I don't own Alice in Wonderland or any of its characters. Based on the 2010 Tim Burton film.
Rated M for adult concepts.
Inspiration for an aspect of this story comes from .. Be sure to check out her stories and poems! The inspiration I received to add to this story came from her poem titled "The Blade."
This story is dedicated to .. I hope you enjoy this!
Alice is intrigued by Mirana's face and nail paint and asks her about it. What she discovers surprises her.
Black is the Colour...
Queen Mirana sips her afternoon tea and smiles at Alice. After she daintily replaces the cup soundlessly into its saucer she arches a black brow.
"Darling, you've been staring at me for minutes on end; not that I'm complaining, mind you," Mirana says, turning her palms upward in a 'confide in me' gesture', "but I'm beginning to wonder if there is some flaw in my hair or something strange between my teeth."
Alice returns her love's smile, but does not reply immediately. She gazes into her tea cup and ponders on how to begin her query.
She and Mirana have been lovers for almost a year, and yet she had never asked (had never thought to ask) about her face paint. She had only recently begun to realise that she has never seen her beloved Queen without her blackened brows, red-black lips, and black lacquered finger and toenails.
As a matter of fact, she has never seen so much as a crack or a faded spot on Mirana's lips, or the tiniest chip in the polish on her nails. Not a single flaw; ever.
Queen Mirana of Marmoreal is a beautiful and, understandably, vain woman; but surely vanity alone could not account for such perfection every moment of every day! The only occasional imperfection in her appearance that Alice could see, if it could even be considered an imperfection, would be her hair. Wisps of ghost-white hair would free themselves from their confines, and silky curls would become disarranged.
But her painting, including her nails, was always flawless and unchanging.
Alice raised her eyes and gazed into Mirana's. Chocolate brown met azure and suddenly the young woman found herself on her knees beside the Queen's chair. Hands sliding into glossy hair, Alice pulled the lovely face forward for a deep kiss.
Mirana's pleased sigh warmed her lips and her tongue, kittenish, tickled Alice's. Alice deepened the kiss, changing angles until she had explored as much of her lover's mouth as she could. Then she slowly and reluctantly backed away.
Alice licked her lips and tasted something she had never noticed before. The taste was reminiscent of blackberries, but barely. She could barely taste anything, and upon examination the Queen's lip colour was not in the slightest faded. She licked her own index finger and then pressed it gently to Mirana's mouth and gently rubbed. Nothing came off onto her finger. She leaned forward and boldly licked Mirana's lips.
Mirana softly laughed and gently disengaged herself from Alice. "What are you doing, my love? Shall we adjourn to our rooms?"
Alice blushed at her lover's playful, yet husky tone, and returned to her seat. "Not...not yet, Mirana. What you said to me before; well, I shall respond. I am curious about your paint and your nails."
Mirana tilted her head slightly to one side. "Whatever is there to be curious about?"
"Well, for one thing, why do I never see you without face and nail paint?"
Mirana took another sip of tea, and this time, when she returned the cup to its saucer, there was a slight rattle. She took a deep breath and looked into Alice's eyes.
"Are you certain you want to know, Alice?"
"Why wouldn't I? I do not object to it, even though in London we are not encouraged to wear it ourselves. You are quite beautiful, Mirana. I only just realised that I never see you without it, and not only that, but there is never a flaw, chip, or unevenness of colour. I find that...unusual."
Mirana glanced quickly at the door to the receiving room, then rose, glided across the room and locked it. She returned to her chair, seating herself amidst the many layers of her gown; for once not troubling herself to carefully arrange them.
She exhaled nervously. "I should have foreseen that you would eventually notice, dear Alice. Again I ask you, are you certain you want to know? The truth is not...pleasant." The Queen, for the first time since they had come together as nervous and tentative lovers, was plainly uneasy. If there was anything that Mirana despised, it was any form of unpleasantness.
Alice frowned. "Mirana, are you all right? It is only paint, is it not? Is there some enchantment? If so, that does not trouble me. There is so much in this world that is unusual to me; why would enchanted paint trouble me?"
"Alice, do you have any theories on why I would find it necessary to enchant my paints?"
Alice shrugged. "Well, I assume that you believe you look your best with it and don't want it to smear or flake."
Mirana smiled wistfully. "If it were only so, darling. If it were only my vanity which compels me to enchant my paints I would be a better Queen."
Just as Alice was about to protest, Mirana rose. "Alice, allow me to show you my ingredients. I'll explain as I show them to you."
Alice had seen Mirana in this tiny room before. The Queen always kept this room locked. It contained all of her special books and exotic ingredients. Alice had seen her make healing potions and antidotes for everything from Underland's equivalent to poison ivy to severe and life-threatening injuries.
