Yay, more positive feedback! :D Your reviews make me happier than the Hatter doing the futterwacken! ^^ So here it is, Chapter Three! Enjoy, and please R&R! Reviews might make Alice stay and have little Hatter babies! ;D Sorry for taking so long to update! D: I've been so busy with school. x_x

Chapter III

I can't stay in Underland. I'm terribly sorry.

The Hatter felt quite strange, then, hearing his dear Alice speak those words. He had expected it all along; he knew that something like this was certain to happen, but his optimistic hopefullness prevented him from knowing what to do if it was to happen, because he surely thought that no, she wouldn't say those cursed words, she'd say something else entirely, like, "Yes, Hatter, I'm staying in Underland forever," or something to that sort.

Alice watched with terrible dread that the Hatter's eyes quickly changed from a fluorescent bright green to a pumpkin-like shade of orange, before changing to a fiery red for a split second, and then changing back to orange, then to red, then to a sunshiney yellow, then back to orange once again.

The Hatter did not like these weird feelings he felt. It was as if something had stabbed him in his heart, and the feeling echoed throughout his entire being.

"Hatter," he heard his girl speak. "Are you quite alright?"

And that was it. He snapped. Something in him just...fell apart. The line that he skipped across everyday, the very thin line that stood between sanity and insanity, had faded into a state of oblivion, his sanity turning to dust.

Alice took in a sharp breath as she watched his eyes burn the fieriest red she had ever seen in her entire lifetime. The color was vibrant, and full of passion.

She let out a small yelp as the Hatter suddenly grabbed her shoulders so violently that she shook ever so slightly.

"Alice," the Hatter spoke, trying his best to form words that made sense in his mind. "I...I don't...want you to go," he tried his best to speak clearly as he avoided looking right into her eyes. He didn't want to be mad. He just was. And the thought of losing Alice forever made him even more mad. His sanity had always been hard for him to hold onto, and now he was sure it would be gone forever. He hadn't noticed that he had tightened his grip on the fragile girl in his hands until a whimper that escaped from her lips brought him back down to reality.

"Hatter...you...you're hurting me," she whispered, and tears began to form in her eyes, for a reason that was unknown to the Hatter, Alice knew.

But the Hatter didn't know why poor Alice had sprung a leak, all he knew was that he had actually hurt her, and he feared that he had hurt her so badly that the water was about to pour right out of her. He quickly released Alice, and dropped his hands to his side, his eyes turning from red to yellow, signaling his worry about her, and then to orange, signaling the guilt he felt for what he had done.

"I'm so sorry, Alice," the Hatter spoke, his words in a rush, for he had never wanted to hurt her, and there was nothing she could say or do that could possibly make him feel better about it.

"No, dear Hatter, I am the one who is sorry. It's not your fault," the Hatter noticed her voice broke during her last sentence, and a droplet of water poured out of one of her eyes and down her pale cheek.

Alice stood stiffly as she tried her best to hold in the tears, but she was not successful. She stared up at the Hatter, and he stared back at her, looking right into her eyes. She saw that his eyes had changed back to yellow, and she knew he was worried about her.

He ever so slowly moved his hand up to her face, and wiped away one of her tears.

"Alice, you poor little thing, you've lost your much again...what has happened to you?"

Alice froze. She shook her head slowly, "No, Hatter, nothing has happened," she tried her best to convince him, but her voice was weak, and her frail figure was trembling.

The Hatter studied her for a moment, and then slowly, with great hesitation, because he most certainly did wonder if he should, or if he had the much to, he took one of her small hands in his and stood still for a moment, trying to figure out what was different.

Then he realized, "Alice, your hands are shaking, and the rest of you is as well."

The Hatter watched her as she swallowed and bit her lip. He let go of her hand and...what was that? For a brief, hopeful moment he thought he saw disappointment in her eyes when he let go. No, no, Hatter, you need to stop thinking such ridiculous thoughts, he told himself. He told his mind to focus, to figure out what was wrong with Alice. He wanted her to get her muchness back, to be the strong, brave, cheerful, half-mad Alice she once was, which was, the Hatter believed, who she really was. The Alice that had slain the Jabberwocky.

