Hey guys! Sorry to keep you waiting...I've been so busy. D: I will update The Fruit of Envy, and provide you with some one-shots, and other stories, but for now, I am writing a nice little Alice/Hatter story. Don't know exactly how long it will be, I don't even have an exact plot in my mind yet. A few ideas here and there, but as I type more of the story, more ideas will come to me, and it will flow together nice and smoothly. (: Any ideas or suggestions, please let me know! And don't be afraid to provide me with *friendly* criticism! Well...enjoy! ^^

Saving Her Insanity

Love that is not madness is not love.

Chapter I

Wonderland. That was what she had called it. So many years ago, when she was Alice. She was a little girl, but regardless of her small height, she was full of munch. Very muncheous, her old friend would describe her.

Yes, her old friend. She had not seen him in a while. She last saw him the last time she was Alice. When she was Alice in Wonderland. Of course, it wasn't called Wonderland, really. It was called Underland. But to Alice, it would always be her Wonderland. A place of refuge. A place of imagination. Yes, that's what it was, and what it always would be to her. Even if she wasn't hardly Alice anymore. Not hardly.

Her mind drifted back to thoughts of her old friend. He was terribly mad, the poor fellow. Mad as a hatter. Hell, he was a hatter, for goodness sake. But sometimes, he would tell her, in order to survive, you had to be as mad as a hatter.

Her name was Alice. Was she the Alice? Yes, and no. She was, but not hardly. She was completely Alice when she had last visited Underland (which was still Wonderland to her) and had slain the mighty Jabberwocky. She was full of munch, just like she was the first time she visited. So many years ago, when she was Alice. Little Alice.

But the Alice now wasn't Alice. She knew this, and as she contemplated this, it started to confuse her. If she wasn't Alice, then who was she? She wasn't the Alice, she was just Alice. Or was she? She had been to Wonderland when she was little. They weren't dreams, she knew. They were memories.

Maybe she was mad.

Mad as a hatter, even. She managed a smile, even if it was difficult, when she thought about her old friend, that mad hatter. Tarrant Hightopp. Oh, how she missed him. Him and that strange fellow, that Thackery Earwicket, the March Hare. Oh, and the Dormouse, Mallymkun. She missed them all. She wondered if they were having tea, celebrating another Un-Birthday. If they were, she knew that she was terribly, terribly late. Naughty Alice, the Hatter would scold her and smile, you are awfully late for tea.

She promised him she would be back soon. She wanted to see him again, really, she did. She just...couldn't. She didn't want him to see her like this. It may just drive his insanity over the edge, and she didn't want that to happen.

Her name was Alice.

But she wasn't Alice anymore...not that Alice. A year had passed sinced she slayed the Jabberwocky, and so much can change in a year. She was slightly older, yes, but there were other changes as well. Something had clicked in her little head, a lightbulb went off. It had finally told her something that made sense. Something logical. Something possible.

Do you know what it told her?

It told her,

In the real world, there is no Wonderland. There's no happy little place where you can escape to when it gets bad. No white rabbit to come tell you that you're late for the tea party. No Mad Hatter to supply you with delicious tea and a wide variety of stunning hats. There's none of that nonsense, not anymore. Welcome to the real world.

And the shock hit her. It was dreadfully painful to accept, but as time passed, the pain turned into nothing more than a numb feeling, of sorts. But, as her pain became numb, so did the rest of any of her emotions she once felt. That was why she just couldn't go back. She couldn't.

Time in Underland passed so dreadfully slow. He'd wait on her, of course he would. She said she'd be back before he knew it, what was there for him to worry about? He had to believe her. Alice would never tell her good friend, the Mad Hatter, a lie.

Or would she?

No, no, she wouldn't, he knew she wouldn't. Just as the sky was green and the grass was blue, and...

No, no, no! That wasn't right at all, the grass was green and the sky was blue.

Or was it?

Things were so odd in Underland that it was quite hard for anyone to make sense of anything. It was especially difficult for the poor Hatter at the moment, since he was especially out of his right mind today in particular. Or, well, it wasn't just today, it was the day before today, and it certainly would be the day after today, and then the next day, and the next day, and the next day...

How much time had passed since he first felt more odd than usual? He couldn't tell you, time didn't matter in Underland. All he knew was that it passed so dreadfully slow. Waiting on the guest drove him mad, and that was not a good thing, because he, of course, was already mad. He always was.

He had been staring blankly, at what he wasn't quite sure, for who knows how long. He felt no desire to move. He only felt the desire to wait, ready to offer some tea to the girl at any moment, and scold her for being so late. "Alice, you're terribly late for tea, you naughty girl," he would scold her. At any moment, she would appear before his eyes, and come join him for tea. That was what he wanted. And he knew it would happen.

The March Hare, who was sitting down at the table with the Hatter, shakily poured himself another cup of tea. The Hatter caught a glimpse of this out of the corner of his eye, but he did not move. He wouldn't. He stopped replying to whatever words the March Hare or the Dormouse would speak to him. Not because he was trying to be rude, of course not. He just couldn't ever make any bloody sense of whatever it was they were trying to tell him. He was just too focused on waiting. Waiting, waiting, ever so patiently. Waiting for Alice, that naughty girl. She was late for tea.

Meanwhile, the White Queen was on her way to visit the Hatter. She had some important matters to discuss with him. She needed some new hats, and she knew exactly who to turn to. Who else other than the Mad Hatter? He had yet to resume his hat-making job, and this puzzled her, because she believed that he would've resumed working for her much sooner than he had. Was something wrong with him? Did he not want to make lovely hats anymore? No, definitely not, she knew. So there had to be something wrong with him, she presumed.

When she finally had reached the table at which the Mad Hatter enjoyed tea with the March Hare and the Dormouse, she realized her assumptions were indeed correct. The Dormouse was silent, the March Hare was as shakey as ever, and the Hatter was...well, she didn't know a way to describe it. Lifeless? Yes, that was a good word. He sat upright in his chair, stiff as a board, and stared straight ahead. With a sigh, she broke the silence that hung in the air like the awful stench of the Jabberwocky's breath.

"Mister Hatter?" She spoke, hoping to wake him up out of his trance. She rejoiced on the inside as she observed his eyes look up at her, no other part of his body moving. How long had he been in this state? "You are the finest hat-maker in all of Underland, and I need a hat-maker. Would you like to resume your position as the royal hat-maker?" She smiled optimistically as she waited for an answer. Moments passed, and the Hatter continued to just stare blankly at her. Then, finally, he broke the silence.

"I'm afraid I can't, your Majesty."


"Yes, I'm terribly, terribly sorry, but you see, I have to wait for Alice. She's awfully late for tea. But she'll be here anytime, I just know it!" And, most similar to the actions of a toddler, he smiled widely and clapped his hands cheerfully.

"Oh dear, this is worse than I thought," The Queen mumbled to herself. She called for the White Rabbit.

"Yes, your Majesty?"

"Please go and fetch Alice, for me. We have a small problem."

It's short, but I hope you like it! I'm having trouble getting a good start...please don't be upset, it will get better as the story goes along. XD Thanks for reading, please R&R! ^^