Song I listened to for this chapter: Full Moon by The Black Ghosts.
Alice wakes up in Hatter’s arms and smiles. She can feel the Bonding between them now as well as the Kingdom and Wonderland. Who would have ever known that she would be happy having all of this? If someone would have told her a week ago that she would be madly in love with a man from a different world or psychically connected to a country, a land, or to that aforementioned man, she would have laughed and thought the person insane. Especially that Alice, the old Alice; the Alice that she is now is a totally different person, and she is much happier with this person.
She feels both the Kingdom and Wonderland greet her and then seems to ask her…questions? She frowns trying to understand. She finds it hard to understand what they are asking. It is in pictures and through her eyes simultaneously, so she closes them, trying to make sense of what is going on. It seems they are asking about architecture, and her likes and dislikes? Alice is confused and they both try to calm her, sending soothing pictures and feelings until she finally relaxes again. Then they try again, going slower and she tries again to answer their questions. After a couple of minutes it feels as if they thank her and leave, though she still feels as though they are still connected to her.
She opens her eyes to Hatter’s warm brown ones watching her. He smiles and greets her quietly, “Good morning, luv.”
Alice smiles back and answers him just as quietly, “Good morning.” She snuggles in his arms as he pulls her tightly to him.
Hatter had woken up when Alice did and was asked a series of questions by Wonderland and the Kingdom of the Knights. While he answered them, he felt Alice’s confusion come through their Bond. Before he could react, he felt the Kingdom and Wonderland soothe her and show him that they were asking her the same questions. Hatter calmed and finished answering their questions, having a suspicion about what they were up to. The Kingdom was young as kingdoms went, and this was one basically destroyed. He suspected that they were going to fix things, since this is Wonderland.
Hatter had watched Alice as she finished answering both lands’ questions, and he felt her love for him travel through the bond. It will take a while for this to fade, if it ever did. Their bond is very strong and while it is fully formed, it will continue to strengthen over the next few days to months. Each Bonding process is as unique as the love between the Bonded is. He has always suspected that the reason his parents continued to be on adventures and resisted coming back to court to get married was because of their Bond. Looking at his own Bonded, his Mate, he could understand that thought process.
Alice gasps as she feels Hatter’s feelings travel through the Bond. “Hatter!” She looks at him with wide eyes and watches him smirk down at her. She then feels the mischievousness seconds before he whisks the blanket off of them and rolls both of them into the pond next to them. She screams as they hit the water and hears Hatter’s laughter before she is submerged.
The water is not as cold as she remembered it being when Hatter rolled into it the first time they had made love. Alice can actually feel it getting warmer, at the same time she can feel the Kingdom’s laughter as it warms the waters for her. She feels Hatter’s arms wrap around her as he propels them up to the surface. As she breaks the water, she turns in his arms to give him a piece of her mind, but staring at her wet Mate makes all thoughts of straightening him out disappear from her head.
Hatter groans at her look and the emotions coming across their connection. “I dumped us in here to try give us a breather, luv!” Though he doesn’t deny her as he pulls her close and starts to kiss her passionately.
Alice moans and says, “God, Hatter. How are we going to survive the next however long?” She can’t take the tension and moves closer to him and wraps her legs around him.
Hatter grunts as he pulls her close, “I don’t know Alice, but I can tell you that I never want to stop.”
They make love with a passion that shocks them both, but neither complain afterwards as Hatter sits on a ledge with Alice in his arms. Her head is tucked under his as he holds her securely, but with a touch so tender, it couldn’t be taken as anything but pure love.
Alice sighs and asks, “So this Bonding, it is also a formal recognition of our feelings for each other?”
Hatter nuzzles her neck as he answers her. “It’s the most binding ritual except for the binding of rulers to the land, which we seem to also have.”
Alice leans up and kisses him. When they come up for air, she murmurs, “Good.”
Hatter frowns and tries to make sense of what she is saying and even tries to use the Bond. But, all he gets from that is the complete love and contentment she is feeling. “Alice?”
Alice lays her head back in what she is calling her nook as she contentedly hums in response.
Hatter leans back to where he can look her in the eyes as he asks, “Why the question?”
Alice opens her eyes to meets his and states, “Then no one can steal you from me.” She then smirks up at him. “Especially after last night and just now…” Alice purrs at him.
Hatter stares at her. Once her words sink in, he smirks. He leans down and huskily tells her, “Just wait until we have a real room with a bed, luv.” Then he sends his love and constant desire for her through the bond.
Alice takes a deep breath in shock at the emotions she is receiving from Hatter. She glances at him and thinks for a second, concentrating and sending her mutual emotions back at him.
He blinks then grins down at her. “You’re getting the hang of that.” He kisses her softly and then murmurs against her lips, “Definitely getting the hang of it.”
Before they act on their feelings again, they hear a throat clearing. Hatter quickly gathers Alice closer to him protectively as they try to see who is here. Alice sees Chess’s tail appear by itself and relaxes, tapping Hatter on the shoulder as she sends calmness through their Bond.
Hatter turns and, seeing the tail, calls out, “Yes, Chess?”
