Ooc: In this story, Jack is king, or rather a boy-king at the moment. The Queen of Hearts has been executed and her husband thrown into prison. There is no casino or emotion-tea. Wonderland isn't as deserted and odd shaped as it was, but has kept more of its old fashioned look from the time of the first Alice's visit.
AN: I own nothing. Lewis Carroll owns Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Syfy owns "Alice."
It had been nearly six years ago that he had left his world behind for this strange place of Wonderland. Six years ago that his wife of one year had died leaving him with his day old daughter. It seemed more like yesterday than six years ago.
The little, brown haired girl that was tugging on his hand stared up at him waiting for him to react to his name. He observed her for a moment before responding. She held so much of her mother in her that it was painful at times to look at her. It was in the color of her hair, her nose, the way she rolled her eyes, as she was doing now. Yet his eyes stared back at him from her face, clearly showing that she held something of him.
"Papa, come look at this doll!" Robert Hamilton followed his daughter's small index finger to where she was pointing. The porcelain doll, clothed in purple silk, rested in the window of a small toy shop. Alice broke away from her father's hand as she hurried over to it. She turned excitedly back to see if he had followed her. But she needn't had worried: wherever she went, her father was not long behind. She was the only thing he had left and because of it held a dear place in his heart.
It had been six years ago when he had been struggling to land a job in the field of Biology. He had been considered for a rather important position at a government run science lab, but had been turned down due to the rival applicant's relation to the head of the lab. He had finally earned a job as a lab assistant in a blood bank, but the money he earned wasn't enough to support both himself and his pregnant wife. Not to mention that student loans were beating down on his back. But then his daughter had been born, followed by the death of his wife due to complications from childbirth. Robert had never had such torn emotions as that day: grateful for his daughter, yet mournful for his wife.
What followed were a few weeks of agony as he tried to pay off his wife's funeral, find someone to care for Alice during the day, and earn enough to keep the electricity going in their small apartment. Then one day an unusual man had come into the blood bank strictly to speak to Robert and had offered him a job. Somehow this man had gotten a hold his resume and knew more about him and many of Robert's friends did.
This man offered his condolences on Carol's death, congratulations on the birth of Alice, and sympathized over his current situation. He had explained that his boss had been looking for a gifted scientist such as himself, and wished to hire him as lead Biologist. Yet the man further confounded him as he spoke of where he was from: a place called Wonderland. Robert had almost kicked the man out there and then, having felt tricked as this man wearing an insignia of a club spoke of some place in a child's book.
Yet the man, who asked simply to be called Ten, provided a stack of documents signed by some unknown council that requested he accept their offer of employment. Knowing that he barely had enough money left to keep food on the table for both himself and Alice for the week, Robert skeptically accepted the job. Now here he was, six years later, raising his daughter in a land he had once thought to only be in a child's book.
He slowly came back from his memories at the yowling of an animal. He glanced down at the kitten resting in the basket which was currently resting on the crook of his daughter's arm. In her excitement Alice had jostled the basket too quickly causing the poor kitten to tumble into the corner of the basket.
"Jellybean, be more careful with Dinah. Would you want to be rolled around in a basket?"
He ruffled the little girl's hair as she giggled.
"Oh, Dinah!" she exclaimed before reaching her small hand into the basket to set the cat back right side up. The kitten forgave her small mistress as she purred into Alice's hand. After seeing that the cat was fine Alice placed her hand back into her father's.
Once a week the pair ventured out into the city to buy that week's necessities. They wanted for little: having their own chambers in the palace and Robert's salary was nearly enough for the two of them.
Already he had a loaf of bread tucked under his free arm. There were only a few more things the pair needed before returning. Already the sun was starting to set, prompting the city's lamp lighters to come out of hiding. Robert paused outside of a butcher's shop before turning to Alice. He knew well enough to bring his daughter in there: the last time he had brought her there she had ran out in tears from seeing the chicken legs and other animal body parts displayed around the shop.
"Wait out here, Alice. I'll only be a moment," he said while readjusting her woolen coat. The little girl had already grown out of her old coat which had prompted him to update her wardrobe a few months ago. The gray coat covered up the knee length, blue dress that she had insisted upon wearing that morning. Finishing the image of a well brought up girl, a pair of white gloves completed her outfit. She absentmindedly nodded as she toyed with a ribbon that she had tied upon the handle of the basket. It was slightly tattered as Dinah had taken to swatting at it to amuse herself.
Dinah perked up her little head from the basket as her eyes alighted on a mouse that had been scurrying down the gutter of the street. To Alice's alarm the kitten leaped from the basket and took off after the small animal. Completely forgetting her father's request to wait for him the girl ran off after her cat calling her name.