The Alice who believed six impossible things before breakfast.

The White Queen, who had been watching the whole scene the entire time, finally broke the silence, clearing her throat. This caught their attention, and they both turned to look at her.

"Alice, the choice is up to you, but," the Queen began. "I hate to see the Hatter in such a state of mind, and I really would love to have my hat-maker back."

Alice then looked at the Hatter with a curious look. "You're not making hats for the Queen still?"

The Hatter, then slightly embarrassed, couldn't look at her right in the eyes. "Well, you see," he started. "I knew you were coming back, and I had to wait on you, even though you were terribly, terribly late, you naughty thing, you." He smiled at her then, before continuing. "So I waited here at the table for you, knowing that you'd be back any minute and we would have tea and speak a delightful conversation, just like before, remember Alice?" She nodded, and allowed him to continue rambling. "Yes, yes, we would have tea...and...conversation..." He trailed off, and his eyes stared off into the distance, they had been green again, since he had calmed down, but they started to change to orange, then to red, and Alice couldn't help but ask, "Hatter? Are you alright?"

The Hatter jumped, startled, like he had been woken up, and as he did so, his eyes changed back to green. Not as bright green as they were normally, but still, they were green. "Perfect, Alice, I am perfect! I am perfectly perfect, everything is fine and dandy, nothing wrong at all! Even if you are..." he swallowed before continuing. "...not staying, I am okay, I guarantee!" He tried to smile at her, having a hard time even convincing himself that this was the truth. He knew Alice knew him better than that, for she was still frowning.

"Alice," the Queen spoke, and Alice looked at her. "I have decided that you should really think about your decision before you make anything final, and so you will stay in Underland tonight. Tomorrow, you are free to leave, if that is what you wish. Hatter," she turned to look at him, and he looked back at her. "She will be staying with you."

"Alice? Would you like some tea?" The Hatter asked Alice. They were sitting together at the far corner of the table. The Queen left shortly after she stated her decision, and now the two were sitting down together having some tea.

"Yes, that would be lovely," Alice nodded. She was shocked at what the Queen had told her. She hadn't planned to stay in Underland, and definitely not with the Hatter, but it wasn't like she didn't want to.

No, that wasn't the case at all. She was just shocked, simply because she figured if she did have to stay in Underland, she'd stay with the Queen in the White Castle, not with the Hatter. And, again, it wasn't like she didn't want to, she most definitely wanted to stay with the Hatter, but thinking about it caused feelings she had never felt before to stir within her, and her cheeks blushed a bright shade of red when she thought about it.

After the Hatter poured Alice's tea for her, he looked at her and noticed that she looked ill. She look tired, or worried, or something of that sort, and her cheeks were flushed, as if she had a fever.

"Alice, are you alright?" He asked her gently, and she jumped, as if she had been in deep thought.

"Yes, yes, I'm quite alright, nothing wrong with me," Alice spoke quickly to the Hatter, and drank her tea.

However, the Hatter wasn't convinced, and he felt her forehead, checking for a temperature. He realized that she didn't have a temperature, so she must have been blushing. But why, he wondered?

Alice couldn't help but shudder underneath his touch, his gentle fingers grazing her forehead. The Hatter had noticed her shiver, and just couldn't understand what was wrong with her. "I think that's enough tea for you, Alice, dear," he spoke as she put down her cup. "How about a walk?"

And so the two of them abandoned the table, for now, and walked in the woods of Underland. Alice noticed that the Hatter looked as if he was thinking hard about something.

"Hatter, what are you thinking about?" She asked him.

"Well, simply put, what is there not to think about?" The Hatter replied, and stopped walking. He then looked down at her, his expression serious and unreadable. Alice was stumped.

"What do you mean?"

"Well...even if I am mad, I do think about a lot of subjects," he started. "Like why things are the color they are, and who decided that the color red is the color red, just for example. Why must it not be green?"

