Song for the Chapter: Made for You by OneRepublic
Hatter holds Alice and they both agree with Mirana’s suggestion that they take this somewhere else. Chess winks then touches him and Tarrant, who is holding his mum. The next thing they know they are in Marmoreal. Chess lets them go and evaporates, but Hatter pulls her close as he whispers, “Welcome to Marmoreal, the home of the White Queen of Underland.” Then he kisses the top of her head and lets her go. He wants to see her face as she first views the White Kingdom. As she looks around, he look of awe on her face is as rewarding as he had hoped.
Alice couldn’t believe it. Hatter had pulled her to him then after agreeing to Mirana’s offer, had whispered, “Hold on to me.” Chess winked, then after touching Hatter and his father, had somehow transported them to somewhere that Hatter had called Marmoreal, home of the Queen of Underland? ‘What is Underland?’
Before she could ask, Hatter kisses her and then lets her see the place they are in. She stands there shocked and in complete awe of its beauty. There are cherry trees growing everywhere she could see and smell their blossoms permeating the air, the gentle perfume clouding them with its soft smell and sounds as the flowers fell in a stately grace. The castle looks like one from a fairy tale; it and the grounds are decorated with… chess pieces? It briefly reminds her of the Kingdom of Knights. She looks back at Hatter and he is grinning at her.
Hatter is happy to be able to share more of Wonderland with Alice. He can still feel Wonderland filling both of them with power, though, and is determined to find out why. But, for right now, he wants to show his love the parts of Wonderland that are beautiful and fun after the misery that she has experienced so far. He is looking forward to showing her so much. He holds his hand out to her and she takes it firmly.
Mirana watches whom she feels more and more will be the future consorts of the Kingdom of Knights. She knows Hatter is destined to become King, but Alice has a choice still from what she can tell. Hatter did somewhat, but Alice is given a complete choice due to Wonderland’s rules. From what she has seen, if Alice leaves Hatter it will not be pretty. She shakes her head and tells herself to leave the worry alone for now. She smiles and softly says, “Come now, I know Hatter would like a shirt, and Alice, you probably would like to get out of your clothes and into something clean.” They both turn to her with similar looks of longing. She laughs and gestures gracefully for them to follow her.
Alice has been a little worried that they would separate Hatter and herself, but the Queen shows them to a room and tells them that there are clothes inside for both of them. She then airily mentions that tea time is at Brillig and they would do well not to miss it. She smiles and leaves them.
Hatter gently grasps the doorknob like he expects something to happen and opens the door. Inside is a room done all in light colors, with the furniture of a beautiful dark mahogany color. Hatter steps back and grins mischievously as he picks her up bridal style and carries her in the room while kissing her. He kicks the door shut and Alice could have sworn she heard someone muffled say something. Before she can think further on the matter, Hatter drops her on the bed. “Hatter!” she yells, laughing at his mischievousness.
He looks down at his love and can’t help but grin at her. Dropping on the bed beside Alice, he rolls over to hold her. He stares at her and feels his heart stutter at the sheer beauty in front of him. He kisses her softly and holds her tightly to him. “My Alice,” he sighs.
Alice had been laughing, but the look on Hatter’s face sobers her, reminding her of the hardships they both had just gone through. She rests in his arms trying to let everything go. She cherishes this down time since they have had so little of it the past couple of days. She snuggles into his arms and they both lie there enjoying the fact that they are both safe for the first time in days. They take advantage of the time and finish telling each other what had happened at the Casino when they were separated. When done, they lie there in each other’s arms just relaxing and not thinking. There will be time for that later; this is more important to both of them.
After a long while, Hatter sighs. With the inborn time sense of Wonderlanders, he knows they need to get up. “Alice, luv, we need to get ready. After Tea, we need to talk, but if we don’t get moving now, we will be late. And let me tell you, late for tea is pretty bad, and not only in the Hightopp clan; you don’t want Thackery upset either.” He smiles thinking of all his friends.
Alice groans at the thought of moving, but she gets up and looks around. “Hatter, where is the bathroom?”
Hatter looks around and points out the door. “Go ahead luv, I need to take care of a couple of errands. Take your time; I will be back in time to get ready for Tea.” He hugs her to him and then kisses her. Looking into her eyes to make sure she is really ok, he waits for her nod. Hatter then walks over to the wardrobe and opens it to grab a shirt that looks identical to the one he had worn earlier. When Alice arches her eyebrow at him, he laughs as he answers her silent inquiry. “I had an extra one of these in the Red Kingdom; this is actually the original, which is lucky since I don’t think the other is salvageable. Don’t worry; I will change before we go to tea.” With that, and his smirk, in place he leaves, again touching the doorknob gently.
Alice sighs and then moves to look past the door he had indicated. There she finds the bathroom of her dreams. There is a tub big enough to fit two comfortably standing there, filled with lightly steaming water, ready and waiting for someone’s use. A thick plush bathrobe is over a chair in front of a vanity. The whole room is done in creams and browns. Alice smiles dreamily and begins shedding clothing on her way to the heavenly bath. ‘This will feel so good!’
