Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Yup, I'm definitely addicted to writing these two...not, of course, that that is a bad thing! It's quite fun! So, anyway, all character interpretations are based off of WCMI, Sunny Disposish, and most likely the park Hatters as well (as I've lately been watching far too many videos starring them).
This is just a fun little one-shot that I hope you all enjoy. Reviews are wonderful!!
The afternoon sun filtered drowsily through the overhanging trees, casting long shadows on the ground below. In the midst of the trees sat a clearing, brightly lit in the spots that the verdant branches failed to shade, and a warm summer breeze shuffled through the air, gently ruffling through the surrounding vegetation. Leaves rustled and fell, wafting gently down to earth, drawn by the inexhaustible pull of gravity to the land on the table that sat below. The table itself was long, adorned with a variety of silverware and dishes, and was playing host to a party of two: Alice, and the Mad Hatter. They sat together—or, at least as together as two people can be when separated by a long stretch of dish-strewn wood.
The Hatter had arranged himself in the sprawling armchair at the far end, reclining against the cushioned back as he calmly sipped from a large cup of tea. Steam rose into the air from the florid teapot that sat in front of him, dissipating into the clear blue sky as it ascended. He held his cup in one hand, pinky extended, taking great delight in mimicking his guest's grip.
Dutifully ignoring the Hatter, Alice sat at the opposite end in an inflexible wooden chair, fidgeting as she fought to find a comfortable position. Her back was ramrod straight, and she fiddled irritably with the edge of the tablecloth, desperately fighting the urge to raise her head and glare at the man seated across the table. He would manage to find a way to see her seated in the most uncomfortable chair at the table.
Whistling a merry tune and seemingly ignorant of the negative thoughts being channeled his way, the Hatter refilled his tea. Alice grudgingly followed suit when she realized that her cup, too, was empty. They took their tea silently, for Alice felt they had nothing to discuss and the Hatter did not want to discuss how he felt.
As the afternoon progressed, the Hatter watched the fluffy cumulous clouds pass by overhead, idly examined his white gloves, engaged in a strenuous staring contest with a sugar cube—anything to avoid meeting his companion's eyes. Alice, in turn, studiously ignored him, prodding lumps of sugar around her teacup in a silent race. She kept her eyes fixated on the saucer in front of her as if silently willing it to divulge all of its secrets.
A soft sigh floated across the table and Alice broke her unspoken promise to herself and looked up, gazing curiously across the table. It seemed to her that the Hatter had found an interesting cloud, for his gaze was directed towards the sky as soon as (but perhaps not before) she raised her head. Lifting her face, Alice swept her eyes across the sky, searching for the particular cloud that he found so arresting. Failing to do so (for it seemed that all of the clouds from earlier had in fact departed), she lowered her gaze—and found him staring straight at her.
Caught in the act, the Hatter quickly tried to avert his eyes, but he was too late. Their gazes locked and real and imaginary clouds passed by overhead as they sat riveted. His hand was halfway to his mouth—cup in hand—and frozen, hovering comically in midair, but he didn't even notice. All coherent thought vanished out of Alice's head at that moment: she forgot what time it was, forgot her resolution to ignore him, and even failed to notice that his tea was dangerously close to ending up in his lap (a fact she surely would have noticed and exploited had circumstances been different). Then Alice blinked, and the spell was broken.
The next day, each shifted down a chair.
He moved to his left, and she to her right so that they now sat on the same side of the table. The Hatter propped his feet up on the table, crossing his legs and leaning back in his chair du jour. Cup and saucer were balanced on the arm of his chair for the sake of convenience. Alice, of course, sat more properly, one hand resting demurely in her lap while other carefully cradling her tea cup.
Pastries were scattered across the table on various multicolored plates, and Alice restrained a giggle as the Hatter leaned forward and plucked a one from the lurid magenta plate in front of him. He nibbled on it for a minute, crumbs falling to collect on his coat, and then opted to put it out of its misery and finished the whole thing off in one bite.
The whole display was, in Alice's opinion, quite indecorous; nevertheless, the food itself taunted her, and the Hatter gave a small grin as he heard her stomach growl. Alice bit her lip, hand hovering hesitantly over a nearby plate. She was very hungry, but… The Hatter tilted his head to the side, surreptitiously watching as Alice fought an inner battle over the treat. Eventually the part of her that was hungry won, and she daintily confiscated one from a green and orange striped dish.
