"You have no idea how happy I am to see you," Alice breathed, as she clutched Hatter tight. Slowly they broke apart from their embrace, and studied each other silently for a moment.
Hatter's clothes were somewhat more humanoid, his trademark hat absent from his head and a new one in his hand, his thick brown hair less tousled and more smooth and combed over—but there was that sexy mischievous glitter in his eye, and regardless of all the physical changes, she knew it was still him, still Hatter, still her Hatter.
Hatter gazed at Alice, knowing that he would never let himself lose her again. He'd journeyed into this strange world just to find her, and finally here she was, right before his eyes. Before he could think better of it, he leaned in slightly and found her lips. He felt Alice's hand reach up to rest on his neck as the kiss deepened. "I missed you," he said softly as he pulled back for a moment, and then her lips were on his once more.
Through the bliss and wonder of the sweetest and most amazing kiss Alice had ever received, she found herself thinking that through all the unfortunate luck she'd had with love throughout her life, she'd finally found the perfect guy. Granted, it took a dizzying trip through a perilous mystical world to find him, and it hadn't been who she'd thought it would be- but it had all been worth it.
When they stopped to breathe, Alice gasped, "Oh, wow - I-how-"
She was so breathless and flushed she could barely speak, and Hatter grinned in spite of himself. "Are you all right, Alice?" he teased as she fumbled for words.
"I-I'm fine, but how did you-I thought you were in Wonder-"
Hatter cleared his throat, indicating her to stop, and Alice snapped out of her love-filled daze and noticed for the first time that her mother was standing directly behind them. Her eyebrows were raised so high they were nearly touching her hairline.
"Alice," she said. Her voice was clipped and calm but Alice could see the questions her mother held back burning in her eyes. "What exactly is going on here?"
"Mom, I, well, uhm, we're…" She was at a complete and total loss for words at the worst of times, and luckily Hatter, as always, came to her rescue.
"We're about to go do pizza," he supplied.
"I'll just…go get my jacket then," said Alice as calmly as she could manage. She glanced quickly at Hatter with a smile as she walked past him and down the hall to her bedroom, trying to ignore the rapid beating of her heart. She could already footsteps following her, and as she reached into her closet, she was not surprised to feel fingers press lightly on her shoulder.
"Alice," her mother gasped. "Alice, what on earth? Who is this man?" She made an effort to keep her voice down so that Hatter couldn't overhear, but her shock got the best of her, and her voice gradually rose as she spoke, until she was almost shrieking. "He is certainly not just a construction worker, is he? Had you known him before? And what about Jack? I thought you were..." Her voice trailed off.
"I'm done with Jack," said Alice smoothly. She continued to search for a jacket that would match her outfit, her back to her mother, making sure that the hurt that briefly crossed her face when she thought of Jack would not be seen. "Besides," she added, spinning around as she shoved her arms into the sleeves, "this is different."
"You said that about him, too," said Carol gently.
Alice exhaled. "I know, but…" She paused, grinned, and said, "Hatter is a completely different cup of tea."