A/N: I've reworked Chapter 1 a bit after I realized that I was using two POVs in the same frame. Chapter 1 is now exclusively Alice's POV.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Jack led Alice into a bright room, dominated on one end by a circular bed and on the other by a well-stocked bar. Low chairs and a clear glass tables created a seating area and a soft white rug covered the floor from end to end.
"It's only a matter of time before the final repairs to the Looking Glass have been completed." Jack said, gesturing for Alice to sit. "We'll be more comfortable waiting in here."
"And Hatter? Where is he?" she asked.
"Oh I'm sure he's found something to keep himself occupied, but I did mention he could pop by if he felt it right." Alice noticed that Jack did not look her in the eye as he answered. She realized that she didn't believe him, and after everything that had happened over the last two days, she wasn't inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
On the other hand, Hatter could be off now that he had gotten what he wanted. True, they had become friendly over the short time she had been in his world, but in a way both were using the other for their own purposes. Freedom was won for Wonderland and Hatter would be hailed as a hero. As for Alice, she would soon be on her way home...which is what she wanted, right?
"Hmm." Alice replied noncommittally as she took a moment to look around the sparse room.
"Is this your bedroom?" she asked.
"Yes, darling. One of many." Jack didn't notice the slight wrinkling of her forehead or the small smile on her lips. The décor wasn't exactly Alice's cup of tea.
Jack walked over from the door and knelt down by Alice's chair. He wrapped his arms around her, laying his head on her shoulders as he hugged her.
"I am so happy that you are safe. I was sick with worry." Jack raised his head and looked into Alice's eyes. "I'm terribly sorry that we began the way we did, but I do want you to know that, though I didn't have a choice in deceiving you, I do now care very deeply for you."
Alice jumped up, throwing Jack off-balance and nearly toppling him over. Her face was contorted with anger.
"Now look here, Jack—" Alice pointed accusingly at his face.
Just then the massive doors swung open and a suit came rushing into the room.
"I'm sorry, your majesty," the man sputtered. "There's a problem with the Looking Glass. You must come. Please, sir, right away."
Jack looked apologetically at Alice and held her hand gently in his.
"Duty calls, I'm afraid. Please make yourself comfortable. Have a drink. I'll return as soon as I am able." With a brief squeeze, Jack let go of Alice's hand and swept from the room.
Alice stood looking at the closing door in absolute disbelief. What on earth had she seen him? He didn't bear any resemblance to the man she had felt herself falling so hard for back in her world. She felt used and angry and humiliated. Hatter had been right about Jack the whole time.
It was a good thing he hadn't come along, she wouldn't have wanted him to witness that scene. He would've pointed out again (AGAIN!) how self-centered the new King of Wonderland was and he would've been right.
Alice sighed. Her heart felt heavy when she thought about Hatter. The sooner she was on her way home, the better. She figured she might as well have that drink while she waited.
The crystal decanters along the glass shelf were elegant…and unlabeled. Alice unstoppered each in turn and took a sniff. None of them smelled alcoholic, but then she didn't know what alcohol would smell like in this place. She finally selected a deep red liquid with an exotic spicy smell (red wine, maybe?) and poured it into a glass.
Several sips in, Alice began to feel a bit light headed and flushed. Booze must be stronger here. She took off her coat—Hatter's coat—and hung it on the back of the chair. She took another long drink from her glass as she stood staring at the empty fabric.
Alice heard the slight whoosh of the room doors closing and whirled around. As if conjured from an unspoken wish, Hatter stood before her.
"Wow…hi!" Alice said brightly, then gave a nervous smile.
"Hey." Hatter said quietly. "I, um, wanted to see you off, but I was told I might be in the way. Third wheel and all that. But I saw Jack down at the Looking Glass, so I thought I'd give it a go."
Alice felt ridiculously giddy, all her anger and frustration had evaporated. It was probably the wine.
"Alice, what are you drinking?" Hatter asked abruptly.
"Just…just red wine. Jack told me to have a drink and—" Before Alice could say any more, Hatter had snatched the glass from her hand.
"Hey!" she protested.
He took the slightest sip before wheeling back to Alice, shock and alarm on his face.
"How much have you had? Alice?! How much of this did you drink?"
"That's only my first glass. What's the problem?" Alice was feeling very warm now indeed. The room swam but every nerve in her body seemed hot and sharp. It was not an unpleasant feeling.
"Passion. Lust. Something along those lines. This is purer and stronger than anything I've ever peddled in my shop and even the stuff I sell is supposed to be diluted." Hatter stepped closer to Alice, his eyes worried, searching hers intently.
Alice was barely following what he was saying. She didn't feel drunk, but her voices of conscience and reason were drowning beneath the beating of her blood in her veins. All she could do was focus on the shape of his mouth as it moved and those dark eyes she wanted to fall into. She felt herself step closer to him. She needed to be closer.
"What's the problem, Hatter?" She asked again, tilting her head slightly and gazing at him through her lashes. "Haven't you come to get me off? I mean, see me off?" Alice giggled strangely. It was not like her to be so crude.
She could smell the aroma of his sweat as he stood there, trembling slightly. She wondered what it would taste like. What he would taste like.
"Oh, Alice what have you done?" Hatter whispered, standing very still.
"I haven't done anything, yet." She replied sultrily as she started to wind her arms around his neck. Her core throbbed as she pressed herself against his body, against his obvious arousal.
"Oy!" Hatter pushed her hands off and bolted several steps away. "Wait! Just, please Alice, stop!"
Alice closed her eyes and swayed slightly in place. She felt like a super-heated coil, all tension and power just waiting to explode. She was going to explode soon, she just knew it. She felt wildly out of control and it both scared and excited her.
"Hatter? What's happening to me?" Alice beseeched him. She hugged her arms around her front and found that her touch helped. It didn't dampen the heat, but it focused it enough to remain bearable.
"Bloody hell, Alice, you've just had half a glass of the strongest desire I've ever come across. You're an oyster, so the tea won't affect you as strongly as us, but it's still too much. If you OD, you could die!"
"From too much passion?" That wasn't a problem Alice had ever had before. She ran one hand through her hair as the other skimmed up and down her body. She barely knew what she was doing, but she was desperate for more contact. Why did Hatter keep backing away?
Hatter stared slack-jawed at the unintended show before shaking himself and replying.
"Too much of anything can kill you, love. I…damn…I have to go find Jack for you." Hatter's face was contorted and his eyes were damp. "Jack's the only one who can help you."
"Why? Why can't you help me?" Alice moved closer to Hatter again. She was beautifully flushed and her eyes were bright and sharp. If Alice didn't know better, she'd think that Hatter looked a bit scared of her.
"Because-" Hatter paused as backed into wall. He closed his eyes and forced out: "Because he has to make love to you."