“I do not want to disturb you, but there are some people that need to talk to you. You also still need to be formally recognized.” The tail disappears, letting them know they have some privacy. Hatter looks down to Alice, and with her silent agreement, lets her go and jumps out of the pond, grabbing the blanket. He then turns and assists Alice out of the pond, using the blanket to protect her from prying eyes. Hatter pulls her to him and she wraps the blanket around them both, acting as one without having to speak.
Chess watches and approves. The Bonding process is irrevocable and well on its way to influencing their very actions. These two will need it to face what he suspects and can feel coming. ‘Is this why you pushing us all to make everything formal?’ Chess asks Wonderland. He doesn’t receive a reply, but then he rarely receives one from her lately.
Hatter calls to him, breaking him out of thought.
Chess appears and lazily asks him, “Are you ready to go to your room in Marmoreal? I would take you to the throne room, but neither are you dressed for a full court of all of Wonderland.” His trademark grin makes its appearance as he watches the two.
Hatter frowns and pulls Alice closer. “Full court of all of Wonderland?” He hopes he is hearing wrong.
Chess sighs and turns upside down. “Yes. You know what that means. And, you need to hurry or Nivens will be throwing a fit. Now do you want a lift to your room?”
Alice laughs looking at the two of them. “Good morning, Chess. We would greatly appreciate a lift to our room, but only if you could grab Hatter’s hat. He will miss that one.” She grins up at him remembering the pond, and her removal of said hat.
Chess sighs, rolling his eyes in different directions, however both of them can hear his purring and know that sound indicates he loves this. He evaporates, then the hat lifts up and floats up to them. Chess appears wearing it and before Hatter can grab the hat from him, he touches them both. Their Oasis disappears and their room appears. The hat drops on Alice’s head and they can hear Chess’s chuckling as he disappears.
Hatter sighs, holding Alice close for a second then advises her, “Luckily we just took a bath; this will be a full court.”
Alice looks up at him confused. Feeling his emotions, she frowns as she asks, “Full court?”
Hatter kisses her briefly and then, reaching over to the bed, retrieves a robe for Alice and hands it to her. “I think they are officially investing us with the Kingdom. Not that it matters, since it and Wonderland have already approved us. I think this is for the Hearts, in particular, and to tell the residents of the Kingdoms that the Kingdom of the Knights is awake.”
Alice puts on the robe and steps out of the blanket staring at Hatter. “Right now? Why now?”
Before Hatter can even venture a guess, Wonderland tells them it is because of her and they need to hurry.
They both look at each other and Alice is prodded to the bathroom. Hatter feels it and tells her, “I’ll find you something to wear, luv. You do the rest.”
Alice nods, trusting him, and enters the bathroom to fix her hair. Hatter comes in shortly after her wearing cream slacks, a navy blue silk shirt, and an absentmindedly tied skinny cream colored tie, but as usual looking very well put together.
Hatter watches her hurriedly brush her hair, then walks over and takes the brush from her and starts to brush it gently. Alice stares at him in the mirror and he can feel her nervousness through the bond. “Alice, everything will be ok. We have each other and nothing can stand against us.” He pulls the brush once more through the silk that is her hair and puts the brush down. Pulling her close, he stares into her eyes in the mirror and kisses her shoulder. “Come on, luv, get dressed. Once we get this over with, maybe you can show me what fourth base is.”
Alice can’t help herself and laughs. As she walks over to her clothes she notices they are in creams and blues also. She glances back at Hatter with her eyebrow raised at the similarities in their colors.
Hatter explains, “This is one time it helps being a prince. Whatever colors we wear when we get invested are to be our Colors. My mum never was formally invested, so while she is the Queen, she goes by the title of Champion. What we wear will determine the colors for the Kingdom of the Knights.” He then grins. “I couldn’t find raspberry, luv. I know you love that color. Light blue is Mum’s color – it’s even called ‘Alice Blue’ here in Wonderland. We need own colors, which are a twist of the colors we like…”
Alice stares at him and then laughs. “I was going to ask about that, but first I was going to ask if it will be safe for my shoulders to be on display.” She grins at him as she turns around and gets dressed.
Hatter smiles. He will love spending eternity with this woman! He sends his love down their Bond and feels her return it.
She turns around dressed in a cream dress with navy blue ribbons running through the hem. When Alice turns, the fabric has a sheen of the same shade of blue in it and a neckline that shows off the previously mentioned shoulders. The dress continues down, hugging her upper body until it gathers around her waist and then flows to the ground. The lightness of the dress and the freedom of the skirts are exhilarating.
Alice turns to Hatter and asks him, “Will you lace up the back for me?” Hatter agrees, walks up and laces his Alice up into the dress, his fingers trailing on her skin, as he imagines removing this same dress later. When he finishes he kisses her shoulders and stands back to allow her to move back to the mirror, watching her every step of the way.
Alice glances in the mirror and gasps at the artistry of the dress.
Hatter comes up behind her and murmurs, “Fa outdid himself on this.”
Alice glances at Hatter. “Your father made this?” Hatter nods and stares at her, entranced by her as always. Alice smiles and quietly tells him, “We better get going, after we finish getting ready.”