"Alice, you've seen me create potions, pastes, and salves. What you, nor anyone else has ever seen, is me creating my paints."
Mirana went to a locked drawer. She bent down and whispered something that Alice could not understand. The drawer obligingly slid open.
Inside were some jars which were obviously filled with paints that were already prepared. Beside those jars were jars filled with substances that Alice did not recognize.
"Alice," Mirana began, "I have various items in these jars. I won't name them all, as you won't recognise them, but some you may." She gestured to a jar filled with a clear liquid. "This one contains the tears of Righteous Moss. As everyone knows, Righteous Moss concerns itself with politics, even though it cannot move and is disinclined to vote for any motion or on any issue."
Alice smiled. "I've heard of that moss! Tarrant said that the Righteous Moss at the Windmill House loves his lemon tea."
Mirana giggled. "Yes, it does, doesn't it? Many tiny minds in even an inch of the moss, yet always of one voice where tea is concerned!" She sobered slightly and took Alice's hand. "Anyway, the mosses never fail to cry when there is a political meeting. Thackery goes out for me and collects their tears. They are really quite cooperative and only ask for an occasional squimberry scone. Or lemon tea."
"And you need these tears for your paint?" Alice asked.
Mirana nodded. "Yes, it is one of the ingredients. I use this in the paint I wear on my lips and had tattooed in the snowflake design above my heart."
Alice gasped. "The snowflake? I just thought it was a lovely tattoo; nothing more!"
Her lover smiled and pressed Alice's hand to her bodice where the snowflake was hidden beneath layers of white lace.
"It is lovely, yes, but my reason for having it when I reached adulthood was to aid my heart in always aiming for that which is Just and Right. I also wear it on my lips so that my words and edicts will strive for the same."
"Oh," Alice murmured, at last beginning to absorb what Mirana was telling her. Her paints were not ornamental for beauty's sake, but for the sake of all those under Mirana's Rule!
"I also need to have Compassion ever present, no matter the issue before me," Mirana continued. She touched another jar; one which contained a deep burgundy jell. "Thus, I also require the saliva of the snails of Snud. They once survived by feeding on other snails, but they developed compassion and now only feed on non-sentient vegetation. I use their saliva in the pain around my eyes so that I may see all with Compassion, and on my lips so that my words may convey the same."
Alice was becoming quite fascinated. "I am astounded, Mirana! No wonder you are the most wonderful Queen I can imagine! You care so much that you use everything you can to be the sort of Queen Underland needs the most."
Mirana blushed. "Darling Alice, I am not so good as you think."
"Oh, but you are! What does it matter if you use paints to aid you?"
The Queen smiled indulgently. "My dear one, if only that were all! Alice, my paints not only help me be as fair and just as I can, but they also keep the Darkness in me at bay."
"Darkness?" Alice's brow furrowed. "I don't understand. You aren't Dark, Mirana."
"Oh, but I am, Alice. You saw my sister, did you not? She and I are of the same blood. We both share the Light and the Dark that have always been present in our family. Besides, my love, no person is purely good. We all have Darkness inside."
"Well, then you are no different than anyone else," Alice said. "So why do you worry so and use paints? You don't wish to do evil, and so you do not."
Mirana's eyes betrayed a hint of sadness. "I do so wish that were true. However, it is not; not for me. I must always fight the Darkness inside of me. I fight it every day. Did you not see my selfishness on the Frabjous Day when I sent you against the Jabberwocky?"
"Mirana," Alice protested, "you gave me a Choice!"
Mirana lowered her gaze. "No, I did not, Alice. Not truly. Would you have really refused to take up the Vorpal Sword? Would you have turned your back on us and left after what I told you?"
Alice pondered the Queen's words for several moments, and then she shook her head.
"No, Mirana. No, I would not have refused and I would not have left."
"So, the Choice I gave you was not really a Choice at all, was it, Alice?"
Mirana did not wait for a reply. "So you see, I do have Darkness. I possess great selfishness and ruthlessness. I justify my actions by determining what I see as best for my people. I took a Vow to never harm a Living Creature, but I allow harm I see as necessary by having others do it on my behalf."
Alice frowned. "You do what you must!"
"Still, it is a potential danger, always. Now, moving on. In this jar," Mirana continued, gesturing to one containing powder so black that it did not reflect light, "is ground Sponge from the Sea of Snag south of Snud."
"Try saying that five times fast!" Alice said with a smirk.
Mirana giggled. "Alice! You must let me continue!" She did, but with a distinctly lighter mood.