Amused by the disapproving way she eyed the plate, the Hatter chuckled. Alice's conviction to ignore him wavered, and she found her gaze shifting to her right. The Hatter met her eyes with a cheeky smile and a wave, quirking an eyebrow and nodding towards the pastry that she still held. Ignoring the challenge, Alice ate her treat in small, measured bites, and the Hatter sighed, disappointed in her lack of competitive nature when it came to pastry eating.
Alice couldn't help herself: she smiled—a wide, sparkling smile. She tried valiantly to pretend she hadn't, hastily bringing her cup to her lips and hiding her smile in her tea, but the Hatter saw it nevertheless. He grinned and took a sip from his own tea.
The third day, she moved down another chair; he moved down two.
Now they were seated side by side, close enough to touch but consciously making an effort not to. Alice was close enough to him to observe him from the corner of her eyes, and she unconsciously stirred her tea, surreptitiously trying to memorize his face. The soft waves and white hue of his hair, the freckles that dusted his nose, the amused curl of his lip, even (especially) the gleam in his lively blue eyes—she missed none of it in her covert observations, turning her head just so to make it appear she was staring off into the trees.
The Hatter was not letting Alice's distraction go unutilized. He snuck in quite a few clandestine gazes of his own, eyes travelling across her face. Her mouth was quirked (in amusement? annoyance?), her lips soft and inviting… Quickly his gaze flitted higher, studying the shining blue of her eyes as he tried to quell any inapt thoughts.
Alice's head began to turn towards him and he flinched, quickly jerking his head around to stare across the table at the opposite chair. Not wanting to be discovered in his mission, he returned his attention to his tea, which, unbeknownst to him, had cooled. Unthinkingly, he took a sip and promptly spat it back out, shuddering. There was nothing worse than cold tea.
Watching his actions, Alice frowned slightly, confused by his stranger than usual behavior. It did, however, bring her own tea to mind. She raised the cup to her lips and took a sip, repressing a face. It was then made obvious that the Hatter was not the only one who had been distracted, for Alice's tea had been neglected for even longer than his. Nevertheless, she handled the dilemma with much more decorum than he, forcing herself to swallow and calmly place the cup back on its saucer.
They reached for the teapot simultaneously, neither one realizing that Alice had mirrored the Hatter's movement until their hands connected. Lean fingers had just curled around the teapot's handle, eagerly anticipating the tea to come, when he felt her hand brush against his. He started in surprise, his hand jerking under hers. When had her hand ended up on top of his? It was small, delicate and well-manicured, and he didn't know what to do. Moving his own hand was out of the question; the contact was too precious to risk.
For her own part, Alice was hopelessly muddled. Her brain froze at the moment her hand touched his, and she allowed it to rest there, palm just brushing the back of his glove. Her hand tingled comfortably at the contact; a warm buzz starting in the tips of her fingers and travelling slowly up her arm. Shivering, Alice slanted her head to include him in her line of sight, gauging his reaction. He sat silently, staring down at their conjoined hands.
They sat frozen in that position for a while until Alice could take it no longer. A tense silence had been building, layers of unsaid thoughts and emotions building on top of each other. Slowly, timidly, Alice pried his fingers loose from their grip around the handle of the teapot and slipped her hand inside his, reveling in the feeling of the smooth fabric of his glove against her skin. The Hatter shook himself out of his daze and turned his hand in hers, catching it and intertwining their fingers.
Discomfiture dissipated into the air in a manner resembling that of the earlier steam from the tea, vanishing with that simple acknowledgement of their contact. The sky seemed to brighten and grow even bluer, the vegetation greener and more vibrant. Alice shone, her radiance muted only by her adherence to etiquette; she said nothing but smiled softly, her whole being lighting up.
Returning her smile, the Hatter's eyes twinkled ardently. He, too, was in even higher spirits than before (if such a thing were indeed possible), and was positively humming with excitement. Lightly, he brushed his thumb along the back of her hand, smiling into her eyes.
With one hand still entwined with Alice's, the Hatter reached across the table with the other. Alice followed its progress with her eyes, interest piqued. Oblivious to his audience, the Hatter grasped the handle of the teapot, lifted it over to his seat and poured himself another cup of tea.
Alice propped her cheek up on her free hand and rolled her eyes, her exasperated look and wry smile belying the blissful (and amused) feeling that had taken her over.
Some things would just never change.
Thoughts and critiques are welcome!