Hatter snaps out of his staring and asks, “Finish?”
Alice looks at him and softly answers, “You’re missing your hat, and I am missing shoes. But, I warn you, Mr. Hightopp,” and she turns to him and straightens his tie, “should there be heels involved, my feet will hurt you.”
Hatter smirks down at her and pulling her close to him, “No heels, but, I am going to want to see you in heels one day, luv.” He moves closer and murmurs next to her ear, “And nothing else.” He lets go of her and leaves her standing there as he walks out of the bathroom, feeling her reactions through the bond, and grinning.
Alice shakes her head of the imagery, laughing in delight as she follows after him. Hatter is at the wardrobe and pulling out the matching shoes that he then hands to her. He reaches back into the wardrobe and pulls out a navy blue fedora with a cream feather in it and stands there as he debates internally.
Alice walks over curious at what he is looking at and sees a cream jacket in the wardrobe. Before she can say anything, Hatter nods to himself and closes the doors.
“No jacket?” Alice asks.
“It would clash with your dress, and we can’t have that,” Hatter tells her, smiling as he extends his arm and takes her hand. Alice laughs as they walk out of the room.
Hatter stops outside the door, pulling her close and whispering, “Remember the Bond, it will help us both out.” He kisses her softly and then pulls back and offers his arm to her. She places her hand gently on his arm and they walk to the throne room.
Alice is surprised to see a white rabbit standing there staring at his watch and muttering about Alices always being late. He glances up and looks relieved to see them coming. “You’re late!”
Hatter chuckles and tells him, “Nivens, calm down, we are probably only a minute late. Besides, what do you expect of an Alice and the son of one?”
Nivens McTwisp glares at him for a second then shakes his head. When Hatter and Alice stop in front of him, his face softens and he gently says, “David, welcome home. We missed you.”
Hatter squats down in front of Nivens. “I missed you too, Nivens.”
Nivens looks at David and fondly remembers the child that has grown into the man in front of him. “Are you ready?”
Hatter stands back up, and Alice puts her hand on his arm again. He covers it with his, grinning enough to show his dimples before looking back up to Nivens. “As ready as we can be.”
Nivens opens the doors and announces them, “Lady Alice Hamilton, Champion of Wonderland and Mate of David Hightopp Hatter, Champion of Wonderland and Crown Prince of the Kingdom of the Knights.”
Alice and Hatter look out on the gathering in front of them.
Alice now understands what a full court of Wonderland is. Everyone is here; from Ten of Clubs and the Hearts, to all the people she met here in Marmoreal. As she looks out, she sees her father… and Charlie! Feeling Alice’s excitement, Hatter quickly looks and, seeing Charlie, instantly knows what is causing her emotions. Hatter smiles, glad that their friend hadn’t been hurt attacking the city.
Hatter leads them down the stairs and the aisle towards the Royals. As he nears, he glances at his fa and sees he is behind his mum. His eyes are bright green. Hatter relaxes knowing that if his fa is happy, then they have been forgiven.
Hatter and Alice stop before Mirana, the only crowned Queen and the Queen of Wonderland. Hatter acknowledges her by gracefully inclining his head to her as he feels Alice give a curtsey. A random thought crosses his mind as he thinks humorously of the Guardian of the Curtsey, and how he must be proud of Alice.
Alice feels Hatter’s humor and wonders at it as she stores the thought away for later. She is still slightly nervous but can feel Hatter’s strength bolstering her.
Mirana looks at the Bonded couple in front of her. There is no denying anything to either of them. They are Bonded. ‘So quickly and completely!’ She can see the power radiating out from both of them. This is just a meeting full of words formalizing what has already happened, these two are the new King and Queen of the Kingdom of the Knights.
Alice K. almost gasps at her son and his mate. There will be no separating the two of them, nor did she want to now. Tarrant tightens his grip on her arm and she sends reassurance back to him that she is fine. She finally understands that Hatter is Alice’s and not hers anymore. It surprises her that she is fine with this and is proud of him and his choice.
Mirana rises and glides down to the two of them. “Welcome, King Hatter and Queen Alice of the Kingdom of the Knights.” There are gasps all over the room, but Mirana figures if the people in the throne room couldn’t recognize the two for what and whom they are, then they are blind to Wonderland.
Jack stands there frozen. He, his father, and the Duchess had been summoned. As they traveled here, his father briefed him on not only the family history, the true family history, but on the rituals and rites that true Royals go through. Somehow in spite of being advised of all of that, he still had a hope that Alice would be his. As Hatter and Alice entered, Jack saw that they moved as one and the love for each other practically glowed. To hear that they had Bonded killed any chance for him. He also sees what Mirana had obviously seen – they are the King and Queen without any formal investment needed. Jack hid his feelings and instead smiles for the new Royal Couple.
A ripple spreads from Hatter and Alice, and on the walls a new banner brightens. When it fades, there is a single navy blue rose wrapped in a crown of ivy on a cream background. Wonderland is showing her pleasure and acceptance to it all.
Hatter and Alice feels Wonderland and the Kingdom rejoice. Though they could not see him, they hear Chess murmur, “All hail the new King and Queen of Wonderland.”