Hatter is whistling as he makes his way to his mum and fa’s room fingering what he had found in his pocket earlier. He has a very important question to ask them and is hoping they will not have a problem with it. He thought he would be more nervous in asking, but he feels nothing but contentment and happiness. He comes up to the blue door for the suite of rooms and hesitates, wondering if he should knock.
The doorknob however makes the decision for him, “Go ahead and go in boy! I must say, you have made them wait long enough!”
Hatter shakes his head and, when the doorknob opens the door, goes in. He sees his parents cuddling on the couch and his smile gets bigger.
Alice K. sees her son first and jumps up smiling, running over to hug him. Tarrant, smiling at both of them, lisps softly, “David, nice to see you. I thought you would be with your lady, though.”
Hatter looks up at his fa and clears his throat. He is so happy to see both of them and so glad that the time for all the secrets is done. But he is here for a reason, and he needs to get back to his Alice. “Mum, Fa, I have a question for you.” As they both look at him, their faces smoothing as they patiently await his request, he grins and proceeds to ask them his question. They both smile and agree, both of them grinning back at him.
Alice gets out of the bath reluctantly, but figures Hatter would like to at least wash up. She puts on the robe and brushes out her hair as she sits at the vanity. She thinks she can manage without putting it up for awhile. She then gathers her clothes and puts them in a stack. If she never wears those boots again it will be too soon – she’s rather go barefoot!
Alice gives him an evil look and proceeds to stalk her way to the bathroom to change when he catches her around the waist and pulls her into his arms.
Hatter huskily asks her, “Where you going luv?” He nuzzles her neck and she almost swoons in his arms.
Alice sighs happily as she answers him, “Aren’t you the one who told me that we couldn’t be late?”
Reluctantly acknowledging the truth of her words, he holds her close to him, smelling that scent that is just Alice, and lets her go. “You have no idea what you are doing to me in that robe, knowing all I have to do is pull and I would have you unwrapped like an unbirthday gift.”
Alice smiles then frowns, trying to understand what he is talking about. “Hatter, what is an unbirthday?”
Hatter laughs and tells her he will tell her later. Moving over to the wardrobe, he pulls out a black silk shirt. As an afterthought, he grabs a black fedora and puts it on his head. It wouldn’t do to show up to Tea without a hat. He turns around to see Alice disappearing behind the bathroom door. He grins, and, not wasting a chance to pick on his Alice, walks over to the closed door telling her, “It’s nothing I haven’t seen luv…”
Laughter rings back from the room as Alice teases back, “And since I don’t think you want another cold dip, I figured this would be faster!”
Hatter just laughs and leans against the doorway waiting for his lady to be ready, reflecting that he doesn’t mind waiting on her, ever.
Alice walks out feeling like a million dollars. The clothes fit her perfectly and are the most comfortable she has ever worn; they also look great on her. The one thing that makes her day the most heavenly – the soft shoes with no heels. She looks over at Hatter and sees him smile at her.
Hatter sweeps her into his arms. “I can’t get enough of this, it may take me a few days before I willingly let you go,” he tells her, resting his head on hers, eyes closed in bliss. “Alice?”
Alice is in complete agreement with his statement. “Hmm?”
“I love you.”
Alice smiles and leans back to look him in his warm brown eyes as she answers him. “I love you too, David.”
He groans at the use of his name and she chuckles. “C’mon we can’t be late you know.”
Nodding his head, Hatter walks up to the door and again softly grasping it, opens it and after looking out quickly, gestures her to precede him. Once out of the door, he wraps an arm around her waist and they walk to the gardens where the Tea Party is to be held.
Alice reflects on the difference from the last time she had been shown how to get somewhere. It had been by Jack and he had basically dragged her everywhere. She’d much rather be treated like this. She hopes that the look between him and the Duchess at the site of the fallen Casino is a chance for him to find someone to love, and that he learns to treat her better. She then remembers the Ring of Wonderland and for a moment wonders where it is before she remembers stuffing it in Hatter’s pocket since she had no way to know who it belonged to. She will ask him about it after the Tea Party.
They walk around the corner and Alice gasps. She feels like she was transported back to her youth and remembers the stories of Alice in Wonderland she and her father used to read together.
The Tea Party is laid out on a bunch of mismatched tables, each covered in a different pastel table cloth, the ones at each end being a pristine white. There are brightly colored pastries and cakes, mismatched chairs, and merrily bubbling tea services. All around the tables are an assortment of characters, animals and people alike. Surprisingly enough to her, while the Queen sat at one end of the table, Tarrant sat at the other with Alice K. on one side and two empty chairs next to him.
Hatter chuckles seeing her reaction and motions with his arm for them to go forward.
Tarrant looks up and sees them. It seems as if his clothes, and, well, everything gets brighter when he smiles. Before he can stand and pull out Alice’s chair, Hatter beats him to it.
