somewhere. But where? Certainly not in the Tea Shop, as Hatter had become indifferent to the patrons to the point of looking at them but not even seeing their faces any more. Just looking straight through. He rubbed the back of his neck in thought, turning and picking up the basket of displaced seeds before plonking it down on a nearby shelf. "Would you like some tea? Although I do have something a tad stronger if you'd prefer it."

The man's next remark caught Hatter off-guard and he blinked several times. The war felt like it had been so long ago, as if several decades had passed instead of the mere few years that had actually gone by. A flood of memories washed over him, painful memories of losing first his father and then his mother that he liked to keep locked away in the back of his mind. Not now, Hatter. Get yourself together, man! "Devon, Devon, Devon..." Hatter muttered in thought, striding over to the back of the office and switching the kettle on. "Devon!" As if a lightbulb had been turned on inside his head, Hatter turned around with a wild grin, clapping his hands. "I remember him! Good bloke, loyal, worried for his little brother a lot." He strode forwards until he was level with the newcomer, his head cocked to the side. "You must be...hang on, it'll come to me," he started, furrowing his brow. "Daniel? No, Damon... No, no, hang on, hang on..." Suddenly his eyes lit up and he clapped his hands again. "Dumas. It's Dumas, isn't it?"

The request caught him off-guard again and for a long moment, Hatter just stood there blinking dazedly, looking from the unique plant to Dumas, and back again. He couldn't accept such a present. It was much too valuable. But if it couldn't stay in the garden... He hesitated for a second before taking the precious specimen as carefully as if it were a newborn. His fingers gently ran over the shimmering leaves, admiring the way they caught the light and made rainbows. "It's..." he searched for a word to describe what he was holding; beautiful just wasn't enough, "magnificent," he finally breathed, dragging his eyes away from the orchid to look back at Dumas. "But why me?" he croaked. He cleared his throat. "Apart from the obvious reason that I love plants, but I can't be the only gardener Wonderland has..."
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Re: A Blossoming Friendship (Tag: Hatter!)

Post by Dumas Tweed on Thu May 14, 2015 3:53 am

Would you like some tea?  Although I do have something a tad stronger if you'd prefer it.

Did Hatter mean alcohol?  Dumas usually didn’t drink much, since a single glass of wine could send him sliding under the table.  However, the long journey away from his garden had taken its toll on him.  He hated traveling through the concrete wasteland, seeing the scars of war carved into every crumbling building and every unhappy face.  More than anything else, he hated the way that some people stared at him with unconcealed anger in their eyes, betraying all the accusations they didn’t dare speak. Traitor.  Fool.  One of Queen Victoria’s slobbering lapdogs, who sold his loyalty for scraps from her table.  Dumas had heard the rumors which claimed that he’d informed on the rebellion during the war -- informed on his own twin brother.  And it was true that he had possessed useful knowledge, thanks to his continuing contact with Devon.  But he’d never told Victoria a single bit of it.  Devon had trusted him, and Dumas would never betray that trust.  No matter who he was in love with.  
 
“Something stronger would be great,” Dumas responded, surprising himself.  Maybe he was a little bit brave after all.  Or maybe he just wanted something to soothe his frayed nerves.  

And it seemed that he wasn’t the only one whose nerves could use some soothing.  Dumas saw the shadow which passed across Hatter’s face before he turned away and started brewing their tea.  Everyone lost a piece of themselves in the war.  Innocence.  Tranquility.  A parent or a child.  Or a brother.  Dumas fidgeted as comprehension tickled the corners of his mind.  His understanding of what had happened to Devon was fluid, changing from moment to moment.  Sometimes he almost accepted that his twin was dead.  But then he heard Devon’s voice speaking to him, so that couldn’t be right.  Could it?

Fortunately, Hatter soon distracted Dumas from those troubling thoughts.  A wide smile spread across Dumas’s face when Hatter described Devon.  It was so typical for his twin to be worried about him, even though Devon was the one who’d been in true danger.  Dumas was no soldier, either in temperament or training, so he’d never been sent into combat.  He spent most of the war in relative safety, sheltered behind the iron gates of the royal garden.  “Yes, that’s right,” he confirmed after Hatter remembered his name.  “I’m Dumas.  Dumas Tweed.”

Dumas watched in approval as Hatter took the orchid, treating it with the appropriate gentleness and awe.  He’d definitely picked the right home for his precious creation.  But when Hatter pressed him for the reason behind his choice, Dumas found it difficult to vocalize.  It was true that there were other gardeners in Wonderland.  And many of them were considerably more famous than Hatter.  Dumas’s decision had been based on something other than reputation or skill.  “Devon told me you were a good man,” he repeated.  “And I...I don’t have a lot of friends.”      

He didn’t really fit in with the rest of the Hearts.  He was too gentle and awkward, too inept at their emotional games.  And none of the other courts trusted him.  Dumas had his brother for company (sort of), but he still felt terribly lonely.