"Now, this sponge's powder is in my tattoo and in the paint on my finger and toe nails. It serves as a barrier to keep the Darkness within me from freeing itself. You see, my Darkness sometimes attempts to escape my body through my hands and feet. You notice how much magic is done with hand gestures or dances? That is why I must protect my hands and feet. Failing that, the Darkness will attempt to guide my feet off the Path of Light and towards the Path of Darkness."
"I see," Alice said. "And you also protect your heart, because you love and are kind and don't want to be corrupted."
"Precisely. I always fear the Darkness inside of me, Alice. I...I must be ever vigilant."
"You won't become like your sister," Alice whispered, putting her arms around Mirana's waist and kissing her cheek. She nuzzled the Queen's ear and Mirana shivered deliciously.
"Thank you, my love," the Queen whispered. She allowed herself to embrace Alice tightly. "Please," she added, "please watch me always. If ever I begin to falter, you must let me know at once. Promise me!"
"I promise," Alice said. She cupped her lover's face in her palms and gazed into her chocolate eyes. "I promise, Mirana. I love you and I will watch you. But, most of all, I will watch over you. You need not fear. You are not alone. You will never be alone."
Mirana closed her eyes, savouring the intimacy of the moment. She allowed herself, for only a few minutes, to stop thinking like a Queen, to cease fearing the Darkness, and to simply allow herself to be loved, cherished, and taken care of. She leaned into Alice's embrace and inhaled her Alice-vanilla scent.
When the White Queen opened her eyes Alice was smiling at her. "How did that feel?" the blonde asked her gently, lips curved in a slight smile.
"Wonderful," Mirana breathed. "Liberating." She did not need to ask Alice how she knew what had just happened; they were connected in ways deeper than a bonding of their bodies and hearts. They were bound by their very souls as well.
"One more thing, Alice. I use more ingredients than I have explained to you, but these will suffice to show you their importance. The final and most vital ingredient is the preservative for all of them. For that I use the perspiration of the silly cones of Witzend."
"Silly cones?" Alice sniggered. "I've never heard of those! What is a silly cone?"
Mirana arched a perfectly preserved black brow. "You don't remember the trees in the Tugley Wood that have the seed cones that tell ridiculous jokes and make rhymes all day?"
Alice's eyes widened. "Oh, yes! I recall those now! Those are silly cones? What a funny name!"
Mirana chuckled. "Yes, it is a funny name. Although, I would say it is not an entirely appropriate one. They are silly, yes, but seldom funny."
Alice nodded. "I agree. So, their sweat...I mean...perspiration, acts as a sealant for your paints?"
The Queen nodded. "Absolutely. It is the finest preservative and sealant in Underland. It also grants me another service. It helps to protect me from the Despair that is always lurking in my heart, and the fear that I will be an unfit and undeserving Queen. It...it helps me to maintain my cheerfulness and continue to see all that is good and right with the world."
Mirana paused and swallowed uneasily. Alice waited patiently and sympathetically until the Queen regained her composure. "It is fortunate that the silly cones perspire quite freely," Mirana continued, succeeding in putting her nervousness behind her. "They can never stop talking so they work up quite a sheen. Had you ever noticed that the mushrooms that grow beneath their trees are always bright and never faded?"
"The sealant!" Alice exclaimed. "I never did notice that! Of course, there is so much here in Underland that I will never see everything there is here!"
"Indeed, that would be a truly impossible thing," Mirana said with a smile, her fragile good humour returning. "For you see, Alice, if we saw everything there was to see, Underland would simply create something else. The Spirit of Underland would have it no other way."
Alice laughed. "That somehow makes perfect sense. Oh, but I do have one more question about your paints."
"Why are they all black on you? The ingredients in the jars are not all black, and I cannot see how, even when combined, they would be as dark as they are on you."
Mirana nodded and sighed. "That is the Darkness in me, I'm afraid. You see, when I apply the paints, they are mainly red and orange. However, almost as soon as they are applied, they change to black." Mirana took a deep breath and looked into Alice's eyes. "When I was younger, Alice, my paints were...red. They are black now, but they were not always so. If you look closely you will see that my lips still have some traces of red to them. But now, the Darkness in me is stronger and the paints must work harder to protect me and those I care for."
"So why does that sadden you, Mirana?" Alice asked. "Do you fear that someday the paints will lose their effectiveness?"
"I do fear that, yes."
"Well, do not," Alice said, cradling Mirana's face in her palms once more. She leaned forward and brushed her lips over her Queen's. "I am here. I am your friend, your lover, and your Champion. I will never allow your fears to come to pass."
Mirana gave herself over to Alice's kiss. Her Champion was so certain and so confident that Mirana could almost believe her. Almost.