by Randomly SmuRfy
Alice Hamilton laid in her hospital bed and stared up at the ceiling. Her hands were interlocked and resting on top of her stomach, her hair splayed out on the lumpy pillow under her head. The pale moonlight shone through the window of the tiny hospital room and all that could be heard were the humming of the heart monitor and Alice's soft breathing. Her mother Carol had gone home to get some rest, leaving her alone for the night, but she promised she would be back in the morning before Alice was discharged.
According to the doctor, she had been unconscious for twelve hours after she had been found by that construction worker. What she could not fathom was how she had only been in that abandoned warehouse for only an hour. She could have sworn she spent three days in Wonderland. Could she have really dreamed everything? The Queen, Caterpillar, her father, Charlie, Hatter…
He had to be real. He just had to be. He was more real than anything else, more than defeating her fear of heights and flying, more than the extremely faint sheen of green that rested on the skin of her right forearm, and much more than Jack and his supposed love for her. There was no way he was a dream. Besides, in a way, he was everything that she thought she hated, so how could she have possibly imagined him? He did not pacify her like every other guy she had dated. He made her confront everything that she wanted to avoid: heights, the fact that Jack was not who she thought he was, and even the notion that he would always protect her, be there for her.
He was the closest thing she had to a best friend. She had never had that.
Her father leaving, well, being kidnapped made her feel like no one would ever stick around. That's why she never had a relationship that lasted longer than meeting the parents. If she ever became too invested in another person, his leaving her would only be that much more unbearable. She saw how much it hurt her mother. It was true; she tried not to show it, but it was there. The scar of abandonment stood out on her face, some days stronger than others. Alice vowed to never let that happen to her. So, she became the one to always leave, rather than the one being left.
And she had done it again. To Hatter. She had left him in Wonderland, and she was, once again, alone. That realization caused a tear to slip down her cheek and a sob to crack through her chest. Her labored breathing as she cried did not go unnoticed by the heart monitor, which began to beep rapidly. The sound shook her out of her misery long enough for her to wipe her tears before a night attendant peeped her head in the room.
Get ahold of yourself, Alice, she told herself. This would be just like before. She left before anything detrimental was done or said - God forbid what could have happened if she had told him she loved him.
She loved him. She had only liked Jack Chase, no, Jack Heart. Sure, she liked him a lot more than her past exes, but that was not love. It was obligation. She followed him to Wonderland to make sure he was safe. After all, he was her boyfriend, even if she had chosen to take a break. But, she did not love Jack Heart. With a yawn, she finally shut her eyes and drifted off to a sleep full of glimpses of a porky woman's face, a ring with a green gemstone, her father's face as a pool of blood appeared under his head, and the man in a worn, tan hat…
Rolling up the map she no longer needed to pinpoint her father's location, the doorbell rang. "Oh, I almost forgot," Carol started, "The construction worker who, uh, found you wanted to stop by and see how you were. Very sweet." She left to go answer the door as Alice pushed the map under her bed frame. This is sure to be awkward, Alice thought to herself. What could she possibly say to this guy? "Thank you for finding me after the whirlwind adventure I took from falling through a mirror"?
She straightened up then noticed the book on her bed with the title Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Aside from having the same name as the blonde on the cover, her own adventures meant more to her than the one contained within those pages. "Alice? Come meet David," her mother called from the living room, so she set the book down on the corner of her dresser and walked down the hallway.
She couldn't believe her eyes. There, in the middle of the living room, stood a shaven, hair swept to the side, hat-in-hand Hatter. He was there, in her world. He wasn't just some figment of her imagination. He was something concrete. Hatter was real. So, she ran, and, for once, it wasn't from something. It was to someone.
Breathlessly, Alice threw her arms around his neck, causing him to utter, "Finally." The sound of his voice calmed every tremor of confusion and pain she had been feeling since being pushed through the looking glass, and the way he clung to her pushed thoughts of the Queen, Jack, and her father's death away. His body pressed against hers felt better than anyone else who she had ever hugged. He was warm, alive, and, more importantly, here.
"You have no idea how happy I am to see you," she spoke in his ear. Hatter sighed, and, a moment later, Alice stepped back to look in his bright brown eyes. He only gazed at her for a moment before dipping his head and pulling her in for a soft kiss. She had been waiting for this since that day they were in the forest. They had been rudely interrupted by Jack, who she, at the time, still had affections for. But, he was no longer apart of her world, her life, so he wasn't around to disrupt them. No one was, except her mother, someone who probably wanted an explanation. An explanation, though, was the last thing on Alice's mind as Hatter pulled away just a bit.
"I missed you," he whispered. Alice's heart leapt in her chest before he closed the distance between their lips again.
AN: It's a bit short, but I just wanted to get this out. I absolutely adore Hatter, much like anyone who paid him any attention in Alice. Andrew Lee Potts did an amazing job portraying the character, and showing him in a different light than the Mad Hatter is usually done. Besides, I was rooting for Hatter from the moment he spun around in that white chair with the headphones hanging off the back.