It's been a long time since I've written a fanfic, please be kind. Hopefully the years have helped me hone my writing skills a bit.

Hold the Cheshire, Please

"You want a what?" Hatter stared at her incredulously.

Alice could only smile back. She'd seen that look from him a few times before, namely when they were in Wonderland and she was about to do something incredibly stupid. "A cat. A kitten." She cupped her hands, already imagining a soft little ball of fur asleep there. He was just being Hatter, she thought, overly dramatic. Getting a kitten and trying to break into the Hearts Casino were not the same thing.

"You've gone loony," his stance went from incredulous to anxious. His poor Alice had finally cracked. "Why? Why would you want something like... like that?"

Alice just sighed. "I love cats, I always have. But the apartment that Mom and I had didn't allow pets. That's why I wanted this place so much, I've missed having a little kitty around."

"This whole world in bonkers!" Hatter was really getting agitated now and Alice was trying not to let it get her worried. "No way. There's no way that I'm sharing a home with those evil creatures!"

"It's not such a big deal." Alice could compromise, she was an adult. "What about a puppy?"

That got Hatter's attention very quickly. "You kiddin? You've got dogs here? I've only ever heard of them in stories."

Alice couldn't help but smile again. When Hatter was surprised his eyebrows had a habit of disappearing up into his hat. "Maybe we should take a step back." Alice took a seat on their couch and gave the cushion next to her a little pat. "When you think of cats and dogs, what exactly goes through your mind?"

Hatter grinned, well that was always a dangerous question; what goes through his mind. But he could be good, just this once. For Alice. "Dogs were the loyal companions of the knights," he recited as if from a history book. "Very intelligent, but not very good at self preservation. There hasn't been a dog sighted in Wonderland since the knights were wiped out."

Alice nodded. "Okay, and what about your aversion to cats?"

Hatter gave a little shiver. "Nasty little things. Live out in the Tulgey Woods. They're creatures of dreams and nightmares, the lot of 'em. Feedin' off of peoples fears. And I don't want any of 'em getting anywhere near you, do you understand?"

He was so serious, Alice could only nod. She thought back to her little nap in the forest on her way to meet Mad March. Maybe the dream she'd had back then was a bit more than what it had seemed to be at the time. She wasn't about to mention it to Hatter though, that would be counter productive.

"Good." He nodded too, just for good measure. "Now that that's settled, how about a cup a tea."

He made to stand and Alice pulled him back down onto the couch. "We're not 'settled' yet. Cats and dogs Here aren't like they are in Wonderland. Why don't we at least go look at a shelter. Please?"

She was looking up at him with such a pleading expression, all he could do was agree. In all honesty, he'd give her anything that she wanted. So long as it wouldn't hurt her, Hatter felt very strongly about that last part. Figures his Alice would want a cat, next she'd be asking for a jabberwock. He could only sigh in exasperation and nod.

"Fine, we'll look. But the first time one of those 'cats' grins at me, we're leaving."

Alice didn't say anything. She popped off the couch with a smile on her face quite similar to the one he was just ranting about. She was pulling him out the door before he could properly get his coat on.

Three hours, one shelter, and two kittens later had Alice and Hatter back in their apartment with everything one would need for a litter of kittens. And it had to be two kittens because Hatter couldn't bear to break up a "matching set" and Alice still hasn't completely learned how to counter his logic just yet.

She was currently leaning against the wall in the hallway, watching him with the kittens. He was sitting on the floor letting them climb him like a mountain and she couldn't stop the smile that spread across her face. Every now and then one of their needle sharp little claws would catch him and he'd give a little yelp.

"Alice." Hatter called without looking up at her. She made a noise of acknowledgement and he looked to her then. She couldn't help but compare him to a little boy when he grinned. "When can we get a pup?"

Her smile grew to match his and she let loose a laugh. "We're going to need a bigger house."

*This scene has been buzzing in my head for three days now, hopefully now that it's out here I can get some rest. ^_^ I know that there's so much more that can be done with this story but to be honest the thought is a bit intimidating.... and in my head I hear the Queens voice, "My writing classes, my writing classes!" hehehe, ahem, the end.*