"Hatter, are you quite alright?" She asked him, curious as to why he was rambling.

"Of course. Now, anyways, getting to the point," he continued. "The thing that is troubling me most at the moment is that I wonder how we are going to get your muchness back."

Alice sighed, and looked up at him, having nothing to say.

"Well....we will most certainly figure something out," he smiled at her, and she tried to return a weak smile. They then continued on their walk.

The sun had began to set, and they had reached a meadow. Alice was stunned by its beauty. The sky was a soft color, shades of pink and yellow dancing amongst the clouds, and the sun's soft glow cast a dim light over the symphony of colorful flowers blooming from the grass, which happened to be the greenest green of all green grass that Alice had ever seen before. Especially in Underland, where the grass wasn't always green; sometimes it was red, purple, or even bright blue. Alice was comforted by the serenity of the meadow. It was like a peaceful sanctuary amidst oddity.

"Wow..." she breathed.

"It is beautiful," the Hatter mused. "but not as beautiful as you," he murmured softly, almost just to himself.

Alice gasped softly and turned to face him, heaving heard what he said. "Hatter...thank you," she smiled at him.

That smile drove him mad. He felt his cheeks grow warm, and smiled back at her, to hopefully hide his feelings.

"Do these flowers talk?" Alice asked him suddenly, and it almost caught him off guard.

"Er, no, this is the only meadow in all of Underland where the flowers are purely decorational, and not living." The Hatter grinned at her, and then quickly walked towards the flowers. He stopped for a moment, and then bent over and picked one. He spun around and skipped merrily towards Alice. "For you," he grinned again as he revealed the flower to her. It was a lovely rose; its petals were a soft pink color, illuminated by the light of the setting sun. She gently took it from his hands, careful not to prick herself on any of its thorns. "Thank you, again," she laughed a soft, joyous laugh and put the rose in a small pocket on her dress, and looked back up at him.

"Oh Alice, whatever is so funny?" He questioned, but he was smiling.

"Nothing, I'm just having such a good time," she answered honestly, and the Hatter knew she was being sincere.

"Why, Alice, I happen to be having a good time, myself." He couldn't stop smiling as he looked down at her beautiful figure. She was always beautiful, but even more so when she was happy. It made him happy to see her happy, and a happy Hatter was always a good thing.


"Yes, Alice?"

"Bet you can't catch me," she grinned mischeviously and took off running. The Hatter laughed and began to chase after her, and they chased each other through the meadow until finally the sky was dark, and Alice and the Hatter both collapsed onto the grass, surrounded by pale, moonlit flowers.

The two were quiet as they catched their breath, laying beside each other.

"Hatter, this is the most fun I've had since I first left," she spoke quietly.

"Then Alice..." the Hatter began. "Why don't you stay?"

And without having an answer to his question, the two remained silent, laying beside each other and breathing softly.

Alice looked up at the moon, and said, "I've never noticed the moon in Underland, before. It's beautiful. Maybe even more so than the moon back home," and as she spoke, the Hatter's stomach dropped. He wanted her to feel as if Underland was her home.

"Time doesn't matter here," the Hatter spoke quietly. "But sometimes, there is a sunset, and a moon and stars, and then a sunrise. Rarely, but it happens. Like tonight. I feel as if we're lucky." He smiled at her, and she returned it, and they both stared up at the moon and the beautiful, shining stars surrounding it.

As the night went on, the air grew colder, and a sharp, icy wind suddenly blew over the meadow, and Alice shivered.

"Alice, are you cold?" The Hatter asked her, and she nodded. The Hatter stood, and then reached out a hand to help her up. She accepted it, and lifted herself to him, and he put his arm around her and led her out of the meadow. "Well...I suppose that it's time to go to my house, for the night."

"You...have a house?" Alice asked.

"Why, of course, everyone needs a place to sleep. This way," he said, and with his arm still around her, they walked through the woods until they finally reached a peaceful looking cottage that happened to be in the middle of nowhere. Alice knew that she still had to make her decision before tomorrow, but she still didn't have the slightest idea of what to do.