White Rabbit

By Jane Bishop

Chapter 1: A Meeting

The light, dainty footsteps were unmistakable. Had it been anyone else identifying, at another place and time, they could have belonged to anyone. But this was a very peculiar circumstance, and Warren was used to Alice. It couldn't possibly be anyone else, not on the roof, not in the dead of night, not with that telltale step and the subtle swish of the dress she always insisted on wearing.

"Well, well, well," came the soft, almost innocent voice of a woman. Almost innocent. "Looks like the rabbit's finally come out of its den."

Warren, who was half perched, half sitting at the edge, didn't even so much as blink when she slid down next to him, her golden hair swishing around her perfect face and the skirt of her dress billowing up in just the right way to suggest well-rounded legs – as well as a holstered pistol that was strapped to her thigh.

"Hullo, Alice. I see you're out and about tonight. You here to say hello, or did Hatter double-book us?"

Alice laughed, the sound like a chiming silver bell. "Hardly," was the reply as she expertly surveyed the city skyline. "Just thought I'd drop by. I'm on a different job in the same area. Or should I say, was."

"Oh? Finished so soon?" Warren raised an eyebrow and lowered the binoculars he'd been peering through, stowing the instrument in the pocket of the suit jacket he wore.

"More, you're the one who's running late," Alice informed him, and she produced a beautiful silver pocket watch, which she proceeded to dangle near his face. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"

Allowing a small smile to grace his lips, Warren quietly snatched back the watch and it too found a way into his pocket, amidst Alice's next comment of, "Honestly, why do you bother to keep that thing around if you don't use it? It's a watch. It tells time. It should make sure you can't be late like you are now."

"And it's broken," finished Warren, slipping a pair of snow-white gloves over his black, fingerless ones.

"It still ticks," pointed out Alice with a small frown.

Warren shrugged. "The mechanism's faulty. Somehow it runs too slowly so I can never get the right time."

This elicited an eye roll from Alice. "Then get it fixed."

"I don't think I will. It's… sentimental."

"You can be real thick in the head sometimes, you know that?"

"So I've been told."

Alice gave a small sigh and settled back to watch as Warren fiddled around with a small contraption he'd fished out of his pocket. It looked very much like a normal pistol, except that it had a small grappling hook protruding from the barrel. After making sure it would operate properly, he aimed it into the distance, and fired. Off into the darkness went the hook, trailing behind it a thin black rope as it did so. A moment later, the hook vanished from sight behind the adjacent building and Warren began to reel the rope back in. When it caught, he gave several sharp tugs to make sure it would hold.

"I don't suppose you're going to tag along?" he asked, standing and stretching a bit.

"Nah." Alice stood as well and hopped back to the ridge of the roof, where she balanced seemingly effortlessly. "Gotta report back to Hatter. Tell him you're not dead. Yet," she added playfully.

"Don't count on getting rid of me that fast," he chuckled. "Oh, and do try not to get into another fight over a game of cards, hmm? I don't want to have to clean up another one of your messes, especially when I'll be scraping the guys off the floor with a spatula."

This resulted in a smirk from the blonde, who then took a few running steps and vaulted off the roof, vanishing like a wraith into the night.

Well then, thought Warren, turning his attention back to the windows of the neighboring building. To one window in particular. Dimly behind the blinds, Warren could see a light shining through, probably belonging to a desk light. There was only one person in the office, he knew. The bodyguards were out in the hallway, which would buy some time when they would try to smash their way into the locked office. They would, of course, be too late. Oh yes, tonight's job was going to be a breeze.

Let's get the party started.

With that, he leapt off the roof, swung downward and forward using the rope, and smashed straight through the glass.

- - -

Author's Note: I am such a terrible person. Here I am with a truckload of preexisting projects, and I'm starting up another one. Ah well, maybe I'll actually get around to finishing this one... or not. BUT if I get reviews, the likelyhood of my continuing White Rabbit will increase enormously, so please review! I read and hoard every single review you wonderful people out there send me!