Alice can’t help but laugh at their playfulness and sits down. Hatter sits next to her, laces their fingers together, and brings her hand up to kiss it. Hatter’s friends give them some time after watching the two of them interact with each other. They can have time with Hatter later.
Alice K. watches her son and his love. It is very obvious that they love each other and have admitted it. She thinks back to the start of hers and Tarrant’s relationship and can’t believe she had been so dense. However, in the end, it all worked out, and it looks like her son is smarter than she was. She smiles remembering the question he asked of Tarrant and herself.
She also knows that what Tarrant and she have to tell them may make it harder. She would rather have all the information at once rather than have it surprise her later. This Alice looks to be of a similar nature and she resolves to give her the information.
Tarrant looks over at her and covers her hand in his, giving her his support as he always has and always will.
Alice K. clears her throat. Hatter and Alice look up at her, smiles on both of their faces. They have been quietly talking, Hatter telling her about the friends that are gathered here. The look on the Champion’s face has them both falling silent.
“David, Alice. We are so very happy you both are here safe and sound. Alice, thank you for caring for and helping David, for that alone, you have our eternal gratitude. I would like to repay some of it now, if you will take a walk with Mirana, Tarrant, and I.”
Tarrant gets up and moves his wife’s chair back and Hatter does the same for Alice. Mirana glides up to them and softly asks her friend, “Are you sure this is a good time?”
Alice K. nods as she replies, “I would prefer to hear it all at once rather than drag it out. Besides you feel Wonderland, do you think she will wait long?” She frowns as she thinks about it, “I have never heard her being so insistent though. Do you think she knows something?”
Mirana stares at her friend wondering the same thing. She finally agrees and leads the way into the maze.
Alice is nervous, wondering why they need to talk to them in private. She then remembers Hatter is a prince and there may be something she doesn’t know about Princes. For all she knows he might not be allowed to be with her. She didn’t think so based on comments he made in the past. ‘But maybe he is unaware?’ She glances at Hatter to see if he can assuage her fears, but he is frowning slightly as if he is trying to figure something out. They follow the Queens and Tarrant through the maze until they reach the middle. Mirana gracefully sits on one of the benches and motions for Alice and Hatter to seat themselves.
Alice K. stands there in the middle of the clearing and Tarrant takes his place behind her. She takes a deep breath, deciding she will just lay it all out there. “Tarrant and I are giving up our kingdom to you, David. Wonderland has chosen you, and we agree with her choice.” Alice gasps but before she reacts anymore, Alice K. continues, “And Alice, you have a choice. You can remain here or you can leave. But be warned, the longer you stay here, the more Wonderland will make her will known to you. This is the gift of Wonderland to you. You can choose if you want to stay or not. But, know that David will be King. Wonderland has almost finished investing him. There are only a couple of things left before he becomes King, and one of them is choosing his Queen.” Alice K. stops and stands there watching her and waiting for her reaction.
Alice sits there frozen. Hatter is not only a prince but will become King now? And he has to choose a queen? ‘With that statement are they telling her she is not in the running? Why? What happened to happy endings?’ She could feel so many things conflicting inside her and couldn’t take having these…these people staring at her. She shoots up and runs out of the center of the maze, dimly hearing Hatter call her name frantically, but she doesn’t hesitate and continues to run. She needs to think and figure out what is happening! Hatter, while you didn’t lie, your secrets are worse than lies and you’re gonna lose me because of them! She briefly thinks of calling Chess, but a sob catches in her throat and she runs in search of somewhere no one will see or find her.
Hatter had been staring at his parents in shock. Then he felt Alice go still, then jump up and run. Hatter yells after her, realizing what she is thinking and how wrong it all is. Before he can take off, he feels a hand on his arm and turns around to see his mum there.
“David, let her go.”
He stares in shock and then without thinking, yells at her, “Alice thought she had killed me, her ex boyfriend, and any chance for the Resistance. She found out the hard way how her father forgot her; then she was ridiculed and mentally assaulted until she basically became catatonic. Alice somehow brought herself out of it and decided to fight for freedom for her people and in the process found out I was alive, Jack was alive, her father knew her, and then she faced down the Queen of Hearts for me. After all that, she finds out that you are real, Fa is real, and that I am a prince. Before she has a chance to process all of that, I nearly die on her, then am brought back to life, and then we bring her here. Now you are telling her that you are giving me a throne and that she isn’t good enough to be my queen!” Hatter’s eyes have been steadily been growing darker and darker. “Understand this, I love her and will have no other. If it comes down to it, I will leave Wonderland and go with her to her land. I love her that much and more. And I have promised to never let her go without a fight.” With that he tears his arm from his mother’s hand and runs after Alice.
Alice K. holds her hand to mouth, shocked. She never wanted to have Alice doubt herself, she just wanted her to have a choice and to know how everything stood. ‘What have I done?’