Even in Hatter’s office, Dumas could still hear the dull roar of frantic shouting.  “Have you ever done that?” he asked, nodding his head to indicate the chaos beyond Hatter’s closed door.  “I mean, I suppose you wouldn’t have to bid, would you?  But have you ever drunk a bottled emotion?”  It made sense for a salesman to have sampled his wares at least once.  And Dumas was quite curious about the whole process.
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Re: A Blossoming Friendship (Tag: Hatter!)

Post by Phillip Hatter on Tue May 19, 2015 3:18 pm

Devon told me you were a good man.

The words echoed in Hatter's mind, the sentence repeating itself over and over again. He thought that after he'd ran, he would have been labelled as a coward and a traitor. And maybe that's exactly what the majority of them thought of him, but it was nice knowing that there were one, or rather two, people that thought otherwise. "That part's up for debate, depending on who you ask, but I try. I...I feel bad for running, when they needed me most, so I try and do what I can to make up for it."

Walking further into the room, Hatter motioned for Dumas to follow before waving at the couch. "Feel free to sit. It's been a long journey, I'm sure. Couldn't have been a pleasant one. Lemme get you that 'something stronger'." Transferring the orchid to his other hand, he went over and picked up a potted calla lily on his desk, gingerly replacing it with the orchid. "Don't you go making all my plants jealous now," he crooned teasingly to the plant before striding over to the kitchenette and placing the lily onto the windowsill.

Flicking the switch to turn the kettle on, he turned back in surprise at Dumas's question. "You mean you haven't?" he asked, eyes wide. "I would have thought that everyone under the queen's employ would have free supply of the stuff whenever the desire took them." Suddenly realizing that he was probably gaping at the poor man like he was some sort of new species of human, Hatter rubbed the back of his neck, frowning at his own actions. "I'm sorry. That was rude. I've just never met anyone that hasn't tried an emotion or two. It's as rare as your orchid." Way to go, Hatter, he chided himself. Way to make someone feel welcome and right at home. "I've dabbled in a few emotions here and there. Never thought I would. The whole idea seemed downright wretched when it was first announced. It still does sometimes. But it helps to keep the demons at bay, when they get a bit too much to handle," he told him, giving a shrug. "Would you like to try one? I can make us some tea..."
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Re: A Blossoming Friendship (Tag: Hatter!)

Post by Dumas Tweed on Wed May 27, 2015 1:16 am

Hatter’s shame surprised Dumas.  According to Devon, the man had been quite valiant during his time with the rebellion, even earning an honorary nickname.  A true war hero, if war could be said to have any heroes at all.  No one considered Dumas to be a hero -- not even the Queen of Hearts, for whom he would gladly sacrifice his own life.  And the nickname which her court bestowed on him was not nearly so flattering as the one the rebellion had given Hatter.  Tweedle Dum.  A frivolous title for a foolish creature.  “People do whatever they have to in order to survive,” Dumas counselled.  “And when things get unbearably horrible, they run in all sorts of ways.”

Dumas knew that as well as anyone.

After following Hatter further into the room, Dumas accepted his offer to sit.  It seemed a little odd to be resting on actual furniture instead of a grassy mound or a pile of leaves.  But not at all unpleasant.  Indeed, Hatter’s office felt surprisingly comfortable.  There was an aura of coziness and hospitality about it.  

“It was horrible,” Dumas conceded, when Hatter asked him about his trip to the tea house.  “But it’s good for me to get out of the garden sometimes.  See what Wonderland is like for everybody else these days.”  Although Dumas wasn’t wealthy, he never needed to worry about food or shelter.  And that put him in a very privileged position compared to most his fellow citizens.  Being reminded of their suffering reignited Dumas’s desire to do something to help.  He just didn’t know what.  “Sometimes I wish I could just throw open the gates and let everyone visit my garden.  But Victoria...I mean, the Queen wouldn’t like that.  Paying customers only.  And those poor humans.”

Dumas squirmed a little as Hatter stared at him.  But he didn’t resent the man’s shock or his curiosity.  It was true that most of the casino staff had access to free emotions, with the actual allotment depending on their position and seniority.  However, Dumas never took advantage of the opportunity.  Every time he even considered doing so, Devon gave him such a fierce lecture about how wrong it all was, leeching off people who didn’t even realize that they were prisoners.  And Dumas had his own reasons for not indulging.  “I’ve thought about it,” he conceded.  “But I guess I was always too scared.  What if I felt something and could never get it back again?  Wouldn’t that be even worse than never feeling it at all?”

Again, Dumas surprised himself by nodding when Hatter offered him a free sample.  And Devon surprised him by actually remaining silent.  Perhaps there was a lesson here that his twin wanted him to learn.  “Yes, I think I’d like that.  Thank you.  What sorts do you have?”
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