All Alice heard was the clacking of her polished shoes smack against the cobblestone street as she ran after her kitten. After a few minutes her pace slowed as she watched the cat get farther and farther away. Tears came to her eyes as she realized that she wouldn't be able to catch her. "Papa will find her," she whispered to herself before turning back around. But then she realized that she wasn't outside of the butcher's shop anymore. She didn't know where she was.
Instantly, tears came to her eyes. Dinah was gone, and now Papa too? She broke into a run, trying to go back the way that she had come. But through her tears she didn't see the man trying to lock the door of his shop. Alice collided into him with a thud before falling back onto the ground. She scraped her knee on the fall, ripping the knee of her stocking to leave a blood mark forming. The man looked down at her in shock before glancing around. Seeing no parent-figure around he extended his hand to the girl to help her up.
"Alright there little one?" he asked while taking in her current state. Alice shook her head as she tried to wipe away her tears with her free hand. "I can't find Papa, or Dinah," she explained before bursting into a fresh wave of tears. The strange man withdrew a clean handkerchief from his pocket and awkwardly handed it to her. Hesitating a moment the girl accepted the small cloth and dabbed at her eyes. Fumbling for the ring of keys that he had momentarily placed in his pocket the man unlocked his shop door. "Your Papa, you say?" he asked before opening the door. "And what is your name?"
She hesitated a moment before answering, "Alice Hamilton, but I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
The man grinned before taking off his hat and bowing deeply to the little girl, causing her to giggle. For a moment her tears were forgotten. "My name is Hatter. See, we aren't strangers anymore. Now come on inside and I'll clean that scrape for you."
Not being able to doubt his logic, the girl followed him inside the tea shop.
A few minutes later she was settled in front of the fireplace in the corner of the room in front of a tea table with her leg propped up on another chair. The fire crackled nicely which helped calm her. The man, or Hatter as he had told her to call him, returned to her carrying a cup, a rag, and a clean cloth. He set the warm cup before her and then proceeded to kneel down beside her knee.
"What is it?" she asked, peering into the pinkish liquid. It was clearly different than the milk that she normally drank at meals.
"Tea," Hatter answered as he carefully dabbed at her scrape. "I own a tea shop, you see. We are in one of mine; I have three." His talking helped distract her, for had he not, the sight of the blood on the rag might have sent her into tears again.
She grimaced at the name. "Papa drinks tea: I don't like it."
He laughed as he moved to wrap the cloth around her newly cleaned wound. "I think that you will like this one a bit better than your father's tea," he said before knotting the cloth. "Go on, try it."
Alice carefully lifted the cup to her lips before sipping it. Instantly a smile came to her face.
Although the tea held a bit of that bitter taste of her father's tea that she didn't like, the majority of the flavor was strawberries. She sipped happily from it as Hatter watched her. She had said her last name had been Hamilton...wasn't that the name of that scientist? The one who is working on vaccines? Although he wasn't as involved in Wonderland news as he should be, he recalled reading in the paper of the latest vaccine.
"Have you seen Dinah?"
Her voice brought him back from his thoughts.
He racked his brain for a moment trying to recall anyone named Dinah. "Is that your mother?" he asked, although it was a bit strange for her to be calling her mother by her first name. Alice shook her head as she set down her empty cup.
"No; she is my cat. She ran away from where we were waiting for Papa, and now I can't find her." Tears threatened to spill again as she thought of her cat, but she was quickly distracted by a frantic knocking at the door. Hatter left her for a moment to open it, revealing a man carrying a bag of food and a kitten under each arm.
"Have you seen a little girl?" Robert asked, not bothering to exchange pleasantries. "Brown hair, gray jacket?" Before Hatter had a chance to respond Alice bounded off of her chair and ran to her father.
She collided with his leg, nearly sending the man backwards, and instantly wrapped her arms around his knee. He set down the cat, who proceeded to curl around her legs, and held her close to him. Breathing a sigh of relief he pushed back a stray hair from her face. Alice was the only thing he had left: she was his life. If he hadn't been able to find her he wasn't sure what he would have done.
Finally standing up he regarded the seemingly young looking man before him. But after being in Wonderland for so long, Robert had come to realize that age was different here. Even though this man seemed to be twenty-four, he could have ranged anywhere from a hundred to two hundred. The average person in Wonderland lived well into their five hundreds he had heard.
"Thank you so much for taking care of her," Robert said after making sure that Alice was still close to his side.
Hatter toyed with the edge of his jacket, feeling a little awkward. He was a bachelor that had been living by himself for the past sixty years: children and stressed out fathers were new to him.
"She was no trouble at all, weren't you little miss?" he asked while tipping his hat to her. She blushed and buried her head into her father's pants leg. Robert held onto her hand tightly while shifting his packages.
"Thank you Mr...."
"Hatter, David Hatter."
Nearly seven years later, and the father-daughter pair continued to visit David's shop once a week on their outings. And in this way he watched her grow from a shy little girl of six to a blossoming woman of thirteen.